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Comments by bubbub

Go to: The annual 24 hour MSF charity event

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by bubbub

A great effort by all concerned! If the Council of Ex-Muslims or similar organisation ever have a museum/exhibition eventually, I hope it is donated in turn to them and ends up there!

That Quran is printed by an Organization called TheQuranProject. They are raising funds for a 5th print run of 20,000 copies to distribute free across Britain. I believe they might be removing some of the misquotes of the scientists concerned in the next print run thanks to TheRationalizer. Sadly those scientists are still widely used by Islamic websites and preachers to attach a semblance of credibility to their holy book.

I recently informed TheQuranProject guys that one of their claims of Muhammad's miraculous knowledge at the back of their Quran publication was a woeful, and very common quotemine, which disguises a very 7th Century understanding of embryology; something I discovered myself and very few people know about. I wonder if they'll remove it.

Wed, 22 Aug 2012 20:26:41 UTC | #951149

Go to: UPDATED: Why I want all our children to read the King James Bible

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by bubbub

The article got a short mention just now on the BBC news channel's newspaper review

Sun, 20 May 2012 09:07:24 UTC | #942369

Go to: Any other former Muslims out there?

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by bubbub

Yuri, you might also like to check out the Council of Ex-Muslims forum;theme=

Fri, 04 May 2012 19:53:10 UTC | #939736

Go to: Biologist and Atheist Richard Dawkins on Charles Darwin

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by bubbub

Comment 13 by Zeuglodon I just finished watching the entire lecture. I quite liked the bridges metaphor, though bridge four ("Public appreciation") didn't seem very clear to me. Was this in contrast to Matthew's presumption that it was too obvious to need pointing out to a public audience?

I'm glad you liked it :) Interesting question; I think that 4th bridge isn't so much about realising that it was worth bringing to a wider public attention but rather about actually achieving that attention (maybe that's a two-part bridge :)). That's something that Wallis's essay didn't do on its own when presented alongside Darwin's - it took a full and developed treatment by Darwin in his book to do so.

I also found the stuff about precise definitions of evolution and the gene pool near the end really interesting as I've only read small parts of Richards books, so that was new to me. The only whole one I've read so far is The Greatest Show On Earth and almost all of The God Delusion.

Thu, 12 Apr 2012 13:55:43 UTC | #934140

Go to: Biologist and Atheist Richard Dawkins on Charles Darwin

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by bubbub

I listened yesterday to an earlier talk Richard gave on the 5 bridges (or 4 + 1 Darwin came close to crossing)

Total length 45 mins, very interesting. You can listen in parts or scroll down for the full lecture.

Wed, 11 Apr 2012 16:08:03 UTC | #933909

Go to: NASA scientist denounces Quran astronomy miracle claims made in his name

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by bubbub

Nice work as always. I'm sure these scientists appreciate a chance to put the record straight.

Maybe someone like councilofexmuslims or rdfs would fund a small site linking to or hosting the vids (so no ongoing dependance on one man). Might have better long term google ranking prospects than videos. It could have a hall of shame list of Islamic sites and organisations that ignore requests to withdraw their discredited quotes and clips of these scientists. Might encourage a few of them to do the honest thing.

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 20:33:04 UTC | #931222

Go to: Professor Stephen Hawking quotes on God and Religion

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by bubbub

There are all kinds of fascinating things that can happen in our spacetime. If I go to another star, then come back to earth, the proper time I experienced on my worldline will be less than if I'd stayed at home and I will have aged less than the people on earth did between my departure and return. The effect is greater the faster I travelled. This is known as the twins paradox (though it's not really a paradox - we understand it and have experimentally verified time dilation). The reason is that my worldline has traversed a shorter spacetime interval between the 2 events than those who stayed home.

Mon, 05 Mar 2012 12:45:56 UTC | #924569

Go to: Professor Stephen Hawking quotes on God and Religion

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by bubbub

Comment 24 by Graxan :

Comment 23 by bubbub

So you're saying it doesn't take 8 mins for the Sun's photons to reach us on Earth? Light speed is not infinite speed.

The spacetime interval is measured on an aribtrary scale not on itself, in our case second, minutes, miles etc.

To the photons, no time passes between them leaving the sun and reaching us. In our frame of reference, it takes 8 minutes. Similarly, passengers on a spaceship to alpha centauri travelling close to the speed of light would experience a very short journey (their proper time is very short). For people on earth, 4 years would have passed.

On your 2nd point, notice I used the word proportional. The proper time interval (measured in seconds) scales with the spacetime interval.

I really recommend reading about special relativity and minkowski diagrams. I'm sure you'll find it very interesting and it will become much clearer why the time interval between 2 events depends on the frame of reference.

Mon, 05 Mar 2012 12:15:00 UTC | #924565

Go to: The "So" meme

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 81 by bubbub

People also use the present simple tense about the future simple. Instead of, "I will go to the shops...", they might say "OK, so this is the plan? I go to the shops...".

Similarly they might use the present perfect for the future perfect. Instead of, "I will have already prepared the kitchen", they might say something like, "Ok, the plan is that I have already prepared the kitchen".

Someone mentioned the historical present tense. They could also use the present perfect for the past perfect (I guess you could call it the historical present perfect). Instead of, "I had closed the door", they might say, "I have closed the door".

I suppose in the schema I posted in #75 above, in each case, to create an effect they are dramatically moving now backwards or forwards into the perspective time.

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 21:35:07 UTC | #924421

Go to: The "So" meme

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 75 by bubbub

Here's how I think about English tenses (I think I also read the same idea in a linguistics book). I'm just using my own labels here.

Their use can be defined according to the order of 3 times (I'll ignore the continuous tenses):

  1. now
  2. the time of the event
  3. the perspective from which the event is being described.

past simple: the perspective and event are in the past, at the same time "I pressed the button"

past perfect: the perspective is in the past, and the event was even earlier "I had pressed the button"

present simple: all 3 times are now "I press the button"

present perfect: the perspective is now, the event is in the past "I have pressed the button"

future simple: the perspective and event are in the future, at the same time "I will press the button"

future perfect: the perspective is in the future, the event is between now and the perspective "I will have pressed the button"

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 20:43:53 UTC | #924397

Go to: Professor Stephen Hawking quotes on God and Religion

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by bubbub

All events that are on the light cone centred on event A have a zero spacetime interval (spacetime distance) from it. In other words, when I look up and see a star, the spacetime interval between the photon being emitted and it reaching my eyes is zero. Similarly, if I now shine a laser at Mars there is a zero space-time interval between that and the beam hitting Mars. Any events that could be traversed at less than c (time-like seperated) or cannot be traversed, even at c (space-like seperated) have a non-zero space-time interval between them.

Here's a link to the equation as symbols don't work on this comments system

The space-time interval is also proportional to the time that you would experience when traversing directly between the two time-like seperated events (this duration is known as the "proper time"). If you travelled close to the speed of light, a vast journey would seem to you to take very little time.

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 19:51:36 UTC | #924378

Go to: The "So" meme

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by bubbub

A more recent "so" meme is its use at the end of thought or witty remark. I find this one slightly grating, though I'm sure I've been guilty of doing so myself at times! I think it's used in this way to make it sound as if the speaker could effortlessly carry on or draw further intelligent conclusions if they could be bothered, rather than that they've reached the end of their train of thought. E.g. "You really don't have a point here, so...". Another variation is to end a thought with " yeah". I'm sometimes tempted to ask, "how does 'yeah' follow from what you just said?"

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 10:26:17 UTC | #924269

Go to: Why do the religious insist on presenting a united front?

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by bubbub

There may be an element of self interest when we're talking about religious leaders, but I find even individuals who believe in woo are happy enough once they (mistakenly) think you believe in some other kind of woo. I get the same thing from new age types or conspiracy theorists. When I give them examples of mutually exclusive types of woo they sometimes say things like, "oh, so you believe that x is how things are, ok". They then seem happy to stop bothering me, so I don't always bother correcting them.

I think what they really bothers them is that until they think you believe in some sort of woo, you are the embodiment of the doubt in the back of their minds. Deep down they might be aware that they are living a self maintained delusion.

Thu, 01 Mar 2012 16:59:05 UTC | #923489

Go to: BREAKING NEWS: Error Undoes Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Results

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by bubbub

I ought to be neutral, but it did seem like an ugly result given the elegance of relativity. We'll have to wait a few months for new runs to confirm.

It was also seriously annoying when my Muslim brother brought this neutrino thing up last year with the subtext that it's 1-0 to religion, science will soon enough discover that whatever-crazy-nonsense he believes should be taken seriously.

I often encounter people with various new age or religious beliefs trying to undermine trust in science for the same reason, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it is the strength of science that we try to find flaws in established theories.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 11:29:15 UTC | #921006

Go to: The world has forgotten the real victims of Fukushima

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by bubbub

He did use to be science editor for the Mail, but when I read his articles (I hasten to add, not in my own copy of the Mail), he did generally side with mainstream science and gently rebel against the paper's official line on climate change etc. He's a better man than the Mail deserved. Maybe the Telegraph is another stepping stone for him to somewhere with a greater abundance of sanity.

Tue, 21 Feb 2012 16:54:15 UTC | #920432

Go to: The Sins of the Fathers [Also in Polish]

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by bubbub

Same old playing the man not the ball to please religious conservatives, or in this case, playing the great great great great great grandfather!

When will these Dawkinsophobic attacks stop? Don't they know that Richard Dawkins means peace in olde English?

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 13:29:29 UTC | #919190

Go to: Richard Dawkins: 2 live TV appearances later today

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 48 by bubbub

Comment 44 by plasma-engineer :

Transcript for @bubbub (Comment 36)

Classic, thanks!

Bishop: "...I'm amazed at what your survey shows..."

a few seconds later...

Bishop: "We'll see. We will see." LOL!

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 00:23:12 UTC | #917896

Go to: Richard Dawkins: 2 live TV appearances later today

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by bubbub

The presenter, Gavin Stewart, also was very fair, giving Richard the chance to make his point midway while the other two desperately tried to interupt and strawman him as though he was questioning how people should label themselves. Also hats off to Mr Stewart for giving Richard a chance to dispel the Bishop's misreading of the survey (twice) at the end. All in all, it went very well, I think.

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 23:34:59 UTC | #917880

Go to: Richard Dawkins: 2 live TV appearances later today

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 36 by bubbub

What a magnificent pair of gifts Nazir-Ali gave us at the end, both taken full advantage of by Richard! Someone should post the transcript of that final delicious exchange when it's up on iplayer! I hope they caught the look on the Bishop's face as his challenge crumbles :)

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 23:27:12 UTC | #917876

Go to: RDFRS UK/Ipsos MORI Poll #1: How religious are UK Christians?

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by bubbub

Nicely chosen timing to release this! I admire your patience!

Tue, 14 Feb 2012 13:36:42 UTC | #917683

Go to: Malaysia deports Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 44 by bubbub

Saudi Sheikh Nasser Al Omar calls for the execution of Hamza, and quotes a classical "scholar" who says debates with atheists should be "warmed up with the heat of a sword":

The more noise people make about Hamza's plight the better. I read that the Saudis don't like the world watching when they do this kind of thing. For my part, I'm going to write to my MP asking him if he'll raise this issue in parliament.

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 21:52:35 UTC | #916994

Go to: Freedom of speech for street preachers

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 59 by bubbub

Tomorrow, I hope someone talks about the difference between intentionally offending others vs offending someone as an unfortunate, maybe inevitable by-product of some other intention. Also worth discussing is that while it might sometimes be selfish and inconsiderate to offend (whether deliberately or as an unfortunate by-product), that is not the same as saying there is no right to offend.

Fri, 10 Feb 2012 19:17:22 UTC | #916350

Go to: Calls to Behead Indonesian Atheist Alexander Aan

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 165 by bubbub

Comment 163 by potteryshard :

The point is that such people exist and are not a vanishingly small minority.

Really? The results of the alleged push for moderation are what appears vanishingly small. I find it very difficult to believe that moderate muslims exist and are acting to restrain the lunatics because the results simply don't support that notion. How could that many (alleged) people have so little effect?

One of my main points was that they are scared into silence and inaction by hardliners. Islam is a bullying religion (even moreso than others). There are no doubt regions and countries where the hardliners who support death to apostates etc. are the majority, but Richard's comment seemed to question whether there are moderates anywhere, even in the west or places like Turkey. Moderate in this context being a Muslim who does not support death to apostates. It's hard to tell how widespread the moderates (in this context) are in the west as our laws protect apostates, but here's some data that suggests that at least a significant minority of Muslims in various Islamic countries are "moderate", using various definitions.

Of direct relevance, the support in Indonesia for death to apostates was 30%.

Thu, 09 Feb 2012 21:01:56 UTC | #916008

Go to: Calls to Behead Indonesian Atheist Alexander Aan

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 162 by bubbub

Once again, where are the decent, moderate Muslims? Why do they not stand up in outrage against their co-religionists? Maybe Ayaan Hirsi Ali is right and "moderate Muslim" is something close to an oxymoron.

What a deeply disappointing comment you made, Richard. I hope this was a heat of the moment response to a distressing story. One of the things about Islam is that the hardliners are very good at bullying into silence the more moderately-minded Muslims. Please don't assume that the absence (if there was indeed an absence) of Muslim voices condeming these threats indicates tacit approval from all the Muslims there. It's perfectly plausible (and in my opinion, highly likely), that those who disapproved of the threats will have been scared of being labeled kuffar, or of being closet atheists themselves.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that the Islamic scriptures are clear that Aan should be executed. We all know that theists are capable of amazing cognitive dissonance. I put it to you that most Muslims are good-natured, just like most people in general. From what I've seen, it is very hard to pursuade most of them that Islam condones and exhorts the horrible things with which we are all familiar. Arguably those moderates may not being "true" to their scriptures, but that's good for them (relatively). The point is that such people exist and are not a vanishingly small minority.

Thu, 09 Feb 2012 19:01:43 UTC | #915962

Go to: New Satellite Takes Spectacular High-Res Image of Earth

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by bubbub

Comment 17 by bubbub :

Thanks! Now for a trickier one - can anyone work out how long is the longest arc of cloud that is visible (in principle) with the same parameters as above? That's more directly relevant to Richard's question.

I decided to try myself. I think the angle between the observer and furthest cloud is

arcsin(277/(6371+6)) + arcsin(5/(6371+0.002)) = 0.044 radians

0.044 x (6371+6) = 282km (almost same as the line in my first post, but not exactly). Double that giving a 564km visible arc across the sky.

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 20:41:47 UTC | #911841

Go to: New Satellite Takes Spectacular High-Res Image of Earth

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by bubbub

Comment Removed by Author

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 20:41:19 UTC | #911840

Go to: New Satellite Takes Spectacular High-Res Image of Earth

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by bubbub

Thanks! Now for a trickier one - can anyone work out how long is the longest arc of cloud that is visible (in principle) with the same parameters as above? That's more directly relevant to Richard's question.

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 20:07:43 UTC | #911824

Go to: New Satellite Takes Spectacular High-Res Image of Earth

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by bubbub

Can anyone tell me if this is correct?

If the clouds are at 6km, and using an average earth radius of 6371km, then the line from the furthest cloud you could see (in principle) to its horizon is

using pythagorus (power signs disappear when I post, so I just wrote "squared")

SQRT((6371+6)squared - 6371 squared) = 277km

The line from a standing position 2m tall to your horizon is

SQRT((6371+0.002)squared - 6371 squared) = 5km

Adding the two, which form a line from your eyes to the cloud, tangent to the earth, then the furthest cloud you could see (in principle) is 282km away.

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 19:46:02 UTC | #911814

Go to: Atheist Spirituality by a former Muslim Apologist.

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by bubbub

Well done Farhan! This is an important angle you are highlighting in your recent work. I think people with a love of mystery and maybe some past experience with religious belief sometimes feel alienated by their perception of atheism. I can imagine (partly from my own experience before I became an atheist) that it at first seems like a spoilsport, cold and disorientating place for your mind to be after the previous wishful thinking. It might seem like to be an atheist you should have no interest in subjective experience after being misled for many years by your own mind

True, subjective experience isn't good for determining truth about the physical world, but what people call spirituality seems to be about getting to know your own mind, and appreciating what's still mysterious about the physical world. I think the best sort of "spiritual" or mysterious experiences come from getting to know yourself better, connecting with and digesting your supressed emotions and memories, paying more heed to your gut feelings (maybe that's what prayer does, albeit in a misguided way, when you try really hard to hear what your imaginary god is telling you), and resolving the things that screw up your perceptions of other people and personal relationships.

I think the emotional appeal of religion is largely to do with it providing a flawed way to deal with deep emotional needs without really getting to the root of the problem. For example it may offer an imaginary being that loves you unconditionally, when you need to learn to accept and love yourself. It may promise vengence when you're better off learning to understand and forgive. It attempts to give certain answers about conscious experience and reality, but only science can give any trustworthy insight there. On a "spiritual" level you can learn to better accept and appreciate the sheer mysteriousness of these things, thinking about how little you know rather than what you do know for a while.

People who talk about being "spiritual" sometimes seem uncomfortable with how much science does tell us and, in my experience, may try to weaken people's trust in scientists. That seems like a bad kind of spirituality. That's because they are trying to fill genuine mysteries with made-up answers, which they feel are threatened by science, or they don't want some mysteries to be answered. A better "sprituality" could involve accepting and enjoying what mysteries there are, but being comfortable with the scientific search for answers.

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 00:36:26 UTC | #902862

Go to: BBC Asia Network discussion on Islam and evolution

bubbub's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by bubbub

I think you meant you're on at about 54 (not 45) minutes if you're refering to the iplayer recording. T'was an interesting discussion!

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 23:52:21 UTC | #894891