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Comments by Sheol99

Go to: New Agers and Creationists should not be President

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Sheol99

Openly religious people "should not be president".

This is the key. I believe individuals have the right to believe whatever they want or whatever they were being indoctrinated into previously - anything for any reasons - the fact that some of those reasons may be unreasonable or even illegal is another issue.

But, it applies only on individual belief.
When a person becomes a public leader, someone we entrusted with power to influence other people AT OUR COST - then his/her belief becomes important, if it affects his/her public action (which it definitely does / will do if it is fanatical).

These are subtle differences, and we need to have positive laws / regulations to differentiate them.

But the implications are clear, as mentioned by Ebert - and since some of the distinctions are not very well defined (e.g. how different are the christianity levels between Dubya and Obama? there definitely some difference, how much? how to quantify them?) -- then the "should not".

Definitions ..

Sun, 20 Dec 2009 01:45:00 UTC | #424693

Go to: Nearer My Atheism to Thee: How to Respond to Theists

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 45 by Sheol99

I am surprised when I read in Coyne's blog about Shermer's article; like Jerry himself, I hope I got it wrong about Shermer being an accomodationist. Michael Shermer is my favorite writer in SciAm.

This response by Shermer sealed the debate, Shermer is definitely an accomodationist!

I read miranda's blog: Good arguments!

Sun, 29 Nov 2009 10:08:00 UTC | #417898

Go to: Happy Saganseve, Everybody

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 56 by Sheol99

I watched the video, when was it made? Saint Sagan said it all about religion. Almost nothing new.


Sat, 07 Nov 2009 14:42:00 UTC | #411842

Go to: Happy Saganseve, Everybody

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 55 by Sheol99

Saganseve? Merry or Happy?

Contact was one novel that opened my mind, a fiction can be so emotional, yet within the constraints of science. I loved Sagan's idea of possible life in other worlds, esp life in Jupiter. Giant hydrogen gas filled creatures the size of small cities grazing loose hydrogen gas in the atmosphere, followed by plane sized 'predators' that make a living of ripping the grazers for their gas. Dead material falls to the heat below and incinerated. Communication by radiowave ... Wow!

Sure beats xenu with their outdated DC-10s ...

Sat, 07 Nov 2009 12:58:00 UTC | #411835

Go to: There are black-eyed virgins ready for you

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 77 by Sheol99

For all of you that make these disparaging remarks, remember that most of the people who are currently live under these conditions are:
1) they have no choice
2) the alternative to the harsh islamic laws are the pirate, kingship or total bastard leaderships 3)most of them have no idea that there is an alternative to their sorry lot in the world.

I am not saying this as an excuse to the actions of the mullahs and imams who deceived their poor folks to any meagre benefits for the imamdoms (more wives, better food, respect from the poor sods).

Those bastards imams are the same everywhere - greedy pastors that in reality think too much of worldly benefits in exchange of the otherworldly shite they dispensed ..

It is a sad world in this other side

Tue, 03 Nov 2009 14:07:00 UTC | #410935

Go to: 3 Silly Religious Beliefs Held By Non-Silly People

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by Sheol99

It's a good list, but I'd put "prayer does stuff" before "the universe has a consciousness" in the list of major mainstream beliefs that are obviously wrong.

Yes. Prayers should be one.
The next is "Transcendence as proof of religious feeling" - the feeling of awe when you're on the top of mountain, on the seacliff during sunsets or storms. The same feeling that I think is being manipulated by the architects of St. Peters, or Kaabah, Taj Mahal, Colliseum.

I think humanity still need to wait for 30 - 40 years to sort these out.

Sat, 31 Oct 2009 14:11:00 UTC | #410239

Go to: Why Dawkins Gets Asked About His Atheism

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Sheol99

A lot of people will be able to write better if they keep their ego in check. Yes, agree with Josh that this writer is tinged with a negative emotion, jealousy? Hope to be able to 'kill the hero'?

It is true that a lot of people annoyed that !) RD can be famous (such a geek..) 2) making a lot of money (should he?) 3) talk abt atheism! (not a theologian!) 4)dare to promote evolution (not a 'good scientist' behav) 5)good looking enough to annoy further (I wonder if RD has the late jay-gould countenance - it will be good for all of us - maybe!)

Fri, 30 Oct 2009 01:41:00 UTC | #409868

Go to: Islamic countries push a global 'blasphemy' law

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 37 by Sheol99

It's a core problem. To say Jesus is divine is blasphemy in Islam, and to say Jesus is not divine is blasphemy in Christianity.

This law is - as in most of other religious ideas - in a deep contradiction within itself.
That UN discuss something so blatantly inconsistent like this is a blasphemy to international laws..

The thing that we all need to always remember is that the muslims are legalist, they will pursue something like this with a zeal of a californian-divorce-lawyer-working-for-percentage ..

Fri, 30 Oct 2009 00:59:00 UTC | #409860

Go to: Seven questions that keep physicists up at night

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by Sheol99

How does complexity happen?

From the unpredictable behaviour of financial markets to the rise of life from inert matter, Leo Kadananoff, physicist and applied mathematician at the University of Chicago, finds the most engaging questions deal with the rise of complex systems.

This is a major chapter in History of the Universe.

Why complexity arises? or to be specific, why it rises up to our level now (complex awareness that able to ask very complex questions about universe - human mind)? Since a lot of complexity rose (in the moon for instance) up to level of inorganic structures only.

Wow! These questions can be used to start our 'holistic scientific explanations that can start initial understanding of children to reality of universe'.

Making them "understandable to children" will be a massive undertaking. I am sure somebody will do it. In a russian-doll methodology, give enough complexity in one layer, hint to second layer etc.

In the beginning the universe is a collection of strings ..... they entangle (?)..

whew! not a good start!

Fri, 30 Oct 2009 00:47:00 UTC | #409857

Go to: Ex-bishop preaches a kinder atheism

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 74 by Sheol99


Ah OK. So I think you are looking for stories that give some meaning to our lives which are based on science. So `a star died so you could live' rather than `christ died so you could live'. I agree with that.

OK, you are still trying to be funny. A story like `a star died so you could live' is dumber than jebezus, or even evil Ron. You have to be more -- much much more -- creative than that.
Reading Sagan & Dawkins will give you a start.

My paragraph include these very important qua:" ....while not explaining everything in detail but scientifically correct, and enhance further interest among the readers"

emphasis added (boy, I need the exercise in bolding and commenting!)

Fri, 30 Oct 2009 00:27:00 UTC | #409850

Go to: Ex-bishop preaches a kinder atheism

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 60 by Sheol99

Where does the scientology cult come in to this ?


Scientology is used as a convenient example (and rhymes with "science" - joke!) -- means something created for a certain purpose. OK, maybe this is a bad example, I am not suggesting that somebody ("we") fools the population the way that bastard scientologist founder did, for money.

(I think implicitly I made myself clear, though I enjoyed the fakeness of tom-cruise in his films, I am totally NOT proposing scientology!)

Thu, 29 Oct 2009 03:26:00 UTC | #409539

Go to: Ex-bishop preaches a kinder atheism

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 57 by Sheol99

This (Holloway's) might be the opening to the positions I want to pursue:

1. Definitely science is right about evolution, astronomy, cosmology, chemistry etc etc. Definitely scientific, not myth-based explanations is the true and real explanation.
2. By 'scientific' it is not final, it is the best answer so far (which is much better than age-old guesstimation of myths).
3. Human beings are getting a lot of benefits from science (from fire, wheel to internet and iphones), but majority of people are ignorant about the workings of science (as in the workings of most complex things in general)
4. Human beings in general have been using myth-based explanations to answer (or to be more specific: to make too inquisitive children shut up and let the adults do the important things) difficult questions, including gods, social reward & punishments, deaths, natures, anything.
5. Those explanations have become an institution in themselves (read: memeplex) after centuries, and now live on their own as religions, traditions, folk-belief, superstitions etc.
6. By the nature of the transmission methods used (father-child, authorities-subordinates) clearly these myths will be believed by portions of population notwithstanding everything else.
7. Scientist should recognize facts above esp 5, 6 - and see the problem of removing religions effects will not be straightforward (in the same vein as returning born-in-captivity orangutans to the wild).
8. And the fact that all science based explanations so far are not comparable to millenia old method of child upbringing in its holistic (answer in most-things-you-want-to-know) nature. I have to read physics, chemistry, biology, history, philosophy, sociology, economic, psychology to have a somewhat coherent narrative that is reasonably scientifically true.
9. Some of those religions-based activities are found to be harmful (from curbing children's curiosity to forced genital mutilations, the severity differs), and need attention from all of us.
10. Based on the above, books like Sagan and Dawkins' (Coyne, Pinker, Dennett etc) are doing a very needed service, that is to hasten the changes no 7 - 9 above.
11. In the meantime, some people will enjoy revisit their childhood pastimes (yes, not all religion-based teaching, even superstitions are bad) - esp those not inclined to understand science. These intentions, in so far they are not becoming public menace, should be respected by everybody.
12. The conclusions are: more popular scientific books / arts. Less confrontations, except against those that are in position of public with power to enforce to greater population (i.e ID). Less talk of atheism - imho. Emphasis on the science.

Hopefully one day there will be 'mythology-like' coherent (children) books that give a coherent narrative and meanings to the life facts in a holistic approach (not requiring specific hard-science background), while not explaining everything in detail but scientifically correct, and enhance further interest among the readers. Scientology (modern created religion) with real science. This will speed things up, since general population do not want to learn, they want to accept from authority (this attitude will change, slowly, through the same education).

Thu, 29 Oct 2009 01:54:00 UTC | #409523

Go to: Islam's Darwin problem

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Sheol99

For muslims, their Koran is not like Bible for xtians. Muslims think that their Koran is a science book as well, actually the mother of all science. It works both ways, muslims work very hard to interprete proven scientific ideas as mentioned in Koran (the most famous are the 'blot' origin of human as embryo, and the astronomy). And they also discount everything that they cannot relate to Koran as untrue.
For muslims, true science must relate to Koran, even if it is very far removed relationship, and if you cannot state the relationship, by definition it is not science.

So, islamic creationism is nothing like xtian one. They might join forces on specific targets, but in general they are different. And muslims despise xtians as people misled, both spiritually as well as scientifically (because Koran is 'scientific - in all sense of the word - for muslims).

And then, the power of the muslim leaders against their followers, are several order of magnitude difference than what you usually see on xtians.
In some issues, all muslims are obligated to 'support their brothers', that includes the sanctity of their prophet and the book. So never expect any formal support of other muslims to a debate between muslim and an outsider. This - of course - create a lot of misunderstanding on terrorism.

I think the xtians acting very similar to muslims now about 300 years ago.

Wed, 28 Oct 2009 12:47:00 UTC | #409314

Go to: Carl Sagan - Pale Blue Dot

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by Sheol99

Sagan was my first hero. His words are so eloquent. Non-biologist though. Then I was captivated by the paleobiologist Stephen Jay Gould, later confused by his insistence on personal glory against truth: the punc-eq. Along comes Dawkins, things are brighter again.

Still, Sagan is the first fire.

(wonder why these modern saints looks so cute? will tom-cruise be interested in real science later in life? ..)

Tue, 27 Oct 2009 05:41:00 UTC | #408931

Go to: An Open Letter to Bill Maher on Vaccinations

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by Sheol99

An open and candid letter like this is necessary once in a while. There are still truthfulness, friendship, care to comment to a friend, on top of being rational and scientific. The tone of this letter is as important as its (rational) message.

Maher should consider himself lucky to have a friend like Shermer willing to put himself in public in this way. It will be nice if Bill answer yea or nay in another polite way ..

Sat, 17 Oct 2009 07:59:00 UTC | #406178

Go to: Extract from Chapter One of The Greatest Show on Earth

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 330 by Sheol99

I am up to chapter 9 now, it has been a nice journey. I will finish it first before commenting here. Just one thought: following what happened a few years ago in a Harry Potter fans club, there has been an intense group discussion by dissecting the books chapter by chapter. Do you guys think it is possible to do with TGSoE?

The topics covered on each topics are wide, and a lot of details that might be missed out by some. So?

Wed, 14 Oct 2009 13:17:00 UTC | #405500

Go to: 'Christopher Hitchens' on Q TV

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 156 by Sheol99

I saw the number of comments, 151. OK, this is a lively debate about Hitchens. Er, mostly ramblings by giro-boy about irrelevant things.

Seems to me a lot of people think that if they can say something bad about "new atheism", or dawkins -- means they are good / cool / OK (well behaved, god-loving, ritalin-free)? Why is this so?

I love news about Hitchens, he is the shrill-strident atheist, and he always bring a lot of personal strength.

Sat, 26 Sep 2009 05:28:00 UTC | #400988

Go to: Woman Details Dramatic Encounter with Radical Islam

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 87 by Sheol99

Layla = Lisa. This is a big surprise. Layla is one commenter that I always read. I thought you are someone from Malaysia or other muslim nations. An educated (ex) muslimah.

Good for you! To be able to open up in RDF, supported by saint.Dawkins himself, you must be able to count yourself lucky .. (this is supposed to be a compliment)

Tue, 22 Sep 2009 03:42:00 UTC | #399720

Go to: Woman Details Dramatic Encounter with Radical Islam

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Sheol99

This is interesting. Lisa Bauer was a very vulnerable girl (intelligent, a lot of curiosity, lonely, no friend geek). I think she is more into group-belonging thing, and the fact that 911 make Islam a strong contender in faith business.
Reading the shahadah sealed her fate, but her story about her imam is not usual .. sex crazed imams are about the same number as paedo-priest, not very common (possibly the imam - being a racist jordanian hillibilly, have a special interest in a caucasian girl?).

But I think something in this line happened a lot in the world after 911 (minus the empty house drama).

As someone heavily interested in spirituality, I personally had high interest in Islam after 911, reading a lot of books, and eventually some muslim friends ask me to become mualaf (new convert). I declined.

Sun, 20 Sep 2009 05:43:00 UTC | #399130

Go to: A Tale of Two Atheists

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by Sheol99

Any debate where the participants are honestly defending a position they really believe are at least interesting.
Armstrong's position is what I would call 'meta-religious' - as in someone who takes comparative religions seriously, and not science in general - and clearly that's an offensive position for a religionist like Mohler (Mohler attacks Armstrong more than Dawkins).

In my opinion, Armstrong's position is still better than Mohler's - at least she takes into consideration other religions than Xtianity - while she still lacks the authority to say anything about "universe and all" since she has not include science in general.
Mohler's position - while understandable for real Xtians - are clearly lacking not just scientific pov, also other religion's.

The problem (or 'problem' actually) with Dawkin's (and our) position is that it requires a lot of reading , understanding and open mind -- things that are in short supply in certain areas, where following authority and let go are the main moral of life, more so in practical term of daily life.

I am wondering, maybe this is a time for somebody (like Douglas Adams?) writing a popular 'modern mythology' that teaches science (including but not limited to evolution) to the masses in the easy way?

".. universe is a vast place - it started as a singularity ..... certain apes in eastern africa evolved to walk in open savanna ... the ability to use fire and tools ... larger social grouping require a mind-tool to standardize way of thinking, therefore ideologies were born, religions .... DNA was discovered by Crick and Watson ... Venter created new species ..."


Tue, 15 Sep 2009 03:20:00 UTC | #397092

Go to: The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Sheol99

Yes. This is a very weird review.
The actual miracle is why such a garbage accepted by the editors?
One hypothesis will be the TGSoE storm make all editors dizzy, anything that mentioned "dawkins" and hard to read (and negative!) must be accepted. ?

Tue, 15 Sep 2009 03:01:00 UTC | #397088


Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 209 by Sheol99

We should always remember these things:
1. religions are part of human history, there was a time when it is the most accepted explanation to natural phenomena (yes, in certain places it still is)
2. Most people do not have the inclination, ability or chance to study the scientific truths. A lot of them because of daily necessities, and some others because they want to get rich / famous through it.
3. When we really think about it, definitely scientific explanations are the real truth, I personally believe so, Dawkins definitely does, and most of the readers here. But not all of those 'out there' are ignorant stupid religionists, a lot are layman category 2) above.

Books by Dawkins Dennett et al are definitely important in hastening the changes, but it will not happen overnight. Changes will happen slowly. Faster in Sweden or Canada, slower in USA, and much much slower in Egypt, even much slower in Pakistan ...

Mon, 14 Sep 2009 03:12:00 UTC | #396793

Go to: 'The Greatest Show on Earth' debuts at #1 on the Sunday Times Bestseller List!

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 47 by Sheol99

That's the proper place for this book.
Congratulation prof. Richard Dawkins!

Mon, 14 Sep 2009 01:56:00 UTC | #396787


Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 142 by Sheol99

This is awesome! Karen Armstrong is one of the 'spiritualist' that I like to read, especially her approach in History of God. Not in all of her books. And lately she wrote less and less interesting books. And Richard, is well .. Richard saint.Dawkins

Definitely Richard is winning here. The strongest truth about Dawkins position is that it jibes with reality (I haven't read the latest book, but I have no doubt of what I will find there, plus the enjoyment of the prose and logic).

But, Karen is trying to be honest here. The God concept was much stronger in the past, before we know so much of science as it is now. Karen mentioned something of history. Yes, centuries ago, nobody can be as definite about scientific explanation as Dawkins does now. The religious explanation is as valid as any other on the market, and it has the benefit of support from those in power be that popes or sultans. That's a definite plus.

The most honest explanation therefore is that historically, now is a very special time, the time that we - both personally and collectively - have strong arguments about what is life, origin of man and these trancedental questions. With strong backup in facts, theories and overall net of science (of which the Four Horsemen, Dawkins et al are the main insinuators for public understanding).

Like the late Carl Sagan said: We live in a very interesting times, a period where we begin to know. 20 years in the future these debates are no longer interesting.

Of course, it is very painful for somebody who invested their whole life to abandon their faith - especially in case of religion, whereas the memeplex already mature in enforcing the religious memes since birth. Even Karen is flinching here. (I remember one brilliant cartoon in JesusandMo, about the pain for xtians, and moreover muslims, to abandon their lifelong faith).

The last bastion for an honest spiritualist will be similar to Karen's, appeal to trancendence - even she put a caveat that "maybe similar to what Dawkins experience". And definitely this last bastion - as Dawkins puts it at the end - so far detached from current lay crowds of religions, be it Christian or Islam, actually closer to atheists.

What I want to say - as somebody both spiritual and scientific - during this crossing over to a new spiritual paradigm (for the enlightened people at least), let us be open minded. Karen is no Ken Ham - her spirituality (I assume) is much more advanced. But she is no scientist, I assume she has difficulties in reading Dawkins' argumentations, or Dennett's. Or does not have enough time or inclination to study them. Believe me, it took a lot of efforts to understand these new post-modern pan-scientific philosophical understanding of reality - that the cosmos is 14 billions years old, billions of light years dimensions, billion stars planets, the physics of stars and planets, the elements, the cells and trillions of them in a human body, billions of neuron connections interacting in human brain.

The emergent phenomena of complex variables. Into evolutionary explanations of origins of species to origins of minds.

All of these are very new, and very different from the zeus-father explanations of yore. Very few persons understand these complex new explanation in a fully cognitive and coherent way nowadays (I might claim myself among the few, thanks to Sagan, Weinberg, Hawking, Dennetts and Dawkins of the world - few dozens of brilliant people).

And most people are not inclined to study hard and only to find themselves lower in the social rung - even for the Truth. It is just human.

Therefore, I fully support what Dawkins et al did all these time, while on the other hand, I might supporting Sam Harris in understanding that it is just normal for people who learned spirituality by other means (read:religions) trying to cling to the old cloth. It is just human.

Of course, a lot others - like Ken Ham of the museum notoriety - are different, they are misdirecting the public. If you looked closely, these people are those who gain worldly benefits from gullibility of their folks (harunyahya?). They are 'the pharisees and saduccis of the world' - consciously or unconsciously the protect the status quo for material gains, in the same way that a salesman will protect the superiority of their brand.

While a lot of layman, people in the street, the really spiritual ones, are much less hardliners. I believe those of us who are open for these "new spirituality" benefits a lot from books by Dawkins. And we are many - just look at the sales figures of those books! do not believe the reviews that say these books only preach to the choir.

Actually, I wondered if Karen Armstrong is also one that are interested in these new understanding. A world where the law of physics is always adhered to, as well as law of chemistry, law of radioactivity, law of organic chemistry, plate tectonic theory, evolution theory, relativity theory .....

cheers! hail the new chief!

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 08:35:00 UTC | #396499

Go to: RDF TV - Insurance Policy: Two Eggs, One Survivor

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by Sheol99

i know what Ockham's Razor is but how is it applicable here?

No. This is not an application of the famous razor, this is just fact - somewhat repellent for daily common sense, but really nothing to it (especially if you read Bhagawad gita, not bible)

Thu, 10 Sep 2009 09:37:00 UTC | #395773

Go to: Review: The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 57 by Sheol99

The more reviews I read about TGSoE - the more I see that the reviewers are more interested in saying some outrageous sentences about the book then reading it carefully (as a reviewer should). Looks like there is a race to attack Richard (?).

I think I read somebody saying something similar. This New Scientist reviewer is just trying to put a wedge between Richard and Jerry, supposedly a new strategy?

Totally agree with the comment from a reader in NS, this reviewer (as well as some others) is really not worth it.

Thu, 10 Sep 2009 09:27:00 UTC | #395771

Go to: A skull that rewrites the history of man

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Sheol99

Another addition to the evolution of Man

Wed, 09 Sep 2009 11:39:00 UTC | #395553

Go to: Lost world of fanged frogs and giant rats discovered in Papua New Guinea

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Sheol99

R.O.U.S. = Rodents Of Unusual Size?

How about ROuS = Rodents Of usual Size?

Wed, 09 Sep 2009 00:35:00 UTC | #395466

Go to: Richard Dawkins - The Greatest Show On Earth

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Sheol99

I clicked the link (repeated below)

It is amazing!
I was rather skeptical when Richard talked about the danger faced by children of fundies, but this website is really it. They teach their children how to 'take care' of their science teacher without endangering their marks. Crazy!

Sat, 05 Sep 2009 02:23:00 UTC | #394596

Go to: Majority of Americans Believe Health Care Reform 'Myths'

Sheol99's Avatar Jump to comment 59 by Sheol99

Discussing health care in USA is definitely good for US citizens. But again, why this debate is here in RDnet? Is it just because of the word "believe" mentioned in this article?

Wed, 26 Aug 2009 07:10:00 UTC | #391708