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jtotheizzoe:

The Last Nail in the Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Coffin

Rest easy, folks. Einstein’s legacy and theories are safe. CERN released a statement today reporting that several follow-up experiments have made it clear that last year’s claims of neutrinos being clocked at faster than the speed of light were incorrect (my collected posts on the whole saga). 

It wasn’t relativity, or strange physics, or the movement of the Earth’s crust that led to the odd result, either. It was a loose cable.

I’m not sure what the fallout will be for people’s trust in science, or science news, or boys crying wolf. People paid attention to something very exciting, and many of us learned something new about physics that we never would have. But part of it was a result of people overblowing overblown overblownalities. A trade-off of integrity and education. I tend to agree with CERN’s Sergio Bertolucci:

The story captured the public imagination, and has given people the opportunity to see the scientific method in action – an unexpected result was put up for scrutiny, thoroughly investigated and resolved in part thanks to collaboration between normally competing experiments. That’s how science moves forward.


And move forward we will. Just not faster than the speed of light.

Oh Tumblr, you confuse me so

I’ve tried to use Tumblr but I just don’t see it as effective or I simply haven’t figured out how to use it.

I want to have meaningful discussions but Tumblr seems intently focused on being almost read-only.

Sure I can post things like this, but how will you respond?

Am I doing it wrong?

I checked ‘Let people answer this’, I will see what happens

conquistadors regarded plunder, slaves, and tribute as the just desserts for their efforts in forcing pagans to accept Christianity and Spanish rule. After all, the conquistadors did scrupulously adhere to the Spanish law of conquest by reading the requerimiento, which ordered defiant Indians to immediately accept Spanish rule and Christian conversion, or face punishment in a “just war”. The requerimiento announced that “The resultant deaths and damages shall be your fault, and not the monarch’s or mine or the soldiers”. Attending witnesses and a notary usually certified in writing that the requerimiento had been read and ignored by the usually uncomprehending Indians, thus justifying the death and destruction that so often followed.
Dr. Michael McDonnel, The ‘Conquest’ of the Americas

Einstein, Spinoza, and God

rosyeyes:

reasonoverreligion:

ikumaikuma:

The link between man and god is FAITH.

nice story! :)

Dear deity worshiping reblogger. Snopes. 2004. http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp

^ plus this comment:

Are you sure everyone is hating on your god? Einstein was an extremely secular Jew, and an atheist. Even if it were a correct attribution, you’d still have the wrong god.

Einstein’s belief in some sort of deity is unknown but he surely wasn’t a theist. Some say deist. In any case, yes, it would be the wrong god (a different god, wrong to the Christian) if there was any god in his mind.

Although, the story is totally bogus anyway.

I have a detailed post about Einstein’s beliefs on my blog:

http://iconoclasm2000.blogspot.com/2011/03/einstein-spinoza-and-god.html

I think it makes a pretty good case that he believed in a Spinozian God at best, stopping short of even pantheism.

Spinoza believed God exists philosophically and that God was abstract and impersonal, viewing God and Nature as two names for the same reality [Deus sive Natura]

And even this level of belief is questionable in his later years as I detail in my blog entry.

Religiosity

@LeeSpaner @BibleAlsoSays @Scotsmanmatt @RelUnrelated

Some thoughts that came up from the earlier discussion.

First let me clarify that I grew up in a religious family, in a religious community set in the religious South of the United States.  It should be unsurprising then that I used to believe in a God.

In the process of dropping that belief I didn’t get more intelligent, but I do think I got better informed on certain key subjects (epistemology, logic, rhetoric, psychology, history, religion, physics, cosmology, biology, chemistry & neurology - to name a few).  Perhaps interestingly, the one topic that it never occurred to me to study was Atheism itself - it’s only some 25 years later that I started recently reading what I would call ‘atheistic’ literature.  I had my own questions and I preferred to use primary sources to answer them.

Indeed, given the background I grew up in, it’s a pretty formidable mountain to climb to reach a point where I could feel comfortable going against not just my culture and my community, but my whole family.

It’s not really accurate to consider theists as being ignorant, unintelligent, or even uninformed in general (although in some cases they certainly are).  To do so underestimates just how insidious a religious indoctrination is.  And this indoctrination doesn’t all take place during childhood, our culture is a part of this indoctrination and it is extremely powerful.

Think about what you are really up against.  This is a belief system that has adapted itself to the human condition for THOUSANDS of years, despite an endless string of abuses and atrocities and having been soundly refuted by science over 400 years ago and taking blows from every quarter: no geocentrism, no global flood, no special creation, no Adam & Eve, no Exodus, no Jesus, no Intercessory Prayer, no Resurrection of the Saints, no special knowledge in their Holy Text.  Indeed, it’s a text that is clearly a mundane creation of the misogynistic philosophers of the time in which it was written.  But none of this matters to the true believer.

#1 it preys on our very common and very real fear of Death.

#2 it preys on our hopes and aspirations and SHAMES us for nearly every thought (note how many of the properties of Religion apply to abusive spouses)

#3 it preys on our sense of Justice - if evil can’t be punished here how comforting that it will be punished in the hereafter

#4 it promises comfort despite all rational evidence to the contrary

#5 it instills fear by warning the believer that others will not understand and try to take it away, beware!

#6 it requires the believer to accept that things are not as they seem, so the believer must have faith

#7 it bypasses all empirical investigation and only promises to deliver after you die

#8 it relives the individual from having to take responsibility or think about difficult and complex topics; just pick one of the thousands of pre-packaged sets of beliefs and morality and you can imagine yourself “spiritually” and morally superior to all others who “aren’t like you”

#9 it automatically makes you “Right” and all others “Wrong”, building a powerful sense of community

#10 Human perception is easily fooled and manipulated and Religion often exploits our, sense of importance, ecstatic experiences, paranoia, fear, etc

Religion has refined these techniques of indoctrination for centuries, it has fine-tuned itself to be propagated by our human neurological system or else it wouldn’t have survived.

If it didn’t carry with it such a deadly combination of violent tribalism and fascist authority I would be tempted to marvel at the brilliance of it.

If we fail to understand how and where Religion draws its power from we won’t be very successful at bringing it to a peaceful end.

Hollandaise Sauce

‣ 2 tbsp lemon juice (or 2 tbsp white vinegar)
‣ 3 egg yokes
‣ 1/2 - 3/4 cup unsalted butter [use good butter, not butter with high water content]
‣ pinch of salt
‣ seasonings to taste [common options: white pepper, Tabasco, cayenne, paprika]
‣ electric whisk - optional, but highly recommended 

  1. Heat UNSALTED butter (salt can break down the emulsion) until it just boils (microwave is ok).  Allow to cool before using (warm to the touch, but not cold).  Do not need to clarify the butter, but you can.
  2. General Warning: Do not overheat the mixture.  Too much heat is about the only way to ruin the preparation, you want it very warm to the touch.
  3. Bring a pan of water to a simmer with enough room to be able to immerse a second, smaller pan into it as needed — but most of your whisking should take place off the heat!
  4. Add the egg yokes and your acid (vinegar or lemon juice) in the smaller pan OFF the heat, whisk until it starts to lighten in color.
  5. Start warming your egg yokes (continue to whisk) by dipping the pan into the simmering water briefly — it doesn’t take much heat, too little heat is fine, just keep going until it warms up and thickens.  [if you are brave and quick and have a good pan you can even apply heat directly on the burner]
  6. If it is getting too thick add ~1 tbsp of your simmering water to the pan and continue to whisk off the heat.
  7. Once the eggs have thickened a bit, remove from heat and start to drizzle in the butter about 1 tbsp at a time and whisk until fully incorporated before adding the next bit.
  8. Repeat until all the butter has been incorporated (if it starts getting too cold you can give your pan a quick dip back in the simmering water).
  9. Once all the butter has been incorporated make any final adjustments to the consistency (add a little bit of warm water to thin it out, or heat gently and whisk to thicken)
  10. Season to taste.  A pinch of salt at this point is ok.  A little white pepper, Dash of Tabasco, Cayenne pepper, or some good Hungarian paprika are all good.

Serve over sautéed asparagus, or steamed broccoli, or poached eggs.  Top with a pinch of cayenne pepper or paprika for color and spice.

Does not store very well, but can be covered and kept warm for a couple of hours — best way to store is in a thermos.

Heliocentricity & The Bible

@JonRHansen cc:@radgeness @sceptiguy

Let me know if you need me to quote these to you in latin - or can you manage Google?

1605-1621 Pope Paul V, issued a decree in 1616 condemning pro-heliocentricity work of Galileo Galilei.

1623-1644 Pope Urban VIII, issued a 2nd decree in 1633 condemning Copernicanism.

1655-1657 Pope Alexander VII,  issued a Bull in 1664 reinforcing that Copernicanism was heretical

‘With regard to the opinion of Copernicus, Bellarmine, who heads the Congregations that deal with such matters, told me himself that he holds it to be heretical, and that the doctrine of the earth’s motion is beyond all doubt whatever (senza dubbio alcuno) contrary to Scripture.’

12 April 1615 Bellarmine wrote “I say that, as you know, the Council [of Trent] prohibits expounding the Scriptures contrary to the common agreement of the holy Fathers. And if Your Reverence would read not only the Fathers but also the commentaries of modern writers on Genesis, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and Josue, you would find that all agree in explaining literally (ad litteram) that the sun is in the heavens and moves swiftly around the earth, and that the earth is far from the heavens and stands immobile in the center of the universe.

A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, 1896, Andrew Dickson White “This contention, then, was at last utterly given up by honest Catholics themselves. In I870 a Roman Catholic clergyman in England, the Rev. Mr Roberts, evidently thinking that the time had come to tell the truth, published a book entitled The Pontifical Decrees against the Earth’s Movement, and in this exhibited the incontrovertible evidences that the papacy had committed itself and its infallibility fully against the movement of the earth…

…Various theologians attempted to evade the force of the argument. Some like Dr Ward and Bouix took refuge in verbal niceties; some, like Dr Jeremiah Murphy, comforted themselves with declamation. The only result was, that in 1885 came another edition of the Rev. Mr Roberts’s work, even more cogent than the first; and, besides this, an essay by that eminent Catholic, St George Mivart, acknowledging the Rev. Mr Roberts’s position to be impregnable, and declaring virtually that the Almighty allowed Pope and Church to fall into complete error regarding the Copernican theory, in order to teach them that science lies outside their province, and that the true priesthood of scientific truth rests with scientific investigators alone.

But, please share with us YOUR heretical exegesis of the passage in question and justify (with your evidence) how YOU are apparently better suited to provide a correct interpretation than several Pope’s who dedicated their lives to the study of these texts.

And Catholicism’s view is relevant because even Martin Luther didn’t protest over geocentricity, his beef was with the claim of Free Will (you don’t believe in Free Will do you?).  It was a “known” (religious) fact for well over a thousand years that the Earth was the immobile center of the universe.

But by ALL MEANS please clarify which of the 30,000 variations of this obscene cult you belong to and exactly what you claim the lineage of that cult to be to justify your claim that you have magical special knowledge whereas everyone else apparently has it wrong.

Here is a starter questionnaire you can use: http://iconoclasm2000.blogspot.com/2011/01/christianatheist-pre-discussion.html - poor Christians can’t figure out what they believe.  It’s almost like they just make it up as they go along - actually, it is EXACTLY like that.

There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the Life of Jesus. The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth and died to give His work its final consecration never had any existence.

Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965, Nobel Prize 1952), Ph.D, Christian theologian and Dean of Theological College of Saint Thomas at the University of Strasburg

The Quest of the Historical Jesus: First Complete Edition, trans. W. Montgomery, et al., ed. John Bowden (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001)

Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) of the House Judiciary Committee has indicated that he will not even consider the bill.

Please go here to submit a request to Congress through LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) » http://bit.ly/end_mj_prohibition

Whatever else you might believe, it is indisputable that the current system of prohibition has funneled trillions of dollars into the hands of the most violent criminals and terrorists that our civilization has ever known (creating a situation far worse than the disaster caused by alcohol prohibition).  The way to end this is proper regulation of production and distribution in a way that will actually minimize harms to society and not in a way that sweeps the problem under the carpet where it has grown into a terminal cancer.

The roots of Cannabis and drug prohibition are found in racism:

There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers.  Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage.  This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.” - Harry J. Anslinger, Federal Bureau of Narcotics, testimony to US Congress supporting Marihuana Tax Act, 1937

"…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races." - Harry J. Anslinger

"In some districts, inhabited by Latin Americans, Filipinos, Spaniards and Negroes, half the violent crimes are attributed to marijuana craze. Dr. Lee Rice of San Antonio reports that eighty per cent of all the murders committed by Mexicans are done while the killers are drugged by marijuana." - The Christian Century (newspaper) - 1938

These claims were, in fact, flat out lies - and the prohibition act never got a fair hearing - and now you propose to again, sweep it under the carpet and deny it a fair hearing.

This racist system was then used as a political tool:

"You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this all while not appearing to." - Richard M. Nixon, about the War on Drugs to Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman, according to Halderman’s diaries

When President Nixon first heard that the Shafer Commission was going in the decriminalization direction he warned Governor Shafer stating: “ …  you’re enough of a ‘pro’ to know that for you to come out with something that would run counter to what the Congress feels and what the country feels and what we’re planning to do, would make your Commission just look bad as hell.

The day before the Commission released its report President Nixon told Bob Haldeman: “We need, and I use the word ‘all out war,’ or all fronts …  have to attack on all fronts.

I urge you to review the Shafer report:http://www.csdp.org/research/shafernixon.pdf

"The available evidence suggests that removal of the prohibition against possession itself (decriminalization) does not increase cannabis use. … This prohibition inflicts harms directly and is costly. Unless it can be shown that the removal of criminal penalties will increase use of other harmful drugs, … it is difficult to see what society gains."

Haven’t we have run the experiment long enough?

The injustice is that the current system imprisons the non-violent consumers who have done NO actual harm to anyone except perhaps themselves (and cannabis is many times less harmful by all measures than alcohol).  It is unconscionable and unconstitutional to convict Americans for thought crimes, which is essentially what the current system is doing in many cases.

And the imprisonment only compounds the problems, it does absolutely nothing to resolve them.  You take an honest, hardworking person and make it nearly impossible for them to get treatment or employment - they are likely to turn to even harder drugs.  You destroy families that would not otherwise be destroyed.

Substance abusers will use any substance they can to self-medicate, to dull the pain they are suffering - most often from childhood physical, emotional, and sexual abuses.  This is the group most at risk at forming unhealthy relationships with ANY substance.  They will use alcohol, nicotine, glue, whatever it takes.  These are people who are in PAIN and in need of TRUE compassion and help - not incarceration.

Since Cannabis is less harmful than alcohol on every measure, it makes absolutely no sense for alcohol to be legal and cannabis to be illegal.
Sound scientific information on drug harms:http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/opus1714/Estimating_drug_harms.pdf

Morality

#atheism RE: http://notesfrombabel.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/for-atheists-everything-is-a-matter-of-opinion/ : ”because I believe all life is created by God, and because I believe that, having been created in God’s image, I have a moral nature that reflects His values and instills in me a proper respect for human life.  My moral worldview is held together by these sorts of transcendental claims about the very nature of humanity, and thus allows me to make intelligible claims about what sorts of obligations are universally imposed on all human beings.

This is only true if you also assert that YOU know the mind and will of God accurately — and in a way that ONLY those who believe EXACTLY as you believe about God seem to know — and the other 29,999 sects all have it wrong.

I believe Life is precious because it is rare and is capable of doing something other things don’t appear to be capable of - having empathy.  Because I believe there is no magical soul I believe that we have ONLY this one life and that instills in me a proper respect for human life.

My moral worldview is held together by these sorts of observable and testable claims which allows me to make intelligible claims about our obligations for protecting life that we impose on ourselves.

A respect that would allow me to tell a God who commanded me to murder my own child — NO.

A respect that would allow me to tell a God who commanded me to slice infants with a sword — NO.

A respect that would allow me to tell a God who commanded me to commit genocide against entire nations — NO.

A respect that would allow me to tell a God who commanded me to mutilate a child’s genitals — NO.

A respect that would allow me to tell a God who commanded me not to suffer a Witch to live — NO.

A respect that would allow me to tell a God who commanded me to stone someone to death — NO.

A respect that would allow me to tell a God who suggests that drowning nearly the entire human race — YOU ARE WRONG.

A respect that would allow me to tell a God who suggests that murdering the first-born of an entire nation — YOU ARE WRONG.

Does your grasp of morals and respect for human life allow YOU to do those things? Or does it make you morally weak and cower before empty threats of eternal punishment?  Do you excuse those commands because “they don’t apply now” or do you condemn them as being immoral by ANY decent standard of human behavior?

Full of Shite

My commentary on this… page:  http://www.firstgen.org/essays/evang1.htm

First, do I want to KNOW the Truth?   Absolutely, but I am acutely aware of the limitations of the human condition.  Our ability to absolutely know a truth is limited to tautologies and Truths based on our premises - which we must chose with absolute care.  The whole purpose of the Scientific Method is to establish a robust epistemic system in spite of these limitations.  And it focuses on eliminating falsifiable hypotheses and maintaining a skeptical, reserved view of any truths.

And the ultimate limit is because we are an observer that is INSIDE of the system.  No program running on a computer could deduce the vast details of the system upon which it is running but it can only measure and probe the limits granted it by the operating system.  So we can measure and observe our universe from the inside but we simply do not have any access to certain aspects of how that universe is situated.

But what we DO see is that the system we observe runs on a set of laws (laws that we can only model).  We don’t see ANYTHING that would indicate a god is breaking the rules.  So I’m all for the Truth, but your article already makes it clear that you are willing to lie (be it out of ignorance or willfully) so I’m not expected to read much Truth here.

"Sin" - if by sin you mean some things are Right and some things are Wrong I agree.  We disagree on why things are Right or Wrong.  Let’s take some examples:  #1 it is WRONG to have authority over someone and then command them to murder their own child, #2 is is WRONG to get angry and murder the vast majority of all humans on earth by drowning, #3 is is wrong to have authority over someone and command them to slaughter infant children with a sword, #4 is it wrong to murder the “first-born” of an entire population just to prove you have power when you could use that power to simply accomplish your goal, #5 is it wrong to have authority over someone and command them to murder entire populations of people or destroy entire cities, #6 it is wrong to command someone to love those who wish them harm, however nice the sentiment might be.  I can have compassion for them and treat them fairly when I can do so safely, but I will not tolerate it nor stupidly turn the other cheek.  I can’t do much to help others if I’m dead. #6 it is wrong to treat women as anything less than a man, they are not separate but equal either - I am happy to let them speak freely and to teach.  I could go on, and on at great length over things I consider to be Wrong.

We learn Right and Wrong because our actions have consequences and we have a sense of empathy with others.  Religious people are asked to bury that sense of Empathy and that is also Wrong.

Since I am not bound by the morality of ignorant, goat-herding, misogynists I am free to correctly consider the above actions as Wrong even though the Bible would ask that you accept them as the greatest possible good imaginable.

"religious code words" - I could care less.  I am also a former Christian so I know just how empty those words are.

"Don’t argue about what God did or didn’t Do" - could you be more dishonest in your approach here?  I don’t see how.

Each and every atheist believes that something came from nothing” - another lie.  We believe that you have NO evidence to support a Special Pleading for God existing that could not simply apply to the structure that the universe exists in.  As science investigated the concept of “Nothingness” it became absurd.  ”Empty Space” is no longer considered to be empty, it is filled with the Vacuum energy described as “virtual particles” and evidenced in the measurements of the Casimir Force and other phenomena.

You also make the First Cause mistake.  It’s a load of philosophical nonsense. Please show me a purely philosophical argument that the universe is Quantum Mechanical then we will consider the merits of this one.  It cannot be done.  Scientific conclusions are based on evidence, you MUST have empirical data to validate the conclusions or they are BULLSHIT.  Pure and simple.

We have NO evidence that there was a First Cause in the sense presented.  We have NO knowledge if the universe precursor is eternal or not.  We don’t even know if such concepts even make any SENSE prior to first planck time.  The construct in which the universe exists is all but a complete unknown.  You cannot pull answers out of your ass and pretend that they are valid, especially not when you have to invent special pleadings for their alleged properties.

"We all resort to faith" - another lie.  This goes back to your extremely ignorant Carl Sagan has faith argument (your failure is due to the word you missed in Hebrews 11:1, “assurance”).  Deciding to TEST something is not faith, it is science.  Scientists TEST hypotheses that are PROVEN TO BE FALSE all the time.  They don’t BELIEVE them on faith, they TEST them.  It doesn’t take faith to see that this method has worked in the past.  The postulates of Logic have also been TESTED many times (and altered and refined based on those tests).  If some postulate is shown to yield false answers it is not accepted.  And the final bit of lie here is your equivocation on ”faith” - “Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof” is NOT “faith” in the same sense as “having a hunch”.  The kind of Faith we are talking about is the Faith that would purposefully deny facts in opposition to the conclusion in order to be maintained.  And we’re not talking about piddling minor opinions, but big questions that have been purposefully investigated and considered.  To say that I believe I would like some ice cream is not a violation of ones scientific principles.

Sometimes we might say we don’t know of P1 is correct or not, but if P1 then P2, etc.  But we CONTINUE to question P1 until we know one way or the other (for example, the postulate that P <> NP - there are a lot of results that presume it is true but those results remain conditional on a final proof and people constantly probe how we can prove this one way or the other).  Logic, reason, rhetoric, mathematics are all checked and rechecked constantly for validity against new challenges.  The idea that such things are not testable against reality is ridiculous - it is their very ability to model reality that makes them valuable.

creation/evolution - creation is the BIGGEST fiat act of human imagination ever.  Evolution is extremely well evidenced, I cannot think of a single other theory with more evidence than Evolution over hundreds of Thousands of scientific papers.  Abiogenesis is all but a done deal also so prepare yourself to start dealing with that one.

From where did the potential come? - quantum fluctuations are a mathematical consequence (confirmed by observations) of the uncertainty principle.  Without them, even atoms would not exist.   The mathematical equations of Quantum Mechanics requires that this be the case.  There is nothing spooky about it.

I suggest starting with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_particle and then taking 8 years of collage level physics.

One interesting result in cosmology has been the observation that the Universe is PRETTY close to measuring out with exactly ZERO total energy - this is one of the results that hints that the universe may have begun in an event similar to that of virtual particles (which also have net zero energy).

"One cannot truly be scientific and close off a possibility" - It is unscientific to believe in a proposition that is completely unevidenced.  Invisible Unicorns that fart out universes is a POSSIBILITY of equal validity to your “God” hypothesis.

But you don’t stop at leaving it open as a possibility, you hold that not only does a God actually exist, it just happens to be the god you just happened to be born into a culture which indoctrinated you with that belief.

"Scientific truths change" [paraphrased] - #1 Correct, I discussed this issue of Truth above - all claims are conditional and models are accurate only within the realm which they have been TESTED (and with given error bars), #2 nobody in science went around nailing jews to trees over Newtonian gravity - it was the Christians of that period who bullied, tortured, and burned to stake scientists who proved the Bible claim that the Earth was immobile was utterly false.  Thus began a LONG running tradition now of magically reinterpreting the bible as science proves claim after claim to be false.

"But we can’t measure God" - no, you cannot demonstrate that god actually exists, slightly different problem.  And then you amusingly conflate this with things that we HAVE measured/observed like atoms and bacteria.  We DO measure atoms by MANY mechanisms (including bouncing photons off them, not only in cloud chambers).  Just google for atomic force microscopy images.

Here is IBM spelled out with individual Gold atoms: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_4MQ0_YQJuik/TOLMOr5Dc2I/AAAAAAAAACk/RSDB1UWWVUo/s1600/IBM_quantum+dot.jpg

In short, this is an utterly failed analogy.  Here is how I read what you said “I have absolutely no data but you should believe in my God anyway because the data you have for atoms and bacteria was hard to come by”.
"if mere "evidence" is enough" — the evidence has to point to the conclusion.  You can’t just postulate that some alien being shits out BIC pens and then hold up a BIC pen as evidence of this hypothetical alien existing.  You need evidence OF the alien.

morally empirically testable and repeatable - I’m not even sure what this is supposed to mean.  First, we have to agree on what morals are and we don’t seem to.  You believe in a moral system where murdering your own child is ok if you believe god told you to do so.  I do not.


You are equivocating on the definition of “belief”, which has different meanings in different contexts.  I’m not aware of any scientific papers having been published, peer-reviewed, and replicated on my ethnicalness so I would not hold it as having been scientifically established.  So any claims about my person would be of a subjective nature.   The question is, to what degree am I holding this to be true.
I don’t believe I’m 100% ethical even by my own standards.  I do TRY to be an ethical person but for the moment that can only be a subjective declaration, it’s not a statement of belief (thus your error).  However, fMRI and other brain scanning techniques are on the verge of changing that.  But I DO have empirical data about my past behaviors, plus studies on human behavior, so unless I suffer some brain damage or I am put into a very stressful situation; all the evidence is that my past behaviors are a good indicator of future behavior (in similar contexts).


But the fundamental problem with your question remains, I honestly have no idea what “empirically moral” would actually mean.  First you would have to prove that we actually have Free Will because any morality is premised on the agent having a choice.  I honestly do not believe in Free Will.  Secondly, there is the issue of moral and ethical dilemma’s. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t; so to speak.
I have no problem with the idea of Right and Wrong as I described above.  Given the human condition there are Right and Wrong answers to some questions (not all questions are moral/ethical questions).  It is always wrong to take the life of an innocent.  Again, this goes back to empathy and consequences of actions.
In summary, I don’t see how opinions have anything to do with the question at hand.  This smells like a boondoggle.


And your point on emotion is also nonsense.  There is nothing wrong with emotions.  They inform our actions at a very deep level based on millions of years of evolution.  Emotions are not the opposite of reason - irrationality is.  There is even an entire study of which emotional responses are rational and healthy, and which are not.


Animals exhibit moral/ethical behaviors as well, these are not exclusively human traits and I doubt this Rhino has read Matthew, Mark, Luke or John:  http://youtu.be/E51DyWl_q0c


As Sam Harris suggests, look at the parallel with “health”.  I can make choices that affect my health without some God given standard of health.  It is just ridiculous to postulate that “morality” is somehow special in the set of all evolved human behaviors that it NECESSARILY demands an external standards setter.  I’m sorry that you don’t like the way the universe IS, but that is your denial of the Truth you claimed you actually cared about but show great disdain for.

I’m not even going to dignify your “No True Christian” bullshit with a direct response (I’ve written on this elsewhere already anyway).   “Practically every right-wing dictator of the period had been born and brought up a Catholic – notably Hitler, Franco, Petain, Mussolini, Pavelic, and Tiso (who was a Catholic priest).” — John Cornwell, Hitler’s Pope


It should suffice to say that I utterly and completely denounce the policies and tactics of all brutal murderers and I detest the remnantsof their organizations that persist.  That includes the Christian KKK, the Nazi’s, Stalinists, Catholics, Islamists, and most Christians (and spare me any I’m not Catholic nonsense, Luther protested over the doctrine of Free Will, not the murderous behavior of the church; his ”On the Jews and Their Lies” should be all anyone need to read to abandon Christianity).


The question now is, Do YOU denounce Christianity along with the other ideologies you rightfully take issue with or do you EXCUSE it?

Live the Gospel - The “true believers” who lie and misrepresent the facts (especially the vacuous science deniers) are a major reason I am a non-believer.
What I see is that religion has so damaged and twisted their brains they cannot even see that they are spewing lies; it is frightening to see what some of these people say.

[meh, it’s late, I’m sure there are a ton of errors and I will be horrified tomorrow, but I must some sleep]

The Precipice of Credibility

How many lying, fraudulent, bloodsucking hucksters must we endure before humanity ceases to waste our limited resources on supernatural bullshit?

Abraham, Moses, Noah, Jesus, Muhammad, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, Ray Comfort, Harold Camping, Ahn Sahng-Hong, Ariffin Mohammed, Arnie Stanton, Arnold Potter, Bahá’u’lláh, Benny Hinn, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Bob Wadsworth, Brigham Young, Carlton Pearson, Charles Capps, Charles Spiegel, Clarence McClendon, Creflo Dollar, Dan Millar, David Berg, David Koresh, David Shayler, D. James Kennedy, Ellen G. White, Ellie Bernstein, Ernest Norman, Frederick Price, George Ernest Roux, Haile Selassie I, Hal Lindsey, Hogen Fukunaga, Hoh-Ming Chen, Inri Cristo, Jack Van Impe, James Ussher, Jerry Falwell, Jessie Duplantis, Jim Jones, Joel Osteen, John Avanzinni, John Hagee, John Kilpatrick, John Nichols Thom, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, Joseph Smith, Joyce Meyer, Juanita Bynum, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Hagin Jr., Kenneth Hagin Sr., Kim Clement, Krishna Venta, Laszlo Toth, Marilyn Hickey, Marina Tsvigun, Mark Charonna, Marshall Applewhite, Michael Drosnin, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Mitsuo Matayoshi, Morris Cerullo, Moses Cerullo, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, Paul and Jan Crouch, Richard Roberts, Rick Joyner, Rinehard Bonnke, Robert Schuller, Robert Tilton, Rodney Howard Browne, Rod Parsley, R.W. Shambach, Sathyanarayana Raju, Sergei Torop, Shoko Asahara, Sun Myung Moon, Sylvia Browne, T.D. Jakes, Thomas Harrison Provenzano, Uri Geller, Wayne Bent, William Cooper, William W. Davies, Yahweh ben Yahweh, and thousands of others!

Every one was either self-delusional or an outright fraud.  None of their supernatural claims are either reasonable nor substantiated and those who have been properly investigated turn out to be frauds.

Yes, Edgar Cayce: http://www.skepdic.com/cayce.html and http://www.topsecretwriters.com/2011/03/the-many-failed-edgar-cayce-prophecies/

Even a successful prediction of the future does NOT a prophet make, or else every decent weathermen and a fair number of science fiction writers would be prophets.  Human brains are VERY good at pattern matching and prediction (and equally subject to spectacular cognitive biases as a result).

Sure, not every claim can be falsified, there are too many of them, and in some cases we don’t have access to critical information.  But every one that has been subjected to the critical eye of a properly educated scientist and skeptic has failed.

And here is the clincher for me, I shouldn’t HAVE to investigate to see if the next idiot who claims to be Jesus or God actually is - If Jesus or God existed in actuality and wanted me to know THEN I WOULD KNOW - there would be no question, no need for investigation, it would simply be evidence and true.  So I’m done with giving the liars the benefit of the doubt.  If you want me to believe your nonsense claim then it’s on you to impress me.

Investigative efforts should be delegated to a very few specialists (such as JREF) and we should ALL (especially the media) ignore all claimants until they can impress said experts [I’m not suggesting we ignore those putting lives/futures at risk, but if everyone took this attitude this would not be an issue]

This isn’t closed-minded, it is the sane and rational response to the utter nonsense we have been subjected to.

Think you have a counter example you want to send me?  Then you didn’t read what I JUST wrote!  I’m doubly uninterested in the claims of someone who is that willfully ignorant.

Cannabis Research Misreporting: Case 1

RE: Chronic Marijuana Smoking Affects Brain Chemistry, Molecular Imaging Shows


I question some of the conclusions of this article based on the actual research.
With the technique they are using they cannot claim to know there are actually fewer CB1 receptors as opposed to simply having existing CB1 receptors that are not receptive to the 18F-FMPEP-d2 radioligand (the receptors could simply be bound for a longer period with one of the 85 some-odd Cannabinoids in cannabis or could have been conformally changed temporarily).  I’m disappointed that this article would jump to the conclusion that they had disappeared without positive evidence.


Furthermore, they claim that this is “damage” without any evidence to that effect.  All they have shown is that some 20% of the CB1 Cannabinoid receptors are temporarily effected over a longer period.  Nothing is given as evidence that this is harmful and indeed, this could be why cannabis has longer-term pain management effects than the more obvious (but still mostly mild) psychological effects [this is just my conjecture by way of example].


There is no demonstration of actual harm and the statement that it is “reversible with abstinence” shows that it is not “damage” but merely a temporary effect.  Reporting this as evidence of “damage” seems irresponsible and prejudicial.

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