Class Warfare Blog

November 11, 2019

Scientists Don’t Always Hew Toward Logic

Filed under: Reason,Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 8:07 am
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In an article on the Answers in Genesis web site, Jason Lisle, who has a Ph.D. in astrophysics and has published several credible papers on the sun, stated this:

“The Christian worldview is what makes science possible. The universe is always logical because logic is a description of how God thinks. God is perfectly rational. And since God’s mind controls the universe, the universe will always be logical. Being made in God’s image, human beings have the capacity to think logically, although in our sin we sometimes fail to do so. The success of science is, therefore, evidence that the Christian worldview is correct.”

He made this comment after saying “The branch of physics dealing with how the universe operates at very small scales — interactions involving particles smaller than atoms — is called quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is weird.”

I don’t think he will get a counterargument from anyone who has studied quantum mechanics that “Quantum mechanics is weird.” But, just what sins are preventing us from logically grasping what is going on in the quantum realm? He doesn’t say . . . interesting.

With regard to “And since God’s mind controls the universe, the universe will always be logical.” it seems the good doctor is espousing philosophy that is “early church” at best, which was based ex post facto upon Aristotle’s physics. In that physics, things that move had to be continuously pushed along, or they stopped. There was no inertia/Newton’s First Law of Motion. The planets moved in their heavenly orbits because there were angels pushing them along. They didn’t have room for Apollo’s fiery chariot for the Sun but if it weren’t for their faux monotheism, we might have had that, too. But in modern physics, the universe toddles along without the need of an “intelligence” behind it.

I cannot imagine Jason Lisle is this stupid (having read part of a book he wrote, I also can’t see him as being ignorant). I have to assume that he is engaging in willful wishful thinking. He so desperately wants to have a god controlling his life, that he is willing to sacrifice any common sense and basic physics knowledge he may have possessed.

This is unfortunate because religious apologists hold up people like Dr. Lisle as examples of scientists who believe and find their beliefs compatible with their science . . . when in fact, this seems to be a case of massive compartmentalization. Compartmentalization is where we hold incompatible ideas separately in our minds so they do not conflict. The religious audiences of the apologists are not usually in a place to recognize how “off” the science is from mainstream practices. Here, two separate compartments seem to be being smashed together with brute force.

And, Dr. Lisle ends with this:

“Although God is logical, he is also very creative. His ways and thoughts are far above ours (Isaiah 55:8—9). And therefore, some aspects of the way God has chosen to uphold his universe may seem very strange and surprising to us. Quantum mechanics is a great example of this. And yet, we trust that the universe will always be rational, if not always intuitive, because it is upheld by the mind of God.” In other words he uses the example of the illogic of quantum physics as an example of God’s rationality. It is so absurd, it must be true.* (*Apologistical Logic)

 

 

November 7, 2019

Morality and Manners

Filed under: language,Morality,Philosophy,Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 7:40 am
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I frequent the Quora site and since I am interested in atheism, I see the question “If you don’t believe in God, how can you be moral?” and its many variants over and over and over (and . .  over . .  <sigh>). . . . This “question” is more of a statement than a question and is usually categorized as a “Gotcha Question,” right up there with “If God is all-powerful can He make a rock even He cannot lift, Father?”

An interesting variant of this question showed up this morning in the form of “Atheists, do you respect other people’s beliefs though you yourself do not believe in a deity? It is morally right to respect people’s beliefs, right?

The obvious answer is “no;” respecting other’s beliefs has nothing to do with morality. Consider Hitler’s profound belief that Jews were abominable and were to be exterminated. But then I realized that the questioner hadn’t used the best words available for his question. I believe he meant to say “Atheists, do you respect other people’s religious beliefs though you yourself do not believe in a deity?” Just because others often compound ordinary beliefs with religious beliefs, we should not fall so easily into that trap. If this is the intended question, and it seems to be, then the Hitler example is not all that good, although one could make an argument that the hatred of Jews was promulgated by Christianity. So, how about another example, how about Pope Urban II? Around the year 1095, he gave a speech calling for armies to embark on a crusade to the Holy Lands to take back Jerusalem from Muslim rule. Between 1096 and 1291, this speech was the impetus for eight major expeditions into the “Holy Lands” where untold numbers of unspeakable acts of savagery resulted in 200 years of bloodshed, and more than 1.7 million deaths. Should I respect old Urban’s belief that Christians are the rightful rulers of Jerusalem as opposed to the Jews who were there first or the Muslims, who were in possession of it at the time, both of whom are partial “rulers” of that city today?

I think there are many religious beliefs that are less mainstream that most people would find it difficult if not impossible to respect: any Scientology belief, for example.

Another immediate thought I had was it should be good manners to strive to understand someone else’s belief before adopting an opinion on that belief and to not just dismiss it out of hand. And, then . . . manners . . . manners? Why are there no questions regarding how we can have manners without God? Why are their no Christian manners? Surely manners are on the same spectrum with ethics and morality. Even if it were not immoral to covet one’s neighbor’s spouse, surely it would be bad manners? Aren’t manners intended to help us live together amicably, just like ethics and morals?

And where did manners come from when there isn’t a peep about them in the holy scriptures? Surely manners couldn’t have been created by people and, ugh, be like, you know, subjective and everything.

October 31, 2019

The Meaning of Meaning and Purpose of Purpose

I have been having a running disagreement over two words with John Branyan. This disagreement emerged, I think, from my opinions that life has no intrinsic purpose, nor an intrinsic meaning either. These opinions were mocked by Mr. Branyan, who is very good at mocking. (Hey, some opinions should be mocked . . . yes, I am talking about you, Flat Earthers.) He apparently wanted to debate those opinions and I did not, which created another point of disagreement.

Actually, to clarify my opinion I expanded upon my original comments and shared that I thought all “purposes” and “meanings” were quite synthetic, that is fictional, that we make up such things to provide a narrative for our lives.

Consider the following scenario.

*** Start of Scenario ***

The Earth seems to be about 4.543 billion years old. If some aliens happened to fly their spaceship by 300,000 years after Earth’s Birthday (EB hereafter) they would have seen a planet still very, very hot but also covered to some extent with water containing possibly some monocellular life. Puzzled, they wondered what was the meaning of this? What was the purpose? They decided to come back later.

When Earth had it’s 1500 millionth anniversary of its birth, the aliens dropped by again. Their records showed their prior visit and now this planet had cooled considerably and the surface water, much in abundance, was teeming with monocellular life but nothing else. Again, they wondered what was the meaning of this? What was the purpose? . . . and decided to come back later, which they did 3 billion EB. Everything was much the same: no plants, no animals, vast oceans, but now they discovered that there was some multicellular life present. And, as before, they wondered what was the meaning of this? What was the purpose? . . . and decided to come back later. This time they waited until 4 billion EB and voila, there were plants and animals, some very, very large. Some of the animals ate the plants others ate the animals that ate the plants. Some animals walked, others ran, some swam and some even flew. The land was very green, the animals multitudinous. What was the meaning of this? What was the purpose? . . . they decided to come back later. They did so 4.542 billion years EB (1 million years ago). Life had become very much more diversified. The very large land animals were largely gone and smaller animals had grown much more numerous and varied. But none of these species possessed a language they could comprehend so communication with any of the denizens did not seem possible. Wondering what all of this meant and what its purpose was, they decided, since the pace of change seemed to be accelerating, to come back shortly, which they did just now. They found the planet covered by this one species of mammal, which had languages and cultures, oh my. Excited, they established communication with several of these cultures independently so they could compare notes afterward. Once mutual communication was established, each contacted group understood the questions “What was the meaning of this? What was the purpose?” but had completely different answers to those questions, so no consensus existed as to why this planet existed the way it did and what its future might hold. Puzzled, the aliens decided that they had better things to do and decided not to come back.

*** End of Scenario ***

So, just when did the meanings and purposes of “all of this” get created? Did they exist earlier than that last visit? Is great puzzlement.

John asked (I am paraphrasing) “If meanings aren’t real, what are dictionaries, then?” Words have meanings, otherwise we would not be able to communicate. A word I thought “meant” one thing and you thought “meant” another would make communication difficult, especially if there were a great many words being used that fit into this situation. But do your meanings and my meanings line up, exactly or even at all? Are they the same? If you ask college students to write definitions for a list of words, you will find amazing variation in those definitions, almost to the point of unintelligibility. If you ask two of those students to defend one of their definitions to one another, a conversation would take place, information exchanged and usually the two agreeing that they “meant” the same thing or that the word “means” different things in different contexts.

As an example of this consider the following hypothetical conversation:

Mom: How was the game DeSean?
DeSean: It was okay.
Mom: How did your friend play?
DeSean: He was bad, very bad!
Mom: Oh, I am sorry to hear that.
DeSean: No, we won, and he was great!

So, for at least a sizable fraction of this culture, “bad” has become “good,” the usual exact opposite of what bad “meant” at some point in recent time. Apparently we allow people to make up meanings, even contradictory ones, as they wish.

And dictionaries, well, they are for when we encounter words whose meanings are obscure or just unknown. But, if you read a dictionary definition of a word, do you then know what it means? How about when “bad” meaning “good” hadn’t showed enough legs to get included in a dictionary? And, you may have noticed that all of the definitions found in dictionaries use words found elsewhere in dictionaries! These meanings are not objective, they are subjective! Oh, my, oh, oh, oh. . . .

We make up the meanings of things to be able to communicate. Enough good will exists that if there are misunderstandings we negotiate what was “meant” so as to be clear about that . . . and this happens a lot because what one person’s meaning for a word is can be quite different from another’s. (Especially when you consider there is more than one language.)

Christian and religious apologists believe that each of our lives has a purpose. This is linked to their belief that we have been “created” as only created things have purposes and only the creators know what those purposes are, although they may try to communicate, aka share, that purpose with the curious. When sentient entities create things, they often do such things “for a purpose” that is “for some reason or use later.” Other times we create with no purpose (doodling, noodling, whittling, etc.) A whittler may be making shavings of wood for the purpose of using the shavings to kindle a fire . . . or . . . they may be just passing the time doing something rather than nothing . . . or . . . they wish to create something pleasant to the eye to give as a gift . . . or. . . . The very same activity could have a multitude of purposes and no one by the whittler can tell you which was the “actual purpose.”

So, the belief that “life has meaning” that “life has a purpose” is tied to life being created by someone or something that can articulate what their purpose was in making the creation, but . . . but just because the creator had a purpose, the creation doesn’t inherit that purpose as its own. A painting, deemed to be a lovely piece of art, originally was created to get paid and satisfy the aesthetic senses of the painter and patron, can become an investment or a gift or symbol of a decadent society or whatever. Similarly, if we were created by some creator god, that god’s purpose in creating us also puts us under no obligation to accept that as a guiding principle to live our lives. We are not bees or ants, we are not created to be anything in particular.

And, for those of us who cannot believe the fairly tales that are our creation myths, any of them, since there was no creator, there is no purpose coming from the outside to inform our lives. If we want our life to have a purpose, an inner, conceptual guide for our life, we are free to create one . . . or not. But, unlike “meanings” no one has compiled a “dictionary” of generally accepted purposes for us to consult when we are confused. We are on our own.

And that is good . . . or bad . . . or, well, you know what I mean.

October 28, 2019

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

Filed under: Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:31 am
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Theists often claim that their god(s) is “beyond space and time.” Once again this is made up bullstuff to explain the lack of footprints of their god where all could see them. But consider the following argument:

[God] endures always and is present everywhere, and by existing always and everywhere he constitutes duration and space.” Basically this argument is reiterating the claim that the Christian god (the one under discussion) was omnipresent (“He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, He knows when you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness’ sake!”) and eternal. So Yahweh is always looking over your shoulder because he is everywhere simultaneously. And since he has been since the beginning, he is infinite, so time (duration) and space are also infinite.

This argument was made by none other than Isaac Newton, who was defending his new theory of gravity (which knocked the pins out from under the Church’s view of the cosmos). Newton was still a devout believer but he was not buying the current opinion of the church-favored that the universe could not be infinite. According to Newton, for Yahweh to be Yahweh, space and time had to be infinite. And, I wouldn’t want to be on the other side of an argument from Isaac Newton (outgunned, seriously outgunned, I would be).

So, there are still people apologetically claiming that their God is “beyond space and time” and I am willing to play the game far enough to consider that possibility, but at the same time he is within space and time, everywhere and everywhen. So, that he can be beyond space and time is not an explanation for why we are completely lacking in evidence for him within space and time since he is also here now.

This post won’t stop apologists from making this claim (and making up even more contradictory bullshite) because they didn’t reason their way into their belief and they can’t reason their way out of it, so my aim is to prevent people from adopting such silly, false beliefs in the first place and then hope that the believers just die off (like the Shakers had the grace to do).

The Differences Between Science and Religions

Filed under: Culture,Reason,Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 10:25 am
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Burn, baby, burn!

From the blog of the Center for Inquiry of the Freedom From Religion Foundation: “It’s therefore unsurprising that Pastor Greg Locke, a fundamentalist Baptist preacher from a Tennessee church chose to burn a copy of the excellent book, The Founding Myth, by FFRF’s Andrew Seidel. It’s a great book, exposing the nonsensical lies spread by the religious right in their claims that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. I didn’t expect Pastor Locke to read the book, though I am jealous that apparently homophobic, bigoted bible thumpers warrant a free copy and secular movement lawyers don’t (yes, that’s a hint, Andrew). But burning the book, and posting a video of it on Twitter, is a particularly nasty and frightening step beyond simply using it as a paperweight or re-gifting it at Christmas.

Ah! On one side you have “wherever the evidence leads” people and on the other you have “Blah, blah, blah . . . (with fingers in their ears) people who do not want to hear evidence, unless it supports their biases.

Can you imagine a scientific opponent to the theory of evolution burning a copy of Darwin’s The Origin of Species or The Descent of Man? Or maybe performing an exorcism on a college science department?

Who in their right mind would not think that “burning books” has very bad optics, as they say, so videoing the activity for posting on YouTube is what, cluelessness squared?

I don’t know who I am quoting but “there is no cure for stupid.”

PS It is a very good book, as reviewed here. Highly recommended.

October 22, 2019

Possibilianism?

Dr. David Eagleman is one of my favorite public scientists. (He was the writer and presenter of the six-hour television series, The Brain with David Eagleman on PBS (highly recommended).) In this lovely YouTube video (God vs. No God – And the Winner Is? ) he address what we know versus what we do not know (a theme of my last several posts) and introduces his idea of possibilianism. He prefaces that introduction with a description of the “debate” between “strong atheists” (anti-theists) and fundamentalists being carried out in books. He feels that the extremes are being represented in that discussion, but not the vast middle ground. Dr. Eagleman suggests that there is a vast possibility space between the extremes and that these possibilities are being ignored in the “great debate.”

He gives some examples of possibilities, a number of which are far-fetched but he addresses that by indicating that he was asked if he meant that “anything goes” when defining this pile of possibilities. His answer was “No . . . anything goes at first. Then we use the tools available to us to address them.” And those things that are disproven need to be crossed off the list. He gives the example of the religious claim that the earth is 6000 years old and contrasts that with the evidence that it is 4.5 billion years old, give or take.

He reinforced his call of possibilianism with a call for intellectual humility. His presentation is engaging and entertaining as always and. . . .

This is a lovely idea and it has been implemented in public discourse, just not in a systematic way. People share all of their ideas with others. We are a social species, after all. So, the ideas of crystal power, vaccinations are evil, aliens have been manipulating our DNA for millennia, etc. have been out in the open and are being discussed along with practical means to address climate change, wealth inequality, providing healthcare for all citizens, etc. In fact so of the somewhat dubious ideas seem to get more attention that the serious ones. I suggest that our possibility space is actually well populated at this point.

But the flaw in this idea is that it is based upon people making a commitment to submit their “possibilities” to the process and to abiding by the outcome. I suggest that this is not something most people are interested in. Why submit my cherished beliefs/private conjectures/unproven theories to a confirmation process, one that may show them to be correct, but may also show them to be nonsense? I don’t think so. As much as people want to be shown to be “right” they are vastly more driven to show that they are “not wrong.”

The history of Christian churches shows this often enough. Look at how resistant the Catholic Church was in allowing the Shroud of Turin to be tested scientifically. The same is true for a great many other “miracles” they claim are valid. If they don’t play the confirmation game, they can’t lose because they can have it however they want without fear of disconfirmation by not playing.

For people whose ideas are arbitrarily placed in the possibility space and tested, without their permission or confirmation, there are several procedures to follow. Discrediting the people, the process, and the data are all tried and true approaches to keeping their cherished beliefs sacrosanct. And, then, human gullibility always reigns supreme . . . after all Jim Bakker still has a ministry.

And, on top of it all, this is an inefficient use of effort. If trying to get from Point A to Point B for a vacation, for example, what do you think about the process of establishing all of the possible routes first, then evaluating them to find the best one? Rather we take shortcuts to find a sensible option, whether it is optimal is not important. We decide to take our car, then get out a road map and look for lines (roads) on a map connecting A with B, starting by leaving A in the general direction of B (not in all possible directions) and having road characteristics that appeal (freeways if time is short, back roads if the journey is paramount). Part of the attraction of possibilianism to rational people seems to be based upon getting some of the intellectual garbage we have created and culturally kept into their cross hairs, so it can be dispensed with. I don’t think the owners of those “ideas” will play that game.

October 21, 2019

Is Religion Driven by the Fear of Death?

Filed under: Culture,Reason,Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 11:48 am
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Nan posted on one aspect of this article, but I thought it was the least interesting part of the article (Doubting Death: How Our Brains Shield Us From Mortal Truth by Ian Sample—Subtitle: Brain Seems To Categorise Death As Something That Only Befalls Other People).

I thought the interesting part was a psychological experiment that possibly showed that our brains automatically exclude thoughts about our own death. There may be no evolutionary benefit coming from dwelling on our own death, so we do not.

The implication I got was that the label pasted on religions as being death cults, primarily fostered by a fear of death, is a mistake. My comment was that the people I have encountered in my life spend little to no time a thinking about death in the specific or the abstract. The people who do this, in my opinion, are people who are selling something. Since we, apparently, want thoughts of our own demise to go away, a religious promise claiming that death isn’t so bad should fall on fertile ground, no? It is not that we have spent much time thinking about the topic, we are just presented with a way to avoid thinking about it. (I have noticed that when people are asked what Heaven will be like, they make something up on the spot . . . because they have given no thought to it beforehand . . . well thought beyond “being with Jesus,” or some such platitude.)

 

October 18, 2019

The “Limits” of Our Understanding

Filed under: Philosophy,Reason,Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 1:30 pm
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I am reading a book whose subtitle is “The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning.”

I just got started so I don’t have much to say about the book, yet, but I did have a reaction to the use of words. In the introduction the author, after much dissembling, talked about how every measurement is inexact, that they only go so far. But then the word used became “limited” as what we do know and can measure is “limited” and inferring that what we can know is limited. And then, of course, the author wonders what those limitations are. But phrases are then used like “The ultimate truth is elusive, a phantom.”

I am girding my intellectual loins to read this book, so we will see how I evaluate it when I stop (finished or not). There seems to be more than a little bit of Platonism in the language used so far. The idea of an ultimate truth, in itself, is disturbing to say the least as this idea has only been used by charlatans claiming to know a “truth” that we do not possess and then trying to extract something from us in order to share that “truth.”

Let’s talk about the limitations of measurements to begin with. I used to stand in front of a lab class and ask them how long the lab bench was. People guessed that it was maybe 20 feet long. I responded that that was a good start. I pointed out that the floor had vinyl tiles on it, each of which was 12 inches/1 foot in length and with a little counting we came up with a better measurement. Then I provided a meter stick (Hey, we’re talkin’ science here! You were expecting a yard stick? Go to the hardware store!) And they were able to get an even better measurement from multiple uses of that instrument. Then I pull out a steel measuring tape, and voila an even better measurement!

Finally, I suggested we could walk over to the physics department and borrow a laser interferometer which could measure lengths to a fraction of a wavelength of light! And I asked them what we would find. They all assumed “an even better measurement.” And I said, “Uh uhn. What we would find is that the far edge of this bench is not parallel to the near edge and that we would get different measurements depending where we took the measurement. And even if the two edges were perfectly parallel, we would find that at the realm of wavelengths of light, that the edges were neither perfectly smooth nor perfectly flat and we would start having problems deciding where the bench began and where it ended.

Measurements are necessarily inexact, but it is rare that this is due to our inability to measure accurately. It is usually due to misconceptions, for example that the bench in my teaching lab had a “true length.” The same thing goes for things like atoms. Atoms have no exterior surface, so how do you measure their sizes (from . . . , to . . .)? Even the idea of a perfect object, a Platonic “ideal,” is completely unreal. It is an idea we can have but we cannot create. And can we know the ultimate truth? about anything? Well, basically, my response is “You want the ultimate truth? You can’t handle the ultimate truth!”

This book’s topic impinges on recent posts of mine regarding the nature of reality and how our senses and brains create it for us. We are curious by nature—hardwired in, it is. So, we take things to extremes in our imaginations (because “Enquiring minds want to know!”), but if we start thinking those extremes are real, then our only future is one containing a great many rubber rooms.

Let me give you a ‘for instance’ from the history of science. It was Isaac Newton, in our western tradition, who “discovered” that the force of gravity showed fidelity to an inverse square law, that is the force was inversely proportional to the square of the distance of separation of the attractive bodies. In math, for two gravitationally attracted bodies, say you and the Earth, it looks like this F = k m1m2/d2. The distance, d, is between the two centers of masses of the two objects and the little m’s represent the masses of the two bodies. The proportionality constant, k, makes the units of measurements agree with one another. So, this was in the 1600’s. How well do you think that Newton’s estimate of an exponent of exactly 2 was measured? Could it not have been 2.01 or 1.98 or 2.00002 or 1.9999997? Well, it could be, but this is not how science works. Scientists find that in many, many things, simple integral exponents like 1, 2, or 3 show up quite often, so if the data indicate it is very close to “2” we assume it is “2” for the time being. This has been checked and the exponent is 2 to about eight decimal places . . . so far. As long as Newton’s law of gravity gave us good answers to our questions we used it. When it stopped giving good answers, then we look further into the rule to see if there are limitations to its application. (Einstein’s theory of gravity got props for explaining things that Newton’s theory could not. This does not mean that we stopped using Newton’s theory, we just became aware that there are preconditions for its successful use.) In this fashion we do not need perfect information to proceed. We proceed from the imperfect to better.

Could we ever determine that the exponent in Newton’s equation is “exactly 2?” I suggest that we cannot as we either end up having to expend so much effort to get the next few decimal points, only to end up with there being more to check, or we find out, like the length of the lab bench, that our question becomes incoherent.

So, are there “limits” on how well we can understand things. Absolutely, but these are not philosophical limits or necessary physical limits. And these limits are not necessarily from without (except, consider Heisenberg’s indeterminacy principle) they often as not come from our misperceptions of the actual situation we are in. You name the problem and I can give you a long list of potential limitations to us acquiring an answer. For example, consider the question: What is “dark matter?”

Here are some potential limitations on our being able to answer this question:
• The experiments needed are very expensive and no organization will fund them.
• Global climate change creates an existential crisis and we end up spending all of our energy on practical questions.
• Aliens visit us and destroy the planet.
• We develop an AI that metastasizes, takes over the planet, and exterminates human beings.
• Through genetic manipulation, we create a super plague that wipes out humanity.
• We discover that the universe is different from what we thought is was and neither dark matter nor dark energy are needed to explain anything (this is the same as “nothing to explain” and trying to explain things that do not exist, well that is better let to theists).
• An alien invasion involves us being genetically manipulated by viruses, lowering our IQs dramatically because they want us as meat animals.

Speculating as to whether our ability to understand science is “limited” is possibly entertaining (sells books, even) but is likely to be as wrong as all other speculations about the future. Plus, if our ability to understand “the natural” is limited, consider then what limitations might be on our ability to understand the supernatural. (Yes, I believe there is a religious context behind such discussions of the “limits” of science.) The only way to find any such limits to applicability of any science is to attempt them, over an over; it is by doing, not thinking that such things are found.

I am reminded of my ex-wife who was a biochemist and who had gotten a job at a plastics firm. She was assigned to a workgroup and the leader of that group told her they had been working on a problem for the better part of a year and gotten nowhere and wondered if she had any insights. They were trying to come up with a solvent for a new plastic. She said she would think about it. She went into her lab and took samples of the plastic and then took down bottles of every solvent there and added some of the plastic and some of the solvents in small glass vessels. Within a couple of days she had found three decent solvents to continue testing. Her supervisor was looking for a solvent which could theoretically meet their needs. She was looking for a solvent that could actually meet their needs.

This, by the way, highlights the differences between philosophy and science. The scientists have nature to settle disputes, philosophers only have each other.

October 17, 2019

WTF? In This Corner . . .

In this corner we have bigotry and hatred . . .

A U.S. District Court judge in Texas has overturned the protections written into Obamacare for transgender people, ruling they violate the religious rights of healthcare providers who hold religious beliefs that oppose the existence of transgender people. (WTF? “Oppose the existence . . .”)

And in this corner we have the Constitution of the United States of America . . .

(First Amendment) Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; . . .

(Fourteenth Amendment) No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

“Obamacare” refers to a law passed by Congress. This federal judge has decided that it is okay for individual “healthcare providers” to deny transgender people health services because of “religion.”

How is a healthcare employee practicing their religion while doing their job? Answer: they are not (formally or by the law). The religious can say that their religion informs them every minute of ever day (Jesus told me to choose the corn flakes this morning!) and I do not doubt that there are some folks like that. But what part of their secular job is exercising their religion? Answer: no part (formally of by the law).

How about “when taking a secular job, perform the duties of the job or seek employment elsewhere.”

So, the federal government is not allowed to go into any church activity and say “this is not allowed” but apparently Christians are allowed to tell the federal government which secular laws they will obey and which they will not.

So, what would Jesus do, Christians? Jesus healed sinners. Jesus healed lepers! Modern Christians apparently do not measure up to that standard. Would not the kindness of a Christian healthcare provider possibly help transgender people “see the way?” In what way would a Christian be diminished by helping a transgender person regain their good health?

Do not Christians oppose the existence of Muslims? What about divorcees? What about people who wear garments of mixed fibers? Where does one draw the line? How about “when taking a secular job, perform the duties of the job or seek employment elsewhere.” If your religion does not recognize gay marriage, do not get a clerk’s job (aka powerless job) processing marriage licenses in a state that has legalized gay marriage. If your religion claims that animal blood makes you unclean, don’t get a job as a butcher. If your religion says that people of color are abominations, don’t take a retail job of any kind. If your religion says that you should serve only Christian people, get a job at a church . . . if they will have you.

September 20, 2019

So I Do Not Have To

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:49 am
Tags: ,

Rewire News has posted a review of The Family (Almost-Blockbuster Netflix Series ‘The Family’ Exposes a Christian Network Whose God is Power). I got through two of the episodes but have been resisting viewing any more. The sanctimonious surety exposed that these people think they can do what they are doing because the “are right” makes me want to gag.

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