Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Ten Reasons To Lose Faith - Update

If you haven't heard already, Ten Reasons To Lose Faith is a major new book aimed at non-believers, believers and those undecided - especially those undecided.

Unlike my previous books which were based on posts in this blog, this one consists of ten original extended essays on aspects of faith, why faith is fallacious, delusional and dangerous and designed to mislead and control both the individual and society as a whole.

The ten essays lead the reader naturally from an understanding of why faith is a useless tool for understanding the world, through the benefits of growth-enhancing doubt and uncertainty, to an understanding of how faith conditions, constrains and controls the mind of the faithful. Finally it explains how losing faith liberates the individual and creates a more inclusive, kinder, more caring society, free from the mutual hostility and distrust of the present faith-based, faith-ghettoised society which is causing so many of the world's problems.

The ten essays are:
  1. The Fallacy of Faith.

  2. Explaining why 'faith' alone cannot lead to the truth with any degree of confidence. It is nothing more than a dishonest but satisfying pretense of knowledge in the face of ignorance; of pretending to know something you don't know. Faith is not a shortcut to understanding but a shortcut to delusion.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Unintelligent Design - As Plain As The Nose On Your Face!

PLOS Computational Biology: Impaired Air Conditioning within the Nasal Cavity in Flat-Faced Homo

Don't get me wrong! The human face is beautiful - to another human! Who could look at a human face and see it as ugly?

Well, of course, we're genetically 'programmed' to be attracted to an 'attractive' face. That's why we define it as attractive! But looked at objectively from, say, the point of view of the proverbial space alien studying life on Earth, the human face is surely one of the strangest in the mammalian order. It is rotated down through ninety degrees so that it still points forward even though our spine now points upwards and not forwards like most other mammals.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Nature Running Rings Around Creationists

'Fairy-Rings' in Western Australia
Discovery of fairy circles in Australia supports self-organization theory.

The two sacred chants of the creation industry are, "You can't get order from chaos, so order implies design!" and "Design needs a designer!" They are careful always to avoid saying 'biblical god' instead of 'designer' because they still like to pretend people don't know this is fundamentalist biblical creationism masquerading as science, of course.

Anyone who has seen a snowflake and knows that all the millions of different 'designs' of snowflakes all arise spontaneously from the chaotic distribution of water molecules in air under nothing more than the operation of physics and chemistry will know that claim is false but, as with so many other claims of the creation industry, being false is never seen as a reason not to keep repeating it.

Friday, 25 March 2016

My New Book! Ten Reason To Lose Faith

Faith is a fallacy!

Faith is delusionary. It produces the illusion of knowledge and certainty in the absence of real knowledge and understanding.

Faith is not a virtue; it is the sin of intellectual indolence and the abdication of personal responsibility. It is pretending to know things you do not know. It has failed mankind and now represents a clear and present danger, not just to humanity but to life on Earth itself.

Ten Reasons to Lose Faith: And Why You Are Better Off Without It, looks at the reasons why people should reject faith and why a 'crisis of faith' is not a problem to be avoided but something that should be welcomed and encouraged because it represents a mind trying to come to terms with reality. A 'crisis of faith' is a triumph of reason and the starting point for personal liberation.

Recent events in Pakistan, Turkey, Paris and Belgium can leave little doubt that faith, far from being the basis of a kind, caring and peaceful society, is harmful to the point of being positively dangerous. Religions which once might have produced united, cohesive societies in relative isolation, now produce ghettoised, mutually suspicious, warring and uncompromising factions in an increasingly globalised, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-faith world where exactly the opposite is needed.

Radovan Karadžić's Faith-Based Initiative

Radovan Karadžić. Genocide for Jesus.
Radovan Karadzic's road to the International Criminal Tribunal - BBC News

It was almost prophetic!

The day I was making the very last edits to my new book, Ten Reasons To Lose Faith, as though to reinforce one of the central messages in it, the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague announced the conviction of Radovan Karadžić for genocide. Karadžić's crimes were committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war as Orthodox Christian Serbian forces led by Karadžić attempted to impose Serbia's traditional hegemony over neighbouring Bosnia, following the collapse and break-up of former Yugoslavia.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Unintelligent Design - Rejuvenating Parasites

Schistosoma mansoni
Stem cell progeny contribute to the schistosome host-parasite interface | eLife

It gets a bit tedious to keep writing about all these examples of mindless stupidity in biological 'design' but my creationist readers love having something to ignore, or in some cases, post abusive comments on to impress Jesus.

So, not wishing to disappoint, here's another one. It is the discovery, published today in eLife, that a particularly nasty flatworm parasite, Schistosoma mansoni, that causes schistosomiasis in tropical parts of the world, has a simple defense to the human immune system that is trying to destroy them.

My Intelligent (sic) Design believing friends tell me that everything in nature was made by magic by the same magic man they believe also wrote the Bible so they believe this Intelligent (sic) Designer made these parasites especially so they could live in our blood and make us sick. The problem is, it then seems to have

Monday, 21 March 2016

Snappy End to Creationism!

A computer generated reconstruction of the crocodile ancestor Carnufex carolinensis which lived on land and walked on two legs and may have been a top predator before dinosaurs took over the world, scientists believe.

Photograph: Jorge Gonzales/PA
Early crocodylomorph increases top tier predator diversity during rise of dinosaurs : Scientific Reports

I don't suppose the discovery of a 320 million year-old fossil of a giant crocodile is going to change many creationists' minds about Earth being around 6,000 years old but then nothing ever seems to. Evidence is such a difficult thing when it doesn't tell you what you want to believe - unless you're honest, like normal people.

This particular new example of how creationists need to go to quite idiotic lengths to retain their childish superstition was found by paleontologists from North Carolina University led by Lindsay Zanno, and practically on their doorstep in the Triassic Carnian Pekin Formation. The authors have named this long-legged, bipedal crocodile, the Carolina butcher (Carnufex carolinensis). With its long snout, large mouth, long legs and probable speed, it would have been a menacing beast. C. carolinensis would have been about 9 feet (3 metres) long and about 5 feet (1.6 metres) tall with blade-like teeth.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Even Fish Walk All Over Creationists

Comparable disparity in the appendicular skeleton across the fish–tetrapod transition, and the morphological gap between fish and tetrapod postcrania

How creationists love those gaps!

Real or imaginary, you'll find creationism's magic creator stuffed into as many gaps as they can find to stuff it into. Until, that is, science actually looks at the gap. At that point there is always one of two outcomes:
  1. The magic creator isn't there and the gap is full of perfectly natural, scientifically understandable stuff.
  2. The gap wasn't there in the first place. It was either made up, the product of creationist wishful thinking, or, rarely, due to a scientific mistake.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

USA Religious Decline Confirmed

Is the United States a Counterexample to the Secularization Thesis?: American Journal of Sociology: Vol 121, No 5

According to data produced in the American Journal of Sociology, the USA should no longer be regarded as an outlier when it comes to religiosity, compared to the rest of the Western, developed world.

Although the movement has been small compared to Europe, there are distinct signs that Americans are moving in the same direction and for pretty much the same reason - each generation is becoming less religious.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

New Rattlesnakes Rattle Creationists

Reassessing Those Rattlers | Research Frontiers.

One of the indispensable dogmas of creationism in its desperate attempt to fool people into thinking the Theory of Evolution is fatally flawed is that 'microevolution' and 'macroevolution' are different things needing different processes to explain them. 'Microevolution' is supposedly the evolution of variation, varieties, races, subspecies etc, while 'macroevolution' is supposedly the evolution of a new species.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Rotating Rocks of Ages Rock Creationism!

The Cantabrian orocline is a large structure that bends the Variscan orogen of Western Europe in NW Iberia.
Photo credit: J. Fernández Lozano et al.
New kinematic constraints on the Cantabrian orocline: A paleomagnetic study from the Peñalba and Truchas synclines, NW Spain

It's normally the plentiful evidence for evolution and against intelligent (sic) design, provided by the biological sciences, that creationists have to practice ignoring or dismissing with a wave of the hand and denialism, so it must be doubly difficult when evidence from geology shows their superstition is false too.

To make matters worse, this time it involves one of
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