Wyatt's Blog – April 2012 Archive (10)

Magic and Pretense: The New Age

        There was a time when people believed in magic.  There then came a time when people believed the supernatural was just sheer and utter nonsense.  And now we seem to be living in a time when some people want to believe in supernatural nonsense, but wish to hide the nonsense under a pile of pseudo-scientific jargon and misappropriated terms from the field of psychology.  Welcome to the new age.

        I have been perusing occult blogs to see what people are saying about…

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Added by Wyatt on April 29, 2012 at 9:29am — No Comments

Christopher Hitchens on the Numinous

"It’s innate in us to be overawed by certain moments, say, at evening on a mountaintop or sunset on the boundaries of the ocean. Or, in my case, looking through the Hubble telescope at those extraordinary pictures. We have a sense of awe and wonder at something beyond ourselves, and so we should, because our own lives are very transient and insignificant. That’s the numinous, and there’s enough wonder in the natural world without any resort to the supernatural being required." (Christopher… Continue

Added by Wyatt on April 24, 2012 at 3:35pm — No Comments

A world without Science

        First, I suggest that those interested in what science has to say about morality read Sam Harris's, "The Moral Landscape."

       

Envision a World Without Science:       

        Aztecs used to rip out people's hearts to ensure that the sun would rise the next day. Druids would burn people in wicker men or throw them into peat bogs to make the crops fertile once more.

This kind of superstitious, horrific behavior was due to the fact that people had no idea how…

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Added by Wyatt on April 23, 2012 at 5:17pm — No Comments

The Moral Compass

Can the Bible Provide Us with A Good Moral Compass?

        The Old Testament gives mandates for slavery, the subjugation of women, and the killing of other tribes of people.  The New Testament gives a mandate that women must subjugate themselves to their husbands.  Women are told to be subordinate to men.  Also, slaves are told to be patient with their masters, even if their masters are cruel.  And let's not forget the morally questionable idea of vicarious redemption,…

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Added by Wyatt on April 23, 2012 at 3:12pm — No Comments

Rational, Irrational, and Arational: Definitions

What does it mean to make a rational decision in a complex and dynamic environment?

       A rational decision is one that is not just reasoned, but is also optimal for achieving a goal or solving a problem.  In everyday life, we must deal with probabilities, varying degrees of certainty in a complex world.  Rational decisions therefore necessarily involve some form of probabilistic reasoning. This may take the form of an inductive inference. Rational decisions are based on inferences…

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Added by Wyatt on April 23, 2012 at 11:51am — No Comments

God and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man: Unfalsifiable Claims

        I believe that gods exist only in the mind.  They are human constructs.  Some Christian apologists however try to support the existence of a god by asserting that the universe was either born out of nothing or was designed by a creator.  Their argument being that nothing comes from nothing; therefore, a god exists.  This proof by elimination is a logical fallacy.  It assumes the choice is binary and overlooks countless alternative hypotheses.  Why should I believe the god hypothesis…

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Added by Wyatt on April 17, 2012 at 4:04am — No Comments

The Religious Impulse

        The other day, I saw an article at ScienceDaily (Apr. 2, 2012), entitled, "Death Anxiety Increases Atheists' Unconscious Belief in God." According to the article, "New University of Otago research suggests that when non-religious people think about their own death they become more consciously skeptical about religion, but unconsciously grow more receptive to religious belief."  This is just one more in a growing number of research papers, books, articles, etc. that point out the…

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Added by Wyatt on April 14, 2012 at 12:59pm — 2 Comments

The Bible: the Wholly Man-approved Word of "God"

        Christian apologists will often claim that there can be no objective morality without an omniscient, omnipotent deity, God, and, furthermore, that the Bible is the inspired, infallible and unalterable word of God, the holy instrument through which we may understand his will and thereby understand what is moral and what is immoral.  This is an extraordinary proposition, but does it bear the scrutiny of reason? I would prefer not to take it on "faith." Why should I trust this…

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Added by Wyatt on April 12, 2012 at 6:26pm — No Comments

History, Mythology, and the Telephone Game

The transformation of history into mythology over time is a lot like a thought experiment called the telephone game. It goes like this: you sit in a large circle of people, the larger the better, and you think of a statement, whisper it clockwise to the person next to you, and that person whispers it to the person next to them and so on until the statement travels 360 degrees back to you. The interesting thing is that you will often find that the statement that comes back to you is…

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Added by Wyatt on April 12, 2012 at 4:19pm — No Comments

On the Religious Indoctrination of Childen

        I think that many people can agree that religious extremism is problematic. But my problem with religion or religious dogma goes beyond the obvious danger of its radicalized forms. I want to discuss the potentially dangerous consequences of indoctrinating children into a religion or superstitious belief system. Indoctrination is a form of behavioral conditioning. In the case of the major religions, this often takes the form of conditioning the child to believe in highly improbable or…

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Added by Wyatt on April 8, 2012 at 3:08pm — 5 Comments

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