Wednesday, October 3, 2012

For Personal Help???


Of-course there is no way to start a blog about rationality and reason without hitting religion in the face. Do you remember going in for an x-ray and the doctor comes back with the question:
-Have you sold your soul? Because I can't see it on your x-ray, do you work for the devil? You work for the devil, don't you? You working for the devil piece of...
Probably no. But as I found out I have sold my soul, but not to the devil. I sold my soul to Google, they pay more! On my Google sites website site I saw an ad. The ad was for http://forpersonalhelp.com/ and it was so bad it was awesome. I couldn't click on the ad because my soul was at stake, so I entered the URL in the address bar and I found god. Imagine finding god on an atheist's website, there is something really wrong with the way Google selects ads for my websites.
If you have been irresponsible enough to click on the link, just look at the text in the beginning. These people actually claim to be able to answer the toughest of life’s questions. So lets enlighten ourselves.

What Is The Meaning of Life?

I'm listening. I'm reading actually. Nothing on this page can surprise you, and you will not read anything relevant to the real world. It is a long plea to love your fellow man in the name of God, which I have no problem with! Benign proselytizing that couldn't be convincing to a thinking person. All up until the point "We are to forgive our worst enemies of everything that they do to us that is mean or hurtful, and return their hatred with kind words and cheer.", which is incompatible with survival. Surely if this is true, then there would be no more Christians on the planet since the European Christian theocracy would have been destroyed by the Muslims centuries ago. The real prophet for Christianity is the emperor Constantine who was baptized in the blood of his enemies, so... This whole page portrays Christianity as "love thy neighbor" and "turn the other cheek", very positive and inspirational. Unfortunately even if Jesus was a hippie his father was a fascist, they make the point that you must not only believe but also obey.

"Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do the things I command?"
(Luke 6:46)

And we have a serious contention here. If it is boiled down to a simple message this whole page says that the meaning of life is to serve the lord. Unfortunately we don't have contact with the lord. If I had The Lord Jesus Christ on speed dial I would obey, but I don't. The pope does, should I just obey him?

Is There a God?

This feels a little backwards to me! I am used to getting a misguided attempt at science followed by a personal story that is divinely miraculous. But the writer a.k.a. "--Website Editor" has decided to start with his anecdote advocating for his own faith, probably recognizing that there is no way to avoid this humiliation so he has decided to get it out of the way. But do read on, because he makes a great mind reading trick at the end:

"If you are thinking that a coincidence about a piano is not a good enough reason to have faith,"

And if you think this is funny, try this:

"There must be at least some arguments that my reason can understand. It is not our nature to accept anything on blind faith."

Yeah, you would think there must be. The reasoning is the same as in a William Lane Craig style frame that allows for deism and then tries to argue that the will to create somehow implies that creation was especially for humanity. Thus reaching Christianity’s personal God. To get to deism he tries the "nothing comes from nothing" move, but words it carefully as if to avoid ambiguity about the singularity. The words used are "absolute total nothingness". Congratulations, you are now in the position where a premise of your argument isn't demonstrated. For clarity I will point out that the words used to describe nothing (absolute total nothingness) are intentional because a few years ago nothing was the absence of matter. But physics now shows that even in a vacuum you still observe quantum activity, potentially universe creating quantum activity. So to avoid that counter argument the writer has painted himself into a corner, and now needs to demonstrate that absolute total nothingness is even possible. It hasn't been observed or studied, it's not understood by modern science so what is the argument. If this was a conversation it would have ended there because he can't move forward from that point. For the sake of argument lets grant him that premise and move on to the second sentence. Here he comes to the conclusion that an entity external to the universe caused the universe itself. William Lane Craig at least takes the step to go from cause to entity, this guy just says entity and calls it good. Obviously neither science nor reason are among his strengths. In the third sentence he declares victory but at the same time gives the game away by saying that god exists by definition. Yes you can define a god into existence, but more on that later. These are the first three sentences in his scientific attempt, and all three have some sort of a fallacy. It doesn't get any better as you read on. It's rocks not being able to create themselves and then the universe not being eternal, natural processes not being intelligent enough.

"The only way out of this is to define God as an entity that exists outside this universe. Then "God", as we have defined him, cannot have the same nature as the rest of the universe that we see. If he did, our argument is circular and we must still search for a first beginning."

And this is where the writer reduced me to tears. It's not important how good your arguments are if you aren't interested in arguing, the goal here all along was just proselytizing. He could have just wrote something like "We have defined God to be compatible with the universe so you can believe if you want to!", god of the gaps.

It is funny when the spiel is presented unopposed and still manages to be unconvincing. When apologists realize that the pseudoscience they are peddling doesn't work they try emotional extortion. Since this post is getting very long by my standards I will end on this. Go to the "But the best argument is this:" and read it for yourselves. I ask you, is this the position of somebody who wants to search for truth and a better understanding of the world? Is this a position that promotes efforts for the betterment of the world? Or, is it just a way to feel good and lie to yourself that it is ok?

There is some truth on that page.

"Assume there is no God: then this world, and happiness in it, is extremely important. Indeed, it is all there is. So it is a great tragedy whenever anyone does not have a long and happy life here. The death of a child, or a painful life in a third-world country, is an unimaginable tragedy, which nothing can mitigate. "

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