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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Good Without God?

"I find it elevating and exhilarating to discover that we live in a universe that permits the evolution of molecular machines as complex and subtle as we"-Carl Sagan

Why do people need god? This more than just a test to see if anyone is reading, its a serious inquiry.

Thanks!

Monday, 22 February 2010

ID in 2011!

The main reason I bring up to people about why Intelligent Design (creationism for short) isn't science is a very simple one; science doesn't campaign. It never has, and although a great effort is put forth to bring science into the public eye, it doesn't enter legislation.

1. The main reason that ID has resorted to using government power to get its ideas into textbooks is because they have made the shift from a scientific idea to a philosophy. They lost horribly in the scientific arena, and now they move on to the political arena, knowing that the quality control and testing standards there are much less rigorous.

2. Evolution, as an idea and a scientific principle, entered the textbooks because it is an accepted scientific theory, much the laws of Pythagoras in geometry or Newton in physics. It never tried to sneak untested material into the academic standards, and although there was much controversy involving the early teaching, i.e. the scopes trial, scientists never put stickers in books and they never tried to circumvent the scientific process in order for their opinions to be heard.

3. The scientific method is the best and most rigorous testing process known to man, it destroys hypotheses and ruins years, decades of research and commitment, all in the name of pursuing the truth. Evolution as a concept to explain biodiversity passed this test, and creationism didn't. If life were simple, we wouldn't even be talking about it, but because of the way ID is intertwined with people's deepest beliefs, we have to keep kicking it down again and again. The proponents of ID want their hypothesis to be directly inserted into schools without any scientific grounds, the main motive being to influence young people with religious ideals.

Please comment and tell me what you think! I might follow up on this one soon.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Alternative Theories?

As you may know, I am a strong supporter of the fact of evolution, but I have many friends and family members that are critical of the theory, and instead side with a creationist view. The thing that bothers me the most about creationism is that it presents no proof for its own hypothesis, and that it's only defense against scientific scrutiny is trying to cut down a more likely explanation. Every piece of evidence for creationism I could find was an argument against evolution, not something supporting their ideas.

Even if some new piece of evidence completely falsified evolution, as unlikely as that is, it doesn't make creationism any more true, nor can we accept it then as a prominent explanation for biodiversity. In science, we must assume a natural explanation for natural phenomena unless given proof of a supernatural presence. If evolution were eliminated, biochemists and biologists would begin working on alternate naturalistic hypotheses, and would not resort to the supernatural even though their predominant theory had been proven false.

I like to see people questioning evolution on scientific grounds, but I don't think an intellectual can make the leap from doubting evolution to a supernatural conclusion. The burden of proof is on the doubters to prove that there is a supernatural power, and that it is responsible for the diversity we see in our current environment. Anyone who does this, in my mind, is someone who places their ideology over the scientific process.

Tell me what you think!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Check out this site!

http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com/Jenny_McCarthy_Body_Count/Home.html




I am really getting sick of this anti-vaccine bullshit, and this site does a great job debunking these
ideas in depth.


Tell me what you think!

Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Pledge

I am a strong supporter of the movement to make the pledge obsolete, or at least secular. There are many different problems with this seemingly patriotic, time-honored tradition;


1. It's often portrayed as a historical tradition of the US to say the pledge, although it's just over 100 years old. Now as old as that sounds, keep in mind that the current phrasing is about 50 years old, and that the most recent addition is the phrase 'under god'. This was added by a congressional council during the red scare, so one may say it wasn't thought through as much as should have been.  The origin of the idea of placing those words in the pledge comes from a Catholic organization in the 1950s. They added it, and soon after it was brought to the president's attention as a way to individualize the nation, as if we are the only country with a majority of Christians...


2. Attempts to edit or eradicate the pledge have been struck down as unpatriotic, or avoided using loopholes, as is the case  Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, a trial in which a father of a girl who was being taught the pledge sued the school for unjustly promoting exclusive monotheism in a public school, and his attempt was rejected because he wan't the custodial parent of the child, completely side-stepping the issue of whether or not the practice is constitutional.


 The idea of having schoolchildren recite the pledge, in my mind, is largely detrimental to the meaning of these word. Many children and teens don't say it at all, or say it half-assed, because it's like a daily chore to them, a short, boring sentence that means very little to them and is certainly in no way important or patriotic. I am a freshman in high school, and when they announce the pledge, maybe four or five actually say it, more just stand up and mumble. Me?, I stand up and think about what the country means to me, and as sappy as that sounds, I really wouldn't want to live anywhere else

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Creation Wins?

I've had a bunch of friends email me this story about an 8th grader disproving evolution in a science fair project in which he built stalactites using paper towels and Epsom salts. This is complete nonsense for a number of ways; as described in this post at http://greensboring.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5414;

1. Evolution has nothing to do with stalactites; it deals with the diversity of life as we see it.

2. Epsom salt isn't made of limestone, and therefore would, obviously without experimentation, form faster. This is immeasurable difference, it's like building an elephant out of paper mache and claiming that you reenacted creation.

3. We know, irrefutably, the age of many stalactites, and they sure aren't 6000 years old. This kid isn't testing science, he's building fake stalactites and these teachers that approved this should be reentered into basic earth science classes and have their teaching licenses revoked.

Comment and tell me what you think!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Theory?

I've always held strong feelings about this, and one of the commenters brought it up again. I'll state this very clearly; A theory is a hypothesis based on data gathered from experiments, not a random guess or ejaculation.

1. This is most often abused by intelligent design advocates when stating that their alternate "theory" should be taught alongside a legitimate scientific theory. Their claim has no clear basis in fact or data to directly support their opinion. Any evidence they show is not to support their thought, but to undermine a tested theory. Much more experimentation must be done and much much more data must be gathered for their thoughts to be anything more than a creation myth.

2. The nebulous nature of the definition of the word is also used against evolution, as many use the fact that is considered a theory to suggest that scientists are unsure about its legitimacy. The heliocentric view of the universe is a theory, and so is the theory of relativity and Newton's gravitational laws. This argument is based on the modern use of the word, discussed in #3, and has little to no validity, as it tries to induce doubt in the uncertain, and does nothing to support their claims.

3. I think that the main problem with this situation is the modern use of this word by media and local science representatives, such as teachers in middle schools. The media damages the specific meaning of the word by describing baseless, random thoughts like creationism and panspermia (The thought that aliens created the Earth) as "radical theories", a phrase that reinforces the thought that any idea thrown out from purely irrational beliefs will be considered a theory by the public. Another thing is science projects.They show people, especially children, that any guess, regardless of presence of data, can be shown as a theory, and that if a test matches that guess, that guess is true. The layout of science projects is totally different from the true scientific method. A real theory starts as a hypothesis based on observation, and goes through rigorous testing, and then a theory can be made from that data, only to be tested even more thoroughly to even keep that status.

I, no matter how strongly I feel about this, still find myself using the word in the wrong way, and that really isn't the point. The point is to advise people to respect the significance of the word and the truth it implies, and to think twice before tossing it around.