Important Halloween note

If you will be giving out candy this year, okay, yes, all the kids have come to accept that everything will be “fun size”. But let’s not give out crappy candy, okay? That pretty much means you need to exclusively be giving out this:

And please keep the Almond Joy to yourself, okay? Look, I’ve grown to actually like it on the rare occasion I have it, but that’s because I’m not 8. No kid likes coconut. That’s just a fact.

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On Adam and Eve

Some Christians believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. In fact, over 40% of Americans believe the Universe is less than 10,000 years old. (We can presume the majority of those people derive their erroneous belief from the Bible.) This means a huge swath of people in the U.S. have beliefs that are inconsistent with science – and the reason is religion. However, we can at least give these people some credit. Their belief that the Bible is inerrant practically demands that they believe in a young Universe; they’re consistent. But there’s a more important reason for their beliefs: Adam and Eve.

Christianity is based upon Jesus dying for our sins as brought about by Adam and Eve (especially that dirty, filthy, sub-human woman Eve, amirite?). Without Adam and Eve, Christianity falls apart at the seams. Couple that with extreme ignorance, and you’ve got creationists. But what about the Christians who ‘accept’ evolution? We know they don’t really accept it, but they at least superficially claim they do. So what about them? They are necessarily rejecting the idea that Adam and Eve literally existed. Without these two, The Fall didn’t happen and Jesus was not necessary. In this view of Christianity, God created people as disobedient to him. Not only does this make God all the more twisted and weird, but it further compounds the Problem of Evil that Christianity is unable to answer.

On the conflict between science and religion

It’s often said, ‘Sure, other people’s religion conflicts with science, but they aren’t representative of the majority. Besides, my religion isn’t in conflict with science!”

Here’s a simple test to find out if your religion conflicts with science:

1) Do you believe in miracles?
2) Do you believe in a creator who directed evolution?
3) Do you believe prayers work? (And why doesn’t your god heal amputees?)
4) Do you think faith is a virtue?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these, and you derive your answer(s) from your religion, then your religion does conflict with science. Let me explain.

1) A miracle is a suspension or interruption of a physical law or constant. The whole idea in science is that physical laws and constants are true at all times and in all places. If you believe they can be arbitrarily interrupted, your belief is in conflict with science; science does not allow for the interruption of, say, the speed of light in a vacuum. You can believe that the speed of light in a vacuum can be changed by your god, but (aside from having no evidence for such a claim) your belief is one that is anti-scientific.

2) Evolution is a natural process that is based upon the changing of allelic frequencies within a population over time. It happens as a result of genetic change and interaction with the environment. It is a natural process that is contingent upon a long series of chance happening and natural selection; under the same environmental conditions, a re-running of the history of life would give different results. You can believe your god made it so humans (or any other animal) would be inevitable, but your belief is anti-scientific.

3) The science is in and prayer does not work. You can still believe it does, but your belief is anti-scientific.

4) Science is a valuing of reason, experiment, and, ultimately, evidence. Faith is the anti-thesis of this. You can still believe faith is a good thing, but your belief is anti-scientific; it is not a belief that is found within science.

Bonus conflict: Philosophy

Do you believe in the philosophical reasoning of the First Cause? This is the argument that says everything has a cause and thus the Universe has a cause. (And then it is randomly declared that God is eternal.) This goes against science because Newton told us that everything which has a force has an opposite and equal force. This is dependent upon observations made within the Universe. Your philosophy goes beyond this evidence and makes a conclusion which is independent of the sort of reasoning Newton used. In other words, if you say the Universe has a cause because everything else has a cause, you aren’t making sense. Everything within the Universe has a cause. That’s all science tells us. We can presume a reason for the Universe since it, well, exists, but we cannot use the scientific reasoning used by Newton; he was talking about forces within the Universe.

Thought of the day

In Internet Feminism (which is a distinct school of feminism), it has become standard to effectively say, ‘If you disagree with any aspect of something a woman is saying about equal rights* and you have a penis, then you’re a misogynistic asshole.’

*It’s important to distinguish equal rights from other labels of rights. I primarily think of this in terms of ‘civil rights for gays’. Most people won’t use this phrasing, instead opting for ‘gay rights’. There is no such thing. That would be gay privilege – and no one is asking for that. Just the same, there is no such thing as ‘women’s rights’. That phrasing equally indicates privilege. To be fair, the intention of the speaker is rarely to reference anything about privilege; it’s just sloppy language. Regardless, let’s be more careful.

Quickies

  • The Tea Party is a response to a black president.
  • Most of the job loss in the Bush Recession occurred before Obama’s policies were even in place.
  • One major factor in the political polarization of the U.S. is the gerrymandering of districts – from both major parties.
  • Paul LePage knows nothing.
  • Matt Damon is excellent.

Maloney update

Maloney’s review was today. As I said earlier, I was unable to attend – it was observation only anyway – but I did give the relevant people a call to get an idea of what happened. I highly recommend getting your information from me since Maloney will almost certainly lie about.

The complaint was dismissed, but not without a recommending letter. The board is going to issue Maloney a letter advising him to make changes to some of his practices. That’s pretty close to what I asked them to do:

A person with a serious ailment may seek an alternative to, say, the hassle of the overhead associated with many mainstream healthcare providers. Should this person come across Mr. Maloney’s website and see his lack of burdensome overhead, there may be confusion; the person may only be looking for an alternative to overhead, not an alternative to mainstream medicine. Mr. Maloney’s illegal claim to being a doctor without the qualifier “naturopathic” or its derivatives ought to be corrected. I urge the board to enforce the law and demand Mr. Maloney correct his website at the least.

So while the letter will be non-binding, the board does appear to agree with my position. Maloney ought not represent himself in any way that makes him appear to be a real doctor.

The account I was given over the phone made it sound like the letter has yet to be drafted, but I can’t be sure. I was not given specifics, so I can’t go into great detail or speak with great certainty (hence “the board does appear to agree…”). (It very much sounds like they will be asking him to change his inappropriate phrasings.) Once I get the letter, I will make a new post. At that point – unless he continues to fabricate history, attack atheists, or dole out plainly false medical information (again, there is no good evidence that black elderberry is effective against H1N1 – don’t believe him!) – I hope to mostly be done with this ridiculous character.

More kili

Why? Because it looks pretty.