Sunday, 30 December 2012

Dr Hugh Ross - Lying for God

On the 23rd of June 2012, Premier Christian Radio broadcast the debate "Is there evidence for a cosmic creator?" on the Unbelievable radio show hosted by Justin Brierley.

The Theological combatants were:

Dr Hugh Ross Dr Hugh Ross - Astrophysicist - Astronomer, Christian Apologist
He has worked at Caltech, MIT, Yale, Fermi Labs, JPL
He is the founder of the "Reasons to Believe" Organization.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Ross_(creationist)
http://www.reasons.org/
Prof Lewis Wolpert - Cellular Biologist
University College London
He is Vice President of the British Humanist Association

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Wolpert

The debate was hosted by the Imperial College Christian Union and was moderated by Monya Zard of Imperial College.

Before the debate had started, Red Flags started to appear. In the proposition "Is there evidence for a Cosmic Creator" the word "Cosmic" is ambiguous but if we assume the definition "Pertaining to the the Cosmos", we have a problematic mismatch between debating participants. An Astrophysicist and a Cellular Biologist.... debating Cosmology???


Dr Hugh Ross opened with the claim that The Bible has 10 times more cosmology than all the other religion's holy books combined.

He presented an example of where the Bible clearly states the universe began from a Space/Time Singularity -  "In the Beginning God created the heavens and the Earth."  He goes on to explain that the Hebrew word for "Create" [bara] means: "to bring into existence that which did not exist before."

This is incorrect. The translation of [bara] can be: to Shape, Fashion, Create or Transform.

This is exactly what most bronze age cultures believed... that their particular God created everything. There is no mention of a Space/Time Singularity and there is no way this passage in the Bible predicts or describes (implicitly or explicitly) a Cosmic Singularity. In fact, if this is the standard of evidence required by a professional Astrophysicist then I propose that the story of Goldilocks predicts a singularity, Space/Time and the Holy Trinity with: "Once upon a time, there where three bears". Such an analogy my sound flippant but both interpretations are equally tenuous and contrived.

I would have liked to have asked Dr Ross for his scientific evidence as to why the first law of thermodynamics is not violated by his claim. Remembering that he is presenting Scientific evidence and not Supernatural evidence.

I let this pass, It is nothing more that the standard technique of re-interpreting scripture to match that which is known. Scripture supported a geocentric universe until science discovered we lived in a Heliocentric system. Now the same scripture supports a Heliocentric system.


Dr Ross then made his first extraordinary claim.

He held up a document, the document was a scientific paper by Roger Penrose and Steven Hawking entitled "The singularities of gravitational collapse and cosmology."

Dr Ross read out the conclusion of the paper from the final paragraph:
"If mass exists in the universe and if general relativity reliably predicts the movement of bodies in the universe then space and time must be created by a causal agent who transcends space and time."

This is either a deliberate Lie or he has been fooled into believing a document modified by Creationists containing that paragraph.

But, he was holding the document and apparently quoting verbatim from the final paragraph.

The paper he is referring to is archived at the Royal Society and is available free of charge to the public. It can be downloaded from here:

http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/314/1519/529.full.pdf+html

I have studied the paper in it's entirety. The document does not contain the paragraph quoted by Dr Ross or make any conclusion even vaguely resembling his quote.

Read the concluding paragraph yourself and see if you can crowbar in an interpretation that in any way resembles the quotation.

If Dr Ross really had that paper in his hand and had read the final paragraph, he would know what he was saying was not true.

There are only 2 possibilities.

  • Dr Ross deliberately and knowingly lied.
  • Dr Ross was deceived into believing a fake Creationist version.

If the former then he has some serious explaining to do. If the latter then he is incompetent and does not bother to fact-check anything that agrees with his preconceived beliefs.

This is epitome of intellectual dishonesty. Dr Ross knew Prof Wolpert (A Biologist)  would not have read that paper nor anyone else at the Christian Union. He knew Prof Wolpert could not rebut that quote because the quote does not exist and could not be verified during the debate.

Dr Ross claims the Bible shows us that God is the author of the 2nd Law of thermodynamics in the following verse:-
NIV Romans 8:21 - "that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God."
Call me Mr Pedantic but everyone else I know interprets Romans 8 as an explanation of salvation from death if you live in accordance with the Spirit and do not follow a sinful nature which leads to death. It takes a major effort of self deception to interpret this passage as Gods promulgation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.  Why would Paul be writing to the Romans explaining the gift of salvation freely given to all... and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?

Things now go from bad to worse.

Dr Ross states that the Bible gives us a testable numeric entropy curve for the cooling of the universe. He displays a classic entropy curve supposedly predicted by the Bible overlaid with 13 data points representing temperatures measured by scientific observation. The Biblically predicted entropy curve precisely matches the curve measured by modern science.

During the Q&A period Dr Ross was asked to state where in the Bible this precise, quantified entropy curve was defined. Dr Ross attempted to sidestep this question, he evaded the question, tried to answer a different question and pretended not to understand the question even though it was re-phrased clearly and succinctly by the moderator.

I too would like to challenge Dr Ross' assertion that the Bible quantifies the temperature of the Universe over 14 Billion Years and that these Biblical Measurements correlate with modern scientific measurements. Dr Ross has gone to the effort of extracting enough of these measurements from the Bible to be able to plot an accurate entropy curve. It should be no problem for him to indicate which verses he used for his calculations.

Just when I thought Dr Ross' arguments had hit rock bottom... Things declined even further.

Dr Ross quotes 3 statements from a paper by 3 un-named Atheist Physicists entitled "Disturbing implications for a cosmological constant". The original paper can be downloaded from:

http://arxiv.org/pdf/hep-th/0208013.pdf

The 3 un-named Atheist Physicist are: L. Dyson , M. Kleban and L. Susskind  of the Department of Physics at Stanford University.

The 3 quotes Dr Ross read from the paper are:-

Quote 1. 
"Arranging the universe as we think it's arranged, that is, governed by dark energy would have required a miracle."
This statement does not appear anywhere in the paper. The closest I can find to this statement is in Ch6 p19 which discusses a hypothetical universe where the temperature  of the CMB is 10 degrees K instead of 2.7 degrees K.  The paper states that such a scenario would generate vastly more possible worlds but:
 "In all of these worlds statistically miraculous (but not impossible) events would be necessary to assemble and preserve the fragile nuclei that would ordinarily be destroyed by the higher temperatures. However, although each of the corresponding histories is extremely unlikely, there are so many more of them than those that evolve without “miracles,” that they would vastly dominate the livable universes that would be created by Poincare recurrences."
If the quotation does refer to this paragraph, Dr Ross has fabricated the quote, applied it to a hypothetical scenario and attributed it as a conclusion of the authors. This is a gross misrepresentation of the authors.

Quote 2. 
"An external agent, external to space and time, intervened in cosmic history for reasons of its own."
This is a deliberate alteration to what was actually stated in the paper. The full text of the statement reads:
"Another possibility is an unknown agent intervened in the evolution, and for reasons of its own restarted the universe in the state of low entropy characterizing inflation. How-ever, even this does not rid the theory of the pesky recurrences."

  • This is presented as a hypothetical.
  • It does not mention an "External" agent.
  • It does not say the hypothetical agent was "External to Space and Time".
  • He fails to mention that this hypothetical scenario is rejected.

This is a complete fabrication and misrepresentation by Dr Ross or perhaps Dr Ross was again deceived by a fraudulent Creationist version of the paper and he failed to do any fact checking.... like actually read the original paper.

Quote 3. 
"the only reasonable conclusion is that we do not live in a world with a true cosmological constant."
A minor point, Dr Ross omitted the first word of the conclusion: "Perhaps".

He also forgot to mention that the conclusion is given on the assumption that the scenarios discussed in the paper assume:

  • There is a fundamental cosmological constant.
  • We can apply the ideas of holography and complementarity to de Sitter space.
  • The time evolution operator is unitary, so that phase space area is conserved.


Finally, Dr Ross argued earlier in his presentation that God created the universal constants and the laws of cosmology. He now cites a paper that speculates there is no cosmological constant.

Dr Ross claims he has studied all the major religions and they all get cosmology wrong and The Bible gets it all correct. He says that Islam states the stars are closer than the planets and that Christianity does not make this mistake.

I would like to see Dr Ross' professional opinion as an Astronomer regarding the orbital trajectory of the Star of Bethlehem which moved across the sky and then hovered over Bethlehem.
Also - Mark 13:25 - The stars will fall from the sky.
And - Revelation 6:13 - and the stars in the sky fell to earth.

I'm disappointed with Premier Christian Radio for practically making Dr Ross their poster boy on the DVD for this lecture/debate series, even titling the DVD "Reasons to Believe" after Dr Ross' Mission. At very best this debate was technically and intellectually questionable at worst, it was a showcase for dishonest debate tactics, fabricated facts and misrepresentation.

If you have a claim for Truth, that Truth will stand firm on it's own merit. Truth relishes scrutiny and examination because honest scrutiny can only make Truth stronger. If you have to resort to lies and misrepresentation to promote your claim of Truth, you don't have Truth, you only have an empty claim.

When Truth becomes inconvenient and optional for a belief, it gives me Fewer Reasons to Believe.



The Ross/Wopert Debate - Is there evidence for a cosmic creator?
http://media.premier.org.uk/unbelievable/c75cd729-4e4d-427e-855b-29f66520b42d.mp3

Premier Christian Radio - Unbelievable
http://www.premiercommunity.org.uk/group/unbelievable

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Huckabee & Hovind - Self-Aggrandising from Sandy Hook Shootings


Mike Huckabee and +Eric Hovind  are just two of the most despicable excuses for human beings that I can think of.

Within minutes of of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn, Huckabee and Hovind were up on their self-aggrandising soap boxes trying to score theological points on the back of murdered children.

Here's a few example of their cold heartless promotion of the Christian agenda :

"No Surprise, We've 'Systematically Removed God' From Schools."
"Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?"
"And since we've ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn't act so surprised ... when all hell breaks loose."
[Mike Huckabee]


"Are you happy now that the shooter grew up in a school without God?"
[Eric Hovind]

"God Could Have Saved Those Kids, but He Won’t Go Where He’s Not Wanted."
[Bryan Fischer (AFA)] (Whoever he is?)





What they are indirectly referring to is obviously the adherence to the 1st Amendment that prevents state run organisations imposing any religious activity, doctrine or test on any citizen. Consequently, Schools are not allowed to impose mandatory worship of any deity on their pupils.

Huckabee and Hovind twist this to mean that God has been "Removed" or "Ordered Out" of Schools. Thus making a mockery of God's supposed Omnipresence.

Clearly this is not the case. Children and Teachers can pray in School whenever they feel like it. Praying is not banned in any US School.  This is a deliberate and cynical attempt to demonize and spit in the face of the constitution and the rights given to all US Citizens.

Children and Teachers can pray to their hearts content at school, then can pray on the way to school, they can spend all their lunch breaks praying, They can spend every single minute of spare time praying and I'm sure many of them pray all through lessons instead of learning about reality.

So let's examine the utter stupidity of what Huckabee and Hovind are actually claiming:

We know Christian kids and faculty can and do pray to their God as much as they like in school. What they can't do is force all the Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Atheist kids to worship their particular brand of God.

So according to the claims of Huckabee and Hovind, all those Christian prayers offered in School were totally useless, it FAILED to prevent evil entering the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The only thing that would have prevented this tragedy was to force Atheist and Jewish kids pray to Jesus every day.

But this causes a serious problem for Huckabee and Hovind. They are in effect admitting that Christian prayer is totally useless, God doesn't listen. The only thing that would have been effective would have been the additional prayers of Atheists.

I'm pleased that these two cold hearted bigots without any form of compassion or empathy are beginning to realise that Christian prayer does not work and that only the inclusion of Atheists could have had any effect.


If you really want to help:
Prayer clearly doesn't work, it only serves to make you feel better about yourself for not doing anything. Ignore Huckabee and Hovind, Get up off your damn knees and send money to:

http://newtownmemorialfund.org/
http://www.weareatheism.com/donate/nonbelievers-giving-aid-support-sandy-hook-elementary/
https://newtown.uwwesternct.org/

Prayers will help you feel more righteous and caring about yourself.
Donations will help rebuild the lives of those affected by this tragedy.

Do NOT donate to any Facebook site claiming to be collecting donations for Sandy Hook Elementary School, it is almost certain to be a scam..... set up by despicable people trying to profiteer off someone else's tragedy.


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Inside the Catholic Church - A short documentary

Just as we all suspected...

A short documentary by an unbiased researcher uncovers some interesting facts about the Catholic Church.



Friday, 7 December 2012

Skepticule Extra Podcast #36


SkepExtra-036-20121104

Skepticule Extra shownotes for episode 036 20121104

This is the thirty-sixth episode of Skepticule Extra — otherwise known (once again) as the Three Pauls Podcast. 

Paul Thompson ("Sinbad") 
The Skeptical Probe
http://skepticalprobe.blogspot.com/

Paul Orton
https://www.facebook.com/paul.orton.94

Paul S. Jenkins
Notes from an Evil Burnee
http://www.evilburnee.co.uk









          Send feedback to feedback@skepticule.co.uk, write a review oniTunes or post a comment below. There is also a Skepticule Extra Forum for further discussion of topics covered in the show (plus other topics). Follow the link to try out the forum.

          Skepticule Extra is a production of Willowsoft Communications

          Creative Commons License
          Skepticule Extra is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
          Direct download:
          http://traffic.libsyn.com/revup/SkepExtra-036-20121104.mp3

          Saturday, 24 November 2012

          Hours to stop Uganda's horrific anti-gay law


          Dear friends,


          In hours, Uganda could pass a law that could impose the death penalty or life imprisonment for homosexuality. An international outcry shelved this bill last year -- we urgently need to ramp up the pressure to press President Museveni to stand up for human rights and stop this brutal law. Sign below, and tell everyone:

          Sign the petition
          The Ugandan Parliament is set to pass a brutal law that may carry the death penalty for homosexuality. If they do, thousands of Ugandans could face execution or life imprisonment -- just for being gay.

          We've helped stop this bill before, and we can do it again. After a massive global outcry last year, Ugandan President Museveni blocked the bill's progress. But political unrest is mounting in Uganda, and religious extremists in Parliament are hoping confusion and violence in the streets will distract the international community from a second push to pass this hate-filled law. We can show them that the world is still watching.

          We have no time to lose. Let’s get one million voices against Uganda's horrific anti-gay law in the next 24 hours -- we'll deliver it to Uganda's leaders and key countries. Click here to take action, then forward this email to everyone:

          http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_stop_gay_death_law/?bvHzFdb&v=19502

          Being gay in Uganda is already dangerous and terrifying. LGBT Ugandans are regularly harassed and beaten, and just last year gay rights activist David Kato (pictured above) was brutally murdered in his own home. Now they are threatened by this draconian law which could impose life imprisonment for people convicted of same-sex relations, and the death penalty for “serial offenders”. Even NGOs working to prevent the spread of HIV can be imprisoned for “promoting homosexuality” under this hate-filled law.

          Right now, Uganda is in political turmoil -- missing millions of aid money has embroiled the Parliament in scandal. This upheaval has provided religious extremists in Parliament the perfect chance to slip in the shelved anti-gay bill, calling it a "Christmas gift" to Ugandans.

          President Museveni backed away from this bill before, after international pressure threatened Uganda's support. Let's build a million strong petition to stop the horrific anti-gay law again, and save lives. We only have hours -- sign below, then tell friends and family:

          http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_stop_gay_death_law/?bvHzFdb&v=19502

          Last time, our international petition condemning the gay death penalty law was delivered to Parliament – spurring a global news story and enough pressure to block the bill for months. When a tabloid newspaper published 100 names, pictures and addresses, of suspected gays and those identified were threatened, Avaaz supported a legal case against the paper and we won! Together we have stood up, time and time again, for Uganda’s gay community -- now they need us more than ever.

          With hope and determination,

          Emma, Iain, Alice, Luis, Ricken, Joseph, Michelle and the whole Avaaz team


          MORE INFORMATION

          Kadaga wants anti-gay Bill tabled (Daily Monitor)
          http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Kadaga-wants-anti-gay-Bill-tabled/-/688334/1621218/-/j0h230z/-/index.html

          Ugandan Parliament to debate anti-gay bill (AFP)
          http://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/-/world/15453168/ugandan-parliament-to-debate-anti-gay-bill/

          Order paper Tuesday 20th November 2012 (Parliament of Uganda)
          http://www.scribd.com/doc/114102346/PARLIAMENT-OF-UGANDA-Order-paper-Tuesday-20th-November-2012

          Pulling Out All the Stops to Push an Antigay Bill (New York Times)
          http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/14/world/africa/14uganda.html


          Support the Avaaz Community!
          We're entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way.
          Donate to Avaaz




          Avaaz.org is a 16-million-person global campaign network
          that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 19 countries on 6 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz's biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

          Sunday, 23 September 2012

          Eric and Sye... Only in it for the Money


          Eric Hovind and Sye Ten Bruggencate are two of the leading proponents of Presuppositional Apologetics today.

          But are they genuine True Christians fighting for the advancement of the truth of their particular brand of religion or are they just in it for the Money.


          Endorsed by Ray (Banana Man) Comfort
          Do they sincerely believe the religious propaganda they promote or have they hit on a good way to make money from their Blogs, Websites, Podcasts, Affiliate Advertising, TV Shows, DVDs, Guest Appearances, On-Line Stores, and a multi million dollar Merchandising organization?

          Eric and his recently acquired side-kick, Sye often use the fallacious argument that you can't know anything unless you know everything (or have an imaginary friend that knows everything). They live in a simplistic binary fantasy world where everything has to be absolute... All or nothing. Everything has to be 100% absolute objective fact or it can have no value whatsoever.

          Well, there is one thing I believe to be an absolute objective Fact.... Eric and Sye are not REAL Christians.  That's just a front.  They are in this for the money. And I can demonstrate this using only their own brand of religion.


          I'm told by self identified Christians "it's easy to tell who the REAL Christians are".

          The real ones are the ones who faithfully follow the words of Jesus Christ. I have met many Christians who behave as though they alone are able to correctly determine the word of God. You probably know the kind of guy I mean. fanatically devout, 100% certain of their own interpretation, unable to even consider that they may be wrong and they're very loud and prolific in their evangelising.

          Jesus said:-

          • Matt 7:15. "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves."
          • Matt. 24:23-24. "Then if any man shall say to you Lo, here is the Christ, or, Here, believe it not. For there shall arise false Christ's and false prophets and shall show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the very elect".
           In John we read
          • 1John 4:1. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

          These are indeed wise words from the Bible. They're a warning that there are many who tell you they know Christ but will be lying.

          So how do I determine if Eric and Sye are false prophets or real Christians?

          Many Christians will say that only about 10% of people claiming to be Christians are the real thing. If I just pick any Christian and accept their interpretation of scripture, I have a 90% chance of picking a false prophet who will lead me directly to Hell.

          The Bible confirms this when it states:-

          • Matt 7:13. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

          As I mentioned, In John, it clearly states that I should not believe all these claims of Christians, I must test them to see which ones are really from God. If I am to be saved, It is imperative that I ascertain which Christians are the real thing. If I am to listen to the Truth then I owe it to myself to hear it from a True Christian and not some Hell bound false Christian who's primary interest is financial gain.

          Jesus has made very clear the terrible consequences of following the Serpent and his followers. So it is doubly critical that I weed out the False Prophets.
          The Bible says in Matthew 7:22-23 that God will reject these self proclaimed believers who were only in it for themselves.
          Wise words again from the Bible.
          It is a Biblical fact that many who profess to be Christians will be judged false.

          In order to get the authoritative answer about Christianity, there is only one source: Jesus Christ. Not the Pope, Not Billy Graham, Not the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, not Eric Hovind and not your own Priest or Pastor or Vicar. Jesus Christ is THE Authority.

          If Christianity is the Truth, then the only way to sift through all the different dogmas, denominations, creeds and doctrines is with the guidance of the founder himself. 

          The word of self proclaimed Christians can't be trusted here because we know most of them are FALSE CHRISTIANS.

          For my proof that Eric and Sye are false Christians, in it for themselves, a money making scheme, I'll "Presuppose" that Eric and Sye are correct and that the New Testament is true and reliable.

          If they don't accept that the New Testament is the inspired word of God, not necessarily the literal inerrant word of God but a collection of scriptures, inspired by God that represent God's requirements, his new covenant to mankind, the instruction book for salvation...... then the proof ends here and I win by default. You can't reject the Truth of the Bible and still claim to be a Christian.

          Jesus expects a certain behaviour from people who profess to be his followers. It doesn't matter what denomination you are or what church you go to, you are expected to conform to the will of Christ. If Jesus says you must love him, could you honestly claim to be a true follower of Christ if you actually hated him. Obviously not.

          If Jesus says you must repent of your sins if you want to be saved, would it be Ok to ignore this instruction and boast of your sins instead? Would you consider yourself a true follower of Christ if you deliberately and knowingly ignored Christ's instructions... if you were fully aware of his instructions and chose to do the opposite? Obviously not.

          Most Christians are just fair weather Christian? They're happy to follow the words of Christ so long as it isn't inconvenient to their lifestyle. They're just interested in the warm comfortable feeling of belonging to a big loving brotherhood of like-minded people, plenty of fellowship, happy-clappy brothers and sisters all congratulating each other on the wonderful knowledge that they're Saved?

          Many are all talk, professing their devotion to Christ while being selective about the commitments and sacrifices they're are willing to make. They come up with excuses as to why they don't adhere to the more difficult requirements? They want all the rewards without any of the hard work and commitment?
          However...
          Some are genuine and actually try to follow the words of Christ as best they can. They strive to follow his example and his instructions no matter how difficult or uncomfortable? They accept his word in it's entirety without question? This is the difficult narrow way of Matt 7:14. This is the path that leads to salvation.

          Luckily for us, Jesus also provided clear tests for us to make sure about whom we are dealing with. Jesus did not lay down volumes of specific demands for his followers, but those he did mention can be readily used. For example:

          • Matt. 5:39-42. But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
          • Luke 6:30. Give to everyone that asketh thee; and from him that taketh away thy goods ask not again.
          • Luke 6:34-35. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be Sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.

          This is the crunch:- I need to see if Eric and Sye really do accept the word of Jesus Christ. talk the talk AND walk the walk as specified in Galatians 5:25 If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit.


          Jesus said in Luke 6:30 "Give to everyone that asketh thee". No provisos or exceptions are stated or implied. In fact Jesus says you must give more than is asked and you must give to the unthankful and the evil.

          The wisdom in this one statement is astounding. 

          He knows exactly how the recognise his true followers and how to recognise the hypocrits.
          Giving to the needy is easy. Everyone likes to do that, it makes them feel better about themselves. It lessens their feelings of guilt, it makes them feel charitable and more virtuous, more pious. It gives them a feeling of higher morality, it makes them look good amongst their peers. But Jesus showed great wisdom... He wanted to see if they would still follow his instructions to 'give' when it didn't feel quite so good.

          Would YOU still give if you were giving to people you don't know or don't approve of.
          If the giving didn't bring you the same personal pleasure, would you give simply because Jesus instructs you to or would you now try to find excuses not to give.
          This was the test set by Jesus to weed out the people who give but only for selfish reasons. However, If someone gives for no other reason than their commitment to the word of Jesus Christ, we have found a REAL Christian.

          Someone who professes to be a real Christian but will not "give" as Jesus instructed is a FALSE CHRISTIAN. We already know that you can not deliberately and knowingly reject the words of Christ and call yourself a Christian.

          You may buy yourself brownie points and public acclaim by giving to your church or your favorite charity. This is the wide easy path that leads to destruction. 
          The narrow path that leads to salvation is difficult and uncomfortable. Only a few will find it. It's a difficult path to follow because you must make a choice between your material possessions and your commitment to Christ.

          The vast majority of Christians will always choose their material possessions first, Brownie points second and their commitment to Christ last.
          So, I'm asking Eric send me $250,000.

          Obviously the False Christians who do not follow the word of Jesus will not send anything contrary Christ's instructions. They will do the opposite of what Jesus says. Jesus says "Give to everyone that asks", I know for a fact that Eric will choose NOT to give, because doing as Jesus says has now started to become a little uncomfortable. Following Jesus is now inconvenient. It interferes with those money making schemes.

          If Eric and Sye commit to the word of Christ they may not be able to get that new car or that holiday they've been promising themselves. 
          What do you think they'll choose, Money or Jesus Christ?

          I know for an absolute fact they'll start to look for scriptures that will excuse them from having to do as Jesus says. 
          They will quote the writings of John and Paul even though they say Jesus is the ultimate authority. 

          They'll quote passages where Jesus says you also have to give to other groups of people and claim this cancels the other requirements to give. 
          But this isn't so, just because you pay your sales tax, doesn't excuse you from paying your income tax.

          The one thing a false Christian can never do is give away their material possessions. When a Fake Christian is asked to decide between their obedience to Christ and their love of material possessions, material possessions win every time.

          I know lots of you are saying "Hey, this guy is doing a scam". 
          But a scam requires a deception a trick. Whereas I am being 100% honest. I'm not selling anything, I'm not promising anything. There is nothing in this for them at all other than to see if they are willing to follow the words of Jesus Christ even when those words start to get a little uncomfortable and inconvenient. 

          They may also discover what's more important to them, Their material possessions or their salvation through Jesus Christ. Clearly, if they choose the material possessions, it's a damn good indicator they don't actually believe in any eternal salvation.

          Jesus said in Luke 6:30 "Give to everyone that asketh thee"... I am asking.... 

          Eric and Sye like to make the accusation that you can be wrong about everything you know. Clearly this is not so, I know for a fact that Eric and Sye will always chose their material possessions in favour of their commitment to Jesus Christ.

          I know for sure they will either fail to respond or start making excuses and quoting out of context scriptures. 

          If they do put their money where their mouth is they will have proved me wrong, I'll even go to church every Sunday for a year.
          If they chose to ignore the instructions of Jesus Christ and spit in his face, they will have proved me right. 

          Therefore by their fruits shall you know them.

          Sye is probably not a wealth man so I'm only asking him for $25,000

          Note:- This challenge is based on my $1000 True Christian Challenge first posted in 2001 and is still open to any self proclaimed Christian.

          Let the excuses begin.....

          Friday, 17 August 2012

          Skepticule Extra Podcast #30


          Skepticule Extra Podcast #30




          Play Now
          The Skepticule Extra Podcast #30 is out NOW.Featuring a Deconstruction of the Debate by Dr. Hugh Ross and Prof. Lewis Wolpert - (Is there a case for a cosmic creator). Exposing the deliberate dishonesty of Creationists.  
          Also,  a day out at Bletchley Park to celebrate Alan Turing's Birthday.

          SkepExtra-030-20120701
          Skepticule Extra shownotes for episode 030 20120701

          This is the thirtieth episode of Skepticule Extra — otherwise known as the podcast of the Pauline Triad.

          Paul Baird
          Patient and Persistent
          http://patientandpersistent.blogspot.com

          Paul Thompson ("Sinbad") 
          The Skeptical Probe
          http://skepticalprobe.blogspot.com/

          Paul S. Jenkins
          Notes from an Evil Burnee
          http://www.evilburnee.co.uk






            Send feedback to feedback@skepticule.co.uk, write a review oniTunes or post a comment below. There is also a Skepticule Extra Forum for further discussion of topics covered in the show (plus other topics). Follow the link to try out the forum. Skepticule Extra is a production of Willowsoft CommunicationsCreative Commons License Skepticule Extra is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License
            Direct download:http://traffic.libsyn.com/revup/SkepExtra-030-20120701.mp3

            Sunday, 22 July 2012

            The Magnificent Temple of Solomon


            Solomon's Temple was a magnificent structure.

            The Bible tells us that Solomon employed 30,000 people to build the temple in 3 shifts of 10,000 at a time. There was a staggering 80,000 people quarrying stone to build the temple. Yet another 70,000 people were employed just to transport the stone from the quarry to the building site. Solomon employed another 3,300 supervisors to oversee the work. That's a total of 183,300 people working for 7 years.. yes 7 years to build the magnificent temple of Solomon.


            The temple was about 9 meters wide (10 yards).... Just a minute... that's smaller than my house. It was 27 meters long (30 yards) ... Err... That's a little bigger than my house, but smaller if I include the garage. 

            The rooms in the ground floor of the surrounding annexe building were 2.2 meters wide, that's barely enough room to lie down. You could fit a king sized bed in there but there would be no room to get out of the side of the bed.



            The front porch was only about 4.5 meters long, so its not quite long enough to keep my BMW in the shade.



            So, it took 183,000 men 7 years to build a temple less than half the size of your average McDonalds. Exactly what were 80,000 people doing in the quarry for 7 years? Perhaps they had really bad union problems. Perhaps Solomon, his project managers and the supervisors (all 3,300 of them) were just utterly incompetent. Perhaps it's not true. Perhaps the Bible writers just made the whole thing up without paying any attention to the practical reality of what they were writing?


            The Bible tells us of the supplies used by this massive workforce. The total volume of all the olive oil consumed by the workers is more than twice the total volume of the temple they were building.

            If you assume the olive oil was stored in rounded pots and the pots were piled up in one place, They would be over 4 times the size of the temple.

            Perhaps, if they had built the Temple from the empty olive oil pots it would have been a far more impressive building and taken 20 men about a week to build?

            If we assume the 30,000 construction workers on the actual construction site were split into 3 shifts of 10,000. If we then assume that we squash all those workers onto the site shoulder to shoulder with only enough room to sit touching another worker on all 4 sides with no spaces for paths to move stone or go to the toilet, that gives us a square of about 2 ft for each of the 10,000 workers on each shift. The workers would have to be placed in 100 rows of 100 workers which occupies a square of 200 ft by 200 ft.

            We know that the inner temple was only about 35ft wide. Even if you include all the side chambers, the 10,000 workers could not physically fit onto the site while sitting side by side with no spaces. If you then start to account for the space for the 70,000 men transporting stone, all the supervisors and of course the space for the building they were constructing for 7 years, the absurdity becomes apparent.

            Now to go on to the shift workers cutting wood in Lebanon:-
            10,000 men working for 313 days a year (Sabbath off). Lets suppose one man cuts down and prepares only one tree a day. that's 3,130,000 trees a year for 7 years which is about 22 million trees to build something the size of a McDonnalds????



            It gets more absurd. If you get four 6x6 beams 20 feet long from a single cedar tree. The total number of beams laid end to end would stretch for 333 thousand miles. that's 14 times around the earth.
            If you used only the Cedar beams to build the temple as per the stated dimensions it would be 700 miles high.


            The bible states exactly how small the Temple was. The magnificent Solomon's Temple was smaller that the smallest church I have ever been in.


            Most of you ladies here will know what was going on here. When a self absorbed guy claims it's huge, When you get to see it, the reality is that its usually disappointingly small. 

            Sunday, 15 July 2012

            Pareidolia and Tricks of the Mind

            This is an aerial view of a geological feature to the east of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada known as the Badlands Guardian. It clearly resembles a human head possibly wearing some form of traditional head dress.
            The feature that resembles ear-buds is a service road leading to a small oil well.

            Incidentally, The feature is actually concaved, (it is an erosion valley), however, it  looks convex because our brain instantly recognise a configuration that closely resembles a human face. The pattern matching ability of our brain is converting this random geological feature into a face, makes it look convex and calls upon cultural references to give us the perception it is listening to an iPod.



            This picture is a bust of the Mayan King Pacal. Compare this with the image above.


            If Erich von Däniken had seen these two images together, he would have had a cow.

            Our ability to recognise patterns and to cross reference them to things that are familiar to us is a fundamental function of the brain. All animals that can see also make sense of the world around them by pattern matching.

            The brain isn't perfect and often makes mistakes. It often mis-interprets visual cues and gives us false positives. This explains why a child sees monsters and ghosts in their bedroom when the light has been turned out and the moon is casing unfamiliar shadows. The brain goes into overdrive trying to make sense of what it sees... and the brain is excellent at recognising faces in random imagery.



            The people in this picture are mostly Catholic and their brains have been fooled into seeing an image of the Virgin Mary in the interference pattern caused by the anti-UV film on this office window in Clearwater Florida.


            They have linked the pattern they see in the window to the very strong cultural reference of their belief in the Virgin Mary as depicted in orthodox religious art. 


            The connection is so strong that they can not differentiate between reality and optical illusion. To them, this is a real supernatural event, Mary is somehow present and many have come to worship her.


            Likewise, Christians can easily recognise a Pareidolia image of Jesus Christ in this dog's butt.

            Had this image been manifest in a waterfall or a Butterfly wing, no doubt Christians would be flocking to worship it, However, the cultural significance of a dog's asshole is enough to override the cultural significance of an apparent image of Jesus Christ and they will recognise it for what it is, a trick of the mind.





            Cultural references and familiar imagery plays a key role in how our brain matches the image we see to how we interpret that image.

            In the image below, almost all adults will immediately see two lovers but to a young child, they will only see dolphins. In fact an adult will need to look carefully just to see the dolphins.



            Saturday, 16 June 2012

            Breaking the Law for God


            While shopping today in High Wycombe, I was handed this leaflet:-


            By these people:


            Their claim is that:  If you suffer from Cancer or indeed any illness, you are invited to sit down in one of their chairs and allow God to heal you... while they pray.

            The Cancer Act 1939 states:-

            "No person shall take any part in the publication of any advertisement containing an offer to treat any person for cancer, or to prescribe any remedy therefor, or to give any advice in connection with the treatment thereof".

            If any person contravenes any of the provisions they shall be liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 months.

            The Cancer Act of 1939 defines the possible legal defences for persons charged with contravening the Act. The Persons charged must prove they are:-
            • Members of either House of Parliament or of a local authority or of a governing body of a voluntary hospital.
            • Registered medical practitioners;
            • Registered nurses;
            • Registered pharmacists and persons lawfully conducting a retail pharmacy business in accordance with section 69 of the Medicines Act 1968
            • Persons undergoing training with a view to becoming registered medical practitioners, registered nurses or registered pharmacists

            or that:
            • the said advertisement was published only in a publication of a technical character intended for circulation mainly amongst persons of the classes mentioned in the last preceding paragraph or one of some of those classes.

            The Act states:
            "it shall be the duty of the council of every county and county borough to institute proceedings under this section".

            the expression “advertisement” includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper or other document, and any announcement made orally or by any means of producing or transmitting sounds".



            Clearly this religious group are simply using the desire for a cure for Cancer or any other illness as a marketing tool to promote, evangelise and proselytise their own brand of religion.

            They are offering this service in a busy shopping centre less than half a mile from a busy hospital full of ill people. Surely if their intent was to heal the ill, they would be providing this service in the hospital where people suffering from Cancer would be only too pleased to have a same-day cure.

            However, they choose to provide this service to healthy Saturday shoppers who's illness seems to be that they have a God shaped hole in their hearts.   

            I may need to have a word with the ASA, the local Council and maybe Hayley Stevens. Oh yes... as the Law of the Land is being broken, maybe the police....

            Ref:-