Friday 1 June 2018

"Hey Atheists, You're going to Burn in Hell"

I don't think Gervais needed to single out the tollerance of Satanists, most religions are equally as tollerant.

I have friends of very diverse religious backgrounds most are pretty cool with the beliefs of others even when they disagree.

My Wiccan and Pagan friends all seem to be genuinely nice, tolerant and friendly people (a little eccentric but still nice people). Hindus and Sikhs also seem to be nice guys and non-judgmental along with Buddhists, Shinto and even Jews.

These religions all have one thing in common, they're all Non-Proselytizing religions.

When it comes to Proselytizing religions like Christianity and Islam, then we often get to see the insults, condescending language, sarcasm and patronizing arrogance. Atheists are not immune to this behavior either. However, This behavior in Atheism is generally a mirror response to the behavior of Proselytizing rhetoric and baseless assertions.

I agree that it's only Christians and Muslims who inform me with great glee and smug satisfaction that I'm going to burn in Hell for all eternity in excruciating pain and agony, never the Hindus, never the Pagans, Never the Jews.

The thing I find disturbing is the glee and smug satisfaction of the evangelist when they inform me of my fate.
For any "normal" person, if they see someone walking towards extreme danger and almost certain death/rape/contagion/injury they would do anything they possibly could to rescue that person from a terrible fate.
If you saw a known pedophile trying to coax a small child into the back of a van, you know that child through their own ignorance is going to come to extreme harm or even death.
You would do anything in your power to rescue that child even risking your own life to do so.

Not so with the fundamentalist Christian mindset. They believe you, through your own ignorance are walking toward an eternity of pain and torment and yet they smugly point their fingers and gleefully proclaim you are going to burn in Hell. If a "normal" person genuinely believed this, they would be doing everything in their power to save you, not smugly boasting about the certainty of their own salvation in Paradise and your eternal torment. This is the perceived behavior of a stereotypical Satanist, but it would seem even Satanists are not that mean.

Even in the Christian Facebook and Reddit Groups I frequent which I consider to be quite gentle and well moderated, there are fundamentalists who genuinely believe I'm going to burn in Hell. And yet in all our discussions, no one has made any attempt to save me from my terrible fate. Discussions seem to revolve around "wanting to be right and prove the other person wrong".

Yes, Atheists here do the same thing, but we don't believe the fundamentalists are in terrible danger of eternal damnation. The sarcasm used by Atheists is a response to this mean, uncaring attitude. Atheists rarely talk to Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans or even liberal Christians in this way. Atheistic parody and sarcasm is generally directed at the people who make direct negative assertions and claims about the values of Atheists.

LOL, Somehow I immediately hear those smug Fundamentalists saying "Atheists don't have any values".

Sunday 27 May 2018

Therapeutic Magnets and the Iron in Blood

An Interesting Experiment.

Therapeutic Magnets and how they interact with the iron molecules in hemoglobin.
The result isn't what I expected.

One of the many claims made for Therapeutic/Healing Magnets is that the iron in the Blood is is attracted to the Magnets, thus increasing the flow of blood to the affected area.

So the amazing Brainiac75 set out to see exactly what happens when you place a Monster Neodymium Magnet next to Blood.

The result isn't quite what you would expect.

Monster Magnet meets Blood

Sunday 21 January 2018

How to win an argument

Schopenhauer's 38 Stratagems, or 38 ways to win an argument.  

Schopenhauer was a brilliant German philosopher who never quite achieved the fame of his contemporaries Hegel and Kant, but he left a wealth philosophical material that inspired such minds as Neitzsche and Einstein.

Sadly, his excellent, sarcastic treatise on the dirty tricks and dodges used by dishonest debaters has almost become the De facto standard training manual for all kinds of Religious Fundamentalist, Quack, Pseudo scientific, Conspiracy, Supernatural, UFO and Mystical advocate.... and of course it is the Gold Standard for all Politicians.

The following is a list of those dishonest debate techniques.

I would suggest you listen to any political or religious debate and see how many of the 38 stratagems have been used.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860) 

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), was a brilliant German philosopher. 
These 38 Stratagems are excerpts from "The Art of Controversy", first translated into English and published in 1896.

Schopenhauer's 38 ways to win an argument are:
  1. Carry your opponent's proposition beyond its natural limits; exaggerate it. The more general your opponent's statement becomes, the more objections you can find against it. The more restricted and narrow his or her propositions remain, the easier they are to defend by him or her.
  2. Use different meanings of your opponent's words to refute his or her argument.
  3. Ignore your opponent's proposition, which was intended to refer to a particular thing. Rather, understand it in some quite different sense, and then refute it. Attack something different than that which was asserted.
  4. Hide your conclusion from your opponent till the end. Mingle your premises here and there in your talk. Get your opponent to agree to them in no definite order. By this circuitous route you conceal your game until you have obtained all the admissions that are necessary to reach your goal.
  5. Use your opponent's beliefs against him. If the opponent refuses to accept your premises, use his own premises to your advantage.
  6. Another plan is to confuse the issue by changing your opponent's words or what he or she seeks to prove.
  7. State your proposition and show the truth of it by asking the opponent many questions. By asking many wide-reaching questions at once, you may hide what you want to get admitted. Then you quickly propound the argument resulting from the opponent's admissions.
  8. Make your opponent angry. An angry person is less capable of using judgement or perceiving where his or her advantage lies.
  9. Use your opponent's answers to your questions to reach different or even opposite conclusions.
  10. If your opponent answers all your questions negatively and refuses to grant any points, ask him or her to concede the opposite of your premises. This may confuse the opponent as to which point you actually seek them to concede.
  11. If the opponent grants you the truth of some of your premises, refrain from asking him or her to agree to your conclusion. Later, introduce your conclusion as a settled and admitted fact. Your opponent may come to believe that your conclusion was admitted.
  12. If the argument turns upon general ideas with no particular names, you must use language or a metaphor that is favorable in your proposition.
  13. To make your opponent accept a proposition, you must give him or her an opposite, counter-proposition as well. If the contrast is glaring, the opponent will accept your proposition to avoid being paradoxical.
  14. Try to bluff your opponent. If he or she has answered several of your questions without the answers turning out in favor of your conclusion, advance your conclusion triumphantly, even if it does not follow. If your opponent is shy or stupid, and you yourself possess a great deal of impudence and a good voice, the trick may easily succeed.
  15. If you wish to advance a proposition that is difficult to prove, put it aside for the moment. Instead, submit for your opponent's acceptance or rejection some true proposition, as though you wished to draw your proof from it. Should the opponent reject it because he or she suspects a trick, you can obtain your triumph by showing how absurd the opponent is to reject a true proposition. Should the opponent accept it, you now have reason on your own for the moment. You can either try to prove your original proposition or maintain that your original proposition is proved by what the opponent accepted. For this, an extreme degree of impudence is required.
  16. When your opponent puts forth a proposition, find it inconsistent with his or her other statements, beliefs, actions, or lack of action.
  17. If your opponent presses you with a counter proof, you will often be able to save yourself by advancing some subtle distinction. Try to find a second meaning or an ambiguous sense for your opponent's idea.
  18. If your opponent has taken up a line of argument that will end in your defeat, you must not allow him or her to carry it to its conclusion. Interrupt the dispute, break it off altogether, or lead the opponent to a different subject.
  19. Should your opponent expressly challenge you to produce any objection to some definite point in his or her argument, and you have nothing much to say, try to make the argument less specific.
  20. If your opponent has admitted to all or most of your premises, do not ask him or her directly to accept your conclusion. Rather draw the conclusion yourself as if it too had been admitted.
  21. When your opponent uses an argument that is superficial, refute it by setting forth its superficial character. But it is better to meet the opponent with a counter argument that is just as superficial, and so dispose of him or her. For it is with victory that your are concerned, and not with truth.
  22. If your opponent asks you to admit something from which the point in dispute will immediately follow, you must refuse to do so, declaring that it begs the question.
  23. Contradiction and contention irritate a person into exaggerating his or her statements. By contradicting your opponent you may drive him or her into extending the statement beyond its natural limit. When you then contradict the exaggerated form of it, you look as though you had refuted the original statement your opponent tries to extend your own statement further than you intended, redefine your statement's limits.
  24. This trick consists in stating a false syllogism. Your opponent makes a proposition and by false inference and distortion of his or her ideas you force from the proposition other propositions that are not intended and that appear absurd. It then appears the opponent's proposition gave rise to these inconsistencies, and so appears to be indirectly refuted.
  25. If your opponent is making a generalization, find an instance to the contrary. Only one valid contradiction is needed to overthrow the opponent's proposition.
  26. A brilliant move is to turn the tables and use your opponent's arguments against him or herself.
  27. Should your opponent surprise you by becoming particularly angry at an argument, you must urge it with all the more zeal. Not only will this make the opponent angry, it may be presumed that you put your finger on the weak side of his or her case, and that the opponent is more open to attack on this point than you expected.
  28. This trick is chiefly practicable in a dispute if there is an audience who is not an expert on the subject. You make an invalid objection to your opponent who seems to be defeated in the eyes of the audience. This strategy is particularly effective if your objection makes the opponent look ridiculous or if the audience laughs. If the opponent must make a long, complicated explanation to correct you, the audience will not be disposed to listen.
  29. If you find that you are being beaten, you can create a diversion that is, you can suddenly begin to talk of something else, as though it had bearing on the matter in dispose. This may be done without presumption if the diversion has some general bearing on the matter.
  30. Make an appeal to authority rather than reason. If your opponent respects an authority or an expert, quote that authority to further your case. If needed, quote what the authority said in some other sense or circumstance. Authorities that your opponent fails to understand are those which he or she generally admires the most. You may also, should it be necessary, not only twist your authorities, but actually falsify them, or quote something that you have invented entirely yourself.
  31. If you know that you have no reply to an argument that your opponent advances, you may, by a fine stroke of irony, declare yourself to be an incompetent judge.
  32. A quick way of getting rid of an opponent's assertion, or throwing suspicion on it, is by putting it into some odious category.
  33. You admit your opponent's premises but deny the conclusion.
  34. When you state a question or an argument, and your opponent gives you no direct answer, or evades it with a counter question, or tries to change the subject, it is a sure sign you have touched a weak spot, sometimes without knowing it. You have as it were, reduced the opponent to silence. You must, therefore, urge the point all the more, and not let your opponent evade it, even when you do not know where the weakness that you have hit upon really lies.
  35. This trick makes all unnecessary if it works. Instead of working on an opponent's intellect, work on his or her motive. If you succeed in making your opponent's opinion, should it prove true, seem distinctly to his or her own interest, the opponent will drop it like a hot potato.
  36. You may also puzzle and bewilder your opponent by mere bombast. If the opponent is weak or does not wish to appear as if he or she has no idea what you are talking about, you can easily impose upon him or her some argument that sounds very deep or learned, or that sounds indisputable.
  37. Should your opponent be in the right but, luckily for you, choose a faulty proof, you can easily refute it and then claim that you have refuted the whole position. This is the way which bad advocates lose a good case. If no accurate proof occurs to the opponent or the bystanders, you have won the day.
  38. A last trick is to become personal, insulting and rude as soon as you perceive that your opponent has the upper hand. In becoming personal you leave the subject altogether, and turn your attack on the person by remarks of an offensive and spiteful character. This is a very popular trick, because everyone is able to carry it into effect.

Sunday 7 January 2018

Blade Runner opening sequence - circa 1975

I was brought up in the industrial North East of England, Middlesbrough to be precise.

I remember many times on the 163 Bus to Redcar, going past the ICI Wilton complex, filled with awe and wonder at the spectacular industrial landscape through the bus window.

Occasionally I would be treated to a giant flare from one of the oil cracking towers which for a few seconds, turned night into day for miles around.

Now, 42 years later I find out that Ridley Scott was also spellbound by this same view of ICI Wilton. He commented:

ICI Wilton (Between Middlesbrough and Redcar)
“There’s a walk from Redcar … I’d cross a bridge at night, and walk above the steel works. So that’s probably where the opening of Blade Runner comes from. It always seemed to be rather gloomy and raining, and I’d just think “God, this is beautiful.” You can find beauty in everything, and so I think I found the beauty in that darkness.”

ICI Wilton (Between Middlesbrough and Redcar)
I've seen Blade Runner several time and for some reason never made a connection between the view out of that bus window 42 years ago and the opening sequence to Blade Runner.

Now that I see the pictures side by side, I'm having a face-palm moment.

Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner Opening Sequence (YouTube Clip) 

I suspect Ridley Scott may have met one of my girlfriends from that area when I was just a teenager. She may have inspired him to write "Alien".

Tuesday 2 January 2018

Homeopathy - Amazon Echo -vs- Google Home

We have a problem...

I asked Alexa "Alexa, Does Homeopathy really work?"

Alexa replied: "I'm not sure" 

... which is fine, a bit non-committal, possibly she's apprehensive about being dragged into a heated debate.  Perhaps she'll sound me out, test the waters before she gives an answer I'll approve of.

So I asked Google.

"Hey Google, Does Homeopathy really work?"

Google replied:
"Homeopathic remedies do really work. There are some problems in which Homeopathy is the best alternative, leaving no side effects as those of the 'so-called' modern medicines."

Does anyone have the emergency hot-line number for Michael Marshall?

I found this a little unsettling so I asked Microsoft Cortana:

"Cortana, Does Homeopathy really work?"

Cortana replied:
"Sound of China Guzheng Music is formed by gu-zheng lovers. We are dedicated to promote the music of this beautiful Chinese zither in..."