Category Archives: Criticism

Problem of Conspiracy Theory Shows Applied to Religion – Introduction

Is there anything less credible than shows that take the stance of buying into conspiracy theories, and say that so and so controls the media? Because either

  1. the group does exists and controls the media, in which case one can say that they’re inaccurate enough that the group doesn’t care to take them off TV, or disrupt their Internet access so they can’t post online, as there is nothing being revealed about them
  2. the group doesn’t exist or can’t control the media, in which case they get significant aspects wrong
  3. one could propose a third set, that the group exists, they control the media, but it does so much more to discredit the claims by leaving them as is.

The difference in outcomes between the three simply can’t be distinguished, in which case, we can’t determine which one accurately explains the outcome of having a show taken off TV, preventing a particular episode from reappearing, or conspiracy theorists prevented from posting online. A similar set can be proposed in response to various criticisms regarding the involvement of a deity

  1. a deity does exist and does have absolute control, it simply doesn’t care about the concerns of humanity to intervene
  2. no deities exist or, if at least one exists, it doesn’t have control, meaning that significant aspects of religions are wrong
  3. a deity does exist, and does have absolute control, it simply lets bad things happen to test our faith

While variations of #1 and #2 aren’t used very often by theists or apologists, they do provide just as much of an explanation as to why a deity would not be involved. So then, how do conspiracy theorists and theists conclude their respective versions of #3? Posts entitled PoCTSAtR will be looking at the explanations provided for coming to that conclusion.

Disappointed by Marvel

Quite frankly, I’m rather disappointed by Marvel. With the dvd of their most recent movie, The Avengers, I found an advertisement for “Colantotte’s Megatitan NEO Legend.” Now, if they promoted it as simply merchandise for the movie (which is one way it is advertised as), I wouldn’t have a problem with it. However, there are two comments, that I think is misleading, and they are as follows.

“Approved as a medical device by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare”

What makes it misleading, is that looking at the site of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, and searching for Colantotte, ANSPO (I’ll mention why that one is important later on), and “Megatitan NEO Legend” turned up no results. Now, to be fair, I looked up things that might show up, specifically, Morphine, Oxytocin, Paracetamol, and magnet. The first three were to find out if specific drugs would show up, and all of them did (particular variants of the third, Advil and Tylenol didn’t however). For the last one, a few results did come up for magnet. Among them, two were on the subject of foods produced by recombinant DNA techniques, two, while discussing the subject of magnets didn’t make any mention of Colantotte, or any related searches, and the final one was an MS EXCEL spreadsheet (which didn’t load). While the two that were most likely to make reference to it in regards to being an approved product were in Japanese, one did provide websites in English which could be searched. Once again, no results. So I looked at the website (http://www.colantotte.eu/tf/AboutUs), and found this at the bottom of the page

“Approved Class 1 Medical Device”

Hey, finally getting somewhere. This lead to looking on the MHLW’s website for that class of medical devices.http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/wp/wp-hw5/dl/23010231e.pdfWhere it gets funny. Class one devices, Under Regulatory Requirements, quote (http://www.std.pmda.go.jp/scripts/stdDB/pubeng/stdDB_pubeng_regulation.cgi) “Approval of the product is not required, but marketing notification is necessary.”
So, basically, if it does absolutely nothing, with no adverse reactions in the case that it malfunctions or serious side effects, it can be approved as a medical device, “and is allowed to launch a medical device onto the Japanese market by submitting the marketing notification for the medical device to PMDA.”

So, the question is, does it actually do anything? Well, here’s where they shoot themselves in the foot, and its the second comment.

“Colantotte products use axially magnetized magnets in a unique Alternating North-South Polarity Orientation (ANSPO) to maximize the magnetic field flow.”

No details for what it actually does medically? You know, the type of thing you’d want to know if it was “approved as a medical device by the Japanese MHLW”? So, more looking. It lead me to this part of their site (http://www.colantotte.eu/tc/MagneticTherapy). What I found

“…deemed a ‘no health risk’ by the World Health Organisation.”

So, why is Magnetic Therapy deemed a ‘no health risk’ by the WHO? A search on the WHO website for Magnetic Therapy produced seven results (http://search.who.int/search?q=%22Magnetic+therapy%22&ie=utf8&site=default_collection&client=_en&proxystylesheet=_en&output=xml_no_dtd&oe=utf8). Unfortunately, among them, I couldn’t find anything on statements regarding the health risk, or the basis for it. After some more looking, from what I can gather, the likely basis is that there is no effect when it comes to health, either positive or negative, for Magnetic Therapy.

So, why am I disappointed by Marvel? I’ll summarize it. For permitting Colantotte to advertise the product as though it has any sort of medical effect, as indicated by “Approved as a medical device” with no qualifiers. I certainly hope nobody will consider buying it for medical use without bothering to look into claims like that.

Quantum Jumping is rather ingeneous

At scamming people. I mean it. Really. Consider half the stuff they do. Typing the words “Quantum Jumping Scam” comes up with a few results, one being a .org site, the other being a .com site. I kid you not. But thats not the brilliant thing. No, not in the least. The brilliant thing is that the .org site is run by a person who claims to have been skeptical of it, tried it, and it worked. The other one is very obvious in its fallacious reasoning.

Taking them one at a time. No, wait, ignore the .com site. Read it for the laughs though. The .org site makes the following statement

“People are shocked by the concept of parallel universes and so it’s in their natural instinct to feel like they’re being tricked in some way.”

No, I’ll be honest. The concept of parallel universes isn’t that shocking. What makes people think that they’re being tricked is the idea that they can access a parallel dimension only using their brains. What makes people think that they’re being tricked is the claim that

“some of the finest minds on the planet are starting to discover powerful evidence supporting my claims. Creative and scientific geniuses like Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku and Neil Turok, all of whom are responsible for unbelievable breakthroughs in the field of quantum physics.”

when they’ve never said anything that would support the validity of Quantum Jumping, combined with a lack of references to anything to support the claim. While they’ve commented on quantum physics (I can’t say to what extent, such as if they were talking about it from the position of an informed professional from another field), I’d like to see the people responsible for the quotes or data from any of them that supports the basic idea behind Quantum Jumping, that there are parallel universes which have alternate versions of you (bad luck to you if all of the alternate yous were suicidal), that you can interact with to obtain knowledge and skills. Of course, I’m pretty certain that even the guy running it thought that too, because he’s gone towards more of a

Quantum Jumping is an advanced visualization technique where you visualize yourself jumping into alternate universes, and communicating with alternate versions of yourself. It’s the result of over 31 years of study in fields like hypnosis, yoga, meditation and remote viewing, to name a few.

Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised. On a related note, I’m not surprised that he’d consider them to be fields of study. What the brain and body do while one thinks they’re engaging in it might be, but how to do them isn’t one that I’m aware of. Honestly, I’d be interested to find out that there is a reputable and qualified scientist engaging in a serious pursuit to study what people call remote viewing. Because of course, if this is the case, there wouldn’t be a need for to “visualize yourself jumping into alternate universes, and communicating with alternate versions of yourself,” since you could really do it (assuming of course that one can view things in parallel universes).

And of course, if it really was just a visualization technique, any realist wouldn’t feel the need to mislead people by appealing to the authority people give scientists, instead, presenting the evidence for the claims. Not anecdotal evidence, but the stuff submitted to journals and evaluated by those working in the field by means of testing.

After having gone over the Quantum Jumping sites, I have a few questions for Burt Goldman or anybody involved. These are a little old as I sent them a message asking these questions last year, and have yet to receive a response.

1.) In the section “A Message from Burt Goldman,” it states that

  •  Goldman had “spent over five decades of my life traveling the world and studying spiritual pursuits like meditation, visualization and Qigong under the guidance of the world’s greatest spiritual masters.”

While closer to the bottom, in the section “This revelation may be a little hard to swallow…” it states that

  • Goldman has been keeping it [Quantum Jumping] a secret for “over three decades.”

What I would like to know is

a) If Goldman had been spending his time with “spiritual masters,” where would he have found out about something such as Quantum Jumping?

b) What are Burt Goldman’s qualifications in the fields of Physics or Quantum Physics, which peer reviewed papers has he published, which accredited university did he attend to earn a degree in those fields, and in the case that there isn’t an adequate answer to either question, among those who are working on the development of the program, who does have qualifications in the fields of Physics/Quantum Physics, the peer reviewed papers that have been published by them, and the university they attended. For the universities, please include their level of education, if it was their major or minor, and what their other degrees were.

2.) It states in the section entitled “This revelation may be a little hard to swallow…” that it was kept secret “until now—when experiments conducted by some of the world’s most prestigious and reputable universities are starting to support the idea of human thought transference.” What I would like to know is

a) Which papers describing the experiments conducted have been peer reviewed conclusively enough to be able to support your claims are you referring to when you state that “experiments conducted by some of the world’s most prestigious and reputable universities are starting to support the idea of human thought transference,” and on what scale is human thought transference occurring in the experiments? Local (within ten miles), Regional (within one hundred miles), Variable, or between the Multiverses?

b) In what way do you think that the experiments support your product? Please reference your sources.

3.) Michio Kaku is mentioned on the page, and has stated how a way to travel between universes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWHC081B_Do&feature=related). One detail in particular is a vast amount of energy required to achieve this. Now, the Quantum Jumping you are stating does not involve moving between Universes, but merely accessing a specific portion of them. In what way is the energy required to access an alternate universe achieved?

As a note, it states “To change your current reality, all you need to do is change the frequency of your thoughts.” To me, stating this would be an inadequate response as

a) frequency of thoughts, as something capable of changing reality, is something I’ve never seen in a psychology text book, or in any bit of psychological or physics research. If you can point to a peer reviewed paper that does suggest this, could you please state which one?

b) It may be that “To change your perception of reality,” was intended, and if this is the case, I can overlook it, as there are many documented cases of where either willful or chemical means of changing somebody’s mind changes their perception of reality and making them more positive, making them better more creative, and similar things.

4.) In the “The 6-Part FREE Quantum Jumping Introductory Course,” I had noticed something peculiar. “Part 5: Burt’s Live Quantum Healing Technique,” it says “Now that you’ve learned how to jump, it’s time you saw what else Quantum Jumping can be used for. Watch Burt as he performs a live Quantum Healing technique on one of his students.”

Quantum Healing is something that has been promoted by others who advertise themselves as being very spiritual (Burt Goldman states that he has spent the last five decades under the guidance of “the world’s greatest spiritual masters,” so I would regard him as advertising himself as being very spiritual), such as Deepak Chopra, or very religious such as in churches that heal people by “laying hands/slaying in the spirit/etc” In what way does the Quantum Healing promoted by this site differ from the Quantum Healing promoted by Deepak Chopra or the “laying hands” performed in churches?

Note, it has since been updated to Quantum Wellness. To see it in the original “Quantum Healing” version, click here.

5.) In the two testimonials, its states “Please note that these results are not typical.” If this is the case, what are the average results, and of those who see no results, what reasons are attributed to the failure of Quantum Jumping in those cases? What percentage of cases are like the testimonials provided?

6.) It says that Burt Goldman has his work in multiple galleries around the world. Can a list be provided of the galleries which display or have displayed his work?

I look forward to getting a response to each of these questions and concerns.

Recommended reading

Committee for Skeptical Inquiry – Quantum Quackery

Skepacabra – Have trouble laughing your ass off? Try Quantum Jumping

Source of material referred to

Quantum Jumping Index

Special thanks goes to Jerry Coyne for recommending a physicist to contact in regards to quantum jumping, and the physicist recommended, Sean Carroll, who’s quote I’ll end the post with.

I don’t have time to offer anything substantial. I can say without looking to hard, however, that multiple universes might be real, but the idea that they can help you in your everyday life is utter crap.

Oh, those Preachers in my Town…

This might be part of an ongoing series of posts, depending on how well I can avoid shouting out “You’re damned wrong!” whenever they open their mouth.

So, luckily, one of them is a blogger (no opportunity to make things hard on myself without necessity), and I’ve decided to go over his recent book, The Beausejour Pulpit. After a discussion in the local bookstore (a christian one by the way. I’d like it if there were something devoted to philosophy, science, critical thinking, or even a general bookstore in town, but it doesn’t look like either of those are going to be on the horizon any time soon), and a few e-mails, I had asked him if he had changed his opinions about anything from the origins chapters in his book (chapters seven, eight, and nine)(which, due to the quality of the response, I’m considering doing a bit of a review, posting inaccurate statements from those chapters, and addressing them). The link he had sent me lead me to his wordpress post entitled “A Response to the Critics.”

I’ll be blunt. Some of it was, to put lightly, worse than what some of his other critics have said. I’m not going to bother wasting time stating how I view it (as that would take several paragraphs that would end up making the Sophisticates joke look, rather, polite), instead, putting more emphasis on what I view negatively and where opinions differ. I will point out, that anybody who can honestly state that

“My knowledge of the sciences is primarily limited to the courses I took in high school – biology, chemistry and physics (because at that time I was planning on pursuing a career in marine biology)”

shouldn’t have that much of an excuse to get so much of the subject of evolution so wrong as they should have a basic understanding of biology, and specifically, evolution. Now granted, maybe he didn’t have the type of biology teacher who said “The stuff on the curriculum is stuff that you’ve already learned in health repeatedly, so I’m going to teach you something that you can use” and then taught the class about biochemistry and genetics, even at an introductory level, the types of things that are very useful when studying the subject of evolution, so I’ll give him a pass.

I will state that I’m unable to find the source of the criticism, and I’ll give him a pass on that. If he is unintentionally or intentionally misrepresenting and quote mining the statements made by the critic, I’ll leave the unnamed critic to go point that out. Because I’m fully aware of the ability of authors to alter posts on wordpress, I’ll be using the program snapashot to post photos of the comments in question whenever possible instead of quoting.

In regards to “but to say that I am lying or willfully misrepresenting things is both unfair and exhausting,” I will point out the following

“It is a shame that people use their positions of power to pass on their ignorance,… to people who will take their word at face value.”

Undue emphasis was put on the words that indicated intent, while the critic in question had stated that it was indeed a possibility for the author to simply be mistaken or ignorant about the subject in question (which would be unintentional), and passing on their poorly founded basis. And that is not, even by the most generous interpretation, saying that there is an attempt to lie or willfully misrepresent.

But I will state that should the theory of evolution, the big bang theory, the evidence for either theory be fully explained, and understood by the author, with continued erroneous statements that run contrary to those details, when the author knows better, then I wouldn’t merely be saying that Chris Jordan is lying, I’ll be demonstrating that he IS lying, without leaving the option of merely being mistaken or ignorant on the subject.

“I personally have failed to see any such evidences that support these claims. I do not believe that there is any evidence for macro-evolution. Micro-evolution within a species, yes, de-evolution, yes, but the idea that new information can be added to the genetic code and that one kind of animal can become another kind, I disagree with. A cat will never give birth to a dog. It’s a physical impossibility. To say that we are near cousins to the slug of the banana is reprehensible!”

Give me a second to calm down and quit slamming my head against a brick wall.

Okay, better. On the point of

“I personally have failed to see any such evidences that support these claims. I do not believe there is any evidence for macro-evolution.”

Then I’ll ask. What would be considered evidence for “macro-evolution”? To use a less common example, I’ll use cetaceans, a group that includes modern day whales. The evidence indicating their evolution from small terrestrial tetrapods consists of a number of things from multiple aspects. Due to the length of this post, and the quality of the effort put into the research, I’ll provide a link to one of the best researched blogs on the subject etb-whales.blogspot.ca.

Now of course, somebody could say “But those things are signs of a common designer, not a common ancestry.” Well then, I’d like you to think that over a bit. In what way you say that signs of common ancestry differ from common designer? Would the same means of preventing hiccups in some vertebrates (ex: mammals, birds, reptiles) causing other vertebrates (ex: amphibians) to suffocate be common design, or ancestry?

On the point of

“Micro-evolution within a species, yes”

Then, perhaps we should look at a few speciation events (meaning a new species has developed) that have occurred and have been documented in the last one hundred years. Now of course, the typical defense is to say that it is still a lizard, or still a fly, or still a bacteria, and, when the problems with that defense are sorted out, to resort to the fact that there is some ambiguity as to what a species is. To tackle the first defense, well, first, I will point out that the taxon in which the groups listed above (lizard, fly, often fruit fly as that is the common example, and bacteria) are well above the species level. In addition, given the fact that creationists have provided their definition as  variation within a species, a new species would not be micro-evolution, and attempting to say that is all evolution is limited to micro-evolution as creationists have defined it is, to put lightly, no, wait, I said I’d try to avoid that. Fine. Pretty dishonest.

For those wanting to become familiar with observed speciation events, the talkorigins pages would be good starting points (Observed instances of speciation, and More instances of speciation), as they go over what constitutes a species from a few different perspectives, and cite documented examples.

On the point of

“de-evolution, yes”

and here is where one really demonstrates a poor understanding of evolution, which is saying something given the competition for the award of demonstrating a poor understanding of evolution. I had explained it to him once, and I’ll explain it again. Evolution, when it comes to science, meaning that I will not using the layman definition of change over time which is applicable to so many instances, is defined as the variation of allele frequencies (for any other definitions, I’d recommend part one of an ongoing series, with the part in question focusing on the definitions for the rest of the series). So, with that in mind, how does “de-evolution” differ from evolution?

On the point of

the idea that new information can be added to the genetic code and that one kind of animal can become another kind, I disagree with.

quite frankly, doesn’t impress me. As has been said so many times, define information. Even in the post by AIG (Answers In Genesis, a group that is referred to and recommended in the blog I’m responding to) entitled Feedback: That Depends on What Your Definition of ‘Information’ is, fails to provide a definition of “information” as it relates to biology as creationists insist it does. Having gone through their index page on the subject of “information theory,” asked creationists what they mean by information, and yet to find a definition which isn’t either inapplicable to biology at best or completely useless at worst, vaguely defined, in any situation, no means of measuring the information such that we can tell the difference in the amount of information it takes to produce an ancestral species and a species descended from that, leaving no means by which we can measure or test, and no reason to accept the claim.

Although, that is the creationist idea of information. I’ve heard of one or two different definitions as it relates to biology (skip to 18:30), but of course, I’ll leave it to the creationists to figure out what they are.

On the point of

“A cat will never give birth to a dog. It’s a physical impossibility.”

I just have to shout, YOU FINALLY GOT SOMETHING RIGHT ON THE FIRST SHOT! WAY TO GO! Undue sarcasm aside, as I’ve said before in other places, find an evolutionist who’d say that something like this would even be permitted. That within a single generation, a member of a species would undergo enough mutations in order to become infertile with other members of its species (such as Felis catus, or as some prefer, Felis silvesterus catus) and simultaneously become able to produce fertile offspring with members of another extant species (such as Canis lupus familiarus), while also demonstrating all of the traits indicative of the later species, especially when they diverged roughly 50 mya. Because that is precisely what is being asked for here if it would be considered evidence of evolution.

There are two issues that I have with this response.

The first, is the entire design argument.  From the perspective of psychology, we’re great at implying intent, and hence, design. To use an example of such from earlier

Quote 1, taken February 24, 2012 @ 7:13 pm CST

You’ll find at least two parts that demonstrate people inferring intent.

  1. It is a shame that people use their positions of power to pass on their ignorance, or their lies, to people who will take their word at face value.
  2. It is wholly unfair to make assumptions about another person’s motives in sharing information…. but to say that I am lying or willfully misrepresenting things is both unfair and exhausting.

In the first part, the critic is making a statement about the actions, and in the response, Chris Jordan, makes an inference about the intent. As is more common, especially when dealing with those that we disagree with,

to say that I am lying or willfully misrepresenting

we pick up on what is there (“lying or willfully misrepresenting”), inferring only negative intentions with the statement, while forgetting the one that didn’t suggest intent (“pass on their ignorance”). There is an overgeneralization in regards to intent. This is kind of one of the downsides. We’re great at getting hits when it comes to intent and design, but it is only by means assuming that everything has intent or design. As an example, people rarely mistake a robber for a shadow, but will mistake shadows for robbers.

Now, that is only an example of people inferring intention and overgeneralizing intent. But, how does that relate to design? Well, the first question to be asked, is how do we infer design? It tends to consist of a few things.

  1. Interaction. We can determine that a watch, a cell phone, or a television is designed because they cannot come about without human interaction. We know the stages involved, such as the extraction of resources, the refinement of those resources, the shaping of those resources, and the application of those items, etc. and the only means that we’ve seen those stages occur is the direct action of human beings. Even if we were to replace one stage, or all of them, with machines to carry out the process, it wouldn’t change it as a) the items would still be designed by a being of some sort, b) the items would be designed by beings created by human beings. It is the interaction between a being (human beings, machines, intelligent species, etc) and matter that produces design. Now, there are a few things that blur the line at that point, so the second criteria used is
  2. Intention. With things such as very primitive tools (rocks used as knives, twigs used to obtain insects), it can be difficult to identify them as designed. As an example, the tools employed by chimpanzees for various purposes do not differ that much from the raw resources. They don’t appear to be altered significantly. So identifying the tool as designed is rather difficult unless one is familiar with chimpanzees or has observed the use of the tools. Yet the tools fit the basic criteria. The resources are extracted (small twig removed from a tree), refined (leaves and anything unwanted is removed), and applied (used to get termites out of a hole). Of course, somebody might say that the twig or resources were already designed, because it met the criteria that somebody was looking for. This is the point of intention. If a rock is produced by the processes of nature, it isn’t designed. There is no intent behind its production, nor behind the combination of the chemicals from which it is composed, just as there is no intent behind the hundreds of thousands of other rocks out there. It might be shaped by the environment through forces such as erosion, but there is no intent behind it. When dealing with intent, it can be very easy to overgeneralize (part of the reason I started with that as an intro to looking at design), and see intent where there is none, pardon the horrible joke, intended. As another example of this, there was one interview which stands out in my mind. About part way through an interview between Richard Dawkins and <Insert name>, they began to speak of natural selection as though it were a being with intent.
  3. By contrasting things which are undesigned/uncreated with those that are designed/created. This final stage is useful for when we’ve recreated the conditions under which something develops (such as the development of diamonds), normally without human interaction. In this instance, we look for ways in which those without human (or, given that there are other species we know of  with the capacity to produce tools , one might be more inclined to say intentional) interaction differ from processes that occur without intention. As an example, we can go with diamonds compared to cubic zirconia.  These are two things that are visually identical without any further inspection. And there lies the problem with creationism, is that its proponents say that everything is created or designed, in which case, we don’t have any means of producing a contrast using any criteria, regardless of how much inspection occurs.

One of the problems with attempting to state that anything biological is designed is that organisms tend to do one thing that the example of tools and technology can’t do. Organisms can reproduce, and when they do, the offspring are not usually perfect genetic replicates of either parent (or in the case of organisms that reproduce asexually, of the parent), and pass on those changes to the next generation.

But what the arguments for Intelligent Design tend to center around consist of things which their proponents regard as irreducibly complex, in other words, the removal of one part or more renders it unable to function. As an example of this, the popular example, used by the likes of Michael Behe during the Dover Trial, is the bacterial flagellum. Despite the quotes describing the bacterial flagellum, the description of how it works, what it resembles, or quotes about how it could not have evolved, those who specialize in the study of any system claimed to be irreducibly complex are more than capable of seeing ways in which it had evolved. For an example of this, I’d recommend viewing Judgement Day: Evolution on Trial.

Of course, in the instance of not finding any evidence of said combination, the defense might be that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, to which I point out that it is unsupported, and unfalsifiable, leaving a very poor basis for one to accept the claim.

It should go without saying that there might be other factors for determining if something is designed that I’m unaware of, and in that case, feel free to state what you think the signs of it are.

Of course, that is ignoring the other problems with Intelligent Design, such as even if people such as myself were to grant that there is a designer, then how did the designer do the production of anything that some would think to be intelligently designed?

The second issue I have, is in regards to

“the Bible is the only one that I have come across that has withstood criticisms and in my humble opinion, is the only true historical account for how we came to be here.”

Great. As a criticism of the basis for that statement, feel free to quote me on this, can the author, Chris Jordan

  1. cite the criticism of the biblical account of creation?
  2. cite the evidence for the biblical account of creation?
  3. cite the criticism of the account of creation from at least two other religions that exist today?
  4. cite the evidence for those two accounts of creation?
  5. cite the criticism for the claims made by scientists in relevant fields in regards to the big bang theory and the theory of evolution?
  6. cite the evidence presented for either claim?
  7. demonstrate an understanding of the evidence and criticism requested of at least four of the above questions?

and if not, on what basis can the statement quoted above be justified? After all, if an understanding of the evidence indicative of a claim and the criticism of said claim cannot be demonstrated, it would leave “the Bible is the only one that I have come across” the only accurate segment from that quote.

Unfortunately, given that a number of sites that are from christian creationists do something which makes me wonder if he’d even be aware of the errors and problems with the Bible. I’ll quote two sites as an example.

From Answers In Genesis, Section four of their Statement of Faith

“By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.”

From Eric Hovind’s Statement of Faith on CreationToday.Org

“No apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and science, can be valid if it contradicts Scripture.”

Unfortunately, there are others, but this will be sufficient as an example. Overall, there are two problems. The first is that it indicates what they want, and the second is what they will do to get what they want. It indicates that they want to believe something so much that they will ignore all evidence that points to the contrary. Now, if that doesn’t seem absurd, imagine the practitioners of another religion doing much the same thing.

Of course, one might argue that AiG does provide a reason for why they do so. They clearly state in the second sentence provided

“Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.”

Now, each of these is equally applicable to the people making the statement. The difference is, science does have a few methods which eliminate each of these problems. Evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people, and double checked by others who are more than happy to prove them wrong on any point, or on each, in a process known as peer review. Should the interpretation be shown to be wrong in peer review, it is corrected.

Worth noting is that Chris Jordan has recommended AiG, among other creationist sources.

Quite frankly, the answer strikes me as an attempt to dodge, to avoid deep thinking, hard questions, and the investigation that they require, while hindering us from developing as doing so has permitted us to do so in all aspects of life. I think Carl Sagan captured this point perfectly, so I’ll provide the quote in question.

   “If the general picture of a big bang, followed by an expanding universe, is correct, what happened before that? Was the universe devoid of all matter, and then the matter, suddenly, somehow created? How did that happen?

In many cultures, the customary answer is that a god or gods created the universe out of nothing. But if we wish to pursue this question courageously, we must ask the next question.Where did god come from? If we decide that this is an unanswerable question, why not save a step, and conclude that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question? Or if we say that god always existed, why not save a step and conclude that the universe always existed? That there’s no need for a creation, that it was always here.

These are not easy questions. Cosmology brings us face to face with the deepest mysteries, with questions that were once only treated in religion and myth.”

As well as the inability to test the qualities of supernatural beings (such as deities, demons, demi-gods, etc), the statement is untestable, and hence, unverifiable. With no way to really know as we can claim to know something in science, the statement is without basis, and as a result, to people such as myself, those that would be considered critics, are without a sound basis on which to accept the claim made that the deity in question always existed.

As for the final part

“It’s amazing to me how people can have a hard time believing that an all-powerful being could have created the universe, and yet choose to believe the more unbelievable idea that everything that exists came from nothing, or by chance.”

I’m not even going to bother going over it unless the author can understand the quantum fluctuations that some cosmologists such as Lawrence Krauss have described (and to which the statement “that everything that exists came from nothing” more than likely refers, if not to an old strawman of the Big Bang), or mutations shaped by selection mechanisms, with successful ones spreading throughout a population.

And luckily, I had taken pictures of the commentss in question, so, I have one advantage, given that sometime after it was posted, it was replaced with this little statement.

Cute. No response? Depend on an ad hom. Weak response? Replace it with an ad hom. Because depending on a valid response and well supported argument is pretty difficult. Of course, one can always say that it wasn’t edited. Well then, I’d recommend that you look into that.

From http://lzyixing.com/my_critics_critic_for_you.html?s=10

Or, if you prefer, try google http://www.google.ca/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=the+beausejour+pulpit+wordpress+response+to+the+critics&pbx=1&oq=the+beausejour+pulpit+wordpress+response+to+the+critics&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=3&gs_upl=8899l10335l1l11028l6l2l4l0l0l0l106l164l1.1l6l0&gs_l=serp.3…8899l10335l1l11029l6l2l4l0l0l0l106l164l1j1l6l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=5cd5ecda6aaa9604&biw=1600&bih=771

Should Chris Jordan deny the alteration of the post in question, then I’ll be inclined to ask him to provide a picture of when the post was last edited.

As a side note, the verse goes on to say a bit more. Even if you are unfamiliar with the language used, or even the meaning of the word fool as used by the author, it becomes pretty easy to see what was intended. The authors were speaking of immoral people as opposed to stupid people.

Relevant links

Pastor Chris Jordan’s Blog

A Response to the Critics

Origins #1 Creation Part 1

Origins #1 Creation Part 2

Origins #2 The Fall Part 1

Origins #2 The Fall Part 2

Recommended viewing

On Intelligent Design

Neil DeGrasse Tyson presenting at the Amazing meeting, start from 57:10

C0nc0rdance vs The Discovery Institute

Nova – Intelligent Design on Trial

IDiots once again justify their name

References without sources

The Carl Sagan excerpt is from Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.

Links recommended for Chris Jordan

For the basics

Evolution 101 – evolution.berkeley.edu

Evolution index – PBS

Evogenvideos and Lithodidman – Youtube (somewhat crude)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

It Isn’t Worth Reading

I’ll quote the author of what I’m about to respond to.

“TAKE TIME TO READ. It’s worth reading it. Trust me :)”

QUIT SHOUTING ASSHOLE! THATS MY JOB!

So what is it exactly that I’m responding to? You know, I could point out how its a modified version of other posts (see here, and here)that name the student as Albert Einstein, but quite frankly, that doesn’t seem like it’d do the piece the proper degree of respect it deserves.

The piece thought of as being worth reading, with commentary

__________________________________________________
Professor : You are a Christian, aren’t you, son ?

Student : Yes, sir.

Professor: So, you believe in GOD ?

Student : Absolutely, sir.

Professor : Is GOD good ?

Student : Sure.

Professor: Is GOD all powerful ?

Student : Yes.

Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to GOD to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But GOD didn’t. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?

(Student was silent.)

Professor: You can’t answer, can you ? Let’s start again, young fella. Is GOD good?

Student : Yes.

Professor: Is satan good ?

Student : No.

Professor: Where does satan come from ?

Student : From … GOD …

Professor: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

Student : Yes.

Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it ? And GOD did make everything. Correct?

Student : Yes.

Professor: So who created evil ?

(Student did not answer.)

Professor: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don’t they?

Student : Yes, sir.

Professor: So, who created them ?

(Student had no answer.)

Professor: Science says you have 5 Senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son, have you ever seen GOD?

Student : No, sir.

Professor: Tell us if you have ever heard your GOD?

Student : No , sir.

Professor: Have you ever felt your GOD, tasted your GOD, smelt your GOD? Have you ever had any sensory perception of GOD for that matter?

Student : No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.

Professor: Yet you still believe in Him?

Student : Yes.

Professor : According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?

____________________________________________________

Comment – really, the professor is an idiot. I’d say that this is a strawman of what every atheist would come up with after about two and a half minutes of thought.

First of all, it doesn’t take much to realize the severe limitations of our senses. Its because of that limitation that we depend on testing and experiments. After all, our senses are unable to see microscopic organisms, they are unable to sense most of the electromagnetic spectrum, unable to smell carbon dioxide, and even more of a reason to be concerned, can’t smell carbon monoxide.

Second of all, just think it over. X-rays didn’t suddenly begin to exist once an image was produced using them. It means that there is insufficient basis on which to honestly claim that there is a deity of any kind, let alone satan, angels, or demons.

___________________________________________________

Student : Nothing. I only have my faith.

____________________________________________________

Comment – When left with nothing, the only resort left is to say you only have faith, which struck me as a poor basis for believing even when I was a christian. Its weak because
a) theists like to use different definitions of the word to suit their purposes, and would rather not clarify which meaning was intended.
b) even if we were to grant any definition that they wish to use, it doesn’t answer why they have faith. It doesn’t provide a basis on which we are to see if the idea is even valid.
____________________________________________________

Professor: Yes, faith. And that is the problem Science has.

Student : Professor, is there such a thing as heat?

Professor: Yes.

Student : And is there such a thing as cold?

Professor: Yes.

Student : No, sir. There isn’t.

(The lecture theater became very quiet with this turn of events.)

Student : Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.

(There was pin-drop silence in the lecture theater.)

Student : What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?

Professor: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?

Student : You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light. But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and its called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness isn’t. If it is, well you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?

___________________________________________________
Comment – good defense, but unfortunately for christianity, the deity is argued as being infinite and omnipresent. So, which one is it? The deity is infinite, in which case, it should be absolutely impossible for there to be a lack of it in any place, or not, in which case they sacrifice the “greatest conceivable being” argument, one that William Laine Craig uses to tie his other arguments together?
_____________________________________________________

Professor: So what is the point you are making, young man ?

Student : Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.

Professor: Flawed ? Can you explain how?

Student : Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good GOD and a bad GOD. You are viewing the concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, Science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.
_____________________________________________________
Comment – The difference: we can test one, and we can demonstrate an improvement in our understanding of thoughts by means of better means of promoting and maintaining good mental health. The other one, any deity, is unable to be tested, because every time we’ve come close to debunking them, they’ve moved. They changed their address. They start out on the mountains and high hills. El Shaddai. The Olympians. Then they moved to the sky. Then they went way beyond that, to the point where they aren’t even in the same universe. Or in one. It seems to me like as though they keep digging in hopes of finding gold while hiding.
_____________________________________________________
Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?

Professor: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

Student : Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

(The Professor shook his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument was going.)

Student : Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor. Are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?
_____________________________________________________

Comment – Will he ignore all of the documented instances of speciation, the changing of allele frequencies within populations, the development of ring species, and the papers documenting phylogenetic relationships using genetics? Damned right. If he wants to ignore things, I can ignore half the shit the kid spews. And if he really is Einstein, fuck him. Just make sure it isn’t a woman that does it because that’d put whatever genes he has back into what appears to be the shallow end of gene pool he just crawled out of.
____________________________________________________
(The class was in uproar.)

Student : Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain?

(The class broke out into laughter. )

Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?
___________________________________________________

Comment – And he shows exactly why the earlier part was a strawman, by using the same strawman. We can infer that human beings have a brain, because every instance of removal or sufficient damage has so far shown that lacking one would result in death. And we don’t even need to do an inference. If we wanted to, we can scan the brains of every single person, find out what their brain looks like, which regions are slightly different from the average, and then open up the skull just to confirm.

But of course, this is yet another difference between grey matter (something which I’m inclined to suspect that the author of the piece is lacking) and any deity you wish to name. We can actually verify that the brain exists. We can measure it. Hell, we can even do surgery on it to attempt to heal it should the brain become damaged. We can’t do that with a deity.

_____________________________________________________
(The room was silent. The Professor stared at the student, his face unfathomable.)

Professor: I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.

_____________________________________________________

Comment – bullshit son. If somebody who isn’t a professor can smell your shit, and shovel it back into the hole you’ve dug yourself, I doubt any professor worth their salt would say “take it on faith.”

_____________________________________________________

Student : That is it sir … Exactly ! The link between man & GOD is FAITH. That is all that keeps things alive and moving.

______________________________________________________

Comment – I was pretty certain what kept things alive was a combination of processes, such as respiration, metabolism, and reproduction.
______________________________________________________
P.S.

I believe you have enjoyed the conversation. And if so, you’ll probably want your friends / colleagues to enjoy the same, won’t you?

Forward this to increase their knowledge … or FAITH.

By the way, that student was EINSTEIN.
____________________________________________________
Comment – Or to increase the number of lols, or the amount of bullshit they can produce.

23rd of December

To those of you who don’t follow a good deal of events in the world, I don’t blame you, but I’d like to inform you of one. A few days ago, on December 10th, 2011, a silent protest consisting of thirty people in the island nation of the Maldives took place, advocating for freedom of religion. Hilath Rasheed, one of the recognizable participants of the event, was attacked by at least five individuals, which left him with injuries. I am unaware of the severity, and as such, will not comment on it. What I do commend him for is not being deterred from speaking his mind when it comes to the state of affairs in the Maldives, despite being attacked and having his blog blocked by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs within the nation. There are few people who I know of who would continue under the pressure which individuals such as him endure.

Religious NGOs and government parties have since spoken out against the protestors, calling for the deaths of the non-muslims, (and from what I’ve heard, those who are condemned in the Koran) in an event starting on the 23rd of December. I only hope that my speaking out on the matter has not in any way sped it up. The site, 23december.com, is urging for 100,000 maldivians, or as many as possible, to join the protest in defense of islam. Since it was put up, it was altered for a short time, during which time, according to some of those who saw it, a statement was made threatening those who ran the site. If it was done on purpose by those who run the site to create an enemy for them to attack, or by those opposed to them and acting out of anger or fear, I don’t know. What does appear likely is that the basis is to maintain the expressed viewpoint that the Maldives are 100% islamic, with every citizen being a muslim.

To those who would consider taking part, I would have to ask why? I’ve interacted with only a few Maldivians, and for the most part, the ones I’ve talked to are close to so many of you. They come from among your family members and your friends. If the aura of fear which you help to generate, either by taking part in events such as these, calling for their death, or saying nothing against those who do, did not exist, you might know their opinions. I don’t doubt that if it were not for events such as these which you become so passionate about, you would be generally good people, and because of that, it is this that I’m inclined to ask. Would you consider taking the place of one who is part of the out crowd? Would you consider being in a position in which you are not permitted to express your opinion, simply because it runs contrary to that of the majority, and in doing so, a close family member would contemplate your murder?

In response to those who wish to say that the protestors express islamophobia, I will inform you now, that is not what they express. The three main reasons for this are

1.)    There has been nothing which renders the fear of Muslims such as yourself irrational. The calls for violence, backed by previous events in recent history,

2.)    The lack of prejudice. As somebody I know put it, “In the west, genuine islamophobia exists, and it is a fair fact that there is a lot of unfair bigotry directed at muslims.

3.)    The overreaction to events which you regard as challenging your world view. From that same discussion, “Over here, they’ve extrapolated from that phenomena to an inappropriate context, where anyone who expresses reservations about islam or wants to separate mosque from state is automatically labeled a bigot.”

There is a genuine phobia in some places, and sometimes, on the same basis with which you seem to have with secularists. If there is any phobia to speak of, it is directed towards those who don’t share the views of the majority, of which you are a member.

As a final word, I’d like to comment on the likes of some of the more uncaring Maldivians. For instance, Smoky Lungs, whom I’ve interacted with before, and unfortunately, have had the unpleasant experience of recently learning something about. I don’t take well to people who have no problem with the idea of human sacrifice, and I have even less patience for one who would want it to happen to achieve their goals, be they secularism or fascism. Do the words

“I aim to have you muslims kill one us non muslims on 23rd december… cos that would further my agenda a lot more…. so on with the jihadi spirit and kill a non muslim will you already, cos that would seriously put our cause on the world’s attention…. You kill one of and the government will arrest you and the international spotlight falls on Madlives. And that my friend is what is going to happen and needs to happen too…. These haabee fucks are ready to kill and they will kill on the 23rd. That will be our gateway to freedom in the Maldives…. When one of you muslim terrorists kills one of us on the 23rd the tides will turn to our side in the Maldives when we gain global sympathy because you murdered us for wanting our rights.”

sound familiar? You, quite frankly, make me ill. I’ve been around psychopaths, I’ve been around the most malevolent people you could imagine, and I’ve seen them directed towards other people. I’ve never before seen somebody represent a mix of all three in the pursuit of respectable goals such as that of equality. What a pathetic, disgusting, and despicable method. You want the attention of the world focused on the Maldives? There is a bit more now. What I cannot guarantee, is that the world will look upon you as horribly as they look upon those that you oppose, and if I had my way, they would.

Due to the developing nature of the event, I will be updating the following sections as time goes on. The links provided have more details than I can find, so they will will be recommended as additional reading.

Links on the subject

http://uglyy.blogspot.com/2011/12/cowardly-attack.html

http://minivannews.com/politics/government-expresses-concern-over-protests-call-for-slaughter-and-murder-29314

http://minivannews.com/society/protesters-calling-for-religious-tolerance-attacked-with-stones-threatened-with-death-29260

http://minivannews.com/politics/police-summon-protest-organiser-adhaalath-party-president-for-questioning-29355

Hilath’s blog

http://www.hilath.com/

The link to the official site of the call to murder (not in English, I’ve requested that somebody involved with Maldivian Apostates provide a translation of a page or two)

http://23december.com/

The objectionable (and downright despicable) posts by Smoky Lungs

section 1

section 2

 

Survey posted on facebook (Is the maldives 100% muslim?)

I’ve heard Hilath might be held in custody at the moment, and haven’t found anything to verify it as of yet.

The Ten Commandments Aren’t Great: Critique and Alternative set

The source that I’m using for the statements regarding the Ten Commandments, as found in Exodus chapter 20: The Ten Commandments of the Bible

Yes, criticism of something that is new this time if the age of the comments in the comment section are any indication.

The list

  1. You shall have no other gods before me
  2. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
  3. You shall not take the name of the lord your god in vain, for the lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
  5. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Commandment 1: have no other gods before me

As a means of promoting morality or well being within society (“These 10 commandments are good, basic, moral laws that will help keep us out of trouble with ourselves, family, friends, and neighbors”), it is inconsequential.

Commandment 2: Make no images, nor worship them

As a means of promoting morality or well being within society, on account of the previously provided statement from the site, it too, is inconsequential. The only basis on which it has a consequence, is on account of

For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

which I can use against another statement made.

God knows what is best for us and He simply wants all of us to stay out of trouble

If this were the case, then the basis for the basis for why people would be in trouble, is something which he can choose not to do. The value in the action is not dependent upon it’s direct impact on people around them, but on the actions of a deity.

Commandment 3: Don’t take the name in vain

Unfortunately for the person who worked on the site I’m criticizing, your claim that

The above 10 commandments need no explanation.

as demonstrated by those in the comment section (thank nia), there is need to explain. In regards to 20:7

It is uncertain what this command was intended to refer to: suggestions include deceitful oaths (as in Lev 19:12), unwarranted use of formal curses (Brichto 1963: 59–68), the use of God’s name in magic spells, or all of these and other things (Childs 1974: 410–12). But it is quite clear that the improper use of the name YHWH is prohibited. The command is closely related to 20:2–6. It is YHWH’s honour that is at stake. To wrest his name to one’s own private and deceitful purposes is to dishonour the one who bears it.

(2001-09-06). The Oxford Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 4668-4672). Oxford University Press – A. Kindle Edition.

So, unless the people responsible for it think that the commandments require no explanation, then by all means, they should be informed of rather significant details such as the original context of the verse having been lost.

Commandment 4: Sabbath Day

A ritual law, which would be better suited to the ten commandments found in Exodus 34.

Commandment 5: Honour Your Parents

Quite frankly, I’m inclined to view this one negatively. Honour is not earned within the context of the commandments, it is given on the basis of who you are related to, regardless of if it is deserved. Say for instance, somebody’s parents kick the hypothetical person out because that person questioned their parents’ actions. A cruel action, which harms the individual, on a poor basis. On what basis should somebody be inclined to honour them? That might not be enough to demonstrate the absurdity of the commandment. Say that a parent kills two out of three of their children. On what basis should the last child be inclined to honour that parent?

Although, to be specific, the commandment doesn’t apply to children, so lets modify those examples to the demographic it would be applicable to. Adults looking after their parents who are old enough to have difficulty looking after themselves. On what basis should the individual who has endured either scenario be inclined to honour their parents?

Commandment 6: Do not Murder

Finally, one that promotes morality. Murder, usually used in the bible to refer to the unlawful killing of a member of the community (meaning that this excludes capital punishment). But there are problems with it. For instance, say that somebody is accused of a crime, found guilty, and executed, with new evidence which can be  a scenario that happens more often than what we might want to see. One might be inclined to suggest that commandment nine would address this, to which I’m inclined to ask: how would you account for facts which you are unaware of?

Commandment 7: No fucking around

Sure, that isn’t quite it, but it sounds a lot better than how they say it. Try enforcing this one. The best that has been attempted is to induce shame, guilt, and fear for even thinking about it, and that hasn’t done the job. Turkey attempted to enforce the law in about 2004, without success. All of the arguments that can be dragged out in favor of this one, such as limiting the spread of disease, the risk of pregnancy without support, and matters of trusting one another, can be undone by pointing out that the spread of disease can be limited by making informed decisions, that modern support is not solely limited to the person who is the father, and that people can have an open relationship without having trust issues, although, depending on the presentation of the arguments, the simple objections might not address them in whole.

Commandment 8: Don’t steal

Finally, one which promotes morality, and doesn’t have problems. One out of ten that promotes morality, well being, and doesn’t have problems. Think about that for a second. But it could go along with another commandment, number nine, in a sort of merge referred to as “Be honest.”

Commandment 9: Don’t bear false witness against thy neighbour

This one related to legal conduct, and quite frankly, can be expanded upon, to something akin to “Be honest.” It isn’t that hard to say, and does a lot more. It doesn’t have the limitation of being only to those who you regard as your neighbour or to be acknowledged in legal proceedings.

Commandment 10: Don’t envy your neighbour

A few problems with this commandment, as summarized by Hitchens

  1. It establishes a thought crime. Nothing to do with actions, but with thoughts
  2. It equates people, especially women, with property

On just the first point alone, it is flawed.

Unremarkable nature

I find it rather unremarkable that the commandments were written in stone, given the importance which has been attributed to them, the supposed capabilities of the deity to which the commandments are attributed by means of dictation, and that the tablets they are written on are shattered, causing the need for a new decalogue to be produced within Exodus 34. A more remarkable, and by the standard set of the site

“The fact that God would go so far as to have these basic 10 commandments manifested on a stone tablet really tells me they are very important

method would be to have them manifest clearly in the stars, not only in Ancient Hebrew, but other languages, depending on the time and distribution of the language, with explanations, and the author clearly defined, so that they would exist for a much longer period of time, that they could not be simply shattered, and would be better understood due to the lack of ambiguity on account of an explanation.

An Alternate Ten

But now that at the very least, a basic criticism of the ten commandments has been presented, what would an alternate set consist of? What set of ten, fairly straightforward statements, can be used to communicate morality and social well being?

  1. Be honest, especially in your dealings with others, in the search to learn about the universe, and to yourself.
  2. Acknowledge that you are not the only person, and as a result, that your needs aren’t any more important than the needs of another due to any perceived superiority such as wealth, fame, or affiliations, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity
  3. Admit when you are wrong, so that you can undo any damage that might have been done as a result of being wrong.
  4. Recognize that as a member of the species Homo sapiens, that your survival and health are dependent upon other species, and upon the Earth. Act accordingly to ensure that they are not harmed.
  5. Acknowledge when another being is suffering, either by circumstance or due to intent, and act to prevent their suffering.
  6. Learn and think critically so that you can improve not only your lot in life, but as many lives as you can.
  7. Never condemn or praise somebody for something which they have no control over. Condemn or praise people on the basis of their actions, contributions, and their character.
  8. Empathy and knowledge should be at the basis of every decision; when you lack them, do not commit any action which you cannot correct.
  9. Do not feel obligated to be completely for or against anything. If you regard only segments of something to be valid or good, state that, and criticize the things which you regard as bad or don’t regard as valid.
  10. The future generations are important. Don’t teach them what to think, teach them how to think.

While they might not be as memorable, they are good, basic, and moral laws, which promote societal well being, and would keep people out of trouble, which is what the Ten Commandments referred to earlier from Exodus 20 don’t really do that well, while being completely dedicated to those concepts, which the ten commandments are not. A fallible human being should not be able to do that which a supposedly infallible deity is not inclined to do.

And to Richard Dawkins who didn’t bother really trying to come up with his own list in the God Delusion, it isn’t that hard to come up with ten, but that tenth one is a real Christopher diCarlo.

Additional critique’s of the ten commandments

Christopher Hitchens: The New Commandments

George Carlin – The Ten Commandments (Comedy)

Mr Deity and The Top Ten (Comedy)