atheism

BS Science – Creationism (via Dr. Sci-Psy)

Basilosaurus cetoides, an archaeocete whale fr...

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Links, bolds and underlines are mine. The tumblr of this guy is very funny, he’s smart. Follow it ;)

Here are some of the most common talking points creationists use.

1) No one has seen evolution in action. This theory is based on speculation.

As a microbiologist, I find this offensive. I witness evolution all the time when bacteria gain antibiotic resistance. This is small but very easy to see if you look at Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bug that arose due to evolution and the overuse of antibiotics selecting for specific traits.

2) There are no transitional fossils (intermedeary fossils that show evolutionary transition).

There are. A lot of them actually. My favorites are whales. The Fossils we have have put their evolution as so: the land mammal Indohyus, returns to the water and transitions into Ambulocetus, then after two more known transitions (Protocetid and Basilosaurus), finally ends as Cetaceans – modern whales. Besides, evolution itself is a fluid transitional process. All living species are currently in a state of “transition”.

3) Evolution can’t explain how life started.

Well, it’s not supposed to. The process in which life started that so many creationists talk about is something else all together called “abiogenesis.” This branch of science has many theories (I’m particular to the RNA world hypothesis) but has nothing to do with evolution. Evolution explains how species change over time through natural selection.

Having creationism (or its dressed-up inbred cousin, “intelligent design”) taught in any science class is detrimental to children’s cognitive development. If we teach kids that the earth is 6,000 years old, we’re teaching them that it’s okay to ignore empirical evidence. Being able to shape your beliefs on things that are testable and falsifiable is one of the most important skills anyone can learn.

via Dr. Sci-Psy.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (via Chemoton § Vitorino Ramos’ research notebook)

Awesome!!

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Fig. – Christ having some problems on passing the right message. Comic strip from Zach Weiner (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal blog – smbc-comics.com ). Social psychologists, sociologists, and economists have all proposed theories of norm emergence. In general, they views norm emergence as depending on three factors: (i) actors’ preferences regarding their own behaviour (inclinations); (ii) actors’ preferences regarding the behaviour of others … Read More

via Chemoton § Vitorino Ramos’ research notebook

Why a Moral God is unlikely

Take it with a pinch of salt, I’m not a philosopher. Few ideas as well as confused, we jokingly say in Italy. Enjoy.

We are told by a lot of theologists that the concept of God has being strengthened in the last centuries, because the complexity of reality, step by step disclosed by the Science, seems to support the idea that the birth of this universe would have been impossible without a sort of “supernatural engineering”, made by a Very Intelligent Entity.

To play along with them, let’s assume such a God exists, as in the latest forms of Intelligent Design: God created a kind of experimental setup, made it implode, and since the Big Bang he’s been watching us for some reasons that we don’t know. Unfortunately for the strongest atheists of the world, this could be a possible scenario, from a theoretical point of view.

Here’s the rub! Do we really believe that we are God’s beloved? We could be some kind of God’s experiments, like these of the Artificial Life scientists that try to create little worlds, with autonomous agents controlled by a neural network and evolved with a genetic algorithm very similar to natural evolution! We could be some kind of art, for an higher dimensional world. We could be anything, but nothing seems to suggest that the extreme hugeness and complexity of the universe is made for us, for the good of us, and that he cares about how we live!

Think a bit about the soul. Some theologists are starting to agree with the brain-is-the-mind theory, suggesting that the soul can be “stored” in an higher (divine) dimension, and that we can see, in the brain, only the part that matters for our existence, like everything else. They can easily try to create a theoretical framework that include every scientific result without breaking their theology.

I don’t blame them for this, on the contrary I think it could be funny and challenging for our reasoning skills. But think for a bit about Moral God. An extremely intelligent entity (like scientists compared to simple simulated agents) did an hard work to set up an auto-assembling and auto-organizing universe, waiting for the creation of a living being similar (on a small scale) to him (because now we are very near to create complex artificial world, letting them auto-organizing to see the emergence of life and intelligence), only to see billions of billions of us living and almost dying, and then to do something like this:

  1. Saving, just before death, one’s genome and neurons activation states (and some other biological information, but only a bit more I suppose) to permit his regeneration in a kind of new afterdeath existence
  2. Analyzing the log of his life, judging if he was good or bad.
  3. Putting him forever into the right new world, one of pure pain and one of pure rapture
  4. Goto 1, infinite cycle

Well, why such an intelligent entity would have to waste so much time and memory of his “divine computer”? He could eliminate the universe and the natural death, simplify our bodies, put small fixed number groups of people, one after the other for a fixed time, into a simple world: he could let us interact, and then analyze our moral performance keeping for him the best ones (or using it like moulds for next trials).

It would be absolutely more efficient and less cruel, wouldn’t it?

that he cares about how we live!