29 January 2009


Religion does three things quite effectively: Divides people, Controls people, Deludes people. - Carlespie Mary Alice McKinney

Bill board idea

28 January 2009

The Chaser's War on Everything

The Secret


Holy Shit-Stain Jesus


To have an invisible friend at the age of eight is charming and not a cause for concern. To have an invisible friend in adulthood is however a cause for concern and could be considered psychotic. So how exactly does giving them the name of a deity change that opinion? - Phil Slattery

27 January 2009

This is chilly

What Islam is Not - video showing the effect of Islam population in different countries. Whether there is a casual relationship between level of peace and Islam Population percentage is a subject worth investigating. The data really is alarming.
"The World is divided into armed camps ready to commit genocide just because we can't agree on whose fairy tales to believe.
In the end, Religion will kill us all." -- Ed Krebs

Theist's attack of Science

Here is an amazing demonstration of the ignorance, hopefully not typical of the general American public.

One major difference between mythical prediction and Science is the grounding based on evidence. The value of a Scientific theory is based on whether it can accurately predict outcomes. One counter-example will throw the theory out.

26 January 2009

Personal god

Do you realise how pathetic it would be for a creator to alter the working order of the universe in order to answer the prayer of 1 of the 6.75 billion human who is one of the 1.5 million species on Earth, which is one of the eight planets of the Solar System which is one of 200 billion stars making up the Milky Way which is one of the 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe [ignoring the possibility of multiple universes]? [numbers are estimates from sources linked]

It would be mad to say that this creator would be so obsessed by human recognition to the point that s/he created a hell to punish those who do not!

24 January 2009

The cutting edge of Physics explained in layman terms

Near the end of the video, a very good question was asked: What is the difference between Physicists' description of the formation of Universe (Multiverse) different from the description from the bible? Bible accounts to only itself (which fails miserably). Physicists' description account to the data from the real world. If the data do not fit, the theory will have to be thrown away and start again. That is a BIG difference. That is why Science is leading the advancement of humanity while theology is hindering the advancement.

Religion Vs Science 2

What has religion done to humanity? The Muslim Conquests, the French Wars of Religion, the Crusades, and the Reconquista are just a few examples.

What has Science done to humanity? The following video are just a few examples.

What is behind Faith Healer

Religion Vs Science

Here is a typical religious argument: Eternal Everything? and the following is a physicist's presentation of the latest superstring theory:

As you watch the video, whether you understand the physics behind it or not, you can notice the frequent 'track back', questioning whether the theory works or not. A beautiful theory will be rejected if it cannot be used to predict things that happens in the real world. The idea of more than 3 dimension (plus time) was once rejected although it can produce both the gravitational force and electromagnetic force models (about 5:00), it cannot produce prediction for example of the mass of electrons.

At this moment, superstring theory is at a similar stage. Can we test the theory to see whether it is true or not? AND experiments are actually designed and being carried as I am writing these sentences.

Compare that to the theological argument. Not to mention the lack of logic, no theological theory has ever passed a single test. The idea of designing ways of testing god exists or not was considered "lack of faith".

The example quoted above lacks consistent logic as well. Even if god exists, it is NOT necessarily the god in the old testament. There is absolutely no evidence that god exists. There is no effect on this universe whether god exists or not. The argument of the existence of god is 'reluctant'.

Some may argument that religion provides an objective moral standard. Well this can be reputed too easily. Many civilisations existed before Christianity. These societies operated well at that time. Moral is a changing yardstick. Old testament supports slavery, treat woman as a property, conflicts were resolved by brutal force. Today, these are considered barbaric actions and do not fit the modern standard of morality.

The moral standard, if any, set by the god in old testament is so bad no modern human should even give it a thought. Moral is developed as part of the evolution of human and will continue to develop. Just as the understanding of the universe is being advanced and hence we can enjoy a much better living than generations before us.

Today, as in centuries ago, organised religion is hindering the progress of human civilisation. It is time for us to grow up and throw away these silly ideas and think logically, evidence-based and with reasons.

23 January 2009


With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg

22 January 2009

Holy cow!


A man`s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. - Albert Einstein

Tragicle -1

[News and comment]

7 people died and at least 50 injured after the ceiling collapsed - roof of a church in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Is it an act of god? Is god punishing these people?

The founders of the church (The Reborn in Christ Church) have legal problems:

It was founded in 1986 by Estevam and Sonia Hernandes, a couple who were arrested in Miami in 2007 for failing to declare a large sum of cash brought into the United States.
Brazilian media reported in October that the country's Supreme Court had suspended Brazil's request for the couple to be extradited from the United States. They are wanted in Brazil on money laundering charges. [source]

So god punishes the followers instead?

Picard’s response to Rick Warren

21 January 2009

New word - godlessize

Godlessize v. Act to remove religious references
e.g. Godlessize Obama's Presidential Inauguration Speech 2009

Obama's Presidential Inauguration Speech

It is a good speech, balanced and inspiring. However there are ground for improvements. Here are my 2 cents [words is replaced by my contribution]

President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address, as prepared for delivery.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, respect objective data and theories, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law, and the rights of man and the separation of church and government, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of free thinkers, Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to we can shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, and the greatness of humanity, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

By applying some small modifications, removing the references to unsubstantiated religious relics, the speech could be so much more positive and inclusive.

For goodness sake, let's remove religious rubbish from politics!

20 January 2009

New word - Tragicle

Tragicle n. An event that appears unexplainable by the laws of nature, and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God.

A godless prayer for USA Presidential Inauguration

My version of the godless prayer. It is based on The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire. via Contextual Criticism

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to reflect upon our nation and our next president.

O Goodness, O our many understandings, we wish that we will…

Care with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Fight with anger – against discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Debate with discomfort – against the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Ponder with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Act with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Treat other with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Embrace others with compassion and generosity – remembering that we judge ourselves by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And thank Goodness, for we have elected Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Let us wish him wisdom beyond his years, and be inspired by Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Wish him to have a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Moved by him as he speaks stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Encourage him to be color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Remind him his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Grant him and support him to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, for goodness sake, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, however since we have elected him, O goodness and great American Constitution, to keep him safe. Mr President, be reassure that the American people are behind you – that you might do the work we have called you to do, that you might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, you might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.


Huge leap of faith

Even if this universe needs to be created by some supernatural cause (which of course I don't believe and there is absolutely no evidence of such), it would be a gigantic leap of faith to conclude that the creator is the god in the old testament.

Can any christians show me any evidence that all but one on these lists is the true god?

Working hand vs clasped hands

Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.

19 January 2009

The Beginning of Everything

Ray Comfort:"An atheist is someone who believes that nothing made everything." Check the dictionary! Atheist is someone who does not believe in god. Not nothing made everything!

Christians [let just assume most who believe in a god creating the universe] claim that nothing can create everything. Hence they insert a god into the argument. However, it must be noted that inserting a god into the argument only causes me to ask where does the god come from. Typically, the god would need to be
non-material (unseen), eternal (without beginning or end), and it had to be omnipotent (have the amazing ability to create everything from nothing) [source]

The latest theory of the beginning of this universe is the big bang theory. The first 10-43 second is the Planck epoch. Of course, there is ongoing active research hoping to have better understanding of epoch.

Today's science has not discovered what happened before the big bang. No one is claiming 'nothing has created everything'. The Big Bang is a singularity. We just don't know anything before the big bang yet. What is so hard for Christian to say "I don't know"?

It is extremely human centric to think that if there were a creator, the creator would create the universe for human and pay particular attention to human. By the way, why then our Sun is not at the centre of the Universe? Why then the Milky Way (our Sun is one of the many stars in Milky Way) is NOT at the centre of the Universe?

18 January 2009

7 Things You Didn't Know About Me

Allen at The Whited Sepulchre
has tagged me with an online meme called "7 Things You Didn't Know About Me". He's written a list of 7 things we didn't know about him, he's linked to 7 other bloggers who are supposed to do the same. Then I'm supposed to link to 7 other bloggers, and next thing you know, we've got this Amway pyramid of links and traffic going back and forth to each other.

Here are my 7 things you don't know about me.

1. I was born in Hongkong and moved to Australia about 14 years old. English is my second language.

2. My first conference presentation was in 1990 in Sydney at the Education for Computer Conference. About 10 years later in a completely separation occasion, I met the then conference organiser, Prof Sandra Wills. Next day when we met again, she pulled out the conference proceeding, pointed to a photo we took together and asked was that me? Since then, we have been good friend.

3. Albert is a name I gave myself. Before I came to Australia, there is only person in the world calling me using that name. Now there are too many to count. Guess who was that person - my wife!

4. I just did a google with "albert ip". All the 10 results on the first page was about me! WOW!

5. I have no formal qualification in Computer Science. Actually when I was doing my undergrad, I had a summer learning FORTRAN, COBOL etc and I hated that. With over 15 years of teaching experience in Physics (and have written two textbooks for Hong Kong students) I could not get a single interview for a teaching post in Physics in Melbourne here. But I got three offers on that Christmas Eve, all computer related!

6. Together with 4 of my students, I was the inventor of ][net, a local area network for Apple ][ using its game port as the interface. The network went at 46K bits per sec. Much faster that the 9600baud disk drive that we had!

7. Nowadays, I work from home. My work space includes two laptops each connected to an additional monitors. I ran MaxiVista so that I can use all 4 monitors at the same time using one keyboard and mouse. Cool!

Again, quoting Allen:
And now I'm supposed to tag 7 more people with this thing. (The goal is to send traffic back to Pete's Allen's site, via my link, and then I'm supposed to go whoring for 7 more links back to my site.)

I am going to use "atheist cartoon" as a search key and see what I will find.

1. The first one the list is Atheist Funeral from ClangNuts.com

2. What will happen when Atheist arrives at the gate of heaven? No entry according to Chris Madden. Would you mind?

3. Ray Comfort, given I have been very critical about his thinking, probably will not join the game. But if Ray is a real gentleman, I hope he will play along and be tagged by this meme. I find a lot of entertainment from his posts, etc.

4. The good people at Atheist-Online has this about science and religion.

5. Atheist Cartoon of the Week… World History Posted on December 28, 2007 by atheistkiwi

6. From Friendly Atheist. This is not a cartoon, but very much has the same effect - If Atheist and Christian Buses Collided…

7. Last, but not the least, is of course the cartoon which led to protest across the Muslim world. As reported by The Atheist Blogger,
The free online encyclopedia Wikipedia was unsure whether to allow them on their article covering the controversy. The subsequent debate went on for almost two years (officially starting on 11th April after Wikipedia removed the images).

However, two days ago the debate ended and the decision was made to reinstate the images in the article, but to tag them with an id so people can remove the images from their view of the page.

I have a dream...

My atheism was wrong all along.

Last night, God, our Lord, told me that I am actually his Son. My words will be His.

[Need any prove? Here it is, in this post!]

16 January 2009

Is lying to children OK?

Personally, no. What is the psychological impact on children when they find out the only role model they have is lying to them?

Then, did you lie your children about Santa Claus? Why? Is that for you, or for the child?

At what age will you tell your child there is no Santa Claus? ie when will you come clean with the Santa Claus myth?

Celebrating the scientific experiment

For those skpetic Christians who lead a guide...

There are those who are used to be provided a set of guidelines for daily decisions - ie those who do not believe in the existence of god but base the moral judgment on the bible, here is a better way.
Generally Buddhism does not believe in a personal God or a divine being, it does not have worship, praying to, or praising of a divine being (although some sects do.) It offers no form of redemption, forgiveness, no heavenly hope, or a final judgment to those practicing its system. Buddhism is a moral philosophy, an ethical way to live for the here and now of this world to gain the ultimate state. [source]

Check out wikipedia on this topic.

Moral came from ....

Some says moral must come from:
1. an almighty god
2. the bible.

"When they tell me that Jesus taught a gospel of love, I say I believe it. Plato taught a gospel of love before him, and you deny it. If they say, Jesus taught that it is better to bear an injury than to retaliate, I say, yes, but so did Aristotle before Jesus was born. I will accept it as the statement of Jesus if you will admit that Aristotle said it too. I am willing that any man should come before us and say, Jesus taught that you must love your enemies, it is written in the Bible; but, if he will open the old manuscript of Diogenes Laertus, he may there read in texts that have never been disputed, that the Greek philosophers, half a dozen of them, said the same before Jesus was born." ~ Thomas Wentworth Storrow Higginson [via Atheism Examiner]

15 January 2009

Christopher Hitchens on Rev. Jerry Falwell's death

It must be old news. But it is new to me. Enjoy!

14 January 2009


Has anyone interviewed the performers to see if it is a miracle or what?

Define atheism

Oxford English Reference Dictionary defines theism as :belief in the existence of gods, or a god, specifically; belief in a God who is supernaturally revealed to humankind, who created and intervenes in the universe, and who sustains a personal relation to living creatures.

Wikipedia; as an explicit position, can be either the affirmation of the nonexistence of gods, or the rejection of theism. It is also defined more broadly as an absence of belief in deities, or nontheism.

The Committee of the Atheist Foundation of Australia: Atheism' is the acceptance that there is no credible, scientific or factually reliable evidence for the existence of a God, god/s or the supernatural'.

Jesus Lived in India

Kersten's exhaustive research into Christ's travels after the Crucifixion, his arrival in India with the Mother Mary and finally his death and entombment in Kashmir. Kersten notes the many parallels of Christ's teachings with other religious and cultural traditions and suggests that at least some of these figures may have been one and the same personality.

[ScSS] Water extinguishes fire

Common Sense: Water does not burn. We can use water to extinguish fire.

Science behind: Most fire is a chemical reaction known as combustion where fuel reacts with oxygen to generate heat. Without sufficient heat, a fire cannot begin. The fuel must reach the ignition point to begin a fire. Without fuel, the fire will stop naturally. Without oxygen, the fire will stop as well. To sustain a fire, all the three components [heat, fuel and oxygen] must be together in a way that the chemical reaction will sustain. Hence it is also known as fire tetrahedron. [image from Wikipedia]

Water can generally be used to stop a fire with solid fuel by cooling the fire so that the fuel does not reach ignition point. Other method of fire fighting includes removing oxygen, e.g. foam to block the fuel from air; or explosion for oil well fire.

Exception: If you have a fire on a pan with oil (ie burning oil) do NOT use water. When water is poured on the boiling and burning oil, water will evaporate, expanding rapidity. This will cause the burning oil to splash increasing the contact area of oil with oxygen. The fire will intensify.

Stupidity: See my previous comment on this.

Genesis 4 again

I commented on Genesis 4 before which I have concluded that Genesis is a poorly written story full of contradictions and inconsistencies. Here is another good view of the story of Cain and Abel, the two boys of Adam and Eve.

The comments are worth a read too.

13 January 2009

[ScSS] Iron sinks

Common Sense: Wood floats - you can make boat with wood. Iron sinks - you cannot make boat using iron.

Observation: Everyone today knows that ocean going streamers/container ships are made of steel.

Science behind: Archimedes principle of flotation by Archimedes of Syracuse (287–212 B.C.), Greek mathematician and inventor. The upward force (flotation force) is equal to the volume of liquid displaced. By making a ship with steel hulk with large volume, the ship can make to float.

Stupidity: In the thirteenth century, Christian monks had ripped apart Archimedes’ original manuscript, washed it, and covered it with religious text.

[ScSS] Science, common Sense, Stupidity - Introduction

I am going to start a series on the fallacy of common sense.

Yes, our experience provides the most important anchorage to our ability to remember, reason and make judgment. However, the purpose of education is to enable us to see beyond everyday interactions, find out the real underlying principles and act accordingly. Most common sense (or intuition) works under certain conditions and situations. It is equally important to know where common sense will start to lead us to the wrong conclusion.

In this series, I shall attempt to describe some 'common sense' observation and present evidences that show that such common sense does not work under certain condition.

The inclusion of "stupidity" in the title of this series points squarely at a group of people who think who know everything and refuse to see reasoning from a logical and pragmatic angle. If you are one of those, you may excuse yourself from reading this series. It may offend.

George Carlin - Ten Commandments

12 January 2009

"Creation Science 101" by Roy Zimmerman

"Jerry Falwell's God" by Roy Zimmerman

Stanford University lectures on Darwin and his legacy

via Atheist Nexus
These lectures, given by distinguished and notable experts in their respective fields, have now been uploaded to youtube, including the discussion panels that follow each lecture and the highly informative Q&A sessions.

Here they are
Lecture 1: "Darwin's Own Evolution" with Robert Siegel and "Darwin's Data" with William Durham

Lecture 2: "Evolution vs. Creationism" with Eugenie Scott.

Lecture 3: "A biography on Charles Darwin" with Janet Browne

Lecture 4: "The philosophical importance of Darwin's theory of evolution." with Dan Dennett

Lecture 5: "How and why species multiply" with Peter and Rosemary Grant.

Lecture 6: "Darwin's life and work" with Niles Eldredge

Lecture 7: "The history and consequences of social Darwinism" with Melissa Brown

Lecture 8: "Darwin's legacy in medicine and infectious disease" with Paul Ewald.

Lecture 9: "Evolution, Brain and Behaviour" with Russell Fernald

Lecture 10: "Learning to see Darwinian ways of meaning" with George Levine

[cross posted to Random Walk in Learning]

Video: Instruction manual for life

via Writings of a Liberated Mind

11 January 2009

Why Life Originated (And Why it Continues)

Darwin’s 1859 classic, On the Origin of Species, doesn’t answer a very important question – how species actually originated.
In a recent study called “Why did life emerge?”, two scientists, son and father Arto Annila of the University of Helsinki and Erkki Annila of the Finnish Forest Research Institute, offer some insight into the general driving force of life’s origins in terms of thermodynamics. As they explain, all organisms are composed of molecules that assemble together via numerous chemical reactions. Just as heat flows from hot to cold, these molecules obey the universal tendency to diminish energy differences, so that the most likely chemical reactions are those in which energy flows “downhill” toward a stationary state, or chemical equilibrium.
The scientists give several examples of mechanisms associated with life that increase entropy. For instance, when systems (e.g. molecules) become entities of larger systems (e.g. cells) that participate in larger ranges of interactions to consume more free energy, entropy increases. Genetic code might have served as another primordial mechanism, acting as a catalyst that could increase energy flow toward greater entropy. Today, complex organisms have cellular metabolism, which is another mechanism that increases entropy, as it disperses energy throughout the organism and into the environment. The food chain in an ecosystem is another example of a mechanism for transferring energy on a larger scale. [source]


The following is the movie which occupied #10 in Top Ten Instances of Christian Bashing in America, 2008 by Christian Anti-Defamation Commission

Question: Is marriage holy or just the joining of two (or more) humans?

10 January 2009

Strawman argument

Dan +†+ of Debunking Atheists wrote:

An argument I heard over at Narrow Mind made it clear, in the Atheistic worldview someone could rape and murder you with no fear of anything bad happening to them if they are not caught by people. [1] Objective morality just doesn't exist in the atheists worldview.[2] If someone rejects Christianity they will end up, if their honest and consistent, at the bottom with radical skepticism. All bets are off and all up for grabs. Completely arbitrary moral system; it's going to be pick and choose. [3] People don't live like that though, we go to school and turn in papers on time so you can get the grade. With the Atheistic worldview, school doesn't matter; grades don't matter; education doesn't matter; nothing matters with that worldview. [4] It could all be a mirage or an illusion even, it could all be a waste of time. Along with that, there is no answer for origins of life. If fact, they don't know if they themselves even exist. It's a sad worldview when you don't even know if you yourself exists. You cannot say you are infallibly and inherently sure if 2+2=4 even. [5] If atheism is true then Christianity is pretty ridiculous [6] but again, if you're honest, you have no way of knowing that for sure, you have no way of knowing anything is true. [7] Christianity, on the other hand, is completely compatible with reality, [8] relative to Radical Skepticism.

[1] God does not exist. Just check how many clergymen committed raping and still can face the congregation until the rape (some times directed to young children) was revealed in public. I suppose these clergymen know the story of Hell well enough. Yet, they commit such crimes. Eternal punishment really work? You must be kidding.

[2] Atheist world view does not imply letting loose and trying to commit every possible crime. We are born moral. Human babies depend on adult's moral instinct to nurture before they can even walk. Without such moral instinct, human would not have developed into today's society. I have been reading the bible, starting from Genesis, and so far I found the god depleted in the bible immoral and awful. What kind of moral standard can religion which bases on such an awful god come up?

[3] Talking about 'pick and choose', that's exactly what bible school from churches are doing!

[4] Curiosity and willingness to learn has nothing to do with whether one believes in god or not. Rather I find most atheists are keen learners, willing to consider new ideas and apply reason and logic.

[5] 2+2=4. If you want to understand why 2+2=4, read Eudoxian theory of proportion. (Yes the theory was developed before Jesus was allegedly born).

[6] Christianity is pretty ridiculous, I agree!

[7] How to you know something is true or not? This is a question philosophers have been answering for centuries. Check it out. One thing for sure is that a theory cannot be proven true. A theory can only be proven wrong, e.g. by a counter example. The burden of proof of any claim lies on the claiming party. If you say god exist, it is YOUR burden to prove that god really exists. Otherwise it is false (and is illegal as you are misleading the public especially if you have been using such an unsubstantiated claim for your personal good). So, prove to me god exists and I will convert.

[8] So call religious leaders are stubbornly opposing today's scientific and technological development, e.g. in stem cell research, cloning, ... Religion is totally irrelevant today.

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. - Seneca the Younger

Hope and Despair

Brian Larnder of Primordial Blog told two stories in a single post. The first is about how Science has helped a couple to screen several in-vitro embryos, for one that is free of BRCA1 to implant back into the woman. The baby was born last week. This additional screen procedure ensures this couple's daughter will not be carrying the cancer gene BRCA1.

Great Science advance which everyone should celebrate!

There are two issues related to this story: one related to greed and possibly another related to superstition.

US company Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah were granted a patent in 2001 which claims the isolated BRCA1 gene, the BRCA1 protein, and possible therapeutic applications and diagnostic kits based on the gene. This will effectively grant an monopoly to Myriad for a human gene. Fortunately, European Patent Office has revoked some claims of that patent. Reason defeats the greed of a company.

Brian predicted that "most Catholics and many Evangelical Christians would find this [gene screening for preventive adult onset of cancer] wrong on so many levels, not least of which is because it takes away from god's authority".

My response is "on what ground can any religious body have to opine on a matter which is totally outside their expertise, any there is any". Let use reason to defeat superstition as well.

09 January 2009


via Atheism Examiner, actually direct copy. :-)

From Augustine down, theologians have tried to compel people to accept their special interpretation of the Scripture, and the tortures of the inquisition, the rack, the thumb-screw, the stake, the persecutions of witchcraft, the whipping of naked women through the streets of Boston, banishment, trials of heresy, the halter about Garrison's neck, Lovejoy's death, the branding of Captain Walker, shouts of infidel and atheist, have all been for this purpose. - Matilda Joslyn Gage

another from the comment of the same post. ;-)
Having a Theology Ph.D is like having a Doctorate of Teletubby Anatomy, a BS in Warp-Nacelle engineering or an advanced degree in 'Republican Ethics'. - Unknown

Reading "Origin of Species" with John Whitfield

I was a Physics student/teacher and was not well informed in Biology. I think I now have a great chance to read Darwin's classic with the help of an evolution biologist.

An online source of Origin of Species can be found here: http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-origin-of-species/

Doing wrong in the name of religion

Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions - Blaise Pascal

08 January 2009

Polygyny or polyandry (一夫多妻或一妻多夫)

Whose role is it to determine whether polygyny or polyandry is morally acceptable?

Statistically, female out numbers male. However, modern China today has more male than female. What should be societies moral response to the difference in number of the two gender? Is polygyny or polyandry a possible answer?



06 January 2009

Jesus Image

WOW, Jesus is everywhere.

Cement Floor;

Dog's Butt:

Common Sense

Is there anything wrong with relying on your common sense?

Within walking distances, the Earth is flat, common sense. Would you hence reject the notion that the Earth is actually "spherical"?

Ray Comfort ridiculed this short clip

Lady, water does not burn. Get it? That’s basic science. You know nothing of the disciplines of exact science. [Ray Comfort]

Unfortunately, if you have followed the "common sense" to pour water over a burning oil pan, disaster strikes.

"Common sense" is good only to a certain extend. Knowing the limitation to which common sense would apply and would not apply is as important as relying on common sense to make our daily decisions. For walking purposes, we can approximate the Earth to be flat. Yes, water does not burn. Water and oil do not mix too. When you pour water over boiling oil, it will help to spill the oil everywhere and hence spread the fire. [That's basic science which Ray obviously failed to understand and comprehend.] For most fire (not involving liquid or electricity), water is used for fire-fighting. Water may also be used to cool down burning gas. But never pour water over burning oil pans!

Ray has a very good quote today. "But math teachers cannot demonstrate anything to someone who is unreasonable. If an unreasonable person (for some reason) wanted to change the definition of the number 2, and then say that the second 2 was not the same quantity as the first, you have a stalemate. To argue any logic, you need both parties to be reasonable." Bingo, Ray you finally got it. Now come to the table and be reasonable. Show me evidence of the existence of god and I will convert! Reason and logic dictates that you show me the evidence (not me to prove the non-existence) of god.

By the way, "common sense" is NOT evidence!

Parodising Ray:
The clip is a classic example of a straw man. It reveals your hypocrisy. If you really cared about people, you wouldn’t spend your time lying about the existence of god, something you do not have any evidence.

05 January 2009

Science and Faith

Libby Purves wrote:
If you offer a choice between science on one hand and faith and tradition on the other, too many people will reject science.

I have no data to say whether the majority will reject science or not. My question is Should we reject science in favour of faith?

Atheist vs theist - statistics

Should religious leaders be banned for providing moral viewpoints in public policy?

Should religious leaders be banned for providing moral viewpoints in public policy? Absolutely!

It is completely wrong to assume that religious leaders have any higher moral standards than you and me. For public policy decision, religious groups may be viewed as another lobby group trying to further their interest. But in no way should they be consulted as a moral leader.

Here are my reasoning.

God does not exist. (Prove to me otherwise and I am happy to convert).

Religious leaders who really believe that god exists are clearly delusional or lack the ability to make reasonable conclusion. How can we judge their input in anything, including moral arguments.

Religious leaders who know that god does not exist but continue to insist the false doctrine are lying to themselves and the followers day in day out. How can we trust them, morally in particular?

It is well known that religions have been a hinder to progress of science. Let's not let them hinder the progress of human moral.

04 January 2009

Genesis 26

Bible source http://kingjbible.com/genesis/26.htm
Skeptic annotated bible source http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/gen/26.html

A trick that works will work all the time, right?

In Genesis 12, Abram (later became Abraham) lied about his wife, telling the Egyptian King that his wife Sarai (later became Sarah) was his sister.

In Genesis 20, Abraham used the same trick to Abimelech king of Gerar.

Both times, with the threats of god, Abraham benefited and got his wife back:
[Genesis 12, he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.

Genesis 20, Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham,]

In this chapter, Isaac, Abraham's son used the same trick again. And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.

Fair enough, for fear of your own death to lie about the real nature of your wife. But did the people kill him upon knowing the fact? No. So that's a precaution only.

When the king found out, this righteous king ordered his people not to touch this woman.

Now, compare the treatment of them from god. Did god ever bless the king? No! Ah, this god is Jew's god! Not god for everyone!

Genesis 25

bible source http://nasb.scripturetext.com/genesis/25.htm
skeptic annotated bible source http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/gen/25.html

29 When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom. 31 But Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” 33 And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

29 有 一 天 , 雅 各 熬 湯 , 以 掃 從 田 野 回 來 累 昏 了 。 30 以 掃 對 雅 各 說 : 我 累 昏 了 , 求 你 把 這 紅 湯 給 我 喝 。 因 此 以 掃 又 叫 以 東 ( 就 是 紅 的 意 思 ) 。 31 雅 各 說 : 你 今 日 把 長 子 的 名 分 賣 給 我 罷 。 32 以 掃 說 : 我 將 要 死 , 這 長 子 的 名 分 於 我 有 甚 麼 益 處 呢 ? 33 雅 各 說 : 你 今 日 對 我 起 誓 罷 。 以 掃 就 對 他 起 了 誓 , 把 長 子 的 名 分 賣 給 雅 各 。 34 於 是 雅 各 將 餅 和 紅 豆 湯 給 了 以 掃 , 以 掃 吃 了 喝 了 , 便 起 來 走 了 。 這 就 是 以 掃 輕 看 了 他 長 子 的 名 分 。

In these verses, bible taught its believers to use the weakness of other to have maximum gain. Esau sold his right to his father's heir for bread and lentil stew. What a deal!

03 January 2009

The God of the Old Testament

It is well known that the god of the old testament is awful.
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
- Richard Dawkins [my translation]

As a scientist, Richard Dawkins would not say something which has no evidence support. Here are the biblical evidence.

jealous 嫉妒 and proud of it - 21 times in the bible
a petty 小動作 - 7 times in the bible
unjust 不公正 - 878 times in the bible (WOW)
unforgiving 無情 - 4 times in the bible
control-freak 控制狂 - Deuteronomy 28:15-68
vindictive 報復狂 - 7 times in the bible
bloodthirsty 嗜血 - 769 times in the bible
ethnic cleanser 種族清洗 - Deuteronomy 13:15 and 1 Samuel 15:2-3
misogynistic 看不起女人 - 16 times in the bible
homophobic 同性戀 Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13
racist 種族主義 - 3 times in the bible
infanticidal 屠殺嬰兒 - 7 times in the bible
genocidal 種族滅絕 - 4 times in the bible
filicidal 殺死自己的兒子 - 5 times in the bible
pestilential 妄想 - 5 times in the bible
megalomaniacal 瘋狂 - 2 Samuel 22:8-11 and Ezekiel 38:23
sadomasochistic 虐待和受虐 - Ezekiel 23:34
capriciously malevolent 随意恶意 - 3 times in the bible
bully 橫行霸道 - Jeremiah 15:3 and Ezekiel 38:21-23

02 January 2009

Genesis 24

Abraham asked his eldest servant to find a wife for his son Isaac. The wife must be from my country, and to my kindred. Across ethnic culture marriages, obviously, is not encouraged by the bible, right?

That a side, there is one interesting way of swearing noted by Skeptic's Annotated Bible: verse 2 "Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:". What does it mean to "put you hand under my thigh"?

A bit of googling...
Genesis contains passages in which a male takes an oath by placing his hand “under the thigh” of the male to whom he is swearing. It has sometimes been interpreted as swearing upon, or touching, the testicles.

That's what I was reading and trying to find out ...
The Hebrew word in some passages is ‘yarek,’ meaning ‘thigh’ in the Old Testament. That ritual might derive from the belief that the thigh is a center of power, probably because it is near the genitals. Some interpreters argue that it is a swearing upon the genitals, with "under the thigh" being a euphemism in Hebrew.

Dr. Lee Stone, in his book “The Power of a Symbol,” said that the “most ancient way of administering the oath was by placing the hand between the thighs, on the genitals. These were regarded as the Christian and the Jew regard the Bible, as being the most sacred of tangible things” (10, pg. 45).

Dr. P. C. Remondino, in his book “History of Circumcision from the Earliest Times to the Present” said that “It was partly this custom of swearing, or of affirming, with the hand under the thigh, by the early Israelites,” which led many to believe that their hand was being placed on the testicles (11, pg. 35).

It is likely that the passages above inspired the popular claim that the word ‘testify’ derived from ‘testicle,” but the claim is disputed with alternative derivations and interpretations.

A popular claim also alleges that Greeks and Romans would touch their own testicles while swearing, however there is no evidence in support. The "testicle" theory argues that the testicles were used for oaths because they represented virility, power, and represented the man’s future generations, and the source of life.


Genesis 23

bible source http://nasb.scripturetext.com/genesis/23.htm
skeptic bible source http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/gen/23.html

Good move by Abraham. Sarah death was used as an excuse, for "four hundred shekels of silver", Ephron’s field, which was in Machpelah, which faced Mamre, the field and cave which was in it, and all the trees which were in the field, that were within all the confines of its border, were deeded over 18 to Abraham for a possession.

01 January 2009

Eat first or proselytize first?

The First Reformed Church of Hackensack obviously thinks that proselytizing is more important than feeding the homeless as reported here and here.

What is your opinion? Here are some comments by Friendly Atheist's readers [my comment in square brackets]:

On the one hand you’ve got great people doing great things, like feeding hungry people. On the other you’ve got jerks who see hunger as a tool for proselytization. Both groups are Christians. [or do they have the same moral value judgement, especially the jerks who see the hunger as a tool is the paster of the church!]

Using the promise of food to get hungry people to go to church and pray is sadly not at all uncommon. It seems that many missionary organizations base their work on it. [ditto for marriage too!]

That’s why I am not fond of religious charities. There’s always an ulterior motive. [That's why I suggest we should remove the tax exemption status of churches and the like. Church is a BUSINESS!]

The Bible is Bullshit

Genesis 22

bible source http://nasb.scripturetext.com/genesis/22.htm
skeptic bible source http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/gen/22.html

Say you hear a voice in your head asking you to kill your pet (not your son or daughter), would you do that? If you do, what do you think would happen to you?

In this chapter, god wants Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering.

What I can add is the following;
1. This is really an immature and cruel god. Even if it were only for testing Abraham, the trauma that went through Isaac was totally ignored.
2. When Isaac was clever enough to ask his father where was the lamb for the offering, Abraham lied. Is that acceptable for Christians to lie?