What the Boss Likes – A real astronaut singing “A Space Oddity” in space

Here is Commander Chris Hadfield (Canada) singing David Bowie’s A Space Oddity (with a few words changed) at the International Space Station.

 

All done thanks to the hard work of science.

 

I first heard A Space Oddity riding in the back of my parents’ car when I was around 11 or so.  I thought it was so sad and I couldn’t ask my parents about it because they’d have no idea what the heck I was talking about.   🙂

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Not Polite Dinner Conversation – Yep, just as I thought, nothing new as “evidence”

for more, visit jesusand mo.net
for more, visit jesusand mo.net

Ben, the current Christian to visit these pages with his claims, has declared that he has evidence that Jesus Christ, the son of his god and the supposed savior of humankind existed.  He has directed me to a series of guest posts on his blog that supposedly contain this evidence (this post will deal with the first two, and yes, it’s very much the same stuff I’ve posted before.  This is for Ben to comment on since he refuses to post my comments on his blog).   He’s also claimed that this evidence is also in “academic libraries”, a recognizable and typical logical fallacy called appeal to authority.  If Ben has actually gone to academic libraries, he’d realize that they are not filled only with verified claims.  An academic library will have those as well as long superseded claims, that have been demonstrated as false by additional research and complete guesses by authors.  Ben may have a background in physics and math, but he does not seem to have a background in research or the writing of academic papers.

Hope against hope, I went out to look at the “evidence” that Ben thinks is so persuasive just in case it was something new. Nope, nothing new at all.  It’s a rehash of William Lane Craig’s nonsense and other apologists.  Their claims are only valid if you have the presupposition that Christianity is true and if you do not consider how your arguments affect your own religion. In other words, I have never seen one person convert because of the supposed evidence these folks offer, deciding that JC really did exist from the evidence and then deciding to worship him.  So if you’ve seen rebuttals to those poorly constructed claims by good ol’ WLC, you’ve seen the rest of the posts on this topic here and don’t need to waste your time.

Ben, you do need to come here and show me how you think this nonsense is actual evidence and rebut my points.  That is, if you really do think it’s that great.  If not, then you should be willing to admit that and not just ignore how it fails in order to keep your willful ignorance intact.

I’ve found, in my decades of dealing with the false claims of Christians, that they often invite guest posters when they want to trot out a claim but not take personal responsibility for it.  They believe that this tactic will give them plausible deniability when it comes to needing to defend the claims made by the guest poster.  They will often turn around and when confronted with the failure of the claims claim that “well, *I* don’t believe that, it was just the “guest poster”. So you can’t expect me to defend what they said.”   Is that what Ben is doing?  That remains to be seen.

Christians like Ben, are correct that if their supposed savior can be shown not to have existed as claimed, then their religion is worthless.  Even Paul acknowledged this in 1 Corinthians 15, and his only answer is since Christians exist, then the religion must be true. Like Paul, modern Christians have a problem in that their claims are not based on reality, but on stories told to them.  Paul relies on hearsay, and hearsay that not all of the “gospels” agree on.  Paul runs into the problem that people that supposedly were around for the claimed events don’t even believe in them.  Modern Christians who live thousands of years after such events have it even harder, and as we’ve seen, have to resort to apologetics again and again.  They sometimes try to claim that they are only trying to claim a historical Jesus, but it is more than clear that they do not believe in some itinerate Jewish man who claimed he was the messiah, did no miracles, and did nothing to be noticed and also believe that this human is savior of the human race.  They believe in a divine being that did miracles, and *that* Jesus, the one that Peter supposedly denied three times, is no where to be found.

First post by Ben’s guest starts with the poster claiming that it is the weight of the evidence that will turn the tide in his favor to show that it is more probable that the resurrection occurred than it didn’t.   This is a remarkable “tell” to show that the evidence itself is not terribly convincing at all, even to Christians.  Even for them, it’s only “probably” true, but for them faith is not enough so they must gin up claims to convince themselves of such things.

Since we know that the claims of the gospels were held suspect by people perhaps only 60 years after the supposed events, this shows that the poster’s claim that the claims of the gospels were “common knowledge” is false.  The poster claims that the gospels are “eyewitness testimony”, which can be shown false by simply reading the gospels.  If it were from a certain person’s perspective, who was watching the events at the tomb, events that are completely different from gospel to gospel?  Why are they so wrong in number of men/angels, who entered the tomb, what was found there, etc?  The claims of “eyewitness testimony” presented as if eyewitness testimony is never questioned is also an indication that the poster has little knowledge about just how inaccurate eyewitness testimony is.  Continue reading “Not Polite Dinner Conversation – Yep, just as I thought, nothing new as “evidence””

From the Kitchen – Pot Stickers and Bagels: nope they have nothing in common that I can think of….

Since I now have a fair amount of free time, I have been back in the kitchen trying out some recipes that I’ve wanted to try but was too nervous about to waste a weekend day on.

Pot Stickers!
Pot Stickers!

A while ago, I made bao (steamed buns) from Andrea Nguyen’s Asian Dumplings. The next recipe I had wanted to try pot stickers since I love them, always get them from our local Chinese take-out Golden Chopsticks, and could drink the dipping sauce straight.   The following are my notes and opinions about the recipe.  For the real thing, go out and get the book.  You can also get some info on Ms. Nguyen’s website: http://www.asiandumplingtips.com/  Warning, there is a video that launches automatically and it has sound.  I very much dislike websites that do that. To kill the video, you’ll have to go the lower quarter of the page.

The dumpling dough is about as basic as a dough can get.  It’s 10 ounces of flour (around .28 kg) of all purpose flour and ¾ of a cup (177 mL) of boiling water.  Since I have a food processor, I used that method, flour in and then hot water poured into the processor in a steady stream until the dough forms.  If your processor has a dough button, I recommend using that.   The dough will be fairly stiff.  Take it out of the processor (It will be warm), knead a minute or two and then stick it in a sealed plastic bag.  This will allow it to fully hydrate and soften. It will steam up the bag, leave it sit at least 20 minutes.

Now, one has to get the dough into little thin discs so they can be wrapped around the filling.  I, not having a tortilla press as Ms. Nguyen recommends or wanting to have yet one more kitchen toy to figure out where to store, looked around for something else to use.  My eyes lit upon my pasta rolling attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer.  I cut the dough in half and ran each half through on the number 1 setting of the roller to get the approximately 1/8” thick (3.2 mm) recommended.  I cut out the dough using one of my saved bamboo shoot tins (3 ¼ inch diameter, 8.25 cm -to be used to make crumpets in the future), and then rolled the edges thinner using a small cylindrical glass.  I also tried a few run through the roller at the #2 setting and it didn’t seem to make much difference.

I used Ms. Nguyen’s Japanese Pork and Shrimp Pot Stickers (Gyoza) recipe as a guide.  I had no shrimp, and forgot the cabbage so we just had pork pot stickers.  Again, if you want the actually recipe, get the book. The basic mix is ground pork (left over from making homemade sausage), grated fresh ginger, garlic, soy, sake and a little sesame oil.  It also called for Chinese chives or green scallions.  I had none but I did have some wild onions happily growing in my yard.  We don’t use pesticides so they got harvested and in they went.

I made the basic half-moon shape; putting about a tablespoon of filling into the center of the wrapper, and folding it in half, pressing the bottom of the dumpling flat so it will stand upright.  Just pressing the dough together seems to work well enough for potstickers, but I would recommend brushing a little water or egg wash around the edges if one was going to boil these.  I think they’d pop open during the boiling action.  Continue reading “From the Kitchen – Pot Stickers and Bagels: nope they have nothing in common that I can think of….”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Basic beliefs, Christians and atheists arguments aren’t that different

saganHere is the second part of the second part.  This part is more about what “basic beliefs” are and how one argues against them.

Ben doesn’t think Paul was forced to be a Christian and does acknowledge that other  Christians will disagree.  And again, we have Christians who can’t agree, can’t show that they are right and who have no evidence.  Just the sort of people you want to trust, right?  Because with all of that nonsense, faith is all you can have.  Alas for Ben, for all of his claims of his god being hidden, now he has to admit that this god supposedly was unhidden for Paul and now has to claim that was just “aggressive recruitment”.  Pity that Ben’s arguments up to this point is that any revelation of this god of himself would destroy the value of people believing in it.   If Paul can freely obey a vision, then we all can and that again shows that the claims of a hidden god have been made up to excuse the non-existence of the Christian god.

Ben has said that he has read the bible, which can be unusual in a  Christian.  He says he finds it depressing in parts.  Ben, what parts are those?  Should you not approve of everything the bible says?  What can your god and its faithful followers do that is depressing?  Ben also finds the gender specific language to be a problem it appears.  Ben, you do realize that the gender specific languages was in the original?  Those words were the intended meaning by the earliest authors of this supposedly wonderful truthful compilation of books.  If it was wrong, why did your god evidently intentionally allow this? Isn’t it interested that a book written/inspired by god needs to be edited?

Ben is also “100% sure” that I have “property basic beliefs”, but of course he can’t actually show this.  He also wants me to give him evidence that the world wasn’t made 5 minutes ago.  And, so again, we’ve come to that:  in the final analysis, the only argument that a Christian has is that we cannot know anything.  Unfortunately,  they live like they actually believe this claim.  They act, just like I act, knowing that the world was not created five minutes ago.  I know that atomic decay does not magically start and stop. I know that the sun is around 93 million miles away and it takes light around 8 minutes to get here.  I know that galaxies are billions of miles away and it takes thousands, millions or billion of years for that light to get here too.  This is supported by physics, physics I rely on every day; and thus, I do not have to appeal to such weak nonsense as “I just know.”  No, Ben, I don’t just know, as you and your apologists claim for your god.  I have objective evidence.

So, Ben is left with saying that physics doesn’t work as we know it does and that it’s magic that does.   It’s not radical skepticism that he is appealing to, it’s the belief in Santa Claus that he wants everyone to accept because that also applies to his god.   Alas for him, in this “matrix”, there is no evidence for his god at all.  That evidence that he claims for his god doesn’t exist, it is missing and since we have no reason to doubt this reality, a very important point, we have no reason to accept the baseless claims that magic works and physics doesn’t.

Light speed, radioactive decay do not depend on personal belief in them to work.  This is counter-evidence; it is sad when people delude themselves into not accepting it and depending on willful ignorance.  A theist’s beliefs may *seem* real to a theist, but they are not real, aka representative of reality.  Those beliefs are not grounded in anything factual, they are based in the desire to believe in something that they were told to be true.   Same as the belief in Santa, Tezcatlipoca, etc.  They do not reflect reality in anyway. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Basic beliefs, Christians and atheists arguments aren’t that different”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “expectations” of evidence or how presupposition can really screw you up

amazing what you can "expect" when you think you "know" something
amazing what you can “expect” when you think you “know” something

The following is my response to Ben’s comment on the Part 2 part of my interactions with him.  This was the one about the evidence that Christians apologists think they have for their god.  We got a bit off topic in the comments but it’s worth a post on its own.  My response has gotten rather long, so I’ll split it into two parts.   This one deals with “expectations” of evidence or how presupposition can really screw you up.

I agree with Ben in that critically examining human expectations for gods is crucial.  It allows us to understand humans better and that’s always a good thing.   The results from that examination will help us understand the world around us.  However, when Ben says that our expectation determines whether evidence supports or doesn’t support a hypothesis, he fails badly.   As the quote goes “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” (attributed to various sources).

Expectations are expectations.  Apologists only add “justified expectations” when they want to claim that their version of their religion is the only true religion ever.  Every religion thinks that their expectations of their god/gods are justified because they are *sure* their god exists, aka a presupposition that forms all of their claims. Ben may expect a god, but unless he can show it exists, it’s like expecting to see Sekhmet striding 100 meters tall leading the tanks in the modern Egyptian army.

Now, the scientific method does not and cannot work like this, and neither do my expectations about some supernatural force.  For example, Ben has tried to claim that this world is what one should expect if there is a god.  I don’t agree, and every bit of evidence points against the supposed existence and actions of a god in this world.

Ben believes that there is evidence for his god, and by this one would assume that he thinks he knows that there is no evidence for any other god or he would be worshipping those gods too.  He doesn’t expect those gods to be real though.  And here is where expectations of gods gets interesting.

How our expectations of gods formed?  Since there is no evidence of the supernatural, despite the always vague and secret claims of theists of their supposed experiences, we are left with stories told to us by people we trust.   We think that this trust can be applied to all situations with these people who we have deemed trustworthy, so we think that this trust justifies our belief, e.g. proves the belief,  in what they tell us.  However, it proves nothing, except that we have had reason to trust people in the past.   If those people who have told us a questionable claim have no evidence, no facts, then we have no reason to believe their claim. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “expectations” of evidence or how presupposition can really screw you up”

Not Polite Dinner Conversation – I’m free! and more on definitions of “god”

330-Morality-Slavery-or-Homosexuality-Guess-which-one-the-bibles-ok-with-biblical-ethics-insanity-bigotrySince I’ve been out of the loop for a few days, I thought I’d do a whole post on the comments that have been offered in defense of theism, religion and Christianity that I haven’t addressed yet.

Right now, I’m no longer among the ranks of the working for a while (had an interview for another position yesterday).  A month ago I gave my resignation from the small nonprofit where I worked because I simply couldn’t stand dealing with my boss anymore.  I gave them a full month to ask me all the questions they would need to know the answers to so they could continue to function and so they could hire someone to replace me.  Well, my former boss waited until the last three days to try to ask questions and no one was hired. It should be rather sadly hilarious to watch him try to run an event on his own and do everything else I’ve done when he doesn’t even know how to make name badges in Word.  My remaining coworker has all of my sympathies.

Now, onto the real meat.  Ben, our current Christian has been doing a yeoman’s job at trying to rebut my points.  He’s not succeeding but not for want of trying and I appreciate his efforts very much.  It takes some cojones to try to bell the leopard in her den.

In a response to the comments on the Part 1 of his postings, he claims that Moser is not a big fan of the ontological argument.  I pointed out that Moser’s argument, ““Setting the bar high, indeed as high as possible, we will approach the term ‘God’ as a supreme title of personal perfection rather than a proper name”, is nothing more than onotological argument.  This argument is nothing more than the claim that a god exists because humans can imagine perfection and god has to be perfection.  I ask Ben to show how that Moser’s argument that he posted isn’t the ontological argument.  Moser, like many Christians, doesn’t like the picture of his god that the bible gives and that does cause him to try to seek out a god that humans would consider worthy of worship.  He therefore creates a new definition of god, one of human imagined perfection. Moser may claim he isn’t a big fan of the OA but he uses it.

This argument also requires that humans agree on what “perfection” is if this god is to be the ultimate god of the universe, the monotheist’s wet dream.  We know that humans have some similar ideals of morality, personal property, personal ownership of the body, etc, but those that we consider “good” are fairly recent.  Slavery has been considered good and indeed, Christian God approved, for thousands of years.  It is only from willful  ignorance and arrogance that modern Christian apologists think that they can revamp their god to be their ideal of “moral perfection”.

Ben also claims that this god “must do what is best for everyone even his enemies”.  Really?  Again, the holy books of most, if not all, religions do not say this at all.  We have the bible saying that those who do not accept this god are worthy of nothing better than genocide.  The OT and NT make this clear with the death of non-believers demanded and hell required for their supposedly immortal souls.  This is not a god doing what is “best” for everyone.  Ben tries to claim that “harsh treatment” for those who spurn his god maybe “best”.  That is in the opinion of Christians who think that they are the only ones who are right.  It’s the claim of a sycophant who nods in approval when his king tortures someone that he doesn’t like too.  And a god like the one Ben and Moser has proposed is certainly a reflection of humanity, our worst parts.

Ben says he won’t “quibble” I say that the bible does not describe the kind of god he proposes. He does disagree with me though.   Now, I find that not “quibbling” is just an excuse for Ben not to actually support his claims.   Ben, if you disagree, then show why you disagree or all I see is a Christian who wants to pretend that there is nothing behind the curtain.  I can show the verses to support my position. Can you do the same?   If you believe that your god created a “savior” that is necessary for your salvation and not to be tortured in the afterlife, and you have said you believe “something like that”,  we can see this god in the bible.  We cannot see a god that is morally perfect, not as you would define your god in the morals we have now.  You consider the god you’ve invented worthy of worship, this does not mean that this god is worthy of worship or that it exists at all.  And I certainly don’t find it worthy at all.

You have defined your god by your version of Christianity.  It is only your opinion that a god worthy of worship (GodWOW) would send JC, it is not a fact or the magical truth.  Your holy book shows that this GodWOW didn’t care at all about coercing humans or not.  If that were the truth, this god of yours, you know the same one in the OT?, would have sent JC long before he supposedly did.  But he didn’t, he, per the stories in the bible, personally interfered with humanity, he gave laws that he should have known would fail, etc.

And this Jesus.  Well, there is no evidence that JC existed at all.  He is not evidence (personified or not) at all of any god’s existence much less “perfect moral character and love”.  It’s also amusing when Ben claims that humans are his god’s enemies.  It’s rather amazing that this god couldn’t do better.  And as for the claim that this god needed to allow humans the choice to disbelieve him, that’s just more apologetics by Christians who forget about what they claim heaven is.  Ben, just think about heaven, and tell me again why humans had to have a choice?

I see many many MANY Christians who do not love their enemies.  And again, I have no way to distinguish them from other Christians.  They all make the exact same claim “I have the only right way to worship Jesus.”  And all of them can cite chapter and verse on why they are “right”.   We have Ben who is sure that his god allows humans to love their enemies but we have other Christians who are sure that they are supposed to hate their enemies.  Love doesn’t hold up signs that says God deserves to kill people,, love does not say that people deserve a eternity of torture.  The Christian god is not about love, it is about control and obedience.  The Christian god can’t even fulfill its own holy book’s definition of love.  Christians do try to co-opt the idea of love for their god and their god alone but they must destroy the meaning of love to do it.

And Ben, it’s not unusual at all to love one’s enemies.  Abused spouses and children do it all of the time.  It’s not magical at all.

Next post will be a reply to another of Ben’s comments.  Please comment on the new posts.  It’ll make things clearer and get us out of the thickets on the other posts.