I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'wouldn't it be much worse if life *were* fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?' So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe. – M. Cole
The movie for this week is Sharknado! No, no, I can’t even joke about that. What a purely stupid movie (yes, we watched about 15 minutes of it). Ah, if someone would have told my teen-age self that there will be a channel called the Science Fiction Channel and that I would hate it with a passion, I would never have believed them. The Syphy Channel is just that, a diseased thing, a graveyard of washed up 80’s pop stars who have not aged gracefully.
Okay, after this there will be spoilers. So consider yourself warned!
What we saw was “Pacific Rim”(IMDB about it) and it was AWESOME! Kaiju, giant mechs (they’re called jaegers but I grew up with calling all giant robots “mechs”), what else could a smart savvy nerdy girl want? And a strong female character who wasn’t a love interest. Hurrah for Mako! I have to say, it takes a moron to give a movie like this a single star just because it wasn’t Shakespeare or some gawdawful “meaningful” chick flick. It’s a freakin’ monster movie that has appealing characters, no slow spots and delivers *exactly* what it is supposed to. So, screw the supposed “reviewers”. Go see it, it’s FUN! I spent many a Sunday morning watching kaiju movies on the local TV station. It was always a lot of whining when I wanted to stay and watch Godzilla or Gamera and my parents thought I should go to church. (hmmm, Word recognizes Godzilla but not Gamera 🙂 ) Added: Incidentally, this movie is LOUD. I’m a bit deaf in both ears from old ear infections and I still stuffed tissue in my ears to reduce the noise to bearable levels.
This weekend we had fajitas again (beef this time, just follow same recipe here maybe adding a little more cayenne) a couple of bottles of wine and watched Django Unchained.
First, the movie ROCKS. It does a fantastic job of ridiculing and reviling the slaver culture of the American South. It’s surprisingly funny (oh the scene with the wannabee Klan and their hoods is worthy of Blazing Saddles or Monty Python. Be aware that the video is full of hateful and ignorant language) and not as bloody as some Tarantino movies. It’s still plenty bloody though. One forgets just how good an actor Samuel L. Jackson is and then you see his character Stephen, versus, say, Nick Fury. I do love a good violent revenge movie, enjoying High Plains Drifter immensely. Another great movie with a surprising Mr. Jackson is Unbreakable. I’ve heard that some think this movie is racist. I don’t see that, other than the idiot racists being displayed. It shows that people, no matter what shade of skin, can be good guys and bad guys.
The wine was a foray into “what’s cheap at the store”. First, is Hey Mambo Swanky White. I bought it because of the bit of purple prose on the back lable. Husband and I enjoy blends and this is very good, though don’t drink it after eating sweet corn. It just doesn’t taste good. The flavor has a nice strong musky muscat flavor.
Second, Flipflop Left Coast Pinot Noir. It was a very nice pinot noir, not too tannic. I’d buy it again. Both were around $7 on sale. Definitely a lucky set of choices this week.
As I mentioned on the first part of this post, the one thing that the KCA *must* have is an unquestionable beginning to the universe. At the moment, we don’t know if that is the case or not. We have new hypotheses, cyclic universes, brane theory, etc. These may be accurate, partially accurate or really wrong. We simply don’t know *yet*, and *yet* is often leapt upon by apologists as “we don’t know yet, don’t look any further and therefore God did it.”
Theoretical physics is always dicey to call on as any kind of evidence. It’s formula and calculations of the most rarified type. My opponent has claimed that one of these hypotheses supports the claim of a beginning to the universe. This theorem is the Borde Guth Vilenkin theorem. He also claims that: “You offer me some fringe models that seek to avert a beginning and remain agnostic about the beginning.“ in reference to those hypotheses that I have cited. Unfortunately for my opponent, this theorem is no more supported then brane theory, etc. It becomes “those unproven hypotheses that support me are okay but those that show my claims possibly wrong are “fringe”. Nice bit of hypocrisy there.
However, the most interesting thing about the BGV theorem is that it doesn’t say what these Christians have claimed. From my response: “It says“Thus inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime.”
It does not say that the universe must have a beginning, it says that one needs physics that do not include inflation to describe the past. Indeed, the authors say the following which entirely demolishes WLC’s lies about their paper “Whatever the possibilities for the boundary, it is clear that unless the averaged expansion condition can somehow be avoided for all past-directed geodesics, inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the Universe, and some new physics is necessary in order to determine the correct conditions at the boundary . This is the chief result of our paper.” Aka new physics is necessary, not a god or a beginning.
And it surprises me not one iota that WLC has no idea what he is talking about. I see this nonsense all of the time from creationists. They run to science when they think that there is “evidence” for their god, but their ignorance about what the science really says always is their undoing. They do their best to lie about actual science, misquoting, quote-mining and outright lying about what is said, all in an attempt to hide under the skirts of science to support their mythic nonsense. It is this pitiful willful ignorance that disgusts me about many Christians. WLC wants to glom onto science but of course ignores the science, like for instance Hawking’s no boundary ideas, that show theist claims could be wrong. I would also note that good ol’ WLC doesn’t like Vilenkin when V has done work on how something can come from nothing: http://mukto-mona.net/science/physics/a_vilinkin/universe_from_nothing.pdf Picking and choosing science when it agrees with you but running away from it when it doesn’t isn’t very honest. Also, you may wish to read this blog post, where Vilenkin is asked directly about WLC’s attempts to misrepresent him: http://arizonaatheist.blogspot.com/2010/05/william-lane-craigs-arguments-for-god.htmland that link to the Arizona post has a great bit about how WLC’s so intent on the 2nd law that he ignores the first law, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. That’s rather a bummer when it comes to claiming that his god created anything. We’re simply back to special pleading with no evidence.”
After asking *again* “do you deny the beginning of the universe and if so why?” and again “But how is it compatible with a universe that comes into being?” , my opponent says “The atheist should bravely face the full implications of their worldview, to not do so is hypocrisy (also known as inconsistency). If you examine your beliefs and their implications carefully, that’s a good thing.” Of course, this Christian has yet to show any inconsistency of atheism not needing a beginning or lack of beginning to the universe and has ignored every argument put forward by me. He attempts to imply I have not “bravely” faced the implications of his baseless assumptions. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – the Kalam Cosmological Argument, part 2”→
For the last few weeks I have been debating with a Christian about the kalam cosmological argument (KCA). This is the philosophical argument that says: Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence; The universe has a beginning of its existence; Therefore: The universe has a cause of its existence.
This Christian wanted to debate William Lane Craig’s version of it which adds the following: An actual infinite cannot exist. An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite. Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist. And a collection formed by successive addition cannot be an actual infinite. The temporal series of past events is a collection formed by successive addition. Therefore, the temporal series of past events cannot be actually infinite.” This can be found in the wiki article about the argument.
Now, scads of articles refuting this argument have been done. A couple of my favorites are Dan Barker’s article and Jeff Allan’s. I’ve been wanting to do a post or two on how a discussion between a Christian and an atheist runs. And I’ve been lucky enough that this discussion has turned out to be a very classic example, hitting all of the typical points. Rather than making the reader read all 18 pages of the debate, I am going to select parts for examples. However, the entire debate is available here in chronological order as a pdf, cosmological argument discussion chrono order if you really want to read it and so my opponent cannot claim that I am quoting out of context. There are some entertaining parts in there, like my opponent saying: “Put simply, do you realize that you must deny a premise of the KCA to deny the conclusion?” (well, yes, that’s what happens when showing something is wrong) but it is generally a slog of a read when you realize that repetition is part and parcel of debate with a Christian. There is one post missing, that began with my opponent complaining that I write a lot (a great shock to my readers, I know). I can’t seem to find it, though I have my reply. It shouldn’t make much difference and you can get what he said from my response. It is also up to him to reveal himself if he wishes. I have removed his name and contact info from the discussion.
The problems I have with the KCA are as follows:
1. Christians assume it is their god with no evidence. Indeed all religions seem to assume that the universe began with their god and only their god. Since we have no way to tell which god it is, there is no reason to think that any theists are right. Some vague deism may be an answer but that is not what WLC and Christian apologists are claiming. For their claim to be completed, it *must* be their version of the Christian god.
2. It is special pleading in that they must claim that their god is not bound by the restriction that *everything* must have a creator. There is no evidence that this is the case or that gods exist at all.
3. There is nothing that indicates that things cannot be infinitely regressive. Philosophers make claims, but I am looking for evidence, not navel gazing.
Penguins of Madagascar – love this cartoon. There are enough sly comments that adults can enjoy it immensely. Neil Patrick Harris recurs as the arch villain, Dr. Blowhole, a cybered dolphin. My favorite penguin is probably Rico, the demo expert. For some reason, I end up playing demo experts in role-playing games. Husband is real-life demo expert 🙂 Mort the lemur seems to be more spong monkey than lemur. Stuff Mort says. There are videos on youtube if you are inclined.
I’m utterly musically inept. But I love these “harp guitars”.
Here’s a tree just outside our window. It’s a mimosa or china silk tree. They are a rather aggressive tree, growing madly and are considered an invasive species in some states. They also shouldn’t grow in our hardiness zone, but they do. Global warming, donchaloveit!