Where is the objective morality?

My recent evenings have been spent at my computer logged into a Christian chat room. I recently viewed a video on Youtube promoting this chat room as the atheists defeat zone, the narrator exclaimed that Atheists have lost 31 debates, in a row, to the theists of this chat room. Challenge accepted.

And he has fricken laser beams that shoot out of his eyes! Evolution Win!

Being a curious cat, ever ready to punce on something shiny, I clicked the links and logged in. I was immedatly bombarded with “Atheists have sex with goats” and other derivitives of the concept of beastiality. A fellow by the screen name of American Christian proclaimed “This is the reason I will never ask an atheist to look after my dog.”

The conversation was based on objective morality being proof of a god. The theists argued that god gives morality and therefore anyone not subject to gods “law” would be free to do whatever they want including rape, torture, murder, theft etc. without consequence or rational thought. To a theist, objective morality falls under the umbrella of God and without belief in the almighty dictator a person is incapable of being objectivly moral.

With garlic butter.... /drool

I argued that a belief in god is not a requirement nor is it recommended to be objectively moral. I cited the many immoral people who believe in god far exceed those that do not in federal prisons. I also argued that morality is a product of civilization.

Bottom line, Religion does not make you moral. Morality is a product of social pressure. What is perfectly moral in the middle east, could be considered completely atrocious here in North America (ex. Women being stoned for adultery, female genital mutilation, arranged marriages, etc.) and vise versa (ex. Eating pork, Pornography, bikinis , etc.). Morality is a philosophical manifestation of social norms and has demonstrated that neither a God or humanity has the slightest clue as to the proper interpretation of the rules of objectivity.

The conversations then turned when a man by the screen name of Nephilimfree decided to exclaim that “science has disproved evolution!” He then went on to babble for nearly half an hour citing every creationist unsubstantiated claim he could in support of a god created world. He then posted several articles where he quote mined the first paragraph, which was meant to sensationalize the actual study, which stated that “Hundreds of natural selection studies could be wrong.” This character refused to stop talking and allow an opposing view point to come into the discussion. He repeatedly kicked a speaker off of the microphone with his abused moderator privileges.

Plugs ears "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!"

Yesterday, I came across this story in which a man killed his 4 year old boy under suspicion that he was a homosexual and a 28 year old woman for being infertile. Both these killings were done in the name of christianity and ultimately a personal god.

At least the fish get fed, right?

I asked what these christians thought about this man. They said it was gods will or something to that effect. To be fair, one person said it was wrong and he should be punished by law. Christians are not all bad. Just most of the crazy ones are.

In Which I’m an Axe Grinding Whinger

Well, the trolls finally found my blog posts from this spring, in which I am accused of conspiracy, lies, and scientific tyranny. Yay! I know, I know, don’t feed the trolls and all, but I would like to point out one simple thing: I honestly don’t care about geocentrism. I’m not a physicist, I’m not an astronomer. I am nothing more than an astronomy cheer leader, because I have always been fascinated by the stars and the planets and the galaxies. I was sort of sad when Pluto was downgraded from planetary status, but in a momentary “d’aw shucks” sort of way. I mourn the death of the American space program, that I never got to see a shuttle launch (though we did fly over Cape Canaveral once when a shuttle was on the launch pad. I took pictures). Any major changes to astronomy would interest me, because I have no vested interest in one theory or another. String theory can come or go – I’m a biologist and it makes no difference to me.

The hilarious thing is that apparently, according to my trolls, I have an axe to grind, and I am sitting here bitching and complaining and protesting because that’s all I do. This delights me, because I’m a busy woman with my own science to worry about. I had never even heard of geocentrism before I saw it on a Kijij listing for the lecture, and since I wrote the articles I have not worried about it for a moment since (barring my post earlier this week about the movie, which I wrote on a 10 minute break to lament science education). I wrote two comedy-based articles debunking the talk for the amusement of my fellow skeptics, and that was the end of it.

Now, I’m being challenged as a liar who misrepresented the evenings, even by those who have seen copies of the events that went on. What I find interesting is that these are only wild assertions. Which part, specifically, is untrue? Although I have not yet gone back to transcribe his talk, I certainly could to prove my point. Or perhaps, yes, I made a typo, or didn’t cover something in the notes I took. However, it is difficult to respond to such criticism if you don’t mention what I’m wrong about.

And yet, even though I spend both summaries asking over, and over, and over, “Please, somebody, just show me some evidence!!” none of them have presented any direct evidence for geocentrism. They all fall prey to the thinking of many creationists: if the current theory is wrong, then mine must be right! I am open to the concept that there is a better explanation for the way the world is than Newtonian physics. However, you must present this alternative theory!

In a geocentist world, this is what the solar system looks like. Please explain why planets are doing weird little circles all on their own. Please explain why Mercury never slams into the Earth. Please explain the forces that sustain this model.

Until then, truly, I’ve moved on with my life. The universe is not the focus of my scientific work and what frame of reference we use to describe it doesn’t particularly matter to me. This is not my field. I have far more to “whinge” about when it comes to people promoting medical quackery. You know, the stuff that is actually killing people.

Earth Wars: Revenge of the Geocentrists

So it looks like Robert Sungenis is no longer willing to just give poorly attended lectures and enter stacked debates, but has decided that he needs to go Hollywood with his poorly founded, ignorant, and paranoid ramblings. Seriously, they’re trying to make a documentary, Expelled-style. I’m not going to lie: I’m scared. Not scared of what he has to say, not scared of his challenge to science, not scared of dissent.

I’m scared of all those Good Christians™ of America will see this crap and think that God mandates that we give equal time to this “theory.” It scares me to see the world slipping backwards, the public’s hearts more easily swayed by rhetoric and conspiracy theories than good, evidence-based, exciting knowledge. Superstition and paranoia is so much easier than the truth for far too many. Sungenis is charismatic and assertive enough that this stands a chance of having someone listen –  and what then? With the death of the American (and, by proxy, Canadian) space program, will we ever look up at the night sky and be humbled as Sagan did when he waxed poetic? Or would we allow those gaps that contain God to grow?

"There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known." - Carl Sagan

How can we make science capture the imaginations of people the way that these cons can? It becomes more and more clear that the only way forward is to proactively prevent these blatant attacks on science. We need to be loud, active voices for rational, skeptical thinking. Anyone with any iota of skepticism will easily see through Sungenis’ fallacies, and misrepresentations.

I fear for the ones who don’t.

Awesome robotics and unfortunate acronyms

Cyberdyne’s robotic exoskeleton, designed to help increase mobility in the elderly and assist people with heavy lifting in their workplaces, is being used to help a paralyzed Japanese man tour historic sites in France. It’s not quite as exciting as the headline makes it out to be – his carrier will be wearing the robo-suit, not him. Still, it’s fantastic that they’re finding diverse applications for this really cool technology. Reading muscle impulses isn’t far off from actually helping those whose nerve impulses in the brain don’t reach their intended targets. It looks like such technology will be possible in my lifetime, which is fantastic!

Still, I do wish they didn’t call it the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL). Seriously? Have these people never seen 2001:A Space Odyssey?

You've clearly never taken a marketing class, Dave.

Via: Discovery News