Archive for the religion Category

Top Ten Creationist Arguments

Posted in Critical Thinking, religion, science, skepticism with tags , , , , , , , on October 13, 2011 by theskepticalsamurai

Sorry about the lack of updates as of late!

Fear not dear readers, the Skeptical Samurai is still here!

I have been preparing my application for medal school which has been taking up a considerable about of my time.  Additionally, I am working on a new segment of the blog which has also required a lot of attention (but trust me, I think that I will be worth the wait).  Add working 60-80 hours a week, and you have one busy Skeptical Samurai!

Anyway, in the meantime I came across the following video that I wanted to share with you.  Perhaps a bit inflammatory at times, but an interesting watch none the less.  Enjoy!

This has been the skeptical samurai

Working to serve…

Through the process of inquiry…

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Show Me That Smile…Yet Again!

Posted in Critical Thinking, Kirk Cameron, Logical Fallacies, pseudo-science, religion, science, skepticism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2010 by theskepticalsamurai

Cue the music:

A while back I posted a video from my good friend/arch nemesis Kirk Cameron and his side kick Mr. Ray Comfort (combined they form, Mr. C+C!) regarding their assertion that the banana is proof of intelligent design and thus is evidence for god’s existence.  Here is a link to that post: https://theskepticalsamurai.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/show-me-that-smile-again/

It has come to my attention that Mr. C+C have subsequently released a statement/video attempting to better explain the claims made in their original video.  You can view the video here (do yourself a favour and jump to 01:30 and stop at the 02:00 mark.  If you choose to watch the entire video clip, do not say that I did not warn you!):

I would like to draw attention to Mr. Comfort’s “apology” regarding his original “banana as proof of god’s existence” discussion (again at the 01:30 to 02:00 mark):

“My apologies for not explaining myself more clearly.  I was not aware that the common banana had been so modified through hybridization.  However the truth remains that god gave man the knowledge and ability to modify it, so that it perfectly fit into his hand.  He did the same with big dogs so that they could fit into his car.  And with wild cats, so that they are perfectly fit for his wife.”

Wow…

Where to even start with this one!?

1st off please allow me to apologize if you watched the entire video.  I tried to warn you!  I know what you are thinking, those where valuable seconds of your life that you will never get back.   It is my hope that my critique of Mr. C + C’s video will be a step in the right direction to earning your forgiveness! 

Alright, let us dig into this one shall we!

Mr. Comfort makes the argument that the video distributed on the internet (more specifically, the video clip distributed within the skeptical/scientific community) was inaccurate, as the video clip did not show Comfort’s entire argument. 

Alright Mr. Comfort, I will give you that one.  So let us look at the argument that you were trying to make. 

In the uncut version of the video, Comfort compares the banana to a can of cola.  Comfort explains that in his opinion both the banana and can of cola have been designed in such a manner that is perfectly suited for the user.  He then goes on to make the argument that the can of cola (which has been “perfectly created”) has a designer/creator, so following that logic that banana (which also been “perfectly created”) must also have a designer/creator.  Ergo, Comfort argues that the banana is evidence for the existence of god.    

I know…

A weak argument at best…

But please, stay with me! 

Comfort’s argument hinges on the notion that the banana, in its form as we know it today, serves as a perfect example of something in nature that has been perfectly created/designed, and is thus evidence for the existence of god.  As discussed in my previous post, this argument quickly falls apart, as the common banana is the result of years of selective breeding by farmers and looks/tastes nothing like is wild counterpart.   Hardly a good example of something that was perfectly designed by an omnipotent creator!

True to form, upon discovering the above information about the common banana, Comfort does not reconsider his original argument.  He does not process the intellectual honesty to admit that the banana was an extremely poor example for his original argument.  Instead, he commits one of the worst cases of “moving the goal posts” that I have ever seen!  Mr. Comfort proclaims that the banana is still evidence for the existence of god, because god gave man the intelligence to change and shape the banana as he saw fit! 

Unbelievable!

This is why people such as Mr. C + C (and many people within the creationist/intelligent design movement) are not (and will never be) taken seriously in the scientific community. 

A scientist (or any person of reason for that matter) openly acknowledges that their opinions/beliefs on a variety of different subjects will change and evolve as new information becomes available.  Inherent in the scientific process is the notion that our understanding of the natural world is constantly changing as we gain new information.  Our understanding of the natural world does not have an end point.  Instead, it is something of a never ending constantly evolving process.  Individuals such as Mr. Comfort and Mr. Cameron have already made up their mind.  They have already drawn their conclusions. 

Put simply, they are not open to new information, and thus are closed to the wonders of science and the new and exciting information that it is able to offer us about the world/universe that we inhabit. 

This has been the Skeptical Samurai

Working to serve…

Through the process of inquiry…

A Tribute to Carl Sagan

Posted in Carl Sagan, Critical Thinking, Debate, education, Logical Fallacies, Magic, pseudo-science, religion, science, SGU, skepticism with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2010 by theskepticalsamurai

Please allow me to present the Skeptical Samurai’s 1st venture into the world of film/video (well sort of!)

The following to a video that i made using the xtranormal “text to movie” engine (http://www.xtranormal.com/index)

The script for this video is based on a passage from “Demon Haunted World” by the great Carl Sagan (soon to be a member of the prestigious Skeptical Syndicate).

Enjoy! 

And do not forget to send this to ALL of your friends!

This has been the skeptical samurai

Working to serve…

Through the process of inquiry…

My Karma Ran Over Your Dogma…Part 3!

Posted in Critical Thinking, Debate, education, pseudo-science, religion, science, skepticism with tags , , , , , , , on February 25, 2010 by theskepticalsamurai

In the on-going saga that is “My Karma Ran Over Your Dogma”…

Link to the original post + responses: https://theskepticalsamurai.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/my-karma-ran-over-your-dogma/

Link to the 2nd Post and responses: https://theskepticalsamurai.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/my-karma-ran-over-your-dogma-part-2/

I now present you with the third instalment of “My Karma Ran Over Your Dogma”!

Jennifer…

Thanks for clarifying your original position.  I think it is much clearer now what your original intended message was.  Also I should add, knowing you personally (for those of you out there who do not know, Jennifer is actually my sister in law!) I know for fact that you are not “one of those types”! 

Regarding Point #1

Interesting…

I definitely did not get that from your initial post, but with this new information and going back to read your original post, I have a much better understanding of the message that you where trying to get across.  With that in mind, I would argue that the philosophy of science and the practical application of science are quite different.  The philosophy of science (in my humble opinion) tends to deal with retrospective and theoretical discussions regarding (as I think you put it) the changing paradigms in science.  This is much different that the practical application of science (at least in my experience) which tends to deal with current research with the focuses of advancing a particular branch of science.  While I agree that the philosophy of science is extremely interesting and can offer valuable knowledge about a limited set of topics (for example trends regarding the changing paradigms of science), often times these types of discussion have little to no impact on the practical application of science. 

Regarding your reference to Mr. Albert Einstein…

Compelling argument, but I would argue that Einstein did not acting in a dogmatic fashion in regards to his thoughts on quantum theory.  Einstein did not reject quantum theory solely on the basis that it clashed with this prior held beliefs/understanding of the natural world.  Instead, he felt that there simply was not enough evidence to contradict/overturn the current theories that explained the same phenomena.  This is not an example of acting in a dogmatic manner; instead it is an example of the scientific process.  As I mentioned before, science has to have a process in which to weed out false positives, false negatives, etc.  Part of this process is to question/examine any and all new theories (especially those that are in contrast to prior established theories).  It is not dogmatic to question the validity of a new theory based on a lack of evidence, instead it is an example of the scientific process at work.   

This brings me to my next point.  Science is not dogmatic, however it is possible for a single individual (or even a group of individuals), who are part of the scientific community, to act in a dogmatic fashion.  Let me revert back to my example of evolution.  If there were suddenly multiple independent lines of evidence that irrefutably disproved the theory of evolution (which I should add, is not about to happen any time soon!) the scientific community would adopt this position and then begin work on developing a new theory that explains the evolution of species on this planet.  If a single individual (or group of individuals) chose to reject this evidence and maintain their original position (despite multiple independent lines of evidence the irrefutably disprove the original theory), then yes those individuals would be acting in a dogmatic fashion.  However, I would argue that this is not an example of science being dogmatic, but instead an example of a single individual (or group of individuals) acting in a dogmatic manner. 

Regarding your comments about resistance within the scientific community…

I could not agree more.  There is definitely resistance/skepticism to new ideas and theories within the scientific community.  However, as I have stated before, the amount of resistance/skepticism will depend on the claim being made, and the “law/rule” being challenged.  Additionally, as I have also stated before, resistance/skepticism within the scientific community is a process in which to identify and weed out false positives/false negatives, and EVERYONE is subject to the same amount of scrutiny.  I would argue that the difference between science and religion (and why religion is dogmatic and science is not), is that science will change/evolve over time in light of new information.  However, religion on the other hand will not.  Yes, there may be small changes to a religion over time, but the core values (the dogma) of a religion will not change.  If it does, typically the members of the religion become fragmented from the OG religion and go on to form a new religion (as discussed in my previous blog post). 

Regarding Point #2

Understood… 

You accused me of making a straw man argument, and I simply wanted to demonstrate that I was not.

Regarding Point #3

I definitely have a much better notion of what your original intended message was, but I still do not agree with you.  I maintain my original argument that science is not dogmatic (for the reason that I have outlined in this and the previous 2 blog posts).  At this point I think that we are actually discussing semantics.  You seem to have a different definition of the term/concept dogma.  I would suggest that you seem to have a more broad/modified definition of the term, where as when I use the term dogma I am using the most basic definition of the term.  I definitely understand the point that you are making, but I would argue that dogma is not the word to use to make your point.  I would argue that the term dogma has implications that, as pointed out in my previous arguments, prevent it from being used to make your point (thus supporting my initial statement that science is not dogmatic).  Again, I definitely now have an appreciation for your point of view, but I do not think that dogma is the correct term to use. 

This has been the skeptical samurai

Working to serve…

Through the process of inquiry…