Atheist Dilemma: Fight or Smooth-Talk Religion?

first_imgThe unpopularity of evolutionism and the persistence of religious faith has scientific materialists confounded and dumbfounded over how to respond.  Some want to fight, some want to shrug it off, and some want to dialog with religious believers, in hopes of convincing some of them that evolution is not the bogeyman they think.  Richard Dawkins is known for the intensity of his rhetoric against all religion.  His strategy is to take no prisoners, but condemn religion as the opiate of the masses, an evil that must be opposed with militant energy.    The NCSE, on the other hand, plays the line that you can be religious and still believe in evolution.  Eugenie Scott, an atheist, has even produced Sunday School material to soften the opposition (01/14/2002).  According to Kenneth Silber, writing for Tech Central, the AAAS has also entered this arena with a new book entitled The Evolution Dialogues: Science, Christianity, and the Quest for Understanding:The book, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), is an unusual offering for a scientific society in its focus on religious issues.  Targeted especially at Christian adult-education classes, The Evolution Dialogues contributes a thoughtful discussion to the highly charged debate about evolution and its implications.  Written by Catherine Baker and edited by James B. Miller, the work was developed with input from scientists and theologians.These approaches attempt to woo the faithful into acquiescent acceptance of evolution (with acceptance of evolution as the unalterable goal).  Such tactics usually work only with liberal churches.  Last February’s Darwin Day (02/11/2006) found willing ranks of liberal pastors ready to preach from the Origin of Species.  Perhaps the oddest attempt in this vein recently came from admitted apostate Michael Shermer, leader of the L.A. Skeptics Society, writing for Scientific American.  He argued that Christians should embrace evolution because it is good theology, while creationism is bad theology.  Not only that, Shermer argued that evolution fits in with the political and moral values of the religious right.  It is not likely Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell will be convinced.  They might even turn the argument back on Shermer and ask why he is a liberal, if conservatism is more adaptive.    There are also some, like Ronald Numbers, who may not agree with believers but believe their views should be taken seriously and treated with respect.    More commonly, Darwinist materialists seem content to explain away religion as an evolutionary artifact.  An example is Daniel Dennett’s; new book Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (Viking, 2006), reviewed by Kim Sterelny on American Scientist, by Jack Miles in the Washington Post, and mentioned in a Newsweek article by Jerry Adler about modern atheists.  Encompassing religion in a Darwinian worldview is the strategy likely to be endorsed by the mainline science journals.  Though, according to reviewer Sterelny, “Dennett devotes much of his energy to trying to convince his nonsecular readers that it is legitimate to inquire scientifically into the roots of religious belief and to assess its moral consequences, good and bad,” in the end, Sterelny thinks “His intended audience will rightly regard any evolutionary model, indeed any secular model, of religion as essentially corrosive.”  That’s because Dennett believes that religion evolved; it is not a response to anything real in the divine realm, but is only an artifact of material causes acting by natural selection.  Atheism, by this measure, is not in the dock.    Typically, the “evolution of religion” theorists use cognitive neuroscience and game theory to describe religion, altruism and other behaviors as adaptive strategies among populations of organisms (in this case, people) needing to preserve their genomes.  The more sensitive of the bunch, like Dennett tries to be, attempt to explain the persistence of religion (for their atheist colleagues) on one hand, but try to assuage the fears of believers, on the other hand, that Darwinism does not necessarily lead to a dog-eat-dog moral chaos.  They try to attract believers to the beauty of evolutionary theory, and its advertised ability to explain peacock behavior as well as our own.  Some, like Dennett, even try to calm the battlefield by persuading fellow atheists to learn more about religion.  Miles finds this somewhat hypocritical, though: “though Dennett pays lip service to the need for Darwinian theorists of religion to acquaint themselves with actual religion as patiently as Darwin acquainted himself with actual animal breeding, in practice he rarely does so.”    Though Dennett tries to be more nuanced, cautious and soft-spoken than Dawkins, Sterelny argues, he is really a close ally to Dawkins, who along with Richard Harris, Adler remarks, uses “bone-rattling attacks on what they regard as a pernicious and outdated superstition.”    Apparently religion-by-evolution is becoming a popular vacation topic.  Dennett will be the featured speaker at a conference in Hawaii next January on the subject, The Evolution of Religion.  There must be an adaptive benefit for this new trend among atheists.Sad.  If Dennett, Dawkins and Harris really believed and understood what they are arguing, they would realize that they are shooting themselves in the feet.  If belief in God evolved as an adaptive strategy, and therefore has no validity in its claims, the same can be said for belief in evolution – indeed, for belief in anything.  It would make just as much sense for other Darwinists to explain Dennett’s behavior in evolutionary terms, and for him to fight back and explain theirs in evolutionary terms, till everyone sings, “Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”    Speaking of cognitive neuroscience, Dennett has a bad case of what we will term the Yoda Complex.  He makes himself out to be some kind of exalted master, the Enlightened One, like some disembodied green god with pointy ears (and a pointy head), able to talk down to the rest of humanity.  In reality, he wears flesh and bones and puts on pants like the rest of men.  Most of us wouldn’t promote a guy like him to Exalted Master if we could.  But Dennett rambles on like some Yoda, sipping a soda in his pagoda, as if we owed assent (or a cent) to his ode.  (A girl named Rhoda showed a more rational response to the evidence than some believers: Acts 12).  While Dawkins recklessly swings his light saber like the dark lord of the Mith, Dennett talks smooth and deliberately in hushed tones, unaware that the universal acid that flowed away from his own Darwinian principles was strong enough to corrode a Darwinist container, too.    In case any Ewoks out there are entranced by Yoda Dennett, as if he showed a thing or two from some enlightened abode, a perceptive mind will know what’s up.  That’s because Yoda wrote a coda to his ode, a line in the review to his book on where he spilled the beans (or his guts, if there’s a difference): “I appreciate that many readers will be profoundly distrustful of the tack I am taking here,” he said.  “They will see me as just another liberal professor trying to cajole them out of some of their convictions, and they are dead right about that—that’s what I am, and that’s exactly what I am trying to do.”  So, students, now that he has shown his true colors, what side of The Farce is he on? (answer: 06/20/2003).    One doesn’t have to be “dead right.”  Being alive and right is much preferable.  Keep reading Creation-Evolution Headlines, where you learn how to explode a load of phony openness before you’re snowed.  A pretentious Yoda in his own mind, Daniel Dennett showed a code of bluster, not a display of wisdom bestowed upon him from on high.  A man he is, pretender he is; deceitful times, these.  You asked for it, you got it: Toy Yoda.(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Video: Africa’s first electric car

first_imgThe zero-emission Joule was designed by Cape Town-based Optimal Energy in association with legendary South African-born automotive designer Keith Helfet. The Joule was unveiled in Cape Town in September 2008 – when this video was made – and at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. It’s clean, it’s mean – and it’s good-looking, to boot! Click arrow to play video.last_img

SA sparkling wines on world top 10 list

first_img Effervescents du Monde is a competition where over 100 judges select the best sparkling wines from 660 entries coming from 25 countries around the world. The Top 10 2012 actually includes 19 wines as “some wines are rigorously equal” and could not be excluded from the list, Effervescents du Monde said in a statement. The winners were announced at the event hosted from 14 to 16 November. The competition’s ambition is to “award reliable and representative medals each year, reflecting the founding motto of Effervescents du Monde: diversity, quality and high standards”. “In 2012, Spain, Italy and Switzerland obtained many medals. These three countries [were] very closely followed by Brazil, Chile, South Africa and Portugal,” competition organisers said. The competition is in its 10th year, and aims to highlight the efforts made by sparkling wine producers and encourage scientific research and knowledge about these wines. It was certified by the French consumer protection agency and the European Union in 2003. “To be amongst this illustrious line-up of the best sparkling wines in the world in the land of Champagne, is a wonderful recognition for our Pongracz team and we are particularly proud of the recognition for our Rose,” said winemaker Elunda Basson. “The 2012 edition has been a success, with growth in participation showing that there is increasing interest in international, quality-based competitions,” Effervescents du Monde said. SAinfo reporter 27 November 2012 Two South African sparkling wines, Pongracz Rose Brut and Boschendal Le Grand Pavillon Brut Rose, made it onto the top 10 “Best Sparkling Wines in the World” list at the 2012 Effervescents du Monde competition held in Dijon, France earlier this month.last_img read more

EPA worker protection rule takes effect, despite petition by AFBF

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Environmental Protection Agency has moved ahead with the Jan. 1 start date of its worker protection safety (WPS) rule, despite a request for a delay from the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.According to the joint petition from AFBF and NASDA to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the WPS rule was issued in violation of federal law.The proposal, Farm Bureau and NASDA told McCarthy on Dec. 21, “fails to advance the purpose of furthering the safety of farmworkers.” The rule’s rapidly approaching implementation also posed “a serious problem for administration of the rule’s requirements” by state departments of agriculture as well as farmers and ranchers who must comply with its terms.The petition from AFBF and NASDA claimed EPA did not meet the law’s requirements when it failed to provide congressional agriculture committees a final copy of the regulations along with the copy sent to the agriculture secretary. The EPA has acknowledged that omission in responses to questions from Congress.“EPA’s failure to meet its statutory obligations deprived Congress of its lawful expectation of examining the regulation before its promulgation,” the petition states.The groups also claimed that the rule’s “designated representative” provision exceeds the scope of the WPS rule by depriving farmers of reasonable expectation of privacy for confidential business information. The groups said that the rule subjects farmers to potential harassment and public criticisms for lawful use of EPA-approved pesticides. In spite of the groups identifying problems related to equity and implementation of the WPS rule, EPA has not addressed the problems.The petition also asserted that the EPA has failed to finalize and deliver to state lead agencies the enforcement guidance, educational material and training resources needed to effectively implement the rule and assist farmers and ranchers with compliance efforts.“At this time, even if all of the compliance and enforcement materials were completed and distributed to all the appropriate state enforcement agencies, there is simply not enough time for the (state lead agencies) and the regulated community to successfully implement the provisions scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2017,” the petition stated. “In short, EPA has failed to develop and deliver the necessary resources for states to train the regulated community on the new requirements, and the agency has failed to comply with its own WPS Implementation Timeline.”last_img read more

The Hustler’s Playbook: Don’t Complain. Do Something.

first_imgHustlers don’t stand around the water cooler and commiserate with the cynics, the critics, the burnouts, the has-beens, and the never-weres. They don’t complain about their manager, the compensation structure, their clients, or their co-workers. Hustler’s don’t complain about the political party in power or the economy, even though they may have strong feelings about these issues.Hustlers know that commiserating doesn’t change anything. They know that complaining about their work-life doesn’t in any way improve it, nor does complaining about politics or the overall economy.There is nothing to be gained by complaining. The way to make something better is through taking action.Instead of complaining about what’s wrong at work, hustlers find a way to create massive value, gain influence, and change what they need to change for themselves. If things are really bad where they are and they can’t do what they need to do to make a difference, they move on and find a new home where things are better. They don’t wallow in their sorrow, helpless and disempowered.Instead of complaining about the economy, hustlers make their own economy. They find opportunities to create value instead of griping, knowing that this is the only way to improve how they’re doing. When they’ve got the chops, they make their own game and set up their own shop.Hustlers aren’t easily satisfied with the way things they are. In fact, they are mostly dissatisfied with how things are and they see how things can be made better. But they don’t complain. They do.QuestionsAre you ever guilty of complaining when you should be acting?How does complaining disempower you?When something isn’t working, how do you help make things better? How do you sell your ideas?last_img read more

10 months agoSouthampton midfielder Ward-Prowse baffled by ref call: He admitted contact

first_imgSouthampton midfielder Ward-Prowse baffled by ref call: He admitted contactby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSouthampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse says he left baffled by the ref’s decision to wave away a penalty claim in defeat to Manchester City.With the scores level and half time approaching, Ward-Prowse was denied a penalty when he was nudged by City left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko in the box, before cruelly deflecting Raheem Sterling’s low cross past Alex McCarthy just moments later.“I was disappointed not to get it,” he said of the spot-kick. “It was a good ball from Jack (Stephens) and I knew that if I took my first touch across him I could get into the box.“When there was contact and it’s impeding my chances of scoring, I had to go down. “The referee says there was contact but didn’t give the penalty, which didn’t make any sense. He’d have to book me for simulation, which he didn’t, so no decision was made.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Waffle House Announces Clemson-South Carolina Is Its Annual “Waffle Wager” Game

first_imgWaffle House logo.Waffle House The Waffle Wager is coming to the Palmetto State.The Waffle Wager is coming to the Palmetto State.For the third year in a row, Waffle House is putting a friendly “Waffle Wager” on a college football game of its choice. Last year, it was Auburn-Georgia, while in 2013 it was Alabama-Texas A&M. This year, the match-up is Clemson-South Carolina, and either Clemson, S.C. or Columbia S.C. will receive free Waffle House based on the result of the game. From Business Wire: “You can throw out the records when the Tigers and Gamecocks take the field, and when you add in the Waffle Wager, it becomes an even bigger event!” said Walt Ehmer, Waffle House President and CEO. “Good luck to both schools, and like the old saying goes, ‘To the victor goes the waffles, coffee and hashbrowns.’”Fans of the winning team will get the free Waffle House goodness at either a restaurant in Clemson, S.C., or Columbia, S.C. If Clemson wins the game, Royal Cup and C.H. Guenther will provide hashbrowns, waffles and coffee for the fans and if South Carolina wins, Basic American Foods will be stuck with the tab. The “payout” date, time and winning Waffle House location will be announced after the game.In addition to the free hashbrowns, waffles and coffee, the winning university’s general scholarship fund will receive $10,000 to help further the education of its students.Obviously, the Tigers are heavy favorites over the Gamecocks this year. But when free Waffle House is involved, anything can happen. [ Dr. Saturday ]last_img read more

Austal to Build Catamaran Duo for Taiwanese Firm

first_imgzoom Australian shipbuilder Austal has received its first commercial vessel contract, valued at AUD 44 million (USD 35 million), in Taiwan.The contract is for two 550 passenger, 50-meter high speed catamarans, designed and built by Austal for Taiwan’s Brave Line. The contract includes an option for a third vessel of the same design.The Brave Line catamarans will be designed by Austal in Australia and built at its shipyard in the Philippines.“This contract builds on the continuing evolution of our fast ferry portfolio and reaffirms Austal’s position as international market leader for the quality of the vessels we design and build,” Ben Marland, Austal Vice President of Sales and Marketing, said.“Austal has previously indicated continuing strength in the worldwide ferry industry and this adds to our recent record run of sales achieved over the last 18 months,” David Singleton, Austal Chief Executive Officer, said.Austal has recently announced its intention to expand capacity in its Philippines shipyard through a USD 30 million investment in new infrastructure. The expansion is intended to cater for an increase in new orders already achieved with further orders expected in the next 12 months.last_img read more

Commentary NBC Sports Network big upgrade over Fox Soccer

Last week was the start of something new for American fans of the English Premier League; it was also the start of something great. For years now, Fox Soccer Channel has dictated how we watched a sport loved across the world, but after the debut of NBC Sports Group coverage of the EPL on Aug. 17, I believe we can now breathe a sigh of relief.Back in October 2012, NBC Sports Network bought the rights to show EPL matches when it outbid Fox and ESPN, although Fox will still carry the UEFA Champions League and ESPN, the Fifa World Cup, who had been airing the matches together for nearly two decades, with a bid of roughly $250 million. I never had anything against the way Fox broadcasted the matches at the time, but after experiencing NBCSN, I can tell you without a doubt in my mind that I don’t want it to go back to the way it was.When Fox Soccer aired the matches, you were required to have a Fox Soccer 2 Go subscription if you wanted to watch any matches that were not aired live on TV. This subscription could be purchased in two separate ways. A monthly subscription would have cost you $19.99 per month, or you could opt to pay for the subscription annually, paying $169.99, saving you roughly $70 a year. With this subscription, you gained access to watch thousands of matches from the EPL to the Champions League on your computer and mobile devices, but it cost you a pretty penny.This brings me to the best part of NBCSN coverage of the EPL. Not only will NBCSN air all 380 EPL matches, but they also offer both Premier League Extra Time and NBC Sports Live Extra at no extra cost to everyone who has NBC Sports. Premier League Extra Time is a collection of extra channels that air any match not shown on an NBCUniversal designated channel and NBC Sports Live Extra offers EPL viewers the capability to stream every match live using a desktop or a mobile device for no extra charge. The NBC Sports Live Extra app is supported by both Apple iOS and Android.This may sound too good to be true for EPL fans, but currently the only downside to NBCSN airing the matches is that not every cable provider is currently carrying NBCSN. However, NBCSN claims on its website that it is working hard on adding other providers to a list that already contains WOW!, AT&T U-Verse, DISH and DirecTV.NBCSN is receiving positive feedback from fans too, as last weekend’s EPL debut earned an average of 792,000 viewers and the best rating for an EPL opening weekend in the U.S. with a 0.8. These numbers show a 43 percent increase from last year when the matches were still shown on Fox Soccer. This significant increase is due partly to the sport gaining more fans across the U.S. but also because of the coverage offered by NBCSN. read more

Track and Field Ohio State prepares for matchups against familiar faces in

Ohio State’s Cole Gorski celebrates in mid-air at the Simmons-Harvey Quad in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Jan. 21, 2018. Credit: Ethan Clewell | Lantern ReporterPole vault will be one of the main events Friday at the Buckeye Tune Up, a 22-team meet featuring schools from all three divisions along with some unattached athletes who compete in the meet, but are not affiliated with a team during the competition.Ohio State is having a historic year in both men’s and women’s pole vault. Senior Cole Gorski set the men’s program record at 5.47 meters this season and senior Madison Roberts set the women’s program record at four meters. Along with the record holders, junior Coty Cobb is third all-time at Ohio State and sophomore Megan Hoffman is also third all-time for the Buckeyes.“They are aggressive, they are competitive, and they are humble and are willing to take criticism,” pole vault coach Rob Banhagel said.The meet will feature Cincinnati, which also has two indoor pole vault program record holders in seniors Adrian Valles and Brooke Catherine.Men’s previewValles and Gorski will meet again for the second straight matchup in the friendly rivalry. The two competed against one another in the Music City Challenge, with Gorski finishing ahead of Valles.“Him and I enjoy jumping against each other because we really push each other to that next height,” Gorski said.Cobb has a chance to qualify for the national championships this weekend, with the bar reaching 5.41 meters during the event. Cobb’s current personal record is 5.35 meters, currently 22nd in the country. He only has two chances remaining to qualify for the national championship.“I do believe that this is the meet that this happens for me,” Cobb said.Banhagel said given how deep the team is into the season, training is not as intense. He added that right now the team is not continuing to build from where it is, but rather just trying to stay at its current level.“We’re not lifting to build. We are lifting to maintain,” Banhagel said.Gorski, like many members of the team, has focused on individual work, including how to move his body through the air to clear the bar. His practice has included working with bigger poles and improving his running technique to influence his body movement in air. Along with the competition faced in the meet, this will be Gorski’s last chance this season to earn the French Field House record, which was set in 1988 by Illinois’ Dean Starkey at 5.53 meters. “It’s time for that record to finally come down,” Banhagel said.Women’s PreviewOhio State’s Roberts and Hoffman will face Catherine and Austin Peay’s junior Savannah Amato in a rematch of last week’s Music City Challenge.Catherine placed the highest out of the four in Nashville, claiming third place with a jump of 4.26 meters. Roberts, Hoffman and Amato all finished at the same mark of 3.92. Of the three, Amato has the highest personal record.This matchup also includes a friendly rivalry between Amato and Hoffman. They jumped together in the summers before Hoffman came to Ohio State.When the pair are on the track, the focus is solely on the competition. Getting into the competition mentality was the main focus for Hoffman coming into the meet.For Roberts, this meet is all about being consistent and trying to make the marks to qualify for the national championships. The qualifying mark is currently at 4.26 and is held by Catherine. “We might not be a pole vault school, but we are certainly becoming one,” coach Richard Ebin said. read more