Tuesday, September 27, 2011
[John Stuart Mill utilitarian and atheist]
A common ethical system claimed by atheists is "utilitarianism" - in essence the belief that the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation.
A recent psychological study seems to indicate that utilitarians were often psychopathic, Machiavellian or tended to view life as meaningless. I guess that's not very surprising, since they probably were often atheists as well.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 9:50 AM
Friday, September 23, 2011
[did he get it wrong?]
After hearing of the results of a recent experiment which seems to indicate that particles can travel faster than light, Alvaro de Rujula a theorist at CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research commented "If it is true, then we truly haven't understood anything about anything."
An interesting comment, considering that atheists will insist that anyone denying evolution is ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked since most scientists endorse it. This is in spite of the obvious fallacies of evolution.
What if most scientists don't understand anything about anything?
Posted by jewish philosopher at 3:27 AM
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Preamble Article 1.
How could an atheist say this?
First of all, if humans are merely soulless bags of chemicals created by mindless evolution, what rights and dignity do we have more so than a rat, a jellyfish or a rock?
Secondly, if we have no soul and are purely physical, in what way are all humans equal? Even identical twins have different experiences and therefore are different. Would anyone say all diamonds, stars or animals are equal?
One of the United Nations' founding documents seems to imply the existence of a God given human soul. It seems to have been inspired by the Bible, not Darwin.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 12:23 PM
Friday, September 16, 2011
[in big trouble]
These days, former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi isn't doing very well. His location is currently unknown and he is wanted for war crimes. Things aren't looking so good right now for the former tyrant and fashion icon.
There is an important message to learn from this: sooner or later, there is justice.
Gaddafi was an evil man who killed many innocent people. For many years he lived in great luxury, however ultimately justice caught up with him.
By the same token consider, Saddam Hussein, a brutal killer who finally met a bitter end. And of course recently Osama bin Laden. Jewish Communists, who persecuted rabbis without mercy in the early years of the Soviet Union, were themselves purged by Stalin a few years later. The same is true is many evil people - they may seem successful for a while, however then suddenly they're gone. Most bad people end up suffering greatly even in this world.
There are however some exceptions. I would suggest that Stalin and Mao, for example, were such monsters that no earthly punishment could begin to apply to them and their suffering was reserved only for the afterlife.
It's well known that many people in recent years who have converted from Orthodox Judaism to atheism have ended up having disastrous personal lives. I know of one man who grew up Orthodox in Brooklyn, dropped out about thirty years ago after being married with a daughter. He then married a Colombian woman, had children, had a good job however his sexual promiscuity caused him to lose his new family and career. I know of another woman who left her Orthodox husband for a non-Orthodox coworker. Today she is divorced, penniless and has three kids. I personally know of no apostates from Orthodoxy who seem to do too well personally and financially.
We must learn from this and use this to help us increase our belief in and fear of God.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 10:21 AM
Monday, September 12, 2011
The British government just last week permitted gay men to donate blood - after one year of full celibacy.
Few nations allow sexual active gay men to donate blood.
Shouldn't this perhaps tell us something - that rather than issuing marriage certificates to gay men, the Surgeon General should issue a warning against men having sex with men? I'm not suggesting that anyone go so far as quoting the Bible, (although it's interesting how many Biblical ideas have immense therapeutic value - see the post prior to this one) however it's at least a matter of hygiene.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 8:54 AM
Sunday, September 11, 2011
[he's not "getting it"]
In 2001, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University published a study concerning the link between monotheism and sobriety.
The study found that God, religion, and spirituality were key factors for many in the prevention and treatment of their substance abuse and in continuing recovery.
Adults who did not consider religious beliefs important were more than one and one-half times likelier to use alcohol and cigarettes, more than three times likelier to binge drink, almost four times likelier to use an illicit drug other than marijuana, and more than six times likelier to use marijuana than adults who strongly believed that religion was important.
Teens who never attended religious services were twice as likely to drink, more than three times likelier to use marijuana and binge drink, and almost four times likelier to use illicit drugs than teens who attended religious services at least weekly.
In the context of treatment, individuals who attended spiritually based support programs, such as 12-Step programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, in addition to receiving treatment, were more likely to maintain sobriety.
The essence of addiction recovery and prevention seems to be to train people to find true solace in a belief in and trust in God during times of stress, rather than a self destructive false solace in substance abuse. (For example see A Natural History of Alcoholism page 193.)
Posted by jewish philosopher at 1:23 PM
Saturday, September 03, 2011
[a giant Nomura's jellyfish]
My daughter visited an aquarium last week and one thing which impressed her were the jellyfish.
Jellyfish are indeed remarkable and unique creatures. These are living, moving, reproducing animals which thrive in the oceans yet have almost no distinct organs.
Jellyfish do not have specialized digestive, osmoregulatory, central nervous, respiratory, or circulatory systems. They digest using the gastrodermal lining of the gastrovascular cavity, where nutrients are absorbed. They do not need a respiratory system since their skin is thin enough that the body is oxygenated by diffusion. They have limited control over movement, but can use their hydrostatic skeleton to accomplish movement through contraction-pulsations of the bell-like body; some species actively swim most of the time, while others are passive much of the time. Jellyfish are composed of more than 90% water; most of their umbrella mass is a gelatinous material — the jelly — called mesoglea which is surrounded by two layers of epithelial cells which form the umbrella (top surface) and subumbrella (bottom surface) of the bell, or body.
A jellyfish does not have a brain or central nervous system, but rather has a loose network of nerves, located in the epidermis, which is called a "nerve net". A jellyfish detects various stimuli including the touch of other animals via this nerve net, which then transmits impulses both throughout the nerve net and around a circular nerve ring, through the rhopalial lappet, located at the rim of the jellyfish body, to other nerve cells. Some jellyfish also have ocelli: light-sensitive organs that do not form images but which can detect light, and are used to determine up from down, responding to sunlight shining on the water's surface. These are generally pigment spot ocelli, which have some cells (not all) pigmented.
It's hard to imagine an animal so bizarre in comparison to most other life. It's truly awe inspiring to consider the variety of God's creatures.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 9:43 PM