Archive for July, 2012

Science of the gaps – Richard Dawkins debating John Lennox

a) Personal prologue
b) Main post

 

Personal prologue

I believe in God. I never used to. Being raised in ‘a kind of’ Christian environment, there was usually a latent background of God, e.g. walking home I’d pass a few churches or the Christmas TV programs etc. Somhow, probably because of the story of Adam, who in my mind, was a declaration that a ‘modern man’ was the first man – very much like we are today, hence, if man came from ape-like ancestors, then that would disqualify the notion of God.

Looking back, all things considered, I’m ashamed that I came to such an ultimate conclusion so hastily, on something which has the most enormous implications for us as a species, and deserves deep study in many fields. Really, I was armed with only a minuscule level of knowledge, and sadly I was far too accepting of the information that was coming my way; I didn’t scrutinise it, I didn’t look for alternative explanations. Because of that I must have been a simple level “darwinian atheist” from the ages of about 14 to 21.

Perhaps my personal shame is a bit harsh given my youthful years, but I was “convinced” it was true and naturally I would promote such a stance when in discussion/debate about it.

Since then, I came across the Qur’an, which tells of how Isa (Jesus) a.s. was raised up from the eyes of man. The utter confidence of that statement {please read it for yourself in the Qur’an – or if you can’t read Arabic, even an English translation retains much of its power} rocked me and it just seemed that what I was reading was the truth,
so how could I deny it?

Atheists may say I was simply swapping my simple level “Darwinian atheist” mindset for a similarly simple level “God exists” mindset instead, and other atheists may also say my personally amazing experience and feelings on reading the Qur’an are   laughable. I would appeal to those who may be rofl right now to try and recall something from their own lives that fundamentally changed their perspectives. I’m sure many could recall such a thing and hence I’m sure you will better appreciate my experience on
reading the Qur’an.

I have since invested much time in gaining a much greater understanding of the God question and
try to familiarise myself on the near endless debate about whether God exists or not. Yes, I have a bias
towards God, but atheists has a bias against God, so I guess that’s fair and square.

All this means I have come across the works of Richard Dawkins.

Main post

I’m referring to this: Lennox Vs. Dawkins Debate – Has Science Buried God

21:03 – 31:29

[P.S. Dawkins made an error in the debate saying no to ‘things going from simple to complex’, it’s obvious he wanted to to say no to things starting from complex (i.e. God)]
In my pursuit of the Gods existence debate, I was watching Lennox Vs. Dawkins Debate – Has Science Buried God.

I’m quite familiar with Dawkins’s arguments now. Dawkins puts scorn on religious people who, Dawkins says(!), say ‘we don’t know what that phenomenon is’ therefore God did it, i.e. God fills the gaps of our ignorance. Like much of what Dawkins says, it’s very sweeping and unfair in that it doesn’t acknowledge the great number of God believing scientists who do undertake the challenge at revealing aspects of what we don’t understand. Such as the Mathematician Lennox. I am what they would call a ‘scientist’ so I know this – I see it. But Lennox did a very interesting thing. He took Dawkins up on this issue (and Lennox knows perfectly well that Dawkins is very experienced in discussing) but he turned it around.
Dawkins was saying things have to go from simple to complex and that simplicity, in his eyes, negates the need for a complex God. Dawkins protests a complex God needs explanation, and an explanation as to where that God came from.

Typical Dawkins. He attaches onto God the very thing that would nullify God. A good definition of God is ‘that which has not been created’. It’s probably his greatest trick and is self-negating. The trouble is the closer you get to the ‘instant’ of the bog bang, which I think it’s fair to say almost everyone is (currently) at ease with about being how the physical Universe came into being, then it actually gets more and more complex.

Dawkins’ second trick is to simply call it simple. Well I’m sorry, I don’t buy that. I think Dawkins is actually saying the SIMPLIFIED COMPUTER MODELS used to try and simulate the EXPANSION OF THE UNIVERSE at some time when the universal physical constants stabilised may be regarded as simple, but even then, they surely cannot be simple in physical actuality due to anti matter and dark matter, the latter of which is said by many scientists that Dawkins would be happy to stand along side himself to account for most of the mass and therefore energy of the universe, and these are very poorly understood indeed, hence any simple model is surely wholly inaccurate, causing another major stumbling block to Dawkins on this issue.

Anyway, He says natural, blind unthinking natural selection caused the biological complexity we have today, so things went from simple (Dawkins’s ‘simple’ remember!) to complex, hence God doesn’t need explaining. But Lennox correctly drew reference to two utterly complex issues, the “pre-Dawkinist simple” beginning of the universe [my words not Lennox’s] and the origin of biological life.

It is at this point when Dawkins impales himself completely on his own sword. He says We don’t know these things yet, but we know there will be a Darwinian explanation to it. What Dawkins has done is to use a ‘Science of the gaps’ approach to it. He has blind faith that there will be a simple [it HAS to be simple – that’s a main theme for Dawkins] explanation. But any fair minded person will surely agree, from primordial soup to life today or from a ‘rugby ball’ sized ‘thing’ (from which the Universe too shape) is of course utterly complicated.

Sadly Lennox doesn’t quite navigate as well to expose this as I have tried to do above, but of course, a face to face debate is completely different from a prose based composition like this.

I also liked Lennox’s previous point about consciousness, which Dawkins took up to talk about avoiding a rock or not jumping off a cliff. Lennox is saying reductionism cannot explain consciousness (at least as far as best we know today). there is no rational way in which the reduced set of atoms and molecules can have consciousness. There has to be a way in which the structure of those atoms and molecules can store information and be able to interpret that information.
This is what separates the living (in a bio-physological sense) from the non-living*. That requires a consciousness which surely cannot be explained by step-wise selection or even by the instantaneous crossing of a hugely significant feature (which would in any case require quite a lot of genetic information to encode and endow inheritance).
Lennox called this a ‘language‘ which indicates the pre-existence of a ‘mind‘. Dawkins quickly went away from this point.

It is interesting that when Lennox rather traps himself and puts himself on the back-foot having to explain the mind of God. Dawkins rightly gets a stronger line of argument, but this is an unfair advantage to Dawkins because if there was a God, it’ is inescapably impossible to explain the word of God. Even on a human level success at explaining the means and motives of other humans often fails. How can we with a lifespan of about 80 years, a mind the size of a honeydew melon and primarily only input/output/process information one ‘channel’ at any one instance ultimately explain anything?

* non-living – actually Islam mentions rocks, which are considered non-living, as talking in some future event. This I would say, should encourage you to think there is a very different kind of ‘living’which the ‘non-living’ have access. If that’s a struggle for you, just remember djinn and Angels. Of course, the realm of God is beyond us. Dawkins protests he would/could not do science if this ‘magic’ as he pejoratively calls it interfered with science, as if God is likely to say intermittently hide then re-reveal a chromosome for example – He’s trying to cast God in a dark light. And if Dawkins was to ‘give up’ what happened to his accusations of ‘cop out’ and ‘mental lazyness’ etc

The mind consciousness/meaning part resurfaces at 49:57

At the end, I find it interesting, perhaps telling, that Lennox thanks Dawkins; “Thanks Richard” says Lennox, yet all Dawkins does is acknowledge it with a ‘mouth open and close to smile’ kind of thing. Interesting having just heard what the human moral behavioural aspect of the debate.

I believe I’m so familiar with Dawkins’s stuff that I see many many holes in it.

It’s interesting that I can’t find Dawkins debating an intelligent Muslim scholar experienced/familiar with the ‘Western’ style of this debate.
Next up (additions to this post outstanding) is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx0CXmagQu0 (which I notive Atkins also attributes a derogatory term of lazyness to the ‘design’ issue)

 

And now for something completely different

 

Has the loonosphere heard itself recently?

There’s talk in the loonosphere of ‘faked alien invasions’ “connected with the zion Olympics.
To cut to the chase, any ‘invasion’ is obviously going to suffer from a number of small ‘technicalities’, just one of which is that they are going to look a wee bit like this:

this…

possibly this…

this

perhaps this

or maybe even this…

Maybe a greater level of sophistication will be employed…

or even…

Oh dear. We’re doomed.

Rixon.

I read this: “Armageddon Ahoy! The Next False Flag?” (which you too should read to fully understand this post) on The Truthseeker‘s website.

It’s finally prompted me to post this (there have been a number of draughts spurred from various ‘The Truthseeker’ posts over the years)

Rixon. I wish you would stop constantly talking up the Iranian “threat”. You’ve been doing it for years, never seeming to lack energy to warning us of imminent war that’s going to occur which uncomfortably for you, keeps defying your warnings.

With regards to Iran and secretive stuff: So little of what you say contains what most people would constitute as strong proof. You give me thr impression you’re a fan of game theory; Are you?

This latest article of yours – which has the same theme of presenting Iran as the ‘big bad’ – is so full of holes that it would make a Swiss cheese blush. For instance, don’t you think it’s kind of peculiar that the Iranians have no clairvoyant that tells them US intelligence knows about your smuggled dirty bombs?

I would say it is very irresponsible of you to keep banging on about the “threat” Iran poses, especially at a time when hundreds of thousands of Iranian people are in the cross-hairs of the Coalition of the Killing.

To quote:

Ayatollah Khamenei: “the production, possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is illegitimate, futile, harmful, dangerous and prohibited as a great sin.”

and then completely ignore it saying

Nonetheless, they are being kept as weapons of last resort. The Americans know this, and now they are preparing to exploit it in a truly diabolical double-cross.

Is simply ridiculous on many fronts, as have many of your articles on ‘big bad Iran’.

Just one stumbling block along your esoteric revelations is that If Iran had these weapons and would use them ‘as weapons of last resort’ why the hell would the US and shitsrayhell attack them?

What exactly is your game?

In general you do a good job at making people think but stop pimping for a war against Iran will you.

 

Think about this:

Two men are floating on a shared log raft in the middle of the ocean.
One constantly plays a drum.
The other asks him “why do you keep playing that drum?”
“To keep away the lions”
“But there are no lions here”
“Exactly” said the man, continuing to drum.

 

BBsCum

The BBC newz (newz, ‘cos it certainty ain’t news) and current department really turns my stomach. Medialens [1, 2, 3] amongst others has consistently uncovered the filth (my words, not their) that gets passed off as journalism, and not only that, but insanely the worlds best journalism – so they would have us believe]. Far from the pinnacle of journalism, it’s the pinnacle of propaganda and downright lies.

Here’s an article stolen from: http://landdestroyer.blogspot.mx/2012/07/bbc-rides-with-al-qaeda-in-aleppo-syria.html (thanks to ICH for publicising it]

BBC Rides with Al Qaeda in Aleppo, Syria

BBC Covers Up War Crimes – Misleads Over Syrian Security Operations.
by Tony CartalucciUpdate: Indeed BBC did not see “MIGs” bombing Aleppo, though it appears they weren’t even anti-tank SU-25’s but rather training aircraft. Aero L-39 Albatros are also not even “Russian-made” as the BBC claimed. The article below has been amended to reflect this information. Read here for more

July 25, 2012 – When big lies must be told, BBC is there. From Iraq to Afghanistan to Libya and now Syria, BBC has paved the way for Western disinformation meant to mange public perception around a war the public would otherwise never support or tolerate.

The BBC, caught on record producing entire “documentaries” on behalf of corporate-financier interests, has already been caught in immense lies regarding the NATO-fueled destabilization of Syria. This includes the disingenuous use of photos from Iraq, to depict a so-called “massacre” in the village of Houla, Syria.

Now, as NATO’s Al Qaeda mercenaries operating under the banner of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” flow over the Turkish-Syrian border in an attempt to overrun the city of Aleppo, BBC is there, attempting to manipulate the public’s perception as the conflict unfolds.

BBC’s Ian Pannell admits he rode with a convoy of milatnt fighters into Aleppo at night. He claims many are desperate for the FSA to succeed, “clamoring for freedom denied by their president,” but concedes many others fear an “Islamic takeover” and sectarian “division and bloodshed.” The latter of course, is self-evident, while the former is the repeated, unfounded mantra of the Western media used to cover up the latter.

Pannell poses amongst staged settings, claiming a single burning tire equates to a barricade set up by the militants (see more on the use of burning tires as propaganda here and here). He concedes that militants are taking to the rooftops with sniper rifles in the districts they claim they control – begging one to wonder where else terrorist snipers have been, and how many “sniper” deaths have been mistakenly blamed on the government.

Covering Up FSA War Crimes

Pannell then attempts to cover up serious war crimes committed by the FSA militants he is traveling with, claiming that men the FSA arbitrarily rounded up while “seeking revenge” were “suspected Shabiha,” harking back to Libya’s NATO-backed terrorist death squads rounding up and killing Libya’s black communities in orgies of sectarian genocide – which outlets like the BBC defended as simply rebels targeting “suspected African mercenaries.” Pannell papers over what he just reported with the unqualified claim that there is “little justice” on either side. What became of the FSA’s victims is not revealed.

Image: From BBC’s Ian Pannell – young men “suspected” of being “Shabiha” are rounded up as the FSA “seeks revenge.” BBC fails categorically to explain how NATO-backed terrorists can “liberate” a city that is admittedly pro-government – but it appears it will be done through terrorism, brutality, mass murder, and intimidation. 

….

BBC reporter Ian Pannell’s failure to report on the war crimes he admitted witnessing, smacks of endorsement and complicity – an attempt to preserve the romanticism the West has desperately tried to associate with their FSA death squads. Pannell’s report also confirms earlier descriptions of widespread atrocities committed by the so-called “Free Syrian Army.”

In Libya, when the government of Muammar Qaddafi collapsed, and as Libyan terrorists overran the last of the nation’s security forces, entire cities of Libya’s blacks were overrun, their populations either mass-murdered, imprisoned, or forced to flee to refugee camps. These are people who had lived in Libya for generations. A similar fate awaits Syrians should NATO prevail.

BBC Confirms Syrian Army Use of Heavy Weapons ARE Proportional to FSA Threats

Pannell’s propaganda in Aleppo continues, where he admits FSA militants possess tanks they allegedly “captured” from the Syrian military, but then, showing video of what is either an anti-tank SU-25 aircraft or an Aero L-39 Albatros training jet, rolling in with machine guns, claims it marks a “dramatic escalation” and a sign of “desperation.”

Image: From BBC’s Ian Pannell -FSA tanks are positioned in or around Aleppo, according to BBC. The myth that NATO-backed militants are “lightly armed” is unraveling as they attempt to take on large cities flush with cameras and media from both sides. Eager propagandists attempting to portray victories have more than once shown “captured tanks” in the hands of militants. Heavy militant weapons beget heavy government weapons. 

….

In reality the Syrian army is using force directly proportional to the threats NATO-backed militants have presented. Tanks and heavy weapons mounted on trucks, also featured in the BBC report, are legitimate targets for government heavy weapons. The precision an SU-25 lends the battlefield versus heavy artillery bombardments when neutralizing FSA heavy weapons is the only conceivable way to minimize civilian casualties.

Images: (Top) From BBC’s Ian Pannell – BBC and other Western media outlets have claimed “MIGs” are bombing Aleppo’s civilian populations. This all based on a single “tweet” made by BBC’s Ian Pannell. Pannell now reports this video depicts what he saw – which in reality is either an anti-tank SU-25 or Aero L-39 deploying machine guns, not bombs, versus what Pannell already admits are FSA heavy weapons, not civilian populations. (Bottom) Several orthographic views of the SU-25 and Aero L-39 for comparison. 

….

And as the Western media is so found of reminding its viewers, Aleppo is decidedly pro-government, and pro-President Bashar al-Assad. Therefore to indiscriminately use disproportionate force serves no purpose for the Syrian government, who has gone through extraordinary lengths and placed its soldiers at great risk to minimize damage to the city and its inhabitants – a city and population that serves both an important role economically and culturally for all Syrian people.

Remember Fallujah, Iraq

A government is put in a difficult position when armed gangs enter a city “seeking revenge” as BBC’s Ian Pannell puts it, when these gangs have trucks mounted with heavy weapons as well as tanks in their possession. For the West, to berate the Syrian government and portray its security operations as unmitigated “brutality” is disingenuous at best, especially considering the militants are there solely because of years of financial, military, and political support from the US, Israel, and the Gulf State despots.

File:US Navy 041108-M-8205V-006 An air strike is called in on a suspected insurgent hideout at the edge of Fallujah, Iraq by U.S. Marines assigned K Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, during the openin.jpg

Image: Western hypocrisy – Fallujah, Iraq in 2004 was bombarded by artillery and airstrikes for weeks leading up to the final invasion. When over 10,000 troops entered the city, they were accompanied by tanks, and supported by heavy artillery and airstrikes. When the West is subjugating others, heavy weapons seems acceptable – but not when another nation attempts to defend itself from admittedly Western-backed terrorists. 

….

The West might want to also revisit the lessons it learned from flattening the Iraqi city of Fallujhah, twice. The US bombarded the city for weeks prior to its final invasion in 2004, where over 10,000 troops entered with heavy artillery and air support. Apparently it is acceptable for the West to subjugate others using such tactics, but nations are prohibited from using similar tactics to defend themselves. The Syrian uprising was a foreign-plot stretching back as far as 2007, foreign militants admittedly flowing over the border from across the Arab World, admittedly armed and funded by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

The Battle of Fullujah is considered a notch in the belt of Western military prowess, while the West condemns Syria’s attempts to defend one of its most important cities from foreign-subversion and destruction. While NATO believes it can still win the geopolitical battle it is waging against the Syrian people, it has already long lost the battle for moral superiority.

Trickle down economics

I remember the slimy BBZ doing a business report from India. That a poor man was able to set/have his own bus driving business was used to show what a great success the Indian economic model was. I remember my reaction to this story was one of puzzlement at how exactly this could be regardd as a success story because I think (I can’t remember exactly now as it was some time ago) the bus-driver had to work a huge number of hours per day, hence spent a long time away from his family, in order to service his loan. Frankly, it looked like the man was in a bit of a precarious position. If he was indeed working so long I didn’t see much chance of him being able to take on extra work and pay off his loan more quickly.

But it was classical BBZ, selectively choosing and talking up something that agrees with the agenda it serves – a capitalist dominated ‘usury is great‘ type outlook.

Anyway, the BBZ reporter hailed the bus-drivers case as a good example of the success of the ‘trickle down’ economy, which again I found to be a rather odd thing to say, people at the very end of the (fake)money pile only getting a trickle is good. Strangely enough, the program didn’t show any victims of the Bhopal disaster (or see the toxipedia website) mass death and even more mass injury thanks to those nice people at Dow Chemicals.

Neither did it show the huge quantities of Indian farmers who were dispossessed of THEIR ancient and ancestral pastoral lands as well as those who were forced to use Monsanto terminator seeds, all of which have lead to the thousands of farmers committing suicide over the years. Oh no! The BBC didn’t show any of this (again as far as I can recall).

Anyway, what triggered this rantlet was that I had just looked ay Xymorphia’s website and found this rather more accurate truism: “Trickles Down? No, Streams Offshore!“. That’s the full picture which the horrible BBZ newz and current affairs division just happens to conveniently forget to inform you of.

The Fourth World War (2003)

I ticked down some minutes from my life clock the other day watching ‘The Fourth World War’ (approx 1hour 20mins, part 1 of 8 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyf_GKr88B8

It was a good anti-NWO/capitalist documentary but it contained two surprises.

1) At 35:35 it says something like:

“Bai del ho” (a South Korean worker whos name I almost certainly have incorrect ) spent his life in the factory. Over two decades he built a family and a home and some dignity there. But when then the IMF came to privatize the Industry. He stopped(?) with his union, and then they took away his job, his home, his bank account, and his children’s future.  On a Sunday morning in May. he set himself on fire in front of his factory gate.”

I found this man’s story interesting to I tried to get some news about him. Eventually I came across this somewhat gruesome self-immolation site but the two Koreans I found there didn’t have names even resembling Bai del ho.

2) I watched the credits (as I often do after seeing an interesting documentary) and… well, you watch it and see if you spot it.

 

 


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