The origin of the universe is one of the biggest questions there is. Some people resort to easy answers – which don’t answer anything. But its good to know that others do take the question seriously and actively research it.
Here is a great lecture from Lawrence Krauss – “A Universe from Nothing”.
He is always an informative and entertaining lecturer. He injects quite a bit of humour into this talk he gave at the Athiest Alliance International Convention held in California earlier this month.
‘A Universe From Nothing’ by Lawrence Krauss, AAI 2009.
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, belief, Krauss, Science
Tagged Atheist Alliance International, cosmological constant, cosmology, dark energy, dark matter, Lawrence Krauss, Lawrence M. Krauss, universe
Book Review: The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason by Victor Stenger
Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Prometheus Books (September 22, 2009)
This book is timely. The “New Atheism” hit our awareness in the mid-part of the decade when Sam Harris’s book “The End of Faith” became a best-seller. This was quickly followed by more best-sellers from the authors Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Victor Stenger (the author of this book). And then there was the response. Many books have been written, mostly be theists, attacking the “New Atheists.” Although none of the later was a best-seller they did suggest that a new stage in the religion-atheism debate was underway.
Stenger’s new book is also useful because it helps put this whole debate in context. He summarises that nature of the “New Atheism movement” (although it is hardly a movement as there was no coordination in publishing these books). He briefly summarises the arguments of the “New Atheism” and the arguments employed by those attacking “New Atheism.” Then he shows the fallacies in the arguments employed by the “New Christians.” In some cases he reveals the way many of the “New Atheist” positions have been distorted and misrepresented. In others he deals with the substance of these arguments – particularly those dealing with scientific issues.
As an Emeritus Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Hawaii and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado Stenger is an ideal person to write on this subject
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, belief, Bible, book review, creationism, Darwin, Dawkins, Dennett, evolution, faith, god, Hitchens, intelligent design, religion, Science and Society, supernatural, superstition
Tagged atheism, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, End of Faith, religion, Religion and Spirituality, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris
Currently I have found 123 NZ blogs with publicly accessible sitemeter stats. This is about 20% of the total on my database.
The blogs are listed in the table below, together with daily visits and page view numbers averaged over the previous 7 days. The data was that given by by the NZ blog ranking tool on October 23rd.
This can be seen at NZ blogs average daily visits
I usually enjoy the NZ Royal Society Lectures. This year we have had the Galileo Lectures to mark the International Year of Astronomy.
Here are the description of the six lectures, together with links to download the podcasts. Taken from: Radio New Zealand National : Lectures & Forums : The Galileo Lectures.
The Galileo Lecture series is produced by Radio New Zealand National in partnership with the Royal Society of New Zealand. It celebrates the 2009 International Year of Astronomy, marking 400 years since Galileo used a telescope to view the solar system and transformed our understanding of Earth’s place in the Universe.
- Continue reading
So Ed Tomlinson, a UK Church of England vicar, has been ripping in to secular funerals. He himself is looking forward to the “gorgeous liturgy of the requiem mass. . . . Whereas the best our secularist friends (and those they dupe) can hope for is a poem from nan combined with a saccharine message from a pop star before being popped in the oven with no hope of resurrection.”
The TimesOnline says Tomlinson is the “vicar of St Barnabas’s Church in Tunbridge Wells, a ‘Forward in Faith’ parish that rejects the ministry of women priests.”
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, art, atheism, belief, Christianity, culture, diversity, faith, god, religion, supernatural, superstition, tradition
Tagged Britain, celebrant, Church of England, funerals, humanist, Political party, religion, Religion and Spirituality, Requiem, secular, Verdi
Here are two interesting talks in Wellington next Sunday?
1.00 pm to 4.00 pm, Sunday 25 October 2009
Mezzanine Floor, Wellington Central Library
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, belief, creationism, Darwin, diversity, evolution, faith, god, intelligent design, New Zealand, religion, science, Science and Society
Tagged Darwin, enlightenment, Galileo, New Zealand, Wellington
An early blueprint for the new bird species
I have always found arguments from analogy very weak. Especially as they are usually allied with strong preconceived beliefs and amount to nothing more than attempts to “prove” those beliefs.
Typical is the “argument from design” for the “proof” of existence of gods. You know – Rev. Paley and his discovery of a watch on the heath? It’s amazing how many of the anti-scientific arguments used by today’s creationists follow the same lines.
A huge elephant in the creationist design room is their comparison of living forms with inanimate manufactured objects. “A watch has a watchmaker therefore an animal must also have a designer/maker.” Similarly the current intelligent design (ID) proponents who insist that a biological cell is an intricate machine – hence it must have a designer/creator. This approach is so inappropriately mechanical. One could never come to understand living forms, or their origins, by insisting on treating them like inanimate machines or objects.
Of course the design argument does raise the question of how and where this design, and the inevitable creation, of live animals occurs (or occured) and where the animals are (were) manufactured. You can’t have it both ways – claim “design” and “creation” and then just ignore those events.
But the approach does provide some humour. Remember the manufacturing plant for planets in Douglas Adams‘ “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy“? Now the satirical web site The Onion has a spoof on God’s creation of a new bird species. Dressed up like the reporting of a new model of car (see God Introduces New Bird ).
Have a look at the article – here is a short extract from the advertising blurb for this new bird:
“Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve, prepare thine eyes for the most exciting line of avian wildlife in millennia,” God announced as He released an estimated 14 million first-run models into the important bird markets of North America, Australia, and Eurasia. “This new bird has it all: slicker wings, a more streamlined beak, better-than-ever capacity for beautiful song. Plus, all of the grace and majesty you’ve come to expect from the Eternal Creator of Life Itself.”
“The bird is back,” God continued, His booming voice parting the very heavens. “And baby, it’s never looked better.”
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, belief, Bible, creationism, evolution, faith, god, intelligent design, religion, science, Science and Society, supernatural, superstition
Tagged Christianity, Douglas Adam, god, hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, humour, intelligent design, Religion and Spirituality
Update to A victory for Simon Singh.
Apparently the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) have given way to emotion in a public commen on Simon Singh’s small legal victory. In a press release (see BCAStatement 14 10 09) they claim that “the BSA was maliciously attacked by Dr Singh in the Guardian article.” Jack of Kent comments that this amounts to defamation and Singh could now counter sue (see BCA Defame Simon Singh). The BCA obviously realised this because they quietly withdrew and rewrote their press release (see BCA Statement 15 10 09).
This development could mean the BCA has drastically weakened their case.