The Odd Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

Spanking Sirius… Again

Posted by That Other Mike on 15/04/2008

The other day, as I was browsing around http://wordpress.com/tag/evolution as I often do, I was reminded of an old but funny joke, which goes something like this:

A hunter goes into the woods to hunt a bear and takes with him his trusty 22-gauge rifle.

After a little while, he spots a very large bear, takes aim, and fires. When the smoke clears, though, the bear is gone.

A moment later the bear taps this guy on the shoulder and says, “No one shoots at me and gets away with it. You have two choices: I can either rip your throat out and eat you alive, or you can drop your trousers, bend over, and I’ll do you in the ass.”

The hunter figures that anything is better than death, so he drops his trousers, bends over, and the bear delivers on his promise.

After the bear leaves, the hunter pulls up his trousers and staggers into town vowing revenge.

He buys a much larger gun and returns to the forest. He sees the same bear, takes aim, and fires. When the smoke clears, the bear once again is gone. A moment later, the bear taps him on the shoulder and says, “You know what to do.”

Afterwards, the hunter pulls up his trousers and crawls back into town. Now he’s really mad, so he buys himself a bazooka.

He returns to the forest, sees the bear, aims, and fires.

When the smoke clears this time, the bear taps him on the shoulder and says, “You’re not REALLY here for the hunting, are you?”

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Posted in Atheism, evolution, science | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

The God Delusion

Posted by That Other Mike on 19/12/2007

I actually finished The God Delusion a few days ago; I just hadn’t gotten around to writing about it yet.

Stylistically, TGD is classic Dawkins: he is clear and concise with what he has to say, and manages the impressive trick of being highbrow without being condescending. It also exhibits a clarity of purpose, in that every section links in some way to every other, sections follow clearly on from one another, and the reasoning in what he’s saying is clear and acute, even if you happened not to agree. In short, RD performs the kind of scientific and philosophical popularisation for which he is justly famous. No complaints there; the book is easily accessible to just about anyone – which is rather the point.

In terms of content, TGD is something of a disappointment to me, I must admit. As a long term fan of RD, I’ve devoured as much of his work as I could lay my hands on. The bulk of this book is retreading previous ground, although there is possible reason for that – TGD is aimed at being a clarification and amalagamation rather than a groundbreaker, and is probably written more for the person who has heard of Dawkins and his famously-controversial stance but not yet read anything by him. In short, I believe it to be intended as a primer for possible Atheists.

That being said, it does the job very well. Established Dawkins fans may be disappointed by the overall lack of new content, but, then again, this book isn’t for us.

Basically, if you know Dawkins’s work already, you won’t find anything much new here; if you don’t, then this book neatly collects and encapsulates the interesting stuff he’d had to say about gods and religion over the years.

Posted in Atheism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Atheism for Beginners

Posted by That Other Mike on 01/12/2007

A short primer for people who want to know more.
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Posted in Atheism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »

Classic Arguments, Part III

Posted by That Other Mike on 19/11/2007

  1. Moral Principles – Do our moral compasses point due God?
  2. Pascal’s Wager, or the Safe Bet – Why risk Hell?
  3. The Ontological Argument, or Perfect Being Argument – If we can imagine perfection, surely it exists?

  4. Personal Revelations – Did God just whisper in my ear?
  5. Warm Fuzzies, or “I can feel God’s presence!” – Can feelings be a valid form of argument?
  6. Numbers, or How can millions be wrong? – A more democratic approach to the facts; do you think you know better than millions of others?


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Posted in Atheism | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Classic Arguments, Part II

Posted by That Other Mike on 17/11/2007

Classic Arguments for God – And Why They Don’t Work

Part 2

  1. Argument from Design,or Intelligent Design, or the Teleological Argument, or The Cosmic Watchmaker – is the universe designed?
  2. The Anthropic Principle – A close relative of the Argument from Design; how is it that the universe is so hospitable to life?
  3. The Argument from Improbability – Is life really so unlikely that it needs a god to exist?
  4. Irreducible Complexity – Is life too complex to have functioned as less complicated forms?
  5. Physical Laws – Can there be laws without a law-giver?

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Posted in Atheism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

In The Meantime…

Posted by That Other Mike on 17/11/2007

I’m still working on the On Politics article, so in the meantime, here’s something I made earlier </Blue Peter>

Classic Arguments For God – And Why They Don’t Work

Part 1
Given below are the most common arguments in favour of a god. When talking about this, it should be assumed that I am referring to the god of the Abramic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The arguments can be applied for any religion – these are simply the most common religions within the Western world. The arguments – and counter-arguments – apply as well as for Wicca, Hinduism and so on. For simplicity’s sake, however, I’m referring the god/s of the big three.
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Some People Only Exist To Make Me Feel Good About Myself

Posted by That Other Mike on 05/11/2007

Like these people. If stupidity were catching, I’d be worried about visiting the place. As it is, they just make me feel so smart it’s painful. Politically and intellectually stunted, vacuous, self-congratulating and smug in their ignorance; it almost makes you start to think that Social Darwinism is a good idea.

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