Contents tagged with Science

  • Cartoon history

    Giordano BrunoThe Christian blogs these days seem to be erupting with outrage over a short cartoon sequence in the new Cosmos TV show. The segment in question tells the story of Giordano Bruno, and it’s… well, cartoony, both literally and figuratively. That’s not shocking on its own, the science itself in Cosmos is cartoony: biologists will cringe at inaccurate representations of a DNA molecule, astronomers will face palm when Tyson’s spaceship avoids planetoids that are in reality many orders of magnitude farther away from one another. It’s the nature of the exercise: trying to convey complex ideas to an uninitiated public in simple and entertaining images, will require simplifications, dramatization, shortcuts, and even that you’ll occasionally be plain wrong. Being a science show, maybe it was sloppier and more caricature on the history. I don’t know, I’m no historian. As long as deception is not deliberate and central to the discourse…

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  • Infallible, part 2: Consistency is Insufficient

    Kurt GödelMichael, on his way to establish the infallibility of the Catholic Church, makes the claim that consistency is the defining characteristic of truth:

    The hallmark of truth is consistency. Error can always be shown, at the core of the argument, to
    be logically inconsistent and ultimately self­refuting. Ergo, consistency is contingent to any claim
    of truth.

    This is of course an error of monumental proportions.

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  • Infallible, part 1: Starting the Gish Gallop

    Le papeOver the past few weeks, I had an interesting discussion on Facebook with Michael, a militant Catholic, about the Catholic Church’s claim that it is infallible. Like many arguments with believers, this has rapidly morphed from a single simple problem into a full-blown Gish Gallop. I should know better, but I bit. This series of posts is a compilation of my answers to his claims.

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  • My heroes are all dead: 1. DNA

    And by DNA I don’t mean deoxyribonucleic acid, I mean Douglas Noel Adams, whom you probably know as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

    There are only two people that I didn’t know, whose death made me cry: Pierre Desproges and Douglas Adams. Both wrote prodigious comedy with surprising depth, but Adams was also an outspoken Atheist, and used science as a foundation of his storytelling. Preferably weird science, like quantum mechanics.

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  • Arguments from authority?

    Round-Earth is just a theoryDespite appearances, there is a fundamental difference between arguments from authority (or from majority) and scientific knowledge. That fundamental difference is that attacks, independent verification and repeatability are not only expected but necessary to the whole process.

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    Tags: Science

    Mar 31 2012 4:23 PM
  • Contraception and Religious Liberty

    Reproductive organsYet another response to Ambrose, whose blog doesn’t like that my comments tend to have more than 4,000 characters... He says:

    "the underlying argument is that religious freedom is not absolute in the US. There have been Supreme Court cases, such as not allowing polygamy, where it has been limited."

    Yes, all freedoms have limitations, which is not a big deal. In the case of religious freedom though, religious people in my experience tend to believe that it means that if their holy book mandates something, it should trump the laws of the state, or that no new law can go against what they believe. This would of course be impossible except in a single-religion theocracy

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  • Metaphorical? But why?

    Dürer: the fall of manMost modern believers interpret their sacred texts as mostly metaphorical. Only the most hard-core fundamentalists maintain that Genesis for example is an accurate historical account of the origin of Humanity.

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