This Wednesday (3/7/2013) I’ll be speaking at Oxford Skeptics in the Pub about creationism. I spent a year working with the world’s top creationist organisations, collating the strongest arguments for creationism, so that I could discover and present the ultimate argument in favour of creationism. It was a serious investigation, but it might be unintentionally hilarious (like creationism).
The talk takes place at St Aldate’s Tavern and begins at 7:30 pm.
I occasionally find obscure and often brilliant quotes and add them to a little collection. Because I come across some in weird places, they usually aren’t quotes I see regularly posted anywhere else, so I thought I’d start sharing them here. This one combines many of my interests including evolution, developmental biology, creationism, and a healthy dose of 19th century wit and sarcasm.
“What say the schools to this case? Whence and for what purpose, if the Serpulae were produced or created as ready-formed species, these lateral filaments of the opercular peduncle? To allow them to sprout forth merely for the sake of an invariable plan of structure, even when they must be immediately retracted again as superfluous, would certainly be an evidence rather of childish trifling or dictatorial pedantry, than of infinite wisdom. But no, I am mistaken; from the beginning of all things the Creator knew, that one day the inquisitive children of men would grope about after analogies and homologies, and that Christian naturalists would busy themselves with thinking out his Creative ideas; at any rate, in order to facilitate the discernment by the former that the opercular peduncle of the Serpulae is homologous with a branchial filament, He allowed it to make a détour in its development, and pass through the form of a barbate branchial filament.”
– Fritz Müller, Facts and Arguments for Darwin (English translation of Für Darwin), 1869, p.114.
The immaterial soul. How much does it weigh? Well, nothing if it’s immaterial. If something has mass, can it be defined as immaterial? Maybe not by someone reasoning normally. In far too many a few debates with theists I’ve had to listen to absurdly contradictory claims that scientists have confirmed and proven the existence of the immaterial soul since the human body weighs less after death. 21 g less to be precise. I am personally not convinced that there is reliable evidence of a soul, let alone that it has a quantifiable weight. But this is a belief held by many, and a “fact” that is occasionally brought up in discussions I have with theists. Continue reading The 21g soul: do our bodies become lighter after death?→
I am a skeptic. I will accept any claim, regardless of how insane it might initially sound, if it is supported by robust and valid evidence. And for that reason, I am also an atheist. I have access to the internet and I am fairly outspoken. All of these facts together mean that I occasionally get into discussions and debates with theists on various topics. Recently, I had an email conversation with a theist (with slight creationist leanings) that eventually drifted to a discussion about death and the fact that I’m not afraid to die. To paraphrase, he saw death as a wholly tragic event with absolutely no positive aspects at all except that it acts as the point between this life and the afterlife. Continue reading Why I “celebrate” death→
The thoughts of a carbon-based biped from Scotland.