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Showing posts from August, 2013

The silliness of being an audiophile

Apologies for the drought of late; as mentioned not too long ago, I've had a lot of other stuff going on with starting my own business, and it's hard to make time for blogging about religion. I also find myself caring less and less about religion and apologetic arguments. It's played out, man. The religious side lost the science debate, the philosophy debate, and the social debate a long time ago, and it's done. Religious affiliation is shriveling and will continue to do so. Given all that, it's been hard for me to care about writing yet another post on epistemology or the theological implications of theoretical physics.



But y'know, back when I first started this blog, I had changed the name from The Apostasy to The A-Unicornist precisely because I wanted it to be more broad. So I want to tackle something completely different: being an "audiophile". It's been on my brain a bit because I recently bought a new subwoofer, and wading through subwoofer…

Three years after "elevatorgate"

Hard to believe the whole mess was three long years ago. But, here's a video about it that I think glosses over some important details:



I think it was fine for Watson to suggest that men ought to be conscientious of their surroundings when asking a woman out. It's important to note that Elevator Guy did not say anything rude or overtly sexual, nor did he touch her or refuse to take "no" for an answer – he just left. Nonetheless, there's a chance that he could have turned out to be Creepy Molester Guy and he ought to have been aware of how his surroundings might make a woman feel.

Where Watson tripped up was when she said, "it creeps me out when guys sexualize me like that". Let's revisit this: she was asked out for coffee after a trip to the bar. By that logic, any time a man ever asks out a woman, no matter how innocuously, he is "sexualizing" her. I'm not sure what else she could mean by "sexualize", since the rejected fell…

Lawrence Krauss reams William Lane Craig

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In case you needed more hard proof that WLC is a lying schmuck, this ought to do the trick:



I don't think any commentary is necessary.

The three pillars of morality – and why God isn't one of them

In The God Argument (which I've almost finished), A.C. Grayling describes the theism-atheism debate as being comprised of three related but distinct arguments:
The metaphysical – what exists and what doesn'tThe place of religion in societyThe grounding of moral norms I think that's a pretty fair summation. I've spent a fair bit of time on this blog talking about the first argument (or rather group of arguments), and a little bit talking about the second – although certainly not on the scale of someplace like Friendly Atheist, which is almost solely devoted to secularist issues. But the third has always been close to my heart, perhaps even more so than the metaphysical arguments. I did a series on morality some time ago, but I haven't touched on the topic too much recently. I've been reflecting on it quite a bit though, and I think it's time I share my thoughts. I don't know how much of what I'm about to argue is new for me, but as with all arguments …

A new direction for the A-Unicornist

I was away in Houston this weekend, and it gave me some time to think about the blog – where it is, and what direction I'd like it to go. I've commented in the past that I often grow weary of metaphysical a/theistic debates, and I don't want them to dominate the blog. But it's an obvious fact that those discussions do interest me, so there's no reason to stop doing them altogether. I would, however, like to devote a bit more space to talking about science, morality, secularism and other issues instead of retreading tired apologetic arguments that have long been shown to be impotent.

Posting frequency is another issue. With my recent change in careers, I simply don't have the time or inclination to post as often as I'd like to. I have to maintain a blog for my personal training website (it's a key marketing tool), and I'll be maintaining a second one for my forthcoming guitar-teaching website. That's a lot of blogging. As much as I like writing, …

Should you bother with the science rebels?

Ol' Randal Rauser – never a dull moment with this guy. His recent essay details his reading of the 2010 book What Darwin Got Wrong, a book by a cognitive scientist (Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini) and a philosopher (Jerry Fodor) which caused a bit of a ruckus on its release and was panned, hard, by a spate of evolutionary biologists. But the book was latched onto by the intelligent design movement because the authors a) reject natural selection, and b) they're atheists. Randal is an intelligent design creationist, so, y'know, do the math.

I haven't read the book because, well, I can't think of any reason why I should. Randal Rauser disagrees with me, and had these sharp words for me:

See if you'd actually read the book you'd know that their arguments are drawn extensively from the biological literature. But why bother when you've already outsourced your thinking to other chosen authorities. Some "free thinker" you are. Debates within the scien…

On the ethics of eating animals

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Disclaimer: I'm an omnivore. There are few things I love as much as a tender filet or ribeye grilled to a perfect medium-rare.

You may have caught the news: after $300,000 worth of research, scientists have created the world's first lab-grown burger and submitted it to taste testers. The verdict? Not bad, it seems. The texture of meat is there, but there was literally no fat whatsoever in the meat, which contributed to a lack of flavor; scientists, however, say that is an easy fix.

Finally, meat that a vegan could eat. Except, given that vegans and vegetarians are such a small segment of the population, if this is going to be a viable product over the long-term, they're gonna have to make it appeal to meat-eaters. It's also going to have to be cheaper and easier to manufacture than cattle. So, while it's a nice idea and certainly uber-cool science, it'll be many years – maybe even decades – before anything like this is commonplace in our supermarkets.

But clear…

"Christ died for the ungodly"

I was driving home from work yesterday and I noticed a sign posted outside a church I pass every day: "Christ died for the ungodly". I thought about that for a bit, and for the life of me I cannot figure out what on earth that is supposed to actually mean.

Sure, it sounds profound. God loves you so much that he sacrificed himself for you. Or maybe, God loves you so much that he sent his only son to die for you. But closer examination reveals how utterly vacuous and nonsensical the whole concept really is, which really cuts to the core of how ridiculous Christian theology actually is.

The first question to ask is what it even means to say that Christ "died". If Christ is God, it doesn't make much sense to say that God can die. But if God can't die, there can't be any sacrifice. So perhaps the Christian would say that Christ's bodily form died. But that trivializes the very definition of death, and even according to Christian theology (since everyone …

A really, really huge picture of Andromeda

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The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan's Subaru Telescope (got all that?) is a telescope with some apparently whiz-bang telescope technology that allows it to take some really spectacularly detailed images.

I've always been fascinated by Andromeda, and not just because our galaxy is going to collide with it in 4.5 billion years, but because it's our nearest spiral galaxy (there are lots of dwarf galaxies that are closer) and it's easy to get the sense that we have some neighbors there who aren't unlike ourselves.

But the scale is just impossible for the human mind to even fathom. Andromeda lies 14,696,563,432,959,020,000 miles from Earth. Yes... you didn't attempt to say that number. Italso contains more than double the number of stars estimated to be in the Milky Way – around a trillion.

When you first blow up the picture, it seems like you're looking at a cloud of dust. Only on close inspection does it sink in that you're looking at billions a…