Wednesday, January 30, 2013

This is apparently 'proof' to Islamists?

Response to:

Someone on twitter posted this link to be and said "You might enjoy reading this".

Actually, believe it or not, no... I don't enjoy long strings of ignorance, lies, misrepresentations and logical fallacies.

Let's take a quick look at these:

(1) "Juad Ibne Dirham, a leader of atheist sect had kept some mud and water in a glass bottle. After some days worms grew in it and he claimed to be their creator"

How completely ignorant is this strawman? First of all, any given atheist might be completely ignorant of science. If this was a real person they clearly are ignorant of science so this ENTIRE string is built on the logical fallacy of the strawman and is therefore completely invalid. Next.

Reason/Logic/Science 1, Pretending-To-Know-Shit-That-You-Know-NOTHING-About 0

(2) "There is a verse in Quran that is according to our belief and which goes against your faith...nd He it is Who is God in the heavens and God in the earth…( Surah Zukhruf 43:84)"

and they say "nuh huh". Ooooooookay. So what is this supposed to prove? Another strawman. It's really easy to setup completely weak strawmen and knock them down, this proves nothing. Next.

Reason/Logic/Science 2, Pretending-To-Know-Shit-That-You-Know-NOTHING-About 0

(3)"One day Abu Shakir came to the Imam and said, “Prove to me the existence of God.” Imam (a.s) told him to be seated..."

This should be good, haha.

"...inside which flow two seas of gold and silver. But neither can the yellow mix with the white nor the white can merge with the yellow"

Obviously they have never heard of a scrambled egg. What kind of stupid argument are we looking at here?

"...No one can even know whether the newborn would be a male or a female"

Utter and complete nonsense - we can insert very fine instruments into the egg, extract a tiny DNA sample and sex the chicken.

"...Can your reason agree that all this happened without a designer or a maker?”"

Ah, the absolute FAVORITE of religion, the Argument From Ignorance. If you don't know how something happens naturally then surely God must have done it. Nonsense. In fact, we have EXTREMELY detailed knowledge now of exactly how evolution works and why it gives the mere APPEARENCE of design but doesn't require an actual designer. The need for 'God' in the production of natural biology ceased to exist 150 years ago and the evidence supporting it now exists in volumes that fill hundreds of thousands of pages.

Reason/Logic/Science 3, Pretending-To-Know-Shit-That-You-Know-NOTHING-About 0

(4) "One day an atheist from Egypt came to Imam (a.s) who asked his name. “Abdul Malik,” replied...It is surprising that when you do not have any knowledge about the earth or the sky, the east or west, how can you deny the existence of God?"

Another Argument From Ignorance.

"Don’t you ever reflect on the earth and the sky that why the sky does not crash on the earth?"

The 'sky' crash on the earth, LOL. Are you #*$&ing kidding me? It's these Biblical 'firmament' idiots who used to think the sky was a great dome because they FAILED TO GRASP COSMOLOGY. Ignorance, Ignorance, Ignorance -- a 'divine' being would know better.

"Why the earth does not sink below itself?"

Displays an utter ignorance of cosmology and physics, it's not even a valid question.

Reason/Logic/Science 4, Pretending-To-Know-Shit-That-You-Know-NOTHING-About 0

One of the comments on that page: "Have you guys/gals noticed how amazing these debates are?"

No, but I noticed that they are shameful & dishonest.

One final example, from a comment (again with the egg analogy):

"Imam (to the man): Tell me something. Is it possible to keep two different colours of liquid in one container without any barrier and yet they don’t get mixed?

Man: Impossible."

First of all the egg contents CAN be mixed, secondly the egg contents ARE mixing slightly, even in the egg, and thirdly OF COURSE THIS IS POSSIBLE, IT IS TRIVIAL.

Reason/Logic/Science 5, Pretending-To-Know-Shit-That-You-Know-NOTHING-About 0

So once again, Ignorantly pretending to know shit on "faith" is an utter failure. OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER again it fails but each new moron thinks they have the magic words from the skydaddy.

All these thousands of pretend 'gods' are the SAME Bullshit, over and over again:

I'll tell ya what is 'Impossible', the laughable idea that YOU finally got it right.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When Cells Divide: the argument from uniqueness

MYTH: A zygote, formed during conception, is when a unique set of human DNA is created

FACT: This is FALSE. Just about every cell copy (mitosis) produces a 'unique' DNA variant (due to mutations, copy variations, duplications, transpositions, mitotic crossover, etc) and this is especially present during the production of gametes (spermatozoa and ovum) when DNA recombination shuffles the alleles between the different pairs of chromosomes (segments of DNA are sliced and randomized between the pairs of a chromosome).

Even 'identical twins', which are produced when the morula splits after the zygote has begun to divide into multiple cells, do not have IDENTICAL DNA - there are already differences in the copies at those early stages (both genetic and epigenetic differences).

So every gamete, while being haploid (having only one full set of our human DNA chromosomes, unlike our diploid cells which have 2 full copies), is a completely unique set of human DNA, unlike either of the originals but a complex mixture of the two. The Zygote is just the combination of these two, already unique, sets of chromosomes.


Genome-wide single-cell analysis of recombination activity and de novo mutation rates in human sperm
Cell Division
Genetic Recombination
Mitotic crossover
Scientific American: Identical Twins Genes are not Identical

MYTH: Life begins at conception / first breath

FACT: Life began only once (so far as we have evidence for) approximately 3.6 billion years ago - it is ridiculous to argue that it 'begins' at conception.

Furthermore, we know now that every cell in your body could be potentiated to become a new and unique 'human being', should we decide to do so.

And there are even **single-celled** humans (see HeLa), does each of those unique cells get full voting rights?

A human being is simply NOT a cell -- it is what a very large collection of specifically differentiated cells working together in concert create, and specifically there has to be a working human brain involved. This also applies to end of life, when there is no more brain function we recognize that we need to allow the body to cease functioning as well. The mere POTENTIAL to form a working human brain isn't sufficient or we would try to save every cell before death and potentiate it to be a full human being because it HAS that potential, so this is disproved reductio ad absurdum.

Also consider carefully that human beings seem to all have the POTENTIAL to do harmful things to other human beings. If the potential for something is the same as that something then should we preemptively incarcerate all human beings for their potential to do harm? Again, that would be absurd - reductio ad absurdum. You'd have to show why your 'potential' argument deserves special treatment or you're committing the Special Pleading fallacy.


Timeline of evolutionary history of life

MYTH: Gametes aren't 'alive'.

FACT: Then please explain how there can be 'dead' spermatozoa (see necrospermia) and why they don't create babies?

See Also:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What I would do...

My comment over on Forbes: If The US Spends $550 Billion On Poverty How Can There Still Be Poverty In The US?

The ignorance of privilege and prejudice shown in this article (and some of the comments) is just appalling.

First of all, the measurement of poverty is not to say where people are after they have received assistance but to measure the underlying problem. The money spent doesn't magically make things better - we often actually refuse to spend funds on root cause. Instead, we've decided as a nation to only treat the symptoms at the absolute minimal level we can possibly get away and still let the 'rich' sleep at night.

Saying things like "many of your disadvantaged poor people are just lazy free-loaders", as elmer did, shows just how deep this ignorance runs. This is an inexcusable cheap shots at people whose lives elmer clearly knows nothing about. I've lived in those shoes personally, I managed to get out but I don't make the mistake of misattributing that success. I'm not better than anyone else -- I got lucky, period. And I'm thankful even for the woefully inadequate job the government did in assisting my family during our hardest times (I remember shopping with food stamps). When my mother was working multiple jobs, for substandard wages, to try to feed us. When we had to move because we couldn't afford the rent. When that forced us to move into an area with an inadequate school system. When that trashed my education and I had to work jobs during the day and finished High School through a program I attended at night). I went from a highly progressive, loving, caring school system into one that almost despised students.

You carp and moan about it while doing EVERYTHING in your power to continue and worsen this atrocious system.

The people I know even now are working 4 jobs and trying to get an online education (the only one they can afford, as insufficient as that is). But the institution of the United States has decided that women aren't worth paying fairly and they don't want to give people actual jobs -- they want to pay below poverty wages for back-breaking and mind-numbing labor.

I would take 1 of them over 100 elmers.

Disclaimer: I now (happily) pay more in TAXES than about half of those in the US make in total income. I welcome more taxes if they actually go to improving the situation. I want to HELP people and I can see with MY OWN EYES that they desperately need it. It's not easy to help others, most often issues run psychologically deep due to abuses of the past. But I refuse to turn a blind eye and let others suffer without doing what I can.

What we need to do is simple:

1) end the drug war, full stop -- and put every person in prison for ONLY possession (not including those pleading down from violent offenses) into a program where they are released once they get a degree. This will also end that source of funding to terrorist and organised criminal organizations. This will also put a stop to ripping apart families (that are, DISPROPORTIONATE TO ACTUAL DRUG USE, minorities). The ignorant drug war is a massive source of the problems in this country.

The entire drug war is founded on racism and lies.

There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others." - Harry J. Anslinger, Federal Bureau of Narcotics, testimony to US Congress supporting Marihuana Tax Act, 1937

and later used by Nixon as a political tool:

"You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this all while not appearing to." - Richard M. Nixon, about the War on Drugs to Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman, according to Halderman's diaries

2) Anyone who wants to attend a brick&mortar community college for a 4-year degree should have every class and book paid for. They shouldn't have to jump through massive hoops that are practically designed to prevent people from getting aid. Just cover it.

3) We need a way to intervene earlier and more compassionately for those who are suffering mental and physical abuses. We need MORE intrusion and intervention into people's personal lives -- but, in exchange, we need to do so with an eye towards improving our future. You CANNOT simply throw everyone into prison -- that exacerbates the issues ten-fold. To borrow a recent metaphor, we need to OCCUPY the lives of people who, probably due to abuses in their own past, are abusing those in their current lives. If we do this with love and compassion and a desire to improve the lives of the next generation we can, step-by-step, crawl out of the current psychological deficit we have in the world.

This also means we need to stop yanking kids out of homes on the slightest pretext. The outcomes for such children are just as bleak as the abused (and they offer suffer worse abuses in foster care).

Except in the extreme cases, don't imprison, separate, & destroy -- OCCUPY, HEAL, SHOW COMPASSION.

Note that this is NOT saying that someone who harms a child gets off Scott Free. Violent acts against others should be tried. I'm talking about what do we DO when someone is found to be a threat to the family? Locking them up in prison punishes the family as much as the offender - this is STUPID.

I'm saying, take however many we can afford (let's say 10,000 for starters), and put someone on them 24x7. Watch them, educate them, make them do the things that must be done. Show them how to care for and treat children. And educate them on how to help the next generation in turn. Let those that are successful participate and lead the next generation.

Or you can take the only father figure those children have out of the home, leave the mother alone to care for 2 or 3 kids -- giving her jobs that don't cover child care. That's surely been a recipe for success for the past 50 years (NOT).

4) we need to ensure those in need have adequate shelter, clothing, food, education, and medical care. We do the bare minimum palliative care today and we do almost nothing to actually try to improve the situation. Cut 1% of the military budget every year for 10 years and move it into funding education -- not just more of the same but we need research programs to guide development of an improved educational system.

We have some of the best education in the world in some cases and we have a LOT of education that is bottom of the barrel.

We should produce a series of programs that teaches deep, key concepts and critical thinking skills. This should be developed by the best of the best and made available online to everyone along with a promulgation program to encourage people to participate (btw, things like iTunes U is already an incredible resource for free education programs -- more of that is good but I'm talking about programs more targeted at the currently disadvantaged). The majority of this is a one time cost! This is low-hanging fruit.

For example, memorizing a bunch of historical dates is PURPOSELESS and utterly worthless -- what needs to be taught (broadly) from history is why things are the way they are today -- how we got here and the mistakes we've made. And, if done properly, that makes history vibrant and interesting. Most of what passes for 'History' in schools today is actually harmful to an education.

And hey -- maybe I'm wrong about some things -- I wouldn't propose we do anything without setting metrics for success or failure and, when things are failing we need to try something else. Why don't ANY bills have clearly defined metrics for success? This is standard business practice: set goals, define metrics, measure results.