Tuesday

Christianity, atheism and the 2016 Australian Census



The Australian 2016 Census figures show a decline in Christian belief from 61% to 52% of our population. This goes along with the steady decline since 1901:

1901 96.1%
1911 95.9%
1921 96.9%
1933 86.4%
1947 88.0%
1954 89.4%
1961 88.3%
1966 88.2%
1971 86.2%
1976 78.6%
1981 76.4%
1986 73.0%
1991 74.0%
1996 70.9%
2001 68.0%
2006 63.9%
2011 61.1%
2016 52.0%

In just over a hundred years Christianity has lost 44% of the population in Australia. Obviously the Christian church is doing something wonderful to continue in this downward spiral.

In a blow to Islamophobia the decline in Christianity (9.1%) was more than the percentage of Muslims in Australia (2.6%).

The category of "No religion" is up from 22.6% to 29.6%.  Despite what some atheists may like to believe, "No religion" does not mean that every person in this category is an atheist. It includes agnostics and theists who belong to no religion.

Wednesday

An Agnostic’s Assessment Of New Atheist Attitudes

FROM http://strangenotions.com/an-agnostics-assessment-of-new-atheist-attitudes/

An Agnostic’s Assessment Of New Atheist Attitudes by Matt Nelson

BBC Radio personality, John Humphrys, an agnostic ... responds to seven common New Atheist attitudes in his book, In God We Doubt (I have reconfigured the statement/response format for easier reading):

1. Believers are mostly naive or stupid. Or, at least, they’re not as clever as atheists.

To which Humphreys responds: “This is so clearly untrue it’s barely worth bothering with. Richard Dawkins, in his best selling The God Delusion, was reduced to producing a “study” by Mensa that purported to show an inverse relationship between intelligence and belief. He also claimed that only a very few members of the Royal Society believe in a personal god. So what? Some believers are undoubtedly stupid (witness the creationists) but I’ve met one or two atheists I wouldn’t trust to change a light-bulb.”

2. The few clever ones are pathetic because they need a crutch to get them through life.

To which Humphrys responds: “Don’t we all? Some use booze rather than the Bible. It doesn’t prove anything about either.”

3. They are also pathetic because they can’t accept the finality of death.

To which Humphrys responds: “Maybe, but it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Count the number of atheists in the foxholes or the cancer wards.”

4. They have been brainwashed into believing. There is no such thing as a “Christian child”, for instance—just a child whose parents have had her baptised.

To which Humphrys responds: “True, and many children reject it when they get older. But many others stay with it.”

5. They have been bullied into believing.

To which Humphrys responds: “This is also true in many cases but you can’t actually bully someone into believing—just into pretending to believe.”

6. If we don’t wipe out religious belief by next Thursday week, civilisation as we know it is doomed.

To which Humphrys responds: “Of course the mad mullahs are dangerous and extreme Islamism is a threat to be taken seriously. But we’ve survived monotheist religion for 4, 000 years or so, and I can think of one or two other things that are a greater threat to civilisation.”

7. Trust me: I’m an atheist.

To which Humphrys responds: “Why?” He adds: “I make no apology if I have oversimplified their views with a little list: it’s what they do to believers all the time.”

Monday

MARK TINDALL "MYSTERY"



http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13570087 "Mystery" is the latest and final track from my 2017 album "The Place" - original rock available for streaming or free download.

This final song is the linchpin to the album. It was unfortunately delayed due to unforeseen circumstances.

The entire album can be heard in the correct order at http://www.soundclick.com/marktindall.

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THE PLACE (2017) - Mark Tindall

01 - I Love You (For Bev)
02 - I've Time
03 - That Urban Groove
04 - I Wish
05 - Just A Simple Song
06 - Hold On (Keep On)
07 - Everything's Certain
08 - Growing Up (Not Growing Older)
09 - Wander Wonder
10 - Mystery

"The Place" is written around the concept of HaMakom.

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For those interested in the chordal structure of "Mystery":

VS //: C / Bb / C /Gm ://
CH: //: F / Gm / Am / Gm / C / Bb / Am / Gm ://
Bridge: Am / Bb / C/ Dm7
Middle : Dm7

Follow me at at https://www.facebook.com/marktindallmusician

Thursday

Matt Dillahunty‏'s qualifications: None!




FROM https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Dillahunty

Matt Dillahunty (born March 31, 1969) is an American public speaker and Internet personality, and was the president of the Atheist Community of Austin from 2006 to 2013. He has hosted the Austin-based webcast and cable-access television show The Atheist Experience since c. 2005 and formerly hosted the live internet radio show Non-Prophets Radio. He is also the founder and contributor of the counter-apologetics encyclopedia Iron Chariots and its subsidiary sites.

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FROM https://twitter.com/matt_dillahunty/status/436273926654529536

I've been told there's a reddit discussion about my credentials. Easy. I have none. No degrees. No seminary. Doesn't matter.

Monday

BRIAN DUNNING AND NLP BULLSHIT



I had an atheist mate tell me that a "skeptical" podcast now destroys the whole of the psychological assumptions behind education. Absolute bullshit! ( Nor is scientific scepticism exactly the same as scepticism in philosophy. This is a verifiable fact that he also doesn't seem to comprehend.)

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Similar podcast transcript.

https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4155

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The "Bright" atheist (but not so bright in education) who stated this in his quaint little podcast ( the most popular form of gathering information for atheists) is Brian Dunning (convicted of wire fraud) who has absolutely no qualification in education. He is a "computer scientist by trade". Another example of a person speaking outside their area of expertise.

See https://skeptoid.com/bios/brian_dunning.php

I attended a NLP seminar in the 1980s by Michael Grindler (brother of John Grinder) when it was beginning to become popular. If NLP is wrong (as proven by science) then teachers will not use it. Teachers aren't stupid. Teachers still have a huge amount of material from psychology (to name but one discipline) that they can use in educating students. NLP is only one tool in many hundreds that may be used.

In particular, it appears that the academic evidence against NLP is not about “learning styles” at all but items such as the concepts within NLP of "mirroring and matching" (and other areas such as eye movement as indicators of preferred learning styles, etc) and being a “tool to influence others”.  If "mirroring and matching", and eye movement as indicators of preferred learning styles, and NLP as a “tool to influence others” are all wrong then it does absolutely no damage whatsoever to education and various competing theories on learning styles.

Sunday

THE "COYNE FALLACY" NAMED AFTER JERRY COYNE

This is the most-people-believe-what’s-false-therefore-it’s-false fallacy, or the Coyne fallacy, named after its most frequent user, Jerry Coyne. This fallacy is used to reject a proposition because most people misunderstand or hold false beliefs about that proposition. So that if the average church or temple goer has a definition of God that suffers certain inconsistencies, therefore God doesn’t exist. If you accept that then you’d have to believe that since the average citizen has mistaken ideas about evolution (holding to Intelligent Design, say), therefore evolution is false. Truth is not a vote.

FROM http://wmbriggs.com/post/11494/

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Jerry Coyne laughs and tries to dismiss it but he has a very poor understanding of philosophy. He engages in "foolosophy" (love of foolishness) rather than philosophy (love of wisdom).

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FROM philosopher Edwad Fesser.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/the-pointlessness-of-jerry-coyne.html

People have asked me to comment on the recent spat between Jerry Coyne and Ross Douthat. As longtime readers of this blog know from bitter experience, there’s little point in engaging with Coyne on matters of philosophy and theology. He is neither remotely well-informed, nor fair-minded, nor able to make basic distinctions or otherwise to reason with precision. Nor, when such foibles are pointed out to him, does he show much interest in improving. ...

Naturally, his incompetence is coupled with a preposterous degree of compensatory self-confidence. As I once pointed out about Dawkins, Coyne may by now have put himself in a position that makes it psychologically impossible for him even to perceive serious criticism. The problem is that his errors are neither minor, nor occasional, nor committed in the shadows, nor expressed meekly. He commits a howler every time he opens his mouth, and he opens it very frequently, very publicly, and very loudly. His blunders are of a piece, so that to confess one would be to confess half a decade’s worth -- to acknowledge what everyone outside his combox already knows, viz. that he is exactly the kind of bigot he claims to despise. That is a level of humiliation few human beings can bear. Hence the defense mechanism of training oneself to see only ignorance and irrationality even in the most learned and sober of one’s opponents; indeed, to see it even before one sees those opponents. And so we have the spectacle of Coyne’s article last week on David Bentley Hart’s The Experience of God, wherein he launches a 2800 word attack on a book he admits he has not read. The sequel of self-delusion, it seems, is self-parody.

Still, it is worthwhile responding now and again to people like Coyne, so that bystanders who wouldn’t otherwise know any better can see just how pathetic are the “arguments” of New Atheists. ...

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FROM philosopher Bill Vallicella.

http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2012/11/the-abysmally-ignorant-jerry-coyne.html

The Abysmally Ignorant Jerry Coyne
Jerry Coyne complains:

Another problem is that scientists like me are intimidated by philosophical jargon, and hence didn’t interrupt the monologues to ask for clarification for fear of looking stupid. I therefore spent a fair amount of time Googling stuff like “epistemology” and “ontology” (I can never get those terms straight since I rarely use them).

This is an amazing confession. It shows that the man is abysmally ignorant outside his specialty. He is not wondering about the distinction between de dicto and de re, but about a Philosophy 101 distinction. It would be as if a philosopher couldn't distinguish between velocity and acceleration, or mass and weight, or a scalar and a vector, or thought that a light-year was a measure of time.

Despite his ignorance of the simplest distinctions, Coyne is not bashful about spouting off on topics he knows nothing about such as free will. Lawrence Krauss is another of this scientistic crew. And Dawkins. And Hawking and Mlodinow. And . . . . Their arrogance stands in inverse relation to their ignorance. A whole generation of culturally-backward and half-educated scientists does not bode well for the future.

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FROM philosopher Massimo Pigliucci.

http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com.au/2010/08/jerry-coyne-then-and-now.html

But when it comes to writing for the general public, I suggest that scientists stick to what they know best, unless they are willing to engage the literature of the field(s) that they wish to comment upon. When Coyne makes statements of the type “anybody doing any kind of science should abandon his or her faith if they wish to become a philosophically consistent scientist”, he literally does not know what he is talking about because he does not have a grasp of what it means to be “philosophically consistent” in this context. He has of course no obligation to study philosophy, but then he should refrain from writing about it as a matter of intellectual honesty toward his readers.

Friday

DANIEL DENNETT ON HOW TO COMPOSE A SUCCESSFUL CRITICAL COMMENTARY





FROM Daniel Dennett "Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking" (W. Norton & Co: 2014) p.25

... a list of rules promulgated many years ago by the social psychologist and game theorist Anatol Rapoport [Rapoport’s Rules ] ...

How to compose a successful critical commentary:
1 - You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.
2 - You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
3 - You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
4 - Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.