a tippling philosopher

Browsing Archive: May, 2012

Matthew and the guards at the tomb

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Thursday, May 31, 2012, In : Religion 

In this post, I am going to look at the resurrection account given by Matthew, in particular his addition found in no other Gospel account, that there were guards stationed at the tomb.

 

 

According to Matthew, the chief priests were worried that the disciples might steal Jesus’ body to fake a resurrection, so they went to Pilate and got permission to post a guard on the tomb. When Jesus rose from the dead, the guards reported it to the priests, and the priests bribed them to claim that...


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This video scares the bejesus out of me

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Thursday, May 31, 2012, In : Religion 
Oh dear. This is truly terrible.

Terrible.

 
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Autism study strengthens idea that we read God's mind

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, May 30, 2012, In : Science 

Autism study strengthens idea that we read God's mind

 

People with autism appear less likely to believe in God – a discovery that has strengthened theories that religious belief relies on being able to imagine what God is thinking, a capacity known as "mentalising".

 

One of the hallmarks of autism is an impaired ability to infer and respond to what other people are thinking, so the investigators wondered whether this would affect their l...


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Everyone's agin it! The church and homophobia

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, May 30, 2012, In : Religion 
This has been hitting the news in the US.

Oh dear. Can I even say any more?

 
 


And then a response from one of his idiotic congregation members.
 


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Book looks good!

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Monday, May 28, 2012, In : Books 
I have just received my proof copy of my new book "The Nativity: A Critical Examination" and it looks really good. As you can imagine, i am pretty excited. It is available of kindle already, but there's nothing like the feel of new book in your hands!

The cover looks great too. Just a week or so before it filters through the distribution channels then!

 


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Determinism vs compatibilism: abrogation vs moral responsibility?

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Saturday, May 26, 2012, In : Philosophy 
I have been discussing with someone about moral responsibility with regards to determinism, free will and compatibilism. 

Compatibilists often claim, as per David Hume, that the agent has free will because they are not being physically coerced to do something by another agent. However, a hard determinist such as myself will simply claim that that coercion is internal, and not external. The causal process is what makes an agent do something, and this may take its form in other agents, genetics,...
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High praise indeed - and a cable TV slot!

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Friday, May 25, 2012, In : Books 
A chap called George Ortega contacted me recently about a video of my free will talk to the South Hampshire Humanists. He runs a small local cable project about free will in the States. Anywho, he is planning on using the video as the backbone for four of his cable shows, which is great.

What is more impressive, is this quote from him:

 
This is far and away the best refutation of free will available anywhere! I'm only about 1/3rd of the way through it, and Johno Pearce wowed me so completely ...

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10 Commandments...

Posted by B__e on Thursday, May 24, 2012, In : Religion 
Here is a post from an ex-Christian called B__e who has been ruminating on this for a whiile. See what you think:

Ten Commandments or Ten Suggestions?

By B__e

I have sometimes heard that the Bible has the Ten Commandments and not the “Ten Suggestions.”  I’m not so sure that Yahweh thinks so based on the Scriptures themselves, since He appears to break or flout them all.  You be the judge…

1.       You shall have no other gods before me.

Deuteronomy 6:4 reads:  “Hear, O Israel: Th...


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A Universe form Nothing - Krauss

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, May 23, 2012, In : Science 


I am presently reading Laurence Krauss' readable and short book "A Universe from Nothing". i like short books like this due to the fact that my reading list is incredibly long.  


I was reading a segment on antimatter and antiparticles, and I just loved this quote:


I like to say that while antimatter may seem strange, it is strange in the sense that Belgians are strange. They are not really strange; it is just that one rarely meets them.

Anywho, it seems a good book so far, some 50 odd pa...

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Outdated morality?

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, May 23, 2012, In : Religion 
I like this picture. I can imagine it being pretty true. 

Please refer to my previous posts on the issue. 

 

 

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Guest poster at DC

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Monday, May 21, 2012, In : Religion 
Author John W Loftus has asked me to be a guest poster over at Debunking Christianity. At 130,000 hits+ a month, this is a great privilege and one about which I am very grateful. Thanks to John for the invitation. Hope to see you there!


http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.co.uk/ 

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Why do normal people believe ridiculous things?

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Sunday, May 20, 2012, In : Religion 


Why, indeed, do normal people believe ridiculous things? We have heard much from John Loftus about the OTF – the Outsider Test for Faith – which essentially illustrates that religion is a (geographical) accident of birth. It claims that if believers used the same critical powers they use to assess, and dismiss, other religions and their claims, then they are obliged to turn those critical faculties on their own. If they did, John would claim, then they would surely end up dismissing the c...


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Ockham's Razor and Christianity

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Saturday, May 19, 2012, In : Religion 

OCKHAM’S RAZOR AND CHRISTIANITY

 

Here is a definition of Ockham’s Razor:

 

Occam's Razor: the principle that entities should not be multiplied needlessly; the simplest of two competing theories is to be preferred.

 

This can often be a very useful principle in comparing competing theories which seek to explain the same phenomena. I will like to apply this theory to everything we know and see whether Christianity or atheism is a more attractive theory.

 

 

Let us look at issues w...


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A word on exclusivism

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Thursday, May 17, 2012, In : Religion 

Exclusivism, as I understand it, is merely accepting one belief in denying other similar claims. Which can surely be boiled down to accepting a claim and denying other claims.

 

We all do this, surely.

 

I see people as having two choices for living in a world of evidence.

1) being Pyrrhonian Skeptics

2) being able to make some kind of truth claims (beliefs)

 

For those who don't know Pyrrhonian Skepticism:

Whereas academic skepticism, with Carneades as its most famous adherent, cla...


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Gay marriage - the real reason for opposition

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Thursday, May 17, 2012, In : Humour 

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The Nativity update - proof ordered, Kindle submitted

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, In : Books 
I am pretty excited. My new book, The Nativity: A Critical Examination, has been submitted to Kindle and the printers / distributors. It will be available on Kindle by the end of today, and I should get a print proof copy within, say, a week or so.

Being my fourth book (discounting the children's book I edited), I am really happy with things at the moment. It's all about keeping that profile up!

I'll keep you posted.

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A very good video indeed on biblical approach to marriage

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Monday, May 14, 2012, In : Youtube 

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Author David Fitzgerald is writing a foreword for my new book

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Friday, May 11, 2012, In : Books 

 I am very excited to announce that author and public speaker David Fitzgerald will be writing the foreword for my new book "The Nativity: A Critical Examination". i am really pleased that he thought the book was "excellent".


I am presently making some final editions, changing a few things about which David and myself have been talking. A big thanks to him.

Go and buy his excellent book from the UK and US links above!

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Very funny. An amusing political take on abortion laws, a very serious issue...

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, May 9, 2012, In : Politics 

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Sam Harris defends profiling. and philosophically so do I, but the devil is in the detail...

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Monday, May 7, 2012, In : Philosophy 
Sam Harris, apparently, has recently been defending profiling. Without knowing the detail of what he says and the real context, I thought I'd give my tuppence worth in defending profiling in a basic philosophical way. Here is what I have posted elsewhere:

In really simple terms, profiling should be seen in a consequentialist frame (IF you adhere to moral consequentialism. If not, and you adhere to Kantian Categorical Imperatives, then profiling is likely morally bad in and of itself since peop...


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Jerry Coyne has dug these maps out - awesome

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Thursday, May 3, 2012, In : Religion 
This map was posted by Jerry Coyne to show, along with John Loftus' Outsider Test For Faith, that religion is an accident of birth.

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/science-vs-religion-the-outsider-test-for-faith/ 



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Highly Religious People Are Less Motivated by Compassion Than Are Non-Believers

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Thursday, May 3, 2012, In : Religion 

Highly Religious People Are Less Motivated by Compassion Than Are Non-Believers

ScienceDaily (Apr. 30, 2012) — "Love thy neighbor" is preached from many a pulpit. But new research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that the highly religious are less motivated by compassion when helping a stranger than are atheists, agnostics and less religious people.


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Hypocrisy?

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Thursday, May 3, 2012, In : Humour 

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The Philosophy of Evolution

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, May 2, 2012, In : Philosophy 

I was worried recently when I read the phrase “goal-directed evolution” in some philosophy writing. This annoys me since it shows what I consider to be a fundamental misunderstanding of what evolution is and does, and philosophers should know better,


People often think, incorrectly, that genes, or chromosomes, or animals, or evolution as a whole are invested with purpose, with agency. This is patently false. There is no agency in the chemical make-up of genetic material and evolution, ...


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Homosexuality and Christianity Part 2

Posted by Jonathan Pearce on Wednesday, May 2, 2012, In : Religion 

So now it is time to return to the idea of homosexuality and Christianity about which I posted the other day.

 

Having looked at biblical issues concerning the position of deeming h/s morally wrong, let us now look at what makes people h/s and whether it is fair for an all-loving god to judge them.

 

Historically, h/s has been seen as a behavioural choice. However, over recent years, more and more research has been carried out into the causality of h/s.

 

H/s is seen as being "an endur...


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