Posts from the ‘Religion’ Category

NZ Atheist Bus Campaign & my viewpoints

NZ  Atheist Bus Campaign

The Atheist Bus Campaign aims to place “peaceful and upbeat" messages about atheism on transport media in the UK, in response to evangelical Christian advertising. It was created by comedy writer Ariane Sherine and launched on 21 October 2008, with official support from the British Humanist Association and Richard Dawkins.

In New Zealand, fund-raising has begun (December 2009) for the NZ Atheist Bus Campaign, administered by the Humanist Society of New Zealand.  The signs will bear the same message as the original UK campaign. In just a couple of days, the original target of $10000 was reached. The organisers say this will provide signs for 12 buses in Auckland, eight in Wellington and four in Christchurch. The signs will be on the buses for a period of four weeks.

Following the positive spirit of the UK Campaign, this NZ version stands for the same basic principles and ideas.  The campaign promotes a positive humanist world view, and the affirmation that there is no need to believe in a supernatural being, for which there is no evidence, to live a full and rich life.

“While New Zealand is by and large a very tolerant and inclusive society, there is still stigma associated with an atheistic position. At the same time we have recently seen the growing influence of radical religious groups such Brian Tamaki’s Destiny Church. With this campaign we hope to encourage positive debate on these issues – religion should not be a taboo topic.” said campaign spokesperson Simon Fisher.

The Atheist Bus Campaign is designed to get people to think critically about their religious beliefs, and rationally about the world in general. Nevertheless, this  campaign is unlikely to win converts, says a spokeswoman for the catholic church.

Followings are my viewpoints sent to Humanist Society of New Zealand and Fisher on this NZAtheistBus-Campaign :

  1. Congratulations on the successful NZ Atheist Bus Campaign!!!
  2. Can Hamilton City have one bus?
  3. Can The Humanist Society of New Zealand take this NZAtheistBus-Campaign opportunity to set up NO-GOD/Humanist Society branches throughout NZ?
  4. NZAtheistBus-Campaign is designed to get people to think critically about their religious beliefs, and rationally about the world in general.—– the problem is the believers think they think and behave rationally— that is why a spokeswoman for the catholic church feels quite relaxed saying “this campaign is unlikely to win converts”.—– actually I have been thinking and writing something to deal with this core problem, talk this later.
  5. Until the day— NO-GOD/Humanist Society has the capabilities to replace ALL the functions of current religion/churches, we are not a winner yet.

References: 

  1. Wikipedia, Atheist Bus Campaign. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheist_Bus_Campaign#cite_ref-New_Zealand_Atheist_Bus_Campaign_48-0
  2. NZAtheistBus-Campaign  official website. http://www.nogod.org.nz/
廣告

Why people become religious? (1):ignorance

By Decoder 6.7b 

  

 

ignorance-bRecently I met Mr. F who is a retired person dedicated to Falun Gong (法輪功),  a spiritual practice, or as the statement  of  Philip Cunningham at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok  saying that its  practice “looks like a cult, smells like a cult and by any reasonable definition is a cult". (Cunningham, 2001) As Falun Gong’s teachings cover spiritual, religious, mystical, and metaphysical topics, Mr. F asserted science is not fully reliable by telling me two mystically hard-to-believe reports. One is about Plant perception (paranormal) or so-called  ‘the Backster Effect’ by Cleve Backster. Below I quote some statements  and answers from “The Skeptic’s Dictionary” and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Plant perception (a.k.a. the Backster effect)

Plants are living things with cellulose cell walls, lacking nervous or sensory organs. Animals do not have cellulose cell walls but do have nervous or sensory organs. It would never occur to a plant or animal physiologist to test plants for consciousness or ESP because their knowledge would be sufficient to rule out the possibility of plants having feelings or perceptions on the order of human feeling or perception. In layman’s terms, plants don’t have brains or anything similar to brains. 

However, a person completely ignorant of plant and animal science has not only tested plants for perception and feeling, he claims that he has scientific proof that plants experience a wide range of emotions and thoughts. He also claims that plants can read human minds. His name is Cleve Backster and he published his research in the International Journal of Parapsychology (“Evidence of a Primary Perception in Plant Life," vol. 10, no. 4, Winter 1968, pp. 329-348). He tested his plants on a polygraph machine and found that plants react to thoughts and threats…….

Backster’s claims were refuted by Horowitz, Lewis, and Gasteiger (1975) and Kmetz (1977). Kmetz summarized the case against Backster in an article for the Skeptical Inquirer in 1978. Backster had not used proper controls in doing his study. When controls were used, no detection of plant reaction to thoughts or threats could be found. These researchers found that the cause of the polygraph contours could have been due to a number of factors, including static electricity, movement in the room, changes in humidity, etc.

It shows his curious nature, as well as his apparent  ignorance of the dangers of confirmation bias and self-deception. Backster clearly does not understand why scientists use controls in causal studies.(The Skeptic’s Dictionary, 2009, plant perception (a.k.a. the Backster effect))

In the scientific community as a whole, paranormal biocommunication has been subjected to much criticism, and is largely regarded as a pseudoscience. .Skeptics typically criticize the fact that many experiments into ‘plant perception’ are not taken in controlled conditions and that therefore their results are not verifiable evidence of its existence. More recently, the television show MythBusters performed an experiment concluded that the theory was not true. Further, the anonymous readings were unable to be repeated during their tests, and stated that “if it’s not repeatable, it’s not science some “supermen or super beings”have set up a nuclear fission reactor in Precambrian ."( Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia(2009) Plant perception (paranormal))

 

The second  mystically hard-to-believe report Mr F told me is regarding Oklo phenomenon with anti-science attitude saying that there are some “supermen or super beings” who have set up a nuclear fission reactor in Precambrian times. Below I cite some information about Oklo phenomenon:

Oklo is a region near the town of Franceville, in the Haut-Ogooué province of the Central African state of Gabon. The discovery in September 1972 of several natural nuclear fission reactors in the uranium mines situated there has fired the imagination and aroused the curiosity of scientists. .” Gabon was a French colony when prospectors from the French nuclear energy commissariat (the industrial parts, which later became the COGEMA) discovered uranium in the remote region in 1956. France immediately opened mines operated by Comuf (Compagnie des Mines d’Uranium de Franceville) near Mounana village in order to exploit the vast mineral resources and the State of Gabon was given a minority share in the company.

For forty years, France mined for uranium in Gabon. Once extracted, the uranium was used for electricity production in France and much of Europe. Gabon’s miners half-joked that it was thanks to them that France’s high-speed TGV trains could operate. Today, however, the uranium deposits are exhausted, and the mine is no longer worked. Currently, reclamation work is ongoing in the region affected by the mine operations.

There is strong geochemical evidence that the Oklo uranium deposit behaved as a natural nuclear fission reactor in Precambrian times: Some of mined uranium was found to have a lower concentration of U235 than expected, as if it had already been in a reactor. Geologists found that it had been in a reactor before — two billion years ago. At that time the natural uranium had a concentration of about 3% U235, and could have gone critical with natural water as neutron moderator.        ( Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2009, Oklo)

 

falun-gongThe Oklo phenomenon also has been mentioned by Li Hongzhi (李洪志), the founder and  Master Leader of Falun Gong (法輪功) saying that “Even our modern people cannot possibly create this, so when was it built then?” (Li,2000), —this also implies that there are some “supermen or super beings”have set up a nuclear fission reactor in Precambrian times as Mr F told me.— despite that

“there is strong geochemical evidence that the Oklo uranium deposit behaved as a natural nuclear fission reactor in Precambrian times: : Some of mined uranium was found to have a lower concentration of U235 than expected, as if it had already been in a reactor. Geologists found that it had been in a reactor before — two billion years ago. At that time the natural uranium had a concentration of about 3% U235, and could have gone critical with natural water as neutron moderator.”

( Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2009, Oklo)

 

These two mystically hard-to-believe reports in some way have lead me to think of one possible reason to “ Why people believe in God? Or become religious?”—ignorance that is “Ignorance, being misinformed, lack of education” as Titus Lucretius Carus, a Roman philosopher,  like ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, advocated long long time ago saying that religion was a product of ignorance and fear, and that understanding the natural world would liberate people from ignorant fears (including fear of death) and superstitions.( Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,2009, Epicurus)

 

Many people follow their ancient ancestors’ steps to put the unknown or unsolved questions with supernational explanation using God’s name—a omniscient God is needed and created. If anything that science can not yet explain the theists will fill up gaps with God. The early religious believers even regarded lightning and thunder were created or controlled by God or gods. The time has come that humans can finally use meteorology, astronomy, biology,  geology, cosmology to explain natural phenomena rather than accept the religious descriptions explained by God. In letters he wrote while in a Nazi prison during World War II, Dietrich Bonhoeffer made the term of “God of the gaps” more clearly coined: “…how wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge….. God is increasingly edged out of the world, now that it has come of age, knowledge and life are thought to be perfectly possible without him.”( Bonhoeffer,1997) All religious experiences and phenomena could be understood as resulting from purely logical and understandable “misinterpretation, misapprehension, misjudgement or delusion”. Although as a result of modern science’s progress the realm of the role of God can play has been vastly narrowed, God – the man-made virtual God still vividly alive by permanently occupying in the faith and brain of his unshakable believers.

By Decoder 6.7b

 

References:

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich.(1997) Letters and Papers from Prison. New York: Simon & Schuster

 

Cunningham, Philp J. (2001). When does a faith become a cult? The Japan Times. Retrieved April 1, 2009 from  http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fb20010130a1.html  

Li, Hongzhi. 2000. Zhuan Falun, Qigong is Prehistoric Culture. Retrieved April 03, 2009. from http://www.falundafa.org/book/eng/lecture1.html#4

To give another example of a more remote age, the Gabon Republic in Africa has uranium ore. This country is relatively underdeveloped. It cannot make uranium on its own and exports the ore to developed countries. In 1972, a French manufacturer imported its uranium ore. After lab tests, the uranium ore was found to have been extracted and utilized. They found this quite unusual and sent out scientists to study it. Scientists from many other countries all went there to investigate. In the end, this uranium mine was verified as a large-scale nuclear reactor with a very rational layout. Even our modern people cannot possibly create this, so when was it built then? It was constructed 2 billion years ago and was in operation for 500 thousand years. Those are simply astronomical figures, and they cannot be explained at all with Darwin’s theory of evolution. There are many such examples. What today’s scientific and technological community has discovered is sufficient to change our present textbooks.

(in Chinese)李洪志在《转法轮》中讲气功是史前文化时说:

  非洲有个加蓬共和国有铀矿石,这个国家比较落后,自己不能够提炼铀,把它出口到先进国家。一九七二年,法国一家工厂进口了这种铀矿石。经过化验发现这种铀矿石都是被提炼过、利用过的,觉得很奇怪,就派出科技人员去考察,许多国家的科学家都去考察。最后证实这个铀矿是个大型核反应堆,而且布局非常合理,我们现在的人都不可能创造出来的。那么,什么时候建成的呢?是二十亿年前,它运转了五十万年。这简直是天文数字,按照达尔文进化论根本解释不了,这些事情非常多。现在科技界发现的东西足以改变我们今天的教科书了。

The Skeptic’s Dictionary(2009) plant perception (a.k.a. the Backster effect). Retrieved March 23 2009, from http://skepdic.com/plants.html )

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia(2009) Epicurus. Retrieved April 1, 2009,  from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicurus 

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia(2009) Oklo. Retrieved arch 24 2009, from  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklo

© 2009  Decoder 6.7b/解碼者 6.7b資訊 版權所有

© 2009  Decoder 6.7b/解碼者 6.7b All Rights Reserved

請尊重智慧財產權勿任意轉載 轉載請註明:   轉載來自Decoder 6.7b/解碼者 6.7b

Why religion asks people to have faith first?

 By  Decoder 6.7b

 Religion always asks for your complete trust and confidence before evidence is provided. It asks you to have a strong belief based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof, even though you never understand what is ‘spiritual apprehension’.

religion-ape-cross1

Why religion asks people to have faith first?

Because there is no satisfactory evidence and proof of God’s existence, and God is unknowable. Non-believers could consider all God-talk is absurd, ridiculous, noncognitive, linguistically empty, meaningless, and nonsense. Believers, when can not convince people or refute criticism with reason —they regard faith as the first of the three  theological virtues.(Bible, I  Corinthians 13:13) and choose faith as the only way out.

God (Creator, Supreme Being, Allah, Brahman, Elohim, , Waheguru, Ra, Vishnu, etc) who in his essence is abstract, immanent, transcendent, is incomprehensible to general humans and  is not  testable by the methods of science. God is invisible, intangible, metaphysical, who can’t be seen, heard, touched, smelled, approached, actually can’t be verifiable by the five senses in essence. This invisible God can not satisfy the request of ‘seeing is believing’. George Denis Patrick Carlin, an American stand-up comedian—could-be one of the most humorous, sarcastic, funny and intelligent  comedian of all time, joked in his first book Brain Droppings that he could not worship an invisible God so he worshiped the Sun because he could actually see it.

Actually God is a imaginarily man-made God only, he doesn’t have an real entity in the universe. God is a creation of man’s frustration and need,  so Voltaire (pen name of François-Marie Arouet 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778) commented  religion with conclusion saying “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.". We can say in this way that a real God never exists, but a virtual God always exists within the brain/mind of human believers.I could not agree more with Michael Shermer, was once a fundamentalist Christian, is now a nontheist, about the concept of “ Humans made God, not God created humans” or “Virtual man-made God” in my term. He wrote “In no way do I intend this belief to belittle religion or people’s belief in any way. It is a testable hypothesis that I find reasonable and supported by the evidence from comparative mythology and world religion, evolutionary biology and psychology, and the antropology, sociolog, and psychology of religion.” (Shermer, 1999. p.90) Back to 1912, Wilhelm Schmidt, an Austrian linguist, anthropologist, and ethnologist, has theorized that among almost all tribes prehistoric man created a God, usually a sky god, the First Cause of all thingsand Ruler of Heaven and Earth, and then created gods. (Armstrong, 1994. p.3. and Boulton, 2002. p.77-8.)

 

We also can give answer to why religion always asks people to have faith first by talking of religious belief and religion.

Religion is not scientific because it is not testable by the methods of science.religion

Religious belief  itself is ridiculous, absurd, illogical, unfounded, vain, incoherent, unintelligible, self-contradictory, even  insane and dangerous. Any statements about religious or other transcendent experiences could not have a truth value, and were deemed to be without meaning as Logical positivists viewed.

Religion itself is full of all kinds of superstitions, fanaticism and brain washing. It is “violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children." as Christopher Hitchens regards in his book “God is Not Great”.

So , again here is the question: why religion asks people to have faith first?  Because God is only imaginary and virtually exists within believers’ brain/mind, the only way religion can convince you is asking you to operate your faith in the beginning to give it a go although it is lack of convincing evidences, then through prayer, religious activities and experiences your brain would be gradually deceived and eventually all those misinterpretation, misapprehension, and misjudgement to  all religious experiences and phenomena will turn untested belief into unshakable fanaticism.By Decoder 6.7b

 

References: 

Armstrong, Karen, (1994). . A History of God.Ballantine Books.

 

Boulton, David, (2002).The trouble with God.U.K. Ashford Colour Press.

 

Shermer, Michael. (1999). How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science.New York: W. H. Freeman and Company

 

 

 © 2009  Decoder 6.7b/解碼者 6.7b資訊 版權所有

 © 2009  Decoder 6.7b/解碼者 6.7b All Rights Reserved

 請尊重智慧財產權勿任意轉載 轉載請註明:   轉載來自Decoder 6.7b/解碼者 6.7b