Monday, September 29, 2008

STA meets Roy Zimmerman

So Roy Zimmerman came to my state last night during his 48-State tour. He's "a big-ol-lefty" with songs about the religious right, Republican politics, and the addled shortcomings of George W. Bush. I went up and met him after the show, cheesing and drooling and stumbling over myself like a teenybopper meeting one of the Jonas Brothers.

Roy played for a benefit for the new Voice of Reason Radio. The show was a blast and Roy's a real nice guy. Pick up one of his CD's and check to see when he'll be in your state here!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Gallbladder is Diseased

It appears that I will be undergoing surgery to remove my diseased gallbladder. I've inherited the malady from my mother, and she from hers. My mother and grandmother have both had the procedure done and both are fine and fully functional. I'm not worried and I trust our advances in modern medicine. (Here's a [graphic] video of the relatively simple and common procedure.) Having a camera shoved into my bellybutton doesn't sound too appealing, but you do what you gotta do.

I'll be blogging again once I recover.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Failings of Pascal's Wager: Atheist's Wager

So far now I've show how Pascal's Wager uses fundamentally flawed logic and ignorant deductions to coerce you into accepting a religion and/or deity. But now let's turn that around.

The Atheist's Wager is a variant of Pascal's Wager in which you divide the gods who reward faith from the gods who reward works. Upon doing this, we find that it is better to not believe and do good works, for maximum benefit.

An All-Loving Pyromaniac
If you discount the possibility of a God who sends good people to hell for bad reasons, we are left with a completely different payoff table. Now, regardless of your belief about a benevolent God, the results still favor a "good life". Pascal's Wager relies on the judgments of an evil God who sends good people to hell for not believing in him/her/them/it. But there's an infinite number of such possible gods, and picking the right one out of infinity is the long-shot of all long-shots. Even if a faith-rewarding God existed, believing in an incorrect faith-rewarding God might anger such a deity more than not believing in any gods with good reasons (ie, evidence).

And for me, it all comes down to evidence. I don't believe in something without a good reason to do so, and telling me that I'll be tortured forever isn't going to work. It's important to understand how humanity knows the things it does, and how we go about uncovering the truth about all things (and I'll give you a hint in case you don't know: it do not involve uncredited stories of wandering desert tribesmen from the Bronze Age).

Epic Fail
Pascal's Wager fails on every single level. It's logically flawed and ignorantly applied, but it's so common (to any religion) and it is even used by otherwise intelligent individuals. You just have to take a moment to look at it to see its glaring holes.