More Qooks of Quora

 

Read John OGara’s answer to What if our logic is wrong and God is actually real? on Quora

I consider myself a logical human and I believe God is real. I can find no plausible answer to the complexity of nature that I can possibly attribute to blind chance, evolution, survival of the fittest, or any other theory that removes the possibility of an intelligent designer and creator.

Plausible is not the same as logical. Using what you perceive as the complexity of nature is not a logical argument, but one from personal incredulity; you don’t understand it, therefore God. That’s not a logical conclusion, but a deeply fallacious one, as shortsighted as it is arrogant.

Even if we take your notion of a creator/designer on board, how do you go from the universe being designed to one particular religion’s deity, which is borrowed from others in the same region and era, and that has only achieved a ubiquity and pervasiveness in modern society through successive campaigns of conquest, discrimination, and persecution?

The God of the Abrahamic religions (two of which are just derivatives of Judaism, which itself uses Greek mythology as a jumping-off point for its own concepts of the underworld and the afterlife, among other various tenets) is, according to you and like-minded folks, the creator of the universe we inhabit. However, he only gave his wisdom and knowledge to one particular corner of the earth a few thousand years ago, with most of it contradicting itself, and the rest subject to editorial bias.

Where is the logic in that?

Life always comes from other life. Could life really spontaneously spring from nonliving chemicals?

Note what a Professor of biology had to say about this:

“no empirical evidence supports the hypotheses of the spontaneous appearance of life on Earth from nothing but a molecular soup, and no significant advance in scientific knowledge leads in this direction.”

How Life Began​—Evolution’s Three Geneses, by Alexandre Meinesz, translated by Daniel Simberloff, 2008, pp. 30-33, 45

What are you, exactly? You’re alive, but what does that mean, exactly? You’re made from organic matter, but not all organic matter is considered to be alive in the same manner that you are. Not following? The most abundant components to your being are carbon and calcium, right? Are carbon and calcium alive? On their own, no, they are not, but throw in some hydrogen, some sulfur, some potassium, and a handful of other stuff that’s not alive, and with the right proportions and conditions, you’ve got you and everyone else. Imagine that, stuff that’s not alive forms the building blocks of stuff that is. This is why the Miller-Urey Experiment is so profound, with complex, organic macromolecules fundamental to the organic chemistry that led to all life on earth as we know it, forming out of a molecular soup under certain conditions that would have been common on earth eons ago. Organic matter from inorganic matter, all with no God required, yours or any other religions’. Speaking of other religions:

I think it is entirely logical to believe this simple statement from the bible:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1 NWT

Would the Hindus find the logic in this? How about the Navajos (maybe bring up Manifest Destiny while you’re at it)? We know the ancient Greeks and Romans had a different idea about this, and most of our modern philosophies can be traced back to their teachings. Moreover, let’s talk about how the Bible describes the heavens and the earth. For starters, it describes the earth as a flat, motionless plane under a firmament holding back an ocean. It also says that the stars are affixed to this firmament. If that’s logical, then how did the world get so roundly illogical? What cosmic jerk sucked up the ocean, smashed up a perfectly good firmament, balled our flat asses up, and sent us hurtling into the ether? I mean, it sure was nice of whoever it was to upgrade our sun from a little lightbulb dangling overhead to something a bit more substantial, but a little warning may have been nice.

There’s nothing logical about taking a metaphor as literal, let alone flip-flopping on it when your view is challenged by, of all things, simple logic.

You say it’s not possible for life to come from non-life, yet if God is alive, then he had to come from life himself, wouldn’t he? Where’s that life, and the life before that? If that’s too much to think about, let’s scale things back and look at the smaller picture. How much daylight is there between some naturally-occurring organic chemistry and an ethereal sky-wizard breathing on clay? Better question, what makes God‘s clay-huffing exploits more meritorious as a conclusive argument for the creation of human life than the Greek myth of Prometheus forming man out of clay (awfully familiar, isn’t it?). Speaking of sculpting, let’s talk about painting:

When I see a beautiful painting of a landscape I admire the painter.

And I’m sure the painter appreciates that, but are you going to go along with his suggestion that you kill your son to show this admiration? Are you okay with him plugging up your sinks and letting the water in your house run for a little over a month?

If I deny that the painter painted the beautiful scene I give the painter no credit for his masterful painting. When I look at this earth and the wonders of creation that are upon it, how could I deny the masterful creator. Logically I would not but I would shout to anyone that would listen, how much I admire his handiwork.

Can you tell if a painting was made by one person just by looking at it? If you hadn’t seen the collaborative efforts, how would you conclude that the work was that of an individual? Waxing poetic with a mouthful of syrup isn’t going to lend your particular progenitor of choice any greater credibility than the creator deities of any other religion.

There is no logic in bias, special pleading, magical thinking, or double standards.

In the interest of fairness, and on the off-chance the above link ever goes dead, here’s the full transcript of John O’Gara’s answer to the original question of “what if logic is wrong and God is real?”

I consider myself a logical human and I believe God is real. I can find no plausible answer to the complexity of nature that I can possibly attribute to blind chance, evolution, survival of the fittest, or any other theory that removes the possibility of an intelligent designer and creator.

The complexity of life screams of a designer and creator. The answer to the question, Where do babies come from? is uncontroversial. Life always comes from other life. Could life really spontaneously spring from nonliving chemicals? Is there any chance that such a thing could happen? to ask me to believe that is asking me to put faith in science. I choose to place my faith in God. It requires much less faith to believe in a creator than it does to believe that all life happened by chance and without any direction. Note what a Professor of biology had to say about this:

“no empirical evidence supports the hypotheses of the spontaneous appearance of life on Earth from nothing but a molecular soup, and no significant advance in scientific knowledge leads in this direction.”

How Life Began​—Evolution’s Three Geneses, by Alexandre Meinesz, translated by Daniel Simberloff, 2008, pp. 30-33, 45

I think it is entirely logical to believe this simple statement from the bible:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1 NWT

When I see a beautiful painting of a landscape I admire the painter. If I deny that the painter painted the beautiful scene I give the painter no credit for his masterful painting. When I look at this earth and the wonders of creation that are upon it, how could I deny the masterful creator. Logically I would not but I would shout to anyone that would listen, how much I admire his handiwork.

“You are worthy, Jehovah our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they came into existence and were created.” Revelation 4:11 NWT

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Blunders in Bountiful

Read Kason Kendall‘s answer to What is Jesus to you? on Quora

“To me Christ is the most intelligent being in the universe”

Dude goes to a fig tree, finds the tree has no figs because, as Mark 11:12 says “because it was not the season for figs.” he then decides this is entirely the tree’s fault and curses the tree, causing it to wither and die.
Let me repeat: The hippie carpenter street magician, who says God is his daddy, killed a tree because it did not have fruit because, as the damn text says, “IT WAS NOT THE SEASON FOR FIGS.”
Not only does no one question the oversight, but ol’ JC turns it into a warning that he can make that happen to anyone who doesn’t have faith in him, and makes the empty promise that if you pray hard enough, a mountain will drown itself.
Seriously, you live in a town called Bountiful and you think Jesus can help you “grow” when the guy forgets how seasons work, and doubles down on his tyranny rather than doing the humble thing and admitting he forgot what month it was.

“who received not of the fullness at first, but received from grace to grace.”

How many “graces” does it take to learn how seasons work?

What a Davey Crock-ett

Reagan was president when I was born. Being a spoiled, middle-class, Midwestern suburban kid, I had absolutely no clue who this guy was or much of anything surrounding how he got to his position of power. The irony of this is that the sensory overload that was the media consumption aspect of my childhood had been a direct result of Reaganomics‘ deregulation of various marketing restrictions towards children. This is why about 90% of cartoons in the 80’s were essentially 30-minute toy commercials. It may not seem much better now, but there’s an appreciable difference between a show that began life as merchandise and a show that simply has merchandise. Think about it; we didn’t start seeing toys for Avatar: The Last Airbender until the Shyamalan movie crime against nature. Transformers, on the other hand, required lore and mythology to be invented in order to help push as many toy “carobots” out the door as possible. Lines in the sand had to be drawn between good guys and bad guys where before there were only toy cars that became toy robots in what was at the time the ultimate test of dexterity.

Speaking of dexterity, let’s talk about who came after Reagan. If the music video for Land of Confusion had informed my mental image of The Two Ronnie’s Terms, then “Read my lips” became the foundation for my impression of George Hotel Whiskey Bush burning. The iconic phrase would come to haunt Marriott Blue Label Shrub and contribute to him losing the reelection. I still remember seeing the ads looping footage of that speech, interrupting it with soft-spoken narration over graphics about tax hikes and aid cutoffs. Sure, the idea of a politician not delivering on promises made is hardly shattering anyone’s perception of reality, but there’s an appreciable difference between Santa Claus skipping your house that year and taking back last year’s gifts like a thief in the night.

Speaking of getting away with stuff like a thief in the night, let’s talk about another phrase that’s going to haunt Hilton Hedge the Elder and the deliveries it promised being made for once. The difference is nobody asked for these promises, and if they came from anyone else, they’d be returned with interest (as they are now). More importantly, “read my lips” isn’t a groan-inducing, eye-rolling pun about stage magicians and groping.

The usual expected fallout from this has included a multitude of women sharing their stories, which flies in the face of the written statement insisting it was simply a matter of how high off the ground his arm was. There were discussions about age, time, and past eras, which I’d only give weight to if he’d been in cryogenic stasis the last four or five decades. Last I looked, we can just about get that tech to work for fish. Even his wife (whom the short-lived series Li’l Bush has convinced me is the reanimated corpse of George Washington given a sex-change operation) stood up for him, which I don’t fault her for.

If this were Tumblr and I was a little more crass about these issues, I’d be looking for a gif from Highlander II of that pair of porcupine punks pondering why they should pother… bother killing MacLeod since, being an old man, he’ll be dead in a couple of weeks.

Instead, I’m going to tell you a story of my roommate’s uncle, a Vietnam veteran who lost both of his legs… to diabetes long after his tour of duty. Of course, between the cap and wheelchair, most people assume he lost them in the war. At the risk of speaking ill of the dearly departed and painting an unflattering picture of veterans, he took full advantage of his age, status, and Rascal scooter’s height to pinch women’s bottoms. They’d turn on their heels ready to dish out some returns on the investment, only to FUCKING APOLOGIZE the instant they see the hat, the chair, the stumps…. To his credit, he did feel legitimately guilty about this, and I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt it was as much a social experiment in empathy as it was an excuse to pinch bottoms.

Finally, one day, a test subject wasn’t havin’ none o’ that shit, and didn’t even blink when she spun round and gave him five across the eyes. He promptly and emphatically thanked her, which I can only imagine took her by complete surprise, possibly terrified her that she was being hit on by a masochist wanting to be hit. As I understand it, there was clarification and apologizing (from him) and nothing more came of the incident. He owned up to it.

I have no idea where to stand on this issue of Gee Hurtbutt Not-Walker Bushwhacker. Of course, those women do not deserve to be groped and they especially do not deserve to have the guy get away with it only because he’s old and a former president. On the other hand, he’s fucking ancient, hardly long for this earth now, and in all likelihood not all there anyway. I don’t want to say, “Pick your battles” but serving justice at this point would be the most hollow of victories. Still, in this grander scheme of women coming out about being harassed and exploited by people in power, this adds a much needed sense of perspective. Their voices deserve to be heard and this problem needs to be confronted and addressed on all fronts.

Son of Hackenstein

For Those Who Arrived Late.

It’s rather funny how people will say, “Well, I just think this rule X means Y…” and somehow expect that particular take on a subject to be taken as law. There’s the Spirit vs. Letter of the Law, and then there’s peeing on someone’s leg while telling them it’s raining.

“No, the Bible doesn’t actually SAY Lucifer is the devil, or that Jesus overturned Mosaic Law, but that’s how I interpret it.” Call that a strawman if you like, but it’s the same sort of reasoning applied to the matter of where to draw the line between a rule’s technical definition and its practical application. It’s hardly an exaggeration.

followup

” It, therefore, goes without saying that open source is free of charge.”

The four essential freedoms of studying, modifying, copying, and distributing have nothing to do with the exchange of currency, only that the four freedoms are maintained. The original developer and those modifying the code are free to charge whatever they wish. Of course, since someone modifying it can charge nothing, effectively bypassing the original paywall, there’s very little point (dominant strategy) but nothing outright forbidding it. That’s outlined in my earlier “selling” citation; Stallman even proposes a group could all chip in to buy a software package and then produce individual copies. If the movement were truly about gratis and not libre, he wouldn’t propose group-buying.

“do whatever you want as long as you acknowledge your ‘source'”

That’s technically inaccurate, because you can acknowledge a source that you use in a work of proprietary software. This happened with TiVo in a move called Tivoization. They used open source software, acknowledged it per the agreement, but did not disclose their own modifications or allow the four freedoms to be maintained to anyone trying to run mods on their “tyrannical” devices. So, attribution is not the full story of open source. Sharealike is the other half. In a more agreeable context, many videogames use existing engines under open software agreements yet still combat piracy because their terms of sale are fully compatible with the original open source agreements. Again, Open Source does not forbid the sale of software that carries such an agreement. In fact, “In ordinary situations, however, there is no such justification for limiting distribution fees, so we do not limit them.

“People asking for money has nothing to do with the meaning or use of the above mentioned term.”

Exactly. Open source does not forbid monetary transactions any more than it demands or enforces it upon users and developers.

“I’m not trying to insult anybody but the fact is, open source is the complete opposite of ‘trademark’ etc.”

A trademark is not a copyright. A trademark is an exclusive hold over a distinctive image, logo, or other branding means to distinguish entities in the open market. As for open source being the opposite of copyright, the opposite of copyright is public domain, as even Copyleft mandates an attribution and that the same rights be carried over to derivative works (sharealike). Copyleft, as I’m sure you know, was the basis for the GNU and the Creative Commons. Only the CC makes restrictions on pricing, and only if people opt-in to attaching the non-commercial stipulation.

You may not be “trying” to insult anybody, but insisting that something is a fact when all information regarding the subject is not at all in line with what you’ve said, it’s as condescending as it is intellectually dishonest.

If Open Source truly was the “opposite” of copyright, there would be no call for attribution and no reason to preserve the four freedoms from one iteration to the next. There would be no precedent for enforcing this preservation of freedom and the Free Software Foundation would be redundant. This is a fact.

OPPOSIT DOWN
Not Pictured: Open source as a complete opposite to Copyright.

“Maybe inconsiderate was the wrong term. I should have said out of line. If you want to promote yourself or your business; I don’t think this site is the place to do it.”

Fair. As I said, if the guy offering file conversion for a fee was somehow going out of his way to block other offers, that would be a most disagreeable transgression. I’d also argue that converting certain files isn’t always as simple as import and export; mesh often requires repairs to make STL models watertight and fit for printing. That takes time, and as he said, he values his time differently than others.

“I just think sharing is caring (oldie but goodie)”

You get what you pay for, another golden oldie ;P

“so yes, I continue to respectfully disagree….”

Your understanding of Open Source is shaky at best, but I understand your intention and the point you’re trying to make. People deserve options, and the guy charging a fee for his time and effort is simply one of them.

Hackenstein’s Gnu

Another impromptu entry in an informally interconnected series of articles about understanding your rights, namely when it comes to rights over what you own, what’s legally termed “sweat of the brow”.

Many are familiar (if not before then certainly by now) with the term “All Rights Reserved”. In regards to copyright, the rights and reservations thereof refers to exactly what copyright sounds like, the RIGHT to COPY. The rights to copy are reserved to the rightsholder. This is a holdover from publishing as copying something like an invention would be more of a patent issue (though these situations share a common moral DNA). When I buy a game for my Playstation, I can turn around and sell it to someone else without owing the publisher a dime because of a little thing called the First-Sale Doctrine. Since I haven’t copied the game, merely transferred ownership from me to someone else, I haven’t violated the copyright. All rights remain reserved.

Obviously, this is easy enough to understand when it comes to physical media. Sure, I can still make copies and likely no one would ever know, but let’s save the defeatist nihilism for another time. Over on Thingiverse, someone was asking for help with converting some Solidworks files into something more usable like STL. A few people pointed to some software options, while others were skeptical of the project (it was for a DIY vaping… hookah, e-cig, whatever in Hel‘s name they’re called), at least two offered to convert them, and one offered to convert the files for a flat fee.

This wasn’t met with the greatest civility, and to the guy’s eternal credit, he never mirrored the hostility, simply insisting that he valued his time and wanted to be compensated for his work. The most vocal detractor backed down, only for another to chime in.

demeanor

Oh, you sweet summer child… Oh, you Jon Snow know nothing… Oh, you dumb bastard…

“It was a pretty inconsiderate move to offer your help for a fee on an OPEN-SOURCE website. “

Not if you understand what open source truly means when it comes to the idea of “freedom”. From a legal perspective, there’s two kinds of free: Libre and Gratis. You can go and look those words up on your own, but if you’re still a little confused afterwards, Richard Stallman used the analogy “Free as in speech, not free as in beer”. There’s never been any sort of anti-capitalist agenda behind Copyleft and the various copyright alternatives it inspired. Rather, it made the matter of money a non-issue, rather than something meant to be pursued and stamped out. This idea that open source means no monetary exchange at all is more than a tad naive. It’s not inconsiderate to charge, only unusual. One must also bear in mind that an open source license can be put behind a paywall. That is, you can do what you like with the licensed property (even copy and resell it) AFTER you’ve paid for it (ex. click-wrap license or royalty-free music). Case-in-Point, NIN‘s Ghosts I-IV album carries a CC license (read: libre), but only EP “I” is available gratis. If I want to remix and share the other tracks, that’s behind a paywall unless I work from someone else’s shared, non-commercial remix.
https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html
https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html
https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_free_and_open-source_software_licenses
http://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/08-02-08.htm#gratis-libre

It would only be inconsiderate if the service provider was the only choice, even going out of his way to deliberately block others from making their own offers. He’s not doing that, however. He’s putting in a bid. He’s putting his business card in the pile and leaving the rest to you.

Posting this screenshot to Twitter resulted in a tedious back-and-forth with someone who insisted that this rule only applies to products and not services, and thus that asking for fees for one’s services was still inappropriate. I should have gone for the obvious and explained that apps don’t develop themselves.

There were others who insisted that asking for money for software services like coding and QA wasn’t “in the spirit” of the Open Source Movement, essentially saying they understand free software better than the people who literally wrote the book on it. They even played the No True Scotsman card insisting that Red Hat doesn’t operate “in the spirit” of Open Source, like they hijacked a precious, innocent thing and corrupted it into some evil, corporate mechanism.

Free as in speech, not free as in beer.

“B-bu–”

NO! Free as in speech, not free as in beer.

“Well, there’s–”

SPEECH! NOT BEER!

You know it’s sad when people start talking about coding software the same way creationists talk about how to interpret the Bible.

Look, if you really want to remove money from the equation, that’s why God gave you the Creative Commons.

Speaking of JwaK

Two years after the fact, the hypocrite in charge of JwaK managed to get enough of his neurons firing in the right sequence to try and defend his use of the word “retarded” in his death threat. Seriously, let’s think about this: I don’t want to kill anyone because of their beliefs, and he wants me murdered because of my opinion (despite my not being the one having or performing the procedure). Does that sound like someone who values life… as in, pro-life? Is it possible for a pro-life individual to be in favor of the death penalty? Then again, this guy barely understands how due process works, so I’m not holding out hope for him grasping the irony any time soon.

Anyway, I get this Credo message in my mailbox the exact same day as this “wrong for thee, not for me” diatribe from someone who can’t spell “advocate” to save his or anyone else’s life.

Subject: Will you a submit a comment?

Donald Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services just gutted access to birth control. I just submitted a comment in support of the Affordable Care Act’s no copay birth control benefit and against all attempts to use religious extremism as a license to discriminate against women.

Will you add your name? Click this link to submit a comment:

Thank you!

Shattered: An Inktober Comic

Tall

Based on an actual Twitter conversation. The meltdown wasn’t nearly this melodramatic, but it might as well have been. He sure took his time after being told God’s notably absent from that Constitution he claims he donned a uniform to protect before offering his “blessing” defense.

Talk about grasping at straws.