Monday, April 17, 2006

a reminder to myself about thinking

In 1668, Francesco Redi, an Italian physician, did an experiment with flies and wide-mouth jars containing meat. This was a true scientific experiment — many people say this was the first real experiment — containing the following elements

-Observation: There are flies around meat carcasses at the butcher shop.

-Question: Where do the flies come from? Does rotting meat turn into or produce the flies?

-Hypothesis: Rotten meat does not turn into flies. Only flies can make more flies.

-Prediction: If meat cannot turn into flies, rotting meat in a sealed (fly-proof) container should not produce flies or maggots.

-Testing: Wide-mouth jars each containing a piece of meat were subjected to several variations of “openness” while all other variables were kept the same.
control group — These jars of meat were set out without lids so the meat would be exposed to whatever it might be in the butcher shop.
experimental group(s) — One group of jars were sealed with lids, and another group of jars had gauze placed over them.
replication — Several jars were included in each group.

-Data: Presence or absence of flies and maggots observed in each jar was recorded. In the control group of jars, flies were seen entering the jars. Later, maggots, then more flies were seen on the meat. In the gauze-covered jars, no flies were seen in the jars, but were observed around and on the gauze, and later a few maggots were seen on the meat. In the sealed jars, no maggots or flies were ever seen on the meat.

-Conclusion(s): Only flies can make more flies. In the uncovered jars, flies entered and laid eggs on the meat. Maggots hatched from these eggs and grew into more adult flies. Adult flies laid eggs on the gauze on the gauze-covered jars. These eggs or the maggots from them dropped through the gauze onto the meat. In the sealed jars, no flies, maggots, nor eggs could enter, thus none were seen in those jars. Maggots arose only where flies were able to lay eggs. This experiment disproved the idea of spontaneous generation for larger organisms.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Big Brother is out to TAKE more of your money

- - If You're Cheating on Your Taxes... - AOL Money & Finance

Do We Need Easter?

Ultimately, the purpose behind Jesus' death and resurrection is to get us into heaven. After all, for at least eight thousands years prior to Jesus, God wasn't able to come up another way. What happened to those souls in those dark years? Who knows. Only your God does. Besides, such a question is not of your concern --- if you want to blindly accept what Jesus and his heavenly father are offering.

Sorry, I have to ask.

Apparently, Moses' instituted rituals weren't good enough. Yes, 'believe and you will be saved' is much easier than sacrificing animals. Certainly, PETA members don't have to worry about having conflict of faith. Of course, 'to believe and accept' this universal offering means you have to hear about this offer. Two thousands after Jesus' actions and there are still parts of the world that haven't had this honor of learning about his offer. In fact, during that time, billions never got the chance. What happened to them? An answer would speak volumes about this god.

Forget about them. What about you and I? What kind of god demand this easy requirement for heaven? What if it's wrong? What about a "money-back guarantee"? Conveniently for "money back guaranteed" preachers, how would you collect?

In any case, there seems to be two main school of Christian. The first says that you must claim the blood of Jesus for redemption because of Adam's transgression against God. Sort of like having your great-great-great grandfather commit a murder and your just and mighty God is holding you accountable for it. Then Jesus fulfilled your prison sentence for that crime. You just have to know that he did so and then publically acknowledge support for Jesus.

Of course, how could any person claim to be just if they hold you responsible for someone's else crime?

The second school of thought doesn't deal with Adam's naughtiness. Instead the fault lies in ourselves --- we cannot hold a sight of God for it is too blinding, we can't hear a single sound from God without going completely deaf, we cannot be in God's presence for his goodness is perfect and we are not. We are on a level lower than our creator and Jesus' job is to be a ladder to get us into God' presence. We are just not good enough without Jesus. It's like having a first grader take a college math test and then be held responsible for the results. Again, this idea flies in the face of justice and it also questions the ability of a creator. What kind of person would make something less than perfect and then hold it accountable for perfection?

Easter Story: the inconsistencies

To make a religion work, you have to fleece your flock so that they smile while you take of their lives and property. You simply get them to ignore the inconsistencies and relish the guilt. The christians have done a great job because, for two millennia, the new testament stories have been read and defended in spite of serious flaws. Of course, the danger lies in those thinkers among us, who point out the silliness and the fallacies.

In Matthew's gospel (28):
-Mary Magdalene and Mary went to the tomb
- An angel was there sitting on the stone that he had rolled away from sealing the tomb.
- The angel sends Mary and Mary to Galilee to the disciples.
- Along the way, Jesus appears to both Mary and Mary.
- The guards of the tomb were there in a great deal of shock --- "became as dead men". But after the angel and the Marys left, they were able to get back to town to report what they had seen.

In Mark's gospel (16):
- Mary Magdalene and Mary and Salome went to the tomb
- Inside the tomb, they found a young man sitting on the right,
- This man sent Mary and Mary to Galilee to the disciples.
- Jesus appears only to Mary Magdalene.
- No mention of guards.

In Luke (24):
- Four women went to tomb, these women being: "Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them"
- As they found the tomb empty, two men appeared near them
- These men send the women to Galilee
- Jesus appears to no one
- After hearing the women's story, Peter goes right away to the tomb
- no mention of guards

In John (20):
- Only Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb
- She finds the inside of the tomb completely empty: no angels either
- She immediately tells the disciple, three of which run to the tomb
- They leave the tomb with Mary remaining. As she looks inside, she now sees two angel sitting.
- Jesus appears behind her at the tomb

Certainly, this would make for an interesting CSI, Law & Order, (insert your favorite crime series here) episode. However, biggest fallacy is in the basis for these Easter stories and the topic of another entry.