Monthly Archives: August 2010

Books – August 2010

Just added a new page called Books (see header) which lists all the Atheism, Philosophy, Science, Theism, and related topics, books that I own (and have, mostly, read – see Legend), updated and current as of August 2010.

Most of these used to be listed in a text widget in the sidebar, which has now been deleted.

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Australian Vaccination Network

Or as it should be more rightly called: Australian Anti-Vaccination Network discourages people to vaccinate their children with unfounded claims, this presents a danger to public health.

Several campaigns have been launched to counter the hazard that the AVN presents to the public, including Stop the Australian Vaccination Network. Recently the NSW HCCC has issued a notice against the AVN which they have yet to comply with. A new campaign has started encouraging bloggers and other online concerned citizens to create links to the Australian Vaccination Network or AVN which instead point to the HCCC notice. Hopefully if enough people get involved in this campaign people searching on Google will get directed to the HCCC notice instead of the Australian Vaccination Network site, hence ensuring concerned parents are made fully aware of the AVN‘s deceptive practices. I urge all concerned bloggers to get involved. Feel free to copy the entire text of this post if you like, instead of having to try and come up with your own text. (It would be appreciated if you provided a link back here (use this URL or the permalink) and/or acknowledgement where you got this from.)

Here is a similar text from ChrysStevenson, found via twitter, from her web site, used with her knowledge and permission:

Australian Vaccination Network

In a  triumph of reason, the Australian Health Complaints Commission has issued a public warning about the Australian Vaccination Network .   After a 12 month investigation, the HCCC found that the Australian Vaccination Network:

  • provides information that is solely anti-vaccination
  • contains information that is incorrect and misleading
  • quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous.

The Australian Vaccination Network is now also under investigation by the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR).  According to the OLGR, an audit of the Australian Vaccination Network revealed breaches of the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991, including alleged incidents of fund-raising without authority, unauthorised expenditure and failure to keep proper records of income and expenditure.

Help by either creating your own post or copying mine, the more the merrier, the Australian Vaccination Network needs to comply with the HCCC Public Warning Notice.

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Intelligent Design – I don’t think so

Why Intelligent Design (ID) proponents will never be taken seriously, and why they have nothing to add to the scientific evidence for life on earth.

from http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/kitzmiller/kitzmiller_342.pdf (pg 77,78) the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District text of court decision. Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District

The immune system is the third system to which Professor Behe has applied the definition of irreducible complexity. Although in Darwin’s Black Box, Professor Behe wrote that not only were there no natural explanations for the immune system at the time, but that natural explanations were impossible regarding its origin. (P-647 at 139; 2:26-27 (Miller)). However, Dr. Miller presented peer-reviewed studies refuting Professor Behe’s claim that the immune system was irreducibly complex. Between 1996 and 2002, various studies confirmed each element of the evolutionary hypothesis explaining the origin of the immune system. (2:31 (Miller)). In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fiftyeight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not “good enough.” (23:19 (Behe)). [my emphasis]

We find that such evidence demonstrates that the ID argument is dependent upon setting a scientifically unreasonable burden of proof for the theory of evolution.

So ID has proven that no matter what, or how much, evidence they are presented with, they will never accept it or be happy with it. They have proven that they have a completely closed mind, they believe in an Intelligent Designer (God) and will not accept any evidence that disproves that idea. Therefore the ID movement can have no claim whatsoever on having any sort of scientific idealogy, as science is willing to accept new evidence no matter which way that evidence leads.

From reading “Only a Theory” by Kenneth R. Miller

Intelligent Design – neither intelligent nor designed

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Is the Bible True or False

So,

Is the Bible True or False?

Or,

The Da Vinci Code Argument TM

Just because a book contains some factual references does not make the whole book factual.

There are some stories written in the Christian Bible that have archaeological, geological or other evidence to back them up; or at least indicate a strong likelihood for being based on real places, people or events. However this does not necessarily prove that what the Bible says happened to them, or what they said or did, is true or correct.

For instance, there is evidence that Jericho was an occupied area as far back as the Natufian period (10,800-8,500 BC), and in the Early / Middle Bronze Age (3100-1800 BC) had extensive defensive walls. There is also evidence that Jericho was destroyed in the Late Bronze Age (1800-1400 BC). (from The Archaeology of the Ancient City of Jericho)

However, is there evidence that the walls of Jericho were blown down at the sound of Joshua’s horn? No, and it seems highly unlikely.

We have evidence for Jericho (or at least dwellings in the area prescribed to be Jericho) actually existing and being destroyed at some stage, however, this does not prove the story of Joshua being true as there is no evidence for the sounds of horns destroying the city. True, the absence of evidence does not mean it didn’t occur, a supernatural occurrence might not leave any natural evidence, but it also doesn’t prove it did occur. Additionally it is now held that Jericho was destroyed in 1562 BCE, well over 100 years before the accepted time of the biblical story.

Despite some stories having some evidence, there are also stories for which, despite intensive searches and investigation, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever, and in some cases completely contradictory evidence.

… geological investigations [have] proved without a doubt that there was no planet-wide flood as described in the Old Testament of the bible, …

from Is the Bible Fact or Fiction? History of Archaeology, Part 3 :

So, let’s not ask if the Bible is true or false. Instead, let’s ask a series of questions.

1. Did the places and cultures that are mentioned in the Bible and the other ancient texts exist? Yes, in many cases, they did. Archaeologists have found evidence for many of the locations and cultures mentioned in the ancient texts.

2. Did the events that are described in these texts happen? Some of them did; archaeological evidence in the form of physical evidence or supporting documents from other sources can be found for some of the battles, the political struggles, and the building and collapse of cities.

3. Did the mystical things that are described in the texts occur? It’s not my area of expertise, but if I were to hazard a guess, if there were miracles that occurred, they wouldn’t leave archaeological evidence. [Personally I don’t totally agree with this last statement from the author of the About.com article, some supernatural miracles could leave evidence, not necessarily evidence for their supernaturalness but evidence something happened]

4. Since the places and the cultures and some of the events that are described in these texts happened, shouldn’t we just assume that the mysterious parts also happened? No. Not any more than since Atlanta burned, Scarlett O’Hara really was dumped by Rhett Butler.

There are many many ancient texts and stories about how the world began; and many are at variance with one another. From a global human standpoint, why should one ancient text be more accepted than any other? The mysteries of the bible and other ancient texts are just that — mysteries. It is not, and never has been, within the archaeological purview to prove or disprove their reality. That is a question of faith, not science.

In my opinion, if you have to rely on faith, then in all likelihood it isn’t true.

The fact that parts of the bible are somewhat backed up by some evidence, doesn’t mean the whole of the bible is factual, especially all the supernatural elements of it. There are far too many errors in the bible, and sections for which there is no, or contradictory, evidence, for the Bible to be accepted as a factual book.

Why I call it The Da Vinci Code Argument TM. The Da Vinci Code contains a lot of facts; places, names and events that are real. It also contains a lot of “FICTS” (a made up word that represents a fiction that has some basis in fact or sounds convincing enough that it might be a fact), it is though a work of fiction. The Bible is, in a way, similar to the Da Vinci Code; it contains some factual places, names and events, it also contains some “ficts”, but overall it is a work of fiction.

When the Da Vinci Code was released there was quite an uproar among some elements of society, particularly the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church and others spent considerable time and effort debunking some of the “facts”, “ficts”, myths and legends mentioned in the book. Dan Brown may have stated some points as facts that obviously weren’t, whether this was intentional or not is debatable, but ultimately everyone knew (or should have) that the book was a work of fiction.

It’s a pity that the Catholic Church and other Christians don’t spend as much time and effort debunking their own book, the Bible has been shown to contain many factual errors, contains plagiarised versions of older myths and statements about supernatural events that can never be proved. Rather than trying to bend and twist what little facts are in the Bible into declaring the Bible factual, perhaps it’s about time the churches came out and admitted the Bible is a work of fiction?

This post was inspired by a comment on Atheist Climber’s  Scared of Death post, in which sabepashubbo questions how can we say the bible is a work of fiction when it contains some facts.

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