Sunday School

Sunday School October 8th 2017

This topic contains 16 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 9 months ago.

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    Faux News blames atheism for the Las Vegas shootings.

    The committal hearing into claims of sexual abuse against Cardinal Pell begin.

    Islam does have a compulsion to impose itself.

    Why LGBTQ Equality is also an atheist issue.

    In Africa the religious narratives of Christianity and Islam only add to existing superstitions and further hamper scientific thinking.

    This weeks’ Woo: You might want to stand up to read this one.

    Climate Change: There is no publication bias with climate science results.

    Evolution can seem like Intelligent Design.

    The ethics questions raised by de-extinction of vanished species while genetic struggles within cells may create new species.

    I have determined that you have the readiness potential for another article on Freewill. Could the creativity of an AI machine ever be free from its programmer? If it could ponder its own existence, like a replicant from Blade Runner, should it have the same rights as humans? What if it had a quantum computer for a brain and could contemplate all possible realities simultaneously? Would you leave grandma with such a robot?

    Thinking for ourselves is not the same as thinking by ourselves. Sometimes it is good to be antisocial.

    Gravitational waves will change our understanding of the Universe.

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil…..

    Coffee Break Video: We are ex-Muslims. How we know Evolution is true. Lessons from the longest study on human development.


    Have a great week everyone!!

    I argue that ‘religion’ obstructs the expression of knowledge that is based on observable evidence, reasoning and reproducibility. Religious faiths provide merely ‘causal’ links and narratives that serve as quasi-explanatory models, precedents and justifications for making paranormal sense of experiences.

    Leo Igwe, in the Africa article above  (and for sounding like me!)



    Thanks, Reg!



    Funny how a bunch of the photo’s of the week always seem to document the irrationality of religious rituals.

    Also, Reg Whenever you start me on a TED talk I end of watching several….One of them dealt with the improbability of “intelligent”  life like us. The idea is that if certain cosmic events didn’t occur to create the right cocktail for life, or if the dino’s survived because the asteroid was a bit smaller (or even worse, a lot bigger), of if a certain part of Africa had not gone arid, forcing the primates out of the trees…we would not even be here.



    The TED video about evolution was really good. I hadn’t ever heard it presented that way. I guess the Bible isn’t true



    The TED video about evolution was really good. I hadn’t ever heard it presented that way. I guess the Bible isn’t true

    To listen to the believers of magic argue about who knows the mind of a particular god has become sort of a hobby of mine. I ran across these folks who argue that gay is OK in the Bible. The comments section begs to differ. The bible really is worthless as a guide to life.


    Simon Paynton

    @bellerose – “I guess the Bible isn’t true

    – I would say that major aspects of it are true.  Other aspects are not the factually correct histories they might claim to be.


    Correct Belle, very little of the Bible is factual, including most the O.T. There was no Garden of Eden, no Adam and Eve, no Noah’s Ark, no Moses and no flight from Egypt, no Jonah in the big fish, no 10 commandments, nobody ever turned to salt, no mention of God in a few of its books……..and no understanding of anything modern or scientific.


    Thanks Robert. One of the reasons I can be late getting Sunday School posted is that I end up watching or reading too much and lose track of time……but then again, it is Sunday and it is school without the exams.


    Simon Paynton

    Islam does have a compulsion to impose itself.

    – here’s a person who, I think, understands the situation all too well.  For all we know, his view could be mainstream among ordinary Muslims who are fed up of being bullied.

    I think it’s always the same story with extremists: basically, they don’t care about morality.  On top of that, it’s very likely that extremist authoritarian positions attract people who are frightening, warped bullies by nature: i.e. narcissists and psychopaths, as well as common or garden screwups who can’t handle themselves.  So this is a problem that’s always going to be endemic to the human race.

    Moderates are pretty much by definition nice people who just want to live a nice quiet peaceful life, as far as is possible in a dangerous uncertain world.  They react to difficulties by helping each other and being nice.

    Nice people don’t stand much of a chance against evil thugs who just want to cause havoc.

    I think that Islam breeds this kind of situation because, it seems, it was set up to be a paranoid, militaristic shame culture right from the start, and this is probably its big weakness.

    Yet, most ordinary Muslims are, like most of everyone, nice people.  This is borne out fully if you spend time with Muslims – they are lovely.


    Simon Paynton

    This paranoid separatism is one of the very causes of the strictness, because when a group feels under threat, often the response is to apply its cultural rules more tightly.


    I agree that most Muslims are “nice people who just want to live a quiet peaceful life”. Muslims are not the problem. The problem is Islam and how it is used to create extremists. The problem is Islamic preachers that are spreading their extremist views throughout the world. But the problem is also the moderate Muslims, the silent majority, that are not doing enough to shut them up. The peaceful majority are irrelevant.


    Simon Paynton

    I agree that moderate Muslims need to make a stand, and speak up more for what they believe in, and why.  What to do about the extremist Islamic preachers?  They’re just voicing the underlying attitudes, so it is the underlying attitudes which also need to change.  This Islamic scholar says that the separatism is a big problem; one among several.


    Simon Paynton

    Evolution can seem like Intelligent Design.

    – I can’t necessarily understand the points he’s making.  But I would say:

    1) the purpose of a worm is to be a worm, not to feed birds.  Birds have adapted to feed on worms.  Worms have adapted, not all that well, to try to escape from birds.

    2) the long-term pressures of evolution and natural selection constitute a direction for the way that organisms are built: adaptation to the environment, guided by the pressure to maximise thriving, surviving and reproducing.


    Some worms have adapted to very high levels of arsenic in just 170 years that they are now considered a new species of worm. We also need to be careful when using the term “purpose” or “direction” when talking about Evolution.  There is no “guiding hand” behind it.

    More at 4:10 – 7:40

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