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Apollo Syndrome was coined by Dr Meredith Belbin and describes the phenomenon in which teams of highly capable individuals perform poorly as a collective. Whilst counter-intuitive, I’m sure many of you can think of examples where you’ve seen this happen (the first that comes to my mind is NBA All-Star teams). I should clarify, by badly I mean with a lack of synergy (they perform worse than they should given their individual talents).

There are many reasons for this phenomenon and I’m sure the brighter of you all can come up with a few yourself just by thinking about it. Belbin specifically noted the following flaws in Apollo teams:

  • Excessive time spent in abortive or destructive debate in which members try to persuade others to adopt their own point of view, and demonstrating a flair for spotting weaknesses in others’ arguments (the latter part is such a good description of me).
  • Difficulties faced in decision making and decisions that were reached displayed incoherence and were somewhat inconsistent.
  • Members tended to act individually without taking into account what other members were doing, making the team difficult to manage.
  • Members recognised what was happening but overcompensated by avoiding confrontation, which equally added to problems.

These are somewhat axiomatic – now that I’ve listed them to you, you’re probably thinking it makes a lot of sense. Apollo teams do work though, and in understanding their failings you can help maximise their benefits.

In general, successful Apollo teams lacked highly dominant individuals and had a particular style of leadership. As with all relationships, some sort of compromise must be available so that everyone is kept in line.

The overarching theme of Belbin’s work relates to the concept of synergy. You’re all probably aware of what synergy is but in practice, most people will choose raw “stats” (of an individual) over how well they fit into the team. I guess the lesson to take from here is to consider each person’s ability to contribute, not how qualified each person is by themselves.

What’s interesting is this also displays the tendency for “Alpha males” to butt heads. This is an evolutionary remnant of our primal selves, so I find it quaint that it still exists in so many forms in contemporary society. However, I do have a conflicting theory that I may mention in a later post.

Apparently, Apollo Syndrome has evolved to be used as a term to describe the condition of a person having an overly important view of their own role within a team.

The negative synergy that is a result of Apollo teams is often characterised as a “Deadly Embrace”, a computing term in which two programs will prevent each other from making progress. The most common example is when two programs take exclusive control of a particular file, and then try to gain access to the other file. Each program will refuse to relinquish their own file and wait for the other to release their’s – therefore nothing ever happens. Applying this to human teams can be quite an apt analogy.

As interesting as this is as a little tip and a bit of extra knowledge, you might not see much relevance of this to your daily lives. In that case, I would encourage you to read between the lines and apply the core principle to appropriate scenarios. Apollo Syndrome is often taught in management courses (that’s where I learned it from – a management course at my university) and does in fact have relevance and impact. It’s not just another funny little theory that nobody pays attention to – it’s definitely something to keep in mind.

 

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Took the lazy option and decided to answer my own question in my short story: The Loneliest Particle in the Universe.

I posed the question “How many scientific references can you point out?”

Here’s the list, off the top of my head:

Fusion/fission of elements in stars.

Wave-particle duality.

Time dilation.

Schrodinger’s cat (as a reference to quantum mechanics).

Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

Light dispersion.

Observer effect.

Diameter of the universe.

Life in the universe.

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I have work in the morning and not enough time to explain these, but I may come back and do so, perhaps in separate posts.

In the meantime, enjoy searching for these references.

So you thought you were forever alone? Meet Photon, The Loneliest Particle in the Universe. Feel free to click that link if you want to read a short story about this topic.

Some of you might know about time dilation (most of you, hopefully). Basically, as you approach light speed (denoted by the constant c) time slows. If you reach time is frozen (from your perspective). Perspectives are a huge part of science and relate to a lot of really interesting theories, some of which I will make separate posts about. For now, though:

So, let’s introduce our forever alone particle, Mr. Photon. Photons are the particle associated with light (and electromagnetic radiation). Since, for all intents and purposes, a photon is light, they travel at c. That means time never passes for a photon.

From the moment a photon is emitted, it is frozen for all eternity in that very same moment. Time doesn’t pass for it, and from its point of view, it never travels. If that last bit was confusing, remember what I said about perspectives. Travelling implies speed, which implies distance covered over a period of time.

Even if it moves from one side of the universe to the other, the photon will always be entirely alone, frozen in the moment it was born.

And you thought you were lonely.

Reductionists, theists and ignorant people (these don’t necessarily exclude each other) often argue that science is unemotional, destroying of hope and a bleak outlook on life. I’ve always argued the exact opposite. There is very little in the world that can be as poetically melancholy as what I have just described, and photons are really just the tip of the iceberg.

Join science. We have cookies and a cat that is both dead and alive.

Foreword:

Regarding my passion for writing, I’ve been a bit lacklustre lately. Full time work coupled with a dimming inspiration has made it difficult for me to “pick up the pen” so to speak.

Luckily science is absolutely awe inspiring (though I usually write fantasy over sci-fi). I was reminded of time dilation whilst reading about the universe and it made me want to write something. Something that is poetic in a way only science can be, and yet still informative and intellectual.

I have to admit, I may have bitten off more than I could chew. It was very difficult to make scientific references, whilst keeping character and maintain a rough scientific accuracy. A fuller explanation of this story can be found in this post, but I recommend you read the story first.

See if you can name all the scientific references I made! Otherwise, just enjoy.

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The Loneliest Particle in the Universe

I am born into a frozen plane.

Behind me is a surging mass of super heated elements. I know this, but to my eyes it is dim and grey. And unmoving. Everything around me is unmoving.

There are more stars like the one behind me but they are few and far between. They provide a speckle of grey on an overwhelmingly black canvas.

There is no direction or goal, but my nature compels me to move forward. I leave my place of origin and venture alone into the black void.

I begin to pass rocks, planets and stars. Soon, I am crossing galaxies, but still, nothing around me moves. The worlds around me are desolate and empty.

I pass clusters of galaxies with innumerable stars but I am still alone. Nothing moves. The universe around me is frozen. It is not dead, but neither is it truly alive. Kind of like me. I am not dead, because I exist, but am I really alive? More stars pass as I ponder this. Perhaps I am both dead and alive. I may never know which. I need somebody to verify my existence – somebody who is not me.

As I pass through the empty universe, I search frantically for somebody, anybody who can tell me that I am real. That I am alive. Time stands still for everything around me, but I cannot stop. I am compelled to move only forward, straight and true. It is in my nature.

I grow tired. Not physically, for I have not aged, but emotionally I am drained. I see the vast universe around me but I am completely alone. I see others that look like me, some travelling and some just born, but the moment I lay eyes on them, a part of them is frozen to the spot and a part I cannot see is gone. Perhaps they are just like me – stuck in their own frozen planes.

Finally, I see a planet. Like everything around it, it is dim and grey, but somehow it feels … blue. What excites me most is what I see on the planet’s surface. Sentient life, capable of communication and thus capable of telling me if I am real.

A moment of surprise hits me as I pass through the atmosphere. Large clusters of molecules hang liquid in the air. As I pass through them, I feel my body pulled and stretched to breaking point. All manner of colour bursts forth from me but I struggle forward. It feels as if parts of me cannot keep up, but I continue straight ahead. It is in my nature.

My excitement mounts as I pass overhead, but soon I realise my happiness is premature. These creatures are frozen too, and I am moving too fast. Even if they spot a part of me, I realise I will be gone. Just like the others, I cannot truly be seen or measured. I can never know if I am alive.

It happens too quickly but I am gone. The blackness before me is soul crushing. The star here is dark – far darker than anything I’ve seen so far – and I feel as though all hope is lost. I know there is more sentience out there, but I also know now that I am a paradox. Nobody can truly see me. I will travel over 93 billion light years and not a second will go by. But for the entire journey I will be alone.

From my birth I was destined to be frozen in that one single moment for all eternity. I am Photon, the loneliest particle in the universe.

I’ve been slacking off on posts even though I have plenty of material to talk about. I guess it’s just a bit daunting to completely conceptualise and write about something complex so I’ve just taken the lazy route.

However, given that I have made plenty of posts about logic and science (and by extension, the lack of logic and science in certain religious arguments), I feel like I can take the lazy path one more time and simply copy and paste a “debate” I had with a Muslim.

Once again, I must preface any of my posts relating to religion with the disclaimer that I am not making a post to disprove the existence of god. I think that decision is up to the individual. To me it’s perfectly clear and self-evident. However, I am here to disprove the arguments used by theists.

Names have been substituted to retain privacy. This also relates somewhat to my post about tips on creating unbeatable arguments. You must excuse me though. I was unusually snappy in this debate. I’m normally much more formal and polite but this person was just frustrating on so many levels. It didn’t help that his English was atrocious and as I often champion literary prowess on this blog too, it was quite annoying to see so many English mistakes. My only excuse is that this person annoyed me on the 3 fronts I am most passionate about: English, Science and Logic. So again, excuse me for resorting to words like “stupid”. Keep in mind though, some things I said were meant to be offensive. You can’t “win” an argument against someone who’s too far gone into the world of ignorance, but you can incite an emotional response by saying certain things (in this case claiming that Christianity has more interesting arguments and that is perhaps why Christianity is a larger religious body than Islam). I only said that so I would “win” in some sense because my “opponent” was obviously not intellectually capable of keeping up.

Last disclaimer: This is pretty long, especially because he rambles a lot and 95% of what he says is both irrelevant and reminiscent of indoctrinated propaganda. Also, I apologise if anyone finds this racist. I have nothing against Muslims as a people, I was just quoting statistics.
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Context: I made a Facebook post wishing Copernicus a happy birthday and thanking him for the heliocentric model. He replied thanking Islam for having the correct answer before any scientist. Some of my more intellectual friends and I laughed it off but he proceeded to PM me and I figured “Hey, I’ve never really debated a Muslim before”.

Normally, I focus my arguments on Christians, simply because Christianity is the largest religious body and has the most influence on society (re: teaching creationism at school and creating the anti-science mentality). These propagate ignorance and stand in the way of human progress so I tend to argue strongly against them. As a result I didn’t really need to use any scientific evidence in my argument against this Muslim. I just used pure logic. The rest is self-explanatory:

Muslim:

You got to stop grouping all the religions together! If you want to find an arguement for God then pm me! I have it ready for you!

Sceptical Prophet:

I can group them all together because they’re all based on the same mistake: unreliable, or utter lack of evidence. If you have a response giving any real evidence I’m welcome to hear it.

Muslim:

Your ignorance towards the very fact that you think all the religions have the same mistake is your downfall! If you are going to be worth my time then ur going to have to distinctively separate Islam from the rest because at least then I don’t need to spoon feed you what is already been proven by scientists, professors and many many other high positioned people which includes mathatictions doctors etc etc.

– The Quran has not been changed from its original form
– The Quran teaches it followers not believe blindly but to go out and learn and test things
– The Quran has scientific facts which has baffled scientists over many generations because it keeps being relevant to its time. For example the quran has verses explaining how each planet has its own orbit something at the time was very different to the christains point of view that the world is flat. An example to how it is relevant scientifically today is the specific detail of how a baby is born and its stages that have been proven by the leading professor at the time in Child development. Scientific facts that today like In the Ocean having waves over waves has only been discovered recently.

The historical foundation which is very strong for Islam is that THE WHOLE OF ARABIA was founded because of it! The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) didn’t know how to write nor didn’t know how to read yet God sent him with his verses of Quran guide the world, not of a message that is new but a message of Believe in One God and follow its messager which God has been doing for many generations!

So firslty the fact that you have said ” unreliable” and ” utter lack of evidence” proves to me that you are so ignorant that you really believe that no one can match ur intelligence pfft grow up! Now since all that is set aside this is what im putting forward to you!

My Religion teaches me that God the almighty is nothing of this world He is 1, meaning there is only One God. He is no human or animal or being that can be described because he is nothing of this world! My religion teaches me that the universe began at some stage when everything was together ( big bang) And I believe that it was Allah the almighty who did it because what created the universe COULD NOT OF BEEN apart of the universe!

If my religion teaches me all these things then what proof do you have that God Doesn’t exsist? I have disproven ur foundation or ideology that religion isn’t capbable of science! Disprove my religion don’t group it with false religions! Because the moment u bring science in no other religion except Islam stands firm!

my opinon is that your assumption on the fact that there is no God is that you have beaten the ideas of other religions! lol and that gives you the right to look over Islam?

Bring me your proof that God doesn’t exsist or better yet put forward for me your evidence so that Islam can disprove it with science!

Sceptical Prophet:

First of all you made an assumption error. You said my ideology is one where Islam rejects science. I never said that, did I? I’m quite aware many Islamics are concordists. Second you find false correlation. You think that certain accurate observations leads to a correct conclusion. It does not; not unless there is a causal relationship. Further, Islam was the centre of the scientific world in its Golden Age. We got Arabic numerals and the naming rights of most of the stars in the sky. Then along comes Al Ghazali who spreads the ideology of religion over science. Lo and behold, the fall of Islam. Religion has set all your countries back hundreds of years. Once upon a time your people made good observations but now they war and suffer in poverty. There hasn’t been a single Islamic Nobel Laureate in science.

Lastly, you make a burden of proof fallacy. I don’t have to provide evidence god doesn’t exist. That’s not logical. You are the one with the unscientific claim therefore you must provide evidence. Nobody says “hey, I discovered this, but you have to find the evidence yourself”. When you propose a theory you are the one who needs to provide evidence. That’s why I group Islam with the rest of them; you still haven’t provided any evidence.

Muslim:

I’m putting forward to you that every single observation made due to evidence in the Quran has reached and has proven to be a correct conclusion! I already said that to you, with reference to your casual relationship what better relationship to have when you have a book that has the words of God continuously producing showing science that when u take it and go out to learn if it is true IT SUPPORTS THE QURAN. You see psychologically you have said to me you never said Islam rejects science or ur ideology is one tat reject science. Thats rubbish the fact that you group all the religions and deem them wrong is on the basis of the lack of ” SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE” and when I said that leaves you out in the open I meant it because the Quran gives out parables and lessons and states many things, it also says to the reader and challenges the reader to disprove it!

So when a book tells its reader ” you will not find in this book any errors” and the book has science in it can’t you put the pieces together and say “oh every single observation has led to a correct conclusion” Before Islam came the people in the desert had nothing! After Islam EUROPE and the world where benifiting from what Islam gave to the arabs! It wasn’t some guy who preached religion over science! I said to you before that In Islam your meant to go and learn for yourself and test things and even includes the Quran.

Amazing isn’t it when the Muslims put their book to the test it only propagated them in knowledge whereas it only propagated christians to be atheists! I will emphasize it one more time in Islam science never left the religion! In fact it is through the religion that the science has had its foundation! Why? because when God says something in the Quran then YOU THINK IN UR HEAD ” if it is from God then he must get it 100% right or else how can a GOD get something wrong” and when you travel to see whether it is correct or not and u find it to be correct it only INCREASE UR FAITH! Ah you see how amazing is it! When you are told to go learn things and test things it makes ur foundation stronger as a believer and a means of evidence!

You don’t have to provide evidence god doesn’t exist? Thats not logical? you do realise that over the history of human kind only recently has the idea of atheisim has occured! So logically speaking to believe in a deity of any sort is the more common one in the history of human kind! So therefore the fact that you claim that believing in nothing is actually not logical.

I laugh so hard when I read your last paragraph because i knew you would not take the time to understand what I wrote before! I predicted that you would be arrogant and that would be your downfall!

The fact that I have said there is 1 God and stated the many observations that have lead to many CORRECT scientific discovers as evidence to my claim! I have already put forward to you something which is hard for you to swallow! And that is how can science prove religion! Burden of proof fallacy???? If I have put something forward to you which you can test however can’t prove it wrong and reach to conclusions that it is actually correct DOES IT NOT PROVIDE EVIDENCE? Its simple! Disprove my claims ! Show me how science disproves religion! SHOW ME HOW HUMAN KNOWLEDGE can be more vast than God’s knowledge! Bring forward your evidence that God doesn’t exsist! If you have none then Disprove my religion! If you can’t then know when you die you disbelieved out of Ignorance to the fact that Your Lord Created you and that he is only ONE!

 Sceptical Prophet

Again you use a non sequitur. There is no causal relationship, you’re grasping at straws. How is evidence of an observation evidence for anything besides that observation itself? Congratulations, you have written evidence of the observation that the sun rises at dawn. Is that evidence of god? No. It’s evidence that the sun rises at dawn. Stop trying to force a square into a circular hole. You still haven’t given any evidence of the existence of god – only evidence of natural observations.

Here’s an example that might help you understand. Is an encylopedia evidence of the existence of a magical tortoise? It certainly contains a lot of facts about the natural world. But there’s no causal relationship between observations and my magical tortoise, unless there is an actual observation of the magical tortoise itself.

This applies to your next “point” too. What if there are no errors in my encyclopedia? It still doesn’t provide evidence of a magical tortoise. Also, you’re trying to argue against history here. The FACT is that Islam fell from power when Al Ghazali preached religion over science. No matter how you try and talk around this fact, it remains a fact of history. You can’t change it – it’s already happened and you can see today that Islamic countries are suffering more for it. If the Quran was such a great scientific book, why is it that Islam has contributed nothing to science in the last millennia?

Also, your understanding of science is laughable. Religion has nothing to do with science. Science is the observation of how things in the universe work. Science existed from the moment of sentience. It predates the Quran. The Quran was only written in 610. Are you trying to claim science didn’t exist before 610? In fact, how can you even think that the Quran is the word of god. Are you saying that god didn’t exist before 610? Or do you think the world is only 1400 years old?

Add to that the fact that modern science was born from Ancient Greece, and the Greek Pantheon was completely separate to Islam. Again, you cannot argue with history. Nothing you’ve claimed so far is correct.

Also, regardless of how long religion has existed, the one making an untestable claim is the one that must provide evidence for it. I can see things around me every day that I don’t need to prove. Do I need to prove to you that trees exist? That water exists? No, because it’s common and it’s testable. God is not testable. There is no evidence of it, and therefore if you want somebody to believe in god’s existence you must provide evidence for it. That’s what logic is, son.

Plus, many religions believed in different types of gods and multiple gods. Does that mean all of these are correct? No, because you’d have to provide evidence for that particular god.

Your last paragraph is a non sequitur. It has no relation to anything we were discussing; you’re just (again) assuming a causal relationship where none exists. Refer to beginning of this post.

Remember, we’re still at step one. You haven’t provided any evidence that god exists. When you do, we can move to step two: discussing whether that evidence is acceptable or not. Keep in mind there has to be a causal relationship. Evidence of something that axiomatically provides evidence of god is a bare minimum.

Muslim:

Are you ignoring my posts? because I’m reading ur reply and majority of it I have answered it! Come on I know you can do better! Give me a valid answer or ur evidence for you think God can’t exsist! Reading you reply its lacking because I know u have been over looking my replies! This is me giving you another chance to reply with a solid answer because its really lacking.

If you don’t think so just notify me so that I can continue to show you that you are wrong!

Sceptical Prophet:

You obviously haven’t read my post properly because you haven’t answered anything. My first question still stands: what proof do you have that god exists? Proof of god, not proof of other things that you think, by extension, proves god. That’s called a non sequitur. You haven’t provided any actual proof of god, therefore nothing you’ve said has contributed. Like I said, we’re still at step one.

If anything, it just sounds like you’re avoiding the question by accusing me of not answering and by pretending you’ve already answered the question. You have not. If you don’t have an answer, just say so. No shame in that; plenty of religious academics admit they don’t have the answer to certain things. Plenty of scientists also admit the same thing.

Muslim:

Kk so I take it you think ur reply was enough!

Let me begin to destroy your lacking argument

remember when I said I believe in 1 God who is nothing of this earth, meaning nothing can resemble God or look like god. He is no human animal sun idol etc etc etc….. Why did I say that? Well if you read then you would of noticed that the big bang is from God because what created the universe could not of been apart from the universe! So you have yet to address that point and I said in my first post! So clearly you have been running away trying to make circles because you have no answer! Oh wait let me guess are you expecting me to show you God in person? Like Oh look this is God there we have proved it? No thats just stupid! Do you know why? because if God was to be anything of this universe then He would not be God, DO YOU KNOW WHY? Because the universe began with a BANG! So whatever has a begging can’t possible be a God!

Omg I told you at the start that Islam isn’t a new religion God has already sent messangers before and I am taught to believe in the previous prophets and their books but in the books purest form! Not what the bible is today! So to spoon feed you I believe in Jesus as a Prophet, Adam, Moese etc etc etc! So no if you read books you know that its stupid to say to a Muslim ” DO YOU BELIEVEW GOD EXSISTED AT THIS MOMENT!” what am I a christian? are you using a christains arguement against me? Saying that what did God come into a human form at this time so what was God doing before for thousands of years? No bro please your too easy!

With every single evidence that I have put forward to you, I’m still waiting for you to disprove any of them! Now with the magical turtle, really magical turtle, is that the best you have to offer? How foolish of you to underestimate the Quran. Didn’t I already tell you from the first response ( farout how annoying this is to repeat myself) That the Quran continue to be relevant to its time! Dude I believe in 1 God and he is my creator so logically speaking he has the lifestyle set out for me so that if I followed it I will live a happy life! So when I read this book and it has answers to whats happening in my time, gives me lessons from the previous generations and teaches me how to combat the future! It also tells me to put it to the test, so that I learn more and be on more stronger foundation! IT PROVES THAT IT COULD NOT COME FROM A MERE HUMAN BECAUSE WHICH SCIENTIST WHO HAS BROUGHT FORWARD A THEORY THAT HAS LASTED FOR OVER 1400 YEARS without people saying, it should include this! Or we have found this to be wrong? So please through away this Magical turtle!

I CHALLENGE YOU TO BRING ME UR BEST ” GOD DOES NOT EXSIST THOERY” AND I WILL DESTROY IT WITH MY RELGION! bring it to me! you said to me in our first convo that you know more, can defeat me in a discussion about God! I have put forward so many things THAT YOU CAN’T EVEN ARGUE AGAINST!

The only reason why I open this convo was to see what arguements you have

against your lord!

So that I may learn and maybe answer it

but so far I see none

Woe onto you! What will you say when you face Allah ? You can’t even produce a logical answer to why u don’t believe in God!

Sceptical Prophet:

My first question still stands. You’ve written a lot of irrelevant stuff. The only thing you’ve said that even attempts to answer my question is “god created the big bang because the universe has to be created by something outside the universe”. I don’t think you’re able to come up with a better argument so I’ll assume that’s what you’re sticking with.

So – is the big bang evidence for god? Nope. Again, you’re using evidence for something unrelated. The big bang is evidence of a singularity from which the universe expanded, and an explanation for expansion and CBR. It has nothing to do with god. Further, you claim that it has to have been started by something outside the universe, which is completely ignorant of science. Quantum mechanics allows the big bang to create itself.

You claim Islam teaches you science that remains relevant but the Islamic people, and especially yourself, are very lacking in scientific knowledge. Also, the “science” in the Quran is not fully fleshed theory. It’s just singular, unexplained observations. That’s the most primitive form of science. I can observe that the sun is hot for thousands of years before knowing the exact mechanics why.

Also, you missed the point about the magic turtle. I thought it would make it easier for you to understand but it seems to have confused you. An encylopedia can remain relevant but still not prove a magic turtle exists. The point is you’re still using evidence of other, unrelated things to try and prove god.

As for the ”Quran in its purest form” what does that mean? Are you claiming that the Quran has existed since the beginning of time? Again, where’s your evidence?

So, you’ve provided one very weak argument being that the universe need a a creator. I’ve already told you it doesn’t. What else you got?

Muslim:

The Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad ( peace be upon him) via recitation! The prophet Muhammad is the last prophet to come on this earth. There have been other prophets before him which God has sent to guide mankind. To every nation God sent messangers and prophets to guide them. The Torah which was given to Moses for the children of Israel was a book full of light and a guidence for that time. However over time the jews went astray and started to change what was in their book! When Jesus came it was told that he was the Messiah ( however most jews rejected him), the christians that followed Paul believed that he was the son of God! Thats why if you read the bible you would notice that Matthew mark luke and John it emphasizes that Jesus is only a man and not a God but it is Pauls writings that misleads the people. As well as that how many bibles are there? There too many types! Every christain sect takes what they want and puts in what they want! The Quran seening as though it is the last revelation has come to confirm what has come before and to shed light on the misconception that humans have to tamper with! When ever a book of God has been touched by humans the book becomes full of contradictions and become a victim to arguements! Thats why with the jews and christians they have problems with theology. Prophet Muhammad ( peace be upon him) was a man who could not read nor write, a man who lived in the desert! And his people where known as the worst people on the earth!

So a man who could not read or write, come to his people and recite such words! The miricle of Prophet Muhammad is the Quran, therefore the foundation of Islam lies with the Quran! There is only one Quran and it has been in its original form ever since it was first revealed! It contains verse along the lines of ” In this book you will not find error”

Why do I say this? Its simple, the fact that the Quran has all these scientific facts or observations ( which you speak that are lacking) it leaves itself vulnerable to being disproved! So you sit there acting as it I have no idea what the hell science is! When it was the Muslims that gave birth to tools in which scientists use which is hypoethising, observing and putting things to the test! I told you that the Quran is relevant to its time! You fool its not a book that teaches you how to get a Bach in chem or phys! Its a book that teaches you to go out and tests it observations. As time progressed new things have been discovered which was already in the quran! So a book that invites people to put it to the test and has been for over 1400 years! mathematiions, scientists you name the profession whether it has to do with Medicine, history, biology, astrology, thoelogy name whatever you want and enter the quran with the intention to test it and you find that ” IN THIS BOOK YOU WILL NOT FIND ERROR” I say to you THAT THE QURAN IS FROM GOD, GO DISPROVE IT IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE GOD DOES NOT EXSIST!

So if you did read my paragraphes you would be like ” so what?” I can’t open the Quran and on page 34 the answer to how many planets are there or the formula of general relativity! No you fool think! A man 1400 years ago who could not read or write, brought words that included this much knowledge that EVEN TODAY WE ARE DISCOVERING? You say I have not proven God, you fool i have brought you evidence you so far you haven’t been able to disprove so in a way you are agreeing that either these obersations are correct or they are lacking! You fool how can a man know that the universe once began with a bang WHEN THE THEORY CAME INTO EXSISTENCE SCIENTIFICALLY 100 YEARS AGO! How can a man bring such a book when the books before him have been DESTROYED BY SCIENTISTS? Do you know why? because the books before where touched by humans! But this Quran hasn’t SO I STILL STAND WITH THE SAME THING! THE WORDS THAT MUHAMMAD ( PEACE BE UPON HIM BROUGHT) WERE NOT FROM HIM BUT FROM GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD. Disprove this claim then u disprove Islam! Because every Muslim believes that The Quran came from God and the very mirical of Muhammad( peace be upon) is this Quran! You idoit the encyclopedia is written by humans! How many mistakes can you find in an encyclopedia or how many humans have to take things out or put new things in! This QURAN HAS NOT BEEN TOUCHED FOR 1400 YEARS ITS STILL IN ITS PUREST FORM! How have I misunderstood? I already told you to through ur magical turtle in the bin!

Please try better!

Sceptical Prophet:

Thanks for the lecture on religion but once again, irrelevant. Your vision is too narrow. God sent messengers and prophets to every nation? What about times pre-dating nations? When humanoids lived in tribes? Caves? When we evolved? When we were fish? When we were single celled organisms? Did god exist then? Were there messengers or magic books? Where’s your proof?

Also, the Quran says “Do think about what you read in the Quran too much or you will begin to doubt what is said”. So much for allowing you to be free thinking.

I don’t know if you fail to understand the point of each argument brought forth but you’re still talking about irrelevant stuff. I know the Quran has observations in them. They are not really “scientific”. They are simply observations – written empirical evidence. A scientific theory is observed, tested, retested, peer reviewed and encompassed by equations and empirical evidence. The “science” in the Quran is only simple observation. I don’t know why you keep going on about your supposed “science” because it doesn’t make your point any stronger. Yes, there are observations in the Quran. Are they very scientific? No. They’re primitive; which is fair enough because the Quran was written in primitive times.

Also, you claim “new things” have been discovered that was already in the Quran. First, you should source such a claim. If you don’t give specific examples, I can only answer this generally, which I already did. First, you can observe the sun is hot. You can write that down but not know how it works. It could take a thousand years for someone to come up with the exact model of atomic fusion of higher elements to describe the process of the sun being hot. That’s a “discovery” but it doesn’t mean we didn’t always know the sun was hot. You act like the Quran says things we’ve never known before but the reality is science just hasn’t had an accurate theory to describe it.

Again, please learn the difference between a scientific theory and an observation. You trying to compare observations in the Quran to fully fledged scientific theories is like trying to say a drop of water is the same as an ocean.

” “Seest thou not that Allah sends down rain
from the sky, and leads it through springs in
the earth? then He causes to grow, therewith,
produce of various colours.”
(Qur’an 39:21) ”

Ok, congratulations. Islamics have observed that rain falls from the sky and leads through springs in the Earth. They falsely attributed this to god. What evidence is there that god caused this? None. They have a simple observation and give it the easiest answer. This is not evidence of god. This is evidence that rain falls from the sky. This is the third time I’ve tried to make you understand that evidence for something is evidence for that thing only. You cannot claim something unrelated is evidence of god.

So that’s one big problem you still need to fix. Stop pretending you have evidence when you don’t. My first question still stands, what evidence do you have of god?

Second, you start to ramble a bit. I don’t know what you mean by “the books before him have been destroyed by scientists”. I can disprove the claim that “the words of Muhammad were not from him but from god” though. That’s easy to disprove. Step one: where’s your evidence? Done. You have no evidence that his words were the words of god. There are a dozen better explanations that are statistically and logically more likely.

“Because every Muslim believes that the Quran came from god”. That’s an anecdotal fallacy. It’s meaningless. In fact, 95% of everything you write is meaningless and has nothing to do with what we’re talking about. Here’s how I would destroy this quote. Who cares what every Muslim believes. They have no proof therefore it is just a belief. I can equally claim that every Christian believes Islam is wrong. Does that make every Christian right? There are more Christians than Muslims. But no, it doesn’t make them right because anecdotal “evidence” is not real evidence.

You still don’t understand the encyclopedia reference. I can’t really dumb it down further. The point is, just because a book is relevant or has facts in it doesn’t mean it’s evidence of something unrelated. If you still don’t understand that, then just don’t bother talking about the encyclopedia anymore. The encylopedia reference was just meant to help you understand that evidence of one thing does not equate to evidence of something unrelated.

Considering you’re still babbling about unrelated stuff, please stick to the topic.

I posit the question, what evidence of god do you have?

Your replies have included:

1. You claim the universe requires an outside creator to begin. I destroyed this argument and you obviously have no reply to it because you ignored it. Fair enough; I’m correct about this.

2. You claim messengers and prophets have been sent to every nation. First of all, you have no proof of this. Second of all, you ignore a good 4 billion years of time before we had nations. Does that mean god only existed when the first messenger was sent? Also, you do realise the Quran was written in 610, so it is only around 1.5 thousand years old. How does any of this prove god exists?

3. You claim the Quran contains accurate science. Not only do you fail to provide any examples, you fail to realise that a few obscure sentences does not equal a scientific fact. It takes much more to be science. Further, even if the science was accurate, how is that proof of god?

Please limit your responses to only those 3 points. So far you haven’t said anything else relevant.

Frankly, I’m disappointed. Maybe the reason Christianity is a bigger religion because it offers better arguments. At least if I were debating with a Christian I’d have a lot more arguments to play with. Christians can bring up absolute morality, axiomatic scientific evidence, the bible, cross referencing of recorded events and number of copies of scripture. The only real argument I’ve heard from you is “the universe requires something outside the universe to create it”. Everything else you’ve said isn’t really evidence of god at all.

Muslim:

LOL wow so thats it? Wow your even readying what I’m writing! Wow is it that much of a hassel for you to actually read into it or are you scared to actually not even be able to disprove it! Your exactly what I predicted you where, someone who just walks around in circles and continues to be ignorant to what I’m saying. Like look how evident it is that ur skimming through my writings! ” whats you evidence that the Quran is from God” done?? BRO ROFL GO READ IT! Here I will repost it

” A man 1400 years ago who could not read or write, brought words that included this much knowledge that EVEN TODAY WE ARE DISCOVERING? You say I have not proven God, you fool i have brought you evidence you so far you haven’t been able to disprove so in a way you are agreeing that either these obersations are correct or they are lacking! You fool how can a man know that the universe once began with a bang WHEN THE THEORY CAME INTO EXSISTENCE SCIENTIFICALLY 100 YEARS AGO! How can a man bring such a book when the books before him have been DESTROYED BY SCIENTISTS? Do you know why? because the books before where touched by humans! But this Quran hasn’t SO I STILL STAND WITH THE SAME THING! THE WORDS THAT MUHAMMAD ( PEACE BE UPON HIM BROUGHT) WERE NOT FROM HIM BUT FROM GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD. Disprove this claim then u disprove Islam! Because every Muslim believes that The Quran came from God and the very mirical of Muhammad( peace be upon) is this Quran! You idoit the encyclopedia is written by humans! How many mistakes can you find in an encyclopedia or how many humans have to take things out or put new things in! This QURAN HAS NOT BEEN TOUCHED FOR 1400 YEARS ITS STILL IN ITS PUREST FORM! How have I misunderstood? I already told you to through ur magical turtle in the bin!” <– where if your answer to that?

ROFL this is too easy! ” “Seest thou not that Allah sends down rain 
from the sky, and leads it through springs in 
the earth? then He causes to grow, therewith, 
produce of various colours.” 
(Qur’an 39:21) “

And your making fun that its just an observation? YOU FOOL! thats a parable to how God will ressurect us on Judgement day! See how its relevant to us today? Revealed 1400 years ago and yet today WE CAN GO OUTSIDE AND TEST IT AND UNDERSTAND THAT OMG ITS TRUE? MAYBE THE SAME WAY THIS EARTH COMES BACK MAYBE WE TOO WILL? <– please don’t skim through it!

“Thanks for the lecture on religion but once again, ” Bro seriously? I told you from the start DON’T THINK EVERY RELIGION IS THE SAME! Thats why I had to educated you a bit! But you refuse to give a valid answer and still call it rambling!!

“irrelevant. Your vision is too narrow. God sent messengers and prophets to every nation? What about times pre-dating nations? When humanoids lived in tribes? Caves? When we evolved? When we were fish? When we were single celled organisms? Did god exist then? Were there messengers or magic books? Where’s your proof?” The book of torah to Moses ( what is called old testement) the book of David ( also in the old testement) The goespels of Jesus ( known as the New testment) LOL and now ur going to talk about fishes really evolutions? So if we involved from fishes then how come they still exsist? OMG LOL no wait let me bring in a more common answer So we are evolved from apes BUT WAIT A MINUTE THEY STILL EXSIST! You giving me a theory that is yet to be proven properlly? Or have gound breaking evidence? Want me to show u fossils that disprove this claim? LOL

Are you an idoit? ” You still don’t understand the encyclopedia reference. I can’t really dumb it down further. The point is, just because a book is relevant or has facts in it doesn’t mean it’s evidence of something unrelated. If you still don’t understand that, then just don’t bother talking about the encyclopedia anymore. The encylopedia reference was just meant to help you understand that evidence of one thing does not equate to evidence of something unrelated.” I explained the Quran has not been changed I explain that there are many things to support it but guess what? The encyclopedia is from humans where as it is changed from time to time! IF A BOOK WAS FROM GOD THEN THERE SHOULDN’T NEED FOR A CHANGE OR ADD ON. AS WELL AS THAT HOW MANY PROFESSIONALS ARE NEEDED TO HELP THE ENCYCLOPEDIA? When my prophet couldn’t even write or read?????? Till now you have to tell me ” dude there is a mistake here in the Quran HAH! HOW CAN THIS FROM GOD”!

“Frankly, I’m disappointed. Maybe the reason Christianity is a bigger religion because it offers better arguments. At least if I were debating with a Christian I’d have a lot more arguments to play with. Christians can bring up absolute morality, axiomatic scientific evidence, the bible, cross referencing of recorded events and number of copies of scripture. The only real argument I’ve heard from you is “the universe requires something outside the universe to create it”. Everything else you’ve said isn’t really evidence of god at all.”

ROFL STOP I CAN’T TAKE IT LOL!!! CHRISTAINS HAVE BETTER ANSWER? They can’t even tell who is God!! The mistakes in science within the book! Omg and LOL their claim that the world is flat ROFL! Better arugments? Oh wait you referring to how its much bigger ROFL DO THE MATHS BUDDY! Islam started after Christianity I believe in Jesus! The fact that its growing at a faster rate than CHristianity is PROOF YOU KNOW JACK!!! Like here let me help you!

I as a Muslim can answer this! ” Can God create another God?”
as well as ” Can God create a rock SOO big that he can’t lift it?” As well as ” WHO WAS BEFORE GOD?” LOL All three are the best arguements against Christians that have so much problems! Where as I laugh and the best you can give me ” your still rambling”

come on I gave you an example on how hard I want questions! Give me an example!

Give me a question that can disprove what I have said

and actually read what I say!

 

I don’t need to show you evidence like quotes and stuff! As if you will take it into account? As if you will even debate it all your going to say issssss ” its a book!” where I’m arguing about logic! Amazing yeah! Many people who don’t believe in God argue that HOW CAN U JUST BLINDLY BELEIEVE YOU LOGIC MAN!! I’m too ahead of You!

Why am I communicating in the fashion its because when you say things without looking at all the evidence

don’t state it as facts! Don’t say every religion is the same and their all wrong

when u have no idea about Islam

take ur time to read plz!

Sceptical Prophet:

Actually, you just have poor comprehension skills or are entirely ignorant of what constitutes evidence.

1. Re: Evidence that the Quran was from god.

You say “A man who could not read or write brought words that included knowledge even today we are discovering”. First, what does reading and writing have to do with bringing words? Words can be verbal. Second, you still fail to source your claim. What knowledge are we only just discovering? I have made a distinction several times between observational evidence and scientific evidence. Just because we only just discovered HOW something works doesn’t mean we only just discovered it. There’s a vast difference between observational evidence and a fully fledged scientific theory. Interestingly enough, despite how omnipotent god is he only seemed to be able to provide the most primitive and unexplained knowledge, right? Just an observation and some vague words that could reference any concept. You’d think all powerful god would know exactly how to describe a phenomenon via mathematical and scientific processes, but no. He only has a primitive understanding of it.

2. Re: How can the Quran know the universe started with a bang.

You are easily satisfied. I guess that’s a prerequisite to being religious. First of all, let’s see what the Quran says about the Big Bang.

The Quran states : ‘The heavens and the Earth were joined and we clove them asunder’.

First of all, if you think one vague sentence constitutes “knowing” something, then you’re an intellectual failure. That’s like saying I know how gravity works: things tend to move towards other things. No, it’s a little more complicated than that, buddy.

But let’s assume one sentence is enough to really know something, which it obviously is not. EVEN THEN, the Quran still fails. The universe is 13.7 billion years old. The earth is 4.5 billion years old. How are they joined? They didn’t even exist at the same time 5 billion years ago.

Plus, clove them asunder? Last time I checked, the Earth is still a part of the universe. Not really asunder is it?

3. Re: He brought a book when the books before him had been destroyed by scientists.

This is so stupid I’m not sure if I interpreted it correctly. For the fourth time, the Quran was written in 610 AD. There are so many ancient writings that pre-dates 610AD so I don’t see how you can claim “the books before him had been destroyed by scientists”. Plus modern scientists didn’t exist until much after 610 AD. Galileo was one of the earliest to challenge religion with his scientific views and even then he was still religious. And guess what, he lived from 1564, which, in case you didn’t realise, is a good 800 years after 610, when the Quran was written. So how can scientists destroy books (which no scientist would ever do) if scientists didn’t exist back then? The closest thing to scientists at that time were natural philosophers, and they were highly religious people.

4. Re: My answer to the magical turtle.

I already said in previous post the magic turtle analogy is to help you understand the difference between evidence for something and evidence by extension. You have a very poor grasp of what constitutes evidence, so I’ll help you out later.

5. Re: The quote about rain in the Quran.

I don’t see how resurrection is relevant to us today. There is no evidence of a religious judgement day, nor is their evidence of resurrection. Nor is there evidence of god, which we’re still discussing and which you have still failed to provide evidence for. Also, why on Earth would I need to go and test a simple observation? You still don’t understand the purpose of evidence and the burden of proof. I can see clearly around me that rain falls from the sky. I don’t have to test this or prove this. I cannot see god AT ALL. Therefore I have to test this and prove this. There are no tests or proofs for god, therefore the logical conclusion is that god does not exist. You are trying to claim that god does exist, therefore the burden of proof is on you. However, you still haven’t provided any evidence, therefore the logical conclusion is still that god doesn’t exist.

6. Re: Evolution

You have just quoted the number one stupidest evolution quote in the world right now and as a result, I have really lost faith in your ability to come up with intelligent responses. “So if we evolved from fish, how come they still exist”. That’s like saying, “the British colonised Australia so how come Britain still exists?”. There is no rule anywhere that says if a species evolved from another species, the previous species must be entirely wiped out. Evolution is a result of natural selection and natural selection is dependent on variables limited to the context of certain groups of species. I thought you Islamics were meant to be scientific? Evolution is the foundation of all modern biology. If you’re trying to argue that Islam does not believe in evolution then I’m going to have to conclude that despite your claims, Islam is as unscientific as you can get. How can you even believe in the Big Bang and not evolution? Evolution is vastly more proven than the Big Bang, and there are dozens of examples of evolution happening RIGHT NOW. I’m really disappointed now.

7. Re: Quran has no need to change or add on.

So you’re saying everything there is to know in the universe is already in the Quran? That’s why we don’t need to add on? First of all, that’s intellectual suicide. You’re claiming we can never learn anything more. Second of all, it’s absolutely stupid to believe the Quran contains everything there is to know, and thus doesn’t require anything to be added on. I feel no need to elaborate this point because it quite obviously defeats itself.

8. Re: Christian responses

I didn’t say Christians have better answers, I said they have more answers. You’ve provided two answers to my original question: what evidence do you have of god. The first was that something has to create the universe. You ignored this after I easily proved you wrong. The second was that the Quran is obviously from god. I have proven that it is not. At least a Christian would have more arguments, you’re just harping on about the same weak arguments.

9. Let me help you one last time.

You’re very bad at grasping the concept of evidence so I’m going to help you. There are a few types of acceptable evidence.

Direct evidence: You can show directly that something proves the existence of something else. For example, if you can show me a tree then I have evidence that trees exist.

Indirect evidence: You can show through causal relation that something proves the existence of something else. For example, if you can repeatedly demonstrate through tests that consuming cyanide causes death, then that counts as evidence that death can be caused by, but not limited to, cyanide.

Axiomatic evidence: You can show that something suggests the existence of something else. This is the weakest type of evidence but it still counts. For example, the effect of gravity is observed but the process is not understood. We can see objects gravitate towards each other but cannot observe the force acting on those objects. This suggests the existence of a type of force. The current popular theories are gravitons (a type of particle) or gravitational waves (a type of wave). If you can demonstrate a situation that can ONLY suggest the existence of god (meaning that there is no better explanation) then you can axiomatically provide evidence of god. Weak evidence, but still better than anything you’ve come up with so far.

This is your last chance to say anything interesting. You’ve failed to understand the simplest points I’ve put forth and have been running circles around the same argument for the last 3 posts. Unless you come up with something substantial in your next post I can’t be bothered replying any more.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Always raining on every holiday that comes by (like how Christmas has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus). If it makes you feel any better, I think it’s reductionist to say Valentine’s Day is meaningless because of its history. I simply think it’s important to know more rather than less.

So, we come to Valentine’s Day – a day of roses, chocolates, flings and confessions. Was this always the tradition? Certainly not. Like many holidays, this one has its roots in Christianity.  It was originally a Christian feast to celebrate the martyrdom of Saint Valentine. Unfortunately, the true story behind this holiday is a bit uncertain because there a few Saint Valentines recorded by the Church, all of whom could have been the subject of the original celebration.

As things go, this is the most popular and widely accepted story:

Roman emperor Claudius II had imposed a ban on marriage due to the concept that unmarried men made better soldiers. During this edict, a Christian priest named Valentine married couples in secret within the Christian church, thereby converting them to Christianity. He was sentenced to death upon being caught and was executed on the 14th of February.

A bit darker than the bubbles, rainbows and unicorns you’d expect of such a holiday, right? Most people recount this version of the Valentine’s story but there are two more.

A Christian priest, also by the name of Valentine but a different person to the first story, was jailed for helping Christians (which was a crime in his time and place). He fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and miraculously cured her eyesight. During his imprisonment, he sent her love letters signed “From your Valentine”. Eventually, he converted her father to Christianity (it helps that he magically cured her eyesight), and was later beheaded.

By now you’re probably noticing a huge religious influence behind these stories. The main theme is pretty much the conversion of faith, which is understandable. Many holidays were about that (again, refer to Christmas) and it makes sense for any organisation to require a method by which to spread its influence and popularity. On to the last story.

This one is a bit lacklustre compared to the others. The third Valentinus was a Gnostic teacher in Rome. He rejected the idea of celibacy and argued that marital love was central to Christianity. Gnosticism was later declared a heresy.

I can’t help but think maybe the last Valentine was just horny. I wouldn’t put it past a horny guy to go through a very indirect route to get what he wants. Forgive me for tarnishing his name but it makes me chuckle.

So those are the original stories of Valentine’s Day. Keep in mind, if they appear to be completely unrelated to the modern day equivalent, it’s probably because they are. The holiday itself was not established until almost 200 years after his death (270 CE) when Pope Gelasius the first wanted a holiday to replace the Pagan festivals to the god Lupercus. By establishing a feast for Saint Valentine in 469 CE, Pope Gelasius succeeded in converting many Pagans to Christianity by replacing their old celebrations of love and fertility. Again, the parallels to Christmas are remarkably strong.

In terms of symbols, hearts and chocolate fall very short. Traditionally, Valentine is represented by birds, bearing a sword, restoring sight to a blind girl and being beheaded.

So here we are at the contemporary Valentine’s Day, fussing over all manner of commercial goods. The profit margin for roses triples for a single day and the world’s insulin levels spike dangerously high as we indulge in chocolate. Many frown on this holiday because of that very same commercial aspect to it. Others say it is no special day because they love their partner every day of the year. I agree with both.

However, that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to be defiant of the holiday. You are “free” every day of the year but you can still celebrate an Independence Day. The holiday itself is only symbolic – it doesn’t mean “I only love you today because today is about love”. In the same way that Dawkins celebrates Christmas, there is nothing wrong with knowing the roots of this holiday being founded in Christian conversion and still celebrating it for what it is today. Symbols only have whatever meaning we give to them. 

To the lonely, I say enjoy tomorrow’s cheap candy prices. Remember, you can only know love if you’ve known what it is like to be alone. When you find somebody, your love will be all the sweeter.

To those who are spending their day with their partners, yes, it is ridiculously commercialised, labelled and expensive, but there’s nothing wrong with joining in the spirit.

To those who have someone but are unable to see them today, just remember, you have another 364 days to try. Valentine’s Day is only a symbol, and a symbol only has whatever meaning you give to it. Make another day special and give it the same meaning. It can be your own, private Valentine’s.

I’m sure many of you have heard this commonly used argument. Indeed, I see it mentioned at least a few times in any sort of forum for religious debate. Essentially, it goes:

“[Insert famous name] was religious”.

It literally is just a name drop. This “argument” implies that because somebody famous (usually for something intellectual) was religious, there is more (intellectual) reason to be religious. A common example of this is “Einstein/Galileo/Darwin was religious”, thereby insinuating that if a scientific visionary was religious, it is automatically more scientific or intellectual to be religious. It always amuses me when theists try to use science or logic against scientific or atheistic claims – because it doesn’t work. This is called an appeal to authority logical fallacy. So much for using logic.

As usual, I’d like to point out I have nothing against theists. I tend to write a lot of counter arguments to theism but that’s simply because there’s so much material. In general, I just like correcting people and spreading knowledge (hence this blog). Whether or not that person is religious has nothing to do with it – I commonly correct atheists about their scientific claims too.

Anyway, the moment you identify an argument as a logical fallacy it pretty much renders the entire argument void already. But where’s the fun in that? In classic Sceptical Prophet style, let’s take it one further. Let’s flip that argument back on itself.

Whenever I encounter this argument, my first step is to identify it as a logical fallacy. I throw that in their face right off the bat simply by stating: that’s a logical fallacy called appeal to authority; your argument is already worthless. Next I lay on the hurt. This is where I flip the argument back, and though it is partially a technique to win arguments (one of many I covered in an in-depth analysis to winning arguments) it is also logically sound. Think about it yourself.

First: Ideologies do not instantly go from one extreme to another. Nobody spends two thousand years believing a Wolf God swallows the sun and yells at it to bring the sun back (Viking explanation of solar eclipse) and then suddenly wakes up the next day and says, “Hey, you know what? I don’t think it’s a Wolf God; it’s probably just because the Earth orbits the sun and the moon orbits the Earth so eventually the moon will orbit to a point where it lies between the Earth and the Sun, thereby blocking out the sun for a while.” Ideas, concepts and theories change over time as new information is discovered (at least they should in an ideal world; certainly, some institutions are slower to change). To claim otherwise is to declare intellectual bankruptcy; you’d be giving up the pursuit of knowledge by saying what we “knew” thousands of years ago is as accurate as we’ll ever get.

Second: It was the social paradigm to be religious back in these peoples’ times. Social paradigms are strong things. A cannibal society would have no ethical concern with eating human flesh but in our modern society, it is against the paradigm to do so. Therefore it is not strange for somebody who grows up in our modern society to have an aversion to eating humans. That’s just what society is like and how people are raised. “XYZ was religious” doesn’t mean diddlysquat if everybody was religious (especially if there were adverse consequences to not being religious – such as banishment, social exclusion and punishment).

Third: These “people of authority” you are name dropping were not your orthodox religious followers. They did not believe in the “standard” belief system of their time. If they did, they would never have questioned things. Why would Darwin suggest evolution over creationism if he was strictly religious? The very fact that he challenged the beliefs of this time meant that he was a pioneer in critical thinking. It’s meaningless to say he was religious because he challenged the correctness of those beliefs.

Conclusion: Some theists might like to use appeal to authority fallacies to try and suggest the intellectual superiority of theism or downplay a scientific argument. What they don’t realise is that these very people whose names they are using were essentially the forefathers of atheism. Yes, the creators of atheism were religious. It sounds like a contradiction but it’s not. Remember, ideologies don’t change instantly. For them to make a transition, people are required to challenge existing beliefs and nudge it in a new direction. These people had the courage, free spirit and critical thinking to say “Hold on, this thing here is wrong”, and the culmination of that approach to life resulted in what atheism is today – a rejection of beliefs without substantial evidence. Even though they were religious, by challenging the standards of belief in their own times, these people nudged us in the direction of atheism.

Don’t go around accusing people of being idiots (let me do that), but just remember two things: if anyone uses this argument, you can use this information as a counter-argument, and there is literally no argument a theist can put forth that there is no good answer to. Have faith (get it?): science, reason and logic will trump tradition. It is no longer the social paradigm to be born and raised religious – now we have a choice. Change might have taken far too long but eventually, more humans will realise that we cannot possibly know less about our world and universe today than we did thousands of years ago. To claim that old traditions trump new information is an admission of intellectual relinquishment – it would be akin to saying that we are incapable of learning anything new and thus there is no purpose in education or knowledge.

So I was bored at dinner and ended up watching a … documentary? Drama? Reality show? It was about the U.K.’s fattest man and the surgery he requires to save his life.

Now in this regard, I’m known by many to be quite ruthless and unrelenting. Yes, I understand there’s a psychological aspect that makes it difficult for people to “stop eating” or get into shape. Difficult, but not impossible. To me, it’s always an excuse. This morbidly (literally – he’s going to die) obese man lies there crying about how he hates himself and how he looks. Hmm. And then he says it’s not his fault he costs tax payers over 100,000 pounds a year in health care costs because “(he was) let down by the health system that allowed him to get so unhealthy”. Wow. Take some damn responsibility. This is why I’m particularly ruthless about health issues. People don’t want to take responsibility. Are you trying to say there aren’t people who have greater hardships than you? That you are the only person in the world who has any suffering, and therefore are excused for your actions? I was in constant pain from stomach cramps when I started cutting by eating only one small meal a day (and I was 98kg), but you don’t see me costing Australia $100,000 a year (or, to use the exchange rate, $151,807), nor crying about it on T.V., and least of all claiming that it’s somebody else’s fault.

Anyway, hate me or agree with me on that part. That’s my little rant. I’m not completely apathetic – I’ve helped a few people get into shape, improve their body image and boost their confidence. I enjoyed doing it because these people took responsibility for their lifestyles and had the motivation to change.

Rant aside, the show itself raised a few things about nutrition that are downright wrong, leading me to believe part of the obesity problem is not just overeating, it’s the fact that nobody knows enough about nutrition.

Now, a lot of this info I’ve said before in previous posts but this is a nice little list to summarise it.

1. Mr. Obese’s caretaker makes him three meals a day of anything he wants to eat. She says “it’s very healthy, hardly any fat in it at all”. Let me get one thing straight: fat is not bad. Saturated fat is bad, yes, but fat usually comes with both saturated and unsaturated fat components. You need unsaturated fat to improve your cholesterol levels.

Let me lay some academia on you. I’ll quote the first line of a Harvard study for you:

It’s time to end the low-fat myth.

Plain and simple.

2. Carbs (especially simple carbs) are your enemy. The full article (mentioned above), which I can no longer find but I used in an assignment for university, put up some interesting statistics. Some time ago (exactly how many decades I cannot remember) the US was consuming a much higher amount of fat but had a very low diabetes and obesity problem. The the whole “low fat” craze kicked in and a lot of fat was removed from the US diet, to be replaced by carbs. Simple carbs. Those of you who have read my other nutrition posts should know by now – simple carbs are practically the worst thing you can eat besides pure trans/saturated fat. Lo and behold, with a decrease in fat intake and an increase in carbs, the US now sits at a significant amount of type 2 diabetes and obesity cases. Why? Because fat isn’t bad. Simple carbs are, and too many calories are. Yes, fat has 9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 from carbs and protein, but you don’t eat as much fat as you eat carbs.

Plus there’s glycemic index to think of and the insulin response. Carbs are particularly responsible for diabetes because of the insulin response. I’ve mentioned this in more detail in another post if you’re interested in reading.

3. This one actually came out of the mouth of the doctor who was meant to operate on Mr. Obese. I don’t know if he was being melodramatic for the camera or genuinely ignorant (let’s hope not the latter – he is, after all, a doctor). Basically, he said that when someone got to Mr. Obese’s size, they couldn’t lose weight because “he can’t get out of bed so he can’t burn any calories and therefore anything he eats will already be too much”.

Let’s get this straight: you are always burning calories. Even when you’re sleeping, you burn calories. In fact, studies have shown that you burn more calories sleeping than you do when being sedentary (such as watching T.V.). I’ve heard people adamantly reject the idea that you can burn calories while just lying still, to which I yell “idiot” and direct them to a basic physics book explaining thermodynamics. Think of it this way, unless you stop every single organ in your body from functioning, they will require energy to operate. Your brain, in fact, consumes about 20-25% of your calories, and some have claimed that “thinking really hard” can increase the amount of calories your brain burns (though only by a little). It is interesting though because there aren’t that many overweight professors compared to skinny ones.

Anyway, to be more technical, the bare minimum calories you need to keep your organs operational and stay alive is called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). A larger person will have a larger BMR. Therefore, Mr. Obese could lose weight by eating below his BMR, which is likely to be very high anyway. Apparently, he was consuming over 20,000 calories a day (I find that amazing because I was struggling to eat over 3,500 for my bulk). Not only is it annoying that I can’t even afford to eat the kind of food he was eating (for which the government paid whereas I have to work), but the simple medical fact is that if you wired his mouth shut and gave him only water, he would lose weight. Now that’s a bit extreme but the point remains, Mr. Doctor was wrong to say that it was impossible for him to lose weight and that the only possible option was a 50/50 surgery.

Then again, considering Mr. Obese’s personality and aversion to responsibility, it probably would have been very difficult to put him on a diet, especially considering he failed many diets in the past. I mean, it’s probably very difficult to stop a bed-ridden man from eating, right? He can only really reach whatever you lay in front of his face, but, you know.

Sigh.

 

First of all, my apologies for the long time between posts now. I’m a bit busy lately and have been preoccupied with other things. Also, I haven’t come across anything particularly interesting lately that feels like I can do a relatively short post on it.

I was reminded of this one by a post on ScienceAlert. As I am lazy right now, I’ll just sum up the point. I’m sure most of my readers now trust me enough to not need references. If you must have references before believing me, feel free to Google them.

Basically, there’s an old myth that you shouldn’t go swimming until 30 minutes after eating. This has been a pretty persistent myth despite no health organisations actually backing it (The Royal Lifesaving Association, Academy of Pediatrics, US Consumer Product Safety Commission and American Red Cross say nothing about swimming after eating). Nevertheless, the power of ignorance to propagate is astounding and many people stick to this one as if it were fact.

But let’s take a look deeper, shall we? Why shouldn’t we swim until at least 30 minutes after? Well, here’s where opinions begin to differ (one tell-tale sign of an unscientific “fact”). Some claim that it causes vomiting, others that it can cause cramps, and more still that the stomach’s act of digesting food redirects blood flow from your limbs, potentially causing you to drown. The truth? None of these are on the mark, though like all good myths they have a tiny kernel of truth. Yes, digestion does redirect blood flow, but not nearly enough to cause the kind of paralysis that would lead to drowning. Imagine if that were true. And this can contribute to cramps, but there are many other factors that are a much stronger factor on cramps, such as muscle fatigue.

Now some of you might be going “But I do vomit when I swim after eating! Therefore you, sir, are incorrect!” Let me remind you that an argument from personal experience is an anecdotal fallacy. It is, quite simply, wrong to argue with it. I should add though, if you’re susceptible to vomiting after eating, you probably ate too much in one go. Those that have read my nutrition posts or know anything about the glycemic index and/or insulin response mechanism by your body to food should know that it’s bad for you to eat large amounts in one sitting (with some exceptions).

 

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