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Loosely quoted from Star Talk Radio:

“It seems to me that science is the only human collaboration that transcends human boundaries. The results you find are independent of what country you come from, what religion you believe in, what government you have. So when you think of what is the future that could possibly unfold in a world that is divided by politics, by religion and by any other reason people give to kill another person for crossing a line in the sand, it tells me that the only hope we have is to search for the truth that we find through the research conducted by science.”

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Contrary to what many of you may be thinking, this is neither a movie review nor an analysis of the text. No, I’ve analysed The Great Gatsby enough for a life time during my years as an English tutor as the text was quite a popular choice for school curricula.

No, this is not an analysis. It is a confession. A reflection. A soliloquy. As I have no idea how long my pensive mood will last, I will pick my brain in as orderly a fashion as I can muster and let this post flow where it will.

Confession. I cried twice in this movie. There is still social stigma against a man displaying tears but I am confident enough in my masculinity to admit it proudly. It has been said that just because a man does not show emotion does not mean he does not feel. I will go one further to say that men of a certain calibre feel more – so strongly that their emotion enters the realm of the profound.

Something that few people can appreciate is that when I say I cried, it was not a ‘boohoo, waaah’ kind of sobbing cry. It was a deep ache of sadness that constricted my throat and pierced down into my heart. It was the kind of pain that made my eyes water until I blinked, and a single tear rolled down my left cheek. Profound and meaningful. What meaning you say?

Reflection. Why did I cry? There must be meaning for a man to shed profound tears. It was not the movie. Baz Luhrmann’s adaption of the classic text was one that approached from an easy angle. He played the text as a love story – which it was – but neglected many of the other morals and themes of the original text. However, I do not fault him in his choice and I applaud him for his interpretation. The movie was a writhing current of human emotion, and I think this is important in a way you will soon understand. Overall, I recommend the movie, but do not expect too much from it. Perhaps it was because I already knew what was going to happen, but honestly, the movie had only two moments in it that really struck a chord with me.

So what was it? Why did I feel so stricken by these two moments in the movie? The line (loosely quoted) that started this was first spoken by Jordan Baker.

Coincidence? No, don’t you get it? Gatsby bought this house on purpose so that he could be close to her. He threw these parties hoping that one day she would wander in. Everything he’s done is for her.

I cried because I remembered a time where I too loved so strongly and so innocently. It also reminded me that I can no longer love like that anymore. Finally, it personified a struggle that I feel that only men can understand (I’m generalising here but it’s mostly true).

Soliloquy. Now, because of the kind of person I am, I must apply my knowledge to this perplexing rush of feeling I have experienced. There is so much to say and I don’t really know where to begin. I suppose I shall start by qualifying my last statement.

The struggle that only men can understand is a pursuit of perfection. Again, I do not wish to sound misogynistic – I am generalising – but this is an emotion more strongly felt by men than women. Why? Some might attribute it to pride. I think pride plays a large role, and we all know that men are prideful creatures. But there’s more, and this is something I feel as though I always knew but only now bothered to think on.

Carraway describes Gatsby as:

The single most hopeful person I have ever met, and will likely ever meet.

Why? An odd compliment to give to someone. Unless you thought (mistakenly) that he was an optimist. No, it has nothing to do with that. Carraway is describing the struggle I have mentioned – the pursuit of perfection. Gatsby’s hopes were to accomplish a dream, and his dream was so grand, precise and perfect that to chase it could only be described as exceedingly hopeful. In essence, Gatsby was chasing perfection. He built himself from the ground up, from absolutely nothing to an icon of the city. He did it for a woman, yes. Daisy was a large part of his motivation, but there was more.

The movie diverges a bit from the book at this point by adding  some embellishments to Gatsby’s mysterious past, but the essence of it is that Gatsby met Daisy and they fell in love. Real, innocent and pure love. But she could not be with him because he was penniless, something that he knew at the time but she did not.

So Gatsby forged a perfect dream  and obsessed over it. He overcame incredible things to  make himself “good enough” to be with her.  That’s important, remember that.

As a man, I have always dreamed of success and wealth. But why? Again, generalising, but men are often more ambitious, more academic and more driven to wealth and success. This stems, in part, from patriarchal values (which is why in our liberated world, women are increasingly becoming successful) but I think it goes further back than that. In short, it is evolutionary. Why do men strive for perfection? For success? To breed.

Love is a social construct. We will not get far in discussion unless we accept this. There is no room for Disney romance in here – in a purely animalistic sense, love does not exist. However, that does not mean it is not real. But why do we do what we do? Because  only the best of men could mate in the wild and this was our first order imperative – and still is. Men mate so that the species thrives, and to be able to mate requires success. We now live in a time where it is no longer just physical success that determines which men get to mate, but nevertheless success in something is required.

I have heard it said “Don’t chase women, chase the money and the women will come.” I would correct that to “Chase success” because success is not limited to just money, but if you become the best at anything worth being the best at, you will attract attention and women.

So this explains the impulse in men that makes them more likely to be ambitious and pursue perfection, but what about the lazy ones that don’t? Men need a catalyst. We’re designed to react, like a chemical compound, but we need a catalyst to cause that reaction. For many men, if not all, the strongest catalyst is love.

Love can be for many things. Love of country. Love of family. Love of life. But for those of us that are lucky (or perhaps cursed), it is love of a woman that really sets off the explosions. Gatsby had always dreamed of success but it took Daisy to make him achieve it. And personally, I know that I was a lazy, unmotivated slob back in my younger days. It took the unbearable thought of someone more successful than me stealing away my love to really make me work for success. What drove me to almost obsess about my “plan” for the future was her. I wanted to be able to support her, keep her happy, keep her attracted and just … keep her. But this is not as naive as it sounds. I do not believe in “the one” but I do believe in reactions. People cause reactions in each other all the time, some for better and some for worse. She has caused the best reaction in me out of all the girls I have been with. Everything I do, I do for her.

Now, why is this a struggle? Why did I cry over this? Because I feel a great deal of inequality in the plight of men compared to that of women. And now feminists are going to be crying for my blood, but that’s not the point. I am not talking about social disparity of genders. I am talking about love. I believe love should be equal, but I also know now that such an idea is just fantasy. Very few organic things in the universe are capable of being equal – if any. I know for a fact that I put more into our relationship than my partner does, and that is no fault of hers. It is no fault of anyone’s. It just the struggle of a man, and it is why I felt so connected to Gatsby’s struggle. Everything he did was for her, and all she did was:

smash up things and creatures and then retreated back into her money, or her vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept her together, and let other people clean up the mess.

Biological evolution will explain why we men struggle like this. As we are shaped by social constructs, love represents the epitome of our evolutionary goal. It is why we struggle. And as Daisy says:

The best thing a girl can be in this world is a beautiful fool.

Because once you are no longer a fool, you would understand the suffering we go through and would be dragged into it too.

One last thing to qualify – I said I also cried because I know I can never love like that again. There is a saying amongst men that the first girl to break your heart is the one that changes you and turns you into a man. If there isn’t such a saying, there is now because I say it a lot. And it’s true.

Women are wretched things that love carelessly and dangerously. You are all free to dispute me on this but there will never be a scientific or statistical representation confirming either claim. However, I say from my own opinion, vast wealth of knowledge and empirical data (I’m trying to be humble here) that men are the ones that truly fall in love. 

Ask a woman what the top 10 traits of an ideal guy are. I guarantee the majority of women will mention something external to the man – money, belongings or status. Women are not satisfied with just the person, they want more. They always want more. Now ask the same thing of a guy. What are the top 10 traits of your ideal woman? I guarantee the majority of guys will only say things internal to the woman. They love the person. Men do not care about what is around her, what she belongs to or what she owns. Men love the person herself. 

Again, I am not being misogynistic. I am being honest. I hold none of this against either men or women – this is simply reality. But the fact is, almost all guys will love as purely as Gatsby until they’ve had their hearts broken.

When you have your heart broken by a girl it’s not something you ever forget. It changes you profoundly. To be more of a “jerk”. More selfish. More cynical. More jaded. Or as I like to see it, more lucid. You see reality more clearly. It is not worth loving that purely because humans are not made to handle something that pure. To protect yourself, it is more wise to keep yourself at an arms-length to every girl and question whether “the one” is even real.

I cannot ever love like Gatsby again, because I know better. But at times I wish I still could. 

Nevertheless, that does not diminish “real” love. Real love is not pure because we taint it just by being human. But it is no less valid and no less strong than pure love. It is merely different.

Real love is a mix of emotions. I told you this was important. It is not ideal like Gatsby’s. Real love is pain and happiness. Greed and selflessness. Because humans have too many emotions for pure love to ever exist. But how do you know it’s love then? I mentioned earlier that Gatsby was qualifying himself to Daisy. He did not return to her right after the war because he was penniless, and he put so much emphasis on his successes when meeting both Nick and Daisy that it was blaringly obvious that he needed them to understand that he was now qualified enough to be with her. War hero. Oxford man. Wealthy. Famous. He needed these things for Daisy. Partly because she would not have accepted him as just a penniless suitor, but partly because he needed himself to be good enough before he would be happy chasing her. I think part of love is when you change for a woman.

Don’t get me wrong. Women always try to change their men. That’s wrong and a fruitless endeavour. No, when the man wants to change. When he willingly and obsessively chases perfection to qualify himself, that’s love.

There’s more though. This pursuit of perfection becomes inseparable to us men. We can lose the woman but still chase the dream because that dream has already become a symbol of our love. Women, you are not that special – to put it harshly. Don’t make us do all the work. A driven, obsessed man will leave you in the dust and still chase his dream because his dream will have a woman in it but it doesn’t have to be you. If this sounds harsh or unfair to you, then you are most likely the kind of woman that does not pull her weight in a relationship. Relationships are hard work, so when you make the man do all the work and he realises that he can do all the work, you better be careful because he might realise that he can leave you behind.

Unfortunately, this works both ways. Gatsby had a chance to be with Daisy. He could have avoided everything but his obsession and hopefulness ruined him. Daisy gave him a chance to run away together. But he could not accept. He had worked too hard for everything. His dream was bigger than just her, though she was the centrepiece. He needed his success, his wealth and his status with Daisy, and could not bear the thought of separating them. Because they were all his dream.

You can never be anything but yourself, but there are many aspects to the human psyche. You can be vastly different but still be you. But which you do you want to be?

If Gatsby’s missed opportunity says anything, it is that he lost sight of his original goal. He changed to much and forgot what was really important.

In his younger days, he hesitated when he approached Daisy because he knew that if he fell in love with her, he would feel wed to her. He could not do that because that would forever change his destiny – and he was destined for greater things. Later, he returns with only one piece missing from his dream but in the end, she smashes it all.

There is a message here that could be slightly misogynistic. I consider it mostly true. Women are a huge distraction that can limit your potential. But at the same time, they can cause you to reach your potential. That is for you to decide.

But for me, I feel pensive and melancholy because Gatsby was a part of me – and I suspect a part of all men. He was a naïve younger self that loved too purely. A dreamer with too much ambition. And an obsessive pursuer of perfection. These are all parts of me that I can relate to and Gatsby embodies a failure of these endeavours. To me, there is nothing more painful than seeing the purest and strongest of a man’s dreams broken by a woman he loved too much.

I have never seen a cinema as quiet and depressed as when I left after this movie.

But for me, that blinking green light has slipped too far that I cannot reach it. It is but a memory of a time when I dreamed too carelessly and loved too strongly.

 

 

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.
——————————————————————————–

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.

Has anyone else (especially in Australia) noticed that all our milk cartons spontaneously developed “Permeate Free” labels? Seems some genius came up with the idea of labelling their milk as permeate free, to which every single other milk company responded by doing the same. Simple marketing and economics.

However, I disapprove of the entire hype and I’m here to call it for what it is – a load of bull (pardon the pun). The onset of this permeate free craze seems to be fuelled by some sort of misconception that permeates are a cheap waste product that is added to milk. It is not. Permeate comes from the milk itself. What you buy, regardless of whether or not it’s permeate free, is still 100% milk product.

What is permeate specifically though? Well it’s basically a collective term for the lactose, water, vitamin and mineral components of the milk. It is greenish due to the high vitamin B content.

So what was the supposed “scandal”? Milk companies were adding it to milk. Or should I say, re-adding, since it came from the milk in the first place. This process is done for standardisation of nutrient levels. The nutrition table on your milk can only be accurate because permeates are used to keep the milk at that level.

There’s a lot of rubbish about it being a “waste product”. If anything, it’s the healthy part of milk.

It’s the festive season and in good humour I’m here to rain on everyone’s parade. Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus. People think it’s a holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ despite so much evidence to the contrary. This is just another example of the transmission of knowledge being impeded in society.

The bible is very unclear of the date of Jesus’s birth (it’s a shame religious people don’t know more about their own scripture). The New Testament says nothing at all about the date of his birth and the earliest gospel (St. Mark’s, written around 65CE, where CE was previously known as AD) begins with the baptism of adult Jesus. Many scholars have tried to pinpoint the date of Jesus’s birth through cross-referencing dates mentioned in the bible (which makes many assumptions, the worst being that the bible is consistent, which it most definitely is not). Many have even used astrology and the dates of notable events, which are somewhat less erroneous. Regardless, one thing that scholars can agree upon is that Jesus was not born on the 25th of December. He wasn’t even born in winter, nor 1 BC/1 CE.

So where does Christmas come from? Some of you might have watched The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon points out that Christmas was actually the pagan festival of Saturnalia. Well, the Roman pagans introduced Saturnalia as a week long period of lawlessness where nobody could be punished. Things got pretty crazy; it was pretty much a full blown hedonistic celebration, complete with ritual murder, torture and rape. In the 4th century, Christianity imported this holiday in the hopes of converting pagans. They succeeded in converting a large number of pagans by promising that they could continue to celebrate Saturnalia as Christmas.

Unfortunately, Saturnalia had nothing to do with Jesus so Christian leaders proclaimed it to be a celebration of the birth of Christ. Yes, they made it up to spread their religion.

Saturnalia itself was pretty crazy. It was like ironic torture. You can find more about it if you’re interesting, I’m just here to say it was nuts.

Christmas as a placebo to spread happiness is fine. I have nothing against that. But let’s not mistake the reason why we’re doing it. It has nothing to do with Jesus. In fact, it started for pretty ignoble reasons. Then again, how much has changed? It’s still a pretty hedonistic holiday.

First up: spoiler alert. Don’t read this if you haven’t watched the movie yet.

For you others, what did you think? Here’s my two cents.

Edit: This is turning out to be a long post. As a mini table of contents, I talk about plot devices, scientific accuracy, and finally draw connections to how this movie continues the Batman villain theme.

skyfall-650

Fair warning, I analyse texts based on two things: scientific accuracy and quality as a written story. Yes, state of the art cinematic techniques, blah blah. Let’s get to the real stuff that you can’t just do with money.

The movie itself was more or less what I expected. Typical Bond movie sans the old school high tech gadgetry (a bit of an oxymoron there?) but with good pace due mostly to cinematography. They did do a cheeky reference to the new Bond movies’ lack of gadgets, perhaps in response to fan criticism: “Were you expecting an exploding pen? We don’t do that stuff any more”. The movie seems to have tried to introduce gadgetry a bit more, especially in the final scene where they rig up a manor with booby traps. Not really “gadgets” in the old school sense, but I think there was still an intentional theme of “creative ways to make tools that kill stuff”. No, it was quite alright and enjoyable to watch. However, put that aside and we’ve got a few problems.

First of all, the story. Unfortunately, this movie just confirms the declining quality of modern day writers. Out of Daniel Craig’s Bond movies, Casino Royale had the best storyline. It was concise and did not overstep itself. It was coherent, had its twists and climaxes, and finished very tidily. I well planned out and executed story. Next was Quantum of Solace, the complete opposite. It bit off more than it could chew, setting the scene for a previously unheard of organisation that had infiltrated everything and was omnipotently powerful. It introduced so much: political warfare, battle over resources, and the concept of “you never know who you can trust”. Then it realised that it couldn’t finish this in one movie so it went and crapped on itself by skipping ahead very rapidly, getting very messy, and then finishing and never again mentioning this organisation despite how amazingly powerful it is. All he did was kill one member. Talk about anti-climax. The difference? Casino Royale is an old storyline. It was remade. Old writers are better at their craft. I think I touched on this in my rant on recently published books; perhaps I’m the victim of a changing society but social pressures and the drive to make money (off the mainstream, because that’s where money is) has led to a lot of shoddy writing these days, from games, to books, to movies, and even to shop signs. Regardless, it’s a fact that writers are different these days. I just think the new ones are a disappointment.

Feel free to agree or disagree with me on that. It’s an opinion and a sentiment I’m sure many older writers and readers will agree on.

Back to Skyfall. The story was better than Quantum of Solace. At least it wrapped up. However, there wasn’t that much substance to it and unfortunately, there were a lot of logic farts and stupid plot devices. Before I start getting scientific up in here let’s start from the beginning. Moneypenny is ordered to take a shot at the beginning, which hits Bond instead of the target. Ok, fair enough. Then she spends the next five seconds staring at Bond’s falling body and the escaping target. Hmm … TAKE ANOTHER GODDAMN SHOT. Ok, maybe if it was a flintlock with a single round in it, but no, she’s clearly holding an automatic weapon. She could have held the trigger down since she already hit Bond anyway. So the first plot device of this movie is a huge fuckup (pardon the language but that’s the best word to describe it), to which the rest of the movie is dedicated to fixing.

Now let’s get a bit scientific. There were a lot of things, as usual, that Hollywood decided didn’t have to follow physics. Many of these can be ignored because it’s an action flick. Fair enough. Causing an entire island to be abandoned due to “hacking” and spreading a rumour about a chemical leak? Ok. Let’s ignore the fact that stuff like that is usually checked. Like, the government sends in dudes in hazmat suits to assess if the leakage will affect any other areas. But ok, let’s ignore that. Then the computer network he has set up there. Fair enough, he managed to buy and ship all that gear to the island, supply the entire island with power and get internet access without anyone realising “hold on, that place is meant to be abandoned, why is there so much electrical power going into the place?”; let’s forget all that.

But the hacking thing? Again, I understand you can make money off mainstream audiences that don’t know any better but no, hacking is not some embodiment of god in your computer screen. You can’t just “click and it’s done”. So much of the movie was based on hacking and none of it was feasible. The more tech savvy of you lot will have been facepalming during the hacking scenes because they were so rife with errors. Normally, I’d let it slide but because the movie literally hinged on hacking, I had to bring it up. It’s practically a deus ex machina in that it was the excuse for several plot points.

Oh and, you know how the hero always jumps aside as fire is shooting down a tunnel? Yeah, it doesn’t work that way. Fire “travels” by burning oxygen. You can jump anywhere you want, it’s going to follow you. And after you survive, there’ll be no oxygen in the tunnels for a while, depending on how deep, twisting, etc. the tunnels are. I see this so much in action movies and it’s beginning to be annoying.

Now, introducing the villain, Silva:

Skyfall trailer pic 7

Here’s where things get interesting. It seems Batman has kicked off a new era of villains. The psychotic, chaotic villain with questionable goals and even more questionable sanity is becoming popular. You know when something is popular when others try to copy it. By the way, I say chaotic intentionally – refer to an old post of mine about why we love villains so much.

Let me just get one last scientific pain the ass out of the way. Cyanide does not do that to you. I’m assuming you’ve watched the movie if you’ve read to this point, but to clarify, he pulls out part of his jaw and said the cyanide did that to him. No, cyanide is a form of a toxic inhalant. It can be administered in a variety of ways, but inhalation is the main issue. Further, it causes cell mortality via prevention of cell respiration. It’s not acid, it can’t melt your face off. Hydrogen cyanide does have a boiling point at room temperature but trust me, the bones in your jaw and skull can withstand that kind of heat. Again, it will not cause whatever the hell he had in the movie. Nor would you be likely to survive such a thing, or maintain any facial function if it did happen.

There was a lot of emphasis in the movie on his psychological state. Feelings of abandonment and suffering were imparted, though perhaps not enough to create an optimal level of audience sympathy, but there was that concept that he wasn’t completely wrong. His random acts of terror and being “one step ahead” was very reminiscent of the Joker, and the strangely lucid insanity only added to that effect. However, it did not achieve the same effects as the Joker because of a variety of reasons.

He won’t be a villain to remember, nor will the movie, but regardless, it was interesting to take note of how trends in media and texts are moving. This might be the period of amazing villains. Certainly, the villain demonstrated more character than Bond. Bond is the typical rogue hero. His vocabulary seems to be constituted entirely of snappy one-liners and his emotional range seems stuck on serious, cheeky and badass. Fair enough, but that makes for a very two-dimensional character. What I’m getting at is that heroes are very restricted but villains have unlimited potential. Again, you’ll have to read the article on villains to understand what I’m referring to. It’s an old article and messy. All my long posts are messy because I write what comes to mind so it tends to be disorganised collections of thoughts.

Anyway, enjoyable movie and it achieved it’s desired results, though to what degree is questionable. I still maintain that Casino Royale was the best of the three, mainly due to the strong storyline and just how “clean” it felt to watch.

We’ve all heard of electrolytes, especially since sports drinks tend to market themselves as “scientific” and throw around “scientific” words to make themselves sound more impressive. In reality, electrolytes are substances that become ions in the blood stream and the balance of electrolytes in our system is essential for the function of cells and organs. They are used to conduct electricity and carry electrical impulses such as nerve impulses and muscle contractions. The kidneys work to keep electrolyte levels in your blood constant. You lose electrolytes through sweat, which is why sports drinks emphasise that they replace electrolytes. Let’s take a look at some of the electrolytes in your body before we take a look at some sports drinks and what they actually contain.

The major electrolytes in your body are:

–          Sodium (Na+)

–          Chloride (Cl-)

–          Potassium (K+)

–          Calcium (Ca2+)

–          Magnesium (Mg2+)

–          Phosphate (PO42-)

–          Bicarbonate (HCO3-)

–          Sulfate (SO42-)

Sodium:

Sodium is one of the major positive ion (cation) in fluid outside of cells. Many of you are probably familiar with sodium chloride, which is the scientific name for table salt. Sodium regulates the water levels in the body, which is why those trying to lose weight should avoid salt as much as possible as it causes water retention (excess salt is a big dietary problem; salt deficiency is very uncommon). The brain, nervous system and muscles require electrical signals to communicate, thus a good sodium level is critical for proper function.

An increase in sodium, known as hypernatremia, occurs when there is excess sodium in relation to water (which is why everyone recommends drinking more water). By contrast, a decrease in sodium level is known as hyponatremia. The normal blood sodium level is 135 – 145 mmol/L (millimoles / Litre).

Potassium:

This is another major cation found in cells. It helps regulate heartbeat and muscle function. Abnormal changes in potassium levels can impact on the nervous system and cause irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), which can be fatal.

An increase in potassium levels is known as hyperkalemia and a decrease is known as hypokalemia. Potassium is normally excreted by the kidneys, so diseases that affect the kidneys can cause either one of these. The normal blood potassium level is 3.5 – 5.0 mmol/L.

Chloride:

This is the major negatively charged ion (anion) found in the fluid outside of cells and in the blood. Sea water has almost the same concentration of chloride ions as human body fluids. An increase in chloride levels is known as hyperchloremia while a decrease is known as hypochloremia. The normal range for chloride is 98 – 108 mmol/L

Bicarbonate:

This ion acts as a buffer to maintain the pH level in blood and other bodily fluid. It acts to regulate acidity levels in the body and the normal range is 22 – 30 mmol/L.

 

Powerade and Conclusion:

I have a bottle of this with me right now, so let’s take a look at the ingredients. All sports drinks are roughly the same so I’ll just focus on Powerade since I have the bottle with me and since its nutritional table is more helpful than the Gatorade one. In terms of the electrolyte content, per serving there is 7.2mmol of sodium and 2.4mmol of potassium (where a serving size is 600mL). The ingredients list sodium chloride, which we all know is just salt, and to cover up the salty taste it lists sucrose, which is basically table sugar. Sucrose is a simple carbohydrate; I’ll leave it at that for now. The drink also contains high fructose corn syrup and sucrose syrup.

Essentially, the two drinks are meant to help maintain electrolyte and carbohydrate balance through salt and sugar. That’s also the problem. If you’ve heard anything about the state of the Western diet and its health problems, you’ll know that salt and sugar are the two worst things happening to people right now. This is compounded by the fact that to restore carbohydrates, these drinks use simple carbs.

Now if we keep in mind that this is sports drink, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Athletes are less likely to have an excess of sodium chloride in their diets (as opposed to the rest of the world) and a quick hit of carbs during exercise can help prevent catabolism and facilitate refuelling. The only concern I would have in this regard is that despite marketing itself as an electrolyte replenisher, sports drinks only contain two of the most common electrolytes because they’re just using common salt.

The problem is that the drink is available to anybody. It sits in the drink section as if it were just another drink. A lot of drinks have sugar in it already, but sports drink also have salt, making things worse. The contents include sucrose syrup (liquefied table sugar) which is high in empty calories. Powerade actually has less sugar in it than Gatorade, but let’s take a look at Gatorade (because I have the numbers from a study here). Gatorade contains 14g of sugar per 100g, which is equivalent to about 3.3 teaspoons of sugar. The entire bottle (which is one serving) will give you 8 teaspoons of sugar. Additionally, the high fructose corn syrup content has been shown to significantly and independently increase risk of hypertension in people with no previous history of the disease (American Society of Nephrology, 2009). Imagine a regular person adding all this to their diet because they perceive the sports drink as being healthier than the soft drink.

In fact, even if you are an athlete and regularly exercise, I still would not recommend sports drinks at any time other than when you are actually in the middle of exercising. This is the only time where a sugar and salt hit will not necessarily be bad for you, but the other ingredients still make the benefits of the drink questionable. All in all, I would still go for just water and maybe a quick, bite sized snack like fruit or nuts. Personally, I carry a bag of almonds around and just pop a few in my mouth while I’m at the gym. The protein and calorie content of almonds are amazing for building muscle.

 

Been a while since I did a post on health so I’m here to drop knowledge bombs on the fat topic. My first post on health is too long and cluttered so I’m going to break things down to more bite-sized portions.

Let’s start with most important fact, something that a lot of people don’t know and have health issues because of: not all fat is bad. In fact, some fats are good for you. As in, actively help your health. Here’s something to think about. In the 1960s, fats and oils supplied Americans with 46% of their calories. At this time, about 13% of adults were obese and less than 1% had type 2 diabetes. Compare that with today where Americans only get about 33% of their calories from fats and oils, yet 34% of adults are obese and 11% have diabetes (stats sourced from Harvard).

So, what’s the deal here? Well, like I said, not all fat is bad. By reducing fat intake, people have also cut out good fats, and have replaced these with simple carbs (white bread, rice, etc.) which is a bad combination. Weight loss/gain is determined by the amount of calories. Other health issues depend on where these calories come from (fat, grains, etc.); for example, cholesterol levels can rise due to an increased intake of saturated fats, but you can still lose weight while eating saturated fats if you reduce your daily calorie intake. What’s that mean? Well, if you want to look good and be healthy, you need to watch what you eat and how much you eat. If you just want to look good for the short term (because if you’re unhealthy, you’re not going to look good for long), you can just eat less and not really watch what you’re eating (although some foods are far more calorie-dense than others).

How fat works:

So, let’s take a look at how fat works; fat is actually an important nutrient. Your body runs on three fuel sources, carbohydrates, protein and fat. I won’t go into detail here, that’s for another post, but basically fat provides 9 calories per gram whereas carbs and protein only provide 4. Fat is therefore a great source and store of energy. It also influences insulin sensitivity (will go into detail about this in another post) and can address inflammations. The body also uses cholesterol as the starting point to make estrogen, testosterone, vitamin D and other vital compounds.

However, fat and cholesterol don’t dissolve in water or blood, so the body packages fat and cholesterol into protein-covered particles called lipoproteins. These can dissolve into the blood stream. There are many types but the most important ones are low-density lipoproteins, high-density lipoproteins and triglycerides.

Low Density Lipoproteins (LDLs):

These carry cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. Cells latch on to the LDLs to extract fat and cholesterol from them. However, when there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, they begin to form deposits on the walls of arteries (called plaque), which narrows the arteries and limits blood flow. When plaque breaks apart, it can cause a heart attack or stroke. Because of this, LDL cholesterol is often referred to as bad cholesterol.

High Density Lipoproteins (HDLs):

These scavenge cholesterol from the bloodstream, from LDL, and from artery walls and ferry them back to the liver for disposal. Obviously, that’s good for you, which is why HDL cholesterol is often referred to as good cholesterol (as you can see, it actively improves your health).

Triglycerides:

These make up most of the fat that you eat and that travel through your bloodstream. They are the body’s main method for transporting fat to cells (good thing), but an excess can cause health issues.

Types of fat:

Ok, so now you know how fat works and that there are good and bad cholesterols (HDL and LDL respectively).

Unsaturated fat:

There’s two kinds of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. These are called good fats because they can improve blood cholesterol, ease inflammation, stabilise heart rhythms and provide other health benefits. These kinds of fats are liquids at room temperature. Omega-3 is an important type of polyunsaturated fat because the body can’t make it. Most people don’t get enough of these healthy fats and the entire misled “low fat diet” only made things worse as people avoided bad and good fats, replacing them with simple carbs (which are bad). High fat diets with low carbs and healthy fats have been shown to result in weight loss and overall health improvements (such as reducing cardiovascular risks).  The American Heart Foundation recommends 8-10% of your daily calories coming from polyunsaturated fats, though around 15% can do more to lower heart disease risks. The message here is to eat more healthy fats (and obviously less unhealthy ones).

Saturated fat:

Including trans fat (the worst), these are the bad fats you should avoid. They cause excesses of LDLs and triglycerides (their negative effects can be seen above), which lead to a wide range of health issues.

Some sources of good fats:

Oils: Olive, canola , flaxseed

Nuts: Almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, peanuts

Seeds: Flax, sesame, pumpkin, chia

And fish, corn, and soybeans.

 

Conclusion:

Although the Atkins diet and other studies have shown high fat diets do not necessarily lead to worse health conditions, that is a vast oversimplification of the issue. High fat diets are high in both saturated and unsaturated fats, the latter being good for you. When compared to a typical carb-rich American diet, it may be worth the increase in saturated fat to increase unsaturated fat intake. If you look at things more precisely though, it’s because high fat diets replace carbs as fuel, and because you’re getting more unsaturated fats (which you need). It’s not because the fat itself is good for you, it’s because people have really bad diets already, so the comparison is like picking the lesser evil.

As for why carbs are bad for you – well I’ll address that in another post but the crux of it is that carbs release glycogen into your system, and excess glycogen is stored as fat. High carb diets (especially simple carbs with a low glycemic index) tend to release too much glycogen at once, causing most of it to turn into fat. Carbs also digest the fastest out of the three fuel sources and cause blood sugar and insulin levels to spike, then crash very rapidly leading to feelings of weakness, tiredness, hunger and increasing risks of heart disease and diabetes.

 

Foreword: I’m going to mention sexual organs here, so you have an aversion to reading this stuff, here’s my warning to you (I talk about it medically, there’s no sexualisation or anything).

Some of you have heard the religious hokum about how Eve was created from one of Adam’s ribs – and some have had the misfortune of meeting idiots who actually believe that men have one less rib than women because of this. Prepared to get scienced.

Now, of course, this isn’t an attack on religion, it’s just another informative article. I only bring up the religious flipside to address a conceptually wrong idea – that somehow women came from men and men were “here first”. This couldn’t be farther off the mark because, as the title reveals, all men were once women.

Let me explain. For those of you who don’t know how human gender is determined, it’s based on what’s known as the XY sex-determination system. This system applies not only to humans, but most mammals, some insects and some plants. To put it simply, women have two of the same sex chromosomes (XX) whereas men have two distinct sex chromosomes (XY).

Here’s the crux of the matter – as an embryo, everyone is “female” until the Y chromosome kicks in about 6-8 weeks after conception. Technically speaking, the embryo is undifferentiated (though it takes chromosomes from the mother and father to make the pair), but I’m addressing the conceptual flaw of “men came first” here, not the medical technicalities. The thing is, the Y is the only thing that determines whether the embryo becomes a male, therefore the “default” will be the only other option: female. Abnormal embryos with XXXY will still be male because of the Y, so we can see that the X is not a determining factor, and is thus the “default” case. My medicine student friend pointed out to me that the embryo isn’t considered female (because it already has XX or XY), which is why I put “female” in quotation marks. Remember, this is a conceptual issue – if one were to say “men came before women” they would be more correct to say “women came before men”, though medically they would both be technically wrong (the embryo is often referred to as a proto-female; I’m just saying that it’s more female than male, not that it’s definitely female). That’s also why males have nipples, which pretty much serve no purpose. Also, some of you may know that the female clitoris and male penis grow from the same genital tubercle when in embryo form (by the way, both enlarge when aroused). The tubercle is undifferentiated – the only thing determining whether it turns into a penis or clitoris is exposure to testosterone. Medically, the clitoris is said to be the homologue of the penis (the female counterpart of the penis). Some have oversimplified this by saying “the clit is just an under-developed penis”. Well, now that we know all men were once women, it’s more accurate to say the penis is just an oversized clit.

So the truth is, all men were once women, and thus all men come from women (not the other way around!).

Now before the guys go off with their tails between their legs, and the girls float off with their big heads, I wanted to point out that this fact has another implication. Women often call men “primitive”, but in reality, women are actually the baser form. In fact, studies have shown that the male Y chromosome is evolving much faster than the rest of the human genetic code.

“The Y chromosome appears to be the most rapidly evolving of the human chromosomes,” said study co-author Dr. David Page, director of the prestigious Whitehead Institute in Cambridge and a professor of biology at MIT. “It’s an almost ongoing churning of gene reconstruction. It’s like a house that’s constantly being rebuilt.”

But make sure to take this information in context! This doesn’t necessarily mean that men are the more evolved sex, since the Y chromosome only determines a person’s sex. However, the Y chromosome is undoubtedly special. Unlike the other 44 chromosomes, it is an individual and not part of a pair, and it is also an “evolutionary powerhouse”. Scientists are expectant of future discoveries regarding the Y chromosome as it shows so much potential (in multiple areas, not just determining sex).

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