You want your freedom - By Ashvin Harrison with permission In my opinion, the "abortion debate" isn't actually a debate. Some people want to give rights to fetuses that don't have cognitive abilities to exercise those rights while taking away the right of self-determination from women who do have cognitive abilities. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors. Is a fetus a human being? I really don't care if it is, or isn't. Does a fetus have the right to live? No, it doesn't. Human rights begin at birth according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Let's imagine we give a fetus the right to live. How can we determine whether a fetus wants to exercise that right? We can't. That is not a right, but an obligation. These people want to force fetuses onto the world whether these fetuses want, or not. Let's imagine we take away women's right of self-determination, a right recognized in the Universal Declaration of Hu


I've written about this topic on a number of occasions, but this is, hopefully, the clearest post. There are basically two ways religious people look at the question of "holy" texts and science, and religious people find a way to mentally switch between these two. The first way is very fundy: The "holy" text is true. Period. The second way is more general: There is a god because reasons. Recently, I wrote a tweet I particularly like because it addresses both these views at the same time. a) The creator god of the bible is nonexistent.     Genesis makes claims about creation. Science has debunked those claims centuries ago.  b) The god of the gaps is not the god of the bible.  As I have elaborated on these two points in other blog posts, I'll just leave links to these other blog posts here. Your opinion is always welcome. Links: Interpreting the bible Formal logic Fallacies 'R Us The Kalam Cosmological Fallacies

Flat earth nonsense

Anybody who uses Twitter can come across flat earth proponents. I've engaged with a number of them and they seem to be really nice, misinformed, people. They generally commit the physics folly logical fallacy. That is, they don't understand physics, but talk about it anyway. This is, of course, a special case of the personal incredulity logical fallacy. Here follows a short list of concepts that can not be explained away by the flat earth "model". It's not an exhaustive list because that would be exhausting. Foucault Pendulum . The pendulum swings from one side to the other in a straight line, but the movement of the earth causes the floor to rotate with respect to it. Coriolis effect . The Coriolis effect explains the rotation of hurricanes and typhoons . Here's a cool video demonstration . Wallace's experiment . Also called the Bedford level experiment, is an experiment conducted by Alfred Russell Wallace on a straight, flat, canal. When eliminat

Interpreting the bible

Call me simple (most apologists call me simple, or worse), but I think there are three ways to look at the bible (or any other "holy" book). Either it's literally true, or it has got to be interpreted or there's an incomprehensible ontological argument I frankly don't understand. The, "it's literally true", argument is quite simplistic. It's quite wrong and it deserves all the ridicule in the world. But! It's a brave stance based on the actual historical way people looked at the bible. Once upon a time people believed that the cosmology of the bible (etc) was correct. Only after the advent of the scientific method has this view been reluctantly abandoned by most religious folks. The, "it has got to be interpreted", argument has several problems, in my opinion. For instance, nobody knows which interpretation is the correct one which explains the multiple denominations. Another problem is the cherry picking of parts of the bible t


" Scientism " means misusing the word " science ". You can misuse it either by calling something that can't be measured "scientific", or by claiming that something without sufficient supporting evidence is "scientific". It is a word that's thrown around by people who hardly know what it means and who certainly don't know what the word "science" means or what the scientific method is. "Scientism" is also a word used in philosophy to denote an excess of confidence in science, and has legitimate uses. However, the people who accuse others of "scientism" are not at all interested in philosophy. They are solely interested in delegitimizing the scientific method. They are anti-science . Period. Why are they against science? Is it because they are not scientifically literate? Do they have economic motivations? What worries me is the number of people that are anti-science. There's a war on science g

Formal logic

Genesis 1:1 * describes the following logic Informally Premise P1: God exists. Premise P2: If P1 then "the universe is as old as the earth**". Conclusion C1: The universe is as old as the earth. Formally P1 → C1, P1        C1 This form of logic is called Modus Ponens. The truth of C1 doesn't imply the truth of P1 because there may be other explanations for C1. Lets look at the following classical example Premise P3: It rains Premise P4: If P3 then "the streets are wet". Conclusion C2: The streets are wet There are other possible explanations for wet streets: A cleaning crew just passed, there were games with water, the dikes were broken, etc ... However, we can say that, if the streets are not wet then it doesn't rain. Formally P3 → C2, ¬C2        ¬P3 This form of logic is called Modus Tollens and is the inverse of Modus Ponens. To return to Genesis 1:1. C1 is false and Modus Tollens applies. P1 → C1, ¬C1        ¬


The following is just my opinion . If you don't like my opinion, I have others as Groucho Marx once put it. In my opinion , there are three types of knowledge (feel free to comment with more - or less - types). Common knowledge Scientific knowledge Epistemological knowledge  Let's examine these. Common knowledge - "Everybody knows this" The problem with common knowledge is that, just because everybody knows it, doesn't make it true . Once upon a time, everybody knew that the sun revolved around the earth, then, Copernicus had another idea... Common knowledge is also fraught with opinions . Everybody knows that Darwin was the greatest scientist of all time... or Newton, or ... Everybody knows you don't wear socks with sandals. Common knowledge says that there are no atheists in foxholes even though there is evidence against it . There are atheists in foxholes, and have been throughout the ages. Scientific knowledge - "Measured, time a