Friday, October 28, 2011

Part 2 of My Proof God does not Exist!

Nature vs. Intelligence – What's the confusion?
hear on youTube

Many atheist like to point out and argue the apparent un-intelligence of our universe, and indeed that is incredibly easy given the diversity and opportunistic nature of evolution.  The problem with this approach is that it misses the big point.  Embedded in the Creationist argument is the assumption that nature and god could be confused; that evolution and the acts of the creator some how look the same. That the forms they produce and the apparent methods they used would appear so close to each other that millions of scientist over the past 150 years of looking into where we come from would have missed those nuances in the physical record that would have proved there was a creator. Logically this makes no sense since there is nothing connecting the two realities except of course the need by the believer to fit their intelligent designer in to the constraints of the real world.

Part 1 of My Proof God does not Exist!

No Physical evidence of god and his domain.

hear it on youTube

If there really was a god what would you expect? Well for one thing, I would have expected that science would have validated the existence of god and related supernatural phenomena by now.  Now don't take this as some pompous scientific hand waving. You don't have something that interacts with our bodies and minds and not have some obvious impact in the physical world at least at the molecular/atomic level.  The problem is that if god existed in the way most theist tend to imply, you would not expect it to be some weak subtle influence but something rather spectacular and widespread, at least as compared to our current understanding of subatomic particles and quantum mechanics.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Population Weighted History

In Pharyngula article Humanity’s recent surge, PZ discusses a chart from The Economist. The chart deals with population and growth rate on the same time scale by century. 

The article got me wondering how the data would look if you plotted it along a population weighted year (PWYr) time scale. 
(NOTE:  this idea seems quite simple and obvious, so I suspect someone has done this before, but I could not find it.).

So what is a PWYr?
A PWYr is a measure of time based on the number of years lived collectively by a population over some long time scale (i.e. where population is changing dramatically). It turns out that a PWYr is equal average population over a reference period. A table of PWYr shift the years such that it creates a corresponding date within the reference period that assumes a constant population over that period.

So whats good about it?
The interesting thing is that change especially for technology, knowledge, and research driven endeavors like economics, science, longevity, communication, etc. should be at least in part proportional to the number of people living.  In other words, for any society, the more people there are, the more that can contribute to change, and so the faster the change appears.  I came up with the notion of a PWYr a few years ago and always thought it would be an interesting way to watch change over the centuries.

So what does it look like?
To see what a Population Weighted Year looks like, I used World population data from Wikipedia to calculate roughly how many years lived over each of the population intervals.  I then summed the total years lived and divided by the total period covered to get the average population, which is also the number of years lived in a population weighted year.  When I took the period from 0 CE to 2010, I get:
1 PWYr (0-2010) = 603,902 years lived
From there is is simple to calculate the equivalent date in PWYrs for each interval which I have calculated in Table 1. You may ask Why 0 to 2010? I was trying to look at the time line from roughly to day and so 2010 was the closest date to today.

Table 1: Calendar year vs Population weighted Year (PWYr) based on the average population (603902890) from year 0 to 2010. Therefore, 1 PWYr is equivalent to 603,902,890 years lived by the world population. The data came from Wikipedia World Population Estimates article.
Estimate Population*
Population Weighted Year (PWYr)
*UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2008)
**Population for 8000 BCE is from Population Reference Bureau (1973–2008)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sita Sings the Blues

 I want to thank Helmet (The Friendly Atheist) for the link to a really great movie by Nina Paley "Sita Sings The Blues".  I love the imagery, the intermix of modern day and ancient Hindu, the comedy and of course most of all the music. I love the sweet and comic use of 1920's songs by Annette Hanshaw (playlist).  Here is the movie:

Per the video description:
"Sita Sings the Blues" is based on the Hindu epic "The Ramayana". Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama. Nina Paley is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by email. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Ramayana. Set to the 1920's jazz vocals of torch singer Annette Hanshaw, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as "the Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told." It is written, directed, produced and animated by American artist Nina Paley.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cover of the Week - Love is a Battlefield (Pat Benatar)

Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar (playlist) is one of my favorite songs of all-times. Although several of Pat's songs would fit in that title. Power and passion pulsated from her rock and roll and flows into her covers.

For something differenct, I'll start off with a version by Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo but not the original but a very nice slightly different acoustic version

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Random Meme of the Week #2

9/14/11 - Revised numbering system

Da Rules (a work in progress)
1. I hold no truths to be absolute and no absolutes to be true. (No Absolutes Rule)
2. I hold no truth to be self evident. (No Free Ride rule)
3. I hold no belief on anything for which we humans know nothing about. (No Making Shit up rule)
4. I hold no humans can truly know or even imagine anything infinite and reality seems to concur. (Nothing infinite matters Rule)
5. I hold no abstractions to be real except as they manifest their usefulness to the holder. (Usefulness of Abstractions Rule)
6. I hold no belief about others that I am not willing to apply to myself. (Play Fair Rule)
7. I hold no human like being is behind any aspect of our universe except our own actions. (Don't be Narcissistic rule)
8. I hold no delusion that humans are inherently logical. (Silly Humans rule)
9. I hold on to reality as tightly as I can. (Reality rules!)
10. I hold my pants up with a belt, most times. (Token Reality Rule)
11. Follow the evidence wherever it takes you (Prime directive)
12.Belief shapes Perception (Believing is Seeing)
13. Never be afraid to be wrong (but don't guess)
14. Be honest with yourself above all else.
15. Live within the bounds of human experience and not human imagination.
16. Define yourself by what you know and not what you don't know.
17. Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
18. Worry and anger do nothing to improve a situation
19. All things in moderation especially moderation (seek balance over the center).
20. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, when you don't know what else to do.
21. Almost nobody sees themselves as truly evil or completely wrong.
22. Conspiracy is much rarer than incompetence in explaining the human state.
23. You've got to save a lot a butt if you want to get away with murder

Additionally I use
1.Occam's Razor - when faced with competing hypothesis that are equal in other respects, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions.
2. Sagan Standard - Extreme claims require extreme evidence

At one point this was a couple of pages but in trying to simplify my beliefs, I have tryed to keep it to whats important.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Covers of the Week - The Lazy Song (Bruno Mars)

Took a weak off, and so I'm back with a new cover. This week it's Bruno Mars' (playlist) The Lazy Song which came out in February of 2011. Like most new songs, most of the covers tend to be done by fans and in Brono's original style but there are a lot of them and there are some really good performances. This song also has a lot of very funny parodies and I've added some but be aware some are a little adult so if your a easily offended don't watch.

Chester See has a great version on the softer side

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Covers of the Week - Mash-up Special

This week is some thing different (and of course anything different is good).  For those that don't know a mash-up is where multiple songs are are combined into one. Here is a link to my regular mashups playlist which I call Non-Linear Melodies. Tonight I've collected some of my favorite acoustic mash-ups and mash-up covers from my Organic Mashups Playlist on youTube.

Mashing up Umbrella and Singing in the Rain has been done multiple time by Jamie Cullum and Glee. My favorite version is by Sonnet its a little more tender and just a better covers.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Covers of the Week - Poker Face (Lady Gaga)

"There's a fine line between a generic person from the 80s and Janice from the Muppet Show, and Lady Gaga dares to ride that line" (Molly Lewis). 
What can you say about Lady Gaga (playlist)? She is becoming the quintessential pop icon for today's generation. Poker Face is one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs and has the diverse set of covers to make it fun.

Molly Lewis (youTube) has fun with Lady Gaga

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Covers of the Week - Crazy (Gnarls Barkley)

Last in our Crazy May trio is Gnarls Barkley's (playlist) Crazy which came out in 2006 and is a fun one. With loads of great covers that make you head bob, foot tap, butt squirm and your whole body rock out to a great party song.

Starting off with Nelly Furtado(playlist) absolutely awesome version

Atheism as a Religion

hear it on youTube
This is a response to the youTube Videos: "Atheism is a Religion"...? by BionicDance  and An Atheist Calls Atheism a Religion by GrapplingIgnorance.

When people argue about whether atheism is a religion or not, they are almost always arguing against  2 different usage (definitions) of the word atheism/atheist in society.

First off there is the classic dictionary definitions ...  namely that atheism is the lack of a belief in god, the disbelief in God, and or the belief that god does not exist. As such it gives no other restrictions on the beliefs of atheists other than to say that they share a single belief about god. Religion or religious beliefs, on the other hand, is the set of beliefs and practices by which a person or group identify themselves or by others. Reality is atheism, theism, and agnosticism are really just a way we group or categorize a broader set of beliefs which can be typically sub divided into specific religions/religious beliefs. You would not claim that theism is a specific religion or religious belief.  Even deists in general usage  has a set of beliefs and share a common identity that defines itself as a religious belief. Under this definition atheism indeed cannot be a religion.

The second usage of atheists/atheism references the collection of people that call themselves atheist. People who use this definition tend to see atheism as more than just a group that shares a single belief but instead sees a community who share a whole suite of beliefs about skepticism, naturalism, science, and rational advocacy that dominate the popular atheist movement. While I have yet to see this usage in a dictionary, some atheists, most notably PZ Myers, do tend to advocate this usage.  Moreover many atheist will chastise other atheists who stray from orthodoxy of their "atheism" especially as it relates to tolerance and support in various forms of nonsense.  Depending on your definition of religion, you could easily argue that this group would constitute a religion or at least a set of religious beliefs in that they share a common set of beliefs, doctrine, and identity; and are loosely organized (all be it in a very decentralized manner) and have established and recognizable leaders and advocates.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Covers of the Week - Crazy (Seal)

Released in 1990, Crazy by Seal (playlist) is an awesome song.  Being the middle sister of our Crazy trio, it may not get the recognition of the other Crazys and indeed Alanis Morissette  is the only big name to cover it but it has some great covers with a diversity of styles.

Alanis Morissette (playlist) great version

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Anti-Pascal Counter Wager.

hear it on you Tube
If you believe that God exist and you're right, the odds are that you will not believe in  the right god so your life time of servitude and debasement to a god will mean nothing since your ancestors picked the wrong god and you will be punished with the rest of the non believers.

If you believe that God exist and you're wrong, then you have wasted your life subservient to a being your ancestors made up, and all the bull shit you put up with was for nothing.

If you believe that God does not exist  and you're right, then you are free to make the best of your life,  share what you learn in life, and pass it on to the next generation.

And if you believe that God does not exist and you're wrong, the odds are that you will have the same fate as all those who believed in the wrong god (which should be most of them) but at least you tried to do the best you can.

If it made any difference to god if we believed in him, then it would seem quite reasonable that those who believed wrong would share the same fate. If god wanted us to believe in him, then we would know who the right god is... since everyone does not share the same belief about god, then you probably believe in the wrong one.  In the end its a suckers bet to believe in god.

Covers of the Week - Crazy (Patsy Cline)

The Crazy Trilogy -  First one up from 1962 is the truly classic and tender Crazy written by Willie Nelson (playlist) and made famous by Patsy Cline (Playlist). One of the few country songs that I really love and it goes way back to my childhood.  Maybe its the deeply melancholy lyrics that I seem to have a fascination for.

Norah Jones (playlist)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Covers of the Week - Smells like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)

This week I've chosen a modern classic that I have enjoyed the diversity of performances for years.  Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (playlist) is one of those songs that define a generation. This song some of the bet diversity of performance and any other in my collection of covers.

Tori Amos (playlist) version is a classic unto itself as she throughly "torisizes" it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Covers of the Week - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams Sr.)

I am not a big fan of country and western music. I don't dislike but I typically don't include it among normal listening. But there are exceptions especially when it comes to classic country blues like the next classic. I've always loved Hank Williams Sr. (playlist) since I was a wee little boy and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" is probably my favorite.

Cowboy Junkies (playlist) bring their own melancholy style

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Great Debate Debate

In The Long Debate and the Importance of Engaging with “Believers” on a Philosophical Level on JREF Matt Lowry talks about how his beliefs have changed over the years.

In the early days, I was often brash and overly dismissive of those who espoused various, for lack of a better term, woo-woo beliefs.  Over time I came to realize that I wasn’t really engaging in good skepticism but instead overt cynicism: I was simply adhering to a position and everything which didn’t automatically agree with that position got dumped into the proverbial dustbin.  I’ve spoken with a number of other skeptics who agree that this is how they used to behave as well; it was almost as if I was so proud of my newly acquired “skeptical badge” that I wanted to go around bashing everyone who didn’t think like me over the head with it. 
Now, from what I understand of human nature, we all do this sort of thing to a certain degree or another, but that fact doesn’t necessarily justify such behavior and it certainly doesn’t help to advance any sort of fruitful discussion.  
Funny how our different experiences cause us to change in different ways and so what one person considers the natural progression through life, can be completely opposite to another persons experience.

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Random Meme of the Week #3

Have it read to you on youTube
Do we anthropomorphize inherently?
Have you ever noticed that everything "metaphysical" or "supernatural" ultimately is about we humans.  Whether it be a an exaggeration of our abilities, a projection of ourselves as the cause for all things, or the insistence that everything is here to aid us. When we hear a strange noise, see something we don't understand, or feel something strange, it's just we humans  in another form or human like beings (ghosts, spirits, angles, daemon sprite).  When random events happen, good or bad, it must be because of some human like purpose or intent to reward or punish us (fates, destiny, Karma, luck) or because some human like being wanted it to happen (guardian angels, animal spirits, ancestors, demons, gods). When we look at our world an need to figure out how it works or how it got there, it can only be some super being with all the intelligence, purpose, emotions, and vanity of we humans that did it (God, universal consciousness, ).  When we look into the heavens and play connect the dots, those pattern we imagine must have meaning and be meant for us humans (astrology). When some one dies, we know humans are indestructible and they are going to a better (or worse) place (heaven, hell, afterlife, Hates, Valhalla, nirvana,) or they will start a new (reincarnation). And it goes on and on. But Why?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Covers of the Week - Candy (Paulo Nutini)

The problem with trying to find covers for relatively new songs is that they don't have time to be adapted to a variety of styles and genre. The covers you find tend to be a lot of acoustic and karaoke versions by fans trying to recreate a favorite song. There is nothing wrong with mimicking a great performance and many of them are very good, but from a listening to multiple covers point of view they get repetitive and admittedly I love a diversity of styles. But  when you find a song with a lot of covers like todays cover, you quickly realize that this song is something special and the diversity of covers will come.  I discovered Paulo Nutini's Candy while doing a generic search for "covers" on youTube and quickly fell in love with it. There are over a 100 covers and many of them are very good.  The ones here are the ones I like the best and I hope you like them.

Stephanie deBruijn's was the first cover I found and love listening to it

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Story of California Dreamin'

Have it read to you on youTube
I want to thank uvurob for his California Dreaming -- Acapella/Acoustic Mashup video which is a nice arrangement of various (mostly acoustic) covers of the Mamas and the Papas' California Dreaming spliced into one song. Sometimes its funny what will reveal some inner truth about yourself and explain some of our quirkyness.

Well California Dreaming by the Mamas and Papas is one of my all time favorite songs. I have fond memories of walking to Jr. high school and high school in San Leandro, CA on many a cold, overcast, gloomy day and California Dreaming was my inner theme music. I felt one with the song as if it capture some quintessential part of me.

Covers of the Week - California Dreaming (Mamas & Papas)

This is one of my all time favorite songs.  I remember walking to high school and jr. high school in San Leandro, CA on many a cold, overcast, gloomy day with it going thru my head, feeling one with song as if it capture some quintessential part of me.  I think I have more covers (~15) of California Dreamin' than any other song in my collection and I would have more but this is the only song where I eliminated covers changed certain lyrics (normally modified lyrics are a plus) (See A Story of California Dreamin').

Here are some excellent covers starting off with Dana Owens' (Queen Latifah) absolutely awesome version:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Favorite Science Story of the Week

Science of the Week
The unexpected is always cool in real science.
Anomalies at Fermilab
-April 6, 2011 10:47 AM
The Tevatron accelerator at Fermilab is shutting down soon, for some unavoidable reasons (the LHC is taking over) and some frustrating ones (we’re out of money). But there may be life in the old beast yet; a couple of intriguing anomalies have particle theorists raising their eyebrows in charmingly understated excitement.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Talking with Your Body

On April Fools Day, Google announced a new feature called GMail Motion with the following:
The mouse and keyboard were invented before the Internet even existed. Since then, countless technological advancements have allowed for much more efficient human computer interaction. Why then do we continue to use outdated technology? Introducing Gmail Motion -- now you can control Gmail with your body.
I thought "This is dumb. Why would anybody want to stand up and jump around to do email".  When it finally clicked that this was a April Fools prank, I started thinking it was kinda funny but Google really could have taken it much further.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Random Meme of the Week #1

Have it read to you on youTube
You don't need Science to know that there are no gods. All you have to do is look around without assuming gods exist and you will see there is nothing in our reality that even suggests that there is a god. What science does, is remove that void of ignorance about the world around us, that we humans so readily fill with delusions of ourselves. So often, ignorance is that still water that mirrors our own reflection, projecting ourselves deep into that pool of ignorance, and making us believe that behind everything there is a creature that in so many ways looks like us. It's not God theists worship, It's themselves.

Covers of the Week - Wuthering Heights (Kate Bush)

So lets start it out with a classic Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush. This song has many great covers although alot of people only try to mimic Kate which is of course nearly impossible.  Here are 7 who try to put their own bend on a classic.

Just plain Awesome:

Welcome to the Simple Atheist Blog

I'm Ray Higgins, and I go by Big Atheist on youTube. This is my attempt to rant on my thoughts and interest in a semi periodic way and see if I can build some dialog.   As my Blog Description says, this blog will be a collection of "Music, Movies, Memes, and Mayhem from another Gnu Atheist". Mind you the Movies part is really just my own animation which I do very infrequently and the Mayhem piece ...well someday I'll get around to it. I suspect this blog mostly will center around Music and Memes. The Music will mostly focus around my quest for great covers, mash-ups, or odd new music I find on youTube and elsewhere, and maybe some thoughts on why we like the music we like. The main intent for this blog is to talk about the Memes!!! which include my atheism, the atheist/skeptical community, society at large, science, the meaning of life, the future, and speculate a little on how I think it works. And all this from the point of view of just anther militant Gnu Atheist. I'm hoping I will spur some interesting conversations and maybe occasionally give you a new perspective on our reality.