Gods: a brief guide for the perplexed 5

Now for a little angry humor:

In the fictions of humanity, gods are among its worst characters.

Never mind your despicable, frivolous, quarreling, spiteful deities of Greece and Rome, your fiery baby-eating Molochs, your South American blood-lusting monsters, and your bestial, deformed, multitudinous divinities of the Far East. Let’s just look at the gods of the three allegedly moral religions created in the Middle East.

God, the Hebrews’ invention, is a tyrant par excellence. Although lauded as good, merciful, and life-sustaining, he emerges from the story as petty, cruel, capricious, boastful, greedy, unjust (for ample examples read the book), and disproportionately vengeful. He takes particular pleasure in vengeance, teasing his worshippers into doing things that will give him a pretext for unleashing punishment not only on the guilty but on innocent successor generations; in one notorious and extremely consequential case by evicting a patriarchal couple from the pleasant garden home he first gets them accustomed to and forcing them to raise their children by hard labor in harsh conditions. (Plan: plant apple tree in garden, tell the two people who live in it not to eat the fruit, and when they do exile them forever with a heavy feeling of shame and guilt.)  Incomprehensibly, his authors’ Jewish descendants continue to believe him to be beneficent, all-powerful, and of course actually in existence even when 6,000,000 of them are mercilessly exterminated. This holocaust that was visited on them as a religious group has not persuaded most of them to doubt the veracity of the story or change the characterization of God. As Christians claim to believe in him too he could be said to have many more believers in him than just the Jewish ones. To an objective observer, however, there is little resemblance between this voluble character and the reticent ‘father’ god of Christianity.

Christ, the divine “son”, is the Christian hero. He’s even better than God at causing folk to feel guilty. He’s made out to be a sweet good innocent type – who then has himself tortured to “death” so nice people are forced to feel really bad. He claims that he has suffered his pretend death to atone for everybody’s else’s sins so that they can be “saved”, yet he invents a place of eternal punishment for anyone who doesn’t manage to accomplish the impossible, unnatural, and unfair things he requires of them, such as loving everyone else and (unlike himself) forgiving them no matter what harm they’ve done.  And then, on top of it, he says now and then in the story (he’s not kept consistent in his views and messages): “Reader, what you actually do doesn’t count: I’ll either ‘save’ you or I won’t. My whim. No appeal.” The nature of this god is hard to grasp. He’s a hybrid god-man. A theo-anthro mongrel. Altogether, in what he is and what he does, what he causes to be done and has others punished for, he’s a bundle of contradictions, or a personified oxymoron.  In every way a badly drawn character, he was based very loosely on one or more real-life preachy Jews of the Augustus-to-Tiberius era of the Roman Empire, chiefly a man whose name is given in Greek as Jesus, but of whom no reliable facts are known to historians. The primary author of the fiction was one Paul, or Saul, but many other imaginations have worked on the tale.

Allah, the Muslims’ divine guy, while allegedly merciful, is the narrow-minded, belligerent, intensely misogynistic, ignorant yet dogmatic patron of a seventh century illiterate pedophile, highwayman, robber and mass murderer named Muhammad, to whom he is inseparably attached. The two of them, prophet and god, live on in the gullibility of billions. As their followers constitute an active threat to civilization by carrying out what they believe to be Allah’s commandments to kill and subdue non-believers, he’s at present the most dangerous of these three nasty  yet widely popular gods.

 

Posted under Theology by Jillian Becker on Sunday, July 31, 2022

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Islam and the Left are enemies of science 2

Islam is inherently inimical to science.

This article is not new (first published 2012), but is of permanent interest and importance:

Frank Tipler on Muslim Contributions to Physics and Astronomy

[Frank Tipler is a world-class mathematician, physicist, and cosmologist.]

In his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, President Barack Obama claimed: “As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam — at places like Al-Azhar University — that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing.”

Obama is not much of a “student of history” if he believes this. Almost every advance he attributes to the Muslims was due to someone else.

The non-Muslim Chinese invented the magnetic compass and printing (Gutenberg invented not printing, but movable type). The non-Muslim Hindu Indians invented algebra and the decimal numbering system. The non-Muslim European Christians invented the university.

I can’t address advances in medicine, but I have studied the history of astronomy and physics. The Muslims contributed nothing.

All modern physics descends from Galileo (1564 -1642); all modern astronomy from Copernicus (1473-1543). If you study Galileo’s works carefully, as I have, you see that he started with the achievements of the Greek mathematical physicist Archimedes of Syracuse (c. 287 BC – c. 212 BC). If you study Copernicus’ works carefully, as I have, you will see that Copernicus’ great book On the Revolutions is essentially a heliocentric re-working of the geocentric astronomy textbook by the Greek Ptolemy (c. 90 AD – 168 AD). Copernicus mostly used even Ptolemy’s data for the positions of the planets. Note the dates for Archimedes/Galileo and Ptolemy/Copernicus. It is as if the Muslim world never existed. As far as their fundamental contributions to physics and astronomy, it did not.

If one reads history of science textbooks prior to about 1980, one will find very little mention of Muslim “contributions” to physics and astronomy. This is reasonable, because there weren’t any. In the past generation, however, political correctness has dictated that Muslims be given credit for discoveries they did not make.

Certainly, the Muslims were a conduit for the discoveries of others. The word “algebra” is indeed derived from an Arabic word. The books of Archimedes and Ptolemy used by Galileo and Copernicus were indeed translations into Latin from the Arabic. But let us never forget that Archimedes and Ptolemy wrote their books in Greek, not Arabic. They were Greeks, not Muslims.

Most of the names for the brightest stars are of Arabic origin, because the names of these stars given in Ptolemy’s textbook were never translated from the Arabic. But do you think that the Arabs were the first humans to observe Rigel and Betelguese, the first and second brightest stars in Orion?

The reason Muslims never developed fundamental physics is because the leading Muslim theologians declared the idea of fixed physical laws to be heretical. The Qur’an (verse 6:64) states: “The Jews have said, ‘God’s hand is fettered.’ Fettered are their hands, and they are cursed for what they have said. Nay, but His hands are outspread; He expends how He will.” The standard Muslim interpretation of this passage has been that there cannot be unchanging physical laws because Allah may change the laws at any moment. In 1982, the Institute for Policy Studies in Islamabad, Pakistan, criticized a chemistry textbook by saying: “There is latent poison present in the subheading Energy Causes Changes because it gives the impression that energy is the true cause rather than Allah. Similarly it is unIslamic to teach that mixing hydrogen and oxygen automatically produces water. The Islamic way is this: when atoms of hydrogen approach atoms of oxygen, then by the Will of Allah water is produced.” The implication is clear: next week, Allah may change his mind about water being a compound of hydrogen and oxygen. With this sort of worldview, how could one possibly be a scientist?

The cosmology of the Qur’an is obviously geocentric, and as a consequence, Al-Azhar University, which Obama singles out for praise in his speech, still teaches Ptolemaic astronomy.

There was one truly great “Muslim” physicist, the Nobel Prize winning Pakistani, Mohammed Abdus Salam. I put “Muslim” in quotes, because Salam belonged to the Ahmadi sect of Islam, a sect that accepts modern science. But in 1974, the Pakistani parliament declared the Ahmadi sect heretical, and its members are currently being persecuted in Pakistan. Contemporary Muslim historians generally do not list Salam as an important Muslim scientist. Had he remained in Pakistan, he quite possibly would have been killed.

During the Cold War, it was commonplace for leftist academics to attribute many discoveries to scientists in Communist countries, discoveries that had actually been made in the West. So now leftist academics attribute to Muslims discoveries that had actually been made by others.

I never expected to hear a president of the United States do so.

And the Left is increasingly hostile and injurious to science:  

Here John Tierney joins John Stossel to talk about the politicization of science and how the dominance of left-wing thinkers in academia and the scientific community impedes progress. For years, liberals have portrayed themselves as champions of science and maligned conservatives as anti-science. As Tierney points out, though, the Left’s opposition to important advances like genetically modified food and the study of human genetics (among others) has done much more damage than, say, conservative creationists, who have zero impact on scientific funding or decision-making.

Posted under Islam, Science by Jillian Becker on Monday, July 25, 2022

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Thirteen words shake the tyrants of the administrative state 1

We select some paragraphs from an article titled A Revolution Against The Administrative State.

It deplores how Americans have been increasingly oppressed by –

… an unaccountable administrative state wielding power over every aspect of their lives.

In the last few years, agencies have seized unprecedented power over every area of American life. The Biden administration has argued in court that the Center of Disease Control (CDC) can issue an eviction moratorium and that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can force workers to get vaccinated. Big government was using a crisis to wield unlimited authority with agencies seizing the thinnest pretext of authority to weigh in on entirely unrelated areas.

The administrative state is the root of all evil. Its members made up the “resistance” who sabotaged Trump administration policies, as they did those of his Republican predecessors.

The administrative state spent generations making elections and elected officials irrelevant. Congress might legislate, presidents might sign bills into law, and judges might rule on them, but the actual implementation was left to a massive expanding bureaucracy which had its own agendas.

So Daniel Greenfield accurately writes.

He goes on:

Government had become too complicated for self-government, by the people or their representatives.

The permanent bureaucrats running the departments and agencies of the executive branch became the actual government of America. They made their own rules and enforced them as they chose.

They chose to enforce them tyrannically. (Many of them command their own armed forces.) No one stopped them. No one knew how to stop them. Presidency and Congress, all the representatives of the people for whom the people cast their votes, were reduced to playing a part in mere window-dressing; they kept the country looking like a democratic republic. The bureaucrats wrote the bills  for Congress to vote on; decided which enacted laws they would execute; and continued to make and enforce their own regulations.

Until, at last, a ruling of the Supreme Court set a limit to their powers.

One of the most tyrannical administrations is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of West Virginia v. EPA puts a curb on it.

And the curb applies to all departments and agencies.

The implications of West Virginia v. EPA go far beyond environmental regulations. 

Which is why it has …

sent shudders through the vast infrastructure of the D.C. administrative state.

One sentence cast the spell that melted the arrogance of the tyrants!

What has touched off all that fear in the administrative state was merely Justice Roberts, the most liberal Republican appointee on the court, writing:

An agency must point to clear congressional authorization for the power it claims.

The fury over that modest proposal reveals how America is really run. And who runs it.

West Virginia v. EPA is a response to unprecedented power grabs in which the country is increasingly ruled by ‘pen and paper’ executive orders [issued by] a vast omnipotent bureaucracy.

It’s not a final reckoning, but it’s a revolution against a tyranny that has virtually eliminated meaningful self-government and the power of the people. And it’s a long overdue revolution.

Is it  a revolution? If it is, will it succeed?

We hope it is, we hope it will. We wait to see.

Posted under tyranny, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Monday, July 11, 2022

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