Comments Off

Introducing Plasma Cosmology

Posted by spitlermike | Filed under Articles

Hello, for my first post I have chosen to introduce an alternative cosmology.

(Let me preface this by mentioning that I am not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to cosmology and physics; I just happen to have read about this theory and found it interesting. I welcome anyone who is more knowledgeable about the subject to comment on it.)

In short, plasma cosmology argues that electromagnetism is the main force shaping the universe rather than gravity. The reason for this is that most of the universe that we know of consists of plasma, rather than regular matter. The stars are plasmas, auroras are plasmas, nebulas are plasmas, and on and on.

One of the most baffling things about the universe is its filamentary structure. However, novelty plasma globes also exhibit this type of behavior. When electrons flow through a plasma, magnetic fields form around it and compress it more closely together, resulting in filaments of plasma forming.

Another interesting fact is that electromagnetic force is much more powerful when acting on plasmas than gravity is. While the force of gravity is the inverse of the square of the distance between two objects, electromagnetism is only inverse to the distance. Therefore gravity tapers off far sooner than magnetic force does, meaning that at the macro-cosmic scale electromagnetism should be dominant rather than gravity.

Among some of the interesting implications of this theory is that the Sun is actually powered from external electrical currents rather than from within. As the theory goes, the filaments of plasma that streak the universe act as conductors for massive flows of electrons that cause the stars to burn, rather than internal nuclear reactions.

Oh, and it also holds that the universe has no beginning or end.

Here are some relevant links on the subject:

Plasma Cosmology videos

So, what do you guys think?

Comments Off

A Shot in the Dark

Posted by Ryan | Filed under Philosophy

There’s something that’s always bugged me about religious arguments; the absolute certainty of both sides. On one hand you have the standard theist who says ‘Without a doubt, my god exists and is the singular correct god.’ Obviously that’s ridiculous, but isn’t it equally ridiculous to say, ‘Well I don’t know what the answer is, but it sure as hell isn’t that.”

What is faith, really? Believing something without question, right? A while ago I was speaking with someone who was very much an atheist and, as they were ranting about how stupid religious people are, I realized that they were as fervent and adamant in their belief about the non-existence of god as the very people they were insulting. I got to thinking, isn’t it the very same faith? On one hand you have unbacked, unsupported belief that one thing is true. On the other, you’re making a claim that has some circumstantial evidence but no direct proof and believing that is true, often without a doubt. And often with an awful lot of contempt.

I consider myself an agnostic, and unlike most atheists I don’t consider it “fence sitting” or “being a pansy”. Being agnostic to me is simply saying “It is impossible to know whether or not God exists.” Now, I’m not talking about religion mind you. Religions can be disproved because they make claims centered in our world. The earth was created 6,000 years ago, for example. This claim, regardless of the efforts of radical Christians across America, has been proven false. All of that aside, the central claim that there is a divine entity that created the universe and governs it with its almighty will can not reasonably be proven to be false.

There’s plenty of arguments against this and all are logical fallacies. The bottom line is that the argument makes claims that are outside the bounds of our universe, and thus outside of our capacity for perception. “Haha, but Ryan,” you might say with a broad, condescending smirk, “Does that mean you believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Or what about Santa Claus and fairies?” Of course not, but what are you claiming? That a magical fat man flies house to house and drops presents into fireplaces? You can disprove that by finding the parents receipt. That is not the same as claiming that god created and runs the universe, a claim that cannot be either proven or disproved.

I believe that any reasonable minded person will have to admit to both possibilities, that god may or may not exist. To say with scientific certainty that God, without a doubt, does not exist means that you must have some evidence to prove that statement. And when it all comes down to it in the end, science simply is not at a point that it can provide that. When confronted with this argument, most reasonable scientists will agree (much like Dawkins), but reply with “Well, I’m 99.999999% certain god doesn’t exist.” This allows for the possibility, technically, while saying that they’re almost certainly right. That is also incorrect, or at least not logically viable. How can you come to a figure of 99%? The definition of probability is: “the relative possibility that an event will occur, as expressed by the ratio of the number of actual occurrences to the total number of possible occurrences.” When coming to a figure of objective probability, you need some factual data to quantify that figure. What possible data can contribute to this assessment? Whether religions have been proven false? That some other Gods have been proven to not exist?

Probability doesn’t have a memory, my friends. It doesn’t care that no gods live at the peak of Mt. Olympus, or that the sun does not orbit the Earth. Does the Judeo-Christian God exist as the divine creator of our universe? It’s a shot in the dark folks, 50%. Yes or no.

Comments Off

A Reasonable Transformation

Posted by Brandon | Filed under Articles

This post is going to be a personal one but in it I hope to bring to light how it was that I came to atheism. I didn’t wake up one day and decide that I would abandon the idea of god and reject the bible’s teachings. It was a long, arduous process throughout which I felt torn apart, confused, frightened and filled with inner turmoil. There was nothing simple or rushed in this transformation. But in the end I gained more than I could have ever thought possible.

I was born in October of 1984 and raised in a Christian family. It wasn’t a very strict family and though we did goto church it wasn’t all that often. The times I did goto church and/or Sunday school I was taught about the history of creation and what was right or wrong. Though I cannot personally remember, relatives have said that I used to imitate preachers and pray when I was just a kid.

Move ahead to when I was fourteen. I started to hang out with people who for the most part were Christian but a few of my friends were either agnostic or atheist. I would lecture them on denying their creator and would feel genuine sadness over what I thought would be their ill-fate when they would finally meet their maker. I had even gone to a bible camp for a few days once and I can honestly tell you that at the time I felt like Jesus or god or something had touched me. I know now what I felt was adrenaline and the rush of being with so many like-minded individuals.

Skipping ahead to seventeen years of age, I was in high school and had taken quite a liking to science, especially astronomy. This was when the first seeds of doubt had begun to form in my mind. I don’t know what exactly separates the believer from the non-believer but I do think one personality trait really benefits: skepticism. This is not to say you need to argue over everything but if you can question what you think and what you ‘know’ then you have started your first few steps away from the shackles of ignorance.

I was that type of person. I questioned myself and what I thought in other areas, not just religion. I remember once someone had challenged my belief in god and I immediately began to refute what they had said. I realized right at that moment that I was not answering their question from any logical perspective but was doing it in almost a reflexive way. That person’s question did not even enter the logic area of my brain but instead, just like in a cartoon where the character changes the train’s destination by pulling a lever, went down the emotional track and was answered in a purely emotional fashion.

I had to come to grips with my new found revelation later that day. I had literally almost felt my brain being retarded. Couple that with my new appreciation of science and I had a problem that I felt I needed to come to terms with.

I started to feel a sort of intangible kinship with science. Here I was questioning myself and what I believed only to realize that science behaved much in the same way. Science is set up to question itself, to challenge itself and it’s understanding of the universe. You have an innumerable amount of people that do nothing but dedicate themselves to the pursuit of knowledge. They question themselves, they question current theories, they question past theories. Many times they are right but many times they are wrong. And that ability to re-factor, rethink and re-examine concepts and ideas you have held true, regardless if it meant you were wrong, drew me to it like nothing before.

This left me at odds with myself, and prompted what was probably the most difficult step. I couldn’t believe in science and believe in god. No matter how the religious try to swing it, the two are incompatible. But I wasn’t ready to become atheist. I even felt real fear at calling myself agnostic. All the years of believing with every fiber in my being that god would strike me down and send me to hell affected me. Indoctrinating children at a young age will brainwash a child’s mind and to say otherwise is sheer and utter ignorance.

By the time I was eighteen I was a full fledged agnostic. Still not ready to go at it 100% and call myself atheist but I was on the band wagon and loving it. There were two main reasons why I couldn’t go all the way. One was what I said earlier: Afraid that if I was wrong god would punish me. But secondly, and this is why I have this site, I had no community. There wasn’t an “atheist church”. No place to meet with fellow skeptics and share our knowledge and experiences, or at least none that I knew of. Plus I was afraid of how my family would feel about me. Would they judge me? Would they disown me? (They didn’t by the way, much to my satisfaction)

When I was about twenty-one I read a book: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I was immediately changed. I mean, here was a guy that understood me. It was ok to be atheist, it was ok to doubt myself and question what I believed and there were plenty of other people who felt the same. After I read that book I went on a crusade if you will; reading anything I could get my hands on. Watching debates all day, everyday, with people like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.

It wasn’t long after that I was able to call myself atheist with pride. No more feeling guilty about doubting god or challenging the Christian belief system. It was a change in me that was epic in scale and reward. I take the philosophy of science and reason and use it in all aspects of my life today. My only hope with this site is to help people in similar situations. I know what it’s like to believe in god and feel like everyone who questions that is ridiculous. I understand Christians and empathize with them. The only words of wisdom I hope I can convey to you is that you need to question. Always question yourself and your surroundings. Ask your self why? Why do you believe in what you believe. Try and step back as far away as you can from yourself, away from any emotional bias and figure it out.

Hopefully this helps answer any questions people might have of why I dedicate such a large portion of my life to this cause. And I say that without any embarrassment because this is a cause. Religion affects so many facets of our lives from individual rights to politics to how we even think as human beings that I couldn’t live with myself not trying to make some dent, however small it may be, in this world. If I only save one person from a life of ignorance then that will have made all of this worthwhile. Thanks everyone.

Comments Off

Come on guys, really?

Posted by Ryan | Filed under Humor

Gotta show my face at the behest of our great overlord, Brandon. So, how’s it goin’ folks? Workin’ hard out there to keep the faith? If not, just take a look at this video from my good friend Mr. Gladstone

What, not convinced? I mean, come on, it’s a cat that kind of has a pattern that looks like Jesus. And if that wasn’t enough, you’ve got the one and only “Cheesus”. You might recall the article posted by our Great Master recently about laminin. I thought it was ridiculous and laughed as we all surely did, but- Wait, what? People took that seriously? Uh…well, as I was saying, come on. This video is more a bash at Fox news and CNN than it is religion, but the point is that these stories were presented on mainstream TV and taken seriously. Well, by christian people anyway.

Two parts of this piss me off. First, take a look at 1:40. See the little cheeto carefully preserved in it’s display case on the right? We wouldn’t want to destroy a work of god. The second…keep watching. Hear it? 1:43 or so. It’s the guy that chimes in at the end, replying to a statement that it, in fact, ‘is not a work of god, but may bring some good’ with the educated statement of “Duhhhh!”

What is wrong with people? This doesn’t seem like blind desperation to anyone? Why aren’t these people embarrassed by claiming god has blessed them with a bite-sized crucifix?

Hey, you know, I think there might be something to this hidden message thing. I can feel it… God is speaking to the world, what could he be trying to say?

Something like that