Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - Knight

Pages: [1]
The Lounge / Eliminating the Stigma
« on: January 28, 2007, 07:07:15 PM »
In response to the incident last night that I mentioned in another thread, I wrote a relatively short note today and published it on Facebook.  For all you non-Facebookers, here it is:

Imagine a person who believes that Elvis was abducted by aliens and now resides on another planet in a different galaxy. Imagine a person who believes that driving 88-mph in a De Lorean will actually make you travel back in time. Imagine a person who believes that all the world's dead animals come to life at night and then return to their graves before dawn.

Now imagine a person that believes that believes that a man was born of a virgin a little over two thousand years ago, was crucified, and came back to life after being dead for three days. Imagine a person who believes that today, a priest saying some Latin words over some bread and wine can literally turn them into the flesh and blood of this person who lived so long ago. Imagine a person who believes that one of our ancient books holds the key to understanding the truth about our universe, and that it was written by the creator of the universe for our benefit.

Most of you will see a big difference between the two groups of people. Most likely, you'll immediately dismiss the beliefs of the first three people as utterly ridiculous. Yet in the second group of people, you'll refrain from making any comment about the beliefs being ridiculous and unsubstantiated. The reason for this is most likely not because the first set of beliefs is any more unbelievable than the second set of beliefs (they're both equally invalid). There's something in your mind that allows you to criticize the belief that Elvis was abducted but won't allow you to criticize the belief that people can actually eat the flesh and drink the blood of a person that supposedly lived and died two thousand years ago.

I believe that the difference between the first set of beliefs and the second set is some sort of illusion of 'truth in numbers.' Surely anybody reading this will realize that there are more people that believe in the second group than the first group. Does this fact lend any more credibility to those propositions? Not at all. Consider the fact that a large number of people living in the 1930s and 1940s believed that it was the right thing to do to exterminate Jews. This belief resulted in the Holocaust. Were the people correct to believe that this was the right thing to do? Or consider the fact that there is a large number of people living today that believe that blowing themselves up in crowded places will earn them a ticket straight to paradise where they will get seventy-two virgins. Does the fact that there are many people believing this lend the ridiculous belief any credibility? In fact, the very notion of 'truth in numbers' is immediately defeated when one realizes that there are large numbers of people currently holding incompatible beliefs.

The fact that there are more people who hold the religious beliefs than there are who hold the Elvis, De Lorean, or re-animated pets beliefs does nothing to show that they're true. But there is still something that stops you from criticizing one set of beliefs and allows you to criticize the other openly. This is because our society attaches a certain stigma to criticizing religious faith. You and I can feel free to ridicule the belief in De Lorean time-travel, but we apparently have no right to ridicule the Bible, Qur'an, or any other bogus answer to all of life's questions. What is it about religion that deserves this freedom from criticism? Why isn't religion held to the same standards as everything else? Is there something that is intrinsically different about religious claims that makes it invulnerable to rational conversation? I don't think so.

Unless the various religions in the world are submitted to a rational discourse, the resultant future could be even more divisive and dangerous than today. If there's a reason to believe that Elvis was abducted, we expect to see evidence before we believe it. In the same way we should expect to see evidence before we believe that the Bible or the Qur'an were written by the One True God (so far the evidence suggests that this belief is ridiculous to an extreme degree). So if you're willing to submit your beliefs to rational inquiry, I suggest the following books:

"Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris
"The End of Faith" by Sam Harris

And the following website:

And the following videos:

Lastly, consider the following quote by Sam Harris in his book "The End of Faith":

"Jesus Christ--who, as it turns out, was born of a virgin, cheated death, and rose bodily into the heavens--can now be eaten in the form of a cracker. A few Latin words spoken over your favorite Burgundy, and you can drink his blood as well. Is there any doubt that a lone subscriber to these beliefs would be considered mad? Rather, is there any doubt that he would be mad? The danger of religious faith is that it allows otherwise normal human beings to reap the fruits of madness and consider them holy."

The Lounge / My idea for AiG
« on: January 13, 2007, 12:57:19 PM »
For those who don't know, AiG stands for "Answers in Genesis," the popular Creationist website that tries to debunk evolution and demonstrate the scientific 'truth' that the things written in the Bible are true (for example, that the earth was created in six days, that it is six thousand years old, Noah's ark, etc.).

As I was just over there reading some articles and getting a feel for their arguments, I decided that I would really like to study this stuff in great detail and respond to every single one of their articles.  However, since I'm not the greatest scientist--far from it--I thought the better idea would be to tell you guys about the idea and see if anybody else is interested.  Erasmus has mentioned in the past that it was a good idea.

If we were to do this, we could start a thread for a given article from their website, we could discuss major problems with it for awhile, and then we could collectively (or the best writer among us) write an essay directly responding to the article.  We could then 'publish' that article on this website and send a copy to AiG and TalkOrigins.  This would be a big project, of course, but I'm sure Erasmus, Ubuntu, beast, and others would agree that it's important to respond to Creationists' misleading claims because they're so good at convincing the uneducated.  This has a huge impact on society and especially education.

So, what do you guys think?  Is this a good idea?  If so, is anybody interested in undertaking such a project?  I have a poll, but I'd also like posts from you guys sharing your thoughts and ideas.

The Lounge / Soviet Russia
« on: December 12, 2006, 01:40:16 PM »
Let's see...

Beria was a crazy fool who did what Stalin told him, yet Stalin was paranoid and "saw plots" everywhere of people who were supposedly out to get him.  When "Beria poisoned Stalin" and killed him, he tried to make the Soviet Union a better place by initiating reforms of liberalization.  Much to his chagrin, though, nobody trusted him anymore after he acted so crazy all those years under Stalin.  They thought he was going to eventually kill the other prominent politicians in the Soviet Union, so they quickly arrested him and executed him.  Nobody trusts Beria...

Khrushchev takes over the Soviet Union and keeps instituting the reforms Beria had began.  This makes all the Stalinist politicians angry and they tried to oust him because they didn't like the liberalization of the state.  Khrushchev was trying to be careful not to offend Stalinist politicians when he went on his campaign of de-Stalinization--instead he just wanted to attack Stalin himself.  Yet his campaigns, added to his "mistakes" in foreign policy, made people want to get rid of him (which they did, in 1964).

Along comes Brezhnev, who's all like "problem?  What problem?" and just ignores the steady decline of the Soviet economy and system over the next two decades.  He tries to make life bearable for the people as long as the don't try to reform stuff.  He likes Stalin, and gives some more power back to the police just like Stalin had it.  The economy stagnated during this time.  Brezhnev was able to have a period of eased tensions with the U.S. during the Cold War called detente (but this ended when he sent troops into Afghanistan in 1979).

Next came two leaders that were short-lived, Andropov and Chernenko.  Andropov tried to do some more reforms like Khrushchev, and Chernenko just ignored everything like Brezhnev.  When Gorbachev comes along he's all like "Omg we need to do some reforms and stuff real quick" so he initiated perestroika and glasnost but it turned out that these things didn't allow the Soviet Union to recover and it just ushered in the end of the Cold War and Soviet Union altogether.

Gotta final tomorrow right after my philosophy final :-)

The Lounge / Dear Mr. Phelps
« on: November 03, 2006, 10:00:58 PM »
Taking inspiration from the "Dear Dr. Laura" letter that's floating around on the internet, I decided to write a letter to Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS. He and his followers are fundamentalist Christians who preach the message that "God Hates Fags" and "God Hates America." I thought the "Dear Dr. Laura" letter was a good model for my letter to Phelps, and you will certainly see the similarities.

Quote from: "I"
Dear Mr. Phelps,

As an undergraduate college student, I admire the great things you have done for the community over the past several years. You constantly strive to improve our society, and I salute you for that. Without a doubt, your anti-homosexual campaign has had a profound effect on many people. Whenever I hear somebody complaining about your methods of preaching to gay people, I always point out that Leviticus 20:13 says homosexuals should be put to death. At least you arenít killing them. However, I do have some questions on other matters that you might be able to clear up.

Jeremiah 48:10 says ďA curse on him who keeps his sword from bloodshed.Ē Now, I admit, I donít even own a sword. But if I did own one, exactly who is it that Iím supposed to kill? Should I buy a sword?

Leviticus 20:27 says that we should stone to death any fortunetellers. The problem is, when I try to sneak up on them they always know Iím coming. Do you have any hints or tips on how to sneak up on them or do you find yourself having the same problem Iím having?

Some of the slaves that I own have been getting a little out of line and not doing their jobs lately. Should I point them to Ephesians 6:5 where it commands them to obey their master? I suppose if this doesnít work I could always follow Exodus 21:20-21 where it says Iím allowed to beat my slaves as long as they survive the beating for a day or two. Iíd still like to know how you deal with your slaves when they get out of line.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 says that a son who does not obey his father and mother is supposed to be stoned to death by everybody in the town. The problem is, I canít seem to convince the rest of the town that this is the right thing to do. How can I persuade them?

Leviticus 20:16 tells us to kill a woman if she has sex with an animal. Now, does the type of animal matter or is it simply any non-human? Just checking.

I look forward to your response, Mr. Phelps.

By Godís Sovereign Will,

Landon Hedrick

Technology, Science & Alt Science / Dr. Dino
« on: October 27, 2006, 03:54:35 PM »
This guy is knowledgeable about a lot of things.  What do you guys think of his "pseudoscientific" claims?  If at all possible, in this thread we can work to disprove his beliefs or claims.

Here are a few helpful links.

His website:

Debate w/ Evolutionist:

Debate part 2:

The debates are actually pretty good.

Hey guys, tonight I went to an ethical debate/conversation about stem cell research (specifically, the "Amendment 2" to be voted on in a couple of weeks here in Missouri).  One philosophy professor was for embryonic stem cell research (and SCNT 'cloning' for theraputic purposes) and the other philosophy professor was against it (and against the wording of the amendment itself).

The philosophy professor that was against the amendment (and embryonic stem cell research and SCNT) made the comment after the debate (when I was talking with him) that he believed that embryos slated to be destroyed should not be utilized for research (i.e. that it was better to simply destroy the embryo than it was destroy the embryo and salvage something good out of its destruction).  We got cut off in our conversation about this so I got his e-mail address and sent this e-mail when I got back to my room:

Quote from: "I"
Mr. Anadale,

I'm writing this in regards to the question I had after the presentation/debate tonight that we didn't have enough time to discuss thoroughly.  First off, though, I'd like to thank you for sharing your wisdom on the issue and for taking the time to read this and answer my question.  Also, I'd like to congratulate you on your performance in the debate itself (especially for showing the possible problems with the wording of the amendment itself).

In regards to my question, I'd specifically like to discuss the issue of "Is it ethical to utilize the materials of an embryo that is already being destroyed anyway?"  I acknowledge the position you seemed to take on this issue when we discussed it in the few minutes we had.  Your argument seemed to be "An embryo that is going to be destroyed anyway should not be made to donate the potential life-saving materials it contains.  The embryo deserves our respect and, thus, it should be destroyed with respect.  Utilizing the useful materials of a 'dead' embryo would be disrespectfu."  Now, as I said, that's what your argument seemed to be when I talked with you (I hope I didn't create too much of a strawman there, but I don't think I did).

My response to this assertion of yours is to liken the utilization of the useful materials of the embryo to the utilization of the useful materials of myself (as a donor).  If I'm dying anyway, I'd personally rather have my useful materials (i.e. transplantable organs) utilized in order to save other human lives.  I find this to be the better ethical choice (as the human body itself doesn't require the use of my organs after death).  If I was looking at it from a religiously moral perspective, I think I would come to the same conclusion about this (i.e. I would conclude that my 'soul' doesn't require my organs for salvation, therefore it would be better to donate these organs to end suffering of other individuals).

How do these two topics (organ donation and stem cell donation) have anything to do with each other, you ask?  At least, you seemed to dislike my comparison when we were discussing this.  Well, as you can probably see, the two are actually very much alike.  If we were to take the 'organs', if you will, from the embryo that is slated to be destroyed, we would be simply utilizing those useful materials for the good of other human beings.  I'm sure you wouldn't argue that these embryos are 'potential human beings' unless they are implanted into a woman's uterus.  I know your definition of 'human' and 'person' might conflict with what I'm talking about, so I'll clarify by saying that I mean these embryos aren't going to become living, walking, talking human beings (or even babies who cannot walk, talk, etc).

Your religious views on this matter might lead you to the belief that these embryos actually contain 'souls' that are destined for either heaven or hell (if that is your particular belief).  I won't disagree with you there (out of respect for your beliefs and out of the belief I have that this is not currently a necessary conversation we need to carry out).  However, the question we must ask (even if you believe embryos have 'souls') is whether we believe these embryos to be conscious beings.  This is a necessary question to ask because if they are, indeed, conscious beings, then we would be commiting 'murder', so to speak, every time we destroy one of these embryos.  This concern leads me to think that you, yourself, might have a particular belief against the destruction of 'left-over' in vitro fertilization embryos.  Because this individual belief is tangential to our conversation, I'll by-pass it and get to the point.  The question then becomes "Alright, if we're killing conscious beings, is it ethically right to utilize their useful materials?"  My answer to this, of course, is "Yes, we should."  If I was killed (whether from an accident or from being 'murdered'), I see it as ethically right to donate my useful materials.  This leads me to wonder whether these 'conscious' embryos would have the same ethical outlook as myself (assuming that they are conscious).  My guess is, once again, yes.  It seemed to me that you were not against the donation of organs by people such as myself (you may even be an advocate of this to some extent, I don't know).  But if we conclude that it is ethically right to do this, we can perhaps conclude that these conscious embryos would come to the same ethical decision (knowing that they will not ever become live human beings like you and I) to donate their useful materials.  I would even go so far as to say that it would possibly be against a consciuos embryo's will to not donate it's cells (i.e. perhaps that conscious embryo would be displeased with the actions we take to not get its stem cells).  This is an extremely hypothetical situation, I agree, but because we are not able to communicate with these embryos and ask them their decision, it seems to me to subject them to the ethical conclusions we come to might be the rational thing to do.  In my case (and perhaps yours), to utilize those materials.

Now, I admit, my conversation about embryos being 'conscious' may seem ridiculous to you.  However, looking at these embryos as 'non-conscious' I think we can come to the same conclusion.  A non-conscious embryo, while being a "part of a human being" (as I think you put it), seems to present an easier ethical choice for us.  In this case, we are not ending the embryo's 'life', so to speak, because the embryo doesn't yet have a 'life.'  The embryo also does not feel pain or have a finalized DNA (or so I've heard).  So naturally, the choice seems easier to make if we assume that the embryo is not conscious (that is, the human material--because that's precisely what the embryo is--should be utilized to help cure the pain and suffering of conscious human beings).

This conversation, of course, is in regards to the fact that (according to a report in the Washington Post) as of May 2003 there were 400,000 embryos slated to be destroyed or stored indefinitely (even though they don't have potential to become human beings without the implantation into the uterus).  These 400,000 embryos (or whatever current number there is) can be ethically utilized for the betterment of conscious, living, walking, talking human beings who are suffering from numerous diseases.  We may be able to come to this conclusion looking at the embryos as either conscious or non-conscious, as I've already shown.  My question to you, and I apologize for the length of this entire thing (but I think it's necessary) is "Where do you see the difference between the ethical right to utilize my organs when I die and the ethical 'right' to utilize the embryo's 'organs' when it dies?"

I look forward to your response and any further conversation we can have on this topic (or any other topics we converse on in the future).  I'm very interested in philosophy and look forward to connecting with the philosophical community of professors and students in the area.  I apologize once again for the length of this, and I would like to congratulate you one last time for your performance in the conversation tonight.  It was very rewarding.

-Landon Hedrick

P.S. I was pleased with your final question tonight ("Why are people ethically against actually cloning a human being?").  I've been wondering the same thing over the past two days.

I'm curious to find out what you guys think specifically about this issue (not just of stem cell research, but of the notion that it is more ethical to destroy the embryos and not utilize it's useful materials than it is to destroy them and salvage something good from them).  Discuss.

The Lounge / A Korean War Letter
« on: September 29, 2006, 07:47:34 PM »
The following letter was written by a soldier in the Korean War in the early 1950s.

Dear Babe,

     I just received your last letter in this morning's mail.  I held it in my hand for a minute while a little voice in the back of my head whispered, "This is it.  This is the one."  Oh yeah, I knew it was coming.  I could tell from the tone of your last few letters.  Have you forgotten how well we know each other?

     You tried to "let me down easy."  Well, if it's any consolation to you, you did it about as well as a thing like that can be done.  But, then, we wouldn't have wanted it to have been too easy, would we?

     You ask me if I understand.  I do.  I never said I was the greatest guy on earth; you did.  I just agreed with you: but, to be fair, we didn't mention any other places.  You didn't mention what planet you were going to live on, either; this, or his.  Anyway, he's there.  I'm here.

     "Be careful," you tell me. "Take care." I almost laughed out loud.  We wouldn't want to see me hurt, would we?  There's no need to worry about me.  I'll be all right.  I swear it.  You have other things to think about now.  Hopes to hope.  Wishes to wish.  Dreams to dream.  A life to live; and, I wish you the best of all there is.

     Now?  Now I will do what I have no choice but to do.  But how?  Do I say something brilliant like "may all your troubles be little ones"?  Or do I treat this like a tennis match? "I did my best; it just wasn't good enough, and the best man won." How's that?

     How about "If you ever need a friend"?

     That presumes a future.  There are 500,000 N. Koreans and Chinese on the other side of that hill bound and determined to make sure I don't have a future.  Over here where your past is your last breath, your present is this breath, and your future is your next breath, you don't make too many promises.  Which leaves me what?


Two days later Leon single-handedly charged a Chinese machine gun nest on his own initiative.  He was killed instantly in a hail of bullets.

Technology, Science & Alt Science / Anti-Matter
« on: September 18, 2006, 04:18:31 PM »
I just finished reading a research paper on Answers in Genesis which was written by a kid (15 years old, I believe) about anti-matter.  He presents an interesting argument against the Big Bang Theory by use of observable evidence in the universe's amount of anti-matter.  The basic argument is this:

The Big Bang Theory states that energy turned into matter after it started spreading out.  In doing so, energy also turns into an equal amount of anti-matter.  Anti-matter and matter destroy each other when they come into contact.  Scientists have not been able to demonstrate why most of the universe seems to be made of matter and not anti-matter.  There are three theories for the discrepancy (outlined in the student's research paper) but none seem to solve the puzzle.

What do you guys think about this subject?  If you're interested in actually refuting the argument provided, the url is:

The paper is nine pages long (but very fast-reading pages).  I think this is an interesting topic and I'll leave it up to you guys to demonstrate why you believe the argument or why you believe the Big Bang Theory can still be true despite this problem.

As a side note I think it might be a good idea to take some of the arguments from AiG and other websites and debate them.  That is, we should start out by reading somebody's argument and creating a thread for it, and then demonstrate why we believe or disbelieve the argument.  What do you guys think?

Technology, Science & Alt Science / The "Worldwide" Flood
« on: September 13, 2006, 05:06:51 PM »
This thread is for a thorough discussion of the worldwide flood as explained in Genesis.  This way we don't have to argue the topic in the Evolution thread.

Genesis states that there was a worldwide flood at some point in the past which covered the top of the highest mountains.  All land on earth was underwater.  This is one of the main items of debate for this thread.

Other debatable issues include any aspect of the Genesis story:  Noah couldn't have fit all those animals on a boat, a boat of that size won't be structurally sound (especially 2,400 B.C.), there is no historical indication of a truly worldwide flood, etc.

As an interesting note to begin with, the Documentary Hypothesis shows that the flood story is actually a combination of two similar (yet different) stories by two different authors living in two different time periods.  It explains why there are two different lengths of time for the flood and two different amounts of animals to be taken on the ark.  Notice that in Genesis chapter six God tells Noah to take two of every animal on the ark, a male and a female.  Yet in chapter seven he says to take seven of each.  Some people try to account for this in one way or another but it never works.  Also the two sources can be easily seen in this story in that chapters six through nine become extremely repetitive.


Flat Earth Q&A / A New View of the "Ice Wall"
« on: September 04, 2006, 12:16:58 PM »
So many people argue that the natural ice barrier (Antarctica, or the "ice wall") isn't sufficient to hold in the oceans of water, or that if it melts from global warming the oceans and atmosphere will spill out into outer space.  This is my attempt to end that type of thinking.

The ice wall is really a miles-thick (or whatever thickness necessary) steel wall that goes around the entire rim of the earth.  The ice is just piled on top of the steel wall and is covering the steel up.  This way, if the ice melts, the oceans will still remain where they are and not spill into outer space.

This "steel wall" argument can be substituted with any other material wall that is strong and thick enough to hold the ocean's waters.

The Lounge / I need a good Anti-Spyware
« on: September 03, 2006, 09:32:13 PM »
Hey guys I've been having pop-ups getting past my pop-up blocker and the adware apparently can't be found by my Norton Spyware Scan.  Any suggestions?  If you know of a site to download other spyware from give me a link directly to the page I need.  Thanks.

The Lounge / Dionysios... the next Fred Phelps?
« on: August 04, 2006, 06:18:39 PM »
I can see the resemblance in their beliefs.  Anyone else agree?

Technology, Science & Alt Science / The Atom
« on: July 01, 2006, 06:19:55 PM »
I was reading a book which talked about the four forces in the universe (gravitational, electromagnetic, strong-nuclear, and weak-nuclear) and I came up with a question.  An electron orbiting around the nucleus of an atom is being pulled towards the nucleus with the gravitational force.  The electromagnetic force is much stronger than the gravitational force, and it too is pulling the electron towards the nucleus.  So my question is:  why do the electrons still orbit and not just get sucked in by the (strong) electromagnetic force added to the gravitational force?

Note:  My friend provided a possible answer to this question that I won't post right now.  I'm curious to see if anybody else thinks of the same thing.

Technology, Science & Alt Science / Big Bang Theory
« on: April 26, 2006, 08:25:55 PM »
Hey guys I was at a Bible study and fellowship this afternoon and tonight and had some good discussions with people about beliefs and stuff.  One of my friends says he likes to argue against evolution and the big bang theory.  He was bringing up evidence against the big bang theory that I've never heard of.  Does anybody know of this evidence against it?  One of the things was something about the singularity before the big bang was spinning energy so when it exploded everything should've been spinning in the same direction but some planets spin one way and some spin another (it seems like this argument doesn't really mean anything but I thought I'd bring it up).

This thread is given so we can discuss the evidence against the big bang theory.  Also, we should work to figure out a way to explain why the big bang theory is believed by a vast majority of scientists around the world.  I'll leave it up to you guys.

Arts & Entertainment / Books
« on: April 23, 2006, 12:44:18 AM »
This thread is for people to suggest books for others to read.  This could be fiction or non-fiction.  Don't just list a bunch of books on a post though.  Suggest a single book (or small number) at a time.

Here's a start.  I think everybody should read Mr. Was by Pete Hautman.  If you haven't read it, it.  It's a really good fiction book that I read in like 10th grade that deals with a paradox that I think you'll all recognize.

Flat Earth Q&A / Gravity on a flat earth
« on: April 21, 2006, 01:09:37 PM »
Okay, there seems to be a lot of confusion about a model of gravity or simulated gravity on a flat earth.  I have a proposal that we can try to work with to see if it would work.

Let's assume that the law of gravity is the same in FE universe.  The earth is this round, flat disk (similar to a cd).  Now imagine putting that disk on top of an enormous sphere (with a great mass/gravitational pull).  So instead of the earth accelerating to simulate gravity and instead of a turtle holding the earth up, the cd earth is just on a huge sphere.  If the sphere was the right size and mass it would be able to have the gravitational pull that we feel today.  What do you guys think?

Technology, Science & Alt Science / Keith Mayes
« on: March 08, 2006, 08:40:03 PM »
Just thought I'd share a site that I found years ago.  I haven't read his stuff in a long time, but I'm sure many of you guys would enjoy it, especially you, Erasmus.  His name is Keith Mayes, and he presents some interesting ideas.  Hopefully my memory of these theories being good is correct.  Check out his stuff and post anything on this thread that you think about Keith Mayes and his theories.  Enjoy!

Technology, Science & Alt Science / I think, therefore I am...
« on: February 28, 2006, 01:12:27 PM »
Because I have the ability to think, I have the ability to know that I exist.  But since the earth has no ability to think, it thus has no ability to know that it exists.  And because my senses can fool me, I cannot be sure that the earth exists at all.  And as I can't think for all of you other guys, I only know that I exist.  So, the earth does not exist, nor do any of you.  And that's okay... as long as I can still have Dominos pizza and a bag of chips.

Pages: [1]