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Target 2016

 

Foreword, March 03, 2016

Like the Catholic Pope Francis (2015) I believe there are  good people who are atheists (just as there are good people who belong to some religious sect or other). Religious belief alone is not a gateway to goodness or morality.

Indeed, a religious person does good deeds out of hope for reward in heaven or fear of God’s punishment (for not doing that deed); either way, his or her motive is selfish. In contrast, an atheist does a good deed simply because he feels it is the right thing to do.

 

 

 

May 21, 2017: THE MIRACLE OF COLD FUSION IN GALILEE

♯Galilee, sweet Galilee

♬ Galilee, sweet Galilee

♫Galilee, sweet Galilee; where Master Jesus Christ changed water into wine.

♪ Judas, sold Jesus one pound-ten….

(My elementary school catechism song)

 

Glass of table-water.

Glass of table-water.

 

Wine Composition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first and easiest of miracles was an incredible feat of alchemy.

Water is the simplest of all compounds, composed of hydrogen and oxygen: H2O.

“Wine” may sound simple, but it is a witch’s brew of a myriad chemicals, organic & inorganic.

Nevertheless, let’s approximate it as a mixture of water and ethanol: H2O + (C2H5)OH.

Ethanol contains carbon. The key question then is, where did the carbon come from?

It must have been from the container wall (charcoal?) or the H or O of the water.

If from H or O, its provenance required COLD NUCLEAR TRANSMUTATION of atoms.

Anybody remember the Fleishman and Pons “cold fusion” debacle of the 1980s?

They were last seen going to pioneer a Cold Fusion industry in Japan. Are they dead?

 

 



February 2017:  WATER FOR NOAH’S FLOOD

I did a little calculation to see how much water Noah’s god needed to flood the earth to the top of Mount Ararat. (It’s so easy even Noah can do it, using the formula for the volume of a sphere; he’d need is earth’s radius and height of Mt. Ararat —period! Wikipedia gives those figures.)

Result: Noah’s flood required 783 times the total water contained in our earth.

Total water volume to cover earth to top of Ararat is V = (4/3)п(R3-r3)

Were r is radius of earth from core to sea level, R = earth radius to top of Ararat

R = r + h (h being height of Ararat above sea level).

But r = 6,371 km, and h = 5.137 km (Wikipedia)

So, R = 6376.137 km

So, V =   1,085,831,769,358 km3 (cubic kilometers)

But the total water on earth = 1,386,000,000 km3 (Wikipedia)

Noah’s flood required 783 times the total water contained in our earth.

Put differently, earth has less than one-tenth of one percent of the water Noah needed.

Analogy: Noah’s flood required one glass of water, but earth has only a tea spoonful.

Question:       Where did the rest come from?

And also:         Where did it go after the flood?

No, it didn’t evaporate: Wikipedia says our atmosphere holds only 0.001% of the earth’s water!

For water data, see: https://water.usgs.gov/edu/gallery/global-water-volume.html

 



 

January 2017:  My Letter to the Editor of American Atheist Press

To Frank Zindler (Editor, American Atheist Press)

Dear Editor:

Below is an open letter to René Salm regarding his recent book NazarethGate which was edited and published by Frank Zindler. I do not know René’s email address and I hope you will forward it to him. It contains requests concerning a hard-cover edition, which you are perhaps better placed to answer; please let me know the prospects for such an edition.

If there are plans to produce a hard-cover issue of the book I would like to be among its first purchasers — a keepsake to be leather-bound, gilded, and bestowed on my progeny as an heirloom!

I am honored to reproduce for you (below) my letter to American Atheist magazine about that book of yours. I decided to insert the letter rather than attach it because, in this age of nefarious zealots and mischievous pranksters, we are all wary of attachments and parcels!

Finally, if there is a special fund set up for efforts to debunk “holy” hoaxes and fraud, I’d be glad to donate to it. I wish you more grease to your elbows; and please watch your back!

A HISTORY OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL FRAUD & HOAXES IN ISRAEL?

René Salm’s NazarethGate has got to be the most devastating exposé of “scholarly” hoaxes and buncombe I’ve ever seen. The brazen fraud which he has so masterfully stripped naked is absolutely on par with Smith Woodward’s 1912 saga of the Piltdown Ape-Man, and William Summerlin’s hand-painted spots (1974) given as evidence for a genetically altered mouse.

NazarethGate is exceedingly well researched, as it had to be since it takes on the conspiracy of an entrenched clique of camouflaged pseudo-scholars going back centuries.

It may be too soon to ask, but is there yet a rejoinder from those sorry “Nazareth” hoax-forgers?

We may never shake the infinite gullibility of hysterical Jesus-Christ believers: witness the persistent veneration of The Shroud of Turin or a recent “miracle” cited by the Pope for canonizing Mother Teresa: The adequate exposure obtained in photographing her at a somewhat reduced light level is claimed by the Church to reflect a celestial miracle illuminating her piety. And that crap, in spite of the photographer’s testimony that he had boosted the photo-shoot with the latest ultra-fast film from Kodak!

Nevertheless, our true academic archaeologists should not put up with scandalous forgeries such as were unmasked in NazarethGate; the ball is in their court. I ran my career in physical sciences, and I know that in our associations, journals, and bulletins such brazen quacks would never again be permitted to pollute the literature with their foul shit — if you pardon my “French.” Christians (and Muslims) are free to peddle their snake oil on the basis of blind belief. But, unfortunately, they are not content to do just that; they keep trying to harness science to their hocus-pocus. And whenever they try, they get their caveman beards singed.

We shouldn’t have to wait 500 years for a pope to apologize to René Salm — a-la John-Paul II to Galileo. Now’s the time!

Shame on Israel

Unfortunately for the Israeli authorities, too, by employing forgers and appearing to condone (and even endorse) some of their hoaxes, they cast serious doubt on their own archaeological “treasures.” One must now consider an undetermined number of those artifacts to be on par with displays in the creationist museums of the USA.

Linus Thomas-Ogbuji (01/18/17)



March 2016:  RELIGION versus SCIENCE

Religion is a beautiful, soothing myth of childhood which some of us mistake for reality and never outgrow. And gods are the silliest & most pernicious inventions of the human mind. Only our paralyzing fear of death leads us to that sky-fairy bit of foolishness! Fear of death is the “hopium” of those in morbid fear of death; religion is the manure that feeds that fear.

Human Progress 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



DEBATING RELIGIONISTS    (Scheduled for publication in AA Magazine,  2016)

 (“Logical argument is easily defeated by simple refusal to reason logically.”           —Steven Weinberg {The Portable Atheist, p. 378})

I’ve never been inclined to join the big public argument on the merits of science versus religion —partly because, I must confess, I’m timid, but also because any discussion with religious persons seems quickly to tire and frustrate me. For, how can anyone but the daft stand their glib rant, their hysterical blindness to reason? As Richard Dawkins observes in THE GOD DELUSION, while true scientists toil ceaselessly to understand and explain the world around us, religionists tell us to give up trying, to forget it and accept it all as the deed of a god—their own particular god, to be sure.

Led by fundamentalists, and lately by creationists (aka Intelligent Designers), the dedicated believers get more shockingly impervious to reason all the time. Dawkins cites specific instances where religionists have gone to court to force inclusion of their creationist story in the science curricula of one US school after another, as a counter to evolution. In one case they adduced the obfuscatory, pseudo-scientific claim that our immune system had “Irreducible complexity” that cannot be understood except as the work of a god; that scientists had done nothing and can never do anything to prove otherwise. (Emphasis is mine.)

Their expert witness, Michael Behe —a professor of biochemistry— was shown scores of papers published in scientific journals, scores of book chapters, and dozens of books, all addressing the very point at issue. The good professor admitted he hadn’t read them; but he waved them all aside, nevertheless, and said they were not enough to convince him! Such dogmatic intransigence moved the presiding judge to characterize that particular effort of creationists as a case of “breathtaking inanity.” Condescending hubris has always been the hallmark of religious fundamentalists throughout history. It’s amusing to read that Galileo’s colleagues declined to look through “the devil’s own instrument” (aka telescope) and see for themselves the “extra” moons of Jupiter. But it is deeply tragic when a biochemistry professor in 21st-century America sinks to such illogic. I for one think it’s hopeless to try and argue with religious believers.

My timidity notwithstanding, I wear my atheism unapologetically on my chest (on T-shirts, buttons, stickers, etc.). Therefore, now and then I get challenged to impromptu an debate—from hecklers and from more serious zealots. (But, truth to tell, I also get an occasional furtive smile, or whisper of commendation when I step out in my ATHEIST T-shirt, which carries a positive statement of our social advocacy on its back.)

When I am challenged, I try to avoid getting bogged down with specifics in the bible. That is difficult to do because a zealot’s usual opening gambit is to quote (or ask me to read) Jeremiah or Paul or a Psalm, etc. The trouble with that is that they will cherry-pick their favorite passages; and if you ask them to explain any contradictory or embarrassing biblical passages they quickly retort that those passages are not to be taken literally. But not one of them will ever offer you a sound criterion for choosing what is literal and what is figurative in the bible.

However, as a lifelong science educator by avocation, I gladly rise to the occasion whenever a deist gloats that such and such eminent scientist had also believed in God. It is one of their favorite arguments, so popularly bandied that even college-educated friends and colleagues sometimes bring it up with a “gotcha” glee. One widow I chatted up at an online dating site was at pains to point out that her late husband believed in God although he was an accomplished scientist who had invented a useful gadget or two.

I relish such encounters. They provide me with a “teachable moment” to educate people on just who is or is not a scientist. There is a huge lot of misconception on that topic! I reply, in a nutshell, that invention alone does not make someone a scientist: otherwise, Henry Ford and the Wright Brothers would rank among the very greatest scientists of all time. A scientist, I tell them, is simply one who tries to understand our world, particularly nature, using the tools and methodology of science; and chief among those tools is dogged skepticism: a determination to take nothing on mere authority or “revelation,” to question all assertions, and to abandon any “fact” whenever it fails a properly constituted test.

I never did score at online dating sites, poor me! Some encouraging persons advised me to drop “atheist” from my profile. I refused and instead took down my profile and quit online dating altogether. I won’t give up my unbelief just to score a date. (Well, it would have to be some spectacular date!) So, being a black, an African, and also an atheist is a triple cross to bear. But, C’est la vie! If the deists are right about an afterlife, then perhaps my date will come along in heaven, as Moslems preach!!!

On a deeper note, I have a great and growing library of books by our luminaries of free thinking. I read them and I wonder again and again why the stark logic of our arguments seem to run off believers like water off a duck. Then it strikes me that our books surely must get them incensed the same way the silly certitudes of the bible irritate me these days. So, I admire those indomitable persons on our side of the argument who can muster the patience to read Christian books and tracts, the better to stay informed for the sake of debate. If it weren’t for these sages of science, our whole debate with deists would be a dialogue of the deaf!

Linus Thomas-Ogbuji
Retired Scientist