Saturday, January 21, 2012

Going dancing?

Hare Krishnas dancing outside Easons. Decent rhythm; lyrics a mite repetitive.

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Nicky Gumbel Puts His Footnote In It

In Alpha, Questions of Life, Chapter 1, Nicky Gumbel describes evidence for Jesus. I'll quote a brief section then discuss:
For example, the Roman historians Tacitus (directly) and Suetonius (indirectly) both write about him. The Jewish historian Josephus, born in AD 37, describes Jesus and his followers thus:
"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works - a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day. 7"

Thursday, January 19, 2012


There's an 'atheists in the pub' gathering this evening in McTurcaill's pub. I haven't been before but plan on popping in between 7:30 and 8:30.

If you're going, say hi! I'll be drinking Guinness and am in desperate need of a haircut.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Signature in the Cell Part 3 - The Book Of Numbers

"I went up to Meyer at the conference and asked him, "You wrote that 'information theorists' (plural) talk about specified complexity. Who are they?" He then admitted that he knew no one but Dembski"
 - Jeffrey Shallit,

The Book of Numbers in the Old Testament starts with a census to count the able-bodied capable of defending God's chosen people. In Meyer's book, its case so dependant on numbers, we should count the mathematicians  therein who answer Meyer's rallying cry.

One name dominates.

My previous chapter in this saga was a long digression on Dembski, outlining his theological motivation for both embracing and promoting ID. I showed that he considers the bible to inerrant and superior to scientific discovery. I noted how his continued employment is contingent on professing these views. For flavour I spoke of his affirmation of a worldwide flood and questioned if his belief in a Genesis 11, Tower of Babel-based origin of the world's various languages would lead to a new field of intelligent linguistics. What I didn't make clear was how much he contributed to Signature in the Cell.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Unusual Suspects - a guide to street preachers in Dublin

The fine folks at Atheist Ireland were kind enough to mention me in their latest newsletter. This had the advantage of sending some more readers to my blog and in the absence of an 'About' page I decided to recap my intent.

I talk to street preachers.

I'm glad I had this opportunity to recap. The remainder of this post will trace an imaginary walking tour of Dublin and detail some of the highlights. Is there a street preacher I've missed? Do let me know in the comments section.

Hare Krishnas
Our tour starts on Grafton Street where, if you're lucky, we'll spot one or more Hare Krishnas. Normally dressed in distinctive orange or white flowing robes with incomplete headshaves, they can be hard to spot when they work the streets. Their activities are of dubious legality. Look for casual dress, wolly hats, hoodies, or other devices to cover their heads, and an armful of books.

When to find them: Rush hours, days vary. They're sometimes active on Henry Street and O'Connell Street.
Awkward questions to ask:

  • Which is closer, the sun or the moon? (The answer will surprise you.)
  • I see you're asking for cash donations. As per section 94 of the Charities Act 2009, may I see your written permit and sealed collection box?
  • Do you agree with your founder that women's brains are half the size of men's?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Signature in the Cell - Part 2. A digression on Dembski

In Part 1 of my review I ended by observing that Meyer is unwilling to draw any conclusions as to the nature of his proposed intelligent designer. Thankfully we have at our disposal an ID proponent relied upon by Meyer who is willing to oblige. William Dembski is a Biblical inerrantist. He believes in a global flood, a literal Adam and Eve, and Noah's ark.
"... Genesis 6–9 but also Jesus in Matthew 24 and Peter in Second Peter seem clearly to teach that the Flood was universal. As a biblical inerrantist, I believe that what the Bible teaches is true and bow to the text, including its teaching about the Flood and its universality."
"As a biblical inerrantist, I accept the full verbal inspiration of the Bible and the conventional authorship of the books of the Bible ... I accept that the events described in Genesis 1–11 happened in ordinary space-time, and thus that these chapters are as historical as the rest of the Pentateuch. (3) I believe that Adam and Eve were real people, that as the initial pair of humans they were the progenitors of the whole human race, that they were specially created by God, and thus that they were not the result of an evolutionary process from primate or hominid ancestors." (William A. Dembski,