Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Question on Belief.

I have found 4 books. They are by four different authors. Matthias, Marcus, Lucas and Johannes. All of them claim that they were abducted by aliens in the same incident back in the 90's in Germany.

I can confirm to the best of my knowledge that the 4 men did actually write the books. I have written affidavits from all 4 of them and there exists original phone and bank records from the time that can demonstrate they were in the geographical location they say they were in the weeks before and after the incident and also sworn testimony from their families that said they were missing for the time the 4 men said they were abducted.

The four books are written in the different styles of the authors, as you'd expect. They all appear to tell a similar story however they do vary in a lot of ways, some even missing out important points that would seem to be really important details in the story. Occasionally one will mention rather important details that the others fail to mention.

I am sure as I can be that they wrote the books and the authors swear that they wrote a lot of it down at the time in diaries (to which I also have access), so they are not using what could be rather distorted memories but their original thoughts at the time.

Unfortunately, there is no alien body, alien spacecraft or burn marks/landing marks at the location to confirm their story. One or two other people claim they saw some lights at the time and place mentioned but they couldn't identify anything more than that. One quite well known academic, a Professor Joseph from the US, has said that that he had heard people mention these 4 men and the alien before but it wasn't something he was able to confirm for himself.

So we have access to the proper original documents, both the books and the diaries in the handwriting of original authors. We know the books are by the claimed authors. We even have some vague references by others to the incident. But we have no physical evidence whatsoever of the incident.

The question is, should I believe them and their extraordinary claims of alien abduction?

Now lets take this lightly veiled story for what it is.

This is, at best, the maximum amount of information we could possibly have about the 4 gospels, their writers and those around them. We don't have even this much. So if you don't accept the accounts of the abductees, why would you believe the stories from 2000 years ago?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I am that from which I have come.

I was sent a series of questions/comments by a creationist on the comments section of an article in The Telegraph on The Oldest Signs of Life on Earth Found. I have supplied a selection of his relevant comments at the end, to which this is my response.


I am a product of my genes and of my experiences (in other words long term and short term environmental influences). The architecture of my brain reflects both of those and is a direct product of them.

Remember the brain is nothing like a computer. It doesn't have hardware and software. The hardware *is* the software. The structure of the brain changes according to outside influence or what we would call learning (in it's widest sense).

The atoms (which are constantly changing due to metabolism) that make up the neurons in my brain are also directly from the environment. Indeed, originally from the matter that accreted to make the solar system and the earth. That matter came from some long-dead star that exploded. Which, in turn, came from singularity (which has the rather inappropriate name of The Big Bang as it was neither big, nor did it make a bang).

What happened "before" that? No-one knows (or, for the moment, can know). What we do know is that time, as a dimension of the space-time continuum, came into existence at the big bang so the word "before" is somewhat inappropriate too.

So you see, "Andrew Wilson" came from the environment. I came directly from it as a product of it and will return to it. Indeed I am very temporary

If you really want a far more poetic and beautiful answer than I can give then watch this 4 minute video from a fellow non-believer.

We Are Going To Die.

If you think there is more to "Andrew Wilson" or indeed "Andy Preston" than the material things of the world from which we are made then it really is up to you to demonstrate it.

It matters not a bit to me if love is "just" neurons and hormones reacting to outside stimuli. If that's true then it's true (and the evidence suggests it is). It doesn't lessen the experience one jot. Indeed it heightens it.

Here's another fellow unbeliever on that very topic.

Ode to a Flower.

I have no other answer for you. I follow the evidence.

p.s. Colour-blind people can see rainbows and rainbows are a physical phenomenon that happen as a direct result of physical light interacting with physical water and air molecules.


His comments.

"So Andrew, unless you know for sure and can tell me where Andrew Wilson came from, and how your self was made - and I don't mean just your outward name /parents/birth cert/education/ profession -"

"then you are surely in a position, as we all are, of seeking knowledge about your existence rather in the manner of a person in a vast dark cavern, possessing only a thin beam pencil torch with which they can illuminate only a tiny area at a time - and quite unable to perceive the vastness unilluminated all around them.

"It then behoves all of us surely, to be modest about our judgement of other seekers, and the manner in which we address their understanding."

" ... asking someone for 'proof' of God /a creator is not unlike asking someone to 'prove' that - that vital component of human existence - of 'love' exists
or you being a colour blind person, demanding that another 'proves' that a rainbow exists."

Friday, November 08, 2013

Breaking news from The Scottish Parliament

This was posted a few moments ago to the Facebook page of The Scottish Secular Society. Thanks to John Hein.


From: Scottish Parliament Tel 0131 348 6265


8 November 2013

Marriage Bill supported by majority of Committee at Stage 1

The general principles of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill are supported by the majority of members on the Equal Opportunities Committee in its Stage 1 report published today.

A minority of the Committee’s members do not support the Bill because they disagree in principle or because they are not convinced that the Bill currently has adequate protections in place.

Committee Convener Margaret McCulloch MSP said:

“All of us on the Committee recognise the validity, depth and sincerity of all views submitted to us on what has clearly been an emotive issue for all of our stakeholders.

“While the majority of our Committee supports the general principles of this Bill, we wholeheartedly support the right of all members of the Scottish Parliament to vote on the Bill as a matter of conscience.â€

The Committee has asked the Scottish Government for consideration on a number of issues including:

* Stakeholders varying views on the approach taken in the Bill on protecting celebrants of faith and religious organisations’ freedom to conduct legally valid marriages in keeping with their doctrines.

* An amendment raised by the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities to redefine non-civil marriages, to more prominently reflect the distinction between religious ceremonies and belief ceremonies.

* An opinion expressed by the Humanist Society Scotland that the treatment in marriage law of the Church of Scotland affords it a privileged status.

* The spousal consent to be removed from the gender-recognition process.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Parliament on 26 June 2013 and covers the following key matters relating to marriage law: the introduction of same-sex marriage; putting belief celebrants on the same footing as religious celebrants; the arrangements for authorising celebrants to solemnise opposite-sex and same-sex marriage; civil partnerships changing to marriage; the authorisation of Church of Scotland deacons to solemnise opposite-sex marriage and allowing civil marriage ceremonies in any place agreed between the couple and the registrar, other than religious premises.

The Stage 1 debate on The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill will take place in November.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Scaremongering by UKIP

I've seen this article about muslims doing the rounds on Facebook and other social media. It's typical UKIP propganda and scaremongering. Peaceful Muslims have as much control over the radicals than the old lady that sits next to you in church does over groups like The Westboro Baptist church or "christians" that bomb abortion clinics.

The section: "Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany , they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.", Is doing nothing more than trying do demonise ordinary muslims and is also a straight out lie. The fanatics do not "own" us and our laws deal with the extremists. As for language like "end of the world", the less said the better.

The fact that the article ends: "anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand", is nothing more than a way of trying to shut up opposing views.

Including the picture of Abu Hamza is just cynical. He has gone through due process, has been extradited to the U.S. and awaiting trial. He is no longer a threat to the UK. Our current laws deal with these people already.

Do not vote UKIP even if you are tempted by the events of the last few days. They are a racist organisation and are not interested in any kind of human rights.

The last few days have been scary but the 2 people who perpetrated the atrocity in Woolwich are extremists. We should be able to understand that the majority of muslims in this country run businesses, own shops, drive buses, practice medicine, work as dustmen, have children at school and live what we would easily recognise as a British life.

I can't imagine what the family of Lee Rigby must be going through. My brother is a soldier and my mind shivers at the thought.

Campaigns (rather opportunistic ones) like this one by UKIP and the violent demonstrations by EDL only serve to heighten fear when we should be trying to find peaceful a way around it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How would we measure objective morality?

There is a question at the end of this, so be patient. Thank you. :-)

Here are 3 basic assumptions about the world:

1. There is some kind of objective material reality we can observe/measure beyond our minds (lets assume for the sake of argument we're not just a brain in a jar somewhere).
2. Our senses aren't 100% reliable (given things like the McGurk Effect and Optical illusions etc...)
3. Our senses aren't 0% reliable (given that we can pretty safely assume, when on earth, that when we let go of an object it will drop like the last time we let go of an object).

Given these assumptions, humans have developed the scientific method to try and get close to the truth about the material world around us.

The scientific method involves a number of things

A. Coming up with an idea about how something in the world might work (hypothesis).
B. Creating some way (experiment/survey etc...) of checking that hypothesis is true/false (falsifiability).
C. Running the experiment a number of times and opening our methodology to others to allow them to carry out the experiment as well (repeatability).
D. Publishing our methodolgy, assumptions, results and conclusions to allow others to check them (peer review).

It's the best system that humans have come up for to try and measure how material reality works. It may not be perfect but it has given us the space station, smart phones, antibiotics and anaesthetics.

If, as some people suggest, morality is objective and exists outside of the human mind and that our senses aren't 100% reliable, what methodology would people use to try and get close to an understanding of what objective morality is and getting a general agreement on it?

If anyone has an answer to this, I'd be interested to read it in the comments.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Commons Backs Gay Marriage Bill.

At last!

Never ever take your morality from an outside agency. If you do that, you have given up your own ability to assess right and wrong for yourself and thus have no way of assessing whether that outside agency itself is right or wrong.

Morality is about consequences of our actions and not about obedience to a set of rules.

Gay people in love getting married and having all the rights like next of kin that go with marriage has absolutely no effect on anyone else's marriage whatsoever. Marriage is between us, our partner, children (and god, if you believe in it) and no-one else.

We live in a largely secular nation. Yes, many people go to church but the church, thankfully, no longer has a monopoly on telling us what our morality is supposed to be. We are a far more enlightened as a species than we ever were. No, we don't know everything but we know far more about the world than the people from biblical times ever did.

I'm so glad that sanity has reigned and that society is slowly, inch by inch, moving forward to a more equal society.

Thursday, January 31, 2013


I was involved in a discussion with a theist recently on an "Atheists vs Theists" facebook page he had created. He came up with the idea the line "Reasoning goes on in minds and only goes on in minds hence is subjective". This is solipsism, which is, basically the idea that the only thing we can say is 100% true is "I think therefore I am" and everything else is subjective and therefore not 100% reliable.

This is my answer to him.

If, as you say all reasoning is subjective, you are basically a solipsist which is, at best, irrelevant. Also, if you are claiming that all reasoning is subjective, then you can't reason your way to god either.

This is where science comes in. It confirms something that someone has reasoned could be true by testing falsifiable hypotheses. It then allows others to try repeat those tests and by using open methodology so that others can review the evidence and how it was found.

It is the only way we can spiral in or home in on the truth.

Now, when you can create a falsifiable hypothesis for god, test it, allow others to repeat that and have an open methodology that allows for peer review, and after that the evidence for god is plain and unambiguous, then maybe I'll believe that there is a god.

Any comments welcome.