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It is often said that a particular religion teaches its people how to live moral lives. Many people claim that religion is the metaphorical light that guides people to live wise, moral and satisfactory lives. Is this true though? Are we not moral without religions? Have we not been moral even without religions? These are the sorts of questions I want to delve into today, Sunday, 27th of October 2013, Chapter 10 of the Tyranny of God, Early Human Societies.

Published in Podcasts

Podcasting: Sunday 20 October 2013 - Sunday 27 October 2013

In Chapter 8 of the Tyranny of God, we got thinking about memes. We generally defined memes to be anything that we, human beings can copy. Memes including ideas, stories, rituals and parables made up by people and got copied from one mind to another. Over generations, these memes join up with memes that are compatible or they may also make new memes conceivable. The idea that there is a soul for example, makes the idea of life after death, heaven and hell possible. These in turn makes it possible for gods to exist and we looked at all the different conceptions of god throughout the world. Religions embody and codify these conceptualisations of gods which is an argument I will delve into in later chapters.

However, before we proceed further, in this week's podcast, we will first discuss beliefs and delusions because they are two most powerful types of memes that influence our actions, thoughts and behaviour. This Sunday 20th of October 2013, Chapter 9 of The Tyranny of God: Beliefs and Delusions.

Published in Podcasts

Podcasting: Sunday 13 October 2013 - Sunday 20 October 2013

Currently, we are broadcasting the audiobook version of The Tyranny of God.  In Chapter 7 of the Tyranny of God, we got thinking about language. In our quest to understand human nature and the nature of religions, it is important to realise that language helps if not facilitates much of the way we think. In this chapter, I go through memes. Discussions of memes are important because a few chapters later, I argue that much like living organisms are made up of genes, religions are non-living organisms made up of memes. This Sunday 12th of October 2013, Chapter 8 of The Tyranny of God: Memes.

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"In 1611, Galileo went to Rome to demonstrate his telescopic observations of Jupiter’s moons to a group of philosophers and mathematicians called Jesuit Collegio Romano, after publishing his findings the year before. It supported the idea of Copernicus and, in 1614, Father Tommaso Caccini (1574-1648) denounced Galileo’s works as heretical." Source: Marquez Comelab, The Tyranny of God, 3rd Edition, p205.
Published in Memes
Friday, 12 June 2009 22:33

What Is The Scientific Method?

Instead of accepting religious and superstitious explanations to the things we do not yet understand, Reasonists rely more on enquiry and the scientific method.

Non-scientists loosely use the word 'theory' in place of words like a 'hunch' or 'guess'. When people hear about 'The Theory Of Evolution', they say things like, "Well, it is just a theory".

In science, however, the word 'theory' is not an individual's hunch or guess that remains unproved or untested. Before something is recognised as a theory, it goes through a rigorous process. We need to understand the process by which scientists come to understand what they purport to know. This is referred to as 'The Scientific Method'.

William K. Tong of the Oakton Community College, in Illinois, provides us with a good definition of The Scientific Method:

"The scientific method attempts to explain the natural occurrences (phenomena) of the universe by using a logical, consistent, systematic method of investigation, information (data) collection, data analysis (hypothesis), testing (experiment), and refinement to arrive at a well-tested, well-documented, explanation that is well-supported by evidence, called a theory".

What we need to recognise is that scientific theories have been observed, tested and verified in many experiments, by many different, independent sources. To explain this process, let us use an example of how a theory is developed using the scientific method:

1) I make an observation: Every time the sun rises, it is always from the east.
2) I hypothesise: The sun must rise from the east.
3) I test this idea: I will go everywhere I can possibly go and verify that the sun is always rising from the east.
4) I publish it: "My research has indicated the sun always rises from the east, wherever it is observed."
5) Other people verify it: This research will then be corroborated by others, from all over the world to confirm that the sun indeed rises from the east.
6) We agree now that our theory has enough evidence. Out of say, 10,000, independent case studies, we are 100% sure the sun rises from the east. We now have a theory.
7) Maybe one day, the sun will begin rising from the west. We cannot know for sure. When it does, we will modify our theory.

As we can see, theories are far from the unproved speculations of a single scientist who just had one too many cups of coffee, late one night. Scientific method is not simply about asserting what you think is true. It may make assumptions but it does not require faith because it simply works with the evidence it has. It is a method that seeks for truth through testing ideas and conducting experiments to verify whether these ideas are true. Ideas are cross-referenced and open for widespread criticism, enquiry and debate. The scientific method requires evidence that is, understandable, relevant, reliable, observable and verifiable.

The most important aspect of a scientific theory is that it must be FALSIFIABLE. It must be clear how and when that theory is no longer valid. In our example above, the theory will remain to be true until someone makes an observation that the sun is rising from another direction. If something is not falsifiable, it is not a true scientific theory. It is a philosophy.

[This is an excerpt from the Tyranny Of God on the Scientific Method, p258]

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