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Comment A thing can't be its own cause (Score 2) 1328

Lee Strobel (former atheist and crime beat journalist) has several great books that take a serious, rational look at whether the evidence stacks up for or against Christianity. I just recently finished The Case for Faith, and he looks at Hawking's arguments. He's got a good methodology: He takes the skeptic's view, and interviews top theologians, philosophers, and scientists. Here's just a few good pieces out of the chapter on miracles and science:

Craig chuckled. "Of course, something coming from nothing doesn't make sense! Lee, you've been quoting the famous skeptic David Hume quite a bit in our interview. Well, even he said: 'But allow me to tell you that I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause.'
"Atheists recognize this. For example, one of contemporary philosophy's most prominent atheists, Kai Nielsen, once said: 'Suppose you suddenly hear a loud bang... and you ask me, 'What made that bang?' and I reply, 'Nothing, it just happened.' You would not accept that.
"And he's absolutely correct. Yet think about it: if there must be a cause for a little bang, then doesn't it also make sense that there would be a cause for a big bang?"

"First, whatever begins to exist has a cause. Second, the universe began to exist. And, third, therefore, the universe has a cause."

"Atheists themselves used to be very comfortable in maintaining that the universe is eternal and uncaused," he replied. "The problem is that they can no longer hold that position because of modern evidence that the universe started with the Big Bang. So they can't legitimately object when I make the same claim about God-- he is eternal and he is uncaused."

So, it seems to me that atheists are stuck trying to explain away "turtles all the way down" this time. In a nutshell: Thanks to Hawking, we can see gravity either in the old-school attraction-between-masses way, or in the curvature-of-spacetime way. Either way, gravity is built in to the universe. It does not compute that a part of the universe could be its own cause.

Comment Re:Cheers for PETA (Score 2, Interesting) 820

There's another interesting thought. As the story said:
The big question is how could you guarantee you were eating artificial flesh rather than flesh from an animal that had been slaughtered.

Let's twist it around the other way. Some folks might have a religious or dietary concern over this "fake meat". I mean, look at the big stink and controversy over genetically selected or modified strains of grain. Not to mention, does "fake meat" fit into kosher rules?

How do I know that I'm getting "natural" meat? Even today with grain products and organic fruits and veggies, the FDA is a bit fuzzy on letting manufacturers label their products as "all natural".

Comment Political elitists (Score 2, Insightful) 334

Several senators felt that the actual legal code would be too cryptic and complicated to be useful.

Translation: The voters who elected us are not only too stupid to make their own personal financial and healthcare decisions independent of government, but they are also too stupid to understand the laws that we are enlightened enough to impose on them.

They need to get over themselves. A friend of mine from Romania became a new American citizen this year. I showed him a "pocket" copy of the Constitution I have, and we started talking about it. He said that the greatest thing about it is its simplicity. Anyone with a decent vocabulary can read the Constitution and understand its plain language, even if English is their second language, even though it's now more than 200 years old.

It was a law written to be understood by the people. When the law is no longer simple enough to be understood by those who live under it, it becomes a weapon of tyranny.

And these politicians want to tell us that we are too stupid to understand how our own government works. They tell us this because if we believe it, they have power over us.

It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - 'Stop piping cats' and 9 less amusing UNIX tips

netbuzz writes: "Author/consultant Michael Stutz offers to help you "Learn 10 good UNIX usage habits" in an article posted to IBM's Web site. Number 10 had me laughing out loud: "Stop piping cats." Maybe the joke is lost on those who speak fluid UNIX, but those of us who don't speak any might conjure up all manner of thoughts upon hearing the phrase. Here are just a few. "

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