October 22, 2014

Interesting Ideas On Extraterrestrial Life By Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins

Are we alone in the universe? This is an inquiry that the human mind started making when it first became self-aware. Thousands of years flew by and here we are in the thick of the 21st century still scrambling to find definitive answers to the question. As the great Carl Sagan famously said, our home planet is but a pale blue dot in a seemingly never-ending universe. There's gotta be somebody else out there.

So are we alone in the universe? The most rational answer is we don't know. This is of course if you are to provide an answer without the influence of religion. Christianity in particular clings to the concept of creation by a deity as written on the Bible when explaining the origins of man and the universe. As the Christian evangelist Ken Ham once pronounced in a debate with the science educator Bill Nye, intelligent life can only be found on Earth and that the rest of the universe was created by God as proof of his greatness. Obviously, with this position, it follows that Ham and his ilk don't believe in aliens. This is a Christian worldview which is completely different to what you are about to watch.

At least 80% (and this is a conservative figure) of the scientific community believe in the theory of evolution. One of these scientists is Richard Dawkins, a well-known evolutionary biologist and author. In a short video shown at the World-Changing Ideas Summit in New York last October 21, Dawkins explored the idea that there's intelligent life out there and that they may have come to existence in a way that's different from how we on Earth came to be.

The evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. (bbc.com)
One of the main reasons that it's so difficult to the point of impossible to check if there's other life out there is the colossal distance that lies between our planet and other habitable planets outside of our solar system. Dawkins rightfully makes the statement that if we are to ever have contact with extraterrestrial life, it won't be on a direct manner. Our biggest chance is through radio signals from outer space. But then again, these signals would be coming from civilizations that may have already perished or evolved into something else hundreds, thousands, if not millions of years before their signals reached our radars here on Earth. In short, don't raise your expectations too much.

You can watch the video clip on BBC here. For more information on the World-Changing Ideas Summit, go here. They have a ton of really interesting speakers which include Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman, an aerospace engineering professor from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Alexis Ohanian, one of the founders of the social bookmarking/networking site Reddit. Hopefully, they'll be uploading their talks soon for free viewing.

August 27, 2014

Will Kirk Cameron Win The War On Christmas With His New Movie 'Saving Christmas'?

In his brand new movie Saving Christmas which is scheduled for a limited release in the United States on November 14th of this year, actor Kirk Cameron aims to save Christmas by teaching those who are going to see it what Christmas is all about. Cameron wants the film to serve as an inspiration for Christians to stand against what he refers to as a culture that wants to eliminate the faith elements of the holy season. Watch the trailer for the upcoming film below:

A Video On Evolution Explaining That There Was No First Human

It's Okay To Be Smart (a YouTube channel dedicated to all things science) has a concise video about evolution explaining that there was no first human. It's very well-made with great graphics that are easy to understand and a presentation that's also easy to follow. It's a video worth sharing to people who are not that familiar about the theory of evolution. Watch Joe Hanson (host and writer of the show) explain how there was no first human below. I am yet to read The Magic of Reality (a book by Richard Dawkins) but Hanson mentioned that this particular video was inspired by said book.

The cover for Dawkins' book:

August 26, 2014

Waiting Rooms Should Contain Classic Literature Not Lame Entertainment Magazines

We've all had the experience of sitting in some waiting room while we anticipate our turn to have our transactions. It can get very boring so we often try to find something to do to pass the time. Most waiting rooms have either newspapers or magazines to help keep us waitees from losing our minds. The problem is that these magazines are often crap.

It would be much better if waiting rooms have great literature books instead of crappy magazines. Just imagine walking into a dentist's office and seeing Edgar Allan Poe or George Orwell titles stacked in the waiting room's center table. Now that would be magnificent. For example, the automotive shop pictured below has Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. As a book lover, I wouldn't mind waiting for a long time as my car gets fixed if waiting means reading one of the greatest books ever penned.
Photo by willnoonan via Imgur.

Improve Your Argumentative Abilities By Adhering To The 10 Commandments Of Logic

Whoever came up with these ten commandments of logic needs a pat in the back. There are a few inaccuracies with the definitions given but these are rather trivial. I can't find the original author of the list so I don't know to whom I should attribute this piece of awesomeness. As to my source, I got the list from a post on the Religious Criticism blog which listed its source as the Atheism Today Facebook page.

The art of being logical can be very difficult to study and understand. It's even more difficult to apply in the real world. But it's something that every person should learn. The commandments featured in this list are of course just the tip of a massive iceberg. But it makes for a great starting point in understanding the most common fallacies in logic.