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Conspiracy Theories, Writing and Logic 103

Conspiracy Theories, Writing and Logic 103

In editing a piece of promotional work for someone one morning, I was reminded again of the many similarities between writers, who tell fantastic stories for a living and have no intention that they be taken as fact, and conspiracy theorists, who tell fantastic stories for a variety of reasons with every intention that they be taken as fact. In Truther circles, as in plotting a story, the narratives often become increasingly elaborate as they expand. Take Jade Helm, for…

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Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 102

Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 102

I commented in an earlier post that I have observed similar thought patterns and behaviors in some inexperienced writers and conspiracy theorists (or truthers, as they are often called). In my first article on the subject, I explored some of the common elements in the narratives spun by truthers—specifically Sandy Hook truthers—and inexperienced writers I’ve worked with over the years in different contexts. Some of those elements include: The importance of time. For example, that video cannot be taken of…

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Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 101

Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 101

I have recently participated in ongoing conversations online with Sandy Hook truthers. After listening to the litany of “reasons” that they have for suspecting a hoax or conspiracy of some sort (what sort varies), and hearing their questions, and reading some of their source material, a pattern began to emerge. They seemed to have little awareness of a number of things that, as a writer, I must take into account in every story I write and every plot I conceive….

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Why Religion 8: Will Wonders Never Cease

Why Religion 8: Will Wonders Never Cease

Some secular thinkers have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to convince religious people that science is more awe-inspiring than God or faith. Why aren’t we capable of appreciating the awesomeness of the Universe, they wonder? Is it the manmade ritual and imaginary miracles that we find exciting? This was actually a subject of discussion at the Beyond Belief Conference as early as 2006. A group of conference participants debated if perhaps they ought to…

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Science, Religion and Myth #11: Religion Chained—Science Unleashed

Science, Religion and Myth #11: Religion Chained—Science Unleashed

“The Scientific Revolution liberated science from religion. The new science separated spirit from matter. Reason and experiment replaced revelation as the source of knowledge of the world. After the Scientific Revolution, it was inevitable that God would eventually be pushed entirely out of nature and that science would deny the existence of God.” — Margaret J. Osler, Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths (Professor of History and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Calgary and author of…

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Questions from an Atheist #7: Got Soul?

Questions from an Atheist #7: Got Soul?

This is the final installment in my series of questions from an atheist correspondent. =========================================================== Today, I’ll consider my atheist acquaintance “Maynard’s” final question: Do you believe that you have a soul or spirit that will continue to exist in some form (perhaps reincarnated) even after you are dead? I know that I (and all other humans) have some capacity or element to our makeup that other animals do not. That much is obvious. I am writing this blog in…

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Questions from an Atheist #5: God—The Original Time Lord

Questions from an Atheist #5: God—The Original Time Lord

I’m actually going to consider three of the questions “Maynard” asked on his blog site. The first two are: #4: Can God change the past? and # 5. Does God know the future?
 These questions involve not only our conceptions of God, but our conceptions of time, which is a dimension we understand perhaps less well than others about which we claim some sort of knowledge. We run into time-related issues, in fact, when we try to measure the momentum…

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Questions from an Atheist #4: Is God Like Us?

Questions from an Atheist #4: Is God Like Us?

This is the fourth segment in response to a series of questions asked of believers in general on a science and religion blogspot elsewhere online. Questions like this were once common on this site and answers and commentary by visitors were encouraged. The site has since closed down its forum and stopped all commentary, something I found disappointing, to say the least. But the questions are still valid and worth seeking answers for. My neo-atheist acquaintance—whom I’m calling “Maynard”—asked a…

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Questions from an Atheist #2: Who is this God Person, anyway?

Questions from an Atheist #2: Who is this God Person, anyway?

Well, here it is – a day late and a dollar short, as they say. I had two too many blogs to write this week. So, without further ado – Question #1: Is God a (a) material or (b) non-material entity? (i.e., is God made up of the same kind of stuff like protons, electrons, etc. with properties like mass, charge, spin, etc. that every other thing in the universe is made up of, or is he made of something…

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Science: What a Tool

Science: What a Tool

On an atheist blog spot that has, alas, become merely a news and opinion aggregator, I was discussing the relationship between belief, faith and scientific inquiry with some folks when the idea was put forth that faith = blind belief in something without any evidence  whatsoever. I responded that, in my experience, faith and belief came as the result of experience and conscious exploration. My correspondent found this fascinating: “So,” he asked, “is there a specific religious way of exploring?”…

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