Friday, January 28, 2011


1. Be sure to place your entire midterm on your website and when you
are finished send a link of your test to your teacher directly at

2. Make sure that it is YOUR OWN work and that if you use other
authors please be sure to quote and/or cite the material appropriately. Plagiarism will not be
tolerated and you will receive an "F" automatically for the examination.

3. January 28th 2011

4. Aaron Andrew Alvarez

5. aalvarez53


7. Critical Thinking:

8. Yes

9. Yes


11. Dawkins views religion as a mind virus because it compromises the brain by letting it believe in the illogical and false to a damaging extent. I agree with this completely due to seeing how indoctrinated and irrational the faithful can be.

12. Most would say that Cargo cults only pertain to the savage minded humans of lands that only know the most basic of human contact. After World War II many cropped up in the South Pacific going as far as worshipping US servicemen as sky gods. While this is an example of an actual cargo cult, I would go as far as saying EVERY religion and faith is in some way a cargo cult. They take logic and reason and instead turn it into something primitive and sad.

13. Feynman believes that we should view the world and objects not for their basic face beauty but for their intrinsic all-encompassing beauty. He says that the only way for proper science to be achieved is to look at something with all of its parts in mind as opposed to only what lies on the surface.

14. It’s like Unbreakable but with a very low budget and no plot. The film has nothing to do with Karma and instead deals with cause and effect if at all.

15. Darwinian evolution basically states that an organism over time will adapt to survive its environment through small genetic changes that take place over a long period of time. John Maynard introduced the possibility that mental disorders and various health problems might actually be apart of evolution as a whole. These defects are actually helping to thin out the herd in a way evoking thoughts of the fittest shall survive.

16. Dyson believes that the Universe may have been created by someone or something. He infers that something’s are far too perfect to have been mere coincidence. He also believes that we have a greater purpose in this universe. Such thoughts are foolish and arrogant for a species that has only been around for such a short time. We mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.

17. Chand discovered that it is impossible to know the truth. He believes that the founders of any faith knew as much as any person ever will.

18. Eleven is like American Beauty if M. Night directed it while in high school. It’s a shoddy film that plays on many tropes and was only working off of a post 9/11 world. The message is that bad things happen to good people and that information comes at a price.

19. Simply put without knowing the main message behind anything the whole purpose of the subject is useless. More importantly context is also needed. Without context a numerous amount of mistakes can come about.

-The First Cause, Natural Law Argument, Argument of Design, Morality of a Deity, Remedy of Injustice, Character of Christ, Defects in Christ’s Teachings, The Moral Problem, Emotional Factor, Churches Retarding Progress, and fear. These are the things that Russell states render any belief in a high power pointless. I agree fully with every single point for one simple reason. When thought on all statements are actual givens. These are basic rational statements that any person of logic could agree with.

21. Dear, Johnny Doe.

You will think me a madman for writing you this letter. You will think I’ve been driven insane by a wild pack of beasts. Good god man, that’s not what’s happening at all! I’m writing to you about Critical Thinking and what some other deranged man named James Lett feels about the strange subject. You need to understand Johnny boy this whole Critical thinking mumbo jumbo has a trick to it. There are steps and guidelines and even a degree of trickery. Why should I tell you this, why should I let you in on something so basic and simple? Because man, this is for ranking that my writings depend on. Now listen. The first step is the principle of Falsifiability. For something to be true you have to be able to prove it false, don’t ask why just go along with this. Next you have to make sure what your viewing, testing or what have you is logical and backed by reason and not savagery. You then have to consider how comprehensive the supporting information is. If there are a few results and outcomes you might as well chuck it away. The most important of these things would have to be honesty. After you come to some conclusion or decision you had better hope that you arrived at it from a non-biased viewpoint. If any sort of bias exists the results are probably worth dung in the hand. After all this you’re going to have to see if every single outcome can be replicated. If it can you have yourself a result. Now that you’ve done that it’s up to you to determine if everything found out has any actual merit. So there you go Johnny boy. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I.

22. He believes that skepticism should be applied to religion because nothing is beyond being questioned. To exclude anything based on being sacred or an emotion impact would be doing a great disservice to science and logic. I agree fully. What better way to prove how asinine religion is than debasing it with scientific fact.

23. Pretext, Context and Text are important to analyzing any book simply because to understand what you have read has a need for these things. You need a general grasp of what you are about to read so as to understand what is being read. You need context to understand why what is being read is being spoken of and you need text to sum up the whole. For example, if you read a book about biology published in the 50’s you would need to know not only that it is a book on biology but that it was published in the 50’s. Once you figured this out you will now view the information differently.

24. I transformative UFO encounter is a religious experience that will change your perception of reality. This can come about from seeing or experiencing something you cannot explain. When viewed from an actual scientific perspective most of these experiences are complete bull and can easily be explained away.

25. When using online sources it is important to know where they came from, where they were published and when. Most people tend to trust anything placed online but usually this leads to huge mistakes of accountability. Any person can publish something online, so it’s important to do proper research.

26. Weinberg views religion as unneeded and a root for most of our world’s problems. I agree completely with the man. Religion has caused more wars, famine, abuse, death and stupidity than anything in the world. Nothing good has ever come from it. When I see charity and good deeds being done it its name I think only one thing. These people only do these as a means of not burning in hell. Even good deeds are covered by lies.

27. Sam Harris is an atheist because he views Atheism as a destructive force that causes problems the world over. He thinks that for humanity to prosper we must end religion and all belief of a higher power. I have no problem with any of what he has said.

28. Richard Dawkins. I choose Dawkins simply because the man is brilliant in how he goes about speaking on religion. He is not only thorough but also reasonable and above all else rational. He approaches everything in a systematic way that is very hard to argue against. Everything he says is filled with a fact or a new bit of information that can open the eyes of the indoctrinated.

29. Ken Miller is indeed correct. To suggest that anything in science can be carried by a creator is irresponsible and delusional. Science and Faith are two very different things. One is the continuing search for how the universe and all things in it work. The other comes from idiotic humans who’d rather look for a simple way to answer the great question.

30. Steven Weinberg. Though I completely support the man he has a way of making the subject very boring. In writing he’s very exciting and thought provoking but in a conference setting it’s just horrible. The man lacks charisma and charm.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

(3-5) CRITICAL THINKING FILMS: Nicholas of Cusa

I honestly don’t know what to say. Seriously I have nothing cheeky or funny to say. Normally I’d poke fun and mock how absurd this was but what am I supposed to say? “oi, look it’s small kit/ship and it’s accompanied my horrible music!” That’s too easy and an insult to laughter. I guess I’ll just break it down…I guess. So we have our title cards, alright very mundane. Oh look music, maybe we have something. Oh looks a ship…or is that a kite? How long are they going to show this? Good gravy I get it! Oh words, I like words. Oh, alright it’s this kind of video. Hey look, more words, another nugget of wisdom. Wait, what? Is that it, is it over? Okay. I uh, guess I should start writing on this. Oh! I already am. Well that was amusing. Oh look I managed to be cheeky afterall.

(3-4) CRITICAL THINKING FILMS: The Secret of Faquir

Here we have a clip of the Faquir as a geezer accompanied by a long string of statements the man made. In these statements he makes clear that though he is a man of his religion, he sides more in the spectrum of the agnostic. He is of the fence sitter; a human picks no side because they fear the ability to make a true stand.

It is true that a man cannot know everything but it is up to that man to attempt that feat, to know as much as possible. Choosing a middle ground leads only to stagnation and an abandon of progress in favor of the status quo.

(3-3) ASSIGNED READINGS: Running Trains

A barren wasteland teaming with sadness and regret lies in front of me. Faqir Chand a broken man spending his days on the brink of self-discovery and self-delusion. Here lies a human being who at looked deep inside of himself and saw a black void of nothing and claimed that the smallest bit of stardust existed where nothing could survive. So close but a million miles from the exhilarating feel of freedom and self-preservation.

A crossroad of complete understanding and know how was in his grasp, just in reach where the fingertip meets the inner thumb. Chased away only by the roots of a past gone wild. He was clinging on to his teachings that he saw as most sacred, meaningful and worthy. The marvelous madman of the east made bold statements ushering in thought and bemusements of a world with no faith, Shiva, Christ, Zeus, Santa or the Easter Bunny. Everything was set aside and placed on sale burned on a pile of ask…except for his that single strand, the strand of insanity.

(3-2) ASSIGNED READINGS: Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell

There are three readings I recommend any religious person when they tell me their faith is unshakeable; The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens and Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays by Bertrand Russell. There have only been two actual times when this advice was taken, in one I got anger thrown in my face, the other…defeat. Speaking on only Russell, he’s tends to do that; make a person question what they thought they held dear. Every reaction to his writings is always priceless. It’s near impossible to argue against solid logic mixed in with the kindness of an old wise man. Russell was good at showing the faults of Christianity and in this piece it was most apparent.

In this lecture, Russell systematically picks apart his non-belief of the Christian myth in a very simple yet adequate manner. Step by step he proves why believing in such a fairy tale is bogus and quite frankly childish. What really gets me going is that he takes it a step further and even speaks on his viewpoint of Christ. He says though the man was a moral compass he technically was a jerk only interested in those who would take his word as doctrine. He states that Christ may have loved all but yet warned that not obeying his will would lead to burning forever in a lake of fire, how nice and loving. From there he continues to show the fallacy that is faith all whole being kind, something most Bible thumpers have a hard time dealing with.

(3-1) EXPERT LECTURE: Freeman Dyson

Freeman Dyson, brilliant, accomplished, world renowned and a dozen other words to describe a man who is constantly praised. His work in the various fields of the sciences have, most notably the concept of the Dyson Sphere as well as a whole slew of other theories and published papers. The man is admired and respected by an absurd amount of people. If all this is true, if this man carries so much prestige behind his name, why in the blue blazes do I sense much fear within him? What fear you ask? He fears himself, he fears ridicule.

Dyson claims that science and religion can coexist. He makes it clear that science should not be limited by its boundaries and that another perspective of the supernatural may help to explain even more, to obtain true answers. I find it odd that he does this and then insists that he is an agnostic, again and again. Why do this? Why say this repeatedly? To be honest if he called himself a Christian he’d be taken less seriously. In the world of science if you refuse to place faith and logic on separate pedestals you end up coming up and a blind fool. I am not calling Dyson and idiot by any means, I’m just pointing out how ridiculous it is to claim the middle ground in a field that exists only to find truth.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


My favorite part of “Eleven” was when Kevin Spacey freaks out after the homosexual advances of his friend. Wait I’m sorry, that was American Beauty. After watching this oh so wonderful piece of student film making I thought on what I had just viewed and how many tropes it had set before me. I pondered on the horrible and repetitive use of stock music that had no actual impact on the film aside from being oh so mysterious. I looked back at the use of black and white which in no way incorporated proper lighting and was merely being used as a mean of showing how serious this film was. I sat there and I wondered what the whole point was, if there was any point at all.

A hate crime-murder is committed and some young ace reporter looking for fame is given the task of covering the sad turn of events. Irony then delivers him a blow as he is then murdered by the same men and then made famous because of it. There really isn’t much to this. Yes it shows how horrible humans are, good god if we aren’t beaten over the head with that message enough! Yes it also shows that information can come at a price. Aside from that it shows nothing else, it leaves you wanting something else instead of more. I understand what this film maker was going for; I understand how edgy and hip to the post 9/11 world he was being. At its time of release people probably bought into it out of anger and grief and out of the current trends. In hindsight it falls apart and shows a very lazy and shallow depiction of what hatred and cost actually is.

1/5 stars

(2-4) ASSIGNED READINGS: Should Skeptical Inquiry Be Applied to Religion?

Should skeptical inquiry be applied to religion? Good gravy, of course it should! Not doing so would be an injustice to the world of the logical and free thinking. The article in question is the work of another brilliant geezer (I see a trend forming) named Paul Kurtz a man of many talents and honors. In his wisdom he reveals that milking the sacred cow for all it actually represents should not ever be off limits. He puts into question the validity of not only dogma but of faith itself. The man displays a mixed bag of logic that will bring any skeptic or man of the sciences to automatic applause.

It’s funny that the faithful are okay with any and all studies as long as it does not apply to their special brand of lunacy. In truth they are only showing arrogance and reason for a good kick in the pants. Kurtz makes it clear that religion has played numerous roles in various fields of studies, from a sociological perspective to a psychological one. What many of the nut jobs fail to see is that what they hold sacred is to others just something else to be studied, tested, poked and prodded and then left somewhere, lying in the gutters.

(2-3) ASSIGNED READINGS: The Physics Behind Four Amazing Demonstrations

By all that Andy Griffith holds dear, David G. Willey is a magnificent bastard! Reading his article on four spate classroom experiments made me envious of all of his likely ungrateful students. An instructor who actually performs feats of amazement, to make science come alive for the usual gang of brain dead slobs is fantastic and a bit endearing in a shut-in sort of way. Step by step he delivers a how-to guide of acts that could probably kill you if you mess one thing up. He knows the inherent danger but he does it anyway. He’s brilliant I tell you, plum dog brilliant!

After reading I asked myself what was the point of learning how to walk on glass, attempt a staple of carnival shows, do the ol’ Johnny Tremain, and play with some scorching rocket fodder? After thinking for a few minutes it came to me like a bolt of lightning. He was showing that behind every act of wonderment, behind every miracle, behind every divine action, is actually a logical answer. The man used science to prove the insanity that is the mystical and mythical. What most would do with words, Willey does with flare.

(2-2) EXPERT LECTURE: Ken Miller

When the proceedings of what seemed to be a two hour lecture, opened with a priest delivering a prayer, I nearly punched my monitor with a craze not seen since the side show freak called the wild man of Borneo. As rage was beginning to set in I was then relieved to learn that Miller was not some crazed sky god worshipping zealot, but instead a rare example of what his ilk should aspire to be. The man accepts the absurdities of his faith but chooses to separate it from the world of science. Throughout his entire lecture he goes into logical attack mode and tears down the worlds of the back sliders who uphold the illogical tenants of “intelligent design”, two words combined that can’t make sense.

This well-spoken madman goes into detail about the history of the modern attack of learning institutions by the bible thumpers. We learn that these fiends have tried time and time again to penetrate the young malleable minds of the nation by using loopholes and dirty trickery. Placing warning stickers that would make the PMRC blush, on biology books, warning about the faults of evolution. He lets loose the truth behind the smear campaign and the farce that is intelligent design. In truth the Christian power hungry fat cats are acting as that which their ancient incest laden rape book warns against…a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Miller is on the side of logic sprinkled with a dash of madness but he knows this and it makes in a more formidable opponent of the Creationist.

(2-1) EXPERT LECTURE: John M. Smith

We start off this week with what appears to be the general theme of man’s ability to favor ancient fairy tales over logic and reason. Our first video brings us to an elderly geezer John M. Smith, whose mind is sharper than most young people of my so-called generation. His years have brought him wisdom that can only be called sage like; minus all the idiotic chants, superstitions and oddly named incenses of the East. The near death gentleman speaks of evolution and natural selection in the most welcoming of manners.

Smith speaks with wild abandon saying things that make most uncomfortable and squirm. Stating that disorders may actually be a part of that magnificent bastard we call natural selection. He goes on to directly challenge the lack of study and thought put into modern day natural selection; the man rips at the jugular of modern science with such grace. There is no doubting that for being such a frail old son of a gun he was brilliant in an out of your damn mind sort of way. In a world where the elderly blabber on about god knows what while committing acts of self-defecation, Smith was different…and needed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I finish the film and I have thoughts racing through my head. My mind begins to wander in areas of obscenities and places that would better suit zoo keepers in Bangladesh. I settle my mind into a more calming environment and review what I have just seen and my god is it asinine. The whole thing reeks of students with base knowledge of something not yet ready to film. The film itself aside from content is an absurdity but that is best left to another person for another time.

They called this bad boy Karma, when in cold hard fact it’s simply a vehicle to showcase pre-school snuff. The music used to exaggerate the mindless and hilarious violence taking place via an abyss of black and white hardcore. What is this mess? Is it for our benefit or is it more? I see no Karma, I see only a cheap student film that edges on unintentional humor. The things and events, people and places that happen within this film are not of a nature to have the preposterous title of karma attached. No, instead it is only a collection of cause and effect, probability, chance and dumb luck.

(1-2) ASSIGNED READINGS: Viruses of the Mind

When it comes to Richard Dawkins I’m use to reading him through his books and various interviews I come across. Would I call myself a fan of the man? Of course I would, the man promotes logic on a level that makes most weep and cry out in anger. So after reading “Viruses of the Mind” for a third time I can say that my understanding has gone up only slightly, how much more can you understand the understood? In my reading or re reading of the piece I have a few things to say or write as it would be in this case.

Religion, faith, belief and any other mumbo jumbo being compared to a computer virus is sheer genius. It’s a comparison that both gets the point across and hits the subject directly in the guy. I suppose as a person of no faith or obedience to mythology it’s much easier to understand and appreciate what Dawkins is speaking on. I’ll try and make it easier, which while doing a disservice to the man is far more welcoming to our “too long, did not read” society. First you take yourself an empty shell of a person worth almost nothing, a child. Next you begin filling that empty shell with all kinds of information that you would deem right and wrong. Stir it up and let it sit till adult hood and you now have a fully working human adult. But here is where the problem lies. Some of that information may have been corrupted and passed onto you. What you call morals and good faith, the logical would call lies and ignorance. You see what I’m getting at? People decide what other people become in most cases, so if you’re going to teach a child something, make sure it’s not the organic form of a computer virus.

(1-1) Expert Lecture: Feynman & Russell

As I finished watching both videos, segments, shorts or whatever you’d call the acts of media made available, I walked away with some thoughts, most which were already housed inside that glob of fatty tissue called my brain. From this I gather that is far better to know the sum of a whole than just a whole itself, but under the guidelines of a clear and present mind. What exactly is that clear mind though and how can it be obtained? That’s another question for another time. What these men want is answers and they want them in whole, not as small individual wrapped nuggets that look pretty with a pink bow. Good god these bastards want concrete evidence and won’t except anything shy of a proof that can be tested three eyed bull frog found in the jungle.

While it’s easy and safe to partake in the beauty and surface of something or anything, in the end it all ends up nowhere. Saying a flower or an apple is beautiful leaves you with not much aside from a basis for personal preference. Go deeper than just the whole and ask yourself why that apple or flower beautiful is? Go even deeper and see what the whole is made of and then find out what those parts are made of. You dig deeper and deeper to the brink of insanity and only then can you see what value or merit it actually has. We live in a world full of “is” and “isn’t”, when we should really be boarding in the realm of “how” and “why”.