Language, Cities, and inference to the best explanation

Part 5 in 20 Atheist answers to questions they supposedly can’t.

7. How do we account for the origin of 116 language families?
8. Why did cities appear all over the world between 3000 and 1000 BC?

Short answer: Science! (and History, linguistics, etc.)

Longer answer: The precise phylogeny of human language is another unanswered question, and there are a cluster of theories drawing circumstantial-but-not-overpowering support from various features. Perhaps all the languages on earth are distantly related to a linguistic common ancestor, but any association has been ablated. Maybe language has been recovered multiple times by multiple groups. Maybe something else entirely.

The catalyst to forming cities is similarly controversial. Maybe they were formed due to a desire to worship. Or maybe they developed as agriculture allowed non-subsistence farming. Or, again, maybe something else.

Fascinating though this is, I want to spend more time talking about the Saunder’s bizarre view on how theories and evidence work. As the argument behind these questions was that a) biblical christianity thanks to the tower of Babel has a far better explanation for languages: Continue reading

Arguing on the Internet

Browser beware

The internet is a dangerous place. Not, as commonly imagined, in the dark underbelly of porn and software piracy, but in the vast bulk of information available. One can drown in the oceans of words, with little remaining but some trivia and some ill-thought-out good intentions. It can deceive you into thinking you are doing something worthwhile whilst, in fact, you are spending time for little return.
Discussion is one example. The internet offers opportunities to talk to vast multitudes of people you would never meet. However, some of these opportunities are better left alone. When criticism is a comment away, and the back-and-forth restrained only by the stamina of the participants, one can get locked into a futile cycle trading responses with someone-or-other. Any pretense of irenic discussion has long past: you’re just in it to win; everyone else will be patiently scrolling through the block-quotes and vitriol. It is a game where you ‘win’ by not getting suckered in to taking part.

What to avoid on the internet

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