Saturday, August 30, 2008

'Answers in Genesis' on arguments creationists should not use

I don't know how many people have seen this page, but I just came across it. It's a page by Answers In Genesis, the young Earth creationists, on arguments which creationists should not use in trying to make their case. A few of them on the list are in common use today, including the Darwin eye quote (which I recently posted about here), that Darwin converted on his deathbed, that apes shouldn't exist today if humans evolved, that there are no beneficial mutations, that no new species have been observed to form, that evolution is just a theory, that there are no transitional forms, that the Bible contains scientific insights, and that Einstein believed in god.

It seems that they're saying that most of what religious nuts have been using as their arguments over the last few decades is total garbage. No surprises there.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Welcome to Atheist Propaganda

Welcome to the Atheist Propaganda website!

I started this site in July of 2008 as a place for me to record my thoughts and opinions about atheism. It is not a news site. While some of the posts are about current events in the news, many are not time-sensitive. I therefore encourage any new readers to check out some of my older posts, as they are just as relevant today as they were when I posted them. Some of my posts might contain old news in the atheist world, but I would like a record of them on my site, so I'll post them anyways. Eventually I might transition the page into a more static format, with frequent updates, in order to remove the implied time-sensitivity of a dated blog post, but not anytime soon.

Click on these posts if you'd like a brief introduction about who I am and what I believe.

If you'd like to contact me, please use the 'Click here to contact me' link at the top of the left sidebar.

Thanks for visiting!

God loves money too!

Headline: Man donates $3-million dollar lottery ticket to his church in New York. (Click here.)

Response: "Ha ha ha ha ha! Dumbass."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Immoral people need to believe in a god

Yet another story of a religious man disgraced by his own lack of morality. I found this story about a pastor who actually claimed to have cancer.

Here's how the story goes. The pastor, like probably all pastors, was addicted to pornography. He feels bad about it, so he creates this story that he has cancer as an attempt to hide his addiction. How that works, I have no idea. But it seems he ran with the cancer story for a couple of years or so, appearing in front of his congregation with tubes sticking out of his nose.

He collects thousands of dollars from his followers, even makes a fricking album of church songs, with one being about his fight with cancer. Total jackass.

According to the video, he revealed his scam to his congregation through a written statement which he did not read to them himself, but had somebody else read. What a cowardly disgrace.

Watch the video here.

Now, here's what I think. It is often said by the believers that atheists don't want to believe in god so that we can be as immoral as we want, without having to accept consequences. Having never faked cancer, or any other terminal disease myself, I'm going to claim moral superiority on this one. Religious people are weak individuals who have no idea how to be a good person, and therefore need to believe in god so that they can believe they'll be forgiven for all of their immoralities and weakness. They believe that they can do whatever they want in life, because their imaginary god will grant them forgiveness and send them to heaven, while the good atheists burn in hell for eternity with serial killers and politicians. Without their fictional holy books they probably wouldn't be able to form a reasonable opinion of right and wrong. I am a morally superior person to them because my strong sense of right and wrong comes from my own understanding of the world, and belief in the rights of others, not from fear of eternal punishment by a magical sky fairy watching everything I do. I've posted on this topic before, and that post can be found here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Atheist's Riddle... Oh no, I'm so scared!

I came across this Atheist's Riddle thing. Has anybody else seen this? The website can be found here, but I'll summarise the argument below.

The guy posted this on an internet chat board:


The starting point of this discussion is my central thesis, which is:

1) DNA is not merely a molecule with a pattern; it is a code, a language, and an information storage mechanism.
2) All codes are created by a conscious mind; there is no natural process known to science that creates coded information.
3) Therefore DNA was designed by a mind.

If you can provide an empirical example of a code or language that occurs naturally, you've toppled my proof. All you need is one.

Perry Marshall

So what's the deal with this thing? Well, first I'd like to point out that this is yet another religious hand-waving argument, with no physical evidence to support it. It is philosophical, an argument vastly limited by the imagination of the arguer. He also attempts to put the burden of proof on us to prove him wrong, by demanding that WE provide something to discredit him, as opposed to him producing some evidence to back-up his hand-waving.

The next thing that strikes me is that this guy really likes his semantics (which is funny, because he doesn't seem to realise or care that this thing he calls a riddle, is in fact, not a riddle). He seems determined to define DNA as a 'code'. That's fine, he can call it whatever he wants. It doesn't make a difference. The reason that it doesn't make a difference is because in the next point of his proof, he asserts that no natural process can make a code. So whatever he wants to call DNA, it doesn't matter. He can call DNA a 'fhjggjksdvbdf' if he wants, because the next step is to assert that all fhjggjksdvbdfs are made by minds.

So what has he done in the first two steps? Define DNA in any way that he likes, then assert that all of those are created by minds. He has constructed his proof by assuming it to be true, by immediately dismissing the possibility that this code, or whatever he wants to call DNA, could have been created naturally. Therefore, we are not allowed to merely say, "DNA is an example of a code created by nature, you fucktard!" He hasn't allowed it, expecting us to disprove his claims (even though it isn't up to us to disprove it) without allowing us to use DNA itself as an example. It doesn't matter if there aren't other examples of codes created by nature. We only need one.

I guess one way to handle it is to just say, "DNA and RNA", and move along.

Another way is to not allow the second step to go unproven and unchallenged. Tell him that you want to use DNA as your example. Ask the believer to prove that nature can't create a code; that nature couldn't have created DNA. After all, it's an axiom of the believer's proof, so it should be able to be backed up. Because the whole proof relies on this step, the proof will collapse if the step itself has to be proven. He will not be able to do it, try as he might with more hand-waving and some fast-talking/typing. Don't back down! Make him PROVE that nature can't (not that it DIDN'T, but that it CAN'T) create a code. He will no doubt reply that YOU can't prove that nature CAN create a code, but you don't have to. You were not the one trying to advance a proof that nature created DNA, the sheep was trying to advance a proof that a god created it. Neither one of you can do it, therefore he has failed in his task. You're at a stalemate, where neither one can prove his belief about the origin of DNA. The existence of a god requires an extraordinary explanation, so the natural origin will be more likely by Occam's Razor, but you don't even need to go that far. Just be happy that this fool can't prove his case.

Wow, what a great proof! Perry, are you at all surprised that this grand proof has not been accepted by the scientific community or the world's great thinkers? You do nothing but define things in terms you want, then assert that your proof is true! Then you challenge us to disprove it! You're just another in a long, long line of arrogant, fast-talking hand-wavers without a single shred of evidence. You'd think evidence would be pretty easy to come by if this god thing existed, like you claim. Get bent!

No, wait! Before you get bent, answer this. I call it the Theist's Riddle.

1. Your god is a supernatural being; it is a spirit, with absolutely no evidence to support its existence, and a bigger problem of how it itself got created if it does indeed exist.

2. All supernatural beings are created by, and exist only in, human imaginations; there is no natural or supernatural process known to science which can create them or a place for them to exist.

3. Therefore your god was created by, and exists only in, human imaginations.

If you can provide an empirical example of a supernatural being which exists outside of the human imagination (and can prove it), you've toppled my proof. All you need is one.

This is so much fun! Here's another one:

1. Humans are a form of life.

2. All life evolved naturally; there is no process known to science by which a god could create life.

3. Therefore, humans evolved naturally.

If you can provide an empirical example of a form of life that was created by a process of a god (and can prove it), you've toppled my proof. All you need is one. (It would also be nice if you'd describe the process used. We're curious.)

Now, prove me wrong! Loser.

(Edit: for a little bit more on this topic, check out my post about scientific proof vs. "religious proof")

(Another edit: for a follow-up on the Atheist's Riddle, please check this post.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My psychic powers

Today a plane crashed on take-off in Spain, killing a whole bunch of people. That's terrible. But I can use it to briefly discuss the belief in psychic phenomena.

I myself had a plane trip scheduled for today. A couple of days ago, I had a dream that my plane crashed on take-off. Shortly after the plane was off the ground, it lost engine power and crashed.

Then today, I was sitting in the plane on the tarmac for about 40 minutes while waiting for our clearance to depart. I was watching the planes take-off from my window, and recalled my dream. As each plane raced down the runway, I began to imagine and visualise what it might look like for them to crash and burn during take-off, as in my dream.

Unknown to me at the time, a plane had just crashed on take-off in Spain. I learned of it when I got home and got online.

So what happened? Do I have psychic powers? Did I have a vision of the future? Am I somehow connected to the people on that flight, and knew of, or felt their fate as they experienced it?

I really don't think so. It's called a coincidence. I'm sure it crosses many/most people's minds, before they take a flight, that their plane could crash. Sometimes it happens, but usually it doesn't. The sad part is, that I could probably use this experience to convince some unthinking dimwit that I am a psychic.

But if we want to credit this occurrence to a psychic power, we'd have to discard all of the other times that I thought of it, but a plane didn't crash. That would be just completely stupid. It's called cherry-picking, and it's what religious people use all the time to prove their belief.

For example, the religious believer might take as evidence for god that the sick person they prayed for became well again. They'll of course ignore all of the other times that people pray for the healing of a loved one, but it doesn't happen. No, the one person that was prayed for and got better is proof of god, but all of the others do not prove that god doesn't exist. In fact, it was god's plan that they die. This is all total crap, and reminds me of just how weak their argument is.

I am not a psychic. Besides, if I was psychic, I wouldn't have taken a beating on my investments this year with the rest of the pathetic, non-psychic losers who have lost so much.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

'How To Destroy Science - for Dummies' (religious sheep)

I recently visited Cambodia, and was told the stories of the Khmer Rouge takeover of the country in the 70's. I decided to read more on the topic, so I bought a book called Voices From S-21, which is about the interrogation of prisoners in the famous prison in Phnom Penh. The interrogations were actually brutal torture to get the prisoners to admit to their crimes, whether there were actually any crimes to confess to or not. After confession, there was only death by execution, but at least the pain of torture would cease.

One 'crime' that the Khmer Rouge often tried to get the prisoners to confess to was being an agent of the CIA, as the Americans were heavily active in the area of Cambodia and Vietnam at the time. The prisoners often confessed to exactly that. The interrogators/torturers asked the prisoners to describe their role for the CIA, including the initiation rituals. The prisoners told of standing in large warehouse-like buildings, in front of the American flag, chanting and pledging, among other things. All of the things they described were analogous to what the people had to do under the Khmer Rouge.

So what's the point? The point is that they were completely making up the rituals based on the only things that they knew! They were not really agents of the CIA, and so they couldn't possibly know what goes on when one is recruited to the Agency. But they did know what the Khmer Rouge had made them do, and they used those experiences to imagine what it must be like to join the CIA. All of this to satisfy their torturers, end the pain, and allow a quick death at the Killing Fields.

You might be wondering why I'm writing this story on an atheist website. I'm writing it because I see the parallel between how the prisoners imagined the CIA, and the attacks that religious believers attempt to use to discredit science. The believers don't understand science, so they use their experiences in their own religious organisations and extrapolate those to try to imagine how the world of scientific knowledge operates. If something would discredit their religion, then a similar type of attack could be used to discredit science.

As an example, take the fundamentalist doctrine of infallibility of the Bible. If they were to accept that even one bit of the Bible is not correct, then it would destroy the rest with it, as well as their entire religion, which is based on it.

Another example is that religious organisations have supreme leaders of one kind or another, who tell the mindless sheep what to do. The sheep, unable to think for themselves, recognise the authority of that person to lead the organisation, tell them what is morally right and wrong, and what is factually true and false. If that person can be discredited, it's a severe blow to their organisation.

So the attacks against science attempted by the believers often include attempts to discredit anybody who they think is our infallible leader. They use stories about something Darwin or Einstein might or might not have said, or something they might or might not have been incorrect about, and expect us to cave at the first sign of error by our leader. They tell us that Newton believed in a god, and expect our opinion to sway. They think that by the existence of one problem or unsolved issue in any theory, we would turn our backs on the whole thing and just become mindless god-worshiping lemmings.

They seem surprised that their constant attacks don't work. The trouble is, they can't kill it because they don't understand it.

Here's what the believers don't understand about science and atheism:

  1. We don't have a leader. There is no head to cut off of this beast.
  2. All of us are fallible, and we know it. Finding a fault with Darwin or Dawkins will not stop us, nor even slow us down. If we learn that Darwin faked his own death in 1882 and became Jack-the-Ripper 6 years later, that will not count against his ideas.
  3. If we worship anything at all, it's evidence. Evidence is the only thing we'll listen to. What you people have called evidence is just hand-waving. You have never provided anything real and tangible.
  4. Our theories may not be perfect, but they're constantly being revised and improved as new evidence comes in.
  5. If a theory breaks down, we'll replace it with a better one. As an example, take the hypothesis of the aether, which failed miserably and was replaced with relativity.
  6. Just because a scientist is right about one thing, doesn't mean he's right about another. It's possible for a person to be right about only one theory in an entire lifetime. Each individual idea will rise or fall based on the merit of the evidence. The authority of the person speaking the idea does nothing to substantiate it.
  7. We will freely admit that there are things we don't yet understand, but we'll keep working on it. To try to argue that we must accept god because science can't explain something is the most foolish argument one can make. Every day, more unknowns fall to our pursuit of knowledge.
  8. Swaying public opinion away from science will not sway the evidence, nor sway the truth.
  9. There's only one way to fight us. Get an education in science (if you're capable). Do some research (if you're capable). Publish your results for review and critique (if you're capable). If there is enough evidence to support your idea, it will stand.
Strangely enough, none of them seem to have accomplished that last item yet.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Atheist Experience TV show

Lately, I've been watching, and enjoying, a weekly TV program out of Austin, Texas, U.S.A. It's called The Atheist Experience. It's broadcast in the Austin area on Sundays, at 3:00PM 4:30PM, Texas time. It's 90-minutes long, and they usually have the audio file posted online by about an hour or so after the show ends, with streaming video appearing a bit later (Edit: The show now streams live, complete with live chat for fans). It isn't a flashy show, but it has substance. It's a call-in show, so if you want, go ahead and call them with your experience or questions. They accept calls from atheists and believers.

I've added the link to the Relevant Links section on my left sidebar, or you can just click here for the show's homepage.

They also have a blog, which can be found here.

The archive of audio and video episodes can be found here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Religious stories are not the default!

I've been looking at a lot of anti-scientific propaganda lately, and I've noticed something. Both the creationists and the intelligent design advocates spend an awful lot of time trying to tear down Darwinian evolution by natural selection and the Big Bang (hereafter referred to as currently accepted theories), without actually raising any points to support their own argument. All of these attacks focus on the state of evidence for the currently accepted theories, while never addressing any evidence for the other side. It's as if they think that by discrediting another theory, theirs wins by default.

This is a very serious logical failure. The destruction of the currently accepted theories (which not surprisingly, they've failed to do) will not in any way support their theory. It would leave a void, a huge gap in human knowledge about our origins, and one for which no other theory has provided even a tiny shred of real (physical, non-anecdotal, non-hand-waving) evidence to support. It would be back to the drawing board, basically.

If you are attempting to prove your case in this way, and don't see the ridiculous failure of logic, let me illustrate with a completely analogous example. There has been a break-in in your neighbourhood. The police have two suspects, yourself, and some other dude. The other dude is able to provide an alibi, backed up by several people. With that, they take you into custody and charge you with break-and-enter. You are convicted for the sole reason that the only other guy they thought it might have been was able to prove that it wasn't him.

Wouldn't you cry and bitch? Wouldn't you complain that it wasn't fair? Wouldn't you threaten to appeal or sue, on the basis that they provided no evidence to prove that you did it?

If you think that destruction of one theory is proof of another, you have to suck up this hypothetical scenario like an adult, and accept that you were proven guilty by the same technique with which you wish to prove your theory of origins. We all know you wouldn't tolerate that.

So I say to you, "You are lazy and cowardly bastards who have absolutely no evidence to support your case! Stop attacking the currently accepted theories, it will prove nothing in your favour! Provide some evidence to support YOUR case!"

Of course we know you can't do that, because no such evidence exists. What sad, pathetic individuals.

A win by default is an unimpressive way to win, and nobody granted your theories the status of Default Theory.

Monday, August 11, 2008

YouTube rebuttals to creationists

I'm currently on vacation in the Galapagos islands, but I've scheduled some posts to appear every few days while I'm gone. This is the first of those pre-scheduled posts.

In browsing the creationism vs. evolution debate (which sadly, exists) on YouTube, I came across 2 especially well-done video series. Altogether, they would take several hours to view, but I think it really is worth it.

The first series is called, Why do people laugh at creationists?. It's made by a member named Thunderf00t, who is some kind of scientist, although I don't think he ever says exactly what kind. There are 24 videos in the series, as of this posting (Edit: There are now 25 26 27 29). They're pretty easy to watch. Especially funny are his interactions with a prolific creationist video poster named VenomFangX, who is just some arrogant, scientifically-illiterate punk kid. The slaughter is quite amusing. When you're finished with the series, you can check Thunderf00t's other interactions with VenomFangX, such as when VenomFangX challenges him to a debate. Funny stuff!

If you want to visit Thunderf00t's YouTube page, click here. I've also got the first video for you here, if you want to watch it now.

The second series are the Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism, by a member named AronRa. There are 11 videos in this series, as of this posting (Edit: there are now 12 13 14 15). I believe he is a Ph.D. student in geology, but I could be wrong. His videos are longer than Thunderf00t's, and a bit harder to watch, for the reason that he often displays quotes which you will have to pause the video to read, and then you might forget where the narration was when you begin to play the video again. However, they are just as informative, and just as crushing to the creationists.

If you want to visit AronRa's YouTube page, click here. Once again, I'll include the first video for you now, if you want to watch it from here.

Hope you enjoy the videos, and I do recommend that you take the time to watch them all. I have.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I'm fully half-atheist!

I saw my paternal grandparents and my only paternal cousin at my brother's wedding today. When all of the god-talk was going on (my brother is still Catholic), I noticed they were a bit awkward. On the way home, it was just me, my grandparents and my cousin in the car. I flat-out asked them if they believe in god. None of them do.

Interestingly, my cousin was reluctant to describe herself as atheist, even though she does not believe in god. She tried to tell me about how she does have beliefs, and believes in humanism, etc. Just another example of how society has conditioned us to feel that atheism is a dirty word, taken to mean that you're an immoral person. I quickly managed to convince her that atheism is merely the lack of belief in a god, and she then acknowledged that the word describes her. Hopefully she'll be comfortable with it in the future.

So an entire half of my family is atheist, even though I was raised to be Roman Catholic by my mother's side. Interesting that we never discussed it before.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Atheism is in the family (part of it)

In an earlier post, I expressed some concern that because my family is just finding out that I'm an atheist, they might try to re-convert me when I see them for my brother's wedding. I don't live in the same town, country or even continent as they do, so this would be their first time seeing me since they learned of it.

So I was pretty happy to just learn that my father is also an atheist. He obviously allowed my mother to raise me and my brothers in the Roman Catholic church, but kept quiet about his own thoughts. I have to admit that his silence on the issue for so many years recently made me suspicious that he might be on my side, but I just received confirmation in the last couple of days.

I wonder if his parents, my paternal grandparents, are also atheists..... I guess I can ask them when I see them.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Atheist community project time

I saw an article in the news about yet another religious leader who was convicted of a number of charges, including murder and embezzlement. That's nothing new. We all know those guys are not as moral as they or their followers would claim them to be. Check the article here.

Now, here's the fun part. I found this article on Wikipedia called List of convicted religious leaders. There are separate sections for violent crimes and non-violent crimes. The list seems to be pretty incomplete, and that's a total shame. Don't you think so?

Edit: The Wikipedia article seems to focus only on major leaders, or supreme leaders of religions. I'd argue that pastors and priests of individual churches are also religious leaders, and should therefore be added to the list. If they don't allow it, I suppose we could make a new article for small-time leaders.

We need to expand this article! Our intention, of course, is not to embarrass religion, but to make sure that the high standards of Wikipedia are kept, and to ensure that human knowledge is as complete as possible. Right? :-)

Here is what I propose. If you have a blog, get this challenge on it. Go through past blog postings, and any other news articles you might know of, and get the list growing! Let's have as many disgraced religious leaders as possible added to this article so that we can show the sheep the extent of the great morality of their leaders! (Remember that in order to go on the list, the person must have been actually convicted of the crime, not just charged or arrested.)

I've already added this latest case to the list. Make sure you cite the source article in the references. If you've never edited a Wikipedia article, use the following template to edit it. Replace the italics parts like in the example below the template, and add it to the bottom of the existing code.


* name of convicted leader - leader role, charges convicted on.{{cite news| url=http://web address| title=article title| publisher=name of news organisation where you found the article| accessdate=yyyy-mm-dd date you clicked the link|date=yyyy-mm-dd date of the article}}


* Howard Douglas Porter - Pastor at Hickman Community Church, convicted of first-degree murder, embezzlement, elder abuse and attempted murder.{{cite news| url=| title=Preacher convicted of murder loses support| publisher=MSNBC News| accessdate=2008-08-06|date=2008-08-06}}

What do y'all think? Drop me a comment if you like the idea. I suppose if you think the idea sucks, you can also comment.

This guy doesn't ever quit

Thought you'd like to know what Ray Comfort is up to over on his page.

"There is a difference between being a 'believer' and being a Christian. Every sane human being is a 'believer' in God’s existence. Some people pretend He doesn’t exist (atheists) but they know He does. I know what the atheist knows because God’s Word tells me that He has given light to every man. He cannot plead ignorance."

Ray is just a gullible fool, which is why we don't buy his argument. I've posted here about his hilarious and painfully embarrassing attempt to prove god exists (you really should watch the video if you haven't already, it's so awkward). I've posted here about his intellectually dishonest and incredible logical failure in asserting, without discussion, that this being is HIS god, once he thinks he's proven the existence of A god. I've posted here about his and Kirk's rejection of any contrary evidence by merely asserting that god made it that way. And we probably all know about his complete collapse and embarrassment on the banana issue, even though I haven't posted about that yet (I'll get around to it). What I do know is that even after it's been discredited, and he knows it's been discredited, he continues to (literally) sell the argument to children, which I posted about here.

Ray, maybe if you were a more honest, more factually correct, and less-prone-to-embarrassment leader, people would be more inclined to believe you. But the truth is that you're a disgraced and gullible fool, whose arguments just don't make sense, and whose various 'proofs' are fatally flawed. You have no understanding of science, the scientific community, or what it means to 'prove' something. You're a laughing stock, dude. Surely an all-powerful god could choose a better representative than yourself.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Darwin said it was absurd to think the eye evolved!

I'm currently reading Origin of Species in preparation for my upcoming trip to the Galapagos islands. I've made it to page 227, which, in the version I have, contains the famous quote which creationists often take to suggest that Darwin himself didn't even believe his own theory could explain the origin of the eye. Here is the quote as often cited by creationist twits:

"To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree."

What the misinformed/dishonest jackasses will not do, in an attempt to fool somebody who has not read the book, is to continue the quote.....

"When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei ["the voice of the people is the voice of God "], as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certain the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, should not be considered as subversive of the theory. "

To think that Darwin would shoot down his own theory within the book in which he presents it to the world, is ridiculous! What is wrong with these creationist morons?

Here are 3 examples of creationists taking (or attempting to take) this quote to serve their own purposes, without (voluntarily) giving the rest of the paragraph. One of these men will be recognised as an especially dishonest cretin who you've probably heard of, Kent Hovind. Good thing he's in prison! Ha!

Example #1: Click here. Note the quote at the top of the page.

Example #2: Click here. A catalogue of some of Kent Hovind's attempts to use the quote to convince others that evolution is not valid.

Example #3: This fuckwit called in to an atheist TV program (which I'll properly introduce in another post another time), and tried to use it to bolster his case. Did it work out for him? Not so much. This video is from 9 days ago as of this posting, so it appears that people still haven't figured it out. (The jester hat the guy is wearing is a long story explained in the first half hour or so of the show, which is not included in this video).

Do creationists really wonder why people laugh at them? Oh! That gives me an idea for one of my next posts!

Monday, August 4, 2008

How did you find this site?

Hello to all readers! I'm curious about how y'all found my site here, so feel free to leave a comment below and tell me. Thanks for the feedback!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Atheist Blogroll

So I found this Atheist Blogroll thing, and have just joined. You'll now find the links in the left sidebar, below the Scarlet A. It's free and is a good way to increase your exposure in the atheist community. If you're interested in signing up your own blog, click here for the rules and requirements.

Still trying to sell the banana argument? To kids?

There was a comment on my last Way of the Master post wondering why Kirk and Ray haven't learned their lesson after the banana fiasco. I'd just like to point out that they have not learned anything, and in fact are still selling a book aimed at children, with a picture of Ray holding a banana on the front of it. (If you're not familiar with the banana fiasco, I'll tackle it in another post another time).

I'm not going to buy a copy of this book to actually read it (I try to not financially support this kind of crap), but from the cover, and Ray's past arguments, I'm going to guess that something about the banana argument is in this book, and it likely is not a retraction. If I'm wrong, I apologise in advance and will post a retraction, something which Ray and Kirk probably wouldn't do. (If anybody can show me where on their website or TV shows Ray and Kirk have retracted and apologised for the banana argument, I'll make yet another retraction for saying that they wouldn't make a retraction.)

Ray and Kirk, you are stooping so low by continuing to sell this book! Your argument about the banana has been discredited so thoroughly and embarrassingly, that most people would have destroyed all evidence that they ever tried to make it! Yet you continue to target this book, containing the banana argument, not at thinking adults, but at impressionable kids! You continue to sell lies and intellectual dishonesty, hoping that the kids will not be smart enough to figure out your ruse, and that their undeveloped minds will allow them to accept your argument and be indoctrinated into the stupidity which you continue to spew forth.

Do all of these books come with a sticker saying that the banana argument has been discredited? That the modern banana is a creation of humans? That if your god did indeed create bananas, that we have done a better job than it by making bananas more convenient and tasty?

Since you do have bumper stickers on your site, I'll assume that you are capable of making stickers. Make one that says, "The bananas that you buy in stores have been demonstrated to be a creation of humans, and only vaguely resemble the forms found in nature, which are not convenient for human consumption.", and put it on all books that you sell to these unfortunate kids.

Universe punishing United States with HIV/AIDS

I was reading this article about the number of new HIV infections in the United States. According to the article, it was previously estimated that there are 40,000 new cases each year. That estimate has now been revised to 56,300 new cases per year. The total number of Americans estimated to be currently infected with HIV/AIDS is about 1.1 million.

Read the article here.

What can we conclude from this? I'm going to make a preemptive strike against the religious right and say that the Universe, in all of its wisdom, is punishing the United States for:

  1. abstinence-only programs for sex-ed in schools
  2. religious objections to condom use
  3. an environment fostering ignorant belief that HIV is only a problem for "fags"
  4. objections to safe-injection sites which provide clean needles for IV drug users
  5. belief that praying to an imaginary god will provide protection
  6. rejection of science and the scientific method as a way to gain knowledge of the problem
  7. allowing a simpleton and his friends to form public policy

These things don't exist, and the ones that do exist were created by god

So the Nobel prize-winning scientist, Kirk Cameron, was explaining to the audience that science doesn't have any transitional fossils to support evolution of species by natural selection. A somewhat suspicious claim, but we'll take it on his great authority as a man of science who is an expert on the issue.

No more sarcasm.

This video, which joins the debate in progress, begins with Kirk showing some pictures of things that would qualify as transitional forms, according to his terrible misunderstanding of evolution. The problem for the purposes of this post is not his misunderstanding of evolution (which I'll tackle in another post another time), but the logical path he takes from there. He says that no animal is found in nature that crosses features specific to two distinct kinds of animals. But then there's something else..... See if you can spot the logical failure.

You only have to watch the first minute of the video, but he does continue.

Did you catch it?! Did you?! First he says that none of these forms actually exist in nature, but then immediately cites an example of one which does conform to his misunderstanding of evolution, the platypus. He then immediately and calmly dismisses that animal by saying that god made it that way, and it therefore proves nothing.


*No offense is meant to Tracey Gold, who I have no reason to believe is a creationist, and may actually have a high school education.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The great morality of 'men of god', and a challenge

So I found this article yesterday about a preacher in Alabama, USA, who killed his wife and stuffed her body in a freezer. He kept her there for "several years". Why did he kill her? Possibly it was because she caught him sexually abusing their daughter. Read the full article here.

So I got thinking..... there are a lot of stories about religious people, including priests and preachers, committing some terrible acts. Another example would be the abuse of children by Catholic priests, as well as the subsequent cover-up by the organisation itself.

Despite this, there are still many, many religious believers who bitch and bitch and bitch about how atheists can't be moral without god, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah!

So I'm going to issue a challenge to any religious people who might be reading this site (we actually do seem to have a few readers now, but hopefully will get more later). Can you support, by providing evidence (preferably not 'religious evidence', whatever that is), that religious people are any more moral than atheists? If you have something, please send it on to me by using the 'Contact Me' form.

I'd also like any atheists reading this page to send me information suggesting the opposite, that atheists are just as moral, or more moral, than religious believers. Or hey, if the atheists want to support that believers are more moral, or the believers want to show that atheists are just as moral, that's great and "good on ya mate" for being objective.

I don't know what the outcome of this will be, whether you can or can't demonstrate anything, but I am interested.

Morality can be a tricky issue to define, but I think that things like murder, rape, theft, hard-drug use (not marijuana or alcohol), sexual abuse of children, fraud, infidelity in marriage and divorce, etc. are not moral. 'Sins' such as blasphemy, false idols, or working on any particular day of the week, cannot be considered to be immoral for our purposes here, because they require the axiom that there is a god in order to be considered immoral. I do not accept the existence of god as an axiom.

And please, nothing about Hitler or communists. The Hitler thing is tired and likely not even true, and if you tell me about the communists I will only be inclined to look up atrocities of religion, such as Crusades, Inquisitions, witch hunts, warmongering in Iraq, suicide bombers, terrorism, etc. Let's keep this on an individual personal lifestyle basis.

I look forward to receiving submissions.