Monday, September 29, 2008

Even Santa knows who lives in which house

I was browsing Holy Freak, and found this post, which I like a lot. The post is about the story from the Bible of when this god asked the Hebrews to smear the blood of lambs on their doors to signify who they were, and that they were to be spared. But why did a god, who was supposed to be omniscient, require a sign to indicate who lives there? The post's author has some ideas:

  1. God will be on a blood thirsty rampage killing thousands of children. He just wants to slaughter children quickly without thinking about it.
  2. God is slightly mentally retarded and can only follow simple instructions like “bloody door good, normal door bad.”
  3. God is not all knowing.
  4. Moses lied about the whole blood on the door thing just to give the people something to do. (Of course, this bible is the word of God so I guess that can’t be right.)
  5. All humans are just bags of meat to God and we are not really special. (I don’t think He would send us Jesus then.)
  6. Humans are insignificant to God and “we all look alike to Him”. That doesn’t work with other parts of the bible and if that was true, why would he care what we do if he can’t even tell us apart?
  7. This entire concept of God is ridiculously silly and I feel embarrassed that other members of my species actually believe this nonsense.
I think it's a good point. I mean, if Santa Claus knows where each person lives and whether they've been naughty or nice, why doesn't this god character know?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

On your knees for Jesus

Am I the only one who wonders about the sexual origins of people, including men and boys, getting on their knees to pray to Jesus?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Creationists are intellectual terrorists

In my last post, I discussed how some of the leading creationists (this term must be used very loosely) have declared that there is no evidence that could possibly be presented that would change their minds on the issue. In this post, I'd like to write about how their tactics can be compared to those of terrorists and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm not saying that creationists are killing people with suicide bombs (although on second thought, I guess that is true), but that their tactics equate to intellectual terrorism. Allow me to explain.

These same creationists, Ken Ham (founder of Answers in Genesis) and Kent Hovind, have been known to debate scientists on the issue of creationism vs. real science. Sorry, I meant to say that Kent Hovind used to debate scientists, before he was sentenced to prison for 10 years for LYING about his taxes. He now probably debates car thieves, disgraced politicians and ex-CEO's.

Let's think about that for a moment. Debates are supposed to be used as intellectual forums to argue one's case, usually by presenting some kind of supporting evidence, and it is usually assumed to be possible for one side of the debate to lose. Yet in this case, one side of the debate has declared, in advance, that it is not possible for it to lose, that no amount of evidence, of any kind, could actually defeat its argument.

So my first question would actually be for the scientists, and that question is, "Why would you even agree to debate a person who has declared in advance that they cannot be proven wrong by any means?" I suppose their answer would be that they do it for the audience's benefit, so that the public can see the evidence for one side, and the foolishness of the other.

The scientist will go into the debate prepared to pile on all kinds of evidence to support his (I don't use gender-neutral writing style on this page) case. The creationist plan is usually to merely try to poke holes in the evidence presented by the other side, often using misrepresentation, quote-mining, personal attacks, etc. They believe that by convincing people that the other side is wrong, that their side will be proven right. This is not a correct view because there are not only 2 possibilities in regards to this issue. This is a false-dichotomy.

If the scientist cannot immediately provide any evidence to address any question that the creationist has about science, the creationist will declare a point scored for his side. But the creationist will never provide any evidence to support his own case, because there just isn't any. Many in the audience will not be smart enough to detect this tactic, and will find themselves in agreement with the creationist.

So what does this have to do with insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq? In those wars, both sides are not playing by the same rules. One side tries to protect civilians, the other tries to kill them. One side is out in the open with uniforms, the other is hiding amongst the public. One side is expected (notice that I used the word, expected) to follow rules and to not torture prisoners, while the other side has no rules and tortures prisoners with glee.

In these debates, the creationist and many audience members DEMAND that the scientist provide evidence to support any claim. And they often make ridiculous demands for what kinds of evidence they expect, based on a total misunderstanding of the theory itself. If they believe there is any problem with that evidence, they will declare a point scored for creationism. And if there is anything that is currently unexplained, or not known with sufficient detail, that will be declared MAJOR points for creationism. The scientist is expected to take the high road to win public support, just as the NATO forces in Afghanistan are expected to take the high road.

Meanwhile, the creationist side will use logical fallacies, including but not exclusive to those mentioned above, will never provide any evidence for their claim other than to wave a book around, will demand the strictest of evidence for all claims made by the scientist, yet will have declared in advance that they will not accept any evidence that's provided anyways! They imply the importance of evidence by demanding it from the scientist, then attack intellectualism as a ridiculous philosophy. They take the lowest road, and yet they often win public support.

It should also be noted WHY both the creationists and the insurgents use these tactics. It's because they have to! In both cases, their positions are so weak that they must resort to underhanded tactics to try to gain any advantage. The insurgents cannot compete with the superior military strength of nations, and the creationists cannot compete with the evidence-backed case presented by the scientists. They stand no chance in a fair fight or debate. The tactics are used out of desperation caused by weakness compared to their opponents.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My embarrassing fantasies

Ever since I first heard of the (public, not academic) debate between evolution and biblical trash, I've been fantasising about the day when a piece of evidence is found that is so convincing, so unbelievably perfect and undeniably conclusive, that the young-Earth creationists have no choice but to fold and admit they were wrong. (Most reasonable people were convinced by the evidence long ago)

I now know how naive it was of me to think that!

I was reading the Answers in Genesis (young-Earth creationist organisation, and sponsors of the Creation Museum) website, and found the following in their 'Statement of Faith':

"The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority in everything it teaches."

......

"No apparent, perceived, or claimed interpretation of evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record."

Do you realise what this is saying? It's saying that if any evidence, no matter how many mountains (even literally) of it there are, appears in any way to contradict the supreme authority of the Bible, then it cannot possibly be valid! This is their presumed assumption with which they view any evidence, and from which they are unwilling to budge or reconsider! It's right there on their website, and they're proud of it!

Can you imagine a (real) scientist ever saying, "This is my conclusion, and I will never, I repeat, NEVER back down, no matter how much evidence you pile in front of me!"? That kind of thing doesn't happen because it's absolutely ridiculous! Any scientist who would say such a thing would likely be removed from the scientific community. Even a creationist must see how ridiculous that would be.

I was then listening to an episode of The Infidel Guy Show, in which he has a two-hour interview/call-in program with the young-Earth creationist, Kent Hovind as the guest (it was recorded in 2004, a few years before Kent was sent to prison for 10 years for LYING about taxes). During the show, Kent is asked what he would consider as convincing proof of evolution. Kent says that he would never accept any fossil as proof. With his next statements, he implicitly also eliminated any biological or geological finding. He said that the only proof he would ever accept, is to see one kind of animal 'bring forth' a different kind of animal, such as a dog giving birth to a non-dog.

This is something that is not considered possible by evolutionary theory! Evolutionary theory predicts that it isn't possible for a plant or animal to create a completely different kind. It's too big of a change in one generation. Evolution works by small changes, such that the offspring isn't very different from its parent(s), but through small changes every generation, is very different from its distant ancestors.

So the only thing that Kent Hovind would accept as proof of evolution, isn't even allowed by evolution! In fact, if we ever did see this kind of thing happen, we'd have to re-think the theory!

Do you see what's wrong with the stances of these people? I find it absolutely frightening that there exist people who are so irrational, so unwilling to accept evidence. In my next post, I'll continue this thought and explain why they can be compared to insurgent terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Scientific proof vs. "religious proof"

With the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) opening for business, it gives me a good opportunity to write about the differences between "religious proof" *cough* and scientific proof. Note that only the second one is real. Here's why:

One particle that scientists are looking for with the LHC is called the Higgs boson. It is a theoretical particle which is believed to give the property of mass to all of the other particles (or something like that, but it isn't important what it does for our purposes here). The particle has never been observed, but is still believed to exist.

How can it be believed to exist if it has never been seen? Well, the formulas and current models suggest that it does. It theoretically exists.

You might wonder how this is different from a religion. After all, religious believers have all kinds of models of reality. They theorise that if the Universe exists, then there must be a god, or gods, to have created it. That's their model of reality. Another example can be found with the Atheist's Riddle. This guy has decided that his model of how information theory works and how DNA works, requires that there be a god to create it. So their god theoretically exists also, just like the scientists' Higgs boson.

But there is a very, very important difference, and here it is. The scientists will say that the existence of the Higgs in their models and formulas suggests its existence. Then they will go out and build a super-huge and incredibly ambitious machine to figure out if it really does exist. If the machine detects the Higgs, and it can be repeatedly detected, then it will be declared to exist, a Nobel prize will be handed out, and human knowledge will have grown. If the particle cannot be detected, then the scientists will go back to the drawing board and try to figure out where their models and/or experiment went wrong.

What does the religious believer do? If you look at the Atheist's Riddle (link above), or at Ray Comfort's model of the Universe requiring a creator in order to exist, you'll see that both of them claim that it is absolute proof of the existence of a god (and they both claim that it is therefore their god, which is extremely dishonest). Ray even goes as far as to say that it is "100% scientific proof".

Will the theists build a machine or conduct any kind of experiment to try to detect their god which theoretically exists? No. Even if they did, would they claim that said machine's failure to detect their god requires them to go back to the drawing board and fix their model? No. Will Ray Comfort ever learn the meaning of the word, 'scientific'? No.

And that, my friends, is the difference between the theoretical existence of things in science, and in religion. Upon theorising the existence of an object or entity with models or mathematics, the scientist will try to prove its existence through real experimentation, while the religious fool will just declare victory, because any experiment is bound to fail, as all have up until now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Darwin on his own controversy

In the conclusion of The Origin of Species (at least in the printing which I read), Darwin made some interesting comments, some of which I've written here. They are still relevant to this day.


1. On the way that his detractors were ignoring a part of his text in order to mislead:

"Great is the power of steady misrepresentation; but the history of science shows that fortunately this power does not long endure."

This is of course still relevant today in the way which creationists parse his text to make it look like he wrote the opposite of what he actually wrote.


2. On people's objections that his theory doesn't explain how life originated:

"It is no valid objection that science as yet throws no light on the far higher problem of the essence or origin of life."

This is still relevant because people continue to use ignorance of the world to make claims for a god. Besides, the theory of evolution does not even have the origin of life within its scope.


3. On suggesting that his theory does nothing to take away from the possibility that a god created a few early forms, which evolved, by the laws of creation, into the diversity of life seen in modern times:

"I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone."

Obviously a lot of people today have had their religious feelings shocked. Mostly the lunatic fundamentalists (ie. ALL fundamentalists).


4. On the closed-mindedness of other veteran scientists of the time who may be too old and too biased to learn new tricks, as well as those who ignore the things it does explain, while objecting to the theory on the grounds of what it doesn't (yet) explain:

"It is so easy to hide our ignorance under such expressions as the 'plan of creation', 'unity of design', &c., and to think that we give an explanation when we only re-state a fact. Any one whose disposition leads him to attach more weight to unexplained difficulties than to the explanation of a certain number of facts will certainly reject the theory."

There are still many people who nitpick about elements of nature which they feel the theory doesn't adequately explain, ignoring the fact that it's the only theory that explains the rest of it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Anglican Church owes Darwin an apology

This reverend of the Church of England has written that they owe Darwin an apology for the way they reacted to his theory of evolution.

Brown said the Church of England should say it is sorry for misunderstanding him at the time he released his findings and, "by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand (Darwin) still."

He goes on to say that evolution is not atheism, as most atheists already knew.

He said he opposed Christians for whom "evolution is equated with atheism" as well as Darwinists who felt ideas about evolution "completely undermine any kind of credibility for God."

"That's completely wrong," he told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. "It's a false polarization."

Read the full article here.

The Anglican Church has no problem with evolution, the Catholic Church has no problem with evolution, etc. The only ones who seem to reject evolution so forcefully are the fundamentalist Christians (mostly in the US and A) and the fundamentalist Muslims. Those two groups have much more in common than they realise.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chimps 1, Human children 0

I just saw a documentary on TV. They were explaining the differences and similarities between the mental abilities of apes (especially chimps) and humans, showing in experiments how chimps have culture, use tools, and can be taught to co-operate.

Besides the obvious evolutionary implications, there was something else. The scientists did an experiment using a 'black box' (one cannot see the inner workings of the box) from which you can get a candy. They taught the chimps to execute a procedure using parts of the box, moving sliders, tapping it, etc. They then opened the little door at the bottom and found a candy there. The chimps learned to copy the procedure to get the candy. The human children (about 3-5 years old or so) also learned to do the procedure and get the candy.

They then changed the 'black box' into a 'transparent box' (one can see the inner workings), which was otherwise identical to the old box. Now that the insides of the box were visible, it was clear that the procedure of moving the sliders and tapping on the box did absolutely nothing to make the candy appear at the door at the bottom of the box. In fact, the candy was always there, and all that had to be done was to open the door and take it. However, the chimps and children were not taught this.

The chimps learned to just open the door and take the candy, skipping the procedure after seeing that the steps did nothing. However, the human children weren't able to figure that out, and continued to execute the procedure of steps, even though it clearly had no purpose.

The scientists interpreted the results by suggesting that human children have an expectation to be taught things by the adults, and so blindly did as the adults did. Basically, they're saying that human children will do whatever they're taught to do by the adults around them.

This has obvious implications for our purposes. It suggests that no matter how silly a belief or ritual is, even if it clearly does nothing, a child will believe it and continue to follow it as long as the adults teach them to do it.

Round Earth Theory--DEMOLISHED.

Any of you ever heard of the Flat Earth Society? It's a group of dimwits who believe that Earth is flat and that a giant, multi-government conspiracy is keeping us from knowing the truth. They believe that Earth is circular in shape, with a giant ice-wall surrounding the outside edge to keep us from going over. The ice-wall would have to be tens of thousands of kilometres long, putting even the U.S.-Mexico border fence to shame. It is guarded by military forces to keep anybody from approaching.

As far as I can tell, the Flat Earth Society is legitimate. When I say they're legitimate, I mean that they're not joking, not that they're legitimate as in competent, respected or intelligent.

I sometimes troll the boards there, and found a post titled, Round Earth Theory--DEMOLISHED, by a user who goes by the name of Punisher. The guy is arguing, using incorrect facts about the duration of sunlight in the Arctic Circle as well as lack of basic knowledge of what a circle is, that he has absolutely proven that Earth is flat. This technique sounds somewhat familiar, doesn't it?

He then added these comments (I have not altered spelling/grammar):

"Yes my brothers, we've been lied too and we've forgotten Wisdom, but I remembered my CREATOR, you see GOD knows this Earth better then anyone else, yes my brothers, science mumbo-jumbo doesn't stand a chance before GOD, for GOD knows all, even their Pinocchio round theory. (He's referring to the 'theory' of the round Earth) The Truth will be putting a hamper on their mind parade of orgies that has been masturbating the populace, neither will we feel sorry that their parade will be coming to an end, yes brothers, the end is nigh."

After a couple of people replied in mockery of his post, he posted this (which, by the way, got him suspended from the board for a couple of days):

"The Devil finally kicked these two guy's in the ass to reply and this is their best retort they came up with, hahahahahaha, man alive wait till he gets them to-nite while they sleep, lol, they won't be."

I've gotta say, this is one of the smartest theists that I've ever encountered. They should make him their leader. All hail Punisher!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

There's no other way to put it, Ray Comfort is an asshole

On the day that the Large Hadron Collider began operating, Ray Comfort posted this on his blog, complete with the photo on the right;


IT'S A SICK WORLD

After 14 years of preparation, a new scientific wonder of the world opened for business Wednesday with the official startup of Europe's Large Hadron Collider.


The $10,000,000,000 particle accelerator is the biggest, most expensive science machine on earth, designed to probe mysteries ranging from dark matter and missing antimatter to the existence of extra, unseen dimensions in space.


Understandably, many of his readers who believe that science and learning are good things, whether atheists or not, commented in protest on the site. Some pointed out to him that he's just trying to prevent humanity from learning so that he can continue to profit from human ignorance. After all, the more we increase our knowledge, the less places there are for his god of the gaps to hide. Others pointed out that while this machine might have cost $10 billion, that is many, many, many, many, many, many times less than the money spent on wars, booze, drugs, cigarettes, sex, movies, video games, iPods and other things with a much less noble cause than the pursuit of knowledge. It should be noted that Ray is an Iraq war supporter, even though that has spent hundreds of billions on death and destruction, leaving many orphaned children.

He posted the following afterward;


IT'S A SICK WORLD

There were a lot of comments from angry atheists, just because a picture of a starving child was put next to an article that said that $10,000,000,000 was spent in the name of "science." Nothing else was said. It confirmed that even hardened atheists have a conscience.



Ray is trying to deny that he made any implication that the money could have been spent on the starving kids. I commented that his remark was about as subtle as the time when FoxNews "accidentally" and "mistakenly" put footage of the World Trade Center on fire into their coverage of the Iraq war, many years in.

The possibility remains that Ray truly thought he was making a cloaked comment, one that atheists wouldn't be able to read between the lines of. If that's the case, then the problem isn't that he's an asshole; it's that he's a total IDIOT who thinks he's actually pretty smart, and thought he was out-smarting us. He does not realise that we're a hell of a lot smarter than him.

What do you think?

The Pope doesn't like knowledge, either

"Have not money, the thirst for possessions, for power and even knowledge, diverted man from his true destiny?" the pope asked.

So what exactly was man's destiny? To die from smallpox because we didn't have the knowledge to prevent it? Was it to live in ignorance of weather patterns, and have no satellites to track hurricanes and warn people to get out of the way? Was it to live in the metaphorical darkness of not understanding the movement of the planets? Or was it to live in the literal darkness, without electricity, which our knowledge allowed for us to control?

I LOVE KNOWLEDGE! SCREW YOU, BENEDICT!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Bible is made up

So I was debating a guy on another thread about the Bible. It was getting pretty long and was off topic in that thread, so I thought I'd give it its own post. I left off claiming that maybe instead of looking for long explanations about why things are the way they are in the Bible, that it would be easier to operate on the assumption that it's all made up.

The following comment in blue was his/her reply (not sure if the writer is male or female):

And when would you proposition that it was made up? And what parts? The Jewish history? The prophets? Jesus? The whole thing...?

When many people often say that the Bible is just made up (they often include the fact that it's just made up to keep people in line, and giving money to the church). If I ask these people when they think it was written, they have no idea when it was written or by whom. They think maybe some bored 'white' (usually) guy wrote the whole thing; maybe during the dark ages, or something ignorant like that.

I'm assuming you're aware that the earliest book (Job) is speculated to have been written 2000+ BCE (Carbon dating puts earliest found copies of mosaic law at 2500-1500BCE and Job was written before that). The youngest book of the New Testament is thought to be the book of Revelation, which is believed to be written either just before the Romans sacked Jerusalem in 70AD or just after.

So we have a book that spans (possibly, given the exact date of Job would be impossible to establish, as it is the oldest written text) about 2500 years (that is, the time period it was written in, not the events it covers which is longer); and is written by about 44 different authors from all walks of life: shepherds, farmers, tent-makers, physicians, fishermen, priests, philosophers and kings.

Even though it spans such a ridiculous length of time and was written by over 40 people; it is an extremely cohesive and unified book. For example the fulfilled prophecies and foreshadowing that occurs throughout the old testament, especially in the prophetic books; both short term (things that happened in the writer's generations) and long term (things that were happened hundred of years later) prophecies. In my personal opinion, if one person could write a piece of text that has such continuity of theme, plot-line, foreshadowing (talked about in previous post with the sacrifices compared to Jesus' sacrifice), motifs, and everything else that you look at when doing a literature study; then that author would, without a doubt, be a genius.

But the fact that it was written by about 44 people and spanning more than 2000 years (not to mention being written in three different languages; Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic) makes it remarkable. The prophecies about Jesus in the old testament are also remarkable. Many prophecies showed this. It prophesied his birth (Isaiah 7:14), miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6), betrayal and death (Zechariah 11:12; Psalm 22), resurrection and ascension (Psalm 2:7; 68:18; 110:1), etc.

These a just a few I found.

Another thing people do, is say they don't believe that biblical characters like Moses even existed. This to also shows a real lack of knowledge, and ignorance if the face of known historical facts. These same people probably wouldn't doubt the existence of Ramesses the second, the Pharaoh of Egypt at the time. These same people will say, there was no such person as Daniel that slept in a lion's den; then go to the movies and watch 300, and although not historically accurate, will say "yup, Prince Darius and his son Xerxes were real people." (even if they didn't previously believe they existed because they were mentioned in the book of Daniel, among others).

According to research the new testament is far more accurate than ANY other ancient writing and there is apparently more evidence for the integrity of the new testament than there is for the works of Shakespeare.

It also isn't like something a human would make up (this is just my own personal opinion). For example, the old testament prophets: The Jewish nation were saying to the religious leaders at the time, "peace! peace! tell we are in a time of peace!" And the "prophets" of the time told them they had peace. When Jeremiah told the people "that there is a fishing little town in Chaldea next to the Euphrates river called Babylon, it's little' but's gonna get real big soon, and they are going to invade Jerusalem and wipe you out."
No they won't the people say. What happens? The Babylonians come in, it's a 20 year military siege, and they take the Jews in deportations and put them in concentration camps. They slaughter Jews, level the temple and burn the city to the group. Jews are in hostage for 70 years.

Now why would the religious leaders of the time put these writings of Jeremiah in their "made up" religion. They didn't as a nation listen to the prophets. Why would they include those books?

Therefore, whenever someone falls back on, "Well maybe it's just made up," I'm skeptical about their knowledge of the bible, and of history.



My response:

To start, if you see my post about What do I believe, you'll see that I believe Jesus was likely a real historical person, and I have no particular reason to suspect that Moses or Abraham were invented either. Well, no more reason than I have to believe that the rest of the Bible was made up.

You cited carbon dating, so I'll guess that you're not a Young-Earth Creationist (YEC). As you are not a YEC, you probably don't take the Bible literally, or you'd have a hard time justifying anything with carbon dating, as you did to give the date of the Book of Job.

So let's start and say that the Great Flood was made up, as it just seems to contradict so much science that is based on carbon dating and other techniques. Parting the Red Sea was made up. Talking burning bushes were made up. In fact, these were made up like you would claim the books of ANY OTHER religion are. I can use exactly the same arguments to justify Islam. I can use the Hindu holy scriptures to justify that, or ancient Greek writings, many of which are most certainly lost, to justify their myths. I can use statues of Egyptian gods, made by many people over many centuries, to justify that they existed. Which of these many alleged books of truths you believe in is entirely an accident of where you were born. If you were born in Saudi, then there would be an almost 100% chance that you'd be lecturing me about how tightly written and how verifiable the Koran is.

You've got a book of myths, for which no historical proof actually exists! If you had any proof, you wouldn't need faith, and preachers wouldn't have to try to convince people that faith (ie. the bypassing of one's brain) is a virtue, and call it what it really is, downright stupidity. The Bible is full of BS stories, like making man from the dirt or clay or whatever, 'miracles', virgin births and all kinds of other things, which seemed to cease occurring at exactly the same time that humanity began to learn methods for investigating and debunking such claims (ie. the scientific method).

Just because some of these towns exist, or some of the wars existed, does not give any support at all to the supernatural events which are said to have occurred in them.

How to explain the foreshadowing? Gee, let me think. That's a tough one. The authors of the later books forced the text to match the predictions in the previous books. Edward Current made a YouTube video in which he mocked this kind of reasoning. How could an author possibly make the end of a book match predictions in the beginning?



The Christian myth is a rip-off of other contemporary beliefs, and was written in such a way to convince people at the time that it must have been true, based on their existing beliefs. We see evidence for this tactic in the traditions that go with Christmas, such as tree decorations and their choice of date. The rest of it was just made up. It was made up by a bunch of Stone-Age men, many of them extremely violent and brutal, with no understanding of the world around them. It has absolutely no more weight than any other ancient book of fairy tales.

The fact that some people are willing to take the word of ancient (what did you say they were?) farmers, fishermen, tent-makers, kings and priests (yep, kings and holy men never lie for personal gain) and base their entire lives around that, is pretty sad. You're skeptical of my knowledge of your book of fairy tales? I'm skeptical of your ability to separate fantasy from reality. If you want to separate your Bible from all of the other BS religious texts out there, you're gonna have to produce something a lot more convincing than you have.

At this point, many believers fall back on faith, which is the ridiculous bypassing of the intellect. Gotta keep that brain bypassed to believe stuff like the Bible.

Friday, September 12, 2008

So... you want prison for blasphemers or something?

The Pope has declared that religion should be involved in politics. Of course, he doesn't mean that religion should be involved in politics, he means that Christinsanity should be involved in politics;

"The presence of Christian values is fundamental for the survival of our nations and our societies," he said.

I wonder if he's aware of the positive correlation between religiosity of a country and crime rates? Or if he's aware of the positive correlation between Catholic priests and child molestation?

Check out the full article here.

Why leave it to error-prone, human interpretation?

Many Christians, in an attempt to dismiss the nonsensical parts of the Bible, will often say things like, "The Bible must be interpreted metaphorically."

I say, "Wouldn't it have made a lot more sense for your god to write a book which could be interpreted literally, you know... like any other book which contains facts?"

(Then there are those who think that even the nonsensical parts are to be interpreted literally. *shudder*.....)

Did they hang the teddy bear for accepting the name?

These guys are accused of killing an American diplomat and his driver, and plotting to kill a British diplomat in Sudan. Their motivation? Revenge against the West for that teacher who let her students name the teddy bear, Mohammad.

That seems like a perfectly reasonable thought process. I don't see how anybody could object.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Darwin's image appears on wall stain


I found this article via Young Earth Creationists Anonymous. The article is about a stain believed to be in the form of Charles Darwin, which appeared on a wall in Tennessee. Coincidentally, the wall belongs to the courthouse which was used for the famous Scopes Monkey Trial.

According to the article, believers in Darwinian evolution have been flocking to the wall from all over the United States to see the stain. "I brought my baby to touch the wall, so that the power of Darwin can purify her genetic makeup of undesirable inherited traits... Behold the power and glory of the scientific method!" said Darlene Freiberg.

Others were not so impressed. "It's a stain on a wall, and nothing more," said the Rev. Clement McCoy, a professor at Oral Roberts University and prominent opponent of evolutionary theory. "Anything else is the delusional fantasy of a fanatical evolutionist mindset that sees only what it wishes to see in the hopes of validating a baseless, illogical belief system. I only hope these heretics see the error of their ways before our Most Powerful God smites them all in His vengeance."

To read the full article, check it out at its original source, The Onion.*








*(I hope you all know that The Onion is satire.)

Afraid that science will kill your god? You should be!

In my last post, I posted some anti-scientific, pro-religious comments about the Large Hadron Collider that I found on a major mainstream broadcaster's website.

Basically, the people's argument is that their god and their holy book already contains the answers of how the Universe was created, and so we don't need to spend money or time to explore the questions experimentally. I used to be a Christian, and I don't remember reading the part of the Bible which deals with Higgs particles, but let's move on.

I remember when one of the recent Mars probes was in operation, there was a news report featuring an interview with an Aboriginal leader. He said that if we want to know if there is life on Mars, we should not send robots there, but just ask the elders of his village. He claimed that they know the answers, because their ancestors passed the knowledge down through the generations to the current elders.

I wonder if these people actually listen to themselves when they talk, or read what they write. How can they be so dumb to realise that there are countless religions around the world claiming to have the answers, and they all contradict each other? What makes them think that theirs is so special? Why can't they see the situation for what it is; a bunch of different groups with no research, but who all claim to know the answer, therefore believing that any actual experimentation is pointless?

In reality, I think they're afraid. They're afraid that the march of science is incessant, and that the only reason their religions even exist is because of human ignorance of the world, or the 'god of the gaps' position. Perhaps they're afraid that if human knowledge continues to grow, that it will wipe out their gods completely. And they should be afraid, because that's probably what will eventually happen! So they oppose any attempt for human learning, if it might eventually lead to a contradiction of their beliefs.

Why do they feel it would be such a bad thing? Why do they feel that believing in a god that isn't there is better than knowing the truth that it isn't there? Why would they rather live a lie than know the truth?

The Large Hadron Collider makes god sad :-(

So the Large Hadron Collider has begun its testing. I'm excited. Science is excited. Google is excited.

But on a mainstream news site that I went to, which I suspect has an audience with conservative tendencies, the comments were not all so positive. Here are some of the religiously-relevant comments people left on the site. They're in blue, and my responses are in red.


"God spoke and "BANG" it happened.
Simple but true.

And they spent BILLIONS trying to disprove what so many billions of people over the centuries already knew to start with.

For all their academic qualifications they didn't learn that much in the end. For many, trust is still an issue."

No, this will not prove that a god didn't instigate the Big Bang. And no, just because people believe it, doesn't make it true. Thump your Bible some more.



"From a Christian perspective (at least mine) I find it arrogant for man to think he can come close to duplicating what God did in creation. Then again, it's also arrogant that man, in particular some scientists, reject the biblical account in favour of Darwin's unproven theories. This, despite all the scientific evidence for Noah's ark being found and Pharaoh's Red Sea chariots being found at the bottom of the Red Sea which clearly supports the biblical account of events as written."

Argh.... no, Darwin's theory does not address the Big Bang. The biblical account is ridiculous. No, there is no evidence that Noah's Ark has been found. Did your preacher tell you that? Even if there was, that wouldn't disprove the Big Bang. If chariots were found at the bottom of the Red Sea, wouldn't a more likely explanation be that a ship carrying them sank, or that they dumped them in the ocean when they were no longer useful?



"I don't think that is why God put those sientists on this earth!!!! They are too curious!!! People are dying from starvation and desease on this earth!!! Take care of that instead and you'll be heroes!!!

GOD created the earth!! Take care of it instead of trying to destroy it by trying to find out how it was made!!!"

Just another Bible-thumping coward afraid that scientific progress might diminish his 'god of the gaps', and is therefore advocating that we stop learning. Christian Taliban, anyone?



"In terms of what we need to get us through life,it just seems totally unecessary, increasingly unjustifiable and a long way around to proving the existence of God. In philosophy there is a saying that the more credence you give to the physical world around you the more you live your life in dilusion to the truth.
(ex physicist)"

If the LHC proves the existence of god, I'll buy you dinner.



"I'll bet God's sitting back smiling, and patiently saying, oh look what my silly children are doing now. Isn't that cute."

I'll bet your god doesn't exist.



"The LHC would not be possible without the existence of the precise laws of physics. Can you have laws without a lawmaker? The answer is simple: There must be a Lawmaker."

OK then, who's the lawmakermaker?



"Thank You Diane (a previous commenter's name). You are the kind of people that make me happy - people who actually stand up for what they believe in. I am what you call a bible thumper. I am a hardcore christian, bible believing 18 year old from Canyon, Texas. Why would you spend so much money on something so pointless? Essentially you can not recreate the world that GOD has created. I hope that your little test tube thing goes completely wrong just to prove that the big bang never happened and the world and humans as we know it did not come from a piece of dirt like you think that we did. We came from a God that is in the heavens and created us with love and compassion. So all of you that think this is a good idea, i love you from my heart and hope that you find the right way and find God in your hearts."

You love me? Well, I don't love you. Sit down and shut the fuck up. By the way, I thought humans coming from a piece of dirt was the biblical account, not the scientific one. Don't you people even read your Bibles?



"Here's an idea... Instead of wasting millions of dollars and thousands of man hours on these crazy experiments.. why not just go and buy a Bible..! Right there in the very first chapter of the oldest and best selling book ever... THE CREATION! DUH!.. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that GOD created the world...! No matter how many atoms or crotons or whatever they find or test.. with these expensive machines.. the truth is right there in the Bible.. an AMAZING and ALL POWERFUL God.. created the earth! AND this has been proven many times.. so stop wasting your time and money!"

Again, another Bible-thumper trying to impede knowledge so that it doesn't destroy his god of the gaps. Note that there is no such particle as a 'croton', and that it likely isn't a typo because the 'c' key on a keyboard is nowhere near the 'p' key. The dictionary says that crotons are a type of tropical plant. The LHC will NOT, I repeat, will NOT be making tropical plants! It's not even in the tropics! Also note that gods have never, ever been proven, despite the assertions of the above Bible-thumper. If it had been proven, they wouldn't still be trying so hard to prove it.


These people would still have us living in the Dark Ages if they got their way, as it allows for the largest gaps for their gods to live in. I can imagine if they were around in the past, they'd be protesting the basic research which identified and explored the properties of the electron, or the properties semi-conducting materials. Now that knowledge allows them to express and demonstrate their ignorance to the entire world via their computer, as well as live a first-class lifestyle. It's the same pattern over and over again. Religious freaks protest learning, learning benefits mankind, religious freaks protest more learning, more learning benefits mankind.....

Once again, do you see why people with no education in science need to shut up?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How misleading your are!

I don't know if this has done the rounds of the blogs yet, but I want it on my page!

This guy wrote an email to the Atheist Experience TV show. The subject is How misleading your are! (I did not make a typo in the subject). Here it is in its entirety (or as much as the show's staff sent to me). The best part is near the end. The email text is in blue (note that I have not altered any of the email's spelling or punctuation) and my responses in red:

atheism is not new and is as old as religion itself believing in ones self then believing in god! i am a scientist not atheist..

You're a scientist? We'll see about that, won't we?

I look at facts to back up my beliefs not speculations about if or not there is a god. I know there is billions of atoms and trillion to the 2nd power of DNA splattered through-out the universe and thing unexplained by science today!

If DNA is splattered throughout the Universe, then I guess that contradicts the ' life on Earth is special' dogma of many Christians.

before you assume that there is no god or assume there is you must look at the evidence.

I've seen all of the evidence for god. ALL of it. It took me 0 seconds to go through it.

and not at the winners of history's version of truth! just because they claim to be one thing doesn't mean they are that which they claim! atheist are the same you worry about about future and worry about today! as most humans do! I worry about my children and their future! but i look at the christian world and see a joy they have that no other set of people have! so i look at
both sides no worries and a joy beyond measure.. or fear and self human interest! and death..to believe in something greater then ones self .. hmm but left to human temper the world is then ruled by fear hatred and death.. wars.. disease..famine..religion has bring out love and understanding..

Religion brought out love and understanding? Are you sure that it didn't CAUSE much of the fear, hatred, death, wars, disease and famine that you talk about?

but for a few bad apples take Islam for example it claim all infidels should be killed!! but in christian belief accept jesus into your heart and be saved beyond your earthly years!

Yep! Christianity has never once killed, enslaved or abused any non-Christians, and has definitely never stolen any of their land.

This is just a look at what are atheist and their views..looks like no-one ever thought it through we don't have enough evidence to claim there is no god! or creation..but belief..and then you must stomp out the belief in love hope and faith if there is no god.. for all the idea of god is a starting point of creation..

How much evidence do I need to claim that there's no god? Is it more or less than the amount I need to deny Santa Claus?

if big bang is correct then god is the impact of two asteroids..but why hasn't their been another big-bang??? all the time asteroids impact each other ..and the universe keeps expanding into infinity!

What!? The Big Bang was caused by WHAT?! I thought you said you were a scientist! Do you mean you're a political scientist or a creation scientist or something? Or are you confusing scientist with scientologist?

atheism is a belief just as satanism is..belief in ones self!


No, satanists worship satan. Atheists don't believe in satan. And yes, most atheists do believe in themselves, because unlike a god, we can see and touch ourselves (mind out of the gutter!). We also don't believe that you're a scientist.

Do you see why people with no education in science need to shut up?

Pray for nice weather for the wedding

I forgot to post this comment before. A couple of days before my brother's wedding in August, I found out that it was an outdoor ceremony. I asked what would happen if it rains, and was told that there is an adjacent hall where the ceremony would take place. OK, fine.

But then something interesting happened. My grandmother told me to, "say a little prayer for nice weather". Now she's my grandmother, so I just calmly replied, "I don't pray".

What I really wanted to say was, "Do you honestly think that with all of the pain, suffering, starvation, and death in the world, that this god gives a flying fuck about whether or not it rains on the fricking wedding?! Why would it care about your weather in the face of all of that? And if you think that god answers your prayers, why wouldn't you spend your prayer time praying for something actually useful and helpful for the world, like some rain for the poor farmers who need it so badly to feed themselves?!"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Science is not a democracy, so shut up!

Americans love their democracy. They really, really love it. They love it so much that they go out and fight wars against those who don't have it. Sounds a bit like modern Crusades, but let's move on.

The thing with democracy is that the stupid have the same power as the intelligent. The vote of the person who spends their days watching Jerry Springer (Don't get me wrong, I love the Jerry Springer Show. Seriously.) from their trailer park has the same value as the vote of somebody who actually knows what the issues are. No matter how uneducated and stupid you are, no matter if you watched the debates or even know the names of the major candidates, even if you can't figure out a how to use the ballot (looking at you, Floridians), you are still entitled to vote. (Whether or not the vote counts depends on what the lawyers have to say.)

A problem results because many of the American population are ignorant, gun-toting rednecks who can't handle the concept of democracy and its limits. They believe that because they have a democratic right to voice their opinion on political issues, that they also have a democratic right to comment on any topic they'd like, even those topics that they're completely unqualified to open their hamburger-filled mouths about.

Among those topics that they feel qualified to discuss and debate, is science. Let's be honest, many Americans probably did pretty poorly in high school science, barely scraping by with D's and C's, or not passing at all. Many more didn't even take it in all 4 years, or 7 years, how ever many it took them to graduate. Basic understanding of science eludes most of the population.

Yet for some reason, they feel that they must speak up and fight against scientific conclusions that they don't like. This is why you get people like Rush Limbaugh commenting on global warming, fighting to convince people that it's a hoax. A painstaking search for where Rush Limbaugh has researched and published on the issue proved fruitless. Why oh why can't I find his peer-reviewed published work? Perhaps I'll try to figure out where he got his science degree, and work from there. Checking his Wikipedia biography, I can't find a science degree, or in fact, any degree at all! So what the fuck is this jackass doing opening his mouth to protest the results of real scientists' work on global warming?!

Then we get to the topics of the Big Bang and Evolution. Recent polling suggests that many, many Americans believe in the biblical story of creation. They feel it necessary to not only disagree with the opinions of people much, much smarter than them who actually work, research and publish on the theories, but to vocally fight those opinions in the public sphere. Have they no shame? Here we get people like Kirk Cameron, a man who has a questionable high school education and no post-secondary education (that I'm aware of) in any field (definitely no scientific qualification), lecturing the public on the science of evolution. It's embarrassingly bad, and comes from a man with no authority or expertise at all on the subject, but more importantly, no research or evidence to support his case. Watch the first video from the 6:00 mark, and start the second video from the beginning, through to the 2:25 mark.





How do people people not feel ashamed of their constant fight against the experts, when they themselves know nothing? Why does the public listen to them, without challenging their qualifications? This is democracy gone absolutely mad. Ignorant, uneducated, Bible-thumping retards are opposing experts (who have training in, research, and publish on the issues in question), and a large portion of the public is not smart enough to figure out that there's something wrong with that. Your democracy ends at the ballot box, so shut your fat, ignorant mouths!

The truths of the Universe are absolute and don't care what you 'think' or 'feel'. If you have no education on the topic and don't research the topic, you have no business at all to be opposing the conclusions of those who do.

The only thing that can be said in the defense of the people who believe what Kirk Cameron is saying, is that his high school diploma dazzles them, as many of them failed to even get that far in their education. He would be considered a guru. As for Kirk, and other uneducated morons who continue to spout this crap, there is no excuse.

I have scientific training in the form of a Masters degree, and read current science magazines. And unlike many creationists who comment on Origin of Species, I've actually read it! That, in my opinion, makes me infinitely more qualified to talk about evolution, and other scientific issues, than these fuckwits. It's time that those of us who are actually educated and knowledgeable on the subject cease to give these creationist fools any respect at all. Laughter and ridicule is all they deserve, despite what they'll surely scream about respecting their opinions. Tell them to shove another Twinkie in their mouth (congratulate them for getting 6 in there at once!) and go back to fixing the wheels on their homes!

Edit: for a small clarification of this post, click here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Christianity is like North Korea

Question: "What do North Korea and Christianity have in common?"

Answer: "They both have a dead guy as their official leader." *

Two dangerous, backwards, oppressive regimes. One style. (The difference is that the North Koreans will probably get over it and move on after 2,000 years. The Christians? Not so much.)

*For those who don't know, Kim Jong-Il is not the official leader of North Korea. His title is 'Chairman of the National Defence Commission'. He is officially outranked by his dead father, Kim Il-Sung, who has the title 'Eternal President of the Republic'.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Darwin's Origin of Species

I just finished reading Darwin's, The Origin of Species. (I'm aware that this is not the full title of the original work, but it's the title of the modern printing which I have). I wanted to share my thoughts about it.

First of all, I need to say that this was a tough read. It's a long book, over 600 pages, and some sections are pretty dry. I thought I was going to give up during the long chapter on fertility and infertility, or at least skip ahead, but I resisted. Making things worse, Darwin was really long-winded, and didn't seem to like to use periods very much. There are some sentences which are so long that they take about 1/3 of a page, and very commonly a sentence might take 1/4 of a page.

As I came near the end of the book, I realised that most creationists probably have not read this book. Besides the fact that many of them are illiterate, it would be very hard to make it through the book if you completely disagreed with what he was saying, or even thought it was pure blasphemy. Only because I'm sympathetic to his ideas could I get through. So it shouldn't surprise anybody to understand that many creationists who talk about, or quote, the book have not read it.

That was the bad, but there are a lot of good things to say about it. The thing that is most obvious to the reader is that Charles Darwin was a very, very intelligent and knowledgeable man. Even if the knowledge of his time pales in comparison to what we know today, he was up-to-date on what was known. He was schooled in geology and biology, including knowledge of the anatomies of a ridiculous number of plants and animals of all kinds. He conducted many experiments in his own garden and lab. He also regularly corresponded with scientists all over the world, back in the days when all correspondence was written by hand and sent by mail. Keep in mind that they didn't have airmail, so this must have taken a lot of effort and patience. One wonders how he found the time to do it all.

Darwin not only lived before DNA was discovered, but Origin of Species was published 6 years before Gregor Mendel went public with the results of his now-famous pea experiments, which shone a huge spotlight on how offspring inherit the genetics of their parents, so he was unaware of these. On the geology front, he did have knowledge that some islands were once attached to continents, some were formed in the oceans by volcanoes, and that sea and land levels rose and fell over time, but this was many decades before modern plate tectonic theory came along to explain these. I don't believe he was aware of the drift of entire continents, or that they were once joined together, which would have been advantageous in explaining distributions of life and fossils. So he was seriously handicapped in his ability to explain the mechanisms behind the processes he was seeing, and claimed ignorance many times in the book.

As we know the book is fallible (despite what creationists say we think), it surely has some errors. My area of scientific training is not biology or geology, but I managed to find a few anyways. One was a section in which Darwin expresses doubt that mass-extinctions could be possible (don't make me find the page, I have no idea where it is now). They didn't know about impacts from space in his day, but today we know that they are real and can cause extinctions on a global scale.

At about the mid-point of the book, I also wondered to myself what kind of book Darwin would have written had he known then what we know today. The extra facts and depth of the fossil record surely would have helped him to craft his case. He was a man of great intelligence, who was limited by what humanity knew at the time.

Overall, it is a must-read book for people who are interested in science, or history of science. But be aware that it is a tough read, and can sometimes be a real chore to continue. I'm reminded of a proverb about an unrelated topic, which I'll adapt for my purposes here. "It is wise to read Origin of Species once, but only a fool would read it twice."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

"I kill for god"

This guy killed 6 people and wounded 4 in Washington state. According to the article, he twice said, "I kill for god. I listen to god.", in the courtroom during his hearing.

Do I need to comment more?

Pastor, I have a question! *hand raised*

"Why is God always referred to as 'he' and 'father'? That must mean that it's male and God made man in his own image, right? So does that mean he has a penis? Why does he have a penis? What could he possibly need that for? Does he have sex with goddesses? If you can't have good without evil, doesn't that mean you can't have a male god without at least one female god? Is the sex monogamous, or does God have a harem? If premarital sex is bad, does that mean God is married to the goddess or goddesses that he's having sex with? Who or what would have the power to marry gods? Is God circumcised? Does he have a penis so that he can urinate? If he urinates, does that mean he drinks? Why does he need to drink? He's supposed to be non-material. If he drinks, does he eat? What does he eat? The flesh of all of those sacrificed animals? This is stupid. Can you prove any of this?"

Friday, September 5, 2008

Why we should do nothing about global warming

This is from PZ Myers' blog (credit to Planet Atheism for bringing it to my attention), and I want it on my page, too.

It's a letter from some guy, about global warming. Notice that his name is Butch. Check it out.

First they try to make us believe in the “big-bang” theory; then the “millions of years” theory; then the “we all came from monkeys” theory or even the “sea” theory.

Let’s get into the real solution as to what happened and read the Bible. Genesis will explain how it all was created.

Now for the global warming story Al Gore and others are pushing on us; it’s time to read Genesis to Revelation in the Bible.

When God sent the rain on this Earth for 40 days and nights, all this water had to go someplace so the Earth would be dry again.

Remember, God is the Creator and controls the universe.

God tilted the Earth from its original position and caused all the excess water to rush to the poles, and there he instantly froze the water into the ice formations that exist today.

Time is ticking down on God’s time clock. With all the nuclear bombs that are made and stored for the fast-emerging last battle, this Earth would burn up when these nuclear bombs are set off.

We are not creating global warming – God is tipping the Earth back to its original position on its axis and thus getting all this ice to get ready to move and extinguish the nuclear destructive fires man will create.

Time is running out, folks. Jesus is coming soon. Do you know him as your personal Savior?


So what should we conclude?

1. The writer doesn't know how gravity works.

2. He doesn't know that we'd be able to see it clearly if Earth's axis was being re-tilted. The most obvious way to tell would be because the stars of the north would no longer form circles around Polaris (north star).

3. He has no education in science at all.

4. He doesn't believe we need to solve problems, because of faith in his god and Bible. This also demonstrated why it is a bad idea to teach creationism to school children.

5. He thinks the Bible requires us to have a nuclear war at some point, so he should never be elected/declared leader of any country which has nukes.

6. I need to bring back the 'Raving nutjob' tag.

Then again, it could be a joke. I'll have to make a post about Poe's Law.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ray's Rules of Atheism

Ray's at it again. This is from his blog.

He has recently been insisting that atheism is a religion. It seems he was challenged by an atheist, with these comments:

"Please point out the sets of beliefs, the devotional and ritual observances, the moral codes, and practices of this 'atheist religion.' I await any answer."

Ray's response? Take a look.

Pope: Charles Darwin
Bishops: Richard Dawkins • Daniel Dennett • Sam Harris • Christopher Hitchens
Holy City: Oxford, England
Creed: Darwinian evolution
Holy book: Origin of Species
Fellowship: Universal
Faith: The belief that there is no God
Agenda: The stop the advance of Christianity
Moral Code: Societal dictates
Language: Speculation
National Holiday: April 1st.

This goes pretty well with my recent post about my Authoritative Book of Atheism, and my post about how people who are ignorant of a subject will extrapolate from the things that they do know to try to destroy it, which can be found here.

I only have one question. If the banana is the atheist's worst nightmare, why wasn't it listed as our equivalent of the devil in Ray's response?

Sentenced to death in Afghanistan

I found this on Atheist Media Blog. It's a story from the BBC about a young Afghan man who has been sentenced to death. The crime seems to be offence to Islam, due to the possession of some literature from the internet. Remember that this is not the Taliban-led Afghanistan that supported al-Qaeda. This is the 'liberated' Afghanistan of 2008, the one that is a Western ally, and with Hamid Karzai as president.

Where would we get our morals from if it wasn't for religion?

Check out the video:

The Atheist 'bible' (at last!)

I found this post on Ray Comfort's blog. In it, he states that he is writing a new book, and there will be a chapter on atheism. He wants to know what atheists officially believe about God, the Bible, heaven, hell, sin, salvation and Jesus.

I honestly don't know what's wrong with this guy, but I have my suspicions. See my previous post here about how people who don't understand things often try to extrapolate from things that they do know. Ray Comfort still does not understand what atheism is, which is why he can't competently fight it. He thinks we have 'official' stances on things. In all of his debating atheists, he has failed to learn that we don't have official stances, because we don't have an official book, nor an official organising body. The only thing that unites us is our lack of belief in the gods that they believe in. When Ray will actually figure this out is anybody's guess. As for now, he is embarrassing himself.

In order to save Ray from future embarrassment, I figured it was about time that atheists get their own authoritative book of beliefs and rules. So, I'm going to write the Authoritative Book of Atheism and post it here for all to distribute, free of charge. Here it is:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Authoritative Book of Atheism
1st Edition, September 2008
Published by Atheist Propaganda


Dedication

This book is dedicated to the human intellect. May it always prevail.


Chapter 1

There are no gods.


References

None cited.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks you all for reading! It was my first book, so I hope you liked it. You may copy, link to, or distribute it free of charge. I seek no personal profit from it. It's my service to humanity.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Trimming Tags

I've found that it's a bit hard to use the "By topic" links in the left side-bar, because some posts have so many tags, meaning they keep coming up over and over for those attempting to browse the site. This is unproductive and a waste of time for the reader.

So I've trimmed the number of tags from posts, typically limiting each post to 2 tags (although there are a few exceptions). I hope this will make it easier for you to check out some of my thoughts which were published earlier.

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why did god make me so dumb?

I just had a conversation with my mother about my younger brother. My brother has had diagnosed learning disabilities for a long time, and was never any good at school. My mom told me that he's known it for a long time too, and he felt really bad about it. She said that when he was younger, he asked her why god had made him so dumb.

I got pretty ticked off at this point of the conversation. Here is a kid who has been brought up to believe in god, not question its existence, who believes that this god decided to not give him the gift of intelligence. His brothers were all pretty smart, but he wasn't. Why had god chosen to give him learning disabilities and to consequently make him suffer through school the way he did? What had he done to deserve that?

It's important to note that my parents had recently separated/divorced. We didn't have all that much contact with my dad after that. So not only had his father left, but god was also picking on him.

My mother, being a believer, could not say, "God didn't make you that way, because god doesn't exist." So she did the usual, explaining about different people and different abilities. But I'll bet that did little to answer his question about why he had to do it with a brain which didn't run normally.

When atheists say that religion can be hard, and possibly even torturous, for a child's mental development, believers often scoff and insist that it does no damage. But for those among us who are born with one disability or another, or some other disadvantage, I say that it can indeed be damaging to believe that this all-powerful creature did it to you intentionally.

To be fair, perhaps there can be some comfort (no relation to Ray) in knowing that it is intentional, if you believe that god's plan for you doesn't require intelligence. But I think that's not useful to a kid suffering through not only the social and academic worlds of school, but also with a collapsing family life. It also doesn't do anything to explain why the kid has to have learning disabilities for the plan to work.

I'm pretty interested in comments on this one, if readers have any.

Monday, September 1, 2008

We're #1!

The Atheist Propaganda website has passed that Golden Compass crap, and is now the number one result on Google and Yahoo! search engines when 'atheist propaganda' is entered as search terms, with or without quotes.

That makes me happy.

(I don't know what the hell MSN is doing, but this site still isn't even in the first several pages of matches.) I suggest that you don't use MSN for search.