Monday, February 15, 2010

Oh, but there were eye-witnesses!

On CNN.com today, there is the story of an Israeli cult leader who managed to convince 23 women that he was omnipotent and had healing powers.  He then controlled their entire lives.

This reminds me specifically of Christianity, among all religions.  One of the best arguments they have, one which has been argued in front of me recently, is that the Apostles of Jesus were eye-witnesses to his greatness, and so blah, blah, blah, it must be true!

The problem is obvious.  There were gullible people then.  There are gullible people now.  There are even people now who are so gullible that all they require is the word of other gullible people.  They'll even accept the word of other gullible people who lived thousands of years ago and whose story only lives on through a book which was written and manipulated by others over centuries.  Even now, these gullible people can be convinced of pretty much anything, which is why we have cults all over the world whose followers make various supernatural claims.

So if your argument in any way relies on the word of these gullible people from thousands of years ago, I have one question.  Is that the best you've got?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Rush Limbaugh on creationism and global warming

Media Matters has a clip of Rush Limbaugh's radio show in which Rush states that his belief in creationism makes him not believe that global warming is real.




This is the trouble with religion.  Rush Limbaugh is an idiot, yet is one of the most popular commentators in the US.  According to a link on Wikipedia, his show has over 14 million listeners each week.  He is a major influence on the public perception.

It should be noted that Rush frequently comments on science, but I don't believe has any science education past high school, and I'd love to see his grade in that course.  Also notice that in this clip he uses intelligent design and creationism interchangeably, which goes against the whole ID argument that ID is a science and is not linked to creationism.

Rush's claim is that we're designed by his god and so we can't do anything to harm the environment of the Earth.  I'd like to ask him a few simple questions:

1.  Have we driven many species to extinction?
2.  Have we polluted our lakes, rivers and oceans with industrial chemicals, oil, mercury, plastic, etc?
3.  Have we destroyed entire ecosystems, for example dynamiting coral reefs and deforesting huge areas?
4.  Have we fished the oceans to near the point of breaking?
5.  Have we filled the air with pollutants?

If he answered yes to any of the above (though he might deny even these), is that not 'harm'?  Your god doesn't exist, dude, and we are responsible for our actions.

His listeners would have to be stupid (oh, wait....) to think this argument has any merit.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Failing to be a good samaritan

Imagine that I am a 200cm, 150kg young man, highly-trained in 3 forms of martial arts, and armed to the teeth with guns and knives.  I am out for a walk late at night in the city and see an average-sized man raping a petite woman in an alley.  Rather than help, I continue walking.  I don't even bother to call the police.  I am then summoned to court for the murder trial of the man, and have to explain why I allowed her to be raped and murdered, when I was easily capable of stepping in and helping, or even calling 911.  I explain to the court that I didn't want to interfere with the man's choice to rape and kill the woman.  What kind of person would that make me?  Should I be punished for failing to help?

Now what would you say if I was an omnipotent, omniscient god and failed to take action?  An omnipotent god is infinitely larger, infinitely more powerful, with infinitely more weaponry at its disposal than the man in the above scenario.  It knows everything, so it is well-aware that the woman is going to be murdered after being raped, yet it fails to help.  This is the quite-real scenario which Christians, Jews and Muslims attempt to shove down our throats every single day of our lives.  Yet they (mostly) claim their god is completely good.  Is it any wonder that I don't buy it?  And is it any wonder that I think they're stupid, disgraceful bitches and bastards for believing it, or why I call their god a monster?