Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oh, the blessings of Islam!


The parties of God can always be counted on for a steady stream of aggression, force, and violence against undeserving people (usually the weaker victim the becomes their target of choice) but I think that Islam has become the new front-runner in terms of reliability and stupidity. Christians have had their murderous and immoral tendencies chilled by secular/enlightenment values, but Islam isn't having any of the "growing up" crap: they childishly hold that their vile brand of magic men and wish thinking is really true. And if you don't believe it, they'll kill you.

Luckily that wasn't the case for 64 year old Lars Vilks, a brave and wise Danish artist. Lars exercised his right to free expression and cartooned the image of the Islamic prophet, and in return he was met with the predictable violent reaction we've come to expect from those who believe in gods. They didn't manage to get the kill though, Lars survived the attack thanks to the intervention of the authorities. Yet another example of how religion poisons 'everything'. Can we not have simple cartoons? They want to ruin cartoons as well? Grow a backbone, are you really this delicate?

These kinds of religiously inspired attacks are commonplace, and I mention it not because it's a new occurrence, or even because it's incredibly noteworthy. I mention it for two reasons: firstly to call attention to the courage and fortitude of this 64 year old bro, and secondly so I can call more attention to this illogical notion that if you speak against Islam you're speaking racism.

The fallacious assertion that insulting Islam means you're also insulting a group of people based on their race is nothing more than another dishonest tactic employed by the faithful to give additional cover to their lethal doctrines and dogmas. This illogical and shifty insistence that criticizing Islam is equatable to the bigoted and practice of racism is something that must be rejected and denounced for every time it rears it's ugly head. When I insult christianity by calling it what it is -- as I frequently and dutifully do -- I don't insult the people based on their race, the same goes for insulting christians themselves. The ridicule is not aimed at them because they're white or any other color, it's aimed at them because they believe things my five year old nephew knows are idiotic, it has nothing to do with their race. At all. Not even kinda.

Islam plays by the same rules: when I condemn their illiterate and pedophilic prophet as a disgusting pig (yeah I said it) that shamefully married and raped a defenseless nine year old girl I'm insulting the faith, not the race of those who believe this garbage. To say otherwise is simply illogical, and I have zero tolerance for irrational people wasting my time with trumped up charges. I no more insult the ethnicity of the believers than I insult their preferences between cake or pie -- the two subjects are unrelated. I hope we resist this meme, and expose it for the dishonest rubbish that it is.

Thanks for reading!

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Talent Spotted

This guy is pretty incredible.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Don't read this post, I'm going megaton.

I'm in a bit of a grumpy mood today, so I'm going to tee off on theism/religion and some of the laughable things that come out of the mouths of their participants. This is going to get bumpy, you've been warned.

“We can agree to disagree.”

It's true, we can agree to not see eye-to-eye on this subject, but don't think for one minute that this puts both of our arguments on equal footing; one argument is clearly not as logical or reasonable as the other. Don't get it twisted, the theist world view is founded on myths that shouldn't survive elementary school, so if we agree to disagree don't mistake it as a nod of respect for your views or argument. The idea of gods is idiotic at best, and destructive to humanity at worst. I'll respect the person, but I steadfastly refuse to respect their cult, or their creepy beliefs. They get only a cold tolerance based on my respect for the freedom of religion, don't count on conversational tolerance if you start yammering about magic men in the sky and how real they are.

“God X is immaterial, and outside space and time.”

I don't have to waste time pointing out how silly this belief is, the theist does all that work for me. But as soon as they assert their god is undetectable, the opposition wins. Removing all the criteria we use to validate a claim doesn't somehow magically make it true, since we now have no way to determine it's existence we have to disregard its possibility of being true. The theist will literally argue their god into non-existence all the while thinking they're pulling a fast one – I don't think so scooter, try again.

“But it's true for me!”

If the god exists only inside your head – only inside your consciousness – then fine, have at it. But when you say it exists outside of your imagination, if you say it's actually true, that becomes a whole new ball game. If you want to say your god is real, that it exists in the outside world, you adopt a burden of proof to demonstrate your claim as being true, just like everyone else. Can't muster the proof? Tough shit, try again when you can. It's arrogant and childish to think the world outside your mind has any obligation to fit your demands – reality has zero responsibility to change itself to fit your idea of what it should be. If the burden of proof is too much for theists to handle, then they need to go stand in the back of the room with the rest of the cultists.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jon Stewart

After a break I'm back, and I bring Jon Stewart and the daily show...

*NOT WORK FRIENDLY* since it ends up with Jon Stewart telling Muslim Extremists to go fuck themselves. Nice.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sarah Palin shows her ability to reason

I never fail to laugh at Sarah Palin's latest antics. It seems like every time I see her in the news for something it's because she's lying or misleading people; which is par for the course in terms of christianity, but I was hoping that since she thinks herself worthy of leadership roles she would be just a cut above average in things like honesty, knowledge, wisdom, or virtue -- no such luck. She's a walking disaster, a talking train wreck.

This time she's lying through her teeth about the religious beliefs of our founders (as if that is relevant in some way...) and pushing more of this "Christian Nation" myth. I really don't understand the illogical nature of those who buy into this myth; but I'm not surprised to see someone of Palin's quality throwing in with them. She's a sort of perfect storm for the modern conservative: hopelessly under-informed about important things, thinks her opinion is synonymous with fact or reality, feels entitlement as if she's accomplished something significant on the national level, and feels it's her job to force her religion on others -- unconstitutionally -- through the power of the state.

Sarah, thanks for the laughs doll!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

James Randi rocks!

Here's a video that was shot at TED in 2007, and has just now surfaced. In it, James Randi takes an overdose of homeopathy sleeping pills -- don't worry he's fine since he took an overdose of fake medicine, not stuff that actually could hurt or help him. He makes some pretty good points though; it really is depraved to sell your claimed "psychic" powers to the grieving and heartbroken who are still coping with the loss of a loved one. Even to a heartless Atheist that seems just a little too predatory and disingenuous.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rightists and double standards about religion

There seems to be a few logical errors in the ideology and message work of the religious right, the same folks that want to force their views of God into your home and into your life. The topic of church/state separation illustrates one of their more revealing double standards, and sources of embarrassment. There's a forehead slapping contradiction in their ideologies and their propaganda of how Washington is supposed to interact with their lives: when it comes to their health-care, they say 'hell no' but when it comes to their personal beliefs about religion they resound with an approving 'hell yes'! So on one hand they tell us government is not the solution, but then they turn around and say how it most certainly and emphatically is the solution – to forcing their religion on others.

They want the gubment out of our homes, unless that gubment is pushing a goal that falls in line with the personal beliefs of the conservative movement – then they want the state in everyone's house. This is leftist thinking, isn't it? Are they not doing the very same thing they decry progressives and democrats for doing? If you're paying attention the answer is obvious.

They actually mean to say they welcome that bumbling, idiotic, wasteful government (they remind us of those qualities daily in their media don't they?) into their highly personal beliefs about God? They trust those 'crooks' in government with their God, but not their wallets, or their health-care? What does this observation say about their capriciousness in deciding what the state is allowed, or not allowed, to participate in? What can they offer against the argument that conservatives have a private agenda for the direction of government, just the same as progressives do, and are criticized by the right for having?

So, when these hypocritical and ideologically misguided rightists beg for help and handouts from those of us they routinely patronize and denigrate as “enemies of freedom in Washington” – why should those (now insulted) people in Washington not reply by first addressing their insulter's rude and contradictory behaviour? What kind of nonsense are religious conservatives trying to sell by pushing these shameful double standards on the rest of us? Are we supposed to accept that they should be the only ones to have access to the powers of the state? And thereby, would they not be usurping democracy as all of history has know it? What an embarrassingly stinky aroma to have to wear in public; a stench that warns of the deeper corruption that's reliably found in those people (authoritarians) who foolishly maintain double standards, and those that are also guilty of basic hypocrisy and special pleading.

I'd instead suggest that those in favor of using the state to spread their personal religious views correct these positions and messages before demanding by force and violence (read: using the powers of the state) that others should have to follow their rules, or accept those conservative views as reality. I submit that if you're a small government conservative that also believes in establishing an official religion for our secular state, you have an ideological tenant that isn't paying its logical rent.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Count the fallacies with Christopher Hitchens!

Watch Hitchens meet head-on with one of those "christian nation" living-in-my-fantasy types. (they're the worst since when you get some of them on your shoe, it takes forever to wash it off.)

I gave up counting at five fallacies; watch and be amazed at how many miles the christian got out of that presidential non-sequitur!

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Friday, April 16, 2010

National Prayer Day

So even after all the work has been put in, after we've wrestled time and time again, the parties of God (or those working on their behalf) will still use the levers of the state to advance their religious ideas. Obama doesn't care about the Lemon Test? I can't say I'm surprised to see this coming from him.

What happened to the beautiful liberal spirit of freedom we were founded on? You could worship your divine dictator and I could go undisturbed; is that too much freedom for the faithful to handle? Of course we know the answer; spreading their religion is required and encouraged at the cost of your freedom from it -- though if you confront one of them on their infraction they may very well retreat behind the "it's a personal belief" card, thus negating criticism or further debate about it.

Not anymore, at least not with me.

If our government is doing things like a national prayer day, I think I'm entitled to return conversational fire; to mercilessly grill anyone who's trespassing on my/your freedoms. Want to tell me the good news? Then I want to tell you about the shocking and revolting immorality of your God and religion -- sounds reasonable to me. If the parties of God don't want a verbal water-boarding session about their disgusting beliefs, then they'd do well to stop knocking on other people's doors.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mexico has Catholic pedophilia problems too?!

Child rape inside the catholic church is spinning madly past the zone of WTF and straight into the twilight zone of "can this really be happening?"

Another predatory preacher in the land that tries to sell itself as something like a constitutional republic has come forward and admitted to molesting over 200 kids, including two of his own children!

Words don't describe the depth of this kind of crime. Maybe if these child raping pigs had a faith that actually held them accountable for their own actions, they'd act like civilized people.

Just sayin'

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

David Cross

I don't know who this is, but I like his style.

Also, the game.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring cleaning

I want to touch on a few misconceptions that are floating around. Since we know that progress relies on knowledge, and knowledge relies on clarity, I think it'd be beneficial to strip away some of the false notions that have attached themselves to ideas we trade in religious debate. By scrubbing these ideas under warm soapy water we can clear away the muck that has been allowed to gather on them, and by doing so we help move the conversation along since we'll all be armed with a higher grade of ideas. So here we go!

“It takes more faith to be an Atheist.”

This idea is both wrong and strange, I'll start with showing why it's wrong. Atheism is not a faith position. At all. Not even kinda. It's simply the disbelief in one or more deities, or the supernatural. And since we don't have any evidence for believing in any of the near 10,000 Gods that humans have put forward over the years, the act of not believing in any one of them doesn't require any faith at all. Gods have never met their burden of proof and so they can be safely dismissed as a non-truth. (as one man puts it: that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.)

If I told you that there was a square-circle on your head right now, and you didn't believe me, would you say that it requires faith to disbelieve? Of course not, since you know that a square-circle can't exist, it requires no faith at all to dismiss my assertion. Now If I would've said something rational, like: “broseph, you have some hair on your head” – that would've been a different story since you know hair can exist on heads.

“Atheism can't tell me how we got here, so I'm sticking with God.”

This is like your boss telling you that since you can't breath acidic fluids, he's going to replace you with a square-circle that claims it can. The first problem with your boss's thinking is pretty obvious: humans aren't meant to breathe acidic fluids, so to criticize them for not being able to is really illogical. Atheism isn't a scientific discipline, it isn't an answer factory – it's a reply to claims of the supernatural. If you don't require Atheism to bake you a delicious cake, then why would you expect it to do any other task it's not meant to do? Should we not believe in Judaism simply because it can't explain what's occupying the galactic center?

The second problem with this scenario is the choice of “replacement”. Again, a square-circle cannot exist; so when a person comes to any conclusion that requires the existence of one, we know the conclusion will fail since it relies on an impossibility. Think of it like this: if you submit a mathematical proof that starts off by stating “this proof assumes that 1+1=Bacon”, we don't have to continue past the start since we know the proof will fail. Saying that God explains how we got here is not much different than saying 1+1=Bacon – they're both wrong. As a side-note, at least Bacon can deliver eternal life and unending bliss, can your God do that?

“Well, Hitler and Stalin were Atheists, so belief is better than unbelief!”

Wow, really? First I'd point out that Atheism was not the cause for what those two did. Stop the internal dialogue, that wasn't the reason. Hitler and Stalin are great examples of authoritarian style of rule, and what it produces. Secondly, to say Hitler was an Atheist is to be pretty dishonest, he never once denounced his catholicism, as a matter of fact he said he was doing “the lord's work” in his book. He rallied against secular schools demanding religion be taught, and the first deal he cut as the new leader was with the catholic church, a church that liked him enough to celebrate his birthday every year! He talked about not only God, but about Jesus, in his speeches and in private; and he went so far as to have “God with us” put on the belts of his soldiers. I think the religious right is trying to pull a fast one on us, trying to pin the mess of their creation on other people like Atheists and socialists.

Lastly, this argument really fails and here's why: if we grant the dishonest tweaking of causation to make Atheism the cause of what those two did, the religious really screw themselves – their body count can then be measured not in millions, or tens of millions, not even in hundreds of millions – but we soar all the way up to the one billion mark (some say more). So it seems that after some really... creative... tactics the arguer only manages to present a rod for his own back. If I had the evils of religion weighing heavily on my shoulders I'd be very humble with any talk about force and violence; but in the highly compartmentalized mind of the average monotheist no such need exists, since their religion is only the one in their head, and things outside of their construct, like reason and evidence, often fail to penetrate.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Proofs for the existence of God part 3

The third proof we'll look at is presented by William Lane Craig, a leading Christian apologist and philosopher. Craig is known for being as well thought out in his philosophy as he is well rehearsed in his debates. Given some of his great performances against some of the better thinkers in the Atheist movement, he has painted a bit of a target on his back – he's wrecked Hitchens, put Stenger on the ropes, and has been dodged by Dawkins. Here is a syllogism of the argument:

p1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
p2. The universe began to exist
c1. Therefore the universe had a cause

The argument is similar to Aquinas' proof that we looked at in a previous post, except this version goes a bit further by putting the Christian God (CG) outside of Space and Time (S/T). In putting the CG way out there, it makes the proof a bit more believable when it states that the CG was the creator of everything in the universe. After all, it's crazy to assume a being that exists inside of S/T created that S/T – everyone knows you can't exist in something you haven't built yet.

Craig start running aground because even if we granted the claim of the CG transcending our S/T, it doesn't mean that it necessarily exists outside all space and time, that's an assumption on his part, not a claim backed by our knowledge. It may be plausible that since the CG exists outside our S/T, it could have its own S/T, but William Lane Craig doesn't roll with a God that has it's own S/T, he maintains that the CG transcends every S/T – the CG is space-less and time-less – and he does so by simply asserting it as true. We have zero empirical evidence to believe this, it's another faith position.

This argument seems to have some special pleading as well, that's a common problem with these kinds of arguments, if a believer can't make the argument work, they'll just change the rules to help it along. The problem with this proof is that it grants the CG an immunity to the infinite regression while at the same time stating that nothing can be immune to the regression. Well, how logical is that?

I don't normally hear a lot of talk about this next problem, but I think it's worth considering at least; there seems to be an equivocation fallacy relating to one of the terms being used. It's not so clear in the syllogism, but if you ever hear brother Craig talk about this proof it becomes much more clear. In the early part of the proof, the word “cause” is used in the sense of coming from preexisting materials, in the same way my nephew builds his playthings from a preexisting pile of Legos. But as the argument continues, the definition of the word “cause” changes to reflect something that doesn't come from pieces preexisting. One minute we have a pile of Legos which we use to build something, and the next minute, we act as if the Lego pile never existed – I think there's something wrong there.

But that's not all, this argument has another problem: if the CG has a mind – which it must if it's making choices, taking conscious action, or otherwise exercising its own volition – then its mind must exist outside of S/T, with the rest of the God. If that's the case, it follows that we could characterize the CG's mind as being non-temporal (having no time) and non-spatial (having no space, or matter). But that's a big problem since a mind that's non-temporal (read: non-changing) is by definition non-functioning: a mind has to be allowed to change, since it has to be able to reason, will, and feel to be considered a mind, and the only way a mind can do those things is if it has time to do so. A timeless mind would get nothing done since it couldn't take in new information, it can't think about that new information, or form thoughts about what to do with it, since it doesn't have the time to do any of that. By putting the creator outside of S/T, Craig has only accomplished making a self-contradicting entity – one having a changeless mind – and entities of that variety cannot exist.

Thanks again for sticking with these longer posts, I hope some of you found it worthwhile. If you think this subject is worth hearing about, subscribe or digg it please!

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Proof for the existence of God part 2

I'm a fan of Thomas Aquinas, he contributed a fair share to philosophy. Among his better known contributions is the first mover argument, or the argument from first cause. This one goes waaaaay back to around 1250. Though Aquinas was a great thinker, he was a bit odd when it came to the supernatural: I heard he claimed to have flown around the towers of Notre Dame. This proof for God is as follows:

p1. Everything must have a cause.
p2. Nothing can cause itself.
p3. A casual chain cannot be infinite.
c1. Therefore, a first cause has to exist.

This seems like a fairly good argument to some people, but overall this is another argument of wanting, it only convinces those who are friendly to the conclusion to begin with. The first problem we see with this proof is familiar: it's illogical to simply plug your favorite god into the argument as the first cause, or the unmoved mover. This isn't 'Nam man, we have rules. If it can be the Christian God (CG), it can just as easily be the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It's another one of those arguments that starts with a canvas of logic, then quickly spirals into a work that resembles a confused watercolor from yours truly after half a day on the whiskey.

Putting that aside, another obvious problem is presented, a pretty bad self-contradiction haunts this proof. It's not kosher to say everything has to have a cause, then turn around and say that one special cause itself doesn't need any cause at all. This has the familiar stench of special pleading, which is reflective of the time Aquinas did his philosophy; back then, if your work didn't include the CG you may have found yourself out of the evolutionary contest.

Also, this argument calls for the question of where does the God come from? Does the God have a cause? If it does -- or could -- then all we've done is stalled the proof at the insertion of God with no empirical way to move forward. It may be said that adding the CG to this argument only muddles the infinite casual chain even more, since we can't determine if the CG has a cause or not.

On the subject of infinity, it's worth noting that our minds are not fond of dealing with it, but that doesn't mean the rest of reality shares our baggage with the concept. This solipsism is obviously not supported when we look at how little the universe seems to care about our comforts and welfare; are we supposed to believe that the universe with an age of about 14,000,000,000 years cares about the mental constraints of a young (200,000 years tops?) upstart race on a remote planet that itself is hostile to their very existence? Clearly, the universe doesn't have a care for us: one day it will give you beautiful child that fills your life with a purpose far beyond driven, and the next morning: a fatal brain aneurysm. It's clear to see that our kind isn't meant to stand as the primary benefactor of all creation, and it stands to reason that reality doesn't care about our uneasiness with infinity.

In relation to infinite casual chains, there have been more than a few scientists armed with information unknown to Aquinas, that have come forward to say that the big bang was the beginning of everything, in all dimensions, so asking what came before the big bang is like asking what's farther north than the north pole.

Overall, this argument isn't going to convince that many thinkers (anymore), but considering what Aquinas had to work with, and the conditions he had to work under, he made some real pieces of work that have lasted quite a long time.

Thanks for sticking through the longish article, I hope you found it worth the effort.


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Saturday, April 10, 2010


Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics.

You're all stardust.

You couldn't be here if stars hadn't exploded, because the elements carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter, for evolution, weren't created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way they could get into your body is if the stars were kind enough to explode.

So forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be here today.

- Lawrence Krauss

I'm sure we've all seen this before, but it really is mind-blowing.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Freedom of Expression

Given the recent climate of political and religious debate, I thought I would dig up an old essay about one of our most important freedoms: the right to speak as we see fit. As a free-thinker I believe the FoS is extremely important to all of us, and I feel incredible gratitude toward anyone who has helped us along our way of instituting and preserving this freedom.

I'm going to try the embed feature on Scribd rather than copy/paste the whole thing, hopefully it works well.

Freedom of Speech

Also, this video absolutely rocks. Thanks again for reading.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Violence is the tool of the immoral

With the increasing violence from the political right we're faced with more examples of why we need philosophy / critical thinking taught to our young people. I would argue that if people had a better grasp on clear thinking we wouldn't see so much of this American political violence, we would begin to find ways of enacting change without having to drop our morals and pick up guns. Anytime someone calls for thug violence (I'm looking directly at you tea-party brothers) in response to non-violent issues they tip their hand, and reveal to all of us that they're clearly not serious about freedom or solutions. When you reduce your political methods to threats and violence, you excuse yourself from normal and healthy debate; you literally move yourself to the margin – in the same fashion an angry child moves himself (with the teacher's help) to the corner when he destructively acts on his emotions.

If you think that real political change can come from threatening our politicians like a bunch of gangsters or Ku Klux Klan members, you're wrong. If you think that your guns will somehow help us maintain freedom and liberty, you're wrong. If you think that force and violence can bring about peace and liberty, you have only to look around the world and see the failure of your beliefs. Let's see how well force and violence are helping those in Africa, or the Middle East, or Palestine. No luck there? Okay, let's look at Ireland, Burma, and Columbia. Still having problems in finding a working example?

The verdict is in: violence only begets violence. If you still cling to fantasies of a Red Dawn style attack, or a repeat of the Revolutionary War you need to wake up and look around. Let go of your childish wishes and realize what the rest of us already know: this isn't the 18th century anymore, we have other solutions. These pro-violence types seem to think pointing a gun is somehow going to fix our problems, what they don't see is that every time we use the gun, we invalidate our own morality and message by using force to enact change we failed to produce through rational means – the gun signifies failure and should be a point of embarrassment by all those involved.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Proof for the existence of the Christian God part 1

Proper thanks to anyone who reads the blog today, it's going to be just a little longer than normal – but if you like to think about proof for the existence of God, you may find this informative, or at least thought provoking. So, here's one version of the argument from design, or the teleological argument:

p1. We appear to observe features in nature too complex to have happened by chance
p2. These features exhibit the hallmark appearance of design
p3. Design implies that there must be a designer
c1. Therefore nature must be the result of an intelligent designer
c2. This designer is the Christian God

This argument has quite a few holes, even at a glance. The first premise has some special pleading (applying or removing standards without proper justification in this case) which invalidates it. The assertion that some life is “too complex” to have been produced by evolution is not valid unless we have some evidence for thinking it's true. We can't take an option off the table without presenting good reasons for doing so, and we all know that simply asserting something is possible or impossible doesn't make it so. On top of special pleading it contains a nice straw man fallacy: it states that evolution is a theory of chance, which is inaccurate, and I may even argue is dishonest. When stronger and faster humans are competing with weaker and fatter humans in a game of survival, you can hardly call it chance when the better specimen wins the contest time and time – one type is more adequately suited to compete, and thus live on to pass their genes down. Another problem with premise one is that it's a mere argument from ignorance, basically it says: “I can't understand it, so no one can!” We know this kind of thinking to be silly and invalid; most of us don't understand the operations of our car engines, but it doesn't follow that no one can understand those inner workings.

Moving down to premise two, we see more problems. What is design exactly, and how do we see evidence of it in the nature world? It seems to me to be a little ambiguous, at the very least. I admit the complexity we observe in nature is jaw-dropping, so is nature's beauty, and its appearance of order – as a whole nature is just overwhelming! But simply stating that these qualities cannot occur naturally doesn't fly. Again, we have to demonstrate why our claims are true. This is another instance of special pleading, we can't simply state things as fact and expect it to pass through the logic filter. Certainly, no theologian would let me assert that a large purple dragon is responsible for all the “design” we see in the world, they would certainly pin me down on this stupid assertion – and they would be right to do so since I don't have any proper evidence to backup my dragon claim. This standard must be applied equally to any position within the discussion, if we want to be honest anyways.

Now, since we've established one or more bad premises, we are not required to continue entertaining this argument. The rules are simple: if we run into a bad premise, we can stop reading and put the argument aside since it's a non-starter, it failed due to a bad premise. If we choose to continue, we do so out of curiosity, or some other interest, not because the argument is sound, or intellectual honesty demands it. But, I'd like to continue looking at the design argument, even if it's belly up.

The conclusion(s), like the premises, are less than acceptable. Though there are a few problems with the conclusion(s), I'll just stick to the one I think is the most interesting and run with it: why does it have to be God A, B, or C? What empirically valid evidence do we have to conclude that the complexity we see is the handiwork of the God of Abraham, or Baal, or any of the deities of the Canaanites? It seems like a waste of time to go this far into the argument just to fall back on wish thinking. Since one party can insert the Christian God (CG) into this hole that's been fallaciously manufactured, what stops another party from inserting their God? What if the ever popular Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) wants a turn being injected into the argument? Can we put forward good reasons to deny him and his complex carbohydrates? I don't think so. Our inability to deny the FSM is one of the reasons this argument doesn't work for the CG: inability to support the claim that any particular God is the cause of the perceived “design”. There is so much more to say about the teleological argument, but this is a blog post, not an essay, so we'll end here.

BONUS! As a reward for those of you who are still reading, here's a real treat... Bertrand Russell had the following to say about the subject of design in our universe:

"Really I am not much impressed with the people who say: "Look at me: I am such a splendid product that there must have been design in the universe." I am not very much impressed by the splendor of those people. Moreover, if you accept the ordinary laws of science, you have to suppose that human life and life in general on this planet will die out in due course: it is merely a flash in the pan; it is a stage in the decay of the solar system; at a certain stage of decay you get the sort of conditions and temperature and so forth which are suitable to protoplasm, and there is life for a short time in the life of the whole solar system. You see in the moon the sort of thing to which the earth is tending -- something dead, cold, and lifeless".

Thanks for reading!

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Islamic Extremism

(you can fast forward to 2:30 if you're impatient)

Islam's war on freedom continues, I guess they're tired of dominating the females and free-thinkers already in their clutches and feel they need more subjects to abuse. While some of Europe has allowed this cancerous faith to take root in their territories and begin to corrupt their societies, I'm glad that America hasn't. Islam will find that America does not capitulate to the kind of violence and bigotry other countries have; we value the freedom of expression and religion, as well as equal civil rights for all of our citizens.

Should Islam continue to attack us, or our values, they will not find a silent victim. If they wish to use the gun to spread their ideas, they will find us to be the wall in their path. We learned from great enlightenment thinkers like John Locke that freedom and liberty should not be subject to religious approval, and we embraced this as a core belief in the American experiment. I'm proud to live in a country that will hold the line against religious domination and theocracy, and put the freedom of the masses above the prejudices of a few.

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Really Bill? Really?

What else can the Catholic church do to demonstrate their complete moral failure? I mean, after raping children where do you go? I'm sure that other psychopaths are standing in wide-eyed amazement at the staggering power of the christian media machine; these perverted old virgins rape children they've been charged with overseeing, and somehow...

The gays are to blame.

Head = asploded

P.S. Happy Pagan holiday!

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Meat rampage!

This is just too strange to let pass without comment. Some bro in Indiana goes on an anti-meat rampage at a local super-market, in the name of protecting young girls from getting fat, and also because -- you guessed it -- God wanted him to.

Isn't it strange how people's Gods share the same views they do? Anti-choice people have Gods that are also anti-choice, advocates of state violence have Gods that favor murder and violence, peaceful and open-minded people have peaceful and open-minded Gods -- you see what I'm saying.

Have the faithful not noticed this pattern? Have they noticed, but try not to think about it? Most of us heard about the study that reveals when we think about what God would want, we actually use the same parts of the brain that we'd use to think about what we want, this further supports the view that Gods are a projection, and some of the content projected is our own world view or opinions about certain topics. This is the same process by which we project our consciousness onto inanimate objects: we think that hammer meant to hit our thumb, we stub our toe and think "stupid end-table!" and we believe there's a magic man in the sky that just coincidently happens to share our personal views on hot topics.

I don't really believe that the faithful have failed to notice that their Gods hate the same people they do; I think they have observed that when they kill, rape, or torture people, God is just fine with it, or has commanded it. It would be really hard to not see this phenomena, and I wonder what the faithful think about it. I'll ask around and see what explanations I get.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

More commandments!

Alright, time to get back to commenting on the ten commandments, and their foundations, as found in Exodus 20.
After God instructs us about his (third) holy day, we finally arrive at a commandment that instructs us in a useful way:

"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you."

First, the good part: showing respect for your mother and father is important, just as important as showing respect to others in your family, and in society at large. After so much ranting and raving from a hyper-possessive God it's refreshing to hear something worthwhile, and you can't go wrong by showing people respect. While it isn't really deep moral teaching as much as it's another order to embrace authority and sing it's praises, this commandment is leaps and bounds better than the previous bunch.

Secondly, the bad part: the assertion that the land you live on was somehow given to you by God is a pretty silly one; I've never found a rational explanation for how or when this gift was given, and so that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Having your beliefs is one thing, since what goes on inside your mind is your business, but when that belief starts to make objective truth claims about reality, it must accept being examined or tested for validity -- seems fair enough to me at any rate.

One swipe from Occam's Razor seems to settle this matter for me: the most simplistic answer to the question of how I came to live on this land is certainly one that doesn't involve a super-complex and self-contradicting deity -- which people seem to struggle in defining in the first place -- and for who's existence we have zero empirical evidence. Natural explanations are not only simpler, but have evidence to back them up, and even better is the fact that they contain the humility to not claim to know things they do not, or can not, know. Honesty and evidence are important to establishing claims as being fact or fiction, and it's in that area that Gods have a habit of not meeting their burden of proof.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Christian militia violence

Though I share some of their views on the government and the current state of freedoms in America, I have to denounce the Hutaree for their choice to enact violence (or planing to use violence) against others to achieve goals that are ideological, political, or religious in nature (the army field manual definition of terrorism). No matter what your views are, picking up a rifle to drive the point home is flat-out immoral. More over, If you keep force and violence in your toolbox, you can't decry others for having those same tools in theirs – unless you want to dismissed as a run of the mill hypocrite and not be taken seriously by anyone with a pulse.

The willingness to evaluate information and come to a judgement on political topics is important, but looking at only slanted information and coming to false conclusions is just the opposite; and I'm afraid our body politic lacks honesty in a big way, we've replaced it with hyper-partisanship, fallacious arguments, smear tactics, and other destructive practices. What's even worse is when a group of extremists like this get together and decide to use lethal force to push their ideas onto others – those clowns must have learned better. If not, they really should have by now, and so they get condemned as just another thug with a gun. If they can't handle democracy and freedom of ideas, they should spend some time in a dictatorship to see the differences.

But, they make another mistake by using their God to justify your gang violence, since every time they do they validate what detractors of religion have been saying for so long: God is a gun.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

More Catholic crime

More Catholic priests raping and torturing children and covering it up? Of course you expect this kind of stuff from that crowd, who have time and time again shown not only to be capable of destroying children's mental health, but to be people who institutionalize the practice of supporting those who do this terrible act. When a father is found to be raping kids, they simply move the predator pedophile around and work hard to make sure justice cannot be served, and that the depraved man can find a new batch of children to break. Maybe they think they are above the law, or above even morality.

When you're this close to the point of no return, when you've shown the world that you're morally bankrupt and hopelessly hypocritical, you should have brushed past a moment of clarity; a sudden jolt should have rocked you and shaken you free from your corrupted ways – there should have been realization that you cannot stop the madness, and so you have to resign, unless you want to see this pattern of destructive behavior continue. If our pedophile priests ever had this moment of clarity, they have chosen to ignore it in favor of continuing the sexual conquest of young boys that trusted them to do what's right. The parents made the mistake of trusting religious leaders, and their children suffered the consequences. These young children pay too high a price for being forced by their parents to meet with rapists and sadists.

What will happen? Something must be done here, right? Surely the parties of God will do the right thing and do what they can to set the wrong things right! Surely parents across the world will learn from the mistakes of other heart broken guardians and keep their children away from this organization that has embraces and protects child rape...

Don't count on it.

The Vatican will continue to kill, rape, lie, and steal as it sees fit, and no country will arrest them -- like the common criminals they are -- when they land on foreign soil. They will continue to be called a benchmark of morality, justice, and ethics, even as they commit the most disgusting crime of all, and fight tooth and nail to avoid bringing the guilty to justice.

It's been said before, and it's worth repeating: the Vatican is a rogue state that harbors the most vile kind of criminals and legitimizes the practice of child rape. I think we could all agree that this kind of habit within the ranks of the Catholics is something that needs to end, unless we want to see more of our young people violated by those that are beyond the law.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Religion's smoking gun

I've noticed that theists often say their religion is backed up by faith, but then they contradict this by using logic to explain their beliefs in conversation. Here's an example:

"Do you believe in hell?"

"Yes I do."


"It makes sense that since there is heaven, there should be a hell. Sort of like a ying-yang line of thinking -- since there is light, there has to be dark."

This is really interesting. It presents us with some really good material for conversation, or in this case, writing. The first thing that comes to my mind is fairly simple: if you assume heaven exists solely based on faith, why would you do a 180 degree turn and use reason to explain hell? Seems a bit strange right? You start building the case using faith, then switch to using reason, and hope the listener doesn't see this? If you are rolling with faith, why not keep going with it? It seems as though the speaker wants to be seen as using reason, or logic, but can't use those tools to start the argument off, since this argument is a non-starter.

Another provocative thought on the "starting point" of heaven is really obvious: you start by asserting the existence of heaven, without valid justification, then use this assertion to build the case for the existence of hell. It's a really interesting move, and if it were a valid way to justify something we would have a much easier time building arguments. Here's an example of this kind of method:

"Since there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), it stands to reason that there must be a Flying Alfredo Monster, to establish a sort of balance between pasta toppings"

See? I just assert the existence of the FSM out of nowhere, and build off the baseless assertion in a manner that seems logical; all the while hoping no one asks for a logical explanation of the FSM. (since if they did, my trick would be exposed.) The idea of balance is one that people really react openly to, since we see plenty of examples in our day to day lives: how a woman's beauty counters her man's ugliness, or how a mother's caring nature offsets a father's heavy-handedness. Appealing to this kind of common observation is a really good idea, and it's sure to be ate up by those that are already hungry for it, but to those of us that don't start with our minds already made up, it's unlikely to do much convincing.

Another funny thought is: if you're using faith (which is simply wish-thinking) to backup claims, why would you wish for hell? Heaven is understandable -- it sounds, to most people at least, to be a pretty chill place. But why wish a terrible place like hell existed? I mean, since we're just wishing here, why not just wish for heaven and call it quits? The idea seems a bit mean right? If you're going to wish for things, at least do it without shitting on other people.

And that brings me to my conclusion. This insane wishing for other people to suffer unimaginable agonies and torture for the rest of eternity -- unjustly -- simply for not sharing your faith. Can you think of something more childish and petty? Murdering someone is one thing, since their suffering does come to an end; but wishing something like hell's eternal punishments on someone is nothing short of psychotic.

This isn't something that can be dodged by Christians either, as maturity demands that you have to wear the yolk of your faith, even if it sucks at times. If you hold a belief, and that belief is the reason for suffering, you're guilty by association. If you believe in, say, gang activity, we will hold you responsible for actions resulting from its practice. Same goes for fascism, stalinism, or any other ideology. So it seems to me that a theist should do a good bit of thinking on their beliefs, and do an accurate and responsible accounting of their faith's effect on other people. You aren't just killing people all over the world, you're wishing the worst possible divine punishment on them as well -- I think we can all agree this has to stop.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

The pushback against stupidity

The re-occurring stories of catholic molestation, and of course, their cover ups (way to take responsibility guys!) are almost more than reasonable people can stand. To make matters worse, the moderate and liberal Catholics can't be counted on to clean up their house; they show either lack of interest or inability to carry out basic justice. But their complete failures illuminate other failures, like philosophy's failure to teach the basics of ethics and virtue to the masses. Philosophers have had thousands of years to get this information out, and it seems they haven't done a very good job.

Our society at large seems to be stuck in a state of solipsism, we just don't give a shit about real knowledge or truth. We seem to think that opinions are enough to justify making objective truth claims; and we don't need empirical evidence – simple gut feelings will do. There seems to be too much value placed on a person's interpretation of something, rather than caring about the true properties of that something. In conversations we spend a good bit of time tripping over each others misunderstandings and subjective statements; it's very hard to talk about anything important when we're forced to spend most of the time debunking nonsense about that something. If philosophers had done a better job of teaching about humility, epistemology, and how to seek truth, I think we wouldn't have some of the problems we have now: the widespread sense that opinions are truth, the belief that being offended is sufficient reason to silence a person, and that we are all whiz-bang geniuses already and don't need to learn anything more than what we already “know”.

Though I don't feel philosophy is solely to blame, I do think it's fair to say that they should claim some of the responsibility for the rampant illogicality we see around us. I think philosophers have an acute sense of what effect their teachings could have on society, and should get their message out there much more than they have so far. When we still have entities like the Catholic church, and they continue to do what they do, it's clear that we need to step up to the plate and start solving some of these problems. But we can't go to bat confidently without having a firm grasp on basic philosophical principles, so let's get those principles out there, and into the hands of masses; it's plain to see we sorely need this stuff!

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Atheist Blogroll

This blog has been added to the Atheist Blogroll, a free service that helps community building. If you have a blog you'd like entered, contact Mojoey.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Douglas Wilson

After watching "Collision" for the third time or so, I felt that Douglas Wilson did such a good job defending his faith and religion from the assault of Christopher Hitchens that I thought I should look up some more about him, and see what else he had to say about Theology. Since he did such a good job of presenting his Christian beliefs in a well read and organized way, I thought for sure I had to new reference for how a Christian can be moral. He seemed to have a clear (read: modern) idea of right and wrong -- from the stance of a humanist, or something like it.

I was wrong.

Sadly, brother Wilson seems to have a bad hangup with slavery, and gays of course. He seems to think that some of us should not be allowed to rise beyond the level of chattel slaves. He really thinks that slavery is okay, since his God has commanded it. To him, something as disgusting as slavery is cool, so long as the Magic Man says it is.

Douglas Wilson, you are wrong. Flat out, plain to see, absolutely, and commonly know to be, wrong. Not only are wrong, your view on liberty is revolting -- in the harshest meaning of the word. I would love to see you suffer, as others have, under a system as corrupt as slavery. I would love for your bulbous, swollen form to rise with the sun and work until your owners felt they've had a good share out of you. I would love for you to experience the shame and injury of having your chubby back whipped past the point of bleeding. Though I don't wish slavery on you, I wish you could get a real taste of it, just to drive the point home: your view on this matter is fucked.

I'm rarely, if ever, this harsh on a person for their views. People make mistakes in judgment, we get led down the wrong paths, blah blah -- but this goes further. Wilson says we should observe the biblical tradition on slaves because if we don't, we may give way to worse things -- like homosexuality.


What else can be said; Douglas is morally bankrupt, he's lost his way. Hopelessly perverted by some ancient teachings that cannot be reasonably attributed to their claimed authors. Teachings that cannot be reasonably accepted as decent. Teachings that are sufficiently evil enough to prevent them from being advocated anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line. This kind of garbage belongs in history books, and is to be looked down upon by any person with an ounce of enlightenment.

I wonder if Douglas is so far gone he also treats his wife in the biblical way? Maybe he's stoned to death a few of his own children, for being nothing more than mischievous. I wonder, when was the last time brother Wilson killed a person for not keeping the sabbath? That's in the book as well Douglas; please don't be inconsistent. If you're going to be stupid, be ALL THE WAY stupid and murder people for working on the sabbath day. You won't, of course, since you haven't yet -- but that thought is inviting isn't it? Kill a few people in the name of Jebus, be found guilty by your own admission, and be promptly remanded to a federal facility filled past the brim with other violent offenders, the vast majority of which are Christian.

Since you're there, share your thoughts on slavery -- I'm sure it would be a hit.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sorry Texas

I seem to hear about a lot of boneheaded moves coming from the lone star state. The brothers and sisters on The Atheist Experience comment on the bad case of Christianity that is causing more than mild irritations with those of you in Texas that care about preserving our secular democracy.

Here's an example of the issue: Don McLeroy serves the public (kinda) by holding a seat on the Texas Board of Education (kinda), and like too many of his divinely inspired christian buddies, he seems to be letting his delusions shape his decisions in office. Rule of thumb Don: your religion is like your genetils, keep it to yourself unless invited to share. It seems McLeroy has taken a different approach:

"I was elected, I told people what I believed in, and what motivated me, and so what my goal is as an elected official is to speak up and do that."

Fantastic. Another Christian that thinks he needs to spread his illness. To children of course -- they're the most vulnerable. It's the same approach wild animals take when looking for the easiest victim: go for the young, or the sickly. I'm willing to bet that the fact of students being a captive audience played into this a bit; you know how the parties of God love a crowd that can't flee.

Just for fun, imagine if a military grade Atheist, or an outspoken Muslim, said what brother McLeroy did; the religious right would go megaton.


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Friday, March 12, 2010

Commandment #7

Yet another wasted opportunity to help humans along in their progress:

"Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy."

Really? This is it? This is the really important stuff that the claimed creator of the universe felt he had to command us to know? I have a long list of things people could do on a Sunday that are much more beneficial: Volunteer some time to charity, read a book, exercise, spend time with a loved one you don't see much, teach kids about critical thinking, work some overtime, etc. Just because the dudes that wrote this bible didn't want to do certain things on Sundays doesn't mean I have to sit around and praise a God; I could think of hundreds of better things to do.

What exactly is meant by "keep it holy"? How many different Christians believe different things about how to honor the seventh day? How are we sure Sunday is the real day of rest? The Jews that Christians stole their bible from seem to think Saturday is the day of rest, while Muslims claim Friday. Do we just assume all of the faiths are right, and we should have a three day chill period? This all seems very muddled, if the parties of God want to be taken seriously, they should at least re-edit their book and once again reform their dogmas to have a little more organization -- it would help their credibility along.

On a positive note, the punishment for breaking this command has been chilled a bit. Back in the day, if you didn't listen, you got killed. Thankfully we don't see that command being carried out as frequently as it may have been in the past.

That isn't to say that this commandment doesn't have terrible consequences on modern lives -- I can't buy booze on Sundays, thanks a ton guys!

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hitchens does the ten commandments

Relevant? Anti-Theist content? Brother Hitchens? It's certainly worth the watch.

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Commandment #6

So it continues, here is number six. Yet another useless order:

"You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name."

Alright, this one is just a little less useless than the previous six; but still, not one single mention of morality in six orders. I think we could do better. No mention of murder, rape, theft, child abuse, etc. No advice about how to live a good life. No plan that will guide you to truth, or knowledge. Not one word about right action, and responsibility. Instead, we get orders barked at us about how we're supposed to fall in line.

Who gives a shit about us using the Lord's name in vain? Using John Stuart Mill's "Harm Principle" -- which seems to me to be a very reasonable benchmark -- we see that no one is harmed by us doing so. If there is no injury, why would it matter? Insecurity on God's part? What kind of God would be so crazy as to advise us against using his name in vain before advising us on basic human solidarity? This is more of the same: another nonsensical and petty command from an imaginary deity who has no sense of punishments that fit the claimed injuries.

Number seven isn't looking any better either.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

More jihad!

Muslims declare jihad on... Switzerland? I await the excuses and contradictions of moderate explanation.

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#5 is not looking any better...

The fifth commandment -- well, this particular version of the fifth commandment -- doesn't show much more promise than the previous four.

"but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments."

More of the same really -- another half-baked promise of love for those that will allow themselves to be broken by this revolting and immoral ideology. What this command is saying is something like:

"In trade for you surrendering your personal responsibilities, your mental faculties, your free will, and your dignity as an individual, I will give you and your children lots of love."

I'm going to have to pass, thank you very much. I rather enjoy my ability to make decisions, reason, and accept the consequences of my actions. I don't want to surrender the best parts of myself in order to gain the love of a bipolar half-wit who's opening commands are to love him, and only him. I'm not a serf, I won't be commanded about by anyone unless I choose to make it so; and I'll never allow an invisible man who murders babies to command me as his servant, as that man has demonstrated that he is not up to the task of morally guiding my actions.

Also, the whole "love" part of that commandment is a bit of a nonstarter. This god's love is, at times, not much different than willful neglect. I've noticed people that have this god's love don't seem to enjoy much of an advantage in life. I've seen this god's loved ones put out of a home for example, and that's just not something a person does to someone they claim to love. The least god could do would be to offer these beloved homeless people his couch for a night.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

#4 and still going strong

Alright, after a small break I'm back with more heretical blabbering. I love living in a country that supports this kind of expression in word as well as in print; it tastes like freedom.

"You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me..."

Now, we've all had experience with an overly possessive girlfriend/boyfriend, what's our approach to dealing with this kind of nonsense?

Kick that shit to the curb.

I shouldn't have to instruct a grown woman/man on basic respect for other people, and the same goes for megalomaniacal deities. If you haven't learned to act right, that isn't my problem.

This commandment is very revealing in that god is acknowledging the terrible traits that many christians would have you believe he doesn't have; he is confirming that he's a absolute dictator with a real hair up his ass for questioning personalities and those who choose to walk without him. This is pretty far from the image presented by christians currently; I was led to believe god was a benevolent type, not Stalin on steroids.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Series #3

Part 3 go go go!

"You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."

This is just a waste of a spot, a complete waste of the third place; but, what would you expect from some humans authors back in the iron age. They weren't concerned about passing on morality, they have to put the people in line first!

What kind of image does it present when you're the Greatest Conceivable Being, perfect and all knowing, but you have to order your underlings to not mess around with idols? Does Chuck Norris have to remind the workers at subway to go light on the mayo? No, There's a thing called presence, well, I suppose you have to be real to have presence.

I wonder why none of the objects in space were mentioned? I mean, the cosmos is MUCH bigger and contains MUCH more matter than our little spec of a planet, why weren't the stars, planets, nebulae, black holes, comets, moons, galaxies, or any of that stuff mentioned by god? Probably the same reason that the germ theory of disease and the atomic theory of matter are not mentioned; the writers of the bible didn't know about this stuff, so they couldn't act like god knew about them.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Series #2

More of the "ten" commandments, and a dose of rationality. moving onto the second:

"Do not have any other gods before me."

This stinks of authority based leadership, if you were the one "true" god, why would you have to command it? We trust our doctor's abilities not because they demand we do, we choose to, based on their track record and accomplishments. If I walked into a doctor's office and he commanded me to trust/believe in him, and to not take any other doctor before him, I would trust/believe my ass right out the door and find a non-retarded doctor. Seems pretty sensible to me.

I think it revealing that god would command us about like children. Religion takes this even further, using the same kind of relationship type. We call our religious leaders "father" in the same way we call our gods "father"; it's also fitting since women were not allowed (and still are not allowed) to hold high office within the church, same with blacks -- until the churches had a "revelation" right about the same time as the civil rights act. Humans are far from perfect, and still need some kind of structure, but it doesn't follow that they need to be treated like children and have right action commanded to them.

Lastly, and this will be a recurring critique: is this really important enough to occupy the spot it was given? (at least, in some versions) Don't you think rules about murder, rape, theft, torture, or child abuse, would be more fitting for the first or second position on the list? Do the first couple/few commandments have to be about a seemingly vain and jealous god demanding you fall into line? I might suggest a results based approach, or one based on relevancy; because the current mafia style strong-arm tactics is one of the reasons religions and gods force themselves into the margins.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Series #1

I'll be doing a series on the nature of the core christian beliefs. I've noticed that barbed criticism from society can illicit change in the parties of god; take the example of stoning people to death for undeserving reasons, like women not being virgins on their wedding night, or children that are being unruly. One reason we don't see people being stoned every time the breeze blows is because secular society has pointed out how ridiculous the practices are, and broke the religious by demanding moral behavior. I'd be thrilled to see some more change, so I'm contributing criticism and potential solutions to iron out some of our problems.

I'll be starting with the ten commandments. Actually, one of multiple versions of the commandments. You'd think since god took the time to write these commandments himself, the faithful could at least get them right; but you'd be wrong.

So onto the list:

"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;"

If I take this to be true in it's entirety, I would feel a debt of gratitude for god being such a nice guy to the early Jews. He saw some people in a bad situation, and decided to help them get out from underneath it; how cool is that? It's a far cry from the same god that commands the killing of babies later on.

Sadly, the statement can't be held as a truth. Israeli archeologists have not only failed to confirm the exodus, but they say it's highly unlikely such a thing ever happened. This leaves us to disregard the credibility of the claim if we're honest; you can only accept this claim as an article of faith or wish thinking. I'd say, since you're wishing, why not cut to the chase and wish that people wouldn't have to be slaves in the first place?

God doesn't seem to show an aversion to slavery as a rule. He seems fine with it. Not only does he allow it, he endorses it; and so does jesus. Fact is, the old and new testament are totally fine with owning other human beings, they even give you tips on doing it; say goodbye to the claimed moral high ground.

Lastly, is this really the first thing we should know? Is this really the best choice for the first commandment? A sort of "I saved your asses and therefore you owe me" approach? A clear attempt to make you a surf; to get you in the pockets of the lord, so you have to obey. I call shenanigans; how about you use your magic powers to inspire men to not own other men? Why choose to free only this one group? God, you're kind of a dick, don't all people deserve to be free? Lowly humans have began to rise to this level of morality, what's your excuse? I thought you were a sort of "high-water mark" for us to strive to achieve? It seems that in the very first round we've found a moral deficiency in god; let's see if he can recover as we sort through the list!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010


What seems to be the more immoral act:

Teaching children that they can cast responsibility for their actions onto another,


Teaching children that by uttering simple words one can be forgiven of the most heinous acts -- repeatedly.

For me, this question is too close to call. Both are terrible teachings, and not deserving of one moment of consideration when forming morality lessons. I was taught to accept responsibility for my actions, good or bad. I was also raised to understand that forgiveness cannot come from an unrelated third party; forgiveness must come from the party directly affected. I was taught these values in a very secular fashion; I was introduced to a religion, but the structure and enforcement of morals did not follow the religious guidelines.

I try to think of a situation, outside of organized religion, where a parent would be right in teaching their young these precepts; I haven't found one yet.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

All bark, no bite.

I have heard it said that religion can impair the thought process, but every now and again, a real standout example floats to the surface of Lake Fallacious. This time, some clown over at "atheist central" has managed to provide some pretty good chuckles.


Ok, let's go.

"An atheist is someone who believes that nothing created everything.”

First, Atheism does not define one's views about the beginnings of space and time; it is only the rejection of supernatural claims, in this case the rejection of your claim that "magic man done it". Theists often use some twisting logic and spoonfuls of stupid to assert that Atheists believe X or Y, and normally they are really silly sounding things. Secondly, even if you managed to find an Atheist or two that did believe the nonsense you claim they do, it does not follow that all Atheists do. This joker managed to pack two facepalms into one sentence -- straw-man and composition fallacies.

"... So he defaults to the predictable 'Well, who made God then?' "

He is using his brain. If someone asks me how my car came into existence, and I reply with "I picked it up at the auto dealer." Have I answered the question? No, of course not – we have to deal with the next logical question: "where did the dealer get it?". Stopping the line of investigation at the dealer, or god, would be silly – you've solved nothing. Of course this kind of thinking would seem odd to a mind poisoned by religion, and so you attempt to downplay his response, and only make yourself look daft. Chalk up another facepalm for failure to seek causality.

"... but he somehow knows that the Creator wasn’t a “who.” How does he know that?""

PZ is pointing out that there is no empirical evidence to conclude that the universe was created by a who, and he's right. A buybull doesn't count as evidence for anything – aside from the believers own credulity. More importantly, PZ is not the party with the burden of proof, as he has made no assertion that requires it; he has merely called out someone else who has claimed something very specific – that the universe was created, and this clown claims to know by whom. You can't prove a negative, therefore it is not PZ's duty to dispel every claim made by retarded people, the burden of proof lies with the party asserting a claim. I've noticed this kind of attempted deflection before, and I'm sure to see it more; though sometimes I wonder if it is purposeful, or if the jabbering idiot is so far out that he doesn't realize he is being illogical.

For all his puffing and posturing he demonstrated he is only full of fallacious hot air. A person like this NEEDS religion.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Attack on science

Ever seen the documentary "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed"?

Good, don't.

It is fabrication as only the religious can deliver. The premise is that we should be teaching alternative theories to evolution in our public schools, and we should stop bullying a minority of people that want to see other things being taught. I always get a kick out of Christians that claim persecution, it is just amazing to hear people make idiots of themselves. I'm all for alternative theories, but they have to be, you know, real theories.

I won't go into all the flaws with the movie, I'll just call out a few. First, teaching "intelligent design" in public schools is flat out unconstitutional. Period. The ID folks were thrown out of court, and the classroom, in Kitzmiller vs Dover. Their "new idea" or "alternative theory" of ID is nothing more than creationism repackaged; pseudoscience at best, illegal at least. Science does not accept "magic man done it" as an explanation, it treats it the same as we all should -- with dismissal. As the judge of the case summarized: ID is religion, and religion has not place in public classrooms. No matter how much you lie and break the law in attempts to include it.

Secondly, I oppose the way the ID folks are running their shop. If you want to change science, you have to do it like everyone else; you start in the lab, working within the realm of natural science. You don't start by adding wish based thinking to high school textbooks. Aside from being morally bankrupt, it is just not how science works. I know that the religious feel quite a lot of entitlement, but you have to play by the same rules as everyone else, if you don't, you have zero right to complain about consequences -- you don't get special treatment just because you're mentally handicapped. Theories are developed and tested in labs within the bounds of the scientific method; not involving delusional claims spawned from a church. Keep your religion to yourself, and out of science, thanks.

Third, I have to call shenanigans on the parallels drawn from evolution and Nazism. This is enough to make a cat laugh. It is nothing more than another attempt to throw mud while lacking an intellectual leg to stand on. What the fascists did in Nazi Germany, and what we are teaching in schools today, are two extremely different things. One demonstrates how nature has shaped our form over many years, the other shows how human can tamper with nature and change the outcome. Basically, one is nature driven, the other is human editing of the natural process to get unnatural results. To compare evolution with eugenics is to admit you are cracked, irrational, and willing to lie. Another baseless smear, a throw away line; no intelligence allowed indeed!

Also, like other documentaries, the producers and staff lied and misled to get material that suited their ideological purposes. In the same fashion as Michael Moore and Bill Maher, they are not interested in showing the clash of ideas, they are only interested in gathering ammunition for their point of view, and they are willing to go to immoral lengths to get it. People like PZ Meyers and Richard Dawkins, that appeared in the film, were tricked into appearing in the first place; then later escorted from a screening of the film! Yeah, they were tricked into appearing in the documentary, then booted from the showing of the movie. How is that for expelled? What happened to that open and honest philosophy that they won't stop talking about in the movie? It must be reserved strictly for those sharing the expressed view. Hypocrisy much guys? It further demonstrates the christian line of thinking -- our agenda above all other factors. Morals, laws, decency, all that stuff is forgotten in pursuit of their goals, and the ends will justify the means.

All in all, another fine piece of work from the crippled brains of the religious: False assertions about the reasons for people being fired, reframing of an issue to try to make it look legal, double standards and hypocrisy, dismissal of reality and facts, guilt by association fallacy (among others), lies and mischaracterizations about people and issues, all laced with a tone of imagined persecution and pleading to pity and emotions as well as a strong dose of do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do mentality. I'm sure it's a hit among some people lacking a pulse, for those of us with both feet planted on earth, it's worthy to watched once at best, then thrown directly into the trash -- or filed under "garbage" with the rest of the Discovery Institute's nonsense.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

More Freshwater...

I can't believe this, Christian idiocy and dishonesty just keeps on rolling! John Freshwater's defense called a witness named Dave Daubenmire to testify; Brother Daubenmire was previously sued for not being able to separate his religious views and his job responsibilities (much like Freshwater), though he was cleared of "most" of the charges.

As if that isn't bad enough, check out what Daubenmire has to say about the case:

“The foundation of our country is Christian,” Daubenmire said. “It is a religion, but atheism is a religion and secular humanism is a religion and they are taught in school.”


What planet does this man live on? I won't waste time debunking his false claim about the foundation of our nation, I will just move onto the parts that makes me want to mail him a dictionary and a new brain -- evidently his don't work.

Atheism is not a religion. At all. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It can't be a religion, it lacks the critical elements: Gods, the supernatural, faith, and beliefs. Atheism is simply a response to someone's claims about Gods, or the supernatural. Atheism is about as much a religion as Daubenmire is honest.

Same goes for Secular Humanism, it's not anything close to a religion (again lacking the criteria). Furthermore, one can simply Google the terms and read for themselves how incredibly wrong Daubenmire is. Once again, the faithful have demonstrated to us all that reality and religion are incompatible. They really make this too easy at times; they build their own cases against themselves.

This caliber of propaganda is truly outstanding, I would rank this kind of lying in the same echelon as Joseph Goebbels' work. It seems that Daubenmire and the former Nazi official have more than politicized lying in common; they share the same religion too.

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John Freshwater,2933,352207,00.html

Here is a textbook example of Christian immorality and just plain weirdness. A man named John Freshwater taught science in a public school, well, sort of. We were paying him to teach science, but instead, he taught creationism (unconstitutional) and burned crosses onto student's arms (no I'm not kidding). Even after his superiors knew about his illegal and strange behavior, nothing was done. It wasn't until years later that reality caught up with Freshwater, and he was fired.

Of course the sheeple of god defended his actions, claiming "freedom of religion"; these people clearly have not read one fucking bit about religious freedoms in relation to the state -- big surprise I know. It seems to me these clowns that rose to the defense of a possibly deranged criminal should at least bother to know what they are talking about before commenting, but that isn't the case. Religion often teaches it's victims that they don't have to know the facts, they just need their faith. The constitution doesn't matter, only God's law does. You don't have to be informed on a subject to pass judgment on it, you only have to have an opinion on it -- this is what makes rationalists criticize them, this is why they are laughed at. I don't give a shit about Joe Christian's opinion on the Separation of Church and State, I care about facts, our founding documents, and reality. If I wanted Joe Christian's opinion I would simply ask the person that gave them to him; his religious leader(s).

Some Christians love to push their beliefs onto others, they will even break the law to do it. They expect that people should allow them to bend, or just plain break laws to proselytize, or push their views onto others in a totalitarian way (using the state and taxpayer money to carry it out). Sorry brother Freshwater, there are rules here in America, and you liking them is not a prerequisite of compliance. We have a secular democracy, if that's too much freedom for you, or you can't bring yourself to play by the rules, move to a faith based society, like North Korea.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fantastic video

This guy rocks...

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday double!

On one of the three holy days claimed by our faith-laden brothers and sisters, Sunday, I like to do double posts, just to really drive a point home.

This Sunday I will talk about a really interesting subject, one that has been talked about in freethinking circles for a long time; religions have some really cool buildings they meet in!
Churches have some incredible architecture, they really are standouts in human craftsmanship. Big stained-glass windows, high vaulted ceilings, archways, buttresses, you name it, they have it. Gold, copper, wood, stone, they have a ton of different materials used to make em, and they have been done in a variety of styles, ranging from ornate to simple, modern to gothic. If it wasn't for the whole religion thing, I would hang out at a church for fun on Sundays, or any other day; doubly so if my friends were all there. I think that the buildings may be the sole reason some people go to meetings, they are larger than life!

I think it would be really cool to have a place to go mix with other freethinkers that was as ornate as some of these churches. What could be better than celebrating freedom from the shackles of religion while in a gigantic work of art? Cool people, great conversation, in a rare and beautiful setting -- what more could a person want?

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Random brain droppings

"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens

"Give a man a fish, you'll feed him for a day. Give him religion, and he will starve to death while praying for more fish." - Unknown

"Everyone starts out as an Atheist, no one is born with belief in anything." - Andy Rooney

"All thinking men are Atheists." - Ernest Hemingway

"Religions vary in their idiocy, but I reject them all." - Gene Roddenberry

"Suppose we've chosen the wrong god, every time we go to church we are making him madder." - Homer Simpson

"Prayer has no place in public school, just like facts have no place in organized religion." - Superintendent Chalmers

Yes, the idea of gods is covered even on The Simpson's.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Coolest game evar?

Here is a fun little exercise, called Battlefield God. The idea is that you get asked questions, and you respond with what you really truly believe, and as it asks you more questions, it tracks to see if you are being consistent in your convictions. If you contradict yourself it takes action and offers you choices to reconcile your issue.

There is a short section to be read if you want to understand the purpose of the game; if you are a theist and are tossing out answers that you know will not trip a logical foul, you're doing it wrong.

I got through with having to bite one bullet (which was a questionable call IMHO) and took no direct hits. Fun stuff!

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Upsides of being faithless

Though Atheism is not a world view, it can change the way you view some things in life, and often for the better. Choosing to live rationally can really simplify situations, for example, the whole fuss over the afterlife; there is no evidence to believe in one so I don't worry about it, I enjoy my time here as if it's my only shot at existence.

Another upside is that I don't have any dogmas to worry about. No unreasonable and cumbersome nonsense tripping me up. I can eat meat on any day I please, my Sundays are open, and I have no issues with modern technology. I don't have to hang my head when someone tells me I'm a wretched sinner, and I'm not born with an undeserved flaw that I'm forced to reconcile through some celestial dictator.

I am free to decline the unnecessary judgment of other people, since there is no jerk in the sky commanding it. I can respect the views of both men and women, and I don't have to justify the command to stone non-virgins to death on their wedding nights. I don't have to murder my friends for working on the sabbath; overall, I am free to be... Civil.

But one of my favorite parts is that I can take in any new information without having to judge it before I attempt to understand it. I could read any of the numerous buybulls, qur'an, hadith, the book of mormon, bhagavad gita, or any other holy book without having to judge it before I see it. I can take in a lecture on Evolution without any compatibility problems at all, and philosophical topics about the existence of gods don't make me squirm at all.

Overall, it rocks. I can choose my own path in life, and no one gets nailed to anything.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Talking points

There is no question that the political right has the best message work (propaganda). Their ability to convince credulous people of clearly false ideas is second to none. On top of really sophisticated "talking points" they have convinced most of their sheep to trust only rightist pundits and disregard everything said by centrists, independents, or leftists, even if their points are based in cold hard facts. George Orwell would be wide eyed and open mouthed in astonishment.

Take the sub-prime mortgage crisis as an example; the GOP convinced almost everyone I know that "big government" was to blame, through regulation. The idea was that the banks made their suicidal loans because of legislation passed by Carter and later reinforced by Clinton (no mention of George H.W. Bush's involvement mentioned... of course). In reality, the legislation in question (the Community Reinvestment Act) was only responsible for 25% for the loans made. The majority of those insane loans came from banks taking huge risks because they chose to; they knew that when people were unable to repay, they would just socialize the cost of their failure. They gambled with our money and lost big, then asked us to bail them out, and we did. Somehow, government is always to blame -- even if they aren't.

So how does the political right manage to pull off these Orwellian maneuvers? This is the 21st century after all, most Americans can read (kinda), so how do you convince hordes of people to believe that grass is not green, but it is instead blue? One important tool is controlling the topics of discussions, and one way to do this is with talking points. I have yet to chat with a rightist that didn't rely heavily or entirely on talking points and very specific or isolated minority examples to back up their claims. They have been trained to try to keep the conversation centered on one idea, or point. Example conversation:

"Evolution is just a theory."

"But you understand a theory is not a mere hypothesis or idea, you do know that a theory is the highest possible level of acceptance that human discovery can achieve?"

"That doesn't matter, what matters here is that Evolution is just a theory."

"Do you even know what that statement means? A theory is a fact. It has been tested again and again, pitted against all evidence, peer reviewed, and subjected to the harshest forms of professional scrutiny."

"You are getting off the subject! Look, Evolution is just a theory."

By sticking to a talking point, and inserting it over and over, you hope to drive the point home; or at least get the point to stick, so people begin to associate Evolution and theory even if they don't have an opinion of their own yet. A talking point doesn't have to be based in fact, it can be complete bullshit, it doesn't matter; and if the target isn't buying it, get emotional, or use appeals to emotions, or even emotional blackmail. Talking points are crucial to control conversations, and public political discourse in general. The GOP knows this, while the Dems seem to lag miles behind.

Here are some juicy links containing talking points on health care reform and financial reform, complete with comments from critics and the author himself, Frank Luntz:

I am going to try to dig up some good leftist talking points, I wonder who helps organize their propaganda (whoever it is he/she seems to be slacking). A person could make a full time job out of debunking talking points with facts and reality; numbers from the CBO, independent or outside analysis, think tanks, etc. Maybe I should look into that!

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