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.

Digg this

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.

Digg this

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!

Digg this

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.

Digg this

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.

Digg this

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.

Digg this

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.

Digg this

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.

Digg this

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fantastic video

This guy rocks...

Digg this

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?

Digg this

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.

Digg this

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!

Digg this

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.

Digg this

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!

Digg this

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Go Stewart go!

Kudos to The Daily Show for showing some equality in dishing out criticism. After Keith Olbermann made some weak and uncalled for comments about the new Senator from Massachusetts, Stewart calls him out for stooping too low.

Here is a video of the exchange:

Stewart deserves two cheers in this instance; he not only called out a clearly over-the-top Olbermann, but he managed to find the time to do this when the conservative media monster is spewing out garbage at a staggering pace. Perhaps you've heard the latest from Glenn Beck and Fox Noise:

I really wish hucksters like these would just shut their faces, or better yet, we all just start calling a spade a spade, and stop tuning into these clowns. They wouldn't last a week if we all just starting ignoring them, as we should, based on their dishonesty.

People like Olbermann and Beck (you know the rest of the list) are nothing more than "news commentators", they are not even legit news dudes. They have ZERO responsibility to be honest or even semi-factual. Hell, even the real news people have no obligation to report news accurately, and all these clowns do is "comment" on the "news" they hear! Yet, they are the voices that deliver "information" into the heads of voters, most of which may even believe that that their favorite commentator is being something akin to realistic or objective.

Digg this

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Self censorship and irrationality

I spend a good bit of time wondering how people can come to hold clearly false beliefs. How can two people look at a normal object, like a tree for example, and come to two radically different conclusions about how that tree came to be. How can two people hold two incompatible views about the same object? Surely, someone is wrong; perhaps both views are not entirely correct. I always scratch my head when both sides claim to have "facts" or "evidence" to backup their claim.

I think that, in part, the reason we have this kind of thing stems from the methods used by some people in gathering information (obvious I know but stick with me). If one person only takes in supporting data, and rejects or marginalizes opposing data, of course their view is going to be irrational. If I believe that our example tree is here because "magic man done it", and in turn only take in information that supports my belief, it follows that my view will be flawed.

It is a common practice of people to only take in supporting information, and find reasons to reject or downplay information that opposes their view. In fact, most people I interact with fall victim to this wish thinking in one or more aspects of their lives. I have heard some pretty interesting justifications for people's prejudices or preconceived notions; ranging from clearly corrupt to absolutely illogical. Rejection of the real world has become its own art form. People will do intellectual back-flips and contradict themselves, time after time, in attempting to explain their ignorant behavior, or their flawed logic.

Take the "christian nation" assertion as an example. To anyone that can read this claim is not supported by reality; but if a mind has been correctly indoctrinated, it is a tenable position. A properly indoctrinated person will really shock you with their crazy supporting ideas. Evidence, logic, reality, indeed all the tools we rely on, go right out the window. Some people will tell you that the word "god" appears in our constitution, when they can look for themselves and plainly see it does not, let alone does it appear in any fashion that establishes their god as the official god of the nation. I have even heard that bible passages appear in our constitution! Even if they were, that would not even begin to establish any one of the thousands of forms of christianity as the official religion of the US. This illogicality is spread and supported by half-truths, propaganda, and outright lies. To any functioning mind, this idea holds no water, but to a severely corrupted mind, it is reality.

Forget your wish thinking and illogicalities, embrace reason -- choose your brain.

Digg this