Wednesday, 2 June 2010
If your house were burning down around you and I was trying to inform you of that to save your life, which would be the most effective way of communicating that to you?
1. Should I tell you directly, "Your house is on fire! You've got to get out now!"
2. Should I say something like, "jyot hnhus jsk jskjfa najkhei nkhand laliike laieh akjsk fjksjks jeisjg kjstj sljeijasn andksi," and then inform you that, "The string of gibberish is actually a code that looks foolish only to those who haven't been granted the magic decoder ring, and given that ring, you'll know the truth of what I'm saying."
Most rational people would say that approach 1 is the best one to use. Xians, OTOH, should claim that approach 2 is the best to use.
You see, god really, really, really wants us all to be saved, so he writes a book about it. But, the book looks like foolishness to all those who don't already believe, which is a gift bestowed by...wait for it...god. So, god has to hand you the magic decoder ring in order to read his own book and make heads or tails of it (or at least not see it for the contradiction ridden and superstitious mythology it is), although he really wants all of us to understand and be saved from the fire. It's method number 2. Seeing as how Xians believe that god is perfect, they must believe that this method is the perfect method to use to get across such important life or death matters.
Me, I see it as a huge logical failing on god's part if he were to exist, and on the part of the Xian myth.
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
My previous post has sparked some lively commentary (starting here and going forward) from one of our resident anonymous theists (Xians). Apparently writing a post about a specific theistic complaint and pointing out that it is a straw man is the same as being dishonest because somehow I'm claiming that happiness equates to what is best for us.
So, let's open up this thread for our anonymous thread hijacker to go ahead and defend his accusations and to defend his positions. For my part, I'll go ahead and open.
It's a rather complicated thing to talk about happiness, what is best for us, and omni-benevolence. So, I will try to keep the discussion from getting too deep and sum up my position.
First we have to think about what we mean by the terms and what conditions we are going to accept. We should conclude that happiness is that which makes people happy. Sometimes people are happy by getting ice cream or having a back rub, while others are made happy by getting handcuffed and whipped. What is "best for us" would be that which enriches or betters our lives. As for conditions, are we talking only about this world, this time, or are we talking long term and any possible world?
This is important, because what is best for us at this moment may not be what is best for us in the future. Also, delayed happiness now may lead to greater happiness in the future, so time is an important factor.
The final important factor is the supposed attributes of god, of which omni-benevolence is one. It's important that we don't leave out the rest, however, since many contradictions arise from trying to accommodate all of god's supposed qualities.
So, should god do what is "best for us," and is that the same as happiness? I think it's quite clear from the above that that question isn't very well answerable without setting the parameters that pertain to the question. It's far easier to talk about god's role in all this. Should he indeed do what is best for us? Let's consider the possibilities. Given the limitations of humans and this world, god may be justified at times in allowing us to learn lessons "the hard way." Of course, I would put limits on that. I wouldn't think that a child shooting himself in the face is a very justifiable way of "learning the hard way," that guns are dangerous. Innocuous things, however, we may be able to look past.
But, the problem with this is that is ignores the roles of the rest of god's attributes. If god has the power to eliminate evil, why create it at all? Would not it have been better to not create humans at all if it meant that evil would also not be created? Why would a perfect god need to create humans at all - god is already perfect and wants for nothing. god can't create more good by resorting to evil, since god was already perfectly good. This leaves us with the conundrum of the problem of evil, which theists have no answer for. A truly perfect and omni-max god would not have created us to begin with and therefore the ideas that happiness is what is best for us would not have ever been formulated. We would never have known about it because we would never have existed.
Now, I happen to enjoy existence, but it's simply incompatible with the idea of an omni-max god. Another way of looking at it would be that true happiness and what is best for us wouldn't even be considerations, because we'd never have to worry about either of them. So, in the end, I object to the theist's accusations and I object to the theist's straw man position.
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
How often have you heard or uttered the following phrase, or some variation of it:
The problem with atheists is that they don't want to believe in god.
It's a common complaint of theists. Us mean old nasty atheists don't want no god runnin' our lives. But, why should that be considered a problem?
Belief in god does not make one more moral.
Why would we want to have a god around if that god is the one described in the Bible. This god goes on murderous rampages and makes life horrible for many people. Then, not content to simply make our lives brutish and painful, this god decides that he should also sentence us to eternal torture for even the slightest transgression (moral or otherwise) which we have no choice but to commit at some point in our lives (since no one is perfect). Why should anyone want that sort of god?
Of course, the person here is saying that there is something wrong with us for not wanting any sort of god, but that's simply not true. If there truly were a benevolent god that could make us all happy, why would we not want that? IOW, the original statement is quite possibly a straw man for many atheist who would be quite happy to have an actual benevolent god looking over us. Unfortunately, the facts simply don't support it.
Monday, 10 May 2010
Why believe in that which can't be shown?
The theist may assert that it makes more sense to believe in god than not because it can be shown that god exist while it can't be shown that god doesn't exist. IOW, the atheist is taking an unprovable position while the theist is taking one that can be confirmed. Therefore, the argument goes, the atheist is taking on a position that can never be confirmed, only disconfirmed, which is a losing bet. Therefore, it doesn't make any sense to be an atheist, since you can only be proven wrong, but never proven right.
This is a variation on the oft-heard argument from theists that, "You can't prove my god doesn't exist, so I'm gonna believe until you can." And, yes, I've heard both versions of this argument.
So, let's think about this idea for a bit. If we went by this "logic," we'd also have to decide that it's better to believe in unicorns, leprechauns, etc. Isn't it an unprovable position to take that unicorns/leprechauns/etc don't exist? Well, of course it is. It's just as unprovable as the idea that god does not exist. So, if the theist is justified in believing in god, then everyone is also justified in believing any other idea/creature/etc for which that non-existence is unprovable.
Of course, this is an untenable position to take for the theist. Claiming that their god belief is warranted while other beliefs are not would simply be a case of special pleading. This is why we should rightly recognize that the burden of proof lies on the one making the positive declaration - a position the theist holds by claiming that god exists. Without meeting this burden of proof, the rational position is to simply not accept the claim that god does exist, regardless of whether it can ultimately be proven or not.
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
Well, Tracy has a post up about hell which Tink responded to and I went ahead and commented on (both posts actually). And, it got me to thinking about hell, the doctrine of faith alone leading to salvation, and the age of accountability. So, somewhat off-topic, but here goes - and I think this will just add to the mix...
So, Tracy was a bit upset at contemplating the idea that Anne Frank may right now be in hell, right alongside Hitler. While I may contend that Hitler had a better chance of getting into heaven, so Anne may not be beside the leader behind her being killed, that's not the point here. Even if they are both in hell, it's actually much, much worse than that.
John 14:6 says:
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
As I pointed out in the comments on those other threads, this means that Anne Frank (unless she was lying about being Jewish and secretly believed in Jesus) is in hell right now. But, as I said, it's worse than that. When a woman conceives, Xians believe the soul enters the fertilized egg, meaning that that soul now can go to heaven or hell. Since a fertilized egg is incapable of belief in Jesus (lacks the brain function) then if that egg dies due to abortion, miscarriage, etc. that soul goes to hell. That is the fallout of this Xian doctrine.
Ah, but some Xians may claim that there's an age of accountability that allows such unfortunate souls to get a free ride to heaven. Too bad this directly contradicts the stated Bible passage above. No one attains salvation, except through belief in Jesus. If some do attain salvation without belief in Jesus, then Jesus was at best wrong, and at worst lying, and the Bible is in error. At this point, the Xian must accept that the Bible may be wrong, or must accept that miscarried fetuses go to hell (or even young children that don't yet understand the idea of belief in Jesus). Is it any wonder that I find this sort of doctrine to be barbaric, abominable, and evil?
Monday, 26 April 2010
Are ya'll Xians down wit' the clowns? You should be, since they seem to think that everything is a miracle and are pushing Xianity through their raps. Unfortunately for them, "clowns," is an appropriate moniker for them and their brand of ignorance.
Yeah, I know, they are scraping the bottom of the barrel, especially since all their supposed "miracles" are pretty easy to explain. But, are they really that much different from all the other Xian apologists out there?
"The Earth is not round, we will burn you for your heresy."
"Why would I want to put that metal rod on my building? Lightning strikes are god's way of punishing people"
"Evolution is wrong, wrong, wrong, now give me my antibiotics."
Whether you're the ICP, Kent Hovind, Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, or William Lane Craig the schtick is the same, "We don't know this or that, so goddidit." It's all an abject refusal to deal with reality and a glorification of ignorance, no matter how much they protest and try to wrap up their apologetics in pseudo-intellectualism.
Friday, 16 April 2010
Apparently, the issue of pedophile priests in the Catholic church is all a front to attack the church. Apparently it's the fault of the Jews, the liberal media and intellectuals, homosexuals, or anyone and everyone else. They are pointing fingers, and the fingers are continually pointing away.
And, why not? Why should we hold the people who actually covered up these acts as accountable? Why should we hold the people who aided and abetted these sexual predators as accountable? Why should we hold those who hid the truth from us for so long accountable?
Why? Because people who do the above things, as the Catholic hierarchy has, deserve to be told to go pound sand. They are not moral people as they have repeatedly demonstrated quite capably. They are inhuman and immoral and they should be shunned and prosecuted for their crimes. They shouldn't be defended or held up as examples of goodness and light. Quite the opposite, we should continue to uncover their immoral deeds and hold those crimes up to the light of day. They have no moral standing and they should be left on the scrap heap of history with all the other immoral monsters that we rightly regard with disgust.
Monday, 12 April 2010
Well, this series is almost at an end as there are only three more predictions to go. So, let's get started, shall we?
12. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. – The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas.
Ah yes, the Cambrian explosion that IDers like to go on and on about. Let's start with the obvious issues in that even if the Cambrian explosion showed what IDers claim it does, it would not help in their quest to prove Adam and Eve and all that stuff. So, it seems a bit of a pyrrhic victory at best.
Still, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that we do have a good fossil record and that the Cambrian explosion is not a problem for evolution.
Once again our theist is simply making things up.
13. Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record – Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record, then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils.
I've already dealt with the numerous transitional fossils claim above, so I won't rehash that, and it should be noted that this idea of sudden appearance and rapid diversity does not help the theist. Besides, is the theist arguing that god came down every couple million years and re-did his handiwork to put new animals on the ground and make the old ones extinct?
And, let's also look at this claim that, "Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils." What Chutzpah. The only people truly contesting the existence of these transitionals are the creationists! Evolutionary biologists (scientists) do not dispute these. The small disputes that do arise are over minute details that do not impact the overall theory. It would be like arguing over whether a large city has 10,345,632 or 10,345,658 inhabitants and having the creationist claim that this means that the city doesn't exist.
14. Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man himself is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record.
OK, numerous problems here. First of all, man didn't suddenly appear. We have quite a large collection of hominid fossils. Also, it must be noted that the we have observed instances of speciation.
Also, it's simply not true that there should be speciation on a "somewhat constant basis." Speciation happens when certain conditions are met. There's no guarantee that these conditions will be met on a "somewhat constant basis." Once again we see the theist doesn't actually know what he's talking about and argues against strawmen.
This series has focused on 14 different claims made by a theist, and not one has really been worthwhile. Most (if not all) make claims about materialism or theism that simply are not true. Also, the theist has repeatedly made erroneous claims in order to try and buttress his already tenuous assertions, and has shown a complete ignorance of science, how it works, and what we know from it. If it were really as easy as this theist claims to say theism predicts this or that, then he would still be playing a losing hand.
Other posts in this series...
Thursday, 8 April 2010
When pointing out immorality in the Bible, often the rejoinder is that we have to consider the historical context and the time the book was written. Atheists are often accused of being shallow thinkers who haven't considered all the nuance of the historical period in which the book was written. Unfortunately for the Xian, this criticism falls flat on its face when examined.
For example, let's examine the Biblical treatment of women. Women are treated as property in the Bible. We might be tempted to simply shake our heads and say, "Well, that's just how it was back then," but it's not so simple. One of the Xian tenets is that absolute morality exists and is displayed by god (god being perfectly moral and all that). Yet, this defense relies on an appeal to relative morality. This is a big no-no for the Xian, as it directly contradicts the idea of an absolute morality.
To expand on that idea, the Xian is in effect saying either that the treatment of women back in Biblical days was indeed moral, that it was moral at the time but isn't now, or that it was never moral. The first in the list leads to the absurd conclusion that treating women as property is indeed a moral thing to do. I'm not going to waste much space on that idea.
The second leads to the destruction of the idea of absolute morality. If morality changes (treating women like property was good then and now is not) then it is not absolute.
The third leads to the idea that god did not display perfect morality because he instructed, in his holy book, immoral attitudes and behavior. Instead of telling the Israelis that their attitudes and culture were immoral, he sets up rules that enforce and propagate that immorality, which is, in itself, an immoral action.
To anticipate one objection to this, the Xian may claim that god knew the Israelis would not follow certain moral strictures, so he did not promote them. But, this too fails for a couple reasons. The first is that it would still be moral for god to outline his perfectly moral behavior and not simply concede that "Boys will be boys." The second reason is that the story of the OT is one long story of the Israelis rebelling against god's wishes, yet that didn't stop him from putting forth rules that he knew they wouldn't follow in those areas.
In the end, the appeal to relative morality or the culture of the times is a bad appeal and should not be taken with any weight. Instead, we should push to find out why a supposedly perfectly moral god would include immoral instructions in his holy guide to life.
Monday, 5 April 2010
The day after Easter seems like a good day to think about Jesus and what his "sacrifice" (really, how can it be a sacrifice for an omni-max god to do anything, especially if he simply rose from the dead afterward?) means to us. I mean, Easter is the most holy day for Xians, since it's the day that Zombie Jesus came to life and started to figuratively eat people's brains (making them incapable of rational thinking). So, in the spirit of Easter, I have decided to ask myself the following question (supposing for the sake of argument that Jesus did exist and that Xianity is true):
What has Jesus done for me?
1. Jesus created me as a sinner that somehow deserves to go to hell by virtue of simply being born. See, all humans fall short of the glory of god, so therefore by being born we are destined for hell.
2. Jesus has not contacted me to save me from the hell that awaits me due to being born (he hasn't returned a single call.)
3. Jesus demands that I believe in things that defy logic and reason, like the idea that people can rise from the dead or that believing that an innocent person died somehow absolves me of all my moral responsibilities (see number 4 below).
4. Jesus decided that instead of bringing all humans to heaven after death or even simply not having us exist, we should be tortured for eternity unless we believe that transference of sins onto an innocent being makes sense and helps us in some way - because we should be happy that an innocent was tortured and killed, right?
In a similar vein, maybe we should also ask, what has Jesus done for humanity?
1. Jesus created the idea of hell which has been directly or indirectly the cause of untold amounts of suffering.
2. Jesus left very ambiguous words behind (the Bible) which has been the cause of untold amounts of suffering as people have fought over what the meaning of those words are.
3. Jesus has been an absentee landlord of the Earth and non-existent partner in the "relationship" that Xians claim to have, leading to all kinds of untold amounts of suffering.
4. Jesus has allowed all manners of natural evil causing untold amounts of suffering.
5. Jesus has created faulty beings that are necessarily headed for hell unless Jesus himself stops it, causing untold amounts of suffering for all eternity.
I'm sure I could list many more terrible things Jesus has done (if he existed, and some of these have happened regardless of whether he existed or not). Yet, I'm really struggling to think of one positive thing. Odd that for a religion that claims that it has absolute truth and perfect morality.
Monday, 29 March 2010
One may even have to make Biblical marriage illegal...like what's practiced in Ethiopia. See, good Bible believing men know that in Deuteronomy, the following passage can be found (Deut. 22:28-29).
28If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
29Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.
So, what do you do if you want a woman to be your wife? Well, you simply take her, rape her, and then she has to marry you by Biblical law.
Is there anyone out there that can defend this passage with a straight face and also still claim that the Bible should be used as a moral guide?
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
The Israeli government is reportedly looking into a law where those who agree to be organ donors will get preference if they ever need an organ in return. "Wow," you might think, what a fair idea. Yet, as it turns out, some orthodox Jews are upset because their religion forbids them from being organ donors and they don't want their place in line bumped.
Is anyone else catching the hypocrisy of a religion that says it is not OK to donate organs, but it is OK to receive other people's donated organs? How selfish and self-centered does one need to be in order to believe that god wants for you to keep your organs, even when you aren't using them anymore or if you have more than you need, but wants all those other sorry saps to give their organs up for you should you require them? I think this is just another instance of irrationality on display from religion.
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
I'm sure that everyone here is aware and familiar with the website named in the post title, right? If not, please check it out.
Now, I happen to think it's a very good question. If you listen to some Xians, however, it's a stupid question to ask (12th comment in and later). Apparently, it's so stupid that the person who asks only deserves mockery and scorn. This is not the first time that I've run into this sentiment either.
But why? I've yet to hear a response as to why it's a dumb question. This is especially true when some Xians boast of the miraculous results of their faith healings. From remission of cancer to cures for disease - even to lengthening of limbs (this blogger has routinely claimed as much as well as other outlandish claims) - god supposedly heals people. If god can make limbs grow longer, what's to stop god from making limbs regrow? But, apparently it's easier to heap scorn upon someone else for daring to ask the question than to examine one's own theology to see if there are any issue with it. One might have to face up to the possibility that one's theology doesn't make sense.
Saturday, 20 February 2010
We all know that dinosaurs didn't go with Noah on the ark, right? Not so fast. As it turns out, there is a way that Noah could have had dinosaurs on the ark and they would still have died off because they simply didn't reproduce. That's right, Noah could have unintentionally selected gay dinosaurs. (Obviously it would be unintentional since god would not have wanted Noah to collect gay anything, since gays are deviants and choose to be so and so are in defiance to god and all of that silly stuff.)
It's not so far-fetched. We know that there are examples of homosexual animals that obviously choose to spite god by being gay. Isn't it possible that the gay dinosaurs infiltrated the ark so that they would be saved, and in the process killed off their own kinds? Ha ha, take that evilutionists!
(Note: the answer to the title is either Megasauras or Lickalotapus.)
Thursday, 4 February 2010
Last time, our theist tried to dab his toe into the waters of evolution, and didn't do such a good job. This time around, we find that the theist is still having trouble with reality. For instance:
9. Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford)
The first sentence is not even close to being true. No one is claiming that most mutations are beneficial. Most mutations are either deleterious or neutral, with some being advantageous. Mutations, however, are not "overwhelmingly detrimental." This is incorrect. And, there are not serious questions as to "whether there are any truly beneficial mutations whatsoever." The only ones making this claim are unserious creationists like Behe and Sanford who are roundly ignored, debunked, and/or chided for their unscrupulous inattention to the evidence.
What evidence? Try Lenski's work, genetic algorithms, or the many observed instance of speciation. How can they claim credibility when they deny the obvious evidence that has been produced?
10. Materialism predicted a very simple first life form which accidentally came from “a warm little pond”. Theism predicted God created life – The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD)
Again, the theist puts words into the "materialist's" mouth. The first life was very simple, but how it came about is probably not in "a warm little pond." We don't know exactly how life arose or in what conditions, but we do know that it is possible in quite a few conditions.
Our theist, of course, jumps to the claim that life is complex, but this doesn't at all show that the first lifeform was not simple. Of course, to go from simple to complex we need a mechanism that accomplishes the task. Luckily enough for us, we have evolution, which is more than adequate to the job and has been demonstrated to have the ability to go from simple to complex (see above and/or pick up any textbook).
Finally, that something may be more complex than anything man has made doesn't necessarily imply that it was made in turn. We could make the counter argument that we see complexity in nature that we can not hope to match, so what makes the theist think that anything could create that complexity? Both are non-starter arguments and the fact that the theist must rely on such arguments indicates that the theist is not operating from a position of strength.
11. Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11) – We find evidence for complex photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth
If materialism did predict that it took a very long time for life to appear on Earth, well that is correct. The Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago (bya). The oldest rocks we've found are from about 4 bya. The oldest life we've found is from about 3.5 bya. IOW, life formed about 1 billion years after the formation of the Earth. Apparently that's abrupt to the theist?
Of course, that's up for some debate, and I give the theist some credit here as some recent finds may indicate older life, maybe from as early as 3.8 bya. Still, this does not support the theist's position, especially when the reference to Genesis is made. Genesis goes right out the window when discussing billions of years. Genesis refers to days and abrupt changes that simply did not happen. Genesis is disproven. Sorry Mr. Theist, but as soon as you brought Genesis into the discussion, you lost all credibility. Still, the next installment will deal with the last of the supposed predictions.
Other posts in this series...
Tuesday, 2 February 2010
I was sent this apology from a former Xian, and I liked it so much I wanted to pass it on. Please enjoy.
Also, here's a pretty good Onion-esque satire site that I know has fooled at least one gullible Xian. See, apparently we'd all be cannibals if not for Jebus, even if not everyone was a cannibal before Jebus supposedly came to Earth or before ever hearing about Jebus. You're not supposed to actually use logic and facts and stuff!
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Lots of Xians who post here often complain about me, saying that I'm rude and insulting, and even intolerant. Apparently, making an argument about or pointing out that their religion is inconsistent, illogical, and/or irrational is rude, insulting, and intolerant. Confused? Well, it can be difficult to determine what Xians (and other theists) find rude, insulting, and/or intolerant.
So, now you're probably wondering to yourself, "So, how can I tell when I'm being rude, insulting, or intolerant?" Well, you're in luck, as I've put together this handy guide to help you figure out what is and is not rude, insulting, and/or intolerant.
When the Xian says:
1. Gays are abhorrent, sexual deviants, etc. - Not rude, not insulting, not intolerant. You may be tempted to think that denigrating people simply because they were born with certain sexual preferences would be rude, insulting, and/or intolerant, but you'd be wrong. The only time it becomes somewhat rude, insulting, and intolerant is if you picket military funerals.
2. Women are inferior and shouldn't hold positions of power - agian, not rude, not insulting, not intolerant. You see, this is a loving position from the Xian god who decided women are simply not as good as men and should be treated as property.
3. All people are deserving of eternal torture - not rude, not insulting, not intolerant. You see, this is OK, because all people are being called bad, wicked, and worthy of the most heinous and horrible fate that could possible await them.
4. All atheists/non-theists are fools, idiots, morons, stupid, etc. - not insulting, etc. That's because this is simply true, as the Bible says. I mean, what do/did a bunch of simpletons like Einstein, Sagan, Paine, Freud, Feynmann, Russell, et al know?
5. All scientists are either lazy incompetents or devious liars advancing the atheist agenda - not insulting. Again, this is apparently true, because all of these scientists are either too stupid to realize evolution is false, or intentionally misleading the public because they are using the copious funds they receive to build super-villain, island lairs with which to enact their schemes of world domination.
When the atheist says:
1. Anything - this is extremely rude, extremely insulting, extremely intolerant. Whenever an atheist says anything, the inevitable result is rude, insulting, and intolerant, simply because the atheist is speaking. In fact, the simple fact of the existence of the atheist is rude, insulting, and intolerant.
I hope this helps clear up any confusion.
The picture in the above is a nastygram written by a Xian (in crayon) because of a sticker that was on the back of the car of a dinosaur eating a Jesus fish. See here and here.
Monday, 25 January 2010
Unless you live under a rock, you've heard by now that a major Earthquake has hit Haiti and done lots of damage. You've probably also heard that asshats like Pat Robertson have been claiming that it was divine retribution for some sin or another of the Haitians. Of course, other Xians are rushing to god's aid and claiming that god had nothing to do with it. The problem, you see, is that we live in a fallen world and humans (specifically Adam and Eve) are to blame.
Honestly, I find the former approach to be more intellectually honest and better thought out. How does eating an apple cause Earthquakes to happen? How did eating an apple cause the Earth to be made in such a way that tectonic plates would exist that can bump and slide against each other causing devastating earthquakes that would result in terrible human suffering? Even if it was a direct result of the actions of Adam and Eve, who came up with the idea to make this part of the punishment, a punishment that would affect people for thousands upon thousands of years after the original supposed transgression? And, who put it into effect?
Is there any possible way to claim a god that rules over all that isn't somehow responsible? No, there really isn't.
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Some (many) theists claim that god is beyond scientific/empirical scrutiny, that god, being supernatural, can not be detected by scientific/empirical means. This is usually accompanied by a smug attitude, of course, about how science/empiricism is not the only method for acquiring knowledge.
OK, so here's my very simple question:
What other method do you propose to use to detect/prove/evidence god, how do you go about using it, and how do you know it works?
It's all well and good to complain about science not showing their god, but the theist should put up or shut up and show us their methodology and see how well it works. My guess is that these theists that claim that science doesn't work will either be unable to answer the question, or will try to rely on empirical methods in the end.
Friday, 8 January 2010
It seems another man of the cloth (this time a baptist) is accused of raping a 13 year old (6 charges brought against him) and assault as well.
Not to make light of this, but he should have chosen better. He should have been a Muslim where Mohamed had a child bride and it wouldn't be looked down on. At least if he had been Catholic, they might have hidden him away and quietly paid off the girls he raped (allegedly I suppose). Or, maybe god is telling all these priests and others to rape girls and boys. How can we tell that that is not what is happening?
When religions boast of the power of private, personal revelation, how can religionists them justify claims that one has not had a private communique from god that raping young children is what god wants of them? I've asked this question numerous times in numerous forms, and no Xian (or theist) has ever had an answer for it. The usual pablum is that stuff like this is against the Bible, but what they don't get is that their answer is certainly open to interpretation and they can't prove that it is against the Bible. This is especially true since god has ordered rape in the past.
It seems the theist is trapped. We have no real mention of god, except through personal revelation, but if that is true, then we have no way to evaluate the veracity of one person's revelation vs. another person's version. If we toss out personal revelation, then there's no argument for god (not that it's an argument anyway, but theists seem to think it is). So, theists, which is it? Can we discern which personal revelation is bunk and which is valid, or is personal revelation useless to us in discerning the truth of the existence of god and what this god wants?
Monday, 4 January 2010
Let's jump right back in...(there's a link to previous posts at the bottom of this entry)
6. Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind – Every transcendent universal constant scientists can measure is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe.
Actually, for once, the commenter has almost gotten something right. What we see from science and empirical evidence is no indication, no evidence that there is any consciousness to the universe itself that would indicate that it has anything in mind or that there's some puppet master behind the scenes pulling strings. Mutations are random. Particles can and do blink into and out of existence. Quantum mechanics works based on probability instead of certainty and we even have theorems that state that this is simply the way the world works. In short, we see no evidence of purpose. To brazenly state that one sees purpose is to speak beyond what evidence we do have.
As for the fine-tuning argument, there are many issues with that. For one, the Xian can't contend fine tuning and also that humans could not have arisen in this universe without divine intervention. Secondly, the vast majority of the universe seems rather inhabitable to humans. Third, we find that life can form and thrive in a vast variety of conditions, not simply those that support human life. Fourth, we have no evidence of the constants being tuned to any degree, we simply know that they are what they are. It's quite possible that we are one of many universes that have different values, or that many of these values are emergent properties that simply must be. Also, implicit in this is that the constants must be some value plus or minus some factor, but inherent in that are still infinite different possible universes that would still meet the same restrictions of this universe. Making the leap to a fine-tuned universe that was fine-tuned by a god is an unjustified leap.
7. Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe – Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe.
And, we're back to going off the rails. Nowhere does "Materialism predict complex life in this universe should be fairly common." Once again, I have no idea where this person gets their ideas from.
What we do understand is some of the conditions necessary for life as we know it. But, we don't know quite a bit, and it's rather unjustified to go on as if we do, yet this Xian seems to feel fully justified that not only is complex life can only arise in certain specific conditions that we know of, but that the Earth is the only place in the billions and billions of galaxies that this is the case. What presumptuous rubbish.
8. Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”.
Actually, it was evolutionary biologists that discovered that much of the DNA code is junk, end of story. If this Xian wants to try and argue that we don't have junk DNA, and that it's a testable prediction of his god, then I say, "Go right ahead. Please do."
This question has been empirically settled. Some creationists do try to make up data or claim that examples of functional non-coding DNA, that were already known to scientists, somehow disputes the claim of junk DNA, but they are simply making stuff up. The empirical evidence has been gathered, and the creationists lost...as they always do.
Other posts in this series.
Saturday, 2 January 2010
Quite a few time in my dealings with Xians on the intarwebs, I've been accused of dealing in black/white and absolutes (and atheists are accused of this in general). god is either evil or good, according to us atheists. These Xians wonder, why can't we look at the good stuff in the Bible and see that god is good?
How ironic they would say this, considering that the problem is a self-inflicted one for the theist, in that the theist has formed the scenario around a god possessing absolute attributes.
Omnipotence is an absolute.
Omniscience is an absolute.
Omni-benevolence is an absolute.
Perfection is an absolute.
Xians claim to hold to absolute morality.
Etc. etc. etc.
When the atheist points out the inconsistency of these absolutes, the theist must own up to the fact that the fault lies in their argument, not in the responses to that argument. Pointing out that a god that commits genocide is not perfectly good is a valid response to an argument that god is perfectly good. If theists really wish to argue for absolutes, they should not be surprised when the atheist points out their absolutes fail.