Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Rude? Insulting? Intolerant?

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

Natural Evil and the Fall

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

Beyond the Empirical

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

Maybe god Told him to?

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

Theism Predicts (Part III)

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 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.