Thursday, June 30, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Whisper Down the Alley

So one of those things happened last week. The kind of thing that you immediately see how it’s analogous to the plight of rationalists everywhere, but it takes a lot of verbiage to explain to someone who just won’t see it.
Ryan Dunn died in a car crash. Now I don’t want to over-inflate this story. A drunk guy drove into a tree. But a famous drunk guy drove into a tree so even though it’s a fairly common accident in a shitty part of Philadelphia the media deems it important.

Within two days people were already speculating whether or not it was a hoax.

Now ok, let’s think about this for a second. 
1) there is a police report, 

2) there is eye witness testimony, and 

3) there is family and friends publicly grieving

. Yet still…some people don’t believe it. 

This reminds me of many other famous people who are believed by many to have faked, survived, or otherwise overcome death.
Andy Kaufman, Elvis ... and Jesus.

My point here is very succinct so I don’t want to drag it out any more than necessary. Even given an age of unparalleled communication and information technology, even given that the Internet is still largely a written medium and requires at least a rudimentary grasp on reading and writing, even given everything short of seeing the body…people were willing to believe that this guy might not be dead. 

So what does that say about the Bible as a historical record? A lot, and it’s all negative. To take a book, written hundreds of years ago, by a barely literate people, after decades of being passed down via oral tradition, then translated through three take that book and call it truth is just absurd. 
We can’t keep facts straight over three days in the information age. How well do you think Iron Age goat herders did?


Monday Morning Quotes: Benjamin Franklin

"Revealed religion has no weight with me."

"I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies."

"The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason."

“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.”

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”

"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. These found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here [England]and in New England"

“Remember me affectionately to good Dr. Price and to the honest heretic Dr. Priestly. I do not call him honest by way of distinction; for I think all the heretics I have known have been virtuous men. They have the virtue of fortitude or they would not venture to own their heresy; and they cannot afford to be deficient in any of the other virtues, as that would give advantage to their many enemies; and they have not like orthodox sinners, such a number of friends to excuse or justify them. Do not, however mistake me. It is not to my good friend's heresy that I impute his honesty. On the contrary, 'tis his honesty that has brought upon him the character of heretic.”

Friday, June 24, 2011


via Newsweek

Random Quotes of RWNJ Nonsense: Rep Todd Akin

"At The Heart Of Liberalism Really Is A Hatred For God"
Rep Todd Akin regarding NBC's omission of "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance during the U.S. Open.

via RightWingWatch

Akin: This was something that was done systematically, it was done intentionally, and is tremendously corrosive in terms of all of the values and everything that’s made America unique and such a special nation.
Perkins: Why would NBC do this?
Akin: Well, I think NBC has a long record of being very liberal and at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God. And so they’ve had a long history of not being at all favorable toward many of things that have been such a blessing to our country. 
Akin: This is a systematic effort to try to separate our faith and God, which is a source in our belief in individual liberties, from our country. And when you do that you tear the heart out of our country.

Friday Link Dump ~ 6/24/11

Michele Bachmann’s Holy War It’s easy to laugh at her presidential aspirations.  I laugh too; then I consider that Mrs. Bachmann would not be satisfied with controlling the most powerful nation in the world and establishing an old testament theocracy.  She is bent on world domination.  More on that topic to come...

My Beef - Shouting at Christians  

Mid-Week Rant: Atheist

William Lane Craig and Logical Fallacies Massimo Pigliucci pops the inflated head of WLC by exposing his intellectual dishonesty.

Monday Morning Quotes ~ Ayn Rand You don’t need to agree with her politics.  Just go read “Anthem”.  You can finish it in a day and you’ll be a better person for it.

No Law Means No Law “It’s important to note that the 7th Circuit did not rule that the National Day of Prayer is constitutional. They would not even consider the meritorious claims of our case. They ruled only that FFRF did not have the right to challenge the National Day of Prayer law at all.”

Wake up and Smell the...Woahhh!  The Science Bit calling Fox News on bad reporting about the hallucinogenic properties of coffee.  This is blasphemy against the caffeine god to whom I pray daily.

Sunday Morning Crazy - Rod Parsley

Klu Klux Klan Protests Westboro Baptist Church This really happened.  I’m a little surprised that a new anti-matter life form didn’t spontaneously spring into existence.  

‘The Really Simple Guide to Humanism’ - New Resource Launch

Sunday Morning Hate: Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Radical X-Ray Art Radical indeed.

Myth Bustin’ Bad Arguments About Atheists By P.Z.  Myers

LRO Showing Us the Moon as Never Before

Michael Shermer: The Believing Brain

Christian Faith Requires Accepting Evolution Far as I can tell, this was written by a theist who thinks like an atheist.  **Taps fingers on forehead**

Your Truths,  Our Facts

Helping Out a Foxhole Atheist

Polluting The Pulpit?: Virginia Attorney General Urges (Right-Wing) Churches To Be Political How else can the right convince people that Obama drinks the tears of Christian children?

After Accepting $290,000 from Tobacco Industry, House Conservatives Push ‘Cigarettes For Children’ Amendment

Two Gay Men Forced to Leave a Government Recreational Facility in Hazard, KY

Atheism: Not Just for White People

This is just heartbreaking: This is the result of the systematic abuse of power by the self-proclaimed "moral authority."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Use of Mockery

“There is a difference between ‘everyone is entitled to their beliefs’ and ‘all beliefs are valid.’ Idiotic beliefs should not be coddled. They should be mocked.”

That was my facebook status today. The original impetus for that statement was actually David Tyree and his criticism of same sex marriage. That idiotic harpy Elizabeth Hasselbeck defended him by basically saying “it’s his religion.” That is a completely non-valid defense of bigotry. All it does is expose the bigotry in their religion.

Well, the only response I received was “Challenged, yes. Mocked, gets you nowhere.”

Obviously I disagree. Belief in a 6,000 year old Earth is idiotic and willfully ignorant. No matter what evidence you provide it will not change the minds of the people who hold these beliefs. At least not in numbers sufficient to be able to disregard them. Should Glenn Beck be simply "challenged?" Will that make a difference? No. He is a lunatic and he constantly ignores any and all evidence that are contrary to his paranoid rantings. He should be mocked in order to establish him as someone not to be taken seriously. Comedy and parody have been used to marginalize fringe beliefs of all kinds.

Oddly enough the article Lessons to Secular Community from 'The Book of Mormon' Musical: Take on Dogma With Humor popped up in my news feed soon after and inspired me to write more about it. Providence!

Does pointing out the absurdities of Mormonism—or any belief— via comedy accomplish anything? Yes. It allows a broad audience to lower their guard and be exposed to those beliefs in ways they normally would not. It also allows audiences to unconsciously challenge their own beliefs. Where would the Civil Rights movement be without comedy? Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle and so many more opened up black and white audiences to think about race, their possible racism and slowly but surely racist attitudes were marginalized. Racism is not gone (post-racial America, my ass!), but is very much not the norm anymore.

Take the people in the following video for example.

Rational argument will not “challenge” anything these people believe. They will not even entertain the thought they could be wrong. They are fucked in the head and they should be marginalized in society. Mockery, parody and comedy is one of the best tools to accomplish this. Anything more overt invites the possibility of overstepping bounds and making beliefs a thought crime. I for one will not be a party to that. The process of marginalizing fringe beliefs of all kinds is a mix of rational discussion and comedy and is not oppressive. No matter what the holder of a belief claims.

Mid-Week Rant: ATHEIST!!!!!!!

via NonStampCollector

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Morning Quotes ~ Ayn Rand

If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man's only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a 'moral commandment' is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments.

There has never been a philosophy, a theory or a doctrine, that attacked (or 'limited') reason, which did not preach submission to the power of some authority.
"Religion is a primitive form of philosophy, [the] attempt to offer a comprehensive view of reality." The Objectivist Feb 1966 WMail Issue #5

The good, say the mystics of spirit, is God, a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive- a definition that invalidates man's consciousness and nullifies his concepts of existence...Man's mind, say the mystics of spirit, must be subordinated to the will of God... Man's standard of value, say the mystics of spirit, is the pleasure of God, whose standards are beyond man's power of comprehension and must be accepted on faith....The purpose of man's to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question. [Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual]

For centuries, the mystics of spirit had existed by running a protection racket - by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief, by forbidding all the virtues that make existence possible, then riding on the shoulders of your guilt, by declaring production and joy to be sins, then collecting blackmail from the sinners. [Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual]

Faith is the worst curse of mankind, as the exact antithesis and enemy of thought.

If you get caught at some crucial point and somebody tells you that your doctrine doesn't make sense - you're ready for him. You tell him there's something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must feel. He must believe. Suspend reason and you can play it deuces wild. [Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead]

Playboy: Has no religion, in your estimation, ever offered anything of constructive value to human life?
Ayn Rand: Qua religion, no - in the sense of blind belief, belief unsupported by, or contrary to, the facts of reality and the conclusions of reason. Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason. But you must remember that religion is an early form of philosophy, that the first attempts to explain the universe, to give a coherent frame of reference to man's life and a code of moral values, were made by religion, before men graduated or developed enough to have philosophy. And, as philosophies, some religions have very valuable moral points. They may have a good influence or proper principles to inculcate, but in a very contradictory context and, on a very - how should I say it? - dangerous or malevolent base: on the ground of faith. [Playboy interview with Ayn Rand]

Are you in a universe which is ruled by natural laws and, therefore, is stable, firm, absolute - and knowable? Or are you in an incomprehensible chaos, a realm of inexplicable miracles, an unpredictable, unknowable flux, which your mind is impotent to grasp? The nature of your actions - and of your ambition - will be different, according to which set of answers you come to accept.

(The Doctrine of Original Sin) declares that (man) ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge - he acquired a mind and became a rational being. It was the knowledge of good and evil - he became a moral being/ He was sentenced to earn his bread by his labor - he became a productive being. He was sentenced to experience desire - he acquired the capacity of sexual enjoyment. The evils for which (the preachers) damn him are reason, morality, creativeness joy - all the cardinal values of his existence.

[T]he only real moral crime that one man can commit against another is the attempt to create, by his words or actions, an impression of the contradictory, the impossible, the irrational, and thus shake the concept of rationality in his victim.

Definitions are the guardians of rationality, the first line of defense against the chaos of mental disintegration.

To rest one's case on faith means to concede that reason is on the side of one's enemies- that one has no rational arguments to offer.

Thinking men cannot be ruled.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Morning Crazy: Rod Parsley

Sunday Morning Hate: Archbishop Timothy Dolan

"So this kid is just weeping after I violate him and I'm all like 'LOL.'"

Post by the archbishop included in its totality.
The True Meaning of Marriage

The stampede is on.  Our elected senators who have stood courageous in their refusal to capitulate on the state’s presumption to redefine marriage are reporting unrelenting pressure to cave-in.

The media, mainly sympathetic to this rush to tamper with a definition as old as human reason and ordered good, reports annoyance on the part of some senators that those in defense of traditional marriage just don’t see the light, as we persist in opposing this enlightened, progressive, cause.

But, really, shouldn’t we be more upset – and worried – about this perilous presumption of the state to re-invent the very definition of an undeniable truth – one man, one woman, united in lifelong love and fidelity, hoping for children – that has served as the very cornerstone of civilization and culture from the start?

Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America – not in China or North Korea.  In those countries, government presumes daily to “redefine” rights, relationships, values, and natural law.  There, communiqu├ęs from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of “family” and “marriage” means.

But, please, not here!  Our country’s founding principles speak of rights given by God, not invented by government, and certain noble values – life, home, family, marriage, children, faith – that are protected, not re-defined, by a state presuming omnipotence.

Please, not here!  We cherish true freedom, not as the license to do whatever we want, but the liberty to do what we ought; we acknowledge that not every desire, urge, want, or chic cause is automatically a “right.”  And, what about other rights, like that of a child to be raised in a family with a mom and a dad?

Our beliefs should not be viewed as discrimination against homosexual people.  The Church affirms the basic human rights of gay men and women, and the state has rightly changed many laws to offer these men and women hospital visitation rights, bereavement leave, death benefits, insurance benefits, and the like.  This is not about denying rights. It is about upholding a truth about the human condition.  Marriage is not simply a mechanism for delivering benefits:  It is the union of a man and a woman in a loving, permanent, life-giving union to pro-create children.  Please don’t vote to change that.  If you do, you are claiming the power to change what is not into what is, simply because you say so.  This is false, it is wrong, and it defies logic and common sense.

Yes, I admit, I come at this as a believer, who, along with other citizens of a diversity of creeds believe that God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago.  We believers worry not only about what this new intrusion will do to our common good, but also that we will be coerced to violate our deepest beliefs to accommodate the newest state decree.  (If you think this paranoia, just ask believers in Canada and England what’s going on there to justify our apprehensions.)

But I also come at this as an American citizen, who reads our formative principles as limiting government, not unleashing it to tamper with life’s most basic values.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

David Barton! *shakes fist*

I had this set up to post over two months ago and it somehow got lost in the shuffle. So I'll just post it now.

I really hate this guy.

via Joe. My. God. via SuchIsLifeVideos

David Attenborough On The Tree Of Life

Another Saturday, another Tree of Life video. This one is narrated by Sir David Attenborough!

via WhyEvolutionIsTrue


Theist Litmus Test

An outstanding tool for judging if a theist can be engaged in conversation/debate.

Matthew 6: 5-15

Christian Hypocrisy & Public Prayer

Nearly everyone familiar with Christianity is familiar with the “Lord’s Prayer.” It is probably the most famous prayer in the New Testament. As a refresher, it goes like this:

9...“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one.

There is some variation in the wording depending on the Bible* used, but the information is the same. What is surprising to a lot of people, including Christians that do not actually read their Bible, is that the most famous prayer has a very specific instructional preface on how and when to conduct this prayer.

5And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others (emphasis added). Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Verses 14 and 15 are somewhat redundant with verse 12, but that is because it is the crux of the prayer. Forgiveness and humility. Something Fundamentalist Christians know nothing of.

More importantly, however, are the Divine instructions to KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!

*I used The New International Version (NIV) from Bible a resource.