Feed on Posts or Comments 21 August 2014

Monthly ArchiveAugust 2010



Christianity &Islam Thomas on 31 Aug 2010

Given all this evidence, how could ANYONE be a creationist?

Look at all of these maps, drawing from hundreds of thousands of pieces of actual, physical archeological evidence – artificats, burial sites, bones, etc. The maps show without any doubt humans arising hundreds of thousands of years ago and then spreading to cover the globe:

Human Prehistory

Modern humans originated in East Africa about 200,000 to 160,000 years ago. Over the next 50,000 years, they spread to south Africa and the west coast, as well as towards Ethiopia.

A group of humans crossed the Red Sea into Arabia. All non-African humans today are the descendents of these people (90,000 years ago).

Humans rapidly spread along the coast of southern and southeast Asia all the way to China. (85,000 years ago)…

There is not a single word, nor a single bit of evidence, for a flood, an ark, a creation event. There are human beings all over the planet 50,000 years ago.

Knowing this, how could ANYONE be a creationist? Do they ignore all the evidence? Or assume it is all forged? What drives creationists to be so willfully unintelligent?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 26 Aug 2010

A great question from the forums: Do you allow your “god” to commit amazing atrocities? Why?

Found in this thread:

“…Except when my God is involved”

Dear Christians,

Do the attitudes summarized below seem familiar to you?

I’m just curious if you’re all conscious that this is what many of us non-religionists observe of your way of thinking.

  • “Killing people (including children) and genocide are immoral deeds, except when ordered or done by my God.”
  • “Nothing comes from nothing, and nothing can be eternal, except my God.”
  • “I think it’s immoral for someone else to be held accountable for my transgressions, except when the situation involves my God.”
  • “I think slavery is wrong, except when it is condoned by my God.”
  • “I think it’s wrong to torture anyone, except it’s perfectly fine for my God to torture scores of people eternally without any chance of redemption.” (Note: does not apply to the Christians who have the decency to arbitrarily disregard the verses about damnation)
  • “I think it’s wrong to punish people for the sins of their parents/relatives/ancestors, except when the situation involves my God.”

I could go on, but this should suffice.

Do you allow your “god” to commit amazing atrocities? Why?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 24 Aug 2010

So very, very sad: 75% of Americans follow paranormal activity

How can this possibly be true? But unfortunately it is:

75% of Americans follow paranormal activity

About three in four Americans profess at least one paranormal belief, according to a recent Gallup survey. The most popular is extrasensory perception (ESP), mentioned by 41%, followed closely by belief in haunted houses (37%). The full list of items includes…

Of course it makes sense though. 75% of Americans believe that they can talk to an imaginary man in the sky and he will answer their prayers. What could be more bizarre and paranormal and nonsensical than that?

Christianity &Islam &Rationals Thomas on 23 Aug 2010

A great question for both Christians/Muslims and atheists to ponder: What do you tell Christians when they say “God is outside of space and time.”

A very interesting thread:

What do you tell Christians when they say “God is outside of space and time.”

Three responses in particular are worth quoting:

1)

“One reader of an early draft of this chapter complained at this point, saying that by treating the hypothesis of God as just one more scientific hypothesis, to be evaluated by the standards of science in particular and rational thought in general, Dawkins and I are ignoring the very widespread claim by believers in God that their faith is quite beyond reason, not a matter to which such mundane methods of testing applies. It is not just unsympathetic, he claimed, but strictly unwarranted for me simply to assume that the scientific method continues to apply with full force in this domain of truth.

Very well, let’s consider the objection. I doubt that the defender of religion will find it attractive, once we explore it carefully.

The philosopher Ronaldo de Souza once memorably described philosophical theology as “intellectual tennis without a net,” and I readily allow that I have indeed been assuming without comment or question up to now that the net of rational judgement was up. But we can lower it if you really want to.

It’s your serve.

Whatever you serve, suppose I return service rudely as follows: “What you say implies that God is a ham sandwich wrapped in tin foil. That’s not much of a God to worship!”. If you then volley back, demanding to know how I can logically justify my claim that your serve has such a preposterous implication, I will reply: “oh, do you want the net up for my returns, but not for your serves?

Either way the net stays up, or it stays down. If the net is down there are no rules and anybody can say anything, a mug’s game if there ever was one. I have been giving you the benefit of the assumption that you would not waste your own time or mine by playing with the net down.”

— Daniel C. Dennett (Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life)

2:

“If God exists outside of space and time, then how do you know anything about him?”

The problem is that even if that argument could somehow be true, God would have to step into space and time at some point in order to have an impact on things that exist entirely within spacetime (i.e. us). It is at that point that we can measure the impact God has on the universe and pretty much anything the theist gains form the whole “outside spacetime” argument is lost. If god exists outside of space and time he can’t answer prayers, because prayers originate within space and time. If he exists outside of space and time Jesus (or vishnu or whoever) coming to earth as a man-god makes no sense, and it makes no sense for people like Abraham or Mohammad to be able to talk to God.

TL;DR If someone wants to say that God exists outside of spacetime they can’t say God has an impact within spacetime.

3:

About two years ago I had a debate in a Q&A session with Dr. Frank Turek, a professional apologist. A main part of his argument was that, “God is timeless, spaceless, and immaterial.”

I pointed out to him, “Do you know what else is timeless, spaceless, and immaterial? Nothing. That’s right, nothing. In fact, that’s pretty much a dictionary-perfect definition of ‘Nothing.’ If you were doing a crossword puzzle and asked a scientist, ‘Hey Doc, what’s a seven letter word for something timeless, spaceless, and immaterial?’ He’d say, ‘Nothing,’ not ‘Creator.”

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals &Science Thomas on 20 Aug 2010

Don’t be a dick – the need for skeptics to be kindler, gentler, nicer

Phil Plait speaks about being polite: “I was basically telling people to be nicer”.

Phil Plait – Don’t Be A Dick from JREF on Vimeo.

Here’s the back story on his talk:

- Don’t Be a Dick, Part 1: the video

- Don’t Be a Dick, Part 3: the aftermath

Christianity Thomas on 20 Aug 2010

Highway crosses are illegal

Federal appeals court says highways’ crosses are unconstitutional

Memorial crosses erected along Utah public roads to honor fallen state highway troopers have been found unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.

A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the 14 large crosses would be viewed by most passing motorists as “government’s endorsement of Christianity.”

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 18 Aug 2010

Why we must ban the burqa

Here is an article, written by a woman, that succinctly explains why the burqa must be banned:

Ban the Burqa

The case FOR the burqa seems like a clear cut freedom-of-choice issue:

I moved here five years ago. In the beginning, I was sympathetic to the argument that Turkey’s ban on headscarves in universities and public institutions was grossly discriminatory. I spoke to many women who described veiling themselves as an uncoerced act of faith. One businesswoman in her mid-30s told me that she began veiling in high school, defying her secular family. Her schoolteacher gasped when she saw her: “If Atatürk could see you now, he would weep!” Her pain at the memory of the opprobrium she had suffered was clearly real.

Why had she decided to cover herself? I asked. As a teenager, she told me, she had experienced a religious revelation. She described this in terms anyone familiar with William James would recognize. She began veiling to affirm her connection with the Ineffable. “Every time I look in the mirror,” she said, “I see a religious woman looking back. It reminds me that I’ve chosen to have a particular kind of relationship with God.”

Seen thus, the covering of the head is no more radical than many other religious rituals that demand symbolic acts of renunciation or daily inconvenience. I have heard Jews describe the spiritual rewards of following the laws of kashrut in much the same way. It is inconvenient, they say, and seemingly arbitrary; it demands daily sacrifice. But a Jew who keeps kosher cannot eat a meal without being reminded that he is a Jew, and thus the simple act of eating is elevated to a religious rite.

More pointedly:

To prevent them from [wearing a burqa] is discriminatory, persecutory, and incompatible with the Enlightenment traditions of the West. It is, moreover, cruel to demand of a woman that she reveal parts of her body that her sense of modesty compels her to cover; to such a woman, the demand is as tyrannical, humiliating, and arbitrary as the passage of a law dictating that women bare their breasts.

Unfortunately, these arguments are irrelevant because the Muslim religion tends to be a completely misogynistic:

All true. And yet the burqa must be banned. All forms of veiling must be, if not banned, strongly discouraged and stigmatized. The arguments against a ban are coherent and principled. They are also shallow and insufficient. They fail to take something crucial into account, and that thing is this: If Europe does not stand up now against veiling — and the conception of women and their place in society that it represents — within a generation there will be many cities in Europe where no unveiled woman will walk comfortably or safely.

The logic is simple:

Parents in [Muslim] neighborhoods ask gynecologists to testify to their daughters’ virginity. Polygamy and forced marriages are commonplace. Many girls are banned from leaving the house at all. According to French-government statistics, rapes in the housing projects have risen between 15 and 20 percent every year since 1999. In these neighborhoods, women have indeed begun veiling only to escape harassment and violence. In the suburb of La Courneuve, 77 percent of veiled women report that they wear the veil to avoid the wrath of Islamic morality patrols. We are talking about France, not Iran.

The association of Islam and crime against women is seen throughout Europe: “The police in the Norwegian capital Oslo revealed that 2009 set yet another record: compared to 2008, there were twice as many cases of assault rapes,” the conservative Brussels Journal noted earlier this year. “In each and every case, not only in 2008 and 2009 but also in 2007, the offender was a non-Western immigrant.” These statistics are rarely discussed; they are too evocative of ancient racist tropes for anyone’s comfort. But they are facts.

The debate in Europe now concerns primarily the burqa, not less restrictive forms of veiling, such as the headscarf. The sheer outrageousness of the burqa makes it an easy target, as does the political viability of justifying such a ban on security grounds, particularly in the era of suicide bombings, even if such a justification does not entirely stand up to scrutiny. But the burqa is simply the extreme point on the continuum of veiling, and all forced veiling is not only an abomination, but contagious: Unless it is stopped, the natural tendency of this practice is to spread, for veiling is a political symbol as well as a religious one, and that symbol is of a dynamic, totalitarian ideology that has set its sights on Europe and will not be content until every woman on the planet is humbled, submissive, silent, and enslaved.

In short: If we give Muslims the freedom to wear burqas and veils, that freedom is then used, through constant harassment, to force every woman to wear one. And once every woman is forced to wear a veil, women have been enslaved.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 17 Aug 2010

The insanity of religion

The insanity of religion demonstrated in very simple images:

Flying into a building isn’t normal…

Unfortunately, when you are insane, you cannot see your own insanity.

If you would like to understand and end the insanity in your own life, in a gentle way, try this: Whywontgodhealamputees.com Chapter 1

Christianity Thomas on 16 Aug 2010

The reason most people like McDonalds combo meals explains why most humans like religion

An interesting video that explains where religion comes from in in human culture. The speaker is Andy Thomson, a psychiatrist. The part about McDonald’s starts at 8:55:

It’s a long video, but packed with information.

Christianity Thomas on 13 Aug 2010

“Why I am no longer a Christian”

An intelligent explanation of why someone stops being a Christian:

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Politics Thomas on 11 Aug 2010

If you are religious, facts don’t matter

Simple facts, clearly presented:

The state of Norway

We would all be better off without religion. See also:

The war on brains

Facts simply do not matter to religious minds.

Christianity &Islam Thomas on 11 Aug 2010

Church protests strip club, so strip club protests church

It’s “extraordinary.” And “He’s never heard of anything like it in the country.” Employees at a strip club are counter-protesting at a church:

Churchgoers, strippers protest one another in Coshocton County

Every weekend for the last four years, Dunfee and members of his ministry have stood watch over George’s joint, taking up residence in the right of way with signs, video cameras and bullhorns in hand. They videotape customers’ license plates and post them online, and they try to save the souls of anyone who comes and goes.

Now, the dancers have turned the tables, so to speak. Fed up with the tactics of Dunfee and his flock, they say they have finally accepted his constant invitation to come to church.

It’s just that they’ve come wearing see-through shorts and toting Super Soakers.

They bring lawn chairs and – yesterday, anyway – grilled hamburgers, Monster energy drinks and corn on the cob.

They sat in front of the church and waved at passing cars but largely ignored the congregation behind them.

Likewise, the churchgoers largely ignored the dancers. Except for Stan Braxton. He stopped and held hands with Lola, a 42-year-old dancer who made $200 on her Saturday night shift, and prayed for her salvation.

If a business owner opens a legal business, and if there were no such thing as religion, would there ever be a “protest”?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 10 Aug 2010

The stupidity and violence of religion summed up in one short, entertaining video

Christianity Thomas on 09 Aug 2010

“American Christianity is not well, and there’s evidence to indicate that its condition is more critical than most realize”

We covered Anne Rice’s defection from Christianity last week. Here is an article showing that the end of Christianity is near, because Christianity is filled with some of the most disgusting people on the planet:

American Christianity is not well, and there’s evidence to indicate that its condition is more critical than most realize

Christian activist Ronald J. Sider writes in his book, “The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience”: “By their daily activity, most ‘Christians’ regularly commit treason. With their mouths they claim that Jesus is their Lord, but with their actions they demonstrate their allegiance to money, sex, and personal self-fulfillment.”

How to explain the Grand Canyon-sized gap between principles outlined in the Gospels and the behavior of believers? Christians typically, and rather lamely, respond that shortcomings of the followers of Jesus are simply evidence of man’s inherent sinfulness.

But if one adheres to the principle of Occam’s razor — that the simplest explanation is the most likely — there is another, more unsettling conclusion: that many people who call themselves Christian don’t really believe, deep down, in the tenets of their faith. In other words, their actions reveal their true beliefs.

In addition, as Rice puts it:

I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life.

This video lays it out in cold, stark terms: “Why does every intelligent Christian disobey Jesus?”

Go ahead Christians, drink poison as the Bible commands. See what happens.

Why would anyone follow a book that tells them to drink poison?

The whole issue of why so many Christians (especially those in the Tea Party) are so bigoted, hateful and unchristian is a separate question that remains unanswered.

Christianity Thomas on 05 Aug 2010

Sharron Angle shows the depth of Christian delusion

Sharron Angle is the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Nevada. There have actually been points in the race where she has led Harry Reid in the polls. She has a gigantic following in the Republican party.

How is this possible? How could any intelligent person listen to the rantings of this highly delusional Christian and not turn away in disgust?

Sharron Angle’s take on separation of church and state

Example:

“When God calls you, he also equips you and he doesn’t just say ‘Well, today you’re going to run against Harry Reid.’ There is a preparation,” she said during a recent interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network. “Moses had his preparatory time. Paul had his preparatory time. Even Jesus had his preparatory time, and so my preparation began on a school board.”

She believes that an imaginary, invisible man in the sky has “called her” and then “prepared her”. Yet this same imaginary man will allow 10,000 children to die of starvation today?

Example:

She believes abortion is a violation of God’s will and should be banned in all cases.

Yet if God has a will, abortion is clearly his will because the majority of pregnancies are terminated by miscarriages in a process called spontaneous abortion.

Example:

she has said that public policy should support the “traditional” family structure as described in the Bible, in which one parent stays home with the children while the other works.

Indeed, although many Americans view the separation of church and state as one of the keys to the nation’s success as a multicultural society, Angle believes that religion has an expansive role to play in government. And, she has repeatedly said anyone who opposes that based on the claim of separation of church and state misunderstands the Constitution’s ban on “establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

In this regard, Angle’s view of religion’s role in government parallels that of a religious political movement — Christian Reconstructionism — seeking to return American civil society to biblical law.

Biblical law? If we return to Biblical law, we need to kill tens of millions of Americans, as vividly demonstrated here:

How could anyone with such absurd beliefs have any credibility?

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