Friday, January 30, 2015

All too common disconnect

The headline, "Many religious people view science favorably, but reject certain scientific theories", seems a little contradictory, even silly. Unfortunately, this is neither something new or uncommon. People frequently compartmentalize various aspects of their lives without ever noticing it let alone attempting to fix the problem. And, yes, it is a serious problem. Claiming to respect and accept science while simultaneously disrepsecting and rejecting does have rather negative consequences. This type of disconnect is one of the primary reason all sorets of supertitious nonsense is abkle to flourish in an age awash with useful practical information. It is one of the obstacles that so often prevents us from putting religion in its propere place; a garbage can.

Peresonally, I do not accept the claim that individual actually respect science if they also pay any deference to such things as Creationism. They don't. They in fact can't. Science is not about one theory or another but rather about the process by which such theories are developed and either maintained or replaced.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


"By any reasonable measure of achievement, the faith of the Enlightenment thinkers in science was justified. Today the greatest divide within humanity is not between races, or religions, or even, as is widely believed, between the literate and illiterate. It is the chasm that separates scientific from prescientific cultures."
Edward O. Wilson
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

Civil rights by anecdote

Apparently, according to Steve Neumann, there is no longer any such thing as sexism, racism, ageism, or any other similar forms of discrimination. That's right it's all just a delusion. Even though he never makes such a statement in his ridiculous Salon piece, "Atheism’s civil-rights delusion: Why non-believers don’t need their own Selma moment", that is where his grossly flawed logic leads. There seems to be only two main points in this idiotic piece of shit.

The first is easily summarized by his own statement in paragraph three, "But I’ve never suffered any prejudice in the 15 years since I came out as an atheist." Since he hasn't personally experienced any prejudice it seems it can't be real. Are you fucking kidding! Does this asshole really think that every woman all over the world has directly experienced discrimination or harassment? Since there would have to be at least a small fraction that have not that must mean that sexism no longer exists, right? Wrong! And what about those atheists who have been harassed and persecuted? If this moron paid any attention to the news he should have noticed that there is still plenty of prejudice aimed at atheists. There was just a case in Canada where a judge ordered a father to bring his children to church. There are constantly examples of atheists speaking up for their rights and then having their lives threatened for it.

His other point is just as fucked up.
"But there’s another, more fundamental reason why comparing the atheist movement to civil rights movements is a case of comparing apples and oranges. Being black or gay isn’t something someone chooses." Huh? Choosing to be a particular way or not, assuming it is a choice, is how you determine whether someone deserves civil rights? I actually, at various times, tried to believe in God. It never worked for me. It was in college that I came to understand that there is nothing wrong in not believing what others do. Seems that Mr. Neumann still hasn't figured that one out. There is also the implication that if you can hide who you are you should do precisely that. This seems to prove the exact opposite of what this dick head is claiming. If anyone is coerced in any way to hide who they are those are precisely the people who need a "Selma moment". Atheists shouldn't even have to consider any negative consequences for making it publicly known that they are atheists. Yet, we do.

Sounds to me like the "Jim Crow" he refers to in the subtitle of his piece is a matter of projection. Neumann is the worst type of self-deluded atheist.  He seems more interested in ingratiating himself to the majority than he is with thinking about anything for himself.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


"What I'm saying is, if God wanted to send us a message, and ancient writings were the only way he could think of doing it, he could have done a better job."
Carl Sagan
(stated by the Dr. Arroway character)

God is tragedy

Stan Duncan's "What God's Role in Tragedy Really Is" is yet another example of how pathetic many theists beliefs can be. It seems that either Duncan doesn't really believe in what he says he does or he is exceptional good at self-delusion. His lame excuses about for God's lack of benevolence is are as full of shit as they are old and thoroughly debunked.

The following paragraph I found particularly irksome:
"God doesn't kill people. Storms, tsunamis, earthquakes, and human beings kill people. God didn't cause the nightmares of Banda Aceh and Southeast Asia any more than God caused Hurricanes Sandy or Katrina or the 6,000 deaths (so far) by Ebola in East Africa. It is true that God is very much in the storms and wars, but God is there in the healing not the killing. God is in the mending not the destroying."

The problem with this approach is that it blatantly contradicts the notion that this God is supposedly the source of all things. So, yes, if Duncan and like-minded theists' God does exist that Being does kill. Even if you try weaseling out of responsibility by trying to back-pedal on God's omnipotence, if this Supreme Being created humanity then death is also it's responsibility. Death is innate to all known living things which means it must have been designed into life. God is still a killer and the author of countless tragedies.

Whether Duncan is self-deluded, willfully ignorant, or just an intellectually stunted fool does not change the conclusion that if God (the abstract version) exists then God must be the source of all things whether they are deemed to be good or bad. Make up excuses for God's negative side is just ridiculous and a further indication of how weak religion and religious thinking really is.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


"Which well perceived if thou hold in mind,
The Nature, delivered from every haughty lord,
And forthwith free, is seen to do all things
Herself and through herself of own accord,
Rid of all god."
On the Nature of things

Friday, January 2, 2015

Champion Cherry-pickers

Atheists and even some more liberal theists frequently get accused of cherry-picking the Bible for the sole purpose of being contrarian jerks (often described in far worse terms). But that is complete bullshit for a variety of reasons. All theists cherry pick their favored sacred text(s). They have to, since they are all rather contradictory nonsensical crap. Not long ago Peter Enns gave an excellent example of how liberal Christians cherry pick and interpret the Bible to make it seem far more palatable then it really is. Rather than doing it to bash the Bible he does it in an attempt to justify his affection for it.

"10 Old Testament passages that shape how I think about God" demonstrates just how shallow his thinking is right from the start. Theist also love to claim that non-religious and religious critics of scripture take things out of context. Enns shows otherwise. None of his are given much context and the few that are are grossly inaccurate. Essentially he interprets the passage itself and then, when he bothers at all, makes up an excuse for anything around it that doesn't quite mesh. The very first selection is so skewed it's rather amusing.

"1. …for the Lord does not see as people see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
God is not impressed with what we call successOT Hebrew but with what is deep within us, perhaps even deeper than we ourselves can see."

Here's some context. Virtually all of 1 Samuel is about Saul. God uses and then rather brutally discards Saul. Why does God dispose of Saul? Because the previously despicable asshole grows a conscience. Saul refuses to obey God when commanded to assassinate another king and then proceed to slaughter said king's entire people and livestock. That's right, another incident where God goes all out blood-thirsty psychopath. Saul wants none of it so God gets rid of him. My interpretation, which has just as much if not more basis, is that the kind of "heart" God favors is sadistic and sycophantic. Not really what Enns was trying to establish.

Nearly every single passage is similarly spun to seem the way Enns prefers to think of them. Most can not only be interpeted differently, they have to be if you make any effort to pay attention to the actual wording and look at the passages the precede and/or follow them. I'll give just one more example since going through all 10 would be tedious and pointless.

"4. The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26).
More than once, at times of joy and sadness, when I didn’t know what to pray, this came out of my mouth. It’s good to have God’s face shine on us now and then."

Actually, God (of the scriptures) is both very demanding and very unforgiving. What Enns completely ignores are all the conditions that lead up to this brief passage. That "bless you and keep you" part would be nice if it were not so conditional. All the passages leading to this make it clear that you can only somewhat count on being blessed (never guaranteed or promised) if you meet all Gods rules and make all the prefered sacrifices. In other words, you pay a heavy price just to get a little acknowledgment from a being who doesn't actually need let alone deserve such devotion. Metaphorically, it is like a neglected and abused child making all sorts of excuses and going out of their way to pamper and flatter their egomaniacal volatile dead-beat dad. It isn't even an example of conditional love. The relationship outline in Numbers is more like that of a master and slave.

Though I won't bother going through all 10 of Peter Enns' favored passages there is no reason others can't take a closer look. It doesn't really take that much effort. Read the passages he quotes and then read at least a handful of the passages that surround it. So long as you actually pay attention to the wording it becomes blatantly obvious that Enns, like so many other theist, is the one doing the cherry picking and making up all kinds of nonsense.