Friday, February 27, 2015


I'm quite please to find out that there are theists willing to question the idea that religiosity can actually be measured in any meaningful way. Benjamin Zeller's "Religiosity? What’s in God’s name is that?" makes a few of the same points I have previously commented on. It's also nice to come across a theist that accepts their own personal spin/interpretation is not the only possible or valid point of view on a given topic.

I previously wrote about this topic in:
Can Religiosity be Measured? (February 23, 2014)

Sunday, February 22, 2015


"Every judgement teeters on the brink of error. To claim absolute knowledge is to become monstrous. Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty."
Frank Herbert

Psalmist Lecrae

I won't pretend to know much about Lecrae's music but I don't really need to. Claudia May's Patheos piece "Lecrae: A Modern-Day Psalmist Voices the Messiness of Humanity Through Hip-Hop" is as much about him as an individual as it is about his music. I have seen interviews with Lecrae and based on his own presentation of himself I can say I am not impressed. I am pretty sure that by "psalmist" May does not mean self-righteous deceitful hypocritical asshole. If she did I'd have to completely agree with her since he is a self-deluded pompous ass. I have previously pointed out why I have such a low opinion of Lecrae.

My prior critique can be found here:
"Lecrae: neither humble nor honest" (October 19, 2014)

The President is not a priest

There are two recent pieces that were quite irritating and disturbing. Both "Which U.S. Presidents were the most religious?" and "Does Obama's 'God Talk' Stand A Chance In A Polarized America?" convey a wide variety of assumptions, misconceptions, and implications. Though it is true that there is no way to completely separate religion and politics it does not mean that we should not make every effort to do so. Our government is by design secular. Religious conservatives are wrong in their claims that we are a "Christian Nation." In the entire US Constitution there are only two references to religion and both are in effect negative. We are not a theocracy. What an individual president personally believes and/or believed in regard to religion should not matter. It is the presidents job to govern the nation as a whole rather than cater to a specific group of people. He is the president not a member of the clergy.

Monday, February 16, 2015


"To say that this Timeless God began Time along with the Universe at a time when there was no Time implies that at that moment when He initiated this Unique Event He was engaged in a Time, or at a time in order to bring this Event about. He did something. What brought that Event about?"
Peter A. Angeles
The Problem of God: A Short Introduction

"Angry Atheist" Debunked

The myth of the angry atheist has been pretty thoroughly dismantle on numerous occasions by a variety of other so this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. However, I thought it worth posting since "The Myth of the Angry Atheist" is one of the first studies of its kind to be published. Brian P. Meier (Gettysburg College), Adam Fetterman (North Dakota State University), Michael D. Robinson
(North Dakota State University,Main Campus), and Courtney M. Lappas (Lebanon Valley College) do an excellent job systematically taking apart this ridiculous bigoted stereotype.

King of Contradictions

It seems that the Pope is looking to earn himself a title similar to one commonly ascribe to Jesus. Instead of the "King of Kings" Francis is vying for the "King of Contradictions." His stance on cracking down on frivolous pampered clergy really does seem to be just a matter of PR window dressing. The Religious News Service headlines for February 10th unintentionally provided an excellent visual reference:

Notice the juxtaposition of "Ousted 'Bling Bishop' makes soft landing in Vatican" with "Pope Francis faces a big week in his effort to reform the Vatican." Umm, what reform? The German Bishop was supposedly fired for his flagrant misuse and abuse of funds. Problem with that line s that he wasn't actually fired. Just so we are clear about the message I will quote a National Catholic Reporter piece from March 2014.
"Pope Francis on Tuesday effectively fired a German bishop who had attracted controversy for extraordinary expenses on a new diocesan center, sending a signal that he is willing to oust bishops who do not align with his vision of a 'poor church for the poor.'"
What really occured was that the Pope set him aside while a new cushier position could be created for this corrupt asshole. According to the "Ousted..." piece shown above, "The post was created for Tebartz-van Elst and has the hallmarks of a “make-work” job because the Vatican couldn’t figure out what else to do with the prelate." What's wrong with doing what they said they'd do: fire his greedy ass.

This, by the way, is just another example of Francis contradiction. Another recent one includes his statements like "Pope Francis Says Catholics Don't Need To Breed 'Like Rabbits'" being quickly followed by "Couples Who Choose Not To Have Children Are 'Selfish,' Pope Says" I have pointed it out before and I'll keep pointing it out that this Pope is only set apart from his predecessors in style. When it comes to substance he really is indistinguishable from other popes.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


"How can a preacher talk with a straight face about political graft? He is, himself, profiting by one of the most notorious political grafts in this country."
E. Haldeman-Julius
"The Church Is a Burden, Not a Benefit, In Social Life"

Obama does some distorting

The right wing threw yet another Obama inspired hissy-fit this past week for doing something they tend to favor themselves. Obama channeled some of the religious right's favorite hypocritical ignorance laden bullshit. During his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast he commented that "As people of faith, we are summoned to push back against those who try to distort our religion — any religion — for their own nihilistic ends." This, of course, is what many theists have been deluding themselves about for ages. They never seem to notice that Religion as institution has no "true" version. All variations are completely subjective and unfounded. Even though prefer that theists follow a more liberal version that doesn't make it any more or less legitimate than the more conservative or violent forms of faith. This is also not the part of his address that got the right wings bent out of shape.

Obama quickly followed up with "Here at home and around the world we will constantly reaffirm that fundamental freedom: freedom of religion, the right to practice our faith how we choose, to change our faith if we choose, to practice no faith at all if we choose, and to do so free of persecution and fear and discrimination." The idea that he might be sympathetic to non-Christians and even atheists was not to their liking. Reactions to this part was way overblown given that the intent was all but erased the venue and manner of delivery. The fact that he attended the National Prayer Breakfast as the President rather than a private citizen basically provides a government endorsement of religion over non-belief. It is actually a distortion and an affront to one of the most basic principles of our Constitution: Separation of Church and State.

Then he really pissed them off by pointing out that Christianity isn't completely innocent when it come to persecuting other and committing acts of violence. Ironically, the comments he made in this area were among the few that had any accuracy and merit to them. It also demonstrated why government officials should not be endorsing faith of any sort. All variations of faith are subjective and tends toward authoritarian anti-democratic practices.

An exercise in confirmation bias

A recent study by Timothy O'Brien and Shiri Noy purports to have found a thrid way in the longstanding Science v. Religion debate. Their claim very quickly falls apart. The group they end up labeling, foolishly, "post-seculars" are not a new group at all. The only differences I can see with this batch of ignorant asses and previous ones is that they are willing to publicly acknowledge, at least to some degree, that there are bits and pieces of modern science and medicine they actually like.

Religious News Service had a decent summary of their "findings" that can be read if you do not wish to wade through the 20+ pages of bullshit that constitute O'brien-Noys study published in the American Sociological Review. I recommend reading the actual study first and then the RNS review. It makes an otherwise tedious and irritating read somewhat entertaining since Cathy Grossman's ("Science vs. religion? There’s actually more of a three-way split") take on it is unintentionally humorous in its own lack of insight and critical thinking.

An excellent example is:
"Post-Seculars pick and choose among science and religion views to create their own “personally compelling way of understanding the world,” said O’Brien, assistant professor at the University of Evansville in Indiana"
It never occurs to her that the pick and choose part of science isn't actually science at all. Whether a scientific theory fits your personal views has absolutely no connection to its validity. Cherry-picking which conclusions work for your preconceived notions and personal preferences is actually the opposite of respecting and accepting science. Both the original report and the summary make clear that that is precisely what is happening among these "post seculars."

"But when it comes to three main areas where science and Christian-centric religious views conflict — on human evolution, the Big Bang origin of the universe and the age of the Earth — Post-Seculars break away from the pack with significantly different views from Traditionals and Moderns." Did you catch that? Again, this is not new. The object to those theories on religious grounds alone. There is no scientific legitimacy to their opposing views. How is this a third way rather than just more of the same old conservative religious bullshit? Even the label the two use is biased. Why not "post-scriptural" since the views they do accept from science don't bother them on religious grounds?

In the end there is no third group in this debate. It only emerges from there study because they choose to interpret it that way. They fail to notice that there has not been any religious objections, except among a tiny fringe, to such modern developments as cars, computers, and antibiotics. The majority of conservative theists have always accept large portions of science and medicine. Like then, they only object when it interferes with the unfounded superstitious non-sense they wish to cling to.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

It's not about a "child"

Right from the start Grazie Christie makes it pretty clear that nothing resembling a legitimate argument will be forthcoming. The whole piece is just a series of logical fallacies strung together. Relying on the idea that having a doctorate with experience in radiology qualifies Christie as an expert in virtually all aspects of both medicine and ethics is a sickening use of the argument from authority. It’s also quite bogus. Christie's abuse of even basic terminology makes it obvious that facts mean nothing to this asshole. The title itself,"Abortion is about a child, not a choice", does a pretty good job revealing as much. 

No, it is quite literally not about a child. By definition it cannot be about a child.
According to the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary a children are:
"noun (children)
1.a boy or girl between birth and physical maturity.’s son or daughter.
3.someone lacking experience or understanding in something an absolute child in financial matters.
4.derogatory an innocent or naive person.
5.someone seen as a typical product of a particular historical period, movement, etc He was a child of his time."
Yet, according to the Collins Dictionary of Medicine an abortion is:
"Loss of the FETUS before it is able to survive outside the womb (UTERUS). The term abortion covers accidental or spontaneous ending, or MISCARRIAGE, of pregnancy as well as deliberate termination, whether for medical reasons or as a criminal act. At least 1 in 10 pregnancies ends in abortion, the great majority of these being spontaneous. Deliberate termination of pregnancy is called induced abortion. When this is legal it is called ‘therapeutic abortion’. Abortion may be performed legally under certain circumstances and in approved hospitals or clinics. Two doctors, who have seen the patient, must agree that continuation of the pregnancy would be detrimental to her or her baby, or her existing children's, physical or mental health. The term derives from the Latin aborior, to set, as of the sun."
In order to be a child you have to be born. The only reason to conflate a fetus for a child is to appeal to people's emotions. this is a tactic Christie uses repeatedly. The unverifiable anecdotes used are also meant to play with people's emotion in the hope that they won't notice that there is no real substance. 
Of course, Christie also glosses over pesky details like the fact that the overwhelming number of abortion are spontaneous naturally occurring ones. So if people are immoral have choosing abortion doesn't that make God an immoral sadistic asshole? I really don't uinderstand why CNN bothered with this poorly written piece of shit even in their opinion section. It's the same crap the "moderate" anti-abortionists routinely pen. There is nothing even remotely resembling insight or arguments worth spending any time on.