Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fox News Radio: Fair and Balanced about Creationism? I don't think so!

http://radio.foxnews.com/2011/03/22/atheist-wants-creationist-teacher-fired/

They allow comments here.  I'm waiting to see if the site admins approve.

EVERYONE should want a creationist biology teacher fired!  If I were a Christian and had kids in that school, I'd be livid that this creep is usurping the parental and church role for religious education.  Not to mention, I'd want my kids to learn real science.  Even 30 seconds devoted to fairy tales would detract from real learning.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Calling all Amputees!

You don't have to be a religious nutter to be a "faith" healer (though it helps).  You do have to be a "faith" heal-ee, though.

http://www.fox59.com/news/wxin-braco-braco-to-bring-silent-gaze-healing-to-indy-20110329,0,989823.story

This wacky gazing fellow is coming to town.  Notice that the list of things he can "cure" doesn't include amputees?  So, if you know any amputees I can borrow to take to see this guy please send them my way!

I mean, if you can be healed by being stared at, shouldn't all burn victims be healed?  (come to think of it, send them my way too!)  Not to mention, there would be no breast cancer if staring worked!

How does this crap get a foothold?  I thought everyone was supposed to have sufficient health care to get, well... HEALTH CARE now!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

YAY! For Indiana!

Incredible as it may seem, fundies in Indiana have failed to insert their skydaddy into the Biology curriculum for public schools:

http://ncse.com/news/2011/03/voice-evolution-from-indiana-006564

The pdf linked there states:

"...content taught in the area of science must be consistent with the nature of science... as science itself is the connection between theory and experiment."

Sadly, they waffle later:  "This does not mean that belief systems based upon sacred texts or tradition are to be discounted, for they are not lesser or greater than a "scientific" viewpoint.  Understanding the difference and the nature of science itself is the key, and it is something of which students should be made aware."

...and then they say it's okay to add myth to the curriculum (not the science curriculum) as long as it doesn't favor one religion.

I'm proud of Indiana educators for standing up to the bullies of the religious right, but I'm ashamed for them that they feel they have to have these disclaimers about religion.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beware: The Elevens


Seen on Facebook:
Sept 11( NY) Jan 11( Haiti) march 11(Japan).. Luke21:10-11, Then Jesus said to his disiples; Nations will rise against nation & Kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes,famines & pestilinces in various places and great signs from Beacon.'Jesus says behold I come quikly'.(So ask yourself are you ready for his return)? So sad to many wont post!!!

I didn't post a reply.  There's just no room on FB to post all the reasons why this is wrong, conceited, self-centered, hard-hearted, stupid, a-historical and inapppropriate.

Not enough room here, either.  And anyway, I found a picture that says it all.

Okay, let's try anyway.

First, in order to find this "pattern" you have to ignore all sorts of horrible events that didn't happen on the 11th of their respective months.  The Indonesian tsunami happened on December 26.  Christchurch, NZ suffered a terrible earthquake on February 22.  Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana on August 29.  And of course God attempted to destroy the city of Nashville with a horrendous flood beginning May 1, 2010.  Apparently The Grand Ole Opry offended God.

If you put all those events into a list you see no pattern at all.

Second, if God was sending a message by making earthquakes, how does 9/11 figure into this?  It wasn't an earthquake, famine, or pestilence.  The terrorists weren't a nation or even citizens of the country they were living in, so you can't count that as "nation against nation," either. 

Third, all these things have been happening for all of history.  If you want to be a shyster prognosticator, it's a safe bet that there will be wars, earthquakes, famine and pestilence somewhere in the world most of the time.  It's like dousers finding aquifers (which are under virtually all land).

Fourth, as if we need more reasons to argue against this tripe, why would all this horrible stuff presage Jesus' return?  What kind of god does that?  Wouldn't a loving god say "In order to give you a last chance to repent, I'll give you a two-minute warning (remember, God isn't very good with time, so that would be like 20 years).  I'll send rainbows and cure everyone from their cancers and stop all the locusts from destroying any crops."

Fifth *sigh*  The "endtimes" have come and gone many many many times, most recently in 2007.

I don't de-friend people who post this stuff.  They're nice people and I see them as victims rather than morons.   Still...  I wish they would think a little harder and develop some critical skills.  It's rude of me to argue in a FB thread, and it has to be massively offensive for me to break the unwritten FB etiquette rules.  This one didn't rise to that level but it merited a post and a facepalm.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Godspam, and the Goddamngodspammers who Spam it

I think we've all (atheists and theists alike) received insipid life lesson godspam in our e-mail at one time or another. Some of my friends are so god-soaked (hat-tip to Human Ape for the adjective) that they hardly realize that the feel-good stories they send are religious. After all, a pithy religious note at the end of a long series of cute puppy photos doesn't make an e-mail religious, does it? *facepalm*

Recently, one of my atheist friends at work (yes, I found another one here in Indiana!!!) received the NASA spam claiming to validate two Biblical miracles. It claims that astrophysicists have proved a "lost day" during which the Sun "stood still" in the sky (Joshua 10:12-13) for 23 hours and 40 minutes, and another fable about Hezekiah demanding the Sun go backwards as proof that Isaiah was visiting him as a ghost, filling in the remaining 20 minutes.  *groan*  This is such utter nonsense it ought to make baby Jebus cry.

How can you tell it's nonsense if you're not an astronomer (which I'm not)? Here are some tips:

It's an e-mail that purports there is scientific proof supporting a Biblical miracle. Miracles by definition defy science so this would be big news indeed. And yet the only people who know are the lucky few who happen to be in the spammer's contacts list. Wouldn't this be common knowledge if it were really true?  Here are some clues:

The person sending it is a Christian. There. I said it. Christians are gullible. They are so eager to be right that they will believe anything, from Creationism to the Virgin Mary appearing in an office building window.

NASA scientists are supposedly wasting the taxpayers' money proving a religious myth. That would be unconstitutional, besides also being a waste of time. And anyway, why would NASA worry about something like that when they have bigger problems to solve?

The noble Christian character, who figures out The Truth thanks to his prior indoctrination as a Christian, is a classic trope.  He's the Christian Mulder. Doesn't every conspiracy theory have one? Crackpot loners always have the right answer against common sense and the scientific method. *rolls eyes*  Their colleagues suppress The Truth (tm) and he can only get the message out through spam.

Complete lack of detail, such as dates, references to written articles, etc. That's pretty much a trait of all urban legend type spam too.

...and then as I was getting ready to finish this post and publish it, I find this piece of shit in my e-mail account (sent as an e-mail).  WTF?  How did they get my e-mail address?  That's the most pathetic spam I've ever seen!  Although I have to admit, I am intrigued by the thought that the book teaches the fools how to spot logical fallacies!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

WTF?????

I'm sorry, I couldn't think of a better title for this post.

I mean, how do you describe bullshit, complete and utter bullshit, being posted to the blog of a periodical that the general public trusts?

"Extraordinary" claims do not require extraordinary evidence, according to this writer on the Psychology Today blog.

In order to take him seriously you have to completely misunderstand what Sagan meant in the first place.

Extraordinary claims:  i.e., outside the realm of the normal or natural, i.e. supernatural

Extraordinary evidence:  pretty much the same thing

Apparently there's a brouhaha in the psychology field since the publication of an article claiming to prove precognition.  And this idiot is arguing against demanding "extraordinary" evidence in this manner:

The problem with the dictum is that there are no absolute criteria for what counts as “extraordinary claims.”  In particular, what counts as extraordinary depends entirely on what you know and believe.

Well, there's the natural world and the non-natural world.  If you want to claim that the supernatural is natural you do indeed need some damn good proof because you're not just filling in the gap in some huge field of knowledge; you'd be turning all knowledge about the world upside-down.

And apparently "science" is so trendy your a dinosaur if you don't go along with the latest gibberish:

Worse, what counts as extraordinary depends also on the scientific fads and fashion of the time.   The claims of race and sex differences in intelligence were not at all extraordinary a hundred years ago.  They are considered to be extremely extraordinary today, requiring extraordinary evidence.

 Bingo.  Just like religionists, pseudoscientists perform linguistic sleight-of-hand when it suits them:

The claims of race and sex differences in intelligence were not at all extraordinary a hundred years ago.  They are considered to be extremely extraordinary today, requiring extraordinary evidence.

So now we're speaking of "extraordinary" in the sense of unusual, not supernatural.    In Science, knowledge changes based on evidence, testing, and retesting.  That's not faddish, it's the way science is supposed to work.  It's entirely possible for an unusual phenomenon to change the way experts think.  That doesn't mean that supernatural claims shouldn't be held to a higher standard.

Further, this is a false equivalence.  There's nothing about bias in intelligence testing that's the equivalent to claiming precognition because intelligence had previously been established.  Precognition has not been established, unless this supposed study is indeed valid.  Presumably the author of the original study will accept Randi's million-dollar challenge, win, and have plenty of money to validate the earlier "evidence."

Meanwhile, only believers in precognition will believe this stuff.

The offending article is here if you have the stomach for it:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/201103/do-extraordinary-claims-require-extraordinary-evidence

Friday, March 18, 2011

Poe's Law? Or perhaps the corollary?

Someone named TamTamPamela posted a video that she now says was a hoax.  In it, she says that god is "good" and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami were his way of telling the atheists that he's "there."  Is it real or is it someone from 4chan?



The question that people aren't asking is the true important question: Why is it so hard to tell a troll from the real thing?  Why have crazy Christian crackers gone so far off the rails that what should have been obvious as a troll (if it really was) could pass for the real thing?  Shouldn't crazy hatespeech be questioned as an attempt to smear Christians?  Why are we so conditioned to expect this crap?

Because Christianity has a long history of blaming natural disasters on God's wrath.  The notable exception would be tornadoes ripping up "Tornado Alley," which happens to coincide with the "red" stripe of right-wing fundamentalist Christianity that runs up the middle of the U.S. map.  Tornadoes are just tonadoes, but earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and droughts (except the 1930s "Dust Bowl" in the midwest!) are God's way of punishment when he's too impatient to wait for everyone to die and then throw them into Hell.

And because the Old Testament God comes around whenever it's handy for them to summon him, but if someone (ohhh atheists, for example) cites the genocide and atrocities of the OT "God" suddenly they believe in the New Testament.

Anywho, this whole thing introduced me to the Trollnews channel, which is some fun watching/listening.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

God Hates Uppity Teenagers

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/16/teen-creator-of-note-to-god-app-in-coma/

This is very very sad for his family but it seems to prove the pointlessness of believing in a god.  His idiot relatives believe it's a "miracle" that someone found him on a road after being hit by a car... but he was supposed to be meeting someone on that road so it was virtually certain someone would find him either by accident or by searching for him.  A real miracle would be having a car hit him, kill him, and then he gets up like nothing happened.  Or maybe the car goes right through him.  It would be even better if the car were a police cruiser with a dashboard camera to catch the whole thing.  That would convince me of the supernatural (not of God, though).

Check out the demo of the app he created.  The examples of the notes people send to god are just so pathetic, but I feel sympathy for them, even if they are deluded.  Rape victims, worried girlfriends waiting for MRI results, grieving parents, they all feel some kind of psychological pain that they don't have any method of coping with except this app on their iphone.  *sniff*  Actually using the phone as a phone and calling a friend to talk it over doesn't occur to people anymore apparently. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pray for Japan... even though they're atheists

...in the sense that they don't believe in a supreme being, anyway.  Shintoism and Buddhism are prevalent "religions" but belief in a supreme single deity is not required.

I keep seeing and hearing of people saying they're "praying for" Japan but not saying what they're praying for exactly.  It's really a kind of meaningless expression of concern.  Deep down they know their prayers won't affect the outcome other than to make them feel a bit better about being helpless. This is the kind of insipid vague crapola that bugs me when it's directed toward me.  If you actually question the good-hearted souls who offer to pray for others they will quickly become embarrassed at how shallow and useless their gesture is.

Here are some questions to ask in case you run into this inanity:
  1. Why would a Christian god care about non-Christians?
  2. Why didn't God prevent the earthquake and tsunami?
  3. What are you asking God to do, exactly?
  4. Why didn't you pray for Japan (or Haiti, or Thailand) before this happened?
  5. What about all the other people in the world who need help?  Why not pray for them?
  6. Why are you only praying for the living?  Why not ask god to forgive the deceased for being Shintoists and Buddhists?
  7. Why aren't you praying for God to halt the aftershocks?  (they likely aren't)
  8. Why should God listen to you?
  9. If you pray for the Japanese and another earthquake kills more people there, does that mean God doesn't answer prayers?
  10. Why doesn't God perform a miracle and bring all the victims back to life?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why Atheists are Angry: Ten Things that Believers are Doing that are Ruining the World

We're not angry at God.  You can't be angry at a fairy tale.  So if you are a Christian and this is what you've been told, erase it from your brain NOW!  But we do have a few gripes. 

Believers have been working hard at ruining the world of late.  We live here too and we don't like the way Christians have been doing things.  Other religionists are often just as bad.  So if you sense anger from some of us, it's because you've been behaving badly.  If you don't want us to be angry, try not being dicks.  You can start with these ten things:

These are 10 things that piss us off:

1.  Killing people.  Jihadists, abortion doctor murderers, presidents who believe they're on a mission from God... they all suck and they're all evil, and they all believe they're going to be rewarded for the horrible things they're doing.  So right off:  STOP KILLING PEOPLE.  Sure, some atheists kill people too but not for atheism.  For other reasons (which also suck).  But you won't see atheists flying planes into buildings or shooting people at church, and you won't see groups of atheists celebrating some horrible misdeed by a fellow atheist.  We want some of you to fuck off and die, but we're not running around offing you ourselves.

2.  Trying to make everyone else believe in fairy tales.  Stop sending out missionaries.  You believe in your fairy tales because some ruler eons ago decided those were the ones to believe and your peasant ancestors had to go along with it.  You may believe in some split-off version of it but that's basically it.  Scientologists, you too, even though you have different tactics.  And Falun gung - stop xeroxing pamphlets and handing them out on the streets of DC.  Secretaries and janitors can't help your cause and making them late for their coffee break at Starbucks just ticks them off.  Muslims: get out of the prisons.  Jehovah's witnesses: get off my front porch.  Mormons: stop dressing like 1950s ice cream parlor nerds and riding around on bicycles.  Get real jobs and make a contribution to society.  Sure, the First Amendment guarantees you have the right to do this, but you can't complain that we get pissed off at it.  We have our rights, too.  If you don't stop, we'll start knocking on your doors!

3.  Semi-universalist "tolerance."  Incredibly, people who believe in a god will respect people who believe in a different god more than they'll respect someone who rejects them all.  WTF?  That makes no sense at all.   Those other people disbelieve 99% of gods, just as you do, but one they accept is one that you reject and vice versa.  You disagree with them more than you disagree with atheists!  At least we agree with you about those other peoples' gods.

4.  Creationism/Intelligent Design.  If you really believe that evolution is "just a theory" and should be ignored, then please put your money where your mouth is and stop believing in the germ theory of disease transmission.  Stop getting vaccinated, taking antibiotics, washing your hands, and drinking treated water.   Let's see how soon you change your mind about what "theory" means!

5.  Claiming the rights to "family values."  Your families are no better than anybody else's and you know it.  You get mental illnesses and addictions at the same rate.  You divorce at a higher rate.  If you're predisposed to a hot temper you believe in "spare the rod, spoil the child" and if you're a softie you don't believe in hitting your kids.  It has nothing to do with religion!   You pick and choose what "family values" are in your religion based on the ones that you happen to like.  And too often your idea of "love" includes telling your children that an invisible magic despot is reading their minds and wants to send them to hell for having the wrong thoughts.  Then you perform a ritual that symbolizes (or actually is, depending on your theology) cannibalism.  Giving them Christmas presents makes up for this abuse for awhile but wouldn't it be better if you didn't make them afraid eternal punishment before they can even tell time?

6.  Bigotry.  The KKK and other hate groups claim that God is on their side.  'nuff said.

7.  Claiming your religion is valid because of the beautiful art it inspired. Hey, everyone's religion inspired beautiful art.  That proves nothing.  Bach composed non-religious music.  Michelangelo created Hellenistic artwork.  The art of Hindus is truly gorgeous.  None of that art validates religion as a whole or any particular religion.  So stop trying to claim all the world's greatest artists as your own.  If they got paid more to create art for their religion it's because their religion was a rapacious money-grubbing greedy abusive power within that particular culture.  Artists may have claimed to be sincere about their art, but wouldn't it be foolish of them to express an iota of cynicism toward their sugar daddies?  And even if they were sincere, that doesn't mean they wouldn't have been great artists if they'd been atheists.  They would have been just as talented and taken on different subjects.

8.  Telling atheists what we believe.  We've read your books, but have you read ours?  Here's some news: we don't have a catechism.  We don't have a list of questions we have to answer to be atheists and we don't have to answer your questions, either.  If you insist on asking me where I'll go when I die then I'll have no recourse but to ask you why the Gospels trace Jesus' genealogy through Joseph when he was supposed to have been conceived by God, or why it was okay for Lot to have sex with his daughters but not okay for his wife to look over her shoulder at her former home as it burned.  Religion only answers the questions it poses, and the questions beg the answers.  Not believing in a god doesn't mean we believe in "nothing."  Not believing in the Ten Commandments doesn't mean we have no morality. 

9.  Accusing us of being arrogant.  Okay, so many of us are smarter than you, but you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know bullshit when you smell it.  It's not arrogant to say "I see no evidence for religion so I don't believe in it."  It's not even arrogant to say that gods don't exist.  At least not more arrogant than saying that other peoples' gods don't exist.  In fact I think that believers are the arrogant ones.  Not only do you believe in something for which there is no validated proof, but you think that you're smart enough to have chosen the correct belief system, and the correct splinter group as well.  Okay, sure your ancestors picked it for you, soaked your culture in it, indoctrinated your parents, and they in turn perpetuated the indoctrination to the point where you have no sense of perspective whatever, but you picked the correct parents!  Well done!

10.  Going to Bob Evans after church.  I'm just waking up and I need a bottomless cup of coffee and a place to do some quiet reading.  Besides driving behemoth vehicles I can't park near, you take up all the good tables and the wait staff pay more attention to you.  Also, stop dressing up if you insist on doing this.  You make the rest of us look bad.  Sunday mornings should be mandatory casual dress day.  All my good stuff is in the laundry hamper on Sunday morning.  You don't want me stinking up your Bob Evans with my skanky weekday work clothes do you?  I'm getting paid to dress nice at work, and I sure as heck wouldn't dress nice for Bob Evans.  Their slogan is "down on the farm" get it?  Dress like a farmer!  (only cleaner).   And tell your brats to stop kicking my seat!

There are probably many many more things you do to tick us off but that's a quick list.

Note:  This post was inspired by The Human Ape at Darwin Killed God, though the anger is my own.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Local Town Idiot Speaks

Thanks to The Human Ape at Darwin Killed God for bringing this local piece of Creationist inanity to my attention.  In case it disappears from radar before my loyal fans readers have a chance to click:
Defending God
Atheists are constantly demanding scientific proof that God exists. The claim is that belief in a Creator is no more than a fabrication from an age of weakmindedness before science, logic and enlightenment became our litmus test.


I would propose that, if science is what you need, look no further than your own DNA. While agreeing that random patterns occur naturally by chance, DNA consists of code, which requires a designer. In intelligent design, we find a specified complexity. There is no Shakespearean sonnet without Shakespeare. Our very existence proves the existence of a Creator God.

However, God does not need to be defended for God's sake, but for our sake. God is eternal, above and beyond all that is temporal, and will continue to exist regardless of what we do here in our world limited to time and space and science as we presently understand it.

In our increasingly agnostic and atheistic world, God has been judged and sentenced to irrelevance, mocked instead of revered. The decisions we each make about God will determine our eternal futures, but it is a personal path. Do not limit your study to the rantings of the secular. Do not waste your arguments on those who will not listen. Discuss and debate within yourself to find the answers to your existence. In the end, it is between you and God.
I'm heartened to see local atheists replying.  There are probably some auslanders replying too, but it's for a good cause.  In a city with a university that offers *gasp*  SCIENCE degrees it's embarrassing to see this kind of crap posted in letters to the newspaper.  It's not like Christians don't have enough outlets to spew their stupidity.

The Billboards are Coming! Oh Noes!!!


Coming to a big city near MEEEE!!!!! Indianapolis!!!!!

The press says they picked Indy because there are freethinkers here, but I think the truth is, Indiana is the most backward state north of the Mason-Dixon.  I don't really care why I'm just glad it's coming.  It's an in-your-face answer to all the ridiculous crap lining the highways of this backward state, including Rapture billboards.  Yes, we have rapture billboards.  I kid you not.

The message will get through despite ticking people off.  I love this message, in fact.  It's not anti-Christian, at least not as much as it could be!  And it shows lovely white people displaying family values - nuclear family, child loving and respecting his mother, doting daddy... what could be better?

I still crack up remembering the comment at work about a local atheist leader being "one of the happiest people I've met" as if it was the freakiest thing to find that atheists could be happy.  The conversation didn't get very far, though, because I said "I'm an atheist too, and I'm pretty happy."

One happy atheist =  freaky oddity.  Two happy atheists = what the fuck?  A whole community of happy atheists coming out of the closet = did my pastor lie to me?

Yes, Virginia, your pastor lied to you.  We don't go around raping, murdering, robbing, and doing drugs.  Well, not more than theists do.  Possibly less.

If you have empathy for your fellow human beings you are much much less likely to hurt them, and more likely to respect yourself.  A religion that is all about YOU and YOUR future deployment to Heaven or Hell doesn't create empathetic people.

Some of Jesus' supposed words seem to encourage empathy but plenty of other stuff in the Bible drowns that stuff out for the average believer.  Even the "missions" to "help people" are mostly about being good in Jesus' eyes, or bringing Christianity to heathens, or earning brownie points with fellow Christians.

If people are empathetic it is because it's an evolutionary advantage for the species for individuals to look out for each other.  We are the decendents of apes that helped each other out.   Not everyone needs to be a certain way for the species to carry on a beneficial gene (a fact theists just can't get sometimes), but enough of us will be empathetic for the species to survive.  It has to be nurtured but not necessarily by a church.  Loving parents are all you really need.  Loving teachers, neighbors, and extended family help a lot too.

I would even say we're the "real thing" when it comes to morality and empathy because when an atheist behaves ethically or compassionately it's other-centered and sincere.  We offer aid and comfort freely, with no strings attached.  We do it because we're happy and we want others to be happy. What better reason could there be?