Monthly Archives: April 2009

Pull the Plug… on idiots

I may have stumbled upon the most hilarious website ever, however the deluded idiot(s) that runs it thinks they are clever.

via aweisbe on twitter, I came across the news that a group called ‘Living Waters’ are running a billboard campaign calling to “Pull the Plug on Atheism

Would this deter you from atheism?
Would this deter you from atheism?

At the cost of $6,000/month that’s a lot of money to waste on a sign that doesn’t even make sense; as schwinn said:

I do like the idea of a bunch of dumb-asses paying $6000 a month for such a lame billboard

It would have been nice if they’d had a bigger, clearer picture so we could make out all the wording, but as best as I can read it, the sign says:

Atheist

Someone who believes that nothing made everything

A scientific impossibility

With a picture of what looks like Charles Darwin

So what is so wrong with this sign? Firstly what is with the picture of Darwin? Darwin’s theories have nothing to do with atheism, the beginning of the universe or the beginning of life. So his picture is completely irrelevant.

Secondly science is still debating if there ever was a “nothing”. If the universe was created from nothing, the mere fact the universe exists is proof that something can be created from “nothing”. The beginning of the universe is not so much an impossibility but something science just doesn’t understand… yet.

Which leads me to the obvious alternative billboard (based on what I’m assuming the billboard sponsors believe).

Theist

Someone who believes a god made everything from nothing

A scientific impossibility

The theists that thought up the wording for their billboard accuse atheists of having a scientific impossibility but then believe an even greater impossibility that some sky-god (for which there is zero corroborative evidence) created everything from nothing. Theists also find it perfectly plausible that their sky-god has always been there and nothing created it. So if their god has always been there, then why can’t the universe have always been there?

Thirdly, it amused me that these theists are trying to sound scientific on their billboard, sciences requires a good grasp of logic, something the author of that billboard obviously lacks.

So, I decided to have a look at some more of the site in question. That’s when I found it is another site of Ray Comfort’s. Say no more. From the Home page:

Free articles and resources by best-selling author and TV co-host Ray Comfort that will help you to pull the plug on the rising tide of atheism.

Ray it’s not so much a rising tide of atheism, but a rising tide of humans awakening to the sensible idea that there are probably no gods.

I started reading some of the articles on Ray’s abysmal site but after a brief while the stupid became too much and I had to stop reading. My irony meter melted and the cognitive dissonance was warping my logic cells.

For instance I clicked on this page: “you can lead an atheist to evidence but you can’t make him thinkirony_meter

HA Ha Ha, Ray Comfort you are freakin hilarious, talk about the “pot calling the kettle black”. I think you may find Ray that it is the theists who when shown mountains of evidence refuse to believe any of it, because they only believe what’s in the bible. Theists may think, but they refuse to think they may be wrong; and considering there is no evidence for god, gods or anything supernatural then I think it is the theists who are clearly not thinking.

If Ray’s best argument against atheism is “god did it” then he needs to think a little harder. For instance he has a go at PZ Myers for saying “that the universe wasn’t ‘made,’ by a ‘who,’ either.” Ray’s assumption that there was a creator, leads him to erroneously ask this question of Myers:

Here now is a big mystery. He doesn’t know how the universe got here, but he somehow knows that the Creator wasn’t a “who.” How does he know that? Does he have some inside information?

I’d suspect Myer’s “knows” that in the sense that the possibility that there was some mythical “creator” is so remote as to be not worth considering. For instance I could say I “know” that gravity will always cause  an object to fall to the ground. However, using your twisted logic Ray I suppose I can’t say I “know” that for sure because perhaps some magic creature might make the object  rise.  I also suspect that Myer’s “knows” that the universe wasn’t “made” because there is absolutely no evidence for any intelligent design within the universe.

So where is your “inside information” Ray that there is a “Creator”, we’d all love to see that. And if you reply with “the bible” or “in my heart” then you seriously need to reconsider your answer.

Please someone, ‘pull the plug’ on Ray Comfort’s idiotic web site.
the_stupid

Feel free to check out Ray’s site, but …

You have been warned!

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There’s Hypocrites

Then there’s fucking hypocrites.

[Anyone following this blog recently may have noticed my ‘problem’ with hypocrisy. One day all may be revealed.]

Via Twitter I came across this interesting article:

Group targets school kids in atheism drive

A story (on a religious web site) lamenting that the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies (AHS) in England are “targeting” children to inform them that religion may not provide the best ethical and moral guidelines.

In what is some of the most hypocritical statements (and I’ve heard plenty over the last 18 months), and some of the best cognitive dissonance I’ve seen (at least in the last few minutes) in a while, comes these pearls of wisdom:

“It is deeply worrying that they now want to use children to attack the Christian ethos of their schools.

“Many parents will also be anxious at the thought of militant atheists targeting their children.”

OMFG! Like the many and varied churches haven’t been using children to boost their incoherent, inconsistent and blatantly stupid beliefs for the last couple of centuries!! Like the churches (eg. Catholic, Anglican & Muslim) haven’t, not only setup their own schools to indoctrinate and brainwash the unfortunate  children, but have also managed to get RE into a lot of public schools. Like religion hasn’t used children and schools to attack atheism, evolution, and promote their particular narrow minded view of the world.

If it wasn’t for the stranglehold religions have on children, there probably wouldn’t be any religions. If religion was expressly forbidden to be indoctrinated or taught to anyone under the age of 18 how many people do you honestly think would believe in it?

Why do you think so many religions espouse having lots of children? Why do you think so many religions (particularly the Catholics) have problems with contraception?

Because if children weren’t indoctrinated from birth in the faith of their parents, if children were dutifully informed about religion and how it came about. If children were informed about the many and varied faiths; they probably wouldn’t become religious. Then the particular faith would wither and die a natural death.

As A. C. Grayling says [paraphrased]

Tell an averagely intelligent adult hitherto free of religious brainwashing that somewhere there is an invisible being, who was born of a virgin, performs miracles, that wants us to worship them or else they’ll burn in hell. Then ask them which of several religions, that fit this description, they wish to believe in, most likely they will say: none of them.

Hypocrisy at it’s best, religions have schools that promote a particular religion, but then have a problem with a group that wants to promote healthy positive, alternative, critical thinking.

Another, slightly less biased story is here.

What do you think? Are the religious being hypocrites? Do they have anything to be concerned about? Is the AHS on to a good thing?

What more could be done to promote critical thinking in schools?

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Filed under atheism, atheist, christian, critical thinking, education, god, religion, religious

A Big Day in Science

Two interesting science articles caught my eye today. One about evolution and  one about astronomy.

Evolution

Another ‘missing link’ has been found. From the BBC News comes the story of a fossil found in the Arctic which looks like a cross between an otter and a seal.

A skeleton unearthed in northern Canada shows a creature with feet that were probably webbed, but were not flippers.

Writing in the journal Nature, scientists suggest the 23 million-year-old proto-seal would have walked on land and swum in fresh water.

Great name thay have given it: Pujilla darwini.

Pujilla is an Inuktitut term for “young sea mammal”, and darwini is named after Charles Darwin who contented that land mammals would naturally move into the marine environment via a fresh water stage.

Read the rest of the story here.

Damned evilutionists you may have found another missing link, but where’s the crocoduck fossil? expected fundie question

Astronomy

A ‘blob’ has been found. Also from BBC News, comes the story that astronomers have found  a “Lyman-alpha blob”, which is 55,000 light years across,  and 12.9 billion light years away. Scientists are now wondering how such a large object formed so soon after the ‘big bang’.

“Many early theories of galaxy formation predicted a Lyman-alpha ‘fuzz’ around early galaxies,” said James Geach, an astronomer at the University of Durham who works on Lyman-alpha blobs.

“The problem is that no-one is entirely sure what mechanism gives rise to the extended emission; a number of theories of Lyman-alpha blob formation abound, but all are difficult to test”

Yeah I guess it would be quite difficult to test the creation of a universe, but I’m sure the scientists will eventually come up with a very good theory to explain how these ‘blobs’ formed.

blob‘ – is that the best name you scientists/astronomers could come up with?

Read the rest of the story here.

The scientists don’t have to wonder how the ‘blob’ got there, God put it there. expected fundie statement

Everyday more and more amazing things come to light in the science world; and more and more explanations for how the world and the universe works are discovered. But still there are those that cling to ‘goddidit’, how much further does science have to squeeze god out of the equation before people realise that there probably is no god?

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Well They Are …

Cruel and Racist that is. Who, you may ask? The State of Israel, that’s who.

For some unknown reason to me Israel always appears to be able to say and do whatever it wants with little condemnation from the rest of the world. Sure, some Jews over the years have been persecuted (I’m certainly no Holocaust denier) and demonized, but in general I’d say the State of Israel has done rather well, especially during the last 60 years with the assistance of countries like the UK and USA.

So when Israel threatens a country like Iran, is it so surprising the Iranian President verbals Israel and calls it a “cruel and racist regime”? Both of these countries accuse each other of being racist, violent, terrorist regimes, but I ask; which one has one of the most lethal spy agencies in the world? Which one has a very strong military with numerous high tech long range weapons? Which one has walled up a whole Nation State (a move once done by some other country which was condemned by most of the rest of the world (and eventually brought down))? Which one seems determined, and has to a great extent achieved, to completely eradicate another country? Which one is known to have extensive nuclear technology and highly likely to have nuclear long range weapons? Which one believes it has a God given right to totally own a particular piece of land no matter what? Finally, which one gets support to do all these things from numerous westernized countries?

I’ll give you a clue, it starts with I but doesn’t end in N.

Now I’m not saying Iran is a wonderful country and it’s leaders are glorious people. What I do question is, why does Israel get a “free ride”, what makes Iran so much worse than Israel? Personally I think both countries are doing a lot of things wrong and have agendas that threaten, not only neighbouring countries, but possibly the whole world (just ask a few Fundamentalist “End Of World / Armageddon” Christians who they side with and what they wish for), but, to me at least, Israel seems to be the country doing the most harm at the present.

What we need is unbiased reporting, and unbiased acceptance and/or accusations from the rest of the world leaders. What we need to hear is both sides of the story. Which country do we really have the most to fear from, which countries religious beliefs are causing the most harm?

I don’t really know the answers to all these questions, but I am sure neither side is innocent and neither side really has the higher moral ground to be accusing the other of being cruel, racist regimes.

What do you think? What is really happening in the Middle East? How much has this got to do with underlying religious beliefs? More questions for which I don’t really know the answers, but am open to responses.

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In the news (last week)

What I would have discussed last week if I’d had the time and inclination.

Safran ‘crucifixion’ offends villagers

Devout Christian followers of Good Friday’s crucifixion rituals in the rural Philippines village of Kapitangan were devastated to learn that John Safran‘s nailing to the cross alongside local penitents was a TV comedy show stunt.

Safran actually had nails hammered through his hands for this show, talk about suffering for your art.

Young couple shot dead for trying to elope

A Taliban firing squad killed a young couple in south-western Afghanistan for trying to elope, …

The Taliban, Sahria Law, religion a law unto itself, and very unjust laws they are.

Pell backs Pope in saying condoms worsen AIDS spread

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney said on morning television yesterday that condoms “encourage promiscuity” and were not the solution to the AIDS epidemic.

“The idea that you can solve a great spiritual and health crisis like AIDS with a few mechanical contraptions like condoms is ridiculous,” he said on Sky News.

Proving Pell is just as stupid and ignorant as the Pope. AIDS isn’t a spiritual problem it’s a health problem, and one of the best methods of preventing it, if you are engaged in an active sex life (as eventually just about everyone gets involved in; like it or not) is to use a condom.

Pakistan seals sharia deal

Pakistan’s President has signed an accord to put some of the country under Islamic law as part of efforts to end a Taliban insurgency despite fears it would encourage extremism.

If you can’t beat them, let them have their own way. Since when is that a good model of government?

“Encourage extremism”, like shooting a couple because they want to elope (see above), of course you are going to encourage extremism if you legitimise the Taliban.

Word Up, Christendom!

A witty satirical Easter message.

An Easter re-think on miracles

Another opinion piece about Easter.

If the life of Jesus is going to be questioned alongside Santa and the Easter Bunny, perhaps it’s time religious leaders took a more flexible view of the Bible and those who read it differently.

What do Jesus, Santa and the Easter Bunny have in common? None of them are real.

I know several of these article relate to Easter, which was a week ago, but better late than never I guess.

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Proof there is NO God

RAIN.

Or if there is a god it is a completely non-interventionist god.

Or if there is a god and he is an interventionist god then he’s mean-spirited and incompetent.

Either way, god either doesn’t exist (most likely scenario) or exists but is neither useful or worth worshipping.

If God exists and is as interventionist as some say then he is responsible for the rain, or more impotantly when it rains. So why does it rain on the weekend, and more importantly why does it rain during the day?

Last weekend (Easter long weekend) I went, with several friends, to Mudgee to go cycling. It was obvious Mudgee hadn’t had any rain for some time, and desperately needed some. So of course it rained whilst we were there on holiday, camping and cycling.

Yesterday it rained just about all day, today the weather started out nice enough so I put a load of washing on the line. No sooner had I got back inside when there was a short bout of rain, but then it fined up again. So later in the day I decided to go for a ride on my bike, I hadn’t gone more than a few hundred metres when it absolutely poured down.

It was about this time that I decided there was probably no god, or else if there is a god, he is a spiteful wanker.

If I was an interventionist god then I’d organise the rain for the night, that way people could enjoy there day out, then go home and enjoy the rain overnight. As I said before, Mudgee really needed rain, and I’m sure the farmers and vignerons appreciated it, but why couldn’t god have organised it for after all the holiday makers left?

It’s now dark outside and not raining! Why couldn’t god have organised the rain for now, so I could have enjoyed a nice ride (and the picnickers in the park finished enjoying their day out with the family), and my washing would have dried?

So obviuosly there is no god, or at least not one that interferes in the functioning of the world.

So next time someone asks for proof of God, ask them about rain. 

PS. That’s the second time I’ve been to Mudgee, when a drought has broken. 

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National Human Rights Consultation

The following is my report on the National Human Rights Consultation meeting I went to on Wednesday 8 April 2009.

First some background on the consultation and human rights. Quotes taken from the Human Rights Consultation web site and pamphlets handed out at the meeting. So what is this all about?

The National Human Rights Consultation provides an opportunity for you to share your views on human rights in Australia.

There is currently no Bill, Law or Charter of Human Rights in Australia so there is a committee in place to find out what Australians think are important rights and how they could be enshrined. In what may be a first for real democracy the committee is traveling around Australia getting as many people involved as possible. Additionally you can have your say online or through traditional mail, so far they have had over 10,000 submissions, from simple one sentence to multiple pages. This is a government backed scheme, but run by mostly non-government people.

Why are we having a National Human Rights Consultation?

Because we want you to share your views about human rights in Australia! It is time to take a look at the way Australia currently looks after human rights and consider a range of ways we can protect and promote human rights in the future. The National Human Rights Consultation will give everyone a chance to have their say about human rights.

We want to know which human rights you want to have protected, whether you think that our current system of human rights protection is good enough, and what you would like Australia’s human rights framework to look like in the future.

There are three key points the committee are looking at as follows:

Key Consultation Questions

  • Which human rights and responsibilities should be protected and promoted?
  • Are human rights sufficiently protected and promoted?
  • How could Australia better protect and promote human rights?

You can share your views by making a written submission either online or by post. You can also attend a community roundtable discussion. See the Calendar of events and Share your views pages for more information.

So what happens at one of these consultation events?

We were handed a couple of pamphlets and an agenda, which basically covered, and expanded upon, the key points listed above, then seated in groups of up to eight. Following an introduction from the committee members, individuals were given the opportunity to explain their main reason for attending the consultation. Then it was explained to us how to answer key point one, each table then had to brainstorm and write down which human rights they would like protected and promoted. I, of course, got the following documented:

“The right to freedom of religion and freedom from religion”

I had to briefly explain the reasoning behind adding the ‘from’ religion section, but was very happy that the rest of the people at my table (none who had met any of us before) were all in agreement with this right. It would have been interesting to know how this would have gone down at the one table that had a couple of overtly religious people at (a Catholic priest and an Anglican minister). One of the women at the table I was at stated she was a christian but fully understood the need for freedom from religion as it doesn’t just protect non-believers but also all the different faiths from any one of them being promoted more than the others.

Following key point one a committee member explained what they wanted us to do for key point two, then it was back to the brainstorming and documenting. This was a little more difficult as none of us really knew if or what rights and liberties are protected (not many be all account), but at least we all agreed that some document should be in place and that it should be in an “accessible” language. Much discussion ensued on who should be obliged to protect these rights with several mentions of Businesses/Companies particularly with respect to what is called “Third Generation” rights.

Third generation rights are rights to protect future generations, such as rights promoting a healthy environment.

Next came key point three, from which the main point was raised that education was the key. Children, starting at primary school, should be taught any bill of rights and why they are in place. There was mention from one of the committee members of a course in ‘Civics’ taught in the UK for 4 -14 year olds, we all agreed a similar thing should be taught here. Ethics and diversity were added to our list, aditionally one of the table members recommended courses in Comparative Religion should be taught in schools from an early age, all the people at the table were in total agreement with that.

One of the common concerns was the difficulty in wording some of these rights and how they should be implemented, which I guess is one of the reasons they are holding these consultations.

At the end of answering key point three, a spokesperson from each group (there were about 30 groups) briefly outlined a major point or two that thier group came up with. Not surprisingly there was a lot of similar responses.

Overall I found it quite interesting, and heartening to see that so many people are keen to get involved. So why don’t you get involved? Check the Calendar of Events for when one of these consultation meetings are in your area and go along. If you are a GetUp member then register to attend via the GetUp website, this will assist GetUp in determining how many people are interested in a Bill of Rights. Additionally you can submit your suggestions from the GetUp site.

The flip chart papers we all wrote our responses on were collected by the committee who stated that they would review them all, so by the time they have been all around Australia they should have plenty of ideas for the Bill of Rights.

One of the things the committee did point out that, currently, the government is not intending to introduce a Bill of Rights per-se, so the results of these consultations will end up as being a Charter of Rights (which can be easily amended by legislation, so is not quite so binding).

So if you haven’t already, get involved. This may be one of the few chances you get to have a say in the process of democracy.

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