Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ideology and Violence

I have heard it claimed many times that Stalin and Mao killed people in the name of atheism, which frankly is not true. This is usually brought up as a counter-example to when someone criticising religion brings up the issue of killing in the name of god(s), which there are countless examples of. I'll try to briefly explain why Stalin and Mao did not kill in the name of atheism.
Neither of these dictators were motivated by atheism to commit their atrocities, rather they were motivated by their twisted communist ideologies. Anyone who opposed their rule was hastily silenced (read: murdered). It is as simple as that. To quote Richard Dawkins, "There is no logical pathway between atheism and killing people".
This is why attempts by theists to return the shit-slinging will always fail. There is an obvious pathway between  many different religions and violence. Take Islam for example, its founder Mohammed was a tyrant, who went around the middle east killing people who didn't convert to Islam. On top of that, there are many passages in the Qu'ran that say things along the lines of 'kill infidels'.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Added to the Atheist Blogroll

Undeniably Atheist has been added to The Atheist Blogroll. You can see the blogroll in my sidebar. The Atheist blogroll is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts for more information.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Superstitious Villagers kill harmless animal

The Aye-aye, a primate native to Madagascar is now considered to be 'at risk' for perhaps one of the most unfortunate reasons. It is partly to do with deforestation, but if it becomes extinct, that won't be the reason. Superstitious Madagascan villagers believe that the cute little creature is a "harbinger of evil" and that if one points its finger at you, then you are condemned to death. It is for this reason that Aye-aye's are often killed on sight, which is a terrible shame.

Here is a video showing the Aye-aye's unusual method of eating.


Makes me sick

Earlier today I saw a video of a whole pack of 'Tea Party' Republicans mocking and scorning an apparently disabled man. I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing, such a blatant act of inhumanity. I guess that's what happens when people listen to douche-bags like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh day in and day out on Fox News. In fact this isn't the first time a parkinson's disease sufferer has been openly mocked by Republicans. Rush Limbaugh himself mocked Michael J. Fox on live television, saying that he was faking his shakes and so on.

Anyway, here is the video.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Fundies

This one is a quote from the infamous YouTube fundie known as NephilimFree

Quote# 65028

The Adapa Epic, Hindu Vedas, Epic of Gilgamesh, Mesopotamian and Babylonian steles, and Egyptian hyroglyphs are mythologized literature. Genesis is not. There is a? great difference. For example, Gilgamesh traveled to the underworld inside the earth in a boat seeking the secret of imortality. This is clearly mythology, as we know it is unsound in the real world. The Bible is not a a collection of this type of unsound events. The Bible is the true history, the others are distortions.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Scientific Method vs. Creationist Method


Christianity, Politics and Evolution

I just found an intriguing article by Michael Shermer from the October 2006 edition of Scientific American that discusses the links between various Christian denominations in the U.S.A., different political positions and acceptance of evolution as scientific fact.
The article quotes statistics from a 2005 Pew Research Center poll which showed that:
70% of Evangelicals are creationists compared to
32% of other Protestant denominations and
31% of Catholics

60% of Republicans are creationists, while only 11% accept evolution, compared to
29% of Democrats are creationists, while 44% accept evolution.

Comparing Liberals to Conservatives, the poll found 63% of liberals in America accept the fact of evolution, while only 37% of conservatives accept it.

I don't doubt that those numbers are possibly quite inaccurate, but they do give an indication of where the biggest problem lies in America with regards to intelligence and education. The Evangelicals and Republicans are sorely lacking in both.

I highly recommend reading the rest of the article, as it provides some insight into compatibility of evolution with theology and so on, if anyone is interested.

Link Here

Naturopaths PWN'd themselves

I was linked to an article on a naturopathy news website called They have an article explaining some details about research done on the placebo effect. The placebo effect accounts for most of the positive results that come from naturopathic remedies, so by them acknowledging the placebo effect they have pwn'd themselves without realising.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The problem with Omni's

In an effort to get people to understand just what on earth it is that they really believe,  Christians gave god certain attributes. Once you give a god attributes, it then becomes critique-able. For example most Christians believe that god is omniscient, which is perhaps one of the most problematic of the Omni's. One of the difficult problems to wrap your mind around when dealing with omniscience is the following argument.

Omniscient beings do not have free will.
God is omniscient.
Ergo, god does not have free will.

If that is a bit hard to grasp, I'll try and explain it. If a being is omniscient, it literally knows everything, so it would know the decisions it would make in the future before it made them. This creates a confusing dichotomy, as if you know what you're going to do at every moment in the future it is hard to definitively say when you made the choice to enact that decision.
Once you add another popular attribute into the picture it becomes even more paradoxical. Lets say that god was omnipotent as well as omniscient. Omnipotent literally means all powerful, so an omnipotent being should be able to do anything. Would an omnipotent being that knows what decisions it was going to make in the future have the power to change them? If not, it is not omnipotent. If so, it is not omniscient.

Enough of the brain-melters....

The moral implications of omniscience in particular are also troublesome for Christianity. If god created Satan knowing that he would become "the devil", then it could be said that god created the devil expressly for that purpose, to be evil. The same could be said about individual people, for example Adolf Hitler.. If it was true that god had foresight of all the events of humanity before he "created", he is directly responsible for absolutely everything. Just trying to think about the implications of omnipotence and omniscience in regards to creationism is just giving me a headache now, so I'll leave it there.

Dugg up an article on Homeopathy

So I was browsing Digg the other day and I came across This Article on homeopathy. The article contained all the usual criticisms of homeopathy, saying that it's unscientific, relies on placebo effect etc. But the most interesting part of the article was this Diagram.

You can click the image to show a larger version of it, but the diagram basically has a blue arrow pointing to one molecule out of 14,000 in the container that is of the active ingredient that makes the homeopathic remedy. I also then has a few interesting captions around it. I'll just write them out here.

"In a homeopathic solution that contains 14,000 molecules and has been diluted to a tpyical 30C, you will likely have to hunt through more than 1,000 bottles to find a single molecule of the original substance."


"In a vial of homeopathic sulphur pills at 30C strength, there's significantly more chance of winning the lottery (1 in 14 million) than there is of finding a single molecule of sulphur..."

When looking at the numbers relating to homeopathic remedies, it seems pretty plain to me that homeopathy is completely bogus. Perhaps I'll do another post explaining more about homeopathy if anyone is interested.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Non-believing Clergy

Daniel Dennett recently finished his study on clergymen who have become non-believers while still being the pastor of a church. I read the paper yesterday and it was quite eye-opening to read about their mindset and how they justify their continuation of pastoral duties while not believing the words they preach. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who might want to read it (which I recommend you do) so I won't talk about the details of the paper. The de-conversion process for all of the 5 clergymen interviewed was a gradual process that traced itself back to when they started to learn more about their faith, and for most of them started when they went to seminary. I suspect it is the same for most people who leave their faiths. Not many people wake up one day and say to themselves, "Ok, I don't believe this anymore".

The Study is available on the Washington post's website HERE

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Fundie Quotes

Quote# 65087

The fact is evolution has never been proven, even though scientists like to think that. There are many holes in evolution and logic supports the bible. The bible is not just a book of dos and donts,? its the word of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. It's only arrogant fools that cant see this.

Not going to go into detail mocking this quote, as I've probably covered all these points before. It was from a YouTube video mocking creationism, and a heated debate erupted in the comments section.

Original Source

Ray Comfort Makes Leather Jackets

Apparently before Ray Comfort became an evangelist he used to hand-make leather jackets as an occupation. One of his colleagues didn't believe him that he could still make them, so Comfort set about making that colleague a leather jacket. Comfort then made one for Richard Dawkins, though I don't think Dawkins has contacted Comfort about receiving his Jacket yet, seeing as he has been in New Zealand for a speaking tour promoting his latest book, and in Australia attending the Global Atheist Convention. I'm not sure Dawkins will even respond to Comfort though.

Anyway, onto the point of this post. Ray Comfort has said that he will be periodically making these jackets to give away to atheists at his blog. So, if you're an atheist and would like to get in the draw to win a leather jacket hand-made by Ray Comfort himself, keep an eye out on his blog for when the next jacket is ready to give away.

Heres the link to Ray's blog.

Wolves/dogs vs Apes/Humans

Ok, I was thinking the other day about this issue relating to creationists. Don't ask how or why this popped into my head, because it just did...
So I was thinking about how creationists accept that wolves and all dogs share a common ancestor, but don't accept that all apes share a common ancestor. I just simply don't understand why they won't accept this (beyond "because the bible says so" that is) and I'll tell you why.

If you look at the comparative anatomies of all modern dogs and wolves, you will see that there is an extremely broad variety of everything from skull shape, size, limb length, limb proportions, spinal curvature, tail size etc. So, If creationists can accept that with only a few hundred years of selective breeding dogs could be completely re-designed so to speak, why can't they accept that given a million years or so, humans could also have developed from something that our modern chimp cousins also descended from? After all, the things I mentioned about the dogs all apply to our descent from monkeys. Skull shape? Size? Limb length and proportions? Spinal curvature? Tail size? None of these factors are particularly difficult for evolution to change. We share the exact same basic skeletal layout as all the great apes, our genetic code is also very similar. We look very similar to the Great Apes also.

So just where is the problem? The just simply don't want to accept something because they would rather believe in fairy tales than accept reality.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It seems Texas is worse than feared

The Republican history revisionists on the Texas State Board of Education, the same state board that recently had an election and the maniacal young earth creationist was unelected (is that even term to use?) has undergone a huge revision of American history in their latest textbook ploy. They have removed Thomas Jefferson from their curriculum. Thomas Jefferson is perhaps the single most influential American ever. He was one of their founding fathers, he was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and was the third President. He was an avid freethinker, deist, and was one of the geniuses behind the separation of church and state that allows Americans today the religious freedom that they currently enjoy, I mean damn, they can even be young earth creationists! If I had my own country, I would ban YECism......

They are replacing Thomas Jefferson in the curriculum with John Calvin. So they're removing perhaps the most patriotic American politician ever, and replacing him with a 16th century French theologian? After hearing so much pissing and moaning from right-wingers about "liberal bias" in education, the Republicans have shown that they are complete hypocrites, by essentially trying to change American history to the way they want to see it.

Above all, they decided not to include in the curriculum the fact that their constitution prohibits the government from promoting one religion of another, and instead decided to tell students that the U.S.A is a Christian nation, which it most certainly is not.

If you'd like to read more details of what has actually been changed and how bad it really is, Check of this blog post by the Atheist Community of Austin, Texas.

Anti-Vax Defeated in court

Just recently at the vaccine-court, the anti-vaccine fanatic's claim that the mercury-based preservative thimerosal causes autism, was defeated. The science was settled a fair while ago on this issue, but Anti-vaxxers are true believers, and like creationists, will continue to believe whatever they want despite all evidence pointing to the contrary.
So these people will continue protesting against vaccines, despite the science being settled, and then being defeated in court. The parallels with creationists are quite funny, you see the science on creationism/evolution was settled a long time ago and people still believed in it, and then when the creationists wanted to teach their garbage in public schools, they were taken to court, and were completely decimated. Yet after being embarrassed in a court of law in 2005, the same people keep trying to put their fairy-tales into classrooms.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Any Questions/Requests?

If anyone has any questions regarding my past belief, current unbelief or the transition between the two, please post it in the comments section. Also, if anyone has any requests for topics/ideas that you want me to write about, please post them in the comments section too.

I would also like to put out an offer to have a serious discussion about any of the issues that I've blogged about or anything vaguely relating to any of them. Either send me a message (you know where to find me) or post a comment letting me know how to contact you.

Speaking of Blasphemy Laws...

New Zealand is one of the few countries that still has specific blasphemy laws in place. Here is the exact text of the law from Section 123 of the 1961 'Crimes Act'.

123 Blasphemous libel
  • (1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year who publishes any blasphemous libel.
    (2) Whether any particular published matter is or is not a blasphemous libel is a question of fact.
    (3) It is not an offence against this section to express in good faith and in decent language, or to attempt to establish by arguments used in good faith and conveyed in decent language, any opinion whatever on any religious subject.
    (4) No one shall be prosecuted for an offence against this section without the leave of the Attorney-General, who before giving leave may make such inquiries as he thinks fit.

I have had a discussion about this with a Christian in the past year, though I don't remember who it was, but I distinctly remember that they didn't want the law removed for some reason or another. The best argument for keeping the law, (which isn't really an argument at all) is that no one has ever actually been prosecuted and sent to prison as a result of this law. I don't really see how that changes the fact that it is a crime in New Zealand to blaspheme. So if I write "Jesus was a bastard and Mary was a whore", I just committed a crime. I am now a criminal according to New Zealand law, and that doesn't sit right with me. I sure don't feel like I've committed any sort of crime.

Referedum in Ireland to determine future of blasphemy law

This is good news. The Irish government is planning to have a referendum to determine whether or not to remove the blasphemy laws from their legislation. Perhaps if they do scrap the law then the few remaining western countries that also still have these kinds of laws will follow suit. Laws against blasphemy really do have no place is a modern society.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

One of the strangest punishments around

In Ezekiel chapter 5 lies one of perhaps the strangest punishments imaginable. In return for being abominable or defying his will or something like that, Yahweh decides he will cause sons to eat their fathers and fathers to eat their sons. Yes, the bible says that god causes people to eat each other.

Here's the verse

Therefore in your midst fathers will eat their children, and children will eat their fathers. I will inflict punishment on you and will scatter all your survivors to the winds.
Right now I'm struggling to think of a more grotesque punishment. Well, one that isn't specifically created in my mind to beat that anyway. OK I'll rephrase, I haven't HEARD of any punishments more disgusting, I could perhaps conjure one up though.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fundie college students visit Natural History Museum

The prominent Fundie College called Liberty University, requires its biology students (who are taught young earth creationism in class) to attend the Natural History Museum in Washington every year. I find this highly amusing, as at the NHM, there are many displays of plainly stated, irrefutable evidence for evolution. This article shows how wilfully ignorant these students are of the facts.

When observing a model of perhaps the oldest known mammal ancestor, one student said "210 million years, that's arbitrary. They put that time to make up for what they don't know" another student said "There is no scientific, biological genetic way that this, this rat, could become you". Sorry to break it to you people, but it's not arbitrary, it is a number based upon more evidence than you'll ever see in your entire university career. To the second student, yes it is possible, and every single piece of evidence confirms this.

It baffles me that people can walk out of that pathetic excuse for a university with a real qualification, and some might end up becoming doctors (I sure hope not). Imagine that, a doctor that doesn't believe in evolution. How is he going to explain anti-biotic resistant bacteria to his patients? Is he simply going to tell them that God made the bacteria resistant to Penicillin because they didn't finish their course of it?

The good news is, as far as I can tell, this is a fairly isolated occurrence, and is the largest university of this kind by a long shot, with around 12,000 students each year. That seems like a frighteningly large number, but when you think of the millions of students at secular universities around the world, it pales in comparison.

100 posts

I've reached a milestone! This is my 100th post!

Thanks to everyone who has been reading and commenting, discussion is always welcome around here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fundie Quotes 3

You gotta laugh at this one, it's just pure gold.
Quote# 32410

[Comment from fundie regarding the stabbing to death of a man by a creationist during an argument over evolution.]

What's the problem? I thought evolutionists believed in survival of the fittest.


If you want to read an actual news article about the tragic stabbing which occurred in January 2006, HERE is the link.

Speaking of films... Genesis???

I heard recently that Paramount Pictures are producing a film version of the Genesis creation account. The story is really not that interesting and I'm really not sure how it will pan out as a full-length feature film. I'm hoping this film sparks up a whole new creation-evolution 'controversy', because it gives science an opportunity to set the facts straight.


IMAX: Hubble 3D

I just found out that the latest NASA trip to the Hubble space telescope to upgrade it, was all captured on film. Not just any film though, IMAX 3D film. The documentary is being played at IMAX and IMAX-3D theaters starting March 19. This is one you don't want to miss!

More information can be found here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Young Earth creationist rejected in Texas

The Texas State board of education, infamous for the "creation-evolution" controversy has just voted to NOT elect a young earth creationist. The new is not all good though, because the simply opted to elect an old-earth creationist instead. But I guess even that is a tiny step in the right direction.....


Re: Supernatural Evidence

Just recently a reader posted this comment on my blog about Josephus.
You mean a supernatural claim requires supernatural evidence. Supernatural evidence is an oxymoron to you so what a stupid thing to request.
 They were playing a word game with me, I had said extraordinary evidence, and they were trying to confuse definitions I guess. I did mean extraordinary, not supernatural, but I'll address the 'Supernatural evidence' part anyway.

I would possibly accept 'supernatural evidence' if you could come up with some valid definition of just what the hell would constitute supernatural evidence. It would also have to meet the criteria of 'evidence'. Is this evidence falsifiable? Is it circumstantial? Is it anecdotal?
Contrary to Mormon belief, a feeling in your chest is not evidence that your belief is true (or specifically the book of Mormon).

On second thoughts, 'supernatural evidence' in a sense is self-defeating. For if some supernatural occurrence is detectable in the natural universe, that evidence would not be 'supernatural' but would instead be purely natural. As the definition of natural is 'that which exists in nature' If the evidence exists in the natural world, then the evidence is natural.

Ray Comfort's Awful Analogies

In a recent post on his blog Ray Comfort compares an atheist telling a Christian why he doesn't believe in gods, to "a man who plays a game with his parachute instructor. When the instructor is looking the other way, he cuts holes in his own parachute--but he does it so that it can’t be detected by his instructor."

It seems to me like Ray Comfort goes out of his way to make his analogies as awful as possible. Cutting a hole in your own parachute has absolutely no bearing on explaining why you don't believe in gods.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Josephus and the Testimonium Flavianum

Flavius Josephus is perhaps the most highly respected and most extensively quoted Jewish historian of all time, he lived from 37-100 C.E. One paragraph in particular from his work by the name "The Antiquities of the Jews" is a favourite of many Christian apologists. It reads as follows:

"Now, there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."
– Josephus (aka Joseph ben Matthias) The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3: the so-called Testimonium Flavianum.
 At first glance it would appear that Josephus is confirming nearly every aspect of the gospel story in one paragraph, but there are several problems with this. Josephus was an orthodox Jew, he did not believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, and besides this one paragraph, Christianity is not mentioned once in all the rest of the collected works of Josephus.
Scholars came to the conclusion a long time ago that the Testimonium Flavianum was fraudulently added into the text at a much later date by Christians. It is worthy to note that the works of nearly every single other Jewish historian that was a contemporary of Josephus had their work burned at the hands of the early church.
The paragraph is exceptionally out of place in Antiquities 18, which is all about misfortunate events that happened to the Jews during that time. In the chapter where the testimonium was inserted, Josephus mentions about a Jewish protest against Pilate where the Romans attacked the Jews with concealed weapons. Out of nowhere appears a paragraph about the Messiah, then immediately afterwards, Josephus writes "And about the same time another terrible misfortune confounded the Jews". In fact the chapter reads much better with the Testimonium removed completely, then the line I just quoted makes sense.

On top of the contextual criticism, is the fact that not a single person quoted the Testimonium until the 4th century, over 200 years after Josephus' death. Not even Justin, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria or Tertullian make a reference to this paragraph. Origen, one of the early church fathers from the third century, quoted extensively from the works of Josephus, but didn't quote this paragraph. Origen even wrote that Josephus didn't believe in Jesus.

There are a few other criticisms of the passage in Antiquities 18 that I will not go into, but I think this is sufficient enough to show that Josephus cannot be used as evidence that the Christian account is true, as the Testimonium Flavianum is obviously a fake.

Flatworm Penis Fencing

It is rather strange sounding, but see it for yourself in this video. Flatworms are Asexual, so there is no male/female in their species.

Back at uni

My holidays have come to an end, but I'll try to continue to write content for my blog as much as I can. The real inhibitor is ideas rather than time. If you have anything you'd like me to blog about, send me a message.