This needs spread far and wide. One should always counter ignorance and stupidity. It’s up to all of us. Neil deGrasse Tyson just does it better than most. 🙂
This needs spread far and wide. One should always counter ignorance and stupidity. It’s up to all of us. Neil deGrasse Tyson just does it better than most. 🙂
Apple Pie moonshine from Old Republic Distillery is very good mixed about half and half with boiling water and with a bit of hot buttered rum “batter” aka equal parts of butter and brown sugar and cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice to your taste all mixed together.
Odd Squad on PBS is great. The humor is far more sophisticated than I would have guessed for a children’s show, much more of the absurd situational humor and word play similar to what you would see on a movie like Airplane! Yep, this because I was stuck watching daytime tv suffering with my cold.
I thought I’d tell a silly story from my youth thanks to Mr. Merveilleux showing us some pics of handsome fellows in the military. Back when I was young, the song Age of Aquarius was on the radio. I really liked it (was really into astrology) and got the album it was on with money I got for a birthday. Yes indeed, I got the album of the musical “Hair” when I was hmmm, probably somewhere in the 8-10 age range. Now, I was often singing all of the songs at the top of my lungs in my room. And if you know the album, some of the songs are a tad “interesting” for a little girl to be singing. I have no idea if my parents just didn’t hear me, didn’t want to deal with me or didn’t know what the words I was singing actually meant (I did eventually look up those words and found out why some of those words were “so nasty”…). Now, add to this that I never saw the musical until maybe five years ago, and had no idea what visuals were going with the songs. I watched it with my husband who found it hilarious to see my reactions to what I had been singing with such vigor in my youth. White boys and black boys are so pretty indeed 🙂
Ah, see what trouble you can get into being far too precocious in reading but not quite so precocious in comprehension…
Well, that’s it for today. I need some more cold medicine. It’s a sign when it took me a good three tries to type medicine correctly…
I’ve recently run into a Christian named Diana Lesperance. She is the classic evangelical Christian, creationist, and sure that her version of Christian is the only “right” one. She’s written a book “The Narrow Way: biblical and historical proof that God is Great” as a response to Chris Hitchens’s book.
That book must be quite a train wreck. I suppose I could get a copy for a penny on Amazon but then I’d still have to spend $3 getting the silly thing. Luckily, we can see some of Diana’s evidence and logic in her blog and it’s a great demonstration of how a religion needs to rely on fear, ignorance and lies to keep going. Her blog is also a fascinating lesson on how Christians create their religion to fit them.
I’ll address one of her recent blog posts in its entirety but the most interesting points in it is that Diana wants to focus on what evidence we have now and not what we might discover or what we have discovered that she ignores through willful ignorance. This is the only way a creationist, conservative Christian can function, to deny anything and grudgingly move forward as their god is squeezed to nothing in gaps that are ceasing to exist. It is only by saying that we can’t find something out that they cling to what they have left for a little longer. Her post also points out the hypocrisy since we have no evidence of the essential events in her bible and she requires that we accept those claims. She also conveniently forgets that her creationist compatriots have been promising evidence for creationism for decades now and still haven’t produced one bit. The Discovery Institute, the Institute for Creation Research, etc not one dribble of fact that their god created anything.
In her one blog post “The false religion of naturalism”, we can see that it starts out with quite a bang, the good ol’ accusation that atheists are practicing a religion. Naturalism is, well, let’s let the OED say it “the philosophical belief that everything arises from natural properties and causes, and supernatural or spiritual explanations are excluded or discounted.” Nothing in it about religion, which is the “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious (“relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity”) attitudes, beliefs, and practices “. In this definition (from merriam Webster), it talks about faith, which is the belief in something without evidence. It also shows that no matter how a theist may claim that their god hates religion and that they have a “relationship”, they indeed have a religion. It always seems that the best argument that theists have is that atheists aren’t any better than they are, not that they are actually correct.
In this, there is no conflict between those who believe in the basis of naturalism and in experimental evidence that indicates that this is how the universe works. Diana, and some of the folks she quotes, do their best to gin up some conflict between the two, and all it boils down to is that humans don’t know everything, so their gods must exist. There is no “war between science and naturalism”.
Diana claims that the following are evidence which supports her claims of war:
The short version is Diana is depending on the god of the gaps argument, that if we don’t’ know everything, then her god simply must exist. She also depends on ignorance of what she claims. If she was truthful about being concerned about understanding science, she’d already know that her claims fail in basic ways.
In number 1, the evidence we have now supports the conclusion that physical laws can explain the origin of the universe. We may not know all of the details *yet*, but we working towards knowing. Theistic belief depends on the idea that we don’t look any further than what the theist wants us to. We also know that there is no evidence for a supernatural e.g. outside of physical laws and the universe, source for the universe’s creation, especially not for one version of one god of one religion.
There is no evidence for “fine-tuning”, #2. This is the usual creationist nonsense that the universe was built for humans and nothing else. There is evidence that we fit in quite well with a universe that has these physical laws and arose because of them; they did not arise because of us or because of a magical being liked us a lot. Another problem with the “fine-tuning” argument is that much of the earth and the universe is entirely inimical to human life. This is the usual creationist “goldilocks” earth argument that depends on utter ignorance of the cosmos. What we usually get is “golly, the earth is perfect for us, the orbit is perfect, the sun is perfect, etc.” which ignores that people regularly die because of normal physical action on this earth, that the sun is not stable and can really screw up our lives, etc. I mean, really, what kind of a god creates a supposedly perfect world where the primary source of light causes a lot of cancer? (and no, I certainly didn’t come up with that pithy observation).
Number 3 is another attempt at the god of the gaps argument. We do not yet know how life originated, but that doesn’t mean “goddidit”. Nor does this mean that Diana’s version of a god did it. Again, we are getting closer and closer and the gaps are getting smaller and smaller.
The origin of Cambrian phyla, ala the “Cambrian Explosion” trotted out in #4 is another one of those creationist claims that requires a willful ignorance of the subject. It seems that so many creationists seem to think that scientific research into these things stopped with Darwin. Alas for their arguments, it hasn’t. This “explosion” has been noted to have taken from between 5 million to around 40 million years, quite a slow-motion bang. Fossils from the Ediacarian period show evolution, and multicelled critters and evolution just seems to just keep on going. (http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC300.html) There is evidence that there was a massive glaciation event that may have killed off most of the Ediacarian critters and then left plenty of niches for others to fill, and fill them they did just like evolutionary theory predicts. And in any case, these fossils show that the creationist claim of man appearing by magic fully formed and woman made from a rib is still hilariously wrong. Of course, even creationists can’t agree on what the bible is “really” saying, and they have no evidence to prove any one of their nonsense hypotheses. Young earthers think old earthers are wrong. We have a bunch of different guesses on what a “day” means in Genesis. It’s like watching fans of Star Trek try to work up excuses for why the series’ stories don’t make much sense in shared universe. (and I am one of those fans)
Now, Diana does mention something called “The habitability/observability correlation” in #5. Now this idea is often claimed by creationists but is Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – science proves Chrisitanity is true? Oh do tell.”
First, I’d like to welcome my new blog followers. We have some new Christians of some type or other (some quite sure that they are the only TrueChristians), so I invite you to ask questions of me, a real live atheist. 🙂 I’ve addressed a lot of common theist claims on this forum so you can use the search function if you’d like to see if I’ve commented on something you find important. I have no problem with you using my blog for fodder, but if you do think you can rebut my points, please do have the courage to let me know.
The following is a bit of a rewrite of a couple comments I posted on another person’s blog. (a similar post to this is here (back in March 2013), some points the same, some different, some expanded on, some not).
A question I’ve seen many theists and agnostics ask atheists is: don’t you think that religion has at least some merits? Even if no religion is true, that they present only human stories and myths, don’t you think that they can serve any positive purpose? Now, most theists will try to broadly frame this question, so their particular religion’s failures can’t be mentioned. So, I’ll try to answer the question considering all religions that I know about, and even the ever-so vague versions of god and religion that modern theists have invented to avoid the problems of their religions, rather like how Oprah Winfrey has just recently declared that all religions are wrong, and how atheists simply can’t be atheists (a couple of good posts on that particular bit of silliness here and here.)
I think there is some truth that humans are inclined to believe in nonsense. Our brains love to see agency behind action e.g. for something to happen, something else must make it happen, and to take it one step further, must *intend* on making it happen. That likely helped us to know to watch out for shaking bushes that had tigers in them. So, we have the ideas of gods, demons, genius loci, angels, devas, efreet, etc, invented. These beings are powerful, powerful enough to cause and control things like hurricanes, but very identifiable as humans writ large. They are just as proud, petty and stupid as humans can be, often even more so.
However, this tendency to see agency is just that, a tendency, and one easily ignored when facts are involved (willful ignorance, as always, will counteract this). Yes, millions of people believe in supernatural beings, but they believe in millions of different ones that have millions of varied and contradictory attributes (and they disbelieve in millions too). There is nothing that shows that any of them are even remotely correct in their baseless assumptions. And, of course, there is the simple existence of atheists and there are plenty of happy decent people who were raised without believing in anything fanciful and who never came up with their own gods. It seems that, rather than humans being all inclined to believe in the supernatural, humans are inclined to believe in what they are told by those who they trust. Then it comes down to what evidence can support either concept. There are a lot of theists, but that does not mean that anything that they believe is true. It just shows that they learn what they are taught and have reasons to keep believing in such things. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – again, why speak out?”
The school year is about to start in Pennsylvania and of course the creationists are in bloom. How appropriate that our current wannabee theocrat is named Rep. Stephen Bloom, a state representative who wants his religion’s creation story taught as science (here’s his website, and it has an auto play ad on it thanks to a youtube embedding). At the moment, there is no actual bill and the representative is looking for co-sponsors (aka people to give him moral support and some veneer of respectability for his theocratic attempts).
Unsurprisingly, Rep. Bloom makes the claim that he just only wants to preserve “academic freedom in Pennsylvania”. But that of course is a lie since he has no desire at all to allow all religions to have the same “academic freedom”, only Christianity.
Rep. Bloom says that ““Efforts to squelch and stifle free critical inquiry in the classroom have too frequently arisen, often in the context of the teaching and debate of controversial scientific theories and paradigms.” Unfortunately, the representative is trying to play pretend that creationism is a scientific theory which is it not. Creationism is not like the competing theories of cosmology, which can be shown to be true or not depending on observation and experimentation. Creationism is a claim that some god, in the good Rep’s case his personal version of the Christian god, created everything. However, no one has any evidence that the supernatural exists, much less that a particular god did anything at all. We have no more evidence that this version of one god was the ultimate creator than we have that Vishnu was the creator god or that the four creator gods (the reader may be familiar with two, Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl) of the Aztecs are the creator gods. None can provide that their gods are the “true” ones, and thus the claims cannot be shown to be untrue like real scientific theories.
Rep. Bloom also says this “”This is not prescribing any religious teaching in the school,” he said. “There is no prescription that any religious-based theory be taught.” Again, this may be technically true, but it is no more than another attempt at deception. What other “teachings” are there to be taught that counter evolutionary theory? Oh yes, there is that thing called “intelligent design”. Which Judge Jones exposed as nothing more than Christian creationism in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover case. There are very few that posit aliens are the “intelligent designers”, and at best this pushes the ultimate designer only back steps.
Let’s look at a few quotes from the decision. Rep. Bloom and his potential co-sponsors should actually read this document to see just what the arguments were and how they failed so miserably. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – The seasonal blooming of creationism, it’s school time!”
A political figure has cracked down on alcohol consumption and the media.
A political figure has decided that he and he alone will determine if a woman can have an abortion paid for by Medicaid, a man who has no medical education at all and who will be deciding based on his personal opinion.
More than a few political figures have decided that they will do their best to force a woman to carry an unviable fetus until her body rejects it or she is in such distress that her life is in danger.
And since I started this blog post, we have more politicians who are either woefully ignorant, terribly stupid or intentional liars when it comes to claims made on why women should not have the ability to get abortions after 20 weeks. They make false claims about rape and they make sad claims that 15 week old fetuses in the womb masturbate.
And the countries this is occurring in? Well, the first is in Turkey, where the president has been consistently trying to enforce religious law onto his citizens. Turkey is one of the few secular governments in the region. The president’s political party, the Justice and Development Party (always a giveaway when they must call it something no one would recognize it as being), has been working to decrease the freedoms in Turkey. Unsurprisingly, the restrictions seem to be based on religion, Islam in this case. Like many wannabee theocrats, they try to hide their intentions but in this day and age of recording devices, they are always caught on tape declaring how their religion is the only “right” one, the only source of morality.
The second and third instances are here in the US. We have men who are again intent on controlling women. In Iowa, the Iowa governor will have to personally approve payment for abortions. This means that he, or likely someone in his office will have to review medical records.
Now, having reviewed medical records and being very aware of how confidential one must be thanks to HIPAA laws, this should pose an interesting situation. In effect, the governor, or his staff, is now looking at medical records based on one person’s opinion of what should be considered a valid need for an abortion: rape, incest, to save the mother’s life, and severe fetal deformities. What I’m expecting is that the governor now can decide for himself if a woman was “really” raped. And since we know that at least some of the louder conservatives males are sure that rape never results in a pregnancy, we’ll have those same idiots making the same claims again. We’ll also have someone who has no medical training whatsoever deciding what “severe fetal deformities” are. It will be no surprise if he decides that his god “really” wants a deformed fetus to survive, to “teach” the parents something, like many Christians wish to claim.
And the most recent thing about rape and fetal masturbation? This is what was said “Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful. They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?” Continue reading “Not Polite Dinner Conversation – On the front of forcing personal religion onto others, we have a couple of stories in the news”
Here is Commander Chris Hadfield (Canada) singing David Bowie’s A Space Oddity (with a few words changed) at the International Space Station.
All done thanks to the hard work of science.
I first heard A Space Oddity riding in the back of my parents’ car when I was around 11 or so. I thought it was so sad and I couldn’t ask my parents about it because they’d have no idea what the heck I was talking about. 🙂