Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Question of the Day #61: Responding to ridiculousness

Are there good general guidelines for when to respond to a flimsy argument or just point out its flimsiness?

Referring to my own blog again for an example, a group supporting same-sex civil unions in Colorado is using an ad campaign in which they show a cartoon dog that goes "Moo." This is to apparently make the point that homosexuals are no more bizarre than a dog that moos. (If I were gay, I think I'd be offended.) An anti-same-sex civil unions group responds by pointing out that dogs don't really moo. It seems like the biggest waste of debate energy I've ever heard of.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Christian Test

Welcome to The Christian Test.

The magical "theory" of creation

Six thousand years ago, or billions of years ago (they can never agree on that), a magical being appeared out of nothing and made that nothing into the planets and stars. This magical being popped all the animal species we know out of nothing. Then it made human beings out of mud.

Of course this "theory" is an insult to your intellect, because you would never accept "magical beings" popping things from nothing as an explanation. Things come about because of cause and effect- natural law. We know this because we create things, like Coca-Cola cans, by using what we know about the nature of materials. To believe that everything came about by chance, accident, or some magical being, is to move into fairy tales.

The coconut- the Christian's nightmare

Note that the coconut:
  1. Is not shaped for the human hand.
  2. Has a rough, harsh texture.
  3. Has no outward indicator of inward content.
  4. Has no easy way to remove its shell: you must exert a lot of force.
  5. Is not shaped for the human mouth- rather the contrary, its insides curve away from it.

The coconut does not manifest any signs of design. While it may be delicious, that white part is not designed for food. It is called "endosperm", which means that it serves as nutrition for new coconut plants.

Bananas are sometimes used as examples of well-designed fruits. Actually, that is half-correct. The banana was designed- by humans. We are the ones that made bananas the delicious fruits they are today. Wild bananas are stubby little things full of seeds (see image to the right).


The person who thinks the coconut was designed perfectly for human use is:
     ___ A. Intelligent
     ___ B. A fool
     ___ C. Has an ulterior motive for denying the obvious

Did you know that the human eye uses six muscles that weight more than one pound, just to move around? We also have an "inverted retina", because its nerves and blood vessels pass in front of it instead of behind. This does not cause major problems, but only makes sense if our eye evolves from prior smaller ancestors (chordates), for which accuracy in vision was not as important. Other species, like squids and octopi, have retinas wired "right-side up". If an engineer designed a human eye like we have, he would be laughed out of class.

The probability that a magical being created every single species on Earth with all these genetic defects, in a pattern consistent with the fossil record, is too absurd to contemplate. The only possible cause of life is a process of evolution. Even Christians admit that "nothing can come from nothing" and that their belief is just a fairy tale:

"I would rather believe in fairy tales than in [evolution]... God cannot be explained away by such naive thoughts."
--Sir Ernst B. Chain, Nobel Laureate and Christian

Christians would rather believe in fairy tales than admit the obvious truth! Who is the naive one? The most prominent theologian alive, William Lane Craig, readily admits that it is the Resurrection that blinds Christians to the absurdity of their religion:

"[If] Jesus did not rise - then Christianity is a fairy tale in which no rational person should believe."
(from Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?: A Debate between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan)

"On both counts, therefore, as a religion of events and as a religion of dogma, Christianity is fantasy, the work of the imagination."
--John Courtney Murray, Jesuit theologian

"Without the return of Jesus, Christianity is a fairy tale without a happy ending, an equation with no solution, a philosophy rooted firmly in fantasy."
(Adventist Today, Jan/Feb 2001, "The Heart of True Adventism")

Do you really want your whole outlook in life to gamble on a single historical fact which finds zero support outside of the Bible? You would be a fool if you took a single book at its word on such an important issue.

"Ignorance, no matter how sanctified with pious words, how buttressed by scripture quotations, is finally still ignorance."
-- John Shelby Sprong, Anglican Reverend

Fact is, even if you are a Christian, you don't need to stay ignorant:

"I do not feel obliged to believe that same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use."


A. Do you know of any building that popped from nothing?
___ YES  ___ NO

B. Do you know of any painting that popped from nothing?
___ YES  ___ NO

C. Do you know of any car that popped from nothing?
___ YES  ___ NO

If you answered "YES" for any of the above, give details:

Consider all the "bad design" in the world. Were tornadoes designed? Were viruses designed? Were baby deformities designed? Were droughts designed? If they were designed, then they were designed by a monster. Or are they simply the product of cause and effect?

A. From the atom to the universe, is there order?
___ YES  ___ NO

B. Did it happen by accident?
___ YES  ___ NO

C. Were tornadoes, viruses, deformities and droughts designed by a monster?
___ YES  ___ NO

D. Or, must there be simple cause and effect?
___ YES  ___ NO

E. What is the probability of all the complexity in the universe popping out of nothing exactly like it is today? ______________________

If you answered "YES" to B or C above, give details:

The declaration "The Christian God exists" implies that all other gods do not exist. That is an absolute statement.

A. Do you believe in Vishnu?
___ YES  ___ NO

B. Do you believe in Zeus?
___ YES  ___ NO

C. Do you believe in Mithra?
___ YES  ___ NO

D. Have you ever examined the doctrines of these gods?
If not, how can you make such a decision?

If I tell you that, for example, I refuse to eat meat because it makes animals suffer, and then you see me eating a hot dog, you would be justified to call me a hypocrite.

The same thing is true for Christians. To say that God exists is to be an atheist towards all other gods. So it is an inconsistent and hypocrite position. You claim faith in one god but not in the others, even though they all require faith. You should either believe in all gods or in none of them.

A. How many people does it take to build a tall building?
___ ONE  ___ MANY

B. When an object is bigger, does it usually take more or less people to build it?
___ LESS  ___ MORE

C. Have you ever seen something non-material pop anything out of thin air?
___ YES  ___ NO

Look at the circle. It represents all the sects of Christianity. According to, there are more than 1200 in the United States alone, and more than 30000 in the world- and they all disagree. Who's right? Are you? Even if you're "just a Christian", most people disagree with you on something important. At best you can only be in agreement with the Christians in the white portion. Are all the others wrong? Why? They use the same book that you do.

If you are reasonable, you will have to say, "I don't really know if the god I believe in exists, and I don't really know if I have the right kind of Christianity." In other words, you don't know if God exists, and you are what is commonly known as an "agnostic." You are like a man who looks at a building and doesn't know whether it was popped from nothing by a magical being, or built by humans.


The man who sees a building and believes that it was popped from nothing by a magical being is:
     ___ A. Intelligent
     ___ B. A fool
     ___ C. Has an ulterior motive for denying the obvious

Perhaps you have questions that hold you back from deconverting. All your questions about morality, the universe, truth, hope, can be adequately answered.

Know that you already trust in natural law, not faith, for everything you do. Do you have a television? If your television stopped working, you wouldn't simply assume that it's working and that they're broadcasting a black screen. You would change the channel or try to fix it. A person with faith believes even when evidence to the contrary is presented. That's unreasonable.

You accept that the television works by invisible signals, which transmit through the air because of the laws of physics. You can see their effects when you turn on your television. You know that we need big transmitters for these signals to reach you, and that your television needs a receiver for you to see what they mean. It's not magic.

Reality is like that. You can't just expect everything to fall in your lap. You need a receiver (your reasoning) to decode the signals (facts of reality). So approach reality the same way you approached your first television set. Turn it on and find something in it that you enjoy. Just leaving it off and pretending that you're getting something from the signals doesn't really do anything. Turn your brain on. If you like it, then keep doing it. If you don't, then find your own way in life.

Or do you have an ulterior motive? Could it be that you hang on to God because you don't want to be responsible for your own actions? Many people stay Christian simply because it gives them a way to quiet their guilt. All they have to do is believe in Jesus and they are "saved"- even mass murderers. If Christianity is false and you are wasting your time, energy and convictions, then you owe it to yourself to check it out. Here is how to do that.

Be honest with yourself and answer the following questions:
A. Is there suffering and death in the world?___ YES  ___ NO
B. Does it make sense that anyone would design it?___ YES  ___ NO
C. Do little babies deserve to die?___ YES  ___ NO
D. Is good and evil just someone's say so?___ YES  ___ NO
E. Is genocide good?___ YES  ___ NO
F. Is it just to torture people?___ YES  ___ NO
G. Is it just to condemn people for the crime of their parents?___ YES  ___ NO
H. Is blind belief an honest way to live?___ YES  ___ NO

If you answered NO on B to H above, then you have proven to yourself that Christianity is false. If you answered some YES, then reconsider what you're saying. Take some time to think about it. This is about the rest of your life.

"The foundation of morality should not be made dependent on myth nor tied to any authority lest doubt about the myth or about the legitimacy of the authority imperil the foundation of sound judgment and action."
-- Albert Einstein

Christianity is an intellect-free zone, where everything is permitted, genocide is holy, evil is good, donkeys and snakes talk, and people rocket into the sky. If truth, and even reality itself, depends on what God says, then everything is subjective, and there is no point in knowing anything. Nothing we do has any importance. Even worse, there would be no natural law at all, as God can just change anything it wants. No one thinks like that!

I don't want you to convert to any religion, or even to become an atheist. I want you to think for yourself first. Is what you're been forced to believe all your life the absolute truth, or is it just someone's opinion? If you're a reasonable person, you must answer "it's just an opinion" at this point. Where you go from there is your freedom and your responsibility. But it is YOUR freedom and YOUR responsibility, no one else's.

"My conclusion is that there is no reason to believe any of the dogmas of traditional theology and, further, that there is no reason to wish that they were true. Man, in so far as he is not subject to natural forces, is free to work out his own destiny. The responsibility is his, and so is the opportunity."
-- Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Paydirt on Frank Walton / Please, Wal-Mart: Ban the Bible!

Daniel Morgan did some research on Frank Walton, the ugly little troll who makes it a hobby of harassing atheist bloggers.

A petition is going on, to be sent on November 1st, to try to get Wal-Mart to be consistent in its policies and ban the Bible from its stores.

1) The Holy Bible demands that readers murder hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart employees.

In Exodus 31:15 the Holy Bible demands: “For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death.” This demand is repeated in Exodus 35:2: “For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.”

Mr. Scott, you are in a unique position to understand how dangerous these statements are. Hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart's employees work on the Sabbath. The Holy Bible demands their murder. This threat to employee autonomy and safety should be both repugnant and highly offensive to Wal-Mart’s senior management team as well as Wal-Mart's employees.

There Is No Government Like NO Government

I’m not much for discussing politics on this blog, but I want to do a little promoting for my good friends and fellow anarchists, Adi11235 and Freedomoutsidethebox. They have a cleverly titled blog, There Is No Government Like NO Government.

It's a great blog. Adi11235 is a man I respect very much, and he is known for brutally effective resolves on Essembly. His logic is impeccable, his conduct is professional and respectful, and his intellect is admirable.

And Freedomoutsidethebox (who recently joined the blog) has great writing skills, and knows how to present an argument. If you are interested in politics and/or society, or if you’re just curious about what Market Anarchy is all about, I highly recommend that you regularly visit There Is No Government Like NO Government.

Apologia Podcast

I've started a new enterprise, and one which may be of interest to the readers of this blog. As you know, here we "attack Christians who claim to monopolize epistemology and values, and defend rational individualism as sole coherent worldview." Although I think that this is a worthy effort, I also think that the lack of friendly communication between theists and atheists tends to exaggerate our differences. In the interest of balancing this trend, I've started a new podcast, called, "Apologia," which consists of a roundtable discussion between theists and atheists. So far, the group has been: Derek Sansone, James Lazarus, Kevin Harris, and Ashley Bradford. We have begun by talking about what faith means to both positions, and what definition can be held in common.

To subscribe to the feed, click here. To listen to the latest show, visit this page.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Power of Faith

From Positive Blasphemy.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Down the rabbit hole of infinity

It is a point that irritates many irrational people that once you accept certain premises, you must either be a hypocrite or paralyzed by total nihilism.

When I used to discuss on IRC, it happened that I encountered people who said that reality was wholly subjective. When I was sure that the person believed this, I then asked them to believe very strongly that I would not ban them. After all, if reality is wholly subjective then their desire would certainly be able to nullify any "objective" action of mine. Then I banned them. Theoretically, if reality was subjective, then reality is determined solely by one's mind, and they should have been able to simply wish my actions away.

But none of them were ever able to wish my actions away. I wonder why. Maybe I just need to believe that they did.

You can call such a premise a "rabbit hole". Once you get into a rabbit hole, you're stuck in it, with no way to get back up. Once you accept the idea that reality is subjective, you have no more way of knowing anything, and the only logical consequence is generalized epistemic anxiety. You can no longer know if your chair will hold you, if the chair might turn into an eggplant, or even that it already has turned into an eggplant and you are hallucinating that you are sitting on a chair. You could also be dreaming, or not-dreaming, or neither, or both at the same time. The laws of logic, being objective, must fly out of the window. The end result is total insanity.

Another type of rabbit hole is the idea that reality is subjective because of an exterior agency. Take the Evil Daemon argument - that there is an evil demon out there, able to change reality as it desires, and which can also make you not realize its existence. If this was true, then how could we really know anything? Anything one brings up could be a pure fabrication of the Daemon. We can't even appeal to the Daemon's motives, since any motive we come up with could also have been fed to us by the Daemon. There is no way to get back up to reality from here, once we accept the premise of a being with what amounts to infinite capacity.

This situation reminds me of one cult which I like to read about, the cult around Indian guru Sai Baba. He claims to be God himself and that everything that happens is his doing. This is a profound rabbit hole indeed, if you can believe that. Then anything bad that happens is really just a test of your faith! Convenient indeed!

The movement around [Sai Baba] interprets everything doubtful so as to make it seem wise, even at the cost of all common sense and reason. The whole teaching is built upon on the assumption of [Sai Baba]'s 'divine infallibility' (supposedly far greater than any Pope's) which may not be questioned and which generates a self-reproducing system of delusions, of preconceptions and subtle discriminations against those who reject it.

This kind of claim can even lead a woman to deny that her rape has actually happened. This is powerful delusion! And yet, if everything is the product of Sai Baba's will, doesn't her doubt make perfect sense?

Now I'm sure you see where I'm going with this- I'm going to talk about God. And the most obvious objection, as Descartes brought up in his own examination of the Evil Daemon argument, is that God is good and would never try to deceive us. But that is not acceptable in the rabbit hole. How do you know that God is good? Because the Bible says so? God could have written lies in the Bible. Because you believe it? God could have implanted that belief in you. Any argument that the Christian uses to justify his beliefs, even emotional or faith-based arguments, can be defeated easily.

In essence, we are back in the Cartoon Universe, with us as the hapless cartoons. Even if it was conscious, how could a mere cartoon character assume that he can see through the machinations of his cartoonist? We would call such a character very naive indeed. Yet this is the position that Christians are in. Once moral autonomy is suspended, anything goes.

The fact is, once they accept the notion of an infinite god, Christians cannot even justify their basic premises. The existence of "Jesus"? Could be a fabrication by God to make you believe that he cares about your existence. Original sin? How do you know it exists? Where is it? Heaven and Hell? Could be completely implanted.

How do you know anything? "Duh, I just do." Welcome to the rabbit hole...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

FSM hate mail / Fundies are addicted to porn

In case you haven't seen this yet, the Flying Spaghetti Monster people maintain a blog of their hate mail, mostly from befuddled Christians. It gets quite hilarious. Here is a sample:

So if you can live with the thought of people burning in eternal Hell and crying out in pure agony, then by all means be my guest.

And any idiot would understand that the possibility of a 'flying spaghetti monster' being the god who made the earth and everything in it is beyond ridiculous.

What irony.

Another one to add to my "Christians aren't moral" list: "ChristiaNet Poll Finds That Evangelicals Are Addicted to Porn". Now granted, I don't believe that porn is immoral in any way, but they do, and they sure don't seem to do much about it.

"The poll results indicate that 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography," said Clay Jones, founder and President of Second Glance Ministries whose ministry objectives include providing people with information which will enable them to fully understand the impact of today's societal issues. 60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust; 40% admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year; and 20% of the church-going female participants struggle with looking at pornography on an ongoing basis.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Question of the Day #60: Morality and truth

Some people reject God not because they have a logical reason that God cannot exist (or at least likely does not exist), but because they see some injustice in the world that makes the thought of God distasteful. On the other side, there are people who are aware of arguments against God's existence that seem logically sound, but cling to religion due to not wanting to imagine a world without a higher power.

What do you think about choosing a belief system based less on the basis of logic than the perceived moral implications of the belief system or its antithetical?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Even the ADL Agrees it's Bullshit

The Anti-Defamation League blasted Coral Ridge Ministries for it's upcoming documentary that claims to link Darwin's theory of evolution directly to Hitler's WWII campaign to exterminate the Jewish race:

ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement:"This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis.

"It must be remembered that D. James Kennedy is a leader among the distinct group of 'Christian Supremacists' who seek to "reclaim America for Christ" and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law."

One thought comes to mind regarding Hitler and his allegedly Darwinistic extermination campaign: Did anybody consider the idea that Hitler's campaign was not "natural selection" but "artificial selection"?

It wasn't a uniform change in the environment that was making Jews die so quickly. Instead, it was a group of thugs throwing perfectly functional and capable human beings into ovens based on their religious and cultural background! What the hell does "natural selection" have to do with mass murder? Did the Nazis have to try to adapt to the ovens like the Jews were forced to do?

I would argue that even if Hitler really did use Darwin's theory as inspiration for the mass-murder of Jews, he got it wrong. Throwing millions of Jews into death camps is, in my opinion, artificial selection! It is stacking the decks, not proving the superior adaptability of a breed of human.

An example of natural selection would be something like a change in the environment for all involved parties (both Jews and Nazis) where everyone had to adapt, and if one party or group couldn't adapt to the change, then they would die out. So to apply that principle consistently, and truly use "natural selection" as a means to justify the extermination of Jews, then shouldn't Hitler have thrown both the Jews and the Aryans both into concentration camps and try to burn all of them in ovens equally quickly and see if the Aryans somehow adapted to the adverse environment and survived?

Natural selection is about competing on the same playing field with the same rules and conditions. So when it is when applied to death camps, it would have to be where Hitler could demonstrate the evolutionary superiority of the Aryan race due to their ability to adapt to ovens so that they wouldn't die when burned (unlike the Jews), and adapting to the miserable conditions in the camps so that they wouldn't starve to death or be worked to death (unlike the Jews).

Only then would his plan have some kind of similarity to natural selection. Hitler's genocidal campaign is simply not analogous to evolutionary theory or natural selection.

Instead, Hitler's campaign was much more analogous to Godly selection. That's because Godly selection is all about stacking the decks and not competing on a level playing field. This filth has much more in common with death camps and ovens than anything that came from Darwin's pen.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

You made it all up! "Victimhood"

Why do Neo-Nazis deny the Holocaust? After all, you'd think it was their hour of glory. Why would you try to make people believe it never happened? This is a question which plagued me for a long time. Victimhood provides the answer.

A victim status is a great advantage for a belief system. It motivates people into becoming active (look, they're attacking us, we have to do something!). It stimulates the "us vs them" complex, which is a powerful way to preserve the integrity of the meme complex (of course, there are others, as I discussed in the previous entry). Finally, it gives one a feeling of moral superiority. Bullies are seen as inherently inferior and victims as superior. This attitude is no doubt the result of the process of victimization being established over centuries and centuries (notably after conquests).

Neo-Nazis deny the Holocaust because affirming the Holocaust would portray them as bullies, instead of the victims they want to be. No one wants to be portrayed as an oppressor. Thus we end up with a paradoxical position that belief system must desire to be portrayed as victims, but never win. For winning would mean disintegration- like a Ponzi scheme, which requires more and more victims lest it be crushed under its own weight.

The victim status is itself built on its own belief structure. The original Nazis believed that the Jews were taking over vital areas of society and interfering with the natural progress of the "superior race"- aryans. Of course, even if one believes in this race garbage, this begs the question of how an "inferior race" got to take control over vital areas of society, but never mind.

Nowhere is the victim complex more stunning than in religion. It has become a cliché that Christians in the US, even though they are about 85% of the population, always portray themselves as the suffering victims of horrible persecution. Of course, most of their outrage is completely made up, as for example when they complain that they can't pray in schools, or that "Christian values" are being lost- never mind that they can't name one "Christian value" and they can't recite their version of the Ten Commandments. We also observed this manufacturing of outrage with the Danish cartoons, an aasemblage which was made by some bumfuck cleric when in fact said cartoons had been published in different media at wildly different times.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Get Sizaved!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Question of the Day #59: Humanity beyond nature

Okay, I know there were a lot of questions in the past about our relationship with animals (no not that one), so I hope I'm not repeating anything...

Some people feel that humans have evolved beyond being mere animals for various reasons, be it our ability for higher reasoning, our tendency to subjugate nature through building complicated shelters with climate control, our essential removal of ourselves from the food chain, or what have you. Do you think that humans are by their character something beyond animals, beyond merely a facet of nature? Assuming the answer is yes, is that a good thing or bad?

I guess the question wasn't very clear. Here's more specifics:

Humans make buildings. Sometimes, (well, virtually all the time) when they make buildings, it has an impact on the environment around the building site. Some people feel that it is wrong for us to have an effect on the environment at all, but other than perhaps some examples of greater scale, is it really so very different from beavers building dams or lightning burning down forests?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Anti-Intellectualism / "Why Un-Believers Can't Think"

The blog "Way of the Mind" has a solid entry on "Anti-Intellectualism" which says some good things:

There are several sources of anti-intellectualism. Religion is an obvious one, of course, since being intelligent and learning makes one less likely to accept arguments from authority, and to question unproven assertions. An intelligent, learned man has no need for religion - therefore, we don’t want any intelligent, learned men...

An intellectual isn’t necessarily someone more intelligent or with more knowledge than the norm. It just means that the person highly values the mind, thinking, and the pursuit of knowledge. And it’s frightening, to me, how few intellectuals (by that definition) I personally know. Anti-intellectuals (people who deride the mind, who pride themselves on not thinking, on not using their reason), on the other hand, are everywhere.

On the humourous side, James Baxter wants to tell us "Why un-Believers Can't THINK":

Here's their problem...
The mind can rise no higher than its criteria.
Human beings cannot invent criteria greater than themselves.
Only the Bible contains Transcendent Criteria.
Without transcendent criteria, the un-Believer cannot anticipate consequences of choice.
Based on ignorance and an ego-centered carnal nature, un-Belief demotes reason to the simpleton task of excuse- making in behalf of the rule of "feelings," a glandular Lifestyle, and the need for self-justification.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

How are liberals like dolphins?

From a comment made about a news article on how dolphins are not as smart as thought:

"They are always happy and unconcerned with the consequences of their actions. I guess that's what separates man from beast (and liberals). When's dolphin season?"

Well said...

You made it all up ! "Fundamentalism vs liberalism" part 2

Belief systems also resist competing beliefs by attacking them. There are many different ways of doing that, like outright violence, semantic marginalization, political struggle, and so on. But there is one means that we are quite familiar with - mimcry, a process by which a meme attempts to imitate the semantics of a successful meme. Intelligent Design is a very good example of that process.

Now there is one important component to belief inoculation, and that's the fact that you have enemies. Most belief systems, at least those that have a good resistance to competition, have two mechanisms : us vs them, and victimization. "Us vs them" is an attitude where the world is divided in clear-cut allies and opponents. This is obvious in the case of fidelity but framework-builders have enemies as well - anyone who argues against the framework itself and declares that there is a superior way of doing things (like science and empiricism). Victimization is the process of using people's FUD by portraying them as persecuted victims who need to take action.

Once again, let me go through the major beliefs and belief systems and see how these concepts apply. The concept of the original sin applies here as well, insofar as the masses are the believer's enemy because they have this original sin and don't recognize that fact. While some belief systems are egalitarian in practice, they all share this basic horror of the masses, insofar as the greatest mass of people do not recognize the imaginary need being peddled.

Monotheism : As discussed before, religions have fundamentalist sects and liberal sects. Fundamentalist sects mostly use fidelity, hold as enemy any belief which does not fit within their sect doctrines, and constantly portray themselves as victims of secularism and its tendancy to soften religious discourse and promote commercialism. Liberal sects, which mostly use framework-building, and framework-building in religion is done under the tent of "god-belief". As for any other collectivist framework, its enemies are atheists and other evil freethinkers/individualists who dare to question the obvious necessity of religion to keep people in line.

Greenie : Greenie belief systems are an unusual mixture, which privileges framework-building - putting every belief which reifies nature values over human values under the same tent - while being very strident in having multifarious enemies, ranging from Joe Sixpack who eats meat and doesn't recycle, to genetics researchers, to big corporations in the domains of food production, medical research and forestry, to the concepts of capitalism and globalization themselves. This dichotomy comes to a certain extent from the fact that Greenies are fanatic in their cultural relativism, at least from the socio-economical aspect.

New Age : As New Age is a loosely assembled group of belief systems to begin with, there is not much doctrine to be defended to begin with. New Age beliefs resist deconversion by integrating themselves in a framework of pseudo-science and quackery. Their main enemy is science and anyone with at least two neurons still connected.

Buddhism : Buddhism has few defenses against competing belief systems. This is why Buddhism is not very popular any more.

Statism : The state either uses force unilaterally or by proxy. Democracy in an example of the latter, where people vote to decide who gets to be victimized by state force. The belief in democracy is a perfect example of framework-building, where all sorts of beliefs are united by a singular framwork, that of the democratic process, which provides legitimacy equally to all beliefs united under it. Its enemies are any belief which seeks to undermine the legitimacy of democracy or to eliminate it altogether. All the political belief systems united under democracy sometimes receive the same benefit from it, but not always (for example, third parties in most advanced democracies are often stopped by strong barriers to entry).

Racism and nationalism : Racists, like religious believers, cultivate the victim mentality. They strongly believe that the mixing of cultures is inherently evil and that any person sharing their race who supports such a mixing is a "race traitor". Racism is a pretty clear case of fidelity, in that anyone who does not share the same race (in the believer's idea of race, anyway) or support their race is an enemy. More sophisticated forms of racism practice cultural supremacism and isolation, like Greenies, but more for the sociological aspect of it. Nationalism applies more or less equally, with "the nation" replacing "the race".

On a moral standpoint, both mechanisms engender false moral positions. Fidelity gives us absolutism and the belief that morality is a top-down process proceeding from a higher standard (Gud, the state, the people). Framework-building gives us relativism and the belief that positions which affirm truth and values (such as science) are arrogant and disruptive. But we must make sure to identify the commonalities between both approaches and point out that both have one ultimate source - anti-individualism.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Kalvinism's Kausal Konfusion

Paul Manata has done it again. He revealed a bit too much about his Calvinist worldview. In the comments section of this post, Manata said the following:

Just remember, no one gets deconverted apart from God's will. So, if someone is deconverted by your blog then you've been used as a means by God. God's still using you, John.

Also, you'd have to know that a Calvinist isn't afraid that you might deconvert someone who God chose to be saved. God has determined the number of the elect before the foundation of the world, and there's nothing anyone can do to change it. So, go scare an arminian with your blog.

What Manata says here regarding deconversions is an extrapolation of a more basic premise in the Calvinist worldview: that nothing exists or happens without God wanting it to. God has every intricate detail of the entire universe planned out. Every molecule that moves, every creature that is born, every star that supernovas, and every apple that is eaten, is all planned and willed by God.

According to Calvinism, God's will cannot be defied. Nothing can happen without God willing it to. Broke your leg? God's will. Millions of Jews burned in ovens? God made it so. Deconverted from Christianity? God made you do it. Born with cerebral palsy? That's God's gift to you. Tsunami ravage your village? Forget plate tectonics, it was God's work. Got nailed to a cross? It wasn't Mel, it was God!

Now let's talk about a particular concept. That concept is called "responsibility". Responsibility, according to the evil secular, is:

1. The state, quality, or fact of being responsible.
2. Something for which one is responsible; a duty, obligation, or burden.

And "responsible," according to the evil secular, is:

1. Liable to be required to give account, as of one's actions or of the discharge of a duty or trust.
2. Involving personal accountability or ability to act without guidance or superior authority: a responsible position within the firm.
3. Being a source or cause.

Responsibility is what is assigned to a subject that is the causal agent of a given action or situation. If I, Aaron Kinney, slap you in the face, then I am responsible for doing so. But if God is the one causing everything to happen, then it wasn't really me that slapped you in the face, and it is God that is responsible for that action.

Here is where the Calvinism gets weird. According to Calvinism, God chooses who has faith in Christ and who doesn't. Therefore, neither the theist nor atheist are responsible for their belief or lack thereof. No atheist could be responsible for going to Hell if God chose that person to be an atheist.

And here is where it gets weirder. According to Calvinism, God chooses every action that ever occurs. So who is responsible for the rebellion of Lucifer? And who is responsible for the eating from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden?

Who is responsible for giving humans original sin?


So who, then, is to blame for original sin? Where did original sin originally come from? Who is the real sinner?


So in light of this revelation, let's all join hands and sing a song that celebrates God's gracious carrying of the burden of responsibility:

All things dull and ugly
All creatures short and squat
All things rude and nasty
The Lord God made the lot

Each little snake that poisons
Each little wasp that stings
He made their brutish venom
He made their horrid wings

All things sick and cancerous
All evils great and small
All things foul and dangerous
The Lord God made them all

Each nasty little hornet
Each beastly little squid
Who made the spiky urchin
Who made the sharks? He did

All things scabbed and ulcerous
All pox both great and small
Putrid, foul and gangrenous
The Lord God made them all

Crossposted at Kill The Afterlife.

Why didn't God create us with wings? / US lags behind in acceptance of evolution

John Loftus has a new entry up today on Debunking Christianity, that is just wonderfully complete and damning. He points out that, if Christianity is true, there is no reason why human beings couldn't have wings:

Furthermore, if God cannot create just anything in the natural world because of these laws, then why can’t God merely supercede these laws? Let’s say that God couldn’t create fleshly creatures who could levitate by virtue of the supposed fact that he cannot change the laws of nature. Then why is it that God couldn’t cause us to levitate whenever we thought about levitating, much like Superman flies through the air by thinking of flying without any known propulsion? Why can’t God do this? He can and any Christian who thinks otherwise is just not thinking.

His post is not only an excellent piece of writing, but also a wonderful illustration of the bankrupt, nihilistic nature of Christianity. If we start from the premise that God exists, then anything goes. There is no way to actually know anything or be a moral person. Great entry John.

In the news: "U.S. Lags Behind Europe, Japan in Acceptance of Evolution"

A comparison of peoples' views in 34 countries finds that the United States ranks near the bottom when it comes to public acceptance of evolution.

Only Turkey ranked lower.

Among the factors contributing to America's low score are poor understanding of biology, especially genetics, the politicization of science and the literal interpretation of the Bible by a small but vocal group of American Christians, the researchers say.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

You made it all up ! "Fundamentalism vs liberalism" part 1

In my first entry in this series, You made it all up ! "Original sin", I explained how belief systems rely on a skewed vision of human nature in order to make people believe in the imaginary need they fulfill. The typical case of this is "original sin", which states that humans are inherently evil and worthy of eternal torment, and thus need Christianity. But this fundamental concept applies to any belief system.

In this entry I want to look at the issue of how belief systems condition the believer to deal with competing beliefs. This is not an issue for rational positions such as science, in which theoretically any proposition can be accepted as long as it is demonstrated by a rigorous empirical process. There is a specific kind of process to be followed to prove that something corresponds to an objective reality, and anything that does not follow this kind of process is not "doing science".

For belief systems, this is a problem, since there is no objective reality. It's all made up (hence the title). This is most eloquently demonstrated by the fact that while science unifies, religion divides - and sects keep multiplying under normal circumstances. So belief systems evolve mechanisms by which competing belief systems are rejected or absorbed, dealt with in some way.

There are two general categories of such mechanisms :

* The quality of "intolerence", which I prefer to call fidelity - more specifically, the rejection of beliefs which do not fit a rigidly-defined set of constraints. The typical example of fidelity defense is fundamentalist Christianity, where any belief which does not fit the person's strict model of Christianity is attacked.

Note that I don't deny that fundamentalist Christianity also evolves in time, like any other meme system, but I'm looking here specifically at the defenses that a belief system deploys at a given point in time.

* The quality of "tolerence", which I call framework-building - which neutralizes other belief systems by portraying them as being on equal footing under a bigger framework. This may seem complex, so here's an easy example : liberal Christians do not attack Islam, Judaism or Buddhism, because they see all other religions as being on an equal footing under the bigger framework of "god-belief" (Buddhists don't really believe in gods, but no one knows that anyway). The liberal strands of these religions do not see each other as competitors, therefore they are no longer competing beliefs. They in fact reinforce each other under the "god-belief" tent, further legitimizing religious oppression.

So fidelity and framework-building are both ways to preserve the belief system, the former by rejecting all other belief systems, and the latter by accepting them in a larger framework. Each has its advantages and inconvenients. Fidelity preserves the individual memes better, framework-building ensures adaptability of the system as a whole. They are not exclusive, although obviously a fundamentalist Christian would be less likely to participate in framework-building, and a liberal Christian would be less likely to be dogmatic. A belief system needs both approaches to survive - a belief system which varies wildly would be unrecognizable quickly, and a belief system which is not adaptable at all would quickly die after any social change.

They obviously don't work all the time. People do deconvert from belief systems. And while it is very difficult to live in a dogmatic society, I think it is also difficult to get out of a system where you don't really care about right or wrong. Insofar as liberal Christians have a less defined sense of truth or morality, it is probably harder for someone coming from that perspective to take a stance against the fundamental evils of religion. Of course, such an attitude requires doctrine-belief independence, which is an essential element for religion to be adaptable.

Go to part 2.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Biggest Thing in the Universe / Normal Bob Smith on Why We Fight

God, eat your heart out!

An enormous amoeba-like structure 200 million light-years wide and made up of galaxies and large bubbles of gas is the largest known object in the universe, scientists say.

The galaxies and gas bubbles, called Lyman alpha blobs, are aligned along three curvy filaments that formed about 2 billion years after the universe exploded into existence after the theoretical Big Bang.

Normal Bob Smith gives an eloquent explanation of why we fight:

I said to her, "I'm arguing this because that's what we should be doing. Discussing differences of opinions is what's going to save the human race. Not shutting up. Not war, or violence, or flying planes into buildings, but discussion. That's what we all should be doing. Not believing whatever we want to believe, and remaining ignorant of each other. That gets us nowhere."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Debate of the Century!

By DIVINE DECREE of the offhand comment by "BOB," The HELLBOUND ALLEEE SHOW welcomes a faithful friend of "Bob," the MOST REVEREND Ivan STANG, of the CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUS, and the DEPRAVED PURVEYOR of "Organized Religion," REVEREND JEREMIAH. Together they've come to tell us we are DOOMED to HELL. It just depends upon which hell will have us. We learn WHAT'S IN THE PIPE, and why pinks always want to know that. We learn of slack, and we find out just how PERVERSE, and just what DELICIOUS KINKS congeal in the grey jellies of the MIND OF REVEREND JEREMIAH.

Praise SWEET BABY JESUS, and PRAISE BOB, and FUCK 'EM IF THEY CAN'T TAKE A JOKE. (Or burn in Slacklessness.)

Listen to a stream of the show:

Download it (server 1)
Rapidshare high quality download (fast connections only)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Question of the Day #58: Can you prove God's existence?

I already essentially asked this question on my own blog, but my blog apparently sucks, as not nearly so many people visit there as here. So I ask the question again here:

I have had people ask me, "If God really exists, and wants people to believe in Him, then why doesn't He just prove His existence to us?" I think this question is an unreasonable one. I think that no matter what God hypothetically might do to encourage belief (without taking away free will) a person may always choose to deny evidence.

My question: How could a hypothetically existent God prove its existence?

On a related note, do you think the original question or my counter-question are useful in any way with respect to the dialogue between theists and atheists?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Stealth Kitty

Stealth Kitty didn't count on the fact that his chosen disguise was bright yellow.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The "there has to be more to life" argument

The "there has to be more to life" argument is an informal sort of arguing which sees religion not as a competing worldview about reality but as a supplemental set of beliefs about reality. I think this way of seeing religion is probably very widespread as an implicit assumption in everyone's minds, believers and atheists alike.

I think that, to a certain extent, this is a dangerous perspective on religion, because it minimizes the bankrupcy of religious epistemology and ontology. It puts the inherent relativism and inter-subjectivity of religion on the same footstool as the rigors of science and rational independent thinking.

It is, in this regard, similar to the expression "alternative medicine", as it tries to smuggle irrationality as a complement to reality. The efficacy of "alternative medicine" depends compeletely on "evidence-based medicine", as in and of itself it brings absolutely nothing to the table. It is a castle in the sky.

So it is easy to squirm to a question such as "why do you attack people who just want more from life ?". Confronted with such a question, most atheists would probably fold faster than an origami Frenchman. But in fact there is no reason to fold against such a question. The obvious answer is that religion does not bring "more to life" - but in fact blinds people to great swaths of life.

Apart from the implicit model of religion contained in the argument, "there has to be more to life" is a double-edged way of thinking about the issue. What if I decide I want more than the blinkered, paranoid worldview of Christianity ? If God exists, then everything is arbitrary and contingent. What if I don't want everything to be arbitrary ? What if I want some actual meaning in my life ?

And what if I want some real morality, not just insane orders from an unproveable inspiration ? If I was a Christian, I would no doubt believe that the whole of the Bible, that book of lies and murder, was inspired by none other than Satan in an attempt to deceive people into worshipping evil. That seems far more reasonable than any claim of truth put upon that most insane of books.

The argument, therefore, can be easily turned against the believer. If everything that the secular world has to offer is not enough, then where do we stop ? Why stop at Christianity ? Rather arbitrary, isn't it ?

What people really want is pre-packaged answers that add a thick layer of veneer to their everyday lives. They want to be privvy to profound mysteries of the universe which require little study and intelligence. In short, they want the advantages of a scientific worldview without having to actually understand anything.

What is it that spiritual seekers seek ? What is the hole they try to fill ? It has to be the need to be part of something far greater than themselves, but at the same time something they can intimately relate to. Yet this is incongruous and dysfunctional. That is the nature of religion.

What is the meaning of life ? This is a question to which Christians have no answer. They claim that God gives meaning to their lives, but they have no way of knowing what that meaning is, except insofar as they simply make it up. Confronted with the difficulty of knowing what a transcendent being wants, they just transpose their petty desires and concerns on that being, and call this inspired.

The meaning of life is a silly concept. Life is not the product of human choice, or any choice at all for that matter. It can only be analyzed as a premise, in the same way that we may examine logic or materialism - as fundamental facts which support the whole fabric of our understanding. To treat life as a mere symbol is, therefore, a category error.

Christianity, of course, must treat life as a mere symbol, because its moral system is supposed to exist independently of humanity. Human life, in this view, is a testimony of the power of God, as well as its sovereignity. It belongs to God and can be disposed of at God's whim. This is a very arrogant and callous way of seeing the issue. We must reject any belief in the contingency of life as anti-scientific and anti-moral.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Submissive Jesus / "Don't Kill Me" Canon

Hav you seen the Submissive Jesus head? Check out The Submissive Jesus Commercials. Pretty funny stuff.

The satire site Avant News clarifies morality for us: "Right Clarifies Moral Confusion With Don't Kill Me Canon".

The "Don't Kill Me" Canon reads: "It is morally acceptable to kill anyone who can expressly state 'Don't kill me'. In all other cases, it is not morally acceptable."
"Most of the people on death row plead innocent, file appeals, explicitly state 'Please don't kill me', or other things along those lines. So as I see it, the Canon very clearly rules that it's morally correct for the government to kill them."

"On the other hand," Mr. Frist continued, "someone like a terminally ill patient who is in terrible pain, has zero chance of recovery, and who is begging his doctors, friends and family to put him out of his misery are out of bounds. That person is saying 'Please kill me', not 'Don't kill me'. And we as a government have to do everything in our power to keep that person alive, even if they're already clinically dead like Terry Schiavo."

Monday, August 07, 2006

Question of the Day #57: A cop-out

What question of the day do you wish you were asked? Answer it if you feel like it.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hellbound Alleee slams liberals

Still no liberalism poking its ugly head on my watch, ladies and gents, but Hellbound Alleee has slammed the knee-jerk liberals who berate Larry Darby for not being a "good atheist":

I'm sick of reading what "other atheists" say about him. It's nothing but collectivist rhetoric about Larry Darby having some kind of responsibility to think like and agree with "atheists" as if there is some kind of worldview at work here. Christians: these atheists are suffering from the same affliction as you. They think that they are a part of something big, and that that something is more important than they are. Atheism is not a collective, not a worldview, not a philosophy. Can we be human beings, please?

What, are you asking liberals to behave with dignity and stop burdening everyone with their childish collectivist games of "you're in my gang"? I can't really see them stopping any time soon. They have invested their whole identity in these juvenile games. "Atheism" is not even a label that deserves any attention, let alone liberal fanaticism.

People want to know when these religious wars are going to end. You have to realize that they have nothing to do with individualism. For individualists like us, it makes about as much sense to kill someone in the name of a religion than it does to kill a mosquito because you want to eradicate flight. Until your belief that we're all part of "groups" and our identity is vested in the "group"- be it racial, religious, national, or otherwise- is eradicated, people will keep killing each other in the name of those "groups". And you bigoted knee-jerk liberals are part of the problem. Take off your fucking collectivist glasses and talk to us as human beings.

Reverend Alecia

Friday, August 04, 2006

"Why do they keep me suffering?"

A friend of the family, Léon Distexhe, is suffering terribly and is going to die very soon. A few days ago he asked my mother the following question:

"Why do they keep me suffering?"

I'm not going to answer you directly, Léon, but I'm going to answer on my blog (I'm quite sure no one in the family reads it so...).

They're keeping you suffering because of the fucking Judeo-Christian ethics.

They're keeping you suffering because of the "sanctity of life".

They're keeping you suffering because you're not the right kind of person. If you're a kid, they won't vaccinate you and can't wait for you to die of smallpox. If you're a destitute teenager, they can't wait to make you die in a war. If you're a murderer, they can't wait to fry you. They don't give a shit about those lives. They're expandable.

But you, Léon, your life is "sacred". Fucking shit! What the hell is sacred about life? People die like flies every day. If there was a "god", he sure wouldn't be lifting his little finger to stop it.

It's just a damn natural process. Childbirth is bloody and painful. Death is bloody and painful. Stop appropriating it, you stupid Christian fucks. The life of a mass of cells is "sacred". The life of a suffering, dying man is "sacred". Even the life of a dead woman is "sacred". What a travesty of compassion! What a fucking clown circus!

And they'll never give you actual drugs that would help relieve your suffering, because of the state and its dependence on drug illegality to maintain its power.

You're fucked, Léon, and it's not your fault. I'm sorry for you and everyone else that suffers in silence. All those that let this happen should be made accountable for their crimes. They should be made to pay. The only equality in our ruling class society is that they'll suffer and bleed, just like everyone else. It's fucking sad that we are only equal in pain. How fucking appropriate.

Keep Jesus Off My Penis

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Mike Tidmus and The Passion of the Mel

Mike Tidmus' Blog brings us The Passion of the Mel! This is some funny stuff. Seriously. Go check it out right now.

Thanks to Jesus' General for bringing this to my attention.

The Block Universe Explained

I have already expressed my compatibilist position in other places, but I have never been able to fully synthesize it until I discovered the concept of the block universe. This concept really permits us to shed light on the concepts of free will, determinism, freedom, choice, which has hitherto not been possible. I will endeavour to explain this model as simply as I can for you. I'm going to take this slowly, so feel free to skip ahead if you're bored.

Imagine a translucent block in four dimensions. This is the universe. Okay, now this is a little problem, as it is very arduous to imagine four spatial dimensions, but just imagine it in three dimensions. Your length is time, and your slices are the universe at a specific time T (once again, remembering that our 2D slice is in reality a 3D volume- the volume of the universe). The block is not actually rectangular, but let's assume it is for the sake of simplification. So you can take a slice at time t=1, 2, 3... all the way to the last moment of the universe, and see their precise state (whether such states are actually knowable or not is outside of the purview of this discussion).

Now imagine an electron- any electron. This electron begins to exist at a certain time, and ends at a certain time. It could have been there since the beginning, or come into being by pair creation, and could be annihilated by a positron at some future time. So let's say this electron starts to exist at a certain slice of time S1 and ceases to exist at a certain slice of time S2. This electron, therefore, exists in all slices between S1 and S2. Connect the location of the electron in each slice and you get a line. This line we call a path in spacetime.

A basic principle is that paths in spacetime cannot move. That path, of the electron, does not change. It is fixed in the block universe because its movement, and its very existence, is determined by causality. If the electron hits a positron, it WILL dissapear, with no exceptions. But causality is a higher-level concept than the block universe- in the block universe, there are only paths. I will get to higher-level thinking relative to this in a minute.

To you, the electron is in movement because you navigate these slices of time at the same time as the electron. You can't possibly "see" the block universe for real. It's a purely theoretical construct so we can imagine what the universe is like, and a help to understanding.

Now, you are a gigantic blob composed of millions and millions of particles. I hope this does not come as a surprise to you. Your bunch of paths in spacetime would look a little bit like this:

As a human being, a higher-level organism, you can only be seen as a relational property of individual paths, just like you can only biologically be seen as a group of cells. Now two things are true about your bunch of paths, or that of most human beings. Your paths interact with each other in complex ways, and the bunch as a whole acts in many different ways.

This differs from, say, a rock. A rock may have more particles than you do, but:

1. Its particles don't interact in complex ways. Particles in your brain, at a certain level of organization, form neurons and brain modules. Particles in other areas form muscles and organs. The rock's particles are basically undifferentiated and don't really interact in any way. This inner complexity gives rise to what we call the will.

2. The rock itself does not act in many different ways. If you throw a rock down a cliff, it will do one thing and one thing only: fall. If you throw a human being off a cliff, it could do many different things: scream, flap his arms, roll in a ball, try to grab onto something, or just fall. This is what we call freedom.

Do you see where the free will part comes in now? We are free because, unlike a rock, we do many different things given the same context. And we have a will because our decisions are the product of an internal process guided by the complexity of our minds. Free will is not an illusion: it is a fact that comes about because of our complexity.

Let's take another example. Person A and person B reacted very differently when coming into contact with a penny (represented by the red path).

Person A, when in contact with the penny, kept it for a long time- probably in his pocket. Then it was eventually passed on to person B, who only kept contact with it for an instant. We can imagine that person B works at a bank, for example. The point I'm making here is that different people, or the same person in a different circumstance, will have different reactions in the same context.

We can extend the analogy by supposing that you put people in locked rooms having the exact same appearance. These people will no doubt have very different reactions to this state of affairs. This can only be explained, from the block universe perspective, by internal complexity.

You might say that this freedom is an illusion, due to the fact that the internal complexity of the human being is also determined. This is an error however, as we are talking about the freedom of the organism itself, not of its neurons or of the electrons that are in those neurons. The organism, taken as a whole, manifests freedom, within obvious physical limits (a human being, for example, cannot grow wings and fly). That is all that we mean when we say that "I have free will".

From this perspective, we can also begin to answer the question: what is sentience? Sentience is a specific kind of internal complexity that permits an organism to understand complexity in other things. Give a computer to a monkey, and he won't understand what it does. He'll just pound on it. Now of course there is a problem of language, but language itself is a form of complexity, albeit of a different kind. Even with language, there are some people who can't figure out how to use a computer very well. When an average person grapple with a computer, on the other hand, the complexity of his mind permits him to understand the complexity of using a computer.

Stop saying something is art

Please stop saying that something is an art, when it's not.

Note the following things which ARE art: literature, painting, photography (arguably), sculpture, theater, cinema, music, dance.

Now note that the following, which people report as art (according to a Google search, anyway) are NOT art: leadership, picking a vice-president, programming, RFID implementation, linkbaiting, bug reporting, teaching, closing a deal, counting votes, investing, stock picking, genealogy, e-mail, war, failure, or taking the right stuff to Burning Man.

There is this widespread belief that "art" means something subtle and complex, and that calling something an "art" serves to show how hard it is, versus being a "science". I think the opposite is true, and that this is a blatant disrespect for scientists. Say what you will, but science is the most complex and fruitful enterprise of man. So if there's a word that conveys the most respect and complexity, it must be "science".

If something uses technical methods to re-create values, then call it an "art". If something uses technical methods to attain any other end, then call it a "science". If something makes things prettier, call it "esthetics". But please do not treat the qualifier "art" as a praise.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Christian Teapot Calling the Muslim Kettle Black

One particularly ironic characteristic among modern-day followers of the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) is their tendency to lash out at each other more viciously than they do at agnostics, atheists, deists, and non-Abrahamic theists.

In today's world, witch hunts for the most part are no longer conducted by Abrahamics onto Pagans, but by Abrahamics onto other Abrahamics. Christians incinerate millions of Jews in death camps. Muslims terrorize Jews and Christians with suicide bombs. Christians and Jews team up to terrorize Muslims with Apache helicopters, Abrams tanks, and laser-guided bombs. Christians even kill other Christians who simply have different interpretations of Christianity than the others do! All the while, members from each Abrahamic sub-group point their fingers and scream bloody murder at the other Abrahamic sub-groups.

Conservative Christians like Michelle Malkin argue over whether the recent Seattle Jew-killer Naveed Haq was a Muslim or a Christian. What's the fucking difference which superstitious cult of Abraham he subscribed to at the time?

Well, to Abrahamic theists, it is a big deal. Because each Abrahamic sub-group is trying to grab the moral high ground by painting the other as more barbaric and greater evil. To Muslims, Christians are the Great Satan and Jews are their lap dogs. To Christians, Muslims are terrorists and Jews are Jesus killers. To Jews, both the other Abrahamic groups are not trustworthy, but at the moment its the Muslims that want to burn and blow up Jews, not the Christians, so the Jews will happily take all the free military hardware that the Christians care to give them.

These theists need to stop acting like their version of the Abrahamic cult somehow makes a person more moral. They need a perspective shift. They need to see their little ménage a trois of religious death from a bird's eye view. Because if they did, they might see that they are all equally obsessed with the violent destruction of each other. They might understand that their faiths serve as reasons - and justifications - to kill.

Nobody ever needs to invoke a reason not to kill unless they already have a good reason to kill. And nobody ever needs a better reason to kill if they already have a dictate from almighty God!

Religion - sometimes yours, sometimes someone else's - is a huge motivator for killing in the world. It's never a motivator for not killing. Abrahamic theists often claim that without God's rules, we have no reason not to kill people. They are, of course, wrong for reasons which I won't get in to here. But more importantly I think, when placed in an actual real-life moral choice of whether to use deadly violence, no Abrahamic theist ever cites their faith as their reason not to kill. No Abrahamic theist says to another person, "if it wasn't for my faith, I'd kill you right now!"

The horrible absurdity of this situation manifests itself every day all over the globe. I remember a particularly ironic example that happened a couple years ago when an American General was pumping up his troops just before they moved into an Iraqi city by declaring that Satan was in the Iraqi city and that they were going to drive him out. Soldiers were hanging their cross necklaces on the barrels of their Abrams tanks. And inside the city, just before the invasion, Muslim resistance fighters were shouting "Allahu Akbar!" (God is great) and assuring themselves of victory over the "Satanic American forces".

Abrahamic theists are over-represented in Western prison populations. Abrahamic religious factors are often cited in motivations for killings in today's world, while atheistic, agnostic, or Pagan factors are conspicuously absent.

The irony is that all of these superstitious sub-groups are correct when they claim that the others are evil and cause people to do immoral things, yet they each believe that their version of Abrahamic faith is okay morally. It is the teapot calling the kettle black. It is two sides of the same wooden nickel arguing with each other over which side is worth more money.

Question of the Day #56- "liberal atheists"

Why are there so many "liberal atheists", when liberalism encourages majority rule and therefore marginalizes atheists? Doesn't that make as little sense as "gay Christians"?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Open Season on the Atheist Liberals!

Since this is my last month on Goosing, I was inspired by the morons at God is for Suckers! to put this new header on. Any liberalism (American-style, anyway) I find on the blogroll will be mocked with extreme prejudice. Give it your best shot!

The best part is that no one can accuse me of being a conservative without looking like an idiot.

Goosing the Antithesis wins yet more recognition

According to the (otherwise empty) blog "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", GTA is classified with Ed Babinski and Debunking Christianity. High praise indeed. Of course, we're all in the "Ugly" section, but still, the guy has some taste.

Thanks for the honours, anonymous guy person!

Any God Who Allows This Is Sick