F Rosa Rubicondior: November 2011

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Francis Bacon Rebutted

Francis Bacon (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626)
Francis Bacon (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was a leading thinker of his day and pioneer of the scientific method. His essay "Of Atheism" is frequently cited, usually uncritically, by theologian and Christian apologists.

Let's examine it, especially to see how a leading thinker and advocate of scientific methodology, was nonetheless a child of the times, and was constrained by the limitations of knowledge and understanding of the times, not to mention the political realities within which he operated.

I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a mind. And therefore, God never wrought miracle, to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Easy Task For Christians.

Just a simple little "Put your money where your mouth is" challenge to Christians.

Very many Christians, even some highly respected ones, often cite "all the fulfilled prophesies" in the Bible as their main reason for believing in their god and why they accept the Bible as its authentic word.

However, there are also very many failed prophecies in the Bible.

Would you explain all these, please or explain why you believe the words of prophets you know to be false and ignore Matthew's advice to beware of false prophets?

Alternatively, please explain any SUCCESSFUL prophesies in the Bible and give the historical evidence that they indeed occurred and occurred AFTER the prophesies were written.

That shouldn't be too difficult, should it?  After all, you just need to give the evidence you found convincing.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Favourite Fallacies - Pascal's Blunder

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a French mathematician, philosopher, physicist, inventor and writer.

Also known as Pascal's Gambit, Pascal's Wager is the suggestion that, because the existence of God (and by that he meant the Christian god of course) can't be determined by pure reason, a person should 'wager' that one existed. He reasoned that if it turns out (i.e. is 'discovered' after death) that there is no god, then one has lost nothing. If it turns out that there is one, then one has gained everything. So, in effect, one is betting nothing against infinity.

Apart from its abject, and frankly disgraceful, abandonment of reason, in the implicit assumption that reality can be determined by a wager, where else does Pascal's Wager fail?

Well, as many people have pointed out, and as many apologists for other gods have shown, Pascal's Wager can be just as easily used for ANY deity, whether actually believe by anyone or merely hypothetical, whose supporters claim promises eternal life to believers and eternal suffering for non-believers. Indeed, it is frequently used for the Abrahamic god.

But apart from that damaging error, there are several unstated and fatal assumptions in Pascal's Wager which show that it only 'works' if you assume a priori the following:
  1. There is an after-life - requiring a priori belief in the existence of a god and a soul.
  2. The Abrahamic belief in Heaven and Hell is valid - requiring a priori belief in the existence of the Abrahamic god.
  3. That the Abrahamic god is the only god, requiring a priori belief in the existence of the Abrahamic god.

What if we exclude these assumptions?
  1. The wager fails since there is no difference in outcome no matter which we opt to bet on.
  2. The wager fails because what happens, even if there is an after-life, may not depend on which option you bet on.
  3. The wager fails because you will have almost certainly lost everything by opting to believe in the wrong god. With an infinite array of all possible gods being bet against just one, the bet to believe becomes indistinguishable from the bet not to belive.

So, without these a priori assumptions, where does that leave Pascal's Wager? It leaves it as a gamble in which you opt either to sacrifice your intellectual integrity, independence of thought and action and responsibility for your own beliefs and actions, against a life of freedom, personal integrity, self-reliance and personal responsibility.

You surrender freedom and self-respect in favour of abject, cringing, voluntary slavery.

And what benign, benevolent, loving god could respect a person who did that?

And this is the final nail in the coffin of Pascal's Wager: as any god with an IQ above that of a cucumber should be able to work out, it assumes the god it purports to promote is too stupid to notice that it's 'believers' don't have any real reason to believe in it but are just pretending to believe in case it's true.

In fact, Pascal's Wager, far from being the trump card many apologists like to keep up their sleeve for when they look like losing, actually shows what poor, tenuous things religious faiths, especially the Abrahamic faiths, are that they need to depend on such weak and hypocritical fallacies and implied threats to maintain themselves.

Pascal's Wager is an attempt to fool an omniscient god.

Or is it an attempt to fool a gullible people by those who know they're pushing a lie?

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Saturday 26 November 2011

Fooling The People All Of The Time

Surely you've heard the story of the Emperor's new clothes, haven't you? Well, skip the next few paragraphs if you have then.

A conman went to the Emperor and told him he could make him a suit of clothes so fine, with such minute stitching, that only the most discerning; the most refined of people could see them in all their finery. He showed the Emperor an empty package which he said contained a sample of his handiwork. The Emperor, not wanting to appear coarse and unrefined, agreed that the sample was indeed the finest work he had ever seen, and ordered the conman to make him a full suit and to spare no expense. He would show the courtiers and nobility in his empire how refined he was. No one would doubt his refinement ever again. Not that they ever had, mind you.

The conman went away and dutifully delivered an empty package, and a very large bill, a few days later. The Emperor called all his courtiers together to see him in his new clothes after telling them they would only see them if they could appreciate their true finery. Not wanting to appear coarse and uncouth either, they all agreed that the clothes were the finest and most beautiful they had ever seen and complimented the Emperor on his good taste and discerning character.

It was agreed that they would hold a parade in the town so the Emperor could impress the townsfolk with his refinement and great taste in clothes. All the citizens were told the story of the new clothes and how only the most intelligent; the most refined of people could appreciate their wondrous beauty and the great skill of the tailor.

All that is apart from a young boy.

Yep. You've guessed it. The young boy noticed that the Emperor was starkers and said so.

He had scarcely got out the words, "Is that a ferret, Dad?" when a hand was clamped over his mouth and he was rounded on by all the townspeople and accused of blasphemy; of being possessed by evil demons who had blinded him to the truth, and the Emperor rode on and the people all went home, none of them daring to mention that they hadn't actually seen any clothes either in case they were treated like the little boy. Some of them even believed they may really be possessed by demons or had something wrong with them.

This is called peer pressure.

Patriot Bible University, Colorado, USA
The conman? Oh, he got away with it and set up a tailor's shop in the town and became very rich pulling the same trick time after time and even being admired for his great skill at tailoring. Later he set up a college to teach Tailor studies from which you could buy degrees in Tailoring. Graduate conmen went to other towns and countries and set up shops everywhere. Pretty soon you could see lots of people proudly showing off their new clothes and still no one had the courage to admit they couldn't see them because they thought they must have the wrong faith in tailoring.

Have you noticed how religious theologians come up with all manner of obscure philosophical arguments and tell us only the most intelligent; the most discerning; those possessed of the necessary refinements and understanding can see the obvious logic in them?

The Emperor's new tailor.
Have you noticed how few people have the courage to stand up and say, "Er... well... actually, that didn't make any sense at all", and so how everyone is left thinking they may be the only ones who can't understand the argument and that they may be the ones with the problem? And of course, those who haven't followed the argument at all will often be loudest in their praise of it, hoping to convince others that they have understood it.

Go to a meeting addressed by William Lane Craig or any of the many religious apologists currently plying their trade to appreciative audiences across the world for very large sums of money. Or just go to a church on a Sunday and watch the audience enthusiastically agreeing with the preacher, making large donations and never raising a voice in doubt.

This is called peer pressure.

Conforming with peer-pressure it's the most important human characteristic which theologians and other religious conmen and snake-oil salesmen exploit.

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Friday 25 November 2011

Christian Logic. No! Really!

Believe it or not, this is a theological argument used by the Christian apologist, Norman Geisler. I have taken it from "Why I became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity" by John W. Loftus.

Supposedly, each step leads inexorably to the next in a 'logical' progression towards a therefore irrefutable conclusion:

  1. Truth about reality is knowable.
  2. Opposites cannot both be true.
  3. The theistic God exists.
  4. Miracles are possible.
  5. Miracles performed in connection with a truth claim are acts of God to confirm the truth of Gods through a messenger of God.
  6. The New Testament documents are reliable.
  7. As Witnessed in the New Testament, Jesus claimed to be God.
  8. Jesus' claim do divinity was proven by a unique convergence of miracles.
  9. Therefore, Jesus was God in human flesh.
  10. Whatever Jesus (who is God) affirmed as truth, is true.
  11. Jesus affirmed that the Bible is the word of God and whatever is opposed to any biblical truth is false.

Can anyone discern a logical progression leading inexorably and irrefutably to the conclusion here? Apart from maybe the first two points, is there anything which is more than just an assertion or a statement of faith, with no connection with the preceding statement?

Let's see if it works with some other proposition. Let's see if we can use this method to 'prove' that the Pacific Ocean is composed of Scotch Whisky.

  1. Truth about Whisky is knowable.
  2. Opposites cannot both be true.
  3. The Pacific Ocean is compose of Scotch Whisky.
  4. Scotch Whisky is possible.
  5. Scotch Whisky made in connection with the claim that the Pacific Ocean is made of Scotch Whisky is an act of people who distil Scotch Whisky to confirm the truth of the claim.
  6. This blog is reliable.
  7. As witnessed in this blog, the Pacific Ocean is composed of Scotch Whisky.
  8. The claim that the Pacific Ocean is made of Scotch Whisky has been proven by the miracle of sea water turning into Scotch Whisky in the Pacific Ocean.
  9. Therefore the Pacific Ocean is composed of Scotch Whisky.
  10. Whatever is affirmed in this blog is true.
  11. This blog affirms that the Pacific Ocean is composed of Scotch Whisky and whatever opposes the truth in this blog is false.

YAYHEY! It works!

Pacific Ocean, Made of Scotch Whisky
So, using Christian 'logic', we have 'proved' beyond any possible shadow of doubt that the Pacific Ocean is composed of Scotch Whisky. And, anything which opposes that, including scientific analysis, is false. So that proves it, then!

Given that devastating demonstration of the wondrous power of this theological reasoning, how can anyone now seriously doubt the existence of the Christian god and the truth of the Bible?

Well, that, folks, is the standard of 'logic' which convinces religious people and so gives them the self-confidence to dispense 'truth' to the rest of us and to pontificate on and interfere in all aspects of our lives, the education of our children, our laws and our legal system.

Or is it just the clever-sounding hogwash they use to bamboozle the people they fleece for a living and to gain a power and trust they could never earn on merit?

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Wednesday 23 November 2011

So Creationists, A Universe From Nothing?

Hardly an hour goes by without some Christian or Muslim fundamentalist posting a message on Twitter to the effect that Atheism/Evolution is the belief that nothing went bang and magically created everything, or some such infantile parody of science.

Of course, a few minutes on Google, or reading a book on Big Bang cosmology would dispel that cherished myth and I have dealt with this several times in this blog, here and here and here, so I'm not going to rehearse the science yet again.

Instead, let's look at what Christians and Muslims believe.

Um... well, strangely enough, they believe the universe was magically created out of nothing.

How odd that they believe the very thing they wrongly ridicule Atheists for believing. How odd that the infantile parody they accuse Atheists of believing is the very thing they believe themselves.

Anyone would think Creationists no more know what they believe than they know what Atheists believe.

So, Christians and Muslims, instead of showing your ignorance by being wrong about Atheism, how about showing us your knowledge by answering the following simple question:

Saturday 19 November 2011

Parenting for Christians.

Nicolas Poussin - Battle of Joshua with Amalekites
Christians! What ARE you teaching your children?

Are you REALLY telling you children to look to the god of the Bible for moral guidance?

Are you REALLY telling them to follow the example of a god who:

  • Intended to destroy all life on earth save a few randomly chosen lucky ones as in the Flood story.
  • Killed every firstborn Egyptian just to soften Pharaoh's 'heart' which he had deliberately hardened in the first place.
  • Told Joshua to kill all the inhabitants of the Promised Land.
  • Told Saul to obliterate the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:3).
  • Is please with anyone who dashes Babylonian babies against rocks (Psalms 137:9).
  • Was going to destroy the people of Nineveh.
  • Destroyed and scattered the tribes of northern Israel because he was displeased with them.
  • Allowed Satan to destroy Job's family and health to win a bet.
  • Will destroy all unbelievers in the lake of fire.
  • Decreed that any man who picked up sticks on the Sabbath should be stoned to death (Numbers 15:32-36).
  • Commanded that anyone who cursed his mother or father was to be put to death (Exodus 21:17).
  • Ordered that witches and anyone with a differing religion were to be killed (Exodus 22:18).
  • Declared that a slave is the property of another man (Exodus 21:21).
  • Said that female captive in war were to be forced to be Israelite men's wives (Deuteronomy 21:10-14).
  • Decreed that if a virgin who was pledged to be married was raped she was to be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22:23-24).
  • Decreed that if a virgin who was not pledged to be married was raped she must marry her rapist (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).
  • Ordered Israelite men to divorce their wives if they were not themselves Israelite (Ezra 9).
  • Told Abraham to kill and sacrifice his son.
  • Sent his own son to confirm these laws (Matthew 5:17).
  • Had his own son killed to appease himself.

Are you REALLY telling your children to follow this bloodthirsty, barbaric, vindictive, misogynistic, genocidal, psychopath who apparently believes the blood sacrifice of an innocent person can absolve other people of the wrongs they've done?

If so, just how do you expect your children to turn out? With this role model, is it remotely likely to be kind, caring and compassionate people who value all people for who they are, not what they are, what they think, where they were born or how much they own?

Wouldn't you rather teach them to be decent human beings?

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Science vs Religion - Speeding Neutrinos

You may recall back in September how a group of scientists working at CERN had appeared to show that neutrinos can travel faster than light - something which Einstein's Theory of Relativity was thought to have shown to be impossible and which has been a basic principle of physics for a century.

I wrote a short blog on the lessons we can draw from this and the approach these scientists were taking  when comparing science with religion.

It has now been reported that an attempt to validate the CERN data has not only confirmed the findings but has added support to them by analysing the results of 20 more specific neutrino events where the speed of individual neutrinos has been measured and which all support the findings by arriving at the detector some 60 nanoseconds BEFORE they should have done if travelling at the speed of light.

Now, what will we expect to see in the scientific community?  Will we see scientists looking gloomy and crestfallen, feeling their entire life has been wasted believing a lie?  Will we see creative denialism as scientists find ways to ignore the findings, including name-calling, character assassination of the CERN scientists and impugning their motives?  Will we even see them accused of heresy with demands that they be excommunicated from the scientific community?

Or will we see a buzz of excitement and lots of new hypotheses being proposed and tested as this area of science is re-examined and re-assessed and it's implications worked through into other branches of science?

Could these findings lead us closer even to the elusive 'Grand Unifying Theory' which is assumed will bring together Relativity and Quantum Mechanics which currently don't quite join up. One thing we can be sure of is that science will incorporate this new knowledge if it turns out to be fully vindicated.  It will not be ignored and dismissed as some ineffable mystery too deep for mere mortals to understand.

What do you think would happen if a bunch of theologians came up with some research findings which showed that an especially cherished religious principle, say original sin, or the existence of souls, was fundamentally wrong and the entire field of religion needed to be revised, reassessed and adjusted to take into account these new, verified, findings?

Couldn't happen, you say?

Of course it couldn't happen.  No theologians or even Creation 'scientists' are actively looking for reasons to think their fundamental principles are wrong.  Indeed, many of them have even sworn an oath never to 'discover' anything which isn't in full accord with their paymasters' religious dogma.

Religion isn't about discovering truth; it's about enforcing dogma.

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Friday 18 November 2011

Favourite Oxymorons - Religious Logic

One of the more absurd arguments for religion (in this case Christianity) I've seen today is:

"If God doesn't exist then there would be no Atheists so the existence of Atheists proves God exists".

No. Honestly!

By the same 'logic' if football didn't exist there would be no such thing as not playing football. Therefore it follows everyone would be playing football... if there was no such thing as football!

Yes, folks. People who think that makes any sense can readily fall for religions.

Let's see if we can get away with telling them that if there were no such thing as Atheism, everyone would be Atheist. We may even be able to get them to campaign for more Atheism so there would be fewer Atheists.

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And Let Them Have Dominion... Again

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (KJV Bible)

Photograph Kim Cheung/AP
Seized rhino horns in Hong Kong

Customs officers seized a total of 33 unmanifested rhino horns, 758 ivory chopsticks and 127 ivory bracelets, worth about HK$17m ($2.23m), inside a container shipped from Cape Town, South Africa

Thursday 17 November 2011

The Evolutionary Tree of Life | Unreasonable Faith

A stunning diagram of life on earth tracing all species back to their common origin

Posted on Unreasonable Faith by Daniel Florien.

Imagine - New Hampshirite Liberation Organization

Just imagine.

Imagine a tribe of Native Americans who previously lived in New Hampshire, the Abenaki for example, had as part of their traditional origin myths a story of how what we now call New Hampshire had been granted to them for ever by one of their gods some 4000 years ago. This belief was central to their sense of identity, to their very idea of nationhood and ownership of this part of North America.

Imagine now that history had turned out differently; that this tribe's land had been occupied by other people with superior technology and that they had been scattered across the world to be a minority people in other nations, but always staying loyal to the tribal myth of rightful ownership of New Hampshire; indeed, clinging to this myth was the one thing which kept them together as a people but always a minority wherever they settled.

Meanwhile, back in New Hampshire history moved on and new people arrived, set up home and developed a new state; the state we now call New Hampshire. These people who called themselves New Hapshirites had built homes, created towns and farms, and set up industries and prospered. They had their own religion and knew little and cared less for the old religions of people who used to live there. These people were justifiably proud of the state they had created and were determine to defend it at all costs and to keep the freedoms they had won for themselves.

Roll on a couple of thousand years to a time when the displaced, dispossessed people had lived through periods of repression and persecution and of determined attempts to wipe them out entirely in genocides and pogroms and denials of basic civil liberties. Now they were enjoying a revival in more enlightened times and earning a new respect as progressive bankers, scientists, artists, craftsmen and lawyers and had become influential within the ruling class of a new world powers; a world power that had found itself to be the political and military power in New Hampshire, to the general irritation of the New Hampshirites.

Imagine if this new power had been persuaded that the original people of New Hampshire had a case; that they had a right to live in their former homeland of New Hampshire; that there was actually something in their claim to be the rightful owners because their god had said so several thousand years earlier.

And this new power allowed them to flood into New Hampshire under their protection until they were strong enough and powerful enough to launch a bid for independence; a bid for independence which included expelling the New Hampshirites from their homes; from the towns, villages and farms, and herding them into refugee camps to be treated as lesser people whose land could be taken at will and a people now subjected to the strange laws and customs of these invaders.

Now, imagine the New Hampshirites are trying to gain their state back; to return to live in their former homes, and are engaged in a guerilla war with the occupiers.

Whose side would you be on? Would the New Hampshirite Liberation Organization be terrorists or freedom fighters?

Would the traditional legend of a Native American tribe be a good enough reason to ignore the basic human rights of New Hampshirites?

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The Probability Of Being

What was the probability of you existing at all?

For it to happen, for as many generations are their have been human generations, and for as many generations as there has been life, every single one of your ancestors needed to meet exactly the right mate at exactly the right time and to produce one of your ancestors with exactly the right combination of genes. In each generation the right sperm needed to fertilise the right ovum.

And if any one of these had been different, you would not exist.

So how to calculate the probability of you existing? Don't bother to do the math; the result is so small that it would have more zeros after the decimal point than there are elementary particles in the universe.

And yet you exist.

Isn't this evidence of a controlling force; some intelligence running things? How can something so hugely improbable happen at all? Well no. That view only makes any sense if you assume the purpose of everything was to produce you.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Favourite Fallacies - The Ontological Argument

The Ontological Argument was invented by Anselm, an 10th century Archbishop of Canterbury who was later made a saint. Anselm 'reasoned' that you can conceive of a perfect god and an essential element of perfection is existence, so a god must exist.

Er... and that's it.

No. Really!

Of course, it went without question that the only perfect god was the Judeo-Christian one, so the Ontological Argument could only be an argument for the Judeo-Christian god, and no other.

Anselm has been féted through the centuries by Christian apologists for this 'proof' of their god. You still see and hear them trotting out this 'killer proof' at regular intervals and then sitting back in smug contentment as their opponent struggles. What they don't seem to grasp though is that the thing their opponent is struggling with is to understand just how they imagine they've proved anything with it.

And of course, there is always the blissful ignorance, feigned or genuine, that, if it were true, it would apply to any god which would be conditioned on the cultural ideas of perfection being used, one of which might even be non-existence.

So, if you're tempted to believe there might be something in this argument, put it to the test. Go to your window and 'conceive of' (i.e. think about) a perfect car outside.

Did one appear?

Maybe it takes a day or two to work, so if you want to wait a while and check later, please feel free...

Well, okay! Let's put these practical considerations to one side and enter the fantasy world of philosophers and religious apologists for a moment. Let's play with the Ontological Argument to see what we can do with it.

Try conceiving of any perfect thing you like, no matter how ludicrous. Does it exist? According to the Ontological Argument it must do. All you need is to conceive of something and it shall be yours...

I can conceive of a perfect universe. To me, a perfect universe is one where everything about it is amenable to reason; one in which, given the right tools, the right technology and the right understanding, everything can be understood in materialist terms. A perfect universe to me is fully understandable without the need for supernatural explanations. A perfect universe is one in which there is no need for gods or mysteries. A perfect universe is a god-free universe. Exactly like the one we live in, in fact.

According to Anselm of Canterbury, such a universe must exist.

Oops! St Anselm has now proven there is no god.

So, how can Christianity's favourite 'proof' of god prove gods don't exist? How can the same logic lead to two mutually exclusive conclusions?

Because, by simple logic, using a simple mind experiment, we've now proved the Ontological Argument to be the nonsense it always was. The Ontological Argument is like a conjuring trick where even the rabbit is imaginary, or, to put it another way, The Emperor's New Clothes. Who in their right mind was going to put their hand up and say, "Er... rihthámsócn, úre Ár, ðu bist gemaðel sceallan!" ("Er... actually, your Grace, you are talking bollocks!", as a 10th century Englishman would have said it). And who would have listened to them before they went to the stake?

Anselm's Ontological Argument is nothing more than our old friend, anthropocentric arrogance. It's nothing more than the idiotically arrogant argument that a god must exist because I believe it does; that somehow human imagination controls reality in an obedient universe which exists merely to serve the needs of humanity, so 'faith' is enough.

And that of course was exactly the universe which Anselm imagined he lived in and why he and others who shared his arrogant ignorance found his argument so convincing.

I wonder why modern theologians have never managed to update their view of the universe from that of a 10th century cleric who thought the earth was flat, the centre of it all, and all made especially for him.

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Monday 14 November 2011

Yes Dear! Of Course Atheism Is A Religion.

One of the more bizarre accusations theists, and especially creationists, level at atheists is that atheism is a religion and requires faith.

It's almost as though they believe if only they can persuade people this is true it will somehow justify their religious faith whilst simultaneously disproving the atheist position that there is no evidence for any god and so no reason to believe in one.

One wonders if they've actually thought about this or if, as seems more likely, they are simply mindlessly parroting some charlatan or other who is obviously supplying them, probably for money, with the spurious rationalisations they crave to maintain their infantile belief in magic. These people don't seem able to work out that if they could discredit atheism by calling it a religion or saying you need faith to be one, they are also discrediting their own superstition.

They seem quite capable of holding two diametrically opposite views of religion and faith simultaneously: that religions and faith are false therefore atheism must be because it's a religion, etc., and that religion and faith is the only way to determine ultimate truth and of acquiring unquestionable knowledge and understanding of the world.

And of course, they are capable of holding diametrically opposite views simultaneously. Indeed, they pride themselves in their ability to do it. This is an essential mechanism for self-delusion. This is precisely why they are religious in the first place.

A whole industry has grown up supplying them with books and on-line articles (with the give-away 'donate' button conspicuously displayed) providing them with the arguments, lies, deceptions and mental techniques required to do so. Many people earn a very good living supplying this industry and assiduously maintaining through fear and misinformation, the ignorance upon which it depends.

So, how much 'faith' does it take to not believe in Zeus or Ra, or the thousands of other gods which different people at different times have believed in with just the same level of evidence as exists for the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Shinto or Hindu god or gods? How much of a religion is not believing in Wotan, or not believing in Quetzalcoatl?

The answer, of course, is none at all. It takes no more faith to not believe in Apollo or Horus than it takes to not believe in some god once believed in by Amazonian Indians or New Guinea Highlanders of whom no one alive now has ever heard.

It takes no more faith to not believe in those gods than to not believe in Yahweh, the god of an insignificant tribe of Bronze Age nomadic pastoralist marauders whose god just happened to be taken up by the ruling class of a declining Iron Age Roman Empire, who could equally well have adopted any other of the many mythical gods then on offer, leaving Yahweh to sink into the obscurity of myth, or maybe to be forgotten altogether, the way so may gods have done in the past.

Surely the charlatans who feed these unfortunate simpletons this pap can come up with something just a LITTLE more intelligent than "It takes too much faith to be an atheist!", and "Atheism is a religion!" for them to trumpet under the sad delusion that it shows deep wisdom instead of revealing their shallow stupidity.

Surely they can think up some slogan which makes their victims look just a little more intelligent and just slightly less thick than two short planks. Or can't they? Maybe that would be asking the impossible.

Ten Reasons To Lose Faith: And Why You Are Better Off Without It

This book explains why faith is a fallacy and serves no useful purpose other than providing an excuse for pretending to know things that are unknown. It also explains how losing faith liberates former sufferers from fear, delusion and the control of others, freeing them to see the world in a different light, to recognise the injustices that religions cause and to accept people for who they are, not which group they happened to be born in. A society based on atheist, Humanist principles would be a less divided, more inclusive, more peaceful society and one more appreciative of the one opportunity that life gives us to enjoy and wonder at the world we live in.

Available in Hardcover, Paperback or ebook for Kindle


Thank you for sharing!

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Sunday 13 November 2011

Questions For Christians 2

Does your god tell you something is wrong because it is wrong, or is it wrong because your god says so?

Think before you answer.

If you tell me your god tells you it's wrong because it is wrong, you are telling me there is a higher authority than your god; that your god is subject to that higher authority and needs to defer to it for its own knowledge of right and wrong.

If that's so, then surely it's this higher authority which is the real god and yours is merely a subordinate, lesser god.

That's fine, if that's what you want to say. Only now you need to answer the above question with regard to this new, higher god...

On the other hand, you might tell me something is wrong for no other reason than that your god says it is. That's equally fine by me, so long as you realise you're telling me there is no objective morality; no objective right and wrong. That you're telling me, in fact, that there is no objective standard by which you can say whether the god you worship is a good god or an evil one and that when you tell me it's the god of love, you have no way of knowing if that's true or not. That you're telling me you have no objective way to know if it's your god or Satan who's giving the orders and commanding you to act.

So which is it?

A higher god than your god, and no real answer to the question other than a infinity of higher gods all handing down morality to the one beneath it with no end in sight and an answer that's no answer at all?

Or no way for you to tell whether it's a good god or an evil one; a loving god or Satan, who's telling you what to do and a moral code that's as useful as a back pocket in a vest?

Or do you have a third option - that your god has nothing to say about morality and it only has the morality you project onto it?

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Xeno's Religious Paradox

Xeno (pronounced Zeeno and often spelled Zeno) was a 5th Century BCE Greek philosopher who specialised in paradoxes.

One such, known as Xeno's Paradox, says that Achilles (a legendary Greek runner) should not be able to overtake a tortoise if the tortoise is given a head start in a race. By the same reasoning, it should be impossible for an arrow to hit a running rabbit.

This neatly illustrates how 'philosophy' can be used to confuse people and explains how it can be used with equal success to 'prove' whatever dishonest (or maybe, to be charitable, just not very bright) philosophers want you to believe, usually for money, and often to 'prove' diametrically opposite conjecture simultaneously, especially in different cultures. More of that later. Now back to Xeno...

Xeno's reasoning was this:

Questions For Christians 1

I often ask myself why Christians don't seem to act any better than others when they alone claim to have the power, wisdom, and guidance of God right there within them. Apparently, the Holy Spirit didn't properly do his job here.

John W Loftus,
Why I Became an Atheist

So, Christians: why don't you seem to act better than others?

Could it be that your claim to have higher morals, which come straight from your god, is just a lie intended to deceive or to cover over something you want to keep hidden?

You might want to read Children of an Amoral God before you answer.

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Friday 11 November 2011

At The Going Down Of The Sun, And In The Morning...

Passchendaele 1917
Once upon a time we used to do this for real to young men; to sons and lovers; to husbands and fathers; to brothers and childhood friends.

To real people in fact.

And now they're not even a memory...

But we're better than that now.... Aren't we?

Sunday 6 November 2011

Jesus Is Risen - And Pigs Can Fly!

As though the idea of Jesus being born specially to saved us from his father's anger with a blood sacrifice isn't bizarre enough, Christians would have us believe that his death was only for a few days and that he rose again, ascended into Heaven and is still alive to this day. One wonders what the point of dying in the first place was, but enough has probably been said on that already.

Let's now look at the rose again and ascended into Heaven part.

The evidence for this is to be found where? You've guessed it; in the Bible which was written by people who wanted you to believe Jesus was the Jewish Messiah and is still alive. No other evidence exists outside the Bible and no contemporaneous written accounts of it appear anywhere in any records or any non-biblical sources whatsoever.

Saturday 5 November 2011

A Fantasy Horror Story.

I believe I may have hit upon the plot for a scifi fantasy horror book and film. The basic idea is quite simple:

An organism, say a virus or a bacterium, or maybe a parasitic worm or even a fungus - it really doesn't matter other than having to think up some way to pass it on - develops the ability to control human minds. This organism then depends for its success on making it's host determined to infect anyone and everyone they meet, including their own children, by any means, in the belief that being infected is normal and being free from infection is somehow abnormal, even dangerous - so dangerous in fact that infection-free individuals should be denied basic rights and even killed if they won't become infected.
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