"...I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me..." [Deuteronomy 5:8-10]

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Richard Dawkins - Beware the Believers

Whoever did this wins the internet. And this medal.

There's an amusing discussion on the provenance of this video at Pharyngula. Maybe it was elves.


On blogging about God & ID

I've been blogging on and off for a long time, and there is a familiar pattern. I write a lot in bursts about things that interest me. Sometimes there's a general theme to my posts, other times they are more random. But for whatever reasons I find myself enthused about writing and blogging for a while. And then I stop. Something else comes up in life. New girlfriend. A new job. Other distractions. And then after a while I get bitten by the bug again and I feel the need to post. That's what happened in January when I came back to blogging after a long break. But then, in February, I found the blogging well had dried up and I moved to other things.

It's amusing to look back at what got me blogging - or indeed as writing as PTET in the first place. Like a zillion naive skeptics, I wanted to explore and challenge my beliefs, to learn new things, and to try and work out just how so many people could be so inexplicably stupid as to not believe what I believe. If only I explained it to them slowly and patiently, I thought, I'd be able to convince them of the error of their ways. I'd make them think. And hey, I never thought I would stop anyone being a Christian or believing in God. But I did think that if only people could be made to see just how ridiculous creationism was, how it was illogical, how it was based on lie after lie, that people might think enough about their beliefs to question them. Sheesh, I thought, people can be Christians and Bible-believers all they want - but surely I can help people realize that much of what is said in the name of Fundamentalist Christianity is just patently untrue.

How wrong I was. For months and even years, I posted the same arguments again and again in blog entries and in correspondence with erstwhile Christians who wrote either to argue with what I'd said or to convert me. The same arguments again and again, endlessly repeated.

The Bible was historical. It contained remarkable prophesies which spoke to it's "truth". Jesus was the most attested-to historical figure of all time. Science backed it. Genesis in particular was incredibly and overwhelmingly confirmed by scientific understanding. All that crap.

Nothing I said in response to these arguments seemed to have the slightest effect. My correspondents would dodge and weave and avoid reading or checking anything I wrote in response.

Evolution was an atheistic construct dreamed up by amoral degenerates who wished to avoid moral accountability. If I mentioned that most Christian scientists accepted standard evolutionary theory, I was told that these people were not real Christians. If I asked whether my respondents would go out and murder and steal and rape if they stopped believing in god, the responses would comically range from outright evasion of the question to statements of such breathtaking stupidity that all chance of further dialogue ground to a halt.

So why do I write? Why should I blog? I don't want to write into the ether. I don't want to preach to the skeptical choir. There's nothing to be gained from me worrying about the very large number of eminently sensible and rational Christians and other believers who are entirely comfortable with the limits of their faith and who accept evolution and don't have to rely on the "truth" of the Bible to support their beliefs.

It is maddening to see just how immune True believers are to any arguments or evidence which contradicts them.

But hey, they see me the same way. To a fundamentalist or evangelical, it is the non-believer who is intransigent, illogical, evasive, dishonest, stupid... All these things. Skeptics come up with the same arguments which have been "refuted" time and time again on Apologetics websites, or in Christian books, etc., etc...

So what then? I've tried until I am blue in the face to show that Fundamentalism and Intelligent Design Creationism are patently wrong... I point at every turn the Christians who do accept evolution; to the origins and basis of morality outside of religion, all that.

But it gets me nowhere.

Maybe they are right. Maybe the entire world of science is an atheistic conspiracy to suppress the obvious existence of God. Maybe evolution is impossible, and the only reasonable explanation is an all-powerful, loving God. Maybe that God can only be explained by their religious beliefs. Their religious beliefs and no-one else's, of course. Maybe homosexuality and abortion are always wrong. Maybe there is no morality without God? Maybe we know all these things because God and/or the Bible say so. Or is none of that relevant? Is it really all about the science?

Then I remember words like these from Answers In Genesis:

"...when the interpretation of scientific data contradicts the true history of the world as revealed in the Bible, then it’s the interpretation of the data that is at fault. It’s important to remember that we have limited data, and new discoveries have often overturned previous ‘hard facts’..."
And these, from William Dembski:
"At the same time that research in the Bible Code has taken off, research in a seemingly unrelated field has taken off as well, namely, biological design. These two fields are in fact closely related. Indeed, the same highly improbable, independently given patterns that appear as the equidistant letter sequences in the Bible Code appear in biology as functionally integrated ("irreducibly complex") biological systems, of the sort Michael Behe discussed in Darwin’s Black Box"
Yup. All science so far.

Cthulhu fhtagn.


Friday, March 28, 2008


Update 29 March

The short film Fitna was released on Friday. You can watch it on youtube.

[b]Update:[/b] LiveLeak now have the film for you to watch. They'd temporarily removed it after receiving death threats...

The Film itself is not very incendiary. It does say that Islamification of western culture is dangerous. Is that controversial? Most muslims in the west - and the ones I know of course - want nothing to do with the Fundamentalists.

'Course, there is one major section of society in the West who want to ban the teaching of evolution; stop abortion, homosexuality and fornication; and return women to a subservient role in society. Guess who...

Hey, at least they're non-violent.



My mate got mugged. She made this wee film about it.

I was assaulted randomly in the street about 12 years ago. It was a real shock. Like my friend, it was teenage boys who got me. My attackers got away too.

All this time later, as a godless liberal, if these now-grown-up boys were in front of me, and I had the chance to hurt them, would I? What would you do?


Cthulhu loves the little children



Cthulhu loves the little childrenThis magnificent picture comes from a great article on soulless children's playgrounds in former communist countries. At least one artist there had some class... (HT: Popbitch).

Remember kids, it is foretold that at the proper time:

"the secret priests would take great Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth....Then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom."
It's just like the Bible says.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!


God Fails Another Loser

Poor C. David Parsons.

After "much fasting, prayer, and seeking wisdom from God" he's pissed away what one imagines was a serious chunk of his kids' inheritance vanity publishing creationist text books.

Despite God's guidance and grace, the world of science has been completely unmoved by this publishing sensation. The Intelligent Design Creationists have just ignored him. Presumably they think he's batshit crazy too.

Parsons has acheived some noteriety, by spamming dozens of blogs and newgroups in a pitiful cry for publicity. He's even visited Ptet. He claims:

The Quest for Right... represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences.
O RLY? James Moore of No Answers In Genesis actually bought a copy:
"A revealing aspect of Quest for Right is that it contains not one reference. It is as though [the author]... sat at the computer and made it up as he went along."

All this got me thinking. There are many millionaires who credit God's inspiration and support for their success... But where are the folks who've blown everything in crazy schemes - like "The Quest For Right" - which come to them in religious visions and amount to shit? Does God never give bad advice? Or is it more likely, do you think, that there's dozens of losers for every winner in the lottery of God's grace, and we just count the hits and forget the misses?

But hey. Let's not fret too much for Mr Parsons. Like Job, he knows God's fucking him over is just a test of his faith.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cats & Dogs

It's been a while since I rapped with you. The combination of a new job and the unending stupidity of Intelligent Design Creationism have conspired to make blogging less compelling than I'd like.

As a case in point, see this from Denyse O'Leary about the ridiculous spat of PZ Myers' explusion from a recent preview of the movie "Expelled":

"It is much easier to solve Myers's problem about getting a ticket than to solve the more serious, science-related problems detailed in the documentary - the problems of people whose careers were destroyed by Darwinists simply because they know reasons why Darwinism isn't true."
What reasons would these be, I wonder?

According to early reviews of the film, it doesn't even bother to define what it means by "Darwinism", "Evolution", or - staggeringly - "Intelligent Design". Even so, it blames evolution for "Communism, the Berlin Wall, Fascism, the Holocaust, atheism and Planned Parenthood", while presenting Intelligent Design as a religious viewpoint.

All science so far.

And let's look at just one of the scientists who's career was "destroyed" by Darwinists, according to "Expelled" - Caroline Croker.

This is a lady who gained a PhD in immunopharmacology, and who still managed to tell a second-year cell biology class that macroevolution was not established because "No one has ever seen a dog turn into a cat in a laboratory".

Does Denyse O'Leary think this is a reason why "Darwinism isn't true"? Inquiring minds want to know...