an atheist viewpoint

thoughts from a non-theist

Archive for the month “March, 2011”

Next time a faith head claims Albert Einstein was a believer….

….show them this letter, written a year before his death in 1954.

The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. … For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstition. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong … have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything “chosen” about them.

In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision…

That should shut them up once and for all.

Armageddon Outta Here!

Gee whiz homophobe and Jesus lover, Rhomphaia has bashed out some vile stupidity today in the form of a post titled “The Sun This, The Sky That- WHO NEEDS IT ANYWAY?“. Via a series of Bible verses, Rhomph looks forward with excitement to the end of the World, as she believes this will herald the beginning of the Kingdom of God on Earth.

This got me thinking about the whole concept of Armageddon. Fundamentalist Christians all seem overly excited whenever world events take a turn for the worst, they seemingly relish news of imminent conflict if it involves the Middle East, or looks like it could start a Third World War.

Here’s a good example of the kind of language used by fundies, this is from a booklet called ‘The End of the World‘ from the Christadelphians….

Nuclear Holocaust?
So, when Jesus returns to set up the Kingdom of God, will our world be destroyed by fire? When Peter and Paul wrote those words the possibility of men being able to destroy the earth by fire would be way beyond their imagination. In our days it is a very real fear. It is no secret that there are enough nuclear weapons stockpiled literally to incinerate every living thing on the face of the earth and to leave it empty and waste.

Is this what the Bible foretells? Will there be a nuclear war?

Let’s look at the other evidence in the Bible, remembering Jesus endorsed all that was said by the Old Testament prophets, who foretold that the centre of events at the time of the end would he Israel and especially the city of Jerusalem.

The prophecies made centuries ago are startling in their relevance to our present world. They speak about Israel and the Jewish people as a power to be reckoned with among the nations; of Jerusalem being a major cause of trouble and concern; nations such as Persia (Iran), Libya, Ethiopia and a great northern power, with massive armaments, becoming a threat to world peace and invading Israel. 

….there’s a relish is in the language used which is almost demented! These people WANT the world to be destroyed in violence, actively look forward to billions of people dying in agony and fear just so they, the believers, can get their reward from Jesus!

And they wonder why non-believers don’t want Rapture Ready Christians anywhere near a position of power! Think about this, Sarah Palin literally believes that the world will end in an Armageddon which will climax with the return of Christ – do you want this woman anywhere near the power that would allow her to CAUSE the end?

I don’t think that the End of the World believing Christians (or Muslims, or any other faith that has an obscene obsession with the Earth ending in flame) should be allowed to attain political positions that would give them access to the means to kill us all.

Really, isn’t it the height of selfishness though? To allow almost every living thing to die just so they can get some prize from their deity? It’s obscene.

Lying Fuckwit Joe Cienkowski, Still Lying and Being a Fuckwit

No, you FUCKING DICK, it doesn’t! Read this and get an education, you liar. I wouldn’t mind, but Joe has had this explained to him time and time again, yet he keeps trotting out the same old shite.

Cracked Post Something Rather Good

A nice piece on Evolution.

Is there evidence against Evolution?

I could be really snide here, and just write ‘no’, then leave the subject, but I’m going to write some more.

Today, over at the PCM comments, a certain theist claimed the following

“The faith of evolution, the faith of atheism! While suppressing and denying evidence against evolutionism, supporters force-fit observations through their preconceptions. Essentially, “Evolutiondidit!””

I read this and then got to wondering, just what is this evidence against Evolution? It was time to hit Google!

To start with I think we can safely completely ignore David J. Stewart’s staggeringly ignorant ‘Proof that Evolution is a Hoax’, a witless arse waft using the supposed (and incorrect) assertion that there are no man made records dating from before 4000BCE as some kind of evidence that evolution hasn’t happened. Look, David, even if your point were true, which it very much isn’t, the lack of man made records would say nothing at all about the age of the Earth or evolution.

Moving on I looked at Straight Talk dot net, which parrots the same old nonsense whilst trying to claim that science refutes evolution. You know they’re in trouble from the off, when their second point is

• According to the theory of evolution, at some time in the distant past there was no life in the universe — just elements and chemical compounds. Somehow, these chemicals combined and came to life.

No, you dunces, the theory of evolution says NOTHING about the origins of life, that’s abiogenesis. Conflating evolution and abiogenesis is a favourite tactic of Creationists, All About Creation do it, the misnomered Best Bible Science does it, as do Changing Lives Online. Superficially attractive as an argument, it falls down completely when one points out that abiogenesis and evolution are completely separate, they are not the same thing….AT ALL.

Even if they were, it wouldn’t matter, as our understanding of the origins of life grows every year.

Almost all the sites I looked at claimed lied that there were no transitional fossils, despite the massive number of known examples. To claim there are none is a blatant lie. You can find more info on these supposedly non-existent fossils here, here, and here (which includes the so called ‘missing link’). Seriously, just type ‘list of transitional fossils’ into any search engine and you’ll have a list as long as you like.

Some sites claim that DNA disproves evolution, that the more we uncover, the more evolution seems like a fairy story. Sadly for Creationist the exact opposite is true, the more we’ve learned about DNA, the more we’ve seen that it proves common ancestry.

All About Creation makes the following claim about the nature of the human mind

Scientists have found that the brain and mind are separate entities. Wilder Penfield said, “Through performing surgery on more than a thousand epileptic patients, he encountered concrete evidence that the brain and the mind are actually distinct from each other, although they clearly interact.”

…however, if you Google the quote as represented here, you find only references to it on other apologetic’s sites. Broadening the search terms brought up this paper, which doesn’t appear to say what the quote claims at all.

The argument from design or complexity is also a firm favourite of believers, and they’re ever so fond of quoting Darwin, as Changing Lives Online does here –

Darwin said: “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.” 

Again, this seems superficially attractive, here we have Darwin, the father of the Theory of Evolution, saying that evolution is ‘absurd’, it looks like an open goal. But what’s this? The passage continues?

“Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound.”

Oops! Sadly Creationists are extremely fond of quote mining, even though the internet has made it easier than ever before to look up what was actually said.

Some of the less intelligent sites argue that the Second Law of Thermodynamics prevents evolution, conveniently forgetting that the law only stands in a closed system, which the Earth very clearly isn’t (the Sun, anyone?), while others claim that the Earth (mostly uninhabitable to man due to being covered in water) and the Universe (mostly uninhabitable to man due to being a hard vacuum and swarming with radiation, amongst many other problems) are ‘fine tuned’ for us to live in them. All clearly untrue. It’s weird, Creationists claim over and over again that Evolution is ‘the sick man of science’ or that ‘there’s more and more evidence against it every day’ when neither statement is true. I guess they’re just repeating what they’ve heard other faith heads say, and never bother to look into the facts.

I could go on and on, citing example after example of ‘evidence’ against evolution presented by Creationists, before showing that it’s completely in error, but I won’t. It’s enough to say that there isn’t a single piece of evidence that Creationists have ever presented that causes any problems for the Theory of Evolution.

One final point though, even IF it were shown that evolution weren’t a fact, Creationism wouldn’t automatically be the answer to the origins of life, this isn’t a zero sum equation. Creationism provides no scientific evidence to back itself up, it is a busted flush, far from the ‘theory’ that some Creationists call it.

God sends a ‘powerful delusion’ to the writers of Please Convince Me

Seemingly unable to write about anything other than points I’ve brought up, the hapless apologists at Please Convince Me have, predictably, failed to convince. This time they’re arguing that several Bible verses that clearly show their god to be a liar (and proud of it) don’t actually mean that at all.

You can read the verses in my previous blog post.

Anyway, Al tries his best to explain away the meaning of the verses, and I recommend you take a couple of minutes to read what he says…the first half makes a load of claims about the nature of god for which Al doesn’t have any evidence at all (other than the similarly fact free musings of generations of theists) and the doublethink starts in the second half.

Talking about 1 Kings 22:23 Al says –

“He [Micaiah] is, essentially, conveying that Ahab’s “prophets” have deceived him and are not speaking God’s truth.”

Yet he SAYS “Yahweh has put a lying spirit into the mouth of all these your prophets.” – so is Micaiah lying and slandering Please Convince Me’s god? Surely if Al’s interpretation is correct then Micaiah is claiming that their god has done something that they say he hasn’t.

Let’s move forward, discussing Ezekiel 14:9

“This passage is, similarly, talking about God removing his guidance from false prophets and abandoning them to their false beliefs. Similar to the language used by Paul in his letter to the Romans, the thrust of this passage is that God will eventually abandon a person to his wrongful beliefs.”

Again, Please Convince Me make a claim that isn’t borne out by the text “I the LORD have deceived that prophet”. If their god was abandoning the individual to his own, wrong, beliefs, why doesn’t it say that? Is their god deliberately trying to create the wrong impression by guiding the supposedly inspired writer to use words that present YWHW as lying? Al’s explanation merely brings us back to a god who is dishonest, in my opinion.

Final verse, 2 Thess. 2:11

“This passage, like the previous one, reveals that God will eventually stop trying, and will abandon people to their evil desires and beliefs. In other words, he will not overcome their free will and make them believe the truth.”

Yet again, Al’s explanation doesn’t actually explain anything. The verse “For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.” is very clear, YWHW has fooled the non-believers so that they will believe a lie. This is the exact opposite of Al’s claim that he’ll not “overcome their free will” – what else is he doing if not forcing them to believe a lie by ‘send[ing] them a powerful delusion’?

All Al’s done in this article is show that some believers will go to extraordinary lengths to deny what the text of the Bible means is what it says.

God, liar or ‘withholder of the truth’?

Recently, I asked some apologists to explain why, when they claimed that lying was a moral failing, did their god seemingly have no problems with bullshitting left right and centre. I cited the following verses as evidence of his willingness to mislead

2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (King James Version)

11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

1 Kings 22:23

Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.

Ezekiel 14:9

And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

Today I got a jaw dropping reply on the Please Convince Me blog from a new poster there….

In each of the instances you sighted, the truth was given to the people in question FIRST. In each instance, the people rejected the truth and refused to believe it. As a result, God simply removed the truth from them, giving them exactly what they wanted. In the absence of truth, what remains is a lie. So to say that God lied in these instances is similar to saying that he turned off the light. When light is gone, darkness is all that remains.

Oh, I see! It’s NOT a lie, it’s just the same as turning off a light, the light (in this instance) being ‘the truth’! God ISN’T lying, he’s just NOT TELLING THE TRUTH! Hmmm, I should have spotted that, round one to you, theist.

The 1Kings passage that you sighted is a perfect example. In that instance, God sent a prophet to the king telling him not to go into battle. If he went into battle he would fail. The king didn’t want to hear that, so he tried some prophets of other gods. These guys were false prophets to begin with, so anything they might say would already be a lie. God simply controled the lie they told. Keeping in mind that he had ALREADY OFFERED THE TRUTH, and they had rejected it.

And here, these prophets were ALREADY LIARS, so God making them lie wasn’t really making them lie at all…..or something.

Of course, the correct answer if asked ‘Can God lie?’ is ‘No, because God doesn’t exist’

God, repeatedly surprised and repentant

Apologists repeatedly claim that their god is incapable of making mistakes, and that it knows all of history and time in an instant, so cannot regret anything. Unfortunately for them the Bible says otherwise…

I Samuel 15:11

‘Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following Me, and hath not performed My commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night.

Saul had been chosen by YWHW, yet here he is, regretting that choice.

What about this –

Num 14:11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous sings I have performed among them?”

Why does YWHW need to ask? Surely if he knows all of time he knows EXACTLY how long the people will treat him with contempt?

and there’s more…..

Genesis 6:6
And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Exodus 32:14
And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

Deuteronomy 32:36
For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants.

1 Samuel 15:35
The Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

2 Samuel 24:16
The Lord repented of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, it is enough: stay now thine hand.

1 Chronicles 21:15
The Lord beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand.

Isaiah 38:1-5
In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah … said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. … Thus saith the LORD … I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.

…here are a few verses where YWHW speaks directly….

Jeremiah 15:6
I am weary of repenting. (I’ll bet he is!!)

Jeremiah 18:8
I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

Jeremiah 26:3
That I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them.

….it goes on….

Jeremiah 26:13
The Lord will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.

Jeremiah 26:19
The Lord repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them.

Jeremiah 42:10
For I [God] repent me of the evil that I have done unto you.

Amos 7:3, 6
The Lord repented for this.

Jonah 3:10
God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them.

So much for never being surprised or changing his mind!

Weirdly, I’ve read an apologist suggesting that the ability to change and adapt one’s behaviour in accordance with changes of circumstance ISN’T a good thing! This is the kind of lunacy that you end up dealing with when deluded faith heads stretch logic to breaking point in their attempts to explain how their impossible god can exist.

"Muslamic Lore"

Fundie simpleton Rhomphaia (specialities – rank stupidity and quoting Bible verses) has allowed that ultra-right wing jizz-wit Stormbringer to post some Islamophobic ‘Oh noes SHARIA LAW!!!’ on her blog. The raging halfwit Stormy is no stranger to posting outright hatred aimed at non-Christians, then whining that people don’t ‘get’ his ‘sense of humour’ when he’s called on it.

This video has appeared on Youtube, and features a member of the English Defence League describing his fears in an….um….unique way. His incoherence and obvious lack of knowledge reminded me of Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber, Rhomphaia and Stormbringer.

The Tyranny of Hell and the Vileness of God

A brilliant article from the Guardian

Moreover, the ideas about hell held historically by most religious believers are of disproportionately severe punishments. You look at the imaginatively foul tortures being dished out in the hells of Hieronymus Bosch, or some Buddhist art, and reflect that the worst people in human history do not deserve to be endlessly devoured and shat out by a canary-shaped demon.

Roz Kaveney has hit the nail in the head. The punishment of an eternity in hell is completely disproportionate to even the most ‘evil’ of ‘sins’, and the fact that it’s a supposedly loving God that will send living beings to suffer that punishment makes it even more grotesque. And don’t pull out any bullshit about Satan, that sadsack is God’s little helper, in no way is he the ‘enemy’ of YWHW! God even admits to this in Isaiah 45:7 –

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

YHWH does ALL of it, he’s behind the most heinous acts of man, the ones that then doom man to hell!

How can any sane individual believe the actions of this vile character are ‘good’? Why would anyone want to praise this maniac?

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