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Posts Tagged ‘atheism’

What Space Carrots Have to do With Religion

September 22, 2009 3 comments

I will now present you with a hypothetical scenario. Hold on to your pants, my friends. (Unless you don’t want to. They probably will not go anywhere.)

Meet Crazy Harold. Crazy Harold has just moved into a house down the street from you. Crazy Harold enjoys; tether-ball, feeding his nineteen cats, and being crazy.

Now meet Vivian. Vivian has just moved into a house down the street from you on the other side. Vivian is a Catholic. Vivian enjoys lacrosse, book club, and incense.

On a bright and beautiful Saturday morning, you rise early, cook up a scrumptious plate of eggs, and sit down to check your email.

The first email is a mass email from Crazy Harold, who wants to announce that he has had a revelation; the moon is made of playdough, carrots are actually a breed of super-vegetable from space, and everyone is sort of a transcendent demi-god trapped in a worldly body until we can liberate ourselves by realizing that nothing is real.

You have a good laugh and delete it.

The second email is from Vivian, announcing the next book club. Her emails, like those of many people, are automatically signed with a signature line of text; “I believe God put me on this earth to do good.” Cheesy, but really kind of sweet. Well, her belief might not exactly resonate with you, but it’s her belief and who are you to question it?

So, quiz time; what is the difference between Harold’s belief and Vivian’s belief?

A) Bacon

B) Vivian’s belief can be used to reduce swelling in the instance of head trauma

C) Harold’s belief makes a tasty snack

D) Not much, really

If you picked ‘D’, pat yourself on the back!

No, I am not saying religious people are comparable to crazy people and should be mocked. If you know me personally, you will find that I am among the (dwindling) number of atheists that still respect religious people and leave them alone, as long as they afford me the same courtesy.

Although, by the way, if you think mentally ill people should be mocked, then you need to take a long look in the mirror, and then give yourself a head-clearing smack in the face.

So, what’s the difference between Vivian’s belief and Crazy Harold’s belief? Nothing but a shiny stamp of approval from the masses. Crazy Harold believes in things based on personal revelation. So does Vivian. The only difference between Harold and Vivian is that Vivian’s unverifiable belief has somehow come to be viewed both as commonplace (which is is) and highly personal and sacred (which it is not necessarily).

So, Vivian’s unverifiable, revealed ‘truth’ is thought of as noble and sacred, and therefore immune to inquiry, while Harold’s revealed ‘truth’ can be discarded outright?

With my keen senses, I have detected a double standard.

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Ray Comfort; Shameless Nitwit

July 30, 2009 6 comments

Friends, I stand before you today in awe, in awe I say, of the unbearable lack of intellectual integrity I am witnessing. I am thoroughly convinced that Ray Comfort, well-known puppet to his own stupid metaphysical convictions, is not only determined to prove that he is a pathetic dunce, but also to cause me through his pitiable ignorance to spontaneously combust out of shame for my species.

I am watching a debate between Atheistic youtuber Thunderf00t and Way of the Master’s Ray Comfort.

If you don’t know what Way of the Master is, or if you don’t understand my contempt for it and Ray Comfort, please click that link. You will notice that the front paged video is entitled “Micheal Jackson’s REAL Cause of Death!”

FADE IN. Que dramatic orchestral music. Superimpose text over montage of shadowy Micheal pictures; “Micheal Jackson; the REAL Cause of Death!”

FADE OUT. Ray is interviewing a black woman.

RAY. (Holding awkwardly conspicuous microphone) So where’s Micheal now?

BLACK WOMAN. Y’know, I believe that Micheal is in heaven right now, having a dance battle with James Brown.

CUT TO another interview.

ANOTHER WOMAN. I know, right now, Micheal is definitely singing with the angels.

All throughout the video, there’s this obnoxious dramatic cello music in the background. Every few seconds the shot cuts away to something else, and the producers for some reason decided to super-impose images of Micheal Jackson dancing over half the screen every so often. And, judging from the heavy-handed application of effects that is present throughout the video, the producers are actually 12-year-old boys who just got iMovie. It’s like watching an amateurish Pirates of the Caribbean. With tons of black people. Did I mention that although the crowd clearly has at least as many whites and people of other ethnicities as blacks, Comfort interviews almost exclusively black people? I don’t even know how to interpret that.

Of course, the whole thing is a segue into one of Ray Comfort’s shpiels about how no one is saved unless they fall down on their knees and beg the Jewish Zombie God for forgivness.

Basically, this is a re-hash of all the other Way of the Master videos. But with pop stars! Because the heathen masses like pop stars, right? Now, I don’t know about you folks in the readership, but does this strike you as… oppurtunistic at all?

But I digress. As I mentioned, Thunderfoot recently persauded Ray Comfort to have a debate with him. Comfort initially refused, asking for a sum of money which he said was eqaul to what Richard Dawkins would get for a debate. I gather that this is Ray’s way of poutingly saying, “Hey guys, I’m an intellectual too!” It’s ok Ray. When you grow up and stop believing in Santa Claus, you’ll be able to play with the big kids too.

I’m not sure what happened next, but great justice was eventually served and Ray agreed to the debate. And so it was.

And so, to the deafening glee squeels of internet atheists everywhere, it began.

Ray’s first question to Thunderfoot is; What was in the beggining? Thunderfoot politely informs Ray that there is no good reason to assume that there was a beggining. Ray cuts Thunderfoot off to assert that while Thunderfoot doesn’t know what’s in the beggining, he does, having been blessed with special knowledge from the bible. Thunderfoot rationally points out that Ray has only stated his opinion.  Ray assumes a blank look and more or less rehashes his original question. Thunderfoot rephrases his answer. And so it goes.

Eventually, Thunderoot begins talking about physics in order to make a point. Mercifully, Ray shuts up for a while, probably trying to remember who Newton was.

Though Thunderfoot patiently tries to explain multiple times that Ray’s assumption that there is a beggining is just that – an unsupported assumption – Ray seems to have selective deafness regarding this issue in particular.

He also claims that we can’t create sand. Ray Comfort apparently really likes sand, because he keeps bringing it up and stating that we can’t create sand, rocks, leaves, etc; again making the assumption that all things must be created. I would have pointed out to him that although we can’t conjure up matter out of nowhere, there is a pretty impressive list of unusual elements that humans have learned to synthesize. Just to be clear, these elements are not naturally occurring on earth. Humankind learned to synthesize them without ever actually seeing a real specimen.

Ray also calls DNA a ‘Language’. Normally I’d appreciate the poetry of this statement, but Ray seems to believe in literally. Had I been present, I would have explained to Ray something called ‘Junk DNA’; huge portions of DNA that essentially amount to useless static. By way of analogy, if DNA were literally a language it would be as if the speaker were screaming incoherent nonsense words for 90% of the time, only occasionally speaking a few snippets of a sentance.

Here’s another way of looking at it; if DNA is a ‘language’, and therefore made by an intelligent entity, it was very badly made – as is much of nature.

Ray also likes to talk about how Man is the highest form of creation. Not humans, mind you – man. I guess if you’re going to be clueless, it doesn’t hurt to be sexist too. In terms of DNA efficiency, or percentage of coding DNA versus non-coding Junk DNA, pufferfish are actually far superior to humans.

Hey Ray, have you ever considered the possibility that God made all this cool stuff you continuously wax ecstatic about for some other animal? Or maybe God is really just interested in empty space. There’s more of that in the universe then anything else.

Sadly for Ray, the existence of Junk DNA is one of the predictions that can be made if one knows a thing or two about evolution. My suggestion? Don’t bring up a subject in debate that you’re completley ignorant about.

At one point, Ray Comfort puts big, red underscore beneath his babbling stupidity – which by this time completely permeates the air in his California studio – and suggests that salamanders who have recently speciated cannot mate with one another because they are infertile.

Yes, you read that right. So determined is Ray to deny the facts of modern science that he refuses to learn anything about it, resulting in unintentional hilarity. If you know a thing about biology, this is equivalent to a grown human being insisting that the clouds are not water condensation at all, but rather giant chunks of cotton candy being held aloft by merry little fairies.  Upon being corrected by an impressively poker-faced Thunderfoot, Ray makes a concession; He doesn’t know a thing about evolution, he just doesn’t believe in it.

It’s a subtle moment, but this is a remarkable deviation from Ray’s official postion on Evolution. If you’ve seen his infamous Bannana video, you might have gathered that Ray considers himself to be somewhat ‘in the know’ about how living things work.  He’s also fond of insulting his audience by bringing pictures to debates – apparently Ray feels that his people need a little visual aid to help them really absorb that gospel spirit – and claiming that they are a damning refutation of evolution.

Throughout the  Comfort vs. TF debate, Ray displays about as much understanding of philosophy and science as your average plastic spork. He appears to be immune to well-worded and consistent explanations.

Just so we’re entirely clear, I don’t hate religious people. I do not consider religious people to be ignorant as a rule. I find that most religious people I meet are pleasant, intelligent, and much better at board games then me. But only with religion can you display this level of pig-headed ignorance and have it be accepted, even applauded, by society.

My general impression of Ray is of a bumbling, well-meaning but dim-witted man who, somehow, fell into his current position of being a leader of sorts, and now has to pretend that he’s got the savvy to lead his rag-tag army of Christians onward. This is what religion comes down to; stupid men who are convinced they are right leading yet more stupid men into trenches. Onward, Christian soldiers.

If you’re interested, watch the debate. It’s good for some lulz.

Atheism is not a belief system

June 30, 2009 12 comments

Atheism: Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.

There is no belief specified here. No Doctrine, no guiding documents, no traditions, no body of believers, nor a single characteristic of a belief system. A belief system, according to the science of Sociology, exhibits three traits: A body of believers, a guiding doctrine, and some sort of ritual. None of these are present for an atheist as a facet of their atheism. It is quite possible to disbelieve without turning ones disbelief into a guiding system.

If this is not true, than I posit that all Christians guide their life on the belief system of denying the existence of pink unicorns, especially of the invisible variety.

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