Thursday, April 4, 2013

Jacob's story

Our favorite fundamentalist scumbag nut job, Eric Hovind wrote this post.  It's good to note that in this post, Hovind mentions donations four times, three are explicitly asking for donations.  This is just one ~9 paragraph post.  

The fun begins in the first paragraph though.  Young Jacob had lived a life of ignorance er...  Solid Christian teaching, such that he "had never questioned God’s existence. He had no reason to do so."  No reason besides general intellectual honesty that is...  

Couldn't the story just end there?  Well if it wasn't for the evil indoctrination of the PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM, yes.  Unfortunately, we want a society of well informed people, not creationists.  (Did I say that?)  

In Jacob's first year in middle school, he learned science.  How awful!  His teacher had the audacity to teach evolution as scientific fact (which of course it is, but how dare they teach it that way).  The post here says the teacher ridiculed the children who asked about creationism, and if that's true, that's poor teaching.  But more often than not in these cases, the 'ridicule' is not that of the teacher but that of science.  

On a side note, Jacob is quoted here as saying "My teacher told the whole class evolution was logical and true so we believed her."  That's pathetic on so many levels.  The quote has an implicit and unwarranted disdain for evolutionary theory, Jacob is pretty much just ready to believe whatever he's told is true (thank that Christian education I mentioned earlier).

That was just the first paragraph guys.

I need to quote this, so my apologies...

“A few months later, I realized I’d peeled away from Christ so I began searching for truth online. And that’s when I saw the Creation Today video on YouTube. As I watched, I learned my teacher’s ‘facts’ did not prove her theory. Thank you so much! I am now a strong believer in Christ!”

This is a whole load of fail, and here's why.  When Jacob "peeled away from Christ", he started "searching for truth online".  That implies an assumption that Christ is true/truth.  It would be acceptable if he said that he was seeking answers to get a more accurate understanding of the world, but he exposes an intellectually dishonest position in that line.

If one is searching for truth on the internet, anything to do with Creation Today is probably something that should be avoided.  The word 'truth' is loaded, but when discussing scientific matters like evolution, accuracy is a valid term.  So if one is looking for accurate information on the internet, it is readily available.  It's available in the form of papers and scientific articles by credible people.  Hovind is not credible.

Jacob says that as he watched Creation Today's video, he learned that his "teacher's 'facts'" didn't 'prove' 'her' theory.  
  1. Creation Today is not a credible source.
  2. Those facts are well evidenced.
  3. The facts are part of the theory, not an intended proof of it.
  4. Calling evolution "her theory" is incorrect.
The next paragraph discusses the SYSTEMATIC INDOCTRINATION OF CHILDREN with evolution and that it supposedly causes people to slip away from Jayzus. 

Hovind writes a line in this that betrays his ignorance very plainly.  I quote "When you and I were in school, evolution was presented as theory but now this falsehood is taught as fact."  As so many people have pointed out (including directly to Hovind), a theory is a set of facts that explains those facts.  As such, a demonstrable theory can be factual.  Evolution is both a theory and a fact.  It is a theory because it is a compilation of facts that has explanatory and predictive power and it is a fact because it is demonstrable.

That's shortly followed by something like;

Some inspiration on how if you just keep your faith strong, you can maintain your ignorance indefinitely...

Followed again by;

Hovind puts his signature and title on the post, followed by;


Thank you, Eric Hovind, for this Gem.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I take offense!

I take offense at everyone taking offense at everything.  Let's not look the other way, 'offense' is put on a pedestal in society.  A pedestal which it does not deserve.  This phenomenon hasn't gone unnoticed either.  There are a few groups who use the word 'offense' to get the societal knee-jerk reaction of prohibition.

Of particular note in this practice is the feminist movement, which at this point has the grand role of being whiny. A lot of people have heard of Rebecca Watson and her elevator encounter, fondly termed 'elevatorgate'.  In elevatorgate, Watson had been having drinks with some people at a hotel bar.  As she was leaving for the night, one of the men she had been drinking with stepped into the elevator with her and told her that he found her interesting and would like to talk more over coffee in his hotel room.  As those of you who are familiar with the incident know, Watson proceeded to berate the man on her YouTube channel, SkepChick.  That case became more famous than it had any reason to.  Why all the fuss?  Watson felt like the man was making a move on her and was offended by it.  Anita Sarkeesian, another YouTuber who operates under the moniker FeministFrequency, has taken offense to the role of women in some video games.  Again, the offense gets a lot more recognition than it deserves.

Also of note in the practice of manipulating the way in which offense is perceived is the religious community.  The religious are offended by homosexual marriage, so instead of not marrying the same gender, they attempt to both lobby and legislate against it.  This serves no functional purpose but to interfere in other people's individual lives with no benefit to society.  The religious are opposed to stem cell research, clinging to the notion that the evil scientists farm babies to harvest stem cells from.  That actual argument is better saved for another post.  Most stem cells are found in discarded umbilical cords and more recently, urine.  Stem cell research has the potential to increase cancer survival rates by increasing the amount of treatment that can be administered.  Stem cell research has been banned essentially since it's advent due mostly to the pressure of influential religious groups.  In this instance, offense impedes a benefit to society.

Only recently, this incident occurred.  Adria Richards effectively destroyed a man's reputation and career on the basis of what may or may not be at least in part a misunderstanding.  In the least generous light to the men making these jokes, the jokes were between two people, not meant to be heard by anyone else.  Unnecessary offense has serious repercussions.

In short, offense should not be such a feared thing.  Sure, it's also in poor taste to go out and be unnecessarily offensive.  I know that if this post is read by the wrong people, it will offend them.  I'm perfectly fine with offending people who don't agree as long as I'm offending their opinions, not their persons.  As long as I'm offending their ideas.  I'll never back down from being honest about a civil opinion just out of fear that someone who disagrees might get their panties in a knot about people disagreeing with them.  It offends me how people are so easily offended and more yet, how everyone else tries to skirt around offense in general.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Coming in at the bottom...

You have a dirty mind.  That sentence was supposed to end with 'of the IQ spectrum.'  So, coming in at the bottom if the IQ spectrum is...  YouTube's MegaSage007!  A self-proclaimed geocentrist, young-earth creationist and intellectual.  None of those claims are true.  In a discussion I was having with him, he dropped this gem.

You were born into Bible morality for the obvious reason your Creator has written his Moral Book, and if you insist on deciding what your morals will be from day to day, from situation to situation subjectively - you will serve the Devil and his doctrines including psychology, feminism, heliocentrism, sodomy, abortion on demand, the big bang, abiogenesis, evolution, cosmology, etc and your God given conscience will be ruined by your violating it til you could have no morals at all.

You just can't make this stuff up!
From the top...

  • What is it to be born into Bible morality?
  • The 'Creator' never put a pen to papyrus.
  • Having reasoned morality is different from having no morality.
  • Psychology is an area of study, not a doctrine.
  • Feminism is a doctrinal worldview in a way.  It's more an out-out-control rights group.  I'm a secular humanist egalitarian, feminism isn't one of the flags I fly.
  • Heliocentism...  Reality, not a doctrine  If you can out-of-hand deny physics, astronomy and your kindergarten education, I guess geocentrism could seem valid.
  • Sodomy?  Who cares how people like to stimulate that nerve?
  • Abortion on Demand...Actually an issue, but not a doctrine.  Before the fetus has developed into a viable organism and is a mere cell mass, I see no problem with disassembling it.
  • The big bang...  Not a doctrine.  If you don't take science seriously enough to recognize how the solar system works at an elementary level how do you expect to understand quantum mechanics?
  • Abiogenesis, a hypothesis, not a doctrine.
  • Evolution, a theory, not a doctrine.
  • Cosmology, an area of study, not a doctrine.
  • etc, probably not doctrines either.
My God-given conscience?  Do we really want to get into conscience numbing events?  If we do, the Bible is right there...

"your God given conscience will be ruined by your violating it til you could have no morals at all."
Sure, conscience can be suppressed by certain actions are habits, but that's not a loss of morality.  It's a loss of empathy perhaps.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Three Gods

I'm not sure where this originated, but I heard it from Matt Dillahunty.

Let us assume that there are three gods;
God 1 exists and manifests in reality.
God 2 exists, but doesn't manifest in reality.
God 3 doesn't exist.

The argument is that God 2 and God 3 are indistinguishable.  They are both untestable claims, as there can be no parameters for that which doesn't manifest in reality.  So neither God 2 or God 3 can be defined meaningfully without interactions with reality.

God 1 on the other hand, manifests itself in reality.  I'm not admitting the argument that it used to directly manifest in reality, because there is no evidence of it doing so.  At any rate, this is a testable claim.  If a God 1 manifests in reality, it has a measurable effect on something.  The challenge is to determine which something we're discussing.  I'll open myself for ridicule and say that there is no measurable effect of any deity.  I invite contradiction and correction, please, prove me wrong.

The end result seems to be that God 1 is nonviable while God 2 is viable, but meaningless.  God 3 of course, doesn't exist.

There are three options;
  1. There exists a deity which manifests in reality, but masks it's interventions such that it's impossible to verify it, making it look like...
  2. There exists a deity which does not manifest in reality at all, making it look like...
  3. The deity which does not exist.
Based on that progression, it would seem that an interventionist god is a false and incoherent idea in reality.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The persecution of Christians

I went to church and other Christian events.  The idea that Christians are persecuted in America is alive and well.  Look at how right they are too.

It's illegal for a Christian to hold public office in 6 states.
Even where it is legal, declaring one's self a Christian is political suicide.
There are no/extremely few overtly Christian television or radio channels/programs.
Being a Christian can ostracize an individual from the other 90+% of society.
People are calling for all Christians to leave America.
There has never been an overtly Christian president.
Christians regularly get kicked out of their homes for their religion.
Christians get death threats regularly for nothing but their belief.
Christians are the least trusted group in America.
There are people out to blacklist all Christian-owned companies.
"Christians...should not be considered citizens"

See all that persecution?   Actually...replace Christian with secularist/atheist in each of those.

We live in a society where being a theist and more specifically a Christian is the norm and accepted default.  I'm sorry that your end times pity party doesn't really play out, but this is reality.  Religious privilege is alive and well.  A legislation can make it to the house which would revoke the rights of any group on a theistic basis.  This isn't a new thing.  For as long as history can remember, people have been killing, torturing and invading each other based on differences of religion.  If humans are to progress as a race, we must abolish this nonsense.  Not abolish it with the sword, but with science, reason and evidence.  There will always be some people too into their beliefs to let go of them even long enough to take a critical look at them.  These people must be tolerated willingly, but eventually we can hope that their influence will diminish.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cultural idiots

I only partly feel comfortable with calling the religious stupid.  That in turn is only partly due to the fact that I was religious.  I prefer not to walk around insulting myself in any sincerity, and I know I didn't get smarter as I became more secular.  Religiosity in America and other parts of the world is cultural.  A lot (I'd be alright with saying a majority) of people believe without properly understanding the foundation of their faith.  That can be demonstrated by most religious individuals one is likely to encounter on a day-to-day basis.  Many of the religious are also properly ignorant of basic science and replace an argument against a scientific principle with a remark based on their personal incredulity.  Philosophy isn't a strong suit with the typical theist or spiritualist, this also can be observed easily when idiotic questions about the evolutionary origin of morality come up.
I do feel comfortable with calling some individual theists idiots if they fit the criteria (and a disproportionate number do), but not simply on account of their religiosity.  I feel comfortable calling the theist ignorant, perhaps willfully so.  As the title implies however, there are many who fall into either of the significant categories I've mentioned.  These are the people who are taught from day one that a belief in some god is the pinnacle of their advancement as a human.  I object strongly to that, as the reader may or may not have discovered.  Frequently in such cases, critical thought is discouraged*.  The individual may be brainwashed all too literally into their belief**.  I hazard anyone who is eager to call the believer an idiot merely for their belief to think about everything that goes into keeping a religion alive.
Here's how it worked for me.  I was born into a predominantly Christian family.  From the time I exited the birth canal (if they waited that long), I was barraged with the baptist and young-earth mantra.  I soon picked up on it and got saved when I was 3 years old at a VBS.  I evidently don't remember much between then and when I was baptized at 5, a mistake which I may undo for personal and statistical reasons.  For some reason my parents saw fit to teach critical thinking along with religion, perhaps in their naivety suspecting that I'd forever hold religion above criticism.  I did the exact opposite, holding the opinion that keeping an idea from criticism is an insult to it's integrity.  Of course I did so with the express preconception that my particular brand of theism would stand where others so reliably fell.  I was ignorant...maybe a bit idiotic.  At any rate, I took on the track of 2 years to dismantle the wall of brainwash-fueled ignorance.  I'm now 17, going on 18 and an anti-theist.  I was very ignorant, but intellect is the capacity rather than the knowledge.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The ten words I often find myself repeating... unhealthy number of times per day.  I repeat these words listening to apologists as I flatten my skull with a unique combination of face-other collisions including palm, desk, keyboard and the occasional cat which neither of us appreciate.  I find the phrase disappointingly frequently inaccurate though and the more times this occurs, my faith in the human race diminishes almost exponentially.  The phrase, of course, is "That's gotta be a gag, nobody is that fucking stupid.".  I'll list a few names which will guarantee at least one utterance of this phrase per time they are encountered in any media.

  1. Hovind, Eric and Kent
  2. Craig, William
  3. Ham, Ken
  4. Sharpton, Al
     There are obviously more, but listing each and every apologist who insists on dragging the bloodied and mangled corpses of their horrendously outdated, outperformed and generally thrown out arguments out (is the word losing meaning yet?) would take years. Honestly it would tire me out.  You know I had to use it one more time.
     I utter that phrase when I'm reading the ridiculous ICR Science updates which I find myself bombarded with by well-meaning and concerned family members.  When I go to a Christian website of any flag, you can bet bank that these ten words surfaced.