Monday, March 23, 2009

My funnest post yet!

So, had enough religion for a while? Me too.

I have never publicly stated my opinion of religion before, mainly because what difference does it make to know my opinion? It seems that there is a threat once again of a religious fundamentalism moving in to take over, particularly in the United States, which effects the entire world. Once fundamentalists take hold, there is very little tolerance for those who do not think the way they do.


The religious have had sway for most of human kind's existence, it is time for them to realise that their beliefs are wrong, and haven't worked and are holding back the human race. You've had your day, now give the rationalists theirs.




Thought I'd start talking about books, or at least language once more. I used to work in the media, at a daily newspaper about 16 years or so ago. Even then, I noticed that slang was creeping into news stories. Now I read about cars T-boned at an intersection, that the damage was humongous! These were not witness comments, but part of the actual story. Dan Rather even used the word humongous on a 60 Minutes segment years back. I know that the language changes all the time, not many people speak the way Jefferson spoke back in 1776, but still, there are standards.


Parties can be fun, but not the funnest.

Party is a noun, not a verb.


More to come....


I thought I might even introduce words into the English language, just because others have.


This month's word is:


FACEIST, face-ist


  • A person who looks good on television and uses this to promote his or her agenda.


Of or like a faceist

Don’t Tread on Faith

I hope that I am not repeating others here, since I came into this debate only recently after reading one of Roger's latest reviews and finding this thread was still active.

Having said that, I would like to offer the following.

I have heard the debate from every possible angle and any argument with people of faith ends in those people saying: "That's where faith comes in." In other words, the debate ends, no matter how logical, when the faithful cannot come up with any more logical explanations.

The debate about the big bang is one of them. The faithful love the argument that if you look at a chair (or a watch, or a car) you have to know that it was created by something intelligent. So, therefore, everything is created by intelligence. The logical conclusion of this argument therefore is that even the creator had to be created and His creator had to be created and so ad infinitum.

Eugenics is just a modern word for what humans have been doing forever. We pick the best and the smartest to mate with. We also try to pick from other tribes so we don't end up looking like the English Royal Family. This was happening long before Darwin or Little Adolph. Therefore, we are such a mongrel species that no amount of breeding could make us a Master Race. The irony is that because Jews and Gypsies were so marginalized by religious and racial prejudice, they are probably much "purer" genetically than any European race. In any event, Jews were the main target of Hitler, everything else was just a way to justify his hatred. The fact that a Jew would even make this argument is the most despicable thing. It says he believes that there was some kind of reasoning behind the murder of so many innocent people. There was no justification; there was no reason other than the mindless hatred of a monstrous human being!

Let's get back to the actual movie. What was Ben Stein's motive for making it in the first place? He is a smart man, he knew that IDers would lap it up and those against it would loathe it. He knew he wouldn't win any converts. The fact that he is a Jew and not an evangelical Christian (evangelism is frowned upon by Jews) confirms that he wasn't trying to save souls. I think the main reason for the movie was to show off how smart he thinks he is and how dumb the rest of us are. After all, look at all the evidence out there for ID. Even the intelligent, well-spoken, Harvard-educated George W. Bush believes in it! Stein is the same man who thinks that Woodward and Bernstein should be burned at the stake, that Nixon would have prevented holocausts.

If the Church (in the western world at least) were still in charge of society, we wouldn't even have this debate. It would be heresy and the non-believers would be hunted down. Religion has feared science forever, because it has always known that reason is the ultimate enemy of faith. The one thing about science is that it requires no faith - it doesn't care about humans or our opinions. It doesn't need to burn a DNA helix in a piece of toast to keep us believing in it.

What amazes me is that America is so proud and so paranoid about religion. Your founding motto was "Don't Tread on Me!" not "In God we Trust!" The fact is that in America, an atheist still can't get elected President, yet your founding fathers were ambivalent towards religion (to say the least)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Not Just Science has Changed its Mind over the Centuries

To Rmasters and his gentle ribbing of changing in scientific thought.

I liked very much your little word play and gentle nudge to we who believe in science over religion.

Let us look at it another way.

Thousands of years ago, priests and holy men said that the Sun was a god who rode his chariot across the sky, and the moon was his enemy and they fought each night. We were told to worship them and to sacrifice animals in their name.

A little later, priests said that the God Horus and Ra were the true gods. Their Pharaohs were also gods made flesh. They sacrificed to them and worshiped them.

Then came Zeus and Apollo, who later became Jupiter and Mars. Their priests told believers to sacrifice to them, to make temples in their honor, to worship them and thank them for the gift of life we were given.

Now Judeo/Christians say that everyone else was wrong and they are right. There is only one God and we have to worship him. Those Pagans were all a bunch of superstitious fools.

Did those priests mean to deceive the believers? Of course not. They saw creation the way they believed it to be. Millions of people knew that this was the way of the world. Ramses, Socrates, Caesar and thousands of the greatest minds who ever lived believed in their world order, believed what priests and their faith told them was true. I personally have a lot more respect for a Socrates than a thousand pomaded, pompadored prophets that grace our TV these days.

What will be the next theory of Gods and Creation? What will supersede the Judeo-Christian belief? Some day those future priests and followers will be laughing at your superstitious beliefs.

What creationists and people of faith forget is that we who don't believe didn't want to be like this. We were raised the same as everyone else, to believe in angels and miracles and a loving father watching over us, protecting us. Do you think the faithless find comfort in the fact that death means the end of existence? We want with all our hearts to see our mothers and fathers again, to see our loved ones, to spend an eternity in peace talking with Shakespeare or any of the great minds who once lived. No matter how much we want these things, we are forced to face reality every day. Just as a child grows up to discover that Santa is just a guy in a cheap suit, so must we all grow up and realise that we have this life, this planet and each other to rely on.

I took some psychology classes in College. I don't remember much, but I do remember one theory about the three stages of human development. In the beginning, we believe the universe revolves around us. Our parents and family nurture us and provide everything we need to live. As we get a little older, we see that we are not the center of the universe - that we are only a small part of it and we share it with others. Finally as we become adults we learn to rely on ourselves, that we have take responsibility for our own existence.

We humans have passed the first two stages because of changes in scientific thought. I hope soon we reach the third.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Creation is scary for children and other living creatures!

The following is a comment on Roger Ebert's blog about Ben Stien's "documentary," Expelled.

The one question that I never hear on any discussion of religion vs. science, or a natural world vs. a created world is why? Why did this deity create this universe and our species? The answer in the various holy texts says that He created us so that we could worship Him.

Take a moment to think how awful a thing that is. What is this God that He needs to be worshiped by creatures he created, unconditionally and only for the fact He created us. We are primitive in our science and understanding of the universe, yet we are already on the verge of creating life by manipulating genes. Does that make it right? Do we create a new type of life just because we can? There is the old saying that when science gets sophisticated enough it is undistinguishable from magic. Do we have the technology to become magi or even gods?

Think of the creation we live in. Animals tear other animals to shreds in order to survive. We humans still crave the flesh of other animals, while we hold onto cherished pets that some societies consider livestock. Not only do animals die horribly in the natural world, they die in terror, in abject fear and in horrible pain, fully aware of what is happening to them. What kind of creature would design a system like that? I am no God, not even a scientist, but if I were to design a universe, I would come up with something better than that. If there was a design, it comes close to perfection in the interplay of insects and flowers, or the creatures that live in symbiosis with other creatures.

There is much beauty in the world, but so much suffering that it is hard to believe that it happened by design. More to the point what would we call a human who had the power to create a planet and all the life on it and created the natural world as we know it?

We'd call him a psychopath.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Books n’ Stuff

Just finished reading The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, by Ron Hansen. It was published in 1983, but still holds up wonderfully. If you liked the movie, read the book. This is probably the most faithful adaptation of a book into a film I have come across.

Also, read The Time Traveller's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. What a brilliant, sprawling work of art. It is uplifting as well as heartbreaking. One of the best books I have read in decades. How it is going to become a movie, I have no idea.

Keep Reading!