Questionable Motives

December 23, 2011

Can religious belief be honest?

The short answer is no.
Let’s revisit some basic information about the kind of religious belief practiced in the United States:
from a 2007 Gallup Poll:
  • 81% of Americans believe in Heaven
  • 75% of Americans believe in angels
  •  70% of Americans believe in Satan
  •  69% of American believe in Hell (presumably 1% think that Hell has no overseer)
Some other stats:

(h/t to WEIT in response to a terrible TIME article)

All of these majority beliefs rest on an acceptance of some supernatural element causing effect here in the natural world. In order to accept a belief that depends on a supernatural element means that by necessity the believer must willingly suspend the laws (we know operate consistently and reliably well) of the natural world we inhabit in order to maintain the belief. This willingness to sacrifice what the person knows is true – the laws of physics and chemistry and biology on which we trust our lives and those we love on a daily basis – can only be described as intentional dishonesty, no matter how temporary or ancient the suspension might be. The motivations for people to allow and excuse and apologize and respect this dishonesty – this willingness to suspend natural laws on behalf of a religious claim to allow for non-natural causation – are many and varied but such beliefs in the reality of the supernatural with no extraordinary evidence to justify it remains dishonest all the same.

Gnu atheists are naturalists. We respect reality to be the arbiter of what is true about it, meaning we remain consistent in our thinking that the natural order is not suspended simply because some people wish it to be so. Reality itself has to provide that evidence (and trust in how we can know about it through methodological naturalism). To date, there is no such evidence when and where there should be. There is no genetic proof for an original couple; no geological proof for a global flood; no astronomical proof for a geocentric solar system; no medical proof in the efficacy of prayer.  There are many claims that the natural order has in fact, in reality, in history been suspended,  that some supernatural causation has revealed itself by effect in the natural world, that this order has been affected by the supernatural according to hearsay, but none of these is informed by the same kind of evidence that informs how and what we know about the natural order.

And this raises an important point: this absence of equivalent evidence reveals the dishonesty by those who pretend there really IS an equivalency, IS another way to know, IS a similar method of inquiry that yields similar results of reliable and consistent knowledge. All of these claims of equivalency are false. They are not true. Perhaps this abject failure of belief to create any practical and reliable knowledge about the natural world is why so many believers go out of their way to try to cast aspersions on the trust cum ‘belief’ we place on knowledge about the natural order through this reliable and consistent method of respecting reality rather than belief to arbitrate what is true about, excusing how theology is presented without any similar evidence on the grounds that it’s of a different but compatible kind when there is no evidence from reality to support this, and the insistence by so many religious apologists that trust cum ‘belief’ we place on assumptions/assertions/attributions about the supernatural order is an equivalent method of inquiry that produces a similar kind of knowledge. This is demonstrably not true. (Gnus call this kind of fibbery Lyin’ fer Jebus)

And gnu atheists dare to point this out… thus earning the disparaging labels commonly found in media and used so often in the personal opinions of believers and accommodationists and apologists about New Atheists, words like militant, arrogant, strident, fundamentalist, angry, immoral, untrustworthy, and nihilistic. Defenders of supernatural beliefs tend to hold gnus to a different and much higher standard of behaviour than those religious folk who warn us of hell and eternal damnation for our refusing to fear and submit to their tyrannical god… and who even feel highly moral when they call for our banishment and even death. Those who support religion promoted in the public domain (as if belief in supernatural causation automatically grants one a voice in matters of public law, governance, and policy) cause a similar problem to those who do not support public vaccination: supporting that which may seem to offer comfort to the few only by forcibly putting everyone else at risk.

And this raises the point about what it is that gnu atheists actually do support: secular Enlightenment values that uphold equality in human rights, human freedoms, and human dignity first and foremost in human affairs. Belief in the supernatural is not a rational argument against these values and cannot be allowed to undermine them in the name of tolerance and reasonable accommodation; the inherent dishonesty necessary to maintain supernatural belief must be met with very public and sustained criticism whenever and wherever this superstitious nonsense attempts to join the grownups in adult conversation about human affairs in the reality we share.

So next time some silly and naive apologist for supernatural belief attempts to tell you that sophisticated liberal theology that doesn’t involve believing anything about the supernatural but distils wisdom from story and metaphor and myth from scriptural references and interpretations, remember what the majority of believers actually do believe: in the suspension of the natural order without compelling evidence in order to maintain without merit their dishonest belief in some element of supernaturalism.

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79 Comments »

  1. “81% of Americans believe that Jesus was the son of God who came to Earth and died for our sins.”

    This does not surprise me. Many people believed that Robert Kincaid the photographer in the novel and movie The Bridges of Madison County was a real photographer who worked for National Geographic. This belief was so prevalent that National Geographic published this:

    “Alas, the sexy, middle-aged photographer, portrayed by Clint Eastwood in the film that followed the book, is pure fiction. There is not, and never was, a Robert Kincaid here, although some of our photographers have shamelessly encouraged the comparison.” http://tinyurl.com/bwbuwtn

    Comment by Veronica Abbass — December 23, 2011 @ 6:37 pm | Reply

    • I did not know that. Thanks, VA.

      It seems reasonable to think the photographer could have been based on a real person. But if he had had the bridges levitating and reassembling after destruction, then those who still believed he was real and sane would be considered by most to well on their way to Crazytown, don’t you think?

      Comment by tildeb — December 23, 2011 @ 10:31 pm | Reply

  2. “It seems reasonable to think the photographer could have been based on a real person.:

    Yes it reasonable to that the photographer could have been “based on” a real person, but as the reply from National Geographic shows, readers thought there was no difference between the fictional Kincaid and the Kincaid they believed worked for National Geographic.

    You mention what “the majority of believers actually do believe: in the suspension of the natural order,” which is similar to the suspension of disbelief necessary when reading fiction. Fiction, particularly good fiction, allows readers to gain “wisdom from story and metaphor and myth,” but the suspension of disbelief ends when the reader is finished reading the novel. If that did not happen, I would believe that Anne Shirley really lived at Green Gables, and would believe, with Anne, that “‘God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world.'”

    I could go on and on with examples from fiction. However, my point is that there is fiction and nonfiction, vastly superior to the Bible, that makes it very clear that God’s not in his heaven, and all’s not right with the world.

    Comment by Veronica Abbass — December 24, 2011 @ 1:16 am | Reply

    • A really excellent comment. Thank you VA.

      As a huge fan of myth, I understand that the breaking of the natural order within the story is a literary device used to reveal an allegorical or metaphorical symbol used to convey a special meaning (usually a human condition that is common to all). Those readers who assume the symbol to be a literal truth claim are actually misreading the function of the device and thus missing the point of its use and quite possibly foregoing the offered path to that deeper understanding of the human condition.

      Most of us appreciate that the suspension of our disbelief you mention is necessary for us accept as our payment to participate and engage in successful storytelling, but we also understand that this is something we apply to the story. that’s why the suspension of disbelief stays contained within, and pertains only to, the story itself. This is why these stories are harmless – if sometimes meaningful and moving – entertainment. As you point out, without that understanding, we would have no means to differentiate fact from fiction. There is a qualitative difference between the role of suspending disbelief during storytelling and the willingness to suspend the natural order to serve as the handmaiden for turning the story into history. Once you remove the constraints of reality to determine what is true about it, then any magical and superstitious belief will do the job where face the same problem: how then to differentiate fact from fiction? Believers have brought along their willingness to suspend their disbelief but have forgotten how to take it home with them again.

      Something like two thirds of believers when asked if they would still believe a necessary supernatural claim even if conclusive scientific proof showed it to be wrong, would continue to maintain the belief as if it were true; this reveals the scope of the problem in trying to get those who have suspended their disbelief to get them to re-engage it for use in claims made about the real world.

      Comment by tildeb — December 24, 2011 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  3. tildeb my personal blog on placebo http://goulburnblogger.blogspot.com/2011/12/effect-of-placebo-on-our.html sorry that its hard to read, i buggered up the fonts.

    Comment by Stuart — December 24, 2011 @ 3:21 am | Reply

    • We have to be careful to remember that the placebo effect is about self-reported feelings. It is not about efficacy. Placebos don’t cause anything. Our brains can cause effect so it’s important to understand the difference. That’s why also must always include the ‘nocebo‘ effect when want to attribute how beliefs affect our perceptions which in turn affect our brain function. But note, even though people report changes in feelings through placebo and nocebo, there is no evidence for affected outcomes. For example, after having one’s head chopped off but then blessed, one might report feeling lighter and healthier than ever, but the result of death in a typical amount of time is not affected in the slightest.

      Comment by tildeb — December 24, 2011 @ 11:44 am | Reply

      • Nocebo is interesting too. Churches practice it when they curse, or excommunicate a member. I didn’t argue that having a head chopped off or similar would have a placebo affect, that’s just taking it to extremes, reductio ad absurdum.

        However, you wont get any argument from me that it all takes place in a believers brain, and I think that is fascinating from the point of view of a psychologist / sociologist / anthropologist.

        Stuart

        Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 8:31 pm

  4. Tildeb, i agree with your comment about secular Enlightenment values that uphold equality in human rights, human freedoms, and human dignity first and foremost in human affairs. However your Gnu Atheism relies on the 80% of Americans that believe in God, who also uphold secular enlightenment values, even with this blog, you assert your right to free speech, founded mostly by Americans and French in their revolutions. I cant understand your seething hatred of churches that mostly leave you alone… whats the problem?. America was founded by those who believed in free speech, free inquiry, the right to be atheist, theist, deist or couldntcarelessist.

    Comment by Stuart — December 24, 2011 @ 3:35 am | Reply

    • Well, Stuart, I don’t think the majority do, in fact, appreciate why these values must come first, meaning that whatever contrary religious beliefs a person may hold must come second. Nor do I think that this majority appreciates the radical departure from god-sanctioned political authority the American and French revolutions brought into being: political authority from the bottom up, from each individual citizen whose rights and freedoms are based in law empowered not from god but from the collective whole. I think if this majority really understood and appreciated the importance of these enlightenment values in action, we would not see the childish and ignorant partisan political positions led by so many very stupid and ignorant people who gain political capital from individual citizens for being so stupid and ignorant.

      I happen to have a great deal of fondness for churches. I think anyone who plays and performs music holds special fondness for churches. Anyone who appreciates architecture will also think fondly of churches. Anyone who has enjoys historical properties holds special fondness for churches. Contrary to your assertion, these are only some of the reasons that help explain why I hold fondness for churches.

      Comment by tildeb — December 24, 2011 @ 11:01 am | Reply

      • I think you expect too much from the uneducated unwashed masses, Tildeb. And anyway not everyone’s religious beliefs are contrary to enlightenment.

        Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

  5. Most of those 80% or so of Americans are sane, have jobs, families, lives, loves, and whole plethora of human faults. Yet you HATE them. Why are you a hater Tildeb? We do inhabit the same reality, the lump of wood falling from the skyscraper is going to hurt someone whether they believe in God on not.

    Comment by Stuart — December 24, 2011 @ 3:45 am | Reply

    • No, Stuart, I don’t hate believers. You confuse my despising the real world effect of what is often believed to be true with what is true and I hold people responsible for promoting in the public domain what must be curtailed to the private.

      Comment by tildeb — December 24, 2011 @ 11:04 am | Reply

    • Yet you HATE them. Why are you a hater Tildeb?

      ???
      Ok, that was weird.

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 24, 2011 @ 11:22 pm | Reply

    • “Yet you HATE them. Why are you a hater Tildeb?”

      It’s meme time: “A hater has got to hate…”

      Comment by misunderstoodranter — December 28, 2011 @ 1:40 pm | Reply

  6. Now for a rhetorical question: Why does a discussion on the honesty of religious belief turn into an attack on the person/people who question that honesty?

    Ad hominem replaces argument, especially when one side can call the other side “haters” (all caps is the refuge of someone who has a weak argument).

    Stuart:

    Churches are buildings; it would be quixotic to hate them, but it would be reasonable to divest them of the power to perpetuate superstition and convert them into neutral buildings that serve a practical function.

    You assert that “free speech, [was] founded mostly by Americans and French in their revolutions. Many countries enjoy free speech without the benefit of revolutions. These countries embraced Enlightenment values peacefully.

    Comment by Veronica Abbass — December 24, 2011 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

    • Churches, are a collection of people, the buildings are shells without people in them

      Stuart

      Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 8:03 pm | Reply

  7. What is the scientific basis for “secular Enlightenment values that uphold equality in human rights, human freedoms, and human dignity”?

    Comment by Bob Wheeler — December 26, 2011 @ 7:27 am | Reply

    • Reason.

      Comment by tildeb — December 26, 2011 @ 9:17 am | Reply

    • “7.What is the scientific basis for “secular Enlightenment values that uphold equality in human rights, human freedoms, and human dignity”?”

      It’s called history – Bob!

      Comment by misunderstoodranter — December 28, 2011 @ 1:45 pm | Reply

      • And the secular enlightenment would never have happened without the protestant reformation, that also is history.

        Stuart

        Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

  8. Find a definition for the Enlightenment here http://shitmystudentswrite.tumblr.com/post/14457794194/let-there-be-light 😀

    Comment by Veronica Abbass — December 26, 2011 @ 8:49 am | Reply

  9. What is the scientific basis for “secular Enlightenment values that uphold equality in human rights, human freedoms, and human dignity”?

    Pixies.
    Magic, invisible pixies that live way up in the sky.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 26, 2011 @ 3:24 pm | Reply

  10. “Pixies. Magic, invisible pixies that live way up in the sky.” Just as I thought. There is no mind-independent evidence for “equality in human rights, human freedoms, and human dignity.” It’s all make-believe. And it’s dishonest, because it it is a distortion of reality as it actually exists.

    Comment by Bob Wheeler — December 29, 2011 @ 5:39 am | Reply

    • Bob, you are confused. No one is arguing that values are mind-independent objects like you argue that your god is real, an interactive causal agent in the universe. No one is suggesting that these Enlightenment values exist as any kind of similar interactive causal agencies. Of course they are mind dependent because they are mental constructs, arrived at through reason. My point – which you obviously missed first time around – is that Belief in the supernatural is not a rational argument against these values and cannot be allowed to undermine them in the name of tolerance and reasonable accommodation. In other words, if you disagree with these values or think they are insufficient in some way on which to base common law – equality in human rights, human freedoms, and human dignity first and foremost in human affairs – then you need to do so on the basis of better reasons than the ones that support them. My argument is that belief in Oogity Boogity is not a better reason.

      Comment by tildeb — December 29, 2011 @ 9:32 am | Reply

    • There is no mind-independent evidence…

      Now there’s a phrase you don’t hear every day.

      It’s all make-believe.

      Says the man with the magic, invisible friend. Oops.

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 29, 2011 @ 11:42 am | Reply

    • “There is no mind-independent evidence…”

      All evidence is mind dependent.

      Comment by misunderstoodranter — December 29, 2011 @ 2:51 pm | Reply

      • I have introduced the notion of evidence to be (for simplicity’s sake) of two kinds: the existence of the physical world independent of finite minds, and the existence of the physical world dependent of finite minds (in that science deals with mind-independent data whereas religion deals with mind-dependent data). The first is what can be known to be consistent and demonstrably so by everyone everywhere all of the time – what I call knowledge – and can also include stable relationships between things such as the ration of a circle’s diameter to its radius. The second is something far less than, far less reliable, far less consistent, not an equivalent kind of knowledge. This kind of evidence depends on the mind that considers it; bring in a different mind, change the evidence. Such alterable understandings is not the same kind of knowledge at all: god, for example. Ask any two believers to define what the chemical composition of water is and you will find one consistent and demonstrable answer: two hydrogen and one oxygen atoms. Ask the two believers of the same denomination what constitutes god and you will get two very different answers. The first is mind-independent, the second mind-dependent. The first is knowledge, the second speculation. That’s why Bob is using these terms, trying to show that human values held in esteem by most atheists are mind dependent in this same sense.

        Comment by tildeb — December 29, 2011 @ 7:16 pm

      • “There is no mind-independent evidence…”

        All evidence is mind dependent.

        Agreed Ranter. Sorry to dissapoint you tildeb, your duality of evidence, is also mind dependent. You might think that 2 believers may say water is made of 2 hydrogen 1 oxygen, that is of course if they have some kind of basic science education. Ask them a bit further for the atomic weight of the molecule, they might look at you quizzically, ask about the sub atomic structure of hydrogen, and you’ll get a blank look.

        Stuart

        Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

      • “I have introduced the notion of evidence to be (for simplicity’s sake) of two kinds: the existence of the physical world independent of finite minds, and the existence of the physical world dependent of finite minds (in that science deals with mind-independent data whereas religion deals with mind-dependent data).”

        Sorry I missed that introduction – but it is a long way of saying religion makes shit up.

        I wouldn’t confuse people… evidence is evidence; it requires a mind and thought to interpret, compare it and contrast, re-test it and value it – when minds agree on the meaning of the evidence it becomes a fact. Therefore evidence is wholly dependent on a mind, as it only has meaning to those who can think.

        You can’t demonstrate evidence to a rock… or a religious person for that matter…

        The trouble with religion is you can’t demonstrate any of its evidence to anyone and get them to agree that it is evidence… this means that it is only evidence of an over active imagination and possible psychological disorders…

        Comment by misunderstoodranter — December 30, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  11. Thanks for the reply Tildeb. I disagree that enligtenment values were adopted peacefully in many countries, and there would never have been an elightenment without the protestant reformation. I think if you study the histories of those “peaceful” countries closely, you will see struggle and bloodshed. The American revolution changed the UK as profoundly as the United states,it was in effect, another English civil war.

    Stuart

    Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

    • I think, Stuart, you are responding to Veronica, who writes Many countries enjoy free speech without the benefit of revolutions (similar to the American and French). These countries embraced Enlightenment values peacefully.

      Both Veronica and I are Canadian and our country has adopted free speech without the benefit of any similar kind of revolution. I believe the same is true of New Zealand and Australia. The European countries are mired in regional conflicts (and in Japan’s case a global one) so it’s difficult to say that the establishment of free speech in law wasn’t in some way affected by them. Uprisings occurred later for representation by population but free speech long predates the American revolution here.

      As for other enlightenment values, such as equality, these are still ongoing battles against powerfully entrenched beliefs such as racial, gender, and sexual discrimination. And unfortunately such changes in law are often accompanied by struggle and even bloodshed. That’s why these values, once attained, are precious to maintain when attacked anew by belief-soaked bigots (usually headed by groups with the prominent name of ‘Family’ in them) who use such justifying tools as scripture, tradition, and culture to try to reassert legal inequalities. This can be and often is done peacefully (relative in comparison to national rebellions and revolutions).

      As for your assertion that the Enlightenment required the protestant reformation – as if this were the necessary component for its success – is like saying there would never have been a modern day Catholic reformation about child abuse in the church if there hadn’t been an international pedophile ring of priests. Behaving well towards children in one’s charge is not caused by pedophilia, although it may be made policy because of it in the same way that embracing Enlightenment values is not caused by the protestant reformation, although it may be made law because of it.

      Comment by tildeb — December 29, 2011 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

      • Dear Tildeb, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are all the result of British civil wars, such as the parliament Vs King Charles. Canada, was separated from the united states, because of the American revolutionary war. Canada is the direct result of the American revolutionary war. If you see the American Revolutionary war as a civil war between monarchists and republicans, then you might see it clearer. Most historians agree that the American revolution was an extension of the British civil wars, which were in turn influenced by France.

        Australia, where I live, would never have been colonized by convicts if there was no American revolutionary war, it was one part of a great many reasons to colonize Australia.

        European history was bought to Australia and Canada by free settlers and in Australia’s case convicts. In Australia many of the convicts were proto trade unionists, such as the Tolpuddle Martyrs. who fought for labor rights in the UK, were transported and arrived in Australia with a full baggage of history in their heads.

        The Irish convicts were particular to note, that they wanted to retain their Catholicism as part of their Irish identity, despite being forced, like Jews and atheists alike, to attend protestant Anglican churches. Australia has not been free of struggle, real enlightenment values means a republic, not a monarchy. Trade unionists fought with blood sweat and tears for good wages and safety. Atheists have struggled since foundation to be heard, and religious minorities have been persecuted.

        Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

      • We were talking about free speech, Stuart.

        Comment by tildeb — December 29, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

      • The Protestant reformation was a change in thinking, an expression of freedom of thought and the gradual slow split from the overtly superstitious supernatural catholic church. It doesn’t take a great deal of thought to see, that one freedom of thought led to other though freedoms.

        Tildeb wrote:

        “As for your assertion that the Enlightenment required the protestant reformation – as if this were the necessary component for its success – is like saying there would never have been a modern day Catholic reformation about child abuse in the church if there hadn’t been an international pedophile ring of priests. Behaving well towards children in one’s charge is not caused by pedophilia, although it may be made policy because of it in the same way that embracing Enlightenment values is not caused by the protestant reformation, although it may be made law because of it.”

        That was goobledegook, Tildeb, talk about memes. “Priests MUST be pedophiles”. Explain yourself a bit better.

        Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 9:36 pm

      • My point is this: On the basis of naturalistic materialism it is impossible derive any basis for human “freedom.” If everything in nature has a natural cause, then everything in the human brain ultimately has a natural cause. There is no such thing as a “free will.” We are “free” to do what nature dictates! And on the basis of evolutionary biology it hard to see how there could be any such thing as human “equality.” In what sense are the native peoples of North America, Australia and New Zealand “equal” to the white settlers who conquered them? Isn’t this a clear example of the survival of the fittest?
        As you know, what the leaders of the American Revolution actually said was this; “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But Jefferson lived BEFORE Darwin, and we live after. Are there still such things as “unalienable rights”? Where do they come from, and how do we know what they are? What makes them “unalienable”?

        Comment by Bob Wheeler — December 30, 2011 @ 7:35 am

      • Bob, we’re wandering a bit off topic here about rights, but in the context of the Declaration, inalienable rights are those that are not dependent on any political or legal system, not contingent on laws passed on from the Mother Country to the colonials, not based on religious beliefs, customs, or a particular form of government. The rights differentiated are those described as belonging to each person, namely, that the state or culture or political group or religion or law cannot bestow life, cannot bestow liberty, cannot bestow happiness (happiness in the Enlightenment sense). These things reside not in any of these but within the individual. Your life is your own, you liberty your own, your pursuit of happiness your own. The Declaration in this sense forms the basis of establishing political authority of a revolutionary kind of government, not authorized from the top down (meaning all political authority starts with god and is distributed in a trickle down fashion first to kings and emperors, then lesser nobles, then eventually to the common person after all the upper classes have had their bite but the other way around, from the bottom up… but only so far as personal authority (of life,m liberty, and pursuit of happiness) is not infringed upon. That infringement breaks this political compact. In other words, if you recognize that I am granting you authority over me in politics through laws passed in my name, you must agree that that authority and those laws must be limited from undermining my right to grant you that authority.

        This is why ‘inalienable rights’ is a specific kind of right that constitutes the very basis for legitimate political authority. These rights are not objects bestowed on individuals by some god or king or derived from some metaphysical plane of reality. They are well reasoned ideas that constitute an acceptable agreement between the governed and the governing for the exercise of legitimate authority. This is a relationship, a social compact, a reciprocal agreement. This is why citizenship is a two-way agreement that comes with both benefits in the form of other legal rights and legal freedoms as well as responsibilities to the governing to serve the state in order to ensure these inalienable rights are maintained for all.

        Many citizens, I’m sad to say, just don’t get this understanding of reciprocity between the state and the individual, and work diligently to undermine their own inalienable rights in the name of misplaced patriotism rather than loyalty to the Constitution… the religious first and foremost. Too often we hear well intentioned, supposedly patriotic, Americans insist that their first loyalty is to god. This makes them, in fact, as un-American… even anti-American… as anyone can be.

        In a secular state where political authority resides in those who are governed, this self-proclaimed primary loyalty to god is exactly backwards, exactly opposite to where it must properly belong if one wishes to maintain the inalienable rights upon which freedom of religion is built. Such religiously motivated political chauvinism that places god at the top of the authority ladder in the name of religious adherence breaks the social compact, rends reciprocity from its moorings, and acts diametrically opposed to supporting the legitimacy of political authority in the Declaration. That is why there is NOT ONE WORD of any mention of any religious authority in the US Constitution for its rights, freedoms, and laws… BECAUSE THEY DON’T COME FROM GOD within this political framework. It is government OF the people, BY the people, FOR the people for those who haven’t taken to heart the beauty and power of the Gettysburg Address. To pretend otherwise, to the extent of actually being gullible enough to believe that the US is supposedly a christian nation founded on christian principles reveals the extraordinary depth and breadth of astounding ignorance of the believer. The very notion is as obscene as it is absurd and treads dangerously close to sedition and treason.

        Comment by tildeb — December 30, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

  12. Tildeb, I maintain that churches are a collection of people, not a building. The building is a shell without people in it. My thoughts come from liberalismfirst and foremost, if most of the church goers, are helped by what they think, and dont harm others, they have every right to proclaim their faith.

    Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

    • Of course people can gather to share their faith in Oogity Boogity or space aliens or secret spirits who live in volcanoes. But the problem of religion is that it poisons everything. You have every right to smoke, for example, but you overstep the bounds when you make others breathe your smoke. It is therefore right and proper to make public laws against public smoking. The same holds true for religion. It is right and proper to make public laws against public religion.

      Comment by tildeb — December 29, 2011 @ 8:05 pm | Reply

      • Let the majority decide then lol, i think you’re outvoted

        Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

      • If you don’t like me smoking, move away, i didn’t ask you to be near me. If you don’t like someone’s silly religion, don’t listen.

        Stuart

        Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

      • I’ll be writing a post for New Year’s on exactly why this notion of democracy is not enlightened but tyrannical.

        Comment by tildeb — December 29, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

      • If you don’t like me smoking, move away, i didn’t ask you to be near me. If you don’t like someone’s silly religion, don’t listen.

        It’s not a question of liking; it’s a question of imposing.

        Comment by tildeb — December 29, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

    • Churches are better described I think as echo chambers.

      Comment by tildeb — December 29, 2011 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

      • tildeb says “I’ll be writing a post for New Year’s on exactly why this notion of democracy is not enlightened but tyrannical.” i bet Kim Jong Oon and his Dad Kim Jong IL would agree with you tildeb.

        Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

  13. If you don’t like me smoking, move away, i didn’t ask you to be near me. If you don’t like someone’s silly religion, don’t listen.

    You don’t live in a self-contained magic bubble.
    Your decision to smoke has consequences for others in your society.
    Your smoke doesn’t move away. It hangs in the air and gets into other people’s lungs. Then they get sick. The smell doesn’t magically disappear. Nor do the burn stains in the carpet or the butts floating in the toilet.
    When you eventually get cancer you won’t move away. You will go to a hospital and use resources that you only partly helped pay for.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 29, 2011 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

    • Blows smoke in Cedric’s face and says “Care to join me with cancer?” No? Then bugger off out of my sight.

      Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

      • Tilded, they have the same rights to impose as you have, deal with it.

        Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

      • “Care to join me with cancer?” No? Then bugger off out of my sight.

        I’m not going anywhere. You don’t have the right to kill people with the waste of your addiction or sponge off society. People are entitled to a safe work and public environment.
        It’s the same with heroin needles lying on the beach. The problems you create will not magically disappear.
        The rest of us are affected by your stupidity.
        Your habit is dying out. One aging cancer patient at a time.

        You Dont Always Die from Tobacco

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 29, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

      • Hi Cedric, you’ll probably die of dementia… Alzheimers, or some other horrible disease, happy with that outcome? We all die buddy, one way or another. Now your blogging habit is annoying.

        Comment by woowoostuff — December 30, 2011 @ 1:50 am

  14. To answer the question, “Can a believer be honest?” Of course they can, within the framework of their own particular paradigm. No different to a person who lives within a gnu atheist paradigm.

    Most believers have successful lives and their faith helps them deal with life. It is probably a form of bloody minded denial in some senses, to reject what every atheist says. But mostly they harm no one, and have the same rights as every other citizen to propose laws.

    Just as you don’t need to know how DNA operates, to make love and have babies and breed, you don’t need Gnu Atheism or any other sort of worldview to live successful, productive lives.

    Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

    • Good grief, Stuart. Your reading comprehension needs some work.

      I asked if religious belief can be honest and explained in detail why I don;t think it can. And religious belief in the public domain harms people all the time… especially children.

      Comment by tildeb — December 31, 2011 @ 12:32 am | Reply

  15. Free speech is only 1 enlightenment value Tildeb, face the facts you and Veronica have your history confused, but since you think any subject outside of science is woo woo, i am not surprised.

    Comment by woowoostuff — December 29, 2011 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

    • Stuart, free speech was adopted peacefully without revolution here in Canada. It did not require bloodshed. As the colonies evolved into a cohesive political unit – for many reasons – Enlightenment values other than free speech were peacefully implanted into law. Granted, British jurisprudence plays a central role, but so too does the Quebec Act (1774) allowing for a revolutionary approach to toleration of a conquered people to maintain in law certain cultural traditions like the role of religion and language within a framework of French-based civil law. It didn’t have to be this way and certainly had the political goal of keeping Lower Canada out of the fracas to the south. As well, treaties were made with the indigenous populations that also allowed for different ownership rights to communal lands than those found in British law. Again, no revolution was necessary for these implanted ideas to find their way into law although they were very much in response to regional concerns that also included conflicts. But we need to be a little more circumspect assigning specific political values to specific historical causes. Enlightenment values as we know them today emerged from the writings and interchange of beneficial well-reasoned ideas from many different free thinkers which were later adopted into laws we now call ‘secular’.

      Please don’t assume that I don’t know my country’s history because it doesn’t fit with your notions. Although originally you presented free speech as a matter requiring bloodshed to bring about, you now try to suggest that free speech – as well as other Enlightenment values on which secular law is based – here in Canada was caused specifically by British civil war/the protestant reformation/American revolution. This is historically inaccurate as free speech practiced in the press of all the North American colonies was adopted peacefully from the outset of their establishment.

      Comment by tildeb — December 30, 2011 @ 11:47 am | Reply

      • I suggest you read some historiography as well as some history, Tildeb, being a woo woo subject, you’re out of your depth with history if you think Canada got it’s free speech in an historical vacuum.

        Comment by woowoostuff — December 30, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

      • I never suggested any such thing, Stuart. Why the straw man arguments?

        Comment by tildeb — December 31, 2011 @ 12:30 am

  16. Hi Cedric, you’ll probably die of dementia… Alzheimers, or some other horrible disease, happy with that outcome? We all die buddy, one way or another.

    What’s your point, “buddy”?
    Smoking causes cancer and all sorts of other horrible diseases. These are preventable. Easily preventable.
    Being addicted is nothing to be proud of and it hurts yourself and others.
    Your future medical problems will be a financial burden on your community, not just you. That is a waste of money. Money that could have been spend on nursing care for the elderly, for example.
    Your choice to smoke helps kill other people and makes others suffer needlessly.
    You are a threat to ordinary people around you every time you light up.
    Flush your own life down the toilet if you want but you are not permitted to take other innocent people with you.

    Smoking in the 21st century is like hanging a sign around your neck saying “I’m the weak, dumb and impotent one in the family”.
    To tolerate smoking in public spaces is just as bad as tolerating used heroin needles at the beach.

    Smoking Causes Impotent – Anti-Smoking Ads

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 30, 2011 @ 2:23 am | Reply

    • I am so sure you are absolutely perfect in EVERY way Cedric, let me bow down before you, and kiss your feet with my nicotine stained lips.

      Comment by woowoostuff — December 30, 2011 @ 2:29 am | Reply

  17. Never said I was perfect.
    There’s no need to get all passive-aggressive.
    The truth may hurt but it’s still the truth.
    You don’t have the right to kill people with the waste of your addiction or sponge off society.
    You don’t live in a self-contained magic bubble.
    Smoking in the 21st century is like hanging a sign around your neck saying “I’m the weak, dumb and impotent one in the family”.
    To tolerate smoking in public spaces is just as bad as tolerating used heroin needles at the beach.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 30, 2011 @ 2:50 am | Reply

    • Dear Cedric, get of your sanctimonious high horse and get a life will you? You are going to to die just as assuredly as every one else and if i saw you in a elevator i would light up. You and your nanny state beliefs ruin life. My cigarettes over the years have attracted so much tax I have paid for yours, mine and at least 10 other people’s healthcare. Ban tobacco and i’ll grow it and smoke it, and stub it out on your face.

      Comment by woowoostuff — December 30, 2011 @ 3:08 am | Reply

      • Hence the need for laws.

        Comment by tildeb — December 30, 2011 @ 11:05 am

      • You are going to to die just as assuredly as every one else…

        So what? Do you really think you have said anything profound?

        …and if i saw you in a elevator i would light up.

        You have no idea what I look like, you moron. If you lit up in an elevator, you endanger others. That includes children.

        …I have paid for yours, mine and at least 10 other people’s healthcare.

        Why do you lie? It won’t help you to wave your hands in the air and play make-believe.

        …and stub it out on your face.

        That’s assault. People like you belong in prison.

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 30, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

      • Cedric Wrote
        …and if i saw you in a elevator i would light up.

        You have no idea what I look like, you moron. If you lit up in an elevator, you endanger others. That includes children. —– You’d be the nerdy looking one with a sneer of superiority – easy to pick Cedric.

        …I have paid for yours, mine and at least 10 other people’s healthcare.

        Why do you lie? It won’t help you to wave your hands in the air and play make-believe.

        You do the math Moron

        …and stub it out on your face.

        That’s assault. People like you belong in prison.

        I’d get a three month good behaviour bond and laugh my way out of Court, worth it to see you in pain.

        Comment by woowoostuff — December 30, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

  18. Smoking in public is like pissing in a public swimming pool….

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — December 30, 2011 @ 11:50 am | Reply

    • Dont swim in the pool then

      Comment by woowoostuff — December 30, 2011 @ 9:42 pm | Reply

      • Get your own pool and you can piss in it as much as you like.

        Comment by misunderstoodranter — December 31, 2011 @ 3:25 am

  19. Do minorities have rights that the majority is bound to respect?

    Comment by Bob Wheeler — December 30, 2011 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

    • Do minorities have rights that the majority is bound to respect?

      Tough question, Bob. It’s up there with “Should we be kind to our neighbours?” or “How come there are laws in society?”
      Thank you for sharing your insights with us.
      Have you come to any conclusions on this question yourself or are you just posing?

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 30, 2011 @ 8:44 pm | Reply

      • I think Tildeb did a nice job of presenting the social contract theory of government, which is pretty much what America’s founding fathers had in mind. And Tildeb is also completely right in stating that the U.S. Constitution is a secular document. It is true that God is not mentioned anywhere in it, not even in the prescribed oaths of office.
        It also has to be borne in mind, however, that the Constitution was not written in a cultural vacuum. Nearly everyone, even the most liberal of the founding fathers, believed in the existence of God, accepted the English Common Law as their inheritance, and relied very heavily on the “Natural Law” concept. They believed that there was some kind of morality, and that ultimately it somehow could be traced back to God.
        The problem is that when the contractual theory of government is separated form morality, minority rights becomes a problem. If we start with an alleged “state of nature,” in which everyone is presumed free and equal, and the members of a given society enter into a social contract, the only thing to limit the power of the central government is the will of the majority. Since the government has to impose some sort of law on society, the minority has little choice but to submit. But what if the majority makes a decision that is inimical to the interests of the minority? Does the minority have the right of revolution, and form their own social compact? Or is the will of the majority binding? Is there room for civil disobedience, or is the majority always right?
        Martin Luther King, Jr., had to face the problem directly. Writing from a jail in Birmingham, Alabama, where he was being held for marching without a permit, he said “One may well ask, ‘How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?’ The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: There are just and there are unjust laws. I would agree with Saint Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.'”
        Just as an interesting footnote: The contractual theory of government actually originated with John Knox, the Scottish Reformer. In a series of pamphlets he published in 1558 he argued that in a worse case scenario the people had the right and obligation to remove an unjust ruler. This later developed into a covenantal theory of government. It was John Locke who secularized the idea, a “covenant” becoming a “contract.” Locke, in turn, was the direct inspiration for the America’s founders.

        Comment by Bob Wheeler — December 31, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

      • Hence the need for the Bill of Rights.

        But before going there, let us deal with the notion of belief in god by the Founders as if this somehow matters to direction and form of government. It does not. At all. In the slightest.

        There is much documentation to back this up, like the Federalist Papers where Madison and Jefferson deconstruct the Constitution point by point clearly enunciating no room at the inn for any religious sentiment whatsoever. Granted, there is no question that the overwhelming majority of the American people consider themselves to be Christian, and therefore it’s entirely accurate to say that Americans are mostly a Christian people. But that’s not the issue. What we’re talking about here is whether the US government is meant to be a Christian institution. And the answer is very clear: no, it is not.

        But what about the intention raised by the Declaration?

        As is absolutely typical, note that Bob conveniently leaves out the first sentence in Jefferson’s Declaration, you know, the one that says that the American people were assuming “the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them.” After all, it was actually written to be in the form of a letter to a king about the political intentions and justifications for succession. It was in Jefferson’s second sentence that he started referring to the “Creator” — which had just been identified. But who or what is “nature’s God”? Does that sound like Jesus to you? Of course not. It is very much a deistic god of no fixed theological address. But that truth doesn’t suit those who wish to pretend the US is really meant to be a christian nation founded upon christian values, and this is how Bob tries to use more stealth theology, to send his religious beliefs undercover to infiltrate government disguised as morality… always a favourite of the religious to claim ownership over. Just to be clear, however, let’s compare and contrast the language of the Founder’s documents with, oh let’s just choose one, say Connecticut’s state constitution:

        For as much as it hath pleased Almighty God by the wise disposition of his divine providence so to order and dispose of things that we the Inhabitants and Residents of Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield are now cohabiting and dwelling in and upon the River of Connectecotte and the lands thereunto adjoining; and well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Government established according to God, to order and dispose of the affairs of the people at all seasons as occasion shall require; do therefore associate and conjoin ourselves to be as one Public State or Commonwealth; and do for ourselves and our successors and such as shall be adjoined to us at any time hereafter, enter into Combination and Confederation together, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess, as also, the discipline of the Churches, which according to the truth of the said Gospel is now practiced amongst us; as also in our civil affairs to be guided and governed according to such Laws, Rules, Orders and Decrees as shall be made, ordered, and decreed as followeth:

        See what I mean? There is no question this document is laced with religious language, intentionally recognizing a very christian sense of the divine to guide the government’s actions, yet the US Constitution specifically avoids it. In fact, the establishment clause is no accident but a very intentional addition successfully argued by Jefferson to allow for a wall of separation between church and state. He knew this was the only way to have religious freedom… freedom from state intervention in religious affairs.

        But this isn’t clear enough for Bob. He still wants religion to play a role in governance by hiding behind the word ‘morality’, altering the intention of this necessary separation to allow for religiously sanctioned ‘morality’ to be a factor in governance. He’s not suggesting Sharia Law, of course, and would be shocked to find out he was, yet his argument is identical for Sharia to be included in his government’s actions and policies as his own chauvinistic religious values he thinks are some higher moral standard; he really believes without evidence that his morality – when all is said and done – comes from his god through his particular religion. That’s why he wants to include his particular religious beliefs in governance over all of us dressed up in the lipstick of morality-in-general, assuming that Sharia Law somehow doesn’t count in the god-delivered morality argument. Of course it does count, but Bob simply dismisses it with a wave of his theological hand. No, the point he wants to make without coming straight out with it is to suggest that by denying religion a role in governance, one is rejecting the role for any morality from government. This is a specious argument and stands diametrically opposed to the Founder’s very clear intentions that political authority – including the moral concerns of acting on that authority – comes from the governed and not any god, christian or muslim or whatever else ojne may call one’s supernatural imaginings.

        As to minority rights, the Bill of Rights attempts to put into place a mechanism for individuals to petition government to reinstate ‘inalienable’ rights regardless of majority or minority status. This concern has been and continues to be an ongoing process to find that difficult balance between the rights of the governed and the authority of the governing.

        Comment by tildeb — January 1, 2012 @ 12:49 am

  20. You cant have social Darwinism, the law of the Jungle, the survival of the fittest, operating in a civilized society AND enlightenment values. Fact is dear Gnu Atheists, god botherers breed faster than you, and have enormous families. The least intelligent you are, it seems, the more successful you are at breeding. They are out competing you for space on the planet and resources.

    Comment by woowoostuff — December 30, 2011 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

  21. Woowoo, your feelings are hurt. I…don’t care.

    (…thinks about it…)

    Nope, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

    You have an addiction that hurts others around you. Your rationalizations are trite and irrational and you have nothing but silly troll behaviour.
    I feel sorry for you.
    This is not just an internet conversation.
    This is you rationializing killing yourself and harming others because you have an addiction that you can’t shake. You are powerless.
    You have, unfortunately, a lot to look forward to. Family members that live around you have a lot to look forward to as well. All because of your addiction.
    It unlikely that the end will be quick or pretty or painless.

    Cigarettes Damage Blood Vessels

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 30, 2011 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

    • Shove it up your arse, cedric with your preaching, youre as bad as a newly converted god botherer

      Comment by woowoostuff — December 30, 2011 @ 10:24 pm | Reply

      • It’s called science. Science is the study of reality.
        It’s not the same as religion.
        Your addiction is killing you and putting the people you love and care about at risk. You are responsible for this.

        What are some of the health problems caused by smoking?

        Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and diminishes a person’s overall health. Millions of Americans have health problems caused by smoking.

        Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and death from cancer. It causes cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.

        Smoking also causes heart disease, stroke, aortic aneurysm (a balloon-like bulge in an artery in the chest), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), asthma, hip fractures, and cataracts. Smokers are at higher risk of developing pneumonia and other airway infections.

        A pregnant smoker is at higher risk of having her baby born too early and with an abnormally low birth weight. A woman who smokes during or after pregnancy increases her infant’s risk of death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Men who smoke are at greater risk of erectile dysfunction.

        Cigarette smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke cause more than 440,000 premature deaths each year in the United States (1). Of these premature deaths, about 40 percent are from cancer, 35 percent are from heart disease and stroke, and 25 percent are from lung disease. Smoking is the leading cause of premature, preventable death in this country.

        Regardless of their age, smokers can substantially reduce their risk of disease, including cancer, by quitting.

        What are the risks of tobacco smoke to nonsmokers?

        Secondhand smoke (also called environmental tobacco smoke, involuntary smoking, and passive smoking) is the combination of “sidestream” smoke (the smoke given off by a burning tobacco product) and “mainstream” smoke (the smoke exhaled by a smoker). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Toxicology Program, the U.S. Surgeon General, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have classified secondhand smoke as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). Inhaling secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in nonsmoking adults. Approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths occur each year among adult nonsmokers in the United States as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke. The U.S. Surgeon General estimates that living with a smoker increases a nonsmoker’s chances of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.
        National Cancer Institute

        Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 30, 2011 @ 10:33 pm

      • Again, hence the need for laws that are based on good reasons so that people who don’t respect what’s true can be penalized for their obtuseness to impose their harm on others.

        Comment by tildeb — December 31, 2011 @ 12:24 am

      • At least Cedric has the good manners to include good evidence in his ‘preaching’. Care to match his effort, Stuart, and actually contribute something worth reading or continue on with your juvenile comments? If the latter, I’ll not respond to you again.

        Comment by tildeb — December 31, 2011 @ 12:27 am

  22. I was surprised that Hitchen’s smoked – it was one of those things that I couldn’t understand about him.

    Being an ex-smoker myself, I get it completely – smokers think they enjoy their tobacco – the rush of nicotine makes takes the relief away from the craving of the nicotine withdrawal that was caused by the nicotine in the first place. This gives the illusion of pleasure. The excuses that a smoker makes to keep themselves free of guilt for doing something so stupid to themselves are many:

    It is a social crutch – smokers are better at socialising (myth)
    [Myth explained: smoking stinks, non-smokers don’t like to socialise with smokers because smokers smell like a compost heap – this smell lingers all around all the time, and for about 10 to 20 minutes after smoker puts out – it gets really bad. Throw in a coffee and the smell is disgusting. Smoking is dirty, the ash gets everywhere, the litter gets everywhere the smell gets everywhere – smoking is not sociable – quite the opposite]

    It helps me concentrate (myth)
    [Myth explained: Your concentration only lasts while you have nicotine soothing your brain, as soon as this get metabolised by your liver and kidneys, you have to break everything you doing and light up. When you stop smoking the only reason you can’t concentrate is because you are thinking about smoking – nicotine put you in that state, it created the hole that has to be filled]

    It helps me relax (myth and contradicts the above myth)
    [Myth explained: How can something that helps you concentrate also help you relax. I don’t concentrate on relaxing…]

    It stops me from getting fat (myth)
    [Myth explained: Smoking pollutes your body with carbon monoxide, limiting your body’s ability to absorb oxygen. This stops you from achieving your cardio vascular capability – meaning that exercise will be hard. If exercise is hard, you are less likely
    to do it or want to do it – removing the ability for you to balance your kcal intake against exercise – this means you will get fat. When I stopped smoking I lost 5 stone!]

    It is part of my personality (myth)
    [Myth explained: The smoking personality, is nothing more than clever marketing by companies peddling their commercial crap on you. Tobacco is a consumer good – it requires consumers to consume it, so it has been marketed to you from birth in films and advers].

    It gives me something to do with my hands (myth)
    [Myth explained: Plenty of people manage to get through life without feeling the need to breath in toxic fumes into their lungs to give them something to do with their hands]

    It stops me from getting bored (myth)
    [Myth explained: The feeling of boredom is a symptom of nicotine withdrawal, nicotine gave you that feeling – it dug the hole that needs to be filled with more nicotine to make that feeling go away].

    It doesn’t affect my health that much (myth)
    [Myth explained: This is actually a lie that all smokers delude themselves with. Smoking wrecks your health – if you get a mild chest infection I will put you on your back and require medical attention. All smokers cough up junk, this is the amazing human body cleaning out the crap that you force it to have – if you didn’t cough up that shit you would die. Headaches caused by high blood pressure, increased heart rate, shortness of breath climbing stairs are all symptoms of the creeping death that all smokers inflict on themselves. You might not get cancer, or you may get cancer very late on in life – but I guarantee you that your quality of life is shit compared to a non-smoker. I would rather live 30 years not smoking than 60 years smoking].

    I enjoy it (myth)
    [Myth explained: No you don’t – you are addicted to a drug, that makes you think it is pleasurable. You only enjoy nicotine in the same way a junkie likes to stick a needle in their arm until their veins collapse – nicotine creates a hole in your mental state, it can only be filled with more nicotine].

    It tastes nice (myth)
    [Myth explained: No it doesn’t think back to your first smoke. Nicotine overrides your taste senses to make it palatable – this is a side effect of the drug].
    It helps with stress (myth)

    [Myth explained: Life is complicated enough without having to worrying about: where you can smoke, where you cannot smoke, if you have enough to smoke, if you have a lighter, if you have time. Smoking traps you into a routine that you do not have to do. All smokers panic if they have forgotten their tobacco or they cannot find a retailer. Smoking causes stress].
    It is hard to give up (myth)

    [Myth explained: No it isn’t smoking is easy to give up. The effects of nicotine stop after 3 to 4 days – the rest is all in your head. Giving up smoking was the easiest thing I ever did].

    For reference read this:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Allen-Carrs-Easy-Stop-Smoking/dp/014103940X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325322461&sr=8-1

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — December 31, 2011 @ 4:10 am | Reply

  23. Being an ex-smoker myself, I get it completely…

    If you don’t mind my asking, how did you manage to do it? It’s an insanely hard thing to beat the cravings. I’ve lost count of the number of friends who have tried and failed.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — December 31, 2011 @ 4:52 am | Reply

  24. I read Allen Carrs’ book and continued to smoke for a while after reading it – but I couldn’t get his words out my mind – it is an excellent book, and I would recommend it to anyone that wants to stop smoking… His book was recommended to me by my sister, who read it and then decided to give up shortly afterwards.

    Beating the cravings is easier than learning to smoke in the first place – when a smoker learns to smoke they have to override the human reaction to cough, and pretend to enjoy it – that’s a hard thing to do.

    One of the biggest problems with smoking is that everyone thinks it is hard to stop.

    A myth has arisen over smoking – that it is difficult to give up. This is fuelled by the tobacco companies and also the pharmaceutical companies who are peddling nicotine replacement therapies. If people want to stop smoking they will – they just have to be honest with themselves.

    Giving up smoking was the easiest thing I ever did.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — December 31, 2011 @ 5:30 pm | Reply


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