Questionable Motives

June 19, 2014

Why do I hold Sam Harris in such esteem?

Filed under: Harris,Humour — tildeb @ 10:05 am

October 9, 2012

What’s this all about?

Filed under: Entertainment,Humour,Science — tildeb @ 8:36 am

And we mustn’t forget an informative video:

So what’s going on?

The explanation is here:

November 22, 2011

Can quantum mechanics explain superluminal neutrinos?

Filed under: Humour — tildeb @ 4:22 pm

(h/t WEIT via BoingBoing)

July 13, 2011

What if there is only an atheist heaven?

Filed under: Atheism,Humour — tildeb @ 1:45 pm

Ah ha! A third option to Pascal’s Wager…

 

July 10, 2011

How does theology work?

Filed under: Humour,theology — tildeb @ 11:41 am

One of my favourite cartoons.

July 7, 2011

Why do people believe in woo?

Filed under: Humour,Science,woo — tildeb @ 9:40 am

From The Infinite Monkey Cage on BBC 4: Does science kill the magic?

Robin Ince and Brian Cox are joined on stage by actor and magician Andy Nyman, psychologist Richard Wiseman and neuroscientist Bruce Hood as they take on the paranormal. They’ll be looking at some of the more popular claims of supernatural goings on, and asking whether a belief in ghosts, psychic abilities and other other-worldly phenomena, is just a bit of harmless fun, or whether there are more worrying implications in a belief in the paranormal. (30 minutes)

Listen here.

 

 

April 17, 2011

What does that religious euphemism mean?

Filed under: belief,Humour — tildeb @ 7:52 pm

Re-posted in its entirety from ex-christian.net comes this handy reference guide written by atheistnurse:

I have often heard various phrases used over and over again to obscure the unexplainable Christian “truths.” But what do they really mean? Let’s look at some:

“It is a deep spiritual truth, too complex for us to grasp.”

Translation: “I don’t know what the fuck this means, but I am going to believe it anyway.”

This euphemism is commonly used to explain bullshit theology that any normal, thinking person would immediately chalk up to being ridiculous such as the trinity (1+1+11), a “loving and just” god’s cruel actions in the bible, predestination vs. freewill, eternal torturing of good people who don’t bow down and worship a megalomaniac god, etc.

“God works in mysterious ways.”

Translation: “Wow! We didn’t see that coming and we can’t explain it to save our lives, but…”

This is usually used when the reality doesn’t match up with what a christian would assume would happen according to god’s will.

“God doesn’t give us more than we can bear.”

Translation: “Suck it up and deal with it. We don’t want to have to think about why god would allow such a horrible thing to happen so stop your bellyaching.”

Hey, if you are breathing, you are bearing it, so there you go. Case closed.

“God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts.”

Translation: “We know this looks like he is a bad god, but we just have to believe he is doing this for a good reason otherwise…”

Child abuse, starving people, suffering, etc, can all be explained by god being so smart as to have a perfectly good reason for it all. Yeah, right.

“God is testing you.”

Translation: “You must have pissed god off and now you are going to pay.”

Why in the world would an all-knowing god have to test anyone? Doesn’t he already know if they will pass or not?

“God is so good!”

Translation: “A random event has resulted in my good fortune. Gotta be god!”

It couldn’t possible be due to hard work, luck, determination, or any other plausible explanation. When bad things happen we never hear, “God is so bad.” (see “God is testing you” above)

“It is god’s will.”

Translation: “I don’t know what else to say, but this sounds good.”

When anything happens to a believer it is god’s will. It is god’s will I have cancer/my child died/I won the lottery – you name it. After all, his ways are not our ways (yeah, sometimes the euphemisms overlap).

“Their faith is weak.”

Translation: “Uh-oh. They are starting to think rationally.”

Anyone who doesn’t abide by the blind-leading-the-blind philosophy of Christianity has weak faith. Never, ever, question god. Period.

“We are praying for you.”

Translation: “We don’t want to go out of our way to actually help you, but we will say a five-second prayer for you once a month. This makes us feel really, really good about doing absolutely nothing for you. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

Nuff said on that one.

I know there are tons of these, but you get the idea. Christianity is a made up, superstitious, cult that can’t stand on its own. Without these euphemisms, people might be force to just blurt out, “Holy crap!! That doesn’t make any goddamn sense at all! What kind of god would do that?”

March 1, 2011

What’s so special about my special way of knowing?

From the Atheist Ethicist:

 

I have a special way of knowing things.

This special way of knowing is not subject to proof of any kind. These facts exist outside of any realm touched by reason or demonstration. I simply know them. God must have planted the knowledge of these things into my head directly. Since God would not deceive me, I trust these facts beyond all reason. I can trust God because this is one of the unquestionable facts that God has placed in my head.

These facts that I know that are beyond all reason are moral facts. They are facts about who I may kill, who I may maim, who I may imprison, and who I may enslave. They are facts about what I may do to women, what I may do to homosexuals, and what I may do to those who do not believe.

When I come to kill or maim or imprison or enslave you, do not ask me to justify my actions. My actions are self-justified. They come from my special way of knowing that is beyond inquiry – beyond reason.

If you deny that I have this special way of knowing, if you deny that I may kill, maim, imprison, or enslave those that I know I may kill, maim, imprison, or enslave, then you are insulting my beliefs – and that is something I will not tolerate. I do not have to tolerate your insults because my special way of knowing tells me that I do not have to tolerate your insults.

Do not question how I treat women, because in doing so you insult my beliefs.

Do not question my attitude towards or treatment of homosexuals, because that is also an insult to my beliefs.

Do not question my distrust of those who do not believe as I do, because by their mere existence they insult my beliefs.

Do not question me in any way, because to question me is to insult me.

In case you have not figured it out, my special way of knowing also tells me who you may kill, maim, imprison, or enslave. It tells me what you may wear, who you may be alone with, what you may say, and who you may have sex with. If you disobey any of these rules that my special way of knowing gives me, then you have insulted me and my beliefs.

Of course, my special way of knowing tells me what you may say with respect to questioning the facts that I know beyond all reason through my special way of knowing. You should be clear on that matter by now. I will expect you to comply and I will respond in a way that my special way if knowing tells me is appropriate if you do not.

Everything above this point is satire. But, I hold that it represents a very common way of thinking – and a very dangerous way of thinking. While not everybody thinks this way (obviously) we clearly have a lot of people who are far too close to this way of thinking – even if they do not put it exactly this way.

April 3, 2010

How can Anglicans tolerate such drivel and lies from their leadership?

Ah yes, anglicanism: catholicism without the fun.

Granted, sometimes certain atheists speak and write in derogatory terms about the thinking ability of religious believers that may seem at first blush to have gone too far. But now I am thinking that atheists as a whole may not have gone far enough in their criticisms. To whit…

From the Sydney Morning Herald comes this article from which I have taken excerpts and added bold face:

Several church leaders have used their Easter sermons and messages to condemn the increase in atheism, with Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen on Friday describing non-belief as an “assault on God.”

The problem here is how can one assault something that does not exist? Dismissal does not have the same meaning as assault. Atheists dismiss notions of god as empty assertions. By twisting this dismissal by atheists of a central tenet of religious belief to mean the same thing as assault of that central tenet, Jensen has intentionally not only misrepresented atheism but applied a hostility to non belief as a necessary condition. The thinking here by Jensen is dishonest and dangerous and serves only to vilify atheists. As an atheist, I am having difficulty feeling the love.

“Atheism is every bit of a religious commitment as Christianity itself.

No. It is not. Atheism is non belief. Period. End of description. Different term altogether. The absence of belief is not another form of belief… hence the different words. It’s a give-away that we’re talking about two different things. But if non belief was, in fact, belief, then guanocephalic Jensen would be a believer in thousands of beliefs he does not hold. And because he doesn’t hold them, by his own admission he would be hostile to all of them and guilty of assaulting every central tenet of beliefs he does not share.

Maybe even he could appreciate why his assertion here is such sheer nonsense. But failing that – and I suspect he would fail to follow his own line of thinking – I suspect Jensen’s lobotomy must have gone too far into his cerebral cortex, and thus turned his ability to follow his own reasoning into a mushy goop that produces this kind of intolerant drivel. Because that describes what his line of thinking here is: drivel.

But wait: there’s more.

It (atheism) represents the latest version of the human assault on God, born out of resentment that we do not in fact rule the world and that God calls on us to submit our lives to him.”

And what might the ‘earlier’ version be? Giving women the vote? Freeing the slaves? Not stoning to death disobedient children? Oh, the humanity! Oh, the loss of virtuous morality sanctified by Jensen’s god!

Dr Jensen went on to say in his sermon that religion can be an “even more dangerous” form of idolatry than atheism if incorrectly interpreted.

And the correct interpretation is…?

Oh, that’s right: competing religious truth claims are simply a matter of establishing which interpretation is the correct one. But because truth does not matter to those who hold religious beliefs but only faith does, then figuring out whether the mystic elephant or Isis or Jesus is god incarnate really boils down to a matter of correct interpretation. We should have known!

What a load of lies Jensen is spewing. He has no more seriously interpreted Gilgamesh as a possible true god any more than he has seriously considered the theocratic truth available through the correct interpretation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Jensen rejects all these beliefs as false and did so long before he decided to spout his  nonsense regarding correct interpretation. This makes Jensen a liar, but he has the temerity to accuse those who do not believe nor worship in any god at all as a terrible danger because non belief apparently  promotes worship of something other than any god. Better to worship Muk Muk of the Volcano who feeds on virgins to stay dormant than dare not to believe in Muk Muk at all, according to Jensen; non belief is too idolatrous in comparison!

This assertion of idolatry against atheists is incoherent, to say the least, and is an assault against rationality.

What do you think? Was the lobotomy performed by a blender, a large bore drill bit, or perhaps a fence post digger? I’m leaning towards the blender.

“Here, too, religion can simply be the power game under a different guise … Atheist or religious person – we all need to be reconciled to God and give him our lives,” he added.

Even if one is an atheist, Jensen thinks that one must avoid the abuse of power that accompanies idolatry by giving our lives to something we honestly think does not exist… like Muk Muk and his unfailing appetite for human sacrifice. There’s a solid bit of convincing.

Is it just me, or has Jensen lost the ability to reason altogether? Can religious belief really screw this much with your mind or must there be some biologically explainable deficit? I think it’s brain damage, myself.

And as for the people who grant this man’s pronouncements with any serious respect at all? Maybe it’s time these folk decided to be re-baptized… along with their favorite plugged in electrical appliance in hand.

March 24, 2010

Sumo-science?

Filed under: belief,creationism,Entertainment,Humour,Intelligent Design,Islam — tildeb @ 11:47 am

Mr Deity has outdone himself with this very clever episode. Enjoy.

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