Category: Atheism


A talk by Richard Dawkins at Google. There isn’t much more to say than “Richard Dawkins is awesome”. That is all.

Can you feel it? The awesome! Can you feel it?

God can not exist.

All of existence is contained in a super-dimensional field which is lethal to all Gods. This field – known as the Deity Obliteration Field – is undetectable to humans and any instrument humans have ever devised. It cannot be seen, felt or detected in any way and it is lethal to any God of any kind and Gods are the only conceivable beings that could posses the ability to perceive this field. It is especially lethal to any Gods that have the property of omnipotence or omniscience. Nothing – including Gods – can exist without this field – it is the prime requirement for anything at all to have the property of existing.

By definition, the moment a God starts to exist, its existence is summarily ended due to the Deity Obliteration Field.

Unless one can prove that the ODF does not exist, no God can exist by definition. If one is able to prove that the ODF does not exist, that same proof will be applied to the claim of any God existing thereby automatically proving that that God does not exist.

It therefore follows that either the existence of the ODF can be proven or it can’t be proven but it in either case no God can exist.

God does not exist.

I was sent a link to a blog post, an excerpt form an upcoming book by one Mr. Trent Horn, proud owner of a Master’s Degree in Theology. A Catholic who is an apologist and speaker for Catholic Answers…

The post is here: http://www.catholic.com/blog/trent-horn/is-atheism-a-belief-or-a-lack-of-belief

I generally wouldn’t bother writing (or indeed reading for that matter) about a random Catholic’s opinion on atheism – it’s a pretty simple concept to grasp after all – but this piece is so bad, the quality of thinking so low that I feel compelled to write something. I know I probably shouldn’t judge all holders of “Master’s degrees in Theology” by the standard of a single blog post but it does a pretty depressing picture paint.

But the problem with defining atheism as simply “the lack of belief in God” is that there are already another group of people who fall under that definition: agnostics.

It seems like the man is insinuating that agnostics have a monopoly on “the lack of belief in God”? Strange. Let’s see what the Oxford English dictionary defines atheism as:

atheism
Pronunciation: /ˈeɪθɪɪz(ə)m/

noun
[mass noun]
disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

Perhaps Mr. Horn feels he can redefine the meaning of the word?

An illustration might help explain the burden of proof both sides share. In a murder trial the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the murder. But if the prosecution isn’t able to make its case, then the defendant is found “not guilty.” Notice the defendant isn’t found “innocent.”

I think that perhaps Mr. Horn hasn’t heard of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presumption_of_innocence. Which would be strange, since its the basis of the secular legal system he operates under. It’s a pretty fundamental principle… “innocent until proven guilty”. Sort of says you don’t need to be found innocent since you are innocent until proven otherwise.

“Presumption of innocence” serves to emphasize that the prosecution has the obligation to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt (or some other level of proof depending on the criminal justice system) and that the accused bears no burden of proof.

He goes on:

Likewise, even if the theist isn’t able to make his case that God exists that doesn’t show God does not exist and therefore that atheism is true. As atheists Austin Dacey and Lewis Vaughn write, “What if these arguments purporting to establish that God exists are failures? That is, what if they offer no justification for theistic belief? Must we then conclude that God does not exist? No. Lack of supporting reasons or evidence for a proposition does not show that the proposition is false.”

You see, Mr. Horn completely and strangely misunderstands how reality works. If a theist isn’t able to make his case that his god exists then one is entirely justified in concluding that god doesn’t exist. If I claim that a pink invisible dragon lives in my garage but can’t prove it then clearly one is justified in concluding it doesn’t exist. Under Mr. Horn’s system of thinking, I can claim anything, literally anything without evidence and the only valid conclusion must be suspension of judgement and that is patently absurd.

If you claim something fundamentally ridiculous – fairies in the garden, leprechauns and gold at the end of the rainbow, talking donkeys, global floods, deities who care where about the location of your penis – without evidence, it can be dismissed, without evidence. And the more ridiculous your claim – Yahweh created a man-god out of himself to sacrifice to himself to change his own opinion, for example – the more evidence you’re going to need to prop up the proposition.

The primary mistake in Mr. Horn’s thinking is that he feels his claim that Yahweh and Jesus Christ exists is somehow different, more important or somehow more special than a claim that flying pigs exist, great big invisible farm llamas live behind Jupiter or that Krishna is real. It is not. Once Mr. Horn and the religious in general understand this fundamental point, their world view will change.

If he wants to demonstrate that atheism is true, an atheist would have to provide additional evidence that there is no God just as a defense attorney would have to provide further evidence to show his client is innocent as opposed to being just “not guilty.” He can’t simply say the arguments for the existence of God are failures and then rest his case.

I don’t need to demonstrate that atheism is true. See the Oxford English definition for the word. Atheism is the default position on god: there isn’t one since I have no reason to believe there is one and never have. Before the invention of Christianity, every living person was an atheist with regards to Jesus Christ since that’s the default position. Before the invention of religion, everybody was an atheist with respect to every god invented since. Why? Because atheism is the default position. Innocent until proven guilty. Reasonable.

The religious try to change the default position of non-belief with a claim and that claim either has evidence or it doesn’t. If it has convincing evidence, the position changes. The religious have yet to provide any evidence what so ever. For any of the thousands of deities invented by men in history.

Mr. Horn’s religion is one of many. It’s mutually exclusive to all other religions. His only evidence is a book, compiled by a committee of men with an agenda, written by anonymous authors with agendas, from second or third hand accounts, translated over and over by scribes with agendas who were prone to mistakes and no originals remain at all. As far as evidence goes, it’s more than little thin I would say.

I might give an illustration of my own to show what Mr. Horn thinks is a viable legal trial:

In a murder trial a man is accused of killing another man. There is no body, no murder weapon, no witnesses. There is no proof the murdered man even existed. In fact, the only evidence the prosecution brings is a hand written note. The note claims the accused murdered a man. Nobody knows who wrote the note, when it was written and to make matters worse, the note was originally written in a language nobody understands. The note presented to the court isn’t the original, it’s a copy of a copy of a translation. Nobody knows who did the translation or when the translation was done. There are also other notes – similarly translated from copies of copies – which contradict the note that the prosecution has chosen to make their case.

Tell me again, Mr. Horn, how we should suspend judgement on the veracity and truth of the claim instead of summarily dismissing it for the garbage that it is.

I found a link on Google+ to an article titled:

Chief Rabbi: atheism has failed. Only religion can defeat the new barbarians

I read a comment on the article before reading the article and my opinion is that the comment was perhaps more insightful than the article itself. The Spectator feature was written by Jonathan Sacks who is – I believe – Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. Sounds important. And of course it goes without saying that I don’t believe that any kind religion is going to defeat anything, ‘the new barbarians’ especially.

The article itself is, while reasonably well written, definitely heavily coloured by religion tinted glasses. To be fair, some passages are pretty good but on the whole I feel it falls far short from reflecting reality. It did get me thinking though, since a couple of the points the (presumably) good Rabbi makes about atheism and secularism rings true to me. Some of his other points seem to indicate that he’s managed to form an opinion on ‘new atheism’ and ‘new atheists’ without actually having read any Harris or Dennett to name a couple. My intension was to write about atheism but I feel compelled to at least make an attempt to temper the Rabbi’s article with a little reality and reason.

The article can be found at: http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8932301/atheism-has-failed-only-religion-can-fight-the-barbarians/

Early in Mr. Sacks’ piece he states, speaking of modern “serious atheists”:

Where is there the remotest sense that they have grappled with the real issues, which have nothing to do with science and the literal meaning of scripture and everything to do with the meaningfulness or otherwise of human life, the existence or non-existence of an objective moral order, the truth or falsity of the idea of human freedom, and the ability or inability of society to survive without the rituals, narratives and shared practices that create and sustain the social bond?

Clearly, that was not one of the better passages. Perhaps the fact that he doesn’t participate in atheist and secular discussion is the reason he’s unaware of the godawful amount of debate between atheists and Christians around objective morality. It might be the same reason he’s unaware about Harris’ writing and debates on free will. Maybe he just doesn’t know about Alain de Botton’s writing and lectures and proposals around secular rituals, narratives and shared practices…

…because religion has social, cultural and political consequences, and you cannot expect the foundations of western civilisation to crumble and leave the rest of the building intact. That is what the greatest of all atheists, Nietzsche, understood with terrifying clarity and what his -latter-day successors fail to grasp at all.

Time and again in his later writings he tells us that losing Christian faith will mean abandoning Christian morality. No more ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’; instead the will to power.

I’m guessing I need not point out that it’s again not one of the good passages. Christian morality? I get the feeling the man’s head is located very close or indeed in the immediate vicinity of his rear end, to put it nicely. Christianity – and its cousin Islam – along with its lauded morality is responsible for a tragic amount of death, suffering and horror. I’d like to point out that ‘love your neighbour’ only goes as far as a Christian’s literal neighbour who more than likely is also a Christian. A generalisation perhaps but close enough I think. If Christians were to actually pay attention to the ‘morality’ they are taught and claim to follow – and this is just a guess – the divorce rate would be somewhat lower than it is now among other things. Contrary to the Rabbi’s statements and a majority of American’s opinions, Christian morality is not what holds Western civilisation together, it is secular laws and secular justice, hard-fought and won against non-secular opposition every step of the way.

 Lose the Judeo-Christian sanctity of life and there will be nothing to contain the evil men do when given the chance and the provocation.

Somehow the Jewish Rabbi manages to forget the Catholic church’s lack of opposition if not necessarily outright support of one Mr. Adolf Hitler. He seems to forget the soldiers in the SS, at the time of executing what is possibly the worst thing humanity has ever done, wore belt buckles claiming “Got mit uns”. Good Christians soldiers one might say.

But if asked where we get our morality from, if not from science or religion, the new atheists start to stammer

Unless one could call the following quote from Richard Dawkins stammering, that previous statement is probably also wrong:

I think I want a morality that is thought-out, reasoned, argued, discussed—based upon, almost say—intelligent design. Can we not design our society which has the sort of morality, the sort of society we want to live in?

The article goes on to make a vast number of unsubstantiated claims, factual errors and delivers some pretty biased opinion but I’ve digressed terribly.

The first point he makes that I find interesting is:

In one respect the new atheists are right. The threat to western freedom in the 21st century is not from fascism or communism but from a religious fundamentalism combining hatred of the other, the pursuit of power and contempt for human rights. But the idea that this can be defeated by individualism and relativism is naive almost beyond belief.

Another is:

Humanity has been here before.

These were two great civilisations on the brink of decline. Having lost their faith, they were no match for what Bertrand Russell calls ‘nations less civilised than themselves but not so destitute of social cohesion’. The barbarians win. They always do.

A third is:

But Durant’s point is the challenge of our time. I have not yet found a secular ethic capable of sustaining in the long run a society of strong communities and families on the one hand, altruism, virtue, self-restraint, honour, obligation and trust on the other.

Keeping those three points in mind, the comment that I read and liked is:

Bertrand Russell is right, unfortunately.  Religion is tribalism and may the most cohesive tribe win.  Atheism is the way of the individual to escape the mental prison of the tribe.  But even if you live among idiots, you do not have to be one.  John 15:19.

The comment makes a startlingly good point in my opinion. Religion is tribalism. Atheism is… nothing except a lack of belief in a deity no matter how much some people want atheism to be more. I used to subscribe to that way of thinking but I’ve been painfully disabused of that notion by a particular conglomeration of so-called atheists and skeptics. No, atheism is not a uniting anything; it is nothing more than a lack of belief in a deity. Religion is tribalism. And the most cohesive tribe wins. Atheism is – besides for being an acceptance of reality – a way for the individual to escape the mental prison of the tribe. It has most definitely been my experience and that of a great many other atheists that atheists are highly individualistic. It has been said more than once that organising atheists is like herding cats. Atheism+ and the mixing of extreme and delusional feminism with atheism and the schism it has caused in the loose online community of atheists being a prime example of how the ‘atheist movement’ is far from cohesive and exhibits a number of the least productive aspects of a religion.

The biggest threat to Western freedom in the 21st century comes from religious fundamentalism. Not just from Islam but mostly from Islam in my opinion. Not the religion itself but the views it breeds in its adherents, particularly in the fundamentalists: contempt for human rights, contempt for freedom, a warped and barbaric sense of justice and xenophobia.

I don’t necessarily agree that a ‘loss of faith’ is what caused the demise of any nation let alone a great one but I use the word necessarily since I do believe that a loss of social cohesion might be a contributing – or more – factor. If in reality a ‘loss of faith’ translates to a loss of social cohesion – and I can’t say for sure either way – then that comment might not be far off the mark. What I do agree with is that a socially cohesive barbarian horde is more powerful and more likely to succeed than a civilised, highly individualistic society that lacks cohesion.

Atheism alone is not something that is ever going create social cohesion. I was once hopeful for that but reality has dispassionately proved otherwise. The third passage that I highlighted that reads “I have not yet found a secular ethic capable of sustaining in the long run a society of strong communities and families on the one hand, altruism, virtue, self-restraint, honour, obligation and trust on the other” is not entirely wrong either in my opinion. Make no mistake, I would love to be proved wrong. Nothing would make me happier but so far I haven’t seen any secular ethic that comes even close to inspiring and maintaining the kind of tribalistic social cohesion found in every religion. I find that both disturbing and disheartening.

Western culture will inevitably become more secular. The prevalence of science, our reliance on technology and the free access to knowledge that technology gives us ensures a path towards a secular society. The inherent qualities of fundamentalist Islam and Christianity that precludes integration, that in most cases actively fights against integration, modern scientific knowledge and modern morals and justice is secular society’s biggest threat.

We must find secular social cohesion or run the risk of being overrun by the barbarians.


Before anybody even tries to make the absolute horse shit claim of ‘Islamophobia’ let me be candid. I do not fear all Muslims most especially not irrationally. Let me help you out:

pho·bi·a: Noun: An extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something

You do not get to claim my opinion of Islam is a ‘phobia’ while we know and have seen the actions and results of people who actually believe what they say they believe and those beliefs include lovely and peaceful things like: God promises to “cast terror into the hearts of those who are bent on denying the truth; strike, then, their necks!” (Koran 8.12). God instructs his Muslim followers to kill unbelievers, to capture them, to ambush them (Koran 9.5). Everything contributes to advancing the holy goal: “Strike terror into God’s enemies, and your enemies”

Who are you to say that fundamentalist Muslims do not actually believe these things? Their actions cannot be denied.

Sharia law is disturbing take on barbaric justice, the treatment of women in Islamic countries is detestable and Islamic abuse of basic human rights is unconscionable and unacceptable.

Any fear inspired by Islam is well founded. Something else I’d love to be proven wrong on but I’m not holding my breath.

Atheist Pig Writes...

God says he loves us
but he lets children die
And although you may ask him
he’ll never tell you why.
The reason for his silence
may be more than you can bear,
but your life will have more meaning
when you realise he’s not there.

Winston Hamilton 

Ladies and gentlemen I give you Winston Hamilton, The Atheist Pig.

I just saw this image of wonder and genius on the Iranian Atheist/Agnostic Movement Facebook page. I love it. Pure genius.

The Ten Commandments (Fixed)

The Ten Commandments (Fixed)

And there it is. Religion in a nutshell.

Big questions deserve big answers... except if you disagree with our flavour of feminism. Then you deserve to shut up.

Big questions deserve big answers… except if you disagree with our flavour of feminism. Then you deserve to shut up.

It took me a couple of minutes to realise why I couldn’t like or comment on any posts on the Atheism Resource Facebook page. Looks like I’m banned. Imagine that.

So, it could be for one of two reasons:

  • Somebody took offense at my filthy fucking language
  • Somebody took offense to my objection to feminism being sold on an atheism page

I guess it could be a combination of the two… which makes three reasons… Anyway, I can’t remember exactly what I wrote (and the comment has been deleted…) but it went something like (trying real hard to remember):

Feminism holds that women are inferior to men and need special treatment. Don’t fucking post feminism on this atheist page. Feminism has fuck all to do with atheism.

Or something to that effect. That was in response to this picture posted on the Atheism Resource Facebook page. Bit harsh? Perhaps. Rude and uncouth? Perhaps.

To be honest I couldn’t give less of a fuck but it does seem interesting that atheists pushing feminism like to ban people who disagree with the flavour of feminism that they happen to be selling. Make of that what you will.

At least their website hasn’t deteriorated into the same kind of idiocy oozing cesspit as Freethought Blogs. ‘Yet’, I suppose. You should check it out; there’s a good read or two there.

Some godless truth.

Dan Barker said this in the video in my previous post:

All you have to do is walk into any children’s hospital anywhere in the world and you will KNOW there is no god.

Yea, quite.

*bam* Feel the Dan Barker awesome!

 

People part of the wider atheist/skeptical ‘movement’, particularly conference goers will be aware of the misogyny inspired drama that’s been plaguing ‘the community’ for a while – maybe a year, I can’t remember and I can’t be bothered to check.

The incessant drama has finally worn me down.

I have several opinions, few facts, little physical interaction, possibly no clue. I have, however, had enough now.

Was (is, was, will be) Rebecca Watson harassed? Sure.

Were (will) other women be sexually harassed at conferences? Probably.

Did Rebecca Watson initially make a huge deal out of it? Perhaps not.

Was/is the harassment as bad as the brouhaha after some subsequent blog posts? Probably not.

Is sexual harassment as big an issue at skeptical/atheist conferences as some people have made it out to be? Probably not. I haven’t been to one so I can’t really say. I haven’t been to America – perhaps the country is packed to the brim with misogynistic assholes, I can’t say. Some people have certainly made it out to be like that.

Was (is) PZ Myers overly supportive of Rebecca Watson? Yes.

Was Richard Dawkins as wrong about the Rebecca Watson story as Rebecca Watson made out to be? No, I don’t think so any more.

Was Thunderf00t’s first take on the misogyny issue the way PZ Myers portrayed it? No.

Was Thunderfoot’s response to PZ’s posts ill-considered and sloppily done? For sure.

Was Thunderfoot’s response to the SkepchickCON harassment policy childish and silly? Yes.

Was Skepchick’s latest response childish and silly? Yes.

Are Rebecca Watson, PZ Myers and Thunderfoot and their legions of minions and supporters acting like a bunch of twats? Indeed.

I’ve never been to an atheist or skeptics conference. I used to want to go to them all pretty badly and came close to going to the one in Melbourne recently. Now, I’m not so sure. It’s clear that there is no ‘community’. It’s clear that there are a bunch of factions with different agendas and it is clear that ‘reason’ isn’t high up on any of those agendas.

Take this from here it comes: the huge freaking issue made about sexual harassment at conferences has put me off of going to them and I am a man. I used to want to go and now I do not. I am well aware that ‘the issue’ is probably not nearly as big as it’s been made out by some people to be but fuck it,  I don’t need that shit in my life.

I’m over Freethought Blogs. I’m over the people commenting on Freethought Blogs. If that is what the atheist/skeptical ‘community’ is, I want no part of it.

Yes, I realise I have this very insignificant blog in an insignificant corner of the world and I might very well be alone in feeling that I want nothing to do with the massive amount of idiocy the ‘community’ is currently drowning in but that’s the way it is. It makes me sad to say – I too would like to feel like I belong to something bigger than myself – but I do not want anything to do with this shit.

The bottom line is that atheism and scepticism are not uniting forces and no amount of wishful thinking will change that. Atheism does not a ‘community’ or ‘movement’ make. PZ Myers posted some time ago that atheism is more than just the non-belief in god. I used to agree with him. The last 12 months worth of drama has done nothing other than show that a great many atheists are dicks and atheism does nothing to unite people and atheism is nothing more than a lack of belief in a deity.

The realisation that is sadly dawning to my very un-skeptical mind is that just because somebody is an atheist does not make them a nice or good person. Or a person I would want to associate with. Somebody being an atheist does not in fact imply a damn thing about that person other than they do not believe in a God.

I like to think the best of people and these people that I used to look up to have made that impossible.

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