Alien Hell

You just have to admire the dogged, willful stupidity of the advanced Creationists. Ok, Ken Ham has built a business around not understanding science; yet he manages to successfully walk the fine line between being a complete idiot and religious businessman.

He now has managed one of humanity’s first: he’s earth’s first antixenoc; he’s the first human who hates aliens (the extra-terrestrial kind) for irrational reasons. So our hat is off to Ken for unlocking the ‘alien hate’ accomplishmnt.

As the Huffington Post reports, Ken states that

You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. […] This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation.

So not even Jesus can save E.T. With that, aliens are even worse off than us uncouth atheists. While we can change our ways, repent, and be welcome to his god’s paradise, all aliens are bound for hell.

Yet it requires some special bravado to come up with Ken Ham Caliber reasoning. All aliens are bound for hell because they are not descendants from Adam and Eve, yet they are affected by original sin. Now, this would usually raise some eyebrows, as intellectual pedestrians like me think that Original Sin applies to all descendants from Adam and Eve. This is because, well, Christianity – when they invented the concept based on Romans 5:12–21, 1 Corinthians 15:22 and Psalm 51:5 – has always maintained that it applies to all descendants of Adam and Eve. It does not, for example, apply to animals. Hence Ken’s assertion that ‘the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe’ is somewhat out of this world. The Bible itself never mentions Original Sin; it’s a construct developed in Lyons during the second century. Perhaps Ken merely forgot to take his meds?

But does Ken really have an alternative to crossing into rational Never-Never Land? Let’s turn the question around. Let’s say SETI is successful, and we contact an alien race. Now, if the benevolent Christian God exists, these aliens will get to heaven because they are not tainted by original sin – they have no blood line (if they even have blood) to Adam and Eve. So aliens get a free pass to heaven, while the humans that God allegedly loves so much must toil all their lives to gain entry.

Now, that would make humans look really, really bad, and definitely puts a dampener on the ‘chosen race’ belief, doesn’t it? So in order to restore the balance, Ken somehow implicates all aliens – who weren’t present at the scene of the crime – as coconspirators. They are now guilty of something humanity did. And somehow, his benevolent and just God would agree with that.

At least Ken has already managed the difficult art of alien logic.

Moral Midget

Turkish deputy PM Bülent Arınç has shown that the qualifications for his current job do not include intelligence. In a public speech during an Eid el-Fitr celebration, he said:

Chastity is of critical importance.

Why? No reason, except that Arınç thinks chastity is an ornament. Why are ornaments of critical importance? Apparently, they just are.

Then he goes completely off the rails

[A woman] will know what is haram and not haram. She will not laugh in public.

Am I the only one who thinks that it does not bode well for your country if your own Number Two Official thinks that half of your country should not be laughing in public? This guy really needs to lighten up.

Now cue the world’s tiniest violin as Arınç continues

Where are our girls, who slightly blush, lower their heads and turn their eyes away when we look at their face, becoming the symbol of chastity

They never existed except in your backward, misogynistic fantasy, Number Two. If women flinch when you look at them it is because they are afraid you’ll hurt them. If that’s what gets your juices flowing, book the next professional submissive who is willing to take you; let women express their joy in any way they damn well please, and expect them to meet your gaze levelly. Anything else is a sign that something is wrong.

Another sign that morals are decaying is, according to moral expert Arinç the fact that

Women give each other meal recipes while speaking on the mobile phone.

Well, I agree that I feel inconvenienced when someone in a tram next to me exchanges a recipe. Truth be told, though, I much prefer that to the average guy who gives a point-by-point account of his latest (and completely made up) conquest. Yet Arınç seems to be OK with that – it’s women who should shut up in public.

When do moral ignoramuses get it that sex, appearance, public expression, and, of all things, open displays of happiness have nothing to do with morals? What is wrong with you?

And this guy was elected?

Good God…?

Serene Killings

Yesterday a convicted murderer was executed in Arizona. Most of the US States still have, and carry out, the death penalty. Most civilized countries, and even Russia, frown upon capital punishment. To them, killing is an act of barbarism. First, there is always the possibility (currently estimated to be as high as 1 per cent) that the convict is not guilty of the crime they are to be killed for. But more importantly, although most perpetrators of crimes deemed fit for capital punishment may deserve to die, it is the defining mark of humanity to not be a savage, to refrain from indulging in the same cruelty as the criminal. A rational argument would also be the fact that capital punishment has never been shown to be a more effective deterrent than incarceration. This only leaves revenge as the main reason for capital punishment – something no ethical person would deem sufficient.

U.S. 9th Circuit Court Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, himself a supporter of the death penalty, shone a harsh and revealing light on a truth that the US would like to ignore. He wrote

Using drugs […] to carry out executions is a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and beautiful.

It’s indeed remarkable that the US prefer lethal injections to other forms of execution for one reason only: to make the act of killing look better. Kozinski is the first US official who states it that clearly. In his dissent in the Arizona death penalty case of Joseph Rudolph Wood III, Kozinski put it more aptly than I ever could:

But executions are, in fact, brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality. Nor should we. If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf.

Although personally I find this a rather disquieting argument in support of capital punishment, I can’t help but notice that most of the countries that stoop so low to kill their criminals also revel in that brutality; most execute publicly. To re-quote:

Executions are, in fact, brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality.

Perhaps the US should either own up to the fact that they are primitive savages, or finally come to their senses and stop this barbarism.

The Internet destroys God!

A few days ago, headlines around the world screamed ‘Internet is killing God’! Well, Nietzsche’s knickers in a twist, Batman! Now, it is a slow news week, and click bait is easier to come by than real news. The study the news articles reference speaks a more measured language, and confirms what everyone knows: Increase someone’s knowledge and that will decrease their likelihood to believe stupid things. Phrasing that more carefully, the researchers say that

Internet use is associated with decreased probability of religious affiliation.

This is not at all surprising. Before the internet connected the homes of sparsely-populated regions (for example the US ‘Heartland’ a.k.a. ‘Hick Central’) to civilization, people had no choice but to believe their priests – they had no viable means of independent confirmation. In Palinland, the Bible was the definite authority on law, moral code and science. This has changed.

The internet works as a catalyst for the mind; it’s not the cause for a pandemic of unbelief. We now have vast resources of scientific knowledge, indexed, fully searchable versions of Bible, Quran and other religious texts, and, admittedly, even vaster resources of cat pictures available at our fingertips. Inquisitive minds use this to confirm or, increasingly, disprove millennia-old hate-filled myths. But it still requires an inquisitive mind.

So the headlines have it wrong. It’s not the Internet that destroys God. It’s knowledge that destroys silly superstitions. If, on the other hand, you want to keep your people religious, you must do as the Taliban and Boko Haram do: forbid education and do your worst to subvert knowledge.

That’s where faith-based schools come in.

Trojan Hoax

A great brouhaha has erupted about the fact that faith-based schools are teaching outrageous lies to children.

Really?

I mean – come on! What else do you expect? Did anyone really think that the lies would be limited to scripture? What kind of hypocrite thinks that one lie is different from another? What mental contortions do you have to make to think ‘God hates homosexuals’ and ‘you are lucky to be Muslims and not ignorant like Christians and Jews’ are somehow different?

This is no ‘Trojan Horse‘. Read the Odyssey. If you are morally backward or stupid enough to support faith based schools, don’t feign surprise when the teachers lie to your children. That’s what you pay them for.

Truthiness…

If you know the Ten Commandments, you know this one:

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor

This is, of course, part of Christian doctrine – and if you are to believe the, uh, believers – an absolute. Don’t lie, period. No weaseling around, right?

Well…

What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church… a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.

In light of above reasoning, it should be no wonder if the church got angry at such blatant sophistry. They would rightly denounce it as ‘relativism’, when clear-cut commands are intentionally undermined by smart-assed equivocating, trying to evade the issue. What will the world come to if any half-decent atheistic schmuck with a softcopy of ‘Hitchslapped’ can bang out an excuse for lying?

Except, of course, that above relativistic doublespeak comes from none other than one of Christianity’s (well, the Protestants, anyway) most revered priests: Martin Luther (not Dr. King).

It wasn’t Stephen Colbert who invented ‘truthiness’ – it was Luther; the church has long since mastered it’s use. Colbert only gave it a much deserved name.

Before, it was called quod licet iovi, non licet bovi

Atheists believe!

It’s exploiting a linguistic imprecision, they know it, and it’s driving me nuts. Ray Comfort and the rest of the lunatic creationist fringe in particular. The word ‘believe’ has two very different meanings, and intellectually dishonest apologists have been mining that particular vein for personal gain.

When a believer states ‘I believe in God’ what they are saying is ‘I have faith that God exists’. It is the first definition of believing: to accept something as fact with no, and sometimes in spite of, evidence.

When someone states ‘I believe (in) evolution’ what they are saying is ‘I have been persuaded by evidence to accept evolution as a valid explanation’. It is the second definition of believing: to accept a statement as true, i.e. after being convinced by evidence and fact.

I believe that most apologist know this. I believe they don’t give a damn.

Now, that wasn’t too hard, was it?

Steeple Power

‘All this science is nothing compared to His grace’, she says as we turn to go.

I glance at the church where she just spent the past two hours, and keep my peace. I’m just happy to see her.

The church’s steeple, though, belies what she just said. At the very top glistened a small but definite testament to the fact that religion has lost to science long ago:

A Lightning Rod.

Aliens vs. Atheists

A new book called The true history of atheism and written by Nick Spencer was recently published. Writing for the venerable Slate, Michael Robbins reviewed the book. Unfortunately, Robbins chose to use this opportunity as an attack on atheism. Unfortunately, that is, for Michael Robbins, because he makes himself look like a pretentious idiot, to the delighted exhilaration of everyone – except Robbins.

The way Robbins paints atheists as idiots and condescending schmucks makes his text a laugh-out-loud treat to read. Here are some choice bits:

atheists weren’t always as intellectually lazy as Dawkins and his ilk.

Boom!, take that, Dawkins! I’m aware of the trappings of the argument from authority fallacy, but still want to mention that this comes from someone who’s education has been in literature, and who’s occupation is being a poet. I’ve read some Dawins and more of his ilk; even if his prose is lacking, and his alliterations few, this is the first time someone has accused him of intellectual indolence. For perspective I just read Robbin’s poem Alien vs. Predator and am slightly at a loss of words. It seems Robbins uses an alien interpretation of the word ‘intellect’ when referring to atheists.

Robbins then states

Several critics have noted that if evangelical atheists (as the philosopher John Gray calls them) are ignorant of religion, as they usually are, then they aren’t truly atheists.

Together with this:

[atheists] can’t be bothered to familiarize themselves with the traditions they traduce

Talk about intellectually lazy assertions. Most atheists relinquished their faith exactly because they investigated their belief and know far more about their ex-religion than most believers. But even if they didn’t, it’s like saying you must have studied the tooth fairy in order to disbelief her existence. Robbins’ comment is the quintessential Courtier’s Reply – that one needs to study dress design before being able to say that the Emperor is naked.
Finally, as every theologian will admit, all believers are atheists with relation to all other beliefs. Wouldn’t they therefore be as ignorant as Robbins accuses atheists are? Doesn’t that obvious flaw in reasoning reveal the intellectual insufficiency of the argument?

I love the ‘evangelical atheist’ pun, though. Nice one, John Gray!

Robbins continues

Christians have recognized the allegorical nature of these accounts since the very beginnings of Christianity. […] Science and religion ask different questions about different things.

Seriously? Accusing atheists of being lazy while not knowing (or feighning not to know) that more than 40% of all US Christians believe in a literal interpretation of that bible (meaning that for them, the Bible does make physical claims, like, for instance the whole universe was built in 6 days) is priceless. It’s so simple: if anything in a belief refers to anything factual, that belief treads on scientific ground. How can Robbins not understand? Does Robbins really think that Jesus rising from the grave was meant to be interpreted allegorically? Maybe he should ask, um, pretty frigging much any other Christian in the world about that? After all, that’s pretty much what Christianity is all about. What an idiot. This review would have been so much better if it were written for the Onion.

The article is click-baitingly subtitled

Atheists Used to Take the Idea of God Seriously. That’s Why They Mattered.

OK, so it is a cheap shot intended to generate views. But why is it such an effective click bait? Because most Atheists at some point in their life did take the Idea of God seriously. Then they became atheists.

Every atheist understands the ideology that represents belief in something supernatural. They all think the idea is ridiculous – but they fully understand just how dangerous that ideology is. That is why they take it seriously.

Plus, nobody likes to read they don’t matter any more.

Anyway, it is funny how Robbins is looking down his nose at atheists, saying ‘oh, you are not real atheists. They would know and respect believers. Because we have thunk long and hard about God. We wrote entire books. And poetry! We went to church each week, 12 miles, barefoot, in the snow, up-hill both ways, and liked it! You young whippersnappers are just lazy spoiled brats.’ He’s almost giving Monty Python a run for their money.

So let’s close this post with an entirely unnecessary ad hominem:

Richard Dawkins claims that religion “is a scientific theory,” “a competing explanation for facts about the universe and life.” This is—if you’ll forgive my theological jargon—bullshit.

Indeed, Bullshit is theological jargon. It’s used as a generic term to refer to religion. Does Robbins really try to claim that the first chapter of the Bible (Genesis), when written, was not an attempt to explain how this world came to be? And just what does he think that a science theory is except an explanation attempt for reality?

Please, Michael, leave science, logic and reason to the pros. You are better at poetry – and that’s not a compliment.

Is rape wrong?

Is rape wrong?

That question was raised a couple of days ago by Darek Isaacs, a Creationist author. In an interview that would even make “Divine Banana” Ray Comfort’s eyes water, Isaacs stated that

You have to start asking questions: Well, if evolution is true, and it’s just all about the male propagating their DNA, we had to ask hard questions, like, well, is rape wrong?

For the intelligent, atheistic reader I must note that questions of this kind are common in the world of believers, and apparently aren’t simple to answer. For example, a few weeks ago, St. Lois Archbishop Robert Carlson said in his deposition on child rape that he’s

not sure whether I knew [that sex with children] was a crime or not.

So it seems that devout believers do have an issue with discerning ethical behavior unless you bang them them about the head with the bible. In Isaacs case, though, repeated banging may have led to permanent damage. He states that studying the works of “purveyors of evolutionary thought” like Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens caused him to reach a “very, very dark place” that forced him to ask a lot of “hard questions”.

Well, first, it would seem that the “dark place” he found was his intellect – it’s switched off. Because, seriously, anyone who thinks that “is rape wrong” is a hard question must be short a few chromosomes.

Of course, Isaacs is not quite that dumb, if only by very little. Because after using ‘logic’ he concludes that people who ‘believe’ in Evolution must answer that question with ‘No’, hence Evolution is untrue.

Well, Derek, here’s another approach to ‘scientifically’ disprove atheism:

“If you believe in Gravity, and there was any substance to atheism, it must be Down With Atheism”

Since you already proved that Dragons exist, maybe that can be the central thesis of your next book.