All about Eve

For some time I’ve been wondering why religious nutjobs (a.k.a. Young Earthers and other religious literalists) are so dead-set against evolution. For a long time I thought it was just because they are stupid. Well, although their belief certainly is stupid, it turns out that they have no other choice.

You see, ‘Original Sin’ is an important concept of Christianity. It means that all humans are automatically guilty of sin, and need to believe in God/Jesus to be saved. According to Genesis, Adam & Eve rebelled against God, making everyone who descends from them a sinner. And the Bible teaches that all humans descend from Adam and Eve.

Now, modern evolution estimates that 60’000 years ago, when modern humans emerged, the population was around 2’500 individuals of mixed ancestry. This means that humanity does not descend from a single couple, but a much larger pool of individuals.

So? Is it of any importance if there was one or one thousand Eves?


The concept of original sin only makes sense if all adams and all eves disobeyed god – at the same time.

Nevermind, a pragmatist may say – so Original Sin is out, lose it. We good?

Nope. That’s where the nutjobs run into a problem: Jesus allegedly died to save us from Original Sin. If we drop it, his death was rather pointless, if not downright stupid.

If you ask me, that may be the reason he returned three days later.

Survival of the dumbest

Ah, Creationists. If there ever was proof that mankind descended from monkeys, they could be it. But, as Creationist would point out: How come there are still monkeys???

Recently, during a ‘debate’ (not really), I heard a rather odd argument put forward by a devout believer: Since atheists believe (argh!) in Evolution, that means that we must advocate survival of the strongest, making us a bunch of asocial pathological egotists.

Let’s put aside the fact that instead of ‘believing in’ evolution we are convinced by the facts – someone who thinks that faith generates knowledge will not grasp the difference. Furthermore, we’ll also ignore that even if Evolution teaches that only the strong survive, that does not mean that we advocate applying this principle to society. A Christian believes that god created this earth, and therefore all diseases. Yet she does not believe that you should leave a disease untreated just because god gave it to you. So why should someone who thinks Evolution is at work advocate applying it to everything?

What bugged me most, though, was the idea that Evolution means ‘survival of the strongest’. It’s a common misconception, not limited to fundamental believers.

So I tried to explain that evolution actually postulates that instead of ‘only the strongest’, it ‘favors whoever is best adapted‘.

And then I tripped myself up: I tried to illustrate this with how the dinosaurs became extinct; how only small, weak mammals survived while the great, strong lizards died out.

This didn’t go over well with someone who believes the world is only a couple of millennia old.

It’s somewhat gratifying to know that eventually, these nuts will go the way of the dodo.

Doing their Wurst

Russian homophobes (which seems to include the Russian Orthodox Church’s leadership) are foaming at the mouth again. The reason? A successful drag queen.

Not being partial to chansons, I wasn’t up-to-date on what was going on in the Eurovision Song Contest. It transpired that Austria’s contribution was presented by artist Tom Neuwirth under her stage name ‘Conchita Wurst’. Her outfit, a beautiful dress, long hair, and stylish beard shook the religious fag haters to their collective core. Even more so the fact that Wurst won the contest.

After calling Wurst an ‘Abomination’, Vladimir Legoyda, chairman of the orthodox church’s information department told Interfax that

the legal and cultural spheres are moving in a parallel direction, to which the results of this competition bear witness.

Actually, while indeed parallel, they move in opposing direction, with the church accelerating fast into the stone age.

Still, as many people have pointed out, it’s not without a little irony that the hate-mongers at the helm of the Russian Orthodox Church are so strongly opposed against men in beautiful dresses wearing beards…

Orthodox drags seventyfive
Beards in Dresses
(Image Source: Twitter)

Thor’s Redoubt

As part of a regular review, the UN looked at how Norway complies with Human Rights.

Before we look at the results, we must look at the Jury. The team that investigated Norway includes Saudi Arabia (whose King is on record – in front of the UN – stating that Human Rights are alien to him). Unsurprisingly, the UN’s decision to include the Saudis (along with Russia and China) in the UNHR panel has come to bite it in the behind:

As the Independent reports, Saudi Arabia accused Norway of endangering the religious rights of their muslim citizens. They

called for all criticism of religion and of prophet Mohammed to be made illegal in Norway.

This happens when the Jury doesn’t understand the Law they are supposed to uphold. If you don’t know jack about Human Rights you should not preside over its implementation. Making criticism of Religion illegal infringes on the Human Right of Free Speech and Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Religion includes the the right of Freedom from religion. If you suddenly have to observe a particular religion’s rule of blasphemy, you are forced into that religion’s rule set. After all, the Vikings once believed in Odin and Thor. Implementing the idiotic Saudi recommendation would mean banning blockbuster movies like ‘Thor’ or ‘The Avengers’ for blasphemy in Norway.

It is now official that the Saudis do not understand basic Human Rights.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende remarked before the hearing that

It is a paradox that countries which do not support fundamental human rights have influence on the council

It’s not paradox. It’s downright stupid.

A Dog’s Religion

Yesterday I came across a cute picture of dog walking itself, carrying its own leash.

Dog  leash proc Image Credit: Source Unknown/Twitter

The image was  captioned:

a strong independent dog, who don’t need no man

But that’s not what I saw. I just couldn’t help myself – I thought: “look, a religious person.”

The dog can do whatever it wants. Presently, it is walking itself. That’s not a problem.

The problem is the leash. 

To me, the leash represents religion better than most analogies – it’s obviously unnecessary for the dog, it restricts its will, and can be used by anyone to subdue the it, to force it to do someone else’s bidding. The dog would be much better of it it didn’t have a leash. Yet it proudly carries it in it’s jaw.

How is that different from devout believers proudly professing their faith?

The Power of Prayer

Matthew 21:22 says

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

We know this to be bull: when I still was a believer, I prayed that sweet, dark-haired, blue-eyed Susie would be mine – but she went with Pete, that idiot leather-jacketed jerk. I then prayed for a leather jacket. Nope. And no – that’s neither when nor why I eventually became an atheist.

But that verse is pretty much why Christians pray. Many believers take it literally. They especially believe this to be true in dire situations. Usually, the error of this belief should quickly reveal itself.

Yet, for millennia, it hasn’t.

Why not? Well, until recently, there was a simple Darwinian determinator built in: just like history is written by victors, only those who survive a dangerous situation can tell of the ‘powers of prayer’ – you literally have to live to tell. If you pray and die, it’s end of story. So we have many stories of those who pray and live, and none of those who pray and die (well, except for the Christians that were fed to the lions in Rome, but let’s disregard those).

Not even two two centuries ago, medically speaking, we were still savages. Then, when you prayed for your own (or someone else’s) life it didn’t make any difference if there also was a Doctor, Alchemist or Medicine Man present. Your chances of survival didn’t change with either.

Today, you’ll have a significant better chance to survive if you go to a medical doctor instead of just praying.

For anyone who has any sense this is more than just a correlation. The only thing that has changed is modern medicine – religions have remained the same for more than 1000 years. So it’s medicine that cures you, not prayer.

Next time you thank God for curing your illness, please consider also thanking those who actually saved you: your nurses, your doctors, and the researchers who made your cure possible.

Allah’s Sex Slaves

In 2005, a newspaper published 12 cartoons that depicted Mohammed (the Prophet) in various vaguely satirical ways. As a result, fanatical Muslims around the world became so enraged that their riots left some 200 people dead, embassies burnt down, and churches destroyed.

In 2014, Islamist Fundamentalist group Boko Haram (which roughly translates to ‘the western ways are sinful’) kidnapped 230 Nigerian school girls to sell them as sex slaves. Their justification? Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s Leader said in a video message: “Allah commands me [to sell the girls]”.

No riots.

Why not?

This is no idle question.

It certainly seems that fanatical Muslims believe it is a worse crime to draw a a caricature of a mythical person than raping 230 children. Now, I don’t want these people to go out, riot, and kill another 200 humans just to set the record straight – but can’t the fundamentalists at least show some indignation at this terrible crime? And if not at the crime itself, then at least at the (hopefully) blasphemous claim that Allah condones sex slavery?


Muslim Mars

As Time reports, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE) in the United Arab Emirates have issued a fatwa against traveling to Mars. Their reasoning:

It is not permissible to travel to Mars and never to return if there is no life on Mars. The chances of dying are higher than living.

GAIAE concludes that the trip is akin to suicide, and not permissible.

Well, I guess that’s why they are called explorers, guys! Does GAIAE really want to supply the western world with legitimate reason to call muslims ‘Sissies’? After all, there are dirty, morally degenerate unbelievers who are perfectly willing to take the plunge.

Mars One – the Organization that funds the one-way trip to Mars – was able to dig up a perfect reply: They compare the first Martian settlers with Muslim explorers like Ibn Battuta, and include a Quranic verse that encourages Muslims to go out and see ‘the signs of God’s creation in the heavens and the earth’.

Well played, Mars One! At least it’s better played than Swiss Comedians Viktor Giacobbo and Mike Müller who merely commented that it’s certainly important to distinguish suicide by exploration from one in a crowded market.

So, after the ‘Red Moon’ scare in the 50s and 60s, we can sleep easy knowing that there will be no ‘Muslim Mars’ threat.


Time Magazine has published this year’s (well, actually last year’s, but let’s not nit pick) list of the 100 most influential people. As Time emphasizes, being on the list is not an honor, merely a reflection ones influence on what’s happening in the world.

At place 1: Singer Beyoncé

At place 77: Pope Francis

You may say what you want, but any place where an entertainer has more influence than the most powerful religious leader is a good place.

Remember: When the pope was the world’s most influential person; we call that time the ‘Dark Times’.

This is progress.

Religion – the final frontier

As children, we learn an important ability; an ability that that makes life so much more enjoyable. As a child, I called it ‘play pretend’ – ‘Let’s pretend I am sheriff, and you are the deputy’, or ‘let’s pretend I’m Captain Kirk, and you are Spock’.

Today, I know its scientific name: it is called ‘Suspension of Disbelief‘: the willful disregard of reality in favor of some fantasy. Almost everyone has this ability, and it allows us to enjoy reading a book, or watching a movie. This ability greatly varies between individuals, and it is quite arbitrary. For example, I enjoyed reading the ‘Hunger Games’ books, but disliked ‘Divergent’ because – for reasons I do not understand – I was unable to keep my disbelief sufficiently suspended while reading it. Yet both stories are equally unlikely, there are many people who like both, and some even prefer ‘Divergent’.

Still, one thing is certain: suspension of disbelief is an active frame of mind. It requires that, for example when you open a book, you consciously switch into ‘play pretend’ mode: I now ‘play pretend’ that what I read is actually happening, and I am inside the story. When I close the book, I snap back into reality.

And that is what I don’t understand: it takes considerable effort to ‘snap into’ the stories of holy scripture; those stories are even more unlikely than most science fiction. Surely it should be effortless to get back to reality. Yet religious people can’t. Otherwise perfectly reasonable people, believers can’t switch out of their play pretend mode when they leave church. They are stuck in a preposterous, horrible, bizarre universe. They can’t get out even though they must invest massive amounts of willpower to stay inside, to ignore their own disbelief.

Maybe they should ask Scotty to beam them up?