Science and Evolution with the NCSE

I just discovered a site that may not be new to many others in the atheosphere but it is a welcome and new addition to my Google Reader (and I’ll put a link in my sidebar). Not an atheist blog (but I’m sure there are many creationists that would disagree), the National Center for Science Education has some interesting news bits on recent developments in science education (as implied by the site’s title), particularly in evolution.
A recent entry announces the International Society for Science and Religion which just adopted a position that describes intelligent design as “neither sound science nor good theology.”
Other news items of recent days include the news that the Florida state education board voted to include “the scientific theory of” just before the word “evolution.” I don’t see the problem with this, but nuts that think “theory” is synonamous with “hair-brained idea” will equate creation mythology with scienctific facts that comprise theories.
The NCSE isn’t a blog per se -there’s no comments section for the items above that I could see, but there’s an RSS feed. Add it to your aggregator  for the latet news in science education.
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Evidence of Delusion: Cartoon Inspired Riots

The cartoon-inspired riots in the past few weeks over the reprinting of the infamous Danish Cartoons of Muhammad are clear evidence of religious delusion. Why else would someone call for the death of a cartoonist who drew and inked the image of another person who’s been taking a dirt nap for nearly two thousand years? The dumb-asses who riot and burn effigies and flags of Danes and Denmark don’t even know if the cartoonist was event close at approximating Muhammad’s likeness!

And what’s this fetish with creating effigies and buying flags for burning? That they truly think this hurts peoples’ feelings shows how ignorant, backward, and deluded these people are. If they weren’t so bent on killing someone over a bloody cartoon, it would be comical! Just this past week, about 150 nutjobs of the local Muslim cult in Jakarta, Malaysia  Indonesia demonstrated in front of the Danish and Dutch embassies after a reprinting of the infamous cartoons (one of which is shown above) by a Danish publication.

Are they that stupid? Don’t they realize that the Danish embassy has no connection to a publisher that happens to be in the same nation the embassy represents? Being so wrapped up in their own sharia bullshit, banana court system and government, do they think that the rest of the world works the same way? Probably, which is still more evidence of their delusion by thinking that concepts of free press, freedom of expression, and free thought are non-existent.

Muslims are free to believe whatever batshit, superstitious nonsense they would like. So are Christians, Jews, Hindus, Fulani, and Wiccans. If they want to believe that creating an image of their silly prophet (penis be unto him) is offensive and against their religion, that’s fine. But they don’t have the right to bully, pressure, threaten and otherwise mandate that free press and the publications in free nations observe their batshit superstitions.

Sorry for the rant. I just ran across the story above and, having read several others recently, I had to get it off my chest. And its another good reason to publish a picture of Muhammad’s ugly mug. Next thing you know, I’m going to start using the word “theistard.”

The Godless Community

I’m a big fan of Atheist Revolution. In fact, of all the blogs in the atheosphere that I read, Vjack’s is the only one that I would be hesitant to delete from my Google Reader. Vjack has a post on a topic that I find near and dear: Defending the Atheist Movement. He begins thus:

Driving down the freeway, I observe two men, both riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles, pass each other while heading in opposite directions.Both extend the well-known “low wave,” a one-armed salute one often sees among bikers. There was no reason to suspect that these men knew each other, only that they share a common bond. They belong to no real community and certainly have no organizational structure. Their bond is about a shared identity. And even though they may never meet face-to-face, the connection is palpable.

And like the biker culture, Vjack rightly points out the existence of dissent among motorcycle enthusiasts in which there is an elite group that considers itself to be “bikers” and the rest “posers.” He doesn’t say this in terms as explicit, but the atheist movement is very much the same in that there are those that consider themselves to be “atheists” and the rest to be the equivalent of “posers.” This sub-group of weak atheists, Neville Chamberlain atheists, and other disparaging or pejorative terms that separate them from the “militant”-type atheists, many of whom embrace the “militant” term with open arms.

Personally, I’m not a big favor of “militant,” “weak,” “Neville Chamberlain,” and other monikers, though I acknowledge they do tend to characterize individual atheists that have differing opinions of how to approach the topic and movement of atheism.

However, there are some commonalities that atheists generally share. Even the bikers who disparage the “posers” cannot disagree that there is something alluring and free about riding a motorcycle -a quality shared between the posers that ride Hondas, Yamahas, and BMWs and the “bikers” that stick to their Harleys and Indians.

The atheist who considers himself to be “militant” in his atheism also shares most of the same concerns as the atheist that is less-militant. And Vjack nails it on the head here:

1. Sharp, sustained criticism of religion as irrational and destructive
2. Promotion of a reality-based worldview including reason, science, skepticism, critical thinking, secular education, and secular humanism
3. Defense of atheist rights from a Civil Rights perspective to end anti-atheist discrimination and reduce anti-atheist bigotry
4. Support for atheists in their escape from religion

Possibly the only item above that might not be universally shared is the first, but even the “Neville Chamberlains” among us probably recognize the irrationality of religion, so some bit of that point will also ring true. Reading the comments of Vjack’s original post, there is a bit of disagreement with some to the inclusion of “secular humanism,” but I think their reservations are misplaced. Some view secular humanism as a pseudo-religious position. This might be true but only if you accept that the things that it takes from religion is the sense of community and social bonding, leaving the supernatural and other deleterious aspects behind. The result isn’t a religion or even a philosophy that aspires to be a religion. The result is a worldview that simply says you can have morality and justice in the world without invoking supernatural origins or authority.

But Vjacks main point is the one that shouldn’t be overlooked, regardless of how each of us individually characterizes our own atheism: we our bonded by a common godless position. Whether we are hard-line militant atheists or agnostics who think its fine for the religious to believe what they will, we each accept that the supernatural isn’t necessary to live our lives. We each recognize the irrationality of religion. We each attempt to hold a rational worldview. We each desire that atheists rights be recognized. And we each hope that those seeking to escape religion are at least provided with an environment that allows them to make their own choices and to inquire freely.

I don’t always agree with all of its members, but I’m proud to be a member of the godless community.

Reason -vs- Faith

A new blog & website has been launched by the folks that brought us The Jesus Myth. It’s called Reason vs. Faith and described by the authors as:

My intentions for this site is to have a fair and balanced place for atheists, theists and agnostics to discuss whatever issues they would like…

The blog isn’t an Atheist Blog, but rather a crossroads of sorts, where they hope to have an intersection of atheistic and theistic dialog. They have plenty of atheist contributors, but are a bit short of theistic ones, so if any theists are reading they might like to try their hand at debate and discourse at Reason vs. Faith.

Carnival of the Godless – Oops!

I missed yet another opportunity to include a post with this outstanding blog carnival. I really must make a reminder for myself … if anyone knows of a tiny PIM or calendar that can sit in the system tray, perhaps that would be the solution (Outlook is just too bulky and cumbersome).

Anyway, while I might have missed a chance to post there, I’ll certainly not miss the opportunity to read the latest edition of  The Carnival of the Godless at Mind on Fire! I’ve already perused some of the links and the bloggers there have done a fine job of presenting them. Now… I’m off to read more…

For the link to submit entries to CoG, click here.

Christian Terrorist Visits Breaking Spells

I’m not kidding. The nutjob that runs the ArmyofGod website left a comment on my previous post.

This wacko has links to dedicated webpages to his “heroes:” Eric Rudolf, Paul Hill, James Kopp, and several other Christian terrorists. The site includes the Army of God Manual, an instruction manual that “Rev. Spitz” claims is an anonymous work (probably from his own demented, delusional and decrepit mind). This “manual” is an instruction book on terrorism. As surely as an Al Qaeda handbook or the manifesto for the Baader Meinhoff gang of the late 1970s/early 1980s, which incites hatred, violence, and the death of the innocent in order to achieve their goals of ridding the world of abortion and homosexuality.

What’s ironic about nutjobs like Rev Spitz and his “heroes” is that they choose what they want to pick from their book of myths to hate and commit terrorist acts about. They aren’t following their alleged god’s word, they’re following their own word. As mentally ill, sociopathic  and pathetic humans, they extreme methods for exercising their sociopathic and inhumane tendencies. For them, the cults of anti-abortion/anti-gay religious nuts allows for freedom of expression of themselves as sociopaths.

Otherwise, why not hold the same standards for the other “wicked” habits of man? The mythical god they believe in also has an objection to adultery. It also claims to have a disdain for those that don’t keep the sabbath. Why don’t we see these same religious nuts bombing the homes of adulterers, assassinating neighbors who mow their lawns on the weekend, etc?

Thanks for dropping by Rev Spitz, you just reminded us all why we think Christianity is bullshit. Your stupid ass belongs at Gitmo with the other terrorists.

Apologists Miss the Mark About “New Atheism”

The video above runs about 8 minutes and I wouldn’t attempt to subject you to more than that. But I think it’s helpful for atheists to watch this video to get a sense of the point of view and the lengths to which those deluded by Christianity (and probably any other religion) are willing to go in order to preserve their superstitious memes.

Here’s the gist of the video:

Christian apologists are greatly concerned about the prevalence of those willing to speak out critically of their superstitions and beliefs. In the very first seconds of the clip, a theologian/apologist remarks that discussion, criticism, and inquiry into his god previously only took place in the “ivory towers” of academia. Now, he continues, such discussion is open and public and, even more to his angst, being discussed on “shows popular with young people” like Comedy Central and the Cobert Report, which, between them, interviewed Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

The accusation, of course, is that these popular authors are attacking transcendent beings and beliefs with “violence and venom.” More amazingly, the theologian/apologist they interviewed goes on to say this “violence and venom” is unprecedented.

Unprecedented.”

First, he does not once establish that Hitchens, Dawkins or Harris have used “violence” in their books. They’ve each discussed violence, but in the context of religious nuts utilizing it against those that believed differently than they. So, not only did the guy completely fabricate the claim of “violence” committed by these three esteemed authors, he also ignores the fact that his own religious cult is culpable in establishing precedence for use of such violence should it have been used. Violence, however, isn’t the method rational people use in speaking out against that which they find objectional, false, silly, or superstitious. Unlike the nuts that killed a gay man in Wyoming because their god hates homosexuality; unlike the nuts that bomb abortion clinics; unlike the nuts that fly planes into skyscrapers; and unlike the thugs that assault Kansas professors who teach evolution -rational people find civil discourse, the press, the media, and the publishing industry to refute the superstitions of irrational people.

As to the charge of “venom,” isn’t this really just an argument from blasphemy? How dare rational people challenge the time-honored tradition of not questioning religious superstition? Is there a polite way to question the superstitions and cult beliefs of the religious without appearing venomous to them? There simply is no good evidence or reason to accept their superstitions as true. Call it venom if you wish, but truth will always be painful to the deluded and their reactions all but demonstrate their delusion.

One of the more disingenuous criticisms the clip attempts to provide is the interview with Paul J. Voss, an associate professor of literature at Georgia State who calls Dawkins’ The God Delusion a “scree,” which he describes as a genre of literature that is “highly emotional, poignant, full of attacking…” The credits under Voss as he delivers his “objective” literary perspective describes him just as I did with the link and words above: an associate professor at Georgia State. What isn’t said is that he isn’t objective. Voss is the president of academic affairs at Southern Catholic College, where indoctrination and superstition reign supreme and rational discourse and science take a back seat. He taught theology at a Catholic High School for over three years and that is the reason he was chosen for the spot on this “news” clip.

But Voss never gives any example of Dawkins’ “emotional” and “attacking” words from the God Delusion. Nor do most of the critics of his book. And the critics that do provide examples are made to look foolish since the quotes they provide are either clearly a jest or otherwise hold up. His only real criticism is the title itself, which includes the accusation of “delusion.” Sorry, Voss, but its true. Delusion, the erroneous belief held in the face of evidence to the contrary, is the most accurate assessment of those that believe in superstitious nonsense like virgin births, transubstantiation, creation, and Noah’s flood. The best argument Voss provides to counter this assertion of delusion is an argument from popularity. The band wagon consists of “90%” of the population, so, therefore, the 10% that don’t believe are wrong. One is left to wonder about the 90% of Greeks who believed Medusa was really the snake-haired Gorgon that was so ugly you turned to stone by just looking at her. Did the popularity of their delusion mean she was real?

But getting back on track, the clip goes on to mention the Out Campaign in such a way as to demonstrate the threat that “New Atheists” have on Christian superstitions. The criticism at this point is that the “New Atheism” is militant and intolerant. This, I suppose, is true depending on how one describes militancy and intolerance. If “militant” means being proactive and aggressive, and if “intolerant” means no longer sitting down and simply accepting the old taboo of questioning religious dogma and superstition, then I hope we’re guilty. But, in that case, there’s far less “militancy” than can be found with evangelical, bible-thumping, door-to-door religious nuts who seek to fill their pews for tithing. It’s also clear that religious nuts are not in the least bit tolerant of the non-religious -and this very clip is demonstrative of that fact.

The original apologist/theologian (revealed midway through to be a pastor) I mentioned above shares an anecdote about how he met the graduate assistant of a popular atheist author who finally admits to him how smart the pastor is and how ignorant the atheist is. The implication of this story (probably a complete fiction) is that atheists don’t bother reading religious and theological works and are, therefore, not qualified to discuss or have opinions about the superstitions of religious cults. I challenge any religious nut to, that pastor included, to take me to task on this: present to me any “clear, rational, responsible Christian perspective” written by any theologian and I will demonstrate why it is complete an utter nonsense.

Theologians aren’t qualified to have rational opinions on their own superstitions. It would be like citing the authority of a fairiologist, a ufologist, or an aeropigologist. Only if we are to accept the matter of fact existence of fairies, space aliens in flying saucers, or flying pigs, then these experts are meaningful.

Finally, I want to point out the closing comments of the clip. The call to arms, so to speak, of the religious is to increase apologetics training to the children. Indoctrinate them young and get them on the side of superstition and the Christian meme now, so that they’ll be less open-minded once they reach the university and become exposed to the Ph.D.’s there who are out to turn them all into atheists.

I’m not kidding. That’s the crap it ends with.