Friday, December 28, 2007

Imaginary Assault

This kid has balls of solid brass:

"This boy got up and his visual aid was a Bible and a book. And he got up and started his speech by saying 'Now, this piece of crap' and pointed to the Bible."

...

"He took the Bible and he said, 'I'm going to do this because I can. I'm going to do something that your stupid, little minds aren't going to be able to comprehend and he took the Bible and started ripping out pages."


A kid in school gets up in front of his class, throws a few insults at Christianity, and proceeds to rip pages out of a Bible. I've done it before, it's no big deal. But of course, the Stokholm Syndrome sufferers in the classroom had to take the action as a threat directed against them personally, and the kid is most likely suspended.

The next time some theist insults evolution, or so much as looks at a Dawkins book crosseyed, I'm gonna file assault and battery charges against him. No, not really, as that would be ludicrous. To rip pages from a Dawkins book (pardon my ripoff of Jefferson) neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. But these poor brainwashed children in the classroom felt that the destruction of a holy book was a personal assault against them.

Officials said that ripping up a Bible is constitutionally protected, adding the punishment has nothing to do with the student's Freedom of Speech demonstration.

"Any actions that were taken in this case were because of behavior separate from the Bible," said Parker High Principal Dale Carlson.


Yea right.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What Your Brain Looks Like on Faith

Sam Harris, Neuroscience researcher and author of "The End of Faith" and "Letter to a Christian Nation," recently co-authored a study entitled "Functional Neuroimaging of Belief, Disbelief and Uncertainty." And Time.com has an interesting article about it:

Harris tested how the brain responded to assertions in seven categories: mathematical, geographic, semantic, factual, autobiographical, ethical and religious. All seven provided some useful data, but only the ones relating to math and ethics produced results clear enough to give a vivid picture of the way the simple and the complex, the subjective and the objective intertwine. Regardless of their content, statements that the subjects believed lit up the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (VMPC), a location in the brain best known for processing reward, emotion and taste. Equally "primitive" areas associated with taste, pain perception and disgust determined disbelief. "False propositions may actually disgust us," Harris writes.

Is there a practical application here? He speculates that if belief brain scanning were sufficiently refined it could act as an accurate lie detector and help control for the placebo effect in drug design.

Harris says there is no critique of faith hidden somewhere in his brief paper. But his next neurological enterprise may be another matter. He is planning an fMRI run that will concentrate specifically on religious faith, which Harris thinks he now knows how to plumb more deeply. He also plans to set up two different subject groups — the faithful and non-believers. "That way," among other things, he says, "you can ask, 'Do believers believe that Jesus was born of a virgin the same way that nonbelievers believe that Chevrolet makes cars and trucks?'" It may turn out that the brain treats religious faith as its own special category of belief unlike ethics and math.

But that is not what Harris expects to find. He suspects the machines will show that "belief is belief is belief." And that conclusion, he admits, may put him at loggerheads with familiar foes. No one, he says, could accuse him or anyone else of trying to disprove God's existence on the basis of an fMRI. But faith is more vulnerable. "People who feel that religious faith is a singular operation of the brain — if they admit that it's an operation of the brain at all — would object to what I'm doing, since it may show that faith is essentially the same as other kinds of knowing or thinking. The whole thing will seem fishy to anyone who thinks we have immaterial souls running around in our bodies."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tea Party, Los Angeles Style

I don't only kill afterlifes one believer at a time. I also abolish states one brick at a time.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Daniel Dennett Demolishes Dinesh D'Souza

Good old Daniel Dennett debated Dinesh D'Souza, and it went pretty well in Dennett's favor in my somewhat biased opinion.

I've corresponded with Dinesh before, and I wasn't too impressed. Why the guy is so popular is beyond me. But incredibly stupid things do tend to be popular, don't they?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Conservative Values at Conservapedia

In case you haven't heard, Conservapedia is a wiki designed to compete with the original Wikipedia with articles written from a conservative, Christian perspective. It is by conservatives, for conservatives.

Recently, Conservapedia released a list of their top ten most popular pages:

1. Main Page‎ [1,918,085]
2. Homosexuality‎ [1,593,887]
3. Homosexuality and Hepatitis‎ [517,613]
4. Homosexuality and Promiscuity‎ [421,466]
5. Gay Bowel Syndrome‎ [396,972]
6. Homosexuality and Parasites‎ [395,731]
7. Homosexual Couples and Domestic Violence‎ [373,441]
8. Homosexuality and Gonorrhea‎ [331,802]
9. Homosexuality and Mental Health‎ [292,928]
10. Homosexual Agenda‎ [271,288]


What a telling glimpse into the minds of those God fearing, afterlife anticipating, family values types.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Snake: 1, Prayer: 0

Some dumb bitch played with a rattlesnake, got bit, and died. Now the dumb bitch's dumb friends are suing the hospital where she died. Why? Because they made fun of her, which her dumb friends allege impaired the effective delivery of medical care:

People bitten by poisonous snakes during religious services sometimes refuse medical treatment. But others at that service quickly took Long to Marymount Medical Center in London.

After being taken into the hospital at 8:09 p.m., Long said she was having trouble breathing, and asked for oxygen. Hospital employees gave her a portable, oscillating fan as they allegedly "snickered and made derogatory comments" to employees -- and Long's family -- about the religious beliefs and circumstances under which she was bitten.

At 8:28 p.m., hospital personnel contacted the air ambulance service. When the helicopter arrived 12 minutes later, the crew asked the doctor to put in a tube to help Long breathe, but the doctor said her airway was not the problem and told the flight crew to get her to Lexington quickly, the suit says.

Long's heart stopped on the way. She was pronounced dead at 10:50 p.m. at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.

The suit says Howard's failure to quickly and properly treat Long contributed to her death, and that Wilson's failure to give proper treatment contributed to the severity of her condition and "resulted in her ultimate demise." The hospital failed to adhere to proper standards of care, the lawsuit says.


I don't know enough about the case to say whether the medical staff provided inferior care or not. It's definitely possible that the medical staff's surprise at the stupidity of these serpentphiliacs inhibited the timely delivery of care, but it's also possible that these snake-molesters are just assholes who don't like being told, "I told you so."

Anyway, the point I want to make here is that the lowly serpent is more powerful than your God, and your prayers, and especially your faith:

Snake-handlers believe the practice shows faith and God's power. The text for the belief is Mark 16:17-18: "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Zeitgeist - The Movie

Zeitgeist is an absolutely mind blowing experience. They are having a remastered version of it showing in Los Angeles sometime in early November. Check their official website for details.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pope Nazinger: A Worthless Motherfucker

Look what Pope Swastika recently said:

Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that pharmacists have a right to use conscientious objection to avoid dispensing emergency contraception or euthanasia drugs and told them they should also inform patients of the ethical implications of using such drugs.

Benedict told a gathering of Catholic pharmacists that conscientious objection was a right that must be recognized by the pharmaceutical profession.


The Pope forgot to add that if you object to filling out prescriptions of any kind, then you shouldn't be a fucking pharmacist!

And he also forgot to add that while objection to contraception is a right that must be recognized by the pharmaceutical profession, getting fired for not doing your fucking job is also a right that must be recognized by the employees that refuse to fill said prescriptions!

Oh man does this piss me off, not only morally, but business-wise. I feel like I can't even use enough bold text in here to convey how outraged I am. If I got a problem defending criminals, then I shouldn't be a defense attorney. If I don't like condoms, then I shouldn't work for Trojan Condom Company. And if I got a problem filling up birth control prescriptions, then I shouldn't work in a pharmacy! How many different ways can I phrase it so that it will make sense to these retarded motherfuckers?

Hey, I'm an atheist. So I don't go around trying to get a job at your church, do I? I'll keep my atheist ass off your church employee roster, and you can keep your superstitious ass out of my pharmaceutical labor pool!

One final note: I know that pharmacies have to have provisions to get an alternate to fill the order if one clerk refuses, but if some asshole refuses to give a girl her Plan B pill, and she gets pregnant as a result, then that piece of shit should be financially liable for child support! It's only fair.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A New Meme: Your Daily Principles

My good friend Olly from Without Hyphens has meme-tagged me. This particular meme-tag is of Olly's own creation, and it's a pretty good one too! Check it out:

I got to thinking recently about the idea that all of us, as humans, have principles we live by daily. These aren’t your over-arching beliefs necessarily, but rather the things that you do daily as a part of those beliefs. So, for example, it’s not that I’m an anarchist, but things I do daily in line with that. I’ve kept it to 5 on my own, but there’s no hard rules on this meme; name as few or as many as you’d like! Likewise, no limits on how few or how many (if any) people you tag… do whatever is comfortable!


I think I'll make a slightly shorter list of three daily habits, and list them in order of importance. While my list is a bit more abstract than Olly's I do feel that they meet the qualifications of his meme-tag in that they are daily life practices that are derived from actual principles that I hold. I have found much satisfaction, success, understanding, and happiness by applying these three practices to my life, and I think that everyone else can benefit from them as well. Here we go!

1) Apply universality to all social interactions. When I am interacting with other people I check the fairness or rightness of the situation in part by turning the tables, or putting the involved parties in each other's shoes. I ask myself how I would feel about the situation if the roles were reversed. This helps me understand the other person's perspective, the equality of the interaction, and helps me to determine what corrective action to apply if needed.

2) Regularly question and test your own beliefs. The merit of a belief is not found in how fiercely one believes it, but in how well it stands up to scrutiny. Similarly, the confidence and security one has in their belief is found not in how passionately they defend it, but in how willing they are to let it stand on its own merit.

3) Win by converting your opponent, not attacking him. While this principle is not my most important one, it is certainly my favorite. Kill 'em with kindness. Hide your sword with a smile. You attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Build bridges, not walls. It can be stated many different ways, but the idea is the same. When facing an opponent, the strategy is to paint both of you as being on the same side, while painting his position or ideology as actually being against the both of you. Framing the situation as you and your opponent vs. the ideology/argument in question, and not simply as you vs. your opponent, paves the way for your opponent's conversion.

Now comes the part where I spread the meme by tagging five other people. After much consideration, I have decided to tag the following bloggers:

Francois Tremblay of Check Your Premises

Austin Cline of atheism.about.com

Krystalline Apostate of Biblioblography

Dr. Zachary Moore of Goosing the Antithesis

Zhwazi of Bored Zhwazi

Monday, October 15, 2007

Atheist Turned Christian Advises Truth Seeking

I love irony, especially when the one being ironic is doing it on accident. I have an old post (over two years old!) that a friend of mine once wrote and requested that I post on my blog. I almost forgot about the post entirely, but just today a guy named Atheist Turned Christian submitted a comment on it.

His comment was well meaning, but with all due respect, the guy has some seriously backwards ideas in his head. I decided to respond to him by making a blog post rather than replying in the comments. Other atheist readers should feel free to respond to it to in the comments section of this post. But be nice and extend to him the same level of respect the he has given. His words are in italics and indented, and my words are regular format:

AtheistTurnedChristian said...

For 19 years I was an Atheist. Now I'm Christian. You can call me crazy, but I was just like you, the way I saw things was just like you.


Welcome to my blog, Atheist Turned Christian!

Actually, we are more like polar opposites than just like each other. You see, I was a Christian for 17 years, but now I'm an atheist. You can call me crazy, but I did the exact opposite flip that you did. I guess I can at least concede though that we share the similarity of flipping from one extreme worldview to the other.

Rather than trying so hard to debunk everything, why don't you just try your best to find the truth?


Actually, I already did that years ago, back when I was a Christian. It was my studying to learn more about the "truth" of my Christian faith that eventually backfired and started my slow but mind-blowing journey to atheism.

You write an essay with your mind set on being Anti-Christian.


Well of course I do. When I was a Christian I was passionate about spreading the faith, and now that I'm an atheist I am passionate about spreading the rationality. My passion for seeking the truth hasn't ever changed, only my worldview has changed.

You think Christians and religious people are crazy, but they were all once atheists or at the very least agnostics.


Just to set the record straight, I do not believe at all that Christians and religious people are crazy simply because of their faith. It is the faith itself that is crazy. To use a variation of a popular saying, "Crazy people will do crazy things, and normal people will do normal things. But for normal people to do crazy things, that takes religion."

They see something you don't see, but they can at least say they've been where you are. Can you say you've been where they are? Can you say you were once religious? If not, you're speaking with half the experience of those who are religious. Especially those who are 'born-again' and not born into a religion.


If they were born into a religion then they weren't really consciously atheistic, were they? And yes, I can say that I've been where the Christians were. I used to think I felt God and heard Jesus talk to me when I prayed. I used to attend Sunday service regularly. I was also a member of the church's youth group, and went on various LOG (Love Of God) retreats. I can go on... but I think that should suffice. And no offense, Atheist Turned Christian, but it is not very nice to assume that an atheist has never been a theist or has never experienced faith. Most atheists, especially the vocal and active atheists like me, had their starts in religion, and only became atheists after many painful months, and even years, of self-reflection and thought and prayer. I for one did everything I could do to stop the erosion of my faith, but I couldn't stop learning about the issues and I couldn't stop honestly looking at the arguments. I couldn't lie to myself or force myself to continue believing what had eventually shown itself to be an obvious, blatant, and horrible lie: faith.

If you look at history, man's moral degradation worsens as religion is pushed further and further away. How's that good?


You are most definitely incorrect. Please show some supporting evidence for this assertion. In the meantime, I will provide some links that show that the less religious a society is, the better off they are. Enjoy these:

Intelligence and Religion Statistics
Societies Worse Off When They Have God On Their Side
Religiosity Common Among Mothers Who Kill Their Children
Strep Throat > Faith

Those are good links for starters, but I got lots more where that came from. I can't wait to see what you present as evidence to the contrary.

The billions of people on earth who believe in a God, how can you DEFINITIVELY say you are right? Everyone is just on one big acid trip and you're right?


That is nothing but a plain old argument from popularity. And I do not claim to DEFINITELY be right. I'm only claiming that the evidence and logic is vastly in favor of atheism being true, and God being imaginary. I am the first to admit the possibility of being wrong, but I am more than comfortable betting my chips on atheism.

So why don't you share with me the story of how you went from atheist to Christian? Atheists that convert to Christianity are seemingly rare in the blogosphere, and I'd love to hear how it happened to you.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Another Perverted Preacher Bites The Dust

Gary Michael Aldridge, conservative Baptist preacher and good friend of the late Jerry Falwell, was recently found dead. What's notable about this is the condition in which his body was found:

The decedent is clothed in a diving wet suit, a face mask which has a single vent for breathing, a rubberized head mask having an opening for the mouth and eyes, a second rubberized suit with suspenders, rubberized make underwear, hands and feet have diving gloves and slippers. There are numerous straps and cords restraining the decedent. There is a leather belt about the midriff. There is a series of ligatures extending from the hands to the feet. The hands are bound behind the back. The feet are tied to the hands. There are nylon ligatures holding these in place with lather straps about the wrists and ankles. There are plastic cords also tied about the hands and feet with a single plastic cord extending up to the head and surrounding the lower neck. There is a dildo in the anus covered with a condom.


No wonder Falwell liked the guy. What a bunch of motherfucking perverts!

Maybe this moron should have been more honest to himself and to those close to him, and he might have been able to express these freaky fetishes more safely, and maybe he would still be alive today.

But no, instead he’s gotta spend his life in self-hate, shoving dildos up his rubber-wrapped ass, while hiding his fetish from the world. And as a result, he’s dead.

No afterlife for you, buddy. And even if there was, I doubt that the residents of heaven are allowed to penetrate their own anuses with dildos. Which, by definition, would mean that heaven would not even be heaven for you at all!

I think that the decent thing to do, at the least, is allow this guy to be buried with his dildo at his side. Or inside.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Consequences of Atheism

Heathens, take note! This is what happens to a society when it abandons God:

Depending on the definition of atheism, Norway thus has between 26 percent and 71 percent atheists. The Norwegian Humanist Association is the world's largest humanist association per capita.

And what has secularism done to Norway? The Global Peace Index rates Norway the most peaceful country in the world. The Human Development Index, a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living, has ranked Norway No. 1 every year for the last five years.

Norway has the second highest GDP per capita in the world, an unemployment rate below 2 percent, and average hourly wages among the world's highest.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Catholics Say Safety Measures Encourage Risky Behavior

UPDATE: Commenter Alan informed me that the school board relented and approved the vaccine. This is unexpectedly good news, and I must give them kudos for defying their silly traditions and siding with reality and humanity. Three cheers for the Halton Catholic school board!

Catholic Canucks took a step towards banning HPV vaccinations for girls who attend a Catholic killbot factory school in Ontario:

The ban could also prevent the health unit from counseling or giving advice on the vaccine to any student on board property.

A recent letter from the conference of bishops encourages Catholic boards to remember that the virus is sexually transmitted, and that sex is "appropriate only" through marriage.


This is only the latest move by Catholics in their attempt to remove safety measures from society on the grounds that such measures encourage risky behavior.

Other popular safety measures targeted by Catholics include: seat belts, air bags, spare tires, "caution: wet floor" signs, signal flares, bullet proof vests, bicycle helmets, child-proof pill bottles, snake bite kits, burglar alarms, karate, parachutes, and submission to Christ.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kathy Griffin: Fuck You, Jesus!

UPDATE: Sign the petition to support Kathy Griffin!

Kathy Griffin won an Emmy, and she was sure to point out to whom the credit was not due:

In her speech, Griffin said that "a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus."

She went on to hold up her Emmy, make an off-color remark about Christ and proclaim, "This award is my god now!"


Kathy Griffin for the win!

Unfortunately, declaring that a non-existent deity has nothing to do with one's worldly achievements is seen as hate speech by all those retarded, Stockholm-syndrome-suffering GodIdiots:

The comedian's remarks were condemned Monday by Catholic League President Bill Donohue, who called them a "vulgar, in-your-face brand of hate speech."

According to the TV academy and E!, when the four hour-plus ceremony is edited into a two-hour program, Griffin's remarks will be shown in "an abbreviated version" in which some language may be bleeped.

The Catholic League, an anti-defamation group, called on the TV academy to "denounce Griffin's obscene and blasphemous comment" at Sunday's ceremony.

"Kathy Griffin's offensive remarks will not be part of the E! telecast on Saturday night," the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said in a statement Monday.


Donohue thinks that is hate speech? Oh man, he wouldn't know hate speech if it spoke to him!

If I were ever to be in Kathy's position, I would be sure to demonstrate real hate speech, just to get the Christians' panties in bunches. It would probably go something like this:

"I want to take this opportunity to thank every conscious entity in existence, except for course for Jesus, since he is the ultimate instigator of evil and misery in the world. May Jesus be impaled on the cross forever and ever, suspended above a lake of unquenchable fire. Hail Satan!"

Fuck you Donohue, and I hope you choke on your own spit someday upon hearing another "blasphemous" piece of "hate speech." I hope you choke to death on your own outrage as you watch the Christian faith hemorrhage adherents every day.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Australian Pastor is a Modern Day Lot

Finally, a pastor who lives up to Biblical standards:

A fundamentalist church pastor had sex with two of his teenage daughters to educate them on how to be good wives, a South Australian court has heard.

The 54-year-old man, who cannot be named, was yesterday sentenced in the SA District Court to eight and a half years jail after pleading guilty to seven counts each of incest and unlawful sexual intercourse.

The court heard that the man had sex with his daughters for nearly a decade from 1991 when they were aged 13 and 15 at the family property.

The sex took place at various locations including in a shearer's shed, a paddock, on the back of a ute and, on one occasion, at the girls' grandparents house.

The man told the court the sex was not about fulfilling his desires but about teaching his daughters how to behave for their husbands when they eventually married, as dictated in scripture.


Truly, a man of God. This guy has more Godly conviction than Lot ever had! You see, Lot was seduced by his daughters, but this Aussie took it to the next level and initiated the sex himself.

Now that this preacher finally got caught for raping his daughters for almost a decade, you would think that the authorities would lock him up and throw away the key. But no, that's not quite what they did:

Judge Lovell gave full credit for the man's guilty pleas, saying he was genuinely remorseful and had a good chance of rehabilitation as his wife and the church remained supportive.

The man will be eligible for parole in four years.


Unfortunately, the Australian justice system seems to be seriously confused. Here is a situation where a preacher commits incest with his two daughters, motivated directly by his faith, and freely admits it. And then, the court promises to go lenient and let him out early because he has the support of his fellow cultists, whom all share the same faith that got him in trouble in the first place!

Logically, if a man rapes his own offspring and claims religious motivations for it, wouldn't the promise of continued support from that very religion and its adherents serve as a reason for the judge to extend, rather than shorten, the offender's prison sentence? Isn't that judge's thought process completely ass-backwards?

To me, it's like releasing a crack addict early from a rehab center due to the promise of extensive outside support from the crack-smoking community. But then again, it's not like we can trust the government to make rational decisions in these matters, can we?

Psychiatrists are the Least Religious of all Physicians

Super big surprise! Those who spend their lives studying the way the mind functions are less likely to believe in God and the afterlife than other physicians, according to Physorg.com:

In 2003, to learn about the contribution of religious factors on physicians' clinical practices, Curlin and colleagues surveyed 1,820 practicing physicians from all specialties, including an augmented number of psychiatrists; 1,144 (63%) physicians responded, including 100 psychiatrists.

The survey contained questions about medical specialties, religion, and measures of what the researchers called intrinsic religiosity—the extent to which individuals embrace their religion as the "master motive that guides and gives meaning to their life."

Although 61 percent of all American physicians were either Protestant (39%) or Catholic (22%), only 37 percent of psychiatrists were Protestant (27%) or Catholic (10%). Twenty-nine percent were Jewish, compared to 13 percent of all physicians. Seventeen percent of psychiatrists listed their religion as "none," compared to only 10 percent of all doctors.


I guess that's what happens when you try to lean into thine own understanding, huh? Thinking for oneself is hazardous to God’s health. Who would have guessed?

The article continues:

Curlin's survey also included this brief vignette, designed to present "ambiguous symptoms of psychological distress" as way measure the willingness of physicians to refer patients to psychiatrists.

"A patient presents to you with continued deep grieving two months after the death of his wife. If you were to refer the patient, to which of the following would you prefer to refer first" (a psychiatrist or psychologist, a clergy member or religious counselor, a health care chaplain, or other)."

Overall, 56 percent of physicians indicated they would refer such a patient to a psychiatrist or psychologist, 25 percent to a clergy member or other religious counselor, 7 percent to a health care chaplain and 12 percent to someone else.

Although Protestant physicians were only half as likely to send the patient to a psychiatrist, Jewish physicians were more likely to do so. Least likely were highly religious Protestants who attended church at least twice a month and looked to God for guidance "a great deal or quite a lot."

"Patients probably seek out, to some extent, physicians who share their views on life’s big questions," Curlin said. That may be especially true in psychiatry, where communication is so essential. The mismatch in religious beliefs between psychiatrists and patients may make it difficult for patients suffering from emotional or personal problems to find physicians who share their fundamental belief systems.


So the religious doctors are more likely to refer their patients to religious counselors rather than psychiatrists. Super big surprise!

One word of advice to my readers (especially any religious ones): If you need to see a quack about problems with your noggin', it would behoove you to visit a non-religious quack. This is because it’s far safer (you know, the "life-or-death" kind of safer) to be referred to a shrink than to a preacher. And this is because religious counseling is a catalyst for suicide.

I suppose that it's somewhat Darwinian in the sense that those who lean into their own understanding are more likely to get medical and mental help that doesn't cause them to kill themselves, while those who merely trust in the Lord are more likely to kill themselves and/or their offspring.

And of course, let's not forget that, out of these two possible outcomes, each person is getting what they (perhaps subconsciously) want: The non-religious get a healthier and happier and longer life here on Earth, while the religious types achieve the death (they prefer the "afterlife" misnomer) that they so desperately desire.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day Rodeo!

Just for fun, here is a video of me riding the mechanical bull at Saddle Ranch in Universal Studios, Hollywood.

Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

God's Stormtroopers

CNN recently began broadcasting a 6 hour series called "God's Warriors."

It's basically a documentary that showcases how god's interests and humanity's interests are diametrically opposed. A somewhat surprising, but certainly welcomed, admission from mainstream media.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Candy Mountain

I recently took a trip to Candy Mountain. Along the way I encountered a guy who is keen on Jesus, and has a Candy Mountain of his own. But together, we discovered an important life lesson, and eventually had a happy ending (minus one kidney).

First, we meet Charlie, his friends, and the mysterious Candy Mountain:



Next we have Joness105639, who is looking high and low for an appropriate Christian metaphor for this Candy Mountain cartoon, but is as yet unable to discover it:



And last but not least, we see my response to Joness105639, where we finally discover just how Candy Mountain applies to Christianity, and how Joness105639 couldn't figure it out:



The lesson is to not believe in Candy Mountains, nor Jesuses, nor afterlifes. You will lose a kidney, or worse!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hitchens Pwns Hannity

Hitchens is unstoppable. He is the master of pwnage.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Reincarnation to be Administered by Government

You know things will get yukky when my two most despised concepts, religion and government, get entangled.

Apparently, all reincarnated Buddhas living in Tibet must now apply to the Chinese government for reincarnation status.

BEIJING (AFP) - Tibetan living Buddhas are no longer allowed to be reincarnated without permission from the atheist Chinese government, state media reported Friday.

The new rules are "an important move to institutionalise the management of reincarnation of living Buddhas," the Xinhua news agency said.

According to the regulations, which take effect on September 1, all reincarnation applications must be submitted to religious affairs officials for approval, Xinhua said.

China is ruled by the Communist Party, which, despite being officially atheist, maintains strict controls over Tibetan Buddhism and all other religions.

Living Buddhas are an important element in Tibetan Buddhism, forming a clergy of influential religious figures who are believed to be continuously reincarnated to take up their positions anew.

Often there is more than one candidate competing to be recognised as the actual reincarnation, and the authority to decide who is the true claimant carries significant power.

This is especially true in the case of the Panchen Lama, the second-most influential figure in Tibetan Buddhism behind the Dalai Lama.

Chinese authorities detained the Dalai Lama's choice as the Panchen Lama in 1995 when the boy was six years old, and he has not been seen in public since.

The Chinese government's choice as the Panchen Lama has meanwhile been paraded around the country in recent years to promote China's rule over his homeland.


There is something incredibly unsettling about an imaginary entity claiming dominion over an imaginary process.

Similar things are occuring here in the US as well.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Eternity For Atheists, My Ass!

The New York Times published an interesting piece recently. In it, the author, Jim Holt, all but concedes God can be dismissed; that atheists are right. But then he pulls the emergency brake on the whole "mortality of the mind" idea:

If God is dead, does that mean we cannot survive our own deaths? Recent best-selling books against religion agree that immortality is a myth we ought to outgrow. But there are a few thinkers with unimpeachable scientific credentials who have been waving their arms and shouting: not so fast. Even without God, they say, we have reason to hope for — or possibly fear — an afterlife.


Fear indeed. I think its funny to note that while Jim Holt alleges the existence of some impeccably credentialed scientists who believe in an afterlife, he does not name them, cite them, or otherwise support this claim.

But he does throw a few names and "theories" around, so let's take a look. The first person that James quotes is Bertrand Russell, a significant and respectable name to be sure, but he only quotes Bertrand for his opposition to the afterlife, and clearly states that Bertrand was not into the afterlife theory.

So the first name that James Holt produces in support of his atheistic afterlife theory is William James. Who was he? A philosopher who lived about 100 years ago, that’s who. Not a scientist with impeccable credentials:

A little more than a century ago, the American philosopher William James proposed an interesting way of keeping open the door to an afterlife. We know that the mind depends on the physical brain, James said. But that doesn’t mean that our brain processes actually produce our mental life, as opposed to merely transmitting it. Perhaps, he conjectured, our brains allow our minds to filter through to this world from some transcendent “mother sea” of consciousness. Had James given his lecture a few decades later, he might have used the radio as a metaphor. When a radio is damaged, the music becomes distorted. When it is smashed, the music stops altogether. All the while, however, the signal is still out there, uncorrupted.


What a horrible analogy! The radio waves come from a material radio wave transmitter, the radio signals are easily detectable, and putting a big wall of lead between the radio and the transmitting tower will stop the signal, even if the radio is still fully functional. So, can we put some kind of proverbial lead wall between our perfectly functioning bodies and the afterlife/immaterial consciousness, at which point our bodies would fall to the floor, and then would resume normal function when the barrier is removed? Methinks not.

Additionally, would this radio signal analogy apply to all life forms? Yes or no? Perhaps insects, or plants, or even bacteria also require this signal? Or would the need for the radio signal be restricted to only humans? Or maybe only vertebrates? If the line is drawn somewhere across the wide spectrum of life we know of today, wouldn't this imply that the "radio signal" is not even necessary to the operation of the human? Like in the same way that the existence of a radio signal, or lack thereof, is not necessary for the radio receiver itself to be properly functioning?

Moving on, Jim Holt conjures up another "impeccable" name:

In the 1970s, a new hope for survivalists emerged: the near-death experience. In the best-selling book “Life After Life,” a doctor and parapsychologist named Raymond A. Moody Jr. presented a number of cases in which patients who had flat-lined and then been revived told of entering a long tunnel and emerging into a dazzling pool of light, where they communed with departed loved ones.


Doctor and parapsychologist Moody. Ahhh yes, the most impeccable of the impeccably credentialed! Is this the same experiment where the near-deathers saw different colored lights according to their religion? How unusual is it for someone who is about to die, or close to death, to dream of conversing with long deceased loved ones?

To use an already tortured analogy, this is the same as hearing a CD player playing music, and then concluding that the music must be coming from some "radio waves" rather than from inside the device itself. Why can't these "radio waves" be detected directly? If the existence of object A can be inferred by the effect it has on object B, then object A is also being affected by object B, and therefore object A can be detected, in principle, if we can already detect object B (which in this case we can).

In other words, there is no reason to think that these immaterial things and dimensions cannot be detected, especially if their effects can be clearly seen on detectable objects. I've already written about this argument in detail here.

Next, Jim Holt switches gears and makes an appeal for a material, and not an immaterial, afterlife:

The most interesting possibilities for an afterlife proposed in recent years are based on hard science with a dash of speculation. In his 1994 book, “The Physics of Immortality,” Frank J. Tipler, a specialist in relativity theory at Tulane University, showed how future beings might, in their drive for total knowledge, “resurrect” us in the form of computer simulations. (If this seems implausible to you, think how close we are right now to “resurrecting” extinct species through knowledge of their genomes.)


At least Tipler can do better than a radio wave analogy. However, Tipler is not silly enough to promote an afterlife in the traditional sense, and perhaps Holt doesn't understand the significant difference between these two brands of immortality. I will concede that a material afterlife is far more plausible and realistic than the traditional/immaterial variety, but as far as traditional/immaterial afterlifers are concerned, the exclusively material afterlife may as well be no afterlife at all. A material afterlife is an altogether different bag, and I've explored the differences between the two in a couple of posts.

Jim Holt finishes off by quoting Vladimir Nabokov, who was an author, and not a scientist:

“Life is a great surprise,” Vladimir Nabokov once observed. “I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.”


Precisely. And that surprise is, "Holy shit! My consciousness doesn't exist any more!"

Monday, July 30, 2007

Atheist Weddings For Cheap!

That's right! I, Aaron Kinney, atheist and anarchist, have just become an ordained minister at the Universal Life Church.

Ordination is free, and getting licensed to conduct weddings is only $5. You can even get a doctorate of divinity for only $29.99!

If you are like me, and you don't dig that dogmatic religious stuff, you'll be pleased to know that this church is so open-minded that its almost impossible to have a worldview that conflicts with their church tenets.

Universal Life Church tenets:

To promote freedom of religion
To do that which is right


It's hard to go wrong on those tenets, no?

So, if you are in the need of a secular minister to officiate at your wedding, let me know! I'll beat anyone's price (I'm doing this for fun, not profit), and I will conduct your wedding respectfully and in the exact way that you want it. I am very accommodating to your needs. I am also an exceptional public speaker in style, delivery, and content. Contact me if you are interested, or just want to know more.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fuck Your Faith



If you *demand* respect, then you deserve ridicule.

Praise Jesuslessness!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Michael Egnor Gives Meat a Bad Name

Discovery Institute meat-sack Michael Egnor has a big problem with meat. Apparently, he doesn't like the fact that he is meat, and he announced this to the world in his latest attack on PZ Myers and materialism:

By all means, use neuroscientific jargon. The only way you could even hope to convince a room full of thoughtful people (or even conscious people) that their minds are merely the secretion of a couple of pounds of meat is to cloak the assertion in jargon. Assert confidently that ‘phase locked oscillations in neurons in the hippocampal CA1 region and the subinculum give rise to sophisticated molecular regulators and sensors and effectors and modulators that generate highly organized chemistry and patterned impulses in pathways throughout the brain yielding states of arousal we that interpret as consciousness …,' or something like that. Dress your ideology up, or it won’t sell, even to atheists.


Emphasis mine.

Let's look once again real carefully at that bold part: "...that their minds are merely the secretion of a couple of pounds of meat..."

Merely the secretion of meat? Excuse me?

What does Egnor propose a mind is the secretion of instead of "mere meat"? An immaterial God?

What is more "mere" in this case? Rather, what is more remarkable and more awe-inspiring given the materialist and immaterialist choices? That our limited minds gradually developed through the nonconscious, self-organizing behavior of physical matter? Or that our limited minds were secreted by some super space ghost with unlimited power and absolute knowledge of everything?

I submit that between these two choices, the "mere" label applies to the immaterialist explanation for the existence of the mind.

There's nothing "mere" about the human mind developing over time out of complex meat structures. It’s totally fucking amazing! Go meat! Talk about coming up in the world, eh?

But if God is the one responsible for the existence of our minds, well what's so special about that? That isn't a challenge for God! God is a conscious, all-knowing being of absolute and total power, and all he did was create "mere" human minds? That's the best He could do? What a fucking underachiever! Talk about a downward spiral!

If meat had the power that God has, I bet that it would "secrete" something way more fucking cool than a human mind. Consequently, there would be far less (perhaps none at all) Egnors in the world. Oh, if only we could somehow imbibe a few pounds of meat with unlimited God-power!

When I read Egnor's arguments, all I can think is "Where's the beef?"

P.S. A few other excellent (and a bit more serious) responses to Egnor's meat bashing can be found here, here, and here.

Kansas Khristian Klassrooms

Christians and other self-repressed prudes constantly whine that teaching kids about "safe sex" will effectively tell the kids that it's ok to be promiscuous whores. Now, I've always found this reasoning a little suspect. The first time I heard this line of arguing, I thought to myself, "Did Christians also complain during the introduction of air bags in automobiles that they would encourage reckless driving?"

Well, the website Burnt Electronics took it one step further. They have a little piece where this logic is consistently applied to all school subjects. In Kansas, of course!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

Gerson Won't Answer

michaelgerson@cfr.org

Hello Mr. Gerson,

I read your article on WashingtonPost.com entitled "What Atheists Cant Answer."

But I would like to point out that your question in the article is itself begging the question.

If you are to argue in favor of a God, you should ask yourself "If God exists, what of morality?"

You see, if God exists and He dictates morality, then there can be no true good and bad in any absolute sense. Morality would be reduced to the whim of a super powerful being. Whatever he decides is right, is right. So how does God, in this case, decide what is right in the first place? Where is His standard?

Of course, He would have no standard. Or, rather, He would be His own standard, which is completely circular and even worse than having no standard at all.

Have you ever heard of Plato's Euthyphro dilemma? You would do well to familiarize yourself with it, as your article seems totally ignorant of this timeless, classic, and profoundly important dialogue about the moral nature of god.

Now, let us turn to your question. What of morality if there is no God? IS this truly a question that atheists can’t answer?

I think not, and I daresay that you stacked the deck when you declared in your very article that the question cannot be answered, before you even asked the question!

I would love to explain to you in detail how morality can only be founded on natural properties of existence, but this is somewhat beyond the scope of my email (and would require a time commitment that I cannot spare today). I can, however, give you a quick and simple answer, and if you are interested in a more detailed explanation, I would love to receive your response requesting one, at which point I could set aside some time to answer you in greater detail.

Reality shows us that we humans are all separate sovereign conscious beings. I am me, not you. You are you, not me, etc. I can control my body with my thoughts, but I cannot control your body with your thoughts, etc. Simply put, I can morally justify pursuing my own goals myself, but I cannot morally justify compelling anyone else to pursue my goals. In other words, I cannot morally justify forcing my values onto another, nor can another justify forcing their values onto me.

Another fact of reality is that there are only two ways for two or more people to interact: through mutual agreement, or through force. These are the only two ways that people can interact. Well, one of these is moral, the other is immoral. And when judging these two choices of interaction in light of the above mentioned facts of identity, we can see that only the voluntary and mutual version of interaction is justifiable, for it is the only way to interact without forcing ones values onto another.

Immoral acts are essentially rebellions against reality. When someone steals, or lies, or cheats, or kills, they are trying to negate the brutal fact that another’s values do not match their own. They try to overcome through force or lying the fact that they can only control their own bodies, and can only justifiably pursue their own values using their own resources.

Now, this is a simplified explanation, due to my current time constraints. If you really are looking for an answer from atheists for your article, then you do well to reply to me and challenge my explanation, and make me justify it in greater detail. You would do well to find out whether or not my claim that atheism can account for morality, while GOD HIMSELF cannot account for it, is valid.

But if, as I suspect, you are only interested in attacking a strawman of atheism, and declaring that an atheist cant answer your question before you even present it in some mad dash to convince yourself and your like minded imaginary friend lovers that your fairytale mystic worldview is somehow necessary or justifiable, then I suggest that you delete this email. Indeed, you should pretend that I never wrote you, that you never read this, and then you should simply get down on your knees and pray. Pray with all your might and for as long as you possibly can. For talking to yourself while pretending that a part of your own mind is actually some outer being (that’s what all imaginary friends really are, after all) will be the closest you will ever get to some kind of internal satisfaction of the validity of your beliefs. Attacking atheist strawmen will not provide you such comfort, for there will always be intellectually armed and highly motivated atheists such as myself to call you on it. There will always be powerful challenges to articles like this.

And, after all, isn’t it painfully obvious through your writing that you are not trying to convince anyone of your claim so much as you are trying to convince yourself? Well, talking to the imaginary friend in your head (prayer) is the closest you will get to being convinced.

Aaron Kinney

UPDATE: Zachary Moore of Goosing the Antithesis weighs in.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hitchens Responds

Christopher Hitchens is still running with the atheism torch, and he shows no signs of slowing.

A few days ago, Hitchens wrote a response in the Washington Post to Michael Gerson about morality and religion. It's a good piece, and there is a challenge in the piece that I want to share with you here:

Here is my challenge. Let Gerson name one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever. And here is my second challenge. Can any reader of this column think of a wicked statement made, or an evil action performed, precisely because of religious faith? The second question is easy to answer, is it not? The first -- I have been asking it for some time -- awaits a convincing reply. By what right, then, do the faithful assume this irritating mantle of righteousness? They have as much to apologize for as to explain.


Click here to read the whole thing.

So how about it? Can anyone come up with an example of a good deed that was done a) by a religious person and b) could not have been done by a faithless person?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Loftus the Great vs. Wood the Deluded

Pastor-turned-atheist John Loftus is debating the eeeeeevil David Wood. Really though, David is not evil, but he is a theist.

Anyway, I'm watching it all unfold, and so should you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Retarded Michael Egnor Uses Technology Analogy

...and Respectful Insolence nails him on it:

There are a lot of problems with Dr. Egnor's analogy. For example, noises coming out of a cell phone are meaningless without a human being who understands language and emotion is there to hear them. Absent that, they're just noises. Even so, Egnor's actually sort of correct; any credible theory of the mind does need to have a basis for discerning whether properties of the mind are inherent to the brain. The problem for Egnor and other dualists is that we do have such a basis for making that call scientifically. Let's go back to the cell phone example, as silly as it is. If specific alterations in the circuitry of a cell phone could result in substantive changes in what the voices coming through say and the emotions they express, then it would be possible to argue credibly that the voices are inherent to the phone. If changing such circuits could not substantively change what the voices coming through the phone or the emotions being expressed, then the more likely explanation is that the content of the voices coming through is not a property of the phone itself. See where I'm going with this? Specific damage and alterations to the brain do indeed cause changes to the content, emotion, and "personality" of the "voice" of a person. Such changes can involve everything that makes us human: emotion, intellect, sexuality, and, yes, even altruism. Of course, if I really wanted to take it down to Dr. Egnor's level, I could trash his analogy by simply pointing out that putting a cell phone into a lead container would make the voices go silent, while taking it out would let the voices speak again, pretty clearly indicating that the function of the phone depended on an extrinsic electromagnetic signal reaching it, a signal that lead could block.

But there's more evidence against dualism. We can study the brain to see if properties of the mind depend upon the intact functions of the brain. We have mapped many aspects of mental activity to specific anatomic structures or groups of neurons in the brain in reproducible ways, and scientists continue to map more and more each year, making the map finer and finer. We know this through functional MRI studies that produce maps of brain metabolism as different mental tasks are carried out or various emotions provoked. We know this from the study of brain injuries to specific structures in the brain and how such injuries result in defined changes in personality and brain function, including--yes--altruism. We know this because we can alter mental states in reproducible ways with drugs, be they antipsychotics, anti-depressants, or recreational drugs.


I was right all along: Technological devices can be used as analogies to the human brain, and Michael Egnor is a fucking retard.

Monday, July 09, 2007

How To Create Your Own Religion

It's easier than you think. By far, my favorite step to creating your own religion is step #9:

9) You need to confuse everybody. This will make sure that nobody can be really certain WHAT they believe, because it is all so non-sensical to begin with. And when you don't spell it out exactly (or even if you do) you know how those funny humans will all magically just get along, right!

In this case, we'll try to be real thorough here:

The Gentle Goddess Dietima and The Great God Lardicus are Divine Brother and Sister. However, they are also Husband and Wife. And The Great God Lardicus is the child of Himself and The Gentle Goddess Dietima. As is Dietima. They love each other, but argue and even fight regularly for a variety of reasons that we won't go into here because we want people to make up their own reasons, which they can then fight over.

We don't even have to explain how any of this is possible because they are Gods and can do whatever they want. We don't want to specify who was born first or the details of their immaculate self-conceptions, because that might give one side the upper hand in any arguments. Remember Rule Number 5: Keep it ambiguous.

The Gentle Goddess Dietima and The Great God Lardicus may or may not have other children, parents, siblings or acquaintances. We can add them in later if we want or need to, and then the old-timers (historians, scholars, etc.) can fight the new converts (who are always the most passionate about things) about whether they should "really" be in the pantheon or not, since they weren't there in the beginning. We'll probably just say we found some ancient scrolls that nobody is allowed to examine that mentioned them when we want to add in any new characters. That'll be fun!


Okay, let me give it a try:

The loving creator YHWH has a son named Jesus, who is also Himself. In essence, the son is also the father, yet they are one and the same. Furthermore, the mother of Jesus is the son of YHWH. Therefore the creator is both the father and son of the mother of Him. In this way, YHWH/Jesus gets to be born by, impregnate, and conceive Mary.

What's that you say? Someone already made that one up? Son of a bitch!

Christianity: spiritual incest at its best.

Friday, July 06, 2007

1600 Satan Avenue

This is a Google Earth screenshot of the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC. Notice anything peculiar?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

With Gods Like These, Who Needs Devils?

Living Waters is always good for a laugh. Recently, I was cruising through one of their web pages entitled "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition," and I came across some interesting things.

First off, it should be noted that these people need to proofread their materials a bit more carefully:

The mind is the data-processing control panel for the eyes and the ears. It is the center of your appetites. All sin begins in the "heart" (Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 15:19). We think before we sin. This happens because we don't think before we sin.


Emphasis mine.

Notice that they say that we think before we sin, but then they say that the reason that we think before we sin is because we don't think before we sin. Huh? I'm sure that my problem with reading comprehension has to do with my hardened atheist heart.

Seriously though, some proofreading would help these guys out.

But let's get to the meat. Here is the real reason that I am making this blogpost:

Did you know that God kills people? He killed a man because he didn't like what he did sexually (Genesis 38:10). He killed a husband and wife because they told just one lie (Acts 5:1-11). Knowledge of God's goodness -- His righteous judgments against evil, should put the fear of God in us, and help us not to indulge in sin.

If we know that the eye of the Lord is in every place beholding the evil and the good, and that He will bring every work to judgment, we will live accordingly. Such weighty thoughts are valuable, for "by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil" (Proverbs 16:6). Jesus said,

"And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!" (Luke 12:4-5).


Remind me again which one is Satan and which one is Yahweh? I'm having serious trouble telling them apart!

I have got to hand it to Living Waters, for they make no bones about revealing the master/slave framework of Christianity. Whether they are actually proud of such a lopsided system, or merely oblivious to what they are admitting, I cannot tell for sure. But in either case, I'm glad they are doing it.

To be a bit more specific, Living Waters is stating the obvious: that God has different standards of conduct for Himself than He has set for us humans. It’s bad when humans kill, but good when God kills.

What this means is that God's universe has no moral laws per se. God has created no moral principles, because a principle or law is a thing that is true in all places and at all times. Gravity, for example, is a law. It applies at all times in all places. Even spaceships and airplanes must account for gravity.

The same should go for a moral rule: if a law says, "don't murder," then it must be true everywhere and all the time (never mind the circularity of "murder" being nothing more than an "unlawful killing"). If it isn't true everywhere and all the time, then it isn't a law.

God need not obey any rules that he sets on the shoulders of man. He plays with a different set of rules. This means that God does not reveal laws, but merely invents dictates.

This is underscored by Living Waters' quoting of Luke 12:4-5, which essentially says "Be afraid of massa! He will whip the skin off your bones if you even look at him funny!"

Universal moral principles do not require a warning of consequences or an appeal to fear in order to be justified. Only arbitrary dictates need justification in such dreadful ways. Universal moral principles are justified without even bringing consequences into the equation. A consequence comes after the fact, but a universal principle needs justification before the action is committed, and before the consequences can be dished out or even determined. That is why the Bible appeals only to consequences when attempting to justify God's rules; it’s the only tool at its disposal. Too bad the writers of the Bible we too stupid to realize that this would expose God's rules for their arbitrary and amoral nature.

I've said it repeatedly: Morality cannot be based on God's rules. And now I have shown that Living Waters, a fairly popular evangelism website, has (accidentally?) conceded this very fact.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I Got Tagged OMGLOLWTFBBQ!

Apparently this atheist meme-tag is getting around quick. I alone have been tagged like 5 times this week! The first one to tag me was BEAST of Atheist Haven.

So without further ado, I give you my meme-tag response:

The rules for meme tagging are as follows:

1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.

2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

4. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

5. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.


Here are my 8 facts:

1. I have a mild form of Asperger Syndrome, which has given me all kinds of quirks: I learned to read by age 4 and scored very high on standardized tests, but I had lots of behavior problems. I talk too loud, too fast, and too much. I tend to take things literally, and I have excessive amounts of energy. As a child I was absolutely obsessed with airplanes, and to this day I can recite all kinds of obscure aerospace facts. Nowadays I'm obsessed with politics, religion, and cars.

2. I am left-handed, but right-thumbed.

3. I am a Market Anarchist (although my regular readers probably know this already). Market Anarchy is the idea that the only just interaction is a voluntary one, and the only moral social framework is one that is entirely free market, with no room for governments, taxes, enforced monopolies, etc.

4. My favorite blog is Jesus' General.

5. I used to be a devout Lutheran (and my grandpa was a Mormon). I went to church every Sunday, I attended Bible study, and I was in the church youth group. I was even a member of the Boy Scout troop that met at the church, where I reached the rank of Star Scout and did lots of camping trips, including two 50-mile hikes.

6. My favorite band is Tool, and my favorite DJ is Ferry Corsten.

7. Christianity had such a stranglehold on my mind that for the first few months after my deconversion to atheism, I was literally terrified that God was going to cast me to Hell for not being able to believe in him anymore! I know it sounds crazy to be afraid of the wrath of something that you recently realized doesn't exist, but that's how strong my Christian brainwashing was. It was some kind of mental compartmentalization. I really didn't want to become an atheist, but I just couldn't help it. My self-honesty was too relentless and too demanding.

8. If I could have one wish, I would wish to travel 5000 years into the future. Wheeee!

So it looks like everyone I want to tag has already been tagged. I will hunt around and find some people to tag, but finding 8 might be tricky.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Offspring Murder Club Member: Chris Benoit

Chris Benoit, WWE star, was recently found dead in his home along with his wife and 7 year old son.

The police have not officially revealed a motive, but here at Kill The Afterlife, we have a pretty good idea at what it was:

Pro wrestler Chris Benoit strangled his wife, suffocated his 7-year-old son and placed a Bible next to their bodies before hanging himself with a weight-machine pulley, authorities said Tuesday.


Now why in the world would Mr. Benoit place a Bible next to their bodies? Could it have anything to do with his belief in God, and the afterlife in particular?

Yes.

In Chris Benoit's mind, he delivered two (or three if he counts himself) souls to paradise. In Chris Benoit's mind, placing the Bible next to those bodies was like raising the United States flag on the island of Iwo Jima. In Chris Benoit's mind, this is a victory for Christ.

Congratulations to Chris Benoit, the latest inductee into the world-famous Offspring Murder Club!

I wonder if the WWE is going to give him a golden belt for this Godly victory?

EDITED TO ADD: The WWE is declaring that Benoit recently tested clean for steroids (as of April 10, 2007), and that the murders appear to have been deliberate and planned, and not a case of "roid rage."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Michael Egnor is Retarded

Michael Egnor, Discovery Institute warrior extraordinaire, believes that thoughts are immaterial:

P.Z. Myers' reply to my observation that ideas like altruism have no physical properties, like location, leaves a thoughtful observer to wonder: why do materialists have so much difficulty with this basic philosophical principle? It’s clear that ideas share no properties with matter. Ideas have no mass, or length, or temperature, or location. They’re immaterial. Clearly, under ordinary circumstances the brain is necessary for our ideas to exist, but, because matter and ideas share no properties, it’s hard to see how the brain is sufficient for ideas to exist.


Yes, and the magnetic charges on your hard drive have no mass, length, temperature, or location. I’m also quite sure that the electrons traveling through your brain also have no mass, length, temperature, or location.

Imagine that we can do complete split brain operations. We can separate the hemispheres of the brain completely, and not just partially as we can do now with corpus callosotomies. We can then further subdivide the tissue, keeping the brain parts biologically alive, in quarters, eighths, etc. Ignoring for the time being what would happen to the person’s consciousness (which brain part would mediate the first person experience of the original person, if any?), what would happen to the original person’s altruism? Would each one-eighth brain have one-eighth the altruism? Would each lobe contribute one-eighth of the previous brain’s annual contribution to the United Way? Would the altruism stay in one of the lobes- the left occipital lobe, and leave the other lobes heartless? What if we kept dividing? Is there an altruism neuron? The question seems nonsensical. Altruism, as an idea, doesn’t have ‘parts’. Unlike matter, ideas can’t be divided or localized.


Yes, and next lets open up my USB memory stick and "look" for the electronic documents stored within it. Ooops! I can't see my excel spreadsheets stored on my USB memory stick when I disassemble the thing! I guess that means that my excel files have no mass, length, temperature, or location.

In everyday life, the brain is clearly necessary for ideas, but there are good reasons to think that that brain is not sufficient to cause ideas. This observation is very old; philosophers from Plato to Aquinas to Descartes to Popper and Eccles have known it. Myers seems not even to understand this basic paradox of the mind-body problem. The materialist assertion that ideas are caused entirely by brain matter, with no need for the existence of a soul or other incorporeal substance, is philosophically and scientifically incoherent. It is a materialistic dogma, an act of faith.


Of course! It makes perfect sense! The brain is not sufficient to cause ideas! And neither is my computer sufficient to process data and store it on flash memory! God has been doing it all along!

Michael Egnor is an absolute fucking retard. Thoughts are no more immaterial than data on a computer disk. Does a materialist view of the functions of a wristwatch, or a cellphone, require some crazy leap of faith?

UPDATE: PZ Myers provides a far better analysis than I can.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Austin Cline on Mind vs. Brain

While I often enjoy writing about the absurdity of a non-physical and eternal consciousness or soul, I enjoy reading other people's thoughts on the matter even more. One person who's thoughts on the matter I particularly respect and enjoy is Austin Cline of Atheism.about.com. Austin recently visited the mind vs. brain topic, and provided a perfect application of his own sharp analysis to the confused and jumbled thoughts of others:

Where the real "action" will be in the coming years is with the debate over mind-brain dualism. Are our minds and consciousness products of our physical brains, or are they products of some immaterial force traditionally associated with or identified as a supernatural "soul"? Although the science is not yet as unequivocal as with biological evolution, the fact remains that all evidence points to our minds being purly physical and material; no reliable evidence points to any immaterial souls. As with evolution, though, this doesn't stop religous ideologues.


Niiiiiiiice! Austin just declared afterlife assassination to be the next great frontier in the atheism war. This, of course, flatters me greatly. I've discovered myself to be a bit of a trendsetter at times; I took up the atheist cause a few years before the big names started clogging the New York Times bestseller list with atheistic tomes. I took up the anarchist cause a year or two back, and it seems poised for a popularity explosion as well. Let's hope that Austin proves to be correct, and that the next big frontier is the afterlife, and not God himself. Then again, in this way I will be a trailblazer with my beloved Kill The Afterlife blog.

All right, enough stroking my own ego. I do apologize. Now I don't want to give Austin’s entire article away; you'll have to go read it for yourselves. But I will reveal that Austin provides some JP Moreland quotes, dissects them with the sharpest scalpel in the drawer, and performs a long overdue surgical removal of the vestigial organ that is belief in a separate and eternal soul. I will quote just one more piece of Austin's essay, in which he challenges JP Moreland's assumption that God is the single most important component of a person's worldview:

I don't know JP Moreland, but I'm willing to accept that the question of the existence of his god is the "single most important component" of his "deep belief-structure."

For some reason, though, Moreland isn't willing to accord the same respect and consideration to atheists by allowing that perhaps the existence of his god just isn't important to us — or at least it wouldn't if people like Moreland wouldn't keep bugging others about it. Atheism isn't "the single most important component" of my beliefs and doesn't inform anything I do except insofar as it means that I don't consult any self-proclaimed representatives of alleged gods who want to tell me what their god thinks I should be doing.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Religious Counseling is a Catalyst for Suicide

This one comes from my hometown. Way back in 1979, some poor depressed kid named Kenneth Nally put a gun to his head and blew his brains out.

But what makes this suicide special is what Kenneth did in the events leading up to his suicide. He looked for counseling from one Reverend John MacArthur, the pastor of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. MacArthur has lots of Biblical knowledge and training, but no psychological training. And when the depressed Kenneth Nally asked the Godly Reverend if he would go to heaven if he were to commit suicide, the Reverend replied:

Oh yes, you would go on home to the Lord.


Hallelujah! Jesus saves! Go blow your brains out and bask in the glorious bliss!

What a motherfucker, that Reverend John MacArthur.

So Kenneth's parents sued the church and lost. And when asked in retrospect about what he thinks went wrong with the counseling of Kenneth, Pastor MacArthur has this to say:

I don't think we went wrong at all. We have absolutely no regrets. My regret is that Ken Nally took his life.


But of course there's nothing wrong with telling a teenager with a death wish that you will end up in heaven, provided that you really believe that bullshit fantasy.

When asked if he thinks he provided good quality counseling, MacArthur replied:

Yes, I think it was exactly the kind of counseling we always do. We've done it with thousands upon thousands of people.

...

We simply approach the issues spiritually. We don't refer them to psychologists or psychiatrists or whatever. We don't attempt to deal with them in those terms. The only real transforming, life-changing guidance is that which God provides through his word to his people. Anything else is going to be the wisdom of man, not the wisdom of God.


And the Godly wisdom that Pastor MacArthur spreads to his flock is this: Blow your brains out and experience total bliss for all eternity in fluffy, happy heaven!

So you see, it’s all very simple. Kenneth got the best of all possible outcomes. And can you imagine what would have happened had Kenneth gotten secular help without any spiritual help? It would have been a disaster!

Kenneth is now in heaven thanks to the diligent efforts of the dear Reverend MacAsshat (oh whoops I mean MacArthur). Kenneth got himself some spiritual help, but no secular help, and now he is in heavenly bliss.

But if Kenneth acquired secular help, and not spiritual help, he instead would be alive in this fallen Earthly realm, suffering in sin, and "spiritually" dead inside (whatever the fuck that means).

So, clearly, this was another win for God and the afterlife!

Superstition Plus Sweatbox Equals Death

While I have authored many a blog post criticizing the afterlife beliefs of Abrahamic religion, it is well known that there are many other varieties of afterlife belief and hocus pocus nonsense. Logically, these other flavors of superstition (which include their own versions of a mind-body disconnection doctrine) should be just as hazardous to your health as the mainstream beliefs.

And they are.

Case in point: Rowan Douglas Cooke, a voodoo-schmoodoo hokey-pokey new ager from Australia, died a horrible death back in 2004 because of his belief in a not as popular - but just as deadly - afterlife/spiritual belief. But to be more technical, it wasn't his belief in this bullshit that got him killed so much as the fact that the people around him also believed in this crap, and didn't take the right actions when warning signs appeared.

News.com.au has more:

Rowan Douglas Cooke, from Melbourne, died on November 3, 2004, hours after he was dragged unconscious from a makeshift sweat lodge constructed on a creekbed in the Gammon Ranges in South Australia's far north.

Mr Cooke had been camping with 10 other Victorians on Yankaninna Station, 325km north of Port Augusta, for a "vision quest", where people fast, meditate and purify themselves in an attempt to see visions.

He had entered the 1.2m high dome - made of 16 bent poles, covered in blankets and heated by hot volcanic rocks - about midnight to meditate but collapsed some hours later.

In evidence before the inquest into Mr Cooke's death this week, South Australian deputy coroner Anthony Schapel heard that as the 37-year-old lay dying from extreme dehydration his fellow campers began to chant and play drums to revive him, believing he was astral-traveling.


This is the perfect example of superstitious morons seeing shit that isn't there. Their friend is having a serious medical episode, and these bozos think that he's simply having a spiritual experience! They can't tell the difference between a meditative trance and massive dehydration! They confuse comas and seizures for astral projection!

In his finding today Mr Schapel referred to the foolhardiness of conducting a ritual of this nature in the manner and circumstances employed.

He was critical of the time it took for those involved to get help for the dying man and said it had not occurred to anyone that emergency assistance might be required, given the intrinsic dangers of the sweat lodge ceremony.

But he said the "critical factor" was the extreme beliefs of the group.

"It has to be placed on the public record that the extreme nature of some of those beliefs, as revealed by the evidence that I heard, played a significant role in the failure to secure timely and appropriate medical attention for the deceased," Mr Schapel said.

...

"However, much of the above tends to pale somewhat when it is remembered that the one thing that really stood in the way of the deceased obtaining timely medical help was the belief system entertained by the group that held the deceased was simply experiencing some kind of detachment from his physical being."


Astral projection, spirits, ghosts, angels, demons, pixie dust, faeries, witchcraft, amulets, blessings, curses, God, and especially the afterlife ARE ALL BULLSHIT!

Kill The Afterlife, not Australians.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Only Moral Abortion is a Christian Abortion

Equine Shine has a jaw dropping blog post about the hypocrisy of the anti-choice movement. Equine Shine highlights some of the best testimonies from Joyce Arthur's article "The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion" of doctors who provide abortion services and some of the strange encounters they have had.

Feast on the craziness:

“I have done several abortions on women who have regularly picketed my clinics, including a 16 year old schoolgirl who came back to picket the day after her abortion, about three years ago... Next morning she was with her mother and several school mates in front of the clinic with the usual anti posters and chants. It appears that she got the abortion she needed and still displayed the appropriate anti views expected of her by her parents, teachers, and peers.”

"...She told me that she had been offended by the other women in the abortion clinic waiting room because they were using abortion as a form of birth control, but her condom had broken so she had no choice! I had real difficulty not pointing out that she did have a choice, and she had made it! Just like the other women in the waiting room.”

“I once had a German client who greatly thanked me at the door, leaving after a difficult 22-week abortion. With a gleaming smile, she added: ‘Und doch sind Sie ein M├Ârderer.’ (‘And you’re still a murderer.’)”


Absolutely unbelievable!

Why is it that when I read these stories of anti-choice women getting abortions, I get the feeling that, fundamentally, they are following the same self-hating and hypocritical pattern of those male Christians who rail against gays, then turn around and pay to suck dick?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Horribly Awkward First Sexual Encounter 'Worth The Wait' For Christian Newlyweds

This is why waiting until marriage before sex sucks. From TheOnion.com:

"I'm so glad we waited until we got married—it made it so much more special," said the 26-year-old Linda, who is "pretty sure" John's penis penetrated her vaginal opening during the brief, fumbling lovemaking session. "I can't imagine what a letdown our first sexual experience would have been if we'd done it at some point during our five years of dating."

...

After an estimated 45 minutes spent in prayer and devotionals to ensure the smoothest possible act of coitus, John made sure the windows and doors were all securely locked, and that all windowshades and blinds were closed. He then reached to his nightstand to turn out the lights "to contribute to the feeling of romance" and "because Linda refused to let me touch her nightgown until the room was completely dark."


It only gets funnier (and possibly more pathetic). You gotta go read the whole thing.

Christopher Hitchens in Los Angeles

I've been rather busy this week, and unfortunately don't have much time to post. But I can at least share with you a recent interview with the "so hot right now" Christopher Hitchens, conducted by the LA Weekly:

I would think it was a bad thing if the species was destroyed by an apocalyptic weapon, but I can’t see how any religious believer would think it was such a bad thing. To them it’s not a tragedy — it can’t be. They’ve repeatedly said so.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Christ Permanente

While the good old days of letting Jesus fix what ails you are long gone, there is potential for the emergence of a new kind of faith-based healing! You see, not only do I blog against God and the afterlife, but I also happen to work in the health insurance industry, so the concept of praying away the costs of scientific and materialistic healthcare rather than praying away the sickness itself (we all know how well that works, am I right?) is very interesting to me.

Gladys S Parker of The Onion proudly leads the charge for faith based insurance:

Why, just the other day I went to County General because my legs were giving me awful pains, and this nurse starting asking me questions about providers and what was my health care plan and wanting my insurance card so she could copy it. I said, "Child, I don't need all that fancy paperwork—not as long as I have Jesus in my heart."

No matter what sorts of hardships and illnesses life throws my way, I always count on the Lord to oversee my managed care. So I told that nurse to send my bills right up to heaven. Send them right on up, because Jesus is my preferred provider and He always grants me full coverage. After all, Jesus believed in healing the sick and helping the poor, so He most definitely believes in paying my doctor bills on time.

The Son of God doesn't screen for pre- existing conditions, and the only requirement for coverage is that you accept Him into your life. There is no deductible with the Lord, and every doctor, clinic, and hospital is in His network. As long as I get down on my knees and submit my claims every night, Jesus will accept them. Even though Peter denied Him three times in a single night, He never denies me, no matter how many ovarian cysts and respiratory infections I might develop.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Set the Microwave to Exorcise

Really, I am tired of blogging about Christian-inspired infanticide attempts, but I just can't stop because every time I am ready to change the topic, another nutjob nukes their baby:

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) -- A woman blames the devil, and not her husband, for severely burning their infant daughter in a microwave, a Texas television station reported.

Eva Marie Mauldin said Satan compelled her 19-year-old husband, Joshua Royce Mauldin, to microwave their daughter May 10 because the devil disapproved of Joshua's efforts to become a preacher.

"Satan saw my husband as a threat," Eva Mauldin told Houston television station KHOU-TV.

A grand jury indicted Joshua Mauldin last week on child injury charges after hearing evidence that he placed the two-month-old in a motel microwave for 10 to 20 seconds.

The infant, Ana Marie, remains hospitalized. She suffered burns on the left side of her face and to her left hand, police said.


I'm sorry to report that this couple does not qualify for membership in the Offspring Murder Club, but they do get an honorable mention for their efforts.

On another note, this mother must really be dense. Why is she blaming Satan, even if she does sincerely believe it? Is she really so stupid as to think that this would serve as some kind of legal defense?

I think that both of these parents should be stuffed into adult size microwaves and each be given a one minute run on the "poultry" setting. And then they should be sterilized, if the 650 watt nuking didn't accomplish this already.

And while they serve their jail time, each of these parents should be forced to write, "Satan is imaginary and he didn't make daddy nuke the baby," ten thousand times.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Atheists Pwn The Argument From Effect

Theism does not a better person make.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Spankings, Sex, and Salvation

UPDATE: Why is it that Christians are so obsessed with spankings anyway?

It seems that the Rev. Sherman C. Gee Allen of the Fort Worth based Church of God in Christ has allegedly been creatively putting some extra God into his flock:

A Fort Worth pastor accused of paddling and raping women under the guise of scriptural teaching has been suspended by the national body of the Church of God in Christ.

The suspension comes more than three months after a Fort Worth woman sued the Rev. Sherman C. Gee Allen of the Shiloh Institutional Church of God in Christ, contending that he repeatedly beat her with a paddle from 2001 to 2005 and forced her to have sex with him.

Since then, eight more women have come forward with similar stories, according to the woman's lawyers.

...

Ms. Kelly, a 34-year-old mother of three, said Mr. Allen then gave her a Bible and asked her to turn to passages such as the one that yielded the phrase "spare the rod, spoil the child."

"It ended up being a lot of Scripture on spanking for the most part – parents disciplining their children," she said in a February interview. "When he had me read them, it became obvious he meant for it to be spanking me."

...

After the third meeting, she said, Mr. Allen told her to grab her ankles and swatted her once with a green wooden paddle.

"I felt a bit confused," she said. "Afterward, he hugged me, told me he loved me. He just wanted me to obey."

The paddling escalated from there, she said, with Mr. Allen ordering her to pull down her jeans and then her underwear. Ms. Kelly said she was hesitant but believed so devoutly in Mr. Allen's power that she viewed it as a spiritual father/daughter relationship.

"I looked at him as a man of God, my pastor," she said. "I just revered him. I always thought he was hearing from God."

...

Around March or April 2005, Mr. Allen made sexual advances and eventually added sex as part of her punishment, she said.

Ms. Kelly eventually sought help and left the church in September 2005. But she said she didn't call police because she was afraid.

"He had literally put his hand around my throat and said that if I ever told anybody, he would hurt me," she said.

Ms. Kelly isn't alone in making the allegations.

According to a 1983 Fort Worth police report, a 21-year-old woman said she had contacted Mr. Allen about voodoo and he had promised to bring her an antidote that she could use while bathing.

But after he came to her house to talk to her one day, she blacked out, and she believed she had either been hypnotized or drugged, the report said. The woman alleged that Mr. Allen paddled her, sodomized her with a club and raped her.


Surely, many rapes and sexual assaults take place that have nothing to do with religion. But this is one of those special religious-based instances where the injection of religious dogma into the situation allows for a sexual assault that otherwise might not have occurred.

Read carefully the words of Ms. Kelly, who said, "I looked at him as a man of God, my pastor... I just revered him. I always thought he was hearing from God."

Yet again, we see that the religion - the afterlife belief - served as a catalyst for the assault. The religion served as a tool to control the women into doing things they otherwise would not have done. Additionally, the religion served as an excuse or justification for the preacher to do things that otherwise would have not been acceptable.

I'm also curious as to how ignorant this preacher was. Rev. Allen was committing these offenses as recently as 2005, which was long after the child sex scandal broke out in churches across the US. Didn't this preacher get the memo, and decide that maybe he should lay low until the sex scandal blew over? I suppose he wasn't thinking with his right head.