Just a Little Common Sense

For a life based on reason, ethics, literature and art.

Posts Tagged ‘atheism

God Done Diddit

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I want you to picture a guy, let’s call him Paul, walking into an urban police-station. Beaming, he proclaims that he knows what happened to the dead body that was found in the river five days ago; that he’s solved the mystery.
Let’s assume that by some random chance, or maybe out of desperation, the police actually take him seriously. So they ask him in, lead him into a room, sharpen their pencils, switch on the tape-recorder, and take a statement. This is how it goes:

PAUL: “You ready? Can I start?”
OFFICER: “Sure. Please tell us what you know.”
PAUL: “You see, he was murdered. Frank did it.”
OFFICER: “Frank… Frank who?”
PAUL: “Well, Frank of course. Frank Frank. Who else would I mean?”
OFFICER: “…”
PAUL: “…”
OFFICER (With disappointment at the realization that this won’t be the clue they’d been hoping for): “That’s it? That’s what you came to tell us?”
PAUL (Genuinely puzzled): “What do you mean? I told you what happened. What more could you want?”

We could imagine this going on indefinitely, but this little conversation is enough to convey my point. Merely tossing a name out there and proclaiming that a murder took place is not the same as truly solving the mystery of an unidentified body.
Yet, this is exactly how religious people tackle the question about the origin of our universe. They proclaim that it was “made”, and that it was “God” who made it. And then they lean back, satisfied with their accomplishment of having “solved” the mystery, gaze us a beaming smile, and react confused when we reject their “explanation” as preposterous and stupid.

To complete the analogy, let’s have Paul defend his thesis by proclaiming that it’s more likely Frank committed a murder than that the water of the river simply morphed into a dead body.
Theists frequently claim that, due to the apparent fine-tuning of our universe, it being made is more likely than it just coming into existence “by a giant explosion”. Of course, nobody ever said that a giant explosion was the origin of the universe, just like nobody at the police-department proposed that the body is actually magically transformed water of the river.
The Big Bang Theory is actually not about the origin of the universe: Like the police, we’re still pretty clueless regarding that mystery; like the police, it’s likely we’ll solve it eventually. What the Big Bang Theory actually is about is the early development of the universe: The theory states that the universe transformed from a very hot, very dense state to a less hot, less dense state, which is analogous to the police stating that it’s very likely the body they found was, at some point in the past, alive. It’s something we know beyond reasonable doubt. It’s something we can prove pretty much for sure.

What bothers me about all this is not that there actually are people like Paul out there, who really do not see the problem with the sort of oversimplified skyhook-explanation they give for complex problems.
What bothers me is that my analogy fails at one very important point: Paul the potential witness is regarded as a lunatic by society, and will probably find himself in a mental institution in the near future. Paul the theologean, on the other hand, is a highly respected member of society, gets invited by TV-stations to comment on enormously important political topics and has a huge influence on public opinion regarding an incredible variety of topics.

Irreducible Complexity Has Been… Reduced. To Nothing.

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One of my favourite YouTubers, QualiaSoup, has put out another great educational video, addressing the “Intelligent Design” (=Creationist) argument of so-called “irreducible complexity”, which claims that evolution cannot be true since they are things that are so complex that they could not have come about by a gradual process like evolution by natural selection. The video dismantles the argument beautifully in very simple terms; it’s easy to understand and, more importantly, it’ll empower you to counter the argument yourself next time you come across it in a discussion.

One more thing: If you like QualiaSoup’s vids, be sure to check out his brother, too. He goes by the username TheraminTrees and produces videos of a very similar style which are just as brilliant.

Much Ado About Nothing

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My local catholics are playing dress-up again, walking the streets chanting and carrying candles. I left my window open for just a minute too long, and now my whole fucking room stinks of fucking incense. I am seething. Just what gives them the right to rub their silly rituals in my face like that?
If I’d run through public streets at this hour being as loud and producing as much smell, I’d be arrested within minutes. From noise pollution to disturbance of public peace, scandalization and what-not, I’d be charged with a variety of stuff and it’d end up being a very expensive prank. Plus, if I was wearing as silly a costume and a funny hat while annoying the shit out of people for no reason, I’d probably be put straight into the mental ward. And rightfully so, because that is where people who engage in this kind of activity belong. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Phil

November 14, 2010 at 19:34

Catholic Child Abuse: The Media are Understating the Situation

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There is a serious structural problem in the Roman Catholic Church, and I am tired of it being referred to as “the paedophilia problem” or “child rape”. Neither are the main problem here.
First, not many of the cases of sexual abuse do actually have anything to do with paedophilia. Children are often mere substitute-objects. The perpetrators aren’t necessarily paedophiles, they simply use children because they happen to be around, are easy to control and intimidate, and most importantly they don’t put up much of a fight.

  • Regressive Type: His primary sexual preference are adults, though he can be sexually aroused by children. Due to the easy availability of children, to nonsexual problems, and to problems with adult sex partners, he falls back on children to satisfy his sexual needs. One can speak of a substitute-object culprit [Ger.: Ersatzobjektt├Ąter]
  • Fixated Type: His primary sexual preference are children. He can hardly or not at all be sexually aroused by adults. A classic paedophile.
  • Sociopathic Type: He is characterized by a lack of empathy for his victims and sometimes has sadistic tendencies. Sexuality is not used to satisfy sexual needs, but as a means of opression. This is also commonly called a sadistic type.

Read the rest of this entry »

Female Gay Atheist Prime Ministers

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I came across two great stories today. Both are about Female Prime Ministers, namely the ones of Iceland and of Australia. Both of them are pretty much the pope’s worst nightmare come true: Women in positions of political power, who are not ashamed of their sexuality and even worse, are open apostates.

Yesterday, the Telegraph published a story about the marriage of Johanna Sigurdardottir, Prime Minister of Iceland. She married her long time partner Jonina Leosdottir on last Sunday, the day gay marriage became legal in Iceland after the legislation was unanimously passed on june 12. They had been in a civil union since 2002, which has now been formally transformed into a marriage.

The other story has been covered already, but it’s so great that I’m gonna share it again anyhow: Australia’s PM Julia Gillard openly talked about her lack of faith on a radio interview with 744 ABC Melbourne at 9 am this morning. The Interviewer asked her straight out whether she believed in god, and her reply was an unambiguous “no I don’t, John. I’m not a religious person.” She then elaborated on her upbringing in a Baptist family but said that she chose to “pursue a different path in my adult life.” The interviewer also asked her about how she was going to attract the “vital christian vote”. Her awesome reply was that she was “not going to pretend a faith I don’t feel”. She gained some points on my  authenticity-scale with that one. Her clear message was that she was concerned for Australia as a whole and was not going to suck up to a particular group in order to gain votes. I like that. You can find the interview here, the bit about religion starts at 6:30 min before the end of the segment. (it’s got a weird backwards-counting timer, hence my odd phrasing)

I think this is great news. It is an indicator that there is some change happening. Public perception is shifting, on the topic of homosexuality as well as on the topic of religion. It’s awesome to see it moving into the right direction.

Written by Phil

June 29, 2010 at 13:54

One of the Best Humanist Blogs Around

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I’ll be very busy this weekend, so I won’t be able to spend too much time here until next monday. So for the meantime, I thought I’d throw out a recommendation for all who want to read clear, honest, humanist thoughts:

It’s a blog called Belief In People. You can also find it in my blogroll in the sidebar. It’s a great blog full of insightful musings. What I find to be particularly interesting about Shawn’s writings is that he wrote a fair bit about being an atheist parent. His musings are thought-provoking, the topics are interesting, his reasoning is clear and his writing is eloquent. It just can’t get much better. A good place to start reading is The Best of Belief in People, a selection of his best posts. Enjoy!

Porn for Bibles? An Afterthought

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I got an interesting reaction to my previous post. As I shared the story on facebook, a fellow atheist replied in disgust, saying that we shouldn’t resort to such “barbaric lewdness”. I was really surprised, for I didn’t expect anything in that direction. It didn’t even occur to me that reasonable non-religious people might take offense at this. Maybe it’s because I’m european, but I don’t think it’s that much of a big deal. Anybody calling simple porn “barbaric lewdness” would be laughed at over here. Simply a matter of custom I guess. But wether you think it’s poor taste or not, it’s a brilliant move from a marketing-point of view. Hand out flyers, and you might reach a hundred people a day who actually read, and what’s more, actually think about it. Offer them porn, and they will be shocked. They’ll stay and discuss, the religious will go bonkers, the following media hype will ensure you get invited to dozens of talkshows and radio-programms giving you a chance to elaborate your point to an audience of thousands. In finland, there’s probably not a single person now who has not heard about this, and didn’t listen to the explaination of those who sparked the controversy. One can hardly deny that in points of effectiveness and cost-efficiency, this campaign will be hard to top.

I find myself thinking about proposing to copy this idea to my local freethought society.

Written by Phil

June 11, 2010 at 03:53

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