Just a Little Common Sense

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

Posts Tagged ‘atheist

Music For The Unbeliever: Episode 1

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Ever since I noticed the insane amount of christian music out there, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for songs that thematize science, atheism, Humanism, skepticism and other related topics – songs that promote critical thinking and, well, just a little common sense.
Over time, I’ve found a good few. Many are metal and punk songs, but I’ve found some less aggressive ones too, perhaps more suitable for a wider audience. Also, there’s a surprising amount of Hip-Hop in the mix. From now on I’ll be sharing one of these songs with you once a week.

I’ll start today with one of my personal favourites, ballad by Motörhead called ‘God Was Never On Your Side’. Enjoy!

 

Lyrics: Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Phil

February 7, 2011 at 04:47

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.

A Ban On Atheist Advertisement?

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I’m all for it. In fact, ban all  public advertisement. I want the right to walk out the door and not being told by giant billboards everywhere what I have to buy, whom I have to vote for, and what I have to think.

It is one thing to be offering “product information” on the airwaves, where it is my free decision to access or ignore it. Nobody is forcing me to watch TV – and if I do, I’ll accept the commercials as a collateral, knowing stations have to finance their programme somehow.

It is a different matter altogether to shove your ads in my fucking face, every single day, on my way to work.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Phil

November 28, 2010 at 17:57

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

Denver: Highway-Memorials Ruled Unconstitutional

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The Deseret News has an article on an interesting case this week: An Atheist group in Denver filed a lawsuit to remove memorial-crosses from the highway, and they won.

DENVER — The white, roadside crosses that currently memorialize the deaths of 14 Utah Highway Patrol troopers are unconstitutional, government endorsements of religion on public lands, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

“We hold that these memorials have the impermissible effect of conveying to the reasonable observer the message that the state prefers or otherwise endorses a certain religion,” the court wrote in siding with the Texas-based American Atheists, Inc.

In 2005, the atheist group sued the Utah Highway Patrol and the Utah Highway Patrol Association, a private entity aimed at supporting troopers and their families, to get the crosses taken off state lands.

On Wednesday, 10th Circuit judges David M. Ebel, Harris L. Hartz and Deanell Reece Tacha ruled the white crosses violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Phil

August 19, 2010 at 10:37

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

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