Just a Little Common Sense

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

Posts Tagged ‘humanist

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.

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

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!

Hell’s Angel: Mother Teresa

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For decades now Mother Teresa has been one of the favourite and most successful PR-tools of the catholic church and Christianity in general. For her “humanitarian work” and “spiritual inspiration” she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Her name became a synonym of goodness around the world, although few people know what her work consists of, and even fewer have actually seen it. Those who did are usually rather shocked. Read, for example the account of Hemley Gonzalez, founder of the Facebook page STOP The Missionaries of Charity:

I worked as a volunteer in one of Mother Teresa’s homes in Calcutta, India, for a period of two months at the end of 2008. It was during this time that I was shocked to discover the horrific and negligent manner in which this charity operates and the direct contradiction of the public’s general understanding of their work. […]

Workers washing needles under tap water only to be reused again. Medicine and other vital items being stored for months on end, expiring and eventually still applied sporadically to patients. Volunteers with little or no training carrying out dangerous work on patients with highly contagious cases of Tuberculosis, leprosy and other life threatening illnesses, while the workers of the charity patently refuse to accept and implement machinery and equipment that would safely automate processes and save lives.

Few voices are brave enough to criticize the religious icon that is Mother Teresa so bluntly. The most famous criticism so far stems from the pen of Christopher Hitchens, Read the rest of this entry »

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