Friday, July 17, 2009

F U Friday: The Pope

Following the footsteps of (i.e. copying) Narm, largely responsible for this blog's existence (though he may not want to take ownership of that responsibility), I introduce my weekly segment: F U Friday.

Each week, I will chose someone who I feel has been particularly douchey as of late, and give them big "F U."

This first episode comes a week late; I got busy last Friday and couldn't very well have my Friday segment debut on a Saturday.

Without further ado, I give you Joseph Alois Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI.

Recent Crimes against Awesome:
• Last week, Joey released his third encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), in which he proposes a radical overhaul of the world economy, calling for a global economic authority. He also characterizes birth control and gay marriage as not only immoral, but bad for the economy. This all came just before the G8 summit and his sit-down with Obama.

• When meeting with Obama, he gave the president a booklet on bio-ethics, outlining the church's opposition to embryonic stem cell research, abortion, etc.

Am I missing something here? No matter how much I tilt my head sideways, I cannot for the life of me see how the pope could be in a position to advise world leaders on the economy. We certainly don't want to look to the Vatican for moral direction. And science??? Please.

Historic Crimes against Awesome:
• Being a Nazi (in all fairness, he didn't actually have a choice in the matter to join Hitler's Youth).

• Having ridiculous, arrogant names and titles. "His Holiness," "The Holy See," "Holy Father," to name a few.
His official title is, "His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God." No joke.
His chosen nickname is Benedict XVI. Not only is this by definition unoriginal, but everyone knows you don't give yourself a nickname.

• Calling homosexuality an "intrinsic moral evil."

• Limiting women to motherhood and virginity, the "roles inscribed in her own biology."

Saving Grace

So please join me in giving Joey a resounding "F U!"

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rational Theism (Irony Alert)

So, fellow atheist blogger, Drazzel, got me thinking once again about something that baffles me over and over and over. In his post, he relates a story about a friend who called him a "fundamental atheist." Drazzel rightfully had difficulty even comprehending what that could possibly mean.

As I said, this got me rethinking an old question—why do theists continually try to equate atheists with themselves in debates?

It's hard for me to make sense of this (as it is with most of the arguments coming from that side). I can't go a week without hearing "fundamentalist atheist," or "atheism is a religion," or "belief in [insert scientific theory here] takes a greater leap of faith than theism" (since I do accept rational scientific theories such as the big bang and evolution by means of natural selection, as do most atheists, I usually ignore the fact that being an atheist doesn't make someone a Darwinist or any other kind of "ist").

What in gods' names are they thinking? You would never hear an atheist claim that theism takes just as much rational thought as atheism, or that theism is a science.

What could possibly be beneficial about projecting your own image onto your opponent? Assuming of course that you believe your position is superior.

Let's take these one by one, shall we?

• Fundamentalist Atheist
Perhaps this is a result of confusing "outspoken" with "fundamentalist." I do think it would be very hard to be a fundamentalist about not believing something. Fundamentalism takes its beliefs as truth, regardless of what the evidence says.

Is it possible to be a fundamentalist Darwinist? Maybe, but I doubt there are very many of those. But is it possible to be a fundamentalist atheist? I don't think so. If everyone around you believed that invisible unicorns controlled the traffic signals, you might scream your head off telling them how crazy they are. I don't think this would make you a fundamentalist.

I should find it difficult to put it any better than Richard Dawkins answering this very charge:

Do not mistake passion, which can change its mind, for fundamentalism, which never will. Passion for passion, an evangelical Christian and I may be evenly matched. But we are not equally fundamentalist. The true scientist, however passionately he may “believe”, in evolution for example, knows exactly what would change his mind: evidence! The fundamentalist knows that nothing will.

• Atheism is a Religion:
This one is just silly. Sure, religion can be defined many ways, but no coherent definition of religion could ever include atheism.

If you define religion as somewhere along the lines of "a group of people who share a similar worldview or philosophy," then you would have to include political parties and most fan clubs. I would contest that a worldview is made up of beliefs, not the lack of a particular belief. If this definition is expanded to include people who share a lack of a belief, then we are all part of the A-leprechaunism religion. This definition is not coherent.

Most would define religion to require a shared belief, and beyond that, a supernatural one.

There's a saying we have, "atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby."

• It Takes a Greater Leap of Faith to Believe in Evolution
... or the big bang, etc., etc. Really? It takes faith to accept scientific facts? I don't see how.

These are the same people who admit to having faith as the core of their very being. Now they want to assert that they, the faith-heads, can't match the faith of science. Does this strike anyone else as a bit crooked?

Science is a tool—the best and only tool we have for gaining knowledge about the world around us. When the evidence leads to a logical conclusion, it does not take faith to accept it. If new evidence shows the previous conclusion to be false, science compels us dismiss it. This is what science is.

Faith would require us to persist in our erroneous beliefs, even in the face of such evidence. This is not science.

Show us a better theory supported by evidence to explain the complexity of life on this planet, and we will abandon evolution. Show us the evidence to that leads to a better explanation of the universe's beginning moments and away goes the big bang theory.

Science is built upon doubt and skepticism and argument. There are many things in science that are debated every day, fueling scientists to find the evidence that provides the best explanation. Even the demise of our friendly bird-like dinosaurs is still debated in scientific circles; the fact that dinosaurs kicked the collective bucket long before the first humans primates started walking around is not. When enough evidence is gathered to be utterly overwhelming, and enough peer-review is completed, we accept these things. Like relativity and plate tectonics and evolution.

As Christopher Hitchens so eloquently wrote in God is not Great (admittedly he is not a scientist, but I think his words apply):
Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake. We do not hold our convictions dogmatically: the disagreement between Professor Stephen Jay Gould and Professor Richard Dawkins, concerning "punctuated evolution" and the unfilled gaps in post-Darwinian theory, is quite wide as well as quite deep, but we shall resolve it by evidence and reasoning and not by mutual excommunication.


Forgive me if I've strayed from my original point, which is that if theists feel they have a stronger position, they should be contrasting rather than comparing themselves with atheists. Of course, I suppose it is possible that those who do this actually realize their position is weaker; bringing us to their level might be an attempt make us look as silly as they know they already do.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Letter from a Christian Nation


Dear School Board of America,

I'm writing this here letter to tell you that you should teach Integillent Design in our school science classes.

Integillent Design is a scientific fact because it says so in the Bible and we know the Bible is fact because there are still monkeys. Unlike evolution, which is just a THEORY.

Now I know some of those damned atheists out there are trying to redefine what a scientific theory is, saying things like, "scientific theories don't graduate into scientific laws" and "scientific theories are made up laws, hypotheses and accepted knowledge, and are testable explanations of facts." What does this jibber-jabber even mean? Now, we all know theories are just guesses, like it says in the Constitution, which was written by the Bible.

These are the same faggot atheists, you see, that are trying to change what atheist means. They want us to believe that "atheism is simply a lack of belief in a god or gods and doesn't necessitate a belief in Darwinism or anything else, nor does it claim to know for certain that gods or unicorns or leprechauns don't exist." Now that's just horseshit! Jesus said to his pet dinosaur that atheists are queers who worship the devil and pretend not to believe in God because they want to have butt sex and murder babies.

Is this what our kids should be learning in science class? No. They should be learning the word of God, which is in the Bible, which we know is true because God said so in the Bible.

Jesusly yours,

John Q. Christiansen

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Conversation with God: Free Will


God, why if you are wholly good did you make a world in which people rape and murder, commit genocide and other atrocities?

I've given my children free will. Everyone has the capacity for both good and evil, it is up to the individual to choose the correct patch.

Why didn't you just make people who would always choose good?

My son, one cannot be said to truly have free will if one must always choose good. Free will is one of the greatest gifts given to mankind.

But why is free will good?

Free will is the essence of existence--surely you can see how free will is not only good, but necessary.

So if free will is good, and you are good, and good is you, does that mean that you too have free will?

Indeed. Man was made in my image. I too have free will. I am also all-good, so it follows that my choices are always good.

Well, why didn't you just make everyone like that?

You see, um........ well one must understand... er......... I'M A MYSTERY! WOOOOO, NOBODY CAN KNOW MY MIND! WOOOOOO..... ahem, mysteryyyyyyy.....


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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Earf Day

Yet another one of my favorite holidays will be spent in a place that doesn't celebrate it. But I'm not going to let that stop me. This really just means that I'll be out drinking, like every other Saturday night. But this time I'll be wearing red, white, and blue while obnoxiously chanting "U-S-A!" in Australian people's faces.

Purely for the sake of irony, I've decided to comprise a list of the Top 5 4 Nations to Lose Their Independence to the US:

First some ground rules. Nations that voluntarily gave up their independence in order to be part of a better nation (e.g. Texas, Vermont) do not count. Native American land does not count, because as far as I understand, everything we took from them in exchange for magic beans had already been technically claimed by other countries, which we subsequently bought or fought for. So in that sense Britain, France, Mexico, etc. were the ones who technically stole their land. Oh, and islands without people don't count. So without further ado . . .

#5. Eastern Samoa. Independence lost 7 June 1900, 16 July 1904
Currently the US territory of American Samoa.

Okay, so this one might break the rules right off the bat; the islands' chiefs did sign deeds of cession to the United States, but I can't help but feel that after decades of colonization by Germans, Brits, and Americans that maybe this wasn't really part of the original plan of the Samoan people. Take it or leave it, it stays on the list.

#4. Republic of Indian Stream. Independence lost 1835
Currently the northwestern tip of Pittsburgh, New Hampshire.

Because people weren't very good at making or using maps yet as of the 19th century, a 282 square mile chunk of land was left neither under US nor Canadian control as a result of the Treaty of Paris. Bending the rules again, the Stream's congress voted to be annexed by the United States, but only to avoid having all of their citizens arrested by British and New Hampshire Militia forces who were using the Streamers as pawns in some petty game. Doesn't sound voluntary to me. This ended their three-year run as a nation.

#3. Kingdom of Hawaii. Independence lost 17 January 1893
Currently the state of Hawaii.

The US military backed a coup d'├ętat carried out by American and European businessmen, overthrowing the established monarchy. This, of course, led to annexation, statehood, and an apology during the Clinton years.

#2. Confederate States of America. Independence lost 11 April 1865
Currently the southeastern portion of the United States--west through Texas, north through Virginia.

"We seceded."
"No you didn't"
"Yes we did."
"Let's let the muskets do the talking."

#1. Republic of West Florida. Independence lost 27 October 1810
Currently the southwestern tip of Alabama, southeastern tip of Mississippi, Florida Parishes region of Louisiana.

The original Lone Star State. These guys lost their Independence not once, not three times, but twice to the US. First by proclamation then as part of the Confederate States. Following a long squabble between the US and Spain over the territory, the Free and Independent Republic of West Florida was established on Sptember 23, 1810. 90 days later US President James Madison was like, "uhhh, no."

Bonus. Earf. Independence lost 4 July 1996
Currently the rest of the world.

Before defeating the invading aliens and preventing the annihilation of the human species, President Pull... er, Whitmore gave a rousing speech in which he stated, "the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday." Clearly he is implying that the United States will no longer occupy mainly North America, but the entire planet. One can only assume (since we were deprived of a sequel) that Pullman went on to fulfill his promise, using Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, and alien technology to take over the world, declaring himself President of the United States of Earf.



Happy 233rd birthday America!

Post any objections or additions below.


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Friday, July 3, 2009

Iran's So Far Away


WHEN in the course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness—-That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.


This excerpt from the founding document of the United States screams like a bullhorn in light of the recent events that have taken place in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Continue to show your support for the people of Iran as they fight to have their voices heard.


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Thursday, July 2, 2009

One Order of Looney, Please. Hold the Reason


Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern (R) has cooked up a giant batch of crazy. Her "Oklahoma Citizen's [sic] Proclamation for Morality" blames Obama, gays, and divorcees for the nation's current economic woes. This is the same Sally Kern who last year called gays a bigger threat than terrorists. There's really nothing I can say to make this funny, so just read the following crazy in its entirety:

OKLAHOMA CITIZEN’S PROCLAMATION FOR MORALITY

We the People of Oklahoma, Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to

secure and perpetuate the blessing of Liberty; to secure just and rightful Government; to promote

our mutual Welfare and Happiness, do establish this proclamation and call upon the people of the

great State of Oklahoma, and our fellow Patriots in these United States of America who look to

the Lord for guidance, to acknowledge the need for a national awakening of righteousness in our

land.

WHEREAS, “It is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon

which Freedom can securely stand” (John Adams); and

WHEREAS, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with

human passions unbridled by Religion and Morality” (John Adams); and

WHEREAS, “Our Constitution was made only for a Moral and Religious people” (John

Adams); and

WHEREAS, “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the

power of government…but upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity

of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to

the Ten Commandments of God” (James Madison); and

WHEREAS, “Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that

belongs to us by the laws of God (Benjamin Franklin); and

WHEREAS, “God who gave us life gave us liberty and can the liberties of a nation be

thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the

people that these liberties are of the Gift of God” (Thomas Jefferson); and

WHEREAS, “Whether any free government can be permanent, where the public

worship of God, and the support of Religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state”

(Joseph Story); and

WHEREAS, “We hold sacred the rights of conscience, and promise to the people…the

free and undisturbed exercise of their religion” (Roger Sherman); and

WHEREAS, “This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians”

(Patrick Henry); and

WHEREAS, “When you…exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be

impressed upon your mind that God commands you to choose just men who will rule in the fear of

God” (Noah Webster); and

WHEREAS, “The principles of genuine Liberty and of wise laws and administrations

are to be drawn from the Bible” (Noah Webster); and

WHEREAS, the people of Oklahoma have a strong tradition of reliance upon the

Creator of the Universe; and

WHEREAS, we believe our economic woes are consequences of our greater national

moral crisis; and

WHEREAS, this nation has become a world leader in promoting abortion,

pornography, same sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, and

many other forms of debauchery; and

WHEREAS, alarmed that the Government of the United States of America is forsaking

the rich Christian heritage upon which this nation was built; and

WHEREAS, grieved that the Office of the president of these United States has refused

to uphold the long held tradition of past presidents in giving recognition to our National Day of

Prayer; and

WHEREAS, deeply disturbed that the Office of the president of these United States

disregards the biblical admonitions to live clean and pure lives by proclaiming an entire month to

an immoral behavior;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we the undersigned elected officials

of the people of Oklahoma, religious leaders and citizens of the State of Oklahoma, appealing to

the Supreme Judge of the world, solemnly declare that the HOPE of the great State of Oklahoma

and of these United States, rests upon the Principles of Religion and Morality as put forth in the

HOLY BIBLE; and

BE IT RESOLVED that we, the undersigned, believers in the One True God and His

only Son, call upon all to join with us in recognizing that “Blessed is the Nation whose God is the

Lord,” and humbly implore all who love Truth and Virtue to live above reproach in the sight of God

and man with a firm reliance on the leadership and protection of Almighty God; and

BE IT RESOLVED that we, the undersigned, humbly call upon Holy God, our

Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer, to have mercy on this nation, to stay His hand of judgment,

and grant a national awakening of righteousness and Christian renewal as we repent of our great

sin.

Signed on the second day of July in the year of our Lord Christ Two Thousand and Nine.

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Thank Averageness!


From now on, I will be striving diligently towards average. God takes all the credit for anything good, and Satan gets the nod for the bad. The one thing that I can call my own is mediocrity, which is okay, I guess.


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