Did you know that people who do not believe in the might and majesty of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are actively attacking him? It is sickening. It is blasphemous. It is monstrous. I did a search just now on burnt spaghetti, and this is what I found. Be wary, though. Such sights as these cannot be unseen.
Who would be so ghastly as to blaspheme in this way? Who would take the image of our lord and defile it? The heretics must pay for what they have done. I will simply not stand for it. I demand that our religious iconography never be tarnished like this. And thus, I will be seeking support for legislation. Let’s call it FSM’s Law.
I was reading a post just now on PZ’s blog entitled Nye/Ham postmorten: the apologists for religion and I agree wholeheartedly. I have toyed with writing a post on this topic for a while now, and this just sort of pushed me to get ‘er done. As ever, note that my job title is Business Analyst, which is a far cry from Evolutionary Biologist or Guy Who Reads The Bible. I am a layperson with no real expertise in evolutionary theory, but even a twit like me can see where evolution gets in the way of all systems of faith.
In PZ’s post, he references a post by Phil Plait trying to explain that evolution doesn’t say anything about where the breath of life came from, and therefore it really just takes over as a process from the moment life began, and that means it’s totally compatible with a faith-based way of thinking.
Charity pisses me off. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m all over the idea of donating money when you can afford it to the betterment of the world, but the way that charity works in practice is disgusting. Millions of dollars are raised by giant organizations that have massive operating costs, and it’s safe to say that the portion of your donation that actually benefits anyone is minimal at best. There are agencies and organizations that I do support, and if I had two nickels to rub together, I’d give them one. Doctors Without Borders is one. I’m also trying to set up some fundraising process for donating money in the Calgary Beer Core’s name to the University of Calgary to help fund grad student internship programs, and every year the Calgary Beer Core raises funds for a variety of things including charities, friends who need a hand, families at Christmas, and all that jazz. But by and large, donation is dangerous and encourages the gluttony of an organization.
But worse than that are the rash of strange things that atheists are donating to. Things like this prick. He decided that he’d try out atheism for a year, got fired from his religious teaching jobs (as well he should), and we’re throwing money at him. Seriously? I “tried out” atheism for quite a few years now, and nobody paid my rent. And they shouldn’t. This isn’t even a case of a religious guy who has left his faith, he’s taking this year off publicly to garner attention. That’s the kind of schtick that religious people do all the time, to draw attention to themselves and get paid. He wins either way. If he is actually an atheist, he’ll be the notorious guy who left the church and tried atheism only to realize it was the right path, and if he goes back, he’s just proof that atheism isn’t enough and everyone needs God. He’s a media whore, and we’re throwing cash at him? Bag of dicks.
I’ll include the video below the fold, but David Silverman was recently on Hannity’s Fox News show, and as ever, the fine people at Fox News gave a fair and balanced opportunity for the head of American Atheists to discuss politely and calmly the supposed War On Christmas. It’s things like this that make me wonder how anyone on earth can consider this news agency remotely professional. When you invite someone on to an interview simply to try to yell over them and ignore everything they say, you’re not an interviewer, you’re a three year old who WANTS THE GOD DAMN COOKIE.
Hannity did ask a few questions of Silverman, and I wanted to provide my own answers to the questions because Hannity clearly couldn’t hear the answers when asked over the sound of his own voice. Again, these are my own answers and not David’s or American Atheists, but Hannity never invites me on his show, so I just have to do the deed here on m’blog.
A fly alights on my forehead, and I can do nothing to shoo it away. To even so much as twitch now would give away the ambush and potentially turn the tide of the battle, and I can’t have that on my head. I can see them gathering, but the instruction was to not fire until we see the whites of their horrible eyes, so I wait the silent order to continue the rampage.
These moments are so infrequent, when we aren’t busy killing and we have a moment to catch our breath. This is war, and war is hell, so this is hell, but we do what we need to do. Despite all the blood, all the lies, all the deaths, I am moved by a genuine feeling that this is it. This battle will be the last. Why they are all gathering is anybody’s guess, but they must believe that they are safe after our loss at Control Point Alpha. I’ve heard the stories, just a massacre. People I know just gone. But no more. We will win this war.
Oh, don’t you worry, I’m going somewhere with this.
Have you ever seen the movie In The Mouth Of Madness? It was a not-too-bad 90s horror flick about (and forgive me, it’s been a while and I may be off on my description) an author whose books are so prolific and so compelling that he is altering the fabric of reality. People become convinced that his work is true, and slowly the majority opinion of what is real begins to change, thus changing what is actually real to suit the author’s needs. It’s an interesting perspective for a horror story.
It’s not an interesting perspective for theology, but it is such a common thing to hear people say that millions of people believe in the Bible or the Quran or the Tao Te Ching or the Book Of Common Prayer or what have you, so it therefore must be real (or all those people would have to be DUH DUH STUPID). But, unlike in the world of John Carpenter’s film, reality is not determined by consensus. Having millions of people genuinely believe that eating turds give you magic flight powers will not result in people growing wings if they eat shit.
Avicenna has a blog post at A Million Gods answering questions that were posed on Lady Atheist’s web site, and when I saw the first question, I figured I’d follow suit and provide my responses without having read either Avi’s or the Lady’s. Then, I can look back and see where they jive and where they don’t. It could be interesting! Note, these are not Lady Atheist’s questions, they are (I presume) questions she has been asked and is responding to.
1. Where do you go when you die?
Me? Well, I’m going to devote my body to a cadaver lab. My thinking on this is that an organ donation can save a life, or even a few lives, but being the means to train a surgeon may well save hundreds or thousands of lives, and I can think of no better gift in death than that. But of course, you’re not asking that. You’re making the assumption that death means you have to go somewhere. I don’t believe that. When we die, our bodies die. The “special us” that exists is a part of that body, and it dies too. Ashes to ashes and all that.
There is a post flying around Facebook presenting the work of Joseph Atwill, who says that he has proof Jesus did not exist and was a fabrication of the Romans. It is certainly not the first time that the historical accuracy of Jesus Christ has been brought into question, and no doubt it will not be the last. But each time I hear this, all I can think is, “So?”
I don’t know if Jesus was a real person or a story told. I don’t care. The fact that we don’t have a body means absolutely nothing to me. We don’t have a lot of bodies, and that doesn’t stop us from believing in the lives of people who came before us. Hell, we accept evolution because the bodies we do have show a pattern of gradual changes that fit the theory, but we certainly do not have all the bodies. Does that mean that evolution isn’t accurate? Of course not. We accept the theory of evolution because it best answers the question of how all of the different types of living things exist and appear to be in some way related.
I get angry about theology indoctrination in public schools. I find it to be a coercive and sleazy move that makes many of the students deeply uncomfortable, and makes them feel pressured to at least pretend to share the faith. I find the arguments for allowing faith in schools to be weak and uninspired. The facts are that we want faith in schools because we are selfish and my particular faith is right, so why shouldn’t I be allowed? Besides, they’re all basically the same thing, right?
Imagine if a school began calling the faithful to worship, handing out prayer mats, and devoting school time for bowing to Mecca. Christian parents would be beside themselves. Now imagine if the children were told that it’s pretty much the same thing, so just follow along and pray to your god, but in our words. You aren’t bowing to Mecca, you’re bowing to Jerusalem. No big.
Hemant Mehta posted at The Friendly Atheist today about S.E. Cupp, an atheist from CNN whom I too have wondered about. She’s the atheist who wishes she could have faith, and laments her atheism. I find that just weird. An atheist who wishes they could believe, at least in my opinion, is either not an atheist, a new atheist who worries that they are wrong, or an atheist who is trying (and, I would hope, failing) to polish the apples of theists, probably because of a desire to appear one-of-us enough for advancement. I couldn’t say if S.E. Cupp is any of those or not; I don’t know her and could only go by a few things she has said. But one of those comments she has made was that she wouldn’t vote for an atheist. Hemant questions that, and I thought the question worthy of my own two cents. But do watch the video linked above.
Personally, I wouldn’t vote for anyone because they are an atheist any more than l would vote against them for being a person of faith. That should not be the issue in a political debate. If I am voting for a mayor, for example, I would be looking at their personal politics, experience, and my attempt to figure out if they would ultimately be good for the job.