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CCB says: you’re ignorant.

The Word of Christ - Surprisingly indistinguishable from one's personal opinion, actually.One of the biggest reasons that I dislike religion is because it is considered infallible and therefore can not be questioned. There are so many reasons to dislike religion from the  hypocrisy of those in leadership, silly superstitious beliefs, etc.  Of all the things to dislike, I think it is the unquestioning nature of religion I hate the most. Don’t question the priest, don’t question the Imam, don’t question the bible. Everywhere you turn are "answers" but no questions. This leads me to the title of this article.

I received this comment recently on an article I wrote:

"CCB says:

you’re ignorant. go to church you sick pig. find god in your life, maybe then you’ll have different views."

Oh…I’m sure I’d have different views alright. I wanted to start this article with the obvious comments:

  1. If you’re going to start a sentence about ignorance, at least capitalize it.
  2. You certainly exude the "Christian" ethic. Golly, can I go to your church?
  3. If finding God in my life led me to calling people I don’t know sick pigs, …well then sign me up!
  4. I don’t have "God" in my life, therefore, I am allowed to have different views.
  5. I guess, WWJD doesn’t come into your mind very often, huh?

…but I didn’t want to take the easy road, so I’m not going to make any of those comments, *ahem*.

You, CCB, are the reason this website exists. Well, maybe not "you" specifically but people like you. When you suggest I go to church, which one should it be? Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or is any God ok, as long as there is one in my life? I have a sneaking suspicion that two out of those three Gods would not be on your approved God list. Your unquestioning and insulting nature is what fuels this site and those like it. You may not like my style of sarcastic humor but you can’t argue with the facts of the article you commented about.

The Pope was involved with a cover-up of child rape. The Pope did ignore rape allegations. The Vatican will not accept responsibility for it’s lack of oversight of priests. These are facts. You may not like them but they are true.

So, CCB (if that is your real name… and if it is, it’s a weird name) thanks for reading and keep the insightful comments coming.



Catholicism, Lessons in Irony & Hypocrisy

With all the Catholic sex scandal news as of late, I have been doing a lot of reading. I started thinking about all the hypocrisy and irony in Catholicism. I know these are not all original thoughts but I wanted to start compiling some. If you have more add them to the comments!

1 ) Why do Catholics have to get pre-marriage counseling from a  celibate priest?

2 ) The Pope refers to the blessed mother Mary with reverence and awe but won’t allow women to take any leadership roles within the church.

3 ) The Pope promotes abstinence as a form of birth control but worships Jesus Christ who was born of a virgin?

4 ) A church full of closet bound homosexual priests won’t recognize the basic rights of homosexuals?

5 ) Jesus lived a simple life and preached to the meek against opulence.  The Pope lives in an opulent palace located in a freakin’ church owned sovereign city, adorned with gold jewelry and robes so flamboyant they would make make Liberace jealous.

6 ) God has given mankind free will to determine it’s own fate. The Catholic church historically used the point of a sword to “help” native cultures determine their own fate.

7 ) If everything happens according to God’s plan, why did God allow thousands of kids to be raped by his “employees”? Was that his plan? If so…it sucked.

8 ) Catholicism is a religion that is famous for it’s guilt, so why doesn’t the Pope seem to have any?

9 ) Catholicism preaches against belief in the occult but worships a Trinity that is 1/3 ghost, 1/3 zombie & 1/3 zombie’s omnipotent dad.

10 ) Where does the Pope get off dispensing medical advice to an AIDS ravaged Africa about the incorrect science of how STD’s can pass through the pores in condoms when it wasn’t even until 1992 that the Vatican admitted that Galileo was right about the Earth orbiting the Sun. Epic fail, fellas.

11 ) The Church that brought you the Inquisition, thinks the current media attention investigating Pope Ratzinger’s ignoring the rape of minimally a couple hundred children is unfair and hurtful.

Refusing to debate denialists

Orac, over at Respectful Insolence, has a post titled “Debating Denialists” that talks a bit about how pointless it is to debate denialists, whether they be Holocaust deniers, anti-vaxxers, creationists, or 9/11 Truthers. Deborah Lipstadt, a Holocaust historian, uses the phrase “trying to nail a blob of Jello to the wall” when referring to debating them.

Orac explains…

[…] for a debate to be an intellectually useful exercise, there have to be two reasonable points of view being argued, points of view that have evidence to support them. The evidence doesn’t have to be of equal quantity and quality on each side, of course, but it should at least be somewhere in the same ball park–or on the same planet.

He goes on to say that denialists crave the respect that real science receives and desperately want to be taken seriously by people in relevant fields of study. Being put on the same stage or the same screen as genuine, respected scientists and scholars gives them exactly what they want, so it’s best to just avoid the debate in the first place. Richard Dawkins has taken the same position for the same reasons, refusing to debate creationists.

In his article, he quotes Lipstadt’s listing of a number of tactics that I see all the time from denialists and it’s disheartening to see them, especially when otherwise intelligent people fall into the denialist sewer and veritably flaunt their ignorance and misinformation as though they are spreading enlightenment to the huddled masses. “We need to educate people,” they claim, while deliberately spreading misinformation. “People need to hear the truth,” they say, while making certifiably false claims. “People are just falling prey to the mainstream media,” they cry, while basing their own claims on religious and political ideologies rather than facts.

Regarding the denailist tactics, Orac says [emphasis mine]…

[…] there is a commonality among cranks in the types of fallacious arguments and twisting of data that they engage in. Being a “denialist” is not a matter of what is being argued, but how it is being argued. It’s about bad reasoning, bad science, cherry picking data, and misrepresenting sources to support a preexisting agenda.

Which is why in a debate they are so damned hard to pin down. Like Jello.


Creation Museum – Men In White

men-in-whiteA truly disappointing waste of theatrical technology and flair. As with most of the museum, this “show” was well produced (totally bat s%&t  crazy) but well done. The Men In White were the angels Michael and Gabriel. By putting a “hip” spin on an old story for the sake of youngsters, teachers and scientists are comically portrayed as villainous and silly.

The show starts with a young animatronic girl named Wendy sitting at a campfire pondering her existence and the meaning of life. During her moment of lost contemplation and doubt, Michael & Gabriel show up to raise her spirits. The implication is that without a purpose from God, Wendy is lost, alone and miserable. The angels show up to persuade Wendy that God exists and cares for her and they begin to show her “proof” of his existence.  It is here that the angels begin with, ” …if you use the bible as your starting point Wendy, then everything makes sense!” ANGEL SAYS WHAT?? Imagine if your science teacher started your first class with, ” …if you just take everything I say as fact, then everything makes sense!” From the very beginning this presentation insults the human intellect. Science doesn’t require blind faith and it never suggests a “starting” point.  This is where the “machine gunning” of  “facts” begins.

When you start with the bible everything makes sense like:

1. Marine fossils found on mountain tops? Those mountains were once covered in water from the great flood.

2.Volcanic dust found in ice cores? Just think of all that volcanic ash in the atmosphere after the flood.

3. Similarities in DNA found in the cells of every living thing? Since God created DNA he made it so that all living things could live and eat in the same world.

If you believe in evolution or as the angels call it “goo to you” then none of this makes sense. According to the angels, “…evolution makes no sense without billions of years!”

-Next we move on to discredit radioisotope dating.  This form of dating is flawed because there are too many assumptions required to be accurate, say the angels. Zircon crystals have been found with helium gas in them. This suggests that they are not nearly as old as man believes because the helium gas is escaping to quickly to be millions of years old. This is refuted on the following CHRISTIAN website http://www.answersincreation.org/RATE_critique_he-zr.htm . I highly suggest you read this article. It gets all “sciencey” but it is fascinating and alot more accurate than two white overall clad buffoon like angels.

-Next we learn from the angels that the earth can’t be millions let alone billions of years old because of the salt content in the oceans. The angels (portraying high school students in a science class) smuggly challenge a teacher about the age of the earth due to the lower than they expected salt content in the oceans. This is called EPIC FAIL. This moronic notion that if the earth were millions of years old there would be higher concentrations of salt in all of the world’s oceans is wrong. Wrong for several reasons but once again I would direct you to the following CHRISTIAN website to read the refutation of this quackery. http://www.answersincreation.org/argument/G336_creation_science.htm This article explains that creationist’s salt theories are misguided and fail to account for several factors involving the mechanisms for the removal of salt from the oceans.

-Next up, the crazy dinosaur theory. Our smug little angels tell their professor that in 2005 a T-Rex leg bone was found with blood cells intact and un-fossilized. This obviously means that the leg bone could not be millions of years old, right? WRONG! Again the answers to the BS claim come from a CHRISTIAN website. http://www.answersincreation.org/rebuttal/magazines/Creation/1997/trexblood.htm . In this excerpt there is an email log from the actual paleontologist, Jack Horner, who was chiefly involved in this discovery. He goes on to explain that it is not true and that creationist are grasping at half truths and no facts.

-The angels just can’t quit. Next we find out from these two brainiacs that the earth’s decaying magnetic field would indicate that life could not have survived millions of years ago. This is again refuted at http://www.answersincreation.org/argument/G811_creation_science.htm . The angels are referring to a scientific article written by Thomas Barnes. It has been all but publically laughed at by theoretical scientists and bears no scientific weight.

-Next…lack of super nova remnants proves a young earth, say the angels. No, it doesn’t. http://www.answersincreation.org/malone_supernova.htm . I hate to keep linking after every point but since the creation museum didn’t use any real science to make their point, I figured I should.

With about thirty minutes of research on the Internet I have found tons of articles scientifically refuting everything said in this absurd display of purposeful ignorance. The men in White should be taken away and locked up by …men in white jackets. The most disheartening part of this “program” was the fact that children were in the audience being “taught”. Shame on the creation museum and shame on the parents who made their children sit through this glaring display of  stupidity.

Putting the “Good” Book in Context

god fire

I have had many theological discussions with Christians and inevitably at some point during our discussion the comment, “you’re taking the meaning out of context” is dropped. I think that a contextual understanding of the bible and Christianity is important also. Let me take this opportunity to try and put the bible and Christianity in it’s proper context.

There is plenty of terrible un-Godlike behavior in the new testament, but for sure it is easier to quote better examples of God’s loveless actions from the old testament. I have had people tell me, “…well yeah that’s the old testament but the new testament is much more peaceful”. I will be taking quotes for most of this article from the old testament.  I will be doing so because the old testament is particularly brutal. If you are a Christian and you believe the inspired word of God is infallible (and you have to), why does it matter that only the brutish old testament is mentioned? Having been written first, it has the distinction of being perhaps more timely and therefore more accurate (disbelief appropriately suspended) to the events that it describes.

Let’s start with the bronze age’s answer to Las Vegas, Sodom and Gomorrah. God was not happy with the evil taking place in the twin cities so he decided to rain down upon them “burning sulphur.” This is odd and cruel at the same time. Odd because if you were God, do you think burning sulphur would be the best way to completely wipe out two cities? Cruel because it involves burning men, women and children. Wouldn’t a 30 mile wide plasma beam be more efficient or at least more humane? It’s also a lot more cool than… burning sulphur.  Keep in mind bronze age construction had advanced from an earlier technique of packed clay walls to actual bricks made from mud.  Mud bricks don’t burn well, in fact heat is what is used to dry them. Weird God would choose such an incredibly inefficient way to smite people… unless the bible was written solely by men who didn’t know what a plasma beam or anything else more advanced was than… burning sulphur. Hard to keep this story any more in context than that.

Next, let’s talk about God’s quirky sense of humor. Just imagine if you had a neighbor whose name was, oh I don’t know, ahhhh… Abraham. Let’s say some “guy” showed up at Abraham’s house one day and put a gun to Abraham’s head and tried to force him to kill his son, ahhhhh… Isaac. Then right before Abraham did it the “guy” stopped him and said “Wait! I just wanted to see if you’d do it!”  Would we think this “guy” was funny, smart, all knowing, all powerful, peaceful, kind, or loving. No, we’d think this “guy” was vicious, cruel and twisted. I think you get the point. If God was omniscient, he would have already know what Abraham was going to do or he’s just a malevolent jerk who gets off on yanking mankind’s chain. Not very Godlike… unless God was a creation of mankind who from time to time does suffer from these character flaws. Hard to keep this story any more in context than that.

Now, Exodus 2:29-30 :

At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

Does anything here strike you as odd? Yeah I know, “why should God kill the children for the wrongs of their parents?”. Sure that’s unforgivingly evil, but that’s not even the “odd” part. I’m talking about killing the firstborn of the livestock! The livestock? Here is context for you. Throughout the bible, God has penalized mankind by killing his children and/or his livestock. In an earlier article I quoted Leviticus 26:21-22.

If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey, I will inflict you with seven more disasters for your sins.  I will release wild animals that will kill your children and destroy your cattle, so your numbers will dwindle and your roads will be deserted.

God sure has a thing for killing livestock… or does he? Seems to me far more likely that mankind in the bronze age recognized how valuable livestock was to the other bronze agers of the time and decided to use livestock as leverage in the good book. Sounds again like mankind was truly doing the story telling here. Hard to keep this story any more in context than that.

I could go on…but I think it is clear that contextually these stories and most likely the entire bible, were man made from start to finish. How modern day rational people can’t see that the bible is riddled with un-Godlike, but very human, behavior is astounding to me.

…Sometimes a burning bush, is just a burning bush.

Ignore Probability & Logic, Just Take It On Faith!

funny-picture-1142018091Let’s suppose you had knowledge of an impending storm that had the potential to destroy everything in its path. This very same storm was 24 hours away. What would you do to spread the message to your family, friends, and neighbors? You might phone them, email them, drive to find them or tell everyone you know to spread the word. All rational, sensible actions to take. Would you quietly call just one person and tell him to secretly meet you so that he could pass your message on for you?

This is exactly what we are meant to believe God did. With our eternal salvation on the line, God chose to speak in secret with one person at a time (Moses, Abraham, Joseph Smith, etc.) in order to spread the word. Convenient that for most of God’s or his minion’s appearances there weren’t many or any witnesses.

We are told that Jesus was born by an immaculate conception. Says who, Mary? How difficult would it be for a woman who may have bore another man’s child without the knowledge or, I’m assuming, consent of her husband to lie? Is this really that difficult to believe? Remember this was the bronze age, a time period filled with illiterate and ignorant people ruled more by superstition than reason. Imagine further that to keep up the subterfuge upon his birth, the child is told he is the son of God and was born from a virgin mother. The lie becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

Am I suggesting this is what happened? No. I don’t know and neither do you or anyone (I’m talking to you Christians) who suggests they do. I do believe that this is FAR more plausible a foundational story for Christianity than Jesus being born of a virgin mother, curing the blind, walking on water, dying on the cross and resurrecting three days later thereby washing away all my naughty deeds. This leads us to the title of this article, religion is a setup.

Why would a God purposely put into motion a set of circumstances so preposterous, so witness-less, and then penalize mankind for not following it blindly; and by blindly, I mean just on faith. Think about it. If you were going to hold people eternally accountable for their actions, wouldn’t you at least give them reasonable assurances that what they were being asked to do was what you truly intended for them to do? You wouldn’t leave your true meaning shrouded in mystery . Your expectations would be clearly defined and verifiable.

You would never couch something so important in riddles and decades old hearsay. If there truly was an all powerful and all knowing God, he/she wouldn’t either.

Ray Comfort Responded Predictably

Ray Comfort has responded to the counter offer from Richard Dawkins regarding Comfort’s debate challenge. In a predictable statement, Comfort said…

Richard Dawkins told a news reporter that he will debate me for $100,000 per hour. He is afraid, and he thinks he’s safe because I won’t pay that much money for an hour of his time.


[Dawkins] is also a giant among intellectuals, and for years I have listened to him spout his blasphemies against God. I’m a nobody from a sheep-herding country, but I can see a gap in his armor. There’s an army of atheists hiding behind Mr. Dawkins waiting for him to feed me to the birds, and he is proving to be nothing but hot air.

What an embarrassment to the atheist community.

I have said that I will give him $40,000 an hour.  Let’s see what he says.

I doubt that fear is what Dawkins is feeling and I’m sure he does think he’s safe, but not for the reasons Comfort probably thinks. And yes, Comfort is a nobody… a nobody with silly, non-scientific claims… which is why Dawkins shouldn’t lend him any credibility by appearing on stage with him. Most of the comments I’ve read from atheists don’t want Dawkins to debate him for just that reason. They’re not “hiding behind Mr. Dawkins” waiting for him to destroy Comfort’s arguments. So Dawkins is far from an embarrassment.

As for the $40,000, why is Comfort trying to barter down the worth of God’s word? It certainly looks like that’s what he’s trying to do (not that I think “God’s word” is worth anything to start with, but Comfort certainly does). He’s also misrepresenting the recipient of the target amount. Dawkins doesn’t want the money for himself. He wants Comfort to donate the money (tax-deductible) to the Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, a non-profit organization.

Comfort also says…

All Mr. Dawkins has to do is go into a BBC radio studio in his home town of Cambridge and give 30 minutes on why God doesn’t exist. He doesn’t even have to acknowledge that I exist.

That’s odd because his original offer was for Dawkins to participate in an actual debate with each participant having a chance to respond to the other. This new requirement seems to change not only the time involved, but any chance for Dawkins to directly respond to any of Comfort’s retorts. It’s like Comfort is trying to make the whole thing more one-sided as the he tries to negotiate the price.

Go figure.

(thanks to Karen on Bligbi for the heads up)

Hope Springs Eternal

Richard DawkinsI mentioned earlier that Ray Comfort has challenged Richard Dawkins to a debate about the existence of God and why Evolution is scientific. Comfort was even offering to pony up $10,000 to Dawkins (or the charity of his choice) as an incentive.

My hope was that Dawkins would refuse the offer with an appropriately scathing reply, but not too publicly so as not to give Comfort any undue media exposure.

Well, it seems Dawkins did just that… but in an enhanced manner. Check it out. It’s definitely worth a read.

Dawkins responded on his own web forum. He didn’t specifically decline, per se, but upped the ante a bit. In order for him to accept the “debate” challenge, Comfort would have to donate $100,000 to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. It’s beautiful.

Not only will Comfort probably not agree to that much money, but even if he did, he’d be making a significant donation to a charity organization that stands for everything he opposes. Dawkins’ counter-offer effectively negates Comfort’s assertion that scientists are afraid to debate creationists. However, if Comfort refuses to agree to the counter-offer because of the money issue, it could be said of him that he’s not strong enough in his convictions to think them worth $100,000. If there’s more at stake than a measly $10,000, perhaps Comfort doesn’t have the stomach to stand up for his beliefs.

It’s all well and good. I certainly still hope that such a “debate” never takes place since it would lend unwarranted validity to Comfort’s misleading statements and outright lies. Nor would it serve any productive purpose. As I’ve mentioned before, it takes far less time and energy to make up lies than it does to refute them all scientifically… and Comfort is a master at making up lies.

Perhaps that is the Way of the Master.

Dawkins vs. Comfort? I hope not.

CrocoDuckIt seems that the logic-challenged evangelist, Ray Comfort, has challenged Richard Dawkins to a debate about the existence of God and why evolution is scientific. Comfort is also “sweetening the offer” by offering $10,000 (win, lose, or draw) to Dawkins, either to him or to the charity of his choosing.

From the article:

“Sadly, I have found that even evolution’s most staunch believers are afraid to debate, because they know that their case for atheism and evolution is less than extremely weak,” Comfort said. “I would be delighted (and honored) if Mr. Dawkins has the courage to debate me, but I’m not holding my breath.”

I have a few comments here.

First, Comfort is already known to be ignorant of the topic of Evolution. He’s also known to be an outright liar about it. I have no doubt that Dawkins could heap monumental amounts of scientific evidence for Evolution onto Comfort, but it would all be ignored completely… or dismissed with Comfort’s smug and infantile “But how do you know? It takes a lot of faith to believe all that.” I don’t see any point in Dawkins partaking in that sort of debate.

Second, Comfort is known to use the most absurd arguments for his points ad nauseum (every building has a builder, prove Darwin existed, are you a good person, there’s no evidence for evolution, females and males would have had to evolve separately, atheists don’t exist, etc), despite each point having been soundly debunked repeatedly from many different sources. There’s little doubt that he would do the same thing in a debate with Dawkins. Why waste the time?

Third, Comfort’s Creationist points are absurd, unprovable, and unscientific. If Comfort wants to advance his Creationist agenda, perhaps he should take Nicholas Gotelli’s advice and publish his ideas in some peer-reviewed scientific journals. As Professor Gotelli says, scientific disproof of evolutionary theory or scientific proof of God’s existence would be “Nobel Prize winning work” and would be eagerly published by many scientific journals. None of Comfort’s arguments, however, have any scientific basis, so he’s pretty much out of luck there. It doesn’t stop him from perpetrating his lies, however.

Forth and finally, I don’t think Comfort should get the press time. Having Dawkins agree to debate Comfort would be like a battle of the bands between The Rolling Stones and a local junior high school garage band… only that the garage band members would have to be making grandiose claims about how their musical genius and instrumental skills far surpass anything that the Stones have ever possessed… and the extra publicity would just fan their flames and subject their suburban neighbors to more horrid 3:00 am “practices” at screechingly high, sound-distorting volumes, waking babies and raising blood pressures.

I doubt Dawkins is “afraid to debate” Comfort. I rather suspect that Dawkins would think the idea absurd and realize that it would be a no-win situation since Comfort has no need (or compulsion, it seems) to rely on facts, evidence, or even truth.

I sincerely hope that Dawkins declines with an appropriately scathing response… publicly enough that those interested in the topics can read the response, but not publicly enough that Comfort would get any decent press out of it. Comfort will, no doubt, use a declination to support his claim that “evolution’s most staunch believers are afraid to debate,” but he’ll do it in his own little bubble of a venue, gaining no additional notoriety, and will be refuted by his readers only.

That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway.

Hitting the Nail on the Head

Nicholas Gotelli, a professor of Biology at the University of Vermont, evidently received an invitation to debate someone from the Discovery Institute on evolutionary science and intelligent design. PZ Myers posted about it on Pharyngula, including the original invitation and the response from Professor Gotelli.

It’s one of the best responses I’ve seen to the shenanigans of the Discovery Institute and other Creationist nutjobs. Head on over and give it a read. You’ll see gems like this…

Instead of spending time on public debates, why aren’t members of your institute publishing their ideas in prominent peer-reviewed journals such as Science, Nature, or the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences? If you want to be taken seriously by scientists and scholars, this is where you need to publish. Academic publishing is an intellectual free market, where ideas that have credible empirical support are carefully and thoroughly explored. Nothing could possibly be more exciting and electrifying to biology than scientific disproof of evolutionary theory or scientific proof of the existence of a god. That would be Nobel Prize winning work, and it would be eagerly published by any of the prominent mainstream journals.

That’s just beautiful.