Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fascism Rising and Ron Paul's Vendetta

Maybe you weren't paying attention, or maybe (no, not maybe, they didn't) the news media didn't report it, so this, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act slipped under your radar. It was passed by the House with only 6 dissenting votes (yeah, the Democrats are the friends of civil liberties, sure they are) and was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Jane Harman. Wake up America! While you've been couch potatoing your way through life with the drugs of sports, video games and beer, our once free republic has been moving ever closer to becoming a fascist empire. Watch the two videos below and then join the revolution. Ron Paul may not become president, but he has planted the seed of liberty in the hearts and minds of millions. Maybe, if we all cultivate it, it will grow into a real restoration of the constitution.



Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Evil, Government Loving, Warmongering Mitt Romney

Tampa Bay morning radio host interviews Mitt Romney and during the interview Romney makes fun of and laughs at Ron Paul, causing host Mark Larsen to announce he will vote for Paul. Larsen mentions a 1% VAT to replace the income tax. Romney replies that you would not begin to raise enough money that way. How much is enough Mitt? He says "I'm all in favor of getting rid of the unfair complications in our tax code", in other words, just like every other lying, scum bag politician, Romney has no intention of ever getting rid of the IRS or the income tax.

Romney goes on to state that we have to take care of our elderly (yes, Mitt, but does the federal government have to do it) and keep a military that will protect us and that's 80% of the budget and will grow as more people retire. He's saying, basically, that big government will be with us forever, so why is so-called "conservative" Bay Buchanan supporting this asshole?

Oh, and Mitt, what do the following troop levels have to do with "protecting" Americans:

Number of US troops in Germany, 69,395. In Japan, 35,307. In Korea, 32,744. In Italy, 12,258. In the United Kingdom, 11,093.

Let's just keep taxing and spending ourselves into ruin, right, Mitt? Ron Paul was the only hope this year and he will not win. Reality intrudes and forces me to conclude politics is nearly hopeless and, as Larsen says "It doesn't matter who you vote for, Obama, Clinton, Romney or McCain, they will not change the tax code. They're all on the same page."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Educating Dan The Educator

An atheist responds to a typically uniformed (or lying) theist:

As an atheist all my adult life, I can tell you exactly what atheism is: It is the lack of belief in any sort of theism. It is simply the response to theism of saying, "I don't believe it." It's the rejection of the belief in any god or gods. That's all it is. It's knowing one doesn't have to be locked into a god-belief, and opting out (or never getting sucked into it to begin with). It's being free from the addictive superstitions of religion, seeing that religion and morality are two entirely separate things. There is absolutely no call for an atheist to "explain" themselves — the burden of proof is entirely upon one who presents something as true; i. e. the theist. Theists make the most outrageous claims, without any proof that stands up to close examination. Atheists don't believe them.

The Mr. Valenti she is responding to made the following idiotic statements (my comments follow each of Sky-Daddy loving Dan's paragraphs):

The author fails to offer compelling evidence that the "no God" argument is worthy of being taken seriously. This has always been atheism's great polemic weakness. Having to argue the existence of an alleged non-existence, it must deny God by referring to God. The poor atheist must accept this on faith and hope others will do the same.

I had to read the above twice to really believe someone could write something so shockingly devoid of reason and logic. Keep in mind this arrogant jackass is "A writer, broadcaster, and educator" and " the author of 12 books" (see here).

Let's educate "educator" Dan Valenti. First, no evidence is needed not to believe in something for which no evidence has been provided. What evidence can Mr. Valenti produce to show why his non-belief in Islam is justified (I'm assuming he is not a Muslim)? If he does not believe that the Koran is God's word and Muhammad is his prophet then Mr. Valenti is just going to have to deny Allah by referring to Allah. Poor non-Muslim Dan Valenti must accept this nonexistence of Allah on faith and hope others will do the same.

Is it fair to use such an argument against Mr. Valenti for his failure to see the truth of Islam? Of course not, yet he uses the same argument against atheists, who do not assert anything when it comes to gods, but simply ask theists to provide the evidence that justifies believing in invisible supernatural beings. I'm confident Dan "The Educator" Valenti would expect Muslims to provide real evidence that their beliefs are true before he adopts their religion as his own.

May I ask just what it is Dan Valenti thinks atheists have "faith" in? Does Mr. Valenti think it takes faith not to believe in fairies, bigfoot, leprecauns and other numerous magical beings that some claim exist? If I told Dan the Educator that an invisible magic elephant occupies my living room, would he need "faith" NOT to believe it? Yet such inane, illogical reasoning is typical of the god-believer. No wonder atheists think religous belief is nonsense, when even "educated" theists can't defend it without resorting to logical fallicies.

More of Dan "The 'Educator'" Valenti's self-refuting words:

It's easy to show how atheism unravels as an exercise in logic. On the basis of his own lack of experience, and discounting the overwhelming evidence of historical human experience, the atheist deductively concludes there is no God then advances that faulty major premise as an article of faith, one that dooms subsequent reasoning. However valid, the argument cannot be true.

Since Mr. Valenti has no experience of being a Muslim, I guess he is discounting the overwhelming evidence of the historical Muslim experience, deductively concluding that Allah does not exist. He must also believe that the Sun orbits the earth, as the overwhelming evidence of human experience proved that it did for centuries. And please, what "article of faith" is he referring to? Does he hold it as an article of faith that Zeus and Thor do not exist?

The nonsense continues:

Truth, however, is the atheist's first victim. Instead of the wondrous presence of the universe and everything in it, which by moral certainty we know exists, the nonbeliever presents life as an empty, uncaused desert populated by a human species prone to savagery.

Assertions but no evidence, the lazy theist's stock in trade, is the best that this "educator" can come up with. The truth has always been the victim of mysticism and superstition. The way of religion, with its elevation of faith over observation and reason, and its consequently magical view of the universe, only leads to false beliefs. But mystical Dan states that truth is the victim of atheism, in the same way, I suppose, as nonbelief in astrology makes truth a victim. He further states the obvious and makes the daring claim that the universe exists and is a wondrous place, as indeed it is, but I've never known an atheist to deny this. The facts are quite contrary to Danny Boy's (he has the philosophy of a child, so I think boy is an apt description, of his mind if not his body) moronic view, for it is the theist who ultimately must deny the universe and existence its rightful place of primacy and substitute it and give its glory to an invisible, imagined super-being that the boys and girls call "god." Theism in all its forms denigrates this world and this life and instead worships the unknowable. It says that there is another, better world to come, and leads people to become disillusioned with the wonders of reality and instead long for those imaginary streets of gold that exist nowhere but in the fevered dreams of the Dan Valenti's of the world. Mr. Valenti projects his own hatred of the real world onto the atheist, making the nonbeliever into the one who sees life as empty, when nothing like that follows from rejection of god-belief. It is Danny Boy who thinks this life and universe would be empty without his sky-daddy, and so accuses the atheist of holding to such a view. But of course it is the theist who distorts the truth of the wonders and fulfillment of a real life in a real world, and who can't see how anyone else can see it differently without also playing the theistic game of sky-daddy (tyrant) make-believe.

More from Mr. B.S.:

Of course atheism is growing, but not because adherents find the message captivating. Rather, they embrace your position because it avoids the duty of finding out firsthand about God, a lifetime effort that finds no place in an Instant Age where attention spans die on the keyboards of high tech. In the era of surfing the net on a computer while text messaging on a phone while listening to an iPod while watching TV, the capacity for sustained awareness and focus spirituality presumes has little chance.

I would like to ask Sky-Daddy Dan (that has a nice ring to it, but maybe I should say Sky-Daddy freak Dan) how he gained this "firsthand" knowledge of "God". It doesn't take a lifetime to know that the Sun and moon exist, or for you to confirm that another person exists. I can even, without confirming directly through years of investigation and experiment, come to near certainty of the reality of most any fact in at most a matter of weeks by reviewing what experts in a particular field have discovered. That Danny Boy Valenti states it takes a lifetime of sustained awareness of his invisible magical world to discover its "truth" only confirms the imaginary and nonexistent nature of it.

The Sky-Daddy Freak continues with his unrelenting torrent of dog crap:

There's no such thing as honest atheism. Those who openly declare God doesn't exist stand indicted by their own pointing fingers...they unreasonably and illogically embrace an irrational assertion they have no way of proving.

How many times, oh Danny Boy, do atheists have to explain to you something you should have firmly grasped at least by the time you graduated from high school? Its called the BURDEN OF PROOF, and it falls to the one making the assertion, i.e., the one claiming something (such as that an invisible all-powerful Sky-Daddy exists). There is no obligation to "prove" that something doesn't exist unless that something has already been proven to exist. Please "prove" that my invisible magic elephant doesn't exist. Can't do it? Then by your own words you are "irrational". But then, astute observers have always known that theists are usually hypocrites and never consistently follow their strange and incoherent reasoning.

Educator Dan must have been trained at the Goebbels school of propaganda (if you tell a lie often enough it becomes "the truth", especially when you accuse your opponent of doing exactly what you're doing) in order to produce this next sentence:

Atheists, as it turns out, believe things much more fantastic and absurd than those they mock.

And what things, dear Danny Boy, do atheists mock? Dying and rising god-men? The efficacy of petitionary prayer (no study has ever confirmed that prayer is anything more than talking to oneself, and in fact the studies that have been done show it has no effect at all)? That flying planes into buildings will earn you an immediate place in heaven and the services of 72 virgins? Yes, only a Sky-Daddy freak could believe it is more absurd to deny such things than to embrace them. Thank you, Educator Dan, for enlightening us all.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Atheist Quotes

Penn Jillette on Selling Skepticism

From here:

"My original pitch for 'Bulls**t!' was very simple. I just said, 'In the debate between the scientist and the nut, on television the nut always wins. Everybody prefers to see a nut -- they're more fascinating.'"

The Liberation of Music

From Dissident Voice

Upon going to the website, you’ll see two options. One says “I want to directly support the artists involved in the creation of this music ($5).” The other reads “I’m not concerned about that. I just want the music (Free).” Clicking on either will get you an electronic version of Saul Williams’ The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!

The announcement that NiggyTardust would be released in direct-to-download format came right on the heels of the release of Radiohead’s In Rainbows. That album went platinum within three days of hitting the web in a similar format. Williams, though well respected in the slam poetry and alternative hip-hop scenes, is hardly the household name of Radiohead. This makes Niggy all the more brave. It is a test on whether musicians can do without the ever parasitic record industry.

Read the Full Article

God's "Love"

"God so hated the world, that he sent his only son, so that whoever does not believe in him will perish and burn in hell for ever and ever." - Anonymous

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Stolen Election and the Criminal in the White House

I am ashamed to admit that I voted for W in 2000. I based my vote then on his claim to want a more humble foreign policy and his statement that he was against "nation building." The subsequent events of the last seven years have revealed a Republican party high-jacked by the neocons and an abandonment of anything that could be called conservative. Good-bye Republican party, you will never earn my vote again (unless Ron Paul is nominated, but you red state fascists are too stupid to nominate the only person running for the office of President who would return us to constitutional liberty). The Democrats aren't much better, even on the war, but the only chance we have to reverse course is to elect one (though please NOT Hillary)! I am currently still supporting Ron Paul and rooting for Obama on the Democratic side.

Reading assignments:

On the stolen 2000 election: The Betrayal of America by Vincent Bugliosi.

On impeaching the Criminal-in-Chief: The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens by Elizabeth Holtzman and Cynthia L. Cooper

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Sign of What America Will Look Like Under President Hillary Clinton?

I found the following "poll" here:

Who do you think will secure the Democrat nomination in the 2008 US election ?

Hillary Clinton 1 (100%)

Barack Obama 0 (0%)

John Edwards 0 (0%)

Votes so far: 1

Poll closed

For a real reason not to want another Clinton Presidency, go here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Fool Has Said...

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Psalm 53:1 (also Psalm 14:1)

Read the above carefully. What does it say? I'm not concerned about the fool part. I couldn't care less about the opinions of dead bible writers. I also don't give a damn (hey, if it was good enough for Rhett, its good enough for me, I don't need to use stronger language) about the narrow-minded opinions of narrow-minded Christian morons. No, what I'm referring to is where the atheist says "There is no God", in his heart. Think about that. The fool does not say in his mind there is no deity, but in his heart.

How many atheists are atheists because they searched for God but could not find Him (Her?). I would guess quite a lot. That was true in my own case. I never wanted to "hate" God. I simply gave up the search. I was a born-again Christian for many years. When I finally concluded it wasn't the truth, I became an atheist, but that didn't last long. I still wanted the comfort of believing, thinking, wrongly I now realize, that I needed God to give my life meaning and purpose, and to get through the hard times. I really thought, like most theists, that I would be less alone in this sometimes harsh world if God was "with" me. So after Christianity I considered Islam (I bought every book I could find on it. I remember going to used bookstores and nearly buying out the Islamic sections of their shelf's. I had a Muslim friend who sort of influenced me in that direction as well, and I seriously looked into the religion) , I also considered Judaism (the Jewish emphasis on goodness as opposed to salvation based on what you believe appealed to me greatly), before finally settling on theism without religion, or Philosophical Theism. I thought I could have my cake and eat it too, but the problem of evil became too much to overcome in the end. I also knew that God was completely silent. I prayed for answers, for a sense once again of God's presence, for any kind of sign He was there (I did sometimes get my hopes up, looking at every seeming coincidence as if it meant something, but then I would remember all the disconfirming evidence around me and within my own life and the lives of those I knew and loved).

One thing that really makes me angry is the asinine view that atheists don't reject God because they can't believe intellectually, but because they are in moral revolt against God's rules, e.g., sexual behavior, etc. What utter bullshit (there, I used a bit of a stronger word, happy now)? That idea is even repeated endlessly by so-called "sophisticated" Christians such as the nasty little theist Dinesh D'Souza. Well, I even spent time (in my weaker moments) with some Jehovah's Witnesses and some Mormons, hoping I could find something in those faiths that was real. But I could no longer believe. I tried but it was impossible. I would have gladly accepted all the restrictions on behavior that religion tries to impose (usually unsuccessfully even among many of their most devout) because I wanted, with all my heart, to really believe there is a God who cares. The failure of so many sincere seekers to find this invisible God is only one more piece of evidence that such a God does not exist, for if He did, would he not reach out to His children and let them know He loves them and cares for them? Why would he let them become atheists after they have tried so hard to find him? Of course not all atheists have traveled this path, and some have never gone through a religious phase, but many, many have. Where was God when they were crying out to Him?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Be a Winner!

The other day I was at the post office to buy some stamps (yes, I still use snail mail). After I was done purchasing stamps (I'd actually gone to try and buy a single stamp, but the machine at this location would only sell them by the book, and I also noticed that the stamps were on thinner paper than regular stamps) I exited and as I was walking to my car I saw a religious tract taped to a pay phone (yes, there are still a few of those left; gee, stamps and pay phones in the 21st century, what's up with that)? and I grabbed it. You can see the cover to your left. It's from the Fellowship Tract League and from browsing their website, they have an abundance of tracts to choose from. Most of the tracts they have available seem to be text only, but this one is a comic (though atrociously drawn, see this page). The story inside tells of a teenager involved in "booze...drugs" and apparently triple X porn (there is a magazine pictured with PORN across the top and XXX taking up the rest of the cover). I wonder about the people who feel the need to leave these things everywhere, though maybe this next tract from the same source explains it:

I wonder what those Evangelical Christians who deny that hell is a place of literal flames (they only have come to this position because we as a society no longer believe torture is a legitimate form of punishment, so their "Hell" has become a bit more humane) think of the millions in this country and around the world that still do believe such a monstrously evil idea. Of course don't expect them to denounce such a horrific doctrine, for they reserve their condemnations for non-Christians only (I'm talking about conservative evangelicals, you understand, not the theologically liberal) and any disagreement with other "brothers and sisters in Christ" is an "in-house" debate. Therefore believing in such awful and evil things does not disqualify one from being a "true" Christian. Sickening! You'll notice the cover of the Hell tract says "thousands of degrees hot." Can anyone seriously believe that a god that would create such a place and send people there FOREVER could be called good? Would not such a being instead be a demon of great evil?

Who then is a winner? Those who free themselves from such restricted thoughts and unburden their minds and their lives from the shackles of religious dogma. Those who live for this life in this real world, instead of the imaginary, invisible world of Heaven and the sadistic torture chamber called Hell. Those who love this life and cherish it because they know it won't last forever, instead of those who long for another world no one has ever seen and who can't wait for the "rapture".

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Jerry Falwell was right when he said "If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being." That's what I thought when I was a "born again." Even then I used to wonder about all the great men and women of history that weren't saved and that had gone or were going to hell. They seemed so much more worthy to me than the "great" Christians of history. I suppressed such thoughts, of course. I "knew" that human beings were fallen and depraved and that all our goodness was as "filthy rags" in the sight of God. The born-agains speak of the blindness of the unbeliever. They need to look in the mirror.

You may have seen the video below before, but it's worth watching again. Always, think for yourself. And if you find yourself doubting, don't dismiss those doubts as satanic temptations. Look into your heart, be willing to examine what you believe, and then start thinking for yourself, and live!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Atheist Radio

The Twin Cities have a new radio program, courtesy of Minnesota Atheists and KTNF-AM 950. Minnesota Atheists founder August Berkshire will be one of the hosts of the Sunday morning show.

A former Catholic altar boy, he said he gradually lost his belief in God after watching the rather mundane behind-the-scenes routine of church services. He watched how, after the magical "theater" of Mass, priests would put away their robes and wine and just get on with their day.

"It's very demystifying," Berkshire said. "The priest is just a nice guy doing his best to help people - but he doesn't have knowledge of anything supernatural."

Some may dismiss this, but it's actually a profound insight. It's the realization that the whole of religion is just make believe; God is invisible but we must believe he's there, God answers prayer, only there is no confirming evidence that he does so, etc.

Another host of the new show will be Bjorn Watland:

He said he joined the organization last year as a form of support when his mother "flipped out" upon learning he was an atheist.
Mom has recovered, he said, but atheism still carries a stigma - even among those in his generation.
"The biggest thing I want to get out of the show is tolerance of the atheist perspective," he said.

This is another good point, for contrary to Christian delusions, the last group it's still okay to hate are the atheists. The University of Minnesota in 2006 surveyed over 2000 people and 47.6 percent said they would not want their son or daughter to marry an atheist, while 33.5 percent said the same about marrying a Muslim and less than 7 percent said so of a conservative Christian. This kind of fear and prejudice must end.

To read the entire article go here.

Below are the words and video of a young atheist (from Notice near the end where she talks about a Christian assuming she knows nothing of the Christian experience or Christianity. I've run into this myself when talking to Christians. It's very common for them to say that non-Christians don't understand the Christian religion, even when those non-Christians are ex-Christians!

I'm Nikki, and I'm an atheist. I think the word atheist can often be interpreted as a bad thing, but I'm hoping this and future videos will show that it can be otherwise. Since coming out of the atheist closet (which was actually pretty recent), I feel fantastic! No longer do I hold the world view that the most powerful being ever created the universe with me in mind- a rather egotistical way to look at things if you think about it. That may sound a bit depressing to those of faith, but think about it. It's not that your life holds no meaning, it's that your life really is what you make of it. How freeing!

Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Anno Domini

A Missouri state senator wants to legislate the mandatory use of BC and AD.

Worried about a push to take the religious references out of time, a state senator has filed a bill that would mandate the use of B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini or “Year of our Lord”). Many historians and textbook publishers have switched to B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era) as a nod toward non-Christians.

Asked about the implications for school textbooks, the senator responded “Publishers that want it used in Missouri should stick with current standards”, meaning B.C. and A.D. as opposed to the evil and secular B.C.E. and C.E. This isn't the first time officials have caved to such religious nonsense on dating:

The Kentucky state school board in 2006, under pressure from religious groups, reversed a two-month old policy to also use B.C.E. and C.E. in schools. Education officials there said the policy was designed to prepare students taking college placement tests for the terminology.

With the country going down the path of endless wars and economic collapse, these are the kinds of issues that the crazies focus on. But we are not supposed to question the "value" of Christianity, even as it continues to turn brains to mush.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Young Atheist and A Moment of Silence

14 year old Dawn Sherman has a lawsuit challenging something called the Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act. I don't have a lot of comments on this (you can read the story yourself) but I note that after one incident where the young student protested the inclusion of God Bless America on the playlist of songs to be played in the school hallways, the following took place: "After the God Bless America incident, someone egged the Shermans' house, stuck a church bulletin to the front door and chalked religious graffiti at the end of the driveway, misspelling Jesus." Chalk can be washed away, but have you ever tried to clean up the aftermath of an egging? I have. Some neighborhood kids egged my car (and others, I wasn't being singled out) repeatedly. This kind of behavior is usually attributed to a lack of proper parenting, or religious values. But how then is the behavior explained when it is done in the name of religion? And where is the Christian protest against this kind of hatred? If asked most would probably condemn it (although I'm not so sure they would in their hearts, most likely thinking instead that it serves the filthy atheists right) but why do we hear these same sorts of stories over and over, with atheists who are too vocal about their non-belief having their property vandalized or getting threats, etc., from such nice, loving, "What would Jesus do?" Christians? Love your enemies and turn the other cheek my ass! Maybe if you jerks followed the words of your own bible people might really take you more seriously. I also liked the part about Jesus being misspelled. Christianity really does make you stupid. (The young atheist girl is an A student.)

Science, Peanut Butter and the Origin of Life

Idiotic Creationist Arguments vs. Science

Thursday, January 10, 2008

How to Solve the Problem of Evil in One Easy Step

This post is a result of comments that you'll find recorded here . There is much more to it than the narrow focus of this particular post, but I'll probably get to the topic of Irish farmers and their uncanny ability to explain away Biblical atrocities later. For now, though, I present for your edification:

The Problem of Evil Solved in One Simple Step or Never Trust the Reasoning Skills of a Kiwibear.

The problem of evil is an age old one and it has stumped the theologians since the first time someone brought up the inconvenient truth that apparently needless suffering exists in a world watched over by an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good god.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy puts it this way:

If God exists, then God is omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect.
If God is omnipotent, then God has the power to eliminate all evil.
If God is omniscient, then God knows when evil exists.
If God is morally perfect, then God has the desire to eliminate all evil.
Evil exists.
If evil exists and God exists, then either God doesn't have the power to eliminate all evil, or doesn't know when evil exists, or doesn't have the desire to eliminate all evil.
Therefore, God doesn't exist.

One of the strange Christians (I say strange because they are of that breed that you can never win a point against; they either deny they believe something, e.g., that the bible is inerrant, or that unbelievers go to hell, or they simply are so stubborn they can't admit to any error) debating over at Debunking Christianity challanged this Tri-Omni, i.e., omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent, definition as what is being argued against when formulating the problem, stating the following:

The starting premise of the atheist argument is the tri-omni God. If we accept, for the sake of argument, that God is omniscient then the manner in which God exercises benevolence and power is by definition the best - by definition the omniscient God knows best, even if you...or I may think we know better!

It poor argument to cite an apparent contradiction between omni-benevolence and the existence of evil to disprove a tri-omni God while conveniently ignoring omniscience -
It is patent arrogance to argue that one knows better than an omniscient God - it is just silly to use that as the basis for demonstrating that such a God does not exist!

This person goes by the strange moniker of akakiwibear. You'll notice they did acknowledge omniscience as an attribute of god that the argument includes, but then oddly make the contrary assertion that omniscience is being ignored! This individual is seriously confused, as will be seen shortly (if it's not already evident from the quote above). However, it seems what they actually mean is that including omniscience solves the problem! In other words, God knows more than we do and so there must be a good reason for the existence of so much evil, so you stupid atheists are just arguing against an all-good, all-powerful god, but can't argue against an all-knowing god. What this ignores, of course, is that god could be omniscient without being omnibenevolent, but this never occurs to our Christian thinker. He/she just continues to promote the assertion without ever providing an iota of evidence (and some get upset when atheists say Christianity denigrates reason and muddles men's thinking).

In my response to the Kiwi, I accused said bear of a logical fallacy:

Dear Akakiwibear. It is precisely because of that supposed omniscience that the argument from evil arises, so no one is "ignoring" it. You are simply begging the question, though I do congratulate you on perfecting the art of circular reasoning.

I would also suggest you not accuse others of "poor argument" and "arrogance" while engaging in such things yourself.

Here is the bear's reply:

Sean, “it is precisely because of that supposed omniscience that the argument from evil arises” not so! The argument from evil is normally stated as based on the premise of omni-benevolence and omnipotence only, excluding omniscience, for precisely the reason I outlined.

“I do congratulate you on perfecting the art of circular reasoning” Thank you sean, I strive for perfection in all I do, but I have to be modest and admit that it is not really perfectly circular.

P1 – God is omniscient.
P2 – sean has a smarter way of doing things than God

Conclusion – God is not omniscient or any other unsupported conclusion you wish to draw as the two statements are mutually exclusive unless sean is omniscient and therefore God

Sheer genius! Aka has silenced all us fools with this stunning logic. Not!

I will let someone who is much closer to genius than kiwibear answer this, one Shygetz, who replied:

akaki, you are seriously begging the question in your defense, although you seem not to realize it.

Omniscience is always a part of the PoE. It has to be. If it's not, then a completely rational defense to any gratuitously evil act is that God simply didn't know about it, so couldn't stop it.

You claim that omniscience means that God "knows best". This is strictly true, but it does not imply what you seem to feel it implies.

The PoE (in one of its forms) states that:

1.) God is 3O.
2.) An omnibenevolent being would prevent any suffering that is not strictly necessary for greater good
3.) Unnecessary suffering exists.

Just because God knows what would prevent unnecessary suffering doesn't mean He's willing to do it. He may be evil or impotent.

You may claim that unnecessary suffering does not exist, but that is a hard claim to swallow. First of all, you must defend the seemingly absurd claim that ANYTHING is necessary to a literally all-powerful being who can change reality with a thought. Second, even if you acheive that, you must defend the absolute necessity of the multitudes of suffering that have no possible apparent use. Did a child swept away in the tsunami need to suffer every single microsecond that she did drowning after being ripped away from her parents? Just one instant of suffering beyond what was necessary for an omnipotent being to acheive some "greater good" violates the 3O God.

What you are doing is declaring without argument that all apparent unnecessary evils must be necessary solely by assuming a 3O God. In doing this you are begging the question/engaging in a circular argument, which is illogical.

I am not the greatest geometrist in the world, but if Euclid himself told me a triangle had four sides, I know enough to doubt either his sincerity or his sanity. Same with God--I may not be omniscient, but I'm smart enough to have a really good idea that not every single instance of suffering is strictly required by a 3O being to acheive some greater good that could not be acheived in some other manner with less suffering. I cannot infer by the PoE if God is ignorant, impotent, or evil (although I have my ideas which I have made quite public here), but I can infer that he must not be 3O.

Could a god with all three omnis still exist? Could JFK have survived his bullet wounds in Dallas and still be alive somewhere, living a low-profile life under a different identity? Do you know everything? You don't? Then I guess you have to admit it's possible. The real question is, how probable do you think it is?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The GodCam

Thanks to The Friendly Atheist for the GodCam link (that's where I found it). I've added it to the sidebar. It's always amazed me how the complete lack of evidence for something never deters the true believers.

Christian Nutjob Alert-Witchcraft Crisis

The following is from here. My commentary is in green.

When the day's news is about "witches," many Americans reflexively conjure up images of ugly, wicked hags from stories like "Snow White" and "The Wizard of Oz" – or more recently, the smiling "good witches" of Harry Potter books and films. But none of these fictional fantasies has anything to do with the real thing. The real thing – that is, the stunning phenomenon of more and more American housewives, students, professors, and even soldiers self-identifying as "witches" – is the topic of the January edition of WND's elite monthly Whistleblower magazine. WND never suprises me with their idiocy Titled "WITCHCRAFT IN AMERICA," Whistleblower explores Wicca in particular, and the New Age movement in general, in this dramatic, entertaining, but powerfully eye-opening and mind-boggling investigation. What's mind-boggling is that this is being investigated by something called "whistleblower" (blowing hot air is more likely) What is witchcraft? Is it the same as Wicca? Is it a form of Satan worship, as critics allege? They can never give up on the Satan worship idea Or can witches be good? no, no one can be good without Jesus, we all know that! Can they really cast spells that somehow call forth the spirits beyond the world of nature to help them accomplish their will – whether good or evil? Yes, all those invisible magic beings are at their command! Is magic real? As real as angels, demons and resurrected god-men, which means not very real at all Why do witches often perform their ceremonies naked? Sex maniacs? And most of all, why do so many people today aspire to be witches? So they can read funny blog posts like this one maybe? Wicca is an official, legal religion in the U.S., How horrible that anyone has the same first amendment rights as the Jesus freaks! and a fast-growing one at that. Judges have ruled that witches must be allowed to lead prayers at local government meetings, and that Wiccan convicts must be provided with requested "sacred objects" so they can perform spells in their cells. Witches in the armed services have even formed covens and routinely "worship" on U.S. military bases. How dare anyone worship anything but Biblegod!

George H. Smith and Howard Stern for Ron Paul

Monday, January 7, 2008

Richard Dawkins and the "Who Made God?" Question

The child's question "Who made God?" has never been answered by our Christian friends. It isn't a legitimate inquiry, they might say; or maybe they'll respond by stating God is outside of time so we can't ask something that appears so obviously in need of an answer. Here is a Christian's critique of Dawkins infinite regress objection to the "design inference".

They start by summarizing Dawkins' argument:

1. One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect has been to explain how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises.
2. The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself.
3. The temptation is a false one because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.
4. The most ingenious and powerful explanation is Darwinian evolution by natural selection.
5. We don’t have an equivalent explanation for physics.
6. We should not give up the hope of a better explanation arising in physics, something as powerful as Darwinism is for biology.

Then they point out what they believe are problems with Dawkins' argument:

The first problem with this premise is that it makes a fundamental mistake about the nature of explanation. In order to offer a good, compelling explanation of some phenomena, one does not need to offer an explanation of the explanation. If you think carefully about this, then you may notice that we could never explain anything using the Dawkins approach. Such an approach leads to an infinite regress. Any explanation you offer would need an explanation, that explanation would require an explanation, and so on forever. It would literally be impossible to have any knowledge.

You can see here how Christians typically turn things around and accuse others of doing exactly what they do. Theists are the ones who demand an explanation for the apparent design of the universe and then postulate "God" as their solution. Of course explanation stops somewhere, and at some point it is no longer productive to keep asking "why." Atheists stop with the Universe itself, as explanation is only possible within the context of existence, and therefore existence itself, the "universe", needs no explanation. For explanation to even be possible existence has to be taken as a given.

On the issue of biological design Dawkins' point is simply that God explains nothing as then we would have to explain who designed God and who designed God's designer and so on forever. The idea is that God would have to be very complex in order to design anything complex. As a typical theist, however, this Christian wants to stop with God, and not answer any troubling questions of where his god came from. Christians only ask "why" questions in order to get to god, so naturally they want stop at that point and are supremely irritated when thinking people refuse to comply.

Next it is asserted that Dawkins is wrong to state that God must be complex:

A second problem with this premise lies with Dawkins’ assumption that God is complex, and therefore cannot be invoked to explain the design in the universe. Although he constantly claims throughout his book that God is extraordinarily complex, he never actually defends this assertion. In fact, many theologians and philosophers have plausibly argued that God is actually very simple. God, as an immaterial mind, is not composed of any parts. Dawkins probably assumes that God must be complex because the human brain is complex, and God, as an omniscient being, obviously has a lot more knowledge than any human. However, God is not a brain, and so we need not assume that He is extraordinarily complex.

There are several problems with this approach. First, what does it mean to say that god is "simple"? We have no examples of something intelligent and capable of creating complex machines that is not also itself complex. That is not to say that complexity cannot arise from simplicity, for this is a fact of nature and is the whole argument of Darwinism in the first place. But that simplicity is not intelligent itself and does not create with purposeful intent. It is quite another thing altogether to just assert that your imagined creator is both "simple" and at the same time able to create complexity from nothing, answer prayer, perform miracles and know everything, but that he doesn't need to be designed himself.

But there is a further problem with this notion of a simple god. If god is so simple that he doesn't have any parts and is just pure mind (how this is possible no theist ever really explains) then what was he conscious of in eternity? To be conscious is by definition to be conscious and aware of something else, of something that exists external to your own mind. Therefore the concept of a god who is simple and has not even any parts to be aware of is incoherent. In other words, it doesn't make sense. So for a god to exist and create the universe it would have either had to be complex itself and therefore useless as an explanation for complexity, or so simple as to be pure mind, which is nonsense, for to assert such a thing takes consciousness out of context.

Then it is said that God is "timeless" and therefore doesn't need any explanation:

The final problem with Dawkins’ third premise is that, in this case, we don’t need an explanation of who designed the Designer, since God is, ex hypothesi, timeless. Since He never began to exist, there is no need to explain His existence (unlike, for example, the universe, which did begin to exist). This is not special pleading either, since atheists often claim that the universe does not require an external explanation because it has existed forever.

If god is a mind, then how does he exist timelessly? To think is to have one thought after another, in sequence, and this could not happen without time. The whole idea of a timeless mind is therefore also an incoherent idea. A timeless something that was not a conscious intelligence, however, could exist and that may be where our observable universe comes from. There is also no evidence that the universe as a whole "began to exist"; even the big bang theory does not require an absolute beginning to existence.

So, we are back where we started. Who made God?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

More Leftists for Ron Paul

Unlike some so-called "rational" atheists, many on the left are realizing the current political reality and are joining the Ron Paul Revolution.

Here are two more:

...I have become a single-issue voter. The two-front war in Iraq-Afghanistan continues to drag on; and I am thoroughly convinced that no viable Democratic nominee will stop these occupations. Read Ron Paul's Revolution By STAN GOFF

Mr. Goff obviously recognizes that minor side issues (such as Paul's view on evolution) are simply a diversion we can't afford at this time in US history. Our very survival as a free republic is what's at stake, including the freedom to debate religion and science.

And Joshua Frank writes :

The upside of Paul's campaign certainly outweighs the potential downsides. The critical issues now aren't Paul's plea to dismantle the welfare state (although cutting off all subsidies to corporate American would be fine by me), but his call to restore the Bill of Rights and drastically curb American Empire. I think most Iraqis living under US occupation would probably concur that ending the war ought to be priority number one for US voters this year. So why aren’t we listening? At this point Paul is the only candidate calling for a radical change in our Middle East foreign policy.

Yes, why aren't we listening?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Atheists and Ron Paul

Recently, some atheists have apparently completely lost it. Over here the atheist blogger calls Ron Paul a "moron." Why? Because he expressed a belief in God and has doubts about evolution. Maybe Paul is a Biblical Creationist and maybe he isn't, but it hardly matters. This thoughtful exponent of "rational thought" (words he has included in his blog's subheading) makes this moronic, irrational statement, quoting Ron Paul: he said "the creator that i know, Who created us and created the universe" - It's pretty much the definition of creationist.

Well, yes and no. If by "creationist" you mean someone who disbelieves in biological evolution as the explanation for the diversity of life, then believing in a creator doesn't necessarily lead to such a rejection of science. Our rational atheist writer, however, here fails to make the distinction. He say Paul believes in "The invisible sky daddy theory," but what has that got to do with Paul as potential President? Even if Ron Paul is a young earth creationist (and I don't know that he is), it has nothing to do with his ability to make decisions on public policy, especially not when his track record is so consistent and his reasoning so clearly visible over the years. So what motivates atheists like this? Another quote from our rational atheist might explain:

"But are Atheists right to abandon Ron Paul based solely on his views on evolution? Yes, They are. Simply because someone who claims to be a champion of reason, Evidence and rationality can't help but question the intelligence of someone who believes in biblical creation in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It would be hypocritical to demand evidence and rationality from everybody except the leader of your country.The argument has been made by a few atheists that while his views are wacky, It won't effect the decisions he will make as president. While i partially agree, That is irrelevant. A belief in Santa, Elves or pixies wouldn't directly effect the decisions a leader makes either, But it would cast doubt over that individuals ability to think rationally.If you want to call your self an Atheist and a champion of reason, You can't continue to support Ron Paul. If you want a rational leader, You can't put a creationist in to office."

It is hard to know what is going on here with this individual's thinking. The Ron Paul statement that got this debate started was not from Ron Paul injecting creationism into the campaign in a plot to steal evangelical votes from Huckabee, but came about because someone asked him the question. Here is how Paul answered:

"Well, at first I thought it was a very inappropriate question, you know, for the presidency to be decided on a scientific matter, and I think it's a theory, a theory of evolution, and I don't accept it, you know, as a theory, but I think it probably doesn't bother me. It's not the most important issue for me to make the difference in my life to understand the exact origin. I think the creator that I know created us, everyone of us, and created the universe, and the precise time and manner, I just don't think we're at the point where anybody has absolute proof on either side. So I just don't . . . if that were the only issue, quite frankly, I would think it's an interesting discussion, I think it's a theological discussion, and I think it's fine, and we can have our . . . if that were the issue of the day, I wouldn't be running for public office."

There are some striking things about Paul's statement. He never says he believes in a literal reading of Genesis and that understanding the exact origin is not that important. While atheists may not agree with Paul's uncertainty, this hardly qualifies as a reason to reject him completely as a candidate. Nor does Paul here come across as a ranting fundamentalist loon. The strange thing is, the atheist here seems to simply not want to vote for someone who believes in something he finds irrational. But where will he ever find a candidate who is completely rational by this narrow definition? If 85% or more of Americans believe in God, the odds are any candidate is going to believe in something that atheists find "irrational." And what is rationality when it comes to public policy anyway? Was voting for the Iraq mess or the Patriot Act rational? Ron Paul opposed both. Has Congress or the White House ever been a bastion of sanity?

The sad thing is, this particular atheist (and others) once saw in Paul a candidate who represented real hope.

I used to have a lot of respect for Ron Paul, He seemed like the only presidential candidate able to drag America out of the global mess they have found themselves in.

Another atheist blogger says: Consider any praise or endorsement I made for Ron Paul in the past to be retracted. When you say something completely idiotic like he are guaranteed to lose my vote and that of anybody else with any scientific knowledge in their head. His post is titled "Ron Paul shows he's just as stupid as the next politician." Really now, as stupid as all those politicians who are so completely opposite to Ron Paul? The politicians who vote in mass for things that truly threaten, like the Patriot Act? Just recently the US House voted for the SAFE Act a clear threat to Internet freedom, and Paul was one of only two congressmen to vote against it (no Democrat did). But according to this atheist, Paul is no different from the rest of them. Yep, that's clear-headed, rational thinking if I ever saw it.

What atheists like this show is that they are as stupid as the next Christian bible thumper, the only difference being, the atheist should know better.

Being an atheist is no guarantee that someone has the ability or skills to think clearly and rationally, as Christopher Hitchens' warmongering support for the neocon's foreign policy and certain atheist's rejection of Ron Paul make so immanently clear.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

On Supporting the "Lunatic" Ron Paul

The Left and Ron Paul

You asked for a treatise to explain my support for the "lunatic" Ron Paul. Since you asked, I'll send you some thoughts.


If we stipulate that a candidate polling at least 5% in national polls is a "major candidate," there is simply no other major candidate in 2008 who is more Jeffersonian, more committed to peace, justice, and democracy, than Ron Paul.


Ron Paul is the only major contender who calls for cutting off the billions of dollars of foreign aid we give to the Israeli government each year (and all other foreign aid as well, including the money going to Egypt and Colombia). None of the "progressive" Democrats care about justice for the Palestinians or dare to question the power of the pro-Israeli-government lobby. Congressman Paul does.

None of the leading Democrats voted against the Iraq War or the Patriot Act. Paul voted against both. All of the leading Democrats have voted time and again to fund the war in Iraq, thereby ceding the only power they have to end the war. Paul has always voted against Defense Department appropriations which include funding for the war. Unlike leading Democrats in the Clinton-Gore-Kerry tradition, Ron Paul opposes the death penalty because he believes in the sanctity of life.


Meanwhile, a principled leftist like Alexander Cockburn recently wrote, "Huckabee's single rival as a genuinely interesting candidate is another Republican, Ron Paul, who set a record a few days ago, by raising $6 million in a single day. Unlike Huckabee, Paul's core issues are opposition to the war and to George Bush's abuse of civil liberties inscribed in the U.S. Constitution. His appeal, far more than Huckabee, is to the redneck rebel strain in American political life--the populist beast that the US two-party system is designed to suppress. On Monday night Paul was asked on Fox News about Huckabee's Christmas ad, which shows the governor backed by a shining cross. Actually it's the mullions of the window behind him, but the illusion is perfect. Paul said the ad reminded him of Sinclair Lewis's line, that 'when fascism comes to this country it will be wrapped in a flag and bearing a cross.' In the unlikely event they had read Lewis, no other candidate would dare quote that line." (CounterPunch, December 22/23,

Read the rest.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Australia is Still Going to Hell

Back in November, Australian Prime Minister John Howard was defeated in elections and replaced by Labor party leader Kevin Rudd. Howard was an odious, warmongering Bush toady, and Rudd vowed to pull Australia's troops out of Iraq. Now new Labor Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy wants all internet service providers to provide clean feeds, or ISP filtering, to houses and schools that are free of pornography and inappropriate material. This will be mandatory and Conroy says "Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of the internet is like going down the Chinese road." Anyone wanting uncensored access to the internet will have to opt out of the service.

This of course is in the name of "protecting" the children, with Government playing the role of parent for the whole society. This only proves that when you get rid of one set of scumbags by throwing them out of office, you soon find out you've only replaced them with a new set of scumbags. When will we learn that "democracy" is just another name for a political game of musical chairs, with all the players cut from the same cloth, and with the public merely spectators, the perception of the people being in charge only illusion? This is what passes for "freedom." Government is evil and democracy sucks!
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