Friday, February 24, 2017

FFRF waxes indignant; ducks swim; birds fly

Challenged writer/thinker Hemant Mehta, yet again:

"Here’s one of the (many) problems with religious thinking: Even when there’s a perfectly rational explanation for something, you have to find a way to attribute it to the supernatural."

No, you only think this is so because YOU'RE A FUNDIE, HEMANT!!!!!!!!!

The famous locksmith punchline, revistied:

Me:  Why are you fundies, atheist and theist alike, convinced all believers are like yourselves?  And why can't the error in your non-reasoniong be successfully explained to you??
Atheist fundie:  Becuase we're fundies.  And because we're fundies.

Hemant is brilliant: he plays the really, really subtle and ingenious game of meaning all Christians when he specifies "conservative Christians."  He doesn't understand what it means to qualify something.

In other "news," back in 2012, this heinous act of vandalism happened to a really mature FFRF billboard:

I have issues with the devil's horns.  I mean, it should have been Mickey Mouse ears.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Myth: Atheists think conservative Christians hold all the power

What to do about all these ridiculous myths about atheists--how they allegedly act and what they allegedly believe?  False notions persist, despite the best efforts of atheists to debunk them.  For instance, heard the one about how atheists think conservative Christians rule the country?  What a joke!  Can you imagine atheists making such a claim?  I mean, really.  Good grief.  Nobody is enough of a moron to believe....

Um... er....


What to say?  I just talked to Westminster winner Rumor, and she's aghast--she honestly thought humans were smarter than that.

"Conservative Christians have all the power?  What moron or morons think that??"--Westminster winner Rumor, smarter than the cyber-atheist community put together, then squared, then multiplied by four.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Austin Cline explains it by declaring it so

Good Lord, read this: It's the greatest of all cyber-thinkers, Austin Cline, trotting out the "atheism is the absence of belief" bullshit, and, like, really explaining it: Austin Has Spoken.

As ever, disbelief has nothing to do with belief.  Except that, to anyone who can read or think, it of course has everything to do with it.  You know, I'm no longer able to believe in God, because if there were a God, why would God create something as deadly to the cause of lucid thinking as the cyber-atheist brain?

Not believing something is true isn't the same as believing it is not true.  I see.  Except that it absolutely IS.

I swear to God and Greyhound, the word games of atheists are fit for toddlers (though I don't advocate subjecting them to same).  Their "A is not the same thing as A" horse crap is puerile in the extreme, and one could be forgiven for concluding such notions were born in a mental home.  The idiot blather of pop atheism can't be properly refuted--or refuted at all--because it doesn't mean a goddamned thing to begin with.  That's the simple secret of pop atheism: gibberish cannot be refuted.  Speak it, and then dare people to prove you wrong.  Never mind that you're pissing on one of the fundamental don'ts of skepticism: the "Prove I'm not right" error.  Because rules (of any kind) do not apply to the great and awesome YOU.

Austin brilliantly refutes the "myth" that atheists are dodging responsibility for their own beliefs by CALLING IT A MYTH.  That settles it!!  No debate necessary.

I'll just sit here and shout the truth at you, as if shouting made it so.  Then I'll accuse other people of being irrational.

Just for kicks, here are some side by side atheist quotes--just the four I've assembled so far.  I'm using initials for the authors, not to respect their privacy or anything, but because I'm too lazy to type out their juvenile cyber-handles:

M: The basic problem is Christians, whose whole rationale is built on cosy certainties, just do not get it that atheists aren't saying there is no god.  (from Do Atheists Ever "Find God"?--F. Atheist)

MA: There are no gods. Time to grow up.  (from When It Comes to Faith-Based Violence, Americans Give Christianity an Undeserved Break--Friendly Atheist) 


Atheists are aggressive and rude (10 Myths Many Religious People Hold About Atheists,

AA: It is not God who makes (Christians) behave sacrificially; it is the fear of the club that god will insert into their ass that does the trick. (Billy Graham Can't Explain Why Some Atheists Are Good and Some Christians Are Not--FA)


Oops.  These folks have never heard of consistency, have they?

Just smile and wave.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wrong, wrong, wrong....

Last post, I wrote (and wrote and wrote) about the idiocy of applying scientific skepticism to every damn statement, since s.skepticsm has a very, very narrow application, at best.  It works for fielding bizarro claims, and it can serve an educational purpose when people like James Randi challenge the assertions of psychics and the like.  In both instances, there's a reason to challenge the claims in question.

For everyday claims, not so much.  Generally speaking, there simply is no justification, s.skeptic-wise, to aggressively go after people for their beliefs, something that "skeptics" do for a vocation.  If you want to hammer folks for believing in whatever, go for it (though, I'd advise, not in person)--but please don't do it in the name of scientific skepticism.  Thanks.  I expect this silly practice to stop right away in accordance with my wishes.  This instant.  Now-ah.  Thank you.  Call again.

I said, RIGHT NOW!!  Dang it all.

So, lately we have any number of skeptics telling us to use skepticism against Trump's lies, which might be the thing to do if and when he claims werewolves are the biggest threat to the American way.  Otherwise, it's stupid advice.  And, besides, the news people are doing a terrific job reporting the lies.  They're on his case.  Now, had they gotten on his case before he won....  But at least they're doing it now.

So, don't use a form of critical thinking designed to field claims for UFOs and leprechauns when you're evaluating Trump's fabrications.  Please.  Thank you so much.

What I really want to talk about is a very recent Unfriendly Atheist post (happening now), in which people get one thing wrong after another.  They're having a wrong-athon, so to speak.

Now, the No True Scotsman fallacy has nothing to do with a Scotsman or Christian simply claiming, for any reason you can think of, that another Scotsman or Christian is not the real, true, authentic, genuine, etc. article.  Zilch!  It's when a contingent (neither necessarily true or necessarily false) proposition is switched, upon being proved false, to a logically necessary claim ("No Scotsman..." becoming "No TRUE Scotsman...").  But tell that to the folks in the comment section in question.  I dare you.  (Don't.  They exist to ambush anyone not in their herd.)

What else?  In the main piece, Hemant cites the word "true," but I don't spot that word anywhere in the page he links to.  (Wait--it shows up once.  Okay.)  And, back to the comments, we get the idiotic myth that biblical text can mean anything we want it to, that any reading will suffice.  Ye Gods.  Have these people been to school?

Anyway, I predict the comments will keep on coming.  So far, this has been a migraine weekend for me, and I need a laugh.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Skeptics of cbyberspace, unite!

By the way, I didn't mean to call the FFRF folks bullies.  I don't know what came over me.  I meant to call them thugs, but somehow I typed the other word.  I must have been not-possessed by the not-Devil.  That's my not-excuse.

To begin, just a postscript to my last post, in which I talked about the "misconceptions" atheists routinely complain about--behaviors that they're not guilty of, yet which they do anyway.  American Atheists: "Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods."  You know, as if that distinction amounted to anything.

Yet, we have Ricky Gervais saying on Twitter, "I disbelieve in all gods equally."  Oops.  And we have the Freedom from Religion Foundation braintrusts declaring on their banners, "There are no gods."

So, as we can see, it's a yuuuuuge misconception that atheism is a disbelief in gods--except when media-prominent atheists disbelieve in gods.  Damn.  These characters don't even try to align their actions with their words!  It's hilarious.  Hey, Trump has some openings for you guys--if anything, you're overqualified.

To topic: skepticism.  So-called.

Some history--Skepticism=scientific skepticism, which was designed as a way of fielding or screening idiotic claims (ancient aliens, Nessie, UFOs) before they've had a chance to derail a discussion, question session, lecture, etc.  Some skeptics actively debunk claims of the paranormal, while others simply do their best to keep them at a ten foot pole's reach. In my opinion, scientific skepticism (the real deal, not the current inept facsimile thereof) rocks.

But we already know how terrible these folks are collectively when it comes to anything that requires mental discipline, such as thinking in sequence, stating the truth, observing the obvious, etc.  So, of course, "skepticism" was long ago perverted into a yuge pile of bull on a popular level--something to do with shouting people down the moment they self-identify as religious; something to do with pretending, idiotically, that a highly specialized critical thinking application like skepticism can or should be used for the vast majority of claims ("I had eggs for breakfast;" "PROVE IT!!!!"); and something to do with chanting "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," as if chanting it entitled you to set the proof bar as high as you wish, just because.

Yes, it's absolutely true that totally far-out claims (doughnut monsters from Pluto, ducks with ESP, Trump knowing what the hell he's doing, etc.) have one heck of a burden of proof (Sagan's illiterate quote, translated into English), but that knowledge, plus a buck-something, will get you a cup of Joe at McDonald's when it comes to dealing with 99.9 percent of the claims made by humans.  Taking the "Show me" approach to reasonable claims is a stupid and dishonest thing to do, since it simply assumes the claim in question--be it, "I shopped at Kroger yesterday"--lends itself to detailed, point by point interrogation.  ("Really?  What aisles did you visit?  SPEAK UP!!")

In other words, if your claim is totally fringe, totally out there, then the job of substantiating it is yours, baby, and yours only.  If your claim is somewhere in the orbit of reality, then there's no justification whatsoever for someone systematically taking it apart, as if, for example, it were necessary to prove that people eat breakfast.  Or that eggs are a breakfast staple.  To even suggest that the full burden of proof rests on the person making an ordinary, everyday claim is simply stupid.  And self-serving.  Or desribe the pop-atheist movement.

Later on, I'll ask the burning question, why in the hell are we laypeople expected to treat atheists (who, apparently, aren't laypeople) as experts in critical thinking?  Isn't that like treating our current president as a master of restraint?


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Let Reason Prevail

The righteous, harassment-happy bullies at the Freedom from Religion Foundation have one mission, and one mission only--to prank public squares, parks, etc. with their juvenile signs and banners.  Here's their standard bit:

The FFRF is dedicated to promoting the separation of church and state.  How do they accomplish this?  By finding every possible excuse to involve government in issues of faith.  That'll do it!

Idiots.  Absolute idiots.  But I'm sure they're great people, otherwise.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Games with words

Ooooooops.  Hasn't Ricky gotten the memo on disbelief?  Tsk, tsk.  I quote from the "What Is Atheism?" page at the American Atheists website:

Atheism is usually defined incorrectly as a belief system.  Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

Repeat: "Atheism is not a disbelief in gods."  In his Tweet, Ricky appears to have confused disbelief with absence of belief.  I hope he doesn't get kicked out of the club.

Oh, and "To each their own" is ungrammatical, "each" being singular.  Of course, Ricky wants to avoid "his," and "his or her" is awkward, so he uses the standard illiteracy, "to each their...."


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Friendly vs. unfriendly atheism, and other topics

Unfriendly atheism: "Religion is evil and stupid, and it's got to go!" (Scowl)

Friendly atheism: "Religion is evil and stupid, and it's got to go!" (Smile)

(But, but... we atheists don't scowl!!)

The fixed "debates" of atheism are getting on my nerves (thanks, Ricky Gervais!)--maybe it's because they're enjoying a media comeback.  Of course, in the weird reality zone in which cyber-atheists reside, the debate never ends.  (What is "the debate," you ask?  The debate between science and religion, of course.  So why don't we all just stay home and let the two duke it out, you ask?  Damn good question.  I guess it's because science and religion are constructs, not walking and talking beings.)

Anyway, in the standard cyber-atheist narrative, Dawkins and Harris have people of faith cornered up a tree, desperately clinging to our God of the Gaps, trying in vain to defend ourselves against the unbeatable forces of logic, reason, science, and Maher's turd-in-the-pool analogy.  So our job is to convince our betters that we're not deluded, not hostile toward reason, and so on.  Our job is to prove we're not wrong.

Is that how debate works?  Of course not.  People walk into a debate as equals or not at all.  A format in which the cyber-atheist is right by default is the most incredible kind of cheating--incredible, because the cheaters will swear they're not cheating.  Because of the entitled side's utter inability to see that they're asking people of faith to play the loser in a fixed contest.

(What do you mean, 'play' the loser?  You people are already losers!!!)  Exactly.

And what's with this popular misconception about claims?  Namely, that claims come in one variety only, with each and every claim made by anyone at any time subject to being "scientifically" borne out as factually true?   (As if science were the only field dealing in testable truth.  How about, oh, history?)  So, if I say, "God is real," I have to prove it?  How?  With photographs?  A throat culture?  Dental records?

And is "God is real" the equivalent of, "I can prove, using real-world evidence, that God exists"?  No.  It's a statement of belief.  For instance, let's say my favorite color is red.  So I say, "Red is the neatest color of them all."  Which is a claim, any way you slice it.  Hearing this claim, does the skeptic say, "Prove it!!"?  Only if he or she is an idiot, because my "claim" is a statement of preference and noting more.  In other words, it's an opinion.  It's subjective.  What is there to prove?

The difference between a belief claim and a testable claim is easy to show.  Situation #1: A person claims that ghosts are real--"There are ghosts," he says.  Situation #2: A person claims that he has ghosts in his attic, and they're knocking things around, and you can see the darn things.  Plus, they talk.  "Come on over and see and hear for yourself!"  I'd go, wouldn't you?

"Show me" is a perfectly reasonable response to the second situation, whereas "show me" makes no sense as a response to the first.  It's the difference between "I believe in Nessie" and "Hey, Nessie's in my back yard, and she's posing for pictures.  $5 more if you want to be in the shot."  I'd be right over, to see what the heck is happening.  And I'd find an empty yard, and, next thing I knew, I'd be on the ground, wallet gone.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Don't need their company

No, I don't think the online atheist community is going to Hell.  And, no, I don't want it to, either.

I might end up there myself, and I don't desire their company.  I understand the place is unpleasant enough to begin with.

By the way, ever heard the Hell joke where, behind one of the three doors (always three doors), there are people standing hip-high in manure and drinking coffee?  The nearly-arrived soul chooses that door, and, once he's in there holding a coffee cup with manure up to his hips, the Devil comes in and says, "Coffee break's over.  Back on your heads."

                                           "Hell, no, we don't want those folks down here."


Hate-blogger Hemant Mehta over the top these days, even for him

Dig this headline at the Friendly Atheist: "After killing their son for wanting to leave church, these Christian parents will go to jail."  Killing their son was justified "according to their religion," says Hemant.  Gosh, and what was their religion, again?  Um, um, let me think....  (Tick-tock, tick-tock) Oh, yeah!  Christianity!

That's what Christians do.  They kill their sons on instruction from their religion.  Really evil book, that (lower-case b) bible.

Here's Hemant's powerful, completely unpredictable closing line: "What would you expect, though, from people who prioritize their religious dogma over common sense and love?"  Which, incidentally, is how Hemant and his comment-section sickies define being a Christian--you know, as folks who value dogma over being decent people.  In short, for the umpteenth time, Hemant is suggesting, in his usual sledge-hammer, yellow-journalism fashion, that This is How Christians Are.  You know, because he was able to locate this example.  That's science.  Hail, science.  Lucky science--you have such priceless advocates on our left.

Remember--these sick puppies believe that any and every believer is responsible for any and every act of any and every member of the Christian community, be that behavior good or bad--though they nearly never seem to notice the good stuff.  (Could it be they don't want to??  Nah.)  We believers are responsible for all of the words in the Bible (and don't bother quipping that you didn't write the book), whether or not we actually follow them.  It's a convenient and cowardly position, since it makes them holy and correct by default, their preferred form of "debate" being "We, your morally superior and infinitely hipper counterparts, want to know why you're so fucked up.  And don't pull the No True Christian™ on us."  Of course, I need to point out once again that the cyber-atheist community is apparently collectively unable to comprehend the elementary point of logic that is the No True Scotsman Move.  They think that the NTS "move" is occurring the moment, say, that the Pope declares Trump to be something other than a Christian.  I remind you, if need be, that the NTS is all about the conflict between two propositions--an initial universal proposition ("No Scotsman...") changed, without acknowledgement or justification, to a logically necessary one ("No true Scotsman...") upon being falsified by a single counterexample.  That's not happening when someone says, "Trump isn't a Christian," even if he or she modifies "Christian" with "true," "real," "genuine," "Bible-loving," etc.  Repeat: not happening.

That's Romper Room-level logic.  And these guys have been struggling with it for more than a decade (so a Google search confirms).  And it's been kicking their butts.

Anyway, the FA is doing the usual neo-atheist offense to logic (they practice many of those) of selectively tacking data onto a bigoted perception by way of "proving" that perception.  I mean, how can we deny that C.'s are horrible and that their Bible is an evil document when you have these parents (and church members) acting in this fashion?  Well, we could factor that evil behavior into the behavior of Christians in general, whereupon we would see that it's way out there.  But sane people already know that killing your kids is way out there in terms of C. behavior.  Please.

And Hemant would readily acknowledge as much, and he'd retire his broad grin for a moment as he denied any intention to paint all C.'s with the same vile slurs.  Bullshit.  Again and again in his posts, Hemant aggressively proposes that such unacceptable behavior as killing your kids, persecuting minorities, pining for a theocracy, etc  is in keeping with Christian beliefs and principles, so how is he not painting the majority (hell, the whole) of the C. community as evil?

Hemant sees the worst behavior of the Christian community as the most authentic, and that's precisely how he presents it.  Yet we religiously allow folks like Hemant to get away with the "I didn't say that" lie, time after time. Why?  I guess, because we're scared of them.  Because we don't want to lose the "nones" vote, or something like that.  (And didn't those folks vote for Bernie and/or Trump, even after we nominated the woman they hated?)

You tell me why we let these guys carry on like this without collectively raising a single objection.  Think Rachel or Lawrence is ever going to call them out?  You know better, and so do I.

Oh, and savor the sophisticated and enlightened comments following the piece.  In case you think I'm judging these characters too harshly.

(Sample: Meanwhile thousands are spending life behind bars for minor drug offenses. They'll also probably be going to hell for eternity.  But these murderers will be out of prison in a jiffy and spend the rest of eternity in heaven. Presumably licking god's balls.)


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Religious freedom is all about atheism, and other insane but highly popular secular howlers

No, really.  Apparently, atheists and freethinkers and other super-cool kids need to have their religious freedom protected.  You know, despite the fact they're not religious.  They'll be happy to explain why you and I are nitwits for even asking what religious freedom has to do with it.

"But... but you despise religion.  You regard prayer as a thing for morons.  So you're miffed you weren't included at the Prayer Conference?"  "What a typically clueless theistic statement.  I think I hear the sound of bagpipes.  No, wait--wrong app."

It's possible I can explain the religious-freedom thing--not sure, but I'll try.  You see, seculars, et al. understandably desire to enjoy the same rights and advantages as do folks of faith--for ex., the right to marry, drive a car, get a job, buy beer, become a citizen, wed, vote, start nonprofits, speak on television, write best-sellers, and so forth.  That is to say, they seek equal religious rights, in an illiterate manner of speaking.  Similarly, feminists seek the same rights men enjoy.  But nobody (to my knowledge, at least) refers to feminism as a men's rights movement.  So....

Anyway, these folks get brain-dazed whenever they try to manage two or more ideas at once, so I suppose we should cut them some slack.  Sure, it's a religious freedom thing.  Whatever.  And the women's movement is all about men's rights.

Prostate cancer is a women's issue.  We could go on.

Very recently (so recently, it's still in the cyber-news), stand-up atheist Ricky Gervais had a scripted "debate" with the host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. and it was the usual atheism-is-not-a-belief-system stuff, because not believing something apparently has nothing to do with belief.  You see, while believing is a question of belief, not believing isn't.  How the hell is that possible, you ask?  I can see you never took no courses in logic.

 ("I didn't vote--I stayed home."  "Fine.  You helped Trump win."  "How?  I not-voted.  Not-voting has nothing to do with voting.  I abstained from participating in the election.  So how, in all logic, did I help Trump?"  "Are you a cyber-atheist, by any chance?")

Making a by-now ancient atheist point, Gervais (in a totally unplanned moment, wink, wink) informed Stephen that, "You don't believe in 2,999 gods. and I don't believe in just one more," only he barely managed to get through it.  (No time to rehearse?)  Gervais, you see, doesn't believe in 3,000 gods, and there's that word again: believe.  But atheism is not a belief system, meaning it has nothing to do with belief, and... and....

Every time I step into the alternate reality that is pop-atheist thinking, I'm never sure if I'll get back out.  It's a creepy, queasy sensation, sort of like claustrophobia.

Anyway, staged debates are the only type that deep, deep thinkers like Gervais can (in this case, barely) get through.  I honestly believe that.  Why?  Because staged debates are the only type you ever see atheists doing.  Some guy thinks our planet is two weeks old, and here's the brilliant scientist on hand to say, no, it's at least three weeks old.  Or it's time to play What Theists Think About Atheists, a show in which the atheist gets to sit there and repeat, "No, that's not true."  I'd give these guys four nanoseconds in an actual critical back and forth.

Colbert made a good point about faith--namely, that we non-scientists are placing faith in the findings of science, because accepting expert consensus (on global warming, for instance) makes more sense than rejecting it.  You have to trust someone, and when we opt to trust informed people, we're going with the odds.  Gervais, however, took Colbert's very valid point as a cue to voice the old bit that holy books aren't self-correcting like science texts, which is true but which isn't the issue, but this was a (poorly) staged debate, so what the hay.  Ricky had to stick that in someplace, and the segment was nearing its end.

At least Gervais is a pleasant, very personable person.  If the religion-sucks movement has any sense, it'll enlist him as their head spokesperson, but it doesn't and it probably won't.

Oh, and about the 2,999 gods thing--logic hardly requires that we either believe in all 3,000 gods (where the heck did that figure come from??) or none.  One of the core atheist beliefs--er, contentions--er, convictions--er. positions is that, if you believe in one god, logic says you're required to believe in all of them.  (Luckily, there are apps for that.)  Except that logic says no such thing.  "All gods are the same" is an opinion, not a fact.  Not that pop atheists would ever stoop to treating a point of view as a fact, even though they do this all the time, pretty much.


Twitter, home of sophisticated utterances

Fidalgo, of course, is the communications director for the Center for Inquiry.  I guess they hired him for his eloquence....