I found this eloquently written rebuttal of the so-called argument from morality, and had to share it…

I don’t normally do this – share the writing of other atheists, I mean. But this article is so well stated that I just can’t help myself. Please go and read it here. (Note that the argument from morality is the fallacious argument that morality is objective, absolute, and comes from god.)

The writer is in my Facebook friends list, not that I can remember how he got there. But I love the way he approaches the subject. Morality is subjective, and I love the way this post describes his journey and his search for truth, through his belief in god.

He’s passionate about atheism, but it’s how he got there that interests me, and his writing is not dismissive of Christian sensibilities, as mine is… It’s fascinating how he reached atheism through a sincere and thoughtful exploration of his understanding of god, and that through his belief he ultimately rejected god as being a false teaching.

Whereas I rejected god outright long ago through logic alone, without caring to study it, much like I don’t care to study other bullshit I don’t believe in, his path to atheism through the exploration of his sincerely held belief was longer and more difficult. Yet he came out of it a man who can write a thoughtful and respectful take on this difficult subject. I only became passionate about atheism because, through rehab and then 12 step bullshit recovery culture, I had the nonsense of religion imposed on me. It turned out, despite my Roman Catholic upbringing and professed Christianity, I never truly understood the message of Christianity until then. Once I did, I found it insulting and rejected it.

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The worst service I have ever received

My car is still not repaired. It’s taking so long, I wrote a review of the place where the repair is taking place. You can see the review here.

I wrote it too quickly, so it has some spelling mistakes. The text (with errors corrected) is this:


My car, registration number ZJB 468 GP, was booked into this place on 15th March 2017. They told me the repair would take 10 to 15 days.

It took *three weeks* just to get parts, and then the actual repair seemed to be fairly quick. I can’t be sure, because their messages of the car being in stage 1 through to stage 5 all came in about 4 days.

But since last week Monday, the 10th of April, they have been “waiting” for Glassfit to fit the windscreen.

Every time I call them, they tell me the same thing… They’re waiting. Last week I was assured that I’d have the car before the long weekend. But I called and called, and got brushed off over and over with the “news” that they are still waiting.

The person I have been dealing with, Patricia Chabalala, even assured me that the car would be ready, on Thursday at around 1PM, when Glassfit had not yet arrived, and they were closing at 3PM. She assured me of this even though it was obviously not possible.

I might as well talk to my son’s hamster! At least the hamster moves around, and does *something*.

These people do not follow up. They do nothing but brush me off. Every day that I don’t have my car, I am spending money on Uber, and they just don’t seem to care.

How long does it take to fit a windscreen? Surely this should not take more than a week???

I leave messages and nobody calls back.

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Recovery from meth has been easy for me. Maybe because… Once I made the decision to stay clean, and stuck to it, I was released from the difficulty.

I don’t know how much sense the title makes to anyone else, but I will try to explain it. Excuse me if you’ve read my various takes on this before – it is one of those subjects I will revisit occasionally. The reason is this… Recovery has been easy for me this, the last time around. But I often say that I don’t have a formula, something that I can recommend to others. If I did, I’d present it and say that all you have to do is follow these steps to stay clean. But I don’t… It irks me. So this is an attempt to turn my personal experiences into some kind of formula, something that makes sense and can be repeated.

I’m now 3 years and seven months clean. There’s no chance that I will ever use again. But it wasn’t always like this.

I’ve written about the specifics of my cleaning up before, but will mention it briefly again… In my last stint using, I used meth for most of three years. I knew it wasn’t good for me. I knew I had to stop. Tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes. My son was in foster care, and I had a court order, and knew what I had to do to get him back, but I wasn’t doing those things. The longer this went on, the further he slipped away. If it went on much longer, I would have lost him for good. And yet, my usage was on the decline. In the last year, I slept every night, though not for very long.

Then my ex (and mother of my son) returned, with her daughter, who was three months old. I fetched them from the airport, got home, used some of the meth I still had, then threw the rest away and never used again. That was September 2013, and that was that. I’ve often given the little girl the credit for my sobriety, but that is an oversimplification. They stayed with me for about two years, and then left, but I remained clean, and did get my son back on my own. He’s been back with me for over a year. (Since 15th December 2015.)

After putting it off for so long, when I did finally stop, I made the decision not to use again. And that is what’s important. No bullshit, no excuses… No deluding myself that I was “powerless over my addiction and my life had become unmanageable”. Instead, I admitted to myself that I was always in control, that I had continued to use and make excuses to continue doing so for a long time. I took personal responsibility for that choice, and it wasn’t one single choice either by the way – it was thousands of choices to use and continue using.

To me, this is a more honest approach to that of following a 12 step program. It may be more difficult… The crux is, when you follow a 12 step program you are absolved of the responsibility. You get to claim that you were powerless. It’s a cop-out. It allows you to make the same pathetic excuse if you should fail and relapse. “It wasn’t my fault. I have a disease and I’m powerless”. Well, fuck that. It’s totally your fault every time you choose to use drugs.

By choosing to stop, and choosing not to continue making excuses not to stop, I was released from the supposed difficulty of staying clean. I could drive right on by the place where I used to meet my dealer, simply reminding myself that I had decided not to buy, and that this was a decision that I would not allow myself to change. Sure, it was difficult for a day or two, and a couple of weeks later it felt weird when my ex and her daughter went away for a weekend, because I was left alone and could have used without anyone finding out. But all I had to do was remind myself that the final choice was made, and that I wasn’t going back, no matter what.

The next thing I knew, I had not even the slightest interest in using meth. None. Thus I found myself in this position, struggling to explain how I got from there to here. So maybe part of it is this: I chose not to use, and I stuck to that choice. Whenever I had the opportunity to use, I reminded myself that the choice was already made. And that made it easy.

It might sound like I’m oversimplifying recovery from addiction, but I am not. The difficult part is admitting exactly the opposite of what 12 step programs claim, admitting that you absolutely are in control, and are personally responsible for every bad choice, and every consequence of every choice. The rest is easy. It’s a mindfuck, because it is the opposite of what they teach in most rehabs, but it’s the truth, although it may be a truth that’s more difficult to accept than the nonsense you learn in 12 step programs.

Unfortunately, this is so difficult to accept for those who continue to believe in 12 step programs, that some have argued with me. It’s been suggested that maybe I wasn’t really an addict… (No True Scotsman fallacy.) Well, I was. My addiction was severe, bad enough that I lost jobs, lost the right to care for my own son for a few years, lost most of my possessions at one stage, and lived with voices in my head for a few years. There is no doubt that my addiction was bad. OK??? I can’t express this much more clearly, and have grown tired of trying to convince those who don’t believe me. My way of doing recovery may be more difficult at first, because it involves no higher power (I don’t believe in any), no meetings, no calling anyone for help, and the outright rejection of most of what I’ve heard about addiction elsewhere. So at the beginning, it takes strength of will and character and confidence, maybe more than some people have. It also means facing the fact that there you are responsible for all the shit that you’d rather not face, which is humiliating. But in the long run, it’s working for me. And the long run is what counts. The meth cravings stopped after a year or two – in fact I can’t remember exactly how long it took, but they did. And when I log into Facebook and read the god-awful statuses from others about the importance of their relationship with their imaginary friend, it’s like they’re in some other universe.

Of course, since I rejected the premise of the first step of 12 step programs, apart from rejecting all of the other steps too, I also reject the notion that recovery is something I need to keep working on. The “work” for me was all in my head, and staying clean was a matter of changing my mindset. Likewise, in my opinion, “working the steps” involves never moving on, but instead remaining in a mindset where you never take responsibility for your past, but remain at risk. Getting back to the idea of making this formulaic, I’m still at a bit of a loss. My ex and her daughter provided the initial motivation I needed. So I did need help, something to kick-start my recovery… Something to get me out of procrastinating, that is having “one more hit” and waiting for tomorrow. After that it was all me. (“It’s all about me”. They even criticize that, as if my life isn’t about me. It fucking is.) It was all about sticking to my choice not to use. Although it was more difficult at the beginning, this approach worked out to be easy in the long run, because I do not work on my recovery (and I never have). I think about it, in terms of where I was versus where I am now, and I try to think of ways of helping others. And of course I write about it. Beyond that, I just live my life.

Posted in Addiction, Methamphetamine, Recovery | Tagged | 3 Comments

Questioning the origin of the claim that god exists is not a genetic fallacy. Here’s why…

I still don’t have time for much writing, but thought I’d share this excellent meme I found yesterday…

Magic

Of course it’s a variation of what I’ve written before – god is nothing more than an explanation for the unknown, invented by primitive man, and handed down through generations of indoctrination.

Once, when I wrote something like that here before, a commenter took offense and accused me of a genetic fallacy, then presented his version of an argument from first cause. And that prompted me to write about the argument from first cause. (Not my best piece of writing but it’s not bad, I think. I didn’t know what special pleading is, although I mentioned it without using its name.) Of course, in the case of the argument from first cause, it introduces a rule that everything needs a creator, in a sequence of causes and effects that can be traced back to a “first cause”. Then it leaps to the conclusion that the first cause is god (a non sequitur because that does not follow) and states that god does not have a cause, which violates the rule of its premise.

But seeing the meme I’ve shared today made me think about it again. The question in my mind, which I’d like to address today is: How can you believe that questioning the origin of god is a genetic fallacy?

So what is a genetic fallacy? From the Google preview…

The genetic fallacy (also known as the fallacy of origins or fallacy of virtue) is a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on someone’s or something’s history, origin, or source rather than its current meaning or context.

So, clearly this is a fallacy where one reaches a conclusion on something, based solely on the origin of that thing, without considering its current meaning or context. I see then, how a person could claim that rejecting belief in god based on the origin of god might be considered such a fallacy… But I also see how that would be wrong. Can you?

It’s like this: If you assume that god exists, then the origin of the claim that god exists becomes irrelevant, because god exists.

Of course, the reason that’s wrong should be obvious… Like every religious apologetics argument, it starts with the assumption that god exists. That’s not how logic works.

In fact, almost every apologetics argument has this problem. And many of them work like this:

  1. Start with the implicit, always unstated assumption that god exists.
  2. Make some statements about something else.
  3. Conclude that god exists, even though it does not follow logically from whatever statements were made. (Steps two to three are a non sequitur.)

As you can see, questioning the origin of god can only be perceived as a genetic fallacy if you assume that god exists. And as I’ve shown above, this conclusion that god exists, in apologetics arguments in general, often only “works” because the assumption was made. (“I know that X is true because I assume that X is true.”… without stating the assumption directly but stating some unrelated stuff after making it.) This is why we often argue in circles in debates between theists and atheists… The theists always start with the assumption that their conclusion is true, but they do not realize that it’s illogical (circular reasoning) to do so.

But because that assumption (that god exists) is implied, not stated, the theists who debate expect us to address their other statements, the irrelevant ones from which they take a leap of faith to conclude that god exists. (Even though the leap of faith only makes sense if one assumes that god exists.) Arguing about the irrelevant statements, whether that involves refuting straw man arguments of science or whatever, is pointless, because they are irrelevant. This is why, when someone wants to debate evolution, I like to short-circuit the debate – suggest to them that we ignore evolution. Assume that it’s false if you want, and ask them how they get from unknown to god. Short-circuit the debate and reveal the assumption. But they don’t want to discuss their actual claim that god exists, or face the fact that an assumption was made. Since there is no evidence for god, they prefer to discuss something else.

Posted in Skepticism | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Someone asked why atheist Facebook groups have so many religious memes…

While I don’t have much time to write, I figured it’s a good time to share some of my snark. (Sarcasm – it doesn’t have to be ironic.)

I don’t think the person asking the question really thought it through. I think my comment really makes the point, so I won’t add anything here.

sarcasm

Posted in Humour | Tagged , | 3 Comments

The lottery fallacy, as used by theists debating atheists

I’m struggling with my new keyboard, which is resulting in double key-presses, including spaces… all the time. I may not get to correct all of them. So please excuse any weird spelling errors here. (OK, screw it. I was having to correct every single word. Do yourself a favour and don’t buy a Redragon Karura gaming keyboard.)

Although I seldom participate in these atheist versus theist debates lately, I still read the posts, and have seen this sort of question being posed frequently enough to justify writing about  it…

Normally their “logic” goes something like this:

  1. The probability of something complicated (that has already happened) is very small. For example, the precise sequences in DNA, or life existing on Earth.
  2. Therefore, that thing must have been designed.
  3. Therefore god, but not just any god, the one that the person making the argument already believes in.

(Let’s ignore the argument from personal incredulity here, and that there is no reason to leap from “I don’t understand” to “God”, OK?) One does not even need to know about the lottery fallacy to realize that the argument posed makes no sense. It’s safe to say, the probability of something happening that has already happened, is 100%. Because it already fucking happened, for fuck’s sake.

Steven Novella has written about this fallacy several times, but unfortunately I don’t have any links to his articles, which are much better than mine. (You can Google it.) But here’s how the lottery fallacy works, as I can recall from his explanation, in my own words with some sarcasm since this keyboard is really messing me around… The probability of Joe Schmoe winning the lottery is miniscule. So when he wins it, you could claim divine intervention, because his chances were negligible, yet he won anyway. (Praise God! It’s a fucking miracle.) Except if you make this claim after he already won the lottery, your logic is poor; you’re looking at it all wrong. Instead, if you consider that somebody had to win it, the probability of the lottery being won was 100%.

Likewise, you could claim that the probability of the particular sperm cell causing fertilization and your conception was miniscule. But one sperm cell had to make it. (Assuming you are not the product of fellatio or anal sex. We can rule that out since we exist, eh?) Therefore questioning the probability of the one that did, is crazy. It already happened, and the odds of any single cell being the one that did the job become irrelevant when one had to…

Likewise, the odds of conditions being perfect for life to evolve on any one planet is small. But given the size of the universe and the number of potential solar systems and planets where life could develop, which is a number so huge I can not comprehend it, it was bound to happen somewhere. It makes no sense, when you live on such a place, to question the probability of life evolving there. It’s like asking, “How can things be as they already are? What are the chances of that?” Well, the chances are 100%, you stupid fucker.

Posted in Skepticism | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Will a relationship last if both couples are on meth? (This was a search string that got here.)

No!

Glad I could sort that out. (Also, “both couples”?)

Posted in Addiction, Methamphetamine, Recovery | Leave a comment