Religions before yours aren’t evidence for it

Someone once accused me of only mocking Christianity and not other religions, so I’m happy to have seen this stupid status from a Muslim today…

But FYI, the reasons I generally mock Christianity and not Islam are:

  1. I was brought up Christian and rejected that. It’s the religion I see around me every day so it’s the one I will mention most. Maybe there’s still some leftover Christian programming in me, in that I had to think about it before I rejected Christianity, so my concept of “god” is tied to that strain of the disease of religion.
  2. Other than ex Muslims criticizing Islam, I have seen mostly racism against brown-skinned Muslims put forward with that old chestnut, “Islam is not a race”. I want no part of being identified with those hateful people, since I criticize religions/beliefs and don’t hate the believers. So in general, I avoid the subject of Islam.

Just a couple of days ago, I wrote about this odd habit of believers who see religions that existed before theirs as somehow being evidence of their religion. So imagine my delight when I saw this:

Bullshit

This really is a perfect example of the daftness of religious belief.

Since the person who wrote this happens to be Muslim, in his mind Islam is the only “true” religion, therefore Judaism and Christianity were mere stepping stones on the way to the truth well that is Islam.

The irony is this: Christians read such a status and laugh, while believing that Judaism predicted Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any Jews who are waiting for Jesus. The reason being, the perspective Christians are taught about Judaism is twisted by Christianity. Christian children are taught that the Jews were waiting for a Messiah, and that Jesus came along but they didn’t recognize him. But that’s just because Christianity is built on top of Judaism, and so it must rewrite Judaism to foretell Jesus, in exactly the same way as Islam rewrites Christianity to foretell Muhammad.

So if you’re a Christian, don’t laugh too hard at the status. Your beliefs are equally nonsensical.

Advertisements
Posted in Skepticism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Atheism is a position of uncertainty, not certainty

I had another look at that debate group for idiots and this time immediately saw a post that stood out. It’s a TLDR; bunch of word salad in syllogistic form, but even before the broken premises begin, the person asserts that atheism is wrong because it’s also a belief system. Excuse me if you have read something similar here before – this is one of those topics I revisit often. At least since this isn’t a blog purely about skepticism, there’s a chance my arguments might actually be read by people who disagree with me.

For me, that kind of status illustrates perfectly how wrong some people think. If you believe something with such conviction that you can assert it before your first premise, and yet it’s blatantly wrong, imagine how wrong your actual premises are. And that’s how it goes… Every premise is long and filled with assumptions, some of which depend on the conclusion being true. To be honest, I’ve never used syllogisms (Should I?) but I understand them as follows: You write two or more propositions (or premises) that are asserted or assumed to be true, and then apply deductive reasoning to reach a conclusion.

Needless to say, if every proposition implicitly assumes the conclusion to be true, your deductive reasoning is pointless. You could just as well assert it directly and avoid the circular reasoning. (And stop pretending it’s logical.) Anyway, that’s not what I intended writing about today. I’m more interested in the assertion before his syllogism, where he states that atheism is a belief. Let’s not play with semantics, OK? I know that if you categorize people by belief systems, it makes sense to group atheism as a kind of belief system when comparing populations by their beliefs. I’m using “belief system” as a synonym for an ideology.

People have also told me over the years that atheism is a belief system, and asked how I can be sure there isn’t a god, so I see these two ideas as related… Hence my title. Atheism is a position of uncertainty, not certainty.

As an atheist, I don’t claim that there is not a god, much like I don’t claim there isn’t a fart fairy that jumps from person to person, entering their mouths and exiting their anuses. I would, of course, reject the fart fairy claim if anyone made such a claim, but atheism is about me rejecting the claim that a god or gods exist. That’s what atheism is. It makes no claims at all but simply rejects the god claims. This is why we so often either talk over each other or refuse to talk in debates. Those who wish to debate atheists frequently bring up other things that are irrelevant. For example, I don’t care to debate evolution because your straw man arguments of it are irrelevant to me. I make no claims and need not defend whatever you misconstrue as the “opposite” of your belief system. I also have no interest in discussing theology when it concerns the details about your religious dogma.

Is not believing in Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster a type of belief in those things? Are people who don’t believe that aliens live among us believers in a different kind of aliens? Are people who don’t believe in conspiracy theories also conspiracy theorists?

Obviously the answer to all of those is “no”. The only difference is, you as a theist reject those other things too. (Unless you’re an idiot. If you do believe in any of those other things, I’m sorry but you aren’t my target audience here, and please tell whoever is reading this to you that they can stop.)

I think there are two things going wrong here:

  1. When you are biased into assuming god exists, you fail to see the bias. You don’t notice that your every proposition includes the assumption, because you make it without being consciously aware.
  2. You see atheism as a polar opposite view, and thus also a belief system.

When you assume your particular religion to be true, you may see atheism as a polar opposite to that religion. However, atheism can’t be a polar opposite to every such belief system. There are quite a few and theism is only one of them. It is simply a rejection of every god claim. And someone like me rejects them without knowing the details of most of those claims. I don’t need to know how every magic book states that magic works in order to disbelieve in magic. Likewise I don’t need to know what every god claim’s dogma says about its god to reject all of them.

Atheism is absolutely not a position of certainty. Rather it is a position of uncertainty. I can’t speak for others but I am happy to say “I don’t know” how the universe began, and I don’t really care. But I do know that I reject the explanation I heard in Sunday School as a child. And I reject everything else I was taught there, as well as every other religion. I see them for what they are: magical explanations for the unknown and lazy thinking. It took me years to get over the belief bias that was drummed into my head in childhood, and when somebody comes along and claims that my disbelief is just like their belief, because they have that belief bias, it is insulting.


Aaand the idiot who posted that is arguing with me, asserting over and over again that disbelief in religion is a belief. It’s a false dichotomy, for fuck’s sake. Disbelief in one thing can be a belief if you believe in something in its place, but that is not necessarily so. Disbelief in gods means one throws out belief in gods and all that the belief entails, finding life much better without them. It just so happens that this particular belief is so commonplace that disbelief in it has a name.

It really is weird to be condescended to by people with sub par IQ, and reminds me why I stopped debating in the first place. Curse you, oh random Facebook friend who added me to that group. I think I must leave for the sake of my sanity.

Posted in Skepticism | Tagged , | 1 Comment

How to smoke meth with Satan (a search string) and other unrelated stuff

Please excuse my hopping around from subject to subject. I feel almost bad about it… and at the end of last week I realized that most of the blogs I follow seem to have a clear pattern with regard to subject matter. On here, I write about my recovery (a word I loathe because I don’t consider myself in recovery – I’m a former addict, fuckers), skepticism, atheism, maybe a bit of humanism, feminism (recently), a series or movie review occasionally, satire (once so far), and whatever else is on my mind at the time. There are plenty of things I never get around to writing because I just don’t have the time any more. So… apologies for that. It’s just the way I am… probably one of the laziest people you could ever meet, but with a mind that just won’t shut up. I have all these ideas flying around my head, begging to be written down. And this is where I write them.

Moving on, somebody reached this blog via this bizarre search string…

how to smoke meth with Satan

Seriously. Somebody typed that into Google and then got here. The mind boggles.

First of all, Satan isn’t real. Belief in Satan is even dodgier than belief in god, and isn’t based so much on the Bible, but rather on the Middle Ages demonizing of pagan gods and on modern entertainment culture.

Having written that, I’d love to write a wikiHow style article on how to use meth with Satan, complete with pictures of cheerful teenagers and a red skinned, horned guy passing a meth pipe around, but I just don’t have the time. Anyway…

I can think of three ways you can achieve your goal, but since it will be really hard to find somebody already named Satan, and naming your male child Satan and waiting until he can grow up to use meth with you will take far too long, here are the three steps that can work for you:

  1. Find a meth addict who is willing to legally change his name to Satan.
  2. Have him legally change his name.
  3. Use meth with him.

Yet another search string, a less crazy one to get here, was this:

obsessed with my phone while using meth

It’s normal. And thanks to this reasonable search, I can’t tag this post with “stupid search strings” as I usually would. This one makes sense.

When you first use meth, you probably jump from one task to another to another, starting many but completing none. But when you get more accustomed to the meth high and build up tolerance, you tend to obsess or tweak on one thing. You may do so relentlessly and compulsively, and then kick yourself after you eventually snap out of it. Be glad you picked your phone as the object to tweak on.

My girlfriend used to tell me not to “zone on the phone”. We never used the word “tweak” for this, and it was a word related to meth that I only learned online after I stopped using meth. I think it’s an American thing. I don’t think it’s even a great word in this context, and “zone” works better… as in being “in the zone” because meth puts you into a zone, literally. The twilight zone. But I use that word because most people seem to get the drift.

Ironically, despite your self consciousness and paranoia, people won’t notice that you are spending too much time on the phone. They will notice your self consciousness and paranoia. It’s become normal to zone on the phone, but what isn’t normal is seeing somebody who constantly looks up from the screen, peering around nervously and moving around so much because he or she is obviously high.

Posted in Addiction, Humour, Methamphetamine | Tagged , | Leave a comment

All theology is bullshit

(Excuse the ranting in this post… I was added to a debate group and that never seems to go well for me. So just for today, I am a stereotypical angry atheist. For the record, the frequency of the word “idiot” here is not intended to be about all religious people – just the ones who debate. But I do mean all theology is bullshit, because it is.)

Yesterday somebody added me to yet another discussion group on Facebook. I looked around and discussions seemed interesting at first, until I realized there was plenty proselytizing going on. And in every case, the preaching followed this dubious logic: “The Bible is true because the Bible says so”. I commented there, explaining the burden of proof, and explaining that the holy texts are the source of the claim. You don’t get to repeat bits of the claim and assert that they are true – well, you can but it’s not going to convince anybody who doesn’t already believe, and you certainly can’t expect anyone who isn’t an idiot to accept the claim itself as evidence of itself.

In one case, the guy even asked what the earliest known religion was, and then answered his own question, claiming that Christianity is the first religion, because the Bible says so. (Because it says “In the beginning” in the book of Genesis. I kid you not.) In another, he asked what the four qualities of false religions are, and then went on to explain why other religions are false because of what’s written in a couple of Bible verses…

This after I pulled out of all those groups because I am tired of debating people who are about as smart as the shit I flush down the toilet.

Anyway, I decided to troll those stupid bastards. Since theists are so fond of loaded questions and bait-and-switch arguments, I posed one of my own. And from now on, I will post a status like this in every such group I’m added to. It goes like this… “Question: Is every argument in religious apologetics either directly or indirectly an argument from ignorance?” This…
16-04-2018 16-44-51

  1. Of course they are. People who start with the assumption that their conclusion is true are never going to accept that, but it doesn’t matter. I’m trolling.
  2. If anyone seriously engages me, I can switch bait-and-switch style to a much more detailed argument. Since there are no valid apologetics arguments, as long as they don’t bore me to inactivity (actually they already have), I can’t lose such a debate. Try to bog me down in the details of your bullshit apologetics or theology or “philosophy”, and all I need to do is point out that your premise (it always starts with the assumption that god exists) is wrong.

Actually I don’t know if all apologetics arguments are arguments from ignorance, but they are all fallacious.

Of course, those same idiots who wrote the statuses that pissed me off weren’t the ones to respond, mostly. The status received several tu quoque replies though, because for many who aren’t smart, resorting to a childish “But you also…” is a clever reply. But hey… I recently saw an entire video of several minutes where American idiot Tomi Lahren ranted and her entire argument was a tu quoque fallacy, so I guess it works for many.

I did get one almost reasonable response though… One man argued that “natural theology” is not an argument from ignorance. He even continued arguing when I responded with the switch part of my bait-and-switch. Shame! Poor lil’ small-brained guy. He even claimed that natural theology is “deductive reasoning”.

What is theology? And what is the difference between vanilla theology and natural theology? Off to Google I go with, um, indifferent curiosity.

Google tells me that theology is: the study of the nature of God and religious belief.

Natural theology
is: theology or knowledge of God based on observed facts and experience apart from divine revelation.

Well, excuse me, but in practice doesn’t that make all theology natural theology? Think about it. Take all the time you need. (Yeah, I hate that cliché too and I don’t know where it comes from. Sorry.)

Let’s illustrate the issue with a deliberately absurd analogy… Imagine that someone believed that Jimbo the Giant Jackass created the craters on the moon, together with his family of giants on giant pogo sticks. And he wrote that shit down, and people believed it, then taught it to their children before those children could think critically. Then those children taught it to the grandchildren, and so on. Imagine they regard the Book of Jimbo as absolute truth.

If you approach a Jimbo believer and say there is no evidence that the craters were created by giant pogo sticks, he might respond Hen Ham style with “Were you there?”. If you point out that he wasn’t either, he might respond, “I have this book” and then also point to a line in the book stating that Jimbo only speaks the truth, and criticize you harshly for being intolerant of his belief system.

Maybe they would invent a field of study called Jimbiology, all about the divinity of Jimbo and the miracle of the giant pogo sticks. Natural Jimbiology would be about looking at the craters… Look how round they are. This roundness is clearly evidence of the base of pogo sticks! And so on… The field is all about looking at the innermost details of the belief, and the “natural” side of it is about seeing signs that verify the belief to be true.

But seriously… Let’s ignore the fact that theology is not apologetics. It’s kool-aid made by believers, for believers. If theology is the study of the divine, other than studying the religious doctrines, it has to be the study of things that you assume to have been influenced or created by the divine.

In other words, natural theology is all about making a connection between the natural, between what is real, and what you assume to have created it. It’s like looking for footprints in the sand, except that because you assume god created everything, everything is a footprint. Imagine devoting your entire life to a field of study when that field is nothing but an extended argument from personal incredulity.

There’s no deductive reasoning going on. You start with the assumption of God, or Jesus, or Allah, or whatever, and then you study what you assume the deity created and fabricate reasons to connect the “creation” back to the creator. You have to fabricate and use your imagination to insert god into the gaps in knowledge because there is no evidence for the actual god. It’s all about making other things evidence for god. And this is why we always talk over each other in debates. We (atheists) ask for evidence, and theists point us at stuff that isn’t evidence at all, then wonder why we don’t accept it. (Look at this nonsense written by a religious guy who doesn’t get it.) If instead you started with the real world, there would be no reason to leap to the existence of a deity. It isn’t really an observation or a logical deduction, and in fact only makes sense if you assume the creator exists.

And that in a nutshell is all there is to all theology, as well as religious philosophy. Once you remove the layers of crap, because it is all about the innermost details of thousands of years related to the belief itself, it all starts with the assumption that god exists. It amazes me that people spend their whole lives immersed in bullshit beliefs. No wonder they don’t like to be reminded that it’s all made up.

Actually, after some reading I wonder if natural theology is based on the arguments of Thomas Aquinas? In that case, it definitely qualifies as apologetics. It’s those arguments I especially love to hate, such as the argument from first cause, which assumes that everything needs a cause, and that one can trace back to a “first” cause. Then leaps to that cause being the Christian god. There is no logical reason to make this leap, and of course it is only made by someone who, as I’ve written above, assumes that this god exists. (Not to mention that it is special pleading to insist that god doesn’t need a cause.) This same fault can be found in every one of his arguments.

Posted in Skepticism | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

On the difference between knowledge and belief

I was quite baffled last week when a Facebook friend, who has 695 mutual friends, started complaining about atheism posts. First of all, if we have almost 700 mutual friends, it means that almost all of them are atheists, which means you went out of your way to add atheists… His second status that I saw on the subject stated that he is comfortable being a Christian, and unlike us atheists who “hate religion and god”, he did not have a choice. He didn’t choose faith, faith chose him.

Well, he’s right about one thing: He did not choose faith. That’s not how it works. The way it works is quite simple – you are taught about religion when you are a small child, before you have learned to think critically. You accept it as true while you are still a small child, and then you grow up with a blind spot where you are quite unable to evaluate your own beliefs critically.

No doubt my friend would say what I hear so often, that he “knows in his heart that god exists”. And that gets me on to the subject… What is the difference between knowledge and belief?

Clearly my friend could not possibly know that his god is real. Rather, he believes in his religion with such conviction, he thinks he knows. Faith is belief despite zero supporting evidence, and that idea that you know your god exists is a feeling that you have. I know this very well because I wasn’t always an atheist.

Actually that was what this post was originally going to be about, before I changed the main focus… Only someone who used to have faith, and lost that faith, can ever understand both sides of this argument. We understand what it’s like to think that we know god is real, and then to lose that faith and realize that it was never knowledge at all. I can explain until I’m blue in the face, and write this down ten thousand times, but somebody who hasn’t lost their faith will never get it.

At the end of the day, you can’t know anything unless you have seen evidence. Or can you? I think there is another facet to the distinction between knowledge and belief: At some point, we all trust a source of information. At some point our own direct exposure to facts and evidence ends, and we must defer to experts and accept that what they say is true. I have never left this planet, yet I accept as fact that it is not flat. I know it’s not flat.

I love the example of a flat earth, because so many people online are pushing it, whether they believe it or not… They challenge us, challenge what the difference is between knowledge and belief. Of course it’s not a great example because there is evidence for the shape of the planet, and a basic knowledge of science (gravity) should tell you that it can’t be flat. Also time zones and GPS and… It’s just not up for debate.

But what we can take out of this is that my friend’s faith is an emotional attachment to the dogma he was force fed as a child. And everyone like him who thinks that they ‘know” their god exists, don’t know the difference between knowledge and belief. For whatever reason (and I don’t know what the reason is) most people grow up and continue to trust religions and religious dogma as sources of information, just like I trust science, reason and evidence. There is no reason for them to do so. I can’t understand why anyone would not see past the stories of the Bible being no different to any other older religions that we now call myths, and yet this is the way it is.

If anyone can shed some light on this, on why people trust books like the Bible as sources of information even though they contradict common sense, apart from indoctrination, please feel free to share your wisdom in the comments.

Posted in Skepticism | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Chemtrails version 2 are coming to a city near you!

It has come to my attention that our Reptilian Overlords™ have finally realized the folly of spraying us with their mind-controlling chemicals from 30 000 feet and higher. Oddly, the very persistence of these chemtrails, often touted as evidence that they exist, is one of their key problems. Namely that chemicals sitting up there at 30 000 feet are not being inhaled by anybody. And when they eventually do dissipate and reach the ground in some random place at the whim of the winds, all the chemicals have been broken down anyway. This is indeed an ineffective delivery system.

Fortunately for us, the lizards aren’t as smart as they could be. They haven’t realized that all they need do is modify some ordinary vehicles and attach the chemtrail dispensers to their exhausts, which would totally work. This would remove the need to somehow hide the chemtrail tanks in commercial airplanes and the logistical issues with moving, refilling and maintaining them, and they would also no longer need to compensate for the added weight and the unhappiness of commercial airline executives who are more concerned with the number of passengers they can squeeze into planes because that’s how they make money.

Instead, we proudly present Lizzie the humanoid chembreath dispenser. Lizzie is short for “Lizard”. Clever, eh?

30443448_2034299156844305_288778598662275072_n

Image stolen from Facebook meme. Source unknown. You know she is evil because her hair is red.

No longer confined to the implausible 30 000 feet, Lizzie is still bound by the same rules that apply to chemtrail dispensers. So just as their trails can only occur in places where you would find contrails caused by condensation of jet fuel water vapor byproducts in the cold air after burning jet fuel, Lizzies will only appear where water vapor in breath condenses in cold environments. But ground environments. That’s the plus. So these chemicals might actually reach somebody.

Next generation Lizzies will also be able to infiltrate smoking and vaping areas near you. You thought smoking was bad for you? Wait ’til you get exposed to the evil chemicals that control your mind, pushing you to think that you don’t matter and there is nothing you can do to make a difference in this cruel world. Even though you you don’t matter and there is nothing you can do to make a difference in this cruel world anyway. Apparently our Reptilian Overlords™ haven’t figured that out yet either.

Posted in Humour | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

My beautiful son is ten years old now

Last Monday Josh turned ten years old.

I can hardly believe it. This time has passed so quickly. While there were ups and downs that I have mentioned recently, I could not love my son more, and we are closer than ever. I still remember his birth as clearly as if it happened yesterday.

A couple of days ago, he fell asleep on my bed after tiring himself out playing on the Xbox. I took a quick photo, but thought it came out blurred, and didn’t even check it, as I have not taken many good photos with this phone. So I forgot all about it, until he found it last night.

I sent it to Megan as well, and she reacted quite emotionally, saying she wished she could kiss him goodnight. Yeah, things are not what I wanted, and they aren’t perfect, but this son of mine is the closest to perfection I know, especially when he’s asleep…

IMG_20180404_211728

Posted in Family, Parenting | Tagged | Leave a comment