A reminder: Atheism makes no claim–it doesn’t involve a theory for where the universe came from

The idiots in this Facebook group provide endless examples of how badly theists understand atheism.

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What I love about engaging with idiot Christians like this twit is, as pathetic as his argument may seem, it is the same argument used by other, less moronic Christians. It’s stripped of all attempts at the pseudo-complexity you’ll get from clever theists, a bare-bones vacuous argument without the pretensions of wit, intellect or complexity because the poor intellectually challenged fellow isn’t capable of dressing it up.

We don’t know where the fucking universe came from. And I’m not speaking merely for atheists. None of us know. That’s the trick.

It is in our nature to make up an explanation when we don’t know. At its simplest, that’s what god is. The most obvious, direct answer to where everything came from when we don’t know, is something beyond our understanding created it all. Something we call god. But we could just as well call it magic. Same difference, fuckers.

That’s what we do. It’s how the human brain works. But for thousands of years, we’ve taken our hypotheses, tested them, and proven them wrong or less wrong, where less wrong gets closer to being right over time. That’s how science was born, and it is a fascinating process where knowledge accumulates and is corrected gradually, over many years and generations, a process that reflects evolution itself.

Religion, on the other hand, is comprised of claims brought to us from primitive people, claims that are never tested because there is nothing to test. And there’s nothing to test because those things, magic, gods, myths, call them what you want, are man made concepts. They do not exist outside of our imagination. To expect atheists, who reject your magical thinking, to then have some equal and opposite magical claim, is a common error that theists make. I’ve seen it over and over again, not only from idiots like poor J Alden Twat, but other smarter theists.

It’s almost sad, that with his question, he is so close yet so far from actually getting it.

Coronavirus misinformation continues (Stay in your fucking homes)

We’ve had our first two deaths in South Africa. The US now leads the race in terms of confirmed cases. So a snapshot right now looks like this:

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Yet the fanatical religious people still share arguments like this:

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I don’t get how anyone can choose to ignore the fact that the confirmed cases are increasing exponentially, and this is without proper testing. Of all people, it’s the extreme religious ones who are fucking it up for the rest of us. Note it isn’t all religious people, but it is often the most religious ones. I wonder if this doesn’t demonstrate something? Does the extreme end of a view not give a better indication of the view’s repercussions? (Sorry, I am having trouble phrasing this. Hope this is clear.) Anyway, it seems that faith is especially dangerous right now, especially if that faith gives you the confidence to put yourself and others at risk because you think you are protected by something for which no evidence exists. It’s almost like false hope is fine when it comes to comforting your feelings, but potentially tragic if you trust it against things that actually exist.

This situation is ongoing. One cannot compare it to flu, or previous pandemics, unless one was able to somehow get a snapshot of those previous pandemics at a similar stage. And how would we define such a stage? Previous pandemics were not nearly as contagious. For example, Ebola was not airborne but was spread only by direct physical contact. This virus is the most dire, the most serious threat to life as we know it that most of us will live to see.

Please stay in your homes and do not be fooled by misinformation like that I screen-shotted above.

Also, it’s not only the older people dying. For example, here’s an article about a nurse who was in his 40s, who died of it. We are all in danger and it should be our priority to not only take precautions to avoid crowds where we might become infected, but also to avoid them in case we are unknowingly already infected. You might suffer only a mild infection but pass on the virus to others who then die.

When winning is losing

I’m on a 30 day Facebook ban again, and this time I’m not too sure why.

Anyway, I would normally reply to this jackass but now I can’t…

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This is not how I view winning:

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Judging by the last few days, the US is going to be winning alright, winning in terms of the number of cases of CIVID-19, maybe the number of deaths too. But those who support Trump continue to do so, as if their reality involves some other universe rather than this one, some universe where they aren’t being led by an idiot, some universe where the man is competent at something other than making lurid remarks about women and spitting out insults that aren’t half as good as those of my almost 12 year old son.

Incidentally, that Facebook group was created by an atheist with an alternate profile, a couple of years ago, to see just how gullible believers can be. It is now filled with thousands of believers, but the worst kind… Trump supporting, racists, misogynists, homophobic, anti-atheist, anti-science, anti-intellectual people, as well as the usual low intelligence folks who bleat out their “Amen” comments like sheep. Not that sheep can comment, but if they could it would surely be along the lines of “baaa Aaaaaamen”.

Before my ban, I spent some time mocking these people, who like to thank god for creating everything, but get peeved when anyone posts ironic prayers thanking their god for disease, suffering, and death. So apparently he didn’t create everything after all. Just the convenient stuff. They also don’t like when you post prayers thanking their god for addiction and drug overdoses, or drugs. And they really don’t like it when someone reminds them that celebrating being spared during some sort of catastrophe is as shallow as celebrating the deaths of those who were not spared.

Update: Just a couple of hours later and the US has taken the lead. I don’t mean to be smug… I’m really worried about my own country too. We are in lockdown and I’m working remotely for the next 21 days… I just hope we aren’t too late. Our hospitals are already at full capacity.

Stupid search strings (they don’t get much stupider than this)

Once again… this is one of those posts where I respond to a search string that brought a reader here. This one is short. I’m only bothering with one of these…
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ways to counter negative crystal meth effects

  1. Don’t use crystal meth.

There. That was simple enough. Seriously, if you’re wondering “How to counter negative side-effects of shooting myself in the foot?”, you need to consider maybe not shooting yourself in the foot.

 

Magical thinking is dangerous, especially now

I guess on some level I’ve always been aware of magical thinking. What I didn’t know was how widespread it is. I first noticed someone whose beliefs were unusually aggressive when I was in school, standard 4 (grade 6 as they call it now), with a teacher, Mr Barnett, who would somehow include the words “Lord Jesus” at least twice in every sentence. I thought he was whacked in the head, and he no doubt was a little off-kilter, but no more so than many others whose extreme beliefs are less in-your-face.

It was a few years before when I’d learned the Bible stories from the Old Testament, and I realized then that people used to ascribe natural disasters to an angry god, a god who would punish the people for their wrongdoings unless they repented. I grew up being taught those things as if they were true, but never believed them, and assumed (incorrectly) that everybody else also didn’t believe them. (Because obvious nonsense is obvious.)

Then, years later, having messed up quite seriously and become addicted to crystal meth, I entered into “recovery” with unfortunate naivete, expecting addiction treatment to be evidence based. (It isn’t.) There I found that addiction treatment is in fact based entirely on a religious foundation, filled with platitudes and magical thinking. It took me four years altogether to find my own way of staying clean and sober, one that works for me and does not involve those ridiculous 12 steps of woo.

But now, we are facing COVID-19, a virus still mutating, one for which there is no cure, where we are infectious but asymptomatic for 14 days, a virus that is killing people and potentially on par in terms of fatalities with the Biblical plagues. This is a time when we all need to take the necessary precautions, but instead of that happening, we have religious people fucking it all up for the rest of us.

There are people sharing misinformation and conspiracy theories about the disease; people sharing prayers and claiming that their faith will protect them – it doesn’t work like that, for fuck’s sake! Inhaling the contaminated air that an infected person exhaled is all you need, and the easiest way for that to happen, the most effective way of spreading the virus, is large gatherings, crowds, in confined spaces. This is a problem particularly because you can have massive viral loads and be highly infectious while asymptomatic. Yet many religious leaders are refusing to back down and encouraging their believers to carry on as usual. This is, of course, a reckless and irresponsible abuse of their authority (for a change?), considering that believers trust them.

Meanwhile, we also have people who blame every disaster, including this virus, on minority groups who make easy victims for them, such as same sex couples or transgender people, claiming that their god is angry with those people. It seems we have not moved on at all since the OT, and collectively we remain driven by this dangerous magical thinking.

Why, oh why… would you believe that this god created the entire universe, but has a problem with what members of one particular species of great ape do with their gonads? It is absurd that people believe this. But they do. We are a race of fucking idiots.

 

 

 

 

 

In the cold light of morning

A strange thought occurred to me this morning.

I was driving, having stopped in the front at a traffic light. It changed to green, and since I didn’t immediately pull forward, the person behind me hooted in those 400 milliseconds or so of my hesitation (one of my pet hates by the way). It didn’t really worry me but as I pulled away, I remembered how differently this would have been several years ago when I used meth.

I cannot emphasize enough how horrible it was driving to work in those years. I’d shower and change for work, not having slept the night before – sometimes several nights before, then have a last few hits of meth to “wake up” and drive to work.

The drive to work thus served two objectives:

  1. Get to work. (Obviously)
  2. Get the edge off. (i.e. lose the worst immediate effects of the meth high)

Objective number two didn’t always work, and even when it did work, that drive while extremely high, anxious, paranoid, and depending on how many days I’d been awake, on one hell of a downer, was highly unpleasant. You can be high and on a downer at the same time. You can be out of your mind high and depressed from a downer simultaneously. And that’s how I usually was in the morning, so high I’d sometimes forget sections of roads I drove every day, overly anxious and paranoid, and prone to bursting into tears because the meth downer is brutal. I’d also be  paranoid to the extent that sometimes I’d think I was being followed, and someone hooting at me would have put me into a manic panic.

One of my favourite bands is Placebo, and one day, having bought their album Meds, it reached track 12 (track name used for the title of this post) for the first time. The song described my life exactly, and I burst into tears while driving. It didn’t help that track 13, A song to say goodbye, was in my mind a song about giving up on somebody who had ruined their lives with drugs. I took that one personally too.

I still love both of those songs, especially In the cold light of morning. But fuck those years, I never want to feel those feelings again.