I quit smoking, and some clarification on why I don’t debate theists (again)

Two unrelated subjects today, but both were on my mind as I tried, in vain, to fall asleep last night.

I’m done with smoking cigarettes

I’ve tried half-heartedly to quit before, but was always quick to give up. In fact, I’ve often wondered how it could be that I gave up meth easily more than five years ago, but cigarettes were the one addiction I held onto.

But I think I have an answer: Just like five years ago, when I had motivation, I have motivation now. It’s a week ago that my mother died of complications trying to treat lung disease, most likely cancer caused by smoking. So just like when I quit meth, I am quitting cigarettes “cold turkey”. No pills or cigarette alternatives, no 12 step program – not that they do that for smoking cessation, but I am comparing this to quitting meth… No “just for today” nonsense because this is for life.

I hope this gets easier because I am craving a cigarette right now. But that’s OK; I craved meth for a day or two as well (after quitting at the end of a week), and then it got easy the next week.

Why I’m not going to debate you; the theist who attempted to initiate a debate yesterday

I’m not going to write who it was or quote fully. Long term readers might be able to figure it out, but that doesn’t matter because it absolutely does not apply to that one person only.

First of all, I do not get “defensive when criticized”. It’s avoidance. When you try to push me into a debate, I politely back off. It’s not defensive and I am quite capable of being aggressive as my arguments are good. But I don’t want to. I see no value in debating you after already explaining my position multiple times, only to have you stampede into yet another attack on me while caricaturizing my position.

I am not arrogant about this. To condescend and accuse me of arrogance when I do not believe I have a personal relationship with the creator of the entire universe, is more than a little ironic. Look at yourself a little closer.

As an atheist, I do not say, “There is no god”, at least not as a start to an argument. That’s a possible conclusion. Unlike you, I would never start with a conclusion. I reject the claims that gods exist. I don’t accept them, and I don’t make a counter claim that a god doesn’t exist. To accuse me of claiming to have special knowledge is dishonest after I have explained this literally every time you or anyone else tries to push me into a debate.

Since I was also indoctrinated in my youth, I understand the theistic perspective. When the arguments used always caricaturize my position, and with the type of arguments used, it is clear exactly how many theists think:

  1. You believe you “know” god exists, but won’t admit that.
  2. That is, every argument starts with the implicit assumption that god exists. Everything else (that isn’t about some straw man of atheism) is then using motivated reasoning to continue believing what you already believe.
  3. You assume that atheism is some kind of polar opposite of theism, so you project this opposite claim that “there is no god”.

Since the theist not only starts with his conclusion, but also argues against himself in the form of a twisted projection of some kind of assumption of what atheism is, and ignores everything I say, there really isn’t much point to debating.

Even when I did debate in the past, it was never to win. Watch or read any debate and pay attention to those who observe and support the debaters, not only the debaters themselves. In almost every case, both parties believe they won, and both groups of supporters believe their candidate won. Belief bias is strong.

I go into a debate with an open mind, and am always willing to learn. But there’s nothing to learn in debating someone who begs the question, someone whose premise assumes his conclusion to be true. You’ve lost before the debate has even begun. That wasn’t always a reason for me not to debate, but years of wasting my time have made it so. I used to debate anyway, ask leading questions and try to get my opponent to reveal their assumptions, bring the intellectual dishonesty in their arguments to the surface so that others might see it. But that got boring when every theist debater made the same assumptions and used the same arguments, while none of them are self aware enough to realize the assumptions they make. Or honest enough to admit what having faith really means. (Faith is belief despite no evidence. If you are truly honest about this with yourself, you would realize that it is not something that you can rationally debate.)

Edit: Typical… This cigarette craving is driving me nuts so I forgot to include one of the points that whirlpooled ’round my head last night as my insomnia dragged me over into the new day… Lastly, I am not insecure in my beliefs, unlike some people. I’ve written about this many times and that need for my point of view to be understood is less urgent than it used to be. There are years worth of material going back on this blog and anyone who wants to know my personal view, anyone who actually knows me in real life, can read it here and understand it better than I can ever tell you in words.

So don’t try to force me to debate, please. Save your arguments from ignorance and your circular reasoning and your gaslighting of my life and my beliefs or lack of beliefs.


Many clever people believe in bullshit.

Hitchin's Razor

That doesn’t mean the shit is true.

Last night as he went to bed, my son asked me, “If somebody shoots me in the head while I’m sleeping, will I feel it?” It seems he thinks of death quite a bit, but I see his fascination with death and mortality as healthy.

I didn’t think of those things until much later. At his age, I was stuck in a rut… stuck on my religious doubt; wondering why it was that I struggled to believe in God, Jesus, Confession, Communion, while everyone else I knew believed strongly in those things. I looked to my peers, my parents, the Parish Priest, and thought to myself, “If all these clever people believe, surely it must be true?” I remained like that, unable to move past those thoughts until about the age of sixteen.

There were two faults in my thinking then:

  1. Argumentum ad populum (appeal to popularity): The fallacy where you assume something must be true because lots of people believe it. If this were true, there’d be a lot of nonsense we’d all have to believe.
  2. Appeal to authority: The idea that because an “expert” believes something is true, despite no evidence to support the position, it must be true. Of course when it comes to faith based ideas that are spread by indoctrination, there are no relevant authorities.

Sadly, there are many people, hundreds of thousands… maybe millions? I don’t know how many… who believe in bullshit. Besides the theologians, priests, ministers, Rabbis, Imams… there are also Naturopaths, Homeopaths, Reflexologists, Acupuncturists, Astrologers, Chiropractors, and all kinds of other bullshit professions. There are countless clever people who devote their careers, and sometimes their entire lives, to bullshit.

An argument sometimes used against atheists in online debates is one where the theist criticizes us accusing us of claiming to have superior knowledge. Ignoring the ad hominem and straw man… we make no claims. We reject theism. I also reject a lot of other stuff. I haven’t studied homeopathy, for example, but I know that it is bullshit. The point is, theists make this argument about us, when they themselves have plenty of things they don’t believe in. One does not have to walk up to the dog shit on the pavement, and study its shape and texture, to know that it is shit. Likewise, anything asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. I’d add to the popular Hitchin’s Razor that such things can also be rejected without study. To study something like theology for instance, involves the innermost details of the religious claims. They don’t have evidence – they assume their gods are real and go from there, and also study the assumed signs of the creator they can “see” in the assumed creations… The whole field is a farce.

Why I don’t care to get in the last word

I took part in an amusing Facebook comment thread the other day and I figured it would be a good point to use to express why I don’t make any effort to “get in the last word” on comment threads.

I’d shared an image, posted by an American conservative commentator (a woman) showing three young women wearing #HimToo shirts, with the question, “What is this shit?”

One man commented a couple of times, once with some asinine comment about facts, and another to say they have more balls than me. As I understand it, #HimToo is a response to #MeToo… It takes balls to frame victims as being wrong, and defend the abusers (men) who have the power? I’m sorry, but that makes no fucking sense. It doesn’t take strength to defend the strong and oppose the weak. Hell, it doesn’t take much to defend the weak against the strong either, especially for a white male like myself who isn’t directly affected… just some empathy and a little basic human decency. But at least I try. Seriously, it doesn’t take much if this is their response. Childish insults, really? I’ll feel threatened if someone points a loaded gun in my face. (It’s been done before. I was an addict and was at one stage involved with some dangerous people. It puts these things into perspective.) Some words on the internet somewhere are not going to get to me.

So I replied sarcastically to say something like the above, something about what #HimToo is and how it does not take strength to side with those who have power. And I saw via a notification that the guy commented again. Whatever for? When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. It doesn’t matter how many ways you rephrase your wrongness. It’s still fucking wrong, and to be frank, this #HimToo movement is obscene. So… call me weak for siding with feminists; tell me I have no balls, call me an idiot; I really don’t give a fuck. I said what I needed to say and my view is perfectly clear. I have no need to respond further. I’m not even curious as to what his last comment might be. It just doesn’t matter.

So that’s the way it is. If I stop responding to your arguments, you can feel good about it if you like. You put it the last word. Congratulations. But know this: Everybody who reads your nonsense arguments knows how wrong you are.

I spent some time on Google yesterday and read some articles to try getting an understanding of why people feel that they need to get in the last word. They all seem to agree that it’s about ego. But I don’t think so. It seems more like insecurity to me. If your argument is good and clearly right, nothing more needs to be said. You might feel like it gives you some kind of power to go on and keep commenting, but it really doesn’t. It only shows how wrong you are.

Edit: I really don’t like this post so much. It isn’t fair to #metoo to write about this and then make it all about me. This was supposed to be about why I don’t try to put the last word in, but maybe using #himtoo as an example was a poor choice? Perhaps I will try to write on that subject specifically, with the focus on women and victims, as it should be… Then again as a man I am hopelessly unqualified to write about feminism – I don’t think  men can ever fully understand such issues, so this subject is really challenging to tackle in a way that does it justice.

If you know some parts of the Bible are nonsense, why accept the rest? And why accept the religion?

First of all, this applies equally to other religions. As a former Christian, I only ever needed to reject the one to reject all religions. But this applies just as much to other religious texts, such as the Quran. I’m not picking on Christianity; I’m using it as an example.

To be fair though, I did think of other religions too… Another important factor in my rejection of religion was the consideration that although my religion taught me that it and only it was the one true religion, other people believed equally sincerely in other religions that stated the same, and the only difference between me and them was that we were born into different religious families. The absurdity of a god punishing people for believing in the wrong religion, for all eternity, in addition to my doubts inline with today’s post, became the strongest argument in my mind against belief in my teen years – right before I ditched that belief. But that factor is not the focus of today’s post. (Maybe next time, but I do think this paragraph makes the point well enough.)

Yesterday an article from 2015 was trending on Facebook again, one in which a teacher told a four year old child that being left-handed is evil. And once again, it occurred to me how arbitrary the evils and rules mentioned in the Bible are. Being left-handed, being attracted to someone of the same sex, being a woman according to many… Those are not things one can choose. The Bible is literally saying that those people are evil for simply existing.

Common sense says the Bible is obviously wrong about all those things, as does basic human decency. But do Christians realize that? No! No, they don’t. Either they ignore it completely, which is what I suspect most Christians do, or they actively preach the hatred with a fluffy red bow, like that hateful homophobic, child beating activist mommy bitch. People like her adjust their views on the world and make the world conform to their beliefs. In her mind, being gay is a choice, one that can be changed with prayer, and thus homophobia prettied up with words about god loving you is not hateful at all. She and all people like her are abhorrent.

Why? Why hang on to a belief that is so obviously heinous?

I’m guessing it is for the same reason that, a few years ago when he still debated me, an extended family member sent me hundreds of verbose words explaining why the Biblical plagues really happened…  (Edit – I’ve changed the phrasing here to clarify that it was hundreds of words and not hundreds of explanations. My extended family member is not insane.) No, seriously, he did that. “Scientific” explanations for plagues of frogs, locusts, a worldwide flood that wasn’t really worldwide… (Explanations that didn’t need a god to have sent those plagues and flood waters, so why use them to justify the belief?) Why fabricate such contrived excuses to hold onto a belief that isn’t based on reality?

Anyway, I have no answer for you today… Just the question. If you realize, on some level, that the events in the Bible didn’t actually happen, the rules in the Bible don’t actually apply (Christian women who don’t cover your heads – I’m looking at you), the people condemned in the Bible are often condemned for arbitrary things that make no sense, why believe in any of it?

Update: For clarity, my question is rhetorical – though I shouldn’t need to say so. Neither arguments nor facts matter if you start with the assumption that your religion is true because you assume your god exists, and go from there.

Clarification: Why my son won’t attend his cousin’s first communion

Last night my mother, who will be attending her granddaughter’s first communion, told me she would really like Josh to go with her. I had to explain to her why that isn’t going to happen.

First of all, she interrupted to remind me that I originally wanted him brought up Catholic. Yes, I did. I was insecure in my atheism then, and I wanted the best for my son. The best, in my mind back then, was for him to be brought up just like I was. Am I not allowed to change my mind? In my mind back then, it was also very important for me to smoke methamphetamine every day. Why not equate the two beliefs? My mother (and others) are quick to point out the mistakes I made back then, the awful choices I made… But not this one. This one is perfectly OK because it happens to agree with them.

I, like so many others, used to believe my morals and values were Christian. My mistake was the argument from morality, and I have since changed that belief. And actually, thinking back, my morals were already rock solid by the time I started Sunday School. I already knew right from wrong, not to lie, steal, and so on. They didn’t teach me morals at church. Instead, they taught me a whole lot of confusing nonsense, prayers, and rituals, and also explained why contraception is not OK with their deity.

For he so loved the world that didn’t exist yet, that he created the entire universe, every planet, every star, every animal and every plant, and all manner of things that we cannot know, and then, he explained what I can and cannot do with my penis, and what you can and cannot put in your vagina, and that we can not do these things outside of an arbitrary contract between us that we call marriage. Also, oral sex is right out! And stay away from the anus. Satan lives in that dark hole. Amen.

Anyway, mother dearest agrees with me… my morals did not come from church.

Imagine letting a child grow up without ever hearing about Christianity, and then trying to explain it to him or her in their twenties. God created the whole world, and all of us, but he created us with sin. Then he sent his son down to us, but the son is also the father. Then he sacrificed himself, which somehow saves us from the sins that he created us with. But he came back to life, so there wasn’t really any sacrifice. Ignore that last part. He loves you unconditionally, and if you don’t love him back, he will send you to a bad place where you will suffer for all eternity.

My religious upbringing caused me much confusion. Before my first communion was first confession. I was the only one in my class to bunk that, pretending to be sick to avoid it, then had to go back alone the next week. And I attended my First “Holy” Communion as they called it, with everybody all dressed up. It was a special occasion and a big deal, and of course, it takes place in an environment where everybody believes, and everybody takes it for granted that everybody else there also believes. When you’re a child and haven’t yet learned to think critically, even if you have doubts as I did, it’s hard to hold onto them. You trust your parents and implicitly trust the authorities that they trust. I forgot about my doubts until I was much older, and it took me years to get over my indoctrination.

That’s what this is about: indoctrination. I don’t want my son to suffer any more of the church nonsense. I don’t want him to sit in an environment where everybody believes, and feel that sense of fellowship, of belonging. He already had that for a few years before he was returned to my custody. Enough damage has already been done.

Perhaps this last point can be carried to another post for elaboration, but another thing that annoys me about people like my mother and brother is their double standard… I am not allowed to say there is no god. “How can you say that? You don’t know!” But it is perfectly OK to hammer that there is a god into the unfinished immature mind of a child before he or she can learn to think critically? I don’t see or hear Christians telling their children that they don’t know if god exists. In fact, they teach it as fact that god does exist, but hold us who doubt this to a higher standard.

(Edit: This post was originally intended to be an elaboration of the last paragraph’s point, titled “Christian privilege”, introduced by comparing it to white privilege – because this double standard where Christians assume their belief as the default and impose it on everyone else, is quite similar to white people assuming white as the default for all people, and then treating others as inferior. But it’s a hard sell because too many people are ignorant of white privilege; the intro would end up too long and detract from the point of the post. So I decided to change the approach completely and make it personal and anecdotal instead.)

Being good without god

I have two posts in mind for the subject I said I don’t want to write about any more, but have decided to have a go at my more usual writing instead…

My son and mother are still watching Dexter, and although I bailed around season 4 when the writing, characters, and script changed completely, I think they’re on season 6. I heard some of it last night and saw the end of the episode, regarding the protagonist (Dexter) who narrates the show, and the subject of atheism came up. It struck me as a kind of atheism that exists only in the minds of theists, in this case obviously the writers of the show, and I thought it something worth commenting on.

In the episode, he is sending his son to a Catholic school, which causes him somewhat of a dilemma. Eventually he decides that it makes sense in case his son wants to “care about those things”. He also asks his victim, who has a tattoo of Jesus on his chest, “What would Jesus think?” because the man murdered his wife. He then proceeds to ask the man a variation of “Why do you believe?” before killing him. And mentions that he “believes in nothing”.

That’s quite a few tidbits about atheism on the surface alone, without even getting to the deeper assumption that someone without a god is free to murder because he doesn’t believe in judgement by a higher power after his death.

Let’s get into the surface stuff first:

  1. I know why believers believe. I’d wager every atheist who had a religious upbringing knows. None of us will ever ask you why you believe, unless we do so rhetorically. Unless of course, you’re a poorly contrived character in a shallow show where the implication is a lack of feelings leads to disbelief in god, amorality, and the freedom to murder without remorse… (My knowledge of why believers believe is an important part of the next point.)
  2. I’d never send my son to a Catholic school in case he cares about those things. I care. I know exactly how indoctrination works and how easy it is to suck someone in to a belief system when they are a child. That’s exactly why my son doesn’t go to Sunday School, and won’t attend his cousin’s First “Holy” Communion soon. (It’s still named First Holy Communion in my head because that’s what we called it in my Sunday School. That ritual, all the children and parents in attendance, is a huge part of the sense of fellowship that comes from the cult-like indoctrination pushed on children by the church. If it is important to you or your children, you are too brainwashed to see how harmful it is.)
  3. The idea that an atheist “believes in nothing” is rooted in the assumption that god exists (which incidentally is the foundation for every single argument in religious apologetics and is why every single argument is logically invalid – but that’s besides today’s point). I’ll need to elaborate on this…

When you assume your god exists, and assume that belief in this is necessary, then you also assume that someone who doesn’t believe lacks meaning, since in your mind everything comes from this deity. A lack of belief thus equates to a “belief in nothing” only because you assume god exists. In reality, life without such a belief is perfectly normal, and there is no feeling of anything being missing.

Now let’s address the deeper assumptions… I’ve heard and read the claim many times, that atheists are inherently amoral because of a lack of belief in god, which I’ve mentioned before, but this secondary claim is so widespread maybe it needs to be addressed directly, the claim that atheists can murder and rape because they don’t believe in judgement after death…

Let’s forget about personal beliefs for a moment…

Why do good people not kill and rape?

It’s really elementary… Good people care about the rights of other people. Good people recognize not only that you have a right to live, but that they have no right to take away your right to live. Likewise, a good person respects your bodily autonomy and will never rape you. A bad person, for example one of those imbeciles who calls himself involuntarily celibate (incel), thinks that he is entitled to sex with whomever he desires, because he cares neither for a woman’s rights to her own body nor about consent.

Good people are good with or without religion, with or without belief in gods. Good people are good because they feel empathy, but also because they respect the rights of others. (Including, by the way, the right to believe or disbelieve in whatever they want.) Good people care about their fellow human beings.

Respect for the life, the rights, the body of another person… literally has nothing whatsoever to do with the belief in objective/subjective morality, or the belief or lack of belief in judgement after death.

The only place where we might differ when it comes to ending anyone’s life, is that I believe in consent. That is, if someone wants to die, I support their right to choose to die with dignity. I support the right to assisted suicide. I don’t think I’d ever be able to do it… help anyone end their life. But I do support people’s rights to die, if that is what they want.

Getting back to personal beliefs…

Atheists don’t have the “get out of [eternal?] jail free card” that Christians have. There are few people who are more arrogant than Christians who claim to be forgiven for their wrongdoing. And we hear of them all the time… pastors who are guilty of rape, who claim to be forgiven by god. Never mind the victim! They come crying with their stories of being led to temptation by Satan – or sometimes even the victim as if the female body is something to be ashamed of, and that god has forgiven them, and their followers believe it, frequently shunning and blaming the victim in the process. Here’s an example from my country, copied here because my first link in this paragraph is to a Google search, and you can be sure these results will fall away with time as such abuse continues unabated.

Related… My search above yielded this result in Google Books titled The Sexual Abuse of Women by Members of the Clergy. It’s more common than I realized. Published in 2010, this book has zero reviews. It’s like people don’t want to know.

Yet another reminder that atheism isn’t a religion

Honestly I’m tired of repeating this, but recently someone asserted that my atheism is religious because I write about it. I also have a programming blog. Does that mean c# is my religion too? This isn’t even an atheism blog or a recovery blog for that matter… it is a blog by a former addict, and I write about whatever I’m passionate about. I write about atheism precisely because of people who impose their religious views on me and my son, and who claim that my atheism is a religion. So my writing may often be a response to sentiments exactly like this claim; that’s apart from the claim itself being a non sequitur. And I write about recovery in the same way, since my skeptical approach to sobriety does not involve being “in recovery”. I haven’t heard anybody claim that not following a 12 step program is another kind of 12 step program.

When I see such claims that atheism is a religion, I wonder how much of it is a combination of these two factors:

  1. Tu quoque: It’s like a little child pointing the finger and saying “But you are also naughty”. Or a men’s rights activist claiming that women who fight for their equality are oppressing men, or a white bigot claiming that Black Lives Matter is all about oppressing white people.
  2. A failure to understand what atheism is: Maybe someone who can not imagine not believing in god somehow thinks that atheism is thus an opposing ideology, like a religion that believes the opposite of them. OK, let’s call this what it is… ignorance.

When a child stops believing in Santa, they don’t suddenly start believing that presents are brought to the children worldwide by some alternate Santa. Likewise, atheism isn’t about some “opposite” kind of creationism. We reject the claims that a god created everything, and thus (while I can only speak for myself) reject everything that comes along with it, like creation, an afterlife, Heaven and Hell, and so on. Rejecting a claim does not imply an opposing claim in the same way you don’t believe in some “other” kind of Santa. It really is that simple. People who assert that atheism is a religion need to grow some fucking brain cells.

If my questioning the origin of your god is a genetic fallacy, your implicit disbelief in other gods is also one.

Just a quick one this morning to see if the Facebook connector I set up to publish these posts to my new Facebook page actually works this time…

A while back, a commenter insisted that my questioning the origins of the claims that his god exists is a genetic fallacy. I wrote about it here. In my own words, a genetic fallacy is when one only takes the origin of someone or something into account, without considering its current meaning.

Obviously for anyone to make this claim that my argument is a genetic fallacy, the person must ignore that atheism is actually about the fact that no evidence exists to support the existence of any gods, and that anyone pointing out when a god claim came about is simply making an observation… They point out when the god was created. It is only when you assume that the particular god exists, without evidence, and you are indoctrinated, that you then insist it existed before anyone claimed it did.

All religious people claim they have evidence for their gods, and they all claim the same evidence. Using circular reasoning, they insist that the things they believe to be created are proof of the creator.

Using their “logic”, I could claim that mountains are evidence of Monty the Mountain God, who manifested in the form of volcanoes and vomited up all of existence. Mountains exist; therefore they show that Monty was involved. Furthermore, the world exists, showing that Monty created it. It doesn’t matter that I just made him up… I am merely the messenger and Monty has been here since the beginning of time. To doubt this is a genetic fallacy.

Likewise, you can apply the same argument to Scientology. Just because it was invented by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, and is sold to potential believers (literally) bait and switch style, such that most believers won’t ever pay enough to know the odd details that could only have been invented by a mediocre science fiction writer who wrote under the influence of amphetamines and cocaine, does not mean that it isn’t true. From their point of view, Scientology has meaning, therefore to doubt it because you know who made it up is a genetic fallacy.

Obviously in all cases, you have to ignore why the disbeliever really disbelieves. It isn’t only about the source of the god claim – there’s a tad more to it than that. When an atheist mentions the origin of your god claim, that is peripheral to their argument. Thus what you have is a fallacy of irrelevance, which is amusingly ironic… because a genetic fallacy is a type of fallacy of irrelevance. My original post, the one where the commenter claimed a genetic fallacy, wasn’t one, but his claim made a fallacy of irrelevance itself.

But of course the origins of the various god claims are worth mentioning. And of course, it is not a genetic fallacy to do so. As a Christian, you might laugh off Scientology just because you know when it was invented and by whom. It does make some batshit crazy claims, but then again, Christianity was invented by the anonymous authors of the Gospels, and it makes some equally batshit crazy claims. How are anonymous authors better than Mr Hubbard, or is it by any chance easier to accept something that you already believe and have been taught since childhood not to question? Don’t be so quick to laugh at either one if you believe in the other.

The "inverse" of the argument from morality doesn’t make logical sense.

I’ve written about the argument from morality quite a few times here… Just the tags or all mentions

But it occurred to me that when frequenting atheist vs theist debate groups, it is normally the inverse of that pathetic argument that’s made by theists. That is, they assert arrogantly that atheists don’t have morals (because we don’t believe in their god, and it isn’t even always the same god). The parenthesis is here because they invariably don’t even state the whole sentence. If they did, the non sequitur would jump out at you a little more enthusiastically.

So here’s the thing: The argument from morality insists that morals come from god. That is, the preferred deity (again, not always the same deity depending on the religion of the theist making the argument) is the source of some sort of objective morality. While it is easy to see that objective morality doesn’t exist, that’s not the point of today’s post.

The point today is this: Even if we assume their argument to be true, which requires pretending that all of their different subjective ideas of morality are not really subjective and are all the same, and that if we pick two individuals of the same belief system separated by location as well as hundreds of years, they will have identical morals (See how easy it is to refute?)… it still does not follow logically that anyone who doesn’t believe in this god lacks morality. That would make your god rather weak; one could undo its works simply by rejecting the deity. (Wow!)

I mean, this is more than it simply not following. If your god were the source of objective morality, then that morality would exist whether one accepts it or not. Kind of like… if I walk into a solid wall, which for some reason I believe to be a door, the wall will still be there. I am not Bugs Bunny painting a door to escape Elmer Fudd, and then walking through it. Real life does not work like a fucking cartoon, but your “logic” makes about as much sense as a Looney Tunes cartoon.


Th-th-th that’s all, folks!

On the difference between supernatural fiction and reality.

I was thinking of naming this post “Why to be skeptical” but maybe that’s too general. And maybe those who should pay attention never will.


Around the beginning of last year, I got into a discussion about Ouija with a former colleague. This is the same former colleague who is highly religious, and who once insisted that there are souls floating all around us, choosing their own parents. Of course, she believed in Ouija. It was only when I tried to explain to her how the Ideomotor Effect works when I realized why she believed in them: She really thinks that people sit around a board, and the planchette moves around by itself like it happens in the movies. Kudos to her for immediately changing her view on Ouija once she realized how it really works. If only I could have gotten through to her about the other subjects she believed in…

Anyway, here’s how it is: If Ouija planchettes really moved around by themselves, you wouldn’t be reading a blog with a tagline “The adventures of a godless skeptic and former addict in a credulous world”. You’d be reading the blog of a believer.

It seems that some people, and my former colleague is one of them, do not know the difference between fiction and reality. People like her have a childlike grasp of reality where magic is real. It kind of reminds me of me at seven years old when the teacher used to read us Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree. That book was my path to my interest in fantasy. I loved it. I looked forward to those lessons more than anything else that year, and it is what led me to read all of Blyton’s books in the Secret Seven and Famous Five series the following year. (I couldn’t remember the title of the book that got me started. I only found it again as an adult, thanks to the Internet.) Then again, even back then, I knew magic wasn’t real. But I wanted it to be. That’s how she’s similar to grade 3 me.

So, for your information, and I hope most people get this already, if a movie about some guy named Ed is tagged “based on true events” the truth is: There was once a person named Ed and something happened. Everything else is made up.

I recall the Conjuring movies, which are supposedly based on true events around paranormal investigators (i.e. con artists and hoaxers) Ed and Lorraine Warren. I remember watching the second one, where they are gathering evidence of a demonic possession for the church, and they really do take some fantastic paranormal video evidence. I remember thinking to myself how great it would be if such things really happen… But they don’t. In the real world, there is no evidence for ghosts, demons, goblins, fairies… any of that. Trolls exist, but not the type from fiction.

In the real world, you won’t find archives held anywhere, of videos by the Warrens, or anyone else in their business of ripping off the vulnerable believers, that proves the supernatural is real.
Because. It. Isn’t. Real.
It’s that simple. If such things were real, we’d all know about them. There would be no need for me or anyone else to be skeptical. Like most skeptics of the paranormal, I started out being interested in such things because I was credulous too. I wanted them to be real, but they turned out not to be. It turned out that the experiences of others, the so-called “paranormal” experiences… were no different than my own. Nobody in reality knows more about the paranormal than I do because there is nothing to know. There are only people with childish belief systems like mine as a child, and those who encourage them.

I pity those like my former colleague who are so naïve and credulous, they really can’t tell that fiction is made up. I love horror movies, by the way, because I used to believe in such things as a child. It was all sleep paralysis and other rational explanations, but it left me with a love for that subject. And by horror, I don’t mean slasher flicks… I mean well crafted supernatural horror, especially movies that bring back the sense of fear I had as a child. For example, the movie The Apparition did a great job of this, setting up the tone in a house that brought back all my childhood fear, before it went too far and turned into a steaming pile of shit.

But anyway, my point for today is simply to remind you that fiction is made up. In reality, planchettes of Ouija boards don’t move around by themselves, there are no real photos or videos of ghosts, nobody can levitate, and psychics don’t ever help the police. When it comes to psychics, they might be roped in to an investigation by a desperate person, and they predict generic things like “The body will be found near water” in the hope that they might get a “hit” and claim to have helped. (We live on a planet that consists of two thirds water, and there are many bodies of water found inland too. Such a prediction isn’t really any better than “the body will be found buried in the ground”.)

Magic isn’t real.