Bible Bumping

Bible Thumping combined with Bible Bashing ... get it? Corny, corny, corny.

The Bible is filled with internal consistencies that are critiqued on other sites. It is the position of the authors that the Bible is an allegory with minimal historical accuracy. It cannot be the word of God, since it is the only "evidence" for the existence of a God for which their is no incontrovertible evidence.

All opinions expressed here are those of the authors – all Devout Atheists.

å Agnostic vs Atheist
å Agnosticism is NOT more rational than Atheism
å Anti-IDiocy resources
å Anti-Stupidity Quotes
å Apologists make Apologies for God
å Behe Retreats
å Besottism
å Canadians Can be Stupid Too
å Complexity Reductio
å Creationism only flourishes amidst Ignorance
å Dawkins refutes Behe
å Debunking IDiocy
å Declaration of Independent Thinking
å Dei Non Existent
å Furor over Stupidity
å In God, Distrust
å Inverse Correlations
å Jones' Kitzmiller vs Dover decision
å Ken Miller on Collapse of Intelligent Design
å Moral Absolutism
å Myths Revered and Myths Exposed
å One Evolution, Many Creationisms
å Panstupidity and Jumbo-Mumbo
å Pseudoscience Chicanery
å Reducible Illogic
å Rigidity and Religiosity
å Spirituality, Religiosity, and Madness
å Statistics on Ignorance
å Tick Tock
å Un-designed Intelligences
å Wedge Document
å YEC yack


Agnostic vs Atheist

Hominid cousins who share more than 98% of their DNA."It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence”
~ W. K. Clifford (1879)

Those of religious bent and the fantasy-prone choose to believe what they choose to believe. Such individuals seem to select whatever opinion provides most emotional appeal without regard to logic or empirical evidence.

Religious types come in various levels of dogmatism and subscribe to different human-invented creeds. Most are theists, whereas others believe in equally nutty nonsense like the so-called "Science of Mind" that has zip to do with science.

Definitions of atheism, agnosticism, deism, and theism are here.

Creationists of various ilks deny our close relationship (more than 98% shared DNA) with the chimpanzee in order to protect their illusion of Special Creation.

Technically, an agnostic holds that the existence or nonexistence of a supernatural deity is unknowable. While this is philosophically rigorous, what is the point of copping out by leaving room for the indeterminable supernatural?

(Carried to a ridiculous extreme, agnosticism can inhere the position that absolutely nothing can be known with certainty. This is the cogito argument or Humean skepticism carried to an extreme. It also misuses Huxley's terminology.)

As soon as a supposed supernatural entity has interacted with the physical, then that purported supernatural agent has entered the realm of the physical and has abandoned supernatural status. Those religions that include creation myths necessarily make a claim that the formerly-supernatural has interfered with the physical. This creation-interaction must, by definition, reduce, or elevate, the supernatural to the physical. Goodbye special supernatural status.

Agnosticism can take the position that the possibility that whatever claimed teapot or deity actually exists is vanishingly small, but agnosticism allows some wiggle room for the vanishingly remote possibility that any particular candidate-claim has validity.

Whereas agnosticism carefully perches on the fence, atheism expresses more certainty than to say, "we just can't know". The small "a" atheist simply says, "I don't believe that God exists", wheras a capital "A" Atheist is certain that, "God does not exist." Philosophical purism aside, all the evidence indicates that the God of the Bible does not exist.

Christians, my prime targets in this expose-stupidity campaign, hold that their supposed Creator did indeed interfere in the physical up until 2,000 years ago, since which time God appears to have understandably grown bored with Christians. Of course, Christians keep this conditionally-loving God on hand for their supposed afterlife, aka death.

Bertrand Russell was a famous debunker of religious nonsense and said in Is There a God?:


“If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.”
Russell, as ever, makes a good point. Any fantasist can concoct any fanciful story, padded with a layer of non-falsifiable protection, and can insist that the story is accurate by virtue of the glitch that it cannot be disproven. Such a claim, of course, commits the logical error of argumentum ad ignorantiam. If the claim was first made in antiquity, it is imbued with an undeserved veneer of credibility.

The invention of supposed prophecies did not, of course, end with Jesus. Supposed prophets have been popping up with dismaying regularity since Jesus' preachings.

The problem for creationists, particularly for YECs, is that Genesis does make falsifiable physical claims that do stand disproven by science. Somewhere along the way, some creationist has comprehended enough science to realize this major problem and the era of Misleading Pseudoscience for Dummies was ushered in. The fact is, creationists promulgate ignorance and falsehoods in support of what they mistakenly call "Truth". YECs lie about the actual age of the Earth, while believers in pseudointellectual intelligent [sick] design theory accept the actual age of the Earth, but lie about the identity of the supposed-designer, and distort science ranging from cosmology to evolutionary biology.

Considering the ubiquity of invented religions, evolution clearly has not expanded our intellectual capacities to a sufficient degree for humans to justifiably designate our species as "sapiens" and certainly not as "sapiens sapiens".

___



"An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support."



Declaration of Independent Thinking

Fallacious ad hominem attacks directed at Richard Dawkins have proliferated on the internet.

Religionists are obviously upset at further confirmation that not everyone shares their views and that some of us are becoming more vocal about this.

Thankfully Christian religionists are no longer attacking those from different denominations as heretics or defaming those from different faiths as being infidels. Rather, Christians, particularly evangelical (fundamentalist) Christians and Biblical literalists continue their illogical and ill-informed attacks on those areas of scientific knowledge that disprove the Book of Genesis.

Not only are religionists worried that their attempts to promote creationism are meeting resistance from evolutionary biologists such as Dawkins, but they are scandalized that Dawkins is "promoting" atheism and some have been so ridiculous as to claim that Dawkins is heading up a cult, founding a religion, and converting those lacking powers of critical thinking to adopt an atheistic lifestyle in response to Dawkins' charismatic personality. If Dawkins were converting, by sheer force of personality, those incapable of critical thinking, then we should have seen mass conversions from creationism to atheism.

In point of fact, Dawkins is merely encouraging those who are already atheists to stand up and be counted.

Read Richard Dawkins' Introduction to The Out Campaign here: "Religious people still outnumber atheists, but not by the margin they hoped and we feared."

My atheism began in early childhood with an awareness that God was a human invention. On the basis of the illogic inherent in any belief in supernatural creation of life and humans, I reached personal disbelief before my teens, and reached certainty that no supernatural deity exists by early adulthood.

My logic-based convictions do not, of course, prove that there is no God any more than fervent claims of religious experiences can vote a God into existence. (This should not be a numbers game, though it is refreshing to see that there are so many of us.) Equally, a declaration of atheism does not prove that biological evolution is a fact or that current evolutionary theories provide a complete explanation for the observed phenomena. Demonstration of the fact is provided by the voluminous, multi-field evidence, and refinement of the theory grows with each empirical find.

As Dawkins suspects, I, like so many atheists, have previously made little fuss about my absolute certainty that there are no gods. I have long practiced religious tolerance, and I do not see atheism so much as a manifestation of religious intolerance as an insistence on truth. However, as one of scientific bent and education, I am as thoroughly fed up with anti-scientific, bigoted, illogical, ignorant, deceitful, self-advertizing, self-congratulating religionists as they are dismayed by the persistence of scientific refutation. The atheist backlash is late in coming and I am sufficiently ticked off to stand up and proclaim a conviction that I reached long ago by way of critical thinking. It is impossible to prove a negative, just as it is impossible to demonstrate the existence of something that does not exist.

I predict that the next stage in the creationist campaign will probably involve a proliferation of purple Rs, Cs, Gs, or even JCs on blogs and internet websites. Ken Ham could come out with an "AiG" emblazoned t-shirt showing him posing with a dino, Behe could market the image of a bacterial flagellum, or Dembski could profit from a "filter" logo. If they do, I want a commission for thinking of it first. Or did I?

Sites Elsewhere: Come out! : blog reaction to The OUT Campaign : 5 blog reactions


: Social bookmark this page :

Agnosticism is NOT more rational than Atheism

"So your stance, if I understand it correctly, is that yes, indeed, the likelihoods of the existences of a Judeo-Islamo-Christian God, unicorns, and Flying Spaghetti Monsters are all approximately equal. Well, see, I do think this stance is frivolous. Do you really feel that this God that we’re talking about, this God that is the basis of three religions that have profoundly shaped western civilization for around 3,000 years, that this God can be dismissed in the same breath as an intellectual prop fabricated by some graduate student? Now, I’m not saying that 3,000 years of backstory means that you must, lemming-like, go along with 89% of the rest of the population of this country and *believe* in God. But, surely you must recognize the difference here between these two hypotheses?

I guess what I’m saying is that, out of respect for the rather large majority of thinking, reasoning, good human beings who believe, I’m willing to go to greater lengths to keep my mind open about the existence of a personal God than that of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I think the collective belief of millions adds up to evidence that I’m willing to consider despite the fact that it’s not empirical."[s]

Response: Courtesy is fine, but being courteous is not a good argument for agnosticism over atheism. It is merely a guide for conflict-free human relations. Courtesy is not a particularly good argument for religion either, because the adoption of any one set of religious beliefs is to deny all other beliefs. Even polytheism is discourteous to monotheists, if you wish to carry the argument for politeness to its logical conclusion.

The fact that the Judeo-Islamo-Christian God has prospered over unicorns and Flying Spaghetti Monsters speaks only to The Clerical Publicity Machine and is not an argument for the existence of the purported deity claimed by that machine. It’s a fallacious “argument to popularity” to hold that the fact that many have been taught to believe in this Judeo-Islamo-Christian conception signifies that the teachings are valid.

If the prevailing publicity structure had instead insisted upon the existence of the Great Unicorn in the Sky, on which we would all Ride to Heaven, then priests (presumably adorned with uni-horned hats) would be extolling the virtues of this Mythical, Supernatural, All-Loving Creator of Humans.

On the basis of logic alone, it could be argued that the agnostic view, which holds that it simply is not knowable whether or not whatever deity exists, is more philosophically rigorous than stating that there is no God.

However, certain *falsified* falsibiable claims are made about the Judeo-Islamo-Christian God, so the *falsification* of these claims, coupled with logical explanations of empirical facts, renders Atheism the most rational conclusion.

I grow tired of being polite to people merely because they have been brainwashed into collective belief in a non-existent, demanding, invented deity.





Apologists make Apologies for God

Strictly, apologetics is concerned with the systematic defense of a position, though the term is very often applied to Christian apologetics – systems of defense for claims of an existence for God.

Examining arguments concerning religion, one quickly notices the slippery nature of many informal Christian arguments.

"God works in mysterious ways," translates as, "Natural events provide no consistent, incontrovertible evidence of action by a deity."

The universal failure of theology and philosophy to provide an internally consistent system of religious explanation is explained away as, "We cannot presume to understand or explain God."

In my atheistic, empiricism-based opinion, we owe the existence of life on this planet to the operation of natural laws, which means that Nature is the Creator, and that scientists are the true theologians. Although, scientific deciphering of those natural laws that brought about biopoiesis and biological evolution has proved time consuming, science is able to provide a reproducible, internally consistent system of explanation. Where explanation is beyond the bounds of experimental possibility, scientists can more legitimately explain the limitations of scientific method than apologists can apologize away their philosophical tensions. In essence, truth, though often surprising, is internally consistent, whereas man-invented religious explanations are fraught with inconsistency.

Section åå Apologetics Debunked åå

Besottism

Typically, besotted individuals have a dreamy, glazed appearance.

(No prize for guessing whose are the adoring eyes in the image at left.)


Sad is the person whose existence feels empty without belief in some invented Authoritarian Parent in the Sky.

It is amazing how many people are in love with God, Jesus, the Catholic Church, Allah, Jehovah, or whatever cult figure. I am not merely talking of "loving" but instead of that besotted, chemistry-driven, starry-eyed, obsessive, worshipful state that we equate with "being in love". The religiously besotted are convinced that their adoration does not go unrequited, and that they will be rewarded for their diligent obsession by spending eternity basking in the love of their chosen One.

In this admittedly demented state, those who are obsessed with their object-of-choice are immune to logic. The besotted close their minds to any dissonant information about their object-of-obsession. Thus, fundamentalist creationists refuse to acknowledge the fact of biological evolution, preferring the ignorance of misleading pseudoscience for dummies.

Rather than using the term religious zealot, I am dubbing these menaces, "Religious Besotts". Historically, rulers took advantage of Besottism, claiming that they ruled by Divine Right, and demanding obediance, even martyrdom, from the besotted in the realm.

Religious Besotts are dangerous people because nothing and nobody matters more to them than do their enamored delusions. While they adore their obsession-of-choice, they hate with equal passion all that they perceive as threatening to their obsession. Because their besottism usually follows politically accepted religions, they feel vindicated in their adoration and justify their moralistic and political hatreds as obedience to their deity's instructions. The religious right believe that they adopt the high moral ground when they churn out ill-conceived arguments against the-right-to-choose or the right to act according to the gay nature with which some are born.

Sadly, not only are religions permitted by states, but religions are protected and tax-exempted.

Most religious individuals are not dangerous, but collective religious besottism is a dangerous force. Throughout history, religious besotts have felt justified in murdering others who do not share their besotted view, labelling the others as infidels, or heretics, or undesirables. Religious besotts do not consider that others have the right to live their lives according to individual preferences and conscience, but instead believe their obsession-of-choice confers upon them the right to dictate to others.

Besotts build their arguments for Deity-given-morality on quicksand because there is no good evidence that any deity-of-choice actually exists. Claims that Besotter attacks on the behaviors of others are justified by whatever Book-of-Besottism are circular and equally ill-founded. After all, these Books are just the ramblings of Ancient Besotts.

Inverse Correlations



Map of World's Religions - click to enlarge
For an easier to read map, click here. For America, click here.


Numerous studies demonstrate an inverse or negative correlation between religiosity and:




  • (An inverse or negative correlation indicates that as one variable goes up, the other variable goes down. So, those who are not religious are more likely to be intelligent, highly educated, science educated, liberal, evolutionists, and vice versa.)

    "Of 43 studies carried out since 1927 on the relationship between religious belief and one's intelligence and/or educational level, all but four found an inverse connection. That is, the higher one's intelligence or education level, the less one is likely to be religious or hold "beliefs" of any kind." ~ Bell, Paul. "Would you believe it?" Mensa Magazine, Feb. 2002, pp. 12–13

    "In 1998, most members of the National Academy of Sciences rejected the notion of God, with the highest rate of disbelief noted amongst biological scientists." Table. ~ Larson, Edward J.; Larry Witham (1998). "Leading scientists still reject God". Nature 394 (6691): 313. Available at StephenJayGould.org, Stephen Jay Gould archive.

    "Seventy-two percent of Americans are certain there is a God and have no doubts, while another 14% think that God probably exists and have only a few doubts. Only 3% are certain that God does not exist. There are no significant differences in belief in God by age. Men, those living in the East and West, those who are college graduates, and those with high incomes are less likely to believe in God than others." ~ Who Believes in God and Who Doesn't? Belief in God correlated with socioeconomic status, by Frank Newport

    "Research has revealed a positive correlation between IQ and education, as well as a negative correlation between education and religiosity. In a regression analysis . . . only QSAT (which was related to father’s education) was uniquely related to prayer fulfillment. The results suggest that an educated father influences his offspring’s cognitive ability, which in turn reduces certain aspects of religiosity and spirituality. The results also suggest that the relationship between religiousness and spirituality is one of degree: both religious and spiritual individuals performed activities formally conceptualized as either "religious" or "spiritual," but religious individuals more frequently performed such activities." ~ Religiousness, Spirituality, and IQ: Are They Linked? (pdf) Regan Clark

    "Religion is much more important to Americans than to people living in other wealthy nations. Six-in-ten (59%) people in the U.S. say religion plays a very important role in their lives. This is roughly twice the percentage of self-avowed religious people in Canada (30%), and an even higher proportion when compared with Japan and Western Europe. Americans' views are closer to people in developing nations than to the publics of developed nations." ~ Among Wealthy Nations …U.S. Stands Alone in its Embrace of Religion, Pew Global Attitudes Project.



    This post has been updated here.

    IQ Religiosity Redux : graph of IQ vs religiosity : Religiosity and IQ : IQ and the Wealth of Nations : American Stupidity : Worse than Reported? .


    ...section index...

    In God, Distrust

    In the darkness, man created God in his own image.The New York Times has run an interesting book review entitled, 'In God, Distrust'. The reviewer takes a mostly positive position on Christopher Hitchens, author of 'God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything' (307 pp. Twelve/Warner Books.) I think that the book's title is a little over the top.

    Certainly religion has been associated with some terrible atrocities, but these outrageous acts were committed by men [sic] in the name of man-invented-religion. That is, man [sic] invented creation myths, deities, bigotry, and xenophobia. The problem, as I see it, has always been human nature, and that, in its turn, results, if anything, from the rationality-blind failure of human biological evolution.

    The NYT provides an excerpt of Hitchens' first chapter, which includes the following statements with which I wholeheartedly agree:

    “We atheists do not require any priests, or any hierarchy above them, to police our doctrine.”

    “Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.”
    ___

    "Religion is a bandage that man has invented to protect a soul made bloody by circumstance." ~ Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser

    Sites Elsewhere : God Bless Me, It's a Best-Seller! : The Christopher Hitchens Web :


    Moral Absolutism

    America's prisons are full of convicted criminals. Correct? Convicted criminals have almost all committed acts that society has deemed illegal because those acts are undesirable. Correct?

    Could any sensible person imagine that no incarcerated individual in America believes in God? Of course not.

    Are all atheists in America convicted of criminal activity? Of course not.

    If those who commit crimes believe in God, can we assume that religious belief is a guarantee that the believer will not commit a crime? Of course not, because the evidence indicates otherwise.

    Are all acts that society considers immoral punishable by incarceration? Of course not. When was an adulterer last jailed in the West purely for having sexual relations with another consenting adult? I don't have the date, but it would have been some time ago.

    Are all atheists/agnostics/non-Christians in America responsible for all the immoral behaviour that occurs? Of course not.

    If even a single fundamentalist Christian commits an acts that society, by current consensus, deems either immoral or criminal, then the contention of religious dogmatists that the Bible dictates absolute moral truths and that fundamentalist religious belief is the guarantee of moral behaviour, then religious dogmatists are grossly mistaken.

    How then could religious dogmatists be correct in their oft-repeated fallacious slippery slope arguments that "moral relativism" will inevitably lead to moral chaos? Of course their arguments are ridiculous. Fundamentalist religious belief is no guarantee of "good" behaviour, while lack of religious dogmatism is no guarantee of moral decline.

    Moral relativism is a bigot's buzzword for any moral view that differs from the rigid and narrow proscriptions of the ancient tribes of Israel. This phrase has become a hot favourite with the bigots who take the high moral ground and presume to dictate, as did the Calvinists and Puritans, on all behaviours of others.

    Ironically, Christ was a liberal and preached tolerance. Too many Christians conveniently this fact. Jesus would be horrified by the bigotry and intolerance of many religious fundamentalists (Fistians).

    Morality:
    ɷ We, the Products of Blind Evolution

    Spirituality, Religiosity, and Madness

    Spirituality has been defined as the experience of an inner sense of something greater than oneself, or as sensing a meaning to existence that transcends one's immediate circumstances.

    Despite being a confirmed atheist, I am not immune to such experiences. Obviously I am cognitively aware that the world of nature is greater than myself. To believe otherwise would make me a megalomaniac! Besides, how could a part be greater than the whole?

    However, the wonderful, euphoric feeling that nature is greater than I comes upon me less often. Sensing a transcendent meaning has come to me only in dreams or under the influence of certain psychoactive chemicals – both being altered states of consciousness. Shamans know all about this phenomenon when they use mood altering drugs to induce spiritual hallucinations during religious ceremonies. Even those who have never taken a hallucinogen have probably experienced dreams that convey a strong sense of having uncovered a deeper meaning to life – only to have the answer to the mystery dissipate rapidly upon awakening!

    We have numerous different understandings of religion. Religion deals with the same subject matter as spirituality, yet it is not equivalent. On this blog, religion is taken to mean the system of dogmatic teachings that have arisen out of an assumption that the supernatural actually exists. That is, religious systems are built upon superstitious beliefs in magical powers.

    Religious rites, like any rites, can induce a sense of peace or invoke passion. This emotional evocation speaks more of our communal attachment to symbols than it does to any valid existence of the supernatural. To understand what I mean, think of your reaction to hearing your national anthem played when one of your countrymen has won Olympic gold.

    Reliogiosity is not equivalent to spirituality, though both can coexist in one individual. Atheists can have spiritual experience and religious individuals can lack spiritual experiences.

    The psychology of religiosity is intriguing, as are the psychopathologies, such as schizophrenia that appear to be related to religiosity. Why do some individuals seems so prone to spiritual and/or religious convictions?

    V.S. Ramachandran and his team studied the increased religiosity of sufferers of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). The results of the study showed a greater arousal in the temporal lobe epilepsy sufferers in response to religious words as compared to the non-religious. The non-religious were more aroused by sexual words, while religious control groups were aroused by religious and sexual words [w]. The medial temporal lobe sits very close to the amygdala, which is our primitive 'emotional' nucleus that mediates emotional reactions and modulates emotional memories. Ramachandran conducted the study because he had observed a strong correlation between TLE and obsessive religious convictions.

    Of course, this is not to say that all who hold strong religious convictions are suffering temporal lobe epilepsy or taking hallucinogens. Ramachandran's research merely points to a possible mechanism for the observation that a higher percentage of those with TLE than of the population at large are hyper-religious. It is to say that humans both seek to comprehend patterns and are emotional beings. In the absence of knowledge to explain phenomena in the natural world, it is scarcely surprising that our various ancestors invented mythologies.

    That humans have continued to cling to religious beliefs despite vast advances in understanding of natural phenomena merely underlines the emotionality that humans invest in magic-thinking. At least we have stopped blood sacrifices to make the sun continue to shine and no longer believe that horse-drawn chariots drag the sun across the sky!


    Statistics on Ignorance

    The following are snippets from the latest Gallup Poll on ignorant beliefs rampant in the US:

    "The majority of Republicans in the United States do not believe the theory of evolution is true and do not believe that humans evolved over millions of years from less advanced forms of life."

    "Those who attend church frequently are much less likely to believe in evolution than are those who seldom or never attend. That Republicans tend to be frequent churchgoers helps explain their doubts about evolution."

    (I knew that there was a reason why I have disliked more Republicans than I have disliked Democrats!)

    "The data indicate some seeming confusion on the part of Americans on this issue. About a quarter of Americans say they believe both in evolution's explanation that humans evolved over millions of years and in the creationist explanation that humans were created as is about 10,000 years ago."

    No surprise that holders of silly ideas can't even get their ignorance straight!

    This dismaying display of ignorance revealed to pollsters is demonstration that the majority of Americans can be wrong, and that the majority of regular Church attendees are indeed wrong.

    American Stupidity

    å Inverse Correlation: IQ vs Religiosity
    å Inverse Correlations
    å Follow(ers) Up
    å Where have all the followers gone?