Category Archives: Atheism

Christians Shouldn’t Use Royal Wedding As Affirmation

Whenever the media highlights an event which is even remotely Christian, the pundit-believers scramble to use it as part of their theological, propaganda machine. Never mind about the details. A blogger, and self-proclaimed “philosopher and scholar of modern western religious thought, a writer and columnist,” named Dr Timothy Dalrymple sees majesty and affirmation of the Christian faith in the silliness of the British Royal Wedding of William and Kate.

You’ve got to hand it to the Brits: they know how to do pomp and circumstance. The entry of Catherine Middleton into Westminster Cathedral is something to behold… I confess: I’m a sucker for weddings.

…The Christian theology of marriage — in which two truly become one — implies that those of us who are called to marriage will only become ourselves fully and truly when we have found the one for whom we were intended.

Yes, you are a sucker for a wedding. First, a minor detail that’s not so minor if you call yourself a “scholar of modern Western religious thought.” Westminster Cathedral is the Catholic Church down the street from Westminster Abbey, the Protestant Church, where the Royal Wedding actually took place. Why would the Queen Of England, who’s the Head of the Church of England, hold the wedding in a Catholic church? Second, the Church of England is a perfunctory Christian organization filled with many closeted and open atheists. The writer Philip Pullman summed it up in a New Yorker interview — “Although I call myself an atheist, I am a Church of England atheist.”

It’s funny to look for everlasting faith in a declining organization that’s only held up by pageantry and a nod to tradition from the pensioners.

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Creationist Hides Behind Boy Genius

First, a cutesy news story appears about an autistic boy genius named Jacob Barnett, who possesses a precocious knowledge of mathematics and who disagrees with aspects of the Big Bang Theory.  Then, Glenn Beck latched on to him like he’s a sign from god. In turn, a website — The New American— parasitically clings to the story in a way only a conservative rag could –it declares that Jacob’s work is somehow going to prove Biblical creation by disproving the Big Bang. And apparently, there’s no need for writer Raven Clabough to check her facts as to who first proposed the idea for an expanding universe. She just likes to shoot from the hip.

Christians worldwide should applaud Jacob’s intent to disprove one of the many theories put forth by atheists to explain away the Biblical creation. According to astronomer Paul Steidl, “The big bang was invented specifically for the purpose of doing away with the creation event. An astronomer would laugh at the naivety of anyone who chose to equate the two events.” [my emphasis]

I think Monsignor George Lemaitre, the Catholic priest and astrophysicist who first put forth the “hypothesis of the primeval atom”, which became the Big Bang Theory, would disagree about atheism’s contribution. And Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who gave the Big Bang its pejorative name, would also have to object on the grounds that one of the reasons he and some of his colleagues disliked the Big Bang Theory was because it sounded too much like a creation myth.

(And I was unable to find any source for an astronomer named Paul Steidl. I did, however, find the name linked with The Creation Research Society and its numerous, pseudo-scientific booklets on why astrophysics “supports” Biblical creation.)

A creationist like Raven Clabough pinning her hopes on a child by twisting his words and misinterpreting his intentions is pretty pathetic. A creationist having to rewrite history to do it makes it doubly so. And she shouldn’t bank on Jacob disproving the Big Bang just yet. In his own words he makes an obvious error:

“Otherwise, the carbon would have to be coming out of the stars and hence the Earth, made mostly of carbon, we wouldn’t be here. So I calculated, the time it would take to create 2 percent of the carbon in the universe, it would actually have to be several micro-seconds. Or a couple of nano-seconds, or something like that. An extremely small period of time. Like faster than a snap. That isn’t gonna happen.” [my emphasis]

If I remember correctly, less than one tenth of a percent of the Earth’s crust is carbon. Sorry, but as brainy as Jacob is, his parents should know better than to place this kind of pressure on him or to let him be around creeps like Glenn Beck.  They should take a lesson from Fleischmann and Pons, the two chemists who prematurely announced to the world in 1989 their “discovery of cold fusion.” Boasting before the evidence is in equals colossal embarrassment.

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Filed under Atheism, Christianity, Creationist Of The Month Club

Atheist Ricky Gervais At The Golden Globes

OK, Ricky Gervais thanked god for his atheism, at the end of the Golden Globe Awards as the credits were rolling. So what? We’re always subjected to performers thanking god for their success.  Fair is fair. A little equal time is nothing to be afraid of. Well, I guess it is if you’re a Christian proselytizer or politically correct douche. The NY Daily News melodramatically summarized Ricky’s comment:

Gervais insults religious contingent: As the credits were about to hit the screen, Gervais couldn’t help but get in one last jibe. “Thank you to God for making me an atheist,” he said before signing off.

So when an atheist proclaims his lack of belief it’s an insult to all the believers in the room? Religious belief is ironically fragile –even when it’s in the majority, it still seems to feel threatened by one dissenting voice in the crowd.

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Secular Time Travelers

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My Vision Of Hell

Christians regularly tell me I’m headed for hell for being a freethinker. But when I try to imagine this fiery underworld, my mind falls short, and all I see is spending an eternity with them  –an army of pious brain-dead conservative robots, dressed in matching polyester outfits, oafishly shuffling about under twinkling chandeliers and gaudy lighting, to the most insidious, elevator music ever conceived. It’s an intellectually barren world where the only shape is a square. I’m afraid even considering its existence. Now, peer into my hell, if you dare.

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Ken Ham: The Cartoon – Part 1

The rugged gentleman on the left is Captain Ahab (as played by actor Gregory Peck), the obsessed whaler who hunts down Moby-Dick, the great white symbolic whale. The individual on the right is Australian-born conservative Christian, Ken Ham, the crazed founder of the infamous, Kentucky creation ‘museum’. Is it just me or is there a slight similarity between the two –in appearance and obsession level? If you don’t see it, then just pretend for the sake of the cartoon.

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A Little About Paleontologist Per Ahlberg

Anyone interested in paleontology, rational thought, or the scourge of creationism might want to read the transcript of an interview with Per Ahlberg, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala University in Sweden. His straight talk and wit are refreshing. Here’s a sample:

I think mainstream science has a duty and a responsibility to expose creationism and ID for the pseudoscientific frauds that they are. This is something quite different from engaging them in debate, the way you would do with adherents of an opposing but conceptually sound scientific viewpoint. Scientists must expose them simply because they are frauds, and it won’t do to have large parts of the population bamboozled by the lies and misrepresentations of charlatans… Note that there is an important point here: creationists and ID proponents by necessity attempt to befuddle their audience, not just about the evidence for evolution, but about the nature of scientific enquiry in general. They have to, because it is their only way of concealing the threadbare nature of their own claims. (His emphasis)

From this, it should be clear why I have chosen to take part; though you can add the fact that I enjoy talking to people and presenting my ideas to popular audiences. Money, fame and hot chicks would be welcome but have not been forthcoming so far…

Per Ahlberg is known for his work with fossil tetrapods. His latest contribution is as co-author of a paper about 395-million-year-old tetrapod trackways that were found in Poland. (Here’s a summary of the find by PZ Myers at Pharyngula). And a short video about the find is available on the Journal Nature website. Enjoy!

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Filed under Atheism, Culture Warfare, paleontology, Skepticism