Wednesday 30 July 2014

The Conversion Experience

This is a post some people may not like, as I know many people are not fans of Derren Brown the magician/illlusionist/what ever else you may call him. However, I think he has an uncanny ability to demonstrate to people just how strong the mind is at either deceiving itself or reaffirming something it already believes (or really wants to believe).

In fact if you have 45 minutes to spare I would certainly recommend watching the embedded video. In this video you can see how Derren uses the power of suggestion to bring about a spiritual experience in an atheist (its staggered throughout the show). What makes it even more interesting is that this person was chosen after another test in which it was shown that said person is highly sceptical of spiritual experiences, she is an atheist after all.

What bothers me about this is that it is clearly these types of methods (not the exact tricks Derren was using) that priests/rabbis/imams use to create spiritual experiences in their flock. Unfortunately, I do not think that most of these spiritual leaders actually know what they are doing. Rather they are just repeating what they saw their teachers doing. On the other hand, you also get the people that are very well aware of what they are doing. They know how they are manipulating people to get money or whatever else they want.

This form of mind control is surely not ethical. Which is not what one would expect from an organization that is determined to save the world from its moral problems. In fact, if these really were ethical organizations then surely they would try to do scientific studies, so as to eliminate such abuses of the power of suggestion. Or do these organizations realize that they should not be interfering with their cash cow, even if it is highly unethical.

Note: Mind control I am referring to here, is the power of suggestion to influence people. I am not talking about special radio waves sent out by the United Nations to make everyone buy genetically modified food.

Monday 28 July 2014

A poorly designed argument for intelligent design

The following argument is one you will often hear from creationists and IDiots.

"There are two reasons to suppose life has a designer: One, it bears features common to things known to be designed, and secondly, there are no demonstrable physical causes that could by themselves have produced life as an effect."

The first time this week, I actually gave this argument some thought besides giving it the normal scoff of how stupid as it contradicts everything we know about the evolutionary sciences. Turns out thinking about it makes this idea even more stupid than I initially thought. So apparently humans are designed as they bear resemblence to things we know to be designed. So here are a few pictures of things we know have been designed.

In contrast here is a Human body which clearly is designed. You can see all the cogs and the wheels for improved transport. You can see the interface between the different sections that run different bodily operation. Additionally, see the ease with which you can exchange parts when something gets damaged. Note the metallic sheen of the skin protecting the fragile inner core components. Notice the dripping sarcasm in this paragraph.

If you seriously think this is a good argument for design you seriously need help.

As an added extra the person using this same argument had this gem of knowledge:
"Un-natural forms: If you find a rock in the (American) woods in a certain shape, you will know right off that you have found an Indian arrowhead. Why? Because rocks do not form in that shape naturally."
Here is picture of flint as a counter rebuttal to this argument.
Some times a picture really is worth a thousand words, or in this case a debunked creationist argument.

Friday 25 July 2014

Idiot of the week - Pat Robertson

This week Pat Robertson was on fine form again telling a women that her sons demon possession, which was giving her son belly ache, could come from their ancestors doing something wrong. You know that whole thing about ancestral sin, which is sort of like original sin except it does not last forever. All this happened while she was praying for her son, and its horrific natural to think that this possession pain got worse as the women was praying over her son and not giving him pain killers. Maybe God just does not care anymore? Anyway, Pat was quick to point out that it would be best if the get a professional exorcist to get rid of those pesky demons that are afflicting this lady's son.

Reminds me kind of like the story I posted recently about the movie "Heaven is for Real". Now I am no parent, however if my kid had a sore stomach I would give them some medicine and not prayer. In fact, if it does not get better (and feels like a kick in the stomach) its probably best to take them to the doctor less their appendix burst and they do something silly like die. But then again thats just me.

Anyway Pat Robertson is our special Idiot of the week.

Here is a video of the Young Turks giving their detailed analysis of Pats Response to this viewers letter.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Is religion killing itself?

I have no solid facts for the following statement, but it seems to me that sceptisim is on the rise.However, I believe the argument for why I believe religion is killing itself holds, even if my initial statement is flawed.

My argument is basically that multiple theists use (potentially deliberate?) misinterpretations of science, and by doing this they are in fact killing religion.

To elaborate, when you are arguing the second law of thermodynamics incorrectly to try disprove abiogenesis/evolution/etc, then you are misinterpreting science. When you say quantum mechanics proves a god when you have no idea what even basic QM principles like the Hesienberg uncertainty principle means, then maybe you need to do your homework.When you look at the evidence for evolution and dismiss it as just a theory, then you don't know what a scientific theory is.

The fact is that people are naturally inquisitive and a lot of them will start seeing holes in arguments the more lies there are in the argument. For example, if you type in "monkey to human evolution" on Google, you will find that all the search results on the front page show that this "idea" is a blatant lie. As such anyone teaching this is either a fool (and you need to find a new church) or a liar (and you need to leave religion)

So basically what I want to say today is "thank you for killing yourself religion, you really make our job easy by misrepresentation."

Monday 21 July 2014

No True Christian would use this argument.

Recently, I have been having a few run ins with Christians who use the no true Christian fallacy a lot.

To elaborate on what the No True Christian fallacy is, it is a tongue in cheek use of the No True Scotsman Fallacy. I feel that the reasosn many atheists used the tongue in cheek name is probably bacause theis fallacy gets used so often by Christians that it in the future it may no longer be called the No True Scotsman

Now the no true Christian fallacy is dumb beyond dumb. As we all know the Bible is the great big book of multiple choice. You can literally justify anything using the Bible. Even so much so that I sometimes now debate ridiculous claims that "No True Christian can (insert ridiculous claim here)" using biblical evidence. Granted I usually lose, after all theists do not appreciate  an atheist using the Bible to justify anything, but it gets the point across.

For example, when a Christian says the Nazi Party was not Christian then they are using the no true Christian fallacy as it is difficult to get around the following proclamation at a Nazi Party Rally by Adolf Hitler.

"We demand liberty for all religious denominations in the State, so far as they are not a danger to it and do not militate against the morality and moral sense of the German race. The Party, as such, stands for positive Christianity, but does not bind itself in the matter of creed to any particular confession. It combats the Jewish-materialist spirit within and without us, and is convinced that our nation can achieve permanent health from within only on the principle: the common interest before self-interest. "

In fact usually the only way that Christians try get around this is to point out Hitler actually had anti-Christian views. However, these are dubious claims in the first place as the book (Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944: His Private Conversations) where these views come from has been academically debunked as not Hitlers views by writers such as Ian Kershaw in his book on Hitler and other scholars. For a broader understanding you can also look here.

Then again, if the Christian still disagrees you can point him towards this picture, where the Nazi belt buckle says "God with Us".

 The Theist will still deny it, but then you can ask them why this happens.


Surely they will then tell you that is because America is a Christian nation.

This is why the No True Christian Fallacy and the Christians that use it have some serious intellectual dishonesty.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Aliens, UFOs and the interesting sighting factor

In the past I have touched on UFO believers, or UFOlogists or deluded people. So when I found the following info-graphic in a article (The Hard Data on UFO Sightings) I was reading it really made me smile.

 Now while the author does point out some problems with the data, such as the fact that some states with low alcohol consumption still have large sighting numbers. However even considering this, I still think that the general trend is there. Surely this trend gives us reason to believe that alcohol (or other forms of inebriation) have a lot to do with when and why people see UFOs.

Actually, I found this analysis even more amusing  after seeing the follow website which says it is a "research-based organization with a mission to investigate and report evidence of extra-terrestrial, UFO, and other phenomena to a global audience."

Is that research on how much alcohol you can drink then?

Friday 18 July 2014

Idiot of the week - Sye Ten Burgencette

Recently when Matt Dilahunty decided to debate the presuppositionalist Sye Ten Brugencatte, I knew that at some point I would get round to actually watching the debate as I thought it would be interesting.

Anyway, over at the ThinkingAtheist podcast the audio for the debate was uploaded and so conveniently I could just listen to the audio while doing my workout. Please follow the link if you want the audio or watch the whole debate here, or not and just read my analysis of the debate below.

So in this debate you will learn one thing and one thing only. Sye Ten Burgencette is a collasal prick.I have never heard someone complain as much as this guy complains, and I mean about everything he even attacked the organiser of the debate. What a dick. I suppose you have to complain when your arguments are so pointless.

I feel sorry for Matt, as really this was not a debate it was a waste of two hours of his life. All Sye can say is "I am right because God told me". Then he plays stupid word games as he knows none of his "arguments" are valid. If you watch the debate be prepared to be frustrated with sheer stupidity and lies.

This is why Sye Ten Burgencette is the idiot of the week.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Choices that need to be made and the consequences

Every choice you make has consequences. Its a simple fact and something I wish more people would think about.

However, this concept is not that easy to understand for some people. Recently I was having a conversation with a infinty wave feminist, or should I say rather I was listening to a feminists appeal to emotion as nothing was rational. This got me thinking about some three so called sensitive topics that some feminists like to bring up which to me are purely choice and consequence facts. I thought I would expand on some of these ideas to illuminate that irrationality is not only present in theism.

When a lady chooses to have a child, either with a man or without a man. The fact is that she will have to take time off work. Now this obviously leads to a business potentially not looking favorable on this situation. As such, said lady may be looked over at the next promotion meeting. This is what can happen and its a consequence of a choice to have children, besides all the other consequences. It may feel unfair, but its logical. Always remember life is not fair.

The next one is the way some ladies say girls should not have to dress like models. I agree absolutely, I personally dont like the super skinny and extravagant fashion look. However, in whatever way you dress and look in general  affects the number of people in your dating pool. As such if you want to be a goth you need to realize that the Harvard boys are probably not looking. Its a choice you make and that is the consequence.

The last one is more touchy but also very valid. If you dress provocatively there is a greater chance you could get raped. Its a sad case of affairs but it is the truth. You need to think of it in terms of buying a car, the one you can see while the other is closed in a cardboard box. Which one do you choose? This is a fact that needs to be considered. I am not saying dressing provocatively leads to rape, I am merely saying it increases the chances.

Now I realize not all people that are for womens rights are infinity wave feminists, and in fact I am all for equality. But sometimes idiocy in religion or feminism or anything else needs to pointed out.

Lastly interesting world map I found. It shows the countries where the convention for the elimination of discrimination against women has been signed. All green and yellow countries have signed the act/convention.

Monday 14 July 2014

Psychosomatics in my humble opinion

In this blog I have at times touched on medical treatments such as stem cells and vaccines. Usually these posts deal with the way I believe that superstitious beliefs hinder medical progress or endanger society at large. With this in mind I thought maybe I should point out something that is close to my heart and something that gets abused not only by the religious but also skeptics be they teachers, parents or doctors.

Previously I have talked about how I use anti-depressants. I mention this again here for full disclosure to what I am going to say about psychosomatics in general. Its no surprise that the religious believe that psychosomatics can be dangerous and do not actually work as much as god can. After all if you believe in anything imaginery to get you through the day then surely you can possibly believe that this imaginery friend can take away a disease caused by demons or an unfulfilled life.

However, it does not stop there. There are multiple parents who would rather drug their kids up on Ritalin or some other drug as they do not want to deal with a normal teenagers hormonal changes and/or energy levels. This is tragic, as its bad parenting making your own life easier at the expense of someone elses growing experiences. On a side-note, in the past I worked as a teacher and saw many teachers trying to get parents to put kids on Ritalin as they also wanted an easier time in class so its not only the parents. Additionally, in all that time and all the thousands of students I had in my class there was only one I would classify as having ADHD and he was controllable using a little ingenuity.

Then there are anti-depressants. People need to realize that these drugs are not for everyone. Most anti-depressants have very severe side effects and if used incorrectly can actually be counter productive to getting over a depressive episode as you never deal with the underlying issues. In fact the number of people that have to take anti-depressants the majority of their life is very limited. Additionally, these people often realize that its a cost-benefit analysis in that they will not suffer from depression but may suffer some other problems due to these drugs.

Psychomosomatics have serious side effects and people need to realise this before they just start taking them. I am not against Big-Pharma I just think that people need to see the bigger picture. Sometimes people don't need drugs they just need some exercise, an ear to listen to them or a change of diet. Drugs are for when the illness is severe.

Just remember you don't get booked into hospital when you get a cold, you get told to drink orange juice and hot tea.

Friday 11 July 2014

Idiots of the week - Sperm hunters

I am not sure where to start with this. When I first read the report coming out of Zimbabwe I could not believe the first few paragraphs. Women abducting men hitchhikers to either gang rape them or have sex with them. At this point you would think I was shocked that multiple men were getting raped. Well yes that is shocking, but what is really shocking is even more bizarre. These women are collecting their victims semen in used condoms. Really, why would you want semen? Usually the only people that want semen are sperm banks and they dont take it in condoms.

(Source) A very bad idea in Zimbabwe.

Well turns out the women are collecting the semen as its a hot commodity for those people who practice bizarre rituals. I guess you find it in the dairy section next to the milk? Maybe repackaged?

Turns out that at present no one is  exactly sure how this semen is getting used in the rituals. However, we do know that it is frowned upon by the Zimbabwe National Tradition Healers Association which said "We believe that this is a form of witchcraft. So we are totally against the idea,". I just love that quote a traditional healer who believes that his/her spirit is able to heal people says this practice is unacceptable as its witchcraft. Seriously, how?

So those are the idiots of the week. Rapist seeking semen hunters in Zimbabwe. Just another example showing that stupid beliefs are detrimental to society.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Black Mass + Christians = Irrationality

Its obvious if you have read my blog that I have a very high disregard for any religious nonsense. In fact even the Black Masses that the Satanists have been trying to do at various institutes around the USA has gotten me riled up. It irritates me, as they do not even believe this stuff. However by doing these performances they are confusing some people and create a situation that is volatile and not beneficial to anyone. Honestly I initially liked the idea, but now I see that it can create a very negative situation. Its not the same as just putting a monument up it could lead to some stupid mob violence or lone wolf abortion clinic type shooting.

Multiple fundamentalist Christians really believe these Satanists are allowing demons into the world. So to do my part for humanity I have been mentioning that they should just ignore the Satanists, as reacting to them is exactly what the Satanists want. It seems though that Christians take offense to my screen name (iamanatheist) as they just go on the attack and don't want to listen to rational advice.

Here are a few of my favorite replies.
"Humanistic lie, no need to reply with more lies, thank you."
"its all play acting anyway.......i believe that they believe that they are devil worshipers as much as you believe that your Maker, the Supreme and Sovereign Master and Creator of the Universe does not exist...."

So I guess this means the Satanists win. Its more publicity for them and makes the event more intriguing. Here is me trying to help these Christians and they still get angry with me.

Sigh you cant win when you are an atheist.

Monday 7 July 2014

Stanley Miller experiment revisited

It may surprise a number of people that not all of Stanley Millers prebiotic conditions experiments were analyzed. The most famous one is the experiment which produced amino acids which are the building blocks for proteins. However, Miller conducted many other experiments and recently there have been manuscripts reporting on the stored reaction mixtures of some of Millers other experiments. Surprisingly these experiments are just as interesting as his most famous experiment.

The news I want to focus on, is a recent report in Angewandte Chemie which has shown that in an experiment conducted by Miller in 1958 that dipeptides (two linked amino acids, important in many body parts) and diketopiperazines (important in natural drugs) formed under very simple conditions. What makes this interesting is that for this to happen Miller added another chemical. Amazingly this chemical he added can also form under early earth conditions and it is this chemical that makes these dipeptides form.

However, Parker and colleagues who conducted the analysis of the Miller solution were not happy to just believe Miller. They conducted the experiment again like all good scientists should. Not surprisingly they found the exact same thing. This shows (once again) that life beginning on Earth from basic chemicals is not such a miracle after all.

An ever big wow moment happened when these authors showed that these reactions can happen in conditions that are slightly basic in nature (pH about 9.5). Previously criticisms of these experiments have been that they require very acid conditions (pH about 1.5). If you don't know what pH is either look here, or understand that water has a pH of 7, coke is about 3. Basically, this glimmer of hope of creationists is now no longer a criticism of this experiment.

I love science.

Here is a video showing the lead author of this paper Eric Parker explaining the research.

Sunday 6 July 2014

Heaven is for Real - a Movie Review

This week I watched "Heaven is for Real", so I thought I would give my two cents opinion on this cinematic piece. For those of you who have not watched it, here is the trailer. Beware, it sums up most of the movie, so if you don't want spoilers avoid it.

Personally I do not think this child went to heaven. Sorry, I just had to state the obvious :) So when they say the movie is based on the real story its clearly dishonest. Its dishonest, as there is no evidence for Heaven at all in fact there is no evidence for Hell either. I mean at least the Noah movie had a disclaimer.

Now, while I think this movie has some nice points in it, like the whole happy family thing. Well, OK I lied this is also the part where I have to wonder if the movie is being honest to the real story. In fact I would like to say that I think these parents should not be winning any parents of the year award. This kid had a burst appendix for three days, according to the movie, before he was taken to the hospital. If this is true then these parents should be shot. I mean I had to get my appendix removed and it was not even burst and it was excruciating. If this kid had a burst appendix for three days, then either he didn't or his parents are seriously sadistic. I mean surely he would have been crying and screaming and complaining for all those days. But who am I? I mean I am no doctor, here is a doctor on a burst appendix.

"If the appendix bursts (perforates) then severe pain can spread to all the abdomen. Any movement is painful and you won't want to move around at all. You become very ill as you develop serious infection of the membrane that lines the whole abdomen. Coughing and moving the legs at the hips are painful. Your tummy will feel hard and tense, and you won't be able to push into it at all. This is called peritonitis." Source.

Now you may think why is this relevant. Well, this story is told by this four year olds farther who is a minister at a local church and may have a conflict of interest.This is the same father that did not take a son with a burst appendix to the hospital. So why should I trust a person with a bias and who seems to me like someone not very trustworthy i.e. able to take care of his child. Granted, I don't know him personally, but the movie is enough to cast doubt in my mind.

Here is Colton and his family in an interview from 2012, as you can see he still says the same stuff. Sort of as if he has read the book a few times since it was published in 2010.I mean nothing new here.

Friday 4 July 2014

Idiot of the week - Dr. Chantelle Barry

This weeks esteemed idiot is Doctor Chantelle Barry from Canada.

This Doctor, who probably took the Hippocratic oath to practice medicine honestly and provide her patients with the best care and for the good of them, has decided that prescribing contraceptives does not fit into the good health-care category. She fits in to that unique dumb category of denying her patients birth control as its against her religion. According to the law she is allowed to do this as long as she refers her patients to another doctor. I wonder if these patients have to pay the hospital fee just to get to told by the doctor "I am not going to help you as you are a sinner in the eyes of my one true god."

Personally, I do not believe a doctor should ever be allowed to deny a patient care if they deem it is against their religion. They should rather just not be allowed to practice as we do not need stupid superstition in a field that can lead to life or death situations. What stops a Jehovah's Witness doctor in the same position not allowing a blood transfusion to a patient, it is after all their religious right.  Or what about the Scientologist who refuses their patient anti-psychotics and psychiatric treatment as they believe its all a big fraud.

Superstition is dangerous and it needs to be kicked out of medicine and the rest of society. If not we may be heading for a new dark age with idiots like Chantelle Barry leading the way.


Lastly I want to give a shout out to GodlessPoutine of My Secret Atheist Blog who put me onto this story in the first place.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Why do gays get married in churches?

The decision in the United States allowing homosexual couples to get married and the outcry from the Church that everything is going to hell in a handbasket really got me thing about something. Its something I have never understood and if I have any readers that have insight on this topic I would love to hear some feedback.

Basically, why do any homosexuals want to get married in church? The case of the Methodist minister that got kicked out of the church and then reinstated shows that there are actually homosexuals that want to get married in church and I am not just making this stuff up.Honestly, its kind of like being in a Salvador Dali painting. It makes absolutely no sense that a homosexual would want to get married in a church.


All my gay friends are atheists so to ask them this question is an absolute waste of time as they feel the same way about church that I do i.e. I ain't getting married in that place. Also they understand the critical aspect of why this question bothers me so much.

Homosexuals are hated by the church. Now some Christians will say that homosexuals are not hated by the church just the homosexual sin. But if the church disapproves of what you do and what you do is what makes you a person, then they disapprove of you. Call it disapproval or hate, they just don't want you around and they don't condone your lifestyle. Thats why they don't want to marry you in  their church. That is why they believe homosexual rights to be legally married is the destruction of society. They don't like you!

So again I have to wonder. Why do homosexuals want to get married in churches?

Its to me a seriously stupid desire.