The Project Self Humiliation, Operation Extreme Redundancy

Two arguments, two arguments that are going to make me puke if I hear them one more time! Well, I suppose not, but I will write this post. Maybe, maybe, those guys who humiliate themselves each time they through these kinds of nonsense out, will see it and stop being intellectually incompetent:

1: Fundamentalist religious people vs. gay marriage: Neither I, nor any other rational person in the world (which oddly includes sane religious people as well), cares what your God says about gay marriage. Logically speaking, one shall not give a tiny little piece of a rats “bottom” about what your Jesus, Allah or whatever the hell your God; is, does or orders. It is utterly irrelevant to this debate and this topic.

Stop appealing to your moronic “traditions”. This is about the law, which automatically makes it about rights, and yes: Human rights. There is absolutely no shred of reason in the arguments of fundamentalists based on their traditions against gay marriage, it’s all fallacious and it’s useless for you.

No studies in the world have found any shred of evidence that gay parents are worse than straight parents, and those who want to define marriage based on “reproduction” please note that aside from excluding straight parents that cannot have children or do not want to, it’s horrifyingly inhuman to define the “rights” of people based on a choice that they have to make on bringing another life into this world. Imagine a child asking his or her parents: “Why was I born?” and the parents answer would be: “Because we had to reproduce, honey!” What a shame!

And yes, gays can be families too. What else would you call a couple that have lived together for 20 years and have 2 children?!

That’s more or less all that I have seen from these guys, I wonder what kind of other reasons could they have for this irrational, immoral and imposturous stance on their discriminative Buffoonery?!

2: Kalam cosmological argument: A drastic change of subject, eh? But recently I have become aware that this really disgusts me. The reason is I had to shut up and sit through the same stupidity of the same type of arguments for “God” knows how long, and I had to read the same horrendous thing for my tests, that was compulsory for us during 8 years from the time that I was 14 to the time I was 22.

And the same I keep hearing. The following is how that argument goes, and its most important logical problem: (this one I found on wikipedia, the others have the same fallacies)

(1) Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.
(2) The universe has a beginning of its existence.
____________________
(3) The universe has a cause of its existence.

Aside from all the things that had been said about it before, it suffers from a fallacy of composition. It may be true that all the things that we see have a cause, but all the things that we see happen in the universe. Universe is the sum of all those things, therefore it might be true that everything has a reason, but it is not true that “everything” itself has a reason. besides, it is usually not mentioned that “Everything that has a beginning of its existence” is of materialistic nature, and everything in there has a materialistic cause.

Also, Hume’s argument works applies to this situation: How did you found out the first premise of your argument? You observed the things around you for a period of time. Ok, how dare you suggest that it applies to the beginning of everything, including time?

____________________________

Now that I think about it, I see that self humiliation is irrelevant here. After all Christians, especially fundamentalis ones, are very fund of it, aren’t they?

Do Good, But not Because of Doing Good

I was watching Penn and Teller Bullshit show on YouTube the other day (its name is Bullshit, the show itself is great!), and I stumbled upon “Holier than Thou” episode. I actually had watched some episodes before, their picking on religion, pseudoscience and most of all stupidity is both funny and informing.

This particular episode was very interesting. I knew Christopher Hitchens had written about Mother Teresa and her fraud operation in India, but seeing the whole thing in 30 minutes in a fun way was very amusing. (you can watch it here, here, and here)

Now, that got me thinking: It seemed the only defendable point for Catholics in their debates against Atheists (or others), and most notably the one with Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry, who Fryed and Hitchslapped them and wiped the floors with them*; was their charity work. “You never mention that we do charity! You just pick on our stance about condoms and Homosexuality!”

The point that we take from Mother Teresa’s story is doing charity is not the purpose of their organised action, it is only the means to their ultimate goal: Spreading the word of their God and expanding their institution. Most of them, and most definitely the ones on the top of their organisation, do not do good to bring more good to the world, they do it to make it more Catholic…

* I’m sure most of you have, but if not, watch Hitchens and Fry in action:

The Accident of Birth

Every night and every morn,
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night,
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
William Blake
I found this piece of poem in the most unlikely place, in another piece if literature, a crime novel actually: Agatha Christie’s “Endless Night”. I don’t think that the endless night is one of Christie’s best, but this piece of poem is really catchy, and the reason is it’s the truth of our story. Millions of people are born into misery, live a miserable life, and die in misery.And misery is not just a matter of money, a matter of material, it is also a matter of mind. Some are born in an ideological misery, and some of those are born to accept that misery and be its fundamental slaves. Their God has given them a brain, and they want to give it back to him just the way it was given.

How can we overcome the greatest of unfairness? “What can men do against such reckless hate?” Maybe nothing, but we can at least try…

A Good Simple Man

There are many people living on the face of this planet, some are good, some bad; Some are simple, and some sad. (Oh, it rhymes!)

My mom had a man coming to work for her every month, because she could not do all the things on her own, and I was not able to help her much. He was (and still is) a good man, he was 40 years old at the time, had a wife and two kids, and he could read and write, though he hadn’t finished 5th grade. He was not religious, at least not what we call a fundamentalist. I considered him a moderate Muslim. He was (and is) a good man with a big heart, which I admired a lot, and I still do.

This particular story happened in a warm afternoon at the end of Spring, maybe one of the last times that I saw him. He was talking about what had happened to him some years ago, as he worked on, and I was sitting on one of our uncomfortable small sofas.

I do not remember his full story, but he talked about a time that he thought God was punishing him because of some debt that he had not paid, and something that happened to the rest of his money because of that. He finished by saying: “At that time I promised myself to be always honest, and to never take what does not belong to me.”

How can we discuss these things with simple people? I knew he was a good person, at least he had a strong conscience. How could I try to break the illusion of “heavenly punishment” without making it an argument that he would not have easily understood?

I decided to use his strong conscience, so I asked him: “You say you are not doing bad things because God would punish you if you do, right?” and as he nodded for yes, I continued “Does that mean that you would steal things, IF you knew there was no punishment?”

He looked confused for a moment, since the obvious answer was no. I went on: “You do not do bad things, because “You” are a good person, not because someone tells you that you should be. Goodness is from you and your conscience.”

I still remember the way he looked at me, but I cannot figure out what it meant. Was he disappointed, or relieved? I cannot say. I think he is still a good man though…

Arguing With Theists (2)

This particular set of conversations happened in a sunny Wednesday, I was on my way to the library to start a new essay on History of economic thought. It started by what seemed like a peculiar and noticeable advertisement to my Christian marketer friends, whilst I was prepared for it, for I had seen it before. Where I come from, this is taught at schools!

What is it? A simple question: “How do you see yourself in the mirror?”

The “right” answer to this question varies, because it might be asked by a psychologist, or a friend, sometimes there is no right answer for it. But when religious marketers ask this, I think the “right” answer would be something like: “I don’t see myself in the mirror, because I’m a vampire!”

But, that would not lead to an argument, which I usually would like to have. Therefore, my answer was fairly simple, but provocative: “An Atheist!”

The guy asking the question (by the name Scott, I found out later), was holding a piece of paper in his hand. Hearing my answer, with a bit of hesitation, he said: “Well, write it down, every answer is a good answer!” Sure, but I think later he might have changed his mind!

Then again a semi debate started, I don’t clearly remember the first bit of it, but I think he asked me how we came to be? And when I said Evolution, I was surprised by him stating: “I don’t believe in big evolution, just small stuff!” I thought morons only lived in some parts of US!

I did not linger on that subject, because what could I say? “You’re a moron big guy! Have a good day!”?

I went straight to my favourite topic: Morality. And he went straight for “Objective” moral values, as expected. He asked me whether I believe we have objective moral values or not? And I said no, I don’t think we have objective moral values. He went for an example about murder, and then thought he had proven himself right. Of course, if you have followed my blog, you know that I gave my example about Incest. (On The Fakeness of the Concept of Sin)

He hesitated a bit on my argument, and I think it was at that time that a girl (who was another marketer standing there) jumped in between our conversation. She was the one that suggested “Whatever makes us be closer to God is morally acceptable, and whatever pushes us away from him is a Sin.” I did not continue that, because at the time I was not ready for that part, I just said that I have to think about that.

Then I moved on to the next part, which was about the degeneration of religious ideas. I gave my example about the rate of interest. Scott came up with a brilliant statement: “Maybe those who thought interest was a sin were corrupt!”

Certainly possible, but one those people was actually Thomas Aquinas, who is a saint for the followers of Catholic religion. But instead, I explained to him “why” that order had changed, and the reason was the change in economic system. A change so drastic that an idea like this could not resist it.

At this point it seemed that he lost his interest. Of course, like any other good marketer if you see that you cannot sell your goods to someone by any means, get out of there ASAP! And that was the end, I told them that I had work to do, and said goodbye. They said that they would be happy to see me at their group, which of course they did not mean it.

Any moral conclusion from this? Yes, as I pointed out before, their method of marketing is very abusive. If someone is in an emotional state of mind, these people can easily take advantage of him or her. The only way that one can resist is the way of reason, logic and science.

A Matter of Logic: A Good Reason not to Try Reason With Bullies

I have a Homophobic Christian housemate. Well, not so much of a “mate” actually, he is a 50 something year old moron with almost no brains to give his rants even a bit of coherency, but that tends to be his strong point: Having no brains can make the best bully out of someone. I’m an openly Atheist gay man, and therefore obviously a target of much stupidity, however; I do not engage with such people, because a “bull”y is only capable of using its horns, not brain.

Now, what was I going to say? These kind of people are totally incapable of critical thinking. This means, when somebody (no matter who) is able to make them believe in something (no matter how obviously wrong), it’s impossible to convince them that thing is wrong. They always appeal to their “holy” books, or their religious leaders, and think they have won the argument; then they put their hands on their ears, and keep it shut from the filthy “Reason” that is trying to reach them!

I was thinking, how many ways do we have to convince someone that an idea is wrong? I believe two ways: Either reason (based on logic), or appealing to authority. Now, the second one is a fallacy actually, but it also could be a legitimate way because we are only human, and none of us knows “everything”.

The only thing we should remember when appealing to an authority is, that authority has to have good reasons for believing what he or she says. If I “think” that I have cancer it might be because my doctor told me so, but I do not have cancer because my doctor says so, I have cancer because I have cancer. My doctor thinks that I have cancer, because there are good reasons for it, that he understands with his speciality, not me; and of course there are other doctors that understand him as a specialist.

To convince others, we can use reason (if they have brains!) or we can appeal to a legitimate authority, who has good reasons for what he or she says. And even in this case we must be very careful to whom we appeal.

Now, Is God a good authority? Well, for religious people yes, but for a sceptic mind, of course not. The fact of the matter is, it seems for the most part, God either has no reason, or if he indeed has one, and a good one nonetheless, nobody in the world knows it or understands it! God is not a legitimate authority, has never been, and can never be.

Everything is permitted, only if you believe!

If religion indeed suffers from some sever cases of internal inconsistency, this means that one shall have to find significant changes in religious arguments and beliefs as time passes by.

History shows us that this is true. Religious claims have always shifted (or tried to shift) to ideas that were more likely to be accepted by the masses, or were impossible to avoid. One good example is an economical one, and that is the rate of interest. Before the tenth century, Scholastic thinkers strongly prohibited any interest based on religious beliefs. But the progress of market economy is actually based on interest, and when throughout time to 14th and 15th century markets started to become more and more completed, interest became essential for economic growth. With advanced banking system in Florence, prohibition of interest effectively ended.

Nowadays you can see the same process through Islamic countries. Also, you can see this process for many other things as well; of course one good example is again the progress of tolerance for Homosexuality. One more interesting religious idea-shift is its attitude towards racism. Before, religion was the advocate of slavery and discrimination against black men and women, but in the 60s Martin Luther King (who himself was a Baptist minister) turned it into a weapon against discrimination.

We can find many examples of this sort, and I do not think that religious people will disagree that we do have these shifts of ideas in religious beliefs. But what can be said in defense of religion? One thing comes into my mind, and I have heard this quite a lot from Islamic apologists in the case of these ‘shifts’: “It was not Islam that was wrong, it was us.” Or “It was our lack of understanding of Koran; otherwise we know that it cannot be wrong.”

This answer only ‘seems’ right, because now we can see that it faces a strong and yet simple dilemma and I think we could call it the ‘dilemma of the book of Thoth’.

Thoth was (or is?!) the mythological Egyptian god of wisdom and he had written a book that contained all his knowledge about the world and the gods themselves. If somebody could read ‘the book’, he or she would have been capable of knowing every secret of the known world and even could literally see the gods themselves. Neferkaptah, an Egyptian prince, read the book and became almost a god. That was why the gods punished him by killing his son and wife: They didn’t want a human to possess such power. Neferkaptah later committed suicide and was buried with the book to guard it forever.

Now, what has this little mythological story got to do with our argument? It’s simple: These so called ‘holy books’ of ours (The Koran, The Bible, and The Torah) are either utterly wrong, or they are not understandable. They are not like the book of Thoth, that was (or is) written by a god and when you read it you can see the effect immediately. When you read any of those books, you will see that your ‘knowledge’ has not increased; they only abuse what you already know. They are exactly like mediums: vagueness is what they are made of. This is what makes religious books and mediums equally fake.

And that is the key to those shifts in religious ideas. Scientific theories change because they are based on scientific facts and other theories, and they were never supposed to be absolutely true to begin with. We already know this from David Hume. Religious ideas change because they become internally inconsistent (and because they were made up to begin with).

Religious people cannot believe that their holy book is false; if they do, they are not religious any more. At first look it seems plausible for them to doubt their own understanding. But In that case, how on earth they dare saying “We know the truth.”?! How dare Catholics condemn Homosexuality and say “because God says so”. You don’t even understand your God! And Muslims are the worst; at least Christianity has had a renaissance, Islam still holds a great power over people’s minds.

The worst result of the vagueness of these books is that they can justify almost ‘anything’. They justify sexism in the Middle East, and yet in the same place you can find devoted Muslims that say “this is NOT what the Koran says.” They justify killing gay men and women, and recently I have seen articles, written by believers about how the Bible and the Koran “do NOT condemn homosexuality.”

Right now Islamist extremists are after nuclear weapons in Iran, but in the meantime mullahs say the world that Islam prohibits making weapons of mass destruction. Now, we can trust them, right?!