Sanguine Fallacies

Giving blood is one of the most important donations one can do in order to help other people. For millenia humans have understood that blood is important to vitality and life and naturally a lot of religion has placed “controls” on blood. Be it the various groups that practiced human sacrifice to Kosher law to the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Blood has been common in all of them and even symbolically such as the “faux blood offerings” of Kali and the red wine used to symbolise the blood of Christ.

[warning]NSFW – Contains content with regard to blood and sex[/warning]

So it comes with no surprise that an Israeli Rabbi has ruled on “blood”.

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Death’s the Final Step

Dying is the last thing you will do with your life. We all are guaranteed to die, some earlier and in more tragic circumstances than others. Some go kicking and screaming and fighting to live, some of us die with acceptance and quickly.

But the truth is we all die.

Fear of death is natural, and we all fear it to the point of creating an escape mechanism. A Reward for Dying. It helps us face death and indeed helps us deal with the deaths of our loved ones. But heaven has a darker side.

While it is nice to believe that someday we will meet our loved ones who have died, the fact of the matter is that the world doesn’t work like that. [Read more...]

Of Faith and Fannies – Female Genital Mutilation and Islam

Female Circumcision (Genital Mutilation) is one of the major problems facing women in large parts of the world. The practice is seen from parts of Indonesia through some areas of the Middle East to (it is thankfully rarer but it still occurs) to Africa where the practice is widespread due to a long history and the lack of a concerted effort to stamp it out. I will write a warning and say that this article is NSFW and not suitable for those of a nervous disposition as the subject matter is deeply uncomfortable. In addition due to the use of anatomical drawings I will suggest that this article be treated as not safe for children unless you as a parent wish for them to learn about a darker side of the world. This is ludicrously uncomfortable for pretty much everyone. Hence this ludicrously long disclaimer.

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Fundementalist Church of Latter Day Sinners

The Fundementalist Church of Latter Day Saints are not associated with the Mormons. Mormonism is one of those brand new faiths. A cult that has gained religion status (The only difference between religion and cult is timeframe) and expanded into it’s current format. It’s changed a lot mainly due to to the fact that it’s an essentially man made (quite obviously so) religion with the changes often coming from a Prophet or through self revelation.

The Schism between the FLDS and the LDS occured owing to (Seriously) polygamy. The LDS once was a big fan of polygamy. It actively preached the notion that a woman’s place was firmly by the side of her husband and he was the boss. The LDS was infamous for it’s polygamy, wife beating and child marriages.

However while seeking greater approval in the USA the LDS decided to modernise and do away with the practice of polygamy. The FLDS is a splinter group which refused to accept the idea of marriage to a single woman.

Now here is the thing. I am personally not a fan of polyamory. It’s not for me. But I understand some people make it work. Good for them. What the FLDS practice is not Polyamory but a specific belief that a man SHOULD have multiple wives and women can only gain a place in Mormon Heaven if they are completely subservient to a carrier of the Y chromosome. Needless to say that this (in my eyes atleast) is a obvious attempt to control women, but if you are born in such a world as the FLDS are then it’s the only belief you have. 

The FLDS were quiet for most of the 20th century until the murder of Brenda Lafferty and her infant daughter Erica which threw their beliefs into a stark light. Brenda was married to Allen Lafferty. Brenda was a stronger woman than many of the other Mormon wives and more than a match for the men. She was believed to have given advice to Allen’s sister in law (married to Ron Lafferty), telling her to not agree to being in a polygamous marriage and indeed to not put up with the abuse that is so endemic in FLDS teachings. After Ron and his older brother Dan joined a “School for Prophets”, they recieved a personal revelation from God. After which they and an accomplice (Chip Carnes) drove to Allen and Brenda’s house, and cut her and her infant child’s throats.

The law of revelation is a powerful belief amongst the FLDS. That anyone can be a prophet and that the direct word of god must be obeyed.

God is greater than the United States, and when the Government conflicts with heaven, we will be ranged under the banner of heaven against the Government...”

Dan and Ron Lafferty were imprisoned with Ron awaiting the ultimate sanction. They still believe they did the right thing.

With this in mind, we can understand the mentality of the FLDS. The FLDS actively excommunicates young men from the church in order to maintain the polygamy ratios. Everything is done to maintain the status quo and this means any who leave or criticise the FLDS are fair game if one recieves a revelation from god.

And in this case? Members of the FLDS recieved the revelation to torment and terrorise Andrew Chatwin and did so by encasing a live kitten in concrete and leaving it at his farm. Mr Chatwin attempted to rescue the kitten but the kitten died six days later after it was freed. Andrew called him Thomas, and Thomas died for the sake of fear and suffered a life of pain for no reason apart from sending a message.

This is an act of unspeakable cruelty that can only be done by someone who believes with all his heart and mind that he is doing something good for the sake of a higher cause without realising that the higher cause is the base instinct of revenge and hatred that is justified by the belief in a higher cause.

No suicide bomber ever set out thinking that they are the bad guys.

Why Aren’t You Married Yet

Tracy McMillan and the Huffington Post have surprised me by printing a selection of absolute anti-female drivel regarding marriage. Normally Huffington’s leftist stuff is harmless, if a tad fascinated with woo, but this is pure anti-female that is on par with “Math Class is Tough” Barbie. This two-part series is insulting, in equal parts, to both women and men  and is a perfect example of “Cosmo Thinking”.  If any man has read Cosmo, he would probably agree that Cosmo  treats men as if they were incompetent morons who can be controlled like circus dogs (much like how its male counterparts of FHM and Maxim treat women). 

There is no SINGLE way to run a proper marriage.  Marriages have been built on everything from necessity, honour, politics, religion,and  business to love. In fact, marrying for love rather than every other reason has been the norm only as of recently. Sure we may romanticise marrying for love, but historically people got married because it was the social thing to do and mostly a put upon affair where women were often treated like brood cows and property. In fact, these here are a terrible list of reasons as to why you aren’t married.

I speak as someone who is heterosexual, extremely single, and made the decision not to pursue a relationship with a woman I still love to this day in order to go back into education to be a doctor.  And yes, there are some pretty hefty regrets with the decision I have made; at times I worry that picking a career over a relationship may have been a stupid decision.

So let’s see what’s wrong with Tracy McMillan’s article from the viewpoint of a heterosexual male who is part of the crotch thrusting, penis waggling, monocratic patriarchy.

The Patriarchy is like this only we get paid more than you.

Then, something happened. Another birthday, maybe. A breakup. Your brother’s wedding. His wife-elect asked you to be a bridesmaid, and suddenly there you were, wondering how in hell you came to be 36-years-old, walking down the aisle wearing something halfway decent from J. Crew that you could totally repurpose with a cute pair of boots and a jean jacket. You started to hate the bride — she was so effing happy — and for the first time ever you began to have feelings about the fact that you’re not married. You never really cared that much before. But suddenly (it was so sudden) you found yourself wondering… Deep, deep breath… Why you’re not married. 

We all want the same things in life. Yes, at some point even I will want to get married to someone who I hope will spend the rest of her life with me. But I don’t think that the ceremony of the marriage is anything but an open declaration of love rather than some magic ceremony that grants satisfaction. The author thinks you need to be married to find happiness, and if you have not done it by the age of 36, your hand will glow red and it will be time for Carrousel.

Or the Menopause.

Well, I know why. How? It basically comes down to this: I’ve been married three times. Yes, three. To a very nice MBA at 19; a very nice minister’s son at 32 (and pregnant); and at 40, to a very nice liar and cheater who was just like my dad, if my dad had gone to Harvard instead of doing multiple stints in federal prison.

If only Husband No. 3 is a douchebag, then what does that imply for Husband No. 1 and 2? And listen, if you are comparing the men you date to your daddy, then you have issues and should not be giving relationship advice. Also, the way she describes the men who married her is rather disturbing.  I mean at least 1 and 3 are described by their own achievements. No. 2 is being described by the achievements of his dad!

And from this we can learn that Tracy McMillan is not only a serial bride, but also divorced 3 times. Here is the thing, the entire point of a marriage is not to try to have a number more than 0, but less than 2. Tracy McMillan comes off as someone who gets married really quickly, then ends up in a relationship that is ill thought out and ends in divorce.

But I won’t lie. The problem is not men, it’s you. Sure, there are lame men out there, but they’re not really standing in your way. Because the fact is — if whatever you’re doing right now was going to get you married, you’d already have a ring on. So without further ado, let’s look at the top six reasons why you’re not married.

Actually there are some fucking terrible men out there. Lame is, “not having a job”.  Terrible is, “fucks around, lies, beats you, and steals your stuff to pay for his bathsalt habit”.  There are a lot of terrible men out there who do get married. Nearly every person has a story about someone they dated who was just an awful person, and YOU could end up married to that person.

Pictured… A Terrible Man

The person you marry is more important than the marriage itself.

1. You’re a Bitch.
Here’s what I mean by bitch. I mean you’re angry. You probably don’t think you’re angry. You think you’re super smart, or if you’ve been to a lot of therapy, that you’re setting boundaries. But the truth is you’re pissed. At your mom. At the military-industrial complex. At Sarah Palin. And it’s scaring men off. The deal is: most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them. I am the mother of a 13-year-old boy, which is like living with the single-cell protozoa version of a husband. Here’s what my son wants out of life: macaroni and cheese, a video game, and Kim Kardashian. Have you ever seen Kim Kardashian angry? I didn’t think so. You’ve seen Kim Kardashian smile, wiggle, and make a sex tape. Female anger terrifies men. I know it seems unfair that you have to work around a man’s fear and insecurity in order to get married — but actually, it’s perfect, since working around a man’s fear and insecurity is big part of what you’ll be doing as a wife.

Marriage is not the Force.  Anger doesn’t make marriages fail.  Also, these things aren’t “anger”; these things are passions. People are passionate about a lot of things, and quite rightly so.  Claiming that women aren’t attractive because they have things that they care about is moronic and patronising.

Female anger does not terrify men. We aren’t stupid.  Some of us are pretty smart.  We aren’t made out of crystal. If you don’t placate us, we won’t throw a t
antrum. What Tracy is describing is a Cosmo relationship: The idea that all men are incompetent children who will roll around the floor bawling if you question their idiocy in any way.

And no, we don’t all want a Kim Kardashian. This point is effectively suggesting that women should shut up, smile, and wiggle their bums at men because all men function like Pavlov’s dog. Yes, some men want a Kim Kardashian, and if you want to date those men then by all means be that woman. However, some of us really want someone who can actually do something other than smile, wiggle, and make sex tapes that they release to become famous.

2. You’re Shallow.

When it comes to choosing a husband, only one thing really, truly matters: character. So it stands to reason that a man’s character should be at the top of the list of things you are looking for, right? But if you’re not married, I already know it isn’t. Because if you were looking for a man of character, you would have found one by now. Men of character are, by definition, willing to commit.

Instead, you are looking for someone tall. Or rich. Or someone who knows what an Eames chair is. Unfortunately, this is not the thinking of a wife. This is the thinking of a teenaged girl. And men of character do not want to marry teenaged girls. Because teenage girls are never happy. And they never feel like cooking, either.

Tracy starts off strong, then falls off the tightrope of good advice.  Character should be at the top of the list, which I assume includes things like intelligence and humour.  Physical attraction is also vital. Yes, some people can run a relationship solely on mental attraction, but I am not one of them and neither are most people. We tend to marry someone who we fancy.

The argument is stupid. If you aren’t married RIGHT NOW then clearly you haven’t found a man of character as those men would want to marry you. It doesn’t matter what they are doing; they will drop all of that and follow you around like a dog because men are stupid.

Sure you shouldn’t be shallow, but you shouldn’t fuck whatever strange comes your way either. Just because an offer is there doesn’t mean the person asking is a man of “Character”.  It makes him a man who has asked you to get married. Complete arseholes can ask you to get married too.

We all have some preferences. I like redheads. I think “the gingers” look cute. I assume it’s the same way that women want someone who is tall.  Yes, it hurts to be rejected due to an arbitrary aesthetic choice.  I started balding at aged 21. I have lost a lot of hair and have been rejected on more than one occasion due to that, but that’s their choice. They are allowed to want someone who has similar interests or fits a specific look. I am clearly not a man of character because I would not want to marry “any woman”, but have my own tastes of who I would and wouldn’t date.   And yes, it may be sad to say that I, like most people, am influenced by something as petty as appearance. 

3. You’re a Slut.
Hooking up with some guy in a hot tub on a rooftop is fine for the ladies of Jersey Shore — but they’re not trying to get married. You are. Which means, unfortunately, that if you’re having sex outside committed relationships, you will have to stop. Why? Because past a certain age, casual sex is like recreational heroin — it doesn’t stay recreational for long. That’s due in part to this thing called oxytocin — a bonding hormone that is released when a woman a) nurses her baby and b) has an orgasm — that will totally mess up your casual-sex game. It’s why you can be f**k-buddying with some dude who isn’t even all that great and the next thing you know, you’re totally strung out on him. And you have no idea how it happened. Oxytocin, that’s how it happened. And since nature can’t discriminate between marriage material and Charlie Sheen, you’re going to have to start being way more selective than you are right now.

And all that testosterone coursing through my veins means I will fight all men for dominance over the breeding women…

Oh wait, that’s moronic.  Oxytocin causes pleasure but attraction is due to a variety of things. Charlie Sheen is attractive because he is a rich  party boy and hangs out with women who LIKE that sort of thing.  Also, cocaine is a hell of a drug and makes you do idiotic things… Like Sleep With Charlie Sheen.

Hormones do not work this way. Casual sex doesn’t make you marry arseholes:  falling for arseholes and their lies does. Every Charlie Sheen appears to be a nice, normal man until you realise that he isn’t.  And yes, there is a problem with marriage in that most people do not want to marry people who are “sluts” (of either gender) because there is the idea that people who are promiscuous are more likely to cheat.

People who are cheaters are more likely to cheat. There are plenty of “monogamous sluts” out there who are loyal to their spouses despite having multiple partners prior.  People who are more honest and expressive about sex tend to have better relationships. If you and your spouse lie about your sex lives then there is a good chance you won’t be satisfied.

4. You’re a Liar.
It usually goes something like this: you meet a guy who is cute and likes you, but he’s not really available for a relationship. He has some condition that absolutely precludes his availability, like he’s married, or he gets around town on a skateboard. Or maybe he just comes right out and says something cryptic and open to interpretation like, “I’m not really available for a relationship right now.” You know if you tell him the truth — that you’re ready for marriage — he will stop calling. Usually that day. And you don’t want that. So you just tell him how perfect this is because you only want to have sex for fun! You love having fun sex! And you don’t want to get in a relationship at all! You swear! About ten minutes later, the oxytocin kicks in. You start wanting more. But you don’t tell him that. That’s your secret — just between you and 22,000 of your closest girlfriends. Instead, you hang around, having sex with him, waiting for him to figure out that he can’t live without you. I have news: he will never “figure” this out. He already knows he can live without you just fine. And so do you. Or you wouldn’t be lying to him in the first place.

Oxytocin is not a love potion.  And what’s wrong with a skateboard? Seriously, Tracy comes off as a horrible gold digger. I cannot read anything she writes without the words “prenuptial agreement” flashing in front of my eyes as a defence mechanism.

Okay, I can see what the problem is:. There is an idea amongst a lot of women that they can change men. It’s that they think they can improve the base model, like buying a crappy house with a lot of potential. Sure there are some men who go from loser to bruiser (do you have any idea how hard it is to rhyme?) with the right impetus. Women aren’t that stupid. Yes, some women fall in love with their “casual sex partners” but guess what? Some men fall in love too. The point of casual sex is also honesty between the people involved. However, most people won’t change radically.

5. You’re Selfish.

If you’re not married, chances are you think a lot about you. You think about your thighs, your outfits, your naso-labial folds. You th
ink about your career, or if you don’t have one, you think about doing yoga teacher training. Sometimes you think about how marrying a wealthy guy — or at least a guy with a really, really good job — would solve all your problems. Howevs, a good wife, even a halfway decent one, does not spend most of her day thinking about herself. She has too much s**t to do, especially after having kids. This is why you see a lot of celebrity women getting husbands after they adopt. The kids put the woman on notice:
Bitch, hello! It’s not all about you anymore! After a year or two of thinking about someone other than herself, suddenly, Brad Pitt or Harrison Ford comes along and decides to significantly other her. Which is also to say — if what you really want is a baby, go get you one. Your husband will be along shortly. Motherhood has a way of weeding out the lotharios.

This is terrible advice.

This is basically telling women that they should be selfless helpmeets who indulge in their man’s desires. They are a supporting act to enable men to reach the lofty goals of whatever. I don’t want that and I am damn sure there are other men like me out there who would prefer a woman who actually has stuff that they want to do.

And for the love of god do not do what celebrities do. Most are idiots who have gained fame solely through either doing something that is overvalued or worse, are famous because they simply are. If you either adopt or have a baby with the idea that it will somehow get you married, then you are having a baby for the wrong reasons. Celebrity women get married because there is a small pool of celebrities and they really cannot date “us normals”.  We don’t hang out in the same circles, do the same things, or have the same social calendar. The choices in their available dating pool are rather small if you are a celebrity. Also celebrity mothers are blessed with something we morlocks don’t have: money, attention, and time. It makes the whole dynamic a lot more different

This is the worst reason to ever adopt or have a child.  Again, this is the assumption that a man will marry you no matter what. If a man doesn’t want to go out with a single mother, there are reasons for that. I wouldn’t, mainly because at this point in time I have enough to worry about without a kid  and have a career that will always come first. I would want a kid at some point, but not when I am 26.  Yet in Tracy’s eyes, I am a horrible man who is doomed to a horrible life of loneliness because I wouldn’t want to take care of someone’s  kids at my age.

6. You’re Not Good Enough.

Oh, I don’t think that. You do. I can tell because you’re not looking for a partner who is your equal. No, you want someone better than you are: better looking, better family, better job. Here is what you need to know: You are enough right this minute. Period. Not understanding this is a major obstacle to getting married, since women who don’t know their own worth make terrible wives. Why? You can fake it for a while, but ultimately you won’t love your spouse any better than you love yourself. Smart men know this. I see this at my son’s artsy, progressive school. Of 183 kids, maybe six have moms who are as cute as you’re trying to be. They’re attractive, sure. They’re just not objects. Their husbands (wisely) chose them for their character, not their cup size.

Yes, self respect is important but this is an argument based on wanting someone. Sure, you aren’t going to find happiness if your dream man is some famous celebrity, or someone who has the body of a chippendale, the brain of Stephen Hawkings, and the wit of Stephen Fry.  Most people have realistic expectations in their mates. This is the last of the points in her first article and it is faulty as hell because what she thinks smart men do is not true.  Smart men are capable of making the same mistakes as “smart women” and dating women who are bad for them.  No, what Tracy regards as “Smart” is retrospective. Women who are still around after all these years are a great choice.  Women who suddenly run away with the pool boy are clearly not irrespective of how good a choice they were.  Hindsight is 20/20. If we knew how some of our worst dates would end we wouldn’t have gone on them.

As I said, there are some people who you ARE better than and who you shouldn’t marry.  I know it’s harsh to think that, but put it this way: there is a man/woman who you go out with, but  you don’t speak about anything in particular, you don’t have anything in common, and you aren’t physically attracted to them.  Do you think you should marry this person?  You aren’t good enough for them and they aren’t good enough for you.  Keep calm and carry on, don’t marry this mythical person or you will end up miserable.

Because ultimately, marriage is not about getting something — it’s about giving it. Strangely, men understand this more than we do. Probably because for them marriage involves sacrificing their most treasured possession — a free-agent penis — and for us, it’s the culmination of a princess fantasy so universal, it built Disneyland.

This is some sort of malicious rumour being spread about men. We don’t think like childish frat boys or stereotypes.  In fact, the ultimate joke is that from 1970 to 2002, the number of men wanting to get married has INCREASED.  That’s right, feminism has made men more likely to want to get married because men aren’t obsessed with sticking penises into holes. We have other drives too, and like women, for things other than their various orifices.

The bottom line is that marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don’t deserve it. Because most of the time, your messy, farting, macaroni-and-cheese eating man will not be doing what you want him to. But as you give him love anyway — because you have made up your mind to transform yourself into a person who is practicing being kind, deep, virtuous, truthful, giving, and most of all, accepting of your own dear self — you will find that you will experience the very thing you wanted all along: Love.

So basically Tracy thinks that all marriages are sitcoms where men follow this stereotype of being incompetent bread winners with hearts of gold and brains of blanc mange which requires women to run their households; otherwise we would set it on fire. If I met Tracy she would probably think I was either a figment of her imagination or one of those gays that she keeps hearing about.  In fact, if Tracy met most sane men she would probably think the same.

There’s only one problem though. You’re still single. And you still don’t want to be. And ever since your sister/mom/co-worker/frenemy sent you that incredibly (pick one: dumb, mean, totally, completely FALSE) thing last year, it has crossed your mind (maaaybe once) that there might have been just the teensiest bit of truth to it. Maybe you are sort of bitchy. Maybe you don’t want to date short men. Maybe the casual sex you’ve been trying to have never does stay as casual as you wish it would.

Part II  indicates that her list is preying on the notion that women SHOULD get married.  If they don’t, then they are broken and incomplete.  It’s Sex and the City nonsense because it places the fault of  lack of marital opportunity solely on the woman.

7. You’re a Mess. You overdrink. You overeat. You overspend. You under-earn. Whatever it is, there’s (at least) one big thing in your
life — an attitude, a behavior, a vice — that you absolutely, for sure, under-no-circumstances want to let go of. And the bad news is, that is the ONE THING you absolutely, for-sure, under-no-circumstances WILL NOT be able to keep. At least not if you want to move forward. The sneaky part is that this thing holding you back feels like it is making your life more bearable! It’s also telling you that you’re fine! So how do you know if something is a problem? Easy. YOU’RE KEEPING IT A SECRET. If there’s something you can’t (or don’t want) to tell your mom, your best friend, or the guy you’re dating — you can be sure it’s getting in the way of having your best relationship.

Yes, people aren’t likely to want to marry people who have a lot of issues going on right now. That’s not a problem.  Issues are meant to be fixed, but you know what? It’s not fair to get into a relationship with them hanging over your head and expect someone else to want to fix them for you.

8. You’re Crazy. Crazy is where you LOVE INTENSITY. You want life to bring the exclamation points!!!!!!! Normal people, and relationships? Big, noisy YAWN. You think of yourself more like Angelina Jolie when she was with Billy Bob. Crazy is where you use your cell phone like an automatic weapon. You meet, have sex, fight and break up — all by text message. Another sign you’ve got the crazies is if you are constantly telling long, involved stories in the break room about what happened this past weekend. You think your listeners are wowed and they are, but to them it’s like watching an episode of “Fear Factor.” Who doesn’t want to watch another person eat bugs? In fact, a sure-fire way to know you’re crazy is if more than one person has told you you’d be great on a reality show — and you agree with them.

This just makes you someone who likes drama, and therefore cannot hold down a relationship until it progresses into a marriage because relationships usually up and explode by that point.  However, adding this to a list of reasons why you aren’t married is like implying only lunatics aren’t married.

Moreover, f you behave like the woman in this example then what you crave isn’t intensity What you crave is attention, so you engineer incidents to garner it. Intense relationships exist without the crazy.

9. You’re a Dude. It’s not that you love the Cardinals, have short hair, or or make more money than most guys. It’s that, when it comes to relationships, you want to hunt them down and kill them. You call guys, you text guys, you ask guys out. You have sex like it’s a temp job, hoping that if you rock a guy’s world, you’ll get hired full-time. And it’s not working for you, because right now, you are in a long-term, committed relationship with EXACTLY NONE of those dudes. Am I saying you should join a quilting circle? Wear ruffles all the time? Um, no. But you might want to see what it’s like to let the game come to you. Because there’s one requirement above all others a guy needs to possess to be your man: he has to REALLY WANT to be in a relationship with you. (Duh!) Fortunately, there’s a foolproof way to find out just how much of a crap a guy gives: he will 1) ask for your contact information, and 2) HE WILL USE IT RIGHT AWAY. (Do not try to tell yourself he waited two weeks to call text you because he probably had to visit his grandmother in Milwaukee! Guys bring their phones to Milwaukee.) Prequalifying a man like this will prevent the mortgage meltdown that is your love life. Because at the end of the day, you don’t need to know if a guy wants to donate his sperm to you. (The answer will probably be Oh, hell yes.) You want to know if he’s willing to send your egg to college. And if a guy doesn’t feel like taking you on a date, THE ANSWER IS NO.

I will tell you this as a guy:  there is nothing as sexy as being asked out by a girl, because it rarely happens to most of us.  Most of the time we are left guessing. Playing “hard to get” or “passive”  is stupid,  because you live under the assumption that all men who fancy you are going to ask you out rather than have their own little internal voice that says, “Don’t say anything!  What if she laughs? What if everyone else laughs?  What if she gets the wrong idea?! You will look like an idiot!”.

Additionally, if a guy hasn’t called in x amount of time, then maybe it’s because he has shit to do that doesn’t involve fellating your ego. I’m just putting that out there as someone who has other things to do in his life that don’t involve waiting on people hand and foot for a date.

10. You’re Godless. Remember how I said that marriage is a spiritual path? Well, we’re there. The point where I suggest something totally radical and punk-rock as a way of transforming whatever it is you have going on (or don’t have going on) in the area of relationships. And here it is: I want you to get a god. Wait, come back! It’s not necessarily what you think. What do I mean by god? Well, I don’t mean a bearded dude in the sky who is going to give you a Mercedes and a husband if you’re good and punish you if you’re bad. That would be Santa Claus. I mean I want you to cultivate a sense of SPIRIT in your life, a relationship with the intangible, the unseen — the power behind the oceans, gravity, chocolate and the Beatles. You know, the thing you experience in life where the hair stands up on your arms? The Big Something. You could just call it Love. Whatever you name it — it’s the game changer. Because when you mix the idea of spirit into your relationships, it no longer matters how many men are, techincally, out there. No more demographics, no more short guys and tall guys or chicks with cankles or ten extra pounds. There are no more lists of things you think you have to have in a mate. There are only two people on a spiritual assignment: TO LOVE EACH OTHER.

This is what irks me the most. Marriage is not spiritual. There is no difference between two people who were in a relationship yesterday then  married today. None. There is no magic. All the benefits that are gained are solely designed by humans (AKA monetary)

Yes, a lot of people don’t want to marry atheists. That sucks. It’s a sucky life for us. We don’t believe in any gods.  For a lot of people that is a big deal breaker. But there’s something that people like Tracy don’t understand:  we know the power behind oceans, gravity, chocolate, and the Beatles which actually gives us more of an appreciation of them. We don’t need a relationship with imaginary beings to appreciate these things. I can show you more wonder in the deadliest poisons known to man than Tracy would ever conceive of  because I know how they work and can use some of them to save lives. I know people who can see little streaks or blips and decipher how the universe works. That’s truly marvelous. It amazes me that in one breath Tracy claims that you should be yourself and in the next she claims that you should find religion, or at least some nebulous bullshit faith about spirits.

Honestly, IMHO as a straight, single, atheist man? Ladies and gentlemen, if you want to get married then think before you do so.

1. Do you want to get married, or do you want to spend your life with someone you love?

Marriage is merely a social contract of government approval of your relationship. The relationship you have today will not change if you sign a contract tomorrow. There is no divine insight or magic powers gained from getting married. If you think marriage will somehow FIX a relationship, then you are seriously deludi
ng yourself. A marriage is hard work, mainly because breaking up is hard and expensive.  It lacks the flexibility of a live-in relationship because you have signed a binding and legal contract. The wedding, while nice, isn’t actually all that important in the legal scheme of things. 

2.  If you value a career or education, then marriage may not be for you (during that time period).

I speak as someone who traded a relationship for a career with someone who I still love to this very day.  If I married her then I wouldn’t have had the chance to be a doctor. Sometimes you have to decide what you want and don’t judge others who have made the same decision. And no, picking your career isn’t the bad choice.  Many men prefer to wait until they are financially secure to get married because getting married is bloody expensive. I speak as someone who is expected to have a lavish wedding and who will not be available to avoid it. I will probably end up having two separate weddings:  a simple ceremony for myself and the bride (look western marriages are simple…) and another ceremony for the sake of my family, so I would want to be financially secure before agreeing to a ceremony that will wreck savings.  I understand it’s a special day. However, considering that  most people spend between 20,000 and 40,000 pounds on a wedding it seems like an awful lot of money, especially since Tracy described a wedding as a princess fantasy.



3. You haven’t found someone you want to marry yet.

It’s kind of essential really. Yes, some people have unrealistic expectations or stupid ideas on what they want. I have had women turn me down for dates because I am balding as if being bald was the equivalent of “eats children”. Hell, I have been turned down for the colour of my skin. Okay, maybe she had other reasons but the one I was given was my hair and skin. It sucks but that’s life; some people think keratin and melanin are vital.  I know women who are holding out for men who pretty much would only exist in a comic book (They would wear blue and have a big giant S on the front). Yes, sometimes we need to realise that we aren’t going to marry the princess. But most people want pretty sensible things out of their husbands and wives and there is no shame in waiting for someone who matches a sensible description.



4. The most important one? You don’t want to or your spouse doesn’t want to

But remember, just because someone doesn’t want to get married now, doesn’t mean they don’t want to get married ever. Be honest and be patient.   Not getting married at a certain age isn’t the end of the world. People go their entire lives without getting married and still have no regrets. What matters most is doing what you want to do!

These are great reasons why you aren’t married right now. Don’t listen to someone who thinks you should marry someone just because they asked you to and that you are broken because you aren’t married.

________________________________________________________________________________

 I Get Mail – Messages to Tracy from Readers

 The only thing more incredulous than my reaction to the OP was my reaction to the amount of support in the response thread.  I thought for sure I was scrolling down into a lion’s den, but surprisingly what I found were several females (“Women”?  Really?) squeeing in delight because the author  so eloquently  made them realize what a bunch of slutty lying selfish bitches they are.  You said it, ladies.  Not me.   But speak for yourselves.  It’s important for people to recognize their own shortcomings and work to overcome them.  However, if any woman thinks that the points in the OP and their supporting arguments show the slightest shred of validity, critical thinking process, or any stable or otherwise sound method of serious personal evaluation, then you are so insanely deluded that the only hope I would hold out for you is that you never have a daughter to raise the way that you think [or don’t… at all]. 
 
 I can’t wrap my mind around why anyone would give  Tracy McMillan or her self-help gossip columns a second thought ever again after reading this, even if I were firing off all of the neurons from the population of an entire city.    I see nothing complex, profound, or intricate in this post that leaves the reader open to confusion or different interpretation.   The stupidity is pretty blatant and easily summed up:  
1.” Hey, here’s some really shit points to define yourself and personal relationships by.  Anyone who hits thirty and isn’t married and knocked up yet is either slutty, selfish, a bitch, a liar, or shallow lolz.  They’re supported with arguments that are loosely structured at best and ‘whoops Tracy’s off her meds again’ at standard.” 
2.  The author uses her young son’s admiration of Kim Kardashian (Kim FUCKING Kardashian) as an example of how functional every day adult relationships should work.  Additionally, this is a grown middle-aged woman who writes for Mad Men and proudly has her byline under text that uses terms like “howevs” and “frenemy”  to articulate herself in a self righteous article that gives obnoxiously pretentious instructions on personal growth.  This should really be all that has to be said.  
 3. The reader is fully informed that the brains behind this operation are coming from a what?  A forty-something single mother and three time divorcee from men who all, by the author’s own description seem like they were standard quality fuckwads to begin with?   
So given all that, there are actually people who draw the conclusion that, “Yep, this is legit, solid stuff we’re delving into here. First thing tomorrow, I’m giving up my education and career so I can focus on shaping my life after this brilliant piece of literature because clearly this individual has her shit together.”???? Okay, so the part about giving up the career and education part was embellished for sarcasm’s sake.  
Can I change my organ donor card to include everybody except these people?
Please, someone (ANYONE), make any of Tracy McMillan’s arguments support its title point with a logical, rational based thought process.  No no, I don’t mean how there were those couple of years after college when you were drinking heavily and slept with half of your office co-workers.   Then you were SO TOTALLY IN LOVE with Brad from accounting but he never called you back after you diddled him in the copy room but you found your salvation in this article when it explained that the reason why you aren’t married is because you’re a slut and it gave you all of this new mental and emotional insight that you’ve been missing and how it touched you on such a deep intellectual level….”    
Unless I see some legitimate peer reviewed shit thrown down, I’m going to go with my best estimation that any formal education, credentials, or otherwise expertise, that laid the framework for this article come from the “author” recording the minutes at a slumber party full of thirteen old girls with a purple glitter pen. Perhaps afterwards she brought her notes back for thorough and educated critique she began tweeting it immediately in a furious rage brought upon by the bottle of chianti that she polished off because husband number 2 is marrying a new, hot, twenty year old choir girl from daddy’s church and husband number 3 stood her up for that “second chance” dinner that she already shaved her legs for.   I don’t know but however this article came about, I pray to his holiness, Flying Spaghetti Monster, that Tracy actually was good and wine drunk when she composed this abortion of life lesson wisdom, because I cannot take this ridiculous assertion seriously that this was inspired as the result of genuine experiences from her adult MARRIAGES.  If that is really the case, then I feel deeply sorry for you, Tracy.  Who knows, maybe it’s not a matter of which of our opinions are right or wrong here.  Maybe we’re approaching the same points of our lives, just from different avenues? So maybe it’s okay that we’re different.  Thinking more about it now, I guess I could totally understand how if I wasn’t such a self-sufficient person, or if my character was just made with much lesser strength that wasn’t secure enough to be able to stand up on its own feet without a husband to maintain me… maybe if I wasn’t so confident in the woman that I am as being a sole individual, then I could see how I would only be able to define myself by a man too.   
But I guess I’m just none of those things that you are.  While I can recognize negative traits that I have, I LOVE my positive ones more than I’ll ever dislike the bad ones.  I’m sure you have some great ones too!  But again, it’s just that we’re different because I don’t have the seal of approval for reassurance from a man to validate the good things about me.  I don’t know what it’s like to live my life as a tenant who rents my confidence and sense of worth from my husband,  because the thing is that I OWN the deed to my own shit.      
Otherwise every time I hit a rough patch throughout my life, I’d have to rush out and hunt for the next husband to lease me out.  But I couldn’t get a man to marry a selfish woman like me.  You’re definitely much more adept in your abilities to acquire as many husbands as possible.  I still have plenty of time to up my marriage score, should I at some point feel compelled to rack up my number of husband points, but from where I’m sitting right now my little shiny zero (plus two bonus cats) looks pretty good next to your pre-owned, rusted out, codependent three.
The dispute to this OP needed to be made, but I absolutely cannot believe that we’ve even had to dignify such fuckery to begin with due the fact that even a fraction of it was warranted as having any merit when it so transparently revealed itself as bullshit right out of the gate.  As a reader, this is a very plainly obvious perception.  The only area where I have any confliction about this is  at all is whether  I’m more shamefully embarrassed or just genuinely feel  such pathetic pity for the members of my gender who bought into this.   
P.S. De
scribing a wedding as a princess fantasy tells me one thing:  Your saying. “I want to have a marriage’ is directly translated as “I want to have a wedding”, and given that, you haven’t a pot to piss in to say anything of contributory value about anything beyond the end of the night at the reception when you’re cleaning the wedding cake stains out of your princess gown and your brother has to carry Uncle Bob off to bed after he passed out drunk at the cash bar.   
Your’s Sincerely
Sekret Skvirrel

And I will have my own Reason Rally too! With Blackjack and Hookers!

Infact! Forget the blackjack!

Ken Ham’s usual crazy is black and this time trying to match wits with the collected atheist might at Reason Rally. And it’s where he simply doesn’t get it.

The Reason Rally is an atheist convention. Camp Quest are a secular organisation. They don’t run around teaching you that there is no god, it just doesn’t come up in the same way that they don’t need to teach you that there are no fairies. What they seem to do is just be a summer camp/children’s activity coordinator group with no religious overtones. They go hiking but they don’t have bible study.

So showing up to try and piss on that bowl of cheerios is particularly daft. We aren’t forcing children to stamp on  Bibles, Korans and Gitas, we are merely teaching them that there is more to the world than faith in the imaginary and that reality is actually far cooler than the fantasy that Ken Ham could dream up.

The Chronic inability to tell vegetarian
animals from carnivores is my theory on why Christians
were eaten by lions.

By the logic of Ken Ham, my parents (Who are both Hindu) should be thrown into the sea with a fashionably heavy necklace. Why? Because they tried to make me a decent human being by educating me in a variety of things including hinduism. But also on being a decent human being. Irrespective of faith. They probably are disappointed that I don’t believe in god. But they are proud that (In their minds) in spite of me not having any faith I am good.

We fight Ken Ham because he leads children away from the truth. He would rather encourage children to be mindless vapid drones who think Tyrannosaurus Rex was a vegetarian. I mean what does this specifically tell our kids? At it’s best it’s merely creating stupid children by spreading lies. At it’s worst its creating a world of children who will grow up to never do science and to actively fight progress.

We fight Ken Ham because he actively promotes a world view that encourages people to tie millstones around necks and hurl people into the sea. The only thing keeping him from enacting this advice is the rule of law.

We fight Ken Ham because he thinks we are brainwashing children by encouraging them to experiment and learn rather than close their minds to reality and live in a fantasy. That is not to say we don’t encourage fantasy.We do, we just call it “fantasy” and “fiction”. I would love to attend something like this. I would really love to meet people like Ken Ham and do something “for atheism” in real life by debate or by simply attending the Rally and things like TAM. I am sure many others do and this allows their kids to get involved in something that’s fun for them too.

Don’t get angry at Ken Ham. Feel Sorry for him. He is part of the culturally acceptable delusion. 

Neo-Atheism is filled with crazy people

I recently read Bryan Appleyard’s critique of the new atheist backlash against the more moderate atheists who wish to not be seen as a rabidly anti-theistic.

I don’t know… I am torn between both camps, it’s a pretty ridiculous issue being made by both sides. Atheists are not immune to stupidity, I have mentioned that I know anti-vaccine atheists and many animal liberation fanatics are atheists too. Doesn’t make their stupidity free from criticism, nor should it ever be.

But at this point? I don’t think either of these two extremes is right. Not if actual death threats were made.

On the one hand we have a group of passionate individuals who don’t want to appease religion. Which is all fine and dandy and great! New Atheism is something I identify closely with, but I also am a lot more moderate. My faith was not personally ruined and I was lucky enough to be educated in more than one faith (I am aware of Islamic, Hindu and Christian philosophy and to some extent about Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism alongside the Animist faith of my ancestors). Lucky because faith and religion has so little a hold of me because I am aware of all the differences.

I don’t feel the urge to go rub it in the average religious person’s face. I feel that one can be completely civil about atheism as such. By all means fight against religious intolerance but don’t become intolerant yourself. I see no issue in insulting the crazies while being as civil as possible.

However on the other side we see a more accommodating group. These atheists think we need some spirituality in our lives and that we should have a “temple of atheism” and maybe outreach programs to present a more likeable face. It’s not for me, but as long as it’s not spreading woo and nonsense I have no qualms about them.

And there we have it. The problem in our argument is that we as a group of people do not have a structure like faith. We have huge differences as atheists even in what we believe in. Despite all accusations, there is no arch-atheist. At our core we simply do not believe in any gods. With that in mind let’s deconstruct the arguments in a more sensible way.



De Botton is the most recent and, consequently, the most shocked victim. He has just produced a book, Religion for Atheists: a Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion, mildly suggesting that atheists like himself have much to learn from religion and that, in fact, religion is too important to be left to believers. He has also proposed an atheists’ temple, a place where non-believers can partake of the consolations of silence and meditation.

We do have a lot to learn from religion! It’s just that me and De Botton have different ideas on what we can learn from it.

I have no issues with the different ways religion inspires people. It does do that, the question remains is, how can we do the same thing. My opinion?

Religion is basically a story, not one like Harry Potter but one with a rich heritage and history. There is not many things similar to it because of the age of the material. So let’s just take science as an example.

ArtArchitecture? Music? It’s all there. The thing is religion may have inspired these things, but so can many other things. One doesn’t have to believe in Zeus to like the Parthenon. Atheism doesn’t inspire these things because there isn’t anything in atheism to inspire. We don’t have biblical imagery. We don’t revere anyone in particular in the same way that people revere Shiva. We don’t have “atheism only buildings” so we don’t have an architectural style that we like beyond personal taste.

So let’s say a sense of society. Can we as atheists learn something about this? Well we can, and we should learn! Many religious groups have a strong sense of community, can we not match that? Can we improve on their model and make it even more inclusive as we have seen recent. We don’t have to have a temple, but we can make our meetings a bit more friendly to everyone involved.

It’s not stupid to realise that there are some things (like charity) that religion does better than us. It’s not stupid to try and improve ourselves to match or exceed them.

However we can improve these in a way that makes sense. Catholic Charity would be very good if they sent more doctors and less priests, more condoms and less communion wafers. Why not be that? Why should their sermons not be matched with our classes on science, our better women’s health, or teaching modern farm theory. Why not start secular missionary work? 

There have been threats of violence. De Botton has been told he will be beaten up and his guts taken out of him. One email simply said, “You have betrayed Atheism. Go over to the other side and die.”

This is probably true. If there is one thing that we know about the internet is that it’s easy to say things like this. This isn’t indicative of new atheists, this is the problem of the internet where people post without thinking. De Botton has merely portrayed a version of religion where he ignores all the bad and just looks at all the good. Rose tinted atheism if you will.

De Botton finds it bewildering, the unexpected appearance in the culture of a tyrannical sect, content to whip up a mob mentality. “To say something along the lines of ‘I’m an atheist; I think religions are not all bad’ has become a dramatically peculiar thing to say and if you do say it on the internet you will get savage messages calling you a fascist, an idiot or a fool. This is a very odd moment in our culture. Why has this happened?”

For the same reason that writing “I am an Atheist” will get “Repent or Die Messages” or “I work on vaccines” would get you “Child killing torturer and Mengele fan” on your wall.

First, a definition. By “neo-atheism”, I mean a tripartite belief system founded on the conviction that science provides the only road to truth and that all religions are deluded, irrational and destructive.

See this is where we begin to disagree. Science is a system where we test and retest hypothesis to form theories of how the universe functions based on observation, experiment and inference. Religion is merely the confused writings of people from ages ago about how they perceived the world and is very often wrong. They are deluded to a phenomenal level. The entire point is we can simply ignore that and look at how they function and learn a few lessons. Of things to avoid and of things to do.

Atheism is just one-third of this exotic ideological cocktail. Secularism, the political wing of the movement, is another third. Neo-atheists often assume that the two are the same thing; in fact, atheism is a metaphysical position and secularism is a view of how society should be organised. So a Chris
tian can easily be a secularist – indeed, even Christ was being one when he said, “Render unto Caesar” – and an atheist can be anti-secularist if he happens to believe that religious views should be taken into account. But, in some muddled way, the two ideas have been combined by the cultists.

Secularism is the idea that in the work place and in government there should not be any arguments based on the belief in an imaginary friend. That no religion should be given a leg up by the government. Atheism is an entirely physical metaphysical position and leads onto secularism as a political position. Caesar’s position was unchangeable by lay christians. Render unto Caesar merely states the opinion that christians should go along with Caesar. In a democracy the vote affects the people and “Render Unto Caesar” means “Tough No Abortion” or “Tough, you are now being taught stupid sex education” or “Tough, Earth now 6000 years ago, Jesus rode a Stegosaurus”. Religious views should not be taken into account because the arguments are not based on logic but on frankly insane beliefs.

Do you seriously think we should discuss banning women from public places because muslims, LDS and some Jews think so? Some religious views are fine and dandy, some are just backwards and nonsensical and should be treated as such. Not everyone’s opinion is good. I don’t see why I should have to listen to the Pope’s opinion on women’s healthcare and sex education since he clearly has no fucking clue what’s going on. Secularism is just the stance that we shouldn’t let religious officials have a say in the functioning of our government, nor should we do things solely because of our faith in a god.

To put it in a simple way, if you don’t believe women should have abortions, then you don’t have an abortion. Don’t force other women to follow your religion’s rules.

The third leg of neo-atheism is Darwinism, the AK-47 of neo-atheist shock troops. Alone among scientists, and perhaps because of the enormous influence of Richard Dawkins, Darwin has been embraced as the final conclusive proof not only that God does not exist but also that religion as a whole is a uniquely dangerous threat to scientific rationality.

No. Darwinism is merely the insult used by religious people to describe modern evolution theory by comparing it to a belief system rather than a fact like gravity which is also explained by a theory (like gravity). It’s used to denigrate an actual science in the USA (the term has no negative connotations in the UK) by making it seem like evolution is without facts, evidence and logic and is more akin to a religious belief.

It’s not an AK-47, it’s more like a battleground where Christian, Jewish and now Muslim faithful have suddenly realised that they aren’t the divine spark of magic within a clay shell like their book says but the product of evolution and they are “just” a very intelligent ape. It’s not a bad thing, but when we say ape, these individuals assume that this is carte blanche to behave like a chimpanzee.

Religion is a uniquely dangerous threat since despite evolution being fact, it is still under threat by religious fanatics who try and shovel their Jesus into science at the cost of evolutionary theory or co-opting it to give credence to their arguments. 45% of the USA do not believe in Evolution which is like saying that 45% of a nation believe that gravity is caused by the gravity fairy.

“There is this strange supposition,” says the American philosopher Jerry Fodor, “that if you’re a Darwinian you have to be an atheist. In my case, I’m an anti-Darwinian and I’m an atheist. But people are so incoherent on these issues that it’s hard for me to figure out what is driving them.”

Well it’s a good think Jerry Fodor is a philosopher! Because it certainly is the only field where you can happily say that you don’t believe in evolution and not be considered a moron.

The neo-atheist cause has been gathering strength for roughly two decades and recently exploded into very public view. Sayeeda Warsi, co-chairman of the Conservative Party, was in the headlines for making a speech at the Vatican warning of the dangers of secular fundamentalism, which aims to prevent religions from having a public voice or role. Warsi, a Muslim, subdivides propagators of this anti-religious impulse into two categories. First, there are the well-meaning liberal elite, who want to suppress religion in order not to cause offence to anybody. Second, there is the “perverse kind of secular” believer, who wants to “wipe religion from the public sphere” on principle.

Let’s see, because all religions have to live under a single set of rules and we cannot have Sharia law for Muslims, Catholic law for Catholics and so on. We live under one law and the law that works the best is secular law. The gripe of these people is that they are being made more and more unnecessary in a modern world and they can no longer get handouts to their faith based on who they know.

And yes, it shouldn’t be in the public sphere. Because nearly every religion is either equal to a secular government where decisions are made sensibly, or worse. I don’t think any Abrahamic faith has anything to give modern society that cannot be gained from a non religious source.

As Warsi was on her way to catch her flight to Rome she heard Dawkins, the supreme prophet of neo-atheism, on Radio 4′s Today programme. He was attempting to celebrate a survey that proved, at least to his satisfaction, that supposedly Christian Britain was a fraud. People who said they were Christians did not go to church and knew little of the faith. Giles Fraser, a priest of the Church of England, then challenged Dawkins to give the full title of Darwin’s Origin of Species. Falling into confusion, he failed. Fraser’s point was that Dawkins was therefore, by his own criterion, not a Darwinian. Becoming even more confused, Dawkins exclaimed in his response: “Oh, God!”

We don’t follow Darwin anymore in biology. The idea of evolution that Darwin proposed and what we have are entirely different beasts. Darwin’s books are actually for all intents and purposes “Wrong”. Accusing someone of being a Darwinist is like accusing someone of being an Aristotlean. We don’t actually study Darwin’s work because it’s now part of literature.

“Immediately he was out of control, he said, ‘Oh, God!’” Warsi recalls, “so even the most self-confessed secular fundamentalist at this moment of need needed to turn to the Almighty. It kind of defeats his own argument that only people who go to church have a faith.”

“Oh God!” is a stock standard phrase derived from blasphemy in the same way that I say “Jesus Christ” when I swear. It doesn’t mean I am turning to Jesus who to me is about as fictional as Asterix the Gaul, it means I am swearing.

It’s a statement of exasperation. No one who says “Oh My God!” is invoking a god but is expressing disbelief with a stock phrase.

“He has taken a very strange position. He’s unusual, in that he came from an elite British Anglican family with all its privileges and then he had this extraordinary career, and now he stands at the head of what can really be called a cult . . . I think what happened was that he has been frightened by the militancy of religious people he has met on his travels and it has driven him to the other side. 

“It smacks of a sort of psychological collapse in him, a collapse in those resources of maturity that would keep someone on an even keel. There is what psychoanalysts would call a deep rigidity in him.”

Hardly. Dawkins has been subjected to criticism from within the new atheist movement. Like every celebrity, he has fans but he doesn’t speak for most atheists.

I ask Fraser what he thinks are the roots of this ideological rigidity among the neo-atheists. “It coincides with post-9/11,” he says. “The enemy is Islam for them. That was true about [Christopher] Hitchens in an obvious way and Dawkins said something like ‘it was the most evil religion in the world’. 

“With Hitchens, it was bound up with liberal interventionism. It is also clearly an Americanisation. It has come over from their culture wars . . . People are pissed off with Dawkins because there is a feeling that we don’t do that over here.”

Actually, most New Atheists live in the USA. There is a massive USA centred movement about them (and indeed this is seen by the demographic) and they are mainly anti-christian. Those who are in the UK however are mainly anti-islamic in their mindset since in the USA the big threat to secular values is Christianity while in the UK the rise of islamic fundementalism represents a threat to secular values particularly in the fact that there are only two opinions in the UK which range from “Islam isn’t so bad” to “Muslims should be put on a plane to wherever it is they came from!”. There is no middle ground between Sharia Court and BNP. It’s frankly irritating that the people who shout “Yeah!” over your shoulder when you criticise Islam are people who want to throw me out with the Muslims!

Islam has MASSIVE problems. It’s a violently reactionary religion. It’s a religion with a terrible history of the treatment of women. It’s a religion which is incredibly anti-education. It’s a religion that doesn’t encourage scientific thought and discourse. It cannot handle criticism rationally. In short? It’s a massive elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.

When we do talk about it we have charges of islamophobia or racism levelled at us, leaving atheists incredibly puzzled as to why in the UK we have things like Sharia Courts and tolerate the thuggish behaviour of some islamic groups.

For me, the events of 9/11 were certainly a catalyst, the new ingredient that turned the already bubbling mix of anti-religious feeling into an explosive concoction. Coming from a scientific family, I had accepted the common-sense orthodoxy that religion and science were two separate but complementary and non-conflicting entities, or what the great evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould called “non-overlapping magisteria” (NOMA). I first became aware of my own complacency in this regard when I interviewed Stephen Hawking just before the publication of A Brief History of Time (1988). He had become – it was his then wife who told me this – vehemently anti-religious. And in my presence he was contemptuously anti-philosophical.

Hardly. September 11th just made Islamic Terrorism a bit more personal and less about distant people dying in third world nations. It was basically a taste of what people have to go through across the world to a group of people who didn’t have to experience that kind of fear. Atheists came out in force because it was a perfect demonstration of the ills of evil. But remember so did Christianity which nearly turned the war into a bloody crusade.

There had always been an anti-religious strain in science, a strain that had been present since Galileo and which, indeed, had grown stronger after Darwin. In the postwar period, both Francis Crick and James Watson conceded that one of their main motivations in unravelling the molecular structure of DNA was to undermine religion. It was strengthened even further in the popular imagination when Dawkins expounded the outlines of the neo-Darwinian synthesis in his fine book The Selfish Gene (1976). In the 1990s it became routine to hear scientists – notably in this country Peter Atkins and Lewis Wolpert – pouring scorn on the claims of philosophy and religion. They were, for entirely non-scientific reasons, in a triumph­ant mood. The sales of A Brief History of Time had sent publishing advances for popular science books soaring, and the more astounding the claims, the better the money.

Watson and Crick were atheists from a young age and the structure of DNA was a race between Oxford and Cambridge. There were three people who should be credited with the discovery of the structure of DNA. Rosalind Franklin was one of the discoverers of the structure. And yes, why shouldn’t we laugh at religion and indeed philosophy? It’s a group of people who don’t do experiments about the observed while discussing the unobservable while making claims about their conclusions that are not based on an ounce of empirical data.

While observing this, I became aware that the ground had shifted beneath my own cosy orthodoxy. Scientistic thinkers were no longer prepared to accept NOMA, the separate, complementary, non-conflicting realms. In the early 1990s I was engaged in a debate with Dawkins at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He said, to much applause, that the existence of God was a scientific issue. If, in effect, God could not live up to the standards of scientific proof, then He must be declared dead. There were no longer two magisteria, but just one, before which we must all bow.

Are we to simply declare the giant elephant in the room as taboo for discussion. Religion claims  to have an entity that is not only external to the universe but also fully capable of breaking the laws of physics through magic and we are to blindly accept this and carry on with our science and not even take a single measurement? Are we to simply ignore the man behind the curtain?

It was in the midst of this that Fodor and the cognitive scientist Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini published What Darwin Got Wrong, a highly sophisticated analysis of Darwinian thought which concluded that the theory of natural selection could not be stated coherently. All hell broke loose. Such was the abuse that Fodor vowed never to read a blog again. Myers the provocateur announced that he had no intention of reading the book but spent 3,000 words trashing it anyway, a remarkably frank statement of intellectual tyranny.

It was not highly sophisticated. It was a book written by a philosopher with a poor understanding about evolutionary biology, writing about a theory that was nearly 100 years old by that point and had grown based on newer proof.

The argument was a philosophical one and one that simply doesn’t hold true in nature. It wasn’t all hell breaking lose so much as people calling them out for their inherent mistakes when they
tried to play scientist. Basically? Real Scientists in the field simply tore their arguments to shreds because these two individuals failed to realise that science has progressed a lot since the days of Darwin.

Ultimately, the problem with militant neo-atheism is that it represents a profound category error. Explaining religion – or, indeed, the human experience – in scientific terms is futile. “It would be as bizarre as to launch a scientific investigation into the truth of Anna Karenina or love,” de Botton says. “It’s a symptom of the misplaced confidence of science . . . It’s a kind of category error. It’s a fatally wrong question and the more you ask it, the more you come up with bizarre and odd answers.”

No it wouldn’t. The truth about Anna Karenina would be fascinating. Are we to suggest that archeology and paleontology isn’t fascinating because they deal with the past? Love as a study into neurology would be intensely fascinating while not altering it’s meaning one bit. So what if it’s just chemistry? Knowing how it works doesn’t make it less special. The entire point of science is you can ask any question and get an answer through empirical thought. Simply stating that you shouldn’t answer some questions is a ludicrous idea.

The answer demonstrates the futility of the neo-atheist project. Religion is not going to go away. It is a natural and legitimate response to the human condition, to human consciousness and to human ignorance. One of the most striking things revealed by the progress of science has been the revelation of how little we know and how easily what we do know can be overthrown. Furthermore, as Hitchens in effect acknowledged and as the neo-atheists demonstrate by their ideological rigidity and savagery, absence of religion does not guarantee that the demonic side of our natures will be eliminated. People should have learned this from the catastrophic failed atheist project of communism, but too many didn’t.

However we can oppose it’s grasp on our children and indeed on our daily lives which are being influenced by people who lived 2000 years ago and had no idea about the world. Really? Do we honestly think that “Gay Marriage Is Anti Christian” is a logical and sane answer to the modern issue? No! You would have to be a madman to say that you refuse to accept two people’s marriage solely because you believe in the same things as people did 2000 years ago!

It is better to know that we know nothing than claim that we know everything. That’s the difference between science and religion. Science may be truly small but it will get bigger and bigger as we understand more of how the universe works. Religion assumes it knows everything which is why it stagnates and why it’s god is so small, petty and insignificant.

The ideological savagery exists in atheism, but should we point out the actual savagery of faith? The savage verbal assaults on the four gentlemen mentioned earlier are no different from ones we have all faced. This is a problem of humanity irrespective of faith. The problem with faith is that it can encourage a lot of people to assault a single concept. The problem with faith is that it can drive people to actual savagery.

Happily, the backlash against neo-atheism has begun, inspired by the cult’s own intolerance. In the Christmas issue of this magazine, Dawkins interviewed Hitchens. Halfway through, Dawkins asked: “Do you ever worry that if we win and, so to speak, destroy Christianity, that vacuum would be filled by Islam?” At dinner at the restaurant in Bayswater we all laughed at this, but our laughter was uneasy. The history of attempts to destroy religion is littered with the corpses of believers and unbelievers alike. There are many roads to truth, but cultish intolerance is not one of them.

So far this article has been one of strawman after strawman. If it was about learning from religion and genuine criticism about the atheist movement and how to improve ourselves then it would be fine. Instead it’s a ridiculous assault on evolution, mixed in with complaints that people called other people out for making the ridiculous assault on evolution finally culminating in the idea that religion will always exist because people are too stupid and if we get rid of one we would have to deal with a crazier one.

There are many roads to the truth but the truth is singular. The truth of religion and of science are entirely different and science is based on proof and evidence while religion is not. Science does not accept anything as true until proven, while religion accepts things as true before finding proof.