Muslim Demographics

When I got into anti-theist activism, it actually had a lot less to do with Christianity than with Islam. It doesn’t matter to me which cult is in charge; whichever has the most power weilds the greatest threat. It’s just that with Christianity generally diminishing both nationally and globally, I wasn’t that concerned with them. But bearing their decline in mind, remember that for the last quarter century at least, Islam has been billed as the fastest growing religion on earth. Conservative Americans don’t seem to realize how the demographic is changing over the rest of the world, and that it is going to change here too.

Christians certainly don’t what to do about this. Whoever posted this video offers a completely unrealistic solution:

“Islam will overwhelm Christendom unless Christians recognize the demographic realities, begin reproducing again, and share the gospel with Muslims.”

There is so much wrong with this. First of all, the poster is suggesting a form of eugenics, which Christians often criticize. It is also the least responsible strategy one can use with respect to the global environment, which Christians typically don’t care about either. The way to respond to exponentially increasing overpopulation is NOT by trying to have even more kids! Such a myopic plan also gives no consideration to children as having any individual value as people. The very idea is demeaning to their humanity.

Secondly the idea of sharing the gospel with Muslims simply will not work. (1) Islam is famously strict against apostasy, and Christians influence very few from their side in any case. (2) Muslim theology is much more efficient at gaining converts. That’s why they’re the fastest-growing religion, remember? More Christians turn Muslim than vice versa. (3) Christianity can’t even hang onto the people they already have. Religion is not the same thing as ‘race’. You can’t change your ancestors, but you can discard their traditions. Even if Christians did out-reproduce Muslims, statistics indicate that less than half of those kids would still be Christian by the time they grew up. A few might adopt some other religion; most of the rest will likely reject all religions, and that trend is rising.

Therein lies the answer. You can’t fight religion with religion. Everything Christians do trying to fuse church and state, all the power they give to their own faith, –will be used to pave the way for the next dominant dogma. Every time any religion has had power to enforce their own laws, the result has invariably been a violation of human rights. The only answer –and the founding fathers said this from the beginning- is a secular government with a “wall of separation” between church and state. Maintain that and you might keep mosque and state separate too.

One other hope comes from effective standardized education available to everyone. This is another thing to which American Christians are largely opposed. This is because the only religious perspective growing faster than Islam are those with no religious affiliation whatsoever. Somehow, even though (I think) a rational society without ignorant or bigoted doctrines would be ideal, that possibility scares theists so much they’d rather adopt foreign gods than consider my option.

Ignore for a moment the obviously sound national financial strategy behind having a competent and productive populace trained in fact-based knowledge as opposed to baseless belief with no practical application. All attempts to rid science from the lessons, to revise history, and corrupt other classes for the sake of promoting Christianity –will only serve to empower Muslims too. The very laws and customs enabling Christians to oppress others today will also give Islam power to oppress Christians tomorrow. You can’t have freedom *of* religion without freedom *from* religion, and that means keeping it out of government. So if Christians are really concerned about “Islamification”, then they ought to do the very opposite of everything they’re currently doing, and rally with the atheists to stay secular.

Gothsploitation

First time director, Louis Joon sent me a complimentary copy of his new “gothsploitation movie”, Learning Hebrew.

Bella2

Now there are several reasons why I’m not the right person to write a review for a film like this. For one, I sometimes really like unique, original independent ‘cult’ films, and this one is just a bit on the weird side of strange. (2) I’m also a bit of an ‘anglophile’ in that I like practically everything from the UK. (3) My tastes are largely a-typical, and I think my cinematic opinion is seldom shared. For example, I really liked ‘Eat the Rich‘, and not just because Lemmy is in it.

Another reason I shouldn’t critique a film like this is that I’m not really all that mature. There are several quite comely young ladies in this film, all alluringly attired and performing provocatively. I watched this with my 19 year-old son. He noted -and I nodded- that it must have been a lot of fun filming these scenes. I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of that.

HalfrodImagine a hypothetical near-future scenario proposing two different ideas, (1) that militant religionists have oppressed dissension through the passage of strictly-enforced blasphemy laws, and (2) that atheists are everything Christians imagine that we are, amoral, hedonistic, and dogmatic, worshiping Dawkins, and proselytizing Darwinism door-to-door. There’s also a tongue-in-cheek look at ‘what if all religion is wrong, but still partially right?

I find some of the parody characters amusing too, especially the Judas Priest look-alike. He’s a suicide bomber, ready to kill or die in the name of Natural Selection. My favorite moment though is a conflict between suddenly disparate religious perspectives. A pair of thugs quit beating up on an atheist and wander away, because they’re agnostic, meaning that they lack commitment.

Much of this picture amounts to punchlines which only atheists would likely understand or see the humor in. One example of that is the faintly familiar theme song at the end.

Ken Ham denies what he is

Get this, Ken Ham of answersingenesis denies that he belongs to the same phylogenetic clade as the rest of humanity. Or perhaps he objects that humanity belongs in the taxonomic superfamily, Hominoidea. But whether he accepts that or not, there we are, and we can all see that. Seriously, just look it up.

The reason he’s upset about that is that is ‘Hominoidea’, (the latin word for ‘humanoid’) is collectively and colloquially the word for ‘apes’. Similarly, Hominidae is a subset of apes referring only to ‘great apes’, and both of those categories definitely include humans. That’s a verifiable fact that’s got to bother creationists; it’s hard to deny that you’re descended from apes when we can all look up your phylogeny and prove that you’re still an ape right now, and so was your mama. But then, I’m sure he’ll be just as mad when we tell everyone he’s a homo too.

He is you know. :-o

Accurate Science for the Home-schooler

What will atheist activists do when professional creationists no longer have influence enough to bother with? It is already obvious that religious extremists like Ham and the Hovinds have done far more damage to their religion than I ever could. Even other Christians admit and lament that pretty openly. A Catholic genetics professor, Dr Kenneth Miller laid waste to the notions of Intelligent Design. Ivy league paleontologist and Pentacostal preacher, Dr. Robert T. Bakker blasted creationists for being ‘bigots’, and recently Professor Charles Reid Jr criticized pseudoscientists Paul Braun and Ken Ham, saying that Christians should be the ones to “call them out” -rather than unbelieving infidels. Otherwise the general populace might get the impression that all Christians are that dogmatic.  If you want Christians to apologize for their faith, don’t show them the facts we know in science, show them the frauds we see coming from representatives of the Religious Right.

At this time, it is confusing to me how it is that the United States of America is the only 1st world nation where roughly half the population rejects evolution, objects to science, and still believes in a magical creation. Worst of all is how fundamentalists seek to mislead children with unsupported assertions instead of teaching them things we can prove to be actually factually accurate. That’s why I want to debate Ken Ham, because it bothers me to hear children chanting the mantras of misunderstood misinformation which Ham has rehearsed them to recite.

So Ham refused to debate me. On his blog, he said instead that he would pit one of his own PhD apologists against an accomplished scholar who is still primarily focused on science. But where do you find a post-doctoral professorial professional who is also fluent in the quackery of pseudoscience-subversives?

Suddenly the curtains flew aside and there was P.Z. Meyers, who had been listening in the shadows all along. Ham or Hamza, doesn’t matter to him. So P.Z. accepts that portion of Ham’s amended arrangement on the additional condition that it be a tag-team, and I remain in the game. If I’m not in, it’s not on.

Now ideally, answersingenesis should bring out their front-man as the co-combatant for their side, since he was the one who threw down the first glove, and he’s the one bringing his medicine show to the homeschoolers of Houston. I’m pretty sure he’ll back away anyway, but it doesn’t matter what he does anymore. If he chooses a more accredited champion, it will look all the better for me in the end. It doesn’t matter who he chooses either. Regardless of credentials, I’ll make sure that truth wins this, and no creationist ever had that.

What I’d like to see come of this is a second, and secular homeschoolers conference going on at the same time, and our debate with Ham and Co should be part of that.

We’re in a sad state indeed when you consider why we even have so many homeschoolers here. Our universities are still outstanding, but our primary and secondary schools have been undermined and undermanned. Dogmatic believers took their kids out of school to keep them from learning about science. But secular parents now homeschool too, because the public schools won’t teach science properly. 20% of the science teachers are creationist, and those who aren’t usually don’t know evolution well enough to teach it. It’s a simple subject really, but it’s easy to get it wrong, and you’re gonna start a fight if you do it right. That’s one of many reasons why we should have a conference with expert specialists giving introductory lectures. And not just about that, but lots of other important topics, which are usually discarded or distorted in religious homes.

I think a secular homeschool conference is a great idea, and we should hold it at the same time as the creationist conference. PZ Myers and Vic Wang of Houston Atheists will be discussing our options and proposing potential speakers tonight, Tuesday June 4th at 8:00pm Central [Texas] time on the n0nes. Let’s get some feedback.

Watch live and chat with others…

 

Ken Ham refused to debate me

So Ken Ham has answered my challenge. He says he’ll have a debate, but not with me. Oh no, he won’t face me.

Why not, you ask?

I’ll explain that in a moment. First let’s look at his counter-proposal.

He actually wants to replace both of us. He wants to pit a professional scientist with respectable accolades against one of his own anti-science apologists wearing similar credentials. Why? To present the illusion that there is a legitimate scientific debate wherein creation is might be a seen as a reasonable option to evolution. It’s not, and there’s no debate in science about that.

I have often said that creationists use ‘lies of equivocation’ for the same deceptive purpose. For example, they argue:
that evolution is a religion.
that science relies on faith just like religion does.
that science is biased just like religion is.
that there is no evidence for evolution/big bang/abiogenesis, etc.
that there is evidence for creation/the flood/god/etc.
that religion is reasonable just like science is.
that religion can be confirmed empirically and experimentally, just like science,
and that creationism is somehow scientific.

These are all falsehoods commonly found on posts from creationists. They need to use language like this in order to entice supporters into thinking that there is a choice of options. There isn’t.

In reality, there is no comparison between these two perspectives. You can’t “teach both sides” because there is only one that we actually know anything about, and that one we can still show to be true, regardless whether any god exists or not

Evolution is the only theory of biodiversity there is or ever was. It is literally a fact of life, which can be objectively verified. It’s traceable, observable, and testable with measurable accuracy.

Creationism doesn’t meet even one of the criteria required of a scientific theory. It is simply a form of dogmatic religious extremism, requiring blind obstinate faith in lieu of ANY of the evidence that only genuine [evolutionary] science has.

Another common fib from the creationist camp is that both sides are looking at the same evidence, but that too is impossible, and I’m not just talking about the volumes of evidence creationists refuse to acknowledge. By definition the same facts cannot simultaneously indicate two different mutually-exclusive conclusions. Facts can be considered evidence only if they are concordant with one option over any other.

Creationists are not looking at the same facts, and they’re not following any of the facts where they lead either.

If you want to see the facts that unanimously and exclusively confirm evolution, I can show those all day. I list hundreds of examples in a few of my videos that are definite and defensible. Transitional fossils, beneficial trackable mutations, emerging species, we’ve got all that and much much more. But creationists cannot even begin to provide anything like that in defense of their own position. Because if ‘truth’ is whatever we can show to be true, then there is no truth in their religion.

Put another way, all of the claims creationism makes fall into two categories only:
(1) those that are not evidently true, meaning there is no reason to believe them, and
(2) those that are evidently NOT true, meaning they’ve already been proven wrong.

There is no third category, because there has never been a single verifiably accurate argument or element of evidence positively indicative of supernatural creation over biological evolution or any other avenue of natural science.  All they have are unwarranted assumptions and unsupported assertions of untestable impossibilities based on logical fallacies.

This being the case, one might think that a live debate between scientists would reveal the truth. But that’s not how science works, and Ham knows it. But that’s the only way he can pretend to be scientific.

Live debates aren’t about scientific accuracy, no matter how they’re promoted. They’re evocative performances given by speakers who only need to present well. Real science isn’t done in a live format, because science requires that all claims be systematically scrutinized and substantiated. Bull$#!+ won’t fly in that environment. Creationism can neither produce the goods nor withstand real critical analysis for even a moment.

Because creationism is not like the truth and does not like the truth. In fact, despite all their claims of truth with a capitol T, for them truth is irrelevant. Their position is literally one of make-believe, a self-imposed auto-deceptive delusion. The power of pretend is all packaging and presentation, smoke and mirrors.

Most professional scientists are basically honest, dispassionate analysts, and may expect creationists to be innocently ignorant. But every creationist organization there is –including Ken Ham’s group, answersingenesis- has prominently published a ‘statement of faith’ wherein they promise both to assert as fact that which is not evidently true, and also to thoughtlessly reject any and all evidence that might ever be brought against them. It’s essentially an oath never to admit when they’re wrong. Consequently It is the most dishonest position it is possible to have.

Professional creationists like Kent Hovind have demonstrated in live debates that they can utter as many misrepresented distortions in one sentence as there are words in that sentence. Most credible scientists would be completely blind-sided by such outrageously unethical behavior. Any legitimate scientist will have a specialty, but the creation scientist is a jack-of-all trades, trained to lob a jumble of falsehoods from vastly different fields all in rapid fashion, such that no actual academic could have all the necessary knowledge to adequately address or refute enough of those points in the limited time allowed.

Only a few actual scientists are familiar and fluent in creationist tactics enough to really put them to task. Ken Miller could do it, but if we brought him in, Ham would immediately turn it into a theological battle, attacking Miller’s religion instead. He’s done it before. In fact Ham was uninvited from at least a couple past homeschool conferences because he was so rude to another Christian speaker who understood evolution.

So now Ham accuses me of being rude to him?! Such irony! Creationists do like to project their own faults onto others. Remember that he started this when he called my wife names on his blog. He called her an ignorant, intolerant, inept extremist fighting AGAINST freedom of religion, mostly without quotations of course.

We’ll be discussing these false accusations and deliberate distortions on the n0nes this Tuesday at 8:00pm central. Because no one is a better advocate of freedom of religion than atheist activists, and no one is a greater enemy of that than the Religious Right.

It may be rude of me to call Ham a liar, but only because sometimes the truth hurts.

So now we come to the real reason why Ham won’t debate me, and why he won’t let any of his PhD stand-ins debate me either: He knows they can’t win.

I know that just sounds like a boast, but I’m serious. If it were him and I on the stage together, we would be two extremists, I admit. But one of us would be clearly correct and the other obviously not. He’s got a multimillion-dollar scam going. I know his game, and he knows I’ll show it to everyone else.

My whole purpose in this is to hold Ham accountable, to prove in a public demonstration that Young Earth Creationism is not science, and is not like science; that it will teach children to understand nothing about the natural world. Thus it would be nothing less than an injustice to allow him to peddle that to other people’s children as if it were actually factually accurate or has any scientific or educational merit whatsoever.

Ham knows that I’m familiar enough with the under-handed tactics of creationists that I can expose his fraudulent position better than most professors could. So if he debates me, it will cost him. He’ll lose even more of the already dwindling support base he still has.

Refusing that, if he wants to his ‘scientists’ to debate like real scientists, then they’re going to have to do that in the peer-reviewed journals –where his snake oil will not sell. Until the magic-believers can play in that field, then no professional scientist should ever debate a creationist on-stage. They’d only be playing into a con game otherwise.