All about YouTube channels »« Open thread on episode #839

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  1. will says

    what is it with our species… ive tried and tried again to reasonably communicate logic and to no avail what is it that we cannot have a simple dialogue with those who have superstitious beliefs and those whom cannot simply grasp the simple fact that we are just apes with a simple understanding of our existence… How else do we break through to get somewhere inbetween to have a rational discourse with each other as a species…

    ??? is it just a waste.. or can we get through millenia of indoctrination and purposely predictive programming by those want to see a controlled society of dumb apes following a “predicated leader”… ???

  2. AhmNee says

    I had a very liberal religious upbringing. My mother didn’t belong to a specific church. We typically bounced between churches and my mother was definitely a buffet religion adherent. She chose which religious beliefs that she found acceptable and discarded those she didn’t. I’m sure that kind of exposure was what formed my magical belief system. I didn’t like most religions. Felt that too many of them put themselves between us and god. So I came up with my own ideas of what god was based on a vivid imagination and a crossbreed of science fantasy and tabletop role-playing games.

    The odd thing is I was REALLY into science. Loved and love science, but I feel like I was lacking an actual understanding of what rational thought was. I had no more than a passing concept of skepticism until I was in my 30s. I stopped believing for the wrong reasons but it set me on the path to finding out the right ones.

    I believe that what could have helped bring me to rationality earlier is a better education in rational thought, skepticism and most of all, the standards of evidence.

  3. maudell says

    2 things on North Korea. First, the reports of executions are still unconfirmed. But we know that the North Korean regime is terrible either way, so let’s assume it did happen.

    North Korea is a religious country. Their God is still Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un’s grandfather. It is enshrined as official religion of the country. It’s not an argument about juche being like a religion, it *is* a religion.

  4. James M says

    I normally watch TAE on my phone via Youtube – a shame I won’t be able to do that now you’ve told Steve Mills to stop posting videos. I would not have found this show if I hadn’t seen clips on Youtube. Hope this week’s show is uploaded to Youtube so I don’t have to piss about with ustream or blip.tv videos if I want to watch callers on my phone.

  5. Raymond says

    I actually have a theory about that. It use to be that socially accepted superstition was an important aspect of survival (social bonding=survival). My hypothesis is that the next evolutionary step is a movement from superstition to skepticism. I think what we are encountering is shift in our species, causing an intellectual rift between those with the trait for superstition and those with the trait for skepticism.

    The advancement of our society demands skepticism, so those traits will be “naturally selected.” As of now, both traits are able to survive to reproduce, but there will be a time when the economic and environmental standing of one trait is envied enough by the other side to cause a revolution. Will it be a violent revolution? I hope not, but history does not bode well for a peaceful revolution.

    My actual fear is that the movie “Idiocracy” is a little too close to home for comfort. The major difference being that the skeptics of the world will still exists, just in a smaller and smaller percentage. But it isn’t hard to imagine a place where there is a true environmental and social dichotomy between the skeptics of the world and the superstitious.

    The refutation to my “Idiocracy” hypothesis is that the numbers of the superstitious are actually shrinking, while the numbers of the skeptics grow. If this trend were to continue **crossing my fingers** we would expect to see a subtle shift from one to the other over the course of 1000 years. But Homo-sapien is a funny creature, and change is rapid in our species. I’m guessing that the change will happen in just a couple hundred years or so. Of course, I would hope it happens in my life-time, but that’s not very probable.

  6. Corwyn says

    My hypothesis is that the next evolutionary step is a movement from superstition to skepticism.

    Evidence would seem to point elsewhere. Skepticism does not seem to run in families, and is at the moment very high in US in youth across the board as far as I can tell. Nor are those who are skeptics in one field necessarily skeptics on all subjects. Everyone seems to have a propensity for superstition, and only through conscious effort are some able to overcome it (some of the time).

  7. Corwyn says

    Martin said in the previous post:

    But my response to it has been to request admin status on the official channel and bring all the videos current, which they had not been for months.

  8. James S says

    The videos posted by Steve Mills were indeed a convenient way to see specific callers in bite size pieces.
    The promptness of his uploads was also very appreciated.
    Sad to see that end.

  9. Brian T Hall says

    There is a problem with definition in the dictionary of what God is..
    That is the definition dose NOT give justice to what a god could be..
    another problem with the word god is it is not on the periodic table
    of science. the word God means magic. magic means mystery or
    undefinable Idea or Undefinable possible reality.

    before most religions place an Idea of a all powerful being making earth.. most
    religions believed that cats were gods or a sun was a god.. or even a half goat, half man.
    and those are what most people use to believe in and are now myths.
    If you read in the bible the Christian god was a volcano before being
    Jesus… to make things worst, there are new religions out there were, people
    believe aliens are gods, that are a different spices that are NOT all powerful beings.
    what defines a being is a different type of spices of ape.. if aliens are not a different type of spices of apes
    then the definition of what makes a god SUCKS COCK…

    OK this is the sucky Definition you guys keep being a absolutist on to the point of death…

    off of Dictionary.com.. fucking cunts…

    God
    noun
    1. The One Supreme Being, the Creator and ruler of the universe.

    2. The Supreme Being considered with reference to a particular attribute: the God of Islam.

    3. (lowercase) One of several deities, especially a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.

    4. (often lowercase) a supreme being according to some particular conception: the god of mercy.

    5. Christian science. the Supreme Being, understood as Life, Truth, love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle.

    Ok.. this is all I have to add from this horrible definition you guys keep treasuring to the point of death.
    I am pissed off that the dictionary writers.. OK lets give a good definition of a real word.. that works wonderful..
    the Word “Literally” your glasses will literally brake when you read this definition of what it means…

    this is off The Free dictionary by farlex…

    Literally
    Adv.
    1. In a literal manner; word for word

    2. In a literal or strict sense

    3. Usage Problem a. Really; Actually b. Used as an intensive before a figurative expression.

    look at the b. again.. and think about that.. for a minute. I can use the word Literally as Figuratively..
    I know who to blame for this bad definition of what god is… I blame Holy text, the Bible, the Quran and so forth on any stupid holy text..

    OK you can call me an Atheist or a deist, but what I am really..

    I am a secular freethinker ignostic apatheist anti holy text unreligious human being.
    I do not think the definition will ever do a good Job until all holy text is completely disbelieved or only 20% of the human population believe in that kind of god being a human being..
    I do not buy the Idea of believing or disbelieving in a god.. I can not believe in ether way because
    god is not really well defined. I want to know what is in god and how it works before I start believing or
    disbelieving in a god… I believe I was born a ignostic Apatheist, I tried fitting in the label atheist, and that label did not work at all, I tried fitting agnostic atheist and it did not fit me at all.. I tried putting the label freethinker with lower Caps f, but it did not do justices to my world view.. I am not labeling my self this way because I don’t
    want to be labeled atheist.. besides all the atheists on one side do not like me being labeled this way and all
    the theist on the other side do not like me being labeled this way ether.. I’m hated on both sides.. so
    I can’t clam my self to be a coward for being this label.. I’m fearless.. I don’t buy anything of atheism or theism
    but I agree with a lot of atheist that religion has Fucked humanity so horribly and I agree with you guys that the
    bible should be made fun of.. what do I really believe in.. science, logic, doing things the right way, I believe
    in advances in technology and everything starts very simple before it gets more complexes, like mastering a craft.. I believe if god exist, god must have been some thing less powerful and less omnipotent.. I kind of
    believe it is possible that god could be anything.. and there forth I can’t believe or disbelieve in any gods or god..
    we just don’t know.. I believe in not assuming anything, Question my self, and wonder.. learn something everyday.. I have became avant garde and not trust worthy of any main stream Ideology..
    you can’t tell me I’m an complete atheist because IF you did, you would look as disrespectable as opera calling you a theist when you are an atheist. This definition of god is really not OK in my book, its wrong, really wrong.
    I hope you understand my concerns, and I hope you are OK with me being me… I’m weird.. but hay all the weird theist are even crazier then me.. I’m sane compared to most of these guys.. the problem with me is I
    think to much… I hope you guys have a wonderful night.. and besides.. I do not believe the gum balls are even or uneven.. lets fucking count the gum balls right NOW… I don’t really care if the gum balls are even or uneven until you count them.. read my lips “UNTIL….. YOU….. COUT…. THE….. FUCKING….. GUM…. BALLS…” I don’t buy your Idea at all.. until you count them.. then I can buy them.

  10. Persephone says

    A third thing about Best Korea: They don’t summarily execute eighty people for watching TV, reading books, or communicating secretly with the outside world. They summarily execute people because it’s a day of the week that ends with “Y.”

  11. says

    North Korea is by definition the most dogmatic and theistic place on earth.
    It takes one deep seated ignorance on North Korea to say otherwise without reservation.

    Takes a whole level of shamelessness to ignore the Judaic Commandments and some of what Jesus said but point out what other groups a murdering those who speak-out or burn witches, as if their hands are clean.

  12. says

    I worry that the “North Korea is actually religious” argument comes across as a feeble rationalization. Though, the best I’ve got requires an extended attention span:

    If we take all the regimes through history, and sort them into two columns – atheistic and theistic – we find a mixed bag of decent society and murderous societies.

    However, if we sort them into whether they’re totalitarian, or non-totalitarian, we find that the murderous societies are uniformly on the totalitarian side, and the free/open societies are on the non-totalitarian side.

    There’s nothing about “I don’t believe in any gods” that logically leads to totalitarianism, any more than not believing in unicorns leads me to be totalitarian.

    Christianity, however, is heavily totalitarian at its core – you do what the god says, or pay the penalty. It’s very easy to get from Christianity to totalitarian societies. In fact, the only exceptions to this have been due to heavy secular efforts to break their stranglehold on society.

    That’s not to say that Christianity is the only way to a totalitarian dictatorship, or that atheists can’t be – one may just be a sociopath – but if we’re talking about an atheistic totalitarian society, the atheism is as incidental as the fact it’s a society that doesn’t believe in unicorns.

  13. says

    Ultimately, who uploads the shows is irrelevant. Steve did it when TAE was unable to, and now that Martin has taken it upon himself to keep the channel current, Steve doesn’t have to anymore. I think many people around the world owe Steve a lot for taking up the slack at the time.

    However, the unfortunate fallout from this whole situation has been that some of the TAE personalities have shown themselves to be less than professional in dealing with Steve and the fans that have rallied behind him. People on YT and FB were told there was “more to the story”, but no proof was ever given. An odd thing for a show that promotes skepticism and establishing the burden of proof. Many viewers asked about the Creative Commons license, and the notes on the TAE website that encourage copying and promoting the show. No response was ever given by anyone from TAE in regards to that, at least that I’ve seen. A case could be made from how the situation appears to ‘us’ for appealing to authority, or outright hypocrisy.

    And one of the TAE hosts has been revealed as someone who will not hesitate to use profanity in referring to viewers of the show. We’re all adults here, so a little “potty mouthing” is no big deal; when Matt swears on the show, it’s usually in exasperation at the mental gymnastics that a theist caller will try to use. However, doing it on FB or other text-based online outlets seems a bit childish and somewhat rude. It’s always a bit of a shock to find out that someone you might have respected and looked up to may actually not be a very nice person.

    In the long run, this whole thing will blow over, and people who discover TAE in six months may find references to this and wonder what the whole thing was about. But among the current fans of the show, the image of TAE is now somewhat tarnished. And it didn’t have to be this way at all. How hard would it have been to have gotten the official Axp channel up to speed, then send Steve an email thanking him for his work, but it’s no longer required. Then if he had continued, there would have been a more legitimate basis for further action. A sad and tatty episode among people who should be united in moving towards a vision of a better world.

  14. Russell Glasser says

    I worry that the “North Korea is actually religious” argument comes across as a feeble rationalization. Though, the best I’ve got requires an extended attention span:

    I agree with you. On the other hand, someone emailed us this morning pointing out that the Kims do seem to claim nearly supernatural powers on many occasions. I’ve found some references but no smoking gun yet. If true, it could be a pretty good addition to the argument.

  15. Russell Glasser says

    For example,

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2011/12/19/5-strange-things-you-didnt-know-about-kim-jong-il

    According to his official biography, Kim Jong-Il was born on Mount Paekdu, the highest point on the Korean peninsula, under a double rainbow. The moment of his birth was foretold by the flight of a swallow and the appearance of a bright, new star in the sky. Three weeks later, Kim was able to walk. And, only five weeks after that, he began to speak.

    That same biography also explained that the Supreme Commander never made a bowel movement.

    This is weird, but it’s not EXACTLY god-like. Kind of borderline.

  16. Corwyn says

    Christians seem to think it is a religion*. From NorthKoreanChristians.com I found

    “According to party covenant, Article 1, section 1, all North Koreans are required to worship Kim Il Sung with all our heart and might, even after his death. We have to venerate the pictures and status of Kim Il Sung.”

    * – unless of course they want to beat up atheists with how bad ‘atheistic’ North Korea is…

  17. says

    On a related note, it is mildly amusing when they have to put aside asserting that atheism is a religion, to make their point about “atheist regimes leading to evil”.

  18. Trey Hud says

    I am someone who found the atheist experience through Steve Mills fan channel. I am a recovering fundamentalist christian who was a subject of childhood indoctrination and live in the heart of the bible belt. I am a proactive anti-theist in my community and like to think I serve atheism in a positive light. I’m not sure what happened between Steve Mills and TAE but I would just like to make three points. 1. When asked to do so he stopped uploading videos in full. 2. When asked to do so he stopped uploading videos all together. 3. You owe him a thank you and an I’m sorry.
    I will just say in defense of item 3 listed above here are some opinions of mine. 1. He was always prompt in uploading videos when ACA wasn’t. 2. He credited TAE and ACA and clearly stated he was a dedicated fan joining in the fight for positive atheism. 3. He was always respectful and handled his comment section well offering yet another channel for the atheist community as a whole. His breakup of video into sections made it much easier to watch portions and made the show more manageable. 4. Of the few hundred episodes I’ve seen of the show, well over 3/4 were seen from his channel.
    I realize my last point is the exact driving factor for why you guys asked him to stop. You need the views on your channel, you need the blog on your site to manage comments (not sure if this one will even survive so I will copy/paste it elsewhere), you need the traffic on your sites to drive your importance. Believe me as a business owner, I get it. Where you went wrong, IMHO, is not being more respectful in the way you handled it. I mean for someone whom, outside your organization, arguably is responsible for more awareness to your show than any other single person, you sure as hell didn’t show any gratitude. No offering of official status, no partnership agreement, no view sharing or shout outs, fine I get it if none of those are the direction you’re looking to go. You at least owe the man, who has dedicated so much time and energy with no financial gain, to your success and public awareness a goddamned “thanks a million… we got it from here”.
    I rarely post comments because I’m busy trying to educate the world around me on the importance of dropping ancient superstitions, a place where I can feel my impact. I hope in some way I will be able to feel the impact of this comment because it took valuable time away from the things that are most important in my life.
    Sincerely
    A disgruntled fan

  19. Brian T Hall says

    sounds good to me… sometimes you have to piss off people order to be yourself.. If
    somebody dose not like my comment OK.. but Its kind of strange what reality is..
    I mean being strait and gay at the same time is like bisexual.. Its amazing how black and
    white thinking can back fire extremely… well that is a pretty cool Idea a T-shirt that describes
    somebodies Ideology… I think about this closely If I was not angry that Idea would never came up.
    the same go’s for the guy who was angry about a guy saying his fries sucked… and you know
    what that angry guy did, he accidently invented the potato chip… COOOOOL…. LOL

  20. L.Long says

    I’m willing to bet the Korean Gawd like the pope drives around in a bullet proof car.
    So much for gawd powers!

  21. says

    A (probably obvious) note on North Korea and other infamous modern tyrannies that are frequently used to beat atheists over the head (take it as read that simple disbelief in gods does not lead ineluctably to any particular moral standpoint or political ideology):

    The regimes of Kimco, Hitler, P-Pot et al were built on an unreasonable unevidenced dogma which elevated the head of state to superhuman status. Absolute adherence to dogma was required. No moderation or challenge to official policy was accepted and dissenters were routinely rounded up and eliminated in one way or another, often en masse. Followers were made promises of future glory and dominance over their (routinely dehumanised) foes, who were always said to be lurking around and among them and plotting their downfall.

    These absolutist, dogmatic, oppressive and paranoid regimes bear more similarity to the behaviour of politically powerful organised religions than many religionists would be comfortable admitting.

    The tens of millions-high body counts of the various “atheist” tyrannies (esp Pot, Stalin, Hitler) are often cited to give weight to the “atheist regimes are super-evil, you guys” claims, but just imagine what would have been wrought had the Crusader & Inquisitor Popes (not to mention the Conquistadors) access to automatic weapons and air support instead of melee weapons and archery.

  22. says

    First, the reports of executions are still unconfirmed.

    Having not yet gotten to watch the full episode, are you referring to a particular execution or executions?

    Because we know that summary execution is a frequently used form of punishment in that country, both from the testimony of deserters, and in at least one instance, we have a hidden camera video of one happening (it’s part of a BBC documentary on NK, “Access to Evil” was the name I believe).

  23. says

    Re: the Noah movie, hang onto your hats my fellow non-believers, as Hollywood (Tristar Pictures) is capitalizing on the near-death-experience theme by releasing a movie starring Greg Kinnear. With a release date set for Easter 2014, a movie coming to a theater near you, called “Heaven Is For Real”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-ewaCVARtM

    Looks like “Field of Dreams”, crossed with NDE?

    Note that the trailer says that it’s “based on an incredible true story”, which means the screenwriters will go to town on adding fictional elements and claiming creative license to play fast and loose with the story, and gullible believers will say, “but it says right in the ad that the story is TRUE!”, overlooking the little weasel word, “based”.

    (Where’s the rollie eyes emoticon when you need it?)

    Adam

  24. says

    re: Zack from MD on bestiality, and his odd claim that animals could give consent to sex (!). Zack’s actually correct, in that the Bible implies that animals COULD give their consent, since Leviticus 20:15-16 actually says:

    “15. If a man lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. 16. If a woman approaches any animal and lies with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”

    Note the phrase, “their blood is upon them”: that implies both the human AND the animal are to be held accountable for their ‘sins’, just as the ox who gored a human was held accountable for the ‘evil’ it carried out, and had to be put to death for the ‘animal sin’ it committed. (Some suspect it may have been driven out of false concerns of preventing hybrids, i.e. half-human, half-animals, not knowing that such would be impossible from a genetic standpoint).

    Obviously the passage is only more ammo for non-believers to point to as an example of outrageous Biblical goofiness, based on ancient ways of thinking about animal biology and reproduction, since no intelligent modern human would expect animals to understand the moral ramifications of their behavior (and ironically believers don’t hold the same standards for their God, Jehovah, who is given free reign to engage in some pretty immoral behaviors like genocide and slavery, using a “might makes right” justification).

    Adam

  25. says

    re: Allen on Dawkins words on pedophila, and Russell’s seeming misunderstanding of Dawkin’s words.

    The entire brouhaha over the Slate interview was a whole LOT of nuttin’, since if you look at the exact words he said, RD didn’t “minimize the harm of pedophilia”, and he didn’t “speak for the victims of pedophilia”: he was speaking of HIS experience (and that of his friends he’d talked to over the behavior of this pedophile, now dead) when he said the group had been able to overlook the pedophile’s problem, and no one in the group had allowed themselves to be caught in the role of “victims” over his fondling (which he described as ‘mild pedophilia’).

    Understand the context: in the UK, there is a veritable cottage industry growing up around the role of advocacy for various victims rights groups, and his comments attracted the vicious retaliation of those groups who claim to support the victims of pedophilia; he dared to be seen as trivializing their cause (which in their view, in ALL cases, even in cases of non-genital touching, demands the person play the role of victims of pedophilia who were harmed by the experience, and require years of intensive psycho-analytical therapy, etc). RD was saying that none of his associates chose to view themselves as “victims”, but instead overcame the pedo’s acts to live successful adult lives without letting an experience with a sad perv mess up their self-image and side-track them from their goals. God help someone who manages to overcome adversity in their lives!

    RD also was making the case for changing cultural/moral relativism, pointing out how such events weren’t ‘on the radar’ at the time he was growing up in the 1940′s/50′s, but obviously social awareness and public policy has since changed (esp after the recent Savile scandal at the BBC). Of course, believers jumped all over that fact, saying how it’s hypocritical for atheists to point out how slavery is immoral in the Bible TODAY, when RD was using moral relativism for pedophilia.

    Believers fail to grasp it’s NOT hypocritical, since they SHOULD possess moral absolutism, with a “perfect” moral law-giver on their side. In other words, God is supposed to be the source of perfect “unchanging” laws which don’t change over time, not RD, who is being perfectly consistent. Believers are being inconsistent, since if God’s moral laws are perfect, they’d still own all slaves today.

    So Russell, RD’s comment wasn’t a case of him saying “one dumb thing” (as you said on the show), just an example of how believers twisted what he said beyond recognition in a frenzy to create a straw-man; sadly, it succeeded, since apparently even some fellow atheists fell for the hyperbole and misrepresentation (and imagine that: who’d EVER think RD would be the target of such tactics as straw-manning?).

    However, on the main point remains: atheists shouldn’t create leaders (not that we could: atheists don’t take kindly to the role of ‘followers’, and it would be like trying to herd cats! In fact, I don’t know how you guys at ACA do it)!

    Adam

  26. roythesnake says

    In regards to the movie, “Idiocracy”, the Cracked.com podcast recently covered what’s called the “Flinn Effect”. It notes that despite outward appearances, each generation is demonstrably more intelligent than the previous. It bases the conclusion on raw data from iq tests and military aptitude tests. It’s worth a look.

  27. will says

    hi russell… just wanted to say i appreciate your commentary… and enjoy the show very much… wish i had more rational people in my area to have decent conversations with… well… maybe one day ;)

    yes this is true that the kims just like many of the other “royally” born “bloodline” have always claimed divine right over their people…

    just wish that people weren’t so (how to put it lightly)… dumb to see that those “leaders” are just like everyone else and nothing is special about them… they have absolutely NO power that anyone else could “physically” poses…

    it just never ceases to amaze me how we as a species of animal that still with all our advancement, we still are reduced to silly and nonsensical “follow the “dominant” monkey routine”…

  28. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Protip: Hitler and the Nazis were not atheists. They were quite clearly theists, believing in divine providence, etc., and arguably they were christians.

  29. will says

    well you have to see it from a financial and legal viewpoint…

    sure it was great access for others to view and “find” TAE from youtube… and it probably brought thousands of more fans and viewers to their show…

    However…

    TAE needs people to be directed to “their” website in order to have the flow of internet traffic directed to their domain name… thus also by viewing their site and again “their” videos they will receive what they are sincerely due… and that is ad revenue.. (a little poetic, but purposefully on point) ;)

    they deserve and also really need all the help they can get… as they are just a simple “cable access” show trying to put out a GREAT show and also to that effect… help bring others messages of reason… While also having to compete with a bunch of other tv shows And (not to mention especially the religious crap on sundays) ;)

    hope that makes sense… and remember they deserve to have exclusive rights to their material… and also they more than likely have contracts with their channel in austin as well as probably ustream as well… etc… (just presuming this) correct me if im wrong… ;)

    just do them a favor and be sure to visit their site and watch the video there as well… im sure they would greatly appreciate it…

  30. says

    I completely disagree with Jen on the issue with “coming out”. I work with people that may identify as LGBT. Jen argues that there are a lot of parallels between coming out as gay and coming as an atheist. I think that Jen’s experiences are completely different than that of other people that come out as LGBT or as an atheist. Coming out as LGBT is much more likely to expose a person to bullying and violence, and I would submit that coming out as an atheist is less likely to be so. I think that Jen makes a lot assumptions based upon her own experiences but does not take into consideration the fact that there are many young people that come out to their families as LGBT and are subsequently kicked out of their homes. I identify as gay (and an atheist and an anarcho–syndicalist), it was far easier for me to come out as an atheist (especially given my fundamentalist upbringing) than it is was to come out as gay. In many cases, it is not safe for people to come out and to suggest otherwise is not ethical.

  31. says

    While I tend to shy away from unevidenced speculation, in the case of the notoriously uncommunicative North Korea, it’s almost inescapable – I would suggest that since belief in the divinity of the rulers in mandatory, and non-belief punishable by death, that the majority of NK’s people don’t actually believe it. They just say that they do. If the general population around you was so malnourished, due to failed government policies, that they are statistically shorter than their southern neighbours, you’d imagine that even the least educated, in a country defined by a pathological need to suppress it’s own population, would doubt their leader’s divinity. That said, it’s a constant source of amazement to us all what people will cling to in a crisis.

  32. says

    Will,

    I think you’re misunderstanding the situation. Watching the show from one source or another on YouTube has nothing to do with the AXP domain name, or generating ad revenue. This also has nothing to do with competing with other shows on Sunday (I generally don’t watch the show until the following Saturday, so it’s irrelevant, at least to me and many others).

    And yes, it is “their” material, but as I noted in my post above, they encourage other people copying and uploading clips. The CC license allows for this. And since most people who watch the show probably don’t reside in the Greater Austin area, this also has nothing to do with whatever Cable channel the show is broadcast on.

    My point was that this whole situation was woefully mishandled from a P.R. standpoint, and some of the people involved have certainly caused damage to their public image. The worst part was none of it had to happen.

  33. flukus says

    The Australian comment got a bit of air time so I thought I would fill in the context a bit. We have two major parties, Labor (social democratic, partly progressive) and Liberal (conservative, yes I know it’s crazy). The Liberal party power got into power a couple of months ago.

    The Liberal party, being conservatives, are going to be pretty slow to accept the whole gay marriage thing. Labor are sort of stuck half way on how progressive they are. On most social issues they are pretty progressive, but a large part of their traditional voting block comes from Catholics (traditionally the poor working class), which makes them scared to pursue gay marriage aggressively.

    Several states have legalized gay marriage to varying degrees (none with full marriage) but the Liberals have a habit of rolling back those changes, even the ones that promise not to pre election.

  34. says

    Chip said-

    I completely disagree with Jen on the issue with “coming out”. I work with people that may identify as LGBT. Jen argues that there are a lot of parallels between coming out as gay and coming as an atheist. I think that Jen’s experiences are completely different than that of other people that come out as LGBT or as an atheist. Coming out as LGBT is much more likely to expose a person to bullying and violence, and I would submit that coming out as an atheist is less likely to be so.

    Jen can speak for herself, of course, but I suspect she may had been inspired by this recent TED talk featuring Ash Beckham, a lesbian who made the point of NOT comparing the difficulty of coming out of ‘our’ closets, whether gay, atheist, or whatever; in her words, “hard IS hard”, so don’t play the silly comparison game:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSR4xuU07sc

    Adam

  35. deesse23 says

    Its not only about being politically dogmatic and absolutist. In the nazis case (and many if not most others) it also was about being utterly unscientific!

    The hate for jews? Based on unscientific crap. Even at the time national socialism was happening, it was known to be unscientific and proven otherwise (i am not using “disproven” on purpose, you all know why). The most ridiculous stuff was “racial science”. The nazis were trying to define “scientifically” what makes a white, black, jewish (hello, jewish is a RELIGION) , etc. race. Firstoff, all research was based on the PRESUMPTION that there HAVE TO be measurable differences (in size and gemeral measurements of skull and other bones, etc.). Needless to say, that results pointing otherwise were ignored and every little hint in favour of their “theory” (of which they knew in ADVANCE it had ot be true!) were exaggerated. Peer reviews by reasonable scientists showed bck then and now that all this was wishful thinking hogwash.
    Creationism……Does that ring a bell??

  36. deesse23 says

    As far as i know that wasnt entirely true.They were raised in a christian society, they had to act witin a christian society. Yet i seriously doubt their final goal had anything to do with christianity. Just look at -particularly Himmlers- germanic “blood and soil” crap, this weird mixture of -mostly nordic- mysticism.

    On the other hand they pretty much followed in the footsteps of one good old christian tradition:Antisemitism. Particularly Martin Luther had some influence here, at least more than the catholic church (yes, the protestants got more bloodstains on their hads than the catholic church in this case….you cant always win like during the inquisition :-) ).

    Long story short: they hated jews (amongst other things), took everything from christianity that supported their “arguments”, but apart from this, christianity was just another “middle eastern cult”, which didnt fit much into their “nordic worldview”.

  37. scourge99 says

    There is a reason evolution wasn’t discovered until relatively recently in human history. Its not an intuitive concept.

    There is also a reason evolution is only taught well in college: because it’s a fairly complex topic that isn’t easily understood. Whereas creationism is easy and intuitive enough a child can understand it.

    In my experience a rejection of evolution usually involves gross ignorance about it and science in general. Keep in mind that the average person isn’t well educated and most people have not been given a proper scientific education, let alone an education that covers the intricacies of evolution.

    Armed with this knowledge you should understand why many reject evolution for creationism, even more so those who are religious.

  38. Corwyn says

    Coming out as LGBT is much more likely to expose a person to bullying and violence, and I would submit that coming out as an atheist is less likely to be so.

    Got any evidence?

    I think that Jen makes a lot assumptions based upon her own experiences but does not take into consideration the fact that there are many young people that come out to their families as LGBT and are subsequently kicked out of their homes. I identify as gay (and an atheist and an anarcho–syndicalist), it was far easier for me to come out as an atheist (especially given my fundamentalist upbringing) than it is was to come out as gay.

    So Jen makes assumptions based on her experience, but then you do EXACTLY the same thing, and that is fine? Many people who come out as atheist as subsequently kicked out of their homes. How many gay politicians do you know of? How many atheist politicians?

    Which is harder, I have no idea; but until we have evidence based on a reasonable sample size, neither do you.

  39. Corwyn says

    People it seems have no problem with labeling new born babies with a religion, but if that baby grows up to commit heinous atrocities, then somehow that label, ascribed now with far more reason (e.g. actually espousing the dogma), just dissolves away…

  40. Corwyn says

    There is also a reason evolution is only taught well in college: because it’s a fairly complex topic that isn’t easily understood. Whereas creationism is easy and intuitive enough a child can understand it.

    I disagree. I am willing to bet that I can teach my 5 year old nephew as much about evolution as I know in an afternoon. The reason creationism seems easier, is that someone else has already done much of the work. Try it with a child that has never heard of god and let me know how that goes.

  41. says

    I wonder if the proposed Noah movie will show the children and infants drowning.

    I fully support the creation of Bible-based movies, provided that they portray what the book actually says rather than the sanitized happy fairyland many Christians seem to think is in there.

    Such as a movie about Joseph (of the coat of many colors) that acknowledges that he used his position in Pharaoh’s court and control over the food supply to impoverish the entire population of Egypt and turn them into serfs, while simultaneously supporting his own family by embezzling from Pharaoh’s coffers.

    Or a movie about Samson where we see him murder thirty men and loot their bodies to pay off his gambling debts (while acting with the spirit of God in him). And where he sets fire to the crops of an entire village because he was pissed that his father-in-law reneged on giving him the daughter he wanted.

    Or a movie about Moses that explicitly acknowledges that God mind-controlled Pharaoh into refusing to let the Israelites go so that he could justify raining down more plagues. And that includes the time God fatally poisoned thousands of Israelites for asking for meat in the wilderness. And the part where Moses orders the slaughter of thousands more Israelites after the golden calf incident. And the part where the covenant is sealed by pouring gallons of blood over the Israelites’ heads. And the part where God burns two of his own priests to death because they made a mistake at their very first official ceremony, then denies their father the right to grieve over them. And the part where Moses, on God’s orders, slaughters his wife’s entire people for inviting Israelites to their religious services. I’m telling you, “The Ten Commandments” is one movie that NEEDS a remake!

  42. scourge99 says

    You can indoctrinate the basics and they can regurgitate facts but that doesn’t mean they understand it. There is a reason evolution is taught at the University level and last years in high school and not in any detail below that. There is a reason evolution wasn’t discovered until relatively recently. Its not an easy to understand or intuitive subject.

  43. says

    I was looking to comment on that caller on youtube but comments are disabled there.
    So many things were missed by that caller.
    Abbot is a creationist with a religious agenda, he is anti science and his campaign funding came from Ken Hams creationist organisation.
    Gillard was atheist and we prospered in her time in office, now we face a religious agenda that will bring unnecessary grief to many.
    He probably even voted for the very government that would like to see homosexuality criminalised again.

  44. Matzo Ball Soup says

    I really enjoyed hearing the bit on Messianic Jews — I don’t enjoy having to deal with the fact that it’s a thing, as it’s disgustingly culturally appropriative, and it sucks that Dubya’s been hanging out with them (though I wouldn’t have put it past him), but it’s good that it’s being talked about. I’ve sometimes had the particular “pleasure” of being in conversations with people who seemed not to realize that it could possibly be offensive. (One colleague of mine, upon finding out that I celebrate Passover*, described how her Christian spiritual journey involved deciding to incorporate a “Messianic Seder service” into her Easter observances, and was clearly expecting that I’d be pleased to hear it. I was too shy to call her out at the time, but if a similar situation arose tomorrow, I’d probably at least hint that I was offended.)

    The one thing I’d disagree with Russell about is the part where he says that whether or not people officially convert to Judaism is irrelevant to us atheists. In one sense, it is — my mother’s conversion is recognized by Conservative but not Orthodox Judaism, for instance, for reasons that really are irrelevant. But in another sense, it’s not. Because if someone “really” converts, then regardless of what denomination oversees the conversion, they’ll (hopefully) make sure that the person is coming from a place of respect. That they’re joining the Jewish community, rather than taking our cultural festivals — practices that people have been persecuted by Christians for, keep in mind — and inserting them into their own Christian context so that they can play-act at being Jews when it suits them (just like Jen said). As an atheist “cultural Jew”, I sometimes feel as though I don’t have any “right” to be offended, but I do enjoy ranting about it sometimes.

    :) !און מיר יידן האָבן אונדזערע אייגענען שפראָכן אויך

    *In my family’s case, Passover is pretty much just like Thanksgiving except with Aramaic songs and better food. :) Some of my relatives aren’t atheists, but we’re all pretty secular at least.

  45. will says

    Just throwing my 2 cents in here…

    i see it as clearly the ROOT of the problem isnt “religion” or even “superstitious beliefs”…

    the MAIN issue is bad aka (harmful) animal behaviour… ;)

    we are “ingrained beings” that in which… has been the basis for our GENERATIONAL and evolutionary upbringing… upon millenia and perhaps even eons before we were even ape like (as in the beginnings of life itself) all animal and even plant species have had and continue to have a knack for Tribe like behaviour…

    So…until we ascend our intellectual capabilities beyond that of our current model of comprehension… and till our understanding of how to interact more logically and more meaningfully with each other…

    we will unfortunately always be drawn to our primitive behavioural characteristics… whether in our subconscious or not… ;)

  46. says

    Corwyn, I do have evidence:

    http://glsen.org/sites/default/files/2011%20National%20School%20Climate%20Survey%20Full%20Report.pdf

    Starting on page 23, the survey describes school safety and LGBT students.

    Perhaps I could have been more clear at explaining my point: I certainly was not dismissing Jen’s experience, I was trying to comment on the statement she made in the show about how LGBT should come out. Coming out as anything always depends upon the person, the context, and of course safety.

    Chip

  47. says

    Well, I was going more for the plain beauty of the cornfields of a Midwest-setting (ALA “Field of Dreams”), but IMDb tells me the movie was filmed in various locations in Manitoba, Canada! Oh, Canada! This is an act of war!

    :)

    Adam

  48. Matzo Ball Soup says

    I can’t decide whether the last line of your post is funnier if you intended it to be sung to the tune of “O Canada”, or if you didn’t. (And I can’t tell if it’s the case or not.)

  49. says

    Well, to be fair, Christianity is an outgrowth of Judaism. I can see certain interpretations of Christianity seeing many Jewish ceremonies as being commandments from God himself rather than cultural practices. From their perspective they’re not “playing at being Jews,” they’re “being proper Christians.”

    Now this bit about deliberately setting out to convert Jews in order to try to bring about the end of the world… that just strikes me as blatant manipulation of others’ faith, and I’m not cool with it.

  50. oCaptainmyCaptain says

    the word God means magic. magic means mystery or
undefinable Idea or Undefinable possible reality.

    No it doesn’t. God’s power might be considered magic. In the same sense that Thor’s hammer is considered magical to humans. We can’t grasp the ability to create something ex nihilo, but that doesn’t make it magical.

    If you read in the bible the Christian god was a volcano before being
 Jesus…

    What!?!? Do you just make things up for shock value? Muslims would consider what you just said shirk, Christians and Jews would call this blasphemy. Either way, no where in the Bible does it ever say that God is a volcano. Just like it doesn’t say God is a Burning Bush. These where just things he used to speak from or show his power. You wouldn’t call yourself a phone just because you spoke through one.

    I’m fearless.. I don’t buy anything of atheism or theism
but I agree with a lot of atheist that religion has Fucked humanity so horribly and I agree with you guys that the
bible should be made fun of..

    You don’t sound “fearless” to me. You sound a little confused. I don’t know you, but based off of everything you’ve said, it sounds like you have no real position at all. Your the guy who takes an A,B, or C multiple choice test and puts D. You are neither wrong, nor right because your arguments haven’t risen to the level of being respected as such.

    As far as religion having fucked humanity,… I don’t even really know how to respond to this. The greatest works of art, music, culture, philosophy, science, literature, etc have all been heavily influenced by religion. I don’t think I would want to live in a world where religion never existed. It would be pretty boring and empty. If you truly analyzed everything, I don’t think you would want to either.

    I don’t think you’re truly against religion. You’re more likely against people that have their own biases, presuppositions, selfish desires, blind ambitions, and violent political conquests. Do you think that violence, greed, and the constant pursuit of power would simply vanish without religion? Do you think that Mao Zedong, Stalin, or Pol Pot would have killed less people if Jesus hadn’t hung on a cross?

    Nobody does evil because they read the Bible and decided to follow Jesus. People who commit crimes in the name of a religion, decided to do something long before, and then they used religion to justify their actions. If it wasn’t for religion they would have simply used science or philosophy to support their ideals.

    believe if god exist, god must have been some thing less powerful and less omnipotent.. I kind of
believe it is possible that god could be anything..

    I guess you believe this because you don’t have a solid definition of God. Well, you know what… NOBODY does. Not one theist or atheist can actually define God. How can you expect a solid and concrete definition for something that is completely outside of your comprehension. I’ve tried to purpose definitions, but I usually start with a disclaimer like, “no definition can actually do God justice”. Either way, I understand not believing in something you can’t see. That makes sense.

  51. oCaptainmyCaptain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal

    I think this is a double standard. If a theist was to say, “stalin was an atheist so atheism leads to mass murder” you guys would reject this outright. If they even alluded to a statement like that, you guys would reject it outright.

    If Hitler was a Christian and followed Jesus, then show me where in the Bible Jesus said to murder Jews, being a Jew himself? That’s just ridiculous. Anyone can call themselves a Christian, Muslim, or Jew. Doesn’t make you one.

    Someone can put “Freethoughtblogs.com/axp” on their belt buckle and then go out and kill a bunch of people. Does that mean they where following the ideals of this blog when they did it??

  52. oCaptainmyCaptain says

    Yeah I’m not convinced any of these people actually went to heaven. I do believe that they saw something though, and it’s an interesting phenomenon that we should look at.

  53. says

    It has to do with the fact that atheism is a negative position. As Matt has said many times, you can’t get from atheism to a conclusion of what you should do. You have to add something positive to it. I’m sorry if you feel that’s unfair, but that’s the nature of a negative position.

  54. says

    I think this is a double standard. If a theist was to say, “stalin was an atheist so atheism leads to mass murder” you guys would reject this outright. If they even alluded to a statement like that, you guys would reject it outright.

    If Hitler was a Christian and followed Jesus, then show me where in the Bible Jesus said to murder Jews, being a Jew himself? That’s just ridiculous. Anyone can call themselves a Christian, Muslim, or Jew. Doesn’t make you one.

    It’s pretty easy to get from the idea that the Jews crucified one’s holy-dude, to hating them. That comes from a positive assertion. It doesn’t have to be directly ordered. We have thousands of denominations of “Christianity” thanks to people constantly making things up, and “interpretting” the scriptures differently.

    In Hitler’s case, he derived a lot of content from Martin Luther’s anti-Semitic writings.

    On the other hand, what does “I don’t believe in unicorns” pressure you to do?

    Does the fact that a cook book you read a recipe from, didn’t pressure you to not murder people, a culprit in causing you to murder someone, if you go ahead and do so anyway?

    The Bible is bursting at the seams with assertions and doctrine. Combine that with a horde of people who believe the assertions are true, and it’s easy to go from Christianity to action, with Christianity being the cause.

    Atheism doesn’t tell/suggestion/promote anyone to do anything – good or bad. At that point, we’d be more talking about Humanism, probably.

  55. Corwyn says

    I am not going to read a hundred pages. What does the report say about atheists coming out and being atheist versus gay?

    I agree that coming out should be done with caution, as does Jen. She (and all the AXP crew) usually say exactly that. The fact that you claim she didn’t is unusual enough that I wouldn’t believe it without the claim (and it isn’t worth going back to check).

  56. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @oCaptainmyCaptain

    I’m actually with you on this argument, unlike most of my atheist fellows here. Most atheists completely botch this argument and strawman the christian position. AFAIK, the christian position in this particular argument is that most people are selfish and evil and greedy, and without the carrot and stick of heaven and hell, they would be evil and commit genocide, etc.

    Most atheists here seem to counter that by saying “but atheism doesn’t lead to it because atheism does not include any beliefs!”, which is just a giant (accidental) strawman. It’s a non-sequitir. It may well be true that religion is the only thing preventing genocide, etc.

    I do think that the phrasing “atheism leads to genocide” is ambiguous, because it can wrongly imply that atheism is the position “there is no god”. This is just pedantics though.

    My replies are such: 1- It’s factually wrong. Look at the evidence. 2- This is a rather sad perspective on humanity, including you and me, that the only reason you don’t kill people is that you are afraid of punishment or you are seeking to curry favor for reward. Most people – you included – recognize that such motivations are quite pisspoor, and we would not say that such a person is particularly moral or has integrity. Such motivations are base. Doing good for the sake of avoiding punishment and seeking reward is is barely respectable, and not what most people mean by morality.

  57. says

    Re: your preventative value of religion (i.e. “stopping people from committing genocide”), you wanna try again?

    You must’ve missed the story of serial killer Joseph Franklin, who was executed today after having killed 22 people as a white supremacist.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/18/justice/death-row-interview-joseph-paul-franklin/

    His words:

    “The scriptures tell us when someone repents, God forgives them. Everything is forgotten, once forgiven. But the state doesn’t think that way,” he says.

    Interviewer asks: Do you think something lies out there for you on the other side?

    “Yeah, but it’s not a burning hell because I’m serving the Lord, though. It’ll be the kingdom of heaven for me because I’ve repented.”

    The thing is, he’s absolutely CORRECT, as that IS the thinking of Xian theology.

    Too often Xians forget to mention that little loophole that you apparently can kill 22 people, but it’s ALL forgiven if you repent and believe in Jeebus before you die….

    So much for a “just” and “righteous” God, and “superior God-given” perverse morality.

    Adam

  58. oCaptainmyCaptain says

    i don’t think this can be considered a loophole. The Christian position is that nobody is good enough to get into Heaven, and that “all fall short”. Under that premise, how else would someone get into Heaven other then repentance?

    But one thing that bothers me about Christianity, is that most people don’t explain what “believing” in Jesus is. Are you really just saying that I have to declare “Jesus is real” over and over until I believe it? Reading the Bible in context, seems to suggest otherwise. I think it’s just portrayed as such for marketing purposes.

  59. oCaptainmyCaptain says

    without the carrot and stick of heaven and hell, they would be evil and commit genocide, etc.

    I think Christians focus much less on Heaven and Hell then you think they do. They only seem to resume center stage when a tragedy occurs, and that’s usually when these religious debates are the most prevalent, so maybe that’s why you think this way.

    Doing good for the sake of avoiding punishment and seeking reward is is barely respectable, and not what most people mean by morality.

    I would agree. But I tend to read the various religious books first, and then see what the theologians have to say. Reading the Bible, reveals that Jesus thought you should do good for the sake of doing good. It just so happens that you get rewarded for it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

    There’s only been a few times in my life where I’ve truly done a major and completely selfless act. But most of the time, I do “semi” selfless acts because they make me feel good. Perhaps, most people similar?

  60. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Adam W
    Was that at me? I suggest you read my post again in its entirety.

    @oCaptainmyCaptain
    It seemed you made the argument that people who lack a belief in a god more often commit genocide. I stated that atheists frequently misrepresent the argument when replying to it, aka strawmanning it. I also stated that the argument is both factually wrong and morally lacking.

  61. says

    No one asked you to “read a hundred pages”. In fact, I specifically referenced the exact page number for the evidence that you requested. I am not sure how much easier I could have made it for you. I think you are an intellectually small person. I have read the posts that you have written here, and it would suggest that you have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. I presented evidence as you requested but then stated you didn’t want to read it even though I pointed you to precisely where you needed to go.

  62. says

    To be fair, I think it’s his ‘why does anyone believe the bible’ video where Aron Ra says something similar about yahweh’s origin as a volcano god. I’m pretty sure its that bid, but I’m posting this from work and can’t watch it again…

  63. Corwyn says

    There is a reason evolution is taught at the University level and last years in high school and not in any detail below that.

    And that would be to give religion time to indoctrinate the kids.

    When is it taught in countries that care more about their students than some religion?

  64. Corwyn says

    the MAIN issue is bad aka (harmful) animal behaviour

    Sure, I was watching “monkey wars” just the other day on National geographic. Tomorrow they are showing “woodpecker’s air force”. Should be good.

  65. Corwyn says

    No, that shows “religion” not “atheism”. In other words the sample set is everybody in the school, not just atheists, where the sample set for sexual orientation is clearly a sample of just those with differing sexual orientation. Do you have a sample set for just atheists?

    p.s. Page 23 of the PDF was a picture with the word ‘introduction’, and I gave up (my bad).

  66. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Muslims would consider what you just said shirk, Christians and Jews would call this blasphemy.

    You say that as though we care, or as though we should care. Protip: We do not.

    The greatest works of art, music, culture, philosophy, science, literature, etc have all been heavily influenced by religion. I don’t think I would want to live in a world where religion never existed. It would be pretty boring and empty. If you truly analyzed everything, I don’t think you would want to either.

    Art exists with or without religion. It just so happened that the church was rather rich at the time, and artists follow the money. Furthermore, I would trade away all of the sonatas of the world if I could guarantee that religions went away and were replaced by a secular humanism. That’s a rather small price to pay to end the main source of hatred in the world.

  67. Matzo Ball Soup says

    Yeah, the bringing-about-the-end-of-the-world bit is the worst, of course. But also, Jewish cultural practices have developed over time – what we know as a Passover Seder, for instance, was invented centuries after Christianity split off. So a Christian Seder makes about as much sense as playing klezmer for jeebus.

  68. says

    Enlightened Liberal asked: “was that directed at me?”

    Uh, yeah, unless you’re denying making this statement above:

    It may well be true that religion is the only thing preventing genocide, etc.

    My post was demonstrating the flaw with such a suggestion, since if you were familiar with Xian/Catholic theology, you’d know that even Joseph Mengele or Himmler could’ve repented on their death beds and accept Jesus into their heart, and they’d avoid Hell (just as the serial killer of 22 I cited seemingly thinks he’ll be able to do). Fortunately, the War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg found plenty of other good reasons to punish these crimes against humanity besides being a sin against God.

    (insert a ‘roll eyes’ emoticon here)

    That’s the very operative definition of “perverse disincentivizing” of actions, and partly explains why people say that Xianity is about as immoral of a belief system as they get.

    Adam

  69. oCaptainmyCaptain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal

    Ok I got you. We agree then, I kind of read your comment the wrong way.

    @Adam W

    I don’t think the concept of “forgiveness” is immoral. Ultimately you can’t undue the wrong somebody has done, and there’s no way they can repay a life taken. There are criminals that are dead and gone, and some of the people they wronged are still alive and still angry. There are tribes still murdering each other because their motto is “forgiveness is only for those who deserve it”. That seems to be what your saying. That Only those who “deserve” to be forgiven, should. I’m sure you’ve wronged somebody in some way in your life, we all have. Wouldn’t you rather somebody just forgive you instead of harboring ill will forever?

    That being said. I don’t think God is stupid. I’m sure an omniscient being knows wether a person is truly sorry for what they’ve done.

  70. oCaptainmyCaptain says

    Come on. You don’t really believe that do you? Some of the greatest artists of all time, died broke. Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting in his entire lifetime. Look at some of the greatest artworks ever, they’re mostly religious in nature. The garden of delights and the Last Supper just to name a couple. Great artists don’t just paint for the money. In fact, Science Shows that once you get above rudimentary cognitive skills, rewarding somebody with more money actually makes them perform worse!

    Now granted, there are exceptions to this. Such as, Michelangelo, who hated the laborious task of painting the Sistine Chapel so much, that he wrote a poem about it. But that’s because he didn’t consider himself a painter. As for some of his other famous sculptures, he had this to say, “I saw the Angel in the Marble, and I carved until I set him free.”, and “the True work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection”.

    I could write a thesis on how some of the most famous painters, inventors, musicians, scientists and philosophers where deeply inspired and motivated by their religion, but I’ll spare you. The real question is, would you really toss away all the vastness of every culture because you don’t like religion? More importantly, do you really think that religion is the reason for all the hatred that has occurred in the world?

    I don’t think any rationale person that actually looked at history could come to that conclusion. Religion is not the problem. Some of the worst dictators in history where vehement atheists. And you know what? That does not make Atheism the problem either.

    Side note: We wouldn’t even have our iPhone’s, iPods, and Mac’s without Buddhism and Zen, which heavily inspired minimalistic design. So I think the idea of getting rid of all religion is evil!!

  71. anastasia says

    Your comment reminded me of a quote I once read: “Shopping for truth is a failure if you know what it is you want to buy. It isn’t truth if you try it on to see if it fits you; it is just a worldview.”

  72. marmite32 says

    Kev, mate I’m no fan of Tony Abbot or the Coalition particularly in regard to granting marriage rights LGBT people, but your attempting to portray him as some sort American evangelical christian is way off the mark.

    He has described himself as a traditional Catholic, and not a evangelical… charismatic Christian, and he attended a catholic seminary in 1984, though he left after 1987 without becoming a priest. The catholic church accepts evolution and teaches it in its school system in Australia. I suspect Mr Abbot children are educated in it.

    As to you allegation that Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis organization is funding political parties in Australia is supported by no evidence I’m aware of.
    As the Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and South African offices split from the organization in late 2005/ early 2006 (they renamed themselves Creation Ministries International) and both sides conducted a legal and personal dispute with each other (check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_Ministries_International for details, includes people being accused of witchcraft and necrophilia) its unlikely Mr Ham has any influence downunder at all. He also seem to be having funding problems with some of his projects – see http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/11/ark_encounter_finances_obamacare_sank_ken_ham_s_creationist_theme_park.html

    As an atheist and presumably a skeptic you should have a higher appreciation for facts.

  73. Mads says

    “Messianic jews”. “Help the jews home” (I usually refer to the latter as “get the jews home” as that seems to be the goal. Why don’t all of these people get together and name a movement called “Armageddonwithitalready” That is what they are waiting for, isn’t it?

  74. says

    Even IF one actually believed in Jehovah, how arrogant it is for Xians to think that they’re the lucky ones who are blessed to live at the climax of events prophesied in the Book of Revelation, on the scene for the final battle between the forces of good and evil. Not only THAT, they’re going to actually “help” (force?) those prophecies (which are based on heavy-duty application of some Xian eisegesis) come true!

    Wait, I just remembered: that’s nothing new for Xians, since they’re only following a well-established precedent. It’s the same type of thinking and fervor that drove Xians on their crusades to kill infidels. So if you’re wondering what a typical participant of the Crusades was like, just look to someone who’s involved in the movement (eg Dubya).

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