gotgun1794[1]The act of one mentally disturbed monster at an elementary school has given gun-ban advocates more tragedy to shamelessly exploit in their never-ending fallacious argument that taking weapons from the peaceful and the law-abiding will magically stop the mentally deranged from killing innocent people.  The following is my response to a disingenuous question from just such a anti-gun advocate.

helpfull wrote:

How many guns are enough for one individual? Do you have a gun shrine in your home? An altar for ammo?

I know you’re being disingenuous with your question but in order to give you a genuine response I need you to answer a question for me.

How many guns would it take to piss you off over the fact that I was buying that many guns? Now take that number add 5 more guns along with about 20 or 30 so-called high-capacity magazines and you have your answer.

As far as ammo, again, I need to know much would I need to get my hands on to make you cry like a bitch over the fact that I had that much ammunition, then you would have my answer.

Now, after all the guns and all the ammo had been delivered to my house I would make a special point to build a shrine dedicated to people like you for the sole reason photographing it and mailing to you for educational purposes.

Included with the photo of my newly erected gun shrine would be a copy of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, printed in large type so as to make it easy for your ignorant ass to read it. Amendment II on the Bill of Rights would be highlighted and circled with a quote from Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis written on the back which reads; “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent… The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

Yea, that’s what I would do.

coldhands[1]

Working for the Lord wrote:
Fine tuning requires a designer who has the skills of being greater than the design itself, which would be God. Random chance is so off the wall to be even considered as a way of life to have come into existence.

johnheadWorking for the Lord,

Firstly, the claim that the universe is fine tuned needs to be demonstrated. Could it have been tuned some other way? If so, how would you demonstrate that? As far as we know the cosmos simply is the way it is and life appears to have adapted to fit a niche on the surface of one of the trillions of planets which have formed within it.

The error in your argument lies with your premise that the universe is “fine tuned” for life. Suppose I showed you a map of the United Stated and said “Is it not amazing that the Mississippi river was ‘fine tuned’ to exactly match the state borders so perfectly. It must have been designed because a river matching the state borders via random chance is so off the wall to even be considered. The designer who had the skills must have been greater than the design itself, therefore God did it.”

You would look at me like an idiot, kind of like I’m looking at you now. Obviously the borders match the river because the state borders were formed after the river. Likewise, life on earth appears so well suited to the planet because life has had 4.7 billion years to adapt to our planet.

As far as your assertion of chance, the probability of life arising on Earth is exactly 1:1 or 100%; we are here now after all.

If the universe needs a creator to explain the fine tuned order of everything, and this creator you label god obviously possesses order, what super-duper god maker created your god? Surely your god could not have come into being by random chance, that is so off the wall to be even considered.

 

Working for the Lord wrote:

My God didn’t come from random chance, he has always existed. God who is all knowing, all powerful. The first God being as I described is sufficient, only would man need more than one God, or at least think he does. This world could not have been in existence forever as we would have completely exhausted all energy by now.

 

johnheadWorking for the Lord,

You assert that the universe must have been created because it has order which could not have come about randomly. When asked what created your orderly god you simply assert that your god has always existed.

You are making a fallacious appeal to special pleading, a spurious argument where favorable details are included or unfavorable details are excluded by alleging a need to apply additional considerations without proper criticism of these considerations. Essentially, you are attempting to present your god as the one exemption to the very rule you use to make your original argument, without justifying the exemption.

If your God can just “always exist” then what is prevents reality from “always existing”. Conversely, if reality could not have “always existed” and your god is real, what justifies your god being exempted?

You assert your god is sufficient but sufficiency does not imply necessity. There may be a first cause but that cause may not necessarily be an entity remotely like you describe.

Your claim that your god is all-knowing and all-powerful is a fallacious bare assertion. These are attributes which you need to demonstrate. You may not simply start with God is ______ and move on from there without justifying exactly how you know God is _______.

This world has not been in existence forever, in fact the history of the cosmos until now was 2/3 over before this world came into being. We are far from exhausting all of “our” energy, the star which provides all “our” energy has been fusing 700 million tons of Hydrogen into 695 million tons of Helium every second since it formed and will continue burn for at least another 5 Billion years.

Cyclist wrote:

But see, there in lies the problem…unbelief in something does not make it untrue. Lets say I abandoned my belief in God, my abandonment of belief does not make him any less real.

Lets say for example, I decided man never went to the moon, that it was all a hoax. Does that make it any less real that they did?

Truthfully, you can not prove God doesn’t exist any more than I can prove that he does. You can offer why you believe he does not, but you can’t offer fact based evidence that shows he does not. I can offer why I believe he does exist but can not offer tangible fact based evidence that he does.

johnheadCyclist,

Correct, non-belief does not equal non-existence. I never said that it did and atheism, despite what many misinformed people may say and what you may have been told, is NOT the assertion that gods do not exist. That position is called anti-theism.

Correct, your abandonment of belief in gods will have no effect on whether or not gods actually exist. Your abandonment of belief does not make your god any less real. Likewise, your current belief in no way makes your god actually real.

Correct, if you told me that you disbelieve the claim that man walked on the moon you would be contesting a positive claim; that man did walk on the moon. The burden of proof would be upon the person making the claim. Let’s say I am the one making the claim. I could point you to the mountains of evidence like moon rocks, photos, and even video. Fake you say! OK, I could point a laser at one of the three retro reflectors that astronauts left on the surface and show how reflected laser light can be detected by a photo multiplier. I could even show you images taken recently by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter here which show the actual landing sites and left over crap from 40 years ago. The last thing I would do is tell you to have faith. There is no need for faith because we have evidence.

(Now if I told you man walked on Mars, I would have no evidence for that claim and you would be justified in not believing that claim)

I cannot prove your god doesn’t exist, but then again nobody bears any burden to disprove any claim. There have been more than a thousand different gods which have been worshiped and claimed to exist throughout recorded history. Should you be expected to disprove all of those gods? NO. Does your inability to disprove Thor or Oden mean that belief in Thor or Oden is justified? Certainly NOT.

Imagine I told you that there was a teapot in orbit around mars, you would have no way to disprove that. Would that inability to disprove my claim justify some belief that a teapot was orbiting Mars? NO. The default position with regard to any existential claim is to disbelieve until that claim is demonstrated to be true.

Going back to what I said in my previous post, I am not claiming there are no gods. All I am stating is that the theist has not met their burden of proof and there is no evidence yet discovered which can demonstrate that gods either exist or are required for the cosmos to operate. This is the null hypothesis, which by definition can never be proven.

If you can offer a good reason why you believe then let’s examine your reasoning for any flaws. Have at it.

According to Reason,

I freely admit to not being as knowledgeable about the whys and how’s of my beliefs, as you are about yours, you have obviously put much time and study into what you believe, where as I have just accepted what I believe to be true.

Having said that, I can not separate my belief in the Bible and God from my views on creation and how everything came to be. In other words, I look at everything through “God glasses”. In doing that I have automatically accepted the bibles account of creation.

Secularism is as foreign to me as Christianity seems to you. I don’t mean that to sound flip, we just have different world views. I do enjoy our conversations though, they challenge me and make me think.

– Cyclist

johnheadCyclist,

You pretty much summed it up in your first sentence. My beliefs are based on much time and study and not simply accepting something a priori.

If you cannot separate your belief in God from the biblical views concerning creation then maybe you should consider separating yourself from a belief in gods. I know, its shocking to even consider what with hell and all but that BS goes away when you begin basing what you believe upon empirical data and the rejection of magical unsubstantiated superstition.

Those “God glasses” are keeping you from learning about reality. Imagine someone rejecting chemistry because he could not separate himself from his belief in alchemy or rejected astronomy because he could not separate himself from his belief in astrology. That person would be insisting upon being willfully ignorant of how the universe actually was, he would be rejecting reality in favor of fantasy.

Why would you purposefully choose to believe a story with absolutely no evidence to support it while rejecting scientific conclusions supported by mountains of the stuff. It’s insane that anyone would limit their minds in such a way.

You also have a misunderstanding of secularism as it is not antithetical to Christianity. Secularism relates to the principle of separation of government institutions, and the persons mandated to represent the State, from religious institutions and religious dignitaries. It is not impossible to be both a Christian and a Secularist, that is to say someone who believes in the precepts of Christ’s redemption on the cross, and that such belief should be kept separate from acts of government.

We do have different world views, no argument there, but you do realize that whereas you ignore evidence and reason in favor of what your holy book says, I discard anything which is contrary to or unsupported by evidence and reason.

I think you are being self-contradictory with your last sentence. You write that I am challenging you to think but by that same token you just admitted that you limit your own thinking via “god glasses”.

If the Bible is true and your god is real then there should be evidence which bears that out. You are being dishonest with yourself when you start with a conclusion that “X is true” and proceed to automatically reject anything suggesting otherwise simply because “X is true”.

The process of rational thought involves first admitting your ignorance; “I do not know if X is true or false”, sometimes called the null hypothesis. Then setting out to find evidence pointing in either direction and not moving in that direction until such evidence is found, no matter how strongly you may want one direction over the other.

To be honest, if you strip out all the evil shit in the Bible and stick with just the Sunday school kid version of a god who is nothing but caring , loving, and wanting of the very best for everyone, I might want that to be true. However, even if that was all the Bible said I could not simply accept it as true in the absence of reason and evidence. I know the universe does not exist according to my wants and desires and wishing for something to be true does not justify my pretending that it actually is.

 

The Problem with FAITH

Dec 18, 2012

 

Faith

I’ve been watching the “news” since it happened, an incident covered by the media with damn near the same scrutiny as a murder or rape case.  In case the reader was lucky enough to be spared this descent into vapidity, shortly after the 2012 election, local radio host, historian and, best I can tell, all around nice guy Bill Way posted a comment on Facebook which read as follows.

A short message to Obama voters. To vote for him with a 9.2 unemployment rate, $16,000,000,000 in debt and an israeli war, a pimp walking prez married to cheetahs daughter…expect what you will most certainly get. bye bye medicare. hello homeless. I love America except for the idiots.

So what is your first thought after reading that?  If you happen to be Harrell Carter then Bill Way’s derision of Obama means he is obviously a member of the KKK and revels in the thought of lynching every black person he meets?  Well that would have to be the conclusion reached by the local branch of the NAACP and their leader Harrell Carter judging by the massive shit storm they called down as a result.  I’m obviously exaggerating their conclusion but calling press conferences and demanding punitive action be carried out by the management of WNWS over a Facebook post, you have got to be kidding!  The assumption that race motivated the comment is nonsense.  Way was addressing “Obama voters” and Obama would never have been reelection in the absense of a substantial percentage of white voters; otherwise known as the non-colored people Carter’s organization does not advance.  This however is beside the point as my real aim is to address Harrell Carter’s claim of being offended by thoughts and words.

A Jackson Sun article published on November 19th stated that “NAACP leaders have objected to recent comments made by a local radio show host on his Facebook page.”  More specifically the President of the local chapter, Harrell Carter, a former talk show host himself, stated that Bill Way’s post were “derogatory.”  In a perfect world where everyone possessed egos able to withstand more abuse than a single sheet of tissue paper, the proper response to Harrell Carter by everyone else would have been “…and the problem is?”  You see, Carter’s subjective finding that Way’s words were derogatory is irrelvant to the truth or falsity of the statement.

Alas we do not live in a perfect world, not even close.  As Christopher Hitchens said, the problem is that “our prefrontal lobes are too small. And our adrenaline glands are too big.  And our thumb finger opposition isn’t all what it might be.”  In the same Jackson Sun article Carter stated that “Mr. Way does have the freedom of speech, […] but we cannot condone those statements.” which is an idiotic statement.  Harrell Carter seems to think that we should live in a free and open democratic society but he also never wants to be offended.  I like to think 99% of the people who will ever read this can see the fallacy of that position, but for those who missed it allow me explain.  One cannot simultaneously support free speech on the one hand while attempting to penalize someone for speaking that with which you disagree on the other.  Free speech means sometimes having to hear or read views and opinions you might not like.  (Yes Harold, that includes views from real, actual racists, none of which host a radio show at WNWS, sorry to burst your bubble.)

So we have Harrell Carter and allegedly every card carrying member of the NAACP with their panties bunched up in a collective knot; but over what?  Words on a computer screen, that’s it!  From the inquisition-like manner with which Harrell Carter reacted, calling emergency meetings like Superman calling up the Justice League, something dire must have resulted from Bill Way’s comment.  Did Carter or an NAACP member unwittingly expose themselves to Way’s anti-Obama blasphemy and contract some debilitating illness?  No, it was much worse, THEY WERE OFFENDED!  (DUN:DUN:DUN!)  Harrell Carter would have been better off presenting a counter argument to the points made by Bill Way, but as he was unable or just to damn lazy, he decided to play the victim.  The easy out in any debate is to slander your opponent and Carter’s trump card was to portray he opponent as racist.

Harrell Carter, with the assistance of the local NAACP, thus began appealing to political correctness as a means of infringing the intellectual freedom of another person.  I would ask Harrell Carter, what’s wrong with being offended?  When did “sticks and stone may break my bones” stop being relevant?   Isn’t that what we teach children?  That’s what we teach toddlers for Christ sake!  “He called me an idiot!”  “Don’t worry about him, he is a dick!”  Now we have adults screaming “I WAS OFFENDED!  I WAS OFFEND!  AND I HAVE RIGHTS!”  So what, be offended, nothing happens.  You are an adult, grow up, deal with it!  “I WAS OFFENDED!”  I don’t care!  By what standard are we to judge something as offensive?  How do we make it an offense to offend people?  To whom do we grant the power to determine what is and is not fit to be heard and read by the public?  Being offended is subjective, it has everything to do with you as an individual, a collective, a group, a society, a community, your moral conditioning, your religious beliefs, what offends me may not offend you and you want to punish people over this?  The whole notion is antithetical to liberty itself, the only remedy requires everyone to surrender authority over their thoughts and words of another.

Bill Way is not the bad guy in this drama, think what you will about his views they are just that, his personal view.  Nobody, including Carter, has suffers injury.  The fact that Harrell Carter felt it worth his and the NAACP’s time to petition Way’s employer to take punitive action would be laughable if it were not sad that we live a time where complaints presented by the NAACP are not critically examined on the merits but accepted as gospel truth.  Was there any measurable harm done Mr. Carter?  If not, then please mold your fragile ego and vapid complaint into a suitable shape before reinserting into the orifice of ignorance from which it was pulled and return when you have matured into an adult capable of addressing criticism with reason.

I was pleased to hear Bill back on the air this morning and glad that Carter did not achieve his goal of removing Way from his show.  I didn’t agree with how management groveled and bemoaned Bill’s “mistake” but it was a business decision so I cannot blame them.  To those who would assume I am some Bill Way fan boy I am anything but.  I don’t agree with Bill Way on a number of his positions, his claim that homosexuality is choice comes to mind.  The intellectually honest approach would have been to address the merits of what was asserted, not abuse the political power of an organization over which you happen to preside as a means to resolve a personal vendetta; that’s called being a dick.

Harrell Carter and the NAACP would do themselves a service to remember one very important fact about the free speech he and his fellow members purport to support.  It’s not just the right of the person who speaks to be heard, it is the right of everyone in the audience to listen, and to hear.  And every time you silence someone you make yourself a prisoner of your own action because you deny yourself the right to hear something.  In other words, your own right to hear and be exposed is as much involved in all these cases as is the right of the other to voice his or her view.  Indeed as John Stuart Mill said, if all in society were agreed on the truth and beauty and value of one proposition, all except one person, it would be most important, in fact it would become even more important, that that one heretic be heard, because we would still benefit from his perhaps outrageous or appalling view.  If the view is right, you are granted the opportunity to exchange error for truth; if it is wrong, you gain what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

Please feel free to leave a comment and let everyone know what you think.

     I had an opportunity to attend Sunday service at a “non-denominational” church called Love and Truth (close-minded my ass).  Oh how religion has modernized itself, I’m speaking strictly of its image, even Love and Truth still holds to the same bigoted views required of the Bible, they are not THAT modern.  Now, I am never surprised when I come across religious hypocrisy but what I witnessed at Love and Truth made me smile and think “Seriously?”  It is common knowledge that the overwhelming majority of religious people have never read the very book in which they place so much stock, but the story of Jesus Cleansing the Temple is a classic that every self-respecting Christian has heard.  It is for this reason that I found it curious why none of the members of Love and Truth had anything to say about the ATM machine sitting just outside the entrance to the sanctuary.  Of course it wasn’t called an ATM because that would just be a dead giveaway, in large print, it was labeled “Giving Center”, completely different from an ATM right?  You see a Bank ATM is used to transfers money whereas the church “Giving Center” is used to transfer money.

To those who missed Sunday school that day, or those who have never attended a more fundamentalist, “old time religion”, type church the story goes like this.

And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. – Mark 11:15

According the biblical account Jesus wasn’t shy about telling the money changers to get the hell out.  If you read the account given in the book of John it says when Jesus walked into the Temple “he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.”  Even if you are not like me and doubt the stories you have to admit what happened next is pretty bad-ass for a character who is constantly presented as meek and gentle.  Did Jesus walk over and explain why what they were doing was wrong?  Did he attempt to correct what he saw as a trivial matter?

“OH, HELL NO!”, said Jesus; like a BOSS!

The J-MAN actually took time to construct (or being a demi-god called down from the sky like Thor calling Mjölnir) a whip with multiple cords before applying it thoroughly to the asses of those selling sacrificial animals and exchanging currencies while flipping tables and shit.  Apparently Jesus didn’t think commerce had any place in “his fathers house” and nothing guarantees a message getting across like multiple leather strips cracking across some ass.

Getting back to Love and Truth and their ATM machine “Giving Center”.  Do I think some zealous Christian should walk in, break the ATM machine and commence whipping the ass of the Pastor who authorized the machine?  NO.  I’m just pointing out what I came to realize shortly before realizing the absurdity of faith, religion is a business; one in which happiness and the promise of never dieing can be had for the low, low price of the surrender of your critical faculties.  If it were not obvious enough, Love and Truth has six franchise campus locations spread over West Tennessee; got to keep that money net spread far and wide I imagine.  You cannot buy doves or oxen for sacrifice at Love and Truth, Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, allegedly, but you can buy multiple items with hip and cool logos; totally different kind of commerce so Jesus wouldn’t mind.

I don’t expect anyone attending Love and Truth to see anything wrong with the money machine.  Being religious means never having to think for yourself.  The Pastor says the money changing machine “Giving Center” is part of Gods plan and the Pastor is best friends with God, so ignore the cognitive dissonance welling up in your mind, stop thinking, swipe your damn credit card and give the Pastor Love and Truth 10% of your income plus how ever much makes you feel better about yourself.  After all, you wouldn’t want to piss off the Pastor God would you?