The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which is the nation’s largest association of atheists and agnostics, is unveiling what is believed to be one of the first nontheistic billboards erected in Madison, Wis.
“We think it is time for the rest of us to use the mass media to counter the ubiquity of religious messages on roadsides everywhere!”
The Foundation will be erecting another billboard to greet attendees of its 30th national convention, meeting on Oct. 12-13 in Madison. A smaller billboard on East Johnson Street by Fordem Avenue (passed by nearly everyone coming in from the airport) will carry the “Beware of Dogma” message on one side, while the other side will sport the stained-glass motif and the words “Imagine No Religion.”
My guess is that religious fundamentalists, who believe in free speech so long as this includes only their message and freedom of religion so long as people believe in supernatural nonsense, will deface some FFRF billboards.
Every time I consider the stranglehold that religious stupidity has on the US, I am, except for our obnoxious PM (puerile megalomaniac), thankful that I live in Canada.
Scientists Feel Miscast in Film on Life’s Origin appears in today’s New York Times.
Scientists, including Richard Dawkins and Eugenie C. Scott have revealed that their appearance in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed was induced under false pretenses.
Reputable scientists have eschewed so-called intelligent design since its resurrection by American creationists a decade ago. Yes, resurrection. The argument for design dates back to the Greeks and was last rehashed by Christian apologist William Paley in 1802. This argument from analogy might fool creationists, who are, after all, already fooled, but it fools nobody with two neurons to rub.
Part of the movies purpose was to whine about rejection of creationist pseudoscience by the scientific community. The rejection continues, and is seconded by NYT’s Cornelia Dean:
“There is no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution as an explanation for the complexity and diversity of life on earth. And while individual scientists may embrace religious faith, the scientific enterprise looks to nature to answer questions about nature. As scientists at Iowa State University put it last year, supernatural explanations are “not within the scope or abilities of science.””
The British government has released guidelines concerning the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in science classes. “The verdict: they are not science, and they have no place in the curriculum.” Better late than never. It reflects badly on American educators and politicians that they have too long displayed either ignorance of science or cowardly refusal to distinguish scientific reality from religious delusion.
Of course the makers of Expelled needed to resort to Rampant deception! Eternally outspoken PZ Myers would have enlived the movie, but not in the way that the producers hoped. The arch-deceptionists could not reasonably have expected some legitimate experts on science to otherwise appear in a movie intended to promote unscientific creationist stupidity.
“If he had known the film’s premise, Dr. Dawkins said in an e-mail message, he would never have appeared in it. “At no time was I given the slightest clue that these people were a creationist front,” he said.
Others might have appeared, but would have been more prepared for deceptiveness-in-interviewing.
Dr. Scott, whose organization advocates for the teaching of evolution and against what it calls the intrusion of creationism and other religious doctrines in science classes, said the filmmakers were exploiting Americans’ sense of fairness as a way to sell their religious views. She said she feared the film would depict “the scientific community as intolerant, as close-minded, and as persecuting those who disagree with them. And this is simply wrong.””
Americans’ sense of fairness? This appears to be confined mostly to atheists who have too long tolerated religious nonsense. American fundamentalist theists are so woefully short on a sense of fairness toward genuinely free speech that they would sooner vote for a Muslim presidential candidate than for an atheist. American fundamentalist theists are so woefully short on a sense of fairness that they presume to tell other how to live their lives on the basis of 2,000 year-old moralistic pronouncements in a book that they attribute to a nonexistent supernatural deity so lacking in omniscience as to have concocted mythology fraught with inconsistency.
Read more on other sites: Pharyngula: I have obtained a stolen, pre-release clip of Expelled!, Denyse O’Leary: paranoid projectionist, More dribblings from the producer of Expelled, Expelled producer seems to be embarrassed about his sneaky tactics, Ruloff’s claims are not credible, Any conservative can make an ass of themselves on Fox: Ben Stein gets crazy, Betrayed!, Watch out, faculty: biblical literalism will be enforced, Expelled comes to the NY Times’ attention, Spiegel gets into the act, too: Bad: Ben Stein in Hot-Pants for Intelligent Design, Expelled movie producer exposes the holy hand of Intelligent Design :
Praise Jesus, it’s the collapse of evangelical Christian rule in America. Rejoice!
I wrote this in response to a typical theist post reviewing God: The Failed Hypothesis, by Victor Stenger by dangoldfinch at Life Under the Blue Sky: The View From Below
His disapproval would make me inclined to buy his book, but I already knew what dangoldfinchs say Stenger has written.
Dangoldfinch needs to check his logic and his atheist sources—most acknowledge that you cannot logically disprove a negative. So it is illogical to demand disproof of God, particularly when it actually behooves theistic claimants to provide ‘proof’ for their claims.
However, it is possible to disprove falsifiable claims about the physical world. I think Stenger’s point is that the Bible does make unsubstantiable claims about natural events. Since the huge body of scientific knowledge provides an empirical (falsifiable, testable, verifiable) body of knowledge that better explains those naturalistic claims, then the God of the Bible is effectively reduced to an infinitesimally small probability and is, in essence, disproved by the fact that science provides much better explanations. The religious typically know virtually no science or logic, so it is hardly surprising that their arguments are risible.
““The [scientific] model need not be proven to be correct, just not proven to be incorrect.”
In other words, Stenger doesn’t actually put forth an argument at all.”
What part of falsifiable does dangoldfinch not understand? If a falsifiable hypothesis is not disproven—note the double negative—then that hypothesis stands until, if ever, it is disproven. If it is not disproven by successive discoveries, then it graduates to full theory, and ultimately to acceptance as scientific knowledge. In logic, it is recognized that inductions cannot be disproven. Dangoldfinch simply failed to understand what Stenger had written, so he misinterpreted Stenger in favor of his own misguided prejudices for unbelievable mythologies.
The burden of proof, or disproof, does not logically fall on the atheist. The burden of proof falls on the claimant—those theists who have failed in over 2,000 years to prove Yahweh, in almost 2,000 years to prove God, and in 1,400 years to prove Allah (same mythical entity, different dogmas). So, atheists do not believe in God because of the lack of evidence, the immeasurably better explanatory power of science, and all the religious mythology that strains credulity. The effective disproof of the God of the Bible is to be found in 200 years of amassed scientific knowledge.
“I think it is just one more piece of evidence that suggests atheists are terribly afraid of the Abrahamic God. After all, doesn’t it make sense to suggest that you can only really attack something that is real? I mean, logically speaking, if the Abrahamic God didn’t exist, would Stenger, Dawkins, Harris, et al have anyone or anything to attack? Their books would be quite meaningless (they are anyhow).”
Dangoldfinch claims that atheists must be arguing against something that must exist—sure, we disbelieve evidence-less improbable mythologies, but we argue against illogic, ignorance, misinformation, pseudoscience, bigotry, and religious violence. Those all exist and, though not all theists exhibit all of these, the correlation is too high to dismiss as a problem confined to fundamentalism.
“They never actually provide conclusive evidence that God doesn’t exist.”
Duh! Again, one cannot disprove a negative. Atheists do not believe that gods exist because religious claims for the existence of supernatural beings are not based on any empirical evidence for which science cannot provide a much better explanation—that is, supernatural mythologies are not believable, which is why faith is demanded of believers.
“Maybe someday atheists will come clean, be honest, and just admit that even though they know in their hearts that there is a God, specifically the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, they simply do not want to believe in Him because then they would be forced to submit to Him.”
Dream on! As to atheists fearing God, dangoldfinch is utterly mistaken and is projecting his own fears onto people who genuinely have none of the fears that theists love to imagine. There is nothing to submit to except stupid human-invented dogma and I have never been impressed by foolishness. The repeatedly observable fact that theist provide falsehoods and resort repeatedly to fallacies of logic do not themselves prove God’s nonexistence, but they do demonstrate that to believe in the unbelievable typically requires ignorance that spreads beyond holding deluded beliefs.
Theists love to make the empty threat that all atheists will go to hell for their disbelief. Theists merely want to believe all the myths about atheists because theists cannot imagine being free of their own indoctrinated fear, which is why they cling so tenaciously to ignorance.
“I suppose if the moral lessons of the Bible aren’t explanations, Jesus could have saved a lot of breath. It seems like he went to great lengths to explain appropriate behaviour.”
I think that it is much simpler to explain what one considers appropriate behavior (should-s) than to convincingly argue for those behaviors. However, I’ll concede that moral allegories often suffice to convince and that Jesus’ moral lessons could be regarded as moral explanations. I reacted to the wrong word because my objection is to being should upon.
I have no intention of studying the Bible because I do not accept the underlying precept (a supernatural says that you should behave this way), but I know enough to know that it is inconsistent.
As I said, when I was a kid I liked Jesus’ more tolerant moral tales. Take the story of the adulteress, for example: I think that a punishment should fit a crime (though better to fix the causes of the crime) so the notion of a crowd’s presuming to stone someone to death for mere adultery is preposterous and the crowd’s act is immoral according to other moral rules. The hypocrisy of juxtaposing thou-shalt-not-kill with stoning for adultery is utterly objectionable.
Before you think that Jesus was stopping that act and that such immoral prescriptions no longer occur, I remind you that a few years ago a Muslim woman was sentenced to be stoned to death (as soon as she’d delivered the baby conceived out of wedlock). Stoning and killings – mostly of the female participant – are still perpetrated in Islam. In this sense, Christendom is ahead of Islam, and mostly thanks to secularism in Christendom.
You said that you think that I believe in Christianity. No, I only accept the compassionate segments, and I accept those because we are all united by our common humanity. I don’t care who provides an explanation or under what pretext of authority it is written, the point is whether or not the moral rule makes humanistic sense. The problem that I see with the Bible is that many of the prescriptions are immoral (in a humanistic sense) or contradict one another.
The behavioral problem lies more with people than with religions, but people-problems spread into religion because people administer religions. Still, religions ideally could prescribe only humanistic behavior, and some people would still disobey.
The problem that excites some atheists to anti-religious sentiment lies in the fact that some religions are employed to justify and promote behaviors that are immoral. Intolerance and hatred are anti-humanistic, so Christianity continues to be guilty of less egregious crimes than stoning.
Islam is currently being subverted to the political aims of hateful imams. Those in Muslim countries who lack the education to see where their theocracy is headed are dupes on a collision course.
“If God kills, lies, cheats, discriminates, and otherwise behaves in a manner that puts the Mafia to shame, that’s okay, he’s God. He can do whatever he wants. Anyone who adheres to this philosophy has had his sense of morality, decency, justice and humaneness warped beyond recognition by the very book that is supposedly preaching the opposite.” ~ Dennis McKinsey in newsletter Biblical Errancy