Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quote of the day- Tim Minchin

"If I...
Stumbled on a watch I'd assume it had a watchmaker,
That a muffin presupposes a baker,
So you must agree sooner or later,
That this proves that there's a creator.
So if I put my foot in a stinker,
You'd assume the existence of a sphincter,
Thus you don't need to be a great thinker
To conclude that God's a bum."

-Tim Minchin


Here's the link

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beyond Belief News- 20 Sept 2010

A woman in Atlanta is showing her love for her child in a very strange way this week.  She is denying her infant the opportunity for doctors to save her life, and she is doing it to avoid angering her god.   Zayna Vamer knows what is best for her children.  She knows that she is right because she did the same thing with her daughters twin a year before.  One daughter turned out ok so it MUST be ok for the other as well.

The issue?  Doctors had to obtain a court order to force the surgery for her other little girl, and she is willing to continue to defy doctors until they force her again now.  
Her only fear is that placing her children in such consistent danger will result in them being taken away.

Read the story here

What a loving parent.

This is a time where freedom of religion should find its limits.
No one should have the right to endanger their children, or ANYONE else because of their personally held beliefs.

She SHOULD fear having her children taken away.  She is allowing personal and unsupported beliefs to endanger them.

That is abuse.

Even though she is well intentioned, her children are in danger.

Right now.

As we speak, she endangers them by being a modern day Abraham and risking her children for the love of her god.

If those are her priorities, then let her have her god.  And let someone else have her kids.

Someone who will love them and be proper parents to them.

As the parent of a beautiful 7 year old boy, I can tell you that nothing is more important than his health and safety.


Not a belief.

Not a god.

Not anything.

And these children deserve to be number one too.

Here is a message to you Zayna.


If your god asks you to risk your children's health, then he is not a god that is worthy of your worship or your obedience.

If God gave you these children, and made you love them as you do, then it doesn't make sense not to question instructions that might risk that love and those children.

Zayna, please!

Stop praying for them, and start thinking for them instead.

If you can't, then I hope that someone takes them from you before you do them harm that can't be undone.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Catholic School System- Time to go!

There is something fundamentally wrong with our school system.  It is
critically underfunded.

Is there anyone who would deny this fact? 

What people don't consider in the search for a problem is that we are
currently funding twice as many school boards as we need to or even
should be funding.

We currently fund the English Public school board, the french public
school board, the English Catholic School board and the French Catholic
school board. 

We only have a need and in fact a right, to the public school system.
A publicly funded  Catholic school board is not only extraneous, but
it is unethical and most of all expensive.

Conservative estimates are that the school boards share 500 million dollars or
more across Canada for administration costs that are duplicated in a multi school board system. (70 Million in BC alone)

Catholics will cry "foul!" and many others will not see the need, but
when we examine the Catholic school boards right to existence we can see
that a public funding of such a venture is politically unethical,
financially irresponsible, and a complete violation of separation of
church and state.
Even the UN has heavily criticized Canada for its obvious Catholic
favouritism in the school system.

We continue to ignore that international ruling.

By funding ONLY catholic religious schools we are ALL paying for
Catholic education even though many of us are not catholic.  Clearly
not a fair use of funds when we are all forced to put money into a
religious education that is not of our own religion (or lack of one).
I am not speaking out against catholic schools (although I would if
given the chance.  It is childhood indoctrination),
I am speaking out against a government funded religious program. 
I am speaking out against government endorsing a specific religion.
I am speaking out against the government spending that is clearly not
representative of desires of the population as a whole.

We are not a catholic nation.

If we are to give money to the Catholics in order to both be
representative of our population and to avoid the appearance of the
government endorsed religion being Catholic, we must give money to the
Muslims, the Jews, the Mormons, the Jainists, the Scientologists, the
Sikhs, etc......

That is a very onerous task to ensure that all faiths are government
endorsed and financed.

Why support any of them?

They are free to hold whatever belief they wish, no matter how irrational and crazy I might feel it is, but for them to command 500 million dollars or more in order for them to have government funded SCHOOLS to teach those unsupported and unshared beliefs to their children is asinine and unethical.

It is discriminatory towards the other religions.
It is financially irresponsible
It is unethical to present Catholicism as the only government endorsed
It funds employee discrimination as Catholic teachers as they can apply
to ALL schools where everyone else can only apply to the public school
system.  (Catholic schools only hire Catholic teachers)  That is
discrimination based on religion.
It also goes against the idea of separation of church and state, an
ideology that must be present in all modern governments in order to
function as the voice of a very diverse people.

It is time that we do away with this financially draining, unethical,
discriminatory, middle age example of government endorsed religion in
favour of a system that will give full attention to the school system as
a whole.

After all it is only the kids who benefit from a fully functional,
educationally focused, financially stable school system.

Open privately funded religious schools if teaching
your own children what you want them to believe is too much for you to do on your own, but
don't ask the government to provide what you are too lazy to give them.

In a system divided by religious fault-lines where everyone suffers from
critical underfunding, lets put all of our eggs in one basket.

A secular basket.

That is the only way to be fair to everybody and to truly represent the Canadian populace without discrimination.

Indoctrinating your children with your privately held religious beliefs is clearly not the governments responsibility and the children are suffering in a school system whose funding is divided.

Why not think of them, and do what is right?

One school system for all and everyone wins.

Cartoon found here

Daily Snippet- Eternal Earthbound Pets

This is simply the funniest thing that I have seen in a long time.

Christians who are waiting patiently for the rapture can now rest assured that their loved pets will be cared for long after their superior and saved souls are gone.

Atheists have promised it.

A group of atheists have decided to make the ultimate business proposition.  Entrust the only people that you are SURE will be left behind with the care of your soulless pets after the rapture.
They have called it Eternal Earth Bound Pets.

Is this a scam?

OF COURSE it is.  They have no intention of actually having to render services, and every intention of taking the money.

However, they are very open about this fact from the outset.  They state very clearly that they are atheists, and as such do not believe in the rapture, but still Christians send money.

Is it deception?

Clearly not.

It IS however a fool and his money, and the cautionary tale about how they are parted.

Moral?  Maybe not

Who could ever claim that taking advantage of delusional people is moral.

But awesome?

I would say unequivocally....


Friday, September 10, 2010

Jackass wants to Burn Qur'an..... Why do we care???

Unless you are have been living in a hole under a rock this week, you have heard about the "Qur'an burning" event that is scheduled for tomorrow to "commemorate the 9/11 attacks”.

I have a few things to say about this, or rather to the people involved.

First, I will deal with the reverend who is staging this hateful stunt. 

Let me say that this is not about the Quran (a book for which I have no respect link to own blog about islam) it is about his level of jackassery.

Rev Terry Jones, let me be the first to say it "You are an asshole." 

There are many reasons for me saying this, but this is the latest example. 

This is not a protest to a ridiculous death threats for cartoon art like the "Draw Mohammad Day", nor is it a protest against the outrageous harassment of a church- goer for not swallowing a cracker , these protests were staged in response to outrageous acts of disproportionate anger/threats/insults/hatred over something relatively minor.  No, what the "good" reverend is planning is a statement, a statement of hatred towards the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, and in remembrance of their victims. 
The problem is that in his statement he includes all Muslims as the perpetrators by burning their common holy book. 

Don't get me wrong, I have no love for that hateful book, but to blanket insult all Muslims in your protest against only a select few sends the wrong message.  It says that he sees them all all Muslims as terrorists and, for that, he will burn their club rule book.

He is wrong.

Not all Muslims are terrorists, any more than all Christians are homophobes, or all Scientologists are idiots (hmmm maybe this is a bad example, but you get my point).

Muslims, for the vast majority of cases outside of the fundamentalist countries, are the same as every other religion in that they don’t' really believe what is contained in their holy book. 

They pick and choose what parts they follow. 

I have met many fantastic Muslim people, in fact, I work with one. 

He is a very intelligent young man, whose response to the book burning was "who cares, there are lots more".

The only reason for the Reverend to do this, is to incite his hatred towards all Muslims and to widen the divide in the American people with their fellow Americans (those who happen to be of Islam).

Also as an aside, does he remember that many Muslims were victims in the 9/11 attacks as well?
So this book burning is not a remembrance of those victims, this is a slap in the face to many of the people who fell that day.
What he wants is a vehicle with which to spread hatred, and this was a very polarizing and sensitive issue to use as that vehicle.

It has nothing to do with what he is doing, only WHY he is doing it.

So to that I say, "Hey Reverend.  You are an asshole."

Secondly, I would like to send a message out there to the world and military leaders who responded to this non-story.


Shame on you for giving this man the attention he seeks.

Shame on you for lending this man’s protest the validity it needed.

Shame on you for even addressing it.

Obama, your response to this situation should have been "What?  He is burning his own property?  Why are you bothering me with stories of people burning their own stuff??  I have more important things to do, I am the president!"

 <- This puppy is more important on a national scale than Reverend Jones!

Shame on you for acting like it is a big deal. 

NO ONE has the right to have their traditions protected from criticism from people who don't hold those traditions dear.

The reverend has the right to do this to his own stuff if he feels like it and no one has the right NOT to be offended by the actions of others as long as they break no law in doing so.

We DO have the right to ignore him though.

So shame on you Obama, shame on you Steven Harper, and shame on all the military officials that condemned his jackassery as anything more than one guy being a dick by purposefully angering others by burning HIS OWN STUFF.

What you have done with your condemnation is participate in the blasphemy laws that sharia supporters so dearly want implemented all over the world.
You have given credence to the thought that religion should be somehow protected from opposing opinion in a public forum.

We need MORE criticism of dogmas, not less.
More promotion of critical thinking, not less.

Condemning a man’s free speech, merely because you are afraid of the religious response if you don't pander to their childish offence is despicable.

So again, shame on you.

Lastly, to everyone who is reading this and feels offence at what the Reverend is doing, I have a two things to say.

First, have you even read anything about this nut-job?  He is another Pastor  Fred Phelps.

He hates everyone in arms reach, and has actually cooperated with Phelp's church in protesting homosexuals in their "God Hates Fags" campaign.
He wrote a book called "The Devil is Islam" condemning the violence in that religion.  (which is ironic, because until he sorts out the violence in his own religion’s book, he should keep his mouth shut on such things for fear of looking hypocritical).
He has condemned Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and Hinduism and all other religions for being based on demonic possession.
He has put signs outside his church reading “no homo for mayor”
He has written a rule book (full of misspellings and grammatical errors) for Students at Jones' Dove World Outreach Center which contains rules like;
Students are "not allowed to visit family members or friends."; and
No Alcohol, candy, or eating out at restaurants; and
Putting students on a scale once a week; and this gem
Students must "wash or shower at least once a day but not more then (sic) 2 a day."

In other words, he is a basket-case, a hate monger, and as nutty as squirrel shit.

Why do we care what such people have to say? 

Just dismiss him as a freak show and be done with him.

Secondly, and this is the real point here, why do we care in the first place?

One person has DIED in protest of this action (which may or may not even take place anymore, as he is attempting to hold his books hostage in exchange for the ground zero mosque location being moved).
Is one persons lack of respect for  their own personal property and for other peoples opinions really worth other people DYING??

Honestly people!

He is burning is own property.
He is not hurting anyone.
There are LOTS more Qur'ans.,  Iit is not like he is burning the last ones on earth.

and listen closely.......


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Objective Morality- Does it exist?

I hear this a lot in conversation with theists, "if you don't believe in god, then from where do you get your morality?" or "without god there can be no true and objective morality" or even "without god anything is permissable".

I am tired of hearing it, so lets talk about it.

What we are talking about here is an objective morality.  It really has very little to do with the existence of a god, and more to do with the nature of morality and the future of how we solve problems in a societal context.

If we say that there is an objective morality (as most theists would have us believe), then morality should be a timeless constant.

Never changing

That simply isn't true.  If we look at morality today, we might think this, but as soon as we look back at what was moral hundreds of years ago we can see an enormous shift.

Does this prove anything?  Maybe it is just our perception of morality that has changed, and morality itself has been constant while we keep struggling towards it.

Hmmmm, possible?

No.  It isn't.

From where would an objective morality originate?


If morality is objective, then it exists OUTSIDE god and is a universal constant.

IF god didn't make it up, then it is universal and has no origin.


Ok, as little sense as a god made morality makes, this makes less.  Morality must be born from somewhere, as it is a set of rules to assist us in living together.  Since we haven't always existed, neither could rules for our coexistence have existed forever, so we can dismiss that one.

If it doesn't exist outside god, then he made it up.  Just made it up, according to how he thought things would work best.

Now it doesn't matter if you think that his knowledge is the best place to derive such a morality, it still means that it is SUBJECTIVE.

He made it up.

IF he made it up, and then failed to pass on that morality in such a way as to have us clearly understand it as a planetary whole (which he clearly hasn't), then his moral system fails.  It fails because if he creates a universal moral code, and then fails to give it to us, but yet still judges us for failure to adhere to it, we can judge HIM to be immoral.  And we can no longer trust in any subjective morality that he has created for fear that it too will fall prey to the same logical problems that the very creation of it did.   Even leaving that aside, if we forget all the issues with a god created and objective morality, then we still run into the problem of definitions.

Is an objective morality moral?

If there is a set of rules that is to be followed without question (because the very act of questioning it makes it subjective) is it still morality?


It is obedience.

If you merely obey the universal moral code with no thought to the consequences of your actions for others, then you are not moral.

You not ethical.

You are not concerned with suffering.

You are not humane

You are merely a slave.

Obedient and unthinking.

Morality is more than that.

It has to be, and by definition I don't think that anyone would disagree.

So to say that god created morality is to say that morality doesn't exist.

WE decide morality, that is the only way that it can be moral.

That is why our laws change, that is why our morality changes, that is why our norms change.

Because when confronted with a problem, we think about it.
We consider the consequences from a position of concern for ourselves and for others.
And we attempt to move forward in our ability to live together without subjugating the lives of others under the umbrella of OUR morality.

So we change it as we discover the problems with it.

Think of morality like this;

Morality is a subjective conversation that best decides on how to enact the "My rights begin where yours end" tenet.

And remember two things;

Morality can't exist where obedience is the only virtue; and

We must think to survive.

Any thoughts?


Monday, September 6, 2010

The Atheist Conclusion

Guest Blogger of the Month- Martin Gasser

 In my second edition of Guest Blogger, I am excited to have a man write for Atheist Evolution whom I have known and respected for 12 years.  Martin Gasser and I first met in the crucible of military unarmed combat, and although he was in a leadership position in the regiment to which I belonged, I always considered him a friend and looked up to him as a person.  I have served under him proudly in the best years of my career, and we served together overseas on my first NATO tour.  He taught me much of what I know about the military, and the skills that I  need to survive in the battlefield and, although he doesn't know it, he teaches me still more to this day in helping me develop the way that I think about, and view the universe.
It was 11 years after our first meeting that I learned of his objectivist outlook (sadly after he had moved away and the possibility of talking about it over beers was far more unlikely), and I hope you will enjoy the same surprise and urge for introspection that his words gave to me.

Before I ramble on too much, here is Martin Gasser on;

"The Atheist Conclusion"

Martin Gasser is a 23 year veteran of the Canadian armed forces in the Royal Canadian Dragoons.  As a reconnaissance soldier he has served overseas numerous times as both soldier and leader.  He is a father and a husband, and a strident thinker.  His objectivist leanings were inspired by Ayn Rand and her words, and you can read HIS words and thoughts at his blog "Uncommon Sense"

Considering that this is a blog specifically about Atheism I guess, logically it falls to me to explain why Objectivists arrive at the Atheist conclusion. That goal drags me back to axiomatic metaphysical and epistemological positions.

Objectivist Metaphysics acknowledges that the universe is stable, which is to say that it is governed by natural laws. It is knowable and the laws governing it are absolute. Mans knowledge of the laws governing the universe may be incomplete in places but there are natural and scientific laws, and the universe does work in accordance with them. The fact that we do not, as of yet, understand all there is to understand does not negate the facts of this reality.

All religions, to some extent, deny the knowable universe. To them it is malleable (unstable), able to be altered on the whim of their deity. It sprang out of nothing created by and for god. It is also unknowable, in that God can (and may) arbitrarily alter any and all of its “laws”. So while all mystics (the faithful, true believers, the religious and the pious of any and all faiths organized or not) do seek to acquire knowledge from and about the Universe as it is they, through their religion, introduce the arbitrary, the fanciful and the miraculous into it.

Epistemologically objectivists recognize man as a being of rational faculty, which is to say that he validates knowledge through the use of his mind. Man is born tabula rasa, it is through reason that he integrates and validates the information from his senses. He can through this process arrive at certainty with regard to the knowledge he has integrated. Epistemologically Objectivism knows that man MUST think to survive.

Mystics believe man can be granted certain knowledge through divine revelation, and that there is no validation required for certain ideas and ideals garnered by that method. The religious claim that we possess certain innate knowledge, that our brains are pre-loaded from the factory as it were. At the core, the believer can not claim any knowledge as being irrefutable for the mere existence of God, an omnipotent being, means that what is true and valid today could be negated tomorrow by divine mandate. All of these epistemological machinations lead to one thing, the separation of man from the process of thought, from reason. He is told to believe certain things only because god ordained it and not through any rational process. He, therefore, knows that he can not rely on the real physical world and its laws because it could all change if God willed it.

The mystics take the arbitrary and make the word of god out of it. Remember that religious metaphysics (how one views the universe), epistemology (how one acquires knowledge about that universe), and ethics (how one ought to react within human society) is based on the arbitrary.

For the Objectivist it is from the metaphysical and epistemological that we derive our atheism. It is a by-product of the philosophy, a corollary of our existence in the real known and knowable universe. It isn’t a central tenant, it’s not a commandment or a directive but a rational, non-contradictory position arrived at by observing reality and integrating that information through the use of reason. Any philosophy (including all religions) that proposes or supports the existence of god must do so arbitrarily, without evidence and without reason to back it up.

Objectivism simply can't accept this sort of unstable universe, nor that irrational approach to it without denying the central tenet to it.

Man must think to survive.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post as much as I have enjoyed providing it.   I also hope I have been able to show you, how Objectivists arrive at atheism as a true and valid position. If you want to know more about the Objectivist position or Objectivism itself I would recommend the resources available for free from the Ayn Rand Institute (http://www.aynrand.org/).

Thursday, September 2, 2010