Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Raise Your Voice

Posted in Edger by Skepdude on October 20, 2008

It takes a lot to get me angry. But if I look for it on the Internet, I can find it. When reading about Lisa McPherson – who died as a result of Scientology – my blood boils and my fists contract. When I read a website that documents “3,254 people killed, 235,558 injured and over $455,070,000 in economic damages” from quack medicine, frauds and snake-oil merchants who are simply there to make a quick buck, I am ready to burst.

I want to address the question of being involved in sceptical circles, in being (a kind of) social critic. Why do it? “Why do you care about these things?”

I don’t care who you are, dear reader.

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Does faith healing really work?

Posted in Edger by Skepdude on October 17, 2008

This is a follow-up to a previous post.

Ever wondered why people supposedly get out of their wheelchairs and run about on stage during a healing crusade; but no one has ever regrown an amputated limb?

There are a few possibilities:

1. God is not omnipotent. Regrowing an amputated limb is beyond what he can do. (Remember, this is the same ‘god’ who flooded the whole earth, parted the Red Sea, created humans from dust, etc). This obviously does not make sense even if you look at it from the theological side.

2. God refuses to regrow limbs due to reasons that we, being humans, are not supposed to comprehend. As the popular apologetic argument goes: We cannot understand god’s ways. Most Christians that I have spoken to love using this cop-out.

However, this runs contrary to the Bible:

(Matthew 7:7) Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

(Matthew 21:21) I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

Uh-oh. That argument doesn’t seem to work either.

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“What matters is that they show respect.”

Posted in Edger by Skepdude on October 14, 2008

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, recently released a press release chastising the writers of the Fox crime show “Bones” for an on-screen portrayal of blasphemy, saying that one of the lines spoken by a character on the show “cuts to the heart and soul of Catholicism” and “was entirely gratuitous.”

This is the line in question, which occurs during a conversation between two characters and is spoken by the show’s title character: ““One pastor gets her teeth whitened, and the other drinks wine on Sunday mornings and tells everyone that it’s been miraculously transformed into blood. Which of those is more outlandish?”

““It does not matter that non-Catholics may not accept what happens at Mass. What matters is that they show respect,” commented Mr. Donohue, whose successful career of Catholic advocacy work includes respectfully blaming Jessica Delfino for terrorism, respectfully saying that Jews control Hollywood, and respectfully referring to the creators of “South Park” as “little whores” (they respectfully cajoled him right back in a later episode). He has also waged a profoundly respectful war against PZ Myers for desecrating the Eucharist, and against University of Central Florida student Webster Cook for refusing to be force-fed a magical cracker.

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Is religion child abuse? Lets ask Matani Shakya.

Posted in Edger by Skepdude on October 8, 2008

After being inspected, probably in the nude, by a cabal of elderly religious judges for bodily imperfections, she was then taken to her final test: a night in a room filled with the severed heads of farm animals. Really. If she showed any fear, she would be dumped back with her family. But, she didn’t, and she now gets to live a life of complete seclusion in a temple, with no contact with her family, being adored by the devout. This will go on until she hits puberty, at which point she will be unceremoniously deposed by another lucky young Shakya and will spend the rest of her life in probable poverty and cursed with a superstition that keeps bachelors from seeking the hand of young ex-goddesses.

Also, Matani is three years old

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I Used to Love Jesus

Posted in Edger by Skepdude on October 6, 2008

I write a lot of negative things, and a lot of people get really pissed off at me thinking that for some reason just because I look critically at the Poster Boys of atheism and the militant sentiments that often fly off of them I for some reason am a christian apologist. That this means I’m a closet christian. That this means I just don’t understand how much religion is hurting our world. That this means I must be clueless to the fact that people in theocratic countries suffer because of religion every day. That this means I don’t understand the pain and suffering a child unknowingly goes through because of religious indoctrination. That this means I must think abortion is okay, because I love Christians.

I do love Christians. My mom, sister, step-dad, aunt, grandmother, cousins and best friend are all Christian. And I love them all, very much. I don’t support people who cut them down intellectually, emotionally and socially because of their faith. I don’t support people who don’t want to hear their side of issues, who don’t want them to be able to practice their faith or who think that talking to them is a waste of time. I don’t support the Rational Response Squad because of the horribly intolerant attitude toward religion. I am *not* intolerant of religion. I am intolerant of religion in my legislation, I am intolerant of religion controlling my decisions on birth, I am intolerant of religion starting wars, I am intolerant of religion being pushed onto children who have no choice, I am intolerant of religion in the class room, I am intolerant of my taxpayer dollars going to religious schools, I am intolerant of my gay best friend not being allowed to get married, I am intolerant of people thinking I have no morals because I have no religion, I am intolerant of the militarism that is portrayed through religion, I am intolerant of hate crimes…

I may be nice to Christians, and I may want to hear what they have to say…and I may also not want to listen to atheists bitch and moan or listen to them talk about how stupid Christians and religion is – but this in no way translates to “I’m a scared little atheist girl who is just so scared of the big scary world! I’m just not ready to tell religions to go away, and I just want everyone to get along!” … I don’t care if everyone gets along, as long as there are capitalists there is competition and as long as there is competition there is fighting. I’m totally cool with that. I just don’t care about what religious people do in the privacy of their homes.

It’s like sex… don’t force it on me or any children to do it and don’t do it in parliament or the schools or in public and I don’t care what you do. Do it in your own home, of building that YOU pay for with consenting adults.

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A quick note to creationists

Posted in Edger by Skepdude on September 15, 2008

Dear creationists,

As much as I love you all to death for making it clear why good science education is an absolute necessity, I have recently come across one of the most irritating straw man arguments I have heard from you, namely the misconception that evolution is atheism. I know that although not all of you think that this is the case, a lot of you do – enough to make me decide to write this quick note.

The simple fact is that you creationists need to understand that the theory of evolution has nothing to do with atheism or even religion for that matter. Failing to understand this makes us skeptical people want to smash our heads on our desks in frustration, and I don’t think that you want to be responsible for any injury sustained by another human being, do you? I have noticed that whenever I pose a seemingly simple question to you creationists along the lines of “Where in the theory of evolution does it say that there is no god?”, most of you start fumbling, fudging, preaching or quoting from the Bible. This does not help your cause, creationists. This makes you look really ignorant. Just so you know.

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Mufti Morality – Death to Cable-Viewers

Posted in Edger by Skepdude on September 13, 2008

Sheikh Salih Ibn al-Luhaydan is of the highest order of mullahs in Saudi Arabia. A recent report from BBC Newsstates:

The most senior judge in Saudi Arabia [al-Luhaydan] has said it is permissible to kill the owners of satellite TV channels which broadcast immoral programmes.

Some of you may know, the fasting month began recently. The month is called Ramadahn (not be confused with my antagonist Tariq Radaman). All forms of luxury are restricted or reduced greatly. This is a month when various questions are asked of mufti’s (judges). Recently it was brought to al-Luhaydan’s attention that women wore very little on satelittle television stations! (Yes, I can see you gasping in shock!) 

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The world still seems to exist

Posted in Edger by Skepdude on September 10, 2008

Reports are still coming in, but so far it seems that the Earth has not been destroyed by the LHC. We don’t have enough information yet, but it seems to still be here.

It is potentially arguable though, that we don’t have any transitional Earths between yesterday and today, and so the theory of the Earth still existing remains just that. It seems equally likely that the Earth was destroyed yesterday, but then instantly recreated by God an intelligent external agent this morning in the exact state that it would be had the Earth not been destroyed.

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A Christian critique of Scientology

Posted in Edger by Skepdude on August 27, 2008

We’ve all heard about this strange new religion, this almost science fiction-like organization that worships its dead founder, blames all misfortune on some invading ‘force’ that came into our world millennia before any of us were born, demands money from all of its followers, has a long history of harassing and persecuting apostates, and has an obsessive fear of modern medical science, particularly where psychiatry is concerned. Today I sat down with one of these Christians and talked to him about Scientology.

“Scientology isn’t a religion, it’s a business,” he told me. “Look, it has a strictly-regulated hierarchical structure with a small leadership core- a secretive board of directors, an executive director, a bunch of subsidiaries and underlings that have to do everything that the layer of leadership above them tells them to do. I’m just glad that the College of Cardinals had the good sense to elect a Pope with the courage to stand up to all these New Agey, postmodern cults.”

“Off to a good start,” I muttered.

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Kids in Quebec to be “confused” by religious choices

Posted in Edger by Skepdude on August 27, 2008

The province of Quebec (in Canada) has begun requiring all grade 1 through 11 students to take classes that teach various ethical and religious systems.

Some traditional Catholic parents have tried to keep their kids out but the school boards have turned down their requests.

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