Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Oh John Edward, can you BE more weasely?

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on September 11, 2009

Ok, ok, weasely is not a real word I know! Nevertheless, how do you weasel your way out of a direct question? By claiming that someone who’s putting $1,000,000 on the line is not serious because his stage name is Amazing! Amazing!

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Extremists Exploit Disaster

Posted in Skepbitch by Skepdude on February 10, 2009

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGIANL ENTRY AT “THE SKEPBITCH”

Wrath of God or fucking arsonists?

I was working with Richard Saunders on layout of the next issue of The Skeptic magazine when Richard gasped so loudly that I was sure he’d found out that I once slept with John Edward.

Then I found out what really happened, and it was much, much worse…

wwwabccomauHeard about the current bushfires in Australia?

A group of Christian Fundamentalists, aptly named Catch the Fire Ministries, posted a media release on their site, wherein they irrationally blame a new pro-choice abortion law for the bushfires..

Not arsonists, not summer, not extremely high temperatures, but a law that allows abortion in the state of Victoria, where the fires are occurring…

Tragically, almost one thousand houses have burned to the ground, hundreds of people have died…and these assholes think that abortion is to blame, that the fires are God’s punishment, and that prayer is the answer…

This reminded me of those who blamed Hurricane Katrina on the licentiousness and debauchery of New Orleans.

I promptly issued the following press release to a range of sites:

Christians Exploit Catastrophe

Australia has been in shock since the Victorian bushfires in early February, resulting in the destruction of almost one thousand homes and the deaths of hundreds of people.

While some offer practical relief in the form of food and clothing donations, others look for someone to blame.

Catch the Fire Ministries (CTFM) in Dandenong, Victoria, published a media release today, blaming a new Australian law for the devastating bushfires, and further claim that the fires were foretold in a spiritual vision.

The CTFM leader, Pastor Danny Nalliah, announced that he had predicted the bushfires in a dream he had in October 2008. In this dream, he had a prophesy that the fires would occur, as divine retribution for an abortion decriminalization bill that passed in Victoria in 2008. Nalliah calls Victoria the “baby killing state of Australia.”

The Ministry’s response is to petition God for forgiveness, and to commence a seven day prayer and fasting campaign. “In our prayer and fasting campaign, we are particularly repenting for the passing of the “Decriminalization of Abortion Laws of Victoria” in addition to other unrighteous, ungodly, and unjust laws and practices which have seen a holocaust of some of the most helpless members of the human race, the unborn.”

“Can we stop the fires? Yes we can! But it will take God’s children to rally together and repent and cry unto Him as in 2 Chronicles 7:14 (The Holy Bible). We at CTFM have seen this happen several times in the past in Australia, which was also covered by many mainstream media outlets.”

The CTFM website calls upon the “Australian Bible-believing God-fearing Christians to repent and call upon the Lord Jesus Christ for His mercy and protection over Australia once again.”

Visitors to the CTFM website can comment on the media release. However, skeptical replies are immediately deleted.

Representatives of the Australian Skeptics condemn the Catch the Fire Ministry for their uncritical, discriminatory beliefs and exploitation of the tragic events to promote their ministry.

Richard and I spent the afternoon submitting comments to their site, which were promptly censored.

So we started spreading the news…

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGIANL ENTRY AT “THE SKEPBITCH”

The historical Jesus-Why care?

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on January 21, 2009

There is a lot of time and effort spent by people trying to find out if a man named Jesus actually existed or not. The search for the historical Jesus is resurrected time after time. But why care? Does this missing piece of evidence matter? Why should we as skeptics care if Jesus really existed or not?

I suppose the answer is that we don’t, we shouldn’t. Jesus’ existence has nothing to say about his supposed miracles. We know John Edward exists, I can pretty much guarantee that, but that does not have anything to say about his supposed psychic abilities. That much ought to be clear to anyone, it’s simple, straight logic. But then why are people so obsessed with the quest of the historical Jesus?

I think at the heart of this lies a logical fallacy. At least based on what I have observed, I think that the religious folks are more obsessed with this issue than the non-religious. After all they are the ones trying to prove something. I think there is a thought in their head, albeit I do allow for the possibility that in many cases this may be unconscious, that if they prove that a man named Jesus actually lived, preached and died on the cross, that would lend more credibility to the Bible as a historical book, thus lending more credibility to everything the bible says, including the miracles and the whole God stuff.

I suspect they think that proving that Jesus existed will make his described miracles more true, than if he didn’t. In a certain sense that is true. He would have to have existed in order to have performed these so-called miracles. But nevertheless, just because a man existed does not, on its own, increase the likelihood of him having walked on water. Furthermore, when we as skeptics analyze the so-called miracles, we’re already assuming, for the sake of the argument, that that human being existed. We’re not even worrying about that, because as I said, if we did not assume that, there would be no conversation to be had. So we’re already giving the benefit of the doubt to the believer. You say there was a man called Jesus who lived 2,000 years ago. Fine, I’ll accept that claim. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and that claim alone is not so extraordinary. The miracle claims on the other hand are quite amazing, so for those we require much more evidence than a book.

So to answer my original question, we shouldn’t care. I don’t care, it makes no difference one way or another if Jesus turns out to have actually existed or not. It’s inconsequential to the issue at hand, and there’s nothing to be gained in this regard by that piece of information.