Science is the poetry of reality

The British Humanist Association have created a great little video Introduction to Humanism. Its basically a six minute explanation of what humanism is. But what makes it particularly great is the people who do the talking in the movie. They are a star cast: Rumy Hasan, A.C. Grayling, Polly Toynbee, Tim Minchin, Phillip Pullman, Zoe Margolis, Andrew Copson & Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins enthusiasm for science is wonderful and inspiring in the video he says: “Science is the poetry of reality”

Why call him god?

Reminded today of Epicurus – in particular the “Epicurean paradox” which attempts to deal with why there is evil in the world when there is such a thing as an omnipotent god:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

Tis the season to re-read the classics.

Dawkins v Pope

After the pope made some idiot and untrue claims about how atheism causes the holocaust Richard Dawkins politely corrected the fool. Naturally many of us could not be there to listen to him but thanks to GrrlScientist the links to the speech and a youtube version of Richard Dawkins’ unedited speech at ‘Protest the Pope’ march in London – Richard Dawkins takes the piss out of Pope Ratzinger in London on Saturday are available. She writes:

If you, like I, could not attend the “Protest the Pope” rally in London this past weekend, you’ll want to see this. This amateur video captures Richard Dawkins’ short but empassioned response to Pope Ratzinger’s weak attempt to confuse the public by claiming that Hitler was an atheist, and it was his supposed atheism that led to the Holocaust. Of course, Ratzinger conveniently ignores the fact that Hitler made no secret of his Roman Catholicism and in fact, Hitler used remarkably Catholic-sounding arguments to defend his indefensible actions.

Stephen Fry against the Catholic church

Stephen Fry speaking out at an Intelligence Squared debate in London (October 2009). The theme for the debate is whether the Catholic Church is a force for good. Fry delivers a brave, brutally honest twenty minute speech explaining why the Catholic Church is not a force for good in the world. Fry touches on the Church’s appalling wealth, its direct responsibility for uncountable AIDS deaths, and Pope Ratzinger’s repulsive child molestation cover-ups.
Fry gets lots of applause by it’s also interesting to see the faces of those who are not clapping…

Removing the bibles

In 2007 Scandic Hotels decided that it will no longer be carrying bibles in their guestrooms (via Hotelchatter & Sydsvenskan) but after “massive” protests the bibles were replaced. Now the hotel chain Ibis has decided to remove the bibles since they are offensive to others (Dagen).

I would rather have free wifi than a bible but I guess there will be “massive” protests. The problem with massive in this scenario is that the majority couldn’t give a damn while the minority is the loudest…

Seriously even if you are a believer, even if you are a believer in any form of the new testament – what does it matter if there is no bible in the hotelroom? Why are believers in a loving god so intolerant of the rest of us? If they are right then we go to hell – so what? we don’t believe in it…

If it is your favorite book then carry your own! Everyone else has to.

A (partial) list of my disbeliefs

All too often atheism is diminished into “not believing in god” but what believers tend to forget atheism is not believing in gods (plural).  Common Sense Atheism has a wonderful post listing some of the many many many gods atheists don’t believe in. The post includes a massive list of gods that have fallen out of favor with the believers for different reasons and a few which may still find pockets of favor around the world.

Christians are often baffled as to how atheists could deny the existence of their god, Yahweh. But they shouldn’t be. Christians deny thousands of the same gods that theists deny. Atheists just deny one more god than Christians do (or three, maybe).

Some of my favorites? Pratibhanapratisamvit, Buddhist goddess of context analysis. Or Acat, Mayan god of tattoo artists. Or Tsa’qamae, north american god of salmon migration.

Anyway, here’s a handy comparison between the gods Christians deny and the gods atheists deny. We’re not so different, after all. Let us celebrate our vast agreement on the non-existence of thousands of gods!

The list is very long but as one commenter complains:

This list in not complete at all. For one thing the majority of modern day christians refuse or do not acknowledge any god by the name of YAhweh. But rather worship Jesus Christ, who is the son of a no-named god simply called by a title “god” but also is the same exact being in some redneck, twisted sort of way.

Complete or not its a fascinating list of disbelief.

Why I am an atheist – reason 53

The pope claims that the Roman Catholic Church is in the forefront of the battle against AIDS. He recently said

“You can’t resolve it [Aids] with the distribution of condoms,” the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane headed to Yaounde. “On the contrary, it increases the problem.”

What a nutter…

Scientology Organised Fraud

The Church of Scientology will be tried in a French court for “organised fraud”. Scientology is not a recognised religion in France and there has been trouble before. The French see Scientology as a sect and therefore kept under observation. This is not uncommon in several other European states including Belgium, Germany and Greece. The sect has been in trouble in all these states for exploiting its members financially.

Scientology is a particularly nasty sect but it is interesting to see that some forms of delusion are permitted while others are not. Reminds me of the quote in Dawkins book “The God Delusion” which went something like this: One persons delusion is madness, a delusion shared by all is called religion.

While writing this I was happy to see that Operation Clambake was still online. Check out the wikipedia page about the site.

Update: I came across this on EFF apparently there has been a massive takedown of anti-Scientology videos on YouTube.

Over a period of twelve hours, between this Thursday night and Friday morning, American Rights Counsel LLC sent out over 4000 DMCA takedown notices to YouTube, all making copyright infringement claims against videos with content critical of the Church of Scientology. Clips included footage of Australian and German news reports about Scientology, A Message to Anonymous/Scientology , and footage from a Clearwater City Commission meeting. Many accounts were suspended by YouTube in response to multiple allegations of copyright infringement.

From EFF Blog