Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mash Up

Why I...

Believe in 95th trimester abortions -

Think WorldNetDaily is simply a parody -

Believe people should understand that facts are not decided on democratically -

Admire the French -
Oh, the irony. The pope says no, so we're supposed to listen. He should teach that to his hundreds of priests who molested kids who continually said "no".


Where's The Cake?

Today is Richard Dawkins' birthday. Oddly enough, I did not know that. (Possibly because, as an atheist, I DON'T WORSHIP ANYONE - well.. 'cept my wife.).

A reader sent me this link from a local site - Sarnia Online Classifieds. It has a picture of Richard with some text congratulating him on his birthday. (The final sentence is worth the click!)

Happy Birthday Richard!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Holy (yeah right) F#$kin' Crap

This has almost nothing to do with skepticism, atheism or anything but, hey, this is MY blog! This is related to my blog from earlier today in that it is about

The festival organizers for this event must be crazy - their prices are so unbelievably low, that I think I'm going to spend the weekend at the event. (I am a closet KISS fan, anyway.)

I generally write about things that "fire me up" and I have to say that something is completely crazy here - so I'm going to write about it. (I just called the phone number on the website and they've confirmed these are the prices - though maybe only for a limited time!)

Counting Crows - $23
KISS - $40
Stone Temple Pilots - $27

For all 3 shows - $58

Tim McGraw - $47
Brad Paisley - $37

For all 5 shows - $100 - that's $20/show if you go see them all!

This is Canadian funds (there is a ticket service fee but not as bad as ticketmaster) too!

What pisses me off, though, is that I just bought tickets to see The Tragically Hip in London (about an hour away) and they charged me $55 (for the ticket, there were service fees too!). THE HIP for $55 OR I can go see 3 shows (3 nights) - Counting Crows (with The Trews!!), KISS and Stone Temple Pilots for $58?

I'm thinking that I got screwed on my Hip tickets.

Sorry for the interruption to the regular ramblings.

What Will They Whine About?

Every year, our small city plays host to a massive music festival - it is the only reason that some people even know where Sarnia is. The festival is Sarnia Bayfest -

I must admit that I'm not a big music fan - I listen to podcasts, read books, etc., but this has little to do with music.

In 2008, Sarnia Bayfest announced that Motley Crue would be performing - no big deal, right? Well, the "right" thought it was. Religidiots began to write letters to the paper, to our city hall, to city council, etc. One of our city councilors decided that he had to do something - he suggested that this charitable organization (Sarnia Bayfest is a Charity and supports a number of local charities) should have to get approval from the City of Sarnia on its entertainers.

And why? Because Motley Crue (the media whores they are), in an interview, said that they'd never had a "daughter/mother/grandmother foursome" before. (Let me state this - I dislike religion because it oppresses women/gays/etc. - I'm not suggesting that women should be objectified!) The religious in Sarnia took great offense to the possibility of people having sex.

Sarnia has seen its share of children (non consenting children) abused at the hands of clergy and, yet, they have the balls to suggest that somehow an act amongst CONSENTING adults is justification for BANNING Motley Crue from coming to our city!

Well, it is 2009 and another Bayfest is just around the corner. This morning they announced who would be attending for their rock portion of the festival. Counting Crows, KISS and Stone Temple Pilots.

The church will probably take offense to men wearing make-up (KISS) as it is their domain to have their men wearing dresses (Priests/Pastors). Or maybe they'll suggest that Scott Weiland(lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots)'s past use of illicit drugs means that he shouldn't be welcome in Sarnia (because Sarnia, you must know, has no drugs/drug users, otherwise)

Sarnia, with a population of 70,000 people, played host to, at 2008's festival alone, Bon Jovi, Fergie, Motley Crue, The Black Crowes, Rascal Flatts, Big & Rich and Emerson Drive. Previous years have seen The Tragically Hip, Three Doors Down, The Guess Who, Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Nickelback, Toby Keith, Def Leppard, Keith Urban... and many more.

This festival, in 2008, probably drew in more people than the whole population of Sarnia - our local hotels and motels COMPLETELY packed (it is the only time of the year that discounts do not apply at our local hotels!!!) and our City was looking to shut it down?

In 10 years, the Sarnia Police have reported no major issues yet the religious almost garnered enough support to, for all intents and purposes, put an end to its #1 tourist event!

If you don't like the performers or you don't like the crowds, DON'T GO - but don't tell me or anyone else what I should or should not enjoy if it does not harm or injure others.

Want to come to Sarnia? Check out the festival - - This year has the bands above as well as Tim McGraw and Brad Paisley.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rule #1 - Prosperity is the right of churches ONLY

Barry Van Dusen, in his recent letter to the editor, has made it very clear what the problem is with our economy - we've been deciding what to do with our money and not leaving that up to his church.

I can't really blame Barry for writing the letter to the editor - he is just trying to keep his job. With fewer people attending his church and fewer people donating money, his job is in jeopardy.

Our economic crisis is not because people are attending church less - some of the biggest crooks in town are scammers all week long and then go to church on Sunday to make up for it. Our economic crisis is the result of a matter of greed - and the church is one of the greediest institutions in the world. If Jesus ever really existed, he'd be ashamed of the institution. He'd hardly erect a nice brick building on one of the most prestigious streets in the area (let alone dozens and dozens of churches in a single city).

Morals and values are lacking in our society and greed is a real problem. Morals and values, however, are not based on religious beliefs or the bible. The bible is hardly a good moral guide and there are many things in the bible that we all agree are wrong and truly immoral. Slavery, oppression of women, hate of homosexuals are just three prominent examples (I doubt that many religious people will agree with the third.. but I can hope!). Slavery was abolished in spite of religion, the women's suffragist movement was fronted by non-believers and we still see, today, the hate towards homosexuality with full support from the highly moral religious folk.

If Jesus were alive today (and I seriously doubt he ever existed, so we'll use the hypothetical Jesus), he would probably tell his followers to not give to the church but to give to science. If Jesus was all about the removal of human suffering, he did the best he could given the knowledge he had. Today he would look at the wonders of science, the amazing medical cures and how lives have been improved and agree that it is truly the way to relieving suffering.

Jesus would agree that we need to be more caring towards each other, be thankful that we've ever been given the chance to live and that we should use this opportunity to make for a better life for others and for future generations. That would include being less greedy, helping fellow man* and doing what is right simply because it is the right thing to do and not for some false reward in a non-existent afterlife.

Barry, please give humanity, as a whole, a lot more credit than you do. We, generally, want to do what is right - no matter what our creed or race is - and we don't need a bronze-aged myth to support what we all know is right. We need, less, a bronze-aged myth to support, as right, what we all know is wrong.

Reason is the answer.

*I apologize for the English language and the use of "man". I don't speak of "man" as non-male - just as the French don't look at a table as being female.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I want to be your leader (not really)

That's it, I'm starting a new pyramid scheme (religion). Are you in?

In my religion, when you die, you'll get 81 virgins, everlasting life and free refills on all beverages.

I haven't thought it out, fully, but I know that I need some electronic device that will help people realize that they need to start sending me money. I also haven't figured out whether I'm going to claim that aliens or sky fairies are involved. Most importantly, the really absurd stuff like virgin birth, resurrection, etc., I haven't been able to decide on. I really mean "most importantly" because that almost seems a necessity to get people to believe it.

One of my favourite lines is "The miracle of Christianity is that anyone believes that shit."

What I am proposing, however, is a group for people who have similar disbeliefs and are interested in freethought and its promotion/support. I don't want to be the leader - but I will take names and work with a few others to organize a group.

If you live in or around Sarnia and would like to get involved or hear about what we come up with, send an email to . Let me know your thoughts, if you have any, on the make-up of a group or some goals you think we should consider.

Friday, March 13, 2009

For entertainment only

I'm often questioned about my criticism for the "paranormal" by people who say "it's for entertainment only". I only wish that were the case.

Typically the person who says "I only go to a psychic for fun" will also follow that up with "but there are some things that the psychic said that were right on". People do take psychics seriously (and they should because the psychic is taking them, seriously).

If a psychic has such powers, why are they asking you for $20 or $25 or $50 or $60 (whatever they charge) when they could do a couple simple things, with these supposed abilities, and make millions? The short (and only) answer is: They don't possess paranormal powers.

Two things they could do to make a million (or more):
1.) Predict the winning numbers of a lottery. (Why do you never see "psychic wins lottery"?)
2.) Be subjected to a double-blind test and get $1 million for demonstrating paranormal ability.

Yes, that is being pretty simple. We all know that psychic powers can't be used for evil (like taking money from a lottery corporation) and that the powers fail under scrutiny (they still have the psychic powers but they just can't be tested).

There is nobody in the world with true psychic ability. They may be able to talk to the dead (that's easy), but the dead is not talking back to them (that's the hard part). They can't predict your future (heck, they can't even predict their own - should they need to put a "closed/open" sign at their shop - wouldn't they know when people would be coming?), they can't heal the sick and they can't bring you wealth (they count on you to bring them wealth).

I write all of this because in 5 months, our community will be filled with quack-jobs and woo-woo salespeople - a paranormal conference is going to be held in Point Edward. I am troubled that, especially at a time like this, people will fall for their lies and give up their hard-earned money.

I am also troubled that our Mayor (City of Sarnia) will be speaking at the conference. I understand that the Mayor should welcome conferences, etc., to our community but 1.) Point Edward is not Sarnia, and 2.) he should not be legitimizing scammers. It wouldn't hurt to email Mike Bradley (Mayor, City of Sarnia) and let him know that you think it is a bad idea to take part in this event.

The bible has the answers!

You may be surprised to learn that the bible has the answers to the financial crisis.

It definitely came as a surprise to me, as I've read the bible and never noticed anything about handling a suffering stock market. (I will admit that a few of my pages are stuck together - there are some pretty hot stories in the bible - so I may have missed a couple verses. Get over it - if you don't do it, it's because you can't reach. None of my pages are stuck together and I have read the complete bible - a couple different versions even.)

How do I know that the bible has the answer? I've read that it does, many times - not in my bible, but in letters to the editor for our local newspaper.

Upon thinking about it, however, I encourage EVERYONE to read their bible - in its entirety. It is the best thing that anyone could do - it may even be the solution to our failing economies. It's from here that I think I part ways with the letter writers.

The bible doesn't say what to do in financial crisis (okay, it does, it says "give all your money to the church so you can always be poor - you can't lose what you don't have". I just interpreted the bible and it doesn't say that word-for-word. The bible almost never does say what it means (apparently) - which is what is most amazing about it.) but it does say some other crazy things.

Reading the bible will open your eyes to the absurdity (YES!) of your beliefs (and back up/reaffirm an atheist's position) and maybe, just maybe, help you free yourself from the oppression of your religion. You, in turn, may open your eyes to what science has to offer and, counter to your current position, support embryonic stem cell research, true science education and even rational thinking.

Science and technology are what made our nations so great. It is what drives economies and it is the greatest chance we have in ending our financial crisis.

Letter writers: You are right, the bible does have the answer. It's time you read it yourself.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Life of Bryan (and why I admire it)

Bryan is not your average rational thinker and I can say that without knowing much about him. I've never met him and I've never talked to him. I've never even heard anyone talk about him nor have I been told anything about him.

How can I say he isn't the average rational thinker? Easy. He's willing to defend rational thought in the public square.

I know, I know. When it is said like that, everyone is willing to defend reason, right? Wrong.

On a regular basis, our society is filled with irrational beliefs being given free rides. Undue respect is given to people's cherished beliefs even when they are completely irrational, totally wrong and, sometimes, even when they are very dangerous. This isn't only about religion - though I would venture to say that religion is a valid example*.

You need to look no further than your local newspaper (unless your local newspaper is NOTHING like ours) and the letters to the editor in support of bible literalism which are often dealt with using the following phrases (any or all):
  • Evolution is only a theory.
  • Darwin was wrong.
  • Everything can't come from nothing.
  • The banana is proof of an intelligent designer.
  • God created man.
  • Scientific proof of a world-wide flood.
  • There is evidence that jesus existed.
  • Science disproves itself on a regular basis.
  • Scientists disagree on evolution.
  • Evolution isn't necessary for science.
  • Darwinism leads to Hitler.
  • You can't believe in evolution and in god.
  • The earth is only 6000 years old.
  • Man and dinosaurs walked on earth at the same time.
  • Carbon dating isn't accurate.
  • Nobody has ever see evolution happen.
  • Micro-evolution, sure. Macro-evolution, no!
  • Have you ever seen a croco-duck?
  • ... the list could go on forever.
Our local paper (The Sarnia Observer) receives regular letters that try to push religious dogmatic beliefs over rational thinking and scientific facts. It is what Bryan does that separates him from the rest of us rational thinkers - he responds.

Support for and defense of rational thought, critical thinking and the desire for evidence is something we all need to be doing but the responses to the letters show that only some of us (I wish I could be included in that group) are willing to go that extra step.

I do defend reason when given the opportunity but I have yet to attach my name to a letter to the editor. For that reason, Bryan is not your average rational thinker and is, in turn, a hero. Thank you Bryan.

* I said religion isn't the only example and then only use religion but here are other examples - MMR & Autism link claims, Homeopathic/Alternative medicine claims and global climate change denial. There are countless others.

Bad Science, Good Book

In case you care to know, I'm reading a book by award winning leading expert (and nutritionist) Dr. Ben Goldacre (sorry Ben, they're going to have to read your book to learn why I typed it out like that) entitled Bad Science. The name is taken from his blog site and is really a compilation of what he tries to address on his site (not the individual items that he deals with but the overall problem of bad science, false beliefs, etc.).

I should state that Ben's website ( is not a good indicator of the contents of his book (some people will have a hard time getting "in to" reading his website on a regular basis but his book is hard to put down).

For those hoping to read a book that systematically deals with Homeopathy, the MMR hoax and CAM - this is the book you're looking for (you may be surprised in what it says, though). If you are looking for a book that addresses "Big Pharma", the media and misinformation, this book fits that description too.

The book is well written and accessible (heck, I'm able to read it and understand it) and possibly one of the most important books a person could ever read. It will, I warn you, have you question some of your cherished beliefs (it is not an attack on religion, it is a primer on how to work through the media sensationalism and the bad science). The book is funny, the topics are serious and the end result is completely worthwhile.

(On a sad note, it might be hard to find Ben's book - my wife had to order my copy from the UK. It is well worth the search!)