Friday, July 31, 2009

Where's the proof?

As a skeptic, I'm often confronted with the "problem" of PROVING that "god" does not exist. I suggest that it is a "problem" (with quotes) because the logic is backwards. Believers in a "god" are the ones that need to provide the proof - we don't have to provide a negative.

In correcting the direction of the tables, one is left with the question of "where's the proof of a god?" or "where's the proof that Jesus ever existed?". For the first, we often hear "god is outside our natural world" or other nonsense like that. For Jesus, "the proof is in the bible" - but is it?

The bible was written decades after Jesus' supposed death and decades more after his supposed birth. None of the writings contained in the bible were written by eyewitnesses - even more astonishing (to believers) is that the earliest writings (of Paul - and those claimed to be from Paul but not really written by him) mention nothing about Jesus' life, the miracles, his virgin birth - nothing prior to his death. And, in Hebrews (8:4), the epistle writer makes it clear that they did not believe in the historical Jesus - "If He (Jesus) had been on earth, He would not be a priest."

Other proofs that are given for Jesus' existence are often forgeries. The reality is that the idea of a historical Jesus came many years (hundreds?) after Jesus' supposed existence.

If we were to look at the only "proof" that exists for Jesus' existence, the bible, you aren't left with any better evidence. The gospels tell different stories about Jesus' life, where he lived, who he was related to, what happened during his death, resurrection and ascension (or not) into heaven. The Easter Story, alone, is irreconcilable - and it is possibly the most important story to Christians.

Add in the unlikelihood of Nazareth existing during Jesus' supposed lifetime, the fact that there were many writings from around Jesus' time and none of them reference the historical Jesus and the countless inaccuracies as they relate to the supposed geography of the time, and you are left with little outside of wishful thinking.

If you feel that I am attacking your firmly held beliefs - get over it. It is time to do a little critical thinking. Your religion affects solid science education, interferes with modern medicine and justifies belief in other absurd things (psychics, ghosts, homeopathy and other alternative medical practices and countless myths).

Until you have some proof, your arguments are as valid as your claims to moral superiority.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

If you read more than one book in your life...

You might want to consider one that I just came across.

The Atheist Camel Chronicles - though I'm going to get mine locally ( if you buy from his site directly, he'll autograph it and send it to you (you need a US address). The book is featured on, where I found a wonderful (funny!) site that he speaks about. If you have a pet and you read the same book (hint: bible) over and over, you need to visit this site.

For those who care (if you doubled the number of people who care, it'd still be the same number), I'm not a sci-fi fan - I really can't get into those types of movies or books. I don't care for horror movies either (and no, they're not scary, just not entertaining for me). I typically stick to science, skepticism and other non-fiction books with books on/of comedy always being welcome in my library.

I'm reading 3 of the books by Steven Pinker (The Language Instinct (done), The Stuff of Thought (done) and The Blank Slate (just started)). There are few people who have the ability to explain things clearly and to get a point across like Steven Pinker. I'm told that "The Blank Slate" is the best of his books but he has a number of others that have received great reviews. Stop by in Sarnia for all your book needs.

Once I'm done Steven's book, I'll start on the Atheist Camel Chronicles and I'll let you know what I think.

For you believers, "You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?"-- Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Psychic Fails to Predict Car Accident

With the "paranormal conference" about to take over Point Edward, it seems fitting to talk about a psychic at the local Ribfest this past weekend.

On Saturday, before heading to the festival to charge people who wish to be lied to, the psychic approached a traffic light (red), stopped and then headed through the red light. The person (my friend) coming through the intersection with the green light collides with her. (She claimed she thought the light was a 4-way stop. I guess she didn't predict that the officer wouldn't care what she thought it was.)

It's a shame that psychics are a sham or she could have saved herself some hassle, some money and some time (and saved my friend's car!).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why do you have a vulva on your car?

As I was driving to work today, I was following a vehicle with a "Darwin fish" on the back - if you haven't seen them, visit and you'll quickly realize what I'm talking about. The "fish" reminded me (as it should) of the Christian hijacked vulva symbol.

As with most of Christianity, the fish symbol was taken from earlier pagan religions. The fish represented the Great Mother Goddess - her vulva to be exact. The fish symbol was later adopted by Christianity with a number of myths created to have it fit - only the genital meanings were abandoned.

Enjoy your "true religion" while I enjoy giggling at the vulva on your car.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pascal's Wager Revisited

Pascal's Wager was an idea proposed by Blaise Pascal that, since God's existence is not likely to be determined, one should live as if God does exist as there is nothing to lose but everything to gain.

The idea goes something like this:

If you believe in God and God does exist you receive the greatest reward. (+)
If you believe in God and God does not exist, nothing happens. (Neutral)
If you don't believe in God and God does exist, eternal hell. (-)
If you don't believe in God and God does not exist, nothing happens. (Neutral)

There appears to be no "negative" in actual belief in a God - but that's not the whole story.

The "wager" assumes that you are worshipping the correct God - what if you have chosen to worship the wrong one (considering there are numerous major religions, you have, at best, a 20% chance of worshipping the right one)? Wouldn't a God be more upset that you've been worshipping the wrong God rather than no God at all?

Wouldn't a God worth worshipping know that you were only hedging your bets, too?

Couldn't you be a "better" person if you spent your time helping others and not wasted it worshipping a God?

The wager also (falsely) assumes (and implies by description) that God's existence versus his non-existence is 50/50.

Would a God who "created" humans with the ability to think and question punish someone for doing just that?

Update: Check out John Loftus' "Pascal's Wager Revisited" - It's much more in depth. (My apologies for "inventing" an already used title.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Guarantee yourself a spot in a place that doesn't exist

In Sarnia (and a few other communities in Southwestern Ontario) there have been billboards installed with bible quotes with a website listed at the bottom that promises a place in heaven. It is mildly amusing to the rest of us to see people proudly proclaiming actual belief in mythology but it is bothersome that we, as doubters, are not given equal opportunity at promoting non-belief.

The campaign has run into a number of roadblocks as it relates to the installation of advertising that supports the almost certainty that there are no gods so it comes as a surprise to the rest of us to see such blatant religious propaganda.

As a freethinker, I do not believe in gods, psychics, seers, ghosts or in falsities such as a world-wide flood, a 6000 year old earth, a man living in a giant fish or in magic underwear. I don't believe in heavens or a hell, afterlife or reincarnation and I definitely don't think that doing something right in hopes of an eternal reward makes you a good person. A good person would do what is right simply because it is right - and for no other reason.

Psychics and Prayers Fail (As Usual)

Despite all the prayers that Tori would be found alive, that was not to be the case.

Time to play Dan Barker's song, Nothing Fails Like Prayer. (And it is proven!)

And, as usual, psychics provided thousands of tips to the police in the search for Tori's body - the tips were either worthless (very likely) or were simply not followed up on (unlikely). Tori's body was found but not with the help of psychics (definitely with the hindrance of them).

This kind of failure is getting old - here's one from 2003.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cleaning off my desktop

As I was sitting waiting to meet with a client, I decided to clean off my desktop and came across the following banner.

Almost every week on Freethought Radio (a podcast from the Freedom From Religion Foundation,, you get to hear a quote from Mark Twain - one that I think is really characteristic of belief. As part of their advertising campaign (like the, etc.), they have a number of banners and this one was saved on my desktop.

They have a number of others that you can view/download at their site

Busy, Busy, Busy

I must apologize that I have been not at my blog for the last little while - I've been really busy (those who know me, know how busy).

There were a few comments that had to be "moderated" - a setting in blogspot requires that comments on old posts be approved and since I haven't been here, I hadn't approved them. They're all on the site now. Since I won't have a chance to respond to all of the comments (at least not right now), let me say this: It is time that you came up with an argument for the existence of god that hasn't already been demolished. I've read your books and it is time that you read some of ours. (I'm anxiously awaiting The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins, too). The burden of proof is on YOU to prove your theory of a godhead. Evolution has undeniable proof. The earth is more than 6000 years old and we do share a common ancestor with all living organisms on earth. Get over it.

I just caught a couple new episodes of Bullshit (Penn & Teller, on Showtime) - the one on astrology was really good. Astrology is nonscience and it is easily disproven yet countless numbers of people still believe in it. Phil Plait (The Bad Astronomer) is in the episode (which, for many, is reason enough to watch it).

The episode on orgasms has a great part where Penn produces books by Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens - I won't ruin it though, watch it yourself.

As I'll be on the road for the next couple of weeks, I'll be catching up on Skepticality - the official podcast of Skeptic Magazine.

When I get a chance, I'll post more thoughts.