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Archive for the ‘Warring Memes’ Category

[Power of the Church] Power of the Government

Posted by Lex Fear on October 25, 2009

I’ve discussed before on this blog, what the differences are between America Churchianity and British Churchianity. I can’t think of a better example of why separation of church and state is a good thing, a thing invented by Christians than this little gem by the perspicacious Martin Turner:

“Richard Dawkins’s followers will no doubt be quick to claim this is another example of the heinous effect of ‘the God delusion’. But they would be wrong. Under charity law, the Church of England has to diligently pursue all of its debtors, and, coupled with the laws on ‘chancel repair liability’ which date back to Valor Ecclesiasticus in 1535, they have no choice.

<snip>

What lunatic changed the law in that way? (You know the answer to this one, but, in case you don’t, the legislation is the Land Registration Act 2002.)

Since the Church of England is powerless to extricate itself from a situation which bankrupts ordinary people and brings the church, and thus the entire Christian faith, into disrepute, the government ought to have intervened to simply cancel chancel liability. This would free the Church of England to pursue grants and even Lottery money. This is in fact what the Law Commission and the Church of England Synod recommended in the 1980s.”

At the time when this hit the headlines I was not aware of these facts. I’m glad I reserved my judgement.

Posted in Apologetics, Churchianity, Fact Erosion, Morals & Ethics, Property Market, Quoteyness, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

[Atheism] British Teens Trending Towards Knives

Posted by Lex Fear on June 26, 2009

Oh I do love statistics, I love the fact that, whatever your cause or personal vendetta, you can usually find a statistic to back you up.

I was impressed a couple years ago when I heard that 20% of Americans aged 18-25 had no religious affiliation or were atheist/agnostic.

Apparently, I should have been looking to Britain.

It turns out if you survey British children aged 13-18, the stats are even more favorable for non-theists.

<snip>

Is this just an isolated case of British awesomeness or a continuing trend toward non-religiosity?

The Friendly Atheist // British Teens Trending Away from Religion

Yep, keep quoting those stats…

The new figures indicate that in the year 2007-8  there were some 277 deaths from stabbings in England & Wales alone (the highest recorded figure for 30 years). This represents an average death toll as a direct result of stabbings of over 5 for every week of the year!

<snip>

  • 11-12 year olds carrying knives last year: 10% (Youth at risk)
  • 15-17 year olds admitting to carrying knives for self defence: 46% (Ian Johnston – Chief Constable British Transport Police)
  • Pupils in London Schools carrying knives: 29% (Youth Justice Board / Mori 2003)
  • Excluded Pupils carrying knives: 62% (Youth Justice Board / Mori 2003)
  • 16 year old boys admitting attacking someone with a knife – intent on causing serious injury: 1 in 5 (Youth Justice Board / Mori 2003)
  • Teenage deaths from knife attack (2004): More than 20 (Be Safe Project)

Insight Security // Knife Crime Facts

Am I implying the rise in atheism is linked to knife crime? Perhaps what I’m really implying is that you can link atheism or religion to other country statistics in anyway you see fit to demonstrate your point – something I’ve noticed the Friendly Atheist is occasionally fond of doing.

Question Everything – 1 Thes 5:21

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Posted in Analogies, Bollotics, Fact Erosion, Minitruth, Pharisees, Propaganda, Uncircumcised Philistines, Warring Memes, Xianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

[Science Factism] The Evolution Of The Octopus…

Posted by Lex Fear on March 20, 2009

…Or not, as it may seem, according to Oil is Mastery:

“These are sensational fossils, extraordinarily well preserved,” says Dirk Fuchs of the Freie University Berlin, lead author of the report. But what surprised the scientists most was how similar the specimens are to modern octopus: “these things are 95 million years old, yet one of the fossils is almost indistinguishable from living species.” This provides important evolutionary information.

Indeed: it provides information that none has occured.

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Posted in Doublethink, Quoteyness, Religion & Science, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

[Pause for Thought] Stem Cells

Posted by Lex Fear on March 20, 2009

Just so we’re clear, everyone knows that you can collect stem cells from a placenta. right?

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Posted in Duh!, Morals & Ethics, Realpolitik, Religion & Science, The Purpose Missing Church, The Religious Wrong, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[Cyburbia] Religion 2.0

Posted by Lex Fear on February 24, 2009

Interesting interview of James Harkin on the media obsession with Web 2.0 and failure to criticise the medium. Well worth a read of the whole article, even Neo-Darwinism gets a mention. Here’s a couple of excerpts:

Now I’m not arguing people are stupid or lazy if they do that – but there’s an electronic peer pressure online. Academic studies that have been done by people who are very sympathetic to Web 2.0 and networks, people like Clay Shirky and Duncan Watts, show that the whole decision making process tends to become a robotic routine. One person makes a decision, and everyone else falls in line.

It’s a refreshing perspective and nice to read a contrarian view, enough to make me want to buy the book.

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Posted in Quoteyness, Technology, Tick-Box Culture, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Atheism] Probably

Posted by Lex Fear on February 15, 2009

I was really happy to see the atheist bus campaign get into full swing. God Bless those atheists, another medium for which they can use to rage against their parents.

I have purposefully held off from writing about it until now, after the dust has settled and things can be fully absorbed.

I’ll start by saying I also found myself disappointed by the weakness of the message. I would much preferred something more assertive, more disdainful of religion. Instead we get probably.

Funnily enough all sorts of speculation took place in the atheist blogosphere and fora as to why include the word. There were some rather feeble apologetics using such idioms as “intellectually honest”.

Since I had followed this saga from it’s inception and was following the commentary at The Friendly Atheist I thought I should help bring clarity to the perception of the ‘Christian response’ as well as information as to how probably got in there:

1) British Christians views on the signs range from ‘Meh’ to ‘Great! More opportunities to talk about God”.

The fact is the Christian religion is led by a man who was violently, brutally killed as a convicted criminal – Call it insane if you will but most genuine Christians see persecution in any form as a privelege and opportunity to stand with Christ and spread the gospel!

Through history, the church has done better in times of persecution and it will always.

2) There are a few who are weak in faith and perhaps new Christians, or they have lost their way and these will protest.. and when they do the media will always give them the microphone to broadcast their ignorance.

But so far the worst response I’ve heard from any Christian is that it’s silly. That’s it.

3) I personally wish that they had dropped the ‘probably’ and gone for something much stronger. I wish it DID say “THERE IS NO GOD”.. with it the slogan is very poor and really isn’t worthy to be considered an attack or something like that. (Also the excuse given to include “probably” has to be the weakest excuse I have ever heard- very stupid)

The proposer of this campaign – a Grauniad journalist – originally gave the reason that she had seen ‘probably’ used in another ad (see Carlsberg) and assumed it was for legal reasons. It’s not, it’s a nod to the British talent for understatement. Silly woman!

Must try harder.

Which was quickly refuted by a commenter called Aj:

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) advised her that “the inclusion of the word ‘probably’ makes it less likely to cause offence, and therefore be in breach of the Advertising Code.”

Lots of people are getting this wrong, so here’s a quote. Lots of atheists don’t believe “there is no god”, they can only agree with statements like “there is probably no god, although I and others prefer “almost certainly” as it’s more accurate.

He went on to include a quote from Ariane Sherine (from a later article).

There’s another reason I’m keen on the “probably”: it means the slogan is more accurate, as even though there’s no scientific evidence at all for God’s existence, it’s also impossible to prove that God doesn’t exist (or that anything doesn’t).

Oh dear, how intellectually dishonest. He left me no choice but to quote the original article by Sherine in response:

“After that, I Googled Carlsberg and found this marketing site, which suggests that using the word “probably” at the start of the ad saved Carlsberg from litigation.” – Ariane Sherine, Atheists – Gimme Five, 20/06/08

Long before the article you quoted. They’ve given all manner of excuses since then.

And the Carlsberg Ad:

http://www.brandrepublic.com/Campaign/News/472122/Scandinavia-Great-nordic-conquerors/

“According to Jakob Knudsen, Carlsberg’s international brand director: “The Scandinavian understated sense of humour is an integral part of the brand’s DNA. If you take other premium Scandinavian brands such as Bang & Olufsen, they won’t tell you they’re the best. Instead, they let the quality speak for itself.”

Only America would produce, “King of Beers” or “World’s Finest” and market their products as the biggest, best, favourite, fastest, greatest etc…

This advertising (up until recently perhaps) would never work in the UK, but picture 2 blokes in a pub, one declares “This is the best lager I’ve ever tasted!”, the other, being British is likely to respond “I don’t think so, I think I’ve tasted better.” But if the first was to casually mention “This is probably the best lager I’ve ever tasted” then the other may likely agree with him “Probably.”

Typical MSM journalist, gets her research from an internet forum rather than the source.

Oddly, no-one then seemed interesting in arguing the point with me and just ignored my second comment completely. Not what you would expect from intellectually honest people but there you go.

Here’s a great quote from Lib Dem MP, Martin Turner:

Imagine that you saw any of the following advertisements:
“The speed camera probably isn’t loaded”
“You probably won’t die in a car crash”
“You probably did turn off the gas”
Telling someone that something probably won’t happen doesn’t stop them worrying about it. Quite the contrary. And, if the millions of lottery ticket buyers are anything to go by, telling someone that something they very much hope for is unlikely to happen does nothing to stop them hoping.
If “there’s probably no God” is the strongest statement that, on reflection, atheists dare to make in public, then they have moved a long way from the certainties implied in their name.

But my favourite quote on worry has to this:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” – Jesus

As well as beating The Grauniad to the post by almost 2000 years, there’s something rather more elegant, meaningful and poetic than “Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”, don’t you think (if you are being intellectually honest)?

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Posted in Apologetics, Doublespeak, Doublethink, Duh!, Laymans Theology, Londonland, Minitruth, Opinion, Propaganda, Quoteyness, The Love of Libel, Uncircumcised Philistines, V for Vendetta, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

[Fallacies] What If Your Premise Is Wrong?

Posted by Lex Fear on February 8, 2009

HT to Purify Your Bride for this YouTube clip:

Rather than answer the question, Dawkins makes the presumption that the young lady in question is “brought up” in a Christian home and then turns the question back on her.

I’d love to see how Dawkins addresses someone like me who was brought up without beliefs, dabbled in the occult, rejecting the faith of Jehova’s Witnesses, going from atheist to agnostic and opened myself up to whatever kind of higher power or beings were out there before becoming a Christian.

I don’t know why supposed intellectual people cheer for someone who so obviously doesn’t want to accept the possibility of being wrong.

However it appears that Dawkins has softened his stance on the existence of a higher power himself more recently, as Mattghg writes.

It seems Dawkins, though tirelessly never to admit he is wrong, considers there may be something “grander and more mysterious” than God out there after all. Of course by suggesting this we get in to all sort of ad infinitum arguments, and I’m surprised he would take it upon himself to answer the the old atheist chesnut “Who created God?”.

Maybe if Dawkins’ only personal objection to God is that the idea of ‘God’ for him is… boring.

Read Is Richard Dawkins Still Evolving? by Melanie Phillips.

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Posted in Doublespeak, Little Hitlers, Pharisees, Religion & Science, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[Pseudoscience] Snowball Warming

Posted by Lex Fear on February 6, 2009

Watching news reports this week, it is appearing the man on the street that, as I predicted, global warming theory (uh, sorry, it’s a fact, because theory in science means fact… y’know like there is no word for speculation in science it’s all Feoryact) doesn’t have the ring of consistency to it as is being propagated, even before the recent snow storms.

Recent snowfall in the UK has perhaps helped the middle classes to stop and question something they are being told to believe in without question. The snowfall has managed to shut up even the loudest uninformed global alarming peddler, but it hasn’t prevented the more astute to start pedding two specific reasons, or rather, excuses for the snow.

The first one is an easy debunker. “Global Warming doesn’t mean it always gets hotter, it means more extreme types of weather!” Can anyone tell me what is so wrong with this argument? Well for starters it’s a catch all.. if you think about it, any type of extreme weather means global warming, hot or cold, dry or wet, delightful or devastating. If you’re trying to debate this logic intelligently you won’t win. Global Warming is essentially happening, regardless of the actual state of the environment.

The second one is this: Snowfall used to be much more common, but the Global Warming trend means that it’s occurring every 20 years (instead of, say, every year).

OK this is a bit more tricky, sounds believable right? But the remarkable thing about this argument is that it’s, like, almost dead on. We’re not talking about 25 years here, or 15 years, but we’re actually talking approximately 20 years. How are scientists able to predict this so accurately? Is it down to data provided by studying the global warming phenomenon or is it more like… the Zany Ones?!

Could it be scientists are stating 20 years, because, well, snow like this fell 20 years ago! A bit like if I told you house prices are going to rise this year because they’ve been rising since 1996?

I have one question for the Global Alarmists, if an unmoving linear Global Warming trend is happening despite record warmth, record cold, growing antarctic ice, receding antarctic ice, clouds affect data, clouds don’t affect data, we don’t rely on past data/history, we rely on past data/history, it’s not sunlight, sunlight fell in the Northern Hemisphere… can someone tell me how the heck we are going to know:

a) When we have succeeded in our mission to cool the earth down? and
b) If we actually do enter a Global Cooling period?

Perhaps if we start experiencing lots of freak heatwaves, this will be an indicator that we are in danger of Global Cooling and need to act fast to warm the earth up?!

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Posted in Doublespeak, Doublethink, Global Alarming, Predatory Systems, Propaganda, Warring Memes, WhatTheyDontWantU2C | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Atheists] Why The Hell Do They Care?

Posted by Lex Fear on January 21, 2009

Friendly Atheist Trina Hoaks ponders on the climate of Hell now that President Obama is, well, black and President.

Well, today was a cold day, to be sure, but I wouldn’t equate the location (our nation) to Hell. But, if this is what Hell is like, I say sign me up! Oh, yeah… I forgot, according to many religious people, that is exactly where I am going whether I sign up or not.

Can an atheist explain to me what they think Hell actually is and why atheists are so offended by something they don’t believe in?

Hey if someone told me I when I die I was going to be condemned to the leek soup bowl by the flying spaghetti monster, I think I’d just laugh then back away slowly.

Seriously, why are so many atheists bothered by Hell?

Posted in Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , | 15 Comments »

[Religious Paradigm] Religious Guilt, Shame and Fear… Why It’s A Good Thing

Posted by Lex Fear on June 14, 2008

I suspect that when anti-theists (particularly those who have left religion) list guilt, shame and fear as reasons not to believe in God, they are really referring to self-doubt, confusion and uncertainty that everyone experiences either during their teens, during difficult times or at other times during their lives – especially when they begin to look inside themselves and question their own set of pre-held beliefs, prejudices and bias*.

Taking an example from Steve Pavlina (see my previous post). He asks people to abandon guilt and fear and move towards an ambiguous spirituality of your own. Let’s apply this message to a pedophile Priest (also mentioned in his rant). I would imagine and hope that a pedophile Priest (or indeed anyone, believer or not) would be feeling guilt whilst appearing on the exterior to be a person of righteousness. I would hope they are feeling tremendous guilt.

Guilt is the only way that God can work, through the Holy Spirit to bring an end to the perversion. Of course God could act through others, even the authorities – but how would someone defend their vigilantism, or bring a conviction based on the evidence “God told me he was a pedophile”? What happens when the authorities are implicit in covering up the act? Then perhaps God could stop the man and those involved himself, but this is not usually how God chooses to intervene in human affairs – for many good reasons – but that is another subject that has already been addressed many times elsewhere.

What of shame? Shame is usually the result of having your dark secrets exposed to the limelight. Suppose a thief is caught after breaking into the house of an old woman, beating her and stealing her savings. Should he not feel some shame along with accepting his punishment? What about an act which is not classed as a crime? Should a married who is caught having an affair at the office not feel some shame for his disregard towards his wife and children? Shame is a part of remorse and regret. It’s necessary to make the first steps of reconciliation towards the person or persons you have hurt. How else would we have gotten the phrase “Have you no shame?!”

Fear of God is something that is widely misunderstood. Once again, it is not some sort of control mechanism that the church uses to maintain the allegiance of it’s subjects. Consider the criminal in my example above. He has been caught and sent to jail, but this does not necessarily mean he agrees with the justice system, or that he even thinks he has done anything wrong. Suppose there is a fault in the prosecutions case and he gets away scot free, or his sentence is particularly lenient and it is not felt by the public to be long enough. He walks out of the court/jail and raises his hands, smiling in celebration and defiance. The national newspapers have a field day! There would be calls for criminal reform, columnists climbing over each other to condemn the thief, the judge, the justice system and bemoan the tragedy of it all. Why?

The thief, you see, is not just lacking in shame, he’s lacking in fear.

If a person truly believed in God, believed that he could be angered by injustice and believed that there was such a thing as a Lord of the Earth who will come to judge the quick and the dead. That there is such a thing as Hell (which is simply a place God is not). Would they commit crimes such as the one I speak of above? Would they celebrate being let off by human courts in the full knowledge they had gotten away with an evil act, in the knowledge that there was a heavenly court to come, with a judge who sees all and knows all?

Consider the dictators throughout history and the dictators who are alive now- the leaders of Zimbabwe, the Chinese Government, The Burmese Government and so on. It is irrelevant whether they atheists or not. These people have no fear of humans – no-one is rising up and no-one is attacking them – and obviously they have no fear of God. They are the highest authority of their country, they know this and in some cases they consider themselves to be equal to God**.

If you do not personally believe in God, then it is useless to blame God or religion for their atrocities since they are the highest authority and therefore the non-existent God is not responsible, you may as well blame a pink unicorn or teapot or something. However, if you do believe in God, then you should have a hope that one day there will be a reckoning, and that people like the Chinese troops in this video below, will, in fact, one day come face to face with the Alpha and Omega, ready to settle the score.

When I see things like this, I have to believe there is an angry God watching:

A fear of God is healthy – not for you, rather, for those around you and for those who you lead or serve. Incidentally this is also why we are told to let God have vengeance, rather than take it into our own hands (yes that means the idiots who kill abortion doctors will also face the wrath of God someday too).

We are also told that God is patiently waiting for all to repent and when they do they can put fear to rest, but this is again, a subject for another day.

*NB: I’m not referring to people have been physically or psychologically abused.
** Incidentally this ties in well with original sin and the curse of death. Natural death is a necessary tool in assuring that no human being, no matter how evil, lives forever and escapes injustice. It also benefits those ruled by evil dictators. If no-one does rise up or challenge them, at least we can take comfort in the fact they will eventually grow old and die. No-one can escape natural death (except, perhaps, the very few righteous friends of God)

Posted in Analogies, Apologetics, Morals & Ethics, The Purpose Missing Church, V for Vendetta, Warring Memes | 3 Comments »