How To Be Taken Seriously

Serious

PLEASE ENSURE MIND IS IN MOTION BEFORE ENGAGING MOUTH

Whoever you are, whether Christian Apologist, Flat Earther, Immigration Protester, or Climate Change Warrior, to be taken seriously, it really helps if you get your facts straight before you start spouting off.

It does little good for the Pope to insist that the Bible is inerrant and free of contradictions, when one of God’s commandments is, “Thou shalt make no graven images.’ and two chapters later, God instructs, “Thou shalt make two graven silver cherubim, and place them at each end of the Ark of the Covenant.”

I’m all for combating global warming, but a do-gooding tree-hugger recently had this op-ed published; Aircraft exhaust 10 or 11 kilometers above the Earth’s surface is thought to have considerably more polluting effect per person-mile, than automobile exhaust at ground level, per person-mile.

I’m not sure what his point was. Only transcontinental flights go up to 40,000 feet – 10/11 kilometers. The pollution from a few thousand flyers each day is much more than offset by the total of hundreds of millions of cars driving around. He could fight a more down-to-Earth battle. He’s tilting at one little Dutch windmill, when there are thousands of giant wind-turbines ruining people’s lives in the name of ecology.

Your favorite jovial old tundra-dweller recently became aware of ‘Blue Monday,’ the third Monday in January. It’s not something that affects me. A sociologist did a somewhat un-scientific study. He took into account things like the weather – cold and snow, the lack of sunlight for the last month, friends and family visitors who have now left, the shopping hassles of Christmas, back to work after some time off, and now the bills arriving. He felt that Blue Monday would be the day that cumulative depression would be most likely to affect/be noticed/felt by the average North American.

Immediately, the usual suspects began their howling. Psychologists, and counsellors whined that the day somehow belittled people with depression, when it actually raises people’s awareness of the condition and its causes.

One denier objected to the way the day was chosen, complaining that, “It’s like adding the speed of your jogging to the color of an apple.” And yet psychologists and penologists know that certain colors of prison uniforms and cells help calm prisoners down. One Arizona Sheriff makes his inmates wear hot pink overalls, and violence has reduced significantly.

It should be taken seriously, yet it is no more real that the chubby Santa Claus that Coca-Cola invented. Speaking of people who don’t know what they are talking about, a local radio announcer doesn’t get it. He claimed that, “It is the most depressing day of the year.” It is not the day that is depressing. It is merely the point in time when all the previous depressing influences come together in a confluence – like the perfect wave – and people are most likely to feel depressed.

A newspaper story about a truck crash wrote of ‘semi-tractors.’ (Surely, they are semi-trailers?) In another, a 10-year-old boy wrote to every automaker in the world, and requested ‘decals.’ He got back a hub-cap, hood ornaments, trunk logos, and key-fobs…. because, aside from those little generic warnings on your car windows – auto-makers don’t use ‘decals.’  I don’t know what he (or the article writer) thought ‘decals’ were.

First my Dismantling of Faith post, then all of these, in one week. Does nobody pay attention to the details of reality anymore? It helps, if you want to be taken seriously.

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Bible Man Speak With Forked Tongue

Bible

Once again, I have found Christian Apologetics, the new Defenders of the Faith, doing exactly what they accuse Atheists, Agnostics, and other doubters of doing.  In the past year, I’ve seen at least three Christian blogs critical of a list of Atheist statements.  While each is composed slightly differently, the list of Atheist sins in each, is cut and paste identical.

It is undeniable that they often put forth nearly identical catch-phrases and responses. I mean, just ask yourself how often you heard these Atheist talking points:

  • There is no evidence for God;
  • God is not great;
  • Religion poisons everything;
  • Faith means believing something without evidence;
  • Atheism is just a lack of belief;
  • If you don’t believe in evolution, you’re a fool;
  • If everything has a cause, then what caused God;
  • That’s just a God of the Gaps argument;
  • Well, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence;
  • Religion is just wish-fulfillment;
  • Jesus is a zombie;
  • Metaphysics is bunk, I believe in what works;
  • I want evidence, not arguments;
  • God is just a delusion;
  • Religion is a mind virus;
  • Why doesn’t God heal amputees; and, finally
  • God is evil or a dictator or a maniac.

And these are just some of the catch-phrases that are routinely put forward by Atheists.

It wasn’t until I happened upon this soap opera evil twin triplet, that I realized I had a theme to rant about.  All three of them, and lots of others I’ve read, just complain about not wanting to encounter the routine list of Atheist denials of their unproven claims.

Amusingly, what they all seem to hope for, and invite, are newer, different, more creative and inventive, but easier to dismiss, arguments.  Like what??!  I don’t want to believe in God because he might be Scottish, wearing a kilt, and I don’t want to look up his skirt.  There’s enough big pricks down here on Earth.

I also noticed that, aside from whining about not wanting to be constantly faced with this list of reasons not to believe their claims, none of them actually did anything to refute any of it.  ‘Go ahead, prove the list wrong.  Offer proof of rebuttal for a couple of these claims – not Faith, or Belief – actual, provable facts.’  While a couple of the Atheist points are a bit aggressive, or colloquial, they all appear valid.  Religion poisons everything??  “I’ll gladly book you a trip to ISIS territory.  Take it up with them.”  If they want better rebuttals, they’re going to have to provide better claims, which are based more on evidence, rather than just their faith-based opinions.

Those who are firm in their faith seem willing to nod sagely and ignore all Atheist arguments.  It seems though, that the more unsure and insecure these Apologetics are, the louder and more frantic their wails are.

On that great Cosmic Scorecard in the sky, which they’re sure that Someone is keeping, having even the slightest doubt will get them sent to Hell.  Atheists’ arguments cause doubt, so they just want them to shut up.  What they’re doing is, trying to make it my job to ensure that they go to Heaven.  I’m too busy sinning and having no morals (according to them) to get around to that.  To Hell with them!  😉

Christianity In Ten Words

Christianity 10 Words

Thomas Jefferson is often held up by the more rabid Bible-thumpers as a ‘Good Christian,’ who helped found the United States, and is validation for their “on Christian values,” and other judgemental views.  Jefferson however, edited, and had printed, a personal copy of the Bible, in which he removed every story of Christ’s ‘miracles,’ although he never admitted why he had done that.

While viewed as a Christian, he had the following to say about religion, and God.

“No man shall be compelled to frequent or support religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.”

“Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”

***

When Christians talk about being “persecuted,” what they really mean is that they are discontent at no longer being able to use social and Political power to force their views, their morality or their dogma onto other people as they once did.  They can no longer burn people at the stake, prosecute people for blasphemy, and have much less of an ability to oppress minorities, and “keep them in their place.”

The dogma, ignorance and authoritarianism that is required for Christianity to maintain control has greatly diminished, and religious authorities and their institutions no longer have the power, nor the respect that they once had.  This makes them feel as if they are being unfairly persecuted, although they have no understanding of what the word means.

Creation

  • Religion is about internal spiritual experiences, and that is all.
  • There is no world other than the material world around us.
  • There are no beings other than the living organisms on this planet or elsewhere in the universe.
  • There is no objective being or thing called God that exists separately from the person believing in him.
  • There is no ultimate reality outside human minds either.
  • We give our own lives meaning and purpose; there is nothing outside us that does it for us.
  • God is a projection of the human mind.
  • God is the way human beings put ‘spiritual’ ideals into a poetic form that they are able to use and work with.
  • God is simply a word that stands for our highest ideals.
  • God-talk is a language tool that enables us to talk about our highest ideals and create meaning in our lives.
  • Religious stories and texts are ways in which human beings set down and work out spiritual, ethical, and fundamental meanings in life.
  • Our religious talk is really about us and our inner selves, and the community and culture we live in.
  • Religious talk uses the familiar language of things that exist outside ourselves to make it easier for us to handle complex and subtle ideas.
  • Faith therefore isn’t belief in a God that exists outside minds.
  • Faith is what human beings do when they pursue ‘spiritual’ ideals.
  • Saying that someone follows a particular faith is a way of talking about their attitudes to life and to other people.

Frustration

Dazed And Confused Op-Ed

Extra Extra

PRAY! BUT TO WHOM?

Re: ‘Pray for everyone in Florida-Sept. 11

Who would not want to respond to the heartfelt cry from Florida Gov. Rick Scott? It calls to us again in this harrowing description of Irma’s relentless advances, indeed a terrifying and devastating onslaught.

Pray! But to whom?

The U.S. Supreme Court has banned prayer in schools. In Canada, courts found that the use of The Lord’s Prayer in schools infringed on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Defining the above rulings, as has been done, to mean that teaching religion in school is illegal, teaching about religion in school is legal, has excited argument rather than agreement.

Veteran education journalist Linda K. Wertheimer has written a book, “Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance.” She explores the diversity of cultures and religions as they meet in the classrooms and community, with many stories of teacher-pupil episodes, as well as parents getting involved.  Pray! But To Whom?  That’s a book I plan to read.

Cora Wright

Cambridge

***

Pray Where?

Cora Wright’s Sept. 16 letter confuses and disappoints. “Pray! But To Whom?”  Doesn’t she know?  A clergyman could direct her.

Perhaps she could pray to an English teacher, who would help her differentiate between ‘where’, and ‘to whom.’ She expends much ink and angst, listing public places where the Christian religion may not be monopolistically imposed on the multicultural population.  She fails to mention her chosen place of worship, the privacy of her home, or the sanctity of her own mind.

As for whom she may pray to, in these locations she is free to pray to God, or Yahweh or Allah or Zeus or Odin, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster. It doesn’t really matter.  The observed results are all indistinguishable from random chance.

Yours truly

Grumpy Old (logical, freethinker) Archon

***

Aside from my negating arguments above, here in Ontario, in schools run by the Catholic School Board, teaching religion is still legal, although this unique privilege is being considered for cancellation. Catholic schools accept non-Catholic students (to increase their declining enrollment-generated Government grants), but they, and even Catholic students, are allowed to opt out of religious studies.

In both the American, and Canadian rulings, what has been banned is the exclusive use of Christian prayers, to the omission of all other religions.

While her letter seems to show her as open-minded, she puts a lot of energy into the Christian faith.  She may be surprised and disappointed when she finds that Wertheimer’s book doesn’t treat Christianity as an only child.

***

Someone else had a Word to say.

Pray? What For?

Re: Trump’s National Day of Prayer

If we are to believe our religious friends, everything that happens is the handiwork of their all-powerful God. If this were true, it would be logical to assume that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were the creations of their omnipotent and loving God.

With this in mind, I find it difficult to understand the declaration by Donald Trump of a National Day of Prayer, following Hurricane Harvey. It is a mystery to me what the prayers are meant to accomplish.  The devastation and destruction having already occurred to lives and property, it seems illogical to appeal through prayer to the very entity that created these hurricanes, guided their paths, and allowed said devastation and destruction to happen.

It is noteworthy that Trump did not declare a second National Day of Prayer following Hurricane Irma. Perhaps he was not impressed with God’s response to the first one.  😳

 

WOW #11

Donald Trump

I never really thought about why Dictionary.com chose their word of the day, until they admitted that Donald Trump-watching was influencing their decisions.

First, there was paralogize, where he derives wrong conclusions from the facts at hand.  Then there is the 1984-novel word Newspeak, which covers Trump’s alternative facts, both of which are just ways to say that politicians lie to us.  Then came canard, which is yet another word for the Great Cheesehead’s lies.  Even dudgeon, which describes the snits he throws when someone challenges or disagrees with him.  At last, we come to;

MUMPSIMUS

Definitions for mumpsimus
adherence to or persistence in an erroneous use of language, memorization, practice, belief, etc., out of habit or obstinacy (opposed to sumpsimus).
a person who persists in a mistaken expression or practice (opposed to sumpsimus).
 

Origin of mumpsimus 1520 – 1530
Mumpsimus entered English from a story, which perhaps originated with Erasmus, of an illiterate priest who said mumpsimus rather than sumpsimus (1st plural perfect indicative of Latin sūmere to pick up) while reciting the liturgy, and refused to change the word when corrected.

Sound like anyone we know? The Excited States is not the only country afflicted with politicians like this.  Canada has a few of its own, and I am sure other countries do, as well.  Since the word is an error, it has nothing to do with mumps, which is a whole different pain in the neck.  I would not call Yoga-instructorski-bum, drama-student, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a pain in the neck.  I have a much lower opinion of him.

Butt

See you soon, with some non-political words. 😛

WOW #9

Donald Trump

A comedian once claimed that Michael Jackson was the punch line to every joke.
“Why did the chicken cross the road?”
“Michael Jackson!”

Mikey is no longer with us, but we do have Donald Trump to replace him. Dictionary.com usually doesn’t give a reason for the inclusion of any particular Word of the Day, often making me wonder about words like, stravage, portmanteau and middlescence.

Recently though, they’ve been blaming it on Trump. They admitted that paralogize was chosen because of his tendency to draw incorrect conclusions from the facts available.  More recently they blamed him and his political team’s ALTERNATIVE FACTS for the resurrection of;

newspeak

Definitions for newspeak (sometimes initial capital letter)
an official or semi-official style of writing or saying one thing in the guise of its opposite, especially in order to serve a political or ideological cause while pretending to be objective, as in referring to “increased taxation” as “revenue enhancement.”

Origin of newspeak

Newspeak was coined by George Orwell in his novel 1984, which was published in 1949.

They gave no attribution, but Trump must be on their minds because, with paralogize there were whiffler, bonzer and juggernaut, and between paralogize and newspeak, there have been scapegrace, malfeasance, pedagogy, muckraker and troglodyte.

As Jay Leno said about the re-election of George W. Bush, with Trump at the helm of the Ship of State, we have at least four, and perhaps eight more years, of the jokes (and insults) writing themselves.

😳

 

Missed Manners

Etiquette

During a good manners and etiquette class being held for young children, the teacher says to her students:

“If you were courting a well educated young girl from a prominent family and during a dinner for two, you needed to go to the toilet, what would you say to her?”

Mike replies: “Wait a minute; I’m going for a piss.”

The teacher says: “That would be very rude and improper on your part.”

Charlie replies: “I’m sorry, I need to go to the toilet, I’ll be back in a minute.”

The teacher says: “That’s much better but to mention the word “toilet” during a meal, is unpleasant.”

And Little Johnny says: “My dear, please excuse me for a moment. I have to go shake hands with a personal friend, whom I hope to be able to introduce to you after dinner.”

***

An 18th-century vagabond in England, exhausted and famished, came to a roadside Inn with a sign reading: “George and the Dragon.” He knocked. The Innkeeper’s wife stuck her head out a window. “Could ye spare some victuals? ” The woman glanced at his shabby, dirty clothes. “No!” she shouted. “Could I have a pint of ale? ” “No!” she shouted. “Could I at least use your privy?” “No!” she shouted again. The vagabond said, “Might I please…?” “What now?” the woman screeched, not allowing him to finish. “D’ye suppose,” he asked, “that I might have a word with George?”

***

URBAN MYTHS? OR INTRIGUING FACTS? – YOU DECIDE!

The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.

No piece of paper can be folded in half more than seven (7) times.

Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.

You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.

Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty (50) years of age or older.

The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley’s gum.

The King of Hearts is the only king WITHOUT A MOUSTACHE!

American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one (1) olive from each salad served in first-class.

Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise. (Since Venus is normally associated with women, what does this tell you?)

Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.

Most dust particles in your house are made from DEAD SKIN!

The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer. So did the first “Marlboro Man.”

Walt Disney was afraid OF MICE!

PEARLS MELT IN VINEGAR!

The three most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.

It is possible to lead a cow upstairs…but, not downstairs.

A duck’s quack doesn’t echo, and no one knows why.

Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush. (I keep my toothbrush in the living room now!)

Turtles can breathe through their butts.

#469