Archive for December, 2009

Getting Woo for Christmas

rabbitpirate
rabbitpirate
Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:00 pm by rabbitpirate

As the vast majority of the readers of this blog are skeptics I have a question for you all. What do you do if a well meaning relative, who honestly doesn’t know any better and who is very excited about it, gives you woo for Christmas? There you are, Christmas day, sitting with your family. You are handed a lovingly wrapped present by an exuberant relative who smiles at you with excitement and proclaims that “when I saw this I immediately thought of you, I just know you will love it.” Full of anticipation you tear off the wrapping paper to find ear candles/homeopathic remedies/a magnetic healing bracelet/a book by Deepak Chopra. What do you do?

 

Now of course your immediate reaction is to lie through your teeth. You love it, it is just what you were looking for, you have always wanted one. Anything but tell your loved one that, not only have they got you something that you don’t like, they have been taken in by a steaming pile of horse hockey. You can only hope it didn’t cost them too much money.

 

But of course the problem doesn’t end there. Once you have convinced them that you do actually like your vouchers of a free Reiki session what do you do then? Do you just throw it out or try and pass it off to someone else? But what happens when your relative turns up and asks how you are getting on with it? Maybe they have got you something that they expect you to display in some way, what then? Do you hang the unicorn power mural on the wall to show your relative that your do in fact like it? Or do you make up some excuse as to why you can’t do so?

 

Or are you all just completely honest and just tell them the truth from the start? I’d be interested in your thoughts, not that I got a present like this, no sir.

Open letter to TheAtheistAntidote (Brock Lawley)

nonstampcollector
nonstampcollector
Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:30 am by nonstampcollector

Brock,
What does it tell you that you have to delete my comment?

What should it tell me? You, and other theists, need to realise that when we put up good arguments against you guys and they are deleted, or ignored and the topic gets changed, or bulldozed right through with your fingers in your ears, – what else can we draw from that other than that you have no sensible refutation? And that we’re correct in our assertions? Seriously, it’s like getting an ‘A’ on a term paper.

I’ll tell you again – you have no idea of what an atheist is. You think you’ve been misrepresented by Antybu’s videos? Watch your own, and like I say – listen to what you say after the words “Atheists are…”. How many times do you need to be told? – what you say after those words is almost always WRONG. Yet you somehow ignore correction and soldier on.

You do not know what an atheist is, or how we atheists think, or do, or care about, or want. You have no idea about me, my girlfriend, her parents, the guy who works at the 7-11 store near my house, or the guy who drove my bus home yesterday. The only thing that you DO know about me and other atheists is that we are not convinced of the existence of Yahweh or any of the other deities history has noted. And you think it’s ok to make things up about us based on that? Slander us for not being convinced by what to you is sufficient evidence for Yahweh if you want, but do NOT make up lies about us as you please.

You’re not remarkable in that you do make up rubbish about us, what is remarkable about you is that you are completely impervious to correction. You are not only ignorant, but willfully so. And that, if there was such a thing as sin, would certainly be high amongst them.

If you don’t want me to pwn you on your own comments page, so much that you had to delete my last comment, then you’d better block me, because I will continue to call you on your willful misrepresentations and slanderous lies as long as you keep making them. In fact I made a thinly-veiled response video to you, but didn’t mention you by name so as to avoid giving you any undeserved publicity amongst my 17,000 subs, and the 20,000 views the video had within the first three days. I’ve linked to it at the bottom of this message. I thoroughly take your worldview and assertions to task – you’ll enjoy it, it will give you something new to utterly ignore. Just be sure to put your fingers in your ears and start saying “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA” before the page opens.

Shame on you, Brock, for remaining willfully ignorant about who and what atheists are. The corrections that fill your video comments contain an awful, awful lot that you could learn from- in that they’re written by atheists, telling you what atheists actually think! And you completely ignore them!!!
Like I say – these videos that you’ve had made against you are nothing more than you reaping what you’ve been sowing. I could not imagine a better case of poetic justice.

NSC

My sentiments exactly…

AndromedasWake
AndromedasWake
Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:32 pm by AndromedasWake

Our Romanian correspondent, ZOMGitsCriss, has posted a timely review of The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas, a collection of short stories, articles and festive tips from a suspiciously meaningful number* of atheists, edited by Ariane Sherine (creator of the Atheist Bus Campaign). Of course, I have something of a soft spot for this video, because our lovely host says some words. Nice words. Nice words about me. Have you bought your copy yet?

* Forty-two, innit!

Ah, The Hypocrisy Of It All

Th1sWasATriumph
Th1sWasATriumph
Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:27 pm by Th1sWasATriumph

I know it’s Christmas, but I’m going to have to bring you down. Maybe you can cheer yourself with the knowledge that something like this will almost certainly never happen to you or anyone you know.

In summary: the host of a TV show has been sentenced to death for sorcery, because he would occasionally predict the future for his callers. And where was he sentenced? Funland, of course, colloquially known as Saudi Arabia.

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How to save money at Christmas

rabbitpirate
rabbitpirate
Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:05 pm by rabbitpirate

You’ve probably seen this story else where by now but it is simply too amusing to let pass without comment. In the UK Church of England priest Tim Jones has been instructing his congregation to shop lift.

Speaking to his congregation on Sunday, Father Jones said: “My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift.”

Well most Christians already ignore the 4th commandment so why not just throw out the 8th as well. Now before you worry that following such advice isn’t exactly going to benefit your local community Father Jones is quick to place restrictions on his criminal instruction.

“I would ask that they do not steal from small, family businesses, but from national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.”

Ah, well as long as you are only stealing from places that can afford it then I guess it is all alright then. But of course Father Jones is quick to point out that his advice is not for everyone.

“When people are released from prison, or find themselves suddenly without work or family support, then to leave them for weeks and weeks with inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.

“We create a situation which leaves some people little option but crime.”

Well ok, I have to give him that one. If you’ve just gotten out of prison and are having problems making end meets, can’t afford food and lodgings then, yes, shop lifting is the way to go. In no time flat you will find yourself back in a warm room with three square meals a day completely free of charge, and probably access to a pool table and a flat screen television as well. Just don’t plan on going anywhere any time soon.

I have to say I am not really that surprised by all this. I mean look at the guy, he just looks dodgy. Are we even sure this guy is a real priest? Seriously how do you think this idea came to him? Going by where most of the crazy ideas in the Bible came from I’m guessing it came to him in a dream. He probably dreamt that he and God were walking round Tesco when God nudges him and in a whisper says “See the toaster, stick it under your jumper.”

The only thing that would make this story better would be if he had been a Catholic priest, sitting on a golden thrown throne in his palace, informing this congregation that they only way the Church can help them in their plight is to offer advice on shop lifting. Best priest/shop lifting related comment wins a prize…well, ok no it won’t but we can pretend.

Down with this sort of thing

rabbitpirate
rabbitpirate
Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:10 pm by rabbitpirate

Now I know that every skeptic and freethinker on the blogosphere, and I am ashamed that I had to look up how to spell that, has mentioned this already and I am pretty sure that I have done so myself in the past. However this is an issue that I feel strongly about and which, to be honest, anyone who cares about free speech should feel strongly about as well.

As you no doubt know the libel laws in the UK are a joke. Not only are they around 150 times more expensive than else where in Europe but, unlike most laws, they also seem to operate on a guilty until proven innocent basis. Combine this with the fact that the UK libel laws can be brought to bare against anyone anywhere in the world if the thing they are commenting on has so much as looked in the general direction of the UK and you have a pretty effective tool for people of questionable scruples to use for silencing those who, often quiet legitimately, speak out against them. No where are these issues clearer than with regards to skeptical hero Simon Singh and his on going battle against the forces of evil the British Chiropractic Association.

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We are ‘Star-Stuff’

AndromedasWake
AndromedasWake
Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:59 am by AndromedasWake

Carl Sagan on the set of Cosmos13 years ago, on this day, Carl Sagan lost a long struggle against myelodysplasia and passed away at only 62. His tragic death left the global community of astronomers and scientists of all fields with an immense feeling of loss. Never has one person brought to so many, with so much enthusiasm the grand story of our origins, and of course, the origin of the Universe. Thankfully, he left us an incredible legacy and continues to inspire with every passing day through the multitude of outstanding books he authored, and perhaps most important of all, the Cosmos television series.

First broadcast in 1980, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage remains the pinnacle of the documentary genre, encompassing the history of science, life, the Earth, the stars and the Universe, as well as our place therein and our future. Central to this 13-hour masterpiece, Sagan approached these subjects with the wonder and excitement of a child, exploring through imagination, but with the depth and understanding of a brilliant scientist. To his fans, his stirring and at times even romantic elocution would trump that of the greatest poets. And as one of them (a fan, not a great poet), I am left unable to express how much I want the world to see this series. I believe it should be shown in every school, in every country, and broadcast at least once a year for the world to see again. If I had the money and power to achieve this, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. Fortunately, we are part way there, as many people discover Sagan’s work circulated on the internet every day. Even in our humble corner, we’ve seen users of this forum meet and embrace Sagan’s philosophy having never previously heard of him. It seems appropriate that on the anniversary of his death, we should celebrate the birth of his legacy, a candle in the dark burning brighter than ever.

The Qur’an . . ? Really?

Th1sWasATriumph
Th1sWasATriumph
Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:14 am by Th1sWasATriumph

The day I’ve had.

Cold, so very bitterly cold. Anyone who’s been any closer to outside than their own bedroom knows it’s been cold enough to freeze the smile of a Catholic priest in an orphanage. Cold enough to make people who should know better wear beanies. You get what I’m saying; coldness.

Walking down Kilburn high road (note to foreign types; Kilburn high road is a shopping street in London that contains a pub called The Cock, and this is all you need to know) I noticed a couple of trestle tables with brightly coloured pamphlets. A few people stood behind these tables, picking up a sheet from the ground. Initially I thought they’d been breakdancing, poppin’ some sweet moves in the grindstreet dustcore scene, yo.

Nope. Muslims! (more…)

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