Wednesday, May 27, 2009

W's Religious War

Recently declassified briefings from the Bush administration further reveal the link between our current war and religion. The cover sheets to these documents are adorned with pictures of troops and other war images captioned with quotes from the Christian bible. These briefings were delivered by Rumsfeld to the White House. Although this propaganda wasn't directly sent to the troops themselves, the fact of the matter is that those in power believed war was the correct course of action because of their religious belief. I think the images speak for themselves.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How to Argue Like a Theist

So what am I doing making a post with such a title? Over the years of arguing with them, I've learned to anticipate the arguments that theists will use in a discussion. It's like you can write a script for nearly every single debate (at least the ones with theists who haven't really debated before, or haven't given much thought as to why they think what they do). We nonbelievers have learned all the theists' tricks simply because these arguments are all that they have. They just keep using them again and again, no matter how many times they've been proven wrong.

  • Attack #1: Shift the burden of proof ("Can you prove God doesn't exist?")
  • Attack #2: What did God do to make you so angry?
  • Attack #3: Can you prove love?
  • Attack #4: Pascal's Wager
  • Attack #5: Watchmaker and other painter/painting Ray Comfort BS pseudo-arguments
  • Attack #6: Since science doesn't know how we got here, it must be God.
  • Attack #7: Offer personal experiences (you can't say I'm wrong now...I just *feel* it!)
  • Attack #8: Then what do you believe in? (purpose in life, morality, etc.)
  • Attack #n: see Ways to Annoy an Atheist

The first step (depending on how threatened the theist feels) is to attempt to rid themselves of the burden of proof. They may also falsely confuse passion with anger and try to use emotional arguments, claiming that the atheist must have been "hurt" by religion in the past. When these attempts fail, the next step is to argue from design. As the nonbeliever will typically use current scientific understanding to combat these weak attacks, the believer's next attempt is to attack science itself, claiming that scientific methods are invalid or flawed and will commonly use the "well, it's just a theory!". Once shown that science works, they resort to the only thing the atheist can't take away from them: personal experience. By the end of the discussion (if both parties ever reach such a point), the theist will throw out an argument from morality and begin considering what would be required to "believe IN" if one doesn't believe in God.

This is in no way a complete list, nor is it a script that occurs at each encounter. As I said earlier, it's the most common arguments that I find believers using to try to justify their unjustifiable beliefs. Yet the nonbeliever usually finds that every counter-attack has the opposite result: the more you show them there's no proof, the stronger they become in their belief! Faith is the evidence of what you can't see or prove. That's how you know, you just HAVE to know, and then you know. Faith (read: ignorance) can prevail.

Tracie Harris (who writes the Atheist Eve web comic) provides a similar list of theistic tactics, though in a different order:


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Obama Not Concerned with Praying

It seems that this year's annual trampling of church-state separation known as the "National Day of Prayer" was basically skipped by the nation's current President. The Obamas opted to observe the "holiday" in private (as he should according to his religion). For the first time in nearly two decades the White House declined to participate in the Congressionally-authorized mental jerkfest beyond issuing the standard proclamation.


Obama's toned-down stance earned him big points with us secularists. Along with his measures to stop federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education for teens and replace it with funding for “scientifically accurate” teen pregnancy approaches, and his stance on placing stronger a emphasis on science, not to mention lifting the ban on stem-cell research -- he's shaping up to undo a lot of the evils of the previous eight years.

Of course, President Obama did sign a proclamation recognizing the National Day of Prayer, as presidents before him have done for over half a century.

Small steps, I guess.