We got it all wrong! Bush is the Best President Ever

We got it all wrong. We just didn't understand him. I get it now. This is awesome. I know Wikipedia can be a big bag of fakery, but if even one of these nicknames is even slightly true, then Bush has become the most fucking awesome world leader ever. Examples:

Altoid Boy,Turd Blossom, The Blade, Congressman Kickass

And for Vladimir Putin, President of Russia? Pootie-Poot

It's like he's a world leader and he doesn't even give a shit.

Elton John stands up.

It seems it's now Ok to speak out about religion. We are starting to be heard. And that is a very good thing.

Last week we saw Elton John speaking out about the hatred Religion shows to Gay people:

"I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people," he said. "Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays."

He spoils it by saying we should ban all religion (though goes on to clarify that actually he just wants debate), but even then he has a point. In the UK we will soon have a law that forbids you to "incite religious hatred." A vaguely worded law that has the possibility of making debate and criticism difficult, but means well. People "inciting hatred" can be imprisoned.

Why shouldn't a law protecting homosexuals from hatred exist? And with passages like Leviticus 20:13 "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. it is clear that the bible insights homosexual hatred, and as such why shouldn't mainstream moderate religions themselves be held accountable for the hate that their "holy scripture" contains?

Unless of course this is another "metaphorical part" that we are meant to just forget about.

Jesus Camp closing down

Jesus camp seems to be closing down for at least several years due to the negative reaction sparked by the film. Who would have thought that training children of evangelical parents for spiritual and political warfare could go wrong.

Links in the title. Disclaimer: I have yet to see this film. So I have no idea how it actual represents the group bar this trailer.

Taking it like a man.

I often go on about how your faith (or lack of it) should be able to withstand some attacks and ridicule. And as such I present to you a wonderful criticism of "New Atheism" and Richard Dawkins. It's damn funny.

(Backstory, Cartman has frozen himself out of impatience for the new Nintendo Wii console, and woken up in an atheist future. Waiting patiently for a Wii myself makes this even closer to the bone.)

The Fall of Ted Haggard

Just like before - another religious liar has destroyed himself, for our benefit. His name is Ted Haggard and for the benefit of us Europeans here's a run down of who he is, and what he had:

1) He had a congregation of 14,000 Evangelical Christians. And was President of the New Evangelical Church - with 30 million members.
2) He "believes" the bible is literally true. And a final authority. Noah's flood happened. Evolution is nonsense. The earth is 6000 years old.
3) He had a phone call with President Bush - Every Monday. Roll that around on your tongue. A weekly conversation with the President of the USA. There are entire countries that get less time than that.
4) Because a really old book says so he "believes" being Gay is a true sin. And fought violently against the right for people of the same sex to marry.

This is his meeting with Richard Dawkins. Despite Dawkin's inability to interview, this is damn insightful.

If you are American you probably know this, if your not then it's doubtful you have heard that this man who fights to limit how people can live out their private lives, this man who fights for intelligent design to be taught in school, who believes the Bible is literal truth, who believes that a man putting his penis into another man sends the all powerful ruler of the universe into a rage. A rage so great he would destroy cities.

Is Gay.

(And a drug user).

Heres what the Daily show had to say about it:

Which sums it up nicely. But I want to add something. It is true that this is a beautifully poignant event that helps "our cause" no end. As Jimmy Kimmel mentions - anyone who truely hates something, who sees something as truely evil, do so because they see it in themselves.

But that isn't the bigger picture. Most Preachers who hate gay people won't be gay (though no doubt the ratio is far above average). What's important is this man preached what he did not believe. He lied to his flock, and himself. And that, I believe, is far more common. I think the majority of Preachers do doubt there teachings, and it is this that makes them all the more fanatical.

This is a sad man, whose religion denied him a honest life, held him back from who he was, and taught him to do the same to others. This man's faith is his chains.

This is his quote of admission:

I am so sorry for the circumstances that have caused shame and embarrassment for all of you....The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life....The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry. — Ted Haggard, letter to New Life Church"

There is a part of your life that is repulsive and dark, Mr Haggard, and you have been warring against it all of your adult life, but it isn't a sexual desire that seen in almost all mammals, it's a religion that taught you it was wrong.

Boy, a lot has happened.

It seems whilst Skeptobot is away, the world gets a better place. Still correlation doesn't imply causation, as much as I may want it to in this case. The real life work load is still outpacing any attempts to contain it - but we should have time for at least a weekly update. I hope. I'll cherry pick a few articles from the last week or so.

They have been juicy.

Delays and the Good News

Sorry about the lack of updates, I flew back into the UK last night and was sans internets. Hopefully will have an update for monday - as so much good stuff has happened.

I did (finally!) finish The God Delusion - and I seriously -buy it for yourself this xmas. Sit by the fire, with a nice warm drink (or a nice cold beer) and savour it. It is a delight to see your opinions vocalised so elegantly.

Dawkins kicks off

My Wednesday update is small this week as I'm up a mountain, failing to observe the stars.

But I don't need to say anything when Richard Dawkins letter to accompany his new book can say it for me.

A quote:

Scientists divide into two schools of thought over the best tactics with which to face the threat. The Neville Chamberlain 'appeasement' school focuses on the battle for evolution. Consequently, its members identify fundamentalism as the enemy, and they bend over backwards to appease 'moderate' or 'sensible' religion (not a difficult task, for bishops and theologians despise fundamentalists as much as scientists do). Scientists of the Winston Churchill school, by contrast, see the fight for evolution as only one battle in a larger war: a looming war between supernaturalism on the one side and rationality on the other. For them, bishops and theologians belong with creationists in the supernatural camp, and are not to be appeased.

Chamberlin? or Churchill? Where do you stand?

Dinosaur Adventure Land eats itself.

The Ministers of the Creationist Ministries' Dinosaur Adventure Land are under arrest for 58 counts of tax fraud.

When your defence lawyer describes it as a case of "Ignorance of the law and their religious beliefs." you know you are fucked.

This Dinosaur adventure land has made "April the 1st "Darwins Day." And rather than describe it, its safe to say that basically every hideous thought that has popped into your head? Yeah that's true.

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Their ignorance of the law included failing to pay around $470,000 worth of wages and hence the taxes on them by calling them "love offerings" to their ministers and volunteers instead. Resisting a search warrant and, depressingly, making $5 million dollars in 5 years selling merchandise about creationsim but seemingly not paying taxes on any of it.

Their ignorance of Religion was by being a "literalist who takes every word of the Bible as truth." Well that and making a big park about how God got pissed off with all the dinosaurs so killed them in Noah's flood a few thousand years ago (Apart from the triceratops in the picture he apparently saved.).

Like Mel "Jews have caused all the wars in the world" Gibson - it's so beautiful when who piss us all off destroy themselves for our benefit.

UPDATE: Sorry just got to add that according to this one of there proofs against evolution is a fossilised crayon. That's awesome.

Dawkins vs Colbert

A great start to the new Wednesday posting schedule was blogger being down earlier. Ah Well. Here we go.

Richard Dawkins was interviewed by Steve Colbert as can be seen below. It's very fun.

Damn thats all I have time for now. Sorry!

The Future of Skeptobot

So after the YTMND "event" and a regular flow of readers it's time to take Skeptobot further. I want Skeptobot to continue to grow. So here's the outline of my plan to try and turn you all into regular readers:

1) Skeptobot will get an update ever week. Currently this will be Wednesdays (most likely in the afternoon). Hopefully it will update more often than that - but I hope knowing there will be weekly content will help keep you coming back.

2) I know I do not have nearly enough readers for contributions - but the offer is there!

3) Apart from news updates and commentary about random crap. I have three little projects in my mind. I will most likely talk about these in the Bad Science Forums and the Richard Dawkins Forum but will co-ordinate them here. Two are silly - but one is quite serious.

4) Comments are good!

And to answer the comment of Ben Goldarce (yeah, that's right - look impressed) - the Christian comments came about from YTMND (an American "comedy" site where users use animated gifs and sound files to make their own little web pages).

A Christian user of the site there was creating webpages about how all atheists go to hell, and have killed more people than all religious people put together and so on. So suffering from insomina I put the site about the pale blue dot together. It's flawed, ugly and has very annoying music (due to an in-joke) but by some miracle has been visited 78,000 times in the last month.

The Christian users there took great offence to it, insulted me in the YTMND comments thread and then followed the link here - where they are a lot seem a lot more erudite and don't just tell me I'm going to hell. I've loced every second.

It's been splendid.

Dress like a dapper Christian

Oh man, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. I can't decide whats worse the windows 98 clip art "style" or the wonderful "loving" message. These T-Shirts are so ridiculous that (in the UK at least) they would be worth buying - as they would only be seen as being sarcastic. But then you are supporting the makers which - as these examples show - isn't something you should want to do.

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Christian Children?

A very well made point in Richard Dawkins The God Delusion is about children and religion. Put simply he shows the ridiculousness of the concept of religious children. Do you have a liberal child? Or an atheist child? A free-market economy supporting child? No. Because as a child - you haven't yet made up your mind on things. The correct terminology should be a "child of Christian parents". A child believes everything you say. At least let them stop believing in Santa and the tooth fairy before you claim them for a faith.

It makes you worry even more about things like this:

It is so scary this world in which we live.

Friday's Link Dump

A man who's child was horrifically killed in the Columbine tragedy is broadcast on cnn blaming the teaching of evolution, abortion and the except-ability of suicide.

Postmodern American Parents are trying to ban a book about the terrible effects of banning books

American Psychicexplains how to spot fake psychics.

Pale Blue Dot

So I've made over 60,000 hits with Pale Blue Dot on YTMND. It's a site where people upload a picture (often an animated gif), a sound and some text to typically amuse but sometimes to make a point whether it be political, religious or otherwise. I've got a lot of feed back in the comments to the site and it's obvious I need to clear some stuff up. But before I do that - here's the picture (furthest "sun-beam" right and just over half way down) and the quote.

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"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

To me that is an incredibly moving quote. It makes our trivial differences even more preposterous than ever before. But if you post it on YTMND you get over 1000 comments - most of which are postive - but a sizeable portion tell you that you are going to hell.

I'm going to write a longer response - but for the time being let me make some points.

1) I am not trying to disprove God. Not Odin, Yahweh, Allah, Ra, The Godhead or even Thor,or I'm only trying to give an insight into how one (brilliant) atheist thought, as a guide to how atheists see beauty in the world.

2) I'm not calling religion small minded. I am calling the faith that Whestone (and admittedly many like him) hold to be small minded. I know that may offend people. But if your faith can not take a little criticisms then you have to wonder how strong it is in the first place. I found the statement that all "Infidels" (Whestones olde worlde word for atheist, despite the fact that the majority of people he "quoted" were all deists) realised they were going to hell on their death bed ridiculous, offensive and laughable. But religious beliefs (or lack off) should be no more protected than political or ideological beliefs of any kind.

3) The quote is about how we need to come together to survive on our little pale blue dot. And that means we have to learn how to take criticism from each other. The target, if anyone, of the site was against the people who just wanted to outright ban whestone. A stance I do not believe in.

Anyway - I need to work. But I will put more thoughts here later.

Pale Blue Dot

It appears I've caused some commotion. What to do now?

Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion

This book looks fun. And it's only £10 on amazon at the moment - so go on. Treat yourself. I'm sure there will be more on this after I've read it (on the tube no less to help pimp it out).

A priest and his fat criminal congregation.

It's 5am - and I'm in deadline hell before a two week trip away. But here are some stories to amuse you and/or make you weep at the futility of it all.

1) There is talk that religious people are fatter than the non-religious in america - because drinking and smoking is against their faith.

2)A Bush-funded prison initiative that fast-tracked parole forpeople who converted to Christianity has been swatted down in the federal courts. - it appears the federal court have managed to delay the second dark age by at least a week. We should get them a present. I mean hating Bush is such a fucking cliché it's embarrassing. At least this lets you hate him for a fresh new reason.

3) The Daily express talks about the "fury" over a Priest admitting that the underlying religious motives for the 7/7 Tube Bombings are the same as all the other crazy shit christinaity has done. Like when Jesus got the shit kicked out of people with whips because they were selling stuff in a "holy place." In his own words:

"We cannot simply ignore the violent passion of Jesus cleansing the temple with whips. We are never told of the collateral damage possibly resulting from his actions.

"In the Christian tradition we rejoice over the passionate commitment and bloody deaths of numerous martyrs. We need to consider the same religious passion and spiritual single mindedness lies at the heart of a London bomber and a Christian crusader."

Obviously the way to take on board his reasonable, insightful and truthful point is to shout really loudly about how Jesus wasn't a terrorist.And distance him from the church. Way to go CoE.

More on Amorth

This transcript of an interview with Amorth shows quiet how much the man believes he lives in the film Constantine. An example:

30 Days: During the exorcism of possessed persons, what kind of phenomena occur?

Fr. Amorth: I recall an illiterate peasant who, during an exorcism, spoke to me only in English and I had to have an interpreter. There are people who manifest a superhuman strength, others who completely levitate from the ground and whom it is impossible even for several men to keep seated in their armchair. But it is only the context in which these phenomena occur which makes us speak of demonic possession.

and a bit later:

30 Days: Don't you ever feel afraid of the demon?

Fr. Amorth: Me, for that animal? It is he who should be afraid of me; I act in the name of the Lord of the world. But as for him, he is nothing but God's monkey.

Stupid God's monkey thinks he can do whatever he likes!

Hitler was possesed!

Father Gabriele Amorth is the Pope's chief Exorcist and heads the "International Association of Exorcists." According to today's metro (the paper version used to avoid social contact on the tube, so no link) was interviewed on the radio yesterday where he said:

"I am convinced the Nazis were all possessed. All you have to do is think about what Hitler - and Stalin - did.... Almost certainly they were possessed by the Devil."

It is this kind of forward thinking that keeps Catholicism on the cutting edge of social progress! This deep and probing insight into the mindsets of those responsible for one of the darkest periods of human history will definitely help prevent humanity from committing these atrocities again! And will undoubtedly help us understand them damn terrorists.

Well done Catholicism!

Madonna's shows feck all common sense.

Bono has a lot to answer for. We permit his smug curmudgeonly face to extoll the virtues of not fucking over the world, like it's some new brainwave, that we the unwashed would never have realised - but at least he means well.

It's harder to forgive Madonna. She's currently spending her days attempting to destroy nuclear waste: in here own words “[Nuclear waste is] something I’ve been involved with for a while with a group of scientists — finding a way to neutralise radiation, believe it or not.”

But it's ok - MADonna (see what I did? Thats called satire - look it up) has been researching things thoroughly: “According to science we aren’t going to have a planet in about 50 years at the rate we’re going with nuclear waste." So she's trying to convince the Goverment that if she and here Kabbalah friends shout Chernobyl a lot - then they will make magic water to solve all our problems. Awesome.

But whats important here is the TIMES NEWSPAPERS quote of an OFFICIAL from either DOWNING STREET, WHITEHALL or BRITISH NUCLEAR FUELS (BNFL) had the balls to be quoted saying:

“It was like a crank call . . . the scientific mechanisms and principles were just bollocks, basically,”



If your an American - this is old. If you partake in the never-ending parade of the Internets "Meme's of Zeitgeist" then this is a stale husk of a concept. Type "God Warrior" in YTMND and stand amazed. But if you are British then you may have missed an American version of Wife Swap creatively named "Trading Spouses." Basicallty they sent the "God Warrior" to a house of Wiccans.

It's a guilty pleasure watching one group of people who believe nonsense hate another group of people who believe nonsense - but a pleasure none the less.

I will rise to become SkeptoBot, your friend for locating, and then laughing at: Bad Science, Pseudo Science, Nonsense, Political Idiocy, Damn Statistics, Technological Bollock, Quacks, Homeopathy, Uri "Fraud" Geller and Religious fucktards.

This isn't about really about careful debunking this is just light hearted preaching to the converted.

And obviously this is work in progress, so don't expect much yet.