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Offensive Islam, Leaves No Room For Doubt.

May 26, 2010

Well, I have about three incomplete drafts saved, so things are going to get a little out of order. Iĺl try to ensure that it won´t make things too confusing. I have not published for a while but I have been bloging ´backstage´ so to speak. Itś not so much a case of writers block as ramblers torrent that is to blame, as I keep having troubles with winding up a post, until I absolutely  have to do something else, like cook a meal. Anyhow I have yet another post from another comment section, that got a little too long, so I just copy pasta this one and…. No! I mustn’t embellish!

The original article I have responded to is: Insult-22 It deals with the relentless Islamic trend of hypersensitive offense taking and suppression of free speech. The implications for a hateful, violent retaliation for the god who never grew up since having his lollipop stolen at the age of three is given due consideration.  I seems this tantrum prone, petulant, hate-mongering deity, consequently lost all supernatural powers to fight his own battles,  relying instead on the mob brutality from unrestrained, rabid lynch mobs, of, violent, (almost) human barbarians.

@Aafke Thank you for speaking such sane and responsible words. In particular I love the lines:

¨People who live half the world have no right to push their moral/religious codes on people to whom they are meaningless. They have the duty to respect their autonomy.¨

And this is little treasure:

¨My point is really that being insulted is and should remain, a personal emotion.¨

I would also like to point out the difference between giving offense and taking offense as a miscommunication. The offense that is created on the receiving end, can so easily disregard the lack of intent to offend, by way of the words or intentions conveyed.  Even if the intent exists, the offense is a victim-less crime if receiving party has the maturity to realize that pictures and word are information. Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

The point you make, plays into a matter I have been contemplating lately. The Abrehamic monotheisms. all seem to employ this distorted concept of what belief is. The bizarre idea that one can simply decide (ie without examining evidence or critical thinking) to believe an idea as deliberate choice, like which colour sock to wear, is at the heart of these beliefs. Is simply disregards the obvious absurdity that believing something does not make it true. That tells me something about the intellectual poverty of the basic precepts.

If you have no investment in critical thinking and treating an idea as something to be scrutinized for rational plausibility, it is effortless to choose beliefs like socks because you won´t know any better. Now consider emotional blackmail/bribery, of such absurd extremes as heaven and hell and beliefs can be sold on the basis of moral obligation. You can be told it is your duty to choose this belief, as if the highest authority in the universe (assuming such a being exists) will torture you for eternity. You will also be incapable of scrutinizing your beliefs or contemplating any evidence or reason that they may be false.

Another catalyst for this delusion, is the false dichotomy fallacy, which is predicated on the failure to consider all possible explanations for the same evidence, but to treat one as the polar opposite of the other, so I am right if you are wrong, and visa versa. The most interesting failure I think though, is the inability to consider the possibility of even the being tentative even in the slightest way. That is how totalitarian ideology prevents itś  proponents form even looking at even the slightest scrap of contradictory evidence. That way the word ´believe´ becomes a synonym for know.

The problem is, if you cant contemplate the probability / plausibility of an idea because you are scared to hell and morally forbidden, from even thinking it might not be completely factual, then you can never even consider what conditions might change your mind. Willingness to consider and be convinced by convincing argument is the real mark of respect. To admit that that we can never be certain and be willing to change our minds, is a prerequisite of open-mindedness and to abandon that is a tragedy. I makes a total mockery of the precious pleadings for respect.

The point is, this totalitarian mindset, is incapable of hearing the disagreement of any dissenting or contrary views. The idea that others have a right to their belief is disregarded, because it incompatible with divine moral dictates to believe, obey, worship and vehemently oppose any alternatives. Like offense, belief is also personal. I have been accused of trying to destroy peoples faith, because I have the audacity to dispute their beliefs. This just silly, because there is nothing I could ever do, to make another person change their mind. If they understand my reasons and have the integrity to entertain speculation that they may be mistaken, then they may become convinced that I am right, but then we have reached agreement because they have changes their own mind.

Critical thinking allows people to reach agreement and eliminate misconceptions, it begins with refusing to make assumptions and enthusiastically putting our most cherished ideas on the table, so we can learn about any errors we could have made. You cant possibly learn anything if you know everything already. Islamic extremism is inconsolable by reason and the meed to let ideas stand on their own merit and face criticism, because infallibility of their dogma is accepted out of hand and there is one more common critical thinking error made. When pointing out why you find a belief unconvincing, you may also notice your counterpart is taking your points as a statement of absolute certainty (they don´t understand you dont think this way) Agreement in this mindset means you would have to ´know with unyielding certainty that you both are perfectly certain of the same conclusion´.

Instead they interpret your doubt, as certainty that they are false, and so you are directly contradicting (and thereby insulting) the infallible truth, as demanded by the dictator of all truth that can be known. The idea of humility and tentative ideas, probability or doubt, is banished (in their view) from your motives to doubt, as well as their motives to believe. This I think, is why they react so belligerently.  It also explains how indoctrination, proselytism and the constant petulant demand to believe as if it were an obligation to them, as well as their totalitarian dictator god. The impenetrable circular reasoning makes it inconceivable for them to comprehend that you cant obey a being who does not exist, so the command to believe can only be obeyed by a person who already believes.

It is lamentably predictable what line the responses to this point will be. It is too much to expect a Muslim critic to acknowledge (and allow) that I am unconvinced of their gods existence, so the reply will assume that we both ´know´ Allah exists, as if he were as real as one of my neighbors and then the absurdity of begging the question will pass without so much as a nod, to a conclusion that  Allah is real, itself drawing upon some baseless assumptions that could at best merely valid (not even plausible or possible), if I assume Allah exists. Show me the Muslim fundamentalist who even comprehends circular reasoning, and I will show you one who understands the fundamental fallacy that their whole belief system is predicated upon.

I might also predict the, inability of any critic, to contend with my doubts, without taking them as a claim of certainty that the Muslim beliefs are wrong.  I do not have to know they are wrong to doubt they are correct Does any Muslim comprehend, that my failure to be convinced, is not the same as a claim that I am certain they are wrong. The difference between my mindset and theirs, is that I am willing to be convinced by good evidence and reasoning. I would be willing to be convinced that Peter Pan is real, if good reason and evidence became overwhelming, but not if I am told  Peter Pan threatens to chop me into a million bits and feed me to dogs if I dont decide to  believe he exists. That is not evidence. That is obviously delusional rantings of a deranged lunatic.

A tragic consequence of this deplorable insidious dictatorship of ignorance, which spans entire nations, underwrites governments and ordains as compulsory, hateful, violent, misogynistic, irrational and joyless beliefs, is the sheer vulgarity of their oppressiveness.  The license is granted to evil barbaric men, to override and undermine human rights that should have no geographic boundaries and protect the vulnerabilities of women, children, animals and disadvantaged of all kinds. Their dictatorship is a monolithic power, that rises above all levels of authority and poisons every sector and aspect of a society. It  has no natural predators or vaccines for those trapped in its clutches. The children, massive throngs of them, will never know what free thinking is, as they will not be given the opportunity to learn thinking skills or learn to understand natural consequences  or debate with an open mind about so many things that are doomed be decided for them to believe as unquestionable dogmatic dictates.  These sick, evil barbarians have such an unrestrained monopoly Over every single thing (to an excruciating detail) and will not give a second thought in dispensing the most brutal and savage atrocities of pure evil barbarism  they care to .  Islam proves that anybody who can make us believe absurdities, can persuade us to commit atrocities.

Here are a couple examples of the kinds of things I believe Islam lends itś ideological support to. in the first case. While in the second  it positively endorses, if not actively sanctions the actions of sick child abuse. To borrow a slightly hackney´d cliché : People – PLEASE – think of the children!

too disgusting for words

PS: Many thanks for her inspiration, must go to Aafke,  A blogger who reflects a character of substance who´s integrity is rare. Please visit:

Clouddragon

Internet Virus & Malware Re-think

March 28, 2010
Meanwhile, over  on Bastard Sheep, I read the portentous and disturbing  news, about the  growth of Internet virus and malware Evermore cleverly disguised and alluring traps are set such as  fake look alike websites and viruses or malware are triggered in an increasing number of ads.

2.6 MILLION instances of infected ads since late December.

You know,  this stinking damn, malicious behavior makes me madder than hell. After the fuming subsides, I wonder why we are not doing more about it, but rather, seemingly accepting that it is a product of a system which cant be changed,(at least not without sacrificing some anonymity and/or perhaps some aspect of free communication). We seem to dive straight for the defensive line and concede that we need to put ourselves to the trouble, of the cat and mouse game in which we are always the mouse.

I can never quite fathom, why it is presumed that it would be too hard to make the origin of any piece of information or executable code traceable to it’s source. I can’t see why sizable proportions of the web-page related malware cant be nipped in the bud before the browser even handles it.

The way I see it there needs to be fixed guaranteed  protection of privacy, autonomy and anonymity while allowing the developer to invoke the browser code. Firstly there needs to be some authority and policing and that can’t be left to individual national governments. The web is no mans land, even though the USA dominates its population. No taxes are collected to fund central governance and so nobody will tend to want to foot the bill. If this is rectified, then we have a scenario which is at least amenable to accountability.

Nobody wants to pay a levy but considering the volume money made on the Internet, the cost of some protocols and services to police malicious activities is trivial. Big profitable business enjoying (exploiting?) this very economical and lucrative medium should be happy to forgo a tiny fraction of their spoils and support the cause.

On the software side I would envisage that some stop-checks might be put into place, somewhat resembling Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). It may become necessary to deploy a universal licensing program for every live web-server on the Internet, whereby each installation generates a unique pair of PGP (public & private) keys. Web pages, would all originate from a licensed unique source. The personal information for the source is not revealed in public, because you can only have the public key. Even so, that is a unique identification and can be used to decrypt the details.

As much as I dislike punative measures for social control, I think it needs to be noted that these little assholes committing crimes no different than willful vandalism at best. Some are  incorporating invasion of privacy, fraud (phishing scams etc.), and if browser windows perpetually spawn intermittently with modal dialogue that requires a response which can only generate a new window, then this is no different than a car jacking. My computer has been hijacked and in the real world that is a serious criminal offense.

Well guess what? I am in the real world (some would disagree ;)) and so is my computer. If somebody’s malware is hijacking my computer, they deserve to be hauled out of their apartment in hand cuffs and thrown into the Porridge And Iron Bar Resort. For a few months to a year. Cracking security to get into private areas of a system should be the equivalent of break and enter in real home. Not to mention invasion of privacy. Assuming the effort to crack a system is not for a Sunday stroll through the victims file system, no doubt there will be other mischief afoot. Maybe fraud is on the agenda. Maybe plagiarism or petty theft.

Anyhow, besides systems for accountability and stern consequences, there also needs to be authority to exercise punitive measures for Internet crime, that endorses exceptions to the suspects privacy rights. Consider how graffiti on a fence might be used to espouse rights to free speech, but we wouldn’t think it a violation of free speech when we punish the offender and make them paint over, or clean off the graffiti now would we? Once the source of an attack has been identified, to the public key of the server, the online policing authority, need to have authorization to Decrypt the web-servers information such as log files to identify the origin of the author of the malware. That calls for another implementation of the PGP security that (usually) keeps the identity and personal information of the web surfer secret, but allows information to pass and be decrypted upon receipt.

One crucial factor in accountability, is to make sure ISP’s have strict Identification procedures for a publishing license. To get an Internet account and surf the net would be no different that it is, but to gain editing/developing authority, that is required by all web servers, you must have the ID security required by a bank. Publishing trivial websites with CMS, forums or blog software etc, is exempt of course, because mo code is required to do so, beyond that of the existing installed software.

If the ISP doesn’t supply the developer with a permanent IP, then available logs must be kept of every reassignment previous and new IPs, the time and public key of the client. Perhaps the ISP will have to have a PGP key pair also for the DNS server. However it presently works, I fail to see how a chain of ultimately traceable information can’t be implemented, efficiently, transparently and entirely without compromising the anonymity of the user.

Incidentally I intend to write up a separate post on this, but I am currently planing the setup, of a non profit organization and the purpose will be to raise funds for other secular NPOs. One of the ongoing fund-raising activities, will be to provide adverting services for charities and NPO’s as well as  Commercial for profit companies, who pass muster on a point scoring star chart (like on youtube videos) that rates the ad for ethical standards of the ad itself the company and its products and service. I’d like to think that virus & Trojan contaminated ads would not stand a chance on this system.

Satanic Messages

November 22, 2009

I was searching my favorite classic rock legends on youtube the other day, just to play something  and test out a video driver I had rolled back to, as I had a few hiccups after an upgrade. I some how found my self on a website called songfacts.com and specifically, the page about Stairway To heaven.

One of the comments left reads as follows:

First I want to make it clear… I am not a religious person, I do not attend church, nor do I have a bible I thump. I do not believe in the personification of a deity called “Satan”. So I do not have a religious agenda to push. My interest in Pages satanic backwards messages in Stairway to Heaven, is purely from a desire to expose the truth. Whether Page believes in satan, or worships this fictional deity, I do not know, nor do I really care. What I am more interested in is the elaborate deception. Some have suggested that the phrases found in this song, when played backward, are coincidence, or things people wish to hear. I reject this hypothesis because, though it might have been easy to dismiss one or two such bits, when collected together, they stay within a consistent theme. One of these phrases consists of eight words that form a coherent sentence that fits this theme. The bits are: 1) My sweet satan 2) The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan. 3) He will give those with him 666. 4) There was a little tool shed where he made us suffer, sad Satan. 5) We shall all fall if we lose feathers Statistically speaking, there is no way that the word satan could appear so many times in one song by accident. Statistically speaking, having phrases that are coherent, consisting of 8-13 words backwards, by accident, is impossible… period. The fact that they all are also part of a coherent theme, makes it undeniably intentional. Now Page had already pioneered backwards masking, a technique where you physically cut the tape and re-insert it flipped backwards. So he was more than familiar with the concept. But here is the deal… when you flip something backwards it is easily picked up by our ears/brain as being backwards. Example, the backwards clip on Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, which mentions a contest to enter if you find the secret backwards message. Page and Plant have denied that there is backward masking on Stairway, and they are telling the truth. The messages were not placed there using backwards masking, that would have been obvious and easy to recognize. The technique Page used was far more creative and devious. First Page played around with phrases he wanted to include, recorded them forwards, then played them backwards to hear what they sounded most like. After determining what words worked both forwards and backwards, he reconstructed the sentences to be dual purpose. Hence, there is no backwards masking. Having edited sound professionally for over 20 years, I have done experiments to prove this method, it’s not hard to do. Further more, Page wanted people to look for these messages, and included instructions, in the forward lyrics. “There’s a sign on the wall, but she wants to be sure, because you know sometimes words have two meanings.” This is a clear declaration that the words have two meanings. The song itself, which is very melancholy, is about making the choice between good and evil, “Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road your on.” And in the climactic finale, the lyrics reveal their chosen path: “And as we wind on down the road, our shadows taller than our souls..” Suggesting that their sinful deeds have eclipsed their souls. Again, I have no religious agenda, I do not believe in satan. Personally, I believe that these messages were placed in the song to create hype and controversy, which is exactly what they did. Page made a concerted effort, from the design of the album, including references to the occult and astrology/tarot, and the enigmatic symbols representing the band members, to the careful crafting of the song Stairway including it’s double meanings, to create something mysterious and magical. Something that would stir emotion and imagination for generations. A quote from Page: “Every musician wants to do something of lasting quality, something which will hold up for a long time and I guess we did it with “Stairway”. Clearly Page put more thought and engineering into Stairway, than any other song. I think Page succeeded in his goal, but I think it is important that people have the opportunity to see the truth as well. Some facts to consider: 1) Jimmy Page owned an occult bookstore in England. Where he sold Crowley’s books. 2) Page was a devote follower of Alistair Crowley. 3) Page purchased and lived in the Boleskin house, Crowley’s former residence. 4) The scene in Song Remains the Same, where Jimmy Page (With glowing red eyes) is sitting and cranking out music on a tiny music box, was shot behind the Boleskin house. Any one item by themselves, may seem ridiculous, but when they are all brought together, the pattern is undeniable. Whether because Page actually believes in satan, or whether it was all an elaborate hoax, the intent was genuine and carefully calculated. It has also been suggested that listeners hear what they are prompted to hear. While this theory may hold some truth, after all, the power of suggestion can be strong. When I first spun my old vinyl album backwards, the only phrase that had been suggested to me at the time, was the “My sweet satan”. The rest was just obvious to my ears, and I think it is no coincidence that it syncs with the overall general consensus of the backwards messages. Today bands that want to include satanic themes into their music, do it directly, in-your-face. But back then, in 1971, it was still too controversial to take the direct approach. In my humble opinion, adding mystique to a body of work, is usually a great thing, it adds more dimension to the work and makes the audience bring their own imagination into the mix. Many bands of the day did it, some more successfully than others. What I object to is the deception and the lies. In a clip presented here, a DJ takes a caller, who asks Page about the Crowley home rumors. However, the caller makes two mistakes, he refers to Crowley’s Castle in England. Page dodges this question adeptly, as it is incorrect, he answers that Crowley never had one, and he never lived in one. This is true, because the Boleskin House, though it may have been a “Castle” to Crowley, was not a proper castle in any sense of the word, and it was located in Scotland, not England. But what is more interesting is that Page didn’t point this out. He was content to dodge the question and make the caller look like a fool. What does Page have to hide? If he is not a follower of the occult, so obsessed with Crowley that he had to buy and live in the house he owned… then why not admit to the truth? I still listen to Led Zeppelin, but when I listen to Stairway, I keep in mind that “..you know sometimes words have two meanings.”
– Jimmy, Boleskin house, United Kingdom

This was one of the wiser ones on the page which seems to be preoccupied with the words people believe they hear when this song is played backwards. While I do agree that there are often what sounds like intelligible voices to be heard, that it’s doesn’t constitute an intentional  message and that is the first issue to be resolved before we bestow upon these sounds, any tile as implicitly premeditated or deliberate as ‘messages’ or ‘words’.

The superstitious claims about ‘satanic messages’ in Stairway To Heaven are just laden with fail by hidden assumptions. At the worst extreme you have those who assume that the mythological character of ‘Satan’ exists in the first place. Then within that, is the assumption that garbled noises which may be cognitively reconstructed as speech, but which also happen to resemble phrases, which in turn happen to subjectively appear to ‘be about’ religious concepts of sin, hell and ‘Satan’ conform quite conveniently to the interpretation of those subjects, within the conceptual framework of a particular religious ideology. My interest in this goes back to the mid eighties, when I met and visited the home of one David Oats, the fellow who formulated a hypothesis that the subconscious mind constructs speech with the opportunistic intent to communicate subconscious thoughts by simultaneously constructing a forward (deliberate) message and a backward (unintentional) message into speech. Oat’s wrote ‘Beyond Backward Masking – Reverse Speech & The Voice Of The Inner Mind. This ‘voice’ was known as ‘Reverse Speech’.

I have since contemplated various experiments by which this hypothesis could be tested, and I find it interesting that there seems to have been no proper scientific attempts by ‘RS researchers’, to provide any solid empirical validation, yet they market and do trade in training courses, therapies and other RS associated products and services. I guess that whether something can be used to make money is the only test some people require. I’m not one of them. Nevertheless there is a difficult epistemological problem with establishing a (group of) sound/s as a WORD. It would in my opinion be required that ‘intent’ be positively be established before any sound could meaningfully be ascribed the imprimatur that something actually IS a word.

A word is a sound INTENDED to convey meaning. However much a (group of) sound/s may resemble a word or phrase it is nothing more than a (group of) sound/s, and certainly nothing as meaning filled as words or phrases, unless you establish prior intent to convey meaning. That is a separate issue that is glossed over and taken into the bargain, as it also assumed that the resemblance to meaningful speech is ‘too coincidental’. Buying into established implausibility (the argument from personal incredulity), is just another less than rigorous indulgence of choice, in the annals of the pseudo science establishment. It is not demonstrated with anything even closely resembling rigorous statistical calculation / measurement / experimentation, but plucked authoritatively out of thin air. It may seem intuitively that the resemblance  some sample of a voice reversed has, to meaningful speech is improbable, but that is just intuition. Intuition of an exceedingly subjective nature might I add. If you want to demonstrate that you are not just reading your own meaning into the sounds, you have to point to proper double blind studies that establish this resemblance to meaningful speech as being anything more than what is expected by mundane coincidence. Case in point here, is that there are sometimes (and not all that rarely) numerous different interpretations of the very same tract of so called ‘speech’ in the proposed backwards message. Oats himself alludes to something he calls ‘audio illusions’ when a passage of sound, that being a single voice played in reverse, happens to sound like two or more different, alternative (but mutually inconsistent) tracts of alleged speech, he dubs it ‘audio illusory’, but falls short of noting the implication, that If one of those tracts is a subconsciously ‘intended’ message then the other is a testimony to the kind of coincidence the RS conjecture invented to avoid.

The fact of the matter is, given range of phonemes produced by playing ordinary speech backwards, is limited precisely to the same degree that the forward speech is limited by. These reverse phonemes are by consequence, limited to those which follow from the reversal of ordinary forward speech. That is to say that these sounds are not just random sounds, they are constrained by the dynamic range of the vocal apparatus firstly, and then by it’s tendency to construct speech like sounds when employed for construction of natural speech.

The propensity for any piece of gibberish, to coincidently sound like one or more meaningful passages of speech is only limited by the imagination, in the adhoc seach for speech but it’s chances of success are amplified by the constraint that the backward noises, very necessarily already ‘sound like’ speech as a constraint of the fact that it actually IS speech albeit reversed. You mightn’t be able to anticipate what a spoken voice will would appear to say when played backwards, but the fact that it will sound like speech and have a taxonomy of phonemes that are constrained by ordinary natural forward speech, should come as no surprise, because it actually IS constrained this way. It yields far more opportunity to manifest coincidental words and phrases just because it actually is noise made out of spoken words. The problem with the RS lobby is that they take this assumption about the improbability of a coincidence for granted. Nobody Has established that.

The ‘coincidence’ of the apparent speech in the sounds of the reversed noise is far more probable than say the voice suddenly happening to resemble the sound of a barking dog or a car engine revving, or a stick being dragged across a corrugated iron fence or a flushing toilet. How do we actually KNOW how (im)probable any piece of apparent speech is anyhow? Even if we take into account the constraints that require the backward sounds, to be ‘speech like’. The appearance of any potentially meaningful words is fraught with the need to ASSUME the existence of deliberate intent, BEFORE meaning can be attributed, but the claim that attempts to establish any proposed tract of meaningful speech, is made in hindsight.

The truth I have learned in the years since my foray into reverse speech, includes the revelation that ‘truth’ itself is often counter intuitive. People especially have a poor intuitive grasp of probability, and what seems intuitively likely or unlikely, is often coloured by hidden assumptions and subjective bias. The existence of more than one interpretation of the proposed ‘ reverse message’ gives the lie to this proposed (assumed) intent of meaning. If there WAS any one particular INTENTIONAL subconscious meaning, then the other alternative interpretations, which Oats dubs ‘audio illusions’ would then have to be taken as ordinary mundane coincidences, and if those ones can be sacrificed as mundane coincidence, then why not any and all of them.

If having one message appear is ‘too coincidental’ (improbable) to be explained by mundane happenstance, then how improbable is it, when more than one interpretation simultaneously exists in the same sounds of reversed speech? If it could be assumed they were both intended messages, the coincidence would be ultra-phenomenal indeed, but clearly the fact that two tracts of speech can simultaneously sound like two phrases with completely different meanings, is better evidence for how any arbitrary group of phonemes, is likely to sound similar to something meaningful by coincidence alone. The coincidence is clearly not that great, when the patterns we call speech have such incredibly small differences between them that they can often be mistaken for one another with little or no modification. If you think about it this is just as true in ordinary forward speech. The Freudian slip is a classic example. You fumble your words but instead of this resulting in meaningless nonsense, you instead accidentally fabricate an alternative but completely meaningful expression.

When you are relying on fairly loose interpretation of ambiguous gibberish and poetic licence to choose from a panoply of subtle nuances it is no surprise at all, that speech can be extracted from gibberish. But even given the most seemingly Implausible examples, at what point do we stop and say ‘well such implausible coincidence is either due to an unexplained phenomenon, OR I have gotten my some of my starting premises wrong’? One class of muddleheaded thinking bestows privilege upon it’s own baseless assumptions, if the evidence interpreted from it’s flawed vantage point, appears somehow to imply that the mundane explanation, is ‘too coincidental’ (to be probable) then the only alternative must be, that the proponents favourite speculative hypothesis, is being vindicated. That mindset, never allows anomalous results to imply that it’s starting assumptions are at fault (even though they are tendered with no qualification or testing and do not automatically stand to reason). Instead the anomaly itself (built on the same faulty assumptions) is taken ipso facto to be heralded as evidence, in support of the far fetched idea.

If you don’t understand Occam Razor, then you won’t get much of what I have said, but, reasoning and critical thinking are not natural intuitive skills that can be picked up from gossip columns. Most people don’t have anything like the required understanding and skill set to reach valid conclusions and avoid common fallacies. In subjects like this, which hinge on our misguided intuitive sense of probability, the problem stands out like a sore thumb. I should explain that I was an avid researcher of reverse speech, and contributed one of the ‘reversals’ in Stairway, which I reported to David Oats. On the forwards lyrics “and it makes me wonder” you can “there’s no excapein’ it” I actually bought into the idea on the same unestablished premise, that the apparent tracts of reversed speech were ‘too coincidental’. However, I at least, wasn’t content with this being as it was, an unsubstantiated conclusion. I had enough respect for and appreciation of rational inquiry, to want an objective empirical result and I even devised tests which could procure such results. Knowing then as I did that if it were a real phenomenon, nature could and would reveal it in scientific tests.

No such tests have never been applied to my knowledge, by the proponents of RS, and I have since come to realise the flaws in our intuitive grasp of probability and the common deceptions of pseudo-science, nearly always rely on this faulty, subjective intuition about probability. By far the strongest argument for the non mundane conjecture, was this single example of ‘reverse speech’ exemplified by Stairway. It DID seem just far too implausible to not be deliberate. I have noted the measured contemplation of ‘Jimmy’ above who weighs up the evidence in a similar way I did, prior to my enlightenment regarding reason and our unintuitive sense of probability. While his estimate of the coincidence value, is not any better supported than any naive subjective bias, his contribution of a rational explanation for this particularly anomalous example is on the money.

Even people attempting to justify this with mundane rational explanations, tend from the outset, to rule out the possibility that it could be deliberately be done. And that is assumed for the same reasons, that lead anybody to speculate that the whole phenomenon is improbable. That messages in two opposing directions could coexist. The idea that you could play with intonations wording and phrasing, to deliberately create some coherent speech in both directions, would not be as difficult as it sounds, once you accept that not even the forward lyrics have to be chosen in advance. The lyrics only need to convey a theme that can be reworded, paraphrased and intoned differently etc.

There are potentially infinite variations within the context of the overall message. That is not the same as backmasking of course (in which a deliberately reversed voice is embedded), and would be much trickier, but with persistence and patience (along with unlimited studio time), you could have your vocally enhanced dramatisation of the seemingly ‘(too) coincidental’ forward and complimentary reverse messages, by retrofitting; deliberate ‘reverse engineering’, with artificial selection to hone and perfect any variation which sounds superficially like a suitable supporting tract.

Given that Stairway is the most convincing example from a pro RS / pro ‘backward message’ POV, and that the other examples from the music industry are somewhat weaker, I contend that there is just no case to answer. Stairway would ultimately be a deliberate ploy to go one better than backmasking, while the weaker examples are merely meaningless noise, which may sound superficially like words, with all benefits that are the providence of baseless assumptions. I don’t make this estimation from an unresearched and uninformed POV. I have been a devoted adherent and pro RS researcher, but in the full light of critical thinking and rationality, I can only confer the lack of any established case and point out the vacuous nature of the claim which could have been tested by now. I have to admit, to my own chagrin that RS is BS and the alleged implausibility of some coincidences are not established on firm empirical grounds (even though it would be easy to do so).

The onus to demonstrate any claim is, as always, on the claimant and as the RS researcher or satanic message conspiracy theorist is entitled to do (or commission) the research and publish proper formal and scientifically valid arguments to establish that there IS empirical justification for the previously assumed premise. To do so would necessarily put in on a firm footing that any apparent ‘message’ is more than could be explained by the law of averages emerging by random coincidence but moreover defined as more than meaningless noise defined as meaningful speech by retrospective ad-hock confabulation. The fact that even such small expectations as qualifying the starting assumptions are ignored, it flags the whole enterprise as pseudo-science, willing to ride the coattails of mass naivety in the manner of dogmatic religious belief, rather than proactively provide both means and ends to falsification and test the central claim in the manner of science.

I picked up this interest when it surfaced in the late 80’s and now more than twenty years later, the state of formal academic research, seems to betray the failure of RS to even justify it’s starting assumptions, let alone establish the validity of it’s main claims.

As for the satanic part of the claims. Do I even need to point out the fact that just because somebody can say the word ‘Satan’ doesn’t make it a meaningful word or the name of a real entity. The fact that the alleged speech which is not empirically established as anything more than coincidentally speech like sounds retrofitted for intended meaning in hindsight, can also make reference to a fictional character of a particular bronze age fantasy, does nothing to establish the veracity of that fantasy, or the reality of the character nor even the meaningfulness of such words as satanic. Satan is a fictional being and so the term ‘satanic’ is about as meaningful as ‘toothfairyic’, regardless of whether such banter about it, is taken from fanciful, ad hoc, audio simulacrums or deliberately spoken forward speech.

In Reply To “Everything happens For A Reason”

November 9, 2009

I know I said yesterday, I would blog more regularly and I would post again in a week, but today I read a post on another atheist blog” Justin Vacula : The Green Atheist ,  in which he criticizes a predominantly  theist predisposition towards anticipating or demanding a reason for things.

Sometimes things just “are” and there isn’t a why answer.
Often a “how” answer is just the way the world is.

It’s not that I would disagree with Jason, but I feel the disenfranchising of reason itself, is not necessary just because an answer is not forthcoming.about a particular event or phenomenon. Moreover the appeal to reason in this case, is predicated on a hopelessly irrational idea of what reason is, along with a predisposition to foist totally dogmatic, ad hoc, excuses  for a hopelessly absurd, unseasoned, and completely contrived fairytale. If, as we ought to be, we are motivated to find reason which accords with rational explanations, then having no answer, is better than a silly answer which proclaims the whole damn universe exists, because of a magic sky pixie. That is still no answer, because we do not understand how this happens. It does nothing to explain in terms of cause and effect. Reasons are explanations of why X is necessary, not excuses for assumptions that are only deigned to be necessary by fiat. I have heard theists try this on too. In trying to explaining why god is proclaimed to be necessary they sometimes contend that it’s the only thing that explains X. Where ‘X’ is any kind of mystery you might imagine.

GOD'O'GAPS

It is so often assumed by theists, that because something is, not yet understood by the human mind or more often, not understood by them personally, that IT, whatever ‘IT’ is, must be impossible by any natural means. So they proclaim yet another victory for their god of the gaps, since a miracle of god would have to be the only logical explanation. Not that they understand proper formal logic, nor even a modicum of natural understandings, but somehow they expect it to all make sense in such an ignorant vacuum, and if it doesn’t hay presto miracles are the instant solution. goddidit is their chosen miraculous  method, as that is how they were raised or otherwise indoctrinated. What strikes me about religion is that is an obvious attempt to provide explanation for things we had no means to explain at the time these systems of ahem.. ‘thought’ were inaugurated. They were never intended for people with modern sophisticated epistemological understandings of reason and logic.

When I hear this phrase “everything happens for a reason” I tend to agree, even though I am a super-devoted-uber-atheist. It reminds me of one of my most beloved sayings, by the professor on Gilligan’s Island (That dates me), who once said “There’s a logical explanation for everything Gilligan”. The reason goddidits are so inclined to invoke their sky pixie, is because they abhor the idea of not being able to say ‘I don’t know’. It seems to me that they have a insatiable appetite for superficially pleasing reasons that justify the prejudice and dogma that they have bought into. Their magical sky pixie, god of the gaps, provides them with what they wish to think of as reason. It is a reason for anything however implausible or inevitable, because their is no accounting for magic. To state that there are in general ‘reasons for things (perhaps everything)’ is not a point of contention IMHO. Implying that you know what those reasons are, when you have done nothing to deserve such providence, is the height of arrogance. That is the real issue, but I also understand what you are getting at. The question of importance, is ‘HOW’ (and I mean it: PRECISELY ‘HOW’) do you go from presenting speculation which demonstrates a total disregard of logical reasoning in the first place, to confident assertion of knowledge.

Theologians don’t work on the problem of indeterminism or randomness. Physicists, mathematicians, and philosophers may all yield some insight into the question of whether causality is universal and what causes or reasons are most plausible in any given situation. The phrase “Everything happens for a reason”, sounds ominously like an advocacy of reason. If the interlocutor was truly interested in this subject of reason for things, then it might have been stated more like a question i.e. ‘for all we know’ and ‘I am inclined to contend’. The brash insistence that all things are required to have a reason, is not reference to any hitherto unknown logical secret of nature. Pressing the claimant for clarification, would no doubt reveal a singular preference, as the proposed reason, provided by superstitious religious dogma.

But no ‘REASON’ per se, would be proffered for the alleged plausibility of their ‘reason’ in hindsight, nor for the context of justification, requiring a mesh of interconnected cause and effect relationships to be established. The interconnectedness of intimately studied phenomena, which ARE; (seriously I mean it, ARE TRULY), artifacts of a massive web of interconnected causality established by reasoning. So YES! Thank these people for establishing the primacy of reason, and point out that is why banal assumption and superstition is not acceptable in courts of rational discourse. If you are going to sit at the debating table as an advocate of reason, you had better be prepared to manifest your implied reasons as artifacts of what is understood to be reasoning where reasoning is expected to achieve results that can be checked and confirmed.

The process of rational human inquiry, has given us the ability to separate fantasy from reality, and the plausible from the absurd. This precious jewel has been cut from the rough, IN SPITE OF, not BECAUSE OF, ignorant tribal fairytales, whose adherents still tenaciously cling to the emotional comforting of a sky-daddy and the promise of eternal life. These people do not insist on ordaining the general fact that there must be ‘A REASON’, because they CARE about establishing rational connection between some potential undiscovered cause and the effect we observe. Oh No! The providence of causality itself, as a conceptual benefactor of the human mind; that’s not the motive. observations about anything must cultivated and interpreted with post hock confabulation and confirmation bias, to countenance an absurd cosmic fairytale, that entails a parochial worldview that the universe is made just to be the physical residence of humanity while a magical sky-daddy carries out some ‘plan’ (as if he wasn’t omnipotent and therefore had to work against the arbitrary constraints of contingency).

That monotheistic tale of multi-layered absurdity, comes in numerous mutually inconsistent versions. But I hazard a fair guess, that when your interlocutor is jousting for this lofty noble principle advocating that “Everything happens for a reason” I strongly suggest that they are not speaking,in same the vein as the Professor of Gilligans Island about a LOGICAL reason for everything, which we may yearn to discover. They are not humbly pretending that our curiosity for mysterious events might be answered in principal, even if never in practice no that’s not what they want. They want to imply that because YOU cant/or won’t jump to a conclusion, that you must concede there is no explanation. In other words: If you don’t explain what the reason is, then it means you advocate indeterminism. On the other hand, these pastey allusions of things requiring a cause, are bent to fit the implication that ‘anything your theory about life, the universe and everything, cant ‘explain’ but mine can, is an artifact of evidence in my favour’. What childishly stands for ‘explain’ is some post hock confabulation of superstitious rhetoric, which bolsters the claim that whatever this event/phenomenon in question may be,  it happens to be part of ‘gods magic plan’.

Quite apart from the obvious flaw, that Occam’s Razor does not prefer an assumption over a mystery, and even then, when the assumption boils down to an infinitely worse supernatural mystery, the gain to be found in finding a reason, is not just the happenstance that the subject in question should fit into the broader explanatory system (or ‘theory’ if you like), but that it should now be reconciled as a more probable or inevitable outcome. The Australian aboriginals ‘dreaming’ story, that a giant snake carved the mountains and valleys, in the same manner as ordinary snakes, leave tracks like little mountains and valleys in the sand, it’s very charming indeed and illustrates how we used to look for (or actually guess at) simple explanations in terms of causes and effects we could understand. The giant snake did not improve the understanding of the Australian Aboriginal. Nor is the myth of such a creature true. It was a ‘just so’ story, contrived to fit. Simply wondering, and not pretending to know, would have been better.

Reasons above all else, need to proffer explanations. Explanations need to be thought of as leading towards necessary conclusions. They may be provisional  and dependent on some other conclusions, but we need to be able to see the logic, that shows how the reasoning leads to better parsimony. It should by rights lead to further predictions and using the premise that it is true should lead to highly specific predictions of events or phenomena that might only be found If it were true. An excuse for privileging an assumption, because it can be in some way construed as consistent with a fairytale, is not the same as providing reasons, or REASONING. It’s EXCUSENING.

The cynicism and arrogance of these people, is just plain astounding These are the people who care so little for the real providence of the process we call reason, yet would dare to insist on requiring reasons for everything and use the need for reason, as a foot in the door for their fairy-tales of lamentable ignorance. The explanation they would proffer as a cause in any event, and the basis of justification for their claim, is not any kind of reason in the sense of natural causality, but in the only sense that could be comprehended in a mind devoid of logic or critical thinking skills. They are thinking along the lines of a meaning which satisfies petty human proclivities. Cause in the narrow religious sense, is akin to a circumstance which is enacted by conscious choice. It is not the ‘CAUSE’ predicating heat to the evaporation of water, and precipitation to rain etc… It is not an understand in of WHY something happens, because you can see how it MUST! They can sometimes see a connection between cause and effect sometimes, leave the ice cream out of the fridge it will melt. eat too much fruit and you will get the runs. That is trivial observation. It doesn’t become reason until you ask WHY? and HOW? They leave out necessity and demand that their sky pixie is required to be the all important cause of all things. To this end they ignore that necessity is built into nature. Perhaps everything does have a reason, indeed a cause or a multitude of them, but logically consistent with every other. That may ultimately mean everything which is not impossible is necessary.

Their proclivity to ignore details of the ordered universe and look for purposes that agree with this petty human need for self approbation, is what sanctions this delusional prejudice for explanations that are satisfied by the personal desires of a magical being. They are not advocating a chain of causality, using logical techniques, establishing at each point the ‘how and why’, but the only thing that even smells like reason to them, is something synonymous with the concept of ‘MOTIVE’. That is the willful deliberations of a conscious being, enacting or orchestrating the events to bring them about. In such a mindset, you don’t have to understand WHY that being was motivated to do so (only that there was a motive – or even could have been). Even then you have no need to ask HOW. The cause of the event/phenomenon is established by the assumed existence of an entity who might want to cause it. So again it boils down to the assumptions of supernaturalism. Any designer/creator being who could engineer an event or phenomenon by supernatural means, could not provide any hope for a contribution to ‘reason’ as it is intended in the rational quarters of natural inquiry. In providing a ‘reason’ we must show how it follows logically from other logically predicated premises, ultimately the soundest reasons are ultimately predicated on provisional axioms, so the conclusions may be seen as inevitable.

If we want to KNOW how the universe works, we CAN NOT, arrogantly expect to be given explanations which just happen to make us the most treasured and precious things which exist. Thinking that what stands as ‘explaination’ or ‘reason’ is the whims of a capricious pixie in the sky, with thought, emotions, ambitious plans and contracts to manage human behaviour, is just an atrocious joke and an insult to the quality of life we ALL enjoy because of the real providence of reason. We all require reasons for the things we don’t yet understand, the main differences between the superstitious theist mind and the rationalist, is that the theist will not acknowledge the honesty of proclaiming uncertainty, or just saying ‘I dont know’. The theist tenaciously refuses to throw out preconceived dogma and accept many ot the plausible reasons that there are, for much of our universe, not because they truly see more parsimony in thier prefferance, but on an intellectually dishonest basis. Indeed they may have no knowledge of reasoning skills whatsoever, they may abhor logic and so they may be incapable of seeing ‘REASON’ as anything other than, comfortable prejudice, retrofitting happenstance in hindsight, to their dogmaticly priveledged fairytailes with complete disregard to parsimony.

November 7, 2009

I guess this post will mark a transition for my little blog. I have recently subscribed and been added to the The Atheist Blogroll which, In Mojoey’s own words: “is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts for more information.” So if you are an atheist blogger too, then why not get on board? Tell Mojoey I sent you and he’ll halve the enrollment fee (which is entirely free of course). I also joined another blogroll closer to home with ANZAB the Australian New Zealand Atheist Blogroll. This is run by the wonderful and prolific Sean The Blogonaut. Sean has been a wonderful influence in promoting the upcoming The Rise  Of Atheism, Atheist convention in Melbourne in March next year.

The Rise  Of Atheism will be a wonderful opportunity for us Auzzie atheists to meet up and get to know each other better. It will also be a ground braking historical event. With so many (thousands) of atheists expected to converge and put Australia on the map of proactive atheism. An illustrious line up of speakers will inspire attendees and together we will send a message to the powers to be, ‘we atheists do exist, and we care passionately about protecting secular values and rights’  This is an exciting event not only in the lives of those who plan to attend, but in the grand scheme of world history. Here in Australia ‘The Rise Of Atheism’ is our chance to be good hosts, and extend a warm welcome to those who come from abroad to speak or attend. It is a golden opportunity to put on a great show and let the world know what fantastic ambassadors of atheism we Aussies are. Speaking of great shows and ambassadors, the organizers of this convention have been incredible, tireless volunteers, and have been jumping through hoops (including fixing up a malicious DDOS attack on the website servers holding the convention website hosted) to put together a show that will never be forgotten. So if you have the chance to speak to the members of the Atheist Foundation Of Australia, be sure to thank them for doing such immensely tireless and selfless work, to put all atheists (Australian or otherwise) in a world that much less dominated by religious bigotry.

Now. I said that this post would mark a transition for Skepticus Maximus, that was partially to do with the blogrolls I have signed up to and last month I had a record number of visitors, which I am very grateful for and thanks to all those who came to visit. I have decided to make a regular post every Saturday if I possibly can and try to have something to say about life on-line, life in the real world (yep, there is still a real world), atheism or perhaps even just a brief overview of the weeks main events. I have not been a dedicated blogger in the past, and I have tended to use this place as a copy pasta repository, but now that the visitor hits have been elevated,  I have decided to make use of the momentum and hopeful keep it up. I do enjoy writing when I have something to write about, and I have just recently enlisted with Associated Content, an on-line publishing repository and content brokerage. I only have the one article so far but that is a start. Well I hope this is viewed as a more bloggyish and normal reader orientated blog post, if you care to comment on my style and offer constructive criticism, don’t I cry easily… No no!, just kidding. Please! criticism welcome. I would like to improve, so drop a word in the comment box if you can spare a moment. Meanwhile I’ll see you next week.

Reason Before Belief VS Belief Before Reason

October 17, 2009

The following discourse is the reply to a PM I received on my youtube channel and also the consequent commentary I was inspired to write, as I thought about the response to this rather bizarre criticism. Apparently I had commented on a video somewhere (I don’t recall which one at this point) and it seems, as my correspondent has indicated by quoting me, that there must have been a rather prolific amount of what I will dub ‘belief spouting’.

It is a particular bug bare of mine you see, to hear a rabble of redneck yahoos, mindlessly blurting out what they BELIEVE. Often the most inane and ridiculous extravagance is taken for license, to whimsically speculate on the most far fetched ideas with the longest odds being wielded as effortlessly as matters of undeniable certainty. While little thought if any, is given to rhyme or reason amongst them. In such a place nobody calls for any justifications. Anything is allowed, from far fetched absurd speculation, to completely ridiculous impossible absurdity. nothing below a particular line of implausibility is allowed though. If you try to interject with some sober facts that are established beyond any reasonable doubt, in these nonsensical non-think-fests, you risk being booed down and scorned out of existence. So it makes a nice little challenge, to think of a way to drop rationality into the mix and have it handled with some degree of respect before it is seen for what it is and kicked to the curb.

For that purpose, sometimes it helps to use a little irony and satire to feign the level of sincerity and adopt the same protocols as the natives. Like pontius pilot might say, ‘when in Woame do as the Woamans do’. So it seems, I had delivered a kind of copycat ‘believe n run’ to this crowd, with a little sarcastic twist of ironic rationality. Seems I had delivered my opening line as a completely unqualified belief, but one that immediately endorsed rationality and as such, it might undermine the need to have or portend any beliefs, as if they were important in and of themselves. Perhaps it also contradicted those who would pontificate about wild unsupported speculations and put a cruel knee into the most irrational or absurd conjectures. But then that was the point. I too can state my opinion, and for what it’s worth, it should be worth little if it isn’t the product of reason and critical thinking. You should think so, I should think so, as should anybody else think so.

Here is The personal message quoting my original comment, itself quoted within the Reply I had been working on. Towards the end I decided to blog this instead and just send my correspondent here. At that point it seems, I have changed perspective and begin to address my readers. I thought I should mention this, to allay any confusion and because it’s just so much easier than going through and editing the whole damn thing. I have been up a long time now, I’m sure you will understand. I have simply inserted a note to delineate the change in perspective. From there I return to you dear reader, but for now let’s see what I have put in reply to my critical correspondent:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sorry It has been so long since I have found the time to write this reply. I don’t know where you have taken this quote from and your PM provided no link. Therefore I cant work out the context, but I dare say I was being flippant in the first line, with a barrage of others who I suspect may have been contending their beliefs without the slightest care that they should have some motive or desire to account for those beliefs.

~~~ Skepticus Said:~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I believe in attempting to understand the truth, whatever that may be. Evidence is more important that belief though. Belief is not a valid method of knowing, but a by product of reason, at least it should be. Religious people always talk about ‘belief’ and ask about ‘belief’ as if it had any importance. As if believing something made it true.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~My Correspondent Responded:~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
interesting the connection and contradiction between your
first and last sentence:
i believe in ………..as if believing something made it true.
then what makes true what you believe in?????

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sorry, but there’s NO contradiction there. I may just as well state my belief as may anybody. In NO WAY does what I have stated as my belief reflect a contradiction with my long upheld principle that BELIEFS SHOULD BE HELD FOR REASONS, and believing things doesn’t make them true. Put even more succinctly I uphold a personal maxim of ‘Reason before belief, not belief before reason’ On the contrary BECAUSE a belief established rationally about any particular fact is inert and inconsequential (the very principle I am advocating above) The belief I have stated above “…in attempting to understand the truth, whateverthat may be” is no exception even more it is entirely consistent with the principal it endorses.

ironically you seem to be reacting as if I am not entitled to have an opinion (or beliefs), precisely because I have stated my decree, that facts do not follow from beliefs. Apparently then, the only people entitled to have an opinion, are those who fabricate their beliefs with disregard to rational protocols such as accepting that beliefs should follow from reasons which follow from facts, rather than the other way around. Should one construct a logical rationale then, to show how they arrive at a belief (personal conclusion) by establishing rational priorities while seeking accord with stringent protocols of reason, then somehow they are not entitled to hold such belief as are manifest by this means and their claims for justifying that belief, may be proclaimed a contradiction. Ergo – we mustn’t believe anything logical.

Glibly stating ones belief and making no mention for any kind of rationale, is a failure to present the THINKING PROCESS that should precede a conclusion. Nobody should be interested in just what you or I BELIEVE, but rather how we came to those beliefs (which are after all nothing more or less than our personal conclusions) and what justifications we used to arrive at those conclusions.

My statement “I believe in attempting to understand the truth” is a statement of personal ideology. It is an example of a suitable way to use the phrase ‘I believe’. As it is a statement of personal ideology, it obviously doesn’t precede from a specific chain of cause and effect relationships, nevertheless the rationale should be obvious enough. At least is should be obvious to those who accept their existence within an objective reality and understand that the factual nature of reality, is independent of personal belief. That may not be as obvious to some, as I once assumed it was.

In the statement “I believe the sun is hotter than the moon” the phrase ‘I believe’ acts as a qualifier for the statement ‘the sun is hotter than the moon’, subordinating it to a personal conviction. That conviction is my conclusion about a tangible fact of reality. Notice the phrase ‘the sun is hotter than the moon’ is a matter of fact, it must either be objectively true or false. I am entitled to speculate but If I do so, it would be useful if I qualify that speculation with my rationale. THAT is the point I was trying to make with the original comment. Why should anybody care that I think the moon is hotter than the sun? The important question is Why (for what reasons) do I think this, for that is the real information that should be examined if we wish to know if the conclusion (belief) is justified with rational precedent.

In a world where assertions of fact are true or false for their own reasons ‘not because of anything somebody believes’, glibly stating an opinion about a matter of fact, as if it were true because you say so, is the height of absurdity and arrogance. We need to have the humility to know our place in the universe and realize that what makes something of a factual nature true or false is something beyond our capacity to influence by exclaiming beliefs. What is so hard to comprehend about the self evident proposition that ‘BELIEVING SOMETHING DOESN’T MAKE IT TRUE’?

A child of 10 should understand this well, and not require any further clarification. The objectivity of the external world is self evident and it trucks no contention with the subjectivity of our personal convictions such that they may be granted the status of an opinion. Only fools attempt to supplant well established and understood matters of fact, for their own unencumbered opinion. When they do so, it comes as no surprise that they can offer no workings out or reasoning to show the objective rationality of their clueless opinion. These may have once been the children who stubbornly refused to grasp the concept of colouring within the lines, wrecking every other child’s colouring book in the deal. They are also very likely to be the ones, who had the hardest time drawing a distinction between the toilet and their pants.

I did not state ‘I believe in attempting to understand the truth’, BECAUSE I think that believing it makes it true. In the English language, the phrase ‘attempting to understand the truth’ is not even a  statement of a factual nature. It is an aspiration, an intention or a goal, but not a statement of fact. The aspiration itself is ABOUT fact or ‘truth’, but it is not a statement OF truth because it doesn’t resolve to the conditions true or false. It is actually a personal value, objective, intention or goal. It is ASPIRATIONAL. It is that which I ASPIRE TO. I might have stated it as ‘I believe it is a noble objective to understand the truth’, and that IS a statement of fact (ie it does resolve to true or false), but in this case the fact in question is incontestable because what IS or ISN’T ‘noble’ is not itself an objective matter of fact. Instead it is only my OPINION that ‘understanding the truth is a noble objective’.

Nobody could object to my making the statement as I am just as entitled to my opinion as anybody else. Even if I AM only chiming in with my opinion to be sarcastic, nevertheless, the actual opinion that I proffer is EVEN STILL, one that is hard to disagree with on a purely rational basis. So my belief about virtue and intellectual integrity, is whimsical in practice (as I am being sarcastic) but rational in principal (as it makes an appeal to subordinate opinion to reason). The fact that this might be expressed as an opinion based belief (although, actually, it happens to be expressed as a maxim or ideological principal), makes it nothing like a contradiction. The conclusion is still a rational one. A rational conclusion is still rational at the heart, even if it may be expressed whimsically as an opinion based belief. The opinion itself and the rational conclusion confer agreement with each other. They both advocate holding reason OVER belief [NB: Not instead of belief].

What you seem to have missed, is my tongue in cheek demonstration of glibly stating an opinion (which in existing company at the time, may have been all anybody cared to do), yet nevertheless demonstrating the humility of subordinating beliefs to the strictures of rational inquiry, by advocating the ‘attempt to understand the truth’. In other words, if you can believe anything you want on a whim, then one might just as well (or even better) choose to be prudent and stick with rational inquiry and demanding there be reasons for any conclusion. The corollary was quite clearly, fully intended to trump the antecedent proposition, artistically couched as it was, in the language of an aspirational belief. [EDIT: At the time of writing the addendum, new information had been discovered and I have added this comment since:  It was deliberately ironic BECAUSE I was asked to express my belief and BECAUSE I find this constant rambling  on about beliefs so damned annoying. But it WAS NOT a contradiction.]

Instead of understanding this you seem to have pounced on my having the temerity to exclaim a position of belief, as an opportunity to accuse me of a contradiction and implicate me in a treacherous conspiracy of one, to commit some heinous hypocrisy. [facepalm]  Good grief! There had to be one didn’t there?  As if simply having a belief, qualifies for the very same criticism I presented. I did not state that one must ‘NEVER HAVE ANY BELIEFS’, did I? What I did say was “Belief is not a valid method of knowing, but a by product [that should have been ‘byproduct’] of reason, at least it should be.”

Belief should be a byproduct of the process of reason. How obvious is it, that ANYBODY should want to have reasons for whatever it is they believe? This is just so profoundly self evident, that it beggars belief, I should even find myself compelled to explain it, because I suspect I am being criticized for honoring this golden axiom of the highest (but most obvious) intellectual integrity. Astounding! Bizarre! That does not prevent me from having a belief, in fact it necessitates my belief. That is, because reasons lead inevitably to facts. I will be compelled to believe (just as inevitably) the plausible facts which reason leads me to discovering. Where reason compels, belief is necessary.

But the belief is the bath water and reason is the baby. If you want to think and have understandings, you should therefore want to intimately know reasons not beliefs. Beliefs don’t tell you anything. A deranged lunatic can proffer beliefs and they can be the product of equally deranged reason, wild guesses or no reason whatsoever. Unless you can examine the reasoning behind the beliefs, you have no idea of the intelligence and sanity of the belief other than your own independent speculation on the same subject.

This remark however, takes the cake:

“then what makes true what you believe in?????”

That is sillier than simple words can describe. Firstly a word on style. Sentences in the English language always start with a capital letter and only one question mark is required to terminate and punctuate a sentence as a question. You should see if you can trade in four of those question marks, for a couple of capital letters. Next; I can hardly describe how poorly structured this question is, whatever the intended meaning actually happens to have been.

Nothing “makes true” what I believe. Nor does any specific thing, make what I believe true; especially not after the fact. My whole point has been, as it was in the first place, that things are true (or false, or green, or 3.14159…, or 124.8 PSI, or 72 KG, or saturated, or compressed or magnified 3X or whatever status, condition or value they hold, in relation to any measurement or statement about them), for their own individual reasons, which are quite apart from our opinion based beliefs.

Let’s call this the end of my reply to my critic: What follows is addressed to you dear reader:

What kind of stupid question expects a preconceived singular cause for the truthfulness, of the multiple plethora of facts which I may hold as beliefs? The preconception that there has to be a singular cause, gives this question the smell of religious mentality (i.e. one true god as the cause of all things), but then that suspicion was already on the cards. The stench of religion was attested to, in the motive for somebody to even criticize an affirmation of rationality, while missing the obvious sarcasm and also botching up logic so badly in the criticism.

The noted lack of literacy and atrocious language usage skills are another hallmark of an illiterate, redneck, religious ignoramus. As with the vile stench of anti-intellectual self-righteousness. But to ask this astoundingly stupid question, preloaded with singular causality, and expecting me to state THE reason which makes EVERYTHING I believe true, that is a real smoking gun. I won’t say I am certain, but I am hedging my bets strongly, in the direction of a religious critic having foisted this remarkably stupid, illiterate question and It’s attending criticism.

No matter how you look at this question it is asked in complete ignorance of the actual point being made by my original comments, that things actually have their own reasons for being what they are, independent of our beliefs. Indeed each fact that may be regarded as true (or whatever), is entitled to have its own reasons for existing in this condition. The moon has craters, because it gets hit by asteroids. My car is yellow, because the pigments in the paint tend to reflect light in the wavelengths 570–580 nm while absorbing the others, and so on.

Can you imagine how many lifetimes it would take to answer this question, if it were taken at face value? Given the number of things I believe and the myriad of reasons I have for individual believing each one. My Jug just boiled. I believe this, because I know the sound of boiling water and the click it makes when it cuts off automatically. I am even more strongly convinced, because I know I am the one, who set it to boil in the first place. I know an old friend came to visit last week, because I answered the door and he came in and we chatted for about an hour. The sun will appear above the eastern horizon tomorrow, because the rotation of the earth… you get the idea?

The crowning glory of this question though, the shining jewel of stupidity that makes it’s owner the mayor of Idiotsville, is the deliciously perverse way, it completely inverts causality itself. The very idea that something is expected to “make(s) true what” I “believe in”, as if believing in something is an act I can whimsically choose, and then I can provide an after the fact catalyst to act upon my belief that ‘makes it true’.

This is a powerful delusion at the heart of the follower of any Abrahamic faith. You can believe things and that will make them true. All god seems to want, with all his petulant, capricious heart and soul, is to be believed in. Not world peace, abolition of hunger or even the most beautiful sonata, but for people to believe he exists. According to his worshipers and their church leaders, he will send you to hell for not believing. It is the only unforgivable sin.

Sound’s like emotional black mail to me considering the eternal pain and suffering factor. What? Just because I didn’t believe an absurdly implausible fairytale? Sounds much much more like the kind of story greedy con merchants would fabricate to coerce you to try and pretend you believe their fairytale. Still if you never learn to reason properly and you have your curiosity leached out of you, then you are a dry sponge hanging over a sloshing tub of delusions. The more they splash on you, the heavier laden you become and the harder it is to cling to the tenuous thread of rationality above. You may eventually give up and drop into the tub and become saturated.

Let me say this again Nothing “makes true” what I believe. Nor does anything, make what I believe true. Beliefs are not IN ANY WAY causally related to facts. The chain of cause and effect is impervious to the influence of beliefs in all but the tiniest fraction, that involve our own self motivation. The mundane and trivial scope of influence I have in this universe aside, only leaves everything outside of my scope to influence. The color of grass, the name of the next person who walks past my house and how much sugar you have in your coffee (if any), (get it?) For all intents and purposes and infinite plethora of possible facts that I (and you) have no control over.

For all of these things, including how the universe works in broad principle… No!… make that ESPECIALLY how the universe works in broad principle, these things are NOT subject to our whimsical choice of what we wish to believe. In fact if we have our head screwed on properly, we don’t have any choice about what to believe at all. NO! none! Beliefs should be the products of reason, by which I simply mean there should be reasons for what we believe the things we do, they should be logical reasons and they should also be outside of our control for anything but actions within it.

Critical thinking is not always easy, and excision of our wishful thinking can be thought of as an imposition on our freedom. You are free to believe anything you want (morally) but that is hardly a liberty if you wish to only believe that which is actually true. When you understand there is an objective world outside your mind, in which certain facts and measurements exist and when you choose to know the truth about it, with the bounds of possible accuracy, then you have to voluntarily relinquish, wishful thinking. That means if X is not true, you do not wish to believe that X is true. You then need to accept there are some tools that work towards finding out if X is or isn’t true, while there are others which do not work. Thinking that beliefs have any place in discovery of what the facts of reality are, is a HUGE ERROR. You can’t believe some thing to make it true. You have to believe it IF it is true, or disbelieve it IF it is false. Otherwise you have to estimate the probability.

In any case, beliefs (personal conclusions or perhaps plausibility estimates as the case may be) are on the end of the chain. They are inert byproducts They are estimates or conclusions about what actually IS or ISN’T factually true. They don’t do anything to the fact (or fallacy) they represent, they are just conclusions about it. A belief has nothing more to do with a fact, than waving a flag has to do with patriotism. Just as trees swaying do not cause the wind to blow, having beliefs doesn’t give people reasons to hold facts. Facts give people reason to hold beliefs. You have to make some attempt to know what the facts are, that process is what we call reasoning.

That is at least what I attempt to make my beliefs represent. If you choose instead to use a definition of the word ‘belief’ which includes the ability to exercise ‘freewill’ upon beliefs in the manner suggested by religious faith, then you have chosen a definition (misappropriated or equivocated) which corresponds to what in my nomenclature, is known as a delusion. You are not free to choose what to believe, as Judeo-Christianity suggests, if in fact, what you wish to believe, is whatever just happens to be true in the factual sense. Think about it, you cant make any choice by which the outcome of something outside of your control (such as if there is or isn’t a god), would be altered. In measuring external facts you are just like an instrument. A rain gauge can not DECIDE how much rain has fallen. It must passively measure the results of facts external (and indifferent) to its existence.

If religious people wish to dispute this point, they could at least have the nerve to confront it head on. I for one would LOVE to know how their whimsical choice to exercise freewill in choosing their BELIEF, is going to have any effect on anything other than how well (more like poorly) their choice accords with plain ordinary FACTS. That is to say, they should let us know how the belief influences the fact, if that is indeed what they expect to be able to do. As far as I can see the only thing you can do by altering beliefs, is change how well they fit with reality. That is a worthwhile exercise, if you enthusiastically embrace reasoning and realize the beliefs you hold have discrepancies with the facts of reality. This process of investigating reality and adjusting ones beliefs is often called LEARNING.

But that is not how the religious mind works and choosing beliefs is not an exercise in critical investigation of reality. The arbitrary choice of religion is lauded as a personal, moral choice. Moreover, it is also a choice deliberately intended to take dogmatic authority over critical thinking and reason. Religious people are conveniently silent on this, and wherever possible attempt to have their cake and eat it too. While peddling a belief system that will ultimately demand you to take your critical thinking and throw it on the scrap heap, it pretends as far as possible to convince the wary skeptic that it somehow still makes rational sense and true believers, will bend over backwards to accommodate critical discourse, as long as they think they can cheat, lie equivocate and generally ‘bear false witness’ on behalf of their sky-daddy. The whole field of theology is one big pretense to be doing some intellectual ruminating of a presumably rational nature. At least that is the pretense of it, but faith is not to be trifled with, and logic, critical thinking and reason, had better not try rising above faith, but…

Wait a minute. This all started with BELIEF. Nothing but pure unadulterated belief. And it stepped off the rational bandwagon precisely where logic and critical thinking was replaced by faith and dogma. Prior to this we had been talking about how beliefs were inert, and followed passively after the facts which we learned from reality. How then did we get divorced from rationality and critical thinking? This, is a question religion needs to answer for. The only reason is the one in full view. Making belief an active willful choice and raising BELIEF above REASON. To make matters worse the Christian dogma in particular, is encumbered with this hideous burden of guilt/shame for vicarious sin and the failure to ‘BELIEVE’ is punishable by eternal suffering. So believing IS UNQUESTIONABLY, something you are expected to do by means of ‘personal choice’ in a manner entirely divorced from reason or any logical method of apportioning conviction according to the plausibility of the belief or claim being presented.

So therein lies my criticism of the whole bat-shit crazy idea. How in the fuck is choosing a so called ‘BELIEF’ this way, supposed to meet any agreement with reality? The stupidity is obvious. The blackmail is obvious, and you could say that believing this (or anything for that matter) for beliefs own sake, beggars belief, but actually it canonizes belief; belief without reason. DOGMA! Of course the expression ‘beggars belief’ is a reference to the impoverished status imposed upon ‘belief’, usually in consideration of a particular absurd conclusion. So in another sense, dogma as a general principle, beggars belief far more effectively than anything could hope to. What is more important though, where dogma is concerned, is the BEGGARED impoverishment of REASON. Belief can take care of itself, reasoning needs to be looked after and nurtured. A belief will be whatever it must after the reasoning is done. Really what is happening is this: First of all dogma beggars reason and then religion canonizes the beggared, buggered, bastardized and butchered, belief that it brandishes as a result. It’s actually such belief which beggars reason, rather than the reason which beggars belief, if you see what I mean.

Returning to that absurd question for a moment. I considered taking it at face value and constructing a tongue in cheek reply to somehow ironically point out the absurdity, but as I played word games with it, I realized that there is an answer, a very good and very straight answer. Of course we do have to deconstruct the question, hammer the dents out of it and put it back together in some semblance of grammatical order. To that end, I chose to interpret the question as “What makes what I believe true?”.

I asked myself if there is one idea or concept that runs the whole gamut of nature (even reality itself), which encompasses all things as if to “make them true”? Then it struck me; that is precisely what causality is. All cause and effect relationships are entwined by the singular concept of causal connections. There is no need for a single cause of all causes as the primitive minds of the ancients assumed, but all causes need to be locked into a network of causally connected relationships, in which each element is logically possible, consistent with every other element of the network and consistent with the whole. Together, the logically and mutually consistent relationships of the interdependent elements of this network, adhere to the deeper principles of NECESSITY. Perhaps anything which isn’t impossible must be compulsory, but surely anything that is true, is logically possible and also necessary, otherwise it would be a-causal.

In any case the universal, general effects of logical necessity and causality, taken together are a more than adequate answer to the question “What makes what I believe true?” The question may have been intended as a more specific rhetorical device while assuming the properties of prejudice within an ill fitting, tiny, parochial, epistemological flawed, flat earth worldview of a young earth creationist, but I got to milk a little inspiration out of it FTW, and Well… damn it all, if that didn’t make me feel so much better.

Peace Love & Mung Beans Baby.

Addendum:

Godbotheringtwatsign

Having completed this article (all but the spell check), I decided It would be OK to go and sneak a peek at whether my speculation had been correct, that my correspondent was actually an ignorant godbotherer as I had suspected. It should come as no surprise for the reasons I have already put forward, that my suspicion was correct. Good guess? Hardly! But what I did receive as an added surprise, was the discovery of where the critic’s quoted text had come from. There it was, my comment exactly as quoted, right on the godbotherer’s own comments list. I didn’t even think of that, but I should have. Why? Because my reason for making the comment has been sitting on my own comments page all along I regularly notice it, but it has little meaning out of context. The matching comment on my own list, was from my correspondent who had dropped in to ask “then what do you believe in?” This question itself, would quite likely have been in response to something I had said on a video comment section somewhere, but that’s not important now.

Now we have an explicit, direct reason for why I had ventured into the domain of proffering what it is that I believe. The prefect reason in fact, as I had indeed been directly and explicitly ASKED what I believe in. Not just ‘what are my beliefs’ you note; but what do I believe IN. Explicitly asked as it happens in the statement of personal ideology mode I mentioned earlier. Well what a surprise then that I dare to express my beliefs as such and with precisely the attitude one should expect considering the beliefs I actually do hold and the question that was asked. Scrap the speculations I made of tongue in cheek, sarcastic predilections. No such imprimatur is required, to explain my temporary inclination to express my preference for rational thinking under the euphemistic guise of aspirational belief. It hardly needs to be tongue in cheek when I was directly asked ‘what I believe in’.

How interesting, but it doesn’t stop there. The attempt to saddle me with an accusation of  hypocrisy or self-contradiction, was actually prompted by somebody else visiting my correspondent’s channel, someone who may have had a better cause (although even then it’s still way of beam) as this visitor to my correspondent’s channel, was probably not privy to the original question I had been asked, but this person ventured for the following:

[NB: Keep it in mind that this person was probably unaware that
I had been asked ‘what I believe in’ by the owner of the channel]

[Regarding my original comment]:
“I wonder if he truly believes that?
It’s funny when you only read his first and last words though:
“I believe in………………As if believing something made it true.”

Hello! Hello! I’m having a little de-ja-vu here. Haven’t I read those words somewhere else before today? How much more bizarre can this get? Even thought my aspirational statement of belief in “attempting to understand the truth” DOES NOT contradict the caveat ‘believing something does not make it true’. i.e. I believe that BECAUSE IT IS TRUE, It is not true BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT. THE FACT THAT IT IS TRUE INDEED, DOES NOT PREVENT ME FROM, BUT REQUIRE ME TO BELIEVE IT. And even though I could by all rights state this belief without provocation excuse or justification and least of all without it being a contradiction, here I am being handed on a platter, the most unassailable and completely ideal guild edged invitation, to profess my belief. But on top of this the person making this accusation knows full well why I have tendered my belief as they themselves are the one who asked me to state it, i.e. ‘what do you believe in?’ In all fairness, the statement ‘I believe in attempting to understand the truth’ is not actually a BELIEF as the preface ‘I believe’ is simply a commonly used rhetorical tool for expressing an aspiration. Therefore there is no FACT in the statement that could even be tested for TRUTH value, and so no contradiction of any fact is possible.

As if there were not enough boxcars on the ‘stupid train’ already, the godbotherer in question, takes the cue of this ignorant bystander, who is probably unaware that I was actually solicited to give my belief, and yet knowing all this still proceeds to upbraid me with the accusation that I was contradicting myself and consequently implies I am a hypocrite. My god-bothering correspondent should have pulled the ignorant bystander with the ‘bright idea’ into line and pointed out that I was invited to express my belief. But NO!… instead my god-bothering friend decides to send me a PM pointing out “the connection and contradiction between your [my] first and last sentence” while demonstrating the breathtaking level of ignorance and stupidity some people are capable of in their desperate fight find any pathetic morsel of justification for contrived strawman criticisms. Fuck knows why, because the criticism was only sent by private message. So It’s not even as if this moron even had a publicity point to score. The whole ordeal is just bat-shit crazy from top to bottom.

So it should come as no surprise that my first line is about what I do indeed believe. But having the quality a euphemistic ideology, the belief I stated “I believe in attempting to understand the truth” was not in the same category of ‘beliefs’ which one could contradict themselves with, by claiming it was factually true, because they believed it. Not that anything I had stated about any belief conferred anything but the opposite of that meaning anyhow, i.e. ‘that no fact is true because I or anybody else believes it’. But as I have explained, the belief I conveyed, was not even a matter of fact, but even if it was, It wouldn’t matter, because, even if I did believe it, that would only be because of its factuality, rather than its factuality being because I believe it. So, one more time for the half brain-dead, the declaration “I believe in attempting to understand the truth” DOES NOT even remotely contradict the caveat ‘believing something does not make it true’ and you would have to be a FUCKING MORON to think it does.

But here’s the acid test. If my correspondent or their acquaintance, wishes to take up the issue and clarify how this could be a contradiction, I expect them to FIRST, put their own cards on the table and stipulate which half /(halves) of the contradiction it is they disagree with? So to my correspondent (and their acquaintance), don’t just accuse somebody of contradiction; own the responsibility for clearly identifying your own sympathies with the remarks being made and advocate a clear position of your own for which YOU may be held accountable. To that end: Do you believe in attempting to understand the truth? You can simply answer in the same vein as I expressed it. So in other words: Do you agree with me, that understanding the truth is important? YES or NO? On the other hand do you agree with my statement that, ‘believing something does not make it true’, YES or NO?

I would expect a reply giving not only your straight answers to these two direct questions, but a detailed explanation of how you arrive at each conclusion. By all means convince me that either or both statement is unworthy of my whole-hearted endorsement. You must surely disagree with at least ONE of these statements, otherwise you ALSO, are a hypocrite by your own logic. You can by now, see the paltry, insipid idiocy, that stands for logic here of course can’t you? I have said something (anything), that is critical in some way (anyway) of beliefs. So that means that beliefs are bad (kinda sorta and um… er… sumfing like dat.. der… ya know?), but hang on didn’t I start of by saying ‘I believe’ (Ummmm!… you said ‘believe’. I’m telling on you. wah, waaah… MOMMY! Mommy! that man said ‘believe’ and he doesn’t like beliefs waaah waaah). I don’t know how anybody with this level of stupidity, can actually go to the toilet by themselves let alone use a computer to communicate. Actually, the illiterate slop I received, is hardly worthy of dignifying, with the stately honor of being dubbed communication. So it could still be considered a moot point, if such a creature can manage to wipe it’s own backside.

The problem so common amongst creationists, is that they never hold themselves accountable for their own beliefs but they constantly attack those who do. They present a barrage of strawman, fabricated disputes, and revile, shirk and hinder any criticism of their own beliefs in any way possible. This is demonstrated in the dispute above, as nowhere was there any attempt to voluntarily forward any opinion, by the critic about the statements in question. Only to unleash an ill-conceived accusation that the two statements were contradictory. Never mind the creationist having the balls to express an opinion for what they themselves think about either statement, just foist an empty rhetorical hit and run, and ALWAYS maintain the pretense that if your opponent can be criticized about anything, it somehow validates your own worldview; the old ‘I’m right because your wrong’ charade.

My own self-imposed standard that beliefs must be the end result of valid reasoning, is an encumbrance that I embrace and admit, in the kit of intellectual honesty that can be used against my ideas. Far more often than not, the imposition is self-imposed and the sacrifice is some idea I might have liked to believe, (farewell biorhythms) but if it isn’t true, it isn’t true. Where is the discipline of self-criticism in these creationist cowards? They wish to clutch at pebbles of reason (as if they really understood it), if and only if those pebbles can be hurled as weapons against their adversaries. Learning to use and embracing reason as a tool of personal intellectual hygiene, wouldn’t ever occur to these vermin. They are in the business of confirmation bias and malicious destruction of the valid and carefully reasoned worldview of their opponent. You can plainly see who is and isn’t playing fair, by noticing who puts their cards on the table, who volunteers to bring in their own laundry, while on the other hand who is always attack attack attacking, without having the balls expose their own position nor provide justification for the same. lemee heeeeear ya say… HALEL.. um… No, make that… !PATHETIC!

Censorship! Because It’s More Effective Than Faith Healing

September 4, 2009

I guess it’s fair to say that I’m just a little jacked off right now. I had spent the best part of a full evening (4 hours or so) laying out a detailed and very carefully considered attempt to explain what makes atheists so annoyed at the arrogance of theists, who blurt their supernatural certainty, in contradiction of the cautious worldview found in the skeptical mind. It was on this the comments page of the ‘speaking in tongues’ video which is the subject of this thread. I laid down about 15 full comments in reply to one particular viewer (respectshan), went to post the last one and the comments had been disabled by the filthy maggot revkiethbarr. Again, I had not been using a text editor (when will I ever learn?), but then again, the comment software doesn’t seem to like it when you use the Linux clipboard (it may have something to do with text encoding etc..) I dunno, I am not a happy chappy. 😦

I had made a very diligent attempt to restrain myself from hostility this time. Earlier I had called the god botherer in question an ignorant moron or some such thing. I do often just blurt out my honest emotional response, but what the fuck. I am human, and this is toxic poison to society. it really does undermine our secular values and falsely place religious moral codes above secular ones. Swearing and ad hominem, is hardly what you would call a blood bath on the streets. Religion is all to often directly the cause of intolerable bloodshed, murder, gang warfare and hostile vilification. That is just the violent motives ordained by holly books and endorsed by their alleged creator deity authors. Whenever this is raised religion is flatly reflected as the motive, everyone else’s religion is blamed, or the modern civility of secular society, is credited to the modernity of later gospels and interpretations. Shure thing!!  We can see how peaceful and civilized the theocratic countries have become. Without secular democratic values, these knuckle walking savages, would be out in the streets dancing a jig and firing guns into the air, every time a rival religious leader was killed. Some people deserve to live in a place where you never have to paint your house, as long as you dont mind  the colour red. In such a place, you just wait till the blotches of splattered holiness join together. That’s one less chore but the extra entrances which your neighbors keep installing, well… talk about butchers.

I reserve the right to have zero confidence in the stable civility of religious minds even here in the west. Just stir up their personal vengeance generator with a report on abortion or violent child abuse. Some things are enough to make anybody cry. When these people cry there are no tears they are crying, savage, violent, slogans of personal hatred and vengeance. When the crime is serious and matches their puritanical agenda, they have no hesitation to reveal that the law of the land is not good enough for them their accountability is ceded ultimately to only the one authority. It’s when we are dealing with the most serious moral decisions, that we need to respect the shared responsibility and make our decisions with the utmost care and reflection. My hostile vitriol could never compare with these could be, and would be violent criminals. Anybody who can have the bibles grotesque barbarity quoted or read and know of it themselves and yet fail to recoil and not become repulsed, is potentially sociopathic miscreant. Why would expect any different. There is no more logical validity behind their belief in the moral supremacy of god than their failure to identify and dispense with Pascals Wager. Wishful thinking, circular reasoning and interchangeable currencies of is’s for aughts. and visa versa.

The ‘good’ reverend revkuntabull, having not enough respect for freedom of speech and too cowardly to let other peoples comments stand on their own merit or other wise, is quite an interesting character from his website. He has a book published called “From Genisis to Armageddon”.  That book should have something for the whole family. From the nice kiddy’s ‘arky warky’, to the timeless suspense thriller for all the adults, it’s the same one which we’ve all been waiting for Arrrrrrrrrrrmageddon. What would you call the Flying Spaghetti Monsters epic food fight at the end of times? How about Armaspaghettion? (L) copyleft me Skepticus. But if the food runs out, then you might hear it called ‘Armageddinhungry’.  But I suppose I shouldn’t be so flip and I should try to see it as the serious issue it is.  Wasting food is something this world can little afford. All those starving babies in the third world, deserve the chance to grow up healthy, go to school (until they get to the sciencey part). They should have a chance to be confirmed and worship and then one day they might proudly go amongst their people as holly campaigners abolishing the horrible evil practice of contraception. If you don’t want to catch disease you should wait till your honey moonlight, or come to an arrangement with a nice clean alter boy.  You think they may be called altar’s because being bent over them is sure to ‘alter boys’?

These people aught to pull their heads in and adopt some humility. Unfortunately they are to stupid to see this, after all the world does revolve around them. I might get angry an voice my contempt, but I still bend over backwards to present the reasoned and dispassionate logic to support the rational side of debate. I can be quite blunt to idiots I don’t know or don’t care much about, but anger swearing and ridicule is not hate or violence. Those are the machinery of religion and I sometimes turn crimson and shudder with loathing exasperation, but I know full well I would never lift a finger in anger or take to the streets and throw rocks or torch cars. Religious people are also civilized, except the ones who aren’t. You don’t have to be a vigilante or a terrorist to be uncivilized, just being a cheat and and an underhanded vermin, who takes advantage of easy prey and stacks the deck at every possible opportunity. Indoctrination methods as well as and censorship from critical discourse serve the modern villain well. Those are the greedy, desperate, self serving echoes of a barbaric past and it tells me that these people do not want to be mature or civilized citizens. They do not want to share resources and leave a legacy of virtue and pride. Why would they? They are programed to accept a point list of direct commandments. WTF is free will for then? ‘Do these things or burn in hell for ever. ‘

Doesn’t seem to leave much scope for freewill to me. It ‘s not just that the choice is preempted, but that the scope for subtlety of choice is constrained to black and white instructions. Actually you are not supposed to be condemned to hell for breaking the commandments if you confess and ask for forgivingness. God it seems, just can’t stay mad at those puppy dog eyes forever. If those puppy dog eyes should stare straight through him though, and see nothing, then that is your role call, for the pits of hellfire. Sorry that’s unforgivable. “I gave you a bronze age story, full of arbitrary capricious miracles and wars”, the kind, loving deity might say. “It had talking serpents, a little sun I once told to stop going around the earth and several different contradictory versions of creation. Plus it encapsulated and plagiarized the mythology of the older middle eastern myths. What more do you want? Not that eastern block Buddhist and taoist crap I hope. You’re not interested in that little fat gut made rock are you? Huh? They say god could never make a rock too heavy for him to lift. Look at this little fat bastard. He could never lift himself and he’s made of rock. You wouldn’t want me to send my son over there and have to eat goodness knows what. God cant be sustained on dishes of cabbage leaf and butterfly entrails, any more than he can dwell with iniquity. You couldn’t see that thousands of other religions were wrong, just because they had the same sort of evidence. So, it didn’t tip you off that nearly everybody else in your community were keen believers in me. The avalanche of bias in your own small local community, not enough to tip you off was it? All those other cultures they wouldn’t know how to understand my divinity. Look at them they cant even speak properly and they dress so weird. Maybe you just couldn’t see reason to believe was that it?

“Didn’t have enough evidence did you – you evil bastard. You couldn’t understand the psychological phenomenon that freewill gives you the right to decide, what seems probable? Well god loves you shit head, and however nice you have been as a human being, you must roast in hell. Not just for some arbitrary period, but for eternity. Don’t you see? you could have just decided for yourself by not thinking and excepting some unfathomably fantastic fairytale scenario, and nothing about thought reason, or evidence will override this one thing. You must believe in me, and do your utmost to convince others. Learning how to reason will cause cogitative dissonance, so you better STFU about that and avert thine eyes.”

How obvious is the cowardice of ‘hellfire and brimstone’ as a motive for pretending to understand reason and ignoring or evading valid reasoning debate while pretending either it or the evidence we see is consistent with a deity (obviously conscious and supernatural) otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to say I know everything already. The evidence is all around you. It’s everything you cant explain at face value and everything for which you can say goddidit. Now we have established the undeniable existence of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Never mind about where the FSM comes from. It’s probably that saucepan over by Russell’s Teapot.

Don’t forget, just because goddidit is not an actual explanation in terms of cause and effect relationships and you don’t know HOW goddidit; I mean just because goddidit is a synonym for ‘how the fuck would I know’ that is no reason to avoid arrogantly undermining the hard earned and meticulous investigations of natural science. Everything THEY study is ASSUMED to obey the laws of nature, and they don’t even TRY to jump to supernatural conclusions of inexplicable laws and forces outside of the natural realm. The marvels of our universe from the simplest corn popping to the forming of a snow flake or the miraculous properties of a banana are all things for which goddidit is the nat…er supernatural alternative.

Just remember. As long as you PERSONALLY don’t understand how something works, you should immediately leap to the conclusion that it is impossible according to natural laws. Since it’s theoretically impossible that you should find yourself in a situation which requires you to say “I don’t know” or even estimate the probability of alternatives, you must assume perfect certainty is available to you and avoid doubt or uncertainty. Meticulous studies of nature and academic details of logic and reason are superfluousness. God is the answer to every question because god isn’t bound to the logical laws of causality within nature. Godidit means that you know everything and don’t have any gaps in your explanation of the entire cosmos. Isn’t that how deists feel? Godidit can be used to plug any gap in detailed specific, causative explanations.

The supernatural being without rules, can be assumed to do absolutely anything. Somehow, many of us were persuaded to believe that something could exist to escape natural law. But the only things we know with any degree of certainty are known because natural law describes what is necessary. The implications of necessary phenomena and their relationships, lead us to investigate further natural laws. etc. Nothing can be MEANT by the supernatural. It is a void, or a suspension (even a contradiction) of necessary truth as we understand it. It can not be partisan to knowledge, as unlike nature, we have no understanding of how it works.

There are no rules of the supernatural, which logical reasoning mandates. How can nature be any less than the sum of everything that is possible? As long as there is a logical explanation for anything, that thing is understood to be the result of laws that are logical and consistent with nature.  While there may be anomalies, we sometimes have too say we don’t understand that yet. While there may not be a known explanation for a thing, it is not inevitably supernatural. It’ cant therefore be assumed to be supernatural. The reason nature abhors a miracle, is because nature attends to all things that are logically possible. The very definition of a supernatural event, is that it defies natural law and natural laws are defined by logical necessity. Nature is at the very least, delimited by the bounds logical possibility. We can’t even conceive of a supernatural event with out conceding that they must be illogical in principle.

Before too long I will put some time into replacing the failed attempt at posting on the revporkypie’s comment section for the video about babbling bullshit. I have also mirror’d it ftw. You can view it and yes, even comment right here.

It turns out our good revkockbag is something of a jet setting faith healer. The best medicine for this kind of bolloks is this: