Saturday, 31 January 2009

The Absurdity of Equating Evolutionary Biology With Immorality

A Christian's Viewpoint

Darwin's Evil Finches........

All too often, religious folks who attempt to censure Darwin's theory of Natural Selection by denouncing it as being a harbinger of humanistic morality. According to these fundamentalists, the murderous observations of Darwin is almost akin to a doctrine and an excuse to commit murder and all manner of crimes.

The issue will inevitably revolve around the term "Survival of the Fittest" (Coined by Herbert Spencer), a term used by Darwin to denote his observations that in nature, species or individual animals which were most suited to survive in the environment will have the highest survival chances, and hence the highest possibility of passing down its genes to future generations.

Over at Vjack's blog, a Christian by the name of Paul puts forth his accusations against the late biologist:

All I'm saying is that your theory of evolution and survival of the fittest would say that we should look out for our own interests and for our own survival. The fact that you do not abide by what "natural selection" says should happen shows me that practically, you do not believe in that. You may say that you do, but you do not practice what you believe about science and evolution. I also do not just do good things in the hope of getting something out of it. I have come to realize that there is nothing in me that I could possibly do to earn any kind of reward. It is only by the grace of God that I have salvation. I do what I do because of the love that God has placed within me. Of course, I understand the idea of empathy and I am glad that your morality is not based upon your scientific beliefs. It would be a horrible world indeed if morality was driven by the theory of natural selection. I would just like to know how you determine what's right and wrong. What's right for one person may not be right for another person. How do you determine that stealing from someone is wrong? What is the standard?

Paul makes the follow assumptions:

1. Evolution and its adherent, Natural Selection, are bad morals designed and devised by a deviant, evil scientist (Darwin, who else?).

2. If we live by Darwinian rules, we will surely be murderous, barbarous hordes.

3. Morals must be derived from something external from ourselves, i.e a supernatural entity.

At this point, I will attempt to debunk and make a case for evolution, and reveal the true intentions of people like Paul.

Morality vs Scientific Beliefs?

Paul makes an attempt to link Science and conflate it into a moral code: If you believe in Science, naturally you will act in accordance to the ways of Science.

Suppose I am a physicist studying about the theory of gravity. Obviously gravity is a non-anthropomorphic force: Regardless whether you want that piece of object to fall, it will inevitably fall back to Earth. You can repeat the process once, twice or as many times as you can, and the results will inevitably be the same. Gravity exists. Now, we all know that some folks utilize gravity to commit suicide. Should I be blamed for these suicides, then, for believing, or advancing the fact that gravity exists?

Blaming the Lion For Bloody Murder?

To put it in a more grotesque perspective: Should National Geographic be solely accountable to cannibalistic crime committed by a human cannibal merely because on that day of the crime, a video featuring the bloody eating habits of a pride of lions, along with the grizzly process of the immolation of the poor zebra, was aired on prime time TV?

Contrary to Paul's deductions, morality and the observation of Scientific phenomena are two distinctly, different issues. Blaming Evolution for bad moral behavior is no more erroneous and irrational than blaming the knife for the crime of murder. It simply doesn't add up.

Evolution, Empathy and Selflessness

While it is true that certain species of animals, such as tigers, are solitary creatures and tend to keep to themselves other than for mating and breeding purposes in the wild, apes, lions and other congregating creatures are predominantly social creatures who live communally in a spirit of cooperation.

Ants may be Tiny Creatures, But they Have a Complex Social Structure

Paul assumes that folks who concur with the Theory of Evolution have no room for empathy and selflessness, which is an entirely groundless accusation: Animals have been observed to help their stricken comrades in the wild, and this "empathy" trait is most commonly observed amongst creatures which have complex, social hierarchies, from humans to apes and right down to the smallest creatures, such as ants and bees.

May I challenge Paul to carry out this deadly experiment: Stir up a bee hive. Now we know that bees, when they sting, they basically are committing bloody suicide; they leave behind their sting, along with their internal entrails, and what seems like an evolutionary dead end to the ignorant becomes clear when we study the complex social order of bees. Male king bees are born to mate, worker bees to work, and the female queens to lay eggs continuously for the rest of their lives. The act of empathy and selflessness can be gleaned and observed quite commonly in nature, and here is something Paul obviously has no understanding about.

The Basis of Morality: Social & Tribal Welfare

Paul questions the basis of morality, since us atheists reject an assumed God-based morality, which in reality is simply a mish-mash of religious codes designed to enforce a sheep-like mentality amongst the pious believers.

Like other social animals, Man lives and abides by the rules and regulations that serves best for his community or his tribe: Murder, for example, sows fear and disrupts the community, and is not to be employed unless a threat exists from within and without. Morals, as we know it, evolved purely as a status quo for people to live harmoniously; without it, social life would be impossible.

Our moral codes have, in turn, evolved into codified national laws which we live and abide by in the interests of our nation. In short, moral codes are derived from within our own species, devised and improvised in order to suit the needs of the tribes (and sometimes, the imagined needs of a deity). It has nothing to do with deities, cosmic teapots, and other supernatural mumbo-jumbos as expounded by shamans and religious soothsayers.

Why Blame Evolution?

This is a puzzling question for me: Why is it that religious folks often pick on Evolutionary Biology and lampoon it in a way that no other branches of Science, such as Chemistry and Physics, are attacked?

One plausible reason may be that evolutionary deals with the very heart of religious doctrine: All creatures, great and small, evolve and shared a common ancestor, and no God need to be invoked for this biological process. It strikes a chord with religious folks because it debunks the very foundations of their faith.

Such attempts at discrediting Evolution only goes to show that evolution is very much entrenched in the realm of legitimate Science, and religious folks are trying to engage in every last bit of tomfoolery and trick in the magician's hat to get it out of government schools.

Religious Morality???

Religious Books: The Primal Source of Morals?

As for the basis of God being the bastion of humanistic morality, one only has to glean through scripture upon scripture of religious texts to debunk such claims. While I can already imagine Christians screaming "bloody murder" at the hordes of supposedly deadly atheists out on a deadly rampage, it is an inescapable fact that so many religions, particularly the monotheistic ones, have blood and murder scribed and prescribed to followers in their holy books.

Blaming Evolution for the crimes of mankind doesn't quite click for any rational-minded person, and if religious folks wish to blame poor old Darwin for the crimes of the bigoted and the tyrannic, they might as well take a peek in their very own holy scripture and perhaps be inspired by the magnitude of their inspired holy texts.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Atheist Gaming: Request for Feedback

I have been mulling over this for quite some time; for the past two years, an avalanche of atheist books have hit the bookshelves, and books, such as Richard Dawkin's bestseller, "The God Delusion", have been bestsellers, followed closely by Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.

Trying to publish a book is a difficult endeavor; writing is one thing, finding a reputable publisher willing to market your work is another. There is little guarantee that a novice writer can hit the jackpot with his or her books, since the market is usually saturated with numerous authors trying to make a living out of this craft. Very few make it, and those that do often monopolize the genres of their specific work.

Of late, I have come into acquaintance with a programmer. Yes, he is an atheist, and both of us would very much like to create an atheist game for atheists, secular humanists and maybe the fence sitters who are somehow undecided with regards to their faith. The PC gaming industry is one domain that somehow doesn't seem to throw up a lot of stuff for or against religion, and we wish to take a shot in this direction.

Both of us are not sure what types of gaming might suit the average atheist. As a result, I would like to request for some kind of feedback. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment on this post. Alternatively, you can email me at

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Fengshui & the Art of Bullshit: Erroneous Predictions for 2009

Fengshui: The Oriental Art of Bullshit

2009 has proved to be a tough year for one and all: Mass recessions, retrenchments, and a whole lot of bad news galore, 2009 has become the bad hangover of a bad recession from Year 2008, and it promises to be a real bearish year ahead.

Indeed, it has been a particularly bearish year for what is ironically the year of the Ox on the Zodiac calendar, and if this irony isn't enough to debunk astrology and its inherent nonsense, Fengshui masters are now queuing up to give us their "predictions" of 2009. Like vultures circling a great, but dying beast, charlatans of all shapes and sizes are out to con the down and trodden in a bid to fish in muddy waters, and when better than a massive recession and record numbers of jobless, desperate folks to present their chicanery to the hapless masses.

Excerpts from the Yahoo News (In Red):

Year of the Ox looking very un-bullish, seers say

HONG KONG - If the global economy fails to recover in 2009, the housing bubble or credit crunch may not be to blame. It could be a lack of fire. Chinese fortunetellers say fire _ one of the five elements mystics believe form the basis of the universe _ is essential to financial well-being. And fire is nowhere to be found in the mythology of this coming Year of the Ox, the Chinese lunar year that begins Monday. "Fire is the driving force behind economic growth. Without it, the market lacks momentum," said Raymond Lo, a Hong Kong master of feng shui, the ancient Chinese practice of trying to achieve health, harmony and prosperity through building design, the placement of objects and auspicious dates and numbers. Chinese soothsayers see a deepening recession, millions more losing their jobs, and stocks and home prices continuing to fall. That's more or less in line with what some economists are predicting, but some fortunetellers are throwing in other dire predictions _ massive earthquakes, rising U.S.-Russian tensions and trouble for President Barack Obama.

Ah, some dire prediction indeed. Of course, most of these predictions about job losses, tumbling stocks and housing prices aren't the direct result of any supernatural predictions. In fact, these soothsayers are merely parroting what standard economists have already forewarned about the economy!

Nothing Like a Good Bonfire to Fire Up the Economy! Burn, Babe, Burn (Snort)!

And what exactly is the cause of the economic turmoil? Nope, it is neither the banks who recklessly approve loans with abandon ease, nor the lack of oversight from the previous Bush Administration, its got to do with the lack of the fire element!!!! No fire, no money, that's what these morons are telling us!!! Well folks, go to your kitchens and start a fire, for goodness sake. We need more fire in our bellies! Or start a bonfire in some stupid camping trip and in the process burn the whole forest down......yeah, that should do the trick!

And yes, let's not forget the earthquakes. Oh well, natural disasters happen every year, so again, this is simply another generalization of things that inevitably happen on a regular or yearly basis. Clearly, you do not need clairvoyance to make this type of ambiguous predictions.

Obama's Kiss of Death: The Curse of the Number 4

The Curse of the No. 4: The 44th President of USA has a Double Dosage........

And guess what these fengshui morons have to say about Obama???

Obama, born in the Year of the Ox, is taking office in a particularly bad year for his Chinese astrological sign. The ox sign is in direct conflict this year with a traditional Chinese divinity called the "God of Year," considered a bad omen. Obama also is the 44th president, a number the Chinese deem extremely unlucky, because "four" is pronounced the same as "death" in Chinese. "The new U.S. president is not having good luck this year. His honeymoon will only be short-lived," said fortuneteller Alion Yeo, predicting Obama may even face impeachment in his first year in office. "The Year of the Ox looks slightly better and less dire than last year, but it will still be bumpy."

fixation with numerology and its perceived ideology is very much intertwined with Chinese superstition; the number 4 is pronounced as "si" in mandarin, which rhymes with the word "death" in mandarin; It is an awfully ominous number associated with the spectre of death. The Chinese, particularly the more superstitious variety, are very much appalled at the mere mention of death, and the number 4 is very much avoided by these superstitious folks. By contrast, the no. 8, pronounced as "ba", rhymes with the word "fa", which means prosperity, and is a likable number for many Chinese folks, especially chronically addicted gamblers who depend on such flimsy superstition as indication of their prevailing good form on the gambling table.

As such, being the 44th President of the United States of America, Obama seems to have inherited double the curse of death, and hence, the bad luck.

Herein lies the problem at hand: How should we define "bad luck"? Every President is going to face the odd challenge at some point, and saying that "this year is a bumpy ride for the president, hence bad luck" is tantamount to saying that there will be a lot traffic accidents this year. It doesn't say a lot about the accuracy of these crazy soothsayers, does it?

But fear not, at least one bold master is willing to bet on Obama's downfall! Alion Yeo, the fortune-teller who is quite adamant about Obama's bad luck, thinks that Obama will be impeached in his first year in office. Unlike the previous "predictions" which are sweeping and not very specific, this one deals specifically with the manner Obama will fall. Yes, folks, according to this chap, Obama will be impeached this year. Well, we will see about that, won't we? After all, a year will pass us by in another 300 + odd days, and then we will have the benefit of hindsight to debunk his prediction!

Feng Shui: The Art of Bullshit

Like the western equivalent of psychics, Feng Shui is an art of flim-flam; it deals with the supernatural world of imaginary forces that are supposed to affect every aspect of your life, and the practitioners of Feng Shui will, for a fee, arrange your furniture and household appliances in a bid to manipulate these mysterious forces and change your luck.

And when they are not in the mood for arranging furniture for exorbitant fees, they will resort to all manner of conmanship to hoodwink the masses, and it gets even easier for them when bad tidings become real, cataclysmic events, like recessions, by simply mimicking the warnings of economic experts who have already made their comments available. You don't need to be a fengshui expert to make the kind of "predictions" these fengshui masters are spewing.

These fengshui masters are masturbating and making their claim to fame, and a horde of monetary benefits by cashing in on the weak, the downtrodden and the weak-minded. They base their claims not on solid, scientific evidence, but merely observing certain, predictable, generic phenomena and then linking them to unscientific theories and selling them to the masses as supernatural clairvoyance to people who want answers to the economic turmoil or any other misfortunes which have befallen upon them, and it is very easy to believe when you are in a shitload of trouble with no answers at hand.

Sure, we all want to believe, and belief is comforting, but it is best to think rationally and not be subjected to manipulation by charlatans who pretend to present us with answers when they have nothing except tomfoolery to hoodwink us for a couple of hundred bucks.

Being Skeptical, the Randi Way

-"Paranormal phenomena have a habit of going away whenever they are tested under rigorous conditions. This is why the $1,000,000 reward of James Randi, offered to anyone who can demonstrate a paranormal effect under proper scientific controls, is safe." -Richard Dawkins

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Trials and Tribulations of a Door-to-Door Proselytizer

During my stint in a local polytechnic in Singapore many years ago (1996-1999), I was often hooked up with evangelicals and Christians who often attempt to "witness" to me beyond the pulpit of the Church; "witness" being a Christian jargon for indoctrination and being dogmatic.

At that time, I had just lost my religion, having been fully sickened by ten years of conservative, almost senseless drumming about the end of the world and the Rapture into my brain, which was further exacerbated by my four-year stint in a Catholic School and trying to skip mass every year (Yes, I find the mumbo-jumbos of catholic mass excruciating to go through, and certainly I do not think that treating a wafer as someone's body is very hygienic or humane). And it is on this count that I have always wondered: What is the prime motivation that drives religious folks to preach their religious oddities to the likes of infidels like me?

Then there is that odd door-to-door Christian, who, despite facing a real potential of strangers slamming the doors on their faces, somehow musters enough emotional strength and courage to spread their good word to complete strangers, and that on Sundays too! Kudos to these folks, even if I do not agree with their message. Ask any door-to-door salesman about what really is his greatest enemy, and the unanimous answer is rejection.

This is indeed a strange phenomenon, and I shall attempt to explain it a little more lucidly and suggest methods which you might find useful if you ever meet people who pander their odd religious beliefs and Sky Gods.

Good Intentions

From an atheist point of view, religious proselytizers are almost synonymous with the pesky fly who swirls around your head and refuses to go away, and the fact that these "good news" can sometimes be delivered very condescendingly doesn't really help their cause, and believe me I have met a few of those myself.

It is easy to lampoon these folks, but try to step into their shoes and view the world through their religious, myopic worldview: This planet is rife with sin, and sin is a disease which, if not eradicated, will send your spiritual, ethereal entity, i.e your soul, to an eternal cauldron of burning fire dubbed hell if you die unrepentant. Add to that, God will eventually get sick and annoyed with his minions on this filthy little planet, and send his Son, Jebus on a spaceship to Earth to trigger a series of events that will trigger the Armageddon and end existence as we know it.

As atheists, we might find it incredulous that anyone can believe in bullshit of such a magnitude, but if you are a believer, wouldn't you be extremely concerned about the fate of the common man? Simply put, if you see a person who is injured, you would want to help him up or call for an ambulance. This is the primary reasoning for proselytizing: It is the Christian equivalent of helping a fellow man who is deemed to be in trouble in the eyes of a sky deity. In that perspective, these proselytizers are doing a charitable deed (from their point of view) on our behalfs, whether we believe it or not.

While it is not intrinsically wrong to proselytize, more often than not, proselytizers, armed with the dogma that his religion is superior to all other religions, philosophies and creeds, begin to fall into a maze of self-delusion and condescension. They fail to see that in a multicultural society, not everyone shares their religious beliefs, and that sort of superiority complex inevitably rubs people the wrong way and puts people off.

A Christian's Point of View

A closer observation of this "save a soul" policy can be gleaned from a Christian's comment on Vjack's blog.

Daniel Livingston writes:

"Nobody likes it when you show up at their door. I get mormons and JWs just like everyone. I dont need points so thats not why I do it. My religion does tell me to, but thats not my primary motivation either. I respect your beliefs and recognize the strength one must have to get through this life unassisted. However, I just cant keep it to myself though you wish I would. Since people like me absolutely have to anyway, I will keep your don't do list in mind( except for the "dont do it" part) He can do many things for you Shawn. I am living proof. I have a question for you: Do you really find fulfillment in any of these things on Earth? I have done every drug and almost every other self-satisfying thing you can imagine. All it left me with was emptyness. If you really are truly satisfied and fulfilled, and have reached the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, then I can't do anything for you. I would still be your friend, but wouldn't waste my time on telling you stuff you don't want to hear. It takes a stronger person than me to be an atheist, and I respect that. I used to think of atheist as like free-agents in pro sports, but your post makes sense in that you have thought it over and chosen atheist, instead of just being atheists by default. Do you guys vote for Obama mostly? Is that a dumb question?"

What comes across in this commentary is a dash of condescension, sarcasm and unnecessary empathy, plus a half-hearted attempt at justifying the nuisance of proselytizing. Sure, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are doing the same annoying work as me, but hey, I am different! I preach the truth, and they don't. Time and again, Sectarianism rears its ugly head even amongst folks of the same deity-worshiping cult.

This condescension is not even artfully camouflaged; He claims to be "one of us", i.e an atheist, and that all he ended up with was a legacy of drug abuse and forlorn emptiness in his sad, pathetic life
. This fallacy of "one atheist is bad, so all atheists are evil eggs" manifests itself as a form of nasty bigotry, and by portraying himself doing silly deeds as one of us, he manages to portray the image of the evil atheist as a wasted drug addict. Such tactics are standard fare for Christians who claim to be atheists and criminals in their unreformed states, and serve as unauthenticated testimonials in their question to "witness" to heathens and infidels alike.

The rest of it comes across as an implicitly insulting tirade: Atheists are kind of like agent-less sportsmen with no general sense of direction; atheists are self-deluded people who think they have reached the highest scale of self-actualization on the Maslow scale, and so on and so forth.

Standard Quips from the Average Door-Knocking Proselytizer

While Daniel Livingston does not represent every Christian, he does highlight certain traits of these proselytizers, plus some familiar arguments of choice, which can be condensed as follows:

1. Me and my colleagues are doing the work of God, and so our annoyance of heathens and other unbelievers is well-justified.

2. We may or may not be in for the brownie points; our primary objective here is to give you a chance to save yourselves from the burning cauldron of hell, and eternity is a heck of a long time to burn.

3. You see, my dear Atheist/Non-believer, I was once one of you. But now I believe in God. I am no longer living a depraved, wasted life like you are living in now. Your life rings hollow, because you do not believe in an Almighty God.

4. It takes more faith to be an atheist than to believe in God, therefore you have to exercise a significantly higher level of faith than me (If you analyze the statement here, what the Christian invariably is trying to say is that you are either irrational, or illogical, or both).

5. Atheists invariably vote along similar party lines, hence they are simply following the herd, so to speak.

How Should You Dissuade the Door-to Door Proselytizer?

For most atheists, door-to-door proselytizers can be a terrible pain in the ass. They usually arrive in groups of two or more on Sundays, disrupt our sleep and our lives, only to tell us about their invisible friends which we most probably have known or believed at some point of our lives and which have been discarded because of the sheer incredulity of these nonsensical beliefs.

And so the question arises: If you do meet a god-damn proselytizer at your doorstep, how should you approach them? Will brandishing knives and AK-47s help? I should think so, but I digress.

This is a particularly tricky question, in the sense that not every proselytizer approaches unbelievers with the same level of condescension or mockery, or perhaps none whatsoever. In some cases, the proselytizer's good intentions are well-meaning to a point that he or she says: "This is the bible, I leave it to you, and here's my contact number. If you have a question, feel free to ask me anything." Which is a fine thing, really. Of course, some of the more pushy ones do exist, and should you encounter a pesky religious freak who simply attempts to shovel religion down your throat, then the solution may lie somewhere else.

As far as I am concerned, brevity is usually a brilliant solution: Be short and concise; inform them that you have absolutely no interest in their deluded nonsense, no matter how well-meaning they may be. Just to add a touch of courtesy, thank them sincerely for their efforts.

If this solution is not helpful, resort to the extreme: Slam the door in their faces. That should do the trick.

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." -Susan B. Anthony

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Demystifying The Sanctity of Marriage

The Sanctity of Marriage?

Marriage: The Delusion of Bliss?

Its an exhilarating day for the couple; Adam, decked out in a charming tuxedo and bow tie, and Eve, dressed in a floral gown looking all glamorous and splendid, walking down the aisle in a church.....ah, the very definition of marriage. The bride and the groom, the one and final bastion in the institution of marriage, so romantic, and so.....ok, you get the point.

One of the most perplexing claims pandered about by religious folks of the Christian-Judaism variety is the "Defending the Institution of Marriage" campaign: It is often claimed that marriage in the form of the "one-husband-one-wife category" is the sole, legitimate family format, passed down through generations from the time of antiquity, sort of like a family heirloom. This type of rhetoric has become the basis of most arguments against gay and lesbian marriages.

In this post, I shall attempt to demystify the definition of marriage and how it has evolved through time and across a myriad of cultures and religions.

The Definition of Marriage from a Modern Point of View

Marriage, by today's secular definition, is a tripartite contract; the State serves as a key witness to a civil union between a couple. A marriage contract is signed, and it entitles, amongst other things, properties, kids (if any) and the type of privileges both parties are expected to be entitled to, during the period the contract is binding or after, should a divorce to terminate the contract is activated.

Such a strictly litigious mode of marriage, however, is often not mentioned or highlighted in the media or any other form of official medium; rather, a more romanticized version of marriage is pandered about as if it were the ultimate, orgasmic experience: A holy union of two loving couples, tying the knot in the presence of a priest and an unseen, ubiquitous God-Almighty.......A happy family, flanked by loving, adorable kids, and yes, love is generally in the air. Ah, such bliss.

If history and modern trend is of any guide, this utopia version of marriage is so totally screwed.

The Purpose of Marriage

Throughout history, marriage is often regarded as a bridge between two families, usually of a similar social class of people. For example, if you are a businessman and your business partner has a financial arrangement with you, you might want to further cement that relationship by marrying off your daughter to his son, or taking his daughter to be your son's wife. It is a amiable arrangement to tie families together to forge an alliance, and from a political point of view, such arrangements are commonplace; conduct a cursory study of all the noblemen, kings, and princes of Europe and one would not miss out the intimate relationships of royalty amongst Europe's leading monarchs. It didn't matter whether you exhibit any fondness for your perspective partner; if your parents have agreed with the other party you will have to tie the knot.

It is also the standard norm for the men and women of a poorer class to aspire towards marriage to members of the rich in order to attain a better, comfy life; it didn't matter if the guy or girl is fat, obnoxious and hideous, as long as he or she is loaded with cash. In this case, marriage becomes an indirect form of sex-for-cash transaction.

In short, marriage wasn't about free love and free choice in many societies: You marry whoever your parents or some higher authorities wanted you to marry, or under tough financial circumstances, and you can be damn sure that romance isn't part of this equation.

Types of Marriages

In many prevalent cultures since the dawn of civilization, it was not an uncommon practice for a man to have many wives: It was a sign of status for a guy to have multiple wives, particularly so if it was approved by religious institutions. Islam, for example, allows a man to have up to a maximum of four wives at any one time. Rather than being viewed as a symbol of infidelity, marriages of this sort were not frowned upon, and there was no limit with regards to how many wives a man can procure or even how old his respective wives were.

In such marriages, there is usually a system of hierarchy amongst the harem of wives; the first wife is usually the matron of the harem, followed by the respective concubines.

The idea of polygamy was not lost amongst the rich and the powerful; several monarchs, particularly King Henry VIII, was particularly fond of multiple marriages, and most Chinese Emperors in ancient China had harems filled upwards of a few hundred wives!!!

Talk about the sanctity of marriage.......damn are we so screwed!!!

In some societies, it is also prevalent amongst womenfolk to have multiple husbands! While this is a rarity particularly in conservative, eastern cultures, some Polynesian tribes do practice this form of polygamy, even if it seems a tad strange to us and most male chauvinists.

Of course, there's always the odd gay marriage or two: If you think gay marriage is only a recent phenomenon, think again:

1. From the Ming dynasty onwards, it was not uncommon for lesbians and gays to tie the knot under the auspices of ancient Chinese marriage rites.

2. In the ancient Roman empire, rich Roman citizens often cavorted with male slaves and yes, pederast relationships between men and boys leading to marriages were not banned.

In short, there has never been one mode of marriage in history; marriage comes in all shapes and sizes, and yes, people generally married in accordance to the customs of their respective societies.

The Sanctity of Marriage is Bullshit

Many religious fundamentalists want us to believe in the sanctity of marriage as if it is a standard norm throughout history. The truth is there has never been one strictly conformist code of practice in marriage, and gay and lesbian marriages are not abominations of society as so unctuously proclaimed by these morons.

Today's marriage mode is almost akin to a financial arrangement and a life-time contract: You marry your spouse, he or she is entitled to certain rights, you stick to them until one of you croaks and bites the dust, or failing which, the marriage succumbs and breaks down in which case a divorce, along with its whole set of litigious bullshit, pertains to the annulment and separation and the division of property and monetary assets. It is as simple, and at the same time complicated, as that.

Personally, I view marriage with as much skepticism as I would with regards to religion: I don't really have any aspiration towards lifetime contracts of this sort, and it baffles me as to why gays are getting all worked up and bothered about getting married (it isn't as if you need to get hitched to have hot monkey sex anyway), but I respect human rights, and if these group of people are willing to get themselves tied down to marriage contracts, by all means let them have it.

Just don't give me the bullshit about the sanctity of marriage.

Friday, 16 January 2009

US Military Finally Admits To Torture

Torture: The American Way

When we think of torture, what immediately comes to mind are those insidious, evil regimes, yeah, those oppressive despots and tyrants who go out of the way to extract information from dissidents, unyielding folks and others who refuse to submit to their wills and whims. Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il and those evil commies, etc. The whole lot.

Who can imagine, then, that the United States of America, well known for touting itself as the land of the brave, home of the free, being the supposed bastion of human rights and freedom, being a nation which has surreptitiously plotted, schemed and smuggled prisoners to secret locations only to torture their sorry asses for, by and large, next-to-useless information in a dubious "war against terror" bullshit campaign?

As it turns out, an US official has, for the first time, admitted that torture has indeed been meted out to prisoners of Guantanamo Bay. There's no doubt that the Red Cross had already highlighted this heinous act years back, but hey, what better than for the real deal to come straight from the horse's mouth.

The following extract from Telegraph (In Blue):

Guantanamo Prisoner Was Tortured, Admitted US Official

Susan Crawford, who oversees the tribunals for terror suspects at the US base in Cuba, said she believed the interrogation of Saudi national Mohammed al-Qahtani amounted to torture.

She said the frequency and the adverse effect of the torture on Qahtani's mental and physical state persuaded her that military questioners had crossed the line form harsh interrogation to illegality.

Mrs Crawford told the Washington Post she did not refer the case for prosecution as "his treatment met the legal definition of torture,"

During nearly three months of questioning, Qahtani was twice admitted to hospital with a near-fatal slowing of his heartbeat.

"You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act," said Mrs Crawford."This was not any one particular act. This was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for," she said.

After his capture in Afghanistan, Qahtani was subjected to 48 days of torture from November 2002 to January 2003, usually lasting 18 to 20 hours. He was stripped naked in front of female interrogators, subjected to extreme cold and kept in isolation for five months. He was threatened by a military dog named Zeus and was led around a room naked on a leash and told to perform dog tricks, according to an official summary of his interrogation seen by the Post.

Torture & The US Administration

As the Bush Administration faces its final doldrums, the legacy of torture and human rights abuse has become a hot topic in the media, as if 8 years of inept policies, trip-ups and disastrous military operations had suddenly become a sudden, precipitous problem.

After the 911 Incident, the US military had embarked on two military campaigns, one in Afghanistan, and subsequently another to get rid of Saddam's regime in Iraq. In the process, the US military had arrested and interrogated hundreds of prisoners, deeming them to be "enemy combatants" and proclaiming that these prisoners are not your ordinary prisoners and hence are not considered to be under the protection of the US legal system, the Geneva Convention for treatment of war prisoners (They are classified as "non-uniformed combatants" by the Bush Administration, and cannot be classified as prisoners of war!), or any other legal systems for the matter. It is kind of like being stuck in a legal limbo. This kind of erroneous interpretation poses a big loophole for the US government to smuggle a Boeing-747 load of torture and all kinds of human rights abuses.

To their credit, the Bush Administration isn't all that stupid, even if George Bush is about as intelligent as a single cell amoeba: They can't torture all that many prisoners on US soil; fuck, those human rights bastards will be poking tridents into his ass if they catch Bush in his act! No worries though, America has a land lease from no other than Fidel Castro's Guantanamo Bay to count on! No need to worry about Federal jurisdiction and all that legalistic crap, here we can torture and maim our prisoners and slap our cats and dogs without so much a whimper from these stupid human and animal rights groups!

It is all too easy to brush aside such transgressions against humanity: Sure, these are Islamic fascists, terrorists of the worst order, ready to burn down cities, subways and even humanity at the beck and call of Osama bin laden or some other religious prick.....really?

Justification for Torture???

So it is, years of torture and abuse, and really, is there any justification for this blatant violent of human rights?

Some startling statistics from BBC News:

1. Only a paltry few have ever been charged with any crime. This lot includes Australian David Hicks, Osama bin Laden's former driver Salim Hamdan and USS Cole conspirator Ali al-Bahlul.
That is an appallingly disgraceful result considering that hundreds of detainees have walked through the gates of Guantanamo Bay in the past 7 yrs.

2. As of May 2008,
270 detainees are still stuck in Guantanamo, with a good fifty to seventy of them stuck in the hellish limbo because no nation would accept them (bumper).

Charges against 20th Hijacker Dropped because of Torture Methods Used to Derive Info.

Some high-profile "terrorists", such as Mohammed al-Qahtani, known otherwise as "the 20th hijacker" of the 911 attacks, had his charges dropped because of the dubious investigative methods used against him at Guantanamo Bay: Yup, torture. The courts wouldn't allow torture-induced statements to indict anyone. Jesus fucking Christ!

Now here comes the startling moment of truth: A huge majority of these detainees are going to walk out of prison with no charges against them! The idea of detaining people for a potentially indefinite period of time and then releasing them somehow runs smack against the purpose of civil law, and that is why the Bush Administration tries damn hard to distinguish them from mere "common prisoners" or even enemy combatants. Clearly something horrendously wrong is going on here; after all the abuse, the bad PR and the money spent in housing these detainees, all they have got is a measly bunch of less than ten persecuted criminals.

Torture Is Not An Effective Means Of Indicting Criminals

While there are some well-meaning folks who think that in some cases, torture is well-justified, it really isn't, unless, of course, you need to satisfy your sado-masochistic tendencies in which case, this post would be irrelevant to you.

From an ethical point of view, torture belongs to the basest and most inhumane of social behavior: It implies the application of abuse and pain to deduce information from the victim in the most heinous way.

Besides, information derived from torture are mostly useless, as in the classic case of Guy Fawkes, the British rebel who tried to kill King James I in England in the infamous Gunpowder plot of 1605 (he may have been the world's first known terrorist. I stand to be corrected on this one). A weak criminal who is under the duress of torture will divulge any kind of answer the authorities want to hear, and such information can be very difficult to authenticate and are largely useless to the torturer cum interrogator.

On the other hand, the strong criminal will be so stoic that his continued silence will, in the end, infuriate the torturer, who administers and induces more pain until, finally, the criminal dies, and the information is lost forever.

These are the primary reasons why most police departments do not advocate torture, and information obtained from torture usually results in the dismissal of written statements obtained by such inhumane methods. The Bush Administration folks are not morons, and this is precisely why they try so hard to avoid such legalities. But alas, they aren't smart enough to predict the mess they have made, and for the Bush Administration to administer torture (pun intended) in such a insidious manner speaks of the evils and stupidity of George Bush to allow his staff to hoodwink him into this quagmire.

"The strong will resist and the weak will say anything to end the pain."-Ulpian

Monday, 12 January 2009

Evolution Disclaimer: Evolution Mere Theory; So Keep An Open Mind (And Watch Thy Brains Drop Out)

Evolution Disclaimer: No Science Please, And Let's Not Forget, the World is Flat

In my previous post, I have highlighted the despondent state of affairs with regards to Science: Religious fundamentalists, mostly of the Christian-Judaism kind, are seeking to undermine the teaching of Evolution in public school laboratories and classrooms.

These religious morons, hoping to get a piece of the hegemony of public education, have attempted to discredit evolution and in the process smuggle their own brand of pseudoscience into public schools: Creationism or its evil twin, Intelligent Design.

Evolution, according to these fundamentalists, is mere theory; something conjured out of a magician's hut or spewed by a half-pissed, drunk scientist high on martinis or worst, cocaine (That is, before Ted Haggard admitted to snorting meth and having sex with a male prostitute.....tsk tsk)!

And part of the Creationist's strategy, therefore, is to discredit Evolution: Make Evolution sound so preposterous and ridiculous, that soon enough teachers will be more than a tad reluctant to teach evolution in biology classrooms due to a chorus of disapproval from unctuous, religious parents. And slowly, but surely, a clandestine campaign to smuggle religion into the science curriculum will commence.

According to Vjack at Atheist Revolution, House Bill 25 will require all science books pertaining to evolutionary biology to include a disclaimer (as if the reading of evolution is some kind of a pornographic filth! Shit, shouldn't they include a disclaimer for the bible too???)!

Read this and laugh:

"Ha Ha....Ye Stupid Religious Cat..........."

This textbook discusses evolution, a controversial theory some scientists present as a scientific explanation for the origin of living things. No one was present when life first appeared on earth. Therefore, any statement about life's origins should be considered a theory.

Evolution refers to the unproven belief that random, undirected forces produced living things. There are many topics with unanswered questions about the origin of life which are not mentioned in your textbook, including: the sudden appearance of the major groups of animals in the fossil record (known as the Cambrian Explosion); the lack of new major groups of other living things appearing in the fossil record; the lack of transitional forms of major groups of plants and animals in the fossil record; and the complete and complex set of instructions for building a living body possessed by all living things.
Study hard and keep an open mind.

What's the Alternative to Evolution???

The buffoons who come up with such drivel fail to explicitly provide an alternative to evolution in order not to give us secular folks the impression that this is indeed a Christian and religiously-motivated movement. Duh!!!!

The disclaimer fails to explain the meaning of scientific theory: It is merely the same stupid tirade of dismissing science by undermining the true meaning of "theory" in scientific terms: Everything is potentially falsifiable. Unfortunately, religious folks like to play in the realm of absolutism. If one part of a scientific theory is found to be wrong, the whole thing turns out to be bogus! This, fortunately, is not how science works.

It looks like these morons want a repeat of the Scopes Trial and put a religious verdict on Evolution in a bid to kill Science, and in the process make kids dumber, stupider and more religious than they already are.

The Flintstones Family: Darwin's Nemesis!!!!

Sure, the world is 6000 yrs old, Adam and Eve were real folks frolicking and smooching around with T-rexes and Brontosaurus like a cartoon version of Flintstones, snakes and donkeys do all the talking and quibbling, and the world is really flat. No more vaccinations and DNA research, since cells and bacteria never really mutate in the first place. As it is, these morons already have a Creationist Museum in Kentucky, USA, with state-of-the-art animatronics portraying dinosaurs and man living together harmoniously........that's so corny and so Disney-like!!!!

The Alternative to Evolution? Welcome to the Stone Age.

Keep An Open Mind, Folks!!!

"By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out."
-Richard Dawkins

Saturday, 10 January 2009


After watching the movie Back To The future II; I started having this reoccurring dream. Night after night I dreamed that I had stolen the time traveling car, went back to 20 AD, or so, and tried to murder Jesus before his 33 AD date with the cross. This dreaming went on for weeks; most of the time when I did find Jesus, he was engaged in wild gay sex, and orgies with his disciples. In 2 or 3 of the dreams; I was ass-raped, and then killed by them. It’s been many years since these dreams had ended; however, about two weeks age, while sleeping, this nightmare returned. This time I finally got him in the heart with a crossbow.

When I returned to the 80’s? The world had become almost totally Islamic, with a few Jews here and there. They were stoning and burning atheists, on almost every street corner. The infighting between Muslim sects, had a daily death toll of over a 1000, just in my city. There were no modern city’s or towns; no electricity or running water, no cars or buses, no hospitals, or clinics, and. people’s teeth where rotting out of there heads.

When I finally located my home, I found my mom wearing a sheet, covering her from head to toe. She didn’t even recognize me, my sister had been married at the age of 11, and now was 17, and had given birth to 7 children, 3 of which, had survived.

Realizing I had made a major fuckup; so I decided to go back in time to the day, or so, before I’d killed this fucking prick; and somehow, prevent myself from killing him.

(To be continued).

Posted by john_poson26

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Let's Defend Science for the Sake of Our Future Generation

A Brief History of Mankind

Throughout history, Man has often sought to widen his horizon and gauge his position with regards to his own existence; we are, after all, transient mortals who are somehow lucky enough to spend a brief span of time on this little blue-green blob of a planet, and soon enough we will each have to take a dark, eternal walk into oblivion (If you are a religious believer, you might have the opinion that you might carry on an ethereal existence on a higher plane, but that's beside the point).

As mortals, we are only all too aware of our weaknesses. Physically, as a species, Man has much to fear. Natural disasters, malicious microbes and other tiny creatures which, when observed under a microscope, resemble creatures from some far-flung planet. Tigers, lions and other animals of prey may, at one time or another in the sands of time, look upon us as frail easy targets for a quick snack (Human flesh doesn't hold much flesh and fats, so most mega apex predators, such as sharks, usually give us a miss. Phew!). And, the list goes on.

Because of our all-too-apparent weaknesses, Man needs to combat ignorance, and learn to survive under the harsh conditions as stipulated by Nature. Certain traits, such as the ability to live in large groups, allow us to watch each others' backs to minimize danger. Our ancestors learned how to create fire and in the process reduced the risk of food poisoning from eating raw food, as well as to scare off egregious predators who threatened the very safety of our ancestors.

As society progressed, it became imperative for Man to seek out knowledge, not only as a means to protect himself, but to enhance the human race as a whole. In the beginning, it was religion; we create our own little institutions to venerate invisible sky gods in the vain hopes of pacifying these deities into submit to our wills and whims, plus scaring the common folk into submitting to a higher authority or a host of alpha males. Priest and religious hucksters of all shapes and sizes on every continent of the planet tried their darnest to outdo each other into believing their puffed-up imaginary friends, but to no avail: Religion was inept in terms of bettering society, all the way from a tribal level to a cosmopolitan culture of the 21st century. People killed or got killed over who's God had a larger penis, and it is quite evident that whoever God is either doesn't exist, or never gives a damn shit about our existence.

That leaves us with Science, one of the most arduous institutions of learning: By using rational tools and methods to discover and determine raw phenomena, scientists help us to have a better grasp of reality and the world around us. As we discover more and more about life and the forces that determine our existence with regards to Mother Nature, the better it is for us to control our own destinies.

We might think that as inheritors of Modern Science and the Industrial Revolution, the modern Man of today will be more inclined to accept the standard tenets of Science than a bunch of loony fairy tales from a bygone past. The truth, however, is bleak. All over the world, especially in the States, religious folks, urged on by their religious leaders who perceive the world as a huge, mine-littered battlefield in their constant battle against the "evil" secular forces, still batter the courts of law, schools and government institutions to reinstate their heinous religions into secular society.

A Call From Scientists: Defend Science!

It really is a sad state of affairs when a secular folk has to email me an urgent message to seek help to defend an institution that has done so much good for civilization.

And so it was, I received an email from Laure Vaillant on the 7th of Jan 2009 highlighting this sad state of affairs:

The contents from 's email are as follows (Her words in In Blue):

Celebrate Darwin Day 2009: Stand Up For the Science of Evolution

This year, February 12, 2009, is the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. 2009 is also the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s “On The Origin of Species by Natural Selection”, a monumental work and tremendous scientific achievement.

The Importance of Evolutionary Biology

If you could imagine a world without Darwin and the theory of evolution by natural selection, it would be a world impoverished in every dimension. Modern medicine would be crippled, without a deep understanding of how to prevent infections that rapidly evolve and grow resistant to treatment; we would have a greatly diminished understanding of the threats to biodiversity from alien species and habitat alternations. We would not appreciate the “grandeur in this view of life”, to use Darwin’s own words – the beauty and amazement of how all of life developed through natural processes. And science itself would be weakened in an almost incalculable way.

Evidence for Evolution Piling Up With Each Passing Year

There is evidence of evolution everywhere life goes on. We have a sweeping, astonishing and scientific panorama of how life developed from single cells to all the complexity and diversity that we know today. The fossil record, once thought to have too many “gaps,” grows more complete every year. We have a synthesis of modern genetics and Darwin’s mechanism of natural selection that would delight and amaze Darwin, if he were somehow able to see it. This decisively confirms and deepens our understanding of natural selection by showing the source of the endless variation among individual organisms and how it is inherited.

Darwin's Fight Against Staunch, Religious Ideas

Darwin went up against the entrenched religious prejudices of his day (and ours), applied the basic principles he discovered to human beings, and suggested that human ancestors evolved into Homo sapiens in Africa, even though no fossil evidence of this existed in his day. Now immense evidence of all kinds has been discovered, and there can be no doubt that humans evolved from a common ancestor of African primates.

The Importance of Biological Evolution as a Key Tenet of Biology & Science

The concept of biological evolution is one of the key pillars of modern science. Public access to understanding evolution has in many ways become the arena in which the role of science and the scientific method in society is being fought out today. It should be a matter of grave concern to everyone that there are powerful and continuing creationist attacks on the ability of children in public schools to learn core truths of evolution. It should be a matter of public outrage that museums and public institutions like science centers exist in an atmosphere where they feel unable to openly talk about and explain evolution; that in a number of state legislatures and in state boards of education, a new round of attacks on teaching evolution is in the works; that a bill attacking evolution has been signed into law in Louisiana. It is not simply evolution, but science that is under assault.

The Disastrous Impact of The Bush Administration on Science

The Bush administration brought an eight year attack on science that enormously intensified this poisonous and deadly atmosphere. The result was more than a series of bad policies, even though many were very bad indeed, but an assault on science itself, the method of inquiry which has enabled people to understand and transform the world in very powerful and amazing ways. And the Bush years greatly strengthened the Christian fundamentalist movement which today has great reach and influence. While Obama says he personally believes in evolution, he has made embracing this movement a core element of his view of “healing divisions”. Some creationist forces have clearly stated their aim goes far beyond attacking evolution; they seek to purge society of the “disease” of systematically seeking natural explanations for natural phenomena. We do not need to seek unity with this - we need a determined fight to defend science. It is up to us.

All of this makes Darwin Day 2009 even more important – as a celebration of Charles Darwin’s magnificent scientific achievement and as a contribution towards a society in which science, scientific discoveries and the scientific method are celebrated, valued, and popularized.

Let's have a Darwin Bicentennial with society-wide impact.

Defend Science

We strongly encourage everyone to help organize and participate in Darwin Day celebrations around the country, and circulate this statement everywhere, distribute it to friends and colleagues, post it on the web. It is available at the Defend Science website, )

Raise Socially Responsible Adults, Not Religious Bigots and Ignoramuses

The Inherent Dangers of Religion is Plain to See.......

As responsible adults, it is important that we ensure that the next generation of adults are rational, even-headed people; raising a dozen or even one child to grow up as a gun-touting, grenade-tossing terrorist is a dangerous enough predicament for most societies, not to mention ignorant, religious folks who think that it is better to go to a priest to seek treatment for a heart problem than a doctor.

I urge you, therefore, as a secular reader, or whoever you might be, to participate in this campaign. If you have a blog, promote the website. If you are loaded with cash, donate to the campaigner. I sincerely believe that we are duty-bound to teach our future generation what really is helpful to society. Religious fundamentalists want to inundate this planet with religious filth in the vain hopes that God or some other deity will whisk them up into the upper echelons of heaven, and surely none of us will want to see that happening in our life time.

The Ubiquitous Ignoramus?

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
-Charles Darwin