Ok, so I occasionally feed the trolls…

One of the greatest thrills I’ve experienced as a podcast host is “listener mail”. It is an incredible feeling to have listeners of the show write and ask for advice; provide commentary and feedback; ask questions; correct mistakes (many…); and so on.

With that said, I also receive creationist ‘semi-spam’, from both Christians and Muslims, which I find myself unable to respond to without a certain amount cynicism. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome mail from anyone and everyone on just about any subject, but what I meant by ‘semi-spam’ is basically ‘copy & paste’ blanket emails that act as a script filled with unfounded rebukes to atheism. Most of these rebuke emails contain very little thought and even less punctuation and proper grammar.

Here is my ‘copy & paste’ response to these emails:

Dear [insert name],

Many thanks for taking the time to send an email to ImaginaryFriendsShow@gmail.com, we greatly appreciate the effort necessary to copy and paste your questions from an online forum into the body of your email. It shows you care! That said, I’m curious as to why you have chosen to send an email to me, instead of those people who actively and directly contradict your ideology.

What I mean by this, [insert name], is that I, and my non-theistic pals, DO NOT assert that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. Nor do we assert that the universe is 13.7-15 billion years old. We are not responsible for the assertion that the universe came in to being by completely natural means (i.e. without any influence or interjection from a supernatural source), and we do not assert that no god that humans have previously, or currently believe in are any more plausible than the assertion that a copy of Darwin’s On The Origin of Species is currently in orbit around the Earth.

These are the findings of the most intelligent physicists, geologists (and geophysicists – which IS a different field), astrophysicists, astronomers, biologists, zoologists, chemists, anthropologists, archaeologists, etc. that the world has ever hosted. Their findings are based on mountains of supporting evidence and confirmatory experimentation which has been amassed and accumulated since the Enlightenment.

So, the logical question, [insert name], is, why is creationism not viewed scientifically derived theorem? The answer to that, dear [sir/madam] is that the ‘supporting evidence’ for creationism is the bible, a text that is full of scientific claims, which, once tested, prove to be false.

Consider the following. In Genesis, God creates light, and then later that week creates the stars, which are the source of all light and heat in the universe. He also creates the plants and animals prior to creating the ‘stars in heaven’, which, as I’m sure you’re aware, all plants (and thus animals for the food chain) rely on for photosynthesis.

There is, unfortunately, no evidence to support the belief that a benevolent creator played any role in humanity’s rise to supremacy on this planet. Furthermore, the evidence which directly contradicts the view of both creationism and so called ‘intelligent design’ is insurmountable and suggests, without any bias, that the universe formed naturally and that a process of evolution, by way of natural selection, is responsible for our existence. A great experiment, which replicated the early environmental conditions of planet earth, found that after only a very short time, the most fundamental building blocks of life, amino acids, formed in great abundance – google the Miller-Urey experiment for further detail.

With that said, another phenomenon which appears to be a completely natural product of natural selection and our evolution on this planet, is the human propensity for belief in the supernatural. It seems that for the past 70,000 years – likely longer, but we’ll go by what we have evidence for – anatomically modern humans have been playing a real life game of connect-the-dots. Certainly, the proclivity to place ‘the supernatural’ and ‘god(s)’ at the fore of everything we can’t explain is something undeniably human.

As humans learned to interrogate and interpret the universe they found themselves within, however, the places where ‘the supernatural’ and ‘god(s)’ could hide became ever smaller. Now, with our sophisticated technology and insatiable thirst for knowledge, there really is nowhere left for a god to hide, and yet, there still remains no evidence of such things. Of course, absence of evidence does not necessitate evidence of absence, but it certainly does imply it.

Nonetheless, you didn’t write to me for evidence, did you? No. You wrote to me because you’re trying to save me from ending up in hell; the place where all non-theists end up when they die. Well, while I admire the sentiment, I’ve always found it odd that Christians don’t seem to realise that the Jewish books, the books of the Old Testament, the books that contain the laws that Jesus professed that he came to fulfil, contain no mention of heaven, or hell.

So, it’s worth asking yourself the question; if Jesus didn’t write anything in the New Testament, and none of the New Testament was written until well after Jesus had died (theological fact, not atheist propaganda), and if Jesus claimed to fulfil the Old Testament and not to change anything, why are you denying science in order to go to a place that Jesus didn’t believe in?

You are not inhibited by a lack of intellect, this much is clearly evident in your writing (though I implore you to use punctuation in future), so why not go and do the work, instead of questioning those who simply follow the evidence? Read a text book. Do a biology or physics degree. Read a popularised science book. Make love to a librarian.

Believe me, if you found god’s “signature in the cell” (a book by Stephen Meyer which asserts, without evidence and in direct spite of contrary evidence, that everything has been ‘intelligently designed’) and had the evidence to back it up, you’d have a Nobel Prize and billions of adoring fans. A couple of scientist friends of mine (one in molecular genetics, the other in microbiology) have remarked on the amount of money awaiting them if they forsook the evidence and wrote a book supporting intelligent design or creationism. And that is the point.

In order to believe in creationism, in intelligent design, or a similar motif, you must stand at the foot of the mountain of evidence and ignorantly, gouge our your eyes, cut out your auditory nerves, remove your hands and feet (lest you learn brail) and lobotomize all parts of your brain which cause you to question.

Why? Matthew 18:9 “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.”

Before I go to get my morning coffee, please, let me invite you to refute and rebuke me on my podcast, the ImaginaryFriendsShow.com Podcast. Send me another email and we’ll hook it up, in person or via skype.

Peace out!

Jake.

10 reasons why everyone who is not Australian should fear Australia

For many years, several of Australia’s cities have made it into the top ten of most liveable cities in the world. Factors that gained them such placement included scenery, attitudes of the people, transportation, living costs and overall serenity.

Liveability aside, Australia is an amazing country filled with spectacular views, amazing people and sublime flora and fauna, all topped off by big red rock in the big red centre.

Unbeknownst to most people, however, is an insanely dangerous nature, just waiting to bite your face off, fill it with Chlamydia, then sew it back together, give you a deep tissue massage, and bite it off again. The below list demonstrates definitively that anyone brave enough to live in Australia is automatically awarded, “bravest *other *ucker in the *other *ucking *niverse!” The below list will reveal to you why everyone who is not Australian, should fear Australia! Finally, the below list will destroy any notions that this post’s author is a wimpy whiney non-Australian.

             

10: The Koala

These cuddly and majestic animals spent most of their day perched high up at the top of eucalyptus trees. Koalas eat only the leaves of a plant that is so toxic that it will kill anything that happened to ingest enough of it.

Furthermore, if you happen to walk into the territory of a bull koala during mating season, be prepared to have your face scratched off! Also, many Australian koalas have chlamydia, so don’t have sex with them!

9: We’ll eat your babies! 

Marsupials are so cognisant of the danger posed to their vulnerable young, so hyperaware of the dangers of Australia, that they evolved a pouch to carry around their young for several months after birth. All the proof you’ll ever need that Australia is dangerous for infants was immortalised by a hysterical Meryl Streep who, in her poor Australian accent, sobbed “a dingo took my baby!”

Terrible acting aside, even the animals of Australia know that Australia is not safe for infants! Also, kangaroos can retract their boy-bits into their stomach cavity, so if you ever get into a fight with one, don’t go for a cheap shot… you’ll end up looking foolish.

8: We’re all convicts 

Australia has the highest convict to citizen ratio at around 100:1. This is largely because Australia was the original “Pacific Solution” (a joke which only Australians will understand, which demonstrates how bad-ass that sentence was).

The only reason that Australia was originally colonised, was to house the growing prison population in Great Britain. So the original colonists got on a boat, sailed for months, just to settle a convict colony! It was literally a colony run by convicts, for convicts! As such, upon naturalisation as an Australian, you are officially dubbed a convict. That’s why Australian men are so sought-after all around the world; we’re the ultimate bad-boys-with-a-heart-of-gold-but-no-actual-gold.

7: Dangers of the shallow

So, you’re swimming around in one of the spectacular and picturesque North Queensland beaches. The pristine white sand and jungle greens behind you, the crystal clear blue in front – it is a sublimely captivating beauty, admired by all. It’s ok to swim here because the life guard said there is a shark net, which keeps all of the man-eaters out of the way, so that you can have an awesome time at the beach with your family. You’re safe, right? Wrong!

Unbeknownst to you, a tiny (smaller than a garden variety pea and wholly transparent) jellyfish called Irukandji is out fishing for prey and because you can’t see them, you’re it! Once this little blighter injects its venom into you through one of the millions of hypodermic stingers on its tiny bodies, you have less than an hour to get your booty to a hospital. Once in hospital, you’ll have to lie in a bed for 2-5 days, convulsing in agony as every single nerve in your body ignites sporadically. There is no antivenin or treatment; you’ve just got to wait until the venom leaves your body.

If you ever so much as see an Irukandji and you’re not wearing a protective suit, it’s too late!

6: Dangers of the even-shallower

So, you’ve decided not to swim in the beach for fear of sharks and Irukandji and instead opt for a far more sensible dip in a series of shallow rock pools, which drain and fill with each tide. Problem is, you’re not alone! No, lurking in the shallows with you is a deadly species of fish that desires nothing more than to destroy you and everything you stand for (especially if what you stand for is standing… on it)!

The Stonefish, so called because it looks exactly like a stone… or a really ugly baby. It does mostly nothing for most of the day, just sitting on the bottom of rock pools and around reefs, then you come along in your Speedos and zinc lip-balm and accidentally step on it. Well, the stonefish couldn’t care less what you were doing, let alone whom you were doing it with. A venomous spine from just above the head of the WORLDS DEADLIEST FISH shoots up and injects venom that’ll have you vomiting and convulsing in minutes!

5: Dangers of the even-shallower-still

So, you’re decided that the rock pools are too dangerous and have opted for finding some pretty shells out on the rocks. Finding shells in the really small rock pools should be safe, right? Wrong!

Who would have thought that one of the world’s most awesome sea creatures, the octopus, would have an Australian cousin that is only five centimetres long but is venomous enough to kill! Worse still, when it feels threatened, the blue ringed octopus’ body erupts with vivid blue rings, enough to attract even the most apathetic teenager, who only came because their parents made them!

4: Brown is Australian for danger

Throughout much of the year, Australia is brown. Brown trees, brown leaves, brown grass, brown wallabies, brown snarling-ankle-biting wombats, and worst of all, brown snakes.

Seriously, it’s hard enough to see these snakes when they’re at eye level in an enclosure at your local zoo as they’re tactful hiders and have senses so strong, that they can taste you coming (that’s right, they frigging taste you!) hundreds of meters (meters is a unit of measurement used in Australia and some other irrelevant countries like Brazil and Korea) before they ever see you.

So, you’re walking along and the camouflaged brown snake, which looks like a stick, strikes you when you accidentally step on it, even though it is laying right in the middle of the walking track (… yeah, I know, inconsiderate snake doesn’t even bother to read the signs which clearly have a human walking on the track, not a snake). Then, bam, you’re dead… in a couple of hours.

3: The king of dangerous browns

It’s bad enough that one of our deadliest killer snakes, the brown snake, will purposely lie around in the middle of a walking track, just waiting for some unsuspecting nature enthusiast to provoke them into biting them by stepping on them. Worse still is the fact that the brown snake is merely the lowly peasant version!

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the King Brown snake. These mo-fos don’t bother with the niceties of pretending to be a stick. No! If you enter their territory, they’ll hunt you down! Moreover, their venom is among the most potent in the world; you get bitten, goodbye!

2: Toadally Gross

You wouldn’t believe it (well, unless you’re Australian) but the common cane toad one of the most destructive organisms in Australia, second only to humans. It’s true; the cane toad is responsible for pushing multiples upon multiples of native species to the brink of extinction since its introduction to Australia.

The cane toad was introduced to Queensland, the sexy state, in an attempt to kill the cane beetle – another introduced species – that was devastating the sugar cane industry at the time. What the farmers at the time didn’t (but could have, if they’d not been to busy saying, “she’ll be right, mate!”) know was that the cane beetle burrows into the roots of the cane plant and the cane toad doesn’t. So, while the cane beetle munched away and with no natural predators, the cane toad set about decimating the local population of everything.

So bad-ass is the cane toad that they’re even responsible for placing the deadly King Brown snake on the list endangered animals. What’s worse is that they’re really frigging ugly!

1: Platypi 

The platypus, while being one of the lesser known Australian icons, is an amazing creature. Aside from being utterly adorable, it is an utterly fascinating animal to anyone with a primary school education and up. This is because it is as though the animal has not fully completed its time in the evolutionary deep-fryer.

The platypus is a monotreme – a mammal which lays eggs. It has a bill and webbed feet like a duck, a tail like a beaver, cute little beady eyes, both furry and cuddly and lives in burrows which are accessible only by an underwater (freshwater) cave. Both fascinating and amazingly cute!

When you’re presented with an adorable animal, which is zoologically fascinating, what do you do? You pick it up, right? Hold it like a cat and stroke it gently as it nuzzles into the nape of your neck.

Of course, that would never happen, because THE PLATYPUS HAS A FRIGGING POISONOUS SPIKE, JUST WAITING TO KILL YOU!

For more information on the above-mentioned animals and other reasons why everyone who is not Australian should fear Australia, and Australians, please consult your local library, Outback Steakhouse or Meryl Streep movie.

Jake Farr-Wharton is the host of the award winning ImaginaryFriendsShow.com Podcast, the sexiest atheist alive and is the author of ‘Letters to Christian Leaders; Hollow be thy claims’, the book which takes the specific claims that the most prominent Christian Leaders make and directly refutes them using the latest research and evidence, reason, logic, and a dash of snarky humour. Get it here for your sexy kindle. Or if you prefer the authenticity of a book (and are too cheap for a kindle) get the hardcopy here.

Want me to follow Jesus? Show me his long-form birth, death and resurrection certificate!

For the past two thousand years, anecdote, allegory and allusion have reigned supreme and have been perfectly adequate for literally billions of people to covert to, or be indoctrinated into, the myriad sects of Christianity.

The reward of heaven, the threat of hell; shucks! Why would you need more than that to convert your ass to a religion that rewards faith over substance? After all, don’t forget what Jesus said;

“But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.” Luke 19:27.

Oh, sorry, wrong quote… what I meant to say was;

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”” John 14:6.

There you have it. The only way to get into heaven and the hell away from hell, which I assume Jesus created because there’s no heaven or hell in the Old Testament, is through Jesus. And, as we all know, Jesus told his disciples;

“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.” Luke 21:32.

And;

“And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”” Mark 9:1.

I mean, sure, they all endured horribly torturous deaths. And sure, none of them ascended to heaven prior to their deaths… but that doesn’t mean that Jesus lied! The disciples probably said something mean, like, “Jesus on a stick, this motza soup is hot!”

After all, Jesus did say;

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6.

I mean, sure, he also said;

“And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell.” Mark 9:47.

So the disciple could have just plucked his tongue out and then Jesus would have come back to pick up the disciple anyway… so, hmm. Well, I’d better not think too much about that, I darn heck buttocks sure don’t want to go to hell! Unlike you, apparently!

Furthermore, if you don’t convert, it’s not my fault; I told you everything that you should need to know in order to accept Jesus into the velvety folds of your heart (the metaphorical one, not the vital, blood-pumping one controlled by the hypothalamus)! So if you decide not to convert and be ‘born again’, then it’s not my fault!

You didn’t convert because there’s something wrong with you! Say, you’re not one of those homosexual-gay’s are you?

You know what? In the great words of a man with an orang-utan on his head, if you want me to follow Jesus, show me his long-form birth certificate, death certificate… and resurrection certificate!

Jake is the author of, “Letters to Christian Leaders – Hollow be thy claims”. Check it out here for your sexy kindle. Or for those who prefer the authentic smell of a newly printed book over the soulless machinations of the kindle, check out the print edition here. ***WARNING*** This book is so hot, it may impregnate your fingers as you read!

Come to the Dark Side, we have numbers

Darth Maul - definitely One Of Us

The Dark Side Skincare and Cosmetic Range Also Available.

There’s a census coming up soon here in the UK. Now, just as in most countries, the stuff the Government learns from the census is taken far more seriously by ‘Them, the Government’ than it ever is by ‘We, the people’ ticking the boxes.

The information on religion has in the past been used to attribute cash – real, hard, taxpayer’s cash – to religious projects and organisations rather than secular ones, on the grounds of there being significantly more people who claim to have a faith than those who come straight out with it and say ‘Nah, it’s all nonsense.’

The trouble with such a system, and letting the great British public loose with it, is that the nature of the great British public is fundamentally to take the piss and go for the gag. No really – we’re a nation that, above all – above its ability to queue, above its insensitivity to flavour and its casual racism, above even its own staggering apathy, prides itself on its over-inflated Sense of Humour. Get a Brit in an airport and watch them physically struggle not to make jokes about the bomb in their luggage in loud theatrical whispers. We’re just that funny.

Now, what that means in real terms is that while there are genuinely a minority of people who have a strong, guiding faith, and a minority who don’t believe in anything and are quite prepared to say so, the actual majority of British people are piss-taking shruggers who really couldn’t give a toss about religion.

That means, when faced with the census, and having to define their ‘religious affiliation’, they do one of two things. Either they shrug and go ‘ah to Hell with it, I’ll tick the box I was brought up in’…or, if you give them a comedy option, they will flock to it in droves.

Which is why in the 2001 census, Christianity claimed 70% of the population, despite dwindling church attendance records, and why a staggering 0.7% of the population of England and Wales chose ‘Jedi’. Yes, really.

Now, on the one hand, I love this, and it genuinely does represent the sense of humour – and largely the position – of the more than 390,000 people in England and Wales, who really, frankly, couldn’t give a damn about religion, and chose to be a Jedi in 2001. It was a movement that wasn’t confined to England and Wales – in Scotland, there were 14,000 Jedi. In Australia, more than 70,000. Over 53,000 in New Zealand, and 21,000 in Canada. Worldwide, there were enough Jedi hanging about the Earth in 2001 to kick the Sith’s ass back to a galaxy far far away. I even toyed with the idea myself, before going for the more accurate and honest ‘No Religion’ option (You could tell, couldn’t you?).

On the other hand, every Jedi contributes to the idea that Britain (and the other countries where the Jedi option is on the list) is a country ‘of faith’ – as indeed do those who choose the faith of their childhood if they no longer actively espouse it. And while I’m not about to tell anyone they don’t believe in a religion they say they do, the latest research shows that just 15%  – rather than 70% – of people in the UK go to church at least once a month.

In the 2001 census, incidentally, those who had the courage of their atheism in England and Wales amounted to 14.7% of the population. Now let’s do the maths. 14.7 plus 0.7 would equal 15.4% – that’s more than the UK population of regular churchgoers.

So how about this: If you can persuade Imperial Stormtroopers these aren’t the droids they’re looking for; if you can pull spaceships out of swamps with the power of your mind; and if you can come back from the dead for cameos in other people’s lives, looking all blue and fuzzy, and just occasionally being played by an entirely different actor – then you can call yourself a Jedi. Unless you can bring the Force-mojo, save the laugh for people who appreciate it – the British Government don’t – and come join the dark side; tick the ‘No Religion’ box in the 2011 census.

You may be in the Taliban if…

Wondering if you might be a terrorist yourself ?
Do the Terrorist Test here!!!

YOU MAY BE A TALIBAN IF…”

1. You refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to beer.
2. You own a $3,000 machine gun and $5,000 rocket launcher, but you can’t afford shoes.
3. You have more wives than teeth.
4. You wipe your butt with your bare left hand, but consider bacon “unclean.”
5. You think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof and suicide.
6. You can’t think of anyone you HAVEN’T declared Jihad against.
7. You consider television dangerous, but routinely carry explosives in your clothing.
8. You were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than setting off roadside bombs.
9. You’ve often uttered the phrase, “I love what you’ve done with your cave.”
10. You have nothing against women and think every man should own at least one.
11. You bathe at least monthly whether necessary or not.
12. You have a crush on your neighbor’s goat.
Unfortunately, I can’t claim responsibility for this, thanks to whoever it was who sent it to me.

9 reasons why Mormons are better than Atheists

1 Mormons wear magic underpants;

Atheists only have normal underpants. Some, like me, don’t even wear underpants!

2 Mormons believe that Jesus came to America and visited their founder Joseph Smith in 1820;

Atheists don’t even believe in Jesus.

3 When Mormons are doing their ‘real work’, they wear short sleeve button up white shirts and ties and door knock to spread the word;

When I, an Atheist, am doing my ‘real work’, I’m usually either naked and either in bed or a public restroom.

4 The Mormon church founder, Joseph Smith, first translated a golden tablet written by a lost apostle of Jesus who traveled to America, gave it to his friend, a publisher, who lost it (thinking that if Smith could reproduce the tablet, then his claims of a lost gospel would be true). God was angry with Smith and disallowed him from reading from the same tablet. So smith then translated an entirely different golden tablet from a different lost apostle of Jesus and got roughly the same message… just written a little differently. The religion of Mormonism followed hence.

Atheists believe that if Mormons know that and still follow the faith, they are either brain damaged (though that is offensive to people with brain damage) or just plain stupid.

5 Mormons believe that stimulants and alcohol are poison to the body;

Many Atheists couldn’t f*cking survive without them.

6 Mormons will often profess that attending church is among the most fulfilling experience in life;

Any Atheist that has ever been to any church, ever, knows how horribly, horribly mind destroying going to church is.

7 Mormons believe that their theology and doctrine is in line with the original Ancient Hebrew theology and doctrine;

Even Atheists find this offensive… let alone the Jews!

8 Mormons believe that their God is the father of everything and everyone;

Atheists’ naïvely believe that they were conceived through the fornication of their parents, who are most assuredly not Gods.

9 Mormons clearly, from their many websites and propaganda promotional material, believe that Jesus was a tall bearded white man;

Using very basic factual based logic, Atheists assert that a person born in the Middle East, to Middle Eastern parents, would have looked Middle Eastern… as such, Atheists are so silly! Atheists can’t even grasp the fact that as the sun of God, bloody Jesus could have looked like whatever he wanted… he could have even looked like James Caviezel if he wanted!