IFS 94 – Freedom Sauce

Dave ‘The Happy’ Singer, Martin S Pribble and Gregg Savage join the show to talk royal commissions into Catholic sex abuse; HIV is a deadly weapon; 14 YO married necrophiliacs in Egypt and; Nuns gone wild! Enjoy.

Watch here:

Download MP3 here.

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Peace and love.

Jake.

Jake 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 kindleOr if you prefer the authenticity of a book (and are too cheap for a kindle) get the hardcopy here.

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.

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.

Euthanasia: The true, sad, horrible story

Euthanasia is another one of those taboo subjects that comes to the fore every once in a while when one advocate or another, usually one with a terminal illness, dies as a result of suicide, assisted or otherwise. We’ve also discussed it at RustyLime on a couple of occasions.

Last week I received a call from my local member for Federal Parliament. He was calling to discuss an email I had sent him recently.

My email told the story of David, my grandfather, who is dying from the physiological effects of a combination of Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia after experiencing after a stroke just before Xmas last year. In graphic detail, I outlined the rapid descent from a productive, lively, elderly man, to a vegetable, who wears a nappy and needs a nurse to change him regularly, babbles incoherently, does not recall his own son, and drools constantly.

I informed my local member for Federal Parliament that my Grandfather had been a proud advocate and campaigner for euthanasia and is now incapable of feeding himself. He is victim to a disease which will bring an agonizingly slow, undignified death. He is now in the very situation he once campaigned to eliminate.

I simply asked the question, how can you condemn someone to live when they have no quality of life?

I described David, who only ten months ago, kicked a ball around the yard with his great-granddaughter, laughing and cheering. A man who only ten months ago, landed several huge flathead and coral trout, expertly scaled and filleted the fish and cooked them on the barbeque to the culinary delight of his family. The same man who loved to read one or two books a week and some time ago, worked as an engineer on such famous builds as the Centrepoint Tower and Harbour Bridge in Sydney . What is left is not what this man wanted.

I told my local member for Federal Parliament about a conversation I had had fortnight ago, while I visited the man who had taught me to drive. As David sat in an old armchair in his nursing home, he had an ultra rare moment of lucidity, these moments which are now few and far between. My granddad, the man who picked me up every day from primary school looked at me, and with a tear in his bloodshot blue eyes, told me that he was sorry for putting us through this. He said, “it shouldn’t be this way”. I held him while he sobbed absently.

Two minutes later, his mind had slipped again and he had no recollection of where he was, or the man holding his hand. He was visibly frightened by the presence of his own grandson who he could no longer remember.

I begged my local member for Federal Parliament to petition or put pressure on the government to hold a referendum to legalise euthanasia.

The answer was, respectfully, no.

That is not good enough. Euthanasia gives those without hope a fast, meaningfull goodbye in the place of a horrid, slow, wasting away. When I die, I don’t want my family to hate themselves because they’re glad I finally passed, I want them to give a high five to the recipients of my organs, throw me in the ground and have a fabulous party.

What are we waiting for, why is euthanasia still illegal, why must these people die in tourmented agony?

Torture is a criminal offence, yet we inflict it on all those struggling in their own nightmarish amalgamation between hell and life, as they wait for the release death. That is criminal. Legalise euthanasia in Australia, if not for David, then for your own peace of mind.

Terrorism is not isolated to a region, it is isolated to religion

Like most atheists with an above average intelligence, I realise that while religion serves no rational purpose for the individual or collective humanity, it does offer some people the illusion of purpose.

I also realise that while many religions have instigated and perpetrated many deplorable acts which contravene their laws of morality, many more remain peaceful and community oriented.

With objectivity, I find it hard to look at any religion without a contemptuous eye. Even the most liberal of religious sects still preach hatred of those who do not fit into their religious ideal, regardless of whether they do so passively.

Regardless of the religion though, one segment is always responsible for any atrocities committed in the name of that religion; fundamentalists.

Fundamentalists, also called purists/ultra-conservatives/extremists, are the ones responsible for the Bali Bombings, the Twin Towers attack in America, the recent bombings in Indonesia and a myriad of others were all masterminded and committed by religious fundamentalists, Islamic extremists.

As a consequence, Islam has simultaneously become the most feared and hated religion in the western world and a beacon of hope for the disenfranchised. This is nothing new; in essence, religion has spread in this same way since the beginning of theology. After all, if you lived in constant terror, in absolute destitute squalor, wouldn’t you want to believe that it was ‘all for something’ or that there was ‘salvation after death’?

Militant fundamentalists like the Taliban and Jemaah Islamiyah pray on the fear that these people live with every day, give them a purpose, a ‘road to absolution and salvation’ and send them into hotels with canisters of trinitrotoluene or other explosives strapped to their chest.

We can’t feel sorry for them because they kill fellow human beings of flesh and blood in the name of gods of imagination that can not fight for themselves. What terrible atrocities must one have seen or gone through in order to carry out a suicide attack? And all in the name of an utterly impotent god. It just makes no sense.

How can one cling to a stubborn, entrenched position that defies all logic, all reasoning and all evidence to the contrary?

When a religion appears charitable with the left hand, but terrorises the remainder of the earth with the right, can we absolve it for the good it has done? No, we can’t.

What is the answer? I don’t know; outlawing fundamentalism seems rational, but how do you define that?

Do you believe in something ancient with no evidence to support its authenticity? If the answer is yes, I would call you a fundamentalist because you believe in the same convoluted, irrational and misguided theology that was created by people who would be institutionalised if they lived today. You also share the same beliefs that rationalised the crusades, the holocaust and a thousand other stupid and pointless events throughout history.

I am not so naïve to assume that my thoughts would change a stagnant, ignorant mind, and while I realise the irony in this assertion, I truly believe that the world would be better off without religion, what purpose does it serve?

The Evolution of Superstition and Religion

If you take an animal like a bird in it’s nesting phase and provide it with a choice between it’s own eggs and larger plastic eggs with artificially attractive blue polka dots, it is completely unable to refuse the ‘prettier egg’, at the expense of it’s own eggs.

Experiments with butterflies, whereby a painted cardboard tube with more stripes on its underside than a natural butterfly is placed in front of a male butterfly, have shown equally interesting results. Despite the fact that the cardboard tube ha no wings, the male butterfly chose to mate with the cardboard tube instead of the female butterfly.

In contrast, humans are equipped with a massive cerebral cortex which enables us to be sceptical of our environment, it enables us to realise we’re sitting on large blue plastic eggs or trying to mate with a piece of cardboard over one of our own species (except those of our species who purposely buy ‘life-like’ latex or plastic dolls to mate with).

With that said though, while our brains were indeed designed by evolution to be sceptical of our surroundings (i.e. hear a twig break in the savannah and assume it is a lion stalking you in the bushes), this evolutionary advantage also provided us with a significant drawback; religious belief.

Religious belief is simply ‘connecting the dots’ where there are none. Inserting supernatural explanations in the place of natural ones would have made perfect sense when early hominids were trying to survive in a world where everything is trying to eat you.

If one of the flighty members of your tribe came back empty handed from a hunt, had lost his spear and had an open gash on his side and his explanation was that a gigantic new predator had moved in, you were inclined to believe him!

Had one of the elders questioned the flighty hunter, he may have confessed his secret.

You only need to take one more step and have an older, seasoned hunter or elder suggest that he had dreamt that the big beast would attack during the next hunt, and the superstitious belief becomes and exercise in the preservation of the tribe. One hunter might go off after the beast, fall off a cliff, and the tribe will forever tell stories of the ‘great beast’. This is the stuff of myths and superstition.

Due to the fact that our ‘instincts’ are still demonstrably strong, religion is still a most prevalent superstition; as a species, we still continue to ascribe supernatural explanations to our very natural lives.

Religion has convinced us that by living a certain way, we can preserve ourselves with eternal life. The derision of this belief, of course, deserves eternal punishment, pain and torture.

We are however, as mentioned above, equipped with a huge brain which enables us to be sceptical of such things. As we question the various forms of ancient superstition, they will break down and dissolve. Slowly, and carefully, we will evolve beyond our need for such acutely honed ‘instincts’ and ‘gut feelings’ telling us that Satan and the bogey man is lurking around the corner.

Only then evidence based claims take their rightful place.

Source:
1 - Professor of Evolutionary Psychology, Deirdre Barrett – “Supernormal Stimuli” 2010.
2 - Professor of Evolutionary Medicine, Dr William Meller M.D. – “Evolution Rx” 2009.
 

 Can you think of the evolutionary stimuli for any other modern dysfuntions?