Islam, racism, and answering a critic.

August 1, 2013

It tends to be the case, that those without legitimate argument, or consideration, resort to the most ludicrous and uninspired diatribes, just to be heard. Their thoughtless minds crave recognition beyond what they are actually capable of achieving through serious inquiry and comment. This is true of my newest – and I’d say, most ridiculous – critic. In his article on ‘Western Man’s Hatred For Muhammad’, Hakeem Muhammad makes a lot of points. Mainly aimed at me. The theme overall is, if you criticise the Prophet Muhammad, you’re a racist. I will seek to discredit practically everything his ridiculous article had to say, point by point. But first, allow me to demonstrate what kind of person we’re dealing with. When, on twitter, someone referred to Hakeem as the village idiot, Hakeem replied:

hakeem
– So, that’s the level of debate we’re dealing with. To the point where, my white windowsill, in Hakeem’s mind, can only mean that I don’t think black paint worthy enough to circle my window.
Whilst analysing the points Hakeem raises in his article, keep close in your mind, the fact that he thinks the phrase ‘village idiot’ is a racist slur.

The fallacies keep on coming. When one tweet from an Atheist read “oh god!” Hakeem, ingeniously jumped in with:

god
– Yes! Exactly! If I say “unicorn” it invariably means I must believe that unicorns exist.

So, onto the points. I have identified six key points, that I wish to address:

Point 1:

“…the egotistical belief of Western man that anyone other than a white man could have such power and meaning in the world.”

– Here Hakeem has completely exhausted the object of ‘Western man’. All Western men (apparently this doesn’t apply to women) cannot possibly stand anyone but a white man in a position of power. All Western men. All of them. When he notes ‘all’, this suggests an in-built trait. Perhaps a subconscious cultural trait, that ALL Western men cannot escape. We filter out any social and intellectual progress, if it happened to come from someone with darker skin, according to Hakeem. This means, ALL Western scholars in any field, naturally do not pay attention to established science, if it has come from someone with darker skin. That’s the suggestion Hakeem is making with his ill-thought out phrasing. The word ‘all’ is key. So, if someone wants to point out to Hakeem that the President of the USA is not a white man, and that at least one white man, must have voted for the President, that’d be great. On this point alone, Hakeem falls short of logic a five year old could see through.

Secondly, because it is aimed at me, I trust Hakeem will do the decent thing, read through my articles on American politics, and note my support for President Obama (I base my support of the President, on his values; race is meaningless to me), and my articles describing the horrendous racism of certain Republicans in the US. Such as, my article on Dan Riehl, for example. I will not be misrepresented, by someone trying to score cheap points, simply because he has no reasonable contribution to make to this debate.

My beliefs are based on concepts; secularism, democracy, social justice, equality, science. Race plays no part. Race is meaningless. By shaping criticism or satire of Islam, as a race issue, Hakeem loses, because he fails to answer the criticisms of the faith itself, choosing instead to reframe our arguments, to suit his nonsense. It is ideological supremacy and anchored morality that I object to.

He also fails to note the horrendous racism pushed by Islamic scholars (including the Prophet) in the past. More on that, in point 4. Faith is colourless. It is simply an idea. A concept. Like Communism, like Capitalism; both colourless. Islam is no different. It is therefore open to all forms of ridicule and critique that every idea is open to.

Point 2:

“futileDemocracy” (whose criticisms I will respond to in a later article). My critic states that he became an atheist “by discovering that Thomas Paine, Charles Darwin, and John Stuart Mill were greater than every prophet combined.” All of his ideological role models are white men. It is only one of many examples that illustrate that Western man only looks to white men as a source of enlightenment in this world; in their minds, only a white man is capable of holding such a position of esteem.”

– Firstly, I didn’t “become” an Atheist. I’ve never had faith. Right from birth. Hakeem became a Muslim. Paine, Darwin, and Mill simply strengthen my lack of faith and my displeasure at religious prejudice and privilege within the public realm. The second point Hakeem lazily makes is that by only mentioning three white men (this was in a tweet, by the way), I am quite obviously an awful racist. So, let’s follow that line of reasoning through: I also only mentioned men. I must therefore be an awful, racist, misogynist. I also only mentioned three heterosexual men. I must therefore be an awful, racist, misogynist, homophobe. I also only mentioned three English-born men. I must therefore be an awful, racist, misogynist, homophobe, who hates anyone who isn’t English. I also only mentioned three English men, all born below Junction 30 of the M1. I must therefore be an awful, racist, misogynist, homophobe, who hates anyone who isn’t born between Chesterfield, and the English Channel. Do you see how intensely irrational this logic is? Even more so, when we point out that Islam, is not a race. Perhaps he is then suggesting, that I have couldn’t possibly consider the thoughts of an Arab to be important to my personal values. Not true either. As my article on the great Arab free-thinker, Al-Ma’arri suggests. I end this article with:

“And that is what makes Al-Ma’arri – one of the few I name as personal heroes – worthy of greatness.”

– Predictably, Hakeem ignored the entire post in which I write just how much of a genius Al-Ma’arri was, but circled in on one particular sentence, to prove my awful white supremacy. Here:

“As far your admiration of Al-Ma’arri goes, even your praise of him takes racist overtones:
“Al-Marri seems to us, to be better suited to walking and talking in the streets of 19th Century Philadelphia with Thomas Paine, or sitting around a fire place, with a whiskey, deep in discussions in the mid-20th Century with Bertrand Russell, or joining Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris on stage for merciless debates with religious apologists in the early 21st Century; than he does to the Middle Ages.”
Were the people of color that were Al-Marrie’s intellectual contemporaries to unworthy for him? So much so that he needed white philosophers, white scientists, and white neo-atheists to have a dialogue with? Why do you want to take a thinker of color and say he is better suited to be in modern white supremacist society?”

– Again, I could also point out that the people mentioned are all men, and so it must prove my inherent misogyny. I could also point out that they’re all heterosexual, which must prove my inherent homophobia.
To his first point, no. The people ‘of colour’ were not ‘unworthy of him’. That entirely misses the point. Al-Ma’arri was an Enlightenment thinker, centuries before the Enlightenment. I simply suggest he is better suited to Enlightenment era, than the Theocratic era that he existed within. Race, again, is meaningless. It is the ideological atmosphere that I refer to, not skin tone. It is as irrelevant as eye colour, to the point I was making. To suggest otherwise is hideously manipulative. Al Ma’arri happened to live in the Middle East, so of course he is surrounded by people of Middle Eastern origin. Their race to this discussion, is meaningless. It is Hakeem who calls him “a thinker of color”. Ignoring his thoughts, his ideas, and his character entirely. Again, Hakeem introduces race. Not me.

I maintain that all supremacy based on traits or beliefs, are a great evil. Supremacy based on race, gender, sexuality, or religion are cancerous. They necessitate an unwelcome, and unjustifiable usurping of power for one specific group, and that cannot be spun to be acceptable. Equal rights under the law, and the democratic right to choose who you wish to place into positions of power is the very best and fairest system of governance the World has thus far imagined. And it works. Hakeem is angry, because his desire for a system based on patriarchy, hetereosexual, Theocratic supremacy… has no justification, and must be called out for the dangerous poison that it is.

Equally, had a white European, in 8th Century Europe, surrounded by deadly Papal power, produced works that would not be replicated until the Enlightenment, then I would suggest he (or she, gay, or straight, bald, or hairy) would also be better suited to the home of the Enlightenment too. Race, is meaningless. Hakeem reduces human beings down to what colour their skin is at every possible opportunity. Their achievements, are irrelevant to Hakeem. It is also important to note that the Prophets of Islam, are all Middle Eastern. Does this mean Hakeem must have a severe hatred for white Europeans? Or Chinese people? or anyone not from the Middle East? By his own mode of reasoning, that’s exactly what it means.

Hakeem says:

“Western man only looks to white men as a source of enlightenment.”

He takes this, from three names I mentioned on twitter, as his source. It is absurd to suggest that ‘Western men’ seek out white men, to the dismissal of anyone with darker skin, for progression of thought. Absurd, and insulting. We simply don’t see race as an issue. We can admire Thomas Paine without seeing his skin colour. Similarly, we can admire Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, or Frederick Douglass, with the same colourless admiration. I am certain those three, would wish us to see them, without race. Our Western society is built, maintained, and progressed by different races, sexualities, genders. All of those are irrelevant to the forward march of progress. Their aims, goals, and ideas are what is important, or as Martin Luther King summarises: The content of their character.

Hakeem’s constant attempts to categorise all Western men, is becoming eerily similar to the racism he apparently doesn’t like.

Hakeem’s nonsense continues:

“You are so misguided by white privilege that you cannot even think of such basic racialized barriers to such discussions and want to absorb thinkers of color into your white philosophical traditions.”

– This is a beautifully crafted line of condescension and idiocy in which Hakeem, again, exhausts the object. I struggle to know where to begin. Firstly, I am almost certain that people who are not white, yet promote secularism, democracy, and the scientific method would be insulted at the suggestion that they are “absorbed into white philosophical traditions”. Hakeem is obsessed with race. He summarises my positions – secularism, democracy, atheism – as ‘white’ traditions. Here, he completely disenfranchises anyone who isn’t white, who has made valuable contributions to the progression of Western traditions. Frederick Douglass, dismissed. Democrat and secularist, Martin Luther King, dismissed. Rosa Parks, breaking down racial barriers, dismissed. Neil deGrasse Tyson, dismissed. Nelson Mandela, dismissed. Recently, Maryam Namazie and her commitment to freedom of expression, and women’s rights, dismissed. All of these people – democrats, secularists, feminists, humanists – are important names in the progress of what Hakeem calls “white philosophical traditions”. Hakeem’s refusal to acknowledge such wonderful names in the development of Western thought, goes to prove that his main problem is quite simply; those people aren’t advocating a Theocratic, Islamic Empire, and therefore, must be racist.

Point 3:
Hakeem then issues a diatribe of complete irrelevance, at the beliefs of Charles Darwin. Two points need to be made here. Firstly, I couldn’t care less what Darwin personally believed, about, well, anything. I don’t care what his favourite drink was. I don’t care if he slept around. I don’t care if he stripped naked in public and scared old ladies. I couldn’t care less. My admiration for Charles Darwin is derived from his most wonderful discovery and his method. The very basis of modern biology, zoology, medicine, rests on the discovery Darwin so brilliantly made. Similarly, I enjoy the art of Caravaggio (a white, straight man; I’m so racist/sexist/homophobic). My admiration for Caravaggio’s works, in no way suggests I condone the terrible crimes he committed.

Secondly, only a fool/religious fanatic, would choose to place Darwin, the man, in the context of the 21st Century. Hakeem writes his confused mess from a point of privilege that Darwin didn’t have the luxury of; because of the wonderful developments in genetics, and biology in the 100+ years since Darwin’s death, Hakeem has the hindsight to show us where Darwin was mistaken. Darwin did not have 21st century information, in the middle of the 19th Century. Darwin was of course influenced by the prejudices of his era. He also did not have a fully developed evolutionary theory. He was also limited by the prejudicial lexicon of his day, which is why we often see him use the term ‘savages’. Evolutionary theory, was in its infancy, and had centuries of religious intolerance, power, and dogma to contend with.

Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1858, the same year as the famous Lincoln/Douglas debates. The slavery question had plagued both sides of the Atlantic for centuries, and now, in order to attempt to justify the unjustifiable, pro-slavery advocates were looking for ‘scientific’ rationale for the institution, given that religious logic wasn’t cutting it anymore. Arguments coming out of the pro-slavery camp, from writers like Fitzhugh, and Lewis Henry Morgan, were used to back up the prevalent idea at the time, that the African American race, had fallen away from God, become ‘uncivilised’ and had no way of improving that condition. It was religious based logic.

This wasn’t lost on Muslims either. Ibn Khaldun (whose statue stands in Tunisia today) in the 15th Century said:

“The only people who accept slavery are the Negroes, owing to their low degree of humanity and proximity to the animal stage.”

– Hakeem of course, in trying to protect the vile structure of religious abuse and dogma, conveniently chooses to absent Islamic racist history, because it doesn’t work to strengthen the system of horrendous power he advocates.

Of course, Western religious writers were just as racist. John T. Roberts in 1878, wrote the book “Adamites and Preadamites” in which he suggests that Adam, was the father of the white race, and the black race, came from ‘preadamites’, who were to be treated like animals, as God had, by putting them on the ark, equal to animals. This is the level of racial prejudice advanced in Darwin’s time. It was largely based on religion, but now demanded ‘scientific’ rationale to back it up. Darwin did not offer that. If he were truly basing his work, on white supremacy, his findings would have been far different, and far similar to other notable naturalists at the time, whose findings were all made to fit racial prejudice. Darwin however, was neither trying to prove the ‘white race’ superior, nor disprove it. He was trying to rationalise the very very limited evidence he had gathered. Here, in The Descent of Man from 1871, we see just how groundbreaking his research was, in breaking down the notions of white supremacy that dominated every aspect of life in mid-19th Century:

“I was incessantly struck, whilst living with the Feugians on board the “Beagle,” with the many little traits of character, shewing how similar their minds were to ours; and so it was with a full-blooded negro with whom I happened once to be intimate.”

– He was ‘incessantly struck’. Which suggests, the whole idea of such close similarities between races, up until that very moment, for Darwin, was unthinkable. This demonstrates the World he inhabited, the subconscious prejudices he inherited, and the importance of his work on progressing scientific understanding of ‘race’.
He then completely blows away the argument that the ‘white race’ and ‘black race’ are from two separate lines ordained by God as superior and inferior:

“As it is improbable that the numerous and unimportant points of resemblance between the several races of man in bodily structure and mental faculties (I do not here refer to similar customs) should all have been independently acquired, they must have been inherited from progenitors who had these same characters.”

– An incredibly revolutionary idea for the time. Hakeem though, sees Darwin as being static. Like Muhammad. Whose thoughts are timeless. He is entirely incapable of understanding the difference between dogma, and method. Enlightenment methods, are what I appreciate. The famous names of the Enlightenment, I do not seek to emulate their personal lives and beliefs. They are not infallible. They were subject to the same cultural prejudices that we all are. Hakeem, cannot understand that concept. Being religious, dogma is all he knows.

Darwin, whilst of course still displaying 19th Century prejudice, still managed to advance the argument beyond the understanding of the time. Darwin argued that people are not different species, that all people are descended from ‘savages’, that religion plays no part in the advancement of civilisation as suggested by his contemporaries, and that it was culture responsible for progression, not biological traits. He overturned the common ideas on race in the 21st Century, by providing scientific explanations. Of course, science is incomplete, and that was true of Darwin’s time. Darwin absolutely managed to somewhat break the barriers of the time. He was not a Prophet, he was not in contact with the Divine, and therefore, he cannot transcend the time period.

Unfortunately for Hakeem, the same cannot be said for the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet is in contact with a Being that can absolutely transcend all confines of time, which makes His laws, binding forever. His view is as ‘right’ in 7th Century Middle East, is it is in 21st Century Britain, according to Muslims.

And yet, that Being doesn’t see fit to tell the Prophet that it might be unwise to marry a 9 year old girl, that it might lead to problems surrounding child marriage in future Patriarchal Islamic nations, and that, actually, it is just wrong. It just isn’t on His list of cares. He intervenes to tell the Prophet to pray facing Mecca, yet doesn’t bother to intervene to prevent the Prophet marrying a child. Which suggests that to Allah, child marriage isn’t actually wrong in principle.
Darwin didn’t have all the answers. His was a search dedicated to progression, over time. He set the tone. The Prophet Muhammad on the otherhand, apparently had all the answers, and they just so happened to be incredibly misogynistic, homophobic, violent answers.

If criticism of Islam can be considered a race issue, that surely, Hakeem’s criticism of Atheism, has racist connotations. Well, yes, it would appear so:

Point 4:
Hakeem’s most impressively funny point:

“Neo-Atheism is the result of Western man’s white supremacist ideology.”

– Bare in mind, no one else, other than Hakeem, has mentioned race at all up until this point, he is the one obsessed with pointing out just how shitty he considers white, Western people to be. (Islamist superiority complex, as I call it).
He then goes on to contradict himself, by suggesting that it isn’t only new Atheists that are “the result of Western man’s white supremacist ideology”, but also, the free-thinkers of the Enlightenment:

“The European “Age of Reason” predictably coincided with pseudo-scientific racism, which classified blacks as being less than human, unworthy scum.”

– So, Atheism in general, is written off, as white supremacist by its very nature. I cannot even begin to tell you how insulting this is. How, Hakeem thinks Atheists are inherently white supremacists. This is a horrid line of reasoning, for which he offers no evidence. Secularism, and Democracy are not inherently racist ideologies.
He is of course, quite right, that the 18th/19th Enlightenment built on already established racist attitudes. But it also eventually began to crush them, as you would expect, from a method based on reason. The Enlightenment is named as it is, because it inspired rational thought based on available evidence, challenging religious dogma. It promoted progress, – sometimes it got it wrong – it eventually lead to the abolition of slavery (though, the Ottoman Empire continued to use slaves, until around 1890, 25 years after it was abolished in the US). It eventually lead to universal suffrage. It eventually lead to the decriminalisation of Homosexuality. Try being gay in Saudi Arabia. We musn’t forget that the Enlightenment inherited racism and prejudice from religious societies of old. Christians had long been insisting that there was a World Wide Jewish conspiracy to kill Christian children. Religion is divisive by its very nature.

Let us also not forget, that racism is most certainly not confined to the West (which Hakeem seems to be suggesting), and certainly not a completely new phenomena, created and perpetuated by the Colonial Western powers. Islam is no better. Al-Tabari, a very important Islamic historian and Qur’an commentator, writing in the 9th century, said:

“Arabs are the most noble people in lineage, the most prominent, and the best in deeds.”

– It’d take a brave Islamist to suggest Al-Tabari’s blatant racism and Arab supremacy, is the result of ‘white’ Western philosophy. It would take just as brave a man to suggest this superiority complex, isn’t still prevalent among those wishing for a Pan-Arab Caliphate.

If we are to claim that philosophical traditions are the result of ‘white supremacy’ we must also point out, that Islam, was based on Quraish supremacy, and so will naturally reflect the prejudices of the Quraish. Sahih Bukhari 9:89:329:

“Narrated Jabir bin Samura: I heard the Prophet saying, “There will be twelve Muslim rulers (who will rule all the Islamic world).” He then said a sentence which I did not hear. My father said, “All of them (those rulers) will be from Quraish.”

In fact, it appears that the Prophet was hard at work forging racism, long before the Colonial powers took up the mantle. Sahih Bukhari 9:89:256:

Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle said, “You should listen to and obey, your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian (black) slave whose head looks like a raisin.”

That racist tradition, was carried on. Renowned Islamic scholar Ibn Qutaybah said that Africans:

“…are ugly and misshapen, because they live in a hot country.”

The great Islamic scientist, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (also influenced by the prejudices of his time, much like Darwin) said:

“Many have seen that the ape is more capable of being trained than the Negro, and more intelligent.”

– Racism is far more prolific within the writings of certain revered Muslims, than any modern ‘neo’-Atheist.

Hakeem’s refusal to acknowledge horrendous racism in Arab nations, shows his intent to promote typically Islamist anti-Western hypocritical “principles”. Egyptian writer and journalist Mona Eltahawy noted that racism was responsible for police brutality in Egypt that led to the crackdown on Sudanese refugees. Eltahawy noted:

“The racism I saw on the Cairo Metro has an echo in the Arab world at large, where the suffering in Darfur goes ignored because its victims are black and because those who are creating the misery in Darfur are not Americans or Israelis and we only pay attention when America and Israel behave badly.”

– Lebanese singer Haifa Wehbe, wrote a song in which she refers to Nubian people in Egypt as “monkeys”. This is the result of pan-Arab nationalism, the notion that Muslim Arabs, are superior. Walid Phares, a Professor of Middle Eastern Affairs, wrote that Arabism and its desire to degrade indigenous non-Arabs, was an exercise in politico-cultural ethnic cleansing. Arabism – another word for Islamist imperialism – is racism.

The Enlightenment promoted the concept of free thought, and social progression through reason, this gives room for prejudices to eventually be overcome, for improvement; a generation builds on the advancement of the previous generation, of course it struggles at times, and of course it doesn’t get it right all of the time. But it places its faith in people – regardless of skin colour, gender, or sexuality. We are seeing this today, with gay marriage becoming more and more accepted. This is an Enlightenment achievement, whilst the Catholic Church, and Islamists continue to humiliate gay people. Islamism, promotes static dogma. It promotes 7th Century ‘values’ that cannot update, nor progress. That is the difference. Of course, Hakeem will find some ridiculous way to blame the West for this, being the Islamist supremacist that he is.

Point 5:
Here, Hakeem gives us the true reason, that he dislikes all things that aren’t Islamic:

“They also seek domain over God; hence, they have adopted neo-atheism. What better way to rule God than to deny God’s very existence?”

– To summarise, Atheism threatens the power structures – like Patriarchy – that Hakeem holds so dear. He wishes to control people, with dogma. With threats of hell. With barbaric punishment that has no rational basis. He wishes people to be slaves to his faith. And so, as pointed out at the top of this article, he is willing to argue in the most ludicrous of terms, just to defend that illegitimate power structure that benefits him so much. He is obsessed with controlling others. He doesn’t wish you to think for yourself. His whole miserable article can be summed up with that. And so, it isn’t just criticism of the Prophet he now has a problem with, it’s Atheism itself. He categorises those who simply dismiss the idea of a God based on a lack of evidence, as white supremacists. The desperation of those seeking to uphold archaic power structures, is, I’m sure you’ll agree, hysterical.

Point 6:
And after slowly losing all mental capacities, Hakeem treats us to the most hypocritical of all of his points:

“In the next article, I will explain why secular egalitarian ideologies such as socialism, anarchism, and secular humanism lack a moral foundation.”

– Great! More reasons why anyone who isn’t Muslim, is inherently terrible. Philosophies he considers to be “white” (his words, not mine), are lacking a moral basis? By his own logic, we must conclude that Hakeem believes white people, do not have a moral basis. The idea of religion providing the only source for which morality is anchored, is an old one. It is an argument that was destroyed about 130 years ago by Kropotkin, and has been repeatedly destroyed over and over, yet seems to still be used by (admittedly, only a few now) religious apologists who have seemingly never read anything other than literature that backs up their own point.

The suggestion of racism, to describe anyone who has a criticism of Islam, must stop. It is killing important discourse before it is allowed to begin. Islam is an idea, a concept. Nothing more. All ideas and concepts must be open to criticism, satire, and ridicule. This is how humanity progresses. I dislike the Prophet Muhammad. I find him to be a violent, sexual predator. I find him to be dangerous, I find his words and his deeds to be disastrous. I find him to be a fraud and a thug. This would be the case, whether he be white, black, Asian, straight, gay, male, female, tall, short and any other biological trait. If we are to suggest that criticism of Muhammad, is race based, then try to point specifically to the racist remarks of those doing the criticism.

By being so broad in your suggestion that criticism of Islam or the Prophet is inherently racist, you simply seem overly defensive of your ideology, that you will play any taboo card, in order to try to discredit the argument in lieu of actually discrediting the argument. If we are to seriously suggest that criticism of the Prophet is inherently racist, then we must suggest that Islam itself has a race element, an ideology based on race (from the words of the Prophet, and famous racist scholars of Islam, this isn’t far fetched)? Exclusive, to it’s own definition of ‘race’. If we note that Islam has no element based on race, then we must conclude that criticism of Islam and its doctrines, are also not based on race. The Qur’an calls us ‘unbelievers’ (whilst threatening us with hell), some Muslims call us ‘Kuffar’, Hakeem calls us ‘neo-Atheists’. Either way, Hakeem, and others like him – those without rational arguments – are far more guilty of the discrimination and derogatory dogma that they claim to abhor, than they’d ever care to admit.


The genius of our ancestors

December 26, 2012

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I get this a lot:
“If people evolved from apes…. why are there still apes?”
– The obvious problem here is with the word “still”. It presumes a continuation of the same, unchanged genetic make-up, untouched by the requirement to adapt. This is wrong. The apes you see today, are not the same apes as those 1,000,000 years ago. Apes today are as evolved as we are. As are slugs, spiders, and cats. They all required different methods of survival based on different circumstances; climate, terrain, predators etc. Apes today are evolved as a different branch from a common ape-like ancestor, shared with humanity. We shot off over millions of years, in all different routes. The ape-like ancestors that broke from the forested areas of Africa, over the savannah became so far apart from the ape-like ancestors still within the forested areas (body structure became different – those who left the forests no longer needed upper body strength in the capacity that those still in the forests did…. and so that trait was no longer necessary for survival), that they became a different species altogether. They slowly, and for many reasons, diverted to all different lines that eventually became homosapien…. human.
And the history of humanity, has been fascinating.

The first thing to note is, there is no real difference between “micro” and “macro” evolution. Macro evolution is simply the accumulation of adaptations over a vast scope of time, that eventually produce different species from the ancestor. It is a term Creationists use for no real purpose. They appear to be under the rather odd impression, that we believe there is an instant in time, when a chimp throwing feces, becomes a man in a suit, looking up mortgage rates; this is their “macro evolution” claim. It doesn’t exist. Macro-evolution, is simply micro-evolution played out over hundreds of thousands of years. If you discuss this with Creationists, they move the goal posts. It’s a pointless discussion. ‘Creation Science’ is not valid, it isn’t respectable, and no credible biologist nor geologist takes it seriously.

Others ask “Where is your evidence?” Well, that’s a massive question, because we have such a plethora of different strands of evidence. For example, we know that if you were to lay The analogous chromosomes 2p and 2q taken from great apes end to end, they would create an identical structure, to the human chromosome 2, including the remains of the ends of the two chromosomes fusing in the middle, to show that somewhere along the line, the two chromosomes became one, and thus, became human. It is a perfect match. I cannot even begin to describe how unlikely this is, had it not been for evolution. I wont get into the evidence from the fossil record, needless to say, the painstaking work that went into progressing the fossil record, recording it, and proving as we’d expect to see through evolution… that the oldest layers of the Earth’s surface, contain early, less evolved species, whilst the top layers, predictably, contain more advanced species, is exactly as we’d expect to see. It is the reason you will not find a modern rabbit skeleton, in an older fossil layer. It is a perfect record, with no reason to doubt its validity. There is also a lot of evidence for speciation in the fossil record…. Creationists don’t accept this, for some odd reason (yet, they do unquestioningly accept the story of dust man, rib lady, and talking fire bush). We also know that modern biology, medicine, zoology, and a list of other subjects are predicated on evolution being true.

We also hear the oft-repeated “There are no transitional fossils!” line from Creationists. I don’t know where they get this idea. The fossil record is full of transitional fossils. For example, Tiktaalik roseae is a transitional form from Acanthostega gunnari to Eusthenopteron foordi. One of many, many examples of “missing links”.

And so, given that it is as close to fact as possible, I am often struck by the degrading rhetoric aimed at our ancestors, that those with faith feel the need to vocalise whenever the subject of evolution is brought up. It is of course a defence mechanism from those who are aware that their myths are based on weak conjecture and second hand nonsense, from period of human history in which we understood nothing.
Here is an example of that defence mechanism:

evolution

We owe our ancestors everything.

I am unable to understand how we could degrade their memory by evoking the idea they were simply dumb apes. I shall now take a look at what we have our Primate ancestry to thank for. Our actual story; of survival, of hardship, of innovation and inquiry and progression and evolution is far more spectacular than that offered by religion, which is nothing but the creation of slaves compelled to obey a dictator. Whilst aspects of religion have given us wonderful works of art and of poetry, and have built the most spectacular buildings, and inspired great philosophical inquiry, the most devious aspects have promoted tyranny and oppression of our natural state as rational and progressive beings.
We insult our ancestors, when we imagine them as slaves to a celestial dictator; depriving them of their hard earned place in the wonderful history of man.

If we take our ancestry as humans back around 2 million years ago, we see our earliest known ancestor from the Homo genus; Homo Habilis. In the wonderful book ‘Adam’s Tongue; How Humans made Language, How Language made Humans’, Derek Bickerton suggests that Habilis developed a sort of proto-language, between great ape sounds and modern human communication, to aid them in their scavenging techniques.
Habilis, it is suggested, was far more advanced that Chimpanzee at the time. There is evidence to show that Habilis mastered the use of Oldowan stone tools. Excavations from the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia suggest that the tools were used to cut through bone and plants. What a wonderful innovation, a testament to the power of the evolving mind, and the nature of our ancestors to not just survive, but improve their standard of living. Niche-construction working hand in hand with natural selection.
Here is Homo Habilis:

450px-Homo_habilis

We owe developments in language, and tools to Homo Habilis. Most of all, we owe our survival as a species. At the same time that Habilis existed, similar Homo-like creatures fought for the same ground, and food alongside them. Australopithecus boisei is a member of the extinct Paranthropus genus. Because of Habilis use of tools among other superior elements, Australopithecus boisei eventually died out, whilst Habilis went on to continue the line of human evolution. Without Habilis, it is unlikely that we would exist today.

Homo Ergaster (about a million years after Habilis) seems to be the direct ancestor of modern Homo Sapiens (us) that was first to use symbolic communication (a sort of precursor to art), similar but obviously less complex, than we today. Paleanthropologists Richard Leakey, Kamoya Kimeu and Tim White named Ergaster, after the Greek word for “Work man”. This naming reflects the advanced tools found with the bones of members of the Egaster family. The Saharan Acheulean handaxe is a spectacular hand axe type tool made and perfected by Ergaster. The handaxe seems to have been used to kill their captured animal, and skinning it for food; it is an important technological development, when we consider that it is also true that Ergaster had began to harness the use of fire. Egaster is also said to have had powerful legs, making them extremely fast runners.
We have Ergaster to thank for sophisticated tools, and use of fire, and for their speed, for survival.
Here is Homo Ergaster:
20696877_4d2d6f6d50

Homo Heidelbergensis may possibly be the direct descendent of Homo Ergaster (for those who consider Ergaster to be different from Erectus….this is contentious). Somewhere along the line, Homo Heidelbergensis became Homo Sapien, others became Neanderthal. Studies show that Homo Sapien, and Homo neanderthalensis shared a common ancestor around 400,000 years ago. This puts that common ancestor in the range of Heidelgensis, and their African branch becoming modern Human.
Here is an easy way to describe the digression:
modern_human_family_tree
– It is safe to conclude that the transition from Homo Heidelbergensis to modern human, began between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago. So, we should probably look at the developments that we inherited from Heidelbergensis.
It is thought that Heidelbergensis was the first of our ancestors to bury their dead. It is also the case that Heidelbergensis developed a form of language more advanced that Ergaster, which helped it develop a more ‘human’ like social situation and more sophisticated culture, through language. Between the divergence of Homo Heidelbergensis to Neanderthal, and the divergence to Homo Sapiens, that period may have been key to the victory of Homo Sapiens over Neanderthal some 30,000 years ago.
We have Heidelbergensis to thank for developing more sophisticated language, and sense of social structure.
Here is Homo Heidelbergensis:
homo.heidelbergensis.a

Around 71,000 years ago, just after Homo Sapiens left Africa, it has been suggested that due to the eruption of Mount Toba in Sumatra, modern human races might have diverged as a result of being cut off from populations of other modern humans. It is estimated that the eruption, leading to famine and other survival problems may have caused our numbers to drop to less than 15,000. The size of a small town. And yet, here we are. Diverse races, and the dominant species.

It is around this time that we start to develop more impressive tools. Tools that Neanderthal hadn’t developed. Our tools were constructed out of more than one material. We manufactured different categories of tools, which of course requires a stronger form of communication, to teach.

As Homo Sapiens left Asia for Europe, some 45,000 years ago, and about 20 – 60,000 years after leaving Africa, they soon discovered that Neanderthal – with their bigger brain, more powerful figure, and more adapt understanding of the landscape of Europe – had beat them to it by about 100,000 years. It is pretty evident from studies over the years that Neanderthal and Homo Sapien co-existed for thousands of years. This baffles and amazes me. A different species of human, living side by side with us for thousands of years. Amazing.
There are many theories as to why Homo Sapiens out lasted Neanderthal. The suggestion that Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals interbred, is too contentious to discuss at length. The argument goes back and fourth every couple of years. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory issued a statement after their study in 2006, to say that there was no interbreeding. Yet, work by Svante Pääbo at the Max Planck Institute concluded:


“The proportion of Neanderthal-inherited genetic material is about 1 to 4 percent. It is a small but very real proportion of ancestry in non-Africans today”.

– It is possible that interbreeding occurred just as Homo Sapiens left Africa. But other explanations exist as to why we share about 1 to 4% of our DNA with Neanderthal. However, there is too great a dissimilarity between Neanderthal and Homo Sapien mitochondrial DNA to suggest that Neanderthal were simply absorbed into the modern human.
One of the ways Homo Sapiens differed to Neanderthal, was in how we dealt with extreme climate change. Around 50,000 years ago, right up until the suggested date for extinction of Neanderthal – 30,000 years ago, it is suggested that the Earth experienced hectic climate change that Neanderthal were not able to cope with. They were built for woodlands, and colder temperatures. The fluctuations would have caused changes to the landscape and to animal life, that did not work with traditional Neanderthal ways of hunting and gathering. Neanderthal continue to move north, as the woodland recedes north. They simply couldn’t adapt with the change. Homo Sapiens were less carnivorous than Neanderthal, and could easily adapt our eating habits to suit the climate changes.

Let us also not forget that to survive, a Neanderthal would have required double the amount of calories per day, than Homo Sapiens, due to their huge stature.

We also know that the Neanderthals, whilst having larger cranial capacity, were not too great with language. Whilst they developed language, it was short and slow. It was far less advanced than Homo Sapiens. One reason for this is that Neanderthal had a tongue that was positioned too high in the mouth to produce many different sounds. Their language, would have been a relatively small variety of sounds, and so given that technological advancement requires language to progress, Neanderthal were at a massive disadvantage in comparison to Homo Sapiens.

Researchers Jill A. Rhodes and Steven Churchill, evolutionary anthropologists, writing their findings of a long study, in the Journal of Human Evolution argue that Neanderthal could not throw particularly well and so relied on up close forms of hunting. Suddenly, Modern man bursts onto the scene, fighting for the same food supply, and with a developed bow and arrow, and long range spears to throw, along with a more adapted form of communication. Neanderthal were at a disadvantage. They were better suited to ambush conditions of woodland, given there reliance on meat. The dramatic climate change would have slowly taken its toll, which explains why we don’t see a sudden extinction. It happens slowly, over a long period of time.

Homo Sapiens were simply far greater at adapting to climate change, than Neanderthal.

We have a lot to thank our “Ape” ancestors for. They set the first bricks of human ingenuity, and they built upon it every step of the way. The fought through the most atrocious and frightening conditions. They rationalised, and they innovated. They domesticated nature. They utilised fire, and tools. They came to the brink of extinction, and survived. They communicated between one another. They created, and they educated. Their struggle simply to survive is the backbone that allows for the deluded religious luxury of remarking on Twitter about how embarrassing and dreadful their legacy is.


The antonym of reason

February 7, 2011

It is no secret that given my way, I would have chapters from ‘God is not great’ by the wonderful Christopher Hitchens read loudly to school children in early morning assembly, followed by a reading from Darwin’s Origin of Species. Sadly, at my primary school, we had to endure horrid little assemblies that started with prayer, followed by hymns, followed by a Jesus story; all presented as fact, father than fairy tale.

So I took it upon myself, now that I am older – and free to question without being sent out of assembly for disrupting prayer – to send an email to our local council, to raise this with them. I inquired:

I was wondering if you could spare a couple of minutes to answer a few questions I have.
I am an ex-pupil of The Meadows. I am 25 now and studying at Demontfort University. I was talking to another ex-pupil a week or two ago, and we both vividly recall the school assemblies in which we started each one with prayer and hymns. This strikes me as a little odd. I never questioned the religious aspect of what we were being taught. As a kid, I understood the stories from the Bible that our trusted teachers were reading to us, as fact. Why would I assume any different? We weren’t being taught any different.

The stories we were read from the Bible were taught as truth and as factual as 1+1=2. If we did not sit in silence and pray and sing hymns, we were sent out of the assembly. I wondered why this is?

I do not recall hearing the name Darwin until I was at least 12, and even then it was in passing. We were encouraged to read or listen to Biblical stories, which I’ve since dismissed as nonsense, and yet were never introduced to even the very basics of Darwinian thought.

We were taught the Christian way in the truth. Any one of any other religion was sent out of the assembly for prayers and hymns, creating a horrible social barrier that you can’t see past as children, it simply perpetuates the problem of suspicion toward anyone considered “different”.

I also note that the Christian story, whilst not being contrasted with the very fundamentals of Darwinian fact, was also not contrasted with any other form of philosophical thought. We were not taught to question what our headteacher was reading out to us. We were not taught the frankly appalling history of Organised Religion, instead we were apparently a part of that organisation because we were being told that fairy tales were truth without being encouraged and taught to think freely for ourselves, we would be punished if we were to do so.

I was wondering if this was a government policy at the time, or if the school imposed those ideas on us themselves, and if so, do you believe it was the right thing to do?
Thanks for your time.

It is surely a matter of concern when a teacher is imposing religion onto easily suggestible young minds, without teaching them also how to question what is being said? The Jehovah’s Witness kids along with the Muslim children were always sent out whilst prayer was conducted. And as kids, we always viewed them as “different”. This apparently needless social barrier is reflected later in life. Especially in deeply religious Nations. Muslims and Atheists especially in America are treated with fear and a degree of resentment from the Christian Right. I cannot see any purpose in morning prayer and hymns. It certainly isn’t cultural learning, because it espouses the ideals of Christianity above all else.

Anyway, the Senior School Development Advisor for the School Improvement and Performance Service of the Council very kindly got back to me, with:

Dear Jamie

Thank you for your e-mail which has been passed to me for response.

The legislation around assemblies (which is still in place today), is that there should be a daily act of collective worship which should be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian nature in every maintained school, whether it is a church school or not. Therefore, what you describe as practice at the Meadow Primary School would have been following the legislation. There is scope within the law for parents to request that their children do not attend Collective Worship and alternative supervision has to be put in place for these children. In some schools, parents make alternative arrangements for their children to have tuition about their own religions at this time. From your description, I would imagine this was the case at The Meadow Primary School when you were a pupil there.

The collective worship does not form part of the religious education curriculum, although the school can designate assembly time to cover part of the syllabus if they wish. The religious education curriculum is education about different religions and the syllabus is drawn together in each local authority by an independent group of advisers from different religions. Teaching in religious education is intended to inform about different religions, not convert children to any religion. Darwinism is not included as it is not considered to be a religion. Again, there is scope within the law for parents to request that their children should be withdrawn from Religious Education.

The theories of evolution are covered in the Science curriculum, particularly in primary around the way animals and plants have adapted to their environment. At Primary School, “Charles Darwin” might not be mentioned in person (this is not prescribed in the curriculum) but some schools might choose to do so.

In your e-mail you question the school’s practice of withdrawing children who misbehaved from assembly. Every school has a duty to ensure that the behaviour of some children does not interrupt the concentration of others and I presume this is how the school implemented that duty.

You obviously feel strongly about the collective worship and religious education in Primary School and the effect it had on you. Legislation about Collective Worship and the content of the curriculum is set by central government. The Department for Education is currently running a consultation on what should be in a revised curriculum. Although they are not looking specifically at RE, I strongly advise that you consider responding to the consultation with your views of the curriculum, as it is important that young people who have recently been through the education system should have opportunity to contribute. I include a web-link for your convenience, which also contains links to the DfE curriculum review facebook page.

Whilst I appreciated the response, I did get the feeling that she was suggesting that she sees no problem with the balance being tipped too far in favour of religion over the fundamentals of Darwinist thought. The entire study of Modern Biology is based on the concepts discovered by Charles Darwin. In fact, not just Modern Biology, but all the life sciences…

  • Ecology
  • Biocomputing
  • Nanotechnology
  • Botany
  • Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Food science
  • Immunology
  • Zoology
  • Biomedical Sciences
    etc etc etc etc etc.
    Whilst it might be true that the adaptation of plants and animals to their environment was taught…. I don’t remember it, it wasn’t pressed home, it wasn’t explained, and its immense importance on philosophy, science, human development and our ancestral history was passed over because they apparently think it is far more important for us to believe that God put us here; a lie. We certainly never knew that all life is descended from common ancestry; the very fundamentals.

    The problem, as I see it, lies in this line:

    “The collective worship does not form part of the religious education curriculum.”

    The above line is reflected in the legislation that it references.
    The School Standards and Framework Act 1998, section 70, states:

    Requirements relating to collective worship.

    (1)Subject to section 71, each pupil in attendance at a community, foundation or voluntary school shall on each school day take part in an act of collective worship.

    That’s quite a worrying line in a piece of legislation, to me. Why is it considered necessary, by law, for a child to be involved in worship? Why isn’t the child allowed to choose? Surely it is not a requirement of the State to be demanding mandatory religious worship of its children?

    The “collective worship” (what an awful phrase, very cult-like) is not a part of the education curriculum. It stands outside of that. It transcends the curriculum. Something as unimportant as unprovable dogma and superstition is considered strangely important enough to be placed above the curriculum and used primarily for a method of Christian indoctrination, as it was at my school. At the same time, the way plants adapt to their surroundings, is on the curriculum, it is of secondary importance, according to the legislation of the land, and it is all that exists in the way of the fundamentals of Darwinian thought. I see this as a major, major imbalance in the system. Couple this with the incredibly unhealthy concept of Religious Schools themselves, and humanity is always going to be strangled at a very early stage in the development of our minds, by religious dogma.

    “At Primary School, “Charles Darwin” might not be mentioned in person (this is not prescribed in the curriculum) but some schools might choose to do so.”

    – That is absolutely not good enough. His name is far, far more important, to be heard at a young age, than Jesus. There is absolutely no question about that. One of those names probably didn’t exist, and simply speaks of a very narrow spectrum of morality, contradicting himself and prior Christian teachings, endlessly. His words were written down 40 years after he died, and have been rewritten, manipulated and revised for centuries. The other is responsible for the most important discovery that humanity has ever stumbled across.

    The Department of Education issued guidance on collective worship, which states as its objective:

    …. promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and of society.

    – It is true that an assembly is a great way to bring children together, but it shouldn’t be assumed that religion is the basis of morality. There is a quite a formidable case to be made, that says religion has not been a force for moral good in the World, and that by excluding the horrific history of religion, schools are teaching a vast amount of ignorance on such an extreme level. Basing morality on Christianity is an epic over statement, and suggests that without collective worship, children would be unable to taught to distinguish between right and wrong. Morality is not based on religion. Religion attempts to base itself on the contextual morality of a specific time. Morality is simply society evolving collectively, for its own survival and advancement. Christian interrogation techniques of the 1500s would not be considered moral today. The slavery advocated in the Old Testament, is certainly not moral. The imprisonment of George Holyoak for blasphemy in 1843, would not be considered moral now. Religion is a dynamic force that updates along with society, it is not special, it is offering nothing new, and it is still a force for regression. Humanity invented it, so humanity can do without it.

    The guidelines go on:

    It is a matter of deep concern that in many schools these activities do not take place with the frequency required or to the standards that pupils deserve.

    – What is actually of deep concern, is state sponsored fairy tales promoted as truth. What is “collective worship”? What are we worshipping? Can the state prove that was we are collectively worshiping actually exists, and if by some miracle they can justify it, can they prove that the entity they are worshiping is good? Because for every relatively non-violent passage in the Bible, I can pick out another ten that say otherwise.
    They are promoting Christianity for reasons of tradition, and tradition is the absolute antonym of reason.

    I argue that the balance is tipped firmly in the wrong direction. It is the reason why people will still genuinely believe themselves when they say “yeah but evolution is just a theory”….. no it isn’t. The supreme ignorance cannot be attributed entirely to the individual, it must start from a young age. Evolution; and all the wonderful branches that stem from it, such as biology and zoology, are apparently less important than making sure impressionable children believe religion is the foundation of all morality. The early education system teaches that Jesus was born to a Virgin, they he is the son of God and that he died for our sins. It is a very one sided view of history and a vast manipulation of a child’s mind. A mind which is like a sponge at that age, cannot comprehend the illogical nonsense of what their trusted teacher is implying.

    Religious teaching in schools should be limited to cultural studies, not presented as fact.


  • O’Reilly proves the existence of God.

    February 2, 2011

    I quite liked this video.
    It is disturbing to my sense of rationality, that Bill O’Reilly is one of the most watched men in America. In this video, he proves the existence of God (in the illogical world of Christian America, if nowhere else) by saying the the tide goes in and out.
    Just incase the American Right decide my EVIL SOCIALIST ATHEIST agenda is misleading, O’Reilly actually said:

    “I’ll tell you why [religion is] not a scam, in my opinion. Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that. You can’t explain why the tide goes in.”

    It is been quite some years now, since humanity first discovered why the tide goes in and out. We are pretty certain that it isn’t because of a God in a cloud somewhere using a big sea magnet. I am sure I learnt in very early school, that the tide is controlled by the Moon’s orbit.

    Bill then goes on the defensive:

    You’re calling me a moron.

    Yup.
    That’d be pretty accurate.
    Sadly, I’m sure there are a number of American Christians who sat up during this, and said…
    “YAR! That there is one heck of a good case for Jesus, yes sir! He was all like, what about the tides going out and shit, now i’m no racist but that nigra couldn’t god-damn answer him. Fucking Atheists tryna turn my Kids into an-tie Christian, an-tie- Amerkan pro-gay commies”

    Perhaps O’Reilly was suggesting that the moon is ideally placed to create a tide. I doubt he was suggesting that, because, that’s not what he actually said. But for arguments sake, let’s say he was suggesting the ideally placed moon. It is only ideally placed, because we exist. There is no design or reason behind it. It is just there. It isn’t “perfectly placed” because we invented the concept of something being perfectly placed, purely because we’re here. It is rather vain of us to decide that the chaotic universe, and the size and scale of it, exists, purely for us. There is no reason, or logic, or cause, or meaning. It stands to reason that if a Moon is at a certain location, and the planet is at a certain location relative to its star, and conditions for life exist, then life will pop into existence. It is just how it is. It does not mean it was designed that way at all.

    By measuring the total mass of stars and luminosity in our galaxy alone, there are estimated to be 100 billion stars, plus another estimated 200 million Galaxies. A star is like the Sun, so for every 100 billion stars, let’s say there are roughly 5-10 planets around each one. That would produce around 500 billion planets in our Galaxy alone. Is it not reasonable to suggest that one of those 500 billion might have a Moon placed in a position that has an affect on the liquid of its planet?

    How arrogant one must be, to suggest that this was all created for us.

    That being said, conditions on Earth are not perfect for human existence. They are adequate to say the very least. We have natural resources that are running out, not enough food to feed the World and billions of people live in abject poverty for their entire lives, on very inhospitable land. A cyclone is currently tearing its way through Queensland in Australia, only a few weeks after Queensland suffered severe flooding on a scale unknown to locals. If the Earth is the creation of God, for the intention of housing man, then God is a little bit incompetent.

    We are an insignificant, tiny race of apes, in an unimportant dot on the map of the universe. There is no grand design for this tiny little dot.
    Probability is irrelevant. We are surrounded by absolutely no evidence for the existence of God. Saying “yeah, but you can’t disprove the existence of God” is meaningless. If I see a dog, I shouldn’t be expected to accept the possibility that it might be a monkey. Similarly, I have all the evidence for Natural selection, I shouldn’t be expected, when faced with such a plethora of evidence, to say “yeah, but it might be a God.”

    Now, O’Reilly then uses a classic logical fallacy. If person X cannot prove their position, then person Y must be right in theirs. O’Reilly suggests that because Silverman was too stunned by O’Reilly’s intense stupidity that he didn’t answer him in the millisecond that O’Reilly allows his guests to actually speak, that he must therefore not be able to answer, and so he presumes he is correct.

    O’Reilly then goes on to complain that by saying Religion is a scam and a myth (which it is), American Atheists are insulting Americans. This comes about two minutes before he calls Silverman a “loon“.

    O’Reilly would insist he insults no one (except every week, when he refers to someone new, whom he disagrees with, but doesn’t give them the opportunity to argue their case, as a pinhead). Fox News spent most of 2008 attacking President Obama because Obama included non-believers in his inaugural address. The title of the piece just after the President’s speech was “Obama reaches out: addresses Muslims and Atheists in speech“. As if we’re the “other“. As if we, along with the Muslim community are a problem that needs to be addressed. The Fox host (I don’t know his name, but he looks about 12), said:

    “It surprised me when I heard it, it made me do a double take.”

    Why? Because some people aren’t all absolutely mad Christian Right Wingers? Mike Huckabee on that same show, said that Obama had acknowledged that some people don’t believe in anything….. “but themselves”. So, if I don’t believe in the Christian God, I must be a bit of a narcissist and nothing more. Am I unable to believe in beauty? Do Christians have a monopoly on beauty? When I see something beautiful, must I thank Christians for giving me that sense? Am I unable to believe in love? Must I thank Fox News for how I feel about Ashlee? Without Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, would I just be raping and murdering my way through life? Fox went on to ask if it was offensive to include a reference to Atheists in the speech. As if we’re non-human. We shouldn’t be recognised. But if we dare question religion……. we’re the ones being offensive. The mad World of Fox News.

    Here is O’Reilly again, being insulting toward Atheism. Mocking it. Not logically, with well thought out, reasoned Philosophy; just the ramblings of a mad old hillbilly Christian, who has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about, and is just appealing to his very low-IQ’d viewers. Here, he refers to a sign that was shown by Atheists at Christmas, and says “No God, No Problem; be good for goodness sake” (which is a fantastic and optimistic and not in any way offensive at all; sign) a “dopey sign“. He then says:

    “What is it about Christmas they don’t like”.

    What a ridiculous question. Atheists aren’t attacking Christmas. We still celebrate Christmas. We don’t celebrate it for the birth of Jesus. I’m convinced he didn’t actually exist. We celebrate it, because it is a time when all our friends and family have time off work at the same time, we share gifts, we have a family meal, and we create memories and stories for our children. It is a small break from a very rushed life. We absolutely love Christmas. O’Reilly is trying to spread fear and hate. O’Reilly then, quite brilliantly says:

    “Why do they loathe the Baby Jesus”.

    As if we’re all sitting around, throwing darts at a printed picture of the baby Jesus. We get angry when we see the baby Jesus. Some of us can’t control that anger, and we actually vomit.

    He then ponders how Atheists sell Atheism by “running down a baby, it’s just a baby”. That’s not what any Atheist has ever done, in the history of the Catholic Church allowing Atheists to exist without being executed for it. Nor is it what the poster is actually saying, or even alludes to. I’m not sure how more manipulative one massive twat could actually be.

    Some equally as vacant Fox presenter tells O’Reilly that the sign is a:

    “direct and deliberate smear against Christianity”.

    In other words, anything that remotely questions a socially prevailing belief system, must be an attack on it. Atheists should all keep quiet, we shouldn’t question, we shouldn’t be allowed to present an alternative. We should accept that homosexuality is a disgrace because the Bible says so, we should accept that abortion doctors deserve to be shot, we should accept that the Pope shouldn’t be brought to trial for covering up child sex abuse, we should just accept that schools in America teach Christianity as fact and evolution as theory, and just ignore it, because the Christians’ point of view is far more valid and reasonable, simply because it is based entirely on tradition; another logical fallacy.

    She goes on to say:

    “What comes with Christianity are traditional values”

    Really? Is that so? And what are those traditional values? Burning witches? Beheading perceived “heretics”? Hanging gay people? Fucking children? For every positive value one can loosely ascribe to Christianity, it is equally as easy to ascribe a pretty direct link between Christianity and shameful violence and corruption.

    O’Reilly ends the piece by suggesting that Atheists are just jealous because we have nothing, that Christians have Christmas, and we don’t. He asks “what do they have?” and concludes “nothing”. We have wonderment. We have the understanding that nature is so beautiful and creative itself, without the need for a cruel and angry dictator in the sky. We see the stars and stare in awe at how inspiring it all is. We see a slug and admire how this ugly looking thing is so beautiful because it is as evolved as we are. We have Darwin (Not even the baby Jesus is as great as Darwin). But most importantly, we have fact. To quote the brilliant Douglas Adams:

    “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

    I do not accept what Silverman is saying in the first video. He says that he believes people in America only go to Church because their is a social pressure to announce your belief in Christianity, but most people don’t believe it. I’d say that may be true to an extent, but for the sake of O’Reilly thinking Silverman is being insulting, I can go one better and say that those people actually go to Church because they are brainwashed and deluded; uneducated and illogical; unthinking and weak minded.

    If O’Reilly thinks Silverman is insulting toward Christianity….. he obviously hasn’t read my blog.


    Darwin is greater than Jesus and Muhammad

    November 15, 2010

    A couple of my Muslim friends wont let me touch their Koran. They think that because I don’t believe in their silly little fairy tale, I am somehow unworthy of touching their book of nonsense. It is sacred apparently. I have therefore took it upon myself to ban all my religious friends from touching my copy of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. I do this, because in the book, Darwin applies logic and evidence to come up with the greatest revelation the World has ever known. This revelation wasn’t given by a vicious dictatorial God/Allah in some obscure corner of a desert to a man from a nation of angry warring illiterate tribes who were convinced for centuries that the Earth was the centre of the universe and executed people for heresy if they thought otherwise. This revelation was given by nature, as pure fact. Fact is something both the Bible and the Koran seem to be lacking, and so I ban them from touching my copy of the Origin of Species, because they are unworthy of reading anything other than pure fiction. They are though, more than welcome to read my copy of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. Although I fear they may take it literally and start ordering the immediate deaths of anyone who says a bad word against Aslan.

    It is interesting what people find sacred. Religious books, I prefer to laugh at. They are pointless, archaic, and worthy of ridicule. They should not be taken seriously, and people in a position of power should not have to swear on them, when they take office. It is apparently all about devotion to God.

    God, or Allah, or whatever name he has to go by (Apollo, Yahweh, El) is to be obeyed at all times. Prayed too constantly, sang about, worshipped endlessly, feared, loved, and never disobeyed on fear of burning for eternity in utter pain (but he loves you, remember that). God is a dictator. Pretty fucking evil at that.

    The painter Caravaggio, one of my favourite painters of all time, paints a beautiful baroque style piece depicting Abraham on the verge of sacrificing his son Isaac by the word of God, as an angel appears to stop him, revealing it was all just a test to see how devoted Abraham was to God. The contrast of light and dark is beautifully striking in the painting. But the subject of the painting is clearly Isaac. Which is great, because Christians tend to ignore the importance of Isaac in this story. This story doesn’t portray God as all loving, or Abraham as a great devoted Prophet of God. It portrays God as a dictatorial maniac, and Abraham as insane.
    In the painting, as in my mind, Abraham has absolutely no emotion on his face. He is a man possessed. By contrast, Isaac is terrified. His dad has bound his hands behind his back, is holding him face down on a stone alter, and is about to gut him…. because God demanded it. When I have children, if I am told to kidnap my child, tie him/her to a stone alter and stab him/her to death, for God, I will happily tell you, no matter how sacred your God may be, he is a despicable cunt.

    Child sacrifice is prominent throughout the Old Testament. The king of Moab sends a burnt offering of his dead son up to God. It works too, because his nemesis is swiftly dealt with:

    Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt-offering upon the wall. And there came great wrath upon Israel; and they departed from him, and returned to their own land.

    God appears to endorse child murder. As long as it’s in his name. The book of Exodus seems to confirm God’s need for people to kill their children as a sign of devotion to him:

    “You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The first-born of your sons you shall give to me.”

    Less brutal, but just as despicable is both Judaism and Islam’s use of circumcision. I wont refer to it as circumcision for the remainder of this blog, it shall henceforth be known as child genital mutilation. According to Jewish law, a child should be genitally mutilated soon after birth. It is non-negotiable. The child has no say. He hasn’t even decided if he believes the bullshit his parents are forcing on him, before he is mutilated. It strikes me as utterly abhorrent, and worthy of prison (if I were to go out, and cut a bit off a kid’s penis, I am pretty sure i’d be thrown in prison and Daily Mail readers would call for the death penalty to be bought back for monsters like me), but instead, child genital mutilation is entirely legal purely because the cult that practices it, has quite a few members. No evidence for their logic, just strength in numbers. A logical fallacy if ever I saw one.

    Islam is the largest group of people in the World that practice genital mutilation. The BBC website says:

    Some Muslims see circumcision as a preventive measure against infection and diseases.

    A better preventative measure against infection and disease, would be to recognise that the entire study and practice of modern medicine and biology, is based entirely and necessarily on Evolutionary theory, not on out dated, unnecessary, dirty, despicable rituals. Now, people who actively and happily mutilate babies, both Jewish and Muslim, are not bad people. Which suggests that their blind obedience to fairy tales leads them to make utterly absurd decisions. They are influenced by the illogical and the dangerous.

    But that’s what happens when as a divine being, you spend 98,000 years of human existence ignoring them, and pop up in the last 2000 years, with a book of ridiculous rules. A book that you don’t bother giving to a society that has advanced to the stage where its population are largely literate and educated (China), but instead, you give it to crazed uneducated, illiterate tribesman in the middle of the fucking desert. God massively misjudged his original audience.

    On the website Bible.ca, they have a page called “Darwin was wrong”. I read the first two paragraphs and sat wondering how anyone could be so ignorant and ridiculous. Then I noticed they were religious Americans. So I put 2 and 2 together.
    Their website says:

    If a fair maiden kisses a frog which instantly changes into a handsome prince, we would call it a fairy tale. But if the frog takes 40 million years to turn into a prince, we call it evolution. Time is the evolutionist’s magic wand. Fairy tales come in many forms!

    – Apparently a talking snake in a magical garden of a man made out of dust and a woman made out of a rib of the man does not come under the whole idea of ‘fairy tale’. How ironic. Secondly. That isn’t what evolution says at all. No one has ever suggested a frog can become a human. A frog is just as evolved today, as you or I. A frog has adapted to its surroundings, and thus survived, and evolved to deal with change. 99% of all species throughout time have not been as lucky. I would happily start believing in God if a frog suddenly became a man. Stop misrepresenting Darwin, you absolute cretins.

    Darwin’s theory of evolution says that over millions of years simple life forms (one celled creatures) slowly evolved into complex life forms (fish), and that one kind of animal evolved into another kind (ape to man)

    No one has ever said a chimp suddenly became a businessman or politician (although George Bush exists, so I might be wrong). Man has simply adapted to changes in surroundings and climate over the millions of years of time on Earth, to situations and to the necessity of survival. We have evolved both biologically and socially over many millions of years. We are descended from the ape family, but we did not suddenly become human from ape, in the same way that your great grandad did not suddenly become you.

    It isn’t even a debate any more. It is fact. Evolution is a fact. Natural Selection is the theory, the model behind Evolution. But Evolution itself is fact. Religion should be neglected; pushed aside as dangerous dogma and outdated superstition that has no place in the modern World.

    I am taking quite a swipe at religion today. Most people on here know I hate religion and all it stands for. I hate its divisive nature. I hate its indoctrination of children. I hate that it has held science and discovery and human advancement back centuries. I hate its power. I hate when its members start getting violent and demanding special attention. I hate that I will get death threats to my email if I say “Isn’t God/Allah absolutely inhumane and a little bit shit“. I hate that I am supposed to respect religion. I don’t. It disgusts me. I say this, because both the books of Christianity and Islam condemn me, for being Atheist.

    I was actually quite reassured when I read this verse in the Koran:

    You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them.

    On the surface, this seems like the most important, and logical verse, in any religious book anywhere. It seems to be suggesting that you are your own person, free from the influence of others. Think for yourself. Come to your own conclusions. Don’t be dictated too. Almost Atheist thinking right there in the Koran.
    So, following that rule, I have verified for myself, after reading the Bible in its entirety, and much of the Koran, as well as The Origin of Species, God is not Great, The Selfish Gene, and knowing that my dog is the result of mixed breeding, and that I am losing my hair at 24 years old, just like my dad did…. that the Koran and the Bible are both entirely nonsensical, and Evolution outranks them both. Great. I used my own evidence. I did what the Koran told me too. Allah must love me for this.

    ” If you encounter those who disbelieve, you may strike the necks.”
    – Koran 47:4

    “Lo! the worst of beasts in Allah’s sight are the ungrateful who will not believe”
    – Koran 8:55

    “That (is the award), so taste it, and (know) that for disbelievers is the torment of the Fire.”
    – Koran 8:14

    “But as for those who disbelieve, for them is fire of hell; it taketh not complete effect upon them so that they can die, nor is its torment lightened for them. Thus We punish every ingrate. And they cry for help there, (saying): Our Lord! Release us; we will do right, not (the wrong) that we used to do. … Now taste (the flavour of your deeds), for evil-doers have no helper.”
    – Koran 35:36-37

    Oh….erm…… okay. So, what the verse about thinking for yourself actually meant was: Think about it, but then agree with Islam, otherwise you’re going to burn in hell, tortuously for eternity, after my followers kill you. Whilst burning in hell, we will then cry for help, from the very entity that condemned us in the first place.

    The Bible isn’t much easier on us evil non-believers (by non-believers, I mean, intelligent people). Deuteronomy suggests that not only should those who don’t believe in the Christian God be put to death, but the entire town in which an Atheist (or believer in another Faith) lives, should be exterminated.

    Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock.
    – Deuteronomy 13:13-19

    They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
    – 2 Chronicles 15:12-13

    Forgive me if I fail to respect religions that condemn me to the worst kind of punishment possible. I am clearly their enemy. So fuck them.

    God/Allah/Hitler (they are all very similar) demands complete obedience. Which begs the question, what the fuck is the point of life? I despise these doctrines, and yet I’m supposed to follow them avidly or be eternally punished? What a horrible life. Atheism does not demand anything of the sort. We do not claim that you have to be moral because you might be punished in an afterlife if you aren’t. We say morality is based on social evolution and the need to survive.

    We as a species are incredible. Morality comes from us, and nothing else. We do not need a vengeful lunatic fairy in the sky to make us perform good deeds. We do it for the sake of good, not for the sake of God. We do not need silly superstitions and rituals in an attempt to please a vindictive bastard in the sky, in the hope that we might go to a nice place when we die. Humanity is great. The discovery that Darwin made, is far more stunning and awe-inspiring (as well as truthful) than anything religion has ever had to offer. The name “Darwin” should be taught to children and heard in classrooms across the World, years before the names “Jesus” and “Muhammad” are uttered.

    I would like to see Temple Mount in Jerusalem destroyed and replaced with a statue of Darwin, because Darwin makes the prophets of the two warring religions, look like amateurs in comparison.


    The nature of “Change”

    May 9, 2010

    It amazes me that people actually consider any party; Labour, Tory, or Lib Dem of being the “party of change”. Absolutely unreal to believe that. I voted Liberal Democrat, almost in a moment of madness. I suppose I got caught up in the excitement of the election. It amuses me how many fellow students actually believe they were voting for “change” for the Liberal Democrats. It makes me feel like banging my head against a wall. The same feeling I get when people say “Well Gordon Brown caused this mess, so the Tories have to fix it!!!“. I am actually quite ashamed of myself for voting. I agree with the Lib Dem policy on Trident, and I agree with them on laying the foundations for a Greener economy. I disagree, profoundly with them and the Tories and Labour, on pretty much everything else. But my main issue with them, and my main issue with why they offer no real change, is because they still seem to believe that democracy is only acceptable in the Political sphere, and that the economic sphere is best left to faceless businessmen, as if they know what’s best for the World and the rest of us should just accept it.

    Why was financial reform not at the top of the agenda? Why did centre-left and left wing parties allow the political discourse to become one of the necessity of savage public spending cuts? Why did centre-left and left wing parties allow the discourse to suggest that it is the public sector that is to blame, that government spending is to blame for the deficit? It is because they are not centre-left or left wing parties, they are parties for the rich, by the rich. The Lib Dems offer no real change. They offer the status quo, and the status quo is centre-right.

    Financial deregulation was started by the Conservatives in the 1980s. It continued under Labour. The Liberal Democrats did not oppose it. The Liberal Democrats have no plans to reverse it. What they have basically been telling us for thirty years, is that government spending distorts the market by artificially affecting the demand side of the economy, whereas a bank offering easy imaginary money to stimulate our obsession with debt fuelled consumerism, is perfectly acceptable. They decided that it’s okay for a bank to use our money and our savings, not to invest in productive enterprises that progress mankind, but in totally non-productive speculative gambling and massive monopolising corporate take overs and mergers.

    The very people who got us into the mess over in the private financial sector, are the same people who finance the parties across the World who are now not offering any kind of financial reform to stop them doing it again. A global banking transaction tax is surely only going to end up being passed onto consumers? The financial industry holds us all to ransom. When we hear them say that capital will flow out of the country, and cause investment to drop, if tax is put up……. they’re right. A lot of people dispute it. But they are correct. You almost have to bribe them to try and get them to stay in the Country. Bribing with political power, is usually the way it’s done. If you look at Latin America, what tends to happen when a Latin American government tries to invest in social justice, and attempts to help it’s people through a better standard of schooling and health, is that either America funds a right winged coup (see Nicaragua), or capital flows out of the country, which is then brought to it’s knees, and the Western World blames the evils of Socialism. When in reality, what is happening, is that slowly, politicians have less and less power, they have to give in to the owners of great wealth, otherwise capital flows out, and investment falls. The economic sphere, has the most power, and we have no say over that. Financial speculation has absolutely no social good. It is a cancer on the fabric of society. The financial industry, holds the World to ransom. And until the public have some control over the economic sphere, it is never going to change. The Lib Dems, certainly aren’t going to change it.

    If you think through the logic of this, you’ll see that so long as economic power remains privately concentrated, everybody...everybody…….. has to be committed to the one overriding goal: and that’s to make sure that the rich folks are happy.
    Whenever a reform measure does come along somewhere, they have a big propaganda campaign against it saying ‘it’s going to hurt jobs, it’s going to hurt investment, it’s going to hurt business confidence and so on. That’s just a complicated way of saying unless you keep business happy, the population isn’t going to have anything.

    – Professor Noam Chomsky

    There are no left wing intellectuals left within the political system any more. Politics demands leaders of Parties who pander to the public mood, which is artificially created and implanted, by the media. Immigration is a great example. Migration is caused by global inequality, nothing else. When capital and goods are free to flow across the World, so will human beings. It is our survival instinct at work. And so the only real way you deal with immigration, is to deal with global inequality. Stop the IMF destroying poorer countries with ideological warfare. A global initiative to tackle exploitation. A Global bill of rights ensuring a minimal standard of living for all human beings. In the 21st Century, where it’s considered morally acceptable to allow someone to amass a fortune worth billions of pounds, it seems abhorrent that it is considered morally acceptable to allow another to starve to death as a result of nothing more than this nightmare of an economic system. A Global financial sector regulator that is fully independent of any private interest. To sum up, a Global initiative to create a socially responsible form of Capitalism, rather than a regressive Darwinian form of Capitalism we’ve all had forced down our throats. Global solutions, to Global problems. Politicians across the UK and the World, especially in the developed Nations, pander to idiots, bigots, and xenophobes who do not understand the World, and offer easy and quick Colonian-esque solutions to complex problems. The Lib Dems do not offer any change here either.

    So, who do we vote for, for real change?