PZMyers and the definition of atheism.

I first saw this post by PZ Myers back when he first wrote it, and I disagreed with him whole heartedly at the time.  I still do, the only difference is at the time I couldn’t form my thoughts into a format that was appropriate for blogging about it.  Full disclosure, I actually do like PZ Myers and most of what he writes.  He earned my respect through his thoughts, words, and actions.  Although I don’t read his blog as much as I used to, that respect is still definitely there.  That doesn’t mean I have to agree with every single thing he says though.  If I had to agree, then that would be hero worship – something which amusingly there’s a surprisingly large amount of in skeptic and atheist communities.  This is just one such situation of divergent opinions, nothing more. Continue reading

SouthPark creators threatened for depicting bear suit.

(Note: Scroll down and read the update to this post after “Additional” to read about the episode 201 censorship / bleeping).

If I understand this story correctly, the creators of South Park, for episode 200, decided to include the Prophet Mohammed in the episode.  This was done, clearly, to take the piss out of all the fundamentalists who get so upset when ever he’s pictured.  Surely I don’t need to remind everyone of the Danish cartoon “scandal”?

To take the piss out of the censorship “required”, they have him covered throughout the entire episode.  First by a large “censored” sign, then in a U-Haul trailer, and finally a bear mascott costume.  So it’s not even him being depicted in South Park cartoon style, but actually just a word/trailer/bear costume they’ve labelled “Mohammed”.

The scary thing is, despite taking this extra step away from it actually being anything like Mohammed, some fundies have actually gotten upset.  What … the … fuck?  I mean, seriously? Continue reading

Redefinition of words.

(This was also posted at YoungAusSkeptics.com)

One of the great things about the way language evolves is that words change their meaning all the time. The main reason this happens is due to the way in which we generally learn words. How many of you upon hearing a new word actually go to the effort to pick up a dictionary or go to an online one and look up the words meaning? I am sure a few of you do, but the majority of people (myself included) don’t.

Instead we look at the context the word was used in, the sentence it is in and those surrounding, and from there we use our intuition and past experience to decide our own definition of the word. If we get it wrong, we continue to get it wrong until such a time as we are corrected. We may easily decide to start using that word, incorrectly of course, in our conversations with others. They then pick up on this incorrect meaning and maybe even apply their own meaning to it which is different again. As the word spreads and is picked up, the meaning changes. Dictionaries have in the past and continue today to change the official meaning of a word based upon common usage. Continue reading

Does being a skeptic mean someone is an atheist?

The topic on the link of atheism and skepticism comes up all the time in skeptic circles.  The general questions tend to hover around the topics of whether skeptics should be atheists, should skeptics cover atheistic topics and fights, can theists be skeptics, is theism a subject we should make taboo or not, and recently whether atheism is in fact skepticism as well.

For starters, atheism isn’t necessarily the skeptical stance when it comes to theism.  You see, there’s generally two paths that lead to atheism.  One being the Acharya S and Zeitgeist path which is full of conspiracy theories. It claims that christianity stole most if not all of its aspects from other religions etc.  The evidence put forward is full of examples where prior religions had similar traditions, symbols and mythology therefore christianity stole it.

Pagans for example celebrated winter solstice at or around the end of December, christians have christmas then, therefore christians stole that from pagans and/or used it to crush paganism.  The problem here is that it confuses correlation for causation.  Just because two things are similar does not mean one caused the other.  This is a logical fallacy often argued against by sceptics in all manner of topics.  This form of atheism is in no way shape or form sceptical. Continue reading

No good without god?

Atheist Bus 001Of the claims that come forth from religious people, there is one that is probably the most commonly used, and it is the one the majority of theists have in common despite their highly splintered sects.  Whether fundamentalist or name-only, whether christian or pagan, there is one area they generally (not always, but generally) tend to agree.  That area, that argument, is that one cannot be good without god.

It doesn’t seem that offensive a statement, does it?  Really though, it is a horribly offensive and rude thing for them to say.  Essentially they are saying that those who do not have a positive belief in a god or gods are evil people, amoral, completely unable to be good, deceptive, rude, backstabbing, conniving.  How would you feel if someone were to say that to you?

But do morals really come from a god or gods? Continue reading

Free Tibet? Take a closer look first.

Dalai LamaLike most people, if someone was to ask me about Tibet and the events that took place there I would have spoken of beautiful monasteries, gentle people who only wanted to spread peace, who were invaded and brutally slaughtered by the Chinese in the mid 1900’s.  This is the picture we are most often subjected to, so it may be surprising to many to hear that this is picture is a deceptive one, and that the “Free Tibet” people you may often run across on the city streets should be taken with a grain of salt.

This post is inspired by an article I read at smuh this morning.  I tweeted my disgruntledness (if that is even a word?), which turned in to a conversation with @Flawedprefect who was confused as to my disapproval. Continue reading

On trolling, hypocrisy and vandalism.

Thank-youIKEA1024Earlier this evening I was introduced to the Jesus: All About Life Facebook page.  A quick look through the page showed it was a legitimate page made by the people behind the campaign, but 16 hours earlier Atheists and non-christians had also discovered it and were trolling quite badly.

Earlier today while browsing through my usual sites I came across a post at Pharyngula about someone who was arrested for defacing a poster for an alpha.org advertising campaign.

I decided to also check out jesusallaboutlife.com – a parody site set up when it was discovered the JAAL people only registered the .com.au domain, not the .com one, and saw on the front page this particular article.

Seriously guys, trolling and vandalism is NEVER acceptable. Continue reading

A friendly reminder to my fellow Atheists.

Is your housemate an Atheist?A conglomeration of christian sects in Australia has recently gotten together to perform a big non-demoninational advertising push in this country which kicks off next week (13th of September 2009).  The slogan behind the campaign is “Jesus: All About Life” and is about pushing christianity as a whole rather than a specific sect of it.

There’s been a few stories about this in the Sydney Morning Herald, but today they decided to open up the comments for feedback.  From the outset the comments lambasted christians, threw up claims of false advertising, told them to educate themselves, talk about discrimination against race, sex and sexuality.

I do not approve. Continue reading