Back Online

Well, after a somewhat wet holiday all the WhyDontYou contributors are now back home safe and sound.

It seems our Atheistic comments here, while being studiously ignored by the Abrahamic deity were noticed by a few more elemental Gods… Obviously our lack of sacrifices to Mithras and general irreverence ensured that every day we were subjected to almost Biblical downpours. At one point it became comical – every time we were in the car it was brilliant sunshine, as soon as we got out the clouds appeared and the rain began. Seriously. Add to this a week where we had no access to the internet but every single day a thousand and one religious-nonsense blog topics forced themselves upon us. The Gods were truly displeased.

That aside, it was great fun and about a zillion photographs were taken. In fact, it has prompted me even more towards buying a “real” camera, and now I am stuck with the difficult decision between two entry level Digital SLR cameras. I have narrowed it down to a choice between the Nikon D40x and the Canon EOS 400D.  I have found the Nikon for about£15 cheaper than the Canon now (because of the Nikon cashback offer) so that looks favourite – for now. If anyone has any experience of either I would be interested to hear it. The next hurdle will be where to buy it from 🙂

Anyway, enough rambling for now. Hopefully normal service will resume in the morning.

[tags]Holiday, Deities, Mithras, WhyDontYou, Technology, Nikon, Canon, D40x, EOS, EOS 400D, Camera, Digital Camera, Digital SLR, SLR[/tags]

Gods and evolution

There are some comprehensive lists of Roman and Greek gods and goddesses in Gregory Flood’s Lists of Roman Godds and Goddesses.

These were people who didn’t mess about, if they found themselves without a handy god for any occasion. They just made one. There’s a god called Scabies, ffs. (of Itching, in case you wondered).

How did we get from the complex and changing pantheons of the Greeks and Romans and Vikings and Yoruba and Egyptians and indigenous Americans, etc, etc. to the dull God of Abraham? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

There’s an analogy between loss of diversity in species and loss of diversity in beliefs. As humans have shaped more and more of the environment, more unique and colourful species tend to give way under human pressure on their habitats. So, we see the lowest common denominator species prospering. The rat, the cockroach, the pigeon, the housefly all doing very well. (Basically all grey and able to live on s.ite.)

Pantheons reflect a human-centred worldview – a capacity to look for patterns in the universe and human society and to express our innate capacity for transcendence. The list of available gods can be revised in an ongoing basis to accommodate new ones when the old ones don’t work. Human rulers were happy to promote themselves to Godhood, whenever they felt the need.

This suggests that many people were aware that their religions were human constructs but could square this with the social and psychological benefits they got from their rituals. Compared to this, worship of one God seems willfully unsophisticated, and leads to inherent logical contradictions and a need to smite the ungodly.

The one God has expanded to take over the mental and social space we have for deities, dominating whole societies and lives. As far as I can see, this represents an flattening of mental diversity, as when one species – that can live well amongst humans whether we like it or not – replaces the variety that could co-exist in a more fertile environment.

The Commenters Delusion

I was toying with the Blind Commenter as a title, but decided it would be too obvious 🙂 . I have been reading some of the opinion blogs on the Times today, which is always enjoyable. The main three have been two by Ruth Gledhill (On Dawkins and on Scientology), and thanks to Nullifidian’s blog, I read one by William Rees-Mog, again on Dawkins. As is often the case the columns, being written by sensible journalists, are well presented (with the exception of Rees-Mog but he is different kettle of fish) and the arguments are structured.

Fortunately, for me, the same most certainly can not be said about the people who leave comments. Yes, some are sane and balanced, but others range from mildly confused to massively off the deep end. In this post, I will look at some of the more pertinent comments and explain why I think they are at least a little, ahem, confused.

Continue reading

Too stupid to be real

Well, from the department of the ineducable idiocy, I have found a blog which I don’t for one second think is a legit creationist / theist blog. I refuse to accept that anyone can be as stupid as this person, yet still be able to breathe unaided. Seriously. Still, it has given me a chance to rant about a few topics which have been annoying me lately.

The blog in question is called “Atheist Stooges” and, from that name alone, you just know it is going to be full of juicy idiocy. In this instance, the idiocy is so bizare I can only assume (hope?) that this is a wind up. Can people honestly hold to ideas like this and still function in society?

The blog has an article called “Enter the excavation” which really does hit a new nadir of nonsense. The basic crux of what is a long, wordy and badly written, post is that because you can not pin down a point in time which some human invented Atheism it must be sent by demons. What wonderful logic. There are so many fallacies in the post it would take months to unravel them all. This tends to happen when you take a false premise and try to make conclusions based on it though.

The opening paragraph sets the tone:

Do you know that if you make an endeavor to find out when and by whom atheism was authored you will not be able to find such information from any source? Not even the most “educated” atheists – particularly those associated with the most elite universities throughout the world can truthfully inform you when and by whom atheism originated. They can enlighten you as to who were its main perpetuators in different cultures; but they cannot identify its founder and when it actually originated. Continue reading