A virus that boggles the mind

gullibilitytest

It seems just about everyone’s going batshit crazy over Ebola right now, but a more sinister virus is the mind virus. Otherwise known as faith.

But faith can move mountains…

Er, no it can’t. Never has, never will. But it can move you to hold strange beliefs. Strange and dangerous beliefs that CAN blow up mountains (or centuries-old statues carved into mountains, at least).

Enough about mountains; here’s where I’m really going with this:

In September I wrote about the Prophet of Death, T.B. Joshua and the collapse of a structure on the site of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, in which more than a 100 people lost their lives. Nearly two months later, the remains of the South Africans who perished in that disaster, have not been repatriated back home.

Yesterday, TB (like the infectious disease) failed to show up at a coroner’s inquest into the cause of the building collapse, but his supporters see nothing wrong with this. One had the gall to say “Bringing The Man of God down to this court is not very comfortable for me.” Many others think that even questioning him is an insult, such is their faith in this fraud.

However there are scores more who still refuse to accept that TB should be held accountable, despite preliminary findings that the structure did not meet construction regulations and was not approved by authorities. They prefer to believe instead in conspiracy theories.

One idiot faithful follower by the name of Moses Onyegu who heads up an organization known as Group of Concerned Students, believes that a C-130 Hercules jet flying over the building dropped explosives onto it, or something similar. Another, Oloja Olanrewaju, who is the secretary-general (yes another one of those militaristic sounding titles so enamoured of despots) of a group called the National Association of Nigerian Students, believes that (wait for it) “shadow stakeholders who benefit indirectly from any crisis,” may be involved.

Yet another, Nasir Lawal, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, and who is the leader of a youth group in southwestern Ondo state, believes that the rag-tag bunch of Islamist degenerates known as Boko Haram have the capability of sending a plane from the jungles thousands of kilometers away, to bomb the building. Their runway in the jungles must apparently be so well hidden, that the Nigerian army has failed to spot it all these years.

The striking thing about the three people mentioned above, is that they all lead youth organizations. If they hold such idiotic beliefs, who knows what bullshit they’re cramming into the heads of their young followers.

People will always have strange beliefs. But when those beliefs are supported by religious conviction, it gets pretty hairy.

Cartoon credit: Skeptics Guide To The Universe.

Absolutely Not!

beliefs

Perhaps it hasn’t escaped your attention that those demanding respect for their beliefs invariably hold dear the most ignorant, infantile, dubious, repulsive, fundamentalist, misogynistic, odious and  homophobic ideologies.

So who’s to say which beliefs are good and which bad? Haha! You got me there! I really don’t know for certain, until I have subjected your belief to critical examination. What I do know, is that if you demand that I accept and respect your belief, then it’s a sure sign that it is dodgy at the very least.

This where I see your demand and raise you another: I demand that every belief (be it religious, political, social, cultural or whatever) be subject to skeptical scrutiny.

So there!

Fuck all prophets

rights

I remember writing something about the conviction and imprisonment of a Pakistani women around two years ago for blasphemy. This disgraceful act of discrimination is not only utterly ridiculous, but is a crime in itself, perpetrated by religious bigots.

Asia Bibi’s appeal against the death sentence has been rejected by the Lahore High Court. You can bet any number of stinking prophets, that the Pakistani judicial system is clearly not impartial, but influenced by the insane ideology of the clerical overlords.

This is an outrage and must be condemned by every rational, thinking person in the world. Pakistan is not the sole violator of human rights in the religious domain; there are many other countries most notably in the Middle East and Africa which also amazingly still treat religious beliefs with more deference than they do human rights.

This just has to stop, and all the Peoples of the world need to do more to bring down the hegemony of religious fundamentalists, and the clergy.

Ideas do not have rights, only people do. Thus religious beliefs do not deserve special consideration; absolutely no ideology does. Blasphemy is therefore the invention of some cowardly bastard, hell-bent on protecting and defending the indefensible.

Photo Credit: The Skeptics Guide To The Universe.

More skeptical artillary

This just discovered:

irrationalnonsense

It’s from an amazing website which I’ve added to the links on my sidebar. Access The Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense here for an interactive explanation of each element.

The Reason Stick

A blunt, shit-stained instrument wielded indiscriminately to bludgeon pseudoscience, superstition, blind faith and common or garden irrational bollocks.

Awesomeness!

Comfort-able Lies

raycomfort

It’s just a pity I cannot reblog this post about Ray Comfort from Skepticblog. Instead I’ve lifted the hilarious image above, and you can read the rest here.

For those who don’t know, Ray Comfort is a preacher of sorts who hails from Down Under, and now plying his trade in the USA, which is perhaps one of the most gullible countries in the world. Comfort trades in lies, by the way.

Like Ken Ham (who coincidently also hails from down under), Ray Comfort perverts the basics of science any way he can, to spread pathetic lies about Evolution, while promoting the absurdity known as Creationism. When his total and utter lack of understanding of the basics of biology and science is pointed out to him, he ducks for cover behind willful ignorance.

After reading the article, one has to wonder whether Ray is indeed a total idiot, or a very clever money-grubbing scumbag.

Wine Wasting

Let me make it quite clear. I’m no wine connoisseur, but as I’ve grown older I’ve developed a taste for good wine; a real liking for this nectar of the gods.

How do I know which wine is good? I don’t. If it tastes good, it’s good wine. I generally prefer white wine to red, but recently I’ve started liking a certain brand of rosé. I also tend to stay away from the cheap plonk; which is not to say that I buy expensive wine.

A lady friend heard about a wine tasting event that is held annually at various venues along the Vaal River in South Africa, and suggested that we give it a bash. So this Sunday past, six eager wine tasting virgins drove down to the Vaal Meander and a place called Stonehaven-On-Vaal, to see what all the fuss is about.

Being a skeptic, I was well aware of the suspicions against people who claim to be wine experts. However, part of this excursion included a boat cruise on the Vaal River with lunch and wine (tasting) on board, not to mention the companionship of four beautiful women… and I was not about to miss that.

At the restaurant prior to the cruise, we were allocated an expert of sorts who served us 26 different wines to taste. I think the idea was to swirl, sniff, taste and spit out the remnants into a bucket provided, but I couldn’t be bothered with all that; I just quaffed down every portion poured into my little goblet. My companions however tried valiantly to play the part, and we all rated our wines on a score-card provided.

Wine aboard

Wine aboard

We could not complete tasting all 26 different wines, before boarding the boat for the cruise. The “expert” was kind enough to allow us to return after the cruise to complete our little wine tasting adventure, which we did. Even then we just could not go through all of them, but managed around 18 labels, including that served on the boat.

I am pleased to say that I gave 5 labels a perfect score of 20, which unsurprisingly differed wildly from my companions ratings. So I guess it all comes down to personal taste. Perhaps I was being too generous, or maybe a little drunk, but there you have it.

All in all it was an enjoyable outing, well worth the measly cost. Seems there’s going to be a beer festival at the end of the month at the same venue. Guess what? Yep, we’re in…

OMG! Why are so many people going ballistic over GMO?

If social media is to be believed, Monsanto is Public Enemy No. 1, or very close to it. Seems like even people I would normally consider as reasonable, just seem to go batshit crazy when it comes to Monsanto and GMO’s more specifically.

I’ve been conducting a running argument on this blog and over email with one of my many critics (whose name shall remain concealed from those who have not read the comments section on the relevent post), who insists that GMO’s are harmful, evil even, despite there being little to no evidence to support that assertion. He picks his evidence from websites that spread absolute bollocks, like Natural News.com (no, I’m not even going to link to it), to trusting without question the horse-shit written by wacko’s like Mike Adams. [Read this response to his latest attack on GMO’s].

I’m not going to try to convince you on my own why GMO’s are perfectly safe. I’ll just leave that to someone who is by far more eminent. Neil deGrasse Tyson.

I’m amazed how much objection genetically modified foods are receiving from the public. It smacks of the fear factor that exists at every new emergent science, where people don’t fully understand it or don’t fully know or embrace its consequences, and therefore reject it. What most people don’t know, but they should, is that practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food.

There are no wild seedless watermelons; there’s no wild cows; there’s no long-stem roses growing in the wild — although we don’t eat roses. You list all the fruit, and all the vegetables, and ask yourself: Is there a wild counterpart to this? If there is, it’s not as large, it’s not as sweet, it’s not as juicy, and it has way more seeds in it.

We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals, that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It’s called “artificial selection.” That’s how we genetically modify them. So now that we can do it in a lab, all of a sudden you’re going to complain?

If you’re the complainer type, go back and eat the apples that grow wild. You know something? They’re this big, and they’re tart. They’re not sweet, like Red Delicious apples. We manufactured those. That’s a genetic modification.

Do you realize silk cannot be produced in the wild? The silkworm, as we cultivate it, has no wild counterpart because it would die in the wild. So there’s not even any silk anymore. So we are creating and modifying the biology of the world to serve our needs. I don’t have a problem with that, cause we’ve been doing that for tens of thousands of years. So chill out.

Here’s the video: