Irreverence FTW!


The primary reason for creating this blog was to deliver irreverent commentary on the strange beliefs that people cling on to for dear life. I had a second blog which I used to cast derision on the shitty things that politicians do.

I decided to merge the two because ideology and politics seemed like a match made in heaven, and it kinda made sense for me to take the piss on both these forms of lunacy on the same forum.

After a while I decided that since there were so many other things that were of interest to people, I would not limit myself to just writing about strange beliefs and dirty politicians. And so the part about “… just about anything else not as perplexing or vile…” was born. However of late I have not focussed nearly enough on the irreverent bit and seemed to drift off into posting a lot of stuff about everything else.

Nothing vex’s someone more than when you try to burst their ideological bubble. It may seem cruel, and I sometimes feel a little remorseful afterwards, but the eventual benefits of making someone see things differently, even if a little, is to my mind worth the effort. I have had lengthy debates arguments here with some of my commenters. Nearly all invariably grow weary and never come back; a fairly large number exit with the traditional, but very annoying parting shot “I’ll pray for you.” Yeah, you will not believe how many people are praying for me. I’m truly blessed.

I am all too familiar with the adage that you’re not going to convince someone to change their mind by poking fun at their beliefs. Fuck that! Sometimes it’s the only way. The other benefit is that I too have learned from this process. I harboured many ideological beliefs, some of which have been modified, others turned completely on its head, more still totally discarded.

Anyway, I think I’m gonna start being irreverent again with my very next post. Until then…

Non Belief or Unbelief? Does it really matter?

I stumbled across this YouTube video earlier today of Stephen Fry being interviewed on Big Think. The title “The Importance of Unbelief” left me pondering whether there is a difference or distinction between Unbelief and Non Belief, and whether it really matters in the larger scheme of things.

On the surface it appears that any distinction between Unbelief and Non Belief is merely semantic, but the antagonism towards New Age Atheism in recent years made very public by the Internets, seems to indicate that the difference is worth investigating, or acknowledging at the very least.

Now, I’m no philosopher or epistemologist or linguist even, but I have unwittingly placed myself in the centre of this apparent wrangle simply because I have chosen to label myself as an Atheist these many years. It used to be that being an atheist was pretty straightforward, but like with so many other things, the modern world contrives to complicate everything. Where once it was grudgingly accepted that there were shades of grey, it seems there is now shaded shades of grey.

In the quest for answers, I tried to follow this debate Does “Atheism” mean “unbelief or lack of belief in God” or “there is no God” ?, and I confess to being more bewildered than ever.

From what I can gather, Unbelief is closely associated with agnosticism, which is harshly regarded as the fence-sitter position. Non belief on the other hand seems to indicate a positive position which is more assertive and based on either certain knowledge, or rejection of asserted knowledge. I do admit that this I have adopted the latter position, not on the basis of certain knowledge, but on the rejection of positions asserted by those who do claim to have such.

But is the rejection of asserted knowledge enough to formulate a belief? Do I now also have to assume the burden of proof? But proof of what since the whole God concept is not clearly defined?

See, here I was thinking that atheism had simplified my life immeasurably, but actually thinking more deeply has opened up a whole new complication. But I guess such is the bane of introspection.

Does this mean that I will go back to believing because it is much easier? Hell no!

The Debate That Wasn’t

Easing into Sunday evening watching a debate found accidentally on YouTube, has left me with some things to carp about.

I am posting the YouTube video here, so if you’ve got two hours to throw away, knock yourself out. The debate was between well-known cosmologist Professor Lawrence Krauss and Hamza Andreas Tzortzis, who is styled as an author, lecturer and intellectual activist. The topic of debate was Islam or Atheism – Which Makes More Sense?

Need I point out who represented what point of view?

The points raised on both sides during the debate were not that important – I, and I’m sure those of you who listen to these kinds of debates will have heard them before in some form or the other. What really sustained my attention for two hours was the manner in which the debate was conducted, some of the strategies used, the seeming inability of the adjudicator Timothy Yusuf Chambers (a former Irish Catholic priest, converted to Islam) to affect any sort of control over the two protagonists, and an amusing event involving an outraged Muslim woman during the Q&A session, which I’ll come back to later.

While Hamza Tzortzis came clearly prepared with a lengthy written opening remark which he was at pains to point out was based on deductive logic, it was absolute rubbish. No doubt Lawrence thought so too and made it quite plain in his opening address. Deductive logic is all well and good, but if your conclusions are based on faulty premises, then it’s all just bullshit.

Professor Krauss on the other hand just winged his way through his opening statement, and chose to engage frequently with Tzortzis in and off the cuff manner. There was something I found disturbing about this though; Krauss often came across as rude, near-insulting and somewhat arrogant. But everything he said, made sense and was scientifically correct. To his credit, Tzortzis in the face of this onslaught of scientific reasoning tinged with rudeness, held it together remarkably well.

Krauss’s approach to the debate was of importance, and he even clarified that he preferred discourse to the strict and limiting formal debate format. The term he used was “chat,”  because he explained that it allows more room for people to explore, and gain knowledge, rather than just throwing rigid ideas at each other. There is much merit in this.

After watching this and other debates, it has dawned on me how debate about such opposing ideas as atheism and religion have improved over the years. It used to be that religious apologists would simply quote from religious text and other dogmatic theological literature and demand that it be accepted as unadulterated truth. And it used to be that simply asserting things without having to provide proof or evidence was common. Now, apologists prepare more thoroughly using logic and even science. Alas, logic and science used incorrectly, even disingenuously, will never trump the scientific method.

And now we come to that amusing incident. During the Q&A session a clearly irate, albeit foolish woman decided to use the opportunity to complain about some guy who had entered the debate late, and decided to sit at the rear of the hall next to a group of girls of which the complainant was a member. She was quite adamant that her values as a Muslim woman was violated by this latecomer who according to her, should have chosen to sit elsewhere with other men, because she had clearly distanced herself from the men in the audience as was required of her belief system.

Krauss pointed out quite nonchalantly that the debate was clearly advertised as a non-segregated event, and she should have chosen to watch the debate on YouTube, rather than demand deference to her quaint beliefs.

Quite so, Professor Krauss, quite so.

And so who was the winner? I’ll leave you to decide, but for me, science always wins.

Evolution resource

Recently I’ve been engaged in quite a few debates on my blog about Evolution, Creation and the mental gymnasts’ take on creation – Intelligent Design.

I admit I’ve not always been eloquent or clear in my responses. So here’s a brilliant resource I’ve discovered that explains things clearly and simply.


Just a taste:

Scientific understanding requires both facts and theories that can explain those facts in a coherent manner. Evolution, in this context, is both a fact and a theory. It is an incontrovertible fact that organisms have changed, or evolved, during the history of life on Earth. And biologists have identified and investigated mechanisms that can explain the major patterns of change.

And just for laughs, something else I found on a Dutch Facebook page, Freethinker:




Wouldn’t you like to fly before you die?

A debate I’m having with a commenter on one of my blog posts has got me thinking about the nature of inquiry. Is it possible to simply stop inquiring when you believe you have found the right answer, and is it desirable?

When does one stop inquiring about stuff? When the answer makes you feel comfortable, or satisfies a need? What if someone comes along with a different answer or shows you another way? Would you shrug it off, because you’re quite happy with what you have found already? Is comfort better than the disquiet of being doubtful? Would you rather shoot yourself up with some drug because it makes you feel safely exhilarated, or would you rather experience the natural thrill of sky-diving. Both is probably going to kill you, but wouldn’t you rather fly, before you die?

Remember when as a child you constantly peppered your parents and others with those why questions? Why is it when you grow up, you stop asking why? Why do you settle for easy answers? Is it possible that a child understands the nature of inquiry better than an adult?

M, the young [I assume] and no doubt bright women who stirred up all these questions, posed the following:

I’m puzzled by the fact that if a discovery or inquiry leads to anything other than Christianity, it is accepted and applauded. If the road of inquiry ends at the cross of Christ, it is argued that you need to keep searching until you find the truth..Here’s the big question. What does one do “IF” this is the truth…

What I’m curious about is her starting point of inquiry? Did her questioning take her through a gamut of scientific literature, before she settled for the answers provided in the realm of the supernatural, or did she start at the bottom end of the supernatural and settle for the most pleasing or needs-satisfying version? Just a question mind you, not an allegation.

When it comes to inquiry, I would rather have ten different scientific suppositions about something, which leads me to more inquiry, than have one neat, comforting, but supernatural explanation, that stops all enquiry because it relies on the authority of someone you can never question. The end to questioning whether it be self-inflicted for comfort, or enforced through coercion and fear, pronounces the death of human intelligence. When inquiry stops, you might as well be dead.

Great non-debates – faith and willful ignorance gets it in the teeth

I’m truly amazed at how my (religious) detractors on this blog can engage me in debate, with some of the most asinine and dogmatic ideas, and arguments that have long since been consigned to the scrap-heap. In fact many of these arguments have been flagged by pro-religious organizations like Answers in Genesis (AIG) as being debunked or outdated and recommend that they not be used.

Yet, my on-line tormentors persist in using them. I have observed that the religious latch onto the first thing they hear about or read somewhere (invariably a pseudo-scientific resource), that somehow, even in the most miniscule way, seems to confirm a particular religious belief they hold, and then they hold on for dear life. No amount of logic or reasoning will sway them. Faced with unrelenting rational discourse, they, in dogged defense, are prone to come up with even more absurd arguments or stray from the topic altogether, usually onto another bizarre tangent. Most times they never return after becoming frustrated with trying to convince me of their irrational beliefs. I really hope this failure to win someone over to the Cause, doesn’t count against them when they face the Big Cahuna in Heavensville.

Some recent examples (out of sequence) from one person in particular, but many have gone before him using the same non-arguments:


4. Evolution has been SCIENTIFICALLY dis-proven it has been shown by thousands of scientists, Logic, and hundreds of discoveries in archaeology.

So not including the massive amounts of evidence for God in human nature and other “non-sciences” there are all the evidence in science.
so before you attack something try to learn about.


4. Evolution can never be SCIENTIFICALLY dis-proven through the study of, or discoveries made in archaeology, no matter how many thousands of “scientists” try to. Archaeology is the study of “human cultures through the recovery, documentation, analysis, and interpretation of material culture and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, biofacts, and landscapes. Archaeology aims to understand humankind through these humanistic endeavors.” [wikipaedia definition, but you can google definitions from other sources and they will tell you basically the same thing]. Evolution is the study of much more than simple humans. Not only have you got your sciences all mixed up, you obviously haven’t the slightest clue what evolution is all about. Never mind, it was to be expected. There is no evidence for god in human nature whatsoever; there is evidence for human nature in human nature. There is no evidence for a god in any science or non-science, and you can shout out loud as many times as you like that there is; it won’t change a thing.


…another problem with evolution is that it assumes that life can come from non-life – spontaneous generation – which is an aristotelian theory which has been exploded.


Evolution does not “assume that life can come from non-life.” In fact evolution does not postulate anything about the start of life; that field of study is known as abiogenesis. Evolution can be defined “a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations.” [The TalkOrigins Archive]. Evolution does not explain how life started. More proof that you know nothing about evolution.


4. It may not postulate anything about the origins of life, it’s basic assumption of evolution, here is the definition: “premise: a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn” spontaneous generation is assumed to be true because that is what makes the theory of evolution possible.


“spontaneous generation is assumed to be true because that is what makes the theory of evolution possible” No it does not!!! Anyone who understands evolution, which once again, I must repeat, you absolutley do not, would shudder to even think about such antiquated beliefs. Although I don’t like Wikipaedia definitions of anything, I’ll give you the Wiki definition anyway; you can Google other resources which will tell you basically the same thing: “Spontaneous generation or Equivocal generation is an obsolete theory regarding the origin of life from inanimate matter, which held that this process was a commonplace and everyday occurrence, as distinguished from univocal generation, or reproduction from parent(s). The theory was synthesized by Aristotle[1], who compiled and expanded the work of prior natural philosophers and the various ancient explanations of the appearance of organisms; it held sway for two millennia. It is generally accepted to have been ultimately disproven in the 19th Century by the experiments of Louis Pasteur, expanding upon the experiments of other scientists before him (such as Francesco Redi who had performed similar experiments in the 17th century). Ultimately, it was succeeded by germ theory and cell theory.”


…the universe is an effect and it is a scientific law that all effects must have a cause so there must be something higher than the universe, someone or something, but it is deluding yourself to believe there is no god when you wouldn’t be here without one.


Ah yes, that old nugget again – the infinite regress or Cosmological Argument. Call me delusional, but if all effects must have a cause, then that higher cause you speak of (god?) must also have a cause. I take it you’re expecting me to accept without question that your god is the only uncaused cause? Really?


No my God respects the right of people to believe what they want, why else do you think he gave them free will? it’s just that if they do not believe the truth they will have to suffer the consequences. It’s called responsibility.

Lenny [At which point Josiah failed to return]: 

You’re really not thinking things through. If god knows everything you are going to do before you do, and everything that is going to happen before you do, how is it possible for you to have free will. The omniscient property of god would mean that your will would be bent to what god already had in store for you. Don’t you think that it would be a really cruel trick for a god to play on someone. Do you understand this conundrum?

This lazy approach by the faithful to seeking knowledge, this reluctance to dig deeper, find more information, this wilful ignorance, is sometimes extremely annoying for me, but in truth, highly amusing as well. However, the things that bugs me the most is the penchant for believers to project their love-affair with faith onto both myself and the scientific community; they go to great lengths to remind us how we also rely on faith, because they have this reprehensible inability to comprehend how we can accept scientific truths without faith.

I confess though, that sometimes, in my quest to dispel the myths, slay the dragons of irrational belief, and inspire critical thought, I get carried away, and may come across as arrogant and a know-it-all. I try really hard to temper my responses; I try to be kind, but wilful ignorance always gets to me.

And thus I wrote this blog, as a warning and an apology…