Can we have a different miracle?

23 Sep 2008

It's a miracle!

Neapolitans – people from Naples, Italy – are thronging to their cathedral to allegedly see the dried blood of a saint turn all liquidy via divine magic. (Via Pharyngula.)

Skeptics suggest that chemicals in the dried blood undergo a change in viscosity when jostled. I expect some believers to plead that skeptics just instead accept a "real miracle".

Those believers would be missing a key point. Atheists like me think don't merely think it sad that people are deluding themselves with this "miracle" nonsense. We also think it'd be even sadder if this were a true divine miracle. Readeth thou more

God's easy like that

21 Sep 2008

God has always been a flip-flopper.

"I think I'll have humanity live here forever on this paradise Earth... Oops, Adam bit the fruit! Change of plans! Humanity will live short lives now, then go to Hell or come up here to Heaven. Forever! Let's see... Gabriel, roll out a few billion guest beds..."

Same with prayer; it changes God's plans. (Unless you're a kid with untreatable cancer. "Sorry, Timmy; you die. But thanks for the pleading, frantic prayers.")

Image via Eat Liver. Source unknown. Readeth thou more

Great comment by James Watson on belief in evolution

18 Sep 2008

Pharyngula posts a fascinating video: a Charlie Rose interview on evolution with famed biologists E. O. Wilson and James Watson.

There's a great off-hand comment in there that places an important perspective on what we can take away from opinion polls. Wilson notes that 51% of American respondents in a CNN public opinion poll discount Darwinian evolution entirely; another 34% accept the idea, but believe the process was directed by God.

That's a total 85% of people rejecting non-supernatural evolution. A number which Watson sagely puts in its place: "85% haven't thought about it at all... It doesn't mean much." Readeth thou more

"Would you do it?": An open question to believers

15 Sep 2008

One of my favorite podcasts on secular issues is the Atheist Community of Austin's broadcast The Atheist Experience (also a cable access TV show). Good topics, live listener call-ins, and hosts who really know their stuff; I highly recommend that you listen in. (I wish more of those callers would regularly listen; they might learn to 1. Turn down the TV when calling!; and 2. Quit asking "So, you're atheist; that means you don't believe in anything, right?", again and again and again.)

I have a question about how one particularly loony Christian conceit fares in debates. I don't get much chance to talk to rabid believers, so thought I'd ask the debating pros at The Atheist Experience about their experience. The reply is an eye-opener. Here's my email first: Readeth thou more

Partially Clips comics

12 Sep 2008

I'm not a big reader of web comics (because I'd do nothing else if I really got started on them), but found myself perusing the whole archive of the great Partially Clips.

The links below are to a small double-handful of strips that touch on themes of religion, faith, and reason, even just a little. In no particular order:

The faithful, of course, will refuse to see themselves skillfully parodied in those panels.

Readeth thou more