Calling all Creative Types for Homework Assignment

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Dear Comrades,

As I’m currently “campaigning” for a Shorty Award (everyone likes a pat on the back), the organisation encourages nominees to create a campaign video to promote their “cause”.

I have a few ideas rattling around and hope to have something edited together for the Weekend of Jan 19th .  I may also fail miserably and not bother.

This is where you come in.

I would love to have a logo/wallpaper/and or banner that I can use as a graphic in my campaign video.  Something that reflects the activity of the @GSpellchecker account, and contains either  “@GSpellchecker” or “Godless Spellchecker” if possible.  Perhaps incorporating stop signs, perhaps not if you have a better idea. Be creative!

I will then incorporate it into my video, then upload the video to this blog when/if it is completed.  I will also display all the designs, including those that were unused (if any are actually received!) and their creator’s details, along with a link to a social network/website of their choice on my blog, along with a thank you of course.

I’m excited to hear from you and thank you.

Please email graphics to godlessspellchecker@gmail.com*. Please ensure you include your name, and a link of your choice for credit.

GS

*By emailing your designs to me, you grant me permission to use it across various media formats, however desired. I will never claim artistic responsibility for your work.

 

“Fear and Faith” and misplaced criticism

Popular UK illusionist Derren Brown recently ran a two-part TV programme entitled “Fear and Faith”.  The second part of the programme, “Faith” looked at explaining belief in God from the perspective of hard-wired emotional need. It can be viewed here (for UK residents at least).

During the broadcast of this TV show, many of my Twitter comrades tweeted me to ask if I had tuned in.

Whilst watching the show I made a quick search of the related #FearAndFaith hash tag to take in a brief sample of the reaction and commentary.  This is where I found the following statement (my comments are preceded by a “+”):

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Mona Eltahawy Confuses Free Speech With Vandalism

Free speech has been a huge topic of contention in recent weeks, the same weeks which saw the deaths of 75 people and violent rage across several countries in reaction to a horrendously made YouTube video entitled “Innocence of Muslims”. 

Debate has been rampant ever since regarding what constitutes the limits of free speech, and what rights we have, if any to offend “sacred” ideas and beliefs.  New calls have been made to the UN for a Blasphemy Law and the ever-present cries of “Islamophobia!” are as tediously frequent as baby photos on a Facebook news feed.

Amid all this apologist rhetoric, one point seems frustratingly absent, or marginalised:

It is wrong to murder/react violently simply for being offended.

A failure to stand up for this point, and this point alone, is a failure to respond as a responsible human adult.

It is true that bigoted far right groups capitalise on Islamic unrest in order to advance their racist agenda and we should afford them no more than our dissent.  This, however should not distract us from the genuine concerns we have with the unique and reactionary nature of Islam.

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Leigh Patrick Sullivan, The Truth About “Atheist Tolerance” and Other Self-Delusion

I spend a significant portion of my time debating and exchanging views with fellow primates on Twitter.  I make a rule of never being abusive, hostile or assuming to know what someone else believes.  I frequently pose my responses as questions, in order to avoid being presumptuous.

I also never tell anyone they haven’t the right to believe what they want to believe, as this would clearly be wrong.  I think the most I am guilty of is sarcasm, mockery and ridicule.  I’m perfectly comfortable with this.

I make sure I deal with the actual statements put forward, whether they are made to me specifically or to the “Twitterverse” in general. I aim to do this as calmly as possible and in a civil manner, often pointing out logical fallacies, or citing sources to address failures to understand established scientific concepts or terminology.

I’ve sent more than 11,000 tweets, and when I receive responses they often take the form of glaring ignorance, foul language/abuse/hostility/threats. I have never responded in kind.  I simply don’t need to.  Once someone decides to engage in that way, they lose any and all credibility, and I chalk it off as a victory. #AnotherSatisfiedCustomer.

It is confusing to me that religion appears to be the only domain of discourse where the mildest form of criticism at its expense is labelled as “intolerant” or “aggressive”.

This is especially concerning given the influence religion exudes on society as a whole.  There seems to be a growing trend, born out of desperation, to label any criticism of religion, however mild as “aggressive atheism”, or “militant atheism”, often atheism is interchanged with secularism to the same extent, but the same fallacy remains. Read more

More fun and games with Challenge My Church

Over the last few months, I’ve engaged with @ChallengeChurch on twitter, and on this blog about varying subjects, but mostly entertaining logical failures and god of the gaps fallacies. I’ve also taken to mocking and pointing out the obvious flaws in their religious statements. But mostly mocking. It amuses me to no end that an organisation (possibly one person), who has so little understanding of “things”, actively invites challenge.

This occasional “debate” and mockery at the hands of myself and fellow atheists has prompted them (possible him/her) to address it in a new blog entry here, entitled CMC VS Athiests (Yes, they are still spelling it wrong).

Normally this type of “argument” would not warrant a response, but what it lacks in valid points, it compensates for un-unintentional humour. It’s worth pointing out before I address some points individually that @ChallengeChurch bases every single argument on a fallacy of “You can’t explain X, therefore God”. There is never any attempt to present evidence for the claims made, but rather questions and false assumptions about out current scientific understanding of the natural order.

I don’t need to go into detail how this argument doesn’t stand up, except to say atheists accept science doesn’t explain everything, but they also accept that stating “god did it” explains nothing.

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“If Evolution is True, Why Are There Still Monkeys?”

This “question” is often a mild source of frustration for me, which can, on occasion manifest into episodes of chronic rage and indiscriminate violence, but not entirely for the reasons you may imagine.

It’s not the complete lack of understanding in regards to common ancestry and evolution that gets my sacrificial goat; it’s the Incomprehensible levels of arrogance that the question alone indicates.

Now, this may come as a surprise to some, but I’m not actually a scientist. No, honestly.

I would consider myself someone with an average level of academic ability. This is why I find it useful to defer the shortcomings of my own knowledge to experts who endeavour to seek the truth, via credible and robust methods of observation, study and testing. I believe this makes it possible to consider myself informed. This to me seems a reasonable method of learning what…is.

I do think it’s important to have patience with people when such ignorance is a result of naivety or lack of education, but unfortunately, this question never takes the form of a sincere desire to learn the answer. It is void of all inquisitiveness. In fact, it’s not even intended as a question. It’s a smirking premature declaration of victory by the poser. They believe, in one act of intellectual superiority, they have destroyed Darwin and flipped scientific understanding on its head. That’s some feat. Bravo!

It’s this extraordinarily high regard for ones own intellect that I find mind-blowing, especially given the subject matter of the question. In fact, you don’t even need to understand the theory of evolution (which they don’t) to deduce that you must be mistaken in your questions premise, or at the least, short of a few key pieces of key information.

Let’s have a look at some things you must assume about yourself/knowledge to even put forward this question, or perhaps should have considered before asking it:

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