The fracas over the burning (or not burning, or burning only if a mosque is built, or not at all) of a quran by a Florida church, and ensuing condemnations from a whole bunch of Islamic states, including Jammu and Kashmir has been quite stunning. How does a Church in Florida burning a book affect somebody in Kashmir? With everything else that’s happening in Kashmir, why on Earth are they bothered about this?

This Australian attorney seems to have had the right idea about this whole affair, for example. Unfortunately, he’s going to lose his job because he smoked joints made from pages of the Bible and the Quran (he says the Bible smokes better than the Quran, if somebody’s curious). He says that if you think what happens to some pages you will never lay your eyes on, EVER, is critically important, you’re taking life too seriously. ‘Here. Smoke some’.

The artist of Jesus and Mo has a similar take on this issue. He makes the point with characteristic wit:


Jon Stewart and Co‘s take on this is clever and sane, as well. (I would’ve embedded the video here, except Comedy Central videos never embed properly.)

You are allowed to have all the delusions you want. What is objectionable is expecting other people to believe your delusions too. And asking others to ‘respect’ your beliefs isn’t much better. Nor is ‘I find that offensive’ an argument.

I think that will be the last I’ll say about this sordid affair of slow-burning Qurans and extremely-quickly offended people. Never fear, though… there are ever so many nitwits in this world, and they can never help themselves. I’m sure the next one will come along soon enough.



11:20 am – I’ve used, above, ‘he’ to refer to the anonymous artist of Jesus and Mo. I don’t know that it’s a ‘he’. I don’t even know that it’s one person and not a group of people. Apologies.


In which I rip off PZ Myers!

Obama, in one of his speeches condemning the proposed Quran-burning in Florida (which, incidentally, won’t happen, now… or it will, only if the Mosque at Ground Zero, which isn’t at Ground Zero, isn’t built. I’m sure it’s something like that) seems to have said that the USA is one Nation under god and that people call him different names. Here are some PZ Myers has come up with:

[…]words like abhorrent, abominable, absurd, acrimonious, appalling, asinine, atrocious, awful, bad, bad-tempered, bananas, barbaric, barbarous, batty, bitter, bloodthirsty, bonkers, brutish, callous, certifiable, childish, cold-blooded, concocted, contemptible, corrupt, cracked, crackers, crazed, cruel, cuckoo, cutting, dangerous, demented, deplorable, depraved, deranged, despicable, detestable, disagreeable, disgusting, dishonest, dishonorable, disreputable, distasteful, disturbed, dreadful, dreamed-up, evil, execrable, fanciful, fatuous, ferocious, fictional, fictitious, fiendish, fierce, foolish, foul, foul, frightful, frivolous, harsh, hateful, heartless, homicidal, hostile, idiotic, inane, inhuman, iniquitous, insipid, insufferable, intolerable, invented, loathsome, loco, loony, loopy, ludicrous, mad, made-up, make-believe, malevolent, malign, malignant, mean, merciless, monstrous, murderous, mythical, mythological, nasty, nauseating, nefarious, noisome, nonexistent, nuts, objectionable, obnoxious, obscene, offensive, pettish, petty, poisonous, pretend, psycho, psychotic, quarrelsome, querulous, rancorous, raving mad, remorseless, repellent, reprehensible, repugnant, repulsive, ridiculous, ruthless, sadistic, savage, schizophrenic, screwy, senseless, sickening, spiteful, storybook, stupid, terrible, unbalanced, unconscionable, unhinged, unpalatable, unpleasant, unprincipled, unsavory, unscrupulous, unspeakable, unstable, vapid, venomous, vile, vile, villainous, vindictive, violent, wicked, and wrongful.

That list has just gone on the atheism page here!

This is either a True Believer or a brilliant Poe.

I kinda know which of those this is. Too bad you never will! Here’s an extract from a chat I had with somebody (who, because I know them personally, shall only be called ‘B’):

“Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31″

Me: You left out the next part, dude.

B: That’s the only part I wanted to convey.

Me: You do know there is a next part.

B: Next part in the sense? Actually the Bible is a series of stories & preachings in verses. I’ve jus taken one verse.

Me: I know what the bible is.

” O, you crazy fellow who thinks he’s god, let my frikkin’ hand go.”

B: Was that your sentence or a verse?

Me: Brilliant! Never mind!

B: 🙂

Atheism Week… 1

There have been several posts this week about atheism [(1, here), (2, here), and (3, here)], and a fluid-mechanical analogy for how dumb conservapaedia is. There’s also been some humour! So many posts, in fact, that I think this can veritably be called Atheism Week at Learning to be Terse. I also think I’ll do this again sometime. You know, when some Religious H. Dumbfellow becomes more pious, preachy, or holier-than-thou than I can bear.

I feel like I should point out that this isn’t simply vanity. I don’t rant about religion because I want to make noise. Well, I do, a little, and it’s a ready-made topic to write about when nothing else is available, but this is one luxury I’d so rather not have.

I do this because I think religion is about as maleficent a concept, and god – especially the one of the old testament – as vile a creation as the human mind could cook up. I know quite a few people who feel the same way about faith, and would rather that religion disappeared overnight, at the very least from the public sphere. In the absence of that, I’m (we’re) prepared to make as much noise as will get the message across about how stupid, wrong, and dangerous faith is.

As Richard Dawkins says, the problem I have isn’t with this faith or that. It’s with the concept of faith itself. Especially when faith, and its expression, enter the public sphere. Even more so when religious faith is considered sacrosanct, in that criticism of this public expression of belief is not only socially unacceptable, but also illegal. You think that will never happen? Wake up. It already has. The United fucking Nations has ratified a ‘no-criticism of Islam’ doctrine. It may not be called exactly that, of course, and it is still a non-binding resolution, but it has wording that comes pretty close to criminalising blasphemy. It notes, for example,

with deep concern [that] Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.

Yeah. And cigarettes are frequently (and wrongly, I’m sure) associated with causing cancer; germs are frequently associated with causing diseases, and thunderstorms are frequently associated with people getting drenched.

The resolution is non-binding, as in Nations aren’t required by United Nations decree to enact laws criminalizing blasphemy… Yet. I have a sinking feeling that that may not be too far from happening too.


Here’s something I read about only last night. It’s from Uttar Pradesh. The shame. Parents of a 4 year old ‘sacrificed’ her by burning her alive because a tantric told them they’d become rich by doing this. I mean, WTF. Even if one were stupid enough to believe the crap about becoming rich, what the fuck are you going to do with the money having killed your own daughter? Shove it up your asses? Do that and then light it on fire, why don’t you?

The Faith of Idiots – Pat Condell

Since this seems to have become Atheism Week here at the blog, I thought I’d add a dash of humour into the mix. Here’s Pat Condell talking about why the ranks of the faithful are full of idiots. It takes time and (a lot of) effort to acquire knowledge, whereas any fool can acquire faith instantly and effortlessly. Damn straight!

Evidence for God!

I wrote this, saying that faith in the supernatural is unsupportable by evidence. Whoa! Hold your horses! Not so fast, even. It’s religious canard time. A commenter thinks there’s plenty of evidence. He offers a selection of arguments for the existence of god.

sabepashubbo said, on August 19, 2010 at 12:10 am

Sorry to intrude, but there is plenty of evidence for God’s existence if you take the time to study theism. The horizontal and vertical cosmological arguments, the teleological argument, the ontological argument, the moral argument. Not to mention that there is a lack of evidence in some of these areas from a naturalist’s perspective (the cosmological argument is a biggie here).

Read C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” for a good explanation of the moral argument. Watch a William Lane Craig debate on YouTube for the cosmological and teleological arguments. The evidence is out there if you know where to look.

Thanks for your time. :-)

Here’s a rephrasal of those arguments (from here):

(1) If I say something must have a cause, it has a cause.
(2) I say the universe must have a cause.
(3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.
(4) Therefore, God exists.

(1) Isn’t that baby/sunset/flower/tree beautiful?
(2) Only God could have made them so beautiful.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

(1) I can conceive of a perfect God.
(2) One of the qualities of perfection is existence.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

(1) If there are absolute moral standards, then God exists.
(2) Atheists say that there are no absolute moral standards.
(3) But that’s because they don’t want to admit to being sinners.
(4) Therefore, there are absolute moral standards.
(5) Therefore, God exists.

Needless to say, I’m not very impressed with any of those arguments. Since there is no way in hell I’m paying to buy some religious apologist’s pablum, I did the next best thing. I went to Pharyngula and saw if PZ Myers had something to say about C.S.Lewis’ book. He did. The entire first chapter’s there too, if somebody wants to experience a little pain (you know, jebus might start liking you if you put yourself through a blender; allah will only like you if you put someone else through the blender, though, so you might be out of luck there). I didn’t want to.

I’ll say something about the argument from absolute morality here, since I’ve written about morality and science before. CS Lewis’ argument is that morality is absolute, and therefore needs a moral-law-giver.

1) Morality is not always absolute. Even in Sam Harris’ formulation, I think there’ll be certain issues that remain morally ambiguous.

2) Whatever morality is absolute, is almost always directly linked to species-survival. (Don’t kill each other). Everything else seems to be cultural. And for sure, neither absolute morality, nor the lack of it, needs a divine puppeteer for explanation.

The cost of doing business

I wrote something about Conservapaedia and their sleaze earlier today. Vattam sent me this screenshot of an ad run by google below the post:

Now, I know my writing might not appeal to everybody, but surely it isn’t so bad that people who read something I’ve written supporting atheism will run screaming in the other direction, and into the arms of jebus the saviour?

On a more serious note, this is just the cost of doing business. If you write something that contains words that are ‘controversial’, you can expect ads like this. Click on the ads you see here, if you want to. If WordPress makes some money off the loonies, maybe they’ll put the money they earn into making the blog’s software better. If you do, send me screenshots! The lunacy has to be breathtaking!