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Stardate 10.014

Ascent out of Darkness ~ Armchair Philosophy from the 'Silly Beliefs' Team


Me atheist. Me not Bright
I came across a blog the other day where an atheist said he had become a 'Bright'. This is the new name that some are suggesting we use instead of atheist. This group is all for promoting atheism and a secular lifestyle without any reference to gods. I fully support the cause, but I hate the name 'Brights'. Nearly all the discussion regarding 'Brights' revolves around explaining the name rather than explaining atheism.

As much as many religious people hate the word 'atheist', they hate 'Bright' even more. Brights acknowledge that they're still atheists, therefore all the hated 'atheist attributes' that religious types believe atheists have are still there, all Brights have done is give religious types one more reason to hate them. They are now an atheist with an arrogant new name.

The blog writer even said: "I like the idea of not just being "bright" as in intelligent, but bright as in Sagan's candle in the dark". Unfortunately most religious people will have never heard of Carl Sagan's book thus this meaning is lost on them, and they will naturally focus on his first option - intelligence. Since they aren't a 'Bright', they will see themselves labelled as not-bright, not intelligent. Explaining to them that they haven't read the right books and thus don't get the other meaning won't help.

In the last few years the term atheist has got enormous publicity thanks to the likes of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris etc and more and more people are coming out of the closet and proudly identifying themselves as atheist. We need to take advantage of this change and not bury the term again. We certainly shouldn't replace it with one that means absolutely nothing to most people, and even when informed that 'Bright' people don't believe in god, believers will immediately take it as an insult.

The term atheist is clear and concise, let's not replace it with one that, rightly or wrongly, only serves to confuse and antagonise people.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 05 Aug, 2007 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend


  1. Comment by Des, 20 Sep, 2007

    Names like atheist, agnostic or unbeliever are negatives. Their point of reference is not what I believe in, but what someone else believes in. If asked if I am an atheist, I will happily acknowledge that I am one. However, in reply to a more open question, I would in earlier times identify myself as a Humanist. Nowadays, like Richard Dawkins and Dan Dennett, I am an enthusiastic Bright.

    I am a believer by the way. I believe that we live on a planet which orbits one of billions of stars in our galaxy. I believe that our galaxy is one of billions of galaxies in the universe. I believe that the earth is billions of years old. I believe that humans have evolved from "lower" forms of life. I believe that most groups of humans have come up with similar values - don't kill, don't steal, don't lie - because they have had to deal with similar problems. I believe in the Golden Rule. In fact when I begin to think of the number of things I believe in, I am sure they must at least match the beliefs of those who are retarded by superstition.

    My beliefs are based on a naturalistic worldview and that by definition makes me a bright. The new name is important to me because it is not a label stuck on me by some in-group (theists) to identify outsiders (atheists). It is a name chosen by an in-group to which I am happy to belong. In the words of Richard Dawkins: "I am a bright. You are (quite probably) a bright. Most of the people I know are brights. The majority of scientists are brights." The name "bright" is positive and it is influenced by the idea of light and the Enlightenment. It is not intended to be arrogant but slightly provocative to attract attention (as it clearly did in this blog).

    The Brights movement is political. Its focus is not on debating theists but on demanding equal status for the naturalistic worldview. For instance the NZ Charities Act 2005 gives charitable status to an organisation that "advances religion", even though this breaches the Bill of Rights and the Human Rights Act. If you want to do something about this and other privileges enjoyed by the supernatural worldview in NZ, maybe you should check out www.the-brights.net.

Drink Driving Cop
The recent case of rural sole charge policeman being caught over the alcohol limit while attending an accident highlights the "she'll be right" attitude of many people. According to news reports the cop was off duty and at home drinking with a mate. His drinking mate then drove off and minutes later the cop was advised of an accident 2 kms away. The cop evidently carried oxygen and a defibrillator in his police vehicle. Being in a rural area the cop decided he should attend rather than wait for the ambulance from further afield. When other police arrived at the scene they suspected the cop was intoxicated and breath-tested him. He was one third over the legal limit.

What is not often mentioned is that it was evidently his drinking mate that had the accident, crashing head-on with another vehicle killing himself and the other innocent driver. Why did the cop not prevent his mate from driving drunk? The police and all the TV ads tell us we should be responsible and yet here is a cop letting his mate drive off drunk. People also say it was safe enough for the cop because he was only going 2 km down the road. Yet remember that his mate only drove the same 2 km down the road and killed two people. And it is also possible that the cop had more to drink than his mate since his mate knew he was going to drive home and so limited his intake, the cop was already at home so wouldn't have had to worry about how much he drank. If the equipment the cop had was so essential why couldn't he simply ask his partner (if he had one), or a friend or neighbour to drive him to the accident? Was the whole community drunk? Also would the cop have risked driving drunk to the accident if it wasn't for the fact that he knew it was his mate in the accident?

Comment from other locals that volunteer for emergency services say that they will now think about not responding to emergencies when they're drunk (an attempt at emotional blackmail, but actually the right choice). Other said they would continue to respond when drunk (the wrong choice).

This cop must be found guilty, although it's hoped he won't loose his job if he's realised the error of his ways. We can't have an excuse to drive drunk simply because we think we have a good reason to do so. We can't say that rural people can drive drunk because of their isolation. The cop made a mistake and needs to be punished as the rest of us would be.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 06 Aug, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

Dominican Order Suppresses History
I see the Roman Catholic Dominican Order is celebrating its 800th anniversary in Oamaru this week. They were careful not to mention their crucial role in the Inquisition. It was the rise of the Dominican Order that really got the Inquisition into its most torturous and barbaric phase in the 13th century. The Catholic Church officially sanctioned the use of torture to extract confessions in 1215. It did not recant this order until 1816. The Spanish Inquisition did not cease its persecution of heretics until 1850.

That our ancestors could be so ignorant, so superstitious and so barbaric towards other humans is deeply depressing. However to realise that the very beliefs that they used to justify these atrocities are the same beliefs that they brainwash children with today is disgusting. They read from the same book, the Bible, and continue to spread their hatred, intolerance, ignorance and gullibility.

For example this is what the Bible says Christians (and Jews and Muslims) MUST do if someone questions their belief in God:

If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the LORD your God.
(Deuteronomy 13:6-10)
The loving Christian is not allowed to merely debate, ignore or imprison non-believers, he MUST kill them. It's depressing enough to realise that we used to believe and obey commandments like these, but to think that people like the Dominican Order still proudly celebrate this history and continue its presence is nothing short of disgusting.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 06 Aug, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

Maori School Bus
I see that a Maori language school has been allowed to replace the warning sign "SCHOOL" on it's school bus with the Maori word for school - "KURA".

This is ridiculous, our politically correct government departments are wimps. I could possibly accept the addition of the Maori sign, but the "SCHOOL" sign has been removed entirely. How may NZers know the Maori word for school? Ten, twelve? How many foreign tourists know the Maori word? None. Is it in the Road Code? No. Legally the Road Code says we have to treat "SCHOOL" buses differently to ordinary buses, so if it hasn't got "SCHOOL" on it, is it not an ordinary bus? And if it's really authentic Maori shouldn't it be written in Maori? Oh I forgot, the stone age Maori didn't have a written language. They flogged the English alphabet. If Maori are happy to use the "colonisers" machine (bus) and the "colonisers" alphabet to write on that machine that drives them to the "colonisers" educational facility, why can't they use the "colonisers" word as well?

If people want to learn their ancestors' language for no reason other than keeping it alive, that's fine. Personally I have no wish to learn the numerous languages that my ancestors spoke, since none of them are spoken in today's world and are therefore of no use to me. We should be moving to one language to facilitate better communication rather than splintering into multiple languages. Better understanding and acceptance of other cultures is occurring because different cultures can communicate in one language, English. I'm not suggesting that English is the best language we could have used, but we're stuck with it now. The common world language — for science, diplomacy, aviation, maritime, conferences etc — is English, not Maori. For a number of years now we have been changing road signs, warning signs etc to match International Standards. To reverse this trend by making signs solely in Maori is a backward and stupid step.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 06 Aug, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend


  1. Comment by Anonymous, 04 Feb, 2008

    Who writes this stuff, the thought process behind this entire argument is clearly one based on racist values. You go too far in your argument regarding the use of the word Kura. Simply state your case in a clear concise manner, not in the maniacal tirade that you have posted. You, the writer would be the perfect candidate to go and learn to speak Maori and while you're at it brush up on your knowledge on the Treaty of Waitangi.

  2. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 04 Feb, 2008

    Ahh, yes, the easy way of winning a debate — call your opponent a racist. Apart from that offensive accusation you fail to state your point. Why should a small special interest group be allowed to remove a warning sign, that is legally required for everyone else, and replace it with a sign that few can understand? Remember that the word "SCHOOL" is not placed on buses as a decoration. It's a warning sign. Not for the Maori speaking children on the bus, but for motorists approaching the bus, the majority of which will be non-Maori speaking. Remember that the sign "KURA" is not in addition to the sign "SCHOOL", but instead of. The purpose of warning signs is not to improve foreign language skills but to warn of potential dangers. If warning signs are written in a language that the majority doesn't understand, and that includes Maori, then they fail as a warning.

    Would you support Catholic school buses replacing their signs with the Latin word for "SCHOOL"? What about IT schools that teach computing writing "SCHOOL" in binary or hex? How about Islamic school buses having Arabic signage? Sign language is now an official language in NZ, so should we permit warning signs written solely in sign language symbols? This is what you're suggesting for Maori signs. Where would it stop, or are you suggesting that only Maori schools have a special right to rename their buses? That is, a right based solely on race?

    To suggest that I will understand why Maori school buses need to have signs solely in Maori only after I learn to speak Maori and study the Treaty of Waitangi only supports my argument. That the sign "KURA" will only become a warning after one studies the language and the treaty shows how foolhardy it is to employ it as a warning sign.

    As my friend Maya used to say about warning signs in foreign languages, "Qu ese aviso dice?"

Israeli Lebanon Conflict
A protestor was asked at an anti-Israeli protest in Auckland why he wasn't complaining about Hizbollah attacks, only the Israeli ones. He replied that it was because of Israel's disproportionate response. Why didn't the reporter ask him, "So if Hizbollah was killing the same number as Israel you'd be at home on the couch watching the rugby. You wouldn't be concerned? What number of dead civilians is acceptable before you start to protest?" Obviously Israel has exceeded this number but Hizbollah has not if the majority of public opinion and news reports are to be believed.

The news of this conflict seems to be biased in Hizbollah's favour since the poor terrorists haven't got the sophisticated weapons of the Israelis. The have to make do with basic rockets loaded with shrapnel to do the maximum damage when deliberately aimed at civilians. Even the unfortunate and innocent Lebanese demonise the Israelis yet never mention their fellow Lebanese, the Hizbollah, except to praise their hospitals and schools and add their support. The idea that Israeli shouldn't respond to 100 missile attacks on their citizens per day is ridiculous. Just imagine what you would do if your neighbour starting throws stones at your property, breaking a few windows, scratching your car and scaring the kids. Would you pack up a few belongings, grab the kids and flee your property, never to return? Or would you call the Police and tell them to sort your neighbour out? Well this is just what the Israelis are doing. Their authorities are sorting out their neighbours.

As for Israel's disproportionate response, let's again imagine a local scenario. You ring the Police and tell them that your neighbour, a 60 year old guy, threatened you with an old double barrelled shotgun. Do the Police respond by sending a single 60 year old cop armed with an old double barrelled shotgun? Or do they send a dozen young, fit, highly trained men armed with automatic assault rifles, pistols, sniper rifles, tear gas, bullet proof vests and the latest communication gear? Why do we accept this disproportionate response from our Police? Shouldn't we complain? Of course not. When threatened one responds with every resource one has. If Hizbollah expected anything less then they are even more stupid than I think they are.

The main focus of news reporters is the loss of innocent Lebanese lives and destruction of the Lebanese infrastructure. Of course the loss of one innocent life is one too many, but are all the Lebanese completely innocent? They have supported, or at the very least turned a blind eye to the build up of Hizbollah within their very community. Hizbollah is a terrorist organisation with the goal of destroying the State of Israel. They have promoted the growth of a cancer within their own body, and as with real cancer, often many unaffected cells must be sacrificed in order to destroy the tumour and save the body.

Is there any evidence that Israel is deliberately targeting civilians? No. If it turns out that they are then they will need to answer for this. Is there any evidence that Hizbollah is deliberately targeting civilians? Yes, most definitely. The rockets' trajectories and payload are designed to inflict maximum civilian causalities. The Hizbollah began this conflict and are unashamedly targeting civilians whereas the Israelis are not, yet it is the Israelis that are the subject of protest marches. The root cause of this conflict is obviously Israel's presence in Palestine. They are there because of a religious myth and stupid decisions made after WW1. Israel should never have been created, but unfortunately it was. We can't turn back time any more than we can wish the Spanish Inquisition didn't happen. Israel is here to stay and Israelis, Palestinians and surrounding Arab states have to learn to live together peacefully. This idea that Israelis need to leave is ridiculous, it just shifts the problem somewhere else. Will you willingly give up your land to relocate around 6 million Israelis?

And of course religion continues to fuel the conflict with fundamentalist Jews believing their Sky Fairy promised them this piece of real estate. If I was God's favourite people and given the whole world to choose from he gave me a crappy piece of desert I'd feel pretty ripped off. Why did the Jews get Israel and the Hawaiians get Hawaii? Then you have the Muslim Hizbollah who also believe that the same Sky Fairy will grant them automatic entry to heaven, 72 voluptuous virgins and a free pass to heaven for 72 other family members if they die in their attempts at destroying the infidels. As long as these primitive superstitions are passed from generation to generation the conflict will continue.

Rightly or wrongly, Israel isn't going anywhere, and everyone needs to accept this fact and work from there.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 06 Aug, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

Maori and the extended family
The death of the Kahui twins has brought claims that not only did the extended family not know who killed them, they didn't even know who was caring for them.

Maori tell us that their extended family shared parenting practise is something to be admired and emulated, yet at the same time Maori leaders, Maori MPs etc tell us that Maori are disproportionately represented in many areas of society. Areas such as learning difficulties, family violence, obesity, addiction to cigarettes, alcohol and drug abuse, crime statistics, prison numbers etc. We're told we must ban fast foods, sugary drinks, cigarettes, alcohol and pokies because Maori can't resist them. We're told that many Maori can't cope with the demands that modern society places on them.

It's the old nature verses nurture debate. If we're to believe that Maori are equal to all other "races", and I do, then what does that leave? If it's not genetic, not nature, then it's nurture, the environment that they're raised in.

Perhaps it's time that Maori realise that their extended family model is another "tradition", along with utu and taniwhas, that doesn't prepare their children for the 21st Century.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 28 Jun, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

Dog Microchips
What a mess this microchipping of all dogs has turned out to be. The very reason it was instigated is the one thing it won't prevent — dog attacks. No matter how many chips a dog has under its skin, none will stop it attacking someone. If the dog is caught in the act and detained, then a microchip will help identify its owner, but this is no consolation to its victim, who may be seriously injured or even dead. If the dog isn't caught in the act, then even if it's picked up as a stray later and you can identify its owner, how can you prove it was guilty of the attack after the fact?

Now that working dogs will be exempt, that means that maybe 40% of all dogs, including farm dogs, companion dogs, police dogs, security company dogs, pest control dogs etc, will not be able to be identified. Yet often security guard dogs, police dogs, pig hunting dogs etc are quite vicious. That's their purpose after all. You don't see police poodles. Gangs, white supremacists etc often have the dogs that are considered as dangerous breeds, yet gangs don't worry if their firearms, vehicles, drug use, 'business activities' etc are illegal, so what moron could think that they would ensure that their dogs are complying with the law?

Authorities say they will be especially targeting microchipping of dangerous breeds of dogs. Yet if they can identify dangerous breeds, a good question would be why people are allowed to keep dangerous breeds of dogs in the first place? The problem is the dangerous dogs, not identifying them after they attack some poor kid. Get rid of the dogs and there is nothing that needs to be identified. We don't allow people to keep pet alligators or crocodiles, so why do we allow them to keep the canine equivalent?

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 24 Jun, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

Tame Iti and one justice for all
Maori activist Tame Iti is in court on firearm charges after shooting the NZ flag during a powhiri or welcoming ceremony last year. It seems they're only charging him with unlawfully possessing a firearm in a public place, yet as I see it he should be charged with: no firearms licence, brandishing a firearm in a public place, twice discharging a firearm, shooting the NZ flag and indecent exposure. The shotgun should also be confiscated. Any other member of the public would be so charged.

The wankers claim that the line of overturned cars on fire and 'CSI style' body effigies painted on the road were a re-enactment of the Crown's 'scorched earth' policy of the 1860s. Like Maori were driving around in cars in the 1860s!!! And look at Iti's traditional Maori attire on the day: European hat, European kilt, European army boots and a European weapon. Nothing else. Not one item that was Maori.

He claims that no firearm permits are needed under tribal Tuhoe conditions and customs and that he doesn't carry or fire weapons outside his tribal area. Well of course Maori customs don't include firearm permits, they were a stone-age society with nothing more than spears and clubs. This idea that Maori don't need firearms licences, dog licences, fishing licences etc is nothing other than apartheid. They claim that traditionally they didn't need them, which is true, because they didn't even have firearms for example, but when they go to do their 'traditional' fishing without a licence they take an aluminium boat fitted out with outboard motors, electronic fish finders, GPS etc. This is hardly 'traditional' fishing so their argument is utter crap.

NZ society can only function if there is one law for all its citizens, not one for Maori and another for everyone else. An injustice will have been committed if Tame Iti is not treated equally under the law.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 14 Jun, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

Simple religion does no harm
Many religious people say that religion in its conventional form does no harm. I'm not talking about religious extremists here, just the likes of your neighbours, your granny and those Baptist and Catholic churches down the road. Yet I read that the young daughter of a woman that was murdered by sniper John Muhammad in Washington back in 2002, wants to die. She has told her father that she wants to die so that she can be reunited with her mother. Now where would she get an idea like that, that her mother is fit and healthy in some other place just waiting for her loved ones? Bloody religion that's where. Instead of getting over this traumatic experience and moving on with her life, religious types have convinced her that her mother has gone to a better place. What young child wouldn't want to follow, to go to a better place? It's not like she's leaving her father, he can kill himself and come too. The fact that religion keeps putting ideas like this in young nave minds is disgusting. Simple religion does no harm?

Yeah right.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 07 Jun, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend


  1. Comment by Federico Perazzoni, 02 Aug, 2006

    Nice.... :-)

  2. Comment by Steve, 20 Mar, 2008

    If theres no life beyond this existence what does it matter to anyone else when or how quickly we die. Its not like theres any real purpose to life anyway, except in our own minds and thats not necessarily reality.

  3. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 22 Mar, 2008

    Steve, the fact that there's no life beyond this one means that we need to make the most of this one. The only purpose to life is what we give it. If we decide to waste it so be it, but we could also strive to learn new things, make and enjoy our friendships, help others, enjoy the beautiful things that the world has to offer etc etc. You ask 'what does it matter to anyone else when or how quickly we die?' We'd like to think that perhaps some of your friends or loved ones are glad that you're still around and would be saddened if you suddenly decided to commit suicide. I'd be depressed if my friends and family were forever committing suicide just on a silly whim to meet up in a fictional place.

Scientology & South Park
The South Park episode that exposed and ridiculed Scientology has screened in NZ without a single protest from any religious group. The "Bloody Mary" episode and the Islamic cartoons had numerous religions (Christians, Jews, Muslims etc) joining forces, protesting and demanding that we "Respect Religion". Yet not one of these groups supported the religion of Scientology when their beliefs were ridiculed in public. As I've stated before, they don't give a damm about these other 'false' religions and are too busy publicising the odd good saying falsely attributed to their mythical boss while vigorously suppressing all the ugly, vile, disgusting bits. Scientology NZ did the sensible thing and kept their mouths shut, and thus the show screened with the great majority of NZers unaware of its existence. They thus limited the damage to Scientology that would have resulted if their silly beliefs had become public knowledge. Thankfully the Catholic Church haven't learnt this lesson and continue to provide "The Da Vinci Code" book and movie with millions of dollars worth of free advertising.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 30 May, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

Pope Questions God
Pope Benedict visited Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi death camp this week. In a speech or prayer he asked his god, "Why Lord did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this? Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil?"

So that clearly demonstrates that even the Pope has no communication with God. Yet I thought the Pope was God's highest representative on Earth? If God won't even talk to the Pope then what hope have normal Catholics got of receiving some sort of message or sign? Obviously none whatsoever.

Even without God's assistance, the Pope with all his theological training and all the resources of the Vatican has no idea why God didn't stop the Nazis atrocities. The simple fact is that God didn't step in for the same reason the Easter Bunny didn't step in. A more revealing question is why didn't the Vatican step in and oppose Hitler? Pope Benedict should re-ask the questions he posed above but replace 'God' with 'Vatican'. He should be accusing his own organisation rather than its imaginary figurehead.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 30 May, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend


  1. Comment by Bob, 24 Oct, 2007

    Not only that but looking at it from the point of view of religious beliefs why did God allow the creation of men who would do what the Nazis did? If God knows everything why allow Hitler to be born? The Christian answer is it is free will but God knew where Hitler's free will would lead him. Why are some people's minds so configured that they grow up to be psychopaths while most have sympathy and concern for other people? God must have arranged the genetic basis for psychopathy. Logically religious beliefs simply don't make sense. However if genes are fashioned by mutations then over time a variety of brain patterns will emerge and that is what we see. We don't wonder why some people are introverted and others extroverted or why some are very intelligent and others aren't. Yet when one set of genes leads a person to be a criminal it is "evil". The evidence can only lead to the conclusion that there is no God. If there is a great intelligence behind the universe it has used a natural process, evolution, to form life in myriad patterns and brain functions and is not concerned with outcomes. Why are some dog breeds aggressive and others passive? It is the same question and same conclusion.

  2. Comment by Mike, 28 Dec, 2007

    Just in response to the question about the Pope, the holocaust was horrible, but happened so that the Jewish people could fulfil the prophesy in the Holy Scriptures and reform the state of Israel. Think of it, for 2000 years there was no Israel, then it was miraculously formed in 1948, giving the Jewish people a homeland. Without the Holocaust, it is doubtful that the impetus would have existed for the formation of Israel.

    The following scriptures explicitly predicted the regathering of the scattered Jewish people and the reformation of the state of Israel:

    Isaiah 11:12, Jeremiah 23:3 & 31:10

    May God Bless you

  3. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 31 Dec, 2007

    Sorry Mike but I don't understand people who say the Holocaust was horrible but in the same breath say it had to happen. That 6 million Jews had to be slaughtered before the Christians in Britain, France, America and the League of Nations etc would take any notice of the Jew's plight. Frankly I find it offensive when people suggest that they can in good conscience justify slaughtering millions of people. And it wasn't just 6 million Jews, another 44 million people were killed in WWII, which if we are to accept this explanation, was merely a stage put up by God on which the Holocaust would play out on. We're talking about an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God trying to get his chosen people back to the land he had given them, and the best solution he could come up with, after 2000 years of thinking about it, was torturing and slaughtering 6 million of them. There was nothing miraculous about Israel's creation in 1948. We can explain every step of its bloody formation. And while we're at it, why did God, with the whole planet at his disposal, give his chosen people Israel of all places? Why not Hawaii, Tahiti or even Europe? I'd consider being gifted Israel a punishment not a reward.

    And if God was the cause of the Holocaust as Mike suggests then why do we blame Hitler and the Nazis for the atrocity? If the Bible is true then they were like puppets, blindly acting out what God had decreed thousands of years ago. Millions of Jews had to die to raise public awareness of their plight so God waited and eventually decided that the poor Germans would be the villains in his play about the Jews. What is it with God that he believes the only time we'll take notice is when he kills en masse? Remember Noah's flood? Consequently the Nazis were put on trial for crimes against humanity for the holocaust. If we discovered that another human deliberately killed 50 million people, injured countless more, destroyed families and countries merely to highlight a real estate problem the Jews were having, we would consider him an evil monster and prosecute him. And yet this is what God has done if we are to believe the prophecies in the Old Testament. And Christians worship him for these atrocities.

    Of course we shouldn't believe these silly prophecies, and even if we should, they had nothing to do with the Nazis. These prophets were talking about events long past, such as their captivity in Babylonia and their prophesised return to Israel and Judah. Mike quotes Isaiah 11:12 — "He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth." But the previous verse says: "In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. (Isa 11:11)". God isn't bringing people from America, Russia or Britain, but from countries that ceased to exist long ago. By selectively quoting passages from the Bible and ignoring the rest these quotes appear to say something that was never intended. If you look at the entire prophesy you realize that it isn't talking about the Holocaust at all. Isaiah says that when the Jews return to Israel "The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. (Isa 11:6)". Also "In that day the Root of Jesse [a descendent of King David] will stand as a banner for the peoples. (Isa 11:10)". And that "The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea. (Isa 11:15)". None of these things which are integral parts of the prophesy have happened. And the Jeremiah quotes are just as flawed: "I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture. (Jer 23:3)". Note that the quote says that God - I myself - will gather the Jews, not the Nazis or the League of Nations, but then it goes on to say that "they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the LORD. (Jer 23:4)", and "I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely, (Jer 23:5), and that "Israel will live in safety. (Jer 23:6)". But all this is wrong, Israel is not safe, it's one of the world's hot spots, many Israelites live in fear of attack from suicide bombers and surrounding Arab countries, and no King reigns over them. As for 'no Jew will be missing on their return', well what about the 6 million who lost their lives in the holocaust, not to mention the untold number who died over the last 2000 years while they were waiting for God to get his act together? And Jeremiah 23:10 once again confirms that it is God that is writing history, not the Nazis or the League of Nations: "Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: `He who scattered Israel will gather them."' If the prophesy was correct, which it obviously isn't, it was God that caused the Holocaust, not the Nazis.

    But why are many Christians so concerned about getting the Jews back to Israel? Simple, according to yet more flawed Biblical prophecy, once the Jews all return to Israel, God will slaughter them for their disobedience, paving the way for the all-loving Jesus to return. All this must happen before the 'Second Coming'. So God must finish what he got the Nazis to start, the extermination of the Jews. Modern Israel is just one big concentration camp, but the killing can't begin until all the Jews have returned, and this repatriation is where Christians are happy to lend their support.

    If Christians really believe that the Holocaust was God's will, they should stand up and assert that Hitler was an innocent pawn and that God was the true killer. If they don't believe this then that means that Hitler was acting alone and that God played no part in the formation of modern Israel. Therefore a prophesy claiming that it was God's handiwork is false.

    What's it going to be? The prophesy is true and God is a vicious killer, or the prophesy is bogus and so is the Bible?

Ethics & the Telecom Leak
The disclosure of a confidential document by government messenger Michael Ryan to his close personal friend Peter Garty was illegal, wrong and untrustworthy. He deserves to lose his job. However the behaviour of his close friend Peter Garty also needs to be looked at. While he has done nothing illegal, ethically he has performed badly. On giving the document to Garty, Ryan clearly stated that it was "for your eyes only... do not copy... return to me in the morning" and yet Garty, without letting on to Ryan, did copy it and did reveal it to his Telecom bosses. And then all hell broke loose. Garty obviously felt more loyalty to Telecom than to his close personal friend. Critics are saying that Ryan is not someone to be trusted, but neither is Garty. Garty wasn't covering up a murder or any illegal activity by keeping quiet about the document. It was going to be released in a week or so anyway. He obviously felt that his company could benefit in some way from this information being disclosed, so any claim that he didn't personally benefit from it is a crock, even if it was just psychologically. Maybe he thought he might get a bonus or promotion for his loyalty? Yet in the end it cost Telecom around two billion dollars! On National Radio someone described his action as similar to receiving stolen property. Maybe he didn't seek it out, but on being offered it he decided to keep it. What he did with the information was unethical and I suspect that Ryan no longer considers Peter Garty a close personal friend. Rather than just crucifying Ryan, we need to look at the ethics of both men involved. In a life-threatening situation, I would pick Ryan over Garty any day.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 18 May, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

Thief gets haka welcome
I see fraudster, thief and disgraced ex-Act MP Donna Awatere Huata received a royal welcome on arriving home from prison. She is to serve the remainder of her 2 year nine month sentence on home detention wearing an electronic bracelet around her ankle like the criminal she is. It's a shame they still don't wear those grey outfits with little vertical black arrows on them. Nave schoolchildren waved banners and others performed the ubiquitous haka. Although she and her husband stole $80,000 from the government-funded Pipi Foundation, as a friend pointed out to me, no doubt her supporters only see her ripping off the government and not them, like shafting the tax department. Yet the money was to help underprivileged Maori children. She stole from the very people who are supporting her. Others claim that she didn't steal at all and it's all lies, a conspiracy against poor, hard working Maori. Note that her husband picked her up in their Mercedes Benz.

The welcome and banquet for Donna Awatere Huata and the fawning attitude of her supporters all indicate that she is already back in a position of trust. If idiots want to give her money, fine, but let's hope that the government never again gives her access to taxpayer money.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 18 May, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend


  1. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 29 Feb, 2008

    The NZ Herald reports that convicted fraudster Donna Awatere Huata has been employed by a West Auckland Maori trust — Te Whanau o Waipareira. Its chief executive John Tamihere reckons there is no one better in the country to do the job, asking, "How many experts do you know with her experience and expertise in New Zealand? How many Maori? Name me one off the top of your head." Well we can't name any, but then we're not a recruitment agency whose job it is to find suitable people for positions. Awatere Huata evidently has a background in educational psychology but surely she is not the only person in NZ with these qualifications and/or experience? It's a pretty sorry state of affairs if she is. Or is Tamihere's second question the crucial one, that is, how many Maori are suitable for the job? Why is Tamihere filling the role on racial grounds? Imagine if another NZ company looking for employees asked, 'How many people are qualified to do this work? How many Caucasian people?' Many Maori moan about how NZ is a racist society yet only Maori blatantly recruit people based on race, seemingly believing that Maori are somehow superior at the tasks their trusts require them to perform. Why else wouldn't you hire an equally qualified non-Maori for the position?

    Tamihere defends his employment choice by claiming that people should be given a second chance but then makes it very clear that she will have no control over funding. So he's not giving her a second chance at all, that is, another chance to see if she can be trusted with money. We agree that people should be given a second chance if they've genuinely accepted the error of their ways and Awatere Huata is no different, yet Tamihere merely says she's being employed because of her skills, no mention of whether he believes she has reformed. In fact his refusal to let her be connected with anything involving money suggests he has little confidence in her rehabilitation.

    The article also said she has helped set up the Te Kahui Manaaki Tamariki Trust. No doubt both of these trusts receive some form of taxpayer funding so it will be hoped that Awatere Huata, her husband and associated cronies are kept well away from the cheque books, credit cards, Internet banking and even the petty cash. Our experience with fraudsters is that they seldom reform and given the opportunity will soon start to re-offend, starting with very minor theft. They have this arrogance that they are much smarter than the rest of us and won't be caught. Sending them to prison doesn't seem to dent this confidence, as evidenced by Awatere Huata's assertion that she has done no wrong.

It's a Miracle!
Two gold miners are found trapped but alive in Beaconfield, Australia. "It's a miracle," proclaim the townspeople. While some may simply mean that it's 'amazing' or 'surprising' that they're alive, others most definitely see the hand of God at work. 'Miracle' as my dictionary defines it is "an event that is inexplicable by the laws of nature and so must be supernatural in origin, an act of God." In their church, arms raised to God, they proclaim miracle and thank God for it in one breath. Yet there is a perfectly simple reason why they are still alive - they were protected from falling rocks by a steel cage. There's no need to invoke a fairy in the sky. And if you really believe that God's interference has saved the two miners, you have to ask yourself, "What did God have against Larry?" Because while this all-powerful being saved these two, he let their fellow miner Larry Knight die. Why aren't the townspeople proclaiming, "Larry is dead. It's a miracle," because surely Larry's death is just as inexplicable. If you can't understand how a steel cage provides protection, you won't understand how the lack of a cage doesn't. God's handiwork either way. So, if God decided to save these two, why did he decide to let Larry die?

It's self-deluding bullshit to believe that all good outcomes are a result of God, but bad things just happen.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 09 May, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend


  1. Comment by Steve, 20 Mar, 2008

    You're right, maybe its like Starwars tho, a force for good and a force for evil warring against each other. So not just one supernatural power but two, which like any war has casualties.

  2. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 22 Mar, 2008

    Well of course Christians do believe two supernatural powers are in conflict — God and Satan. So why don't they acknowledge this publicly? Why didn't they say in this case that the score was 2-1? Two for God and one for Satan? Why do Christians highlight God's input as 'miracles' and disguise Satan's input as 'natural occurrences'?

UFOs & Hillbillies
A British 'Ministry of Defence' secret study has concluded that UFOs are nothing other than natural phenomena. They state that there is no evidence they are controlled, least of all by aliens. Of course ufologists will just claim that this is just another government cover-up in the UFO conspiracy. It's unfortunate that the general public seems to equate UFOs as synonymous with 'flying saucers fill of little green men'. They further confuse this topic with the scientific belief that extraterrestrial life is not only possible, but also probable. This 'alien life' is then elevated in their minds to intelligent alien life that travels enormous distances to perform anal probes on hillbillies.

It's a shame that many don't understand that supporting the possibility of alien life does not necessarily mean you support visitation by alien life. Science supports the first but not the second. This difference needs to be highlighted.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 09 May, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

USA - One Nation under God
A recent letter in the Southland Times rabbited on about how the American's are attacking the church and even trying to 'legalise' Christianity (whatever that means), in an attempt to minimise it's influence or even destroy it. The USA may have a secular government and legal separation of church and state, but as far as its citizens go, it's one of the most religious countries on the planet. Michael Shermer notes in his book, 'How We Believe' that the authors of 'The Churching of America 1776-1990', point out that "for the past 2 centuries American church membership rates have risen from a paltry 17% at the time of the American Revolution, to 34% by the middle of the 19th Century to over 60% today. "Newtime" religion far outstrips our forebears religiosity. As a people we have never been so religious". Their president, George 'the chimp' Bush, is a Christian fundamentalist. When his father George Bush Snr was president, he said that atheists shouldn't be allowed to be American citizens. Almost half of Americans are creationists, and a 1996 Gallop poll indicated that 96% believe in God.

Other letter writers moan that even in NZ Christianity has been sidelined and is almost viewed as an embarrassing cult, completely dominated by NZ's secular government. Yet a recent NZ Listener/TNS survey showed that about 7 out of 10 of those surveyed believed in God or some spiritual being. Why do religious types feel so threatened if the majority believe in God and our 'secular' government opens parliament with a prayer to Jesus Christ?

Regardless of their actual dominance, do they see the writing on the wall — that science, reason and humanism will be the death of them? Are these pathetic letters the beginning of their death throes?

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 08 May, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

No Evidence for Astrology
Scientific researchers from universities in Germany and Denmark have studied more than 15,000 people and concluded there is no evidence that supports astrology. They found no link between your birth date and your intelligence or personality. It's amazing that there are still people that believe in this rubbish. If you're one of them, here are three articles that effectively debunk astrology:

'Astrology: FACT or FICTION?' by Michael E. Bakich
'Astrology' @ Bad Astronomy
'Your Astrology Defense Kit' @ The Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 01 May, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

Maori TV and Health
I hear on this morning's news that taxpayers paid 55 million dollars to Maori TV, plus millions more from other tax funded sources, while at the same time hospitals are wiping waiting lists because of their inability to perform operations. Perhaps the taxpayer should be given the choice of where our tax dollar goes. To the likes of Maori TV or to our health system? Let's get our priorities sorted. Crappy entertainment for the minority or quality health for everyone?

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 01 May, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

Wankers & bike helmets
I've just read that Aucklander Les 'Jack' Jackson is 'distressed that Henderson police tried to stop him from riding his motorbike without a helmet. His argument was that he was riding in his son's funeral cortege and he rode without a helmet as a mark of respect to his only child. What a pathetic excuse! Jackson refused to stop for 3 police cars, giving them the 'one-finger salute'. His mummy was also extremely upset. He needs to change his nickname to Les 'the wanker' Jackson. Worse still, the police decided not to charge the moron.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 22 Apr, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend

Religion in School
The following is a media summary of a survey about God and religion in NZ schools:
"'Majority approve of Bible studies'
NZers are less concerned about keeping religious teaching out of schools than some may think, a new survey shows. A NZ Listener - TNS survey showed more than half of those surveyed thought schools should teach that "a divine being or god was responsible for creating our celestial home" and about a quarter believed the Earth was created by God in six days. The survey of 1000 people suggested many might be comfortable with religious theories being part of the curriculum. Of those surveyed one-third were "divine interventionists", who believed all changes in the natural world were directly due to divine intervention by a god or superior being. Sixty per cent followed Charles Darwin's theory that natural selection and the survival of the fittest was scientific fact. When asked if the interventionist theory should be taught in schools, more than half agreed it should against 41 per cent who said no. About 77 per cent thought Darwin's theory was suitable to be taught. About 7 out of 10 of those surveyed believed in God or some spiritual being, while one quarter did not".
However the survey questions are obviously simplistic and biased and almost no reliable conclusions can be drawn about introducing religion into schools. For example the figures indicate that many don't believe that a god created the world yet still want this fantasy taught to their kids as fact, and on the reverse side many who think evolution is crap still want their kids to be schooled in it. These silly conclusions indicate that poorly designed questions have resulted in people appearing to express views that they probably didn't intend to. If these really are their true views then they are obviously of such a low IQ that they shouldn't be filling in surveys in the first place. Likewise they are asked whether 'the interventionist theory should be taught in schools', implying that there is only one god and one theory.

Asking if 'religion' should be taught in schools is vague and misleading because everyone assumes that the survey is talking about their religion. I've asked several people in the past this question and they all supported it. When I follow with "So you wouldn't mind your child reading the Koran and learning about Islam?" they all immediately say, "No, that's not what I meant by religion". Exactly. They don't for a minute want 'religion' taught in schools, they only want their own, personal, strongly held beliefs taught. No one else's, just theirs. And most wouldn't even be content with a generic Christian religion but would insist on their particular denomination. For example the Catholic Church doesn't build 'Christian Schools', they build 'Catholic Schools'. All religions believe that their particular beliefs, morals etc are perfect and that others would benefit immensely by being exposed to them at school. But again, only their beliefs, not the beliefs of those other false religions.

There is no way that the Government or Education Department is going to decree that one particular denomination of one particular religion will be the 'religion' that will be taught in schools at the exclusion of all others. Thus all religions would have to be taught, as well as classes on atheism. No religious parent would risk exposing his child to all these different views since all beliefs would go to great lengths to explain why they are correct and the rest are just superstitious nonsense. Who would the child end up believing? Parents would rather their child gets minimal exposure to other beliefs and the failings of their own, preferring secular education during the day and controlled religious indoctrination in their own time. It's all or nothing. All my religion or no religion at all.

About the only figure that can be relied on is that 1 in 4 people don't believe that gods or spiritual beings exist. No confusion there. When two people say to each other "I'm an atheist", they know concisely what the other's view of religion and gods is. However if two people say to each other "I'm a believer", their views could be identical, vaguely similar or diametrically opposed. Confusion reigns and only careful questioning will determine exactly what their beliefs are. The survey's questions make no acknowledgement that there are different beliefs. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus etc are all the same — believers. But mostly believers that wish their children to be taught from the Bible, the Christian Bible.

The point of my argument is illustrated beautifully by a letter in the ODT:

'I was pleased... that a majority... are comfortable for religion to be included in the curriculum. Religion is a lot more than tradition and ceremony... Christianity offers a "way of life" based on Christ...'
L.H Weston, Dunedin.
Notice that Weston starts off with 'religion' but by the 3rd sentence of a long letter 'religion' has turned into 'Christianity'.

Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 18 Apr, 2006 ~ Add a Comment     Send to a Friend


  1. Comment by Steve, 20 Mar, 2008

    I attended Mount Maunganui college in the 1960s. we were exposed to the ideas of several religions... Humanism. Christianity. Evolution, maori spiritualism... It was stimulating at least to discuss and learn of various beliefs and aided in understanding the idea that all people have world views even if most can't consistently live them out. E.g. evolution seemed to be the most widely held belief amongst the teachers but I can't recall one of them who lived true to that religion.

  2. Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 22 Mar, 2008

    We agree Steve. It would be great if all schools exposed their students to different beliefs, but humanism and evolution are not religions. Humanism is a philosophy and evolution is a science, and science is no more a religion than religion is a science. People can't live 'true' to evolution like they can a religion, since evolution doesn't in any shape or form tell us how we should live our lives. Evolution is not a philosophy, it is merely an observation on how life changes under the control of nature. And if anything, humans have stepped off the evolution escalator. We are forever combating whatever nature tries to do to us.

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