High school has atheism outbreak
Yesterday I read an Otago Daily Times article entitled: 'Time to lift taboo on atheism', where 'Year 13 student Alex Black, of Mt Aspiring College, argues that it is important for atheists to come out of the closet...'
It's refreshing and promising that some high school students are not only thinking about atheism, but are able and willing to write cogent articles in support of it.
Having long left high school, we have little knowledge of how students view religion and how they treat their peers who still believe and those that don't. However it is obvious that in the wider world, from movies and documentaries, to books and the views of parents, the notion of atheism has become much more widely known over the last few years. And even many that don't know what the word means, describe themselves as atheists when you define it.
The likes of Alex Black are growing up in a world where many prominent, highly educated and respected people are proudly calling themselves atheists when asked about their beliefs regarding gods, especially scientists and philosophers, and even some idolised movie stars. Australia has just elected its first woman Prime Minister — Julia Gillard. Everyone knew she was an atheist and yet she still triumphed over her opponent who everyone knew once trained to be a Catholic priest. Our current and last Prime Minister, John Key and Helen Clark, are both atheists, although they both try and fudge the issue when quizzed, no doubt fearing the voter response. At least Julia Gillard is prepared to stand behind her convictions. Unlike American politicians, who as Alex notes, would be slaughtered in their elections if they declared themselves atheist.
Alex mentions Richard Dawkins' book 'The God Delusion', which has been widely popular, and there have been many other books explaining and defending atheism hit the bookshelfs in recent years. Likewise we've had movies such as 'Religulous', 'The Man Who Sued God', 'Life of Brian' and TV shows such as 'South Park', 'Family Guy' and Penn & Teller's 'Bullshit!', which have all challenged religious belief. Regarding atheism, there is a mountain of information freely available to high school students today that was simply non-existent a few decades ago.
When I was at high school finding a book on atheism would have been like finding gold at the end of a rainbow. They simply didn't exist outside arcane university philosophy textbooks. I knew no one that was an atheist, either personally or from TV or books. But having said that, I was lucky, since religion never featured in my schooling. It was never mentioned, and while no doubt most people around me, certainly the adults, probably believed in God, we all lived our lives as if he didn't exist. I never needed a book that explained arguments for atheism since no one ever tried to defend a belief in God, either at school or at home.
I remember the first person I ever saw on TV that said God didn't exist was Richard Dawkins (whom I had never heard of), in a British documentary looking at the teaching of creationism in US high schools. He was only featured for a couple of minutes but I was literally stunned to hear someone calmly and clearly explain why belief in God was nonsense. Of course this was also my belief, but I had never heard a scientist take this stance in public, and he wasn't just expressing a feeling, he was explaining why it was nonsense. And around this time I stumbled across 'The Atheist Debater's Handbook' by B C Johnson in our local library. The first book I ever saw that explained the arguments for atheism. Yet I have never seen this book in any bookshop. It would be years before Richard Dawkins' book 'The God Delusion' would become a best seller.
I guess when I was Alex's age no one really debated religion because Christians in general didn't feel as threatened as they now do. People tended to just sideline religion rather than reject it outright. They still had a fuzzy belief in God, which they acknowledged at funerals and when they ticked the census religion box. Back then door-knocking evangelists probably didn't see themselves dealing with atheists but with lazy Christians. Society didn't have to tolerant atheists because you didn't really meet any. Of course they were a part of society, but a generally hidden part.
Now it's different, more and more intelligent, rational people are being exposed to the flaws in religious belief and are turning to the sane alternative: atheism. This swing towards reason has caused the fundamentalists to get up off their church pews and once again demonise their opponents.
In his article Alex states the view that 'Atheism is still a relatively unacceptable and taboo subject', and that 'It is remarkable that atheists have such a bad reputation'. It is true that for many atheism is akin to siding with the philosophies of Hitler and in parts of the US and the Middle East, identifying yourself as an atheist can be foolhardy and even dangerous. But in NZ and Australia we've found that being an outspoken atheist has generated far more support and encouragement than intolerance. Time and time again people read our 'Born Again Atheist' badges and say 'Me too!' The intolerance and disrespect, if it surfaces, comes not from society in general but from devout Christians and Muslims. But of course this is to be expected, since intolerance is written into their holy books. They are required to attack non-believers, so sayeth their God.
But Alex is right in his article, many people have an utterly false idea of what atheism means. Some people that aren't religious refuse to call themselves atheists simply because of the bogus view that Christians have painted of atheists, the main one being that atheists are immoral. Atheists are seen as evil, deceptive, dangerous and stupid. Not someone you'd want your son or daughter to go out with.
A popular term of abuse these days is 'militant atheist'. If you tell people you're an atheist or write a book on the topic you're not just an atheist, but a militant atheist. But if you say you believe in God, go to church on Sunday or wear a cross you're simply a good, devout Christian. Why doesn't this firm expression of belief make you a militant Christian? Why is Richard Dawkins a militant atheist when only a small part of his life has been devoted to describing atheism, and yet the Pope isn't described as a militant Christian even thought his entire life has been devoted to Christianity? Christian fundamentalist Ian Wishart described me as a 'hopeless idiot... [and] rabid atheist' for writing an essay debunking his views. Yet even though Wishart has written at least two books defending Christianity, plus numerous articles, radio shows, TV interviews, his Investigate magazine columns and websites etc, even with this fanatical defence of Christianity, we guarantee that he would never describe himself as a rabid Christian. Christians can proudly display their belief in God in many ways and yet they expect atheists to keep their beliefs in the proverbial closet.
We believe that atheism has far more respect and acceptance now than it ever has, but that there is still a long way to go to educate everyone about what it really means to be an atheist. Thankfully the youth of today like Alex have vastly improved resources at their fingertips compared to even a few decades ago, and certainly a few centuries ago. The fact that schools even have an outspoken atheist in their midst is a positive sign of change. And that a newspaper would print his article even more so.
Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 09 Sep, 2010 ~
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Comment by Ted, 18 Sep, 2010
This article again reminds me of the curious notion that to not believe in supernatural beings such as gods, fairies, demons, angels and the rest, is somehow abnormal, is somehow an exceptional state of affairs. In fact, it seems to me that to deny the existence of pixies lurking in my cabbage patch is a solidly natural thing to do. I see the same sort of inverse presentation in this morning's paper. The Pope remarks about “aggressive atheism” and describes secular society as if it were a nasty exception to an assumed normal state of religiosity. I suggest that it is the other way around: non-belief in ghosts and fairies is quite obvious and natural, and religion is the obnoxious perversity.
Which brings me back to your article. I must have been a bit exceptional as a child because I cannot remember the slightest reason to suppose there might exist supernatural beings. Of course, having wonderfully intelligent and rational parents probably helped. I remember when I was about nine, I declared my atheism at school to friends and teachers. As far as I was concerned it was merely a statement of the obvious, to be made and forgotten about. The teachers were actually very kind, even the religious ones just encouraged me to read all of the Bible, an exercise which I commenced and almost completed before deciding in the interests of sanity to return to the adventures of Donald Duck.
Unfortunately, and surprisingly, my classmates were exceedingly intolerant and one or two of them resorted to violence when I laughed at their threats of hellfire and damnation. My secondary school, which in those days tried to emulate an English public school, paid little attention to religion in any sense that mattered. Well, I suppose it was there for those involved in it, and prayers took place at assemblies, but I ignored it all and I don't remember any antagonism from teachers. Again, curiously, the main bother came from my contemporaries.
Now, at sixty-three, the whole issue still seems trivial. Of course there are no gods, demons or angels. Religion is all nonsense and I don't want to waste what time I have left and what little power remains in my brain, arguing with fools when I could be creating art, thinking, learning, writing and improving life in general. And of course that is precisely the problem. My wonderfully lucky upbringing by enlightened people has left me totally unable to understand the hideous extent and power of religion in the world today, even in our own country. I suppose I should be out there arguing like Dawkins, Hitchens and company at every opportunity. I am probably too selfish to bother, and that may or may not be a pity.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 18 Sep, 2010
Excellent points Ted. You're right that atheism should be the default state. Of course it is the state that we are all born with, but that in this modern age it is still replaced with religion by many parents is, as you say, a perversity. Maybe the worldly adventures of a certain duck is the answer, as I also got my early education from Donald Duck comics, including the inventions of Gyro Gearloose.
Healing by the full moon
On reading Ken Ring's latest nonsense comments regarding the moon and its effects, a friend was motivated to send us a related July article from the Southland Times entitled: 'Full moon gatherings for women planned'. In the small township of Riverton near Invercargill there is, like Ken Ring, another unfortunate human being trapped in the past. Donnette Wohlers calls herself a holistic healer (ie witchdoctor) and runs a healing business from her home. Or should we say, runs a scam from her home, as there will be little healing performed. She is simply another crank with no medical qualifications, possibly little or no medical training, and certainly no comprehension of how the real world works.
Ms Wohlers believes in the ancient belief that the cycles of the moon have a real, noticeable impact on human behaviour. She claims that 'Cycles of the moon have an effect on tides, growth... It (the moon) creates rhythms and cycles. I'm looking at the effect on natural body cycles and how they work together'.
Strangely not mentioned by Wohlers, but one of the best known effects is a belief in werewolves, where humans can transform into wolves on the nights during a full moon. Less well known is that countries that don't have wolves have other 'were' animals, such as weretigers or werebears, and according to a 'Wallace and Gromit' documentary I saw a while back, even wererabbits.
Another popular belief is that a full moon causes crazy or violent behaviour, and many nurses insist that admission to hospital emergency departments increases at these times. Some police also claim that their workload increases during a full moon, and some nurses insist that births are affected by the moon's cycle. However detailed scientific studies have shown these beliefs are bogus.
We're only guessing here, but we suppose that in the past there could have been more accidents during full moons. We must remember that until very recent times nobody travelled at night, it just wasn't safe. That's why stagecoaches always stopped each night at inns along the way. Amazing as it now seems, no one ever thought of putting halogen headlights on horses. But since a full moon and a cloudless night gives improved visibility, no doubt more people risked travelling at night if it was urgent, and therefore no doubt more people would walk over cliffs during a full moon simply because more people were out and about. But evil moon rays are not affecting people's behaviour, inducing them to walk off cliffs, go mad with axes or go into labour. This is as silly as insisting that streetlights cause street brawls. Certainly the streetlight or the full moon may help you see who you're attacking, but it is not causing your violent behaviour.
Another nonsense moon claim specifically relating to women is this old wife's tale. I'll give moon expert Ken Ring's description of it, and repeat what we told him:
'On a micro-scale there is a monthly tide in the endocrine system of half the human inhabitants of this planet - the menstrual 28 day cycle.'
There is no evidence that the female menstrual cycle is regulated by the Moon. The Moon's gravity does not cause noticeable tidal forces in the human body. A 1kg melon held one metre above your head evidently produces 200 times as much tidal effect in your body as does the Moon. Other people, buildings etc would completely swamp any affect the Moon has. Also if the Moon's position caused and regulated the menstrual cycle then its effect would be identical in any particular geographical region. The cycles of all women in a particular area would be synchronised. They're not.
We're told that Wohlers is trying to organise a gathering of women on each full moon, that ceremonies comprising three stages are planned, and that depressingly several women have expressed interest in attending. For some reason I now can't get the image of naked witches dancing around a bonfire out of my head, although I have no reason to suspect that witchcraft would be involved.
The article says that 'In "the separation" stage, women taking part would leave their everyday lives and responsibilities behind. The second stage took women into what she called the "sacred space" where she would talk a little bit more about the moon and its effects on human physiology, followed by a third stage she called "sharing", where women could talk about their place in the world'.
And yes, it's just for women. From this I guess we must assume that men aren't affected by the moon, that some masculine hormone, some manly piece of clothing or the sheds that men spend much of their time in shields them from the moon's effects. Men get all the breaks!
But honestly, those three stages just sound like meaningless nonsense. Perhaps the second stage could include a bogus discussion on the likes of the moon's naturalistic affect on a woman's menstrual cycle, but if that's the case, why call human physiology 'sacred space'? These ceremonies will be nothing more than a few depressed, unhappy, uneducated women sitting around, burning incense and complaining about their lot in life. And now they've got something to blame: the moon. But since the moon isn't going anywhere, their problems aren't going anywhere either.
Thankfully the article's author Jared Morgan dedicated the final paragraph to explaining that the belief that the moon influenced human behaviour has been refuted. Of course this makes you wonder why they felt the need to help her publicise her crank theory, if not for profit, since for every hundred women that giggle at her belief, one will be giving her a call to join and embrace her delusion. The only thing that is guaranteed a healthy improvement resulting from these silly ceremonies is the balance of Wohlers' bank account.
Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 06 Sep, 2010 ~
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Comment by Ken Ring, 06 Sep, 2010
(sigh) here you go again, ridiculing that a group of people minding their own business might dare to wish to explore a certain type of energy because they feel some kinship to it, whatever the reason. Will the Nazi-type shin-kickers that run this forum ever stop? So who's next for the name, shame and slaughter? People who wear yellow hats?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 06 Sep, 2010
It's like shooting fish in a barrel. Actually Ken we thought you'd be pleased to know that you're not the only moon nut out there, that you're not the last of your species.
And funny you should mention people who wear yellow hats. I guess you won't want to sign our petition then?
Comment by Bob, 07 Sep, 2010
Hi John, we have also heard about moon madness giving us the word lunatic from lunar. In the days when there was no light at night people came inside and sat around the fire. In Britain during the cold months that made for a long night. At full moon it was possible to see at night. It is not hard to imagine kids going mad rushing around outside playing. Young men and women would also frolic and slip into the woods, the older people no doubt tut-tutting over this wild behaviour wondering why young people don't act with decorum and decency like they used to. They came to the conclusion the moon's rays caused temporary madness when of course it was youthful exuberance.
As for werewolves a study by modern criminologists suggests they were in fact serial murderers who killed under the cover of darkness
It's no wonder people had weird illogical explanations for common events when illiteracy was the norm before organised science. As for Ken Ring I read an article by the weather bureau explaining why he was wrong about the moon and the weather. It was in fact in answer to his predecessor Harry Alcock. I'll accept conventional science before Ken Ring.
Good on John and others like him who try to warn people against false ideas. Fraudsters love the gullible and ignorant. False ideas can hurt people or at least cause them to waste money.
Comment by Alison, 07 Sep, 2010
Erm, in addition to the lack of synchrony, not all women have a 28-day menstrual cycle... Mine used to be around 35 days & I had a friend who operated on a 20-day cycle (quelle bummer!).
And what's this "feeling kinship to a certain kind of energy" stuff???
Comment by Ken Ring, 10 Sep, 2010
How remarkable then is the Moon. We accept that it gravitationally pulls the water called the ocean tide, and the land called the Earth Tide, which causes the ground to rise some 8-20" per day to meet the transiting moon and to fall back again when the Moon sets. Land-masses in this constant flux act as cutting knives and grind rocks into soil, and shells into sand. Yet according to Silly Beliefs, the Moon can, without eyes or brain, discern water that is in the air and in our bodies from that in the sea, and choose to excuse them from any tidal patterns and any influential contact. How odd. What is the process of such specificity and selection? Anything otherwise would mean that the Moon would have some effect on weather and our bodies, but SB has decided that this is not possible so it cannot be so. I suppose too, if extraterrestrial bodies cannot cause influence then the Sun cannot have any effect either, and human bodies must be immune from its touch. SB has declared this so it must be true. Interestingly we must then be the only species to be thus deprived of any regularity imposed by such exterior forces. Insects, fish, birds, mating crabs and even farm animals are lunar and solar controlled as everyone knows, likewise every plant on the globe. But humans seem to be left out of Nature's Plan. As a species according to SB, we not affected by forces beyond ourselves. We are not the Chosen Ones, but rather the Left Out Ones. Menstrual cycles, biorhythms - we are above that sort of thing. And yet at the same time we are not too far above, because the notion that we are "spiritual" is also disallowed by SB. Which kind of leaves us - nowhere. Care to clarify?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 10 Sep, 2010
You misrepresent what we've said Ken, and you misunderstand the science. We didn't say the Moon's gravity chooses to ignore us, we said that it 'does not cause noticeable tidal forces in the human body'. In fact the gravity of every body in the known universe reaches us, but we can ignore them, just as you ignore them in your calculations.
You falsely believe that just because the Moon causes the ocean tides, then it must do likewise in our bodies. That's as silly as saying if the moon's gravity can pull the entire Pacific Ocean (which it does) then obviously it can easily pull my insignificant little car from the road, and I need to take this into account when cornering. But we don't worry about that do we?
You also imply that we believe that 'the Sun cannot have any effect either, and human bodies must be immune from its touch'. Again you confuse things. Of course the Sun's gravity affects the tides, but it has no noticeable affect on our bodies. I don't have to exert any extra effort when I'm walking away from the Sun compared to when I'm walking towards it.
You say that 'even farm animals are lunar and solar controlled as everyone knows, likewise every plant on the globe.' Again you confuse animals and plants that respond to the light of the sun and moon, of daylight and dark, and the length of daylight, and claim that it is in fact the gravity they are responding to. Also there are marine organisms that are affected by the tide cycles, but they are responding to the cycles, not the Moon's gravity. You may be a 'lunar and solar controlled' zombie Ken, but we're not.
Of course there are 'spiritual' people Ken, just as there are people that believe in Santa Claus, but their existence and beliefs doesn't actually mean there are 'spirits', or as you say, a 'certain type of energy... they feel some kinship to'.
And no Ken, as the human species goes, 'We are not the Chosen Ones'. You may feel that this leaves you 'nowhere', but the rest of us are leading full, rich, rewarding lives without the crutch of superstitious nonsense.
Comment by Ken Ring, 11 Sep, 2010
Aha, now we have it. The Moon's forces on our bodies are not NOTICEABLE - according to - who? You? Oh, that's right, nearly forgot, you are the Intellectual Police. Of course that means if anyone reports that they do notice then they must be delusional, because SB has declared otherwise, and speaks for all of us, even though no one has nominated or elected them to do so.
And no, the Moon's gravitational pull is not the same as a mechanical pull to get your car out of the ditch. The Moon's pull is far stronger than that, and you should look up "gravity" in the dictionary, where you will find nothing about cars in ditches. Really, whilst you have your dictionary open you should also look up "tolerance". And you might ponder what kind of a world some choose to inhabit, where people are allowed to have and express different ideas and viewpoints, without being informed by busybody knowalls from Silly Beliefs that they are indulging in "superstitious nonsense".
We all indulge in systems which may not stand up to rigorous logic, and we are happy with it, thank you very much. Only bigots and snobs call the enigmatic thoughts and/or actions of another "superstitious nonsense". You don't have to believe something, but no one wants to hear what you think if you are in the company of someone with different beliefs. What dangerous antisocial fascist arrogance. And what a boring dead world you seem to choose, where children would be barred from Santa Claus and Halloween (superstitious nonsense), from games of dress-up (superstitious nonsense),, where plays and dramas would be considered unecessary, and where adults would not celebrate any festivals that contained any images or symbolism. And what of most Maori culture? This absurd Silly Beliefs mentality would cut out most forms of entertainment in the western world.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 11 Sep, 2010
Who says that the moon's gravity doesn't affect our bodies in the way that you believe it does, science, that's who Ken. Science, that esteemed and powerful body of knowledge that you have so many problems with. Unlike what you're implying, we don't just make things up, we don't just declare things. If we wanted to sink to your level, we could equally ask you, "The Moon's forces on our bodies ARE noticeable - according to - who? You? Oh, that's right, nearly forgot, you are the Intellectual Police". But of course that would just be childish.
And what nonsense is this: 'The Moon's pull is far stronger than... [the] mechanical pull to get your car out of the ditch'. The fact that we can see the mechanical pull of a crane lift a car from a ditch whereas we never see the moon's pull doing this, shows that your understanding of gravity is flawed and well suited to your belief in ancient astrology. You know that, as well as the moon, the gravity of all astronomical bodies reach us, and yet you ignore them because you claim they have no noticeable effect on us, or our weather. You just need to extend this understanding to the moon as well.
You tell us to look up 'tolerance', but we think it is you that need to do this. Tolerance is not about accepting or respecting the beliefs of others, it is merely about letting people hold different beliefs. We aren't organising petitions to make belief in superstition illegal, or to have your website closed and your books banned. That would be intolerance. Just as you want people to understand that climate change is a scam, and you write articles and do media interviews to publicise this view, we in turn want people to know that weather forecasting by the moon is a scam. You accuse us of intolerance, yet you refuse to tolerant our beliefs, our right to free speech, our right to state an opinion. You call us 'busybody knowalls' for expressing an opinion, so why aren't you a 'busybody knowall' when you challenge climate change? Different rules for you Ken?
And what's this bullshit that we are trying to ban 'most forms of entertainment in the western world'? Morons go to astrologers, mediums and faith healers because they believe they are real, whereas people go to plays and movies and festivals knowing that they are just make believe. People don't believe in or follow 'most forms of entertainment in the western world' in the same gullible way that people believe in superstitious nonsense. You implied that without a spiritual outlook people would lead empty lives. We simply said that people can lead full, rich, rewarding lives without the crutch of superstitious nonsense. Perhaps not you, but many can. Once again you make the erroneous assumption that just because we don't need superstition, then we must be on a crusade to ban it and have believers shipped to interment camps. And you also ask, 'And what of most Maori culture?'. Is this your sneaky way of calling us racist Ken?
You say that you 'indulge in systems which may not stand up to rigorous logic, and we are happy with it'. Then go and live in your irrational world and stop annoying us. You obviously feel threatened, frustrated and annoyed by us Ken, but we are going to continue to speak out against what we see as superstitious nonsense. Your outbursts only motivate us more, demonstrating that there is still much work to be done.
Comment by Ken Ring, 11 Sep, 2010
It is strange that you cannot see the difference between holding different viewpoints and expressing them, which I have no quarrel about, with publicly naming someone and trying to ruin his business. Tolerance is both letting people hold beliefs AND running a business based on those lines. You are fascist because you would close down legitimate businesses you do not like, in the name of YOUR freedom to do so. Well, you don’t have that entitlement. Yes, I write articles calling climate change a scam, but I don’t try to wreck someone in particular’s livelihood and take away their financial lifeline. I doubt that you can see this difference, because you are now too far into your Gestapo uniforms to see it.
Yes, some people can lead full, rich, rewarding lives without the crutch of superstitious nonsense. But some others feel they can’t. It doesn’t make them bad people. The bad person is the Silly Belief bigot who comes along dictating that they change. No one has the right to call another belief system a crutch.
On a brighter note it is interesting that you now don’t ignore the gravity of all astronomical bodies, which means you no longer spurn astrology.
But it is also worrying that you so vehemently sidestepped my question on your acceptance or not of Maori culture, given that 90% of it involves what pakehas might call “superstitious nonsense”. I didn’t bring up racism, you did, it didn’t even occur to me. Yet it is strange that you leapt to that inference. So what is it, do you uphold Maori culture? 15% of the population of NZ would be interested in your answer. Let me guess: all people can lead full, rich, rewarding lives without the crutch of superstitious nonsense, so all people should be white, non-Maori, non-spiritual, and without ritual of any kind. Anything else is to be discouraged, by blogs such as SB (Skinhead Bullies). Have I got the picture now?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 12 Sep, 2010
Ken, you say that 'Yes, I write articles calling climate change a scam, but I don't try to wreck someone in particular's livelihood and take away their financial lifeline'. Like us, we would hope that your intention is not to destroy the lives of those you challenge — climate scientists and meteorologists — but surely you're not that naive that you can't comprehend that this could at least affect their employment? If the world believed your arguments then those people that you rail against would become unemployed. The sole reason you write your articles is to get them to cease and desist in their claims that climate change is something we should be concerned with. You would like nothing better than if they all closed up shop, and to claim that you have no such desire fools no one. If you don't want them to stop, then what's the point Ken?
You really don't understand the difference between tolerance and free speech do you, or at least pretend not to. We are perfectly willingly to tolerate your business, books and website. You can take your silly beliefs with you to the grave for all we care. We will not attempt to take them from you, stop you expressing them or force you to recant them. As much as we disagree with them, we will tolerate your views and your right to hold them. But separate to that is free speech — 'the right to express any opinion in public without censorship or restraint'. We do have the right, the entitlement, to discuss what we think of your business and the claims that support it. Just as you feel that you have the right to publicly discuss climate change and the scientists and politicians involved. And yet Ken you are quite intolerant of our website and wish to deny us our right to free speech. You keep going on about fascists, Gestapo, KGB, Nazis, Stalin, Hitler, KKK, skinheads, bullies etc. Do you often think, or at least wish, you lived in a world where you could tell us what to do, where free speech didn't exist?
You say we have no entitlement to close down your business. You're quite right, and nor have we tried to. Have we protested outside your place, have we called in the police or lawyers, have we petitioned parliament or your local mayor, have we sent around thugs that threatened to break your kneecaps? If your business fails Ken it will be because people finally saw through your scam, not because we personally intimidated you into closing it. We'd like to think that there are a few less people in the world today that believe in God and psychic mediums because of our website, and if Christianity and psychic hotlines suffer because of this, then all well and good. Likewise if your business suffers through the education of the masses, then we won't lose any sleep over that either.
And of course you raising the notion that Maori are superstitious is racist Ken, since you now go on to make the erroneous and insulting allegation that we want everyone to be white and non-Maori. Is there no sewer that you won't crawl through in your pathetic attempt to defend your nonsense?
If you remember, we were both talking about superstitious nonsense, and you said that we must therefore be against Maori culture, implying that you believe Maori culture is all just superstitious nonsense. You've now reduced that to 90% superstitious nonsense. Yes, Maori, like every ethnic group on the planet, has in our view superstitious nonsense embedded in their culture, but this is not to say that 90% is superstitious nonsense as you believe. Our gripe has nothing to do with Maori culture per se, or European culture or Alaskan Inuit culture. You seemingly can't differentiate between superstitious nonsense and the colour of people that follow it. While it no doubt plays a part, we think you'll find that there is much more to Maori culture than what you call superstitious nonsense. But if you can prove that 90% of Maori culture is superstitious nonsense, then yes, we will acknowledge that 90% of Maori culture is superstitious nonsense. First you need to prove it though.
Our contention is that Maori superstitious nonsense is superstitious nonsense. European, Asian and African superstitious nonsense is superstitious nonsense. Superstitious nonsense where ever it's found is superstitious nonsense. Every aspect of Maori, European, Asian and African culture that wants people to believe in superstitious nonsense will get the thumbs down from us. Have you got the picture now Ken? If some Maori are upset that we don't believe in their gods or makutu, then they can join the club with Christians, Muslims, mediums, homoeopaths and ancient astrologers. At their meetings they might realise that the only thing they have in common is what we term their superstitious beliefs, and that their ethnicity plays no part.
You say that 'Yes, some people can lead full, rich, rewarding lives without the crutch of superstitious nonsense. But some others feel they can't. It doesn't make them bad people'. Why do you keep making things up? We've never said that believing in superstitious nonsense necessarily makes you a bad person. Of course many, many evil things have been done because of belief in superstitious nonsense, but kids aren't bad because they believe in Santa or adults because they believe in astrology. You also claim that 'No one has the right to call another belief system a crutch'. Of course they do Ken, it's called free speech, remember? You feel you have the right to describe and insult us with terms such as Gestapo, fascist and skinhead bullies, and yet you break into tears over your belief being a called a crutch. Do you need a hug Ken?
And by what Jedi mind trick do you reach this conclusion: 'On a brighter note it is interesting that you now don't ignore the gravity of all astronomical bodies, which means you no longer spurn astrology'.
Of course we acknowledge the gravity, but we still ignore the gravity of mostly all the astronomical bodies, that was our point. We don't have to check whether the moon or Mars is in the sky before we go to the movies. And of course we still spit on astrology. Surely you're not claiming that the gravity from Pluto will upset my travel plans? Please, please do explain what gravity has to do with astrology Ken.
Comment by Ken Ring, 12 Sep, 2010
"Like us, we would hope that your intention is not to destroy the lives of those you challenge - climate scientists and meteorologists - but surely you're not that naive that you can't comprehend that this could at least affect their employment? If the world believed your arguments then those people that you rail against would become unemployed. The sole reason you write your articles is to get them to cease and desist in their claims that climate change is something we should be concerned with. You would like nothing better than if they all closed up shop, and to claim that you have no such desire fools no one."
I have no idea where you get all this from, except that your imagination is running riot, presumably because you are so busy looking for people to kick that you don't have time to actually read what they do say. I have no desire for climatologists and meteorologists to shut up shop, that would be daft seeing I am one too. But I don't name personally and target those I specifically find disagreement with. And following that, try to turn the public away from their specific businesses. It is one thing to say I think climatologists miss the boat, and another to criticise one personally. I have the freedom to do the former, but not the latter. Do you EVER get this difference? God knows I raise it in every post. You cannot identify one person I target by name, not one climatologist, not one meteorologist, but you target me all the time. When a faceless coward calls out from the shadows, as you do, and rants with blogs at someone like me who is minding my own business, whilst only calling yourself "John" of "Corporation X", readers can come to their own conclusions. Just imagine who would have more credibility in a public debate with one side visible, and the other hiding behind a pile of masks.
"You say we have no entitlement to close down your business. You're quite right, and nor have we tried to."
Yes, you have, by your slander, and you have broken the law by naming me specifically and my specific business. Check it out if you don't believe me, as I have done. You try to hide behind false names, false corporations and your assumed right to free speech. Hitler also thought he had the latter right.
"implying that you believe Maori culture is all just superstitious nonsense."
There you go again, saying I say what I didn't say. I actually said 90% of it involves what pakehas might call "superstitious nonsense".
As I have a family with a large genetic Maori content I am unlikely to decry Maori values. It is sad that you even coin the words superstitious and nonsense together. In psychology superstition is not nonsense. It is the schedule of responding to apparent schedules of reinforcement. We all do it, almost 24/7. We might do something because we did it previously and it worked, so we think it might work again. It is part of human psyche, everyday behaviour. Get off your high horse that calls everything nonsense that you don't know the first thing about, including basic psychology.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 13 Sep, 2010
Ken, let's start with: 'I have no desire for climatologists and meteorologists to shut up shop, that would be daft seeing I am one too.'
This is known as fraud Ken. We both know you are not a climatologist or a meteorologist. You have no degrees or recognised qualifications in climate science or meteorology. Haven't you been keeping up with the news and the punishment for people that fraudulently represent themselves? And here are quotes from you dismissing and distancing yourself from climate scientists and meteorologists:
'There is... every reason to be skeptical about anything a climate scientist... dreams up. Climate science has only come about as a tool for governments to rationalise extra taxation.'
You are no more a climate scientist or meteorologist than a paedophile is a paediatrician because they both have an interest in children. A layman's interest in ancient astrology does not give you the right to pretend you are a climate scientist or meteorologist.
'Meteorologists use words like random, chaos, confidence percentage, laws of average and probability when it comes to forecasting, words that are found in casinos. That's why I would rather not call myself a meteorologist.'
You then say 'But I don't name personally and target those I specifically find disagreement with. And following that, try to turn the public away from their specific businesses'. But you do Ken. You target and name us, as well as the company that you believe you have a disagreement with. We edited the company name to 'Corporation X' solely to prevent you naming and targeting them. If you had your way they would have been named and you hoped that this exposure would have affected their business and our website. You have complained numerous times that we won't let you name and target them. You are a hypocrite Ken.
You obviously forget the stories you spin Ken, since you offer this challenge: 'You cannot identify one person I target by name, not one climatologist, not one meteorologist, but you target me all the time.' You have already admitted to us that you have publicly named and targeted the likes of Bill Keir, Gareth Renowden and Al Gore, all of whom you disagree with. And then of course you target us. On other internet forums you have named and criticised our website and insulted us personally, solely in an attempt to discredit us in the eyes of your clients. You claim that people don't have the right to criticise others personally (which is bullshit, think politics), and yet you continue to criticise and insult us in every comment you write, in your latest we're arrogant, Nazis and faceless cowards. And don't say you don't know who we are so it's not personal. Remember that you claim to know exactly who we are and are annoyed that we won't tell others. By your own logic if we did tell others our full names then you would be compelled to stop criticising us, since then it would be personal. But we both know that it wouldn't make one bit of difference, don't we Ken? You do know who we are, or so you claim, and yet your criticism continues. Unable to publicly name and target us, you instead lie, saying that one of us calls ourself ' "John" of "Corporation X" ', when you know this is totally false. Again you are trying to name and target us, connecting us with a company that you also want to name and target. You say you have evidence, and yet you consistently refuse to divulge it. Why won't you prove your case Ken? Do leprechauns hold all your case files?
Because strangers don't know us personally, whereas they've seen you on TV, you are confident that a gullible public will go with a face that's familiar rather than one that's not. You say, 'Just imagine who would have more credibility in a public debate with one side visible, and the other hiding behind a pile of masks.' The internet is public Ken, so this is a public debate, and judging by your comments we suspect our arguments have more credibility than you'd like. It seems the public is more concerned with arguments, reason and evidence than what we all look like in yellow hats.
As for free speech Ken, it is not an 'assumed right' on our part (except perhaps in your ideal world), it is a legal right. Furthermore, we have told you time and time again that slander means 'making false statements about someone'. All our comments regarding you are true therefore not slanderous or illegal. And you actually mean libel, not slander. Naming you specifically and your specific business is not illegal, otherwise when you went on TV they wouldn't be able to say who you were or what your business was called. Where did you check your facts, a tenth century edition of 'Ye Big Boy's Book of Law and Monsters'?
Re superstitious nonsense, so you're Maori now are you Ken? You must be because you insist it was not you that said Maori culture is 90% superstitious nonsense but those bloody racist pakehas. We know we're wasting our time, but could you provide your evidence for this figure? You were wrong when you said the world's population was 10 billion, wrong when you said Sir Isaac Newton was an astrologer, wrong when you said 'Our word 'measurement' came from 'moon', and 'meteorology' comes from 'meteor-astrology', wrong when you said Alpha Centauri was in Andromeda, wrong about Galileo and the Earth's tides, wrong about dolphins beaming sonar signals to the moon etc etc. We ask for evidence of this 90% figure because you have a terrible history of just making things up!
As for your belief that 'In psychology superstition is not nonsense', we disagree, but even if we didn't, in the real world, superstition is nonsense. OK, you may have attempted psychology at university, which is more than we did, but here are the typical definitions that we're working from:
We have no doubt Ken that you repeat behaviour that appears to bring about some positive outcome, like wearing lucky socks, avoiding black cats and staring at the moon, just because you 'think it might work again'. And you're right that it is part of the human psyche, just like murder, rape and xenophobia, but it is behaviour that rational humans try to suppress and overcome. No intelligent, educated person these days would proudly admit to being superstitious. They may certainly acknowledge occasional superstitious behaviour, but would freely admit that it is irrational, ineffectual and useless, but embarrassingly they can't stop doing it.
- An irrational belief that an object, an action, or a circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.
- A belief, practice, or rite irrationally maintained by ignorance of the laws of nature or by faith in magic or chance.
- A fearful or abject state of mind resulting from such ignorance or irrationality.
- Subject matter, behavior, or language that is foolish or absurd.
- Extravagant foolishness
- Matter of little or no importance or usefulness
Look Ken, surely by now you must have grasped that we are not wavering in our criticism of your weather forecasting methods. Just as we are not going to convince the Pope that God doesn't exist, you are not likely to sway us, especially since you refuse to produce decent arguments or evidence. Providing insults instead of evidence is not an alternative that works for us. Once you have convinced mainstream climate scientists and meteorologists and the likes of the MetService and NIWA, why don't you get back to us then? Surely their support would be far more valuable to you than our dissent is harmful?
Comment by Ken Ring, 13 Sep, 2010
'Please, please do explain what gravity has to do with astrology Ken.'
No problem, although I’m sure you’ll find some way of making up something else about what I say. Astrology is the study of gravity itself, in a pure form, of gravitational relationships between the stars. It precedes its modern counterpart astronomy, and in many cultures remains the sole study of the mathematical relationships between the extraterrestrial spheres. Astro means rocks in the sky, and ology means study. The last two thousand years has seen astrology relegated to a lesser role, because Christianity decreed that all scientific prediction was anti-God. Those who try to deal to astrology, which seems to include Silly Beliefs, are aligning themselves to the zealots of the early Church, the fundamentalists who initiated witch-burnings and who burned libraries to the ground that housed scientific literature. The astrologers were the scientists like Sir Isaac Newton and Galileo. Newton wrote in astrological physics, and identified rules of gravitation, still not fully understood by the scientific community that imagines gravity to be like a moving apple from a stationary tree to the stationary ground. The reality in cosmology is that the tree, apple and ground are all moving, and trying to work out the Moon’s gravitation using apples falling out of trees doesn’t hack it. The mathematics are different, and the better system is that proposed by Kepler (also an astrologer) the man credited with developing calculus. His mathematical system was described as the theory of limits, where moving objects approach rather than reach destinations. That is why the mentality that concludes that the Moon’s pull is negligible is faulty. It is not gravity that makes a car run into a ditch, it is more likely the quantitative function of alcohol.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 13 Sep, 2010
More bullshit, lies, myths and delusional nonsense Ken.
Lie #1: As we've already told you, only in your mind is astrology 'the study of gravity itself, in a pure form, of gravitational relationships between the stars'. Again, please provide a reputable reference that gives that definition of astrology. My encyclopaedia defines it thus:
Astrology: form of divination based on the theory that movements of the celestial bodies (stars, planets, sun, and moon) influence human affairs and determine events.
And this definition is the type of astrology people in the past believed in, that the Church condemned, not your bogus definition. To repeat ourselves once again, you continue to harp on about how everyone once believed in astrology. So what? All humans were once cave dwellers who had never heard of soap. We've moved on, it's called progress. Yes, humans once thought that the planets and stars dictated our personality and controlled our destiny, but the rational and intelligent humans of modern society have ditched astrology along with tealeaf reading and human sacrifice. And it should be stressed that gravity was NOT the force that influenced the above astrological readings. As the Bad Astronomy website explains:
'the bottom line is that at best, the gravity from the planets in our solar system is a tiny fraction of the Moon's. So if gravity were the force behind astrology, then the Moon would dominate all the planets combined. Yet it doesn't in any astrologer's horoscope. So it's not gravity.'
Lie #2: 'Astro means rocks in the sky'. No it doesn't. Astro comes from the Greek 'astron' which means STAR, not rocks in the sky.
Lie #3: 'The last two thousand years has seen astrology relegated to a lesser role'. The last two thousand years has seen astrology exposed as superstitious nonsense, as a pseudoscience, and relegated to the pages of the 'NZ Woman's Weakly' and 'No Idea'.
Lie #4: 'The astrologers were the scientists like Sir Isaac Newton'. We've already proven that Newton was not an astrologer. Remember this paragraph Ken?
Lie #5: 'Newton wrote in astrological physics, and identified rules of gravitation, still not fully understood by the scientific community that imagines gravity to be like a moving apple from a stationary tree to the stationary ground.' We've already proven that Newton did not write about astrological physics. Remember this paragraph Ken? Apples and trees Ken, which century are you living in? Have you not heard that Einstein's theory of gravity replaces Newton's?
Lie #6: 'Kepler (also an astrologer) the man credited with developing calculus.' We've already proven that Kepler did not develop calculus. Remember this paragraph Ken? Do you spread these lies and myths deliberately Ken, or is it just impossible for you to learn new things?
Lie #7: 'Kepler['s]... mathematical system was described as the theory of limits, where moving objects approach rather than reach destinations. That is why the mentality that concludes that the Moon's pull is negligible is faulty.' We think you'll find that in these modern times Ken, moving objects can reach their destinations, apart from the odd one like the Titanic and Apollo 13.
Lie #8: 'Those who try to deal to astrology, which seems to include Silly Beliefs, are aligning themselves to the zealots of the early Church, the fundamentalists who initiated witch-burnings and who burned libraries to the ground that housed scientific literature.' Oh yeah, a group of outspoken atheists who criticise the Church and promote science are nevertheless aligning ourselves with science hating Christian fundamentalists just to destroy an angry little astrologer working from his home in an Auckland suburb. Who wouldn't believe that?
Physics, not God, holds the key
Last night TV3 News began with this snippet: 'Is there a God? How physicist Stephen Hawking thinks he can prove there is no such thing.' Later in the bulletin we got the full item, introduced with this statement: 'Physicist Stephen Hawking has changed his mind about the place of God in the creation of the universe, in his latest book he says it's all down to gravity'.
Obviously the idiots at TV3 who wrote this introduction know nothing of Stephen Hawking. That statement implies that Hawking has previously suggested that God played a real part in creating the universe, when nothing could be further from the truth. Hawking has not changed his mind about God, he is an atheist, and in the book that made him famous, 'A Brief History of Time', when describing his view of the origin of the universe he asks the rhetorical question, 'What place, then, for a creator?'
TV3 then screened a report by ITV's Penny Marshall. In this Stephen Hawking tells us that he has spent his life grappling with the question 'How did the universe begin?', and Marshall adds, 'but now Prof Stephen Hawking has reached a conclusion, and it's one that doesn't involve any god. Instead, Britain's most eminent scientist is putting his faith in the laws of physics, arguing that there was no divine hand behind the Big Bang, the creation of our universe.'
Why is this a surprise? There are very few physicists that ever mention a divine hand. My guess is that, like 'A Brief History of Time', Stephen Hawking's latest book, 'The Grand Design' with physicist Leonard Mlodinow, spends little time discussing God and concentrates instead on the science. Contrary to what many religious people think, scientists are not battling theologians in their scientific work, constantly juggling and weighing scientific claims against religious claims. Science simply ignores religion. Of course when science examines the origin of the universe it is going to step on the toes of religion, and in a book aimed at the general public rather than scientists, it is often necessary to acknowledge the frightened concern that will be raised by religious readers. So at times Hawking will have to write, 'It is not necessary to invoke God', when religious readers might wonder, but doesn't that task need God? Most books on science never mention God, in the same way that most magazines encouraging us to buy things never mention Santa Claus.
And also note that Marshall claimed that Hawking 'is putting his faith in the laws of physics', perpetuating the myth that science like religion relies on faith rather than reason and evidence.
Three quotes they gave from the book are:
'Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.'
Marshall says that Hawking reckons that 'physics, not God, holds the key to understanding [our universe].'
"Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.'
'It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.'
But of course media balance means we have to also hear from the nonsense side. Marshall informs us that 'believers say there is still room... for God.' We then see part of an interview with Prof. Alister McGrath, King's College Head of Theology, although TV3 incorrectly identified him as Prof. Mark Lancaster, a particle physicist (and labelled Lancaster as McGrath). McGrath wrote the little known book 'The Dawkins Delusion', in which he had hoped to counter the worldwide success of Richard Dawkins' book 'The God Delusion'.
McGrath asks, 'If gravity is so important, then where did that come from? You're simply moving the thing back by one stage.'
What smug arrogance. To suggest that the obvious question of where gravity came from hasn't occurred to Hawking is done solely to put reassuring doubt in the minds of gullible, religious viewers. Physicists have spent years examining how and why the known forces in the universe arose, and whether they could have been different. To imply that Hawking thinks that by simply saying gravity caused the universe, this solves everything, is either to completely misunderstand his work or to deliberately discredit his work.
As worse still, since time immemorial, rational people have been asking an identical question, if God created everything, who created God? It's what's known as infinite regress. And religious people have continually said that that question doesn't make sense, since God doesn't need to be created, he just exists, and has always existed. They forever trot out this ridiculously lame excuse and yet now cry foul when a scientist 'appears' to use the same excuse, replacing God with gravity. What hypocrites! If you must insist 'something' has always existed, why not just stop at the universe, rather than, as McGrath says, 'simply moving the thing back by one stage', and deciding to stop on an infinitely complex, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God? After all, no matter how complex the universe might appear, it is childishly simple compared to God. If anything might have always existed or just popped into existence, it is the universe, not God.
Marshall finishes her piece with this statement: 'Hawking's rejection of God pits science against religion... but those with faith may admire his science but they'll dismiss his claims about the lack of God as a man made mistake.'
But does this make sense, that the faithful will 'admire his science but they'll dismiss his claims'? No, of course not, but the faithful are anything but sensible. Why admire something that you believe is false? This is a typical problem with religious types, know as cognitive dissonance, in that they admire science because they know it works, but at the same time they tell themselves that it must nevertheless be lying to them.
Do the faithful in the 21st century have any justification that the claims made by their religion can stand up against science? Let's look at some of the big claims religion has made over the years:
What major claim, or even minor claim, that religion has made about the world has turned out to be correct? Religion must have the most dismal, pathetic record of success in the history of the universe. Why would someone say... OK, OK, I accept that everything religion has ever said has turned out to be wrong, but I still believe that religion has the answers?
- The universe and life was created 6,000 years ago
- The world is flat
- The world rests on pillars
- The world doesn't move
- The sun goes around us
- The world is the centre of the universe
- All humans descended from a nudist couple
- Death only surfaced after a meeting with a talking snake
- Man walked with dinosaurs
- Hail and snow is kept in storehouses
- The oceans are contained by doors and bars
- Life arises spontaneously
- Humans are 'ensouled' at conception
- The heavens are unchanging
- A third of the stars in the sky once fell to earth
- The sun once stopped in the sky
- A woman can become pregnant while remaining a virgin
- Men can walk on water and turn water into wine
- Men can part seas when bridges aren't available
- Commands can raise men from the dead
- Donkeys will talk if you beat them three times
Open your eyes people, God has left the building. The answer you're seeking is science.
Update: Click here for an excellent article on this topic by philosopher Julian Baggini: 'If science has not actually killed God, it has rendered Him unrecognisable. There is no room in the universe of Hawking or most other scientists for the activist God of the Bible'.
Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 04 Sep, 2010 ~
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Of gods, fairies and leprechauns
Stuck in a waiting room last week I was torn between perusing the celebrity nonsense in one of the woman's magazines or the conspiracy and religious nonsense in an Investigate magazine. I chose to seek some amusement in the July 2010 Investigate magazine, and Matthew Flannagan's column entitled 'Fairies, leprechauns and spaghetti monsters' caught my eye. We've previously enjoyed criticising the magazine's 'Tough Questions' column where Investigate's owner Ian Wishart preached his fundamentalist Christianity, but since this column no longer exists, Flannagan's column appeared to be the next best choice.
Dr Flannagan is an 'Evangelical with Reformed leanings', a Christian apologist, and has degrees in theology and philosophy.
Years ago when I first heard the term apologist, I thought it's about bloody time that these people started apologising for the horrors perpetrated by Christians and for the lies contained in their holy book. I was naturally disappointed when my dictionary informed me that an apologist was actually someone that tries to justify their doctrines, rather than expressing regret. These people spend their days thinking up excuses and mind-numbing explanations as to why there could really have been a talking snake in the Garden of Eden, or why an obvious Biblical contradiction or falsehood isn't really an error, it just looks that way to the casual reader. But unlike science and history textbooks, they're not allowed to actually correct the Bible to edit or remove those passages that 'look' like glaring mistakes.
Anyway, Matthew's article sought to challenge 'a fairy common charge levied at Christianity', that 'to believe in God without providing compelling arguments or evidence for his existence is on par with believing in fairy tales and this is something no sensible, educated, intelligent person can take seriously'.
I felt he should have finished his article right there, but of course being an apologist he couldn't resist seeing if he could invent some face-saving difference between his invisible god and invisible fairies. He obviously hasn't seen this insightful bumper sticker: 'Invisible gods and non-existent gods look identical'.
Not far into his article he agrees that 'it is obviously silly and irrational to believe in things like fairies, leprechauns, orbiting golden tea-cups and spaghetti monsters'. Of course we would put God in that list as well, but Matthew's argument is that belief in God is not silly and irrational. Before he attempts to explain why, he explains why belief in fairies, leprechauns et al is silly and irrational, using the example of leprechauns. Matthew tells us that stories of leprechauns storing their pots of gold at the ends of rainbows are fantasy, simply because 'We know rainbows do not have ends in the way this picture envisages'. We know this is not how the world works. And we agree with his rationale, but since Matthew is trying to suggest that the stories of leprechauns set them apart from stories of God, let's look at the God stories. We also know that snakes, donkeys and burning bushes don't talk, that humans didn't originate from a nudist couple, that the world wasn't magically created in six days, that stars don't fall to earth, that the sun doesn't just stop in the sky and that the aforementioned bushes don't burn without being consumed. If our modern insight into rainbows is enough to firmly place leprechauns in the fantasy category, then the nonsense contained within the Bible would make it the king of fantasy.
But Matthew elects not to reveal how embarrassing similar God stories are to leprechaun stories, and instead focuses on the question of whether we should believe in things we have never seen. We have never seen fairies, leprechauns and flying spaghetti monsters so people dismiss them Matthew claims, but we have never seen aliens either, so why don't we dismiss the possibility that they might exist?
Matthew tries to present the simplistic, straw man argument that we dismiss fairies solely because we have never seen one, but this is only one reason of many. We also dismiss them because our understanding of reality, as with rainbows and talking snakes above, says magical things like fairies and leprechauns are dredged from the fantasies of primitive cultures and simply can't and don't exist. Not only have we never seen these beings, but contrary to Matthew's view we can and do give reasons why we never will. But Matthew eventually explains that we do have good reasons to believe aliens might exist, and at the same time equally good reasons to believe fairies don't. Our stance is not based on whether we have seen aliens or fairies, but whether there is any evidence that they might exist. Matthew has created two categories of unseen beings, one possible, the other not. He now needs to demonstrate that God fits in the plausible alien box and not the fantasy fairy box. We agree with the argument that he is now trying to make, that just because we have never seen God, this reason alone is insufficient to dismiss him as we do fairies. God and fairies, though both unseen, might well be different things, but are they?
Of course we now reach the crux of Matthew's argument. That while he accepts that there is no evidence for and there is indeed evidence against fairies, leprechauns et al, he maintains that the case is just the opposite for God, that God should stand alongside the likes of aliens rather than fairies. So what is this evidence that God is out there somewhere with aliens, and just how strong is it? Unfortunately it turns out to have the strength of a wet paper bag reinforced by fairy dust.
While we haven't seen God, Matthew insists that nevertheless 'sophisticated and rigorous arguments for God's existence have been offered and are still being offered in the literature today... [although] the experts in the field are divided on the cogency of these arguments. The best that sceptics can suggest is that the evidence is inconclusive'.
This is nonsense. Experts wouldn't be 'divided on the cogency of these arguments' if they were truly 'sophisticated and rigorous', and in the real world the outcome of 'sophisticated and rigorous arguments' is seldom labelled 'inconclusive'.
Not surprisingly Matthew gave no hint of what any of these 'sophisticated and rigorous arguments' were, when they were made and who actually made them — scientists, philosophers or theologians? Of course over the centuries many arguments that were once considered 'sophisticated and rigorous' have been offered, mainly by theologians and philosophers, but they've all been dismissed following the advancement of knowledge. Matthew's claim that experts are divided and that the evidence is inconclusive is totally bogus. That's no different to Creationists and Intelligent Design proponents claiming that scientists are 'divided' over evolution or divine creation, or that the evidence for the Big Bang or creation is 'inconclusive'. Yes there are theologians and a handful of scientists and philosophers that still believe some of these outdated arguments for God. But to suggest that expert opinion is divided in any way equally, or that evidence is so vague or 'inconclusive' that the argument could go either way is a total fabrication. And of course there are publications out there that argue for God's existence, just like there are those that argue for alien abduction, crystal healing and talking to the dead (sometimes all in the same literature), but none of their arguments are 'sophisticated and rigorous', except in the minds of their authors.
It is obvious that even Matthew recognises that his 'real evidence' is weak in the extreme and he makes one final attempt to drag God from the fairy list, saying, 'However, even if we grant this, those who defend belief in God can and have offered principled distinctions between God and things like flying spaghetti monsters'.
By this he means that reversing into a corner he is now going to fall back on two of the weakest arguments for believing in God that there is. The first is known as Pascal's Wager. Matthew explains: 'When one cannot avoid making a choice, one can act in hope or faith that a belief is true, even if there is no evidence for it, if the expected benefits of the thing hoped for outweigh the benefits of the alternatives'. Pascal reckoned that it made sense to believe in God because if he were real you would get to go to Heaven. If he was real and you chose not to believe, then you would suffer by going to Hell. If on the other hand he was not real but you still chose to believe he was, this false belief wouldn't really cost you anything. The argument is that you should say you believe just on the slim chance that God is real because then you'll be rewarded rather than punished.
This argument fails for many reasons. One is that God is God you moron. If you're not really convinced he exists and are just saying you believe to get the reward then God will know that you're not sincere. God knows these things. You may be able to fool your priest and family but not God. Another problem is that if it truly makes sense to believe in God, then which God do you believe in? The Christian God, the Jewish God, the Muslim God or the Egyptian god Ra? And even if you say it is the Christian God, then is it the Catholic God, the Protestant God or the Mormon God? Choosing to believe in a specific god would only work 'after' you've shown that there is good evidence that this god, and only this god, might well exist. Remember that Christians, Muslims, Jews and Vikings can all use this argument, even though they all choose different gods. Any argument that supports opposing sides of a debate is a pretty apathetic argument. And yet Matthew supports it with, 'Modified versions of this line of argument are still defended by philosophers today'. Not by the good philosophers its not. And note that he says, 'Modified versions of this line of argument are still defended', meaning that the version he stated above is flawed and must be modified before even they would attempt to defend it.
Matthew then continues with, 'A second reason is that even if one has insufficient evidence for the truth of some proposition, one can be rational in believing it if it is grounded directly in one's experience. There are plenty of things we believe which are not based on evidence'. Note that we see in this statement the real reason why Matthew is forced into going down this path: 'one has insufficient evidence for the truth of some proposition', ie God.
Mathew has finally settled on this to justify his belief in God: 'belief in God... is something a person directly sees as true via direct experience or intuition of some sort as opposed to the conclusion of an evidentiary proof'. One example he gives is that the belief that it is wrong to rape women is not based on evidence. He says that 'I intuitively conclude that rape is wrong'. While we have issues with both these claims, we will simply give another example that demonstrates how flawed this reasoning is: I intuitively conclude that the Earth is flat and the Sun goes around us. Another example he gives is: 'I observe that other people exist'. Again my example could be: I observe that magicians cut women in half. This demonstrates that we can not trust our senses or memory or intuition to reach the truth of the matter. Our observations and intuition have to be verified with 'evidentiary proof'. Without that it's just a guess or wishful thinking, or as Matthew said earlier, acting 'in hope or faith that a belief is true'.
We also note that throughout his article Matthew only ever mentions God — singular with a capital G — never 'gods'. We know that Matthew — and all Christians — would, like us, immediately place 'gods' in the list with fairies. By 'gods' we mean divine beings such as the Hindu gods, the Buddhist gods, the Maori gods, the gods of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Vikings, Maya and even the god of the Jews and the Muslims. At no time is Matthew arguing that belief in a single one of these 'gods' might be justified, as he is doing for his capital G Christian God. This is a problem that has long been highlighted with monotheistic believers. It's paradoxical that they can use their reasoning powers to convincingly decide that thousands of other gods are pure fantasy, but can't turn the same intellectual spotlight on their own remaining god. Of course reason won't enter into it for most Christians. Their Bible tells them there is only one God, and they blindly take that as gospel. Thinking is not required.
So our conclusion is that Matthew has failed miserably in demonstrating that God doesn't deserve to take his rightful place alongside fairies, leprechauns and flying spaghetti monsters, and that honest, intelligent people everywhere should continue to encourage Christians to grow up.
Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 30 Aug, 2010 ~
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Comment by Paul, 04 Sep, 2010
Hi there John, just to correct you on a couple of things mate.
1.) All three Abrahanic religions happen to believe in the same sky-daddy. Yes, that’s right Bin Laden and The Pope pray and postulate to the same supreme-being. I love reminding devotees of this ‘ugly love child’ hiding under their bed.
2.) The Bible does mention other Gods which I thought it appropriate to highlight via the medium of You Tube
As to debating this so-called (Witch?)Doctor Flannagan about the existence of god(s) I keep-on popping onto his blog and asking him to define exactly “What is God?”. After-all we can’t talk about the existence of say Moas or Tasmanian Tigers without first knowing what one is.
Frustrated at a lack of a reply about a year ago I put-up $1000 to anyone on this planet who can tell me "What is God?". In other-words the grand was open to any theist who could answer what is after-all a basic question.
Needless to say the money is still safe in my TAB account.
So before buying-into arguments about god(s) existence get your adversary to define what exactly is god?
Watch em' squirm!
Keep-up the good work.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 04 Sep, 2010
Hi Paul, you're quite right that followers of all three Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — do 'in one sense' all believe in the same god. But in a strict sense I don't believe they do, this shared belief is an illusion. What they share is a belief in the same origins, in that they all trace their common origin back to Abraham, and the god that Abraham foolishly got involved with. In those ancient stories much of their belief is the same, but as soon as the next religion was created, that common belief ceased. That's why we have Christianity and Islam, because Christians and Muslims don't believe in the God of the Jews.
The God that Christians believe in claims that Jesus, who was either God's bastard son or God in disguise, is the way to salvation. However the God that Muslims believe in claims that Jesus was merely a prophet, and no relation to God himself, and that Mohammed is the prophet that people should be following. But the God that Jews believe in claims that both Jesus and Mohammed are frauds. Since these three 'Gods' all hold and push different beliefs then logically they can not be the same God. Unless he's running an enormous scam, the same god can not be the head of all three religions. Christians do not believe their God wants them to pray five times a day, therefore the God they believe in is not the same God that Muslims believe in.
It's a little like two people taking a cutting off a friend's plant and growing their own, genetically identical plant in their own gardens. We now have three different plants that all have the same origin. These three gardeners can not all claim that they are watering and tending to the same plant, only that their plants are related by their origins.
This relativistic crap that all religions lead to the same god via different paths is merely a ploy to get weakened religions to form a fragile alliance against the onslaught of atheism.
Of course from the atheist point of view, having a common origin means that any argument that shows the God of the Jews to be false, automatically demolishes Christianity and Islam. Destroy the Old Testament foundations and all three Abrahamic religions crumble. You're right that Bin Laden and the Pope are both ultimately standing on the same nonsense that supports the Jews, a foundation with the consistency of warm marshmallows.
You're also right Paul that the Bible does mention the existence of other gods. This is a great embarrassment to the few Christians that are aware of it, and another example of how the ancient Hebrew belief in many gods slowly evolved into belief in only one. However this example of extremely bad editing aside, Christianity is united in the message that there is only one God, and argue, quite weakly, that any strange reference to other 'gods' in the Bible is talking about false gods. It doesn't fool you and me, but it seems it does fool silly Christians.
I also agree that it is nigh on impossible to get Christians to define what exactly they mean by God. Usually it's because they are as ignorant about God as they are about the details of quantum mechanics, their knowledge coming from naive parents, Sunday School as a child and movies like 'The Passion of the Christ'. A few have thought seriously about it, but the intelligent soon realise that God's attributes are a minefield of contradictions, logical impossibilities and blatant superstitious fantasies. These few have learnt that defining God requires them to examine their beliefs in theological, scientific and philosophic detail, and venturing down that road they soon encounter signs that read: This way to Atheism. All Welcome. All but an honest few beat a hasty retreat and vow to leave the details of God to God himself, muttering under their breath that 'ignorance is bliss'.
But it is an excellent ploy. By simply asking people to explain their belief in a little detail, whether it be a belief in gods, ghosts, ESP or alien abductions, they often highlight their own ignorance and can even demolish their own argument. At the very least you know the points you need to address and don't waste time challenging aspects that even they don't believe in.
Like those who refuse to collect an easy million dollars for simply demonstrating their paranormal powers, your $1000 is safe because there is no detailed definition of God that matches reality, and anyone that tries to find one eventually reaches that conclusion. If it were so easy surely Dr Flannagan, a theologian, philosopher and apologist, would happily take your money and prove you wrong.
Complaint against atheist billboards
Yesterday we received the following from Bob:
In a news item today the Advertising Standards Association rejected a complaint from an individual that billboards proclaiming there is no god were offensive and a mockery of Christian beliefs. Now I think the billboards are a bit silly. That is my personal opinion. Nevertheless I would hate to think any civil authority would make ridicule of religion an offense. Fortunately the ASA took the view that free expressions of strong opinion are an essential part of a democracy. Christians are free to put up their own billboards, though in this country they don't seem to bother except on church property.
We agree Bob, the ASA did take the correct stance. But we must remember that technically, ridicule of religion is an offence. It's called blasphemy, it's still on our law books, and we've argued here that it should be abolished. Here's what philosopher A. C. Grayling has to say about blasphemy:
"If I impugn your God or gods, in your view I blaspheme. [Blasphemy is] a difference in perception, with the stronger power persecuting the weak as a result. Blasphemy is a destructive idea, a dangerous, subjective catch-all used by superstitious people to deny others their liberty of thought. ... The world be a better place if the notion [of blasphemy] were purged from it. And that in particular means that blasphemy laws should be abolished wherever they still exist. Such laws, like those about obscenity and censorship, are simply instruments for controlling ideas. Thus viewed, blasphemy is a healthy phenomenon because it is a sign of free speech, and demonstrates the maturing of society from one level of belief and practice to another."
Is the Christian threat of prosecution by the ASA much different than the treat of persecution from Islamists who protest with placards declaring "Butcher those who mock Islam"? Both are trying to bully those with opposing beliefs into submission, into silence.
We think that this complaint clearly demonstrates that some devout Christians still refuse to accept that they live in a democratic and secular society, or that they should be tolerant of those that believe differently. These billboards have exposed these intolerant, authoritative Christians and revealed that NZ still has a way to go before ALL Kiwis accept that ALL Kiwis have a right to express their views in public.
And really, what is so offensive in slogans such as "In the beginning, man created god, there's probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life"? Is Christianity so fragile that that indecisive comment is going to cause its collapse? Are the feelings of Christians so sensitive that any suggestion that there might not be a god will see them fainting in the streets? On this website we're prepared to say that THERE IS NO GOD. 'Probably' doesn't come into it. Have we just given some sensitive Christian a heart attack? Of course not! As Grayling implies, these complaints to the likes of the ASA are not really about offence, they are about censorship of free speech and are simply hiding behind a mask labelled 'Offensive'.
And if authorities were going to take seriously this notion of being offended by an opposing view, then in exactly the same way that a Christian might take offence from an atheist's view, an atheist could be equally offended by a Christian's view. Humans, be they Christian or atheist, are capable of being offended, so if authorities were to stamp down on potential offences, then Christian public displays would also have to be made illegal. As Bob said, 'Christians are free to put up their own billboards, though in this country they don't seem to bother except on church property'. However it seems that they don't want others to have that right of free expression on private property. But unfortunately there is an enormous amount of church property in NZ, a great number of which do have billboards, and every single property has signs or symbols that remind the public of the Christian view. The fact that you have to view something over a low fence doesn't make it less offensive. All these would have to go if it became illegal to 'offend' those of different beliefs. All the religious adverts in the media at Christmas and Easter would have to be banned. The prayer that opens Parliament and 'Bible in Schools' would have go to avoid offence. And yet how many atheist organisations would have to remove billboards and signs from their premises in your town or city compared to the religious institutions? Probably zero. Religious billboards, signs, crosses and messages are everywhere in NZ's secular society, in small towns and big cities, and have been there for decades. And yet a mere handful of atheist billboards displayed for a few weeks or months in two or three of our largest cities causes these arrogant Christians to scream that they are offended. Well Christians, if this offence is real, now you know how atheists have felt our entire lives, continually bombarded with claims and institutions that mock our world view. Just think of how far you would have to go to reach the two churches closest to where you live, or what day TV features the most shows devoted to religion (Answer: Sunday). Now try and find your nearest institution advocating atheism with weekly get togethers, or what day TV features the most shows devoted to atheism (Answer: there aren't any shows at all, let alone a dedicated day). If this potential offence to all parties is to be removed, it is obvious that Christianity will be greatly affected and atheists almost not at all.
Again, this ASA complaint is just arrogant Christians trying desperately to keep the truth from the public, and demonstrating their infamous intolerance towards heretics in the process. We have these atheistic billboards to thank for reminding us that Christianity and religion in general is still a real threat to a free and democratic society.
Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 22 Aug, 2010 ~
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Creationists & those pesky dinosaurs
Mike in Australia sent us a link to the following article on religion in schools. He hoped we would find it as silly and humorous as he did:
'Creationists hijack lessons and teach schoolkids man and dinosaurs walked together'
The article mentioned the following claims being made by the Creationists to schoolkids:
'Students have been told Noah collected dinosaur eggs to bring on the Ark'
Thanks Mike, we did indeed get a good laugh, interspersed with depressed sighs and a shaking of the head. These morons are silly indeed. The article claims that 'Fundamentalist Christians are hijacking Religious Instruction (RI) classes in Queensland' and that 'Primary school students are being taught that man and dinosaurs walked the Earth together and that there is fossil evidence to prove it'. Yeah, sure there is.
'Adam and Eve were not eaten by dinosaurs because they were under a protective spell'
'Set Free Christian Church's Tim McKenzie said when students questioned him why dinosaur fossils carbon dated as earlier than man, he replied that the great flood must have skewed the data'
"The scripture teacher told the class that all people were descended from Adam and Eve," he said. My daughter rightly pointed out, as I had been teaching her about DNA and science, that 'wouldn't they all be inbred'? But the teacher replied that DNA wasn't invented then."
Let's look at how silly their claims are:
'Students have been told Noah collected dinosaur eggs to bring on the Ark'
Recall that these morons believe that their God created ALL life, including humans, at the same time, and thus they must have all lived together. God then ordered Noah to take samples of ALL life onto his ark. However dinosaurs and Noah are a reasonably recent problem for creationists. Only since their discovery have Creationists needed to explain how all these extra animals, and many quite large, could all have fitted on an already crowded ark, and could have been persuaded not to eat their neighbours, especially in the case of T Rex etc. When the ark story was first dreamt up, the desert nomads only knew of a handful of animals, like sheep, goats, donkeys, lions, snakes etc, those that lived in the Middle East and surrounding countries. They had no knowledge of polar bears, emus, dingos, kiwis or penguins, let alone the long dead dinosaurs, and therefore they naively believed that Noah's little wooden boat could easily carry the local animals. Pairs of living, breathing animals. Actually Noah was instructed to take seven pairs of every clean animal and seven pairs of every bird, which took up even more room. Thus creationists have been forced to invent new and novel ways that might have allowed Noah to fit an ever-increasing number of animals onto his ark. Hence the egg idea. Eggs are relatively small compared to a mature animal, eggs don't eat their neighbouring eggs, nor do they require a food supply to be taken along. And dinosaurs came from eggs. Oh aren't these creationists brilliant? Unfortunately there are a number of major problems that they don't mention, the most important being the Bible. Remember that the only known source that even reckons that there was a worldwide flood and a bobbing boat containing a menagerie of friendly animals is the Bible. And on this point it is very clear, the pairs of animals that went into the ark were living, breathing, walking, slithering, flying animals that came to Noah under their own steam. They were not eggs that Noah had to go and steal from the nest of a velociraptor or diplodocus. Note the following quotes from their silly book:
'Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark...' GE 7:8-9
The animals 'came' to Noah, the 'animals were going in', they 'entered the ark'. Have you ever had an egg come up to your house and stroll in the front door? Note also that Noah was ordered to keep the animals 'alive', not the eggs, but the animals, and to do this he was instructed to bring aboard food for the animals. Eggs don't need fruit and cereal for breakfast, so why the food supply?
'Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. The animals going in were male and female of every living thing...' GE 7:15-16
'Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them." ' GE 6:20-21
OK, so the egg idea doesn't wash, unless the Bible account is wrong, but these creationists do insist on quoting Genesis so obviously they believe it's factual. But might the egg idea have been the way to go, a good plan that God didn't think of? In the 21st century maybe, but in the Bronze Age, no not really. There are a number of problems. For example some species of reptiles lay eggs that rely on the temperature of the egg to determine whether the embryo develops into a male or a female. Was Noah aware of what the sex determining factor for dinosaurs was when he collected the eggs? If it was temperature, then if the two eggs were kept together in a box labelled 'Triceratops', when they hatched you would get two males or two females, which hardly bodes well for the future of their species. Maybe that's really why the dinosaurs went extinct, it was Noah's incompetence? So the eggs might have needed to be kept separate, and also Noah and his ark would have to have had sophisticated equipment to maintain the crucial temperature for egg development, and actually know what that temperature was. You can't just put all the eggs in a box. Furthermore the eggs would need to lie around in their Bronze Age incubators for over a year, by which time most would have simply died if they hadn't hatched. The embryos in the eggs are developing at a set rate, and after their incubation time, probably much less than a year for most, they would hatch. Which of course is not what Noah would want, because we're back to the problem of where do you fit all these live animals? However we know from the Bible that if there were in fact eggs taken on board, then they had all hatched and the animals had matured sufficiently to leave the ark when it finally docked, since Genesis says that:
'All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds — everything that moves on the earth — came out of the ark, one kind after another.' GE 8:19
Of course we now have another enormous problem if all these animals are fresh out of eggs. They are all juveniles as well as being orphans. As we know, and even Noah would have known, many young animals learn how to act and survive as dinosaurs or ravens by observing their parents. With no parents or other adults of their species to observe and interact with, how would they know what to do, how to hunt and socialise? And what about animals that were herd animals or hunted in a pack, two is hardly a herd or a pack? You can't surround your prey with two. And if they did manage to kill an antelope for example, how did the single surviving antelope manage to survive? What did it mate with? Is that why we no longer have unicorns, one got eaten by a dinosaur? And if a pair of a species did avoid being eaten, who would they mate with, their sibling?
To make things even worse, after God had gone to this ridiculous effort to save all his precious animals, when Noah finally got his feet back on dry land the first thing the stupid bastard did was to slaughter a number of them, thinking that this would please his Lord:
'Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.' GE 8:20
And the depressing thing is that it evidently did please him. It seems God was only saving the animals so they could be used as burnt offerings. What a complete bastard. And why burnt, what's wrong with medium-rare? What a waste of life, and a perfect example of someone who doesn't value it.
Remember that the guy that caused all this death and destruction, murder and mayhem, is none other than God himself. Given the problem of saving animals from a flood you and I might wonder, how the hell are we going to do this with the technology and resources we have available, but not God surely? Why do these idiots keep forgetting this? He's the guy that created the entire universe and all life and that keeps it ticking along, or not, depending on what side of the bed he got out of that morning. We're continually told he's all powerful, so why couldn't he just have waved his hands or tentacles or whatever and spirited a couple of every species to animal heaven, flooded the earth, and then popped the animals back when things had dried out? After all God did magically get two, sometimes more, of every animal on the planet to trek from the ends of the Earth to a desert in the Middle East and blindly walk into a strange enclosure, which could for all they knew have been an abattoir. Why didn't he just spirit a selection of animals to a vacation spa in animal heaven? It does exist doesn't it? Since God is exercising his powers, why muck around with a bloody boat? An even more revealing question is why did God have to kill every living thing on the planet just to wipe out a few humans in the Middle East who had annoyed him? Why did the innocent animals have to suffer? Even humans can wipe out other humans without slaughtering animals, so why couldn't an all-powerful, all-knowing God think of something that didn't harm the animals? For God, why was it all or nothing, or did he just not care about the animals since they couldn't worship him? His love of animal sacrifices shows he didn't really give a shit about the animals.
Another 'fact' some kids learnt:
'Adam and Eve were not eaten by dinosaurs because they were under a protective spell'
Again the fundamentalists have to have the dinosaurs gambolling around in the idyllic Garden of Eden since all life was created by God in that frenetic six day burst of his. And what was all that about anyway? Quazillions of years with no urge to be creative and then all of a sudden — BANG — in a mad rush of energy he creates a universe replete with gigantic, murderous dinosaurs with razor sharp teeth and two tiny, naked humans with tasty flesh and no access to shoulder launched rockets. Was God high on drugs when he created the universe? Did he suffer from bipolar disorder and was on a manic episode? And why did he need to rest on the seventh day? How can an all-powerful, perfect, immutable god get tired? If God can change from being full of energy to being exhausted then he is not immutable, since he has changed. If God was perfect prior to starting on his project, but was changed after its completion, then he must have become less than perfect, since you can't become better than perfect. From perfect you can only go down. Personally we think God rushed the project and didn't consider many of the design aspects. An Hawaiian-like garden, good; sex, great; mixing dinosaurs with humans, not so great.
But we digress. The inconvenient 'fact' for Christians is that dinosaurs must have been in the Garden of Eden, so why didn't they — or lions and saber-toothed cats for that matter — have Adam and Eve over for lunch? Well, according to this answer from these fundamentalists, the world's first nudists avoided being lunch because 'they were under a protective spell'. Sounds more like something a Fairy Godmother might have done than God. The real problem with this guess is that most Christians insist that there was no death in the world until after the Fall, until after Eve and Adam ate their Apple Strudel. Before that the garden was idyllic, a paradise, where the lion lay down with the lamb. There were no carnivores, no animals fleeing for their lives, no flesh being ripped from bones, no scenes of slaughter and rotting carcases. This was paradise remember. Lions didn't have razor sharp canines back then, they were vegetarians. And of course so were all the dinosaurs. But many of the fearsome attributes of a lion and a tyrannosaurus rex are there solely to hunt and kill its prey, so it makes you wonder whether we would even recognise a lion or a T Rex in the Garden of Eden, since none of those attributes, eg canines, powerful muscles and vicious claws, would have been needed or present. Only after Adam and Eve sinned by eating the strudel did God evict them from the garden and evidently radically morphed a few of his friendly, leaf-munching animals into blood thirsty killers. Death and misery had entered the world, solely because a vindictive, angry God wasn't bright enough to know that a talking snake was plotting against him. And rather than just punish the conspiring snake, or even just Adam and Eve who had disobeyed him, he took out his rage on every innocent animal on the planet. Turning past friends into either vicious, unthinking killers or cowering, terrified prey.
But the biggest problem with the 'man walked with dinosaurs' claim is that dinosaurs went extinct some 65 million years ago, and humans didn't make an appearance until almost 65 millions years later. They never met. The only time man lived with dinosaurs was in the Flintstone era. Of course that was a fictional era, and thankfully, even intelligent, observant kids know that these days, as evidenced by the following:
'Set Free Christian Church's Tim McKenzie said when students questioned him why dinosaur fossils carbon dated as earlier than man, he replied that the great flood must have skewed the data.'
What nonsense! For one, if McKenzie had truly looked into this problem of dating, he would know that carbon dating can't be used to date dinosaur fossils, it can only date back to around 50,000 years. And to say that a fictitious flood conveniently and coincidentally separated every single dinosaur fossil from every single human fossil, not to mention every other historically recent species, is something that even the mentally challenged Fred Flintstone would have found hard to believe. It's a case of the students knowing more than the teacher. Another example is the following exchange:
"The scripture teacher told the class that all people were descended from Adam and Eve," he said. "My daughter rightly pointed out, as I had been teaching her about DNA and science, that 'wouldn't they all be inbred'? "But the teacher replied that DNA wasn't invented then."
What ignorance on the part of the scripture teacher. If DNA wasn't needed in the bodies of Adam and Eve — evidently the most perfect examples of mankind ever made — why do we need it now? How did early humans reproduce and survive without DNA? These last two examples are instances of ignorant, dogmatic Christian fundamentalists attacking a child's real, accurate knowledge and replacing it with superstitious nonsense. Of education being replaced with brainwashing.
It's depressing enough that there are still silly people in society that believe this nonsense of Adam and Eve walking with dinosaurs, but that these deluded souls are invited into classrooms to preach to children and convince them that scientific evidence is a lie, is nothing but scandalous.
When our children ask what makes the sky blue and the grass green, they deserve a better answer than: 'God does'.
If you're interested, we've exposed many other embarrassing problems with the Flood of Noah here, in our article on Christian fundamentalist Ian Wishart.
Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 21 Aug, 2010 ~
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Comment by Phill, 22 Aug, 2010
Hi guys, I hate to say this but it is a bit like preaching to the converted. Let's face it, being a fundamentalist means you don't have to face the cold hard facts of science and reality. In the fundamentalist world view men and dinosaurs frolicked together in the wonderful land of Nod (or was that where Cain went to find a wife after he'd killed Abel — I forget). The story of Noah is interesting in that the bible version is only the one of the later versions of Noah and the flood and that most of the peoples in that area have similar flood myths. Some scholars have suggested that it may have related to a flood or floods that occurred and impacted on them, others have suggested a more psychological explanation (but I'm not going to go into that, I just couldn't get my head round it at the time.)
Of course to believe in the reality of the bible version is pure absurdity on so many grounds. The fact that there is not enough water in the entire earth system to cover all the land (fundamentalists have created hidden underground oceans or the mystical magical power of god to cover that one). An engineer once crunched the numbers and found that the ark as big as described (or as big as would have been needed to be) could not have survived as a structure and would have suffered a catastrophic failure as they say. Tell that to fundamentalists and they go all cold on you. Also the number of animals that you would have to provide space for is just too great and it's not just all the living creatures that currently exist but all those others that no longer exist (or did they drown in the flood?) I of course have my own version of the story, and I think it's as scientifically valid as the bible version. You see once upon a time there was this Timelord called Noah and he had this Tardis that had the chameleon circut set to boat and ... I think you know where this is going. These days I never argue science with Fundy's, they either ignore it or come up with some feeble minded claptrap. If you want to have fun with them I suggest a wee bit of bible study for this purpose. I highly recommend Jonathan Kirsch's, "The Harlot by the Side of the Road: Forbidden Tales of the Bible". Ever want to see a fundamentalist squirm, try one of these tales. For contrary to what a lot of fundamentalist christian's claim, many of them have not really read the bible in great detail or have skimmed or glossed over many of its stories. As an example; Exodus 4:24-25, in short, god has asked Moses to go free his people, when Moses and his wife stop for the night on their journey to Egypt god sneaks into the tent and tries to kill Moses, Moses wife saves her husband by quickly circumcising his son. It's a book I highly recommend and provides endless hours of entertainment with Fundamentalists.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 23 Aug, 2010
Hi Phill. You mentioned 'preaching to the converted'. We agree that fundamentalists are a lost cause, but publicly debating with them or debunking their silly arguments can allow the uncommitted reader watching from the sidelines to gain an insight into the arguments and the debate. People that have seriously thought about these things fully understand why silly Bible stories such as Noah can be laughed out of the classroom, but unfortunately many parents do not, and it is they that we aim our comments. We know that we will never shake the beliefs of the fundamentalists that run these classes, preach on street corners or annoy us with their rambling religious emails. But many parents are neither fundamentalists nor interested in science, they just want their kids to get an education, and if their school is offering free religious instruction classes, many blindly send their kids along. It's those parents that are 'sitting on the fence' that we want to reach, those that aren't blindly committed to religion and that just want their kids to learn the truth, whatever it might be.
You mentioned Cain going off to find a wife, but we're forever amazed at the number of people who have never wondered how that was even possible, since Adam, Eve and Cain were supposedly the only three people on the planet at that time. As obvious as the problem is to you and I, many people need to be confronted with that embarrassing 'fact' before they can exclaim: 'Wow, I'd never thought about that before!'
We'll never convince the fundamentalists to stop running these classes, and so we have to convince the parents to stop sending their kids. As you said, most Christians have never really read the Bible, or thought in any depth about what it would really mean if those stories were true. And non-Christians even less so. They don't know whether the Bible might actually support the idea of Noah taking eggs aboard, but if they read our post they can now confidently say it doesn't, and even point to actual verses in Genesis. The same with the book you recommended. The more information people have about the nonsense in the Bible, the more they can discuss these things intelligently with other parents at various social gatherings, and together realise that sending their kids to classes taught by Christian fundamentalists is not a great idea.
Psychic finds body — accidentally
Last night on TV3 News we were stunned then annoyed to see an item with the headline:
PSYCHIC FINDS BODY
We were then told that Sydney police suspect that a recently discovered dismembered torso could be that of a woman that went missing two months ago. Newsreader Mike McRoberts said that, 'The torso was found by a self professed psychic who wasn't looking for the woman, but for a six year old girl... The psychic and an aboriginal man had been trying to find the six year old who vanished from her suburban Sydney home almost two weeks ago, when they came across the headless, limbless body wrapped in plastic in a nature reserve.'
McRoberts then concluded the item with this tantalising snippet: 'Police describe the woman's psychic powers as "a very interesting proposition".'
This item was pure sensationalism, irresponsible and completely misleading, designed solely to cater for those morons that believe we can talk to the dead. We don't remember ever being told that this woman was missing, and in this item she was still so unimportant that we weren't told who she was, although we were shown her photo. The bogus headline 'PSYCHIC FINDS BODY' reveals the sole reason for TV3 News producers running this story. The media desperately trying to attract viewers through headlines that excite the handful of brain cells possessed by the gullible in society.
And yet the fact that this woman was a psychic had little to do with her finding this body, and certainly nothing to do with 'psychic powers'.
Imagine if you saw this headline: 'Heart surgeon saves boy's life'. What would you think might be the story, that the heart surgeon had performed lifesaving heart surgery on the boy? However on reading the item you discover that while swimming at his local pool the surgeon saved the boy from drowning by performing CPR. Would you feel deceived? Would you insist that a more accurate headline would be along the lines of: 'Local man saves drowning boy'? The fact that he was a heart surgeon is irrelevant, it only distorts the story, and it creates a fantasy if people don't read and understand the full story.
It's the same with this psychic, the headline should have said, 'Couple stumble across dismembered torso'. Yes, the fact she was a psychic was the reason she and her companion were in the nature reserve, but it must be emphasised that her claimed 'psychic powers' had failed her completely, as they always do. She went there believing she would find the six year old girl, she failed utterly. She evidently had no suspicion whatsoever that this woman's body was there, and her stumbling across it was a complete accident. She stumbled across it as a member of the public, not as a psychic.
Although they showed what we assume was the psychic, they didn't identify her, nor in all fairness to the woman did they say that she claimed her 'psychic powers' somehow aided her in locating this body. However the police describing the woman's 'psychic powers' as 'a very interesting proposition' does imply that she didn't just trip over the body while looking for something else, that she might have suggested to them that her 'psychic powers' lead her to that spot. It is worryingly to think that some in the police give these psychics and mediums the time of day, and might seriously consider listening to their absurd claims.
The Aussies were astute enough to cancel the silly 'Sensing Murder' TV show part way through its first season, whereas it's still popular here in NZ, surely they aren't now having second thoughts? The fact is that worldwide psychics have never, ever located a body through the application of their 'psychic powers'. Psychics and their equally deluded supporters will insist that they have heard of psychics finding bodies, but this is simply a vague memory of utterly bogus items such as this one. They remember the headline — PSYCHIC FINDS BODY — and conveniently forget the embarrassing details. And note that the six year old girl the psychic was actually looking for is still missing.
Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 14 Aug, 2010 ~
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Islam means submission, not peace
This week has once again seen the appearance of Islam Awareness Week, but this year our local Muslim community got the type of publicity it would no doubt rather avoid. As reported in this ODT article, 'A small group of Dunedin Muslim women protested for free speech after two others were advised they could not speak at the front of a public meeting attended by men last night'.
We say well done to those Muslim women for highlighting an imam's claim that it is 'inappropriate for women to address a mixed group'. This is exactly what Islam Awareness Week is all about, making non-Muslims aware of the primitive, dogmatic and blatantly unequal nature of the Islamic religion. The brutal fact is that true Islam, just like true Christianity, is intolerant and damaging towards women. Women and Islam is a little like some women and abusive husbands. The women know the rules, they know they're just a man's plaything, and even though they hate being treated this way, they just won't leave. They naively think they can bring about change. They're wrong. If women want safety, independence and equality, then they need to walk away. You can't adopt a 7th century religion and hope to live a 21st century life. We have no time for Muslims (or Christians) who arrogantly want to ignore or rewrite their God's divine commandments and yet still insist they are living by their holy book. Either submit to your God's ancient wishes or grow up and walk away.
Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 07 Aug, 2010 ~
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Comment by Bob, 08 Aug, 2010
When you advise Muslim women to walk away are you referring purely to women in New Zealand or Muslim women worldwide? At least in New Zealand if they stand up for themselves they can't be stoned to death or chained up inside their homes after a beating. However there is still subtle pressure such as ostracism by the family. In Muslim countries women who try to effect change are likely to face a death sentence or long imprisonment.
A while back I read a book by a Muslim woman living in France. She and her family came from Morocco. There is a sizable population of Muslims in France from that part of North Africa. She was taken on a trip back to Morocco where she was introduced to her future husband then married off in a forced marriage. Apparently the suitability of the husband rested on the size of the bride price her parents could get out of him. By our standards this man was a useless no-hoper with a domineering mother. The young woman was not only expected to look after her husband but to wait on her demanding mother in law. She had a job and was the breadwinner, the husband being in and out of work.
To get out of the situation she could have left and lived like French women who she envied. But then her family would have disowned her. She had a good relationship with her mother who was in the same situation though she sympathised with her daughter. She didn't want to be cut off from her mother and extended family. These are the pressures faced by Muslim women who want freedom and rights. Walking away is not an easy option. In any society social change comes slowly. Just think in our much freer society it took time for women to get the vote, to have equality with men, for anti discrimination laws in employment etc.
It is easy to stand on the sideline and tell Muslim women to walk away not so easy to do.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 08 Aug, 2010
We agree entirely Bob, it would be a frightening prospect for a Muslim woman to leave Islam, and would demand great bravery and resolve. We were specifically referring to NZ Muslim women, some of whom are evidently recent converts, and where the negative consequences would be far less severe. However in many Muslim countries women would indeed face beatings and/or primitive execution, or at the very least ostracism from their family and society. Women are the chattels of men, little better than domestic servants and sex slaves. We have in the news at the moment the case of the Iranian woman that was to be stoned to death for adultery (after her husband had died), which speaks of the brutality of Islam. But if we might revisit our abusive husband analogy, if you knew your young neighbour was being beaten and abused, would you advise her to be content with her lot? Would you say, 'Look, he'll just find you, you know he will, and he'll drag you home and give you the worst beating of your life. If you refuse to go, he might just kill you on the spot. This is your life now, for better or for worse remember? You're just going to have to deal with it as best your can'. I don't believe you would offer this advice, and instead would try and assist her. Walking away, from an abusive relationship or Islam (and Christianity also has it's closed sects too remember), is certainly not easy or risk free, but we have to encourage those that want to make the leap and assure them that we will be here to help them.
Societal change certainly used to come slowly, but the last century has seen massive, unexpected shifts, such as women getting the vote, gender equality, homosexual law reform, freedom of religion, legal abortion, the collapse of the USSR, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the creation of Israel, the fall from grace of the Vatican etc. Just today my mother reckoned that her generation has seen more change than any generation in history, and I believe she is right. From horse and buggy to walking on the moon. If we want Muslims to have their own enlightenment, then we have to start somewhere, and encouraging women to break free from Islam in relatively benign NZ is a good place to start. Nothing will change if we just say, 'It's too risky, best you stay where you are. Hopefully things might be better for your grandchildren'. What's that saying? ... 'Every great journey begins with a single step'.
If you want another fascinating and harrowing read on the lives of Muslim women, try 'The Caged Virgin: A Muslim Woman's Cry for Reason', and 'Infidel: My Life', both by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In the first she has an essay entitled 'Ten Tips for Muslim Women Wanting to Leave'.
Ken Ring reveals evil conspiracy
The other day we received an email from Ken Ring, that guy that claims he can produce accurate longrange (and shortrange) weather forecasts by observing the position of the moon and consulting what he calls ancient astrology. We've already criticised Ring's method in a full article, and exposed his ignorance of science, history etc, and even though Ring bravely claims on one of his own internet sites: 'I'm not worried about what they say', it seems that behind the scenes he actually is. It seems he has been obsessing over why we at 'Silly Beliefs' might want to harm his business, and more importantly, him personally. To that end he has evidently been sleuthing around, trawling the internet, perhaps calling in a few favours, reading the paws of a few cats for mystical clues, and generally losing a lot of sleep. And what has Ken come up with? What has his expertise in palmistry for felines told him? Well Ken has put two and two together, and although he got five, he thinks it's just unbelievable enough to be right. Ken is used to dealing in nonsense, it's what he lives and breathes, and it's what pays his bills. Ken's got a reputation of nuttiness to maintain, and so his proffered reason that 'Silly Beliefs' is critical of his claims can't simply be for the simple fact that they are crap, his reason must be worthy of his paranoia and love of superstitious nonsense. Thus... there must be a deep, dark, evil conspiracy afoot.
At 'Silly Beliefs' we do have an interest in conspiracies, and recently we read a review of an interesting book by David Aaronovitch called: 'Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History', and so Gordon is ordering a copy for the team. But now it seems that we are in the fascinating position of actually observing a conspiracy theory in the making, and by that we mean the extraordinary accusations that Mr Ring sets forth in his email.
But first, what is a conspiracy theory? Well, Wikipedia reckons that today the term generally refers to 'any fringe theory which explains an historical or current event as the result of a secret plot by conspirators of almost superhuman power and cunning'. It says that 'Conspiracy theories are viewed with skepticism by scholars because they are rarely supported by any conclusive evidence', and that these beliefs are mostly seen 'as outlandishly false and held by a person judged to be a crank or a group confined to the lunatic fringe'.
So now that we know what a conspiracy theory is, we are nearly ready to read Ken Ring's email, but first one other point. We have changed the name of the company Ring mentions in his email to Corporation X since we refuse to let him use our website to make completely unfounded and libellous accusations against an innocent company. If he is sincere in his beliefs and wants to personally attack this company then he should approach his lawyer rather than making cowardly claims behind their back on our website.
Ken Ring's email:
Is it not true that the 'Silly Beliefs' website is registered under Corporation X, Corporation X being the NZ distributor of Microsoft products, providing advice, ethics and information packages to regional councils, energy commissions and various agricultural industries with links and ties either business and/or social to meteorological organisations that anyone can see would feel threatened by my alternative services? These operations would need to be dissuaded away from the idea that longrange weather is feasible because otherwise ongoing updated information, services, referrals and commissions may not be forthcoming.
Yes Ken you are quite right, your dirt digging has turned up the skeleton in our closet, the one thing we feared would one day get out. And that is, our website domain name is legally registered with a company that legally registers domain names in NZ. Try as we might to get the likes of KFC or the Vatican to register our website, for some no doubt bogus reason they all insisted we needed to use a company whose actual purpose was to register and/or host websites. And since two of us have personalised number plates relating to views expressed on our website, and these are registered under the NZ Transport Agency, by Ken's logic I guess the NZTA must also consider Ring 'a serious commercial threat to their revenue stream' and have their tentacles into 'Silly Beliefs'.
In short, Corporation X considers me a serious commercial threat to their revenue stream. That explains such intense crucification of me and my brand. Come clean boys, explain the internet registration trail and admit who you really are and why you engage in such intensive persecution of just one man. Every time I get a season right like this autumn and winter it must really be harming your operations. Everytime I am on radio (actually National Radio four times in the past week) you must pull out more hair! To think that you spend so much time and effort trying to convince the public that I am not the real deal, when you have a strong commercial interest for doing so. Yet all the while you pretend you are the moral and intellectual police, and ethical guardians of Truth and Integrity. Wow. You call me dishonest and fraudulent, yet you, John, won't even admit to your real name.
But seriously, we have never had any communication with the management of Corporation X, and in fact on receiving Ring's email we had to Google them to even see what else they might do in addition to being an 'accredited domain Registrar'. And frankly nothing turned up that even remotely matches Ring's ridiculous accusations. We did find that they are not in fact 'the NZ distributor of Microsoft products', and what does 'providing... ethics' even mean? Has Corporation X devised a new version of the Ten Commandments? We have had yearly bills from Corporation X's Domain Registry Services department, where we have been invoiced for the normal market value. At no time has Corporation X approached us concerning the content of 'Silly Beliefs', tried to influence us in any way, or ever mentioned the name Ken Ring. I'm sure if Ken approached Corporation X's management and/or strategy team they would no doubt claim to be unaware of our existence. But in the world of conspiracy theories, I guess they would say that.
Ring mistakenly believes and even claims at times that our website is named after him, when in fact Ring is only a small part of it, and he features in only one article. If Ring was the main goal of our website, its content controlled and dictated by Corporation X, and we thought the way he believes we do, it would be called 'Ken Ring is a Douche Bag dot com', not 'Silly Beliefs dot com'. Or perhaps, 'We Hate Ken Ring dot com' or 'Astrology Ken? You've Got to Joking dot com'. But contrary to what Ken's inflated ego believes, his antics do not keep us up at night nor do they cause us to rip out our hair. A sigh and a disbelieving shake of the head, but nothing more. Nor do we wish Ring any personal harm or feel any malice towards him, even though he continually claims that we are attacking him personally. We are challenging the claims he puts forward, the ideas he trumpets, and have no interest in him as a person. We have told him that if he sold his business and walked away that our focus would follow whoever took on his mantle. He doesn't believe us, and seems to think that we would claim that the sky was green if we thought it might annoy him. Ring states elsewhere that our article and comments are 'not debate about the method but an effort to paint me as some kind of criminal... [although] I'm more worried about the threat to freedom of thought that they represent and that still creeps into our own society'. It is true that we have accused Ring of plagiarism, stealing the work of others, so he is kind of a criminal, and also of being gullible and ill-informed, but they are not crimes, only handicaps. Furthermore Ring obviously has no idea what 'freedom of thought' actually means (although it's 'speech' actually, as no one can control freedom of thought). Or if he does understand it, he is willing to suppress it for his own ends, since he wishes us to desist in our criticism of his forecasting method. In support of free speech Voltaire said, 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it'. If only Ring would read the work of some philosophers from history rather than just the astrologers and soothsayers.
Also this harping cry of unjust persecution is a typical claim of those that peddle pseudoscience and promote conspiracy theories, as is the claim that a powerful establishment is trying to suppress his work, ie Corporation X aided by their fawning and bootlicking minions at 'Silly Beliefs'. And typical of any good conspiracy theory, Corporation X is secretly run no doubt by Jews or perhaps shape shifting reptilian aliens. And for Ring to claim that we 'spend so much time and effort trying to convince the public that I am not the real deal, when you have a strong commercial interest for doing so', is just bullshit. Firstly, we make no money whatsoever from our website, and whether Corporation X makes a profit also has no impact on us. And if Ring's business were to go bankrupt tomorrow or make him a millionaire, again it would have no commercial impact on us at all. Looking at our entire website, we have spent very little time critiquing Ken Ring's claims. Does he think our criticism of psychics and religion is just a smokescreen to give the false impression that it's not all about him? We run our website purely as an interest and as a service to reason. Regardless of what Ring thinks, we do not have voodoo dolls full of pins that look like him, nor are we in league with an evil establishment to suppress his ancient astrology. Nor have we ever suggested that we are 'the moral and intellectual police, and ethical guardians of Truth and Integrity'. Again Ring confuses a strongly expressed opinion with a dictatorial demand that he cease his business forthwith. We have never threatened him or his business with any sort of police action, we have merely put our case, as he does on his website, and we let people reach their own conclusions, based on our claims and on his.
As for Ring's continued insistence that we reveal our personal details, this just leads us to believe that he wants to focus his attentions on us personally, and physically, rather than concern himself with the validity of our criticisms. We fail to see how the revelation that my name was in fact Homer Johnson or that Rachel lived in Queenstown could affect our argument. But on a far more serious point, the public are continually being told by security experts, police etc that on the internet we should under no circumstances give out our personal details to people we do not know, do not trust and have not met. And yet Ring, a man obsessed with discovering our identities, and a man who has documented and clear hostilities towards us, thinks we should tell him where we live. Nice try Ken, but no cigar. Try consulting your astrological charts, they might tell you, but we won't.
Also Ring's revealing statement (or Freudian slip) that, 'Every time I get a season right like this autumn and winter it must really be harming your operations', leads us to infer that his predictions for the preceding spring and summer must have been wrong, otherwise why just mention autumn and winter? Why not just say, 'I get the seasons right so it must really be harming your operations'? This means that for the last year by his honest reckoning he only got it right half the time, that's equivalent to a coin toss. Is it going to rain tomorrow, I don't know, let's toss a coin and find out... or consult Ken's almanac, same thing really!
We view Ring's accusation as nothing but an arrogant, although pathetic, attempt at intimidation. An attempt to silence us, to have us cower under the threat of him revealing to the world that we are but puppets of Corporation X, an evil organisation bent on his destruction. Of course that type of blackmail would only work if his conspiracy theory were true. We'd like to think that any fool should be able to see that Ring has no evidence that 'Silly Beliefs' is just a front for Corporation X 's desperate covert operation to rid the world of Ken Ring, but then in that case Ring himself should immediately see his error. But what might have led Ring to resort to such desperate moves as inventing his own conspiracy theory? Has Silly Belief's criticism of his forecasting method had a noticeable effect on his sales and reputation? He claims it hasn't but then his continual whining about us suggests otherwise. Can the application of reason by a few individuals in the deep south, none of whom were born under auspicious signs or planetary conjunctions, really have an impact on a big city fella and his book learnin'?
You say you're frequently on radio and TV Ken, so stand up for your convictions and be a man, tell the world what you think you know about Silly Belief's baseless vendetta against you and of Corporation X's evil plot to destroy you. Don't just whisper insulting allegations to us and then scurry back into the shadows to hatch more lies.
Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 06 Aug, 2010 ~
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Comment by Ken Ring, 06 Aug, 2010
Wow, that fascinatingly long rebuttal that reminds me of Shakespeare's 'methinks he doth protest too much.' Okay, so you want to keep hiding. I don't blame you. Better to call someone else dishonest and fraudulent rather than allow the heat to fall on you. The fact is, the company you prefer to call Corporation X is the undeniable holder of the Silly Beliefs domain registration. You can make scoffing noises about it but anyone can establish this for themselves by going to any of the free finder websites. Either the internet is lying or you are. Readers can make up their own mind. But sure, I can understand your reaction. It is not nice to be targeted is it? Corporation X, as I said, supplies NZ companies with information and has links to weather services. Readers can now figure out the rest for themselves.
As to my theories, they would be obvious to anyone with a grain of logic. It is not hard to prove that the moon influences the atmosphere. There will be very few who would deny that the moon causes the tides. If they still deny this they need only to measure the heights of any high tide around full moon and new moon. These are times of so-called king tides or spring tides, significantly higher than at other times in the month. Moreover the highest tides in any month are when the new or full moon coincides with perigee, the astrological/ astronomical name given to the day in the month when the moon-earth distance is the shortest. That is why highest tides in any month occur on the same day in every country around the globe. The perigee comes once every 27 days with the closeness varying month to month. There is a day in a month when the moon is least closest for the year (invariably calmer weather) and a day when it is the closest for the year (invariably extreme weather). There is also, as you would expect, a king tide in the air around full and new moons and perigees, measurable by the height reached by weather balloons, and quite well known to meteorologists for some time but suppressed because of the lunar link.
There will also be few who will deny that there is at any one moment much water vapour in the sky, which becomes visible from time to time as clouds. It is therefore obvious that as the moon has no eyes or brain and so cannot work out where the water is, if it is to be accepted that the moon pulls the sea around tidally, it must also do the same thing to the air. The moon's forces must go through the air to even reach the water and so must affect the air along the way. It is akin to putting one's arm in a full bath of water to pull out the plug. One cannot do it without the water affecting the hand, i.e. wetting it. All that remains is to analyze what particular moon events may affect the atmosphere and when.
There are of course people who find this notion disturbing and even unbelievable, and that is largely because the information is new to them. The reason they have not encountered it before now is because of the religious and political history of our society that declared the moon the symbol of paganism 2000 years ago and sought to distance the populace from it since it did not fit the New Testament Christian view of the world. Anybody using the moon to protect anything at all (everything now being God's Will and due to the 'hand of God') was considered heathenistic and worthy of punishment. For these fundamentalists this theory and my website www.predictweather.com is not for them.
Fortunately it is a free world that we live in, and there will be many who find this of at least some interest even for its novelty, and hopefully many who may benefit from applying some new ideas. For skeptics like Silly Beliefs-alias-Corporation X, driven it seems by a weird form of redneck job protection, to attempt to wrestle control of the issue to sway the rest is intolerant and rather pointless. I have encountered vigorous debate, but it is seldom from farmers, the only people who know anything at all about weather, and mostly from meteorologists and astronomers, who, unwilling to accept that something significant might have been left out of their training, race in like sharks in a feeding frenzy to smear my work. My plea is that common sense may prevail in logical minds, and that initial acceptance of differences accompanies the exploration of new ideas and journeys. That after all is what science was supposed to be about, before money, research grants and professional jealousies came along. There are many immigrants now residing in NZ, Australia and the UK, and to insult peoples whose culture still holds the moon high as a predictive tool, runs counter to modern democratic thinking and adds to a world in which there is already too much conflict over imagined threats from perceived differences.
All the cycles and sub-cycles of the moon have differing effects on the atmosphere, as indeed they do on the tide at the coast. All lunar vagaries have a bearing on weather that arrives in the geographical peculiarity represented by any region. For example the full effects of the moon's action upon the ocean tides is not developed until after the lapse of up to 36 hours, this retardation varying with different circumstances. In like manner retardation or acceleration occurs upon the body of fluid we call the atmosphere but because the air is lighter and can move faster a weather event may be induced within half a day of a lunar development.
This is simple logic. The moon's motion does not cause interference with only one fluid on the surface of the earth. All bodies of matter equally obey the laws of gravitation. For instance the height of the sea tide is affected by the direction of the wind, so too the height of the airtide. A wind which decreases the flow of the tide will increase the ebb, and cause an unusually low tide instead of a predicted high one. A southwesterly wind increases the flow into the Manukau Harbour, but it is a northeasterly that raises the Waitemata. On the other side of the world, a wind from the north increases the flow in the Thames and a SW wind increases the flow on the South and East coasts of England.
There is no difference in dynamics between the sea of water and the sea of air. Both are acted on together, both work with and against each other, and the moon pulls the strings. Out of it comes weather. As commercial tide tables are produced, so can the weather be predicted as far ahead as one chooses if one is prepared to put in the legwork on cycles. It is hugely time-consuming and if I was looking for a gold mine and an easy work-life I would certainly have turned to something else long before now. Meanwhile may I suggest Silly Beliefs and its parent company Corporation X that they so assiduously hide behind, pack up their tent and move on to something that is actually useful to society. The more they defend their secret patronage the Sillier they are becoming.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 07 Aug, 2010
Ken, the verifiable fact is that Corporation X is NOT the owner of the Silly Beliefs domain name, nor does Corporation X have any influence on its content. Please send us links to your 'free finder websites' that say otherwise. Provide your evidence. As we've already tried to explain, and will do so again, this time slowly, we think you rather naively confuse the company that has legally registered our domain name with the person who owns it. This is no different from NZTA holding registration for my personalised plates, Telecom holding registration for my phone number, Vodafone for my email address etc. Can you not grasp this? Are you telling us that your domain name is not registered with a company such as Corporation X? Of course it is, and your website will be hosted on servers of this company or yet another company dedicated to providing these services. Are these internet companies pulling your strings Ken? Who are you a front for?
But that aside, it is fascinating to see how the paranoid mind works, how it plucks an innocent snippet of information from the internet, mixes it with ignorance and weaves a fantasy around it, creating a conspiracy. We can picture you behaving like another paranoid character, that of Golem from 'Lord of the Rings'.
Moving on, you state that, 'As to my theories, they would be obvious to anyone with a grain of logic'. Firstly they are not 'your' theories, in the way Relativity is Einstein's theory, you continually tell us that they were known to the ancients, such as those that build Stonehenge. Secondly, you make the flawed claim that a modicum of logic is all that the public needs to discern matters of science. Wrong. The various forms of logic are powerful tools, especially in mathematics, but are not always reliable when it comes to science. They need to be applied judiciously. You say that we know the moon affects ocean tides and that there is water vapour in the sky, therefore logically the moon must affect the air as well. An extreme example of how this logic can be technically correct but still lead you to a false conclusion is something like this: All dogs are mammals, my pet is a dog, therefore my pet is a mammal. This argument reaches a correct conclusion. However this argument does not: All birds have two legs, and humans have two legs, so therefore humans are birds. Logic can appear to prove something in science which the evidence discounts, so forget relying solely on logic Ken, and bring in some evidence. We agree that the moon's gravity will have an affect on the atmosphere, the question is whether it is enough to cause our weather. It's appears that the answer is No. We must ask ourselves why doesn't the moon's gravity affect the accuracy of our scales in our supermarkets or the fuel consumption of our aircraft between a high tide and a low one? Well it does, the gravitational effect is there, but it's totally insignificant. The gravity of Jupiter, Pluto and the Pegasus Galaxy, home of the Wraith, all reach us here on Earth, but its affect is so minimal we can ignore it. As we mentioned in our article, evidently a 1kg melon held one metre above your head produces 200 times as much tidal effect in your body as does the Moon. Other people, buildings etc would completely swamp any affect the Moon has. People who live in Auckland like you do should be more concerned about how the gravitational mass of their city is affecting their weather, rather than the moon.
Further on you also say that, 'My plea is that common sense may prevail in logical minds'. Again, this is one of your main problems Ken, you think that common sense and logic can reveal the mysteries of the universe. Might we suggest you read 'The Unnatural Nature of Science: Why science does not make (common) sense' by Lewis Wolpert.
You then claim that the Christian world has suppressed knowledge of the moon's influence for 2000 years, and has punished those who studied these pagan ideas, and yet you insist that in the past everything evolved from astrology. You have said: 'If it wasn't for astrology we would have no medicine, no hospitals, no science, no mathematics'. You also keep going on about your astrologer heroes that perfected the astrological theories that you cling to, like Newton and Kepler, who were devout Christians. So were your heroes punished by the Church for their heathenism Ken, or is this just another fantasy of yours?
And what's this nonsense: 'There are many immigrants now residing in NZ, Australia and the UK, and to insult peoples whose culture still holds the moon high...' So now we're racists as well? Get with the 21st century Ken, and stop insulting immigrants by suggesting that like you they are still living in the Dark Ages. We've travelled widely and have yet to encounter a modern country that has an astrology-based weather service running in their media.
You also insist that Silly Beliefs is attempting to 'wrestle control of the issue' so that we may 'sway the rest' and that this 'is intolerant and rather pointless'. But your business, your arguments, your sole point of being is to sway the public to your side of the issue, away from the evil establishment, so why aren't you intolerant, and why, considering that the great majority think you're a crank, aren't your attempts extremely pointless? Use your logic Ken, why does your reasoning apply to us but not to you?
Ken, one of the few things that you say that we agree with is, 'Fortunately it is a free world that we live in', so I'm sure you'll agree that we are free to disagree with the views of others... or maybe not. It's time to think deeply about this belief of yours Ken and what it means in the wider world, since you finish by telling Silly Beliefs to 'pack up their tent and move on'. It's not really a free world Ken if only you are free to promote your views, and you can bully us into silence.
Comment by Ken Ring, 08 Aug, 2010
Yes, by definition you are running an evil conspiracy. Some of us run legitimate businesses which you are conspiring to undermine, and you are doing it to spread malcontent. Using the resources of Corporation X that you are registered under shows you are bankrolled by resources far bigger than any of the operations you name and try to shame, in short, you are schoolyard bullies.
Do you really not know the difference between tolerance and bigotry, between freedom and fascism? You are telling people what to think.
You are dedicating yourselves to criticism of individuals expressing their viewpoints in a free world.
You label those you disagree with as frauds and charlatans.
Fascism is defined as belligerent nationalism and the extreme right – Silly Beliefs fits that bill. To wit, any culture that is not your own gets the Silly Beliefs boot. Any thinking outside of your self-defined sphere of correct thought and/or methodology gets the mock. An individual who never dreamed of attacking you on any level, but that meets your disapproval is ordered off the planet. You may not realise it but you are considered a fascist phenomenon.
Your attitude has no place in a peaceful society that seeks to be recognised for multiculturalism, pluralism of ideas and hospitality to new and different others, as long as they come in peace. But you do not come in peace; far from it. Running a campaign of Naming and Finger-pointing those you do not like is how the Nazi Third Reich began, and their terrorism spread through fear because the victimised were no match for ignorant angry mobs, salaciously seeking excuses to wreak destruction. You tap into that redneck well of prejudice, irrationality and hate of the unconventional.
Your contents “hit” list is filled with people like Ian Wishart, Jeanette Wilson and Kelvin Cruikshank who promote their ideas through their books and but don’t shove it down the throats of those who have a different view. They don’t mind if people don’t switch onto their programmes. Yet you can’t stand it if anyone subscribes to them. Their beliefs are only “silly” because you decide so.
It is a healthy society that has different ideas. That businesses arise from them is important for them to remain available. You should be promoting them. But you add nothing to society, the opposite – you would remove healthy choice. Claiming you are free to do so is not a freedom, any more than freedom for the motorist entitles him to kill. We can’t do what we like and attack people willy nilly under the freedom-to-do-so banner. Denigrating ideas and lawful businesses whilst at the same time hiding behind false names like “John Ateo”, under the guise of being some self-elected consumer watchdog fulfils no role except that it gets pet biases off your chests.
You seem to imagine there is a battle out there for hearts and minds and you are the new brave Crusaders rooting out the Infidels to win back the Holy City, comic book stuff. People do not really need to be told what not to read, who not to subscribe to, and what not to buy. Get a life and business of your own, if you can. Otherwise allow others to get on with theirs. Despite your desperate imaginings, they wish no one any harm.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 08 Aug, 2010
First off Ken, thanks for providing the evidence of our evil conspiracy as we requested... oh wait a minute... you didn't actually back up your claims did you? Do you not understand the concept of evidence Ken? It's that 'thing' that scientists and lawyers deal in, but as a pseudoscientist, conspiracy theorist and ex-clown I guess evidence is something you shun like a vampire avoids sunlight.
You ask, 'Do you really not know the difference between tolerance and bigotry, between freedom and fascism? You are telling people what to think'. With this you imply that we are brutal and dictatorial, that we are forcing people to accept our views or accept death. Although in a very weak sense we are 'telling people what to think', but then doesn't every one do that, including you? Don't teachers tell people what to think, that two plus two equals four, that Isaac Newton was a heretic and a closet homosexual, that astrology was superstitious nonsense replaced by astronomy? Aren't your weather almanacs, your books on ancient astrology and on palmistry for cats, and your predictions on your website, telling people what to think? When you say it will be a cold winter, aren't you telling people what to think? It's amazing how when you do something it is a sacred thing, but when we do the exact same thing it is an act imbued with evil intent. Are these proclamations of your caused by hypocrisy or ignorance? But in the sense that you imply, we are definitely not 'telling people what to think'. Like teachers or scientists, we are presenting our views and providing good reasons why we believe they are true and why others might also wish to embrace them. But there is no force, compulsion or coercion involved. And if we did actually have the power to control what people think, as you claim we do Ken, then for you all is lost.
And don't lecture us on tolerance and freedom Ken, when your rabid comments demonstrate only too clearly that you don't wish to tolerate our freedom to disagree with you.
You said: 'You are dedicating yourselves to criticism of individuals expressing their viewpoints in a free world'. Wrong again Ken, but your error can be corrected by changing one word: We are dedicating ourselves to criticism of MORONS expressing their viewpoints in a free world. So get used to it. As for your claim that ,'You label those you disagree with as frauds and charlatans', no Ken, we label only frauds and charlatans as frauds and charlatans. I disagree with my cousin who thinks Coronation Street is a great TV program, but I don't label her a fraud or charlatan. I appreciate that the subtle difference might be difficult for you to grasp.
Since you claim Silly Beliefs and its master Corporation X is an evil, fascist organisation seeking to wreak destruction, akin to the Nazi Third Reich, which means we have oppressive, dictatorial control, and evidently with resources that dwarf yours, and since you believe we've ordered you 'off the planet', can we ask when you're leaving? But seriously, how can we believe that you believe we are such a powerful and dangerous organisation and yet you don't seem to be at all fearful of us?
And you claim that we 'tap into that redneck well of prejudice, irrationality and hate of the unconventional.' To imply that supporters of our views are prejudiced or hateful toward the unconventional is silly enough, but 'irrational'? Skeptics are irrational in your view? Do you even think about what you write, or do you have a chimp writing your replies and you just press the send button?
You mention other deluded people whose beliefs we've challenged like Christian fundamentalist Ian Wishart and mediums Jeanette Wilson and Kelvin Cruickshank, and insist that 'Their beliefs are only "silly" because you decide so'. That's right Ken, and the sky is only blue and the grass is only green because we have decided this is the way it shall be. All bow before us! You surprise us greatly Ken Ring with your arrogance, and we are not pleased. When our reptilian alien masters from Corporation X's home planet hear of your insolence you will suffer their wrath. Repent now while you have the chance. Geez Ken, we're not gods, really we're not, we don't get to decide what's silly and what's not. Only you and Ian and Jeanette can make your beliefs silly. We just recognise your efforts.
You claim that 'It is a healthy society that has different ideas... You should be promoting them'. Well Ken, our ideas are different to yours, so why aren't you promoting us? You also claim that we 'add nothing to society, [just] the opposite - you would remove healthy choice. Claiming you are free to do so is not a freedom...' In fact Ken, we have had considerable positive support from society, far more so than negative, and so some in society do feel we have contributed to making people more aware of scams, especially yours. And isn't that your true gripe with sites like ours, that people are finally able to make an informed choice, your view or the skeptical view? We love how your idea of freedom is to limit ours. And you have the arrogance to call us fascist and bigoted.
You reckon that we 'seem to imagine there is a battle out there for hearts and minds and you are the new brave Crusaders rooting out the Infidels to win back the Holy City'. There is a battle Ken, not so much for the hearts, but certainly the minds, to stop soothsayers like you from dragging society back to the primitive, ignorant and superstitious beliefs of the Dark Ages. And to liken us to Crusaders winning back the Holy City and defeating the Infidels is to demonstrate complete and utter ignorance of what our site is about. We ARE the infidels Ken. You are the crusader, your mind dulled by primitive dogma, trying to recapture a time from our dim past when astrology ruled our lives, and our weather.
As for getting a business of our own, we have, it's called Silly Beliefs. The service we offer rids households of superstition and nonsense through the liberal application of critical thinking and reason. And as a special promotion we are providing free advice for a strictly limited time of one light year or the advent of the Second Coming, which ever comes first.
Look Ken, you obviously have no intention of backing up your paranoid accusations with evidence, preferring instead to just spew nonsense laced with personal insults, so stop whining that we don't support your ancient astrology and move on. Why don't you, Ian, Jeanette and Kelvin get together, consult your astrological charts, pray to Jesus, talk it over with the spirits, and then get back to us with that thing called 'evidence'. Until then, to quote from the movie 'Independence Day', we 'will not go quietly into that dark night'.
Comment by Mike, 11 Aug, 2010
So a domain registration company is an evil corporation is it? Looks like you also are the victim of one too then.
A simple whois new zealand lookup shows that 'predictweather.co.nz' is registered with domain agent.co.nz which in turn is registered to Redmond Enterprises whose main office bearer (Jxxxx) holds all 100 shares and doesn't require an audit report because the majority of the shareholders have voted against the need for one or so Mxxxxx has attested.
Just showing you what can be found in the public domain, NZ Buisness Registration and the company 2010 return.
So Redmond Enterprises, JCR Capital and 730 Trustee Company all share the same street address, are listed on the company return and you think Silly Beliefs is a shonky organisation which is the front for a evil conspiracy? Companies within trustees within Enterprises then Ken? I wonder why?
Comment by Ken Ring, 14 Aug, 2010
Don’t know what you are on about. I have no secrets. I don’t hide behind endless false names as do the operators of this blog. In my original post I named the company Silly beliefs is registered to, as you have done for PredictWeather. But the company Silly beliefs is registered to didn’t reach print here. Why???? The difference is, the company I register through was named here by you, but Silly Beliefs chose to hide theirs and instead substitute “Corporation X”. So who is being conspiratorial? And being conspiratorial, why? Clearly because they have evil intent, seeking to harm small businesses they do not like. Isn’t that obvious?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 14 Aug, 2010
The company you are 'hiding' behind Ken is printed because you, not us, are arguing for full disclosure of this irrelevant information, remember? You can't now become indignant that the public knows information about your domain registration company, when your sole intention on contacting us was to display the same information about us. We thought you wanted to be up front about this, and wouldn't want the public to think that you have something to hide regarding the corporations that are behind your Predict Weather site. We insist that the company that registered our domain name has nothing to do with us and therefore we aren't going to involve them, but you on the other hand insist that public knowledge of these 'controlling' companies is vital. So we feel we are doing you a service by helping you reveal what you want the public to know about your company, so they can decide just how much the company that registered your domain name is controlling you. That is the point of your criticism isn't it? That these companies are controlling us both?
We are not going to become an unwitting accomplice in your libellous accusations against a domain registration company. If we publicise their name then we only help you spread your malicious and totally false accusations. Since we have not maligned your domain registration company, there is no harm to their reputation and therefore making their name known is not libel. Put your childish accusations to your lawyer Ken, not us.
But is this really what your defence of ancient astrology has come down to Ken, that the world would be using your weather almanacs if it wasn't for an evil corporation secretly fronting a little skeptic website? If they're so evil, cunning and sophisticated with unlimited resources, why haven't they created multiple websites all challenging your silly claims, instead of just one little one with a single article debunking you? To me they don't seem as evil or as brilliant as you suggest they are. In fact to us it doesn't appear that this evil corporation exists in anything but your paranoid imagination.
Comment by Ken Ring, 17 Aug, 2010
Very simple. You have published the group of companies that handle my domain. I am not objecting because I have nothing to hide.
If you have nothing to hide, publish the corporation name you are registered under. If you don't, you are hiding. If you are hiding, why? So you can fire shots at people under the cover of anonymity? How mature is that?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 17 Aug, 2010
Yes it is simple Ken. The ridiculous accusations you direct at the company that registered our domain name are libellous. We are not going to become one of your pawns and help you spread lies.
At the end of the day Ken you need to deal with our criticisms of your ancient astrology and failed weather predictions, whether they were written by us, or as per your fantasy, the evil Corporation X.
Comment by Ken Ring, 19 Aug, 2010
How is asking that you come clean and admit you are a front for a business interest that finds me competitive libellous?
And even if it was, how is it different from all the name calling, bitchiness and denigration you have thrown at me over the years, remembering that you started it?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 19 Aug, 2010
We will not admit to something that isn't true Ken. You remind us of torturers at the Spanish Inquisition: Admit you fornicate with the devil and fly on broomsticks and we'll go easy on you.
Your accusations are libellous because you are making false, damaging accusations regarding Corporation X. You are free to do that, but we don't have to help you. As we have said several times, if you are so worried that Corporation X is hurting your sales, take your pathetic claims to a lawyer.
Also your snooping should have told you that our article debunking you was written and published on the Internet two years before the website Silly Beliefs was registered with Corporation X. Thus it is quite clear that Corporation X had nothing to do with us challenging your weather prediction claims. Unless of course you believe they created Silly Beliefs and then went back in time to publish their article, just to make it look as though they weren't involved. Do you believe in time travel Ken?
Actually you started all this Ken by going public with your silly weather claims, we merely expressed our opinion, as you believe is your right when it comes to the likes of climate change. If you believe we have no right to challenge your weather claims, then you should shut up about climate change. Or is it one rule for you Ken and a different rule for us? Stop annoying us with these childish claims Ken and just produce the evidence that your ancient astrology method works. That's all that will sway us.
Comment by Ken Ring, 21 Aug, 2010
Yes, good analogy, you are exactly like the torturers at the Spanish Inquisition. Screw the thumbs off anyone who isn't of your religion and beliefs. Whether or not your debunking of me was written before or after registering with Corporation X is immaterial. This “ethics” company now hosts you, as you admit. That you both now find me a commercial threat compromises your philosophy of righteousness.
You keep calling for proof. Of what? Opinion, which is my business, cannot be proven. Go after the economists who also have opinions, the teachers, the doctors, the theologians... oops sorry, I forgot, that's what you are doing — my mistake! As for my track record, it is very good. August was always going to be the wettest month in NZ, milder temperatures in the north, colder in the south, snow exactly when I said and more coming, with a cold blast described in the almanac two weeks away now on the metservice radar too (or are they parroting me?). But you don’t want proof, or you would find it in the daily pages of my almanac. You don’t want verification of the idea that there is an air tide, or you would find it in the Australian Aviation Pilots Manual, or Google “air tides” (8,570,000 results). Obviously if there is an air tide then it is cyclic, then it can be predicted and that is not only my opinion but that too of other scientists.
That’s why I’m still confused. Why NZ? Wouldn't you be happier being part of the taliban or in a country where it is acceptable to shoot people whose opinions you have decided you don’t like?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 21 Aug, 2010
What can we say but agree with you Ken. You are still confused.
Corporation X is not an "ethics" company (whatever you imagine that is), they are a domain registration company, as you well know. We have to be registered with one of these companies just as our phone has to registered with a company such as Telecom. Can you not grasp that?
And how could we find you a commercial threat? We're not in competition with you. We're not even in business!! Your business acumen leaves a lot to be desired.
You then say, 'You keep calling for proof' and answer by insisting that 'my business, cannot be proven'. But you then completely contradict yourself by saying 'But you don't want proof, or you would find it in the daily pages of my almanac'. Which is it Ken, can it be proved or not? That's the trouble with telling porkies, it's difficult to keep your story straight. As for your almanac, remember that it was those predictions compared with the actual weather that led us to debunk your claims in the first place.
You accuse us of torturing 'anyone who isn't of your religion and beliefs'. Actually we're not religious Ken, but like much of what we write, that seems to have gone over your head as well.
And you now accuse us of wishing we could kill you. You are one disgusting piece of work Ken Ring. Every insult you throw just reconfirms that you are a desperate little man trying to bully us into submission, fearful that your childish scam is unravelling. As we've said, we'll listen to reason and evidence, but your refusal to go down this path, relying instead on insults, lies and childish accusations only serve to give us confidence that we've picked the right side in the ancient astrology debate.
Comment by Ken Ring, 22 Aug, 2010
Gosh!! Where do I accuse you of wishing you could kill me? Grave subconscious slip? I merely suggested you may be happier joining the taliban, now that your jackbooted shin-kicking mate Stalin is gone and the KGB and Gestapo have disbanded. There can’t be many places left for those who don’t like the thoughts of others and seek to do them in, along with their careers or enterprises. It must be hard living in the free world when all around you there are folk who have differences of viewpoint and who seek to make a difference, despite your request for them to stop. The KKK would open its doors to you. You should give them a call. Tell them you’re from Corporation X.
Perhaps you don’t know that the idea that the moon controls weather is part of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Taoism, Confucianism, African traditional religions, Asian Shamanism, Native American religions, Austronesian and Australian Aboriginal traditions, indigenous Maori and Pacific island, Chinese folk religion which includes Cao Dai in Vietnam, and Shinto. Not to mention Iranic religions which include Zoroastrianism, Yazdanism, Ahl-e Haqq and historical traditions of Gnosticism (Mandaeanism, Manichaeism).
Christianity believes only God controls weather along with everything else. In terms of numbers it represents 2 billion, but the rest number 8 billion. Doesn’t that make Silly Beliefs look rather silly? Or are 8 billion wrong because you rednecks say so? Although I would never claim that consensus makes something correct, I would suggest that calling the belief system of 8 billion people a childish scam, which is what you have said of my moon-weather work, is somewhat narrow-minded in this day and age.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 22 Aug, 2010
You ask 'Where do I accuse you of wishing you could kill me?' Your last sentence said, 'Wouldn't you be happier being part of the taliban or in a country where it is acceptable to shoot people whose opinions you have decided you don't like?' This implies that you believe we would be happy if we could shoot you, that this is what we would do if we thought we could get away with it. In your latest rant you continue this theme by comparing us to such murderous bastards as Stalin, the KGB, the Gestapo and the KKK. Do you not even read the vicious bile that you write Ken?
And what makes you think we don't like the thoughts of others? We love reading about science and history and philosophy etc, we even enjoy science fiction, fantasy and comedy. We just don't have any time for fiction that people want to pretend is fact. That includes pseudoscience and religion. It's called free speech Ken, and we love living in the free world that gives us the right to challenge what we view as nonsense. You may not like it that your freedom to push your views must be balanced with ours, but that's how it works Ken.
And who cares if many silly old religions believe that the moon controls the weather. They believe in silly gods too remember. That's like saying kids believe Santa Claus controls the weather. They're all bullshit Ken, as you well know, or else you would be following those religions. You don't really believe Hinduism or Asian Shamanism or Zoroastrianism is the one true religion do you? They got the important god bit wrong, and a million other things about the world, so why should we take any notice of their moon claims? You can't list a dozen silly beliefs as support for your own silly belief. Ten silly beliefs when combined don't suddenly exceed some threshold and suddenly become factual. Nonsense only supports nonsense.
You say that 'I would never claim that consensus makes something correct', and yet that is exactly what you're claiming with: 'are 8 billion wrong because you rednecks say so?' Yes Ken, they are wrong, and we think you're being rather arrogant to suggest that 8 billion people even know anything about your silly claims, let alone support you. And as Anatole France said "If 50 million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing." You know that this is true, you say so in the above statement, and yet you ignore your own advice and insist that the 8 billion people must be right because there's 8 billion of them. You're just not too good at thinking your arguments through are you Ken? Maybe you should let one of your assistants read them before you push 'Send'.
And why do you keep getting the Earth's population wrong? Years ago you claimed there was 8 billion people on Earth, and now you claim there are 10 billion — '2 billion [Christians], but the rest number 8 billion', which equals 10 billion. You don't learn do you? We corrected you back then but you still keep pushing an inflated figure. According to this site: 'On August 1, 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the Earth's human population at over 6.859 billion people'. This is why we have no confidence in your claims because evidently you just say the first thing that pops into your head. And when corrected you just dish out some vile insults and carry on in your ignorance.
Comment by Ken Ring, 24 Aug, 2010
Yes, I stand corrected. World population seems to be around 6.8bn at present, expected to reach 10bn by 2020.
It doesn’t change my point that Christianity and with it the western science that still thinks the moon is some evil pagan symbol, is vastly in the minority. You write that I issue vile insults. They are not intended to be vile, and are not directed at any one named person. It is nothing compared to your running two full internet blogs about me, scorning me, trying to turn people away from my legitimate business and livelihood, and calling me personally all manner of denigrating names. Remember, the bully is the one who starts a fight. You started this one. Now you are blubbering because I called what you do you a form of fascism.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 25 Aug, 2010
We understand what your point about the population is Ken, and demolished it in our last post. Do you truly believe that because the majority of the world's uneducated, superstitious and religious population believes the moon reaches out to them, then it must be true? Or, as revealed by your comment: 'I would never claim that consensus makes something correct', are you just making this bogus point in the hope that your gullible supporters will fall for it?
And you follow that up with the equally childish belief that 'western science... still thinks the moon is some evil pagan symbol'. That's as silly as claiming that science still thinks there are fairies at the bottom of gardens. Do you really think that science gives a damn about evil pagan symbols? Unlike you Ken they are not still rooted in the primitive and erroneous beliefs of the Dark Ages.
And why do you again bring up this nonsense about 'western' science? Science is science, there are no western and eastern or southern versions. If science works, it works the same everywhere. Do you believe there is 'western' gravity and 'eastern' gravity? This ignorance of science does your argument no favours.
And you again trot out this rubbish: 'the bully is the one who starts a fight. You started this one'. As we've said, a bully is not defined as someone 'who starts the fight'. A bully is one who victimises a much weaker opponent, knowing that they don't have the skills or strength or intellect to fight back. Is that how you see yourself Ken, as a weak victim unable to muster a defence? The fact is Ken that you are making public claims that we disagree with, just as you are disagreeing with claims about climate change. If you want to label a disagreement as a fight and yourself as a victim to garner sympathy then that's your choice. We just hope the Pope never hears of our site and our opinion of him, or else like you, he'll be annoying us as well. Insulting us and calling us a bully for starting a fight with the weak and timid Catholic Church who are just trying to run a legitimate brainwashing business and child sex ring.
You also accuse us of 'running two full internet blogs about me'. Is this another conspiracy? What other site are we running? Please provide details Ken. You're great at making accusations but then not following through with evidence. And please don't be so arrogant and big headed to think that the Silly Beliefs website is about you. We have only one article that debunks your claims, and this blog post only exists because you contacted us.
And regarding your insults towards us, you write that your 'insults. They are not intended to be vile', although we infer from this that they were still intended to be insults. And we note that you still felt the need to end your comments by calling us fascists.
Look Ken, you need to accept that you can't fool all of the people all of the time. You need to realise that abuse, insults, intimidation, special pleading and recourse to superstition and pseudoscience will not sway our views of you and your weather prediction method. We listen to reason and evidence, and since you seem to be bereft of both, our view that your weather almanac is a waste of time and money stands.
Comment by Ken Ring, 04 Sep, 2010
No question of fooling anyone any of the time. Instead of telling me and others what to think, and calling anyone who doesn’t do so a fraud, I suggest you look at my 2010 almanac and www.predictweather.com website. I said August would be the wettest month of the year – it was. I said the North Island would be mild because of westerlies – it was. I said the far south would get lots of snow – it did. I said September would be cold, especially the second week. Have a look at the metservice prediction for next week, because here it comes. What part of any of that do you not understand? Having decided I must always be wrong because you are registered by a company that sells weather services and you don’t like the competition, seems you can’t see past your own bias. I’ve been on TV3 in the past couple of days :http://www.3news.co.nz/Snow-rain-and-wind-ahead-for-spring---forecaster/tabid/1160/articleID/173575/Default.aspx I am on Australian TV screens every month in 4 States. Odd that viewers never see Silly Beliefs anywhere on screen. You might like to reflect on that.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 05 Sep, 2010
Ken, we've asked you to provide your evidence that we are in any way controlled by a company that 'sells weather services', and yet you ignore our request, while yet again repeating the lie.
We've asked you to provide your evidence that we are 'running two full internet blogs about me', and yet you ignore our request.
We've asked you to provide your evidence that we are in competition with you, and yet you ignore our request.
If you are going to make up lies about us at least try and pretend that you can defend them. At least make an effort for our readers to show that you're not just an angry little man throwing empty insults, and that the only defence you can muster involves spreading myths, lies and conspiracy theories.
As for suggesting that we read your Almanac which you then quote from, this is no different from silly Christians who encourage us to read their Bible and quote where it predicted floods, wars and unrest, and yay, so it came to pass. If you write a book full of vague predictions, be it Almanac or Bible, then of course you'll be able to cherry pick one or two that given the right amount of spin just might fool one or two people into thinking that the author is indeed a great soothsayer. To paraphrase that old saying, Beware the man who only reads one book, be it Almanac or Bible.
And stop twisting the facts. We don't call you a fraud because you don't think as we do, we call you a fraud because you peddle nonsense for money. Also we've never said that you're always wrong. We've acknowledged that since you utilise weather maps produced by real meteorologists and make an enormous number of predictions, often contradictory, then you're bound to get some predictions right by mere chance alone. Unfortunately people can only tell which predictions were correct after the fact, which makes them worthless as predictions.
Basking in the arrogant glow of your minor celebrity status, you finish by saying that it's 'Odd that viewers never see Silly Beliefs anywhere on screen. You might like to reflect on that.' If you are on TV Ken, then viewers are truly seeing silly beliefs on screen.
Comment by Ken Ring, 06 Sep, 2010
Oh I did provide the evidence that you are registered by a company that supplies weather services – you chose to censor that and replace what I said with some mythical name Corporation X.
The two internet blogs about me are on this website. Don’t tell me you are that thick that you don’t even know what’s on your own site.
The evidence that you are in competition with me is that the company you are registered under has clientele who are agricultural and the company links them to weather services. If you come clean with the name of your company and its location of your own honest free will instead of hiding behind obscurity then readers can look up the trading website concerned for themselves and note the services offered – “intellectual, ethical, environmental..” etc.
Stop pretending you are commercially neutral and have no financial interest in denigrating me. It simply isn’t correct. Let readers decide for themselves, instead of you telling them what to do whilst editing my posts.
I also provided evidence that was called for, that my forecasting method works, by citing from my Predict Weather Almanac for NZ, 2010. I can give you page numbers, none of it contradictory. The 2011 almanac contains some warnings about cyclones and droughts next year that will be causing carnage across NZ, which has now been considered important enough for radio and TV to have featured.
Of course no evidence will be enough for you so it will always be a wasted exercise here on the Silly beliefs Tall Poppy Club.
Get a life guys, instead of trying to spread lies and bad blood, feeding like a cancer on people who are trying to make a better world for others, and doing it behind the anonymity of the internet.
Readers all know my name and where I am. You lurk in the shadows and conspire to hide your names, faces, and locations. How can you expect that to achieve intellectual respect?
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 06 Sep, 2010
Ken, you have not provided any evidence to support your accusations. We have freely acknowledged that our website domain name is legally registered with a domain registration company, just as yours is. We want to see your evidence that this company has any influence or control over the content on our website. You also wrongly said that this company is the NZ distributor of Microsoft products, so should people infer that Microsoft is also pulling our strings, and theirs? Is Microsoft your true enemy Ken? We don't care if our domain registration company does have agricultural clientele, or listens to the MetService reports, or even if they're all Scientologists. Produce the evidence that they are controlling, influencing or even producing the comments on this website. Otherwise your accusation is both childish and libellous.
As for your complaint that we are 'running two full internet blogs about me', you now sheepishly say that by 'two full internet blogs' you actually mean we have mentioned you twice on this website. A blog is an entire website Ken, with a separate internet address, what you're thinking of is individual posts, hardly the same thing. And you can't count this post since you initiated it.
You plead, 'Stop pretending you are commercially neutral and have no financial interest in denigrating me. It simply isn't correct.' Well stop whimpering Ken and prove it, produce your evidence. Only if we were the covert puppets of an evil domain registration company would we have a financial interest in ruining your business. But you refuse to produce that evidence, even though you insist that you have it, and that any internet user could view it as well. Even if you think we will suppress this information, at least send us the links to it. And if readers are concerned at Ken's accusation that we are editing his posts, this is again false and misleading. In Ken's original post we clearly said we 'changed the name of the company Ring mentions in his email to Corporation X since we refuse to let him use our website to make completely unfounded and libellous accusations against an innocent company. If he is sincere in his beliefs and wants to personally attack this company then he should approach his lawyer rather than making cowardly claims behind their back on our website.' This is the only edit we have made to Ken's posts, it was singular, not plural as Ken implies, and we clearly identified it.
As for the evidence that your method works, as we said Ken, cherry-picking predictions from your Almanac is as worthless as cherry-picking predictions from the Bible. And of course there won't be contradictions on the page numbers that you would provide, the contradictions would be on other pages. And as for thinking that predictions about what might happen NEXT year is evidence, just shows that you have no idea what scientific evidence is.
And as for you childish belief that 'Of course no evidence will be enough for you', this is just ignorance of what we push on this website, that one's world view should be based on evidence and not superstition. The things that we accept, like evolution, plate tectonics, relativity, genetics etc and the things we reject, like souls, ghosts, alien abduction and astrology are all based on evidence. For every one of these topics we have said the evidence is enough for us to take a stance. Your claim is nothing but a groundless insult, implying that we dismiss your claims simply because we don't like you.
And stop harping on about the fact that we won't divulge personal information to strangers on the internet. What difference would it make Ken? Knowing our addresses won't change the fact that it rained on my barbecue when you said it would be fine. You seem to be encouraging people to judge us personally rather than our arguments. You hated us before you knew who we were, and now you say you do know. Knowing who we are doesn't seem to have changed your view of us, why do you think others will be influenced?
If you really are trying to make the world a better place Ken, why don't you give your predictions away for free? We are.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 10 Sep, 2010
Ken, in comment #18 you stated: 'I said August would be the wettest month of the year - it was. I said the North Island would be mild because of westerlies - it was. I said the far south would get lots of snow - it did. I said September would be cold, especially the second week. Have a look at the metservice prediction for next week, because here it comes. What part of any of that do you not understand?'
We've now had a chance to consult you almanac and it just threw up more problems.
You actually said 'The wettest month may be August for the whole country'. Like psychics you have subtlety changed 'may' to 'would'. In your almanac you weren't sure, now you pretend that you were certain. We found no mention of the NI going to be mild, and for what period anyway, August? And what about lots of snow in the far south. Some of us live in the far south and we have had no snow whatsoever, let alone lots of snow. Nada, zero, zilch, nary a flake. And for none of your claims did you produce links to show that August was in fact the wettest, or the NI mild, or the far south snow covered. You also predicted that 'September would be cold, especially the second week. Have a look at the metservice prediction for next week, because here it comes.' Well this is now the second week Ken, and we've had nice weather all week, and today is blue skies, sunshine and warm temperatures, ie NOT cold.
While you offered these claims as evidence, let's look at what you didn't tell the readers. You also said in your almanac (pg 312): 'August — Highlights over the next four weeks are exceptional snow storms and squalls, cold, wet and cloudy. Weather in this period may be the most severe since 1939, which was the coldest winter on record for New Zealand. This year it will be the coldest month.'
You told us that you were right about August being wet, so why didn't you crow about August being the coldest since 1939, and the 'exceptional snow storms'? Were you wrong perhaps? In your section 'Winter — South Island', there is not a single mention of snow, which seems strange if we were to expect 'exceptional snow storms' and 'the far south would get lots of snow'. Yet in a section entitled 'Snow Expectations', you predicted: '22nd-30th Aug: Eastern Southland and west Otago may receive one of the heaviest snowfalls of the year.' We're still waiting Ken. On page 20 you have the heading: 'More tropical cyclones expected'. Did they not eventuate either?
When we looked up your almanac — Sep 8 — it was a warm, beautiful day, and yet your prediction for the day was: 'Possibly sub-zero temperatures over the whole country'. Which country Ken?
And we'll end with this typical Ringism from your almanac: 'In terms of rain (meaning rain or snow)... ' It's ridiculously vague nonsense statements like this that fool some people into thinking that you sometimes get it right. We can imagine a farmer thinking that Ken says there's going to be heavy rain, but he doesn't know whether to bring sheep up from low lying land in case of floods or down from the high country because of snow. What should he do children?
As we've said Ken, you're just cherry-picking the odd vague prediction that by chance you got right and ignoring and suppressing the multitude that you got wrong. Make enough silly predictions and a handful are bound to be close enough, it's how all soothsayers work.
Prince Charles and the human soul
Rachel recently came across an article where she discovered that 'The Prince of Wales has blamed a lack of belief in the soul for the world's environmental problems'. Evidently 'he found it "baffling" that so many scientists professed a faith in God yet this had little bearing on the "damaging" way science was used to exploit the natural world'.
And then this spoilt prince who talks to his plants and believes they understand, whose life's desire was evidently to be one of Camilla's tampons, had the audacity to attribute the origin of our environmental woes on the likes of Galileo Galilei, the great 17th century scientist. He bemoans that 'we are persuaded to concentrate on the material aspect of reality that fits within Galileo's scheme'. The swing from a belief in a spiritual world to a naturalistic world has been our downfall according to Prince Charlie, and Galileo is one that we should blame. The Church treated Galileo appallingly, hauling him before the inquisition, threatening him with execution, and then confining him to house arrest until he died, all for making known a fact of reality that exposed Biblical dogma. That the Earth was not the centre of the universe, not special at all, and evidently not God's jewel in the crown. And even though it has been known for centuries that Galileo was correct, it was not until 1992 that the Church finally admitted it was wrong and pardoned Galileo. Talk about holding a grudge, and so much for being brave enough to admit your mistakes.
This silly idea that science and technology has robbed us of our soul is nonsense. Souls don't exist, and so they can't be taken from us or ignored. They're as imaginary as a geocentric earth or a devil with horns and pitchfork. Science has brought us face to face with reality — souls are fantasy — and if we have environmental problems, retreating back to a belief in a fantasy will only make things worse. It's as naive as saying lightning was less dangerous when we believed angry gods threw it from clouds, so let's start believing that again.
Charlie's false claim 'that so many scientists professed a faith in God' is no doubt due to ignorance on his part. Scientists as a profession would be the most atheistic of any, and even the minority that do still believe in gods are able — somehow — to leave their god baggage at the lab door, picking it up again on the way out.
Charlie moans about 'the "damaging" way science was used to exploit the natural world', when in fact we now live in the healthiest, safest and technologically advanced world that has ever existed. Well except perhaps for Charlie's Biblical Garden of Eden, with its scenic vistas, unlimited food, friendly talking animals, and balmy temperatures that encouraged complete nudity. Unfortunately Charlie is one of those deluded people that pines for a 'Golden Age' that never existed, fooled into thinking that in times gone by, be it the ancient Greeks, native American Indians or sun drenched Polynesian islands, that these societies had an idyllic lifestyle that we should envy, and try to recreate. This fantasy 'Golden Age' with their beautiful people exists only in bogus Hollywood movies, romance novels and people's imagination. It never fails to amaze us that even Stone Age cave dwellers such as portrayed by Raquel Welch in 'One Million Years B.C' still had enough personal time to shave their legs and armpits, worry about covering their breasts with the world's first bikini, and find local substances to whiten their perfect teeth and shampoo their lustrous hair. All the while avoiding the roaming saber-toothed cats and dinosaurs. The truth is that life expectancy for most of human history has been between 20 and 30 years, and finding food, shelter and personal safety — pure survival — was the only goal for most everyone. The claim that science has damaged our way of life is demonstrating complete ignorance of the way life used to be.
Of course we are exploiting the natural world, you can't exist if you don't. Plants and animals have to die if we are to live, forests have to be cleared if we are to have houses, natural resources have to be discovered and used if we are to have clothes, medicines and horseless carriages. And ask yourself, who exploits the world more, you or Prince Charlie and his family? Last year Charlie alone spent over half a million dollars on entertaining (drinks parties and dinners), and twice as much the year before. How many houses do you own, and how many of those are castles? How much land and natural resources did you clear for your sweeping estates? How many expensive cars, planes, yachts and thoroughbred horses do you own? How many million is your artwork insured for? We could stop recycling and I could leave my car running for the rest of its life and my negative impact on the planet wouldn't even be equal to a few minutes of the negative impact that Charlie and his lifestyle has on it. He's a bloody hypocrite. And you don't see him donating his obscene public-donated fortune to trying to rectify any of the problems he highlights, the way the likes of Bill Gates is. Charlie is just empty talk. A moron placed in a position of authority for which he is ill suited.
And from a Biblical standpoint, the one Charlie with his souls favours, didn't God give dominion of the Earth and its resources to mankind, to use as he saw fit? The world is being exploited by divine commandment. If Charlie has a problem with that he should take it up with his God.
Charlie is quoted as saying that 'the present approach to the environment was contrary to the teachings of all of the world's sacred traditions. The desire for financial profit ignored the spiritual teachings.'
So how does the Bible or Koran or Veda say we should power our horseless carriages? Petrol, hydrogen cells, solar power or what? If we had stuck to spiritual teachings from the world's sacred traditions we'd still be in the Dark Ages, living a brutal existence where happiness was a concept that few people ever considered, let alone obtained. True, we would have little impact on the environment, but only because we were too ignorant, primitive and superstitious to do otherwise. Retreating into spiritual teachings and sacred traditions is a retreat from reason and a rejection of the vast body of knowledge that has allowed us to escape from our ignorant and primitive past, and create what is for many heaven on earth. Admittedly there is much yet to be done to reach a true utopia for all, but picking up a Bible or Koran is not the answer.
Of course we must remember that Charlie and his ilk are an anachronism. Little more than a tourist attraction and a media source for embarrassing statements and actions made by people that wouldn't have a hope in hell of getting their jobs if they had to apply for them like everyone else. That Charlie may be a well meaning idiot doesn't change the fact that he's still an idiot, and like popes, bishops, rabbis and imams, he is not in any way qualified to address the problems of a modern, secular, scientific world. Charlie should be asked whether he prefers tea and crumpets to be served on the lawn or in the drawing room, but he should not be invited to publicly spout forth on things that his limited intellect can barely grasp. And again, the same goes for popes, bishops, rabbis and imams. We need to stop pretending that these people know what they're talking about. Like kings, queens and princes, they are relics of the past that should only be found in museums and history books, not actively sought out to give 10th century advice to a 21st century world.
Update: We've since found more accounts of Charlie's lecture, actually entitled 'Islam and the Environment', which he delivered at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. In addition to blaming the likes of Galileo for our problems, he also suggested the proper path to avoid environmental disaster, claiming that 'Our science and technology cannot do this. Only sacred traditions have the capacity to help this.' Detailing his own study of the Koran, he then 'urged the world to follow Islamic 'spiritual principles' in order to protect the environment'. He told his audience of scholars that 'The Islamic world is the custodian of one of the greatest treasuries of accumulated wisdom and spiritual knowledge available to humanity'.
What nonsense! There is no denying that the Arabs and many Islamic scholars in the Middle Ages did value scientific knowledge and were responsible for saving what they could of ancient Greek and Roman documents on astronomy, mathematics, medicine, physics, philosophy etc. — while Christians were gleefully destroying all that they found — and for this we owe Arabs/Muslims a great debt. It was this ancient knowledge and even Islamic scientific research that finally provided the impetus that dragged Europe out of the Dark Ages, fueling the Renaissance and eventually the Enlightenment. But unfortunately centuries ago Islam was confronted with two paths, one led to the continued advancement of reason and science, while the other led them back into dogma, ignorance and submission. Rather than moving towards Islamic enlightenment, Islam retreated into its own Dark Ages from which it has yet to emerge. For its time, Islam did once have a great treasure of scientific knowledge, but it has never had great spiritual knowledge, anymore than Jews, Christians or Hindus have. Their spiritual knowledge is false now, it was false then.
After his one-hour lecture and a standing ovation, the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Prof Andrew Hamilton, thanked Charlie saying, 'It has been an immense pleasure to welcome you back to the University of Oxford to lecture on this subject'. Again, why the hell is a spoilt and pampered prince lecturing to Oxford scholars? We need to stop pandering to these idiots who, based on an accident of birth, think they have a god given right to spout their delusional theories to us mere plebs and serfs.
Posted by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 27 Jul, 2010 ~
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Comment by Bob, 29 Jul, 2010
He's a twit! I suspect his mother knows that and is hanging on as long as possible before standing down in the hope William will mature and replace her. She herself has enough sense not to make personal remarks but to stick to scripts.
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Last Updated Sep 2010