December 20, 2007

New I.D. film: “Playground For The Expelled” aka “Playground For The Crybabies”

Posted in atheism, conspiracy theory, creationism, darwinism, evolution, intelligent design, Philosophy & Politics, Sociology at 10:44 pm by Bram Janssen

Intelligent Design… [insert huge sigh here]

Now you have got to credit these folks: they never give up. Their fanaticism seems to have no bound!

In theatres 2008: “The Playground For The Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”

Watch the trailer.

Now I’d like to start off my criticism with this message: all pretense gone! They seem to have come out of the closet when it comes to the role Creationism plays in their ideas. Not that there was any doubt about it since the Dover trial. With a film endorsed by the Intelligent Design movement and with interviews with prominent I.D. front-men, the case seems clear.

With that out of the way… well, honestly, I can feel nothing but contempt for the message and tone of this trailer. It’s all: “boo-hoo-hoo, the Neo-Darwinists are oppressing us for no other reason than us righteously questioning their theory.” This awesome lie is bound to fail of course.expain

First of all, it is common knowledge now that Intelligent Design is a farce. No playing martyr is going to change that. The only thing that could only ever change the pitiful status of Intelligent Design as a scientific theory is evidence. Rock-hard, ice-cold evidence. And don’t think of bringing on the vertebrate eye or the bacterial flagellum once more, like you did in Dover. In fact, don’t bring any examples at all- bring testable, structurally sound theories. And stop this conniving and scheming.

This trailer is a new low in outrageous Creationist propaganda, second only, maybe, to The Way Of The Master. Check that out for some gruesome twists in the fabric of reality.

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Arguments Against God

Posted in atheism, christianity, conspiracy theory, creationism, darwinism, evolution, intelligent design, Paleoanthropology, Personal Ramblings, Sociology, Zoology at 10:36 am by Bram Janssen

Of all the foolish things people believe, God is one of the most extraordinary. I think it’s alright to have the personal belief that your life is being guided by a divine being, but it’s not alright to fight about it to the death – or at least utter tediousness – without having sufficient proof for it.

And there is no proof for God, folks, it’s time to face up to that fact. The time when the world was an almost wondrous affair are all but gone, thanks to science. What came in place of God is the beauty of the real world. Isn’t the natural world amazing and breathtaking enough, do you really even need to throw a supernatural being in the mix to be awed by reality? Isn’t life on Earth incredible enough- just look at all the incredible shapes of life! What about quantum mechanics? Astronomy? Psychology? All that science uncovers in these fields inspires in me the same awe that miracles would- all without need of a God. In fact: don’t you agree the “revelation” that all of this came about without a maker is even more inspiring than explaining it away by means of a mysterious Creator?

That said, there are millions of people around the world who claim to have evidence of said Creator. One of the themes of this weblog will be presenting these various forms of evidence and dismantling them. Yes: dismantling. As yet, there is no evidence for the existence of God or even the suggestion of the existence of God, as I will show you. Until I get down to penning about this, I’d like to present one of the strongest arguments against God I’ve heard so far, by the great George Carlin.

Dutch Christian Committees “offended by blasphemous advertisements”

Posted in atheism, christianity, creationism, intelligent design, Personal Ramblings, Philosophy & Politics, Sociology tagged , , , at 2:00 am by Bram Janssen

Several days ago, the news got out that several Dutch Christian organisations filed official complaints at the address of the Dutch “bureau for codes of conduct in commercials” (honestly, I don’t know what the official translation ought to be, so here’s the literal one) due to franchised electronics warehouse “Dixons” disrespecting Christian faith.

The franchise distributed commercial prints depicting the Three Wise Men navigating by TomTom and baby Jesus listening to ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’ on an iPod in his crib. According to spokesman Bert Dorenbos these depictions are: “Dangerous, especially during Christmas time.” If you can read Dutch, here’s the original article.

Now, I’d like you to consider this and ask yourself how this is different from Islamic outrage over comic portraits of Muhammad in a Scandinavian newspaper. The only difference I can think of is the intensity in the revulsion felt by the offended religion. In fact, I think there is no difference at all. Both situations are equally outrageous and truthfully: the only “dangerous” thing in the whole situation is giving these Christian organisations credulity.

What’s more: where is the danger in these depictions anyway? What’s offensive? I don’t get it. Because it is blasphemous that Jesus might listen to a Christmas song on an iPod? Give me a break! It’s not as if he is trying to get friendly with the mule or anything. Now that would be a decent reason to take offense.

Why did I say it was dangerous to give these Christians credulity? Well, for the plain reason that they are trying to establish that Christianity needs to have a special place in Dutch society. Such a special place, in fact, that it is deemed to be a major breach of common decency to harmlessly depict a Shepherd playing a video-game. What these organisations are lobbying for in this manner, is that society should not be critical of Christianity, however trivially, because it would hurt their personal feelings. And hurting anyone’s feelings is bad thing, don’t you agree?

Well, Bert Dorenbos, you are hurting my personal feelings. Even though I am not too fond of Dixons, I feel offended by the organisations you speak for, for trying to insert small-mindedness into society. For trying to stop us from being critical of a religion that needs to be criticised like never before. For trying to promote Christianity as a clique beyond reproach and mostly– for playing on people’s fears by playing the card that says: “criticizing religion breeds hatred in society.” After all, people, wasn’t Theo van Gogh killed for his blatant critique on religion (Islam), wasn’t Ayaan Hirshi Ali forced to flee the country for the same reason?

For these reasons, I want to hurt your feelings. I want to be critical of you, so that hopefully, it will dawn on you that you are being small-minded and patronising. I don’t mind you and your Christian conviction, however, what I do mind is that you can not keep it to yourself. Instead, you try to tell me, an atheist, and any other person who might ever get the idea to say something “dangerous” about your faith should keep their “blasphemy ” to themselves. I will not shut up. I repeat: I will not shut up. I will never stop criticizing people with small minds and hypocritical agendas.

Amen.

December 5, 2007

Chemtrails

Posted in conspiracy theory, Philosophy & Politics, Sociology tagged , , at 2:34 pm by Bram Janssen

Merriam-Webster (Open dictionary section!):

chemtrail (noun) : chemtrail/chem-trail reference to extensive contrail-like atmospheric appearances that happen in unexplainable and numerous patterns that are created in continuous succession in the sky by unmarked aircraft and thought to have a toxic composition.
The “chemtrail” patterns in the sky were more inexplicable then ever. On a clear day the “chemtrails” are sometimes more visible then usual. —WillPWilson, Many years of Worldwide News reports., http://www.bariumblues.com, around the year of 2000 and many other published sources.

The crux of the theory is this: the government, or at least a very powerful political force, is spraying airborne toxins and pathogens over populated areas all over the world, in order the “cull the herd.” That is: solve the overcrowding of the lands by killing as many people as possible.

At first this may sound absurd (it is), but then the subliminal power of this theory kicks in. As you walk outside you do something you probably don’t do very often: you study the sky. And what you see are contrails. And yes they really are contrails, not chemtrails. Normally you’d just look past them and look at the clouds instead, but hey, don’t contrails dissipate after a maximum of twenty minutes? (not necessarily) And what if it’s true?
The video above is one of two major “documentaries” freely available on the Internet. The other one is so long and tedious I can’t be bothered to critique it.

strange contrails OK- now watch the video with my following points of critique in mind.

First off: the documentary starts at 04:35- all what happens before is scary drama, with lots of frightening music, sound effects and unrelated evil things like Adolf Hitler, George W. Bush, Bible burning, atomic bombs exploding and to top it all- a supremely malevolent anti-gravity helicopter. These matters should serve as a filter: general viewers go in, but only paranoid viewers go out. During the rest of the documentary, it’s more scary images as well as a distorted, God-like voice that serves only to irritate and make it hard to understand what’s being said.

The actual content of the video isn’t any better. The time spent on evidence for chemtrails is about two minutes, and extremely circumstantial. All the rest is extrapolation from this weak premise (as well as being presented extremely poorly and tediously.) For the record: in science, circumstantial evidence is wholly secondary to direct evidence from a controlled experiment that can be reproduced by peers.

Now, let me put forward my main question: how on Earth would the American government be able to pull this massive operation off? In all fairness, the U.S. government has an extremely poor reputation when it comes to large-scale military operations. Basically, the last well-executed large campaign was the war against Hitler in Europe and to a lesser extent the war in the Pacific against imperial Japan. After that it was all down-hill, ending with the current occupation of Iraq – which even the staunchest proponents can’t deny is being executed disastrously.

Also, reality check: if this is all secret, how do they plan on keeping it that way? It’s absolutely impossible to keep a gargantuan operation like this secret from anyone not involved. It only takes one single anti-American secret service agent – abroad or at home in the States – to expose the entire cover-up. What will happen next is complete annihilation of anyone involved, as well as all the political parties and corporations that support it. It’s just to risky too even contemplate.

Decimating the civilian population like this would be virtual suicide for your person, your company, your political party if you happen to be a high-ranking political official, since history and common sense insist that this cannot be kept secret, certainly not for twenty-plus years as the video proposes. This is something to be kept in mind for most conspiracies- if they involve huge, secret governmental operations, they are probably bogus and can be safely ignored.

As you see, the theory of chemtrails took less time to dissipate than the average contrail.

December 3, 2007

Intelligent Design, when will you blow over?

Posted in conspiracy theory, creationism, darwinism, evolution, intelligent design, Sociology at 8:56 pm by Bram Janssen

You’d think Intelligent Design would be utterly dead by now, as for years and with increasing accuracy it has been exposed for what it really always was: an unscientific and politically scheming practice. However, there will always be people who’ll stick to a belief no matter what counter-evidence ends up thrown in their faces.

Take this chap, John H. Calvert, who published this excellently deluded article (pdf) on the Intelligent Design Network. It’s effectively a cry for justice in the world of science teaching. That is: allow theories of origins of life other than Darwinism into the science classrooms. And Intelligent Design is the best suited alternative of course.

I am not going to mention that whatever Intelligent Design is, it can not be science, because it advocates explaining every unknown factor away to miracles – hence you will never learn anything new, which happens to be the reason science exists. Just as I am not going to say the Dover Trial revealed without a shadow of doubt that I.D. is deeply rooted in Christian Creationism, which has been tried and banned indefinitely from the classrooms before. I am not going to mention these things because it would take the fun out of debunking this article, which would seriously spoil my evening.

any origins story unavoidably affects religion, ethics, morality and even government. Materialistic theories support religious views such as atheism, humanism, scientism, Buddhism, Taoism, etc

Darwinian Evolution is – according to Mr. Calvert – inherently biased towards the religions of “atheism, humanism and scientism.” It doesn’t matter that none of these are actually religions, I gather. Just as it doesn’t matter that the core epistles I.D.-theory rests on, turned out to be Creationist literature with “God” crossed out and replaced with “Intelligent Designer.”

What’s more: Calvert argues the existence of a Darwinistic, materialistic “dogma” he calls the Rule, which is deliberately limiting the scope of science in order to exclude rival scientific theories. He claims this Rule is permeated through the whole of society.

“Its advocates use rhetoric and deception rather than candid scientific analysis to make their case for an origins story that has an enormous impact on Religion, ethics, morals and government.The key to the deception is the lack of awareness among the public of the use and effect of the Rule. Because of the non-disclosed use of the Rule the public is led to believe that the scientific alternative to evolutionary theory fails because of a lack of evidence, when the failure is actually due to the use of an unsubstantiated Rule. Since “mainstream science” is not regulated by an SEC, a major focus of my work has been to expose the use and effect of the Rule.”

Congratulations, Calvert: you’ve just exposed yourself for what you really are: a conspiracy theorist. Sometimes I hope all conspiracy theorists would gather themselves into one huge meatball  of pseudo-scientific discipline. Then Calvert and other I.D. followers could come along and explain all of them using their Intelligent Design theory! “Of course the Giza pyramids were built by Gods, the sciences haven’t explained how the Egyptians hauled all that limestone on top of each other, so there’s no other option!”

Here’s to all I.D. followers: if you want your theories taught in science class it means you have to present strong evidence for your claims. You have no such theories as yet, they have all been refuted. Furthermore, and this is to Calvert and anyone who might believe him, take a good critical look at yourself and your own movement before you go about accusing others of using deception and political rhetoric to further their goals.