Maybe they need to try the Discovery Institute?

Discussion (34)¬

  1. Henry Ford says:

    As a Scientist………

    But the theory of evolution does not seem to apply to ideas…… Ideas just seem to proliferate and old ones keep popping up again long after they should have become extinct..

  2. Laripu says:

    Of course science wins. It wins because it becomes useful pretty quickly, within a lifetime.

    Of course religion is useful too… what else could you use to save your immortal soul from eternal brimstone fires? Lots of people have that on top of their list of goals.

    So religion is excellent at saving you from things that religion claims you need to be saved from. I’ll bet that not one person who believes in their particular religion experiences the eternal brimstone fires of hell. See? It works!

    As if I needed to say it … 😉

  3. Walter says:

    See the 7th Day Adventist Church and their anti meat “medical” evangelism.

    Is a point of entry to the whole sad story, of how they working with the processed food industry have influenced nay almost dictated the nutritional guidelines.

  4. ego says:


    religion, useless? it’s a stick that you can use to beat your children, that leaves no mark.

  5. Lakabux says:

    ego: You do realize I’m going to be stealing that, right?????

  6. Luxi Turna says:

    Hah! Three great ones in a row! Keep it up!

  7. Tommy says:

    Uhm, ego: you might want to rethink that. No visible marks on the physical body, maybe, but…

  8. Harmen Boersma says:

    first discovery. Looks interesting. sign me up. Thanks.

  9. Laripu says:

    Tommy is right. Religion can leave marks. Sorry ego, it might be a useful control tool for the unscrupulous, but it certainly leaves marks.

    Three references and a great movie:

    As one great movie for you, Wise Blood, directed by the great John Huston (who has a bit part in it too).

  10. jb says:

    If religion were useless it wouldn’t exist.

  11. M27Holts says:

    Very simple equations for the simpletons….r = g and s = e

  12. DiscoveredJoys says:

    We’ve been trying to create fusion power for decades – it would be really helpful if sacred texts told us how to do it. Or are Sacred Blueprints too much to ask?

  13. Tinkling Think says:

    DiscoveredJoys, think of it as either a divine example of the “Prime Directive” or an attempt not to spoil the surprise discovery when humans work it all out for themselves. Sort of analogous to your wife hiding the Christmas presents in February just so she’ll see your excitement some time later.


    The various gods of Abraham are just trying to keep their pets happy and entertained and letting them have some fun with their test tubes and gadgets and poking their fingers into the wall-sockets.

    They don’t give us the answers because they enjoy watching us figure it out on our own. Like a teacher or parent watching a child suddenly grasp differentiation.

    Well, that’s the nice interpretation.

    Anyway, fusion is easy. Moebius loops in three-space. A variety of Klein bottle, not simple toroids. Everyone knows that!

    Don’t they?

  14. Troubleshooter says:

    Science: Repeatable, reliable, useful, makes predictions which actually happen in the real world.

    Religion: [crickets…]

  15. Troubleshooter says:

    If religion were useless, it wouldn’t exist.
    — jb

    True, jb … IF religion were fully recognized as being useless. Problem is, they have convinced a bunch of people that they are all broken, and THEY HAVE THE CURE. They invented the problem, and then provided the solution (wasn’t that nice of them?).

    It will take more than knowing that religion is useless. It will require a universal understanding of the scam which is religion, and even more than that: it will require people to be willing to reject the false authority of religion, stand on their own two feet, and accept responsibility for their lives and actions … which in this day and age is a pretty big ask.

  16. raymondm says:

    “Whatever gets you thru the night
    It’s all right, it’s all right…”

    Religion. Belief in Science. Zealous commitment to atheism. Belief in a god. Whatever gets you thru the night, it’s all right, it’s all right.

    (Just don’t violate anybody’s fundamental rights)

  17. M27Holts says:

    The universal comfort blanket eh? Mind you we are the hairless ape…and evolution seemingly has given us a brain that likes self delusion as a protection strategy…

  18. raymondm says:

    ???? Why the personification of “evolution”? ????

  19. Son of Glenner says:

    Raymondm: A convenient form of shorthand!

  20. Rob Barnett says:

    Aye The blind watchmaker….and all that….stop trying to use cultural relativism to big up religion….

  21. Laripu says:

    Religion does address one thing (albeit badly).

    Through evolution, we’ve come to have a fear of death. Naturally, that makes it more likely that we’ll live to reproduce, which is why fear of death is a strong motivator in mammals in general, and in people in particular.

    Religion addresses that fear with untrue stories. It offers false hope. Pope John Paul II famously said “Be not afraid”.

    That’s what it boils down to. It’s what religion offers. We need it, but we need it to be true, not the nonsense offered by antique fairy tales.

    Last Friday, a vet came to our house to euthanize our 90 pound dog, a faithful companion and protector for 13 years. He was starting to lose his sight, had dementia, could barely get up on his hind legs, forgot he had to poop outdoors and pooped around the house. He panted continuously, a sign he was suffering. To his last he protected my wife, giving the vet an enormous bark of warning to let him know he was still on the job … but he couldn’t get up.

    Many are strong enough to eschew a promise of heaven. But I wish there could be one for my dog.

  22. Son of Glenner says:

    Laripu: Good summary of functional origins of religion. Sad about your dog but …

    My brother-in-law died very recently, after ~17 years of Alzheimer’s, 9 of those years in care homes. Family’s grief was heavily mixed with relief; he lasted much longer than most victims of that disease.

    I don’t “eschew” a promise of heaven – I just “know” it’s a false promise. I don’t regard that as being particularly strong of me.

  23. I had a bit of an epiphany this evening. My wife and I were talking about the attraction of conspiracy theories. What do the believers get out of their illogical belief that balances the logic and evidence that they are ignoring? How can, for example, flat eathers think that all the scientists are wrong and that there is some huge conspiracy to delude the public supported by the Illuminati (for whatever reason) and NASA? What make them think that we are all brainwashed to believe something that to them is obviously not true?

    My wife pointed out that the conspiracy theory believers get the ego boost of thinking they are in the know, that they are the smart ones. When they get together in groups they can forget that they are a tiny fraction of the total populations, and that normal people think they are nuts.

    That’s when I had my epiphany. We atheists are the conspiracy theory faction of the intellectual world. We are a small proportion of the total population. Most people believe there is a god. To them it is obviously true. They feel it. They think they see evidence for it. Everybody, except us, believes what they believe. They think we are crazy for denying it. We get the ego boost of feeling that we are smart, and that the rest of the population has been brain washed and deluded.

    Of course this isn’t going to change my mind on the subject. Because, unlike the flat earthers, we have logic and evidence on our side. Except…that what the flat earthers will tell you too.

    Rather amusing, isn’t it? Where is Freefox when we need him?

  24. Laripu, sorry to hear about your dog. But it sounds like he lived out his allotted hours the way a good doggie should. We should all be so lucky, eh.

    Son of Glenner, I too take no pride in eschewing a belief in heaven. Disbelieving nonsense doesn’t make me feel strong. It’s just the only thing I can do. i just hope I’m never sick enough and weak enough and afraid enough to have a deathbed conversion that contradicts my entire adult life.

    Which reminds me of this interview by Anderson Cooper and the late Christopher Hitchens:

    COOPER: In a moment of doubt… there might be a moment when you want to hedge your bets.

    HITCHENS: If that comes, it will be when I am very ill; when I am half demented, either by drugs or by pain. I won’t have control over what I say. I mention this in case you ever hear a rumor later on, because these things happen and the faithful love to spread these rumors. I can’t say that the entity, that by then wouldn’t be me, wouldn’t do such a pathetic thing. But I can tell you that… not when I’m lucid, no. I can be quite sure of that.

    COOPER: So if there is some story that on your deathbed–

    HITCHENS: –Don’t believe it.

    Hitchens is also reported to have said: “If I have a deathbed conversion it’s because it’s better that a believer dies than an atheist does.” Now that is strength, eh.

  25. Tinkling Think says:

    Darwin Harmless, I don’t lack a faith in gods, demons or any other supernatural spirits because I feel superior to the cretins who have one, I lack a faith because I do not have that ability.

    I met some L.D.S. missionaries in Town a couple of days ago. In a discussion with one of them I was about to tell her what I am, that I lack the ability to do faith, that I know I have no immortal part, that I know that for me there are no gods but she was all sunny and shiny and happy, a little puppy cuddling up to its master human, that I had not the heart. I couldn’t kick her nor rain on her sunlit little world. She didn’t deserve my mean, horrible, cold, inhuman, meaningless universe. Her religion may be all hate and fury and fire for the unbelievers but she was kindness in skin.

    I’m not an atheist. I don’t know whether there are many gods, is one god or is no such thing nor do I care. I know religion including the religion of those nice, soppy, puppy missionaries is dangerous, evil and murderous and needs to be stopped but that’s a man-made thing that Man can defeat.

    I don’t care what those puppies believe. I only care about what they believe I must believe and the penalties for my inability to do so. Should there be gods, or a god, I am told that I’ll find out. I don’t see that as possible as I have no immortal component, no attached recording device reckoning up my sins, no “soul” but I have been told – by the L.D.S. puppies among others – that I’m doomed.

    So be it. I could claim exemption under the Disabilities Act because I’m broken and don’t have a belief but I’m not sure that would work with a self-styled jealous god.

    It’s not my being clever that calls me to a lack of faith, nor is it the dimness or insanity of the faithful, it is merely my utter lack of anything resembling credulity.

    I don’t know how to believe and I don’t particularly want to learn.

    But I do know that those who do are dangerous to things like me.

    Even the puppies.

    So far as Pascal’s Wager goes, I’ve always thought that it would be quite idiotic to pick one god over all of the others at a time like that. Far better to stick with what I think I know.

    Absolutely nothing.

  26. Tinkling Think says:

    Just as a personal point: my self-censoring reaction to the puppies from Utah does look somewhat like my belatedly acquiring a form of tact or diplomacy or even signs of me maturing into a responsible and socialised adult member of Society.

    To which thoughts I have no comment save a slightly stunned silence.

    And the comment that many of my acquaintances thought that nothing like those would ever happen to me.

    It just goes to show …

    It’s a rum old world and strange things happen at sea.

  27. M27Holts says:

    The Jehovas Witnesses in the republik use the oldest tricks in the book to snare punters. I was propositioned by two rocket fit ladies who also had an intoxicating perfume. Had I been single and Had a chance of a session with those two regularly…i would have possibly signed up to a life of looking for monkeys turning into men in the zoos….

  28. Tinkling Think says:

    M27Holts, one minor thing which caused me to stop and talk with the Utah puppies was that they were young, attractive, well-dressed, Summery girls. They were definitely more attractive and easier to befriend than they would have been had they been fat, ugly, beardy, black-suited, judgemental geriatric males trying to berate me for not believing from two metres behind their own paunches.

    As you say, using nice ladies is a clever strategy. Almost everyone likes to stop and … er … talk to a puppy or the human equivalent of a baby seal.

  29. HaggisForBrains says:

    Hi DH, good to hear from you. Sorry I can’t engage the way Freefox did, but I love your epiphany! It’s a fascinating thought, and perhaps helps us to understand the attitude of those dreadful doorstep missionaries. They see us as the Dunning-Krugers of the faith question.

  30. Son of Glenner says:

    Tinkling Think & M27Holts: In my experience, the missionaries from Utah are always young and mostly male, but always good-looking; the girls in pretty (but modest!) dresses, the boys in shirt-sleeves order. Females seem to be a comparatively recent innovation. Fat, ugly, beardy, black-suited, judgemental, geriatric, males are conspicuous by their absence.

    I have also seen at least one black one (male) – interesting, as their theology used to be quite racist, but apparently they had a revelation that black people are no longer the devil’s spawn, just some more nice folks. (Who’d have thought it?)

    That is one advantage that they have over other religions – their beliefs are subject to updating (by divine revelation directly to their leaders) as necessary, instead of being set in stone for all eternity. And even if you die unconverted, you can be posthumously saved by being baptised by proxy by a future relative, hence their famously extensive genealogical archives.

  31. Tinkling Think says:

    Son, that’s an interesting concept. Should a soulless void like myself be baptised by a a posse of wizardly L.D.S.sorcerers would that somehow magic up a soul for me? There would need to be a soul for the incantations in the ceremony to work, so would I then have – or be – one?

    If so, what happens to a Catholic who is already ensouled in their dull, little R.C. Heaven? Would she be dragged, presumably confused and muttering darkly with her fists ready to commit mayhem, into the cloakroom of the Utah Saints? Or would there somehow be two souls per person, one for the gods of Modernish Rome and another for the Utahans? {Weird. My speelchucker likes “Utahans” but despises “Modernish”.}

    If dead and unbeliever me is suddenly encumbered with a soul, would I know it? Would there suddenly be an awakening, a continuity of consciousness? I’ve been blatted by scientific chemical knockout drugs preparatory to surgery, would being ensouled feel like the day after surgery?

    Suddenly, I feel the need for a Utah puppy and probably a few of their more indoctrinated elders, to have answers for many, many strange questions. I wonder whether they eat lunch? Are they allowed to eat lunch?

    Strangely, I feel that I know less about the Utah Saints than I previously thought I did. That is irksome.

    I know they eschew hot tea but is it permitted for me to buy them iced teas and coffees? Those would be nice when missionarying on a hot day.

  32. Tinkling Think says:

    Just as an aside, Black people are just like yellow, red, brown, green,stripy and whitish-pink people … only darker. It’s taken some of us a while to notice this but the idea is getting through …

    … slowly.

    This is a good thing.

    It will be lots gooder when we don’t even notice and all the purple keys and the yellow keys on the piano keyboard can be used to make the same horrible, twee, inane little McCartney tunes. On that day, we can all rejoice and dream of something else …

    … maybe fish suppers with salt and vinegar?

  33. Jesus F. Iscariot, Esq. says:

    Mohammedans cartoonophobics are still roaming about.

  34. Henry Ford says:

    and I got to be first ……………:-)


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