Friday, December 14, 2007

Pat Condell for prime minister

Here is a video by a comedian called Pat Condell; I think he's great, nice mix of intelligent banter, wit and sarcasm. Anyway check him out on YouTube or at his own website if you like this kind of thing.

This example of his work is one of my favourites, particularly the line about Islam having a better logo than Christianity, i.e. the crescent moon is better than the cross, mainly because it doesn't have someone nailed to it... keep up the good work Pat!

Not in my living room please!

A while back I blogged about a particularly obnoxious Catholic Priest called “Father Jonathan”; he is a regular on the ultra-right wing Fox network in the USA and IMO so full of it you can see the brown tide mark in his pretty blue eyes. You can imagine my horror when this ludicrously deluded wind-bag popped up on the BBC, hyperventilating and spouting his anti-rational nonsense right there in my living room!; I nearly fell off my chair!

The program was a discussion (You can see it here) featuring Richard Dawkins about the existence or otherwise of God (the “personal” type as opposed to the Deistic type); the usual bland and long ago refuted arguments were being enthusiastically dragged up by various faith heads and pitched in the normal wide-eyed ignorant manner and although he was being the ever courteous gent, you could visibly see Dawkins shoulders sinking lower and lower in response to the sedate banality of it all, then all of a sudden there was FJ, immaculately groomed and media ready blasting out this rapid fire wah, wah, wah, rather like a fire alarm going off in a monastery; unfortunately he didn’t provide the content to match his forceful presentation. Actually it was slightly embarrassing, old FJ took the conversation off in a completely tangential direction, echoing the statements made by the Pope in a recent “encyclical” (whatever that is?) apparently some kind of document.

In this paper the Pope confidently claimed that Atheism is obviously bad because just look at all those 20th century regimes that slaughtered millions of people; Stalin, Mao and Hitler were all the usual names trotted out as examples of people killing others “in the name of Atheism” or in the cause of eliminating religion. The incredibly annoying yeah but, yeah but, no but, Vicky pollard’esc diatribe being delivered by FJ was aimed at suggesting that all these deaths should be weighed against the paltry 10,000 or so eliminated by the inquisition, like some kind of bizarre pissing contest, nah, nah your body count is bigger than ours, Atheist poster boy!.

I was appalled, the combination of arrogance and ignorance on display was breathtaking; interestingly FJ backed off this line of attack when he realised the sheer stunned reaction that he got, hopefully he felt as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit; I don’t think the presenters even knew where to begin with this utter toilet. The discourse ended in a whimper with Dawkins somewhat open mouthed, sporting a treasured “what the fuck was that all about” look on his face, they quickly moved on to the next caller.

Clearly not being able to “let things go”, FJ has stuck faithfully to his dogmatic nature and subsequently presented an “open letter” to Dawkins on his blog; he attempts to summarise his points and taunts Dawkins to repudiate all the “slaughter” in the name of Atheism, the same way that some previous Pope had apparently “apologised” for all the “slaughter” in the name of Christianity. As I said previously there are so many errors and logical fallacies propped up by straw-men here that it’s difficult to know where to start, let me jot down a couple of points that spring to mind.

First let’s look at the assertion that Nazis were an “Atheistic” regime,
  • Hitler seems to have had the tacit support of the Catholic Church in many things via the Concordat established in 1933 (ref. “The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany” by Guenter Lewy)
  • The current Pope actually belonged to the Hitler youth at age 14 (bit close to home don't you think Mr Ratzinger, put up much resistance to these godless ideas did you?)
  • German soldiers’ belt buckles had “Gott Mit Uns” (God with us) written on them
  • Hitler said he believed in creation (various speeches)
  • Hitler said he detested Atheism (Mein Kampf)
  • The Nazi party closed down the Atheist-Freethinkers HQ converting it to a Christian religious advisory establishment. (Berlin)
  • Hitler was bought up a Roman Catholic (historical record)
  • The SS head of Auschwitz, history’s greatest mass murderer, Rudolf Hoess was a strict Catholic. (historical record)
  • And so on and so on…

Even if all of this is lies; what did the Vatican Secretary of State (later to become Pope Pius XII) say against the Nazi party at the time, here is a quote from him,

"The Nazis are in reality only miserable plagiarists who dress up old errors with new tinsel. It does not make any difference whether they flock to the banners of social revolution, whether they are guided by a false concept of the world and of life, or whether they are possessed by the superstition of a race and blood cult."

This is interesting, no mention of Atheism, but superstition, race and blood cult are clearly marked out; doesn’t sound much like the Atheism I know.

So, what about Stalin,

Interestingly Stalin was educated in an Orthodox seminary; his mother wanted him to become a priest. As FJ says clearly in his blog “action follows ideas”, wonder where Joe Stalin got his “ideas” from in that case?

Most historians seem to agree that Stalin established a cult of personality; his cult had everything that Christian religions had, miracles, inquisitions, special dispensations etc. etc. His regime certainly persecuted religious people, along with just about everyone else that stood against him, not a conclusive argument that he did it in the “name of atheism” that I can see – perhaps FJ can furnish us with some documentary evidence that this was the case?

History is history, clearly many interpretations are possible, so what about today?

What evidence do we have that societies mainly consisting of Atheists are bad?

Which countries have the best healthcare, lowest crime, best education, best standard of living, longest life expectancy and most freedom in the world today? Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Japan, France, Finland – all these countries are statistically best when it comes to measures of standards of living but unfortunately for the Pope they are all, majority irreligious, isn’t it interesting that the most irreligious nations on Earth which are not communist also have the highest standards of living, could the Pope be getting communism and atheism mixed up here I wonder?

How about those countries that have the worst standard of living indices, oh dear, what do we find, unfortunately for the Pope and his little imp (FJ) it turns out that they are almost exclusively theocracies governed by religions.

Here is a (recent) chart which shows my point quite nicely... (notice the freaky outlier..)

It is clear to me that this evidence makes both sets of comments seem absurd and so wrong that a child could debunk them.