Monday, February 29, 2016

Human beings being human

Catholic priest Fr Stephen Crossan is pictured above snorting cocaine through a ten pound note in a room full of Nazi memorabilia and unfortunately for him these images are now plastered across the news media. Now, don't get me wrong, schadenfreude is tempting but all this really proves is that Stephen Crossan is just like the rest of us, a human being with impulsive, irrational and egotistical failings. For his sake, I hope that someone close takes him to one side and educates him about the dangers of class A drugs, after the local constabulary have had a word of course. The problem for Catholic priests is not that they have normal human failings but that their organisation spends most of it's energy trying to convince us that they are somehow special and that they have knowledge, insight and abilities that the rest of us (like Women for example) are unable to have. When we see this kind of thing going on it's so blatantly obvious this is not true that it's understandable people call them out on it.

I can't help feeling that there's some embattled PR person in Rome right now putting their coat on and muttering to themselves, "that's it, I'm done"...

Oh the pipes

The excellent xkcd showing us that although water remains the most important fluid (by volume) Beer is catching up rapidly...

Evolutionary baby dragons

Interesting story popped up today about a creature called an "Olm", it's a blind salamander and lives in caves in Slovenia. The olm is one weird creature, it swims like an eel, has legs and is thought to live for more than 100 years; apparently it only needs to feed once every 10 years and reproduces just once or twice a decade (incredibly slow metabolism). In times gone by these unusual and rare creatures used to wash out of their underground rivers during flash floods and because of their appearance villagers in the region used to think they were baby dragons. A cute story, but the big question for the 29% of people that are still creationists in that country (yes really!) remains, why would their God make such an iconic animal with fully formed eyes that cannot see?


Got back from my annual skiing escape to the Alps late on Saturday night; a thoroughly good time had by all and no lasting injuries (which is always a bonus!). A couple of us try to get away for a few days every year and this year we went to a place called "St. Gervais-les-bains" which is in France and sits in the shadow of Mt. Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps and which is visible in the background of this photo (I'm the one on the right). We had one bad weather day (snow & low cloud) and two splendid weather days and the ski areas we visited (Les Contamines, Megeve and Combloux) weren't too busy either, all in all a successful trip. I must commend Easy-jet for a couple of seamless flights; they delivered us into Geneva ahead of schedule on Wednesday when we arrived and then on Saturday we were still skiing as late as 5:30pm as the last lift shut, got changed in the ski-lift car park and blasted back to Geneva on the motorway; flight left bang-on time and got us back to Gatwick early at 9:50pm - tucked up in bed by 11 - can't argue with that!

Thought for the day

I often catch "thought for the day" on radio 4 in the mornings, it corresponds nicely with me giving my son a lift; fortunately for us one of the stops on his school bus route is right outside my office so we often sit in the car-park on frosty mornings waiting for the bus to turn up and have a little chat about "thought for the day". This morning was particularly interesting. 

Just before it came on, the today programme aired a voice-over clip from someone who has been keeping a diary about life under ISIS in Raqqa it presented a horrific picture of random violence, be-headings, beatings and general medieval barbarity being inflicted on people by the Islamic thugs that run the show there. This portrait of a confined, fearful and unnatural life under a theocracy was immediately followed by the "thought for the day" piece on the Christian period of "Lent" in which people deny themselves normal life in order to "psych" themselves up to venerate the barbaric torture and death of one particular individual around 2000 years ago. The irony could not have been more graphic.

Religious people often have a blind spot about their own faith systems, many I have spoken to in the past seem not to see the striking and obvious similarities that non-religious people see between all of them; good and bad. The suffocating control and suppression of the individual, in-group reinforcement behaviour, unnatural and harmful rituals and worst of all a crippling insecurity about people who don't believe in the same things as adherents to which-ever religion do. Today we see this all over the place, particularly in the Middle East where religion "red in tooth and claw" is acting out for real what "reformed" religion here in the West has spent centuries wrapping up in a sugar coating in order to wax sentimentally about it on radio 4. For those of us that don't believe any of it is true, these differing temporal states look very similar, like two sides of the same coin separated only by time and secular pressure.

Bad arguments #5

New cartoon from the excellent Jesus and Mo. a simple illustration that sometimes people, particularly our religious brothers and sisters, should review the reasons why they believe something or not. Much like a joke made in bad taste, ideally you shouldn't have to explain it, but if you do make sure you're not digging an even bigger hole for yourself.

Senior moments...

Cardinal Pell, Australia's highest ranking Catholic gave evidence last night over a video link from Rome where he remains despite the Royal Commission into child abuse, (some outspoken celebrities) and many of the victims wanting him to return to give evidence in person. Pell struck a conciliatory tone, which must have been uncomfortable for someone like him, but observers fear it will be a long haul to get at the truth, if ever fully revealed. The evidence giving continues today.

Popular computing

The title of "most popular British made computer" was surpassed last week when the Raspberry Pi (the bare-bones machine pictured above) racked up more than 8 million units in sales, beating the previous holder, a 1980's relic, the Amstrad PCW. The Raspberry pi also got an upgrade this week too; a new machine with what looks like 2X more powerful everything and still selling for the same price, roughly £25, a great British success story.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Theology for dummies

Theology, or as I like to call it, the study of the unknowable..

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Hop Spider

I'm not much of a DIY kinda person but I had a go at making my own hop spider the other day and it turned out surprisingly well (for me!), it's undergoing sea trials right now brewing up a classic Hobgoblin clone so far so good. The point of the bag in the middle is to suspend hops in boiling wort (beer) so that all the bits of hop don't end up in the beer and the whole process of cleaning and filtering is made just a tad easier, hopefully ending up with a cleaner and clearer finished product.

In other brewing news (Saturday morning is my brew day) I bottled a porter that I made a couple of weeks ago. Porter is a very dark style of beer made with lots of dark toasted malts including crystal and chocolate and is often flavoured with fruit or spice. I had a go at flavouring mine with blackberry and vanilla which is one of my favourite flavour combination in puddings so this is a chance to see what it's like in beer. I did have a tiny bit left over after bottling so I tried it, wow, really dense and flavorsome, almost sherry like, can't wait for it to secondary ferment in the bottles and gain some bubbles, should be nice.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Poisons everything

Ex world champion Boxer Manny Pacquiao is in trouble for making stupid remarks in public about gay people, calling them "worse than animals"; there's so much Christian poison wrapped up in that assertion it's what you might call a "bigotry dense" remark. First we have the idea that animals are somehow "lower" than humans when in truth we are all cousins, he should have more respect for his family. Second we have the notion that being gay is somehow disgusting, bad or immoral, again, not true, homosexuality is a natural phenomenon among most mammal species including us, and also including a significant number of Catholic priests who seem to be keen on buggering small children since their ridiculous dogmas and unnatural lifestyles  prevent them developing the normal social skills required to shag people of their own age. Then lastly we have the most ridiculous part of this whole sorry story. In order to justify his bigotry Pacquiao claims that he's "just telling the truth of what the Bible says", well that's just dandy; a Jewish book of myths being used by an Asian man whose ancestors were converted at the point of a sword to a religion introduced by Europeans less than a few hundred years ago into a civilisation that's been there at least 60,000 years - he should have more respect for his ancestors, who I expect, along with Nike, also think he's a twat.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A beer and a chat

Love this little ditty from Tim Minchin, who as usual doesn't mince his major chords getting straight to the point and encouraging Cardinal George Pell (currently held up in the Vatican) to return home to face a Royal Commission hearing on child abuse currently going on in Australia. There are many allegations against Pell, primarily that he covered up abuse and protected paedophile priests in the 70s and 80s and possibly even bribed people to keep quiet around his diocese at the time in Melbourne, Pell went on to become the highest ranking Catholic in Australia and is now in the Vatican and declining to come home to face questioning in person due to "health" reasons. As Minchin says in his song, "I'm sure they'll make you feel welcome in the pub in Ballarat, they just want a beer and a chat"..

Monday, February 15, 2016

Too much reality..

I did toy with the idea of putting this on the front of a valentines card, didn't go down well, stick to a big bouquet of roses was the right answer.

Finger licking forgiveness..

It sure is a funny old world we live in. I happened across this little article today it's about an ancient Jewish ceremony called Kapparot. The purpose of the ritual is to transfer sins to a hapless animal and then kill the animal. To do this the adherent Jew swings his poor old cock around his head (lucky him!) mumbling some magic spell then the bird has it's throat cut.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this is some ancient long debunked ritual that's symbolically re-enacted for purposes of nostalgia or sentimentality, but no, this is a real thing that's inflicted on real chickens by orthodox Jews in 2016!

This transference of sin idea is very pervasive in Middle Eastern religions, even the main Christian story seems to be based on this notion. The concept of a "scapegoat" is a primitive and perverse idea, allowing people to feel OK about doing evil things in the knowledge that a quick magic mumble and some spilt mammal blood can make everything all right again, surely the moral thing to do would be to take responsibility for your actions and not palm them off on some innocent animal? Our Abrahamic brothers and sisters seem to all have similar notions, no doubt copied from earlier traditions. Everyone wants to clean their slate in order to get into heaven, but I can't help thinking, if heaven is real then it's going to stink of chickens and goats.

What are they afraid of?

Saw this, felt compelled to post it; so true for a lot of people in a lot of places.

Evolutionary spin..

In a story today that could/should have been plucked straight from the digital pages of the onion or the daily mash, Australian spin Meister (not the political kind, but the cricket kind) Shane Warne has "cast doubt" on evolutionary theory by observing that if humans evolved from monkeys, why haven't monkeys evolved? Warne'y has been attending that renowned scientific ideas crucible known as "I'm a celebrity get me out of here" and apparently offered an alternative hypothesis to the traditional one, that we came from aliens because, well, because pyramids exist and they're big!

Now I realise that Warne'y might have taken one too many bouncers to the noggin but someone really needs to explain to him that evolution doesn't say humans evolved from monkeys, merely that we shared a common ancestor around 6 million years ago; his jungle revelation is a bit like asking if modern Australians descended from Europeans then why are there still Europeans?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Humour, with gravitas

What with all this chatter about gravitational waves I thought I would jump on the band-wagon further and re-post this little cartoon from the excellent - happy Friday!

Richard Dawkins

Someone I greatly admire, Richard Dawkins, biologist, author and global atheist conspiracy supreme commander (for any humourless creationists reading, that last bit is a joke) has suffered a minor stroke, fortunately it was a mild one and he's now at home recuperating. I hope he takes things easy for a while and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Creationists & the news

I see there's been somewhat of a flurry of interest and various hurled insults around the recent appointment of Dan Walker as the new presenter of the BBC breakfast show. Dan is (apparently) a "young earth" creationist, if that's true, then he believes the the Earth was created according to the literal account in Genesis, which implies that it's only a few thousand years old. Rupert Myers (another Christian) wrote a piece in the Telegraph that slammed Walker to the point of suggesting that he shouldn't get the job. Since then, there have been several radio and TV segments that have discussed the pros and cons of this point of view and how much religious views (or any contentious views) like this should impact public figures.

Several of the commentators have pointed their fingers at so called "militant atheists" and some have imagined secret conspiracies to "banish" Christianity, they don't seem to realise that the main spat here appears to be between two different flavours of Christian! In actual fact the NSS (National Secular Society) has come down firmly on the side of Walker, saying that he should be free to believe anything he likes and that his ability to do the job well should be the only consideration with regard to this appointment. I agree, true secularism means a fair playing field for all, regardless of religion, race, gender or sexual orientation.

Where I would differ with some of the religiously oriented commentators though is that if people, particularly those in the public eye hold particular beliefs and aren't shy about sharing them, then those ideas (or any idea) should be open to challenge. This includes ridicule if the beliefs are demonstrably silly, as young Earth creationism is. In fact many of us feel that Myers own mainstream beliefs are no less silly than young Earth creationism, for example virgin births, miracles, resurrections etc. and just as the atheistic point of view is continually ridiculed and challenged by religious people (atheists are even murdered in Bangladesh for it) then the mainstream religious view should not be immune from criticism or debate either. When it comes to the marketplace of ideas we need an open and honest approach and not an protectionist one.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Well, well, it looks like gravitational waves have finally been discovered, congratulations to all those involved an absolutely stunning achievement! 

Firstly to have the ingenuity to build a machine to measure movements of less that the diameter of a proton and then to build two of them working in synchronisation to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a gravitational wave caused by the collision of two massive black holes 1.3 billion years ago passed through the Earth on September 14th last year causing the whole planet to ripple slightly as space-time itself was distorted, including all of us!

Slow hand-clap for the Catholic Church

Looks like the Catholic Church is learning lessons from the systematic sexual abuse of children under it's care over decades..... NOT!

In a recently released document, the Church tells newly appointed Bishops that it's "not necessarily" their duty to report accusations of clerical child abuse and that only victims or their families should make the decision to report abuse to police. Hold on a minute, are they saying that there are situations where abuse is confirmed or suspected and that shouldn't be communicated to the police by leaders of any organisation that becomes aware of it? The way these people set themselves apart from normal ethical and moral behaviour is utterly astonishing, the fact that they get away with it even more so.

I didn't pick the picture above at random, it shows Cardinal Pell, the most senior Australian Catholic; a more arrogant man you couldn't hope to meet. Pell, who is currently in Rome, is unable to return to his homeland to face questioning over some dubious paedophile priest "re-assignments" that he oversaw in the 1980's.. "due to health reasons". Let's hope Mr Pell get's well enough to face the music in due course, I'm sure the victims of abuse at the hands of his cohorts expect nothing less, then we shall see if any lessons have truly been learned.

Eppur si muove!

It looks like what was only a rumour last month is turning into something a little more concrete today. Scientists at LIGO will make an announcement at around 3 PM today and it's expected they'll say that gravitational waves have been discovered (LIGO =  Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory). If true this discovery is on a par with the Higgs particle discovered recently at the LHC and nails the last of the predictions of general relativity theory made by Einstein around 100 years ago; such exciting times we live in!


The excellent J and M has a new cartoon up today talking about the ridiculous rules that Theistic religions (Islam in this case) invent to control and distinguish their constituents. 

Many people have Deistic leanings in that they have this fuzzy feeling that there maybe something else in the Universe, some higher being or force that is by definition unknowable but had some role in the creation of things. I have some sympathy for this point of view and many famous thinkers wrote about it, Einstein, Locke, Paine, Voltaire etc. all had Deistic tendencies. Personally, I think that if you think that nature or the Universe is God then why bother with the word God? It's redundant, just call it nature? Anyway, the point of this post (and the cartoon) is to explore how vast a leap it is to move from a Deistic position to a Theistic one. The Theist not only claims what the Deist does (which is unfalsifiable but semi-reasonable) but adds a whole new layer of complexity and parochial make-believe on top of this already flimsy idea.

The Theist claims that he or she not only believes in a higher force but that they know the mind of this being, they know what he wants us to eat, to wear, what to say, which parts of our (God-like?) bodies we should cut off, what to think and who we should sleep with and in what positions. What the Theist does is move the idea of "God" from the untouchable realm of the Deist into the real world of evolved primates and perhaps unwittingly into the realm of science. If their God(s) interfere in the affairs of men and twiddle the cosmic knobs then by definition he's detectable and his existence (or otherwise) is therefore a scientific question. The problem for the Theist is that no scintilla or atom of evidence (which is what we use to prove things in the real world) has ever been seen or found for their assertions which means coercion (as per this cartoon) is needed to enforce them; in many ways they should of stuck to being Deists, there would have been a lot less trouble.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Christian meddling?

It's with the usual incredulous feeling today that I read that our awful Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has veto'd yet another sensible idea. Most experts agree that PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) including SRE (sex and relationships education) education should be made statutory in this country. At the moment very little PSHE is taught and only a tiny fraction of SRE is compulsory.

In making this decision Morgan has ignored the Education Committee, the Home Affairs Committee, the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Chairs of the Commons Health and Business, Innovation and Skills Committees,  Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, the Children’s Commissioner, the Chief Medical Officer, the Association for Directors of Public Health, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, the Association of Independent Local Safeguarding Children Boards Chairs, the NSPCC, two royal societies, six medical royal colleges, over 100 expert bodies, 85% of business leaders, 88% of teachers, 90% of parents and 92% of young people.

With all of this ignoring of experts going on in the department for education at the moment  I think it's fair to question whether this decision has some basis in the practicality or benefit of teaching these subjects or is entirely to do with political and religious meddling in education. Nicky Morgan is a Christian and claims that she has a "Biblical framework" for her work in politics (Leviticus perhaps?) I can't imagine what any such framework would look like, but I can guarantee it's highly cherry-picked. In any case if an MP is using some kind of overarching "framework" to make decisions on behalf of the rest of us against all expert advice, I think we have a right to know what it is!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Getting an education

It seems today is THE day for education stories! I learn that there's an app called "seeking arrangement" that allows hard up students to hook up with "sugar-daddies" that assist them with their tuition fees and other expenses (pot noodles?) in return for, er, shall we say "undisclosed services"; I think we can all imagine what that might be.

Whilst I'm all in favour of entrepreneurship and smart new ways of using technology, I'm less keen on the idea that we value further education so poorly that students have to resort to the oldest game in the book in order to make ends meet. The app vendors say that their business is up 40% over last year so clearly there is a market for this kind of thing, I guess so long as both parties are consenting and there are suitable safe-guards then I suppose it's one way to get a degree. In my day we got a grant from the local council to go to university, nowhere near as "exotic" as this of course, but on reflection if there was a "sugar mummy" service as a way of earning some extra cash I wonder how many 19 year old male undergrads would take it up?

Dodgy practises

Good article in the Guardian today about the dodgy practices going on in many UK schools around admissions and certain sections of society (religions) breaking the rules in an attempt to skew admissions so that they achieve a favourable intake. This underhand trick would seem to be how many of these schools achieve the so called "good results" that they constantly bleat on about, i.e. unfairly! Essentially they cheat, and now they've been found out. Unfortunately the current education secretary is a member of the "club" and rather than supporting organisations trying to uncover this law breaking she has decided to recommend that they be banned from challenging suspected offenders (yes really!). A more typically religious (head-in-the-sand) response you'd be hard pressed to think of, well, apart from burning the trouble-makers alive at the stake perhaps.

If you ask me all state funded faith schools should be recast as entirely secular institutions (like the US public education system), fair and open for any pupil, regardless of the private beliefs of their parents. Comparative religious education should be mandatory and science, along with sex education, should be taught without exclusions or special warrants. Any school wishing to indoctrinate children into one particular superstition-set over another and pick and choose which topics are warped or censored entirely should be forced to become private and fee-paying but still be covered by some basic benchmark measures of teaching inclusiveness.

For a nation struggling with many divisive forces trying to undermine societal cohesion, true secularism and proper integration is the only way forward; the alternative is simply a gradual creeping balkanization, and we all know how that ends.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Justifying evil

New J&M cartoon showing the perfectly circular logic so beloved by our religious brothers and sisters; you can't argue with it because it's been designed that way. In other news, apparently when you close your eyes no one can see you.

God Schools?

I often hear Christians harping on about education in this country, their spiel goes something along the lines that CofE schools are "good" because everyone wants to get their kid into the "church school" and exam results prove their superiority. Honestly, I think they say these things hoping that this assertion somehow legitimises their otherwise highly dubious superstitious beliefs, of course anyone with an ounce of intelligence will know that no amount of good deeds, charity or educational intervention proves anything one way or the other about the truth claims of any religion any more than crossing paths with a black cat brings you good luck; it's too trivial to think of opposing examples that show the real world simply doesn't work like that.

So, are the schools good because the religion is good? And does having a religious "ethos" (a trendy word for gentle indoctrination) in a school improve a child's chances of getting a decent education? The old correlation-causation argument springs into my mind at this juncture but never mind, that isn't the point I'm making and anyway, many studies over the years have shown this to be more like wish thinking than fact. I'm more interested in what the underlying motives for a religious person to run a school are, and whether there is any evidence that church schools can be, in some aspects, bad for our society.

In general (state) church schools in England are (relatively) good, I concede that point, and many people lie about their religiosity in order to get their kids into certain schools. I know several people personally who have done this; people who aren't religious in the slightest (quite the opposite) suddenly start attending church on Sundays in order to weasel their way into the best (local) state schools. Of course, when you think about it, this simple fact is the real reason why church schools tend (statistically) to do better. Anyone who gives a monkeys about education wants to get their kid into the best school so the best schools end up selecting on the basis of wealth, mobility and parental drive; ironically it's a perfect example of natural selection in action. The best schools end up becoming surrounded by middle class enclaves and because places are a finite resource this tends to exclude people outside of this socio-economic niche. In reality then, good Church schools tend to select against the poorest and least enabled pupils AS WELL AS on the basis of the beliefs (or faux beliefs) of the parents (even though they swear blind they don't), an educational landscape that's hardly something to shout about in my view.

One obvious way in which faith negatively impacts education is in the area of science education. Even though things like evolution are part of the official Biology syllabus in all schools (or should be) it's obvious to even a casual observer that this subject remains on the naughty step as far as schools of a "faith" variety go. It seems a fundamental hard-wiring of most religious people that they are not happy until YOU believe it too, a more obviously insecure state of mind it's hard to imagine. We only need look at the Twitter interaction in the image at the top of this post to see this mind-set in action. Head teacher Christiana Wilkinson of St Andrew’s Church of England school in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, made this ludicrous Bible comment in response to London Head, Tom Sherrington, he was urging teachers to stick to science when teaching, er, science. Her ignorance is out there for all to see and she was quite rightly ridiculed for it, but the point remains, Tom Sherrington knows there's a problem and Ms Wilkinson promptly obliged and confirmed to us all that there is.

Of course a Twitter account may well be created to express personal opinions and Ms Wilkinson has every right to hold a deluded opinion, but it seems to me that it must be highly likely that the motivation for people like her to run schools is in order to perpetuate these ideas, ideas she so publicly clings to despite hundreds of years of evidence to the contrary. Someone so eager to make a fool of themselves without a scintilla of research on her part is clearly highly invested in some flavour of anti-science dogma. I know for a fact that particular teachers at my own kids' school proselytise the Christian religion telling them things like Noah's ark is a true story, Hell is real and Atheists have no morals, the usual bull. Some kids buy it and some don't but fortunately these days we have the internet, and it's trivial for them to fact-check. Pushy Christians can't get away with the usual baseless assertions, one teacher told my Son that there was "more historical evidence for Jesus than for Julius Caesar", a quick Google shows this to be fatuous cobblers, which of course it is and even a youngster can now check that for themselves. It seems that science isn't the only casualty of Christian dogma, history gets the occasional kicking too. Fortunately the levels of (unforced) religiosity amongst youngsters in this country is falling, perhaps easy access to information is helping in that process and when teachers are intellectually dishonest and/or wilfully ignorant it can be more easily exposed and challenged. Ms Wilkinson has certainly learnt this lesson, since tweeting her silly point of view she has removed her posts and deleted her account, like the song says, I guess "all the knowledge in the world is of no use to fools".

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

British Embryology

UK scientists have finally been given the go-ahead to modify human embryos; this is good news, it's work that will help to advance our knowledge of how embryos develop and also what happens when that development process goes wrong. Other countries around the world are already working in this area, China, for example are already working on fixing certain blood disorders by manipulating DNA in embryos.

Of course we see the usual voices speaking out against this work; religiously inspired naysayers who like nothing better than to pretend they know better than anyone else "a priori" because they believe that their particular god has a plan for us (and that plan obviously includes birth defects). Luckily this vexatious "whine", which invariably objects to all scientific advances in the teeth of all evidence is not as powerful as it used to be. We have learned over the years that it's much more successful to debate ethics in a modern, inclusive and pluralistic way and not submit to the unfalsifiable whims of one particular special interest group whose expertise is based upon (at best) nothing more than vague notions of what constituted "submissive behavioural best-practice" in the middle-ages. 

It's a familiar and tiresome position, "meddling" is a word that's often used by the detractors, the irony of this runs deep. Most detractors seem oblivious to the fact that as a species we've been meddling with the genomes of humans and animals ever since we discovered that biological traits are heritable. One wonders why they don't realise that we never see great big fat, pink pigs running around our forests naturally or wheat kernels so heavy with grain that the stalks can barely hold the weight. A more enlightened realisation might be that this so-called deity whose plan we are supposedly "meddling" with and who is waved in our faces as supposedly having made this universe just for us, has apparently done a pretty crappy job of it, a job that needs to be fixed! 

Let's take a look at this "God's" plan. Sure, we get nice sun-sets that make us feel all warm and fuzzy but the vast majority of both the universe and our planet is uninhabitable and instantly lethal to Human-kind. Until recently (geologically speaking and pre-science) the most people could expect was 20-30 odd years of hard slog, famine, disease and inexplicable terror finally dying in agony of sepsis from tooth decay, never mind the fact that most of the other species here want to kill us and/or eat us, or failing that just use our bodies as hosts to be disposed of once our shelf-life has expired. Even if we do survive all these external perils for a bit then the emotional defects in our brains that cause us to be superstitious, tribal and surprisingly keen on slaughtering each other over entirely fruitless disputes will certainly polish us off long before the final thermodynamic heat death of our solar system happens. Oh yes, and if we happen (through accident of birth) to pick the wrong God to praise for this buggers-muddle of an existence, then we burn for eternity in a lake of fire... God's plan you say? Some plan!