The Hypocrisy of the Skeptical Movement

July 28, 2010

A few days ago, I had a conversation in skepchick comments about atheism. I tried to ignore it, but it has been bothering me.  Note, the post from skepchick in general doesn’t have to do with atheism, it has more to do with skeptics who exclude people. But still, I can’t help but think some of the commenters argued against atheist strawman. Honestly, coming from such an intelligent group of people, it amazes me how dissonant their ideas of skepticism can be when atheism come into play. Not that they aren’t a bunch of wonderful people, because they are wonderful, and I do not wish to drive you away from them, since everyone there have intelligent discussions, and not so serious really funny ones. Sure, sometimes we have conflicts, but overall, we are all friendly towards each other. But there are also weaknesses which I want to expose, and I hope that by doing so, I can strengthen the movement.

The weakness has to do with some people in the group who criticize atheists and the sheer hypocrisy of some of their criticism. For those of you who don’t know, skeptics hope to educate people about the nature of this world and the weakness of our mind which perceives it, and at the same time, fighting falsehoods which may or may not threaten people’s life. Basically, skeptics search to nail down the truth, even though the truth is not absolute or transparent, but approximate. But at least we try. And oh boy, when a skeptic fight against a brand of magical woo woo, you better watch out, because they are going to kick your ass. And that is what they do to EVERY SINGLE BRAND OF WOO… except for some people, religion. And when religious skeptic people become cognitively dissonant, or when some atheist skeptic becomes uncomfortable because they are afraid of… something, they shove us the strawman atheists that supposedly hate theists and are trying to expel them from the group. If you ask me, that is the same type of persecution mentality that fundamentalists exhibit, except scaled down x1000 (nothing can be greater than the persecution complex of a religious fundy 🙂 ).

Now, let me tell you something about atheists. Atheists may be loud, they may be overly critical, but as far as I can tell, that is nothing the skeptic movement haven’t done against woo woo. Look at these example from Phil Plait or the sheer amount of ass kicking James Randi has done or the logorrheic insolence from Orac. Which is why, again,  it amazes me that seemingly intelligent people accuse the atheists for being too aggressive and hostile. Are you kidding me? I bet you that every single  one of those criticisms coming from the people linked above sound exactly like hostility to those who are at the receiving end of it, calling them “suppression” and “censorship.” But you know deep down, or above up (I don’t know how else to say the opposite of deep down 🙂 ), that their complaints are a bunch of crap, stupid and cowardly in design. Criticism is not censorship, nor does it mean that you are excluding a group of people. It means that certain arguments have flaws, and those flaws shouldn’t be ignored. What do atheists do? They do exactly the same thing, criticize religion for what it is. What most atheists don’t do is exclusion, because we all understand that we are not perfect. Nor do atheists expect everyone to fight against religion or every single brand of woo. Everyone has their blind spots and specialties, and that the human mind is inflexible in many cases. In a recent comment from PZ in his own post, he explains it the best:

Yes, we all have our blind spots and special cases…which is why it is important for the skeptical community to be consistent and not grant special exemptions for certain weird beliefs, and it’s also why skeptics can’t exclude individuals from that community for weird beliefs. If we did, there would be no skeptics!

In that case, it is important that we invite people, even if they have certain irrationalities like believing in psychics, because our purpose is to not only fight, but educate while doing so. And if the psychic person wants to fight certain woo woo, that is fine, but when the conversation ever gets to things about his beliefs, he shouldn’t expect us to make special exceptions to his beliefs. While I believe politeness is important, the right application of criticism is also important. That way, we all educate each other, and cover for each others’ blindness.

If you became a skeptic to seek comfort, I am sorry, but if so, you are in the wrong place. Often times, hearing criticism of your own beliefs can be mentally painful, especially if you grew up with it. Especially if it is religion, because religion tend to be more ingrained in one’s identity. If so, the mere existence of atheists, especially atheists with voices, are offensive and threatening to one’s identity. But if the only things you look for as a skeptic are ideas which conform or help other people to conform to your own ideas of how the world is supposed to work, then what is the point? A skeptic is supposed to challenge world views, change one’s own or other people’s minds , go against unreasonable and inhuman cultural norms (criticizing religion is a mores in many parts of America, which is in part why some atheists fight religion), or fight against the creeping  advance of pseudoscience which could cost others their money, happiness, and lives. I am not suggesting that skeptics should be unhappy. After all, skepticism is a tool, and whether you become happy by it (I am) or lose faith in humanity and become grumpy (me too, somewhat) depends on each individual. Rather, I am suggesting that you should apply consistency to your skepticism, or rather, allow others to apply consistency to their skepticism and let them criticize you when the conversation comes up. Even if that very idea is your religious belief.  Let criticism fly!

For another take, read from Shaun Philly, which I wholeheartedly agree with.


Arrest the Pope? Hell Yeah!

April 13, 2010

Recently, there has been a tremor (from Skepchick) in the internet among skeptics and whoever might have heard of the sensationalistic headline that Richard Dawkins was going to arrest the pope, who is visiting to England. Well, it’s not like he is going to go and arrest the pope personally, but he and Christopher Hitchens support the idea that the pope should not be above the law, and that he indeed should face justice.

Honestly, I don’t know what the big fuzz is. I am totally for that idea. Not even a religious person with a conscience could reject this one. The pope has been personally responsible for aiding and abetting child molesters and obstructing justice. If a priest was found to have molested children, basically that person would be moved around to other areas and make sure to hush up everyone involved. Not only does that sound like something a criminal organization would do (which by the way, I believe the Catholic Church to be one), if a person doing this was not part of a religious organization, that person would have probably been brought to court and jailed. I don’t see how anyone could disagree with this.

I have heard of stupid excuses like, “they are too powerful, bwaaa!” Yes they are, which is why we have to try harder. Not to mention that there has been previous instances of leaders being arrested, like Pinochet. If people are vocal enough, at least the British people won’t have to pay the extravagant cost for the pope’s visit to England. Yeah, you heard that right. The Vatican is not paying any of it even though they probably have enough money to feed the world or something. And really, the whole child molestation thing is not even the pope’s biggest crime. In my opinion, the pope’s worst crime against humanity is his contribution to the AIDS epidemic in Subsaharan Africa, which kills millions. Basically, he is actively working against the use of condoms for sexuality, and why is that? Apparently, every sexual act has to be done in order to birth a child, and condoms prevent that. And I used think Christianity was above such petty mideaval reasoning (well, at least most religious people are above it… hopefully). After all, I have heard Christians say that certain moralities are appropriate for certain times in order to justify the horror of the Old Testament. Apparently, that is not true, since to them, morality is something you have to follow as written or commanded. For them, it is not something you do for human decency. And that is the ultimate irony, since according to them, without God there is no morality, but it turns out that those who are moral don’t need God as an excuse. They do it because they feel like it.

In the end, think of it this way. By arresting the pope, justice would be served, and it would be the beginning of a major restructuring of the church. You think we don’t have hope? That is the exact same attitudes that have prevented justice or reforms prevailing in the past. While I think the chances aren’t too good either, fighting can create change, even if slooowwwly. At the very least more people will hear about the depravities of the organization. Pfftt… “Sensationalistic.” Rubbish. People are always offended with something.

Sorry for the rant, folks, but this issue has been making me mad to no end. That is why I hate the news, even though I sadistically torture myself with them everyday. They always manage to give me high blood pressure in one way or another (I am going to die young, I swear) either because they are full of propaganda and news acting, or because so many stories are chock full of morons who make the wrong choice (like a  certain pope whose hat complements his clownishness).

So, random deviation aside, who is with me?!

The Ownage of the Catholic Church

November 9, 2009

There is a video that has been released on an intelligence squared debate on whether “The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world“. Of course, I call BS on that. I believe that this position is indefensible. But what do people think, and do they support my conclusions? Well, just see the shift of opinions after the debate:

Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens owned them, both awesomelly in their own way. Look at their faces, so happy… From what I heard, it is one of the largest intelligence squared margins ever, in not, the largest. Not that popularity is evidence for a position, so why not watch the debate via the link above and convince yourself?

Here is the first part of the debate:

What if God Had a Science Advisor?

October 13, 2009

Another episode of Mr. Deity has arrived, and this one is in one of the top funniest out of all episodes. It also guest star one of my favorite blogger as the science advisor.

If you don’t get the banana joke in the end, you should watch the creationist video below from the banana man (warning: the following video has absolutely no logic at all, side effects include cerebral hemorrage and apoptosis):

Mr. Deity: Funny Parody of Religion

September 30, 2009

I have known about it but quiet some times now, and it is one of the funniest internet videos around. Plus, I decided that presenting to the world this show would be best for blasphemy day. ^_^ . Basically, it is about the Deity, which is the alternate version of the Christian God. It pretty much makes fun of religion for making giant leaps in logic and for pretty much being nonsensical. Although even though it makes fun of religion, some relaxed religious people might like it. After all, there are certain things that even some Christians agree that are nonsense, and above all, it is genuinely funny. The latest one is Mr. Deity and Da Man, which is about the genesis account of man. Very funny:

Religious Comedy, or Things Fundamentalists Actually Believe In

March 14, 2009

While riding the car, my dad tuned into a religious channel. The guy was talking about the end of times BS.  You know, the apocalypse, the coming of Christ and all that. Anyways, I thought I would never hear in my lifetime a religious kook speak, or hear anything that ridiculous. But I did… I did… Now, some of you might be saying, “you are being too mean!” Boo hoo. People like him deserve to be made fun at. Scaring people into the end of the world without any substance to the claim ain’t cool.

It was quiet funny, really, a comic relief. Basically, a bunch of people came to ask some questions and the guy answered really boring, nasal tone. Strangely, he mentioned that the end of the world would be at May 2011. Funny that, I have heard something similar for year 2012. Oh well.

And when some guys asks, “why don’t the Bible  mention other people? Like Americans, Africans, Asians, blah blah blah.” (the guy says a whole bunch of things, me thinkest that the question could have been told in a shorter way) Well, the guy just rambled on quiet incoherently. He said the Bible was a parable. I snickered because he just admitted the Bible was just stories, either that, or he just don’t know what a parable is. He rambled, and somehow ended with “we are all God’s children,” or something like that.

The last thing I remembered was this, the guy mentions the so called “tribulation” was some 100 something days. A caller asks, “isn’t it seven days?” but in a longer fashion. Then the guy rambles on about some numbers and numerology crap (somehow, he mentions multiplying 12*7*some number I don’t remember, what the heck?) and in the most ironic statement, says, God didn’t reveal to them (meaning, the theologians), mentioning how they worked hard. Somehow, he is perfectly able to make the statement himself without thinking, I don’t know, if perhaps it wasn’t revealed to him either? Just saying, you know, there is a possibility. Anyways, it was a good thing my dad turned off the car because by that point, he had made so many self defeating ironic statements that my brain was about to blow up.

Creedocide, Harness the Power of Religion

February 22, 2009

 You know, are you unable to get rid of rats in the normal way? Then use creedocide. Duh! Are you questioning its efficacy? Of course it will work. It uses religion!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

via skepchick



more about “Power – Creedocide | Important Things…“, posted with vodpod