Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ray, have you ever told a lie?

Click here to download WOTMWatchdog's blitz promo video, then post it on your YouTube account in response to this one! Help support your friendly neighborhood Watchdogs! Click here for the now-famous Monkey song! Yes, it's ours, and the WOTM crew knows it, despite their continued feigned ignorance!

Yes, the RRS vs. WOTM debate on ABC's NightLine is old news. It happened back in May. I remember joining the fray on ABC's message boards, teaming up with another atheist, a perfect stranger, who called himself Former Follier. Ah, the memories. Little did I know that one day, WOTM Watchdog would bring us together once again to battle the juggernaut directly.

But now we hear a side of the story that has never been told. Our good friend Brian Sapient of the Rational Response Squad has agreed to share some inside information regarding the lead-up to the debate... And it doesn't reflect well on Mr. Comfort and Mr. Cameron.

For those who watched the debate, do you remember the promos? I do. Mr. Comfort and Mr. Cameron stated repeatedly that they would prove the existence of God, "scientifically, absolutely, without mentioning faith or the Bible." In fact, they are directly quoted saying exactly that on the ABC News web page promoting the debate. It's a claim Mr. Comfort makes often. For another example, listen to his "What Hollywood Believes" sermon. Conveniently, this sermon was broadcast the Way of the Master Radio program on October 10th, while the radio team took a day off. Thus, it's available on their audio archives page.

Ignoring, for now, the gaping technical flaw in Mr. Comfort's argument... Well, okay. We won't ignore the gaping technical flaw of Ray's argument. I just can't resist. Nothing can be proven scientifically and absolutely; science doesn't deal in absolutes. Nor does it deal in "proof." If it's proof you want, look into mathematics or formal logic. You'll find no such concepts in science, which only concerns itself with evidence. This is why nothing ever gets beyond the status of "theory" in science. If Mr. Comfort doesn't understand that, then he doesn't understand what the academic discipline we call "science" fundamentally is, and really shouldn't be throwing the word "scientifically" around. It just makes him look foolish. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. In the debate itself, "without mentioning faith or even the Bible" mysteriously became simply "without mentioning faith." When I first watched it, I didn't catch it. I had no idea that they tried to weasel their way out of their self-imposed terms until I saw Mr. Sapient's recently-released video. Rather convenient for Ray and Kirk, really, considering that they almost immediately invoked the Ten Commandments... Which, it turns out, are in the Bible.

Yes, there's really no way around it. The Rational Response Squad crew won this debate hands-down, and any honest, competent moderator would have granted them a decisive victory. Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron clearly failed to stick to the terms of the debate. They even failed to stick to their own stated position. It's not that they're poor debaters, it's that they're liars. Sleazy, slimy, manipulative, and very, very slick liars indeed.

Remember, Ray: Your own God says that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire. Does he make exceptions for people who lie for Him?

If you've been living under a rock for the past six months, click here to view some of the highlights of the debate, courtesy of the Rational Response Squad.

Disingenuous dialog? Two can play at that game!

On the October 11th edition of Way of the Master Radio, Todd Friel and guest Robert Spencer of discussed the "disingenuous dialog" of a group of 131 Muslims scholars.  These scholars, who represent every sect of Islam, are proposing that Christians and Muslims work together to find a way to co-exist peacefully, citing both Koran and Bible verses supporting their pro-peace message.  Mr. Friel and Mr. Spencer then proceeded to criticize this Muslim council for failing to acknowledge the numerous passages in the Koran calling for the death of Christians and others deemed infidels by Islam.

Now, far be it from me to defend Islam.  I'm not giving them a free pass.  From my atheistic frame of reference, there is very little distinction between the various forms of theism.  They're all equally false and potentially dangerous, and for very similar reasons.  But this blog isn't about criticizing Islam.  It's about criticizing Way of the Master.  And they're Christians.

While criticizing Muslims for failing to acknowledge that their scripture encourages (or even requires) violence, cruelty, and murder, it seems that Mr. Friel is engaging in a nearly-identical game of disingenuous dialog.  The Christian Bible is also chock-full of passages encouraging violence, cruelty, and murder.  I could sit here all day quoting Old Testament war epics and ridiculously extreme punishments for relatively minor crimes (remember, folks: talking back to your parents is a capital offense), but I don't have that kind of time.  Besides, Mr. Friel would most likely dismiss them as being "old covenant" or "pretaining to those people at that time" and having no relevance to us.  Unfortunately for Todd, Jesus disagreed.  Old Testament laws, in all their absurd cruelty, were just peachy with Junior, according to Matthew 5:17.  In 15:4-7, he criticizes parents for not killing their disobedient children.  Todd, have your children always been obedient?  If not, have you killed them?  For shame!

Let's see what else we can find in the New Testament:

Matthew 10:34-37:  Junior came "not to bring peace, but a sword," and will set family members against each other.  Doesn't sound like anyone I'd want to follow.

Luke 19:27:  "But those enemies of mine who did not me to be king over them, bring them here and kill them in front of me."  How very radical Muslim of Jesus.  I'm sure his father is very proud of the little terrorist.  Chip off the old block, and all.

Luke 10:10-15:  God is a like slave-owner who beats his slaves "with many blows."  Junior apparently approves.

These are only a few examples.  The letters of Paul are particularly atrocious.  In fact, according to an objective analysis done by the folks over at Skeptic's Anotated Bible, there are 857 passages condoning cruelty and violence in the Bible, while the Koran contains a mere 494.  Granted, it's important to note that the Bible is a larger volume than the Koran, and in terms of percentages, the Koran does come out ahead.  But still, that's 857 splinters in Christanity's eye that really need to be addressed before criticizing Islam for exactly the same damn thing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WOTM drone shuts down my youtube account

Well that was bound to happen. After all, if you are going up against WOTM, you are bound to irritate enough people who will flag your videos and try to shut you down.

The offending video? A video that questions the motives of WOTM. They are indeed trying to silence their critics. Here's the video in question.

I will of course get back on. This gives me a perfect opportunity to do a few things.

1) Finally get rid of the word "Pagan" in "THE PAGAN WOLF". I can just go as W01F from here on end. I meant to ditch the word "Pagan" for the last few months, as it confused people as whether I was an atheist or a Pagan.

2) I can do a "remake" of my "Simple counter-evangelism 101" series. Update the videos and make them more presentable. A lot of it was done with the "old school voice", which many people had difficulty to understand. Now I can update and use that 3rd generation voice.

3) It never hurts to start from scratch. A clean slate is just what the doctor ordered. Makes life a whole lot more interesting.

Youtube seems to have a problem with atheists and their freedom of speech. The rational response had a similar problem, and my first YT account suffered the same fate, Again because a video WOTM drones didn't like.

You flag my videos? So what? I'll just get a new account. It's no big gie for me. You can ban me dozens of times over, and I won't deter. It's an exercise in futility to do so. I will simply come back on.

The truth isn't pretty, and I will show the ugly.

Monday, October 8, 2007

What is Organized Atheism?

This list is taken from the Atheists for Human Rights web page.  It encapsulates the philosophy, ideology, and goals of atheist activism as well as anything I've ever seen.  I do take minor issue with one point it expresses, but we'll get to that later.  While this has little to do with WOTM or our watchdog activities thereof, some of our readers may have questions about what atheist activism -- a movement of which we are proud participants -- is all about.  This covers it pretty well:

  • Atheism accepts the natural world as all there is.
  • To live without god beliefs is intellectually stimulating.
  • To find one's own purpose and to be responsible for one's own life is exciting.
  • To be free of the imaginary surveillance of good and evil spirits is liberating.
  • To seek a peaceful world through work, friendship, and civic action is life-affirming.
  • Organized atheism supports the right to hold religious beliefs but vigorously opposes religious behavior that is politically or socially predatory or harms innocent people.
  • We support the social and political right to be religion-free.
  • We support state-church separation.
  • We oppose religious authoritarians and support all the rights they attack, including abortion rights, gay rights, physician aid in dying, and all the rest.

Now, you'd be hard-pressed to find an atheist activist who doesn't enthusiastically support and agree with most of these statements.  However, I do take slight issue with the last one:  While I personally agree with the views it expresses, I also feel strongly that there's room for disagreement within the community on those particular issues.  It is, however, important to note that these are the statements of one particular atheistic organization, and if that's what they've decided on for themselves, so be it.  Nonetheless, they serve as an excellent example of the philosophies behind atheist activism.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Darwinian Depression

When you stop to think about it, you realize that Todd Friel really is a Renaissance man. He’s a radio and TV host, a comedian (or at least he tries to be), an interviewer, and a professional evangelical. But now we have a new label to give Mr. Friel. Psychologist!

While we can’t give him that title officially, Todd did a wonderful job of showing us how much he understands the human psyche. While visiting some churches in Scotland, he asked his tour guide (who had visited America and Canada) two questions.

1. Are European teens more depressed than American teens?

2. If so, why? (Extra points if you can somehow include The Bible in the answer.)

Now to be fair, the first is a very good question. If it hasn’t been done already (and I’ve looked), a study on the percentage of American teens that suffer from depression versus the percentage of European teens that suffer the same would be very interesting.

Todd, however, is interested in running a radio show, not conducting a scientific study. And so rather than worry about it, he just asks his tour guide for his opinion. It isn’t terribly surprising that he believed that the European teens (or at least those in the UK) were on average more depressed than their cousins across the pond.

Less surprising is the reason Todd and his Scottish friend give for those depressed kids. It’s Charles Darwin and his evil theory of evolution.

What other answer could there be? The UK is more secular than the US. A larger percentage of their population accepts evolution. And, perhaps worst of all…Darwin is on their money! So of course Todd puts two and two together.

By believing in evolution, these poor teenagers think they came from nothing and are going nowhere. If they had Jesus and The Bible then they just might see that there’s something to live for.

First of all, I am not a scientist. But I am the youngest Watchdog here. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was a teenager myself. And a depressed one at that. While I can’t speak for even a small part of the population, I can say that not once did I stop and think about evolution being true and have that add to my bad vibes.

Second of all, Todd is forgetting a very simple thing…which isn’t that unusual for Todd. Let’s suppose that he’s one hundred percent correct. Not only are teens more depressed in Europe, but the reason for that depression is that they’ve been taught that evolution is correct and they can’t party with Jesus after they die.

Even if all that is true, it doesn’t disprove evolution or prove Christianity. All it would mean is that Christianity is comforting to people. Unfortunately for Todd, that is no kind of proof.

No one says it any better than Darwin’s bulldog himself:

"There are all sorts of things that would be comforting. I expect an injection of morphine would be comforting---it might be more comforting, for all I know. But to say that something is comforting is not to say that it's true." – Richard Dawkins.

The usual listeners of WOTM Radio may not figure that out for themselves. Because Jesus makes them feel good they assume he must be real. But with any luck, some of them will visit us and be put straight.

Even if they do end up going away depressed.