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Comments by Am I Evil?

Go to: Honouring Christopher Hitchens

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Am I Evil?

Fantastic speech for a fantastic person. The Hitch has influenced me more than he'll ever know.

Mon, 10 Oct 2011 17:40:49 UTC | #879453

Go to: Oregon couple convicted in faith-healing trial

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Am I Evil?

Do I read that as a previous religious exemption to ensure a kid's death?

Fri, 30 Sep 2011 15:35:45 UTC | #876612

Go to: The Magic of Reality for iPad by Richard Dawkins - trailer

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Am I Evil?

Got it yesterday, loving it so far. Although I nearly passed out when trying to blow the stuff across the sea... you'll see what I mean when you get it!

Just wondering if the warning is for the 'choosing which frogs to kill' bit? Tin hat on, but wouldn't it not have been better to just say they died of old age, considering the intended audience?

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 10:58:30 UTC | #875613

Go to: Cardinal Bagnasco attacks Italy elite over scandals

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Am I Evil?

If there was ever a Hypocrisy World Cup, I know who I'd bet on. Onwards to obscurity...

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 10:54:25 UTC | #875610

Go to: Atheist Scouts on Facebook

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Am I Evil?

In the UK, the Scouts have a rule that 'openly-declared atheism is a bar to a leadership position'. I'm beginning to think that will not last too much longer.

I was a nominal Xian when I signed up as a leader about ten years ago. I didn't see any conflict back then when I did my promise. It was 2006 when I decided to do away with all that and declare myself atheist. But the bigwigs in my district seem to see fit to overlook all this as they value the contribution I'm making. And my group is more or less composed of people exactly like me - paying lip service to religious stuff. The parents don't seem that bothered either. The carol service near Christmas is about as Xian as it gets.

I think different groups across the country are getting to be this way. If you have an old, 'traditional' bugger in charge, then it'll get more religious. I see them from a mile off and the kids look as though they're going through the mill. If the population of the group is on the younger side, they'll concentrate on firelighting and camping. Very rarely do I find myself in an 'awkward spot'.

If it does come to a showdown and I'm asked to declare my religious persuasion, I'll tell them exactly what I am. My resignation letter is already written, I can walk away at any time. But they just don't seem currently interested in asking. And in the meantime, I can get kids to look through telescopes, magnifying glasses and do all kinds of great activities. Some exposure to the universe is better than none in my opinion.

Having visited troops in the US though, that IS a different matter. Never felt comfortable there.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 09:43:59 UTC | #875230

Go to: Muslim peace conference condemns terrorism

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Am I Evil?

Maybe a step in the right direction...? Although I'd feel a bit better if he also denounced the nutters who go mad at the slightest criticism of Mohammed / the Quran etc.

Sat, 24 Sep 2011 20:42:54 UTC | #874814

Go to: Bang Goes the Theory: Evolution Made Simple

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Am I Evil?

I am so going to steal this idea for the kids! Wonderful.

Sun, 28 Aug 2011 17:26:20 UTC | #864938

Go to: Hitchens on the Catholic Church

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 59 by Am I Evil?

Also in addition, I thought I'd add my favourite exchange in the Q&A session afterwards. I was sitting near the bloke who yelled out!

Question: Hi there, this is a question for Christopher Hitchens. Many people today really feel that we’re living in some kind of moral crisis, and you can see that all around us. Now one thing that the Catholic church does do good in my opinion is give us the ten commandments, a very basic, obvious way of giving us some kind of moral guidance. Would you not agree with that? (Audience laughter.)

Christopher Hitchens: ... Now of the commandments, the first two or three are entirely about fearing the author of the orders. Entirely about being terrified of someone who you’re enjoined to love. I don’t know about you, ladies and gentlemen, but the idea of compulsory love has always struck me as a bit shady. Especially if you’re ordered to love someone who you absolutely must fear. So the first three are, look out for me and keep at least one day of mine where you’ll be absolutely terrified full time. (This was obviously cut abruptly by the editors, I know he said much more than this.)

Zeinab Badawi (chair): Anne Widdecombe: ten commandments?

Anne Widdecombe: Bedrock of moral teaching. I would have thought it quite obvious that the ten commandments set out a blueprint for a moral and successful society. Let us just look at some of them. Honour thy father and thy mother. Think of today’s disrespect. Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill and thou shalt not commit adultery. And thou shalt not covet. Tell that to the bankers with their bonuses.

ZB Okay, archbishop, do you want to come in briefly on this?

John Onaiyekan (archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria): The ten commandments are in the bible but my father knew it before he became a Christian. All African religions recognised those basic norms of morality. Everybody knows that.

Audience member: Exactly! (Laughter and applause.)

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 20:51:29 UTC | #853256

Go to: Hitchens on the Catholic Church

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 58 by Am I Evil?

I was at this debate as well, corking night. I can also confirm that the Hitch said a lot more than what is shown in this video, a lot of it has been cut to ribbons.

I had my voice recorder on my phone going, here are the bits I can pick out (I was sitting near the back, italics for the parts that aren't in the video):

His holiness on that occasion, it was March 12th 2000 if you wish to look it up, begged forgiveness for, among some other things, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of the Jewish people, injustice towards women - that’s half the human race right there - and the forced conversion of indigenous peoples especially in South America. And that followed a whole series of apologies, or apologies of a kind, made by the late pope John Paul who, it troubles me not at all to say, was a very impressive and serious human being. He offered no less that 94 - count them - public recognitions on his behalf, of appauling crime, error, cruelty and stupidity and (inaudiable), ranging from - I shall be summary, like bishop Marini - the African slave trade, apologised for in 1995. The admission that Galileo was right about the relationship between the sun and the Earth and the orbs (rest inaudiable), to violence and torture - legalised torture - torture that was legalised and institutionalised... during the counter-reformation, apologised for in 1995, and for silence during Hitler’s final solution, or shoah as well as (inaudiable) the burning alive (of) the great Czech Jan Hus. Since that big... fiesta of forgiveness - fiesta of asking for it - the papacy also wants to be forgiven for the sack of Constantinople and the mass (inaudiable) of Byzantine Christianity in AD 1204, as part of the Fourth Crusade, the anathema on all these orthodox churches as unbelievers, heretics and dwelling outside of the church was lifted only in 1964. He also expressed sorrow for the murder and false conversion of Serbian Orthodox Christians in the Balkans during the Second World War.

And it doesn’t end there, there are smaller but equally significant avowels of a very bad conscience. These have included regret for the rape and the torture of orphans and other children in church-run schools in almost every country on Earth, from Ireland to Australia. And I’m pleased to see that due consideration has been given to the hellish… I choose my words carefully... doctrine of limbo - St Augustine’s cruel and stupid solution to a non-existant problem of the destination of souls. Up until now, that’s what Catholics were taught where unbaptised children went... (End of recording)

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 20:42:53 UTC | #853250

Go to: Creationist Billboard

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Am I Evil?

And yet the CoR's range of completely benign freethinker posters are enough to warrant talk of xian vandalism and ad agencies to tear the lot down. These creepy religibot offerings are threatening eternal torture for not believing in a specific deity.

Sat, 04 Jun 2011 10:24:25 UTC | #633920

Go to: Bulletins from the Dublin Atheist Conference

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Am I Evil?

[troll-feeding removed by moderator]

I also agree with #10 as well, if they're queueing up to ask these so-called 'difficult' questions, let's fire a few back at them.

Sat, 04 Jun 2011 10:11:27 UTC | #633917

Go to: Happy birthday, Christopher Hitchens

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Am I Evil?

Happy birthday Hitch, missing attending your London debates!

Wed, 13 Apr 2011 14:19:55 UTC | #614932

Go to: Sign on church lawn

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Am I Evil?

During the bus campaign a couple of years back, my local church put up a sign saying "The fool has said in his heart, there is probably no god" (with the word 'probably' made to look scrawled in with red biro). It felt at the time it was attacking those who sided with the bus campaign specifically, when our message wasn't attacking anyone in particular.

This is the same church that rushed onto TV to complain loudly about the ordination of a gay vicar up the road.

They have posters up all the time, all of them have either been toe-curlingly awkward or just plain rubbish.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 10:06:14 UTC | #612551

Go to: Happy Birthday to Richard Dawkins

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 140 by Am I Evil?

Happy birthday Richard! Will always be grateful for your many works.

Sat, 26 Mar 2011 19:49:38 UTC | #607552

Go to: Catholic 'persuasion' of children?

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 41 by Am I Evil?

Comment 40 by david2 :

Comment 22 by Am I Evil? :

Cheers for all the responses. The kids themselves were great [emphasis added]. Which is why it's so hard for me to believe that they'd write anything like this. Just wish they'd be allowed to be kids before being spoonfed this obvious propaganda.

I'd be curious to know what constitutes being "great" here? Did you ask them what fate they thought awaited non-Catholics in the afterlife? Did you ask them if they thought people who criticise Catholicism are evil? Did you ask them if they would like to live under a theocracy? Did you ask them if they would condone marrying a non-Catholic?

I assume you asked them none of these things, given their age and given that such questioning would be routinely considered too "confrontational" and "intrusive". But isn't that the whole point of indoctrination, that getting them while young and gullible is likely to have a determining effect on their progress into adulthood?

The point i'm making is that it is the adults among us who happily tolerate this, and therefore it is a cop-out to simply point the finger at the Catholic hierarchy alone. Intellectually, the arguments in favour of outlawing faith-schools are overwhelming and the height of reasonableness, yet we find them multiplying. Why? Because too few people really care about offending the principles of reason and justice. It would be very different if we lived under a theocracy, capable of using the most powerful and painful methods of enforcement, for then simple prudence and self-preservation would convince most to keep their objections private. We don't have that excuse.

I wasn't there to actively discuss religious matters, merely to teach them what little I know about science. They were 'great' in listening, joining in and asking really cool questions about the subject at hand. In short, they were being regular kids you'd find in most other schools, catholic or not.

I totally agree that religions routinely target the young as they're not old enough to apply critical thinking skills to a high enough level, and they'll basically do anything to gain the favour of the adults around them. The clergy know this and take full advantage. Hence my perception of the almost forced tone of the letters I saw.

These are merely my first-hand observations, but I have to say that I've been in many schools in my time across the land, and it only ever seems to be the catholic schools that go out of their way to get their charges to put down on paper only the most complimentary things about their specific faith, and to then make such works as public as possible. CofE schools tend to be a bit more wishy-washy, as in paintings about the nativity or Easter-related stuff. These kids are rarely forced to actively comment on the faith itself, merely parrot the stories they hear about it. While all religions seek to indoctrinate in some way, the catholic schools look like they also want to proselytise to the visitors as well as the kids!

A while back I posted another thing I saw in a catholic school - a child had written a prayer expressing, in considerable detail, fear about ending up in hell after death. A lot of people didn't believe me at the time, and I didn't have any actual evidence to back it up with - but I can only reiterate, these things exist and I only ever see them in catholic schools. I haven't been in ALL schools, fair enough, but I'm merely reporting an observation.

I do agree what you say about the adults being the ones tolerating this, but given time the zeitgeist might swing a little... ?

Thu, 17 Mar 2011 00:13:54 UTC | #603793

Go to: Homeopathy and the Japanese quake

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Am I Evil?

"Do not exceed 6 doses without guidance from your homeopath.”

For you may accidently quench your thirst or something.

Wed, 16 Mar 2011 10:45:44 UTC | #603424

Go to: Glenn Beck: Japan's earthquake might be a "message" from God

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Am I Evil?

I think the link needs fixing.

But he'll always be a complete bellend. I've been waiting for one of these godbots to come along and say precisely this kind of crap. I could set my watch by it.

Wed, 16 Mar 2011 10:42:06 UTC | #603422

Go to: Catholic 'persuasion' of children?

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 33 by Am I Evil?

Comment 32 by Hendrix is my gOD :

Comment 31 by Daniel Clear

wow they learn sarcasm young these days

Wait till they get to high school, when they'll consider Jeebus the biggest joke there is.

Unless they're at a Jesuit high school... one down the road from me!

"Give me the child at 7... and I'll give you the man."

Food for thought there, eh?

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 15:52:55 UTC | #603133

Go to: Catholic 'persuasion' of children?

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 22 by Am I Evil?

Cheers for all the responses. The kids themselves were great. Which is why it's so hard for me to believe that they'd write anything like this. Just wish they'd be allowed to be kids before being spoonfed this obvious propaganda.

Mon, 14 Mar 2011 19:40:22 UTC | #602649

Go to: Flu breakthrough promises a vaccine to kill all strains

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 27 by Am I Evil?

Perhaps some of my staff will come into bloody work then.

Mon, 07 Feb 2011 22:30:47 UTC | #589078

Go to: Evolution Made Us All

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 22 by Am I Evil?

I remember that Spitting Image came up with another version...

All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, Evolved through a process involving combinations of amino acids.

Each little flower that opens, Each little bird that sings, Their glowing colours were produced by pigmentation Carried genetically via messenger DNA (Their tiny wings are the product of centuries of evolution through Natural Selection.)

The purple-headed mountain, The river running by, Were formed by glacial movement in the Pre-Cambrian Era, And the subterranean movement of magma.

Our stereoscopic vision Is the product of our ancient ancestors, And the vocalisation process allows us to propagate the idea of a deity in the first place Which is pretty incredible when you think about it.

Doesn't trip off the toungue, but...

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 12:36:23 UTC | #588535

Go to: Atheists' numbers doom them to irrelevance

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 110 by Am I Evil?

He's also not a great fan of evolution...


Wed, 22 Dec 2010 10:40:02 UTC | #567183

Go to: 'Weasel' attack on Catholic spokesman in Hugh Dallas furore

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Am I Evil?

I think Crookedshoes makes an excellent point. Which is greater - someone gets called a name (deservedly in my book) versus someone losing their livelihood for the most trivial of reasons?

Wed, 01 Dec 2010 15:16:57 UTC | #556628

Go to: Life after atheism

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 57 by Am I Evil?

This is a reply I wrote to someone else with the same question, some may be able to tell the influences of others here and there:

"Am I afraid of death? Not any longer.

It’s as natural to die as it is to be born in the first place. It is also completely necessary to die. But, naturally, once you are born then it’s quite hard to imagine going back to oblivion even if you have no choice in the matter. What I think helps is a matter of perspective.

Firstly, it could be argued that you already “know” what death is like. You’ve been dead for billions of years already. Your beginning is not the beginning of everything, you’ve come into this story in the middle, and you will depart before a page is even turned. We’re standing in the spotlight of the present, but as it inexorably moves on in time we’re left with an ever-increasing chance of finding ourselves out of the light altogether. Our existences are a mere flash in the pan, in common with every other living thing that has ever been. (If you want an analogy, you can plot the entire length of time the Earth has existed onto a 10-metre timeline, and your own existence would barely cover half a width of a carbon atom.) The default status of the universe, taking into account all that it encompasses, is that life shall not exist. We are a truly rare exception, a ‘freak of nature’ you may say.

Secondly, the materials we’re made of, the carbon, silicon, iron, calcium and so forth, are as old as the universe itself. If you gaze down at your own body, aside from whatever else you think of your frame at present, you must bear in mind that what physically makes you is merely borrowed. The atoms that have somehow come together to make you were once part of other things going back in time, and when you die they’ll disassemble again and go off to be other things. This will continue long after your own death.

These basic units of everything were cooked up long ago in stars – we’re all made of star stuff, we are ways (perhaps one of many) that the universe is becoming self-aware. But our race is at the very start of that particular journey. Other hitherto unknown civilisations in the cosmos may be further along that path than us.

Consider also, the phenomenal odds stacked against your existence in the first place. How many thousands of ova were released at the moment of your conception? What if the sperm hit some other ‘egg’ before it got to the one that would turn into you? (Ditto for every single one of your ancestors – one break in the chain leading up to you and you would never have been.) There’s no second chance for these unborn potentials, they’re ejected from the body soon after and that’s it for them even if they’re completely (mercifully) unaware of it. Their atoms will disassemble and become other materials. Multiply that by the rest of the population throughout history (and even before human history), and you begin to get the idea that the potential number of beings that could have otherwise stood in your place outnumber the grains of sand on the beaches of the world. You, however, got lucky. Most did not. The fact that we are going to die makes us the lucky ones. We got our life, we should be obliged to make the best of it.

What I think frightens people about death is the process of dying. Death takes many different forms after all, be it sudden or protracted, painful or pain-free. I genuinely feel that the more I learn about the cosmos, the more I realise how pointless it is to worry about the end. It’ll take care of me in due course, but until then I will enjoy the immense privilege of existence, the existence denied to so many potential beings that could have had a more profound effect on the world that I’m currently having.

Never forget this planet’s humble position in the universe. It’s forgivable that we think we are something special, as we have no other forms of life outside Earth to compare to just yet. But if this planet of ours was to suddenly end tomorrow, the rest of the universe wouldn’t even notice just as we haven’t noticed most of the planet-cremating supernovae out there."

There are probably some glaring errors in that somewhere... but hey.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 19:11:36 UTC | #554895

Go to: What would you have done?

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Am I Evil?

Comment 13 by lilalindy :

How about; 'You poor bastard! You look just like that gobshite, Ben Stein,' and walk off shaking your head slowly in a pitying manner.


Sun, 28 Nov 2010 19:02:37 UTC | #554888

Go to: Possible help for Catholics

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Am I Evil?

Got to admit though, there's a whole lot of crazy on that forum.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 18:56:55 UTC | #554884

Go to: This morning I decided all religion is false.

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Am I Evil?

Ignore the first comment PFNJR. I'd like to say congratulations for your bold move - may this be the beginnings of a wonderful journey of discovery.

Wed, 21 Jul 2010 10:17:22 UTC | #491120

Go to: Enthusing young people about science

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Am I Evil?

I'm professionally involved in a similar line of work, my interactive gallery along with its science shows has had well over three million through the door since 2007.

I have also come across such sentiments from teachers as well - the National Curriculum is treated with an unwarranted finality - children must be at this level at this time. While we incorporate NC requirements in our shows and exhibits, we're not entirely restricted to it. As you say, a lot of teachers will like it, some will not. It depends if, during their teacher training, what kind of message they got from their lecturers about the overarching status of the NC. I've seen for myself some university reps at conferences taking the NC way too seriously for my liking.

My opinion is that the most important thing is to initiate a spark of interest in children for the world of science, especially if they're coming with the all-too-popular opinion that science is done by other people, usually in white coats and glasses. Carl Sagan would be the ideal role model for me.

Thu, 15 Jul 2010 12:44:26 UTC | #488927

Go to: 'Godless' Billboards Appear in North Carolina

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Am I Evil?

Fantastic unbiased reporting there. Very closely alligned to the great US tradition of 'fair and balanced' news.

Sat, 26 Jun 2010 11:20:48 UTC | #483772

Go to: Science Museum

Am I Evil?'s Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Am I Evil?

Let's just say that I know the Science Museum particularly well.

The (temporary) exhibition you speak of is the "1001 Inventions" exhibition, set apart from the rest of the museum's entirely secular collections. It is basically a visual summary of the scientific advancement made in the middle east at a time when the western hemisphere wasn't doing too much in that area. I don't like the term 'muslim science' either, as if the religion takes full credit for everything. But doubtless, the people who were chiefly involved would credit their inspiration to islam in some form. I would however disagree that the whole exhibit is 'stinking of religious influence'; yes, there are minor parts that raised an eyebrow but the exhibition as a whole has been really interesting. Besides, there's been a good increase in the number of families from a muslim background coming into the renowned interactive science areas of the museum, places they perhaps wouldn't have shown up in without the initial draw of this exhibition.

The 'prayer room' you speak of is not some specially made facility. It's an empty gallery which is currently not being used for anything at all. A lot of people have asked for a space to pray during their visit and, notwithstanding what I personally feel about the subject of prayer, it is good customer service to provide what we can. This is merely throwing open the doors of an empty space and leaving them to it. Incidentally, a special needs group yesterday asked to use another space to tend to their children in private, we have no hang-ups about doing that too.

When the exhibition closes at the end of this month, there'll be something else there in its place and I doubt it'll end up being a topic of conversation on here.

Tue, 08 Jun 2010 09:34:33 UTC | #477974