This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comments by Roedy

Go to: A lawsuit too far?

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Roedy

You have to leave out Bach and Mozart. You go back even 100 years all the composers were believers.

Modern Christian music causes nausea. It is like distilled insincerity.

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 20:40:17 UTC | #950903

Go to: Talking to people works!

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Roedy

I have heard of a number of people saying that one read of the God Delusion was all it took. I am amazed. In my experience, people are more likely to shake heroin than Christianity. Granted, to even read Dawkins, they have to be pretty open.

Does anyone say if there were any arguments in particular that capped it for them?

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 20:37:24 UTC | #950902

Go to: Suffering

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Roedy

Christopher Hitchens wrote a book about Mother Theresa. He charged that when patients were dying in extreme pain (e.g. pancreas cancer) she would tell them that the pain was “Jesus’ kisses” and they should feel grateful. She had millions in the bank, but refused to buy pain killers or sterile needles.

She was mentally ill. All Christians who have this weird enjoyment of inflicting suffering on others are not right in the head.

The experience I most want to avoid is falling into the care of Christians on my deathbed. That is the most hellish thing I consider within the realm of probability.

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 22:23:53 UTC | #950844

Go to: Simply ... should I read the bible?

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Roedy

Since English literature, and idioms quote heavily from the bible, it is necessary just to understand the language to read the bible.

Reading it cover to cover will make two huge points:

  1. it is mostly boring and very badly written. It is not the great masterwork of literature it is cracked up to be. There are some moments of brilliance, but most of it is appalling, hardly the work of a deity.

  2. Jehovah the god is not loving, kind, perfect. He is a peevish, petty, evil little gnome. Christians never quote the vast majority of the bible which talks about his bad behaviour.

I have composed a bible study guide of some of the stranger parts of the bible. It is on my website. Moderators have told me I may not directly link to it.

Only the Jehovah's witnesses take seriously what the bible says, though they find ways to twist the interpretation. It is very rare to find anyone but an atheist who has read the whole thing.

Most Christians have only been exposed to a minute faction of it — the greatest hits. I can't think of a more effective way to disillusion a Christian than to dare him into reading the entire bible.

Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
~ Isaac Asimov 1920-01-02 1992-03-06

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 22:22:26 UTC | #950843

Go to: How atheism helped me deal with cancer

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Roedy

I have been dealing with HIV since 1985. I think it gave me far less trouble than my Christian friends in a similar boat. The thing that bothered me was I had so much I wanted to get done that I would not have the time/energy to do.

I did not waste a microsecond fretting over Jehovah the god judging or tormenting me. I wasted no time imagining I was being supernaturally punished. It was just some small creatures had taken up lodging and there were nasty side effects. I did not even feel any great antipathy to the viruses. They were just trying to make a living. Most of my friends died, and I survived. Part of it surely has to be that I did not add unnecessarily to the stress with religious imaginings.

Tue, 14 Aug 2012 17:34:37 UTC | #950793

Go to: Manila floods an expression of God's wrath?

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Roedy

If Jehovah the god is into punishing, why not a devastating flood in Syria? Why not a plague of locusts in Zimbabwe? Why did not a flock of owls carry Pinochet away? Why don't a flock of bats bury the School of the Americas in guano? Why doesn't rabid rabbit pop out of a toilet and bite Mr. Ryan on the bum? With Jehovah the god, all things are possible.

Tue, 14 Aug 2012 15:18:05 UTC | #950789

Go to: Translating the British

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by Roedy

Britain seems to be going through a manic phase. I suspect after the party is over the bills come in and in and in, a depressive phase will ensue.

Each country seems to feel obligated to outdo all previous hosts. The Olympics will become a white elephant that pushes each host to near bankruptcy.

I think the hosting duties should be shared by 4 countries each time to share the expense, reduce the competition and reduce the disruption. It would also reduce the amount of new construction needed. You could host the games in the country that already had the facilities for it, or that needed them.

Sun, 12 Aug 2012 15:47:41 UTC | #950717

Go to: Guidance in turning my children to reason

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Roedy

My roommate raised a child into a delightful rational adult. She limited TV hours, and when watching TV to taught her how to detect the lies and dissembling in TV commercials. She taught her about cross checking to see if claims are really true or just hot air. The child quickly learned.

If you inoculate your child to lies in general, they will automatically be immune to religion.

Tue, 07 Aug 2012 10:44:33 UTC | #950485

Go to: Loss within the truth

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Roedy

I wonder if you'll still feel the same when you're in your mid-to-late 70s.

My aunt Edith asked for explicit help in committing suicide. She was about 95 with pancreas cancer.

My cousin Teen expressed her fury at those who made assisted suicide illegal. She was quite eager to die. She was 101. Going blind severely interfered with her life, though she still lived on her own and looked after herself.

My Dad asked all kinds of questions about ways of committing suicide. He was 78 with brain cancer.

My dad's girlfriend had pancreatic cancer. She arranged her own end.

Gore Vidal who died at 86 a couple of days ago said the his body was so painful and decrepit that he was eager to die.

It is not so much you have had enough experience, but that your body is worn out and just too unpleasant to live in.

Once my brain had deteriorated so that I could not write or read essays, I think I would be glad to get it over with. I am 64 now. I have had HIV since 1985, so I had quite a bit of Damocletian sword over the years, now being lifted. I have had plenty of time to get used to the idea of dying early. It's all gravy.

I could hardly imagine someone as vigorous and 82 as Sir David Attenborough wanting to pack it in just because they had done everything on their todo list.

Thu, 02 Aug 2012 16:31:14 UTC | #950368

Go to: Rise of religion in Russia

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Roedy

People turn to religion when there is no logical hope. They make up imaginary hope.

It will probably go away if Russia got a leader who was interested in the economic well being of the people.

Thu, 02 Aug 2012 09:17:03 UTC | #950367

Go to: Why Jehovah's Witnesses won't mourn the Aurora victims

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Roedy

My roommate told me that when she was 11, she read a ScFi story. In it a character pointed out that the belief in god was optional. Up to that point she had presumed that God was like the floor,ceiling etc. because everyone talked about it as real. As soon as she realised she had an option not to believe, she discarded the notion as silly.

Tue, 31 Jul 2012 06:23:09 UTC | #950331

Go to: Why Jehovah's Witnesses won't mourn the Aurora victims

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Roedy

A story for Mom:

Here in Victoria a number of years ago a woman and a Tai Chi master were doing dishes at the sink. The schizophrenic teenage son of the woman's husband came with a sword, and ran them each through. The man survived, but the sword nicked the woman's aorta and she died.

That will teach them to do dishes with their backs to the room.

Mon, 30 Jul 2012 04:35:16 UTC | #950303

Go to: Scapegoat for Catholic evils?

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by Roedy

Penn State is using group punishment to hurt students who almost certainly had nothing at all to do with the molestations.

In the Catholic church, you have a problem with everyone knowing, most enabling and the rest terrified into obedience to keep quiet.

The way out is keep kids away from priests. They should all be treated like sex offenders on parole.

Sun, 29 Jul 2012 04:38:42 UTC | #950273

Go to: Scapegoat for Catholic evils?

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by Roedy

“Show me one of them [priests] that doesn’t do it [molest children] and I’ll show you a flying pig.”

~ Lisa Bannerman fictitious character in The Commander Windows of the Soul episode.

Sun, 29 Jul 2012 04:35:06 UTC | #950272

Go to: Why Jehovah's Witnesses won't mourn the Aurora victims

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Roedy

I am no longer a Jehovah's Witness.

I spent a year one evening each week debating with a Jehovah's witness couple. They had a pat answer for everything. They studied special materials just for this purpose. I found the arguments weak, but at least they everything covered. Their higher authority was the people who write this material. They hold it higher than the bible, since the bible is a translation, and if I ever cornered them, they would plead the KJV translation was faulty.

So much for “If the KJV was good enough fer Jesus, its good enough fer me.”

My brother married into a JW family. They find me highly scandalous, since I am gay. I would think escaping JWs would be very difficult. The rationalisation for it is ever so much better constructed than other religions have. The threat of shunning. The way you socialise mostly with fellow JWs. On the other hand JWs don't use hellfire to threaten compliance.

I am amazed you escaped. Can you recall what arguments had the most effect on you?

Sun, 29 Jul 2012 04:31:08 UTC | #950271

Go to: Why Jehovah's Witnesses won't mourn the Aurora victims

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Roedy

Her comment would make sense if being shot to death were a common occurrence when going to watch movies, especially about vigilantes. There was no reason any of those people knew they were putting their lives as risk. Think of how many millions of times people have gone to the movies without incident.

If there were kids at the movie. What was their sin?

What would she say had the shooting occurred at a screening of "Finding Nemo?" -- something about the wickedness of watching a fish played by a lesbian voice actor? She is just fishing for some excuse to feel superior to others. Ever see Dana Carvey do the Church Lady?

Pat Robertson loves to claim the destruction from tornadoes, floods and hurricanes is caused by Jehovah punishing people for not doing what Pat wants. Eventually he will be caught in a natural disaster himself. How will he explain that?

These are always after-the-fact rationalisations. It would be ever so much more impressive to say Jehovah will punish Berkeley California with a 9.0 earthquake on 2012-08-01 for teaching the wrong doctrines.

You can always find some sin to justify the cruel Jehovah's actions. He is irrational and into group punishment.

Sun, 29 Jul 2012 04:19:55 UTC | #950269

Go to: Para-naturalistic theories cannot lead to practical engineering

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Roedy

I know you are fighting specifically against creationist claims, but I don't think you can extend this to the more general point of nothing "supernatural" (I suppose you mean "outside of scientifically-accepted reality")

When Einstein made his claims about relativity, they were outside the Euclidean notion of space. They were not treated as theological.

When Erwin Schrödinger and friends came up with the bizarre rules of the quantum small, scientists were deeply uncomfortable with how counter-intuitive they were, but I don't think anyone dismissed them as theological.

Theological arguments are ones without any evidence to support them.

Sun, 29 Jul 2012 03:59:41 UTC | #950267

Go to: Loss within the truth

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Roedy

I am puzzled what the problem is. Did your wife and child die? leave you? Or your you just being pre-emptively sad that they might die? Statistically you are the one most likely to die first.

Consider butterflies and roses. We value them because they are evanescent.

My equivalent is a horror at watching beautiful people age (even people I don't know like celebrities and porn stars). Seeing arthritis, baldness, a creeping paunch, sagging skin seems such an unreasonable assault on such a figure of beauty. The death for me is just the final insult, and a merciful end to an often painful degradation.

You want to do reasonable things to protect them without driving them nuts, e.g. keep the car in good repair, keep the hot water heater in good repair, keep the gas in good repair. Teach your kids a protocol to keep them from being abducted voluntarily.

You will find if you talk to old people they have less and less appetite for immortality. Life is like a roller coaster ride, and they have had enough.

If worrying about things that might happen in the future becomes a major preoccupation you might read up on Ken Keyes’ second and fourth pathways.

(2) I am discovering how my consciousness-dominating addictions create my illusory version of the changing world of people and situations around me.

(4) I always remember that I have everything I need to enjoy my here and now unless I am letting my consciousness be dominated by demands and expectations based on the dead past or the imagined future.

My room mate’s father died leaving his 80 something wife behind. We worried she would wither. However, she went out dancing, found herself very popular, and soon had a new boyfriend. It is not required to pine for a lifetime when a loved one dies.

I once asked myself how long a life would be enough, how much too long? The usual 80 is really not that bad.

Sun, 29 Jul 2012 03:40:54 UTC | #950266

Go to: Do we need objective morals?

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by Roedy

I religious morality is still composed by people. It has been preserved like an insect in amber completely unchanged over the centuries. That is what makes it so strange. A secular morality tries to keep up with the latest changes.

Fri, 27 Jul 2012 10:32:23 UTC | #950151

Go to: Against All Gods

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Roedy

There are two kinds of anti-god argument: ones that atheists find convincing and ones that Christians find troubling.

I think the prime argument for believing in a god is the god will torment you in eternity if you dismiss it as a crock. It is an "expected value" argument. Even though the probability of the god existing may be vanishingly small, the negative payoff is unacceptable if it does.

I notice the the Muslims ratchet this argument up an order of magnitude from the Christians. It is quite effective.

To free someone of the notion of Jehovah, you need an extreme level of convincing to overcome that argument. 99% sure god does not exist is not good enough.

The primary focus then has to be freeing people of fear of the god-monster Jehovah.

How? Transfer fear from god to clergy. Do "dangerous" things and taunt Jehovah to harm you, and show it does not happen. Arguments why a rational god would not behave so badly. I think people would prefer to believe in a kind god.

Fri, 27 Jul 2012 10:26:21 UTC | #950149

Go to: Effect of the concept of hell on children

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 56 by Roedy

One thing you might do is study some other religions. They often pull the same scare tactics. You will see Christianity is just one con among many.

What you are afraid of are stories told you by people who have a vested interest in controlling you with those stories.

Who told you these stories? What possible means could they have for thinking them true?

It boils down to this. The bible makes these threats. But the bible is just a book, dripping with error and inconsistency. There is no way it was created by supernatural means. The only reason anyone thinks a god has anything to do with it is repeated assertion. There is no evidence of any kind. Further, it is an ineptly written, highly flawed book. If you doubt, read it cover to cover. Read various lists of errors and inconsistencies. I would give you a suggested reading list but the moderator said I am not supposed to put links to my own work in these posts.

Fri, 27 Jul 2012 10:15:34 UTC | #950147

Go to: Benefits for young atheists?

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Roedy

Going on retreats proves nothing about your morals. What did you DO to help others? Even better, what did you organise to get lots of people helping others.

Are you limiting yourself to religious universities? I would think it improper of major universities to do that.

Fri, 27 Jul 2012 10:06:07 UTC | #950146

Go to: Catholic church moving to annul a marriage (between non-Catholics)

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Roedy

The obvious solution is to leave the church out of it. Sort it out civilly. The church can't really do much unless it is asked to officiate something.

Sat, 14 Jul 2012 00:07:40 UTC | #949147

Go to: Why do we find mountains beautiful?

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by Roedy

This is a prosaic answer. Mountains trap rain and direct it into streams. A mountain nearby means a source of year-round clean water. It is not going to be used for agriculture, so it means it will be preserved for growing firewood and hunting.

People want a mountain nearby. They don't want to be on one.

Sat, 14 Jul 2012 00:05:36 UTC | #949146

Go to: Leafy Sea Dragon Fish

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Roedy

I saw a documentary showing these fish courting. They do a delicate mirror dance. I held my breath. It so courtly, considerate, civilised... It is one of the greatest marvels of life on earth.

Sat, 14 Jul 2012 00:02:16 UTC | #949145

Go to: Oxford Gift for Poor Students

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Roedy

That's wonderful. Oxford has a long and glorious reputation. Mr. Moritz will not need to worry about the money being used unwisely. The closest I ever got to Oxford was the Inspector Morse mysteries.

I don't think people in England begin to appreciate just how steeped in history the whole country is. To a Canadian that you might go into a room that Sir Issac Newton once sat it seems a miracle. Where I grew up, in Vancouver, BC Canada, there was only one building over 100 years old.

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 23:59:07 UTC | #949143

Go to: Why is evolution more accepted in Mexico than in the USA?

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Roedy

People who selectively breed plants and animals are familiar with how selection biases what the next generation will look like. I understand Mexico has created many varieties of corn and try hard to keep Monsanto GM genes from polluting them. I think more people in Mexico are directly involved in agriculture. So evolution just seems obvious.

Sat, 07 Jul 2012 05:57:05 UTC | #948718

Go to: Belief In God Plummets Among Youth (CHART)

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by Roedy

Someone asked "Why not just ask 'Do you believe in god?'"

That is an ambiguous question.

Let us say I asked "Do you believe in the power of love?"

You might answer, yes, I believe it exists, but I have no trust in it to do anything effective in international relations.

More specific questions:

  1. do you believe a deity created the universe including itself?

  2. do you believe a deity intervenes in your life changing what would otherwise happen naturally?

  3. do you believe that Jesus Christ died, his corpse started to rot, then he came back to life after three days?

  4. Do you believe it is possible to petition a deity or other supernatural being successfully to make your life more pleasant?

  5. Are the clergy/pope capable of intervening on your behalf with a benign deity?

  6. Is there a deity that cares how humans behave?

  7. Does the church have special ability to guess what the top deity (if any) in the universe wants?

  8. It is true that there is exactly one deity in the universe and he calls himself Jehovah?

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 22:24:18 UTC | #947488

Go to: A Religious Military? Spiritual Fitness Test or Rationality Fitness Test?

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Roedy

Two more reasons the military wants Christians:

  1. Christians have been trained all their lives not to question authority. That transfers to the military hierarchy.

  2. Christians are proven gullible boobs. They will believe any nonsense the military chooses to tell them without questioning it.

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 21:33:12 UTC | #947474

Go to: A Religious Military? Spiritual Fitness Test or Rationality Fitness Test?

Roedy's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Roedy

Why does the military want Christians?

  1. they are happier to kill Muslims.

  2. they believe that killed people don't stay dead, so it is not such a big deal to kill someone.

  3. they believe they will be rewarded after death for killing. Therefore they are willing to take bigger risks. This is just a lighter version of the 77 virgins.

  4. they agree with the consensus that gay people are the proper targets for hazing.

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 21:26:39 UTC | #947470