Archive for September, 2008

Mr.Wiggles: God Prefers Atheists

(More Mr.Wiggles Here)

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Why Polygamy is allowed in Islam

I’m not even going to comment on this because the counterarguments and flaws are just too obvious. (Have fun counting!) I just think it’s amusing – in a trainwreck sort of way.

The guy who wrote it (Dr. Zakir Naik) isn’t some obscure commenter. He’s all over YouTube doing Islamic proselytizing (4,370 videos), and google yields 141,000 hits for this guy. He’s clueless, yet famous and respected? I guess this is reason #23098 I’d never want to live under Islam: too many clueless Islamic clerics influencing the population.

Q. Why is a man allowed to marry more than one wife in Islam? Or why is polygamy allowed in Islam?

7. World female population is more than male population
In the USA, women outnumber men by 7.8 million. New York alone has one million more females as compared to the number of males, and of the male population of New York one-third are gays i.e sodomites. The USA as a whole has more than twenty-five million gays. This means that these people do not wish to marry women. Great Britain has four million more females as compared to males. Germany has five million more females as compared to males. Russia has nine million more females than males. God alone knows how many million more females there are in the whole world as compared to males.

8. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not practical
Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still be more than thirty million more females in USA who would not be able to get husbands (considering that America has twenty five million gays). There would be more than four million females in Great Britain 5 million females in Germany and nine million females in Russia alone who would not be able to find a husband.

Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA. The only two options remaining for her are that she either marries a man who already has a wife or becomes public property. There is no other option. I have posed this question to hundreds of non-Muslims and all opted for the first. However a few smart people before accepting, said they would prefer their sisters to remain virgins. Biologically, it is not possible for an average man or a woman to remain celibate throughout life. It may be possible in exceptional cases of one in ten thousand. In the vast majority, the person either gets married or performs illicit sex or indulges in other sexual perversions. Sex hormones are released in the adult body every day. That is the reason why Islam has prohibited monasticism.

In Western society it is common for a man to have mistresses and/or multiple extra-marital affairs, in which case, the woman leads a disgraceful, unprotected life. The same society, however, cannot accept a man having more than one wife, in which women retain their honourable, dignified position in society and lead a protected life.

Thus the only two options before a woman who cannot find a husband is to marry a married man or to become public property. Islam prefers giving women the honourable position by permitting the first option and disallowing the second. There are several other reasons, why Islam has permitted limited polygyny, but it is mainly to protect the modesty of women.
(Source: ilovezakirnaik.com)

And, if that wasn’t dumb enough, here’s Dr Zakir Naik defending the death penalty for Muslim apostates.

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I really don’t like check-cashing places, payday loans, or all those other “get money quick” businesses that seem to have cropped up everywhere. Basically, they say to me that “this neighborhood is poor, and we’re working to make it even poorer”. I heard about a loan place recently that was offering loans to poor people. It’s called CashCall, and they’ve got a few commercials on TV. Here’s what their website says for their rates in Colorado:

Ouch. 99% and 141% interest rates? According to wikipedia, the payday loan places typically charge $25 on every $100 borrowed on a two-week loan. Some people have also noticed that liquor stores are often in close proximity to these places. No doubt, it’s beneficial for both. Unfortunately, there seems to be no shortage of businesses aimed at taking money from desperate, mathematically-challenged poor people.

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Christian and Gay

[Via ExChristian.net] Ray Boltz, a Christian singer recently came-out as gay:

Ray Boltz, who sold about 4.5 million records before retiring from Christian music a few years ago, came out of the closet Friday to announce that he’s gay.

In an interview with the gay magazine The Washington Blade, Boltz said he came out to his family and some close friends in December 2004, but only now decided to go public with the news.

“I’d denied it ever since I was a kid,” Boltz, 55, told the magazine. “I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, ‘I’m still gay. I know I am.’ And I just got to the place where I couldn’t take it anymore … when I was going through all this darkness, I thought, ‘Just end this.’”

“This is what it really comes down to,” he says. “If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live. It’s not like God made me this way and he’ll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be … I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.”

I feel bad for the guy – he spent decades suppressing his homosexuality because that’s what he was “supposed to do”. Christians like to say it’s just a choice, but getting that heterosexuality to stick on some people seems impossible. (In fact, several prominent ‘ex-gay’ Christians have been caught soliciting gay sex. Whoops.)

Video of Ray Boltz (and more videos here):

Looking around on blogs, plenty of Christians have been very judgmental about his coming-out (surprise!).

Of course, the two options available to Christians aren’t simply: accepting homosexuality, and thinking that homosexuality is “just a choice”. When my oldest brother came out as gay, my parents thought it was some sort of spirit or demon of homosexuality that was plaguing him. They thought that it could be prayed-out. (They never attempted an exorcism, but given their ideas about homosexuality, I don’t know why not – other than an aversion to exorcism.) Again, this attitude and approach to homosexuality seems incredibly naive and ineffective at accomplishing anything. Also, I could never understand why a “loving God” allowed evil spirits/demons to exist. (Did God think it was too easy to get into heaven, so he added a few obstacles? You know – to trip up the people he “loves”?) I think the problem for Christians is that they don’t quite understand how these “bad” homosexual desires can exist. It’s kind of an enigma, and they’re searching for ways to explain it without accepting it (which is a “sin” in their eyes). It also poses a problem for New Testament teachings which state:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Yet, this “new creation” seems remarkably like the old version – complete with the same homosexual desires. (What, Christianity has no transformative power? How can that be?)

Speaking of “just a choice”, I was recently at a coffeeshop when a guy asked me for help connecting to the internet. Turns out that’s he’s gay, and he moved to the US recently – from Iran. Quite a few Middle-Eastern countries kill people for being gay, and the fact that there’s still gay men and women living secret lives in these countries should give Christians pause when they claim it’s “just a choice”. (More on that topic: Struggle for gay rights in the Middle East, Iran: Gay Teens Executed by Hanging)

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Sexy Cancer in Fish

Some people think that evolution is all about progress and improvement. I’ve even heard the ridiculous argument that if evolution is true, then mankind should reach moral perfection (showing just how out of touch people’s ideas about evolution are). But, really it’s about differential reproductive success – which is somewhat correlated with “objective” physical improvement, but not always. The Loom has an interesting article about a species of fish where cancer is widespread. This cancer kills the fish before they live their full natural lifespan. And, apparently, certain genotypes are prone to this cancer. So, why hasn’t evolution wiped-out the cancer-prone genotypes? It seems that this particular cancer has a side effect: it makes males very sexy to the females of the species. As a result, the cancer-prone genotype proliferated and this species of fish is prone to this type of cancer.

Fish B: definitely a lot more sexy that Fish A, thanks to that dark tumor in its tail.

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Someone claiming to be “a good Christian woman” setup an anti-spore website, subtitled:

Resisting EA’s War on Creationism

Where she says thing like:

Yesterday I found out about a new game called Spore when my son asked me to buy it for him. It looked innocent enough at first and has “E for Everyone” ESRB rating. But don’t be mislead, apparently “everyone” means everyone they want to teach evolution to.

This entire game is propaganda aimed directly at our children to teach them evolution instead of creationism, or “intelligent design” if you go for stupid PC terms.

The object of the game is to evolve from a “spore” into demon-like intelligent space creatures that violently take over the galaxy.

I created this blog to find support for and follow my progress in letting Electronic Arts know that their biggest attack on Christian values to date will not be tolerated. We can not allow the gaming industry to invade our homes and poison the minds of our children. After all, their billions in revenue and all the advertising in the world are no match for the power of God.

God did not create us through trial and error. He did not make millions of mistakes until deciding on the final concept. Each of his concepts were perfect on the first try.

And 8,500 employees at Electronic Arts to corrupt a child’s mind.

8,500 people all working together and not a single one with enough Jesus to stand up and say what they are doing is wrong.

It makes me sick.

I’m leaning towards this being a prank. Although, most parodies try to be a little more extreme – signaling that it’s a little tongue-in-cheek. But Poe’s Law, you know? Was this done inside Electronic Arts as guerrilla marketing? Is it a prankster doing a parody of Christian fundamentalists? Or a real, sincere person? The pictures and videos of sexually-suggestive Spore creatures makes me think it’s not a real, sincere Christian. They would object to those things, of course, but I just doubt that they would put them up on the website.

Also, whoever it is, they were smart enough to hide their identity using “Domains By Proxy” in the domain registration, and smart enough to put ads in the sidebar of the website. The domain wasn’t registered until September 8 (one day after Spore’s release). Maybe it’s just a savy computer person hoping to make a few bucks on ads while doing a parody that would attract a lot of attention. Opinions?

Update (Sept 12): Yup, it’s a hoax. In this post, the anti-spore creator writes:

But the Bible teaches us that God was not done with man. For we were His creation and He then spoke to Noah in Genesis 8:21-27 after the flood.

“21. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never gonna give you up. 22. “Never gonna let you down.” 23.”Never gonna run around and desert you.” 24. “Never gonna make you cry.” 25. “Never gonna say goodbye.” 26. “Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.” 27.”Never truly believe anything you read on the Internet. There will always be cases of Poe’s Law.”

Weird. I had no idea Rick Astley was quoting the Bible. 🙂

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This American Life has a story I found pretty interesting:

The Devil Wears Birkenstocks.
Some people battle inner demons, but contributor Dave Dickerson went one step further. Dave tells the story of the time he took on an actual demon in his college classroom. (10 and 1/2 minutes).

MP3 Available here

(The full hour podcast is here, available for free.)

The stuff the the story about missionaries encountering real demons and miracles is stuff I heard growing up, too. I can’t recall any specific details about who exactly these missionaries were, and I don’t remember any missionaries actually claiming it happened directly to them. The vagueness made these stories a bit like urban legends – impossible to verify, and no one actually claimed first-hand experience. (Admittedly, there are some people who claim first-hand experience, but some of them have been proven to be liars.)

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Republican spin making you dizzy yet? From the Daily Show:
(If the video is no longer available on YouTube, go directly to Comedy Central and watch it here.)

Some related stories about Sarah Palin to make you worry:
Palin: God told USA to invade Iraq, Build Pipeline in Alaska
Letter from a Resident of Wasilla, Alaska, where Palin was mayor until 2002

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Over the past month, I’ve had the unfortunate experience of discovering what bedbugs are like. These little bugs hide near your mattress and come out at night to suck your blood. They look a little like ticks (but they aren’t closely related to ticks at all). They have a hypodermic-needle like proboscis, and when they suck your blood, they inject their saliva into your body. Their saliva contains both anticoagulants (to keep your blood flowing) and anesthetics (so you don’t realize you’re being bitten). Within a few hours, those bites develop into itchy red welts. You want to scratch at them so badly, but if you do, they become even more itchy. Those bites persist for around a week. To make matters worse, the bedbugs tend to bite, move a few inches, and then repeat. So, you end up with three or four bites in one night from a single bedbug. And, if the bites weren’t bad enough, you have this anxiety about falling asleep, and think that any tiny movement on your skin might be a bedbug. Even on nights where I wasn’t bitten at all, I’d wake up tired because I would wake-up during the night and have trouble falling back to sleep for fear of getting new painful bites. And, because the itchy bites persist for around a week, I sometimes wake myself up at night while I scratch old bites.

Once you have a breeding pair of bedbugs, they multiply like rabbits – essentially, turning your own blood into painful parasites who feed on you. They’ve also been evolving a resistance to pesticides, and can survive (dormant) for 18 months without feeding.

They are evil, vile little creatures.

Fortunately, I might have only a single bedbug. I caught one a few days ago, and the bite patterns seem to indicate that I only had a single bedbug. It’s amazing how much pain and sleeplessness a single bedbug can inflict. I feel really bad for anyone who has a bedbug infestation. I can’t imagine how awful it would be to have a colony of them. (Coincidentally enough, a few weeks ago, This American Life had a segment where they talked to a woman who has an infestation of bedbugs. She’s too poor to move away, and too poor to actually do anything about it. An mp3 is available here.)

There are a lot of things about the world that indicate that earth is not the product of a benevolent, loving creator. And this is one of them. Personally, I think anyone who believes the ‘loving god’ hypothesis is practicing selective vision. And the characteristics of bedbugs (including anticoagulants and anesthetics) would – according to Intelligent Design advocates – require the intentional creation of a ‘designer’ – aka the loving, benevolent God of the Bible. The bug’s method of reproduction – “traumatic insemination” – which involves the male punching a hole in the carapace of the female, causing severe trauma while inseminating her – sound like something a demon would invent. But, hey, what do I know? Behe already admitted that malaria was invented by God, so why not this? If Intelligent Design was the correct explanation for life, then I think the Christians, Jews, and Muslims will have to admit that the God in their holy books isn’t the one who actually exists.


I’ve attached a picture of the bedbug I caught. It’s about a half a centimeter long, and still alive inside a plastic bag. I’m keeping it for the exterminator, but really hate the vile creature. The picture in the upper right shows a bedbug in approximate ‘real life’ size.

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The Friendly Atheist has a bunch of posts up about Sarah Palin (McCain’s Vice-President choice). I liked this part:

In 2006, a questionnaire was sent to all candidates for the gubernatorial race in Alaska.

One of the questions was this:
11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

Here is Sarah Palin’s answer:
SP: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.

No word on whether Sarah Palin also thinks that “If English was good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for me!”. But seriously, it shows how much the Christian right is immersed in ignorance and historical revisionism.

Friendly Atheist posts:
The Real Question: What Have Sarah Palin’s Pastors Said?
Sarah Palin is Mistaken About “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance
Gov. Tim Pawlenty Just as Scientifically Illiterate as Gov. Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin: Not Conservative Enough for Creationists
Atheists’ Worst Nightmares: Sarah Palin, Bananas

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