The Watering Hole, Monday, March 3rd, 2014: Who Are You Gonna Believe?

On Saturday morning, I was visited again by my (in my opinion as one who had barely woken up) way-too-perky Jehovah’s Witness ‘friend’ from previous visits. (I’m sincerely sorry that I cannot remember her name.) After a fairly brief chat, I was given some new leaflets. The Witness had picked these out particularly for me, based on our last discussion during which I had professed my belief in science vs religion. The leaflet that I decided to start with is entitled “Was Life Created?” An excerpt from the introductory page, prefaced by the question “What do you believe?”:

“Many religious fundamentalists believe that the earth and everything on it was created in six 24-hour days, just a few thousand years ago. Some atheists would have you believe that God does not exist, that the Bible is a book of myths, and that all life is the product of random undirected events.”

Now, right there, I have issues with the statement about atheists: first, note the difference in the wording between the two sentences, i.e., “Many religious fundamentalists believe…” as opposed to “Some atheists would have you believe…” The implications that a) the beliefs of religious fundamentalists/literal Creationists are somehow more valid and earn more respect than the beliefs/non-beliefs of atheists, and b) that atheists want to force people to abandon their religion (whatever flavor it is) seem pretty obvious to me. This inference is made again a little further down the intro page, under the heading, “What is the purpose of this brochure?”:

“It is not the purpose of this material to ridicule the views either of fundamentalists or of those who choose not to believe in God.”

Again, carefully worded, “those who choose not to believe in God”, as if we picked the wrong side, or refused to join their club. They won’t “ridicule the views…of fundamentalists” (even though elsewhere in the introduction it states that religious fundamentalism and atheism are considered to be “opposing ideas”) simply because the fundamentalists believe in a god and his bible. And obviously, by “God” they mean only the god of the Old or New Testament, not the Muslim’s Prophet or any of the other major non-Christian religions of the world.

The intro wraps up with:

“Will you trust the claims of those who say that there is no intelligent Creator and that the Bible is unreliable? [YES!] Or will you examine what the Bible actually says? Which teachings are worthy of your trust, your faith: those of the Bible or those of evolutionists? Why not review the facts?”

The “facts” that are subsequently presented to advance the “intelligent Creator” argument are, oddly enough, all discovered through scientific research: how the planet Earth is in the ideal location to sustain life [sure, life as WE carbon-based oxygen-breathing life forms know it]; how the Earth’s tilt is just right, along with the planet’s speeds of rotation and orbit, to create the ‘ideal’ for human habitation: four seasons and 24-hour days. Also presented as “evidence” of an intelligent Creator are the size of our moon and its distance from the Earth [and here the JWs make Bill O’Reilly look like the idiot that he is, by mentioning that the planet’s tides are affected by the moon); along with the laws of nature and science, i.e., the cycle of precipitation, photosynthesis, your basic Earth Science curriculum, and the multitude of species of animals. All of these scientific laws are indication to the JW’s that a divine hand was involved.

If, as believers such as the JWs think, humans were made in god’s image, I think that that god has a lot of explaining to do. Humans are the only species that is capable of completely ruining the beauty and wonder of our planet’s unique ecosystems, as well as our own sources of food and water. What god would make a species such as ours?

Instead of (and possibly in answer to) the question being “What do you believe?”, I believe that the question should be “What do you KNOW?”

This is our daily open thread–feel free to air your thoughts on, well, anything, including but not limited to Jehovah’s Witnesses (or any other religious group), etc.

105 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, March 3rd, 2014: Who Are You Gonna Believe?

  1. I thought the snow might have had a hand in your posting. Meanwhile, here it is expected to reach 81 degrees by this afternoon.

  2. On the matter of god: I always ask the purveyors of the god myth one simple question: please offer evidence — even one single DEMONSTRABLE AND REPEATABLE SHRED of EVIDENCE — that might serve to substantiate the claim of god or gods existence.

    So far, only *crickets.* And though I refuse to hold my breath in anticipation, I’m always willing to listen.

    • God moves in mysterious ways, Frugal …. until suddenly he doesn’t and then whatever God-botherer you want to talk to knows *exactly* what God thinks about, gays, abortion, Muslims, you-name-it….. funny how that works isn’t it?

      • Not sure “funny” is the right word. “Sad” sounds somehow better, as does virtually any descriptor of the effort to employ religion in any sort of demanding or governing platform premise.

        But that constant imposition pretty much summarizes the concept of ‘the Human Dilemma.”

        My continuing premise remains intact, that someone, somewhere out there, anyone at all — provide EVIDENCE — even one single supportable and repeatable shred — that any god exists anywhere at all, and then maybe I’ll listen. But until then, nope. Believe what you wish, but allow everyone else the same privilege. And when in the public forum, shut the fuck up.Getting along: It’s so simple.

    • For me God is just a surrogate for the question of why do we exist, and/or why does anything exist? You can avoid having to contemplate that question (which is unanswerable) by saying God created everything, and God has always been. You must take on faith that God exists, and has always existed. It doesn’t really answer the question, but it allows people to stop asking the question.

      And the question can be overwhelming, so many prefer to take the “easy” way out.

      • A few decades ago, I had a discussion on the matter with a business associate who happened to be of Mormon faith. Curiously, we agreed on everything — evolution, the age of the earth, even the Big Bang. And then I said that the one thing I couldn’t answer was, ‘what was the source/origin of matter/energy and the physical laws that clearly govern both?

        He replied, “Oh, that’s easy. God created all of everything.”

        I asked, “Where did God come from?”

        He said, “God is eternal.”

        I asked “Why not save a step and simply agree that matter and energy are eternal, and that maybe we’ve not yet figured out all the details?”

        That pretty much ended the conversation. I suspect it would end much the same today, and for the same reason(s). The God myth remains popular. Why that is, I have no clue, but it does. And still today — ad eternum — with no genuine evidence, with no proof, god is “out there” somewhere. Must be. Cause humans are so fucking COOL. Period.

  3. Odd that the JWs don’t consider themselves fundamentalists, they are the definition of said word!
    Yesterday Petelng posted about Bryan College:

    The board of trustees is requiring professors and staff to sign a statement saying that they believe Adam and Eve were created in an instant by God and that humans shared no ancestry with other life forms. If they don’t sign, they fear that jobs could be on the line.

    • clarity: the William Jennings Bryan College has nothing to do with JWs, other than both are fundamentalist faiths.

    • Jobs on the line – why stop there, pile up the faggots and tie them to a stick in the middle, at least everyone can have smores while they scream. /Inquisition off

    • In Tennessee (at least) a public school “science” teacher once pointed out that when the fossils of Adam and Eve were found, neither had belly buttons and therefore their respective identities were obvious. If god created them, why would they need a belly button? It’s so fucking simple, dontcha know?

        • They’re “over there.” Probably somewhere in Africa, maybe in Russia or China. Wherever God embalmed them and laid them side by side. But that’s not important. What’s important is that NEITHER HAD A BELLY BUTTON!!!! And we all know what THAT means, here in this here science class!

  4. Science is not a belief.
    ie, if I throw raw sodium into water, it will burn.
    I don’t believe that it will burn, it’s a chemical fact that it will combust.

    As I have mentioned earlier. Get all of the watchtowers you can.
    They’re great for starting fires when your home is heated by a wood stove.

    However, I do believe I will go to the beach this afternoon.
    It’s nice outside.

  5. I am at the point of, who gives a hoot what these assholes think. Why engage them at all? Years ago, a former neighbor got rid of them by one sentence. “I am JEWISH”. They made a polite but hasty retreat.
    It works, folks. If one is so inclined.

      • Guns draw-in the ‘unchurched man’.
        The taxidermy around Chucky’s office makes me quite mad and sad at the same time. I’m wondering if the saving Jesus ok’d his killing of animals for sport, as opposed to sustenance.

        • Makes it even more tricky a premise if/wnen PROOF that Jesus actually even was ever out there, much less the son of a non-existent god . . . etc.

          Carnivores evolved as flesh eaters. Homos are omnivores, eat both plants and animals. OK. Fine. But why kill wolves then? Anyone ever run across a Homo that killed a wolf for food? Or, for that matter, anyone ever heard of a wolf that killed a human? For food?

          *Crickets*??

            • Yes. I think two in N.Am. in the last hundred years, but both not exactly substantiated.

              OTOH, if I were to advise and direct hungry wolves toward food it should be simple: if they can read lists, a listing of each and every Republican and/or gun owner in their neighborhood should suffice. Food enough to feed each and every pack for decades –and to make the world a far better place in the process.

            • Yeah. That’s the weird part. Historically, the wolves in Europe and Asia are more hostile to humans than those in N. America. Perhaps it’s because the natives of America respected and revered wolves instead of fearing them and trying to exterminate them?

            • Native Americans respected wolves, and all other wild things. They only killed for food and for pelts/clothing. Even then they did it with respect.

              Note: Ted Nugent is NOT and will NEVER BECOME a Native American!

  6. The “facts” that are subsequently presented to advance the “intelligent Creator” argument are, oddly enough, all discovered through scientific research: how the planet Earth is in the ideal location to sustain life [sure, life as WE carbon-based oxygen-breathing life forms know it]; how the Earth’s tilt is just right, along with the planet’s speeds of rotation and orbit, to create the ‘ideal’ for human habitation: four seasons and 24-hour days.

    As usual, they’ve got it backwards. That everything on this planet is just right for human life to evolve is not proof that Earth was intelligently designed, it’s the reason WHY human life evolved on this planet, and no other. Why would God make planets in our Solar System that we would theoretically never reach? What would be the point? And as long as he was going to make them, why not make them suitable for human life and put humans o there? Then he could have had several planets of humans going at once, thus enabling him to choose which of his creations would live and which ones would die out. He could have fathered a child on each one and see which ones turned out best.

    BTW, the conditions for our habitation are not “ideal.” They’re very, very good, but “ideal” would have been uniform climate conditions all over the planet. instead of just around the Equator. The Intelligent Designers are desperate to prove their distorted way of looking at things is correct, but it is only backwards. If we ever find another planet out there with conditions very close to our own, I wouldn’t be surprised to find, not just any life, but vaguely humanoid life there, too. But I wouldn’t chalk it up to any god, I would chalk it up to the random chance that the conditions necessary for Life were present on that planet.

    • Plus, since about 70% of the planet is covered by oceans, wouldn’t “God’s Children” be capable of living in a marine environment or at least be able to drink sea water?

    • I don’t think they understand what “conspiracy” means. The fact that this one group “consulted” with legislators in several states is all one needs to put the word “conspiracy” on this. They conspired to do something.

      • Isn’t Christianity the biggest conspiracy in the history of Man? When they aren’t actually plotting to kill those who don’t share their dogma they are rigging the game so that those who disagree with their dogma will be sent to Hell.

          • Me too. Even in the unlikely event that I have to account for myself to a divine judge I should do O.K. I have spent my entire life trying to not be a dick and have had a pretty high rate of success.

            • As college boys, we all thought hell would be cool, since all the sinning women would for sure be there. Then someone mentioned that “Nobody can get to them; that’s what’s hell about it.” So I dunno whether I want to go there or not. Still, it’s GOTTA be better than heaven where all the Christers and liars (read: Republicans) are. Right?

  7. Michael Cohen has a rebuttal to the all the hyper-ventilating over the Ukraine. Money quote:

    “You don’t have to listen to the “do something” crowd. These are the same people who brought you the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other greatest hits. These are armchair “experts” convinced that every international problem is a vital interest of the US; that the maintenance of “credibility” and “strength” is essential, and that any demonstration of “weakness” is a slippery slope to global anarchy and American obsolescence; and that being wrong and/or needlessly alarmist never loses one a seat at the table.

    The funny thing is, these are often the same people who bemoan the lack of public support for a more muscular American foreign policy. Gee, I wonder why.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/03/obama-ukraine-russia-critics-credibility?CMP=twt_gu

  8. First check out this tweet from the Euromaidan from 3 minutes ago about what the Russian Ambassador is telling the UNSC right now:

    Then check out the last few bulletins form 90mins ago from the Ukranian Border Control Service near the eastern border with Russia in the Donetsk region… (handy hint – there is an English lang button on the page).

    http://en.pravda.com.ua/

    “The National Border Control Service of Ukraine observes accumulation of artillery on the territory of the Russian Federation near the national border within the Kharkiv, Lugansk, Donyetsk regions.”

    While the West is thinking about talking about sanctions (or in the UK case ruling out financial sanctions before they even talk about sanctions…. oh yes, they did) ….. I hope that what this might mean is *not* in fact accurate…..

      • Does the Ukrainian ambassador to the UN confirm this story? That the Russians are saying this does not, in my mind, make it true. I’d rather hear from the Ukrainians that they sought help rather than the Russians saying they were asked to help. Isn’t that what the Soviets said when they invaded Hungary and Czechoslovakia? That they were asked in?

  9. Remember how lots of people were NOT going to the Olympics because of the potential security issues? Seemed silly of them. How about those going to the Paralympics with the situation as it is now? I would be a touch concerned!

    • WASHINGTON — The crisis in Ukraine prompted the White House today to cancel its official delegation to the Paralympic Games in Russia, and the Illinois lawmaker who had planned to lead the delegation issued a statement condemning Russian military actions.

      Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat who lost both her legs during the Iraq war, expressed support for the U.S. athletes, who will compete in Sochi, Russia, despite the absence of Duckworth and the rest of the presidential delegation.

      Her statement said:

      “As a member of Congress, it is my first priority to ensure the safety of my constituents and all Americans. I remain appalled by the immoral and illegal actions of the Russian government and believe that there must be consequences for its behavior. The international community must stand together to support the sovereignty of the Ukraine and end the suffering of its people.

      “The Paralympic Games are an inspiration to millions of disabled people around the globe and it is tragic that the reckless actions of the Russian government are jeopardizing them. Still, these brave Paralympians have shown tremendous perseverance throughout their entire lives and I know they will make all Americans proud in Sochi.”

      • Russians have demonstrated that hatred of gays is good, also that invading a sovereign state is just fine.

        I didn’t know, really, until just now that the Amurkkkan GOP had such heavy handed influence over there. Fascinating.

      • I just heard that almost all government officials from all countries are not going. Putin couldn’t care less of course. He likely hadn’t planned on showing his face at the Paralympics anyway.

        • Putin wears blinders and only sees invading his neighboring countries as priority number one.
          Wonder how much Russia went into the financial hole over the Olympics.

          • $51b – the Russian stock market went down more than that today as well. Screw them.

  10. I’m not an unqualified fan of Bill Maher and I sometimes wish that Bill Nye would just say “piss off, freak” but this clip is pretty good. I especially liked Bill Nye’s answer to the “6,000 year old earth” crap. We have solid, concrete, evidence in tree rings and ice cores that any idiot can access on line if not in person and count the damned years for themselves. There’s no need to muddy the waters with trying to explain radiometric dating to people who can’t understand that the moon and the sun cause tides.

  11. I will admit that getting old can be a drag but it does have its perks. I just made the appointment to get my new cats fixed and, due to my exalted status, I can go through a local vets for seniors program and get them both fixed and vaccinated for $135.00. The local vet wanted $195.00 a pop just for the neutering. The best part? They offer a pickup service so they will show up in the morning, stuff the poor cats in their transport boxes, take them in, do the surgery, and deliver them back to my door in the evening.

      • And not a moment too soon. There has been no hint of marking territory with urine but there is some humping activity going on. I don’t mean to be crass but it’s time to nip it in the bud.

  12. Same Bullshit the world has been saying about us…..kettle meet pot

    Tribune wire reports
    3:55 p.m. CST, March 3, 2014

    Moscow—
    President Obama said on Monday that Russia has violated international law in its military intervention in Ukraine and said the U.S. government has warned it will look at a series of economic and diplomatic sanctions that would isolate Moscow.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to allow international monitors to mediate a deal in Ukraine acceptable to all Ukrainian people, Obama told reporters before he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ukraine-russia-crisis-20140303,0,4752010.story

    • Well the argument goes that Ukraine has never represented a threat to any of its neighbours, nor any of its ethnic diversity …. whereas, Iraq unquestionably did in prior to Gulf 1, in Kuwait, after Gulf 1. Russia is not in the least threatened by Ukraine.

      • Putin would be, if here, a Republican, a candidate for POTUS in 2016. Why is that? Why is he so “Republican”? I mean, if he had black hair, he’d be hard to distinguish from Ted Cruz, maybe even Marco Rubio. Why is that?? Is it because, to the practiced eye, Fascists are kinda like sore thumbs?

  13. The old growth forest is being assaulted…

    This closure is in response to a significant increase in wood poaching crimes occurring along the parkway. These crimes usually involve cutting burl and bunion growths from both standing and fallen old-growth redwood trees. The wood is then sold for construction materials, ornamental furniture, and souvenirs. This type of wood is becoming increasingly rare and the most plentiful supply is often found on park lands.

    • I really have very little time for the vast bulk of the human species. Not sure how we ever came to be so flawed, but if there happens to be a creator out there somewhere, if/when I ever might meet the bugger I’m going to KICK HIS ASS! Fair warning.

    • Fantastic photo.
      Am wondering if that ‘older’ generation (see Ms Tubman and the woman on the right) were afraid of the cameras (perhaps damaging the soul)?

  14. Oh what a surprise – look who crawled up from the sewer:

    Warmongers On Parade: Rumsfeld Joins The Right Wing Chorus To Attack Obama On Ukraine

    And following that piece of excrement:

    JohnBoy Walton Bolton

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