Saturday, May 31, 2008

Education: A Weapon Against Ignorance.

At least, that's what Ed Balls, the Labour Government's illustrious "schools secretary"(sic) is quoted by The Guardian as having said yesterday in the Times Educational Supplement. Balls was writing in the TES to explain the Government's latest asinine policy, which is to send British-born Imams into schools to lead citizenship lessons to give a counter view to the "al-qaida version" of Islam. Apparently, these clerics would be vetted to ensure they do not hold radical views, which can mean only that they do not hold the Qur'an as the immutable words of "God, since much if not most of the exhortations, instructions and orders contained in it are what many would consider extreme per se and radical to a fault.

According to Balls:
"A very small number of young people of school age may already be at risk of being drawn into criminal activity inspired by violent extremists. Extremists of every persuasion tend to paint the world as black and white ... exploiting fears based on ignorance. Education can be a powerful weapon against this."
Pity that our so-called "schools secretary" (sic) doesn't appreciate that if education did its job correctly in the first place, it would result in pupils being trained to develop the intellectual equipment which would enable them to comprehend that all religion is completely indistinguishable from ignorance, superstition, fairy tales, make-believe, and delusions

In short, that so-called religious "belief" represents, and is a manifestation of, the psychopathological needs of its adherents, and that religion should have no place in our public life whatsoever.

Heavenly Rewards, For Men Only!

According to the celebrated translation of the Qur'an by NJ Dawood , sura 56 verses 12- 39 promise that the rewards in Paradise for those who have earned Allah's grace and favour, will be as follows:
"They shall recline on jewelled couches face to face, and there shall wait on them immortal youths with bowls and ewers and a cup of purest wine (that will neither pain their heads nor take away their reason); with fruits of their own choice and flesh of fowls that they relish. And theirs shall be the dark-eyed houris, chaste as hidden pearls: a guerdon for their deeds... We created the houris and made them virgins, loving companions for those on the right hand..."
Now whilst there is no actual mention in the Qur'an of the number of virgins allotted in Paradise to these faithful men who have served Allah, it is specifically stated that 72 virgins will be the "Smallest Reward for the People of Paradise" in Hadith 2687 of the collection of the sayings of Muhammad gathered by Al-Tirmidhi (died 892 CE) . The same hadith is also quoted by Ibn Kathir (died 1373 CE ) in his Tafsir (Qur'anic commentary) :
"The Prophet Muhammad was heard saying: 'The smallest reward for the people of paradise is an abode where there are 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine, and ruby, as wide as the distance from Al-Jabiyyah [a Damascus suburb] to Sana'a [Yemen]'."
These two places were, respectively, a suburb of Damascus and Yemen, and they lie approximately 1,500 miles apart, which suggests that either Paradise is a very big place, or else that there are few inhabitants there, especially when one recollects that a dome of a width of 1,500 miles is merely "the smallest reward" for those who attain entrance to this imaginary place.

It is also notable that whilst the carnal and lustful desires of men of the faith are catered for, women are not accorded the same consideration - unless, of course, they are to take consolation by being penetrated by the eternal, rock-hard erection that men are promised according to the Qur'anic commentator Al-Suyuti (died 1505 ), who wrote:
"Each time we sleep with a houri we find her virgin. Besides, the penis of the Elected [to Paradise] never softens. The erection is eternal; the sensation that you feel each time you make love is utterly delicious and out of this world and were you to experience it in this world you would faint. Each chosen one [ie Muslim] will marry seventy [note the discrepancy in numbers] houris, besides the women he married on earth, and all will have appetising vaginas."
Seems rather one-sided and, frankly, misogynistic to me, but then any religion that instructs a man to beat his wife with a stick when she does not please him undoubtedly is just that. As Sura 4:34 has it:
"Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great."
Seems to me that Islam treats women as anything other than equal to men, whether on Earth or in "Heaven".

Maybe it is about time that Muslim women followed the example of their Christian counterparts whose loss of loss of "faith and piety" has been blamed for the steep decline in Christian worship, as it was those very freedoms from superstition and male-enforced control and domination which enabled women to take their rightful place in this world - as equals to men.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mad Tony Finally Cracks Up

According to the BBC, Mad Tony Blair, our quondam Illustrious Leader and Chief Baloney Merchant, has finally completely cracked up and demonstrated to everyone who has a scintilla of intelligence that he is indeed a raving lunatic. As of now, our Tone is going to dedicate his paltry life to uniting the world's religions in some Jesus loving crusade against the ungodly amongst us.

According to Tone, religion can cure malaria and extreme poverty, so expect him to start doling out the £12,000,000 to the poor he has earned since having the decency to step down from running ruining the UK (BTW, Tone, like you I bank at Coutts, so a quiet little donation into account number 382146717 would be appreciated).

This coming Friday, Tone is launching his "faith" foundation in New Yoik - presumably he thinks that the citizenry of that country will be more appreciative of his latest venture folly, since they are what his master, George Dubya Bush, called "the most religious Nation on Earth" when addressing the World Economic Forum in Egypt recently. Not to be outdone by Bush, Tony Baloney declared:
"Faith is part of our future, and faith and the values it brings with it are an essential part of making globalisation work."
What a fucking mendacious and duplicitous, psychopathological prat you really are, Tone - as if we didn't know it all along. Or are we supposed to forget that Saddam didn't have "weapons of mass destruction that could hit the UK within 45 minutes", to mention perhaps your most blatant and egregious lie?

Actually I'm wrong. Mea culpa, Tone. Your most blatant and egregious lie is that there is a "God", since there is even less evidence to substantiate that claim than the one you made about the late lamented Saddam and his WMDs.

I hope every one of your days is filled with misery, you insincere fucking hypocrite, and that you wither and die horribly with the knowledge that your non-existent, so-called "god" can't save you .

Addendum: Actually, next to Tone's claim that this "God" of his exists, despite no-one over the millennia ever having been able to produce the tiniest shred of empirical evidence to substantiate that spurious claim, his other grand lie is that he is a "socialist", since all he's ever done is to rob the poor to fund rich bastards like himself and his uncharming damsel, Cherie, of letterbox-mouth fame.

Pair of phonies, both of them. No wonder they were welcomed into the Roman Catholic Church.

Bleating Bishop Blubbers Bullshit

According to the Daily Telegraph, in the new right-wing rag mag, Standpoint - its mission statement, according to The Independent, is to "defend and celebrate" Western civilisation in the post 9/11 era - the Bleating Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, blubbers that the "social and sexual" revolution of the 1960s has led to a steep decline in the influence of Christianity in this country.

Good to hear that the decline in Christianity had nothing to do with the fact that people have become better able to comprehend that religion is entirely bogus and sham, based on nothing other than the needy psychopathology of shallow inadequates, the chronically delusional, and those who wish to manipulate other for their own self-aggrandisement and self-promotion.

Naszir-Ali continues his petty little tirade by accusing his fellow prelates of failing to resist this decline in their own power and prestige, and this attack comes just days after his previous one accusing the Church of England of failing in its duty to convert British Muslims to Christianity.

Without Christianity, Nazir-Ali claims, Britain would never have become a global empire, and that we would have remained a "rabble of mutually hostile tribes". If he thinks seriously that we are anything other than a "rabble of mutually hostile tribes" today, then it shows just how totally out of touch with reality he really is - as if we didn't already know that from his delusional "belief" that this so-called "god" of his exists objectively.

The risibilities continue with Naizir-Ali siding with the unnamed academic who lays the blame for the loss of "faith and piety among women" for the steep decline in Christian worship. How dare those stupid women! Don't they realise that Nazir-Ali's "god" created them to be entirely subservient to men? How dare those ungrateful wretches use their intelligence to see religion for what it really is - a con-trick played by unscrupulous charlatans like Nazir-Ali on the week and needy amongst us. And what about the implication for men of Nazir-Ali's support for the academic's ridiculous claim? Men, it would seem, didn't have the ego-strength and intellectual equipment to eschew religion unless women had already done so, therefore it is all the fault of women that men have also been leaving churches in droves. Do I smell religion's familiar stench of misogyny here?

Not content with blaming women for the decline in Christianity, Nazir-Ali then turns on Marxists and blames it all on them, for it was Marxist students who encouraged a "social and sexual revolution" to which liberal theologians and Church leaders "all but capitulated".

"It is this situation that has created the moral and spiritual vacuum in which we now find ourselves. While the Christian consensus was dissolved, nothing else, except perhaps endless self-indulgence, was put in its place."
How strange is it not, that so many of the atheists I have ever encountered were anything other than Marxists, but then we mustn't forget that the Bleating Bishop is writing for a new right-wing rag, and that his intended audience like to call everyone who does not support their views "Marxist", irrespective of their actual political and social affiliations.

Another of Nazir-Ali's objectionable implications is the familiar bleat uttered by his kind that only by being a Christian can one be a decent and moral person, and he even claims that all such values stem effectively from Christianity alone. What absolute bunkum, but then Nazir-Ali is a snake-oil salesman, after all, and would be more at home addressing the public from a fairground stall in Barnum's Circus than from a church pulpit.

Incidentally, at the time of writing this, there were 93 comments on the Daily Telegraph's blog on Nazir-Ali's article, and all but 1 of them was favourable to him and what he espoused, but whether that indicates real support for his views or simply reflects the right-wing attitude of that newspaper's readership, I'll leave that for you, dear reader, to decide for yourself.

Addendum: Since writing the above, I have found this interesting critique of Natzi-Ali which condemns him far more effectively than I have. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Science versus Religion, or the Psychopathology of Faith.

As you can see, the above flow chart is an accurate diagram of how science works. An idea or an hypothesis is posited, then tested experimentally. If the experimental evidence doesn’t accord with the hypothesis, then most scientist will make another run or two at it just in case something was wrong with the experiment. But if a number of experiments don’t confirm the hypothesis, the hypothesis is abandoned or modified and the experiments start again. If the evidence does confirm the hypothesis, then a new and useful piece of knowledge has been added to the sum of knowledge. That is science.

Now, compare the flow chart for religion:-

Notice the difference?