Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My son in trouble at school for atheism

My 13 year old son has another issue at school related to religion. Previously he has had minor trouble when he has pointed out the flaws in his teachers thinking and the nonsense she tries to teach to the rest of the class. One of the classics was when his teacher tried to teach the class that the more people that think something is right then the more likely it is that it is true. He pointed out that most people thought the world was flat and that they were all wrong. He pointed out that most people thought the earth was the centre of the solar system and that they were all wrong. He also pointed out, to further challenge his Christian teacher's illogic that most people on the planet are not Christians and so by her own reasoning she was wrong. I am proud of him for this. His teacher was less impressed.

He's also had small issues for refusing to pray, refusing to write prayers, refusing to read prayers, refusing to take part in religious services and (and this is my favourite, not only because it is so absurd but because the same thing happened to me) asking questions!

Today, in his religious studies class he was given the task of inventing a religion. He was told to design the symbols, the clothes, the rituals, the prayers and all the other trappings of a religion.

He refused.

He told his teacher that he doesn't agree with religion and will not spend his time inventing something to which he is opposed. I absolutely support him in his decision.

Making children design a religion is obscenely stupid whichever way you look at it. It's just another angle at trying to get kids interested in the ridiculous and by encouraging their involvement make them more accepting of the subject. It's another theist trick for young minds and I'm personally appalled at the way they will try to weasel their nonsense into the minds of children whilst society at large sits back and applauds this wicked form of child abuse. What would the reaction of parents be if their children were asked to invent a form of discrimination? How would parents react if their children were commanded to invent their own form of dictatorship? How about their own form of slavery?

My son refused to take part. His teacher, since my son still remains her best pupil for purely academic reasons, let it go only saying that he should think about his decision and they will pick up the subject tomorrow. In other words, go and think about what an awful thing you've done. She should be careful what she wishes for.

He asked me what I thought about it all so I told him that he had my full support. He asked me what he could do if this resulted in some disciplinary action against him, which it probably will. So I told him "Ask her if she would discipline a Muslim child who considered her request blasphemy and also refused to take part". There are Muslim children in his class and I can imagine this striking a nerve – not least because I suspect she will immediately be nervous of offending the parents of these children. She will especially feel those nerves start to tingle if he asks her this in front of the rest of the class. She does not even need to give her answer because her answer is obvious. She would excuse them from the task.

So why is it ok to excuse someone from an idiot activity at school based solely on the idiot beliefs of their parents whilst it is not immediately obvious to her that it is unacceptable to victimise a child for having the character to stand by his own convictions arrived at through reason?

My son is no idiot and he is very well educated. He and I talk a great deal about science, mathematics, critical thinking, and yes, religion. He does share my opinions on religion just as a Christian child likely shares their Christian parent's beliefs. The difference here is that he knows why he thinks as he thinks. He has not learned dogma. He has learned to question. He has learned enough of the holes in what he is being nudged to accept that it is fair to say that he is more an atheist than any child is a Christian because he actually understands why – as I think is apparent by the challenges he thought of and presented himself when his teacher tried to teach him the nonsense that what most people believe is probably right.

My son reminds me of myself when I was younger. My mother was a Christian and encouraged me to be the same. My father was and remains an atheist, but he never even spoke to me on the subject until I was in my late teens and even then it was only to tell me that I was too hard on religion and that whilst it is obviously dribble it is nice dribble that does more good than harm and that I should leave it alone. In further discussions we have had he has since changed his mind. He now considers religion to be an unpleasant infection of the human race for which we should urgently find a cure.

But, I was brought up by a Christian mother in a school where we were made to pray (I refused). I was even sent to Sunday school for a short period before I was expelled (for asking questions). I had my own thoughts and there was no room in them for a god or a saviour or ritual or prayer. My son really is just the same – except for the fact that he has a father who will back him up 100% in his refusal to be forced into fairy tale idiocy that he finds insultingly stupid and absurd. He objects without my interference, just as I did when the only interference I received was in favour of believing the obviously false.

Good for him.

At the end of our conversation he asked if I would write him something about the likely non-existence of an historical Jesus Christ that he could use to open a discussion with his teacher. I agreed so long as he would learn from it, do his own further research and then write his own paper to take to his teacher. He agreed to this. So I will now get to work and write a case against Christ. I will post what I end up writing here.

If it's worth writing at all it is worth writing thoroughly – so within a week or two please expect a vicious and factual attack against the big man himself.

Jesus, you're going down bitch! It must be so. My son is going to school to tell his teacher "My dad will kick the shit out of your god" and I'm going to make sure he's right :)

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 WHOIS info hacked

I found an intruder in one of my computers today (if you are reading this, intruder, then you'll be pleased to know that I got your host and have already reported you to your university and the FBI). As a result of this I checked out absolutely everything and whilst checking one of the IP addresses with which I had an established connection I found that I was not the only one being bothered by online miscreants.

Check this out:

Whois Server Version 2.0

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to
for detailed information.


That's's whois data. Try it yourself here.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007


Some time ago I had an experience where a group of Moroccans threatened me when they overheard me say that there is no god in a conversation at a terrace bar. I think I posted about it. What impressed me was their willingness to threaten violence in defence of their religion whilst they were drinking beers. Pure hypocrisy.

Last night it happened again!

I was in a bar having a conversation with somebody I know and a Moroccan gentleman who was in the bar by himself made a great effort to join in the conversation. The conversation was not about religion. He seemed like a nice enough person and he was welcome to join in. Everything was light hearted and friendly. A little way into the conversation my friend mentioned that his father was Moroccan and due to the turn the conversation took at that point my friend also revealed that he is not a Muslim and that in fact, in his opinion, religion is bullshit. I agreed with his assertion.

Our new friend did not.

He immediately told us, absolutely seriously, that we can talk about anything but not about religion. So I asked him why and he told me again that I can talk about anything I like but not about religion.

That just doesn’t work for me.

“Why not?” I asked. And he told me that it’s not acceptable for us to insult religion. So I asked why not and the conversation began to get a little tense. My friend leapt in to make everything nice again by saying that all religions are about peace and being nice to other people and so essentially religion is a “nice” thing. A complete turn around from his “religion is bullshit statement” I thought, and an obviously false statement. I asked my friend about the Old Testament’s pure and vicious nastiness apparent throughout and various features of the New Testament such as Luke 19:27. He didn’t know any of the verses I mentioned but our new friend was at this point perfectly willing to step in and mention that Christianity is bullshit.

Ok, my suspicion was confirmed. It was not talking about religion, or mentioning that religion is bullshit, that he wanted to prohibit. He specifically refused to allow any disagreement with Islam. I decided to push the point. I told him “You’re telling us we can’t even mention religion but you can say that Christianity is bullshit! So you are defending Islam whilst clearly a little drunk and with a beer in your hand. You’re a hypocrite and your religion is nonsense”. This didn’t go down very well, although to his credit he remained calm. Another Moroccan sitting just behind me was not taking things so well (he was also drinking).

How can people take themselves seriously when they are prepared to fight to defend a religion that they are defecating on before it is even challenged? It is utterly ridiculous and people, such as my friend, bending over backwards with clearly false statement (Islam is peace) to appease when threatened is every bit as bad as the “religion demands violent defence” attitude of the ignorant and hypocritical fanatics.

To cut a long story short, the night ended without violence. I am almost certain it ended that way because I was brutally open, unconcerned and absolutely unapologetic in expressing my distaste and disagreement for the hypocrisy of someone being aggressive in defence of a religion they are themselves in the act of defiling. My stance made it obvious that if he was prepared to fight over his hypocrisy then I was prepared to fight over my right to speak freely. I suspect there is a lesson there to be applied on a larger scale.

Sure, there are some fanatics, the jihadis, who are prepared to kill and die for their small minded belief. There are less prepared to stand up with such conviction when their aggression is given the respect it deserves – absolutely none – and it is made clear that we are also prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect our freedoms.

It is these little battles that will change the minds of Muslims, especially in Europe. As individuals we have to be prepared to take our opinions beyond the blog and into daily life and be ready to stand firmly behind our convictions and in the front line in facing down the religious aggression that attempts to limit our freedom.

I’ve had numerous occasions in which I have been threatened by Muslims. Some of these have been during conversations in which I have asked them about their beliefs. Some have been occasions in which I have been overheard. Some of the Muslims have been drinking (most) and some have not. Every time I have maintained the same attitude of refusing to accept their demand to censor what I am allowed to say or think. Every time, even though events have become very aggressive and hot, I have remained calm but refused to budge even an inch to accommodate their ridiculous and aggressive demands and every time I am certain that it has been that conviction that has kept violence at bay.

I am prepared to fight, in a huge war or a tiny personal battle in bar, to maintain my right to think and express. I am unashamed of my opinions and no threat will ever make me feel that I should be silent because of the sensibilities of those who cannot accept debate.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Welcome All Aryans (and white people also).

I’ve just looked at my stats out of vague curiosity and seen that a couple of recent visitors have been referred from this URL:

The string "Aryan" sort of leapt out at me so I decided to take a look and I saw that I’ve been linked to from within this forum. The particular linked post is a video clip musical attack against Islam titled Musical Interlude of no particular importance. Taking a quick look at this forum reveals the following welcoming message from the folks over at the Pan Aryan Alliance:

"Friends & Allies Friends and allies of the white race, nationalists of the other races who wish to work together to pursue common interests and to fight against the common enemies. Please read the FAQ for important information."

Now, I’ve been likened lots of times to a white supremacist when I criticise Islam (despite the fact that I have never revealed my own ethnicity). I’ve been accused of being racist for attacking Islam more times than I can remember (despite the fact that Islam is an ideology and not a race). So now that I am being linked to from a forum on a White Supremacist site I’d like to state something again that I have stated many times before. Race has absolutely nothing to do with my opinion about Islam.

I am not a racist.

It has been my experience that there are very many essentially decent people with very many essentially stupid ideas that fail to conform to reality. So, although it may seem unusual for me not to leap into a tirade of abuse against visitors from the Pan Aryan Alliance, I’m not going to. Can I say "being a racist doesn’t make somebody a bad person" and get away with it? I doubt it, but I’m saying it anyway. Being a racist is a bad personality trait and racism is certainly a belief that does not gel with our scientific understanding of the human body, brain and mind. Racism is also undoubtedly one of those unclean catch all phrases polluted by myriad factors other than that for which it claims to be the central guide (race). For example, am I racist if I don’t trust people as much when I’m in South Africa as I do when I’m in Japan? Well, I’d say not. There are learned cultural influencers acting upon a persons behaviour at all times. I am more likely to be a victim of violent crime in Johannesburg than I am in Tokyo as the cultures in the two cities are different with regards to that particular behaviour. Do I attribute that to differences in skin colour?

Of course I do not.

I attribute it to different social conditions due to different social attitudes, which are dynamic, highly dependent upon a very large number of other dynamic factors and no more permanent than the morning dew. I think a lot of people are racist because they forget how barbaric their own ancestors were. I think a lot of people are racist because they don’t fully understand what a thin sliver of infrastructure enhancing recent history separates them from the non-physical attributes that they attribute to others based purely on appearance.

So instead of attacking and insulting I’d like to invite visitors from the Pan Aryan Alliance (PAA) and everybody else to discuss your views here and justify them. I’ll attempt to do the same with my view that race is a term that the vast majority of scientific opinion agrees has little or no taxonomic value or significance, in that race is determined by a selective set of visually obvious physical (and to some degree cultural) markers that have no correlation to any observed psychological attributes. In other words, the colour of someone’s skin has absolutely fuck all to do with the functioning of their mind – people are people.

I’d like to start it off by attacking a precept required to be racist – a strong ethnic identity. It is impossible for one to be racist against others unless one first defines their own race. Now, the people over at PAA have obviously already done so by defining themselves as Aryan. So what does Aryan actually mean? Let’s take a look.

It turns out that Aryan is actually a word describing the ancient Indo-Iranian and Indo-European peoples who lived in what are now Iran, Afghanistan and India. In fact, one of the things that surprised me when I lived in India and started learning Hindi was that there are words that are virtually identical in Spanish and Hindi (coming from Sanskrit, a pure Aryan language) despite the fact that these are not modern words. In fact, the vast array of languages in India’s past and present are distinguished as being Aryan (e.g. Hindi) or non-Aryan (Dravidian and Kol influenced languages eg. Munda) because the Aryan languages share origins with Zend, Persian, Greek Latin, Celtic, Teutonic and Slavonic whilst so called non-Aryan languages do not. In Sanskrit the word Aryan actually means spiritual and has no physical or materialistic connotations or meanings whatsoever. European Aryan languages have been criticised as being not truly Aryan due to the materialistic focus of the languages being incompatible with the spiritual focus of Sanskrit. I tend not to agree with that, but it is interesting to note the degree to which the debate is taken when considering Aryan languages to distance the classification from having any suggestion of physicality. It certianly has never meant "white", that much at least is certain.

It shouldn’t surprise modern misusers of the word Aryan that it actually has its roots in India and the history of the Vedas. After all, the most famous Aryan symbol of all time shares an ancient Indian history. I am speaking of course of the Swastika.

The Swastika continues to be a very common sight in India today that has absolutely nothing at all to do with National Socialism. The symbol itself is the oldest known symbol, predating the Ankh. It has been recorded throughout history in many cultures including in China, Japan, India, Southern Europe and even by Native American cultures. This should not surprise anybody that is familiar with the strong law of small numbers.

"There aren't enough small numbers to meet the many demands made of them." - Gardner 1980, Guy 1988ab, Guy 1990 - The first strong law of small numbers.

I’ll explain.

Have you ever sat down to design a symbol and found that all the good ones are already taken? If not, try it now.

A good symbol will generally be simple, involving a small number of lines or simple shapes. These sorts of symbols are easier for us to remember and recognise. After all, our brains are designed to work with small numbers also. However, if all you work with is small numbers then the number of options you can come up with becomes limited. If you look at the car grille badges of the cars you pass each day you’ll see what I mean very quickly.

When we are dealing with small numbers there are smaller numbers of useful options and so it should be no surprise that the Swastika should have emerged independently in many different cultures. The only problem with this however, with the exception of the Native Americans, is that it did not emerge independently. Despite having become known by many different names in different parts of the world the Swastika has its origins in India, where it is known in the Sanskrit as "svastika" which literally means "to be good" and it is a common religious symbol of life and good luck, also commonly used by Buddhists. One source of amusement for western tourists in India is the number of items offered for sale to them (from handbags and t-shirts to ashtrays) brightly emblazoned with a large and cheerful swastika central to a pleasant and frequently busy patterned design. The symbol has more than 3,000 years of tradition in India and the Nazis didn’t succeed in disassociating a much loved symbol from its historically positive meaning.

So, the so-called Aryans, just like the symbol they made infamous across much of the World by association with racially motivated mass murder took both the word they use to describe their ethnicity and the symbol they march behind from, that’s right, dark skinned, brown eyed, Indians.

It should therefore follow that the Pan Aryan Alliance, if we take its name as any indicator, should be a thriving social club with an agenda of promoting European, Iranian and Indian superiority slightly preferencing darker skinned, darker eyed members for being more "Aryan" than their pale skinned, blonde haired, blue eyed colleagues.

What I’m getting at here is that of course the very idea of ethnicity is total HORSE SHIT. Our differences are largely due to geographical isolation having lead to cultural differentiation on time scales that are much too short for evolution to have had chance to cause speciation. For that matter, evolution has also failed to result in any known significant physiological difference that has any relationship to intelligence or any social aspect of our behaviour. In other words – we are all equal.

If you want to believe that you are an African American because your ancestors came more recently from African than did those of the Japanese American next to you then fine – go right ahead. But if you also think that gives you some sort of special connection to Africa or some tiny temporal slice of an ever changing and dynamic culture that means you should feel different to the Japanese American next to you then quite frankly you are deluding yourself away from reality. And in my mind you are just as guilty of unfounded racism as the Pan Aryan Alliance that think you are some sort of half-animal, subhuman scum because you happen to have an all year tan or a different texture to your hair. It’s ridiculous and means about as much to me as stating that if someone is English that means they must like to watch football and drink tea.

Most racist people are racist against perceived traits. Sometimes those perceived traits are learned as part of culture. Sometimes those perceived traits are due to differences in infrastructure and education. Most of the time however, those perceived traits don’t even exist – they are the ghosts of ignorant hatred and ignorant pride. And even those traits which are real, such as skin colour and some other minor characteristics of appearance have absolutely no connection to how our brains are wired and that is why race is widely considered to have absolutely no taxonomic value whatsoever.

Being racist is against the evidence. Being racist, white and calling yourself an Aryan is just stupid and it should be a wake up call for you to consider checking up on some facts. Maybe, if you question, you'll find your opinions begin to change. Good luck.


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Saturday, January 06, 2007

The end of Christmas

I went out for a walk this morning to find that the only shops open were bakers selling Roscón de Reyes - a traditional family sized donut eaten in millions of homes across Spain every year on the 6th of January. So it is the last day of the Christmas festivities :)

To celebrate I thought I'd post the following videos, allowing Christians to reveal for you themselves (that's right, this is a film made by Christians for Christians) the origins of the Christmas fetivities and traditions.

What else don't you know about your religion? Do you still claim without intended irony that you know the ultimate truth and yet you are humble, as your religion demands?

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Friday, January 05, 2007

The blind leading the blonde

I don't usually write about work for two reasons. One, I keep my work and non-work life separate. Two, I'm not keen on the idea of the sort of argument I will have if someone I should consider my boss discovered that I have a blog and then decided to try and tell me what I can and cannot write on it. But today I'd like to share just one story because it relates to what this blog is essentially about – the battle between rationality and irrationality, smart and stupid, fact and faith.

I work in one of those companies that is full of upper management that pride themselves on being progressive and forward thinking by using and promoting terms such as these:

  • Think outside the box

  • Innovative, creative problem solving.

  • Solution focussed

  • Proactive attitude.

Blah, blah, blah.

I really don't mean to be disdainful as I actually completely agree with promoting these ideas. What I object to is the blindness displayed by these people by expecting innovative and creative problem solving ideas and thoughts from out side of the box to fit within the constraints on thinking that they are not even aware they have. It's absurd – and they are about as proactive and solution focussed when it comes to expanding their own thinking as the average potato has been in the field of aeronautical engineering.

Let's take an example. Right now I am facing some friction because I am pointing out that some of the people we employ within our company are not just utterly useless but are so unskilled in the skill sets required to fulfil their responsibilities that they are actually a significant liability resulting in consistent revenue reduction and reduction in our flexibility as an organisation. The people I am talking with completely agree with me on this point.

What I am also trying to point out is that the methodology of solving this problem that has been unsuccessfully applied for the past three years is what we need to change. They just don't get it.

Despite constant failure to make any improvement in three years, several managers, directors and efficiency experts having been thrown at the problem, people still refuse to think outside the box by considering that maybe they are still in a box that they just can't see. I can see the box pretty clearly and the funny thing about it is that it is a box made of good intentions. I shall try to explain.

Regardless of the other solutions suggested and implemented to resolve the problem of a ridiculously inefficient and costly microenvironment of utterly unskilled parasites having formed within the company absolutely nobody wants to go against the company ethos of being "nice". Nobody can believe that the problem might actually be the people and not some other facet of process or company structure. Even though I work for a very large multinational we are a very informal company and everybody is on first name terms. This is good, but it is also costly because the greatest crime within the company is not being a useless slack-jawed, error-pone, unskilled, consistently wrong, half-witted, revenue leaking parasite. No. The most serious of all crimes within the company is the failure to apply the "positive" attitude of an out-of-box-thinking, creative, informal, first names only please, innovator to everyone around you – regardless of whether or not they deserve it - even if the people around you are clearly idiots, utterly lacking the skills or intelligence required to do their job.

It's an odd situation. It's perfectly alright, and totally accurate, to point out that there exist a group of people with a key responsibility who are utterly unskilled in the areas of expertise required to fulfil their responsibilities. It's perfectly okay to point out the massive effect this has had on revenues, the incredible inefficiencies and general slow down this inflicts upon the rest of the company. Everybody agrees. But the instant that you point out that for three years these people have not only resisted every single attempt to educate them usefully but have consistently demonstrated absolutely none of the solution focused, proactive, think out side the box sort of creative, innovative approach to work that has become the company religion (like so many) then suddenly you have committed the ultimate sin and you are not being a team player. You're not respecting your co-workers!

Does this remind anybody else of multiculturalism?

So think outside the box people by all means. And be creative! Be innovators! But for fuck's sake, don't have the audacity to point out that in some cases it is the person that is the problem and not the box they've currently got their head stuck in, blocking out the joyous light of creative intelligence!

The "be nice to everybody" box, for some inexplicable reason, is the one box we are supposed to constrain our thinking well within. And the situation is so bad now that you can't actually criticise anybody. You have to criticise a process. It's ridiculous and it reminds me of the apologetics so common in religion and other irrational, baseless, evidence avoiding belief systems.

So for three years I have been saying that we have a microenvironment formed within our business that is responsible for a service we depend upon and yet is utterly unable to fulfil that responsibility. The problem is literally due to the fact that the people in that microenvironment do not have the specific technical skills required to perform the tasks required of them and for three years they have been hidden and protected by the "think out side the box" box that has lead everyone to believe that nothing is anybodies fault anymore but just a consequence of thinking about things in the wrong terms. For three years I have provided irrefutable evidence backing up every single claim I have made and for three years I have watched and argued with those that come in attempting to apply a solution that doesn't address the source of the problem – which is that we have people employed to do something that they have absolutely no idea how to do.

I try to illustrate this with metaphor about employing drivers who don't know how to drive or surgeons that know nothing at all about anatomy but it is utterly lost on them. They agree what the problem is, they understand the severe costs and yet they are utterly incapable of seeing that the solution to the problem lies just outside the walls of the feel good factor box. Sack the bastards and employ replacements with the right skills or move the unit under the control of someone that already has the right skills (me) and let them drag the others up to a workable standard.

It'll never happen. Apparently it's not an option as their previous management might feel that they were in some way being singled out for the absolute failure of the unit they allegedly controlled! Thinking obviously still stuck firmly in the stupid box!

In the meantime I am consistently told how I need to work on my communications style. I'm told how I have offended someone or how someone else doesn't like the idea that it might be considered somehow their fault that this unit is underperforming and that I need to approach the issue more constructively. Apparently my communication style and me learning not to have the indecency to point out gapiung wounds in our revenue stream incae I offend anyone is far more important than company performance.

Truly staggering! Yet, I have seen just this sort of madness so many times before.

Oh well, at least it's good for a laugh.

Please feel free to share your stories of work place absurdities. It is indeed a beautiful aspect of the natural universe that it so often provides comedy that makes Douglas Adams' efforts seem as much documentary as fantasy.


Ironically, two minutes after posting my first blog post about my work I have received an email from my employers, who have finally caught onto the idea that blogging can be good for business, inviting me to start a blog related to my work.

Hehehehe, they know not for what they ask, but they shall have it anyway ;)

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15 hours of smart people and smart discussion

If you haven't already seen Beyond Belief 2006 then I suggest you check it out here. There's a whole 15 hours of relatively interesting debate and presentations from some very well known scientists and philosophers including the always on form Richard Dawkins. What's great about this is not the depth of the discussion, which quite frankly surprised me in the way that even at this level people trot out the same stupid arguments, but the beginnings of a genuine sense of responsibility within the scientific community to begin to take leadership in the promotion of critical thinking and the definition and dissemination of demonstrable truth. It's really quite exciting.

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I'll be back

Ive started writing some stuff which I hope to post before Monday. Nothing special, just a gentle slide back into posting and aimed towards getting more serious (like I wanted to).

In the meantime here's a pretty good quote of the day which sums up the absurdity of the god of Abraham:

"We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes."

-Gene Roddenberry, Creator of Star Trek (1921-1991).

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