After a hectic week, it’s a relaxing Saturday evening and I’m going to enjoy watching my Chicago Cubs crush the Pittsburgh Pirates!
I have to do the Carnival this week, don’t I…?
I will just have to do both at the same time.
The Cubs have been doing well in the past couple weeks and whenever they get hot, talk in Chicago turns to their chances of winning the World Series. Some have said the Cubs’ odds of winning the title are astronomical. But our universe is pretty amazing. If life can form on at least one planet, then the Cubs can win the World Series. (Don’t question my logic there. It’s perfect.)
As Ain’t Christian puts it:
When you consider the incredible numbers of planets spiraling and circling throughout this vast cosmos you must entertain the thought that for some bursts of time a planet would be in the rolling in the right place at the right time with the right conditions to allow moss to gather on it.
(That post impressively ties in both the Andromeda Galaxy and boobs.)
Woo! Top of the 1st and Cubs are up 1-0! No outs.
The only thing that could stop them at this point is a disease.
Evanescent expands on the idea of one particular virus that could take ahold of anyone. (Hint: It’s religion!)
This vile infection is so ubiquitous it has even diversified so that in some parts of the world it produces different symptoms in people. Oddly, this mental pathogen will not tolerate variance of any kind even amongst other carriers, so a strong aversion to change and total lack of tolerance are classic symptoms of infection.
The Cubs’ Jacque Jones ends the top half of the inning on a close play at first. It looked like he beat the throw, but the first base umpire called him out. Jones is yelling at him. He’s mad. I think that’s a sin. (Jesus would never tolerate that.)
Dave and those like him seem inclined to fix the smashed up [sinning] people anyway, not bothering with such things as finding out whether the people are actually injured or, if they are injured, with finding out what actually injured them.
Hmm… bottom of the 2nd. Cubs are up 2-0. But the Pirates have two on with two outs. Pitcher Ted Lilly’s disappointing me right now. They might need to take him out of the game.
That solution worked for one Mormon woman.
Eight Hour Lunch tells the story of Nannette and her son Tyler. Tyler was on a mission trip for the Mormon church. His mother was sending the church $400 for his “blessings.” That’s when Nannette got a disturbing email from him:
Guess what?” he said. “They just cut our food budget from $145 a month to $130. It’s going to be really hard to eat well on that amount of money.”
Meanwhile, as Tyler and the other the missionaries in his area tried to scrape by on about four dollars a day, the Mormon Church blithely carried on with the construction of its massive billion dollar mall in downtown Salt Lake City.
So the women pulled her son out of there.
Lilly got out of the inning unscathed. *phew* We can keep him in a little longer…
Top of the 3rd. Bases loaded for the Cubs. We’re up 3-0. One out. To see a grand slam would be heavenly!
Speaking of Heaven, Tristan L. Sullivan shares a story about Paradise:
The place to create paradise is here and now. There will never be a better one. I have come to believe that the tendency to always put it ahead of us in space (up there) and in time (after I die, when I achieve this or that) is completely wrong. This is the place to do it. This is why we are here.
Ok, we got a sacrifice fly instead. 4-0. I’ll take it.
And one minute later, pitcher Lilly gets a hit! 5-0. Nice. That doesn’t happen too often for pitchers. Lilly should take that ball and put it into a museum.
But not this one. Bay of Fundie dissects the website of Canada’s Big Valley Creation Science Museum:
It is Canada’s first permanent creation museum.
As weird as that sounds, Canada has at least two traveling creationism museums. I wonder if that’s by necessity and not design. If your museum is on wheels, you can flee town before the locals realize they’ve been swindled.
Still 5-0 in the top of the 5th. The Cubs’ Jacque Jones hits a long ball! The outfielder can’t get to it in time! Home r— wait. No. It bounces near the warning track and goes into the stands for a ground rule double. Damn. Sometimes, life just isn’t fair.
That’s what the Anonymous Coward believes, too. At least that thought runs through his head when he hears a sick woman talk about why certain African countries are so poor:
Her basic conclusion was that people are starving in Africa because they are evil. They deserve it. God is punishing them for their wrongdoings.
Of course that’s not true. Life just isn’t fair.
Bottom of the 5th. Cubs up 7-0 (on 7/7/7, of course). The Pirates can still make a comeback. They just need to have faith… and faith is a good thing, right?
Richard at Philosophy, et cetera doesn’t think so. He uses a typical conversation snippet between a skeptic and a believer as a starting point for discussing how great (or not-so-great) faith is:
Skeptic: “Doesn’t it bother you that there’s no real evidence that God even exists?”
Christian: “Not at all. If God gave us proof, there’d be no room left for faith!”
Wow. Christian got me there. Guess I don’t need to look for that evidence thing after all…
Jacob at Winter’s Haven also agrees that faith is not a virtue. He goes after parents who encourage it:
… parents who teach that faith is a virtue are guilty of a high epistemic crime. To deliberately choose to believe something — anything — on faith alone is to positively embrace madness.
It’s a response to a piece written by the Atheist Ethicist (who, for the record, is not saying that faith is a virtue). I’m sure there are readers who would like to respond to Jacob.
Jamonation also distinguishes between Good Faith and Bad Faith:
The defining characteristic of bad faith is that it is not based on evidence. It is a faith that is based on wants, needs, superstitions and, if evidence is considered at all, erroneous evidence.
We’re going to the 6th inning. Cubs up 7-0!
They have great pitching. Excellent hitting. It’s not because of God that they’re doing so well.
And I was content in my atheism until I saw this statement by Francois at Check Your Premises:
Nonbelief is the realization that one has been cheated.
WTF? Oh… I see what he did there. Touché, sir.
Bottom of the 6th. Pirates have a guy on second base with no outs. Hitter Freddy Sanchez didn’t like a called strike, but after he popped out, he just walked back to his dugout. No arguing with the umpire. He would’ve been thrown out of the game if he had tried.
Had he been thrown out, though, we’d be saying how that guy was an obnoxious idiot.
Much like Rick Warren, says Shalini of Scientia Natura. (In fact, her post is called “Rick Warren is an obnoxious idiot, Part 2.” Part 2!)
… Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is one of the statements that Rick Warren seems to love in his repulsive, god-licking, mess of a self-help book…
And that’s the least critical part of the post.
Speaking of which, should religion be subject to harsh criticism? Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have done their fair share of it. No More Mr. Nice Guy agrees that doubt is good and religious claims need to be examined closely. On top of that, he shares an anecdote that really got to me:
I’ve known people in various parts of the US (not just the Deep South) who’ve had one or more of the following happen to them: cars keyed; pets tortured and/or killed; house windows broken; fired from their jobs; hate mail; death threats; beatings – just because they happen to be atheists. They weren’t trying to convert anyone, just trying to mind their own business and get on with their lives, but apparently their mere existence is enough to provoke fear, hatred, loathing and threatened or actual violence by believers.
Wow. That’s horrible. Anyone else share his experience…?
Let’s move on to something happier.
Like the 7th inning stretch!
It’s a perfect time to catch up on some reading. The Uncredible Hallq has a review of a book that’s not out just yet. It’s called Christ’s Ventriloquist. Here’s an excerpt of one of Hallq’s criticisms of the book:
The aggressive disregard for scholarship in interpreting ancient documents is inexcusable.
The author responded to the review (also in Hallq’s post). Let’s just say he wasn’t a happy camper.
Before we get back to the game, let’s open up the newspaper to the comics section. Ahh, Family Circus. My favorite. Waitaminute… this isn’t funny…
The Greenbelt adds a couple thoughts on the comic:
That’s disturbing on many levels – not least of which is that Bill Keane either didn’t think of it, or didn’t mind it. (That smug grin on little Billy’s face is pretty disturbing in itself, come to think of it.) I mean, think about it for a minute: God owes allegiance to the USA?
President Bush thinks He does, so I don’t know what The Greenbelt is talking about…
And what’s this in The New York Times? Stanley Fish has a piece on faith/science/atheism and ChemJerk doesn’t think it’s up to par with Fish’s usual work. He ends with this lovely line:
You can have faith and you can have reason, but you can’t reason faith.
Back to the game. Bottom of the 7th.
Curses! The Pirates scored. It’s 7-1.
Buddha has let us all down yet again. Maybe we should stop believing in him. He’s not all he’s cracked up to be.
Steve, the Socratic Gadfly, agrees:
… if the Buddha himself had actually obtained Buddhahood, he would have said, “Life appears to be suffering.”
Cubs get out of the inning. Still 7-1.
Time for some porn.
Twelve Years Of Being Annoyed By Chloe Sevigny (coolest blog name *ever*) talks about XXX Church’s outreach to porn stars:
Not surprisingly, in its some five years of existence, XXX Church hasn’t “saved” too many porn queens. According to most published reports, the industry and its members tend to ignore the church, regarding it as a fly in the KY, so to speak.
Back to the 8th inning. The Cubs are going to yank their pitcher and call in someone from the bullpen.
Change is sometimes necessary, though. Akusai at Action Skeptics talks about how Emporer Constantine changed Christianity– and not for the better:
Christianity, on the other hand, was irreparably scarred by his involvement. It went from a quiet, private faith populated by the truly faithful to a massive social phenomenon populated by the socially and politically expedient.
We’re going to the bottom of the 9th. Cubs are still up 7-1.
At this point, the Pirates’ fans can do themselves a favor by going through a sense of detachment and being “outside” of their bodies. But Jack at Glittering Muse explains that the popular definition of “detachment” isn’t the best explanation for it:
… it is not a separate being or other self, but a description of where the true self seems to come from when it is balanced within the body.
Game over! Cubs win!
Since I wagered a bit on the game (only Monopoly money, of course), I’m rolling in the (Monopoly) dough.
Godma knows a little something about wagers as well. She has a revamped version of Pascal’s Wager that points out a flaw in the argument. Here’s one of the revised parts:
If you don’t believe in foo and it exists, you’ll be punished for your good sense in insisting on evidence.
(What is “foo”? Read the post to find out. While you’re at it, check out the picture of the Crocoduck.)
I love living in Cubbie Nation. Everyone should join it. Then again, that could lead to fascism. And The Antichristian Phenomenon wouldn’t like that. After discussing Hitler and Mussolini, we read this:
The only other entity in the history of mankind that ruled with such absolute power has been the Abrahamic God. The same God of Endless Love who’s history is one of Endless Hate.
That game was just embarrassing for the Pirates. There’s really nowhere left for them to go.
Except the afterlife.
(Work with me here. It’s getting late.)
Doctor Biobrain has some interesting questions for those Christians who think you drop all your earthly relationships when you get to Heaven:
Why are they cool with this? I mean, what’s the point of living in Heaven for eternity if it’s not us anymore? If we completely lose our identity, memory, etc; aren’t we effectively dead? I mean, if some evil doctor removed your brain and placed the brains of another person in your head, would it still be you?
Dying doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, though. Greta Christina has a terrific article where she discusses comforting thoughts about death:
I think there are ways to look at death, ways to experience the death of other people and to contemplate our own, that allow us to feel the value of life without denying the finality of death.
That’s it for this Carnival!
Oh… there was one more submission that I couldn’t fit anywhere. (And I was so close!)
Mark at The Skwib presents popes and nuns of the future:
Sister Mary Xtron the Destroyer and her accompanist, Sister Mary Catherine Crudlik-Pamby (of the Space Ship BingePowder) will be in the Trans-Vatican this week for a limited engagement, entertaining His Hyper-Holiness, The Trans-Dimensional RoboPope, Lexnor Innocent III, and his Death Cardinals of Extreme Planetary Retribution.
You try putting that somewhere.
The next CotG is at Aardvarchaeology in two weeks.
Submit your entries here!
[tags]atheist, atheism, Aardvarchaeology, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, World Series, Christian, Andromeda Galaxy, boobs, Jacque Jones, Jesus, Dave Daubenmire, Ted Lilly, Mormon, Salt Lake City, Tristan L. Sullivan, Big Valley Creation Science Museum, Freddy Sanchez, Rick Warren, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Family Circus, God, Pledge of Allegiance, The New York Times, Stanley Fish, Buddha, porn, XXX Church, Monopoly, Hitler, Mussolini, Heaven[/tags]