Talk among yourselves.

Whatever contagion that my roommate has been carting around the house has found it’s way into me.  I’m going to spite it by awarding myself a three day weekend and resting.  So you all can talk among yourselves.

If I’m wrong, and there is a heaven to which I must go before getting to spend eternity with my friends in hell, I’m going to kick god square in the nuts for inventing disease.  I was recently in a debate in Santa Cruz where I brought up the fact that god’s design kind of makes him look like a dick, and my opponent said that god didn’t create disease.  So if stuff can exist that god didn’t create, what’s the need to have god create anything?  If you’re going to give god the credit for puppies, you gotta give him the blame for sickness.

You know what?  There’s what you can all talk about: what charges should we levy against god.  Here’s a few from me:

1.  Made food that’s good for us taste bad and food that’s bad for us taste good.

2.  Wisdom teeth.

3.  Made us dependent on food, which results in a lot of children (many of which are Christian), starving to death slowly and painfully.

4.  Had the power to stop Hitler, Torquemada, Ratzinger, Stalin, etc.  Didn’t, despite all the praying.  But fixed the cataracts of Sam’s mum.  Occasionally helps some more-deserving American win the lottery.

5.  Didn’t make pregnancy a conscious decision.

You guys go nuts with some more.  See you tomorrow.

FAITH: Jesus is not the answer to this question.
PERSONAL: Cancer sucks.
POLITICS & GAY RIGHTS: Arkansas about to pass an anti-gay law just like Indiana’s.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Pulse

    4. Had the power to stop Hitler, Torquemada, Ratzinger, Stalin, etc. Didn’t, despite all the praying. But fixed the cataracts of Sam’s mum. Occasionally helps some more-deserving American win the lottery.

    Don’t forget God’s hand in every [insert favorite sports team name] important victory.

    • Feminerd

      And important loss! Since if God favors one team over the other, he’s obviously at fault for the upsets too.

  • unbound55

    “Made food that’s good for us taste bad and food that’s bad for us taste good.”

    Not sure that is as much about God as it is about what humans have been doing to food for a long time now. Harvard came out with a big study not long ago pointing out that red meat is actually good for you; it is the highly processed meats (e.g. hot dog, sausage, bacon) that is bad for you…noting that the vast majority of studies on red meat / fat impact never dig into that important difference.

    As for charges to levy against God, I’ll go with a classic one: Why won’t God heal amputees?

  • Glodson

    This is a common problem in fiction. There’s even a trope for it.

    If god took care of all of the problems, there would be no conflict. Which makes for a bad narrative hook, so there’s got to be a bit of Reed Richards is Useless going on in the religion.

    • Pulse

      We can still charge God with refusing to take care of the problems that humans are powerless to prevent, things like natural disasters. The case for God’s goodness would be easier to make if all conflict in the world were created by humans being human.

      • Glodson

        But if god prevented these, then the fictional world that exists in religion wouldn’t be a good match for our real world. Which is what breaks that whole suspension of disbelief.

  • Laury Plant

    Aside from some of the obvious (FUUUUUCK CANCER) I think we can also include a failure to explain why owning another human being as property is a bad thing mkay…

    Oh and not sorting out that whole list of ‘abominations’ things that some are ok now, but others are totes not cool. That could use some updating I think.

    • Andrew Kohler

      To build on this very fine point:

      You know all of those wars where people were killing each other because
      they couldn’t agree on who had the correct version of God? Might that
      not have been a good time for God to fire up the burning bush and offer some clarification?

      Here are some other ways in which God could have intervened most helpfully:

      1. Telling people to take their sick children to the hospital instead of (or, for that matter, in addition to) praying over them.
      2. Telling people that actually honor killings aren’t such a good idea.
      3. Telling people that trying to keep LGBT citizens from having equal rights isn’t very nice.
      Telling people not to take sharp objects to their children’s genitalia
      (or at the very least not suck on the wounds they create without being
      tested for herpes–Google “metzitzah b’peh New York” if you don’t to
      know what I’m referring).
      5. Telling people not to preach sexual repression and/or terrifying children with horrific stories of hellfire.
      6. Telling people not to burn books and destroy works of art.
      7. Telling people not to worry so much about blasphemy.
      8. Telling people that death by stoning is not a fitting punishment for the crimes of gathering wood on the wrong day of the week, being an unruly child, not being a virgin on your wedding night (women only, of course!), etc. Oh, and that making single women marry their rapists is not a very keen idea, either.
      9. Telling people that genocide is never a good idea.
      10. In general, telling people not to commit atrocities in his/her/ze/etc name.

      This is, of course, very much a partial list.

  • Jasper

    I’d personally bring up flesh-eating bacteria, or the acid-spraying hornets in Japan who kill about 40 people a year… things that can’t be tied to humans “fall from grace” (viruses could, bacteria can’t).

    • invivoMark

      Why do you say viruses could, and bacteria can’t?

      • Feminerd

        Probably because bacteria are alive, and thus definitely “created”, while viruses arguably aren’t alive and thus could have come about by sin. Or something? Basically, I think Jasper is saying that if it’s alive, you can blame God for it since ze created it like that (since we’re pretending evolution isn’t a thing either), but if it’s not alive, then maybe God’s not to blame.

      • Jasper

        Viruses operate by injecting their own DNA into cells, adding code to the cell’s DNA, and hijack the cell to do its own thing, whereas bacteria don’t, and just eat stuff like a bear gnawing on your arm.

        In this way, viruses tend to be mostly species-specific, and it could be argued that our falling from grace caused our cells’ DNA to be susceptible to the viruses… whereas the bacteria would “gnaw” on things regardless of their DNA.

        … or something like that.

        • invivoMark

          Well, that’s not necessarily true!

          For instance, influenza is known to infect birds, pigs, dogs, camels, horses, ferrets, cats, seals, mink, whales, blow flies, mosquitoes, civets, cows, rabbits, pikas, foxes, and many others. The CDC has a list of critters known to be susceptible to H5N1 influenza.

          Insects in particular are important reservoirs of human-infective viruses; so much so that we have a name for them: arboviruses. It’s not a taxonomic grouping, since arboviruses aren’t all closely related, but it includes species from many families of viruses.

          On the other hand, Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Bordetella pertussis are thought to be specific to only humans, and some strains of E. coli (both pathogenic and commensal) are also limited to humans.

          Also, some bacteria can insert genes into their host’s genome, similar to the way that retroviruses do. Agrobacterium tumefaciens does this in plants, where it transfers a plasmid that inserts directly into chromosomal DNA. This plasmid then causes the plant to start growing a crown gall (basically a tumor). It’s possible that some bacteria can do this to mammals as well, maybe including humans.

          Biology is messy, but extremely fascinating! :-)

          • Jasper

            Well fuck.. no actually, that’s good. We can throw them back into the list again.

            After all, why would God make viruses if it wasn’t part of his plan? Even if we were talking about only animals suffering from them, why would he make one creature, and then make another organism (depending on the definition of life) attack it?

            Is God some kind of dog-fight organizer or something?

          • Feminerd

            Indeed! Avian flu and swine flu are both named that because they incubate in birds and pigs respectively. SARS was an avian-to-human transmission. HIV/AIDS probably became a human disease after people butchered and/or ate undercooked bush meat (monkeys). Ebola hangs out in bats, we think, though they don’t seem to get sick from it. It causes hemorrhagic fevers in humans and monkeys.

            Emerging diseases are really cool. Terrifying, but cool. Most of them emerge from animal hosts into the human population, though, so I don’t think Jasper’s logic holds.

          • invivoMark

            Well, presumably, all infectious diseases emerge from animal hosts into humans. The alternatives are spontaneous generation, or spontaneous mutation of a virulence factor in a commensal organism. I suppose the latter can certainly happen, but it’s likely extremely rare.

          • Little Magpie

            Speaking of retroviri; some book I read on the early history of HIV/AIDS (might have been And the Band Played On, but I wouldn’t swear to it) – said that a lot of infectious-disease-specialist reaction to HIV as the causative was “naah, it can’t really be a retrovirus – how *veterinary*” – because we’d already known for some time about other immunodeficiency retroviri in animals (I don’t know how long we’d known about SIV – the monkey version, at the time that AIDS showed up, but we’d known about FIV (cats) for a good while.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I once had a two hour conversation pointing out all the horrible things/general inadequacies of pregnancy and how they disproved any sort of intelligent design.

    Then again, my pro-choice/pro-forced birth position wasn’t solidified until I had my son, and I came down solidly “Life probably starts at viability, and women should have unfettered access to abortion at least for the first trimester,” so I was probably doing it wrong.

  • Loqi

    Why does god allow Glenn Beck?

    • Jasper

      Why was Firefly cancelled?

      • Loqi

        Perhaps god told Fox to cancel Glenn Beck and … well, you know his aim. Perhaps Sam’s mom should have prayed for god to fix his own eyesight first.

  • Philip May

    Lack of Intelligent Design in the creation of that hairy, wrinkly male embarrassment, the scrotum.

    • Nate Frein

      I always thought they were cute and fun to play with D:

      • Beutelratti

        Ball games ftw?

        • Nate Frein


    • baal

      You could inflate it with saline to take the wrinkles out.

    • Ubi Dubium

      And why this most vulnerable part on a male is hanging right out in front, in harm’s way. Other mammals have it safely stowed where it’s much less likely to be damaged. And birds carry it around internally. It’s almost like god thought “kick in the groin” videos were funny, and was planning ahead for that. (More evidence of the FSM!)

      • Little Magpie

        Well Ubi, need I remind you what Depeche Mode said? (ie, that God has a sick sense of humour?)

        • Ubi Dubium

          Yes indeed. This is all pointing to the deep and sincere Truth of the Pastafarian Theory of Unintelligent Design (UD) which of course should be given exactly as much time in public school science curricula as creationism. Teach the Controversy!

  • invivoMark

    Why did God make all the arguments for His existence really crappy, and make the people who defend Him sound really dumb?

  • Zugswang

    1. Made us dependent on a form of ultraviolet radiation to produce active vitamin D, but also gives us wrinkles, sunburn, and skin cancer.

    2. Allowed fructose to bypass important regulatory steps in sugar catabolism that regulates hunger, then loads up fruits, honey, etc with the stuff, and makes our brains crave the stuff.

    3. Made food and breathing go down the same tube, with a flimsy little epiglottis to separate the branch point. Choking, pulmonary obstructions, and hiccups are not a good trade-off for the ability to belch on a whim.

    4. Human eyes can only barely detect polarized light, and yet mantis shrimp can see in spectra that would make our brains stroke out.

    5. Could have told us about using insulin to treat diabetes before Fred Banting figured it out in 1920.

    6. Testosterone turns boys into men, then later, gets converted to dihydrotestosterone, taking away our glorious mane and swelling our prostates.

    7. Speaking of the prostate, telling people that masturbation is bad, when doing so reduces risk of prostate cancer.

    8. Did you think it’d be funny to deprive so many Asians of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase?

    There’s so many more just relating to physiology and biochemistry, but that’s a start.

  • Feminerd

    Amusement park in the sewer area. (Our genitals are right next to our excretory organs)

    Seriously, what kind of “engineer” thought that was a good idea?

    • Andrew Kohler

      Damn it, you stole mine!! :-P It’s okay though–I figured someone else would beat me to it; that one’s a classic.

      Funny you should ask what kind of “engineer”:

      (Scroll down to “If God were an engineer”)

    • Beutelratti

      Probably one that had the practicability of anal sex in mind.

      Oh whoops, that rules out a lof of “engineers”.

  • Logan Blackisle

    I’m kinda miffed about genetic diseases, and how ridiculously accident prone we are.

    Here are three nasty genetic diseases, that really highlight nature’s cruel indifference:

    -Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (bones grow instead of normal tissue)

    -Progeria (rapid aging)

    -Tay–Sachs disease (attacks nerve cells and cognitive function, death usually at age 4)

  • Andrew Kohler

    Well said–and speaking of circumcision, one of my favorite topics (and spectacularly overrated as a health measure), I was going to ask why God is so indecisive with his/her/whatever pronoun you prefer design for the human genitalia (male and female, to say nothing of intersex) that he seems to have instructed some cultures that they absolutely must take knives to their children’s private parts, whereas others never seem to have received that memo (thank FSM).

    There is a Jewish law saying that if a woman loses two or three (there isn’t consensus on the number) sons to circumcision, the third won’t be circumcised until he’s older. What does it say that this even has to be a law? And that it has to be at least TWO!?

    • Art_Vandelay

      Or why do we allow people that go to faith healing churches…Christian Scientists and whatnot…even keep their kids at all? I mean, even if you haven’t killed one yet, shouldn’t this be something that DCYF needs to be a little more proactive about?

  • baal

    “I’m going to kick god square in the nuts for inventing disease”
    The irony here is that given how biology works, disease is expected. I would be shocked if there weren’t viri, bacteria and archae who lived to the detriment on other life. Were disease absent, it’d be a pretty damn good hint at a deity.

  • baal

    Our bipedal back/hip/shoulder design looks an awful lot like a kludge on a quadrupedal design. This creates birthing problems and a rather high prevalence of back issues.

  • Ubi Dubium

    Lactose Intolerance. (urp!!)

  • Little Magpie

    Also, JT – sorry you’re feeling rotten: get well soon!

  • Katet

    The thing where your eyelashes constantly fall out into your eyes, but long nose hairs are practically impossible to get rid of without crying.

  • Beutelratti

    Pollen allergy! Like seriously, it’s spring, you want to go outside, you want to enjoy the sunshine, you want to delve into God’s perfect creation™, you inhale the fresh air that is filled with flowery odours and … ATCHOO!!!11!1!!

  • Link Daddy

    Q: You work out, right? Why did God make staying-in-shape so HARD? Why is eating healthy so DIFFICULT? Why can’t he just hand us everything on a platter if He is so almighty and omnipotent?

    A: Maybe the process benefits us in some way? Is it possible that He is teaching us that we are capable of hard work and perseverance and striving for what is good to benefit ourselves and others…Maybe he is teaching us moderation (i.e. “unhealthy” food and drink – chocolate and coffee and alcohol are actually beneficial in moderation)?

    Q: What are wisdom teeth good for?
    A: (Ahhh, scientific benefit…you can relate).

    Q: Why do I need gas for my car or oil to heat my house? Why do we need food to energize our bodies? Why are there scarcities of these “life-fuels” in certain areas of the world? What are you and I to do about this?

    A: The bible answers these questions:

    But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. -Matthew 6:30-32

    “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ -Matthew 25:34-40

    Are we responsible for the welfare of our fellow human beings? Is God to blame for designing it this way? Why should we have to lift a finger when He could just do it Himself? Could He be teaching us the love with His Love.

    Q: Why has God “allowed” exceedingly evil people to gain power over peoples and nations? (It is offensive that you included Pope Benedict XVI in your list, by the way – cheap and ignorant shot across the bow). Why doesn’t He just zap them out of existence?

    A: If God held us all up to His standards (perfection!), we would all be zapped out of existence. Has humanity learned anything from this evil? Have you?

    Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. -2 Timothy 3:12

    Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. -2 Thessalonians 3:1-3

    Q&A: How is pregnancy not a conscious decision? Biologically speaking, sex is for the express purpose of reproduction. It is the means by which humans and animals propagate the species. If you have sex, you are making a conscious decision to take responsibility for the life of another human being. If you are a real man, you are making a conscious decision to be prepared to take responsibility for the provision and well-being of your mate and a child. Marriage is a sacred covenant and contract that formalizes this responsibility. Absconding this responsibility is selfish and immature. Not admitting that pregnancy is a conscious decision is delusional.

    • islandbrewer

      Q: What are wisdom teeth good for?

      A:… (Ahhh, scientific benefit…you can relate).

      That’s kind of contrived. Aborted embryos are a much more plentiful source of superior stem cells. Cells from wisdom teeth tend to have a lot of epithelial specific cascades already started.

      And the bible provides incredibly horrible answers for … well, everything except for bible trivia contest questions.