Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Jesus fish or Carpus christie is able to employ two defense strategies. The first is to escape danger by turning water into red wine, thereby escaping in the confusion. This behavior has not been scientifically documented but it sounds plausible. The second method is to attract a school of gullible guppies to surround it. This shields the Carpus christie from danger and criticism.

Carpus christie has been known to attack Jew fish without provocation and sometimes demonstrates irrational behavior. They are a favorite among catch and release sport fishermen due to their ability to revive after extended periods out of water. The record is three days.

Despite these amazing qualities Carpus christie is on the decline due to its tendency to avoid mating and its use of parthenogenesis to reproduce. Posted by Hello


At Sat. Mar. 05, 11:27:00 p.m. 2005, Anonymous Robert said...

While clever, you will doubtless piss off many on the great red right.

At Sun. Mar. 06, 12:33:00 a.m. 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

That is good. One of the worst things that can happen to a person is to go a full day without being offended. It causes people to take their own beliefs for granted. I find that people often see their beliefs as so self evident that when they are confronted with a challenge to, or ridicule of that belief they act like they have been "oppressed" or "harassed".

This is similar to the way a small child will react with offense if you suggest something that they feel is not true. It is as if you have assaulted their reality.

In effect the fundamentalists are doing the same thing by insisting that the ten commandments be displayed on government grounds. The intent is not to educate but to offend. The only difference is that they are using the tool of the state and hope the offense will cause intimidation in the Godless. No Christian believes that a monument will convert people who attend court sessions or stimulate a desire to study the changing concept of law throughout history.

Most religions depend on maintaining the illusion that most of society is "on side". The message being sent by those monuments is that this is a Christian society and you should remember that and keep your non Christian beliefs to yourself.

My fish, while an expression of humor is also meant to offend but for me the messages are, "Christians share their society with others" and "Freedom of expression and religion does not guaranty a favorable reception." These are the two things that Christians in todays society seem to forget most often.

I am glad you find it clever and I am glad you raised the point because it gave me the opportunity ramble on incessantly. Your 13 words provoked over 300 of mine. It is funny, I am so quiet in real life and yet so verbose online. I must have that condition that Ezekiel had where you can't stop writing. I had better stop before I reach 400 or I will start seeing angels.

Now if I can just find something clever to offend the left wingers...

At Sun. Mar. 06, 01:36:00 a.m. 2005, Anonymous Robert said...

I'll reciprocate by recycling a comment I left on another blog dealing with this topic:
"I sympathize with the disaffection with organized religion expresed here. I fell away from a protestant church in the late 80's as Punk Rock became more appealing to me and indeed conflicted with my fellow congregants' sensibilities.

In my early twenties, I began an independant study to determine if my departure was warranted. Long story short: I found that the Bible is more credible than MOST for whom it is sacred. Put simply, years of evolving tradition has created a chasm between modern dogma/doctrine and that which the text actually communicates.

The issue of faith is problematic for many in an age of scientific enlightenment. While certain aspects of the Bible are a matter of historical fact, the controversial elements are useless to an empiricist. My belief in it's veracity is qualified by the following: I don't expect anyone else (my kids included) to take my word for it. I often describe it as a philosophical construct. The premise of an omniscient, omnipotent, sovereign deity is absolutely supported by the subsequent textual information. Said premise provides for each and every supernatural occurance. This does not prove it, but demonstates consistency.

The construct is quite sound; the question is whether or not one accepts the premise. I stand in support of any contrary view, but respect greatly a noncontradictory thesis."

Feel free to excoriate me...I can take it.

At Mon. Mar. 07, 01:38:00 a.m. 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

I feel no need to excoriate you (yes everyone, I had to look that up; I admit it. I thought that was what a luffa stone was for). Frankly I commend you for reading the scriptures on your own rather than just being spoon fed the bits that pastors think will benefit you (and them). I will however provide some insight as to the reasons why I personally do not accept the Bible as being anything other than folklore, fiction and "sacred" stories made up by humans and thus why I see the Bible as being a suitable target for satire, parody, criticism and every other tool that society uses to test its values for viability. In doing so I will rely partly on links due to the fact that there are a lot of points to consider and I would never do the argument justice if I tried to cover it all myself. This comment is not to turn you against the Bible but to provide some extra insight as to why a person might have done so himself. In order to say you have fully evaluated the Bible it might be helpful to read it from a skeptics point of view.Firstly is the issue of faith. My (most non religious peoples') main problem with using faith as a means of evaluating what I should believe is that its results are entirely contingent on things that we have no control over. If we are born in America's heartland we will be asked to have faith in the Bible. Your faith will lead you to be a Christian. If we are born into a family in India we will be asked by the local holy man to have faith in the Hindu scriptures which are very old, contain supernatural elements and have been the source for moral teachings and spiritual fulfillment for millennia. If we were born in Saudi Arabia we would be asked to have faith in the Koran which claims that while earlier holy books were from God, they have been corrupted by man and so the Koran is to be the ultimate target of our faith. Now Christians, Islamists, Hindus, Buddhists and others can poke lots of holes in each other's faith and say that it is more "rational" to have faith in their religion than the others but by appealing to faith they are all asking people to ignore reason. How can we apply reason to one belief and ignore it for our faith?

The second problem I have with the Bible is that both the old testament and the Gospels strongly resemble other folklore and myths that the ancestors of the priests who compiled and transcribed these stories had access to. Some examples are: the flood myth of the Babylonians, the death and resurrection fertility Gods of the Greeks and Egyptians and the fact that everyone of any note during this period was born of a virgin (various Caesars, Alexander the Great... even Buddha was given a miraculous birth from his mother's side at which point he spake.) You were no one in the ancient world if you were not a virgin birth or of otherwise miraculous origin. Today it is called spin. Kings and emperors were routinely seen as divine. They were either the descendants of Hercules or Venus or they became Gods on Earth like the Pharos. While we laugh at such claims today they were not unpersuasive in their time and even today some third world leaders hint at their own divine status. And yet we find the idea that a much loved teacher and faith healer could have the exact same status given to him unless it is true? Why?

The third problem for an atheist is that, in addition to the similar content to nearby cultures, the type of stories in the Bible strongly resemble the sacred stories of other cultures that no one today takes as literal. Stories with speaking animals (for the Bible, this includes not just a snake but a donkey too) are paralleled in other tribal cultures. All peoples have invented or borrowed stories about how the stars got in the sky or why land and sea and sky are separated and where people came from. They are what scholars call aetiological myths and while they include fantastic elements that would require "faith" and supernatural intervention in order to accept, they are not the same stories as the Israelis wrote down. This again highlights the importance of timing and placement of birth in determining whether you are likely to be putting your Faith in the "right" stories.

But that is just the old testament, some might say. The problem of the resemblance to fiction is also relevant to the Gospels also. Consider this article and specifically this quote:

"For example, many of the statements of Jesus claim to have come from him while allegedly alone. If so, who heard him? It becomes even more marked when the evangelists report about what Jesus thought. To whom did Jesus confide his thoughts? Clearly, the Gospels employ techniques that fictional writers use."There can be an answer for every problem if you rely on faith and just say that we can not understand what God is saying, We can even make up answers to every contradiction , inconsistency and disturbing story in the Bible. The problem for many of us is that there comes a time when the burden of depending on faith becomes so high that the application of reason to free ourselves from the many beliefs that we adopt on faith feels just too good to resist. It is not easy to give up on an old belief system but when all the fallout is over, having a system of beliefs that does not require faith to explain away so much of reality or require the use the supernatural to make impossible stories true is so much more rewarding. It also opens up a whole world of ideas and knowledge that had to be ignored or denied to maintain the stability of our old beliefs.

To sum up I will address your premise:
"The premise of an omniscient, omnipotent, sovereign deity is absolutely supported by the subsequent textual information.That premise is true if you are prepared to accept the textual information as a reliable source. Few non religious people do.

Also, the existence of such a deity is not dependent on the text being valid. If there is a God, it would violate no law of logic for her to have no relation to anything said in the Bible.

I hope this ugly foray into the mind of a somewhat committed atheist has been helpful.

At Mon. Mar. 07, 01:28:00 p.m. 2005, Anonymous Robert said...


Firstly, I want to commend for providing more basis for your disbelief than many "christians" do for what they call faith.

Now, much of what you say is reasonable, if your premise is: throughout history, various cultures have imagined gods and related stories to justify such, but in the end, these were scientifically unenlightened humans; could the Bible be similar...yes.

From my perspective, the premise I proffered is key. You wrote: "That premise is true if you are prepared to accept the textual information as a reliable source. Few non religious people do." My premise allows for a God to oversee the transcription of His will. Also, my point was that the text need not be "true" or reliable to be consistent. My assertion is that it's NOT implausable, as there is no violation of the law of non-cotradiction. As I said, I don't expect anyone to accept it's veracity on my word or it's own. This is the misapprehension of the term faith: belief without empirical evidence based upon text and/or tradition. I don't subscribe to such "belief".

The reason for my assent may seem frivalous, but hear me out. I postulate that faith, as described in the Bible, is actual spiritual enlightenment, rather than mere cognition. That is, faith is knowledge imputed into one's spirit/soul, which is understood by one's mind. Having said that, I am in no way suggesting that reason and logic are irrelevant; quite the contrary. The aforementioned knowledge leads to scrutiny of the Bible, as opposed to using the Bible as it's own justification. The Bible is only credible inasmuch as it does not contradict itself.

The link you provided with supposed contradictions contains eronious info. Granted, much of the Bible is esoteric and lends itself to misunderstanding. I'll not refute each one now, but will answer any you choose. Sadly, many who call themselves Chritians have "faith" in that which the Bible does not actually communicate; much confussion eminates from this error.

Again, I appreciate your candor and politeness. Given that real faith is not innate, I think that agnostisism is the natural state of a healthy mind. Those who borrow a belief system from others deserve whatever loss of time and treasure they suffer.

At Thu. Mar. 10, 07:59:00 p.m. 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

"My premise allows for a God to oversee the transcription of His will."Yes your premise does allow for that. My logic allows for the possibility that there was no such oversight. A member of a non-Christian religion might just as well think that it was overseen by the devil, providing just enough of the "worship God and be nice to people" stuff to seem legitimate. This devil could then plant it full of horrible stories to make God look like a monster. *The law of non-contradiction seems to apply only to individual propositions. A work can be a collection of fables or fiction or history and still be free of contradictions and to be fair, a mostly truthful testimony can easily contain contradictions. As far as the Bible contradictions go, many people have written a lot of material over the last few centuries to explain these and I have no doubt that you know them or have access to them (most of it was only made necessary after the Biblical compilation was printed in vernacular languages which is why the church opposed that for so long) and a person could argue for years about whether the contradictions on that site are real or "erroneous". This argument would not convince either side but ask yourself this. Would the supposed reasonable explanation to all or most of these 335 issues be available to the average reader? Could the explanation have been provided or explained for the reader or could the issue have just been left out? The differing genealogies of Jesus, for instance could have been left out, replaced with a simple "He was descended from the house of David". How does providing this distracting and confusing information enrich anyone?

Given that it is possible that the different Bible authors might have been trying to construct a fictional genealogy to link J.C. with David without knowing what the other was witting and given that faith is the most important thing the Bible requires to avoid eternal death and/or damnation, it seems pretty cavalier of God to be tempting all those without a strong theological background to be skeptical.

So for the sake of argument, let us assume that there are no contradictions in the Bible. Are there any other elements in the Bible that make it look like fable? Numbers 22:20 when Balaam has a conversation with his donkey and expresses no surprise that God has "opened its mouth". Most people would not continue to be angry with a donkey once it started to talk. Even if this all happened, is it not kind of irresponsible to put it in the Bible and then ask people to believe it or else?

I guess it will take more than a few discussions on a blog for me to have faith in faith or the Bible for that matter.

God: "Lost another soul to Ditech!:

I am sure the same is true for your beliefs. I think now that you will understand why many of us have a hard time seeing the Bible as all that devine.

*Stories like the one about the prophet calling down the wrath of God on little kids because they made fun of his bald head. Forty kids ripped to shreds by bears because a chrome dome prophet can not take a joke? Or stories like the one about the how God was instructing Moses on what to tell Pharaoh, when all of a sudden, in the very next verse...

Exodus 4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

Holy crap! How about a couple seconds of warning or an explanation?4:25 Then Zipporah (his lady) took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, (yikes) and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.

It is a good thing she knew what to do because it was surely not made obvious to the reader, even though God's fascination with foreskins is legendary ;-)

At Sat. Mar. 12, 01:55:00 a.m. 2005, Blogger Robert said...

For a close-minded atheist, you're not so bad...just kidding. ;]

You points are quite reasonable and I 'm sure that your are intelligent enough to know your own thoughts. Sadly, many *Christians* do not. For the sake of clarity, let me say this: I DO NOT suggest that anyone believe anything without empirical evidence. Before you laugh, hear me out. I am suggesting that actual faith is "imputed knowledge" or as some say pejoratively: “received wisdom”. Do I expect one to trust my judgment, NO. My original and current point is that absolute atheism is irrational. One can never be absolutely certain that X does not exist, just as one can’t prove that a deity does. As I said in my earlier comment: “Given that real faith is not innate, I think that agnosticism is the natural state of a healthy mind. Those who borrow a belief system from others deserve whatever loss of time and treasure they suffer.” That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it…unless I see sufficient evidence to the contrary.

On a similar note, I have entered the blogospheric frey. Feel free to stop by any time. As it is less than twelve hours old at this point, I only have one “place holder” post up thus far, but with time I shall blog with the big dogs.

At Sun. Mar. 13, 04:56:00 p.m. 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

Actually, not to be a contratian any more than necessary, but I believe the adjective of closed-minded is generally placed on scientists. While I hope to be a closed-minded scientist one day, at the moment I am just a "militant atheist". This term has always confused me though since no one ever told me where my fellow militants meet or where I can pick up my guns. What fun is being a militant without a gun? Being a militant with a pointy stick is just not very satisfying. Extreme feminists, radical homosexuals (with their agenda), closed-minded scientists and militant atheists... yes, I believe that is the proper binomial taxonomy of naughty people.

I can not criticize the validity of received wisdom in general but only the specific instances of it that I am exposed to second hand, at which point I can apply logic to it and decide if I should accept or reject it. If I ever get some received wisdom of my own I can more make an informed comment about it. Here's hoping - stranger things have happened.

Just think, this informative discussion came about because of a little blasphemous/humorous post about a fish. Just think what some really disturbing material could do. Normal Bob Smith has provoked over 200 pages of hate mail/theological arguments by posting a little
dressup game featuring Jesus on the cross. Both Christians and people who have probably never thought about the beliefs they hold or the beliefs of others in all their lives have sent in all those e-mail to him and provided ample opportunity for humor, debate and venom. The spice of life. While I would never claim to be on his level, either in creativity or in raw success in pissing people off, I like to do my part. With this in mind you may see posts on this site that you consider less clever and more blasphemous depending on your tolerance level. Fair warning. Bwha ha ha ha ha!

I will stop by your site from time to time. Congratulations on your entry to the bloggothingy.


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