Encouraging religion to "beget" off!
In the NZ Herald column “Sideswipe” today they claim that “20th century was the bloodiest in human history and its violence was largely instigated by atheists”.
My response to columnist Ana Samways is as follows:
The comment in Sideswipe today that “the 20th century was the bloodiest in human history and its violence was largely instigated by atheists” is totally false. A quick google search would have disabused you of this outrageous slander against atheists that is spread by religious ideologues despite repeated rebuttals.
Hitler was never an atheist. He was born into a Catholic family, and he never renounced his Catholicism.
Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were all Marxist-Leninists. All three dictators attempted to control religion to suppress any alternative viewpoint that might threaten their own political personality cults. Their brand of communism was essentially a secular religion that required subservience to “the state” instead of a god.
Shame on you for repeating this piece of bigotry against the non-religious.
I want to remind people of a scale that I helped develop in 2008 as a semi-serious joke to measure religious lunacy. With the U.S. presidential election closing rapidly, it is even more appropriate – even essential – today!
It is called the Hovind Factor, and it is named after the American young earth creationist, evangelist and Christian theme park operator Kent E. Hovind who is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence for tax offenses, obstructing federal agents, and structuring cash transactions. In short, honesty is not his strong suit.
The Hovind Factor includes in its calculation measures for Belief in Scripture, Scientific Illiteracy, Idiocy, Paradox, and Mendacity.
The scales runs from 0 to 100, where a completely honest statement of scientific merit would score a Hovind Factor of zero, whereas a silly religious statement which violates science but adheres to doctrine, contradicts itself and which the claimant knows to be untrue, would score the maximum Hovind Factor of 100.
Here is the formular:
Hovind Factor = (X + s + i + p) x (m + 1)
Belief in scripture – “X”
0 – No doctrinal belief required
1 – Metaphorical use of Biblical/Qu’ranic quotation
2 – Belief in scripture as the infallible word of God. Timeless, inerrant and absolute. (AiG/The flud etc.)
Scientific Illiteracy – “s”
0 – Full understanding of detailed, advanced scientific principles
1 – Overall grasp of principles with some understanding of specific area being discussed
2 – Vague understanding of general principle but with poor grasp of many details
3 – No understanding or knowledge of area being discussed
4 – Rejection of basic scientific facts/laws/robust theories and/or denial of any evidence that contradicts scripture
5 – Robert Byers (Extreme, moronic and puerile level of 4 above)
The idiocy scale – “i”
0 – no discernible stupidity
1 – slightly silly, but understandable
2 – foolish
3 – daft
4 – rather funny in a slightly worrying sort of way
5 – very funny in a very worrying way
6 – scary stuff
7 – very scary
8 – unlikely to be accepted by anyone with more than two functioning neurons
9 – Moronic. Stark-bollock-naked, off-the-wall, wing-nut
10 – Kirk Cameron or VenomFangX
Paradox – “p”
0 = Statement is logical and self-consistent
1 = Statement acknowledges slight flaw in internal logic but glosses over it with babble.
2 = Statement relies on an assumed divine intervention to explain self contradiction.
3 = Self contradiction invalidates statement completely, and is left unaddressed.
Mendacity – “m”
0 – Total honesty
1 – Statement maker knows they are telling enough of a porkie to try to mislead a generally credulous audience
2 – Statement maker knows they are lying enough to try to mislead an educated audience, or they are repeating a lie that they have previously been corrected on.
3 – Whopper! (including plagiarism)
4 – Complete, burn-in-Hell, perjury grade, super-lie – for example, one that is strategically designed to mislead authorities or the general public (e.g. as witnessed in the Dover trial and Expelled).
Using this formula, a completely honest statement of scientific merit would score a Hovind Factor of zero.
The maximum Hovind Factor, HFmax, is a completely insane statement which contradicts all scientific evidence but adheres totally to religious doctrine and which the person making the claim knows to be untrue – while at the same time the statement also completely contradicts itself – would score (2 + 5 + 10 + 3) x (4 + 1) = 100.
To save you time and effort, there is a Hovind Factor Calculator here. It also includes a “True Believer Rating” (TBR) that removes the mendacity component, as that can sometimes be hard to figure out.
Send me examples of high Hovind Factors or TBRs from some of the Presidential hopefuls, or any other recent religious nonsense. Post the quote, and the resulting HF or TBR based on how you set the parameters.
Religion has hit the headlines on Auckland’s North Shore. First there was this article on the front page of the North Shore Times on April 20, 2012 – Bible classes get a bash – which highlighted how parents of public school children say they are effectively being punished for opting out of religious classes.
Then there was a follow-up story on May 3, also front page – Religion or nothing – which describes how parents are questioning the legality of religious classes in public primary schools.
Of course this has prompted howls of outrage from the religious lobby about how it is intolerant of the non-religious to criticise religion. They use the time-worn kludge of conflating criticism of an idea with intolerance of any person holding that idea. They even throw up the “Christian nation” argument.
Letters to the editor (free registration required for these links) had comments like:
“As our nation was founded historically on the Bible in our negotiations with Maori and we have come forth from a Christian European background, it is a suitable reference for the children whose parents agree to the programme and a gift to those parents who want to show tolerance to other beliefs.” – Kaye Gilbert – Letters, April 26 2012
“Funny how religion is so often accused of intolerance and yet so often the victim of it.” – Martyn Pearson – Letters, May 1 2012
“…to ditch our Judeo-Christian heritage because we are living in a multi-cultural society is not the way forward. We do not expect the many immigrants who enter this country to renounce their beliefs. Instead we protect their right to religious freedom.” – Ann Bailey – Letters, May 1 2012
To counter these sort of silly arguments I have created a resource to parents – What is wrong with Bible Class in school?
It is in a pamphlet format in case anyone wants to distribute it to others in a convenient way. As I always mention – when printing, print double-sided and if your printer can do it for you set it to flip on the short edge. Then fold in the traditional way.
It is a companion to my earlier resource, 10 Easy Things You Can Do To Keep Religion Out Of NZ Schools.