Who IS this guy?!

'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In defense of secular humanism. (not really)

NOTE:  I wrote this earlier today.  I stand by the overall point, but I was in a pretty pissy mood at the time and it comes through in the tone.  Even so, I don't plan on changing it.  So... "Bitter Rant Warning" I guess.

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I’m getting a little tired of hearing about miracles lately. And I’d like to share two particularly egregious uses of this term lately that really irked me in this regard.

The first one was a story that we heard this past weekend. We were hanging around with some conservative, religious friends of ours. (Nothing extreme mind you, they’re good people and a great family with wonderful kids – just decidedly conservative and definitely religious.) ANYWAY, they were telling us a story about a friend of theirs who’s child recently had a heart transplant. Now, we’re talking about a YOUNG CHILD here – 8 or 9 years old? He’s on their son’s baseball team. Last year he couldn’t even run the bases due to his heart problems. (They let him hit, but let someone else pinch run for him.) And just recently, after the transplant, and after the recovery, etc… he hits a home run and runs the bases by himself.

Now is that an AMAZING STORY? Yes. MOVING? Yes. Bring a grown man to tears? YES. And this kid met Tiger infielder Brandon Inge while he in the hospital, and Inge, after hitting a home run himself in a game for the kid himself, WAS brought to tears in the dugout. So it DID, in fact, bring a grown man to tears! Hey: It’s a truly inspiration story! To go from planning the kid’s funeral arrangements to watching him hit a home run a run the bases and living a good, strong, healthy life? It’s amazing. I’m still floored by it, even as I write this. But something she said has stuck in my craw every since: “You just don’t see miracles all that often.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve said many times that I respect people’s faith and this time was no different. I have no problem with people having FAITH, but in saying this was a MIRACLE, she was effectively crediting God with his survival. But the REAL reason this child is alive today is because DOCTORS went to school, DOCTORS learned how to perform this procedure, DOCTORS did research to develop the procedure, PATIENTS died when the procedure was still in it’s infancy… What I’m saying is, that MANY, MANY people hade HUGE sacrifices of their time, their money, their talent and in some case their very lives, in order to make this moment possible. That this child was even alive, let alone thriving, was an amazing HUMAN accomplishment. So please pardon me if I’m not bending over backwards to thank God for it. The only hand that God played, if any, was in giving that poor kid a bum ticker in the first place. If anything, HUMANS intervened to either defy God’s conscious will, or else fix what he failed to get right. To “thank god for the miracle” is to dismiss all the WORK and SACRIFICE that so many HUMANS did to make it happen.

Now… you might think that I’d be more accepting of the invocation of the word “miracle” as it relates to THIS STORY, about an 11 year old girl with Asberger’s Syndrome, lost for 4 days in a snake infested Florida swamp being found and rescued alive and well, save for some scratches and bug bites. And it was just dumb luck that the guy who found her even did so! So that was LUCKY. And it was LUCKY she wasn’t bitten by a snake. And it was LUCKY that she wasn’t eaten by an alligator. And it was LUCKY she didn’t fall and break her leg, or hit her head, or drown. And in [Obi-Wan’s] experience: There’s no such thing as LUCK. So why can’t I concede this one? With all that LUCK (or random chance working out in her favor) leading to her survival, why can’t I concede that God intervened? Why can’t I call this a MIRACLE?

Simple. Because in doing so I would have to conclude that God is evil.

How do I reach that judgment? Simple. Where was God a few months ago in Haiti? Where was God every time a child DOESN’T survive something? Where was God when my children were born with Autism? Where is God when all these children die as their idiot parents try PRAYING and FAITH HEALING in rejection of MODERN MEDICINE? Where was God back when our species’ infant mortality rate was 50% in the first year of life? Where was God’s guidance when the Church was deciding what to do with pedophile Priests? Where was God when my Grandfather died of esophageal cancer six months after retired, after busting his ass his whole life to provide for his family? Where was God two years ago when my very dear friend – a regular churchgoer, I might add - from a brain tumor? If that’s God’s work? FUCK God.

To credit God with ACTING in any one case, is to say the he consciously chose not to act in every other case. And if we accept this, I would find it very odd that God seems to favor us more and more as a species as MEDICAL SCIENCE improves, even as we become LESS RELIGIOUS. Does God just like babies more now than he did a century ago? Is a 0.1% (or whatever it is now) infant mortality rate do to GOD’S work – or HUMANITY’S? (I think the answer is there is obvious, and I’m going to punch you if you conclude otherwise!) Not only does God show seem to favor us more and more (sarcasm) as medical science improves, but he even seems to favor CONUTRIES these days that do more medical research, regardless of their native religion or level of belief. One’s faith, one’s religion, has nothing to do with it. Antibiotics don’t wok any better or any worse in Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindu’s, Buddhists or Atheists. And no group is any more or less likely to get a disease or survive a disaster. The only factors than make any difference all – modern infrastructure, medical science, civilized society, etc… – are all the result of purely HUMAN endeavor.

And what’s more, I see this all as a SERIOUS indictment of intelligent design as well. As I look around, as I learn (and realize) more about how both our species and our societies evolved, I can not help but reach the conclusion that this DID in fact all come about randomly. I can see and accept NO OTHER explanation. Between all the things that go wrong with our bodies and minds in terms of disease, all the peril we face from the natural world, and how we destroy each other with war and poison each other with pollution… I’m sorry but this is just not the work of an INTELLIGENT designer.

The “I” in ID, if anything, stands for INCOMPETENT.

If there IS a God, or some other form of DESIGNER, either he’s stupid, or he’s evil. No one would deliberately design such a weak, vulnerable, irrational species like ours, and put it a world as fraught with danger as this one, unless they were either C-Students, or Psychopaths.

And THAT’S why the above examples aren’t miracles. These kids didn’t survive BECAUSE of God’s work. If he’s up there at all, they survived despite his capriciousness and/or incompetence. (Evil or Stupid – take your pick.) Believing otherwise is no more than a comfortable delusion that dismisses the work of the flech and blood HUMAN BEINGS that REALLY made these “miracles” happen.

12 comments:

  1. I totally believe in evolution, really I do, but I wonder sometimes God didn't give it a push or an influence at some times.

    For example, there's a fig tree in Africa that has an intense symbiotic relationship with a wasp larva. I find it hard to believe that even over 100 million years, the interdependent relationship they have could have happened spontaneously. It'd be like imagining that a monkey could type Shakespeare if given enough time.

    But I totally agree with you about people giving too much credence to miracles. People just don't understand coincidence is part of the problem.

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  2. DD,

    I'm not going to say your wrong. I've felt exactly the same way at times, and in any case could no more proove it wrong, than you could proove it right. And as it's there fore a matter of faith, more than a matter of science, the more I think about the inherent cruelty involved in "natural selection" and how random the whole process IS, and THEN consider all the problems that happen to human bodies as a result of the very same capability for cellular mutation that enables evolution - cancer, birth defects, etc... I just can't help but think that a truly omnipotent, omniscient God - and one that was actually GOOD - could have and would have done much better. If you accept God as all-powerful, all-knowing, etc... it becomes increasingly hard to continue to beleive in his inherent GOODNESS, at least as most humans would define it. IDK... Maybe I'm just feeling a little bitter lately, but it just seems that on either the GOOD part or the ALL-POWERFUL part, we're SETTLING big time. IDK. If I die and actually MEET God someday, I'd certainly appreciate a better explanation for all this than the ones that the various churches have offered me so far.

    BTW - as for your fig tree with the wasp larva? It exsists because the wasps had no where ELSE to go, and the OTHER fig trees all died. So all you see is the one combination that MADE IT, rather than the thousands of species of Wasps that dies off becuase they had no where left to lay their eggs, and the thousands of species of fig tree that died off from an abundance of parasitic wasps. It's here becuase nothing else WORKED.

    If all these amazing symbiotic relationships exsisted from the start? I'd be blown away. And I'd totally accept and buy into ID. As it is? I've come to the realization that there's just no reason to be impressed buy a single success that comes on the heels of millions of failures, basically amounting to a billion years of trial and error. Why would God need to get it WRONG for BILLIONS of years before finally getting a few things right? And look around: Judge your fellow man for a moment and ask yourself, "Is THIS really as good as it gets?!"

    I'd be more inclined to believe that's it a conceit to think we'd even NEED to be deliberatley designed this way.

    Sorry, I don't mean to be such a downer. Must have picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue. (Airplane)

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  3. God (you may call it Supernatural Power)has created the Universe and all there is on it (including the Doctors that save or terminate life, and evolutionists whose theories ignore Him). It's as simple as that.

    But people ( politicians in particular) and religions have complicated this and grossly violated the original order of Creation by various means such as: migration (whites living in colonial Africa which was designed by God for the blacks, blacks migrating to Europe which was designed for whites), wars, pollution (that change the original format of the universe), missionarism, and other factors that make God very angry and we see this in the recent great climate anomalies, the growing number of natural disasters (tzunami, earthquaques, volcano erruptions, floods). We're probably approaching what's called the end of the world.

    There are miracles. I believe a miracle happens when there's a prayer to God for a miracle to happen coming from a person or persons that are somehow better than the ordinary humans.Even if we are critical of religion, this kind of people are more likely to be found among the religious.

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  4. Duta,

    Wow. You never fail to surprise me with some very unique and interesting theories and ideas. And I can't even BEGIN to reply to this. I'm completely perplexed. My inclination is to say that I would disagree with almost every single word you've written here. And that's really amazing to me! The closest thing you've written to something that I could agree with, is a point that would used and interpreted in completely different way than you have done.

    My OPINION is that this is SO WRONG, that I don't even know where to begin...

    HOWEVER, as this is ALL a matter of FAITH rather than PROOF, I'll just have to limit myself to saying that I repsect your beliefs, even though I do not share ANY of them.

    That beign said, I truly hope that you continue to post here. Without a doubt you are one of the most interesting posters I could have come accross.

    Thanks for your comment.

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  5. Thank you for your kind words. It's OK, you don't have to agree with me. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything; I'm only trying to express my own beliefs.

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  6. It's impossible to deal with the (very common) issue you raise without callousness (the correct answer is "shut the hell up you insignificant little beetle"), but I'll scrape at the edges.

    If the world were a hundred times better than it is, or a hundred times worse than it is, your argument would be exactly the same. In any possible world where a gradient of good and bad exists, the worst of the bad will always be intolerable. Therefore any time God creates anything but a utopia (which is impossible with human freedom anyway), you'll be pissed.

    Why didn't God create a utopia? You're a parent, so you should know.

    We're too much on the "inside" to have any sort of perspective anyway. Do you fall to your knees in anguish when a lawn mower creates an apocalypse among blades of grass?

    As far as crediting God with the upside and not the downside, I agree. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/2/2/14646/04636/676/691903

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  7. Steeve,

    I was, at first, inclinded to say [of Warner], "At least he's consistant." Because that USUALLY counts for alot with me. But hearing him say it like THAT?! OMG, how absurd!

    So... not only can we not give credit where it's due - and whether it's winning the super bowl or curing polio, that credit lies squarely with the HUMANS involved - but then he won't even take responsability for HIS OWN fuck up, or just give credit to the other guy for making a great play. Unbelieveable.

    I've thought he was a douchebag even since he cried out "JESUS!" when he got the SB-MVP for the Rams (again: JESUS DOESN'T FUCKING CARE WHO WINS THE FOOTBALL GAME, MORON!) but now I can add "Whiny little bitch" to the descripction. LOL.

    That may be the first time I've ever heard an athlete BLAME GOD for a loss. And that sounds EVEN WORSE than when they credit him for the win! LOL

    Thanks for your comment and that link!

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  8. Steeve,

    Also, with regards to the non-Kurt Warner portion of your comment...

    I guess the optimist just believes that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessemist fears that he might be right.

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  9. Didn't mean to blindside you or anything, but the link was a joke.

    And even though I can defend Warner's actual comments (including the "thank you Jesus" moment) as consistent, it should suffice that you'd normally treat him like you treat me and Duta.

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  10. LOL. Whoops, a bit slow today I guess! Yeah... I really should've figured that. 8P

    As to how I'd "normally" treat someone?

    No, I never really liked Warner. I've never been big on athletes that thank god when they win. (And 'Thank God' is one thing, 'PRAISE JESUS' is someting else!) Again - there were bound to be players on the OTHER team who prayed, and at best it's highly arrogant to assume that God favored you over them - not to mention just stupid. If God did exsist, and even if he was a relatively activist God in this world, there is no doubt in my mind that he STILL wouldn't care who wins the blasted Football game.

    As for you and Duta? Well let's start with YOU. Now you're religious, moreso than I am. OK, fine. But in so many other ways, we're pretty much on the same page - politically, for example. So great - we can debate religion and philosphy and do so knowing that we also have some things in common and see eye to eye on a lot of things. Now, me and Duta? *phew* Different story entirely. But I do know that I can count on her to post a comment that REALLY blindsides me, and gives me something I NEVER would have considered. Now - I think that's valuable. For better or worse, I think that's worth something. And even where we REALLY see things differently, we're not exactly butting heads.

    BUT... If Mister WARNER were to comment here? (WARNING: I'm going to go out on a limb here, for the sake of the hypothetical...) Let's say he telling me I'm going to hell becuase of my (fairly limited) support of abortion rights; or my unequivocable support of gay rights; of my desire for EVOLUTION, and only things SCIENTIFIC to be taught in science class; and my believe the seperation of church and state; and the fact that I haven't voted for a Republican since 1996, and don't see me voting for one ANY time soon. IOW - Let's say he come here and gives me the political rundown that typically goes along with his RATHER EXTREME religious views... Well, I'd probably savage him, the same way I go after the con posters on MMFA. "Nut Job" might be one of the more complimentary things I'd have to say.

    But you have to understand. Religion alone is not enough. (Hence the fact that most of my friends are inf act religious.) Neither is political conservatism, by itself. (I get along with Libertarians rather well, for example.) But fundamentalist, evangelical religion combined with blind hard-right political conservatism? Well, that's just a combination I cannot abide. So either I'm treating you two pretty shabilily, or you overestimate how I might treat Mister Warner, given the opportnity. Or I've misjudged Mr. Warner, and he's really of the religious LEFT, but somehow I doubt that.

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  11. "at best it's highly arrogant to assume that God favored you over them - not to mention just stupid" -- which is of course why Warner doesn't think that way, seeing as how he's not a moron. Do you seriously think that such an obvious point has escaped someone who spends a ton of time thinking about God?

    But of course you think the moron interpretation is the only possible one, because you haven't thought about it for more than a few seconds.

    If Warner ever campaigns for anti-science textbooks or tax cuts for the rich, then open up both barrels. But until then, you can try that "I respect your beliefs" line that atheists pretend to mean. And you should respect them, because any religious belief that's beyond level zero on your atheism 101 websites has you completely flummoxed.

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  12. Fuck, I hate blogspot sometimes!

    Steeve, just like with ClassicLib a few posts back, I wrote out a long, [what I'd consider] well-thought out reponse to your post and this fucking pices of shit software gave me an error when I hit "Post Comment" and then FUCKING LOST IT.

    So I'm way too pissed off right now to try and figure out what I said and re-write it all over again.

    So I'll come back to this, I promise. I'd like to have a little more of a discussion about this with you at some point, but I'll have to make it a new post.

    Fucking Blogger. As Google gets bigger, they're fast approaching "as crappy as Microsoft" territory.

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