Have you seen All-American Muslim? Here’s the description:

All-American Muslim takes a look at life in Dearborn, Michigan - home to the largest mosque in the United States - through the lens of five Muslim American families. Each episode offers an intimate look at the customs and celebrations, misconceptions and conflicts these families face outside and within their own community.

It’s actually quite a good show. As for the families in the show, they play football, are police officers, raising children, planning weddings, etc. - y’know, doing things just like us, OMG! </sarcasm> In other words, the families in these shows do not fit the stereotypes many Americans hold about Muslims. So where’s the problem?

Well, apparently it’s just that: The Florida Family Association was outraged TLC would portray Muslims in a positive light. They launched an email boycott, supported by other groups, and targeted advertisers on the show. At least one (FFA is claiming nearly sixty) succumbed to the pressure from FFA. In an email, Lowe’s Home Improvement Store. In an email to the FFA, Lowe’s said:

“While we continue to advertise on various cable networks, including TLC, there are certain programs that do not meet Lowe’s advertising guidelines, including the show you brought to our attention. Lowe’s will no longer be advertising on that program.

If I (Andrew) can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to call 1-866-900-4650, or email You may also contact us by mailing your correspondence to Lowe’s Companies, Mail Code CON8, 1605 Curtis Bridge Rd., Wilkesboro, North Carolina 28697.”

Well, I suppose I won’t be shopping at Lowe’s because they don’t meet my standards for not supporting bigotry. What do they suggest - we judge Christianity by Anders Behring Breivik, who committed the massacre in Norway? Should we pull shows about families like the Duggars because terrorists have been motivated by Christianity?

Some perspective:


I didn’t hesitate to email Lowe’s. I suggest you do the same. Use the graph above from Osborn Ink - pictures help.

Are you freaking kidding me?  The knee-jerk reaction people have to this show is very frightening to me.  If you actually watch the show, you see that these people are about as integrated as you could imagine.  I still think their religion is problematic and not really defensible from a logical or empirical point of view, and I think their subculture places some unnecessary and unethical shackles on both men and women solely because of their gender.  But these aren’t bad people and most of their views are not very far from the American mainstream.


Poll: Muslims, atheists most likely to reject violence


New data from polling firm Gallup shows that out of all the religious groups in the U.S., Muslims are most likely to reject violence, followed by the non-religious atheists and agnostics.

Through interviews with 2,482 Americans, Gallup found that 78 percent of Muslims believe violence which kills civilians is never justified, whereas just 38 percent of Protestant Christians and 39 percent of Catholics agreed with that sentiment. Fifty-six percent of atheists answered similarly.

When Gallup put the question a bit more pointedly, asking if it would be justified for “an individual person or a small group of persons to target and kill civilians,” the responses were a bit more uniform. Respondents from nearly all groups were widely opposed to such tactics, with Protestants and Catholics at 71 percent against. Muslims still had the highest number opposed, at 89 percent. Seventy-six percent of atheists were also opposed.

The Gallup survey, conducted over the course of a year, was designed to measure religious and non-religious attitudes toward violence 10 years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

(Via: Raw Story)


Quantum Mechanics vs. Atheism


Can Science prove that there is a God?

Quantum mechanics is a support not a denial of the existence of God. Many notions of science and reality have to be rethought and redirected, but no biblical perspective is violated or denied. Let us look at some reasons why this is true:

1) Complete determinism and materialism is impossible. It is obvious that changes on an atomic scale can have profound large scale affect on things in a totally different location in the world of quantum mechanics. Explaining all phenomena on a cause and affect basis is no longer possible. Science is forced to admit that instantaneous interactions do occur over distances that are beyond the relativistic laws of our universe. These things require us to question our standard notions of space and time and our conception of reality itself.

2) The interrelatedness of everything (the holism) in the cosmos verifies the structure espoused by the Bible writers. “In Him we live and move and have our being” fits well with the picture of reality we get from the nonlocal view of the cosmos. The concept of the Holy Ghost does not have any problem with the nature of the cosmos described by quantum mechanics. The atheist view of matter being self existing does not fare well with these new concepts.

3) The concept of creation is not denied but supported by this view. The concept of something from nothing in our three-dimensional universe is not influenced by what we have discussed. The biblical concept of God has always been that He exist outside of time and space as we know them. The idea of interconnectedness projected by quantum mechanics gives us a holistic universe, but God is seen as an entity that exceeds the effects of nonlocality. The degree to which we comprehend quantum mechanics is an indicator of the extent to which we understand the process of creation.

Modern spiritual thinkers view these ideas as a chance for expanded understandings and new discoveries in spirituality. Like all discoveries in science, there is nothing that poses a threat to faith-only an opportunity to grow.

This my friends is an example of crappy apologetics and abuse of science.  The first thing you will notice is that it’s actual claims are pretty hard to parse out, but let me try anyway.

Quantum mechanics is a support not a denial of the existence of God… Explaining all phenomena on a cause and affect basis is no longer possible…The concept of the Holy Ghost does not have any problem with the nature of the cosmos described by quantum mechanics…

Okay. So what this gentleman is claiming is that quantum mechanics is not compatible with science but the capital ‘G’ christian god is.  Well, where to start?

Science is the search for truth about our universe.  Quantum mechanics appears under all tests to be true.  As a result of science it is (not surprisingly) compatible with a naturalistic worldview.  The thing about science is if you come upon something that makes you revisit your previous ideas and assumptions…well you do just that.  Science forces us to reexamine ideas all the time and quantum mechanics is no different.

Does quantum mechanics support the existence of a god?  No I really don’t think so.  Quantum mechanics tells us how things work.  It is the set of rules that physical laws have to abide by.  Does quantum mechanics support the non-existence of a god?  I don’t really think so either. Why would it?  If you have an omnipotent being that sets up the universe, then the rules are arbitrarily based on the whims of the deity.  Is quantum mechanics compatible with a god?  Sure.  No matter how much of the realm of physical law we uncover, a theologian will always be able sneak a deity in and say “Aha this basic layer of physics was made by Deity X”.

It is worth saying that I do not think that our universe (which has quantum mechanics as it’s underpinning) is compatible with the Judaeo-Christian or Muslim capital ‘G’ god.   Why?  People like to ascribe quite a few more properties to God than to a deistic god.  The biggest and most obviously untrue of these properties is that God is just and good and cares about human beings.  The vast majority of space is inimical to life, and human life in particular.  Space is so big in fact that humans are unlikely to set foot in the tiniest fraction of it.  In our own infinitesimal corner of the universe, the amount of suffering you will experience in your life is largely determined by chance, not by how virtuous or devout you are.  If you are in the privileged minority you will likely live out your life in relative comfort barring any accidents or any of the more intractable illnesses.  If you are in the unfortunate and sizable majority…well things are less promising.  You are likely to live about half as long, have a much lower quality of life, and die from violence or a preventable illness.  Strangely, the poor and the suffering are statistically the most religious and according to the holy books the most deserving of their deity’s benefaction.  The icing on the cake, if you can call it that, is that our planet is covered with animals that feel pain, will die awful, horrible deaths in the jaws of other animals and have no chance at redemption in the afterlife.  And it has been this way for millions of years.

No just person would create such a system, let alone an omnibenevolent, omnipotent being.  

The first soul on Earth

If you believe that humans have a soul (or some sort of dualistic consciousness or spirit or whatever), who had the very first one?

If you are creationist, then your answer is likely Adam of the Adam and Eve duo.  Unfortunately, the available evidence massively favors evolution over creationism.  If you are still in favor of creationism…well there isn’t much for us to talk about anyway.

However, if you recognize that evolution is true and you believe in a soul (or whatever I’ll be using ‘soul’ for everything), then you are faced with a rather tricky problem. Who had the first soul?  The “first” human?  That is a fairly nonsensical answer.  If you were to look at all your ancestors throughout evolutionary history, you would be quite hard pressed to find the first human because each would look a good deal like the one’s adjacent to it (it’s parent and child) in the chain of ancestry.  You might be able to pin down the transition to within a thousand generations or so, but that gets you no closer to a first human.  Even if you picked a particular individual as the first human, there would seem to be a great many ancestral hominids that fashioned tools and had culture, why are they devoid of a soul?  And if they have souls, why not other apes like chimps and bonobos?  And if they have souls, which monkeylike primate ancestor was the first with a soul?  If all primates have souls, why not other mammals, why not reptiles or fish or worms or cnidarians or sponges or bacteria?

Surely we can see that there some organisms that we want to characterize as having a soul, and a good deal more that we feel should not have a soul, but evolution shows us that at no point does nature permit us to classify some creatures as ‘soul-ed’ versus ‘unsoul-ed’.  This should tell us something.

The idea of a soul is a construct.  It is a result of humanity’s fear of death and our tendency to detect intelligent agents when none are actually present.  Aside from the fact that there is absolutely no evidence for souls, I find the ‘evolutionary’ argument to be one of the most convincing cases against the existence of a soul.

The existence of a soul is an idea many accept as true without even thinking about what it would mean.  It is an idea that is also central to religion because it underpins other ideas like an afterlife, sin, redemption, reincarnation, etc and skeptics and atheists would do well to spend more time debunking it.