This daring, edgy essay in defence of free-thought and the untiring, unstoppable progress of science was originally published the day after it was delivered on FreeThoughtLand—a Geocities site since down. Putin did this—and I have the Youtube clip and Tweets to prove it. But I defer that exposé to another day and, rather, present to you the paper captured in my cookies and pasted for your pleasure and enlightenment. I’ve slightly amplified it to include a brief biographical note and a small summary of the speaker’s distinctions. The former follows now.
Albert Newton Bell was born in Oxfcambrsussexshire on the 4th of July, 1981, into a stout Church of England household. At age 17 he read the title of Bertrand Russel’s little apologia Why I’m not a Christian and decided that he wasn’t either.
He entered Macquarie University, where he fell in love with science. He followed his first wife into majoring in environmental studies. That accomplishment attained, he began a blog.
Incensed at the fact that people still believe in God, think there is such a thing as an objective morality, that anything can be objectively true (save scientific facts) and generally practise religions—he has dedicated himself unstintingly to the repair of this state of affairs.
He has toured his native Australia as well as England, Scotland, Canada, Wales and most recently Sweden. His speeches are marked by an admirable vivacity and an inability to abide stupidity or superstition in whatever form.
I F’ing Freely
By Albert Newton Bell
B.Sc., majoring in environmental studies
Day-course diploma holder of the Randy James Educational Foundation
Fellow of the Dick Dawkins Enlightenment Society
Speech delivered in Federation Square, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Friends, Romans, countrymen. Well, not so much you Romans.
[Ed. Note: Dejected, plumed helmets hung in disappointment and feet navigating togas dispersed]
Tell me, are you a free thinker? If not—how not?
Perhaps you have been subjected to life-long indoctrination by your parents—who have no right! They abused you, I assure you—and teachers and community—who are all a perfect army of the brainless and spineless.
In any event you hadn’t any choice. All things being physically determined and all. But you wouldn’t follow how we explain that and still berate you.
This will hurt. You are an idiot.
It stings, I know. It must a little! It pinches like the syringe that injects the medicine or takes your blood. It is for your own good that I say so. That you’re stupid. It is in the interests of self-betterment and the healthy exercise of the sanest psychology for me to insist on it until you admit it. For then we can amend that. That you’re a fool.
It’s the power of science compels you! For therein is your cure. Gentle rabble, you must learn to think freely.
To not think freely is not to think at all! If you were to eat but not freely, would you be eating? The same follows for thinking.
[Ed. Note: Here he touched his nose with his finger as much to say “dead-on”]
Any idea received from outside of yourself is something you should be ashamed of.
Who told you that all circles have as many degrees as each other irrespective of size? Who told you that perfectly round shapes are circles? Where does this “round” and these “shapes” come from? Euclid? What can some Greek who’s been dead longer than I’ve ever had time to count to have to teach me? Think for yourself man!
Do you believe in any ancient texts? What an idiot you are. Take this Bible. I’ll just quote at random to show you how ridiculous this entire thing is. “And Jesus wept.” O He wept, did He? Prove it!
“My God does not always become incarnate and weep but when he does he leaves no evidence of it.” Curiously convenient! How can any man be expected to believe a bald, unproven and unprovable assertion such as that? By not thinking freely, that’s how! So there.
The hide! You don’t even know how to use books. Look at how they reject that timeless tome The Arising of the Species. None of them is qualified in biology, genetics, archaeology, anthropology, all of which together with a sympathetic and open-mind would be required to read it correctly. They don’t bother to read it even; just make misquoted memes or heinously out-of-context snippets from Darwin on the backdrop of an insulting picture, monkey or caricature. Ugh! Just makes me want to detonate a bomb in their eye-sockets!
Fix your brains! How can you not see how stupid religion is? The Crusades, the Inquisition, the, the. The Muslims. It causes all the wars.
And how do you decide which is true? Because there’s loads of them. Why not believe in Zeus or Thor? Or Zeus and Thor? I mean, aside from that believing at all is stupid. But that’s not the point. Keep up and follow the logic, will you.
[Ed. Note: Here he clicked his fingers thrice]
And there’s just as many “sacred” “texts”.
[Ed. Note: He made emphatic quotation marks with his index finger and the digitus III]
How don’t you blush and bring up your food with shame to claim you believe a religious text to be true if you haven’t read them all and thought freely about them?
Scriptures. Pah! I don’t have time for any archaic nonsense. I’m a modern man. Catch up!
You may be tempted to suggest that this contradicts what I threw in your teeth only a moment before. I’ll explain to you later how it doesn’t.
Religion is a dying phenomenon. Only, like, 90+% of people in the world still believe it. And that consists entirely of people who don’t know religion.
To quote Darik ul Zar Ba-dan, that most free of thinkers,
“That most people who know about religion don’t practise one is not proof that free-thinking is thinking like other people, but the main reason why we don’t.”
See! You might wonder how people who practise a religion don’t know about religion. That would be typical. I don’t have time to spell out something so simple, so obvious as that.
Listen to me! Let no one tell you how to think! You must think freely.
Do you know the pitch of the antique stupidity? They thought you had to be instructed on how to think well. To study how to reason soundly. They believed that following the guidance of others and learning from the learned was the way one went about answering difficult questions. And they thought the most difficult of all questions were those of God [sic], the spiritual world [ibid.], life and death [LOL!].
[Ed. Note: He actually said LOL]
Heights! Heights. Dizzying heights of idiocy.
What higher? No. No higher. But deeper. Matched only in the abyss that yawns in the opposite direction—religion.
Think, freely, for a moment. In 10,000 years Christianity will be like Zoroastrianism. How red your face will be then! We’ll be playing gravity-less basket-ball on Mars with our genetically modified statuesque bodies, refreshing ourselves with colour-dyed electrolytes, breathing deep and cooling off in a shower with the replacements for oxygen and water we will surely have invented. That is, when we aren’t mining comets.
Do you want to be a part of that future? Then leave behind the fairy-tales—your beliefs, your cherished convictions, your moral grounding, your most honest hopes, your beautiful buildings, all your art, your love one another and turn the other-cheekism. Leave it all with the levitating pasta beast and Santa Claus.
Come! Fly with me to Mars.
Having delivered this speech Mr. Albert Newton Bell was met with a frenzy of frenetic applause as crowds salivated and clapped. Women and children were jumping up and down on the spot, some dressed like witches, some like vampires, a few like werewolves.
One giant man, very convincingly attired as a gorilla with the letters DK on his chest, threw a barrel at what appeared to be a nun. Having ascertained that it was only her costume, that she did not actually believe in God or educate orphans or anything at all like that—she was helped to her feet and profusely apologised to. She, however, applauded and lauded the gorilla’s warmth in the cause of free thinking.
But it was the zombies who stole the show. For everyone has been feverishly following The Walking Dead. They rhythmically repeated in a monotone drone: Think freely. Think freely. Think freely.
It was quite a night.