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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

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I turn 43 today. And I'm OK with that. I don't feel like I'm in my 40s though, other than having to pull things away a bit to read them and finding that my body is not as resilient as it used to be. I'm not going to set any New Year's Resolutions, though. I prefer to set goals and develop a process for achieving them. I really only have one goal this year: to become healthier. Healthier physically, emotionally and (gasp) spiritually. Not that I'm getting religion or looking to jump on the woo bandwagon, but I do believe that one can be spiritual without believing in gods or anything supernatural. For me, spirituality is developing an intimate connection between myself and everything around me. My family, friends, work colleagues and the universe in general. I've already gotten back on track with my weight loss program, and I'm creating a schedule for myself to keep on track with recovery work, playing guitar, and managing my life.

All the best to everyone in 2009!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Are you a Hardcore Atheist Meme

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Meme from Friendly Atheist. Yes, I know I'm slow in getting to it. As I mentioned in the last post, I've been very busy. Items in bold apply to me.


1. Participated in the Blasphemy Challenge.
2. Met at least one of the “Four Horsemen” (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris) in person.
3. Created an atheist blog.
4. Used the Flying Spaghetti Monster in a religious debate with someone.
5. Gotten offended when someone called you an agnostic.
6. Been unable to watch Growing Pains reruns because of Kirk Cameron.(actually, I wouldn't watch Growing Pains reruns primarily because it sucked. Hard.)

7. Own more Bibles than most Christians you know.
8. Have at least one Bible with your personal annotations regarding contradictions, disturbing parts, etc.
9. Have come out as an atheist to your family. (My family just never talks about religion, but I'm out to my wife's family, oddly enough)
10. Attended a campus or off-campus atheist gathering.
11. Are a member of an organized atheist/Humanist/etc. organization.
12. Had a Humanist wedding ceremony.
13. Donated money to an atheist organization.

14. Have a bookshelf dedicated solely to Richard Dawkins.
15. Lost the friendship of someone you know because of your non-theism.
16. Tried to argue or have a discussion with someone who stopped you on the street to proselytize. (actually, it was someone who knocked on my door)
17. Had to hide your atheist beliefs on a first date because you didn’t want to scare him/her away.
18. Own a stockpile of atheist paraphernalia (bumper stickers, buttons, shirts, etc). (I have a few things, but definitely want more)
19. Attended a protest that involved religion.
20. Attended an atheist conference. (only because there haven't been any that were close enough to where I live)
21. Subscribe to Pat Condell’s YouTube channel.
22. Started an atheist group in your area or school.
23. Successfully “de-converted” someone to atheism.
24. Have already made plans to donate your body to science after you die.
25. Told someone you’re an atheist only because you wanted to see the person’s reaction.

26. Had to think twice before screaming “Oh God!” during sex. Or you said something else in its place.
27. Lost a job because of your atheism.
28. Formed a bond with someone specifically because of your mutual atheism (meeting this person at a local gathering or conference doesn’t count).
29. Have crossed “In God We Trust” off of — or put a pro-church-state-separation stamp on — dollar bills.
30. Refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. (I didn't refuse to say the whole pledge, just the "under God" part)
31. Said “Gesundheit!” (or nothing at all) after someone sneezed because you didn’t want to say “Bless you!”
32. Have ever chosen not to clasp your hands together out of fear someone might think you’re praying.
33. Have turned on Christian TV because you needed something entertaining to watch.

34. Are a 2nd or 3rd (or more) generation atheist.
35. Have “atheism” listed on your Facebook or dating profile — and not a euphemistic variant.
36. Attended an atheist’s funeral (i.e. a non-religious service).
37. Subscribe to an freethought magazine (e.g. Free Inquiry, Skeptic)
38. Have been interviewed by a reporter because of your atheism.
39. Written a letter-to-the-editor about an issue related to your non-belief in God.
40. Gave a friend or acquaintance a New Atheist book as a gift.
41. Wear pro-atheist clothing in public.
42. Have invited Mormons/Jehovah’s Witnesses into your house specifically because you wanted to argue with them.
43. Have been physically threatened (or beaten up) because you didn’t believe in God.
44. Receive Google Alerts on “atheism” (or variants).
45. Received fewer Christmas presents than expected because people assumed you didn’t celebrate it.
46. Visited The Creation Museum or saw Ben Stein’s Expelled just so you could keep tabs on the “enemy.”
47. Refuse to tell anyone what your “sign” is… because it doesn’t matter at all.
48. Are on a mailing list for a Christian organization just so you can see what they’re up to…
49. Have kept your eyes open while you watched others around you pray.
50. Avoid even Unitarian churches because they’re too close to religion for you.


So, a total of 19, which supposedly makes me a "New Athesit", but that seems a bit odd, considering that I've been an atheist for over 20 years.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Super Busy

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This time of year is almost always really busy for me and I haven't had much time to post (or read other blogs, for that matter). Among other things, I've designed and developed a site for Ed Brayton, author of Dispatches from the Culture Wars for his new radio show, Declaring Independence on Public Reality Radio


Friday, December 5, 2008

Atheist sign stolen from state holiday display

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Article here:


OLYMPIA, Wash. - A controversial atheist sign that was placed in the state Capitol near a Nativity scene vanished Friday morning, but then turned up at a Seattle radio station a few hours later.


That seems about right. Why is it that so many Christians like to violate their own rules?

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Grandma, that's a bad word"

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A couple weeks ago, our 4 1/2 year old daughter was staying overnight with her grandparents. They were outside and our daughter noticed one of those "God bless our troops" ribbons on the back of the 'rents van, and asked her Grandma what it said (our daughter is obsessed with learning to read, and asks for help reading almost everything she sees). Grandma obliged, and our daughter told her "Grandma, that's a bad word." When Grandma asked which word was bad and discovered it was "God", she started to cry. A few days later she jumped my wife about it, who then had to explain that, since the only time our daughter hears "God" is in profanity (yes, we swear like truckers, but we're working on that), we've had to tell our daughter that "goddammit" is a bad word, and we prefer that she not say "Oh my God", since some people get twitchy about it.

Of course, that led to Grandma being upset because our daughter isn't being taught about God.

We are planning on educating our daughter about religions, including Christianity, but at 4 1/2, she's too young to grasp many of the concepts. When she's old enough to start asking about religion, we'll buying books on various religions and mythology to read and talk about. At some point, I'd probably even be willing to take her to churches, mosques, synagogues, etc.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Book Review: Parenting Beyond Belief

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From the author's site:

Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion, the first comprehensive title devoted to the unique joys and challenges of raising children outside of religion. Newsweek called Parenting Beyond Belief “a compelling read,” while the Library Journal called it “engaging and down-to-earth…highly recommended.” Contributors include Richard Dawkins, Julia Sweeney, Penn Jillette, Mark Twain, Dr. Jean Mercer, Dr. Donald B. Ardell, Rev. Dr. Kendyl Gibbons, and over twenty-five other doctors, educators, psychologists, and secular parents.

It's not only refreshing to see a book on the "joys and challenges" of raising kids without religion, but I found this book to be enormously helpful. As the father of a 4 1/2 year old, I'm becoming increasingly aware that it's only a matter of time before we have to start dealing with "those" questions, and Parenting Beyond Belief provides some very good insight for all manner of issues around raising children outside of religion. Particularly useful this time of year are the essays on dealing with the holidays, which I found particularly helpful. Especially the essay by Dr. McGowan regarding making use of the Santa myth to teach critical thinking and skepticism.

One of the few disagreements my wife and I have had about parenting was about the Santa myth. I had been struggling with lying to our daughter and teaching her about something that was utterly false, but that essay changed my mind. I do admit that doing the whole Santa thing is pretty fun, and after reading that essay, I'm much more comfortable with it. Our daughter is a born skeptic though, and we probably only have a couple years left of keeping up the illusion. After she figures it out, though, I'm actually hoping that she'll want to keep doing the Santa thing just for the fun of it.

If you're a secular parent, this book is a must have. I'm also looking forward to Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide to Parenting Beyoned Belief, Dr. McGowan's next book, due out in February.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Billboards

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There's been quite a bit of talk around the atheist blogosphere about the atheist billboards going up here in Colorado. This column talks about them, with a fairly reasonable tone. The co-dependence of Christianity really stands out to me, with the Christian quoted in the column thinking that the message "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." somehow denigrates Christians. Project much?

Anhyhoo, I'm going to try to get photos of at least one of the billboards and post them here.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Carnival of the Godless #105

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Hello and welcome to the November 23, 2008 edition of carnival of the godless. For this edition, I'd like to issue a challenge to all carnival goers. Errr, maybe not a challenge, but a request. One of the things I've noticed is that there really aren't many comments in some posts on atheist blogs, even carnival posts which (presumably) get far more traffic than an average post or blog. My request is that when you go to a post to read it, leave a comment. Even if it's only "nice post" or "this sucks". Or, take the time to poke around that blog and comment on a different post. As vjack has pointed out, it's important for us to build an atheist community. A step towards that is for us all to take the time to read each other's posts and comment on them to open up conversations and dialogue among us.






Mark throws it back at those theists who feel the need to convert us in How Dare You!!! posted at Proud Atheists.



 





Archvillain brings up some good points on Prop 8 in Tangled webs, etc. posted at A Dark and Sinister Force for Good, saying, "Religious whackjobs are trying to legislate morality. Again."



 




CyberLizard stands up against theists in Where I Stand posted at CyberLizard's Collection, saying, "Clarifying my position, giving fair warning to those who want to impose their religion through legislation."


 




Andrew Bernardin points out a recent scientific discovery about immaculate conception in Immaculate Conception for Hammerheads posted at The Evolving Mind.


 




Greta Christina reminds us how scary it can be to leave theism and gives us some ideas for making atheism/secular humanism a safer option for those wanting to convert to rationality in A Safe Place to Land: Making Atheism Friendly for The Deconverting posted at Greta Christina's Blog, saying, "We spend a lot of time in the atheist community putting cracks in the foundation of religious belief. What can we do for the newly deconverted, and those who are questioning their faith, to help them feel that atheism is a safe place to land?"


 




Ubiquitous Che reminds us that atheism is not the hopeless dead end that theists paint it out to be in The emotional impact of my atheism posted at rhetoric sans pareil. If you don't read any other carnival post, I recommend reading at least this one.


 




A.C. Chase points out the arrogance and general ass-hattery of Mormons in What the Mormons Do posted at Alexander the Atheist.


 





Wenchypoo reminds us that the holidays aren't all they're cracked up to be in Annual Rerun for 2008: Why We Skip the Holidays All Together posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket.


 




Jack Carlson points out the hate in Prop 8 Let’s turn “No on 8″ into “No on Hate” and talks about the gay marriage vs. religion issue in Marriage means One Man & One Woman, race no longer an obsticle posted at Heathen Queer, saying, "A denouncement of hatred and a plea for gays to peacefully oppose the loss of our civil rights in post-prop. 8 California."


 




Paul Sunstone presents Authoritarian Evangelicals, Mormons Heroically Defend America Against Gay Aggression posted at Café Philos: an internet café.


 




Martin posts about the link between politics, corruption and witchcraft in Nigeria in "My Witchdoctor Stole My Election Donations": Witchcraft, Religion and Nigerian Oil posted at The Lay Scientist. Very interesting piece.



 





Ben shows us what all the bigoted houselholds need this year in I'm Dreaming of A White Christmas posted at Grown Ass People, saying, "What's the best Christmas decoration for the devout Christian? Why the 5.5 foot tall "burning cross" courtesy of the American Family Association."


 




Postman has postcards from Gawd in Dear Discovery Institute... posted at "Gone Fishin': Postcards From God" and Dear Little Children of the World… « “Gone Fishin’: Postcards From God”.


 





Ron Britton entertains himself (and us) with Amazon tags in Jackasses with Word Processors posted at Bay of Fundie.



 




Steve Snyder/SocraticGadfly points out that even atheists can be ridiculous in Stuart Kauffman erects anti-reductionistic straw man posted at SocraticGadfly, saying, "Kauffman, the former long-term scholar at the Santa Fe Institute, says we need spirituality to exorcise the demons of reductionism from science."





Akusai presents The Divine Assumption posted at Action Skeptics, saying, "This is a post I wrote explaining my view that theologians and apologists have to assume God exists in order to talk about him at all, and thus all of their "proofs" of his existence are entirely useless. I hope you enjoy it!"


 




vjack reminds us that it's important to stand up for atheist equality, and the lessons that can be learned from prop 8 in Proposition 8 Protests Offer Lesson For Atheists posted at Atheist Revolution.


 




Adam H shows us just how crazy those Westboro baptists are in fred phelps does it again posted at ...And That's How You Live With A Curse.


 





And my own contribution about my daughter's imaginary friend Jerry posted at Antimattr, and how he is very much like a god. Imaginary.





That concludes this edition. There's some really good stuff here. As I mentioned above, please take the time to comment somewhere on each blog. Submit your blog article to the next edition ofcarnival of the godless using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our
blog carnival index page
.



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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jerry

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I've often heard atheists and secular humanists refer to gods as imaginary friends for grown ups, but lately I've really come to understand just how true that is. My daughter (4 1/2 years old) has had imaginary friends pretty much since she started talking. At first, we had Cheeky Munks, a monkey small enough to sit in your hand and ride in your pocket. Then we added Boom Finch, a zebra, also small enough to sit in your hand and ride in your pocket. These were fairly unsophisticated imaginary friends, as you might expect from a child around 2. Eventually, they sort of disappeared and were replaced by "Jerry". Since we don't actually know anyone named Jerry, it's a bit of a mystery as to where the name comes from.

The interesting thing about Jerry, at least to me, is that his attributes change according to the needs of our daughter. Sometimes he's a green frog, sometimes he's a cat, sometimes he's child of 2 (when DD needs someone to boss around), sometimes he's 16 and can drive. Jerry provides comfort and company for her, she can talk to him when she's lonely or doesn't want adult company at home, he either does what she wants or does what she can't do (like drive) according to her emotional needs at the moment. It really strikes me that religion seems to be an extension of the human desire to control the universe through our imaginations, but sometimes that gets carried a bit too far and becomes more real to some people than the actual life they lead. It's understandable-who doesn't want to control their environment? Who doesn't want a friend who's guaranteed to always be there and always be safe?


That's living in denial, though, and seems to me to devalue the human relationships in our lives. I've heard a great many theists, especially Christians, place their "relationship" with God above their family and friends. That seems horrible to me. How can you live in such denial about reality that you would make a deity more important than your spouse or child? Regardless of whether you believe in a deity or not, we humans are all confined to the same ball of dirt, and even if we atheists are wrong and there is an afterlife, all religions seem to have the common belief that what you do on earth determines what sort of afterlife you lead. Doesn't it make more sense to treat all people kindly, to place other humans above petty differences in religion? I understand that to some, those difference are not petty, but it saddens me to see dogma take precedence over caring and compassion. Especially dogmatic belief in imaginary friends.

It's not that I object to imaginary friends. After all, they spring from the imagination, possibly the most powerful, most important human attribute, and something that we try to foster in our daughter as much as we can. However, when we play along and get too serious, our daughter reminds us "Jerry is imaginary, he's not real!".

I love Jerry. I'll miss him when he's gone. God, on the other hand, I don't think I'd miss at all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Encyclopedia of Life

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Secular humanist scientist E.O. Wilson, author of Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, and On Human Nature, has a new project.

The Encyclopedia of Life is an attempt to create an encyvlopedia with a "site" for each of the 1.8 million known species. The site is not only a wealth of information (and growing all the time), but it's well-designed and has some pretty cool features.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The emotional impact of my atheism

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on rhetoric sans pareil.

This is one of the absolute best posts on atheism I've ever read. This exactly what I mean when I talk about "spirituality" in the context of atheism.

An excerpt:

And that’s the emotional impact of my atheism. I can feel in my bones how silly and human the myth of God really is. It’s so… limiting. It makes our brief, special, vibrant lives into nothing more than an entrance examination for an eternity that will never come, and wouldn’t matter even if it did. What matters is here and now. Tomorrow will only matter when it becomes the new here and now - it is the hereness and the nowness that gives a moment its meaning, not its place within eternity. It is kairos that grants meaning, not chronos. And even once we are gone, there will still be meaning and light and life in those we leave behind. Funerals are rites for the living, not the dead.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Carnival of the Godless #104 is up

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at Homosecular Gaytheist (and friends).

Posted by Chimbley, there are some terrific entries.

I'll be hosting Carnival of the Godless #105 on November, so be sure to get your entries submitted by midnight, November 21, 2008. I'll be giving preference to secular parenting posts, but any godless posting will be eligible.

God returns from 2,000 year vacation

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So says The Onion Radio News.

I can relate

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American Humanists bus ad campaign

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The American Humanist Association has announced that they'll be paying for a campaign similar to the British bus ad campaign:


The British Humanist Association campaign features the slogan, "There's Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life." But the American Humanist Association's bold new ad will more directly challenge the viewer and clearly connect the message to the holidays.

Letting them learn for themselves

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One thing that I struggle with as a parent is overcoming the parenting models of my childhood. The urge to lecture, to tell my daughter "because I said so" is often very strong, or to act like a drill sergeant are things I find myself battling on a regular basis. One of the core principles of Love and Logic is to set the boundaries and consequences for your child's actions and then let them learn the lesson for themselves. For example, if your child acts up, you sing the "uh oh song", give them "bedroom time", then when it's over, you go in, give them a hug, tell them you love them and leave it at that. The purpose of leaving the lecture out about what they did wrong or what they should have done is to allow them to learn for themselves. The benefit of that is that as they grow older, they learn to figure out consequences themselves, and rather than just following a hard set of rules, they'll understand that their actions have consequences and behave accordingly. I have a strong urge to lecture to make sure my daughter "gets it", but I can tell by the look on her face on those occasions that I've lecture her that what she's hearing is like the adults talking in the Peanuts tv specials. Waa waaaa wa waaaaa wa wah.

Beyond that, I think that approach can be used in other aspects of parenting, not just discipline. Allowing your child to make mistakes and even giving them the opportunity can be difficult. We often do things for our children rather than let them do it for themselves because they might make a mess or it's faster if we do it, but doesn't that teach the child that someone else will always do the difficult things? That making a mess is ok if you also clean it up? It's easy to become busy with your non-parenting life, but I think it's really important to encourage exploration and foster curiosity in children by letting them learn things for themselves. That doesn't mean that we avoid parental responsibility, but rather that we take on the role of a coach and consultant instead of a dictator and drill sergeant.

This also gives you the opportunity to see that "lightbulb moment" when your child learns something for themselves, and I, for one, cherish those. Nothing makes me prouder as a parent than seeing that happen.

In the secular context, letting your children learn for themselves helps foster critical thinking and problem solving and gives them the opportunity to make up their own minds. I see religious parents trying to force their point of view on their children and I never want to do that to my child.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Joy and Sorrow

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I'm very happy that Obama won, as did Mark Udall here in Colorado. Even though I don't live in that district, I'm thrilled that Markey kicked the crap out of Marylin Musgrave. She was one of the most toxic people I've ever heard of. I'm also VERY pleased that the heinous Amendment 48 failed miserably here. However, I'm very disappointed that 58 didn't pass. The oil & gas companies apparently spent their millions on lying about it quite effectively.

I'm also quite disappointed in the state of California for passing Prop 8. I suppose that it's good that opposition to same sex marriage in CA is dwindling to some degree, but my condolences go out to those couples who now will be treated as second class citizens again. I hope you don't give up the fight and that you are successful next time.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Praying for victory

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I just don't understand how people can muster the cognitive dissonance to believe in a god, much less that such a being would get involved with sporting events, the price of gas, or elections. Apparently, the religious (on both sides of the aisle) are getting together to pray for their candidate of choice.

"We have just days to pray that someone who upholds the sanctity of life and marriage between one man and one woman will win," said Pam Olsen, co-pastor with her husband of the International House of Prayer in Tallahassee, Fla.

Olsen, who personally supports Republican John McCain, is organizing a marathon of prayer, fasting and Bible reading at the Capitol starting Saturday until the state's polls close.

"The outcome is up to God," she said.

First, of all, the name International House of Prayer is just hilarious. I wonder how good the pancakes are?

Secondly, I just can't understand how people can actually believe that a deity would get involved. If they are convinced that McCain is the right candidate and he loses, will their faith be changed? Did their god let them down? Or were they wrong in the first place that McCain was the right candidate? Does that mean that since God chose Obama, they'll change their minds and support his presidency? Somehow I doubt it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Teaching Morality-absolutism or relativism?

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One of the main criticism of atheists and secular humanists is that we have no moral compass. Their claim often revolves around the fact that we are often moral relativists and that morality, at least for them, has to be absolute. While I do feel that there are some moral principles that would be considered "absolute", in many respects, all morality HAS to be relative. Wikipedia defines moral relativism as: the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances.

Can morality be both absolute AND relative? I think it can. Certain things like murder seem to considered universally wrong, but there are other things that have changed in "wrongness" according to social, cultural, historical and personal circumstances. In fact, I'd say that murder is even subject to that. For example, under Sharia law a woman can be murdered for many transgressions. However, I think that for the most part, there are things that violate human values and for all practical purposes are universal. On the other hand, there are things such as homosexuality that are considered by many, especially the religious, to be morally wrong, but by others, such as most secular humanists, to be perfectly acceptable.

How, then, do we teach morality to our children? I think the answer is teaching moral reasoning. Dale McGowan, in his blog The Meming of Life, has an excellent post on teaching moral reasoning to children.

I think that teaching rules to children certainly has a benefit, but if a child only learns the rules, how do they make moral/ethical decisions in situations where they haven't been taught a rule that covers it? Teaching moral reasoning, on the other hand, gives them the tools they need to figure things out for themselves, and that is far more valuable than teaching them a limited set of rules.

We've been working with the Love and Logic system, which I think has enormous potential for teaching moral reasoning. At the core of the system is setting boundaries and consequences in such a way that you give your children the opportunity to learn behavioral lessons not based on rules, but based on consequences. Doing it this way teaches them, in a loving and empathetic way, how to figure out correct behavior for themselves. We've only taken a few classes, but the tools we've learned have been very helpful, and I can see a ton of potential for not only handling parenting issues. but for teaching moral reasoning.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Zombie Jesus Day to one and all

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In honor of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I'll be dressing up as a pirate and saying "Arrrr" a lot.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I voted

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Fireworks company drops parade support due to bigotry

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A New York fireworks company is dropping its support for a parade of decorated yachts this year because the parade organizers wanted to be more inclusive and drop the "Christmas" from the parade's name.

Fireworks by Grucci won't lend its sparkle to Patchogue's Nov. 23 parade — decorated yachts on the Patchogue River — because the organizers have renamed it the Patchogue Holiday Boat Parade. It was the Patchogue Christmas Boat Parade last year, when the Grucci company donated $5,000 worth of fireworks.


I agree with the town mayor that fireworks aren't really a Christmas thing. I also think it's ironic that the very act of adding fireworks to a "Christmas" parade secularizes the event even more, so the firworks company's own actions support the position of the parade organizers that "Christmas" time is holiday time for many different belief systems as well as us unbelievers.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How to Become an Atheist

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From wikihow: How to become an atheist

Step # 5:

Consider your ethics and try to understand where they come from. You don't need a god/gods to be moral. Atheists are not unethical. Like many theists, many atheists donate to charity and live lives that are morally similar to those of theists. Atheists just might have different motivations for doing so.


It's interesting that someone put the thought and consideration into this. I like the well reasoned approach, and it does describe the process I went through starting about 20 years ago.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Skeptical Parent Crossing Carnival is up

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The first edition of the Skeptical Parent Crossing, hosted by domestic dad, is up. Excellent content-I'm really impressed by the quality of posts here. There's some very interesting reading on critically thinking about spanking, teaching philosophy, green diapers, and more.

Welcome to the first edition of Skeptical Parent Crossing, the blog carnival about skepticism, critical thinking, and parenting. There are many aspects to being a skeptical parent, and as your Crossing Guard this month, I’m pleased to present 12 articles covering a few of them.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Humanist Sunday School

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I've found it quite frustrating that the secular humanist community here in Denver seems to not be interested in bringing in families. The monthly meeting is on Sunday evenings, with no childcare provided, so those of us with small children are stuck with either finding (and paying for) a babysitter, or skipping the meeting altogether. I think that there are probably quite a few people here in Denver with small children who would love to have the opportunity to meet other atheists/secular humanists, and especially those with children. It seems like a lost opportunity to not only grow the secular humanist group, but to grow it in a way that ensures a strong, healthy group in the decades to come.

One solution I've heard of before (and would love to have here) is a secular humanist "Sunday School"

In May, the American Humanist Association began a campaign to educate children of agnostics, atheists and freethinkers by creating specialized curricula. Apparently, parents who want to teach their kids to question God must be intentional about it.


I don't agree that a Secular Humanist Sunday School would be about "teaching their kids to question God", but rather to instill Secular Humanist values of critical thinking, community service, and the "Eight Commitments to Ethical Culture".

The model described in the Washington Times sounds promising. I like this:
"We focus on discussion-based moral education for kids that is not based on a belief and a god," she says. "We do teach about various world religions in a way that will let kids come to their own conclusions."

Perhaps it's time to "be the change you want to see" and see if I can organize something similar.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Why Roseanne Cash Would be a Better VP than Sarah Palin

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I had no idea that Roseanne Cash was still around, much less that she was a pretty talented writer. At The Nation, she tells us why she'd be a better Veep than Sarah Palin.

An excerpt:

I know Governor Palin has one distinct advantage in living so close to Russia, in that she can keep a close eye on nefarious activity across the Bering Strait, but I, too, live very close to a foreign country. Canada is less than 400 miles from my home in New York City, and you never know when it might become necessary to invade a sovereign nation that has not attacked us, as we learned the hard way. Not only that, I have a girlfriend in Austin, Texas, whom I'm going to ask to keep an eye on Mexico.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

iTunes Podcast find

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Just found this today-published just around the corner from me in Aurora, CO.

Peanut Butter-the Atheist's Nightmare!

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Well, I guess I'll have to start believing in God now, since the clear and concise logic of this video clearly destroys the arguments of atheism.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

102nd Carnival of the Godless is up

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The newest edition of the Carnival of the Godless is up at Division by Zero.

This post
on Antimattr has been included!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

John Cleese on Hanity

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Ode to Sean Hannity
by John Cleese

Aping urbanity
Oozing with vanity
Plump as a manatee
Faking humanity
Journalistic calamity
Intellectual inanity
Fox Noise insanity
You’re a profanity
Hannity


As read by Keith Olberman last night on Countdown.

Pro Lifer calls opponents to Colorado Amendment 48 illogical, and my irony meter explodes

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Found in this post, which is taken from this site, although I couldn't find that article there.

The state of Colorado will soon be voting on Amendment 48, The Personhood Amendment. From the Colorado for Equal Rights website:
"The Personhood Amendment will see that the Colorado state constitution is amended to include pre-born from the moment of fertilization as having their 'personhood' clearly established, so that they may enjoy inalienable rights, equality of justice and equal protection under the law."

so far, so good. can't really dispute that.
Now, it's important to clarify that the Personhood Amendment does not change the constitution in any way.

By definition, an amendment does change the constitution. It also makes it much more difficult to change than passing a law in the state legislature, which is, I'm sure, the main reason the anti-choice crowd is pushing for it to be an amendment.
It merely clarifies the definition of a 'person' as beginning at fertilization. Medical textbooks and scientific reference works consistently agree that human life begins at conception. This means that the moment an egg is fertilized by a sperm, it brings into existence a zygote, which is a genetically distinct human being. This isn't biased information. These are basic, indisputable biological facts that have been affirmed by medical professionals worldwide for decades.

(emphasis mine). First of all, "merely" is bullshit. That would be a fundamental change in the way our legal system works regarding women, pregnancy, and medical care. Secondly, they provide no sources for their "indisputable biological facts". In reality, there is no consensus among doctors, scientists, are anyone else. In 1989, an amici curiae brief prepared for the Supreme Court case of William Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 167 scientists and physicians, including twelve Nobel laureates, argued:
There is no scientific consensus that a human life begins at conception, at a given stage of fetal development, or at birth. The question of "when a human life begins" cannot be answered by reference to scientific principles like those with which we predict planetary movement. The answer to tha question will depend on each individual's social, religious, philosophical, ethical, and moral beliefs and values.

so, where are these "indisputable facts"?
With the tantrums being thrown by pro-aborts, it's amazing to think that this 'attack on women's health', as they deem it, is merely an attempt to keep our laws updated with modern science. Establishing medical facts pertaining to the development of the preborn is no more an attack on women's health than challenging the flat earth theory is an attack on nautical travel.

Using the word "tantrum" is an ad hominem attack with no bearing on the issue. However, I agree with keeping our laws updated with modern science. It's just that science and medical facts do not agree with the anti-choice crowd. For the record, no one is "pro abortion". I contend that people who call themselves "pro life" are anything but pro life. They care about a collection of cells more than the life of the mother, the life of the doctor, or anything else.
We would do well to remind our pro-abort friends who love to paint themselves as the picture of modern progression, that to ignore the advance of medical science is archaic, antediluvian, and (dare we say it?) intolerant.
For a group of people who love to discredit their opposition by claiming to be above uninformed, religious opinion, it's amazing to watch their persistent ignorance to the basic biological and medical facts of prenatal development. Who would have thought that in the 21st century, fairly intelligent individuals would persist in rejecting science, in the face of strong evidence, so that they can sit back comfortably in their subjective, faith-based worldview that killing a child is the equivalent of pulling a tooth?

Again, they make claims about these "medical facts", yet fail to cite a single example of any. Claiming that evidence exists without showing it is demonstrating a "lack of logic" on their part.
Seriously, just think about what voting No on Amendment 48 entails. What you are being asked to do is to ignore the advancements of medical and biological science to placate the subjective political opinions and faith based claims of a group of individuals. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of "Faith" is, "Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence." Since the statement, "a fetus isn't a child" is not based on any tangible data, and in fact goes contrary to all established evidence - it is quite literally a faith statement. It is an opinion. It is not grounded in reality.

This is just one more example of the religious right lying and accusing their opponents of what they are the ones doing. Science has consistently said that there's no consensus on the beginning of personhood, and you can't find many anti-choicers who are not motivated purely by religion.
When you listen to pro-aborts sputtering out nonsense about "a fetus is just a formless blob", "it's the woman's body", etc.. you are listening to faith statements that directly oppose the most fundamental precepts of medical knowledge. You must willingly adopt ignorance and become intellectually handicapped to believe the faith statements dehumanizing the fetus. And they call us the extremists?

yes, you are extremists because you try to force your religious views on the rest of us. Opposed to abortion? Don't have one. Perhaps instead of indulging in lying, distorting the facts and forcing your religion on everyone else, you should invest your time in properly educating young people in sex education and teaching them about contraception. (I realize that it's not just teens and the younger crowd who have abortions, but they are the easiest for the religious right to intimidate).
What kind of sad society is it where the self-appointed intellectual elite are in essence saying, "The Personhood Amendment, where accepting the facts of elementary school science make you an extremist!"

Again, show me the science.
The question of when life begins isn't relative. It is clearly definable in terms of science.

Correct. Life began about 4.5 billion years ago.
To keep a belief grounded in the elusive playground of 'what's right for me' is not progressive. It does not a benefit womens health. The only way anyone can justify voting no on 48, is to deny the medical facts, or to admit that abortion is the act of ending a human life. Not too many individuals seem to be overly fond of openly admitting support for mass child murder, so anti-life groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL are ready to spew out lies and deceptions to prevent Colorado from catching up with fifth grade biology.

This is utterly false. Again, they mention medical facts without citing them. They also accuse Planned Parenthood and NARAL of lies in deception in the same sentence that they spew nothing but lies and deception. Typical right wing behavior.
This really is an intellectual war. Not counting Colorado pro-lifers, you have to realize that your state is essentially made up of two groups of people. Those who are uninformed or misinformed when it comes to the medical facts of personhood, and those who remain willfully ignorant of the medical facts of personhood. One group is being deceived by the other.

This is correct, but I strongly disagree which group is willfully ignorant.
Your job as an activist taking a stand for life is to clear the fog. Tell it like it is. This is literally a case of faith vs. science.

Yes, it is a case of science vs. faith. Your faith vs. the science that says no consensus exists about the beginning of personhood.
And since our opposition pride themselves on being scientifically savvy and morally progressive, let's ask them: If you are so progressive and science-minded, then why are you opposed to catching our laws up to date with medical science?

The laws already are caught up with medical science. You're trying to roll the legal system back to medieval times.
Be blunt. Be bold. Write letters to the editor. Challenge advertisements and opinion columns that are openly stating falsehoods and anti-life fabrications. Get the word out. Here's the nitty-gritty: Like toddler and adolescent, the terms embryo and fetus do not refer to nonhumans, but to humans at particular stages of development. And stage of development does not alter human worth. The pre-born are undeniably human and as such deserve equal rights. It really is that simple!

No, it isn't that simple. One of the main problems I have with religion is that it turns every issue into a black-and-white, "simple" problem with only one clear answer. The problem is, religious people can't agree with what those simple answers should be. Life is never simple, and issues like abortion are particularly complex. To pretend otherwise is dumbing down the issue.
As pro-life activists, it is irritating lacking the funds to get the truth out, especially when we're up against a behemoth of lies. However, unlike our opposition, we don't have to exhaust our limited resources in fixing up lies into believable little pills for the public to swallow. All we have to do is tell it like it is. Let's remove politics and religion from the equation and look at this for what it is.. the acknowledgment of established biological fact.
I know I've repeated this to the point of redundancy, but this is the only way we'll get through to the masses: We play by their rules. You want to protect women? You despise primitive faith-based rhetoric? Good! The hypocrisy stops here. Let's close our Bibles and open our biology textbooks. Modern science is very clear and concise on when human life begins. Once the fog is cleared, I think the masses will agree.. in light of medical science I personally don't have enough faith to pretend that a preborn child is the equivalent of a pulled tooth.
- Gingi Edmonds

Again, show me this modern science of which you speak. If it were so cut and dried, scientists and doctors all over the world would be jumping on the anti-choice bandwagon. Nonsense such as Gingi Edonds is spewing makes me want to beat my head against the wall. Willful ignorance like this needs to fought tooth and nail to preserve our constitutional rights.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hilarious

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I've seen a bunch of these, but being the geek that I am, couldn't resist posting the Star Wars version.

I'm a Mavrik How About You?

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original image here.

Stupidity really should be painful.

h/t to Stupid Evil Bastard

Oh, the Inanity

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The "War on Christmas" strawman appears earlier and earlier each year. The absurdity of that claim always amuses me, but I also find it utterly bewildering how Christians can have such a persecution complex when they comprise over 75% of the population of the US, control all but one seat in Congress, dominate the military, and have managed to get prayer instituted into schools under the guise of the Pledge of Allegiance. (Yes, I realize that landoverbaptist.org is satire, but I invoke Poe's Law and state that it sounds an awful lot like some of the rhetoric spewed by the religious right).

In this post about a "Christmas Controbersy" [sic] claims:

I am providing evidence of the Secular Progressive (or Secular Liberal Atheist) actions against the traditional celebration of Christmas.

Yet there is no proof (or even evidence) in that post that "SPs" or "SLAs" are out to ruin his/her precious Christmas. This idea that if you can't make everyone agree with you, you're being persecuted is growing tiresome. Instead of making a decent case for the argument, the author just reposts an article from a couple years back and expects us to believe that the EAC is out to eliminate every aspect of religion in America.

I'm not sure how to get across to these people that we're not out to destroy their faith or force atheism on anyone, but we want respect, tolerance and inclusion. Much of the so-called "War on Christmas" seems to be the decision of many corporations and governments to acknowledge that Christmas is not the only holiday celebrated at the end of the year. We live in a very diverse country with many cultural and religious traditions, almost all of which have some sort of end-of-year celebration, and it just makes good economic sense for businesses to use the phrase "Happy Holidays" rather than ignoring those other traditions, or else spending more money to create signs and advertising for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Festivus (for the rest of us), Saturnalia, Chrismahanukwanzakah, Boxing Day, Yule, Bodhi Day, or any of the other myriad winter festivals celebrated here.

Whining when they don't receive special privilege in the public sphere and claiming that it's discrimination or suppression just makes them look foolish. The author of that post also says:
We do not hear outcries from Jews, Muslims, or Buddhists within this country to reduce the amount of Santa Clauses roaming around, it is mostly being protested by angry atheists who just really do not like conservatives and religious people, so everything gets screwed for the moderates that just want to enjoy the season.

Personally, I don't know any atheists who are any angrier than people of any other worldview. In fact, it's always the Christians who are declaring that they're at "war" about something, then claiming that we atheists are "militant".

For the record, I personally don't care what you call it, or how you celebrate it, or if you celebrate it. Many atheists, myself included, do celebrate "Christmas", it's just not about the alleged birth of Jesus. For me, it's about looking back over the past year, coming together as a family and celebrating the love we have for each other. We put up a tree, decorate with lights, exchange gifts, have a nice meal and generally do the same things as a Christian would, except our decorations are all winter/snowflake themed, our tree is decorated with ornaments that we find nostalgic or meaningful (our favorites include ornaments from the classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer TV show) and our gifts are wrapped in non-religious wrapping paper.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Interesting comic

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This is a great analogy of religion, from my point of view

Another example of the absurdity of religion

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A group of parents in Massena, NY want yoga removed from the school their children attend, because yoga is linked to Hinduism, and they feel that rather than helping the children relax, teaching yoga is causing the children "stress and confusion". I seriously doubt that there's any religion involved in the yoga instruction at those schools, and to make that claim is utterly absurd. How about if we prevent schools from ever serving crackers, since Catholics do that as part of their religious ceremonies? Most Christian churches sing and play music-should we remove music from schools now, too?

This is just an absurd claim and I'm surprised that someone hasn't called them on it. I practice yoga occasionally, and have found nothing religious about it. I'm sure there are some teachers who do incorporate religion into it, but it sounds like that school district has provided yoga instruction only involving movement and breathing. Last time I checked, those were not religious activities.

What makes me sad is that more than likely, those parents will be successful in getting a beneficial activity removed from that school because of their narrow-minded interpretation and desire for special privileges for Christianity.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

They might as well not even bother...

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Now that a psychic has called the debate:


Psychics: Stars not aligned for Palin

Well-known psychic Elizabeth Joyce has doubts there will be an election this November. Her instincts tell her that, come next week, there might be “rioting in the streets and martial law” and that President Bush will henceforth carry out his term indefinitely.

But that’s next week. Tonight, there’s a vice presidential debate. And Joyce’s predicted outcome runs closer to conventional wisdom on the much-anticipated matchup between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. She believes that the debate will ultimately go a long way in determining the next president, and that Biden will take the day so long as he doesn’t push her too much.


First John McCain predicts his win before the first debate, and now this. It's proving to be quite the psychic election.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Atheist folk musician

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Paul Martin is an atheist and musician with some interesting work.

http://web.mac.com/pj_martin/Aspiring_Atheist/Happy_Heathen_CD.html

A sample of lyrics:

I learned to question everything, so from your grace I fell
I once was lost but then I found, there is no road to hell
This road is paved with logic, reason, science and good sense
No more superstition, no more brainwashed dissidence

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Barack Obama's Ghastly Ghetto of Demoncratic Terror!

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I love landoverbaptist.org


Room 1 - A Lilly-White Family Gets Taxed to Death– A normal Christian (white) husband comes home from work to sit down to dinner with his family. Obama is speaking on the television set in the living room.


Poe's Law certainly holds true here. When I first found the site years ago, I couldn't tell that it was satire.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Excellent article in the Arizona Daily Wildcat

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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Dear atheists: I know you pride yourselves on being the most rationally-minded people. You reject major religions and gods on the basis of a lack of evidence. But many of the beliefs you hold are disappointingly irrational, superstitious - even religious. Some of you almost make me ashamed to call myself an atheist. Almost.

Excellent article by a student. Some of the comments are a bit harsh, but I actually agree with him and approve of his tone. Personally, I've met a few atheists (such as my wife) who are not entirely skeptical when it comes to some things like psychic phenomena and reincarnation, and while I certainly respect anyone's right to believe whatever they want, I just can't wrap my head around believing in something that either has no evidence supporting it or directly contradicts the available evidence.

One of the commenters there made an excellent point: atheism and rationalsim are not the same thing. I suppose it has a lot to do with how one comes to be an atheist. If you've made the journey by investigating, discussing, reading, etc. and come to the conclusion from a logical, evidentiary process, are you more likely to be skeptical of the paranormal and/or supernatural?

I do think it's important to look inward as well as outward and be as skeptical of our fellow atheists as were are of theists. Irrational beliefs are, well, irrational and should be called as such.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Smarmy Colson well refuted in comments

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In this post at morganton.com, an "advertisement" touting The Faith by Charles Colson (one of the Watergate Seven), it says:

In his recent release, "The Faith," Charles Colson tells of an interesting encounter while attending a dinner the night before a governor's prayer breakfast.

"The gentleman seated next to me greeted me with a blunt warning that he was an atheist. I looked at him for a moment — graying temples, a wise expression, handsomely attired — the very image of a community leader. I told him I was glad to sit next to him because 'I've never really met an atheist.'

As his eyebrows arched, I explained, 'An atheist believes the existence of God can be disproved. So please, tell me how you've done that.'


A poster named pagoo posted a very well written reply (see the article itself and scroll down to the post by pagoo to read the whole post):

Seven months was not enough time for Mr. Colson to have spent in a cell. As Nixon's hatchet man he used to tell lies for a living. Not much has changed since he went religious. His story above, as so many of the stories he likes to tell, is so palpably untrue it is a wonder anyone treats him with any respect at all.


I've seen this type of story many times on atheist message boards and forums. Some theist claims to have met some mysterious atheist who "self identifies" as an atheist, and is then promptly put in their philosophical place by one allegedly sound theist argument.

It does get tiresome. I have yet to hear of an atheist who actually exists spontaneously telling everyone that they're an atheist. Generally, even those atheists who are "out" to everyone in their lives don't go around advertising about it. For one thing, it seems just plain weird. You don't generally see theists introducing themselves "Hi, I'm Bob and I'm a Baptist". If you do, they're generally more than a little nutty and looking for a good argument. The second thing is, any atheist willing to "self identify" like that would be more than prepared to argue their position, and I seriously doubt that an atheist would ever say that they hadn't really thought about their philosophical position.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Christians oppose their children being forced to pray to Allah

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Two schoolboys were given detention after refusing to kneel down and 'pray to Allah' during a religious education lesson.

Parents were outraged that the two boys from year seven (11 to 12-year-olds) were punished for not wanting to take part in the practical demonstration of how Allah is worshipped.

They said forcing their children to take part in the exercise at Alsager High School, near Stoke-on-Trent - which included wearing Muslim headgear - was a breach of their human rights.


Granted, that happened in England, but can you imagine the uproar if it happened here? And yet, Christians have no problem trying to force children to pray say the pledge every morning at school.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fungible commodities and flagging, you know, the molecules,

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I missed this statement by the illustrious GOP VP candiate:


Oil and coal? Of course, it's a fungible commodity and they don't flag, you know, the molecules, where it's going and where it's not.


Can you say "incoherent"? I knew you could. Yet again, she demonstrates that she's pretty ignorant on most national issues, especially energy, in spite of McCain saying that Sarah "knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America." Although, given how easily he lies these days, it's no surprise that he'd lie through his teeth about that. The problem is that he's just not very good at lying-he keeps lying about easily checked facts and getting caught. Unfortunately, it seems most of the voting public is a little slow catching on, or perhaps they just don't care. I know that some distortion of the truth is inevitable whenever there's a political race, but, as has been noted by just about everyone now, when Karl Rove says you're stretching the truth too far, you might want to reexamine your messaging.

Anyhoo, back to intrepid "energy expert". Want to bet that she had never heard the word "fungible" before last week? Just exactly how could you "flag molecules", anyway?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sam Harris on Sarah Palin or, When Atheists Attack

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Sam Harris has a really good article on the dangers of Sarah Palin as the GOP's VP nomination: When Atheists Attack.

I disagree with him that her convention speech was "most effective political communication I have ever witnessed", but I think the rest of the article is quite good.

One of my biggest concerns about her has been her utter ignorance on anything other than field dressing a moose, and Sam points this out:


Her relative ignorance is guaranteed on these fronts and most others, not because she was put on the spot, or got nervous, or just happened to miss the newspaper on any given morning. Sarah Palin's ignorance is guaranteed because of how she has spent the past 44 years on earth.


She scares me, not because, as the right has tried to convince us, that she's a new kind of feminist and we are afraid of strong women, but because she is not only ignorant about most, if not all, matters of political importance in our country, but seems to revel in that ignorance, as do her supporters.

I'm completely flummoxed by the stance that anyone would not want the most intelligent, educated and prepared candidate possible in the White House, whether it's in the West Wing or the East Wing. Her "you can't blink" stance terrifies me. The first and second most powerful people in the work have a responsibility to "blink" and make considered, informed decisions. The McCain/Palin ticket has amply demonstrated that they prefer to make last minute decisions based on what they already "know" to be true. This kind of thinking, it seems to me, comes from a religious background. Not that we atheists are immune to our own biases, but the shutting down of intellectual curiousity, the tendency to reject evidence that disagrees with your personal beliefs, and the sense that differing points of view are always wrong seems to be linked strongly to conservative religious belief.

Rampant hypocrisy in the conservative camp seems to me to also be linked to conservative religious beliefs:

Many writers have noted the many shades of conservative hypocrisy on view here: when Jamie Lynn Spears gets pregnant, it is considered a symptom of liberal decadence and the breakdown of family values; in the case of one of Palin's daughters, however, teen pregnancy gets reinterpreted as a sign of immaculate, small-town fecundity.


I don't believe that cognitive dissonance is limited to the religious right, but it does seem to be much more pravalent, and is in fact a core part of bringing up children in a conservative religion. It just amazes me that they don't see the hypocrisy, but I guess at this point, it shouldn't.

Of all the things Sam says about her, this frightens me the most:

Her supporters know that while she cannot afford to "talk the talk" between now and Nov. 4, if elected, she can be trusted to "walk the walk" until the Day of Judgment.


With McCain and Palin already demonstrating how easy lying comes to them, I suspect that we won't hear much about Palin's extreme religious views until it's too late (if they win).

I just hope our nation starts seeing past the lies and cover-ups soon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Atheist Blogroll

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Antimattr has been added to The Atheist Blogroll. You can see the blogroll in my sidebar. The Atheist blogroll is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts for more information.

Colorado Amendment 48

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The Coalition for Secular Government has published a paper on Colorado Amendment 48

The Summary of the measure states:

Amendment 48 proposes a change to the state constitution that defines the term person to include any human being from the moment of fertilization. This definition is applied to the sections of the Colorado Constitution that protect the natural and essential rights of persons, allow open access to courts for every person, and ensure that no person has his or her life, liberty, or property taken away without the due process of law.


This is an absurd measure pushed by the religious right without thought of the ultimate consequences. As the Coalition for Secular Government puts it:

Amendment 48 seeks to define a fertilized egg as a person with full legal rights in Colorado’s constitution. If fully implemented, it would profoundly and adversely impact the lives of sexually-active couples, couples seeking children, pregnant women, doctors, and medical researchers, subjecting them to severe legal restrictions, police controls, protracted court battles, and criminal punishments.

Amendment 48 would outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, terminally deformed fetuses, and danger to the woman’s health. The measure might or might not allow abortions in cases of extreme risk to the woman’s life; either way, it would endanger the lives and health of many women. In conjunction with existing statutes, Amendment 48 would subject women and their doctors to first-degree murder charges for willfully terminating a pregnancy, with the required punishment of life in prison or the death penalty.

The impact of Amendment 48 would extend far beyond abortion into the personal corners of every couple’s reproductive life. It would outlaw many forms of birth control, likely including the pill. It would require criminal investigation of any miscarriages deemed suspicious. The measure also would ban potentially life-saving stem-cell research and many popular fertility treatments.

Amendment 48 rests on the absurdity that a fertilized egg is a full human person with an absolute right to biological life-support from a woman—regardless of her choices and whatever the cost to her. The biological facts support a different view, namely that personhood and rights begin at birth. Colorado law should reflect those objective biological facts, not the Bible verses so often quoted by advocates of Amendment 48.


I agree completely with them. This amendment, while not specifically outlawing things such as birth control, opens the door to some pretty scary possibilities for the religious right to push through state legislation that could dramatically impact the lives of women. I think it's vitally important to fight this anti-choice agenda.

Also, since more than 25% of conceptions end in spontaneous abortion (also called miscarriages), shouldn't the religious right consider their god a horrible murderer? The lack of logic in their positions just astounds me. Not only that, but I suspect that most of the backers of Amendment 48 are also pro death penalty, and all for cutting social programs that benefit children. They care about you until you're born, but after that you're on your own.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Arrr!

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Avast matey! It be International Talk like a Pirate Day! Hoist a pint o' grog te yer mates and give 'em a good Arrr! If ye lubbers cannae speechify like a true pirate, ye'll be walkin' the plank! Arrr!

Idiot blames liberals for everything

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I have a google alert for Colorado atheism, and because this idiot blames liberals and atheists for everything, it came up in my alert.

an excerpt:

Before closing I should want to mention that liberals are even more guilty of inciting violence than liberals. Take a trip to certain liberal forums and you will find them advocating violence everywhere. At Democratic Underground for example, there were posts advocating the assassination of Bush, as well as the murder of columnist Michelle Malkin. They even posted her address and a satellite photo of her residence. Go to liberal rallies and see the violence for yourself. They advocate killing anyone who disagrees with them. (Also view my past article stories of left wing tolerance in Maine) A friend of mine went to a peace rally in Portsmouth NH that advocated violence against those who were pro American and pro Israel. One of the participants was a skin head he had gone to school with who stated that 9/11 was orchestrated by the Mossad and that Jews flew the planes in the WTC.

In addition Liberals advocate abortion, the murder of unborn children, they advocate environmental laws that restrict economic growth and cause famines and poverty in the developing world, they advocate restricting the sale of firearms to defenseless victims making them even more defenseless. Criminals regardless get guns anyway. Liberals support Our enemies and support our surrendering the war. Clearly liberals are a true threat.

He, like so many of the far right, seems to enjoy making sweeping generalizations and blaming anyone who doesn't agree with his political or religious point of view instead of taking responsibility for his own actions. Yes, there are crazy people who have liberal points of view, and yes, occasionally someone with a supposedly atheistic worldview does something heinous. However, the number of people committing atrocities in the name of their invisible sky daddy far, far exceeds those of atheists. How many children have died because their parents refused medical care, trying to pray their illness away? How many children have been killed in recent years because of attempts at "exorcism"? The simplistic views expressed here are typical of conservatives-blame liberals for everything, when they've been in charge of the country almost all of the past eight years, and we've see our national debt skyrocket due to conservative political practices, they've started an unnecessary war, and they insist on calling anyone who doesn't agree with them an "enemy".

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Top 10 Conservative Idiots no. 351

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This is Hilarious!!!!

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 351

from democraticunderground.com

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Politics of Misinformation

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Here's a very interesting article about the cognitive dissonance surrounding politics. I've been convinced of this for a while, but it's very interesting to see hard science on it. People choose their beliefs and then cherry-pick facts and information to support those beliefs. The more your self-concept is wrapped up in those beliefs, the more likely it is that not only will you not change your beliefs, but contradictory evidence actually makes your belief stronger:

But a series of new experiments show that misinformation can exercise a ghostly influence on people's minds after it has been debunked -- even among people who recognize it as misinformation. In some cases, correcting misinformation serves to increase the power of bad information.
h/t to The Frontal Cortex

Atheist accused of threat may face more charges

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo Colorado Springs authorities are considering more charges against an atheist accused of threatening to behead two women with a knife because they are Christians.



This seems like a pretty bigoted statement to me. Yes, it appears that the man was an atheist, but really, the issue is that he seems to be mentally disturbed and happens to be an atheist. If he had been a Christian and attacked Muslims for their beliefs, the article would undoubtedly be more about his psychological issues, rather than his belief (or lack thereof).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day One

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This my first post here. I'll be blogging about atheism, politics, and anything else that catches my attention.

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