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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Barack Obama's Ghastly Ghetto of Demoncratic Terror!


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


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


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


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,


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


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


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


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



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


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


This is Hilarious!!!!

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 351

from democraticunderground.com

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Politics of Misinformation


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


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


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