In honor of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I'll be dressing up as a pirate and saying "Arrrr" a lot.
Friday, October 31, 2008
In honor of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I'll be dressing up as a pirate and saying "Arrrr" a lot.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
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
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.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
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
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
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.
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
Just found this today-published just around the corner from me in Aurora, CO.
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
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Ode to Sean Hannity
by John Cleese
Oozing with vanity
Plump as a manatee
Fox Noise insanity
You’re a profanity
As read by Keith Olberman last night on Countdown.
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
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
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
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
Paul Martin is an atheist and musician with some interesting work.
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