Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Morning Hate - Bishop Alfred A. Owens Jr.

Hateful Rhetoric from Religious Leaders

"It takes a real man to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. I'm not talking about no faggot or no sissy. I mean a real man who has made up their mind ... Wait a minute! Let all the real men come on down here and take a bow. All the real men—I'm talking about the straight men.
You ain’t funny and you ain’t cranky, but you're straight. Come on down here and walk around and praise God that you are straight. Thank him that you're straight. All the straight men that's proud to be a Christian, that's proud to be a man of God. I'm proud of what God made me. Any proud men in the room?"

Biship Owens spews his bigotry from Mt. Calvary Holy Church in Washington D.C. ~Thanks Rod 2.0

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Open Letter

Dear social conservatives, theocrats, corporate apologists, et, al.

The America I know and love has been progressive since it’s inception. From when the founding fathers made the clear and conscious decision to refer to its people as citizens instead of subjects, to the numerous decisions that over time have given every free adult citizen regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation, or educational background the right to be treated equally under the law, to the decisions that free speech is so fundamental that the protection of unpopular, and even outright stupid, ideas (be they godly, godless or anything in between) are allowed to be freely expressed (but remain subject to equally protected criticism by people you may not like very much) America has been a force for progress.

The American tradition ... is progressive. It was progressives that ended slavery. Progressives said women can vote. Progressives were responsible for letting two people get married regardless of race, and soon regardless of gender.

My America says you have the right to believe and say that science is an evil godless practice which is trying to destroy your faith while still reaping all the benefits of the scientific discoveries it yields like vaccines, electricity, clean air and water, and one of the highest per capita lifespans of anywhere in the world. Much of which is funded with government research grants, by the way, because research is not intrinsically profitable.

My America has a government that is allowed to collect taxes to 'provide for the common good' which includes all sorts of great stuff like roads, schools, and the previously mentioned research. It uses that money to keep our air and water clean, and to ensure that we all have the basic standard of living that allows all of us to embrace the freedoms we so cherish. And if that means that the people who profit the most from our way of life have to give back a little more to maintain that way of life ... so be it.

My America gave us jazz, blues, punk rock, George Carlin, TV, VCRs, NASA, the sexual revolution, cars, and the internet. It is not a sober community of staid and stolid statesmen; it's the greatest party that human civilization has ever thrown. Sure it also gave us the Westboro Baptist Church, prohibition, the war on drugs, and the A-bomb, but it's a 'more perfect union' not a perfect one. And that suits me fine. My America has never and will never be perfect. It makes mistakes; it's messy, sloppy, and complicated. It's a place where burning a flag can be just as patriotic as saluting one. I wouldn't have it any other way.

My America is a place where we're allowed to disagree with each other, and the government, and anyone for that matter. Which is great because my America is a dynamic, constantly changing place, where people argue, and bicker, and have different ideas about how we should be doing things. But we always, always remember that we're all one people even when, and especially if, we disagree.

If you would like to live in a conservative country which is founded on strong religious principles, where the women are modestly dressed, the children are taught scripture in schools, laws and punishments are taken directly from holy books, and the economy is largely centered around a small number of extremely profitable businesses that are owned and operated by a devout and enterprising business elite ... Try the middle east, they have several nations which fit that description perfectly.

Because, and forgive me for being so emphatic in my terminology, but you preachy motherfuckers need to come to terms with something you've been in denial about for a very long time. America isn't yours. It belongs to sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The free and the brave are the huddled, unwashed masses. And we're definitely tired and sick of you self-righteous assholes trying to 'take back' a country that you never had in the first place. So maybe, just maybe, if you don't love it, then you're the ones who should be leaving it.

My America may well be a teeming throng of iniquitous, degenerate, self-serving, godless hedonist freaks; but they're also the nicest, kindest, most loving, caring, trusting band of unruly misfits you're ever likely to meet. You may occasionally succeed in
infecting us with your red-faced moral indignation, but I assure you it will always pass and we'll keep going forward, right or wrong, doing whatever it is we do no matter what you do to stop it.

You’re welcome to stay of course, but I fear your perception of this great nation is woefully inaccurate.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Link Dump 10/29/10

Be careful everyone.  It is Halloween weekend and these traps are EVERYWHERE!
Rand Paul Supporter Tim Profitt Wants Victim To Apologize To Him - I think this ridiculousness may have spawned this trend on Twitter. 

An Open Letter to the Pope by Sinead O’ConnerThis is a month old, but its great.  Sinead really sticks the knife in.  And twists. 

From Obama, the Tax Cut Nobody Heard Of - Hey Barack! You know it’s OK to brag in politics, right?  I mean just a little.  Before elections would help. 

Eight False Things The Public “Knows” Prior To Election Day - What? You mean the American public is wildly misinformed and ignorant of the facts?  How can this be with such a competent and widespread media?

The Bible Bee - OK fellow atheists.  Who can we send as a ringer? 

Baby Dies In Mass Jump To 'Flee From Devil' - Really? A baby died because of  this?  

Fox News wonders if school dinners will ‘destroy American families’ - This is getting boring.  Communist plot. Blah. Blah. Blah.  Family values.  Blah. Blah. Blah  Screw the poor.  Blah. Blah. Blah.  

A chart of Glenn Beck’s hot topicsUnfortunately Clozapine is not one of them. 

Hell is Real – BOO! Ah, those funny theists. 

This isn’t recent and it’s kind of random, but Adam was entranced by the banner pic.  Entranced might be the wrong word…

Have a Happy Halloween everyone! 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sam Harris Link Dump

Sam Harris has been in the news a lot recently and we had some links in the blog's shared inbox just sitting there for awhile.  I'm just tidying up the place.

"The Moral Landscape": Why science should shape morality

Sam Harris Believes in God - Terrible and misleading headline as I have stated elsewhere.  Shoddy journalism, I say.

Sam Harris on The Daily Show

Morality: 'We can send religion to the scrap heap'

Wright/Harris Debate

Sam Harris: The Moral Landscape (Videos)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Atheist Blogroll: We're on it!

Site News! 

Left Hemispheres has been added to The Atheist Blogroll! You can see the blogroll in my sidebar and the badge (with link) below and to the right of this post. 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.

UPDATE: Introducing Left Hemispheres 

Join the best atheist themed blogroll!

Mid-Week Rant: David Cross

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Morning Stupid Quotes - The Tea Party

''The greatest threat to America is not necessarily a recession or even another terrorist attack. The greatest threat to America is a liberal media bias.''—Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), member of the Tea Party Caucus, June 4, 2009

''He has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity.''—Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), member of the Tea Party Caucus, on President Obama's decision to fund international family planning organizations that support legal abortion, Sept. 26, 2009

''Do you know, where does this phrase 'separation of church and state' come from? It was not in Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists. ... The exact phrase 'separation of Church and State' came out of Adolph Hitler's mouth, that's where it comes from. So the next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State, ask them why they're Nazis.''—Glen Urquhart, the Tea Party-backed Republican nominee for the Delaware House seat

''You're dealing with people who are professional race-baiters, who make a very good living off this kind of thing. They make more money off of race than any slave trader ever. It's time groups like the NAACP went to the trash heap of history where they belong with all the other vile racist groups that emerged in our history.''—Mark Williams, national spokesman for the Tea Party Express

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Morning Hate - Bryan Fischer

Hateful Rhetoric from Religious Leaders

"I want to suggest that homosexual activists are not wholly innocent in these tragedies, in these horrible suicides by these students. Now realize that homosexuals cannot reproduce, so they have to recruit; it's the only way to swell their numbers. We, the sexually normal, we can be fruitful, we can multiply, we can fill the earth. Homosexuals cannot do it, they're incapable of procreation which is one of the reasons we should never sanctify those relationships with the term marriage or even domestic partnerships or civil unions."

For larger context and video check Right Wing Watch.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Link Dump - 10/22/10

Relax people, The Singularity (like The Rapture) isn't actually going to happen.

We should be suspicious of this particular moon of Saturn though.

If you're going to read the Bible, why not this version?

Christopher Hitchens: Tumortown 

Recently Discovered Habitable World May Not Exist - NOOOOOOOOOOO! /unpacks

Let's Build an Interplanetary Space Station - Fine, but its not Gliese 581g. /pouts
Contradictions in the Bible - well, this is a useful and good idea. 

Human Ancestors Hunted by Prehistoric Beasts - Like this!

Let’s give the Christians what they want: let’s make America a Christian nation! - Oh, I cannot WAIT for someone to tell me this should be a Christian nation. The comment pointing out Obama would be the Head of the State Church will make their heads explode.

5 Things You Won't Believe Aren't In the Bible - 1) historical accuracy, 2) scientific accuracy, 3) acceptance of others, 4) truth, 5) decency. Oh wait, they were going somewhere else with that.

The Christian Side-Hug: “Front Hugs Be Too Sinful” - I wish I could be more artful in my words, but all I can come up with is: Fuck, this is stupid.

A Field Guide to Atheist Parasites - You had me for minute there...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lack of Belief in Gods

via QualiaSoup

Monday Morning Stupid Quotes - Carl Paladino

Republican gubernational nominee for New York

"I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don't want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option -- it isn't."

"Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we'll teach people how to earn their check. We'll teach them personal hygiene ... the personal things they don't get when they come from dysfunctional homes. These are beautiful properties with basketball courts, bathroom facilities, toilet facilities. Many young people would love to get the hell out of cities. You have to teach them basic things — taking care of themselves, physical fitness. In their dysfunctional environment, they never learned these things."

"There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual. That's not how God created us."

"Don't misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way. That would be a dastardly lie.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Guide to Critical Thinking

Sunday Morning Hate - William Lane Craig

Hateful Rhetoric from Religious Leaders.

"God ensures that no one who would believe the gospel if he heard it remains ultimately unreached. Once the gospel reaches a people, God providentially places there persons who He knew would respond to it if they heard it. He ensures that those who never hear it are only those who would not accept it if they did hear it. Hence, no one is lost because of a lack of information or due to historical and geographical accident. Anyone who wants or even would want to be saved will be saved."

William Lane Craig justifying the position that every non-Christian will get what he deserves in the lake of fire. Even if their entire life is lived without exposure to Christianity.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Link Dump 10/15/10

The Zombie Network: Beware 'Free Public WiFi' - A public service message from Left Hemispheres.  Also, I really should finish reading something before destroying my staircase.  

What Columbus Already Knew
- So the Catholic Church was even more willfully ignorant than previously thought.  Excellent.  

Ancient Galaxies Found In Modern Universe

Evolution Exhibits and Religion

Bill Maher interviews Richard Dawkins
- Scroll down to see the video box

Glenn Beck “Giving Legitimacy to the Violent Fringe”
/gasps. No!

Animals can have spiritual experience just like humans
- Yes, but the true test to see if they really are spiritual is to see if they discriminate, rape and murder due to their beliefs.  Only then are they as good and advanced as us humans.  Those damn dirty apes.  

GOP’s Delaware Senate Nominee Christine O’Donnell Not a Big Fan of Evolution
 - Its just not even funny anymore.  How does a person like this get ONE vote for the nomination?

Religious Search Engines Yield Tailored Results
- Its easy to stay religious.  Just stick your fingers in your ears and yell “LALALALALALALALALALALALA”.

via the Atheist Media Blog, Sam Harris and Michael Shermer vs. Deepok Chopra Jane Houston.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Morning Stupid Quotes - Sharon Angle

-Nevada GOP Senate nominee and Tea Party favorite:

"They [Republicans] say, 'You're too conservative.' Was Thomas Jefferson too conservative? I'm tired of some people calling me wacky." -Sharron Angle, March 21, 2010

"I think that two wrongs don't make a right. And I have been in the situation of counseling young girls, not 13 but 15, who have had very at risk, difficult pregnancies. And my counsel was to look for some alternatives, which they did. And they found that they had made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade." -Sharron Angle, explaining why she is against abortion even in cases of rape or incest, July 8, 2010

"People ask me, 'What are you going to do to develop jobs in your state?' Well, that's not my job as a U.S. senator." –Sharron Angle, May 14, 2010

"The Federal Department of Education should be eliminated. The Department of Education is unconstitutional and should not be involved in education, at any level." -Sharron Angle, July 12, 2010

"I hope that's not where we're going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out." Sharron Angle- interview with Lars Larson, January 2010

"And these programs that you mentioned -- that Obama has going with Reid and Pelosi pushing them forward -- are all entitlement programs built to make government our God. And that’s really what’s happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government." -April 21 interview with TruNews Christian Radio's Rick Wiles

"You know, this is a war of ideology, a war of thoughts and of faith. And we need people to really stand for faith and trust, not hope and change."

Let's consider a scenario where the word "Autism" requires air quotes.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Morning Hate - David Barton

Hateful Rhetoric from Religious Leaders

Evengelical Conservative, Glen Beck contributer, dilluted bigot:

"So if I got to the Centers for Disease Control and I'm concerned about health, I find some interesting stats there and this should tell me something about health. Homosexual/bi-sexual individuals are seven times more likely to contemplate or commit suicide. Oooh, that doesn't sound very healthy. Homosexuals die decades earlier than heterosexuals. That doesn't sound healthy. Nearly one-half of practicing homosexuals admit to 500 or more sex partners and nearly one-third admit to a thousand or more sex partners in a lifetime".

"I mean, you go through all this stuff, sounds to me like that's not very healthy. Why don't we regulate homosexuality?"

Thanks, TPM

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Best of Christopher Hitchens


Thanks to @UKAtheist for posting this where I would find it.

Friday Link Dump - 10/8/10

The Tree of Life Diagram

Fear and Favor: "...Fox News seems to have decided that it no longer needs to maintain even the pretense of being nonpartisan."

Donald Duck Discovers Glenn BeckStopBeck is doing a great job.  Check out the site sometime.

Something to hand out to Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons (link and joke provided by Nick

The Neurobiology of Evil

Fox News: Did the Bible Predict the Global Economic Meltdown? Is this a joke?  Really?  I refuse to believe this was on a major news network.  What’s that?  It was on Fox?  Oh. 

Newly Declassified Documents Show Bush Administration Looked For Excuse To Start War In Iraq In Nov. 2001 – I am surprised they didn’t list “to stop Gog and Magog” on there. 

Communion?  No thank you

Anthropologists adopt a more favorable view of Neanderthals - This is the work of the insidous Neaderthal lobbyists who control EVERYTHING!

Yeah! That’s right! You tell that Tea Party what’s what!

Do Not Pity the Democrats - I really do not know what to think about this.  Do I agree with it? For the most part - yes, but it scares the shit out of me. 

Fact Checking the Republicans “Pledge to America – This does not surprise me in the least, but that “Do Not Pity the Democrats” article really ruined my morning.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Morning Stupid Quotes - Pat Robertson

"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It's no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history." –Pat Robertson

"(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." –Pat Robertson

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected him from your city. And don't wonder why he hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for his help because he might not be there." -Pat Robertson, after a federal trial led to the removal of the members of the school board who instituted an Intelligent Design policy in Dover, PA.

"It may be a blessing in disguise. ... Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. Haitians were originally under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the third, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal. Ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other." –Pat Robertson, on the earthquake in Haiti - Jan. 13, 2010

“Many of those people involved in Adolf Hitler were Satanists, many were homosexuals - the two things seem to go together.''-Pat Robertson There is no such thing as separation of church and state in the Constitution. It is a lie of the Left and we are not going to take it anymore.-- Pat Robertson, address to his American Center for Law and Justice, November, 1993

"We have a court that has essentially stuck its finger in God's eye. We have insulted God at the highest levels of our government. Then, we say, 'Why does this happen?' It is happening because God Almighty is lifting His protection from us".-- Pat Robertson -Thursday, September 13, 2001

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sam Harris: The Moral Landscape (Videos)

Via samharrisorg 

Sunday Morning Hate: Ted Haggard

Hateful Rhetoric from Religious Leaders

"What my therapist says is that I am a heterosexual with issues, and I think that's accurate."


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Doing Good

There has been, as of late, a rather large shift in the methods employed by theists in an attempt to rebuke non-theist world views. Prior to recent events atheists have mostly found themselves at odds with the likes of fundamentalist preachers, new-earth nutters, and an assorted host of red-faced right-wing populist snake oil salesmen. However the continued growth of innumerable humanist and secular organizations has now attracted a different breed of god-apologist that it would be foolish to ignore.

It has become apparent that the new challenges atheism faces are far more insidious than the previous batch of logical fallacies. The narrative which I see emerging is not one of truth versus fiction; for want of a better term I would call it an appeal to practical insanity.

Essentially we have graduated to a more robust level of debate, which is an accomplishment. Yes there will still be calls of "but the bible says so", "there must be a designer", and "show me the transitional forms". But for the most part those arguments have been long settled amongst thinking people. The theists are, quite simply, abandoning the idea of proving god as an argumentative tactic and have instead turned to a different line of rationale altogether.

Over the last several weeks some very mean things have been said about secularism. Journalists and bloggers the world over have already done more than enough debunking of the accuracy of those claims. What few have done, however, is focus on the central implication that was being made. That is, the assertion that religion is necessary even if it isn't true.

Case in point, consider what Ratzinger said in Scotland:

"As we reflect on the sobering lessons of atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny."

It is of course spurious that the regime Pope Ratzinger was attempting to portray as atheistic was anything of the sort, but there has been no shortage of commentary on that so let's put it aside. That statement does not assert that god exists. The statement is asserting that it is better for a society to believe even if it is demonstrably false. It is a claim that religion brings unity, social cohesion, compassion, and prosperity to society. This is religion not in the sense of pursuing truth, nor is it the fanatical zeal of a literalist. It claims belief in god as good in the sociological capacity which lead Huxley to dream up the Fordian rites of Brave New World.

Given the relatively limited examples of truly secular societies in human history it is a very difficult proposition to drum up examples against. As such, I suggest the following strategy:

Become the example. Instead of combating the perception with logic that will be twisted and facts which will be ignored, fight the perception with deeds. Every time some god-botherer brings up the alleged iniquity of atheism non-believers spend so much time playing defense that we have a hard time pointing out our accomplishments. By the time we've tamed whatever nonsense has been spewed in our direction there's an onslaught of zealot bloggers saying things like "well the church helps the homeless and poor and destitute ... what have atheists done?"

That is the real challenge facing non-theists now. The paradigm has shifted and it would be a grievous error to trundle on with the same evidentiary arguments that have served us in recent years. The only thing for it is to not just argue the legitimacy of our position, but to simply do good.

With every dollar you give to or hour you spend volunteering at secular humanitarian organizations, with every act of compassion you undertake the theists accusation of immorality is rendered more absurd. Demonstrate with great sincerity how your lack of belief makes you a better person.

Think of it this way, non-theists often say that the burden of proof is on the person making the positive claim, e.g. "you can't prove a negative, if believers have proof of god we'll gladly test it".

Well "one does not need god to be good" is a positive claim on our part, so we are obligated to prove it. Religious apologists are changing tactics, and it isn't good enough to just be right anymore. Below are my favorites, if you know of others please leave them in the comments section. - a simply awesome org that's doing some really great things with very limited resources. They pick several secular charities every quarter to help out. You can pick how your funds are distributed, donation levels, the whole lot. Great great org. - Non-believers giving aid is currently working mainly with Doctors without Boarders and the Red Cross. Both of which are secular orgs you can donate time and money to independently. However, the NBGA does have that nice advantage of making it clear that donations from it are coming lump sum from non-theists coming together to help the less fortunate. Strength in numbers and all that.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Link Dump - 10/1/10

More likely than anything else anyone believes? 
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) have collaborated with the help of cutting edge computer program to theroize the physics that parted the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites. These specific weather patterns natrually occurred at the precise moment God's chosen people needed them. I would have been more impressed with a magic wall of fire.

A radical new theory suggests that our universe may be at the center of a black hole in another universe. This blew my mind - through my forehead and onto my keyboard.

A truly Habitable Exoplanet has been discovered 20 light years away. Comes complete with liquid water. Steve is already packing his bags.

The Universe: Something from Nothing?  Stenger strikes again.

America: kinda dumb?

Daniel C. Dennett: Thank Goodness for Christopher Hitchens - I see what you did there.


An Interactive Scale of the Universe - so cool.