Thursday, June 30, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Whisper Down the Alley

So one of those things happened last week. The kind of thing that you immediately see how it’s analogous to the plight of rationalists everywhere, but it takes a lot of verbiage to explain to someone who just won’t see it.
Ryan Dunn died in a car crash. Now I don’t want to over-inflate this story. A drunk guy drove into a tree. But a famous drunk guy drove into a tree so even though it’s a fairly common accident in a shitty part of Philadelphia the media deems it important.

Within two days people were already speculating whether or not it was a hoax.

Now ok, let’s think about this for a second. 
1) there is a police report, 

2) there is eye witness testimony, and 

3) there is family and friends publicly grieving

. Yet still…some people don’t believe it. 

This reminds me of many other famous people who are believed by many to have faked, survived, or otherwise overcome death.
Andy Kaufman, Elvis ... and Jesus.

My point here is very succinct so I don’t want to drag it out any more than necessary. Even given an age of unparalleled communication and information technology, even given that the Internet is still largely a written medium and requires at least a rudimentary grasp on reading and writing, even given everything short of seeing the body…people were willing to believe that this guy might not be dead. 

So what does that say about the Bible as a historical record? A lot, and it’s all negative. To take a book, written hundreds of years ago, by a barely literate people, after decades of being passed down via oral tradition, then translated through three take that book and call it truth is just absurd. 
We can’t keep facts straight over three days in the information age. How well do you think Iron Age goat herders did?


Monday Morning Quotes: Benjamin Franklin

"Revealed religion has no weight with me."

"I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies."

"The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason."

“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.”

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”

"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. These found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here [England]and in New England"

“Remember me affectionately to good Dr. Price and to the honest heretic Dr. Priestly. I do not call him honest by way of distinction; for I think all the heretics I have known have been virtuous men. They have the virtue of fortitude or they would not venture to own their heresy; and they cannot afford to be deficient in any of the other virtues, as that would give advantage to their many enemies; and they have not like orthodox sinners, such a number of friends to excuse or justify them. Do not, however mistake me. It is not to my good friend's heresy that I impute his honesty. On the contrary, 'tis his honesty that has brought upon him the character of heretic.”

Friday, June 24, 2011


via Newsweek

Random Quotes of RWNJ Nonsense: Rep Todd Akin

"At The Heart Of Liberalism Really Is A Hatred For God"
Rep Todd Akin regarding NBC's omission of "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance during the U.S. Open.

via RightWingWatch

Akin: This was something that was done systematically, it was done intentionally, and is tremendously corrosive in terms of all of the values and everything that’s made America unique and such a special nation.
Perkins: Why would NBC do this?
Akin: Well, I think NBC has a long record of being very liberal and at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God. And so they’ve had a long history of not being at all favorable toward many of things that have been such a blessing to our country. 
Akin: This is a systematic effort to try to separate our faith and God, which is a source in our belief in individual liberties, from our country. And when you do that you tear the heart out of our country.

Friday Link Dump ~ 6/24/11

Michele Bachmann’s Holy War It’s easy to laugh at her presidential aspirations.  I laugh too; then I consider that Mrs. Bachmann would not be satisfied with controlling the most powerful nation in the world and establishing an old testament theocracy.  She is bent on world domination.  More on that topic to come...

My Beef - Shouting at Christians  

Mid-Week Rant: Atheist

William Lane Craig and Logical Fallacies Massimo Pigliucci pops the inflated head of WLC by exposing his intellectual dishonesty.

Monday Morning Quotes ~ Ayn Rand You don’t need to agree with her politics.  Just go read “Anthem”.  You can finish it in a day and you’ll be a better person for it.

No Law Means No Law “It’s important to note that the 7th Circuit did not rule that the National Day of Prayer is constitutional. They would not even consider the meritorious claims of our case. They ruled only that FFRF did not have the right to challenge the National Day of Prayer law at all.”

Wake up and Smell the...Woahhh!  The Science Bit calling Fox News on bad reporting about the hallucinogenic properties of coffee.  This is blasphemy against the caffeine god to whom I pray daily.

Sunday Morning Crazy - Rod Parsley

Klu Klux Klan Protests Westboro Baptist Church This really happened.  I’m a little surprised that a new anti-matter life form didn’t spontaneously spring into existence.  

‘The Really Simple Guide to Humanism’ - New Resource Launch

Sunday Morning Hate: Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Radical X-Ray Art Radical indeed.

Myth Bustin’ Bad Arguments About Atheists By P.Z.  Myers

LRO Showing Us the Moon as Never Before

Michael Shermer: The Believing Brain

Christian Faith Requires Accepting Evolution Far as I can tell, this was written by a theist who thinks like an atheist.  **Taps fingers on forehead**

Your Truths,  Our Facts

Helping Out a Foxhole Atheist

Polluting The Pulpit?: Virginia Attorney General Urges (Right-Wing) Churches To Be Political How else can the right convince people that Obama drinks the tears of Christian children?

After Accepting $290,000 from Tobacco Industry, House Conservatives Push ‘Cigarettes For Children’ Amendment

Two Gay Men Forced to Leave a Government Recreational Facility in Hazard, KY

Atheism: Not Just for White People

This is just heartbreaking: This is the result of the systematic abuse of power by the self-proclaimed "moral authority."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Morning Quotes ~ Ayn Rand

If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man's only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a 'moral commandment' is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments.

There has never been a philosophy, a theory or a doctrine, that attacked (or 'limited') reason, which did not preach submission to the power of some authority.
"Religion is a primitive form of philosophy, [the] attempt to offer a comprehensive view of reality." The Objectivist Feb 1966 WMail Issue #5

The good, say the mystics of spirit, is God, a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive- a definition that invalidates man's consciousness and nullifies his concepts of existence...Man's mind, say the mystics of spirit, must be subordinated to the will of God... Man's standard of value, say the mystics of spirit, is the pleasure of God, whose standards are beyond man's power of comprehension and must be accepted on faith....The purpose of man's to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question. [Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual]

For centuries, the mystics of spirit had existed by running a protection racket - by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief, by forbidding all the virtues that make existence possible, then riding on the shoulders of your guilt, by declaring production and joy to be sins, then collecting blackmail from the sinners. [Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual]

Faith is the worst curse of mankind, as the exact antithesis and enemy of thought.

If you get caught at some crucial point and somebody tells you that your doctrine doesn't make sense - you're ready for him. You tell him there's something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must feel. He must believe. Suspend reason and you can play it deuces wild. [Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead]

Playboy: Has no religion, in your estimation, ever offered anything of constructive value to human life?
Ayn Rand: Qua religion, no - in the sense of blind belief, belief unsupported by, or contrary to, the facts of reality and the conclusions of reason. Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason. But you must remember that religion is an early form of philosophy, that the first attempts to explain the universe, to give a coherent frame of reference to man's life and a code of moral values, were made by religion, before men graduated or developed enough to have philosophy. And, as philosophies, some religions have very valuable moral points. They may have a good influence or proper principles to inculcate, but in a very contradictory context and, on a very - how should I say it? - dangerous or malevolent base: on the ground of faith. [Playboy interview with Ayn Rand]

Are you in a universe which is ruled by natural laws and, therefore, is stable, firm, absolute - and knowable? Or are you in an incomprehensible chaos, a realm of inexplicable miracles, an unpredictable, unknowable flux, which your mind is impotent to grasp? The nature of your actions - and of your ambition - will be different, according to which set of answers you come to accept.

(The Doctrine of Original Sin) declares that (man) ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge - he acquired a mind and became a rational being. It was the knowledge of good and evil - he became a moral being/ He was sentenced to earn his bread by his labor - he became a productive being. He was sentenced to experience desire - he acquired the capacity of sexual enjoyment. The evils for which (the preachers) damn him are reason, morality, creativeness joy - all the cardinal values of his existence.

[T]he only real moral crime that one man can commit against another is the attempt to create, by his words or actions, an impression of the contradictory, the impossible, the irrational, and thus shake the concept of rationality in his victim.

Definitions are the guardians of rationality, the first line of defense against the chaos of mental disintegration.

To rest one's case on faith means to concede that reason is on the side of one's enemies- that one has no rational arguments to offer.

Thinking men cannot be ruled.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Morning Crazy: Rod Parsley

Sunday Morning Hate: Archbishop Timothy Dolan

"So this kid is just weeping after I violate him and I'm all like 'LOL.'"

Post by the archbishop included in its totality.
The True Meaning of Marriage

The stampede is on.  Our elected senators who have stood courageous in their refusal to capitulate on the state’s presumption to redefine marriage are reporting unrelenting pressure to cave-in.

The media, mainly sympathetic to this rush to tamper with a definition as old as human reason and ordered good, reports annoyance on the part of some senators that those in defense of traditional marriage just don’t see the light, as we persist in opposing this enlightened, progressive, cause.

But, really, shouldn’t we be more upset – and worried – about this perilous presumption of the state to re-invent the very definition of an undeniable truth – one man, one woman, united in lifelong love and fidelity, hoping for children – that has served as the very cornerstone of civilization and culture from the start?

Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America – not in China or North Korea.  In those countries, government presumes daily to “redefine” rights, relationships, values, and natural law.  There, communiqu├ęs from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of “family” and “marriage” means.

But, please, not here!  Our country’s founding principles speak of rights given by God, not invented by government, and certain noble values – life, home, family, marriage, children, faith – that are protected, not re-defined, by a state presuming omnipotence.

Please, not here!  We cherish true freedom, not as the license to do whatever we want, but the liberty to do what we ought; we acknowledge that not every desire, urge, want, or chic cause is automatically a “right.”  And, what about other rights, like that of a child to be raised in a family with a mom and a dad?

Our beliefs should not be viewed as discrimination against homosexual people.  The Church affirms the basic human rights of gay men and women, and the state has rightly changed many laws to offer these men and women hospital visitation rights, bereavement leave, death benefits, insurance benefits, and the like.  This is not about denying rights. It is about upholding a truth about the human condition.  Marriage is not simply a mechanism for delivering benefits:  It is the union of a man and a woman in a loving, permanent, life-giving union to pro-create children.  Please don’t vote to change that.  If you do, you are claiming the power to change what is not into what is, simply because you say so.  This is false, it is wrong, and it defies logic and common sense.

Yes, I admit, I come at this as a believer, who, along with other citizens of a diversity of creeds believe that God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago.  We believers worry not only about what this new intrusion will do to our common good, but also that we will be coerced to violate our deepest beliefs to accommodate the newest state decree.  (If you think this paranoia, just ask believers in Canada and England what’s going on there to justify our apprehensions.)

But I also come at this as an American citizen, who reads our formative principles as limiting government, not unleashing it to tamper with life’s most basic values.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

David Barton! *shakes fist*

I had this set up to post over two months ago and it somehow got lost in the shuffle. So I'll just post it now.

I really hate this guy.

via Joe. My. God. via SuchIsLifeVideos

David Attenborough On The Tree Of Life

Another Saturday, another Tree of Life video. This one is narrated by Sir David Attenborough!

via WhyEvolutionIsTrue


Theist Litmus Test

An outstanding tool for judging if a theist can be engaged in conversation/debate.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Jesus Camp


Friday Link Dump 6/17/11

Theocracy Watch: Gov. Rick Perry

10 Scariest States to Be An Atheist: I was born, raised and currently reside in Pennsylvania (#10) and I lived in Alabama (#7) for a few years to attend grad school. Aside from the cooking, humidity and topography there isn’t much of a difference.

Monday Morning Quotes: James Madison

There Are 10 Times As Many Atheists as Mormons: When Will Non-Believers Become a Political Force?: Sooo, come out, come out wherever you are...

Expelled Exposed: “Welcome to Expelled Exposed, a detailed look at the Ben Stein movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. We'll show you why this movie is not a documentary at all, but anti-science propaganda aimed at creating the appearance of controversy where there is none.”

Atheists Raise Funds For Vandalized Bend Churches: Good on Hemant.

Sunday Morning Crazy: David Barton *shakes fist*

From Muslims To Medicare, Republicans Are Selling Fear Again

Mitt Romney: Federal Disaster Relief For Tornado And Flood Victims Is ‘Immoral,’ ‘Makes No Sense At All’: They really are just for anything that is the opposite of what “the left” finds reasonable. No matter the consequences. It’s sick.

Time lapse video: from North Carolina to the galactic center: I love this.

Sit down while I explain…

Tea party group offers summer camp: Perfect if you are looking to raise uneducated, selfish little assholes.

Allow God In School: A Glimpse Of Madness

Sarah Palin’s Chief Propagandist Turns On Her: This guy doesn’t seem that credible to me, but then again no one associated with Sarah Palin seems credible.

Yukon fossils represent a pivotal moment in evolution

King Targets the Wrong Religion

The result of making your Xbox 360 handle "Jesus Died LOL": Typical Christian love and humility.

Atheists in Foxholes, in Cockpits, and on Ships

Rapture Rescheduler Harold Camping Suffers Stroke: I bet he didn’t see that coming either.

Reporters find tragic story amid embarrassing scandal: The sissy-boy  experiment. Sad.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Morning Quotes: James Madison

What has been Christianity’s fruits? Superstition, Bigotry and Persecution.

Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?

And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.

That diabolical, hell-conceived principle of persecution rages among some; and to their eternal infamy, the clergy can furnish their quota of impas for such business...

Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects.

If we are to take for the criterion of truth the majority of suffrages, they ought to be gotten from those philosophic and patriotic citizens who cultivate their reason.

What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.

In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority.

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect.

The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.

Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.

The number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state.