Friday, December 30, 2011

Hitchens' Razor

Let's make sure this becomes a thing.

Richard Dawkins: The Greatest Show on Earth

Richard Dawkins: The Greatest Show on Earth from Berkeley Arts and Letters on

Friday Link Dump ~ 12/30/11

The Pope asks Catholics to be stupid This link could be the whole FLD.  This may not be the worst aspect of religion but it is probably the part most responsible for turning an apathetic nonbeliever into an angry atheist.

THE GREASED LIGHTNING SAVIOR This post had us cracking up.  Great writing on this blog.

God for the retarded Try not to get too turned-off by the title.  Mental Retardation is still a clinical term .  There is an interesting discussion about it in the comments.  

Pope laments Christmas consumerism, glitter i-ro-ny (n.) incongruity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play —called also dramatic irony, tragic irony.  
~Example: the pope’s ridiculous ruby red shoes.

There is no Contoversy

Unknown Sixth Toe Discovered in Elephants Damn it! Is nothing sacred?!?

Hall of Idiots this is a bit like our old Sunday Morning Crazy / Hate posts.

Therapists revolt against psychiatry’s bible The bible in question is the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) slated for 2013.  Some professionals are concerned that new diagnoses will lead to over-medication and labeling of the public.  Speaking as a psychology nerd who will have the DSM-V on pre-order,**taps tobacco pipe and pensively massages beard** I have to point out that any new diagnosis will peer reviewed and that many erroneous and outdated diagnoses will be erased.  Also, insurance companies will not just dole out millions of dollars to medicate the populous because a new “bible” finds a new way to describe human behavior.  They wont even do that for the old bible.

Side note: look up DSM code V62.89 Religious or spiritual problem filed under: Other psychological or physical stress not elsewhere classified.  Ah, science.

The Scientist Who Controlled People with Brain Implants [Video]

The End of Free Will? I am still not completely sold on Determinism, but this article certainly contributes to the conversation.

Religious Sex-Toy Sites Vow to Save Marriages

Noebel: 'Obama and his Radical Homosexual Mafia Plan to Sodomize the World' Summit Ministries founder Davis Nobel is a frightened little man.  His response to the Obama administration’s initiative against global persecution of gays has yielded the above quote.  Am I the only person who recognizes that Americans have been sodomizing the world for about 200 years?



Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lies We Tell Our Children

The best way to raise an honest child is to lead by example.  No one wants to lie to their kids, but we all do it.  We lie to protect them: “There are ghosts in the basement.  Don’t go down there!”  We lie to spare their feelings: “Fluffy went to a big farm where he can run and play.”  Sometimes, we lie to control them.

When I was growing up, my grandmother’s house was right next door.  One night when the family was there for dinner, my mother sent me back to our house to get something.  While searching for the item I stumbled across the cache of my Christmas toys.  I  didn’t need to compare those toys with the ones marked “Santa” on Christmas morning.  Finding them was all the proof I needed to fit the rest of the pieces together.  I don’t remember being  upset at the loss of a childhood fantasy, only excited that I had unraveled the mystery on my own.

Non-believers the world over struggle with the Santa myth when it comes to their children.  Discovering the truth about Santa Clause and the process of apostasy are too similar to be ignored.  We start projecting our fears and outrage on children who are really just interested in the end result of presents and candy.

I hate even the idea of lying to my son.  However, it is infinitely easier to invoke Santa as a behavioral modification system than the old “because I said so.”  Last year I outright refused to do it.  This year I find myself saying things like, “Do you think Santa just saw you jump from the couch to the love seat?”  I have said before that I have no intention of raising an atheist child.  My memory of that childhood discovery is part of the reason why.  I was so proud of myself for cracking the code at age seven.  I confided in my older sister who said that I would get more gifts if I played along.  She was probably trying to avoid taking the blame for admitting it to me.  The significance was discovering the truth for myself by using deductive reasoning as a tool.  If someone would have just told me that there is no Santa Clause, I may not have believed them.

I have noticed a subtle shift in holiday culture over the years.  Not that long ago no one would ever consider telling a child that there was no Santa.  The social censure was enough to keep most people from doing that.  In the decades since I was a child, the mythology has shifted to be more about the power of believing in Santa Clause in spite of all evidence the contrary.  That’s right.  The marketing and storytelling has taken a faith-based approach.  The animated movie The Polar Express comes to mind: with the bells that can only be heard by those who “truly believe.”  I can understand why some non-believers would be upset by this.  The magical man who watches all of your deeds and enacts an annual judgement will not reward you if you do not believe in him.  Last year I watched a woman slap her pre-teen daughter in a department store for asking if Santa was real.  This mother was no doubt attempting to preserve the magic of the holiday season.  

Eventually, my son will put these pieces together.  It happens to everyone.  At six he is already asking some of those logic-based questions about reindeer and their ability to fly.  We talk often about myths and legends and while I occasionally reinforce the Santa myth, I also provide a framework and a language for him to use when he finally deciphers the illusion.  Sound familiar?  By giving him the tools and encouraging critical thinking I can help guide him through the first great apostasy that most of the Western world experiences.   I can indulge this part of his fantasy life the same way I participate in (epic) light saber battles in the back yard.  It’s OK to have magical thinking when you are an actual child.   


Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Link Dump ~ 12/23/11

We need to talk about Christopher Hitchens.  We need to discourse and debate and deliberate on his life and work.  We need to do this because the movement will not see another like him for decades.  Maybe longer.  The combination of wit, intelligence, sophistication and giant fucking balls is something rare and amazing even in this lightening rod culture where almost anyone can be heard but so few have anything worth saying.
We need to talk about Hitch so that we don’t forget him.  We need to give him true everlasting life.  We need to honor him for his ability to truly change the way we think.  If Dawkins made me realize that I was an atheist, then Hitch made me realize that I needed to talk about it.  Hitch taught me that silence is slavery.  And that reasonable people, that is: people of reason are duty bound to speak up and stand up in the face of fear and manipulation.  Magic does not get a pass.  Superstition is not an acceptable excuse for bloodshed, or bigotry, or subjugation.  He was New Atheism’s loudest voice.  We are all going to have to speak up a little more from now on.

Christopher Hitchens & My Antitheism

Sam Harris: The Blog : Hitch

Romney Unveils his 3 tier Marriage System for Gays  This proves without a doubt that he is fully aware of the second class citizenship status he is doling out.  If you already received the equality, then it would be unfair to take it away.
This is the way I deal with my child when I say he can have candy then find out that he didn't finish his dinner.  Well, I already said you can have a peice of candy  --but don't ask for ice cream!!

Marcus Bachmann’s Agenda As ‘First Spouse’: Deny Marriage Rights To Gay People Well that is much way more important than making sure American children eat a healthy lunch at school.

Ron Paul's Shaggy Defense Yes there is a theme here.  Read Ron Paul’s responses to questions about some racist statements on his newsletters.  Hint: the ones he can’t tapdance around are not his fault.

Frothy Mixture & Christians think only Christians Have Rights We just wanted to run through the Republican candidates to give our godless readers fresh ammo for when they find themselves across the table from Uncle Conservative this weekend.  You’re welcome.

The Liberal Whitewashing of Religion & Equating Hitchens with Religious Bigots This one is for your ultra liberal cousin on break from the university.

Time for Nonbelievers to Emphasize Equality Michael Tomasky: The Republican Whitewash of the Iraq War to Come A few years from now, I will be searching this blog’s archives for this article.

What Exoplanets Might Really Look Like  

3 Things the Higgs Boson can teach you about physics

Married After 64 Years A modern love story.

You Say You Want a Devolution? An interesting observation on American culture.

Tebow's Religion: Fair Game Steve really said it all here.  But I enjoyed this article anyway.

Robertson: SNL Tebow skit fueled by ‘anti-Christian bigotry’ Robertson expertly walks the fine line of the persecuted pity party and the lamenting that there is not a modern Christian equivalent to the Fatwa.  Whenever pampered children like Pat Robertson complain that they want to be treated like everyone else it is usually because they are being treated like everyone else.  If he thinks a  4 minute loss of absolute sacred privilege is “disgusting”, Steve and I should send him audio of one of our prolonged theology discussions.

Good Minus God

Solar Power Much Cheaper to Produce Than Most Analysts Realize, Study Finds

Find Your Inner Neanderthal

How We All Pay For the Huge Tax Privileges Granted to Religion -- It's Time to Tax the Church Hell.  Yes.

Let's Face it: It's the Radical Right, not Islam, that is the Greatest Threat to the American Way  The running complaint used to be that Muslims are always portrayed as terrorists. But now, the message being sent is that "not portraying American Muslims as terrorists" is sufficient for complaint and controversy. It's moving the goal posts to a dangerous new "lowe."

Wound-Treating Jelly Regenerates Fresh, Scar-Free Skin  This should renew your faith in humanity after reading that last article.

Saudi woman beheaded for 'sorcery'  OK that didn’t last long.

This is both disturbing and hilarious.  Mostly disturbing.  But who am I to rain on someone’s holiday festivities?  We (Americans) sit around a dead tree and eat candy out of our socks.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

God is not great. Christopher Hitchens is. 

Leave your favorite Hitch quotes in the comments. Check 'Hitchens' the tag/label for other Hitch goodness. It's OK to mourn. 

Friday Link Dump 12/16/11

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

Tim Tebow's God is a Monster We only had one post this week?...sorry.

How the Gays Stole Christmas Best comment:

The good little believers all snug in their beds,
had visions of jesus and god in their heads,
The good and the just and each christian who prays
When out of the hills came the rainbowy gays.

*kisses fingers like an Italian cook*


Michio Kaku Explains String Theory Michio Kaku Explains String Theory

I Didn't Lose Faith. I Just Don't Have It

The Milky Way, as seen from a Chilean petroglyph valley Beautiful.

A glimpse into the vague and blurry mind of a proud None Welp. Saved me the trouble of writing about it.

How to Persuade an Atheist to Become Christian

Steve: “Note the tone of ‘listen to atheist so they think you're engaged, but don't actually THINK about what they say..."

Jack: Well look on the bright side. According to this the only Christians with the knowledge, critical thinking skills, and information to persuade a conversion will have become one of us long before they're ready for the encounter.”

Atheist billboard refutes notion U.S. founded on Christian religion

The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog is Now Online! Hmmm...I’llll taaaake a KOI 610.01 please!

BP says Halliburton 'intentionally destroyed evidence' after Gulf oil spill GASP!

Optimizing Interstellar Mission Costs

Listen To Rare Star Trek Radio Special From 1982  I was going to just skip doing the FLD this week altogether, but I wanted to share this link.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Link Dump ~ 12/9/11

The Seven Mountains Mandate (Part 5)  If you have not been reading Steve’s Dominionism Series stop what you are doing and read them right now.  I’ll wait...

God & Battered Person Syndrome This is a great observation that either Steve or I will eventually write an essay about.  YHWH is the ultimate abusive father.  

Kepler confirms first planet found in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star!

Dan Barker with a great analogy I love how this starts out as “good news.”

The infantile style in American politics “Having gone through Michele “the founding Fathers ended slavery” Bachmann, Rick “I’d close down the federal government if only I could remember what it is” Perry, and Herman “all this stuff twirling around in my head” Cain, Republican voters have now embraced their latest unelectable stooge, a narcissistic, ethically challenged trough-feeder and third-rate history professor whose  brilliant ideas include a ludicrous two-track Social Security option and undermining the Supreme Court”

House Republicans Push Bill To Ban Abortions Based On The Race Or Sex Of The Fetus I understand the willingness to sabotage the global economy to avoid compromise with your opponent.  I don’t understand this.  It seems like republicans want more minority babies to be born.  Why would they want more democrats in the world?

Rick Perry: asshat  What strikes me about this message is how easy it is to refute everything he says. Then I remember that he is not actually speaking to people like me.  Be sure to catch the awesome video rebuttal.

Exploring ancient ruins in 3D with Google Earth

Is Belief in God Reasonable? Arif Ahmed vs William Lane Craig... Steve pointed out that Craig doesn't get two minutes and ten seconds into this debate before committing a purposeful, intellectually bankrupt straw-man fallacy. Atheists do not claim that the universe is eternal. He then tries to use the Big Bang as proof of God. He is such a hack.

“Who do you want for Christmas?” – Outreach Media

On Black Atheism: Jamila Bey

McCain erupts: Conservatives are lying to America Shit!  Do I have to like him now?

Penn Jillette: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election...This post brought in some good conversation in the comments.

The Top Ten Occupations That Lead People to Become Atheists Psychology and Anthropology represent.  *Mimicks vague urban hand gesture*

Adopt and atheist” campaign begins.  I thought this was parody at first but no, it is as real as the fervent belief in an imaginary deity.

The Pale Blue Dot - A Tribute to Carl SaganOur planet is a lonely speck  in the great enveloping cosmic dark”  I want that etched into my tombstone.

If you have already seen this, watch it again.


Friday, December 2, 2011

The Pale Blue Dot - A Tribute to Carl Sagan

Finally getting around to posting this...

via The Thinking Atheist

Friday Link Dump 12/2/11

The Myth of the Homosexual Predator

We get hatemail too:

Get the fuck out of the country you filthy Godless bastards. Think you are enlightened? You are fools. Haul your filthy ass down the road before we put a boot in your whiny ass.” shukov

I’m pretty sure this one was because we think gays aren’t bad. After Adam posted his “Predator” post, the anti-gay tweets also ratcheted up a few notches.

So for you all you bigots out there. We got one question for you:

A Brief Comparison of Christian Reconstructionism & the New Apostolic Reformation  Part 4 in the Dominionism series.

I was going to write a post for the Dominionism series called “Denying Dominionism”, but in my research I found this article. This is basically what I was going to write. Ralph Reed Claims Dominionism is a Conspiracy Theory

Why You Should Come Out of the Closet

Cambridge University to Offer Degree in Creation Science

I hope you realized that the last link was satire.

Why The Roots Were Right The one where I outline that Michele Bachmann is, in fact, a lyin’ ass bitch “lady bastard” and that The Roots are the greatest hip-hop band that ever strode the Earth.

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly Is A Pretty Little Hate Meme, Essentially I love you, Internet.

Still searching for God? You won’t find him in here.

Ugly Renaissance Babies The tweet that I saw this on proposed a new Internet rule. If it exists, there is a Tumblr for it. Quite true.

The 'War on Xmas' 2011 is a go!

If your doing any shopping for some random reason during the next month be sure to log into Amazon via this portal. Foundation Beyond Belief will get a commission. It doesn’t cost you anything.

Greta Christina: Why Are You Atheists So Angry? Not that the whole thing isn’t great, but it really picks up after about 13:00.

Bills Republicans Have Blocked This is in no way an endorsement of the Democrats. They are pretty fraking inept and just about as corrupt. However, the blatant hypocrisy in which the Republicans operate never fails to amaze me. How does a Republican voter look at this list not want to grind their teeth?

Oh I know! Double think!

Neil deGrasse Tyson on the NASA Budget

Stephen Colbert interviews Neil deGrasse Tyson

"Vampire Star" --Is It Poised to Erupt into One of the Most Violent Events in the Universe? Team Supernova? I’ll show myself out.