Tag Archives: atheism

Trump meets Putin and doesn’t criticize him, apathy reigns, and I’m not really am American

Does anyone realy think Trump is loyal to the USA rather than incentive structures and Russia? Nevermind, I already know Trumpers can’t move past talking about Hillary, uranium and whataboutism.

 

I feel like screaming today. Once again I don’t feel like an American. I’m so fed up with the way people think here, and how stupid the news is, and how everyone thinks like a theist preceding to talk about what they want to believe over what is apparent.But there isn’t a country in the world for me right now. I am from am era just a little bit further ahead of this one.

 

Ah, sometimes It’s a little stressful. At times I envy the simple life of those who are born without no responsibilities–cats mainly, and also anyone “lucky” enough to be born to the position of a dumb whore, for whom life is an amazingly simple flash of hedonism. Such a person can more easily trust the judgement of average people, and doesn’t have to think about anything more than self-preservation and self-gratification.

 

But then again, no matter where I am born I would always want to know more. Circumstances have put me slightly ahead of the people of the time and era where I happen to be, so there are few people who will agree to have open arguments with me, fewer I can have productive arguments with, and far fewer I can agree with. Moreover, as long as I stay in America I will always hit a brick wall because there will always be a perspective shift I’ll struggle to rise above as my mind calcifies with old age.

 

Like I said I want to scream and runaway from this mad country where every one pretends this is just politics as usual. I want to live in a country where we can solve problems rather than hoping that in 20 years we’ll get political parties that can repair the rot they are currently causing.

 

I want to live in a country where there are recycling bins on public corners, and where 30 billion dollar subway tunnels are built l the equivalent distsnce of of New Jersey yo New York without falling into a game of infrastructure brinksmanship. Scratch that. I WANT FASTER MAGLEV TRAINS.

 

I want a society where people care about each other without going to church or any other cults. One where people value each other as individuals, as the citizens in Athens apparently did, and without forcing dumb nationalism. A world without war or heresy trials. A world of progressive taxation and labor saving technology. A society where pacs can’t hide their coorporate doners (be they Russian or any other billionaires.)

 

I not even asking to live in Utopia (or a pastoral Eden), I just want a much more advanced society than the one I inherited, and yet no one gives a fuck. Not even the millennials, who are caught up in saving and making ends meet thanks to the slave mentality.

 

And I’m fairly sure we’ll evolve that way too. I know progress and desire appear to br unlimited, but It’s hard to argue thst we couldn’t easily have a much better world if people would just argue a hell of a lot more and come to agreement in areas of shared concern. Those areas of shared concern are so basic that I can point at them without saying I was born much further in the future.  And yet I’m part of the 10% of the population who don’t believe in religion, or about 3% who call themselves atheists. Of those, I’m one of the atheists who actually wants to have debates, and who has a few progressive insights others haven’t reached yet. It’s frustrating.

A few years ago I stopped thinking if myself as American, then I rethought that as I embraced Hitchens internationalism and Thomas Jefferson’s secular vision of an enlightened government that stamps out monarchies clergy,  and swears hostility on every form of tyranny on the hearts of men.  The idea that the American revolution never ended is alluring,  although it’s not true. Now once again,  I feel a bit adrift from all the countries and their silly conflicts and power struggles. I don’t care about faux change. I want to live in a city of light where we agree to stop living hand to mouth,  and where we cooperate to accelerate the development of solutions to our world, familial,  and individualist problems.

I don’t know what year I’m from but it’s not here.

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President of Philippines say he will resign if you can prove God exists

He has many reasons to hate the Catholic church. He claims to believe in a God, but then attacks the problem of evil and puts the burden of proof in the Christians. For all of his problems,  I do like to see a former Catholic attacking Catholicism because maybe it’ll make more of them open up their minds,  though there might be a backlash in a fee years too.

On an unrelated noted here’s a great video about why religion is outdated in the 21st century:

Kyle Kulinski’s Secular Talk podcasts

I have mixed feelings about Kyle Kulinski’s Secular Talk. He sometimes leans in directions I’m often not comfortable with, and as Sam Harris pointed out, he sometimes invites people onto his show who are dishonest and doesn’t push-back enough. Maybe he’ll get better when he’s older.

Anyway, between Kyle Kulinski and Joe Rogan, I think the people who call themselves anti-establishment social libertarians tend to believe in a lot of ungrounded conspiratorial speculation which make me uncomfortable. I don’t like how Kyle Kulinski downplays Russia’s interference in our elections, and the attacks on our intelligence agencies. I also think he’ll waste 9 minutes rambling because he wants to have it both ways, and on a lot of issues he hedges his bets, perhaps to avoid criticism.

I also disagree with Kyle’s views on foreign policy, since he calls Hitchens his least favorite author among the atheist writers, and then says, “He lost his mind and went full neocon.” He also thought Galloway won his debates versus Hitchens, while I ended up agreeing with Hitchens after I watched that debate. Galloway is an Anti-American apologist for Muslims and dictators. I really wish Kyle will someday grow up and embrace Hitchens views about bringing democracy to the world–this is something the establishment is often right about, and something Steven Pinker would be more likely to support. You can believe that the Iraqi war was justified while wanting more social democracy.

Kyle’s podcast isn’t useless, can have insights, and his pantomiming can be entertaining, but I wish he would stop harping about our need to pull out of the all foreign wars in every single episode. He’s actually too nativist for me, and I care about what happens beyond our borders. You might disagree with how the Iraq or Afghanistan wars were conducted, but attacking those autocratic countries was infinitely better than doing nothing and letting them stay regressive shit-holes. Afghanistan launched terrorist attacks, and Iraq murdered its own people, but Kyle just wanted to sit back and watch. He has an insane level of moral blindness.

 

Incidentally,  I can understand why someone like Dave Rubin would leave TYT once he realized they had gone SJW, but it’s insanely illiberal to support Trump and Rubin had she would support him over Sanders in 2020. He just went from one extreme to the other and has created another stupid conservative talk radio agenda of putting on conservatives,  and not pushing back against them. Why is he considered part of this intellectual dark web, and why are they are left hating centrists and crazy conservatives who forgive Trump? I think Rubin is taking advantage of Harris to gain credibility for putting on a few center lefts, and to expand his base.

Joe Rogan impressions

Lots of atheists are now doing podcasts like Sam Harris. I was watching a Secular Talk episode where Kyle Kulinski talks to Joe Rogan. It was kind of an interesting episode as they talked about the problems of grandstanding and Joe Rogan’s experiences as a comic. I got the impression he was a skeptic, and Youtube linked me to to Joe Rogan talking with Steven Pinker and Neil deGrasse Tyson. I sort of brushed a few troubling signs, but now I’ve discovered Joe Rogan pretends to be agnostic on way too many topics while presenting radically conspiratorial views as possible, such as that the Moon landings are a hoax, or that 9/11 really looks like a controlled demolition, and or that the pharmaceutical industry is holding back stem cells.

I prefer Sam Harris’s podcast because there’s less bullshit. I do find it interesting though how he has an assistant who will look up things on Google to put on the screen whenever you ask for a visual aid, or want to quickly fact check something. Of course, you cannot be certain that you have found the answers after 15-20 seconds on Google, and we must be wary of shortcuts, and it can easily lead to the false belief we’re now an expert in something, (or the Dunning-Kruger effect.)

Even so, it is still something I do all the time with my friends when I want to explain a concept by showing them something on the web. It lends a kind of informal casual air to the show and I expect new media geared at millennials to incorporate increasingly more visual aids from the internet. Society is going in that direction, and I do wish more shows would have assistants who do that, so we don’t have to look at talking heads. I do kind of like hearing a couple of celebrities talk, bullshit and chill-out on his show once in a while. So even though it’s not the same caliber of rigor or skepticism you’d expect of a Sam Harris podcast, his show is relaxing and not worthless.

Just don’t expect a Sam Harris podcast–Sam finds his guests by reading an article or a book by someone and then invites them onto his program, where he tends to try and find higher levels where he can disagree and push-back. I have the impression Joe Rogan probably runs a quick search on the internet and spends more time getting high rather than reading the books of anyone he invites onto his show.

 

Today’s news from social media (6/25/2018)

On social media Glenn Beck just walked off CNN interview, and then did a turn and “kind of” apologized to Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz on twitter today. Though a preliminary check of Rational Wiki revealed that he spent many years going crazy with conspiracy theories and partisan bullshit, when he had a program on Fox news, and as the owner of “the Blaze,” (a conservative news aggregator.) He was also a rodeo clown and is still a Mormon. So I’m not sure if it’s an act as he tries to associate himself with the “intellectual dark web,” or if he has seen some error in his needlessly incendiary ways in the era of Trump, and has decided he wants to moderate himself a little better. Judging by his one-sided incendiary Twitter attacks on liberals,  I think he’s lying again like a sociopath trying to save his popularity and his failing company.

Anyway it’s strange to read his twitter and see the right is demanding civility even though they voted for a guy who used so many nicknames you can’t even screen cap it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nicknames_used_by_Donald_Trump

Meanwhile on Fox news, Trump’s campaign manager told a black man “You’re out of your cotton picking mind!” If that isn’t a racist dog whistle then I don’t know what is, but somehow the Trumpers will defend this even though so many of the people he employs are low class bigots. (And in defending it, they’ll show they’re comfortable with racism and racist epithets, which is fortunate as it makes it easy for liberals to identify our worst enemies.)

More importantly, Sam Harris had an influential debate with Jordan Peterson, on an important panel that I look forward to seeing. His term, “The intellectual dark web” is catchy and promises to reverberate for years. Perhaps it’ll be even more significant than the new atheism label has been, as a term that encourages rationality, openminededness and debate.

 

Thr splc admits guilt

https://www.skepticink.com/avant-garde/2017/07/22/kpfa-dawkins/#comments

First of all I’d like to share this. This is old but it’s relevant and still a good summary of the dishonest smear attacks regressive leftists have been using against the New atheists.
Anyway the SPLC has just admitted guilt and settled the lawsuit by giving 3.7 million to the progressive Muslim reformer who they defamed for being Islamphobic:
https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress…lim-extremist/

 

All progressive movements are essentially critique movements that attempt to push for change. For instance, a Professor that thinks of herself as a Marxist will be a master at finding systemic problems in our economic, political and social systems. She’ll be able to explain why exactly the last recession happened, who it primarily effected and why it will happen again. What she’ll have a hard time doing is explaining what to do about it, perhaps by trying to organize her colleagues in her union, or maybe by protesting. Progressives are well versed at finding problems, but very bad at finding solutions, or at least good solutions that actually change things on a systematic level. The problem is that those problems have become systemic only because there is really no easy, better alternative.

It makes more sense if you look at it like that. Progressives tend to be young and naive, so when they’re taught about some of our systemic problems having to do with race and gender at the moment, they immediately want to go out and try and “fix” those problems, not really understanding that all they’re armed with is a critique and no good tools to actually change anything. If it was easy to fix our natural tendency to favor the our own group and feel xenophobic towards outsiders, then racism would have already have been fixed long ago. Lots of groups are working hard to do what they can though, doing things like opening up women’s shelters and food shelves. Doing good takes a lot of effort like that.

The SPLC is a special case though, I think. They represent progressive movements in the same way that the Ku Klux Klan represents President Trump supporters. From what I’ve read in the sources in your main post, it looks like more morally sound progressives are vocally distancing themselves from the SPLC.

Though I still like how progressives can ackowledge certain problems whereas many conservatives are are unable or unwilling to see the problems exist or when their own actions are part of a system of actions that harm others, (and they aren’t merely compromising or being pragmatic. ) Right now I am listening to an audio book by Steven Linker titled Enlightenment Now and he seems to be a neoliberal pragmatist. It’s hard to get the details though when it’s an audio book since dense facts often wash over you when it’s hard to rewind.

Repost: letter to Dr laura

Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual "uncleanliness" - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there degrees of abomination?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14) I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Darling in the Franxx episode 19

 

I find it interesring that the series emphasized that Dr. Franxx is an atheist (he said it twice, whenever someone likened his actions to playing God.)  In real life cutting edge Scientists tend to be atheists, and the trope dates back to Frankenstein.  But “Darling in the Franxx” just made it an explicit point that atheists think differently and don’t follow the same morals as theists, and it’s fitting that the doctor alone questioned and resisted the desire for immortality, and intends to fight the totalitarian ideologies which became rooted in religion. (All parasites worship and love an ominipresent papa from birth just like modern monotheists love and follow God, and the council literally lives up in the sky and they even pray to papa in the story. ) Atheists are just better at freethinking, and aside from any nature loving mysticism involving the klauxosaurs, this is an anti-theist anime (set in a sci-fi universe.) Outgrowing papa is a right of passage in becoming an independent actor, aka “an adult.” The anime has so far taken the position that, “there can be no peace on Earth while men worship a tyrant in heaven.”

 

Anti-theism aside, the episode would have been better if they hadn’t explained everything and gone with the fantasy, because some of the attempts at explanations were so far-fetched. You really think in 2025 that the media, government and population wouldn’t demand to see the faces under the masks of the most powerful people on Earth? Now they had better have a good scientific explanation for why an unknown ancient species could hide underground for so long, and then be awakened to come out of the Earth like Godzilla when humanity went too far. As it is, it’s too close to the old Japanese trope of a mystical primordial force appearing to save a desecrated Gaia, and fits uneasily in a sci-fi universe where atheist doctors protect deviants who can one day defy and destroy twisted cults of personality who cloak themselves in religion.

darling-in-the-franxx-19-29.jpg

 

A geologist shows Noah’s Ark is impossible

 

 

earth-church-sm.gif

I have to bookmark this, since I’m familiar enough to refute Creationism with astronomy, or by talking about Bill Nye’s talking points on tectonic plates, tree rings and evolution, or by talking about the ships and the myths, but geologists have even more to say about Ken Ham’s nonsense!

https://www.csicop.org/si/show/twenty-one_reasons_noahs_worldwide_flood_never_happened

Ah, to be an atheist really is to have a better mind. If there is a heaven and we’re the ones going to it, maybe we can appropriate the ditty of the Southern Baptists and tell the stubborn theists…

“We are the pure and chosen few
And all the rest are damned
There’s room enough in hell for you
We don’t want heaven crammed.”

 

 

I’m a liberal hawk now like Hitchens

I won’t format this well, but I’ve finally came around to the idea that Hitchens was right about Iraq. A little background first…

Years ago I thought that since Saddam was a dangerous dictator it was a good idea to depose Saddam, but then I thought it was a mistake because the war didn’t seem to go well and we didn’t seem to have an exit strategy or a way of making the place democratic and stable. When we found out there weren’t WMDs, the liberals became pretty powerful, George Bush made the case worse by speaking like an idiot, and it was the popular thing to dislike the war and the Republican led government. (I don’t think I ever totally stopped supporting the initial intervention, but for me I questioned why we stayed there if it weren’t to gather oil, and I thought it was a grey conflict I didn’t need t care that much about.)

Anyway, I read when Richard Dawkins condemned the war like a typical European back in 2003, and he didn’t seem to have the insights of Christopher Hitchens. I think he was wrong about Iraq and that Christopher Hitchens is right. I was cautious of accepting Hitchens’ arguments since Iraq did seem to get worse after he died, but his moral convictions were right, and I think history will show his view was better than that of his opponents. (Incidentally, I tried to be charitable and understand his contrarian position by watching a few of his interviews and he gave them right up until his day where he spoke about it, and the debate he had on Iraq.)

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2003/11/restating_the_case_for_war.html

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/hitchens-and-iraq

Hitchen’s earlier views might have been wrong and blinded by Anti-Americanism of the Marxists he hung out with, but ever since 9/11 he seems to have had an epiphany and realized that America could be a force for good. Like he did, I do feel that kind of clarity again.

 

When you look at the counter-factuals, sooner or later we would have had to confront Iraq. The Europeans would always have opposed us because they were frankly morons and have a European guilt complex (and look at what is happening with Muslim violence in their countries now.)
Yeah it’s convenient to be right, but I did fight it for a long time and to be skeptical of it. I considered some of the conspiracy theories like it was about oil or some vendetta left over from his father. Ultimately though, we couldn’t let such dangerous people control such a vital part of the world. It might take decades, but if we can make Iraq democratic, that would be a huge improvement and might lead the Middle East upward. (I’m not so sure about Afghanistan.)

Of course, it does limit our military options when we are bogged down in the Middle East, but since the Europeans won’t help and much of NATO is useless, we have to do it, and American exceptionalism has a lot to say for it. I guess I’m onboard with the neocons as fellow travelers; the American revolution really is the only one that hasn’t been put out yet.

I can take some pride in that aspect of my American identity, because we do have a better foreign track record abroad than most countries. (Certainly better than the peaceniks in Europe.) Sure we’ve supported lots of dictatorships in fighting the Communists, but it’s pretty obvious that a lot of those decisions were forced when we were in ethically gray areas. Moreover, in cases like Iraq, we had to go in because France and Russia kept vetoing our sanctions.

(I’m not sure that I can agree with torture, but the Americans are basically the good guys compared to everyone else on the stage right now.) You see the other side beheading people in Iraq, you see the Russians poisoning spies, you have seen the ungrateful Europeans contributing nothing for decades while relentlessly criticizing the American policy in the Middle-East from under the umbrella of protection America gives them. It’s sad that they get to enjoy their socialism and get fat dumb and happy, while Americans actually sacrifice our freedoms and our lives to keep them free. China is a dictatorship; the Middle-East and Africa are a mess, and the Australians are probably just as Anti-American as the Europeans (although they send troops.)

I’m starting to think actually that although most people don’t like the neo-cons and foreigners understandably resent being forced to follow someone else,  the critics don’t actually really understand how much thought the neo-cons have given to trying to make the world freer. It’s so much easier to be a bien-pensant liberal. If you don’t defend democracy abroad, you will lose it at home; just look at how the Russians tried to subvert our election.

You know, one of these days I should go to Taiwan for myself as a private citizen and talk to some of those people and make friends there, in the name of defending democracy. I know they don’t want to be part of China. I need to start thinking about how people who want freedom everywhere regardless of the language they speak or the country they live in are my fellow travelers. There’s something in all of us that wants freedom, and doesn’t want to be oppressed, and that’s why you had all the revolutions against the USSR in Eastern Europe, and the slave riots, and so forth. There are some universal rights, and contrary to what those liberals and isolationist conservatives say, they do exist.

 

Europe (especially Germany, France and Spain), Russia and China are off-limits! No more supporting the peaceniks or autocrats with my tourist dollars!