Tag Archives: religion

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:

Secular Talk: Burden of Proof and fundamentalists

He makes a great point in this video about burden of proof: the default assumption when you read something is that you’re supposed to take it literally. When someone tries to read the bible in a more complicated way, they are required to meet the burden of proof and not just wash their hands and say that “no one really knows so let’s move on.”

It is the willingness of scientists to say “I don’t know”-to really integrate doubt into their view of the world-that constitutes their privileged position with respect to truth

I just read part of an email exchange Sam Harris had a a few years ago with Andrew Sullivan, a ‘moderate’ conservative gay Catholic who worked for the Atlantic (how much cognitive dissonance he must live with!) It was a fruitless exchange and shows the limits of rational discourse when religious people simply refuse to answer Socratic questions or have their premises challenged. So I just wanted to share a well written paragraph by Sam Harris:

It is the willingness of scientists to say “I don’t know”-to really integrate doubt into their view of the world-that constitutes their privileged position with respect to truth. As you know, there are an uncountable number of questions upon which religion once offered a faith-based answer, which have now been ceded to the care of science. Indeed, the process of scientific conquest and religious forfeiture is relentless, unidirectional, and highly predictable. Some smart person begins to doubt received opinion-about the causes of illness, the movement of celestial bodies, the nature of sensory perception, etc.-he or she then observes the world more closely (often making shrewd use of technology and/or mathematics) and makes predictions that can be verified by others. What we see, time and again, is a general unwillingness for religious people to seriously interact with this discourse (and even an eagerness to subjugate or murder its perpetrators) whenever it challenges doctrines to which they are emotionally attached. Eventually, however, the power that comes with actually understanding the world becomes too seductive to ignore, and even the clerics give in. In this way, real knowledge, being truly universal, erodes the basis for religious discord. Muslims and Christians cannot disagree about the causes of cholera, for instance, because whatever their holy books might say about infectious disease, a genuine understanding of cholera has arrived from another quarter. Epidemiology trumps religion (or it should), especially when people are watching their children die. This is where our hope for a truly nonsectarian future lies: when things matter, people tend to want to understand what is actually going on in the world. Science (and rational discourse generally) delivers this understanding and offers a very frank appraisal of its current limitations; Religion fails on both counts.

http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/secular-philosophies/is-religion-built-upon-lies.aspx?p=16

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.

 

Spreading democracy is a simple step toward ending war

“democracies seldom fight democracies”,[20] although democracies are more likely to initiate wars against non-democracies because the former believes the latter must become democratized so as to make the democratic peace more robust.

Kenneth Waltz,

Well, I can get behind that idea much easier than the disproven overly-reductive idea that countries that have McDonalds won’t fight each other. Once everyone is in a  democracy there will be a lot less war. Of course, we’ll still need to get rid of a few things like Islam (which is wedded to a totalitarian ideology), and also the cycles of revenge for this plan to work, but spreading democracy would be a major step.

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.

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!

Penisology: AKA The benefits of testosterone

There are correlations between having a dick and being rational. Maybe this next part hasn’t been proven, maybe it’s currently being proven, but a positive correlation for Testosterone is likely.

What we do know is that testosterone levels decline with age, which correlates with stupid, grumpy, and stubborn old grandpa. Testosterone calms you down which is important for clear thought; we’ve proven it reduces anxiety by injecting male and female mice with two doses of it: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4330791/

Science is wonderful, but there are still many unanswered questions in dick science. What genes affect dick length and pleasure, and can we know how to genetically engineer a change in vitro? Can we know why are masculine women and transsexuals so angry, and why do they want to destroy all dicks? Did testerosterone deficiency cause Sam Harris to decide to go to India to get a sex change? Because there is no reliable way to prove Sam Harris has a dick over the Web, I consider myself agnostic, as with the other questions.

nones-demog-5
WOMEN, WHERE ARE YOUR NOBEL PRIZES? I CAN’T HEAR YOU!
The sooner we invent artificial wombs and genetic engineering , the sooner we can use eugenics to eliminate women from the population so that rationality will dominate. If we do ever get gay conversion therapy to work and you’re a man, please consider having it done because you’re more likely to find an attractive atheist with a high IQ who unfortunately happens to be a male.
Sexism is a construct right? Look at what it’s done to the confidence of 7 year old girls.
https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/01/27/study-girls-believe-men-are-smarter-than-women/21701720/
a feminist is someone.jpg
Sexism is a construct. Look at what it’s done to the confidence of 7 year old girls.
https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/01/27/study-girls-believe-men-are-smarter-than-women/21701720/
And since this is an atheism blog, God is also a construct. I can demonstrate you’re stupid with a meta analysis, but if you’re a theist you’d be too dumb to read it.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2013/08/new-meta-analysis-checks-the-correlation-between-intelligence-and-faith/

Good is also just a social construct that results from religious entitlement and prejudice.