Monday, March 28, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

HUAC History and Religion

"In God We Trust" nation’s official motto? - Beliefnet

The traditional but not official motto was 'E Pluribus Unum' Out of many, one. The problem with this motto was that it might have been interpreted to refer to the ethnically diverse population of the country including many that were not Christian or white. So they fixed it by adopting a motto that included the Christian God so no one would be confused in what the country stood for.

The original Pledge 'One nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all' had the same problem. The disenfranchised and the minorities might have mistakenly been included in the liberty and justice phrase so they added 'Under God' so that only those believing in God would have liberty and justice.

In those days the House Unamerican Activities Committee HUAC was synonymous with bigotry. The Hollywood Blacklist was aimed at atheists and Jews who might have had some concern for the downtrodden and celebrated them with movies and folk songs. Even then it might have been politically incorrect to pick on Jews so Communist was added to Godless that is, not believing in the Christian God, so that GodlessCommunist, or GodlessCommieAtheist became one word for political reasons.

I say those days as if they were over. They are not. Although HUAC was discredited the Christian Right simply continued where they left off.

Yeah, it worked by destroying the cultural diversity that made America Great. It worked by denying some of the nations best and brightest a living by a Christian witch hunt for "godless communists" It worked by destroying an educational system that was the envy of the world by making students and teachers no matter what their beliefs or lack thereof, pledge allegiance to God instead of "One nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" no matter what religious beliefs they held or did not hold. Instead of "E Pluribus Unum," out of many, one, we get "In God We Trust" fuck everybody else.

The entire decline of the United States can be traced to the fight against "Godless Communism." Korea, Viet Nam, the cold war, the Bamboo Curtain, a resource suck that took many of our finest men and either killed them or turned them into PTS dysfunctionals. I can justifiably add Iraq I and II to the list, as Communism was just a modifier to Godless. And you can be sure that the God in question was the Christian God.

Yeah, it worked. Maybe we can get Jesusland to secede and let the rest of us who do not trust in God try to rebuild the USA with the original E Pluribus Unum motto.

On second thought why wait for them. They are to retarded to accomplish anything so beneficial. Why not have the educated rational states secede and either join Canada which already has a functional government, or recreate that country that was based on E Pluribus Unum instead of God.

"In God We Trust"

"In God We Trust" nation’s official motto? - Beliefnet

Yeah, McCarthyism worked by destroying the cultural diversity that made America Great. It worked by denying some of the nations best and brightest a living by a Christian witch hunt for 'godless communists.' It worked by destroying an educational system that was the envy of the world by making students and teachers no matter what their beliefs or lack thereof, pledge allegiance to God instead of 'One nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all' no matter what religious beliefs they held or did not hold. Instead of 'E Pluribus Unum,' out of many, one we get 'In God We Trust' fuck everybody else.

The entire decline of the United States can be traced to the fight against 'Godless Communism.' Korea, Viet Nam, the cold war, the Bamboo Curtain, a resource suck that took many of our finest men and either killed them or turned them into PTS dysfunctionals. I can justifiably add Iraq I and II to the list, as Communism was just a modifier to Godless. And you can be sure that the God in question was the Christian God.

Yeah, it worked. Maybe we can get Jesusland to secede and let the rest of us who do not trust in God try to rebuild the USA with the original E Pluribus Unum motto.

Evolution in a Knowledge Based Society

Is Religious Misogyny Viable in a Modern economy - Beliefnet

Darwin is no more relevant to modern evolutionary theory than the Bible is to modern morality.

Evolutionary theory suggests that whatever sexual dimorphism in behavior and breeding functions that works for the species studied in the ecological niche they find themselves in will result in an evolutionary advantage. However when the niche changes a species than cannot adapt may well become extinct.

In a survival desert marauding niche, with high infant mortality and high male mortality in war a female human as a brood mare, socializer of children and society made evolutionary sense.

In a modern society with sophisticated medicine and technology the evolutionary pressure seems to be for maximizing intellectual innovation, and eliminating half of the population from that activity seems like an evolutionary dead end. Out breeding resources is another evolutionary dead end. We are seeing in countries like China and India and some parts of the USA that women are critical participants in the economy, and fit in the 2.1 replacement children as time permits. Or not at all in many cases.

Nobody is trying to turn them into men. They still are the producers of the next generation, but if men want to participate genetically in the next generation, the rules have changed considerably. It is no longer useful to fuck anything with a vagina, she probably is infertile until she finds someone that will be a good parenting partner. Which these days means recognizing her intellectual contributions to the society and the economy.

One of the reasons misogynistic religions are so down on homosexuality is that the good parenting partner may well be female, and the requirements for getting sperm into that mix can be interesting to say the least. It happens, frequently naturally, but never by accident.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Radiation dose chart link

http://www.xkcd.com/radiation/

Eat one banana 0.1 microSv about the same as living for a year within 50 mi of a nuclear plant
3 times that for a year living within 50 miles of a coal plant
400 times that flying from NYC to LA

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Misogyny in Living

Hi there misogynist atheists. - Beliefnet

Out of respect for misogynist atheists and other misogynists of all faiths and lack thereof (if the shoe fits you can still refuse to wear it because it is too ugly) we will now replace misogynist with sexist.

If a poster reports that women are generally not interested in joining contests to see how far they can piss into a strong wind. Is this a sexist comment? Does the sex of the poster matter?

If a woman does not choose to participate in pissing contests about the existence of God is she being sexist?

If she points out that many women do not wish to participate in pissing contests about the existence of God should she be required to remove the atheist label from her blog? Does the language she uses to point this out matter?

If a man refuses to go to a school board meeting to protest the religious backed attempt to dumb down the science and arts curriculum can he still call himself an atheist. Is he being sexist because he thinks that is women's work. < sarcasm> Y'know Kinder, Küche, Kirche and all that?< /sarcasm> Does the fact that he is attending an atheist conference on the existence of God instead make any difference?

If a woman suggests that one of the turn offs to women is that to many, atheist are a bunch of testosterone dominated, egg heads with no emotion who like to argue.. and the response is a boobquake, one might expect that she and many others who have learned not to think with their genitals would find confirmation of at the very least insensitivity to what she was trying to say.

FYI the term "Boobquake" is a reference to a fundamentalist preacher who blamed the Haiti earthquake on women who dressed inappropriately. It has been generalized to any inappropriate reference to or misuse of especially images of women's breasts. In my opinion, the use of the photo was inappropriate in the context of the thread, hence a boobquake. It had nothing at all to do with the characteristics of the woman in the photo.

If a woman is trying to educate an argumentative, dogmatic person, frequently male, about things that are important to many women that the man seems to be ignorant of, it is not stereotyping it is information. IMO that was the intent of her main post. She was trying to inform the atheists here why this forum is generally unattractive to women. It is quite apparent that some of the atheists here were offended by her remarks and chose to attack the messenger rather than deal with the message. The comments in the link I sent to MOP were almost universally in the same attack the messengers mode, including some argumentative, dogmatic women.

The atheist movement if not atheists in general have a serious problem. Women should be the driving force in combating religious misogyny and religious anti-intellectualism including the gutting of the school system. They after all, are the ones most affected by it. Atheist men are generally more concerned with dogmatic issues as those make the best arguments. Sterile intellectualized discussion of God beliefs isn't an alternative to anything. It is in effect an admission of acquiescence to the status quo. You are welcome to it. You are ceding the fight against the misogyny and anti-intellectualism of fundamentalism to others. Your privilege certainly but I would prefer that you keep it in your Ivory Tower where intellectualized discussions of issues don't bother anyone else. Some of us are trying to make a difference, and egg head BS doesn't help. I find dogmatic issues almost trivial compared to misogyny and anti-intellectualism. Pissing and moaning about whether God exists or not resolves neither of those issues.

I have dealt with subconscious misogyny for most of my life, and am therefore hypersensitive to it. Some of it is directed at males in "female" roles. As one of the original Mr. Moms by agreement with the mother of my children who was in a very demanding, very misogynic career environment, I was frequently the target of remarks like "that is woman's work," "Where is your wife?" "Why isn't your wife taking care of that?" Hmm, lessee, "She is presenting a paper at an international conference that is critical for her personal grant funding. Is taking her kids to the park more important so that her husband should be excused from the duty?"

If you think a simple descriptive term like misogyny is an insult, please explain how it is so. Or better please explain how misogynist is an insult if it is a true description of a pattern of behavior. Am I insulting Paul by calling him a misogynist or merely describing the over all tenor of his writings concerning women? If a man is wearing a T shirt saying "Women are Property" and refers to all women as "Bitches" or worse, am I justified in calling him a misogynist or am I insulting him? If I refer to the T shirt wearer as a misogynist and he responds "Damn right!" did I insult him?

A descriptive term is an insult only if it applies to you and you wish it didn't. If a woman calls a man a misogynist and he says "That bitch just insulted me." I wonder who has the problem. Someone can call me a misogynist, and I can just laugh at them and ask what gives you that impression. Or if I wanted to be insulting I could reply "liar." At that point is simply an argument about fact. Am I or am I not a misogynist. If the accuser said you did this or said that and that indicates misogyny, I can say here is the context that makes it OK or I say I am sorry I didn't mean it that way, or in rare cases simply apologize for my remark.
On another thread (but more relevant to this thread now) I commented that it is surprising to find misogyny bubbling through atheism. JCarlin rightly corrected this to "bubbling through society in general". I completely agree; I just had higher expectations though from a group of people who after all have been independent enough to examine their commitment to a previously common belief in society and choose a different mindset. In a similar way, I have higher expectations from professionals who work in university settings and large corporations than from, for instance, a clerk at Radio Shack.

I wonder if there are 2 issues here:
1. Misogyny
vs
2. An approach to solving problems that is more feeling-based than thinking-based, separate from gender. (Attention all you thinking-type guys: this is NOT the same as logical/illogical!) Have you ever taken any of the Meyers-Briggs personality tests? Many women identify with the "feeling" category, and many men identify with the "thinking" category. I can see why religion would tend to attract the "feeling" set more so than the "thinking" set... perhaps the opposite is true for atheism.
Fangi


I suspect that if some prick told some woman that she should go shopping, care for her children, dust, iron, and talk about relationships instead of messing with the intellectual matters here it certainly would be a pejorative gender stereotype in fact full blown misogyny. Hmm. Providing information about the characteristics of a group by a member of that group may or may not be prejudice or bigotry, although the same thing said by an outsider may well be hate speech.

Like it or not, if atheism is to be an effective alternative for those disgusted by fundamentalist religion atheism is going to have to attract a lot of people who don't want to shout and argue but will quietly talk in their relationship circles that the excesses of fundamentalism are bad for women and children. If one of those people chooses to point out what atheists need to appeal to if they are not going to remain a marginal group of pricks shouting into the wind of fundamentalism, maybe the pricks should listen. So far their record is pretty dismal.

Maybe atheists should be content in their ivory towers not believing in God and ignoring the rest of the world. But the rest of the world will go right on gutting the schools and turning large parts of the US into a third world country. I find that abhorrent, and personally don't give a NoGod damn about what somebody believes or not about God. I do care about the children who are pulled out of school to worship God. I am not going to reach their mothers with intellectualized BS about whether or not somebody can prove God exists. I am going to reach their mothers with atheists some of whom paint their fingernails, and care about not only herm children but all children. The gender inclusive pronoun is significant because there are atheist dads who take their children to the park and talk to the women there about bringing up children and go to the PTA meetings demanding effective science education and who put their testosterone charged aggression to good use by challenging the fundamentalist status quo, not staring at boobs advertising intellectual arguments about God.

Not incidentally I am not chastising Freedom From Religion and other female dominated atheist groups for using all the conventional appeals to the misogynists that run things. We need a lot more of them. We are not going to get them with intellectual discussions. Thanks for showing us a path that many more of us should be taking.

Misogyny Sexism and Male Chauvinism

Further Deterioration of Language - Beliefnet

Early in the feminist movement it became clear that the language needed a word for the attitude expressed first by Paul in Corinthians and Timothy: Women should be silent and subservient. This is an expression of an underlying attitude that women are fundamentally inferior to men and are suitable only for breeding, child care and housekeeping. Since this is almost a definition of hatred the word misogyny seemed not only useful but correct in tone and inference. As noted in a different post it does not refer only to women but to men doing 'women's work.' See a male nurse in the mid 20th century. Or the movie Mr. Mom.

Sexism is a different issue that is best expressed as women as sex objects. No real implication of inferiority, just that no matter what they have accomplished or their position the comment 'check out that rack' would be acceptable in a sexist group. And the minor sensation the Million dollar challenge raises no eyebrows: Would you bet a million dollars that you could have sex with a random woman stranger by midnight? Usually referring to the women in the room at a conference or lecture.

Male chauvinism is a step up? the ladder in that women are while not simply sex objects are not as necessarily as important as men in the society and can therefore be paid less for the same work, exploited as arm candy, and in menial jobs like receptionists despite their credentials, and historically librarians and teachers which are grossly underpaid for their importance to the society.

When I use the word misogyny I am generally referring to a disrespectful attitude toward the contributions of women. But many of the insults were misogynic, in that they implied that she shouldn't be playing with the big boys here.

As I have said several times before it is the society as a whole that is misogynic, in large part because Christianity, not just fundamentalist Christianity is misogynic and Christian mores are dominant in our society. It is not surprising that atheists are affected by these mores, but of all people we should be trying to raise our consciousness of this pernicious Christian and to a lesser extent Jewish effect on the mores of the society. Theoretically atheists should be looking at all the dogma not simply the God dogma and rejecting the crap.

A World Without Religion

Is religion is a "mind rotting" disease? - Beliefnet

Atheism is not an answer for the mind rot of religion. If there were no theists there would be no atheists. Atheism is simply one solution to life without God. If the mind rotting religions of faith and salvation were somehow eliminated you would probably find much the same things you see now. People gathering in social settings for conversation, perhaps some music, many might choose something resembling a religion without the mind rot of imposed belief. As someone else pointed out a 'high' UU church has all the ritual, music, stories from the pulpit, of a traditional religion without the requirement for a specific belief. Arguing with the minister is a strong tradition in most UU churches. I suspect that many of the traditional religions to survive will adopt a similar strategy. Listen to the stories of Jesus, discuss them. What can they tell you about getting what you can from the life you know about, the one with the fancy bookends of birth and death.

Meaning and purpose must be found in this life, and traditional stories might help. But don't count on anything unusual happening at death.

Misogyny and Religion

what pray tell is sexist about stating the fact that many women prefer consensus to dominance. Is this not perhaps a reaction to millennia of dominance where they were forced to care for some rapist's kids, make and iron their clothes and otherwise do the bidding of the rapist. Might they not have sought out the company of other women to resolve issues of how to deal with their rapists. Might they not have created a more powerful entity to control their rapists. And therefore have a vested interest in God?

Misogyny bubbles through society in general. Atheism is no exception. There are islands of exceptions that are growing rapidly now that women can have control over reproduction. Men aren't stupid. But mores change very slowly. And if everything from advertising to sporting events to movies to restaurants, and most everything else promote ogling the boobs, it is hard for everybody of both sexes to realize that women are not just sex objects.

Interestingly religions are leading in some of those islands of exceptions, and also in the rearguard maintaining of women as property. Some Universities are also leaders, in both directions, generally correlated with fundamental religious influence in the area. There are no simple answers and generalizations are impossible.
If you are truly interested I would recommend this report from Blag Hag on a conference discussing the lack of women in the atheist movement. Note the panel was 5 men and one woman. In particular read through the comments. The men either attack the messengers, say "what's the problem," or blame the women.

I don't really blame the men. Thanks to Paul and the Jewish tradition, women as property is a given in most Western societies, whether they are still religious or not. Even western languages especially the gendered languages have a cruel bias against women. In a gathering to introduce a new department head from a South American country, he proudly introduced the members of his department: This is my collegue Dr. Werner, and my collegue Dr. John, and my collegue Dr. Jesus, and er, um, Dr. Mary. As I knew Dr. "Mary" very well I knew she never became a collegue. If you want an example in English, what pronoun do atheists use in referring to God?

For a long time in my life atheism was simply a position about God. I became more active mainly to combat the Christian mysogyny of Paul, which is reflected even in the atheist community, at least the vocal atheist community. Just as a minor example. Why was the London bus ad a minor blip on the radar until Dawkins was photographed with his "tongue" hanging out with the buxom instigator of the movement. Why the hell didn't he pose proudly by a bus with the ad on it? Ho, hum, no sex, no news value. She is a journalist and entertainer, so she knows what sells even to "rational" atheists.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Navigators USA alternative scouting group

uuworld.org : alternative scouting group starts to grow

As an early atheist scout and scoutmaster with a possibly gay co-scoutmaster (don't ask, don't tell) at a troop from a welfare hotel sponsored by All Souls, I have been dismayed by the Boy Scouts religious right lurch. Magnum kudos to Robin Bossert and again to All Souls for leading the way to an inclusive outdoor adventure program.

The benefits I got from scouting were incredible. Where else could an atheist go to a Pontifical High mass? (Irvine CA Jamboree) The self confidence, and self assurance from being able to build a shelter from sticks and a bit of rope and a poncho was critical to being able to get as my fortune cookie taped to my monitor says "The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do."

The benefit from being a Scoutmaster at All souls with the kids from the welfare hotel were more subtle, but being able to work with kids whose enthusiasm overcame their minor disability of living on welfare was a joy and an inspiration.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

DNA Argument for a Creator

Post Evidence Here - Beliefnet

From data of molecular biology and from some information theories, we can now argue that an "intelligent force" is the cause of the origen of life, do to the simple analogy that exists between DNA code and any written language. There is not a clear identification from scientific data, neither we can give it a proper name to that intelligent force, and from empirical deduction the only thing we can said is, the intelligent force that produced the first spark of life , is within the cosmos, and off the earth, or perhaps beyond the cosmos as historical theism maintains. We can ponder about all this for ever and the only sure answer will be that humanity might pondered about it until the end of time.
Silverada

This is basically a more sophisticated and intelligent reworking of the Behe's irreducible complexity argument. It has many of the same flaws the main one being where did the super irreducible complex designer come from? The assumption is that some omniscient something arranged the codons in the first DNA and either let it evolve from there or tweaked it as necessary to accomplish its aim of producing the amazing supremely intelligent being in the image of God namely me.

Frankly, I am not that important. The other problem with this argument is that it is assumed that this omniscient creator had some goal in mind when Hesh created that first DNA. If it wasn't me the atheist in God's image, what was it?

It is certainly possible in spite of the difficulties mentioned, but it is far more likely that a totally undirected chemical process that can be guessed at but not defined at this point ended up as that first DNA, and the organisms built by that DNA did their best to stay alive and reproduce more DNA as best they could, but that inevitably errors crept in, some helpful some lethal and by this time a bunch of intelligent people came about that could imagine God in their own image. I think my scenario takes a lot less faith, but you may not think faith is as dysfunctional as I do.

I do think DNA language code is not a selective, random or out of necessity evolutionary happening. Molecular biologists do know now how life came to be, but they don´t know from where that first cause came from or how that language code was introduce into the molecules with the ability to store, transmit and edit information and to use that information to regulate their most fundamental metabolic process. There is nothing under biological research that have had yet an indisputable answer to that. So mysticism findings are still the only answer untill science can otherwise contradict it and make it false forever without any doubt.
Silverada


Like many creator advocates you ignore the brutal power of selection. Any change to the DNA that doesn't work is generally lethal and that change disappears. Some changes don't make any difference and are conserved until they change again and either help or more frequently kill the organism. But there are billions of organisms and even the dead ones are food, that is sources of nucleotides to make new DNA for other organisms. So the fact that most of it doesn't work means very little in the big picture. As long as one strand of DNA works and the zygote lives to reproduce whatever the change is will be conserved. And successful zygotes tend to make lots more. It works even faster for cloning organisms. One successful strand of DNA makes two more, those 2 make 4 and 4 make 8 and you can do the rest of the math till you get a whole pond full of organisms until they run out of food.

Even the simplest form of life, with the store of DNA, are characterized by specified complexity, therefore life itself is "the first evidence" that some form of intelligence was in existence at the time of its origin.
Silverada

You can keep your designer if you wish, but the designer works by trial and error just like most human designers. The designer tried RNA and it was almost good enough but the thiamine introduced too many errors in transcription. So after a bunch of ungodlike expletives the designer tried uracil and finally found the stability in transcription that was necessary to compete in the nucleotide gobbling world of early protolife. A whole lot of errors in programming later the designer finally found a sequence that could wrap a lipid membrane around itself and protect its nucleotide sources.

If this sounds like natural selection to you it does to me as well. I just can't come up with a way to create a designer smart enough to figure out in one shot, that first DNA sequence that used the lipid membrane for protection.

Maybe you are smarter than I am or have more faith that the designer could just poof out of nothing, but in any event you have to explain the origins of the designer. "I believe it, and that settles it" works, but that is not evidence simply belief.

Did I post anything that a certified chemist might find a complete ignorance of the matter? if it is so, please correct me. For sure I do not have a chemist point of view of how DNA works, I only learn about from reading a few things.
Silverada

The major difference between the chemistry of DNA and written language is that DNA chemistry is relatively inflexible. It is similar to low level computer code, in that any minor error generally causes the whole program to crash. As a low level programmer at one time I can assure you that such programming is error and trial over and over again.

Even if your creator had the ability to manipulate individual codons of DNA that is "write" a strand of DNA my guess is that the creator would use up as many combinations as evolution did to finally get a self replicating strand that could encase itself in a cell membrane to create life. The difference is that the creator thought about it, while evolution just kept trying at random until something worked.

I just can't imagine a creator intelligent enough to "write" a strand of DNA that would waste the time it would take to create life, when the creator would presumably be intelligent enough to know that evolution would do the same thing, sooner or later.

When religion dies.

Is religion is a "mind rotting" disease? - Beliefnet

Atheism is not an answer for the mind rot of religion. If there were no theists there would be no atheists. Atheism is simply one solution to life without God. If the mind rotting religions of faith and salvation were somehow eliminated you would probably find much the same things you see now. People gathering in social settings for conversation, perhaps some music, many might choose something resembling a religion without the mind rot of imposed belief. As someone else pointed out a 'high' UU church has all the ritual, music, stories from the pulpit, of a traditional religion without the requirement for a specific belief. Arguing with the minister is a strong tradition in most UU churches. I suspect that many of the traditional religions to survive will adopt a similar strategy. Listen to the stories of Jesus, discuss them. What can they tell you about getting what you can from the life you know about, the one with the fancy bookends of birth and death.

Meaning and purpose must be found in this life, and traditional stories might help. But don't count on anything unusual happening at death.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Failed Theists

The Bright Line - Beliefnet

There is a reason that atheists are a small but rapidly growing segment of the population: It is hard intellectual work to find substitutes for the God myths of childhood that provided the security blanket that one can wrap oneself in when life spins out of control. Unfortunately many of those God myths are getting tattered and the blankie doesn't work as well as it used to without strong faith.

I know the University one failed theist attended and rational thought is not its strong suit. It is an excellent practical knowledge source, as it was designed to be. If you needed support for rational abstract thinking the University down the highway a piece might have provided more support. But I suspect that even there the support would have been insufficient.