Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Hole in the Religious Donut

I have been free all my life.  I don't really care what, if anything, my friends believe or even my enemies.  When their church is putting on a good show I will go and enjoy it with them and put the price of a comparable show ticket in the plate. 

I even enjoy a good religious argument.  I don't try to show them they are wrong but I am curious about why they are wrong.  Knowing how and why they are wrong helps me help me help them deal with the crap God throws at them (their BS) usually by throwing more crap at them that makes them feel better about God's crap.  I frequently use art and music which makes the crap palatable and sometimes beautiful.  I have to admit that the RCC sure knows how to sugar coat the crap so you don't even notice the BS hole in the donut:  All the good stuff happens after you are dead.  


She was a pretty good president while Bill unzipped his way into the history books.  She always was the brains of the outfit. He was the politi$ian and is still a good one.  It is time to give her a third term. 

She was the best since RR's voodoo economics started us down the avalanche slope to Oligarchy.  With any luck Warren will have defanged her bankster supporters before she has to deliver on her promises to them.  She will have good reasons to come down hard on the Koch suckers, and the Supreme Court will have to bash the bigots to stay in business, so she won't have to do anything for them either.  All that will be left is Eisenhower's MIC and she will have public support if not congressional support to rein that in as well.  With any luck and the continuous self destruction of the Religious Right, her apron strings may give her a congressional majority as well. 

I am still looking for a downside. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tell Me, Tell Me.

Theist wrote:
Oh atheists, teach me there is no God and I will be free.

You will have to free yourself. 

I could teach you that a Creator of everything that exists has a probability of near zero.  But the miniscule probability will still permit 100% belief. 

I could teach you that everything you know about God is the product of human imaginings.  But I could not teach you that those imaginings were not inspired by God.

I could teach you that everything taught by that little vuvuzela in a fancy dress in an over decorated balcony is a self-serving lie. But I could not teach you those lies are not from God. 

I could teach you that your whole Belief System is useless for living the life you are sure of: the one that started when you were born and will end someday. But I cannot teach you anything at all about what happens after that end.  

I could teach you that the life you are sure of is the only one worth worrying about, and that living it according to the highest standards of social benefit is the only thing that matters no matter what happens when you die.  But I cannot teach you what those highest standards are. 

You will have to teach yourself to be free. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Warped Echoes of Religious Patriarchy

Apr 22, 2015 -- 3:48AM, Kwinters wrote:
Thanks! I am hoping to do more to highlight the link between the way religious patriarchy demeans women and the warped echoes of it in today's sexist religious institution and the proponents of religion.

I suspect a more productive tack would be to examine the warped echoes of it in the secular culture.

I grew up as a secular feminist male in a Sunday Country Club society.  Everybody went to church but nobody took it very seriously.  At the university few went to church and so few took it seriously that I had to travel to a nearby Jesuit University to find a good religious discussion.

Nevertheless the echoes of male dominance and sexual entitlement were everywhere. Even the women at the university seemed to think that the Mrs. was as important as the BA.  The way to the Mrs. was universally understood as submissiveness in everything from academics to sex. 

There were a few women on campus that would whup yer ass in anything ya tried to compete in including finding them on top in sex. But the word on campus was that they were failures as women destined to a life of loneliness and frustration.  It generally didn't work out that way as there were some men in the academic world that respected that attitude and were looking for a partner rather than a "wife" and lived happily, if not ever after, long enough to propagate their genetic line. As might be expected their kids were awesome.   

Make a Difference

Jane Goodall:

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.  What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
Apparantly from the afterword to Roots and Shoots. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Some Wrong Answers Better Than Others.

Apr 20, 2015 -- 7:23AM, theist wrote:
Apr 19, 2015 -- 6:14PM, JCarlin wrote:
The a-religious simply suggest that disabuse of religion would eliminate most of the wrong answers to life's questions.


How’d that work for the Bolsheviks, et al.?

Bolsheviks were a political group not a philosophically anti-religious group.  Religions were seditious hence persecuted along with all the other seditious groups. 

In any event, eliminating wrong answers does not necessarily provide right answers.  Ideologies religious or secular generally provide wrong answers.  I would argue that secular ideologies provide better answers than religious ideologies, but whether or not they are right is a long historical test.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Good Common Core Education

Testing is simply a political football.  In any metro area large or small there are a few schools or school systems where kids can get a good common core education.  Parents who care vote with their feet, sometimes literally to acquire an address in a good school district.  I know of a parent who chose homelessness to get her kids into a good school in NYC.  The kids did well.  Those who can afford it buy or rent in the good districts.  In my case in NYC it was cheaper to move to the high rent district than to pay for private schools. 
California has standardized tests for schools (STAR) that are public information, and property values are directly correlated.  STAR is referred to by some as Schools Tested by Affluence Ranking. I happen to live in a developed orchard in Santa Clara County where several square miles were built out with similar homes.  On the good school side of the district line literally identical houses can be twice the price of those on the wrong side of the line.  (I had occasion to check this out recently as a son and Jr. Hi grandson were considering a transfer to the area.  I had a utility bill with the right name on it from the good side of the line, and got listings on the wrong side for identical houses which suited the lifestyle of my son's family.  A little over half price was normal.) 
You don't have to be rich.  In fact schools in rich districts are generally not the best.  Private schools skim off all the good kids.  The middle class can generally find schools "on the west side of the power line" where with a little involvement in the PTA with the rest of the parents who paid the premium to get into the area kids get a decent education.  It helps to be upper middle class that is where the best schools are.  But in most good districts there are apartments on the wrong side of the tracks but right side of the power line where if you are willing to compromise living standards for schooling you can find something.  When I moved to CA broke but working I had an apartment in one of the best school districts in Palo Alto.  The roof leaked and the folks at the end were stealing power from the laundry room but the schools through HS were top notch. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Shermer on BS

Wow. You don't even read the posts of others who clearly illustrate you are wrong, do you.

You just stick your fingers in your ears and repeat the same falsehoods over and over again.

It is hilarious.

They are not falsehoods they are Beliefs.  According to Shermer in The Believing Brain even if they listen carefully information contrary to the Belief System is not even processed by the brain.  There is a filtering system in the brain popularly called conceptual blocks but scientifically observable that automatically routes contrary information to the trash file of the brain. 

It is not hilarious; it is an unfortunate function of a believer's brain.  That is why it has been a practice on this board for many years to refer to such incorrect beliefs as BS a Belief System which generally contains varying amounts of the bucolic BS.  Hat tip to AciraZade for this concept.  Note the color of the page.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Religious Wars Today

Yea but no one is killing bodies . . . right?

Quite wrong.  The war on Godless Communism was a religious war with the genocides in Korea and Viet-Nam. Note that the white Christian Russians were spared. God told Bush/Cheney to invade Iraq. The fact that the collateral damage was Islamic was not lost on them.  There is credible evidence that Al-Qaeda was at least supported by the Christian right to foment Islamic hate to support wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan.  The Christian right is advocating bombing Iran.  Apparently the Muslims there are not "bodies."

That seems like enough bodies to make my point.  If you mean today US drones are still active in the Middle East and the 'stans.

New Atheism


I suspect the New Atheism is a marginal and almost ignorable part of atheism.  The important parts of atheism are

  1. The nominally religious but godless with respect to the traditional Controlling Supernatural Deity.  Traditionally referred to as Deists.  Including the "Two Great Commandment" personal God of Jesus believers.  
  2. Spiritual but not religious.  Probably including most pagans. 
  3. Humanists of all types:  Secular Humanists, godless UUs and UCC's and humanists.
  4. And (lc a) atheists for whom any kind of a God is irrelevant to living and dying. 

Most of these groups are what I call "discovered atheists" that is they found that atheism worked for them and god just became irrelevant to living.  The dying part is more complicated, as many believe in some sort of an afterlife, but gods or Jesus has nothing to do with it.  It is just a natural transition based on how one has chosen to live. 

It will be this group of atheists rather than the "New Atheists" that will shut down the controlling, politically active religious factions. 


Um, all of this is just speculative nonsense. You are not an academic JC, and until you do some actual research that is all this is.

Just compare what you make up out of nothing to what actual scholars do.  Your opinion is of no use here.

An academic studies more and more about less and less until hesh knows everything about nothing.   Congratulations.

A dilettante studies a little bit about a lot of things until hesh knows nothing about everything.

Neither is worth much in advancing the knowledge base of humanity. 

A scholar studies in depth a broad range of subjects and finds common themes and messages that help in understanding a topic.  It is speculative but it is not nonsense.  Like all scholarship it is subject to review and criticism, but ad hominem arguments don't really matter.  If you wish to comment on the accuracy of my speculations, or demonstrate that they are incorrect, I would appreciate your academic input assuming it is relevant to the speculation in question. 

Religion has been my area of scholarship for most of my life.  I have studied it from an atheistic bias, which I recognize and account for.  My studies have not been in an Ivory Tower, but in places of worship, scripture and especially music.  You may criticize from any of those points of view.  Your PhD BS is not useful.

Atheists and Social Media

YouTube  provider
I suggest old atheists here check out social media and other new forms of communication for the younger generation of atheists. They get off their ass and do stuff.

I have been on social media since it began and have seen many movements come and go.  New this and new that like the new Tide make a little bubble in the suds and disappears in the rinse water. 

As for getting off their asses the new generation of social mediaists seems to interpret that as thumbing a tweet or liking a post somewhere.  Even those who do get off their ass and create new media, thank you for doing so, are basically competing for views, likes and shares in a very tiny community. 

Effective use of social media is joining or forming coalitions with people going generally your way and doing what you can to help and perhaps influence where they are going.  As an atheist fighting religious oppression I have always found it more effective to join groups like the Christian Left on Facebook and support liberal Christian groups IRL that are in a position to create change.  Say what you really think about Pope Francis or Bishop Spong but do it among friends.  Support them publicly as they push hard and effectively in a good direction.