Showing posts from 2012

Quote of the Day: Christine Hayes

‎"[T]he Bible's not for children. I have a 12-year-old and an 8-year-old. I won't let them read it. I won't let them read it. Those "Bible Stories for Children" books, they scare me. They really scare me. It's not suitable for children. The subject matter in the Bible is very adult, particularly in the narrative texts. There are episodes of treachery and incest and murder and rape. And the Bible is not for na├»ve optimists. It's hard-hitting stuff. And it speaks to those who are courageous enough to acknowledge that life is rife with pain and conflict, just as it's filled with compassion and joy. It's not for children in another sense. Like any literary masterpiece, the Bible is characterized by a sophistication of structure and style and an artistry of theme and metaphor, and believe me, that's lost on adult readers quite often. It makes its readers work."  -- Christine Hayes.   ( Robert F. and Patricia Ross Weis Professor of Relig

How to be a Christmas Douche

Step 1) Vandalize perfectly harmless sign because you are threatened by any idea that differs from your own. Step 2) When the authorities refuse to take action, go vigilante and steal the sign yourself, thereby (temporarily) silencing those you disagree with, allowing you to freely censor the message like the little bitch you are. Step 3) Giggle like a little bitch as if you got away with it, at least until the next atheist sign goes up. If that happens... Step 4) Repeat steps one through three. Meanwhile, instead of vandalism and your basic close-minded dougebaggery, your friendly neighborhood atheists will be enjoying their Christmas doing a bit of this... And... Some of this... Because we godless heathens really love our eggnog. Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays everyone!  And to everyone a goodnight. 

Guns Don't Kill People. More on the Gun Problem in America

Earlier this week I made the comment that, "Guns are simply tools designed for the purpose of killing.  Not protection. If you want protection, buy a taser, or rubber bullets, or a higher a body guard. Gun are tools and their purpose is to deal a lethal blow to your enemy." My pro gun friend stopped me and said: Nooooo! Guns are designed for shooting bullets. Well, yes. Technically, he's right. But this was his objection to my point. You see how it is flawed, right?  If we want to get real specific, we could say: guns are for propelling explosive metal projectiles at near the speed of sound in order to penetrate your enemy's face and render them dead. So, you see, if you use such an argument, please follow it to its logical conclusion. Other arguments I've heard that are just lame ducks are: Guns don't kill people. People kill people. That's like saying: toasters don't make toast. People do. Talk about your logic fails. No matter how hard I'

Meanwhile On my other Blog: Guns!

I have written an article about Gun control on my Scideological blog. Check it out .

Countries which Murder Atheists: And My 7 Indicators of Civilized Society

The Washington Post recently did an article on which countries you can be imprisoned and even killed with a state ordered execution for simply being an atheist. Now I ask you, what kind of sense does it make for killing people for what they DON'T rightly believe in? I have seven basic rules about what I consider a true civilized society. 1) You have to be for equality across the board (gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.). 2) You have to have healthcare for your people.  3) Blasphemy laws must be non-existent. 4) There has to be freedom of speech. 5) The must be freedom of religion and conversely freedom from religion. 6) Porn must not be illegal. And finally, 7) you have to be able to make and enjoy soft ice-cream. Only if these prerequisites are met would I consider a civilization a "true" civilization  Now I have many reasons for why these factors are important and why they contribute, and thereby constitute, civilized living and thinking, but there can be

Is Free Will Dependent on the Arrow of Time?

The concept of Free Will confuses me. It's one of those subjects I skirt around simply because I have no real opinion on it. Recently, however, I read something interesting in the American physicist Sean Carroll's book From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time. He mentions in the preface that Free Will is defined by the arrow of time. The arrow of time is the strange physical properties of space-time in which time seems to flow in only one direction, even as there is no clear reason for this. As such, all events seem to progress in a linear fashion along the direction of this arrow. This gives rise to causality. In other words, we can remember the past, and perceive the present, but we cannot see the future. So events seem to unfold in an A, B, C, or 1, 2, 3 type pattern. What this means is that all our experiences happen within the same framework of the arrow of time. So whatever choices we make, however we make them, appear to fit the patter of A, B

Upcoming Book Publication

If I haven't been around lately, it's because I am knee deep in piles of essays which I have to get edited for an upcoming anthology I'm producing with fellow skeptic Jonathan M.S. Pearce. Jon is a philosopher of religion and you can check out his blog A Tippling Philosopher at SIN ( Skeptic Ink Network ) as well as find his philosophical and religious publications online at . In the meantime, here is a sneak peak of the cover design I am currently working on. It's still tentative, but this is the basic concept thus far. Meanwhile, the book should be out sometime next spring. 

Quote of the day: Jesse Bering

"Ultimately, of course, you must decide for yourself whether the subjective psychological effects created by your evolved cognitive biases reflect an objective reality, perhaps as evidence that God designed your mind to be so receptive to Him. Or, just maybe, you will come to acknowledge that, like the rest of us, you are a hopeless pawn in one of natural selection's most successful hoaxes ever--and smile at the sheer ingenuity involved in pulling it off, at the very thought of such mindless cleverness. One can still enjoy the illusion of God, after all, without believing Him to be real." --Jesse Bering ( The Belief Instinct , page 8)

Three MORE Atheist Books that Changed the Way I View the World

In my previous post , I listed three atheist books that helped me to change the way I view the world. Just to recap, they were: 1) Prisoner for Blasphemy by G.W. Foote, 2) Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and 3) Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan. As I was thinking of atheistic books and books written by atheists I wanted to share three more which I think everybody should read. While the first books which influenced my thinking dealt with mainly the philosophical aspects to religious belief, these next three deal more with the science behind human cognition and the nature of belief itself. 1. Atheism Advanced Anthropologist David Eller's book Natural Atheism set the grounds for how all religion is inevitably the creation of mankind. His case is more than convincing, but it that wasn't enough, his follow up to the first book, Atheism Advanced , actually advances the implications of secular philosophy, such as Humanism, and Eller takes and in depth look at how al

Three Atheist Books that Changed the Way I See the World

There are three excellent atheist works that helped me to see the world differently--and changed my worldviews so profoundly that the numerical value of the change could only be measured in sagans. These are the three books that helped to open my eyes and free my mind. 1. Prisoner for Blasphemy The first is Prisoner for Blasphemy by George William Foote , who was put on trial for his publication of the magazine The Secularist  (which goes out of its way to defend critical thinking and lampoon religion--much like the New Atheist movement of today) for the crime of blasphemy.  Although G.W. Foote defended himself excellently against Justice North--a corrupt judge (who also was a stuck-up Catholic) sent Foote to a year labor in prison anyway.  While in prison for a non-crime of offending a non-entity, G.W. Foote wrote his recollection of the trial, using his notes and various newspaper clippings to reconstruct the trial as accurately as possible, and talks about his experie

Quick Update! Hello, Goodbye, and Thanks for all the fish!

This year I've tried to quit Advocatus Atheist not once, not twice, but three times! About a month ago I was convinced I'd retire the blog and move on to other things. That obviously didn't happen. I'm a writer, and Advocatus Atheists let me share my writing and my voice with the outside world. A lot of what I write is cathartic  and so I realized that after three failed attempts, I wasn't likely going to just quit cold turkey. As such, my regular readers, and the 2,000 some odd weekly passers by, will be happy to know that I'm not going to retire my Advocatus Atheist blog. But I will be phasing myself out. What do I mean by this? Well, I've started a new blog called SCIEDEOLOGICAL , which covers the topics of Science, Ideology, and Logic (hence Sciedeological); including technology, education, humanism, and everything in between. As I work on generating quality content for that blog I'll be less involved here at Advocatus Atheist. That doesn't mean

Death and Taxes: And A Legacy of Grandfathers

My wife's grandfather Miyamoto Kazue died this past weekend. It was the third stroke that did him in, and he was ill from a bout of cancer as well. I didn't know him extremely well, even though I have visited his house every New Years and Obon (the death holiday here in Japan) for the past five years. As you might have guessed, the Miyamoto side of my wife's family is her father's side. The family is unique here in Japan in that it is so large. My father-in-law has 10 siblings. The Japanese average is about 1 and 1/2 siblings per household. You can tell he was part of the baby-boom era of Japan's post-war economic revival heyday. I think the most unique thing to mention about the Miyamoto family is that they are not Buddhist like most Japanese families I know. Rather, they actively practice Shintoism. It is through their eyes that I am able to glimpse what Shintoism is and how it is practiced. My six years of periodic visits have given me some fascinating

Ignosticism 2.0: Fleshing Out Referential Justification theory

Ignosticism 2.0 I've written quite a bit on Ignosticism (also  here , here , and here ) and Theological Noncognitivism. Personally, I think they provide the strongest philosophical arguments against God ever devised. Coupled with philosophical ideas like Theological Noncognitivism , evidentialism, and justification, Ignosticism becomes a toure de force argument which not only validates the nontheist worldview but simultaneously dismantles theism in most of its forms. That said, it is not without controversy. In fact, I realized that justification of evidence alone isn't the only thing required here, but also justification of terms. What I argue for here is a type of justification of terms being offered before we can say whether such terms are meaningful or not. In other words, before Ignosticism can dismiss the vocabulary of the theist, we have some proving to do first. Justification Incorporated into Ignosticism What is  Referential Justification?  Well, it's m

Society is Growing More Peaceful and Human Morals are Improving!

Michael Shermer gives a talk on all the scientific data that proves that human morals are getting better and our societies are growing more peaceful.

The Biogeographical/Border Theory of Red and Blue States

I am sorry if you were hoping I'd be writing a rare political essay. I just am not that interested in politics, but the history and sociological aspects do fascinate me. As such, this is more of a sociological speculation about one aspect of American political history. The most recent thing to catch my attention is an image floating around on the web that shows a comparison of the 2012 Presidential election results with the 1846 map of U.S. states that supported slavery.  The states that voted Republican/conservative in the 2012 Presidential election are nearly identical to all the states that supported slavery. Meanwhile, all the states that voted Democrat/liberal are all the progressive states that mirror those states which abolished slavery. Now there are many political  economic, and sociological factors that play into this, but the question I have, is how much of a coincidence is it really? I would be tempted to say this is an odd coincidence if it were a coincidence.