Showing posts from March, 2012

Quote of the Day: Epicurus


Proof I have Free Will

Mike over at the A-Unicornist tackles Free Will , and the recent debates regarding whether or not we have it. If you want to learn about the types of free will and whether free will is an illusion or not, I recommend you check how his article. I have a loftier goal however. I am going to prove, here and now, that I HAVE free will and that, no, it is not an illusion. How do I know that I have free-will? Consider this. If I so chose to shed my clothes, cram my toothbrush up my bum, use a can of Miracle Whip to make a whip-cream bra, and then ran down mainstreet screaming at the top of my lungs, "I am Keyser Söze!" then that would be an act of free will. How do I know this? Because there is nothing in the model of reality which predetermines such a choice, unless of course I had no control over my mind, in which case I would be certifiably insane. The very fact that I chose not to do this act, confirms, that I have free will. So you see, free will exists. At least for me. I

What if you're wrong? What if God is real? What if there is a Hell?

A Christian asked me today in an email:  "What if you're wrong. What if there is a God? Aren't you afraid you will go to hell?" My reply, which has become my standard response to such hypothetical what if questions, was this:  I don't often speculate what will happen to me after death, mostly because I simply do not care. It doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is now and making the most of my life. Keeping my family safe, happy, and contented. And trying to be a somewhat decent human being, empathizing with others, and by not being a total asshole all of the time. If I accomplish that much, and have lived a good and honorable life, then I really could care less about what happens to me after I die.

Supernormal Events and God is from the Top Down

Photo by zibidipsi Michael Shermer's new book The Believing Brain is a must read. Today I read a line in which Shermer is talking about Patternicity and Agenticity , basically the science behind how we assign patterns to things in the real world and how we often infer agents behind these so-called patterns. A recognizable example for patternicity would be facial recognition. We see a face on a Martian landscape because we have evolved to create faces out of patterns as simple as two black dots on white paper, or in this case a few random rocks, shadows, and a few craters. Child development shows that infants often will smile at the two dots--a natural reflex to seeing a human face staring back and cooing at them. In fact, all the infant has done is mistake a face in a random pattern. That's patternicity in a nutshell, although the psychology behind it is far more nuanced. Agenticity is when we place an active desire or meaning behind some event. The volcano exploded! Why

Quote of the Day: Louis C.K. on Gay Marriage


Don't Mock the Religious! For they will CRY.

I often get the feeling that people haven't really read their Voltaire.  So often I will put in a crude joke ridiculing religion, mocking it, and of course deriding what is odious and noxious about faith based belief. Sometimes ridiculing the corrupt ideologies of religion, and of the religious, is the best way to effectively neutralize the harmful practices. If not neutralize them, then at least bring undesirable attention to it all. But it doesn't always come without a cost. Sometimes we have to pay a price for our right to criticize others. Voltaire found this out the hard way.  Religious theocracy is never fair, never tollerant, and never lenient. That's why it is called a theocracy. Religious theocracy wants to force everyone to believe the same things and follow the same regulations, those who openly defy or refuse their religious world view will be threatened, harassed, and run out of town--if not something worse. 

Dennis Terry is a Theocratic Prick

Have you ever wondered what a right wing theocratic ignoramus looks and sounds like? It looks like Dennis Terry. WARNING : EVERYTHING that Dennis Terry is about to say is OFFENSIVE or else OUT OF YOUR MIND STUPID. You've been warned. P.S. I no way endorse this lunatics sick and corrupted ideologies. However, someone needs to slap this man-bitch down and put him in his place. But it really becomes a question of how much time we feel like wasting on such a blather bag of odiousness. Everything he spews from his wicked tongue and sinister mind are either all lies or Christian professions of faith twisted into a weird brand of right wing propaganda against anyone and everyone who isn't his brand of Christian. His own words sort of undermine his very integrity by revealing a narrow minded, sexist, racist, bigot.

Conflating Atheism and Agnosticism is a Mistake

In a discussion over at Bud's blog Dead Logic , a reader asked a question I have been hearing more and more recently. It's a good question, so I thought I would do my part to try and answer it. Doesn't admitting to being an agnostic instead of an atheist FEEL like you're being wishy-washy, or not fully committing to your "belief"? ... I understand that it's only honest to say that we CAN'T be sure, but I sure do hate to show weakness (real or perceived) in an argument. Not at all.  Agnosticism deals with knowledge.  Atheism deals with belief.  The Agnostic position cannot assume whether a thing like a God could exist or not given the lack of sheer evidence for such a things existence. Therefore knowing with any given certainty just isn't possible. The agnostic then makes the claim that a definitive answer with regard to "knowing" of God's existence cannot be given either way. Atheism, however, can state with assurance t

Dumbass Quote of the Day: Alister McGrath

WARNING : The side effects of RELIGION include: uncritical, unthinking, lackadaisical reasoning, and intellectual deficiency. ‎"All the important things in life lie beyond reason... and that's just the way things are." --Alister McGrath.

Stormpooper Returns! The Saga Continues

In a discussion about the historicity of the Adam and Eve myth, a Christian pain in the ass who loves to belittle atheists, decided to respond to my line of reasoning (in blue, with commentary in purple). The quote he made which I was originally responding to was this gem: So, the Genesis account is mythology and fiction because of naturalistic, uniformitarian presuppositions. Therefore, miracles do not occur. Rather presumptuous and arrogant, don't you think? " What are you trying to say, exactly?" Did I type too fast for you to understand? [Notice I was asking for clarification, which he then avoids by offering a sarcastic dodge. This makes me think he either can't answer the question or is a major dick who refuses to. If not both.] "That miracles occur or that all of Genesis is historically true?" Yes. " Those are actually separate claims." So? [Obviously, introducing on off topic tangent is one tactic that theists li

Atheists that Piss me Off!

Atheists rarely ever tend to agree. As nonbelievers, we celebrate difference of ideas and opinions. We recognize that we have different experiences and hold different beliefs than others. We would never try to force you to be like us, even though we would hope that you may come to appreciate what we stand for. I'd like to think what atheists stand for, apart from their lack of belief in any gods, is reason, autonomy, and skepticism. Atheists aren't united by what they believe, but rather, by what they don't believe. It may be a strange way to classify a minority group. Not by the color or their skin but by the skin color they are not. It seems sort of backwards, mainly, because it is. Religion dictates that we take the negative stance to an unknown positive. It is because of the role that religion has played in the arena of ideas, past and present, that the theist position has arisen. If there were no supernatural metaphysical assumptions of religion, Atheism woul

A Letter About Your Crappy Beliefs

Many religious people say that the things I post about religion are intolerant and hurtful. That the attacks criticisms of their beliefs are disrespectful. As if their beliefs had feelings. 

Can Religion be Eliminated? Not Likely.

Can we kill religion? The answer is no, not really. Not unless we are prepared to kill ourselves in the process. Victor Stenger, a scientist I greatly admire, but a rather poor philosopher in my opinion, gave a recent talk for the Center for Inquiry (CFI). The transcription of his lecture was put up on The Huffington Post which you can read here  after the jump. I found myself disagreeing with Stegner on nearly every point about religion. The one point he makes in the piece which I do agree with is when he states rather near the end that "Science is not going to change its commitment to the truth. And religion is not going to change its commitment to nonsense..." True enough. But if Stenger understood why this comment was true, he probably would not be trying to tear down religion. Criticizing the bad practices, faulty or fallacious beliefs, and deriding the deplorable behavior of religionists is a healthy, in fact, necessary endeavor. But where I think Stenger's rea

Quote of the Day: Valerie Tarico

"[T]raditional rules that govern male-female relationships are grounded more in property rights than civil rights. Men essentially have ownership of women, whose lives are scripted to serve an end—bearing offspring. It is important to men that they know whose progeny they are raising, so sexual morality has focused primarily on controlling women’s sex activity and maintaining their “purity” and value as assets. Traditional gender roles and rules evolved on the presumption that women don’t have control over their fertility. In other words, modern contraception radically changed a social compact that had existed for literally thousands of years. Some people don’t welcome change. Since the beginnings of the 20th Century, fundamentalist Christians have been engaged in what they see as spiritual warfare against secularists and modernist Christians. Both of their foes have embraced discoveries in fields such as linguistics, archeology, psychology, biology and physics – all of which

If you're Religious. Stop it!

Dear Christians, Muslims, and other Religious fanatics. Enough is enough already. It's bad enough that your odious practices murder innocent babies . It's worse still that your depraved ideologies make it so women, and potentially their unborn children, might die because you feel it's morally okay to withhold important medical information . How mentally sick do you have to be before you think that is anywhere near close to being justifiable? You may even feel it's a good idea to stop public education  as to the proper methods of safe sex, full well knowing that your teenagers will continue having unsafe sex regardless. Well, it's not! In fact, every study shows that when you do that the odds of your kid engaging in risky sex, which they will do, and catching an STD is very likely. That's your burden to bare. But I have a bigger problem with the gleeful desire to make ignoramuses out of your kids. That's just backwards. If you want to equip you

Kony 2012

Joseph Kony is a modern day Hitler . Instead of killing Jews though... he murders small children... tens of thousands of them. Help stop this monster in 2012.  Watch this short video and find out how!

Freethinker = A Soldier for Reason!

A  Christian blogger I occasionally have a run in with, recently wrote on his blog that "Freethinker", "rationalist" and other atheistic buzzwords are emotionally loaded, with a built-in insult. That is, they are the rational ones by virtue of being atheists. This Genetic Fallacy conveniently ignores the fact that many of the world's greatest thinkers and scientists have been Bible-believing Christians. It would be remiss if I didn't point out that this isn't entirely correct. Freethinker is a term derived from the 17th century ideological Freethought mo vement that stressed that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas.  Whether our Christian detractor is willing to admit it, we can plainly see that there is a historical basis for one might prescribe to Freethinking values.  Also, being a Freethinker didn't mean you couldn't have re

Quote of the Day: Joseph Campbell

"Today we know--and know right well--that there was never anything of the kind: no Garden of Eden anywhere on this earth, no time when the serpent could talk, no prehistoric "Fall," no exclusion from the garden, no universal Flood, no Noah's Ark. The entire history on which our leading Occidental religions have been founded is an anthology of fictions. " --Joseph Campbell (Myths to Live By)

Type II Cognitive Errors and Ignosticism: Why Belief in God is Meaningless

In this essay I argue that God definitions stem from Type II Cognitive errors and that theological opinions are based on these wrong assumptions. Establishing  this, I therefore contend that theological opinions regarding the nature of God must continually shift in the believers mind in order to allow them to retool their supernatural/religious beliefs to fit their definitions of God. If true, definitions of God will perpetually be shifting as the brain continues making Type II errors. This predicts a genesis and engine by which religious belief can arise and spread. The second part involves the thesis that the continually shifting theological opinion as to the nature of God, and how to define God, ultimately leads us to erroneous explanations and descriptions that are completely without meaning. That is, any explanation of God, or any description supplied, must by necessity regress to either something or else nothing. When explanations for God regress to something tangible,