Showing posts from August, 2012

Atheism+ Part 2 (Further Considerations)

Apparently I'm not fully retired from blogging, but no worries, I did say it was only semi-permanent, which is to say, not written in stone. As I respond to more people's concerns about the term and movement known as Atheism+, I wanted to clarify some things that seems to be bothering some people, due to the, what I feel to be, poor way in which the push for the new term has been handled thus far. Many atheists I know have been stating, and rightly so, that if they refuse to adopt the Atheism+ moniker, not hop onto the bandwagon, so to speak, or drink the Kool-Aid, then that doesn't mean they don't share the same values. And that's true. Nobody ever said they didn't--excluding the rantings of Richard Carrier (which honestly leave me a little bit baffled)--and I don't think the term was intended to be divisive, especially not toward fellow, like-minded, atheists. This Atheism+ movement isn't about taking the stes of values listed by other atheists whole

Atheism+ (My Thoughts)

I'm not actually back to blogging regularly, but don't you know, the moment I take a leave of absence this whole Atheism vs. Atheism+ business spirals out of control with strong opinions and emotions flaring up on both sides of the debate. Bud, my brother-in-blog, over at Dead-Logic wrote a recent piece about his thoughts and feelings. I left this reply, which shares my own take on this recent string of events. Since I felt it was worth repeating, I am re-posting it here. "Wouldn't it be great to just deal with the important issues instead? That's what we're all trying to do, right? We're trying to fight racism, sexism, classism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, and all the other phobias and isms that prohibit equality and human rights. We're all trying to promote critical thinking, skeptical inquiry, and scientific literacy. Why can't we just do more of that?" Bud, you just defined, more or less, what Atheism+ means. Was that inten


Recently, I've had to re-prioritize my goals as I seriously take into consideration what I want to accomplish in the immediate future with my writing and, also, how to better provide and support my family. Although I love blogging, there are just too many stupid people saying too many stupid things for me to even keep up with. Part of the problem is that they don't read this blog--or blogs like it. If they did, then they probably would be thinkers rather than, well, those who claim rape isn't rape or blame atheists for the killing spree of fundamentalist bread lunatics--but perhaps worse, all the monkeys who defend these idiots or who, in their indifference, pretend like these idiots are harmless. I have grown tired of attacking these windbags and then getting called "hateful" or "intolerant" because I was critical of some asshole who claimed that rape wasn't really a bad thing. This is just an example of what has been frustrating me. But I think

Ridiculing Christianity part 2: God Needs BLOOD!

Christianity: n. God needs blood to fix the universe (but only his own magic blood is powerful enough to do it, so he gave himself a body and then killed it). --Richard Carrier, PhD. (Discussing the definition of modern Christianity) I took a lot of heat recently for stating that we should ridicule the beliefs of children as a way to motivate them to question authority and think independently for themselves. Some people found this claim offensive in the highest degree. I even lost friends and loved ones who were so outraged at the notion that they blocked me from Facebook. Needless to say, these people were reacting to their own insecurities rather than the content of my proposal, which you can read HERE . Many of the offended took my proposal to mean something like ganging up on children, holding them down, then bullying them and telling them how stupid they are. They literally pictured the scene in Steven Chow's amazing satire Kung fu (2004), where the child reading Kung fu

Ten Principles of Belief: Recognizing and Identifying a Belief

Following after my "Ten Things to Know about Belief" article, I have decided to write a more technical, perhaps analytical, minded piece on the nature of belief itself. The prior article was more about how we approach belief, i.e., our attitude with regard to belief, and how we react to the attitudes and beliefs of others. This article is a more thorough deconstruction of the nature of belief, i.e. what are beliefs, and how do we identify them?  1) Beliefs never come isolated (apart from properly basic beliefs which are self-sustaining but require epistemic basing relations in order to have meaning). 2) We are not fully in control of our beliefs as we acquire them, but have the capacity to exercise a limited control over them, once acquired, with the application of belief revisions models  (e.g., see the AGM model of belief revision). 3) Beliefs occur because of our attitudes to the world around us based on individual perception and experience, making beliefs unique

Ten Things to Know about Belief

1. Beliefs must never be inviolable and should always be defeasible otherwise they could not be held as meaningful to us. If they are not defeasible then they are not beliefs, but rather dogmas. 2. Beliefs are not the total sum of anyone given identity, since the correctness of character is not dependent on the correctness or incorrectness of beliefs.  There is no link between holding a true belief and being a good person, or vice versa.     3. The due criticism of our beliefs is the ONLY way to test them and hold them up to scrutiny to see if they are true or not. Some beliefs ARE better than others. 4. Upon discovering a belief to be false or erroneous, logically fallacious, or discrepant it is not a crime to point this out. It would be a crime not to. 5. People have the right to hold to false, erroneous, and or discrepant beliefs insofar as they are aware that when superior beliefs arise their outmoded beliefs will likely be challenged. If one is offended by this, then it is clear t

Thought of the Day: In Defense of Sam Harris

People keep accusing Sam Harris of not being a real moral philosopher, citing that he doesn't have a degree in philosophy and doesn't understand analytical philosophy. These people are morons--proof is in the fact that they can't seem to do the ten second task of typing Sam's name into Google or look him up on Wikipedia. Sam has an undergrad degree in Western philosophy from Stanford and he is a student of Eastern philosophy, learning meditation from the Hindu gurus and Buddhist masters during a stint in India. (Here's a newsflash, Western philosophy is different than Eastern philosophy--not everything can be reduced down analytically. Analytical philosophy is just one branch, of one approach, of philosophical inquiry.) Sam's a philosopher of science, and he researches and talks about morality. That makes him a moral philosopher of science, technically, but there's no need to label him to one specific calling. This is the problem with people who get

Using Ridicule to Kindle Critical Thinking Skills and Counteract Religious Indoctrination

DISCLAIMER: The CONTROVERSY continues! After people started blocking me on FB for writing an article stating I felt is was okay to ridicule children, I have since revised the article to better reflect what I originally intended, but apparently failed to adequately get across. Many mistook me for wanting to, literally, attack children. That's NOT what I meant!  INTRODUCTION In an unrelated article, I made the offhand remark  that we should ridicule children more to encourage them to question their mistakes, perhaps feel a tinge of embarassment, and seek to motivate them to correct their mistakes and/or misconceptions.  My intention was to apply the use of ridicule to break what we know to be patently superstitious modes of thinking early on, thereby forcing the child into the awkward position of having to question their own individual beliefs--or at least, why they believe something. After that, it's about guiding them through the sea of information so they can settle

Scientific Quote of the Day: Sir Francis Bacon

"Those who have taken upon them to lay down the law of nature as a thing already searched out and understood, whether they have spoken in simple assurance or professional affectation, have therein done philosophy and the sciences great injury. For as they have been successful in inducing belief, so they have been effective in quenching and stopping inquiry; and have done more harm by spoiling and putting an end to other men's efforts than good by their own." --Francis Bacon (Novum Organum)  

Quote of the Day: The Friendly Atheist

"[A]theists don’t hate god anymore than Pat Robertson hates logic. Just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t mean you hate it." -- Hemant Mehta

Shout Out: Manly Unicorn

My friend Bud just wrote an amazing piece called "I am a Manly Unicorn." As I haven't had time to blog as much as I used to, I highly recommend you check out his piece, as his thoughts and reflections mirror mine almost verbatim. Also, check out his blog Dead-Logic , you won't regret it!

Thought of the day: Don't be Bigoted

Thought of the day comes from my friend Mike Doolittle, aka The A-Unicornist , but it's reflective of my thoughts exactly:  "[I]t's ... absurd when people speaking out against ... bigotry get called bigots for not tolerating bigotry. So stop trying to give your religion special status and privilege. Stop telling other people whom they may or may not marry. Just live and let live."