Showing posts from November, 2012

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.

Superman is OFFICIALLY as real as Jesus Christ!

D.C. Comics recently hired real life Astrophysicist Neal deGrasse Tyson, director of the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium in NYC, to designate a star to be the ideal location for Krypton, the planet Superman is from. Tyson makes his cartoon debut in a cameo in Action Comics Superman #14, titled "Star Light, Star Bright." DC Entertainment co-publisher Dan DiDio is reported as saying, "Having Neil deGrasse Tyson in the book was one thing, but by applying real-world science to this story he has forever changed Superman's place in history. Now fans will be able to look up at the night's sky and say, 'That's where Superman was born.'" The location Neal deGrasee Tyson selected for the Kryptonian's home planet is LHS 2520, approximately 27.1 light-years from Earth in the southern constellation Corvus (The Crow). What tickles me about this combining of fiction with real life history, is that it reflects something I think