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Showing posts from April, 2014

Book Banning Gets My Goat! (A Red-Goat Short Ranty-time Thing)

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Book Banning Gets My Goat “Yes, the hard-bound human mind, like the hard-bound soil, has to be ploughed up. Let it shriek as it will, the work must be done, or the light and air will never penetrate, and an ocean of seeds will lie barren on the surface.” – G.W. Foote I know many of my rants are dedicated to the perceived ills of religion, but there are other certain things that will get under my skin just as deeply as a religious injustice, and mainly it is the idiocy and the general injustice which comes with willful ignorance. Browsing the news, we discover it reported that the Idaho school district of Meridian has recently banned Native American author Sherman Alexie’s latest book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian for allegedly containing bad language, sexual content, and anti-Christian content. The book having been banned cause somewhat of an outcry among the Meridian district students at Junior Mountain High School who contested the ban. With the

Quote of the Day: Ashley Mobley

My friend Ashley said something that I think needs to be said much more often with regard to the perception of the self which many religious seem to foster, especially Christianity. Basically, that old canard that we are broken, tainted, and in need of repair--in need of saving. It's all malarkey. The idea of being fallen, or sinful, or whatever has never been anything but a far-fetched, highly implausible, practically incoherent, unsubstantiated, metaphysical concept that is so absurdly dehumanizing that the only way one wouldn't find it offensive is if they had been literally brain-washed.  "I was not born into a magical curse. I am not inherently evil or broken. I know of no evidence or convincing philosophical argument for the existence of god(s). The end." --Ashley Mobley  

New Anthology Collecting 'Deconversion' Stories

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I have co-edited a new anthology with Jonathan M.S. Pearce, a publisher, philosopher, and blogger from England. You can check him out on his blog The Tippling Philosopher over at the Skeptic Ink Network (SIN).   The anthology, Beyond an Absence of Faith, collects the personal 'deconversion' stories of ex-religious believers. A deconversion story of the irreligious is the equivalent of the religious 'testimony' of faith. Just as with a 'testimony' which is a personal account of how one came to God or found faith, the deconversion story is the opposite account of how one lost faith and realized all the God-business just wasn't for them.  What I like most about the book is that it's not an attack on religion. It's not a philosophical piece trying to deconstruct religion. It's much more a reflective piece looking back on individual experiences collecting the personal stories from people from all walks of life who went from living a life

Believe in Good. That is all.

Jesus the Corn King: Examining some Parallels Between Jesus and Dionysus

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Jesus the Corn King: Examining the Parallels between Jesus and Dionysus “BEHOLD, God’s Son is come unto this land Of heaven’s hot splendour lit to life, when she Of Thebes, even I, Dionysus, whom the brand Who bore me, Cadmus’ daughter SemelĂȘ, Died here. So, changed in shape from God to man…” – Euripides ( The Bacchae ) According to the biblical scholar and historian Dennis MacDonald there are extensive connections between the Gospel stories found in the New Testament and the Greek myths and legends of old. In fact, MacDonald has gone further than anyone by showing that these links are more than just mere parallels but has shown, in many instances, these links to be exact copies of Greek phrases lifted right out of the Iliad and Odyssey. [1] If these borrowings are undeniable, as MacDonald contends they are, then what about other parallels and similarities to the ancient Greek stories and the New Testament? Shouldn’t these exist as well? I cont

Stephen Colbert Interviews Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Although it is slightly dated, it's still one of the funnest, most informative, and best interviews I've ever seen. It's definitely worth your time to view the full thing.

God & Naturalism: Take Us To The Threshold!

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Analytical reasoning is not easy. I'll be the first to admit it. It took me four years of studying philosophy before I became comfortable with it. It took another year to feel like I knew how to even apply it to the questions I had. I've always been a systematic thinker, and I aced all my philosophy and theory classes back in uni, if you consider such things an accomplishment. I've taught rhetoric and argumentation at the college level before, so I do know that people struggle with it. Organizing our thoughts is never easy, let alone making them clear to others. So even though I got better at analytical reasoning, having read Kurt Godel, Burtrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein and having taken courses on modal logic and being a student of Kant's reasoning, it has only been incrementally, not to mention painstakingly, baby steps that I have gradually become able to see the analogs that are lying under the surface of any given philosophical problem. But in philos

Antinomy of the Atheist: An Open Letter to Anyone and Everyone

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Here's the thing. Atheism for the sake of atheism is rather absurd. In fact, there is no good reason to repeatedly bring up that which one does not believe in. Do you believe in flaggermaroos and kaliwag snicker-poodles ? If not, does it bother you that you haven't immediately informed me and everyone else on the planet of it? Probably not.  Then why do atheists, especially these so-called "New Atheists," seem to revel in reminding everybody that they don't believe in God?! Well, needless to say there are historical reasons for why atheists feel hard pressed to explain themselves. Mainly because the religious won't stop pigeonholing us into uncomfortable definitions of what it means to be an atheist. How do I know this? Because everybody and their dog has an opinion on atheists! As if they knew better than I do about what I don't believe! Ha! It's god-awful presumptuous, if you think about it. It is a lot like

Is Atheism More Rational than Theism?

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Is atheism more rational than theism? When I was a practicing Christian I would have simply said "No."  But, then again, when I was a practicing Christian I didn't know very many atheists and I certainly wasn't familiar with their arguments. Heck, I wasn't very well versed in my own Christian theology.  Yet now that I have considered both sides, I find the atheist arguments hold up better to scrutiny. If they didn't then I certainly wouldn't have become an atheist. So then, why do I feel atheism is more rational than theism? Well, several reasons, I think. It's true theists and atheists alike are both making assumptions as this is required for establishing any belief.  Technically speaking beliefs are assumptions about very simple yes or no propositions. Do pigs fly? Yes, no, or maybe so? No. Okay, then. Most of us are in agreement on this question, and so most of our beliefs will conform to the answer: no, pigs don't fly

The Morals of Cannibal Mice: Excerpt from my upcoming book The Swedish Fish

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Excerpt from Chapter 25: Aliens, Serial Killers, and Cenobites! Oh, My! Look, if mice can ‘morally’ eat their babies, then perhaps a creature more highly evolved than us can rape, torture and murder human beings in accord with their interests. And if this is possible, then it could be the case with Ramirez. (Randal Rauser, The Swedish Atheist, p.120.) Again, Randal is confused about the way evolution apparently works. If, for example, a mouse evolved a moral awareness and realized that eating its young was morally wrong, that would be in accordance with evolution, because it would represent a mouse passing along its genetic traits more successfully—namely a mouse that refrains from eating its young has a better chance of propagating its genes than one which eats its young.  But the only way to say, as Randal does, that a mouse might evolve in such a way as to suggest eating its young could somehow be morally good could only happen if eating its young somehow

How the Internet Slayed God Like a Jaeger Slaying a Kaiju

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Imagine an ultimately powerful being who rules for eons over his creation. Imagine now that this seemingly invincible being was snared by a web, in this case a web which spanned an entire world, and once subdued, the creation turned on this being, like a Jaeger turning on a Kaiju, and with a million billion Occam razors they descended upon this monstrosity and relentlessly hacked away at their antiquated God until the beast died. And this God did not die with a resounding lamentation, or even the question as to why its creation rejected it, but he died in silence. For this God was simply usurped by a more powerful deity--the bulwark of all human knowledge and ingenuity.  Perhaps you will better recognize this God-slaying champion by it's commercial name: the Internet. The MIT Technology Review we reports that the rise of the Internet correlates directly to the rise of atheism and nonbelief. Although correlation does not imply causation, there is more to the

Saudi Arabia Welcomes You to the Seventh Century!

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In Saudi Arabia, a Muslim society, where  "As-salamu alaykum" or "Peace be upon you" flows so easily from their lips, in a crackdown against so-called 'political dissidents' and by decree of King Abdullah they have made it illegal to be an atheist by declaring all atheists terrorists. What does this mean in the land where "Peace be upon you" flows so easily from their lips? It means anyone who is caught advocating atheism, and presumably anything resembling atheistic thought such as secularism, separation of religion and politics, or even godless science will be declared a terrorist and will receive up to 20 years mandatory jail time, according to the Royal Decree 44 issued by King Abdullah. In the land where "Peace be upon you" flows so easily from Muslim lips, the greatest threat to what you believe is what other people don't believe.  In the land where "Peace be upon you" flows so easily from Muslim