Showing posts from September, 2016

A 9/11 Memory

My brother was living there when it happened. Frantic doesn't begin to describe how we felt. All the phone lines were dead. Cell service was gone. All we had were the news cameras and the flames. And then... then the unthinkable happened. The buildings fell. Not knowing was the worst part. Nerve-wracked, we waited by the phone in case somebody called with bad news. Or in case my brother called. To our great relief, my father managed to get through via a land-line. My brother was alright. He was alive. A huge wave of relief washed over my whole family who were gathered in front of the television that day, but I'll never forget the terror I felt not knowing if my brother had died in NY while I sat helpless, watching it unfold on live television. We went to visit shortly thereafter, to visit my brother and give him company after experiencing first-hand such a terrible tragedy. Of course, we did go to ground zero. Going to ground zero was a solemn and hol

The Colin Kaepernick Controversy: And why the Patriotic Bellyachers are Missing the Point

I rarely get political, but when I do it apparently gets me unfriended by three of my Facebook friends.  Not that I care. I know that makes me sound callous, but given the context it really does seem that their refusal to let me voice my opinion after they have blathered theirs in a public forum is just a kind of censorship. They don't want to hear from detractors because we might say something that genuinely challenges their position. This would force them into an actual conversation to defend their views. They don't want to defend their views. They just want their views to be accepted as correct, without question. Look, I'm sick and tired of this totalitarian impulse being exhibited by people who say that the peaceful protests of taking a knee or not holding your hand over your heart for the flag is offensive to them, personally. But here's a newsflash. Nobody cares if it's offensive to you. And besides this, all ya'all Kaepernick bellyachers real

10 Condescending Phrases Atheists Hear Spoken by the Religious: And 10 Witty Comebacks

AND SOME WITTY COMEBACKS! 1- Tell them: "If only prayer was enough." Let out a lengthy sigh for dramatic effect. 2- *Yawn* (Place your hand over your mouth for added effect) and then check watch. Even if you're not wearing one, check anyway. The symbolic gesture will be much appreciated. 3- Reply in an overly serious tone: "Takes one to know one." 4-  "What makes you think I don't know the truth now?" 5- As soon as they finish being judgemental, replicate their tone and immediately respond: "You can't have slarom without Dog." If they give you a strange look, act normal. Everything is fine. 6- Ask: "How can something that doesn't exist love me?" 7- Say: "The Devil is in the details." Linger just long enough for them to think about it then slowly back away, without breaking eye contact. 8- Ask: "What fool first said there was?" 9- Tell them: "Puberty was a stage. Endless marathons of

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is Sophistry -- And Why I Stopped Debating Theists Online

The Kalam Cosmological argument, as presented by William Lane Craig, says that Whatever begins to exist has a cause; The universe began to exist; Therefore: The universe has a cause. From the conclusion of the initial syllogism, the universe having a cause, he appends a further premise and conclusion based upon ontological analysis of the properties of the cause: The universe has a cause; If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and enormously powerful; Therefore: An uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists, who sans the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and enormously powerful. Three things are worth noting here, I think. In quantum physics uncaused-causes actually exist. It’s part of the strange world of quantum physics which do not always abide by Newtonian intuitions ab

Is Theism LESS Rational than Atheism?

A bit of philosophy to chew on. If upon seeing a white dove you conclude all doves must be white, you have reasoned illogically.  If upon seeing a white dove you conclude some doves are certainly white, you have reasoned logically. When seeing the universe exists you conclude the universe must have had a creator, sorry to say, this is illogical reasoning.  Upon seeing the universe exists and you conclude that the universe could possibly have had a creator, well, this is logical reasoning. I made a similar argument suggesting that theism is the less rational position when compared to atheism for similar reasoning. Atheism doesn't invoke illogical reasoning to support its premise because it doesn't need to justify a supposition which isn't evidenced like theism clearly has to. In effect, theism is saying all doves *must* be white whereas atheism is saying that claim doesn't seem likely. And how one arrives at such a claim matters. A

On Being Charitable (And when to call a Troll a Troll)

In a discussion I'm having with a theist elsewhere, I stated that when it comes to the Great Debate we usually take people at their word about what they say they believe. This can extend to other areas of belief as well. Generally, I feel people believe what they believe to be true, whether or not those beliefs can be easily confirmed or not. Being charitable isn't about whether their beliefs are ultimately true, but whether we accept that they genuinely believe what they say they do. As such, I said: "Usually, we take people at their word about what they purport to believe since it is charitable to do so." In response to my statement a theist, who continually engages me over at my other blog, came back with this doozie of a response: "If we have to take everyone at their word, then why are you an Atheist? After all, plenty of people have said they have personally experienced God in various ways and forms, and if we have to take people at thier word, the

On Sophistry & Sophism

When a person is hell-bent on arguing with you simply because they want to be right, and you keep slapping them down with atomic-powered fact checking and yet they still continue to ignore you... it's flabbergasting. Here's my interlocutor trying to correct my citation of the terms sophism and sophistry claiming that I misrepresented their meanings when I DENIED his accusations of me being a sophist by *correctly quoting what sophist meant. "By the way, Sophistry is actually defined as a clever but ultimately fallacious argument, not necessarily one that is intentionally meant to deceive. I know, I’ve just checked the very same sources you used. Here is what Merriam Websters said. Simple Definition of sophistry: the use of reasoning or arguments that sound correct but are actually false: a reason or argument that sounds correct but is actually false There is nothing about deceit here." I responded by taking screen-caps of the cited page

The Dakota Access Pipeline ATTACKS Peaceful Protesters

When my father, Wayne L. Vick, who was working for Northern Telephone struck the deal with the Blackfeet tribe in Browning, Montana, to plow fiber optics through sacred Native American grounds, he was smart about it.  It took 2 years of negotiations -- many of the times he went to meet with tribal leaders they *never showed* due to being on "Indian Time" and using it as a way to dissuade my father from negotiations. Granted, it was frustrating for him, but it was their land . Their rules.  He jumped through all their hoops for 2 years, but he always respected their customs, their culture, and their practices. And once they were satisfied he was doing the right thing by giving their tribe high-speed Internet and communications so they could set up a community college, they finally agreed to let him (and his big telecommunications company) plow the allotted fiber. He never once sent attack dogs after anyone. The stuff happening with the Dakota Access Pipeli