Here you'll find articles about religion and atheism that are written for my fellow secular atheists. If you check my About page (last option on the menu bar just below the AGN logo above) you'll see where I promise to include more positive links and articles where I can instead of just "who's picking on us now" kinda stuff. If nothing else, I'll be sure to put a little humor and style into it. Many atheists may find the articles at my Atheism For Believers page interesting as well.
In the meantime, I'm also collecting a list of articles I've found on other sites that are feel are especially informative or interesting. You can check out the list at this link.
Last update for this page was on Sunday, 13-Jan-2013 07:52:47 EST
News And Links For Atheists:5/11/08
AUDIO: Richard Dawkins interviewed by John Humphrys on Cardinal Murphy O'Connor
AUDIO: Evolution - What is 'Natural'?
And now, if you're in the mood for a grudge match...Open Letter to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
What an extraordinary thing for you to say. If I had wanted to “assail” you, why would I do it by denying ever having debated you. What is so ‘assailing’ about a lapse of memory? And if I wanted to ‘assail’ you, why would I compliment you on the impartiality of your chairmanship?
Note that the link for this post came from Dawkins' own web site, so it seems to be genuine. Also, in case you didn't know, Rabbi Shmuley has a TV show of his own called "Shalom in the Home." It's actually pretty good as far as reality TV kinda stuff goes.(Rabbi Shmuley's) Response to Richard Dawkins Comparing (Him) to Hitler
(Richard Dawkins') Response to Rabbi Shmuley BoteachDear Richard,
I am in receipt of your open letter of May 2.
An ancient Rabbinical teaching says that one should respond to points in the order in which they are made. And that was my plan until I came across the part of your letter where you compare my speech at the IdeaCity convention to Hitler and say he would be proud of me.
The Problem with Atheism & Why Atheists are So PompousI did not say you think like Hitler, or hold the same opinions as Hitler, or do terrible things to people like Hitler. Obviously and most emphatically you don't. I said you shriek like Hitler.
Austin Cline responds to this post at another web site.What Would Convince You That You Were Wrong? The Difference Between Secular and Religious Faith
Is Religious Faith Irrational?
Another interesting link from Greta Christina's Blog (which I'm linking to in the previous two posts) can be found here. It's called The Theist's Guide to Converting Atheists
Also note that Ellen Johnson has been removed as the President of American Atheists.
News And Links For Atheists:5/6/08
VIDEO: Shaw TV Interview with Richard Dawkins
AUDIO: Bill Good Interviews Richard Dawkins
How to reconcile Richard Dawkins?
'An Evangelical Manifesto' criticizes politics of faithChief among the criticisms is that The God Delusion presents an all-too-rosy picture of atheism -- Dawkins cites John Lennon's Imagine to paint the picture of what an atheist world would look like -- while accusing religion of inspiring all manner of unspeakable acts, including crusades, wars, witch hunts, suicide bombings, and on and on and on.
Now on that latter point, Dawkins will get no argument from me: Religion has driven otherwise good people to do many evil things.
But what of atheism? Surely Stalin's purges, including his execution of orthodox priests and nuns, and Mao's attempts to eliminate Buddhism count for something, no?
Well, yes and no. According to Dawkins, Stalin was an atheist who did evil things, but there is no direct "logical pathway" from atheism to bad deeds, as there is with religious faith. I have to say I don't entirely understand Dawkins's thinking here -- how, after all, could the executions of religious figures not follow logically from the promotion of atheism?
Fort Riley atheist soldier speaks out on lawsuitConservative Christian leaders who believe the word "evangelical" has lost its religious meaning plan to release a starkly self-critical document saying the movement has become too political and has diminished the Gospel through its approach to the culture wars.
But the short and soft-spoken specialist is at the center of a legal controversy. He has filed a lawsuit alleging he's been harassed and his constitutional rights have been violated because he doesn't believe in God. The suit names Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
"I'm not in it for cash," Hall said. "I want no one else to go what I went through."
Known as "the atheist guy," Hall has been called immoral, a devil worshipper and — just as severe to some soldiers — gay, none of which, he says, is true. Hall even drove fellow soldiers to church in Iraq and paused while they prayed before meals.
Sam Harris is looking for people interested in taking part in a study about faith. If you have time to take a survey ... or five of them ... check it out at his home page.Beliefs & Choices: Do We Choose Our Beliefs? Can We Choose to Believe Different?
Losing Our Spines to Save Our NecksThe question of how and why we believe things is a crucial point of disagreement between atheists and theists. Atheists say believers are overly credulous, believing things much too easily and readily than reason or logic can justify. Theists say nonbelievers deliberately disregard important evidence and are thus unjustifiably skeptical. Some theists even say that nonbelievers know that there is a god or that there is evidence proving a god but willfully ignore this knowledge and believe the opposite due to rebellion, pain, or some other cause.
Myth-Defining Atheism: Common Myths About the Definition of AtheismGeert Wilders, conservative Dutch politician and provocateur, has become the latest projectile in the world's most important culture war: the zero-sum conflict between civil society and traditional Islam. Wilders, who lives under perpetual armed guard due to death threats, recently released a 15 minute film entitled Fitna ("strife" in Arabic) over the internet. The film has been deemed offensive because it juxtaposes images of Muslim violence with passages from the Qur'an. Given that the perpetrators of such violence regularly cite these same passages as justification for their actions, merely depicting this connection in a film would seem uncontroversial. Controversial or not, one surely would expect politicians and journalists in every free society to strenuously defend Wilders' right to make such a film. But then one would be living on another planet, a planet where people do not happily repudiate their most basic freedoms in the name of "religious sensitivity."
Consider this a "blow-by-blow" list of common myths about atheism (and atheist) and a list of responses.Do vitamin supplements do more harm than good?
Psychics not all they're cracked up to beNow a report into the effects of taking these vitamins and supplements has thrown the whole issue of pill-popping into confusion. The study, published by the Cochrane Collaboration, is the biggest analysis of its type, looking at the impact of these pills on 233,000 sick and healthy people. It showed there is no evidence that supplements reduce the risk of dying prematurely, and some of the most fashionable antioxidants may shorten rather than prolong life.
The studies specifically looked at the most popular supplements, the much-fabled antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium, and compared people taking them with people taking placebo pills or no supplements at all.
Senators ask God to deflect hurricanesAfter begrudgingly handing over my $6 entry fee, I stepped into the hall filled with stalls that were operated by old hippies wearing gaudy looking outfits and kitschy jewelry. It was like a reception at a Grateful Dead concert.
Isn't this a church/state separation kinda thing? Well, if the friggin' Senate doesn't care about it...
News And Links For Atheists:4/26/08
AUDIO: Interviews with Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer
AUDIO: Interview with Dan Dennett
Top 10 Conversation Killers for Atheists: How Religious Theists Can Hurt Their Cause
Is religion a threat to rationality and science?
Pope Benedict XVI: You're Free to Agree With MeYes, says Prof Daniel Dennett
Freedom isn't really freedom in the Catholic Church. When they say that adherents are "free," I hope that Catholics pay a lot of attention to the fine print because it's the fine print that will kill you if you aren't careful. According to Pope Benedict XVI, academic freedom in Catholic institutions of higher learning only extends so far as Catholic doctrine does — once you pass that, freedom begins to disappear.
I hate to say it, but I find this Pope very creepy. He would fit in well with the Watchtower's Governing Body, I think.Scientists study evidence modern birds came from dinosaurs
Human line 'nearly split in two'It looks like chickens deserve more respect. Scientists are fleshing out the proof that today's broiler-fryer is descended from the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. And, not a surprise, they confirmed a close relationship between mastodons and elephants.
News And Links For Atheists:4/18/08
Pope attacks US sex abuse record
If the pope is 'ashamed,' why isn't he ashamed that he's sheltering Bernard Law?
The afterlife is an oxymoron
The Paranoid Style in American Science
Teach the controversy?
A Conversation with Expelled's Associate Producer Mark Mathis
VIDEO SPOOF: Sexpelled: No Intercourse Allowed
Sexpelled: No Intercourse Allowed tells of how Sex Theory has thrived unchallenged in the ivory towers of academia, as the explanation for how new babies are created. Proponents of Stork Theory claim that "Big Sex" has been suppressing their claim that babies are delivered by storks. Furthermore, Stork Theory proponents warn of the serious moral dangers posed by teaching children that sex has a function. They point out that evil dictators such as Hitler, Stalin and Mao all believed in Sex Theory, and they may have even had sex themselves.
News And Links For Atheists:4/17/08
Consider it "Evolution VS Creationism Thursday" on AGN, kids! "Expelled" - the pro-creationist documentary - is partly to blame.Expelled: Now with added anti-Semitism
Look, ma! I can quote-mine historians too!
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed--Scientific American's TakeIn the absence of evidence or solid logical arguments, Creationists have long resorted to the strategy of quote-mining, the purposeful misrepresentation of scientists' opinions by selective or distorted quotation of their words, to buttress their claims. With the Creationists behind the movie Expelled hard at work to demonstrate that "Darwinism" was a necessary pre-condition for the Holocaust and Hitler's primary inspiration, it was only a matter of time before historians suffered the same fate. Enter David Klinghoffer, the Discovery Institute's hired hit-pen and journalistic hatchet job expert.
John Rennie, Michael Shermer and Steve Mirsky all watched Ben Stein's new antievolution movie. Here's what they had to say about its design flaws.
And, on a related note...Evolution: 24 myths and misconceptions
AUSTIN CLINE: What is Intolerance? What is Tolerance? What Does it Mean to be Intolerant?If you think you understand it, you don't know nearly enough about it
Love the Sinner, Hate the SinMany Christians Have a Double Standard in their Demands for More Tolerance
News And Links For Atheists:4/13/08
Ben Stein: Front Man for Creationism's Manufactroversy
FROM AUSTIN CLINE: Atheists are Irrational Because... They Suppress the Truth?
Atheism, Bad Luck, and the Comfort of ReasonMany Christians are so convinced of the truth of their religion that they can't conceive of anyone disbelieving it or rejecting it for sound reasons — or even unsound reasons which might appear legitimate to someone with a different perspective. Some of these Christians are convinced that atheists must not have heard the "good word" of Christianity and that's why they proselytize to us so aggressively; others are equally convinced that we atheists are not only familiar with Christianity, but know it is true and are either lying or just suppressing the truth.
Atheist PlumbingI know that religion is repeatedly defended as a source of comfort in difficult times. But this has been one of the more difficult times in my life... and I've been finding that my atheistic, skeptical, rational view of my difficulties is more comforting than any religious belief I've ever held, or could ever imagine holding.
But the evidence does not bear this viewpoint out. Even a cursory glance at the workings of the world shows that good and bad plumbing strikes good and bad people in roughly equal proportions, apparently at random. In fact, recent research shows that countries with high rates of religious belief are more likely to suffer from bad plumbing, not less. And while few would argue that religious belief actually causes bad plumbing (it's far more likely that poverty and poor education results in higher rates of both), it is clear to all but the most fervently close-minded true believer that, if God is handing out good and bad plumbing as reward and punishment for good and bad lives, his systems and pipe fittings leaves a great deal to be desired.
News And Links For Atheists:4/11/08
VIDEO: Discussion between Richard Dawkins and Paula Kirby
VIDEO: Hitchens vs. HitchensProfessor Richard Dawkins FRS was interviewed on stage by Inverness resident Paula Kirby. Paula, who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist, talked to Richard Dawkins informally about the ideas that have informed his life and work. This was followed by an extended opportunity for the audience to put their own questions and challenges to this world-renowned and controversial figure.
This one is about the debate between Christopher Hitchens and his brother.VIDEO: Rep. Davis: The Worst Person in the World
A Theologian Pretends to Answers Atheists
David Carlin: Countering Feisty, Uppity Atheists
Expelled producers accused of copyright infringement
Human Evolution is Still Occurring
The Blasphemy of Creationism
Geometry, not God, as an Explanation for the Universe
Replacing Doctor Who with Jesus
Normally, I wouldn't consider posting this one. But when its geek and atheist friendly... I couldn't resist.
News And Links For Atheists:4/5/08
Flying Spaghetti Monster Lands Outside Tennessee Courthouse
Student Sues 'Anti-Christian' Teacher Over Remarks in Class
Christopher Hitchens debates Peter Hitchens
Watching a debate between Christopher Hitchens and Peter Hitchens is fascinating on so many levels. They are both very good speakers and debaters, so the oratory mastery is impressive on its own, and the technique is fun to watch. The topics discussed are easily inflammatory: just ask anyone, “How do you feel about the Iraq war?” Or, “How does God affect your life?” You’ll receive very heartfelt responses. Finally, as you may assume upon reading their last names, Christopher Hitchens and Peter Hitchens are indeed related. They’re brothers.
What’s interesting about their relationship is that it’s not what you’d expect. Or, at least not what I expected upon seeing them debate for the first time. To specify: 1) this was the first time I’d seen either one debate any one else, and 2) this was the first time Peter and Christopher have publicly debated each other in the United States.
News And Links For Atheists:3/29/08
Hitchens v. Hitchens: Faith, Politics & War
Christopher and Peter Hitchens, throughout a long estrangement and recent reconcilliation, have clashed in print on many issues. On April 3, 2008, the Hauenstein Center, with support from the Center for Inquiry and the Interfaith Dialogue Association, will bring the two together on a stage for the first time to debate numerous issues, from the Bible to the bomb.
Shuh-weet! We can all argue about who won afterward.Blood and Suffering: A Seriously Pissed-Off Rant About Alternative Medicine
Readers, be warned: This is not one of my more diplomatic pieces. I'm angry, and while I'm trying to be fair here, I'm not trying to be nice. If you don't want to read that, please don't. (It was also written under the influence of an entertaining assortment of prescription drugs; so if I'm more meandering than usual, please forgive me. Hey, what a pretty tree!)
I'll say it before some alternative health person does: If your vaunted prescription drugs were so awesome, why do they have side effects that can influence you? Answer: Because they also work, which is one of the side effects.Atheist speaker and publisher answers questions on God, Christianity and Faith
How dare you call me a fundamentalist: The right to criticise ‘faith-heads’ASSIST News Chief Correspondent Michael Ireland caught up with [Michael] Shermer via e-mail and asked him the following questions.
This one's an interview with Richard Dawkins from last year.Godless Political Values: Importance of Godless Values to Modern Democracy
I thought I'd counter the recent documentary "The Protestant Reformation" from the History Channel (which kinda felt like fundamentalist propaganda to me) with this article from Austin Cline.BONUS
Here are a few more articles you may find interesting.Evolution For Creationists (from Answers In Genesis BUSTED!)
Noah's Flood Is A Fairy Tale! Part 1 (from Answers In Genesis BUSTED!)
...and Part 2!
News And Links For Atheists:3/26/08
If you want a blow-by-blow of the whole Expelled fiasco, here it is. Also, there's a commentary by Dawkins himself on the whole affair.VIDEO: Discussion on PZ Myers being expelled from Expelled
St Peter was not the first Pope and never went to Rome, claims Channel 4
Hillary Clinton's Religious Background & Beliefs: What Does Clinton Believe?
Sam Harris: What Barack Obama Could Not (and Should Not) Say
Ex-Scientology Kids: I was born. I grew up. I escaped.
My fellow ex-Witnesses may find this one especially interesting. It's a web site where former scientologists talk about their experiences with the church. (Thanks to Austin Cline for the find.)Austin Cline's Comment of the Week: Comparing Apples and Gods
News And Links For Atheists:3/21/08
John McCain on Secular Atheists: Is John McCain Bigoted Against Atheists?I went to attend a screening of the creationist propaganda movie, Expelled, a few minutes ago. Well, I tried ... but I was Expelled! It was kind of weird -- I was standing in line, hadn't even gotten to the point where I had to sign in and show ID, and a policeman pulled me out of line and told me I could not go in. I asked why, of course, and he said that a producer of the film had specifically instructed him that I was not to be allowed to attend. The officer also told me that if I tried to go in, I would be arrested. I assured him that I wasn't going to cause any trouble.
Sadly, John McCain is on record as supporting anti-atheist bigotry. According to John McCain, the most important thing which voters must take into consideration is whether a candidate will carry on "in the Judeo-Christian principled tradition."
I think Austin might be pushing this one a tad hard. (Sorry bro.) Still, there was a time when I wouldn't have been totally upset to have McCain be President. Almost any other Republican would have driven me off to Canada. But then he changed his tune and started changing his image. (Presumably to get the backing he needed within the Republican party to run.) Too bad - an actual "old school" conservative sells out.Will God Get You Out of Your Depression?
Religion 'linked to happy life'
I thought I'd throw both of those last two articles at you guys. Personally, I have no trouble believing the claims made. I just don't think it's religion per se that's of benefit. I think it's the certainty that strong religious beliefs can give a person, not religion itself. Besides, as one of the articles pointed out, deep religious beliefs can make you happier or sadder. It all depends on how the attitude it fosters and how you're treated.Non-religious deserve candidates' attention
Muslim Plan to Fight Negative Perception: Suppress Free Speech
Well, that'll do it. Works for the Watchtower Society, so...
News And Links For Atheists:3/18/08
PODCAST - Special Guest On Freethought Radio: Richard Dawkins
Full house captivated by atheist Dawkins' take on religion
Seven new deadly sins: are you guilty?People feel strongly about their religious faith and are deeply offended if you insult it, Oxford University scientist Richard Dawkins told a full house Tuesday night at the Wisconsin Union Theater.
After 1,500 years the Vatican has brought the seven deadly sins up to date by adding seven new ones for the age of globalisation. The list, published yesterday in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, came as the Pope deplored the “decreasing sense of sin” in today’s “securalised world” and the falling numbers of Roman Catholics going to confession.
I think the Pope might be trying a wee bit too hard to keep his grip on power.James Randi: Our skeptical angel
Soldier: Army blocked promotion over religionThis past Monday, the Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers hosted two complementary avatars of modern skepticism; a meeting which proved to be microcosmical to the broader Atheist dialogue in America. Also, there were magic tricks. In fact, as far as godless functions go, it was downright festive. This could easily have been because one of the speakers was professional entertainer James Randi, renowned debunker of the paranormal, exposer of grift and mythical Gnome-king. Even the other speaker, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Richard J. Roberts, told at least two jokes. For comparison: The average chemist makes 6.02214179 jokes in his or her entire lifetime.
Moses was high on drugs: Israeli researcher
Also - a bit of a side note here for readers who are both skeptics and BBC fans (or British I guess) - a new show is coming up called Science Behind The Trance.
In the first in a new series, professor Kathy Sykes from Bristol University embarks on a journey to explore the three popular alternative therapies - hypnotherapy, reflexology and meditation. Travelling across the UK, Europe and Canada, she follows patients pinning their hopes on hypnotherapy.
News And Links For Atheists:3/3/08
VIDEO: Christopher Hitchens on Real Time with Bill Maher
Richard Dawkins' US Tour begins this week
Protests at ‘high priest of atheism’
Hillary Clinton on Secular Atheists: Does Clinton Support Atheists' Equality?The demand for his The God Delusion talk was so great organisers had to move from the university’s own 600-seater auditorium to the 1,600 capacity Philharmonic Hall. A second date has sold out with more requests for tickets raining in.
Outside, Christians held banners urging people not to “Let Dawkins Make a Monkey Out of You”. Pastors from the Zion Tabernacle, Chester, and Belvedere Baptist, Toxteth, handed out creationist leaflets.
Taking evidence seriously
Public policy decisions should be based on evidence. So why are taxpayers funding faith schools and alternative therapies?
The link above is actually talking about the UK. But it's also a very relevant topic in the United States.
News And Links For Atheists:3/1/08
Sweet new web site for science fans: Answers In Genesis BUSTED!
This web site focusses on the scientific problems of creationism, especially articles written by the folks at Answers In Genesis. Here's an article from AIGB to get you started.The Darwin Papers Fraud
Austin Cline takes a look at Buzz Patterson in: Atheists, Agnostics, Wiccans Suppressing Christian Freedom
Berlin gallery in Islam art rowOver the past few years we have been inundated with examples of how conservative, evangelical Christians have been trying to subvert the military by infusing it at every level with their own brand of apocalyptic religion. From academies to chaplains to the Pentagon itself, every level of the American military has had to deal with efforts to transform its mission from one of national defense to international evangelism. Now Christians are striking back at critics — by complaining that they are the ones being oppressed.
Atheists find strength in numbersA Berlin art gallery has temporarily closed an exhibition where one of the posters made fun of Islam's holiest shrine, the Kaaba in Mecca.
BBC: Baby Bible Bashers - A Look At Child EvangelistsA legion of the godless is rising up against the forces of religiosity in American society.
Hillary Clinton on the Pledge of Allegiance: Clinton's Anti-Atheist BigotryThe BBC documentary, Baby Bible Bashers, may be one of the most disturbing examples of children being abused by the misguided religious beliefs and manipulative ambitions of their parents. The documentary chronicles three child "evangelists" who are being touted by their parents as virtual crusaders for God. Two reside in the United States and one lives in her native country of Brazil.
On June 28, 2002, Hillary Clinton posted this statement on her Senate web site in response to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance:
Personally, I think Hillary is just pandering to the Uber Christians. It's a habit that keeps me from supporting her for President, mostly because I haven't seen as much of it from Obama. I've come to have similar feelings for McCain, though he seems to be pandering more to the politicians who want the Uber Christian vote. Still, can you even get elected in the United States these days without them? Sad, sad state of affairs..."Beware of Dogma" Billboard Design Wins Addy Award!
"Congratulations for this well-deserved award to the talented graphic artist and the wonderful team we worked with at the Adams Outdoor Co.," said Foundation co-presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor.
I don't like their radio show very much (probably because I was born in the latter half of the 20th century) but I do like them. And the FFRF, of course.Canadian bluenoses
"I will not watch movies with graphic sex scenes" is a good moral value; it's defining a standard of behavior for yourself.
Conservative values don't seem to have anything to do with personal standards, at least as they are expressed by politicians and the media. "You will not watch movies with graphic sex scenes" is not what I would consider a moral good. It's the imposition of values on someone else, not yourself.
I'm with you, man.Ayaan Hirsi Ali to get EU protection
Leaving the Faith
News And Links For Atheists:2/28/08
Interview with Richard Dawkins
This one's in MP3 format. Go to his site to play or download the file.Media Alert!
PZ Meyers isn't kidding. Expelled is that anti-evolution movie that's on the way to a theater near you with Ben Stein. (Poor little fella may be a conservative, but he used to be pretty funny back in the good old days.) This one's worth reading.IN TWO MINDS: The Anatomy of a Christian Hate Letter
I haven't read the whole series yet, but the author (a former Christian) describes it this way:
This is an introduction to a forthcoming series of letters between myself and a well-respected psychologist and former evangelical, Valerie Tarico.
I got the link from ExChristian.net.Let us bow our heads in thanks for atheists
Air Force Pays Evangelicals to Preach About TerrorismNonbelievers know a lot about Christianity and Judaism, most having been raised in religious families. Believers, however, are somewhat less clued-in about atheists. Here are a few simple truths about who they are, and aren’t.
Biology invades a field philosophers thought was safely theirsIf a military cadets asked you to arrange for speakers about modern terrorism, would you choose experts and scholars on the subject or evangelical Christians who make questionable claims about their past while proselytizing their religion? The sensible choice should be the first option, but I'm not sure that very sensible cadets are at the Air Force Academy where the second option has been enthusiastically endorsed.
I think I had a link to something similar a while back, but I'm too lazy to check for it just now. Anyway, this takes you to the site of a fellow ex-Witnesses turned atheist at the Homo economicus’ Weblog. He reproduces this article found in The Economist print edition. It talks about one experiment that points to some of the basic differences between a group of liberals (like me) and conservatives.Evolution - the root of all evil?
From "Ask The Atheists.com": How can you be sure that God doesn't exist?
News And Links For Atheists:2/27/08
Iran says God protects nuclear program
Hamas Children TV Bunny Assud Urges Boycott of Danish Goods, Threatens to Kill Danes over Muhammad Cartoons
In the February 22, 2008 episode of the Hamas children's show "The Pioneers of Tomorrow," on Al-Aqsa TV, program host Saraa Barhoum and bunny character Assud urge viewers to boycott Danish products and to avenge the insult of the Muhammad cartoons reprinted by Danish newspapers. They also express their hope that "all the borders will be opened" between Arab countries, and discuss their own "martyrdom."
To view the clip, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1693.htm
Not exactly Sesame Street, is it? Man talk about indoctrination.Amish Community Fined Over Outhouse Controversy
Hateful Response to "Imagine No Religion" Message Shows Its PowerBARR TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Controversy over a manmade outhouse could end up with members of an Amish community in jail.
Neighbors of the Cambria County Amish community complained about the bathroom facilities the Amish are using because they take waste from their outhouse and dump it onto their property.
The property is in the same area near underground wells for nearby residents.
Creation Museum founder's book says Darwinism fuels racism
CAMPOS: The atheist's dilemma
Why is Stanley Fish so much smarter than Richard Dawkins? That question occurred to me last week, while attending a lecture at which Fish, the well-known literary and legal theorist, did the thing he always does, which is to make the following point over and over again:
"No believer will find his faith shaken by evidence that is evidence only in the light of assumptions he does not share and considers flatly wrong."
Gee, I wonder if Paul Campos is for atheists or against? Still, he does make some interesting points. I think believers and nonbelievers face a major hurdle when they try to convince each other that their world view is right: each group values different kinds of evidence and reasoning. This is why both sides think they've won every debate or argument that has ever taken place. Neither is impressed by the arguments of the other. When a Christian hits an atheist with some major point which they - and other Christians - believe to be devastating to the atheist's view, the atheists just sorta shrug because the argument is barely worth a yawn from our side's point of view. And vice versa. This is why I don't waste much time trying to "deconvert" people.Add another flea to the list...
Creating controversyThe Delusion of Disbelief: Why the New Atheism is a Threat to Your Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness
The Anatomy of PseudoscienceSome Muslim anti-evolutionists will be presenting their case at a British university tomorrow
Huckabee: Amend Constitution to be in 'God's standards'Telling the difference between science and pseudoscience is not always easy, as good clean science blends imperceptibly into blatantly absurd pseudoscience. The challenge of drawing an objective line between the two is what philosophers of science call "the demarcation problem."
Yippy. Another crazy person who doesn't understand that Separation of Church and State is as good for believers as for nonbelievers. America, if you elect another nut-job Republican for President, why I'll just $#@&%!!!Is Barak Obama the Antichrist?
No. Next question, please. Now stop making sh*t up!!Survey: U.S. religious landscape in flux
This is interesting. I guess the "old guard" mainstream religions aren't satisfying people any more. The minor "sects" and semi "cult-like" religions have been growing for decades, while the big guys that are widely accepted as "not that weird" have been declining.
News And Links For Atheists:2/14/08
Danish cartoons 'plotters' held
Female Muslim Medics: Hygiene Rules Against Our Religion
Jehovah's Witnesses with kids take note.
How to avoid rip-off miracle curesOf all the attempts by religious believers to get exemptions from standard laws and regulations, those involving the health and safety of others — usually those not part of the same religious tradition — are the worst. It's bad enough if a person wants to risk their own health or life for the sake of religious superstition, but it's utterly deplorable that they would put anyone else at risk.
It’s hard to avoid ‘miracle’ cures. But these questions will help you to detect the rip-off remedies, says GP Keith Hopcroft
I must admit that I have taken orders for crap like this as part of my job. (Which I'm desperately trying to get out of now.) I really hate this kinda stuff. The ads keep getting more and more ridiculous all the time. Some are even hilariously bogus. These companies are basically bottling up hope and selling it at outrageous prices.Ben Stein Hosts God Debate: Hitchens vs. Richards
Video: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Christopher Hitchens Debate God
The above link comes with an article about the subject and an excerpt of the debate. The whole debate can be seen below.
Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All
Leading science and theology scholars reject 'intelligent design'
Religious Issues in the Ten CommandmentsA group of leading scientifically and theologically qualified scholars has issued a clear rebuttal of the 'intelligent design' ideology that has gained ground among conservative religious believers, especially in the USA, in recent years.
It has been suggested by some scholars that the Ten Commandments is best understood by comparing it to some of the treaties written during the same time period. Rather than a list of laws, the commandments are in this view actually an agreement between God and his chosen people, the Hebrews. A number of interesting features of the Ten Commandments become more understandable when we adopt such a perspective.
Could it be? Is there an anti-A.G.N. out there? If only I could take credit for it...
News And Links For Atheists:2/12/08
Break the Science Barrier - Video of with Richard Dawkins
Despite the error in the title, this page has some links to a TV program from Richard Dawkins' younger days.Secularism, Properly Understood, Is Not a Bad Word
Archbishop up holds Sharia Law in England - a critique of what he saidAs I have discussed in previous posts in this forum, atheists and agnostics should enjoy full rights of American citizenship and are as moral, if not more so, than many people of faith. Their patriotism and dedication to democracy belie the myth that Gov. Romney peddled in his speech on his Mormonism that freedom can thrive only when supported by faith. Indeed, we have only one open atheist in the U.S. Congress. Everybody else is or claims to be a person of faith. Any presidential candidate who declares himself or herself an atheist won’t be one (a candidate) long.
Christians Wrong About Heaven, Says BishopIt seems that not content with trying to deal with a fractious Anglican world community that Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, has given a lecture talking about religious rights within a secular state. The title of the first lecture given on the 7 February was “Islam in English Law: Civil and Religious Law in England” which can be read here. What follows is my response which is important to those that think the Church of England is a benign organisation - because in the lecture Williams challenges and threatens the secular state, enlightenment values, and the separation of public and private spheres of religion. This lecture has thankfully been condemned by all parties in the UK Parliament.
Professors discuss intelligent design vs. evolution
The TimesOnline talks to Michael Behe and William Dress about Intelligent Design versus Evolution.
News And Links For Atheists:2/6/08
Gird your loins, people. Big ol' heap of news coming your way today!MySpace: No place for Atheists?
Christopher Hitchens Debates Timothy JacksonSocial networking site, MySpace.com, panders to religious intolerants by deleting atheist users, groups and content.
Richard Dawkins on The Big Questions
Richard Dawkins on The Big Debate
Richard Dawkins talks about The Out Campaign and Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Bradenton church copes with accusations
Hitchens knocks intelligent designBRADENTON -- Once they got over their immediate shock, Bethel Baptist Church leaders moved quickly to comfort students who authorities say were secretly videotaped by a youth pastor while they undressed.
During an animated debate yesterday in a packed Dinkelspiel Auditorium, atheist Christopher Hitchens and intelligent design advocate Jay Richards clashed over the evidence for God’s existence.
"There are no atheists in foxholes, but there are plenty in universities," said host Ben Stein, famous for his role as the dull economics teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, during "Atheism vs. Theism and the Scientific Evidence of Intelligent Design."
I'll add the "no atheists in foxholes" line to the list of things Ben Stein has said that I disagree with.Hitchens V. Boteach
Belief In BeliefThe Rematch: Hitchens V. Boteach at the 92nd St. Y: Or, where the fu*k is Martin Buber when you need him?
How far does religious freedom extend when it conflicts with public health?A question that interests me very much (and always has) is this: I know that I do not believe in either any god or any religion, and I can give my reasons in a manner that the other side can at least understand, but can the same be said for those who claim that they do believe? A shorter way of putting this is to ask whether our antagonists in this ancient argument truly mean what they appear to say.
Mamie Manneh, the woman at the center of the controversy, moved from Liberia to New York City when she was young, but brought with her the custom of celebrating religious holidays by eating monkey meat. She's had this imported from Africa, and it's gotten her in trouble legally:
Female Muslim medics 'disobey hygiene rules'Manneh was arrested for smuggling, and authorities have noted that with the importation of such meat brings the potential to import animal diseases right along with it. This is something I've addressed previously regarding the importation of live animals as exotic pets, but the death of the animal doesn't necessarily prevent the transmission of any bacteria or viruses it may be carrying.
And also in the religion versus public health department...His needle plan has touched a nerve
Pilot restrained after 'talking to God' on flight to HeathrowBill Day, who has AIDS, calls his needle-exchange effort a "moral imperative." But law enforcement authorities in San Antonio say what he's doing is illegal. He faces charges of distributing drug paraphernalia.
No, I think I'll catch the next plane. Thanks though.Man asks for Omaha street sign honoring famous atheist
Lonely people more likely to believe in GodRaymond Zbylut has asked the city to erect a commemorative street sign for Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the founder of American Atheists and the plaintiff in the 1960s U.S. Supreme Court case that ended daily prayer in public schools.
People who feel lonely are more likely to believe in the supernatural, whether that is God, angels or miracles, a new study finds.
News And Links From Austin Cline:1/28/08
Do We Just 'Know' that God Exists?
Guess what Austin think. Here's a hint: I agree.D.H. Wilson's Guide to Agnostic Arrogance & Ignorance
As Austin explains, the owners of this site may have jumped the gun by hailing the superiority of agnosticism before actually learning what the word means. It's a common mistake. I've seen other agnostics hail themselves as superior to atheists and theists without realizing that most atheists are also agnostics. (So are some theists) Too bad. I think many people who calls themselves "agnostics" are afraid to be called atheists. But are just using common misconceptions about the meanings of these words.Peter Mullen: Secularism is Worse than Terrorism
Sadly, one nut-job is born every minute...Open Response to an Offended Internet Theist
News And Links For Atheists:1/23/08
Sorry gang, not the most positive of news days..."Alternative nutrition" takes the life of a baby
I don't have a problem with vegans, although I tend to view veganism as more cultish than anything else. Certainly it's possible for an adult to remain reasonably healthy on a strictly vegan diet, but it's difficult (and, for me, it would be quite unsatisfying). Other than for strictly religious or moral reasons, I could never understand why vegans will not eat dairy products, which will more easily supply certain needed proteins and fats, or even eggs, which, because they are unfertilized, are not the same as killing animals for food. However, live and let live, I usually say. The only people harmed or helped by vegan diets are those who follow them. Given that, such diets are usually personal choices and none of my business. (If only vegans considered my choice to include meats and seafood in my diet in similar terms.)
You can see where this one is going.Irresponsible anti-vaccination idiocy about autism to air on ABC's "Eli Stone"
Joseph Chikelue Obi: It's the Society of Homoepathic Thuggery all over again, or more abusive legal threats against a skeptical bloggerIt's times like these that I wish the Hollywood writers' strike had really and truly shut down production of new dramas completely. A new series on ABC set to premiere on January 31 looks as though it's going to dish up a heapin' helpin' of the vilest antivaccination lies and propaganda that will potentially endanger children's lives by stoking fears about the safety of vaccines:
Now it looks like it might be time to do it all again, this time with a different twit who has issued abusive threats against Le Canard Noir. This time around, I learn from No Nonsense!, it is a man named Dr. Joseph Chikelue Obi (who bills himself as the "world's top expert in nutritional immunomudulation") who has threatened Le Canard Noir's webhost with a lawsuit, demanding a £1 million a day penalty unless pages about him and his highly dubious activities are removed from their server. Once again, given the U.K.'s exceedingly plaintiff-friendly libel laws, Le Canard Noir had little choice but to capitulate, as his ISP demanded that he take down the offending pages. Guess what? It's time for every blogger who supports freedom of speech and skepticism to repost the article, and I call on you to do just that. Here's are my copies of the offending articles:
I gotta say, when the alternative health gurus add insult to injury by suing (and intimidating) people for simply stating the scientific understanding of their profession, they've gone totally too far and proven themselves to be a menace. When it's their right to push information that benefits them financially as fact - when everything we know says it isn't fact - they go all "free speech" on our a*ses. But when it's the skeptic's turn to site the science which refutes their claims...
I'm sorry, but I have a hard time believing that most of these gurus are honest, much less legit. This sort of behavior just seems to bear that out. When Scientologists started suing their critics, did anyone really think they were on the level? Or did everyone think they were doing it to silence their enemies? Bad move.
More can be found here.'Darwin's Plantation' Breaks New Ground in Study of Subject
Fellow evolutionists (a word I don't especially like) - prepare to be annoyed:
Atheism is a Disease?Author Ken Ham and theologian Dr. A. Charles Ware take a ground breaking look at one of the human race's greatest problems – racism – in "Darwin's Plantation: Evolution's Racist Roots." Along the way, they also tackle the questions of the origin of all the people groups, skin "color," and interracial marriage,
Austin Cline's Comment of the Week: Wives Need to Learn to Submit
Christian Dating: What Would Jesus Do?
Christian attitudes towards sex and sexuality have traditionally been far more negative than people tend to realize. As I wrote a few days ago, for centuries Christian leaders treated marriage as little better than fornication — and with good reason, given how negative sex and marriage are depicted in the New Testament. Jesus preached an immanent apocalypse, so what use was there for sinful sex and marriage?
Expectations of the End of the World proved empty, so Christians had to learn to live like everyone else. Old habits die hard, though, and old theology inevitably lumbers along like a brain-eating zombie starved for food. No matter how bad a theological position is, then, you can be sure that it will continue to reappear when you least expect it.
Yes, sex should be leathery and oily and shameful. ::Sigh:: There are times when living in a country with Victorian era attitudes about something that should be a positive kinda sucks.
In fact, the Bible recommends marriage only for those who cannot bear the burden of celibacy and thus who would otherwise give in to sin. Marriage, for Jesus, is a lesser and less pure state than celibacy.
I remember being told this sort of thing over and over at the old Kingdom Hall. This is a healthy attitude for people to have? Sorry, but I don't think so.Creationists delay bid for master's degrees
Here's the part most of us were interested in:
The full board was scheduled to vote on the application next week, but the institute asked to postpone the vote until April to "do justice to the concerns (the board) raised."
Sounds like they just found out that creationism isn't scientific. Oops.
Man, this was depressing. Now I need to think up something funny to compensate. Where is Satan when you actually need him!?!
News And Links For Atheists:1/21/08
U.S. religious freedom is being eroded, advocates say
Banned From ChurchOnly a slim majority (56 percent) of Americans said in a 2007 survey that freedom of worship should extend to people of all religious groups, no matter what their beliefs (down 16 points, from 72 percent in 2000).
"A great many Americans don't define religious liberty as a universal right for everyone," says Charles Haynes, one of the honorees. He is senior scholar at Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center, which conducted the survey.
Ex-Witnesses may also be interested in this one. Especially if they were disfellowshipped from their congregations.
Austin Cline's Mailbag: Burden of ProofThe charge was trespassing, but Mrs. Caskey's real offense, in her pastor's view, was spiritual. Several months earlier, when she had questioned his authority, he'd charged her with spreading "a spirit of cancer and discord" and expelled her from the congregation. "I've been shunned," she says.
What is Faith?You think that it is up to theists to convince you that their God exists. Suppose that my God does exist. Would it matter if I made a credible case or not? My God would exist independently of anything I would have to say about it.
Believing simply because other people require you to believe as a matter of moral obligation, and expecting that one believes a "whole package," without exception, is the wrong way to go about things. It may be an effective means for ensuring loyalty, obedience, and perpetual membership, but it's not a good way for ensuring that one's beliefs are reasonable, rational, and more likely true than not.
Hear ye, hear ye! (Been there and back again...)Huckabee Opposes Secular Constitution, Supports Amending It
Religious right vilifies Romney
News And Links For Atheists:1/16/08
A Year of Rationalist Achievements
Richard Dawkins Comes to Call
First, I know this web page has "Deepak Chopra" at the top of the page. His title is "I Know I'm Right, So Why Be Fair?" But it's the article within his article that I'm most interested in. This is the only direct link I could find to this story which I originally found in the middle of a site for skeptics. I am a big Dawkins fan, but nobody's perfect. Here is a story from someone who didn't like their meeting with Darwin's Rottweiler.
The Director asked us to stand facing each other; we were filmed with a hand-held camera. Richard began by saying that he thought we probably agreed about many things, "But what worries me about you is that you are prepared to believe almost anything. Science should be based on the minimum number of beliefs."
I agreed that we had a lot in common, "But what worries me about you is that you come across as dogmatic, giving people a bad impression of science, and putting them off."
P.S. - I'm not a Deepak Chopra fan! Nor am I into aligning my chakras, vitamin C remedies for cancer, or that "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" guy. (Please, I beg you all to stop reading stuff like that.) So to prove it...Lies, damn lies and 'counterknowledge'
Pope Cancels Speech After Protest at UniversityThis is counterknowledge: misinformation packaged to look like fact. We are facing a pandemic of credulous thinking. Ideas that once flourished only on the fringes are now taken seriously by educated people in the West, and are wreaking havoc in the developing world.
We live in an age in which the techniques for evaluating the truth of claims about science and history are more reliable than ever before. One of the legacies of the Enlightenment is a methodology based on painstaking measurement of the material world.
That legacy is now threatened. And one of the reasons for this, paradoxically, is that science has given us almost unlimited access to fake information.
Lawyer says school proposal equates evolution, religionROME — Pope Benedict XVI, in a rare papal acquiescence to protest, has canceled a speech at the prestigious Sapienza University here amid opposition by professors and students who say he is hostile to science.
UFOs put Stephenville in world spotlight
Stephenville's latest close encounter is weirder than any light in the sky. Stephenville is under assault — not by Martians, but by people hunting them.
News And Links For Atheists:1/15/08
Atheists' Nightmare or Theists' Nonsense?
Austin Cline burns the critics yet again.Was Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) A Nazi? Why Join the Hitler Youth?
'Islamic Jesus' hits Iranian movie screensThe question of Joseph Ratzinger’s involvement with Nazi Germany and the Hitler Youth is important: there is reason to think that Ratzinger has been less than fully candid about his past.
Fossil find could lead to ruin of Crosbyton museum owner
Senator's Inquiry Into Megachurch Money Hypocrisy Sparks Church-State Showdown
Comment of the Week: God is Love
The claim that "God is love" is a popular apologetic tactic with conservative Christians. The primary motive seems to be the assumption that love cannot be proven to exist, so therefore belief in love is based on a faith just like belief in their god. What they don't seem to realize is that most, if not all, atheists are probably very willing to accept the existence of such a god — a god that exists solely in the minds of those who believe.
News And Links For Atheists:1/14/08
The Moral Instinct
It's a long article, but if you have the time, it's also very interesting. Especially for those who keep running into the old "you can't be moral if you don't believe in God" prejudice.
Holy f*ck, the burning stupid!"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them," wrote Immanuel Kant, "the starry heavens above and the moral law within." These days, the moral law within is being viewed with increasing awe, if not always admiration. The human moral sense turns out to be an organ of considerable complexity, with quirks that reflect its evolutionary history and its neurobiological foundations.
For those who like their atheism chock full of sarcasm, have a blast. It's one of many critical responses to this guy's review of an upcoming Intelligent Design movie that he hasn't even seen yet ... about something he really doesn't seem to understand.Pharmacists, Religious Liberty, and Conscience
Warning: This article might force you to hit someone. Hard. And probably in the old grape sack. (That's my new euphemism for man-balls)
There is some good news for religious liberty, for once. A federal judge in Seattle ruled that state regulations requiring pharmacists to stock and supply contraceptives (including the Plan B "emergency contraceptive" pill), even when contrary to their religious beliefs, were unconstitutional.
Yes, it always warms my heart to know that the court system cares more about the moral outrage of uber-Christians than it does about the right of women to control their own bodies. (Please tell me this is a lie!)10 Commandments Hung Monday In KY Courthouse
Survey: Non-attendees find faith outside church
Atheists and believers alike will be interested in this one. The findings aren't that surprising, but they're still kinda weird if you ask me.Controversy creates more interest in HPV vaccine
After the one about Pharmacists, we finally get some good news for the ladies.Pope calls for continuous prayer to rid priesthood of paedophilia
And now, for a very special (meaning sad) entry at A.G.N: Read the headlines and guess which person is crazier!
WARNING: Even the titles may not be suitable for the faint of heart.
- Man Sees 'Mark of the Beast'; Cuts Off, Microwaves Hand
- Funerals Set For Sisters Found Dead After 'Magic Spell'
- Cop: Suspect says God made him kill, cook girlfriend
- Mom Charged in 'Possessed' Girls' Deaths
News And Links For Atheists:1/11/07
Forcing faith on children is abuse
Creationist wants $60,000 for rare mastodonThe Jesuits are famed for declaring that all they need is the first seven years of a child’s life to make him a Catholic for life. Perhaps organised religion should carry a health warning and only be made available at 18 with the right to vote. Isn’t it child abuse to imprint religion and identity on an infant?
In our Western democracies, we say we believe in the freedom of the individual to make their own life choices but we allow parents to enforce their own dogma on their offspring. Why not teach children about all religions, as well as secularism and humanism, and let them decide how they wish to identify when they become adults?
Fakers and Innocents: The One Million Dollar Challenge and Those Who Try for ItIn something of a no-win situation for science a creationist fossil hunter is selling of a massive – and massively rare – fossil mastodon for tens of thousands of dollars. So either a valuable specimen disappears into private hands or public research money goes to a man whose museum proudly declares it is "Digging up the facts of God’s Creation: One fossil at a time."
I am going to describe difficult, impossible, and unknowing contestants who’ve applied for the James Randi Educational Foundation’s million-dollar prize. I can say this from the very beginning: give me a faker, give me someone who appears before me and is lying, who is attempting to fool me, to deceive me, or to deceive anyone else, the media, or other scientists. Please don’t give me the innocent who really believe they have the powers. They’re the difficult ones to handle; a true believer is a terrible enemy, but the fakers I can handle. Those people I can come out against, I can confront them, I can show what they are doing, and get rid of ’em.
Speaking of fakers, why the hell is Uri Geller still in business??Happy Jihad's Happy Fatwah on Answers in Genesis Contest!!
It is possible to be moral without GodIf you can't get peer-reviewed by an established and respectable journal, why not start your own journal? Hey, that's what the misguided, delusional twits at Answers in Genesis are doing in their new online journal, Answers Research Journal. (It has "research" in the title so you know that it's peer-reviewed.) This is a clear attempt to give a pernicious and bankrupt theory the veneer of respectability.
Philosopher Michael Ruse has written: 'The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist.' But in all the hype and embarrassment over geneticist Professor Richard Dawkins's anti-religious arguments, there is an important strand in his argument that has been overlooked: his views on morality. These are interesting and significant, and well worth weighing very seriously.
Darn skippy it is. Readers might also be interested in this article from Richard Dawkins's own web site. Looks like New Scientist goofed when they asked him for a quote on a related topic in his book, The Selfish Gene.Make Your Own Edible Flying Spaghetti Monster!
News And Links For Atheists:1/10/07
VIDEO: Richard Dawkins on The Late Edition with Marcus Brigstocke
Pope Benedict XVI: Prayer for Molesters & Rapists
Note that the Catholic Church isn't the only religious group to have this problem.Watch Mark Mathis lie
Another critic who hasn't read the bookApparently, you can't question neo-Darwinism in the classroom or in science; Mathis doesn't know much about the arguments going on right now, does he? (He probably doesn't care, since the alternatives being debated don't involve Jesus). The rest of the show has some clueless git repeating the claim that Darwin led straight to Hitler.
Is It Impossible to Live as a True Atheist?The City Pages is not a doctrinaire organ for the right or for religion — it's irreverant (another winner is Stephen Colbert), and atheist-friendly (ditto for Philip Pullman), and this is a positive review of Hitchens. That last sentence, though…the complete mischaracterization of Dawkins took me aback, as did the cockeyed assessment that Hitchens is "appropriately respectful". Hitchens isn't respectful of religion at all, and Dawkins certainly isn't less respectful.
Austin addresses a post by Jared White. Note to people who want to write about atheists: take the friggin' time to find out what atheism is and what atheists are actually about before you insert your foot in your mouth. Sheesh. Enough already!
Does the Universe Require a First Cause?The fact is that it’s impossible to live as a true atheist, and the honest atheists who understand the basic tenants of philosophy understand this. True atheism realizes that the concept of morality is completely meaningless in a universe devoid of supernatural origin, mind over matter, and ultimate purpose. Therefore, a true atheist has to say that reality is one way while simultaneously living as if reality is another way. In a sense, they live like theists while denying the merits of theism.
The Cosmological Argument takes different forms, but the most common deal with two ideas: God is required as an explanation for the existence of the universe (First Cause — also called the Etiological Argument) or for the order in the universe. This is not an exhaustive critique of the arguments, just a summary of major problems.
News And Links For Atheists:1/8/07
Sam Harris debate with Rabbi David Wolpe
Crap! There are so many debates going on these days that I haven't even seen all the other debates I wanted to yet. Anyway, this one has links to actual video of the event.The OUT Campaign has its own Flea!
I predict that both sides will declare victory then roll their eyes at the other side and accuse them of being in denial about their defeat. (In other words, same as always)
These references to "fleas" on Dawkins's web site must be some sort of British-ism. (Is that a word?) The site Dawkins is referring to can be found here, and the owner offers a response to all the bad press Dawkins site has brought him.
Note this comment about the Christian "OUT" Campaign left at Dawkins site.
RELIGION AND FREE EXPRESSION: Jesus and the 1st AmendmentAs a gay man, I actually find this offensive. I had no objection to Dawkins basing his approach on the gay "out" campaign, because of the oppression of atheists by religion was undeniable.
But for a Christian group to attempt, however indirectly, to use the same strategy is outrageous, no matter how much they want to be seen as having a more flexible moral code, considering how many of them have, and still, work actively to oppress gay people and restrict our rights.
But in this case, I can't shake the feeling that the outcome damages the very thing that the First Amendment protects: free expression, including religious beliefs.
To be sure, I might balk if a public park featured a giant crucifix with the words, "Jesus died for your sins!" in blazing neon. And I'd get heartburn if devil worshipers demanded equal time. But what about a serene Buddha statue?
I had no idea where this lady was going until I made it this far. While I appreciate the point that it's hard to know where to draw the line on church-state separation sometimes, I really don't think she gets it. Every infraction on the separation clause is a chip into the wall of separation. It makes the next chip a little easier to take. This is how walls can eventurally tumble, and that's bad for everybody.
People can put whatever they want in their front yards. But the government is another story.Religion & Marriage: Some churches take stand on gay unions
I still can't believe there are actual laws forbidding the marriage of gays. I have no idea why the government is even in their business. Sadly, I do think that churches can do whatever they want on this matter, even if it means losing members to other churches that do allow same-sex marriage. Which is precisely what's going to happen. This article is about churches that are standing up in favor of gay marriage.Atheist Sues To Prevent Son From Attending Catholic School
In This Farm Town, Gurus Transcend Party Politics
"Are you familiar with Transcendental Meditation?" Craig Berg, a bearded man in a faded parka, said as he buttonholed Republican candidate Fred Thompson during a recent campaign stop here.
Candidates typically arrive here prepared for that question. The campaign of Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware has let it be known here that his former chief of staff is an adherent of Transcendental Meditation. During an outdoor rally here last summer, Sen. Barack Obama turned his podium east out of respect for the Transcendental Meditation view that east is the natural direction of energy flow.
No, no, I won't say it.
News And Links For Atheists:1/7/07
STOP HOUSE RESOLUTION 888 !
From the Daily Kos:
House Resolution Promotes Fake "Christian Nation" Version Of American History
I wasn't sure that this was a big enough deal to make a fuss over until I realized it could kick in the door to a theocracy. Just what the Uber-Christians want.There is no such thing as a godless family?
Moderates Storm The Religious BattlefieldOf course, the typical reaction from Christians and creationists and wingnuts has been pure hysteria — the atheists want to snatch your children away if you take them to Sunday school! Now we can understand it all as a perfect example of projection: if you don't take your children to Sunday school, the Christians will try to take your children away.
Evolution Book Sees No Science-Religion GapAs with all social movements in their infancy—feminism, fundamentalism, rock and roll—passionate outbursts and entrenched positions were necessary. But now, on both sides of the theism debate, a mellowing is taking place—and with it, the welcome possibility of irreverence and humor. A number of recent and upcoming books showcase voices from Christians and nonbelievers that are intelligent but less strident than the old guard. Both sides seek to elevate the thing they have in common: doubt. In a fragile world, a confession of uncertainty is especially grave.
The 70-page book, Science, Evolution and Creationism," says, among other things, that "attempts to pit science and religion against each other create controversy where none needs to exist." And it offers statements from several eminent biologists and members of the clergy to support the view.
If you're interested, the book is meant for use in public schools.God Hates Women: Feminism and religion do not mix
Interesting web site. (Take special note of the image to the right) Many atheists like to compare the God of the Bible to an abusive husband. Pharyngula had this comment:
Super-evolutionThe article doesn't mention any female-centered religions, though, like Wicca…I suppose you could be a Wiccan feminist, but you're still stuck trying to believe in crazy stuff.
One of my Christmas presents was something just for fun: Superman: The Dailies 1939-1942(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). It's a collection of the newspaper strips by Schuster and Siegel that were published in the earliest years of the superhero, and they're both funny and disturbing now.
First off, Superman was always a jerk.
Austin Cline's News And Links For Atheists:1/7/07
I had accumulated so much stuff worth noting from his site that I gave it a separate section for today.Pope Benedict: Equality for Gays Threatens World Peace
First it was the sanctity of marriage and the future of our entire nation. Now it's world peace? And it's the Pope - the head of the freaking Catholic Church of all things - that comes out with this? Give me a break. What are "the gays," the freaking X-Men or something?? Some people should really just go hide in a bunker and let the rest of us live our lives in peace.Pitiful Atheists, Waiting for a New Religion?
See how Austin deals with a religious person who, like so many, doesn't get what atheism is ... but who doesn't mind making a list of assumptions about atheists any way. ::Sigh:: I'm pleased to remind everyone that not all believers are like this person, though.Austin Cline's Mailbag: God is Love
God is defined as Love. Therefore, when you say God does not exist, you are treading on the same grounds as one who would say love does not exist.
Uh-huh. (WTF????) Weird, bizzaro-world pseudo logic is another thing you have to deal with from many evangelists. Thankfully, people like this are pretty much at the bottom rung of the ladder for those who like pushing their religious beliefs on others to feel good about themselves. I honestly wonder if people who say weird stuff like this truly believe what they say or if they actually think the rest of us are incredibly stupid.Theo Hobson on Atheism: Disingenuous and Ignorant
Yet another *insert naughty adjective here* speaks and proudly announces to the world how little he actually knows about his chosen topic. Note that Theo doesn't do subtle. His article (which Austin is writing about) is called Atheism Is Pretentious And Cowardly.Pets vs. Priests: Which Provide More Comfort?
Guess which one I'm voting for? And I have pet rats! (Hey, as far as pets go, rats totally rule.)
News And Links For Atheists:1/2/07
ACLJ Admits that Ten Commandments Monument is Government Speech
A War On Science
This video covers the rise of Intelligent Design through the lens of the Dover trial. Interviews the major players on both sides, and features brief appearances by Richard Dawkins and David Attenborough. Includes some interesting pieces not seen before, such as a short interview with the Director of the Vatican Observatory (an astrophysicist who thinks Intelligent Design is anti-scientific nonsense).
You can download the video directly here.Atheists Fear Accountability?
Austin Cline comments on this article by Dan Goldfinch.Austin Cline's Comment of the Week: Evangelist Tactics on Atheist Sites
A reader named Simon offers a comment about standard evangelist tactics when dealing with athiests. All of us know these more or less by heart because we've encountered them so many times before. (Yawn) But Simon actually codeifies them for us.
Forget God: What's So Great About Atheism? Part 1You may feel like a pioneer, on the outskirts of Christendom evangelising the heathens, but we’ve had so many missionaries here that I doubt you have anything new to offer. You all follow the same steps, perhaps you’re taught them at Missionary School, and they seem to be the following: ...
Austin Cline responds to this post here.Are You Smarter Than A Celebrity Psychic?
Greta Christina comments on an article posted by Skeptico here. Skeptico made predictions for the year and compares them against those made by famous phychics to see if his guesses were as accurate as theirs were. Care to guess how it panned out?Untested by Definition: A Rant on Alternative Medicine
Here's another one from Greta where she references an article by Skeptico. I have some family who are big time believers in alternative medicine. It can get kinda annoying at times. They keep pushing it on me like an evangelist pushes their religion on an unbelieving neighbor.
Note that Greta's articles have a bit more sass than Skeptico's, which is why I put them as the main link. Most people will only read one or the other.Austin Cline's Mailbag: Day of Judgment
Yes, yet another hard core believer feels the need to tell Austin that he's going to Hell and that any moron can tell the universe is intelligently designed. I assume that Halimah's diatribe to Austin was meant for Austin's benefit and was not, in any way, an expression of fear and annoyance toward someone who happens to disagree with his world view ... right? And I'm even more sure Halimah has read books on both sides of the I.D. vs science debate (instead of just reading a book or two that reaffirms his prexisting beliefs) before making up his mind on that one ... right?
It seems clear to me that atheists and fundamentalists - whether they are Christian or non-Christian fundamentalists - value different kinds of evidence and reasoning. It's clear to any atheist that Halimah's letter is total crap. Yet I'm betting most fundamentalists think he won the argument! So it goes with every debate I've ever seen or read. Some atheists think they are just in denial when they lose a debate (they always lose from our point of view). But I doubt this is true. They really think they are winning the arguments, just as we think we're the ones winning them every single time. Our ways of looking at the world around us and interpreting evidence are just too different.
This is one of the reasons why I don't think secularism will be ruling the world nearly so soon as some atheists seem to believe.Woman Escorted Off Bus For Reading Bible Aloud
News And Links For Atheists:12/31/07
What We Believe: Atheism - A belief in the here and now
Please Help Quackwatch and Dr. Barrett
Pope's exorcist squads will wage war on SatanQuackery promoters have tried to counter his influence by libeling him and filing groundless lawsuits. He has filed several libel suits that have been costly. This week, after a 6-year legal battle, a California judge ordered him to pay the legal fees of one defendant who, although she has posted many negative statements about him, was not held accountable by the courts due to a technicality. In an effort to protect Web hosting companies from what is posted on their clients' Web sites, the US Congress unintentionally put into legislation language that the courts have interpreted as protecting individuals from suits if they don't originate the alleged libels. While absurd, this is the law until Congress changes it....
Very few people have the courage and persistence to engage in the struggle against quackery. Dr. Barrett intends to continue, but can use help in defraying legal expenses. Quackwatch and its companion Web sites are important consumer resources. They are free to the public, but maintaining them requires the ability to deal with frivolous assaults by well-financed quacks and the special interests that profit from quackery. If you appreciate Dr. Barrett's work, please make a contribution. Please give whatever you can.
The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism.
Who ya gonna call?Congress's Bullying Pulpit
Could there be a Darwinian Account of Human Creativity?On Dec. 11, H.R. 847 was passed in the House of Representatives. Just listen to what our lawmakers have resolved:
"Whereas Christmas, a holiday of great significance to Americans," it begins, "is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States. . . ." It goes on to state, among other things, that "Christianity [is] the religion of over three-fourths of the American population," that "American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ," and that "Christmas is celebrated as a recognition of God's redemption, mercy, and Grace."
This is actually reprinted from here, but I didn't think anyone would read through so much information when it's formatted this way.Richard Dawkins on 'Have Your Say'
Believer bitter over 'prosperity' preachings
Priest sued over seminar 'curing' homosexualityOnly the blessings didn't come. Fleenor ended up borrowing money from friends and payday loan companies just to buy groceries. At first she believed the explanation given on television: Her faith wasn't strong enough.
The defense lawyer should call Ted Haggard as a star witness.
News And Links For Atheists:12/28/07
Classroom Incident Sparks First Amendment Debate
Not sure how I feel about this one. Still, I gotta laugh at the little tike. "Ballsy" is a word, right?Priests brawl at Bethlehem birthplace of Jesus
Skepticism and the scientific consensusSeven people were injured on Thursday when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Comment of the Week: Order & Design in NatureI'm talking about a post in which fellow ScienceBlogger Martin Rundkvist made this rather provocative observation about skepticism:
Austin Cline often deals with comments left in response to his articles or just all around hate mail. (Click on the contact link below to send me yours! Come on, you know you want to...)
News And Links For Atheists:12/27/07
Christmas with Christopher Hitchens
'nuff said.THE PAGAN CHRIST
Faith: the ultimate level of analysisSo, what if it could be proven that Jesus never existed? What if there was evidence that every word of the New Testament – the cornerstone of Christianity – is based on myth and metaphor?
Tom HarpurBased on Tom Harpur’s national bestseller, The Pagan Christ examines these very questions.
During a chilly winter break last year, I was sitting in a hookah bar with a few friends discussing a comment I had made earlier to one of my friends. In a sudden seizure of enlightenment I had proclaimed, "Dave, faith is the ultimate level of analysis."
His response: "You're full of s-t."
With an intro like that, how could I not include it here? If this article sets you on the war path, note that Austin Cline had a few things to say about Kevin Dillon's piece.Dembski's and Wells's shenanigans: Just a reminder
From Talk Reason's newsletter:
Discovery Institute, Dembski, Copyright, and 'Design of Life'As soon as the new book by Dembski and Wells was released, the Discovery Institute's propaganda machine orchestrated a stream of 5-star reviews of that book on the Amazon website. In this post readers are reminded of insidious shenanigans used previously by Dembski and Wells in their hysterical fight against their detractors, so that the 5-star reviews in question deserve to be ignored as shameless propaganda by the fanatical anti-science gang.
So... You know all that stuff Dembski said in his notpology a while back? You know, where Dembski said he was really, really sorry for using a manipulated version of XVIVO/Harvards animation titled 'The Inner Life of a Cell’, but he didn’t do anything wrong?
Pharyngula also made this comment about Dembski's goof:
It's all a bit too convoluted to make for snappy copy, but Dembski had been using Harvard/XVIVO's animation in his lectures without permission...and now it's clear from his Design of Life book that he did so in full awareness that he had no right to do so.
Hey, I thought these Christian folk were supposed to be the morally upstanding ones. That's what they've always told me, anyway — have they been lying about that, too?
I continue to wonder how people like these can actually think they are helping their cause when no one can trust them. Maybe they should just stick with abstinence only education and telling kids that sperm can slip past the gaps between the molecules in a condom. (WTF??)Creationist trust confused about everything
Plans to build a creationist theme park have moved on, with a site near Preston now favourite, although the trust behind it seems to have no firm plans
News And Links For Atheists:12/26/07
Freedom not the sole domain of the religious
"Like him," Romney said, "I am an American running for President. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith."
Romney is correct. Just as we ask our leaders not to let their faith influence the way they govern, we must not let our religious beliefs get in the way of choosing the best leader for our country.
I don't know who the author of the above article is, but he or she rocks.The Lure of Treatments Science Has Dismissed
Dawkins to preach atheism to USThe ailing millions who spend their money on unorthodox medical treatments may differ in their preferences for powders vs. needles vs. the sound of cracking bones, but they do share a single mantra: "I don’t care what the studies say; it works for me."
Man and God: How should faith respond to the onslaught of atheism?
If you're looking for something to get mad at this morning, this could be it. (For atheists, at least) It has all the usual misconceptions we "love" so dearly. (And Hitler wasn't a d*mned atheist for the hundredth time!! Read a book already!) Ahem ... sorry.Divine Evolution
Some scientists claim that a belief in evolution and orderly material laws somehow disproves the existence of immaterial things such as God and the soul -- as if biology or physics could refute concepts they don't even examine. There is no telescope that reveals the absence of the divine; no MRI that yields a negative test for the soul. G.K. Chesterton summarizes this naive theory as follows: "Because science has not found something which obviously it could not find, therefore something entirely different . . . is untrue. . . . To me it is all wild and whirling; as if a man said -- 'The plumber can find nothing wrong with our piano; so I suppose that my wife does love me.' "
There is a large distinction between the scientific theory of evolution and naturalism. Naturalism -- the belief that the material world is all that is or ever will be -- is a philosophy, and a dangerous one. As C.S. Lewis points out, this belief system begins by denying the existence of God, but it cannot end there. "The masters of the method soon announce that we were just as mistaken (and mistaken in much the same way) when we attributed 'souls' or 'selves' or 'minds' to human organisms, as when we attributed Dryads to the trees. . . . Man is indeed akin to the gods: that is, he is no less phantasmal than they."
Here we go again. But at least he does make a few points that will get atheists talking.Military Evangelism Deeper, Wider Than First Thought
What Your Brain Looks Like On Faith
News And Links For Atheists:12/15/07
Discussions With Richard Dawkins: Episode 1, RDFRS
You can watch the videos for free on Dawkins' web site or you can buy the DVD.Watchdog Group Challenges US Military Over Religious Freedom
Evolution vs creation row ends in stabbing
Muslim helps Jews attacked on New York subway
Dutch pastor says he can believe in a 'God who doesn't exist'A Muslim man jumped to the aid of three Jewish subway riders after they were attacked by a group of young people who objected to one of the Jews saying "Happy Hanukkah," a spokeswoman for the three said Wednesday.
Friday's altercation on the Q train began when somebody yelled out "Merry Christmas," to which rider Walter Adler responded, "Happy Hanukkah," said Toba Hellerstein.
"Almost immediately, you see the look in this guy's face like I've called his mother something," Adler told CNN affiliate WABC.
Unholy row over university lecture event
Second-year dental student Emily Mackie said the university’s decision to call its inaugural Dundee Christmas Lecture "Why Evolution is Right ... and Creationism is Wrong" is badly timed and insensitive to Christians.
Austin Cline has a comment or two about this one.Here's an improvement on democracy
Satirical Monsters More Competition for DarwinOur priorities in the West are wrong. Secularism is what we should be spreading across the globe
The group has sent dozens of e-mails to Polk County School Board members demanding that the idea of a Flying Spaghetti Monster creating the world receive classroom equal time with other views. The e-mail campaign began after four of seven board members said in November that they supported teaching intelligent design in addition to evolution.
News And Links For Atheists:12/13/07
Radical Christians blame sinners for drought
People have been complaining about the supposed moral decay of their society's for thousands of years. If everything was really going downhill, we'd have turned to anarchy long ago. I really think that those who complain about this are suffering from selective memory. People who actually think God is lashing out due to moral decay have even bigger problems in my view.The Trials and Tribulations of Hashmel Turner
Court upholds ban on civil servants wearing head scarves in German stateFor two years, Turner had been struggling with how to pray before council meetings. He wanted to be true to his faith but wasn't sure what to do after a woman lodged a complaint about his references to Jesus. He'd taken himself out of the council's prayer rotation, then reinserted himself, haunted by the thought that he was abandoning Jesus to avoid a confrontation.
State rebukes evolution foe
Point of Contact
U.S. student scores grimOur Q & A with Robert Scott, education commissioner of the Texas Education Agency in Austin. He spoke about last month's dismissal of Christine Comer, the agency's director of science curriculum, after she forwarded an e-mail to colleagues about a lecture advocating the science of evolution over creationism.
Very pretty, but fundamentally wrongA month after Texas ran off its director of science education for failing to stay "neutral" on evolution, an international assessment reveals that U.S. students trail their peers around the world in science literacy.
Anyone see a connection?
Pharyngula has a thing or two to say about debates over evolution and creationism in schools and in the media. Many creationists don't seem to understand that evolution isn't just the opinion of some intellectual snobs. Right or wrong, it's still a scientific fact. Meanwhile, we secularists and evolution supporters often lose sight of the fact that - when you get right down to it - many believers simply don't care. It's their faith and that's good enough for them. Apparently it's supposed to be good enough for the rest of us, too. That's where the problem lies for me. Pharyngula has another, related comment here.Spines, Made Extra Curvy for Women
Speaking of evolution...Believe It Or Not: A frustrated group of Americans
Mr Romney recently gave a speech extolling religious liberty, decrying religious “tests” for office, and invoking the faith of some of America’s founding fathers. All this, naturally, was designed to help his quest for the presidency. The speech thrilled many religious conservatives, and plenty of pundits thought it served him well politically too. But members of one minority with virtually no political success in America were left sputtering with frustration. America’s atheists and agnostics felt excluded when Mr Romney said that "freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom…freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone." ...
But another failing of the irreligious movement has been its tendency, frequently, to pick the wrong fights. Keeping the Ten Commandments out of an Alabama courthouse is one thing. But attacking a Christmas nativity scene on public property does more harm than good. Such secular crusades allow Christians—after all, the overwhelming majority of the country—to feel under attack, and even to declare that they are on the defensive in a "War on Christmas". When a liberal federal court in California struck the words "under God" from the pledge of allegiance, religious conservatives rallied. Atheists might be tactically wise to accept the overwhelming majority’s comfort with such "ceremonial deism".
Regarding our choices in the battles we have fought so far, I've often had the same concerns as this reporter. I remain on the fence.
News And Links For Atheists:12/12/07
Atheism's Inherent Contradiction, or Christianity's Inherent Failure?
Forum Discussion: Conservatives vs. the Christian Right
Study finds humans still evolving, and quicklyThe Christian Right's take-over of the Republican Party and other conservative institutions is surely one of the more important political developments in America over the last half of the 20th century. It's an issue which continues to disturb more secular conservatives and Republicans, though there weren't nearly so many complaints so long as conservative evangelicals provided enough vote to ensure Republican electoral victories. Is there much of a future for American conservatism that isn't defined by conservative Christian theology?
Biology professors statewide react to science scandal
Iowa Citizens for Science Press Release on Gonzalez CaseMore than 100 college professors say state education officials shouldn't have to take neutral stance on evolution.
In other news, there seems to be several different takes on this story. (You have to be a member of Catholic World News to read it there, but a similar story can be found at Maltastar.com, entitled Vatican astronomer: God DIDN'T create the universe in six days) Thing is, the Catholic News Service seems to think the story isn't even true. Here's the link to their site:Passing off bad, old news as "good as new"
Yet another article on the story can be found here:Creationism dismissed as 'a kind of paganism' by Vatican's astronomer
Mitt Says Atheists Can Still Be Free People: Lucky Us
Watching the creationist pots coming to a boil
Why I Believe the Bible: Nuclear Scientist Tells His Story
Atheist News And Links:12/11/07
Gunman killed after opening fire at church
Police hunt gunman who killed 2 at missionary center
A reality-based look at science
This deadly religious resistance to vaccinations
An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins or here at Fox News.It's rare a newspaper actually manages to kill people, but Sir David King believes the Daily Mail may pull it off.
Dawkins: I'm a cultural ChristianReciting common atheistic arguments that you yourself have often used, [the Pope] says: "A world marked by so much injustice, innocent suffering and cynicism of power cannot be the work of a good God. A God with responsibility for such a world would not be a just God, much less a good God." It was in this context, the Pope reminds us, that atheism, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries arose as a "type of moralism" to protest against the injustices of the world. But "history," says the pope, "has proven wrong ideologies such as Marxism which say humans had to establish social justice because God did not exist." The Pope goes further, "It is no accident that this idea has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice," and that it has left behind "a trail of appalling destruction."
Atheists' Sign Spurs Talk, Thought
Oddly, Hypocrisy Rooted in High Morals
Very interesting read. Austin Cline comments on it here.Comment of the Week: Harry Potter vs. Golden Compass
Romney flunks a religious test
Role of gays prompts split in Episcopal Church
Las Vegas Raelian Gets 'God-Free' U.S. Citizenship Ceremony
News And Links For Atheists:
I'm a big fan of both Point of Inquiry and Richard Dawkins. Put the two together and I'm a happy atheist.
Still, I do wish people would use a more flattering photo of Dawkins than the one on P.O.I.'s web site. It makes him look as arrogant as many think he really is.Medved is the new ‘scientist’ at the Discovery Institute
Basically, Pandagon is saying that Medved is a right wing culture warrior and not a scientist. This would seem to contradict the D.I.'s claim of being a legitimate scientific organization rather than a gang of fundamentalists out to force their agenda on the freedom-loving public. If you want to know more about this, check this post at Pandagon or this comment at Austin Cline's web site. The original announcement can be found at the Discovery Institute's web site.Seven Deadly Sins, Theory & Practice: What's Wrong with the Seven Deadly Sins?
As always, Austin Cline hits'em hard.Atheism trusts in humanity's potential
Public schools don't teach atheism
"Pledge" routine robs it of its significance
State high court rejects gay student's suit
Catholic school board okays Pullman books
Catholic lawyer and REAL Women Canada Vice President Gwen Landolt expressed frustration with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. Landolt told LifeSiteNews.com that the board "no longer represents Catholics or the Catholic Church and is operating as a secular humanist school board."
She urged Catholic authorities to correct school officials. "It's painful that the Catholic Church itself has not addressed the problem of this wayward board,” she said.
Clearly some people just don't have anything better to do. Either that, or they just like being pissed at stuff.Hindu gods get summons from court
The gods have been asked to appear before the court on Tuesday, after the judge said that letters addressed to them had gone unanswered.
You gotta be kidding me.Atheists' sign sparks controversy
Swiss Evangelicals Heat Up Creationism Debate
Biologist fired for beliefs, suit says
Abraham, who is seeking $500,000 in compensation for a violation of his civil rights, says in the suit that he lost his job as a postdoctoral researcher in a biology lab shortly after he told his superior that he did not accept evolution as scientific fact.
So long as the guy is doing his job, I don't see why his beliefs should matter. Still, his employer does make the following point in their defense.
In a 2004 letter to Abraham, his boss, Woods Hole senior scien tist Mark E. Hahn, wrote that Abraham said he did not want to work on "evolutionary aspects" of the National Institutes of Health grant for which he was hired, even though the project clearly required scientists to use the principles of evolution in their analyses and writing.
News And Links For Atheists:12/7/07
Senator Probes Megachurches' Finances
In the words of George Carlin, "Tax those mother..." You get the idea.It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Solstice
Messianism in Iraq: Muslims Believe the Mahdi will Return Soon
Teddy bear teacher flies out of Sudan
Official Leaves Post as Texas Prepares to Debate Science Education Standards and Evolution And Texas
The sum of all fears: organized religion
If you're flipping out over "The Golden Compass" movie ... enough already! You're making a mountain out of a mole hill. For the rest of us, note there are some totally awesome quotes in this article. I wrote the author and told him I wanted the first two paragraphs and the last two paragraphs on a plaque. And I darn sure meant it! Here's a quote that sums up the story the uber-Christians are so riled up about.
Holy Highway: Evangelicals Pray to "Light" Interstate 35...as any fan of "HDM" knows, it ain't really about God, per se. Pullman's luminous novels have nothing to do with rejecting faith or destroying the spirit or inhibiting the exploration of what it means to be divine. They are, in fact, the exact opposite. They relish spirit and the magic of belief and love, are soaked through with divine inspiration of a kind any intelligent Christian (or honest spiritual seeker of any stripe, for that matter) should crave. This is what makes them so incredible.
Ask 'The God Delusion' author Richard Dawkins
Bad Faith Awards: Vote for the winner now
One word: genius.Court Debates "God" On Money And In Pledge
But as far as the choices go ... gee, they all look so good. I can't decide who to vote for!
I continue to have mixed feelings about issues like these. I wonder if it's worth the trouble? It does remind people of the hypocrisy behind it. Then again, it isn't winning many atheists any friends either.Catholic coloring book warns US kids of pedophile priests
Secrets Case Eyes Jurors' Religion
Young man's suicide blamed on mother's cultAs two pro-Israel lobbyists near trial on charges of trafficking in classified information, a federal judge is preparing to grapple with some thorny questions, such as what to ask potential jurors about their religion and whether it is legal to knock jurors off the case based on their perceived religious affiliations.
News And Links For Atheists:12/3/07
Is creationism museum good for kids?
An understandably angry article about the Creation Museum. Understandable, that is, once I actually read it. I had always found projects like the Creation Museum to be pretty comical, honestly. But the author makes some points I hadn't considered before.
The source of this injustice is a sophisticated Christian ministry that uses the hook of dinosaurs, the guarantee of an afterlife, and the horrors of hell to convince children and their families to believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. The tax-exempt ministry, Answers in Genesis, and its new $28 million creation museum in Boone County has become the de facto source of science information to thousands of Christians who are throwing away reason and 500 years of scientific inquiry and replacing it with ignorant dogma.
Whoa! Yet I think he makes some good points worth thinking about.Is misdeed a creation of political doctrine?
Turkish Publisher of "The God Delusion" Under Investigation
Sudan demo over jailed UK teacher
UK peers in bid to free teacherCrowds of people have marched in Sudan's capital Khartoum to call for a tougher sentence for a British teacher imprisoned for insulting religion.
Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, was jailed for 15 days on Thursday after allowing children in her class to name a teddy bear Muhammad.
George Pearsons: God Told Me to Obey All of Richard Roberts' Orders
Patrol car Jesus raises legal hackles
CIMA takes Islamic bank laws into accountIn a letter to the News & Record, Salami said he told the deputy, M. Osborne, and his supervisor, Sgt. J. Sipe, that it was inappropriate to have a religious slogan in a government-owned police car.
Sipe's response was that the sign was acceptable because it expressed Osborne's beliefs, Salami wrote.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) will become the first accountancy body in the UK to train its members in Islamic financial law, which prohibits the receipt and payment of interest. Investments in industries such as alcohol and gambling are also banned.
I didn't realize this was a problem for Muslims. Does this mean Muslims won't have to pay interest on loans, or won't the bank offer loans to them?
Humorous Links For Atheists:12/2/07
Jesus of the Week
Send him your pictures of Jesus!Atheist Resource UK: Humor
No More Hornets!
Some of this blogger's posts include:
- The Creationist Art Gallery
- Atheist Jokes
- Rules for True Atheists
- Pass Me My Bible, Bitch
- If I Only Had a God
New And Links For Atheists:12/2/07 Daniel Dennett Debates Dinesh D'Souza
34 Unconvincing Arguments for God
Fictitious Intermediaries & Death
On Atheism and HopeInstead of worshiping God, which we see as a fictitious intermediary inserted between us and life, atheists worship life direct.
Advice to an AtheistPope Benedict has released the second encyclical of his papacy, a 75-page missive titled "Spe Salvi" (Latin for "in hope we are saved"). As was widely reported, this statement attacks atheism and calls people to convert to Roman Catholicism as the only hope for humankind. (Here's the text of the statement itself, if anyone's interested.) In this post, I'm going to offer some comments in response.
What Are You, Stupid?My wife is a Christian and I am an Atheist. We have two small children. She knows how I feel about religion and doesn't like it, but we have basically agreed to disagree. I do not try to convince her that her beliefs are false because I do not think she wants to hear it. Her family is Catholic and they do not know that I am an Atheist. Otherwise, we have a wonderful relationship and I love her dearly. However, recently, as I have been learning more and more about religion, it has become more and more difficult to keep my Atheism "in the closet" and hidden from her family. When we are at my in-laws' home and religious issues are being discussed, it is very hard for me to keep my thoughts to myself. I really want to let the world know that I am an Atheist and that Atheism is the answer. However, I also know how much my wife wants her parents and siblings to continue liking me and this would pretty much keep that from ever happening. I also know that my wife is an intelligent lady, but she knows very little about Atheism or even her own religion. She has simply clung to Christianity because that is what her family believes and that is what she finds comfortable. I do not want to cause her little world to come crashing down, but at the same time, I hate pretending to believe in something that I know is false. Don't get me wrong, I do not want to start fights with her family or argue about whose right and whose wrong, I just want to disassociate myself with Christianity.
What do you suggest?
Raising a Non-Believer
Evolution Debate Led to Ouster, Official Says
Ruling warns of mixing religion, rehab
I may not be into "the drugs," but I think this should have been the case a long time ago. There are certainly secular alternatives to faith-based programs to help addicts. At the very least, people in these situations should always be offered a choice by the judge.Celebrity Atheist List
This isn't a news source, but it has a list of quotes from celebrity atheists.
News And Links For Atheists12/1/07
Interview With Richard Dawkins
Nativity vs Gospels: Are the Gospels Reliable About Jesus' Birth?
Comments And Links For Atheists12/1/07
Papal encyclical attacks atheism, lauds hope
I'm sure that many atheists will take exception to the Pope's comments, as I do. Here are a few things I'd like to comment on. Note that these are all things that atheists have heard many times before.
Pope Benedict, in an encyclical released on Friday, said atheism was responsible for some of the "greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice" in history.
From other comments made in the article, it seems that the Pope is going with that lovable old chestnut of "let's blame the evils of socialism on atheism." I gotta say that this line is getting old.
I'll agree that these socialist forms of government lend themselves to terrible things. But that's a flaw of socialism and says nothing about atheism. I'm sorry guys, but atheism just isn't a motive for anything at all. Atheism is simply this: the lack of belief in any gods. That's it. Atheism has no motives, mandates, or agendas. People like Stalin or other fruitcake tyrants do have motives, mandates, and agendas. The socialist system doesn't do a very good job of reigning people like that in so they and their underlings get to run amok. If the problem here was atheism, then how does one explain the evils of non-atheist tyrants or countries?
The Pope urged Christians to put their hope for a better future in God.
"We have all witnessed the way in which progress, in the wrong hands, can become and has indeed become a terrifying progress in evil. If technical progress is not matched by corresponding progress in man's ethical formation, in man's inner growth, then it is not progress at all, but a threat for man and for the world," he said.
So we should hope in a god who may not exist rather than improving things for ourselves? What in the world for? Because progress goes awry sometimes? Oh, bull-cookies!
Whether human progress can solve all of our problems or not remains to be seen. Sure, people can give up on trying to make the world a better place by settings their hopes on a supernatural deus ex machina that may not exist. Or we can do the best we can with what we have and see how far we get. If it turns out that some sort of god is really out there and is willing to save us all, great. But why assume this is case? Especially when that deity has left us to our own devices this far. To me, this sort of thinking makes no sense ... unless you're trying to fill your pews with more people, that is. Them donation plates do get hungry. That's my two-cents at any rate.
-the Atheist Geek-
News And Links For Atheists11/28/07
Taking Science on Faith
The problem ... is that science has its own faith-based belief system. All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed. When physicists probe to a deeper level of subatomic structure, or astronomers extend the reach of their instruments, they expect to encounter additional elegant mathematical order. And so far this faith has been justified.
This Op-Ed was written by Paul Davies. He seems to be suggesting that science and religion aren't so different after all. Especially on the issue of faith. I don't really agree with Davies, and neither do many others. So I went looking for an article that refuted it. That's when I found this.Faith is not a prerequisite for science
Davies lost my respect for his thesis early on, from the first sentence actually, but I'll focus instead on this claim from his second paragraph: "All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn't be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed." Perhaps this is where not being a physicist has the virtue of a different perspective, because I can say without reservation that he's completely wrong — in a historical science like evolutionary biology, we have no problem when we encounter a phenomenon that isn't orderly or rational, and that has all the appearance of haphazard meaninglessness. We're accustomed to seeing simple chance as a strong thread running throughout biological history.
So what do you think?
News And Links For Atheists11/27/07
Religious safeguard bills draw resistance
Former preacher advocates a secular countryBut the Christian lobbying group, called New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, and the Albany-based Institute for Humanist Studies view the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act as dangerous.
Negative attitudes towards scepticism: respect, dualism, and pluralism Using Relativism To Silence Free Inquiry Polk School Board Leans Toward Inclusion of Intelligent Design
This one (above) is about Dan Barker of FFRF. I'm not big on his piano playing or songs (sorry Dan) but he is an athiest. I've started listening to his podcasts of late. Might be worth checking out for podcast fans.
Law protects church shock tactics, experts say Are Scientists Playing God? It Depends on Your Religion Onward Christian fornicators Column: The time has come to move past religion
Oh, come on. Not this crap again.
I'm not against teaching I.D. in schools. But like it or not, it has only one place in science classes: as an example of what science is not. Teaching it as a scientific alternative to evolution just doesn't work because it isn't scientific. It can't be falsified, and even the Discovery Institute has yet to offer us a real way of doing that. That pretty much closes the door on this one. Whether I.D. (creationism) is true or not is another question. This is really simple to understand.
Religious Institutions Try New Fund-Raising Approach to Combat Resistance to Tithing
Note that this article says that about "90 percent of Americans consistently say they believe in God or some divine power, according to surveys." Surveys actually differ quite a lot on this number, however.
Some churches are taking steps to combat the decline. Several churches have installed "giving kiosks" that allow worshipers to use debit cards to make donations. Others have allowed churchgoers to set up an automatic deduction from their checking accounts; some churches have also offered seminars to teach people how to manage tight budgets while still tithing.
John Magrino, a New Jersey lawyer, says he was made to feel guilty if he did not give a big share of his income to charity: "That was the message I got from tithing: Make it hurt. . . . If it hurts, then you get the spiritual renewal."
Well, at least it's not all about money then.Christian seeks to bring blasphemy case vs BBC
Stephanie Salter: An idea the founding fathers believed in: Separation of church and state Golden Compass author hits back
They have freakin' blasphemy laws in the UK? A lot of Americans tend to think of England as a stronghold of secularism, yet they don't seem to separate church and state at all. Remember that the Queen is the head of the state church after all!
"I am a story teller," he said. " If I wanted to send a message I would have written a sermon."
I really think the controversy over Pullman's stories - and especially the movie coming out - is completely stupid. Especially since they supposedly removed the "offending" material from the movie any way. I've even heard people accusing him of using the movie to convert their kids ... even though he isn't directing it or producing it. Like, huh? Authors don't retain control of the movies that are made from their books! Paranoid much?
Links For Atheists AND Even Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses:
Wait! It's not as bad as the title makes it sound! No, really. I promise.
Freedom as Submission; Democracy as Obedience: How Christianity Subverts Liberty
Don't let the title scare you even if you're a Christian! This is an excellent article by Austin Cline. Yes, I fully admit that the title is openly offensive to Christians, but the article itself is mostly about authoritarian religion and why many find it so appealing. Austin even acknowledges that there's a difference between hard nosed authoritarian believers and moderate, liberal believers near the beginning of the article, so I don't think most believers will find his views too troubling here. The real focus, for me at least, is why Austin thinks that strict, fundamentalist belief systems can be so enticing. If you can handle the following snippet, then I think you'll get something from the article and find it worth a read.
Italics added by yours truly.It's not just religious believers who have problems with choice — the "paradox of choice" is something that occurs with everyone studied — but many believers, and especially conservative believers, seem to have more problems with choice than average. It is they who try to transform the paradox of choice into a principle of living by arguing that real freedom lies in submitting to the commands and will of higher authorities (ultimately God, but also self-proclaimed intermediaries) and that real choice lies in not having much at all to choose from in the first place.
We shouldn't be surprised that order, structure, and predictability are highly attractive qualities to a way of life. Even people who prize spontaneity don't live lives devoid of order and structure — we all need those things in order to manage our regular, day-to-day existence. For some, though, more and more order seems necessary as more and more choice and diversity appear throughout society. This is why contemporary fundamentalism is arguably a reaction to the diversity and choices made possibly by modernity rather than simply a continuation of ancient practices.
Some people simply feel a need to be told what to do, where to do it, what to eat, what to value, and how to live; even those who don't really feel such a need ... can apparently experience a strong attraction to it once they try it out. Weighing alternatives and making choices take time, effort, and responsibility. Simply following orders takes less time, less effort, and can give on the feeling that they are absolved of any responsibility for the outcome.
I think most ex-Jehovah's Witnesses will see why I recommend the link for them as well. Check it out. Maybe it'll help you understand the Witnesses in your lives a little better and help you see how far you've come personally.
-the Atheist Geek-
Links For Atheists:
Human Speech, Human Mind, and Human Evolution
Here's a connection I had totally overlooked. It seems scientists have found even more evidence suggesting that Neanderthals could speak. Austin Cline points out the implications for creationists.
It does ... create a dilemma for creationists: why would Neanderthals have the genetic basis for speech if they are not us? Christian theology holds that humans and humans alone were created with souls and with a place in God's plans, but if the Neanderthals were as capable of speech as us, it's difficult to explain what their place in "creation" must be.
I doubt creationists will be phased much by this. The Watchtower Society used to teach that Neanderthals were just deformed humans, so I suspect that's what most creationists will say. I think using this one as an argument for evolution might be a bit of a stretch.
News and Links For Secular Atheists
11/7/07Religious liberty and the gay-equality movement
RFRA states that a “denial of government funding” on account of a grantee’s religious practice can be a substantial burden.
Not all employment discrimination is the same. Disapproving of a job applicant because of her race is senseless and invidious. But one’s religious beliefs speak to real and important differences about the meaning of life, which in turn shape one’s vocational purposes and job performance. While the Constitution ascribes no value to racial discrimination, discrimination on the basis of religion is often protected as a matter of free exercise. One who has never disagreed with others about religion is not thereby tolerant, but is treating religious differences as trivial, as if religious beliefs do not matter. That is just a soft form of religious bigotry.
All I can say without puking all over myself is ... wow. Religious conservatism at its best. (Not) Carl H. Esbeck wrote this Op Ed piece, so I assume the opinions are his own.
The Turning of an Atheist
But is Flew’s conversion what it seems to be? Depending on whom you ask, Antony Flew is either a true convert whose lifelong intellectual searchings finally brought him to God or a senescent scholar possibly being exploited by his associates. The version you prefer will depend on how you interpret a story that began 20 years ago, when some evangelical Christians found an atheist who, they thought, might be persuaded to join their side. In the intellectual tug of war that ensued, Flew himself — a continent away, his memory failing, without an Internet connection — had no idea how fiercely he was being fought over or how many of his acquaintances were calling or writing him just to shore up their cases. For a time, Flew hardly spoke to the media, leaving evangelicals and atheists to trade interpretations of his rare, oracular pronouncements. Was he now a believer in intelligent design? In Christianity? In some vague, intelligent "life force"? With the publication of his new book, Flew is once again talking, and this summer I traveled to England to speak with him. But as I discovered, a conversation with him confuses more than it clarifies. With his powers in decline, Antony Flew, a man who devoted his life to rational argument, has become a mere symbol, a trophy in a battle fought by people whose agendas he does not fully understand.
I've heard lots of weird things about Flew over the years. I even remember reading that he was a hero to all atheists and what a blow his conversion must be to us ... even though I had never heard of the guy before. The God Is For Suckers web site makes a brief mention of the article as well. Make wise-a*s quips about it there if you like.
How Online Dictionaries Define Atheism & Atheists
The above can be of use to atheists when confronted by fundamentalists who want to argue over the definition of words like "atheist." A related article can be found here. Since the holidays are on the way, Austin has also offered us an index of articles related to the Christmas season.
Talking Jesus Doll Stirs Debate
PHOENIX -- Controversy is swirling over a foot-long, talking Jesus doll that Wal-Mart has put up for sale at more than 400 of its stores in at least 20 states, including some in the Valley.
Rome playing politics
Those who are indifferent to, or sceptical about, the degree to which the churches still work to exercise political influence need only look at the unsubtle battle that the Catholic church is at this moment waging against the Spanish government.
News and Links For Secular Atheists
11/5/07Video Video From the AAI 07 Conference
...and also from Dawkins' web site...
A new website addition: Debate Points
I thought we might try a new section here at RichardDawkins.net called "Debate Points". A lot of people have mentioned that we need to stay on top of the arguments for and against the debate points we will meet. Some seem to never die (Hitler/Stalin, Morality), and we can always improve our arguments. Let's use the comment space on this post to brainstorm some points that we can start discussions on.
Some Christian pastors embrace Scientology
They say they are not scared off by programs with ties to a church that critics say has aggressive recruiting, secretive ways and rigid theology. As men of God rooted in Christian values, they do not see Scientology as a threat to their faith, but rather as a tool to augment it.
Video Debate between Christopher Hitchens and Dinesh D'Souza
UPDATE:: Vote for who won the debate at Dinesh D'Souza's website here: http://news.aol.com/newsbloggers/bloggers/dinesh-dsouza/
Reposted from: http://www.tkc.edu/debate/ (WMV version)
Video of the Dinesh D'Souza & Christopher Hitchens debate: "Is Christianity the Problem?"
Historically it has not been at all uncommon for cultural myths to become formalised in concurrent religions and there is plenty of evidence for it in contemporary religious beliefs. An example of this can be seen in Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. (as Christians refer to it), or Tanakh (as it is known to Jews). The stories in this book clearly reflect the cultural myths of a tribal people as they established their cosmology and theology as they established a relationship with their deity. In this it is not radically dissimilar to the creation myths of many other societies.
These days, to most believers, these stories are considered as apocryphal or metaphorical and are not meant to be taken literally. In a previous article we discussed how our understanding of the world in which we live has changed immeasurably over the last few centuries. Archbishop Ussher’s chronology, dating the age of the Earth at around 6000 years - though pretty good for the 17th Century - could not persist in the face of subsequent scientific discoveries which have now put the age at 4.5 billion years.
Mounting federal earmarks fund 'scores' of religious groups
Earmarks setting aside federal funds for religious organizations -- including Christian groups openly focused on conversions and missionary work -- are on the rise in appropriations bills in both the US House and Senate.
The Evangelical Movement's Breakdown Ain't so Cute After All
Don't be fooled by NY Times Magazine's feature story this weekend about the religious right's nice, new image. Christian power is not about holding hands and thinking good thoughts.
Atheists Have No Reason to be Moral; Therefore, Atheists Should Have No Rights
If it is generally accepted that atheists cannot be moral, then there is little to prevent atheists from being treated even worse than they already are — legal and constitutional protections are only as strong as the will of the people who enforce them.
Pope Benedict XVI: Pharmacists Should Make Moral Decisions for Customers
Recently, Pope Benedict XVI helped bolster this conclusion by making exactly that sort of justification for pharmacists "conscience clauses." He didn't argue that pharmacists should be excused from prescribing normal pharmaceuticals simply in order to avoid helping someone else engage in legal conduct which they themselves are personally forbidden from doing. No, he also argued that pharmacists should seek to be excused precisely so that they can "raise" others' "awareness" and to educate women about using drugs in a "morally and ethically correct way."
News And Links For Secular Atheists
10/31/07Christian Groups Claim Pro-Atheist 'Stealth Campaign' in Nicole Kidman Fantasy Film 'The Golden Compass'
Monday, October 29, 2007
By Catherine Donaldson-Evans
A children’s fantasy film that stars Nicole Kidman and features a little girl on a quest to kill God has some Christian groups upset over what they believe is a ploy to promote atheism to kids.
From what I've heard, they were cutting all the anti-religious stuff out of the movie anyway thanks, in part, to Nicole Kidman. She said she wouldn't be in the movie otherwise. This has a lot of atheists upset, too. Personally, I could care less if Kidman was in the film or not. As both an atheist and a wannabe writer, I'd prefer it if they stuck to the premise of the book. Wussies.
Pew Research Center for the People & the Press: 12% - Secular Americans
The number of Americans who say they are atheist or agnostic, or choose not to identify with a religious tradition has increased modestly over the past two decades, with Pew surveys since the beginning of 2006, finding that 12% of U.S. adults identify themselves as secular or unaffiliated with a religious tradition; that compares with 8% in the Pew values survey in 1987.
I've heard numbers as low of 2% and as high as 24%. I've often suspected that 12% was closest to the real number. Apparently nobody really knows.
Poll: Third of people believe in ghosts
updated 12:18 p.m. EDT, Fri October 26, 2007
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Those things that go bump in the night? About one-third of people believe they could be ghosts.
I try not to pick on ghost believers too much. I used to be one.
Italy's Padre Pio 'faked his stigmata with acid'
By Malcolm Moore in Rome
Last Updated: 2:36am BST 24/10/2007
Padre Pio, Italy's most-loved saint, faked his stigmata by pouring carbolic acid on his hands, according to a new book.
The Other Christ: Padre Pio and 19th Century Italy, by the historian Sergio Luzzatto, draws on a document found in the Vatican's archive.
The document reveals the testimony of a pharmacist who said that the young Padre Pio bought four grams of carbolic acid in 1919.
Here's one for my fellow science geeks. This is a problem that more and more scientists are facing. Apparently Dr. Jacobson's paper has been used in a lot creationist efforts to debunk evolution despite the fact that this was not his intent.’55 ‘Origin of Life’ Paper Is Retracted
Darwinismrefuted.com, for example, says Dr. Jacobson’s paper “undermines the scenario that life could have come about by accident.” Another creationist site, Evolution-facts.org, says his findings mean that “within a few minutes, all the various parts of the living organism had to make themselves out of sloshing water,” an impossible feat without a supernatural hand.
“Ouch,” Dr. Jacobson said. “It was hideous.”
Religion doesn't confer right to discriminate
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Last updated October 30, 2007 10:54 a.m. PT
By D. PARVAZ
Two bills -- HR 3685 and 3686, which should be one bill -- seek to give gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered protection from discrimination in the workplace. Naturally, President Bush indicated that he'll veto the bills (assuming they go that far), a move groups such as Conservative Women for America applaud. A statement from the administration (on 3685) indicates that his main issue with the bill is that it "is inconsistent with the right to the free exercise of religion as codified by Congress in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act." So, being a Christian means you get to deny people jobs based on what goes on in their pants when they're not at work?
This is the kinda stuff that sours a lot of people on conservative religion. Bigotry is bigotry whether it is Bible based or not. I wouldn't want to work in a place that was hostile to atheists anyway, but you don't always know that your employers are bigots until after you've been hired. Jobs aren't easy to come by for a lot of us.
News Links For Atheists:
Here's one I just had to submit. It's hard not to roll my eyes at people who point to communism or - even more inacurrately - the Nazis as examples of atheist evil. Here's a list of articles by Austin Cline that handles claims like that.More People Have Been Killed in the Name of Atheism & Secularism than Religion?
Note that 1) Stalin and other communists did their evil deeds in the name of totalitarianism and communism - not atheism. That is to say that they were out to spread or enforce their power, not atheism. And 2) the Nazi's were fanatically religious and hard core believers in the supernatural. They even persecuted atheists in Nazi Germany. They were not atheists themselves. This is why a lot of atheists tend to sigh or groan when people use this line of reasoning with us.
Advice For Believers And Atheists:
When Talking Religion On The Web, Email, Message Boards, and Other Forums Aren't The Best Ways To Communicate
This one seems to confuse a lot of people and has gotten me in trouble plenty of times. But the fact remains that typed messages - whether by email, newsgroups, message board forums, or in any other form - just aren't as accurate in conveying emotions and intentions as real face to face conversations. That means you're going to have to give people the benefit of the doubt if you want to communicate this way for very long. Especially if the topics are of a sensitive nature, such as "secularism versus religion." You might think that this is just common sense, but most of us seem to forget when we're actually in these situations. I've even had people insist that I was making up this whole online miscommunication problem to get out of taking responsibility for the things I wrote in whatever forum we used to frequent!
By far the best message board I've ever visited is on my links page, and its members actually include a mix of die-hard atheists and fundamentalist believers who generally get along. (gasp!) Too bad most forums aren't like JWD.
So what is the biggest thing to keep in mind when communicating online?
More at the link...
Advice With Atheist Pet Peeves: Ever Heard This Line? "You Sure Talk A Lot About God For Someone Who Claims They Don't Believe!"
...or "Got ya that time, atheist boy!" Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!8/19/07
Yes. How witty and original. This is the sort of thing that turns some of us into anti-theists if we hear it too often. The weirdest thing is that I actually think some believers mean it seriously! Here are some suggestions on how to deal with this sort of assumption, especially when stated this way.More at the link...
Advice For Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses:
Why Do Witness Friends And Family Act So Weird Now That You've Left The Society?
Things have been strained between you and your mom lately, haven't they? (Just nod, okay?) Yeah, after years of skulking around and trying not to doze off at the meetings, you finally did it. You, a once loyal Jehovah's Witness, stopped going to the Kingdom Hall and haven't shown your face there since. Weeks have passed and everyone wants to know where you've been and what's wrong...with you, actually. You don't expect that lunch date with your mother this afternoon will go very well, either. (Good call) But you try smiling anyway as you take a seat across from her. She isn't smiling back, is she?This article goes in my Ex-Jehovah's Witness section. But if you're an atheist and you have family or friends who keep hassling you about your lack of belief, it can still be helpful to you as well. More at the link...
And Why My Family Still Believes8/8/07
To hear my family tell it, my mother basically grew up in the Amityville Horror. Loud thumping and violent noises kept her up at night as if some animal was destroying the stairway that lead to her room. She wasn't the only one who heard the ghost. When I was a teenager years later, problems like this resurfaced for my grandmother who lived alone. It began when she started seeing chips of soap flying through the air. She assumed it was a raccoon throwing things in the middle of the night. (Do raccoons actually do this? I have no idea) Then the voices came, followed by cold, invisible hands that would close around her neck while she slept. The hands were paralyzing. She tried leaving a bowl of water out by her bed as if that would serve as a kind of talisman against the ghost. She awoke the following day with her hand resting in that same bowl of water with an unplugged electrical cord draped across it. It was as if the ghost was sending her a message.
Atheism For Atheists (But also informative for believers):Terminology Of Secularism
A lot of people are confused by all the buzzwords that brainier atheists use. Especially when these atheist's define them differently than others expect. The thing is that common usage doesn't always equal proper usage. (Ask your English teacher if you don't believe me about that) You also have to bear in mind that many of these terms come from various philosophical schools of thought, so you may not have heard them used in the same context that many atheist's use them. And if that's not confusing enough, some dictionaries actually get these words wrong!