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 Geeks:3/1/08
From BBSPOT: Ways Sony Plans to Celebrate Their Blu-Ray Victory
11. Add rootkit code to all Blu-Ray DVDs.
10. Send solid gold fruit basket to Time Warner. ...
More at the link...
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 Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses:2/28/08
First, a few new web sites fellow ex-Witnesses might be interested in:Don't Be Scared! I'm Just an Apostate.
Me, Who I am and what I plan to becomeJehovah's Witnesses think I am the worst kind of person, worse than pedophiles, murderers, adulterers and puppy kicking bullies. Why? Because I disagreed with their teachings and left their religion. Now I am shunned by my family and former friends. They believe that God will kill me soon and the birds will pick the flesh from my bones. Of course, I have my own thoughts about all this. I'm not as scary as they think. I hope you will stay for a little visit.
His most recent post might be worth a look right now, too.Videos About Jehovah's Witnesses
The "Serving Where The Need Is Greater" Web PageA collection of videos to inform the public about the dangers of Jehovah's Witnesses and other cults and high control groups.
America's Unfaithful Faithful
Here's the part we're interested in (which came from the "Don't Be Scared-I'm Just An Apostate!" site):
VIDEO: Is There a Child Custody Packet?An even more extreme example of what might be called "masked churn" is the relatively tiny Jehovah's Witnesses, with a turnover rate of about two-thirds. That means that two-thirds of the people who told Pew they were raised Jehovah's Witnesses no longer are - yet the group attracts roughly the same number of converts. Notes Lugo, "No wonder they have to keep on knocking on doors."
VIDEO: Comments You Will NOT Hear At The Watchtower Study (Watchtower Comments 2.25.08 Responding)
Are the Jehovah’s Witnesses a cult?
Watchtower Society declines to return disputed GBP100,000 legacy
The charitable arm of the Jehovah’s Witnesses should return a £100,000 legacy from a man it expelled for trying to convert call girls, one of the man’s relatives has said.
Martin Davis said the Watchtower Society should return the money left to it by his cousin Donald Kennett so it could go to Kennett’s nephew, who is autistic.
Accepting money from a member who had been expelled would damage the charity’s reputation, said Davis, of Dulwich, south London.
Note that this is hardly on objective news source. Take these quotes from the text box to the left of the page for instance:
Theologically, Jehovah’s Witnesses are a cult of Christianity. The oppressive organization does not represent historical, Biblical Christianity in any way.
Sociologically, it is a destructive cult whose false teachings frequently result in spiritual and psychological abuse, as well as needless deaths.
In order to be able to support its unbiblical doctrines, the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization has created it’s own version of the Bible. The so-called “New World Translation” is rejected by all Christian denominations.
I'm not saying the article isn't true. But I don't think you can say it was written to be fair or objective in tone. That's why it's near the bottom of the list of articles.Jehovah's witnesses face lone campaigner
This is Olga Lindberg, of St Petersburg in Washington State, US. She is embarking on a lone campaign against Jehovah's Witnesses, approaching shoppers with a photo of her grandson Dennis, who died of leukaemia at 14 although he had a 70 per cent chance of being saved by a blood transfusion (forbidden to Witnesses, see earlier post). She shows them his photograph and explains what happened. "I know it's wrong" she says, but remains determined to padlock the tragedy of his death firmly to the sect, which threatens those who use 'sacred' blood with excommunication and damnation.
I don't think "damnation" is a Watchtower approved word, but...
Also note that the Watchtower Information Web Service page seems to be down.
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?
You may have noticed that the web site isn't called www.atheistnews.com or anything like that. (They're a different outfit entirely.) It's www.atheistgeeknews.com, dammit, and I mean it. Well, since I still want to fling Sci-Fi crap at pedestrians passing by after I've done the occasional review, I hereby Christen this new section with it's first article. Here is a list of the Atheist Geek's greatest annoyances with works of TV or movie sci-fi. Special note to Uber-Star Trek fans: I'm afraid Star Trek is one of the worst offenders known to mankind, so beware.
More at the link...
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.