News And Links For Atheists: Q&A Adventures In Democracy

VIDEO: Q&A: Adventures in Democracy (With Richard Dawkins)

VIDEO: Christopher Hitchens vs Dinesh D’Souza Debate

VIDEO: The Mormon Proposition (Trailer)

Pope, atheists on collision course

Faithful folks are struggling to stay faithful between the emboldened atheism of scientist Richard Dawkins, author Christopher Hitchens et al on one side, and the clergy sex abuse crisis on the other.

Both forces appear headed for a showdown when Pope Benedict visits Britain in September where he plans to beatify the 19th-century theologian John Henry Cardinal Newman.

US Supreme Court – cross is now a secular symbol

The US Supreme court, by a 5-4 majority, has held that it is okay for the government to use a cross as a “secular” symbol in the context of a war memorial. In that context, the cross is now de-Christianised, according to the majority, so no question of separation of church and state arises.

Who’s Free to Discriminate?

A Supreme Court case highlights how religious conservatives tend to forget that the separation of church and state protects religion from government — not the other way around.

No-name radicals vs. ‘South Park’ just a distraction

On a somewhat similar note

Awesome, They Found the Ark, Again

I gotta ask, are they done finding the Ark yet? Come on, these guys have found it like a dozen times by now. Let it go, already. Anyway, here’s another story about the Ark that even more direct. It’s called “Fake Noah’s Ark Found On Mt Ararat.”

Antony Flew, 87, Philosopher and Ex-Atheist, Dies

Bultmann’s Job

In the case of Job, particularly the famous prose prologue to which you refer, we find a strictly mythical God, one who keeps order in the universe by means of a bureaucracy of subordinate governors (the “sons of God,” gods or angels who each rule one country as Jehovah’s lieutenants) and who keeps an eye on things by means of a patrolling security chief, “the Satan” (which was originally no proper name but rather a title, “prosecuting attorney” including sting operations man), who roams the world, keeping files on people whose supposed loyalty to God he questions. Job, for instance. At this point in the evolution of biblical mythology “the Satan” is not yet considered an evil being or an opponent of God. That happens later and only insofar as he has somehow been combined with evil mythic entities including Beelzebul (Mark 3:22-23), Ahriman (Luke 10:19) or Leviathan (Revelation 12:9). In the Old Testament (Zechariah 3:1-5; 1 Chronicles 21:1) he is God’s servant, testing God’s mortal servants. He continues this role even in the New Testament (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 22:31; Revelation 12:10). This is what we see him doing in Job chapters 1 and 3.

God Doesn’t Have a Plan for Your Life

I love it when even the Friendly Atheist lays the hammer down.

Fossil skeletons may belong to an unknown human ancestor

Young Americans abandoning organised religion

More Boobs Than You Can Shake A Stick At

My kinda post. Well, it’s about Boobquake at any rate. BTW, here’s a title from the same lady I couldn’t resist: In the name of science, I offer my boobs. I might just be in love … again.

Toxic Supplements

I have some in-laws that are crazy (dare I say evangelical?) for alternative medicine and supplements. They’re always pushing them on others. So I always pounce on stuff that points out the hypocrisy and anti-science aspects of it.

The Improbability Pump

But that’s fiction, right? Well, not entirely, for it applies precisely to another “theory” that is also a fact: the theory of evolution. Over the past quarter-century, poll after poll has revealed that nearly half of all Americans flatly reject evolution, many clinging to the ancient superstition that the earth was created only 6,000 years ago, complete with all existing species. But as Richard Dawkins shows in his splendid new book, The Greatest Show on Earth, the theory of evolution is supported by at least as much evidence as is the germ theory of disease–heaps of it, and from many areas of biology. So why is it contemptible to reject germ theory but socially acceptable to reject evolutionary theory?

And you thought the title was about some new sex toy. Sheesh.

Richard Dawkins – Conservapedia

Ah, good old Conservapedia. It’s been so long since I poked fun at you. Here’s to the good ol’ days. Find out more about Conservapedia’s approach to Dawkins here.

Humanize Yourself In Four Steps When Evangelists Objectify You

PerishWant to know one thing that many atheists and ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses have in common? Dealing with aggressive evangelists who objectify us (or who want us to play our assigned role in their idealized conversion scenario). Whether they realize it or not, many evangelists tend to pigeonhole others into categories that are easy for them to handle. To them, we cease to be Jim, Rob, or Cindy. We become the generic angry atheist, the generic Witness who was hurt by the Elders, or whatever. And they’ll deal with everyone they’ve lumped in those categories in exactly the same way–even many people they’ve known all their life. This is one of the most annoying and even offensive aspects of aggressive evangelism. It insulates the proselytizer from the convert’s point of view, but makes it impossible for you to have a real conversation with them because they aren’t actually hearing you any more. No one likes to be objectified. How can you turn things around when your closest evangelist starts to objectify you?

Continue reading

News and Links For Atheists: Ghost Hunting Technology

NOTE: I’ve been trying to move for the past week even while the East Coast has been dealing with an string of blizzards. Yeah, it sucks. And before that I was trying to get everything together for settlement on our place. That’s why I haven’t been posting much. Sorry about that. Too many problems hitting all once.

AUDIO: How Stuff Works-Ghost Hunting Technology

This podcast is told from a skeptic’s viewpoint. The link takes you right to the mp3.

Hear the rumble of Christian hypocrisy

The evangelist who says the Haiti earthquake is retribution for sin is at least true to his religion

That one comes from Richard Dawkins.

It’s idiotic to blame God, the devil, or anything other than geology for the Haitian earthquake.

On a related theme, we have one from Christopher Hitchens. Go Hitch!

Bowling for Atheists: Haiti Proves that Nonbelievers Care Too

On Friday, January 15, I received in email from Richard Dawkins explaining that his Executive Director Elizabeth Cornwell has organized a campaign to raise money on behalf of the victims of the Haitian earthquake-induced tragedy, and he wanted to know if the Skeptics Society would like to participate, which of course I unhesitatingly agreed. The campaign is called Non-Believers Giving Aid and is set up through PayPal. Richard Dawkins has generously offered to cover all the PayPal fees (up to $10,000) and the Skeptics Society got things started off with a bang with a $1000 donation. Within minutes of it’s launch on Saturday morning, tens of thousands of dollars started pouring in as members of the other participating groups (Sam Harris’ The Reason Project, The James Randi Educational Foundation, Atheist United, Atheist Alliance International, and many others) jumped in without hesitation. (All monies go to Doctors without Borders and the International Red Cross—you choose.)

Michael Shermer joins the fray, though on a more positive note. It’s almost as if skeptics can be nice and charitable too. Hmmm… If skepticism had it’s own four horsemen, Shermer would be one of them. (Hmmm. Can you guess who those four horsemen would be?)

Leaked climate change emails scientist ‘hid’ data flaws

A shame something like this had to happen. This is one of the reasons I and others find it so hard to believe the “factual” claims made by creationists and other hard core believers. They often use disinformation to try to bolster their claims. When people figure out a few of their misleading assertions, they start to doubt everything that comes from those sources and feel the need to check them. Some people skip right to the doubting.

As far as I know, the case for climate change is still plenty strong, but now those who don’t want to believe it will use these headlines as an affirmation. Most won’t even bother listening to the fact that life threatening climate changes are still a real concern to scientists and that this is a minor, isolated incident.

And now the antivaxxers’ humiliation is complete

This one’s by Phil Plait. Another candidate for the four horsemen of skepticism? Anyone, I know a few people who are hot on the “don’t get vaccinated” bandwagon. Hope they read this article. There are a lot of links in it to other sources, so this one kinda sums them up. Follow the links if you want more on this.

VIDEO: Loophole Allows Gays To Marry

No comment. You figure it out.


How sad that yet another medium has been given press approval. I could write a post on a different medium or phony psychic every week and never run out of material. This week’s entry into the never-ending cycle of mediums I predicted would be coming (see my post “ESP Boot Camp” of 23 Feb. 2009) is Rebecca Rosen. I will hopefully not catch all the flack I caught two weeks ago when the Internet press release I quoted from was taken down, making the points I tried to make un-verifiable. This time, you can read all about Mrs. Rosen here:

Why Atheists Don’t Turn to Religion When Faced with Death or Disaster

The notion that ‘there are no atheists in foxholes’ isn’t just mistaken, it’s bigoted and ugly; a denial of atheists’ humanity and the reality of our experience with death.

No, really. It’s true. Stop looking at me like that. Oh, just deal with it already!

Word salad lunacy Bible babble blah blah blah

I’ve often noticed a tendency for some people to host a whole gnarly syndrome of denialist symptoms: some people are creationists+HIV denialists+global warming denialists+ant-vaxers+whatever. They stand out in the crowd as hyper-intense paragons of idiocy; I often wonder how they get around at all, since the power of their disbelief is so strong that they probably deny their shoelaces as soon as they get up in the morning, yet at the same time they believe a magic man in the sky will soon make them float up into the air to a rapturous eternal congress of their fellow reality deniers.

I’ve found an amazing example of this syndrome. You’ll be able to recognize the problem from just the title of his blog post:

Movie Review: Creation

Creation is an indie movie about Charles Darwin.

Pink Ouija Board Targeting Young Girls Riles Critics –

‘Coming up on Freethought Radio · February 6, 2010’ by Freedom From Religion foundation – Richard Dawkins Interview

I’m not real big on Freethought Radio myself. It seems like more of an acquired taste to me. But they are interviewing Dawkins, which I’m always interested in.

News And Links For Atheists: A God Delusion Video

VIDEO: A God Delusion Video

The God Fraud: Sam Harris responds to Karen Armstrong

Best-selling atheist author Sam Harris pushes back against Karen Armstrong's sympathetic take on religion.

Without God, Without Leader, Harlem Atheists Have Faith in Future

Once a month, Harlem atheists, along with a smattering of outerborough residents, gather at the Adam Clayton Powell State Building on 125th Street to discuss the ubiquitous role of religion in American society. While there’s a revolving door of participants, one constant is the meeting’s diversity: blacks, whites, Muslims, Christians, Jews, everyone is welcome.

Archbishop of Westminster criticises dogmatists

He told Radio 4's Sunday programme: "Public life is not a neutral place.Everybody comes with their set of values and religion has just as much right to be there as anybody else.

Question: Why Don't Theists Believe What Atheists Tell Them About Atheism? Religious Theists Should Listen to Atheists About Atheism and Atheists

This one might be of interest to my ex-Witness readers.

Question: Why Do Atheists Object to Evangelism & Proselytization? If Atheists Merely Disbelieve in Gods, They Shouldn't Object to Evangelism


Inferiority & Aggression: Why Do Some Believers Lash Out?

Austin is on a roll!

Passions over 'prosperity gospel': Was Jesus wealthy?

Each Christmas, Christians tell stories about the poor baby Jesus born in a lowly manger because there was no room in the inn.But the Rev. C. Thomas Anderson, senior pastor of the Living Word Bible Church in Mesa, Arizona, preaches a version of the Christmas story that says baby Jesus wasn't so poor after all.

How To Handle Criticism From Friends and Family

How Atheists Can Use Christianity

Christian Story of Jesus's Birth Is a Myth Born of Politics

I could go even further…