Sunday, December 31, 2006

Atheist Quotes

It's been a great year here at Deep Thoughts. I've had fun writing and learning. I am already looking forward to next year. I would like to end 2006 with a link to a collection of atheist quotes which I find inspiring.

Stephen Roberts
I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours

Seneca the Younger 4 b.c.- 65 a.d.
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

Blaise Pascal
Men never commit evil so fully and joyfuly as when they do it for religious convictions

Emo Philips
When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.

Source: Atheist Quotes -

Happy New Year!

Seventh Day Church of the Secularists

Wow, finally! A Church for atheists... and a leader too!

In what can only be described as the ultimate “cosmic irony,” Sam Harris, leading atheist and best-selling author of Letter to a Christian Nation, reportedly now has the largest cult following in the world, surpassing even the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

I sure hope services are not on Sunday.


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Jesus to return in 2007?

A poll conducted by the Associated Press-AOL indicates that one in four Americans believe Jesus will return in 2007. To the 25% all of my fellow American's who believe this, I will take all bets. Please bet me on this, please! Heck... I'll even give odds.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Matisyahu - Message in a bottle

and they did a nice job.


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Chinese Graffiti Stories at microscopiq

I'm a big fan of street art and graffiti. Microscopiq found some graffiti while in China. I've been to China twice - neither yielded much in the way of graffiti as art. It is nice to see the spark alive.  

I found graffiti in mainland China, but it wasn’t easy. Over the years, I’ve heard many explanations for the lack of street art there, from the stereotypical (orderly Chinese society) to the sinister (fear of reprisals). We had little luck in major urban centers like Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing (besides tiny bits like this). So, imagine my surprise finding these big ‘ol tags under a bridge in the quaint canal town of Suzhou.

Source: Chinese Graffiti Stories at microscopiq


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Blogroll maintenance

I've made the first pass at maintenance on Mojoey's Atheist blogroll. I added 12 blogs in December and deleted 19. Most of the deleted blogs were hold overs from the days before I made the blogroll public, so no real loss. However, Somnambulist is gone. I like this blog.

The year end statistics for The Atheist blogroll are 145 blogs active with 30903 page views.

I developed a set of rules for removing blogs.

  1. No activity in two months and no link back to the blogroll then blog is deleted.
  2. No activity in three months with link to blog roll then email requesting status with deletion for non response or if inactive.

Of course, I am flexible. If your blog was removed in error, just let me know.


Salto Sobrius moves Aardvarchaeology


Everything is pointless
The Atheist Effect
Aidan Maconchy Blog
They Promised Us Jetpacks and We Got Blogs
No More Hornets - Not showing the blogroll because of a commitment to not using Javascript. Apparently, at some point in his life, Javascript abused him after a night out drinking with the boys.
North Alabama Rant
Staring at Empty Pages
The Honest Doubter
Toxic thought waste site
Lord J-Bar for Democracy, not Theocracy


Somnambulist - gone
Beware of the dogma stopped blogging on November 4th. A pity - I loved this blog
Desecrate Holy Books inactive
Excelsior inactive
Evolution 101 inactive
Gnosos inactive
Kele's Journey inactive
My boring best - has gone private
Notes of Intelligence inactive
Out of respect inactive
Positive Blasphemy inactive
Recovering Mormon inactive
Spoiled Honey inactive
The confessions of Mr. Thinkfree inactive
These twisted Times Inactive
Think outside the Church - odd, it now sells presents
TX Atheist Inactive
United Free Thinkers gone

Atheism Online is back!

I've joined and will be spending a lot of time on the site. 

Atheism Online is back! We would like to keep this site as it has been: a portal for atheists looking for general information, blogs, newsfeeds, forums and connection to the atheist and critical thought online community. We are now sponsored by Black Sun Journal, The Evangelical Atheist, Kill the Afterlife, Goosing the Antithesis, and 10,000 Reasons to Doubt the Fish. We are now adding to the FAQs for the site, and we welcome submissions or suggestions. Please contact Sean Prophet (on the contacts tab).

Source: - Home

Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science

I've been meaning to post this for a while. The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science has some outstanding resources for atheists. Check out the "Atheist Help & Resources" page.


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How old is the Grand Canyon?

I am going to file this one under "Dumb Things our government does". Via Jon Voisey of The Angry Astronomer - a trip down the rabbit hole of creationism.

Ever want to know how old the Grand Canyon is?

Well, don't ask the park services. They can't tell you.

Why not? As you might expect, it's due to pressure from Bush appointees, ignoring the protests of its own scientists as well as every scientific organization.
Read the whole thing...

This situation will last about as long as Bush remains in power - I hope.


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Friday, December 29, 2006

Saddam Hussein hanged to death

Saddam dead - Mojoey cheers, news at 11:00. Digg goes crazy.

Saddam was said to be in a defiant mood on the gallows and refused to wear a hood. He shouted: "God is great."

Source: ITV News - Saddam Hussein hanged to death

The world actually feels a little different... Naw.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Dawkins: Big Mistake

Richard Dawkins takes on creationist  and their big mistake in using the the second law of thermodynamics to support their six thousand year old earth argument. To quote Dawkins "It is important to understand the sheer magnitude of the error that creationists are attributing to their scientific colleagues."

I can't find the original volume so I may have got the exact words wrong, but I recall one of those marvellous old Punch cartoons in which every last detail is painstakingly explained. A devoted mother is looking proudly on at a military parade as her son's platoon marches past: "There's my boy, he's the only one in step!" On The Guardian letters page of December 19th 2006 , I initiated an exchange about Professor Andrew McIntosh of Leeds university, who has publicly stated that he believes the world is only 6,000 years old, and publicly stated that the theory of evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics. Both these beliefs place McIntosh out of step with his scientific colleagues, not just his platoon but the entire regiment - to paraphrase Evelyn Waugh, the whole ruddy division.

Source: The Guardian: Big Mistake


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Iranian Censorship

Via Digg and J|Turn,the weblog of Jonathan Lundqvist, an interesting story about censorship in Iran. It seems Iranian's are obsessed with the naughty bits.

I brought some magazines with me when I went back to Sweden from Iran. The thing was that I was very surprised to begin with when I found copies of The Economist in the window of a newsstand near the Tehran University in Enqelab Square.

censored magazine coverSince hotel rooms are boring, I picked up a couple of magazines – they even carried older issues. Went back and started reading. It was not until the second time I saw one of the black slabs of ink that I realized that the magazines were indeed censored! This sparked my interest, and I went back several times in the following days, and basically cleared out the store of foreign magazines. (It turned out that the shop owner had some uncensored issues of fashion magazines under the counter - which he very subtly offered me to purchase - and when I said that I’d rather buy the censored ones his jaw fell to the floor.)

Read it all: j|turn » More pictures of Iranian Censorship


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I have this theory

Since I don't believe in a metaphysical plane of existent, in a human soul, or in anything divine, I am often asked by my theist friends how I explain consciousness. When I tell them that consciousness is just a biochemical process, well... they tend to laugh. What we are, who we are, and who we become, can all be traced to the processes that reside in our brain. When the brain is altered, we are altered, when the brain stops working, we are dead. My evidence for this is unscientific, but I think it makes sense. It comes down to what can happen to a person when their brain is damaged by injury, disease, or chemicals.

I know from experience that certain memories that I should have, are missing. I suffered a sever brain injury as a young man, and poof, about a four months of my life are gone. Plus, the three years previous to the injury are scrambled. I actually remember my freshmen year in High School well, but the next three are a jumble. I can't even remember the face of an old girlfriend. This injury is analogous to damaged sectors on a computer's hard drive. Something physically damaged the section of my brain which stored memories, just like something damaged the section of my hard drive that held my installation of Chess Master. If who we are can be taken away with a hammer... I don't see the hand of god, only biology.

The process becomes more complex with disease. People can change behavior. Who they are one day, can change to somebody entirely new the next. Take this parasitic infection for example:

A common parasite can increase a women's attractiveness to the opposite sex but also make men more stupid, an Australian researcher says.

Source: Parasite turns women into 'sex kittens' - Breaking News - National - Breaking News

If a parasite can change a woman's behavior, and the woman has no self awareness of the change, it follows that our concept of self and free will is essentially dependent on a biochemical process. The conclusion I draw from this is simple. We are the product of an incredibly complex biochemical process, and nothing more.

For more on this, read Modern neuroscience is eroding the idea of free will.

My theist friends find this thought appalling. They cannot grasp that we are not divinely chosen, but instead the product of evolutionary forces which have developed our brains to the point of self awareness. I find the thought comforting. It shows we are special, and fortunate. We should not take or intelligence for granted, it is not gift. We earned it.

I also hold that intelligence can be leaned, this too unscientific, but again I fall back on experience to help guide me. I attended university late in life. I did not even start the process until I was in my late 30s. In my undergrad and graduate programs, I leaned two new skills, writing and critical thinking. Both have dramatically improved my problem solving capabilities, and by extension, by intelligence (at least I think so, I still cannot spell).

One Man Hacking has a post on this concept:

If I remember correctly, it was in one of Edward de Bono's books that I first encountered the idea that thinking might actually be a skill, and thus learnable (and improvable by practice).

Over the years, this belief has been re inforced and I was forced to pull it all together yesterday when a friend asked me "How can I improve the quality of my thinking"?

Source: One Man Hacking - Thinking as a learnable Skill

What does this mean for Joe Atheist? We don't need the divine to explain who we are, what we are, or where we are going when we die. We need reason and science. We don't need Jesus to define a moral code. We are capable of reasoning it out for ourselves. We don't need James Dobson to tell us how to live and who to love. We intuitively know his message is evil. We don't need the mystical-all-knowing-one to explain the meaning of life. We are the meaning of life.

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President Ford passed

I always like President Ford. He reminded me of my grandfather, plus he helped form my first impressions of what a president is supposed to be. I was thirteen when he became president. I remember watching his inauguration on live TV, it left a lasting impression. Once of those "where were you when" moments, at least for me.

Here is what the president has to say:


Laura and I are greatly saddened by the passing of former President Gerald R. Ford.

President Ford was a great American who gave many years of dedicated service to our country. On August 9, 1974, after a long career in the House of Representatives and service as Vice President, he assumed the Presidency in an hour of national turmoil and division. With his quiet integrity, common sense, and kind instincts, President Ford helped heal our land and restore public confidence in the Presidency.

The American people will always admire Gerald Ford's devotion to duty, his personal character, and the honorable conduct of his administration. We mourn the loss of such a leader, and our 38th President will always have a special place in our Nation's memory. On behalf of all Americans, Laura and I offer our deepest sympathies to Betty Ford and all of President Ford's family. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them in the hours and days ahead.

Source: President and Mrs. Bush Saddened by Passing of Former President Ford

Pajama media has a good index of Gerald R. Ford links up.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Pope: Worship God not technology

No worshiping technology? What else am I going to worship then? He didn't mention Cuban cigars.

Pope Benedict said in his Christmas message on Monday that mankind, which has reached other planets and worships technology, cannot live without God or turn its back on the hungry.

Source: Pope: Worship God not technology -


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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Nutball Alert: Flaming Libertarian Atheist

OK - it's a total guess, but I am willing to put money on this one. When the dust settles, this idiot will be both a libertarian and an Atheist. And... he will not have helped either cause.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A man used flammable liquid to light himself on fire, apparently to protest a San Joaquin Valley school district's decision to change the names of winter and spring breaks to Christmas and Easter vacation.

The man, who was not immediately identified, on Friday also set fire to a Christmas tree, an American flag and a revolutionary flag replica, said Fire Captain Garth Milam.

Source: Man sets self aflame in Calif. protest

He set himself on fire to protest calling winter break Christmas break. Did he miss the memo? The great atheist conspiracy to kill Christmas is supposed to meet at midnight outside of St. Benedicts to protest midnight mass. What am I going to tell the media?


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Christian Kung Fu

It's not as elegant as Chinese kung fu 

Wednesday's violence involved rival groups of monks carrying crowbars and sledgehammers - and is part of a long-standing dispute between legally recognized monks and a rebel monastery that opposes efforts by the Orthodox Church to improve relations with the Vatican.

Source: Monks holed up after rumble - A Concord Monitor Article - Your News Source - Concord NH 03301

Crowbars and sledgehammers - I'd like to see the form for that one.


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Politics or the morality police?

Santa Cruz schools rethink blood drives after gay student barred

In March, the major blood-supply organizations in the U.S., including the American Red Cross, petitioned the FDA to relax the rules on gay men, saying "the current lifetime deferral for men who have had sex with other men is medically and scientifically unwarranted." The issue has not yet been resolved, the Red Cross said.

Source: Santa Cruz schools rethink blood drives after gay student barred

I've never really thought about it before. I did not realize they excluded you based on your sexual orientation. Do they ask if you've hetro and sleep around? Because, there is not much of a difference. The rule should be HIV + or infection by other know viruses means no blood donations, regardless of your sexual orientation. The blood is tested to weed out AIDS right? So why ask the question? I smell politics and the religious right.


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War in Somalia

On Christmas Eve no less.  

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Ethiopia sent fighter jets into Somalia and bombed several towns Sunday in a dramatic attack on Somalia's powerful Islamic movement, and Ethiopia's prime minister said his country had been "forced to enter a war.

Source: Ethiopia opens 'war' on Somalia militia - Yahoo! News

Yet another war involving Muslims, who seem to fighting just about everybody else on the planet. I must admit, I don't get Islam. It's called the religion of peace, yet members of this religion are involved in war, destruction, and terrorism all over the planet.

I don't get the cultural baggage either. They cover women head to toe to stop men from being tempted. If men are tempted to sin, it is the fault of the woman. The clothing is horrendous, just look at this swimsuit for an example, you might as well wear a full suit of clothing. Or how about the veil? Why is it  objectionable for a Muslim women to show her face if public security is at stake?

I don't write about Islam much. It is not a factor in my life. But lets call a spade a spade. Islam carries some heavy cultural baggage, most of it harkens back to the dark ages. What we see in the media is fundamentalism mixed with a desire for power and an absolute certainty that they hold the moral high ground. Of course, they are wrong. And I mean wrong in the absolute sense. Wrong as in evil, wrong as in counter the the greater good.

My new years resolution - learn more about the Islam and post my thoughts here along side their America brothers - the fundies.


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One Billion Mazes

This site claims to have one billion mazes available as PDFs for download. I've drawn mazes my whole life. I don't like to solve them, but drawing them is soothing, almost like meditation. I'll draw one, scan it, and post it to Deep Thoughts some time over the holiday. It won't compare to these computer generated works, but mine will be hard to solve.

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Lack of tolerance in Kuwait

What's a Muslim to do? Don't wish a Christian merry Christmas, it's much better to figure out more ways to suppress the religious believes of others.

KUWAIT CITY: Is it religiously acceptable for Muslims to wish their Christian colleagues or acquaintances a Merry Christmas? In Kuwait, it depends on who you ask.

Days before the holiday that is not officially celebrated in this small oil-rich state, fundamentalists like Mohammed al-Kandari began urging fellow Muslims not to extend the greeting to Christians they know.

Al-Kandari, who heads the Society of Sharia, or Islamic law, told Al-Watan daily the celebration contradicted with Islam because Christians believe Jesus was the son of God.

Source: Should Muslims wish Christians a Merry Christmas? In Kuwait, some say no - Africa & Middle East - International Herald Tribune

I am anything but a moral relativists. It is wrong for Islam to exert the supremacy of their beliefs. Just as it is wrong for Christians to do so. For Al-Kandari to push for Muslims to avoid a common and civil holiday greeting is a further step down the road of intolerance. It is a road with a dead end, littered with the bodies of true believers.

Merry Christmas.

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I am against the death penalty

But this guy, I would buy lotto tickets to be his executioner.  

A Central Florida man who videotaped himself raping a toddler was sentenced to life in prison despite the fact that the judge and jurors could not watch all of the disturbing evidence in the case.

Richard Sylvia was arrested in June 2005 after being accused of raping a 2-year-old girl and videotaping the incident.

Source: Man Who Videotaped Rape Of Toddler Gets Life - Local News

In general, I don't think that the state should have the right to take a life. I say "in general" because I often waiver on the issue. People like Sylvia, they need to die. A lifetime spent in jail, is still a lifetime. He does not deserve the precious gift of life, even if spent in jail.

And yes, I know the death penalty was not on the table - but raping a 2 year old and filming it? Well, it makes me want the death penalty all the more.


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How To Be A Successful Evil Overlord

The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord. Funny - so Funny. Here are the top 1o.

  1. My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear Plexiglas visors, not face concealing ones.
  2. My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.
  3. My noble half-brother whose throne I usurped will be killed, not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell in my dungeon.
  4. Shooting is not too good for my enemies.
  5. The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragon of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box. The same applies to the object which is my one weakness.
  6. I will not gloat over my enemies predicament before killing them.
  7. When I've captured my adversary and he says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?" I'll say, "No." and shoot him. No, on second thought, I'll shoot him and then say "No."
  8. After I kidnap the beautiful princess, we will be married immediately in a quiet civil ceremony, not a lavish spectacle in three weeks' time during which the final phase of my plan will be carried out.
  9. I will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, it will not be a large red button labelled, "Danger: Don Not Push". The big red button marked "Do Not Push" will instead trigger a spray of bullets on anyone stupid enough to disregard it. Similarly, the ON/OFF switch will clearly not be labelled as such.
  10. I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum - a small hotel room well outside my border will work just as well.

Source: How To Be A Successful Evil Overlord


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ah, no thanks

Austin Cline writes "Boycott Christmas & Go To Work"

Because American culture has been dominated for so long by Christianity and Christian traditions, Christmas is celebrated widely even by non-Christians. Indeed, it's getting to the point where Christmas is becoming less Christian in nature every year. Nevertheless, many non-Christians continue to perceive the day as fundamentally Christian and so don't want to celebrate it. Because of this, there are growing numbers of non-Christians who refuse to have anything to do with the holiday, even in a secular nature. They don't exchange gifts, they don't put up decorations, and they even go to work if it's a normal work day.

Source: Boycott Christmas & Go To Work: Corporate Culture Benefits When We All Work and Ignore Religious Holidays

Christmas is my official break from work after a long year spent working my ass off. I celibate a secular Christmas and have no difficulty keeping my perspective. On the other hand, my work would eat my soul if I let them. Oh, wait - I don't have a soul.

I guess what I'm trying to say is - this is dumb.


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Sam Harris - 10 myths—and 10 truths

 The LA Times published a Sam Harris piece on Atheism.

SEVERAL POLLS indicate that the term “atheism” has acquired such an extraordinary stigma in the United States that being an atheist is now a perfect impediment to a career in politics (in a way that being black, Muslim or homosexual is not). According to a recent Newsweek poll, only 37% of Americans would vote for an otherwise qualified atheist for president.

Source: 10 myths—and 10 truths—about atheism :: Sam Harris

I've struggled with number 1 on the list for years when I was younger... until I realized that life is anything but meaningless.

1) Atheists believe that life is meaningless.

On the contrary, religious people often worry that life is meaningless and imagine that it can only be redeemed by the promise of eternal happiness beyond the grave. Atheists tend to be quite sure that life is precious. Life is imbued with meaning by being really and fully lived. Our relationships with those we love are meaningful now; they need not last forever to be made so. Atheists tend to find this fear of meaninglessness … well … meaningless.


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Carnival of the Godless # 56

God is for Suckers is hosting the 56th Carnival of the Godless. My submission, 'Tis the season, was not included. I wonder why?


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Good news from the mailbag

I've been blogging for three years. In that time, I've received several thousand emails. Most could best be called "hate mail". They tend to come from three types of people, fundamentalist Christians, Muslims, and militant atheists. I will not go into the militant atheist screeds here - it's pointless. The other hate mail often goes unread. You see, I am tied of hearing that I will be killed for criticizing Islam, and tired of hearing that I am going to hell (and many other variations on this theme) or that I can be saved. I rarely even read my mail, I have filters setup in Gmail which takes care of most it for me. I nerver post on about the hate mail - I don't like giving a voice to nutballs. Yet today, on Christmas eve, I received an email from Matt simply titled "Thanks". It made my day.

I'm a Christian, Catholic to be precise. Now before you start rolling your eyes I want you to know this isn't hate mail, far from it in fact. You see I belong to a little discussion board at

That’s right...the Flying Spaghetti monster. The board is a wonderful place where believers and Atheist alike are able to come together and are able to discuss and argue politics, religion and the like. Needless to say this board and my membership within it was the first time I've really encountered an Atheist. Being the curious sort I've found several atheist blogs and have read through them. What I found was...disheartening at best.

I'll freely admit that some of the complaints Atheist have are valid. Others I don't understand, while some I find to be ridiculous. No doubt the same can be said about us religious types and our grips. What upset me however was that instead of fighting for their position using intelligent, thoughtful and respectful arguing techniques, I've found blogs that seem to revel in the fact that just because the Bible, Koran, ETC isn't sacred to me, I have a right to rip it up in public and act shocked when someone complains about it, or how religion should be outlawed…

You sir, are the first blog that I can read and feel sympathy for. I can understand why Atheist's are having a hard time in this country. I can now appreciate the need for Tolerance, something these other blog I feel are missing. For the first time I can look at an Atheist point of view and not feel as if my Faith is being attacked.

I have only had a few hours time to read your site but I plan on reading it more regularly.

Despite our difference of religious opinion, I now believe that America should redouble its efforts in ensuring Freedom of and from religion for everyone.

I wrote to Matt. I thanked him privately, and now I am doing so publicly. He is right, tolerance is what is needed. I'll admit that at times I have not been the most tolerant blogger. In fact, at times, I've been anything but tolerant. However, I benefit from several close friends who read Deep Thoughts, know me well, and will not hesitate to hold me accountable for my intolerent words. I think of them as my informal content editors. They know that the one principle I hold sacred, that is to say, the one principle I believe in, is self determination. Calling for others to abandon their beliefs is an anathema to me.

Self determination drives my thinking towards tolerance, but tolerance with duty. The duty to confront polarizing positions, to confront fundamentalism, to confont hate, to protect the rights and beliefs of others - especially those in the minority, and most importantly (to me anyway), to protect the integrity of science.

I ate dinner with my two infromal content editors earlier in the week. One of my friends is a Christian pastor, the other a philosophical deists (and former atheist). I respect both men on many levels. We spoke at length about my complete lack of belief in anything beyond the physical world. My disbelief is total. Yet, I try hard to be honest about myself. for example, when asked who I thought was more dangerous, James Dobson (who I loath), and Richard Dawkins (who I deeply respect), I had to admit that I think Dawkins has the greater potential for harm. His core argument fails to recognized the importance of spirituality in the lives of millions of people. It is essentially intolerant - and therefor dangerous. While Dobson's sun has set, Dawkins's sun has just cleared the horizon.

Think tolerance.


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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Atheist Delusion 2: Deluded Mailbag

Part II of the tongue in cheek Christian response to letters from Atheists. 

Old blue building - Los Angeles

I am sure it looked good back in the day. Now it collects human waste.

History of Religion

Well... This is just cool - Map of the history of religion.  

How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? Our map gives us a brief history of the world's most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Ready, Set, Go!

Source: History of Religion

Religion does more harm than good

According to a poll - Religion does more harm than good.

More people in Britain think religion causes harm than believe it does good, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today. It shows that an overwhelming majority see religion as a cause of division and tension - greatly outnumbering the smaller majority who also believe that it can be a force for good.

Source: Religion does more harm than good - poll | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

If James Dobson gets wind of this, the story will be that parenting without religion produces damaged kids.


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Dawkins on Dragon’s Virgin Birth

Least we forget that Dawkins is smart too.

For a while, mysterious stories have been surfacing of captive females in zoos producing apparently fatherless offspring. For example, New Scientist reported on 25th April 2006 that Sungai, a female Komodo dragon in the London Zoo, now dead, laid fertile eggs which hatched into male offspring, despite not having seen a male for two and a half years. New Scientist offered two possible explanations. First, Sungai might have stored sperm in the way many insects do, and used it later. Second, Sungai might have cloned herself, producing offspring as genetically identical to her as her left foot is to her right. But isn’t cloning ruled out by the fact that the young lizards born by ‘virgin birth’ were all male? True clones would be genetically identical to their mother, and wouldn’t that mean they had to be female like her?

Source: Dawkins on Komodo Dragon’s Virgin Birth | Evolution Diary

I understand that if you look at the pattern on the back of the virgin Komodo Dragon, you see an image of the Virgin Mary. Plans are underway to skin her after she gives birth. Her skin will be a worshipped as a holy relic...

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TOP 20 All-Time Stupid Republican Quotes

Capital punishment is our way of demonstrating the sanctity of life."
-- Orrin Hatch



Source: Daily Kos: TOP 20 All-Time Stupid Republican Quotes

Redacted Version of Op-Ed on Iran

I am now officially counting the hours until Bush leaves office. Censoring a New York Times editorial - for no good reason - is stretching the "war on terror" a little to far. I smell fascism in the air.  

Indeed, the deleted portions of the original draft reveal no classified material. These passages go into aspects of American-Iranian relations during the Bush administration’s first term that have been publicly discussed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; former Secretary of State Colin Powell; former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; a former State Department policy planning director, Richard Haass; and a former special envoy to Afghanistan, James Dobbins.

Source: The New Your Times: What we wanted to tell you about Iran

James Dobbins? Hmm.... way to close to James Dobson. It made me shiver just a little.


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English Russia » Real Urban Art

Here is the sample of Moscow city distant suburb.

As an experiment the dull gray houses were painted to different colours.

From my point of view it’s really amazing isn’t it?

In Russia where is in winter sun is a very rare thing such kind of art might keep the winter depression away. For instance this fall-winter there were no visible sun in Moscow for more than 30 days. Due to this it was reported that a lot of people simply refuse to go to work because of an enormous depressive state they were in.

Maybe such urbanistic art would keep the depression away.

Source: English Russia » Real Urban Art

An Atheist Can Believe in Christmas

A message for those Christians who stalk me at this time of the year. Yes - I celibate Christmas. So do many other Atheists, some prominent, and some just like your average blogger.


In other words, he is a having a (relatively) holly, jolly atheistic Christmas, one that will include presents and a big family party. And Mr. Harris, who was raised by a Jewish mother and a Quaker father, sees no glaring contradiction in doing so, at least not one he feels the need to spend much time thinking about.


“Presumably your reason for asking me is that ‘The God Delusion’ is an atheistic book, and you still think of Christmas as a religious festival,” Mr. Dawkins wrote, in a reply printed here in its entirety. “But of course it has long since ceased to be a religious festival. I participate for family reasons...

Source: An Atheist Can Believe in Christmas - New York Times

Christmas has long sense passed from a religious to a secular. There is no contradiction in celebrating with family and friends, some of whom go to midnight mass, while others read a good book. I find the Christmas experience deeply enriching. I don't like the shopping and pressure to "gift" appropriately. I tend to give books and music of moderate value. and value the same in return. So... for those of you how insist on writing me the "hypocrite" letters - get a life, I'm too busy enjoying the holidays to write you back.


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Friday, December 22, 2006

I miss Rage Against The Machine

'Tis the season

I celebrated the winter solstice last night in the company of friends at the Yard House in Long Beach. I picked the date on purpose; although the significance escaped those at the small gathering, it was my annual Christmas party to those who attended. We celebrated a hard year, drank some beer, listed to good music, ate, and talked. It was a glorious non-religious event.

Some of my friends are Christian, some atheist, some into a higher power, and more than a few just don’t care. As the sun dipped below the horizon on a typical warm winter night, we watched the colors of the sunset change from blue, to deep orange, yellow, red, and finally to black. We talked about everything and nothing. All of it was important, and just as quickly forgotten. Laughter erupted spontaneously, especially as the evening progressed. As is my custom, I passed out a few gifts, most were books, as is also my custom.

A few of my fellow atheists give me a hard time over how much I enjoy the holidays. They say – “It’s reinforces the Christian’s hold on our country, we must fight” – bla bla bla. I push only Guinness during the holiday season, I sing along to Stairway to Heaven just as much as I do Silent Night. My heart is full of happiness and joy; I put aside my atheism and celebrate life with abandon – because it is all I have.

As an interesting side note – I reread Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount last night after the party. I read it every year. I hold no grudge against Jesus, as many of my atheist peers do. I just don't believe he was god, or even actually existed. I instead celebrate the wisdom that is at the heart of Christianity. I think the early authors of the New Testament did a good job of capturing a workable moral code. Last night's lesson – the Beatitudes – blessed are the meek… It makes me wonder, what really happened to the original message? How did it go so wrong?

Happy Holidays (or whatever blows your dress up)

Jesus is missing his foreskin

One of the reasons I don't get religion is because of "holy" relic's. They all tend to be something found in the middle ages, venerated, then worship as little "G" gods in their own right. Now it seems that for centuries Catholics have held a festival to worship Jesus's foreskin - only it's gone missing.

 Sorry folks - but I'm not traveling half the way around the world to visit anyone's dink, or part thereof. It's crazy.


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The Discount Store

Monday, December 18, 2006

Jesus Quotes

No, really. I'm serious. quotes about Jesus.

The purges continue at Haggard's New Life Church

Another pastor, another week, and another sex scandal. New LIfe sounds like a nice church, it really does.

A pastor who worked with young adults at New Life Church has resigned after admitting sexual misconduct and other mistakes just weeks after former church leader Ted Haggard stepped down over sexual immorality, church officials said.

Christopher Beard, who headed the TwentyFourSeven ministry that taught leadership skills to young adults, resigned Friday after admitting sexual misconduct and other mistakes, said Rob Brendle, an associate pastor at the 14,000-member church.

Source: Pastor At Haggard's Church Resigns Over Sexual Misconduct - News

The next to go will be those who've had carnal thoughts...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Nancy Pelosi, enemy of free speech

I don't know what to say here, except maybe "what the hell did you expect?". Pelosi is just as far to the left as Bush Co. is to the right. And... now she has power.

The legislation would make changes to the legal definition of “grassroots lobbying” and require any organization that encourages 500 or more members of the general public to contact their elected representatives to file a report with detailed information about their organization to the government on a quarterly basis.

The report would include identifying the organization’s expenditures, the issues focused on and the members of Congress and other federal officials who are the subject of the advocacy efforts. A separate report would be required for each policy issue the group is active on.

Source: Nancy Pelosi Targets Grassroots Freedom of Speech by Amanda B. Carpenter


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Not really a fundie - just totally nutball

Hannity & Colmes - Crazy Christians


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Feed the Muse: World War 2 in Color

A color photo archive of pictures from World War II.

 I'm a sucker for WW II stuff, especially photo's.


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Why they deny the Holocaust

Every fundamentalist movement has its victims; Evangelicals hate gays, Muslims hate Jews. None of it makes any sense.

I saw pictures of masses of skeletons, even of kids. I heard horrifying accounts of some of the people who had survived the terror of Auschwitz and Sobibor. I told my half-sister all this and showed her the pictures in my history book. What she said was as awful as the information in my book.

With great conviction, my half-sister cried: "It's a lie! Jews have a way of blinding people. They were not killed, gassed or massacred. But I pray to Allah that one day all the Jews in the world will be destroyed."

Source: Why they deny the Holocaust - Los Angeles Times

I know the feeling Ayaan Hirsi Ali describes, incredulity. How can people believe there was no Holocaust? It is like believing there is no sun. The answer - hate is taught, delusions are shared.


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Richard Dawkins on "other" The Late Late Show

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Disposable Email Address

need a quick email so that you can leave that bogus blog comment on some fundie website or to gain access to a restricted newsgroup? 

How many times has this happened to you? You visit a web site but registration is required, with a valid email address needed for confirmation. But maybe it's just a message board you want to read one time only, or a store you have no interest in shopping from again and from which you don't want to be saddled with a lifetime of spam. And you can't use a made-up email address because you have to confirm a link or send back a reply.

Source: The Disposable, Simple Email Address : Christopher Null : Yahoo! Tech

Christopher Null point you to 10 minute mail. Why didn't I think of this? I like to terrorize the weak minded and uniformed.


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Michael Bywater: But How Does An Atheist Swear?

I found Lost Worlds this morning. What a rush.

I don't know what sort of minority this puts me in -- not one that gets government protection or funding for a No Faith School, that's for sure -- but I'm an emotional theist, an instinctive deist, a rational atheist and a philosophical agnostic (I am also a pretty poor philosopher, so my Huxleyite agnosticism isn't really worth the sacred holy text it's not included in).

And, of course, just like you are all going to do, I'm reading Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion. It's magnificent polemic and of course has holes in. (But bread has holes in, as does Gruyère, and bread and Gruyère and Dawkins are all equally nourishing.)

Source: Lost Worlds: But How Does An Atheist Swear?

But... why a rush? Because this author of Big Babies and Lost Worlds, references a 1998 speech by Douglas Adams called "Is there an Artificial God?"

This was originally billed as a debate only because I was a bit anxious coming here. I didn't think I was going to have time to prepare anything and also, in a room full of such luminaries, I thought 'what could I, as an amateur, possibly have to say'? So I thought I would settle for a debate. But after having been here for a couple of days, I realised you're just a bunch of guys! It's been rife with ideas and I've had so many myself through talking with and listening to people that I'd thought what I'd do was stand up and have an argument and debate with myself. I'll talk for a while and hope sufficiently to provoke and inflame opinion that there'll be an outburst of chair- throwing at the end.

Before I embark on what I want to try and tackle, may I warn you that things may get a little bit lost from time to time, because there's a lot of stuff that's just come in from what we've been hearing today, so if I occasionally sort of go… I was telling somebody earlier today that I have a four-year-old daughter and was very, very interested watching her face when she was in her first 2 or 3 weeks of life and suddenly realising what nobody would have realised in previous ages—she was rebooting!

Source: - Is there an Artificial God?

What a great way to start the weekend. Douglas Adam's is brilliant. I love his work. I met him once, back in the mid 80's. He was doing a book signing at the now defunct A Change of Hobbit bookstore in Santa Monica. A group of us were playing the text adventure game based on Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. We were stuck on the bridge of the space ship and frustrated. Adam's gave us a few hints, it did not help. (play the game here),

There was a time when computer games didn't have graphics. Or at least they couldn't have graphics and sound at the same time. They certainly couldn't have graphics, sound and enough content to keep even a human being amused for more than a few minutes. So they had text....

Take that you playstation babies! I dare you to try this brain buster!


Friday, December 15, 2006

Fudie Quote: Ellison should not sit in Congress

"Enough evidence exists for Congress to question Ellison's qualifications to be a member of Congress as well as his commitment to the Constitution in view of his apparent determination to embrace the Quran and an Islamic philosophy directly contrary to the principles of the Constitution." -Former judge Roy Moore

Source: WorldNetDaily: Muslim Ellison should not sit in Congress

Dobson distorted research to denounce same-sex parents

Why an I not surprised? James Dobson will do anything, even distort research (that's lying right?), in the name of scoring a few point for his team. It is disgusting.

Psychologist Carol Gilligan and Dr. Kyle Pruett, the two researchers cited by Focus on the Family chairman James C. Dobson in his December 12 (previously dated December 10) Time magazine guest column arguing that same-sex parenting is harmful to children, have both accused Dobson of misusing their research. As Media Matters for America previously noted, Dobson made unfounded assertions in the column about gay and lesbian parenting while appearing to distort "social-science evidence" to claim "that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father."

Source: Media Matters - Experts say Dobson's Time column distorted their research to denounce same-sex parents


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Smoke Stacks

At least I think they are smoke stacks. They could be chillers. All I know is this a shot from the refinery that has not gone boom in at least the last 25 years.


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Here child, I can heal those stretch marks

Two more alleged monsters, Christian Pastors no less, stand accused of molesting young women in their respective Baptists Churches somewhere in rural Missouri. One the the pickup lines, "I can heal those stretch marks". The pastors even went so far as to tell their young female worshipers the reading the bible is for men only.

Another woman who left is Charyn Epling. She says she wasn't encouraged to read the Bible in this community because it was preached to her that only men of God read it.

Charyn Epling is now reading the Bible. The first thing she learned, she says, is that "nowhere in the Bible does it state that you can touch a child. Nowhere. You cannot sexually touch a child, and that's basically what this is all about."

Source: NPR : Missouri Church Leaders Accused of Child-Sex Abuse

What do you get when you mix isolation, authority, old men, young children, and fundamentalist religion? The potential for sexual exploitation. We should not be surprised by this story, it happens every day. The real issue is control. How did the elders or deacons of this church allow a situation where these men could abuse their office?

Pastors Raymond Lambert & George Otis Johnson both claim they are innocence. This is the real test. If innocent, which is doubtful given the facts to date, then we all own them an apology. If guilty - then all bets are off. As "men of god", they should own up to their transgressions publicly, or face the rest of their life at the end of the receiving line in state prison. Claiming innocence while guilty seems like something that should be out of character for a pastor.

One night in jail it was getting late.
He was butt-raped by a large inmate, and he screamed.
But the guards paid no attention to his cries.

Source: Date Rape - Sublime

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My drive to work

...and a test of the Picasa web album feature. It sure was easy.

Also, my submission for Theme Thursday "cold". I've got news for you east coasters, this is a cold as winter gets here in LA. I was driving with my window down.

Flame Warriors by Mike Reed

I found this on Digg today, Mike Reed is right on the money with his representation of the different types of people who haunt the message boards, and funny too.

Atheist is Deacon's cyber-doppelganger. Deacon and Atheist hold equally fervent, though diametrically opposed beliefs about religion, and both feel compelled to share those beliefs at every possible opportunity. Should an unsuspecting forum member make even a passing comment about faith or spirituality of any flavor, Atheist will descend like one of the Furies, mercilessly hectoring all of the ignorant and delusional believers about the sordid history of the church and the pernicious effects of religion on society. After a few of Atheist’s anti-religious jeremiads most other Warriors will avoid the subject altogether, though Evil Clown may egg him on a little, and Philosopher may amuse himself by pointing out flaws in his reasoning. If a forum has the misfortune of having both Deacon and Atheist as members, the bickering often continues until Nanny or Admin pulls the plug. Bliss Ninny can also sometimes squelch the conversation by saying, “Well, everyone has a right to their [sic] opinion.”

Source: The Atheist - Flame Warriors by Mike Reed

Of course, one of my friends fits the Philosopher description quite well. You know who you are.

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I find this blog strangly comforting

The dullest blog in the world

Some pencils were scattered around on my desk. I picked them up one by one. I placed the pencils in the drawer which I use to store pencils.

I opened a drawer by pulling it towards me. I picked up the object I needed and removed it from the drawer. Having done so I pushed the drawer with my hand, thus closing it.

I had several pieces of paper in front of me. I looked at one of them for a few moments, then put it aside. Having done so I picked up another piece and looked at it for a while.

Nothing about stacking pennies though. How odd.


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Feeding on carrion with Michelle Malkin

At times, this woman pisses me off. Like today - Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat from South Dakota, may have had a stroke. Malkin's mouths platitudes.

It's unconfirmed, but word is that U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) has suffered a stroke. First and foremost, keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers. There's already a rush to calculate the political consequences in the Senate. Left-wing blog Raw Story has details:

Source: Michelle Malkin: Report: Senator suffers stroke

But bubbling beneath the smile - the gleeful Republican power calculation. "If" he dies....

If Johnson were to pass away, or be forced to retire, the US Constitution delegates the task of appointing a replacement to South Dakota lawmakers, who in turn, often turn that task over to the Governor. The Governor of that state, Mike Rounds, is a Republican, and both houses of the state legislature are dominated by Republicans. - via MSNBC


China's white dolphin - gone

Baiji beer The white dolphin known as baiji, shy and nearly blind, dates back some 20 million years. Its disappearance is believed to be the first time in a half-century, since hunting killed off the Caribbean monk seal, that a large aquatic mammal has been driven to extinction.

Source: China's white dolphin called extinct after 20 million years -

My experience with China tells me I probably had baijii as part of a meal on my last visit. I ate almost everything else that walks, crawls, fly's, swims, or slithers. And everyone knows, if they can sell it to you, they will. It was all good too - except the snails. The snails are a definite pass the next time around (which should be January).

Of course, most people blame the Baiji's extinction on the Three Gorges Dam, and rightly so.

Here is a link to They have the whole depressing story.


Feed the Muse: Hunter S. Thomspon Photos

*** Before you follow the link - be warned - some images are not work safe (NWS). ***

I've always been a fan of Thomspon's writing. I've even seen a couple of his photo's. Now, a collection of his work is on display in Los Angeles at the M+B Gallery through January 30th. I know where I'm going Saturday. Oh, wait - I've got the Christmas thing at my sisters in Temecula Saturday. Bah Humbug, she'll never miss me. It's not like she reads my blog.

I would show you a copy of my favorite photo, fishing with guns - but M+B has this scary copyright thingy "Entire Content Copyright Protected: M+B Los Angeles, LLC © 2004-2006". The last time I posted a picture that was tagged such, a lawyer type wrote me a nasty email.

R.I.P Peter Boyle

One of my favorite actors has passed away.

Peter Boyle, who left the life of a monk to study acting and went on to become one of the most successful character actors of his time in films like “The Candidate,” “Young Frankenstein” and “Monster’s Ball,” then capped his career with a long stint as the meddlesome father on the hit sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” died Tuesday evening in Manhattan. He was 71.

Source: Peter Boyle, Father on ‘Raymond,’ Dies at 71 - New York Times

My favorite role - Young Frankenstein of course.

Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against The West

As an atheist, it's nice to be able to say that Islam is focused on overthrowing Christianity because that would mean a billion people are not plotting my death or conversion. Only - we all know what Islam says about atheists.

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Another Reason for Texans to Be Embarrassed

I was reading the blog today when I noticed this article about the incredible lack of intelligence in our democratically elected leadership.

I’m still incredulous of what I have just read. Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), has been appointed the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on which he has served for the last six years. This is a person you’d expect to be more than basically knowledgeable of the world in which he lives. Well, surprise! You’d expect wrong. Silvestre Reyes just found out last week that al-Qaeda is Sunni, and what Hezbollah is. Actually, I’m not so sure these items were resolved, I just know that when asked, he whined about being asked questions so late in the afternoon.

Here are the schadenfreudelicious tidbits for you all to enjoy:

Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?

“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.

Source: Blog · Another Reason for Texans to Be Embarrassed

Jeremy Sapienza was responding to Democrats’ New Intelligence Chairman Needs a Crash Course on al Qaeda by Jeff Stein, CQ National Security Editor. After reading the whole article, I had a thought... We test our kids before they can graduate from High School, why not test elected officials before they can chair important committees?


Al-Qaeda: Kill the Christians

Interesting, members of one religion expressing a desire to kill members of another. Why would a peacefull religion do this?

An al-Qaeda manual made a surprise reappearance on October 31st in a new repackaged, reformatted edition on an online jihadi forum associated with the terrorist organization. The manual, A Guide for the Undecided on the Legitimacy of Killing Christians, (Irshad al-Hayara fi Ibahat Dimaa al-Nasara) made its first appearance back in September 2002, published by the al-Qaeda “think tank,” the now defunct Center for Islamic Research and Study, in their bi-weekly magazine, Sawt al-Jihad (The Voice of Jihad). Translated excerpts from the 56-page manual, authored by Hafid Abu-Basir, are available from the Site Institute

Source: FrontPage :: Al-Qaeda: Kill the Christians by Patrick Poole

Of course, they don't need a manual for Atheists - their philosophy is submit or die.


Wired running social experiment

The November cover Story covered Atheism - Wired has posted every last comment on the story, thousands of them.  

We would have sworn that our November cover story on New Atheism was going to generate a firestorm of reader criticism, delivered with a side order of brimstone just for good measure. Wrong. You all just started calmly talking. And talking. And talking. We got more responses to this article than to any piece in memory. Brimstone quotient: low.

Source: Wired News: So. Many. Letters

For example:

From Paul Dernavich
Topic: Church of the Non-Believers,Issue 14.11,Religion

Can we fully trust our eyes and minds to inform us about reality? You conclude perhaps not, but then you left two dots unconnected, because although the gaudy megachurch you wrote about is also in service to that idea, so is the entire career of "New Atheist" Penn Jillette.

It would have been fascinating to put all of these so-called New Atheists in a room and have them interview each other. Because when somebody like Dawkins says he believes in democracy, he's lying. The book of Genesis idea that man is created in the image of God - now that sounds like a great basis for democracy. But these leading edge non-believers all betray an attitude that, for the good of humanity, political power needs to be wrestled from the hands of the weak and stupid and placed in the hands of the enlightened few. That sounds suspiciously like the philosophies - call them Old Atheism if you will - that democracies rightly fought to destroy throughout the 20th century.

The full range of response are covered, surprisingly few are hateful. It is worth an hour to read them. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry, and some will make you say, and some will make you scratch your head and wonder what they put in the water in Plano Texas.

From D Marshall
Topic: Church of the Non-Believers,Issue 14.11,Religion

As an analogy of sorts, consider the plight of the pre-born: comfy and cozy inside momma's womb without a care in the world or a clue that one exists. Think junior believes there's life after birth? Absurd! It's beyond his comprehension and defies his realm of understanding. His current environment offers no evidence of the life beyond and there‚s no way we post-borns can tell him "everything's gonna be OK - just you wait...this place will blow your mind!" Still, something far greater awaits him that, at present, he has no capacity to understand.

d marshall
plano, texas

Wired had done a good thing for Atheism. We should all read and post.


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