Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Keith connects the dots....

...VERY effectively!

I am not a fan of partisan media lap-dogs....

Which I believe Keith can be at times....

But here Mr. Olbermann does a very good job at showing what BUSH is:

A lying and deceitful coward at worst!

An impotent puppet at best!

Watch and L-I-S-T-E-N!

video

R.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What Christmas means to me...

Ever since I accepted my own atheistic-agnosticism regarding God and religions, I've been deeply conflicted over how I should handle the Christmas Season.

Recently I was listening to a podcast of "The Thomas Jefferson Hour". I'm not going to get into what the podcast is about if it interests you go see for yourself. The creator and host of the show, Clay Jenkinson quoted an American living abroad who was asked what Christmas means to her she said:
“Christmas is for everybody because it’s about the possibility that God could come come into human life and inspire renewal. That’s what this story is about. It’s about God deliberately coming into our world and offering us a chance to start fresh.”

I was floored by the beauty, simplicity and the perfect wisdom of this view.


Then I thought, every year after the shortest day of the year (in the Northern hemisphere anyway) the days start to grow longer again, this spoke to the spirits of our ancestors. It conveyed the idea that if the sun could be reborn or renewed, so couldn’t man. When you look at it this way it’s perfectly understandable why the early Christian church decided to place the birth of Christ so close to this very symbolic celestial event.

The idea of renewal is a beautiful thing and it’s one I try to impart to my children.

We can all begin again every year if we choose!

So given the more transcendent idea of renewal does it really matter if God REALLY impregnated a virgin (Mary) who LITERALLY gave birth to a divine being (Jesus Christ)?

I think the metaphorical truth is much more important than the a literal truth.

Just an atheists view…

And I am not afraid to say it:

Merry Christmas to you ALL.

Robert





“And you ask me what i want this year

and i try to make this good and clear
just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

cause i don’t need boxes wrapped in strings
and designer love and empty things,
just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

so take these words
and sing out loud
cause everyone is forgiven now
cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

and its someplace simple where we could live
and something only you can give
and let’s faith and trust and peace while we’re alive

and the one poor child who saved this world
and there’s 10 million more who probably could
if we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

so take these words
and sing out loud
cause everyone is forgiven now
cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

i wish everyone was loved tonight
and somehow stop this endless fight
just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

so take these words
and sing out loud
cause everyone is forgiven now
cause tonight’s the night the world begins again”

Goo Goo Dolls - “Better Days”

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Should we give Christianity its due?

I was watching a debate today between Daniel Dennett and Dinesh D'Souza...

If you are interested:

It's here

From the debate I have somewhat better opinion, not GREAT but better, of D'Souza. I still think he is way off on many matters but I don't hate him as I used to.

During the the question and answer session a question was asked about Scandinavia and how they can be a majority atheist population and yet have societies that seem so much more civilized and enlightened. The evidence presented was:

- They give more to charity.
- They have lower crime rates.
- Their schools out perform most other countries including the United States.

Dennett told a story about how he was planting a hay field, and a neighbor made a suggestion. The suggestion was that he plant oats as a nurse crop along with his hay seed. Mr. Dennett asked his neighbor what a nurse crop was. A nurse crop comes up first and protects the slower growing hay.

As Dennett explained Christianity was the scaffolding that our more modern and enlightened morals are based on

I'd never heard it quite put this way but I was intrigued by the concept.

Perhaps we atheists should give the good aspects of Christianity their due. The morals of early Christianity were an improvement over the previous morals.

But I don't think they are the end. If they were women would still be considered property.

Scandinavia was ostensibly Christian at an earlier point, now they are irreligious or atheistic, and they excel in societal matters more than the God-fearing United States...

So what accounts for this?

Robert

Monday, December 3, 2007

Evil Teddy Bear....




So the mob in Sudan called for the execution of a teacher whose class had the temerity of a naming a teddy bear "Mohamed".

This would be funny if it weren't so freakin' sad!

This is the state of thought in the street of the Muslim world.

We in the West, look at this and shake our collective heads.

I wonder though...

If my country, the United States, didn't have the safe guards in place that it does: the rule of law and a separation of church and state.

Could I be who I am and think as I do?

Would a Christian Fundamentalist Nation suffer an atheist to live?

Maybe it wouldn't be that bad, but would I not be a second-class citizen?

Are the rabidly fundamentalist types in our culture only held in check by a secular government?

Something to ponder!

Robert

Mr. Deity and the Notes - Season 2 Episode 4


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Humanity's greatest tool...

SCIENCE!!!

(For an explanation, go here)

And one of Humanities BIGGEST Tools...
(More of his drivel can be found here, if you are so inclined.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why I call my self an Atheist....

This past Sunday, LWBUT posed a question on his blog.

The question was:

Just WHO’s Universe IS this anyway

My response was as follows:

Maybe it’s ours! :)

Maybe God created it for us and it’s His gift to us.

Ours is to explore and understand it, and through that endeavor, understand Him?

Just a thought. :)

Later, in response to a another commenter's positive response I further qualified my statement with following:

I should qualify my earlier statement:

I didn’t mean to say God created it only for us (humanity)…there may well be other intelligences in the Universe… it would be theirs too. And why not…

All evidence suggests it’s a really BIG place!!

LWBUT then asked me:
could you please ‘explain’ to J just how you ‘arrived’ at….(my response to LWBUT's question)
This little diatribe is my endeavor to do just that!

So if I read you correctly, LWBUT, you are asking for my personal statement of belief, which should illuminate how I come to my House Rules.

First, let me relay a bit of United States political history. Back in May of 2001 one of the US Senators from Vermont, Jim Jeffords, left the Republican Party and became an Independent. He decided to leave because he could not in good conscience reconcile his personal values with those of the Republican Party. Think about the courage of that course of action. He decided to become an Independent and for the purposes organization he would caucus with the Democrats.

Now you are no doubt asking:

"What the Hell does this have to do with you Robert? Why are you relaying this bit of history?"

Because my spiritual situation is analogous to it. I WAS a Catholic (Christian), I left that religion because I could not in good faith call myself a Christian or a Catholic while not subscribing to the majority of the beliefs such a title would require. I became a free-thinker. For the purposes of organization I call myself an atheist.

This is not a decision I took lightly! There are many reasons why I came to this action. Now, I'll try to outline them.

Over many years I came to a realization:

The God that we Christians believe in based on the Bible is nothing more than a petty tyrant. We are anthropomorphizing the almighty into a spoiled child hovering over ants on sidewalk with a magnifying glass.

There are many instances in both the Old and New Testaments that describe God with many human faults and failings.

I am not going to outline them here, for that is not the purpose of this entry.

These human faults and failings that are being used to describe God, demean the very idea of God.

So I came to the conclusion that the approximation of God made in the Christian Bible is no more valid to modern 3rd millennium human beings than the Earth centered cosmology of the distant past.

This my first statement of personal belief:

"1. I do not believe in the existence of GOD as described in any version of the Christian Bible, Old and/or New testaments, nor the Islamic Koran."

All Christians, whether they admit to it or not, are atheists with regards to belief in other Gods described by different religious traditions.

The difference between myself and one of those Christians is I add one more God to my list of mythological Gods.

Now please read that statement again. Is there anything in there that implicitly or explicitly says: "There is NO God!"

I can't find any way to twist it to make such a claim!

My contention is that no one can make a statement like, "There is NO god", and then prove the assertion using logic and reason.

Most atheists assert something different.

A thinking atheist will say: "I have no evidence to logically and reasonably support the existence of a God."

That is not to say that no such evidence exists. There may very well be physical evidence of a supreme being. It hasn't been found yet.

Some philosophical theists may take issue with that statement which they are free to do. They'll say that there are many good arguments for the existence of God:

Cosmological · Ontological · Transcendental · Teleological

Do these arguments really rely on evidence of a physical nature?

The first three seem, to me anyway, more based on philosophical or religious sophistry.

The fourth argument, the teleological, comes close to the physical evidence standard. Garden variety theists use this argument all the time. Basically this is the fine-tuning argument which says that the universe is too perfectly tuned for our existence hence God created it as such.

Well maybe. Even if any or all of these arguments are correct or valid, does it logically follow from any of them that the Christian concept of God is real?

The answer is a resounding NO!

These arguments do nothing to advance a proof of the Christian God. They are concerned with the general idea of God, not the specific Christan God.

The Christian idea of God is only supported by the Bible, a book of questionable authorship translated multiple times over 2000 years. Realistically you cannot appeal to logic and/or reason for it's defense. It is, by definition, a matter of faith.

If your belief in God is routed in your faith in the Bible and you are comfortable with that, I cannot argue with that nor would I try to. True faith is beyond the scope of logic and reason. If however you are trying to argue for the truth of Christianity from the standpoint of logic and reason, I'm sorry, but you're trying build a fortress on shifting sand.

Now you may be asking:
"So what is it that you believe in Robert?!"
That's a valid question.

I'm still searching for a closer approximation to God.

I don't know for sure what the nature of God is.

I have come to another statement of belief with the help of Mr. Sagan:

2. "I believe that we are a way for the cosmos to know itself."

We are stardust! The atoms in our bodies were synthesized in the violent explosions of stars billions of years ago. That matter has arisen through the natural laws of the Cosmos to consciousness and intelligence. Now that intelligence is contemplating its origins. What could be more beautiful?

How does anything I just said demean us?

I think it makes life more precious, more priceless.

But what is our purpose?

Where did this Cosmos and the natural laws that govern it come from?

The short answer?

I don't know.

But I think that this mystery is the essence of the God question.

It brings me to my "House Rules"

The Cosmos and our existence in it is a gift from God!

The Cosmos belongs to all of us who are conscious and who are able to appreciate its beauty.

Through the exploration and eventually understanding of this Cosmos we will come to understand that which is responsible for its existence, God if you like.
I hope this helps you to understand me a bit more.

R
"We can walk our road together
If our goals are all the same.
We can run alone and free
If we pursue a different aim.
Let the truth of love be lighted,
Let the love of truth shine clear.
Sensibility, armed with sense and liberty,
With the Heart and Mind united in a single perfect Sphere."
- Neil Peart from "Hemispheres"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Perspective as a consciousness raiser...


MARCH 2004: On the 63rd Martian Day of its tour of duty, the Mars Rover “Spirit” raises its “eye” skyward and captures a series of mosaics of the horizon just one hour before sunrise to produce another symbolic nail in the coffin of God. Those images combined to form the first image ever taken of Earth from the surface of a planet beyond the Moon.




(click for larger image)

While this man-made robot and its brother, “Opportunity”, wander around on another planet looking back at us, they see no mountains. They see no oceans. They see no countries, no borders, no people and no religions. They see no traffic jams and they see no wars. They see no right and they see no wrong. They also see no souls heading off to Heaven - and in the infinite blackness that surrounds them, they see no sign of any God that would be playing “The Sims” on that tiny little insignificant speck.

Imagine how expensive this image is. How much did it cost to produce this undeniable piece of evidence? Was it worth it? You bet it was. It was worth every single cent and more to save us from destroying ourselves in the name of religion. Sometimes you have to go outside and look in to find a new perspective on life. Spirit went a long way to help mankind open its eyes to show us reality and to quash irrational fantasy. Let’s not waste our lives killing those whose “faith” differs from our own. Why are so many chasing the folly of eternal Paradise away from our little speck? This little speck is our Paradise and it won’t be eternal.

- With grateful acknowledgment to Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A rare plug...

One of the many podcasts I listen to is by a great guy by the name of Stephen Gibson.

His podcast is called Truth-Driven Thinking.

I like to think of Stephen and myself as fellow travelers.

Stephen has written a lovely work of fiction interspersed with some eye-opening facts.

The name of the book is "A Secret of the Universe".


I highly recommend it to open-minded Christians and tolerant Atheists and Agnostics alike.

People of each viewpoint can get something out of this book.

This book has helped me to moderate my more strident views

Please give Stephen a chance to open your eyes a little wider no matter which side of the fence on which you fall!

I think you'll be glad you did!

Robert

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Quote of the day....

by one of my patron Saints...

“We have a choice. We can enhance life and come to know the universe that made us, or we can squander our fifteen billion year heritage in meaningless self destruction.”

-Carl Sagan

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Some might have the opinion that I have it in for believers. This is not the case. People are free to believe or disbelieve as their conscience dictates as far as I'm concerned.

It's when someone, anyone, decides that there belief system should receive preferential treatment that I feel the need to attack!

Be Warned!

R

Friday, August 3, 2007

It's time....

image


"Why do you not believe in God?"

I will qualify my disbelief in human anthropomorphizing of 'god' in the following way.

Consider the following questions:

Do you believe in Zeus?
Do you believe in Horus?
Do you believe in Pele?
Do you believe in Odin?
Do you believe in Allah?
Do you believe in Yahweh or Jehovah?

Now consider that 90% of Americans will answer the the first five of preceding questions in the negative and will answer the last in the affirmative.

So the only REAL difference between myself and a theist is I believe in one less god.

Now let me state this for there to be no confusion.

I do not have proof that there is no GOD at all.

I also have no proof of leprechauns, fairies, unicorns, the Loch Ness monster, bigfoot or sasquatch or the Jersey Devil.

I don't believe that any of these exist. Can I prove that they do not exist? No I cannot. I can't prove a negative.

As for the deities listed previously, plenty of people in the world today fully believe that one of these examples exist.

My questions this: What is the basis for your belief?

I have concluded that there is insufficient evidence for any of the examples I just named.

What evidence is there to support the existence of ANY of those gods?

90% of Americans will say there is no evidence for the first 5 gods. But when a candidate of that same 90% consider Yahweh or Jehovah, he or she will no doubt come up with all sorts of evidence gleaned from biblical evidence, personal experience or a convoluted pseudo-scientific proof.

Now ask a citizen of an Arabic country to take the same test. What do you think this citizen will say? This person will almost certainly reject Yahweh or Jehovah as the myth. What accounts for this glaring discrepancy?

Is it not logical to conclude the the flavor of deity you choose has much more to do with culture you are born into than any convoluted reasoning?

I will not go into my own reasoning for rejecting the biblical and 'scientific' evidence for rejecting Yahweh, it is well beyond the scope of this writing. But I consider the proposed 'proofs' for the biblical God to be wanting and ridiculous to say the least.

I feel it's important to state that to my conclusion was not reached lightly. This issue is something I have struggled with from a very early age. I have endeavored to be open-minded and intellectually honest in my pursuit of knowlege and truth. I should also state that I do not completely reject the idea of God completely. I have chosen to reject the archaic and logically absurd Gods of the ancient mythology which I'm sorry to say includes Yahweh or Jehovah or whatever name you'd like to label the Christian God with. That said, there may indeed be a supreme being responsible for the organization of the physical laws that govern the universe. But every fiber of my being tells me that it would be a being far beyond my current level of comprehension and knowlege. If such a candidate God wanted my reverence, it would know how best to reach me, and it would have it.

Some might view my lack of faith as a character flaw. Well, maybe. But this is what I am. I have not chosen Atheism because of some deep-seeded need to 'sin'. I have come to my 'atheistic-agnosticism' after many years of reading and philosophical thought. I base my views and conclusions about the universe on science and empirical reasoning...the greatest tools we have. These tools are hard won and the legacy of almost a thousand years of thinking men and women before me. I am in very good company!

"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." - Isaac Newton

"Where do your morals come from?"

I feel this is as loaded a question as ever there was. When I hear this from the lips of a fundamentalist bible-believer (I say that because I have NEVER heard it from anyone else) what they are really saying is something similar to this:

"Without a deep belief in God you'll be free to do anything: stealing, murdering, lying. It's all on the table for you because in your view, you answer to no one. Without Christianity we'd all be savages."

Really? Do you REALLY believe that?

Consider this for a moment: Wolves.... do wolves run around murdering each other for no reason? No! Usually when a wolf takes the life of another animal, wolf or otherwise, generally there is a good reason for it. Wolves like Humans are social animals. They have instinct in their brains that says: Hey it's a good thing to live in a pack and to be cooperative. We get to eat better, we can protect our young more easily. The whole safety in numbers thing. From where did the idea come that it's good to cooperate with your brethren rather than kill them? Was there a lupine version of Moses that brought forth The Lupine Commandments? Do I really need to continue this?

Wolves clearly inherited this behavior from their ancestors. Maybe it wasn't even in wolves in which this behavior originated but a species from which they evolved. Whatever view you choose to accept clearly the pack mindset has been a good thing for our furry friends. Until we humans recently took a dislike to them, wolves were common almost everywhere on the Earth. Very successful animals!

Now consider humans. Would we be able to cooperate in societies if we allowed murder, theft and false witness to go unchecked and/or unpunished? Now whether you accept the scientific view of human origins or not you have to conclude that early human societies would have had to come to up with some guidelines or rules that encouraged and enhanced those social behavior. Did these rules really need to be handed down from a supreme being? Don't you think humans would have figured out very early on that they were much more successful working together than separately? Couldn't an argument be made that what we call morals today were matters of survival thousands of years ago? These morals evolved from the rules that primitive societies came up with to enhance their survival. I'm sorry but these morals and the moral sense arose long before Christianity or even Judaism.

Christians tout the Bible as the our basis for modern moral life. Really? Do you REALLY believe that?

The Bible advocates stoning for adultery, homosexuality and for disobedient children! Do modern Americans advocate these policies? Of course we don't! Because they are desperate and cruel. Where did we get that idea? Some would answer: Jesus swept away that law and gave us a new law. But did Jesus not say something like: I come to fulfill the old law not to dissolve it? That aside, if you view then morals of the Old Testament as anachronistic then why continue to read it? Why not rip those pages out? Let's get rid of this old and primitive myth?

The most successful societies in human history had complex systems of law and government. Democracy is considered by most people to be the highest achievement in human governance. Did this concept come directly from God or even holy writ? I defy you to find one passage in any holy book, Bible or Koran that says Democracy is the 'God approved' method of governance. in fact I would argue that the greatest abomination in human history: Slavery is supported and even encouraged in the Bible!

Do we hold the son responsible for the fathers sin? Read Genesis! Original Sin makes it clear that God thinks it perfectly acceptable to do just that. Modern American jurisprudence has no such concept.

In fact if you were to read history you would find the the fall of classical civilization (Rome) coincided with the rise of Christianity. Coincidence? Maybe. What cannot be doubted is who was in charge during the Dark Ages. Do I really have to say it? During the Dark ages and the Middle Ages the powers that be were responsible acts of desperate cruelty: the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc. These acts were endorsed if not led by religious people. Did that make them moral? They felt they were doing God's work. Do we still feel that way?

How is it that we have gone beyond most of the mores of the Bible?

The answer is simple:

Morals are rules and practices that enhance and encourage our survival and allow for peaceful cooperative soceity. Our morals like humanity itself evolve over time. They need not be handed down by a God!


"What is the meaning of life?"

"We are a way for the Universe to know itself." - Carl Sagan

No quote or philosophy says it more beautifully and succinctly than Carl did in his epic television series "Cosmos"

I don't feel the need to add anymore to this!

"
Is atheism a religion?"

No!

Atheism is a philosophy. Atheists don't have a church. They don't pray to Charles Darwin or Einstein or Stephen Hawking.

Atheists generally don't like to organize.

I remember reading somewhere that organizing atheists is akin to trying to herd cats! I think it might have been Richard Dawkins who said it.

So what is a religion? This is what Miriam Webster says.

A religion is a cause, principle or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.

What the hell is ardor? What is faith? Again Miriam says this and this respectively.

So religion is a set beliefs held to with passion and zeal and without the need for proof.

Naturally, a person who subscribes to a religion is someone who believes in a set of beliefs with passion and zeal without the need for proof! As a side note:
I can legitimately make the argument that theists who resort to trying prove their God by appealing to reason don't have faith in their beliefs.

Given this definition as I have fleshed it out, can atheism really be considered a religion?

Miriam says this.

To be clear Miriam's says nothing about faith. In point of fact it says almost nothing at all other than a disbelief in a deity or the doctrine that there is no deity.

My contention is that modern atheists don't presume to argue from faith. Their basis for knowledge is reason and evidence. Which is the antithesis of religion.

Modern atheists do not generally believe anything. They accept conclusions for which there is adequate evidence and reason. Consequently, I feel that the evidence for God as described in the Bible i.e. Yahweh or Jehovah is inadequate. In fact I can and do argue that the evidence shown to me in nature and reality rule out the God described by the Bible.

I don't believe in, I ACCEPT, based upon the evidence and reason, the following theories:

Einstein's Theories of Special and General Relativity
Darwin's Theory of Evolution
Quantum Theory

Now, all of these theories are in their own ways, incomplete, but they each explain aspects of the the physical world FAR better than anything previous.

If a theory comes along that better explains the observations I will then accept that new theory!

That's the beauty of my world view it allows for new paradigms!


"If you don't pray, what do you do in troubled times?"

This is a tough one.

Having been born to a Roman Catholic family and taught the Roman Catholic dogma from a very young age, it's very hard to turn your back completely on the idea of prayer. But do I really need to?

I have never ever said: "There is no GOD!" What I have said that I have sound and logical reasons for rejecting the parodies of God held to by most religions.

In essence prayer is the beseeching of the almighty to change his supposed plan for you.

At times of crisis people will like to ask for help of someone they feel is more powerful themselves to assist them in the face of a seemingly insurmountable problem. This is natural.

However, when I consider Christian prayer i see problems.

In the Christian view God has a plan does he not? Everything is unfolding as he (God) desires isn't it? So if God is going to do what he wants anyway why bother praying for anything? Just accept all that happens as the will of the Lord God almighty and suck it up!

George Carlin said "What's the use of being God if every run-down schmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?"

The point is this: I feel that all prayer(s) are more for the person praying than for a God. You can make the argument that prayer is a form of meditation that focuses the mind, draws oneself inward and serves to calm in times of stress or strife.

In the end we are all responsible for ourselves.

There have been scientific studies of late on the efficacy of intercessory prayer. I can't remember who authored the study but it was an organization of some merit. The results found NO benefit to patients who were the blind receivers of intercessory prayer as compared with patients who were NOT prayed for.

Am I saying people should stop praying? Of course not! If you or your loved ones think prayer is helping then it is! Simply from the happiness or calmness it brings.

Pick your prayer and pray away!

"Should atheists be trying to convince others to stop believing in God?"

I can't say this too forcefully:

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

I do not accept atheistic or agnostic evangelism any more than I tolerate Christian Evangelism.

Now let me qualify this statement.

I think atheists are ordinary people who have come to different conclusions about how to live their lives. So long as they follow the laws of the society in which they live they should be treated as upstanding and moral citizens.

Unfortunately, over the past 25 years a growing percentage of Christians in this country want to legislate religion back the rule of society. The current groundswell of books espousing an atheistic world view is the back lash against mixing of state and religion.

I argue that if this unholy marriage of theocratic leaders with American Government hadn't occurred Atheists would have remained silent.

I feel that my view of reality and the nature of the Universe is more correct than the average theist. Does that mean I wish to stamp out all traditional religion? Absolutely not. That is not my job. In my view the dominant religions of the day will die out much the same way that the mythologies of old died out.

Education, the separation of Church and State and the spread of information will spell the end of most dogmatic religions.

Vigilance on the part of free people to ensure the free exchange of ideas and information will be paramount to this process.

"Weren't some of the worst atrocities in the 20th century committed by atheists"

This statement goes to guilt by association which wrong in an of itself for reasons that should be apparent to a third grader!

Even still Hitler was NOT an atheist. Hitler was born and considered himself to be a Roman Catholic. This is documented in many places.

Stalin was in seminary until he was kicked out in his third year. Does that make him an a theist? not necessarily. Does that make him an atheist? Again not necessarily.

Even if they both these losers were atheists...does that mean that ALL atheists are megalomaniacs?

Does Hitlers Catholicism condemn all catholics?


"How could billions of people be wrong when it comes to belief in God"

A thousand years ago most people believed the Earth was flat.

A great number of adherents to any candidate supposition does not make it correct.

I have no issue with people believing in a God. My concern is the REASON for their beliefs. What is the epistemological basis for your belief in the almighty?

FAITH is perfectly acceptable to me.

However if you try to justify to me your belief in God based on the Bible while trying to use REASON, I'm sorry but that's a losing proposition and it shows your FAITH is not strong.

"Why does the Universe exist"

Why shouldn't the universe exist?

This is another tough question that goes more to philosophy than science.

My answer is simple: "I don't know!"

And you know what? I'm OK with not knowing!

Maybe the answer is as simple as "Something is better than nothing"

Is there a prime mover? Perhaps.

Is that prime mover the one described in the Bible or the Koran? I am willing to bet my soul that neither Allah nor Yahweh exist!

"How did life originate?"

Here we have to start with a definition.

What is life?

My own clinical definition of is this: life is a collection of complex molecules that has the ability to reproduce itself and pass on useful inherited traits to the next generation.

What are those molecules made of? Well as it turns out they are made up mostly of the atoms most common in nature: Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Oxygen. With some other trace atoms.

Scientists have found that the very basis for all life on Earth is the DNA molecule. Every living thing has a string of DNA in every cell of it's body that's essentially the blueprint for how to build that living thing.

This DNA commonality implies that all life on earth can be traced back to one ancestor in the primordial ooze.

How did that instance of life arise? Where did it come from? Did it arise here on Earth independently (abiogenesis) or was the primordial Earth seeded from beyond (panspermia).

We don't know!

Notice how I have said nothing about Evolution Theory. That's because Evolution has nothing to say about the origin of life. Evolution explains the speciation of life forms into new species. It says nothing about where or how the chemistry of life arose.


"Is all religion harmful"

Anything taken to an extreme can be harmful.

Clearly, religion is responsible for much good in this world. But it has bred extremists of many flavors who would threaten us all.

Science has given us many good things cures for diseases, global telecommunications, increased food production...many things. But it has also brought horrors that can destroy all life on Earth.

Should we rid ourselves of this method we call Science?

The tools and methods of Science can be used by those of uncompromising religious or political fervor in unspeakable ways.

Religion can give peace and purpose to an adherents life, but any religion taken too far is a danger.



"What’s so bad about religious moderates?"

I can't comment because I am still internally debating this issue...

"Is there
anything redeeming about religion?"

Religion, as I have said, can be a force for good in this world, so long as it is not taken to an extreme and become a dogma that is enforced.

"What if you’re wrong about God (and He does exist)?"

I have never proclaimed that "God does not exist".

I argue that God described by the Abrahamic faiths does not exist....and I am willing to bet my soul on it.

If compelling evidence is presented to me that supports the existence of God I will accept it. Even, in the unlikely event that this happens, I doubt highly that this God will be anything like the one described in the Bible or the Koran or the Torah.

So I sleep very well!


"Shouldn’t all religious beliefs be respected?"


The question should asked: What is respect? Miriam says this.

1 a : to consider worthy of high regard b : to refrain from interfering with respect their privacy>

So I should treat all religions with high regard, without any consideration as to whether or not a I personally agree with them and how dangerous they might be for society?

Let's get this straight... I don't have to respect your beliefs! I will tolerate them to the extent at which you tolerate mine.

If your religion insists that you try to impose it on society and legislate special treatment for it then not only will I NOT respect it I will not tolerate it either!

Keep your religion to yourself and I will do the same.


"Are atheists smarter than theists?"

This is a stupid question!

I've met many smart theists and plenty of stupid atheists!

Reasons for beliefs and knowlege are a good mark of intelligence.

People of each category can fall on either side of this question.

"How do you deal with the historical Jesus if you don’t believe in his divinity?"

If his words and teachings are honorable and beneficial to you, what difference does it make whether I believe Jesus was divine or not .

Who are you trying to convince? Me? Or you?

Jesus' divinity is not an issue for me. Because it's really not important.

"Would the world be better off without any religion?"

No!

I think that many people, really insane people, are restrained by the idea of a vengeful God. Without that restraint who knows what state the world would be thrust into!


"What happens when we die?"

Wait for it.....

Wait for it....!

I DON'T KNOW!!!


AND I AM OK WITH THAT!!!!

I live my life as if it's the only one I get....honestly and reasonably!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I have never been more proud.....

It's a great day for Massachusetts!!

Our state Legislature rose above dogma and narrow-mindedness and decisively defeated a movement to place a ballot question before the people in 2008 that would amend the Massachusetts Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

This effectively KILLS an attempt by social conservatives to write discrimination into our state law.....for another four years anyway.

Most pundits agree that the it will be increasingly difficult to muster the votes to necessary to get the question onto the 2012 ballot.

Never have I been more proud to be a a citizen of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!

Here we don't believe in separate but equal crap! Some states may have adopted 'civil unions' earlier but it took real cojones for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to stand up and realize, brilliantly I might add, that there was NOTHING in the Massachusetts Constitution prohibiting the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Since then guess what?!

The sky hasn't fallen!

No angry vengeful gawd has smote us!

There isn't fornicating in the streets!

The birds still sing in the all municipalities of the Commonwealth!

Dogs still bark at cats!

The only difference is a small minority of our brethren now have the same rights and privileges that most of the majority takes for granted.

That is one of the jobs of the Judiciary: To prevent the oppression of a minority from the tyranny of a majority.

Does anyone else see the hypocrisy of this question: Yes!!! Let's enjoin the people to VOTE to decide whether or not the state can deny a basic human right to a segment of our population!

WHAT?!?!

I truly believe today is a great day that will long be remembered as the beginning of the end religious dogma making policy in a secular nation!

WELL DONE MASSACHUSETTS!!!!!

*Evil Cackle*

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Where do we go from here....

I'll admit it... I bought the whole thing. Call me a sucker... Call me what you want...

Back in early 2003, I believed Mr. Powell when he sat at the UN and described the evidence that big bad Saddam had chemical and biological weapons at his disposal.

I was also willing to give the current administration the benefit of the doubt when "W" at his state of the Union address uttered those now famous sixteen words that essentially accused Saddam of trying to acquire uranium ore from the country of Niger. The the thinly veiled threat being that that naughty boy Saddam was trying to build himself a 'nukular' weapon. What the context of those words was or what Bush knew and when he knew it is now a matter for historians to debate because we will never find out the truth so long as the people involved still draw oxygen into their lungs.

The bottom line is this:

The myriad of reasons and justifications given for the invasion of another sovereign nation have fallen away one by one.

As of this writing more than 3,500 of are armed service members have DIED for reasons that no politician, no spin-master, no intellectual, no Sunday morning political analyst can justify!

That's even mentioning the even higher number of PERMANENTLY disfigured and damaged that will live with their wounds for the rest of their lives.

We have an ostensibly all volunteer armed services and I have no doubt that many of these brave men and women truly believed they were serving their countries for noble and honorable goals.

But I have to ask: What are were/our goals?!

1. To remove a brutal and vicious dictator bent on acquiring WMD!

Eh!? Where are they? Saddam is gone. There is NO evidence that he was anywhere close to acquiring a nuclear weapon. Anyone with a moderate knowledge of Physics knows how to develop a bomb. Acquiring uranium ore is easy! The hard part is separating out the Uranium 235 necessary to make the very simple 'gun type' fission-bomb. This is exceedingly difficult, expensive and time-consuming. Saddam never came close!

2. To "bring democracy to the middle east".

This is the most disingenuous argument I have heard! Democracy must be brought to power in a country by the citizens of that country. Does anyone honestly believe the puppet government in Iraq would survive a day if it didn't exist behind the walls of the US-protected 'green zone'? I'm willing to bet my next paycheck that were you to conduct an honest polling of the Iraqi people they would overwhelmingly state that they want the 'occupiers' to leave. Is that not democratic?!

3. Al Qeda is using Iraq for a base of operations.

BECAUSE OF US! IRAQ HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11TH 2001. SADDAM HATED AL QEDA MORE THAN WE DO! Iraq BECAME a haven for al Qeda AFTER we 'liberated' it from the grip of Saddam.

So where does this leave me?

I bought the Bull Shit leading up to the war....hook, line and sinker...

But we are there now. We broke it, now....we own it! It's our disaster.

If we leave tomorrow, Iraq will most assuredly fall into a disastrous civil war. No doubt Syria and the Saudi's will find common purpose in supporting the Sunni minority against an Iran backed Shite majority. To say this will be bloody is a study in understatement! Who knows what the Iraqi Kurds will do, but Turkey will have an eye fixed on them to avoid a Kurdish uprising amongst their own Kurdish minority.

The wild card in all this is Israel! A nuclear armed ISRAEL!

Do you think for one minute the Israeli Government will tolerate a resurgent Iran rushing to fill a vacuum we create in Iraq?

What if Israel decides to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against suspected nuclear test labs on Iranian soil?

With a US withdrawal from Iraq this whole region becomes a tinder box waiting for for the match to strike. Best yet the blood that drives most western economies, OIL, flows right through the heart of it.

So we are damned if we stay and we are damned if we go!

President Bush I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for so clearly thinking this matter through back in 2002-3. You wanted your own precious little war in the middle east so you could go down in history. Well you got your war but it isn't so little and its repercussions will affect every man, woman and child on this Earth for decades to come.

My biggest regret is that I will have to tell my children that my generation didn't have the conviction and/or balls to stop you!

YOU STUBBORN MURDERING INCOMPETENT LYING BASTARD!

R

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday, January 5, 2007

Oh she's a a genius!!!!

I picked this little gem off of Jack Cluth's page...

Seems Ms. Williamson of Roanoke, Virginia is terribly concerned about the effect of jack-hammer noise on her as yet UNBORN redneck I mean child...

(Take a look!)


I have no words other than: Oh the IRONY!!!

R

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

2006 is history......

1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?

Had Surgery - The big "V"

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

More or less..... and YES I will and know I am not telling

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My brother got 2 cats...does that count?

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My lovely wife lost her beloved Memere.

5. What countries did you visit?

Do to religious beliefs I am not allowed to visit other heathen nations!

6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?

More peace of mind

7. What date(s) from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

October 24th....the accursed lay-off

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Achieving gainful employment at Analog Devices, Inc.

9. What was your biggest failure?

no comment

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Slipped in shower and tore open my side....YEEEEEEEEOUCH!!!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

HP49 Calculator.........geek to the core!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

DEREK JETER!!!!!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

A-Rod, "W", Cheney, Rumsfeld.....

14. Where did most of your money go?

Everywhere but in my savings

15. What did you get really excited about?

Returning to college in 2007

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2006?

"Vertigo" - U2

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? Neither
ii. thinner or fatter? Neither
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

improving myself

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Stressing

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

Spent it with family.

22. Did you fall in love in 2006? :)

23. How many one-night stands?

DOZENS!!!! being a man-whore is time-consuming

24. What was your favorite TV program?

Nothing is really standing out.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

OH I really REALLY R-E-A-L-L-Y HATE Mitt Romney now!

26. What was the best book you read?

"One Percent Doctrine" Ron Suskind

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Loving 'Massive Attack' more everyday

28. What did you want and eventually get?

the skill to copy DVD's

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

'V for Vendetta'

31. What did you do on your birthday?

worked......got chocolate covered strawberries from my honey!

32. What's one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

being debt-free

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?

timeless

34. What kept you sane?

timely advice and counsel from the lovely bride

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Hell if I know....

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Republican denial and ineptitude

37. Who did you miss?

No one in particular

38. Who was the best new person you met?

My new boss at Analog

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006:

Karma is very real.....the universe will provide....have faith....

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

"You can't always get what you want....but try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need!"