Archive for the ‘Atheism’ Category

Atheist Ticket-Holders Turned Away at Hitchens/D’Souza Debate

Last Monday, Christopher Hitchens was up in Boulder debating Dinesh D’Souza. I didn’t go because it was a school night and tickets were sold out before I could change my mind, but it seems from this e-mail I just received that it’s possible I wouldn’t have gotten in anyway. Listen to this:

Neither of the organizers of DAFT are in any big hurry to drive all the way up to Boulder for an event at Macky Auditorium after we were so recently turned away from the Hitchens/d’Souza debate even though we had tickets in hand. (Note that the upcoming event has a completely different sponsor who was in no way involved in the debacle at the Hitchens debate.)

For those who don’t know, the Hitchens/d’Souza debate was sponsored by the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, at the Catholic Student Center at CU Boulder. To guarantee a Catholic majority in the audience they gave away free tickets at masses and prior to the debate, resulting in such a large crowd that the Macky Center turned away a number of people (including DAFT organizers) who had paid for their seats at the debate, even though there were actually plenty of seats available.

If you or anyone you know had tickets and could not get in, refunds should be sought from the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. TicketWest was not responsible, but they say they are working with the St. Thomas (etc.) Church to ensure that nothing like that happens again.

Wow. Just wow.

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Quotes

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve gotten a rather frequent commenter on my posts. This was brought about by me commenting on one of her blog posts and expressing a dissenting view.

These have been posted publicly on the Internet. I therefore have the right to repost them.

Enjoy reading them.

And I never said it’s ok to be stupid!! I’m saying that Bella knows that she is being stupid by being with him since he’s so dangerous. That doesn’t mean she ACTS stupidly! Honestly, “Elles,” you should reread what you wrote and look at how ridiculous it sounds. It really does sound stupid.

Abby

I wonder if any lesbians read the book and voted for “Team Jessica”.

Cassie

Cassie’s not a troll. I’m just quoting her because she’s awesome.

Whoa whoa whoa… you’re saying that there is no God???? Wow. Ok now I’m mad at you for TWO MAJOR THINGS!!!!!!! How dare you??? There IS a God and he is AWESOME!! He created everything. He sent His own Son to die for our sins!!!! And there is also a TON of evidence that there is a God. It’s called the HOLY BIBLE!!! You should read it sometime.

Abby

It would also seem that God created H2G2 to test our faith by providing us with information on logical fallacies.

Ok, well God created the Word, and the Word was life. That comes from the Bible. And if you’re going to start stepping on my beliefs, then you better shut up because… oh I will get pissed like none other!!!

Abby

I admitted I had been a tad bitchy with her after telling her that she should use her brain.

You do come off b****y.

Abby

My favourite bit was what she said before that.

But I will get PISSED so SHUT UP!!

Abby

Well, I, unlike some people, never tell anybody to “shut up” whenever they say something I don’t like. I use well-reasoned arguments to refute things which I disagree with. I’ll slip in some snark ocasionally, but in the end I don’t truly hate anybody just for disagreeing with me.

I believe that expressing dissenting opinions is essential for exercising our free speech. Playing Bill O’Reilly on my blog, though, is a bit different from free speech.

Abby will go on comment moderation until she learns to express her disagreement in a more rational, civilized manner. If she still fails to do this I’ll simply put her on the ‘blacklist’ and she’ll go directly to the spam filter.

In the meantime, I recommend she reads this post.

Update: Abby, yet again you have failed to make a comment that contains any intelligence and it has been deleted. Two more times and I’m routing your comments directly into the spam filter.

Really, if you want people to think of you as an unintelligent, immature brat I’d be happy to keep approving your comments, but for your sake I’m going to keep deleting them.

Materialism: Dropping Watermelons from Great Heights

Please give me instances which prove materialism?

-Dawkinswatch

You went to Dawkinswatch’s blog, you commented, he decided that the main reason we were all Atheists was because we were materialists, he wrote a new post.

Well… I think I should first make two things quite clear:

Materialism here does not mean the same thing as consumerism (just to make sure we’re all on the same page).

I’m an Atheist for the same reason why I’m a materialist. There is about as much evidence for a god as there is evidence fo ghosts. Nada.

It’s not that I’m an Atheist because I reject the possibility that there is a spiritual realm out of hand. It’s just as simple as this: If there’s a realm outside of our own, if it can affect our realm it will leave evidence.

Objection to materialism number one:

1) Many People Have Experience The Spirit World

People who have converted to Christianity have gone from believing in the non existence of God, to being filled with the Holy Spirit.  Well It is rather arrogant for those Atheists to dismiss their experiences.

Call me arrogant, but when Joseph Smith claimed to have experienced seeing twelve golden tablets conveniently shoot off into heaven I didn’t believe him, and neither did Dawkinswatch. Call me arrogant but when Travis Walton told me he experienced being abducted by aliens I didn’t believe him. Call me arrogant, but when the man standing on a street corner told me he had a vision of Puff the Magic Dragon coming and loosening destruction upon the Earth in 2012 I didn’t believe him. Call me arrogant, but people “experience” things all the time, not just the Holy Spirit.  Followers of voodoo have experiences similar to pentecoasts in that they try to be posessed by spirits. Muslims feel the spirit of Allah. New Agers feel “strange energy signals” from crystals and rocks. You dismiss all of those experiences, but choose to accept only those whose “experiences” support your beliefs.

Experiences are a part of empiricism and that’s all well and good as long as other people can verify your experiences. I’m perfectly prepared to believe in the Invisible Pink Unicorn once you show her on a thermal camera, when you show me her footprints in the sand, and when I have eliminated all other possible causes of those phenomena.

While I’m at it… religious experiences, alien abductions, and ghosts can be induced by things other than gods, extra-terrestrials, and restless spirits. See article in Newsweek about Michael Persinger and his work.

2) Yoga and Eastern Religions are About Yoking with gods (spirits)

I have featured Yoga gurus claiming to have experinced visions of the Spirit world after opening themselves up to  the spirit world. Now to a materialist. this does not make sense, but I have been around when I felt the existence of spirits. Former guru speaksout on Yoga.

See above.

3) Muslims Meeting Jesus

In Fact this how many Muslims are converted they experience Jesus and see him. Muslims Visions of Jesus.

Again Materialists need dismiss everyone out of hand without giving reasons why that should be.

See above.

4) Have You Ever Seen A Hypnotic Show

Anyone who has studied hypnosis knows that it is Mesmer or animal magnetism.  Now mesmer was a magician, in these situations Atheist/Materialists see the physical manifestations and do not perceive what it is.

Er… Magicians don’t use spiritual or other-worldly thingies to make their trick work. They use slight of hand, psychology, etc.

Ever seen Darren Brown? Or for that matter, any magician? The good ones will usually tell you that they don’t use any psychic powers. Look up James Randi on YouTube, or Penn & Teller.

5) Theurgy

I have mentioned the likes of Sir John Dee, the astrologist to Queen Elizabeth I , was into Angel Magic and he once drew a grey alien called Lam who he was communicating with.

Now to make Freemasonry more acceptable his successor as the leader of the Rosicrucian, Sir Francis Bacon withdrew theurgy and cabala from the lower orders and reserved them for higher degrees.  Was Lord Bacon Shakespeare?

I once drew a picture of Harry Potter in my science class. Was I communicating with Harry Potter? I once wrote a horoscope and had a room full of people rate it’s accuracy and I averaged 4.1/5, but I’m not an “astrologist”. I just used a technique called Cold Reading (see this post).

As for the rest…

What the fuck?

6) Intelligence Experiments with Psychics

Well there is not demarcations between the world of intelligence and the occult some of the best spies were conjurers, Alister Crowley was a MI6 agent, Sir John Dee and Sir Francis Bacon were in valuable in the founding of British intelligence.  In “the Cold War”, both the KGB and CIA were heavily involved in psychic experiments.

Again, conjurers use non-supernatural methods.

Look, Bush got the intelligence agencies to say that there were WMDs in Iraq. I’m not all that impressed that the same people did experiments on psychics. Also, see Project Alpha.

Please give me instances which prove materialism?

Sure.

See your hand? What do you think it’s made out of? Phlogiston?

Take a watermelon to the top of a tall building. Make sure that nobody is bellow. Drop the watermelon. Record results.

In the mean-time, I think you’ll have to explain this comment you left on my blog last time…

– I should have really asked are you against the English Grand Lodge and in favour of Grand Orient Fremasons , the originators of Atheism.

The British believe in The Great Architech of the Universe.

“Dawkinswatch” Asks: Why Are You An Atheist?

Everybody’s favourite Internet creationist, “Dawkinswatch” (watching Dawkins so you don’t have to), is opening up his blog for comments from Atheists answering the question: Why are you an Atheist?

He seems to think that these are the most likely possibilities:

– You read the works of Voltaire and became a convert?

– You are a secret Luciferian posing as an Atheist.

– You are a Communist?

_ You went to church when you were younger but never experienced God?

– You want to make yourself God and do not like competition?

-You are a postmodernisand you believe that that there is no ultimate truth?

-You read the works of Charles Darwin and are writing manuscripts of the next “My Atheist Struggle”?

– A Catholic Priest made a pass at you and you blame God?

– You are secretly in love with Richard Dawkins and have not told your parents that you are not like other men?

– You are not convinced evil exists.

_ You believe the ten commandments are harmful to the well being of human kind.

_ You are following a trend?

How many of you are Atheists cause you’re secretly FLAMING COMMIES eh? Go on, out with it.

As for why I’m an Atheist, well, I’m just leaving a comment telling him to peruse some of my blog posts sometime. I’m linking him to:

Asshat: A refutation to some arguments once made on a theist’s blog.

A Pre-Schooler’s Journey to Disbelief: The story of my pre-school rejection of God.

Course of Reason Podcast

You are an editor’s worst nightmare.

Tyler Handley

So my friend just told me that I’m on the Course of Reason podcast. Another friend told me that the episode has been up there for months. Only a lazy bum like me could be on a podcast and not know it’s been posted there for the past four months.

Yup. I vaguely remember recording that last summer…

Anyway, all I really remember about it is coming to the sudden realization that as prideful as I may be of some of my posts I lose 95% of all my eloquence when away from the keyboard and in front of a microphone. I say some stupid stuff so I’m not going to listen to that right now. I’m going to let you guys listen to it first, tell me if I don’t sound like a total fool, and if you confirm that the coast is clear, I’ll listen to it then.

If not for my jabbering nonsensically you should also know that it has Shalini Sehkar and Katie Kish are also on it so listen for them.

And the Founding Fathers Rolled in Their Graves…

After a brief hiatus, I returned to check back on the responses my schoolmates were giving me. By this time some of my other friends were also responding in support of me, when one of them gave a small criticism of one of the kid’s personal beliefs (I think it must have been his religion). The kid responded with…

Roy, how DARE you insult my personal beliefs? Where does this bitterness come from? If you believed in hell, I’d tell you to go to it. I’m sorry your life spent on this planet is devoted to bashing faith and being pessimistic. Go find faith in something, somewhere where we can’t hear you.

I can see why they don’t seem to give a damn about the Bill of Rights. That First Amendment is mighty inconvenient right now, what with free speech added to secularism.

But, do you see what I see?

Well, that kid just wished Hell upon my friend.

Hell? Really? Somebody criticises a view which you made publicly and which you even wanted the government to support, and you tell them to go through the worst kind of suffering for all eternity?

Do you understand what eternity is? Eternity. Eternal suffering. He just wished eternal, unending, infinite suffering upon a human being just for exercising his right to criticise a view which you made public.

Even Hitler’s victims only had to live so long.

Let’s say you spent a decade being tortured in a POW camp or something.

Imagine not just the constant pain, but also the humility. Imagine being robbed of whatever dignity you had.

Now multiply that by ten and you’ll get a more than decent human life span. Multiply that by ten and it will take you back to the Dark Ages. Multiply that by ten and you’re beginning to reach the dawn of civilization. That’s an infinitesimal amount of time compared to the time our species has been around, about two million years. The time our species has been around is infinitesimal compared to the age of the Earth, 4.6 billion years. That’s still only a fraction of the time the universe has been around, about 13.8 billion years. And that’s still nothing compared to eternity.

Eternity NEVER ends. It goes on longer than the rise and fall of empires, longer than the birth and death of stars, longer than the collision of galaxies, longer than any cosmic event known to humanity, longer than the universe itself.

So I ask, where does that sort of bitterness come from? Just from a debate sparked by little old me trying to uphold secularism? Can you even be human and give that sort of wish? And, then, why should we listen when somebody that twisted tells me that I should have faith in something? It obviously has done that kid no good if he’s wishing that sort of rotten thing upon people.

I now feel quite sick to my stomach, thank you very much.

Of course, he must have said it without thinking… right?

But, then, that’s the problem I have with faith in the first place.

Unthinking acceptance of fairy tales is one thing. Unthinking belief that people deserve to burn eternally if they don’t have faith, or if they criticise it when you bring it to the public square is an entirely different thing. Unthinking belief that God is going to save you from eternal punishment and give you x number of virgins if you fly an airplane into a building based on what was said in a collection of those fairy tales is definitely a problem.

Am I saying that people who believe in those fairy tales are necessarily going to start killing people? No. That’s completely absurd.

But, if you’re going to say that we should unthinkingly accept something what’s to say we won’t unthinkingly accept racism? There are a lot of beliefs which could lead us to act in ways that won’t make the world a better place. Would you really want me to randomly choose something to have faith in?

We most certainly should not encourage unthought at any level.

Faith is anti-intellectualism in its purest form and the more we’re taught to value it, the worse we react when a belief of ours that ought to be criticised gets criticised. It’s the ultimate dam to a flowing river of ideas. It seals minds shut to exterior influences, yet still allows them to spout out their bollocks, even as it rots from lack of exposure to the changing world.

When a widely held belief needs criticism, it deserves to be criticised. Even if you have faith in it. So do I dare criticise your faith?

I dare. I dare bring reason and enlightenment to the mind of man. So burn me at stake.

I’m sorry, but I don’t need that. I’ve got no faith. I might have once held faith in humanity, but that went hurtling out the window just now at escape velocity and is orbitting the Earth somewhere beyond my reach. Yet, I’m perfectly fine. As shattered as my brain feels after reading all that, I still wouldn’t wish harm upon somebody solely for their beliefs as they would wish harm upon those who would simply support the healthy criticism of their beliefs… much less eternal harm.

Just Read and Weep

*sigh*

So I send out the FFRF lawsuit thing to my friends in the school district. Here are the responses I’ve been getting. I’m not going to bother giving any further responses to the latest two as easily as I could pwn them.

Kid:

this is disgusting
i fail to see whats wrong with an environment that teaches children basic morals and values

Me:

I fail to see why you need to violate the secular values this country was founded on to teach morals.

While I’m at it, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Therefore your argument is invalid.

Kid:

im not christian so i dont follow your argument

besides, said sign is encouraging freedom of religion cuz it encourages religion in general which could range from budhism to atheism
the ffrf is just trying to restrict religion or in other words, violating the 1st secular value this country was founded

and

how is teaching kids values such as the ten commandments not morrally right
or do you have issue with not stealing or being respectful to parental figures

i guess their perfect world would be one in which their is one philisophical belief: nothing
and in this world their would be no guidlines to living a fullfilling and ethical life and any attempt to disrupt this eutopia would result in a lawsuit that helps no one

Me:

You’re all over the place.

First of all, the FFRF isn’t saying you can’t practice your religion. It’s saying you have a right to not practice religion if you don’t want to.

Speaking of the 1st secular value this country was founded on…

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

In other words, there shall be no state endorsement of religion.

The Ten Commandments do say a few agreeable things. Don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t be mean to your parents, etc. Let’s ignore for a moment that they recommend the death penalty for all of them (and even if you support capital punishment as I do in some cases, we can surely agree that you shouldn’t be killed for not helping your mum do the dishes cause you have homework), and look at the first four of them.

1. I am the Lord your God
2. You shall have no other gods before me
3. You shall not make for yourself an idol
4. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God

Not much room for polytheists, eh?

Now, if the state were to endorse these four commandments there would be no freedom of religion. That’s why we also need freedom from religion.

I also reject your suggestion that Atheists have no philosophical beliefs about morality, and that we can have a fulfilling life. What have I ever done to you, hm? Are you really going to insinuate that I’m a murdering, raping, pillaging, disrespectful twat based on my lack of belief in a supreme deity alone? What makes you think that kind of sick prejudice is morally justifiable?

I volunteer every weekend in a museum, I give money to charities, I’m polite, and, God damn it, I enjoy life. I think that the universe is an awesome place and I have some wonderful friends, teachers, and family. I’m no less happy than the next person.

Kid:

first of all
you are focusing in to much on specifics zoom out a bit
the ffrf is sueing because a sign was posted by a school district saying that kids can find support in a religious community

if you have ever been to a sunday school type program they dont actually force religious beliefs upon the kids, but teach them essential values such as not to steal and to do right by your mom and dad, not the gory details, so that one day they will be able to make an educated decision on what beliefs to follow

advocating for that isnt a breach of church and state
so if they were forced to take that sign down it would be interfering with their free speach rights

im sure this wouldnt be a problem if their was an established religion called atheism
but since there isnt they can still stand and openly oppose all religion and sucessfully combat moral values

you are twisting my words
i am saying that by the forceful taking down of this sign is setting a precedent by which any good that could come to children by means of religious establishment can not be advocated by a school district, or basically any secular force in society henceforth placing personal beliefs over the common good

also i never said anything about classifying atheist as possesing no morals
i respect all religions, and more importantly the support and good that can come from religious institutions, which is why im advocating the side of what is most likely the lutheran church even though i desagree wholeheartedly with many of their views

i dont respect the general denouncement of religion, which is the problem i have with most atheists
i dont have a problem with people saying they dont believe in a higher power or any of the other beliefs held by atheist, but when they go on to criticize established religion and say that it holds no validity i have a problem

Me:

I have been to a Sunday school program. They told me a story about a guy who got eaten by a big fish and stayed in its stomach for three days, and was told that he was punished for not following the Judeo-Christian god. They then essentially told me I was a sinner and that I was going to Hell if I didn’t keep coming to their church.

Do I necessarily object just because it’s religious values being advocated? No.

I do, by the way, go to a Unitarian Universalist church. I do enjoy the sense of community, and being taught values like being nice to each other without having them invoke their particular brand of god.

Yes, they teach you values, but what makes you think you have to go to a CHURCH to learn those values? What you get support from is having a community and there are other ways to find a strong community without being told you should participate in religion every week. If I don’t want to participate in a religious thingy to learn my values, I shouldn’t be told to.

First of all, taking the sign down is not criticising established religion. It’s just saying that the government can’t endorse an establishment of religion. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech, but everything to do with the first amendment.

Second of all, why shouldn’t we be allowed to criticise establishments of religion? I have no problem with people practicing what they want. No problem with freedom of religion at all. The problem is sometimes those practices include actively screwing with government and taking away other people’s civil rights. There are people just two and a half hours south of Denver who would stone people for privately, in their own home, committing a consensual act of love with a person of the same sex. Would you hesitate to criticise a piece of legislation that advocated that?

The rest was just me pointing out again that I have no problem with community, but you don’t need a religious community to get a feeling of community.

Other kid:

Hey, why dont we go ahead and take more money away from our already poorly funded school systems with a lawsuit. Our state is only 48th in the nation in school funding. So yes, lets take money away, lay off teachers, increase classroom sizes, and neglect building maintenance and upgrading. Heaven forbid the ONE plaintif be offended.
Ive been in this school district for almost 11 years, and not once have those 40 assets had any impact upon my education or the way i live. I have known that they exist for a long time, but hardly any students take the time to read them. Our constitution was also loosely based on teachings from relligion. In god we trust is written on every piece of our monetary system. Why dont you sue the entire government. See how far that gets you.
I am christian, and i dont care if the quaran is referenced in one of those assets, or nothing is referenced at all. Good can be derived from almost any religious text or not from one at all. Borden your horizon

As far as I’m aware the lawsuit has nothing to do with money and I’m not sure where she got that from. I’ll look into whether or not money’s involved anyway, but I’m pretty sure it’s class-action cause that’d make the most sense.

Other other kid:

Sorry, quick question. What are the other 39 “Developmental Assets” implemented by this program?

Also, I fail to see the harm in recommending that a child adopt a religious lifestyle. Please, before you all bitch me out-
All that this program does is RECOMMEND that a child adopt a religious lifestyle, which means that the child gets a choice. By simply recommending that a child make that choice, there isn’t technically any ammendment “breakage” here. If the document flat out said “you must worship this particular god or you will burn in hell,” then there would be an issue. This document doesn’t seem to be laying down a certain set of rules and regulations for a child to follow, just suggestions. It isn’t actively forcing anything on children here. But then again, I can see how that poster could be considered propoganda. In which case, it becomes a matter of what’s legal and what’s right.

For all you students out there who went through the first year of US History with me and forgot the first amendment, here’s the text:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

And in case you missed that, I think I’ll make it clearer. The government can’t endorse religion. My school paid for a subscription to the Oxford English Dictionary, but endorse means to support.

If they still fail to see what the problem is… to Hell with it. Edumacation has failed us. This post has a word count of 1776.