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Monthly Archive: June 2012

Jun 29 2012

Well, ok, maybe just a LITTLE warming

The problem with trying to deny a worsening problem is that it becomes increasingly difficult to deny. And then what do you do? At Exxon, they’re trying the “admit it, but downplay it” approach. ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson says fears about climate change, drilling, and energy dependence are overblown. In a speech Wednesday, Tillerson acknowledged …

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Jun 28 2012

Perfect atheism

Now here‘s an interesting perspective: A perfect atheist is one for whom god never comes up. They never talk about it, they don’t go to meetings or read books about it, they never use the word “atheist” to describe themselves, and they aren’t rebelling against anything. They just live their lives guided by internal and …

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Jun 27 2012

Sexual panhandling

I haven’t actually been to any major atheist/skeptical/freethought conventions, but I’ve been to a few technical conferences, and I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to travel to new parts of the country and do a little sightseeing on the side. One thing I’ve found, though, is that sometimes when you step outside of the hotel or …

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Jun 26 2012

A modest baseline

I’ve been staying out of the current debate over sexism/feminism because frankly it’s a bigger issue than I have time to address. It’s a big deal, though, so here’s at least a couple cents worth: I’d like to propose a modest baseline for inter-gender interactions, and I’d like to aim it particularly at guys. The …

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Jun 25 2012

The third option

As a few people have pointed out, there’s something missing from my discussion of religion as the leading source of atheism. I said that when you find a mistake in your religion, you have two options: either leave the church, or become a hypocrite. The possibility of correcting the church’s error is not really an …

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Jun 22 2012

The leading cause of atheism

The other day I watched an Orthodox Jew engage in a little ritual that struck me as being strikingly pointless. No doubt it had some point in the ancient past, or was at least thought to have a point. But it was pointless—a trivial, superstitious obsession institutionalized into the whole Orthodox lifestyle. And that got …

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Jun 19 2012

NSA: It would violate your privacy to report how many privacy violations we’re committing.

The surveillance experts at the National Security Agency won’t tell two powerful United States Senators how many Americans have had their communications picked up by the agency as part of its sweeping new counterterrorism powers. The reason: it would violate your privacy to say so. via NSA: It Would Violate Your Privacy to Say if …

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Jun 18 2012

3rd degree gullibility

There are three degrees of gullibility. First degree gullibility is when you believe something because you don’t know any better, like a very young child believing in Santa. Second degree gullibility is when you become aware of conflicts and inconsistencies in what you believe, but you do not admit that they are genuine conflicts and …

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Jun 15 2012

PA Christians continue to flout the law

A lot of people have a fundamental misconception about the First Amendment, stemming from the phrase “church and state”—they think that as long as you don’t favor any particular individual church, you can establish religion as much as you want. Even if you’re a state legislator. At least two recent Pennsylvania House of Representatives sessions …

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Jun 14 2012

A quick thought

I was driving home from work last night, and was thinking about that slogan, “We report, you decide.” It was bugging me because I had the nagging feeling I’d heard a very similar quote, years ago, but couldn’t remember what it was. Then it came to me. “Garbage in, garbage out.”

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