What’s with all this pointless posturing?

What is wrong with these fundie types that they think the way to challenge someone to debate is to insult them? When will they learn that all this huffing and bluffing and puffing up can’t work on someone like me?  And I mean, not on any level.  This guy thinks I’ll respond to him because he’ll call me a coward if I don’t. Really? Who does he take me for? Marty McFly?

He says I’m afraid of him. I’ve never even seen his face before this evening. I have heard of him though. All I heard was that he’s just another rude shit-talker who can’t comport himself. What would be the point then? I feel no obligation to argue with someone who just wants to spit stupidity at me, but can’t understand anything I try to explain back.  I have a goal in these discussions, and that is to make a point. I want a meeting of the minds, but guys like this just wants to butt heads.

So a few years ago, I posted my rule with regard to debate challenges: I won’t debate anyone who nominates himself. If you have a following, and they say that you represent them, that’s different, because beating you would mean defeating the idea you defend in the minds of those who look up to you. Even if I can’t convince you, maybe I can convince them. Either way, it’s a package deal and I think there would be some value in that.  Consequently, I’ve never had a formal debate yet. So far everyone I’ve ever argued this with by appointment was at the request of 3rd parties on someone’s radio show.

I do sometimes do written debates and archive them for posterity. I think there’s value in those discussions too.  This also shows how wrong G’man is right out the gate.  He accuses me of being afraid of, and hiding from, or otherwise avoiding TrueEmpiricism. But I’ve already walked on TrueEmpiricism as a matter of public record.  How could I be afraid of him?. There’s no possible threat there.

And that’s the biggest point:  If your position is a matter of make-believe, then you’ll act like a show of confidence trumps all else, when it really doesn’t mean squat, and such a person could still be intimidated by these types of challenges too.  I can’t.  Why? Because if accuracy and accountability are all that matter, then people like G’man could never pose any intellectual threat.  He still couldn’t even if he was right!  I do not hold my beliefs on faith like he does. So I’m not determined to defend that faith even if it’s wrong.  That’s THEIR way, not mine.  Why would I want to believe something that required faith, and wasn’t evidently true?  If some believer was actually right, I would want to find that out; I want to be right too!  So if he could actually show that he was right, I would still win, because I would have learned something. I would thank him for correcting me, and I could follow the new path.  But after decades of arguing with these people, and never meeting one who even understands his own position, let alone mine, then I know what to expect. Nothing -again. Just loud empty talk.  If you had a point to make, G’man, you’d have made it already.

Consider the Atheist

On May 5th, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court contradicted the Constitution, discarding both clauses of the 1st Amendment. Previously Congress could make no law respecting the establishment of religion, nor limiting the free exercise thereof. This ruling not only establishes a state religion, but it also forces non-Christians to bow their head to the Christian god as a requirement of doing government business.

This week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court also overturned earlier rulings, such that the state may now force non-Christian students to recite the pledge of allegiance, including the phrase ‘under God’. This phrase was added to the pledge decades later, in 1957. As if it was not already bad to force someone to swear an allegiance, (which I will never do again) but the state can now also force non-believers to acknowledge an imaginary being as if they believe it is real.

Thus the state has established a religion, and at that moment they’re already violating human rights with it. There can be no freedom OF religion without freedom FROM religion, and the US has just proved that -again.This, for me was the end of America. My country has been increasingly sick all my life, but it has now finally died.

In recognition of this travesty, I want to share the words of Madelyn Murray O’Hair, founder of American Atheists, who warned us against this very eventuality. She saw it coming, and she tracked its stepped better than any single presentation I know of. Her speech needs to be heard by a larger audience.

How could it be that any Supreme Court justice could be so ignorant of history and so blinded by religion that these decisions were not unanimously of the opposite opinion?

What we must do now is follow the course of Ireland and England and the Scandinavian countries -where there is no separation of Church & State, but where the atrocities of religious rule have ruled themselves out, to the point that the populace has ruled religion out. These are, for the most part, effectively atheist countries now. This is what happens when religion is forced onto the populace; the people naturally eventually rebel against all forms of tyranny. And our foolish courts have just unbarred the gate and opened the doors to welcome in our new overlord.

dropping out of the Dogma Debate

I hardly blog at all. I think I’ve only posted about once per month sometimes, sometimes once per week at best.  I haven’t made many videos lately either, and there’s a lot of good ones I could be making, if I still had the time.  My book is more than a year behind schedule, and I’m still only on the 5th chapter, only about 1/3 done.  We have plans for two more books to follow this one, so I had better finish it.

The most important issue I have is time.  I have this double-life where I work at Initech Monday thru Friday, and once I’m off their clock, then I have to pick up the pace on everything else I do on my own. In large part, my life is chaos, trying to multitask amid constant interruptions distractions and errands that can’t be delegated. My schedule is such that there are only a few days every week when I can really be productive and Wednesdays are one of those days.  That being the case, I can’t justify spending essentially that whole day every week just talking on the radio. So some weeks ago, I decided to leave the show.

I want to thank all the 4th listeners who’s public comments and private messages have been so overwhelmingly positive.  I have gotten a lot of encouragement from you guys over the last year!  It’s my own fault that I let myself get involved in so many volunteer projects and petty time-wasting discussions online. It’s not going to get any easier either. In addition to serving as Texas State Director of American Atheists, I also expect to do some work for the Secular Coalition of Texas, and I’ll soon be involved in something even bigger. (to be announced)

So right now I need to focus. I’m going to take advantage of a lull in my current speaking schedule to get as much done on these other efforts as I can over the next couple months; sweep these tasks out of my way, get published, and be ready of the next wave that are already looming on my horizon.

How crazy is religion?

I’ve seen a number of posts and comments suggesting that religion should be treated as a mental illness. There certainly seems to be a strong correlation between religion and insanity. I’ve read a few papers comparing the logical and psychological aptitude of strong believers vs those with little or no faith at all, and the trends there all seem to be in our favor, but not to the point that religion causes the disorder.  I think certain mental disorders can prompt religious beliefs, but that’s a different claim.

I think religion provides a haven to conceal quite a lot of cognitive and psychiatric disorders as well as some social dysfunctions.  But that doesn’t mean religion is a mental illness, regardless how accurate analogies of the God virus might be. I think there are circumstances when religion can be treated as a psychological condition, especially when it is the result of detrimental conditioning, but I wouldn’t confuse that with a psychiatric malady, which (I think) would have to be physiological/chemical.

However someone attending one of the stops of the Unholy Trinity tour has apparently interpreted my presentation there differently than I had intended.

Just for clarification, I did not say that religion was a mental illness. I did say that creationism was a form of religious extremism, which it is; one which discourages rational cognitive functions whenever the subject comes anywhere near certain topic areas.  I also said that creationism is delusional, which it is, because the beliefs are persistent, false, and do not change when the facts contradict them.  I even said that thorough indoctrination of children into religion can permanently impair their ability to grasp and use logic, and that’s true too.

The colloquial definition of sanity is having sound reason, of being able to reason, and to be reasoned with, but creationism, (like many forms of religious extremism) employs apologetics which significantly impede that; it does so deliberately by design. In my speech, I explain a bit of how that is done. If you want to see more of how that is done, look up some of the religiously-motivated “faith-building” exercises promoted for use in homeschooling children of creationist parents. Show me what you find.

A Charitable Argument

Last weekend, I was in Salt Lake City (and Las Vegas). This week, I’ll be in Nacogdoches.  Next week, I’ll be in Albuquerque. I don’t have a lot of time at the moment, but I did want to pass on a blurb from David Smalley, host of Dogma Debate on iHeartRadio.
To all those screaming to get Aron Ra back on Dogma Debate to face off with a Christian: I’ll make this deal with you. With only 6 days left, we are $884 away from reaching our $5,000 goal for Camp Quest. If we reach that goal, we beat Seth Andrews in this fundraiser! My promise is, if we reach that goal by Wednesday morning, or beat Seth before then, I’ll bring you on Dogma Debate this week, and give you 2 full 20-minute segments to face off with our in-studio guest, Blake, who claims to have evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If your fans want you on Dogma Debate – let them prove it right here!
Well, doesn’t that sound like fun?  :-D

Better Commandments

On April 26th, I’ll be at Stephen F Austin State College in Nacogdoches Texas, where I will be talking about the Damn Commandments. Imagine you’re the supreme being, and you’re going to provide the top ten rules for all of mankind, and that’s the best you could come up with?!

It occurred to me that I should present a list of better commandments than were given in Exodus. At the same time, I would not be so arrogant as to compose such a list myself. I have a few ideas, but they all sound like hippy slogans; others might think of something better.  So if you could include one guideline to be handed over to Bronze age Israelites, and passed down for all generations thereafter, how would your commandment read?

Westboro in my neighborhood

I normally sleep in as late as I want on a Sunday, especially when it’s cold and raining.  But today I went to a church conference.  South Garland Baptist Church was going to confront Westboro Baptist Church, and I wanted to be there.The Westboro troup showed up, but they weren’t very interesting, and I couldn’t get any good video.

WBC was supposed to picket First Baptist Church too, and that one was a lot busier. There were quite a few atheists there carrying their own placards, and there were some reporters there too. But WBC didn’t show to that one.

That was another missed opportunity for me.  I’ve heard it said that Westboro Baptist Church are the only Christian denomination who interprets scripture as literally as we atheists do. So I wanted to know how the WBC interprets Exodus 22:29 & 34:19.  I mean, God clarifies what he means in Numbers 3:13, and I think I’m reading it right, but I don’t think any Christian group, not even WBC would admit that one of God’s ten commandments requires that we perform human sacrifice, slaughtering our first-born children in God’s name.  I’m kicking myself that I didn’t ask about that when I had the chance.

Madness Mayhem HIV charity

I’m doing another charity telethon this weekend, Saturday / Sunday

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I’m really no good at these. If I knew how to talk people out of their money, I wouldn’t always be in the red like I am.  So what I need is for people who have money to wait until 5:00pm Sunday, when it’s my hour to host the show, and then jump onto the donation links.  That way it’ll look like I did a good job.

The Unbelievers

Next week, Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss will tour the US to personally host special screenings of ‘The Unbelievers’.

A few months ago, Krauss and I were having breakfast in Oklahoma City, and he was telling me about his new movie.  I remember remarking that when Dawkins and Krauss are in a movie, it’s produced in Hollywood, but almost every professional documentary film I’ve been in was released straight to YouTube. Of course that’s because he’s Professor Brilliant PhD, and I’m just some guy with a web cam.

But this is a unique idea, not just to show the film, but in a sense to premier it at different locations like a concert.  To have the world-famous physicist and the evolutionary zoologist presenting their own film -live in person in different venues; it’s a great idea.

There will be guest speakers at different points too. Depending on the site, it might be Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller. Filmmakers Gus Holwerda, and Luke Holwerda of Black Chalk Productions. These people will be available to take questions from the audience.

Scheduled appearance-screenings are:

– April 2, 2014, at 6:00 p.m.
The UC San Diego RIMAC
9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla CA

– April 3, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.
The Cox Pavilion at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas
4505 S Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89154
Hosted by magician Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller

– April 7, 2014, at 7:00 p.m.
The Mershon Auditorium at The Ohio State University
1871 N. High Street, Columbus, OH

If you’re in range of any of these three venues, you can buy tickets here.  You can also get free the first chapter of Richard Dawkins’s autobiography, An Appetite for Wonder, by signing up for news from the Richard Dawkins Foundation’s fight for reason and science! See http://richarddawkins.net/.

This sort-of traveling show, as it were, promotes a movie which is itself about a road trip of sorts, with footage shot at various locations from Australia to New York.

Several celebrities appear in the film to support Dawkins and Krauss on their journey to promote reason and science, including Woody Allen, Stephen Hawking, Stephen Colbert, Cameron Diaz, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Werner Herzog, and Bill Maher.

Personally, what I found most exciting about the footage in the trailer were the scenes I remember, like from the Reason Rally in Washington DC and the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne, because I’m happy to say I was there.

22 questions for ‘evolutionists’ -answered

Ever since I saw that Buzzfeed article, ‘22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In Evolution‘, I wished I could talk to each of those poor, misguided people. I mean, many of them seem like nice genuine folks, but they’ve all been deceived by the charlatans of religion, and that is very sad.  What they think they know about science is usually completely backward.  They’ve been so misinformed that some of their questions and comments remind me of the famous quote from physicist Wolfgang Pauli, criticizing poorly composed research, “That’s not right, it’s not even wrong.”

Hopefully some of those people will see this video.