Old Video From November

In November I made a video about atheism. I considered this to be a solid introduction to atheism, and what it “means” to be an atheist. I pointed out that atheism doesn’t demand that atheists not believe in the supernatural. I also talked about my objectives for the future. I feel like this video is fairly reflective of my opinions about atheism, and my objectives for the future. If you wanted to learn a bit about me, this is a nice way to see something I made which talks about what I think. I’m sharing this again because I am beginning to talk and write far more about atheism, and religion than I did before.

Let me know what you think! Do you think I accurately described atheism? Do you disagree? I want to know!

Myths, Parables, Fables, and Legends

Let’s chat about literary terms and their definitions. Specifically about storytelling. And even more specifically about differences between some of these terms. They tend to be used interchangeably (parables and fables less so than myths and legends), and that’s not correct. It’s fine enough if you aren’t interested in formal or academic discussion, but the differences are kind of important for a genuine discussion about both ancient and contemporary theology.

What is a parable? These tend to be seen from the standpoint of contemporary popular beliefs, and they are simple stories meant to illustrate moral or spiritual lessons. There are parables in the Bible, and one well known example is The Ten Maidens. This story is meant to illustrate the importance of being prepared and being diligent even if it seems silly to us in the modern day. Parables do not need to have any sort of supernatural force in them.

What is a fable? Fables are short stories that can have supernatural elements (inanimate objects talking, and animals talking is pretty supernatural), meant to teach moral lessons. These stories tend to have inanimate objects and animals as characters, and an extremely famous example is the Hare and the Tortoise. A lesser known example could be the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, or the Man and the Wood (the morals from these two are “appearances can be deceiving” and “don’t give those who hate you/your enemies the tools they can use to destroy you”.). Plenty of examples, including the ones mentioned here can be found at this site.

So what’s the deal with legends? These are related to history. The formal definition of a legend is the following: a traditional story usually regarded as historical (popularly) but unauthenticated. Some examples include: the fountain of youth, the 7 cities of gold, Bigfoot (arguably), Antillia, and other such locations and alleged artifacts. The difference between legends and myths can be blurry, but an easy example can be how these things are perceived. If these things are viewed as historical, or a decent chunk of people view them as historical, they are legends. Also legends might not have and probably don’t have overtly supernatural elements to them (though they certainly can, such as the fountain of youth being somehow able to reverse the effects of time on skin and possibly the lifespan in the 15th and 16th centuries.)

Myths. The big M. So what exactly IS a myth? These are traditional stories, usually focused on early histories of a people, oftentimes meant to explain “events” such as the onset of language (Tower of Babel for instance) and WHY things were the way they were, typically involving heavy/extensive supernatural powers and beings. Examples of myths include the creation story of Christianity, and of virtually every single civilization. Creation stories tend to have very extreme accounts of supernatural beings and powers. The usage of the word “myth” doesn’t apply solely to less popular religions, or imply that the stories aren’t true. It’s merely an attempt to place stories and claims with similar elements closer together for comparative reading and so that people who are interested can find other stories or claims with similar themes easily.

Myths and legends can and are used interchangeably, as are myths and fables. Parables are occasionally interchanged with fables, but that’s considerably less common in my experience than someone switching out what would more appropriately be described as a legend, but calling it a myth. Or vice-versa. This isn’t important, but if we’re going to discuss civilizations we ought to know how to discuss them and talking about legendary events and actually CALLING THEM legendary is a good way to show that you care about the conversation you are having. Things that could be considered contemporary “legends” can be and oftentimes are debunked by internet groups like Snopes. Debunking myths is a bit more complex because myths almost always have high levels of belief behind them, but legends can be and are questioned by plenty of people.

If we’re going to talk about myths and legends, I would like for us to have a genuine understanding of these words before we use them. I want us to know the nuances of each word. Popular but unauthenticated stories can and should be questioned. As should stories which involve high levels of supernatural activity and occurrences. Fables and parables as stories which serve more to provide some sort of lesson should be viewed less critically, but even they shouldn’t be above questioning and criticisms. If we want to truly appreciate the old stories, and the old beliefs (and contemporary ones) we can and should understand how to properly categorize them. Having knowledge of definitions and of literary analysis helps with this.

So in short the differences are quite remarkable. Parables and fables are meant to teach some sort of lesson, spiritual, moral, or otherwise. And legends and myths relate to beliefs and to how people conceptualize history and the nature of the universe. These things have definitions that are fairly distinct and they shouldn’t be used interchangeably, but if you do that’s fine. Just remember the actual definitions of each word. Proper word usage and a willingness to bring up definitions in complex literary discussions and in interpretations of history can be and oftentimes is useful.

In the context of atheism and skepticism where this truly matters is about conversations concerning beliefs and why people have these beliefs. Being able to explain these definitions and why certain beliefs fall into these categories is important because it can help people learn to discern similarities between beliefs and views of history. This is important stuff to know if you care about having conversations related to beliefs.

Let me know what you think!

Mythology Monday #2 Cocollona

Hello! Welcome once again to Mythology Monday. Quick reminders: You can find out more information about LAMMP, and about the Hispanic Atheist over here and here (respectively). That being said let’s jump right in! If given the chance I’ll try and do another one today, but the one right now is an urban myth from Girona Spain.

The Cocollona lurked beneath the water, carefully using the water to make sure even those few humans gifted enough to detect her naturally couldn’t see her. She surfaced from time to time in deserted locations, to feed on unsuspecting birds and fish she had captured while swimming lazily through the Onyar. Like a “normal” crocodile she was a lazy being only rarely striking fish and birds foolish enough to come close, and she suspected (in the small part of her that retained her human intellect) that she couldn’t be seen by animals, like she couldn’t be seen by normal humans. Even her butterfly wings which she used to propel herself forward through the water in rare, and violent bursts. 

The former human had haunted the river for centuries. Since long ago, in the age of the Inquisition, the Cocollona had been an inhabitant of the city and a river-dweller. The strange monster had been reported on by authorities and by regular city-dwellers for centuries and was accepted for a while, before fading into the background like the ancient myths of werewolves in Spain. As monsters became less and less accepted and believed in they began to lose force and presence. Sooner or later the oldest ones will all undergo a process by which they “deteriorate” and begin to become harder and harder to notice. Sooner or later they can only be seen by men and women with exceptional spiritual energy. The Cocollona is in the middle of this process, which is why some people report seeing her wings in the river, but others don’t believe them and make fun of them. Now the Cocollona almost mindlessly drifts through the river, occasionally devouring food and moving suddenly as she remembers things about her past life, when she was human and thrashes about angered over her new life, and her new inability to die. It was infuriating for the lady crocodile. 

(This story suggests the Cocollona is somehow physically immortal. Her source myth doesn’t state this. Nor does it state that she is intelligent/sentient. Or give an age when the legend occurred. This is just an example of one way she could theoretically be written into a story.)

So the Cocollona. Have you heard of her? She’s a nun. Or she was/would have been when if she had lived longer when she was human. According to a website about Girona, a long time ago there was a convent in which priests, monks, and nuns worked together. It seems that they weren’t particularly good at their lives of faith and got annoyed when a young nun or would be nun (one site I read said she was a nun scolded them for living the way they did, which was disorganized and of little faith) attempted to correct them and work to get back “on the right path”. And what happened to her? She got locked up in a cell and slowly transformed into a strange crocodile thing. With butterfly wings. Because of her soul and faith. I guess.

So the internal logic here is the following: Young girl who likes God (possibly, it could be another god) wants to live religiously. Happens to go to a bad convent. Wants to get her fellow religious leaders back on the good path. Gets locked up in a dark cell. Begins to grow scales until she is fully crocodiled (because darkness and humidity, apparently). Somehow because of her “purity” she grew these butterfly wings. And then died. Eventually.

She died (at some point) and became a ghost. And now from time to time her strange crocodile/butterfly ghost can be seen drifting in the river underneath the light of the full moon close to where she was supposedly imprisoned for her faith.

Weirdest martyr/persecution story I’ve heard so far with what are likely Christians. Especially because she doesn’t have a good reward and the people who punished her don’t seem to suffer.

Another interpretation with some differing details can be found here (it’s in English).

Some pages I’ve read, specifically the Spanish wiki page on Cocollona (which I don’t take seriously as a source but I wanted to see its links) stated that it is possible tour guides created the Cocollona myth in an attempt to get more business or otherwise increase interest in the city, but it’s difficult to tell whether or not this is actually the case.

I believe this video could be Spanish, but it’s not like any Spanish I’ve ever heard (I’ve never heard someone from Spain speak Spanish, so I don’t know) so I suspect it could be Catalan or another language altogether. But it tells more or less the same story. The pictures and the words that sound similar to Spanish heard in the Americas make it possible to figure out the gist of the story. The drawings are nice in a childish way so it can be worth showing to children using for an activity on myths and monsters if you are a teacher or want to teach your kids about myths they haven’t heard of before if you mute it and just the tell story as the video plays.

If you have any interesting Latino/Spanish monsters, heroes, deities, or legends you’d like to see covered let me know! Let me what you think of this tragic nun/nun in training.

Fallacy Friday #2 (I know it’s late) Tone Arguments and A Tiny Bit of the Argument From Fallacy

First of all: sorry my computer wasn’t accepting me yesterday. I couldn’t do a second Fallacy Friday. But here’s a late one!

Today’s fallacy? The Tone Argument. This isn’t extremely related to religion, but whenever Christians or other theists attempt to dismiss arguments by irreligious individuals on the basis of something resembling anger, that’s this fallacy. It’s a fallacy/irrelevant argument because it doesn’t directly deal with the argument at hand. An example of this could be someone hearing an argument, and as a response them claiming something along the lines of “Why are you so angry?”. In the context of a debate, though calmness is preferred, objectively someone’s emotions aren’t particularly important. The tone of the person is almost completely irrelevant to their arguments. In religious arguments, whenever you hear someone say “you sound so angry” or “why so much hate?” ignore that part of the statement. If that’s a stand-alone statement, point out that your “anger” or “hate” is irrelevant to whether or not they are correct.

This type of argument is considered a “red-herring” because it’s a distraction. It’s meant to move the conversation in another direction, especially when it’s used by individuals who have knowledge of philosophy, arguments, and fallacies. If you actively debate with Christians or other kinds of theists you’ll probably hear this a lot. This is the “they hate God!” argument. Although calling statements like that “arguments” is stretching the word’s definition a bit much.

This can be a difficult fallacy to overcome until you learn to recognize it. Once you can spot it, it’s not difficult to overcome. It’s a simple matter of pointing out that this argument is fallacious and why. Because at no point does this argument deal with the arguments that provoked it. But it’s important to remember that if there is another comment, or a further statement, accompanying the tone-argument, that OTHER argument doesn’t get thrown out just because the tone-policing argument was. If you think it does, that’s actually a type of fallacy as well. It’s called the “Argument from fallacy”. It’s tricky to deal with, but it’s important to know. Fallacies can exist without necessarily corrupting an ENTIRE argument, or somehow automatically invalidating any possibility that the conclusion could be true.

A conclusion can be correct, but still have been realized by someone who got there through fallacious reasoning. This is part of why understanding WHY something is the way it is, is important as opposed to just understanding the conclusion.

Do you have any suggestions for Fallacy Fridays? Sorry about the lateness!



Honduran Police Put It All in God’s Hands During Holy Week

A bit of background: I run the Honduras Report, one of the few (but not the only) newspapers in Honduras operating in English. As I’ve mentioned before I am a native Spanish speaker, and a Puerto Rican. My family is/are (my dad is, and my mom was) military. We lived in Honduras from late 2010-2012, so we got to see Honduras as it was beginning to go back to “life as usual” following the coup in the middle of 2009. Honduras had a remarkable effect on me, and how I viewed the world. And that’s part of why I started the Honduras Report. It’s my attempts to make sure English speaking people in Honduras, and interested in Honduras get access to more than the most viral articles in Spanish and in English. I want to report on all aspects of life. And sometimes that means reporting on religious news. Like that time I covered how the president of the Evangelical Fraternity was annoyed at how Honduras’s tax agency was getting basically replaced and how employees of that agency weren’t happy at losing their jobs. Or earlier today when I mentioned that according to a gynecologist during Jesus week (Holy Week) pregnancies go up by a solid 10% which means that there’s a lot of unhappy Honduran doctors and nurses during Christmas, which includes this great quote (which was translated and paraphrased into English from Spanish originally) “Gustavo Morales, the leader of that department has said that when Honduran society remembers the Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ many women will get pregnant, making labor units of the hospitals in December and January face a 10% increase in usage as compared to other months out of the year.” If you’re curious the original sentence was the following: “Gustavo Morales, jefe de dicha área, dijo que es frecuente que en marzo o abril, que se recuerda la crucifixión, muerte y resurrección del hijo de Dios,muchas mujeres quedan embarazadas incrementado las atenciones en la unidad de labor y parto en diciembre y enero hasta en un 10% en relación a otros meses del año.” But that’s not why we’re here. It’s because Honduran police sometimes give it to Jesus. And because I like translating semi-silly things from Spanish into English. Everything that follows this is a translation. Of this specifically.

In a mass officiated by the auxiliary bishop Romulo Emiliani, the different directives/agencies of the national and militarized police put their actions during Holy Week in the hands of God.

Emiliani blessed the actions of the police and he urged them to put forth their best selves every day.

The spokesman of the police, Jorge Montoya explained that the activity was done so that they could “Put in the hands of God, the police operations done during Holy Week” and “Underneath this blessing the population will have the security of knowing that we’ll do our best work.”

As part of the social protection, the police bought coffee and breakfast to the people within the central park and brought trifolds with information concerning security. (That’s it. End of translation.)


Honduras is not a secular society. It’s not SOLELY a Christian society, but it is overwhelmingly a Christian one. This sort of thing likely happens all of the time, but this is the first that I’ve seen of it being legitimatized and then reported on. Now don’t get me wrong, when this sort of thing appears on the news in Honduras it is quickly made fun of by Hondurans, including theists. Because it’s silly. But Honduras is just one society held back by religious dogmatism. An example of this include the relatively recent potential opportunity to undo the ban on adoption for homosexuals, which was blocked by the same Evangelical group mentioned above in a different, almost positive context. We all know this is a great opportunity to get orphans out of orphanages and into the homes of loving, caring parents. But it was blocked. Because of course it was, in Honduras.

What do you think of Honduran police placing the blames on their failures on God? Because that’s what this really is. It’s an attempt to make sure people know that God allows this. They went to church, and get their “blessings” so any and all mistakes belong to God. If the glory goes to him, shouldn’t the failures? I’d love to hear what you think of the Honduran police participating in this religious ritual! (It’s not unconstitutional by the way, unless you kind of stretch article 77. Read two different translations of the Constitution here, and here. And a Spanish version here.)

LAMMP, How You Get Your Motivation, and Other Things.

I’ve met my fair share of theists. As a Latino who was raised in Latin America and in various parts of the Bible Belt, believe me I’ve met my fair share of theists. And virtually all of them, when I’ve asked “what drives you?” have responded with at least some mention of a deity, even if it wasn’t the primary focus of their response. So my fellow skeptics, free-thinkers, atheists, agnostics, and otherwise irreligious people let me ask you a simple question? What drives you? What gives you inspiration?

I am driven by two motivations. A desire to make sure things, people, and civilizations aren’t forgotten, and a desire to educate people. As a historian, I dislike the idea of things becoming forgotten. It truly saddens me to think that one day entire civilizations, beliefs, names, and ideas could be gone from remembered and accepted history. This is part of what drives me to do things like Mythology Monday. Having a single person remember a story is enough to expand it’s life for a number of years but if something is placed on the Internet it is immortalized, to an extent. Especially in a commonly spoken language like English. Mythology Monday’s are part of a personal effort of mine to revive interest in foreign mythologies, especially in an age where shows like Supernatural and Teen Wolf  are insanely popular. Mythology Monday’s are a fusion of my two goals. Because with Mythology Monday’s I can honor the often forgotten peoples who inhabited the Americas both Europeans came and Christianity decimated older beliefs and beliefs that were once commonly accepted.

LAMMP (The Latin American Mythology Media Project) is also the result of a desire to immortalize myths and to ensure that people get to actually learn about them. In a lot of ways LAMMP is something very distinctly “Me”. But ultimately what I want with LAMMP is to build a culture which cares about and preserves its history including its mythology. A culture which respects the ancient myths, even if it realizes they aren’t true. I don’t think that we as a society have to forget about our past and what our ancestors believed just because we realize that the more extraordinary stories aren’t true. I’ll be writing more about LAMMP either later today or tomorrow. But it’s something I care about. And it’s a something I could live my life happily working for/in. The LAMMP is a concentrated effort to get more people to learn about and care about mythologies, myths, legends, and all sorts of “supernatural” stuff found in the area that is now known as Latin America (which is arguably parts of the U.S., Mexico, and all of Central and South America. And parts of the Caribbean.).

When it comes to LAMMP be sure to join our Facebook group if you want to get news as it happens! We’re small but we’ll grow fast in the future 🙂

I feel like knowing what motivates other skeptics is valuable. Partially because as skepticism becomes more and more common, there will be lots of people with questions for free-thinkers and irreligious individuals. Perhaps the best way to answer those questions is for us to have articles like these where we explain our personal motivations and ask others who are like-minded (in the context of religious beliefs or lack thereof) to also say what motivates them. I also feel like this could show them that as far as personal drive, and motivations go, we aren’t that far apart. When I got less “God” filled answers, both the people I asked and myself were pleasantly surprised to see that our motivations aren’t that far apart. Additionally I also got the chance to comment on how I thought it was funny that God never told people to become things they didn’t want to be. It was a great “coincidence” that everyone I asked (I’ve done this multiple times before and in the future I’ll try and record it somehow so that I can show evidence to back up my statements) who gave a religious answer wanted to be exactly what it was that God told them to be. Weird how that works huh?

Let me know what drives you! I’d love to read about whatever it that drives the people who read this article. Motivation is awesome and I feel more motivated when I learn what drives my friends and acquaintances.

Latin American Mythology Monday (The Very First!)

Mythology Monday is something that I’ve been doing for a few weeks. This is actually probably the 6th or 7th Mythology Monday, but it is the first in a new set devoted to introducing readers to characters, gods, and monsters conceived in the minds of both pre-Columbus inhabitants of Central and South America, and those who lived in the Americas following the arrival of Columbus, Europe, and eventually the rest of the world. These will also be the very first with original introductions done in a format reminiscent of a story. Basically very tiny pieces of original writing introducing the specific character, or monster (including types of creatures as opposed to unique beings without any creatures like them, such as the Tsunki who were creatures in Shuar mythology), or deities. Basically these differ from previous Mythology Monday’s because they are devoted to discussing Latin American myths and feature unique short-story style introductions which showcase methods in which these entities and conceptual creatures could be used as inspiration for stories and portrayals in artwork. There are two reasons for this. 1 is to showcase that these beings “exist” in the sense that other gods and monsters exist, the other is demonstrate methods in which these beings could be used by people who want to work in fantasy or create fantasy content (by this I mean books, T.V. shows, movies, video games, etc.). And now it’s time that we meet El Lal.


Noshtex possessed a host of deadly powers. Most notably his infamous ability to shapeshift. The ability which allowed him to survive the dangerous forest his son had brought to life, while fleeing from his gluttonous clutches. But now Noshtex was in pain. Noshtex was hiding. Lurking inside a near-mythical forest while he struggles to regenerate and reassembly himself over hundreds of years ribbons of flesh, bones, and internal organs are slowly inching towards each other, merging when they come into contact with each other. Noshtex the ravenous, internally howled. His mind was being continually wracked with pain, and the occasional moments of clarity kept the giant focused enough to try and reassemble himself piece by piece and bone by bone. “I’ll be back Elal. Don’t you worry about that.” The giant promised, continually swearing to take his son’s home in the sky by storm one day. In a small forest, hidden by powerful magic, a near invulnerable giant bides his time, patiently and painfully. It is possible that one day the world will tremble in fear as a reassembled Noshtex reappears and lays siege to the world.    


El-Lal (or Elal) is a strange mythic being from the Tehuelche mythology. He is the son of (according to Spanish sources) a Cloud and a Giant. His myth revolves around him playing a crucial role in ensuring that mankind can begin to use weapons and tools, and eventually him defeating his father the cruel giant Nosjthej (Noshtex). He is rescued by a rodent (rodent person, seemingly an anthropomorphic rodent), when his father decides to eat him shortly after his birth. In some versions of this myth, Terr-Uer is his grandmother, the mother of his mother. In every version of the myth Terr-Uer is Elal’s guardian, and teaches the young godling about tools, weapons, and the world.   


Elal becomes a champion for mankind, teaching humanity about tools and fire. At the end of his legend he goes into the sky and according to some awaits mankind acting as a critical figure in the afterlife, leading hunts.


Information about Elal:

Mother: Teo (a cloud, apparently, or a rat alternatively)

Father: Noshtex (a giant)

Grand-Mother: Terr-Uer according to some sources whenever Teo isn’t shown as a cloud but as a rat (a rat-lady)

Species: Possibly a godling? English sources describe him as a mortal, but other English sources talk about a story where he turns into a gadfly.

Talents: archery, and weapon use.

Feats: teaching humanity and defeating Noshtex

Prophecy related to his birth: Any son/child of Teo’s will be stronger than their father. This is why Noshtex decides to try and get rid of Elal from the onset.

Kills Noshtex by kicking him, prompting Noshtex to chase him and eventually firing an arrow which turns into a jungle with thorns which cut away the skin of the furious giant, and the giant in his fury doesn’t feel any pain, until it’s too late. The swarm of thorns contain chunks of his flesh and internal organs.

Tehuelche afterlife: Works with Uendeunk (the kind guardian spirit) to judge the souls of humans upon their deaths. Tries to determine the goodness of individual Tehuelche upon their deaths, including if they taught their children about Elal. If determined to be worthy the Tehuelche will get to stay with Elal.
The Tehuelche are an indigenous people in the region known contemporarily as “Patagonia”, which is in southern Chile and Argentina. Giants are recurring beings in the mythologies throughout this area. Tehuelche still exist (debately), and is a generic name given to a group of inhabitants of the Patagonia region, despite the last speaker of Gununa’Kuna (northern Tehuelche) dying in 1960 and only some speakers of Aonik’enk (southern Tehuelche) existing in the modern era.   


Some sources:




http://www.taringa.net/posts/info/968016/Mitologia-Tehuelche—Aonikenk.html (Spanish)


A Spanish telling of some part’s of Elal’s myth which includes a giant brutally beating a cloud so that a baby comes out. Even if you can’t understand Spanish this video is worth watching, if nothing else the very first minute and a half is.

In which children (also in Spanish) act out the Tehuelche equivalent of Genesis (also known as Kooch and the creation of the world). Albeit with less genocide and incest. P.S.: The ocean is created because a deity is sad and alone, and starts to cry.


As an added note: If you like doing this sort of thing just wait until some sources are directly in conflict with each other. Or some sources in other languages have added “facts” that other sources don’t mention. It’s guaranteed to be a fun time.

Adventures in Inexperienced Video Making

Did you know I have a YouTube account? Well I do! I am serious about returning to regular video making and this is just the beginning of my video-making career. I was just beginning to get active on YouTube, when I had to stop due to college craziness. Please note I am not good at making videos, and this one is a great example of my lack of skills. But I’ll be making many more videos, and hopefully improving in the quality of my video making.


Let me know what you think of my video in the comments section (on either this post or YouTube). I’ll be making videos about a lot of different topics in the future! Hopefully you’ll enjoy them. Trust me they’ll be better than this one.

I hope you’re looking forward to Mythology Monday tomorrow because I know I am!

Fallacy Friday #1 The Argument from Popularity for Believing In a Deity (Any of Them).

It’s time for the first ever Fallacy Friday! So what’s a “Fallacy”? I know most vocally irreligious people have encountered theists who will try and either convert or re-convert them (depending on one’s original stance relative to the questions concerning the existence of a deity), so we tend to be familiar with their arguments and with the fallacies that at least a few of these arguments present to us. But I want to start with a “blank slate” so to speak, so we’re going to begin a basic definition.

Fallacy: a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound argument, also; a failure in reasoning that renders an argument invalid, faulty reasoning; a misleading or unsound argument.

Fallacies tend to be written about and discussed extensively by philosophers and individuals who participate in formal debates, so there’s a variety of resources for anyone who is interested in reading about specific fallacies. Given that this is the Free Thought Blogs, the fallacies I’ll be discussing tend to be centered around religion. And more specifically, they’ll be centered on Christianity, because as people from Latin America, the religion we’ve gotten the most experience with is Christianity (and typically Catholicism). And in my own experience, in all of the Americas the religion most interested in spreading itself is Christianity.

For the first fallacy we’re going to chat about a form of the argument from popularity. I say a form, because this is a special type of that argument which focuses on general theism (as used by Christians) to discredit the general position of skepticism towards religious claims. This is the idea that due to the “popularity” of a belief in some sort of deity throughout history, and in the present day that there is some level of validity to this belief. Generally speaking this is any argument that uses how well received an idea or argument is as support for the argument being true.

The argument from popularity is never a good one to use, especially if you are arguing that a specific god exists, as opposed to some sort of deity in general. But in this specific instance it’s also bad for Christians to use, because 1: More people don’t believe in the tenants of Christianity than do believe with most estimates of the number of Christians being around 2 billion (usually 2.2) when the global population is 7.4 billion, and 2: monotheism generally isn’t super tolerant and the “God” of the Bible dictates that non-believers will either be outright destroyed (the group that says “Hell is a separation from God”), or sent to Hell (the group who argue Hell is a location which exists where non-believers go to suffer for eternity), depending on who is being asked. So to “God” according to many Christians the religion of the person is irrelevant provided they aren’t Christian. Some people make exceptions for Jews, and even for Muslims, but that still goes against there being any worth to this idea that the total number of people who believe in gods has any relevance. To some Christians, people who worship other gods are just as guilty as atheists are for not believing in “God”.

Additionally the argument from popularity is a weird one to use because it in a sense can imply that humanity is at it’s peak. That collectively, all of mankind has access to all of the knowledge necessary (or perhaps that we’ll ever have relative to this topic) for us to have any certainty about this particular topic, one of the topics that humanity has had questions about since even the earliest steps to civilization were taken. It implies that the majority have clearly all come to some sort of collective epiphany (which when boiled down to one of it’s original meanings actually has a Christian definition, specifically the manifestation of Christ to the Magi in Matthew 2:1-12), and thus can be trusted to be correct on this issue, more than those in the minority. It’s a fascinating argument to try and think about, especially when one thinks about it historically. Think about the various mythologies that have existed, the religions that were created by civilizations in the forgotten past, tribes and civilizations that humanity right now has no idea existed, who made up gods and goddesses we’ll never conceptualize because they were only spread through word of mouth and never written down or drawn. Mankind has had beliefs in the supernatural probably since the beginning of our existence as groups. But that doesn’t make these beliefs correct, or grant them any sort of validity.

The argument from popularity is a bad argument because just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s right, or logical. Just because lots of people believe in something doesn’t make it true, or even respectable to believe in it. The argument from popularity isn’t evidence. Nor is it something to seriously consider when discussing the possibility of any deity existing. If a deity existed, there would be better arguments to use than the idea that just because civilizations throughout history have believed in some sort of supernatural being that means there must be something to it. These same civilizations often believed that the future could be divined through burned bones, and that the stars somehow impacted the future of mankind. They believed that light from the stars was the light as it existed, and not light that had taken millions of years to travel through space before getting to us. These are the same groups who believed that living beings were responsible for the sun, and that at night the sun vanished, rather than the Earth orbiting the sun. These people often didn’t know what laid beyond the horizon, and that thousands of miles away there was an ocean, and that across that ocean laid another gigantic landmass which was inhabited by humans (after humanity had lived for a while anyway). I’m sure if you told the earliest Christians all of the scientific discoveries we’ve made since their religion began to exist they’d be stunned, and not believe you.

Don’t use the argument from popularity. How “liked” an idea is about the nature of the universe and the origin of mankind has nothing to do with whether or not its true. It’s a bad idea to try and use the beliefs of the majority, especially when those beliefs in this topic were often spread from parent to child and for centuries this practice continued in societies that for various reasons were never skeptical of them. Let’s just avoid the argument from popularity. It’s just a bad argument.

Post Schedule And Why I Want To Create A Space For Latin@ Free-Thinkers

Hey! This post is designed to layout a sort of “schedule” when it comes to posts that’ll appear here in the future. There are two types of weekly posts that’ll appear EVERY week. That’s Mythology Monday and Fallacy Friday. Before going any further I’ll explain what I mean by these two posts.

Mythology Monday: Every Monday for the past month I’ve covered legendary and mythological beings. Yesterday’s MM were Yumboes a mythological race of fairy-type (the way modern people view “fairies” not the way the term has been used historically) beings from Senegal. The week before then I did the Tsunki’s water/water snake spirits who played a fairly important role in the mythology of the Shuar people of Ecuador and a few other parts of South America. I plan on doing 2 MM’s each week, one from Latin American mythologies (on this blog) and another on my Facebook page. I’ll be doing global ones on the Facebook page. These aren’t exactly academic, but they are meant to showcase the diversity of beliefs (and in someways the similarities of beliefs) worldwide.

Fallacy Friday: I debate with theists a lot, and some of them are very fallacious. The purpose of FF is to show common fallacies, and demonstrate how to respond to them, when debating with regular theists (even informal apologists). These fallacies appear in other types of arguments, not just ones tied to religious questions and religious assertions. In order to be as reasonable as possible it’s important to know how to identify fallacies and how to respond to them. I’ve done these Fallacy Friday’s before, and I am

These are two types of posts that I plan on doing weekly. I am planning on doing more informal articles, and some formal pieces (from time to time), especially where I translate articles in Spanish, into English, and then write a response to the original piece, relative to religion and atheism throughout Latin America. The first Fallacy Friday will go up this week. If you’d like to see a specific fallacy covered then you should let me know! I’ll also be translating memes and arguments from Spanish into English and responding to them. I want to show people, including and especially Latin@s in the United States who have similar levels of Spanish to mine (which is to say, not that great) the sorts of arguments free-thinkers in Latin America have to deal with. There’ll also be posts dealing specifically with Latin American history (and at times history in general). I want to help show the “experience” that comes with being someone who is Latin@ and a free-thinker. In my case it’s been rewarding because I am lucky enough to have had a family that was relatively chill towards my atheism, and because I am a vocal atheist. I was able to befriend atheists who have ambitions in the larger atheist community, and who have dreams. They saw my writing and liked it, even if they viewed it as relatively unpolished. They also saw how I defended myself when attacked by theists, both politely and bluntly.

As a Latin@ free-thinker, I can say that my experience has been relatively chill. But the reality is that for many Latin@ free-thinkers there has been a real cost to be paid for being free-thinking. In many cases it’s the same things as happen in the United States, but escalated. Some examples of this can be found here, and here. Part of the problem is that these are just instances that are reported on in English. There are articles in Latin@ newspapers that deal with atheism, but my experience with them, even those of them that are sent to me by others tend to focus on interfaith dating (two different articles). Which is tricky. Occasionally though articles about religion, and atheism will ask tough questions. Like are we alone in the universe? Which is the purpose of this Peruvian article that spoke of faith, religion, and aliens. It might seem silly to some but you don’t often hear about Latin@s and science, and Latin@s and theology in a skeptical sense if you live in the United States. But there are Latin@ free-thinkers (because I know many Latin@s who avoid the use of the word “atheist” and “ateo”, especially in public out of fear of someone reacted negatively) who have had to deal with very real and very raw reactions by their parents, other family, and friends because they aren’t convinced religious claims are true. It is vital to note that while Latin@ free-thinkers aren’t murdered for our beliefs, we do face very real, very public isolation. In the United States atheism is becoming more accepted, and that is apparently happening in Latin America, but it’s slow. And the difficulties of organizing effective in Latin (particularly Central) America make it so that it’s rare for an atheist or group of atheists who are Latin@ in our home nations (aside from Puerto Rico) to do something “newsworthy”. This contributes to us being denied airtime and thus opportunities to show the world our faces. Throughout the week I’d like to showcase articles I see in Spanish and in English, and talk about them. I think it could be eye-opening for many, including Latin@ free-thinkers in the United States.

Let me know what you think of this informal schedule. Remember that posts on Fridays and Mondays are guaranteed, and posts throughout the rest of the week are fairly likely. In April I want to do daily posts, and in May I am definitely planning daily posts. I’m a college student and I’m in the later half of my 1st semester of senior year. It’s kind of crazy right now. But expect at least 3 articles a week, and almost certainly more than that. Have a great day everyone!