29 December, 2009
28 December, 2009
"While we have all the flaws concomitant with being children of chance, we also have an advantage: we're free. There is no cosmic fiddler. There is no domineering father in the sky who has a mission for us, who decreed at our birth that there is something we must do with our lives, who has slotted you into one specific role without your consent. You are not driven by an arbitrary external purpose, and you should find the idea of such a daily dictator of every detail of your existence abhorrent to an extreme.
It's a real mystery to me why anyone would find the deterministic slave-philosophy of Rick Warren at all appealing or consoling, especially since the evidence all says that it is wrong, as well. There must be something some people find pleasant in surrendering responsibility to an imaginary scapegoat.
Personally, I appreciate the fact that I'm a combination of traits, some lucky and some unlucky, that are mine and not the product of the whims of some puppetmaster. I'll make of them what I can and what I will, and who I am is my responsibility and to my credit or blame."
26 December, 2009
Atheists enjoy the holidays as much as anyone else. We don't observe the religious aspects, obviously; but we care about family and friends as much as anybody, and we are as happy to celebrate with them during a time of darkness and cold as much as anybody.I am having a very nice Holiday. I had a nice visit to my Grandfather's house where my sister, her family and parents were also visiting along with my daughters. We had a great time yesterday with Liz's sister and nephew and made a very nice dinner, and I have had a relaxing day at the airport with friends and at home with Liz. The days are dark and cloudy but the time with friends and family has been relaxing and rejuvenating.
25 December, 2009
At the time of the winter solstice, let reason prevail.
16 December, 2009
"Silence slowly prevails and then, from my bunk on the top row, I see and hear old Kuhn praying aloud, with his beret on his head, swaying backwards and forwards violently. Kuhn is thanking God because he has not been chosen.
Kuhn is out of his senses. Does he not see Beppo the Greek in the bunk next to him, Beppo who is twenty years old and is going to the gas-chamber the day after tomorrow and knows it and lies there looking fixedly at the light without saying anything and without even thinking anymore? Can Kuhn fail to realize that next time it will be his turn? Does Kuhn not understand that what has happened today is an abomination, which no propitiatory prayer, no pardon, no expiation by the guilty, which nothing at all in the power of man can ever clean again?
If I was God, I would spit at Kuhn’s prayer." - Primo Levi, Auschwitz survivor
“Frequent miraculous interventions would be at least as chaotic in the physical realm as they would be in interfering with human acts of free will.” - Francis Collins
And this same Collins shamelessly argues that God has fine-tuned the Universe, manufacturing, out of complete chaos, a Perfect Order of every molecule and every physical law in order to produce Mankind.
His God can shuffle galaxies at ease but is powerless to prevent cancer in children. And he worships this sh**head because he can make a frozen waterfall pretty.
He froze it in 3 strands as a special and personal “sign” that Christianity is true and delivered this sacred sign to the “humble” Collins himself. (Surely such signs take god’s time from the excision of cancerous cells in children.)"
I am finally understanding this free will crap. God gave us free will and won't interfere in the acts of men or of nature. Some such shit. God cares that I don't fly around the room but won't prevent me from killing a puppy? I have free will? Why can't I fly also? Killing a puppy is a physical act, why can't I fly? Francis Collins claims he found god when he came upon a waterfall one winter day frozen in three strands and is making these comments above quoted from his book. He was appointed by Obama to lead the NIH and was the director of the Human Genome Project which sequenced the human DNA. Incredible.
15 December, 2009
05 December, 2009
Having an open mind doesn't mean thinking all possibilities are equally likely. It means being willing to consider new ideas if the evidence supports them. And it means being willing to give up old ideas if the evidence is against them.
So to any believer who thinks atheists are close-minded, I want to ask you this:
What would convince you that you were mistaken?
Most atheists can answer that question."
02 December, 2009
Atheists have been “humble” for centuries (who was more humble than Spinoza?) and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere. It’s that crop of new atheist books that have finally created a climate in which atheists need not feel like pariahs. Like my confrères so maligned by Kristof, I think it’s time to try Mencken’s way:
The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame.
True enough, even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights. He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities as long as he pleases, provided only he does not try to inflict them upon other men by force. He has a right to argue for them as eloquently as he can, in season and out of season. He has a right to teach them to his children. But certainly he has no right to be protected against the free criticism of those who do not hold them. He has no right to demand that they be treated as sacred. He has no right to preach them without challenge.