You couldn't be here if stars hadn't exploded.
To the question, “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, “Why not?”
Atheist: Natural Morals, Real Meaning, Credible Truth

31 December, 2010

Sam Harris: A New Year's Resolution for the Rich

Sam Harris: A New Year's Resolution for the Rich: "And the ruination of the United States really does seem possible. It has been widely reported, for instance, that students in Shanghai far surpass our own in science, reading, and math. In fact, when compared to other countries, American students are now disconcertingly average (slightly below in math), where the average includes utopias like Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Albania, Kazakhstan, and Indonesia. President Obama was right to recognize this as a 'Sputnik moment.' But it is worse than that. This story was immediately followed by a report about giddy Creationists in the state of Kentucky being offered $40 million in tax subsidies to produce a full-scale model of Noah's ark. More horrible still, this ludicrous use of public money is probably a wise investment, given that such a monument to scientific ignorance will be guaranteed to attract an ovine influx of Christian tourists from neighboring states. Seeing facts of this kind, juxtaposed without irony or remedy at this dire moment in history, it is hard not to feel that one is witnessing America's irreversible decline. Needless to say, most Americans have no choice but to send their children to terrible schools--where they will learn the lesser part of nothing and emerge already beggared by a national debt now on course to reach $20 trillion. And yet Republicans in every state can successfully campaign on a promise to spend less on luxuries like education, while delivering tax cuts to people who, if asked to guess their own net worth, could not come within $10 million of the correct figure if their lives depended on it.

Also from WEIT:

The latest issue of The American Interest Online deals with the reality and ramifications of this inequality. From an essay by ex-conservative Francis Fukuyama, “Left Out“:

This is not, however, what this issue of The American Interest means by plutocracy. We mean not just rule by the rich, but rule by and for the rich. We mean, in other words, a state of affairs in which the rich influence government in such a way as to protect and expand their own wealth and influence, often at the expense of others. As the introductory essay to this issue shows, this influence may be exercised in four basic ways: lobbying to shift regulatory costs and other burdens away from corporations and onto the public at large; lobbying to affect the tax code so that the wealthy pay less; lobbying to allow the fullest possible use of corporate money in political campaigns; and, above all, lobbying to enable lobbying to go on with the fewest restrictions. Of these, the second has perhaps the deepest historical legacy.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Die Leere von Weihnachten « Choice in Dying

Die Leere von Weihnachten « Choice in Dying:

"I got angry. I got angry at the lazy assumption that religion is about meaning, purpose, goals, direction and hope. It isn’t. It’s about control, power, intrusion in and interference with the lives of others, in order to give oneself some sense of meaning, purpose, goals, direction and hope."

A new blog to watch.

26 December, 2010

Richard Dawkins | A shameful Thought for the Day | Comment is free |

Richard Dawkins | A shameful Thought for the Day | Comment is free |

"That's right. The creator of the universe, sublime inventor of mathematics, of relativistic space-time, of quarks and quanta, of life itself, Almighty God, who reads our every thought and hears our every prayer, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God couldn't think of a better way to forgive us than to have himself tortured and executed. For heaven's sake, if he wanted to forgive us, why didn't he just forgive us? Who, after all, needed to be impressed by the blood and the agony? Nobody but himself."
Original sin. I haven't succeeded in understanding this yet. If that is possible. God (Jesus) died for our sins to abolish death?
"Christ destroyed death forever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross."
So somehow accepting Jesus as my savior absolves me from my sin? What sin? The fact that I was born? Why do I have sin to be absolved of? Because of the "fall"? What was that? Some failure to worship properly the god? So he gets pissed off and says everyone is born with sin? But sends his son to earth to die so that sin can be absolved? Kind of sounds like a mob shakedown. Is this right, do I have the essential concept?

25 December, 2010

A reply to a YouTuber

"Funny how you act sarcastic and disrespectful with me when I came to you with peace. Well, I know one thing for sure, like it was predicted in prophecies, The believers of God will always be HATED by fools who think they know better. We will be laughed at, disrespected, and hated on. Hmmm. Sounds like the traits of Lucifer. I bet you would murder a Christian if your belief told you so, right? Cuz you hate them so much and deny the very existence of our heavenly father. Tell me, what wrong have Christians done to you besides hope to give you meaningful truth? And i bet you celebrate Christmas, right? Why do you celebrate it if you don't believe in Christ, the son of God? If you don't believe in him, then throw away all the gifts you bought for your loved ones and gifts given to you. And if they ask why you did that, tell them because you don't believe in Christ, therefore there is no need for me to celebrate Christmas. Otherwise, you'd be a walking contradiction against your belief. Peace and Godbless."

I don't hate the believers, I hate the religion and what it does to them.  I wouldn't murder anyone, I would protect myself from the mindless religious hoards that have been sent forth throughout history.  How have Christians wronged me?  They do it daily, hourly.  I have no chance for an atheist representative in the US Senate, Presidency or Supreme Court.  The religious are continuously trying to squash science education because it conflicts with their "truth" and then deal with the poorly educated that has been the result.  I must pay taxes for a military to protect my nation from attack by religious zealots and provide stability in the world where the religious regularly kill each other's children.  I hate seeing people waste their lives and resources following preachers and religious dogma while priests fuck little boys.  I don't need their iron-age "meaningful truth" that is narrow and stagnant.  I celebrate the end of the year, not the make believe birth of Christ.  The solstice has been a holiday a lot longer than it's been a Christian holiday.  I celebrate the end of a long busy year where I made meaningful contributions to my family, community, and nation.  Even to the world.  I wasted no effort worshiping a make-believe deity or supporting a power hungry religion.  I celebrate my family's successes and achievements from the year and come together with them to enjoy their company.  Christ, god, religion had nothing to do with our lives and will never.  Merry Christmas to you, may you see reason in the new year.

23 December, 2010

The worse, the better?

Is that the game the republicans are really playing?  Keep things bad, let things get worse, even make things worse intentionally so that the elections in 2012 will be a slam dunk for republican chances?

15 December, 2010

Hey Senate Republicans! Who do you work for?

Senate Republicans demanded that nothing would be passed until they got tax cuts for the rich passed.  Well, that happened.  The marginally stimulative tax cuts for the 1% who make 24% of the total income in this country passed.  Now they want to hold off on voting on the 2010 START treaty (a treaty recognized and approved by both Democrats and Republicans) and the government spending bill that keeps the government running.  They claim they haven't had enough time to examine them.  They claim it is disrespectful of the religious season.  They say the government spending bill has pork in it.  I call this bullshit.  The fact is that the spending bill has as much Republican pork as any other.  They've been playing politics for the last 2 years since Obama won the election.  They started campaigning for 2012 the day Obama won his election, doing anything to keep the President accomplishing as little as possible.  Stalling with filibuster after filibuster, abusing this procedure like no other party has ever. 

I am pissed.  I expect the people elected by the people to do the goddamn jobs they were elected to do.  There is no reason to stall and delay START and the government spending plan other than to play politics, to make Obama look a little less effective.  It is almost treasonous.  It is definately petty and childish.

I will be working through the Christmas holiday supporting warfighters with the spacecraft I help operate.  The servicemen and women around the world will be working 24/7 doing the jobs they volunteered to do in places most of us would rather stay away from.  The Senate Republicans need to step up and do their jobs, quit playing games and pass these bills that keep the government running and make our nation secure.

04 December, 2010

Have they won?


TSA being able to take x-ray pictures of us, possibly in violation of the 4th amendment, sort of means the terrorists have won? I kind of think so.  I think the TSA has gone a bit too far, not to blame them for it, but I think that is what has happened.  They have been charged with protecting us and they are trying to do the best they can as they were tasked to.  So, the American people have to decide how much risk we are willing to take for our liberties.  Do we stop this and accept the risk that a non-metalic weapon (shoe bomb, underwear bomb) could get through and we may have another disaster?  Or do we accept this as part of life and not an infringement on our rights against unreasonable search?

I for one would accept the risk.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."