Tribute to Nick Josh Karean

Strictly speaking, as an Honorable Skeptic, I do not expect to have followers of my ethical philosophy. Nor am I a blind follower of anyone (because then I wouldn’t be a skeptic). No, not even Carl Sagan, though he was a idol of mine in childhood and he was one of my direct influences in the creation of my standard of ethics. But there is one person whose vision so closely mirrors my own, and even exceeds it in many ways, that I must pay tribute to him as a brother in arms against ignorance, superstition, and self-serving bigotry: Nick Josh Karean.

Facebook profile link: https://www.facebook.com/nickjoshkarean

YouTube Channel link: http://www.youtube.com/nicksfilmz

He lives in a nation split between Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Hindus, among other religious communities, yet he was a fundamentalist Christian early in his life, just as I was. Eventually, however, he learned to get away from that and developed critical thinking, becoming one of the strongest advocates for reason, science and objective truth I’ve ever known. He currently works in film making and visual effects.

I invite all who know me to also join with him.

The downfall of Richard Dawkins’ credibility

The atheist community, of which Richard Dawkins has been seen as a leader for many years, has been rocked by this latest controversy which has shown, once and for all, that just because you are atheist doesn’t mean you leave behind all your outdated attitudes and become consistently rational. If anything, Dawkins’ blatant sexism has only made him and his atheism look worse.

He wrote this in response to a complaint by Rebecca Watson about her and other women being mistreated and disrepected at atheist and freethought conferences.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/always_name_names.php#comment-4295492

Dear Muslima

Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .

And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

Richard

Talk about missing the point!

Others have denounced Dawkins and defended Rebecca on this, including Rebecca herself:

http://www.blaghag.com/2011/07/richard-dawkins-your-privilege-is.html

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/oh_no_not_againonce_more_unto.php

http://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/

Dawkins is dead wrong about this! Indeed, he couldn’t be more wrong if he were to suddenly endorse Young Earth Creationism. And since his position is so repulsive, the only honorable thing for him to do at this point is for him to state, in a public forum or even on his own website: “I’m sorry, I was being sexist and hypocritical and I will never make such foolish statements again.” And then shut the hell up afterwards for a long time.

Until he does that, I will never listen to him again.

An Open Letter to Lawrence Krauss

First, read this:

http://skepchick.org/2011/04/lawrence-krauss-defends-a-sex-offender-embarrasses-scientists-everywhere/

If you actually said what Rebecca Watson quoted of you, then you are one contemptible hypocrite. Not a true skeptic anymore, and certainly not an Honorable Skeptic like I try to be. Close friendship is no excuse for selling out!

Rebecca wrote:

Jeffrey Epstein is the infamous media mogul who was jailed in 2008 for paying underage prostitutes who said they were recruited by his aides. Some girls were allegedly flown in from Eastern Europe, their visas arranged by his bookkeeper.

Then she quotes you as saying:

Based on my direct experience with Jeffrey, which is all I can base my assessment on, he is a thoughtful, kind, considerate man who is generous to his friends, and all of the women I have known who have been associated with Jeffrey speak glowingly in the same words……jeffrey apparently paid for massages with sex… I believe him when he told me he had no idea the girls were underage, and I doubt that people normally are asked for or present a driver’s license under such circumstances… Moreover, I also believe that Jeffrey is an easy target for those who want to take advantage of him…

You sound like an IDIOT there! WTF is wrong with you?! I wonder if you are a sex offender yourself, to rationalize away the actions of Epstein and claim that he isn’t so bad because he has so many other “good” qualities. NO! A MURDERER is a MURDERER, and child rapist is a child rapist, period! And a skeptic is a skeptic also, and you are NOT one anymore!

http://dalehusband.wordpress.com/an-honorable-skeptic/

Another thing I am adamant about is my sense of honor, which I hold more dear to me than my life. It allows for no exceptions whatsoever. So if I have lost friends or even made enemies for standing up for my honor, so be it. If I see someone who comes across to me as a liar, a bully, or just plain rude and stupid, then I usually try to fight back. If I see someone doing or saying things that damage the credibility of the causes I happen to believe in, I deeply take offense at that because I want those causes to be protected, even at the expense of picking fights with those who are unworthy to support those causes. I believe in absolute standards of right and wrong and so I see no point in ever excusing something that is wrong because the wrongdoer is otherwise a friendly or nice guy. That’s how corruption sets in.

No matter how great the pressure, I feel that one must never “sell out”. It is being able to stand up to the urge to conform to the shallow desires and priorites of others who have a limited vision that makes one truly heroic. I choose my friends according to my ideals; I never bend my ideals for the sake of keeping friends.

That is MY standard, and I am saddened that it is not yours. Grow up!

With disgust,

Dale Husband

UUs need to stop being anti-Christian

For the record, I am very critical of the Christian religion. But my slamming it ends when I am dealing with a Christian who is open-minded enough to befriend and respect me in spite of my hostility towards his religion. Such a person, in turn, earns my respect. I only do battle with bigots among the Christians, not Christians in general. If I hated all Christians, I wouldn’t be a Unitarian Universalist (UU). UUs, even those that reject Christianity, are still Protestants. If not for the Protestant movement in Christianity, UUs as a denomination wouldn’t exist.

I spent one Sunday talking  with a young member of my UU church. She told me about how she visited a Baptist church while wearing a necklace with a rainbow on it, the rainbow being a symbol of gay rights. She was then confronted by the church’s pastor who demanded why she wore such a necklace. The girl then said that she liked other girls, which caused the pastor to give her a lengthy diatribe about how she was headed for hell for being gay.

Later, the UU girl brought to her church a Christian girl who was wearing a cross around her neck. The Christian was confronted by an old UU man who was quite hostile to her and an argument erupted. The UU girl was very embarrassed.

I think that old man should have faced some sort of punishment for his rude behavior. While many people, including myself, regard UU churches as a refuge from Christian fundamentalism, that does not mean we can lable all non-UU Christians as members of the “enemy”. Such an attitude never fails to disgust me. And when a UU teenager is smart enough to recognize the hypocrisy of one of her own elders, that actually gives me hope that the next generation of UUs will be more enlightened and pull UUs in general away from any form of fanaticism, including that of atheists and other anti-Christians. That simply has no place among the UUs!

P Z Myers screws up a critique of a religious writer

Myers said the following here:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/08/julian_would_not_appreciate_th.php

I think I’m beginning to figure David B. Hart out. I’ve been totally mystified about why anyone would consider him a credible or interesting thinker since reading his essay belittling the New Atheists, which was dreary and wearying — I compared his prose style to that of Eeyore. But note: one of his central points in that essay was that these New Atheists aren’t as smart and brave as the Old Atheists, an idea that comes up again in a new essay.

Hart has now written a column praising Julian the Apostate, of all people. Julian was a very interesting person in history, a 4th century Roman emperor who resisted the Christianization of the empire begun by Constantine by openly rejecting Christianity and endorsing a revitalization of paganism. He’s something of a mixed bag for atheists: he’s a hero for opposing the dour old monotheism that was spreading through the culture, but also a bit of a flake for encouraging the old classical religions — he was not an atheist by any means. The novel by Gore Vidal, Julian, is an excellent introduction to the doomed rebellion against Christianity.

One thing Julian also was not is a friend to Catholicism, so it’s odd to see a Catholic writer heaping praise on him. But then you discover that Hart doesn’t admire him for his views or his intelligence or his cause (although he acknowledges them), it’s because Hart has the conservative disease of believing everything was better in the past, that there was a Golden Age, and that we’re living in an era of decline and defeat right now. To these cranky old farts of stodginess, we’re always living in perpetual decline. Julian is to be admired because he also thought the generations before him were better than the one he was living in.

As a scientist, one would think he would value accuracy over merely bashing religion for the fun of it. But he made a mistake and got busted for it!

Continue reading

Sinead O’Connor was both wrong and right.

In 1992, this Irish singer took a stand against the Roman Catholic Church for abusing children, yet when she did so, she failed to make a connection to her audience. Instead of  just telling people what the problem was, she tried to shock people as a way of getting their attention. That only damaged her career.

Soon afterwards, she made an public appearance where she was booed by the audience. They simply did not understand or  appreciate what she’d been trying to warn them about.

Nearly two decades and many more abused children later, O’Connor corrected herself with an appearance on CNN. By now, most people were ready to listen to her and she spoke about the issue with grace and understanding, as she should have done in the first place.

Let this be an object lesson for activists of all types: You CANNOT force people to listen to what they are simply not ready to hear, and both timing and method are crucial to make your case. Ripping up a picture of the Pope did no good. Ripping up the Pope in writing or speech detailing what he may have done wrong does and always will do good.