Being Better Educated and Changing my Opinion

One of my basic principles of being an Honorable Skeptic is what I call the malleability of my opinions, as expressed this way:

Because I am honorable, I sometimes willingly concede points made by my opponents in debates with them. This should never be seen as a sign of weakness. When I know I am right about something, I will fight to the bitter end to support my case and discredit my opponent because in some cases I do see my battles as a struggle between light and darkness, good and evil, or ignorance and knowledge. But I am also willing at times to listen to my opponent and consider his point of view, especially if that person is known by me to be honorable. If we do not listen to others, how can we ever grow in knowledge?

In the past, I opposed the legal concept of statutory rape, thinking it an outdated and irrational one, much like laws in the past banning homosexual relations or interracial unions. But recent events have made me reconsider my position and try to understand why otherwise enlightened people would be so insistent that teens should never be allowed to have romantic and sexual relations with older partners, even of their own choosing.

Continue reading

“Diplomatic immunity” must be abolished everywhere

Read this story:

Equatorial Guinea argues luxury Paris mansion was part of embassy when raided

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Equatorial Guinea argued on Monday that a luxury mansion in central Paris used by the son of the country’s president was protected by diplomatic immunity when it was raided by French authorities in 2012.

The case at the International Court of Justice is seen as a test for the limits of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity, which shields government officials from prosecution abroad.

Equatorial Guinea launched the case in 2016 after the residence of Teodorin Obiang on the grand Avenue Foch was raided as part of a corruption investigation that resulted in a conviction for embezzlement, confirmed last week.

The conviction came after a collection of 25 supercars he owned, including a Ferrari Enzo and a Bugatti Veyron, were confiscated by the Geneva prosecutor’s office under a deal ending a money-laundering inquiry. The cars fetched nearly 27 million Swiss francs ($27 million) at auction in September.

Obiang, 50, is the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, for more than three decades.

A representative for Equatorial Guinea told the court’s judges on Monday that the luxury apartment, in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world, had been bought by the African nation in 2011 and was part of its embassy.

“France has refused to recognize the diplomatic pretext of the building under the false pretence it belongs to the private domain”, ambassador Carmelo Nvono Nca, Equatorial Guinea’s agent, told the judges.

In coming days France will present its side before the United Nation’s highest court for disputes between states. A ruling is expected later this year.

In earlier hearings the French argued Equatorial Guinea was attempting to shield Obiang, known for posting pictures of his glamorous lifestyle on Instagram, by retroactively adding his opulent 101-room home to its diplomatic mission.

Police raided Obiang’s residence as part of a corruption investigation, eventually seizing 100 million euros worth of assets including paintings by Renoir and Degas and another fleet of luxury vehicles.

Obiang was convicted last week by a French court of embezzlement of public funds and ordered to pay a 30 million euro ($33 million) fine.

Diplomatic immunity in any case is a concept by which officials representing a country are allowed to openly violate the laws of another country while living there.  It is a form of disrespect for the second country’s government and the people there that are subject to those laws. A basic standard of ethics and justice is that NO ONE should be above the law.

And this is not about some young idiot that didn’t know that he was doing wrong.

Obiang, 50, is the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, for more than three decades.

Being 50 myself, I know damn well if I were not the son of a ruler who has been in power for far too long, there would be no question of me being imprisoned for my crimes. This case angers me too!

I hope the International Court of Justice rejects this appeal and ultimately abolishes the concept of diplomatic immunity completely. And also that the people of Equatorial Guinea themselves rise up and force their corrupt leader into retirement, and also prevent his son from ever ruling. Sheesh!

 

Kobe Bryant, rape allegations, and a Disney heiress

Here’s a story that emerged in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in a helicopter crash last month. Among those killed with him was his 13 year old daughter.

https://www.businessinsider.com/kobe-bryant-abigail-disney-rape-allegations-not-a-god

Disney heiress says Kobe Bryant ‘was not a god’ in lengthy Twitter thread about rape allegations

abigail disney

Abigail Disney spoke out about Bryant’s rape allegations Saturday.

Disney heiress Abigail Disney addressed the rape allegations against late NBA star Kobe Bryant in a 24-tweet thread on Saturday that urged people to avoid turning Bryant into a god.

The 60-year-old, who is the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney — a cofounder of the Walt Disney Company — had in a tweet January 29 shared an op-ed from the Washington Post about allegations Bryant faced some 17 years ago, writing “The man was a rapist. Deal with it.”

On February 1, the Disney heiress, who has a net worth of over $120 million, doubled down on her previous statement, offering new commentary on Bryant, who died January 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.  

“OK, time to bite the bullet and say something,” Disney said when she began her Twitter thread early Saturday morning. “If you don’t like it, just stop following. First of all, yes, it IS my business because I’m a woman who has herself been assaulted and spent my life knowing, loving and feeling for women for whom it’s been so much worse.” 

At the onset of the thread, Disney offered praise for Bryant amid her discussion of the rape allegations, noting that a person can do both good and bad things in their lifetime. “I mourn Kobe too,” she wrote. “He went on to be a man who seemed genuinely to want to do good. The face[sic] that he raped someone does not change any of these other facts.”

As The New York Times reported, the allegations stem from Bryant’s 2003 a trip to Colorado for an operation on his knee. Byrant reportedly asked a concierge at the spa where he was staying for a private tour. Following the tour, he invited her to his room where they began kissing. Bryant had said what followed was consensual sex, though his accuser said she was raped. 

Court documents revealed the woman had bruises on her neck and tears on her vaginal wall, The New York Times reported. While the case never went to trial, reportedly over the accusers’ refusal to testify, a lawsuit between Bryant and the accuser resulted in an undisclosed settlement.  

Bryant later apologized to his accuser. 

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual,” he said in a statement, “I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.”

Disney went on to compare the allegations against Bryant to a drunk driver killing a person. “Does his lack of intention absolve him of responsibility for the death?,” Disney asked. “If he said he wasn’t that drunk or didn’t know he was drunk, or didn’t mean to kill the person, or is really really really sorry, does any of this absolve him?”

“Of course not,” she added in the next tweet. 

Disney’s final takeaway: don’t worship the NBA star. 

“So yes, we should mourn him,” Disney said. “We should mourn his daughter and his family and all the other lives lost on the helicopter. It was horrible. But don’t deify him because he was not a god. That’s all. Just don’t deify him”.

There has been a flood of discourse since Bryant’s death over whether his 2003 rape allegations should be revisited as the world mourns the basketball star’s tragic death. The Washington Post received backlash when it suspended a reporter for sharing an article about the 2003 case on Twitter after Bryant’s death. The DC newspaper would later walk back its decision to suspend the reporter, saying her tweets did not violate WaPo policy. Still, it said her tweets were “ill-timed.” 

The reactions to Disney’s two-dozen tweets were largely negative. 

“Breaking: bored heiress of a multimedia empire has nothing better to do on a Wednesday because her life is completely empty & meaningless,” one Twitter user said in a tweet that was retweeted more than 120 times. 

Not all of the reactions to Disney’s thread were negative, however.

“What a thoughtful thread,” one person tweeted. “Thank you for writing it. I have seen the way that fierce emotional identification and defense of abusive behavior can happen with sports figures.”

Abigail Disney did not return Business Insider’s request for comment.

Here are my responses to that story:

  1. Kobe Bryant was ACCUSED of rape, but he was never brought to trial, let alone convicted. From a strictly legal standpoint, he is NOT a rapist, so calling him one, especially when he is dead and cannot defend himself from that charge, might as well be called SLANDER.
  2. It is entirely possible that the supposed victim was an opportunist who after having sex with Bryant proceeded to sue him in an effort to get money out of him. This is why, even if the sex was indeed consensual, KOBE BRYANT WAS AN IDIOT TO HAVE AN AFFAIR.
  3. Bryant had four daughters at the time of his death and I’m sure they would have been shocked at the idea of their father raping anyone. That’s a bigger issue to me than his celebrity sports status. Sometimes it is better to let dead dogs decay.
  4. Abigail Disney’s personal wealth was completely irrelevant to the issue, so why mention it? If she had been homeless and not even related to Walt Disney at all, the issue would have been the same.
  5. Sports figures ARE glorified and thus are largely shielded by their own fans from their reputation being damaged by accusations of wrongdoing. We saw that to some extent with O J Simpson, who was a football star early in his life. To this day, I think Simpson got away with murder because he was a rich celebrity; a poor man would have been convicted and sent to prison for life.
  6. Yes, point 5 does seem to contradict point 1. Maybe someday I will have a more consistent ethical position, but for now I have to keep thinking about the matters more. I just feel that one mistake made by a man shouldn’t destroy his life…..unless that mistake destroys other lives. Murder is far worse than rape or adultery. And all people make mistakes.

 

Freedom of Speech must have Logical Limits

Read this outrageous story.

A woman who encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court

(CNN)Attorneys for Michelle Carter filed an appeal of her conviction with the United States Supreme Court Monday.

In the filing, Carter’s attorneys urged the Supreme Court to consider, “the questions whether Carter’s conviction for involuntary manslaughter violated the U.S. Constitution.”
Carter was found guilty in 2017 and sentenced to 15 months in a Massachusetts jail for her part in the death of her boyfriend, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, who killed himself in his car in Fairhaven, Massachusetts in 2014.
After his death, investigators discovered Roy had texted Carter as he contemplated and attempted suicide, with her encouraging him to do it when he had doubts.
“I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you’re ready, you just need to do it! You can’t keep living this way,” one of dozens of texts from Carter to Roy reads.
Massachusetts highest court upheld her conviction following an appeal in February.
Her attorneys argued in Monday’s filing that her freedom of speech may have been violated and should be protected under the constitution.
“Michelle Carter did not cause Conrad Roy’s tragic death and should not be held criminally responsible for his suicide,” said attorney Daniel Marx of Fick & Marx LLP. “This petition focuses on just two of the many flaws in the case against her that raise important federal constitutional issues for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide.”
“As Justice Gorsuch ruled in a recent case, ‘A vague law is no law at all,'” added Marx’s partner, William Fick. “Ms. Carter’s conviction should not stand.”

Warning: I am about to go totally Klingon on this matter:

First, only an irrational extremist thinks in absolutes like that. WORDS CAN KILL! Send her to prison for life, not just 15 months! She committed MURDER, premeditated and cold-blooded.

Second, if she really thinks she had a right to do what she did, she should prove herself by committing suicide too. Otherwise she is a hypocrite. If both of them had committed suicide, it would have been tragic but understandable. She was instead a coward who chose to live without him.

The Wayback Machine preserves the debunked nonsense of hypocrites!

On several occasions, I have recorded on this blog and directly answered the lies and unfounded nonsense of Christian apologists. Here are two examples:

Lying About History for the Bible

Insulting and Libeling Unbelievers

In the first, I showed how history was distorted regarding the city of Tyre and the obviously false meaning of Bible “prophecy” was papered over in an incredible display of projection and damage control, while in the other one I attacked Creationist Hugh Ross when he tried to explain why people often do not become Christians. In both cases, at least one of the false web pages were removed completely by the writers, while in the second case the other false web page’s address was changed to make it harder to find (but I caught that and updated my blog entry anyway). You’d think with that, both liars would have sense enough to shut up, but their phony websites remain to this day:

https://www.reasons.org/home

http://exchangedlife.com/

Here’s a basic rule of thumb to prevent you for falling for a con artist of any kind: If a person is caught telling ONE lie, then anything else he says should not be taken at face value. Huge Ross lied about whale ankles, while the unknown writer(s) of the Exchanged Life Discipleship website lied about the issue of the prophet Ezekiel. I am pleased that their web pages in question were deleted after I busted them on this very blog, but don’t you think they should have had the courage to make a public apology for their lying? Instead, they chose to hide what they did like it never mattered!

But a special website known as the Wayback Machine preserved what they said anyway.

https://web.archive.org/web/20120131174133/http://www.reasons.org/philosophyreligion/atheism/barriers-salvation

https://web.archive.org/web/20101124175220/http://exchangedlife.com/skeptic/ezekiel.htm

And with these falsehoods exposed, seekers of truth can know to avoid those websites and their creators to prevent being deceived by anything else they might claim.

Ironic that the Christian rock band Petra made a song about hidden things being revealed in an act of judgement against people.

As a Christian, I LOVED Petra, so this pleases me to no end!

 

 

“Good Guy” vs. “Strong Guy” Dichotomy

In my younger days, I was often rejected by girls and young women even though I tried to be as loving towards them as possible. I assumed that it might have been because they thought I was ugly or weak. But the real issue seems to be something I often see in politics too.

Women naturally want men that are strong to protect them and their children, and our culture seems to depict men that have a strong sense of empathy and compassion for others to be “weak”, therefore such men are not considered as suitable for a domestic partnership as men that are highly aggressive towards others.

Likewise, people generally want a leader that is highly aggressive for the same reason. That explains why George McGovern lost so badly to Richard Nixon in 1972 despite having a much better character and this was repeated with Jimmy Carter losing to Ronald Reagan in 1980, and Donald Trump winning his election in 2016.

But what people often fail to consider is that the same aggressive attitude that makes a man look strong can be twisted to hurt or abandon the very ones the man is supposed to be protecting, including his love partner and their children. By contrast, a loving, empathic man can encourage a woman to stand up for herself rather than just let a man fight for her. And he would not leave her as long as she loved him just as deeply.

I have known several cases of women who used to see me as just a friend who after being abused and/or neglected by the men in their life, later took another look at me and decided I would have been the better partner for them after all. And I would consider it an honor to help care for them.

Likewise, I am hopeful that the American people will stop being seduced by the mere appearance of strength and seek in future Presidents the most powerful character trait anyone can have: LOVE! Its being seen as weakness is sheer ignorance. Have you ever seen a mother bear fight to protect her cubs?

Stop whining about “censorship”!

With the controversy boiling over last year about white supremacy in the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) remaining unaddressed for far too long, we also must confront another thorny issue: freedom of speech.
Read this:
https://trulyopenmindsandhearts.blog/2018/02/03/sticks-stones-and-names/

We children were taught to love our country especially for its freedom of religion and speech — the freedom to be different. After all, our parents or grandparents left their homes, often in the face of persecution, to come to a new home that accepted minorities who practiced a religion other than the majority Protestantism.

In my family, just three or four years before I was born, Nazi firing squads and gas chambers had taken the lives of my father’s sister and brother, their spouses and their children. If someone occasionally called us a name, well…

Sticks and stones…

This was the land of free expression, after all.

Another phrase more elegantly sums up what I was taught about how thongs [sic] should be in the United States:

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

There was one flaw then in that freedom of expression. Many of our lansmen — our fellow Jewish Americans — were being denounced as Communists. Just an accusation was enough to ruin someone life. My parents and neighbors in the 1950’s hated and feared McCarthyism. Aside from war, there wasn’t much we hated and feared as much. It was another form of persecution.

Democratic ideals and common sense ended McCarthyism, at least as it then existed. Liberals and moderates of both parties despised it.

When I entered college in 1964, my cohort was beginning its rebellion against the slow pace of civil rights and, for a minority of us, against the Vietnam war. It would be a few more years before the Vietnam protest movement went mainstream, so I had a lot of angry fists shook in my face, and I was called names. My mother worried that I was setting myself up to be a victim of a revived McCarthyism.

But I persisted. I didn’t break any laws. I didn’t commit civil disobedience. I marched in protests and spoke out, because after all this is a nation where freedom of expression prevails.

That’s why the frog in me didn’t notice the water heating up over the last 60 years until it bubbled around me last April.

I wrote a blog post objecting to the way big decisions are made by the Unitarian Universalist Association. The case in point was a controversy over the pace at which the UUA was hiring and promoting persons of color, but I didn’t express an opinion on that. Nevertheless, a lay leader of the Black Lives movement in UUism made an 18-minute video condemning me for my “fuck-shot behavior” and racism, her white ministerial ally wrote that my “abhorrent BS” was a “thinly veiled cry that the colored folks are getting uppity and need to be put back in their place, ” and that was just the beginning.

My inner frog still didn’t understand, though, how much the water had heated — how much our norms had changed. I reacted not by asking that my critics be silenced but by writing in reply. Surely, in this land of free speech and opinion anyone could read what I and my critics had to say and support my freedom of expression.

That’s when the water boiled over. The UUA removed from its Worship Web a litany I had written in 1999, which had been used as a worship resource since then. Only after I discovered it was missing did I get a reason:

Your submissions were removed because your recent public comments made it difficult for these pieces to be interpreted in the way they had been before. As our Association struggles with the nature of whiteness’ supremacy, we have to reexamine past assumptions, such as the assumption that a piece of writing can be interpreted independent of its source.

Thus spoke that most liberal of liberal religions. Words I wrote in 1999, with no reference to race, needed to be expunged so that the UUA in 2017 could have a “hard and honest conversations about racial inequity in Unitarian Universalism.” My opinions in 2017 invalidated my words of 1999.

In the 1950’s and ’60’s, it was the left that stood for freedom of expression, even if that expression might to psychological harm, like burning a draft card. Today, it’s the left that wants to stamp out micro-aggressions, like asking someone with an accent where he or she (another micro-aggression against neutral-gender folks) is originally from.

It’s the right now standing for freedom of conscience over the possible psychological harm to one group, like a baker’s option to refuse to bake and decorate a cake specifically for a gay wedding. The roles have reversed.

What really happened was that Mel Pine freely expressed his opinions about a sensitive and controversial issue among his fellow UUs, others responded in anger to him because they found his opinions offensive, and the UUA, a private religious organization, removed a piece of his writings from its website because it no longer saw a benefit to having it there, which is what it is legally allowed to do! Pine was not sent to prison, arrested by police, or even given a ticket by the police for his expressions. His blogs are still up and he is still allowed to post his ideas on Facebook too. NO ONE had his rights violated in that case. Pine doth protest too much. So do right-wing assholes like Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart.com infamy. He hasn’t been punished by a government either.

When people actually get fined or imprisoned for their words by the government they live under, then we should worry about freedom of speech (and the press) being denied.

free_speech

I have the right to throw off my property people who come on it making racist remarks, don’t I?

Electronic Arts can go to hell!

EA (Electronic Arts) is one of the biggest video game companies in the world….and one of the most corrupt companies of any kind in the world too, right up there with ExxonMobil, Nestle, and Wal-Mart in terms of its contempt for both their employees and their customers. Ethics are constantly sacrificed for the sake of profit!

This video tells EA’s story:

Here are some more videos with damning criticism of EA:

 

I have never knowingly bought a game from EA and I never intend to. I hope most gamers take the same stand and help run that empire out of business!

An Open Letter to the New President of the Unitarian Universalist Association

The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray

UUA General Assembly - Plenary V

To the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray,

Congratulations on your election to the leadership of the most liberal religious group in the world descended from Christianity. After the embarrassing end to the last Presidency several months ago, the slate has been wiped clean for you to add your own accomplishments, and perhaps mistakes, to it.

The most important thing I think you need to do in order to revitalize the UUA as a religious organization is to confront and completely dismantle deeply entrenched anti-Christian bigotry in it. As long as people outside the UUA see it as a place for atheists, pagans, and left-wing extremists, but not for Christians, the UUA will never be seen as a viable choice for those of Christian background who want to abandon and reject fundamentalist bigotry but still feel a spiritual orientation to the religion they knew as children and still have love for. Not everyone benefits from having their faith destroyed. As long as it is modified to be more realistic and inclusive for others, that should be enough.

Even though you are white, your being a woman should give you some idea of how you and others around the world may be discriminated against. Keep in mind that while black men got the right to vote in the USA after the Civil War, it was not until 1920 that women of all colors were also granted the right to vote as well. We must always strive to LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND including transgender people! I was deeply disappointed to learn that white men were still treated with favoritism in the UUA and am more than happy to see that the process of confronting unthinking racial biases among us is happening at last. It was indeed long overdue!

We must work harder over the next several decades to make Unitarian Universalism the next great world religion and that can happen when we speak out loudly about it. No longer must we think of ourselves as an “American” religion, but we must try to build up Unitarian bodies in other areas, including places where it was popular before. You should certainly endorse as much as possible the Church of the Larger Fellowship, using it a a vehicle for global UU evangelism, and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, which actually does good works in the world. The UUSC is the closest thing we have to missionary work and we need more of that!

As I see it, the version of the Baha’i Faith led by the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, Israel is the UUA’s most direct rival, having some values in common, but also some critical differences that make it necessary to draw clear distinctions between the two religions. Baha’i values were similar to those of the Unitarians and Universalists about a century ago, but since then it has degenerated into a cult of extreme dogmatism that makes it a threat to unsuspecting souls looking for a new spiritual home after leaving one they no longer feel comfortable in. The best way to counter the Haifan Baha’is is to establish or at least officially endorse a sub-division within the UUA for Baha’is who wish to think for themselves instead of being mentally enslaved to a body consisting literally of nine old men. There is already such a small community that the internet has made possible, it just needs some support. For more details, see:    http://unitarianbahai.angelfire.com/   and also:

http://unitarianbahais.blogspot.com/

With the election last year of the worst President the USA has ever had, we as UUs have a moral obligation to revive the spirit of civil disobedience pioneered by civil rights protesters in the past. Unless and until we are willing to be imprisoned for our ideals, they mean nothing. Together, we can change things for the better and in the process gain many new converts who want a refuge from the madness of right-wing politics. Even in “red” states like Oklahoma and Texas, UU churches thrive.

Please consider creating a cable TV channel devoted to Unitarian Universalist programming. We already have a strong presence on YouTube, so such a channel is the next logical step. For ideas on what content we can make for it, look at the example of Democracy Now. Of course, that is liberal politics, but where is a channel for liberal RELIGION?

The UUA must look into forming strong alliances with other liberal religious groups, and not just the United Church of Christ, the UUA’s closest spiritual relative. Also join with non-religious groups like the American Humanist Association that are not so infested with anti-religious extremism and other forms of bigotry that they are a disgrace to humanity. Many feminists and non-white people that may be attracted to atheism find themselves repulsed by bigots who are also well-known atheists in social media. We can provide them an alternative.

I wish you the best of luck over the next six years.

Dale Husband, the Honorable Skeptic

Mariah Carey needs to stop being a pop star.

In the 1990s, Mariah Carey was one of the greatest singers in the world, but recently it is clear that she has somehow lost nearly all her talent and can no longer sing her way though even the most basic of performances.

This video accuses her (and others) of lip syncing:

And at the New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City, that accusation was CONFIRMED in a truly embarrassing fashion.

Why do people bother to do this? In 1990, this was a SCANDAL for the duo Milli Vanilli, who won a Grammy for Best New Artist and was then stripped of it once they were exposed.

And here are more examples:

Enough! If you want to see some REAL vocal talent, just look here:

It takes truly raw talent to perform with NO backing music instruments and only your voices. Even Mariah herself has never been known to attempt that. But that is exactly what Pentatonix does every time they perform live.

Goodbye, Mariah, I am a fan of yours no more! Come back on stage when you can sing for real again!

Compassion and Human Dignity

One of the most powerful appeals of dogmatic God-centered religions like Christianity can be summed up perfectly in this song by Steven Curtis Chapman that was all over Christian radio back when I was a Christian. Even now, it is beautiful to me.

Sometimes His eyes were gentle
And filled with laughter,
And sometimes they cried;
Sometimes there was a fire
Of holy anger,
In Jesus eyes.
But the eyes that saw hope in the hopeless,
That saw through the fault to the need,
Are the same eyes that look down from heaven
Into the deepest part of you and me.

CHORUS
His eyes are always upon us;
His eyes never close in sleep.
And no matter where you go,
You will always be in His eyes, in His eyes.

Sometimes His voice comes calling
Like rolling thunder,
Or like driving rain;
And sometimes His voice is quiet,
And we start to wonder
If He knows our pain.
But He who spoke peace to the water
Cares more for our hearts than the waves,
And the voice that once said “Youre forgiven”,
Still says “Youre forgiven” today.

Sometimes I look above me when stars are shining
And I feel so small;
How could the God of heaven and all creation
Know I’m here at all.
But then in silence He whispers,
“My child, I created you too
And youre my most precious creation;
I even gave my Son for you.”

CHORUS
His eyes are always upon you;
His eyes never close in sleep.
And no matter where you go,
You will always be in His eyes,

No matter where you go,
You will always be in His eyes

Sometimes His eyes were gentle
And filled with laughter,

Christians often say that we are called to be like God and Jesus, to be as loving towards lesser beings as possible. Meanwhile, when we look at how atheists often present themselves on the internet, we see very little compassion or respect for the downtrodden and broken. Instead, we see bigoted crap like this from the “Amazing Atheist”:

No, you bastard, you know nothing about the topic of triggering….

14184568_10207261404429809_5954210709831897282_n

That video comes from the same sort of atheist who claims that religion itself is a scourge to society. I referred directly to such an atheist fanatic while commenting on a much earlier blog entry:

https://dalehusband.com/2010/08/09/misdefining-terms-for-purposes-of-propaganda/#comment-677

http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/06/in-defense-of-m.html#comment-219719

truthspeaker | June 15, 2010 2:53 PM

It wouldn’t matter if all religions behaved like the Society of Friends and the ELCA. It is still based on the premise that believing in things without evidence as a virtue. As long as it starts with that premise – and it always will, because if it didn’t it wouldn’t be religion -, it will always be evil. There’s just no getting around it – promoting irrationality as a virtue is bad for humanity. No matter how much you polish the turd, it will still be a turd.

Both the Unamazing Asshole and the “truthspeaker” can go fuk themselves. Denying something does not disprove it, in both cases. And ignoring the good that religious people often do in the name of their religions is, well…..IGNORANCE!

I will rewrite the song by Steven Curtis Chapman to reflect how I wish white male atheists would conduct themselves, instead of only thinking about themselves.

Sometimes our eyes are gentle
And filled with laughter,
And sometimes they cry;
Sometimes there is a fire
Of righteous anger,
Deep in our eyes.
But the eyes that see hope in the hopeless,
That see through the fault to the need,
Are the same eyes that look within ourselves
To seek the best of what we can be.

Our eyes should always be looking;
Our eyes never close in sleep.
And no matter where we go,
We will always see with open eyes

Sometimes our voice comes calling
Like rolling thunder,
Or like driving rain;
And sometimes our voice is quiet,
And they start to wonder
If we know their pain.
But if we speak peace to the world
And care for their hearts anyway
Then the voice that once says “You are loved”,
Will say “You are loved” every day.

Sometimes we look above us when stars are shining
And we feel so small;
How can such tiny creatures on this one world
Make a difference at all.
But then in the silence remember,
That we exist in vast numbers too
And when we all work as one species
There is so much good we can do

Our eyes should always be looking;
Our eyes never close in sleep.
And no matter where we go,
We will always see with open eyes

Could that happen? Perhaps, but we would have to look to these:

http://americanhumanist.org/

http://huumanists.org/

http://iheu.org/

Because it is HUMANISM we all need, not just atheism. If the progressive humanists among atheists can defeat and drown out the conservative bigots, and then provide all the charitable and emotional needs of people who need help and comfort, then they will cause the final downfall of dogmatic religion around the world. Let it be so.

Sexual Dilemma

There was once a lesbian couple named Suzanne and Deborah, who decided to have a baby together. Since both were cis women, they had to find a sperm donor to get one of them pregnant. Wanting an organic link for both partners to the baby, they agreed to let Suzanne’s brother Tommy have sex with Deborah to get her pregnant.
On the day of the event, Deborah and Tommy went to bed together and Tommy did his part and ejaculated into Deborah. She did not enjoy the experience and after Tommy got dressed and left the house, Deborah asked Suzanne to have sex with her to make her feel better. So they did.
As expected, Deborah got pregnant, but then a month after that confirmation, Suzanne also realized she was pregnant, and to her horror, she figured out why: a small amount of Tommy’s semen must have gotten into her from Deborah! That meant the fetus she was carrying was a product of incest!
Put yourself in Suzanne’s place. Your options would be:
1. Have an abortion before anyone else knows you are pregnant.
2. Have the baby and keep it, along with the one being born to Deborah.
3. Have the baby and give it up for adoption.
To me, there would be no question or hesitation:  I would have had an abortion ASAP and not even told my brother I was pregnant by him. So next time some anti-abortion zealot screams about unborn babies dying, I think he should be told to grow up and FUK OFF!

Integrity at Freethought Blogs

Having integrity means that you take action to enforce rules that are indeed based on clear standards of right and wrong even if doing so seems hurtful at times to certain individuals that otherwise are of value to a certain group. A clear example of this in my life is when I caught a  member of my World of Warcraft guild Stormchasers stealing from the guild’s bank to profit himself, causing me to expel him from the guild as punishment. This after he had offered to teach me and other members how to do better at player vs. player events. Sorry, but that does not allow you to ROB us!

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/lothar/Anide/simple

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The costs of slavery

Until the American Civil War ended, slavery was a common institution in the United States. Often portrayed as cheap, it still had costs associated with it. These included:

1. Obtaining the slaves: They were often kidnapped from Africa and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean under cramped conditions. That cost money. The slave trade was eventually abolished long before slavery ended, but that had the effect of making the slaves already in America more valuable.

2. Buying the slaves.

3. Giving the slaves food, water, clothing and shelter.

4. Treating the slaves of illnesses and injuries.

4. Guarding the slaves to prevent them from revolting or escaping.

5. Burying or cremating the slaves after they died.

Now compare that with people who work today at minimum wage. If you can only afford food to feed yourself and your children, a place to live at, medical expenses, and to pay for your funeral when you die, how are you any better off, materially speaking, than slaves 200 years ago?

And if you wonder why some want the minimum wage increased, that is why!

How NOT to rape someone

Here are some rules for men who do not want to be accused of raping a woman:

1. ALWAYS ask the women directly during a date in a private setting, “Do you want to have sex with me?”   If her response is anything other than, “Yes,” drop the issue and do not bring it up again until she does.

2. Never talk about the experience of having sex with anyone other than a licensed therapist, your parents or other guardians (if you are underaged), or a clergyperson in a counseling session. PRIVATE MATTERS MUST REMAIN PRIVATE. Other men do not need to know how you “banged that hot chick last night”.

3. The claim that women claim to be raped because they regret having sex with a man long after the fact is simply self-serving bullshit. Do not repeat that claim, ever.

4. Even if you use protection or any form of birth control, PROMISE the woman that if she gets pregnant, you will either support the child or pay for an abortion, whichever she decides.

5. Do not merely be a woman’s sex partner…..be her LOVER. Be willing to share in anything she does or is involved in or ask her to share in things you enjoy. If you do not want a complete relationship with a woman, you can always masturbate by yourself.

6. Unless your partner is a porn star, you do not need to take or possess nude pics of her. And NEVER post them online!

That is all for now.  If I think of more, or if you have your own suggestions for rules, this list will be added to.

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.

YouTube Channel link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEtRpS-AMFDZqOivRFw_dRg

Blog: https://nickjoshkareans.blogspot.com/

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 travels in his free time and captures his experiences on photo and video which he shares on his blog and his YouTube channel.

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

Is this Justice?

Consider the following scenario:

An African-American restaurant owner in New York City learns that one of his white employees was born in Alabama.  He calls that employee to his office.

Owner: “Is it true you came from Alabama, a southern state?”

Employee:  “Yes. But I moved to New York four years ago.”

Owner:  “Then you are FIRED!  I won’t have racists working for me. More than half of our customers are African-American and I won’t risk you offending them with racist remarks.”

Employee: “What?! But have I done anything wrong?  If I was a racist, I would not be here!”

Owner:  “I used to live in the south. And virtually every white person I dealt with there was racist, constantly looking down on me and other black kids. I finally got out of that situation, and I’ll be damned if the bigotry follows me up here.”

Employee: “Well, don’t you think I am also sick of the bigotry of my fellow whites? I also left the south to live here because of the culture. YOU are the one being racist against ME because of both my skin color and where I was born.  I’m not responsible for either of those things!”

Owner: “You still benefited from the racism you grew up in, just as I suffered from it. Now you are going to learn how it feels to be discriminated against!  GET OUT!”

Truth in Advertising: Photoshopping must be outlawed.

Photoshopping is using a special computer program that manipulates a photo to alter its appearance. Models that appear on magazine covers often have their pictures photoshopped to make them look more attractive than they really are (according to some standard of beauty held in most of the Western world, but not a universal one).

This unethical practice has been criticized for giving most girls a terrible self image by making them compare their imperfect bodies to what they see in magazines. A similar  argument has been made about Barbie dolls, with their unrealistic body proportions, but at least pictures of Barbie dolls are not photoshopped. Doing that to actual human models should be considered fraud. And fraud IS illegal, so it is not a stretch to outlaw photoshopping and require all magazines, newspapers, and news websites to only publish pictures that are not photoshopped. We should be able to see what is real, not someone’s idea of beauty that is not real!

How to Fight Gerrymandering

Gerrymandering is the unethical process by which one party which is currently dominant in a state attempts to maintain its dominance by drawing districts for state legislators or Congressmen to favor that party and its candidates. It is the very antithesis of democracy, in which the people are to elect their leaders and representatives; instead, in gerrymandering, the representatives choose what people they want to have voting for them. This allows certain extremist nutcases like Rep. Michelle Bachmann to be elected over and over again without fear of losing their seats to a more moderate opposing candidate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrymandering

Illustrated in that Wikipedia entry are some particular examples of gerrymandering, but the most obvious one of all seems to be:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois%27s_4th_congressional_district

GerrymanderingThere is simply no excuse for this, no matter what party commits it!  If Republicans filed a lawsuit to change or eliminate this district, I would support them too.

I have come up with an idea on how to identify gerrymandered districts.

CircleUsing the circle and the point indicating its center, I propose that any district that touches at least three points 45 degrees apart from each other and also contains the point at the center of the circle may be considered a fairly drawn district. By this test, the 4th Congressional District in Illinois would certainly not qualify. Nor would:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina%27s_12th_congressional_district

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California%27s_23rd_congressional_district

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois%27_17th_congressional_district

All those districts should be opposed. I would lobby for a bill to be passed by Congress and in every state legislature mandating my standard for all congressional and state legislative districts. I would also ask for the federal courts to intervene. Indeed, I would strongly recommend that only federal courts, not state legislatures, be allowed to draw districts. Otherwise, it is like the fox guarding the hen-house.

Rape, School Sports and Small Town Insanity

P Z Myers put the spotlight on a teenage rapist yesterday:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/10/14/matthew-barnett-sleazebag-and-rapist

The story is sadly typical of small towns and their pathetic bigotries, but what really drew my attention later was a comment below it. (Emphasis mine.)

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/10/14/matthew-barnett-sleazebag-and-rapist/comment-page-1/#comment-705351

39
MarkM1427

15 October 2013 at 1:04 am (UTC -5)

Anonymous? That scumbag will wish he only had the cops to deal with. If only they’d go after the media for not calling this shit what it is: an inexcusable, unforgivable act of violence against another human being. I didn’t see a word of this until ThinkProgress shared it on Facebook. I wonder why no one else seems to give a shit about the actual victims here. Ever since I first read this story it’s been stuck in the back of my head. It obviously pisses me off, but it also hits close to home in several ways for me.

As outraged as I am about this, I’m not at all surprised. It’s not the first time I’ve heard about a small town demonizing the victims who dared to put the town through the trauma of dealing with the fact that a heinous crime happened in their neighborhood instead of, you know, the actual criminal. A similar story of what happened to my grandmother has stuck with my family for nearly 50 years. (I’m not going to derail the thread with the whole story, but a small town covered up the murder of her mother since the guy who did it was close to powerful people in the town.) Why can’t this shit ever change?

And this has finally done it. I thought I would never say this, but I can’t go on believing that athletic programs are a positive influence for students. Even though I benefited from sports myself, I can’t support them anymore. I was an athlete in high school, and to this day I believe that being part of the football team did a lot to make me more social then. I have Asperger’s and I might not have as much as spoken a word the whole four years if I didn’t join one group or another. For so long I defended these sports programs as something that could be a great influence on the athletes if the coaches actually gave a damn about that like the ones I had did.

But no more. I now see that my experience was the exception, not the rule. School sports, much like religion, corrupts the adults who are involved in it, you know, the ones that are supposed to ACT LIKE ADULTS. If sports programs warp peoples’ minds to the point that they are consistently willing to enable rape by athletes in the name of winning a fucking ball game, they are toxic to society and we should cast them out of schools.

I don’t intend to derail the thread with the tangent I know I went off on, but this story has had my mind spinning faster than a centrifuge ever since I read it. I can’t wait for the town to finally have the wrath of the rest of the country descend on them for the scumbags they are.

And that led me to ask what, if anything, do sports programs have to do with the actual process of education? Nothing that I can see. Yet almost every school and college out there has a sports program which no doubt costs money to maintain. Perhaps it is time to start putting pressure on schools to eliminate funding for sports programs before they even think of eliminating anything else from a school’s budget!

An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

To Barack Obama, the President of the United States of America:

The Affordable Care Act is the LAW OF THE LAND, passed by both Houses of Congress (yes, even the Republican controlled House of Representatives), signed by you, and affirmed as constitutional by the U. S. Supreme Court. Therefore, attempts by Republicans in Congress to DEFUND what is federal law is criminal behavior, just as disobedience to any other law is criminal behavior. We should allow no exceptions here. By engaging in criminal behavior, the Republicans sitting in Congress, even going so far as to shut down the government rather allow what is federal law to be funded have forfeited their right to be representatives of the people, like anyone else who commits a federal crime. I call upon you, as the elected Chief Executive of the United States, to direct the Department of Justice to issue arrest warrants against every Republican in Congress and charge them all with CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT SEDITION! END THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN BY REMOVING THE ONES RESPONSIBLE FROM OFFICE NOW!

Dale Husband, the Honorable Skeptic

300 teens should be LOCKED UP!

I find this incredible!

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/brian-holloway-former-nfl-star-reacts-teens-trash-house-twitter-091813

Ex-NFL player reacts to trashed house

An estimated 300 teenagers threw a party at the house of Brian Holloway over Labor Day weekend, authorities say, causing a reported $20,000 in damage to the property of the former New England Patriots and Los Angeles Raiders left tackle.

That sentence might normally make Holloway sound like the coolest irresponsible uncle ever, except there’s a catch: Holloway spends most of his time these days in Florida and wasn’t at the Stephentown, N.Y., vacation home at the time of the rager.

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Random thoughts about the George Zimmerman/Treyvon Martin case

1. Since both the victim and the defendant in the case were male, why was there an all female jury? How is that different from an all-white jury judging a black person having killed another black person?

2. It does not matter who attacked whom first, the fact remains that Treyvon Martin was unarmed and George Zimmerman had a gun, giving him an overwhelming advantage. The fact that Martin was shot in the heart shows that Zimmerman meant to kill him, rather than merely disable him to stop the fight. He should have been convicted of manslaughter, at least.

3. “Stand your ground” laws might as well be called “permission to use violence as a first option rather than a last resort”. What do we call societies in which that is commonly accepted? Barbaric anarchies, which America should be anything but!

4. The jury probably did not want to convict Zimmerman of anything because doing so would have been a virtual death sentence for him. He’d go to a prison, and prisons across the USA are known to have a disproportionate number of African-American men, most of whom would be more than happy to kill Zimmerman. A possible solution would have been to sentence Zimmerman to house arrest for many years instead of prison. Indeed, why not sentence most convicted felons to house arrest instead of prison?

5. Neighborhood watch groups are supposed to call the police and alert them to possible crimes being committed as they occur, not take the law into their own hands like Zimmerman clearly did!

6. I was just as outraged when O. J. Simpson was found not guilty of those murder charges he faced. It makes NO difference to me whether a person of any race gets off after killing a person of any race.

7. Treyvon Martin’s family could still sue Zimmerman for wrongful death of the victim. Unlike criminal trials where the prosecution is expected to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt, civil court cases are decided based on how much the evidence is weighed on each side. By that standard, Zimmerman should lose badly, just as O J Simpson did.

Atheists on Facebook

The Center for Inquiry hosted a conference for women in which it’s CEO, Ron Lindsay, made a total idiot of himself and offended a LOT of the women (and enlightened men) for whom the conference was made by implying that feminists who wanted men to listen to them were no better than the men who were being disrespectful to them.

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