Rebecca Watson warns about scammers

Watch this video:

Infomercials featuring techniques for “house-flipping” are often shown on TV late at night. I wonder if we should start protesting such crap. For my own view of “censorshit” on YouTube, see:

https://dalehusband.com/2013/02/20/copyright-abuse/

NOTE: That blog entry is now obsolete; YouTube no longer shuts down questionable videos due to copyright claims so quickly. Here’s hoping they won’t again.

Rebecca bashes another feminist for bullshitting:

Of course, opponents of feminism use such incidents to claim feminism itself is bullshit, so this fact checking is extremely important.

And can we PLEASE have fewer idiots and lunatics running for President of the United States? We already elected one such train wrecker in 2016!

Not to mention her condemnation of former friend Michael Shermer:

Who I wrote about here, here, and here.

She also slams warped and bigoted religious crap:

It is incredible how much alike the two of us are. Could we be siblings?

 

If Your Spiritual Orientation is HUMANIST…

happyhuman

Here is some advice to a person who has decided for whatever reason that he cannot believe in a god of any kind. This actually includes myself, so I may be biased here. Such a person may be called an atheist, an agnostic, or a secular humanist. For the sake of simplicity, I will lump all of them together under the Humanist label.

  • Do not assume that because you have rejected theism that most people who accept a theistic religion are stupid. They may indeed have a different spiritual orientation than you. Respect them anyway, just as you would want them to respect you.
  • One of the worst things you can do to damage your credibility is to only care about the rights and dignity of your fellow non-theists and ignore everyone else.  Stand up and defend the rights and dignity of ALL religious people too, including Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others.
  • Just because you are non-theist does not mean that all other non-theists should be embraced. If a famous non-theist is known to be a racist, have committed acts of sexual abuse, or has committed theft or murder, reject him.
  • It is  true that people of various religions have committed atrocities against outsiders. But so have non-theists who followed an extremist ideology, like Communism. It is DOGMA that kills people, not religion.
  • You can find fellowship in the following organizations:  the American Humanist Association (https://americanhumanist.org/), or the UU Humanist Association (http://huumanists.org/). Also read this:

    Humanist Voices in Unitarian Universalism

In short, don’t be like Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of American Atheists. Or Ayn Rand, the founder of Objectivism. Those two arrogant, bigoted extremists brought disgrace to atheism in America that is still a problem to this day. I wish neither of them had ever existed.

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.

Ken Ammi, Enemy of Truth

Years ago, I discovered a blog which contained some criticism of the Baha’i Faith  and I eagerly copied a blog entry from it to support my own case against the Baha’i Faith, only to discover that the author was a hard-core Christian who was not nearly as critical of his own religion as he was of other faiths, a clear sign of dishonesty and bigotry. This was confirmed today when I found the new version of his blog and read its About page. I will post parts from that page here in green and italics and my responses in blue and bold.

http://www.truefreethinker.com/about

Continue reading

Stop the Hypocrisy, NOW!

On the blog Why Evolution is True, we find this entry that seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with evolution, biology, or even science at all.  Instead, it is all about hypocrisy in religion:

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/dennett-and-lascola-study-on-nonbelieving-clergy/

Imagine being forced to go to work every day and, as part of the job, profess something that you absolutely don’t believe.  More than that: at least once a week you have to publicly profess it, and also counsel other people on the explicit premise that you share the beliefs you reject.  In other words, you’re forced to live a lie.

No one is forced to do anything like that.  The issue is that you have a job that makes you money and enables you to influence others. That sounds like a strong motivation to keep doing it, but there are alternatives.

Why do these preachers stay in the faith and on the job? Three reasons, mostly.  One is financial: what else could they do with their training if they left the ministry? Often they have neither equity (living in church-owned houses) nor pensions.

What about simply switching to become ministers of Unitarian Universalist churches or hold some other position in the Unitarian Universalist Association? You do not have to believe in the Bible as the Word of God to be a UU!

http://huumanists.org/

You can also profess liberal Christianity in the UUA and not be hypocritical:

http://www.uuchristian.org/

Another, and perhaps more important, reason is that an admission of unbelief  would shock and disappoint their friends and family.  This is a very powerful motive, for facing the truth would rip asunder your network of social and family support.

Where is the unconditional love that Christians are supposed to have for people? And wouldn’t being open and honest about unbelief be just as likely to cause others to defect as well?

Finally, many of these preachers like their work, especially the part of the job that involves helping troubled people……..There’s absolutely no doubt that faith, and religious institutions, have provided important help for those in need or in trouble.  Some religions do this more than others.

There is no reason why they cannot do work like counseling or doing charity work, even if they are atheists.

But isn’t it a shame that there aren’t secular communities where those with altruistic instincts can “minister” without hypocrisy or fear?

That last remark irritates me.  The UUA may not be “secular”, but it provides exactly the sort of framework needed by those former Christian ministers. And then there are these many groups:

http://www.freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/Secular_charities

Nice going, Jerry Coyne. Your obsession with bashing religion only made yourself look ignorant! And that would not be the only time you did that!

“Classical” Atheism vs. “Contemporary” Atheism

Once again, I find myself dealing with the tiresome issue of the competing definitions of Atheism. See my previous blog entries on this subject for references:

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/atheism-is-a-dogma-get-over-it/

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

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/make-up-your-minds-atheists/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/richard-dawkins-is-an-agnostic/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/is-agnostic-an-obsolete-term/

Now I learn that Aron-Ra, a fellow Texan and activist against promoting Creationist bigotry and lies in public schools, has not only accepted the “contemporary” definition of atheism, he asserts that the “classical” definition of it was a lie all along! Really??? Continue reading

Racism among Atheists too?

Jen McCreight, author of the blog Blag Hag, now finds herself having to confront the ugly issue of racism among her fellow atheists after she and other women dealt so much and for so long with sexism among them. I will provide links to her blog entries in question along with excerpts from them.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2013/08/on-silencing-anger-to-silence-minority-voices/

My favorite thing to wake up to in the morning is white straight cis men insisting they get to decide who your allies are and that you should not ever get angry, but rather calmly explain basic topics to hostile questions from every person that wanders across your path as if it were your personal duty on this earth. Continue reading

There is NO default position on religion

P Z Myers wrote an essay for the Washington Post that reads as follows:

Atheism is the default position. You don’t have to do anything to be an atheist, but you have to work awfully hard to not be one…..

I consider this to be a falsehood, based on my own personal experience. I was raised in a conservative Protestant family, so I naturally adopted the basic Christian beliefs of my parents and other relatives. It required no work at all to simply believe in God and to accept the Bible as the Word of God. So for me, evangelical Protestantism WAS the default position; it was not until I was attending college that I decided to stop believing in God and it was at the end of a long internal struggle that involved some emotional wrangling that I never would have experienced had I simply chosen to ignore the contradictions I had discovered and remain a Christian. Thus I had to work very hard to deprogram myself and think freely from the dogmas of any religion. And I had to undergo this process TWICE, since I later was seduced to join the Baha’i Faith and then deprogram myself from that as well.

From a universal perspective, there cannot be a default position on religion, politics, or any other subject involving dogmas (and yes, atheism is properly classed as a dogma). There are only defaults with regards to family upbringings.  The only way atheism can be a default position is if a child is raised in a family of atheists.

The Skepchicks vs. the Asses of Evil

With this blog entry, I intend to put all the past references to the battles Rebecca Watson and her allies have fought against sexism in the secular communities into one place. This will be a work in progress.

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/the-downfall-of-richard-dawkins-credibility/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/rebecca-watson-vs-stef-mcgraw/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/beware-of-justin-vacula/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/destroy-the-atheist-movement/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/atheists-on-facebook/

https://dalehusband.com/2015/12/31/buckley-gets-what-rebecca-watson-bashers-do-not-want-to-admit/

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Destroy the Atheist movement!

Read this, which I have edited for the sake of brevity:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/05/08/policing-their-own/

We want religious believers to police their own.

We want religious believers to stop being silent about atrocities committed in the name of religion. …….And when they don’t, we call them hypocrites.

So why is it that when atheists speak out against screwed-up shit that other atheists are doing, it gets called “divisive”?

I have been hearing a lot of calls for unity in the atheist community. I have been hearing a lot of calls for an end to the debates, an end to the infighting. I have been hearing a lot of calls for atheists to stop focusing on our differences, and look at our common ground….But all too often, calling for unity equals silencing dissent. All too often, calling for unity equals a de facto defense of the status quo. All too often, calling for unity equals telling people who are speaking up for themselves to shut up.

I do not want to be in unity with atheists who [speak, write, or behave in misogynous ways]. And I do not want to be in unity with atheists who consistently rationalize this behavior, who trivialize it, who make excuses for it.

And I don’t think I should be expected to. I don’t think anyone in this movement should be asking that of me. I don’t think anyone in this movement should be asking that of anyone.

And when people, however well-meaning, make generic calls for unity — when they tell all of us to stop fighting and just get along — they’re basically telling those of us on the short ends of those sticks to shut up.

Continue reading

Is agnostic an obsolete term?

Thomas Huxley, coiner of the term agnostic.

Thomas Huxley, coiner of the term agnostic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a previous blog entry, I showed via historical references that the definition of  “atheist” as merely “lacking belief in a god” had no historical foundation, being a recent invention (we used the term “non-Theist” for that already). Critics of my position (that the only true Atheists are those who deny outright the existence of any god and that therefore Atheism should be classed as a dogma) assert that the meanings of words may change over time and that there is nothing wrong with this. I disagree and here is why:

In the Middle Ages, the term “gentleman” was defined only as a nobleman who owned land and it had no behavioral or moral references. If you said a man was or was not a gentleman, you were neither praising him nor insulting him, but merely giving information about his social status. But gentlemen were expected to maintain certain high standards of behavior, and over time people began to argue that the behavior of a man was more important than his social status. This is indeed an enlightened point of view, but the critical mistake made later was to start saying not only that a man who was not a gentleman acted like one anyway, but to actually call men of good behavior “gentlemen” even if they were not of the landed nobility. This was simply inaccurate, but that usage became so common as time went by and the nobility became less important to European societies that the original use of the term was dropped completely and the mistaken usage became the norm. Today, you cannot even refer to a man in the Middle Ages as a “gentleman” without an explanation as to its original meaning. This is a barrier to communication about historical issues, and so the word “gentleman” has been ruined and it would have been better to have discarded it completely and another term invented for men of good behavior.

It is the same with “agnostic”. Thomas Huxley invented that term precisely because the only definition of “atheist” that existed in his time was “denial of all gods”, which Huxley did not do. Thus, he classed himself and other agnostics as being neutral with regards to the Theism/Atheism question, something that today’s New Atheists deny. But if Atheist is indeed merely “lacking belief in any god”, then agnostic is a useless term, just as “gentleman” is now, since it is indeed impossible for anyone to  KNOW whether or not there is a god; we merely choose to believe or disbelieve in gods. Therefore, EVERYONE may be classed as agnostic and the term can no longer be used for statistical purposes to define anyone’s beliefs, or lack thereof.

The New Atheists have a choice. They can either discard the term agnostic completely (and thus discard Huxley’s intellectual legacy), or they can reverse course and admit what we always have known, that it is indeed possible to be neutral on the issue of Theist/Atheist, that Atheism is a dogma and that agnosticism is something to be accepted on an equal level with Theism, non-Theism, and Atheism. The first choice, of course, will also disrupt communication about historical issues regarding atheists and agnostics in the past, so only the second choice is the viable one.

Richard Dawkins is an Agnostic?

Read this story below:

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Atheist or Agnostic?

Mark Cheney on April 8, 2012, 12:00 AM

What’s the Big Idea?

Richard Dawkins, the most famous atheist in the world, created a stir when he recently declared that he was not an atheist after all, but an agnostic. The news, which came during a debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury last month, seemed at first to be a big get for God. However, in The God Delusion Dawkins was frank about his agnosticism.

So, how does Dawkins square his public persona with his lack of certitude? Easily. No matter how strongly Dawkins is associated with atheism, he is first and foremost a scientist. Therefore, “the existence of God is a scientific hypothesis like any other,” he claims.

Similarly, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson claims the title “scientist” above all other “ists.” And yet, Tyson says he is “constantly claimed by atheists.” So where does Tyson stand? He tells Big Think: “Neil deGrasse, widely claimed by atheists, is actually an agnostic.”

Uh, I thought the New Atheists defined atheism as “lacking belief in a god”. If so, then Dawkins IS an atheist. He even had his anti-religious book titled “The God Delusion”, not The Biblical Delusion, The Christian Delusion, or The Creationist Delusion. If you really think simply believing in a god is delusional, then you’d have to be asserting that there no god, or else your claim that Theists are delusional is pointless! Unless Dawkins actually repudiates his book, he is NOT agnostic!

In The God Delusion, Dawkins provides a seven point scale for scoring belief in God. Here it is:

http://bigthink.com/think-tank/atheism-easter-atheister
Richard Dawkins’ Belief Scale Scoring Rubric

  1. Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.
  2. De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.
  3. Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.
  4. Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.
  5. Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.
  6. De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.
  7. Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.

I would rewrite these definitions as follows:

Dale Husband’s Belief Scale Scoring Rubric

  1. Dogmatic Theist: I do not question the existence of God.
  2. Non-Dogmatic Theist: I am inclined to believe in God but I do not proclaim that belief as if it is fact.
  3. Non-theist Agnostic: I am neutral on whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical and live as if he does not.
  4. Non-Dogmatic Atheist: I am inclined to believe there is no God.
  5. Dogmatic Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God and assert such a position constantly.

For more details about this problem, see:

Misdefining terms for purposes of propaganda

Make up your minds, atheists!

I wonder how disappointed BionicDance must be in Dawkins, assuming she knows of his recently stated position.

A Whine about the Atheist Movement

How the Atheist Movement Failed Me – Part 1: Cost

This has to be one of the most pathetic criticisms of the Atheist community I’ve ever seen. If it had been written by a Christian attacking Atheists, it could not have been worse.

Atheism is too often expensive.

Where are the picnics and hikes and movie screenings? We know that the demographics of the movement are diverse, and, therefore, it’s likely that the needs of the individuals are quite varied as well… so why is raising awareness about the historicity of Jesus (usually a ticketed event) always more important than delivering casseroles to the non-theist first-time parents? Where are the low-cost, easy-access events that tie us together as people, simply for us to get to know one another and organically create support networks?

We talk an awful big game about Christianity in particular, but ultimately religions have cornered the market on human emotional connection, and so far it seems that the atheist movement is content to ignore it altogether. A major reason it’s hard to leave the church is because of the wealth of social and emotional support you must leave behind. Learning about evolution and archeology are awesome, mind-opening opportunities that are great for everyone, but a lecture about evolution won’t pick your kids up from practice if your car breaks down. Or take you out for coffee if you’re having a rough week. Or play a pickup game of raquetball. Or come to your open mic night. Or whatever it is that you do. And the connections that make those interactions possible aren’t easy to create when you don’t have the money to join in.

I then commented there:

Indeed, that link should give a great solution to Amanda’s problem:

Atheism and Agnosticism: Theological Diversity in Unitarian Universalism
Atheists are people who do not believe in a god, while Agnostics are people who think that we cannot know whether a god exists. Both groups are welcome in Unitarian Universalism.

Today, a significant proportion of Unitarian Universalists do not believe in any type of god. Our congregations are theologically diverse places where people with many different understandings of the sacred can be in religious community together.

Another non-theistic tradition is Humanism, which focuses on human potential and emphasizes personal responsibility for ethical behavior.

Unless, of course, she is too bigoted to fellowship with anyone who is not an atheist. And that would only draw my contempt.

Is that a mosquito I hear?

P Z Myers pushes Atheism, not science, in this talk.

Science is a methodology for studying the universe and everything in it, as well as the conclusions reached over time from repeated use of that methodology. That’s all it has ever been and ever should be.

The traditional view of God is of a Creator of the universe. He is not a part of the universe, otherwise he could not have been its Creator, therefore science can never study him. And what science cannot study, it has no business making judgements on.

That religion has wrongfully intruded on scientific matters with ancient creation myths means that science CAN rightfully debunk those myths. It does not follow, however, that Theism itself has been disproven by science, because science cannot do that. It can only show what dogmas in religion that relate to things in the universe are wrong, but not dogmas  about anything outside the universe!

And that is why P Z Myers’ assertion here that “if you’re not an Atheist, you aren’t doing science right” is really a case of arrogant dogmatism on his part and need not be taken seriously by anyone who knows what the real conception of God by most theistic religions is.

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.

A case of false advertising for atheism

Take a look at this chart, a “Periodic Table of Atheists and Antitheists”:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Bay4lTZyHTE/TgYmEIFDbbI/AAAAAAAAAEM/uk50wWHaofw/s1600/tableofatheists150.jpg

One of my basic principles is Truth in Advertising, that whenever you illustrate something or state something, that depiction or statement must be as accurate as possible. This is one of those cases in which that principle has been violated.

Carl Sagan is on the list, at the 11 position. So is Neil deGrasse Tyson, at position 3 and Charles Darwin at position 38. But all these are or were  NOT  atheists, but agnostics.  To understand the difference, just look here:

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

But there are striking omissions from the table. Where is Ayn Rand??? By all accounts and appearances she WAS indeed an atheist. She should have been listed among the philosophers for her founding of the Objectivist movement. Likewise, there are no leaders of the Communist movement either, not even Karl Marx!

This chart is a lie and it needs to be taken down and replaced with a more accurate one!

The New Atheists step up their campaign against the NCSE and the BCSE

This is the direct sequel to:

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/atheists-shrieking-about-the-aaas/

Once again, P Z Myers and Jerry Coyne have decided to push for the elimination of all mentioning of religion in scientific organizations, including the NCSE (National Center for Science Education, the American organization defending evolution) and the BCSE (British Centre for Science Education, the version of the NCSE in the United Kingdom).

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/a-bright-spot-at-the-chronicle-and-an-open-letter/

Open letter to the NCSE and BCSE
Dear comrades:

Although we may diverge in our philosophies and actions toward religion, we share a common goal: the promulgation of good science education in Britain and America—indeed, throughout the world.  Many of us, like myself and Richard Dawkins, spend a lot of time teaching evolution to the general public.  There’s little doubt, in fact, that Dawkins is the preeminent teacher of evolution in the world. He has not only turned many people on to modern evolutionary biology, but has converted many evolution-deniers (most of them religious) to evolution-accepters.

Nevertheless, your employees, present and former, have chosen to spend much of their time battling not creationists, but evolutionists who happen to be atheists.  This apparently comes from your idea that if evolutionists also espouse atheism, it will hurt the cause of science education and turn people away from evolution.  I think this is misguided for several reasons, including a complete lack of evidence that your idea is true, but also your apparent failure to recognize that creationism is a symptom of religion (and not just fundamentalist religion), and will be with us until faith disappears. That is one reason—and, given the pernicious effect of religion, a minor one—for the fact that we choose to fight on both fronts.

The official policy of your organizations—certainly of the NCSE—is apparently to cozy up to religion.  You have “faith projects,” you constantly tell us to shut up about religion, and you even espouse a kind of theology which claims that faith and science are compatible.  Clearly you are going to continue with these activities, for you’ve done nothing to change them in the face of criticism.  And your employees, past and present, will continue to heap invective on New Atheists and tar people like Richard Dawkins with undeserved opprobrium.

We will continue to answer the misguided attacks by people like Josh Rosenau, Roger Stanyard, and Nick Matzke so long as they keep mounting those attacks.  I don’t expect them to abate, but I’d like your organizations to recognize this: you have lost many allies, including some prominent ones, in your attacks on atheism.  And I doubt that those attacks have converted many Christians or Muslims to the cause of evolution.  This is a shame, because we all recognize that the NCSE has done some great things in the past and, I hope, will—like the new BCSE—continue do great things in the future.

There is a double irony in this situation.  First, your repeated and strong accusations that, by criticizing religion, atheists are alienating our pro-evolution allies (liberal Christians), has precisely the same alienating effect on your allies: scientists who are atheists.  Second, your assertion that only you have the requisite communication skills to promote evolution is belied by the observation that you have, by your own ham-handed communications, alienated many people who are on the side of good science and evolution.  You have lost your natural allies.  And this is not just speculation, for those allies were us, and we’re telling you so.

Sincerely,
Jerry Coyne

Let’s look at some excerpts from this open letter:

There’s little doubt, in fact, that Dawkins is the preeminent teacher of evolution in the world. He has not only turned many people on to modern evolutionary biology, but has converted many evolution-deniers (most of them religious) to evolution-accepters.

Note that Coyne does not specify that Dawkins has converted all these former evolution-deniers into atheists.

Nevertheless, your employees, present and former, have chosen to spend much of their time battling not creationists, but evolutionists who happen to be atheists.

How so? By not openly supporting atheism?

you have lost many allies, including some prominent ones, in your attacks on atheism.

HA HA HA HA HA HA! So not affirming atheism is the same as attacking it? REALLY?! Show me ONE official statement by the NCSE or the BCSE that attacks or denies atheism. Just one!

your repeated and strong accusations that, by criticizing religion, atheists are alienating our pro-evolution allies (liberal Christians), has precisely the same alienating effect on your allies: scientists who are atheists.

Coyne, you are alienated only because you are so convinced that only atheism is true. But that has nothing to do with teaching science. The fact remains that many children from Christian backgrounds will be learning evolution in schools and if they see a conflict between evolution and the Bible, they will remain Creationists rather than give up their faith and accept evolution. The efforts at accommodation by the NCSE and the BCSE are intended to show that you can choose to be religious and deal with science as it is also. It is YOU that is being intolerant, Coyne! It is YOU that choose to be alienated. You can still advocate atheism on your blog while promoting evolution too. No one in the NCSE or the BCSE is saying you cannot.  So what is the problem?

Then P Z says on his blog:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/04/the_bcse_blows_up.php

How often do we have to repeat ourselves? There is no goal of turning the NCSE or the BCSE into an atheist organization; we think having an organization that is honestly neutral on the religious issue is extremely useful in advancing the cause of good science education for all. We want the NCSE/BCSE to support neither atheism nor religion.

You know what? The atheists in this argument have a crystal-clear understanding of the difference between atheism and secularism, and are saying that the science education organizations should be secular. It’s these sloppy accommodationists who have allowed liberal christianity to become their default position who have violated the distinction.

First, no one is asking Myers and other atheists to repeat themselves, so that is just rhetorical crap. Second, the NCSE has made clear its own religious neutrality.

http://ncse.com/about/faq

What is NCSE’s religious position?

None. The National Center for Science Education is not affiliated with any religious organization or belief. We and our members enthusiastically support the right of every individual to hold, practice, and advocate their beliefs, religious or non-religious. Our members range from devout practitioners of several religions to atheists, with many shades of belief in between. What unites them is a conviction that science and the scientific method, and not any particular religious belief, should determine science curriculum. (Emphasis mine)

Sorry, but until atheists become the vast majority of American and British people, the screaming about accommodation by atheists is pointless. I just don’t accept it. If the atheists wish to have all science organizations never mention religions or treat any religious people with respect again,  they can push for that. And once they get their way, the political support for scientific organizations will most likely dry up.  And the only ones who gain from that would be Creationists. The atheist fanatics are giving them exactly the talking points they need to fight longer and harder the public relations war over science education!

Please support both the NCSE and the BCSE. Here are their websites:

http://ncse.com/

http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/

Religion, imperialism, and oil

Christianity is the most popular religion in the world, with about 2 billion followers all over the world. Islam is the second most popular religion, with over a billion followers. Part of the reason Christianity is larger is because it is older, since it is about 2000 years old, as compared with Islam being only 1400 years old.

Another reason Christianity is more popular is because of its association with imperialism. First, it took over the Roman Empire. After the Roman Empire fell in 476 AD, the religion continued as the dominant ideology of the Byzantine Empire, which was a direct offshoot of the Roman one. Later, the Arabs built a vast empire using Islam as their unifying force, challenging the Byzantines. Finally, the Turks, another Islamic power, destroyed the Byzantine Empire.

Then the European powers spread their empires all over the world, taking Christianity with them. Islam remained relatively weak until two things happened to make it more powerful: European imperialism fell apart and oil was discovered in most parts of the Middle East. Suddenly,  the Arabs became  extremely rich due to their oil revenues, and with that wealth came the ability to spread Islam around the world. But in Europe, Christianity declined as the people became increasingly secular. The tragic events of World War II probably did more to destroy Europeans’ faith than anything else. Today, the USA is the most powerful Christian dominated nation in the world, but it is still secular in its government. And even here, religious influence is slowly declining.

I suspect that within another generation, Islam will surpass Christianity as the most popular world religion, but its power cannot last long, because oil is a nonrenewable resource. And when that oil runs out, the economies of the Middle Eastern  states that depend on oil will break down, and so will Islam.

What can freethinkers, atheists,  and secular humanists do to overcome this situation? They must do everything possible to end the dependence on oil, and indeed all other fossil fuels, and establish societies based on renewable and sustainable sources of energy such as wind, water, the sun and geothermal sources. Once at least some parts of the world are free from needing resources that are doomed to run out, we will have even less need for religions like Christianity and Islam.

Atheists shrieking about the AAAS

AAAS = The American Association for the Advancement of Science.

First, look at this:

http://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2011/webprogram/Session2878.html

Evangelicals, Science, and Policy: Toward a Constructive Engagement

Evangelical Christians constitute approximately 30 percent of the U.S. population, and their influence on public policy is considerable. As a community with major concerns regarding science, ethics, and national priorities, its impact on science policy has been particularly significant, as in the case of stem cell research. Around such controversial issues, communication between science and evangelical Christianity has been hampered by limited appreciation of both the scientific facts and each others’ concerns. On the other hand, new models of positive engagement between these communities around global issues such as climate change is encouraging awareness and leading to science policies that benefit both science and society as a whole. As science progresses in other disciplines, evangelicals will continue to play a significant role, but their positions on many of these issues have not yet been fully formed. The opportunity thus exists to anticipate concerns and to develop a positive understanding that will benefit scientific advancement. One example is neuroscience, which has implications for both policy-making and religious understanding. Speakers will discuss their experiences with stem cell and climate change policy and explore how these experiences can inform engagement between the scientific and evangelical communities to benefit policies relating both to neuroscience and to science more generally.

Do you see ANYTHING there that attacks atheism or says that atheists have no business doing science?

Responses to this by atheist fanatics have been less than rational. Here is Jerry Coyne’s take on it:

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/the-aaas-sells-out-to-christians/

No—here are the real losers: abortion doctors who are shot by evangelical Christians, women forced to bear unwanted babies because abortion is seen as sinful, gays who are either marginalized or demonized because evangelicals consider their thoughts and behaviors as sinful, children who are terrorized—and infused with lifelong guilt—by the concepts of sin and hell, women who must accept their status as a second-class gender. Even believers like Francis Collins, surely on the liberal end of the evangelical Christian spectrum, hold profoundly antiscientific beliefs.  Collins, for example, can’t see how morality could have either evolved or developed in society unless it was a creation of God, and considers the “Moral Law” as profound evidence for the existence of God.  To anyone working in anthropology or neuroscience, that claim is simply embarrassing!

The sooner that religion goes away, the sooner these ills will abate.  “Dialoguing” with evangelical Christians (and granted, not all of them hold the beliefs I’ve just mentioned) only enables superstition—a superstition that, one would think, would be resolutely opposed by a scientific organization like the AAAS.  Remember that Leshner is the CEO of that organization and the executive publisher of one of the world’s two most prestigious scientific journals.

It is not evangelical Christianity that causes anyone to shoot abortion doctors, but the worst form of hypocrisy. That sort of hyperbole from Coyne is prejudicial and disturbing. Couldn’t it be possible that rather than corrupting science, the purpose of the conference is to inform evangelicals about how science can persuade them to moderate extreme positions they otherwise might have taken?

P Z Myers seems to be playing good cop to Jerry Coyle’s bad cop.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/02/when_will_the_aaas_stop_pander.php

I don’t think Nick Matzke can even imagine what a group of secularists would find useful at AAAS — he’s projecting quite a bit, and presuming that such a session would be as one-sided and blinkered as these sessions the evangelical Christians are running. They wouldn’t. I’m as antagonistic to religion as Coyne is, maybe more so (hey, there’s another session possibility: “Atheists Roast Christianity,” where we all vie with each other to insult religion the most), but unlike what the Matzkes of the world assume, we are actually aware of the political situation.

If I were in charge of organizing such a beast, here’s what I’d look for. I’d want to have an honest religionist or philosopher/historian of religion there to give a talk on key doctrinal conflicts: what are they? How do modern Christians and Muslims and Jews resolve them? They are there, of course: there are major points like teleology in the universe and mind-body dualism that are unsupported or even contradicted by science. He wouldn’t have to endorse or oppose any of those points, but simply, clearly, explain where the conflicts lie.

I’d want someone to discuss secular approaches to school and public education. These do NOT involve teaching atheism in the schools. I’m a big fat noisy atheist myself, but when I get into the classroom to teach one of those controversial topics like evolution, my atheism is not an issue, and I don’t tell the students they have to abandon their gods to be a scientist. What the attendees at AAAS do not need is someone telling them how wonderful Christianity is; what would be useful is someone explaining how to teach honest, evidence-based science without compromising their principles, no matter what they are.

I’d want someone with political and legal expertise to discuss what the law actually says about science education. The perfect person would be someone like Barry Lynn, or Sean Faircloth, or Eddie Tabash — a person who could lay out exactly what kind of political tack scientists should take with legislators to keep the taint of religious bias out of support for science.

Actually, the atheist-run version of such a session would be what a science organization should want: instead of some half-assed stab at rapprochement with clearly unscientific, irrational, traditional metaphysics, and instead of the tribal war council the accommodationists imagine, it would be a rational discussion of how secular scientists (which would include religious scientists who are committed to keeping their beliefs out of the lab and classroom) can get their jobs done in a crazily religious country. As long as these pious zealots are left in charge, though, that’s not what we’re getting.

I can go to atheist meetings to get my rah-rah on for godlessness; people like Leshner, the organizer of the currently planned come-to-Jebus meeting, can go to church and get their idiot-ology affirmed there. An AAAS symposium ought to be actually accomplishing something for all of the members of the organization, not just the atheists and especially not just the deluded apologists under loyalty oaths who want to Christianize science.

It would seem that the only thing atheists like Coyne and Myers want with the AAAS is for religion to be mentioned only to highlight its flaws. But that’s not what science is about! Science, in its pure form, ignores all religions and their beliefs. The problem is that scientists do not practice science in its pure form and indeed, no one does…..because they are human. A person who does science and nothing else wouldn’t be human at all, but a robot with no emotions or sense of appreciation for anything non-scientific.

Religion is non-scientific, but only some expressions of religion are anti-scientific. That Coyne and Myers do not seem to understand that distinction and paint anything non-scientific as unworthy of serious discussion in major science organizations only shows their prejudice. I’d hate to see them in an art museum.

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

Misdefining terms for purposes of propaganda

This is the direct sequel to https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/atheism-is-a-dogma-get-over-it/

Prior to the 1990s, it was clear to me what atheism, atheists,  agnosticism,  agnostics, dogma, and fanaticism were. That’s because we had clear and logically consistent definitions of those words. They were found in reliable dictionaries like Webster’s New World Dictionary. Here are the definitions I found in the 1975 edition, which I still own and use.

atheism: “the belief that there is no God”. (That’s the ONLY definition in the book.)

agnostic: “a person who beleives that one cannot know whether or not there is a God or an ultimate cause, or anything beyond material phenomena.” (The ONLY definition in the book.)

dogma: “a positive, arrogant assertion of opinion.” (One of several definitions, and it is not implied that dogmas must always be religious in nature.)

fanaticism: “excessive and unreasonable zeal” (Again, it is not specified that only religion can produce fanatics.)

Continue reading

Atheism is a DOGMA! Get over it!

I recently had a long argument with an atheist who not only openly disagreed with all religions, but insisted that all religious people were delusional, stupid, even insane, while totally denying that he was himself promoting an unproven belief of his own.

What is atheism? There appear to be two kinds:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheism

2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity

b : the doctrine that there is no deity

By the first definition, I am indeed an atheist, but I reject that term for myself because I know that people assume that atheism is about outright denial of God’s existence (the second definition) and nothing else. By contrast, I question God’s existence and do not deny it at all. My position is a neutral one regarding that specific issue.

And that is why Thomas Huxley in the 19th Century coined the term agnostic to describe himself and his beliefs, or lack thereof.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agnostic

1 : a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
Thus by the first definition one can be an agnostic atheist or an agnostic theist, though most people only know of the first kind (because that is consistent with the second definition) . What one cannot be is lumping all people who are religious into the same category of irrationality, delusion, and stupidity and then be nondogmatic at the same time. Not only are you being dogmatic, you are being a BIGOT.
: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance
And any atheist who does that is no better than someone who is a religious bigot.
Atheists say that the burden of proof should be on the religious person to support the claim that God exists. But producing such proof is exactly what the religious person does when he produces the Bible, the Quran, or some other religious text that is the basis for a God-centered religion. You can say that the proof is insufficent to establish belief in God beyond a reasonable doubt, but it is still a proof. And religion by definition requires faith, not absolute proof. If belief in God could be established beyond a reasonable doubt, it wouldn’t be part of religion. Conversely, atheism also cannot be established beyond a reasonable doubt, because there is no way to disprove the existence of God. Atheism is a dogma, not an objective point of view.
When an atheist says that the Bible is no more credible than the Harry Potter books, he is not making an objective statement at all, but giving a subjective opinion. That’s exactly what a DOGMA is!
Does this mean atheism is also a religion? It depends on your definition of religion. I say no, because you don’t need faith to be an athiest or agnostic. Faith involves belief in something that cannot be directly detected. But you do have to make a choice to be an atheist, agnostic, or theist. Belief in the non-existence of God is as much a religion as not playing chess is a form of gaming. But one still makes a choice if one refuses to learn how to play chess.