Not so polite dinner conversation – True Reason

I’ve been engaging with Tom Gilson, someone with the True Reason group. I had stated that I had not heard or seen this group at the Reason Rally. I was suprised I couldn’t find them despite looking around because they claimed the following:

“We’ll be equipped there with: Gifts of kindness to give away–free bottled water, for example Mini-book (32-page) summarized versions of True Reason, an exciting soon-to-be-published ebook written especially for this purpose. Flyers advertising that ebook. A limited number of copies of a currently published book on Christianity and atheism.”

They claimed to need the following: “Third, consider making a donation. Even a small amount – $5, $20, or $50 – when pooled together, makes a big difference. We are seeking to raise a total of $5,000 for this outreach.” Their website is here:

Tom emailed me to contend my claim, that I had said that as far as I could tell they weren’t there.  I asked him for evidence.  And he complied.  Lo and behold it seems that at least Tom was there and talked to a real live Reason Rally attendee. We have two versions of the encounter, and it does remind me a bit of Citizen Kane in the differences presented:


Here’s even a picture that has Christians talking to PZ Myers:

Addition: here’s a review of their booklet:  thank you Skeptimus for doing this work.

and PZ supposedly got one of the mysterious booklets. That’s great evidence for me. So I can say again, *I* didn’t see them anywhere” and amend it “but it certainly seems that they were there.”  Addition: an other atheist who almost missed the True Reason people:  Across the street from the Rally?  What afraid of biting atheists?  Ah, only our commentary.

I wonder how the True Reason people decided which rally attendees to approach. My husband and friend stayed in one place for the three hours we were there, to the left of the main screen, about in line with the VIP seating. I wandered the whole area. Tom, if you read this, can you give us insight on this process?

The True Reason website also asked for this: “First, join us in prayer. We are asking God to empower this loving, intelligent response to the Reason Rally. Our goal is to make a positive difference with each person we reach through this effort.” Considering nothing fails like prayer, and I’ve had Christians (probably thousands by now) praying for my conversion,  I expect no “positive difference” aka “conversions” have happened. But as always, any reports?

If their prayers don’t work, will Christians be honest enough to admit it?

Addition:  This is one of the websites that is shilling for the True Reason book:   And now look at the “best reasons”:

Oh…my.  Yes, it’s really that bad. And you know all of these are in this ever-so special book.  As I said on my Amazon review, all of the $3 book is available for free on the internet.  Nothing new at all.  And the rebuttals of this nonsense can also be found on the internets too.  Some of my favorites sources:

and if anyone has a pet one that they think is “really really good”, please submit it and I’ll do a blog entry just for you.

What the Boss likes – Reason Rally review

So, the Reason Rally has come and gone. And it was wet, really wet.  But not one peal of thunder from the sky, no petulant Bronze Age gods showing up to “smite” the freethinkers. It was just another spring day inWashingtonDC. I know it must be so hard for some theists to not say that the rain was their god’s will, but most of them seem to know when to keep their opinions to themselves.  But darn, I was hoping for at least one or two. Then I could have asked why their god seemed to really have a hate on for Branson or Joplin or any place that has suffered any natural disaster that are so often invoke by theists as divine revenge. 

lovely flowers. the Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle, all done out in white green and silver.

I remember Jessica Ahlquist’s speech the most.  She did an excellent job.  I missed Greta Christina and Adam Savage by thinking that people would actually show up to meet me.  Alas, my idealist side got the better of the cynic. Oh well, with a new stake in place, maybe it’ll stay dead. I got a nice photo of tulips in any case.

  I looked and looked for the “True Reason” people and their promised booklet that would tell atheists just how wrong we were, having all of the “good” arguments they had for their god.  They were no where that I could find them. (EDIT 03/28/12 1:05 EDT) : I got an email from Tom Gilson, the editor who is insistent that they were there but they weren’t trying to be “disruptive”.  considering no t-shirts, no signs, no magical books, they were being quite “unobtrusive”, rather reminiscient of their god, invisible and evidently doing nothing.  Tom has claimed to have talked to P.Z. Myers whom I’m looking to confirm with. But again, *I* didn’t see them at all, just like I said)  Pity, maybe I would have become a Christian again if I had just seen their magic book! Or not…  Maybe they didn’t get all of the money they asked for from other Christians and prayed for.  Because, you know they did pray.  Pity they can’t be honest and admit that this failed too.  I wonder what their excuses are now. 

Oh!  I see that they now have their “book” up:   And for just $3, you can get the really true, for sure honest answers on how you can tell that this god exists.  Continue reading “What the Boss likes – Reason Rally review”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Why I’m going to the Reason Rally

The Reason Rally is tomorrow. Yep, the weather may well suck, but it doesn’t matter (and heck the farmers need the rain. Since I need them who am I to bitch?).  I’m relatively close by, and people need to see that atheists, agnostics, free thinkers, etc, are willing to stand up to be counted.   I’m proud to be an atheist and my worldview is what evidence supports.  I was raised a Presbyterian Christian and accepted that as the truth.  But the evidence just didn’t hold up.  I even tried other religions, and they didn’t hold up any better than Christianity. The fact that there are people who believe in such supernatural nonsense *and* try to make others believe, or at least obey it too, amuses and horrifies me.

Unfortunate I didn’t have my good camera along, but I think my cell captures the hypocrisy quite nicely.

Right now we have local Catholics who are sure that their religious freedom is being threatened by someone else having access to birth control and are demonstrating on the Capitol steps,  but dont’ give a damn about anyone else’s religious freedom when they try to force their beliefs on others. 

 Ah hypocrisy.

  Expecting a god to do anything is a recipe for disaster.  It is humans, and their hard dirty work, that have raised themselves to where we are today.  We did not need any bogeyman to help us or to scare us into being civilized beings.  We did that on our own. And now atheists are doing something we feel important on our own too.  

I’m not exactly looking forward to it.  I hate crowds, and with my so-so hearing, I probably won’t be able to hear a damn thing, but I know I must go since I can.  It’s my responsibility to stand up for what I believe in and to stand up for all those who can’t attend and who will come after me.

What the Boss Likes – Greta Christina’s new book

Greta Christina, a blogger who I follow, has written a new book “Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless”.  I’m also proud to be an angry atheist.  Tthere are plenty of reasons for atheists to be angry with the way things are, how religion is used to control women, how religion is used to justify harming others, etc.  Anger gets people off their butts and removes their complacency. 

It’s available now on the Kindle and Nook, and will be in dead-tree version soon.

From the Back Room – Mead

To go with the meat pies and cheesy goo from another post, here is our recipe for mead, the honey wine that is all through history and fantasy.  Here’s your warning: MAKE THIS EXACTLY BEFORE YOU TRY TO SCREW AROUND WITH IT.    We’ve had far too many people rave about our mead, then whine when theirs doesn’t come out right.  It’s because they didn’t listen and its a shame to waste all that relatively expensive honey.  The most recent batch we made came out to 13.9% alcohol.  Recipe after the break….

Continue reading “From the Back Room – Mead”

From the Bar – Las Parcelas Carmenere

No picture of the bottle since last night the garbage had to go out and I forgot to rescue the bottle.   This is one more in a long line of reds, since that’s what I prefer and I really am getting into these South American ones.   This Las Parcelas Carmenere is new to the PLCB and they’re selling it at $7.99.   Haven’t been able to find much at all about this winery on the ‘net.  It’s Chilean, and that’s about all I know. 

Flavor is the usual dark fruits, not too acidic or tannic.  It’s a good picnic wine, I think, able to be drunk with no effort.

From the Bar – Ta Henket, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Having a thing for cats pretty much guarantees at some point you’ll become fascinated with Ancient Egypt.  And thus started my interest in history and religious myths. 

When I read in the Smithsonian Magazine that some brewers were making ancient alcoholic beverages, I set out to find some of them.  Our local Wegmans suprised me by having two of them, Dogfish Head’s Ta Henket and their Midas Touch.   Haven’t got the Midas Touch yet, so that’ll be another post. 

nice and clear. I’m guessing that the Egytpians would have a much cloudier version.

Ta Henket is one very odd beer.  As far as I can tell, no hops, it’s only brewed with herbs, dates (I think this is what “dom fruit” is) some ancient form of wheat (emmer?)  and water.  They went to Egypt to capture wild yeasties to make it as authentic as possible. Make me wonder what customs thought about the petri dishes…..

The flavor starts out with a sweetness that I attribute to the barley.  Then you get the herbal hit, from the za’atar, and finally I can taste the grassy chamomile.  It is a very savory beer with an acidic background that almost reads as “salty”.    The scent is a bit funky and happily, for me at least, it doesn’t much carry over into the beer itself.    

I’d buy it again, definitely in the warm months.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Episode 3 Still more religious pandering

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is yet again wasting time and taxpayer dollars with more religious nonsense.  Oh we don’t need job bills, or a transportation plan or anything that would actually helpPennsylvania.  We just need more pandering to the narrow minds of a few.

Here’s the HR 609
Recognizing May 3, 2012, as the “National Day of Prayer” inPennsylvania. WHEREAS, The “National Day of Prayer” is a day set aside to pray for this nation; and WHEREAS, The designated day, the first Thursday of May,belongs to all citizens; and WHEREAS, This annual event was not created for political reasons or to promote any other agenda except prayer; and WHEREAS, The “National Day of Prayer” is designed for prayer for leaders, for communities, for families, for children and for one another; and WHEREAS, The “National Day of Prayer” is a day to ask for healing, to heal this nation and to bring people together in true unity; and WHEREAS, Prayer is regarded by millions as the most important utterance for the benefit of humankind; and WHEREAS, This nation was founded by single-minded men and women who sought wisdom through prayer; and WHEREAS, Prayer has aided many people throughout the history of this nation and this Commonwealth when support and guidance were needed; therefore be it RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives recognize May 3,2012, as the “National Day of Prayer” in Pennsylvania. 

This resolution is sadly dependent on one big lie.  It does seem that theists are dependent on those.   The National Day Of Prayer *was* created for political reasons. We have the Congress of the United Statespassing Public Law 82-324 and President Truman signing it.  If there were no politics involved, why did this have to be run through and made a law? People can certainly pray on their own as much as they want. The history of the National Day of Prayer can be traced right to the feet of Billy Graham and his influence in government.  It was created as a solely Christian event, promoting a solely Christian agenda.  That part has been ignored by politicians desperate to not offend their non-Christian constituents but history can’t be re-written.  

I’m wondering if Christians think that mass prayer will get their god’s attention any better than a single person’s prayer.  Seeing that prayer never works as advertised, I guess not.  If prayer does work for “healing”, why don’t these Christians get themselves over to the local VA hospitals and do some real good.  Of course, again, prayer doesn’t work for healing people or healing nations.  It sure doesn’t bring people together in any “true unity” since each theist thinks his/her god is the only “right” one and oh, are they sure that anyone who doesn’t believe in any god at all will go straight to hell. Right now in our national election you can see how much evangelical Christians don’t like Mormons, or Catholics. So much for “unity”. The only thing this bill does is try to force religion on everyone, and exclude many good patriotic American citizens from being considered equal with everyone else. This National Day of Prayer does not belong to me, and I am indeed a US citizen.    

Prayer may indeed be regarded by millions as the most important utterance for the benefit of mankind, but funny how it does nothing at all, no matter who does the praying.  No world peace, no food for the starving children, no healing of the sick, only hard long work by humans.  Millions of people used to think that sacrificing goats was really important too but that was just about as effective as prayer, but without the tasty meat for the priests.    

This resolution claims that prayer has “aided many people through out history”.  Did prayer aid the murderers of 9/11?  I’m sure that they were praying too.  Indeed, how can we tell whose prayers will win out, the prayers of the Afghanis who have had their families murdered and who I am sure are praying for the demise of theUS?  How about those who pray that President Obama is found out to be a “secret Muslim” or those who pray that President Obama will be re-elected? Will they cancel each other out?  What about each side when Americans pray for “their” football team to win?  Now do you see how idiotic it is to declare that everyone praying is a good and useful thing? 

Some of the founding fathers did pray and were Christians, but they were anything but “single minded” on what they believed in regards to religion. They *did* firmly establishe from the outset that no religion of any kind was to be considered better than the next or to have influence on government. They knew how dangerous that was, coming from a tyranny that was supported by the “divine right of kings”.   

Again, this is more evidence that one has to keep constant vigilance to keep the forces of theocracy at bay.  They will never stop and neither should we.