What the Boss Likes – Darn, I’m late for Ask An Atheist day!

Apparently yesterday (April 18th) was Ask an Atheist Day.   And apparently no one told a lot of atheists. 🙂  We are indeed a hard group to coordinate.

So, in honor of completely missing this, if you’d like to ask *this* atheist any questions about atheism and, well, just about anything else, please do.   If you have any questions about me, you can likely find some answers in “The Boss’s Office” tab at the top of the page. 



Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – It’s spring and the PA legislator lies are in bloom!

prayer is like gamblingIt’s that time of year again, when trees are blooming and legislators give a sop to their  constituents, trying to make believe that their version of Christianity is the state religion of Pennsylvania and the US.  Last year it was the nonsense about the “Year of the Bible”, which I posted about here, and here, .  Now we have more stealing of money from taxpayers in order to bother people about religion. 

As Judge Christopher Conner said in his rebuke to the “Year of the Bible” nonsense: 

“However, the court’s determination that the defendants engaged in a “legislative act” for purposes of immunity should not be viewed as judicial endorsement of this resolution. It most certainly is not. 

At best, H.R. 535 is a benign attempt to reaffirm the underlying principles of the Reagan proclamation of 1983. At worst, it is premeditated pandering designed to provide a reelection sound bite for use by members of the General Assembly. But regardless of the motivation behind H.R. 535, its express language is proselytizing and exclusionary (e.g., “ Renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through holy scripture can strengthen us as a nation and a people”). 

The court is compelled to shine a clear, bright light on this resolution because it pushes the Establishment Clause envelope behind the safety glass of legislative immunity. That it passed unanimously is even more alarming. 

This judicial rebuke of the resolution is not intended to impugn the religious beliefs of any citizen. To the contrary, the court’s disapprobation is directed to the blatant use of legislative resources in contravention of the spirit – if not the letter – of the Establishment Clause. At a time when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania faces massive public policy challenges, these resources would be far better utilized in meaningful legislative efforts for the benefit all of the citizens of the Commonwealth, regardless of their religious beliefs.” – Case No. 1:12-cv-536 decision 

I wonder if the good judge knows that these idiots have basically said “Fuck you.” in the new resolutions.  

Now, House resolutions don’t really mean anything.  They range from recognizing a museum for a good exhibit, claiming that Maggie Thatcher was a “great” American friend and British patriot, to naming a bridge after some fallen serviceperson.  It’s my opinion they are all just a waste of time and money.  Yes, it’s nice to memorialize someone by naming a bridge after them but that can be done on the local level.  They require time and resources that could be better used in other ways.   

The two resolutions that have been adopted are HR 17, authored by a Republican and HR 51, authored by a Democrat.   So, the blame for this nonsense isn’t limited to just one party. 

HR 17 is a resolution to recognize “National Fast Day”.  This is a bit of US Civil War nonsense which is now in the spotlight thanks to it being 150 years since American merrily killed each other by the hundreds of thousands over the right to own another human being as property.  Pennsylvania is home to ostensibly the most famous battle of the war, Gettysburg, so we get to hear lots about it.  Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – It’s spring and the PA legislator lies are in bloom!”

What the Boss Likes – Donate blood, not just during emergencies

donate bloodThe US experienced a bombing again.  Bombings don’t often happen in the US, but they do happen with some regularity.  Some of our legislators are far too stupid to actually remember the instances but they do happen (there are smart people in Texas, unfortunately the willfully ignorant ones often drown them out).  They also usually happen thanks to our own home-grown lunatics just like in other countries that have to experience such tragedies.  That’s my guess (and it is only a guess) here, that the bomber(s) were domestic, the usual cowards like Timothy McVeigh, etc that are afraid of what American really stands for: freedom and democracy. (Seems that I was wrong per the lastest news.  One can find cowards anywhere).

Of course, people now are running about, needing to feel like they are doing something. The American Red Cross says it has enough money and blood now, thank you very much.  I’m sure that there will be various charities that open up because of this tragedy. Although there are plenty of people who just want to help, we also always have people who glom on to “fame”.  “Looky me, I donated to *the* disaster.” 

I find it vastly annoying that it takes some awful event to get people to do things like this.  My first blood donation was back in high school.  A student, screwing around on a cliff without safety gear, fell very badly.  He survived for a while, was life-flighted to a level 1 trauma center where they used a lot of blood trying to save him. Blood is expensive to get and maintain so the community tried to help the family replace the blood used (incidentally, the student was the son of a preacher, another unfortunate example of how prayer doesn’t work).  

It’s not as if there isn’t *always* a need for blood and money to help in disasters, be they small or large.  You might not have extra money but many people can give blood and it just takes a little of your time. Yes, there is a large needle and some people don’t like needles, including my husband.  He donates too. Just tell the phlebotomist that you are scared of needles and they’ll do all they can to help. O Negative people are needed most since they are the universal donor.  Their blood can be pumped in without having to take time to type someone who is dying.  

I give blood every time I can (usually every 8 weeks but sometimes I’m deferred longer for not having enough iron) and have donated gallons so far.  The last time I gave, they had a sign up that said that our local level one trauma center had used 25 units(usually a pint, a little less than half a liter) for two trauma victims in *one* day.  The human body has about 6 quarts (12 pints) or 5.6 liters of blood. Did a lot of that probably end up on the floor of the ER or in the suction machine?  Most likely, but they were lucky they had it to use.  

Donate blood if you can to whatever entity takes care of that in your country.  It’s up to us humans to give modern medicine, developed by the scientific method, all the help it can get. 

And get your CPR/AED certification too. I know how to do it but my cert is long expired.  I’d best get on that.

Postscript- very good story in the NYT about the voluteers and medical professionals who responded.

Postscript 2: Secular folks who have set up ways to help the victims in Boston: http://freethoughtblogs.com/entequilaesverdad/2013/04/16/atheists-giving-aid-accepting-donations-for-boston/

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – a take on a couple of religious columns from the newspaper

ricky gervaisToday we have two great columns from The God Squad (can you be a squad if you are only one guy?) and Billy Graham.  The arguments are so poor in both that only together do they provide enough fodder for one post.  Since I know I have quite a few Christians following my blog, I invite you to comment on these columns here.  I also ask, that if you ever use my posts as source material for your own (and please feel welcome to do so), that you please let me know.    

First up, we have Rabbi Gellman addressing that age-old question: Are women and men spiritual equals? If they are, and a woman has a calling, why shouldn’t she be able to fully participate in the (Catholic) Church and be a priest?  Well, if we look in the bible, either the OT or NT, the answer is *no* men and women are not equals.  Some Christians claim they are and cite the bible; some Christians don’t and cite the bible. We get treated to the rabbi’s version in his column.  

The person asking the rabbi if women were equal cited a quote (the bolded part) from the rabbi about the new pope in reference to his question. Rabbi Gellman says he “loves” the Catholic Church.  Hilarious, I know since the Catholic Church is sure that he’s going to be tortured in hell.   The rabbi said this about Pope Francis: 

“So what I pray is that Pope Francis loves tradition, not because it’s old, but because it’s true. Old practices that are true but unpopular need to be preserved. Old practices that are just old and not true need to be let go. The only way to distinguish between them is to have a firm grasp of eternal truth. This is the hardest task. Therefore, I hope the new pope is a wise man.”

Why, if the rabbi loves the Catholic Church, he doesn’t need to “hope” that the pope is a wise man.  If Gellman loves the church, I would think he would have to believe that his god is at work there and would never put someone “unwise” in the position of pope.   But since the good rabbi isn’t a Catholic, I seem to sense some doubt about how great the Catholic Church is.  The rabbi also must doubt that the Catholics have a “firm grasp” of the “eternal truth” since the rabbi isn’t running to be baptized into the RCC.

So….  Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – a take on a couple of religious columns from the newspaper”

Here is every reason to be an atheist

as always worthwhile quotes from J. Meslier posted here.

Random thoughts

Without doubt the more to perplex matters, theologians have chosen to say nothing about what their God is; they tell us what He is not. By negations and abstractions they imagine themselves composing a real and perfect being, while there can result from it but a being of human reason. A spirit has no body; an infinite being is a being which is not finite; a perfect being is a being which is not imperfect. Can any one form any real notions of such a multitude of deficiencies or absence of ideas? That which excludes all idea, can it be anything but nothingness? To pretend that the divine attributes are beyond the understanding of the human mind is to render God unfit for men. If we are assured that God is infinite, we admit that there can be nothing in common between Him and His creatures. To say that God is infinite, is to destroy Him for men, or at least…

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Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Apologetics, the real alchemy

apologeticsOne of the strangest things about religion is the concept of apologetics.  Apologetics is essentially when criticism of a position is answered and rebutted, or at least that’s attempted.  It can be used for any position but the term is usually used for attempts to defend religious positions and beliefs.  The strangeness of apologetics in religion is that there should be no need for it at all.  If religion is truth and if it is from a omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent (e.g. the God is love! nattering) god, it should be self-evident within the words themselves. It should not change from person to person, culture to culture and age to age.

However, it does and many theists know that this is a problem, one made worse with the advent of easy information retrieval. They often say that apologetics is “just” the defense of their faith, but in reality, it is “defense of my version of my faith, the only *right* one”.  Those two things are quite a bit different.  

Since I know Christianity better, I shall focus on that.  However, most points made about it will be applicable to any religion. Here’s a brief overview. 

Apologetics started early in Christianity, with JC being called on the spot to defend his version of Judaism against the Saducees and Pharisees, if the story is to be believed.  His teachings were different than the other Jews but if one reads the bible, the differences were more about the intent of the law as opposed to the application.  For instance, should the draconian law of no one may work on a “Sabbath” be understood as that or should there be some leeway in the interpretation so one isn’t murdering people for tending the ill, milking a cow, etc?  And having lived on a dairy farm, I know that cows do not care about the Sabbath. You might think that this god would have “intelligently designed” them so they did.  🙂

Indeed, this concept of interpretation is the basis of religious apologetics everywhere: what does this stuff *really* mean and how can we determine it? 

Paul continued on the path of apologetics when he came up with his own versions of what this god really meant and his own defense of it.  One can find websites devoted to the idea that JC and Paul did not agree on many things (an interesting one  demonstrating the fractioning of Christianity along those lines from Christianity Today notice the “careful nuancing” aka coming up with yet one more “interpretation”.  Here’s another and another.).  Indeed, you can find websites (here’s one that will burn your eyes by the usual problem that nutty people have with designing a webpage and one about as bad rebutting it) that decry Paul as an anti-christ since he fits the warning JC gave about anti-christs nicely.(Matthew 24).  Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Apologetics, the real alchemy”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – My body is mine: I support Amina

013-The-Lord-is-not-my-shepardI’m a little late on the International Day to Defend Amina (not safe for work because of revealed breasts), but I’ll take my stab at women, men and religion in support of this woman who told a ignorant patriarachal religion and culture, “My body belongs to me.”  and now is being abused by that religion/culture. Knowing these vermin, she might well be dead. I hope not.  Every voice should be raised against such things.

Ignorant and patriarchal United States lawmakers and citizens, take note.  

Many religions are very anti-women, especially the “book” religions from the east side of Mediterranean.  They want to pretend that women are second class citizens or worse and they want to control women.  The second bit of stupidity is, I’m guessing, from the utterly tribal nature of religion.  Women were necessary to the continuation of the tribe, so they were treated like property.  We can see that repeatedly underlined in the Judeo/Christian Bible and the Qu’ran, the late offshoot of the first. 

First we get women being made equal with men, in the first version of the Genesis story.  Then ah, someone comes up with a new one, where Eve is just a chunk of Adam, made after the god is too stupid to realize that aardvarks and zebras aren’t much of a “helpmeet” to a man.  It’s also rather hard to have more little humans made if this god isn’t just whipping them up out of dirt and spit.  Then we have the talking snake coming up to the woman (indeed why not Adam?) and correctly telling her that this god does not tell the truth and allowing her to get the knowledge of good and evil.  Adam then accepts the fruit from her (not terribly bright fellow) and we’re off to the races.  

Next up is the commandments, which repeatedly enforce the idea that women are property.  The whole “do not covet” commandment is all about property e.g. slaves, wife, oxen, donkeys, etc. We also get the tribal nature of women being a necessity and needing to remain “pure” many times in the OT.  A raped woman is to be considered a monetary problem since the women is forced to marry her rapist and can’t be used as chattel. An adulterous women is to be killed.  If a priest’s daughter is found not a virgin, she’s to be burned to death, but golly no mention of the sons.  Women are to be given to ravenous mobs to be raped if a man so deems it. 

And this doesn’t end in the OT.  We have Paul sure that women are less than men, that they should never teach men, that they should remain silent (yes, the bible does say that they can prophecy. bit of a problem there.) Some more here

We have the qu’ran insisting that menstruation is a filthy disease (funny how allah is responsible for it)  Female virgins are things to get in paradise. Women are no more than a field to plow and are worth “half” a mann.  More here. The qu’ran is actually a bit better than the bible in some ways, at least women inherit something, but alas most imams ignore those bits and still focus on their tribal nonsense.  Good to see that they’re just as bad about telling what’s really in their holy book as your average pastor or priest. 

All this speaks of is that men in these cultures and religions are pathetic beings, unable to grow or change. I certainly don’t think all men are like this (my husband being completely unlike these little twits).  But men (and for that matter women because we all know some like this) who buy into the primitiveness and willful ignorance of these religions and their attitudes about women are poor humans indeed.  They are afraid of other men. They are afraid of women. They have no self-control but oh are they greedy for control over others. They have such weak and flagging honor that they must blame others if they feel they aren’t seen as honorable enough. They must invent a god that is as incompetent as they are so they might hide behind its skirts when excusing their failings. 

They deserve nothing but our contempt.