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Member since: Tue Jun 1, 2010, 11:14 AM
Number of posts: 1,239

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Openly Secular Day

I've taken the Openly Secular pledge to tell one person that I'm atheist on April 23, Openly Secular Day. In my own case I'll have a hard time finding someone who doesn't already know that I'm "out," but I'm going to try. I have nothing but sympathy for those who think it's still too much of a personal risk, but I believe this organization is helping.

Here's the link to the home page for others who might be interested. http://www.openlysecular.org/

Things Jesus Never Said - Hilarious Twitter Feed


God and the next election cycle

I'm betting we're going to get WAY more religion in this next cycle than ever. Cruz has just announced:

"What is the promise of America?" Cruz said. "The idea that -- the revolutionary idea that this country was founded upon, which is that our rights don’t come from man. They come from God Almighty."

David Brooks, religious clown: Debunking phony Godsplaining from the New York Times’ laziest columni

David Brooks wants us atheists to appreciate his magic book and silly myths. Let's try some actual facts instead

One might deem it almost shameful to publish one’s musings on the New York Times’ opinion page, the same page that continues to print, and quite shamelessly, the unapologetic scribbles of Iraq War cheerleader Thomas Friedman or the earnest yet befuddled lucubrations of useful Islamist idiot Nicholas Kristof. The first of these two columnists will probably never be called to account for the bloodshed and mayhem he has sanctioned in the Middle East. The second, I believe, means well, but by denouncing “Islamophobia” he shows he has accepted as sound a nonsense term that conflates faith and race and equates (well-founded) objections to Islam with prejudice against Muslims as people. And we should never forget that he, like Friedman, supported the Iraq War.

But what to make of Friedman and Kristof’s seemingly milquetoast colleague, David Brooks? No shame attaches to him, though by publishing his pro-faith columns, he validates a stupendously (if surreptitiously) baleful Weltanschauung that should long ago have disappeared from our world. Brooks, in the face of mounting evidence, has striven tirelessly to bequeath credence to the dangerous notion, ever more antiquated and morally untenable, that believing in something asserted without evidence – religion — constitutes a virtue. That valuing faith above reason makes one a better person. That those who have shrugged off – or laughed away – the comically outlandish claims advanced by the Abrahamic creeds about our world and origins as a species are the ones with the explaining to do. Should he not be called to account?

more at Salon


Tell me what's funny

I'm writing a book about atheism, about my approach, which is basically that ridicule and mockery is more constructive in the long run than reasoned debate or philosophical discussion. (You are certainly free to disagree. That's the great thing about DU.) My title, and thesis, is The Gods are Hilarious. I'm interested in hearing from you folks about what you think are the absolutely funniest, most illogical, completely comical aspects of religion, the "great" texts, the moral inconsistencies, etc. It IS funny, isn't it? Can you help me? Some of my chapters include: Prophets for Profit, God Goes Digital, Righteous Dress Codes, Holy Texts 101, etc. I'm guessing every one of you has thought of a table of contents.

Tell me what you think is funniest about being religious/a believer.

Georgia to execute intellectually disabled man

Warren Hill has an IQ of 70. He is a person with lifelong intellectual disability, yet Georgia plans to put him to death on Tuesday regardless of this fact.

The state is pushing ahead even though the Supreme Court decided in Atkins v. Virginia back in 2002 that executing persons with an intellectual disability violates the Constitution's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The family of Mr. Hill's victim shares that view: They don't want Georgia to execute Mr. Hill. Unless the courts intervene, Mr. Hill's life will end in an execution that serves no valid penological purpose and puts us all to shame.

Experts past and present have observed and confirmed Mr. Hill's intellectual disability. In his school records from more than 40 years ago, teachers recognized his disability. More recently, all of the doctors who have examined Mr. Hill agree that he is intellectually disabled, including three who were hired by the state seeking to execute him. Two Georgia courts also found that Mr. Hill is intellectually disabled. In other states, those rulings would have guaranteed his protection from the death penalty.


Being 'Openly Secular' Is the First Step To Eliminating the Stigma

It took the threat of a lawsuit before the Air Force agreed on Wednesday to allow an airman to omit the phrase "So help me God" as part of a required oath. They claimed the airman, stationed at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, was ineligible to reenlist because he crossed out the phrase on his reenlistment form.

For many people of good will, the controversy will rile them up. "Why make a big deal out of words that the majority of Americans believe in?" Just cross your fingers if you must, and say the words. Why rock the boat?

Here's why: The incident betrays a subtext of intolerance and hostility toward secular people embedded in American culture and public institutions. The Air Force was ready to end a man's military career because he would not submit to its religious demands.

To secular Americans, requiring an oath to God is like asking a Jewish airman to swear, "So help me Jesus" or a Christian to say, "So help me Allah." The objection to forcing the oath on nonbelievers should be obvious. It's not.

But a new campaign is hoping to change all that.


Nunn leading in new poll

Apparently those attack ads aren't working.

August 23, 2014

According to the latest poll, released Friday evening, measuring support in the U.S. Senate race in Georgia, Democrat Michelle Nunn leads her Republican challenger David Perdue by seven points. The survey was conducted by the Landmark Communications firm for WSB-TV.

The results of the poll show Nunn with 47 percent of the vote, Perdue with 40 percent, and Libertarian Amanda Swafford with 3 percent. Just 10 percent were still undecided, according to the survey. The poll included 600 “active Georgia voters” and has a +/- 4 percent margin of error.


Ferguson. Sound canons. Flash grenades. Other strangeness.

OK, I'm familiar with tear gas, but reporting from Ferguson, MO., particularly last night, mentions "sound canons" and "flash grenades" used by the police. What are these? And are these part of the new police para-military arsenal? Also wondering by what authority/law the police insisted that the crowd could assemble but only if they kept moving?

Great NYT piece on writing, and failure

I found the comments instructive, too. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/15/failure-writings-constant-companion/
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