The Watering Hole, Saturday, December 6, 2014: Who’s Condemning Me Now?

Catholic League President and Professional Crybaby Bill Donohue has a diaper load again, and now he’s flinging its contents onto billboards near Hollywood. In his never-ending, never-logically-sound quest to convince the world that American Christians are being persecuted here at home, the self-appointed Defender of the Faith has launched a billboard campaign to bemoan the fact that not everybody thinks Catholics are swell.

NOT ALL CHRISTIAN HATERS ARE EQUAL:
ABROAD WE’RE BEHEADED
AT HOME WE’RE BASHED
THE DIFFERENCES ARE PROFOUND;
SO ARE THE SIMILARITIES
HAVE A PEACEFUL AND JOYOUS CHRISTMAS

He goes on to explain: “No, the Hollywood moguls who disrespect Christians are not the same as radical Muslims who behead us, but both are full of hate. Moreover, both need to be challenged. Christians are fed up with the barbarians abroad and the bigots at home. It’s time all these bullies learned to practice the virtue of tolerance and the meaning of diversity.” What Pope Billy fails to understand is that he’s the one who’s intolerant of us atheists and non-Christians. He’s the one who fails “to practice the virtue of tolerance and the meaning of diversity.” Furthermore, on this issue of “the Muslims who behead us” and the “barbarians abroad,” he is ignoring the fact that the criminals acting under the false cover of religious practice are beheading not just Catholics, but anyone who isn’t Muslim. Christians are not being singled out; Jews are being beheaded, too. To frame this as an attack on Catholicism is to completely misrepresent the reality of the situation. And as for “the bigots at home,” Bill-Do’ is confusing the enforcement of secular laws regarding public displays with denial of a right to practice one’s religion, such as by having public property used to display celebrations of your religious faith only. It’s not just Christian religious displays that can’t be posted on public property (that is, property which belongs just as much to me as it does to you), it’s religious displays of any religion. They are framing this in exactly the reverse of the reality of the situation, yet again. Despite this insistence on denying reality, it’s we atheists and non-Christians who are mentally ill, according to His Own Eminence.

“They believe Freedom is license to do whatever you want. [1] That’s why they’re quote ‘non-judgmental,’ they made a judgment when they made-themselves non-judgmental. [2] They believe in no holds barred. [3] They don’t like the three dreaded words in the English language, that we got from our Jewish friends, ‘Thou. Shalt. Not.'[4] They don’t want to be told anything, [5] which is why they die prematurely, they’re unhappy, that’s why we have a disproportionate number of agnostics and atheists in the asylum [6], all of this is true. [7]”

[1] No we don’t.
[2] The idea of saying you’re being ‘judgmental’ by claiming to be ‘non-judgmental’ is like saying you’re not ‘tolerant’ if you don’t tolerate our intolerance. It’s stupid. And we don’t say we’re ‘non-judgmental.’ It’s you who say we say it.
[3] No we don’t. Quite the opposite, we believe in fairness by banning fraudulent business practices, and other such restrictions. It’s Conservatives (like Donohue) who believe in no holds barred.
[4] Our Jewish friends didn’t say it in English. King James gave us those words.
[5] To quote Justice Alito, “Not true.” To quote Representative Joe Wilson, “That’s a lie!”
[6] Not according to this article.
[7] Not it isn’t.

He then goes on to plug his book which he says proves that religious people are happier. But you know the old saying, “Ignorance is bliss,” so you’d think Bill Donohue would be a much happier man. Instead he’s just a bitter Catholic bigot, distraught that more and more younger people are turning away from religion and refusing to be told to live by its rules. And that’s true freedom.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss, politely or not, Bill Donohue, his Catholic League, the non-existence of Christian persecution, or anything else you wish to discuss.

Sunday Roast: 15 things atheists are tired of hearing

I’ve heard every single one of these obnoxious questions/observations — most of them from certain family members.

Being an admitted atheist is a fairly recent development in my life — the last 10 years, or so — mostly because religion, for many years of my life, was simply a non-thing.  I just didn’t care either way.  *shrug*

My family attended church and Sunday school when I was a child; it was just something we did.  I tried to believe in God and Jesus, but even as a young child, I just couldn’t make myself believe it.  I mean, come on, the whole concept was just so unlikely.

One Sunday, while I was enjoying the most interesting part of church — juice and cookies afterwards — I heard an older man was talking about the joy of feeling the presence of Jesus in every part of his daily life, and I remember thinking that he looked kind of dazed and sounded so child-like.  It felt really uncomfortable, since I was about 10 years old at the time.

Religion has begun to worm its way into our everyday lives, whether we want it or not, and it’s just not okay.  In fact, it’s destructive to the secular world, as well as to religion.  It’s not the American way, and openly saying that I am an atheist (feminist/Liberal/Socialist, etc) is a way of saying “NO, this has gone too far.  Get a fucking grip, people.”

This is our daily open thread — Discuss this topic or whatever.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 22, 2014: Will Creationists Never Get It?

In case you didn’t already know, I’m an Atheist, and happy and proud to be one. I believe that our portion of the Space-Time Continuum came into being as the result of a Big bang, an explosion of matter and energy that rapidly expanded, and eventually formed the many, many galaxies of which our own is just one. I said “Space-Time Continuum” instead of “Universe” because I believe there are many, many Universes, spread far apart from one another. The Space-Time Continuum is just the framework within which everything happened, happens, and will happen. It is infinite in size, and infinite in time. It has always existed and it will always exist, but the matter and energy within it will constantly change. It was not brought into existence by anything, it was already there. Matter and energy may be turned into each other, but the infinite framework will still be there. Many religions that believe in a God have a Creation Myth. The one in the Christian Bible is not the only one, but that’s the one that religious conservatives want to see imposed on everyone. Their Creation Myth begins with three simple words, “In the beginning…” And that’s where the Bible and I part company. Because as far as I’m concerned, there was no beginning. People erroneously believe there MUST have been a First Cause, some kind of Force that brought everything into existence. I disagree. You want to tell me that the Space-Time Continuum Framework was entirely empty before some kind of Deity decided to start making stuff in it? For how long must that Deity, that all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing Deity, have sat around in a whole bunch of Nothingness? That makes absolutely no sense at all. None. What makes much more sense is that there was no beginning, that it was always there in some form or another. And it will still be there long after we all turn to star dust. Wouldn’t that imply that Life has no purpose? Yeah, but so what? In the wise words of Peter Falk in The Princess Bride, “Who said Life is fair?”

Which brings us to the Creationists of Answers In Genesis. They still don’t understand the concept of Science. They’re upset because Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of the revival of “Cosmos,” won’t allow “balance” and present the view of the anti-Evolutionists. They seem to think that any effort to educate the public about things like the Truth, using such controversial tactics as citing Facts, must be balanced by teaching things what could only be described as “Falsehoods” and “Lies.” They seem to think that young people should be taught all points of view, no matter how absurd or demonstrably false, and then let them “decide” what they want to believe. This is how you raise a generation of stupid people. And stupid people tend to be conservative in their thinking (a well-documented fact), and stupid, I mean, conservative, in their voting. This has always been part of the long term strategy of the Right. People who don’t understand how Science works, who think that every point of view is valid, tend to be easily manipulated emotionally into being afraid. And people who are afraid make bad decisions, like voting for Conservatives to govern them. Which is why the Conservatives let the Religious Right have their way, no matter how wrong, no matter how intellectually void of merit their ideas, no matter how unconstitutional their proposed legislation.

Creationists continue to insist that their views be given equal weight with Scientific viewpoints and Theories. But there is absolutely nothing scientific about Creationism or Intelligent Design. They start with the premise that God exists, and assume that anything that isn’t understood is the Will of God and Not For Mere Mortals to Understand. That is not Science. How can you test any hypothesis when you hope the result is that you can’t discern the answer, so it must be God’s work? Even more, Creationism isn’t even a true Theory in the scientific sense. It’s nothing more than a belief that things happened a certain way, on the whim and time scale of a Power we can’t hope to understand, with no allowance for any belief otherwise. Why should that be given equal weight with the culmination of hundreds of years of scientific discipline and pursuit of the Truth? Especially when it’s been long proven that the Religious views on the nature of the Universe have been proven wrong time and again? The Sun does not revolve around the Earth. The Earth is not the center of the galaxy, let alone the Universe. We are no more important in the Grand Scheme of Things than the people living on a planet circling Alpha Centauri. And they probably think the same thing about us. And you know what? We’re both right.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Creationism, real Science, Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson, or anything else about Neil deGrasse Tyson that you like.

The Watering Hole – Saturday, August 25, 2012 – Keep the Kids Out of This

Bill Nye, the Science Guy (@TheScienceGuy), has a video out called “Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children.” It was put out for BigThink.com. This week’s hat tip goes to LGF.:

Denial of evolution is unique to the United States. I mean, we’re the world’s most advanced technological—I mean, you could say Japan—but generally, the United States is where most of the innovations still happens. People still move to the United States. And that’s largely because of the intellectual capital we have, the general understanding of science. When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back, really.

Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology. It’s like, it’s very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates. You’re just not going to get the right answer. Your whole world is just going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place.

As my old professor, Carl Sagan, said, “When you’re in love you want to tell the world.” So, once in a while I get people that really—or that claim—they don’t believe in evolution. And my response generally is “Well, why not? Really, why not?” Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution. I mean, here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils, here is radioactivity, here are distant stars that are just like our star but they’re at a different point in their lifecycle. The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent.

And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.

It’s just really hard a thing, it’s really a hard thing. You know, in another couple of centuries that world view, I’m sure, will be, it just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it.

Directed / Produced by
Elizabeth Rodd and Jonathan Fowler [via LGF]

It wasn’t a belief in Creationism that gave this nation a reputation for being the best and richest country, that expanded it through the Industrial Revolution, that built the Interstate Highway System, that had twelve of its citizens walk on the surface of the Moon or that landed a nuclear-powered probe on the surface of Mars and broadcast pictures and other data back. It was a belief in Science that did all that, and without it, we would be no better off than those that live in deeply religious Third World countries.

If you have a child that really wants to study Science and Math, encourage him or her to do so. It’s not just our nation that needs more scientists, it’s the world. We are all in this together. The world’s climate problems are not going to be solved in such a way that we in the United States live and everyone else fends for themselves. Global problems require global solutions and global participation.

One of the biggest dangers to our country lies in our political system. We are a two-major-party country, and one of the two major parties simply does not believe in Science. Nor have they bothered to educate themselves on the subject and insist on just flat-out denying the inescapable conclusions of the men and women who have actually studied these things whenever they don’t like the results, as if Scientific Consensus meant whatever the uneducated-in-Science people thought was true. That’s not how Science works. A Scientific Consensus is the conclusion arrived at by Scientists, not the public. And not the Republican Party.

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss any topic you want.

[Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain.]

The Watering Hole – Saturday July 14th 2012 – Stupid Christian Tricks

You have to wonder about a Religion so insecure that it can’t stand even the existence of anyone who might think it invalid, and thus must be treated like perverts.

As a proud Atheist, I think we would be doing the children of the world a grave disservice if we didn’t teach them the ‘Dos and Don’ts’ of what to do when encountering a faux-Christian. We can begin with a couple of easy ones:

DO:

Be suspicious. It seems that often, some of the very people decrying someone else’s immorality are guilty of the same thing.

DON’T:

Believe anything they say about what the Bible says. There’s an extremely good chance they’re wrong.

Another handy tip for the little ones is to teach them some questions to have handy, in case someone comes knocking on their door asking if they’d like to hear about the Bible. I’ll begin the list here:

“In the garden of Eden, as Adam was naming the animals, what non-Latin name did he give the Tyrannosaurus Rex?”

BTW, as to the question, “Why are they always so sad?”, the answer is, “Because we’re surrounded by blissfully ignorant faux Christians!”

Hat tip to Jane & Zooey, who contributed greatly to the content of this post.
Thanks, Ladies.

This is our open thread. Have fun with the contest or talk about anything you like. Anything at all. Even the Bible. And if you do, I have a few questions for you. 🙂

UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Daniel below, we now have a source for this.

http://objectiveministries.org/kidz/

Daniel says they may be a parody. He may be right.

The Watering Hole: July 6 — The God Particle aka Higgs Boson

Y’all understood that, right?  Of course you did!!  Here’s an article that makes it even more clear.  😉

One thing is for sure, atheists are going to be so red-faced since the discovery of “proof” that god exists.

Damn, they’ve got us cornered now…

OOPS!!  I forgot to give badmoodman a hat tip for posting this video and article in yesterday’s open thread.  Tip o’ the hat, sir!!

This is our daily open thread — Happy Friday!!

Sunday Roast: A Brief History of Disbelief

In his “Brief History of Disbelief,” Jonathan Miller talks frankly and reasonably about his own lack of belief in God — he doesn’t spend time screeching that believers are stupid — and explores the history of atheism.

This quote sums it up quite nicely for me:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
The he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able, and willing?
Thence whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God.
~Epicurus

Part 1 of 6 (each about 10 minutes long)

Part 2

Continue reading

When The Army Won’t Defend Religious Freedom

Though raised a Christian, Army Specialist Jeremy Hall, while stationed in Iraq, came to have different beliefs about the existence of God. He became an atheist. Little did he realize that while he, along with every other person who serves in our military forces, took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, some who took that oath did not take it to mean they had to support not having any religion at all. Specialist Hall had to be transferred out of Iraq due to threats he received because of his atheism. Even at his new assignment, Fort Riley, Kansas, the threats and intimidation continued. What I want to know is, how could so many people be ignorant about what religious freedom means?

When Specialist Jeremy Hall held a meeting last July for atheists and freethinkers at Camp Speicher in Iraq, he was excited, he said, to see an officer attending.

But minutes into the talk, the officer, Maj. Freddy J. Welborn, began to berate Specialist Hall and another soldier about atheism, Specialist Hall wrote in a sworn statement. “People like you are not holding up the Constitution and are going against what the founding fathers, who were Christians, wanted for America!” Major Welborn said, according to the statement.

Please continue reading at Pick Wayne’s Brain