It’s getting even harder for American women to have safe abortions

ATHEISM: “Imaginary Beings” / Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzscheh/t: Atheist Republic


Apologetic logic

I’m glad this guy readily admits that believers’ “proof” in the afterlife amounts to nothing more than “clues” and “circumstantial evidence” because he sure did whiff on the rest of his argument, issuing one fallacy after another:


If you forward to about the 40 second mark, he builds his case around our desires versus reality:

For example, Bill, human desires. C.S. Lewis said for every human desire, there’s a corresponding reality in nature. We get thirsty because there’s such a thing as water. We crave physical intimacy because there’s sex. The reason we may desire immortality is because it really exists.

In Christian apologetics, this is called the argument from desire, which essentially says that since humans have some kind of inner yearning for the transcendent, a transcendent reality (i.e. heaven) must exist. In logic, this is called an appeal to consequences and is very shoddy logic indeed. First, not every human being thinks living forever is actually desirable. Many believe, and I tend to agree, that eternal life would be woefully boring after the first couple hundred years. To assume that everybody inherently desires eternal life only leads the Christian apologist, as ever, into another fallacy. Second, we get thirsty not because water exists, but because our bodies cannot survive without it.

Third, and most importantly, we all might desire for a pot of gold to suddenly appear in our bedrooms. I doubt we would find many people who would not wish this to happen. Yet, just because millions of people might want a certain reality to unfold, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen or is even feasible.

The pastor then goes on to argue at about the 1:20 mark that the most compelling reason to believe in the afterlife is the fact that Jesus’ body has not been found in 2,000 years. While this is technically true, it’s again based on the false premises that Jesus lived and was executed by the Romans. I’ve shown several times how there is not one single contemporary source outside of the New Testament that verify the Gospels about Jesus, so I won’t belabor the point again. Second, even if we did find the bones of Jesus and could somehow confirm that he was Jesus of New Testament fame, this would only verify that he existed. This discovery would prove nothing about the virgin birth, the miracles or the resurrection. In other words, assumptions heaped on other assumptions equal nothing.

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The first victim!

It is well established that the first victim in war is truth. Mind you the dispatch of truth usually comes well before the shooting starts.

I have a personal interest in Ukraine and the dispatch of truth occurred for me straight after the February 21st agreement signed by the then President, the opposition leaders and representatives of the European Union. The very next day there was a coup, the opposition leaders came to power and they (together with the EU politicians) immediately abandoned the agreement – before the ink was dry!

A real pity, as they had signed up to consitutional reform involving the whole country before elections later this year. Seems to me consitutional reform is exactly what the country is crying out for. Instead we have had Orwellian doublespeak and cynical geopolitical maneuvering by the major powers, as well as the Ukrainian politicians while the people have been ignored.

Well, not quite ignored because now the acting president has taken to calling protesters “terrorists.” (This is a guy who was put into power by a coup precipitated by violent protesters in Kiev). You can understand the reaction of people to this – if not have a look at this video. Here local people protesting at the Karamtorsk airstrip in eastern Ukraine captured by military units from Kiev argue with Uranian Gen. Vasily Krutov who was attempting to defend the “anti-terrorist” action.

They ask – “Who is the terrorist here?”

via На Краматорском аэродроме высадился десант. “Генерал” дает интервью – YouTube.

Yes, it sounds mad for a president, even just an acting president, to describe his people as terrorists. But there is a cynical logic here. Appa=rently by law the Ukrainian military cannot be used against protestors unless a state of emergency is declared – or protester are redefined as terrorists, I guess.

Mind you – it’s not only the politicians who have dispatched with truth. Seems to me that many of the journalists on the ground are also distorting the situation. Compare these Twitter reports from Ilya Azsar at the airfield with the evidence of the video! This from the Pro-Kiev  The Interpreter.

Screenshot-2014-04-16-11.32

I can understand the anger of people in eastern Ukraine being described this way. However, I myself also feel violated by the misrepresentations that seems to count for news in the midst of such conflicts. I feel I am being denied my right to information and treated like an idiot.

See also: Tensions Boil Over on Camera in Ukraine’s East and West for more on the above incident and also the mob attack on Oleg Tsarov - one of the candidates in the planned presidential elections – who spoke up for the  east Ukrainians.


Boycotts Aren’t Just a One-Way Street, Tony Perkins

Here’s Christian Right leader Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council speaking with Fox News’ Mike Huckabee the other day (1:39 mark):

Huckabee: Tony, when I think about some of the people on the left, CEOs of places like Amazon, Starbucks, Apple computer, you know, I use their products but I don’t buy their politics… but it seems like the Left has decided that it’s not enough to have a different point of view. They want to shut down the view of others. Why is it that businesses would capitulate to the pressure and demands to just shut up and go away and not say anything when nobody is asking the Left to do that?

Perkins: Yeah, I think that’s a good point

So Perkins agrees with Huckabee that nobody protests groups that lean toward the left and all we ever see are protests over anti-gay companies like Chick-fil-A and World Vision U.S.

Perkins may want to see a doctor about his memory problems since his group has initiated or promoted all sorts of boycotts against companies they don’t agree with.

Like Betty Crocker when they donated cakes to three newly-married gay couples in Minnesota:

At Betty Crocker, the only thing they’re mixing up is their priorities. Hello, I’m Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington… When you’re at the store, think outside the Betty Crocker box!

And the Girl Scouts for their alleged ties to Planned Parenthood and for not turning away transgender scouts:

Someone else has their hand in the Girl Scouts cookie jar–and it’s not who think. Hello, I’m Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. There are plenty of politics behind that box of Thin Mints, and you should know what they are before you go buying one. As sweet as the girls are, a lot of that cookie dough goes to straight to the group’s political agenda. When they aren’t partnering with Planned Parenthood, they’re promoting sexual “diversity.” Last year, the Girl Scouts decided to admit boys who dress as girls — which shouldn’t come as a surprise, says FRC’s Cathy Ruse, since they have a cross-dresser in their front office. And that’s not all. “Earlier this month, a Girl Scout Employee… made the mistake of stopping by the office to do extra work on her own time in a T-shirt [that said] ‘Pray to End Abortion.’ A supervisor ordered her to turn the shirt inside out or leave the office. She left, for good.” So, says Cathy Ruse, should we all.

And Starbucks, after the company endorsed marriage equality in Washington state:

Siding with radical homosexuals has its price in this country. And in Starbucks case, the cost is about ten billion dollars. That’s how much the coffee giant’s lost in stock value since the campaign to Dump Starbucks got underway. In the last eight months, the company’s missed sales projections and watched stocks dive from $61 to $48, for a loss of more than $10.2 billion… there’s a reason to believe that alienating millions of customers will directly affect a company’s bottom line.

(Obviously, there’s no reason to believe the Dump Starbucks campaign had any negligible effect on the company’s finances, but that won’t stop Perkins from pretending his group had a hand in it.)

But the point is clear. Right-wing groups boycott left-leaning companies all the time. They have every right to do that, of course, but they sure as hell shouldn’t be able to get away with pretending their side is the only one facing pressure from those with opposing ideologies. Boycotts go both ways. (And for what it’s worth, their boycotts have failed miserably.)

(via Right Wing Watch)

Value in This Life


Me this morning

I've been such a lump lately. I was sick on and off for over a month. I haven't been to the gym in over three weeks as a result. My diet has been off lately as well. I've been dealing with a shoulder problem for a while now, which has kept me from any serious martial arts training. And today is tax day, which has become my annual "feeling down about life" day. I know that's just how emotions are. They contribute to an ebb and flow to life. Even when things aren't that bad, we have those times in which we feel like it could all come crashing down at any moment. There are days when we feel "in the zone," and there are days when we feel rather, well, lumpy.

Last year I embarked on an ongoing journey towards peace. It's all about finding balance in life. I have an obsessive personality. I tend to go all in on things that interest or excite me. I'm part of the "gamer" subculture, but I don't play many games. Mainly, I just play Magic: the Gathering. It's not because I don't think other games are interesting: I just can't obsess over more than one game. I can't divide my focus, because I don't play games casually. That's why I can look at a random Magic card and tell you random details, like who did the artwork, or which set it's from, or what deck it was in that won the pro tour back in 1996. Balance is difficult for me because I tend to obsess.

Balance requires moderation. Make sure you get enough, but not too much. Discipline yourself, but don't get too little. This applies to everything: food, exercise, work, sleep, fun, friends, study, games, goals, et cetera. I found balance in 2013, and my life has never been better. But I'm far from perfect, and I realize that I still have that obsessive mentality. I only have two gears: full throttle or complete stop. Paradoxically, I obsess about moderation. I go over the top in my attempt to maintain balance. When I shift gears, like I've done in the past month, I go from awesome machine to lumpy lump.

I mention all of this because this is where my journey has taken me. My journey started long before I realized I was even on any kind of journey. My questions, my doubts, my constant struggles with faith and religion weren't isolated: they had - and continue to have - an impact on every aspect of my life. I obsess about this life because it's the only life I know I have. If there's any kind of afterlife, I likely won't know anything about it until I get there. If there is no afterlife, I won't know anything about it after I'm gone, because I won't be here. Or there. Or anywhere. So I want to make the most of this life that I know I have.

I've seen people of faith nearly give up on life because, for them, it's just the prologue. Eternity is what matters, after all. This is why many people of faith have been lax concerning environmental issues. This earth is going to go up in flames. In fact, God's going to create a new earth. Why should they care about a little pollution? Makes me wonder whether there is a connection between this attitude and the rampant denial of global warming. Some believers go so far as to point to environmental problems as signs of the end times. I know I've seen my share of Christians speak of earthquakes and hurricanes seemingly with glee because it means the end is near. Judgment Day.

Regardless of one's religious views, we should be able to agree that this life has value, and we should take care of it. I've been lumpy lately, but I'll snap out of it. It's all part of the ebb and flow of life. I can't be a rockstar all the time. I can use this moment of self-awareness to remind myself what my journey has shown me so far: that a life of reason, a life dedicated to the search for truth, the "examined life," is the best life. There is peace, joy, and fulfillment in this life. Christopher Hitchens' birthday just passed. I'll let his words complete my thought here...

Link blog: funny, misogyny, privacy, tube

Men who post on “Women who eat on tubes”
The lackwits who post on “Women Who Eat on Tubes” now have their own group dedicated to them, “Men Who Post on Women Who Eat on Tubes”. Sauce for the goose, and all that. The best thread on it is this one, where they take it in turns to pretend to be one of the WWEOT posters: “Misandry privacy too seriously chill lad women only joke reverse, ironic turned silly time sport lift even do you. 2.2 Southampton beer banter opinonated BA Sports Science & Geography. Women rotten upturned collar hate women but Justin Beiber haircut and posh holiday photo. Hat look at my hat look in my photo I am wearing a hat probably. LAD” Indeed.
(tags: funny satire sexism tube london underground misogyny privacy photography)

Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.

These New Age Bullshit Generators Will Help You Sound Like a Guru

I learned a great new word from Daniel Dennett recently, one that I can see myself using rather a lot from now on (you’ve been warned): deepity. Deepity is the quality found in a statement whose author takes a failed stab at profundity. It seems deep at first glance, but it’s actually squishy and meaningless when you examine it. Deepity is probably the most useful neologism since Stephen Colbert‘s “truthiness.”

Here’s some deepity for you:

You and I are beings of the totality; we realize that this life is nothing short of an ennobling fusion of life-affirming conscious living, and that innocence is an ingredient of unbridled energy.

It’s the kind of empty bombast that was inspired by the likes of Deepak Chopra. You can find more of it on two newish websites: Seb Pearce‘s New Age Bullshit Generator and the equally droll Wisdom of Chopra (by an anonymous creator).

There’s a kind of Turing test on the latter site where you’re supposed to distinguish between actual Deepak Chopra quotes and ones that are generated by a computer script. I only got 4 out of 10. You?

(Image via Shutterstock)

There’s Now a Pinterest for Christians

Eager to join the ranks of GodTube, Christian Mingle, Faithbook, and FaithLauncher, there’s now a D-rated Christian version of Pinterest. Because we all know how Pinterest was just a haven for godless heathens and their Satanic images…

It’s called Godinterest (very original, I know) and it’s exactly as dull and uninspiring as you think it would be:

The founder of Godinterest.co.uk created this Christian alternative to allow people to post photos within a Christian environment that disallows ill-mannered language and distasteful images.

[Dean] Jones said, “Pinterest is no doubt one of the leading social media sites that allows users to share things they like largely through images and discover other things that other users are interested in, however, the posts on Pinterest are not always guaranteed to be family friendly or suitable for the whole family.

No… but that’s how the Internet/society/world works. You can’t shelter yourself from everything that might challenge you. But Christians always seem to want to create another bubble in which to isolate themselves.

Here’s what I’m wondering: Even within the confines of good taste and child-friendly language, will images that challenge traditional notions of Christianity be allowed? What about an image of the Big Bang as part of God’s plan? A gay couple holding hands as they walk into church? A tattoo of Jesus on the cross?

Maryland AU Presents Singer/Songwriter Roy Zimmerman

Matt DeStasio

Join the Maryland Chapter of Americans United and the Baltimore Coalition of Reason to hear a concert by singer/songwriter Roy Zimmerman.  At last year's Easter Sunday Concert, over 40 freethinkers, atheists, and Humanists came and had a great time!  Come at 7:00 for a social hour before the concert, which starts at 8:00 pm. Read more

Branko Kozulic has questions about fixation

Branko Kozulic is trying to understand how so many neutral alleles could be fixed in the human and chimpanzee populations (species) over the past five million years. He's not happy that Vincent Torley conceded the point that it was possible.

There are two relevant posts on Uncommon Descent: Branko Kozulic Responds and Branko Kozulic responds to Professor Moran, Part II.

I'll respond to the second one since it is more specific. He begins with ...
The idea of 100 mutations being fixed in the human population in each generation over a period of 185,000 generations, or 5,000,000 years, has always appeared intuitively unrealistic to me, possibly because I am primarily a practical scientist.
Many things in science seem counter-intuitive. That's why you have to make an effort to understand the science. In this case, you've been arguing against evolution for many years so you've had plenty of opportunity to get beyond intuition.
Read more »

The Cat in the Box

No, this is nothing to do with Schrodinger. This cat is definitely still alive… No question. This cat happens to be Minerva; one of my three. She’s keen on boxes… of any size… even ones she can only get her head into. Like a cereal box, for instance. Once, when she was a kitten, she […]

I’ve never crashed an Estonian poll before

Kas toetate sooneutraalset kooseluseadust?

Jah 51.58%
Ei 47.3%
Puudub arvamus 1.12%

You know what to do.

(Oh, you want a hint? “Do you support gender-neutral cohabitation law?” Jah, yes; Ei, No: Puudub arvamus, no opinion. You’ll have to figure out your opinion on your own. Hääleta!)

Was It Wrong for a Church to Donate 1400 Pairs of Shoes to Children at a Public Elementary School?

Last week, Biltmore Baptist Church in North Carolina did something that’s genuinely awesome for the elementary school students in Macon County: They gave new pairs of Nike shoes to 1400 kids:

Members of Biltmore Baptist Church prepare to give shoes to public school children (via Facebook)

“I’m unbelievably proud of the people of Biltmore Franklin,” said [Pastor Patrick] Trawick. “A lot of them took the day off work, sacrificing pay so they could serve their community. I’m thankful that Dr. Baldwin and all of the principals allowed us to serve them this way. We’re looking forward to more opportunities to serve Franklin in the future. That’s why we’re here.”

Again, that’s a great project, helping out students whose families might not be able to afford shoes like that.

But… the whole thing just makes me feel uncomfortable.

I’m not questioning the generosity of the church members and I’m not saying they all have an ulterior motive. What I am questioning is the wisdom of school officials opening the doors to local church members regardless of the reason. I have to think the name of the church was made evident during each shoe fitting and giveaway. Were pamphlets given out, too? Invitations to visit the church? Did anyone even question the church’s motivation for coming into the schools? Would a non-Christian organization have been given the same kind of access? What’s the school board’s policy on all of this?

And if the church only wanted to donate shoes to the kids, why couldn’t they simply deliver the boxes and leave? Or did they also need the photo op and free advertising?

At the very least, the phrase on the volunteers’ shirts, “Love Loud,” is the name of an explicitly Christian program.

Very little information about the giveaway has been made public. According to one (long) Facebook thread made by someone questioning the nature of the giveaway, parents had to sign forms in order for their kids to get the shoes, but what the forms said is unclear.

That should concern all of us who support church/state separation, even if we think the church did something wonderful. My questions are aimed at school officials, not church members. If local organizations are allowed to give handouts/donations to students, then I’m sure there are Humanist groups that would love to do a book giveaway. Will that be allowed, too?

DeMint’s Demented History: Heritage Foundation Head Claims Faith Freed The Slaves

Simon Brown

The Religious Right loves to twist history to suit its agenda, and the latest culprit to tell a tall tale of the past is former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint.

DeMint, a Tea Party favorite who represented South Carolina from 2005-2013, is now head of the conservative Washington, D.C.-based think tank Heritage Foundation. Heritage is a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit, the Religious Right’s big annual strategy meeting in Washington. (Heritage used to focus on low taxes, low regulation and free markets. In recent years, it has adopted a far-right social agenda as well.)     Read more

Microchips-For-Newborns Hoax Has Thousands of Christians Believing That the End Times Are Near… Again

It doesn’t matter how atrociously written the prose is, how unlikely the story, or how obscure or unreliable the site. Even if you put the word HOAX over the headline, hordes of people will still treat a made-up tale as if it were real.

This dystopian fantasy, recounted here by a site called Top Info Post, started last year (possibly with this Italian web publication) and is still doing the rounds on Facebook.

On May 2014, through Europe newborn children will be compelled to take in a subcutaneous RFID chip.

Public clinics in the European Union are to be alerted. The chip in inquiry will be contributed with the report sheet on the newborn.

This chip will also be an impressive GPS sensor that will task with a micro-disposable battery every 2 years in state clinics. GPS chip grants an edge of error of 5 meters, as a statement that it is excellent.

It will be linked straight to a satellite, which will guide the networks. As forecasted, this chip will be essential for all kids born after May 2014 , but with a present confirmation date until December 2016.

The story is a complete fabrication; people savvy enough to check out Snopes or do 30 seconds of Googling can see that for themselves. Per Snopes,

The photograph that accompanies the original article doesn’t even show a subcutaneous RFID chip: What’s seen above is a picture taken from a year-old news article about the development “biostamps,” a form of flexible electronic circuitry attached to the wearer’s skin with a rubber stamp that could ostensibly be used as a form of authentication in place of current password systems.

But as you might expect, thousands of the comments on Facebook and Top Info Post are from end-timers with Jesus boners (the really ranty commenters type IN ALL-CAPS, of course), who believe that the RFID chip is some subcutaneous Mark of the Beast… and heralds the return of the Savior. (Those folks are even more numerous than the commenters who think that RFID chips for newborns are a sign of the “New World Order.”)

There’s so much unintentional fun and craziness there, you might want to wrap your head in duct tape before proceeding.

OPEN YOUR EYES ALOT OF EPOPLE JUST DON’T WANT TO SEE IT..WE ARE SEEING EVERYTHING UNFOLD AS TOLD IN THE BIBLE…ALOT OF EVIL GOING ON IT IS NOT A COINCEDENCE..THESE THINGS ARE HAPPENING WHETHER YOU CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IT OR NOT..

Keep scoffing about Jesus. The Anti-Christ is working now. It’s prophersied in the Bible. Get your own copy before the Bible is banned from EU.

This one stands out for the neat sleight of hand at the end:

Science is only based on what we know. Theories change from left to right. Our own existence is a very short moment in time. This is all God creation. I agree that there is free energy, but it evil and greedy people who love money do their best to terminate it. Personally, I believe in science. But what if God is science?

Also:

I recall a lot of people mocking Noah and that didn’t turn out to well for them either. Open your eyes people it is all unfolding before our eyes. God bless.

And:

It’s here. Please God take me off the planet.

Ma’am, believe me, I know how you feel.