Related to my previous post is a letter from Sam Harris, the guy who wrote End of Faith, a book I really loved. He just came out with another one called Letter to a Christian Nation that I have on order. The letter seems inspired by his latest book (or vice-versa) and is super sweet. A choice tidbit:
Please accept this for what it is: the testimony of a man who is in a
position to observe how people behave when their faith is challenged.
Many who claim to have been transformed by Christ's love are deeply,
even murderously, intolerant of criticism. While you may ascribe this
to human nature, it is clear that the hatred these people feel comes
directly from the Bible. How do I know this? Because the most deranged
of my correspondents always cite chapter and verse.
I read that bit about DeVos in the paper yesterday - but it's a moot point, because, even before that, he couldn't have bought my vote for a million bucks. The guy has yet to say anything substantial, and he just falls in line with the rest of the Republican boobs. If he was smart, he might distance himself a tad from Bush-isms like intelligent design - I mean, am I mistaken, or is the president's approval rating still in the toilet?
Bert, I loved that article and was cracking up at this paragragh.
That’s an argument? As I point out in The God Delusion, you
might as well say that people vary in smelliness but we can make the
judgment only by reference to a perfect maximum of conceivable
smelliness. Therefore there must exist a pre-eminently peerless
stinker, and we call him God. Or substitute any dimension of comparison
you like, and derive an equivalently fatuous conclusion. That’s
It was in response to this.
Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in
that genus, as fire, which is the maximum of heat, is the cause of all
hot things . . . Therefore, there must also be something which is to
all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other
perfection; and this we call God.
Back to your Marmaduke post. I had to crack up.... Just before I left, I made an odd reference to reading Marmaduke as a joke, not thinking anyone would get what I meant. Josh, caught the joke and commented on how unfunny the comic is. Really, how much mileage can you get out of the punchline of being a REALLY BIG dog. Obviously many decades.
This blog is great. I for once was laughing at Marmaduke. Mathlete (Love the name) should do the same for Family Circus (Not Me), B.C., and Peanuts.
Our country just died a little bit more last week. This bill was passed overwhelmingly, and prevents people who sue the government for illegal promotion of religion and win to reclaim court costs! Can you believe this? Could there possibly be a more blatantly illegal law? Fucking assholes!
You know, Bill Maher told the Onion in an interview that CBS invited him to do that "free speech" thing and then told him what he could and couldn't say. He was all ready to address the topic of religion, and they wouldn't let him do it. But they'll let this guy do it? Why? Because he had a kid die in the Columbine shootings? Fucked. Up.
And yeah, I read about that law passing, as well... so does the Supreme Court rule on this? Can they deem it unconstitutional?
Well, I just got done puking. That was some sick shit. What ever
happened to rational thought? The decay of rational thought in America
will undoubtedly be it's undoing. This scares the shit out of me.
Sometimes when talk turns to religion, as it inevitably seems to do wiht me, people say something along the lines of "why do you care so much about religion if you're an atheist?" Here's a good treatment answering that question:
I watched the Dawkins programs and I gotta say, good stuff. I wish
there was a little more scientific explanation by Dawkins when
confronting religious zealots. A scientific smackdown if you will.
Dawkins would state that the Earth is more than 5000 years old but did
little to explain why this is the case. It would have been fun to see
him explain this in more detail to the religious assholes he was
speaking to. The guy in the first video who talks to Bush in particular
was annoying and in need of a scientific smackdown if not an
asswhupping. All in all Dawkins made good points though, and it was
well worth the time to watch.
The New York Times has had a four-part series on religious abuses perpetrated by the US government. Well worth a read if you want to get riled up. Requires free registration, but hey, it's the NY Times. It's worth it.
Also, this is a flippin' sweet interview with Judge Jones, the guy who decided the Dover trial, and my personal hero. I just love that he's a religious guy who has his shit together. Not enough of those types make the news these days.
I particularly love this quote:
“If I had disregarded the facts and invented
a new test, other than those tests offered by the Supreme Court, that
would have made me an activist judge. These values are not Republican
or Democratic. They are American values.”
Great Dawkins interview in Salon. To read the whole thing you have to sit thru an advert but it's worth it. This is my favorite quote:
science so far has failed to explain something, such as consciousness,
to say it follows that the facile, pathetic explanations which religion
has produced somehow by default must win the argument is really quite
ridiculous. Nobody has an explanation for consciousness. That should be
a spur to work harder and try to understand it. Not to give up and just
say, "Oh well, it must be a soul." That doesn't mean anything. It
doesn't explain anything. You've said absolutely nothing when you've
I know nobody here is quite as much of a Dawkins fanboy as I am, but if you're at all wondering whether to purchase his next book, "The God Delusion," and you disregard my urgent encouragement to do so, take a listen to this if you get a chance. It is a speech given by Dawkins where he gives a reading from his book, so you can get a a taste.
I really love this guy - I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone talk better sense.
I was looking in an American Bookstore and found a book from our favorite Atheist - Richard Dawkins - The Ancestor's Tale. Its is a big book, over 600 pages on evolution (Plus pictures!). I was a bit worried that it would be boring and over my head, but I found it interesting and very readable. I can't say it is an easy, quick read, but it is well within the reach of normal people. I am only 100 pages into it, but so far I like it. Ross, I am sure you have a copy of this... what is your opinion on this book? Will I be able to go the distance?
Yep, Swerb and I discussed it briefly here. I liked it quite a bit, but I'm also a huge Dawkins fan. Toward the end you might not want to stick with it, but I think at least the first half or 2/3 you'll enjoy it. I read it all the way through without much complaint though.
I'm sure you've all heard about John Kerry making a bad joke about "if you don't study hard, you end up in Iraq." It was tasteless and/or stupid, depending on how you look at it. But this puts it into perspective.
Ah, crap. I was trying to link to an article about Our Evangelical Hero, Ted Haggard, and his, um, indiscretions with meth and a gay prostitute... I'm sure I'm not the only one who laughed his ass off upon hearing the news... hypocrisy from a religious leader! And a smug, conceited one, even! Joy!! Rapture!!!