A Blog of Reason From a Godless Liberal

Archive for the ‘atheist’ Category

Stephen Hawking Sings in Tribute to Carl Sagan

In atheist, cool, Science on November 12, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Related: Sagan, Feynman, deGrasse Tyson and Nye Are Auto-Tuned

ASU Professor Lawrence Krauss – A Universe From Nothing

In atheist, cool, Science on October 23, 2009 at 5:21 pm

This lecture is amazing. I encourage everyone to watch it.

Warning, I don’t know if I’m having network problems, but this took forever to download. Well worth it though.

Sagan, Feynman, deGrasse Tyson and Nye Are Auto-Tuned

In atheist, cool, Science on October 21, 2009 at 8:04 pm

This is pretty cool, and it actually doesn’t sound too bad.

Symphony of Science

Thanks Sara!

Christopher Hitchens Debates John Lennox

In atheism, atheist, creationism, Culture Wars, religion on September 18, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Why Robert Wright is Wrong about New Atheism

In atheism, atheist, editorial, politics, religion on July 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm

In an article from Huffington Post Robert Wright argues that New Atheists by definition must have a right-wing, or hawkish foreign policy. I disagree completely with most of his argument, and here is why. Robert writes:

[What are the chances of finding a right-wing New Atheist?] Actually, the chances were pretty good. When it comes to foreign policy, a right-wing bias afflicts not just Hitchens’s world view, but the whole ideology of “new atheism,” especially as seen in the work of Hitchens allies Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins.

Atheism has little intrinsic ideological bent. (Karl Marx. Ayn Rand. I rest my case.) But things change when you add the key ingredient of the new atheism: the idea that religion is not just mistaken, but evil — that it “poisons everything,” as Hitchens has put it with characteristic nuance.

While it is true there are right-wing atheist, to say that a New Atheist must have a hawkish stance on foreign policy to qualify as such, is just foolish. It is my belief that the New Atheist movement is a battle for the middle. We aren’t going to be able to win over the far right, not in Islam, not in Judaism, nor in Christianity. This is because the far right cannot be reasoned with like the middle can be. For every fundamentalist there are ten people on the fence waiting to be influenced either way. Religions have a methodical and well funded effort to reach these minds, atheist do not. I know it is cliché, but New Atheism is a battle for the hearts and minds, not an effort to snuff out religion in one giant effort. It is a piecemail process.

Robert continues:

Consider Dawkins’s assertion, in his book The God Delusion, that if there were no religion then there would be “no Israeli-Palestinian wars.”

For starters, this is just wrong. The initial resistance to the settlements, and to the establishment of Israel, wasn’t essentially religious, and neither was the original establishment of the settlements, or even of Israel.

No Mr. Wright you are just wrong. Both parties in the conflict believe that the land was promised to them by God. If the Jews didn’t believe that Israel was their promised land, it is doubtful that they would have chosen to settle there after World War II. Since these people actually believe that how they serve their God will determine an afterlife of paradise or torment, it makes perfect sense for them to go to such extremes in trying to reach their political and religious goals. After all what is worse, blowing oneself up in a crowded market, or an eternity of torture? To believe you have a mandate which trumps all reason and reality is the first step to extremism.

Of course, when religion is handy, special problems can arise. If there were no belief in paradise, there would be few suicide bombers. Then again, there might be less charity. Whether belief in posthumous rewards has on balance done more harm than good is an empirical question whose subtlety Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens don’t exactly emphasize.

Anyway, the question is how to reduce the number of suicide bombers. And I have to wonder: If some Jihadists are motivated partly by fear that the west threatens their religious culture, is the optimal counter-terrorism strategy to have know-it-all westerners tell them their God doesn’t exist?

The notion that there would be less charity if religion lost it’s influence is pure speculation. I admit, a lot of charity has a religious origin, but there are many secular charities as well. These charities are fully devoted to their cause, not also a religious agenda. Some of your money donated to them goes to building churches in far off lands, paying missionaries and to church administration. Maybe shortly after an atheist revolution would there be a drop off, but I wonder what the case would be 100 years from such an event? I suspect charities would rebound, and we would be without the draw backs of religion (intolerance, violence, etc). Countless man hours and money are put into churches and other religious interests; one has to believe that some of that would be reinvested back into society.

As for his second point that denying the existence of God will only serve to drive more to radicalization is fundamentally flawed. Mr. Wright fails to realize that a vast majority of these people wouldn’t be radicalized if it wasn’t for their belief in a higher power/mandate. Again, a New Atheist isn’t going to convince the staunch believer; the most likely to be a radical. It is working to convince the people with secret doubts, doubts strong enough to prevent them from strapping on a suicide vest and going to a club in Tel-Aviv. Given that to be an atheist is punishable by death in most Muslim countries, it is doubtful that we will ever see it take root publically until enough of the moderates can be swayed – at least to tolerate it in others.


Dawkins Spoke; Enjoyed a Pina Colada at American Atheists Convention

In atheism, atheist on April 19, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Mr. Dawkins wore the same shirt at the Origins Symposium

Great Video from Dawkin’s YouTube Channel

In atheist, cool, Smart People on April 2, 2009 at 4:34 pm

A Forum with Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.

Hour 1

Hour 2

Dawkins Calls Pope Stupid

In atheist, religion, stupid people on April 1, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Pope to Dawkins: NO U!

Regular readers (my ex-girlfriends and pressured friends) will remember I recently commented on the Pope saying that condoms were causing the spread of AIDS in Africa. I criticized Il Papa for being out of touch with reality as the condoms gaffe was just one of several that made the secular world cringe. I also pointed out that the Pope was in favor of letting living people die in order to save the sperm that might one day have been a human. Yes, I know there are billions of sperm in the so-called reservoir tip and only one will end up fertilizing the egg, MAYBE. How can the Pope be expected to know all this? From the Hitler youth to the church, there wasn’t much time for this guy to get laid. Well my criticism has been given some validation, as Richard Dawkins himself threw his hat into the ring…

I wonder on what basis anyone can say condoms make AIDS worse. The Pope is either stupid, ignorant or dim. If people take his words seriously he will be responsible for the deaths of thousands, perhaps millions of people.

Mr. Dawkins remarks came while he was speaking at a university in Spain that was giving him an honorary degree. Indeed he is right. Unfortunately Il Papa is an authority figure whose ramblings and dubious claims millions of people take seriously. He should act responsibly when getting in front of a microphone, not just push an unreasonable agenda that he has to know will cost lives.


Great Dawkins Video

In atheism, atheist, Smart People on March 12, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Happy Darwin Day

In atheist, cool, editorial, evolution, Science, Smart People on February 13, 2009 at 3:06 am

World Celebrate 200th Anniversary of Darwin’s birth. Christians ask “who”.

Some scientific discovers are so profound that it changes the entire way we view our reality, they come with such conclusiveness that people look bad and say “of course! Its so obvious, how could have anyone missed it?” Such discovers raise our consciousness and change the very nature of the human condition.

Life (well, terrestrial life) began four billion years ago when a young planet cooled enough to allow our first ancestors get the ball rolling. Since that time life has grown and adapted to fit into every possible niche. There have been many times when it almost failed, when it sputtered along, and when it leaped forward. Over life’s history various lines have arisen to the top of the food chain and dominated the globe. However, only one species would develop the ability to question it’s own existence. It took 130,000 years of progress and the genius of Charles Darwin to finally have a reasonably answer.

And yes, His Noodlyness has nothing to do with Darwin’s birthday, but Darwin is a hero among atheist.

Played this once, only made it 200,000 years…Natural Selection Game