308 comments posted · 2 followers · following 1

336 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - 80s Flashback: The PMRC · 0 replies · +3 points

John Denver, Frank Zappa and Episcopalian Dee Snider -- what a group!

I recall moving to Mississippi a few years ago and being shocked because the person who wrote the sex education curriculum for the public schools in the capital of the state actually came out and said that rock n' roll and rap were responsible for the state's hideous teen pregnancy rate.

I recently had a brief back and forth on Facebook with a former colleague. He's pretty much a lightweight in the intellect department, and is a devout Roman Catholic. He'd put up a link about "religious liberty" being threatened by groups being required to provide contraception coverage for employees not covered by ministerial exception. After a few passes where he ignored everything I said, being unable to answer my questions, he finally got down to his root argument: no woman has a right to contraception, because the RCC says so, so since no individual's rights are at risk, RCC affiliated groups having to provide coverage is a violation of religious freedom and unconstitutional.

As long as the religious equate religious totalitarianism with religious freedom, as long as they seek to influence public policy decisions based on nothing but religious dogma, not paying attention to them is a terrible idea.

337 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - Anti-Bullying Legislat... · 0 replies · 0 points

Like GM, I'm a bit conflicted on this subject. As a child I used what today might be called "terrorist threats" to avoid physical conflicts. As a teenager, the twenty-somethings I went to college with quite often complained to professors that I was "mean" in class for nothing more than proving their ideas idiotic. The whiners felt is was unfair (and probably "bullying") for someone so much younger to make them look so bad. I've never really seen a definition of "bullying" that would allow the sort of things I did as a youngster, and that bothers me.

On the other hand, I recognize that not everyone is as aggressive and rhetorically well armed as I was, and that peer pressure from the dominant group (as well as adults, as GM pointed out) contains power imbalances that not all youths are equipped to handle. And I think the school systems should deal with blatant cases of harassment, I just don't know how to phrase things to limit the cases in a way that I'd find legitimate.

339 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - Idiot of the Week: Ric... · 0 replies · +1 points

I agree with his statement, "We cannot continue to let these people dominate how society acts and reacts." Not being an idiot, though, I know that it's the bigots like Floyd who do the dominating. (At least in public. In private he's probably much more likely to be a submissive.)

339 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - Sharia Ban Unconstitut... · 0 replies · +1 points

Are you worried about Sharia? Are you a hard-core Islamaphobe or a religious bigot? Then support the Constitution of the United States of America! This document sets up a secular government where the state is forbidden from favoring religion, and everyone has freedom of conscience and only has to abide by the behavioral limits set forth in secular laws. (Sorry, no burning of heretics, even if your religion dictates this. But on the plus side, if you're a Christian, is that the members of the other 35000 sects of your creed won't be allowed to do the "Kingsford special" on your ass, either!)

340 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - Mississippi Seeks to E... · 0 replies · +5 points

Yes, a slap in the face to every American who loves the ideals of the Constitution of the United States of America. Yet the current version of the Mississippi State Constitution (the one from after the Civil War) added in a religious test for office, something expressly forbidden by the national constitution. And it has only been a couple of years since Mississippi got rid of its laws from Freedom Summer, the ones saying that black people have no right to assemble to discuss politics. (The SCOTUS of the time struck those laws down almost immediately, but they remained on the books in Mississippi as unenforceable but existing state law.)

This resolution is infuriating. This resolution screams, "I know nothing about my country or my country's history." This resolution is, in fact, a wonderful example of what is wrong with Mississippi, and what can happen elsewhere in the USA if we follow the same principles as the Taliban instead of the Enlightenment principles of the founding fathers of the USA.

340 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - Sexism in the Atheist ... · 0 replies · +1 points

As I'm sure you've thought about, just trying to break down the subject of sexism and atheism into discreet and coherent posts is a daunting task given the number of perspectives and implications that those two topics have.

I'd suggest first examining civility. Yes, I'm sure many of our fellow atheists will be up in arms at any attempt to provide prescriptive standards for behavior, but I see no harm and some benefit in the atheist community supporting some of the restrictions on discourse that apply in the better venues of public intellectual discourse. Issues of power and history and perception aside, fallacious remarks (such as ad hominem attacks) should not be welcomed in the community. I do not think trying to establish ground rules for internal group discussion is the same as accommodationism.

340 weeks ago @ Mississippi Atheists - MS Senate Concurrent R... · 1 reply · +3 points

Arrgggghhh!! #@$^&%@#$&^@#%$@#&%@#$%

340 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - Atheist Community · 0 replies · +1 points

If you follow the link in "provide support," the post referenced talks about providing support for atheists considering coming out or dealing with the consequences of doing so, not "in need" in the standard monetary terms.

340 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - I\'m Ready for Some Da... · 0 replies · +2 points

As a former firmware developer I'm not entirely fond of the big blue room with the really bright streetlight, but in this case I agree: time for some daylight.

Also, in the Dark Ages we didn't have LED flashlights. We have those now, so I'm thinking we should guide ourselves, even in the dark.

340 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - Irrational Atheists · 1 reply · +1 points

Personally, I'm one of those living "a frustrating life where nobody (including ourselves) will ever meet the standards we set." As Jeff Goldblum's character from The Big Chill said, we're rationalizing animals more than we are rational animals.

I think it is safe to say that for many atheists (and certainly for myself) rationality and the scientific method are at the core of why we are atheists: there's just no evidence for gods. Yet science, as it happens in the real world, isn't perfect. Since scientific inquiry is conducted by human beings, there will always be screw ups and hoaxes and sellouts and errors (in addition to there always being something new to learn). Yet the scientific method is such that attempts are made to minimize those errors, with the result that science offers us the best possible understanding of reality.

The question for me comes to "realistic expectations." I know how to solve the population problem before it reaches a point of Malthusian catastrophe: we do some combination of having fewer births or more deaths. But I see no realistic way of getting to the easier route of enough fewer births to make a difference.

On the other hand, I believe there is enough consensus within the atheist community for peer review: we tend to support equality, condemn injustice. We don't always agree on how our goals play out in the real world but, then again, scientists don't always agree on how to handle anomalies that challenge parts of the theory of gravity.