Friday, 26 July 2013

Federal Government Bans, "Bless You!"

From here...
The Department of Employee Well-being for the government released their list of phrases no longer permitted in federal work environments and topping the list is saying "bless-you" after someone sneezes. Other phrases include: "OMG," "cheers" and "thank heavens."
Is this not the silliest thing ever? Maybe it would be OK if we said, "Damn you!"

Yeah, I think I got punk'd.
 
Take Care

(Updated: It was brought to my attention that perhaps I should not have unilaterally removed this post, so here it is back again to wind its way down the board as more posts come online.)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

An Atheist Family Spat

From Here...
With a link to here..., if you can take the time to read the whole thing.

I find this whole exchange fascinating, because it exposes, or at least brings into the light, what to me is the basic flaw in the thinking of those who categorically reject the existence of God, or even the possibility of His existence. That is that they assume an unproven premise - that there is nothing beyond the purely physical, material or natural. That is an assumption. And once one chooses that particular road or direction and begins to travel down it, one can only follow it to wherever it goes, even if it is the wrong road or direction, and even if they refuse to see or admit that it is the wrong road or direction. Once one assumes a premise, all the rest of their thinking must follow in the direction dictated by that premise.

The fly in the atheist ointment, to me, is the very thing in which they insist they are participating - rational thought; the ability to hold one opinion, or make one decision, over another. Because this necessarily involves some kind of conscious control over physical patterns. Some mechanism by which we, as humans, are able to direct the paths of the atoms and molecules that travel within our brains and by which are composed our thoughts and memories.

Atheist Jerry Coyne has said,
...all sciences are in principle reducible to the laws of physics,”  Either we’re molecules in motion or we’re not. (Jerry Coyne)


But as the writer of the longer article says,
Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
I think this blind atheistic position is well summed up by another quote from the article, this one by author George Orwell
“One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

Take Care

Monday, 22 July 2013

One of Two Possibilities

Kingston, Ont., lesbian couple threatened, told to move out of town
From here

This seems to have gone a bit viral, with all sorts of sympathetic comments on the one side and bigotted and hateful ones on both. Most comments seem to be rather over-the-top on either side, IMO. It is amazing to see the number of commenters who leap, almost as an unthinking, knee-jerk reaction, and with the poorest of grammar and writing skills, to the defense of this poor couple.

As I see it, there are two possibilities:
  1. These notes are the work of someone on the level of Fred Phelps and therefore worthy only of being ignored as idiotic and irrelevant, or
  2. They are fakes designed to elicit sympathy for the one side and contempt for the other.
Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised by either one, although I lean toward the second. If they ever find out who wrote the letters it will be interesting to see.

Take Care

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Atheist Study Reveals That Non-Believers Are Just As Varied As People Of Faith

From here...

The article lists a number of categories into which, it says, atheists fall, but I found these two interesting.
"Seeker Agnostics" were characterized as the happiest slice of non-believers. They see themselves as non-believers open to possibility when it comes to belief.
Not all of these so-called "religious nones" are anti-religion, except for the most visible group, the "Anti-Theists." They are defined by their belief that religion is a destructive force in society, and rate highest in levels of anger and dogmatism...
Interesting that the most open-minded were the happiest, while the most closed-minded were the angriest. This has certainly been my experience, judging by comments on various of my blogs on atheism.

The angriest seem indeed to be the most closed-minded and the ones least willing to engage in reasonable and rational discussion. They are the ones least likely to consider that Christianity is, as I posit in the title of this site, a Reasonable Faith. They suffer most greatly from what is, to use a Christian analogy, the log in their own eye, and about which they are most likely to rage in people of faith: dogmatism.

Take Care

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

"Raising Awareness™" and Other Meaningless Cliches

Check out this video from CBC News and the idiot announcer doing the interview with a young lady campaigning to have Chris Brown's appearance at a music festival boycotted.
Frankly, I probably sympathize with her campaign, and, if I was ever tempted to attend a Chris Brown event, once I learned he was a violent partner-abuser, I too would probably, intentionally, not attend.

But look at some of the silliness from the announcer.

First of all he says that poor Chris has "paid his price to society," so to speak. And Rhianna has, "forgiven" him [like a moth to a flame, JK]. Shouldn't we?

Then he uses the completely meaningless cliché, "raising awareness™", actually suggests it to her, and she takes the bait. Frankly, I'm tired of the raising awareness™ nonsense. The clerk at the grocery store asked me if I wanted to donate a buck to cancer awareness. I said, "No thanks, I'm sure most people are aware of cancer by now." Just as I'm sure most people are aware of spousal abuse by now and that it is a bad thing.

Then he whines that because this woman is campaigning online against Chris Brown's appearance at a concert, there is a danger of similar campaigns being mounted against gay and minority entertainers. Yah, right! I would stand for anyone's right to start an anti-gay petition online, but I sure don't like the chances of it getting very far. Such a person would be lynched, virtually speaking.

And the, "other" meaningless cliché, I'm afraid, is the creating of, "memorials" by laying flowers, candles and other memorabilia at various sites where people have died. Aside from various traffic accident sites, the latest is the hotel in Vancouver where the guy from Glee died. What's the point? Does this somehow assuage an inner need for ritual. I suppose, and I'll probably be accused of insensitivity, but I just think it's silly.

Take Care

 



Friday, 5 July 2013

Democracy Fetish?

One often hears Western leaders speaking of democracy as the ideal form of government for less developed nations. But is it really?

It is almost like the White Man's Burden, this time in a political sense, all over again; assuming that what works for us should be encouraged, even forced, on others.

Is a democratically elected despot better for a people than a benign monarchy, or a just dictator (if that is not a contradiction in terms) where the rights of minorities are protected?

Here is a fascinating discussion on the current situation in Egypt. The real discussion, with Aurel Braun, begins at about the six-minute mark.
Democracy or freedom - the two are not necessarily synonymous. Interesting food for thought, I think.

Take Care

Thursday, 4 July 2013

New Religion

  "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you" Augustine of Hippo 
"He has also set eternity in the human heart..." (Solomon - Ecclesiates 3:11) 
 "...when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." (Jesus - John 13:32)
"When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he will believe anything." G.K. Chesterton. 
Vancouver wiccan cop and founder of the Order of Scathach believes in philosphy of personal responsibility
From Here...
Knightly values such as chivalry and the warrior code seemed to Kerr Cuhulain to be as good a place as any to start a new ­“religion.” Cuhulain, who says he is a direct descendant of William the Conqueror, founded the Order of Scathach (pronounced Sky-Ah) in 2007.
The Order of Scathach is named after a female warrior who had an Irish pupil named Cuhulain
Members of the pagan order wear minimalist black robes and paint their faces.
Their symbol is a full moon with a branch of three leaves symbolizing three levels of initiation.

The order’s rules emphasize ­personal responsibility and begin with “I will” as opposed to “Thou shalt not.”
Members of the order see divinity in everything, says Cuhulain.
“The divine is not separate. It permeates you, me and everything. ... I don’t worship, because it implies the divine is out there on a pedestal and I’m bowing down,” he says.
He advises troubled people to make up a “god” to help them... “We tell people to identify a problem you have in life and create a god to fix it. It ­really liberates a lot of people.” (emphasis mine, JK)
I rest my case.

Take Care



Richard Dawkins and Free Will



Watch this brief video with Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss bumbling their way through a question on free will. And, of course, bumble is all they can do, because they really don't, nor can they, have an answer. Krauss, says something about the, "particles in the room," and that touches on a completely relevant point. If all the universe is just, "particles in the room," how can there be anything like free will? How can there be any choice on the part of these particles? How can there be any explanation for rational thought? How, indeed, can there be any point to two atheists onstage discussing free will, if every word from their mouths and thought from their minds is merely a function of the random movement of particles, each one contingent on antecedent events since the beginning of the universe?

As Dawkins himself says, "It is a question that I dread."

And with good reason.

Take Care