Morris on my Mind, and Not the Saved by the Bell One…

Once again we are visited by our good friend David Goza who lights our way regularly from the dark pits of YouTube

A weekend of collecting, sorting and cleaning Ordovician-Period marine fossils from the Arbuckle Mountains has got me thinking once again about one of the strangest beliefs held by fundamentalist Christians: that about 4,400 or so years ago, the deity who had created the universe a couple of millennia earlier got all pissed off and wiped out almost everything in a global flood. I suppose that would have been a good enough belief for someone living in the Middle Ages, but its prestige has been completely undercut by the science of geology, beginning with its birth in the late 17th century. By around the middle of the 19th century, the only people who still took the Noahic Flood seriously were circuit-riding evangelists and the crowds of superstitious, snake-handling bumpkins who followed them. In most cases, their backwardness can clearly be attributed to the lack of general education.

 

During the second half of the 19th century, public education began to rectify some of the illiteracy and ignorance that had characterized the frontier population at large; this program went into full swing after the Civil War and the U.S. gradually began to show signs of a more general secular awakening. That awakening looked frightening to many people (not least to the preachers whose incomes were thereby threatened), and it was out of that fear that fundamentalism was born late in that century.

 

Unlike the frontier revivalism that characterized much of the U.S. earlier in the 19th century, fundamentalism was in some respects a self-consciously “modern” movement. It was born out of a psychological conflict: the wish to enjoy the fruits of modernity (making necessary a kind of lip-service to the sciences that made those benisons possible) while swearing allegiance to the literal truth of the Bible – one of the strangest notions that’s ever been hatched by the unquiet mind of man. Since the findings of science were obviously at odds with biblical cosmology and history, fundamentalists were at pains to debunk those findings.
Continue reading “Morris on my Mind, and Not the Saved by the Bell One…”

Religion: Best Intentions, Useless Today

© Jordan Smith

I feel like religion definitely had a purpose, many years ago. Its inception was our first attempt at scientific exploration and philosophy. Before our species had the scientific knowledge to ponder such questions as why items fall to the ground? Or how does it rain? We first had the thirst for knowledge – curiosity. This is a lovely statement about the good nature of humanity and in fact most life on earth. We are a curious bunch. Ignorant of basic facts, and without any true measurements or understanding of life, we, as a species attempted to fill the gaps in our knowledge with explanations – sadly this lead to a one size fits all answer ‘God did it’

 

As we know from religious scripture, all 3 of the monolithic religions tried and completely failed to understand science. From the old Jewish bible which claims men come from dirt & women come from the ribs of men, to the Quran which claims the sun sets in the mud & sperm comes from the back bone & ribs (spot the copycat pattern?) To the new Testament which claims men can rise from the dead and walk on water.

 

Funnily enough, religious claims of astounding miracles happened often up until the invention of the camera and video camera, then suddenly, God stopped letting people walk on water or showing himself in the clouds – then Photoshop was invented, and back came the claims of divinity – along with airbrushed supermodels and images of teenagers with oddly placed beer cans in their hands. I’m not saying there is a connection between the fact miracles disappeared when humans had the opportunity to prove or disprove them … Actually I am, miracles are bullshit, the connection is clear.
Continue reading “Religion: Best Intentions, Useless Today”

From the Bones of the Past We Can Find Purpose in the Future

David Goza stops by to lay down the smack.

This one’s for Jonny B., who’s been on my mind.

A visit to the Museum of Osteology can precipitate quite a train of thought, provided one is open to that pleasure. I’m fortunate to live a mere 20 miles away, and pay it a visit now and then. I always spend a good deal of time tracing limbed vertebrate evolution through various ancient and modern skeletons on display, admiring especially the universal template shared by amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals –a template that begins with a shoulder or hip, then includes one long bone, then an elbow or knee, then two bones, then a wrist or ankle, then lots of bones, then digits (which have become fused in quite a few cases, in the wings of birds and the hooves of ruminants).Yesterday I gazed upon skulls and skeletons of our vertebrate kin, remote both in time and in degree of cousinhood, and a sense of continuity, of being embedded in an everlasting flow of events simply took hold of me. It was a transcendent experience that has great staying power. I’m moved to share some of this with you, even while realizing that I can’t possibly capture it in words.

 

It was gazing into the empty eye-sockets of Australopithecus africanus, of Homo habilis, of Homo erectus, of Homo heidelbergensis, of Homo neanderthalensis, that unleashed a flood of reflection on “selfhood.” Was that sense of identity as strong in some of those ancestors and cousins I just named as it is in us? Does an elephant have a sense of self? Does a dolphin?

See the Original Post Here
Continue reading “From the Bones of the Past We Can Find Purpose in the Future”

When They Stand at the Edge of Non-Belief It’s so Hard Not to Push

Once again we are visited by our good friend David Goza who lights our way regularly from the dark pits of YouTube

The questionnaire that I have my students fill out at the beginning of every semester includes questions designed with a view to getting to know who my students are. I always find the answers interesting and revealing, and occasionally alarming.

 

One of the questions I ask is, “What is the biggest idea you’ve ever had to come to terms with?” As you can no doubt imagine, I see quite a range of answers to this one: everything from “what goes on inside a black hole?” to “I’ll soon have to move out of my parents’ basement,” with a smattering of references to mortality and religion in between. A few students leave that one blank – just don’t care to touch it. (Have they never wrestled with a big idea?) A few semesters ago, one student responded with, “fucking magnets – how do they work?

 

Among last semester’s crop of students was a young woman from a small Oklahoma town who wrote the following in response to my nosy question: “Everyone does not believe what I do from a religious perspective. It’s hard for me to understand why others believe what they do. I am Southern Baptist.”

 

Believe it or not, I understand her predicament and sympathize. I’ve been there.

 

What I wish I could have said to her, and of course didn’t and never will on principle, is something like the following:
Continue reading “When They Stand at the Edge of Non-Belief It’s so Hard Not to Push”

Seeing God at the Bottom of a Water Bong

Once again we are visited by our good friend David Goza who lights our way regularly from the dark pits of YouTube

Anatomically modern humans have lived on this planet for at least 200,000 years. During that time, our ancestors – or people whom our ancestors knew – have eaten, drunk, smoked, snorted, or otherwise ingested (use your rich imagination) absolutely everything on the surface of this planet. You know that’s true – hell, they’re still doing it! Now, some of those things caused the ingestees to die horribly. Those particular people were not our ancestors. Our ancestors no doubt learned from their unfortunate example, however, and the observations they passed along have become the received wisdom of later generations: don’t drink that, don’t stick that up your tookus….

 

But some of those things caused our ancestors to see the world in ways they might otherwise never have discovered, and to interact with it in ways that could not have been foreseen. Here’s an example: about 23,000 years ago, at the height of the last of the Pleistocene glaciations, there were modern humans living along the Atlantic seacoast in southern Europe – I’m talking about the Solutrean culture. If there’s ice year-round only a few hundred miles north of you, that means you’re living in a climate that’s similar to what present-day denizens of Wasilla, Alaska enjoy. People could live on the coast during the summer – and we have ample evidence that they did, and that one of their main sources of protein was fish. But it’s too cold to live there during the winter, so you go inland and upland and take advantage of the karst features. In nearby regions in what are now France and Spain, people weathered over in the limestone caves, taking with them whatever they could hoard over the course of the summer: dried fish, fruits, nuts, berries, tubers… and of course they supplemented their diet with whatever grows in the perpetual darkness of caves, in that growth medium so generously provided by roosting bats.

 

We all know what that is, right? Et voilà! – art is born! You know the art I’m talking about: art so extraordinary that it deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; the splendid cave paintings associated with such place names as Lascaux, Chauvet and Altamira. Do you imagine for a moment that there’s no connection between magic mushrooms and the birth of art? And can you think of any better event to fix as the watershed between being merely anatomically modern and being behaviorally modern, than the birth of art in a particular culture? The birth of art and the birth of truly modern humanity are two names for the same thing. I suspect that Mother Nature’s natural pharmacy has had much to do with the blossoming of human creativity. Please understand that I’m not fixing the birth of modern humanity at the birth of art in any one particular place: it happened at many different times and in many different places, and is in some sense an ongoing process. There’s a reason that the most fantastic symphonies – and I mean that literally – were written during the Nineteenth Century, when virtually every major European artist was coked to the gills on opium (which was perfectly legal and not overly expensive).
Continue reading “Seeing God at the Bottom of a Water Bong”

Evil Empire: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act for Adoption

Governor Rick Snyder would rather have 13,000 children languish in state sponsored homes and foster care than let any one of them be adopted by two loving men or women. There I said it, we all know thats what he really means. The recently rushed and signed (June 11) bill by the Michigan Governor is essentially the Religious Freedom Restoration Act for adoption and has already drawn the ire of the ACLU. The same derogatory and incendiary language for refusing services based on “sincerely held religious beliefs” has been passed in Michigan with little or no mention from any social media sphere even with the almost identical Indiana bill, complete with collective uproar, happening only a short while ago.. Sad proof that without prompt most of us just simply don’t care enough to participate unless CNN or Fox News scream it into our lives.

 

I have heard three arguments for the support of such a bill and they are as follows:

 

  1. “This is about making sure we get the largest number of kids in forever families,” Snyder said in a phone interview. “The more opportunities and organizations we have that are doing a good job of placing people in loving families, isn’t that better for all of us?”
  2. The moral and traditional two parent, dual sex household is the best and only acceptable home for an adopted child.
  3. There is an economic reason for turning away these homosexual couples and the state cannot handle any more costs.

 

Well the first one is just a quotation of Governor Snyder’s deceitful and distraction oriented word salad. Here is another similar response from Governor Snyder before we start analyzing his diatribe:

 

“We are focused on ensuring that as many children are adopted to as many loving families as possible regardless of their makeup.”

 

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Essentially what he is saying is that since the number of children adopted every year is going up (85% in 2014 up from 70% in 2011) the state of Michigan can justify the religiously bigoted beliefs of certain organizations even if it results in 13,000 leftover children who live yet another year as wards of the state.

 

My argument for this always reverts back to the civil rights movements of the 60’s and simply replaces the couple requesting the adoption of an eager, desperate, and loving child from a homosexual couple to a black couple. Religious justifications were then and are still used for the discrimination of African American i.e. black people all over the world including the US. This new law would allow, hypothetically speaking of course, the new Ken Ham Creation Adoption Center to refuse in allowing a black male and female couple (cursed with the mark of Cain or Ham) to adopt a new baby as long as they gave a list of other adoption centers they could try or give them the state index resource list. I would like even FOX news to try to justify that over the round of racist applause from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (note to self stay out of Wyoming).
Continue reading “Evil Empire: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act for Adoption”

There Is No True Christian

For More from David, Click HERE

With any socio-cultural change there comes along for the ride a varying level of ideological reflection. Much depends on the connection one’s group has with the change. The greater degree of perceived effect the change has, the greater need there is to determine a response. At this level of group identity the question arises concerning whether agreeing or disagreeing is the best way of displaying the continuation of that identity. Nowhere is the battle over what to do more prevalent than in religion. The “no true x believer” declaration, where “x” is filled in by liberal, conservative, Christian, Muslim, etc. is flung around each and every time something significant happens to change the established status quo of ideological purity. Most recently this has to do with health care and the right of adults who happen to have the same genitalia to get involved in the legal institution of marriage.

The varying forms of emotional apoplexy popping up on social media and displayed in public announcements has been a source of vociferous cheering, tear-inducing laughter and rage-filled judgments. Threading throughout these exchanges is the desire to claim how a group identity is correctly connected with a particular side of the issue at hand. This is being done with a degree of sophistry within Christianity unseen since the days of slavery.
Continue reading “There Is No True Christian”

“Can’t You See” by Deafilosophy

As the video says, this is about life and what makes me hurt.  It was recorded in a basement session that I just hit record on. Forgive the lack of editing and raw nature of the audio but I think it matters when it is just from within.  From the people ill never meet who deserve better to the tiny dancer right here at home, I love everyone and we can do this.  We CAN change the world, you just have to dream.
Thanks for watching

 

 

EDIT: Yes I know the gay marriage was upheld by the SCOTUS earlier today but this was recorded earlier…

Gay Marriage is About Equality

See more from David Teachout Here

From entire countries making marriage between same-sex couples legal to individual states and the President declaring legality and support, and now the Supreme Court declaring bans to be unconstitutional, gay marriage is here. Unfortunately this radical-gay agenda hopes to indoctrinate our children into having sin-filled sexual escapades resulting in the utter and complete destruction of civilization as we know it and the dissolution of humanity due to our inability to have any more babies. Oh wait, I’m sorry, that’s what the conservative moralists are saying. Much like I’ve always wondered what the mind of Stephen King looks like that it’s capable of coming up with such incredible horror stories, I also wonder what the mind of the conservative looks like when they come up with such ridiculous end-of-the-world statements. But then again, we’re not talking rationality here and we’re certainly not talking about the law, but about fear. And nothing spells fear like armageddon. Opponents of “similar marriage” (remember that California beauty queen talking about “opposite marriage?” yeah, the comment is still ridiculous), are tied to this notion of preserving the institution of marriage.

I’ve heard it said, clearly by a comedic genius, that given you can no longer sell your daughter for four sheep and six bushels of wheat then marriage has changed. Ignoring this historical shift, though I’m quite sure some wouldn’t mind going back to it, is fairly easily done for those more interested in ideological purity than connection with reality, but there does seem to be something here about that pesky thing called an “institution.” The term holds two different and not exactly concomitant definitions as it pertains to marriage. The first is legal, as it is an institution created and maintained by law for the purposes of establishing certain property and social rights upon two people who willingly enter into a contract.Yes, marriage in legal terms is a contract. It is not, at that level, the pairing of two souls, or the completion of two-halves who sought their whole lives for that missing piece to their personal jigsaw puzzle. Rather, it is a means of establishing contractual obligations within a particular social relationship. There are laws like this for every social relationship, from the student-teacher to the cop-citizen, because in every relationship there will be or already is a disparity of power. Whether that difference is part of the original scheme or whether it is potential, laws are in place, ideally, to address these disparities and help make social relationships more equal. We are a nation that was built upon and progresses forward through the rule of law. Without it we are nothing more than a hodge-podge of city-states and geographical regions. The United States of America is a legal creation not a divine one. This country was established as a bright city on the hill to hold up the ideals of a democratic society, where rationality is embodied in the rule of law and serves as the medium for social exchange of ideas.
Continue reading “Gay Marriage is About Equality”

Are Believers the Most Arrogant Atheists?

© Religion Erased

Atheism. The disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods. There are plenty to choose from and with insufficient evidence, plenty to disprove. So how does one go about doing so? Well, wait until a religion presents credible evidence. One that actually stands out from the ordinary.

 

It makes sense. Instead of doing the impossible and spending a lifetime analysing the seemingly endless line of false prophets, wait for one to impress you.

 

That is what the religious community decides to do. If you ask a Christian what it would take to convert to Islam, the answer will be solid evidence. Meeting Allah face to face. Something that us utterly irrefutable and can no longer cast any shadow of doubt.

 

I share this stance.

 

If I tell a Muslim I am not a Muslim, I am labeled an atheist, whereas if I told a Christian that I’m not a Muslim, I’m simply not a Muslim. Why is that? Why the two perceptions?
Continue reading “Are Believers the Most Arrogant Atheists?”