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Member since: Sat Jul 3, 2010, 12:24 PM
Number of posts: 19,705

Journal Archives

Ending the Obfuscation and Misrepresentation: Dawkins at the Reason Rally

Here is his actual speech, without biased commentary, for your viewing pleasure. I encourage you to watch it, especially those who are attempting to misrepresent his address without actually having seen it.

We are truly in an "Age of Ignorance"

Widespread ignorance bordering on idiocy is our new national goal. It’s no use pretending otherwise and telling us, as Thomas Friedman did in the Times a few days ago, that educated people are the nation’s most valuable resources. Sure, they are, but do we still want them? It doesn’t look to me as if we do. The ideal citizen of a politically corrupt state, such as the one we now have, is a gullible dolt unable to tell truth from bullshit.

An educated, well-informed population, the kind that a functioning democracy requires, would be difficult to lie to, and could not be led by the nose by the various vested interests running amok in this country. Most of our politicians and their political advisers and lobbyists would find themselves unemployed, and so would the gasbags who pass themselves off as our opinion makers. Luckily for them, nothing so catastrophic, even though perfectly well-deserved and widely-welcome, has a remote chance of occurring any time soon. For starters, there’s more money to be made from the ignorant than the enlightened, and deceiving Americans is one of the few growing home industries we still have in this country. A truly educated populace would be bad, both for politicians and for business.


In the past, if someone knew nothing and talked nonsense, no one paid any attention to him. No more. Now such people are courted and flattered by conservative politicians and ideologues as “Real Americans” defending their country against big government and educated liberal elites. The press interviews them and reports their opinions seriously without pointing out the imbecility of what they believe. The hucksters, who manipulate them for the powerful financial interests, know that they can be made to believe anything, because, to the ignorant and the bigoted, lies always sound better than truth:

Christians are persecuted in this country.
The government is coming to get your guns.
Obama is a Muslim.
Global Warming is a hoax.
The president is forcing open homosexuality on the military.
Schools push a left-wing agenda.
Social Security is an entitlement, no different from welfare.
Obama hates white people.
The life on earth is 10,000 years old and so is the universe.
The safety net contributes to poverty.
The government is taking money from you and giving it to sex-crazed college women to pay for their birth control.

One could easily list many more such commonplace delusions believed by Americans. They are kept in circulation by hundreds of right-wing political and religious media outlets whose function is to fabricate an alternate reality for their viewers and their listeners. “Stupidity is sometimes the greatest of historical forces,” Sidney Hook said once. No doubt. What we have in this country is the rebellion of dull minds against the intellect. That’s why they love politicians who rail against teachers indoctrinating children against their parents’ values and resent the ones who show ability to think seriously and independently. Despite their bravado, these fools can always be counted on to vote against their self-interest. And that, as far as I’m concerned, is why millions are being spent to keep my fellow citizens ignorant.


Arguing with a believer is like playing chess...

Please don't indoctrinate me with religion...

Best T-shirt ever.

Dutch Catholic church castrated at least 10 boys and young men in 1950s

Henk Heithuis was 20 years old in 1956 when he was castrated in a Dutch Catholic hospital. Two years later he was dead. According to a report in the U.K. newspaper The Telegraph, Heithuis and at least nine others were surgically castrated on order of the Catholic church “as a treatment for homosexuality and also as a punishment for those who accused clergy of sexual abuse.”

The explosive allegations are part of a report by Dutch investigative journalist Joep Dohmen, who told the Telegraph that of the ten reports he uncovered, only Heithuis is named. As for the other nine, he said, “These cases are anonymous and can no longer be traced. There will be many more. But the question is whether those boys, now old men, will want to tell their story.”

The story of Henk Heithuis was brought to light by Dutch sculptor Cornelius Rogge, now 79, whose family knew Heithuis. Rogge first attempted to report the young man’s abuse at the hands of the church as part of an official inquiry launched in December of 2011 by Dutch cabinet minister Wim Deetman.

The Deetman inquiry chose not to look into the allegations, saying that there were “few leads to conduct further research.” Evidence emerged on Monday, however, that not only was the Catholic church ordering castrations, but that government inspectors were present at the meetings discussing castrations and that officials felt no particular need to consult the patients’ families.


Wow. And the church will continue to fight and deny, and apologists will twist into knots trying to rationalize it, as they always do...

Historian Connects Modern Humanism to the Enlightenment

AMHERST, NY—In a groundbreaking work of scholarship in the April/May 2012 edition of Free Inquiry titled “The Enlightenment, Naturalism, and the Secularization of Values,” historian Alan Charles Kors describes the evolution of thought and inquiry that led to the Enlightenment, and how the new conceptions of a secular morality set forth in the Enlightenment would blossom into what we now know today as modern humanism. Voices in the humanist movement frequently and proudly hearken back to the thinkers of the Enlightenment as their philosophical forebears, but little has been documented that explicitly spells out this connection, until now.

Kors, the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and editor of The Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, tells the story of a Europe emerging bruised by centuries of sectarian strife and violence, and therefore increasingly receptive to the thoroughly modern concept of tolerance of diversity. “It is a remarkable moment of the history of human consciousness,” writes Kors, “this generation that thought of itself as leading Europe from a phantasmagoric past into a world closer to the heart’s desire for happiness.”

Enlightenment-era thought challenged a long-hold belief in the presumptive authority of the Church and its clerics. Kors explains, “Anticlericalism was the most common denominator of the Enlightenment. Primarily deistic, it believed that God spoke to mankind through nature and nature alone and that the priests had usurped and falsified God’s voice in sectarian religions.” This idea that the nature of reality could be understood through careful, reasoned inquiry and experimentation, rather than through religious doctrine, serves as the underpinning for the secular humanist movement.

Gordon Gamm, a lawyer and longtime humanist activist, generously provided the funding for this essay and assisted Free Inquiry in commissioning this essay.


You can tell Monopoly is an old game...

13.7 Billion Years of Cosmic History. *MUST SEE*

All at the click of your mouse. This is awesome!


As long as you don't become one of those atheists...

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