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Archive for the ‘Atheism’ Category

south-park.jpgLast night’s episode of South Park was pure genius. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the show’s creators and writers, drew the analogy of lice living on a person’s head to humans living on planet earth. The real analogy, however, is not that humans are like wingless phthiraptra, but that the earth has a consciousness just like the planet of the lice (a humans head).

When one of the children washed his hair with a prescription shampoo to kill the lice, the lice reacted to the “catastrophe” by running for their lives to escape environmental destruction. The louse hero tried to warn his fellow lice that their “planet” had a consciousness and was reacting with harsh purposefulness. Rebuking the hero, and much like our contemporary world, there were political lice who stated that planets (nature) don’t have a life force or a consciousness, and that the catastrophe which wiped out the majority of the lice population was a “natural disaster,” a pure accident of nature.

People can say what they want about the alleged offensiveness of many South Park shows, but in my opinion, it is the most original thing going, on today’s networks anyway. We need more intellectual offensiveness.

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Bertrand Russel gives the most convincing argument for the non-existence of God due to his systematic approach and through applying previous theological concepts universally to include deity. Whereas previous theologians would proffer arguments such as First-Cause, their mistake was in exempting God from the process by which all other objects were defined and held accountable. The universal application of philosophical principles to include deity was the only intellectually honest approach used when juxtaposed to the likes of Anselm and Aquinas.

An example of this universal application was Russell’s “First-Cause Argument,” which is essentially, although not stated specifically, a refutation of Thomas Aquinas’s second of The Five Ways in proving God’s existence. Aquinas stated, “There is no case known… in which a thing is found to be that efficient cause of itself, for so it would be prior to itself, which is not possible… Therefore, it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.”(1) Much like U.S. Congressmen who exempt themselves from laws that are passed, St. Thomas is here exempting God from the same laws that he attributes as necessary to all other beings. This concept of divine exemption was not lost on Russell who addressed it immediately by referring to John Stuart Mill’s autobiography: “’My father taught me that the question ‘Who made me?’ cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question ‘Who made God?’”(2)

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After much contemplation regarding which philosopher’s view of human nature I most agree or disagree with, my answer is Arthur Schopenhauer and pessimism. My arrival at this conclusion is the argument of evidence that Schopenhauer used in determining there isn’t an “all-wise, all-good, and at the same time, all-powerful Being,” which governs our lives or is concerned with His work.(1)  One need only but look around at the vast amount of frustration, disappointment, and human sorrow that exists to reach the same conclusion. Therefore, the human experience provides plenty of readily available evidence that our condition is solely and succinctly an individual’s suffering.

Furthermore, given my agnostic viewpoints, Schopenhauer’s insistence on the truth of The Will as the eternal and universal force that governs man serves as a replacement for my skepticism in a personal and personified deity. The belief in a governing Will as a guiding force offers an explanation for the world’s troubles and fills the vacuum left by an otherwise absent god.

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Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by an east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura: Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can.

When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

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On Saturday, I attended my eleven-year-old daughter’s robotic engineering team event. Each year, the best and brightest young minds team up, build a robot, and then enter it in a competition which involves the robot performing a series of tasks on an obstacle course. The team is graded on presentation, engineering, and how quickly and accurately their robot completes tasks within a certain amount of time.

After getting up bright and early, we headed to the local university and registered. We waited for about 45 minutes before going to the auditorium for the opening ceremony.

When the master of ceremonies immediately asked for everyone to be quiet during the “Presentation of Colors,” led by none other than the local girl scout troop, I quietly sat there and watched them bring the flag onto the stage. Then, the MC began talking about military veterans and the current soldiers in Iraq who were “fighting for our freedom,” and I started to get a little irritated. Strangely, I had forgotten it was Veteran’s Day. Regardless, I sat there listening to the master of propaganda spew his patriotism all over the stage. When he was finished, he asked that everyone stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Like a disobedient servant, I stood, but that’s all I did. I didn’t recite; I didn’t put my hand over my heart. I listened to the words carefully while everyone was reciting in unison, but I couldn’t force myself to recite The Pledge. In fact, I was disgusted. First, I’m not going to swear allegiance to a flag, to the republic that it represents, or to (essentially) anything else. It’s not my nature, and I’m sure not going to pretend to be loyal to that perverted monstrosity in Washington, D.C. I’ll leave that to the citizens who prefer being raped by the government, and who seem unconcerned about the national debt, the trade deficit, illegal immigration, a backward educational system, sky-rocketing health care, ad infinitum. The reason those things I listed even exist is because of the corrupt entity in Washington that I’m being asked to swear allegiance. No thank you; I want no part of that.

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First, I’m not sure why silly issues like the Pledge of the Allegiance or worrying about which stores are saying “Merry Christmas!” during the holidays creates such a big furor among Americans. Really, who gives a shit? They’re trivial issues, usually brought up by zealots who think they have the inside track to righteousness and a monopoly on moral values. What it does, however, is provide a smoke screen to block debate and stop Americans from thinking about significant issues like the national debt, illegal immigration, a failing educational system, the trade deficit, the cost of health-care, etc. and the politicians who do nothing about them. “Hell, who cares if the country is broke, a school in California isn’t saying the Pledge of Allegiance!” says Joe Sixpack when the corrupt company he works for hands him his check that is losing value every year.

In any event, if more people knew why The Pledge was created in the first place, maybe more of them would stop reciting it.

The Pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy and read: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” However, Bellamy stated that the purpose of The Pledge was to teach obedience to state as a virtue.

Can you believe that? It’s a sickening concept, but the snake oil salesmen in Washington love it when their servants obey. Obedience to the state isn’t a virtue, is the antithesis of freedom, liberty, and the beliefs of the Founding Fathers, and is sheep like behavior. I, for one, won’t be lead to the slaughter.

It’s interesting that I found this story as I had an experience this past Saturday regarding The Pledge, which I’ll write about tomorrow.

California Students Ban Pledge of Allegiance – AOL News

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 11) – Student leaders at a California college have touched off a furor by banning the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings, saying they see no reason to publicly swear loyalty to God and the U.S. government.

The move by Orange Coast College student trustees, the latest clash over patriotism and religion in American schools, has infuriated some of their classmates — prompting one young woman to loudly recite the pledge in front of the board on Wednesday night in defiance of the rule.

“America is the one thing I’m passionate about and I can’t let them take that away from me,” 18-year-old political science major Christine Zoldos told Reuters.

“The fact that they have enough power to ban one of the most valued traditions in America is just horrible,” Zoldos said, adding she would attend every board meeting to salute the flag.

The move was led by three recently elected student trustees, who ran for office wearing revolutionary-style berets and said they do not believe in publicly swearing an oath to the American flag and government at their school. One student trustee voted against the measure, which does not apply to other student groups or campus meetings.

The ban follows a 2002 ruling by a federal appeals court in San Francisco that said forcing school children to recite the pledge was unconstitutional because of the phrase “under God.” The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the ruling on procedural grounds but left the door open for another challenge.

“That (‘under God’) part is sort of offensive to me,” student trustee Jason Ball, who proposed the ban, told Reuters. “I ‘m an atheist and a socialist, and if you know your history, you know that ‘under God’ was inserted during the McCarthy era and was directly designed to destroy my ideology.”

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I have had the privilege to debate a lady recently who chastised me for my use (and advocacy) of logic and reason when drawing conclusions about various claims. In her rant, she stated that people who thought creatively  would suffer “under my regime” as I would “squash them like a bug,” which I interpret to mean that I allegedly stand in opposition to anyone who doesn’t use reason and logic as the method of choice for truth discovery, investigation, and in constructing paradigms.

When she made the remark, it occurred to me like a lightning bolt from the heavens that creative thinking should never supplant critical thinking because creative thinking is not a method; it’s expression. Critical thinking is the method we use in making determinations, while creativity is used in the expression of those determinations.

All of this came about due to my rebuttal of her claim that the afterlife exists because it’s “too radical [of an idea] to dismiss.” My argument consisted of saying that a statement like that isn’t based on reasoning, logic, scientific investigation, etc., and is mainly an intellectual flight of fancy. Moreover, I stated that most people offer some reference when making a truth-claim, either by appealing to authority (argumentum ad verecundiam) or even utilizing something as shallow as anecdotal evidence, but at least they’re offering something.

Never in  all of my years had I heard someone say that something must be true because the idea was “too radical to dismiss.” That concept is devoid of all reason and shifts the veracity and validity of claims to the level of absurdity rather than to the arena of scientific and independent investigation. My frustration led me to say “If we apply the same logic, we also have to confirm as true that sticking a hot poker in your ass during sexual intercourse produces heightened orgasms” because the idea is “too radical to dismiss.” After all, it’s a radical idea, is it not?

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