Archive for ‘General’ Category

Of Bunnies and Eggs…

datePosted on 13:50, April 10th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

Being an atheist and trying to raise a child sometimes presents interesting challenges. I come from a Reform Jewish background and my wife comes form a Catholic/Lutheran one. This time of year is particularly challenging. Most Jews are observing the Passover holiday. This celebrates the merciless god Yahweh killing tens of thousands of innocent Egyptian children. Well, in all fairness the Jews celebrate the fact that Yahweh killed the Egyptian children but spared the Hebrew ones. The whole idea always made me sick so I decided long ago not to celebrate or even acknowledge Passover.

Easter has always been difficult because it falls on different days each year.

After several centuries of disagreement, all churches accepted the computation of the Alexandrian Church (now the Coptic Church) that Easter is the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, which is the first moon whose 14th day (the ecclesiastic “full moon”) is on or after March 21 (the ecclesiastic “vernal equinox”).
–Wikipedia

As for why we have Easter in the first place;  Christians celebrate their bastard child coming back to life and somehow merging with Yahweh and some type of spirit or ghost. The end result is that now all people are sinners and the bastard child died for their sins. The reason why you are a sinner is because 5000 years ago a woman made from a rib bone had a conversation with a talking snake and ate a magical piece of fruit. An absolutely ridiculous and unsatisfying story. We don’t “celebrate” this either. No, we celebrate bunnies and eggs.

We celebrate bunnies and chocolate eggs. We celebrate having our daughter look for plastic eggs that we’ve hidden through the house and filled with candy. We explain that it is a minor holiday celebrating the beginning of Spring Break. When my daughter is older we will explain the awful roots of the holiday, but for right now she can enjoy it as a silly fun festival of bunnies and eggs.

Rasmussen Apologizes to Islam

datePosted on 17:13, April 6th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

Newly nominated NATO Secretary General and former Prime Minster of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, formally apologized in Istanbul Turkey today for the Danish cartoons that satirized the Islamic prophet Mohammad back in 2006.

“I was deeply distressed that the cartoons were seen by many Muslims as an attempt by Denmark to mark and insult or behave disrespectively towards Islam or the Prophet Mohammad. Nothing could be further from my mind.”

This was the man that defended freedom of speech and was the hero of all of Europe. But now he wants to be Secretary General so he feels he needs to capitulate to the Islamic intolerance (in order to get Turkey’s vote). I realize this is not a complete apology – and hopeful it stops here – but it’s still bullshit! No other religion on the face of the earth is as intolerant and uncompromisingly arrogant as Islam. Every single day people say horrible things and propagate lies about non-believers. George Bush the elder claimed,

“…I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”

Did Bush, or will anyone ever apologize – no! But then atheists don’t threaten to kill in the name of pretend gods or prophets.

Church and State Separation Benefits All

datePosted on 14:31, April 6th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

In a unanimous ruling, the Iowa State Supreme Court overturned a ten-year lower court ruling banning same sex marriages in Iowa. The ruling is well worded and very relevant. It grants that same sex marriages are legal in Iowa, while also preserving a particular religion’s right to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman so they can discriminate as they see fit. It states that public policy will not be dictated by any particular religious ideology. This is really a win for both the religious and the non-religious, as well as, both the straight and the gay – all people benefit from this. It has already been suggested that this decision will instigate a large shift in the population of LGBTs to Iowa, thus stimulating their economy. Good for Iowa. I was going to say that I applaud their progressive thinking. But then, Thomas Jefferson actually came up with the idea of keeping religion out of public policy over two hundred years ago. So, thank you Iowa for having the courage to uphold the constitution.

Texas Schools Fall; Rest of the Nation to Follow?

datePosted on 13:19, March 30th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

The State of Texas has joined the ranks of others in helping to “dumb down” our nation’s children. Religious radicals tried to infuse a new version of creationism, called “strengths and weaknesses’ into the state school curriculum. That measure was fortunately defeated by one vote. However, they did succeed in weakening many of the scientific principles that our children are supposed to be learning. Basically, teachers will now have the ability to teach other alternative nonsense if they themselves don’t understand or approve of modern scientific concepts.

The Texas idea is to expose students to alternative ideas. What alternatives? Alternatives to reality? Evolution, cell theory, and a 13.7 billion-year-old expanding universe are all scientific facts. To call them anything else is a lie. I do believe that creationism should be taught in schools. Yes I do – in history or mythology classes. Not in science classes. When will people stop electing morons to school boards? Religions posit supernatural explanations for things that have actual explanations. Science is about the real world we live in. Not an imaginary one. I love the Harry Potter stories and watch the movies with my daughter. But I would object strongly to the teaching of witchcraft as an alternative to medical principles or astrology as an alternative to astronomy in our schools. There has never been a single valid idea proposed as an alternative to evolutionary theory – never. No, god is not a scientific theory. You can not test an imaginary friend.

The sad part of this story is that Texas is one of largest markets for textbooks. The textbook manufactures are going to make books based on the recommendations by school boards. So, if Texas says it’s alright to say the universe is only 6,000 years old, that asinine concept will find its way into textbooks that are used all across the nation. Texas will doom not only its own children but those of the entire nation.

If you do not want to return to the Dark Ages – the time when religion ruled the world and the average life expectancy was 35 – then get involved now! Call, write, email your local and state school board members. Talk to them. Engage them in dialog about their position on teaching science in science classes. If they are illiterate and live in a fantasy world, expose them and vote them out. The future of our nation depends on it.

Battlestar Galactica and God

datePosted on 19:45, March 24th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

In a slight departure from the normal theme of this website I want to talk about sci-fi. I recently watched the final episode of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. The four year run of the Sci-Fi Channel’s remake of the 1970’s hit show came to its climactic conclusion. As a sci-fi fan I had watch every episode and was eagerly waiting for all of the loose ends to be tied up. The Sci-Fi Channel had promoted the event with the slogan “You will know the truth.” Well the truth came and exploded with the impact of a supernova across this atheist’s brain. Their “truth” was: God!

—Spoiler Warning—

For those that have no idea of what I’m talking about, Battlestar Galactica was an experiment in television. It was, in my opinion, one of the most violent, graphic, engaging and mysterious adventures in television history. The plot lines at times made episodes of “Lost” seem like a Disney movie. The show was about the last survivors of the human race fleeing from a robotic race that they had created, the Cylons. The Cylons had turned on their creators and destroyed the 12 planetary worlds of the humans and were now pursuing the lone survivors. The humans were trying to reach a mythic “13th tribe” that according to legend split off from the rest of civilization thousands of years prior. The home of the 13th tribe was called Earth.

In addition to all of the special effects, dramatic plot lines, very adult themes and all of the other things made the show exciting; BSG was heaped in lots of mysticism and religion. I realized this from the start but because the production value was so high and the plot was so good I watched anyway. Besides almost everyone (humans) practiced a polytheistic religion so I didn’t take it too seriously. Some of the main characters were atheists, so I was content. As the show moved on there was an increasing amount of emphasis on prophesies and the idea of destiny. All of this was mixed with healthy skepticism so it really didn’t bother me. Well in the end, they answered all of the impossible to answer mysteries they had created over the past four years with one answer, “It was the will of God.”

Instead of even attempting to describe any of the unanswered questions and crazy story lines they had created, they pretty much invoked a deus ex machina and had the main characters literally say, “It was in God’s plan.” I dug around and found an interview with Ron Moore, the executive producer and found these interesting comments:

“I sort of assumed that the Colonials would have a belief system and figured it would probably be polytheistic, that seemed to be what they referred to in the original… “But it wasn’t really until relatively late in the game that I sort of randomly gave the Cylons a belief system.” …”I was in the middle of creating the characters and I was working on some lines for Number Six (a Cylon character) and I thought it was interesting if she professed a belief in God, in a single God.”
…”There came this notion of this outside monotheistic belief of the one true God that could not tolerate others, that started to drive out pagan worship and that fit very nicely with what we were doing with the show.”

Ron Moore, executive producer

The end of the series also promotes the idea of Intelligent Design. We (modern-day humans) are descended from a Cylon-Human child that was part of the original landing party on Earth 150,000 years ago. In other words we didn’t evolve – at least not on Earth. We are also shown that this has been a cycle that had been going on for quite some time and that maybe this time the cycle will be broken. Yes, there are many elements of Eastern Hindu – Jainism – Buddhism in there as well. The idea that humans were “planted” on Earth in accordance to a plan is just a bit much for me to swallow. I love sci-fi, and BSG will always remain one of my favorite shows. But I’m disappointed and feel a bit let down with final episode. Once again, something that was so wonderful has been riuned by religion. The theists will probably have a field day with this one – and I can’t blame then. In the sci-fi world of Battlestar Galactica, God reigns supreme:(

Can I have your stuff during lent?

datePosted on 17:21, March 24th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

I was talking with someone who told me they gave up chocolate for lent. I like chocolate so I got the idea that perhaps I could offer up my services to to consume their chocolate for them. In fact, why not offer to consume all of the items that Catholics give up for lent. We non-theists do not believe in sacrificing the things we enjoy for some non-existent imaginary friend. So, this would be our way of reaching out to our religious friends and showing them we are good people who want to help them. If we all did this every year it might bring us closer to together and ease tensions between theists and non-theists. Just an idea.

US Endorses Gay Rights

datePosted on 12:32, March 18th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

Today the United States officially endorsed the United Nations declaration that calls for the decriminalization of homosexuality. What does this have to do with Atheism? The Vatican and all Islamic countries opposed it. They opposed it because it goes against their silly superstitions. The declaration sends a message that religious dogma should not dictate public policy. Whether you approve or disapprove of homosexuality, your opinion should not be based on religious rhetoric.

Secularism Is On The Rise

datePosted on 14:00, March 10th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

Trinity College of Hartford Connecticut has released its American Religious Identification Survey for 2008. The results have been posted all over the internet in one form or another. For those who haven’t read it, the link to the actual report is below. Yes America is becoming more secular! Atheists and Agnostics have increased more than any of the religious groups – 6.8%. The biggest losers were mainline Protestants with a reduction of 5.8%. Specifically, the report categorized Atheists as having a presence in the United States of 0.7%, or 1,625,000 people. Those listed as none/no religion (which includes Atheists) is a whopping 15% of the population, or 34,169,000 people!

Many Christian sites have been crying that a more secular America means a decline in values. Far from it! This is wonderful news. I would argue that the United States is becoming “more moral,” rather than less. A more secular America means more people are accepting the reality that this life is the real and only life they will ever have. So, perhaps they will take better care of it instead of vesting most of their time fantasizing about an after life that will never come. A more secular America can lead to less hatred, prejudice, repression and all of the other “gifts” that religion bestows upon humankind. More and more people are leaving mainline religions and questioning the very concept of a personal god. Most importantly, more and more people are realizing that they do have control over their lives. They need not be slaves to ill-conceived superstitions written thousands of years ago by barbaric tribal elders.

http://b27.cc.trincoll.edu/weblogs/AmericanReligionSurvey-ARIS/reports/p1a_belong.html

When I read this I did a double take. It’s kind of hard to believe. The House of Representatives of the Oklahoma State Legislature is trying to pass a resolution that they disapprove of Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins and the teaching of evolution:

  

…NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 52ND OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives hereby expresses its disapproval of the current indoctrination of the Darwinian theory of evolution at the University of Oklahoma and further requests that an open, dignified, and fair discussion of this idea and all other ideas be engaged in on campus which is the approach that a public institution should be engaged in and which represents the desire and interest of the citizens of Oklahoma.

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representative strongly opposes the invitation to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma to Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published statements on the theory of evolution and opinion about those who do not believe in the theory are contrary and offensive to the views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma…

(From House Resolution 1014)

  
This is a perfect example of why there is so much conflict between science and religion. The State of Oklahoma Legislature, apparently completely scientifically illiterate, is wasting it’s time bashing scientists and science in general. It sounds like a deliberate attempt to get science removed from public schools. Oklahoma has a long history of trying to get religious doctrine imposed on its residents. By formally denouncing science and scientific discussion they are just proving to the rest of the world how backward and archaic they truly are. The next step will probably be to formally support creationism as an “alternative” to science in the classroom! The University invited, and most likely paid for, Dawkins to speak. Hopefully the students that are privileged to hear Dawkins speak will be empowered to run for public office and replace the morons currently running their state. In the mean time, I will add Oklahoma to Kansas, Tehran, Islamabad, and all of the other places I shall never visit.

Vatican Acknowledges Evolution Again

datePosted on 16:11, March 3rd, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said today that the Catholic Church does not impede scientific realities like evolution. He further went on to say that even though evolution is a reality, it does not prove there is no God. Levada said atheists like evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins were “absurd” to think that evolution disproves the existence of God.

The good Cardinal obviously has it slightly wrong. Evolution disproves the “need” for a god. With the forces of evolution guiding our development, there would be nothing for a god to do. Besides you can not disprove something that does not exist in the first place. However, at least he made a very clear statement that the current Catholic Church supports the Theory of Evolution. Levada also said that intelligent design is “unscientific” and should not be taught along side of evolution in school classrooms (Fundamentalists take note). Of course we have heard this all before and then the Vatican reversed it’s position.

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