I am an atheist and the blogger at www.reason-being.com
Well done Martin. I would also like to point out that Soraya Chemaly's article was also brilliant. I was quite disgusted by the media coverage of the Stubenville case here in the States. There is a very dark part of human culture regarding rape (as the commenter before me, Simon, wrote). This needs to change. The rape victim is never responsible for what happens to her (or him). It matters not where she walks or what she wears. A choice by the perpetrator must be made to violate the body of the victim against that person's will or without their consent. Period. The entirety of the blame lies on the perpetrator, not the victim.
I would also like to point out, that to imply that a "woman was asking for it" because of how she dresses or where she was walking, etc, is incredibly to offensive to her (for the reasons I pointed out above) and also to men. Am I to believe that I, as a man, have no self-control? Are we to believe that men cannot stop themselves from raping simply because a woman is wearing provocative clothes? Of course not! That notion is absurd. It is well past time that we all stand up and put the blame for rape where it solely belongs: on the rapist.
2 years, 1 month ago on The Rape Blame Game
Well said Martin. I think that people (like Shaun below) want to solely focus on the "good" things that a religion can bring to a society. Unfortunately, we do not have that luxury and it is dishonest. We must look at the full picture of what a religion states--both the "good" and the "bad". I would argue that there is far more in the "bad" category and that most, if not all, of what is in the "good" category can be achieved through secular means/organizations/charities.
2 years, 3 months ago on Don’t Read This Rant on Religion
@blamer Well said Sir. I would also point out that while it seems that Shaun is a decent enough person, he seems to be cherry-picking the NT if he does not acknowledge that there are numerous examples in that book for condemning non-believers, homosexuals, mistreatment of women, etc. I am glad to see that he does not hold those beliefs, but we cannot pretend that his holy in fact does.
@DrBobMI Bob, I you are splitting hairs. The local troops fall under the umbrella of the BSA. While the money from the Tree sale stays local, that is no excuse to support the organization as a whole. You seem to be willing the excuse the anti-homosexual and anti-atheist policies of the larger organization for local groups. That is not something that I can abide. I personally knew someone who was removed as a Asst. Scout leader for being gay. He was removed locally where I grew up in the Boston, MA area. The National organization was not involved. Where I live now, in Duluth, MN I know of a young man was about to earn his Eagle Scout badge and was removed, again entirely locally, when he had the courage to come out of the closet as a homosexual. Your willingness to tolerate or turn a blind eye to the fact that these things happen locally is not something that I can do.
Further, I would argue that in now way should we be supporting the right or these kids to attend a camp that is not run on solely the local Troop level. So before chastising Martin and the other bloggers who participated in this event, you should perhaps realize that many of us were well aware that the Tree Sale solely affects local Troops, further, that we feel that localized discrimination is not any better than national discrimination.
2 years, 4 months ago on Boy Scouts America: Anti Gay, Anti Atheist (BSA Blog Carnival)
Thanks for posting Martin. I really appreciate it. Great post as always!
FYI--It won't let me take the pledge, as I do not have 4 digit postal code here in the U.S.
2 years, 5 months ago on November 25 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – White Ribbon Day
Great Post Martin. I stand with you and will take the pledge as soon as I click "post comment" below. Violence against women is a major problem that is exasperated by silence against it.
Well done Martin. It seems that skepticism, or perhaps, just basic critical thinking, is something that we often have to explain over and over again. The concept of evidence is also important. People will generally accept religious claims with far less evidence than they would any other area in their lives. I think most people know how to do it, but fail to apply to their gods, angels, and other religious areas.
I think it was also important that you flush out the idea that is not our job, as atheists, do disprove things like angels, but rather the theist to provide evidence for their existence.
2 years, 5 months ago on Q: How Many Angels On The Head Of A Pin?
@Scotsmanmatt "confident trust in a person, thing or idea" is not based on faith, at least for me, and many others that I know. If I have confident trust in something, it is for a reason(s)...faith, has nothing to do it with it. You are attempting to play a semantics game, based on a random definition of faith, probably from a dictionary, that is not applicable to this conversation. Rather, the definition you are attempting to use is the common misuse of the word in every day speech. When someone expects their spouse to be home from work at 6:00, they may say they "have faith that she will be home by 6:00". However, faith has nothing to do it with. They have this conclusion because perhaps she is home by that time every day, perhaps they spoke on the phone, etc...there is a reason why they feel this way and the word "faith" is often misused in this manner. The real definition of faith---belief in something without evidence---never enters into the equation.
2 years, 5 months ago on Faith and the Non-Answer
Great post Martin. I spend a decent amount of time on twitter having these conversations. Most of the time I run into one of the scenarios that you describe above, or something similar. I often realize that I will never change the mind of the person that I am tweeting with, if they are having this discussion with me, they are probably "too far gone" to be deconverted over Twitter. However, I have many followers who are not atheists, nor are they devout worshipers of any religion. It is often those people that I hope "have a seed planted".
Well done Martin. I can't help but think of true philosophical skepticism when you write about hyper skepticism. This type of mindset is unsustainable as eventually the holder would believe nothing. It is quite possible to be too skeptical. The point you make about reasonable doubt and following evidence are a key part to a healthy skeptical life. Too often, these things are forgotten.
2 years, 6 months ago on The Hyper-Skeptic Problem
@blamer I understand what you are saying, and agree with you. However, how does that make it a weak link in the argument, you lost me there...sorry...
2 years, 7 months ago on The Many Problems Of Belief, Doctrine and Atheism
@blamer I agree with Blamer. There is little here to disagree with. It is incredibly important that seek out views opposite our own. The minute we think we have "it" all figured out...we are most likely incorrect. Hearing opposing viewpoints is a key to furthering our own knowledge. Doing so in a way that creates monsters does not further that end.
2 years, 7 months ago on Making Monsters – By Tauriq Moosa
Excellent post Martin. You wrote, "...the enemy is not atheism; the enemy is information and knowledge". I very much agree with that assessment. I think it is why so many atheists get the label of elitist (in an educational sense) as if having knowledge were a negative thing. See Rick Santorum's recent comment, "we will never have the elite smart people on our side (conservatism)". From a very pious Catholic, he bolsters your point well.
I also think your paragraph outlining why theists dislike atheists was succinct and spot on.
The question that I have is where do we go from here. In the comments below Troy mentions that we live in a world of constant information. It would appear that ideas between religions and between atheists and theists will continue to collide. What will win out..."elitist" knowledge or centuries old superstition? It is m fervent hope that the former wins the day, but I fear the outcome is far from determined.
I find it interesting to see that Ken Ham says that by not teaching Creationism we will limit kids critical thinking skills. Face Palm. What troubles me most is how well spoken and rational he will appear to the credulous. There is no doubt that people will buy everything he said. Probably because they lack the critical thinking skills he was talking about earlier.
I can't watch the second video at this time. My brain hurts too much. Will come back and watch later.
2 years, 7 months ago on Bill Nye vs Those Who DeNye – A Discussion
@martinspribble No. To attempt such a thing would knock the world off its axis and propel us straight into the sun! God I think I lost IQ points watching those videos.
I am very encouraged to see that so many of your respondents see the need to speak out. For me, the reasons why they came to that conclusion can and will vary, but are also less important, than feeling a need to speak out. There are many great reasons to speak out. Take your pick---but don't stay silent!
2 years, 7 months ago on 3 Questions – The Results Part Two
The "nuttery" of fundamentalism does seem to be everywhere. On my blog, I tend to focus more on the American side of things, as that is where I live. However, The Family, seems to be as toxic as anything we have here. This type of nonsense needs to be called out and reasonably criticized whenever and wherever we see it.
2 years, 8 months ago on Welcome to The Family
Well said Martin. As you pointed out on my site, I said something very similar. I am referring to your first two paragraphs. I have not yet had time to watch the videos.
2 years, 8 months ago on Joel Cohen on Big Think – Demography and the Real Challenges of Humanism
Well said Martin. As an American I could not agree with you more. The voices of the Religious Right are drowning out all other voices. It is one of the things that prompted me to start my blog this past January. One of the saddest facts, at least to me, is that I feel that many of my fellow citizens do not even know what is happening. I have friends who are apathetic atheists, friends who are Catholic (but haven't been to church in 20 years) and they vote Republican unaware (at least until I tell them) about the GOP's relationship with the Religious Right.
Something needs to change in this country, but I fear that change will be slow. Those of us who criticize the religion inherent on the political right these days are often marginalized. None the less, we are growing and becoming more vocal. It may be a while before we can turn back the tide of the Religious Right, but this November will be a big test--the results are much more important than many of my fellow citizens realize I fear.
2 years, 8 months ago on Dear America, We Need To Start Seeing Other People
@cjane9450 No need to change my mind...I agree with you. I meant paying jobs in the workforce when I said production. I find it abhorrent that the "workplace" still has so many glass ceilings and in many cases, such as my wife's job is still overtly sexist. In no way did I mean to disparage women who run a household--that is a serious job! I apologize if my original wording was unclear.
2 years, 8 months ago on Why I Am A Feminist
Well said Kim. (and Emily below me). There is a place for all sorts of tactics when it comes to this debate. Sometimes, people need to "hit over the head" with something---something you call "antics". There is a place for that. Other times, rational discussion will better serve. I think that the antics in question do need to fall under certain guidelines--one can go to far. I also agree with Emily in her praising you for continued self-evaluation. That is something that we all must do. It becomes dangerous when we think we can no longer improve.
2 years, 8 months ago on Atheist “Antics” AND Secular Change by Kim Rippere
Well said Martin. Feminism is so important in our world today. It does not in any way mean misandry, yet this is how so many opponents of feminism view things.
The article you quote is brilliant. Women are 50% of our population but are certainly not contributing to 50% of production. The reason for this is often sexism--in the many forms that you point out. The way for a better quality of life for all of us, particularly for women, is through feminism and education. Well said.
Men who "stand to lose the most" and oppose feminism do not like to be labelled sexist. However, they are a part of the problem--perhaps the biggest part of the problem. If they do no like the label, they should not condone and take part in that sort of behavior.
Perhaps I am a stick in the mud, but I cannot imagine ever finding a rape joke funny. Rape, I think we all agree, is a terrible crime. While people have a right to make whatever jokes they want, why choose to make light of something so serious? I don't get it.
I also agree with Martin's point that making rape jokes helps to normalize it. I do not see much good coming from that.
Comedians will make the jokes that will earn them money. They have every right to do so. I for one, will not be laughing at jokes that I find offensive...rape falls into that category. If audiences take a moment to think of the horror that is rape and cease their laughter, I would certainly welcome that.
2 years, 9 months ago on Rape, Still Not Funny
Great Interview. If you all are not familiar with Deity Shmeity, you should check it out. Its a great blog!
2 years, 10 months ago on Interview with me over at Deity Shmeity
Good post. I also got that question from Grundy for my interview on Deity Shmeity and have been thinking about it since then (good question to ask Grundy). First, I would certainly want the definition of god defined. Below, DeityShmeity mentions he means god as the Creator of the Universe. I am not sure what it would take to convince of that definition of god.
If a being presented itself to be truly omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, if a being could work some miracles along the lines of wiping out disease with a thought---etc-- I could see myself giving some serious thought to "is this creature god"--even if I grant that---I do not see how I would make the leap that this being is the Creator of the Universe. I am not sure I can go that far.
2 years, 10 months ago on Could A God Prove Its Existence?
@blamer Interesting point bud. However, I do not see Catholicism as having a "culture of life". So much of their power comes from the fear humans have of death. The entire religion is based upon spending eternity in heaven and bliss---after we die. If remove the fear of death from Catholicism, the entire religion would crumble. To me, they rely on a "culture of death" to survive.
2 years, 10 months ago on From Mortality to Morality – The Key to Religious Power
Great post Martin. I always find it curious when Catholic Bishops talk about the growing secular movement as a "culture of death" and Catholicism as a "culture of life". I would have to say they have it backwards. As you point out, without a fascination on death, they lose much of their power. Yet, us secular folks are very much aware of our lives and the importance of making the most of it. It is the religions of the world (at least the monotheistic ones) that are focused on death.
This ties into the frustration I always feel when the topic of morality comes up with theists. A set of rules, designed to lead to an eternal reward (or damnation if not followed) is absurd. For one, as you point out, the idea of an afterlife is unknowable at best, and sheer nonsense at worst (I vote for the latter). Second, basing one's morality on the promise of an eternal reward is hardly moral---it is just looking for a prize. A person who does the "right thing" without the promise of a reward is the more moral person in my view.
Great post. What Jerry, and others like him have done, takes great courage. I can't imagine it being that hard to come out as an atheist personally, though I know it is for so many. He is an inspiration to many, and will continue to be so for those who have yet to come out.
Great quote by Barker at the end. I really enjoyed that.
2 years, 10 months ago on Random Entries by Jerry DeWitt