Science in America — Neil deGrasse Tyson

April 20, 2017

A very powerful video that speaks for itself.

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Why I Know There Are No Gods

March 22, 2017

Background:

Formally, I classify myself as a gnostic atheist, meaning I know there are no gods. Most atheists (from what I read online) appear to be agnostic atheists, people who are without gods but who do not claim to know there are no gods. Some people who fit this description simply call themselves agnostic. But, on formal forums, like reddit’s atheism subreddit, all who are without gods are atheists and agnostic or gnostic is a statement of whether they know or have doubt. Similarly, they allow for agnostic theists, those who believe in god(s) but have some doubt.

Regarding knowledge:

In no other area of discussion do we expect certainty or proof when we speak of knowledge. Nearly all knowledge, outside of mathematics, is empirical knowledge, gained by empirical evidence.

Empirical evidence, also known as sensory experience, is the knowledge received by means of the senses, particularly by observation and experimentation. The term comes from the Greek word for experience, ἐμπειρία (empeiría).

After Immanuel Kant, in philosophy, it is common to call the knowledge gained a posteriori knowledge (in contrast to a priori knowledge).

This is the type of knowledge we use when we say that we know that if we drop a ball on the surface of the earth, it will fall. I don’t hear a whole lot of people telling me, you can’t claim to know that because you can’t prove it. But, indeed we cannot. We know the ball will fall because it has done so the last gazillion times we performed the experiment.

For some reason, most people expect that if you say that you know there are no gods, that this one case of knowledge requires certainty. We do not require certainty from any other type of knowledge. Why do we demand certainty to state knowledge only when we are discussing knowledge of the existence or non-existence of gods?

Why this one?

Nowhere in the definition of knowledge does it ever specify that we must have 100% certainty.

So, when I say I know there are no gods, I mean it the same way that I know the ball will drop or that I know the planet on which we live will continue to rotate through the night causing the appearance of a sunrise in the morning, even if it is blocked by clouds. Night will become day as the earth rotates. I know it. You know it. We cannot prove it to 100% certainty. We only know that it has always done so before.

Classifying gods:

To begin our discussion, we have to classify gods. This way we can address different claims of gods individually.

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Proof of Evolution in our Vestiges

March 20, 2016

I doubt I get many readers who doubt evolution. But, some of these are kind of cool and might help if you end up debating nutjobs who think we were created by God in our present state sometime after the actual human invention of agriculture.


New England Journal of Medicine Makes a Powerful Statement about Planned Parenthood

August 15, 2015

This article should be the end of this whole discussion.

Fetal Tissue Fallout

Unfortunately, I doubt that a write-up in a medical journal will get as much airplay as the guy with the dead orange tribble on his head or even as much air play as Jeb “my brother didn’t do it” Bush. Would this be called “hot air play”?

Anyway, The New England Journal of Medicine is solidly and squarely on the side of Planned Parenthood.

So am I.

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Political Messages From Churches Void Tax-Free Status

August 10, 2015

I don’t often post pages from the IRS website. In fact, this is my first. The title basically says it all. Any church that espouses a political opinion loses its tax exempt status. Actually, it’s not just churches. This is the reason that contributions to the ACLU are not tax deductible and never have been.

Any 501(c)(3) organization that gets involved in politics is perfectly free to do so, at the expense of their tax-free status. So, the next time you hear some preacher going on about Obamacare or Democrats or anything else that advocates a particular political position, report them to the IRS.

This is not new. This has been the law for a very long time.

Here’s the link directly to the IRS site that talks about this issue.

http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Charitable-Organizations/The-Restriction-of-Political-Campaign-Intervention-by-Section-501%28c%29%283%29-Tax-Exempt-Organizations

If we all make the call whenever we hear about it, perhaps word will get around that churches have free speech regarding politics, but it’s not free. (Meaning they are within their rights to say it. But, it could cost them tax dollars.)


Holy Shit!! Literally. How to Persuade an Atheist to Become Christian. Yeah. Right.

April 15, 2015

I can’t believe people actually think like this. What a load of horseshit! Holy horseshit, that is. This is actually a serious page with step-by-step instructions for trying to convince atheists to become Christian.

This will convince no one! <== Click this for laughs.

How to Persuade an Atheist to Become Christian: Provide evidence. Hard scientific evidence.

Then, when you’re done with that, be prepared to convince that former atheist that your god is worthy of worship rather than contempt.

Good luck!


Secular Jews: Time to Speak Out Against Haredi Practices (the Ultra-Orthodox Jews)

February 11, 2015

We secular Jews do know that Jews have a long history of persecution. As such, we as a group are hypersensitive to the merest hint of antisemitism, regardless of how religious we are. This is why this message must come from Jews, so there can be no hint of antisemitism.

As an side, I also prefer when criticism of the Westboro Batshit Crazies and other Christian extremists comes from within Christianity. Though, clearly I’ll do my part criticizing them as well.

I should state that I fully believe that everyone, including Haredi Jews, is entitled to their own mishigas. I do not hate Haredi Jews. I hate what they are doing. There is a difference. This is about their actions, not about their right to believe, not about hatred for any human beings.

It’s about being moral and decent human beings in a modern world.

What I believe Haredis are not entitled to do is to be bad neighbors. When they leave their homes, they need to be members of modern society in the modern world. They must not expect others to give them special privileges. Nor can they require that others dress according to their standards. Nor can they take over public land. Nor can they vandalize public or private property.

What many of today’s Haredi Jews are doing in the modern world is unconscionable.

I hope that some Haredi Jews will read this and will not hate me for these opinions. I do not hate them for their opinions. I do not hate Haredi Jews at all. I do hate a lot of the actions of the Haredi community, especially the ones that make the news. These actions make me embarrassed to be a Jew.

I also hope that if non-Jews read this, that this will not be a cause of antisemitism. Remember as you read this, even if you find some of these actions as abhorrent as I do that not only are the people committing these actions Jewish, so is the author of this article. There are also many other actions taken by these same people that may be quite beautiful. I am merely criticizing a subset of the Jewish community for a particular type of interaction with the outside world.

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