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Beyond Saving's picture

A History of US Economic Law Part 9: Laying Groundwork

Shortly after the Panic of 1907 (that I discussed in part 7) Congress passed the Aldrich-Vreeland Act. The act was primarily the creation of Senator Nelson W. Aldrich who secretly brought together a small group of powerful bankers Henry Davison, A. Piatt Andrew, Benjamin Strong, Paul Warburg, and Frank Vanderlip. He sequestered them on Jekyll Island and they devised a rough plan. The Aldrich-Vreeland Act was presented to the Senate without anyone knowing how it was written a secret that was kept from the public until the 1930's. An account of the meeting can be found in a newspaper article written by Vanderlip, one of the attendees. The law was passed by a partisan vote and quickly signed into law by Roosevelt.

digitalbeachbum's picture

why is Scientology labeled as a religion and why do they have tax exempt status?

I started to follow the "divorce" of katie and douche and eventually started trying to figure out douchetology.

As I researched the web I dug deep in to the history of scientology and their battle with the IRS. Some of you might not know this, but they infiltrated the us government and were nabbed. Many years later, their douche leader dies and they continue, until 1996 to argue they deserve to be a religion and tax exempt.

I don't have much other than rumors, but it appears they did some counter intel on the IRS and blackmailed some people in to dropping the case.

Why are they considered a religion? They do not have a god. The definition of a religion, in fact the origin of the word is to have supernatural practice, which this "science" has absolutely no connection.

So if they have no god. No supernatural practice. Then why does a hack like Hubbard get to fake people out by making bullshit pulp fiction in to a practice which deserves the same considerations as (and I hate to say this) real religions deserve?

 

 

KnockEmOuttt's picture

Pat Robertson and the Sikh Temple Shooting.

The eternally obtuse Pat Robertson has blamed the recent shooting at a Sikh temple on atheism and atheists. What a myopic generalization.

It doesn't surprise me that Robertson would take a Christian man's attack on Sikhs whom he's mistaken to be Muslim as an opportunity to debase atheists. Pat Robertson loves a chance to tell the world he's holier than them. Unfortunately, he's still got a rather large following who agree. Still, his assertion that atheism is to blame for this attack has got to be one of the most ridiculous accusations I've heard from him in a while.

 

Sapient's picture

Selling my collection of atheist autographs to support this site

In an attempt to raise money to help cover costs associated with our network of atheist sites I have decided to sell some of my personal collection of autographed books and items.  Everything is priced very fairly compared to other similar items on Ebay.  Thanks for looking, and thanks for any purchases you make.  Most of the items were signed in my presence.  If they were not, they were sent to me directly by the person who signed.  This is a great way for you to donate to RRS and the upcoming Atheism United and get something back for your donation.  Other atheist books are available at our Amazon store.

All items are currently at Amazon warehouse and will be fulfilled and handled by Amazon's excellent customer service. 

God Who Wasn't There Movie signed by filmmaker Brian Flemming $39.99 $18.99

Beyond Saving's picture

A History of US Economic Law Part 8: Regulating Food

 In 1906, two laws were passed that laid the groundwork for what would become the Food & Drug Administration. There was a book written by Upton Sinclair a progressive/socialist muckraker that was intended to show the plight of poor immigrants in the US called "The Jungle". The book became quite popular, but much to Sinclair's surprise the public reaction to it pretty much ignored his economic points. Instead, the focus was on the vivid descriptions of unsanitary conditions in meat packing houses.

President Roosevelt was reportedly suspicious of Sinclair but decided to dispatch two people he trusted, Charles P. Neil and James Reynolds, to inspect meat packing plants in Chicago. The Neil-Reynolds report found that the worst of Sinclair's accusations were complete falsehoods (Sinclair had claimed that people fell into vats and were ground up as burger while no one did anything, rat infestations etc.). However, they did report on various unsanitary practices such as failure to regularly clean certain rooms. A transcript of their testimony to congress is available here.

KnockEmOuttt's picture

Reasoning God: 10 "Logical" Arguments Deconstructed

I'm sure at some point we've all run into those most clever of theists who use "logic" to "prove" the existence of god. In this scenario, the demands of evidence for god's existence are usually met with some kind of explanation beginning with something generally accepted as truth which is then manipulated step-by-step resulting in some kind of "proof" that god must exist, based on the fact that the root argument is in some way irrefutable. They tend to rely on philosophical doublespeak, and are meant to confuse the person on the receiving end into thinking they've been provided with an argument for which there is no other answer, which in actuality is not the case. The following (taken from www.godlessgeeks.com. I thank them for this list, some of which is absolutely hilarious) are some prime (albeit skeletal: when presented during an actual argument, they are often made to look much deeper and more poetic, which is part of what makes them so confusing to some people) examples which I will break down, discredit, and reject:

 

1. ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
(1) I define God to be X.
(2) Since I can conceive of X, X must exist.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

 

KnockEmOuttt's picture

Evidence and the Scientific Method: Breaking Down the Burden of Proof

I'm aware that many things have been said and written on the burden of proof, and why it does not rest on the side of the atheist. That said, I'd like to put my two cents in.

 

I am often asked by religious folks to prove definitively that there is no god. Whenever I reply that I cannot absolutely and irrevocably prove that god does not exist I am often rebuked, scoffed at, and told that I must be wrong.

 

Incorrect.

 

Now I can go on about the burden of proof and how it's not my job to disprove god, but it always comes back to the rather superficial argument that I'm merely trying to back out of the argument and claim victory without doing any work. This is simply not so. I am following a standard of scientific process. If you make a claim, I'm going to ask you to prove it. If you are going to propose god, you've got to follow up accordingly. This is rarely the case, I am again told that I am the one who needs to provide evidence.

KnockEmOuttt's picture

On Atheism

 Reposted here from my tumblr as a first contribution.


So I’m thinking about this today. Don’t know why but here it goes.

So someone said to me the other day that because I’m an atheist, I’ve got no humility. I must think I’m all powerful and have no morals because I’m not humbled by any power greater than myself. Because I believe in evolution and not creation then I must believe the world must have no intelligence to its design. I must see no meaning in life and I must not see the good in the world. Ha, how wrong could you be?

Louis_Cypher's picture

Who Needs Proof When You Have Imagination?

I can’t disprove your superstitions any more than I can disprove Mother Goose. I can express sincere doubts however, about the likelihood of a cow making lunar orbit.

I have deep misgivings about the existence of invisible, intangible beings from an alternate dimension who used magical powers to create and interfere in this universe.

Further, I have my doubts that these magnificent beings would need to contact an illiterate, murderous pedophile in a cave to send their message, or, for that matter, make small talk with a would be genocidal conqueror via flammable shrubbery.

Let’s face it, impregnating a Jewish teenager with yourself, then bumping around doing third rate miracles and magic tricks for the primitives , finally getting yourself lynched so you could change your own admission policies for your alternate dimension/cosmic amusement park is a pretty silly notion.

In the end, it’s not about what you are able to prove or disprove but rather how far you are willing to prostitute reason in order to believe any of it…

[Bill Moody]
 

Beyond Saving's picture

A History of US Economic Law Part 7: Regulating the Railroads

 In the mid to late 1800's railroads were the cornerstone of the US economic boom since they quickly became the dominant form of transportation. Naturally, a good portion of the wealthiest Americans were men who owned railroads, since no matter what sector of the economy was growing products, people and raw materials had to be shipped from one side of the country to the other. By the end of the century, small railroads were failing or being bought up by the larger railroads and the industry was in the process of consolidating. This left many parts of rural America with a single railroad providing service either because they didn't have enough to ship to make two railroads profitable or all the railroads in the area were owned by a single person/corporation. 

It was common practice for large shippers like Rockefeller's Standard Oil to get discounts well below the normal freight rates say a small farmer would get. I'm sure you can see why a railroad would be willing to accept a much smaller profit per car from a company that filled a predictable and large number of trains on a daily basis and the farmer who purchased a few cars irregularly. Most railroads also charged more for short distance hauls than for long distance hauls, which many small/regional businesses saw as discriminatory towards them. While Rockefeller had more money to negotiate with, the farmers had more votes and was a pretty powerful constituency, demand for railroad regulation became prevalent by the end of the 1800's. 

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