I am sure that every Atheist that has heard this one at one time or another : "God can not reveal himself to us because to do so would interfere with our free will."
Free will, an issue that I had never really given a lot of thought to until a couple of years ago.
As a matter of fact, I had never given it much thought until I really started becoming more involved in debating people on the Web and in person.
Perhaps it was a hold over from all my days as a theist. Perhaps, it is just one of those popular memes that has been so ingrained into people that they never stop and give any thought to the reality that things could be any other way. But, I had always assumed that free will was just a given.
Now granted, there have been countless discussions on here about free will and morality, some threads very long and some threads very short, and I am not really going to touch upon the subject here in any other context other than the free will argument as it relates to the religious excuse for why god is hiding.
Like a lot of theists arguments that I have encountered that make excuses for god's absence in times of peril, it sounds good on the surface. Kind of like the theists that like to throw the : "God is probably testing you" argument at me when things are going bad. The reason I bring this up is because of the contradiction.
Last Friday I was out drinking and playing cards when I ended up in the same house as my ex-wife who I haven't seen in a month or so. At some point we were engaging in small talk and I asked how her side of the family was and how the in-laws dog was. My ex informed me that the dog has cancer and is going to die soon. Now I love this dog to death, I've known her since she was a puppy, watched her all the time and trained her to do most of the cool tricks she knows (she can balance a ball on her nose like a seal ). Needless to say, I was kind of blindsided on my night out having such terrible news thrown at me.
I called my ex the next morning and she offered to bring the dog to the park so I could see her one last time. I seriously considered it, but I asked her to get permission from her mom first because I was uncomfortable doing it behind her back. Today I got a call from my ex telling me that there is no way her mom will let me see the dog. WTF, I always knew she hated me from the day I started dating her daughter, but I didn't know that she hates me that much or is that spiteful. So much for that good old fashioned Catholic "love and forgiveness". Sometimes I hate people, maybe that is why I love dogs so much- they aren't people. /selfindulgentwhining
I was reading the interesting discussion between Luminon and Old Seer in his 'Corner' when it hit me that the ongoing and upcoming religious and financial wars are linked, perhaps inseparably. I'd drifted off for a few minutes, so I can't point to what exactly they were saying, but a quote I'd heard popped into my head and just started bouncing around: "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful".
It got me thinking about where the money is, and what it's being used for. It got me thinking about how religious institutions are desperately seeking new members. It got me thinking about control and power, who has it and how much. About how, regardless of logic, after WW2 socialism has been linked heavily with atheism (which I'm sure is a constant annoyance to our right leaning members), while capitalism has been linked to theism.
Strangely, there is actually a logic to it which escaped me before.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.