Currency circulation in active atheism

Psychosavant
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Currency circulation in active atheism

Not currently holding any good positions to actively try to convert christians, I came up with an idea. I looked up the laws of the whole defacing currency issues and it turns out that marking out "In God We Trust" on dollar bills is not illegal. In fact, the defacement of currency is illegal when, and only when, it prevents the currency from being recirculated.

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=426715

So, I'm now starting to and will continue to systematically:

 step 1: Mark out "In God We Trust" on every dollar bill I find. Especially lower currencies like one and five dollar bills. They circulate the most.

 step 2: Add a url address to the border of the dollar bill to an atheist/anti-theist website, like:

www.rationalresponders.com

www.whywontgodhealamputees.com

www.godisimaginary.com

www.leagueofreason.co.uk

Spread the truth!

Just a disclaimer: Based on numerous sources that I've looked into, I've seen a reasonable amount of evidence to suggest that the acts in this e-mail are not illegal. However, if anyone falls under any prosecution from these acts, I cannot be held responsible for it. Thanks!


A_Nony_Mouse
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Psychosavant wrote:Not

Psychosavant wrote:

Not currently holding any good positions to actively try to convert christians, I came up with an idea. I looked up the laws of the whole defacing currency issues and it turns out that marking out "In God We Trust" on dollar bills is not illegal. In fact, the defacement of currency is illegal when, and only when, it prevents the currency from being recirculated.

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=426715

So, I'm now starting to and will continue to systematically:

 step 1: Mark out "In God We Trust" on every dollar bill I find. Especially lower currencies like one and five dollar bills. They circulate the most.

 step 2: Add a url address to the border of the dollar bill to an atheist/anti-theist website, like:

www.rationalresponders.com

www.whywontgodhealamputees.com

www.godisimaginary.com

www.leagueofreason.co.uk

Spread the truth!

Just a disclaimer: Based on numerous sources that I've looked into, I've seen a reasonable amount of evidence to suggest that the acts in this e-mail are not illegal. However, if anyone falls under any prosecution from these acts, I cannot be held responsible for it. Thanks!

Picking a fight with theists is one hell of a waste of time.

Dawkins is doing his thing but it is hardly necessary. In his country CoE attendence on Sunday is down to about 20% of the populace that claims to believe. They didn't take polls a century ago but one assumes it was much higher.

In reality science has created a god of the gaps and has proceeded to make the gaps smaller and smaller with each passing year. Yes, high schools are being innudated with creationists. Do you really care if the people behind the counter at 7/11 are creationists?

There is nothing to fight here. There is nothing the believers can do to stop the gaps from getting narrower. In fact at the moment their arguments for the gaps are beyond the ability of most high school students to grasp. They have almost defeated themselves. Just push real science. The creationists have to explain real science before they can claim gaps. They are unknowingly coming to our side.

And without science? Atheism was around long before science was invented and it has been embraced by people who have not the least idea of what science is about.

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

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Nordmann
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There are two things you

There are two things you require to influence people on a large scale.

 

One is a plausible argument (or at least an appealing one that they will listen to), and the other is a position of authority - a word often confused with high social status or power but is actually much more specific in definition than that.

 

Scribbling on a few thousand dollar bills out of the several billion in circulation serves neither as a good advertisement for the argument you advocate, nor does it advertise much by way of your own understanding of how authority is achieved, maintained and transmitted.

 

The only saving grace to the whole exercise from your point of view would be that your childish naivety would be noticed by so few people, thereby preserving at least some of your credibility for when you grow up and set about the task anew with hopefully a degree more intelligence (should you still reasonably wish to do so).

 

 

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Psychosavant wrote:Not

Psychosavant wrote:

Not currently holding any good positions to actively try to convert christians, I came up with an idea. I looked up the laws of the whole defacing currency issues and it turns out that marking out "In God We Trust" on dollar bills is not illegal. In fact, the defacement of currency is illegal when, and only when, it prevents the currency from being recirculated.

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=426715

So, I'm now starting to and will continue to systematically:

 step 1: Mark out "In God We Trust" on every dollar bill I find. Especially lower currencies like one and five dollar bills. They circulate the most.

 step 2: Add a url address to the border of the dollar bill to an atheist/anti-theist website, like:

www.rationalresponders.com

www.whywontgodhealamputees.com

www.godisimaginary.com

www.leagueofreason.co.uk

Spread the truth!

Just a disclaimer: Based on numerous sources that I've looked into, I've seen a reasonable amount of evidence to suggest that the acts in this e-mail are not illegal. However, if anyone falls under any prosecution from these acts, I cannot be held responsible for it. Thanks!

First off, many people here have been doing that for years. I write "No Religious Test, U.S. Constitution" on mine. Can't call quoting the Constitution, defacing money can one?

And IF one were to be arrested for marking out god on the money, it would basically be unconsitutional to have them arrested . I am sure there are those out there that would like such laws, but that WOULD amount to a Blasphemy law in, "Don't pick on my god".

 

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Incidentally just to clarify

Incidentally just to clarify the defacement issue - this from the helpful people at http://www.secretservice.gov/ who apparently manage to keep themselves busy by both dodging flying shoes and persecuting scribblers. What a versatile bunch they are!

 

 

Defacement of Currency

Defacement of currency is a violation of Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code. Under this provision, currency defacement is generally defined as follows: Whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill,
draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

Defacement of currency in such a way that it is made unfit for circulation comes under the jurisdiction of the United States Secret Service. Their mailing address is:

United States Secret Service
950 H Street, NW

Washington DC 20223.
 

 

 

Unfortunately with the increased use of electronic bill readers (which are prone to reject "customized" dollars) the guys and gals at the SS now tend not to turn a blind eye to persistent offenders anymore. They are particularly annoyed if the offender lives in a small place where recirculation of currency takes a much longer time than in cities and therefore dud bills are even more of an inconvenience to people.

 

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I'd do it free of worry of

I'd do it free of worry of American prosecution....but I almost never have my hands on American bills. Meh.

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Psychosavant
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Nordmann wrote:There are two

Nordmann wrote:

There are two things you require to influence people on a large scale.

 

One is a plausible argument (or at least an appealing one that they will listen to), and the other is a position of authority - a word often confused with high social status or power but is actually much more specific in definition than that.

 

Scribbling on a few thousand dollar bills out of the several billion in circulation serves neither as a good advertisement for the argument you advocate, nor does it advertise much by way of your own understanding of how authority is achieved, maintained and transmitted.

 

The only saving grace to the whole exercise from your point of view would be that your childish naivety would be noticed by so few people, thereby preserving at least some of your credibility for when you grow up and set about the task anew with hopefully a degree more intelligence (should you still reasonably wish to do so).

 

Wow. I have to admit, I've been handed a lot of insults in my life. The grand majority of the time I accept these insults. Of course the grand majority of the time, I agree with them. However, I have NEVER been called naive, and I have NEVER been called unintelligent. The reason is because, whether you choose to recognize it or not, I'm very intelligent. It makes up for all of my other faults which I've come to terms with.

I'm not very healthy, I'm not very attractive. My drive could use some work, I don't do enough socializing in my career, and I'm not confrontational enough in person. But I am incredibly smart. Your blatant insult is unwarranted and is based on a juvenile misplacement of judgement. But I'll reserve judgement of your intelligence, for the same reason you shouldn't have insulted mine. Simply put, I don't know you.

Let me give you a clue. You seem to have found a section somewhere in my post where I stated I'm trying to influence people on a large scale, which is a mysterious find indeed, because I don't remember posting that statement. In fact, no matter how much I read my post, I cannot find it anywhere. And as long as it's not there, that would make you presumptuous. In fact, the way you communicated your err in judgement, makes you pompously presumptuous.

Since your statements have not shown an intellectual capacity surpassing that of a gnat, I've really no reason to explain my post to you, since I simply don't care. If you want to communicate this further, I invite you to reread my original post, and rethink your previous statement. If you still disagree, than ignore it and move on. But don't make unwarranted insults. It's bad for your social stability.

Nowhere in my statement am I saying that this will change the world. It's just a small thing anyone can do, that can possibly make some other people aware. It can make some people think. If you think it cannot influence a single person, than you are indeed naive. Go away Nordmann, you're bothering me kid.


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There's nothing naive about

There's nothing naive about ridiculing the defacement of money that the government has already put into place. That phrase shouldn't be on money in the first place, removing it is by no means "childish". Quite the opposite. I fully support Psychosavant's actions.

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 There are a lot of "little

 There are a lot of "little things" I do in my daily life that aren't going to have a huge impact on anything, but make me feel good to at least be doing something.  I recycle all my beer bottles even though I know recycling is mostly bullshit.  I walk to work even though it's less than one mile, and the amount of gas I'm not using is just the tiniest of molecule size drops in the ocean of petrol being used in America.

Part of realizing the insignificance of my own existence has been the realization that sometimes, the only thing I can do is one six billionth of what all of humanity could do.  I'm ok with that.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Psychosavant
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A_Nony_Mouse wrote:Picking a

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

Picking a fight with theists is one hell of a waste of time.

Dawkins is doing his thing but it is hardly necessary. In his country CoE attendence on Sunday is down to about 20% of the populace that claims to believe. They didn't take polls a century ago but one assumes it was much higher.

In reality science has created a god of the gaps and has proceeded to make the gaps smaller and smaller with each passing year. Yes, high schools are being innudated with creationists. Do you really care if the people behind the counter at 7/11 are creationists?

There is nothing to fight here. There is nothing the believers can do to stop the gaps from getting narrower. In fact at the moment their arguments for the gaps are beyond the ability of most high school students to grasp. They have almost defeated themselves. Just push real science. The creationists have to explain real science before they can claim gaps. They are unknowingly coming to our side.

And without science? Atheism was around long before science was invented and it has been embraced by people who have not the least idea of what science is about.

 

I disagree. Then again, I don't really think of this as picking a fight with theists. I consider this spreading awareness. But if such actions are a waste of time, what is the purpose of this website that you're posting in right now? I agree that religion is slowly losing its ground and its demise is inevitable. But I also think that this is quite a long way down the road. Left unchecked, it could take a millenium or more. However, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and groups like The Rational Response squad serve to accelerate the process by increasing awareness.

Until I can get settled down in my new locale, my activity in atheism is somewhat limited so I thought of this idea to bide my time until I can do something better, since this is obviously quite limited.

I'd like to push real science, but rarely do I get an opportunity to give someone a lecture on the origin of species by natural selection. My understanding of science is fairly much limited to my understanding of cell biology, chemistry, and the theory of evolution. Nobody ever wants to discuss these things. At least not over a drink, which is most of my socializing (I know, I need to get a life P_P).

Still, I agree with you on your point that it is definately important to increase scientific awareness, I just haven't figured out an effective way of doing that with my current resources, outside of posting in a forum.


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Keep chipping away

Psychosavant wrote:
Wow. I have to admit, I've been handed a lot of insults in my life.

Like any collection of people anywhere, there are a few people here that can't seem to communicate or debate without making personal insults. It seems to be the new world order. Domination through flamethrower. That aside, I've been using freezer pens on bills for awhile also. I realize it won't remove the scales from the eyes of the deliberately blinded, I'm fine with just annoying a few theists. Keep chipping away Smiling

Respectfully,
Lenny

"The righteous rise, With burning eyes, Of hatred and ill-will
Madmen fed on fear and lies, To beat and burn and kill"
Witch Hunt from the album Moving Pictures. Neal Pert, Rush


Nordmann
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Now, now, Psychosavant -

Now, now, Psychosavant - whatever about you getting a life, you most definitely need to gain some perspective (and probably just a little less thin of a hide while you're at it). I never implied you were not "smart", just your modus operandi, and when I called it naive I meant it. However this is not intended as an insult, simply a criticism - and if you don't want your ideas genuinely criticised on a public message forum then you should state as much up front. Most people here, including me, respect such wishes even if they do make me wonder why such a person posits subjects for discussion in the first place.

 

But I'll explain the naivete thing, since it seems from other contributors here too that it's not a condition peculiar to yourself by any means, and by your own assertions you are smart enough to understand why I say it.

 

In 1997 when I was in the States I was asked to join an awareness-raising organisation which applied itself to the issue of pollution, but more specifically that of the dangerous kind (read chemical dumping and nuclear radiation) which was - and still is as far as I know - an issue that brings people into direct confrontation with corporate and quasi-military US business, often to those individuals' detriment (read "personal destruction" ). This I gladly acceded to. However I was a little shocked to discover that, while most of the activists' hearts were definitely in the right place, their minds still had a little catching up to do. This was mostly because of what I quickly realised was a problem they shared in acquiring a true perspective of their effectiveness, which in turn was caused by a hopelessly inadequate appreciation of their true demographic position.

 

Of course a part of their problem is that they were equally blind therefore to any direct attempt to disabuse them of the flaw in their math since it was not something related simply to the issue at hand, and nor is it something that only they possessed. As an outsider who has travelled widely in the USA I have found it is an attitudinal characteristic common throughout and have deduced that it stems from the manner in which US society formed historically. Put simply it is an exaggerated sense of one's own influence - essentially the misapplication of parochial values when proposed on a national scale. You see evidence of it everywhere in many manifestations, and while it is the essential ingredient of the "can do" "rags to riches" philosophy which is one of the US's more refreshing qualities to a European, it also often spells doom to worthy, well-intended and otherwise intelligently thought-out campaigns of reform.

 

But to be specific; one of this group's suggested strategies was to disseminate awareness through the very action you propose - namely writing (some very clever) information-pointers and website references on dollar bills. In fact they were so chuffed with this notion that they willingly ceded the point that the envisaged effort would swamp in terms of resource-usage any other planned tactics they had. Since some of these tactics were ones I saw as potentially fruitful I objected, only to meet blank stares when I explained that, even in 1997, the web was the best place to send people further in the web, and that their assessment of how many people would be reached through the tactic - let alone influenced - was way off the mark.

 

I found at the time a research paper from Chicago University which backed me up. I can't remember the author but I do remember that he or she had concentrated on measuring the effectiveness of  traditional tactics employed by agitation and awareness-raising agencies. And I remember also that he or she had found, much to their surprise, that writing on currency (just like writing on walls) actually produced a negative and hostile reaction much more than it persuaded anyone to the cause's favour. As a long-time activist in various causes over the years of course this didn't surprise me at all (I'd learnt the hard way) but at least it gave me some ammunition to return to the group and argue in favour of taking a more legal, and infinitely more effective approach. I had mixed success - the group contained a majority of young people.

 

Another contributor above has said that he does it not to change the world (you made much the same point yourself) but because it makes him "feel good". And this is a fine attitude, as long as the cause whose worth you appreciate is also one which will survive the more probable outcome that your action will retard rather than accelerate its propagation. But in this case the cause is that of rationality itself, and when you mix into the equation that you are attempting to persuade irrational people you can, I hope, see that actions which themselves can be construed as irrational - or at least badly thought out - are doing both your cause and yourself a disservice. Raising people's hackles is worthwhile but cementing their attitudes is not.

 

I unreservedly apologise for having caused you offence. But if even in a small way I have caused you to reconsider your proposed action of defacement of public amenities (and I realise I am in a minority of one on the thread as it stands) then I am glad I took that risk, even if I failed in avoiding raising your own obviously hair-trigger hackles. That was not my intention. However its good to see that your intellect allows you to rise above such perceived abuse in any case. This "gnat" (was that the phrase?) now retires.

 

 

 

 

PS.

 

This from the Federal Reserve website: "The average life of a ten dollar bill is between 18 and 22 months, in which it will rarely travel more than a few miles in 70% of cases. The dollar bill will travel even less and rarely survives beyond 22 months." Given that this estimation is an average calculated including currency usage in big cities, you'd almost do better standing downtown with a megaphone.

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Nordmann wrote: The only

Nordmann wrote:

 

The only saving grace to the whole exercise from your point of view would be that your childish naivety would be noticed by so few people, thereby preserving at least some of your credibility for when you grow up and set about the task anew with hopefully a degree more intelligence (should you still reasonably wish to do so).

  

Not sure how taking this as an insult to my intelligence could be a misinterpretation. Nor does it target the idea as naivety, as you make it clear in the first sentence of this paragraph that when you're speaking about "childish naivety", it's mine, not the method's. If you intended this as a criticism, not an insult, then you've failed. It's an insult, and a very direct one at that. I'm not going to go into the difference between criticism and insults, since that has nothing to do with this topic.

However, in terms of communication, sticks and stones. I understand that sometimes we find it difficult to show a direct intent through text alone, and so your apology is accepted. Furthermore, your followup was held with far more respect and less presumption (though not much less), so I now feel I can have an intelligent discussion rather than question your explanations. After all, you actually provided one this time.

Now, I'd love to see these research notes from UC, even though I understand that you probably wouldn't be able to find it, since I assume this was some time ago. Nonetheless, it doesn't hurt to ask. I question the method of study, as in my experience, such a method is quite effective. Now I have done no studies, and for such a small intent, I wouldn't think such studies would matter, as I'm not trying to be largely influential.

I do not see how marking out "In God We Trust" and providing a website could be a retardant to the cause of awareness. But this is debateable, and your arguments are noted.

Since you have more experience in the realm of awareness than I do, I'd love to hear your proposals on increasing awareness, that involves what a person (one who cannot currently spare resources) can do to increase awareness.

While your megaphone suggestion is well taken, I enjoy employing more subtle methods. I like to keep a low profile. Not to mention the cost of ink versus the cost of a megaphone is not, in and of itself, subtle.


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One more thing,

One more thing, Nordmann. My response, whatever I may have thought, was also unwarranted. I flew off the handle faster than I should have. Sorry about that.


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Information

 

 

 

     I have been marking my bills this way for years, but I have never added an Atheist website.  I will now.


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Nordmann wrote:Put simply it

Nordmann wrote:

Put simply it is an exaggerated sense of one's own influence - essentially the misapplication of parochial values when proposed on a national scale. You see evidence of it everywhere in many manifestations, and while it is the essential ingredient of the "can do" "rags to riches" philosophy which is one of the US's more refreshing qualities to a European, it also often spells doom to worthy, well-intended and otherwise intelligently thought-out campaigns of reform.

Strange. I've lived and travelled all over Canada. While not as populated, it is larger. And I have observed the opposite. People constantly underestimate the influence they have, not the reverse(except in hardcore ego cases and rednecks). I suppose it makes a certain amount of sense for reasons I'm not going to get into for fear of starting a whole other discussion as well as annoying people.

Nordmann wrote:

But to be specific; one of this group's suggested strategies was to disseminate awareness through the very action you propose - namely writing (some very clever) information-pointers and website references on dollar bills. In fact they were so chuffed with this notion that they willingly ceded the point that the envisaged effort would swamp in terms of resource-usage any other planned tactics they had. Since some of these tactics were ones I saw as potentially fruitful I objected, only to meet blank stares when I explained that, even in 1997, the web was the best place to send people further in the web, and that their assessment of how many people would be reached through the tactic - let alone influenced - was way off the mark.

Well here I'm torn. While I agree that the web is a far superior media, people can respond on the web. They can't with a dollar bill. I think we all know how the average theist responds. *Briefly looks to a certain forum* Before you say they'll just write on the bill back, most of those that would already do.

I have been annoyed at things people have written on bills, wishing I could respond to the stupid claims there. I know the theist would feel the same.

And it's not like it takes a lot of time to cross out the offending line. 2-3 seconds per bill every few days and there's really no effect on your available time. Do it while waiting for a webpage to load, or while taking a shit. You're busy anyway, maximize efficiency. Assuming that it takes a lot of time to do this kind of activity is faulty.

 

Nordmann wrote:

I found at the time a research paper from Chicago University which backed me up. I can't remember the author but I do remember that he or she had concentrated on measuring the effectiveness of  traditional tactics employed by agitation and awareness-raising agencies. And I remember also that he or she had found, much to their surprise, that writing on currency (just like writing on walls) actually produced a negative and hostile reaction much more than it persuaded anyone to the cause's favour. As a long-time activist in various causes over the years of course this didn't surprise me at all (I'd learnt the hard way) but at least it gave me some ammunition to return to the group and argue in favour of taking a more legal, and infinitely more effective approach. I had mixed success - the group contained a majority of young people.

That sounds reasonable. But in this case, our enemy gets offended merely by our existence. So I say it can't do any harm. I'm all for multiple attacks on all fronts. Whether or not I personally would participate, I'll not condemn anyone who is fighting theism(except under rare circumstances).

 

Nordmann wrote:

Another contributor above has said that he does it not to change the world (you made much the same point yourself) but because it makes him "feel good". And this is a fine attitude, as long as the cause whose worth you appreciate is also one which will survive the more probable outcome that your action will retard rather than accelerate its propagation. But in this case the cause is that of rationality itself, and when you mix into the equation that you are attempting to persuade irrational people you can, I hope, see that actions which themselves can be construed as irrational - or at least badly thought out - are doing both your cause and yourself a disservice. Raising people's hackles is worthwhile but cementing their attitudes is not.

I defy you to prove that seeing something written on a bill will be the final nail in the coffin of a debate. Any debate. If a person were so emotionally vulnerable that seeing something on a bill convinced them forever, it was only a matter of time before it happened anyway.

Nordmann wrote:

 This from the Federal Reserve website: "The average life of a ten dollar bill is between 18 and 22 months, in which it will rarely travel more than a few miles in 70% of cases. The dollar bill will travel even less and rarely survives beyond 22 months." Given that this estimation is an average calculated including currency usage in big cities, you'd almost do better standing downtown with a megaphone.

Now that is one hell of an argument. I wonder what the statistics for Canadian dollars are. You should have started with this. I probably wouldn't have bothered reading the rest. lol.

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Nordmann wrote:Incidentally

Nordmann wrote:

Incidentally just to clarify the defacement issue - this from the helpful people at http://www.secretservice.gov/ who apparently manage to keep themselves busy by both dodging flying shoes and persecuting scribblers. What a versatile bunch they are!

Defacement of Currency

Defacement of currency is a violation of Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code. Under this provision, currency defacement is generally defined as follows: Whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill,
draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

Defacement of currency in such a way that it is made unfit for circulation comes under the jurisdiction of the United States Secret Service. Their mailing address is:

United States Secret Service
950 H Street, NW

Washington DC 20223.
Unfortunately with the increased use of electronic bill readers (which are prone to reject "customized" dollars) the guys and gals at the SS now tend not to turn a blind eye to persistent offenders anymore. They are particularly annoyed if the offender lives in a small place where recirculation of currency takes a much longer time than in cities and therefore dud bills are even more of an inconvenience to people.

The important part is "with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued" and this suggestion does not do that.

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

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www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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Psychosavant

Psychosavant wrote:
A_Nony_Mouse wrote:
Picking a fight with theists is one hell of a waste of time.

Dawkins is doing his thing but it is hardly necessary. In his country CoE attendence on Sunday is down to about 20% of the populace that claims to believe. They didn't take polls a century ago but one assumes it was much higher.

In reality science has created a god of the gaps and has proceeded to make the gaps smaller and smaller with each passing year. Yes, high schools are being innudated with creationists. Do you really care if the people behind the counter at 7/11 are creationists?

There is nothing to fight here. There is nothing the believers can do to stop the gaps from getting narrower. In fact at the moment their arguments for the gaps are beyond the ability of most high school students to grasp. They have almost defeated themselves. Just push real science. The creationists have to explain real science before they can claim gaps. They are unknowingly coming to our side.

And without science? Atheism was around long before science was invented and it has been embraced by people who have not the least idea of what science is about.

I disagree. Then again, I don't really think of this as picking a fight with theists. I consider this spreading awareness. But if such actions are a waste of time, what is the purpose of this website that you're posting in right now?

Participating in an atheist website is hardly spreading awareness of atheism. Participating in a theist website and selling atheism would be. You are asking how to sell the product. Theists are well aware of atheists. They get preachings about us evil people regularly.

Psychosavant wrote:
I agree that religion is slowly losing its ground and its demise is inevitable. But I also think that this is quite a long way down the road. Left unchecked, it could take a millenium or more. However, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and groups like The Rational Response squad serve to accelerate the process by increasing awareness.

As atheists without an afterlife it is not going to be in our lifetime it does not matter at all. And if we "hope for the future" we have no idea if what we do is positive or negative to the cause nor will we be around to care.

These atheists sites may wish to accelerate the process but mostly they are going to let newbie and vacillating atheists know they are not alone. Should they be in bible country they can find like-minded people, no different from finding other heavy metal fans.

But if you want to accelerate the process, accelerate science. That is what has worked. The greatest contributor to atheism was Ben Franklin. Millenia of gods and/or demons striking from the heavens was shitcanned by the lightning rod. It was the simplest, cheapest, provingest invention ever and not open to nonsensical alternatives like creationists to evolution.

Psychosavant wrote:
Until I can get settled down in my new locale, my activity in atheism is somewhat limited so I thought of this idea to bide my time until I can do something better, since this is obviously quite limited.

If you really want to make a career of atheism you need to study public relations, media relations just to get a hearing in this world. You have to be comfortable with public speaking and with being in the spotlight and know how to encourage it and how not to become a public joke. You have to do all of that and suceed just to get a public audience. Convincing anyone is another matter. And if you do, how will you know?

Psychosavant wrote:
I'd like to push real science, but rarely do I get an opportunity to give someone a lecture on the origin of species by natural selection. My understanding of science is fairly much limited to my understanding of cell biology, chemistry, and the theory of evolution. Nobody ever wants to discuss these things. At least not over a drink, which is most of my socializing (I know, I need to get a life P_P).

At least you have started to learn to think like a scientist. Not to second guess but it sounds like a newbie degree. No blame. We were all there.

What you can do over drinks is be aware of the religious assumptions which we all tend to go along with. When we go along with them we are assuming them in our own thoughts.

BE YOURSELF. Speak as the atheist you are. Speak up for yourself. What I will guarantee you will find is you drink with more atheists than you imagine. You will have to learn to take your atheists as you find them. Most are simply "don't give a damn" types who simply know the common religion is BS.

Psychosavant wrote:
Still, I agree with you on your point that it is definately important to increase scientific awareness, I just haven't figured out an effective way of doing that with my current resources, outside of posting in a forum.

If your resources are only the internet then let me assure you it is not just a matter of posting. I have been in public debate for nearly 30 years now having started with BBSes in the Apple ][ days and it takes experience to do make your case. The main point of public debate is to make a coherent case, not to win or lose. There are ten readers for each participant. You make your case to the lurkers. Eventually they will join in the discussion. They will not completely agree with you but they will not discount you or oppose you.

You never want people who agree with you 100%. If two people completely agree one of them is not thinking. You will never learn from someone who is not thinking.

Maybe we are wrong. Maybe there is a god or gods. We will never learn if we assume a dogmatic, there is no god, position.

We are simply rational.

There is no physical evidence of any god or gods.

No rational person accepts anything without physical evidence.

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Quote:I do not see how

Quote:

I do not see how marking out "In God We Trust" and providing a website could be a retardant to the cause of awareness. But this is debateable, and your arguments are noted.

Since you have more experience in the realm of awareness than I do, I'd love to hear your proposals on increasing awareness, that involves what a person (one who cannot currently spare resources) can do to increase awareness.

 

If you cause the bill to become unreadable in a machine designed to read them then, as some supporters of the legalisation of marijuana discovered to their surprise recently, you can be prosecuted. They had written a discrete slogan with ballpoint pen ink which confused some scanners and led to bills being rejected. The Secret Service did not in fact proceed with the prosecution, but their campaign (a husband and wife effort which had been in progress for more than twenty years) was terminated - as the SS like to phrase it.

 

When it comes to awareness raising then the technique differs according to the cause. Some issues for example call for, or at least can accommodate, a certain level of civil disobedience or even criminal behaviour in their promotion without significant adverse effect. This is especially true of issues where the people who represent the target of the protest have a vested interest in avoiding scrutiny themselves, or are likely to react with an even greater and more obvious disrespect for civil rights and statutes in attempting to quash the protest.

 

With regard to the promotion of rationality over superstition, and the intrinsic campaign to separate church and state, then the true barrier to be overcome is not a conspiratorial bloc of strategists out to stop you, but the general complacency which has allowed both problems to develop. In that case overt disobedience or criminality is most likely to be misunderstood by a critical mass of the campaign's audience (whose complacency also dictates that they adopt the easiest summation of your activity - which in terms of writing on dollar bills amounts to "what dickhead wrote on my money" rather than "oh, what an interesting point they have made" ).

 

You have said that you do not want to engage in an activity which draws attention to you as a person. That's fine. But be aware that, in a tactic such as the one you advocate prosecuting anonymously yourself, this too is likely to be misunderstood and your social reticence likely to be attributed not to shyness but to the assumption that you (and by extension your cause) have something to hide. Unfortunately the cause of "rationality" requires displays of the quality and proofs of its superiority over its opposite, which in the US today has no shortage of quite vocal advocates. Subvert campaigns lack the ability to deliver either in the assured quantity required to gainsay the evangelists of clpatrap. Ones which cause the morality of the campaigner to be brought into question are even less productive.

 

If you really want to make a difference and are content that it be a discrete one then my recommendation to you is to read up on the prominent fallacies which have infiltrated public consciousness and the simple means by which they are exposed for what they are. Amongst friends, family and acquaintances practice the ability to politely but succinctly explode those fallacies using what you have learnt both from your own experience and from any of the increasingly available authoritative sources providing just the targeted information you require (Sam Harris for example provides excellent advice regarding what to watch out for and how to go about reacting to it in a manner which will make an impression). Live by example. Show these people that you are rational and that it enhances rather than reduces your general happiness.

 

If, through such example, you open a few minds around you, then you have achieved much more than the defacement of a thousand dollar bills would ever have achieved. Ideas travel faster than currency. Believe me. You yourself do not need to embark on any vociferous and high-profile campaign. But if only one person is persuaded by your private example and by your own eloquence on behalf of rationality's worth, and if that person should prove not to be discouraged by more public expression on behalf of the same cause, then it didn't matter in any case how high or low a profile you adopted. In fact it was probably better you adopted the profile you were comfortable with.

 

If on the other hand you really want to embark on a crusade but don't wish to be publicly identified as a crusader then seek out others in your vicinity of like mind. There are many great spokespeople out there for atheism whose voice will never be heard simply because they lack any sense of solidarity and feel themselves in an extreme minority which itself stifles open expression. Provide that solidarity.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide.

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Vastet wrote:I defy you to

Vastet wrote:

I defy you to prove that seeing something written on a bill will be the final nail in the coffin of a debate. Any debate. If a person were so emotionally vulnerable that seeing something on a bill convinced them forever, it was only a matter of time before it happened anyway.

 

I'm not sure what you're saying here, Vastet, your language is imprecise. But since you defy me to prove something which I don't think I advocated I feel I have to respond.

 

Writing on dollar bills contributes to a debate but can never end it, of course. However, first the debate has not only to be in progress but also have impinged on the consciousness of the bill holder to the extent that the point being made is understood. Even then, the contribution of the gesture can be a negative one if the bill holder has preconceived misapprehensions of the character and motive of the bill defacer. In other words it's understood by its audience as being in the context of the correct debate but completely misunderstood in the context of the intention of the debater.

 

You, as an atheist, understand completely the implication of striking out "In god we trust" on the bill. I, as an atheist, would readily recognise your point (and condone it) should I receive such a bill in change. But how many others would be in such semantic concorde as us? The real enemy of that gesture is not actually theism - it is ambiguity in the minds of too many for whom the issue has never been thus clarified or shown to be relevant. Adversarial theists, primed to recognise such opinions, would understand it immediately and get pissed about it, but that's as far as the gesture is guaranteed to go. Awareness-raising it's not. It tells the audience "we're out there" but falls well short of telling them why. It tells them absolutely nothing about how our opinion is superlative to that of the dickheads who got the words placed there.

 

Also, while I agree with you that theism is an enemy to rationality, and by extension therefore to me, I disagree that all theists are "the enemy". Those who choose to champion their stupidity and influence others most definitely are in a sense, but the vast majority of people who fall into that head-count are simply people following the line of least resistance socially. They are no more my enemy than golf fans are (a "sport" I abhor on grounds of tedium but whose aficianados would simply probably switch to croquet or tiddleywinks should the fallacy of their chosen sorting preference be circumvented by its removal). I see no advantage in pissing them off at all in the process of such removal, but a huge step forward in encouraging them to wake up to reality as a precursor to that removal. Scribbling on their golf balls achieves the wrong result.

 

 

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Nordmann wrote: I'm not

Nordmann wrote:

 

I'm not sure what you're saying here, Vastet, your language is imprecise. But since you defy me to prove something which I don't think I advocated I feel I have to respond.

Let me narrow it down for you as much as possible. Perhaps I simply quoted too large a block of text for you to realize where my response was coming from. When looking back at my previous post I noticed much of the quote was unnecessary.

Nordmann wrote:

but cementing their attitudes is not.

This is what I was focusing on.

Since you couldn't understand what I thought was quite clearly stated, I'll expand. Other than someone who can only utilize emotion in their decisions, I don't believe that seeing a marking on a dollar bill would cement the attitude of someone in a current ongoing debate or argument. In the rare cases where emotional people are so incenced by writing on a bill as to have thier attitudes cemented in a debate, it was only a matter of time before it happened anyway. And in those cases, I could care less what side they end up on. They contribute nothing to a discussion and cannot be reasoned with. They are therefore irrelevant. Or else humanity is doomed to squander in stupidity, and we are wasting our time.

 

Nordmann wrote:

You, as an atheist, understand completely the implication of striking out "In god we trust" on the bill. I, as an atheist, would readily recognise your point (and condone it) should I receive such a bill in change. But how many others would be in such semantic concorde as us? The real enemy of that gesture is not actually theism - it is ambiguity in the minds of too many for whom the issue has never been thus clarified or shown to be relevant. Adversarial theists, primed to recognise such opinions, would understand it immediately and get pissed about it, but that's as far as the gesture is guaranteed to go. Awareness-raising it's not. It tells the audience "we're out there" but falls well short of telling them why. It tells them absolutely nothing about how our opinion is superlative to that of the dickheads who got the words placed there.

Maybe so, but it may encourage a few to find out. This fight isn't going to be won in a day. It's going to be decades at least. I'm not particularly worried about pissing off a few people. Not when at least a few will be encouraged to look for more on the subject, or have an emotional uplifting in agreement with the sentiments. That said, I'm not marking bills myself. I rarely even see one, and make an effort to not have any. I have no intention of going to the States ever, and therefore have no need for American money.

 

Nordmann wrote:

Also, while I agree with you that theism is an enemy to rationality, and by extension therefore to me, I disagree that all theists are "the enemy".

I do not by any stretch consider every theist an enemy. I'm not sure where you got the impression that I do. I consider theism to be an enemy, but that's a temporary problem(I hope). I don't consider it a mortal enemy, just a clear and present danger. Any clear and present danger is something I consider to be an enemy, or at the very least a potential enemy.

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Thanks for your

Thanks for your clarification, Vastet. It seems I had guessed correctly the main points of what you meant after all.

 

I disagree of course with your math - as is obious from what I've said earlier about why I come to think the way I do. I also disagree therefore with your assumption that "a few people would be pissed off", something you couldn't care less about (note the "couldn't" by the way - it is actually after all what you meant to say. Sorry, just a bugbear of mine, but I digress...). In fact a very small few indeed would be pissed off in the sense of anger, and even fewer would care about the sentiment intended to be conveyed. A high number of the tactic's targeted audience would however be pissed off in the sense that they would not see beyond the defacement aspect of the ploy, and it is amongst these - the component of the population that allows theism acquire the critical mass it enjoys in order to flourish - that the absolutely necessary conversions to rationality (or even just thinking) are to be found. Pissing them off  without getting them to acknowledge the existence of the cause is counter-productive.

 

My main point therefore is that if you are trying to achieve maximum effect working as an individual in broadcasting not only the presence of atheism but its value, then splattergun tactics lacking or missing a targeted focus yield demonstrably poor returns on the effort expended.

 

Of course, even given that you address this tactic as a hypothesis being yourself a Canadian with no intention of defacing US dollars in any case, if it's the best you can recommend to others or even just think of then it's better than nothing, but only slightly, since it carries an inherent risk of alienating as many potential allies as it potentially might acquire on the cause's behalf. Some causes tolerate this leeway. In my view rationality does not, since the tactic itself is not completely rational and therefore extremely vulnerable to effective counter-attack of even the most unintelligent and banal kind.

 

It's a question of homework, and not playing into your enemy's hands, whoever or whatever that term represents.

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WTF? You guys still use

WTF? You guys still use physical money? I use a credit card just for a single cup of coffee.

Sorry to spray your camp fire with a water hose but just to clue you in on how much an impact this is doing I have yet to find a single paper bill with 'in god we trust' crossed off, but I am thankful of your efforts all the same.

Anybody here actually come across these bills with 'in god we trust' crossed off?

 

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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Nordmann wrote:A high number

Nordmann wrote:

A high number of the tactic's targeted audience would however be pissed off in the sense that they would not see beyond the defacement aspect of the ploy, and it is amongst these - the component of the population that allows theism acquire the critical mass it enjoys in order to flourish - that the absolutely necessary conversions to rationality (or even just thinking) are to be found. Pissing them off  without getting them to acknowledge the existence of the cause is counter-productive.

Aha, but very little of the population cares whether money is defaced or not. Ironically, there's enough people in the states that hate the government that mere defacement without purpose would be enough to gain a following, not the reverse. Defacement with a message is therefore even more likely to achieve this goal. I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree.

 

Nordmann wrote:

My main point therefore is that if you are trying to achieve maximum effect working as an individual in broadcasting not only the presence of atheism but its value, then splattergun tactics lacking or missing a targeted focus yield demonstrably poor returns on the effort expended.

We need exposure more than friends or a sense of value right now. Splattergun tactics are perfect for our situation. There are too many who believe the very term atheist is a curse, we're all idiots with our own religion, etc. Until this changes, we will never agree. Exposure is more important. Theist messages contain no substance, yet work anyway. Assuming that atheist messages with no substance can only hurt us is naive.

 

Nordmann wrote:

Of course, even given that you address this tactic as a hypothesis being yourself a Canadian with no intention of defacing US dollars in any case, if it's the best you can recommend to others or even just think of then it's better than nothing, but only slightly, since it carries an inherent risk of alienating as many potential allies as it potentially might acquire on the cause's behalf. Some causes tolerate this leeway. In my view rationality does not, since the tactic itself is not completely rational and therefore extremely vulnerable to effective counter-attack of even the most unintelligent and banal kind.

You will note that I didn't recommend anything. I simply supported the actions of an individual who was already active. I view this fight as something that must be fought on as many grounds as possible. And I see no possibility for alienation of any character I would care about alienating.

The fact is, humans are not rational. Therefore soley rational arguments will never win the day. You'll have to realize this if you want to have a greater effect in the war.

 

aiia wrote:

WTF? You guys still use physical money? I use a credit card just for a single cup of coffee.

Wtf..you trust the banks?

Btw....Tim Hortons doesn't accept Credit Cards or Debit Cards(except their own, but I'm not buying into that stupid bandwagon roaming the commercial economies). They say it would slow down the line too much. Them being the only place worth buying coffee, one must always have money on hand.

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Quote:The fact is, humans

Quote:

The fact is, humans are not rational. Therefore soley rational arguments will never win the day. You'll have to realize this if you want to have a greater effect in the war.

 

The fact is that "humans" have a potential to be eminently more rational than religious propagators (or seemingly you) give them credit for. You'll have to realize this if you ever want to actually win your "war".

 

Solely rational arguments are not served well by complementing them with solely irrational ones.

 

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Nordmann wrote:Quote:The

Nordmann wrote:

Quote:

The fact is, humans are not rational. Therefore soley rational arguments will never win the day. You'll have to realize this if you want to have a greater effect in the war.

 

The fact is that "humans" have a potential to be eminently more rational than religious propagators (or seemingly you) give them credit for. You'll have to realize this if you ever want to actually win your "war".

 

Solely rational arguments are not served well by complementing them with solely irrational ones.

 

I think you over estimate people. Even the most rational among us still have some irrational thoughts and beliefs. You'll never affect the changes you want to by refusing to acknowledge this.

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aiia wrote:

WTF? You guys still use physical money? I use a credit card just for a single cup of coffee.

Sorry to spray your camp fire with a water hose but just to clue you in on how much an impact this is doing I have yet to find a single paper bill with 'in god we trust' crossed off, but I am thankful of your efforts all the same.

Anybody here actually come across these bills with 'in god we trust' crossed off?

So you are saying we need an atheist Visa credit card. Don't leave this world without it.

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Vastet wrote:Even the most

Vastet wrote:

Even the most rational among us still have some irrational thoughts and beliefs. You'll never affect the changes you want to by refusing to acknowledge this.

 

I would never dare refuse to acknowledge such a truism, but as a supporter of rationalism and a person committed to advertising its virtues I am selective about my tactics to that end.

 

Here is a case in point. One of organised religion's most glaring and exploitable weaknesses is its hypocrisy in assuming it holds a high moral ground (often the highest attainable) while behaving totally immorally in many aspects. Simply exposing and advertising this duplicitousness is, in my experience, one of the most devastating weapons one can use against it. One can do this in several ways, but even the least offensive method (incidental comment) is guaranteed to incur the wrath of its adherents - a good thing, since anger often drives them to even more glaringly obvious proofs of their own hypocrisy, which can then be exposed and advertised etc etc. It takes a while, but it is amazing the effect one can achieve in one's own locality just by targeting the local hypocrites, even anonymously (though I personally prefer they identify their tormentor - it accelerates their over-reaction).

 

To prosecute this tactic however means of course that one must be prepared to defend oneself often against defamatory assault, one of religionists' own favourite weapons, and be careful therefore not to fall into the trap of being labelled in a manner which reduces one's potential audience should it contain some truth in it. While this does not mean one has to live a life of complete virtue, it does mean that one should not send out mixed signals. If therefore one embarks on a campaign of civil disobedience one should do this in a manner of relative openness which gleans maximum effect and takes out a few of one's targets at the same time. Above all the rationality of the campaign should be advertised or at least advertiseable.

 

Scribbling on dollar bills anonymously is therefore a risky tactic at various levels and for negligible and indeterminate return. Publicly appealing to the intelligence and rationality of others while decrying religions' hypocrisy however, while containing some risk, has a proven track record of effectiveness and is the one tactic that religion is least equipped to counter. I am not overly optimistic about people's rationality, but I do believe very strongly in the power of rationality over superstition and in the inherent reasonableness of people in general. Religion distorts this truth since it serves its interests to do so, but since the distortion is itself an example of its hypocrisy this too can be targeted.

 

There is no substitute for speaking out. Anonymous gestures just don't do the business.

 

 

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To each their own. A

To each their own. A collective of responses is always superior to a single minded assault in my view.

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