How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Idiots

arknutsMy utter disgust and disregard for fundamentalist is well documented on this blog. I make no apologies for it, though I would argue that I am no zealot in this regard, and I am not on a campaign against them as a mission. My mind is far too eclectic in its selection of “things of interest” for that to be so.

I write of politics and my utter disgust and disregard for much of the GOP as well. It is not a mission with me either.

I believe totally in evolution as the means by which life has changed over eons of time. I believe that climate change is real and we are a major causative factor.  Similarly I believe that today is Thursday and that the sun will set in the West.  These are all factually provable items, available to be tested by a variety of reality-based mechanisms.

None of these things so I obsess about, for as I said, much else in the world interests me, such as who is the killer in the new show The Bridge, who will get kicked off Big Brother tonight, and what restaurant shall we eat lunch at today. I am a liberal or progressive, and I heave mightily to the left side of those spectrums, but sometimes extreme liberals/progressives piss me off with their short-sightedness from my point of view. I don’t obsess about that either.

As I said, I’m not a zealot, but a jack-of-all-trades. I likes what I likes and don’t likes what I don’t likes and I’ll tell you about most of them, and defend them until I get bored and move onto something else. I figure I’m fairly sane, fairly smart, and fairly normal and average.

But some folks ( religious fundamentalists for sure, and atheists of the newer type) are zealous. They are on a mission. And I’m here to tell you, that when viewed from the psychological lens, then are very hard to tell apart. I have almost always referred to fundamentalists as religious in nature. But that is not correct. Fundamentalism is a mental disorder or at least is thought so by some. It relates to a type of mind that is fearful of the world and thus creates a reality that is comfortable. It gathers “facts” to support its desired outcome, and is largely impervious to new facts that might contradict the contrived reality. It takes comfort in being a “minority”, being special, in the know, and therefore “better” than others. It regularly trashes non-believers as hell-bound, or not intelligent. It is a cultish worship of a world that works for it.

And folks it applies to the “New” atheist as much as the religious fundamentalist. Having spoken to a few dozen of these new atheists, I think I can safely speak about them. Almost universally they were either once fundamentalist believers, or were raised atheistic to begin with. But in each case, a traumatic occurrence happened and they became crusaders out to crush religion as some evil creation and one that is responsible for literally every bad thing that has ever happened in the world.

But let’s examine the patient. Atheists are fond of turning the tables in any discussion with them by asserting that the “one who asserts God exists must prove that existence.” And then they go about demanding that God be proven by a methodology that is designed to work in a physical universe. This would be fine if of course God was discernible by test tubes and spectroscopes.

If science tells us anything, it tells us that at the truly small end of things, the laws don’t operate quite the same as they do on our sensory levels. A thing can be at two places at the same time, and observing a thing can alter its behavior. There are posits of more planes of existence, some eleven I’m told, and that each may have its own laws, utterly alien to our own. But they continue to demand that God be proven to their satisfaction by human scientific standards.

They refuse (a no-information zone) to accept that they cannot prove to anyone’s satisfaction that God does not exist. All they can point to is a lack of scientifically generated evidence that he does.

Let me ask it another way.

Prove that the universe is a meaningless existence. Prove that it has no purpose whatsoever. Prove that it just came into being somehow, and is going through this process of evolution and that it all will end somehow and maybe or maybe not start again, in the same unendingly mindless way.

For you posit such a universe.

We are here by a series of accidents, we live for a short period, and we dissolve into nothingness, which billions of others perhaps on billions of other “earths” do the same, all for no purpose whatsoever. This is the world of Albert Camus, life is absurd.

If it is absurd then what is the point? What has ever been the point? Why have we crawled from the cave to get into our Prius’s and drive to work creating balance sheet profits for companies who will fight to avoid giving us a pension all to sit in the sun watching the balance of our lives fade with the sun? How have we found the guts and fortitude to deny ourselves, to be honest, to help others, if only to die inevitably?

Leave a legacy? Give my kids a better life? You have no ability to feel the satisfaction after you die. You have no legacy to watch mature and give birth to your great-great-great grandchildren. You can claim the satisfaction now, but is that but a joke you play on yourself? If you find life to be hard, filled with obstacles, potholes and down-right evil meanness at least some of the time, why not save your progeny that suffering by not bringing them into the world?

Seeing it from your perspective, why feed the homeless man? You but prolong his misery? The end remains the same. Oblivious death?

Or is it as Camus suggests to you? That accepting all of the above is the final freedom–the freedom to not give a damn? But of course you claim that not to be true, for you claim a morality that is as good, nay better than the religious believers you call names and make such fun of. Your freedom cannot be of the Camus variety.

Yes, you are moral people. Morality is I believe a genetic trait that we have found conducive to life. But you have no corner on intelligence my new atheist friends. You like to think you do, but you don’t.

You hold onto this religion of yours, for indeed it is that, because it makes you feel superior. You smugly look down upon others who believe in God as some sort of child who doesn’t have the presence of mind to know a fact from a fairy tale. Yet you who proclaim the scientific method and profess to understand the rigors of research inquiry, utterly refuse to even consider that the bible you ridicule can be read ANY OTHER WAY THAN THE SAME WAY THE FUNDAMENTALISTS YOU HATE READ IT.

That is rich indeed, for you give them the license to dictate the terms of the debate. And the truth is, you can’t allow that there are other, scholarly ways to interpret scripture, for then your fun would be over. You don’t see it that way of course, because you are on a mission, a mission to destroy religion.

And I’m not utterly opposed to that. Religion is an institution, and institutions need people to run them. And people who are beholden to institutions for their livelihood, are inclined to want the institution to grow bigger and richer, for that makes them more powerful and richer. Lots of nasty things happen as a result.

But faith is another thing entirely. You understand only one perverted facet of it and then extrapolate it to the rest because it works for you that way. That is not reality, but you are information proof.

But don’t get me wrong here. I don’t want to convert you. You are fine in your atheism as far as I’m concerned. No God that I understand wishes to punish you for your lack of progress. Humanity is a work in progress. Not all are as enlightened, and that doesn’t mean I’m somehow better than you because I see the world differently. It will all go as it is supposed to, for evolution is always upward. If we don’t blow ourselves to smithereens with our constant bickering.

I don’t seek to convert you but you seek to convert me. And that is a problem. I don’t seek to convert religious fundamentalists either, but I do seek to prevent them from homeschooling their children into their disease. And I do seek to prevent them from making me live in a society of their making. Minding one’s own business is the key, if you get my drift.

And that is the sad thing.

You are not stupid. But you are willfully ignorant. You cannot make it go away by refusing to examine it. Isn’t that kinda basic to a science-based belief system?

atheism_motivational_poster_12

Parachuting into Hammocks of Heavenly Ham Hocks

Yes, well you don’t stay up nights thinking up these titles do ya?

It’s hard, I tell you. I have a wastepaper basket full of rejects before I settle on the perfectly descriptive one that like a laser, pierces directly to the point I wish to make.

You can now be suitable impressed.

On the home front,  I’m a day from finishing the bedroom packing. I have only a shelf in the hole of Calcutta (closet) left to do. I actually found that much as the wardrobe in that movie, you can enter an alternative universe directly at the back of the closet. I stuck my arm through and pulled out a plum. . . .oh nevermind. And my name is not Jack.

A whole lot of the selling off of stuff is now taken care of. A friend of ours is going to take possession of tractors and rototillers and so forth and so on, and sell each at its appointed time. That’s a huge step forward, and so we will soon be at the visit to the real estate agent, visit to the RV sales and rental, visit with the bank, and blah blah blah. We’re hoping to get out of here by the first of May.

So, so much for that stuff.

I’m thinking to start a new weekly post on Friday. I got the idea from  Morning Joe and Up. Each does a closing segment called “what did you learn today”, and “what did you learn this week”.  I thought it might be fun. So, I’m saving up tidbits of stuff I’m learning to put on that post. If you wish to contribute, and I surely hope you will, just send along what you learned (subject matter is wide open) to troyspeyton@iowatelecom.net and let us know. No links are necessary unless you wish. I haven’t come up with a catchy title yet. Something snarky of course. Suggestions welcome there too.

I ran into a number of posts that I found worth your consideration this weekend. This first was I thought extremely revealing about what it means to live faith, even when you don’t have any. It reminds us that morality and values know no religious ideology; in fact they can well be independent of religion at all. Please take the time to read Rethinking His Religion.

Apropos of the SCOTUS oral arguments on the Affordable Health Care Act, is a fine piece in New York Magazine. Jonathan Chait writes The Barbarism of the Health Care Real Crusade and points out the essential difference between Democrats and Republicans on the issue. Fundamentally, Democrats believe that health care is a human right, while Republicans think it is an earned benefit that is obtained by personal responsibility. If they provide help at all, it is to be temporary and offered with plenty of rules. Chait although debunks some of the usual bogus claims made by the Right.

On the other hand, if you would like an amusing but frankly insightful look at Willard, then you can’t do better than How Mitt Romney is like a dog. The analogies are on point. Dana Milbank is your author.

On the other hand, don’t miss the ongoing weekly series by Steve Benen, called Mitt’s Mendacity, vol XI. Maddow has pointed out that all politicians lie a bit, and all stretch the truth. What Romney does is way beyond that. He lies, and the sooner people start using those words, the sooner he may realize that he needs to stop. Over and over, the truth is presented to him and he continues to mouth the same crap. Just bold-faced lies that are proven falsehoods. People are beginning to wonder if Mormonism allows lies as part of their doctrine. We rather doubt it. But then Mitt seems to shy away from his faith so perhaps he’s not much of a practitioner.

I haven’t seen any analysis of the Ryan budget that finds it anything but absurd and ugly. It says that it does not want a safety net turned into a hammock, since you know we all want to just lay back and live on the edge of poverty with our awesome federal subsidies. You know, food stamps and Medicaid, and public housing. Such a cushy life.

I’m told that the Ryan plan secures and additional $187,000 per year in tax savings to the rich. No hammock, but a lovely golden parachute wouldn’t you say?

Good luck trying to sell that one Paulie.

I do not give nearly enough credit to Constant Weader. I don’t always mention the H/T that is owed, since I go directly through their link and link you directly. But I sometimes get 2-3 at a time from her. If you don’t have it in your reader, you should.

A large number of legal experts (the notorious elite university professors) say that there is no chance that SCOTUS will overturn the Affordable Health Care Act. That’s simple because it is obviously constitutional. Based on that analysis, I’m going for a 7-2 vote (I’m not sure if Kagan is hearing it or not), with the two no votes being Thomas and Alito. I don’t think that Roberts has the cojones to twist the law in the way that ultra partisans Thomas and Alito are. Just my prediction.

What is amusing is that the GOP line is now that a win for health care is a minus for Obama. He’ll have to defend it now, instead of being able to rail at the Court for hurting the poor. Dumb reasoning, but then consider the source.

One wonders what goes on in the mind of Willard. It’s like the rich kid winning the trophy because he’s the only one who could afford to send each judge a 2-week vacation present. I mean, the luster on the trophy seems a bit dull doesn’t it? And it doesn’t even give him a head start in the main race, where he can’t buy off the judges, and the judges find him awfully distasteful for buying off the preliminary rounds. So what is left? To go down in history as another “candidate who lost”?

Oh gosh, I think I have overstayed my welcome.

Laters gaters 

It’s Saturday, So It’s Philosophy 101

I just love it when I’m proven to be right. Or should I say that someone who has some real intellectual creds agrees with me.

Jonathan Rée, writing for The New Humanist, has a really lovely article on atheism. Writing as one, he points out a lot of the misconceptions of what the word means and has meant over the centuries.

Moreover, he chastises the “new, new Atheists” as he terms them, for not knowing the history of atheism, and engaging in a petulant and childish game with believers.

He points to the philosopher William James and says of him:

He hated the belligerent secularism that treats religion as a childish superstition which we will all put behind us once we reach the age of reason.

Much could be said of the new new atheists of today, he argues.

James spoke of faith in this manner:

Becoming religious was like falling in love, he said: not a process of intellectual persuasion, but not a delusion either, and it lent new aspects to the world, “an enchantment which is not logically deducible from anything else.”

I don’t think it can be better said or explained frankly.

While Rée certainly comes down in favor of atheism as being the more reasoned choice, he certainly does so in a gentle and non-judgmental way.

This is the stuff of real discussion. Read it and see if you don’t learn a thing or two.

The chicken enchiladas? Pretty much of a bust. The recipe sounded good, but it failed on a number of levels. I’ve been pondering for some time, and think I may have a solution. I can’t tell you why I want a “perfect enchilada” but I do. So I’ll try my own hand in a week or so. You never know, the Pulitzer may be on the horizon. Surely they have one for cooking?

I snatched this directly and entirely from Joe.My.God. simply because it needs to be said, and it’s said succinctly and with passion:

If you’re a Christian who believes that being gay is a morally reprehensible offense against God, then you share a mindset, worldview, and moral structure with the kids who hounded Jamey Rodemeyer, literally, to death. It is your ethos, your convictions, and your theology that informed, supported, and encouraged their cruelty. We Christians who believe that God created gay people as much in His own image as he did straight people are begging you to reconsider your theology — to do nothing more than be open to an alternative, fully credible, scholastically sound interpretation of one or two lines from Paul. How can you be unwilling to do something so simple, when you see the horrible ultimate cost of that refusal?” – Christian author John Shore.

And this seemed to say it perfectly well too:

When the rich rain economic bombs on upon ordinary folks, that’s just capitalism. When ordinary folks point out the bombs, that’s Class Warfare ~Roshi Bob

And the beat goes on.

I picked this up on Roger Ebert’s blog today, and thought it apropos.

Brendan Beery is one very thoughtful guy. Please go read his latest post called, The Inelegance of Republicanism.  He writes a gentle but firm rebuke that could not fail to shame a rational person, but of course, for just that reason, it probably won’t.

Humor is a necessity every day

. So get your daily dose from Political Irony and the best nuggets from the late night circuit. Actually he got all his stuff from Bill Maher today.

Frankly one of the funniest things I read yesterday was Billy Kristol’s remarks in his article about the latest GOP “debate”. Seems he got an e-mail from a “young and bright” Republican who was watching his first debate of the season.

“Why they ( meaning the field of GOP candidates) make us look stupid!”

Well, yes they do. Take a look at the House and Senate GOP, and you can add insane to the mix.

From LOL God

Now go out and have one fine weekend!

Held Hostage By the NFL

Shhh. Be very quiet. This is a house of where now we whisper. “It’s the Playoffs!” Shhhh. Turn around three times, and blink twice. Rub the rabbit’s foot and wiggle your toes. Avoid the black cat.

Negativity be banned. The Packers are poised. They are coming to a TV near you soon. They will prevail. They will overcome.

Okay. Get my drift. My house is in a tizzy all because a bunch of overpaid prima donnas are about to take to the fields of America and cheat, beat each other to a win, all entitling them to advance to the next round.

Everything under heaven and on earth stopped this morning as the Contrarian frantically searched the TV guide looking for THE teams’ game day and time. “I can’t find the early game!” he moaned, nearly swooning with fear.

“Try the Internet,” I mumbled, making the bed.

“Oh God, that will take forever!” he intoned.

“Try NFL Playoffs,” I suggested helpfully.

“I know what to put in!” he huffed.

Ten minutes later, he was pouting, “It’s taking so long!”

“Welcome to my world,” I chuckled.

Suffice it to say that the early game was the late game, and the late game was an even later game, and I get to watch football tonight and then, joy of all joys, do it all over again tomorrow. Whew. I’m sharpening my knitting needles for all the fun!

Now I admit, I can watch football with the best of them, but gee wiz, this is a bit obsessive dontcha think?

Oh, and if there is any question in your mind, the Packers are gonna win the whole thing. You can bet on that literally. Now personally, I have my reservations, but God, I sure ain’t gonna utter them around this house. I’m lucky I got the old goat   Contrarian to go out and bring in some wood to keep my tootsies warm today!

***

Bringing another voice to the Huckleberry Finn controversy, I give you one Roger Ebert. His take is I think worth your while. The more I read of Mr. Ebert, the more I respect this man.

***

Political Irony has your late night political humor here.

***

Don’t know if you heard or not, but Steve King (R-IA) put foot in mouth again. Chastising a Democrat on the floor of the House, for criticizing Speaker Boehner, King regaled that Boehner was full of mendacity, not knowing what the word meant. Boehner indeed is a liar when he claims that the Affordable Heath Care Act is a job killer and costs too much.

Actually it’s working pretty darn good. And that is according to no less than Forbes Magazine. There has been a major uptick in small business buying health insurance for their employees, many for the first time ever, made affordable by the tax credits within the Act.

No doubt Boehner will call that an “opinion” just as he did the CBO estimates that repeal of the act would cause deficits in the area of 230 billion within ten years.

***

Since it doesn’t fuel the narrative offered by Faux News and the GOP, you might have missed this story. Egypt, rift with Al Qaeda like attacks on Coptic Christians, and not confident that their government could protect the latter, saw fit to unite to protect Christians worshiping on Christmas. Yes,  that’s right, Muslims  protecting Christians.

It is essential that we report, and spread the word, that Americans who have an agenda that includes vilifying Muslims must be met with facts. Muslims are not to be another “excuse” to blame some “other” for our own failings.

***

I’ve tried in the past to interact with atheists, but the NeoAtheists are a different breed, younger, and arrogant, and unwilling to discuss issues on any other plane but from a fundamentalist outlook. I know not where to find agnostics, who by their very nature aren’t usually of such a serious bent as to blog on their questions.

James McGrath, does an admirable job of addressing such concerns, with lots of links to atheists, believers and those in-between. I found the discussion heartening and informative.

***

Border Explorer has a very important post on migrant workers in this country. It’s a must read. We owe a great debt to our Latino brothers and sisters for all the work they do. Please read.

***

Inexplicably, Billo the Clown (Bill O’Reilly) seems to believe that the fact that the sun rises and sets and that the tides go in and out, is evidence that God exists. Inexplicable because although I believe that O’Reilly is a horses butt and rather uniformed by choice, I didn’t think he was flat-out stupid. Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have had occasion to query how Billo seems to not understand the concept of GRAVITY?  I mean junior high kids could explain that one to Billo. (H/T to James McGrath.

***

We mentioned the other day that the GOPers in reading the Constitution in the opening session of the House, omitted the 3/5ths clause, because it had been “amended” out. In reality it doesn’t fit with their narrative that the Founding Fathers were perfect and only instituted a limited government. Forgetting of course that the Articles of Confederation were a “limited federal government” and scrapped as unworkable. Of course the 3/5ths clause suggested that our FF were flawed humans as we all are. An excellent article to that effect is by Paul Harvey, teacher of history at University of Colorado. (H/T to James McGrath)

***

What’s on the stove: hotdogs, hash browns and coleslaw.

Laboring in the Vineyard One Sip at a Time

Happy Labor Day! I want to tell you I’m laboring too, over a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes I am. Some short ribs on a slow cook in the oven slathered with sauce and pasta salad and corn relish melding in the fridge. It’s a quiet, fairly overcast day.

Yesterday the Bronco did good. We got into town for a whirlwind trip of groceries and hair cuttings and a new vacuum cleaner. Still much to be done, and of course the next disaster is no doubt lurking around a corner waiting to pounce. But as of now, things have calmed.

We have taped the entire Star Wars saga and are going to watch them in order. A novel idea doncha think?

I’m twittering a lot these days. Which means I haven’t devoted the time I usually do to blogging and blogs. So much fun on twitter with the retweets. I get sometimes a half-dozen new followers a day, and come across some funny stuff. It’s also fun to think you are actually talking to people you watch on TV. Why Sarah speaks, and Keith and Rachel and Colbert and ME chime in with tastefully snotty replies. It’s a hoot.

I don’t know how Martha Stewart does it, juggling all the stuff she does. Nor other Type A personalities who are driven. I’m not so driven. But you knew that.

One of the reasons why in some regions of planet earth, humans moved forward into more sophisticated modes of community, was based on whether they had indigenous animals suitable for domesticating. This allowed greater movement of peoples and their belongings but also allowed drudge work of farming to be handled by animals, freeing up our minds and hands to other creative pursuits.

A number of evolutionarily interested folks are looking at the changes we were thus able to make in our new “community” way of life as driving forward our bigger brains. In essence, perhaps gene mutation is one factor, but new ways of living push us forward as well. A new book lays this out and is worth a look at. Read a short review of The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution.

A goodly number of folks would tell you that the Dems are about to suffer some mighty big losses come this November. Of course, if we become pessimistic and decide not to vote, then we will cause that to be true. That’s a self-fulfilling prophesy as they say. But Jim Kessler (who has some street cred here) has some ideas of why it need not be so. We need to find some optimism here, so do read.

One of many things that disgusts me about the average American voter is that they seem to have the attention span of a gnat. Everyone knows that you don’t recover from the ditch Bush and his evil band put us in, in a couple of years. Yet as much as Obama has cautioned that it will take years to recover, people are ready to throw him and Democrats out and usher in the party of NO simply because they are like two-year olds with no self-control. So the recession will drag on for more years than necessary. Remember FDR did not turn around the country in four years either, certainly not in two. Read Paul Krugman’s assessment.

There is a story at Killing the Buddha by Alane Mason. It’s about a gay friend, about death, dying, but most of all about faith and living. It is breathtakingly beautiful in its writing and in what it says. It is one of those pieces that make you gasp at the strange beauty of our humanity. It gives pause, it gives hope. You should just read it.

I still mourn Freddy Mercury, lead singer of Queen. He died of AIDS, back when everyone infected died of AIDS. He would have been 64. So many of our finest artists died in those early years. So many died, and were reviled and shrunk from as if breathing the same air they did was dangerous. We didn’t know better I guess, but still awful.

I remember being a lawyer and seeing deputies wear surgical gloves just to touch an inmate who was HIV positive. I recall a court clerk who scraped a pen used by an infected inmate into the garbage can with a piece of paper. I remember, and I am ashamed for those people and their ugly fears and callous behavior.

Grumpy Lion sends us over to Common Dreams to read a long essay by David Michael Green. I’m an American.  I live in a country – nay, an empire! – that insists on destroying itself. He echoes my thoughts, far more eloquently that I ever could. Read it and sigh. It is all too true I fear. And when you have finished reading, you will weep.

Have a good barbecue today folks and see ya tomorrow!

One Last Word

A friend told me about a spiritual experience he had.

As a faith-filled person, there should be nothing unusual in that. Yet the context of the story was not what you would expect.

For a variety of rational reasons, there was an initial fear that he was ill. And, more than anything,  he found it amusing. After all, being in a church, one should think spiritual first right?

Most of us don’t talk about these experiences, if and when we have them. I suspect frankly that we have them more than we realize. We just don’t see them as such.

Every moment of awe is a hidden such experience I am convinced. It is the reason why people ask each other “where do you find God’s presence the strongest?”

Most people answer nature, or in the faces of their children, or in quilting, or baking. It doesn’t matter, such things touch us deeply at times, and we lose time, and sometimes we lose a sense of where we are. We are lost in God, or perhaps more preciously God is using us to experience this moment, and our ego consciousness has submerged in that wave of Spirit.

Sometimes it lasts for a brief moment or two, other times it can be significantly longer.

I didn’t ask my friend to describe what happened. I never for a moment doubted the experience, but I know that the telling never equals the experience. That is because words are simply inadequate.

I’ve been reading William James, brother of Henry James, the great author. William had a varied career but ended up in psychology, teaching at Harvard. This is all in the 1890’s. The book, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, was a compilation of his Gifford Lectures, and published in 1902.

James, writing in the time of the awakening of science, speaks of religious belief, and explains how it is not a profitable subject of science, but lays outside it in most respects. In his world, many were arguing that science would replace religion, yet he found in testimony after testimony, experiences such that no science could approach.

Furthermore, James became convinced that no amount of scientific argumentation would ever change the minds of those who had had such experiences. He became convinced, and argued that there were indeed different approaches and different realities:

And why, after all, may not the world be so complex as to consist of many interpenetrating spheres of reality, which we can thus approach in alternation by using different conceptions and assuming different attitudes, just as mathematicians handle the same numerical and spatial facts by geometry, by analytical geometry, by algebra, by calculus, or by quaternions, and each time come out right?

And I realized in reading that that I was through with arguing with those who do not believe. In fact I have stopped that endeavor now for some weeks, but this gave me the final intellectual underpinning to my decision.

For the atheist will always insist that every religious thought must be put under the microscope of  empirical inspection. They will tell me about brain activity and various centers within it that can explain “mystical” occurrences. They will insist that I must convince them that it was truly a “real” experience.

Yet James claims that one who genuinely believes they have experienced a spiritual event, will never be persuaded that they are wrong:

. . .but if you do have them, [a spiritual experience] and have them at all strongly, the probability is that you cannot help regarding them as genuine perceptions of truth, as revelations of a kind of reality which no adverse argument, however unanswerable by you in words, can expel from your belief.

Thus it seems we are discussing a subject that in essence we cannot approach because we deny each other’s tools of discernment. In fact, as my experience on the Internet has shown, there is a refusal to even approach the subject calmly and with a certain decorum if you will. In this, the rabid atheist is much, as I have suggested, like the fundamentalist.

James seems to agree.

“He believes in No-God, and he worships him,” said a colleague of mine of a student who was manifesting a fine atheistic ardor; and the more fervent opponents of Christian doctrine have often enough shown a temper which, psychologically considered, is indistinguishable from religious zeal.

The atheist worships himself, demanding accent to the proposition that humanity is at the pinnacle of all that is; that it is the human brain that is the creator if you will, and that it is human science that is the final and only arbiter of all brought before it for examination. No other standard is acceptable.

In this, they are as rabid and obnoxious as the bible pounder who assaults us with his perfect interpretation of God which we are required to accede to and to have all judged by.

I find James insights and conclusions amazing, given psychology was in it’s infancy at the time. So was much of science truth be told. Yet, he has, it seems, nailed it. We are talking apples and oranges when we seek to engage in the discourse of this type.

Yet, if you accept what is being done in theoretical physics these days, our particular universe may be only one of an infinite variety of “types.” It would seem that reality really is much in the eye of the beholder. At least we can claim with some accuracy, that not a one of us can claim certainty.

If no certainty, then I in my faith and you in your lack of it, stand equally. And we should respect that, and let it go. I say that to those who spend their days in the effort to dissuade others of  their faith, and those who spend their days in the effort to prove the need of faith.

People of faith and people of no faith have but one goal: to live life as best we can as we see it. God, in my world, will determine the rest.

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What’s Up? 06/03/10

Sooo, it’s Thursday, and you know what that means! Oh, maybe you don’t? Well, it means the weekend is only a coupla days away. That used to be the only thing I frankly lived for.

Now, not so much. Being REtired ( not more tired mind ya) but, as in not working a formal gig meaning job, I don’t pay as much attention to the humpy Wednesday, maudlin Monday kinda thing any more. But it’s hard to shake, cuz the rest of the world seems to, so well, I succumb to public pressure.

Which all means nothing whatsoever. But as usual, I aim to dazzle you with my wordy abilities.

Saying that, hey, ever wondered where all the smart people are? Other that moi and Contrarian here, well, things are probably a little intellectually bereft here in the hinterlands of northern Linn county Iowa. Not to cast aspersions upon my fellow Iowans or nuttin’ . I am not a caster, having no rod and reel, nor a bean to save my soul. Should those things work at saving one’s soul that is. Anyway, The Atlantic has a kinda weird story and charts about where all the smart people live. Take a look.

Oh I got a new word for ya from Dr. McGrath over at Exploring our Matrix. It’s sarchasm. Meaning those who are unable to grasp the sarcasm of what you said. I thought it was a good one. He had a couple of others. It was one of yesterday’s posts I believe. He’s a multiple poster, which might be sexually deviant, or maybe just an addiction. I don’t know for sure.

Apparently while I was a sleepin’ the dang old fundies have been at it again, here in I-O-WA. It seems 834 “pastors” of “churches” in Iowa have sent letters to all candidates informing them of hellfire and damnation opposition, should they not push for a constitutional amendment redefining marriage as between only a man and a woman. It will require that to pass muster before the Iowa Supreme Court. Ain’t these idiots got anything better to do? Like feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and such? This comes by way of Rightwing Watch.

Well, dintcha just know he would? Disgraced fundie gay blade, Ted Haggard and his stand by yer man wifey, are planning on starting their own church. I don’t think the New Life Church of which he was the head honcho before the, err, scandal, wanted him back. So, because of public demand he is baaakk. Shall we all say a prayer for the poor souls who will become his newest victims?

Speaking of fraudulent stuff (we were weren’t we?) the Bible and Interpretation has a great article on some folks penchant for stuff that “proves” faith. We are talking about shrouds and pieces of the cross, and other such stuff. If you are religiousy, you might enjoy it.

If you want some heavy duty reading about mind-body issues–how does our brain relate to our our mind–then read a thoughtful post from Robert Lawrence Kuhn, at Science and Religion Today. It’s fascinating if a bit complicated to untangle. Best I can discern is that there is no real consensus among the experts. Are we reproducible or is there something about us that is, well, not biological?

It’s long been my contention that having the ability to acquire most anything, leaves one with little enjoyment of much of any commodity so obtained. (If you can afford a 100 cashmere sweaters, how much do you enjoy wearing or looking at one of yours?) Psychology Today reports on some findings. (Hint: I’m sorta vindicated, sorta.)

Anybody notice? That old Dick “THE DICK” Cheney has been silent during this BP disaster? Mr. Bigmouth warning us how Obama was destroying Merika for the whitey man, has shut his pie hole tight as of late. I shouldn’t wonder since, Halliburton is busy lining the coffers of all those Rethugs up for election who just happen to sit on committees that will be investigating the oil spew. These asswipes have NO shame. Did I just manage to waste time stating the obvious? Sure did.

That’s it for today. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Use yours today!

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