But I Want My Values Enforced!

Warren SCHOOLS Evangelical for forcing religious beliefs on Americans

BREAKING: Elizabeth Warren just SCHOOLED an Evangelical Christian for trying to FORCE HIS BELIEFS on the rest of America. MUST-WATCH!

Posted by Washington Press on Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Facebook – Washington Press – Elizabeth Warren

I appreciate her attempt to not alienate the fundmentalist, but I really don’t have respect for his limited understand of the subjects he claims to have a belief in or about. Anti-abortionists don’t understand what the medical procedure does, they just know they hate abortion. They just know that god’s will is perfect. They couldn’t be more wrong in that belief.

RAnt(hony)-ings

…also? Traditional marriage is not a thing. It simply isn’t a thing. There is marriage as we knew it in Western culture, which is different than it is in every other culture and their traditions are as old or older as ours. Will he allow for other cultures to inflict their traditions on us, require us to follow their traditions here? Then don’t tell me I have to stick to 1950’s ideals.

RAnt(hony)-ings

Marriage is a legal contract. Legal contracts can be altered to fit the situation. Deal with change or change will deal with you. That’s really all I have to say on the subject of his beliefs. Accept that change happens and embrace the changing nature of life, or whither away and die. Pick one.

Conservatives can vote Republican or go elsewhere. Democrats do not have to make room for conservative ideals like the ones he mentions. Democrats only have to say that he can believe whatever he likes. Which is what Warren does. Good on her.

Anti-Vaccination Agitation

One way to look at it is this – a small minority now has the ability to hijack public health policy by waging their own shadow campaign on social media. They are accountable to no one. They can force the expenditure of limited public health dollars just to minimize the effect of their own campaigns. This is also an asymmetric campaign, because it is much easier to spread fear than proper information. At the very least it is reasonable to filter out their harmful misinformation from private platforms. Panels of experts can be used to provide the filter, and fair processes can be made available for appeals. At the very least these options need to be explored.

Sciencebasedmedicine.org
Sciencebasedmedicine.org

Mailed to Freedom

“I felt my eyes swelling as though they would burst from their sockets, and the veins on my temples were dreadfully distended with pressure of blood upon my head,” Brown wrote. “I felt a cold sweat coming over me that seemed to be warning that death was about to terminate my earthly miseries.”

Washington Post – Henry ‘Box’ Brown

…he then turned his escape into an act that he made a fortune with.

Palindrome Verse

Ignore the clickbaity header and footer if you can. Just experience the beauty of the verse.

Danielle Curtis: I Am Broken

On days when you feel that you can't go on, listen to this:by Roc Solid Foundation

Posted by The Daily Goalcast on Friday, October 5, 2018
The Daily Goalcast E141 – Danielle Curtis: I Am Broken

…The shameless promotion represented in the clickbaity come on to watch almost kept me from watching the damn thing. This is why nakedly inspirational material will almost never be found around me. Most of it amounts to a desire for wish fulfillment. Saying “I’m not broken” is easy. Living the best life you can with disabilities is very hard, and continues every day that you get up and start the day again.

RAnt(hony)-ings

Newspeak 101

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

The Washington Post

When people use the adjective Orwellian, this is exactly what they mean.

The Good Place

StitcherEzra Klein – The moral philosophy of The Good Place – Dec 10, 2019

After creating and running Parks and Recreation and writing for The Office, Michael Schur decided he wanted to create a sitcom about one of the most fundamental questions of human existence: What does it mean to be a good person? That’s how The Good Place was born.

Soon into the show’s writing, Schur realized he was in way over his head. The question of human morality is one of the most complicated and hotly contested subjects of all time. He needed someone to help him out. So, he recruited Pamela Hieronymi, a professor at UCLA specializing in the subjects of moral responsibility, psychology, and free will, to join the show as a “consulting philosopher” — surely a first in sitcom history.

I wanted to bring Shur and Hieronymi onto the show because The Good Place should not exist. Moral philosophy is traditionally the stuff of obscure academic journals and undergraduate seminars, not popular television. Yet, three-and-a-half seasons on, The Good Place is not only one of the funniest sitcoms on TV, it has popularized academic philosophy in an unprecedented fashion and put forward its own highly sophisticated moral vision.

This is a conversation about how and why The Good Place exists and what it reflects about The Odd Place in which we actually live. Unlike a lot of conversations about moral philosophy, this one is a lot of fun.

Ezra Klein – The moral philosophy of The Good Place – Dec 10, 2019

I mentioned the show here.

RAnt(hony)-ings

…so I thought I could at least mention it again in an article about it. I wish I had more to say on the subject than just watch the show. I’ve gone back and started watching Veronica Mars because of Kristen Bell‘s lead role in the show. That’s how much I like it.

Atheists Know More About Religion Than Religious People Do

Atheists may not believe religious teachings, but they are quite informed about religion. In Pew Research Center’s 2019 religious knowledge survey, atheists were among the best-performing groups, answering an average of about 18 out of 32 fact-based questions correctly, while U.S. adults overall got an average of roughly 14 questions right. Atheists were at least as knowledgeable as Christians on Christianity-related questions – roughly eight-in-ten in both groups, for example, know that Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus – and they were also twice as likely as Americans overall to know that the U.S. Constitution says “no religious test” shall be necessary to hold public office.

Pew, 10 facts about atheists

That was just one of the ten facts about atheists that Pew listed in their updated article from 2015. None of the facts were surprising to me, even back in 2015 when I first ran across the article. Especially that one. In order to form an opinion about a religion, enough of an opinion to decide that you don’t want to be religious anymore, you have to study the subject pretty thoroughly.

I’ve studied every religion that I’ve run across in my 50+ years on this planet. None of them ended up being something that I wanted to devote my life to, much less any significant amount of my time. All of them ended up failing on some measure of value and relevance to life in the here and now. My last flirtation with religion was when I read the entire Book of Mormon in order to be able to argue knowledgeably with the Mormon missionaries who used to bicycle up to the house and lend a hand with projects we had going on while trying to convert us to their religion. This was back before the turn of the century, an event that both of them thought would spell the end of the world and bring on the second coming of Christ. The last time I spoke to them I said that I’d get back to them in 2001.

Anyone who has read both the Bible and the Book of Mormon that doesn’t have unanswered plagiarism questions isn’t paying attention to what they are reading. When I found myself still here on January 1, 2001, I contemplated looking those two guys up again and asking them what they thought about there not being an armageddon as was promised. Look, we’re all still here. Now what?

That sort of playful argumentation about emotionally charged subjects like religion have gotten me in trouble many times. You’d think I’d eventually learn to stop doing that, but I haven’t. It’s what lead me to state that Atheism is not a Belief System, a subject I document in this article.

RAnt(hony)-ings

The resultant arguments from that fiasco only firmed up my lack of belief in gods or the supernatural. I still marvel at how little proof most people require to believe even the craziest of things, religion just being one of those crazy things.

I take issue with several of the facts in the Pew article though. One of them was #3, Atheists make up a larger share of the population in many European countries than they do in the U.S. This was the motivation for me starting this article on the blog. The entire basis of the Pew article, limiting the findings to just those people who checked off the box atheist, is a major flaw in their article. There are even more significant numbers of people who are irreligious than there are actual atheists, not to mention the one/fifth of people who are so poorly informed as to identify as atheist and still avow to have a belief in god or gods.

The larger, more important, group are the people who are simply irreligious. People who say that they have no religion. That number in the United States is still less than half (39%) but represents a percentage of the population that can swing issues that are basically religious in nature (subjects like abortion) in surprising directions. If you use that number instead of the number that claim atheism, you have majorities of the population of most of Europe, with Australia ranking in the top ten countries in the world for numbers of irreligiousness.

List of Countries by Irreligion

The portion of humanity who don’t think religion is important enough to even have one is very large, and it is growing. Growing by leaps and bounds as the evangelicals in the United States and across the world attempt to alter governments to suit their religious beliefs. Nothing turns people off of a subject faster than having that subject forced on them when they don’t think it is important.

Hat/Tip to the Richard Dawkins Foundation and a Facebook friend who shall remain nameless unless he says I can use his name.

Tis the Season

As I’m contemplating the impending holiday season, the final cutscene from the Battle For Azeroth ending raid springs to mind.

World of WarcraftAzshara’s Eternal Palace – Raid Finale Cinematic (Spoilers) – Jul 9, 2019

Why is that? Well, since the Old Gods are returning in the upcoming Shadowlands expansion for World of Warcraft, I’m thinking that maybe a Lovecraft Christmas is in order. Something like this tree from 2011 that made the rounds on Facebook in 2012.

We could even create a soundtrack for this season from the various songs inspired by Lovecraft’s fantasy writing that appear on various Blue Oyster Cult albums, some of these songs penned by fantasy and science fiction writer Michael Moorcock. Here’s one from a recent album with an appropriate name and theme.

Blue Oyster Cult: The Old Gods Return

Existence

What is the meaning of life? You assign your own meaning, there really isn’t any mystery there. If you aren’t happy with what your life will end up meaning, only you can change that, and you don’t have limitless amounts of time to do that in. Get to it, Man!

The Meaning of Life with Martin Hägglund by Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes

Part of what’s so moving when someone commits to you for life is precisely that you know that this person doesn’t have eternity to lead their lives and they’re making you a priority. You can only do that if you understand that you have limited time.

Martin Hägglund – This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom

I have no qualms about my own death and probable ending of existence in any form beyond not wanting my death to happen anytime soon. I do carry a fair portion of caution with me everywhere I go. However, the universe existed before I was born and it will continue to exist after I’m gone. The universe does not need me, and anyone who is bothered by that probably needs to be talking to a therapist.

The only thing that bothers me about passing from existence is dying without knowing why the universe exists at all. It is a question that is not likely ever to be answered. The universe is for all intents and purposes its own reason to exist. It is, just like I am.

Carl Sagan’s Cosmos (1980)