Category Archives: Religion

Don’t Diss Darwin

The NCSE has created a new site, Don’t Diss Darwin, to combat Ray Comfort’s mutilated copies of Darwin’s Origin of Species to be given away at “100 top universities” in the US (19 18, Nov. 2009) and Canada (24, Nov. 2009).

DontDissSeal_Red01

I thought someone should do the same thing to some of Comfort’s books, but if you added an introduction and cut all the nonsense out, you’d be left with nothing but the introduction.

Via: RichardDawkins.net

UPDATE: Comfort changed his plan in an attempt to counter some rationalist’s plans. He’s giving the books out TODAY. (Via: Pharyngula)

Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort are giving away copies of ‘Origin of Species’

So, banana man and his right hand guy will be giving away some 50,000 copies of Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’ at universities across the country. There’s only one problem.

Each copy will include a 50 page intro attempting to explain how evolution has never been proven and how Darwin helped inspire the Holocaust.

This is sad and pathetic at the same time. But something good can come of this.

If you are in college, then you are in a good position to help. Check your campus on November 19th, and if you see a group distributing copies of the book, then get as many as you can. Get a copy for yourself, ask if you can have extra copies for your friends, ask your friends to go ask for copies, and ask other people you see carrying the book if you can have their copy. Remove the 50 page intro, and then donate perfectly good copies of ‘Origin of Species’ to schools, libraries, and Goodwill. We can actually make this into something positive.

I guess the banana wasn’t enough proof after all.

You can watch this video for more information.

Via: Richard Dawkins

UPDATE: The NCSE has created the Don’t Diss Darwin site to combat Comfort’s copies of Origin.

Being godless in the workplace

This is more of a rant than a well-thought out post.

In just a little over one month into my new job (more on that in a bit), the issue of and concerns about my humanism/atheism has already come into conversation twice. I live and work in Tennessee. Every night I’m subjected to christian propaganda in the form of general conversation and apparel (i.e. t-shirts with such witty wording as “Not perfect, just forgiven”). I carry a book with me almost every night to have something to read during my breaks and lunch. So far I’ve steered clear of taking such blatant titles as “The God Delusion” and “The Portable Atheist” with me mostly because I feel the issue of my non-belief is not an appropriate area of discourse for the workplace so I usually take a general science book with me. But “science” itself, it seems, is enough to get the dusty cogs in their brains going.

Twice I’ve had the question put forth to me, “So, do you believe in God?” And twice I’ve answered, “No, I really don’t believe in anything supernatural.” The first person asked an interesting follow-up question, “So.. are you, ya know… happy?” … The second was more down-trodden, “Man, that kind of makes me sad to hear that. Everybody has to believe in something.”

In the two brief discussions I’ve had with these two people, I’ve tried to entertain their personal beliefs without stepping all over them. (I save the stepping for the intertubes.) I’ve even held back a few questions and laughter that would serve no good purpose. One of them kept coming back to the “debate” with questions like, “So how do you explain good and evil?” to which I replied, “What else would there be?” and “We just made all that evolution stuff up.” To which I quickly replied, “No, we just figured it out. There’s a big difference.”

Both seem to be very fond and ignorant of the Bible… “The words in red are what Jesus said.” … as well as ignorant of other religions and modes of spirituality.  It’s pretty obvious they’ve never experienced a spiritual moment from anything other than the religion they were brought up in. They’ve never explored the topic of religion in an academic sense and are oblivious to other culture’s religions. I keep wondering what our country would be like if we had comparative religion studies in our high schools. I’ve explained to both of them that I’m a very spiritual person, just not a religious one… I find my spirituality in the awesome mysteries and wonder of the universe. Pictures like this evoke a spiritual response from me. Hell, just thinking about how massive our universe is evokes a spiritual response. I’m reminded of one of my favorite Carl Sagan quotes…

Many religions have attempted to make statues of their gods very large, and the idea, i supposed, is to make us feel small. But if that’s their purpose, they can keep their paltry icons. We need only look up if we wish to feel small.

Putting “Life” into perspective is a humbling and empowering experience that everyone should take part in. It allows you to see life for what it truly is. An amazingly rare and wondrous thing worth saving and worth making it better for all. Viewing the Earth from space allows you to see the made up lines we’ve created to separate ourselves from one another and to see our little insignificant planet as a single organism that must work together in harmony if it is to survive. Realizing there is no supernatural afterlife awaiting you when you die begs the venture of making all there is to make of this life. As Richard Dawkins put it…

The ‘here and now’ is not something to be endured before eternal bliss or damnation. The ‘here and now’ is all we have; An inspiration to make the most of it.

As it stands, I’m going to continue trying to avoid the ‘I’m a godless heathen among you’ conversation while on the clock.

I’ve now broken two principles because I need this job so much at the moment … damn you U.S. economy. Granted, larger paychecks are nice, but they don’t make me feel any better about myself. The whole situation is a bit loony. I’m attempting to be a nobody that stands out amongst the crowd. Does having a contradictory goal affect the outcome?  Hmmmm.

Okay… my little rant is over… When I write a real post regarding my new job, some of this will make a little more sense. Right now, after a 12 hour shift… I’m pooped. Lights out.

President-elect Obama and Secular America

One of the many reasons I voted for President-elect Obama (I love saying that). I wanted a president that understands secularism and its importance in American government.

President-elect Obama’s full ‘Call to Renewal’ speech.

You F*cking GO GIRL!

*Swoon*

Oh, Hellzzz Yeah!

So, now that you have some proper motivation. Go! Post a blog entry, comment on one (or more), make a video or whatever you can. Make your voice heard. Stand up for your secular American rights.

How many churches do you need?

I’ve always been amazed at just how many churches there are in my little city of less than 20,000 residents. I used to joke that there was a different church on just about every street corner. I recently did a Google Maps search for “church” in Tullahoma, TN and nearly dropped my jaw.

Here’s the map. (scroll down the listings on the left side and start clicking ‘Next’)

With 10 churches listed on each page, I made it to page 8 before the results started to get into neighboring cities and towns.

Now, some of these churches are small, single building establishments with a small congregation and many of them disappear after a couple years of service only to be replaced by another funny named worship center a few months later. A few, however, dwarf entire subdivisions where people are struggling to feed their families. Take the newly erected Church of Christ at Cedar Lane. The size of this 15-acre complex-o-worship is gargantuan compared to the government-run Tullahoma Housing Authority subdivision right across the street and is as large as about half the apartment complex right next door. (Here’s a Google Maps image – the complex was still in construction when this image was taken, but you can still make size comparisons. THA subdivision is to the left, apartment complex is above.)

According to city-data.com, in 1999, 17.2% of Tullahoma residents live below the poverty level and 7.3% live below 50% of the poverty level. The median household income in 2007 was $36,500. So, when I think about all the money spent building, running and maintaining these houses of prayer, I’m never quite sure whether to laugh or cry. Imagine if just a fraction of that money had been spent on things that actually advance this small city and its residents (like our city’s school system and our fantastic Hands-On Science Center) instead of being spent on first century stupidity.

Honestly! How many churches do you need?