Freethought

Happy Birthday, Richard Dawkins…

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From The Freethinker UK
‘The Voice of Atheism since 1881′

On this date in 1941, evolutionary biologist and freethought champion Richard Dawkins was born in Nairobi. His father had moved to Kenya from England during the Second World War to join the Allied Forces and the family returned to England in 1949.

Dawkins graduated from Oxford in 1962, earned his doctorate, became assistant professor of zoology at the University of California at Berkeley 1967-1969 and a fellow of New College in 1970. The Selfish Gene, his first book, published in 1976, became an international bestseller. It and the award-winning Blind Watchmaker were translated into all major languages.

His other books include The Extended Phenotype (1982), River Out of Eden(1995), Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), Unweaving the Rainbow (1998) and A Devil’s Chaplain (2003). His 2006 iconoclastic book, The God Delusion, which he wrote with the public hope of turning believing readers into atheists, became a bestseller in both the UK and the US.

Stop complaining about Dawkins and Maher, you fools…

aFrom Reedit

My news feed has recently been littered with random complaints by some atheists who are upset about other atheists who openly challenge religious claims and shame believers for adhering to immoral philosophies.

The common themes in these arguments are that it’s a waste of time and that individuals like Dawkins and Maher do more harm than good by giving atheism a combative and antagonistic image.

Meanwhile, empirical data released this week clearly shows how more Americans identify as non-religious than ever before, with a distinct and conspicuous spike in the last decade.

How Did Jesus Get to be So Hot? Where Popular Images of Jesus Actually Came From

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To understand the Borgia story requires a bit of context.

It’s All Guesswork

In contrast to what many people believe, we have no authentic physical artifacts confirming the gospel stories, nor descriptions of Jesus from any of his contemporaries. Even the gospels themselves never claim to be eyewitness accounts. Scholars now believe that the stories of Jesus’ life and ministry that have been handed down to us—both within the Bible and outside–were written decades (or more) after Jesus would have lived, by unknown authors. This means that Christians have been free for almost two millennia to depict Jesus in a form that best suits their own culture and purposes, and they have.

Christian Crock: Love Letters to Richard Dawkins…


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Spock: On God…

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Hey Richard Dawkins… What if you’re wrong?


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Ten Things Christians Accidentally Tell Me About Themselves…

Say what you want about Sigmund Freud, but bizarre obsessions aside, the man came up with some brilliant observations about human behavior.  One of his greatest contributions to the study of human behavior was his description of defense mechanisms, those quirky little things we all do to make us feel better about ourselves.  Lately I’ve noticed that one defense mechanism in particular, projection, happens a lot when Christians talk about how they perceive my unbelief.  Wikipedia summarizes the concept pretty succinctly:

Freud considered that in projection thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings that cannot be accepted as one’s own are dealt with by being placed in the outside world and attributed to someone else.

I would be slower to call them on this if it didn’t happen with such amazing regularity, or if I hadn’t already experienced life on both sides of this ideological gulf.  But both are the case and as a result, these have become so glaringly obvious to me that I’ve been itching to spell them out.  So here goes…

Who is Public Religion For? The Clergy. Who is the Clergy For? The Clergy.


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Choosing To Be Offended…

It’s a Muslim Thing…

Bid to end suffering of chickens blocked after Muslims complain it would undermine their rights
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic…

Restaurant removes bacon sign after Muslims complain
http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/08/24/…

Egypt’s vegetarians dread the arrival of Eid el-Adha, the festival of sacrifice
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014…
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What’s Good About Religion? Let’s Be Positive…


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Jesus and Mo

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The Conservative Attempt to Re-Write Our Progressive History…

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From Thom Hartmann

Oklahoma isn’t the only state where Republicans are waging war on high school history class.

Conservatives in a handful of other states, including Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and – no surprise here – Texas are now pushing bills that would ban the College Board’s AP U.S. history curriculum.

The main issue that conservatives have with the current AP history curriculum is that it’s “too liberal” and supposedly focuses too much on the “negative” parts of American history, whatever that means. So Conservatives want to replace it with a curriculum that focuses on topics conservatives like – topics like, you know, Reagan, Reagan, and, just for good measure, more Reagan.

In all seriousness, though, there’s a really good reason that conservatives are freaking out about what kind of history curriculum is going to be taught in our classrooms. And that’s the simple fact that the history of America is the history of the continuous progressive transformation of this country.

Freedom of speech, backlash of anger over four words at South Portland High School…

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From The Portland Press Herald

Three students who made others aware of their right not to say the Pledge of Allegiance are stunned by the emotional reaction.

It’s a story about three top students at South Portland High School, four little words added to the daily invitation to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and a provocative Facebook post that provided an unexpected lesson in the politics of the freedom of speech.

Senior class president Lily SanGiovanni sparked community outrage in January when she changed the way she invited students and faculty members to recite the pledge.

We must offend religion more: Islam, Christianity and our tolerance for ancient myths, harmful ideas. Our enduring deference to religion, despite its toxicity and phony explanations for the cosmos, lets it survive… 

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From Salon

“Yes, it is freedom of speech, but,” said Inna Shevchenko, the 24-year-old leader of the topless, fiercely atheist activist group Femen in France.  On Feb. 14 she was addressing the conference on art, blasphemy and freedom of expression held at the Krudttønden, a café and cultural center in Copenhagen.  She continued.  “Why do we still say ‘but’ when we…”

A sustained barrage of automatic gunfire interrupted her.  She, the Swedish cartoonist with her onstage, Lars Vilks (famous for his 2007 drawings of the Prophet Muhammad that sparked deadly riots in the Islamic world), and much of the audience hurled themselves to the floor before escaping through the building’s rear exit.  The hooded terrorist assailant, a 22-year-old Danish citizen of Arab descent, ended up killing a Danish filmmaker, Finn Noergaard, and wounding five others.  Police later felled the assassin after he had opened fire on a synagogue, murdering one.

Sam Harris: Atheists have no ‘blood on their hands’ for Chapel Hill murders…

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From The Raw Story

Sam Harris addressed the role atheism may or may not have played in the murders of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, and Razan Abu-Salha by Craig Hicks in Chapel Hill, North Carolina last week. 

He began by noting that while many have blamed the “militancy” in the atheist community for these murders, “there’s absolutely nothing in my work or my mind that is supportive of a crime like this, and I would hope that this would go without saying — but it probably can’t. The deluge of claims of equivalence between this crime, and the Charlie Hebdo atrocity and the daily behavior of a group like ISIS, has been astonishing to witness.”

“You can sense that people have just been waiting for a crime like this that could conceivably be pinned on atheism.”

Jesus and Mo…

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College Students Are Abandoning Religion In Droves…

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From Vocative

28 percent of freshmen don’t identify with any particular faith, an all-time low

America’s Class of 2018 cares less about religious identity than any other group of college freshman in the last 40 years, newly released research shows.

The Double Life of Hasidic Atheists…

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From Aeon
Thanks to Todd

Seduced by science and rationalism, yet tied to their families and communities, Hasidic atheists opt for a double life…

The moment Solomon lost his faith, he was standing on the D train, swaying back and forth with its movement as if in prayer. But it wasn’t a prayer book that the young law student was reading – he had already been to synagogue, where he had wrapped himself in the leather thongs that bound him to Orthodox Judaism, laying phylacteries and reciting the prayers three times daily.

The tome in his hands now was Alan Dershowitz’s The Genesis of Justice (2000), which used Talmudic and Hasidic interpretations of the Bible to argue that stories in the book of Genesis, from Adam and Eve eating the apple to Noah and his ark, constituted God’s learning curve – a means of establishing a moral code and the rules of justice that prevail today.

Darwin Day…

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It’s Time to Fight the Faith Mongering Fraudsters…

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From Salon

Toxic drivel, useful media idiots, and the real story about faith and violence. Out of misguided notions of “tolerance,” we avert our critical gaze from blatant absurdities. We must now get real…

The relentless march of time generally affords humankind, which happens to include folks in the media, the chance to reflect on events and acquire wisdom. But the weeks passing since the massacre in Paris of the highly talented Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for their depictions of the Prophet Muhammad have only granted a good number of commentators the opportunity to bedork themselves time and again, as they pen columns and make on-air statements that both spread confusion and betray commitments to untenable, morally reprehensible extenuative positions concerning Islam. This is tragic, for, if anything, the slaughter of European artists exercising their lawful right to self-expression in the capital of their own country offered us all a “teachable moment” sans pareil about the nature of the threat lurking within – in fact, innate to — the “religion of peace.”

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