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Independent News & Blog Feeds
- Valley People (Aug 31, 2016)ON THE 24th of September at the Anderson Valley Fairgrounds between 1 and 4pm the friends and family of Loretta Jean Houck are invited to gather to celebrate her amazing life. There will be food, beverage, cigars, pictures and more. We will tell our favorite stories and remember how blessed we all have been to […]
- Letters (Aug 31, 2016)Just over two months ago, a lifelong resident of Navarro had moved back after almost 7 years of leaving the state. He left as a single father of three minor children. When he returned he returned with a child that is now 18, two 16-year-olds, a 14-year-old and a wife. His family has grown up and there have been a couple of additions.
- The Gods Have SpokenEvery once in a while — not often, but it happens — prison will get the better of me. Most of the time I’m all about the business of filling up my days in a more-or-less worthwhile and productive fashion and haven't the time or inclination to indulge in self-pity or pointless yearning, but occasionally […]
- Cheney In A Pants Suit?I don't suppose there'll ever be a time when female politicians aren't judged by their appearance. Now, Hillary is "Cheney in a pants suit." Wait a minute. Cheney is in a pants suit. In fact, every man in government is in a pants suit. Usually blue or grey. With a little flag pin on the […]
- Notable Commons Around the WorldA wide variety of urban commons around the world are challenging the idea that people’s needs can only be met via city governments, urban planners and lawyers.
- The Flimsy Ladder to Solid Ground - Part TwoWe’ve explored, in part one of this article, how fossil fuels had (in a sense) suspended history...Here’s another thing – the pursuit of mass consumption has suspended the pursuit of mass happiness.
- Liberation EcologyToday, we realize that a finite Earth cannot support endless growth that overshoots the Earth’s biophysical limits and threatens long-term human survival and Mother Earth’s bounty.
- Baudelaire on Beauty and Strangeness"Beauty always has an element of strangeness... simple, unintended, unconscious strangeness [which] gives it the right to be called beauty."
- August 31, 1958: Harry Harlow’s Seminal Paper on the Nature of Love"Love is a wondrous state, deep, tender, and rewarding... But... the little we know about love does not transcend simple observation, and the little we write about it has been written better by poets and novelists."
- Retrotopia: The View from Ottawa HillsThis is the twenty-third installment of an exploration of some of the possible futures discussed on this blog, using the toolkit of narrative fiction. On his last full day in the Lakeland Republic, our narrator pays a visit to industrial magnate Janice Mikkelson and gets a different perspective on the Republic and the lessons of its history...***********The […]
- Learning From Failure: A Modest IntroductionThe other day, one of the readers over at the other blog asked a question as sensible as it is timely: why do so many sane people start foaming at the mouth when the subject of this year’s US presidential election comes up? It’s a fair question. Even by the embarrassing standards of political discourse that apply to the United States these days, the blend o […]
- Here’s How an Off-the-Grid Homeschooled Christian Girl Escaped Her Parents and Became a Legal HumanNearly a year and a half ago, we posted about 19-year-old Alecia Faith Pennington, who grew up in a homeschooling Christian household and had no legal documentation testifying to her own existence. The Radiolab podcast just posted an incredible episode about her journey.
- Oklahoma Man Says Library Ad Featuring Muslim Woman is Illegal Promotion of IslamOklahoma resident Chad Grensky says this image, which is one of many advertising the Pioneer Library System, is promoting Islam (it's not) and needs to change (it doesn't).
- The World’s Most Famous Atheist Wants to Help People Alongside the World’s Most Famous CatholicMark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and arguably the most famous atheist in the world, met this week with Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church and arguably the most famous religious leader in the world.
- Oklahoma Christian Charity Now Says It Won’t Accept Money From Churches If Atheists Were InvolvedThe Christian charity that rejected tens of thousands of dollars from an atheist donor now says it also won't take money from a local pastor, because they know he must have gotten that money from heathens.
- Iceland’s Government Will Uncover an Enchanted Rock to Appease the Elves. (Seriously.)Because of a 2012 law to "protect Iceland's elfin heritage," the Iceland Road Administration is going to fix a situation in which a company that removed debris following a landslide accidentally covered up an enchanted rock.(What the hell did I just write?)
- Indiana Mother Says It’s Okay to Beat Her Son with a Coat Hanger Because the Bible Permits ItA mother in Indiana has been charged with felony child abuse after beating her 7-year-old son with a hanger and leaving him, over time, with 36 bruises all over his body. She says religious freedom laws in the state allow her to discipline her child in accordance with the Bible.
- Fighting Zika with Zika – Should Couples Who Want Healthy Babies Deliberately Expose Themselves to Zika Virus?For a woman who wants to safeguard against fetal brain damage from Zika, the surest protection may be a Zika infection that begins and ends prior to pregnancy—but questions remain about possible risks. Months ago, CDC epidemiologists predicted that the Zika virus would … Continue reading →
- Liberalism’s Great Challenge: How Can We Critique Ideas while Protecting People?Secular and reformist Muslims plead that we learn to tell the difference between analyzing ideas and attacking people. When Islam is at question, members of the American Left and Right race into opposite corners. After the Orlando nightclub massacre, to … Continue reading →
- “God’s Club” Shows Us the Disconnect Between Christian-Land and Reality-Land.I'd be hard-pressed to point to a more glaring illustration of that discrepancy than the disgraceful spectacle of Christians making movies presenting themselves as they really truly believe they are--while remaining completely (and, one increasingly suspects, willfully) oblivious to how others see them.
- In the Echo Grove of Their Hearts.The movie God's Club hammers constantly at the idea that the fictional town of Echo Grove, Vermont is some bastion of godlessness. But where is it? And is this idea of godlessness equating to immorality correct?
- The Predatory Side of ReligionThose of us who used to be devout face a tricky challenge when we go through trying times. There used to be easier ways for us to share our pains and losses with others and receive support. Church has its drawbacks, to be sure, but after we leave it behind we find we are giving up a source of community [Read More...]
- What Lies Beneath the Suit of ArmorSeveral months ago I was asked to contribute a few paragraphs for the new Atheos app, a mobile app to help skeptics deconstruct the arguments of religious believers in order to nudge them toward a more consistent rationality. People who know me know that I’m not much for prolonged debate, even if I do succumb to an [Read More...]
- Democrats diss atheists, but still count on our votesBy Robyn Blumner Unlike Bernie Sanders, I am an atheist. Why is the Democrat Party taking me for granted? Why did members of the Democratic National Committee think it OK to tar Sanders, who says he’s Jewish, as an atheist? Bradley Marshall, the now former chief financial officer of the Democratic National Committee, thought this would be a way to hobble San […]
- Have We Detected an Alien Signal? It’s Highly DoubtfulBy Lee Billings Based on breathless news reports from many prominent media outlets that should know better, this week’s biggest non-story in science is the discovery of a possible radio signal from talkative aliens elsewhere in the Milky Way. I’m here to tell you, alas, that anyone hoping for this to be the moment of First Contact with another galactic civil […]
- Racism and Violence in AmericaIn this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris talks to economist Glenn C. Loury about racism, police violence, the Black Lives Matter movement, and related topics.Glenn C. Loury is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University. He has taught previously at Boston, Harvard and Northwestern Universit […]
- Faith in ReasonIn this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Eric Weinstein about the relationship between faith and reason and about some of the factors that make conversations on important topics so difficult.Eric R. Weinstein is a managing director of Thiel Capital in San Francisco. He is also a research fellow at the Mathematical Institute of Oxford […]
- STOICON ’16: Larry BeckerAnd here it is, the last of our weekly entries in this limited series of posts leading up to the STOICON 2016 conference, scheduled in New York City for 15 October. (More info? Here. Tickets? Here. Looking for cheap accommodation with a fellow Stoic? Here.) The idea is to briefly feature each of the scheduled … Continue reading STOICON ’16: Larry Becker
- Cicero’s critique of Stoicism, part IIWe have seen some of the major arguments that Cicero uses against the Stoics, in book IV of his De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum (On the Ends of Goods and Evils), and I’m going to complete my brief analysis in this post. At #48 we find a fascinating, and in some sense, very modern, passage: … Continue reading Cicero’s critique of Stoicism, part II
- Close to HomeBy Carl S ~ Question: If you have school-age children who are allowed to play in the neighborhood with their friends, do you tell them to trust every adult they encounter? If the answer is "yes" or "no," what are your reasons? Now that you've thought about it, another question: If you know a registered pedophile sex offender lives in […]
- Where does morality come from -- Part 4By John Draper ~ In Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, I asserted that morality is discovered by humans, not revealed by God. Specifically, religious folks say the superstructure of morality is erected by God in scripture. I think that’s not the case. But I think we’re stuck with the Bible. It’s too embedded in our culture. The Bible influences believers and nonbeli […]
- Conservative Think Tank Sues New York Attorney General Over Exxon DocumentsThe Competitive Enterprise Institute tries legal maneuver to uncover collaboration between AGs in their investigations of the oil giant. By David Hasemyer The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank, has filed a lawsuit against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to force disclosure of records connected to a coalition of state atto […]
- Lamar Smith Seeks to Affirm Exxon Climate Subpoenas With HearingRepublican Congressman plans to discuss the constitutionality of his subpoenas of state attorneys general with three hand-picked witnesses. By David Hasemyer The chairman of the House Science Committee has announced a hearing next month into the refusal by two state attorneys general to comply with subpoenas seeking information on their investigations into E […]
There is NO EVIDENCE that the Bible is from or inspired by a God, or that either of these two man-made biblical scriptures -- foundational to Christianism -- is true:
Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave is only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." NONE.
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Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so. ~Robert Ingersoll
All religion is a foolish answer to a foolish question. ~Thomas Shelby
The strongly religious fear our capacity for moral reasoning that does not require a magical, invisible deity. They fear our ability to be ethical without the threat of hell or the reward of heaven. They fear that our allegiance is not to this or that country, or this or that prophet, or this or that guru, but to humanity as a whole. ~Phil Zuckerman
The idea that God could only forgive our sins by having his son tortured to death as a scapegoat is surely, from an objective point of view, a deeply unpleasant idea. If God wanted to forgive us our sins, why didn’t he just forgive them? Why did he have to have his son tortured? ~Richard Dawkins
Small is beautiful, when small is skilled and dedicated. ~Gene Logsdon
All religions are lies and scams, and all believers are victims. ~David Silverman
We [atheists] have no martyrs, we have no saints. ~Christopher Hitchens
Morality is doing right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right. ~H L Mencken
I've observed that people tend to live at one of two extremes in the spectrum of life: those who live on the edge, and those who avoid the edge. Those who live on the edge are hanging out in the most dangerous and unstable places — yet they're also often the most powerful agents of change, because the edge is where change is happening; away from the edge, things are naturally unchanging. ~Thom Hartmann
Religion. It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion. ~Jon Stewart
My 12th year was my most Christian and most boring year in my life. ~Chuck Berry
Come on. You just can’t come up with anything more ridiculous than someone who honestly thinks that all human woes stem from an incident in which a talking snake accosted a naked woman in a primeval garden and talked her into eating a piece of fruit. ~Keith Parsons
When men stop believing in God, it isn't that they then believe in nothing: they believe in everything. ~Umberto Eco
Christians don’t need to be born again, they need to grow up. ~John Shelby Spong
Life is not a problem to be solved, nor a question to be answered. Life is a mystery to be experienced. ~Alan Watts
Society is like a stew: If you don't stir it up every now and then, the scum rises to the top.~Edward Abbey
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. ~Buckminster Fuller
How thoughtful of God to arrange matters so that, wherever you happen to be born, the local religion always turns out to be the true one. ~ Richard Dawkins
I’m not saying there isn’t a god, but there isn’t a god who cares about people. And who wants a god who doesn’t give a shit? ~Robert Munsch
One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion. ~Arthur C. Clarke
Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; Give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish. ~ Anon
When you understand why you dismiss all the other gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. ~ Stephen Roberts
Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning. ~ Joseph Campbell
The only true definition of an atheist: a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in God or gods. ~Oxford English Dictionary
You have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
Faith is just another word for gullibility.
I sang as one / Who on a tilting deck sings / To keep men's courage up, though the wave hangs / That shall cut off their sun. ~C. Day Lewis
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Books of the Freethinkers Bible
What is a fact beyond all doubt is that we share an ancestor with every other species of animal and plant on the planet. We know this because some genes are recognizably the same genes in all living creatures, including animals, plants and bacteria. And, above all, the genetic code itself — the dictionary by which all genes are translated — is the same across all living creatures that have ever been looked at. We are all cousins. Your family tree includes not just obvious cousins like chimpanzees and monkeys but also mice, buffaloes, iguanas, wallabies, snails, dandelions, golden eagles, mushrooms, whales, wombats and bacteria. All are our cousins. Every last one of them. Isn't that a far more wonderful thought than any myth? And the most wonderful thing of all is that we know for certain it is literally true...
The whole world is made of incredibly tiny things, much too small to be visible to the naked eye — and yet none of the myths or so-called holy books that some people, even now, think were given to us by an all-knowing god, mentions them at all! In fact, when you look at those myths and stories, you can see that they don't contain any of the knowledge that science has patiently worked out. They don't tell us how big or how old the universe is; they don't tell us how to treat cancer; they don't explain gravity or the internal combustion engine; they don't tell us about germs, or anesthetics. In fact, unsurprisingly, the stories in holy books don't contain any more information about the world than was known to the primitive peoples who first started telling them! If these 'holy books' really were written, or dictated, or inspired, by all-knowing gods, don't you think it's odd that those gods said nothing about any of these important and useful things? -Richard Dawkins
Prayer seems to me a cry of weakness, and an attempt to avoid, by trickery, the rules of the game as laid down. I do not choose to admit weakness. I accept the challenge of responsibility. Life, as it is, does not frighten me, since I have made my peace with the universe as I find it, and bow to its laws… It seems to me that organized creeds are collections of words around a wish. I feel no need for such.
I know that nothing is destructible; things merely change forms. When the consciousness we know as life ceases, I know that I shall still be part and parcel of the world. I was a part before the sun rolled into shape and burst forth in the glory of change. I was, when the earth was hurled out from its fiery rim. I shall return with the earth to Father Sun, and still exist in substance when the sun has lost its fire, and disintegrated into infinity to perhaps become a part of the whirling rubble of space. Why fear? The stuff of my being is matter, ever changing, ever moving, but never lost; so what need of denominations and creeds to deny myself the comfort of all my fellow men? -Zora Neale Hurston
Socialist Alternative is the organization that spearheaded the campaign to elect Kshama Sawant to Seattle City Council, the first independent socialist elected in a major U.S. city in decades. We are a national organization fighting in our workplaces, communities, and campuses against the exploitation and injustices people face every day. We are community activists fighting against budget cuts in public services; we are activists campaigning for a $15/hour minimum wage and fighting, democratic unions; we are people of all colors speaking out against racism and attacks on immigrants, students organizing against tuition hikes and war, women and men fighting sexism and homophobia.
We believe the Republicans and Democrats are both parties of big business, and we are campaigning to build an independent, alternative party of workers and young people to fight for the interests of the millions, not the millionaires.
We see the global capitalist system as the root cause of the economic crisis, poverty, discrimination, war, and environmental destruction. As capitalism moves deeper into crisis, a new generation of workers and youth must join together to take the top 500 corporations into public ownership under democratic control to end the ruling elites’ global competition for profits and power.
We believe the dictatorships that existed in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were perversions of what socialism is really about.
We are for democratic socialism where ordinary people will have control over our daily lives.
An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that deed must be done instead of prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated. ~Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Founder
In the history of the world, the number of times a supernatural anything has been proven true is zero. Every god, ghost, spirit, devil, possession, and miracle ever claimed true is a lie. No exceptions. The number of times an atheistic (godless) argument has been proven wrong by a theistic argument is zero... In contrast, every time a theist-versus-atheist argument has been settled, an atheistic argument has won. This does not mean science is antireligion; it just means (or rather, strongly implies) religion is wrong... I challenge anyone to find any scientifically valid testable proof of anything supernatural, ever. If you can prove it, even once, I'll quit my job. I'm not nervous, as it has never been done in history, because it's ALL a lie. ~David Silverman, President
Local Organic Family Farms
THE SMALL ORGANIC FARM greatly discomforts the corporate/ industrial mind because the small organic farm is one of the most relentlessly subversive forces on the planet. Over centuries both the communist and the capitalist systems have tried to destroy small farms because small farmers are a threat to the consolidation of absolute power.
Thomas Jefferson said he didn’t think we could have democracy unless at least 20% of the population was self-supporting on small farms so they were independent enough to be able to tell an oppressive government to stuff it.
It is very difficult to control people who can create products without purchasing inputs from the system, who can market their products directly thus avoiding the involvement of mercenary middlemen, who can butcher animals and preserve foods without reliance on industrial conglomerates, and who can’t be bullied because they can feed their own faces. ~Eliot Coleman
Are The Heart
Of Free Communities
The only "hallowed halls"
I know of exist in
libraries and bookstores.
They saved my life. ~ ds
If you have a garden
and a library,
you have everything
you need. ~ Cicero