Launch Day: Welcome!

If you’re new to FreeThought Blogs, welcome! If you’re new to Blue Collar Atheist, or to my writing, a double welcome! Probably I should tell you something about me. The Blogging Part I’ve been at it for a bit, both as a blog reader and writer. I won the second-ever  Molly Award at PZ Myers’ Pharyngula (actually I was one of two people that month) for blog commentary, and was called a “master of metaphor” — along with less flattering names — along the way. Fortunately or … [Read more...]

180 Degrees: Pastor Mike

PZ has a post about Pastor Mike's plan to create a database of “known” atheists, and a really disgusting plan it is. That someone could come up with such a thing, and then broadcast it into the public sphere, shows a breathtaking unawareness both of history and of the consequences of one's actions in the real world. The idea is both incredibly ugly and yet so blithely inept in concept that I imagine we have nothing to fear from it. But we DO have to point out — yet again, to those unaware … [Read more...]

Post Irene … I Hope

Ohmygod it was hell! Nine and a half hours without power. I had to write BY HAND! With a PENCIL! On PAPER!! And communicate with people with my VOICE!!! We were practically a third world country there for a while. Seriously: Hope everyone weathered the storm (or continues to weather it), wherever you are, or at least thinks/thought kind thoughts of us here on the East Coast. The sum total of the damage at my house is a couple of large limbs down in the yard. I had a little bit of an adventure … [Read more...]

The Perils of Irene

For days I’ve been watching the coverage of Hurricane Irene. Right now I’m looking at a NASA image taken yesterday, clearly showing the storm snuggled up to the east coast of the U.S. I think you have to make a conscious effort to step outside yourself occasionally, so you’ll know how lucky you are. In this case, I’m stepping outside by looking at this picture taken from 22,300 miles above the earth and transmitted to us by the NOAA GOES-13 satellite. For those of you on other continents … [Read more...]

Kitten, Cat or Tiger — Part 4

[Start with Part 1, or go back to Part 2 or Part 3] Okay, if war’s not your thing, how about this: Did you know there’s a safe and easy way to prevent teen pregnancy? A way to lower the number of abortions? It’s just this: Provide sex education. Make condoms and contraceptives available. Give teens the facts and the tools to accomplish the early-life goal of not getting pregnant. If you tell teens where babies come from, and let them know that unexpected mommyhood and daddyhood will put a … [Read more...]

Bloomberg: No Godders at 9/11 Service

If you ever feel, as an atheist or secularist, that we're not making headway, and are maybe even losing ground against the forces of religion, remember this: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that the 10th anniversary memorial ceremony of the 9/11 terror attacks on the Twin Towers will include no clergy. This is major. An event that has been used and abused by various religious hucksters for the past decade will deliberately disinclude — on its 10th Anniversary — … [Read more...]

Kitten, Cat or Tiger — Part 3

[Go back to Part 2 or Part 1]           Let’s talk about another belief. Say that people believe this: This is not real life. You only get to have real life after you die. And even then, it’s only good if you passed the big test in this fake, temporary life. Part of the test is that you have to tell everybody about the real life that dead people get, and if anybody disagrees with you, considering that they’re not really alive anyway, it’s perfectly okay to … [Read more...]

Kitten, Cat or Tiger — Part 2

[Start at Part 1] If you believe a thing, it has some real effect on you. I could win the Lottery. Hey, somebody has to, why not me? That belief, a small-to-middling one as beliefs go, will cost a lot of people somewhere between $300 to $1800 in the coming year.  If your state or local taxes went up by $1,800 this year, would that bother you? Well, yeah. But a $5-a-day Lottery “player” would give that same amount, to the same institution to which he pays his taxes, and think nothing of it. … [Read more...]

Kitten, Cat or Tiger — Part 1

[This is a repost of an earlier piece.] I’d like to propose three conceptual models for religion in society: The Kitten Religion is this harmless, pleasure-giving plus in each person’s life. It is sweet and good and loving, a fluffy little bundle of joy that could not possibly hurt anyone. Everyone who has it benefits from it, and everyone agrees that more people should have it. Society itself benefits from having it. … [Read more...]

When the Earth Moves

The buzz of reportage associated with the soon-to-be-legendary Quake of ’11 here on the east coast includes more than one breathless story on damage to the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral, national treasures located in Washington, D.C. I was in D.C. just last year, taking pictures of the Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, and thoughts of the damage sparked instant pangs of dread. I’m sure many Americans felt the same way: What if it had actually fallen? It would be like losing … [Read more...]