Reason Rally Update

Reason Rally plane tickets in hand! I live about 8 hours drive time from DC, so I was going to drive down on March 23, but I have to work fairly late that day, so I decided to fly down on Saturday morning, March 24. Tentative plan is to meet up with a few other friends near the statue of Joseph Henry on the grassy quadrangle side of Smithsonian Castle (which is pretty close to the RR stage area), although I may end up getting there after the start of the Rally. Argh. Originally, the time of … [Read more...]

Short Stack #12

If your father has a stick in the closet that he's used in the past to beat you with, you have to wonder at someone who'd tell you "What are you getting all worked up about? He's not beating you with it NOW." Just so with organized religion and what it's done throughout history. As an atheist, I would rather empty out that closet. ____________________________ When a news story says someone "lost" a leg in an accident, I always hold out hope they'll eventually find it again and be better for … [Read more...]

Madison Avenue Jesus

Man, the ads we get here at FtB. My understanding is that the service that places these things gets progressively better at targeting them to the reader audience over time. I continue to hope that’s true. If the whole thing works on nothing but keywords, and if atheist bloggers frequently mention worship and God and Jesus – in the making of jokes if nothing else – then readers here will have to grin and bear a LOT of ads that should rightly be targeted at the goddy. We’re like a Jewish … [Read more...]

The Things Atheists Do

I picked up my very own Master of Christian Logic today at Unbelief as a Thought Experiment, and had a rousing set-to in comments  over weighty matters such as science and the supernatural. I probably didn't cover myself with glory — the thing seemed to end in that snippy back-and-forth stuff and I just got tired of it. I did beg him to Come to the Dark Side, offering the standard promise of freedom and joy, but he wasn't having any of it, intoning (can you intone in a blog comment?): … [Read more...]

Free Will … Maybe — Part 2.3

So: Most of you is not even you. It’s something else, something beastly. Beastly in physical nature, but also beastly in mind. Run by hormones, urges, biologically programmed mandates ... just as every other animal is. Where does that leave us in a quest for Free Will? Well, it leaves us still looking, doesn’t it? And not a lot of hope in the search. If we’re 99 percent animals — fucking and fighting, eating and shitting, birthing our befurred primate infants and suckling them on … [Read more...]

Unbelief As A Thought Experiment

Just something that popped into my head a few days ago: To be an atheist, you don’t have to grapple with questions of the Bible or the provability of the nonexistence of God. You just have to perform a simple thought experiment: What if there were no God? In larger society, that thought experiment has been done. In fact, there’s an entire culture, a incredibly powerful shared human endeavor, based on it. It’s called Science. Someone asked “What would things look like if there were no … [Read more...]

Reason Rally Stuff

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An Undropped Shoe

I’m not actually supposed to be writing this. More than a year ago I signed all sorts of documents demanding strict adherence to the embargo date of the information. But since the embargo date has come and gone, and there has been no public announcement – and especially since the recent news story of the entire Vatican science team being killed in a bus crash in Argentina – I don’t feel that I should honor those agreements. I suppose there might be some danger in this for me, either … [Read more...]

Free Will … Maybe — Part 2.2

It’s the same with most every creature you know. Make up a different life-pyramid for each one and you’d find that the few unique things that make them their own specific type of creature are essentially add-ons, extremely minor alterations on top of the ponderous weight of older traits. Evolutionary "refinement" also sometimes involves a certain amount of letting-go. The horse’s mammalian ancestors, for instance, jettisoned reptilian scales, and all mammalian lineages since then … [Read more...]