Loren Miller's Blog (166)

One Nation Under … Not AGAIN?!?

So I open my digital copy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer the other day (3 July, 2019), and after passing the first couple pages, what do I get confronted with on Page A5 but the following:





The text that followed was pretty predictable: quotes from founding fathers, congressmen (no congresswomen, I noted!), Supreme Court justices and some other…

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Added by Loren Miller on July 5, 2019 at 7:40am — 7 Comments

The Time Has Come

13 June, 2019



Congresswoman Nancy Patricia Pelosi

Longworth House Office Building

15 Independence Ave SE

Washington, DC 20515



Dear Congresswoman Pelosi:



For the past not quite two and one half years, we have watched the presidency of Donald Trump unfold, entirely too often with the pattern of undoing, controverting or negating standards of operation or behavior which virtually any other occupant of the Oval Office would treat as sacrosanct. He…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 13, 2019 at 9:40am — 7 Comments

Democracy, Responsibility, and Samwell Tarly

Samwell Tarly: Why just us? We represent all the great houses, but whoever we choose, he won't just rule over lords and ladies. Maybe the decision about what's best for everyone should be left to ... well ... everyone.



The war in Westeros is over. King’s Landing has been wrested from the hands of House Lannister. As Game of Thrones wound down toward its end and a council is assembled to choose a new king or queen, perhaps the saddest part of this…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 6, 2019 at 8:40am — 7 Comments

There Are NO Small Battles

Ever hear the one about the Arab and the camel? Well, the short version goes like this:



An Arab is in his tiny tent in the desert while his camel is tethered outside. It's a cold night and the camel asks the Arab if he can stick his nose in the tent to warm it. The Arab assents ... but then the camel's ears are cold, and then his neck, then his hump ... and the next thing you know, the camel is in the tent and the Arab is out in the cold.



I submit that something…

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Added by Loren Miller on May 18, 2019 at 9:00am — 6 Comments

Religion Poisons FAMILIES

It took a while after The Thinking Atheist premiered on the internet before its host, Seth Andrews, was willing to talk about the impact that his atheism had on his family and his relationship with them. His parents, being theologians and deeply rooted in their belief, were never going to take the news well, but what made it worse for Seth was their apparently unceasing attempts to woo him back to the fold. What I suspect they have no understanding of is that, once the blinkers have been…

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Added by Loren Miller on April 12, 2019 at 6:00am — 4 Comments

In My Own Back Yard

Living in Bedford Heights has been markedly enjoyable for the nine years since my wife and I moved here. It’s quiet, the neighbors are terrific, the town is well kept with excellent city services, and I really can’t think of a single negative to register. I doubt it would rate as a utopia, but it’ll do until utopia comes along.



One of the items we get from the city on a yearly basis is a calendar, which mostly outlines city events, council meetings and the like. Up until this…

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Added by Loren Miller on March 1, 2019 at 8:50am — 30 Comments

I'm STILL Mad As Hell

You remember the movie Network, don’t you? Peter Finch as veteran UBS anchorman Howard Beale, growling into a TV camera, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” That was a potent declaration of independence and non-conformance that Beale made. The only problem is that he shrunk away from it not that much later, in the face of billionaire mogul Arthur Jensen. Jensen’s sole purpose was to use Beale as a Pied Piper to mollify the peasantry, the better to pursue his own…

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Added by Loren Miller on February 1, 2019 at 9:10am — No Comments

The Real World Always Wins

Some time back, I was watching a conference on YouTube, featuring some notable high-end audio equipment designers. What does that have to do with atheism, you might well ask. Well, one of the designers present, in talking about design theory and best practices, made mention of being “skeptical” of these standards, and then he dropped the following bombshell:



In a battle between theory and the real world, the real world always wins.

-- Kevin Hayes, VAC



I…

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Added by Loren Miller on January 2, 2019 at 8:40am — 4 Comments

Religion in Government – The "Back Door" Problem

My copy of FFRF’s Freethought Today recently went upside my head with a statement quoted on Page 3 of their November 2018 issue:



The bottom line is that while church and state are formally separated, religious legislators are still driven by their religious beliefs when voting in the Senate on all issue areas. This mechanism circumvents the formal separation of church and state and brings religion into politics through the back door.

-- Daniel Arnon, Emory…

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Added by Loren Miller on December 3, 2018 at 7:40am — 28 Comments

Conversion Therapy, Revisited

I am FURIOUS … again. With the advent of the new film, Boy Erased, and renewed attention to the “business” of conversion therapy, I am reminded once again of the arrogance displayed by the evangelical Christian community in thinking that, because Yahweh condemned men for loving other men and women for loving other women, that it was somehow incumbent on them to attempt to correct this supposed flaw in their personalities. Also reminding me of this issue was…

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Added by Loren Miller on November 11, 2018 at 10:40am — 14 Comments

White Supremacism, Trump, and the Future of Civility

The “new normal” becomes yet more virulent. On Saturday, 27 October, 2018, a gunman entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and opened fire, killing 11 of the congregants. Four police officers were also wounded when they responded to the incident before the assailant was taken into custody. Investigation into his background yielded results which were predictable to the point of being almost intuitively obvious. He was extremely anti-Semite, and while superficially a…

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Added by Loren Miller on October 28, 2018 at 12:00pm — 4 Comments

A Simple Question

“Are you willing to request that the White House direct the FBI to investigate the current allegations against you?”



I hadn’t watched most of the hearings that were conducted Thursday, with Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh as primary witnesses. I figured that I’d catch the evening news and hear the wrap-up at that time, but when I dialed up CBS at 6:30 PM Thursday, I was confronted with the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, still in full swing. Senators Feinstein,…

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Added by Loren Miller on September 27, 2018 at 6:35pm — 25 Comments

Reacting to the "Religious Liberty Task Force"

Apparently the Trump administration is so utterly in the pocket of the Religious Reich that they feel as though they can implement policies which are so blatantly bigoted that they beggar belief.  That to me is how I feel about the Religious Liberty Task Force which was unveiled this past Monday, 30 July, 2018, by Jeff Sessions.  Their intention is apparently to assist in justifying discrimination by Christians, which they see as being motivated by their faith.  Not only does this fly in the…

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Added by Loren Miller on August 1, 2018 at 10:50am — 10 Comments

Why God Must Remain Hidden

The biggest problem religion faces in hawking its wares is that its primary product – god – is unavailable for examination, mostly because it doesn’t exist. Yet religions continue to insist with zealous ferocity that their god is out there and that it must be acknowledged, worshipped, and obeyed. As a primary result of this, the game of religion necessarily becomes a shell game, which has its deity hidden behind mysteries and obtuse dogma and holy books which require interpretation for…

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Added by Loren Miller on July 10, 2018 at 9:00am — 3 Comments

The Disturbing Final Goal of Westworld

My wife and I have been following HBO’s Westworld since its first episode last year. We’ve “met” Maeve and Teddy and the Man In Black, and of course Bernard and Delores, along with many assorted others, and followed their adventures in a complex milieu which makes the original 1973 film look like kindergarten by comparison. Indeed, a shocking event which terminated the first season would have led one to believe that a major and possibly insuperable monkey wrench had been thrown into…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 11, 2018 at 8:00am — 3 Comments

So, What If…?

It’s finally happened.  The smoking gun has been discovered in unique, utterly new evidence, the data has been verified, all the tests confirm it … THERE IS A GOD.  Now what?  For me, beyond a shrug and a bit of bemusement, little or no change.



Oh, but aren’t you excited or thrilled?  You see, we were right all along!  Wassamatta, eating too much crow?  Those sour grapes turning in your stomach?



Nope, don’t like grapes and crow isn’t on my…

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Added by Loren Miller on May 4, 2018 at 9:00am — 3 Comments

Krauss, Silverman, and Feet of Clay

Too many of my heroes have feet of clay!

-- Joan Denoo



It was late February, 2018 when I first learned about issues regarding Lawrence Krauss and his inappropriate behavior toward women.  Then in the first week of March, I got an email from American Atheists, indicating that David Silverman was being suspended from the presidency of that organization, pending an investigation.  One week later, I learned that he has been removed from that position.  In both cases, the…

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Added by Loren Miller on April 16, 2018 at 9:15am — 21 Comments

Dear Senator Portman: Regarding Gun Control...

Don't ask why it's taken so long for me to write. Stipulated that I've been involved in "clicktivist" petitions about gun control and perhaps written my representatives here and there in the wake of past mass shootings. Somehow, this last incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High just GOT to me. That and learning that Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman has an "A" rating with the National Rifle Association pretty well broke my camel's back.



In any case, the following just went out…

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Added by Loren Miller on February 18, 2018 at 12:00pm — 12 Comments

Meditations on "Jonah"

They say Jonah, he was swallowed by a whale,

But I say, there's no truth to that tale.

I know Jonah, he was swallowed by a song.


-- Paul Simon, "Jonah"



I was going to save that quote for an entry in the Quotations group, but it and the music that accompanies it really captured me this morning ... or “swallowed” me, as Paul put it.



I really admire that – being so consumed with a skill, talent, or desire that it utterly occupies your life, as…

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Added by Loren Miller on February 13, 2018 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

What Would It Take to Believe?

How many times have we heard it:



“What would it take for you to accept that god exists?”



Answers from atheists to this question have been many and varied.  In an interview with Randy Frazee of the Oak Hills Church of San Antonio, Texas, Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta said that a personal experience might convince him.  Various others, including Matt Dillahunty, have proposed that Yahweh himself knows what it would take to dissuade him from his apostasy, but as of yet has…

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Added by Loren Miller on January 9, 2018 at 8:10am — 16 Comments

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