Loren Miller's Blog (104)

Whose Watch Did This Happen On?

I recently watched two movies which, at least on the surface, have nothing to do with each other, yet have EVERYTHING to do with each other.  Yesterday, for a reason I can’t give you (because I don’t have one), I dragged Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 from my library to peruse, and then this evening, I pulled out the HBO Pictures classic, And the Band Played On, based on the book by Randy Shilts.  I was maybe a quarter into the second film when I realized that both pieces had a…

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Added by Loren Miller on July 24, 2015 at 12:07pm — 9 Comments

Athletes (and Atheists!) in Action

I had thought this was going to be yet another quiet Sunday, where the most I might do is watch CBS Sunday Morning, make breakfast for my wife and myself, perhaps watch some auto racing or golf and enjoy the company of my step-grandson when he and his mom came over in the evening.  It was almost true, right up to when my inbox alerted me with a note from a friend at the Northern Ohio Freethought Society.  It referred to a recent piece from The Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta, who had…

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Added by Loren Miller on July 12, 2015 at 1:30pm — 15 Comments

The Week of Being Happy and Pissed Off

The week of 21 June, 2015 is likely one of the more momentous of the past several years or more that I am aware of.  It was a week of amazing and impactful news, incredibly GOOD news from where I sit, news which will be far more benefit than detriment in the long haul or so I’d be willing to wager.  Though all of those stories are important and worthy of comment, it is one in particular on which I wish to record a few thoughts.



And that is the confirmation by the United States…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 29, 2015 at 9:00am — 7 Comments

Abraham's Excellent Adventure (The Thinking Atheist)

Anyone who listens to The Thinking Atheist radio podcasts knows well what kind of storyteller Seth Andrews is - damned good!  That said, Opus 227 of his offerings is especially noteworthy.  In this specific piece, Seth relates a variation on the story of Abraham and Isaac.  This story was originally written by one Edwin A. Suominen, of Ed Suominen's Shitty Little Blog.  Edwin has about as much patience with the bible in general and the…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 24, 2015 at 10:00am — No Comments

The Comfort of There Being No God

There is a school of thought which says that atheism offers no comfort to those who hurt, who mourn the unfairness of life, the proverbial “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” and cling to religion on the chance that the next life will be a marked improvement on this one.  I submit that this is a mistaken concept, that there can be comfort in the absence of a deity and indeed, a demonstrably better existence in the one life we have.  The four points listed below give some expression to…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 14, 2015 at 7:12am — 22 Comments

Nobody Can Show Me God

I’m the kind of guy that says if I don’t see it, then it doesn’t work.  And nobody can show me god.

-- Kerry King, guitarist for Slayer



Doubtless there are believers out there who would label the above statement as simplistic, but boil it down and what’s left is the single biggest reason why religion ultimately will have to either collapse or descend into irrelevance.  Regardless of the tradition or culture it may come from, all concepts of god share one…

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Added by Loren Miller on May 8, 2015 at 12:37pm — 10 Comments

"The Hitch" - A Christopher Hitchens documentary by Kristoffer Hellesmark

Since the death of Christopher Hitchens in December of 2011, I have anticipated some kind of cinematic retrospective regarding the life of a man who was one of the great intellectual lights of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Certainly there have been tributes and brief snapshots highlighting his spoken word, writings and debates on YouTube and elsewhere, but nothing which attempts to comprehensively represent at least in brief the fulsome cornucopia Hitchens brought to humankind.…

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Added by Loren Miller on April 17, 2015 at 8:51am — 10 Comments

A Note to CBS in re: (Easter) Sunday Morning

I just posted the following to CBS' online feedback site:



It a rare day when I get so completely put off by CBS Sunday Morning that I turn it off, but you managed to do that for me today.  I've been watching Sunday Morning not quite since it first came on the air 30+ years ago, watched as it did its minor changes here and there, the transition from Kuralt to Osgood, and so on, but I've always at least tried to stick with it.



Not today, and because of two…

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Added by Loren Miller on April 5, 2015 at 9:35am — 19 Comments

The Despicable Reality and Perfidy of the Islamic State

I wouldn’t have believed it, but I’m pissed off about persecuted Christians.  Whoa, you’re saying, Loren’s lost his grip on reality.  No, I haven’t.  I just wonder if you can maintain YOUR grip on your temper, having seen this CBS News 60 Minutes report by Lara Logan.



American Christians make foolish noises about being persecuted.  Iraqi Christians ARE being persecuted for…

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Added by Loren Miller on March 23, 2015 at 8:27am — 33 Comments

A Non-Trivial Question Regarding a Non-Trivial Religion

I have a few questions, none of which are meant to be rhetorical:

  • If Islam demands the death penalty for apostasy, why should we tolerate Islam?
  • If Islam says that women must be veiled, why should we tolerate Islam?
  • If Islam cannot value women as equals to men, why should we tolerate Islam?
  • If Islam cannot tolerate the practice of freedom of speech, why should we tolerate Islam?
  • If Islam is determined to dominate the world, why should we…
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Added by Loren Miller on February 10, 2015 at 8:50am — 18 Comments

Scott Pelley on Charlie Hebdo, Terrorism, and the Press

It isn't very often that I hear Scott Pelley offer an op-ed piece as a part of a news broadcast.  So when he closed the CBS Evening News of Friday, 9 January, 2015 with his observations on the attacks in Paris and how freedom of the press figures into the whole situation of terrorism, I thought it was notable enough to make mention of it here.  Mr. Pelley makes simple, straightforward points which resonate in the current time, and I believe his words are worthy of your attention. …

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Added by Loren Miller on January 10, 2015 at 7:56am — 12 Comments

The Science / Religion Dichotomy – Another View

Christianity insists on dependence on its god and its savior.  Indeed, it demands submission to that supreme being, saying “thy will be done.”  Islam is not only no different, the very word means “submission.”  Both expect the believer to trust in Yahweh or Allah to provide for them and nurture them and bring meaning to their lives.  The price for that nurturance, though, is utter obedience without question.  One of the immediate consequences of such an attitude is vulnerability to…

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Added by Loren Miller on December 18, 2014 at 11:11am — 4 Comments

Is god good?

Is god good?



If we’re going to ask that question, the first thing that has to be established is: whose “good” are we using as a standard?  If human good is to be the benchmark, then the task is relatively easy.  Whatever good god recognizes, however, will introduce a degree of vagary which may be insuperable.



Regardless of which deity is supervising this reality, he/she/it cannot be said to be good by human standards in the slightest measure, and one need look no…

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Added by Loren Miller on December 14, 2014 at 11:27am — 26 Comments

I want to live in a world where...

Just watched “The Best of Charlie Skinner” on YouTube for the umpti-umpth time.  Sam Waterston’s portrayal of Charlie in the HBO series, The Newsroom,  is dear to me for his alternation between avuncular father-figure and curmudgeonly news director, and I get a big kick out of him.  Watching that made me think about how much I’d love to see Atlantis Cable News become a real, actual news organization, and then…

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Added by Loren Miller on December 6, 2014 at 8:38am — 26 Comments

What I Want for Christmas - Robert Green Ingersoll

That time of year is very nearly upon us, and so it is appropriate that I post this now, I suppose.  I literally just learned of this through the good offices of Seth Andrews and The Thinking Atheist podcast.  I do truly wish the following were words of my own invention, but they're not.  About all I can do is offer them to you for your enjoyment and edification.



Along with my very best wishes for a happy and safe Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanza / Yule / Saturnalia /…

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Added by Loren Miller on November 26, 2014 at 10:00am — 4 Comments

Interstellar

Right off the top, Interstellar is no small statement, either in time or what it attempts to say.  It runs a full 169 minutes, not quite three hours, and while it might have been able to give its testimony in an edited form, I seriously doubt it would be the same film or have the same impact.



On the surface, it is what you’ve seen in the previews and trailers.  Our Earth is exhausted, fatally damaged by human mistakes and natural disaster.  A physicist played by Michael…

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Added by Loren Miller on November 9, 2014 at 11:30am — 11 Comments

Mr. Deity and the Humorless Atheist

For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Deity is an ongoing series on YouTube, featuring Brian Dalton as writer, director, and star of the eponymous series.  Mr. Deity is a fast-talking 21st century take on Yahweh, complete with his son, Jesse/Jesus, Larry, the omnipresent holy ghost, and adversary Lucy (fer), doing three to four minute sketches, usually riffing on various shortcomings of the bible and its god.  Frequently highlighted are Mr. Deity’s cluelessness about the…

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Added by Loren Miller on October 31, 2014 at 7:00am — 17 Comments

The Particular Problem with Islam

On Sunday morning, 12 October, 2014, I listened to Reza Aslan as he spent three minutes saying next to nothing of consequence regarding the contretemps of a week ago between Sam Harris and Ben Affleck on Real Time with Bill Maher.  Whatever Aslan wanted to accomplish with his vacuous commentary is beyond me, which doesn’t stop me from seeing it and him as being problematic as…

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Added by Loren Miller on October 13, 2014 at 9:53am — 17 Comments

"Break a Leg"? Thanks, I'd Rather Not

I was watching a segment of CBS Sunday Morning today, when a segment was presented about a new Broadway production, “It’s Only a Play.”  During that piece, Lesley Stahl asked the cast about the expected fortunes of this new work and what the reviews might be.  The reactions of the players, whether feigned or real, bothered the hell out of me and were of the tenor of “you don’t EVER talk about that in the theater!”  Eventually, there was conversation on those issues, but that the superstition…

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Added by Loren Miller on October 5, 2014 at 11:30am — 20 Comments

The Irony of a Frightened Jehovah

I was watching a profile piece on CBS Sunday Morning about actor Steve Bucemi a bit ago, when I heard that actor in one of his roles offer the following poignant observation:



Do you think God stays in heaven, because he too lives in fear of what he’s created?



If there were a god of any stripe who was responsible for the creation of Homo sapiens, I should think he’d be pissing his pants by now, and with good reason.  Ever since Yahweh made the…

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Added by Loren Miller on September 7, 2014 at 10:00am — 4 Comments

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