These are puzzlements!
-- King Mongkut of Siam (allegedly)
How is it that Christianity and Islam are both sources to claims of peaceful intent and despicable savagery? Jesus Christ is regarded by some as the “Prince of Peace,” yet the religion bearing his name spawned the Crusades, the Inquisition, the usages and practices of the Malleus Maleficarum, and too many other atrocities to count. Muslims worldwide declare that Islam is “a religion of peace,” yet…
Back in college, I was invited to participate in a production of Thornton Wilder’s play, Our Town, which was being put on by the drama department of Notre Dame College. It was a nice diversion from my engineering studies for one thing, as well as causing me to gain two really good friends from the then-all-female enrollment of that school. I don’t recall ever actually reading for any one particular role, but I wound up with the part of George Gibbs, who starts out as a wide-eyed kid…Continue
Rigorous science is critical to my administration's efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection. My administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks. As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.
-- President Donald Trump, commenting on the March for Science…
Variations on the following have just been sent to the feedback sites for CBS, NBC, and ABC News:
I may be mistaken regarding your current journalistic focus, but a bunch of ineffectual cruise missiles in Syria, then one large bomb goes BOOM in Afghanistan and any attention the media may be paying to the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and alleged complicity on the part of Donald Trump's campaign seems to have been distracted. Insofar as I'm…
I was teased as a kid. Some days were better than others and some others weren’t so great, but the fact is that from the time I entered first grade through high school graduation, there was something in me which drew the jibes, catcalls and slanders from my fellow students. Somehow I was different, though exactly how I had no idea back then. This whole business was made worse by the fact that for a great deal of that time, I was hyper-sensitive to that kind of abuse and could not…Continue
On the night of 8 November, 2016, in the wake of the stunning election of Donald John Trump to the presidency of the United States, an idea was started by a Facebook post and grew from there to proportions hitherto unheard of. The idea? A march, to react to the new presidency and insist on a maintenance of rights, for women, for LGBTQ folks, immigrants, legal or not, in short for anyone who stands to be minimized at least or injured at worst by the new administration.
Two and a…
The following message was just emailed to Marcia Fudge, Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, my House representative and Senators, respectively:
When Kellyanne Conway used the phrase, “alternative facts” in answering Chuck Todd on Meet the Press this past Sunday, echoes of George Orwell were almost automatic in my head. Facts are unique in that they describe reality, and the last I looked, there are no alternative realities out there nor are there alternative facts, except…Continue
It was a cold January afternoon in 2009 when USAir flight 1549 departed LaGuardia airport with 150 passengers, three flight attendants and pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and first officer Jeff Skiles at the controls of the Airbus 320. Beginning their climb to 15,000 feet, everything was ordinary and routine, just another milk run to Charlotte, North Carolina, right up to the point where Captain Sullenberger noted: “Birds.” Hardly half a breath later, several dozen Canada geese…Continue
Know this from the get-go: I do not claim to know Donald Trump very well if well at all. What I’m laying out here is something which may be semi-plausible, based on what little I DO know and have seen of the words and behaviors of the man who is now the president-elect of these United States.
There can be no doubt but that the healthiest (or at least most active) characteristic of Donald Trump’s psychology is his ego. Regardless of what he has or has not accomplished, Trump is…
Tuesday morning I got up, actually happy that the day had finally come. I could cast my vote for Hillary and Ted Strickland and Marcia Fudge, and while I knew that Ted had no chance against Rob Portman, the other two would come through for me. My wife and I rode the short distance to the polling place on Columbus Road, showed our IDs and got our ballots, marked them and slipped them into the reader / scanner when we were done. We had well and faithfully done our bit for our country and its…Continue
There seems to have been a lot of jabber in parts of the atheist community these days about SJWs, also known as Social Justice Warriors, and the supposedly negative impact these people have had on the atheist movement. Argument about this business has gone up and down the internet, from YouTube to Patheos.com and back. The two sides of this foofaraw seem to be split mostly around feminism’s seeming inclusion into the warp and woof of some atheist discussions and issues deriving from that…Continue
told him:i told
him;we told him
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."
-- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
In my experience, if you can't say what you mean, you can never mean what you say. The details are everything.…
So … the Republican race for the presidency started out as a clown car with all of 16 occupants something over a year ago. At that time, no one (with the possible exception of Ann Coulter) thought that the head clown, the one who has spent a significant amount of his career in the entertainment business, would be the one left standing when the dust had settled. Yet as of about 9:23 PM, EDT on 21 July, 2016, that is precisely who the GOP has as their nominee for the most important position of…Continue
It was something over a year ago that I learned that Cleveland was going to be the site of the 2016 Republican National Convention. The prospect of having a bunch of misogynistic, homophobic, mostly white guys invading The Best Location in the Nation was not a welcome thought, as you might well imagine, and that many of them were scornful of the concept of church/state separation did not help matters. However, I was encouraged by some discussion at a meeting of the Northern Ohio Freethought…Continue
Every now and then, Seth Andrews will ignore his to-do list and publish an unscheduled podcast when his mindset or an event demands it. It should surprise no one, then, that Seth has produced a piece couching his own thoughts regarding what happened at the Pulse nightclub and all the reactions, reasonable and otherwise. The YouTube version of that podcast follows here.
I wanted to draw attention, though, to an important segment of that piece. Toward the end, Seth reads the…
There are lot of people I've met online since I became an atheist, many of them I am glad to call, "friend." Still, it's something altogether different to MEET these same people in the flesh, or at least be close enough to photograph and hear them speak live. Being able to do that a few times this past June 4th was as valuable to me as being able to attend the Rally itself, and I am glad to share with you some of those very neat moments here.
Here's Daniel and I.…
Driving 360 miles with a lousy cold isn’t ordinarily my idea of fun, but this was the Reason Rally, and those don’t happen every day. So I added zinc and Hall’s Mentholyptus to my overnight bag and set off a touch after 8 AM Friday. Turns out the drive was pretty easy, and I got in around 2:30. There wasn’t a lot going on at the time, and I wanted to decompress after the drive, so there wasn’t much to do other than collapse! I DO want to note, however, that one thoughtful provision had been…Continue
Anything can be a belief. A person can believe that the sun orbits the earth or that trolls live under bridges. One can believe that a bearded man in a red suit flies from the North Pole and in one night out of the year gifts all the good children of the world with presents. Alchemists once were convinced of the possibility of turning lead into gold. The vast set of the believable also includes the idea that there was once a reserve of oil which was only supposed to last a day, yet it lasted…Continue
“Faith is no reason.” That was the winning entry in the Center for Inquiry’s 2009 Blasphemy Contest and it’s been the headline to my Atheist Nexus profile page since I joined here. I think that faith and reason are antithetical qualities; they have nothing to do with each other and are effectively mutually exclusive by their very nature. Upon recent reflection, I realized that there are other positive qualities which are at odds with faith and which show it to be the false value which it is.…Continue