"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
Hmmm, good question. First thing we would need to do, I suppose, is define “sacred.” At least initially, I will defer to dictionary.com:
That second definition seems to be the most on-point here, but it also begs a question: what entitles anything “to veneration or religious…Continue
Last Saturday evening, I took in the last hour or so of the HBO premiere of Jurassic World, and while I have not seen the entire film, I’m not certain I have to. Jurassic World, like the original and its offshoots, is a paean to stupidity, oblivious, inadvertent, and purposeful, and the consequences it spawns. There are the predictable side elements of self-assured arrogance and presumed authority on the part of those who want to embrace the stupid, be the stupid, and the…Continue
A long time ago, I was something of a fan of Marvel Comics, and among my favorites was Doctor Strange. By way of introduction, Steven Strange started out as a medical doctor who was forcibly introduced to the idea that objective reality as we know it was only one such reality, that there were others which had the potential to interact with ours, both for good and for ill. Figuratively slapped in the face with this revelation, Strange set about to learn all that he could about this new…Continue
If we’re to grow up as a species, we need to address the systems that infantilize us.
I recently posted a question to Steve Shives for his “You Had to Ask” series, wherein I asked for his thoughts regarding population growth and the problem it poses for our continued existence on this planet. No great surprise, Steve had no solutions among his musings, but he noted importantly that, as a problem, population growth is far more obvious and blatant than…
It’s not very often when the Arts and Life section of the Sunday paper provides grist for my mill, but that section in today’s edition of the Plain Dealer not only gave me a reason to write, it royally pissed me off. Page Two held a piece by Danielle Sepulveres of the Washington Post, who recently was invited by a friend of hers to do a reading at her wedding. Danielle relates the full story…Continue
The general assumption is that an adult is capable of making their own decisions regarding how their life is conducted, what preferences they hold and what choices they make. An adult might be politically conservative or liberal, a meat eater or vegan. They might like action/adventure movies or opt for more cerebral fare at the cinema. Curry might be their preference over Mexican, or vice versa, or they may be equally enthusiastic about both. Regardless, their choices are or certainly should…Continue
Friday afternoon, quiet inside, raining lightly outside. My wife is out interviewing and serving her clients and I’m at home with the cats. It’s as good a time as any to take a seat in front of my stereo system and do some listening. The power amplifiers have been warming for the past hour and should be ready to do proper justice to the signals I mean to feed to them. As for program material, it occurs to me that, while I’ve used parts of Gustav Holst’s The Planets for critical…Continue
More years ago than I care to calculate, I picked up a copy of Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. This was during a time when I was attempting to branch out beyond my initial interests in science-fiction writing and my fascination for writers like Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, to see what other value was out there. Much as Mr. Clarke is regarded as one of the great classic masters of the genre, I must beg to differ. I could comment on how sterile and lifeless his characters were…Continue
I’ve been getting a copy of The Humanist in my inbox once a week (I think) for a good couple years now. It’s good stuff: interviews, articles, news about church / state separation incidents around the United States, but I have to say, my favorite part, much as with the daily newspaper, are the comics. Jesus and Mo are long-time faves of mine and doubtless many of the gang here at Atheist Nexus, Ape, Not Monkey and The Bad Chemicals perhaps a bit less so,…Continue
Well, yours truly has been at it again, throwing hand grenades in the form of bits and bytes or pieces of paper with words arranged in particular sequence on them. This time, in the light of the recent events in Paris, France and the US response to that, my intended recipient is this country's chief executive:
President Barack Hussein Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500-0001
Dear Mr. President:
Not quite a year…
I am, as many of you already know, a habitual quote-monger, as evinced by multiple posts and comments here on Atheist Nexus. Over the six or so years of my avowed atheism, I have amassed a fair collection of brief statements and longer works by significant freethinkers who share in the cause of secularism and opposition to irrational belief. One of the more recent of these is a piece by Sam Harris, entitled simply, An Atheist Manifesto.
This treatise, a touch over 4,600…
Once again, I have to thank Sunday morning television for informing me of an important and noteworthy event. In this case, the information came in the form of a 30-second commercial, not just about a film but yet another salvo against the catholic church and the pedophile priest scandal: Spotlight. This docudrama purports to tell the story of how the Boston Globe newspaper staff researched and revealed the massive child abuse…Continue