Howard S. Dunn's Blog (59)

So much more to talk about ...

I was on the phone last night with an old friend I hadn't seen in fifteen years. He's an accomplished evolutionary biologist AND he owns a world-beat record label. While he is exposed to, via his business, belief systems from many diverse cultures, he has never believed in god; he was not raised that way. In fact, he admits that, while the notion has always been a curiosity, understanding the details of any given faith has not been much of a focus for him. That is not to say he is… Continue

Added by Howard S. Dunn on July 1, 2010 at 12:30pm — 2 Comments

Chemistry, Love and Purpose

It seems to me that for a huge number of people that once included myself, getting over religion wasn't really the hardest part of letting go of the idea of a spiritual realm.

I think the hardest part is the existential crisis presented by the notion that who we are and what we are boils down to electrochemical reactions. Love, meaning, purpose, identity, etc. aren't any more real or valid at the end of the day than lightning. There's a kind of profound reticence we feel…

Added by Howard S. Dunn on June 6, 2010 at 10:00pm — 4 Comments

My Memorial Day FB Status - a salute to the atheists in foxholes.

There are plenty of…


Added by Howard S. Dunn on May 31, 2010 at 4:05pm — 2 Comments

I wonder about atheist messages in disguise ...

When I was in the sixth grade, a nun called Sister Maxine (Sister Max) - who had to be a hippy lesbian in disguise - read Madeleine L'Engle's iconic book A Wrinkle in Time to us. I was totally blown away by that book. At the time I was sure she thought it was a secret take on Christianity. Nevertheless, it inspired me to go to the library and look for more ... science fiction.

I picked up a piece of preteen pulp by a guy named Robert Heinlein. It was about a kid who…

Added by Howard S. Dunn on May 30, 2010 at 12:40am — 10 Comments

Don't make any sudden moves - you don't want to anger them

I've noticed an interesting trend in the rhetoric about, well, rhetoric - as it relates to speaking up and speaking out.

I was in a band years ago - an acid jazz band (for wont of a better term) and we were in the 'green room' at the club we were playing when I noticed they were pumping in really awful eighties disco. One of the singers, Yva, was this Peruvian pixie dyke with a full on beotch attitude and the voice of a goddess. In the room was a leather clad gay kid - a…

Added by Howard S. Dunn on May 25, 2010 at 4:00am — 4 Comments

Pluralism - the sacred right and duty to challenge all notions of what underlies reality

In a recent online discussion with a friend (an actual friend who lives on the other coast - US), he suggested that it wasn't fair of me to post so many blogs (under my real name) that challenged belief in god considering so many believers are good and reasonable and willing to live and let live. Somehow, anything I say to the effect that faith in any god has yet to be supported to my satisfaction (since my deconversion) represents some kind of affront to all people of any faith. He said that… Continue

Added by Howard S. Dunn on May 9, 2010 at 1:19am — No Comments

Facebook: On being a non-theist provocateur

I have many friends on FB. For the most part, they are family and friends in real life. I know people from India to Sweden and all points in between. I have spent much actual face time with them. In fact, the very few friends I have added who I have never actually met are atheists.

My family and friends are intelligent, educated, thoughtful, and caring people. They know what to expect from me. Only a handful entirely reject the notion of a god. Most are hard-pressed…

Added by Howard S. Dunn on May 8, 2010 at 3:30pm — 11 Comments

(Another pass at this) Can't shake the context of the possibility of god ...

Apparently, despite their origins, both agnostic and atheist are words that, alas, cannot shake the context of the possibility of god.

Obviously, without that context, atheist is a word that needn't exist. I think that, for many of us, this is the crux of the biscuit (to quote Frank Zappa) in terms of our discontent with the label. First, no one needs define themselves as an aTitanist (lacking a belief in the Greek pantheon of original…

Added by Howard S. Dunn on May 4, 2010 at 5:27pm — 6 Comments

Agnostic - the word - makes no reference to a deity either way - and agnostic theist is an oxymoron.

Atheist means no belief in a deity. None. It chafes me (and many others) that we are defined by the absence of a commonly championed delusion - the belief in a deity. It has been said before that no one would expect anyone to have to define themselves as an amormon, acatholic, amuslim, or, even, afairiest. Nevertheless, I suppose the prevailing delusion pushes us to distinguish ourselves from the pack by labeling ourselves as non-believers.

Agnosticism, on the…

Added by Howard S. Dunn on May 3, 2010 at 12:30pm — 6 Comments

A night out with fellow atheists

I live in one of the most progressive states in the union. Despite the fact that we now have the most intellectually backward Governor in any blue state - nevertheless, no other state in the union can claim more patents and, while property taxes are outrageous; many public schools in my state rival private schools elsewhere (if they can be spared the stupid policies of our new Governor.). That's right - I live in the Great State of New Jersey. Joke all you want; if you're looking for… Continue

Added by Howard S. Dunn on April 30, 2010 at 2:58pm — No Comments

Lost a friend

I've moved around more than most. I've lived in four countries, two provinces, a canton, a district, four states (worked in six), twelve municipalities (pop 700 to 1 million) and made a large number of friends and acquaintances along the way. Of course, this also means I've moved away from a large number of friends and acquaintances as well.…

Added by Howard S. Dunn on April 20, 2010 at 12:47am — 8 Comments

Atheism: Right, Choice and Privilege

It every human being's right to be an atheist. End of story. No discussion.

Maybe you didn't choose to be atheist. Perhaps you were never indoctrinated into a system of faith or other form of theist philosophy. Arguably, we are all born atheist. It is the only default position that allows for the existence of all the religions - which are, for the most part, taught to children from an early age (many would say imposed on.) However, those who weren't indoctrinated can…

Added by Howard S. Dunn on April 15, 2010 at 1:00pm — 4 Comments

Fear and Choice - Courage or Faith

Fear is a product of evolution that nearly every successful species has developed. Instinct offers two basic choices in the face of fear - fight or flight. There are variations of course such as freeze, blend, exact a toll, and bluffing. One example of the 'freeze' technique that works is the opossum playing dead. And, of course, there are many examples of blending… Continue

Added by Howard S. Dunn on April 8, 2010 at 11:00am — 1 Comment

On the Death of Religion and the Reenlightenment

First, I will preface this article by admitting its total lack of academic citation. However, I welcome comments that can refute opinion stated as fact through the use of citation. Also, it should be noted that, for centuries, despite their amazing progress at technological advancement, Eastern civilizations such as the Chinese did not, for a very long time, appear to feel a need to change their civilization commensurate with their technical prowess in the same way we have in the…

Added by Howard S. Dunn on April 6, 2010 at 5:27pm — 6 Comments

Damned or dammed?

According to religious doctrines that refer to themselves as the 'one true faith' and ascribe to some version of a heaven and a hell - we atheists are inevitably damned to that place of eternal torture.

On the other hand, I am of the strong opinion that anyone who's rote beliefs interfere…

Added by Howard S. Dunn on April 2, 2010 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

A Little Inspiration Anyone?

Ending war and famine forever. Curing all childhood diseases with a single shot. Supplying all human energy needs with renewable, sustainable resources like wind, wave, geothermal and solar power. Discovering amazing things about the nature of nature - such as why particles have mass. Learning to fuse hydrogen so we can produce energy anywhere from the most abundant material in the universe. Traveling to the moons of Jupiter. Building hydroponic farm skyscrapers in urban centers. The list goes… Continue

Added by Howard S. Dunn on March 30, 2010 at 10:22am — 1 Comment

What's On Tap

Added by Howard S. Dunn on March 26, 2010 at 12:12pm — 1 Comment

Religion is an Ice Age of the Mind

Evolution basically states that the traits of the parents are genetically passed to the offspring and, since more successful creatures are more likely to reproduce, successful adaptations are more likely to be passed on while less useful traits become less prevalent. Form follows function. New traits occur spontaneously via mutations caused by things like radiation and adaptive uses of existing traits to changes in the environment. Ultimately, evolution is a process whereby successful forms… Continue

Added by Howard S. Dunn on March 19, 2010 at 1:06pm — No Comments

Tired of the Corn-troversy.

I lived for a total of thirteen years in central Illinois and central Iowa. Between 2004 and 2006 the two states produced 12,071,300,000 bushels (see: - I did the math) That's over 12 billion bushels of corn and over one third of US production. And the US is by far the largest producer of corn world-wide.

Now, most of this corn feeds livestock or is used to grow more corn (feed and seed.) Feeding…

Added by Howard S. Dunn on March 18, 2010 at 3:30pm — No Comments

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