The Garin Hoover Radio Show is on line.  It was recorded March 12 and featured a Jew (Manny), a Christian (Rev Terry Jones), an imam and an atheist (moi).  The discussion was centered around the question, "Is Islam a Religion of Peace?"

The debate was often heated and vituperative. Rev Jones, I thought, was very good with an all-American cowboy mentality. He told the imam, "we don't want your Sharia Law, so don't even try to bring it here."  He made national news last year by trying to burn a Koran but was prevented at the last minute by a government injunction.  He brought a gun into the hall and told the audience he was the second most wanted man in Islam after Salman Rushdie. 

Here's the link to  I think you'll find the proceedings very informative and educational.  The imam came up short on many questions, but overall held up pretty well.  Please comment here to ask a question or continue a point.  To my mind the most important concern was Muslim demographics.  They can kill each other all they want, but it's a drop in the bucket considering population is doubling every generation with every burqa- or hajab-toting female in the world quietly producing over four offspring.   .

Needless to say, as author of "High School with Rudy Giuliani", I'm the guy with the Brooklyn accent. 

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Comment by Rich Goss on March 23, 2015 at 7:21pm

Just an aside, but Ted Cruz just announced his run for president at Liberty University.   

I’d like to see Ted Cruz try that pitch at UC Berkeley or NYU in the middle of Greenwich Village—and he could take Michelle Bachmann along to impress the gay vote.

I could write the speech: “Fellow Americans, liberty, buzzword, constitution, buzzword, God, buzzword, buzzword, no taxes and more buzzwords.” The gays and Village freaks will love it.

Continuing, “All right all you patriotic, brain-washed lovers of America and God, I’ll tell you the first thing I’m going to do when I’m elected. I’ll bring back prayer in our schools—and none of that ‘moment of silence’ bullshit. I’m talkin’ get down on your knees prayer.” (He holds up his arms to thunderous applause!)

“If you’re a poor, inner-city welfare momma with ten kids and you get knocked up by another one-night stand, Don’t Even Think About An Abortion. We’ll figure something out. Just trust in Jesus.

I could go on and on but you get the idea.

Comment by Rich Goss on March 23, 2015 at 7:07pm

Joan, I just noticed, that's your picture right next to the imam.  How'd you do that? Very cool. 

Comment by Rich Goss on March 23, 2015 at 7:05pm

The focus topic changes from month to month.  The panel remains the same with the individuals changing.  I want to suggest to Garin to discuss my "Ten Reasons Not To Believe" as the main topic.  The essay is in my earlier blog posts and "Pot Stories."  Sandy, the other atheist, and I could field question from the three religions. 

The pictures on online.  That's me with red shirt sitting next to Rev. Jones.  Just scroll to the bottom and click on the rectangular photo .You can make a comment there. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on March 23, 2015 at 5:03pm

Thanks, Rich, will you be on next month's program? Or do you know who and if there will be an atheist on it? If so, we need to create a list of positive positions for a plan of action as well as questions to challenge the islamist. You already know my questions. Others may have different issues. We need to focus on defining what we don't want, what we do, and what we are willing to do to get out of the war mentality. 

Comment by Rich Goss on March 23, 2015 at 4:42pm

Rich, I wonder what would happen if you, I, we and other atheists sat down and developed a plan of valid and reliable information concerning both sides?

Joan, you and I certainly see eye to eye.  I expressed this same idea to Garin about the radio show.  I already expressed how dangerous suppression of free speech is.  Free and open dialogue is the only way to fight back.  Otherwise, we just repeat the past, as warned by Santayana.  I'll keep you posted on next month's program.

Comment by Joan Denoo on March 21, 2015 at 2:35pm

Grinning Cat, thanks for the lead to Sex at Dawn; I added it to my wish list. I hope I live long enough to read all these wonderful suggestions 

Comment by Joan Denoo on March 21, 2015 at 2:32pm

Rich, you rightly note that the video on stoning a young girl should have a XXX rating. It is a dreadful thing to watch and hear, as appalling as watching a head drop under the slash of the sword or the beating of an adult. I am not into horror movies. I am looking at what is real. It is one thing to say a young women experienced a stoning death for some arbitrary reason that some think significant; it is quite another to hear her plead for mercy. It haunts one's thoughts and once seen, cannot be erased. 

I used graphic photos of Agent Orange victims for the same reason. We hear or read the words, but looking into the eyes of a child mangled because of genetic deformities caused by chemical warfare is just beyond imagining. To think that chemicals sprayed over water sources, plants and everything, means barbarism played its role in USA's war. Is it still used by US? Do we still torture? Do we still bomb innocent people? Do we still destroy whole communities? Does the US public understand what we do in the name of achieving democracy or capitalism or do we justify these practices to defeat fascism and communism? Do we have no other choices? 

I am not nice to show what is real. I do get hate mail because of it. So what? 

Rich, the questions the Imam would not or could not answer in that discussion reveal more than if he had claimed these procedures exist in his culture. He made some challenges against USA that were valid. He stated that the murder of those in the Twin Towers was a small number compared to what USA does in the name of democracy and capitalism. He is correct. We have to face that reality and then figure out a way to accomplish our goals without being the aggressor. We claim to defend our lifestyle. The soldiers think they protect our homeland. Really? Is that true? Could the propaganda of our government and especially our armed forces be the creator of our vulnerability? Can USA overcome ISIS and the other groups through violence? 

Rich, I wonder what would happen if you, I, we and other atheists sat down and developed a plan of valid and reliable information concerning both sides? Desmond Tutu's truth and reconciliation model, offers one option to see if a better way can be found to override religious policies and practices that harm?

In my opinion, religious beliefs underlie the conflicts around the world.

When I was a little girl, I heard what would happen to me if I didn't confess "Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior." You had better believe I was afraid. Think of the native tribes that missionaries go to convert. Are they telling the same horror stories? I am sure of it! Is it any wonder natives, hearing those stories, hearing missionaries in all their fine words and concepts, doubt their gods and flock to the one with the power over nature. Imagine what natives feel as they hear of the horrors and triumphs of the missionary's god. 

Surely, there exists a narrative that can accomplish what fear and hope does without the harm. 

Comment by Grinning Cat on March 21, 2015 at 1:47pm

I'm finally starting to read Sex at Dawn; it mentions agriculture, with various interconnected consequences leading to war, as a disaster from which the human species has not yet recovered.

Comment by Rich Goss on March 21, 2015 at 1:04pm

Bertold, a lot of these ideas come from the great zoologist Desmond Morris, who was quite an influence on Richard Dawkins.  I'm convinced the key to human happiness lies in the pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer stage, and even before that in the canopy dwelling frugavores (fruit and berry eaters) of the Pleistocene rain forests.  You know, carnivory arrived after the descent from the trees around five million years ago.  As mammals humans need to hug one another and need love like an infant needs mother's milk. 

To Joan, I'm not impugning you but that third video (the one about the stoning of the young girl) should have had an XXX rating. It was scarier than any horror movie I've ever seen—perhaps because it was real, unlike the images on the movie screen. "Haunting" is the only word for it. It was in-your-face, arrogant, brazenfaced INSANITY, totally certain of its position. 

Reminds me of a line from my "DUI Story" in "Pot Stories":  Hell is where there is no Reason. 

Comment by Rich Goss on March 20, 2015 at 12:48pm

Joan, thanks for the interesting study.  No matter how we look at it, we can't deny the underlying fact that we evolved from quadruped carnivores. The hind brain, or reptilian brain, is the seat of raw feral energy and our base emotions like rage, anger and polymorphically perverse sex.  This is what Golding called Jack, Freud called the "id" and Carl Sagan called the "R Complex" or "Reptilian Factor" (also what Christians call the devil.) 

There's no denying that violence is part of human nature but it can be controlled by Freud's concept of "ego."  In my "Pot Stories" I describe how reason conquers violence like trump vanquishes an ace in a bridge game.  It's a stronger force, because violence is only animal emotion and energy.  In the  Pleasure Principle there's no regard or concern about the outcome of the behavior.  Many modern day sociopaths seem to live this way.  A chemical factory will pollute a stream with poison and carcinogens without any regard for the long-term harm to thousands of people downstream. 

Barbara Walker and I talked about this theme in detail.  Being an early inveterate feminist, she believes that the worst event of human existence was the discovery of agriculture and the abandonment of the female deity, the Fertility Goddess, to the male monotheist Mafia don god with all the evolutionary baggage that drags along with it.  Private property is the culprit that caused the rift, because along with crops and harvesting came the soldier, the cop, and even a scribe/priest/lawyer class to ensure proper ownership.

When I was teaching biology I emphasized the importance of the Prime Directive, the force that governs all life to its most primitive forms.  Briefly the PD is self preservation and reproduction. We see it clearly in a dark garage when we turn the lights on.  Even roaches scurry to hide and "instinctively" understand the danger. The second part needs no explanation but it's important to realize that territoriality is and outgrowth of the reproductive urge. Hence the tie-in with the baneful effects of agriculture. In other words, at a primal level, one's property is more important than another's life. 

Ironically, "The Force" in Star Wars is not quite so benevolent as the movie portrays. 

... to be continued. 



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