Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Humor, Morality, Movies, Music, Neuroscience, Politics, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

Neil deGrasse Tyson on Moyers and Company

Caught the first of three parts over at the Why Is Evolution True blog. I enjoyed this series of interviews very much, so I decided to post all three.

Cannot wait for the new Cosmos to air!

Oh! And if you care to watch, this is the link for live streaming of today’s Bill Nye vs Ken Ham Debate, it starts at 7 PM ET (1 AM CET). Go Science Guy!

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Blasphemy, Coffee, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Humor, Morality, Movies, Music, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Thanks and Seasons Greetings

To all of  you who allow my soliloquies to sometimes turn into monologues and in even rarer occasions permit them to become conversations, my most heartfelt thanks. Thank you for sharing your most precious resource with my rants; time. I hope that in some way you have shared my feelings and enjoyed some of the ideas expressed in my posts.

Fleeting Beauty

We are at that time of year when many people across the globe get time off to celebrate a diversity of different holidays. Preparations are made for travel to get to a friend’s or relative’s home to share in this special time or sometimes just to get things ready to do this at one’s home.

Whether you celebrated Hanukkah or are getting ready to celebrate Christmas, Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, Winter Solstice, Festivus, HumanLight or nothing at all, I wish you all the best.

And may we all put some Hygge into our life, as is a custom of the Danes.

In essence, hygge means creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking – preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life.

 http://www.visitdenmark.com/denmark/culture/art-danish-hygge

Hygge
Hygge (Photo credit: dlebech)
Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Satan Is Comin’ to Town

Read this Big Think post today (although it is 6 days old). Satan Is Comin’ to Town.

US Postage issue, 1894, $2
US Postage issue, 1894, $2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just love the James Madison quotes in the article. It is so hard to understand how after all this time, people do not get what separation of church and state is all about.

Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Blasphemy, Coffee, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Humor, Morality, Movies, Music, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Monty Python Live Reunion ;)

Group shot of the Monty Python crew in 1969
Group shot of the Monty Python crew in 1969 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For all you Monty Python fans out there, the famous troupe has announced a live reunion show, scheduled for  July the 1st 2014. So cheer up.

Meanwhile, enjoy a few Python scenes and songs.

This last sketch has a special place in my heart. I wonder why?

Here is a clip of the press conference for the Monty Python Live Reunion.

Sadly  I don’t think I can be in London to see them.

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Coffee, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Here again

I have been delinquent in my posting, so sorry. A long needed vacation got in the way.

Beach (1)

Just before leaving for my vacation, I had some nice interaction with some family members about my atheism. I am very sure that most of you have already gone through this:

Why do you have to be so vocal about your atheism? Why don’t you just keep it to yourself?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

No offense, I love you and my intention is not to offend you…I like many have my doubts, and sometimes I believe and sometimes I doubt.I respect that you’re an atheist and you are absolutely sure of your belief. But what I criticize and I see as even a little ridiculous is making atheism a religion, with lectures and symposia. All you need now is to start having Masses to Saint Atheist.

 

How do you like them cookies?

Nice double standard. I have to – and do – tolerate people wearing crosses, a star of David, an Om symbol or whatever symbol of religiosity, but I can’t wear my atheist bands or t-shirts without somebody bothering me. Good thing my Happy Humanist pins don’t cause any trouble. I must tolerate constant references to a deity, but one word of disbelief and I am being militant.

And well, I am loved and respected but I am ridiculous. But enough of that, on to the vacation.

By no means was I only lying on the beach and sipping on a nice cool drink.

I got a chance to read Testament: Memoir of the Thoughts and Sentiments of Jean Meslier and to start reading  L’ Esprit De  L‘Atheisme (The soul of atheism) by André Comte-Sponville. The first book I bought on my own accord and the second was a gift from a friend.

Meslier’s book is an interesting impeachment of religion with a dash of anti-monarchism, a pinch of animal rights and a touch of communism. It is probably the first book on atheism. A very interesting read although a bit repetitive. Meslier really wanted to get his message across.

I will get back to you on my thought of Comte-Sponville’s book when I finish it.

At lunch the very first day I came back to work, I got into an enjoyable discussion  on some well-known topics:

You can’t have morality if you don’t have religion.

Hitler was an atheist.

Homeopathy works.

I already have a previous post on the first one: Borrowed Morality and never have given the second much of a thought, although what I read in Mein Kampf depicts a Christian, but now I will have to read Ian Kershaw‘s books on Hitler. The third point is defenseless, homeopathy has no scientific backing. You might enjoy this 2009 article in Forbes or this one in The Lancet called Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homeopathy and allopathy .

Things got back to speed very soon after vacation time and that is just fine. How was your week?

See you next time.

P.S.  The Hotel had a nice Nespresso bar so I was never without my daily dose of caffeine.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

Youth: you are the hope of the world

A recent poll by YouGov / The Sun Survey Results has reported results that give hope for the future.

The poll was taken from June the 14th to the 19th and involved young adults aged 18 to 24.

The questions related to their feelings about the future, jobs, relationships, buying a home, etc.

The poll demonstrated, contrary to popular belief, that parents have a great deal of influence upon this group. Much more than politicians, celebrities and a great deal more than religious leaders.

What was most striking were the results of the questions related to religion.

According to the results 56% of this age group have no religion. Only 25% believe in a god and 19% believe in a spiritual greater power. That means that 56% of young adults are non believers, a big difference when compared to the 2011 census. Atheists accounted for 38% and Agnostics 18% which is higher than earlier reports  I have commented before.

Belief in god graph
Click on graph to enlarge

For a link to the complete survey click here.

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

What flipped your switch?

English: Dead Sea Scroll - part of Isaiah Scro...
English: Dead Sea Scroll – part of Isaiah Scroll (Isa 57:17 – 59:9), 1QIsa b (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The road to non-belief is not straightforward, it is in most cases a slow journey. It is the lowly drop of water and not the majestic wave that slowly erodes the stone and in this way our belief in the supernatural is whittled down until one day we realize that what was once incontrovertible, now is an argument that holds no water.

It seems to me that although non-belief is the result of a long list of things that make us question the validity of that which we hold true, many times there is a first question a first doubt. In my case, I think that the first question was something that I would later learn is called the problem of evil.

When I was a kid, I would always think that nobody could ever go to Hell because God being an all-knowing, all-caring and all-powerful being would not allow it. How could he? He knew everything before it happened. He loved everybody so he did not wish bad things to happen and of course he could do anything.

He could do anything and did everything. So where did bad things come from?

What?! You mean God created evil? No way! Well, yes way.

__________________________________________________________________

I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things.

Jewish Publication Society Bible    YISHEYAH (Book of Isaiah) Chapter 45

__________________________________________________________________

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

 Isaiah 45:7

 King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Pure Cambridge Edition

__________________________________________________________________

Evil exists and God created it. How can that be?  Well this leads us into the problem of evil.

The existence of evil is a contradiction in logical terms to a god that is omniscient, benevolent and omnipotent.

  1. God exists.

  2. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good.

  3. A perfectly good being would want to prevent all evils.

  4. An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence.

  5. An omnipotent being, who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence.

  6. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, who is able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, and who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil.

  7. If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, then no evil exists.

  8. Evil exists (logical contradiction).

So following that logic. God is a logical contradiction.

And of course we also have the problem of Hell, but that is another question.

There are many defences and theodicies that theists use to get around this problem. One way that they defend this problem is through the free will argument: It is a very good thing that God has created persons with free will. God cannot eliminate evil, because in doing so he would remove the possibility of free will and making correct moral choices. 

Ok we have free will and can choose good or evil.  We are imperfect and at least one time, if not many, we will choose wrong. God being perfect and endowed with omniscience knows this before we do it, in fact even before we come into existence. Or maybe he cannot know this, but that would strip him of omniscience. Of course this would resolve the problem of evil, but would render God imperfect.

And talking of free will. The concept of free will beyond the constraints of the physical universe is childish, downright stupid. Free will must be understood within the constraints of a physical universe as we are physical beings. To think that we could have absolute free will would make us supernatural, would make us in fact gods. The matter at question is: do we have the ability to make free choices within the constraints of a physical universe? That is the true question of free will.

We do not have conscious free will as has been stated elsewhere, and that seems to destroy the free will theodicy, but we are agents capable of decisions, albeit these decisions are made in a subconscious manner.

And I never even got to the question of natural evil, that is a whole new ball-game.

So what got you started? What flipped your switch?

Portrait of Epicurus, founder of the Epicurean...
Portrait of Epicurus, founder of the Epicurean school. Roman copy after a lost Hellenistic original. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
Epicurus

See you next time.

Related articles

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Pope Benedict resigns after being handed report into corruption,gay sex and blackmail in Vatican.

Vatican City
Vatican City (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

 

There has been much speculation about the unexpected resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. According to a report in the February 21 edition of The Reppublica “Sesso e carriera, i ricatti in Vaticano dietro la rinuncia di Benedetto XVI – Repubblica.it ” it appears that the cause was learning of a web of corruption, sex scandals and blackmail within the Catholic Church.

Having deconverted from Catholicism and been witness to a few priests with their “nieces” and “godchildren” and watching how they were changed from one parish to another and some minor corruption, it comes as no surprise.

The report was done by a  three-man commission that investigated the Vatileaks affair. Spearheaded by a Spanish cardinal, Julián Herranz. Assisted by Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, a former archbishop of Palermo, and the Slovak cardinal Jozef Tomko, who was once in charge of the Vatican’s department for missionaries.

It seems that the information contained in the almost 300 page volume was too much for the octogenarian pope to handle. And though his resignation is being purported to be an act of strength and not of weakness, I believe that he is only trying to save face and has more interest in the institution he presides than in the welfare of the members. The pope’s position on human rights and the sexual molestation by the clergy has been lacking. The systematic cover-up makes all those involved just as guilty as the rapists themselves. The Catholic Church has not handed the culprits over to the justice system and the stories of priest-shuffling are myriad. There is no justifiable excuse for not taking an open stance against these criminals. Once detected , they should be immediately removed from their parish, handed over to the police and if found guilty defrocked and have anathema imposed upon them. The problem with the anathema bit is that it would have to include much of the hierarchy including a number of popes.

Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive (Name) himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church; we deliver him to Satan to mortify his body, that his soul may be saved on the day of judgment.

Laurens_excomunication_1875_orsay

The article also mentions that the next pope should be strong, young and “saintly” enough to handle this situation. As I can not get my wish to have them all resign and have the institution disbanded and its assets sold with the proceeds put to use in some charitable fashion, I would hope for an ethical pope with a high degree of respect for human rights.

The report mentioned in the article is for the pope’s eyes only and will be handed to the next pope only, so unless there comes a new Vatileaks style butler, don’t expect to be privy to the details.

See you next time.

 

Posted in Coffee, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

The end of modern civilization

English: Coffee berries Polski: Owoce kawy
English: Coffee berries Polski: Owoce kawy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the past  weeks I stumbled upon a series of articles in the news that quite frankly were the harbingers of doom. Modern civilization is coming to an end in this century.

The Mayas missed the date, but it seems that in the later half of this century, civilization will come to a halt. At least in the way we know it today.

The articles all talk about climate change and how around 2080 wild arabica could be extinct. This does not mean that coffee per se will disappear, but it will be more difficult to keep up production of this variety of coffee.

Coffee production will not come to a halt, but we could be in for a change in the variety of coffee used in our blends. Reuters reported in an article called Analysis: Coffee roasters stick with less costly robusta that roasters are using more robusta in their blends due to cost and the possibility to maintain market share .  Consumers have switched to non-premium blends of coffee that contain a higher content of lower quality robusta.

The more resistant variety of coffee known as Robusta or Coffea canephora gives your coffee more bitterness, more caffeine and an unpleasant rubbery taste.  The best espresso roasts use primarily Arabica beans, which originated in Ethiopia, but have spread around the  world. In some blends Robusta beans are typically included in the blend because of their ability to generate crema. High quality Italian espresso blends such as Illy  use no robusta at all.

Robusta has on average half the flavour and aromatic oils compared to Arabica. These oils attack the foam and make it disappear. Less oil in your brew equals more foam – crema. But at a cost. Less oil equals less aroma, flavor and overall quality of your espresso.

COFFE REFLECTIONS

So let us reduce, reuse and recycle so as to limit our carbon footprint, lest we leave behind a world of low quality/high price coffee to those that come after us.

Here is the link to the article from PLOS ONE.

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Coffee, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

One in six people worldwide are “nones”

1st UK edition
1st UK edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to a recent study 16% of the world’s population are religiously unaffiliated. That is 1.1 billion people. The “nones” include atheists, agnostics and people who do not identify with any particular religion in surveys.

The tendency for unaffiliated persons is higher in Asia-Pacific followed by Europe and North America and lowest in the Middle East-North Africa.

The Pew Research Center study is called The Global Religious Landscape – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life .

However, many of the religiously unaffiliated have some form of religious beliefs and  also engage in certain kinds of religious practices.

The age of the global “nones” is a bit higher than the average in the U.S. study ‘No Religion’ on the Rise: 19.6% Have No Religious Affiliation – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life bet there is a trend worldwide.

I would like to remind you that the Atheist Census is now underway and would ask you to take part. There are only 6 questions you have to answer. It takes a few minutes to contribute to this project that will allow us to counted. Or as the census site states Atheist Census – Numbers matter. Be counted..

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

Support the Atheist Census

After only 17 hours the Atheist Census page went offline as the result of a denial of service (DoS) attack.

There were  8,880 confirmed entries and another  2,300 pending according to the Atheist Alliance International site.

Looks like somebody does not want us to be counted. What are they afraid of?

I hope that the people at AAI get the site up and running soon.

Please support this effort through donations, reblogging, and above all by participating in the census.

Stand up and be counted. Let others know that they are not alone. Let others know that there are more of us than they think we are.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

Did the Dalai Lama Just Call for an End to Religion? | (A)theologies | Religion Dispatches

Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth and current Dala...
Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth and current Dalai Lama, is the leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. Photographed during his visit in Cologno Monzese MI, Italy, on december 8th, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did the Dalai Lama Just Call for an End to Religion? | (A)theologies | Religion Dispatches.