Feed on Posts or Comments 30 September 2014

Category ArchiveRationals



Christianity &Rationals Thomas on 02 May 2012

Why Intelligent People Are Angry at Religion

This article offers dozens of reasons why any intelligent person would be angry at the role religion plays in American society:

ATHEISTS AND ANGER

One of the most common criticisms lobbed at the newly-vocal atheist community is, “Why do you have to be so angry?” So I want to talk about:

1. Why atheists are angry;

2. Why our anger is valid, valuable, and necessary;

And 3. Why it’s completely f***ed-up to try to take our anger away from us.

So let’s start with why we’re angry. Or rather — because this is my blog and I don’t presume to speak for all atheists — why I’m angry.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals Thomas on 30 Apr 2012

New Study Shows that Thinking Helps Eliminate Religion

A New Study Shows that Thinking Helps Eliminate Religion. Here is a description of the study:

Religion and Reason – Analytic thinking decreases religious belief.

Your answer to the following riddle can predict whether you are a believer in religion or a disbeliever:

Q: If a baseball and bat cost $110, and the bat costs $100 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?

A: If you answered $10 you are inclined to believe in religion. If you answered $5 you are inclined to disbelieve.

Why? Because, according to new research reported in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Science, the $10 answer indicates that you are an intuitive thinker, and the $5 answer indicates that you solve problems analytically, rather than following your gut instinct.

Why?

Cognitive theory of decision making supports the hypothesis that there are two independent processes involved in decision making. The first process is based on gut instinct, and this process is shared by other animals. The second cognitive process is an evolutionarily recent development, exclusive to humans, which utilizes logical reasoning to make decisions. Their study of 179 Canadian undergraduate students showed that people who tend to solve problems more analytically also tended to be religious disbelievers. This was demonstrated by giving the students a series of questions like the one above and then scoring them on the basis of whether they used intuition or analytic logic to reach the answers. Afterward, the researchers surveyed the students on whether or not they held religious beliefs. The results showed that the intuitive thinkers were much more likely to believe in religion.

So how do we help to eliminate religion? We get more people to think more analytically. The last sentence in this paragraph is key:

Three other interventions to boost analytic thinking had the same effect on increasing religious disbelief. This included asking subjects to arrange a collection of words into a meaningful sequence. If the words used for the subconscious prime related to analytic thinking, such as “think, reason, analyze, ponder, rational,” rather than control words “hammer, shoes, jump, retrace, brown,” subjects scored higher on tests of analytic thinking given immediately afterward, and they were also much more likely to be disbelievers in religion. This demonstrates that increasing critical thinking also increases religious disbelief.

When a religious person increases his or her critical thinking skills, it would help in many other parts of life.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals Thomas on 19 Apr 2012

What does the intolerance toward atheists in the United States look like?

What does the intolerance toward atheists in the United States look like? Two examples:

For what it’s worth, I “won.”

lost a dear friend today r/atheism. Intolerance is a bitch…

Pretty appalling, no?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals &Science Thomas on 16 Apr 2012

The Truth about Evolution

The Truth about Evolution can be seen in this short, simple article:

I don’t believe in evolution

Here is the best part:

There is not a single observation or experiment that invalidates evolution. No fossil rabbits in Precambrian strata. No human footprints next to dinosaur footprints. No genetic data showing the synchronized bottleneck of Noah’s ark in all of the animal species. No radioactive dating results or anything else disproving the Cambrian explosion.

There simply is nothing. Or, like Richard Dawkins put it, “Today the theory of evolution is about as much open to doubt as the theory that the earth goes round the sun”.

The only people who don’t accept evolution are Theists. They are willing to ignore all of the evidence in order to cling to their imaginary god.

Why?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals Thomas on 06 Mar 2012

Critical Thinking: The Rational Discussion Flowchart

This is a very interesting little chart:

Critical Thinking: The Rational Discussion Flowchart

In the comments, it would be fun to see if theists and atheists could agree to the rules in this chart and then have a discussion about God.

Christianity &Rationals Thomas on 18 Feb 2012

The funny thing about Christianity – it may make people less moral, not more

The Christians we see on the public stage (politicials, mega-church pastors, the Pope and his underlings, etc.) are fond of suggesting that Christians are better because they have better morals than others. Conversely they suggest that non-Christians are less moral because they do not follow the Christian God. Is this true? This short piece from The Week demonstrates otherwise:

 The Truth About Secular America

American culture is sick, and secularism is the cause of our disease. That, said Steve Chapman, is the contention of religious conservatives like presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who insist that feminists, liberals, and gay marriage have undermined traditional morality, and that only a return to our Christian roots will cure what ails us. But all evidence suggests that this view is not only backward—it’s wrong.

As America has become more secular in recent decades, “most indicators of moral and social health have gotten better, not worse.” Crime has plummeted. Teen pregnancy is down by 39 percent. Divorce rates are dropping. Abortion rates among adolescents are half what they used to be.

Which states continue to have the biggest social problems? The Bible Belt states, not the supposedly sin-ridden blue states. Mississippi has the nation’s highest rate of church attendance, and also the highest murder rate. Liberal Vermont’s murder rate, on the other hand, is 25 percent of the national average. Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage, has the nation’s lowest divorce rate. So please, spare us “the sanctimonious fairy tales.” Secular America is doing just fine.

Want to make America better? One way might be to abandon Christianity. It does not seem to be helping.

Rationals Thomas on 12 Feb 2012

What Nonbelievers Believe

An interesting article:

What Nonbelievers Believe

It highlights 7 areas:

  • Everything since the Big Bang can be explained naturally – this makes complete sense given that our universe operates exactly as we expect it would if there were no god.

  • We can only speculate about what “caused” the Big Bang – this makes complete sense given that this is how science always operates.

  • Ethics do not require a God – See this article for a complete understanding of the process.

  • Religion is man-made – Everyone can see that. The fact that there are thousands of religions and sub-religions, just like there are thousands of languages and sub-languages, proves it.

  • The God of the Bible is especially implausible – Obvious to any third grader who reads the Bible. See this video for details.

  • The idea of prophecy is even less plausible than a God

  • Only humans can solve human challenges – See this page for details.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals Thomas on 28 Dec 2011

Dogs can speak English! It is a brilliant way to demonstrate that God is imaginary

Here is the graphical version:

Dogs can speak English!

And here it is in plain text:

Dogs can speak English!

This ability is supernatural, so you can never discover it using science. You can’t dissect dogs to find out how this ability works. It is outside the scope of your ability to study or even understand.

Furthermore, dogs intentionally hide this ability from humans. Dogs only speak when humans aren’t around, and they have the ability to know if humans are eavesdropping in any way. So, you will never catch them in the act.

You can’t prove that this isn’t true. It’s entirely possible that it is. So, do you believe that dogs can speak English?

If not, why?

As you read this, you realize two things. First, we all know that dogs do not speak English. Second, we do not need to prove that this is true. If someone wants to assert that dogs can speak English, they must provide evidence that the assertion is true. If they cannot, their assertion is merely amusing.

This is exactly the same situation we find whenever a theist talks about God. The theist assertion is that God is supernatural and outside the scope of our ability to study or even understand. Furthermore, it is asserted that God is invisible, silent and cannot be detected in any way by science.

Since this is the assertion, the only way that anyone with any sense would believe it is through evidence. If any sensible, intelligent, rational person is going to believe in God, there must be evidence.

Since there is no evidence for God, the assertions of theists should be merely amusing. But they are not. Unfortunately, theists combine their God-nonsense with a desire to make many people miserable, to inhibit the freedoms and civil rights of millions, to stop the progress of science, etc. In other words, God-nonsense is extremely dangerous to society as a whole. For this reason, God-nonsense is not benign – it is a cancer. It should be eliminated.

For more information see God is imaginary.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals Thomas on 16 Dec 2011

Objective Morality vs. Religious Morality

An interesting discussion on morality:

As soon as you look at the Bible, the idea of religious morality collapses in the most embarrassing ways. The God of the Bible is the most abominable, disgusting, immoral being in the universe by any objective measure.

What is the alternative? Is there objective morality? This page helps to understand how all morality arises:

On Ethics and rational moral codes

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals Thomas on 02 Dec 2011

Should we try to eliminate religion?

A great article in the forum:

Should we try to eliminate religion?

Religion is only a symptom of a larger problem: Humanity’s rationality waterline is ridiculously low. It is only one manifestation of a generally acceptable level of irrationality that permits things like anti-science attitudes, denial of climate change and peak oil, belief in homeopathy and other alternative “medicine” that doesn’t work, etc.. A person may be persuaded to reject Christianity, UFO’s, psi, and other “woo” but still lack the ability to identify and counter the effects of cognitive biases, manipulative advertizing, propaganda, etc., rationally analyze political, economic, and environmental policies, and consistently make life decisions that advance their goals and happiness. While religion is a direct problem, and some efforts should be directed against it, eliminating religion would only represent the most basic of steps toward a rational society. On the other hand, if we could find ways to teach the Methods of Rationality more broadly, while refining and improving them in a manner comparable to the way martial arts disciplines refine and improve methods of physical combat, so that there is a greater general expectation of rational, critical thought and action in society, a raised Rationality Waterline would submerge and drown most religion, woo, and cognitive failure.

Christianity &Rationals Thomas on 28 Nov 2011

Did you know?

A great set of simple facts about the United States:

Did you know?

It reads:

Did you know?
* The original Constitution of the US had only one reference to religion – Article 6 “No religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
* The de facto motto of the US in 1782 was E. Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one). Congress added “In god we trust” in 1956.
* The original Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 and did not include the words “Under God.” That was added in 1954.
* “In god we trust” did not appear on paper money until 1957.

It’s time to change things back to their original form. Get rid of “God”.

Politics &Rationals Thomas on 13 Oct 2011

Are Atheists Really That Tainted?

Here’s a story that, in any other context, would defy belief – the American Cancer Society has turned down a $500,000 donation because it comes from atheists. There does not seem to be any other explanation for the behavior of the ACS:

Is Atheist Money Too Controversial for the American Cancer Society?

I’ll say this clearly, right up front: The American Cancer Society did not explicitly reject a massive donation offer from a non-theistic organization on the basis of it being a non-theistic organization.

That was not the stated reason given for rejecting a matching offer of $250,000 from the Foundation Beyond Belief and the Todd Stiefel Foundation to sponsor a national team in the upcoming Relay for Life. (An offer that, as a matching offer, was likely to bring in a total of half a million dollars for the American Cancer Society.) Nobody at the ACS has ever said, in words, “We don’t want our organization to be associated with atheists. It’s too controversial. We don’t want atheist money.” And when asked if this was the case, they have denied it.

It’s just difficult to reach any other conclusion. In the place of clear explanations, there has been an ongoing series of evasions, imprecisions, conflicting answers, moved goalposts, apathy, and even hostility…

It’s a fascinating story of the ACS turning down a $500,000 donation, apparently because the donation comes from atheists who want to be recognized for their good works. As the article points out:

And in case you’re thinking, “Why do those mean old atheists have to pick on the American Cancer Society? Why are they publicly embarrassing such a noble organization? Why do they have to make it all about them?” ask yourself this: If this were happening with any other organization — if it were a Jewish charitable foundation, an African-American one, an LGBT one, that had tried to give the American Cancer Society a $250,000 matching offer and had gotten shot down — would you be responding the same way? Would you be mad at the Jews, the African Americans, the queers, for calling attention to it? Or would you be writing enraged letters to the ACS, saying, “WTF? My aunt has cancer, I donate $500 a year to the American Cancer Society — and you’re turning down $500,000 because the money comes from a segment of society that some people don’t like?”

Are atheists really that tainted?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals Thomas on 21 Mar 2011

The problem with people who ask those who are sick and dying to convert to religion

Christopher Hitchens has been fighting cancer. Here are his observations on those in the religious community who have asked him to convert to their religion because of his illness:

Why would a rational person start believing in imaginary beings, superstitions like prayer, stories of imaginary fairylands like heaven, etc. as part of the process of dying? The fact that someone is dying does not change rational thought – it does not cause you to start believing in the imaginary.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals Thomas on 01 Mar 2011

High School Atheists Are Organizing — Why Are Schools Pushing Back?

High School Atheists Are Organizing — Why Are Schools Pushing Back?

High school student Brian Lisco just wanted to form a student club. A senior at Stephen Austin High School in the Houston suburbs, Lisco wanted to meet with like-minded students; students who shared common interests, who could talk about ideas they found interesting, who could give one another support.

But his efforts were consistently thwarted by the administration at his high school. His requests to form a club were stalled for months, and obstacle after obstacle was put in his path.

Why?

Because the group he wanted to start was an atheist group.

His story is being repeated, with variations, around the country.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals Thomas on 09 Feb 2011

The Hopelessness of Atheism

Is atheism hopeless? Is Christianity meaningful?

If you were thinking, you wouldn’t be wasting your only mortal life chasing phantasms and delusions.

See also: “Atheism is an intellectually shallow, morally stunted, and socially regressive blight on humanity.” – Jim O’Neill

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