Monday, May 24, 2010
A family from Texas is racing to stop a woman from having her toes amputated, because they want to let the prayer have more time to work.
They started praying 5 heart attacks ago.
The lack of circulation has left her toes black and doctors fear that if they don't act soon, her condition may worsen.
Still after all the needless suffering that her family and their beliefs have caused her, they are convinced that their prayer is the only reason that she is still around.
"It's everything," said Dwight Wright. "It's the reason my wife's still here, I believe."
It is also the reason that she had 5 more heart attacks and the reason why she may die.
She may not have had things progress this far had they simply opted to pray AND let the doctors do their work.
They have even gone so far as to go against her wishes as she had consented to the procedure at one point. Her husband feels that it was the trauma and the medication that led to her consent to life saving surgery.
"I want her here; but I want her to have every opportunity she can have to keep the rest of her foot, because that's all she's got," Dwight Wright said.
If dogma didn't blocked their rationality they would realize that she also has her LIFE, and she could have her family if they weren't fighting so hard to take away every chance she has.
The sad fact is that dogma has replaced common sense here, and a husband may lose his beloved wife as a result.
Even sadder is it will be his fault if she dies.
He would never know it. If she dies, he most likely will think his was the right course of action and that she died because their God wanted her "home".
Not because of the families gross neglect and irrational behavior.
Even if there is a god (against all rationality) do people really think that he gave us brains for us to develop fantastic medical technology and then wish for us to deny ourselves the fruits of our intellect?
I understand the need for hope and for the illusion of a higher power for some people in times like this, but there is a saying about prayer in secular circles;
"Prayer is the only way to do nothing and still think that you are helping"
There is another one even among the religious;
"Pray to be safe, but still put on your seat-belt"
News Site URL- http://www.wfaa.com/news/health/Family-asks-doctors-to-wait-for-prayers-to-work-94647884.html
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Listen up theists, mocking or criticizing your religion is not "intolerance."
You have never been shy about preaching to everyone how wrong/immoral/destructive it is to not believe in your God and your religion.
I defend your right to hold those opinions, but don't cry intolerance and victimization when we voice ours too.
Disagreement is not intolerance and being offended is no excuse.
You don’t have a right to NOT be offended.
Outspoken atheists do not promote laws to discriminate against people based on their nature, sexual habits, or belief systems.
You however are behind proposed legislation all over the world to make it illegal to even criticize your beliefs.
Nobody is trying to prevent you from going to church every weekend, or praying quietly instead of actually DOING something to help, or from indoctrinating your children without their consent into an ideology long before they have the logical processes to differentiate between fact and fiction.
No one is trying to silence you, or take away your crazy convictions when you say that the earth is only 6000 years old.
We are just trying to keep it out of our schools, our laws and our governments.
We may mock you for believing in unsupported and hateful nonsense like talking snakes, murdering sassy children, denying science and being far too voyeuristically involved with judging our sex lives (and orientation), but we won't prevent you from believing this stupid shit. In fact most thinking secularists (like the ACLU) have repeatedly defended your right to believe in whatever crazy misogynistic, hateful, immoral, murderous magic men that you wish.
So cut the crying about being such a victim.
You don’t believe that you are a victim of intolerance and neither do we.
With your opinions all over TV, song, language, posters, on your jewelery, bumper stickers, national anthems, with your reps knocking on our doors, your charities spending half their time proselytizing instead of helping, and with your steeples of indoctrination littering our skyline you are clearly free to believe as you wish and to push it on whomever you please.
All that we ask is that you keep it out of our schools, and out of our laws. Morality is not learned from religion, and it is not up to you to decide for the rest of us or impose your unsupported beliefs on us through legislation.
Don’t force the REST of us to be the victims of YOUR religion by forcing it into our lives through government.
Just as you have the right to believe whatever foolishness you want to believe, we have the right to disagree.
And that is not intolerance.
Intolerance is preventing people from doing harmless things merely because it goes against your beliefs.
Intolerance is attempting to force others to love Jane instead of Jim, or marry Bob instead of Barbara.
Intolerance is condemning people for not believing as you do.
Intolerance is retarding your children’s intellectual growth by teaching them denial of scientific fact for fear of them deciding for themselves.
Intolerance is threatening children by telling them they will be tortured forever if they don’t believe as you do or hate the same people you do.
Intolerance is threatening our lives for pencil drawings.
So we reserve the right to publicly disagree whenever you make hateful and harmful claims like this.
We also reserve the right to criticize the "moderate" believers that give cover for the harmful ones.
You know, the ones who claim that their moderate nature allows them freedom from critique for making silly claims.
The ones who normalize belief in the impossible and unsupported.
Don’t like being mocked though? I can understand that.
Sadly it is like anything else, if you say something stupid, you may have to pay an immediate price......
Ill concealed laughter and mocking.
Here is a simile to assist you in avoiding being mocked for believing silly things or for trying to push your unsupported beliefs on others. If you live your life by this, you will avoid being mocked and ridiculed for silly claims and beliefs.
Religion is like genitalia;
Keep it to yourselves and out of the faces of our children.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
This is an important definition because the term brings forward a lot of misconceptions about the discussion between atheists and theists.
Atheism-1 a.Disbelief in the existence of a god.
the inability or refusal to believe or to accept something as true.
So the inability to believe in a god.
Lack of ability to partake in belief.
Lack of belief.
All of these would be true.
And before we go on, here is the etymology of the word.
Atheism- from the greek A=without and theos=god and ism= "doctrine of", or philosophical system.
So the literal etymology of the word atheism would be "Without the doctrine of god" Or without belief in god.
This is important to recognize because when atheists talk about religion, they often put the burden of proof on the people making the claim (theists). IF the word atheism is misunderstood to mean a positive belief that there is no god, then the burden for that proof then shifts to us as well, for making that claim.
Claims must be put forward with evidence, or they are in danger of being dismissed as baseless, and rightly so.
So, in order to avoid this misunderstanding, and the diversion of good conversation to meaningless arguments, we need to firmly establish definitions.
The first of which is our initial position.
This is where we get to say who WE are, and what WE think.
Atheism is merely the rejection of the theist claim.
There is no doctrine, no belief, no dogma, and there are no preconceived notions.
There is only a lack of belief. We have yet to be convinced by the theist claim.
That is not to say that SOME of us DO have a positive belief (or at least approaching 100%) that there is no god, but that is in addition to our atheism. There are many atheists who do not make that claim to knowledge, and that is important to note. (Buddhists, and Jainists for example)
Those atheists who go further and promote positive belief in the non-existence of a god are merely extrapolating belief from lack of evidence. This too is reasonable, but again, it is not necessary as an atheist.
All that is required to be an atheist is to lack positive belief.
The importance of this definition is to establish in whose court the burden of proof lies.
Is it in the theists corner? The people making the claim?
Or in the atheists corner, the people who are responding to that claim?
Clearly the people making a claim are the ones who are beholden to provide reason and evidence for their claim otherwise we can just make up anything that sounds nice to us and expect it to be taken seriously.
So in order to avoid this problem, I send a message out to everyone who is involved in the discussion.
We atheists are not making a claim. We, by definition, are only lacking in belief and conviction for YOUR claim.
If you espouse a positive belief in a god, then you are a theist.
I can hear the comments now, "What is an agnostic then?" or "I am neither theist nor atheist, I am agnostic".
This is not true. You belong to either one group or the other.
Non stamp collectors or stamp collectors.
You can't create a third group called "not sure whether or not I am a stamp collector" as that would still mean that you are still a "non stamp collector" (for now)
Agnosticism refers to the ability to know (from gnōstikós, meaning pertaining to knowledge). You can be an agnostic theist (a theist who believes, but doesn't think that you can ever prove it), just as you can be a gnostic atheist (a person who doesn't believe, and thinks that someday we can know for sure that there is no god).
Lets not get too complex and confusing though.
Here is a simple way to put it:
If you say anything other than "I am sure that there is a god", if you self identify as part of any group which doesn't posit positive belief, and if your answer to the question "do you believe in God" is anything but "yes", then you lack positive belief.
And guess what that means?
You are an atheist.
Monday, May 3, 2010
This is the beginning of a new series called "Definitions". This series will look at various words and concepts that are misused and misrepresented in order to create dishonest discourse and garner support for unsupported positions.
At first glance such a series might, intuitively, seem unnecessary as most people do their research, right?
Well after a recent discussion with a BioAccoustic "medical practitioner" who was taking peoples money with empty promises based on bogus claims , misinformation, hijacking scientific terms and false impressions I realized that not only was it necessary, but it was very important. Certain terms carry too much weight to be misused.
There is a common meme in our culture today; to hijack respected terminology and twist its meaning in order to gain informational authority with those who are under-informed on the subject and then to prey on that misinformation to create support for false claims.
Case in point, the current natural health practitioners use scientific terminology, and then deride "western science" as arrogant and unable to examine some health concerns accurately because it eschews the spiritual.
Or when religious folk speak of how god exists outside science.
Or when people say "It's only a theory" to harm our school systems by making it seem like crackpot ideas have equal footing with fact.
Or when people like Deepak Chopra speak of "quantum" healing. He seeks to create and image of being knowledgeable by throwing out words like "Quantum", and "fields of information" so that he can garner a following. (The problem is that his followers ONLY consist of people who have no idea what "quantum mechanics" is.)
Then he will go on to make many unscientific claims using that terminology.
Those people are preying on the tendency to assume that the world we see is not the only world there is and that science can't really be the answer to everything.
I am not here to argue that in any sense. (this time)
I am here to change your perception of a word. Today's word?
Science;The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of observable phenomena.
In otherwords science is the study of ANYthing that manifests in reality.
If it can be observed, it can be studied.
It is not a confirmation biased realm of understanding that IGNORES spirituality, or other possibilities "outside" of science (see string theory) it is a method of seeking answers for the working mechanics of observable reality by examining the evidence. If there is no evidence, then science moves on or refutes the claim.
This is the heavy responsibility of scientists.
It is the ONLY way to arrive at the truth, but it is misunderstood.
If you only try to verify a given claim, then you will look for evidence that supports it and ignore the rest. That is called confirmation bias. The first step to truth is to attempt to falsify the hypothesis and then failing that, to further develop the hypothesis through testing and the scientific method.
It is not a cynical approach, it is the only approach.
Every attempt to test is an attempt to falsify, and when a hypothesis is falsified scientists rejoice. This is not because they are glad to have taken the wind out of someones sails, but because taking one possibility out of the equation is one step closer to the truth.
Science can examine ANY claim that has a manifestation in reality. If a homeopath claims that a 30C dilution of a substance in water (the dilution that eliminates ANY active ingredient is 12C) heals a condition, then we know that proper science can study it. This is because the condition is real, (we can observe it, see/feel the effects of it, and we can test the effects of it on the body) and the cure would also be a manifestation in reality. So any claim that the cure doesn't follow scientific principles is merely an attempt to lead hopeful people away from the facts.
So when we say "manifests in reality" is there another realm that IS outside science and therefor outside the realm of its study?
But considering the fact that we are part of reality and have no means to observe or discover things outside of it, we would have no way of knowing about it in the first place. If we WERE able to discover it, then that would mean that it had to manifest in order for us to be able to observe it, and therefor would fall into the purview of science.
So the next time someone says that something doesn't fall into the realm of the scientific, you will know that they are saying that it is not part of observable reality and can dismiss it as imaginary or misconceived.
Because with no other way to discover such knowledge, knowledge that lies outside reality and our every ability to reveal it, can only come from one place.......