The 94th Carnival of the Godless!June 22, 2008 12:41 am Religion
But now, for the first time, I’m HOSTING the Carnival of the Godless. Whoo-hoo!
No fancy presentation here. Here they are, more than three dozen of them, in the order I received ‘em:
[Okay, I lied. I'm sneaking one of the late-comers in here first because I think it's important. In addition to being a think piece, it's also an ACTION piece, and that's pretty important these days.)
35. Alonzo Fyfe, the Atheist Ethicist, has a whole long list of punchy sound bites about the phrase "under God" in the Pledge and "In God We Trust" on our money in The Pledge Project: Sound Bytes. He's looking for reader help to gather more.
1. The Whited Sepulchre starts us out with You've Been Left Behind ... Would You Mind Taking Care of the Weiner Dogs?
Thanks to the miracle of email, you can send emails to your "lost" friends after the rapture. And it only costs $40.00!
"If and when Jesus returns and takes all the believers to glory, those left behind can get an email from you explaining what has happened, asking them to repent, etc. Or maybe you just want them to feed the cat and change out the litter box."
On the other side, you could just make a little money off the Rapture-heads.
2. Next, Aerik draws our attention to this About.com article by Austin Cline: Principal Richard Lopez Forces Students to Attend Catholic Mass
For most high school students, graduation is a significant milestone in their lives. Although many will quickly move on to even bigger things, graduation is a time to stop and reflect back on many important years of their personal, intellectual, and emotional development. This is why it's so sad and frustrating when bigoted government bureaucrats abuse their positions of power to promote their personal religious superstitions.
That's what appears to have happened in Las Vegas when a public school principal told students that attendance at a Baccalaureate Service — which included a Catholic mass — was mandatory.
3. Next up, Tor Hershman submits an eye-opening YouTube bit.
You’ll find the background music and overall presentation either quirky and fun or annoying as hell, but stick with it to the end and pay attention to what Tor actually says. Like the weird rock that sticks out of the ground in full public view for hundreds of years, but which turns out to be the fossilized femur of a 50-ton creature from 100 million years ago, there’s a word devout Christians utter every day that turns out to be the remnant of a religion QUITE different from Christianity.
Tor says we should check out his "The Origin of Jesus Christ" (Parts I & II) also at YouTube on his channel.
4. Next, SocraticGadfly asks Does God Have Car Problems? which he describes as "My snarky take on a sign above a mechanic's shop in Altus, Okla., that said ‘God's Garage.’ "
5. The Bad Idea Blog presents Liberal Christianity vs. The Bible – Why a Bible At All?
6. Travis Morgan - Reflections of a Creative Intellectual, brings us Secondhand Consequences.
Travis has more than one thought-provoking idea in this short piece. For me, the coolest bit has to do with how God seems to talk only to individuals, never to groups. Whoa.
7. Larry Niven hits next with Rust Belt Philosophy: The Roots of Ethics.
Larry (he's not the "Known Space" Larry Niven; I asked) says "My blog examines popular arguments and looks for logical flaws. This post addresses the claim that America has a Christian set of morals."
Larry points out that those who lay claim to "Christian morality" as the basis of goodness have to ask, in turn, about the basis of Christian morality.
8. Then, Greg Perkins of NoodleFood submits Why the New Atheists Can't Even Beat D'Souza: Morality and Life, a longish but thoughtful piece on the real source of values, the real nature of values.
"How can people be moral without God? The 'New Atheists' stumble in debate against Christian apologist Dinesh D'Souza when addressing issues such as this. In this article, I explain how their struggle flows from three patches of confusion that are widespread in secular thought -- confusions that actually prevent the pursuit of a truly objective, scientific approach to values and morality. This is the last in a series of four pieces exploring key weaknesses in the New Atheists' philosophical foundation."
9. The Barefoot Bum, of Thoughts from a Sandwich, looks through the lens of religion to examine the value of human life, and then makes his own separate evaluation in The Shark Bible.
10. ... and follows up on Often Right, Rarely Correct, with Sine qua non, a look at the source and nature of morality from both theistic and atheistic viewpoints.
[Editor's Note: Apologies to all parties concerned, but I made a couple of mistakes here. Barefoot Bum replies in the comments: "I’m not affiliated with either blog; I merely submitted the entries because I admired the writing. Thoughts from a Sandwich is run by DagoodS, and The Shark Bible is his work, not mine. Often Right, Rarely Correct is James F. Elliott’s, and Sine qua non is his own work. James contributes to my blog, The Barefoot Bum, and DagoodS has made a guest post there, but I don’t contribute to their blogs."]
11. Martin posts on Yomin Postelnik, poster-boy for arrogant theistic fractal wrongness at The Atheist Experience.
This is a long post, but even before reading it I knew I was going to like it.
“Postelnik fancies himself a master of logic (if not proper punctuation or English), and yet doesn’t seem to notice that his entire, long-winded blather amounts to one spectacular logical fallacy, namely, the argument from incredulity, with a heaping side dish of straw men.”
[*Fractal Wrongness: The state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution. That is, from a distance, a fractally wrong person's worldview is incorrect; and furthermore, if you zoom in on any small part of that person's worldview, that part is just as wrong as the whole worldview. Debating with a person who is fractally wrong leads to infinite regress, as every refutation you make of that person's opinions will lead to a rejoinder, full of half-truths, leaps of logic, and outright lies, that requires just as much refutation to debunk as the first one. It is as impossible to convince a fractally wrong person of anything as it is to walk around the edge of the Mandelbrot set in finite time.]
12. Chris Hallquist, of The Uncredible Hallq, looks at some dubious claims made by renowned Christian apologist William Lane Craig, in Introducing stupidology: William Lane Craig, Pinker, and Dawkins.
13. Providentia next presents a story about a not-so-famous man of faith in Lincoln’s Avenger, the story of the man who shot and killed the assassin John Wilkes Booth, and went on to become a man of such deep faith that he took a pair of scissors and … well, you’ll just have to read it.
14. The Environmentalists Dilemma from Jyunri Kankei looks at The Prisoner’s Dilemma as it relates to climate change. The connection to atheism and freethought might appear looser than most of the other linked items here, but as the piece is an appeal to reason, it definitely falls within the appropriate range.
15. The Skwib presents #40 of Forty-Seven Signs of the Apocalypse.
Be sure to click on the link at the bottom: 17 Noisy Orthodox Nuns.
16. Postcards from God presents a short piece taken from an actual postcard sent by God to Ronen Paldi, CEO of Bible Park USA.
Clicking over to the Bible Park USA website is an eye-opener. But then again, having bleach thrown in your eyes would wake you up pretty good too.
17. At the Daily BBG, we discover that some evangelicals are apparently waking up to the fact that they serve, for both major political parties, as Useful Idiots.
Dang. If this catches on, what will presidential candidates do for votes?
18. Philly Chief of You Made Me Say It presents Theist Trick – Scotsman Fallacy, a non-clever mental twist by which theists can deny that atheists even exist.
19. … and follows up with a look at The Problem of Evil – or as Wikipedia defines it: “In the philosophy of religion and theology, the problem of evil is the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of God, a force for infinite good.”
20. Brain Blogger looks at the brain itself as the source of religion in God and Religion: Is It All In Our Heads?
21. FreThink takes a critical look at the mistaken concepts associated with open-mindedness in On Being Open Minded.
“Theists claim atheists aren’t open minded because we won’t accept the premise that gods exist. Conspiracy believers accuse the skeptical of being closed minded when they question the conspiracy stories. People who don’t believe in Big Foot or Nessy are called closed minded.”
22. What is The Atheist’s Nightmare the Sexy Secularist talks about?
You’ll find out as you follow along on a rough philosophical road he lays out here. Personally, I think he’s off base on a few things, but maybe you’d better go over there and decide for yourself.
A nice bonus is the poll in the side column.
23. The Antichristian Phenomenon presents another longish piece in this COTG – Debunking Christianity III: Of War and Manipulation.
Very cool quote: “At this point it doesn’t even matter whether or not religion is ‘valid,’ it is clearly an impairment to judgement and a detriment to the individual who follows it blindly.”
24. I have to confess, I have never met a single Australian I didn’t immediately like. That record remains unbroken with the discovery of Oz Atheist’s Weblog, where he takes a look at the Vatican’s 1962 Crimen Sollicitationis.
Cool quote: “One has to wonder what was happening in the Catholic church that the Vatican had to release a special document covering solicitation, pedophilia and bestiality! (I think a WTF! is appropriate here)”
25. Polite Company allows us to listen in on a telephone conversation from biblical times in No, YOU Explain It To Him …
26. Does PZ Myers’ omnipotence know no bounds? Without even submitting a piece, he’s submitted a piece, a link to Regime Change in Heaven.
“At last, military forces around the world have coordinated to take out a tyrannical dictator: We’ve invaded Heaven. The dishonest leader of that country, with his scourges and plagues and cataclysms and arbitrary executions, has been deposed.”
27. No More Mr. Nice Guy offers Straight talk about gay marriage, a possible solution to the problem of conservative resistance that MIGHT be acceptable to a majority on both sides. Or not.
28. SHUFFL, “The Official Blog of the Happily Unchurched, Freethinking Folk of Lethbridge,” says Psychics: Prove the Phenomenon or Shut the @#*!@% Up.
“A teacher’s assistant in Barrie, Ontario visited a psychic who told her that one of her students was being sexually abused. The teaching assistant then reported the alleged abuse to the school. The result was that the home of an autistic and non-verbal 11 year old girl was investigated by the Children’s Aid Society.”
You read that right. A PSYCHIC, using her psychic powers, told someone a child was being abused, after which that someone reported it, and the school district took it seriously.
29. drl2Blog: Infinite monkeys, infinite keyboards, presents us with the thought-provoking Right Idea, Wrong Reason, a look at a couple of conscientious objectors, one to the Pledge of Allegiance, the second to a loyalty oath.
I call it “thought-provoking” because, after reading it and thinking about it, I discovered that I don’t totally agree with every point he makes. But definitely go read it and see what you think.
30. Next, Skeptic’s Play briefly examines Dogma and metaphor, another thought-provoking piece.
31. Epsilon Clue writes about the price of believing in religious magic in Sufficiently Advanced Technology: The Gathering.
32. Jeffrey Stingerstein of Disillusioned Words gives us Pauly’s Wager, “A 10-minute play about a man on a mission to spread the word of the Almighty… who in this case is a Invisible 12-foot Blue-eyed Purple Penguin. Religious history in a nutshell.”
33. Next, Denialism Blog presents a moment in history when a Christian took over half of China, “The Taiping Rebellion — mass murder in the name of Jesus’s crazy little brother.”
34. Where would religion be without fear? Diminished, according to A Division by ZerO, in this piece On the decline of Theism and the effects of fear. This one left me thinking for a long time after; there are several very useful concepts in it.
35. Alonzo Fyfe, the Atheist Ethicist, has a whole long list of punchy sound bites about the phrase “under God” in the Pledge and “In God We Trust” on our money in The Pledge Project: Sound Bytes. He’s looking for reader help to gather more.
36. NYC-Atheists Blog next gives us HALLELUJAH! Evidence for Evangelicals on Decline. (It’s the evangelicals who are in decline, not the evidence.) Wait, what? They’re losing members?? Oh, boy, gotta read that. (And there’s also a link at the top to the previous post, which is the trailer to Bill Maher’s documentary “Religulous.”)
37. What do atheists worship? Is it science? Darwin? Themselves? Atheist Revolution gives a definitive answer in Atheists Do Not Worship Humanity. And he explains it in simple, clear terms. Very good piece.
38. Redonkulous Redundancy wonders if it’s possible for an atheist to have a conversation with a religious person without being called a bigot in I’m Not a Bigot, But Your Religion Sucks .
39. Finally, I take a turn of my own with Ninnyhammer, in which a guy named Steve (Steve!) changes his name to – well, you have to read it.
40. Flying Monkeys of Jesus is me too, a look at believers who meet to burn Harry Potter books. There’s a Wise Old Saying at the end of it that’s so good I almost think I was channeling some Higher Power.
And that’s it, the end of this episode of the Carnival of the Godless, praises be upon the name of the puissant (a word which I would never actually say out loud) Brent Rasmussen for starting it.
Until next time, go forth and make noise. (Start by politely replying “No, thanks” the next time someone blesses you when you sneeze, and stop before you get to the point of carrying a machete.)