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Member since: Mon Jan 26, 2015, 06:15 PM
Number of posts: 42,057

About Me

bilingual, bipedal homo sapien

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Expelled from Boston Atheists for Thought Crime

Regular followers of this group might notice that some memes are constantly promoted when speaking of people of faith. Prominent among them are the supposed intolerance of believers, and of course the meme that religion and science are incompatible. As to the second, the actual existence of scientists who also follow a religion should be enough to disprove any simplistic arguments that one must choose between religion and science.
But the first, regarding the supposed intolerance of believers, is repeated so often here that one would think that intolerance was a nearly exclusive attribute of believers.
So in the spirit of information, and to get a view into the mindset of some atheists, (note I said some, not all) I present:

From the article:

Recently, my own right to free speech was flagrantly violated by Boston Atheists (BA), of which I’d been a member for many years.  Boston Atheists is the largest group of non-theists in Massachusetts; it has meetups (brunches, etc) and an e-mail discussion list.
Shortly after Donald Trump won the presidential election, members of BA considered a special meeting to plan protests against “Trumpocracy”.  People on the discussion list went mad, accusing Trump of every conceivable form of bigotry and of being a new Hitler.  I then joined the discussion, pleading for calm.  After only three posts, two from me and one from “Cara”, I was kicked out


I will reiterate that this article deals with one group of atheists, and says nothing about the entire community of atheists.

Edited to add: Nowhere in the article is the author identified as a Trump supporter, but the responses so far all assume that he is because of his remarks about Hillary Clinton. Remarks that have been made by many Democrats here and elsewhere. The point of the article, a point that many responders here are attempting mightily o to avoid, is that intolerance reared its head among a group of atheists.

Further edited to add:
I am linking to an article that the author linked to, an article that attempts to analyze why Trump won. It does so from what I consider to be a progressive perspective. Perhaps a confirmation that the person who was expelled is not a Trump supporter?

Again, edited to add:
The following is a link to Freethinker, which describes itself as an atheist publication. The article that is referenced in my post is under
the heading of censorship. Is censorship a demonstration of intolerance?

Is the universe evil?

Some people postulate that because bad things happen, this is proof that God is evil. Some go so far as to say this is incontrovertible proof that God is evil.

Other people postulate that there is no God, that the universe sprang into existence due to a big bang, or some other as yet unknown and unexplained cosmic event.

No matter which belief you wish to support, if the mere existence of evil, or the fact of bad things happening, or natural disasters occurring, if this constitutes proof for you that God is evil, I have one question:

In your universe, the one where there is no God, is it the universe itself that is evil? Because the same disease and the same natural disasters and cosmic occurrences are still occurring.

Either way, according to my understanding of your logic, it seems to me that evil is seen as the default position.

What is a Biblical literalist?

What is a Biblical literalist?

I ask because I have been accused of being a Biblical literalist. And the term is used enough here in the religion group, that it would be helpful to define what is meant. I did a quick search and came up with a very few references.


Biblical literalism is a term used differently by different authors concerning biblical interpretation. It can equate to the dictionary definition of literalism: "adherence to the exact letter or the literal sense", where literal means "in accordance with, involving, or being the primary or strict meaning of the word or words; not figurative or metaphorical"


So, using this as a starting point, we come to:

Biblical literalism is the method of interpreting Scripture that holds that, except in places where the text is obviously allegorical, poetic, or figurative, it should be taken literally. Biblical literalism is the position of most evangelicals and Christian fundamentalists. It is the position of Got Questions Ministries as well.


One thing I would note is that when the word “obviously” is used, what obviously means is not always in fact obvious. So obvious is anything but.

And another view:

Ken Ham: Biblical Literalist:

Ken Ham might be called the very model of a modern anti-evolutionist. Although his view of the earth's origin is entirely fundamentalist, his techniques for spreading his message are cutting-edge: a huge mailing list, presentations with artfully done visuals, and a Web site he claims gets 3,000 visits a day. Ham is an Australian who came to the United States and launched Answers in Genesis, an organization devoted to debunking evolution. He takes a hard, literalist line, leaving no room for compromise on the role of evolution. He claims to have started 110 "creation clubs" in American schools. And he has a busy speaking schedule as he criss-crosses the country denying that evolutionary theory has any basis in truth.


All three of the definitions seem to agree that a Christian Biblical literalist is someone who holds that the Bible is generally the exact, inspired word of God. My view is much the same.
So when discussing religion here, if one is called a Biblical literalist it should be understood that the term refers to those Christians who believe that the earth is approximately 5800 years old, and that the Universe was created in 6 literal, 24 hour days. And that Adam and Eve are actual humans and not archetypes.


Proof that God is evil? Easily and quickly controverted.

There is a recent post here to the effect that God is evil. In fact, the poster goes so far as to say that it is incontrovertible that God is in fact evil because he does not follow the Golden Rule.

But the point of this post is that the poster initially posited that the mere presence of evil, also defined variously in the thread as "bad things happening", or the presence of illness, is incontrovertible proof that a god cannot exist.

According to the few dictionaries that I used as a source, incontrovertible means:
Incontrovertible evidence is a colloquial term for evidence introduced to prove a fact that is supposed to be so conclusive that there can be no other truth as to the matter; evidence so strong it overpowers contrary evidence, directing a fact-finder to a specific and certain conclusion.


If it were in fact, incontrovertible, there would have been no serious discussion on the merits of the proposition because it would be incontrovertible. So the very fact that there is much argument on the merit of this post is incontrovertible proof that the post is fallacious.

I cannot see any possible controversy arising out of my statement of an incontrovertible fact.

Edited to add:
Obviously some people do believe that the existence of random occurrences in a dynamic universe constitutes proof that a deity must be evil.

And many people argue that there is no deity, no Creator. Is the outcome to this non-theistic belief a conclusion that the universe itself is evil?

Representative Sam Johnson playing a trade-off game on Social Security? Will the Democrats play?

Representative Sam Johnson, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Social Security subcommittee, has introduced a bill to cut Social Security benefits. That has been discussed already at DU. I saw nothing about this in the Saturday Chicago Tribune.

When George W. Bush was President, even with control of Congress, nothing was done of this nature. So is this being put out simply to get the worst possible option out there and see what the Democrats will trade to avoid this catastrophe? I remember, as I am sure we all do, that President Obama was willing to consider a chained CPI in his never-ending search for moderate Republicans. Luckily for current and future SS recipients he was unable to find any moderate Republicans, but I have little faith that the Democrats will stand firm on protecting one of the pillars of the New Deal.

So is this merely "Let's make a Deal", so the GOP can claim bipartisan support for even more destruction of the social safety net? And if Democrats do play along, will this depress Democratic turnout even more in 2018?

There is a post here that lays out one persons "Election Blame List".

The essay contains numerous talking points on why Clinton lost. One dealt with the alleged "smallness" of her message.

To that I would reply:
Why look at the Clinton platform as a ceiling? There were many parts of the platform that were quite progressive. If we look at that platform as a foundation rather than as a ceiling, one can envision building on that foundation rather than wondering at this point how to save what has already been built from the counter-tide of Trumpism.

So in all of the election post-mortems and various types of finger pointing and assigning blame, and there is blame to go around, we must keep in view that a majority of voters who voted chose Clinton. The Democrats must, in my view, motivated the unmotivated and reach the until now unreached to grow the Democratic Party.

As to the so-called Reagan Democrats, many of them are racists who only became Republicans in response to Reagan's racially coded language.

In all the postmortem analysis that I have read here,

and in the corporate media, I have not seen as yet any analysis aimed at asking why more people voted for Hillary Clinton.

I have seen a lot about the role of racism, and sexism, and Islamophobia, and other factors that attempt to explain why people voted for Trump, but so far nothing about why a majority of voters actually voted for Clinton.

SO in all of the analysis of "what went wrong", and "how can we appeal to this (insert appropriate bloc of voters here) group", and the "if only we had a better candidate" posts, there is nothing really focusing on the fact that most voters actually voted for Clinton. And not stressing this fact makes it easier for the GOP to talk about a mandate, and much easier for the corporate media to treat this as a mandate for a GOP program of dismantling government programs that benefit the bottom 90%.

SO as we talk about going forward, and planning for 2018, and crafting a better message, remember that media outreach must be a big part of this talk. If the media had spent a fraction of the time analyzing Trump's proposals and the climate of GOP directed voter suppression as they did on emails the result might have been different.

Multiverse theory and the Trump phenomenon. Or disaster, if you will.

Basically the idea that there are parallel universes existing side by side, as it were, with no connection between them.

And I was wondering if this is one way to approach 2016.

Looking at the election results,and looking at the map of exactly where the Trump voters are generally concentrated, the two groups of voters seem to be even further away from each other after this last election. It almost seems like there are two countries co-existing uneasily at best in the same geographic entity. In Trumpland, it is 1951. Where I live it is 2016.

And yes, I know that two entities cannot exist in the same space at the same time, but the physical space in which we all live seems to be divided into two political universes.

But in Trumpland everything will soon be great again as a wall is magically built to insulate white America from the brown and black and yellow hordes that menace from all sides. And that wall might even include a magical umbrella to insulate from climate change. White America will finally be free and safe in its coal burning bubble.

In Trumpland giant gas guzzling cars will once again allow white Americans to drive wherever they want, including the now safe inner cities. Women will once again stay home and have babies as their husbands work in the factories.

I could go on, but it is obvious from reading numerous comments on right wing sites that there are two very different realities, two very different histories that apply to this country. And Trump has tapped into that nostalgia, that desire, for a 1951 that was not really what people misremember.


The White House Says Women Should Be Required to Register for the Military Draft

From the article:

The White House and the Pentagon on Thursday respectively announced support for requiring women in the U.S. to register for the military draft when they turn 18, USA Today reports.
The announcement makes Barack Obama the first president since Jimmy Carter to endorse universal registration for the Selective Service. The White House previously was pretty neutral on the subject, but in a new statement to USA Today, Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council, revealed the administration had changed its stance:


An attempt to normalize a permanent state of war in the US?

Edited to add:But what if people questioned why the US is constantly at war, and why politicians children and rich peoples' children rarely serve in these so-called necessary wars.

Further edited to add: If national service is such a good thing, such a necessary thing, any politicians who advocate for service should encourage their own children to volunteer and set an example. And such politicians should have previously volunteered themselves.

What if the US instead concentrated on self-defense instead of power projection and world dominance? Would a draft really be needed at all?

Why We Need a New Democratic Party

The old Democratic Party has become a giant fundraising machine, too often reflecting the goals and values of the moneyed interests.
It has been taken over by Washington-based fundraisers, bundlers, analysts, and pollsters who have focused on raising campaign money from corporate and Wall Street executives and getting votes from upper middle-class households in “swing” suburbs.
The election of 2016 has repudiated the old Democratic Party.......

The Democratic Party once represented the working class. But over the last three decades the party stood by as corporations hammered trade unions, the backbone of the white working class – failing to reform labor laws to impose meaningful penalties on companies that violate them, or help workers form unions with simple up-or-down votes...........

We need a New Democratic Party that will help Americans resist what is about to occur, and rebuild our future.


This postmortem analysis is not, in my view, an indictment of any particular candidate as much as an indictment of a particular mindset. What is written here applies equally well to Presidents Clinton and Obama. There was no real "booming economy" in the Clinton years, there was simply a vast increase in financial speculation. And similarly, there was no real recovery in the Obama years, just more outsourcing and a slight increase in mainly service sector, non-living wage jobs.

My view.
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