Thursday 31 December 2015

To a better life in 2016 and beyond

Marking the end of one year and the beginning of another, I offer this uplifting sentiment: may life be better. Better than what? Better than it was, whether it was bad, indifferent or even already pretty good.

As an original supporter of the Kickstarter campaign for Chris Johnson's book A Better Life, I received an email yesterday offering a free download of the film he has gone on to produce, based on the book, and also titled A Better Life. I watched it last night and found it enjoyable, insightful and uplifting. Like the book, it's beautifully produced and photographed, featuring many of the people who were in the book.
There is no God. Now what? If this is the only life we have, how does that affect how we live our lives, how we treat each other, and cope with death. As a follow-up to one of Kickstarter’s most successful publishing projects, photographer and filmmaker Chris Johnson introduces us to some of the many voices from his book. In this fascinating documentary — learn the stories behind the book in interviews with some of our greatest thinkers. Join Chris as he explores issues of joy & meaning and travels around the globe meeting people from all walks of life and backgrounds who challenge the false stereotypes of atheists as immoral and evil. From Daniel Dennett and A.C. Grayling, to Julia Sweeney and Robert Llewellyn — learn the various ways many atheists have left religion to a better life filled with love, compassion, hope, and wonder!

I got the movie for free, but you can buy it in the form of streaming video, HD download, or DVD.

And you can still buy the original book:

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Britain is no more a Christian nation than a White nation

Coel Hellier reflects on what the reaction would be if David Cameron had described Britain as a "White country":

Britain is no more a Christian nation than a White nation | coelsblog
If Britain is a Christian nation then it is also a White nation. The majority of the population is white and our history and cultural heritage are predominantly White. Nearly all of our institutions and our cultural traditions derive from people who were white.
Once again we have a demonstration of why secularism is the obvious way to go.

Wanna buy some 'E'? Sure you do!

No, not that 'E' — this is The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson, a feature length documentary film by Julien Temple, previously shown in BBC1's Imagine series, and which until Christmas Eve 2015 was available to view on iPlayer.

Now you can buy it on DVD:

Anyone who enjoyed the two-part BBC Radio 4 Mastertapes on Wilko Johnson will absolutely want to see this extraordinary documentary shown on BBC1 in November. Superlatives escape me — this is probably the best biographical documentary film about a living artist I have ever seen. Truly brilliant, uplifting, and surprising on so many levels.

Final Burnee links for 2015

Unbelievable? Is God the best explanation for apparent design in nature? – Jonathan McLatchie & Cory Markum - Saturday 24th October 2015 02:30 pm
Anyone who listened to the Unbelievable? show about Intelligent Design might like to check out the discussion of it over on the Unbelievable? Facebook profile (not the Group), including some highly percipient contributions from previous Skepticule guest James Croft.

John Maddox Prize: Scientist who once claimed Prince Charles tried to silence him wins for 'standing up for science' | Science | News | The Independent
Deserved recognition, after persecution by the Prince of Woo.

Evolution and creationism; a valuable new resource | Primate's Progress
Critique of creationism from those closest to it.

East Herts Council's decision to stick with prayers leaves it wide open to accusations of prejudice | Herts & Essex Observer
Yet another example of why we need secularism in the UK.

On the tragic events in Paris: an attack on freedom and human dignity - British Humanist Association
Human dignity and value.

Conversion via Twitter - The New Yorker
Is this a damaged life? I believe so, but in my judgement (yes, I judge) such lives can rectify themselves. Listen to Skepticule Extra 012 for our 2011 conversation with Megan's parents:…/08/skepextra-012-20110812.html

National Secular Society - So called Lord’s Prayer ‘Ban’: It’s Winterval all over again
Stephen Evans congratulates the CofE on its cinema prayer "ban".

These Pranksters Read Bible Passages to People, Telling Them It Was the Qur’an; They Were Shocked
It's OK Christians, I'm sure these mischievous Dutch cherry-picked the extremely rare nasty bits....

Mr Green and Mr Grey will not be visiting us today — with Stevyn Colgan at Winchester Skeptics | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Mr Green and Mr Grey did not visit us at Winchester Skeptics last Thursday. But Stevyn Colgan did (and some of us got the inside scoop over a curry afterwards).

Good Dinosaur review -
Haha, this is disarmingly cute of those wacky creationists, getting all twisted up about a cartoon. Makes me wonder what goes on inside their heads (something, obviously).

Unbelievable? Is the UK's Christian heritage history? Peter Hitchens vs Terry Sanderson - Saturday 19th December 2015 02:30 pm
Peter Hitchens and Terry Sanderson on this week's Unbelievable? were ostensibly talking about the recent Woolf Commission Report on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, but the programme mostly consisted of Terry Sanderson repeatedly denying that he wants to eliminate all religion and Peter Hitchens repeatedly claiming that morality is impossible without Christianity, that everything good about Britain is due to its Christian heritage, and that secularists, humanists and atheists want to throw it all away.

Peter Hitchens doesn't really understand what secularism is, stubbornly conflating it with humanism and atheism — or possibly he does but deliberately misrepresents it in order to bolster a false premise. As Terry Sanderson pointed out, Peter Hitchens' view of human nature is inherently pessimistic, which makes him appear a bit misanthropic and sad.

In all, a frustrating and unedifying episode, demonstrating that while the British public would probably be more or less OK with secularism, secularists still have some way to go in persuading certain vocal sections of the media.

John Gray’s awful review of Dawkins’s “An Appetite for Wonder” | Center for Inquiry
Hey, that Dawkins fella wrote another book. Must be crap because ... well ... Dawkins!
It continues to amaze me that people criticise Richard Dawkins for writing stuff he hasn't written.

The Fallen of World War 2: A Data Visualization of War and Peace | Omeleto
Extraordinary and thought-provoking animation.


Housekeeping and change of blogging strategy for 2016

For several years I've compiled an occasional series of "Burnee links" on this blog, intended as an archive of various posts, articles and general bits and pieces that have caught my attention and might otherwise get submerged in the social-media noise. Most of these have comprised a link and a brief comment to remind me what the article or post was about, and recently these have come almost exclusively from Facebook.

This is going to change, but not much. Rather than copying links to posts that originate on Facebook, I shall be posting my comments and links here at Evil Burnee first. Blog-fu will ensure those links get automatically copied to Facebook and Twitter (though I may revise this to avoid undue duplication).

By such means I hope to make Evil Burnee the central platform for my skeptical commentary, with everything automatically in one place without my having to force it so.

We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Burnee linkee catchup

I read the 100 “best” fantasy and sci-fi novels - and they were shockingly offensive
It so happens I've just finished reading Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice.

Assisted dying would be ‘profoundly Christian and moral’ – former Archbishop of Canterbury - Telegraph
Well, that's a surprise, given that he's previously maintained that Christians should be prepared to die in the fight against humanism.

Deepest Mandelbrot Set Zoom Animation ever - a New Record! 10^275 (2.1E275 or 2^915) - YouTube

Complexity from simplicity.

Unbelievable? Is atheism a belief system? Andy Bannister vs Ed Turner - Saturday 22nd August 2015 02:30 pm
Andy Bannister's book sounds like more of the same run-of-the-mill apologetics texts that profess to be targeted at non-believers while being convincing only to those who already believe. His main thesis appears to be the usual attempt to shift the burden of proof. Ed Turner​ was having none of it.

Sunday Times on our Peter Popoff Investigation: “Debt-busting ‘con’ comes to Britain” » Good Thinking Society
Fraudulent or just deluded? Presumably some of these "prosperity gospel" preachers genuinely believe what they preach. Others, however, have previous form.

Dr. Eben Alexander Proof of Heaven Investigation - Proof of Heaven Factual Omissions
To some, Eben Alexander's thesis is obviously false, and his motivation questionable at least.

3quarksdaily: The Scopes "Monkey trial", Part 1: Issues, Fact, and Fiction
Inherit the wind, but not the facts.

What Is Science? | Sean Carroll
Sean Carroll in questioning mode. Hypotheses + Data = ?

The Dad Who Wrote a Check Using “Common Core” Math Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About
It looks weird, but as Hemant Mehta (a maths teacher) explains, it isn't.

‘But…but…I JUST KNOW!’ | Center for Inquiry
Stephen Law​ gives a brief and to-the-point exposition on knowledge and belief with examples of the difference between justified and unjustified true belief.

US man sets petrol pump alight over spider - BBC News

Sleep – the eight-hour live-broadcast lullaby for a frenetic world | Culture | The Guardian
Those who went to Richard Wiseman's talk in Winchester — "How to be Great" — during which he talked about sleep research, you may be interested in reading about a live "sleep concert" reported in the Guardian.

Woman has benefits stopped because taxman believes she is having an affair - with the post office | UK | News | The Independent
Guilty. (Until you prove yourself innocent.)

How to defend the arts using liberal values - Spectator Blogs
When it takes courage to say no.

UFO sightings used to be ‘better’ — what happened? - Science
What happened? Smartphones with hi-res cameras, that's what. It's all about the quality of the evidence.

“If you suggest we have anything to do with sex, we’ll sue you!” says “COUGAR” dating website | Bad PR
Glad Michael Marshall isn't taking the easy way to victory here (which would be simply telling them he works for libel-reformer Simon Singh).

Scientists have found one tactic that can change anti-vaccers' minds - ScienceAlert
For those who tend to be a bit cynical about advertising and PR (myself included) this is a bit depressing. But perhaps the positive take is to admit that what science and skepticism need is a really good spin-doctor.

Advice From the Creator of Calvin and Hobbes (Comic by Zen Pencils) | High Existence

Philosophy Tech Support - Existential Comics
Who says philosophy is no use in real life? Not me (I wouldn't dare).

Jesus and Mo
Time to repair your irony meter again...

Sunday 13 September 2015

The Great Richard Wiseman

Well, I'm surprised. Went to Richard Wiseman's "How to be Great" yesterday evening in Winchester. The second half was about sleep research, and he promised the best night's sleep for the audience that night.

Got back home after midnight (after a curry with friends), and followed just a couple of the points he mentioned in his talk. Results: woke up once during the night, and then slept through till morning (no alarm), knowing that I'd slept well, even if only five and a half hours. And so far I've not even opened his book (signed, of course).

After my disappointment with the Dream:On iPhone App this is a refreshing improvement.

Here are some pics of the event:
Richard Wiseman - How to be Great - Winchester Discovery Centre

Thursday 3 September 2015

We know what we believe — now let's find some evidence to support it

In an email today:
“No matter the political or educational background, we can all agree that individuals from all walks of life have contributed to the success of America, and of democracy as a whole, through their hard work and dedication.

“There is another group of people who are largely unnoticed as they labor day in and day out for the cause of truth.
Who are these paragons?
“Of course I am talking about the scientists, scholars, and administrative staff who work to present the truth of intelligent design.”
Oh, them.
“They are paving the way for an era of scientific endeavor guided by the overarching principle that life on earth and all aspects of the Universe are the result of intelligent design, and not the product of blind purposeless processes.”
I see, a scientific endeavour that is deliberately steered in a particular direction. So much for going where the evidence leads.

(Yes, the Discovery Institute is yet again asking me for money.)

Saturday 15 August 2015

Skepticule 100 — now with updated shownotes

Click here for original:

Skepticule 100: An English Cabbie; America's Equal Marriage; Anon Steve wants to be Proud; Magnets — how do they cure?; William Lane Craig's Real God; William Lane Craig's Free Will.



God's revenge for Equal Marriage
Megachurch in Georgia — Eddie Long
Turkey's Gay Pride rainbow

Anon Steve's pride
Peter Boghossian's tweet
Tom Robinson
Alan Turing
Yorkshire boundary changes

Radio Times
Premier Offers Direct
Posture support
Knee support brace
Magnetic knee sleeve
Wikipedia on Magnet Therapy
Michael Shermer
Wikipedia's magnetic force example table
Skeptic's Dictionary on Anton Mesmer
Neodymion balls

William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith podcast
The Concept of God in Islam and Christianity
Hosea 9:15
Deuteronomy 20-23
Deuteronomy 26-30
Deuteronomy 32:19
Psalms 5:5
Proverbs 6:16
Malachi 1:3

Johno on William Lane Craig's free will
Soul/consciousness/brain-state video
Occam's Razor
Reasonable Faith blogpost on faster-than-light neutrinos

Editing & shownotes: Paul S. Jenkins

Paul Thompson ("Sinbad")
The Skeptical Probe

Paul Orton, militant agnostic

Paul S. Jenkins
Notes from an Evil Burnee

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Tuesday 11 August 2015

Multiple multi-faith failure — ongoing

This is the continuation of a previous post, "Multiple multi-faith failure — on Facebook".

  • David Ward Miller Paul,

    I just heard today of a four-time pro bowl NFL running back going public about his atheism, after being raised in a Muslim home. The article said in part:

    "To promote acceptance of atheism worldwide, he recently joined the group Openly Secular as a spokesperson. Adrian Foster hopes to use his celebrity platform to dispel what he calls 'a lot of ignorance about nonbelief.'"

    Of interest to me is the obvious connection and blending of secularism with atheism and "nonbelief." As it's my conviction the secular drive is an anti-theistic front for humanistic-agnostic-atheistic proselytizing and control of the public political and educational sectors. I've heard your adamant stance against my view of secularism, but I see a much different reality than the PR statements.
  • Paul S Jenkins "Openly Secular" is a campaign of the Richard Dawkins Foundation (which is an atheistic organisation), not the National Secular Society (which isn't). We secular humanists have no control over what celebrities do or say. As has been pointed out many times (including by theists) it's not necessary to be an atheist in order to be a secularist.

    Whatever anyone may think about a so-called secularist-atheist-humanist agenda, this has no bearing on the truth or otherwise of theistic claims. The supernatural claims of religion are untrue.
  • David Ward Miller Paul,
    We've covered this "secular is not anti-religion" before, so it will likely be redundantly fruitless. However, your final words, "The supernatural claims of religion are untrue" represent well the secular world view that secularists wish to make
    nonbelief-agnosticism-atheism the only view in the public square in civil government and public government schools. Your supernatural-claims-are-all-untrue opinion is only that, your opinion, not the final word on truth and not worthy of being the official government-supported world view. My opinion, and the opinion of a far greater number, differs as to what is true. Secularists demand only their opinion to be allowed and promoted in the public government arena. Secularism is a harsh silencing intolerance under the cloak of fair benevolent tolerance. Secularism is in reality opposed to tolerant pluralism, insisting upon a monopoly on what world view is allowed. I counter your statement with, "the tolerant claims of secularism are untrue" because secularism is at best marginalizing, at worse outlawing, any belief other than their humanistic-atheistic world view. Only the naive or deceived fail to see behind the lovely facade of secular tolerance to the ugly inside edifice of religious intolerance and anything that is faith based. The end goal of secularists is to turn up the volume on secular humanism-atheism and silence all classical humanism-theism.*
    Each religion is considered like a poisonous sugar soda and secularism is convinced only sugar free sweetened no-calorie sodas are healthy. Activist secularists don't outlaw soda, just the evil sugar. They are reasonable and tolerant! But religionists know over time the artificial sweeteners are carcinogenic. Secularists deny any long term harm by artificial sweeteners and only see the abuses of sugar and they are right, many overweight and diabetic religionists abuse sugar. Secularists have a motto of "separation of sugar soda and state." So public school students and public officials can only buy and drink sugar free refreshment on government property. The real goal of the secularists (including the liberal "religious secularists", yes an oxymoron, who are practical atheists) is the eventual removal of all sugar by indoctrination and prohibition.

    *The “humanism” that movement humanism hawks is a duck blind for the so-called new atheism. It isn’t (as a CFI operative recently alleged) that religion is the opposite of humanism, any more than your grandpa is the opposite of you. But in its premises, approach, and substance, secular humanism is now the opposite of humanism.
    Posted by rjosephhoffman Sept '13
  • There Isnogod Getoverit As I pointed out, above, I am not inclined to wear a bucket over my head. If someone wants to call themselves a cat lover, by which they mean they despise cats, it has no bearing on what I mean when I say I love cats. As I also pointed out, above, this is likely to pass by someone who really cares what their *own* guru/leader says or wants, because the appreciation of our own disinterest in what others *claim* is their motivation, or expectation, or definition, cannot be fully grasped. The gulf of understanding is unlikely to be crossable. Its as if David cannot be white, for he does not say what Andrew Rogers says. (A white person you will not know, from my childhood). That's the depth of the irrelevance, to me.
  • There Isnogod Getoverit By the way, I see religion as basically a bad thing. But that is not me being secularist, it has nothing to do with my secularism. Just as one can be a baptist and a christian and a vegan. I happen to be a secularist who ALSO thinks religion is a bag thing. Just as a baptist is a christian who ALSO happens to be a baptist. The parallels between faiths and lack-of-faiths is clumsy. But in this instance, one can waft people who claim secularist views all day, and it speaks nowt to my secularism. And my belief that religion is bad speaks nowt to other people's (and my own) secularism. If I ceased to believe religion was a bad thing, I would be no more, and no less, in favour of secular government, non-astrological policing, non-homoeopathic medicine, and non-mythical biology. Why would I want any of these things influenced by what I see as made-up?
  • There Isnogod Getoverit By the way David, "secularists demand...", like "christians say "god hates fags"". I don't know how to get through to you. You are telling me what I demand. Its tedious. Its bigoted. And as stupid as the latter quote would be, if the writer believed he had christians nailed. And by insulting your reader you poison everything you have to say. Getoverit.
  • David Ward Miller TIG,
    You see religion (all groups lumped together) "basically a bad thing," I see secularism (all groups lumped together) as basically a bad thing--a front for atheism and anti-theism.
    Not all secularists are bad people, their militant activist atheist leaders in the intolerant movement with a "rude rules" MO and "religion is evil and harmful to humanity" mantra, well that's a different story.
  • There Isnogod Getoverit "I see secularism (all groups lumped together) as basically a bad thing". Good, we are on the same wavelength. That opens a discussion. As a front for Atheism. I disagree, and could argue about that. This is a far less insulting and tedious mode of operating. If I start a conversation with a christian by telling them, as a fact, that they believe god hates fags, then the christian is taken off a discussion of whatever it is that is of interest, to the boring requirement to inform the speaker that they are a bigot.

    It would be nice, though, if we did not have to go through this again, with you informing us of what we thought, loved, believed...etc. The black man should not have to repeatedly say he does not like rap, nor eat watermelon, when that suggestion introduces a topic on, say, "black cultures" (yet again).

    As for the idea of leaders, there is no need for me to repeat myself. You know where I stand on that, and you merely choose to ignore it - I believe you are not open to the idea that we are unled.
    [shrug]. Meh.
  • Paul S Jenkins David, when I wrote, “The supernatural claims of religion are untrue,” I was indeed expressing my opinion. It was intended to refer back to the video in Bruce’s OP. Different religions make different, incompatible supernatural claims. The only fair way all these incompatible claims can be accommodated is with secularism. Otherwise a government will have to declare a state religion — that one particular set of supernatural claims is true, and all the others are false.

    But the supernatural claims of religion are incapable of objective substantiation, so which religion should a government endorse? How should it decide? Any decision would either be random or, more probably, based on the majority religion of its citizens. Unfortunately that would involve treating some of its citizens unequally. And what if the tenets of the majority religion involved a mandate to kill all those who didn’t share the majority belief?

    No, secularism is the way forward, and the fact that you continue to wilfully misrepresent it demonstrates that we still have a way to go. So once again…

    “Secularism is a principle that involves two basic propositions. The first is the strict separation of the state from religious institutions. The second is that people of different religions and beliefs are equal before the law.” — National Secular Society.

    Secularism does not entail atheism. Secularism does not entail humanism. Your objection to secularism’s so-called “intolerance” only emphasises your special pleading for a set of beliefs that cannot be shown to be any more true than a whole lot of other incompatible beliefs. One way out of this quandary would be for a government to outlaw all religions, but that isn’t secularism. The secularist stance is that government should not interfere with religion, other than to ensure that everyone, religious or not, is treated equally before the law.
  • David Ward Miller Paul,
    As I said at the outset, we have covered this issue before. You honestly believe secularism is not a front for atheism to suppress what you believe is nonsense and harmful--all religion.

    I strongly disagree, and find your benevolent definitions of secularism as accurate as the wonderful self-portrayal of secular-atheists-communism by their past leaders as they killed and imprisoned clergy, closed places of worship and indoctrinated students of the stupidity and evils of religion. Secular humanism is a belief system that practically speaking would enjoy full support of a secularized state in all state institutions with forced tax support of the people, most who are religious.

    We all have blind spots, including you, and others in the 6.9 agnostic-atheist camp that dominate the secular state movement. The obvious condescending attitude towards all religions, and constantly pitting science against religion and reason, points to a certain repeating of history of atheism being the state "religion" as it shouts we have no state religion, with the inevitable goal of state controlled indoctrinating of all the youth against theism as (1) equal to belief in Santa Claus and ghosts, (2) the basic cause of all the world's problems and (3) parents who teach children religion are abusing them (Dawkins) and so they should have their children removed (logical outcome). The announced tolerance of religion will move from a begrudging toleration to ridicule and finally aggressive removal.

    Paul, your beliefs and passionate convictions are clearly not just atheistic, but anti-theistic and are beliefs and convictions you are evangelistic about, seeking converts.

    You, especially TIG, and most of the new "angry atheist" (not so with Bruce, the most objective civil non-theist thinker I've ever encountered--who posted the cartoon) find ultimate refuge in ridicule while claiming you have the corner on reason. As one writer put it:
    "What once was proudly called free-thought is fast becoming the slavish repetition of slogans and one-liners. Did you hear the one about the talking snake? If God is so smart, why did he put the prostate next to a man’s urinary tract?"

    My religious ignorance, you say, spills over to my ignorance of your pure benevolent tolerant utopian secularism. But your vastly superior intellectual prowess assures you see clearly that your secular state will not suppress what you "know" is gross ignorance and dangerous to society--all religion.

    You are an intelligent well-spoken man. But your blind spot is massive. Allow one more lengthy quote from the same writer above:
    "[Naytheism] blames the oppression of the masses on the religious institutions that have been progressive in all of these areas [of education, health care, the rights of minorities, underprivileged classes, or women]. Naytheism does this in the simplest of ways, by delimiting “religion” to the worst examples of its complex parts and hoping an unsuspecting newcomer won’t notice. It claims that conscience can only operate freely without dogma, ignoring the extent to which much of dogma is the cultural residue of social conscience: no conscience, no law, neither humane ones nor cruel ones. It scans the Bible for examples of sixth century BC horrors and ignores the Sermon on the Mount and the prophets’ call for social justice. It pans for dirt, puts the gold to one side, and calls the result “religion.” It is not selective or “eclectic”; it is manipulative and deceitful."
    Posted by rjosephhoffman Sept '13)

    So we still agree to disagree!

    I'm off to ignorantly worship my non-existent Creator and continue to feed my delusion, ha!

    Have a great day.
  • Paul S Jenkins There you go David, telling us what we believe again. It’s not necessary — we know what we believe. Your telling us only serves to point up your misapprehension. Stop putting words into our mouths.

    Regardless of what you think secularism is, could you
    tell us how you propose that different religions, with different and incompatible beliefs, can live in harmony in a state where one religion has official sanction and others don’t. Your demonisation of a so-called atheist/humanist/secularist agenda (whether that’s to do with science vs. religion, rationality vs. irrationality, or whatever) is irrelevant to the issue of how people who have different but incompatible beliefs can live in harmony.

    Nowhere in this thread have I espoused the idea that religion is the root of all evil. My concern is about whether what people believe is actually true, and how incompatible beliefs can be reconciled within a diverse community in the absence of the separation of church and state.
  • There Isnogod Getoverit Maybe we could ask the Muslims* not to dictate what images we show, and ask the Hindus not to stop us eating meat*. If only there was a word for such an approach. How about non-religiondicatingism. Any other suggestions? Anyway, sounds a lot better than nasty old secularism [shudder].

    *any generalisations here, are beside the point.
  • There Isnogod Getoverit PS, I saw the specific mention of me in David's tract. I do not recollect saying any of the things attributed to me there. They do not strike me as convincing arguments I would express. The exposition does suggest to me an image of a frustrated "lashing out", by someone without a point, but just an angry failure (or refusal) to understand. I am glad to be the named recipient. The lack of understanding means that you are only spitting on a poorly constructed straw effigy. I am way over yonder, nowhere near where the sputum is spattering, saying something completely different.
  • David Ward Miller Paul,

    I could say, there you go again telling me what I believe -- that I want a state religion-- but I will refrain, ha!

    I really do hear you. Disagreement is not necessarily ignorance or misrepresentation.

    Your question gets at the heart of the matter and may clarify my position.

    While you insist it is not so I am convinced atheist-agnostic-secular-humanism is a belief system as much as Xianity, both filled with much internal diversity. Atheistic secularism, the bulk of secularism, is a belief that there is no God, or at least so highly unlikely that the whole idea makes as much sense as belief in fairies.

    Secularists in America want all references to God removed. No "In God we trust" on money. No "one nation under God" No political candidate saying "God bless America." No being lead by "Nature's God". No emphasizing a divine foundational basis of a people's rights, that people "are endowed by their Creator" with these rights. No "appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world" as the basis for just independence. No announcing a "firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence" in times of impending or actual war. Why? Because there are a very few (5% I being very generous) who completely reject the theist concept. But such general references establish no single "state religion" promoted, just a theistic backdrop.

    As already explained, I do not accept the slick tolerant-looking dog and pony show on the secular stage, when there is a hungry 900 pound intolerant atheist gorilla behind the curtain ready to silence anyone who mentions God with ridicule and laws.

    Wikipedia offers this interesting "alternative view" of a "state church"
    "Alternative view - A state church is a governing body which adheres to the human secular religion, and thus cleverly positions that body with the circular concept of acting out that secularism is not a religion but instead the fairness policy to guard against any religious concepts except that of secularism."

    Evidently others see through the separation of church and state as a clever ploy to remove all the other belief systems except secularism (I consider dominated by anti-theist atheists like yourself).

    We were told over and over that we did not understand the goodness, fairness and moral superiority of atheistic states like the former USSR. Ah, but many did see through the false PR. Were the leaders sincere or liars, deceived or deceivers? In the end that matters little. What matters is people not being duped and losing their religious freedom.

    So secularism stands as one of the conflicting beliefs vying for a place at the table of competing values that a free people will vote upon, that cannot please everyone, but will (should) try to be fair to most. Without a dictatorship of majority values nor a dictatorship of minority values. Not an easy task!

    Nations with Judeo-Christian roots presently offer the most freedom, although certainly not perfectly so. Nations with Islamic state government's offer some of the least freedom to differing beliefs and values, including atheism. China & N Korea are secular atheistic governments with oppressive intolerance of religion and other freedoms, such as a free press. Whether it be atheists, any religion, gays, women or Jews, Christianized nations generally offer the most freedom, albeit imperfectly. Values clashes are inevitable as a search for a just freedom goes on.

    I'm not for any theocracy nor a "secular-ocracy", but a democratic republic with as even a playing field as reasonably possible for all. My personal political libertarian views are not my personal spiritual biblical views and values.

    I'll close with this quote:
    "In democratic societies Christianity has as much right to a voice in the public square as secularism, radical secularism or atheism. The attempts of the radical secularists to silence every Christian sound is evidence of the fact that radical secularists don’t understand democracy and are striving to replace it with a radical secular-ocracy. Organizations like the ‘Freedom From Religion Foundation’ are, consequently, undemocratic bodies wishing to overturn Democracy in America. Democracy cannot survive in America if radical secularism ‘wins the day’. For the ‘day’ of radical secularism is the night of democracy and the death of human rights." On Democracy: An Observation, Zwinglius Redivivus
  • Paul S Jenkins David,

    "I could say, there you go again telling me what I believe -- that I want a state religion-- but I will refrain, ha!"

    You are wise to refrain, because I did not do that. And you didn't answer my question.
  • There Isnogod Getoverit David does not understand. What I (or Paul) believe or want (etc) is not a matter of debate. David is not entitled to an opinion. We can state what we believe or want, and he is only entitled to call us a liar, in what can only be seen as a quite mad conspiratorial paranoia.

    Simply, David tells Paul what he believes, Paul corrects him, then David says "no, I disagree, let have a debate". He has no conception of how insulting it is, how ridiculous it sounds, nor how insane his persistence is becoming.

    I don't think David is insane for believing a set of fairy stories, we all have certain beliefs that others may think are odd. No, I think he is insane because after months and months of being told he cannot announce to the world what we believe/love/want, he is still unable to be corrected by the very people he thinks he has described. And he thinks we will be impressed by quotations and references to others who say what we are/believe/love (etc). I am the expert in me, Paul is the expert in Paul - the inability to grasp that is breathtaking.
  • There Isnogod Getoverit Here is a handy helpful tool, for the use of an quantifiers, to avoid confusion:

    Christians say "god hates fags" - untrue, the lack of limiting quantifier implies one - "all"

    All christians say "god hates fags" - untrue, according to the evidence.

    Most christians say "god hates fags" - unsubstantiated assertion - requires evidence.

    Many christians say "god hates fags" - inaccurate - vague and confusing, would require definition of the quantifier.

    Some christians say "god hated fags" - undeniable, according to the evidence. However also suffers from lack of definition of the quantifier.

    These are the sorts of ways you get to have a debate with someone who is a member of the group being described, and also a way of not coming across as an insane dick.
  • David Ward Miller Paul,

    Evidently I was unclear. I attempted to answered your question, but I will repeat and augment a bit.

    Question: "Regardless of what you think secularism is, could you tell us how you propose that different religions, with different and incompatible beliefs, can live in harmony in a state where one religion has official sanction and others don’ people who have different but incompatible beliefs can live in harmony."

    Past Answer: "While you insist it is not so, I am convinced atheist-agnostic-secular-humanism is a belief system as much as Xianity, both filled with much internal diversity."


    Past Answer: "Values clashes are inevitable as a search for a just freedom goes on. So secularism stands as one of the conflicting beliefs vying for a place at the table of competing values that a free people will vote upon, that cannot please everyone, but will (should) try to be fair to most. Without a dictatorship of majority values nor a dictatorship of minority values. Not an easy task!... I'm not for any theocracy nor a "secular-ocracy", but a democratic republic with as even a playing field as reasonably possible for all. My personal political libertarian views are not my personal spiritual biblical views and values."


    (I already covered my view that in general, nations with Judeo-Christian roots offer the most freedom and tolerance to varying belief systems, and in general, Islamic states & secular-ocracies much less. My final quote warned against the loss of democratic freedom in Christianized states that go secular)

    Paul, would you answer for me how a secularized state would harmonize differing beliefs without silencing all theism and, by intent or default, establish a secular-ocracy?
  • There Isnogod Getoverit "I already covered my view that in general, nations with Judeo-Christian roots offer the most freedom and tolerance to varying belief systems"

    Well that's that then, we're all in agreement. We have a Judeo-Christian society, because that's best for a
    ll. And I am sure all the other religions will agree, and none of them will point to the very good examples where theirs exhibited more tolerance. And nobody will point to the intra-christian history of violence.

    Nah, forget that, a christian has indicted that his religion offers the best for all. [shrug] what have we learned today. Nowt new.
  • Paul S Jenkins David, I note that despite my prefixing of my question with the phrase, “Regardless of what you think secularism is…” you nevertheless proceed to tell us (again) what you think it is, thus demonstrating that you’re still clinging steadfastly to the wrong end of the stick.


    As has been pointed out in this thread more than once, secularism is not a front for atheistic humanism, nor is it a belief. Continuing to insist (in all caps, no less) that secularism is not what secularists themselves define it as only makes me think you’re possessed of some weird conspiracy theory.

    And what an amazing coincidence that when asked how incompatible beliefs should be reconciled, you suggest that they should all come under the aegis of your particular belief system. Tell that to the Muslims, or the Hindus, or the Scientologists, or the Raelians, or… (the list goes on, as well you know). Or maybe it’s not a coincidence — maybe it’s just that your beliefs are correct and all the others are wrong. Is that it?

    Sorry David, your suggestion won’t wash. Your religious beliefs are no more valid _under the law_ than any other religious beliefs, so you don’t get to be top dog. But then, neither do I, because my lack of religious belief is no more valid _under the law_ than your faith-based belief. But this means that insofar as your and my beliefs are incompatible, we don’t get to lord it over each other, because secularism.

    In answer to your question, a secularised state would harmonise incompatible beliefs by not allowing them a voice in government. This isn’t silencing them, it is saying that laws should not be based on religious precepts that are incompatible with the precepts of other faiths. Religious believers of all faiths are free to proclaim their beliefs in church, in the media, even on the street. But not in government, because that wouldn’t be fair on those who don’t share those beliefs.
    1 hr · Like · 1
  • There Isnogod Getoverit If the facts were relevant (and they are not to David), he would in fact choose Jainism to be in charge.

    Of course, the thing is, David is not honest, he just wants his side in charge. He is a liar. He insists on lying about what secularism is, and lying about what he wants.

I have a feeling this won't be the last continuation post...

The original Facebook thread is here: