Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Prerequisite List For Having A Conversation With Regressive Leftists


Before you have a conversation with regressive leftists where you'll be critical about Islam and terrorism, in order to preempt the usual responses you'll typically get, remember to mention the things on this checklist:

  • Yes, I'm fully aware that not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims
  • Yes, I'm fully aware that the vast majority of Muslims are not violent
  • Yes, I'm fully aware that Christians have committed violence in the name of their religion
  • Yes, I'm fully aware that the Bible has many violent and sexist verses in it
  • Yes, I'm fully aware that the US government has done many terrible things in its foreign policy
  • No, I'm not saying that Islam is the root of all evil or that religion is the cause of every problem in the world
  • No, I'm not suggesting that we kill all Muslims or attack innocent civilians
  • No, I'm not suggesting we discriminate against all people from the Middle East or South Asia 
  • And no, I'm not suggesting there is something inherently violent about Muslims

With that out of the way you can proceed onto your dialogue with the regressive leftist and you will have hopefully preempted many of their impulsive accusations that hinder real dialogue. This list may grow as I think of new ones. If you're interested, you can check out Sam Harris' version of this here.

Monday, June 13, 2016

PEW: 11 Percent of Americans Either Don't Believe In God Or Don't Know


According to last year's religious PEW survey, "Nearly one-in-ten U.S. adults overall (9%) now say they do not believe in God, up from 5% in 2007." You must keep this in mind when reading their other results that showed only 3.1% of Americans are "atheists" according to their 2014 Religious Landscape survey. Three times less people identify as "atheist" than disbelieve in god or a universal spirit and that's one reason why we need to normalize the term "atheist." That was exactly what American Atheist president David Silverman's speech at the Reason Rally last week was all about. If you don't believe in a god or universal spirit, you are an atheist and you should be confident in identifying yourself as an atheist. An atheist is not someone who's certain there is no god, just as a theist is not someone who's certain there is a god. At a bare minimum, an atheist is someone who simply has no positive believe in a god (or a universal spirit) and can still be open to the possibility that there could be a god. That's it.


Declining Share of Americans Express Absolutely Certain Belief in God

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Atheist Rapper Greydon Square


At the Reason Rally a week ago I met atheist rapper Greydon Square. He focuses on atheist and science related topics and there aren't many rappers who do this, at least not many talented rappers, as he is. Since almost all mainstream rappers are theists of some sort, we are in desperate need of atheist rappers because there's a treasure trove of untapped subject matter there. Hip Hop is also a great medium for getting the atheist message out. Imagine an atheist debate that is entirely done in the form of a rap battle. I'm sure its been done, but probably not how I envision it. The ideal atheist vs theist rap battle would go like this. The theist would open with his argument in rhyme form, then he'd send the transcript to the atheist, who'd craft his response and send the transcript to the theist, who'd then respond and do the same. That way they'd each have time to directly respond to the claims the other made. It wouldn't be able to be live though, but it could be prerecorded and put together. This definitely needs to be done.

Anyway, check out some of his work, promote his music, buy his albums, and if he's performing in a town near you, go see him live.







This Is What Happens When You Take Religion Literally


In light of the recent mass shooting in Orlando I'm seeing the regressive leftists all over twitter saying that this shooting had nothing to do with the terrorist's Islamic faith. But of course that's bullshit. Both the Qu'ran and the Hadith speak very negatively about homosexuality, and in some cases recommend death. Religion is a factor in the motivation of behavior, both good and bad, and we have to acknowledge that and stop denying that religions like Islam do any harm (I'm talking to you liberals). We must be vigilant in refuting regressive ideologies everywhere, regardless of whether they're secular or religious.

Here is a wonderful example of a fundamentalist Christian who takes the Bible literally where you can see the poisonous effects it has on his brain. I present to you raging homophobe pastor Steven Anderson.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How To Stop Trump — My Theory


On Real Time with Bill Maher Bill is asking every guest how to stop Donald Trump from becoming president in the fall. Here's how I think Trump can be stopped.

As a thin-skinned narcissist, Trump cannot let any insults or criticism of himself slide. He has to respond to every negative comment and tweet at him. And when he responds, he can get really, really ugly, and that ugliness can turn off many people who aren't already supportive of him. So the way to destroy Trump is to have many high profile celebrities and politicians attack him relentlessly on TV and on social media in a tsunami of criticism. They should attack him exactly where it hurts him most — his business record, his appearance, the fraud he's perpetrated, his intellectual shortcomings on the issues, his mental stability in general. Trump will be spending all his time responding back and when he does the criticisms should come on even stronger so that he spirals out of control and eventually goes way over the line so that he looks so unpresidential, and like such a horrible, ugly, mentally unstable human being, that it will convince enough people not to vote for him, and that will cause him to lose the election. At least in theory.

That's how you take down Trump. Accusing him of being a racist is not going to hit him hard. Ruining his image as a successful business man, showing how much of a liar he is, and making him look mentally unstable will — for at least some of the people not already devout supporters. All you need to convince is a few million people and that's enough for him to lose the election in November.

So what do you think? Will it work?



Yesterday I accidentally created a post on a tweet I thought was really Donald Trump but instead it was a parody account. I didn't fully check out the source. Once I found that out I deleted the post, but here's the original tweet for your information.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Reason Rally 2016 Recap


I am back in New York after having attended the 2016 Reason Rally. On my ride home we actually got lost and I didn't make it back to my apartment until 2 AM, with just 7 hours to go until I had to go back to work. Luckily my job allows me to come late. Whew! Anyhow, I wanted to share my thoughts on my experiences.

First off, this was the first atheist convention that I had ever gone to. I honestly didn't know what to expect. For the most part, the speakers were not the reason I went. I've seen and spoke with Lawrence Krauss before. I've seen many big name atheists, including Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, as well as many popular atheist YouTubers. I went mainly to visually represent myself as an open atheist who supports secular values and to collaborate with like minded individuals. And get drunk and high of course. Atheist events are great places for meeting new people to collaborate with.

Despite the weather being good, turn out seems to have been lower than expected. It was being reported that 30,000 people were going to attend but in my estimation there were less than 7,000 people. There are lots of theories why this is the case.

  • The atheist community has been fractured by divisions among liberals regarding Islam and feminism, and the organizers of the event generally take a side of the so-called "regressives."
  • The line up was not as exciting, with actors like Johnny Depp and Margaret Cho not attending for various reasons, and Richard Dawkins unable to attend due to his recent stroke. Johnny's appearance alone could have possibly drawn several thousand people.
  • Other big name atheists like Sam Harris didn't attend. People like him have huge followings and could draw thousands of people.
  • Time, cost, and travel expenses could have played a factor. The annual World Science Festival was the same weekend and I really wanted to go but in the end decided to go with the Reason Rally because it's not every year (and I had not attended any major atheist events before).

The location of the event was not ideal. We were by the Lincoln memorial right in front of the reflecting pool and so the crowd was split in half making it difficult to get to either side. In 2012 it was located by the main mall which allowed for better navigation. I suppose my problem with the event would be that it wasn't really that atheist-centric. I would have loved it if Dawkins and Harris were there and more high profile atheists who promote atheism and secular values like Sean Carroll, Phil Zuckerman, Richard Carrier, and Aron Ra. That would be my dream, but the purpose of the rally I suppose was not really to preach atheism, it was to show Washington secular people exist and will be voting. In that sense, it failed to visually represent the growing number of atheist people. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Reason Rally 2016



So tomorrow begins the 2016 Reason Rally event in Washington DC. I will be headed down there tomorrow morning and will be meeting several friends who are active in the New York City atheist community. There are many events lined up in addition to the main rally on Saturday. I'm taking part in the Advocacy Days training session for lobbying senators and congressmen about secularism and to put pressure on them to respect the wall (between church and state). It should be fun, especially since marijuana is legal in the city. The Wu-tang clan are going to perform. Bill Nye will speak and Lawrence Krauss, and they're always interesting. Originally Johnny Depp was going to speak but his recent mother's death and divorce hoopla caused him to decline. Damn. I was looking forward to seeing him and possibly meeting him since I know a guy who knows the organizers.

If you can make it to the event I highly recommend you come. It is very important that atheists, skeptics, and secular people are represented and show America that we're one of the largest growing segments of the population and that we're just not going to tolerate the absurdity of religion into the government process anymore. A rally for reason, it would seem, shouldn't be necessary. It's the 21st century. Heck it's the second half of the second decade of the 21st century. We as a people should be past religious dogma hindering our policies. But in reality it's technically more broad than that. Rational thinking is needed in all areas of human existence, not just politics. We absolutely need rational discourse in every aspect of our lives from politics to policy to economics to our personal lives and views. It's not just religion that is hindering rational thinking. There are multiple kinds of irrational ways to think that involve no appeal to religion or any god. I suppose that's what the Reason Rally is really about - at least I hope. We need to stamp out all ways of irrational thinking, especially among religious, but also among the non-religious.

And speaking of which, I will be posting a blog I wrote last year on how to infer ontology that I never published that will outline my views on exactly how to think rationally about ontological claims. Expect that to be done within the next week or two - depending on how busy I am from the rally.

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