Saturday, July 1, 2017

Drive By Blogging: Atheism Grows, Church/State Violations, 10 Commandments Destroyed, & A New Public Debate

As I've mentioned in previous posts, lately I've been much busier than usual. To make things worse I'll also be travelling in Europe for the second half of July. I'm going to London, Paris, and Amsterdam. In addition to that I'm still working on several side projects, like our upcoming atheist conference, and so I really haven't been able to blog at the frequency I used to.

That being said let me do a rapid "drive by" blog post on several issues I could have been writing about but haven't had the time to.

First, there was some recent big news that the number of atheists might be much higher than previously reported, which usually was down near the 3-5% range, even though PEW has recorded the number of people who do not believe in god at 9%. A new study claims that the real number of atheists in the US may be as high as 26%. The trick, it seems, is all about the questioning. Asking someone directly on a questionnaire if they're an atheist will lead significant numbers of those who are atheists to say that they aren't out of the stigma surrounding the term. So instead, two groups were shown a bunch of innocuous statements like "I own a dog," "I enjoy modern art," and were instructed to answer if they were true. But the test group had an additional statement: "I don't believe in God." When comparing the test group with the control group that didn't have the atheist question, the researchers conclude that about 26% of Americans do not believe in god.

This number seems closer to me to the real number. I meet so many atheists that the 3-5% range seems awfully low. It's well known that many atheists are in the closet. Atheists continue to be among the most disliked group of people in the US. That's why we have to fight the stigma, so that atheists aren't ashamed to openly express who they are. The study's results, although encouraging, has its critics. Even if the real number is less than 26%, if it's only 20%, I'd still be happy with the results. The trend is headed in the right direction after all.

In other atheist news, the Czech Republic continues to be one of the most atheist countries in Europe, if not the world, with only 29% believing in god according to a recent PEW Research survey. 66% of Czechs do not believe in god. The country is however, an outlier among Eastern Europe, where large majorities profess belief in god.

I plan on updating a rebuttal to the kalam cosmological argument with new refutations....eventually.

The Supreme Court recently handed down a 7-2 decision in favor of a religious institution's claim it was discriminated against in being denied public money to repair its playground. The decision breaks years of policy where public money was denied to religious institutions because that would excessively entangle government with religion and because that money would ultimately help the institution promote the faith. As a tax exempt organization, any money received by the government will ultimately allow the church to save more money to proselytize. Giving churches money for any reason will always enable them to have more money promoting religion.

Source: CNN
A man drove his car into the recently installed 10 Commandments monument in Little Rock Arkansas, destroying it. It was up for less than 24 hours. The man, Michael Tate Reed, is the same man who destroyed the Oklahoma 10 commandments monument 3 years ago. Although I do not condone destruction as a method for fighting the violations of the 1st Amendment, I'm not sorry that this happened either. If you're a believer then this might be all part of god's plan. Either way, the lord works in mysterious ways.

I am finishing up editing my recent debate on political correctness and am finishing up my two panel discussions at the Left Forum. I think our discussion on Islam went quite well. It's taken me much longer than expected to edit them, mainly because I'm a bit of a perfectionist and the encoding takes nearly 20 hours. So they should be up by next week. Hopefully. I'll be posting on this blog when they're done.

And last but certainly not least, I will be publicly debating religion and whether it's more harmful than good today. Oh boy! I'm very excited about this! It will be recorded as well, just like my last debate, assuming I can get another volunteer cameraman. This will be my first recorded public debate on religion and I will be debating with a friend who has passionately fought religion for over a decade. He's the guy who is setting up the first ever atheist conference in New York City. The debate will take place July 26th, just two days after I get back from vacation. So I'll need to start making my argument now. Stay tuned.

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