Sunday, February 24, 2013


Creationists universally fall back on the simplistic argument that the universe had to arise from the action of an intelligent designer, conveniently neglecting to include an explanation of where such an intelligent designer could have come from.  A former friend of mine who no longer wants any contact with a heretic like me assured me that creator just "always existed." 

No explanation of origin needed in his simplistic view of cosmic reality.  That's magic carried to its ultimate.  Little children and backward savages can find magic like that believeable, but adults of this relatively enlightened age should be able to think a little more deeply about such matters.

Come on now.  If the universe is too complex and awesome to have arisen spontaneously, a creator which had of necessity to be even greater and more complex couldn't have just happened either. 

Scientists, mainly physicists, continue to seek the answers of ultimate origins.  It isn't an easy process, but they are making progress.  Most theories include something called a "singularity" that exploded.

Do I understand that? 


I just see the end result and wish I could be one of those physicists searching for the ultimate answers.  Even human reproduction and reproduction as a whole used to be a great mystery, but we now understand quite a bit about it and are learning more every day. 

Instead of an intelligence giving rise to everything, everything evolves by a slow process from base hydrogen into intelligence.  So far, we appear to be the ultimate evolved intelligence.

Let's use that intelligence to find the answers, not cop out to the simplistic answers bronze age tribalists pulled out from under their turbans or whatever they wore on their heads. 

Monday, February 18, 2013


An email from the Secular Coalition For Arizona made the following statement which got me thinking: 

"As a young man Abraham Lincoln rejected religion and questioned the existence of god. He said “The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession.” Such a statement by a modern day politician would surely draw well-funded attack ads and probably bar him from election. Imagine the loss to our country if the radical religious minority of today were as powerful during Lincoln's times!

Yet agnostics, atheists and those who choose not to affiliate with a religious organization now comprise one fifth of the population. In fact we outnumber evangelicals."

It's a sad state of affairs when the prevailing attitude of skepticism among our forefathers, especially those north of the Mason Dixon Line, has been superceded by an attitude of prostration to superstition and long discredited faith based blatherings by avaricious con-men and deluded non-thinkers who believe things because its their heritage or they just emotionally proclaim it because "it feels right" to them.  (Yes, I know.  I was once one of them to my everlasting chagrin and mystification.)

There's a great segment of our population which has never quite conceded the Civil War.  They're absolutely convinced the wrong side won, and they are easily identified through catch phrases like "states rights."  When I was in the Moose Lodge, there was an old fart who liked to say, "I have nothing against negroes; I think everybody should own a couple."  I don't think he was really kidding.

Whether he was kidding or not.  The Bible backs him up.  "Exhort servants (slaves) to be obedient unto their own masters" (Titus 2:9).  There are plenty of ordinances in the Old Testament regarding slaves.  Herbert Arstrong is exemplary.  He defended Old Testament slavery as a good thing for some people and clearly identified with British class distinctions.

Plenty of people would like to fight the Civil War all over again and the vast majority are hunkered down in the old south which is the deluded center of the "Bible Belt."  They chafe that a "damn niger" is in the White House, but they're usually not going to admit it publicly.

All religions hide behind "good" platitudes and slogans which are defined as godly and some special revelation from a deity. 

No they're not. 

The same common sense beliefs and goals are to be found in humanism and atheism without the liturgical trappings.  Yet, we are vilified as hedonists with no moral compass.

It wasn't always so.  The non-believers and skeptics were in the majority when our country was founded.  Hopefully, in a generation or so, the present trend will be reversed and we will return to our sound minded roots.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Sometimes I'm tempted to avoid all the hype and hoopla that comes out about food and beverages!  Media thrives on sensationalism and overstatements calculated to get everybody excited and paranoid.

I'm referring to this article that just appeared on Huffington Post:

Every time I turn around, some dumbass pronouncement comes out about this food or that food, this drink or that drink that's either going to be my fountain of youth or the elixir of death.  I like to take a close look, if I can, at where these pronouncements originated and what axe may be in the process of being ground.  Especially suspect are places like Loma Linda University, run by Adventist head up their behind worshippers of Ellen G. White's psychotic nonsense about food and drink.

Not long ago, we were assured that a glass of wine or beer everyday would do much to prolong healthy life and add to the emotional well-being of the elderly.  Now this sensationalized clap trap comes along to get everyone scared that they're going to die of some terrible cancer if they take an occasional drink.

The facts are that we're all going to die sometime and something is going to be blamed for it. 

I will. 

You will. 

Will it be cancer?  I don't know.  Could be.  Will the occasional beer I enjoy, or glass of wine, be at fault?  Who knows? 

Anything can be a hazard to my life or yours.  I have to eat or I'll starve.  I try to eat wisely, but there could be a carcinogen in just about anything I shove between my lips.  It's a crapshoot whether it will get me or not.  Just getting out of bed every day constitutes a hazard, but staying in bed will weaken my body and certainly get so boring that I'd wish I were dead.

So, how about shutting up with all this sensationalist clap trap?  I do enjoy a little drink once in awhile, but since it tends to give me acid, I don't do it much.  But, there are tums, so when I'm celebrating, pour that champagne and I'll chew a few. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Every stoneage tribe on the face of the earth has taboos and rules about food dreamed up by shamans or priests who wanted to isolate and control the clan, tribe or nation for their benefit and power, or just because that "leader" had a personal prejudice about something. Competent rabbis will tell you that the purpose of those Levitical food laws was "holiness," which meant keeping the Israelites separate and isolated from their neighbors. (Read Ezra and Nehemiah if you doubt that statement.)

Those laws and strictures guaranteed the power and pre-eminence of the priests and kings and the religion they had concocted and excluded outsiders from partaking of any accumulated tribal or national wealth and watering down the supposed genetic purity of the people. It was an "ours doesn't stink, but everyone else's does" society.  There's a whole lot of that attitude extant today.

People have all kinds of emotionally based food prejudices. The internet is loaded with all kinds of certitudes about any number of things from GMOs (vilified as "frankenfoods") to all kinds of wonder foods guaranteed to solve all your problems or foods that will supposedly slowly kill you.

I no longer worry about food taboos. I know my digestive system is set up to break everything I take in down to its basic building blocks and distribute those to my blood stream where they eventually wind up nourishing my tissues. Bacon as such never reaches a single cell. It's molecular components do. Since my body handles cholesterol and most other things very well, it isn't dangerous to my heart either, but it might be to someone else who is less geneticaly blessed. I love a good BLT, lobster tail, shrimp and king crab legs with the drawn butter that makes them so delicious. Every checkup shows me as healthy overall as I was at age 21, so, I'm not going to worry.

Herbert Amstrong liked to bombastically parade his ignorance with terms like "garbage cans of the ocean."

Well, guess what?

Everything you eat comes from some kind of garbage! What do you think the compost you're advised to put on gardens and fields is? Garbage! The whole universe is composed of recycled garbage from old stars that exploded. You probably have a few atoms in your body that once inhabited not only spatial molecular clouds but ancient and now extinct amphibians and reptiles. The garbage in soil gets broken down by (nasty) bacteria and the byproducts of that breakdown are then filtered through the soil, the roots and bodies of plants and often through the digestive systems of animals before you eat the end product and repeat the process. You have a virtual fermentation factory between your mouth and your anus! A lot of people eat special yogurt and take bacteria loaded pills to make it work better, without a single qualm over what they are putting in their mouths.

My cousin recently posted something detailing the process to which meat byproducts are subjected to produce some of the things we dote on the most -- like hotdogs.  When I laid out these facts to her and reminded her of what her digestive system does to food, she deeided to go to one of her favorite haunts and have one of their super-delicious hotdogs.  

Relax folks.  There are no "franken foods."  There's no way to escape the unpretty aspects of eating food, but you'd better eat if you expect to live very long.


I'm up, finally, and wondering how to spend the day. I didn't go to the Lions Club meeting this morning. Meetings at 6:30 am are having less and less appeal and meetings of all kinds tend to get a bit boring, even the meetings of our freethought meetup group I've tried to help get off the ground. It's getting to be somewhat like trying to herd cats. Over a year has gone by and there is no solid organization yet.

Then, there is the financial aspect. Seventy bucks a year just to be a Lion isn't a lot of money, but on a tight budget it is significant. And, each meeting costs an inevitable few bucks. That's the way with any organization. The reality is that it costs money to maintain anything.

So, I inevitably have to ask myself if it's worth it and writing this is helping to sort it all out. Since leaving WCG, I've experimented with all kinds of things that I eventually walked away from as not fulfilling, worthwhile or relevant and not worth the time, resources and energy involved.

I like the good community service aspects of the Lions Club. I've made some friends there, but there's no deep connection. Every single one of them is caught up in some religious organization. Every meeting is opened with prayer and I just stand there respectfully until their meaningless ritual is over and sit down.

I once belonged to the Moose Lodge and dropped them when they made a big deal over wearing a hat into the Lodge. At the time, I was into wearing western hats and if kings wore crowns, which they considered their right while everybody else was commanded to go bareheaded and subservient, I saw no reason to comply as a free, autonomous American citizen who bowed and scraped to no one. I could not, and have no desire to, return as they make you assert that you believe in a supreme being. Originally, I could still do that, but not today.

Yeah, I'm a bit ornery and cantankerous when it comes to my personal freedoms.

That particular lodge no longer exists -- hasn't for decades -- because the ossified old farts couldn't attract enough new blood and they died off, just like the angry right wing republican old farts of today. Expect a dramatic change in the political landscape by 2016. It was already a mighty force in 2012.

Those are my musings for this morning. Everything evolves and changes, including me. I'm not afraid to question and making decisions is what life is all about. They aren't always easy decisions.

Monday, February 11, 2013


We're about to witness a lot of hoopla about one of the biggest circuses around.
Pope Benedict is going to resign at the end of this month. That opens the way for some other mythology and power addled idiot to take his place after intense politicing and deal cutting and who knows how many votes. It's the ultimate in the blending of politics and religion. The Vatican is considered a nation, you know.

Of all the enslaving curses mankind has created, religion has to take the prize as the most corrupt and evil of all. Nothing else so completely corrupts and warps the daily existence of so many unaware people who are convinced theirs is the only way because they were born into it or somehow deceived into it, like I was for a couple decades.

"How can you condemn an organization which only seeks to do good?" a former associate who returned to the vomit of Luteranism (there's only a thin door betweeen it and the Catholic Church) and became one of their ministers asked.

Keeping people enslaved to superstition and stultifying ignorance is not "good" in my dictionary. He's even a big wheel in the Creationist society -- a purveyor of total bullshit!

We humans have progressed so far in so much, and yet, we are so dumb. I fear it may destroy us.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I just read an article about our search to find life among the stars by trying to listen in on possible broadcasts by interstellar civilizations.  Find the article here:

It's a big universe out there.  It takes about 250 million years for the solar system to make a revolution completely around our own galaxy.  Our galaxy alone has a few billion stars, and there are a several billion galaxies.  It's totally impossible to know how many total stars there may be in the universe and it's certain that there are many more planets to go with those stars. 

We may never know if we are alone as advanced technological beings in our own galaxy and certainly in the universe as a whole.  There could be many such civilizations, a few or none. 

I'm personally convinced that life is ubiquitous in this universe, but I'm less convinced that life easily reaches the heights of development it has reached on this planet.  All kinds of things had to line up just right for homo sapiens to come along in recent times and for a very short period of time so far.  If that comet or huge asteroid hadn't hit about 65 million years ago, the ecological makeup of this planet would be vastly different, and I seriously doubt any dinosaur was set up to develop the manual deterity or mental capacity to produce a technological world.

Our chimp cousins are very close to us genetically, but they can't speak a language or make fire and they can't make anything more than very simple tools with stuff already complete in their environment.  Chimps possess quite a bit of intelligence, but it isn't on a level that is going to give them an internet, a space plane or even a bicycle. 

Face it.  We are unique and the chances of something akin to us happening in the same way on another planet are close to nil.  With so many planets, it still is possible it did, but where and how far away that "where" is would be an entirely different matter.

It's only in the past century or so that we developed to the point where we are broadcasting our presence into the cosmos, and that broadcasting hasn't even reached most possible planetary systems yet.  So, if there is a civilization out there looking for a signal from us, they are looking in vain at the present time.  We probably are likewise looking in vain.  If an intelligent race exists somewhere, it could still be in the pre-stone age stage.  We white Europeans wouldn't have been able to detect native americans from as close as Europe if we had mastered radio communication back in the fourteen hundreds because there was no one here doing any broadcasting.

Also, any such intelligent life has to be a terrestrial form.  Octopi are very intelligent creatures, but you don't develop fire, metals, technology, etc. in an ocean.  If life hadn't crept out onto land many millions of years ago, we wouldn't be here.  Crawling into a convenient habitation on the ocean floor may be smart, but it certainly isn't a technology.

Give me or some other homo sapiens an idea or need and adequate tools and materials and we will make whatever we need.  I've done it several times in my life and my fellow humans are busily at it every day.  We're the only creatures on this planet with that much potential.  It took several billion years for us to come along, and I don't think it could be much faster somewhere else and only if the conditions and happenstances were exactly right.

So, we'll keep searching, but I'm not holding my breath for something to turn up any time soon.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


The world is scary.  It's especially scary to little kids and those who don't understand the capriciousness of natural phenomena -- like our primitive primate ancestors.  When one feels vulnerable and powerless, it's easy to feel terror.

What's out there in the dark, thinking I look delicious?  What's under the bed or out there in the darkness where I can't see it?  Is that mean person who used to give me the willy's really dead, or is he/she still out there invisibly, waiting to pounce on me?  What was that noise?

I remember one time when our parents were gone for part of the evening -- the only time I remember when they briefly left us alone in the house at night for some reason I don't recall.  The night was cold, and the old house started creaking and popping as the timbers adjusted to the cold.  I was terrified at those strange noises and didn't rest until my parents came back.  Then, I slept soundly, content that my protectors were there.

Primitive peoples were a lot like little kids surrounded by a dangerous and awe-inspiring world that was hard to fathom.  They just knew they were vulnerable and they sought any source of comfort and assurance they could find. 

Nothing was totally secure, whether the stone cave or the somewhat secure hut they lived in.  There was the "big bad wolf" -- or worse --  the storm and the flood, any number of disastrous possibilities.

The simplest mistake could have disastrous implications.  That's never totally changed, but most rational people don't see supernatural implications in every mishap.  Our superstitious ancestors did.  Their world was filled with fairies, nymphs, trolls, gods and demi-gods.  Everything had supernatural overtones and it didn't take long for the shamans to capitalize on that fact.  Frightened people are easy to manipulate and the protection rackets were quick to manifest.  Just a little prognostication and fear mongering with magic spells, amulets, etc. added kept them in an exalted state among the population.

Imagination ran wild and was soon orally codified and later written down to make it seem even more authoritative.  "The book," whatever it was called, became the final authority to which the priests could refer and the supertitious populace would fall in line.  Whatever the book said, or was interpreted to say, became the infallible guide and the older it got, the more authority it accumulated.

If the book promised life after death, that was accepted as reality.  If it promised punishment for not falling in line with what the priests demanded, everybody trembled at the assurance that such would surely come to pass if they didn't toe the line. 

Fear is a great motivator, and there was one thing everybody had experienced in some way -- the terrible pain of burns.  Fire had been a great tool ever since people figured out how to create and use it but it had two faces.  Out of control, it was horrific in its effects.  It could cause unimaginable pain and scars and a screaming, terrible death.

It didn't take long for the religious authorities to capitalize on that fear.  They assured everybody that if they thought getting physically burned was bad, it was nothing compared with the horrible flames their god had in store for them in the coming afterlife if they didn't kiss his and their behinds properly.

We recoil in horror when we hear stories of how people sometimes torture other people.  We want to see such human monsters punished and locked away or executed so they can't inflict such terrible suffering on anyone else.

The disconnect is this:  how can anyone who recoils in horror over such things worship a god they claim will punish someone who doesn't believe in him or never even heard of him for a spiritiual eternity in a lake of fire that burns forever?  Even the sun and other stars don't burn forever, but we are assured that "hell" does, and if you don't get saved by whatever formula is put forth, that's where you are headed.  FOR ETERNITY!

Eternity.  Can anyone really fathom what that is?  The universe has been around now for something over thirteen billion years.  I can't begin to comprehend such an expanse of time.  Yet, that is a finite peiod.  Eternity?  That's not finite.  It is even more incomprehensible.  And, we're supposed to accept in faith such incomprehensiveness?  We're supposed to love a deity who would do such a horrible thing to anything or anyone?

That would be the ultimate cosmic monster!  A monster that could not exist in reality.  That monster was created to generate fear and keep people under the thumb of those who manufactured him out of whole cloth.

The universe is real.  We can see it all around us.  Humans are real also, and some of them aren't very nice.  We label them criminals and monsters.  Yet, we worship monsters conmen have created to scare us into line and cling to that travesty as our "faith."

Let's have done with monster gods and reject the nonsense that champions them.