Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Delusions of religion: the fertilizer of all evil

1 Timothy 6:10 - For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

According to First Timothy 6:10 the love of money is the root of all evil. This seems to suggest that evil grows – and the last time I checked things that grow - particularly things that grow from roots – they do better with a little fertilizer.

Evil is growing fast. The evil weeds of greed are choking the boardrooms of our corporations. Metaphorical weeds of evil crowd the halls of power in our school boards, state capitols, and even the nation's capitol. All those weeds must be getting an awful lot of fertilizer!

I was hiking one afternoon recently. While hiking, I often ponder things or think about topics about which I might write. This particular day I was pondering whether or not I could support the statement “All evil can be traced to some combination of greed and religion” in an essay. I was having difficulty phrasing the question more narrowly to include only “evil” arising from the conscious actions of mankind. Things like evil arising from addiction were troublesome enough to make me abandon the original line of thought. But I had also been thinking about how extremes of greed are enabled by irrational beliefs. I had recently written an essay regarding how religion spills over to poison the public discourse. That line of thought went something like this: religion needs to protect favored fairytales, so religion conditions people to ignore science and to ignore evidence, and because religion is pervasive it has many opportunities to condition many people to believe what is comfortable rather than to believe what is scientific and factual.

Once people are conditioned to ignore science and facts then they are easy targets for opponents of environmental regulations. The fossil fuel industry is able to leverage people who have been conditioned to believe that which is comfortable to believe. So they are able to get people to believe that there is no global warming, that the Keystone tar sands pipeline will create jobs and lower fuel prices, and that there is such a thing as “clean coal.”

Once people are conditioned to ignore facts and simply believe that which is comfortable to believe then they will choose to believe the propaganda of “income redistribution” and “job creators.” The propaganda says that if taxes are kept low for the rich then the rich will invest and create jobs. The facts are that the alleged “job creators” will create a decent-paying job in this country only after all other options have been exhausted. People who have been conditioned by religion will also believe propaganda about “income redistribution” to lazy welfare recipients. The facts are that the wealthy have already redistributed income – from the poor and middle-class to the burgeoning plutocracy of greed.

People conditioned by religion are also susceptible to propaganda issued by the gun lobby. They are convinced not only of a “God given” right to bear arms, but are additionally convinced that we would all be much safer if more people carried concealed weapons and if military-style assault were more widely available.

Attacks on what is left of our democracy are often aided more directly by religion. Folks conditioned by religion are often single-issue voters. Politicians will leverage this by taking up the causes of protecting everything from “unborn babies” to “traditional marriage” and “traditional family values.” The facts often stand in stark contrast to the claims of the politician. For example if the politician truly cared about “unborn babies” then he would work to assure universal access to neonatal care.
These are but a few of the ways in which religion aids and abets evil. If we return to the metaphor then it is clear that the fertilizer of religious delusion has prepared a rich soil in which the love of money has taken root and flourished.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

American Atheists Convention 2013

I’m attending the American Atheists Convention in Austin Texas. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of American Atheists in the city where it got its start. There is a billboard campaign to go with the convention.

There are apparently at least six different versions because there are English and “en EspaƱol” versions of one featuring the CEO of the Catholic Corporation. I say it is money well spent! See more at

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A new way to help publicize

I have posted some files which you may print and distribute. The printable files are designed to get key ideas from in the public eye. I have two pdf documents prepared for this purpose. religions_card and religion_poisons_card are intended for printing on 8.5 x 11 card stock. I print on both sides and then cut the card stock in half. If you are careful in orienting the paper for the second trip through the printer then the front and back of each half of the card will have different messages. If you find that Adobe Reader is causing a problem by printing with wide margins then I’ll be happy to share the original Microsoft Word .doc file on request.
Feel free to print and distribute wherever you like!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Carbon dioxide fairytales

I just watched the documentary “Greedy Lying Bastards” – a movie about how the petroleum-industrial complex has very successfully created doubt regarding the veracity of global warming. I don’t believe they would have been so successful if the religion-industrial complex had not conditioned so many people to doubt science. If you’re interested in that line of thought then click on over to my essay “Codependent irrationalities vs. the economy.” But that is not what I am going to write about this evening.

The movie included a lot of clips of “Climate Change Deniers” saying really dumb stuff – some incredibly so. It was made worse because it was dumbness wrapped around deceit. For example one of the “Climate Change Deniers” was blathering on about how “carbon dioxide is not a pollutant” and how “carbon dioxide is beneficial to plants.”

Well, I’ll tell you what else is beneficial to plants: bull shit. Cow manure makes a most excellent fertilizer. But you don’t want to bury your plants in the stuff. Too much nitrous waste will cause fertilizer burn – even if you don’t bury your plants in cow manure. The thing which “Climate Change Deniers” pretend not to understand is the concept of “too much of a good thing.” This is a simple concept. A little salt enhances the flavor of food. A plate overloaded with salt is an entirely different thing. Folklore carries this further with ritualized “salting of the earth” to symbolize utter annihilation of an enemy and their lands.

Carbon dioxide is an interesting thing. According to the National Climatic Data Center if all carbon dioxide were removed from the atmosphere then the average global temperature would drop from the current fifty-seven degrees Fahrenheit to around zero. But a little goes a long way. Carbon Dioxide accounts for only about 390 parts per million of Earth’s atmosphere. The activities of mankind have increased that from pre-industrial levels of about 270 parts per million.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Even more regarding disdain for evidence

The disdain for evidence instilled in people by the religious-industrial complex spills over to poison the public discourse. If you wish to read more about this then you’ll want to click on over to my essay “Codependent irrationalities vs.the economy.”

Speaking of disdain for evidence

The Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, introduced by Representatives Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) and Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) seeks $550,000,000.00 over five years. The Reallocation Act is intended to limit the information teens get about topics which make religious folks uncomfortable – contraceptives for example. However the evidence says such efforts are a waste of time and money. This should be enough reason to stop this bit of legislative trash. This is especially true in these times of endless yammering about cutting wasteful government spending.  Typical among the evidence is study by the Department of Health Services, University of Washington which concluded “Teaching about contraception was not associated with increased risk of adolescent sexual activity or STD. Adolescents who received comprehensive sex education had a lower risk of pregnancy than adolescents who received abstinence-only or no sex education.” The preponderance of evidence says “abstinence only” programs don’t work. But people are conditioned by the religious-industrial complex to believe what is comfortable to believe rather than actual facts. So there is a public debate when there should be none – and that debate is poisoned by misinformation churned out by the religious-industrial complex.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A prescription for leeches

If we consider “the economy” as a patient and Congress as the doctor then Congress has done the equivalent of prescribing leeches. Trouble is the economy was actually in fairly good shape when the leeches were first prescribed. The leeches which were prescribed have slowly and surely sucked the life out of the economy through holes – special tax-exempt loopholes which were part of the prescription. When the leeches inevitably made the formerly healthy economy sick then Congress prescribed more leeches. In this analogy each bit of legislation allowing a wealthy person who could afford to pay their taxes to avoid those taxes is another prescription for leeches. Doctor Congress stubbornly clings to the notion that enough leeches will cure what ails the patient. From this I conclude that the doctor needs to be fired for malpractice.
Now you might be wondering what this political analogy is doing in an Atheist blog. Well that is easy. The doctor in the analogy prescribes leeches despite overwhelming evidence that leeches are bad for the economy. This propensity to ignore evidence is engrained in the doctor by the religious-industrial complex. The religious-industrial complex does this to preserve fanciful tales such as the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark, and that whole thing with the omnipotent sky fairy. Unfortunately the religious-industrial complex does not draw a line when it is conditioning people to ignore evidence. The engrained disdain for evidence spills over to poison the public discourse on everything from “Global Warning” to the efficacy of “Trickle Down Economics.” Mix with a substantial portion of greed and the stage is set for economic disaster.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Is the NRA just another delusional cult?

Apparently there is a “Professor” James Tracy in Florida promoting the idea that the massacre of children at Sandy Hook elementary school wasn’t real. According to James Tracy and other “Sandy Hook Truthers” the whole thing was staged by the Obama Administration using “crisis actors.” This typical conspiracy theory claims the whole thing was staged as a pretense for taking away the guns and “Second Amendment rights” of law abiding citizens.
First of all I would find it far more plausible that the Republican National Committee orchestrated the whole thing. Their motivation would obviously be to energize a portion of the Republican “base.” Let’s say the means was perhaps to provide psychotic pharmaceuticals and weapons to someone they knew to be unstable. Then a few subliminal suggestions and they suddenly have a distraction from their failed economic policies related to the “fiscal cliff” as well as rallying point to energize “gun rights” segment of the Republican “base.” I would rest more easily if this “left-wing” conspiracy sounded less plausible.
The second important point is the similarities between the NRA and global warming deniers. Global warming deniers reject scientifically collected statistics and scientific conclusions derived from those statistics. NRA types similarly reject basic math. This is directly enabled by religion. That is because religion actively conditions large segments of the population to reject science and reason. This is done to protect religious fairytales such as those of Noah’s Ark and the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately the conditioning doesn’t just reject science which conflicts with religion – but conditions gullible folks to reject all science. This means religion poisons the public discourse regarding global warming and gun violence.
Then I hear NRA types referencing their “God given right to bear arms” – after which I can only conclude that the NRA is just another delusional cult.

Banner for LGBT Pride Parade

Designed this and paid for two 3’ x 10’ vinyl banners so we would have something eye-catching to carry in last year’s LGBT Pride Parade. There was a contingent organized by Atheist Advocates San Francisco and we were part of that contingent.