Sunday, June 25, 2006

Carnival of the Godless #43

Come one! Come all!
Carnival of the Godless
Be ready to have your thoughts provoked and your heartstrings tugged upon, for today is a ride of rides within the free and wonderful blogosphere. Today, my silly human friends, you are entering Carnival! The 43rd installation of the Carnival of the Godless!


Alright.. so I like a little
drama. {-; Still, it is to be all well and good, as we explore the thoughts and ideas of many an atheist, agnostic and apathiest* from close to home (yours and mine!) and all over world wide webbiness of the internets. But no worries, eh. All travel expenses were included in the cost of admission.

* You probably don't need to be Einstein** to figure that one out.

** It'll all make sense, eventually. {-;


Ready? Then lets go!


Our first stop takes us to New Zealand where Nonprophet warns us to
Beware the Dogma, then surprises us with the resolution to an old fundamentalist strawman in Did Einstein Believe in God? The Definitive Answer. I must say I .. well.. why don'tchya just go see for yourself, eh?
Einstein’s views on God are often debated in religious discussions. For example, I’ve had more than one Christian try to tell me he was a believer and I’ve seen the same thing slipped in to various blog posts or apologetics videos.
[Lean in Real Close, now]
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Ay Caramba! CotG founder (and my own personal Blog Daddy-O) Brent Rasmussen takes a try at spinnin' our heads with numbers! In
Just Right, Brent does a good job of Unscrewing the Inscrutable Dr. Charles A. Coats. As I've said many times before, I am really happy that there are folk like Brent who enjoy math and numbers. If they weren't around, we'd all still be living in caves; when we're lucky enough to find one without a bear in it, that is...

Try this: Grab a deck of cards - poker cards will do nicely - shuffle them thoroughly, and then begin laying them on the table one at a time in a row.

You will begin to see a series of cards, one after another. The probability of that first card appearing first is 1 in 52, or 1/52. the probability of that exact second card appearing is 1/52 x 1/51. The third card's probability of appearing third in the sequence is 1/52 x 1/51 x 1/50! And so on - until you reach the last card in the 52-card deck.

Wow!

[Get Wowed!]

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George Michael's infectious ditty not-with-standing, I've always been of the opinion that you don't gotta have Faith. Mi amigo, Bronze Dog, who has done an excellent job handling the unfortunate extended of absence of his co-blogger Rockstar Ryan at Rockstar's Ramblings, has built up quite an impressive primer series of posts where he skillfully deconstructs the memes utilized by web "woos" in order to evangelize their personal beliefs as God's Honest Truth®. Get yer head unspun with Doggerel #16: Faith.
So, let's review: Woos, and especially fundies use faith to arrive at their faith and have faith that they aren't wrong about their faith. Got it? No? Well, you will. Have faith.
[Go get unspun!]
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Want an example of just how scary Faith can be? Head on over to The Greenbelt, where The Ridger shares a frightening run in with ... Opus Dei? Hhhmmm.. Maybe not, but the experience led her to wonder aloud, and quite thoughtfully, as to why some folk can't quite seem to grasp the efficacy
to religion of the concept of Separation of Church and State.
In this country, a person's religion is between himself and his god(s) and is no one else's business. Setting up blasphemy laws - even such mild ones as the Production Code - violates the firm belief of our Founders that the further government was held from religion, the better off religion would be.
[Climb Aboard!]
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JavaElemental, proprietor of
Coffee House Poetry, has an excellent suggestion for how to help make Church on Sunday and hate-spewing religious talking heads obsolete. And it's something I've personal experience in totally enjoying!
Sure, you get some good out of religion, mostly in the form of community support and charity, but really, those things can be accomplished without religion. I mean, we could just all take Sundays off, and sit around at someone’s house and BS while eating nachos and chilling out in front of the TV. Face it: it would be more fun than church, too. If you really feel like singing, there are songs that are more fun to sing than most gospels, too. We could do that cascading “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” thing that sounds so nifty when you get it right.
[Climb a'board!]
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For our next attraction, we take a little ride in the not-so-way back machine to 2003. Stephen W of Project Paradox posts some Thougths on Religion and what
really makes it still so attractive to an overwhelming majority of folk, all these centuries after the Age of Reason.
(A) religious person has the patronage of his or her divine agency, which affords both daily protection and spiritual immortality. As the infomercials say, “But wait! There’s more!” What if, by joining a religion, all of the people you have ever hated get tortured for all eternity? That cheating girlfriend, the guy who vandalized your house, even the man who tried to tell you that your religion was bologna… everyone who’s ever wronged or hurt you gets to burn for all of time once they die. Now, who can beat that? Protection, immortality, and revenge to boot. He who laughs last, huh?
[One Ticket Each!]
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Historical bloggery has a twin incarnation this trip through the blogosphere. In
Religious Doctrine for Sale, the author has proferred some of his Murky Thoughts from 2004. I've personally traversed the New Age realms of reincarnationary ruminating in my past, so I found Liam's take quitely humorous, but also a not-unlikely "theory" (heheh) to find some folk taking seriously.
I just thought of a nice variant on reincarnation, which I thought I'd offer to anyone looking to start a new religion--say a disaffected Baha'i, since my understanding is they like to stay close to views of modern science. Instead of imagining individuals being reborn as other individuals, why not just say individuals are reborn "as others"? That is, an indeterminate number of others. I think this metaphor is a lot more true to how genetics works, not to mention to at least one folk notion of it ("All a them's got their grammy's eyes and uncle Jimmy's crooked nose!"). This way it becomes quite reasonable to imagine yourself as Napoleon or Cleopatra.
[Step right up and pick your past life!]
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Talk about goin' for a ride! Francois Tremblay, of Goosing the Antithesis, seems to regularly post essays which elicit strong emotional responses from readers. This post on Lovey-Dovey Christianity -vs- Morality garnered a couple of comments to which I could really relate. Because I think that History shows people routinely dehumanizing folk of different backgrounds from their own, I found the last comment (as of my reading of the post) especially poignant. Here's a sample of Francois' setup, followed by the comment which I dug the most.
Love is, according to humanist psychology, a spontaneous affective movement towards beings or things which satisfy our values. While love is very complex, perhaps the most complex emotional phenomena, it has one thing in common : the feeling of well-being and happiness that the loved brings us, because we perceive it as being able to satisfy our values.
...
It is ... easy for me to express love towards others who belong to a different society, a different culture, simply because they are human. The affinity I feel for them can easily be destroyed on an individual basis if a particular person does something that causes me harm or pain, but the initial and preferable response is to give the person the benefit of the doubt, simply because they are human like me.

[Strap yourselves in!]
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Ready for more controversy? Well there's nothing controversial about the data presented in our next entry. The "take" is the thing, ain't it? Any who've read my site with any regularity already know how I think on abortion. For a partial explanation of why, we'll head out to our next attraction to experience some of
The Philosophy of the Socratic Gadfly and get a little medical background on How Often Human Conception Fails.
(I)f we follow the line of good conservative Catholics, evangelicals, Mormons, etc. (but not Orthodox Jews — if you read the Torah on pregnancy and from it argue to soul implantation, boys are soulless until the 40th day of a pregnancy and girls until the 80th day) God is putting souls in a lot of embryos that never make it to the fetus stage of development, let alone birth.
[Take a gander]

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Jane Shevtsov, of
Perceiving Wholes, is a blogger after my own heart and mind. Her modus operandi is looking at as many sides of an issue as there are to see. In this post entitled Wife Swaps Leads the Way she discusses semi-celebrity The Infidel Guy's adventures in television and how tricky but wonderful it can be when two opposing extremes get together and try for a little balance and mutual understanding.
Seriously, I hope today's show starts to open a discussion of the civil rights of secular individuals. Religion is here to stay, and so is doubt. With tolerance, reason and separation of church and state, we can get along while disagreeing and build a better society for everyone.
[Tune in!]
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Going on the rides at a Carnival is something one does at their own risk. If you decide to climb aboard the Tilt-a-Whirl and end up blow chunks all over yourself (neverminding your co-riders!) there is a reason it happened. But was there a
purpose? In Purpose and Reason in a Godless World, Coralius, of Revolvo Inritus, gives a couple of good examples of why those two things are empirically not one and the same.
That's one of the beauties of being godless, be it atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, freethinker, what-have-you. The godless know that our actions are our own. Every mistake I've ever made is mine. No one else's. I'm not proud of those mistakes, but they help to define who I am. No mischievous spirit with horns and a tail prodded me on to make them. I screwed up six ways from Sunday on my own. And I'd like to think that I learned a few things along the way. Heck, I'm still screwing up, and trying to learn.
[Scream Out Loud! It helps relieve the presuure.]
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Every Carnival has to have a Fun House! Today's is provided by
the Neural Philosopher on his eponymously titled blog. NP provides us with Voodoo, Zombies and the Puffer Fish, the last presumably since it's gettin' near the end of the day, and I'm sure you're all gettin' a wee bit peckish.
A few days after being buried, the 'zombie' is disinterred and given another powder containing atropine and scopolamine. These are toxic and hallucinogenic compounds from the plants Datura metel and Datura stramonium (both known as the 'zombie cucumber'). This powder, when administered, puts the victim into a permanent state of delirium and disorientation in which they experience delusions and hallucinations. He or she can then be made to do menial work for those against which the crime was committed.
[Snacks anyone?]


Whew! Well my friends, unfortunately that is all we have time for this Sunday. It's been fun for me. Especially since, as is often the case with bloggery Carnivalia, I've found a few more sites which I plan on reading with some regularity.

I hope you all enjoyed yourselves and wanna encourage to you to look for the next installment of the Carnival of the Godless
two weeks from today over at Daylight Athiesm.

Oy vey! An addendum here: Apologies to those few whose entries were not used. They were ALL good ones in my opinion. I really did feel that I had run out of time.

Please do consider resubmitting them, as there are, thank time!, always more Carnivals to come.

Again, my sincere apologies. Thanks all!


7 comments:

  1. Very cool. I didn't know there was such a thing as the Carnival of the Godless. I need to get out more. I gotta see about submitting something to the next one. -JJ

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  2. Thanks for hosting the carnival. I must really offer an article next time!

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  3. The carnival looks great, as always. Thanks, Michael, for hosting it, and I appreciate the bump. :) If you haven't yet contributed to the Carnival of the Godless and would like to do so, there's no better time than now!

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  4. Much appreciated, Coralius. What you wrote about being responsible for being you is thematic of how I "escaped the meme machine". It's a lifelong struggle eh, and sometimes it's better than others. You gave a great reminder why it's worth it to me.

    Jaundice (I love it!) Check out Coturnix' site sometime. Dude always has the rundown on ALL the Carnivalia in the Freethought portion of the blog'sphere. And thanks for leavin' word.

    You and me both, Zeno! lol!

    I've contributed a couple in the past, Ebonmuse (alright, one!) but thanks for the prompt. I do have one particular post in mind for your event.

    And thanks to all who came to today's party. I had a blast writing it, in no small part because it meant I got to read some really great takes on what it means for other folk to be godless in a goddy world.

    L8!

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  5. Oh my! I must have made a wrong turn. This google map was suppose to direct me to the faithful, yet I end up here! Hmmm, perhaps I can back google this and get back to the monastery before it is too late!

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