Speak Out [religion]: July 1 to Sept. 9, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

This forum is for discussing religious issues. The same standards of behavior apply as are spelled out on our home page in the introduction to Speak Out.

Post a comment

Comments
View 163 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • Here is what it boils down to: The religious right thinks their right to freedom of religion includes embedding their religious belief/morality into our government. That right to them is telling everyone else what they must do (no, you can't have an abortion, and no, you can't live and marry who you want, and no to much more). The rest of us want the government to stay out of our lives and give us the freedom (equality) to make our own decisions of how to live our lives and make personal decisions. The rest of us ALL believe in the right to worship any way they choose (or not to worship) as long they do not infringe on the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We all have that right as long as it does not infringe upon those same rights of others. Please go away and worship however you wish and quit your persistent push to force your particular religious morality on the rest of us.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Mon, Jul 1, 2013, at 8:05 PM
  • Yup, RT, and ain't it ironic that they raise hell out of the other side of their mouths about "gubmint" staying the hell out of THEIR lives, as they push their religious agenda government down everone else's throats.

    HYPOCRITES!

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Jul 2, 2013, at 12:44 AM
  • Hey y'all -

    The preacher from Nazareth laid it all out to those he spoke with ... and about ...

    He called the religious leaders some pretty strong names ... pit of vipers ... den of thieves ... that sort of thing.

    He was adamant and authoritative about his thoughts on subjects such as the Kingdom of God and Heaven and what it took for someone to experience those things ... However - I don't believe he ever tried to ram his beliefs down anyone's throat (unless it was the religious folks of the day) ... He simply said, with atuthority, this is how it is - this is what you can expect ... And then he left it to the hearer to act accordingly - or not to act at all.

    I think the religious right should follow his example ... and that maybe they should read the New Testament to discover just what Jesus thought of such folks.

    Just my opinion - humble or not.

    gb

    -- Posted by gentle ben on Tue, Jul 2, 2013, at 10:33 AM
  • GB, based on what you've said, sounds like the kind of person I would have no problem with, at least he sounds like he's not an interventionist into other peoples lives who don't care to believe or believe what he does? When you say "laying it on the line" I can't help but wonder if he was talking about hell and damnation. I don't have a problem with grown adults choosing to believe that either, but I do have a problem if that fear is pushed to children as well.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Tue, Jul 2, 2013, at 6:04 PM
  • gb - you know, when I was still in the fold, I remember a Carpenter who spoke with women as equals, fed the hungry, healed the sick, and told his followers "give away all you have, and follow me"... the only time he REALLY lost his temper (at least in the existing versions) was when he drove the banksters out of the temple... That was a long-haired hippy freak that I really liked.

    Just can't believe it's the same vengeful, mean, exclusionary, self-righteous, money-grubbing, pompous creep the extreme right likes to quote - altho they are usually quoting Paul, anyway...

    -- Posted by NDII on Tue, Jul 2, 2013, at 10:12 PM
  • There are legitimate questions as to whether Jesus was a real person. That being said, whether he was real or not, his character was like ND has stated... more Hippy Like than the far right and actions that the religious right would ever be happy with. Those acting out the Jesus of the bible today would be classified as a Communist or Socialist. I dare say the far right would crucify him again. Too bad he was probably fictional as well :-(

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Wed, Jul 3, 2013, at 6:06 PM
  • Are you religious? Do you believe this Christian poll?

    "Christian Polling Group Finds Atheists Divorce Less Than Christians"

    "An Evangelical Christian pollster finds that atheists commit less crimes, divorce less, and are better educated than their fellow Christians."

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/7/3/christian-polling-group-fin...

    "...the groups with the highest crime rate, the poorest marriages and the lowest education continually strive to force their beliefs on the nonreligious. Why else would they pass laws to put religion in the schools and on courthouse facades? And then they wonder why the godless could possibly be upset."

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Thu, Jul 4, 2013, at 8:10 AM
  • -- Posted by NDII on Thu, Jul 4, 2013, at 8:15 AM
  • I have always wondered what type of mindset preachers must have to believe they can lecture to anyone about a supernatural being they could not have possibly ever communicated with. Oh, they read their holy book and have become a "believer" and somehow feel they can communicate some experience to their "flock" about something they could not possibly know. In my mind, they are either charlatans or somewhat deranged, at least subconsciously to believe they can impart any type of information they have regarding any supernatural being. Basically, they are either lying or deranged, some more than others. Check out this 5 minute YouTube clip of a Baptist minister "going off" on some of his congregation, starting with someone who was nodding off. It really is all about "ego", and people still want to waste one day a week to be lectured to by these deranged men.....

    http://youtu.be/PSJt-LHMNRY

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Thu, Jul 4, 2013, at 8:25 AM
  • RT - I have met those who take seriously "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." That sort of humility is hard to find these days, however - too many are too busy raising money and TELLING everyone else how to live their lives by cherry-picking the scarey stuff and threatening everyone who doesn't quake before their bullying... sad.

    -- Posted by NDII on Fri, Jul 5, 2013, at 7:38 AM
  • But ND, even those who possess the humility you talk about have gotten themselves all wrapped up in this god business, where they feel they know something personally about some creator they could not possibly know more about than you or I. They may be fantastic human beings with great intensions, but I'm questioning their psyche. Believing in a higher power (a deist) is perfectly understandable, even though I don't subscribe to it. But believing in a specific religious doctrine so much that you somehow believe you are connected to that being in such a way you can teach others about it, borders on the ridiculous. I cannot help but believe they were brainwashed from childhood and as they mature they have to have doubts as to what they thought the knew personally. They have to have doubts because they cannot know more than you or I, they can only feel emotionally, not enough to claim certainty. Basically, they are living a fraudulent life, pretending to teach and know something they do not have the ability to know.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Jul 6, 2013, at 5:16 AM
  • Also, ND, this is where religion gets a "pass" that is not given anywhere else. If the nicest person you ever knew also believes and talks about being abducted by aliens, detailing specific events that occurred, most people would chalk that off as to being just a "crazy side" to that individual, especially if in all other areas of their life they were fun, loving, and seen as an all-around nice individual. They would just be seen as just a little crazy. Religion, on the other hand, claims equally "unbelievable" events that we know could not have happened, yet it has been embedded in our culture for thousands of years and gets more than a "pass", they even get respect by many. Our government even gives them tax breaks. It is time for religion to quit getting respect from rational people who know better. If anyone wants to believe in ghosts or supernatural beings, or flying saucers, that is their prerogative, but let's start putting all religion and their supernatural claims in the same category and quit giving them the respect they do not deserve.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Jul 6, 2013, at 5:29 AM
  • RT - you are ascribing characteristics and motives to ALL/100% local religious leaders that are not by any means universal in nature, nor are they universal in practice. Not ALL non-religious persons are the same, nor are ALL religious persons the same. To blanket ALL religious persons with the same stereotypes is as empirically incorrect as our resident right-wingers who tell us that ALL 'libruls' are going to H***.

    Personally, I am against churches, in and of themselves, paying no taxes... I actually have some "preacher" in-laws who have done VERY well for themselves by tax dodging that way, and I really have no respect for them. Churches have income, property, and employees and should be taxed as businesses, imo.

    I understand your antipathy - that is certainly your right, but painting in the same absolute terms is as factually incorrect as the other way around.

    All I said was, I have met those who practice a different kind of helping, from a humble and seeking perspective, not from an ego, greed or false arrogance perspective - not many, but a few. These few did not claim to have any superior knowledge, nor desire to "brainwash" anyone. As a matter of fact, most came to their 'ministry' literally to serve, asked nothing in return, and often came to their beliefs thru serious hard knocks and had found solace, peace, in serving. Not one of them was wealthy, not one told me I was going to burn, not one tried to tell me that THEY were "right" and I was "wrong"... They do exist... and not all of them were Christian.

    As you have heard before, I don't care what you believe - that's your business. But you just cannot empirically correctly continue to make 100% absolute statements about an entire broad class any more credibly than the ultra-right can without becoming as ridiculously dogmatic as they are.

    Even News goes to services, not because he believes them, but because he appreciates the social interaction... even as their resident 'curmudgeon' ;)

    -- Posted by NDII on Sat, Jul 6, 2013, at 7:15 AM
  • RT - One thing you and News have to remember is that human beings are NOT 'rational actors'. As persons of science, you have to know that human beings are hard-wired for instant emotion, and that rational principles are skills that we have to learn and practice.

    "Public relations" and advertising mass manipulators figured this out with the advent of Bernays and Lippman, who felt that 'the masses' had to be manipulated for the good of the rich, and to sell people stuff they did NOT need in order to CREATE a 'consumer society' to enrich the rich. "Elmer Gantry" is all about religious mass manipulation.

    And quite frankly, I doubt that millions of years of evolution and several thousand years of civilization based on emotions and relationships are going to be undone by three or four hundred years of 'scientific method', which is a learned skill, NOT an innate characteristic.

    -- Posted by NDII on Sat, Jul 6, 2013, at 7:42 AM
  • As a matter of scientific evolution, we simply can NOT discount 'religion' as part of our human development...

    From the earliest cave-drawings that showed we had developed 'imagination', wonder became spirituality, or philosophies, some of which became codified as 'religions', were our species' developmental efforts to discover order in the Universe.

    It is an impulse as old as our species - between being chased by predators and gathering food, we had time to wonder... it comes along in tandem with our need for food and shelter and sex. It has defined how our languages developed, and how our societies are structured. It isn't going away because we have learned a new skill.

    And you're right - religious folks cannot EMPRIRCALLY "know" any more than non-religious - non-religious simply admit the empirical levels of improbability. But those are rational tools, not innate emotional characteristics.

    While some tools, and skills, have certainly widely changed how we think about things, those tools have NOT changed our basic hard-wiring. And to paint ALL non-material religions, spiritualities, and philosophies as patently false is flatly denying the realities of our evolutionary existence and seems to me as foolish as saying that the world is only 6000 years old. Both ignore the evidence you say you value.

    -- Posted by NDII on Sat, Jul 6, 2013, at 8:22 AM
  • I don't think we are as far apart as you make it sound. I agree I cannot lump 100 percent of religious people in the same totally crazy category. I am focusing on the tiny area of overlap between all humans who believe in a specific religion and a god that answers prayers and oversees our every action. The group that ascribes to that are as varied as you say all of us atheists who subscribe to no supernatural being at all. It is not the variety I am trying to emphasize. It IS the psyche of an individual who openly claims to believe the stories in their religious text as well as try to convince others of this truth they themselves cannot possibly know.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Jul 6, 2013, at 4:52 PM
  • RT - don't disagree about that not so small minority. People who used to claim that they had ALL the answers to EVERYTHING for EVERYBODY were either considered dictators or flat crazy and certainly un-American. I still tend to think that. ;)

    -- Posted by NDII on Sat, Jul 6, 2013, at 10:32 PM
  • Part of planned parenthood is birth control. DO, do you have a problem with women using birth control? I listened to the first couple of minutes and could see how you might take Margaret Sanger's quotes out of context, especially if you are an anti-abortion. I think MEN need to butt out of the conversation and LISTEN to what women have to say, and I think you'll find that the vast majority of women support Planned Parenthood.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Jul 7, 2013, at 7:06 PM
  • Thank Margaret Sanger! Women finally had control over their own bodies, when and how many children, and how far apart they came.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/world-population-day-can-women...

    We need to have a SANE conversation about the human rights and reproductive rights of women - are we merely 'breeders' for the State, or do we actually have sovereign rights over our own bodies? To reduce women to 'egg-carriers', without choice or even a voice, in the matter is to declare that women are 'less', 'incapable', property of MEN and the STATE - cattle.

    And I will NOT 'shut up'!

    -- Posted by NDII on Sun, Jul 7, 2013, at 9:26 PM
  • News - I wish you were right...

    These perverts are mandating totally unnecessary medical mechanical rape, forcing women to WATCH, then to PAY for it!! They are FORCING doctors to flat out LIE to patients!! And then WOMEN are FORBIDDEN to sue over medical malpractice!!

    State after state is making laws that force doctors to LIE, that practice medicine without a license, that deny women sovereignty over their own bodies, that make women CATTLE that are OWNED and deemed INCOMPTENT by the state BECAUSE they are WOMEN!!

    And not ONE of these same perverts has actually managed to acknowledge WOMEN as FULL ADULT HUMAN BEINGS WHO HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS ABOUT THEIR OWN LIVES. Exactly the OPPOSITE!! They are LEGISLATING that women are NOT full adult citizens, but are "breeders" for the state. They are LEGISLATING that women are INCAPABLE of making their own decisions, and TOO STUPID to know what they are doing, by removing women's rights to make those decisions. They aren't doing this to MEN - who obviously had SOMETHING to do with EVERY SINGLE pregnancy...NOOOOOOO - they all want to be 'BABY DADDIES'!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYcFHBEEfAg

    I just WISH Roe v Wade were 'nough said'...

    -- Posted by NDII on Mon, Jul 8, 2013, at 11:09 PM
  • DO - then the anti-choice crowd needs to BUTT OUT, and let EVERYONE live the consequences of their choices, hell or otherwise. It's a NUNYA. If you (generically) personally are pure as the driven snow, then YOU have nothing to worry about and the consequences of everyone else's actions for themselves are NOT your problem. You (generically) are ONLY responsible for your own sins. So it's STILL a NUNYA.

    -- Posted by NDII on Mon, Jul 8, 2013, at 11:14 PM
  • And, DO, I DO wish the anti-choice crowd would actually READ the flippin' Bible, because it does NOT say that 'life begins at conception' - it says life begins at the FIRST BREATH OF AIR...

    http://joeschwartz.net/life.htm

    http://madmikesamerica.com/2012/05/bible-life-begins-at-first-breath/

    And this one details how MUCH a month old is worth, and to be counted in the census... but NOT an infant LESS than a month old, which was NOT counted and was not 'reimbursable'...

    http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/bible.shtml

    -- Posted by NDII on Mon, Jul 8, 2013, at 11:28 PM
  • NDII -

    Are you hungry? You seem a bit out of sorts - not your normal cool collected self ...

    Soooo - is an infant less than a month old a human? If a baby can feel pain in the womb, have a heartbeat in the womb, and move around in the womb on its own - does that not mean the baby is alive? ...

    I think some folks use the abortion issue to press their own control freak attitudes and tendencies ... It's not really about choice, or they could choose not to get pregnant or not to have unprotected sex, etc. ...

    I think it's more about the "I'll do as I d#@m well please and that means I'll take the life away from this new living being if I d#@m well want to!" ...

    Y'all are pretty pathetic to call it "pro-choice"and "anti-choice" when it comes to killing babies and yet stand back and scream for tougher gun controls so more "innocent" people don't get killed.

    Call it what you want - it still ends a life, plain and simple - and I don't give a hot d#@m what the courts say.

    There I said it ... Goodnight all!

    -- Posted by gentle ben on Tue, Jul 9, 2013, at 3:24 PM
  • By the way - from an earlier thread - I too believe Jesus (as we know him from the scriptures) was more hippie than televangelist; more like Mother Theresa than like any of the well-known preachers of the day.

    It's a picture of Jesus that is hard to talk to "christians" about these days because they have confused his teachings with organized religion - which (you were right NDII) he spoke out against harshly and on a regular basis.

    -- Posted by gentle ben on Tue, Jul 9, 2013, at 3:55 PM
  • GB you said "It's not really about choice, or they could choose not to get pregnant or not to have unprotected sex, etc. ... "

    You are either choosing to ignore rape, incest, and other situations wherein choice does not have anything to do with pregnancy, or choosing to not address the issue because it is a sticky wicket.

    Where are you on those issues? Is your pity, and urge to protect the unborn greater than your concern for raped children?

    If you had a twelve year old daughter who was raped, and became pregnant by a genetically caused insane deviate who was likely to pass on his insanity to your grand child, would you insist on the baby's birth? If not then you are drawing a line based on your concept of right, and wrong.

    If that is the case how is it that you can demand your right to terminate in such a horrible case, but would deny others the right to follow their conscience if it differed from yours? Should not we all have the right to draw the line, as you do?

    Just something to think about. As I said it is a sticky wicket. I have yet to hear anyone say that they liked abortions.

    It is vain of you to assume that the dictates of your individual conscience should be followed by all others. I suppose this is the place that I must remind you that you are not God, and abortion, or not, is not your call.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Jul 9, 2013, at 6:37 PM
  • Good to see you back at your old whack attack DO. Other than that I won't rise to the bait no matter how you misconstrue, and twist my remarks.

    I will leave it to the intelligent folks who share this blog to correctly, and honestly perceive what I am saying, and perhaps even wonder what the hell you are saying, and why. ;)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Jul 10, 2013, at 1:07 AM
  • GB - I understand your feelings, but your feelings are NOT a good basis for broad public policy. If you don't like abortion, don't have one. That is your choice.

    The problem with the anti-choice crowd is that they don't seem to think past their noses...

    They generally don't like poor people so they don't want to spend public money on food, education, healthcare, or housing to care for the extra population.

    They don't want women to have contraception that would PREVENT unwanted pregnancies.

    They don't want to spend money on pregnant women's healthcare, food or housing, thereby increasing the probability of a permanently developmentally damaged child who will need special services and possibly life-long care.

    They DO want to humiliate and demean women who seek abortions.

    They DO want to put millions of women who have abortions or use contraception or have miscarriages in prison for murder. MORE public expense and social humiliation.

    They DO want to REDUCE women merely to their reproductive functions while REFUSING to support the physical requirements and consequences of those function.

    They DO want to ensure that poor women have NO access to ANY healthcare, including cancer screenings, in order to enforce the reduction of women to 'property of the state' status.

    On the other hand, anti-choice 'advocates' do NOT seek to prosecute, persecute, humiliate, demean, or even legislate against MEN, who are obviously the other half of this equation.

    The anti-choice 'advocates' REFUSE to legislate vasectomies for men who 'spread their seed' but refuse the responsibilities of fatherhood.

    The anti-choice 'advocates' do not bother to advocate for greater prosecution of violence against women, prosecuting stalking, rape, or removal of guns from domestic batterers.

    The anti-choice crowd has not bothered to push legislation to have 'baby-daddies' jailed for life, invaded by anal probes, cut, or forced to even WATCH the births of their indiscriminant sex.

    The anti-choice crowd is AGAINST handing out free condoms to MEN, or making MEN responsible in ANY way.

    The anti-choice crowd is against medical necessity abortions in the even of severe fetal abnormality, forcing women to carry and bear horrific birth defects, and then the costs associated with emergency neo-natal care.

    The anti-choice BLAMES WOMEN, but NOT MEN, for sex even tho biologically IT TAKES ONE EACH TYPE to make a baby.

    The anti-choice crowd obviously has stock in the private prison industry because they apparently plan to put all these evil WOMEN permanently in prison.

    The anti-choice crowd is NOT about "life" at all... it is a ruse and a lie to make women into property, second-class citizens, non-competitors, not equal in ANY other domains, and to make excuses for MEN who have no self control and can only be 'top-dog' by kicking women DOWN while they're pregnant.

    And, understand, this is NOT about ALL women - this is only about not-rich women, who have ALWAYS had the means and have had abortions.

    It's not about 'life' because women have ALWAYS had the means to terminate unwanted pregnancies - it's just that a LOT of women died ugly, painful and unnecessary deaths because they had no other options. This won't stop the bloodshed - but the anti-choicers do NOT care.

    The lie that this 'movement' is about 'life' is a cruel and vicious LIE. It's not - it IS all about control and subjugation of women by using biology against them... I guess it's the only way they can cut those notches in their belts.

    I wasn't 'hungry' - a bit insulting, doncha think... I am ANGRY. I am ANGRY that power hungry politicians who have no medical knowledge are forcing mechanical rape and all manner of humiliations and mental anguish on women for their vicarious pleasure - because there is certainly NO rational reason. It's just sick.

    -- Posted by NDII on Wed, Jul 10, 2013, at 8:12 AM
  • How do any of you know that I haven't had a 12 year old daughter who got pregnant? Or what guidance I might have given her if she did? And how do you know that I haven't witnessed first-hand several miscarriages that had great emotional impact on my family? I think many of the comments here are filled with misguided assumptions.

    NDII - You speak in broad strokes about what those who disagree with you believe - but you really have no idea what I believe. ... For example - I DO believe men should be held accountable for the pregnancies they cause ... That's just one example.

    Seems you are being very judgemental of an entire group of people who might really not be a GROUP of people ... We all have our own thoughts - mine just lean toward NOT using abortion as a contraceptive ... True "contraceptives" (birth control pills, diaphragms, condoms, etc) are much better than taking an innocent life. They are meant to prevent conception - not end life once it begins.

    But - I'm guessing (and this is an educated guess based on historical data) that we will never agree. The good thing is - I don't have to convince you of anything and am not trying to get you "on my side."

    Have a pleasant day each of you - and may the force (whatever force that might be) be with you!

    gb

    -- Posted by gentle ben on Wed, Jul 10, 2013, at 8:45 AM
  • GB - I was speaking broadly in terms of the larger issues BECAUSE I respect that your personal opinion may not coincide with all of those, thus I did not mention you, personally or specifically. The rest of the incidents cited are reviews of current legislation, pending legislation and public statements made by those who purport to represent those views, and the effects of those actions on women.

    My response was to your personal comment about my state of 'hunger', and to clarify that.

    -- Posted by NDII on Wed, Jul 10, 2013, at 10:27 AM
  • NDII - "I am ANGRY that power hungry politicians who have no medical knowledge are forcing mechanical rape and all manner of humiliations and mental anguish on women ..."

    What is a D&C if not "mechanical rape" and "humiliation" and "mental anguish" perpertated on women?

    Have you read studies that show many women seeking an abortion DO NOT EVEN KNOW what it entails?

    It's not a pretty sight ... especially the late term type that actually ends the life of the baby AFTER it is born (or has at least started out of the womb) ...

    We can call right wing politicians anything we want - but let's not make abortion into a glamorous event.

    -- Posted by gentle ben on Wed, Jul 10, 2013, at 3:01 PM
  • By the way, I WAS talking about partial-birth abortions in my last comment.

    -- Posted by gentle ben on Wed, Jul 10, 2013, at 3:03 PM
  • I don't have to look at "pictures" to see the bloodshed - I've taken women to the hospital to treat botched abortions, and cleaned up the REAL blood.

    I was THERE when my friend was told that her baby was dead and necrotic and poisoning her system and the local Catholic hospital refused to induce labor to terminate. Thank Margaret Sanger for Planned Parenthood!

    I find it beyond LUDICROUS that two MEN are telling a WOMAN what abortion is 'really' about. Seriously?!!! But hey, what's it matter anyway, right? There's always another 'free cow'...

    -- Posted by NDII on Wed, Jul 10, 2013, at 8:37 PM
  • I sit slumped forward in a cast off chair smoking in the garage.

    The thick mottled concrete beneath my feet has a frack crack,

    zig zagging across the thickness poured over fifty years ago.

    Undisturbed until recently when greed inspired disturbance elsewhere

    left its mark here, not there.

    Parallel to the crack a shiny brown bug zig zags across the floor.

    Running for cover it heads toward my foot.

    Controlling the minutiae of megalomania

    I move my foot aside, it comes on, I move it again.

    Neither of us willing to do more, nor less, it rests beneath my sole.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Jul 11, 2013, at 2:21 AM
  • OKR - hope your fracking crack is not severe. ;)

    -- Posted by NDII on Thu, Jul 11, 2013, at 6:12 AM
  • The frack crack is not severe. It is just a constant reminder of negligence perpetrated long ago out of ignorance, and greed, and similar negligent acts of today resulting from pure greed with out the excuse of ignorance, amelioration be damned.

    It is also a reminder that my home insurance now costs me an extra three hundred a year for added earth quake coverage, a personal penalty resulting from Oklahoma's unofficial motto, "Drill baby, drill!"

    Yeh News it is painful to me, but not to the concrete floor.

    On the positive side it is a constant reminder that we must be gentler in our approach to all facets of nature. Thus the brown bug lived to see another day. :)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Jul 11, 2013, at 12:50 PM
  • News: "And the crazies who want to force 12 year old girls to have rapist babies have their crazy reasons for their position."

    Their "crazy" reason is their "religion". "Religion poisons everything"!

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Thu, Jul 11, 2013, at 6:30 PM
  • ND: "I find it beyond LUDICROUS that two MEN are telling a WOMAN what abortion is 'really' about."

    If it isn't about women making a choice, then what is it ND? If I could wave a magic wand and make abortion be up to women only, I would do so. However, men not only vote, they are the vast majority of state and federal legislatures, so, unfortunately, they somehow need to be convinced what is the right way to handle it. It appears that RvW is being eroded dramatically, and the way it is going, I'm afraid those who believe their magic book believe they must stop all abortion. Not only are they making it next to impossible for women to get a legal abortion, they are attacking all of Planned Parenthood to do it, and organization that does fantastic work for women's health in more areas that are not abortion related. The only way we can stop this tide of right wing religious idiots is to vote them out, which looks like it is going to be a very long and difficult fight.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Thu, Jul 11, 2013, at 6:31 PM
  • RT - in case you missed it, my rant on 7/10 pretty much says it all... As far as I can tell, from available evidence, it's all about subjugation and control of women and women's "evil" bodies/natures. It's NOT about "life", that's for bloody sure. If it were, the 'interest' would last past birth - and it certainly does NOT.

    -- Posted by NDII on Thu, Jul 11, 2013, at 8:49 PM
  • news - I agree, however, it seems that the extreme right is more invested in negative control than positive prevention - and that is where I part ways. If they actually gave a rat's patoot about honestly PREVENTING unwanted pregnancy, supporting the 'ooops' pregnancies, and did it without punishing everyone else in the process (except men of course), I might take them more seriously. They have proven by their actions that they do not care AT ALL about women's health WHILE they are pregnant, or about children's health AFTER they're born. As a matter of fact, once they are actually born, they become a 'taker' and a cheap target for starvation and abuse - as evidenced by the GOP's secret removal of ALL SNAP funds from the Farm Bill, and state legislation that insists on JAILING women who have had miscarriages and still births. THAT is just sadistic cruelty.

    -- Posted by NDII on Fri, Jul 12, 2013, at 6:58 AM
  • The thought occurs to me that many of the folk who believe in myths are also handy at creating myths in which they believe with the same fervor that they exhibit regarding their central myth.

    Such things come to mind for instance as "folks on welfare are low lifes milking the system", almost always following with an example of that which they personally witnessed.

    The real dominating triune in their lives is; central myth, perspective myth, and its witnessing myth.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Fri, Jul 12, 2013, at 10:01 PM
  • OKR, it is always a myth until it happens to yourself :-( The right wing religious element believes their church is there for them if something goes wrong and they need assistance. For the most part, that is only true for fairly short periods. Even the church won't last long when it comes to paying your rent or house payment if you lose your job or are disabled and can't work. But then they believe like themselves, you should have family to help. THEY don't understand that all those umbrellas they see for themselves are just not there for everyone, and in today's economy, for very many. Government should be our umbrella, not the church. I guess if they all would join a church (that they may not believe in) that would be the answer -- but it is not. When you have a job and you work hard, it is easy to project your situation to those who don't and those who struggle and think that deep down they are slackers, especially when you see the ones who are slackers milking the system. The numbers don't lie; the vast majority of those needing assistance are not slackers. As long as you have an economy that continues to let the vast majority of the money rise to the top few and an increasing number of those who struggle to put food on the table, the smaller our middle class will shrink exacerbating the problem. The answer is twofold. You must quit letting the religious right influence government, and you must use the tax code to promote the growth again of the middle class. That's not socialism as the rich and ignorant would proclaim. That is "controlled" capitalism. You can still be rich beyond your wildest dreams and pursue living the dream, but a larger percentage of that extravagant pile of money must be used to help those rise up out of the gutters that your drive for money has helped put them into. But the filthy rich are able to keep their extravagant gains by scaring the ignorant and using the religious right to form a coalition to keep them from doing their fair share. Shame on the religious right and pity on the ignorant to be used in such a way to allow the few to keep accumulating wealth. My parents were part of a generation that built the strongest middle class in the world, mostly because they demanded a fair wage and work force fairness, and now our generation is letting a few erode what built our great nation. This may belong on the political blog more than the religion blog, but I feel religion is the key element in this sick coalition that is now ruling the GOP.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Jul 13, 2013, at 7:04 AM
  • RT - well said. OKR - yup.

    -- Posted by NDII on Sat, Jul 13, 2013, at 9:33 AM
  • Do you reckon that Kia would sell more Souls if they threw in four warm fuzzy hamster heads for occupants to wear when occupying the car?

    Perhaps they should also offer additional accessories such as a colorful, removable plastic tube as a roof top carrier. It would be a good place to store the kids if they were being naughty in the car. They could scurry around in the tube until they wore themselves out, then a few miles down the road you could let them back inside.

    Heck they might even sell a few off market to folks like Mitt Romney to store their dogs in on long trips. It would certainly be more aerodynamic than a dog crate.

    This is my comment for today on the religion blog. I reckon we all ought to do all we can to save every kind of Soul. ;)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sat, Jul 13, 2013, at 12:53 PM
  • My favorite Kia Soul with Hamsters advertisement is at the following link.

    I like the symbolism of the Hamsters getting into their Soul and rocketing into the heavens. In fact I think a quite successful little religion may be cultured from the Hampster/Soul commercials. I may be compelled to further develop that theme. ;) http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+kia+hamsters&mid=5B60C689AA07BAF0E43...

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sat, Jul 13, 2013, at 11:31 PM
  • Please, someone, anyone, post something here. Get those consarned hamsters off the lead position on this blog.

    Everytime I pop back to the religion blog there they are. It reminds me of, and fills me with dread that eternity may be forever, or the amount of time one is forced to contemplate one's past utterances. If this remains much longer I really am going to have to go deeply into rodent religion, and the path to hamster heaven. That's a threat. :)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Jul 17, 2013, at 10:38 PM
  • BOOK ONE: IN THE BEGINNING (watch video at link before reading text)

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+hamsters+soul&view=detail&mid=D55D0A...

    In the beginning all hamsters were caught up in the rat race...er hamster race. They spent each day spinning their wheels, getting nowhere. There were no exceptions to a drab life without meaning for all hamsters. No matter their location, it was always the same.

    Not that they complained. After all they were not rats, lemming, or guinea pigs, they knew things could be worse. Nevertheless in their hearts of hearts they yearned for meaning, and a greater sense of freedom.

    One day a triune of hamsters in a shining red Soul flashed by all the other hamsters. They were actually going somewhere. All the hamsters were astounded. Their hearts, and minds began to look toward such joy with the hope that somehow they could also be so blessed. They began calling the triune Mesocricetus Auratus for to call them hamsters would be, dare I say it, blasphemy. After this revelation nothing would ever be the same for all the hamsters of this world.

    END BOOK ONE

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Jul 18, 2013, at 1:08 AM
  • I warned you! ;)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Jul 18, 2013, at 1:11 AM
  • Book Two: ONE WAY, SEEKING A SOUL (Watch video before reading text.) http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+hamsters+soul&view=detail&mid=D55D0A...

    All Hamsters left their wheels, and it was good. Instead of spinning their wheels they were searching for a personal Soul.

    Some tried to cut corners. They wanted all the other hamsters to think they had found a Soul, even though they had not. They went to great lengths to deceive others, and in most cases to deceive themselves. Of course the sham Souls were exposed, and collapsed when confronted by the real Soul of the Troika. Such fools had ignored the sign advising one way, and were doomed to failure.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Jul 18, 2013, at 11:48 AM
  • NOTE: video for BOOK TWO does not correlate with the text. Below is the link to the one true video for BOOK TWO.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miC1VZ9UVCQ

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Jul 18, 2013, at 12:08 PM
  • BOOK THREE: PEACE ON EARTH (Watch video before reading text.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fn_9ldOxy8

    And then The Hamster Triune knowing that having a Soul was good, took their Soul to all the world, cruising into conflagration of the worst sort. With bravery of the highest order they brought their Soul, and their joy at having such a wonderful Soul into the midst of awful war. Confronted by such courage the armies laid down their arms, stopped their killing, and joined the Hamsters in a happy dance. There was peace, and peace was good.

    Soul, a new way to roll.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Jul 18, 2013, at 1:10 PM
  • Book Four: The Ascension (view video before reading text.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-AgGofgyGg

    Having showed the world the advantages of a Soul, The Hamster Triune made one last appearance on a grand stage amidst pageantry, and opulence. The audience was taken aback as the hamster heirarchy shed ornate disguises, and one last time showed them the true majesty of a Soul, and that song, and dance were the universal tribute to a Soul.

    Then encompassed in pure white Soul they arose in a flash, ascending toward the heavens, as the co-pilot of the Soul shared one last mystical wink with the throng before disappearing into the firmament.

    The End For Now.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Jul 18, 2013, at 1:53 PM
  • Interesting post News. I tend to agree with the study's conclusions.

    It seems to me that it is common sense that the more property people collect, the more they become attached to it, and the more fiercely they will defend their possesions. The other side of that coin is that the more some other group has, the more some disadvantaged entities will covet it.

    That situation is set up in the societies that followed hunter-gatherers, but not hunter-gatherer society.

    In addition the mobility of hunter-gatherers allowed them to emphasisize the flight option, instead of the fight option as it had less costly consequences.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Jul 18, 2013, at 9:44 PM
  • And some argue that it was the fear of a bear behind every tree that allowed evolution over thousands of years (qualified for the ignorant religious right who don't understand the time involved for evolution) to produce genetically altered religious nuts... fear of unknown and belief there was something there without rational kept that gene propagating more than the rational person who knew that was not true, but occasionally got eaten when it was true :-(

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Jul 20, 2013, at 8:04 AM
  • Some of you might find interesting these famous people who are openly atheist. Once you open this CNN report just click on the numbers below the pictures for each successive person and read some of their quotes... I liked Penn's quote about if religion and science were totally removed that religion would surface again as a totally different form but science would be the same...

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/15/the-six-types-of-atheists/comment-page-...

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Jul 20, 2013, at 9:32 AM
  • Thanks RT. It is sometimes refreshing to be reminded what good company we are in. :)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sat, Jul 20, 2013, at 1:10 PM
  • These are the 6 stages of paranoia beliefs identifying the highest level of conspiracy theorists :-)

    6 Stages to losing touch with reality:

    STAGE 1: Fed Govt is in Control of Housing/Transportation/Energy

    STAGE 2: Gun Control/Disarmament

    STAGE 3: Control of Food Production/Agriculture

    STAGE 4: Population Control on a Global Scale

    STAGE 5: New World Order

    STAGE 6 (the final stage): The guys out in the football huddle are talking about YOU

    DO, you might be alright if you haven't reached level 6 :-)

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Jul 20, 2013, at 2:46 PM
  • The YouTube on Agenda 21 by Alexandra Swann quotes Glenn Beck... need I say more?

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Jul 20, 2013, at 2:56 PM
  • DO, again, I think your posts fit better on the Political blog. The only thing Agenda 21 has to loosely do with religion is that they both are irrational.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Jul 20, 2013, at 2:58 PM
  • Agenda 21 was drafted to set out a common vision among the world's governments about the best way to deal with the growing problems of development and population growth, even though the document itself is nonbinding and cannot be enforced by the United Nations.

    That is all it is about, nor is "binding". George H W Bush signed onto it for the US. It is groups like the John Birch society, Glenn Beck, and other conspiracy theorists that have totally exaggerated it by fear mongering. Again, the only overlap this might have with religion is probably the genes that are shared by these people and likes of Jim Jones. Get that carp out of here to the right blog DO.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Jul 20, 2013, at 3:12 PM
  • God's welfare dilemma By Herb Silverman...

    "In a study of 137 countries, atheism was generally more widespread in those with well-developed welfare programs. I'm not surprised. Countries that provide universal health care and education, along with adequate social safety nets, are likely to have citizens who feel more secure and in control of their own lives. Atheism flourishes with economic satisfaction, while religion often thrives when people are undereducated and desperate."

    The article:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/wp/2013/07/15/gods-welfare-dilemma/

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Jul 20, 2013, at 3:15 PM
  • 5 minute You Tube on whether the new atheists have any new ideas with Daniel Dennett:

    http://youtu.be/A4RxzzxYan4

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Jul 21, 2013, at 7:43 AM
  • RT (and DO) - in case no one had noticed, our inequality level is the highest in the world, officially making us a 'third-world nation'. In addition we are WAY below ALL the developed nations on education, healthcare, infrastructure, and quality of life on virtually all indices...

    We DO lead the world in prison population and inequality, and are right (down) up there with Saudi Arabia, China, Bosnia, and Cuba in terms of child health, women's health, religiosity (Saudi Arabia, etc) and general malaise... all courtesy of the current regime of conservatism, brought to us by the puppets of the oligarchs since Reagan...

    As our 'religious right' has increased in power, our status on all the positive indices of quality of life have gone down, and all of the negative (3rd world dictatorship) indices have sky-rocketed.

    -- Posted by NDII on Sun, Jul 21, 2013, at 7:58 AM
  • Some Mormons search the web and find doubt:

    http://nyti.ms/19aKvf0

    This backs up what I've been saying about how the Internet is making a dramatic change (for the better) in exposing how religion is so irrational and how those (many) who have doubt can discover that they are not alone in figuring out that the claims of holy books are ridiculous and unfounded. It's called education and the realization that it is all BS is shared by millions.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Jul 21, 2013, at 3:27 PM
  • Just because your religious group does humanitarian deeds does not make your supernatural beliefs true, nor does it negate the atrocities done in the name of religion. Had the Mafia opened lots of clinics for the poor and free shelters for the homeless, they might still be strong arming local businesses today.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Jul 21, 2013, at 3:31 PM
  • Good point RT. We were reading the Times this morning when my life partner read me several excerpts from the article. I haven't taken the opportunity to read it yet, but shall.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Jul 21, 2013, at 4:11 PM
  • Humor time on the religion blog: "If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is 'God is crying.' And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is 'Probably because of something you did.'"

    -Jack Handey

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Mon, Jul 22, 2013, at 8:45 PM
  • That sounds suspiciously like the 'mother's curse'... may God bless you with a daughter just like you! :D

    -- Posted by NDII on Mon, Jul 22, 2013, at 11:31 PM
  • Also a brief dig about instilling Paulist guilt I think.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Mon, Jul 22, 2013, at 11:40 PM
  • DO - First off, THEY ARRESTED THE GUY.

    Second, did you bother to count all the white supremicist sites that DAILY post "Kill all the ___s" or similar???

    wow - but one non-white idiot posts and it's all over the place as "representative" ... poppycock.

    -- Posted by NDII on Wed, Jul 24, 2013, at 10:45 AM
  • Black or white - doesn't matter - I want to hear an intelligent reason why so many people keep calling 17 year-old Trayvon Martin and "child" .... And don't give me some dictionary entry ... Really - just wanting some clarification ...

    gb

    -- Posted by gentle ben on Wed, Jul 24, 2013, at 2:05 PM
  • GB you said,

    "Black or white - doesn't matter - I want to hear an intelligent reason why so many people keep calling 17 year-old Trayvon Martin and "child" .... And don't give me some dictionary entry ... Really - just wanting some clarification"

    Fair question GB. News answered your question from a technical, and legal standpoint. I am going to try to answer it from the heart.

    I don't know if you have children, or not, but if you do you may more easily identify with what I say.

    I recall when my son was seventeen, and he was out late, sometimes later than he should have been. My every thought at those moments was a concern for my child. I did not for a moment think of him as an adult, and when I reestablished contact I assure you I did not respond as if he were an adult. In my heart he definitely was not an adult. My mind also told me he was not an adult, because he could not yet always make adult decisions. Most parents have their moments such as that. Most of us do not think of our child as an adult in those moments.

    There is good reason for that beyond the judgment of our hearts. You may already know that it is scientifically proven that the seventeen year old mind is still developing. It has often been shown that they are prone to making immature mistakes. It is not an adult mind. That being the case it seems obvious that if a seventeen year old is not an adult, then he remains a child. You may wish to consider those factors as you further mull the question that you raised.

    It is my opinion, take it, or leave it, that as adults it is our duty to exhibit a greater degree of care for children, than for other adults, yes even seventeen year old children. Yes whether that seventeen year old is five feet four, or he is six feet three. Its all about the brain you see, not the size of the body.

    One other point, not directly in response to your question. Do you not think that we as adults are more protective of, and more likely to consider a seventeen year old girl a child, and afford her more naturally the status, and responses that we afford toward children? We protect girls of that age. Yet a big seventeen year old boy whose rate of emotional maturation is slower than that of a same age girl does not get the same consideration. It seems to me we are placing too much emphasis on physical maturity when deciding who is an adult than where the focus should be on the brain, and emotions. Thus all the talk about big old Trayvon is misplaced. Every mother no matter the size of her seventeen year old knows he is just a kid.

    Sorry one last point, think back to when you were seventeen. Do you not remember yourself then as "just a kid". Most likely when relating stories from that period of your life you start off "when I was just a kid", I know I do, and I darn sure recall that I was in fact just a stupid kid back then. How about you?

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Jul 25, 2013, at 9:51 AM
  • GB - what OKR said, and this: we keep lowering the age at which we are legally treating children as 'adults', thus convicting more and more children in adult courts. That doesn't make it right or sensible, given what we know about child/youth development. Because we are trying to resort to harsher punishments, which don't work given the rate of recidivism, all we get is another 'hardened criminal', and a terribly traumatized child. Other countries have found other, more effective solutions, but we refuse to even look at them - because we are trapped in some weird mind-set that ignores what we know in favor of self-indulging our extravagantly over-blown 'feelings' of outrage. What a model of behavior for the kids... and we wonder why trashy reality shows are so popular?

    -- Posted by NDII on Thu, Jul 25, 2013, at 10:24 AM
  • Much of the discussion was political, so my response was made on the political blog if anyone is interested.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Jul 27, 2013, at 7:51 AM
  • News, thanks for the Bill Maher video with progressive minister Jim Wallis. Wallis comes off as a very kind and reasonable person, and stayed on point with the emphasis needing to stay on point with "what would Jesus do", poo pooing the bad parts of the bible. He obviously recognizes it was written by fallible men and not the real word of god. Most of us understand that this kind of minister is someone we can live with, even if the bottom line is that his supernatural belief is a bunch of hooey. He certainly would not answer Maher's point blank questions concerning the totally bogus statements in the bible and points that having so many ridiculous and false statements should raise obvious questions about the entire content. The other thing with Wallis is his "radio voice" combined with an air of knowing what he, nor any human on earth could possibly know, and that is the existence of afterlife and an all knowing supernatural being. Other than that, Mr Wallis appears to have a great heart without knowing any real history about the man. I had forgotten about the Bill Maher show so I started going back watching on-demand videos of fairly recent shows. Thanks!

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Jul 28, 2013, at 9:34 AM
  • We all digress to related topics, so not so related as to be obvious about religion. Certainly politics and religion have huge overlapping areas, making it easy to digress sometimes. Besides, not much is being said any more lately on the religious blog. With not so many religious nut cases posting lately (maybe that should be construed as a good sign), the rest of us may have to nitpick each other's comments just to entice discourse. If any of you do occasionally read this blog and are afraid to join in, and if you are afraid to comment because your Id might give you away to someone, just create a new Id so you can comment as honestly as you feel. I'm curious if there has been anyone reading these blogs that have been even slightly encouraged to take another look at their life and belief system, and if they too have found repressed feelings about how they always felt that religion my really be the greatest exaggerated story ever told? There are millions of people coming to that realization, but it is extremely rare to hear of anyone coming from a rational scientific viewpoint of non-belief to the belief system of any of the major religions. There is a reason for that. The reason is that children are brainwashed and eventually can understand just how ridiculous religion is, while those that are rational are very unlikely to buy into the irrationality of any major religion.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Jul 28, 2013, at 9:48 AM
  • RT - why bother? Even if anyone suggests that they don't know all the answers, they are demeaned and told science has all the answers and they are just foolish to even question. Been there, done that...

    -- Posted by NDII on Sun, Jul 28, 2013, at 11:34 AM
  • I don't know all the answers either, and that was never part of any point I ever tried to make. Nana, are you saying that I have? Spirituality is a feeling, not necessarily a fact. We all possess feelings of spirituality, I truly believe that. But for those who claim to have talked or specifically been guided by spirits and that they can tell the rest of us how that spirit has told them how everyone should act, I say that is a bunch of hogwash.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Jul 28, 2013, at 12:37 PM
  • As this planet falls around the sun trapping us in the orbit

    Creation groans in unison like a race of frightened orphans

    The darkness of this raging storm is covering up our portals

    But a yearning for the light is bourne in the heart of every mortal

    Day to day we ache

    With the pain that plagues Creation

    Night to night we lie awake

    And await its restoration ...

    From "The Pain That Plagues Creation" by Mark Heard, 1983, Bug & Bear Music

    -- Posted by gentle ben on Mon, Jul 29, 2013, at 9:48 AM
  • There you go again DO, come on, get on message, appreciate that there are different ways to deliver it, and that just maybe the way of you, and a few others is not the only shining path.

    Peace

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Mon, Jul 29, 2013, at 1:33 PM
  • Big picture DO, please. Stop pushing your divisive issue, and solution, to people who are not going to buy it. You harm the greater cause. You are going to further isolate, and marginalize your self unless you do. It is your choice (he ironically says). ;)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Mon, Jul 29, 2013, at 1:39 PM
  • DO that is not discussion, just more attack. No thank you, as I said, I'm not playing that game.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Mon, Jul 29, 2013, at 3:03 PM
  • DO - I guess your little 'paste n copy' library isn't all you think it is - I never have been an atheist, never claimed to be an atheist - and RT can surely point to all the times he slapped me around for it... YOU didn't change a thing - and I'm STILL not a 'christian', which is apparently why you insist on mislabeling, misrepresenting and misdirecting all you think you 'know'. :(P>>>

    -- Posted by NDII on Mon, Jul 29, 2013, at 7:53 PM
  • Reza Aslan just ate her lunch. Fox reporters are so biased as well as often very ignorant. I saw Reza on Bill Mahr recently, and I was quite impressed. I've seen him in other interviews as well and he always comes off extremely knowledgeable with no apparent bias.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Mon, Jul 29, 2013, at 8:45 PM
  • DO: ""This is really about the zealous desire of the radical left to legalize the "aborting" of babies after they are born alive so that parents can have the legal right to kill living babies they suddenly decide they don't want to raise."

    Holy Jesus DO, you are so out in left field you ended up in the far religious right. I know of nobody on MSNBC who subscribes to that, nor nobody who has any national credibility who subscribes to it either. You have jumped through gaping logic similar to that cable TV ad where because of loss of cable, the logical steps take him thru depression, psycho analysis, and eventually to Vegas where he loses everything and sells his hair to a wig shop.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Mon, Jul 29, 2013, at 8:59 PM
  • Nana, now I'm feeling sorry for you being accused by DO of being an atheist. But, in DO's gap logic, if you don't believe in Jebus, you are an atheist I suppose. There does seem to be a correlation between spirituality, art, poetry, and love that generally equates to kind and compassionate people. There is also a correlation between extremely religious individuals consumed by dogma that correlates to very mean spirited people. If all the former group ends up in hell, that's where I want to be too!

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Mon, Jul 29, 2013, at 9:08 PM
  • RT - be happy to meet you there ;)... at least we'd be in good company :D

    -- Posted by NDII on Mon, Jul 29, 2013, at 11:04 PM
  • Interesting News. Now we have another leg up, and can jaw even more succinctly to the dinosaur riding creationists. ;)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Jul 31, 2013, at 10:49 PM
  • DO, the Melissa Perry short audio clip was interesting, and I came away thinking she sort of contradicted herself initially. However, even though the clip was a "cherry pick" clip, listening to that entire 90 second clip I can NOT see how you or the Natural News article could possibly conclude what you posted:

    "death worshipper" to publicly imply that she supports the murder of living, breathing newborn children."

    She was talking about all the situations that could occur for a women that might make her want to terminate her pregnancy, pointing out rape, incest, genetically deformed fetuses or special emotional situations. She mentioned nothing about murdering living, breathing, newborn children. That is just not true.

    The part I was confused was her comment:

    "I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling -- but not science."

    And then she went on to point out "The problem is that many of our policymakers want to base sweeping laws on those feelings." This is where she is where I believe she is saying that basing it on a "feeling" is a bad thing because that is how policy makers are basing their laws (anti-abortion). So, my take is that she is saying that it should be based on science and NOT on a "feeling". I do admit it sounds somewhat contradictory, but by no means did she ever say or imply or condone "murdering living newborn children".

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Thu, Aug 1, 2013, at 4:10 AM
  • DO: "So are you an agnostic communist or what? Is that even allowed?"

    An atheist communist is about the meanest thing you can call someone without cursing, so I guess agnostic communist is just a little better? I know ND can speak better about this than I, but I'm guessing she probably feels that comment is not worthy of a response. It certainly reeks of the McCarthyism era attitude. It is quite obvious to me that ND, News, OKR, and others who do not subscribe to any religious dogma are very spiritual people. Being spiritual has nothing to do with being agnostic or atheist. I am atheist to all dogmatic beliefs. You are an atheist in regard to the god the Muslims worship. You are atheist to all gods except the Christian god. Being spiritual may be the origin of how some deluded individuals started imagining they could communicate the spoken word of their god to others and even go so far as to tell others how their god has told them they and everyone else around needs to live their life. Spiritual people make the world a better place to live; deluded religious dogmatic people poison everything.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Thu, Aug 1, 2013, at 4:38 AM
  • Thanks much News. I am all too often slow on my feet and it takes awhile to gather my thoughts. I often shoot from the hip and miss my target as well. I wish I had a better vocabulary as I sometimes feel like Slip Mahoney of the Bowery Boys (just aged myself). I really enjoy the RD blog as there are some really smart people who post on that blog and often just blow me away with their wit and intelligent remarks. One thing I often forget is to try and put myself in the place of the opposing view to see if I can better understand why they would come to their conclusions and if I have any common ground (not usually). One example I may expound on later is my conflict between killing anything (I go out of my way to not step on ants or worms often) and abortion. Even though I don't believe there is really a soul, I still dislike the idea of abortion. Even though I am idealistically against taking any life, my logical conslusion is that that should be the woman's choice. The anti-abortion people just don't get it that there is a big difference from being pro-choice and pro-abortion. Enough rambling for now...

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Thu, Aug 1, 2013, at 5:04 PM
  • Abortion is an emotional issue on both sides, and I appreciate that.

    The thought occurs to me no one else has a right to tell a rational person what to put in their body, on their body, or take out of their body. Rational is the key word, and needs carefully nuanced law to establish the legal definition of rational. Not perfect, but probably as good as it could ever get.

    Obviously such regulation would not allow a despondent teenager to swallow a handful of pills, nor an extreme masochist to rip out his own intestines. It would allow one to smoke marijuana, or have an abortion.

    That is because by law the consideration as to whether the law was broken, or not would force the focus, and consideration as to whether an act is illegal, or not; entirely on whether there is a reasonable doubt that it is irrational.

    That law would muffle emotional response, and force deliberation only as to whether it was rational for that person to act as they did in the circumstance. This law would necessarily be confined to actions by one's self to one's self, self being defined as all one's mind; all one's body, and its content.

    Yes, people would confuse rational, with rationale, but that also could be corrected by legal definition.

    Still a sticky wicket, but better than what we have. The difference between judging what is rational as opposed to what is right, and wrong is a step forward for human independence.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Aug 1, 2013, at 9:36 PM
  • By the way, I am a bit sluggish this evening, and am not certain my last post has rational validity. So, rationally chip away. :)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Aug 1, 2013, at 9:51 PM
  • Let's start with this one:

    Does a woman have a legal right to sovereignty over her own body and make decisions about her own body and her own life?

    -- Posted by NDII on Fri, Aug 2, 2013, at 6:38 AM
  • ND, yes. That is unless a man can also be hurled into prison for casting half a baby on the ground, and sperm donor centers would be shut down if they discarded even one half baby.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Fri, Aug 2, 2013, at 2:10 PM
  • I am for inclusiveness so the anti-abortion crowd should change their primary slogan to "Life Starts With Ejaculation!"

    There would then be no room for the interminable quarrel about exactly where life starts. Each sperm is a living thing that should never ever be denied the right to its God decreed destination.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Fri, Aug 2, 2013, at 2:18 PM
  • -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Fri, Aug 2, 2013, at 7:03 PM
  • From the same show, another, also appropriate to this now science and religion blog. As well, the final lines obliquely address the reason for the mucked right to choice question. Enjoy. :)

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=the+meaning+of+life+monty+python+songs&view=...

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Fri, Aug 2, 2013, at 7:14 PM
  • I'm not sure how much the lack of religion plays a part for me, although religion obviously plays a strong role for the religious right. Since I'm an atheist, and I do not believe in a soul or spirit, one might think I would not care about life or death, but they would be very, very wrong. The facts are that I cherish life quite possibly more than the person who thinks dying is not the end of life. I believe any living animal has hit the lotto of living, given the almost infinite possibilities of timing with sperm and egg or however the circumstances of procreation. So, for me it is a tragedy to terminate any life, whether a human, deer, etc. So the irony is that I who cherishes the rare chance of life believes it is the woman's right to choose, whereas an anti-abortion person who believes there is a soul that lives on after death, is vehemently opposed to terminating a life in the womb, and therefore women should NOT have a right to choose. Anyone else see the irony in that? Maybe it should be the other way around -- religious people might say terminating a life is not all that bad since the soul lives on with their idea of a god. Why should they be so upset with a woman's right to choose since that soul lives on in their mind?

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 3, 2013, at 11:53 AM
  • More on the idea of a soul... Do religious people think that ALL souls that will ever be already exist, or are somehow created along with the physical body when sperm and egg unite? Or, perhaps ALL souls exist and once egg and sperm unite an existing soul is assigned that fertilized egg? I would like everyone who really believes there is a soul to explain what they believe please?

    And of course, if you think you know the answer is one thing, another is on what grounds you believe the specifics, and if there is something in your bible that has given you this idea (the latter I really doubt).

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 3, 2013, at 5:20 PM
  • To avoid semantical disagreement RT, is the following definition of soul too broad, too narrow, or satisfactory for the discussion you have invited? For instance, I am skeptical in regard to definition three, whereas others may believe that it is correct, and that the other two are irrelevant.

    Further, when you posed your question were you seeking opinions as to all three, or were you essentially seeking opinions for instance in regard to definition three? :)

    Definition of soul (n)

    Bing Dictionary

    soul

    [ sl ]

    1.nonphysical aspect of person: the complex of human attributes that manifests as consciousness, thought, feeling, and will, regarded as distinct from the physical body

    2.feelings: a person's emotional and moral nature, where the most private thoughts and feelings are hidden

    3.spirit surviving death: in some systems of religious belief, the spiritual part of a human being that is believed to continue to exist after the body dies.

    Synonyms: spirit, consciousness, psyche, will, essence, being

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sat, Aug 3, 2013, at 7:59 PM
  • OK, RT - I'll 'bite'... although we have to, as OKR noted, get to some agreement on definitions.

    All human beings have 'emotions', which are expressed as 'feelings' which are dependent on the cultural interpretations of environmental stimuli.

    "Spirit" originates from the word for "breath", and tends to refer to the non-material aspects of life.

    "Materialism" and "objectivism" are the views that all things are material/objects and that all things are merely the sum of their parts, and no more.

    Whatever one chooses to call 'consciousness', however, I think there is ample evidence of the existence of non-local consciousness that is not dependent on material origin. Just because we do not yet know how to measure, and thus control, it does not preclude it's existence.

    Since all "material" is in fact, different forms of energy, I tend to think that 'objectivism' and it's step-child, reductionism, are simply narrowly construed products of western Newtonian physics and industrialization.

    Since you are not only atheist, but are also a materialist/objectivist, it is difficult to have any sort of conversation about the non-material. You have said that you have 'spiritual feelings', which is a matter of definition... you may have had feelings of awe, amazement, etc but by your own definitions, they could not be 'spiritual' as you do not apparently acknowledge the existence of the non-material.

    Personally, I think the different religions, philosophies, and social behaviors are our human efforts to understand and 'manage' not only our physical world but the non-material aspects of life. It was only Christianity that basically put "God" 'out there somewhere' instead of within, and separated mind and soul, and consciousness, from the body and relegated all of the natural world to 'object' status as having no consciousness at all. From that religious split, we have constructed a world in which humans are 'superior' to ALL other life forms and that human beings are the ONLY life forms that "matter". So... even the bases of 'materialism' and 'reductionism' are Christianity based and therefore difficult to discuss...

    -- Posted by NDII on Sun, Aug 4, 2013, at 6:35 AM
  • Correction: It was actually Judaism, the parent of Christianity, that gave rise to the "universal" externalized 'god'...

    -- Posted by NDII on Sun, Aug 4, 2013, at 6:40 AM
  • OKR, definition 3, spirit surviving death. For those of you who believe this, did that spirit surviving death come into existence at the time of procreation, did it exist before, at the exact time, or even perhaps so many weeks after procreation?

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Aug 4, 2013, at 7:48 AM
  • Great comment ND. I don't have much to add to that.

    Great question RT, but lots of luck on getting a response from those you are soliciting.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Aug 4, 2013, at 12:47 PM
  • RT looks like no takers. Maybe there is a phobia about that this blog has become the devil's workshop. ;)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Mon, Aug 5, 2013, at 3:24 PM
  • RT - what if 'consciousness' simply IS, like string theory, and is not necessarily ONLY a 'human' attribute... what if consciousness simply exists as a 'field' and we are simply 'receivers'? And like old radios and TV's, the 'box' may break, but the 'signal' is still there??????

    -- Posted by NDII on Mon, Aug 5, 2013, at 7:18 PM
  • This topic likely belongs on the Politics blog, but there is an active thread there that I don't want to interrupt. There is some connection here however as religious, and moral standards have a huge influence on this topic, as well as recent science.

    Paraguay has just started a new kind of war against the black market marijuana operations in the country. They have been plagued by them as have many other countries in Latin America, though the level of violence is not that of several of their neighbors.

    They have established a socialist program wherein the government controls, and manages every facet of the marijuana industry. They will sell it at a government price of $70.00 per ounce. The illegal pot in Paraguay sells for $140.00 per ounce. The plan is to undercut the cartels to such a degree that the cartels will wither, then stop, because of a lack of profit from their endeavor. Not only will they cease draining government coffers in the traditional war on marijuana, the reverse will occur as the government's treasury will be replenished from profits.

    It is sad that the majority of the folks of our nation have a phobia against socialism in any form, and won't even face the question would this work for us, or not? Instead, even in this new era regarding marijuana (it is legal in some manner in 40% of our states) we must keep the manufacture, and sales as sacrosanct private enterprise, which is taxed to create revenue for various levels of government.

    Thus the cost of marijuana in our country will remain high enough that it will still be profitable to Latino cartels to smuggle it here, and profitable enough for local illegal operations to stay at it. The bloodshed, and lawlessness especially in Mexico, will continue. Quality control will remain non-existent from a health standpoint. That includes insecticides, and God knows what added ingredients to give poor pot a better high, putting consumers at unnecessary risk.

    It is doubtful that we will ever take a truly rational approach to this issue.

    The Paraguay Program: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/06/uruguay-legal-marijuana-price_n_3713826...

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Aug 7, 2013, at 12:21 AM
  • As I don't have a clue these days as to the cost of weed on the street in this country, I took a look around the internet to see if I could find out. I hope that the Gestapo doesn't target me for surveillance, or worse. ;)

    The sites that I found may be credible, or not. Anyway this is what I found. A relatively credible appearing site stated that in Colorado it is projected to average $185.00 an ounce next year. I found another site that listed many states, some legal states, others not. The top cost listed was $320.00 an ounce in Pennsylvania, a bunch of states were around $300.00 per ounce. Curiously a Louisville Kentucky listing, far lower than any other, was $10.00 per ounce for medium grade pot. Could it be they are growing something else these days on those old Kentucky tobacco farms?

    My point is at those prices illegal operations will never be curtailed. Can you imagine the moonshine business in Kentucky, and elsewhere being relegated to consumption only by the banjo on the front porch crowd if a legal bottle of medium grade whiskey cost two, or three hundred dollars? Of course not.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Aug 7, 2013, at 12:51 AM
  • ND, so when the egg and sperm unite, do you think this consciousness you are describing is present at that time, or do you think it is somehow "assigned" to this fertilized egg, or at what stage of development is your best guess as to when consciousness is arrived. Are you ready to let science try and define when consciousness begins, or do you have any preconceived notion. You know I am trying to get you to somehow delve deeper into your interesting hypothesis to determine if and when you think abortion should no longer be allowed. A very tough call, but one should backup their interesting hypotheses with some form of pragmatism. If your view is just one that since you really don't know, that it is alright to abort at any time the woman decides, then perhaps that is no better argument than those who claim you should not be allowed to abort ever. Now, you know I am in the "choice" camp, but at the same time, I am very much against the idea of abortion in general. Establishing some type of value (whether it be consciousness or a soul) to the unborn fetus is what I am trying to get opinions on. Perhaps your consciousness hypothesis is just a vague idea you have and you do not feel that strongly about it? Please elaborate.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Wed, Aug 7, 2013, at 5:55 AM
  • OKR, Libertarians should be for bootleggers, wouldn't you think? I would also think that Libertarians are so much against government in general, that they would be against laws restricting abortion, but then again, that would not be a "born again" Libertarian.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Wed, Aug 7, 2013, at 5:58 AM
  • Yeh RT if they are classical libertarians they would be for moonshining, pot growing, and a whole bunch of other things.

    A leading libertarian philosopher, Roderick Long has defined libertarianism as "any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals. Libertarian extremists advocate that government be limited to protecting individuals from initiation of force, and that is all.

    I think that the Tea Party types were milling around expressing their fear based emotional rage at society's inexorable change in the most rudimentary manner. Irrational words, not much more than, and no clearer in message than primitive screams were the limit of their lexicon. Looking around in their bewilderment, they (Tea Party types) stumbled upon, and seized certain tenents of libertarianism, and blindly ran with them, dropping important parts like litter along their frenzied path. Rationality never crossed their path. They just chose the parts that gave them ersatz intellectual cover for their irrationality.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Aug 7, 2013, at 8:49 PM
  • RT - I am with Empress. As to 'when' - There is a difference between potential consciousness and biological viability, and I tend to go with 'first breath', or when it can draw breath out of the womb on its own. And the decision should STILL be between a woman and her doctor. There are severe cases in which late-term abortions become medically necessary, and it shouldn't be up to some old man in Washington who can't pass an 8th grade biology course.

    -- Posted by NDII on Thu, Aug 8, 2013, at 6:01 AM
  • RT - still waiting...;) What if consciousness is actually an energy field that we don't know how to measure (yet)? Or if the field between/connecting matter and life?

    Empress -

    ;)

    http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/TwoWolves-Cherokee.html

    -- Posted by NDII on Fri, Aug 9, 2013, at 6:45 AM
  • DO, I take it you do believe in some form of soul that can go to heaven or hell, is that right? Do you believe that soul exists before pregnancy or immediately after egg and sperm unite, and what is the basis of why you believe it -- is it based on something in the bible or just what you "feel" is correct? Two basic questions I'd really like your opinion on.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 10, 2013, at 11:06 AM
  • NDII: "What if consciousness is actually an energy field that we don't know how to measure (yet)? Or if the field between/connecting matter and life?"

    I also want to know if you feel very strongly that is the case or if you think it just might be? My opinion is that it is not the case, but even if it was, then the question would be whether we could destroy it or whether no matter what we do that energy continues. If you can destroy it (which I'm thinking you don't believe) then killing anything would be a very bad thing (which I believe is bad whether there is a soul or energy field or not for that matter). Since this is all hypothesis and nobody could possibly know the answer (only feel like they know), I lean to the pro choice camp so women can make up their own minds.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 10, 2013, at 11:13 AM
  • RT - If consciousness is a field, or an energy, then no, it cannot be destroyed... according to physics. It might even 'explain' reincarnation as per Hindus, Buddhists, etc... like the tv/radio signal, many forms can pick up a particular signal. Perhaps it is that when a particular neural/physical configuration occurs, that 'signal', for lack of a better description, resumes.

    As I've said before, I don't KNOW, scientifically -- but we don't know everything, and I think that we are more than the 'sum of the parts'... how that happens doesn't tend to bother me much, and death is part of life, it comes and goes... ;) It's still a gift, and mathematically improbable in the Universe.

    -- Posted by NDII on Sat, Aug 10, 2013, at 8:53 PM
  • ND: "As I've said before, I don't KNOW, scientifically"

    ND, I know you don't know "scientifically". The question is how strongly do you feel there is this force or conscienceness that lives on after the physical body is gone? Do you a) just "feel" it is possible, b) feel fairly strong this exists, c) are sure one exists, or d) have absolutely no doubt that it exists?

    And another part of the question I would like to know how you feel is if that force has always been around or was it created at procreation when egg meets sperm or when? And I do understand this applies to all animals as well.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Aug 11, 2013, at 6:29 AM
  • I'm still waiting on DO's response to my question about the soul...................

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Aug 11, 2013, at 6:30 AM
  • RT: Personally, I have been, literally, on the 'receiving end' of that consciousness in the form of psychic phenomenon. I do not claim to be 'a psychic', but it does exist, often to my extreme discomfort. It is not 'created', nor does it 'die' - it just IS. Whether you believe it or not is up to you, and I am not 'debating' it. But it certainly changed the way I viewed the world. It is a personal experience, but not necessarily, or to me, a 'personalized entity' - as in a 'god', although some have experienced it as such.

    I have also had the amazing opportunities to be 'up close and personal' with some of the larger other life forms (dolphins, whales, elephants...) and sentience exists there, too. It is not as we experience it, but it is there.

    So, in answer to your question, I am absolutely sure that it exists, it's not 'created or destroyed' - it just changes forms. I understand it better than I do most physics where I have to take it on 'faith' that the experts in the area have 'proven' their knowledge in the fashion acceptable to their profession. ;)

    -- Posted by NDII on Sun, Aug 11, 2013, at 7:48 AM
  • DO, I wasn't trying (yet) to make an argument for you to try and make sense of. I was merely trying to understand where you stand in the various levels of religiosity. Do you believe in the soul or not (assume you do but want to hear it), and if so, did that soul exist before the egg and sperm united, come into existence at that specific time, or when. Is that opinion something you don't wish to share?

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Aug 11, 2013, at 1:15 PM
  • I wonder of consciousness and self-awareness are an evolutionary process based on one's free time from survival. Animals that we have been able to make our pets/friends seem to have a level of self-awareness and feelings we find similar to our own experience. Animals in the wild that eat meat or forage for food their entire time do not appear to have any compassion as we know it. It is kill or be killed and continuous foraging for survival. Porpoises and whales may have enough free time cruising the oceans and larger brains that may even surpass ours in terms of conscience, possibly elephants as well. As we evolved from the early hominids, we had very little spare time ourselves. As our ability to acquire food consumed less of our total time, perhaps that is when we started etching on cave walls. And of course now we even have time for blogging :-)

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Aug 11, 2013, at 1:24 PM
  • ND, common thread I believe most of us have beyond (most/many) of the extremely religious is that of genuine compassion for our fellow man and animal. I believe that has nothing or very little to do with your belief in the supernatural or my lack of belief. What do you think might be the common thread that gives us compassion? Anyone?

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Aug 11, 2013, at 1:28 PM
  • RT - I think you have mistaken Spencer's version of 'social Darwinism' for biological fact...

    "Animals in the wild that eat meat or forage for food their entire time do not appear to have any compassion as we know it. It is kill or be killed and continuous foraging for survival." Not true - elephants, chimps, apes, meerkats, and others demonstrate "compassion" to their peers, share food, and cooperate. It is NOT "kill or be killed" in the way you suggest, and they generally do NOT randomly kill their own kind to 'get ahead'. In fact, in Nature, cooperation, symbiotic behavior, and peaceful coexistence are the 'norm', not the exception.

    "Porpoises and whales may have enough free time cruising the oceans and larger brains that may even surpass ours in terms of conscience, possibly elephants as well." There have been documented cases of all three of these species employing non-verbal and/or telepathic communication over long distances, usually with members of their own pod or clan, and occasionally with human companions.

    The old "kill or be killed" mantra is both untrue and grotesquely oversimplified, mostly as an excuse for humans to kill other humans.

    -- Posted by NDII on Mon, Aug 12, 2013, at 5:59 AM
  • -- Posted by NDII on Mon, Aug 12, 2013, at 6:07 AM
  • :) Empress.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Mon, Aug 12, 2013, at 2:32 PM
  • Can dogs feel our emotions... new and timely article:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/130808-yawning-dogs-contagious-a...

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Mon, Aug 12, 2013, at 7:40 PM
  • Darn I hate to do this, but I can't resist it; Smart Dog what do you think of that?

    All together now; groooan. ;)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Aug 13, 2013, at 4:48 PM
  • I think Smart Dog is yawning (if you read the article).... :-)

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Tue, Aug 13, 2013, at 7:22 PM
  • LOL RT. By the way thanks for the interesting article. It confirms my opinion developed from spending most of every day with my own little smart dog.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Aug 13, 2013, at 10:07 PM
  • Have you seen this one RT? I am beginning to think that is not we who understand dogs, rather it is dogs who understand us. ;)

    http://www.pawnation.com/2013/07/31/dogs-use-specific-facial-expressions-to-show...

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Aug 13, 2013, at 11:25 PM
  • Lol, are the rest of you getting the pop up on the right side of this screen that says "SLANDER GUARD Reputation Crisis Management We fight slander for you" LOL. I'm hoping that the MDN is getting revenue for the mischief we do. I reckon it's a good thing that ad targeting is more sensitive than we are. ;)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Aug 14, 2013, at 6:56 PM
  • RT - as noted, I think that humans have some basic emotional responses, one of which may be the rudimentary stage of 'empathy'. Compassion is a learned skill, I think, that must be built off of the innate 'fairness' and 'empathy' responses demonstrated in infants and pre-3 children. By 3-4, we have learned a LOT of our primary caregivers' preferences and attitudes. On top of that, I think that compassion must be a choice we make consciously, as well as a learned skill. Many people know HOW to make those compassionate choices, but CHOOSE not to... for all manner of excuses, usually judgemental ones. :/

    -- Posted by NDII on Wed, Aug 14, 2013, at 10:25 PM
  • Here is an interesting link to consider within the context of the current thread. http://www.wimp.com/christianlion/

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Aug 15, 2013, at 4:52 PM
  • Though I admit to being a sentimental old fool, and the link that I posted below got to me so much that I immediately had to go hug on my big old pup after watching it, I remain a skeptic.

    I checked it out on Snopes, and it sure nuff is the truth. http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/christian.asp

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Aug 15, 2013, at 5:16 PM
  • ND, my compassion was learned, or if not, was innate during my early youth. As I have admitted to before (and something I deeply regret) as a youth I was cruel to animals and killed so many it makes me sick to think about. I don't know when that turned around, but I would guess my compassion for animals started sometime pre-teen. It may be a "male" thing, partly chronicled in Lord of the Flies perhaps. Perhaps my parents didn't stress the beauty and life of all living animals to me like they should have, or if they did, I just didn't listen. I certainly have tried to make up for that with my kids and grandkids by always stressing how important each and every life of our animal friends are precious. So far, they have all responded well to that input as really young children growing up. I vote for "learned".

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 17, 2013, at 9:29 AM
  • OKR, interesting video on dog's facial expressions. I have no doubt about that. All dog owners know the level of excitement they have merely by the mouth and eyes (and tail). It sometimes takes science to prove the obvious. And humping one's leg I think verifies evolution :-)

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 17, 2013, at 9:31 AM
  • OKR, you've gone way too far this time. That video, which I've seen a few years ago as I recall, brought tears again. Darn you! And then the music and timing was just right. If you shed a tear for this, does that mean we are a left wing socialist atheist? If so, I'm proud of it! Good job checking it out on Snopes too; not enough people do that these days... DO comes to mind. Hey, DO, did that video make your eyes "well up" at all?

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 17, 2013, at 9:34 AM
  • "When Animals Mourn"

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=when-animals-mourn

    Interesting article. And the religious right don't believe pets or other animals share a soul-like presence. If I beleived in a soul, I certainly would not think that only humans possessed one. Atheists believe all living creatures are special.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 17, 2013, at 11:28 AM
  • The BS Police:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/08/16/james-randi-the-amazing-meeting...

    "Probably the majority of Americans believe in some degree of what JREF's founder, James Randi, calls "woo-woo." In 2005, for instance, Gallup found that 73 percent of Americans subscribed to at least one paranormal belief. Television personalities like John Edward earn huge audiences by purporting to commune with the dead. Numerous Americans swear by homeopathy, ingest supplements with no proven medical benefit, or believe, against all available evidence, that genetically modified organisms might transform humans into tumor-covered golems."

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 17, 2013, at 6:07 PM
  • LOL RT.

    Also thanks for the interesting links.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Aug 18, 2013, at 12:42 AM
  • I'm looking forward to some Sunday morning ruminations from you guys. :)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Aug 18, 2013, at 12:44 AM
  • RT - I have seen 'the amazing randi' on some of those shows, and I even enjoy Penn and Teller's shows, but I find it incredibly arrogant and hypocritical that these cold-blooded shysters deliberately exploit the same human tendencies to make their livelihoods while telling people what fools they are to believe in anything else those tendencies might lead them to. In general, their know-it-all attitudes tend to 'sour the milk' for me, anyway.

    -- Posted by NDII on Sun, Aug 18, 2013, at 8:29 AM
  • Funny DO. I hope you are having a great day, no sarcasm, nor irony insinuated.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Aug 18, 2013, at 2:47 PM
  • Atheists believe all living creatures are special.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 17, 2013, at 11:28 AM

    Why are all living creatures special based on atheism?

    Would that include the unborn?

    Is it just opinion or is it based on something else?

    -- Posted by rr3yv0 on Mon, Aug 19, 2013, at 9:54 PM
  • Atheists believe all living creatures are special.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 17, 2013, at 11:28 AM

    "Why are all living creatures special based on atheism?

    Would that include the unborn?

    Is it just opinion or is it based on something else?"-rr3

    If I may rr3 I would like to jump in here with a response to your question to RT. I don't pretend to know what RT meant by it, but I think that you posed an interesting question.

    From this old secular humanist's perspective all living creatures are special because we do not believe that there is a God who decreed humans are special by inference when he/she/it gave dominion over all living creatures. Perhaps that is what RT meant. If you believe that decree it sets humans apart from all other living creatures, making only humans special in that way. Obviously if you don't believe in God as folks such as atheists don't, there is no reason to believe we humans are any different than the rest. It leaves one with the choice to believe either all living creatures are special, none are special, or some are special. Thus I choose all, with reservation. That reservation hinges on semantics. A simple definition of special is:

    1.unusual or better: distinct, different, unusual, or superior in comparison to others of the same kind

    2.held in esteem: regarded with particular esteem or affection

    3.reserved: unique to or reserved for a specific person or thing

    As you can see from these definitions of special one could say all are special in some ways, but none are special in all ways. Hence, all are special. Maybe I missed something here, after all I am just another fallible human. Maybe someone else will jump in with some more. That might be special. ;)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Aug 21, 2013, at 12:00 AM
  • Thanks again r for setting the table, whether you find what I served up palatable, or not. :)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Aug 21, 2013, at 12:10 AM
  • -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Aug 22, 2013, at 11:47 PM
  • "Atheists believe...." Well said OKR. And my take on special is that we all have won the lottery gift of life to have been brought into existence by the one sperm and egg that could have been one of billions of combinations. Life is a tremendous gift from this atheist's standpoint.

    RR3: "Would that include the unborn?"

    Yes. That is why my pro-choice stance is very difficult for me and one I do not take lightly at all. I can say for me, that aborting a baby would be extremely difficult, but I would probably do so in case of rape, incest, or rare genetic probability. Also, I understand the extreme emotional sensitivity for those mothers (I think I do) who for whatever reason feel like they cannot go thru with that pregnancy, whether it be because of extreme poverty or psychological issues. I believe it is the woman's right to choose, and you do not have the right to interfere with that decision. For pro-lifers to assume pro-choice people do not care about the life of the unborn shows total lack of understanding. Atheists perhaps have more empathy for that life than religious nutcases, because we believe destroying that life is final, while at least religious people feel the soul goes on to wherever they believe it is supposed to. Perhaps the loss of that life in that regard pains me more than it does you?

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Fri, Aug 23, 2013, at 6:04 AM
  • I'm pretty much where you are on the issue RT. When I think it all through I am compelled to believe that it is not in, nor a part of anyone's body excepting the individual females. No one should take away that freedom to decide what happens is her choice.

    The hard core opponents to a female's choice regarding abortion are largely a pack of hypocrites, else they would be in favor of every pragmatic means to assure that women do not become pregnant except by choice, thus reducing the need for the very thing they consider an abomination.

    When they say they are opposed to choice many of them do not mean just that they are opposed to abortion they mean that they are also opposed to a female having other personal freedoms, such as where, how and when they can even secure birth control to avoid pregnancy. Seems to me that their anguish, and subsequent moaning about its hideousness has a bit of a false, or at least histrionic note. Otherwise they would be running to women saying please, please, take any birth control you want to, whenever you want to, here, we will even help you pay for it. As I say, the're a pack of hypocrites.

    I wish they would just ask themselves, and their God while they are at; Lord, I can lessen the percieved need for abortions by making all kinds of birth control available everywhere, and there will be less abortions as a result. What should I do? If they ask themselves, and are rational it is a no brainer. If they ask their God, and they believe he is all wise, and merciful they must know that yes would also be his answer. It is simple, more use of various forms of birth control, less pregnancies, less unwanted pregnancies, less abortions.

    Will they do that? Hell no. As ND, and others have clearly pointed out it is really all about paternalistic domination of females. Otherwise all, but the knuckle draggers among them would understand, and buy into the above logic.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Aug 25, 2013, at 1:32 AM
  • You are spot on OKR. Also, the facts are backed up by history around the globe that if you try to forcefully prevent abortion, we will revert back to self-inflicted abortions and really cruel methods. It seems so easy for the religious right to follow their ideology of a book open to interpretation, when they can see the result pragmatically from the past when abortion was illegal. It is identical to prohibition in that trying to legislate religious morality, and picking which morality everyone is to follow) does not work.

    OKR: "If they ask themselves, and are rational it is a no brainer."

    Well, obviously religion and rationality are diametrically opposed. NO BRAIN is more accurate. They are religious robots following whatever Jim Jones leader they are captivated by. And every preacher who claims to know the word of god is a liar, no more honest than the street magician claiming what they are doing is real magic.

    Again, people, feel free to believe there is a higher power as you look up at the stars and marvel at the universe, but to read anything more than that is ridiculous. Modern religions are just a sophisticated extension of black magic and voo doo. You don't have to believe in woo woo to be a good and moral person. You can donate your time and money to great causes that don't require an irrational belief in a supernatural being that nobody could possibly have ever seen or communicated with other than their imagination.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Aug 25, 2013, at 7:27 AM
  • God really is dead.... about time :-) One could only wish!

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 31, 2013, at 7:46 AM
  • "Christian School With Creationist 'Science' Quiz Closing Down For Financial Reasons"

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/29/school-creationist-quiz-closing_n_38371...

    Is it any wonder we get religious nuts refusing to treat their own children with modern life saving medicine? We might even totally eradicate some world diseases if these nut cases didn't degrade science to the point where our average intelligence for many is so low they spread fear of vaccines. God kills by dumbing down society.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 31, 2013, at 8:01 AM
  • The first two comments I read on the Christian school test were awesome:

    "Just pick the wrong answers and you get 100 percent, that would be hilarious if it wasn't true."

    "It's child abuse to teach children such loopy mythology as if it is factual or scientific. When they grow up, those children will not be thankful for being misled. Kids need a solid education in order to thrive in the real world. Schools that fail to provide a real education should be shuttered. Parents who send their kids to such schools are committing a kind of child abuse."

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 31, 2013, at 8:07 AM
  • This one hits religion and politics square on the nose, from someone well respected:

    "Bill Nye: Firebrand for Science - Aims to Change the World"

    http://youtu.be/DXLdcqIj-SA

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Aug 31, 2013, at 8:56 AM
  • Yes News, it doesn't rise to the level of child abuse normally to me either. No doubt when religious people make bad (sometimes fatal) health choices for their kids, or when they brow beat them into believing if they don't do certain things they will go to an eternal hell filled with torture, no doubt then it becomes child abuse. Then there are varying degrees of lesser ignorance that might fall into milder forms of child abuse. Most religious people I know would not fall into the category of child abuser either. Passing along myth alone does not constitute child abuse.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sun, Sep 1, 2013, at 7:37 AM
  • OK, I admit it after all, I DON'T BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION. I'm sure you can find a quote somewhere that I have stated in the past that I do believe in evolution, but I might be changing that statement to this instead: "I accept the evidence for evolution". Actually, I'm quoting an interesting article about how the word "believe" is used wrong when it comes to science. Here is another quote in the article I found relevant:

    "Saying that scientists 'believe' their results suggests, falsely, that their acceptance is not based on evidence, but is based somehow on faith."

    The full article can be found at this link:

    http://blogs.plos.org/scied/2013/09/02/why-i-dont-believe-in-science-and-student...

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Fri, Sep 6, 2013, at 4:33 AM
  • The word "believe" is used by religious people to try and trivialize those who "believe" in science by comparing it to "believing" in a god or supernatural power. Certainly you can "believe" in something you cannot prove and have no proof to back up that belief. I "believe" that having data that supports a theory is essential for me to have any confidence something is true or not true. Without that, I understand that what I "believe" may be true or it may not be true. There are beliefs that are based on no evidence whatsoever and those beliefs that do have opposing evidence that the verdict is still out on, even if it leans more one way than another. There are studies that support acupuncture as well as studies that do not support it. Being a skeptic, I take opposing studies with the proverbial "grain of salt". If I was treated with acupuncture and felt it definitely did some good, I might tend to believe the study claiming it to be a valid treatment. However, I also realize the power (and many studies) of the "placebo effect" and therefore remain a skeptic. However, that is much different that "believing" in evolution or not. There is overwhelming evidence that evolution is a fact and only a fringe of biased studies that try to discredit it. Only those who are deeply religious try to discredit evolution, and their agenda is based on a belief system that has not a single supporting bit of evidence. I have no problem with individuals who choose to believe in something that has no evidence whatsoever to back up their belief, but I do have a major problem with those who use that unsubstantiated belief system to try and refute what is a proven scientific fact. Unfortunately, that is also where education is very important in that when a religious agenda thwarts a state's education system by minimalizing the effort to teach evolution, it is overtly promoting ignorance.

    -- Posted by RationalThinker on Sat, Sep 7, 2013, at 6:17 AM
  • RT - part of the problem is the Orwellian perversion of the meanings of common language by right wingers. As you noted, they LITERALLY take ONE definition of a word and twist it, ignoring the alternatives and nuances and common understandings of those words in order to pervert the meanings of the language. Same thing has happened with the words racism, tolerance, sexism, socialism, etc... I haven't seen a perversion of 'hegemony' yet - but that's a hard one :/

    -- Posted by NDII on Sun, Sep 8, 2013, at 12:44 AM
  • FUNNY ND. LMAO

    It may take 'em a while to get to that one, especially when so many on the right are blind to its presence.

    If they don't have a clear picture they can't utter the Queen of Heart's English. So it goes at that particular Tea Party where multiple Mad Hatters are always welcome. ;)

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Sep 8, 2013, at 1:49 AM
  • OKR - now I'm LMAO... what a rich image! Personally, I prefer Johnny Depp's rendition ;)

    -- Posted by NDII on Sun, Sep 8, 2013, at 7:55 AM
  • DO you never give up do you?

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Sep 8, 2013, at 11:55 AM
  • DO - just because YOU call anyone who doesn't agree with you "hypocrite", does not mean it's 'gospel' or even remotely true - it's just your opinion. So what?

    -- Posted by NDII on Sun, Sep 8, 2013, at 8:43 PM
  • .

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Mon, Sep 9, 2013, at 12:37 AM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: