Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving: what this day and is not about.

Happy Thanksgiving. Today is a day to have fun with your family & to talk with them.

When I was a kid we went to granny's house and had turkey. Now as an adult I go to a sister's house and later to a cousin's of my wife.

Never was this day about apologizing for the sins of people who may or may not have been my ancestors, or who may or may not have shared the same skin color as myself.

Here's some links that came to mind as I read some other blog posts today:

What did the Romans ever do for us? Here's a related sketch from the film Life of Brian by Monty Python:
The noble savage myth:

The myth that ancient people of all stripes were less violent:

The bottom line is this: children are not responsible for the sins of their parents or ancestors, and we need not apologize for the misdeeds of others.

There can be shame based religion, and also apparently shame based culture in general.

The right wing has shame based religion.

The left wing has shame based politics and culture.

Can't we just move beyond shame based culture/religion and having any concept of original sin or having to apologizing for the "sins" of other people who aren't us?

Everyone is a bit racist, as per Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

The tribalistic ethos that teaches children to hate & resent others because of misdeeds done in the past sets up fertile ground for an endless cycle of revenge. Which culture in America does this? Is it politically incorrect to say? Maybe the government should provide free health care, free land, and job assistance to groups who were oppressed in the past, but that doesn't mean I personally have any personal responsibility whatsoever for what other people may have done - people who aren't me.

Thank goodness that the in-group morality of humanity is expanding. This is happening because of things like the Internet, TV. film, and ease of travel. All human groups are capable of genocide and of expressing out-group morality. What's most important is to simple be conscious of how human nature works.

You are a native to the country you were born in. All people in the U.S. are the children of immigrants. And given the chance. all groups of humans would screw over the Earth if they were unenlightened. What man who clubbed the last Dodo and what was his tribe & culture?

Keeping cultures in the dark because they are just "so cute" with their little cute beliefs isn't right. The detached defacto atheist academic who views the demon-haunted beliefs of others as "cute" and "worth preserving in totality & isolation" - they are helping to keep their fellow humans in the dark. Maybe having everyone buy into greedy cutthroat social-darwinist (spencerist) capitalism would not be so good. But all children should have the benefit of a proper education which includes science, art, history, math, comparative religion, and so on.

So today I won't be apologizing to anyone but my wife, and even in that case she's pretty easy going. Today is a day to have fun with your family - nothing more.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Atheism & having kids: the right to choose to be a zero

CFI in Portland (child group of Beaverton Atheists) recently hosted the following discussion: "Discussion: Demographics: Should Atheists be trying to have more children?"

I would answer a strong yes. Here's quotes from another blogger who also agrees:
"...Having children consciously, in full awareness of the insanity of the leap you are taking is a revolutionary act. It can be compared to picking up a weapon and walking on to a battle field. Sure, there are far more idiots that are willing to become soldiers, but when an educated individual chooses to take a stand it is very different. One who chooses to fight in full understanding is not a soldier but rather a warrior..."

"...Intelligence is a virtue but is it worthless without bravery. If you have brains and have a sense of what this world needs, then have children. Otherwise you have no one to blame but yourself when you find yourself old and infirm, surrounded by blithering morons."
Relative to overpopulation: There will be a natural curve limiting to exponential growth, and those limits will occur more on the uneducated ends of the curve, not so much in places where highly educated atheists tends to live. Science, technology, and education about both can help to save things.

Relative to whether it's stupid for someone to have 8 or 11 kids: Was it stupid for them to pass on their genes & memes more easily to a wide group of people? Transmitting memes is of value, but there's something about a living breathing human that doesn't quite compare to a book or computer. Their right to choose is the mirror of your right to choose not to. The drunk bums in my own family who were in the end zeros both genetically & memetically - their wasted lives show that sometimes there really is value in doing what comes natural.

There's a certain anti-having-kids ideology from the 1960s and 70s which continues today, and it goes something like this: Because there's overpopulation in third world countries that means I should have no kids myself. It's a false analogy, and it's about the same type of thing as saying that one should eat one's peas because of starving children elsewhere. This ideology robs people of a key part of life: reproduction! Yes that's right, having kids. It's not all about you. Biology & evolution will have the last laugh.

Just because resources are scarce in third world countries doesn't mean you should have kids. Have them, have as many as you want, but teach your kids the value of science and the value of continuing the Enlightenment.

Related links:
A video: Atheist family values: think about legacy, have kids, preserve the garden, don't be a drunk bum.

A related talk at my mother's funeral.

Should Christian women have breasts & vaginas?

Should Christian women have breasts & vaginas? These are a key questions I have been wondering about.

I watched the video "Should Christian women wear bikinis" at

Is there a middle ground between porn and berkas? Maybe. But one thing is certain: morality doesn't come from a certain religion.

Here's a related video on that front from Hitchens & Fry on the Catholic Church:
and more by Sam Harris as he talks about his new book The Moral Landscape

In my first hand experience, shame based religion wants you to forcibly remove and shut down the parts of your brain that deal with sex. And in response to the anti-bikini video by that nut job guy preaching to an audience in the referenced video, the last time I checked men are human. The way a man's brain reacts to a woman in a bikini is not dehumanizing. Shame based ideology destroys people's lives. Similar ideas keep women in bags (berkas).

And lastly a related video of my own:
Mormonsm & oral sex:

Haven't these people ever heard of having healthy boundaries? No. They get their jollies out of interrogating teenagers about their nascent sexuality. No maybe it's not quite as bad as the child rape that's rampant in Catholicism, but it's on the same playing field in my view.