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Comments by Happy Hominid

Go to: The New Atheist Movement is destructive

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Happy Hominid

Blueollie - What exactly are the New Atheists destroying?


And it's killing them - figuratively and literally. For that reason, I'm sure an outspoken atheist does seem "militant" from their perspective. By calling us militant, they hope to shut us up. But what happens is, the entire controversy gets more heated, generates more news and gets people thinking about the subject more.

Shit, if we could only get them to call us "Atheist terrorists"!

Thu, 19 Mar 2009 18:34:00 UTC | #337446

Go to: The New Atheist Movement is destructive

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Happy Hominid

an atheist without a bishop to bash is like a fish without water

I'm thinking more like, "a fish with a shark in the water".

Thu, 19 Mar 2009 18:29:00 UTC | #337440

Go to: Win Ben Stein's Mind

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Happy Hominid

The heartening thing is to read the 260 comments at the Sun Times page where this appeared. Hey, there aren't as many idiots as I feared!

Wed, 03 Dec 2008 23:10:00 UTC | #282558

Go to: On TV: The Genius of Charles Darwin: Presented by Richard Dawkins

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Happy Hominid

One of the topics on this weeks' Another Goddamned Podcast is the greatness of Darwin; but that it not so great being referred to by religionists as "Darwinists".

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 15:21:00 UTC | #211578

Go to: Obama Should Re-Think His Faith-Based Agenda

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Happy Hominid

The newest edition of Another Goddamned Podcast (not out yet, but should be up in the next 10 hours) is a full-blown discussion of the McCain/Obama meeting that will take place at the Saddleback Church of Rick Warren (famous for "The Purpose Driven Life").

Just use this link later. Don't be fooled by the current podcast which shows McCain and Obama. That one is more about the options available to atheists/free-thinkers and if there is any realistic choice other than Obama. Also - why the reason-based community is pissed off at Obama.

Mon, 28 Jul 2008 14:29:00 UTC | #209107

Go to: Daniel Dennett: Autobiography (Part 1)

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Happy Hominid

Darwin's Dangerous Idea is one of my top 4 or 5 evolution/science books. There is a nice and fairly recent interview with Dan here
And The Herd have brought him up a number of times in the weekly atheist discussions.

Mon, 28 Jul 2008 14:21:00 UTC | #209101

Go to: VOICES OF SCIENCE: PZ Myers - Buy it now on DVD

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Happy Hominid

Sorry about that link. Try this:

Sun, 27 Jul 2008 21:27:00 UTC | #208521

Go to: VOICES OF SCIENCE: PZ Myers - Buy it now on DVD

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by Happy Hominid

This is interesting, even if it's not exactly the Four Horsemen or four of our best scientists. More like a Herd of Heathens.

Sun, 27 Jul 2008 21:25:00 UTC | #208520

Go to: Good Science Writers: Richard Dawkins

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Happy Hominid

In this recent edition of Another Goddamned Podcast the discussion came to Richard Dawkins and his value to atheism - is it greater if he just writes the fantastic science that gave him his fame? Or does his fame now make him a better spokesperson for rationality?

Wed, 23 Jul 2008 00:31:00 UTC | #205178

Go to: 'Uncontacted tribe' sighted in Amazon

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Happy Hominid

The Herd over at Another Goddamned Podcast discuss the pros and cons of "leaving them alone".

Fri, 30 May 2008 19:57:00 UTC | #177166

Go to: Kenya mob reportedly burns 11 'witches'

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by Happy Hominid

The latest edition of ANOTHER GODDAMNED PODCAST tackles the issue - atheism being more about rational thinking than being "against" any particular god and why we're unable to get that message across to theists.

Fri, 23 May 2008 14:39:00 UTC | #174745

Go to: The Group Delusion

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 65 by Happy Hominid

"Son of God Delusion" is a hilarious title IF RD is going to write another book along these lines. I guess it will be hard for him not to, based on the degree of interest he, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens have generated in the topic of atheism. We certainly owe them a debt of gratitude for doing this.

That said, I think RD is perhaps our greatest living scientist/explainer (with the deaths of Gould and, more importantly, Sagan) and while I personally have little need of having my rationality boosted, I DO need to know more about our world and universe. I'd take 3 chapters of The Ancestor's Tale over 3 versions of The God Delusion.

But that's just me. I know that most of the traffic to this site is not generated by the scientific interest of laypeople.

Fri, 11 Jan 2008 12:38:00 UTC | #105338

Go to: The Atheists Interviews

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by Happy Hominid

Hi, you all know me here as "Happy Hominid", and at my blog I am "The Evolutionary Middleman".

I want to thank everyone for the kind remarks and support for the project. It's very heartening that what I wanted to do - get us long-time atheists thinking about the trials of new free thinkers - seems to be having just that effect. I believe if we understand what they have gone through and how they came to the default position of atheism (or tea-pot agnosticism if you prefer), we are automatically preparing ourselves for how to approach those who have not yet made the leap of reason.

Also, thanks for the constructive criticism. I particularly thank Northern Bright for -

"Though I'd like to see it developed a little further, to explore what differences their loss of faith has made to the ex-believers: whether they miss anything about their former faith, how they now deal with things they would previously have prayed about, how their loss of faith has affected their view of the meaning of their life, their peace of mind, their decision-making processes etc."

Great advice that helps clarify my thinking. Hopefully you'll be happy with the results!
What happened in this interview is that I went with my basic set of questions, in the hope that it would lead-in to exactly that sort of follow-up. As you can see from the interview, FVThinker is highly articulate and made some sensational points. Long, but great. Because they were long (and there was no way I was going to edit out what I considered to be important thoughts) I had to cut it off at that point. I don't want to do 10,000 words and Mike and I certainly would have had no problem doing that! I have a feeling some people won't give such in-depth answers and this will provide me with good opportunities to explore exactly those points you mentioned. Thanks again.

Tue, 11 Sep 2007 19:57:00 UTC | #66134

Go to: Court bans Christian cross on private land in public park

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Happy Hominid

Dr. Benway said: "Quite depressing. Play this out: some mid-level bureaucrat gets pissed at you and does some data-mining and cherry-picking, to impress others that you're a jerk not to be trusted"

and he's so right. I cringe whenever I hear someone saying "what's the big deal? I'm not a terrorist. I never do ANYTHING illegal. I don't have anything to fear". Uh, yeah, you do. When you give up your Constitutional rights (or have them taken from you without a fight) you are in trouble. You just don't know it yet.

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 21:37:00 UTC | #65159

Go to: Court bans Christian cross on private land in public park

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Happy Hominid

Icculus -

Not disagreeing with your knowledge of the Constitution, but I will note the following:

It's not the Executive's prerogative to go to war.

It's not the Executive's prerogative to use torture.

It's not the Executive's prerogative to arrest U.S. citizens without due process.

It's not the Executive's prerogative to create a massive data base with the phone records of U.S. citizens.


So while I agree with your constitutional analysis, I urge you to be highly suspicious of every possible violation of the Constitution right now. Bush is the worst thing to happen to America in the 54 years of my life, and I suspect Gore Vidal (quite a knowledgeable source) is correct when he says that "W" is worst ever.

I've never been paranoid. I've laughed at conspiracy theorists. I'm being duly rewarded for my arrogance.

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 07:31:00 UTC | #65022

Go to: Court bans Christian cross on private land in public park

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Happy Hominid

Just so our friends from over-seas understand - this is an aberration when it comes to a U.S. Court of Appeals decision.

The 9th Circuit is probably the only consistently liberal circuit court in the judicial. There has even, supposedly, been talk of the Bush administration DISBANDING the court! Hey, it wouldn't be any surprise would it? It's no more outrageous than the firing of the federal prosecutors who didn't "play ball" with the Bush administration.

Justice is supposed to be blind, but let's hope nothing worse than that happens to it in the remaining 18 months of the Bush presidency. There's enough other mischief that they are sure to be up to during that time (See this video I posted. I don't think Brits get "Countdown", do you?)

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 22:55:00 UTC | #64897

Go to: Atheist 'Metaphysics' and Religious Equivocation

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 80 by Happy Hominid

"Not so for god(s)."

Not necessarily. But we can and do test the hypothesis. So far there is no evidence. And I think the spirit of your comment is correct, and we never will find any.

Thu, 09 Aug 2007 12:10:00 UTC | #59101

Go to: Atheist 'Metaphysics' and Religious Equivocation

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 75 by Happy Hominid

Stag, you said: Granted, but this is an argument against "bad religion", not NOMA. Your attack seems to be based upon the assumption that a religion has to make unjustifiable statements about objective reality (miracles, young-earth creationism, etc.) in order to fully qualify as a "religion". I see no reason why this should be the case. Taken at face value, NOMA is quite devastating to most religious claims about the universe."

and then...

"As to what constitutes "good religion", that is another discussion entirely."

So I'd like to start that discussion. Can you give me two or three examples from the world today? Are they "good" because they don't make unverifiable claims of knowledge or because they do no evil or what? And, regardless, what is it about them that applies to the NOMA concept - that it is completely separate from scientific inquiry? And if we do allow them to stand aside as a separate magisterium, should we also think of it as an equal but different way of "knowing"?

Thu, 09 Aug 2007 10:54:00 UTC | #59088

Go to: Atheist 'Metaphysics' and Religious Equivocation

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 51 by Happy Hominid

Roach - agree with you on that! What I got from Black Sun's excellent post was a ripping rebuttal of those who would attempt to equate "other ways of knowing" with a scientific way; a scathing attack on their attempt to level the playing field (as Black Sun says), by calling science "Scientism" as if it is some different equivalency of "Religion".

We've just gone of an an extremely interesting tangent. If the article served as a springboard into those waters, then it was worth it for that reason alone. But, of course, it is a much more valuable piece of writing than simply that.

Wed, 08 Aug 2007 15:37:00 UTC | #58922

Go to: Atheist 'Metaphysics' and Religious Equivocation

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 42 by Happy Hominid

Stag - to follow-up on what CelestialTeapot just said in Comment 40, let me run a speculative scenario past you and get your thoughts:

In the not too distant future, science stimulates your brain in such a way that you know, to a very close general degree, what a certain type of fruit (never previously experienced by you) tastes like. You then are given the fruit to actually taste. When you do so, you have a general expectation of the taste will be and it is met when you bite in. The similarity was, in fact, as close as what you would have if you bite into a nice red apple and it turns out to be slightly sweeter and crisper than your expectation - but still causes no surprise (other than happiness that you happened upon a good apple).

Would that change your mind at all about what you've been suggesting? I know it's highly hypothetical but, honestly, I think we will be there AND a lot further in our life times.

And I still say that this type of subjective experience is really unrelated to the subjective experience of "knowing" that there is a god. Experiments have already been done where the brain is stimulated into a quasi-religious state. Interestingly, I believe it only seems to work on people who already think they "know" something supernatural. That should tell you something about that particular physical structure of the brain.

Wed, 08 Aug 2007 13:01:00 UTC | #58898

Go to: Atheist 'Metaphysics' and Religious Equivocation

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by Happy Hominid

Robert Maynard and Jitten are right on this, and I understand that you are frustrated with some inability to grasp what you are saying. Remember that consciousness is a very difficult subject. There will be a lot of debate about it for quite some time until we get further along than we are now. May I suggest, for instance, reading Steven Pinker's "The Blank Slate". If nothing else, you will realize that we WILL have the answers and, like I think Robert said, We will know and already do in many cases.

What's the point of subjective vs objective reality in regards to Black Sun's article? You may think there is a subjective sense of knowing the taste of an apple, loving your wife or listening to Beethoven that can never be understood objectively. But you have to admit (and, in fairness, I think Stag did) that this level of subjective "knowledge" is entirely different than the subjective knowledge of the supernatural.

Finally, let's all take a moment to reflect on the fact that as recently as 1950, someone could have looked at the moon in wonder and thought about how great it would be to go there but "it will NEVER happen. At least not in MY lifetime". Or later in the 50's after Crick described DNA and, as he recounts, not even giving CONSIDERATION to the possibility of the human genome being decoded in his lifetime - because it was so fantastically outside the sphere of knowledge at that time. So when you claim that we can "never" know certain "subjective" realities in an objective way... pause before you say so.

Wed, 08 Aug 2007 11:28:00 UTC | #58890

Go to: Eight-million-year-old bug is alive and growing

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Happy Hominid

Most folks here are probably already aware of it, but is a wonderful, daily updated site with loads of interesting science news. It's definitely "dumbed down" if you want to put it that way. Nevertheless, even if your science expertise level is high, you will still find things of interest in fields other than your own.

I'm really glad to see that a lot of you feel about this like I do (my original comment about "more science") and I just want to clarify something for those who I knew would not agree.

I am aware that there are places right here on RD that do have what I'm asking for. I'd just like to see more news articles about science, particularly evolution related, on the front page. This is where most of us and just about every new visitor logs on.

I'm not suggesting that the site change... just adjust a little. There is still plenty of room for the other stories. I'm in to that as well. It's definitely the purpose of this site. As Aussie said, "Reading this stuff is exciting and nourishing to the mind and one comes away with a feeling that something new has been learned." Yes. And that is equally true for visitors here who might be undecided on where they stand. Win-Win?

Wed, 08 Aug 2007 09:27:00 UTC | #58876

Go to: Eight-million-year-old bug is alive and growing

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Happy Hominid

This is the kind of fascinating science article that I would love to see more of on RD. I think we should intersperse more of this between the "KGOD interview with Hitchens - God Is Not Great". I know I'll take some flak for saying so, but that's OK. It's another day in paradise!

Tue, 07 Aug 2007 19:11:00 UTC | #58731

Go to: New age therapies cause 'retreat from reason'

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Happy Hominid

Once again an important reminder that our position as rational thinkers is not simply to hammer away at Christian Fundamentalism.

There are endless examples of muddled thinking and some of them have both a devastating impact and are easier to deal with than minds that are locked into any religious belief. Let's keep our eyes open to the big picture of living in a world based on Reason.

Sat, 04 Aug 2007 23:32:00 UTC | #58106

Go to: The Flea Circus Invites a Newcomer!

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Happy Hominid

Comment #60227 by drive1 has hit it right on the head. The more books the better. Religion and any defense of the supernatural can't win the battle of ideas. For centuries these things weren't allowed to be debated. Finally they are fair game. Fleas will always exist, but it's still better to be a dog!

Wed, 01 Aug 2007 10:44:00 UTC | #57016

Go to: The Out Campaign

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 57 by Happy Hominid

Deja Fu -

You said: "One should learn to read precisely so that one may think precisely. Language (math is a language) is all we have to communicate with, so we should first master that. Theocide didn't refer to his or her parents being dissuaded from religion by any of these books or arguments. In fact, he/she seems to be my "case in point" - his/her parents weren't convinced; he/she was. I'm neither correcting you nor arguing with you, but perhaps you'll see why language is so important. I learned English quite early, and of course Richard is quite proficient in his native tongue. It's important - "If you can't say what you mean, you will never mean what you say."

I think I read what he said very precisely. I'm not talking about his parents. I'm talking about him. HE is the one coming out. He was most assuredly educated and brainwashed with the religion of his parents - that's why it is worrisome to him to go against them now. Despite that, he listened and learned from others (specifically, he cites RD) and has decided he is an atheist and wants to come out.

Your message about reading carefully and thinking about it is well taken though. I certainly have made mistakes before and will make them again. I just didn't in this particular case, and I think you did.

And I'm not suggesting that you were all that far from the truth in your original post. It is EXTREMELY difficult to get someone to relinquish their cherished religious beliefs. They have to be ready for it and open to new possibilities. But if we, as atheists, aren't willing to share what we have learned about the world, fewer will ever BE ready. That's all I'm saying.

Mon, 30 Jul 2007 20:20:00 UTC | #56624

Go to: The Out Campaign

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Happy Hominid

Deja Fu said, " don't think any books from Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, Stenger, Hitchens, Sagan, et al, will overcome the embedded generation's brainwashing as children."

A couple of posts later Theocide said, " have recently decided to come out. It is really scary because all my family are fundamentalists Christians. I can directly thank Richard Dawkins & Dan Barker for giving me the courage to come out and proclaim that I won't keep quite any more regarding my lack of belief in any gods."

People DO change their positions. Yes, it can seem impossible with some folks and it may be so, in their lifetimes. The point, to me, is to start moving the numbers in our direction. Most atheists today were brought up in a religious tradition. We all changed. We probably didn't just "do it" in some vacuum. We read the thoughts of great minds and we paid attention to the realities of history and science vs. what we were taught and came to a conclusion - to COME OUT. Others will too. How many is partly up to us who are already there.

Mon, 30 Jul 2007 15:25:00 UTC | #56564

Go to: The Out Campaign

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Happy Hominid

I like it. Could we do better? Maybe. But who cares? The point is to stand up and say what you are and if most go along with The Scarlet A then it will become KNOWN. It's not much of a statement if a million atheists have a million different ways of showing it, because the average person won't recognize the symbol. If we can rally around one, even if we disagree whether it's the BEST, it will have impact. I'm in. It's already up.

Mon, 30 Jul 2007 14:25:00 UTC | #56546

Go to: In defense of dangerous ideas

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 75 by Happy Hominid

Those few in this rather long thread who have argued that we shouldn't bother debating the examples of "dangerous ideas" that Pinker gave but, rather, discuss the merits of what Pinker says ABOUT dangerous ideas - have it exactly right.

I suspect Pinker purposely included some ideas that may be ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS on face just to strengthen the point. If someone proposes an idea then the last thing a 'free thinker' should want to do is to end the discussion simply because the idea is either distasteful or, even, beyond any reasonable likelihood. If someone is interested in the idea enough to do research on an idea, support the research and let the chips fall where they may. If it turns out to be false, the research will eventually confirm so.

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 13:45:00 UTC | #55693

Go to: Susan Blackmore interviews Dan Dennett

Happy Hominid's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Happy Hominid

"I agree that some of his TED lectures (on OTHER SUBJECTS, the ones he says he likes!) are very interesting and actually have some meat in them."

I still find Dennett quite interesting, despite some of your earlier valid complaints. Additionally, Darwin's Dangerous Idea was one of the greatest books I've read. I also think you come across more of these types of problems you mentioned whenever you have a expert interviewing an expert - ESPECIALLY in a field like this!

Incidently, when I gave this link to Josh I also gave him one with Blackmore interviewing VS (Rama) Ramachandran. He didn't seem to think it's worth posting and that may tell you something about it. But just in case you're interested, here's the link.

Tue, 24 Jul 2007 10:04:00 UTC | #55113