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Comments by Starcrash

Go to: How to overcome indoctrination

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Starcrash

and I wanted to know if anyone had any tips for clearing out the emotional side of indoctrination

How does on clear away emotions? It's not easy.

I still have hang-ups over sex based on my Christian upbringing, and I've been an atheist for roughly 15 years now. It's not that I don't rationally understand the roots of my beliefs or why I'm wrong about them, but the emotions don't just go away because you wish at them hard enough.

However, it helps to have a support system. You need friends who will urge you to do the things that you should do, and who will restrain you from doing the things that you shouldn't. I don't believe in the efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous, but one thing they did right was to pair you with a "buddy" who you can call on when you need help. It just shouldn't be another person who is also struggling with these problems :p

Sat, 07 Jul 2012 13:36:11 UTC | #948726

Go to: Search for truth leads to rejection of religion

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Starcrash

Congratulations. I know that it was very difficult to make that transition. Many of us are former theists, although I personally didn't stand to lose as much as you did.

You know they're going to doubt you were ever a Christian, right? Those that want to live in denial will say "No True Christian" becomes an atheist. At least we rational thinkers can appreciate the hard work involved in getting over that cognitive dissonance and self-rationalization. There's no tougher enemy than ourselves.

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 01:27:20 UTC | #946969

Go to: Dawkins calls for 'Catholic' honesty

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 143 by Starcrash

"No true Scotsman", anyone?

Catholics are not defined by their belief in transubstantiation, therefore it isn't necessary for them to believe it whilst being Catholic. The church, despite the meaning of Catholic, is divided on a number of issues. My favorites are abortion/gay marriage.

Sun, 10 Jun 2012 20:57:39 UTC | #946772

Go to: Anti-Evolution and Anti-Climate Science Legislation Scorecard: 2012

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Starcrash

Comment 2 by Metamag :

Just one example, homeschooling, instead of viewing it as what it is, an extension of childhood indoctrination, there are a lot of secularists/atheists who still think it is a valid option and the primary usage of it is just accidental evil.

Comment 4 by strangebrew :

The religious...every single one of them... are not known for integrity or indeed intellectual honesty.

I agree, guys. The religious slow down education in the schools and in homeschooling... although homeschooling is under the purview of private parenting decisions. Are you suggesting that that bad parenting should be illegal? That's not a line that we should cross, in my opinion.

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 23:04:41 UTC | #945980

Go to: School Challenge

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Starcrash

RE? Religious Education? I'm only guessing -- I've never heard that abbreviation before.


Wed, 06 Jun 2012 01:35:35 UTC | #945789

Go to: Sins of Memory

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Starcrash

Sounds great. In The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer, he also discussed the common concept of memory vs. the reality (in such similar terms that I thought you were actually quoting him at first). I think he only discussed the roles of bias and suggestibility, but it was intriguing. I'd love to read more about this facet of the mind.

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 01:33:01 UTC | #945787

Go to: Anti-Evolution and Anti-Climate Science Legislation Scorecard: 2012

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Starcrash

Is it possible to make classes in logic/reason required? How about classes on ethics? Classes on comparative world religion?

It feels like we're always on the defense and never on the offense.

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 01:27:39 UTC | #945786

Go to: You want to ban hate speech? Isn’t that what religion is?

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Starcrash

Why do irrational people keep equivocating hate speech? Perhaps it was very badly named.

Free speech is a good thing, but like any freedom it could cause harm to others. Libel, slander, and the old "yelling fire in a crowded theater" all cause harm to others and so we make it illegal. Making 'hate speech' was going too far. Hate speech is any speech that is discriminatory and may cause a riot... so basically if you want to turn somebody's free speech into hate speech you simply have to incite a riot over it. Ask radical Muslims how it's done.

Even though it has 'hate' in the name, speech about hate is not hate speech. It has to be something prejudiced against an entire ethic group, country, or religion, which is why it's somewhat ironic that this article vilifies Christianity and Islam. If it also included instructions on what to do about these villains, it would be hate speech... can you see why I'm not a big fan of making this a crime?

Fri, 01 Jun 2012 03:39:14 UTC | #944893

Go to: Jury gives "faith healing" mother prison time in son's death

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Starcrash

Comment 1 by Kim Probable :

When your church's teachings are unreasonable, your conduct based on those teachings is unreasonable as well.

I couldn't have put it better myself! That's awesome!

I'm so glad the jury made this decision. I wonder, is there legal precedence for this decision? There must be. If not, it'll set precedence.

Wed, 30 May 2012 03:25:49 UTC | #944374

Go to: Church puts Pat Tillman on a Christian cross for Memorial Day

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Starcrash

Comment 24 by imokyrok :

Maybe after three decades of atheism I'm just too old for constant 'outrage' but I just find this a pretty ridiculous issue to gets ones knickers in a twist about. The old lady was honouring a guy in her way and I see nothing wrong with her doing so. Old ladies putting up crosses in their gardens don't bother me unless they are wearing a white hood and setting the cross on fire.

Well said. It's not as if Pat Tillman is upset about this.

Wed, 30 May 2012 03:23:15 UTC | #944373

Go to: Military Proselytizing by the Gideons – and how we stopped it.

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Starcrash

Congratulations, Dr. Mann. You are a true American hero.

Mon, 28 May 2012 01:32:14 UTC | #943890

Go to: Understanding Evolution and Being a Good Doctor

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Starcrash

I was going to defend my position, but I take it back -- despite speaking to reasonable people, bias ruins a lot of these arguments. And frankly, I don't want to defend creationists any more than you guys do.

Sat, 26 May 2012 22:10:35 UTC | #943707

Go to: Understanding Evolution and Being a Good Doctor

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Starcrash

The claim here, as usual in this debate, is an equivocation of "medicine" when saying "evolution is useful to medicine". The average doctor checking a patient for signs of illness does not apply evolutionary knowledge, but is implied to be the subject of the field of "medicine". However, the application of evolution is invariably linked to medical researchers. Researchers need to understand evolution? No kidding! But the average doctor can diagnose and prescribe medicine without once resorting to knowledge of evolution.

Sat, 26 May 2012 15:37:21 UTC | #943661

Go to: Moral Clarity and Richard Dawkins

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 79 by Starcrash

What an absurdly stupid idea. Ethics aren't levels that "support each other", nor is there such a thing as a person without meta-ethics -- just because you don't see them or can't understand them obviously doesn't mean that they have none. What would you draw from when considering one's moral system in such a case (such as the 10 commandments/suggestions linked to in the article)?

An analogy is for clarification -- it helps a person picture the ideas that you're projecting. You can't draw conclusions from an analogy unless they've already been drawn outside of the analogy, otherwise you're using the analogy for a dishonest intent.

Let's picture this argument in the article as a house, and the foundation is its main argument that ethics is like a house. But if that's not true (and there's no reason to believe it is), then the whole argument falls apart. Would you like a picture of a house without a foundation to see what your argument looks like at this point? Is the absurdity of this approach at least a little clearer now?

Wed, 23 May 2012 10:37:26 UTC | #943077

Go to: Atheism in America

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Starcrash

Comment 6 by Tony d :

I keep hearing how critical thinking and general knowledge are a path to escaping from religion.It seems that people with normal intelligence have to make a concious effort to suppress their own rationality in order to keep believing in their religion which ever one that may be. Making a virtue of faith makes a virtue of gullibility and stupidity.This gives abnormally gullible and stupid people an environment in which they can excel.Because religion comes easily to them. Where as normal people have to keep talking themselves into it.

The vast majority of the world is religious. The vast majority of the world is not "gullible and stupid". But I agree that the vast majority of the world does not think rationally. We're all victims of confirmation bias, herd mentality, self-justification, cognitive dissonance, ego, and a host of other things that can lead to religious thinking... and you have to be not only aware of these limiting factors but actually striving to avoid them. I don't believe that being rational is natural or easy, and so it's still rare.

Mon, 14 May 2012 06:18:30 UTC | #941353

Go to: Atheism in America

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Starcrash

Greta Christina is such a rational person. Her mind is my goal --- if I could think like her, I'd be satisfied.

Fri, 11 May 2012 10:50:15 UTC | #941006

Go to: Should Churches Get Tax Breaks?

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by Starcrash

"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God, the things that are God's"

This bible passage makes it pretty clear that Jesus would say "pay your taxes... the money came from your government's printing press and therefore originally came from your government, so it's fair for them to ask for some back."

There are alternative explanations of this bible passage that try to subvert the meaning by claiming that "nothing is Caesar's". I've heard the same thing from a pastor... it's not owed to the government, so it doesn't belong to the government. But is it "God's"? We can't prove causation behind any of our possessions coming from God, but it's rather easy to see how it ultimately comes from the government.

Have these churches also posted signs saying that they don't want help from local police and firefighters? Have they claimed that they don't want to be defended by our military? If they're getting government benefits, then they should also pay for them. It's understandable that they shouldn't have to pay if all of their income actually goes to charity (people in need as suggested by the bible) but this isn't your typical modus operandi for churches in the modern age. If churches are making a profit, then arguments for them avoiding taxes are just cases of special pleading.

Thu, 10 May 2012 22:30:00 UTC | #940940

Go to: Sean Faircloth: Do Something About the Religio-Industrial Complex

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Starcrash

I wish you luck, Sean, and hope we can bring about some changes. However sigh if we keep electing religious presidents, their bias is going to prevent their action on this issue.

Thu, 10 May 2012 10:44:08 UTC | #940840

Go to: Human Societies Starting to Resemble Ant Colonies

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Starcrash

I think it's an interesting and fascinating article, but I was misled by the "tool tip text" that showed up when my cursor hovered over the link to this page (taken from the subtitle of the article).

The similarities offer a look at just how ever-growing societies could collapse.

Where did the author get that idea? Ant culture has evolved along with their physical characteristics to handle the problems of proliferation and massive population density. They seem to be doing just fine. The article ends with a suggestion that ants "are arguably among the most successful organisms on the planet."

She seems to have an agenda that wasn't supported by the facts... it hasn't happened with the ants, but is rather drawn from a hypothesis from David Queller and Joan Strassmann at Washington University.

Sun, 06 May 2012 00:07:05 UTC | #940008

Go to: How Critical Thinkers Lose Their Faith in God

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Starcrash

Fascinating study... though the conclusion is hardly surprising. People who think harder come to the right conclusion? Who saw that coming?

Thu, 03 May 2012 21:55:58 UTC | #939449

Go to: Open letter and video re threat to GM Research

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 46 by Starcrash

Comment 29 by Al Denelsbeck :

Even worse, however, are the abject morons who take actions to try and stop others from taking actions, fearing the potential adverse effects of GM (or any other activism hotbutton) while remaining completely oblivious to the adverse effects that will knowingly result from their own actions. It takes a special brand of emotionally-ruled idiot to perform such pointless stunts.

Agreed. I hate the cliche "fighting fire with fire" because people often use that to justify using universally-recognized "wrong" actions to fight something seen as wrong. It's simply hypocrisy.

Great post, Al Denelsbeck. It was very rational, and you took the words out of my mouth before I could voice them. So... um... ditto.

Thu, 03 May 2012 00:15:46 UTC | #939204

Go to: Patrick Coffin, with Edward Feser, Receive a Call from Sean Faircloth of the RDFRS (US)

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by Starcrash

I like Sean. I liked seeing his short discussions on this website, and sometimes he has some very original ideas. I recently read his book, and I enjoyed that, too.

However, I don't like this clip... not even slightly. Patrick Coffin, even if you disagree with him (as I'm sure most of us do), is pretty fair. His point about Attack of the Theocrats being mutually exclusive with Sean's claim that he had nothing against theists was right on, and a very short interjection after letting Sean go on for quite a while. Patrick kept asking for a question, and Sean could've even stayed on point with a question such as "where is the evidence for your assertion that the New Atheists are loudmouth ignoramuses"? or replying to the attack on RD for not debating WLC with something other than ad hominem against WLC. RD has given replies to this question along the lines of "I have nothing to gain but plenty to lose from a debate" but this was not voiced. And it's perfectly alright for Patrick to cut Sean off for commercials --- in radio these commercial breaks are regularly paced and non-negotiable.

And worse than the clip is the confirmation bias seen here in the comments. I understand that we want atheism to win every battle against theism, but we don't win by default just because we're the more rational or logical position... our arguments still have to be well-defended. If we self-justify every weak argument, we'll never improve. We still have to apply critical thinking to our own arguments and not set up any double-standards that prevent us from seeing our weaknesses.

Thu, 03 May 2012 00:10:03 UTC | #939201

Go to: I Kind Of Got Kidnapped By Richard Dawkins And Ayaan Hirsi Ali At The Global Atheist Convention

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Starcrash

I do the Could That Sofa Possibly Be A Different Shade Of Green Than The Other Sofa, Maybe I Should Poke It To Be Sure.

Ah, I'm familiar with that one. We call it the CTSPBADSOGTTOSMISPITBS for short.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 00:45:31 UTC | #937590

Go to: Who matters (or should) when scientists engage in ethical decision-making?

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Starcrash

Isn't this a case of NOMA? Shouldn't we be consulting a theologian on questions of scientific ethics? ;)

I'm glad that such a course is taught, and I wish that my college offered a similar one. I have so many questions about the ethics of science, and Michael Chrichton isn't around anymore to answer them before I ask them.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 19:01:30 UTC | #937063

Go to: In defence of obscure words

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 73 by Starcrash

Comment 60 by Zeuglodon :

Don't worry, fellow grammar nazi. We'll get them in the punctuation camps.

ROFL!!! Why isn't this a common joke? I hope you know I'm going to plagiarize this.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 18:49:15 UTC | #937062

Go to: "It is written"

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Starcrash

If you haven't looked at the Book of Mormon before, you should --- you'll find an overabundance of the phrase "and it came to pass". The reason for this is probably so the book would sound "bible-like".

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 23:32:25 UTC | #936847

Go to: In defence of obscure words

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by Starcrash

I cringe anytime I hear the word "is" after "data" or "media"... which you may infer to mean that I am a Grammar Nazi. I prefer to hear appropriate English words (even if they are cumbersome) over common, simpler terms, but as I already elucidated --- I'm biased as fuck.

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 23:26:30 UTC | #936844

Go to: Religion is not the disease - lack of education is

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 91 by Starcrash

Comment 11 by Ignorant Amos :

Compartmentalisation plays a massive part in the debate on the intelligence of the believer. Some highly intelligent people who hold some very wayward ideas about the world and the religious beliefs they hold.

It's so true. You can rationalize nearly any idea that you have, and I think all of us do on one or more of our actions or beliefs. We're humans and our brains don't function entirely rationally.

However, I wish that we had learned in school about all the faults in our thinking. Learning to think critically helps a great deal. Even atheists can be irrational and can hold fundamental beliefs. The true enemy is irrational thinking, and I think the root cause is a lack of education. Whatever happened to "rhetoric" class? I've never had one, but I always assumed that this was the class that taught kids how to think properly.

Sun, 15 Apr 2012 03:39:34 UTC | #934744

Go to: Indian skeptic charged with "blasphemy" for revealing secret behind "miracle" of weeping cross

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by Starcrash

I assumed that the "miracle-checking" guy in the movie Stigmata was based on a real thing. I guess not.

Sun, 15 Apr 2012 03:29:34 UTC | #934742

Go to: A lot of science is just plain wrong

Starcrash's Avatar Jump to comment 50 by Starcrash

Why does every argument about what science knows and doesn't know turn into a debate over global warming?

Even if you don't agree with the scientific consensus, it's still a good idea to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to as little as possible, and that's all that climate-change scientists are asking for. Is it even necessary for them to prove their case?

Wed, 11 Apr 2012 03:04:30 UTC | #933819