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Comments by potteryshard

Go to: Tennessee Goes Monkey Again

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by potteryshard

The intention of the new bill—introduced just one month after Jacob’s suicide – is to carve out an exemption for those bullies who can lay claim to a sincere religious motivation for their hatred.

While this is deeply disappointing, I guess it is not particularly surprising. So much of religious proselytizing amounts to adult bullying. Legalizing child bullying for religious reasons appears to be a thoughtful and proactive step to ensure that another generation of religious bigots and bullies are adequately trained.

Tue, 03 Apr 2012 00:54:38 UTC | #932030

Go to: Robert Wright promotes accommodationism, disses Dawkins

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 40 by potteryshard

Anyone want to take a crack at writing "Overcoming Religious Indoctrination for Dummies"?

There is a parallel between the generations-long campaign to reduce smoking and our desire to limit the sway of religion...

**First we had to expunge the notion that it is good for you.

Then we had to quash the idea that it is just something that everybody does.

Then we had to inculcate the thought that it is bad for you.

Now, we're trying to drive home the understanding that it is bad for everyone around you.**

Certainly ridicule and a sense of outrage at the stench is important to help this multi-faceted process along. But when embarking on a long-term public drive to change the standard-issue mindset, one also needs other resources. Statistics showing harm (which can in turn drive legislation) are essential. A willingness to confront egregious offenders is needed. A well-thought out public education and advertising campaign is a must. An appreciation of the public and private costs of indulging is useful. And, a culture of self-help overcoming the scourge is important.

A one-dimensional effort to control a vicious weed so deeply rooted into every aspect of the social, psychological, and legal ecology is likely to simply select for a more robust weed.

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 13:00:29 UTC | #931342

Go to: Apathetic Atheists: A Forgotten Resource?

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by potteryshard

I recently read a book in which authorities were selecting people for a interstellar colony. They were careful to pick people who were neither religious or atheistic, but instead opted for people who comprised the healthy, disinterested middle. Fiction of course, but it got me thinking...

Setting aside the logical and evidential basis for atheism, and examining the emotional side, one seems to be feft with the question: Is our conviction for the rightness and truth of atheism a sign-reversed form of mental religious leaning? Religion is after all, frequently cited as fufilling a human need for a 'cause'.

Don't take me wrongly... I utterly despise organized religion (and its source, spirituality) as an obvious scam and for the damage it inflicts upon people and society. I'll acknowledge that my sense of being part of a crusade against the inanity of religion provides me a degree of emotional comfort; the destruction of religious influence becomes my 'cause'.

That in turn, forces me to grudingly admit that maybe the apathetic middle has the healthiest attitude.

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 12:41:35 UTC | #931153

Go to: Runaway Planets Zoom at a Fraction of Light Speed

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by potteryshard

So that is about 13411 km/s or 4.5 percent of light speed. Quite impressive for something as massive as a planet.

It could be that the residents planned the gravity whip to acheive escape velocity so that the planet itself can be used as a generation ship. I'm sure they've heard about the Terran religious terror on the way, and want to get out of the galaxy while the getting is good.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 23:21:01 UTC | #931057

Go to: Can Religion Justify Bullying Children? by Sean Faircloth

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by potteryshard

Religion can only justify bullying children in the minds of people whose eyes are already blinkered by religion. Pragmatically, however, even all of religionists miraculously had a revelation that bullying children was uncivilized, they would still be forced to continue to continue the abuse.

When you have a product that can't be sold to people capable of adult thought (and usually not even to kids without a bit of intimidation) you really have no choice but to continue to bully children.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 02:47:42 UTC | #930031

Go to: People obsessed with numbers

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by potteryshard

Desperately seeking something, no matter how contrived, that actually makes sense in the Bible?

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 20:54:44 UTC | #929952

Go to: Assuming we are not offended is inaccurate

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by potteryshard

Not reacting to an offense and not being offended are two very different things.

I think that the first thing any practicing atheist learns is that the supply of religious bullshit is infinite. To avoid drowning in the damnation deluge, we soon learn to stifle our outrage, and allow ourselves to react only occasionally. To do otherwise would be to invite exhaustion.

Most of the time, I feel like we are forced to fl\oat along with the shit-storm, only occasionally fighting against the current to reach out for an overhanging branch.

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 12:25:52 UTC | #929586

Go to: Advantages of Humanism

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by potteryshard

"God says..." is the adult equivalent of "Because I said so!" We have all had to throw the "Because I said so" card as not all concepts can be explained to a three-year-old.

Because adults can and should fully understand, allowing anyone to put off our questions and concerns with the "God says" zero-content argument is is willingly sacrificing their adulthood so that the religious manipulator need not provide a real answer.

Religion strives to keep the human race in perpetual childhood.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 12:30:53 UTC | #929251

Go to: Assuming we are not offended is inaccurate

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by potteryshard

the most offensive thing i find these days is the way people who are not atheists feel they have a public right and duty to inform the rest of the world what atheists want and think

Since their fictive god allows them to routinely speak for it without an answering blast of lightning as punishment for the presumption, well then obviously those folk have special knowledge and are of course allowed to speak for the merely mortal as well.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 12:16:33 UTC | #929247

Go to: Muslims speak out in defence of free speech

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by potteryshard

Is this just one guy somewhere trying to perpetuate the myth of the reasonable Muslim?

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 20:51:46 UTC | #928731

Go to: The Thin Skin Rule of religious folk

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by potteryshard

I've heard it argued that the religious don't just seem to be thin-skinned... They are instead demonstrably thin-skinned as it can readily be seen that their brains are leaking out.

Joking aside, I don't find it surprising that religious folk become offended when their beliefs are challenged. One adopts faith not as a result of reason, but in defiance of reason, presumably to be able to show off some inflated sense of worthiness and rigtheousness. I think that the religious, at some hidden level are aware of the silliness and improbability of that belief.

Threatening to let the air out of the glorious balloon they have been waving threatens to reveal that instead they have been pumping up a used condom. Any hint of exposure is bound to be embarrassing and distasteful.

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 20:49:41 UTC | #928730

Go to: Let's take the gender out of "God"

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 40 by potteryshard

Mankind was supposedly made in God's image; in practice God was invented in man's image. In either case a gender would be appropriate. I'm with the OP, however. It would be appropriate to de-anthropomorphize God.

The problem I have with the term "it" however, is that the God concept is entirely vaporware. The term 'it' implies existence. What would be an appropriate (and suitably snarky) pronoun for a non-existent 'it'? A 'nit'? An 'ait'? "Figment'?

What is the term that con-men use to name the mechanism of their con? The 'mulligan' or something like that?

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 20:26:29 UTC | #928725

Go to: Holy (roasted?) cow! My oven believes in God

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by potteryshard

I recall reading in an engtineering website about the adaptations to elevator control systems for Orthodox regions. The elevators are programmed to run continuously stopping at every floor so no has to commit the 'sin' of pushing a button. Conveniently ignoring the much more significant sin of wastefullness.

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 12:21:16 UTC | #928598

Go to: Melvyn Bragg attacks Richard Dawkins' 'atheist fundamentalism'

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by potteryshard

I, like most people here, base my criticism of religion on the fact that it infringes on my life and freedom on a daily basis.

And also manipulates legislation to be able to feed at the public trough to subsidize it's fantasies and childhood indoctrination.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 14:22:00 UTC | #926939

Go to: Marriage - two viewpoints

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by potteryshard

The purpose of the marriage contract is to (a) improve the lives of the participants, and to (b) improve the ability to successfully succor any dependents born to or adopted by the principals. Any combination of willing participants is equally valid; from the traditional pair, to a group of shared husbands and wives, to a basketball team or whatever. The makeup of the participants need only be limited by the imaginations of those participants as long as conditions (a) and (b) are met.

If you really want to improve the institution of marriage, however, the revised marriage contract needs to have a fixed expiration date. If the contract is not renewed after X number of years, it dissolves automatically according to pre-established terms. It would be far less traumatic and stressful, both for society and for the participants I would think, if a dying marriage was allowed to expire gracefully than to force participants to noisily murder it, or to just keep the suffering marriage on eternal life-support.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 12:35:25 UTC | #926900

Go to: Before Wolves May Be Hunted, Science, Faith and Politics Clash

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by potteryshard

Why not license the hunters to go after each other?

If we're going to pretend to talk about about justitying wolf hunting via population controls, shouldn't those measures be applied first to the species that has genuinely become a fecundity blight? A lot more meat on them too.

/set sarcasm flag

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 12:12:23 UTC | #926897

Go to: Afghan clerics' guidelines 'a green light for Talibanisation'

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by potteryshard

When a nation-state suffers a religious infection, there is not much that outside agencies can do to encourage healing beyond basic nursing support. The will and energy to cure the disease must come from within, it cannot be imposed from without. The most important function of the outside authorities is to ensure that a strict quarantine is enforced so that the remainder of the populace isn't infected by that particular religious disease variant. Since heroic surgery can't substantially affect a systemic disease, little choice seems to exist but to effectively quarantine until either the patient dies, or the current generations of infectuous disease die out.

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 13:24:31 UTC | #925124

Go to: Republican Congressional Candidate Says 'Holocaust Never Happened'

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by potteryshard

What is it about self-delusional people that makes them hanker for public office? Fortunately, his opponent should have an easy advertising opening. Simply show a clip of the video with him saying the halocaust didn't happen, freeze the video with this poor fool's mouth hanging open, and add a laugh track for the entire remainder of the ad.

Fri, 02 Mar 2012 19:08:06 UTC | #923822

Go to: SBC’s Richard Land: Romney Not a Christian, Compares Mormonism to Islam

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by potteryshard

How ironic that the Souithern Baptist Convention, which split from the mainstream Baptists (in 1854 or so?) so that they could continue to preach religious justification of slavery even has an ethics commission.

Fri, 02 Mar 2012 13:03:11 UTC | #923734

Go to: The Myth of Militant Atheism

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by potteryshard

What's one more myth to the myth-masters? We need to bring in the Myth-Busters.

Fri, 02 Mar 2012 01:24:12 UTC | #923648

Go to: Free Will

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 46 by potteryshard

The notion that free will is demonstrated to not exist is based on the few milliseconds time delay between when the action potential directed to the muscles actived by a 'freely willed' movement and when the executive section of the mind supposedly willing that movement lights up.

I don't find this surprising or compelling as a proof that no free will takes place. The mind is not a single system, but an enormous array of specialized "macros", if I can borrow a computer term. Ideas and potential commands are continuously bubbling up from these parallel systems. The executive section either enables or blocks ideas and commands as it chooses.

By my thinking, to take an action, the executive section sets a toggle permitting the chosen action the next time it bubbles up from the underlying macros. Because this permissive bit can be but a few neurons, there is no way to detect this prior, freely willed permissive signal. We see the action potential cascading from the unblocked amplification of the macro-generated trigger signal.

I suspect that the executive section response is the pre-frontal cortex recording and approving that the action that it set the permissive flag for has occurred. It makes sense to me that the larger, and thus detectable event in the executive section is the memory being set that said event has happened.

I'm not qualified to have an opinion on the subject, but no, I can't buy the thought that free-will has been repudiated.

Fri, 02 Mar 2012 01:21:46 UTC | #923647

Go to: Why do the religious insist on presenting a united front?

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by potteryshard

Its simply professional courtesy. Starting an interfaith squabble will only interfere with the daily business of fleecing the flocks, and might create an opportunity for those atheist wolves.

Thu, 01 Mar 2012 13:03:15 UTC | #923436

Go to: 'Space Chronicles': Why Exploring Space Still Matters

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 47 by potteryshard

But I don't think space exploration counts among the more pressing needs of humanity at present,

I don't think there is anything more important... Now, or ever. As an example, one small iron-nickel asteroid could supply earth's appetite for steel for a decade. Think of all the pollution and damage to Earth that could be averted. It is the same for all other resources. It just seems so short-sighted and blind... We're living in a closed system. It would cost less and cause less harm to ease gradually into establishing an exostructure than to be forced into a crash program when something critical finally does run out.

Remember that USA's space program was started NOT out of genuine scientific curiosity but because of military and political reasons.

That might have been the public justification for the program, but the driving force behind that facade was always the dream that dates back to people like Goddard and Oberth. Governments were created to do the large things that individuals and smaller groups of people can't accomplish. What could possibly be of greater import, a more noble use of taxes, and a more memorable legacy than to help ensure that the human race has a long term future?

Ironically, the whining over spending money on something actually worthwhile overlooks the economic benefits. Monies spent on space don't get spent in space... They stay right here and create economic growth, new technologies, and profound manufacturing skills and capabilities. I'd rather be taxed for something good than to subsidize religion or stock market greed.

Thu, 01 Mar 2012 01:08:11 UTC | #923332

Go to: Enough of Rick Santorum’s sermons

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by potteryshard

What a choice... Make the country safe for the ultra-wealthy, or make the country safe for the ultra-wacky. I wonder if the Disney animatronic Lincoln is hiding under the desk for embarassment?

Thu, 01 Mar 2012 00:29:16 UTC | #923317

Go to: 'Space Chronicles': Why Exploring Space Still Matters

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by potteryshard

What does space colonization have to do with my life here and now, and why am I, a glorified ape with little time, obligated to pursue it?

Because once you've found the lint, navel-gazing gets pretty boring? Because by burying one's head in the here and now paradigm one also normalizes the expection that all anyone should see is sand. Why limit our desendants? Its time to get out and meet the neighbors.

Wed, 29 Feb 2012 13:56:11 UTC | #923111

Go to: New evidence suggests Stone Age hunters from Europe discovered America

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by potteryshard

I think they are actually wet lionesses wearing frilly blouses. Yes, If true, this finding is not very PC. People will more likely attack the method used for dating.

Why would anyone want to date a wet lioness wearing a frilly blouse?

Wed, 29 Feb 2012 03:59:42 UTC | #923013

Go to: Why we need college degrees more than we need faith

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by potteryshard

What about lawyers who devote their lives to pro bono human rights work all over the world??

These account for what, maybe half of a percent of the lawyers? Please... It isn't the exceptions that are the problem. It is the majority that milk the system without making a contribution consistent with their rewards. This doesn't imply that law isn't needed... It is instead a complaint that because lawyers 'own' the law, they have created laws that stifle competition, mandated the involvement of lawyers where first steps could instead be handled less expensively, and in general ensured that the legal community's interests have been prioritised over those of citizens.

Since lawyers both as individuals and as a class profit from unclear, conflicted, and self-interested legislation, I would insist that there exists a clear and present conflict of interest where lawyers are allowed to be legislators.

Wed, 29 Feb 2012 03:55:47 UTC | #923012

Go to: Why we need college degrees more than we need faith

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by potteryshard

By your reckoning, people like me are just money grubbing idiots???

I didn't use the word idiots. But from my deeply cynical point of view, it is impossible to see a BA in political science, an MBA, and a law degree as any thing other than a specialization in money-grubbing and manipulation.

I don't disagree that engineers can be just as wooly-headed as anyone else. But, engineers are trained to respect the inner working of reality. Even more importantly, engineers are not trained in the arts of imposing their wishes on others. It is the inherent training in manipulation that makes these specializations so pernicious.

Wed, 29 Feb 2012 00:54:42 UTC | #922972

Go to: New evidence suggests Stone Age hunters from Europe discovered America

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by potteryshard

Ah yes, but if you woke up tomorrow morning to find a new bunch of settlers ready to turf you and your fellow countrymen off whichever country it is you currently live in at the moment I expect your extremely sensible and dispassionate view of the long sweep of history would be cold comfort to you.

Of course. You are talking about today, I was talking about long ago. I just get disgusted with those who maintain a take-over grudge for long-past events for fun and profit. Maybe those events that occurred three or four or more generations ago weren't the most just, but anyone complaining about their lands 'being taken' are also guilty of taking that same land from an even earlier group.

Wed, 29 Feb 2012 00:36:55 UTC | #922964

Go to: Why we need college degrees more than we need faith

potteryshard's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by potteryshard

Santorum actually holds three degrees - a BA in political science, an MBA, and a law degree

That may be so, but those are not science or engineering degrees which force a certain grounding in reality. He has studied to be a money-grubber and manipulator. No surprises there; it is embarassingly evident every time he opens his mouth.

Tue, 28 Feb 2012 23:30:00 UTC | #922945