This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comments by shmooth

Go to: Why people believe weird things about money

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 63 by shmooth

the first example he states is just bunk. why would anyone want to earn less than everyone else? stupid, but Shermer says it is 'rational', and therefore the correct thing to do. Ohhhh. Kayyy.

as for the built-in altruistic tendencies of humans, is this new information? i thought that research was newish about 15 years ago, but...

the weird part is that Shermer would really want to be that guy in line - or at least acts like he would be. he, apparently, would have no problem being the guy to have missed that big payout by just one position. great - he's different than 99.9999999% of the planet - i guess that's reason enough to write a book.

Mon, 14 Jan 2008 04:35:00 UTC | #105983

Go to: If you don't have religion, where do you find your sense of community?

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by shmooth

pickup soccer has always been big for me, but i've been injured for a while now, and i recently found out about The Humanist Community - a local Humanist group in my neighborhood. They're definitely about community, and I'd like to see the idea spread.

Find a local group near you (Google Map):

You can also google for your national humanist org, and they'll usually have links to all the groups in your country.

Thu, 13 Dec 2007 13:11:00 UTC | #93782

Go to: Pupil defends teacher in Muhammad teddy furore

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by shmooth

darn - there goes my xmas vacation plans.

Wed, 28 Nov 2007 22:56:00 UTC | #87434

Go to: Sunday School for Atheists

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by shmooth

i started attending the Humanist Community meetings in Palo Alto, recently (the group with the Children's Program mentioned in the article) - it's been a great experience so far. best organization i've ever been involved with. i honestly don't know much about the kids program, so can't address specific questions, but i did meet at least three of the teachers/caretakers and they all seemed uber-nice and smart/thoughtful/caring/etc.

i've tried to reply to some of the comments where i felt i could add useful info, and i threw in a few links at the bottom.

This sounds a like they are trying to create 'Atheist children',

I doubt it. I suspect they're trying to raise 'good children' - good human beings, responsible citizens, etc.

atheists views being shoved down kids throats

It's important to note that Humanism is generally considered to encompass/envelope Atheism - at least, that's the way I think of it - and, as such, has a lot of ideas to bring to the table. The Children's Program, as it is called, is probabably just not what you think it is based on the title of the article. There is no 'Sunday School for Atheists'. I'd say there is a 'Sunday School for Humanists'. Big difference.

But what you would object to? Teaching kids to think critically? To be kind? To share and cooperate? To respect people, no matter how different they dress/look/act?

I think the point of this article was is quite helpful and even necessary to have some sort of corrective that will help these children to avoid this nasty fate.

i didn't see it so much as being 'corrective' - instead i'd say it was a information piece on an alternative place you can go with your children to be with a community of people who share your values - and you can do it without subscribing (or pretending to) belief in a supernatural power. i figure most people go to church for the community aspects of it - that stuff is awesome. if a supernatural power fell out of the church equation, i suspect people would hardly notice.

Sunday School for atheists? The concept is good but I'd rather it be called something else.

it's called The Children's Program.

I'm always disappointed when I read a great article like...and then I read the comments and see how many Atheists are frightened and contemptuous of this idea. There is really no basis for the criticism and disapproval of these efforts and programs as far I can see.

well said. constructive criticism is very welcomed, but to see the criticism of this program thrown out there with words like 'disgust' and 'indoctrination' and all sorts of stuff I've been reading - it reminds me of typical right-wing reactionary thinking. what's the basis?

It didn't matter that I bought into the religious crap as a kid. I still hated having to get dressed up and go to Sunday School and church.

i never bought into the religious stuff as a kid (that i remember; thank you very much), but i do remember generally not minding it. there were a whole bunch of kids in there - kids in the neighborhood i knew. we'd chill. talk. laugh. get yelled at by the teacher. and when we were done we'd go get mickey-d's, and it'd be all good. maybe that's why i've liked my experience with the Humanist Community so much so far - it's like a grown-up version of Sunday School w/o the God stuff. :-D

as for the kids, there are two groups - the really young ones are about as happy and energetic as any young kids seem to be - but we only see them when they all come into the big room for lunch afterwards. the few older kids - 8-14 age I'm guessing - they seem kinda bored after their class, but I have no idea what they're talking about during class, or whether they enjoy it or not.

I think this is a great idea. And I'm not even American.

plenty of humanist groups in Britain and around the world. just google, go check one out, and report back to us on your experience, please! ;-) actually, i'm very interested in being able to attend humanist group meetings when i travel.

we had a new couple show up this past week, in part because a grandma in Florida told them she saw an article on the group in the magazine. the couple had also heard good things before, apparently, and the article mention is what finally pushed them to try to check it out on their own. we'll see if they're back next week. :-)

UU church can be a nice stop-gap measure until (and if) these humanitarian communities are more widely available.

i've heard nothing but good stuff about the UU church(es) in palo alto.

I can understand though if someone wants to counter the religious education their child is getting (due to a religious spouse) that this would be a good thing.

i don't know this to be the case, but i wouldn't suspect that atheism is much of a topic of conversation in the Children's Program ('Sunday School' as the article title calls it). it's not in the regular/adult program.

why put something as important as your child's moral education in the hands of others

i guess if you have an hour of your time to dedicate to a sit-down session of 'moral lessons' for 52 weeks a year - sure, why not? but i suspect parents with kids in these programs know enough about the teachers and programs to trust that the detailed, focussed, and highly-developed lessons their kids will be learning would be a nice _addition_ to the moral values the parents try to instill in their children every day. just a guess, though - i don't have kids.

here is their website:

here are some videos of recent Sunday Forums:

there is lots of good info on the website, but a couple of quick pointers.

here is a brief about what the group calls The Children's Program - not 'Atheist Sunday School':

here is some history on how the program got started:

here is a link to a google map with all the current AHA (American Humanist Association) chapters and affiliates (there is a Canada map, as well):

if you have any questions, there is contact info on the website.

i'm not any kind of spokesperson for the group - just happen to be an internet junkie and i'm extremely excited about what the Humanist Community is doing. i wish i knew about them and groups like them years ago.


Mon, 26 Nov 2007 22:34:00 UTC | #86801

Go to: Can we at least demand 'Secular Communion'?

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by shmooth

why anyone would be afraid of being called a 'humanist', i have no idea, but these days i'd call myself a 'Humanist'.

you should check it out.

there might even be a group near you:
Google Map

there is a canada map, too.

here is a link to the AHA:

and, a definition:

"Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity."

Sat, 10 Nov 2007 11:18:00 UTC | #82942

Go to: The 'Is God...Great?' Debate

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by shmooth

Christopher Hitchens - a truly deplorable human being.

Dude will defend the invasion of Iraq and the wholesale slaughter of those people by Americans until the day he himself dies.

Unfortunately, Hitchens probably won't reach his final demise in the same way that most Iraqis are meeting theirs - from the business end of some high-tech American weaponry.

Wed, 06 Jun 2007 12:48:00 UTC | #45173

Go to: Pundit Christopher Hitchens picks a fight in book, 'God is Not Great'

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by shmooth

brilliant. Hitchens, the Iraq War supporter, blasting Islam for...causing war. guy doesn't have a coherent thought in his dome.

Sun, 29 Apr 2007 02:53:00 UTC | #33291

Go to: Study: Religion is Good for Kids

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 71 by shmooth

Been thinking a bit more about the whole 'obedience' thing. Eventually I stumbled upon the Milgram Experiement. Scary stuff.

Obedience == bad

Thu, 26 Apr 2007 23:31:00 UTC | #32806

Go to: Study: Religion is Good for Kids

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by shmooth

i'm open to the possibility that this study is legit, but a few things spring to mind:

1) is child obedience a good thing? is any type of obedience a good thing?

2) do negative effects of teaching religion outweigh the positive effects (assuming you think obedience is a positive thing)? Totalitarianism produces/enforces obedience, but not too many folks outside of Republican circles would argue that Totalitarianism is a good thing.

3) how much have the parents deceived themselves, and is it a roughly equal amount of deception from the non-religious parents as the religious parents (a canceling effect)?

Wed, 25 Apr 2007 14:54:00 UTC | #32400

Go to: One Hell of a Religious Read

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by shmooth

Hitchens, the alky, is a first classist fantasist, opportunist, and aholist, nothing more.

Mon, 23 Apr 2007 21:51:00 UTC | #31860

Go to: For Some Hispanics, Coming to America Also Means Abandoning Religion

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by shmooth

yep. good article. we need new institutions to take the place of churches.

Mon, 16 Apr 2007 02:59:00 UTC | #29727

Go to: Hey Mom, I'm an Atheist

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by shmooth

moms is beserko. commit her.

Tue, 10 Apr 2007 13:45:00 UTC | #28580

Go to: Dispatches: Undercover Mosque

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by shmooth

this stuff goes on in thousands of churches all over america every day. why not go undercover into some of _them_, too?

Fri, 19 Jan 2007 13:52:00 UTC | #16316

Go to: 10 Questions for Heather Mac Donald

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by shmooth

you mean, the Manhattan Institute that is always blaming black people for being discriminated against and poor people for being poor?

Sat, 13 Jan 2007 23:33:00 UTC | #15495

Go to: Divided by a common language: Richard Dawkins clarifies his position

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by shmooth

i'm too hungover to read this stuff right now, but i'll say this - my former Canadian girlfriend and I had stupdendous arguments over what amounted to nothing more than language (mis)interpretation. i live in the country currently controlled by George Bush, so my x-Cannucky gfriend was only a few miles away. Two dots on a map, though...

Mon, 01 Jan 2007 13:28:00 UTC | #13685

Go to: Our Teapot, which art in heaven

shmooth's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by shmooth

i don't know about an orbiting teapot, but what about a banana?

Fri, 29 Dec 2006 00:38:00 UTC | #13207