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Comments by rjohn19

Go to: Belief In God Plummets Among Youth (CHART)

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by rjohn19

Religion in America is much like the cockroach. Through extreme measures it can be driven from your house but never eradicated.

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 04:58:21 UTC | #947327

Go to: Genetically-modified mosquito designed to avoid malaria spread

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by rjohn19

If I could modify mosquitos, their resistance to parasites would not occupy much of my research budget. As the old pun goes, "I've had anopheles damn mosquitos."

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 04:12:41 UTC | #947325

Go to: Why smart people are stupid

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by rjohn19

Well, I got the bat and ball right without the equations. The sad thing about this is that, according to the article, this means I am not very bright.

At least after reading reading this article, I understand how truly brilliant people came up with string theory.

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 03:32:23 UTC | #947322

Go to: Nobel laureate joins anti-vaccination crowd at Autism One

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by rjohn19

It's really just another symptom of a larger problem- Americans distrust science. From evolution to climate change to vaccinations, we bury our heads in false but easy to grasp mantras. We seem to think if science is not giving us faster internet downloads or crisper TV images, it is overstepping its boundaries.

And some of these truth-deniers occasionally have their fingers on the button. And you were worried about Iran.

Mon, 04 Jun 2012 04:44:26 UTC | #945399

Go to: Richard Dawkins & Daniel Dennett. Oxford, 9 May 2012

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by rjohn19

I think (fear is a better word) Dennett is as delusional predicting the end of faith as are the faithful who predict the end of the world. Col. Robert Green Ingersoll predicted the death of religion in his lifetime and that was 150 years ago.

Religious ideas go far beyond mere memes- they are wombs that protect delicate, fearful psyches protected by impervious cacoons. The best and only hope in my opinion is control and restriction- eradication is not possible. Think of religions as cockroaches.

And Richard- the world would recognize you as a contrarian even if you wore a tie that went less "stridently" with your suit and shirt.

Sat, 02 Jun 2012 03:55:15 UTC | #945141

Go to: Atheism IS Increasing at the Expense of Theism!

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by rjohn19

I think the figures for America are skewed by the lack of regard (on a par with serial rapists) with which atheists are held by the majority.

Let's take serial rapists, for example. Suppose you were one and you get a phone call from someone claiming to be a representative of a national survey promising anonymity. Would you pipe right up and say, "Oh, yes sir, I've been a serial rapist since I was 16." or do you just keep quiet about it?

Not saying we are anything like a "silent majority"- just saying we are under-reported.

Thu, 31 May 2012 03:38:06 UTC | #944689

Go to: Evolution skeptics will soon be silenced by science: Richard Leakey

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by rjohn19

I fear his optimism is as delusional as is the certainty of those he hopes to convince. Every transitional he digs up takes away one of this god's gaps but creates two more in the process.

Tue, 29 May 2012 04:32:56 UTC | #944147

Go to: Mencken week: Day 2

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by rjohn19

Hitchens,of all people, should have (and probably did) understand, sometimes you've just got to sell newspapers and outrageous controversy is one means to that end.

Tue, 22 May 2012 01:11:29 UTC | #942720

Go to: Update - Podcast June 5 Interview with Peter Boghossian - "Faith: Pretending to know things you don't know"

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by rjohn19

I think that puts too fine a semantic point on it. 'Faith' to me is just a word with a meaning similar to, but stronger than, 'belief.' When I use it, it is for something I cannot know but evidence tells me is more than just likely.

I have the highest faith Alabama will field a stong football team this fall. It's based on history and knowledge. It's certainly not a hope as it would suit me just fine if they never won another game. I cannot know how the season will unfold, but I have faith, based on reason, that I am correct.

Religious faith is a whole different animal. I'll be right nine years out of ten and they will never be right.

Religion has co-opted and ruined a perfectly good word and I want it back.

Note to homosexuals- I am not in the least homophobic but when you are finished with it, I'd like the word 'gay' back as well.

Tue, 22 May 2012 00:59:31 UTC | #942718

Go to: Mencken week: Day 2

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by rjohn19

Makes me wish there were an afterlife. Keep your silly, tittering 42 virgins and give me a seat in the saloon with Mencken and Hitch.

When Hitch mugged Mother Theresa, I thought instantly of Mencken and his assault on Lincoln's previously unassailable Gettysburg Address.

Both were such brilliant polemicists, I came away from my reading convinced Mother T was the devil and Abe not only gave a poor speech, he did so deliberately.

Mon, 21 May 2012 02:34:17 UTC | #942552

Go to: Research Report: How Secular Humanists (and Everyone Else) Subsidize Religion in the United States

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by rjohn19

I just had one of those dizzying stomach turns reading this. I book-marked the page because, unable to finish, I wanted to save up a little anger for another day when I might need it for other purposes.

The Mormon (forgive that superfluous second 'm') contibutions of less than 1% curdled me. No wonder Mitt Romney, corporate raider and Gordon Gecko clone, thinks he is a pretty swell fellow. Compared to his church, he probably is.

Thu, 17 May 2012 03:09:26 UTC | #941960

Go to: Family Battle Offers Look Inside Lavish TV Ministry

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by rjohn19

It is comforting to know Tammy Faye Bakker's hair stylist and makeup artist both found meaningful work after the collapse of PTL.

I don't really think these people are even true believers. B-movie actors- now that I'd buy. They just lack the sappy countenance of the saved.

Sun, 06 May 2012 04:17:36 UTC | #940067

Go to: National Day of Reason

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by rjohn19

Not that my opinion amounts to much, but this was the best I have seen from Faircloth. He didn't sound (well, maybe just a little- but better) as much like a professional politician as I have seen in the past.

Most importantly, he repeatedly coupled the 'reason' mantra with compassion. It is the compassion issue we must usurp from the fundies above all else. We seem to have it for everyone while the fundies are quite selective (unlike their nominal savior Jebus) in just whom they choose worthy of help.

They must be painted as they are- cold-hearted, greedy and self-interested- nothing at all like the fictional god-son they claim as their authority. If their rapture comes, I think they'll be surprised at where the bus drops them off.

Sat, 05 May 2012 03:42:43 UTC | #939830

Go to: [Update - statement from CfI ]Secular Group Charges Michigan Country Club with Religious Discrimination

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by rjohn19

For Lewis Breland in comment 2- I just moved to Michigan from South Carolina and while not politically ideal, at least Michigan has a Center For Inquiry.

Check out what just happened in SC at, you guessed it, Bob Jones University. Kid was suspended and denied graduation for watching an episode of Glee on his laptop at a local Starbucks. And these thought police were only 25 miles from my heavily barracaded door.

Long, long way to go in South Cluck. So if everyone will just step up their carbon footprints to warm me up a few degrees here in the permafrost, life will be good or at least improved.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 16:14:31 UTC | #938003

Go to: Synthetic XNA molecules can evolve and store genetic information, just like DNA

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by rjohn19

I visit this site to be blown away. I was not disappointed tonight.

I don't think it will have much effect on the general discussion though. Think about the profound effect scientific evidence had on the OJ Simpson jury.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 04:37:50 UTC | #935951

Go to: Richard Dawkins announced as 2012 recipient for ‘Services to Humanism’ award to be presented at the BHA’s Annual Conference

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by rjohn19

My guess is that nobody came in second in this race. Well deserved.

Sat, 14 Apr 2012 03:16:22 UTC | #934536

Go to: What Is Science? From Feynman to Sagan to Asimov to Curie, an Omnibus of Definitions

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by rjohn19

Steve W- I just spent 10 minutes of my life I'll never get back listening to Hovind on that link.

I think he is another of the Xian mercenaries who doesn't believe a word he says. He's smart enough to know he isn't smart enough to do real science but smart enough to fleece the flock that pays considerably more than our side.

He did manage to break new ground in this talk for the dumbest apologetic attempt ever to debunk evolution.

He compared the DNA similaties of humans and chimps to the fact (in his mind) that clouds are 100% water and watermelons are 98% water- so if evolution were true, watermelons evolved from clouds.

Did actually sound like something Kirk Cameron might have said though.

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 04:10:00 UTC | #933201

Go to: Richard Dawkins and his Foundation at the Reason Rally

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by rjohn19

To me (beauty in the ear of the ear of the behearer) the only English free of an accent comes from what HL Memcken called those dreary states that start with a vowel- the Midwest of the US.

My mother was from the deep south and once told me that when she encountered such people in her youth, she naturally assumed they were more intelligent. A proper British accent is this on steroids.

But even the flat American accent has trouble registering on the sincerity meter. Now, I am a fan Faircloth but I just get the feeling that at the end he is going to pitch me a used car or an insurance policy.

Special request for Lala- Stick Richard with an IV, hook him up to a feeding tube and pack him in cotton. Just wake him for special occasions- he is too valuable to lose and cannot be replaced. His only possible heir recenty passed. Maybe it's just the accent but I don't think so.

Sun, 08 Apr 2012 02:45:06 UTC | #933007

Go to: Bioethicist Richard Dawkins: Morality, Society Can Be "Intelligently Designed"

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by rjohn19

Morality has always been about who was in charge at the time and how certain behavior modifications would protect or profit them.

The genius of the bible is that one can find justification from on high for any repugnant action one might deem advantageous or just plain fun (murder, rape, genocide etc.) and vilification for the most noble of actions- if your team is in charge.

From the OT pronouncement of "Honor thy mother and father" to Jebus's "hate them, leave them and follow me"- biblical morality is all over the charts. And when you have morality as dichotomous as that, it's the same as having no morality at all.

Real morality, meaning current morality whenever one's current might fall on the timeline of what has been laughably called "civilization", has historically been a combination of zeitgeist, volkgeist (forgive me father if I butchered those spellings) and the ambitions of those who control the gold.

Thu, 05 Apr 2012 04:20:53 UTC | #932500

Go to: Concert at Army post in NC geared toward atheists

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by rjohn19

I am just sick about this. I spent the past 35 years in upstate South Carolina about 2 hours and change from this event. Two weeks ago, I had to move to Michigan, where Richard was ill-treated recently and unlikely to return.

To make matters worse for me (and let's not even mention the 31st was my birthday), my son-in-law is in the middle of a six-week stint at Ft. Bragg for the DOD and did not attend. And he is an atheist. I am just sick.

Tue, 03 Apr 2012 05:18:58 UTC | #932070

Go to: A universe without purpose

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by rjohn19

It would be interesting to hop in the freezer for a couple thousand years and pop out to see how many of today's theories hold up. I'd even voluteer for such a project were it not for the fear I might be the only one around having to ask a cockroach to take me to its leader.

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 03:17:29 UTC | #931804

Go to: Robert Wright promotes accommodationism, disses Dawkins

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by rjohn19

Methinks Robert Wright is a sheep in wolf's clothing.

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 00:01:38 UTC | #931257

Go to: Yet another flea - Richard Dawkins' God Delusion [NOOK Book]

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 47 by rjohn19

ZenD- you were close. A Nuernberger is actually a Teutonic Big Mac with double cheese.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 02:34:50 UTC | #929791

Go to: More See "Too Much" Religious Talk by Politicians - Santorum Voters Disagree

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by rjohn19

Maybe Santorum is a closet athiest and out to help the cause. Feed people enough of anything and they'll hate it- even ice cream.

On the other hand, maybe he's just a blithering burned out crack-head.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 22:11:46 UTC | #929439

Go to: Does Conservatism Have to Be Synonymous With Ignorance?

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by rjohn19

Dr. Krauss needs to find a modern version of Max Perkins but it's hard to find fault with any of the notions he put forth in this piece.

Santorum is not the disease; he is only an early symptom, like the first oozing chancre of syphilis. Well, I suppose Bush Light was the first massive pecker-sore and Satorum only represents the incurable spread.

"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public," wrote H. L. Mencken, but people have to wise up eventually or there will be no eventually.

You have to wonder whether seemingly intelligent, articulate men like Santorum (or more extremely like Dinesh D'Souza or other noted Apologists) really believe what they are saying or if they are just applying Menckenesque economic principles by pandering to the booboise to get stinky rich. Their side of the argument pays far better than ours.

Santorum's ilk and the Tea Party will either kill the Republican Party or kill us all and neither is a palatable option. We shall not do well with a one-party system.

I even know why this toxification of the Republican Party happened and I know when it happened but I'll save that for another post not so close to bedtime- but here are two clues- Dixiecrats and Strom Thurmond.

Thu, 15 Mar 2012 06:05:10 UTC | #927360

Go to: Secularism-A Short Film

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by rjohn19

Not sure this is the lecture I'd have picked to dramatize for impact but not a bad choice if the goal was putting kinder face on us evil infidels.

If Ingersol could be brought back from the dead, he'd have to put on 24-hour suicide watch because he predicted the science of his day would end religion in his lifetime. When it came to accurately foretelling things to take place withing a lifetime, his abilities as a prophet were positively Christ-like.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 16:21:06 UTC | #926183

Go to: One Jesus for liberals, another for conservatives

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by rjohn19

Makes me wonder in just what alternative reality they found these Liberal Christians. They would have to be either just tepidly liberal or tepidly Christian or perhaps both.

It was never more obvious than in the debate over national health care. I heard nothing from the pulpit nor anything from their legions of thumpers about how Jesus the free healer might come down on the issue.

They ought not be able to get away with using Jesus on morality issues and ignoring him on social issues. If there were actually deeply religious liberals, the voices invoking JC would be every bit as loud on social justice as they are on abortion, contraception and gay rights- and this is clearly not the case.

Mon, 05 Mar 2012 16:33:50 UTC | #924635

Go to: Beholding beauty: How it's been studied

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by rjohn19

I personally don't find this worthy of study. There is no answer.

As Justice Potter Stewart of the US Supreme Court said when unable to define the line between art and porn, "I know it when I see it."

Sophia Loren's face was a jumble of errors that happenend to work- in no wise symmetrical. Julia Roberts has her lips upside-down but were she to hit on you in a pub, you'd not sent her packing home alone. Beauty cannot be quantified or measured. Perfectly symmetrical faces land modeling careers with mass chain because they do not detract from the clothing. They never become stars.

And please do not even try to make a case for high-brow art. Some of it is a scam, pure and simple. The Emporer's New Clothes comes to mind here.

If you are in need of a giggle, subscribe (it's free) to the Sotheby's art auction site. I have seen things on there go for millions that I could have painted (I have trouble drawing stick-men) and things I could not imagine how the artist captured go for a pittance.

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 04:02:05 UTC | #924248

Go to: Stark warning emerges from science summit

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by rjohn19

I loved the line in their topic title, "Flattening the earth..." Maybe that is the approach. "Yes, yes, you're quite right children. The earth is flat after all but we're effing it up just the same." Compromise might work.

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 03:18:51 UTC | #924244

Go to: The Myth of Militant Atheism

rjohn19's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by rjohn19

They'd better give me a wide berth. I'm armed to the teeth with explosive ideas.

Thu, 01 Mar 2012 16:00:12 UTC | #923481