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Comments by wald0h

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

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by wald0h

Comment 15 by Alan4discussion :

@OP - It is the great anomaly, the United States, that has long perplexed sociologists. America has a large, well educated middle class that lives in comfort—so why do they still believe in a supernatural creator? Because they are afraid and insecure. Arbitrary dismissal from a long held job, loss of health insurance followed by an extended illness, excessive debt due to the struggle to live like the wealthy; before you know it a typical American family can find itself financially ruined. Overwhelming medical bills are a leading cause of bankruptcy.

The effect can be more direct. For instance, the absence of universal health care encourages the utilization of faith-based medical charities. The latter, as well intentioned as they are, cannot provide the comprehensive health services that best suppress mortality at all ages. But charities extend the reach of the churches into the secular community, enhancing their ability to influence society and politics, and retain and recruit members.

If we look at the standards of service and costs of US health-care compared with other countries, it becomes obvious that Americans pay roughly twice the price for a poorer service than Europeans. As this national geographic article & OECD graph show:- http://blogs.ngm.com/.a/6a00e0098226918833012876a6070f970c-800wi (Click enlarge for a clearer view) The USA is the thin red-line going off the top of the costs chart! http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_central/2009/12/the-cost-of-care.html

There are also reflections in the standards in other countries in relation to religiosity.

Wow I have never seen this before, thank you so much

Thu, 31 May 2012 18:13:23 UTC | #944795

Go to: Q&A: Sam Harris

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by wald0h

I admit I'm not as educated on the topic as I would like to be, but a quick google search of "Hamas' tactics" or "Hamas using schools as cover" brings up quite a few articles and examples of this despicable strategy. Booby-trapping entire civilian streets, hiding weapons in mosques etc.

This could all be propaganda of course, I have never been there. But all of the pictures and stories out of that area don't exactly paint the Hamas/Hezbollah military operations as a beacon of moral standards the area should look up to, you know? If I am wrong about this then I will humbly apologize.

I'm not saying Israel has no fault, and that they don't make bad decisions. Of course they do. The whole thing just seems like one giant modern holy war. All I am really trying to say is that one side purposely uses their civilian friends and families as human shields, and one doesn't. For me, an outsider looking in, I really don't care if their ancestors were kicked out of their land, poor education, politics, and their sad economic situation makes them desperate or willing to fight. There's no excuse for human shields. They may find solace or reasoning for this tactic in their twisted religion, but i'm not going to sympathize. To me there is a clear right and wrong answer on this particular strategy.

Again if what i'm saying is completely off or if I am missing something huge I would love to be corrected, I don't want to come off looking like a war crime supporter or an apologist for bad US/israeli decisions.

Wed, 30 May 2012 22:33:44 UTC | #944644

Go to: Q&A: Sam Harris

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by wald0h

Comment 8 by Red Dog :

Comment 5 by Jussie :

Comment 4 by Roedy :

The sympathy for Hamas is not because they are fundamentalists but because Jews invaded their land, occupied it for 64 years, and turned them into second class citizens. My sympathy is DESPITE their religion. These guys wont think twice about blowing up innocent citizens. I don't think they need your sympathy.

Both sides have killed many innocent civilians. If you actually look at the numbers Israel has killed an order of magnitude more than their enemies. Its just when Israel or America kills civilians its reported as "collateral damage" when Hamas does it its terrorism.

Sam kind-of covers this in the article. Israel doesn't build rocket launchers and such outside of schools and areas populated with women and children. They don't stockpile weapons and dangerous things inside of hospitals. Hamas does... on purpose. I would be willing to bet that a large number of civilian deaths Israel caused is due to the purposeful placement of potential targets at or near large gatherings of innocent civilians.

They are using their brothers and sisters, mothers, daughters and sons as human shields. It's one thing to feel bad for the victims, the innocent civilians, but there is a clear moral divide between the two right now, and I don't understand how anyone can blur that line.

Wed, 30 May 2012 21:16:53 UTC | #944620

Go to: Civilian Pastor Attacks Atheist Soldier - Reverend Bryan Griem Claims Atheist Solders Are "Big Fat Chickens"

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by wald0h

Hahaha, the thumbs-down on the gravestone idea nearly made me spit out my drink.

Fri, 16 Mar 2012 15:40:19 UTC | #927830

Go to: Westboro Baptist Church to attend Reason Rally with special message for atheists

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 107 by wald0h

I would be skeptical about the link Flapjack provided.

I have heard this before, that the WBC shows up and sues everyone for money because they're all lawyers and they don't really believe in what they're saying.

However I have never seen any actual proof of this claim. I'm pretty sure more lawsuits have been brought against them than they have brought against people/cities.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 17:57:52 UTC | #927047

Go to: Westboro Baptist Church to attend Reason Rally with special message for atheists

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 76 by wald0h

There's a good opportunity to collect some donations here.

I've seen it first hand, it's a brilliant idea and it actually works. Set up shop near their protest for your favorite group, a LGBT one did really well here. But since it's a reason rally maybe the richard dawkins foundation or something similar. Have people pledge a dollar amount for every 10 minutes (or whatever) the WBC is protesting, collect the money and donate it in the name of the WBC at the end.

Also, if you're going to this event, don't talk to these people. Don't get in an argument, yes you are morally superior, but they're all lawyers pretty much. I can't believe these are just stupid people, just terribly brainwashed.

Tue, 13 Mar 2012 15:24:10 UTC | #926700

Go to: Free Will

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 106 by wald0h

I am not equipped to argue one way or antoher when it comes to free will. I simply don't know enough to feel comfortable about having an opinion. But I honestly can't get enough when reading about it.

I love the books, articles and blogs about it. I love the discussions and arguments in the comments section. It's seems like one of the most harmless things to argue about. It's almost absurd isn't it? If free will is an illusion, it's basically an inevitibility in our biology that we end up arguing about whether or not we have free will, right? If free will (in the sense that they talk about) is not an illusion, then the arguments are essentially pointless because there is a definite 'right' answer, however we miss out on the discussion and the technology, experimentation, and philosophy that comes out of it.

It's like trying to contemplate infinity to me, holy cow I just don't know what to think but I love every second of it. Or do I? Do I really love it? hahaha

Fri, 02 Mar 2012 19:17:36 UTC | #923827

Go to: Life Without God: An Interview with Tim Prowse

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by wald0h

Wow, it almost sounds like being released as a prisoner. Back into normal society and all of the skills and abilities he learned are useless.

It's terrible that a man so well educated and dedicated can be reduced to starting over, but that's theology for you. Like studying unicorns and lecturing to like-minded unicorn believers, then suddenly waking up to the fact that unicorns are ridiculous.

I'm glad he has the family and friends to support his re-entry into rational living, I assume most people struggling with the conflict of religion and reason don't have that luxury. I really hope The Clergy Project is doing their best in not only making sure these people know they're not alone, but helping them get back on their feet once they denounce their faith.

Also, here's a wonderful example against the lie so often told by moderates and apologists that the "new atheist's" militant strident intolerant blah blah ways oc communication actually closes believers and people tetering on their belief off to the idea of just taking the extra step and becoming an atheist or unbeliever. Sam's book was the nail in the coffin for this pastor. The anti-theism, more honest and less panderous books of Sam, Richard, Christopher etc. do have a place in the discussion, and obviously work when the goal is to give people a reason to un-believe.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 16:57:57 UTC | #918902

Go to: Colbert explains how to deal with Internet censorship protests

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by wald0h

@Canadian_right is spot on, as usual.

Fri, 20 Jan 2012 23:56:23 UTC | #910365

Go to: Colbert explains how to deal with Internet censorship protests

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by wald0h

Piracy is a service problem. The movie and television industries are starting to see what too much greed does. People don't want to spend 13 dollars (18-20 for imax 3D) for an hour and a half movie where you're surrounded by kids and cell phones. And people are certainly not paying a dish network or their cable provider 60 dollars a month stuck to a contract to catch that one show on HBO that they enjoy.

That's why services like HuluPlus and Netflix are booming, you pay a small fee to watch things at your convenience. You can cancel it whenever you want. You can watch things without having to download them to a limited space hard drive.

Of course there will always be people too cheap to pay when they don't have to. This has been the case since the dawn of time. Everyone has or has known someone to record songs from the radio to casette tapes, bought bootleg VHS tapes from the flea market, snuck into a movie theater after seeing one, etc.

But the "pirates" don't seem like these people. The industry giants are refusing to adapt to the wants of the customers. In a free market, gung-ho capitalist society, these companies need to feel the pressure from the consumer in order to change.

Look at the music industry. Everyone said it would be the death of music when the pirates got a hold of napster. What happened? I can buy a song, or an album, from my home computer, from my laptop at a cafe, from my cell phone at school, and it costs less than it did 10 years ago. And it doesn't take up any room. And if I didn't like that song I bought from that band I was unsure of then I don't have to shell out 15 dollars to find out that I don't like them. And we have more access to new indie bands on indipendent labels are recording stuff in their garage. It's easier for them to get noticed and for people to buy their stuff than it was when the only way to get noticed was through a major label. Every change has benefitted the consumer.

The same thing needs to happen to movies and television.

Now with sites like Wikipedia or places that would host copyright material unknowingly need to have measures in which the material can be reported and action taken. If they don't, they get sued, that seems simple enough. But not allowing it to happen by threatening the ISP, or the people who own the servers that the content gets placed on is medieval.

How can information be shared in that type of world? If the entire company or website or medium in which things are shared can be taken down by one violation, then the ability to share at all goes away. You always have to have risk for progress.

However it seems everything I wrote doesn't really matter. SOPA and PIPA were stopped, for now. But the owners of Megaupload were arrested in New Zealand on charges from the United States, facing extradition, for owning a website that allowed people to upload copyrighted material, even though there was a reporting method to flag content for removal. So here in the states it looks like the FBI will do what they please no matter what types of laws are passed or not passed.

Fri, 20 Jan 2012 23:04:13 UTC | #910357

Go to: Christopher Hitchens (Vanity Fair, Feb 2012)

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 36 by wald0h

@Marc Country,

You should watch the entire segment. Early on in their discussion on an unrelated topic, Christopher asks him if he can call him "Mr. Definitely."

This was WAY before this particular argument, and he just kept using the name throughout the different topics.

I think you're giving Mos Def too much credit here. He asked them a question and then went on a rant about how he doesn't listen to what news people or what they (hitchens, maher, rushdie) say anyways.

Making fun of a name may be junior high stuff. But so is asking a question and immediately plugging your ears and saying "lalalalala"

Sat, 07 Jan 2012 00:26:07 UTC | #906106

Go to: Christopher Hitchens (Vanity Fair, Feb 2012)

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by wald0h

The clip you guys are referring to on Real Time with Bill Maher was an "overtime" off-air session and not really moderated. It happens to be the first result on youtube if you type in hitchens and mos def. You should watch the entire episode or at least some earlier clips while it was still moderated when they talk about President Obama's drug policy and the economic crisis. Hitchens uses the "Mr. Definitely" well before the talk of Osama bin Laden and nuclear proliferation, and is pretty hilarious.

Fri, 06 Jan 2012 18:59:13 UTC | #906001

Go to: Explosive Studies of Universe's Expansion Win Nobel Prize in Physics

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by wald0h

The age remains unaffected.

As I understand it, because we know how far certain things are away, and we can calculate how fast they're moving away from us, we are able to work backwards enough to the point of the big bang, a little shy of 14 billion years ago.

And there's no reason to be afraid. Any number of things would kill us off before the death of our universe. Our sun dying, the collision between milky way and andromeda, gamma ray bursts. All of which we would be lucky to survive on this planet long enough as humans to see.

Tue, 04 Oct 2011 16:29:32 UTC | #877820

Go to: September 11, 2011

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by wald0h

Yuck, it never fails. Every time Sam (or any atheist) mentions the evil secular people of the past (hitler stalin blah blah blah) and how their behavior mimics cults or religion, people stop reading right there,take their torches and run to the forums.

OH HOOO, nope. Sorry sir, you are not authorized to compare Stalin or Hitler or Pol Pot to religion, they are atheists! Evil doesn't just happen in the name of religion, it also happens in the name of atheism! Who do you think you are? A bible-thumping preist?! You're just as bad as them et cetera et cetera.

A vast majority of the time these strawmen building false moral highgrounders just need to read another sentence or two to get back on track.

Here let me just quote the important part,

"Stalinism, fascism, etc.—are dangerous precisely because they so resemble religions. Sacrifice for the Dear Leader, however secular, is an act of cultic conformity and worship. Whenever human obsession is channeled in these ways, we can see the ancient framework upon which every religion was built. In our ignorance, fear, and craving for order, we created the gods. And ignorance, fear, and craving keep them with us.

What defenders of religion cannot say is that anyone has ever gone berserk, or that a society ever failed, because people became too reasonable, intellectually honest, or unwilling to be duped by the dogmatism of their neighbors. This skeptical attitude, born of equal parts care and curiosity, is all that “atheists” recommend—and it is typical of nearly every intellectual pursuit apart from theology. Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under."

Nowhere does he mention that their non-belief in gods did not influence their bad decisions. He doesn't say that religion is the only source of evil. Sam makes a very clear comparison to bad ideas (and bad people) and irrational beliefs. And that rationality (in everything, not just beliefs about the supernatural) never failed a society. That's it.

He even puts atheists in quotes just to nail down the fact that he's not talking about everyone who doesn't believe in a god. He's talking about the "atheists" that believe in skepticism and intellectual honesty.

So lets hand over the torches, put the wine glasses and monocles down for a second and get back to the article itself, the entire thing this time.

Fri, 09 Sep 2011 21:35:24 UTC | #869014

Go to: Professor Richard Dawkins' Seminar at Science World 2011

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by wald0h

I don't really like when people complain that nothing "new" was said, especially when it comes to lectures or seminars about Darwin/evolution/natural selection.

Isn't that the point? Evolution by natural selection is pretty old. Like... beginning of the universe old. And we understand it pretty well (well lots of people do at least) The purpose of this seminar seemed to be to get doctors (physicians, whatever) to understand and practice by an idea that's essentially as old as time. It wasn't a press conference on a new discovery, you shouldn't expect some new breakthrough in our understanding of evolution.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:48:51 UTC | #858239

Go to: Near Elimination of Varicella (chicken pox) Deaths in the US After Implementation of the Vaccination Program

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by wald0h

FDA approved zostavax for use starting at 50 years of age instead of 60, you really dont have to worry about shingles

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 05:25:16 UTC | #856462

Go to: [Update - more info]Incidence of adult brain cancers is higher in countries where the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii is common

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by wald0h

wow Helga, thank you.

Sat, 30 Jul 2011 00:19:00 UTC | #855723

Go to: Atheists Get Their "Brokeback Mountain" Moment in the New Sundance Film, "The Ledge"

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by wald0h

SourTomatoSand

Uhh whether or not you like them is one thing, but there are some pretty big names in the movie.

Terrence Howard - iron man (huge blockbuster) Liv Tyler - Armageddon (huge blockbuster) Patrick Wilson - The Watchmen (huge blockbuster) Charlie Hunnam - Sons of Anarchy (okay so not a blockbuster but one of the best shows in television in my opinion)

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 21:20:51 UTC | #636125

Go to: [Update - comments by AC Grayling] British academics launch £18,000 college in London

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 246 by wald0h

Did someone just compare education to Ferrari's?

So only the privileged and rich on this planet deserve to have a decent education? The lower and middle class should stick to making shoes and answering phones. This really is pathetic, if you think certain people deserve to be educated to think over others than you really have no room to talk about religion.

Mon, 06 Jun 2011 16:03:17 UTC | #634800

Go to: BBC - Everything and Nothing

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 42 by wald0h

I personally love Cox's programs, but the end of the second part, "Nothing" explaining quantum fluctuations and anti-matter, is probably the best science on television I have ever seen. Completely amazing.

Fri, 03 Jun 2011 22:33:43 UTC | #633807

Go to: Chris Mooney - Accommodationism and the Psychology of Belief

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by wald0h

For the people who stopped listening to Point of Inquiry (rightfully) you owe it to yourself to hear Lindsay just annoy the ever-living shit out of Mooney here

Thu, 12 May 2011 18:09:14 UTC | #626262

Go to: Chris Mooney - Accommodationism and the Psychology of Belief

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by wald0h

Lindsay was great. We know it's hilarious to watch people like Mooney squirm when criticized by people like Sam Harris, but when Lindsay does it for some reason it's even better.

Thu, 12 May 2011 17:15:41 UTC | #626250

Go to: Atheist Billboard in Fresno Vandalized After Only Three Days

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 37 by wald0h

Alexandreina

A nicer apartment complex near the college? That doesn't exist.

I've lived here, and around here for quite some time, in middle-class areas. Never been shot at, had anything stolen, never saw a gangster in front of my house/apartment. Big towns have bad areas, who would have known. It sounds to me you just poorly chose a place to live, have some anecdotal evidence and are drinking the 'I moved out of the Valley, look at me now' kool-ade like every other middle to upper class snob that I know.

Fri, 06 May 2011 22:49:12 UTC | #624010

Go to: Atheist Billboard in Fresno Vandalized After Only Three Days

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by wald0h

I live in Fresno and it's not as bad as Alexandreina makes it sound as long as you don't live near or are involved with any gangs/drugs.

It's easy to see the population as meth users, gang-bangers, pregnant teens and rednecks, but we've got a really nice skeptic/humanist community over here. I've lived a few places and while Fresno is no Seattle or San Diego, it always seems like unless you lived in Somalia or Iraq, the people complaining about the places they used to live are the people you don't really want to hang out with anyways.

On-topic: They really did put the billboard in the dumbest of areas. If you're trying to get closet atheists and skeptics to joing your 'club' you shouldn't put it where there is that much graffiti, church-goes and gang members. I am pretty sure the atheist population on that part of town is effectively zero. They really should have considered placement before forking over that kind of money, unless it was a publicity stunt?

Fri, 06 May 2011 21:10:18 UTC | #623970

Go to: Death of a Madman

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 49 by wald0h

Let's not start this conspiracy business.

There are probably over 5000 people aboard the USS Carl Vinson, the ship that carried and dumped the body. Being that my father was aboard this ship, and the amount of enlisted people aboard, there is simply no way you could get that many people just just lie.

Tue, 03 May 2011 17:08:13 UTC | #622588

Go to: Woman, know thy place

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 113 by wald0h

I'm genuinely curious, kryssimp, what were you before you turned catholic?

Were you a non-believer? Like, purposely not thinking there was anything?

Did you care before? Were you sorta-catholic? Did you believe there was a god but not all too much into religion?

If you believed that there could possibly be a supernatural creator when you were a child, it's virtually the same thing as being a part of the church when it comes to indocrination. Someone taught you to beleive in superstition, and now you're just validating it by being a part of the organized part.

I am making assumptions here, if you were a unbelieving atheist, then you've managed to pull some francis collins level of compartmentalization your whole life that i will never understand

Thu, 14 Apr 2011 22:00:04 UTC | #615593

Go to: Richard Dawkins is the best argument for the existence of God

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by wald0h

Can't blame the brits for this bad apple, after all you have given us Eddie Izzard, Ricky Gervais, Tim Minchin.

Mon, 11 Apr 2011 21:24:21 UTC | #614194

Go to: Do we have the right to burn the Koran?

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 411 by wald0h

I'm pretty torn. If you take religion out of the picture and replace it with something else it screws up my compass for what's right and wrong.

For example: If you had a giant lever in front of you, and there's a sign on the lever that says "if you pull this lever, something bad will happen. I'm not sure how bad, but likely people will be hurt and/or killed, it will likely happen thousands of miles away" Would anyone pull the lever on purpose?

Can anyone help me? Is my analogy bad? I really want to be on the side of free speech and justifying people's actions, however dumb they may be, as long as they aren't causing any harm themselves. But knowing there is a consequence for a harmless action really skews my perception on the whole thing.

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 16:16:51 UTC | #611726

Go to: UPDATE: DAWKINS/HARRIS - NOW SOLD OUT

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 111 by wald0h

I'm kind of with peanutsplatters here.

As much as I would love to have a signed copy of The Moral Landscape and The Blind Watchmaker, and see these guys have a conversation, I feel like the seats would be better spent on people who aren't on their side already?

Maybe it's the jealousy, I don't know. We will all watch the youtube vids, but if what if we could get these tickets to people who could be swayed or influenced by Sam and Richard's discussion? I can dream I guess.

Fri, 01 Apr 2011 23:39:15 UTC | #610515

Go to: The Fred Phelps Supreme Court Decision and Why We Shouldn't Look for Loopholes in the First Amendment

wald0h's Avatar Jump to comment 91 by wald0h

The Westboro Baptist Church is like the dictionary definition of low-hanging punditry fruit. It's one sociopathic cult leader running naked through, and occasionally squatting to defecate in, the gray areas around the First Amendment. It's gross, but I don't think it's terribly newsworthy. Obviously you can't just ignore them if they're at your brother's funeral or something, but I think we can safely ignore them at all other times.

-Matt Taibbi

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 16:42:37 UTC | #604408