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Archive for the ‘religion and science’ Category

Apologies for the Long Absence, and a Hilarious Poem as a Peace Offering

Posted by honestpoet on June 9, 2009

We’ve been adjusting to our new lives up here near the Canadian border, far from the idiocy and lunacy of the Bible Belt. The kids are thriving. Last night our son won two awards for scholarship; at the ceremony I thought about how different things were down there, where he was struggling against his teachers’ irrationality and being failed primarily due to personality conflicts rooted in their inability to control what he thought (especially about religion). I can’t tell you how much happier I am watching him flower here in better soil.

Here’s a hilarious poem, “Storm,” by Tim Minchin, which demolishes new-age irrationality (and is wonderfully well written, with lots of brilliant and subtle rhyme.) My thanks to Michael Rothenberg, editor of Big Bridge, for finding and posting it at Facebook.

In personal news, my own poetry manuscript has been accepted for publication and will come out this winter or early next spring. Very exciting times.

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Posted in literature, religion and science | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Sam Harris on the Importance of Breaking Religion’s Spell

Posted by honestpoet on November 18, 2008

Here’s an excellent bit from the question and answer period after a debate with Rabbi Wolpe. I’ve been watching a lot of Mr. Harris on YouTube, and I have to say that I like him even more than Richard Dawkins. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dawkins, but, as an American, Harris is more aware of the need to speak with the religious politely and without snarkiness. Dawkins can come off a bit smug, which is a mistake when dealing with the American religious, who already feel beset and belittled, and whose defense mechanisms thereby fly up as soon as the subject is broached with any sort of superior attitude.

Here’s another bit: Sam Harris at the TruthDig conference, talking about how beliefs have consequences, and why the taboo on not examining religious beliefs needs to be lifted.

Here he is talking about the relative morality of various books of the Bible and what would happen if as a society we actually followed it.

And one more, at the Idea Festival in Aspen, where he disputes a lot of common misconceptions about atheism:

If you’d like to hear more of what he has to say, here’s the link to his website, which includes links to a number of articles and videos (including the full debate with Rabbi Wolpe). His thinking is even more in line with my own than Richard Dawkins’s. Dawkins and the rest of the recent crop of atheistic authors turn their backs on mystical experience, whereas Sam Harris, while approaching it as a skeptic, acknowledges that there’s something there to examine that could prove worthwhile, perhaps yielding up that which religions seek but never truly find, tied up as they are in their supernatural superstitions and dogmatism. He’s experienced contemplative states and acknowledges that they can lead to an increase in the ability to experience empathy and compassion, which are clearly in short supply these days.

A neurobiologist, he was motivated to start writing by the events of 9/11, and his focus is on the affect of beliefs on behaviors. Some people have painted him as some sort of warmonger Islamophobe, but that’s hardly the case when you read the suspect passages in context. Does he say that people holding the beliefs indoctrinated by Islam can be led therewith to bad behavior? Absolutely, but that’s hardly the same thing.

Posted in atheism, Building a Better World, catholicism, Christianity, Christianofascism, climate change, economic crisis, evolution, feminism, freedom, fundamentalism, gay rights, genocide, global warming, hegemony, history, homophobia, Iraq, Islam, Jesus, Jews, Koran, language, literature, marriage, mental illness, misogyny, monoculture, morality, Muslims, peace, psychiatry, religion, religion and science, Richard Dawkins, ridiculous beliefs, science, secular humanism, secularism, skepticism, terrorism, the Bible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Matt Damon on Sarah Palin Having the Nuclear Codes

Posted by honestpoet on September 11, 2008

I liked Matt Damon as Loki in Dogma, which is one of my favorite movies (like that was a tough guess). Now I really love him. Here he is on YouTube, expressing how absurd it is that Sarah Palin is as close to becoming President as she is. He compares it to a bad Disney movie, which I think nails it. (Kudos to Kate for finding this one.)

Posted in atheism, Christianity, Christianofascism, fundamentalism, John McCain, politics, religion, religion and science, ridiculous beliefs, science, separation of church and state, skepticism, the Bible | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »