Archive for the 'Mainstream Stuff' Category

Gearing Up For The “Holy” Days

October 30, 2009

Well, today marks the first day I saw blatant advertisement of Christmas goods in a store. Although by no means is this nearly as offending as the onslaught which begins sometimes in late July in the midwest. What I noticed last year was that here, there are many different religions and cultures and races and ethnicities all sort of smashed into one place. Personally, I tend to like that better than the “uniformity of ideas” that describes the midwest pretty much to a ‘t’. It’s more inspiring, and I feel less like an outcast because there’s more than just “one thing” on the table.

This year, again I’ll be going home for Christmas, but at least now I’m a voluntary visitor of my family’s religion, as opposed to being involuntarily exposed to  it and ostracized for thinking differently. Next year, I really want to work something out so that I can see how other people celebrate the holidays – I’ve seen “Christmas” for years, and it never seems to change. Lots of food and money spent on people who typically aren’t in need.

They Did WHAT?

October 22, 2009

So I just heard that Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron will be publishing some version of Darwin’s Origin of Species by Natural Selection with some sort of creationist disclaimer? Is this true? Tell me that’s not true, and that I don’t actually live in a country where even science has to bow down to religion? Oh wait – it’s me, Randall, and I’m right here in America. 

This is sad. Now, I’m definitely not one of those atheists who thinks that evolution can neatly explain everything. I don’t buy the idea that everything just suddenly came into existence from nothing for no reason, and I do think that sometimes people like Comfort make a point that is valid or worthy of hearing. They also say some pretty stupid things, like that last bit about the crocoduck or whatever it was. Somewhere we’ve got to draw the line.

I guess much of it really also depends on what the disclaimer is actually going to say. Will it deny or reject currently held facts? Or is it going to be something more like a disclaimer meant only to remind people they can look to “intelligent design” or some such stuff? Either way, I gotta get a copy. If I do I can do a follow-up post; that would be kinda cool.

Book Recommendation: Way Of The Peaceful Warrior

October 7, 2009

A good book gives me the same feeling as a good road trip: it lets me escape and process the new input. Too often, too easy, the day can become too humdrum. Not so with a good book!

I know, I know.. the title sounds like some cheesy Zen movie or something, but get over it. The book itself was written by a guy named Dan Millman, and for someone like myself who doesn’t really connect with that “mystical” or “spiritual” side of life, this book, which would technically be classified as a “New Age” or “spiritual” book, is actually pretty damn inspiring. It kept me walking around with that “fresh” feeling where it seems like I’m looking at life through different glasses, maybe even no glasses at all. I won’t give too much away other than that it’s the story of a kid with an inner longing for a mentor. The kid is a perfect description of the real-life kid who’s lured towards religion. I know because I’ve been that kid! But, check it out and enjoy the story of “Socrates.”

There are a few more books in this series, and I might as well check them out. Even a movie! (they’ve got movies at the library here) Like I said, I’m not necessarily the “religious” or “spiritual” type, but I can kind of vibe out on these ideas of consciousness or other “selves” even if we’re talking more about something like a useful metaphor. The ideas make sense and you don’t have to accept any particular dogma to believe them. If you have any good books, I’m all ears for a suggestion.

Did You Know So-&-So Was An Atheist?

May 29, 2009

Well, it’s not too often I post more than once a month, but I’ve been “getting the itch” as they call it, and I want to start writing more, eventually stepping up to once per week.

This week, I was cruising around the ‘net when I stumbled across this list of what you would call famous or celebrity atheists, and/or materialists. The site also groups agnostics and what it calls “the ambiguous,” and it’s worth a look.

Here’s their opening list, with a few of my favorites in bold:

Douglas Adams, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Woody Allen, Lance Armstrong, Darren Aronofsky, Isaac Asimov, Dave Barry, Ingmar Bergman, Lewis Black, Richard Branson, Berkeley Breathed, Warren Buffett, George Carlin, John Carmack, Adam Carolla, John Carpenter, Asia Carrera, Fidel Castro, Dick Cavett, Noam Chomsky, Billy Connolly, Francis Crick, David Cronenberg, David Cross, Alan Cumming, Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, David Deutsch, Ani DiFranco, Micky Dolenz, Harlan Ellison, Brian Eno, Richard Feynman, Harvey Fierstein, Larry Flynt, Dave Foley, Jodie Foster, Janeane Garofalo, Bill Gates, Bob Geldof, Ricky Gervais, Ira Glass, James Gleick, Robert Heinlein, Nat Hentoff, Katharine Hepburn, Christopher Hitchens, Jamie Hyneman, Eddie Izzard, Penn Jillette, Billy Joel, Angelina Jolie, Wendy Kaminer, Diane Keaton, Ken Keeler, Neil Kinnock, Michael Kinsley, Richard Leakey, Bruce Lee, Tom Lehrer, Tom Leykis, James Lipton, H.P. Lovecraft, John Malkovich, Barry Manilow, Todd McFarlane, Sir Ian McKellen, Arthur Miller, Frank Miller, Marvin Minsky, Julianne Moore, Desmond Morris, Randy Newman, Mike Nichols, Jack Nicholson, Gary Numan, Bob Odenkirk, Patton Oswalt, Camille Paglia, Steven Pinker, Paula Poundstone, Terry Pratchett, James Randi, Ron Reagan Jr., Keanu Reeves, Rick Reynolds, Gene Roddenberry, Joe Rogan, Henry Rollins, Andy Rooney, Salman Rushdie, Bob Simon, Steven Soderbergh, Annika Sorenstam, George Soros, Richard Stallman, Bruce Sterling, Howard Stern, J. Michael Straczynski, Julia Sweeney, Matthew Sweet, Teller, Studs Terkel, Tom Tomorrow, Linus Torvalds, Eddie Vedder, Paul Verhoeven, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Sarah Vowell, James Watson, Steven Weinberg, Joss Whedon, Ted Williams, Steve Wozniak… (more)

Ummm….

March 13, 2009

I was noticing my “stupidity” category only had one posting in it, when I stumbled across the perfect tidbit to change that fact: did you know they actually have a theme park for creationism?

Yup. It’s in Florida, and here’s what the website says:

The state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Majestic murals, great masterpieces brimming with pulsating colors and details, provide a backdrop for many of the settings.
http://www.creationmuseum.org

Well, that about says it all. Who cares about science, right? I don’t get it. As if these ideas aren’t freely available in churches and Christian bookstores around the country, now they have to have their own theme park to inoculate young children in glorious 3-D?

Does this place have to pay taxes? Don’t even get me started if they don’t. Why should a theme park be exempt from taxation just because it’s based on the Bible? That’s about, oh, I dunno… fucking absurd?