27 April 2008
Well, I am happy to report that the Active Denial System has managed to go through its Capabilities and Limitations Assessment in quite an outstanding fashion. Of course, the work leading up to this has been rather intensive, and involved a lot of traveling. I feel like one of those professional "Road Warrior" that are flying all over the world every week to some location or another. Sadly, I never get to go to any exotic locales. Instead I go to Twentynine Palms and China Lake. Have I mentioned that I hate the desert? The climate and terrain just do not suit me!
Now that the ADS has managed to pass this milestone, I can only hope that it will get deployed somewhere. I also hope that it will get me some better TDYs! It has been humerous to be on this program though, and see some of the far out blogs from people who have no idea what they are talking about! While the system was out at Twentynine Palms, it was also apparently protecting the Pope, and doing all sorts of strange operations in and around Washington DC. Not only that, but with as many times as I have been shot by this system, I should be decomposing to a pile of goo or something. Of course, I would make derisive comments about the moonbat blogs since this system is also tied into government mind control... You know, stupid people would actually be funny if there weren't so many of them...
Oh well, just my entry for today. Have a good one.
13 April 2008
Click the title of this entry to my blog and check it out.
12 April 2008
What is it about so-called "new" atheists that upsets so many religious apologists? Accusations about being militant and intolerant are tossed around easily, but there's no justification for them — at least no justification that would not apply equally well, if not more so, to traditional religion. It's hard to escape the conclusion that the "sin" of atheists today is that they have the temerity to speak out openly, publicly, and unapologetically. Occasionally, religious apologists are willing to admit just that.
09 April 2008
Best I can say is that atheists really need to put a stop to this American Theocracy that seems to be budding. I know that I have spent 20 years defending the constitution, and while the 1st Amendment gives freedom of religion, there is also a corresponding freedom from religion embedded in that statement as well. First of all check out the video on the TED website. Good stuff.
Freedom of Religion Requires Freedom From Religion
Conservatives insist that the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, and argue against strict separation of church and state. Too often, though, conservatives seem to have a flawed understanding of what freedom from religion really entails and fail to realize that freedom from religion is crucial to religious liberty in general.
It is evident that a person misunderstands the concept of freedom from religion when they say that promotion of the idea is part of an effort to eliminate religion from the public square, to secularize America, or to deny religious believers a voice in politics. None of this follows from a belief that people have a right to be free from religion.
Freedom from religion is not a demand that one never encounter religion, religious believers, or religious ideas at all.Freedom from religion is not freedom from seeing churches, encountering people handing out religious tracts on the street corner, seeing preachers on television, or listening to people discuss religion at work. Freedom from religion is not a demand that religious beliefs never be expressed, that religious believers never voice an opinion, or that religiously-inspired values never have any impact on laws, customs, or public policies.
Freedom from religion is thus not a social right to never encounter religion in public spaces. Freedom from religion has two relevant aspects: personal and political. On the personal level, a right to be free from religion means that a person has the freedom not to belong to any religion or religious organization. The right to be religious and to join religious organizations would meaningless if there did not exist a parallel right not to join any at all. Religious liberty must simultaneously protect both the right to be religious and the right not to be religious at all — it cannot protect a right to be religious, just so long as you pick some religion.
When it comes to politics, the freedom from religion means being "free from" any government imposition of religion. Freedom from religion does not mean being free from seeing churches, but it does mean being free from churches getting governing financing; it doesn't mean being free from encountering people handing out religious tracts on a street corner, but it does mean being free from government-sponsored religious tracts; it doesn't mean being free from hearing religious discussions at work, but it does mean being free from religion being a condition of employment, hiring, firing, or one's status in the political community.
Freedom from religion isn't a demand that religious beliefs never be expressed, but rather that they not be endorsed by the government; it's not a demand that religious believers never voice an opinion, but rather that they not have a privileged status in public debates; it's not a demand that religious values never have any public impact, but rather that no laws be based on religious doctrines without the existence of a secular purpose and basis.
The political and the personal are closely related. A person cannot be "free from" religion in the personal sense of not having to belong to any religion if religion is made a factor in one's status in the political community. Government agencies should not endorse, promote, or encourage religion in any way. Doing so suggests that those who accept the religious beliefs favored by the government will, by extension, be favored by the government — and thus a person's political status becomes conditioned on their personal religious commitments.
The claim that the Constitution only protects "freedom of religion" and not "freedom from religion" thus misses an important point. Religious liberty, if it is to mean anything, cannot merely mean that the state won't use the police to stop or harass adherents of certain religious ideas. It must also mean that the state won't use more subtle powers, like those of the pocketbook and the bully pulpit, to favor some religions over others, to endorse certain religious doctrines rather than others, or to take sides in theological disputes.
It would be wrong for the police to close synagogues; it is also wrong for police officers to tell Jewish drivers during a traffic stop that they should convert to Christianity. It would be wrong for politicians to pass a law banning Hinduism; it is also wrong for them to pass a law proclaiming that monotheism is preferable to polytheism. It would be wrong for a president to say that Catholicism is a cult and not really Christian; it is also wrong for a president to endorse theism and religion generally.
This is why freedom of religion and freedom from religion are two sides of the same coin. Attacks on one ultimately serve to undermine the other. The preservation of religious liberty requires that we ensure that the government not be handed any authority over religious matters.
Okay, I live in an area that is quite religious. I'd say they are nearly religious enough to be featured on 60 Minutes as a cult (that's just me being snarky, since I really consider all religion to be a cult). Anyway, the local paper has this fun feature where the locals can comment on the stories. Now, for a religion that claims its main tenets are forgiveness and love, you'd be amazed at the comments the locals make! In general, if there is a story about someone doing anything from spitting on the sidewalk to a felony, the standard reaction is to wish great bodily harm on them in one way or another! I kid you not! We're talking a level of violence that I can only assume was stirred up by such lovely films as Passion of the christ or something!
Now, the funny thing is, an ATHEIST makes a comment to them that they seem to be rather hypocritical, and righteous indignation wins out over their religious doctrine. Now, I intentionally worded the admonition in a way to get them wound up, just to see if they could see the underlying message. I don't think they could at all! I also created another posting account and made absolutely VILE posts (like saying I was glad some lowlife was dead from an auto accident and the like). I bet you can predict their response to those sort of comments. Yep, they seemed to wholly approve them. And they still can't see the hypocrisy of it all.
Now, there have been numerous studies that correlate low intelligence with a propensity to act out violently. I think that there may also be a correlation between low intelligence and these particularly bloodthirsty xtians! Just as there is a correlation between atheism and high intelligence. Not saying all xtians are stupid, but their representatives sure don't do them any favours.
Anyway, I was just complaining really. Sometimes it's depressing to live in such an intellectual wasteland as this area, surrounded by such hypocrites. And hypocrisy runs deep in xtians. Here is one of my favorite top 10 lists to leave you with:
10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.