Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Path of a Critical Thinker (part four)

A common mistake made by those who consider themselves "critical thinkers" is that they assume that they are more or less immune to poor reasoning, as though they are in some way shielded from the effects of bias, prejudice and emotional influences simply by virtue of being a "skeptic" or a "freethinker." Spend enough time on the Internet and you'll see - even amongst the so-called "skeptics" - a proclivity for towing the party line, easy acceptance of ideas and arguments that they prefer, and let's not forget bandwagoning. Members of the skeptical community can be just as susceptible. I've seen it happen. I used to read Pharyngula.

No one is above prejudice. Critical thinking isn't the removal of one's biases, otherwise critical thinking would be impossible. Critical thinking is about recognizing one's biases, and working diligently to keep those biases in check so that one may reason objectively. This requires as much training as any other aspect of intellectual life: sometimes even more. Keep this in mind as we continue on in this series...

Friday, March 23, 2012

How Did The Fnob Get Here?

Look at the majesty and beauty of the Fnob. See how intricate and complex it is. Notice how mysterious it is, how little we know about the Fnob. How did it get here? How can we explain the existence of the Fnob?

With the Bdorse, of course.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why Pascal's Wager Fails...

... summed up in one short comic:

I like this mostly because Ganesha’s maxin' and relaxin'.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Agnosticism Versus Atheism

Agnosticism is not some in-between point midway between theism and atheism. Agnosticism is not "atheism lite." Agnosticism and atheism aren't a matter of "either-or." Here's a helpful chart being helpful:

Alister McGrath's Boat

Yesterday I shared a video by well-known theologian Alister McGrath in which he shares a few "brilliant" observations, including the fact that atheists were apparently "appalled" when Richard Dawkins "let the cat out of the bag" by admitting he can't prove there is no god. The secret's out, folks! Richard Dawkins is "really" an agnostic! Flee to the mountains, for the end is near! How could Dawkins betray us like this?

No, Dr. McGrath, atheists were not appalled. They weren't shocked. They weren't blindsided by any stunning confession from Richard Dawkins. Why? Because we can fucking read. Mike D at The A-Unicornist explains it brilliantly:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Alister McGrath on "New" Atheism

I saw this video by theologian Alister McGrath on Facebook this morning. I posted the following comments on Facebook in response to the video:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Most Astounding Fact

I know this video has been all over the Interwebs already, but it's so good I still wanted to share it here:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Douglas Adams Turns 60


Douglas Adams [11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001]

Douglas Adams would have been 60 years old Sunday, March 11, 2012. He left us way too early.

Dead-Logic

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Path of a Critical Thinker (part three)

As I continue this series, I'd like to clarify exactly what being a "critical thinker" means. A critical thinker is, at her core, a thinker who dares to question. A critical thinker is never entirely satisfied with anything less than absolute knowledge, and thus always holds her beliefs with an open hand, ready to discard it when evidence is presented that points to something better. A critical thinker never stops questioning, never says, "well, I've seen all I need to see to convince me." A critical thinker strives to understand logic, and base one's life on reason and the pursuit of truth. A critical thinker is not free from bias, but recognizes the biases she and each one of us possesses, and wrestles to break free from its influence as she draws well-reasoned conclusions and solutions to the pertinent issues and problems of the day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

White, Male, & Heterosexual


Whitey.

My own experience as a southpaw in a right-handed world hasn't been much more than an annoyance, much like having to adjust one's pants constantly because they don't fit right. I'm white, male, and heterosexual: I don't know what real oppression feels like. Being left-handed means I have experienced just a very small taste of what it's like to be different - what being a minority feels like. I have felt that a little more since accepting the atheist label. If people didn't think I was in league with the devil for being a southpaw, I'm sure some of them think so now.

Left-Handed in a Right-Handed World





Monday, March 5, 2012

Personal Update

Early in January I decided to let my hair grow out, due to equal parts curiosity and laziness. Yesterday I had my first hair cut in nearly four years. Behold the wonder of my head:

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Tale of The Witch-Killing Preacher

If you've been following this blog for a while, you probably know that I'm twice-divorced, and have three kids with my first wife (and none with my second wife, thankfully). My first wife (I'll call her Jadis) and our children live three states away from me. Jadis and the kids live with her current husband and two other children they spawned together. They live in the same town as Jadis' parents and her two sisters, along with their husbands and kids - including my niece*, whom I've mentioned before as being "hyper-religious." Most of Jadis' side of the family is extremely Christian, and equally conservative. My niece is merely the product of her indoctrination.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Confrontation

by Bud Uzoras (February 3, 1996 - Age 21)

I sat there, glaring across the table at myself. I had put this off far too long. I watched myself glance up at me. A tight smile played across the face before me. The eyes I saw returning my glare roused me in the same way as a cold clear February night. A familiar yet alien chill crept through my body. This person haunting me was no one other than myself. But he was not entirely me, but a shadow of that which I may very well become.