...they [the Roman Catholic Church] for example thought that slavery was perfectly fine... absolutely okay, and then they didn't, and what is the point of the Catholic Church if it says, “oh well we couldn't know better because nobody else did”? [To the affirmative team] Then what are you for?!
-- Stephen Fry, answering a question during the 2009 Intelligence Squared debate, “Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world?”
Of course, slavery was okay…
Added by Loren Miller on May 1, 2021 at 8:40am — No Comments
Words are subtle and powerful things. Ten billion different things can be said with words, from rage to romance, with a multidimensional gradient of meanings and emotions in between those two markers. There are big words and small words out there: tiny little one- and two- and three- and four-letter words which will be a first-grader’s initial exposure to language learning, then two- and three- and four- and five-syllable verbal jaw breakers which will be the attention-getters, that mark…Continue
For a while, there, it was an absolute truism that among the single most frustrating activities one could indulge in was the pursuit of an appointment to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination. Starting roughly at the beginning of February, I got myself registered with three different pharmacies, plus two hospital chains (University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic). Add to that, I was checking regularly with at least two other drug stores which didn’t have automated registration or informational…Continue
The scene is set in the Rotunda of the US Capitol building. Hardly a few weeks earlier, that had been the site of a riotous attempt at raucous, lawless insurrection. This moment could not be more different. The lighting is subdued. There is little to no conversation from the observers scattered about, their attention focused on the rectangular pedestal, located at the center of the Rotunda. Said pedestal holds but two items. The first of these is a flag, folded to a triangle shape in…Continue
Added by Loren Miller on February 3, 2021 at 9:00am — No Comments
I have no doubt but that Joe Biden is one busy new president at the moment, and I tend to suspect that he may never actually READ the following (do they ever?), but considering the events of two weeks ago, Wednesday and our gang's concern regarding just who may have made up that mob, I found myself moved to write.
And so I did:
President Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW…
“You see there is only one constant. One universal. It is the only real truth. Causality. Action, reaction. Cause and effect.”
While the Merovingian was a snotty, self-important dweeb within the Matrix’s scheme of things, I couldn’t be more in agreement with him as to the issue and the necessity of cause and effect. Cause and effect is and indeed must be the central operator to the coherent function of…
Well, it finally happened.
One way or the other, Donald Trump has been building up his backers and his base to this moment from before the 2016 election. Trump talked virtually non-stop about elections being rigged, about being cheated out of a popular vote victory, arguments regarding the numbers at his inauguration speech, and every complaint regarding the power he has wanted to exercise, whether legally or not, as Commander in Chief. That same language continued into the 2020…
The 2015 movie Spotlight didn’t win the Best Picture Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences purely on the strength of its production values or the performances of its A-list cast, led by Michael Keaton as Boston Globe Spotlight editor Walter “Robbie” Robinson and Mark Ruffalo as reporter Mike Rezendes. Personally, I believe it also earned that honor by representing in dramatic form their investigation into one of the most egregious stains on human society: the…Continue
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
-- H.L. Mencken, On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe
Four years ago, the United States voted a political unknown into its highest office, at least in part on the pretense that perhaps a…
I just sent the following to Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, by email and physical letter:
26 September, 2020
Senator Rob Portman
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
I am writing you to insist that you do not under any circumstances endorse or vote for the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States. Please understand, as a non-religious American, it is not her…
I was doing something at my computer yesterday evening when my wife laid the news on me: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. My reaction wasn’t quite as though I had been punched in the gut, but it wasn’t much better than that. In the best of times, a loss of that nature would be considerable and its impact profound. Considering the current state of both American politics and jurisprudence, this news is potentially cataclysmic.
From the time of her entry into the…
The following is an excerpt from The Atlantic, dated 3 September, 2020:
On Memorial Day 2017, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery, a short drive from the White House. He was accompanied on this visit by John Kelly, who was then the secretary of homeland security, and who would, a short time later, be named the White House chief of staff. The two men were set to visit Section 60, the 14-acre area of the cemetery that is the burial ground for those killed in America’s most…
This is yet another of my old blogs from Atheist Nexus, reprinted here because I think the topic remains timely and important. I hope you enjoy.
When the truth offends, we lie and lie until we can no longer remember it is even there, but it is still there. Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid.
-- Comrade Valery Legasov, commenting on the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power…
Added by Loren Miller on September 1, 2020 at 7:50am — No Comments
The place is Earth Alliance Space Station Babylon 5, in the year 2260. The players are one “Mr. Morden,” a human representative of an ancient and powerful alien race known as The Shadows, and Vir Cotto, attaché to Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari. The Shadows have recently been supporting the Centauri in a considerable military campaign against another alien race: the Narn, and Cotto and Mollari both have been deeply involved in that conflict, though Vir has strongly opposed it from its…Continue
It was sometime during an average day in November of 2009 that someone over on the now-defunct Experience Project site told me about this other website: Atheist Nexus. Unlike EP, it was open to atheists ONLY, and was intended to be a place where atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and other freethinkers could express themselves and exchange ideas without the constant harangue of believers who were determined to convert us from our supposedly sinful ways. Having already grown tired of countering…Continue
It was late February, 2018 when I first learned about issues regarding Lawrence Krauss and his inappropriate behavior toward women. Then in the first week of March, I got an email from American Atheists, indicating that David Silverman was being suspended from the presidency of that organization, pending an investigation. One week later, I learned that he has been removed from that position. In both cases, the only forthcoming source of details regarding both Krauss and Silverman is…Continue
I have no illusions that there’s an endgame. These problems never go away. You have to educate every single generation about this and make sure it doesn’t creep back into our society. There’s no sense in which the job is ever done.
-- Tim Gill
Just for the record, Tim Gill is a software engineer and rights advocate, who has been an integral part of the thrust for LGBTQ equality. His influence spans from the 2003 Goodridge v Dept. of Public Health case to the…
It was something over a year ago that I learned that Cleveland was going to be the site of the 2016 Republican National Convention. The prospect of having a bunch of misogynistic, homophobic, mostly white guys invading The Best Location in the Nation was not a welcome thought, as you might well imagine, and that many of them were scornful of the concept of church/state separation did not help matters. However, I was encouraged by some discussion at a meeting of the Northern Ohio Freethought…Continue
There are lot of people I've met online since I became an atheist, many of them I am glad to call, "friend." Still, it's something altogether different to MEET these same people in the flesh, or at least be close enough to photograph and hear them speak live. Being able to do that a few times this past June 4th was as valuable to me as being able to attend the Rally itself, and I am glad to share with you some of those very neat moments here.
Here's Daniel and I.…
Added by Loren Miller on June 13, 2016 at 9:30am — No Comments
Driving 360 miles with a lousy cold isn’t ordinarily my idea of fun, but this was the Reason Rally, and those don’t happen every day. So I added zinc and Hall’s Mentholyptus to my overnight bag and set off a touch after 8 AM Friday. Turns out the drive was pretty easy, and I got in around 2:30. There wasn’t a lot going on at the time, and I wanted to decompress after the drive, so there wasn’t much to do other than collapse! I DO want to note, however, that one thoughtful provision had been…Continue