• The outlaw and the sheriff

    Click the image to open in full size.The little town in a remote corner of Arizona had been living in fear since Jim Coldhands and his band of outlaws had decided to stop here on their way to nowhere. They had taken the biggest house in town at gunpoint and were robbing the bank every week, leaving the townsfolk only the bare minimum to survive. They had the guns, and according to them, it was generous on their part to let anyone live. The sheriff was just as frightened as anybody else.

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    Tags: Democracy

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 9:32:00 AM
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  • Not a house of cards

    Mechanical TurkReligious positions are often compared to a house of cards, meaning that they are elaborate but extremely fragile edifices that can be brought down by the merest gust of wind. They are, however, nothing but. A house of cards has more foundation than substance, whereas religion only has unfounded matter. Blow all you want, it won’t come down so easily. No, there are more apt metaphors to produce on the subject.

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    Tags: Religion

    Sunday, October 21, 2012 11:35:28 PM
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  • My heroes are all dead: 1. DNA

    And by DNA I don’t mean deoxyribonucleic acid, I mean Douglas Noel Adams, whom you probably know as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

    There are only two people that I didn’t know, whose death made me cry: Pierre Desproges and Douglas Adams. Both wrote prodigious comedy with surprising depth, but Adams was also an outspoken Atheist, and used science as a foundation of his storytelling. Preferably weird science, like quantum mechanics.

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  • Elections are not democratic

    AgoraIt’s becoming increasingly clear that our so-called democracies really are plutocracies and always have been. But, I hear you ask, aren’t elections the guarantee that we the people are getting represented properly? Of course not.

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  • Arguments from authority?

    Round-Earth is just a theoryDespite appearances, there is a fundamental difference between arguments from authority (or from majority) and scientific knowledge. That fundamental difference is that attacks, independent verification and repeatability are not only expected but necessary to the whole process.

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    Tags: Science

    Saturday, March 31, 2012 4:23:13 PM
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  • The things believers love to believe about unbelievers

    Satyrus marinusYou see, if we don’t believe, it must be because we’re angry at God (we’re not: it doesn’t exist; we’re only angry at the people who are trying to impose arbitrary rules on us, on behalf of that imaginary entity). And the thing is, we’re not allowed to be angry. Because, of course, God is infinitely infinite, and we are worthless finite beings. So who are we to doubt His infallible plan that we cannot know?

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    Tags: Religion

    Thursday, March 29, 2012 10:10:39 PM
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  • Contraception and Religious Liberty

    Reproductive organsYet another response to Ambrose, whose blog doesn’t like that my comments tend to have more than 4,000 characters... He says:

    "the underlying argument is that religious freedom is not absolute in the US. There have been Supreme Court cases, such as not allowing polygamy, where it has been limited."

    Yes, all freedoms have limitations, which is not a big deal. In the case of religious freedom though, religious people in my experience tend to believe that it means that if their holy book mandates something, it should trump the laws of the state, or that no new law can go against what they believe. This would of course be impossible except in a single-religion theocracy

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  • What religious freedom is not

    Non-Separation of Church and StateThere is a growing culture of entitlement among religious people nowadays that we should not confuse with righteousness. More and more, we see politicians or bishops claiming that secular values are antagonistic to religious freedom. But what is religious freedom and why is it important?

    In order to find out, I think it’s important to look at what it can’t be. What it can’t be, unless you have a taste for the perverse twisting of words, is religious tyranny.

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