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Monday, September 14, 2009

God's Punishment for Not Updating?

For over a month now (since August 9, to be exact), Japanese (I think) spammers have been commenting on my blog between 9pm and 10pm.

As such, I've enabled word verification for commenting. Hopefully this will eliminate this nuisance of the inbox.

On a content update, I'm planning on making a post here soon regarding my activities during my hiatus. I have been very active in freethought campaigns in real life which, I think, have been a much better use of my time. I do miss posting to this blog, though. After several well crafted, unique posts were overlooked by readers, I became disheartened with this blog and soon after ceased regular posting.

I do plan to return, likely with a different slant.

- JT

Monday, April 6, 2009

An Update and a Comment

The Update
I am a bit stunned to see how long it has been since I last posted. Updating this blog and interacting with everyone was always an enjoyable part of the day. I have, however, had the past few months constitute the worst period of my life. Writing that at such a young age I am sure that I will experience far worse. But having lived probably a third to a fourth of my life, now, I feel it's significant and has made me feel as though I've matured in thought, but yet to meet it in action.

The Comment
While I haven't been updating, I have been reading all my comments as they are emailed to me. I still receive at least once a week, even though I haven't been updating. I thought I'd share one I received last week that was rather entertaining. This one was posted to my entry Arguing for a Christian God which explained on a prompt I put forth for Christian readers to convince me, specifically, of the Christian God. This is from a reader named "searching_agnostic":
hi - I'd love to read a good justification for Christainity also, as far as I can tell, from what most historians believe Paul wrote ~50's AD, we can be moderately confident that Paul, Peter, John and James believed Jesus was God and was ressurrected. This to me gives only three possibilities, 1) they were claiming the truth, and He was God
2) Peter, John and James were lying for reasons unknown. - why tho? no satisfactory answer found.
3) Peter, John and James where fooled, Paul was lying, or nuts.
help required to work out the likelihoods of each.
as an asside I'd feel much more comfortable with my Agnostic beliefs if the big bang was false.
I wonder if there is a reverse-Poe's law. From the several comments I have received of theists pretending to be atheists, I am unconvinced there is.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Unnatural Race

Something I've been encountering a lot recently with other people is the topic of gay adoption. (Could it be from the recent election wherein the various electorates voted against children in the system?)

Something rather baffling is how the point of homosexuality not being natural comes up. When this argument comes up in homosexuality discussions, my first thought to myself is why, by any logic, should laws be based on what's natural?

In gay adoption discussions, though, this line of argument is especially puzzling. What of the latter half of the phrase: adoption? I recently had a conversation with a Christian friend of mine along the following lines:

Me: Why are you opposed to gay adoption? As an adopted child, I would think you, of anyone, would support it.
Him: I do support adoption, just not gay adoption.
Me: Why not gay adoption? What's the difference between adoption by heterosexual or homosexual parent(s)? The result in both cases is an adoption. Shouldn't that be our objective?
Him: Homosexuality is unnatural, though.
Me: Why should that be a criterion?
Him: It's unhealthy for a child to grow up in that unnatural relationship.
Me: You're adopted, though, right? Adoption is unnatural too, and you're not against that.
Him: How do you figure?
Me: The natural order of things is that you have a child and then rear the child. It is unnatural to rear another's offspring. You just said that it's unhealthy for a child to grow up in an unnatural relationship; an parent-adopted child is an unnatural relationship.
Him: It's not unnatural, though. There are plenty examples of it in the animal kingdom of some dog taking care of a kitten or something.
Me: There's also plenty of examples of homosexuality in the animal kingdom, too, though.

It went on from there with him continuing to refute me using common refutations of the "homosexuality is unnatural."

After I began reading and thinking more, I have never understood the "nature" argument as any sort of defense of a law. There are plenty of natural things we prohibit. For example, defecation in the outdoors is very natural; however, we have chosen to prohibit people from defecating in public for good reasons (mainly sanitation).

There are also many (many) unnatural things we do not prohibit and, in fact, advocate. Blood donation, for example, is very unnatural. A needle is inserted into your arm, your blood is withdrawn and deposited in a bag, that bag is processed and stored, and then that blood is put into someone else's body.

There is a good reason we have chosen not to prohibit blood donation: the recipients need the blood. I could not fathom opposing blood donation under the banner of "it is unnatural." In the end, shouldn't we recognize the parallel to gay adoption? We should choose not to prohibit gay adoption for the same reason: the recipients need the adoption. How can people march under the banner of "it is unnatural" when there are so many children in need? Someone should contact Arkansas and find out. (Oh wait, the ACLU already has.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

JT: 1, Hemant Mehta: 4,913

While browsing Facebook to try to find some horribly offensive anti-Christian group title* (as payback for the barrage of Christian Right status updates Tuesday night), I came across a rather interesting one:

I wonder if that's anything like swallowing Jesus at communion only to throw him up fifteen minutes later.

* I had no such luck. The only "offensive" anti-Christian group titles were about 1-2 dozen groups all titled "Delete the 'Fuck Christianity' group."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Atheist Debate on Abortion

I'm not sure when my schedule will first allow for this, but I wanted to throw it out there.

I frequently hear atheists -- and I want to stress frequently -- claim that you can't be a thinking atheist and also against abortion. The rationale is analogous to homophobia. You can't be both a thinking atheist and against homosexuality because homophobia is solely a consequence of religion. The same claim is made about abortion: the arguments against abortion are religious in nature. To put it more precisely, there is no secular, rational basis for opposition to abortion.

As an atheist who was opposed to abortion up until this year, I must reject this when I hear it. Even when I do, though, I'm told I'm wrong and that it's still something kept from religion.

I have had several readers ask me for a further account of my transition from anti-abortion to pro-abortion (both legally and morally). Rather than giving dry details about the arguments which I was once persuaded by and later arguments which dissuaded me from my former conclusion, I thought I'd try something more interesting.

Is there any atheist who would be interested in doing a debate via blog on abortion? I'm not sure if there is something already out there of this nature, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to show that there are secular arguments against abortion. Even though I no longer hold these views (and it has been a while since I have pondered the philosophy around it), I will take the side of an anti-abortionist in this debate.

So, if there's anyone interested, let me know. The only qualification is you must be an atheist. You can be either pro-abortion or anti-abortion (either legally or morally), but you must take the pro-abortion side.