Update: Any extra money beyond our goal will go towards day to day expenses and bills. Thank you so much for your support!
Last night, I created a GoFundMe funding page to help my wife and I with our cars AC. We live in the south and temperatures are only getting hotter as summer is upon us. Due to our medical conditions it is BRUTAL to go out, let alone drive in a car with no AC. I am a freelance programmer who makes their money contracting out to clients for affordable programming options. Earlier this year I lost my car due to defaulting on my bankruptcy so we had to buy a cheap affordable car to ensure I could still get to clients. We have been struggling the last year to make ends meet.
Well, less than 17 hours after I created it, our funding goal to replace it was met. I cried, no lie. We had overwhelming support to have it fixed. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Those that donated, you are living proof that compassionate people exist in this world. To hold true to the rewards, I have sent each and everyone of you thank you’s and instructions on how to take advantage of what I offered in return for your donation.
These are the following people that have donated, and made our lives a lot easier in the struggles we have endured:
Because of those kind and compassionate individuals, we have secured the funds to replace the AC, and ensure that I can keep going this summer getting new clients and fulfilling clients obligations to go on-site.
Announcing the publication of *Science and Religion: 5 Questions* edited by Gregg D. Caruso—a collection of interviews with thirty-three of the world’s leading philosophers, scientists, theologians, apologists, and atheists.
Description: Are science and religion compatible when it comes to understanding cosmology (the origin of the universe), biology (the origin of life and of the human species), ethics, and the human mind (minds, brains, souls, and free will)? Do science and religion occupy non-overlapping magisteria? Is Intelligent Design a scientific theory? How do the various faith traditions view the relationship between science and religion? What, if any, are the limits of scientific explanation? What are the most important open questions, problems, or challenges confronting the relationship between science and religion, and what are the prospects for progress? These and other questions are explored in Science and Religion: 5 Questions—a collection of thirty-three interviews based on 5 questions presented to some of the world’s most influential and prominent philosophers, scientists, theologians, apologists, and atheists.
Contributors include a Nobel Prize winning physicist, three Templeton Prize winners, two “Humanist of the Year” winners, the “Most Influential Rabbi in America” (Newsweek, 2012), “the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism” (New York Times), a National Humanities Medal winner, a National Medal of Science winner, a Star of South Africa Medal winner, a Carl Sagan Award winner, a National Science Board’s Public Service Medal winner, a MacArthur Fellow, a Lakatos Award winner, an Erasmus Prize winner, a “Friend of Darwin Award” winner, a “Distinguished Skeptic Award” winner, the first Muslim to deliver the prestigious Gifford Lectures, and many more.
Contributors: Simon Blackburn, Susan Blackmore, Sean Carroll, William Lane Craig, William Dembski, Daniel C. Dennett, George F.R. Ellis, Owen Flanagan, Owen Gingerich, Rebecca Goldstein, John F. Haught, Muzaffar Iqbal, Lawrence Krauss, Colin McGinn, Alister McGrath, Mary Midgley, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Timothy O’Connor, Massimo Pigliucci, Rev. John Polkinghorne, James “The Amazing” Randi, Alex Rosenberg, Michael Ruse, Robert John Russell, John Searle, Michael Shermer, Victor Stenger, Robert Thurman, Michael Tooley, Charles Townes, Peter van Inwagen, Keith Ward, Rabbi David Wolpe
Screenshot right when it hit 1 million at 6:58pm Central Time
Well folks, LeVar freakin Burton did it. In one day, he managed to get “One Million Dollars” for a web based Reading Rainbow expansion. As A kid, I grew up with Star Trek and of course Reading Rainbow. His Kickstarter barely even had a chance to exist on the internet, and he got backing. That whooshing sound you heard, were the thousands of netizens opening up their wallets.
This speaks volumes for the impact Reading Rainbow had on all our lives, and to have it continue to new generations gives me warm fuzzy feelings inside.
It’s been an exciting, sad, and creepy week for us. That Heathen Girl and I got engaged (Same weekend two other awesome people I know got engaged), Twinkies will be no more (from Hostess) and an awesome discovery of something so insanely creepy.
Let’s first look at this very informative image about Hostess:
That really says a lot. This company has had nothing but failures, greedy CEO’s, and complete lack of caring for their employees. I’d love to see all the behind-the-scene plays that was done in board rooms. Sure their food wasn’t very healthy for the body, but man oh man did a twinkie make you feel good mentally. They were good stuff. A lot of memes are floating around the interwebs like this one:
Of course America had nothing to do with it, but the coincidence of timing is pretty humorous.
Now onto awesomeness. That Heathen Girl and I got engaged on the 8th of November! We spent three days in a secluded cabin in Upstate Arkansas to consummate our engagement. We were going to go to Skepticon 5 that weekend, but you know what? Love is more important than a secular convention. JT Eberhard got the best of both worlds when he proposed on-stage. Way to go JT and Michaelyn!
That’s us enjoying our Cabin (ironically titled “Morning Star”) at Silver Run Cabins. If you ever think about a log cabin getaway… this place has cabins of all shapes and sizes. I would highly recommend booking your next getaway with them!
Last, but not least… Take this Lollipop! I won’t spoil it for you, but it is the creepiest thing you have ever seen. Brilliant, just brilliant.
It has been such a very long and hard campaign. Facebook ablaze every day with Romney’s antics, fact checks, and some good old fashioned poking fun pictures. Thank the flying spaghetti monster it’s all over. There were quite a few victories on the 6th, for a country divided in two. What does this mean though, for the red states?
My opinion on this, based on being in a red state (Arkansas), is that it’s time to either get with the program, or be left in the dark ages. Marijuana became legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington last night, while medical Marijuana was blocked in the south (Arkansas) by people with pitch forks. Yes it’s an exaggeration, but I’d be lying if I said they didn’t have anything in their hand (the bible) while they made that choice to block medical marijuana from people who could greatly benefit from its uses.
A good friend and co-worker of mine has a daughter, who is going through the harsh lifestyle of treating cancer. The synthetic cannabis that she uses has been helping her get through it, in the ways that it can. If Marijuana was legal for medical purposes, it could of helped thousands of people dealing with glaucoma, cancer, and more. I wonder sometimes, if these people who are so greatly against it, are so blinded by their faith, that they forget about everyone else around them. I think a lot has to do with experience.
My good friend is religious, yet he strongly supports medical marijuana. Why? Because he’s compassionate. Because he’s living with the worry every night, for his daughters recovery. That’s just one man, and one person, out of thousands upon thousands of others every day, worried for their loved ones or friends. It’s almost in comparison to preventing people from getting flu shots, because X god will take care of those people. If it’s “his” will to take that person to heaven, then people accept that. Instead of preventing that person from getting sick in the first place, or treating the illness, people commit legal murder every day.
I stayed away from Facebook until Obama’s victory speech, because I was sick of the politics, sick of the bashing, sick of the worrying. It’s over now. We have four more years to stick with the plan, rebuild America, move it forward, and make red states realize that child abuse, legal murder, and bigotry has to go. I’m going back to my secular humanism side now, and dumping my militant tendencies since the election is over, and rational people got what the country needed. Now it’s time to focus locally.
As you have seen already, Reason In the Rock was a major success and played host to many amazing secular speakers. I was honored to take photos of the event for the website and was blown away by all the amazing people I met there. It was my first time to experience such an event and could not believe how much I’d been missing out on.
Since The Secular Nerd covered what happened at Reason in the Rock, I wanted to share with you how much it empowered me. What really hit me most was that a lot of the speakers had gone through what I myself had gone through. Jerry DeWitt and Teresa MacBaine’s stories really hit home because they too were recovering from religion like I had been and still am in certain aspects. My father, who is an overly religious man, had kept me in the dark for years with his preachy ways and forcing me to go to church. I did what most kids would do in that situation, I believed him. I went to church camps and and even a missionary trip to Arlington, TX for these people. I don’t think of it like a waste of time, just one of those mistakes you make in life that make you who you are.
JT Eberhard mentioned something that hit home with me about Columbine, and how Christian’s target their youth by telling them to say yes if it ever happened to them. When I was in my early teens I was still attending church at the time, and they showed this video of Christian youth groups speaking out about how they would say yes and so should you. I remember sitting there thinking, “Is this really what I would do? What I should do?”.
Of course now the answer is obvious, but it took me until the age of 17 to finally break away from my father. When Jerry talked to The Secular Nerd and I about Recovering From Religion I was so excited because I realized that I would finally get a chance to help those who also had gone through what I had and I can’t wait to share my story with them and help them to recover from religion.
Thank you everyone who came to Reason In the Rock and I am so glad to have met every one of you. Lauren was especially fun to hang out with! I can’t wait to become more involved and help others. See you all at Skepticon!
Reason In The Rock http://www.reasonintherock.org/
Reason In The Rock was already a huge success from the moment we started planning it. We just had to sit back and enjoy the ride. The Lineup was a monster lineup, and the only way it could of been even better, is if Richard Dawkins himself was in it.
Teresa MacBain kicked off the event with her history, how she was indoctrinated, things she encountered along the way that poked at her magical bubble surrounding her most of her life. It was a very insightful story into a skeptical ministers story. She, like any other skeptic had questions. Questions that others claimed was Satan’s way of manipulating her. She went through her story, even explaining the moment she felt she finally shed all faith from her.
Next up, Cindy Cooper, who gave a great presentation about Camp QuestOklahoma. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her present at LogiCon earlier this year, so we were excited to see her give this presentation in Little Rock. Camp Quest represents a secular camp for kids, free of any indoctrination, persecution, etc, unlike the Boy Scouts. She was a little nervous on her presentation, but she works better with kids anyway!
Next up, right before lunch, the always exuberant former Pentecostal Pastor, Jerry DeWitt representing Recovering From Religion. If you have never had the chance to hear Jerry speak, it gives you goose bumps being in the same room as him. If the secular movement was a religion, I would seriously coin him the pope for us. He’s known nothing but being a Pastor almost all his life, so how he always presents himself, makes you feel like you are in church, but in an amazing way. His words are comforting, full of reason and not faith. His tone is sincere, and not filled with hate and lies like in church. If I had half the charisma this man had in public, who knows where I’d be!
He discussed a lot about his new book, Hope after Faith, which once it comes out, I’m buying ten of them. Keep an eye out for this book and buy one for everyone you know! After his speech, he had a few minutes, where he went into full blown pastor mode, used that pastor tone, and made the whole room laugh so hard. Below, is the video for this:
We broke for lunch after this, and I had to lead Seth Andrews, AronRa, Cindy Cooper, and a few others to our secret dinner for the VIP’s and speakers. We went to Stickyz, where the food wasn’t too bad. I had an embarrassing moment with Seth Andrews there, but I’m not going into details on that!
Mike Thom was next, discussing The National Atheist Party. He did amazingly well pinpointing the core of NAP. I am a member of the Arkansas NAP on the Technology and Science Committee. He didn’t bring any slides, but he definitely accomplished what he sat out to do.
AronRa was next. To be honest, he didn’t quite have the oomph that I saw at LogiCon this year with his presentation, but it’s always great to see him. He discussed a lot about his debates, the facts of what Evolution has, the lack of facts Creationism has, and really hit home with the issues we face with the secular movement.
Lauren Lane… If there was ever a person you needed to have, to get everyone in a great mood, explain Skepticon to people who don’t know what it is, and feel great about speaking out… she’s it. Just her personality alone, made me want to go to Skepticon (Even though I already had my hotel reserved for That Heathen Girl, and I). The after party with her was a lot of laughs. Fun fact: She loved Banana Bread beer.
JT Eberhard, of WWJTD had an amazing, full of emotion presentation. You can tell how passionate he feels writing, just by watching him present once. I almost cried when he got emotional, talking about the stupid, irrational things parents do to their kids with religion. If you don’t follow what he writes about, go to his blog now… catch up… This man is a must see at Skepticon. After his presentation, I saw his desktop, and when he passed, I asked him “Where’s your World of Warcraft Icon?”. He looked at me and said “World of Warcraft is for losers, Guild Wars 2 is where it’s at!”. I laughed so hard. Sorry JT, I have to disagree with you on something 😛
Seth Andrews, of The Thinking Atheist was the Key note speaker. I had no idea of most of his past, until he presented it to us. His voice really is of a DJ’s voice, and his words are very carefully chosen, through reason. He has a very interesting feel to him, when you are in the same room as him. I can’t quite explain it. He spoke a lot about his past as a Christian Radio DJ, the moments when he finally shed his faith, and gave an overall great presentation.
Overall, Reason In The Rock was a huge success, and I am so proud of the fact that I helped make it happen. I’ve come out of it with different, new creative ideas on some of my projects I am working on, and I am very glad to have met some new movers and shakers, catch up with some already known ones, and happy that everyone had nothing but positive things to say about the experience.
Thanks to That Heathen Girl, for the amazing photos she took! I’m so proud of her! You can view them all at the Reason In The Rock Facebook Page
Reason in the Rock is rapidly approaching in the bible belt (October 27th in Little Rock, AR), and I’m very proud to have been a part of it all. From the gatherings in a local pub, to members houses, it’s been a roller coaster of fun, stress, excitement, and determination.
I am a member of Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, based in Little Rock, Ar. A group dedicated to spreading the good word of logic, reason, and critical thinking. Being that I am on the Internet Committee for it, I have had the amazing opportunity to help spread the word for RITR, from making the website, to handling the majority of the functions for the Facebook Page.
From Seth Andrews (The Thinking Atheist) to Jerry DeWitt, to AronRa… this event is going to be so jam packed with awesomeness, that words can’t even begin to describe how awesome Saturday will be. I’ve met Jerry and AronRa before, and let me tell you, they electrify the room.
Speaking of room, unfortunately this year it will be a rather small room in the Library, with about 200 people max that will fit in there, and seating for 150. Next year, the word through the grapevine is that we will seek a bigger venue. Reason In The Rock will continue on throughout the years, getting bigger and better every year. I will continue to ride that roller coaster, because it’s worth it. Every bit of it.
Recently though, it’s gotten some publicity from a local TV station (KARK 4). Let me tell you, their Facebook comments were set ablaze with angry Christians. Whatever happened to love thy neighbor and all that stuff? It goes out the window whenever you don’t believe in their god, that’s for sure. A lot of lax religious people did pipe in though, and pointed out the irony of the angry god-fearing, god-loving people. Those are the religious people I can respect and tolerate.
With RITR less than a week away now, it’s been struggling to gather enough donations to fund all the expenses it requires, to host all the wonderful speakers coming. I’m hoping to try to improve the visibility of RITR a pinch more, in the hopes that there are people out there who may not necessarily be able to attend, but just love donating to the secular cause. Visit the site at http://www.reasonintherock.org/ to donate, and make sure we show people we aren’t going anywhere!
If you haven’t been hiding under a rock this week, you would know the craziness that is going on around the world that was supposedly caused by an anti-muslim satirical video. Protesters in several locations on the other side of the pond gathered and attacked U.S. interests (embassies) and on the streets.
What’s particularly interesting about this whole deal, is that there have been reports that this was carefully planned for quite some time.
A deadly assault on a U.S. consulate in Libya was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Sunday, even as Libya’s president insisted the attackers spent months preparing and carefully choosing their date — the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. [AP/Google]
Ambassador Susan Rice seems to believe (according to the evidence gathered so far) this was not the case, however had this to add:
“It seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons,” Rice said, adding that such weaponry is easy to come by in post-revolutionary Libya.
Libya’s interim president had this to say about his claims that it was planned:
“It was planned, definitely. It was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago,” el-Megarif said. “And they were planning this criminal act since their arrival.”
Who or what do we believe with this? As a skeptic, and as someone who saw the video, I honestly believe it was carefully planned. I believe the video was used as an excuse to gather even more support for the terrorist attacks and the murders of several good people. I believe this, because of this article and many more like it that are outside the United States and its media outlets. If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to admit to it, but there are too many red flags on this one boys and girls.
“I do not exclude discovering things that will link al-Qaida and the US consulate attack,” said Mr Megaryef but added that it was “very early to talk about the investigation.”
His comments come as al-Qaida said the deadly attack in Libya was in revenge for the killing of the network’s number two Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi, SITE Intelligence Group reported.
“The killing of Sheikh Abu Yahya only increased the enthusiasm and determination of the sons of (Libyan independence hero) Omar al-Mokhtar to take revenge upon those who attack our Prophet,” said al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula said in a statement, quoted by the US-based monitoring group. [Herald Sun]
One particular article has me thinking though. One of the individuals who were slain in the attacks was Christopher Stevens. He was brutally raped and put out on display. What they did was unforgivable in my opinion, but were the circumstances of which led up to his murder provoked?
I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the irony, or perhaps the term might be more an oxymoron. That is a region in our world that is very much so against homosexuality (they brutally murder LGBT’s) , yet they performed sexual acts as a group on him that is completely against their beliefs.:
“Would ye really approach men in your lusts rather than women? Nay, ye are a people (grossly) ignorant! But his people gave no other answer but this: They said, “Drive out the followers of Lut from your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!” But We saved him and his family, except his wife; her We destined to be of those who lagged behind. And We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)!” (Qur’an 27:55-58)
We live in a world full of questions, full of violence, and full of hypocrites. It may never end until we can rid ourselves of the hate, the lies, and religious bigotry. Below, is the video that supposedly sparked all this (Not accessible in all countries, due to YouTube doing its part to prevent idiots from getting all worked up over it):
Rape and abortion are subject matters that most people avoid talking about. It’s one of those moral things that people are afraid of speaking out about for fear of persecution or a lecture.
First, let me paint you a picture. Imagine that you’re a woman, and you have just been violently attacked and raped. You go to the hospital to get examined, police are asking you questions, and you go home upset and feeling completely dirty and violated. Let’s say about a week later, after your work has been suffering because you can’t stop thinking about what happened, you find out you’re pregnant.
Now, regardless of your religion and background, would you really think that God had blessed you with a child?
Sharon Barnes, a high ranking republican, was quoted by the New York Times as saying:
“Abortion is never an option.”
“If God has chosen to bless this person [the rape victim] with a life, you don’t kill it.”
This was pretty much all she said on the matter. She may not have wanted to elaborate because she didn’t want to explain what the woman who had been raped is supposed to do for the next nine months. Sure she could give it up for adoption, but would you really want to carry around a baby you never wanted in the first place?