Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Must Read From A Science Teacher


This was a great post and later became an article. So I wanted to share it with you here in regards to transphobia. Frankly, I don't even like using that word. I much prefer to call it what it really is.

Grace Ann is a high school biology teacher in the Hudson Valley area of New York state. She's going viral after her response to a scientifically-inaccurate post about transgender people that acquired more than 30,000 shares and thousands of comments.

Ann was browsing Facebook recently when she saw a transphobic post that read the following:
"In a sexual species, females have two X chromosomes and males have an X and a Y, I'm not a bigot it's just science."

Being a science teacher, Ann had to reply and shoot down the post. Which she did in amazing style...

"First of all, in a sexual species, you can have females be XX and males be X (insects), you can have females be ZW and males be ZZ (birds), you can have females be females because they developed in a warm environment and males be males because they developed in a cool environment (reptiles)."

"You can have females be females because they lost a penis sword fighting contest (some flatworms), you can have males be males because they were born female, but changed sexes because the only male in their group died (parrotfish and clownfish)."

"You can have males look and act like females because they are trying to get close enough to actual females to mate with them (cuttlefish, bluegills, others), or you can be one of thousands of sexes (slime mold, some mushrooms.)"

"Oh, did you mean humans? Oh ok then. You can be male because you were born female, but you have 5-alphareductase deficiency and so you grew a penis at age 12. You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome but you are insensitive to androgens, and so you have a female body."

"You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome but your Y is missing the SRY gene, and so you have a female body. You can be male because you have two X chromosomes, but one of your X's HAS an SRY gene, and so you have a male body."

"You can be male because you have two X chromosomes- but also a Y. You can be female because you have only one X chromosome at all. And you can be male because you have two X chromosomes, but your heart and brain are male. And vice - effing - versa. Don't use science to justify your bigotry. The world is way too weird for that shit."

And there you have it, folks. I think I speak for myself, my partner, and a lot of people that you have to use science to justify the rights of human beings against the phobia currently being shown against the trans community.
Source: Article

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

If the God-Idea Was True



If the god-idea was true; god would be independently discoverable. Whether you looked for evidence of god in the arctic circle or central Africa or Tierra del Fuego, god would be the same. Real things are discoverable by anyone who looks for them. Fire is the same in Moscow as it is in Mesopotamia and Minnesota.

Gravity. It's global. You don't stand on the floor in New York and stand on the ceiling in London. Gravity is independently discoverable. Because it's real. Terminal velocity is the same in India and Tennessee.

A person who wonders, "Why does it rain?" can discover, by patient observation and a little math, the cycle of precipitation. And that cycle is the same anywhere you go on the Earth. It is independently discoverable.

Yet every single culture in every single era, planet-wide, has developed different ideas about god. What it wants. Where it came from. How to appease it or please it or offend it. All different names, characteristics, taboos, licenses. God is different everywhere you look because it is the product of creativity and imagination. It is not independently discoverable. Because it isn't real.

Article found via the Atheism Resource site authored by Troy Boyle. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Conservative Christian Hangups with Sex and Gender




I have for you today an article from John Pavlovitz. He is an eighteen year ministry veteran and author who is more progressive in his thought process than most Christians I tend to find online.

An article he wrote called Conservative Christian Men’s Weird Sexual Addiction caught my attention and I find myself agreeing with quite a bit of what he has to say here. That's not to say as an atheist that I agree with his personal beliefs about the bible or Jesus but I feel he is a better example of what Christian's could be if they really gave more thought to such topics.

He writes...

"Worse than this chronic fixation on sex, gender, and sexuality, is that Conservative Christianity has somehow deputized itself as qualified and entitled to police such things for the world, with the Bible (not Science, facts, or reason) as its sole authority on the matter."

Through arguments I have learned about men's conservative belief systems in that quite a few of them subscribe to not the biblical Jesus, but the Conservative Jesus. Who cares about helping your fellow man, who cares about making sure that his brother has enough to eat, or gets medical care because his Christian brother can't afford. Naw, fuck all that. Let's follow the Conservative Jesus who said "Fuck the poor, they're not blessed, unless they're paying their own way."

These types have an obsession with gender and gender reassignment surgery. A necessary medical procedure to help transsexuals get on with their lives no different from treatment that someone gets for depression or someone being treated for other medical issues. They want to ban people from getting this necessary treatment because they like to believe it's elective surgery.

Sexual repression is a state in which a person is prevented from expressing their own sexuality. It is often associated with feelings of guilt or shame being associated with sexual impulses. Certainly some religions will foster sexual repression. An example of such repression would be homosexuality or a demand for virginity. 

It is a reminder that what people repress will come out in possibly uglier ways further down the line. That, to me, is the problem with the Christian fundies and their fascination about things like sex. Repression of sexuality tends to lead people down a path of something twisted, perverted, or grotesque. Such as the scapegoating of others for what their freedom in embracing their sexual desires represents. 

Repression always forces a form of resentment where the moralizer preaches to the moralized simply because of the jealousy that the moralizer lacks in strength to embrace his/her own desires and thus seeks to scapegoat those who do.

Speaking on the subject... States where people vote for conservative candidates buy more porn than States in which people vote for progressive candidates. Wow! Who would have thought? 

As always feel free to leave a comment and have a great day.

Article by:
Pagan and Alannah

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Why Do Schools Teach Greek Mythology?



An interesting topic came up while I was researching a different theme for the blog and that is Greek Mythology. Why do they still teach Greek Mythology in junior high or high school? It's a good question. Is it relevant? What can students learn from it?

Scholars refer to and study myths as a way of shedding light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, and in understanding the nature of myth-making.

We studied it in my English class. I would say somewhat briefly when I was 14. For the record, that was some time ago for me. Found it rather interesting, actually. Although, it was something I had already read upon before we even got started on it in the classroom.

Back in the days when Yahoo was a popular search engine. Ok, well...it may still be for some. I came across a reply from a poster named Maî who clarified in their answer why it was important to teach this subject.

Maî wrote....

There is more to education than just facts.

The myths are a part of history. They explain how an earlier culture perceived the universe.

The Greek and Roman myths were early religion, part of early civilization's way to explain things they did not understand.

The stories behind the myths are echoed frequently in contemporary culture.

The myths provide a foundation for contemporary culture.

For example, the movie My Fair Lady is based on George Bernard Shaw's book Pygmalian, which is based on the myth of the sculptor Pygmalian who fell in love with a statue named Galatea which he carved. You could even interpret Pretty Women this way

Star wars can be interpreted with Luke as the mythological Orpheus who had a power of communication with people and animals (thru music, i believe) while the modern treatment is thre force.

Han is the Odysseus figure (Odysseus was known for his rough appearance but is a great tactician and leader) Etc.

Art is full of mythology.

If you're a cultured, educated person, you should be able to recognize the myths when you come across their contemporary reinterpretations.

Philosophically, the myths can be enlightening. Think about Moirai, the three fates. What kind of a culture would hold these to be true?

Klotho combs the wool and spins the thread of life.

Atropos weaves the thread into the fabric of one's actions.

Lachesis determines the length of the thread and thus the period of one's life.



There are a plethora of articles and webpages dedicated to mythology on the internet which will go into greater detail than I can here. This post is more or less aimed at students.

For those interested in learning more I am going to include a link to Mensa For Kids: An Introduction to Greek Mythology and also the http://www.greekmythology.com/ websites for your perusal. You should also check out Amazon or your local bookstore as there are a number of interesting books on the subject.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Angry Quote Follower

In today's episode the following poster decided to let loose on a Lao Tzu quote or at least an interpretation of a quote from a really long time ago.

Lao Tzu was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer. He is known as the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching, the founder of philosophical Taoism, as a deity in religious Taoism, and traditional Chinese religions according to the wikipedia.

Excellent! Sounds like a post for the blog here. I certainly don't claim to be an expert on Lao Tzu. But no matter. It was truly the whine that caught my attention that will be the focus. Normally, I hear from anti-choicers, the occasional right wing whack-a-doodle, or the religious telling me I am going to H. E. double toothpicks. :-)

I present to you the quote and what followed. It is, after all, Friday. We have to have a bit of fun here, now n' then.


Please take note that the quote above came  from a tumblr blog which they took offense to. Someone got offended on the internet? Oh noooess!




I would say Lao Tzu's quote is easy to understand in that it stands as a warning against being molded by the opinions of others on yourself and your life. My partner, Alannah, who is a BDSM devotee has only this to say, albeit she was saying it through the sardonic, mocking, wrathful laughter she is well known for in regards to individuals who are desperate to wear the Good Guy Badge.




No, please continue with your self-righteous moralizing whine. You're just making this truly worth my while. *chuckles*


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Victimless Crime


Blasphemy laws, the only laws created in case your "God" happens to be ontologicly unsound. I mean an omnipotent, omniscient being wouldn't get their knickers in a twist about a little thing like blasphemy, eh? Why would this god, who purportedly is all knowing, all wise actually get angered by his own creation calling his existence or even the so called "holy books" that he's purportedly dictated to our fellow humans being called into question? Surely a perfect "God" (at least as far as his worshipers state) wouldn't have that much of an ego to be displeased by a few of his own members of his own created species asking a few pertinent questions? For a God who the believers state is all powerful and all-knowing and all-seeing, that deific potency wouldn't be bothered with the odd person coming out with a small piece of "blasphemous verbiage". Or maybe it's got nothing at all to do with the actual God concept and more to do with people having their so called "faith" rocked a little bit inside their heads every time this God gets critiqued or mocked. If the faith of these believers was strong enough, and could withstand the bullets of skepticism against their belief system, they wouldn't give a damn about that nor would they posit the need for these blasphemy laws. I mean isn't a piece of legislation sufficient to suggest that this purportedly all-powerful God needs to be protected from the statements of a few non-believers or their critiques? Or maybe it's the fervent, foaming-at-the-mouth fundamentalists who need a safe space from the critiques of the other members of this God's creation.

I once joked to a religious person (a co-worker from years ago) during a discussion at lunch, that maybe we should have blasphemy laws for unicorns, dragons, ghosts, vampires etc because people believe in those too, so shouldn't these figures who are believed in by some, need some protection from the skeptics like myself? She laughed and said "That would be silly and a waste of time", but her laughter rapidly dissipated when I explained to her that the God concept had no more evidence than that of unicorns, vampires or dragons. So if we're gonna bring in laws to protect this God concept why not all the others that are believed in as well? She got really pissed off when I suggested these so called blasphemy laws should extend to all God/Goddess concepts which meant she couldn't come out with her usual bullshit (which she was rather happy to spout off on) about worshiping "false gods" and how these other gods were "demons and Satan in disguise". It was a pity she didn't get the fact that so called "blasphemy laws" either had to apply to all  religions and not just hers and that these stupid laws are a bad idea for everyone, believer and non-believer alike. But isn't that the main problem with the religious, that those who support blasphemy laws really only wish for it to apply to their concept of God and not that of others?

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Existence and Meaning



There is no inherent existential meaning in nature or the cosmos, we have to create or supply our own meaning and that varies from individual to individual and can take a myriad of forms. There probably are no God or Goddesses, no savior coming down from the skies to save our backsides from an over-reliance on such concepts. We're alone and we cannot afford to leave our planet in the hands of some concept that we have come to rely on like little children, believing that this deific concept will haul our backsides out of the fire or take care of us. It's time to grow up and accept that hard, brutal responsibility that has fallen on our human, all too human shoulders. We have this planet, we need to look after it because it's our responsibility. This is not against people's rights to believe in such a deity, far from it I will highly defend the right to believe in whatever they will, but when I see comments from various overly-reliant people (most of them fundamental or right-wing Christians) that such things as global warming don't exist or that if it does exist, it shouldn't worry us because "God would never allow us to be destroyed" seems completely unrealistic in a cognitive dissonance vein and even a tad stupendously irresponsible. This planet and what we create meaning wise is up to us, and it's a responsibility we cannot escape from. That does not equate to a lack of joy or some pessimistic thing. Far from it, there are a multitude of reasons why people find joy in an otherwise meaningless existence. For some it may be family and friends, for others art, music et al, there is joy and contentment to be found, but we must seek that within and without ourselves in what we ourselves find meaningful and the great thing about that, it varies and is multitudinous.

My own two cents and nothing more.

Photo from Disturbing Quotes

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Video Urges Americans to 'Celebrate the Diversity That Makes America, America'



To those that call yourselves Patriots. Would you still call yourself that after viewing this video? Perhaps it gives you a different perspective of what being a Patriot is really about.

To love America is to love all Americans. John Cena takes a break between dropping body slams to drop some truth – that patriotism is more than pride of country, it’s love beyond labels.

While the vast majority of Americans consider themselves unprejudiced, many of us unintentionally make snap judgments about people based on what we see - whether it’s race, age, gender, religion, sexuality, or disability. The Love Has No Labels campaign challenges us to open our eyes to our implicit, or unconscious bias and work to stop it in ourselves, our families, our friends, and our colleagues. Rethink your bias at www.lovehasnolabels.com.
 


Friday, January 27, 2017

How Geology Disproves Noah's Flood



This is part of a series of videos explaining how different fields of study refute the Noachian deluge. This second episode was mostly composed by paleoclimatologist, Hal Hackett.

L. Aron Nelson known professionally as Aron Ra, is the president of the Atheist Alliance of America, the host of the Ra-Men Podcast, a public speaker, video producer, blogger, and vlogger. He is also the former Texas state-director of the American Atheists. Aron Ra is a critic of creationism, and promotes the teaching of science in Texas schools.

Sources:
Youtube and Wikipedia

Friday, January 20, 2017

Do Crystals Have Healing Powers?


Crystal healing is a pseudo-scientific alternative medicine technique that employs stones and crystals. Adherents of the technique claim that these have healing powers, although there is no scientific basis for this claim.

Users of this technique believe that crystals act as conduits for healing by allowing positive or healing energy to flow into the body and negative, disease-causing energy flows out. They are often used and associated with spell work in Wiccan beliefs and other religious movements.

Healing crystals remain popular in new age circles, spas, and online forums. No scientific study has shown that crystals and gems can be differentiated by chemical composition or color to treat conditions or disease. What some individuals may experience is a placebo effect. Placebo effects are effects due to the patient's belief in that treatment, rather than a direct result of the treatment itself.

As you may guess, most "healers" get their certification from the internet through "natural medicine" courses. What I have personally experienced is these individuals actually believe they have the power to heal people through stones. One woman got so mad at me for telling her the truth about crystals that we could no longer be friends. But no amount of wishful thinking will make crystals heal someone. 

As a suggestion for the crystal lovers and collectors out there you may want to look into gemology which is the science dealing with natural and artificial gemstone materials. If healing is something such individuals really want to do get into nursing school to see how the human body actually works and learn about treatments that actually help. Most of the time such persons will not because they cling to these outdated, ancient, philosophies.

Crystals can be a part of a collection to learn about different types or worn as jewelry and are very pretty.  Just don't believe they have any metaphysical healing properties contained in them.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Find Your Voice and Use It



Each day I come online something is happening in the Trump camp that makes me feel we can no longer live the way we once did. Things feel very different since the election and many people are affected in a way I have not seen before. Myself included.

More Americans are becoming depressed by the circumstances and may be wondering what they can do. What we have to do. We can no longer sit idle and hope and/or pray he's impeached. We have to be vocal. I don't think online petitions are enough to get us out of this mess.

Our freedoms are eroding, separation of church and state is at risk, women's health and reproductive health care options are in danger, disabled persons, the elderly, the LGBT, ObamaCare, the list goes on. Trump is not someone who is for the people. He is for himself and we have to remind those in Congress that they are supposed to be working for the people, not for their own religious agendas.

I encourage you to speak up and make your voice be heard. Call your senators. Phone number and tips for doing so can be found on this page below.

http://civilrights.org/action_center/resources/calling-congress.html

If you have further ideas which may be helpful please leave a comment on the blog. Thanks.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Coming Out of the Atheist Closet


I thought about what I wanted to write about today. Often topics come up through various conversations and I was reminded about coming out of the closet as an atheist. Although there is more protection for atheists and a growing community out there in the United States. Sometimes coming out does have its consequences, even here. In some areas of the world atheism is readily accepted while in other countries it is considered a crime.

According to Pew Research in June of 2016 the share of Americans who identify as atheists has roughly doubled in the past several years. One thing that could be said is that atheism and non-belief continues to grow and with each year more people are relying on Science. With the number of elderly religious baby boomers beginning to decline a new generation is more inclined to list themselves as atheist, non-believer, agnostic, or nothing in particular.

Just a few years ago I was a member of a site that claimed they were open to all people and paths. But the owner of that site did not like atheists or skeptics and went to lengths to get our group removed. Family can be problematic for atheists as well. Religious parents can make things pretty difficult for their children or adult children. Screaming and carrying on demanding they believe in God (or else). But if there are no changes, these old ideas persist and continue.

We have a Republican president-elect and those on board that want to take the world back to another era. Trump wants to "protect Christianity" and allow businesses to discriminate based on "sincerely held" religious beliefs. By allowing people to discriminate you set yourself up to be discriminated against.

If you can safely come out of the closet. Then normalization of non-belief in a god or deity is essential to making our world a better place as religion only serves to divide us. Religion around the world is in decline. Norway now has more people who do not believe in God than do - with 39 per cent of atheists versus 37 per cent of believers.

The six most atheist countries in the world not including Norway are China, Japan, Czech Republic, France, Australia, and Iceland.

Feel free to share your coming out the closet experiences in the comments area.



Saturday, December 31, 2016

Welcome 2017

Mark Thompson Art

Life is more about misery and suffering than anything else. Why else are people constantly looking for happiness and seeking out spirituality or imaginary gods to save them? Seeking drugs, alcohol, and anything to forget. Who in their right mind would choose to be born?

No, I won't be celebrating the New Year. It hardly seems appropriate with what lies ahead. The nightmare that faces women and reproductive healthcare. The GOP's continued war on abortion and funerals for fetuses campaign. Even conservative women trying to normalize sexual assault. 

Republicans have waged war on the sciences and are committed to remain ignorant about facts on climate change and health. 

The GOP continues its war on the poor and are in essence the 'Robin Hood in Reverse'. Give to the rich and punish the poor seems to be their motto. 

The GOP triumph was a heavy blow to the Human Rights Campaign and other gay-rights organizations which had worked vigorously on behalf of Hillary Clinton. The GOP's stance on the LGBT community is a huge step backwards in time.

The GOP has had a long standing war on schools and education.

Older Americans desperate to take the world back to another era and successful in doing so because hey, they actually voted. Those of you that did not vote and had the opportunity, there were a lot of you. Your vote could have made a difference. This race was that close! 

Oh but religion! Get on your knees. They want to destroy the separation between church and state. They want kids to believe God created the world. They want the bible back in schools. They want to keep the public stupid for their own benefit. 

One can only imagine the grand schemes in the minds of these men coming together. Narcissists and psychopaths unite! 

"It's all true. The boogeyman is real and you found him."


Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Stars Don't Give a Shit About You



From the title you can bet your booty this article is about Astrology and why it's bullshit. Yet, it's one of the most recognized pseudosciences. Why do people become so absorbed in these primitive beliefs?

Astrology is defined as the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world. It's been dated to the 2nd Millennium BCE. With the scientific revolution it thus was challenged on theoretical and experimental ground and found to have no validity. It has since been considered a pseudoscience or purely for entertainment purposes.

With that said many people still partake in this nonsense yet it's been debunked so many times you may wonder why I chose to do an article on it. That people still choose to research this topic and waste their precious time on something that has no merit is precisely why. To hopefully educate and get individuals thinking a little more critically about these topics. While hopefully keeping folks from getting scammed. Astrology is big business for those who want to throw away their cash.

Your horoscope is much like a fortune cookie. Astrologers make it as vague as possible so that it could be applied to almost anyone. It's based on generalizations.

The burden of proof is on those who claim it to be true. Astrologers cannot provide evidence for the actual mechanism at work. Researchers have studied it for decades and its failed again and again. Ask an astrologer to demonstrate how it works and how you can see its results and you've already won.

A person who begins following astrology on a daily basis ends up creating a 'self fulfilling prophecy' which only helps cement an idea into the practicing mind. Sounds familiar doesn't it? If not, it should. Because that is how religions work and why there are so many out there.

Another problem with the belief in astrology is the lack of self-responsibility it can bring. While it may be harmless for some to check their star signs in the local paper for amusement, others however take it to the point where they are unwilling to make life decisions or place responsibility on their own shoulders for the actions they commit in life without checking with their astrologer first.

It's all too easy to blame the retrograde in Mercury for how poorly one's existence is at a certain point. Rather than to be self-aware of one's situation and honest about any choices one has made which may have been a contributing factor to life and its problems. Instead of giving total control over our existence, astrology can hamper and instill fear with our choices, and allowing us to blame bad moves on how the stars were placed at a certain period. It's the perfect tool for running away from the harshness of self-responsibility and a soothing balm of delusion to those things we did and cannot accept.

Astrology should never be confused with Astronomy. While the stars and planets may seem mysterious, they should never rule your life.



Ron Mossler uses his class for an Astrology experiment on Penn & Teller's Bullshit!


Authored by:
Pagan & Alannah

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Duly Noted



Powerful and moving speech from Rep. Ruben Gallego from the House floor telling the truth about Donald J. Trump.

In spite of being interrupted several times Rep. Ruben Gallego keeps on going. I am so impressed by this man for speaking out on the floor. Thank you!


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Law Giving Protection To Atheists



With overwhelming bipartisan support Congress has passed a landmark religious freedom bill, HR 1150, the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act. The law was introduced by Congressman Chris Smith, a well-known defender of human rights, and named in honor of longtime religious freedom champion, retired Congressman Frank Wolf.

The new law upgrades the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, and offers explicit protection to atheists.

The freedom of thought, conscience, and religion is understood to protect theistic and non-theistic beliefs as well as the right not to profess or practice any religion.

The Act also condemns “specific targeting of non-theists, humanists, and atheists because of their beliefs” and attempts to forcibly compel “non-believers or non-theists to recant their beliefs or to convert.”

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Greetings for the Season



Season's Greetings to those we hold dear, from our home to yours, whether far or near. Wishing all our readers the best this holiday season.

Pagan & Alannah

Friday, December 9, 2016

Gender and Religion

Statue of Hermaphrodite – Louvre

"This is a subject of critical importance to the modern study of religion in that it concerns both biological sexuality and cultural gender. Serious gender scholarship in the field of religion has tended to focus upon religious constructions of sexuality that transcend the polar circles of male and female, in order to investigate the possibilities of other sexualities (for instance, hermaphrodites) offered in various religions.

The so-called non-Western religions are not necessarily open to more liberal constructions of gender than are the great monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam); some of them are simply open to different constructions. Myths of androgyny—of creatures, human or divine, who are half female, half male—and of transsexuality—the transforming of a person of one biological sex into one of the other sex— sometimes support and sometimes deconstruct their own cultures’ beliefs concerning gender. Myths of the origin of sexual differentiation generally affirm social boundaries; myths of transsexuality may subvert them, but do not always do so.

Gender is relatively easily sloughed off in some texts in which a male is entirely transformed into a female, with a female mentality and memory (aspects of cultural gender rather than sexuality); for instance, King Ila, the founder of the Hindu lunar dynasty, forgets everything about his male existence when he is magically transformed into a female who gives birth to the heir to the throne. Yet other texts seem to reflect a view of gender as astonishingly durable: the male merely assumes the outer form of the female, retaining his male essence, his male memory and mentality; thus the Hindu god Vishnu merely takes on the form of the enchantress Mohini to seduce the demons and steal back the elixir of immortality. The sexual transformation of the body is distinct from the transformation of the mind, memory, and personality; even when physical sexuality changes, the gender of the mind may remain unchanged.

Some religions argue that gender is itself a lie, since it positions as natural and inevitable what is primarily cultural, learned, and transformable; but it is also true, since like any myth it is deeply embedded in our linguistic and narrative assumptions, and thus a powerfully compelling force that cannot be ignored."

Encyclopædia Britannica

— with Alexander Madrigal via Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/ScienceReligionMyth/

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Opinion: The Fox News Divide




Over the past few years I have watched as I have lost my parents to Fox News, or as my friends like to call it, the Faux Nooz channel.

What is happening to the elderly generation and what is this source of news doing to our parents minds?

I have watched over the course of years how my parents are being suckered into believing everything coming from this blasted news source. All other channels are now considered biased to them without even recognizing their own at all. According to them everyone else is a 'liberal liar'.  The cognitive dissonance is very strong.

Every time I visit the channel is blaring away so as not to miss the ongoing saga regarding Hillary Clinton which seems to be an obsession. When I visit Burger King I watch the reactions of elderly people watching the same channel at the restaurant. There is one main thing that I see and that is FEAR and grave concern in their eyes.

Fear that their small world is falling apart, fear that their traditions are being pummeled, fear that lgbt rights are going to change their individual world, fear that they are losing power and control, fear of immigrants, fear of women empowered.

What I mostly see is their privilege showing. This desire to oppress other people so their views and traditions of the world stay intact. Fear that their world will be taken from them. The sad news is that it will. It will be from us all. No one escapes death.

It's become clear that a lot of families across the US are falling apart thanks to parental inability to look at the world from a different perspective of their adult children who are the future of our world. Both politics and religion remain very divisive to families, as well as Fox News. They are willing to break apart the family to remain loyal to the GOP. We are now living in the Divided States of America.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Is Religious Belief Like An Addiction?



The study is the first initiative of the Religious Brain Project, launched by a group of University of Utah researchers, which aims to understand how the brain operates in people with deep spiritual and religious beliefs.

Researchers used MRI scans to look into the brains of Mormons experiencing religious ecstasy to discover that encountering God’s spirit was a lot like enjoying naughty pleasures. Researchers find that a religious experience activates the same reward circuits as love, sex, drugs, and music.

Intro:
Religious and spiritual experiences share common phenomenological elements across cultures and theistic faith traditions, including a profound sense of elevated mood (euphoria), noetic insight, ineffability, and a sense of integration within oneself and with others (James, 1902James, W. (1902). The varieties of religious experience. London: Longmans, Green.[CrossRef]). Similar feelings are described in association with romantic and parental love, reward, and drug-induced euphoric states, suggesting common neural mechanisms for these experiences.

For full study please review here. 

Reward, salience, and attentional networks are activated by religious experience in devout Mormons

Summary/Article about this study can be found here:


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Something Beautiful





"Why are we so quick to see the ugly...when we stand before the beautiful?

Thanks to Nathan Phelps for lending his voice to this short video, and thanks to our patrons, who have made its production possible: http://www.patreon.com/sethandrews "

A great video via TheThinkingAtheist that I encourage all to view, share and lend your thoughts to.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Is Your Privilege Showing?

If you are a spectator of what's going on in America right now I could tell you that what you are seeing in the media and on tv is happening in larger areas and cities across the States regarding the protests to what happened in the presidential election. 

What I have personally experienced online by largely tough stuff males emboldened by Trump's win to be aggressive and hostile towards women. People who have been friends for years ending friendships because of differing opinions getting out of hand. I see a lot of people trying to silence others into submission. Men who say they want to grab women and do whatever they want because their president elect can and they feel so can they. 

I am disgusted with what is happening in this country and people have an absolute right to be scared about what will happen as it impacts their lives, families, friendships, work, among other things. Will all the progress made erode away with Trump and Pence at the helm? Not to mention a Republican congress? While speculative. It sure seems that way. 

With all that said.... Yes Obama Care needs working on. I really hope they can make it better. I hope that the LGBT are protected, that Planned Parenthood continues, that Roe vs Wade is not overturned, and I hope that marriage equality remains safe. But I suspect we're going to see a 'Regression' and for once I really, REALLY, hope I am wrong. But I don't think so and no I DON'T feel safe. 



Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Horrible Outcome


What an awful election. What a terrible outcome. I have no words for this tragedy playing out in America. Though a president has been chosen, that orange faced man is not my choice and he certainly hasn't gained my respect and he has none for anyone else.

America has learned nothing from the Brexit vote. We either learn too late or not at all. I am deeply disappointed. But I leave you with this post, to possibly gain some strength, courtesy of A Science Enthusiast via facebook.


"Don't be angry at Trump or Trump voters.

Be angry at the lack of logic, critical thinking, and rational thought that allowed him to get there. Then do something about it.

The voice of reason is often the quietest. But now is the time to be louder than ever. We can't change things that happened. What we can do is come together as a community of skeptics and show that we're on the right side of history. We don't discriminate based on race. We stand for marriage equality. We support body autonomy for women. We know that vaccines work, and that they don't cause Autism. We know that climate change is real. We believe that everyone, including Muslims, has the right to practice whatever religion they believe in.

These are things that are legitimately at risk with a Trump presidency. We can't take a defeatist, apathetic attitude now.

Take a deep breath. You are cared for. You are important. You matter.

"It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent." —Madeleine Albright

Monday, November 7, 2016

MARS Generation Fundraiser to Send Underprivileged Children to Space Camp





Thanks to all who have donated to this project and who continue to do so! 

The focus of The Mars Generation is building a stronger tomorrow by energizing our youth today about space and STEM and educating kids and adults about the importance of deep space exploration to humankind. The Mars Generation will serve as a catalyst to identify students with an interest in STEM and nurture their study in STEM education.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Candy Spreading the Gospel?



After Halloween I decided to check out what was on sale in trick or treat candy at Kmart when I spotted this box of Jesus Harvest Seeds and pulled out a bag. Scripture on every individual packet, Jesus Saves! with an exclamation point candy.

It gave me that WTF moment I needed for the day and snapped a pic to share with you all. Luckily for me on Halloween night I never had the experience of receiving these and the need to surrender myself to the "good lord above".

Now, I am sure this is all good fun at the church shin digs and trick or treat events. I must admit it gave me a chuckle and it's all in good fun, I suppose. Now just to be fair, where is my Satan Saves! candy, you all? I couldn't find it anywhere!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Latest Happenings



Hi everybody! I just wanted to make a quick announcement and am happy to present my latest blog which will reflect my ongoing photography that I've done. So if you love seeing the doll posts, action figures, and some of what I have posted here and on my facebook page then you're gonna love what I have been putting together. I felt it was time to branch out a little bit. Keep our views and articles for the current blog here while focusing on photography on a separate page.

As always thank you for stopping in and leaving a comment or two. ~Pagan




Monday, October 17, 2016

Fall Harvest


As a photographer I enjoy sharing some of my hobbies with you among my other postings. Dolls are such a nice collectible for the entire family and I've written about several from my collection previously on the blog.

The weather at this time of the year is so nice and the scenery so colorful. I am always glad to see summer go and Fall set in.

I decided to do a photo shoot featuring Clementine in her Land Girl outfit from A Girl For All Time®. The farm stand is from The Queen's Treasures as well as many of the fruits and vegetables. The pumpkins are AC Moore. Backdrop is actually a flag from a local store. Many thanks to those individuals who contributed to this project. Enjoy!


Images © copyright. All rights reserved.



Images © copyright. All rights reserved.




Friday, October 7, 2016

The War on Women


Recently I had a conversation with several people which prompted this post regarding abortion and what it means to be pro-choice and pro-abortion. Meanwhile in Poland women were taking a stand for their rights. Poland has had some of the tightest abortion laws in Europe, and the proposal sought to ban all abortions unless the mother's life was at risk. Thankfully Parliament rejected the near-total ban thanks to large numbers of people protesting.

In America these battles over abortion continue and play out in politics with the GOP's mostly male 'gynoticians' who think their ways are best by inserting their Christian viewpoints. Beliefs matter because one's beliefs tend to sway their opinions. These men sadly tend to see women as broodmares.

I wanted to share my own thoughts and some of the comments received in relation to this topic. One of the things that came up in discussion was pro-choice vs pro-abortion. I honestly do not see much difference in these terms except the way people perceive their meaning. Pro-abortion means in favor of the availability of medically induced abortion as a means of ending a pregnancy. Pro-choice means favoring the legalization of abortion. So there you have it. It's about perceptions. If you're pro-choice, you're pro-abortion.

Pro-lifers don't give a rat's behind about an entire species being wiped out by humans who are not endangered in any way. In my humble opinion they are fighting the wrong battles. Pro-lifers are never about saving lives. They are about control, just like religion.

Do you remember being in your mother's womb? Neither do I. I don't remember being born or even the baby photos I was in or even the first year of life. But pro-lifers want you to believe that a fetus or a blob of cells is somehow cognizant and has feelings. Most women are not seeking abortion at a later stage of pregnancy unless there are significant issues of some kind. In any case this is about bodily autonomy which means a person has control over who or what uses their body, for what, and for how long. It's why you can't be forced to donate blood, tissue, or organs.

One woman who posted in our thread had some very poignant comments to make. I'll call her Jill to protect her identity. Jill was a counselor for women and teens. She said that she's "met a lot of young women who were bullied, threatened, or shamed out of aborting rape pregnancies. That "they were in counseling for trauma regarding the pregnancy and childbirth with psychological damage. The pregnancy alone had destroyed and hurt them. Their anti-choice peers mocked or even glorified their pain and suffering as being positive."

"Adoption", she said, "often hurts these young women even more, years after the fact. Forced pregnancy and childbirth compounds emotional trauma in ways that make rape look like nothing. Being it is forced, invasive, and degrading it is dehumanizing these women into nothing more than a tool to create a child to entertain and please others. These are the feelings of the victims of forced pregnancy and childbirth who wish they'd aborted and are alone. Who have their words and feelings distorted."

Jill went on to say that "anti-choicers do more harm than good." Relaying some of the sad outcomes being psychological issues, suicide, poverty, and homelessness. Not to mention the harsh cruelty inflicted by anti-choicers who feel their ideology is all that really matters. 


Monday, September 26, 2016

Care Before You Share

It's a classic error that many of us make at some point on social media. We see a post that we either find fascinating, enlightening, or calls to us on an emotional level asking to be shared on a social media platform. It could be a quote by famous figure that delights us or it could simply be about someone gone missing. Maybe it's a post that claims to be scientific like a near-death experience. Perhaps even intriguing such as a political or religious meme that makes direct appeals based on whatever political or religious allegiance you find yourself yoked to. Liking the post and then deciding it would be really cool for our friends to see we hit the share button and voila! It's posted it to your facebook page or on your twitter. Then the hammer falls down upon us. Someone then comments that the meme or pic is inaccurate, downright false, or a hoax and leaving a link to a website with details of how the meme is nonsense. We face palm and think "Oh god, I had no idea. I assumed it would have been real." We feel suitable embarrassment for getting caught out on something that has now been revealed to us as false.

As humans we make mistakes. We have all at one time or another shared posts that have turned out to be wrong or disinformation passed on as a truth. But it's always good to learn from these mistakes and to take the time to do a little Google checking. It doesn't take long and quite often you'll have a result within 30 seconds detailing whether an article or a Facebook post asking you to share something has a whiff of falsity about it. Or you could keep an eye on websites dedicated to listing hoaxes et al when they crop up. I will include a list at the end of this article.

One of the techniques I personally use is to take the first line or some specific detail of a meme and then copy and paste it into Google or whatever search engine you use and couple it with either the terms "Hoax", "False", or "Debunked" in order to maximize the potential for any web search hits that could lead you to an article that either clarifies the meme or debunks it. Always check the sources that are given. If they're not listed on the pic that should be cause for concern. If they are check them out to see how reputable they are, or whether the source itself is listed as being of a potentially dubious nature. It might seem a lot of work at first, but after a while one begins to actually enjoy doing it. I hear some ask. "Where's the harm in it being shared? I mean if its false then no harm done, it's just me that's being caught out on it". No, not exactly.

The reason why this is so important is down to the internet itself. The internet is a fantastic resource for information. At the press of a key or a search term, you can have an entire list of encyclopedic knowledge at your finger-tips. Alas the reverse mirror-image of that is a plethora of websites and articles that are factually incorrect or outright hoaxes designed to manipulate your emotions and/or thinking on a variety of subjects. No one likes to be fooled and those who are interested in what is factual or true must always learn to do some sort of research.

The reason why it's a good idea is that no one likes to be fooled. Sharing something that is incorrect places it before the minds of others who have the potential to accept it willingly and they themselves share it, hence why ignorance is an easy thing to spread. Yet this can be easily avoided by taking the time NOT to hit that "Share" button and use a little critical examination. Such as are they using an emotional manipulation technique in order to get you to share it? A typical example can be "If you really care about this, hit share, 98% of people won't, because they don't care but.." Instead of prizing themselves on the information they're attempting to convey they are luring you into being manipulated by using an appeal to your emotions. Most people don't like to feel that they're being labelled as uncaring or cold hearted, so those who are easily lead will go ahead and share in order to satisfy their own need to prove that they're not being uncaring. However this is exactly how these spam posts work and entrusting that you will not want to be seen as uncaring and easily influenced into giving it a share.

Here are a list of websites that tend to be reliable, trustworthy, and do their homework. Bookmark and check them regularly.


http://www.snopes.com/
https://www.truthorfiction.com/
http://urbanlegends.about.com/
http://www.hoax-slayer.com/
http://www.hoaxbusters.org/
http://www.straightdope.com/
http://www.factcheck.org/
http://www.politifact.com/

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Americans Are Disbanding From Religion


Some great news today that I read from Secular Coalition for America via their facebook page. In the last few years articles have been stating that atheism, agnosticism, and the non-religious are growing in numbers. They cannot be ignored anymore. It's always nice to see actual data behind the numbers and I encourage you to take a look at this. As always feel free to share any opinions you may have in a comment below.

http://www.secularvaluesvoter.org/2016/09/22/new-study-finds-one-quarter-of-americans-have-no-religion/

I would also like to share this link with you as well.
http://www.prri.org/research/prri-rns-2016-religiously-unaffiliated-americans/


Monday, September 19, 2016

Women Atheists Are Monsters?



Emma Green is a senior associate editor at ​The Atlantic, where she covers politics, policy, and religion. In this article she discusses how Americans view women who don't believe in God.

Atheism is growing and likely to be more than the 3% stated on Ms Green's article. More Americans are accepting science and evolution today. Women have been blamed for everything under the sun thanks to religiosity, misogyny, and silly beliefs. But myths still persist and witch hunts happen with regularity around the world. It's time to move on from religion and myths about women being monsters. We no longer live in an age of Medusa's which is best left to science fiction.  

After reading Emma Green's article via the Atlantic. Share your thoughts and experiences in a comment below or via her article. Thanks as always for reading and taking the time to visit my blog. 



Saturday, September 10, 2016

Myths and Truths About Atheists


1) Atheists Worship the Devil. No, atheists don't worship the devil. Atheists don't believe in a devil. Neither do LaVeyan Satanist's. LaVeyan Satanists are atheistic. Atheism simply means one who doesn't believe in deities.

2) Atheists and Veganism. A former friend, who called herself a witch, was shocked that I consumed meat. Nope sorry, I like juicy burgers and steaks. But some atheists I know actually are vegetarian and vegans. Again, there is some association made that all atheist's subscribe to certain ways of living. No, we don't.

3) Atheists and Christmas. Christmas is not just for Christians. It's a time to celebrate with family and friends. Christians don't own Christmas. However, not all atheists celebrate nor are we trying to take the holiday away from Christians. There is a separation of Church and State so religious displays do not belong in some places where they appear. Fox News likes to stir the pot on these issues and make it into a much bigger issue.

4) Atheists are Democrats. *chuckles* I have met a few Republican atheists. Not many, but they are out there possibly in hiding thanks to Donald Trump. :-)

5) Atheists are Communists or Marxist. Atheism doesn't automatically lead one to a particular political ideology. In fact there are many atheists who could be considered communist, liberal, socialist, conservative, anarchistic, and even some who may be fascist. But atheism itself does not contain the kernel of any political ideology, that's a separate choice an individual makes and is not wrapped up in non-belief.

6) Atheism is a Religion. No. Atheism is not a belief system. For the religious who believe erroneously that atheism is a religion, a religion has a specific set of values, rules regarding worship, and a need to placate or worship a deity of supernatural origins.

7) Atheists and Abortion. I cannot say I know of any who are against abortion. Even if they wouldn't choose it for themselves. But there are probably a few out there.

8) Atheists and Science. Atheists don't worship science. We recognize science as the best available tool and system for measuring the universe and reality around us, but we don't place it upon a pedestal and utter prayer to the scientific method.

9) Atheism and Crime. Increasing rates of atheism have not correlated with increasing crime rates. In fact the opposite has been true. Religious allegiance is correlated with more violence and social instability.

10) Atheism and Sin. "Sin" is a Judeo-Christian concept not recognized by atheists. Sin is an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law. If atheists don't believe in a god, how could they have any belief in a concept that annoys a deity they don't accept exists?

Curious about atheism? We're happy to answer any legitimate questions you may have. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mother Teresa Saint of the Gutters



Mother Teresa, born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, was a friend to poverty and the Catholic Church. She was declared a saint in a canonization Mass held by Pope Francis in the Vatican.

Today's headlines are full of glowing articles about the deceased woman who got the very best of care while offering dirty needles to India's poor. 

The late Christopher Hitchens was one of Mother Teresa’s most outspoken critics. In his book The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, Hitchens wrote that some doctors who visited her missions alleged that patients experienced not only a shortage of care in unhygienic conditions, but a lack of food, and no painkillers.

A 2013 study from the University of Ottawa dispelled the “myth of altruism and generosity” surrounding Mother Teresa, concluding that her revered image did not stand up to the facts, and was the result of a media campaign due to an ailing Catholic Church. 

Recently, the New York Times published an excellent article about Dr. Aroup Chatterjee, a critic of Mother Teresa, who argues that her reputation has been excessively inflated.

I personally find the Catholic Church revolting for more reasons than I care to write about at this time. What a complete and utter scam which never fails to disgust me!




Monday, July 25, 2016

My Top 10 Favorite Horror Films


Every once in a while I like to do a fun post in between some of my more serious writings as a way of my readers getting to know a little about me. I have always been a fan of thrillers, horrors, dramas, and to some degree science fiction.

Today I've put together my list of top 10 favorite films of the thriller and horror genres many of which can easily be found through Netflix and other channels. Enjoy!



A 2010 South Korean psychological thriller/horror film directed by Kim Jee-woon, written by Park Hoon-jung, and starring Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik. The film introduces the character of NIS agent Kim Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun), who embarks on a quest of revenge when his fiancée is brutally murdered by a psychopathic murderer.

There is a fine line between good and evil and revenge films spark my fancy. I Saw The Devil is a well-done film and has all the elements that make for a good serial killer flick.


Rigor Mortis is a 2013 Hong Kong horror film directed by Juno Mak, and also produced by Takashi Shimizu. The film is a tribute to the Mr. Vampire film series. Many of the former cast are featured in this film: Chin Siu-ho, Anthony Chan, Billy Lau and Richard Ng. A suicidal actor tries to kill himself in an apartment building inhabited by a vampire hunter, ghosts, and other supernatural beings.

If you've seen as many horror movies as I have Rigor Mortis will hold your attention to the end.


Dead Snow (Norwegian: Død snø) is a 2009 Norwegian zombie splatter film directed by Tommy Wirkola, starring Charlotte Frogner, Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel, Jeppe Laursen, Evy Kasseth Røsten, Jenny Skavlan, and Lasse Valdal. The film centers on a group of students surviving a Nazi zombie attack in the mountains of Norway.

I have watched Dead Snow several times and hell yes to this one! It's really quite good. :-)


Phantasm is a 1979 American horror film directed, written, photographed, co-produced, and edited by Don Coscarelli. The residents of a small town have begun dying under strange circumstances, leading young Mike (Michael Baldwin) to investigate. After discovering that the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), the town's mortician, is killing and reanimating the dead as misshapen zombies, Mike seeks help from his older brother, Jody (Bill Thornbury), and local ice cream man Reggie (Reggie Bannister).

Phantasm needs little introduction. It is one of the earlier horror movies I watched as a young child and is still scary to this day. Miss you, Angus Scrimm. 



Tourist Trap is a 1979 American horror film directed by David Schmoeller, and starring Chuck Connors, Jocelyn Jones, Robin Sherwood, and Tanya Roberts. The film revolves around a group of friends who wind up stranded at Mr. Slausen's "museum," where the mannequins are very lifelike.

I saw this early on and it's branded in my memory as being one of those older, good films that is unforgettable. 

5 More Movies to Go



A 2003 American horror film written, co-scored and directed by Rob Zombie in his directorial debut. The film stars Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Karen Black as members of the Firefly family. Two teenage couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of murder end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic backwater family of serial killers.

Rob Zombie knows what good horror is all about. This one is huge favorite in my book and as well the following movie. :-)


The Devil's Rejects is a 2005 American horror film written and directed by Rob Zombie, and the sequel to his 2003 film House of 1000 Corpses. The murderous, backwoods Firefly family take to the road to escape a vengeful police force which is not afraid of being as ruthless as their target.

Another great escape into the world of Rob Zombie. Count me in as a big fan of his.


The Descent is a 2005 British horror film written and directed by Neil Marshall. The film follows six women who, having entered an unmapped cave system, become trapped and are hunted by troglofaunal flesh-eating humanoids.

I never tire of watching this one. I love it because this movie features all female characters. 


The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American psychological horror-thriller film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott Glenn. A brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism.

Truly one of the best when it comes to psychological horror. This movie happens to be the sequel to Manhunter. Hannibal, Red Dragon, and Hannibal Rising movies follow and as well the NBC Tv series of Hannibal years later which Bryan Fuller recreates Hannibal and as his own true masterpiece. I can only hope for more. :-) 


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a 1974 film directed and produced by Tobe Hooper. When Sally (Marilyn Burns) hears that her grandfather's grave may have been vandalized, she and her paraplegic brother, Franklin (Paul A. Partain), set out with their friends to investigate. After a detour to their family's old farmhouse, they discover a group of crazed, murderous outcasts living next door. This movie was banned in several countries.

Whether you watch the original version or the remake they both have something to offer. The older movies are sometimes scary better and this one has a to-die for ending. :-) 

Sources: Wikipedia

What are some of your horror favorites? Please comment below.