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Showing posts from November, 2013

Single Payer Healthcare Please!

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UPDATE (06/02/2017): California Senate passes single-payer health care plan! Finally, some hopeful news to report!  UPDATE (02/02/2015): What It's Like When You're an American Using Britain's NHS  UPDATE (11/19/2014): Canadian woman hit with $950K medical bill after unexpectedly giving birth in US hospital UPDATE (6/21/2014): US Doctors migrating north to escape dysfunctional US health insurance system. pnhp.org/news/2014/june/us-doctors-migrating-north
UPDATE (05/16/2014): Canadians love their system, contrary to  US health insurance lobby propaganda: pnhp.org/news/2014/march/doctor-who-schooled-us-senator-thrilled-by-canadian-support
UPDATE (12/31/2013):  Outrageous costs of U.S. healthcare:viralnova.com/hospital-bill/
UPDATE (10/31/2013): LISTEN TO REASON! The following two links both let you listen in on an intelligent conversation between host David Feldman and Dr. Paul Song and Dr. Nancy Niparko from Physicians for a National Health Program. They explain why America n…

Review: Battlestar Galactica

Why My Opinion Might Matter To You
Glen A. Larson and Ronald D. Moore’s 2004-2009 version of Battlestar Galactica was the best science fiction I've encountered on screen so far.

If you knew how important science fiction is to me, and how much of it I've watched in search of that elusive perfect combination of “science” and “fiction”, you would be more impressed by that statement than I imagine you to be. Believability is the most important factor in my critical judgment of the quality of science fiction, especially that which is made for the screen. Whether the screen belongs to a movie theater, my television, or my gaming device, I can only grant a fully attentive glance to a story which grabs my mind and my heart from its first few frames, and leaves me wanting more when the credits roll. If at any point in the storytelling I am distracted by inferior sound, music, visuals, acting, plot, or pacing, then what began as a fully attentive glance degrades into less and less unti…

Category Errors?

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[This is a reconstruction of a discussion which began on the morning of October 31, 2013, on the Facebook link-sharing platform. All spelling/grammar errors are from the original; we are strictly cut-and-pasting here, with a bit of font adjusting. I reconstruct it here so that I may involve more voices in that discussion, because I'm curious where it may lead...]

Tom Doud via Word On Fire Catholic Ministries
October 31 at 10:12am [shared only with Tom's Friends--hence my efforts here]

Great line from article '
"This is why the new atheists and their army of disciples are committing a category mistake when they confidently assert that scientific advances cause religion to retreat onto ever-shrinking intellectual turf or when they stridently challenge religious people to produce "evidence" for God."
Happy Hallows Eve


Jim MilesThe next sentence after that quoted by Tom is the one which explains the real problem in the attempt at understanding between atheists an…

Economics As Religion

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Economics = Religion If we allow the term "religion" to stand for rituals and doctrines binding faithful believers into distinct groups, we can see important similarities between economic theory and religions such as Christianity. These two ancient social organizing principles- religion and economics- are not often compared. In the United States, an intersection of the two is emerging in a third ancient institution: politics.

Before politics enters this discussion, it must be understood that there is little difference in practice between religious systems of belief and economic systems. What are sometimes labeled Schools of Economic Thought function more like religious institutions than academic ones. Economics is a religion, and that is not a terribly controversial idea, or a particularly new one. Both religion and economics train high priesthoods who master bodies of fairly obscure doctrine which go largely unquestioned by their loyal followers. These masses of trusting …

Power Junkie Nation

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It's like a drug. There’s a rush. A feeling of euphoria. Power intoxicates. When a man cherishes the rush of adrenaline from the exercise of power, and fancies himself to be powerful, instead of distrusting his own deceptive nature, he succumbs to this ancient addiction. He is drunk with power. A power junkie is born.

And the world takes note of him, begins to size him up, judge him, evaluate his threat level.

Power is a lot like a drug. We all have a deep-seated need to control our lives, to achieve goals, to accomplish and succeed; that is a healthy and normal human need. But needs can be corrupted into unhealthy obsessions. When the power need corrupts a man, it corrupts absolutely, and overrides his common sense and morality, just like drugs and alcohol can do. It maximizes his selfishness.

And many in the world take notes from his success, applaud him, and then target him for destruction (competition, merger, acquisition). Their power addiction is threatened by his power add…

Logic Demands Change My Mind

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Change is Hard
"What happens when one has striven long and hard to develop a working view of the world, a seemingly useful, workable map, and then is confronted with new information suggesting that that view is wrong and the map needs to be largely redrawn? The painful effort required seems frightening, almost overwhelming. What we do more often than not, and usually unconsciously, is ignore the new information.
"Often this act of ignoring is much more than passive. We may denounce the new information as false, dangerous, heretical, the work of the devil. We may actually crusade against it, and even attempt to manipulate the world so as to make it conform to our view of reality. Rather than try to change the map, an individual may try to destroy the new reality. Sadly, such a person may expend much more energy ultimately in defending an outmoded view of the world than would have been required to revise and correct it in the first place."-Dr. M. Scott Peck, The Road Less T…

Mr. Miles' Bible Class Lesson 4

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I used to teach Bible classes to middle & high school students in the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) school system. Now, I'm a secular humanist, and an atheist. In this series, I review the major ideas I used to teach, in contrast with how I would teach them now.

Lesson Menu:
Lesson #1; Lesson #2; Lesson #3; This Lesson



#4 "The Bible is Inspired History" (which brings along corollaries like "The Bible is an Inspired answer to Big Philosophical Questions" and "The Bible's Inspired Prophecies of the Future tell us Where We're Headed" and "The Bible's Inspired Gospel Story is the Only True Way to Avoid Missing Out on an Eternal Life of Bliss")

Nope. Mr. Miles, your old Bible Teacher, is here to tell you: that ancient book we tried to make seem so relevant, up-to-date, and modern is in fact just SO FULL OF OBVIOUS CLUES that it is NOT INSPIRED, well... I'm honestly ashamed to think of how many of you I convinced otherwise. I'm …

Mr. Miles' Bible Class Lesson 3

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I used to teach Bible classes to middle & high school students in the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) school system. Now, I'm a secular humanist, and an atheist. In this series, I review the major ideas I used to teach, in contrast with how I would teach them now.

Lesson Menu:
Lesson #1; Lesson #2; This Lesson; Lesson #4

#3 "Faith is a virtue."

Nope. Virus-like phenomenon corrupting the logical and critical reasoning faculties of believers, maybe. But not a virtue.

Faith is what Peter Boghossian calls it: 'belief without evidence,' and 'pretending to know things that you don't know'.

I wouldn't deny that we want to believe in something. The universality of religion demonstrates the pervasiveness of the human craving to put our trust in something. (Speaking of Professor Bohgossian, please read his book, which I would adopt as my only required textbook if I was still teaching, A Manual for Creating Atheists).

Now I would teach people to believe in themse…

Mr. Miles' Bible Class Lesson 2

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I used to teach Bible classes to middle & high school students in the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) school system. Now, I'm a secular humanist, and an atheist. In this series, I review the major ideas I used to teach, in contrast with how I would teach them now.

Lesson Menu:
Lesson #1; This Lesson; Lesson #3; Lesson #4



#2. The next biggest idea I taught was: "Everything was created by God."

And by the way, I was a self-described hard-core 'young earth creationist' (YEC!), determined to believe that six thousand years is all there was to the history of all life on earth; that is, I took the first ten chapters of the book of Genesis as literally as any fundamentalist Christian, just like most of my academic colleagues in the SDA church, and the rank-and-file members in the pews.

The way I'd teach that now is: Bullshit. (Sorry, but no other word quite captures it). The biggest problem I have with this, besides the mountain-chains-worth of evidence backing the cur…

Mr. Miles' Bible Class Lesson 1

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I used to teach Bible classes to middle & high school students in the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) school system. Now, I'm a secular humanist, and an atheist. In this series, I review the major ideas I used to teach, in contrast with how I would teach them now.

Lesson Menu:
This Lesson; Lesson #2; Lesson #3; Lesson #4

#1. The biggest idea I used to teach was: "God exists."

The way I'd have to teach that now is: Bullshit. It's a popular-- strike that-- very popular delusion, but popularity doesn't make bullshit into not-bullshit.

Ironically, that is one of the main tenets of Seventh-day Adventism (without the 'bullshit' word). The whole SDA message is focused on a kind of global conspiracy theory, in which Satan has managed to delude the whole religious and non-religious world into a massive deception. The SDA "great controversy" conspiracy theory culminates in a showdown supposedly predicted in the book of Revelation (I'll get to that la…