Saturday, May 11, 2013

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaack

Holy shit yall.

I've been gone a good long while.  My bad.  

I don't really have any good excuses for disappearing.  I got busy.  Things kindof got swept out of the way while I was out trying to live my life.  I just kind of let this project go.

I never meant to let it go for so long.  It's probably been about a year since my last post.  Woah.  Time flies.

And so much has happened.

We got a new pope, the lesser evil of the presidential candidates got re-elected, this guy proclaimed atheism to be a form of autism, slut-shaming is still a thing, and North Carolina lawmakers have completely lost their minds (more examples here, here and here).

But, I'm back.  I'm more opinionated than ever.  And I'm (still) pissed.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

I want someone to read this at my funeral.

"You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen."

-Aaron Freeman.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Importance of Community

A recent gallup poll reports that Churchgoers typically have higher moods, especially on sundays.

Let's think about this just a second though.

From the article:
While the data clearly show that Americans who attend church frequently are experiencing more positive emotions on Sundays, it leaves unanswered the question: What makes Sunday so special for regular churchgoers? A possible answer is that across most religions, religious attendance is highest on Sunday -- the day when regular churchgoers are most likely to socialize with their fellow congregants.

The day when churchgoers are most likely to socialize with their fellow congregants...Ok, so this is a gallup poll, meaning it's supposed to be completely unbiased, and they did a good job of getting a baseline from America.  But, if truth be told, this study wasn't very tidy.  

If we are going to blame the good mood of the religious on attending social events, then wouldn't it be fair to sample us heathens specifically after our social events, and instead of saying moods are better or worse on certain days, say that moods are better or worse depending on what is going on in life?  I mean, they already knew that Churchgoers go to church on Sundays.

I know, I'm completely changing the study.  So sue me.  

The reason it irks me so much though is because this article makes it sound like going to church is the key to happiness... that if you're not religious, you're doomed to a bad mood.  It's not until the end of the article that it mentions the causal implications, and you think people will really read that far?  How many Christians do you think have come across this article and tried to use it as ammo in their never ending battle of "who has the best invisible friend?"

I know I feel much better about life in general when I'm around like-minded individuals.  

For those of us that went to the Reason Rally, think about how amazing it was to be with 20 THOUSAND other non-theists.  How awe-inspiring some of the speakers were, how that sense of community felt so incredibly strong.  

So, here's the point I'm trying to get to.  Forget this gallup poll.  Take a day, a night, a weekend...  go be with your people.  

I don't care who you are.  I don't care if you're atheist, Christian, liberal, conservative, black, white, or polka dotted.  Find a group of people who think the same way you do and just be with them.  

I have a group here that I am relatively new to.  We don't have a set day of the week to meet or a specific building that we always go to, but it is home to me.  In just a few visits with the group, I have made some amazing friends.  We have people from all different walks of life.  We have diversity in race, age, gender, sexuality, nationality, and probably any other category you could think to classify us with.  These are people I never would have met through my social networks associated with work and school.  These are people that have the same interests as me, and that is the sole reason that we have a relationship.  Wherever they are, I feel most at peace. 

Go forth and find your community.  


P.S. Christ is Risen!  SHOOT HIM IN THE HEAD!!!!!!!!!!!  (Happy Zombie Jesus Day)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Open Letter to the Religious Right

It has been said that atheists are waging war on “Christian America.”

First, and foremost, I am a scientist.  Scientists base their opinions on empirical evidence, and when the evidence changes, their beliefs change.  The evidence (or lack thereof) has brought me to atheism, however, I would LOVE it if someone one day were to bring me solid, bulletproof, testable, falsifiable, empirical evidence that a “supreme being” exists.  I would do a 180 so quick it would make your head spin.
You see, most atheists aren’t atheists because they hate God.  They are atheists because they learned too much about the particular religion they were brought up into and things stopped making sense.  They started hearing contradictions, started wondering how this God that was supposed to love them so much could be such a hateful, mean, angry God.  They grew disgusted at seeing basic human rights denied to their friends based on Biblical rules, even in a country where the separation of church and state was supposed to be absolute.  They saw the damage that faith healing could do to a sick child who needed medicine, but whose parents decided to pray instead for relief.  THEN, they decided to do their own research, not only on their own religion, but on every other religion they could imagine because they wanted to hang on to the last shred of hope they had that there was something out there, until they realized it was OK to not believe.

Now, faith is ignoring the evidence in order to preserve belief.  Christians have faith, and while that’s a lovely quality to have, I don’t want it running my country.  I don’t want it sending bombs to other nations or deciding which textbooks are going to be taught in my child’s schools. 

This isn’t “Christian” America.  This is AMERICA.

This takes me to my next point.  Get religion out of politics.
I am pro-choice. 

I have made the choice one time before… and guess what.  I chose life!  I have a beautiful, healthy, 5 year old daughter now who I love and cherish.  And I am 99.9999% sure that if I was ever put in the position of having to choose again, I would choose life again, but what’s important about it is that it is MY choice!  It is MY body!  It is not the body of some GOP lawmaker who believes in fairytales and worships 2,000 year old books, it’s mine.  And I’ll be damned if anyone is going to take the right to choose what to do with my own body away from me without me going down swinging.

I support same sex marriage.  I believe that same sex couples have the right to adopt.   That they have the right to make legal decisions when their partner is in the hospital.  They have the right to look their lover in the eye and know that they are going to get to spend the rest of their lives together with no red tape or Theocratic bullshit getting in the way.

This also means that I believe that consenting adults have the right to do whatever the hell they want to do behind closed doors, AND IT’S NOBODY’S BUSINESS BUT THEIR OWN.

There’s something going on in this country that I just simply don’t understand.  The golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” has been forgotten.  Maybe it’s too long?  Maybe we should go with the simpler “Live and let live.” 

Because I believe that what I do with my body, with my marriage, with my life… is none of your business.
We are not waging war on you.  We are simply standing up for ourselves against the war that is being waged against US by the men and women YOU elected into power. 

I am an atheist, and I am a voter.  There are more of us.  Get prepared.  


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Packing up...

I've been doing last minute preparations for my trip to the Reason Rally and while packing my things, I've been thinking a lot about how I came to this point in my life.

I first learned about Reason Rally last year at TAM.  For all of you who've been living under a rock, that is the Amaz!ng Meeting, hosted by the James Randi Educational Foundation in Las Vegas, Nevada every year in July. Back then, the Reason Rally was just barely on the drawing board, and only had a few speakers lined up, but after reading the flier I picked up, I knew I had to go.  It promised to be the largest gathering of secular Americans ever, and damn it, I was going to be a part of it.

This isn't just Woodstock for atheists though, folks.

This is us showing the world that we exist...  That non-theists aren't just demons lurking in the shadows in some child's bedroom waiting for the moment they try to go to sleep for us to jump out and scream "BOO!"

Reason Rally is about life.  It's about love.  It's about space.  It's about humanity.  Friendship.  Politics.  Science.  Art.  Famous People.  Everyday joes.  Protestors.  Students.  Nerds.  Academics.  Truth.  Fiction.  Skepticism.  You.  Me.  Reason.

It is our invitation to those who might be scared to "come out," so to speak, that they aren't the only ones who think the way they do.  That there is a whole community of secular thinkers and all you have to do to find it is open your eyes.

Original audience projections, if I remember correctly were somewhere around 5,000 people.  Most recently, I've heard that somewhere between 30-45 THOUSAND people will be attending.  This is quite simply remarkable.  And, let me tell you...  for every person who is attending, there is at least one who couldn't attend because of scheduling conflict, one who lived too far away and couldn't afford it, and yet another who is too scared of what their friends, family, and/or community would think.  This last category is who this rally is really for.  And, if I have to choose someone to be most excited to see at the rally, it would be the person who clenched his (or her) jaw, decided he would take whatever flack was thrown at him, and came to the rally anyway, because damn it, he (or she) wasn't going to miss this!

If this is your first atheist event, kudos to you.  Please feel free to find me and say hi.  I would love to introduce you to some people, and perhaps help you build a network.

If you aren't ready to come out just yet, consider it.  There are more of us than you realize, and we would love to meet you.

I will be tweeting live from the Reason Rally.  You can find me on twitter @skepticallysara