I wrote a response to this comment on my last post, but it got so long, I thought it would make better sense to make a separate post out of it. SG suggested I read the comments on this post at Pharyngula, so I did.
Here’s something that’s been bugging me, so allow me a little rant.
It seems like every time an atheist makes a comment about some aspect of religion that bugs them, they are quite forcefully and specifically told to shut up. Religion is not a topic one is supposed to discuss in polite company (along with politics and sex, and we know how often that rule is broken). Atheists are made to feel like every time they criticize theism, they are stepping over some boundary of propriety. Due to my upbringing, I often find myself gauging the sensibilities of my listener to see if I might offend them, but I notice that never does a Christian (I don’t have much contacts with Hindus, Muslims and members of other religions) stop and think before they “thank god” or “god bless me” or otherwise inject their religious beliefs into a conversation.
Apparently, maybe not always, but sometimes, when there is smoke there is a significant probability that there is fire also.
This seems to be the case in Arizona where the well known but smokey Sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, seems to have run a department in an area of the country known for its significant Hispanic population, not to mention close to the border of Mexico, that
unfairly [targeted] Latinos for detentions and arrests and [retaliated] against those who complain.
Troy Davis was executed last night. All indications are that there is significant room for doubt as to his guilt. He was convicted solely on the basis of nine separate eyewitness testimonies, seven of which have retracted their testimony. Of the other two, one has remained completely silent since the trial, and the other is an odds-on favorite for the actual killer. This is what we knew, prior to injecting him with a life-taking chemical. If this is what we had known prior to his conviction, he would not have been convicted in a legal system that relies on a “reasonable doubt” standard. If there is no reasonable doubt in what we now know, then the words “reasonable” and “doubt” don’t mean what I learned in law school.
From the same friend that sent me the last email, I received the following:
A moment of national pride took place recently in the White House when an American soldier, Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, received the Medal of Honor for bravery above and beyond the call of duty in combat in Afghanistan.
I used to have a business card that said, on one side “25% of my friends have hemorrhoids” while on the back it said “the other 75% are perfect assholes”. It was a humorous novelty card, not one I handed out to prospective clients. I was reminded of that card when I read this story. My initial inclination was to simply provide a link to the story, without comment. Anyone with even a modicum of intelligence would, or should, have the same reaction. The man is a transparent, opportunistic asshole!
I’m a big fan of hobbies. Everyone should have one. Modern life allows us a lot of free time, and we humans need to be able to fill it with satisfying projects. We don’t have to spend from sun-up to sun-down plowing the fields, then sleeping until the next sun-up, too exhausted to find an avocation to keep our minds busy. Idle hands, idle minds; so a good hobby is a good thing. I have a few myself.
This is a different, and I hope interesting, topic for an avowedly atheistic blog. I don’t think it really has anything to do with religion although there is a little science in it. I’m also not sure why I chose to write about it. I think perhaps I’ve said enough, for the time being, about the existence of gods, the scientific study of the supernatural, and the sheer lunacy behind most religion. So it’s onto another topic.