Mormons “just more modern, not more crazy”

I totally endorse this rant by Penn Jillette. Sure, what Mormons (and Scientologists) believe sounds batshit crazy to most of us. But is it really any crazier than what mainstream Christians, Jews or Muslims believe? Hell no. “Just more modern, not more crazy”, as Penn says.

I’m as confused as Penn is about how otherwise intelligent-sounding people can just spout crazy stuff and act like it’s totally normal. It’s especially scary when you hear it from politicians, the people who are supposedly running the country. Surely there should be a sanity test that you have to pass before you can be elected to public office.

No Illusions Podcast #6 – Angie The Anti-Theist

One of my favourite “new atheists” is Angie Jackson aka “Angie The Anti-Theist”. At only 27, she’s been blogging, tweeting & YouTubing up a storm for the last two years since she googled her grandmother and discovered she had spent her whole life growing up in an extreme Christian cult. Now she’s fighting again faith in all its forms.

Defeat Consumerism (For A Day)!

So instead of Christmas, we celebrated the life of Anaxagoras, history’s first recorded scientist and atheist. And instead of giving my kids presents, we gave them power vouchers. Chrissy and I made up our own books of vouchers for the kids. They give the kids some extra power – for example, the ones I made up say things such as:

“This voucher entitles the bearer to spend an hour at the park alone with Dad.”

“This voucher entitles the bearer to get out of doing the dishes when it’s his turn.”

“This voucher entitles the bearer to a trip to Laserforce.”

They basically let my kids have a little bit of additional power than they normally would.

The vouchers Chrissy made up for the kids are similar, but contain special ones that let the kids go busking with her but keep all of the proceeds.

I was pretty happy with this approach and I think the kids were excited as well. The last thing they needed was more stuff they would have thrown in the corner after a few days and forgotten all about. And it’s better for the environment. And it forces me to spend more quality time with my kids. It’s a win all round, I think.

Celebrate Atheism on Anaxagoras Day

I’m having another attempt this year to promote my alternative celebration on December 25 “Anaxagoras Day”.

Anaxagoras was the first recorded atheist; has been described as the first scientist; and was the first philosopher to take up at his abode at Athens. He was the father of the idea of atoms and the teacher of Pericles. Around 450BCE he wrote his treatise “On Nature” which declared (among other things but we don’t know much of it, as it’s been lost to history) that the sun was a red-hot stone (an idea borrowed from the ideas of Anaximenes) and that the moon was made of earth and derives it’s light from the sun. He was accused of being an atheist, sentenced to death, but seems to have escaped (probably with the help of Pericles) and was exiled from Athens.

According to Britannica: “About 480 Anaxagoras moved to Athens, then becoming the centre of Greek culture, and brought from Ionia the new practice of philosophy and the spirit of scientific inquiry. After 30 years’ residence in Athens, he was prosecuted on a charge of impiety for asserting that the Sun is an incandescent stone somewhat larger than the region of the Peloponnese.”

If you want to join us in celebrating the life of Anaxagoras, just join the Facebook group. I just see it as a day to celebrate the fact that we CAN be atheists without fear of persecution. It’s a great day to think up a way to spread a little bit of rational thinking.

GDay World 393 – David Nicholls, 2010 Global Atheist Conference

My guest today is David Nicholls, the President of the Atheist Foundation of Australia and the co-ordinator of the 2010 Global Atheist Conference which is being held in Melbourne in March 2010.

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GDay World 370 – Dr Greg Clarke on Australians and Jesus

My guest today is Dr Greg Clarke (PhD), Honorary Associate, Dept of Ancient History, Macquarie University
and Director of the Centre for Public Christianity.

We talk about the survey that the CPX has recently sponsored that finds that 55 per cent of Australians don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead but only 11 per cent doubt that Jesus was a real historical figure. As you know, I am one of those 11 per cent. So Greg and I also had a chat about the lack of evidence (as I see it) for the existence of Jesus. As Greg works in the Dept of Ancient History I thought he could confirm for me that my basic facts are correct. As you’ll hear, that was like drawing blood from a stone. 🙂

Here are the census stats for religion in Australia.

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Anaxagoras Day

I hereby declare December 25th to henceforth be celebrated as “Anaxagoras Day”.

Anaxagoras is the first recorded atheist; has been described as the first scientist; and was the first philosopher to take up at his abode at Athens. He was the father of the idea of atoms and the teacher of Pericles. Around 450BCE he wrote his treatise “On Nature” which declared (among other things but we don’t know much of it, as it’s been lost to history) that the sun was a red-hot stone (an idea borrowed from the ideas of Anaximenes) and that the moon was made of earth and derives it’s light from the sun. He was accused of being an atheist, sentenced to death, but seems to have escaped (probably with the help of Pericles) and been exiled from Athens.

As we atheists need something to celebrate on December 25th, I’m proposing that we remember the bravery, insight and diligence of the first recorded atheist in history by celebrating ANAXAGORAS DAY.

This year on December 25th I will be sending out Anaxagoras cards to friends and family, decorating my home with pictures remembering the story of Anaxagoras and composing hymns to the life of Anaxagoras. I hope you will join me.

If you want to join us in celebrating the life of Anaxagoras, just join the Facebook group. I just see it as a day to celebrate the fact that we CAN be atheists without fear of persecution. It’s a great day to think up a way to spread a little bit of rational thinking.

G’Day World #358 – Greydon Square is back!

greydon square cpt theorem

Rapper Greydon Square joins me again on the show to talk about his new album The CPT Theorem.

If you haven’t heard of 27 year-old Greydon before (or heard my first interview with him), his story is interesting: he grew up (as Eddie Collins) in a Group Home in Compton, California, got involved with a gang at a young age, was busted for a crime, and given the choice of prison or joining the US Army. He chose the latter and ended up in the US Army in 2001 and Iraq in 2004. During this time he was a committed Christian who studied the Bible. The more he studied the Bible the more questions he had about his religion which lead to his becoming an atheist, with many of the lyrics of his rap songs focus on atheism and the skeptic inquiry. He also is completing a physics major. His fans include Richard Dawkins, Penn Jillette… and yours truly.

This time, instead of focusing on his atheism, I wanted to talk to Greydon about how he writes his music. He’s a one man band – producer, composer, lyricist, performer, businessman. And, as you’ll here on the tracks I’ve laid into the interview, his shit is excellent.

You can buy his albums through iTunes or from the link on his MySpace.

The Definition of Atheism

It’s about time people started to understand that atheism is NOT a belief. It is the ABSENCE of belief. It is the OPPOSITE of belief.

The root of atheism is, of course, theism:

belief in the existence of a god or gods ; specifically : belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world

Now, the prefix “a” means not or against.

So, a-theism means AGAINST a belief in the existence of gods which is NOT the same as a belief that gods do not exist as christians (and some agnostics) like to claim.