Loren Miller's Blog (79)

A Confrontation of Belief on Prime-Time Television

Anyone here watch Grey’s Anatomy?  It’s rather a scattered potpourri of mostly doctors at a fictitious Seattle hospital, playing out multiple plotlines, medical and interpersonal and too frequently with about as much reality involved as the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, but that’s beside the point.  There was one particularly refreshing event which occurred in the most recent episode, broadcast naught but a handful of minutes ago as this was written, between Drs. April Kepner and Jackson…

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Added by Loren Miller on April 18, 2014 at 8:00am — 3 Comments

The Unbelievers - Postscript

During the introduction to The Unbelievers, the announcer indicated that there would be a book signing after the film and Q&A.  This was at once great news and lousy news, since I had brought my copy of Krauss’ The Physics of Star Trek with that very purpose in mind, but sadly, I have nothing of Professor Dawkins to that same end (yeah, yeah, I know, shame on me :-P).  Still, half a loaf is better than none and I exited the theater for the lobby and the line.  Uh, boy! …

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Added by Loren Miller on April 8, 2014 at 1:25pm — 7 Comments

The Unbelievers - My Experience

The drive from Cleveland to Columbus was punctuated frequently by heavy rains, which made the trip something less than enjoyable, though the 120 miles passed without incident.  Approaching the Wexner Center, there was a considerable queue of people in front of the building, waiting for the doors to open (it was over an hour to show time).  I secured my car in a nearby garage and joined the line, and we chatted a bit before 6 PM arrived and we were admitted to the auditorium.  I…

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Added by Loren Miller on April 8, 2014 at 9:44am — 19 Comments

Creating God in One’s Own Image (discovermagazine.com)

For many religious people, the popular question “What would Jesus do?” is essentially the same as “What would I do?” That’s the message from an intriguing and controversial new study by Nicholas Epley from the University of Chicago. Through a combination of surveys, psychological manipulation and brain-scanning, he has found that when religious Americans try to infer the will of God, they mainly draw on their own personal beliefs.



Psychological studies have found that people are…

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Added by Loren Miller on January 26, 2014 at 9:50am — 9 Comments

Meditations on "How Religion Poisons Everything"

The other day I was listening to one of Seth Andrews’ Thinking Atheist podcasts.  This one was based on the subtitle of Christopher Hitchens’ masterwork, god is Not Great, How Religion Poisons Everything.  I found myself musing about that business of poisoning, and in the process of my musings, opened an instance of Microsoft Word and began committing my thoughts to bits and bytes.  The following are my thoughts on the matter:



Religion poisons everything in the same way…

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Added by Loren Miller on January 6, 2014 at 8:30am — 16 Comments

Absurdities and Atrocities - The Full Quote

I would think that, at some point or other in our arcs toward or in atheism, a good number of us have seen the following quote:



Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

-- Voltaire



That quote was on my mind this morning, to the point where I Googled it and found via Wikiquote that it was part of a larger statement made by Voltaire.  While the brief quote above is a powerful and disturbing statement, it is like many things…

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Added by Loren Miller on December 27, 2013 at 8:53am — 5 Comments

The New Covenant Group - and Some Rather Intriguing Ideas

It happened again.  Steve Shives (no, he and I are NOT an item!) was a guest again on "The Place," a video podcast produced by the New Covenant Group.  I saw that on my YouTube feed and figured that, despite the 2-hour-plus running time that I would give it a shot.



And it could be a good thing I did.  The NCG had another guest as well, one Michael Dowd.  Initially, listening to him speak, I wasn't sure I was going to warm to a guy who seemed to be trying to couch atheistic…

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Added by Loren Miller on November 19, 2013 at 3:30pm — 4 Comments

Some Thoughts on the Meaning of Life, with a Tip of the Cap to Bill Watterson

Spend even a small amount of time on an atheist website and the issue of the, quote: “Meaning Of Life” end-quote, will doubtless come up.  There have been several such conversations here on A|N, and doubtless the topic will come up again as new members join our ranks.  It’s a topic so fundamental to our lives that wrestling with it should be a natural part of living … or one would hope.



That said, who here remembers Bill Watterson, creator and artist behind one of my favorite…

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Added by Loren Miller on November 3, 2013 at 11:36am — 3 Comments

A Poser for Those Here Assembled...

Seen on a Daily Kos comment page:

GOP Wars against: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Immigrants, Mexicans, Blacks, Gays, Women, Unions, Workers, Unemployed, Voters, Elderly, Kids, Poor, Sick, Disabled, Dying, Lovers, Kindness, Rationalism, Science, Sanity, Reality.



And here I am, still wondering if the commenter missed something.  Did he?

Added by Loren Miller on October 28, 2013 at 4:22pm — 7 Comments

What a Believer Should Know About an Atheist - Me

Since my wife and I moved here in 2009, we’ve been visited by Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religious representatives on multiple occasions.  On three of those incidences, I engaged my visitors and responded to statements or questions made by them regarding both religion and atheism.  While I will admit having no interest in actually inviting them into my home for a protracted conversation, there are certain things I wish they would learn and understand about me as an individual atheist and…

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Added by Loren Miller on October 7, 2013 at 7:03am — 21 Comments

Justice for Nidal Malik Hasan

Not quite four years ago and not long after I joined Atheist Nexus, the incident with Nidal Malik Hasan at Fort Hood happened.  I wrote about it then and wondered at what motivated Hasan to do what he did.  As the discovery process and the trial unfolded, we learned, about Anwar al-Awlaki and Hasan’s communications with him, about Hasan’s radicalization, at least in part from that association and…

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Added by Loren Miller on August 24, 2013 at 8:48pm — 18 Comments

'Unbelieving' WLC - William Lane Craig exposed by Lawrence Krauss

It would seem as though our favorite "professional philosopher" and christian apologist, William Lane Craig [gag-retch!] has been playing fast and loose with what may be a pirate recording of the pending documentary, The Unbelievers.  Per usual, Craig makes assumptions and leaps of something (I can't call it logic!) and other distortions which he attempts to draw from the film, which features Drs. Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins.  Why Craig didn't think his BS would be found out…

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Added by Loren Miller on August 19, 2013 at 2:30pm — 4 Comments

The Civil Atheist - Theist Discussion: How to Get There

In my last blog entry, I reported on what I thought was a rather extraordinary event: a YouTube discussion between Dr. Michael Jones, his wife, both theists, and Atheist Nexus member Steve Shives, along with a number of both theist and atheist participants, in what was entirely a calm, civil and downright amiable discussion on topics regarding both belief and the lack thereof.  Steve certainly seemed to think that both the discussion and its contributors were notable as well, as he gave a…

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Added by Loren Miller on August 16, 2013 at 2:30pm — 1 Comment

Something of a Rarity: A Civil Theist - Atheist Discussion at "The Place"

For about the past year and a half or so, I have been a fan of the work of A|N member, Steve Shives, and in particular, the videos he has produced on YouTube.  My initial introduction was via a series of videos he did on Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ, reading that book from an atheist's…

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Added by Loren Miller on August 14, 2013 at 9:23am — 1 Comment

Daniel Dennett's Prediction - The Decline and Fall of Religion

Yet again, we have a case of a video which is too significant to just put up as one more snippet to watch.



There have been and are multiple conversations on Atheist Nexus regarding the rise of atheism and the fall of irrational belief.  Some of these discussions deal in anecdotal data; some with established studies and their results.  What Daniel Dennett has done here, for our benefit, is to pull a great deal of information together regarding both those parameters, what they are…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 20, 2013 at 9:54am — 5 Comments

Of Wardens and Caretakers ... and Gods...

Warden Henry Brubaker has seen Wakefield Prison as it is, from the inside. He initially entered Wakefield incognito, as an inmate, sufficiently schooled in its practices and usages not to be caught like an unaware first-timer. He comes forward after an incident with an enraged death-row prisoner and proceeds to attempt to do something the prison board never expected: to actually reform the prison.



His efforts meet resistance from all quarters. The prisoners figure he’s…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 18, 2013 at 9:15pm — 5 Comments

"The Great Evangelical Recession"

Yesterday evening, while waiting in the car for my stepdaughter as she did some shopping, I was listening to our local NPR station.  The show was: “Q, with Jian Ghomeshi,” and one of his guests was one John S. Dickerson, pastor of the Cornerstone Church in Tempe, AZ and author of the book, The Great Evangelical Recession.  It would appear as though some evangelicals have recognized that their numbers are dwindling and that their title “evangelical” has been besmirched by, among…

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Added by Loren Miller on May 29, 2013 at 8:00am — 6 Comments

It Can't Happen Here...?

A long time ago, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention put together a track entitled: “It Can’t Happen Here.”  Exactly what it was or is that can’t happen here is never particularly mentioned in the song, but ol’ Frank seems to be adamant that whatever “it” is, it ain’t coming down around here (wherever “here” is) ... or maybe it is.



It was a long but productive week I spent in Dallas.  Helping bring a system up, teaching a…

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Added by Loren Miller on May 4, 2013 at 3:38pm — 17 Comments

Religion – STILL At It

It was just one more article from the Huffington Post about Stephen Hawking, the Big Bang, and the fact that no god was necessary to make the whole business happen.  I’ve probably seen dozens of such articles over the past four or five years and watched him discuss the matter with people like Larry King.  Same stuff, different day,…

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Added by Loren Miller on April 18, 2013 at 8:02am — 6 Comments

Roger Ebert: 1942–2013

Pardon me if I keep this short and sweet.  Roger Ebert left an impression on me from the time I first saw Sneak Previews on WTTW-11, Chicago Public Television.  I found a near-instant affinity for his style and candor in how he reviewed movies.  I was not always in agreement with his point of view, notably on one of my faves: Gladiator, but I still wanted to know what he thought about a movie.  There was hardly a time when a review of his was disappointing or failed in…

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Added by Loren Miller on April 4, 2013 at 6:45pm — 8 Comments

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