Thursday, April 20, 2006

Only Karl Rove and Dick Cheney Matter in the Bush Administration

On the surface, there appear to be some changes afoot in the Bush administration but they are merely cosmetic changes. The reality is this - there are only two people running this country, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.

Even President Bush himself is largely inconsequential outside his role as figurehead president and "man of god".

Karl Rove is now going to concentrate on "politics" over "policy" but he is still in the White House and still very much in the seat of power. What's the difference between politics and policy anyway? Don't they go hand in hand? By "politics" they are referring to getting out the republican vote in the upcoming elections. What this really means is that the republican party is worried about upcoming elections so much that they've officially assigned their number one marketing genius, Karl Rove, to attack the problem. And, let's be honest, Karl Rove is a marketing genius. And the fact that he is unencumbered by ethics and morality makes him dangerous. Marketing is Karl's forte. You can see the stroke of his brush on the style and substance of every talking point coming out of the Bush administration.

Nothing changed when Colin Powell departed and nothing changed when Condoleeza Rice was placed in charge of controlling the violence in Iraq (remember when she got that high-profile assignment back when she was the head of the NSA? She certainly didn't improve anything in Iraq). Nothing changed when these high-profile people came and went because no one else really matters in this administration other than Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.

So, unless Karl Rove and/or Dick Cheney are booted out or go to jail, the personnel changes in the White House really don't matter in the least bit.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"Not Superstitious" is a better way to say Atheist

The word atheist has a lot of negative baggage and generally comes across in a negative way in spite of the fact that everyone is born atheist (a newborn can't possibly believe in any gods and therefore is atheist by definition).

A better way for the atheist to answer when asked if he is a "believer" is this:

I'm not superstitious. I don't believe in tarot cards, voodoo, astrology, psychic powers or religion.

This has many benefits over the word atheist as follows:

  1. Being not-superstitious is a positive thing. Would anybody distrust a non-superstitious person? Would anybody say, "oh, that's terrible! you should be more superstitious!"

  2. It differentiates between people who say they are not religious yet believe in astrology, voodoo, reincarnation or any of the other superstitions that are just as silly (though less evil and less dangerous) as religion.

  3. It puts the religious person in the position of trying to explain why his religion is any different than other superstitions. That might actually cause some of them to start thinking.

  4. Since religion is no different from any other superstition, there can be no rational, objective explanation of how religion is not superstition and the religious smut peddlers will be embarassed and religious institutions will begin to look silly instead of occupying an unearned exalted position in our society.

  5. The word "superstition" is well known and well understood. It needs no further explanation and instantly and accurately belittles religion as silly nonsense but without sounding too negative.

  6. This is a crystal clear and absolutely true characterization of religion.

If all atheists start calling themselves "not superstitious", religion will come to be associated with other superstitions like astrology, fortune tellers, voodoo and other such nonsense just as it should be. It will be knocked off its lofty, respected perch which it didn't earn and doesn't deserve. This little thing just might reduce the level of religious fanaticism in the world and make the world a safer place for all of us. Let's get started before it's too late!

I just read a post at: Atheist Revolution that made me realize I was unclear in what I'm advocating here. I'm not trying to say we should do away with the word "atheist", it's a good word that simply means without theism. Hopefully someday, after we rid the world of insidious superstition, it will come to have a positive connotation in the public at large as it deserves. And in any technical conversation, such as when newscasters are talking about the various religions of political candidate, atheist is the correct and proper technical description of an atheist. But I think that when a stranger on the street asks you your religion, "not superstitious" would be a better answer than atheist. And when presidential candidates list their religion in their little bio section on the network news, "not superstitious" would be better than atheist. Why? Because simply answering atheist allows the questioner to shrug and mutter under their breath "oh, he's one of those." But, answering "not superstitious" casts a negative connotation on religion (as it deserves) and forces another question - "is religion just one of many superstitions?"

We, the reality bound, are in a battle with the forces of unreality-based superstition and words play an important role. These two simple little words, "not superstitious", can do a lot to help the side of reason and reality.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sam Harris Hits a Home Run in this Interview with TruthDig

This is most provocative interview with Sam Harris I've ever seen. Sam really hits the nail on the head in this one, pointing out with crystal clear clarity the abject stupidity of religion. The entire thing is worth reading.

Here's a small quote from the article:

www.truthdig.com/report/itemtest/20060403_sam_harris_interview

... every Christian knows exactly what it’s like to be an atheist with respect to the beliefs of Muslims, for instance. Muslims have the same reasons for being Muslim as Christians have for being Christian. They have a book they’re sure was written or dictated by the creator of the universe–because the book says that it was written or dictated by the creator of the universe. Christians look at Muslim discourse and find it fundamentally unpersuasive. Christians aren’t lying awake at night worrying about whether they should convert to Islam. Why not? Because Muslims can’t really back up their claims. They are clearly engaged in a style of discourse that is just not intellectually honest. It’s not purposed to genuine inquiry into the nature of the world. It is a reiteration of dogma, and they are clearly committed to a massive program of self-deception. Every Christian recognizes this about every religion other than Christianity. So every Christian knows exactly what it is like to be atheist. They just don’t turn the same candor and intellectual honesty on to their own faith.