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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Texas GOP Becomes the No Blowjob Party

The Texas Republican Party has unveiled their election platform and it seems they’ve gone even further to the right. Plus they’ve added some nice woo as well. Like their plan to “oppose the implementation of one world currency”. Here’s some nice highlights:

“We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.”
“Our policy [on Israel] is based on God’s biblical promise to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel and we further invite other nations and organizations to enjoy the benefits of that promise.”
“We oppose a one-world government in direct opposition to our basic principles and eroding our sovereignty. We oppose the implementation of one world currency.”
“We believe it is in the best interest of the citizens of the United States that we immediately rescind our membership in, as well as all financial and military contributions to, the United Nations.”

There’s not really anything new here. It’s their usual homophobic, xenophobic, bible thumping policy. It’s clear just how far to the right the GOP is going.

From The Washington Independent:

It’s not just the conservative base either; Republican Senate candidates like Nevada’s Sharron Angle and Kentucky’s Rand Paul have clear and abiding ties to the far-right, and congressional Republicans regularly espouse radical views that would have been anathema to nearly everyone a few years ago.

The Rift Between Skepticism and Atheism

There has been a great debate raging within the Atheist and Skeptic groups throughout the country. Should Skepticism be considered Atheist?

I think two things need to be pointed out before I begin.

First: Not all Skeptics are Atheists and not all Atheists are Skeptics.
Second: I am an Atheist.

I make this distinction because I wish to bridge the gap between Atheism and Skepticism. There are many who argue that there is no gap, and for some that may be true. The gap, as I see it, is a difference in the philosophies of how to take a stand on religion. While as an Atheist, I agree that the world needs more of us, but I do not think that the active attempt to “convert” people to atheism is right nor should it be an active goal of ours. As a Skeptic and as an Atheist, it is my opinion that treating a Skeptic organization as an “Atheist only” group harms the spirit and the idea of Skepticism.

Skeptic groups and Skepticism in general should be open to all people. From Atheists who are very active in the Skepticism community to people that still have their faith but want to learn more about and how to apply critical thinking.

The role of Skepticism should not be to attempt to “inform” people that still have faith. There are many groups that do that. Plus some can be quite loud and dogmatic. I do not want that to be the role of a Skeptic organization. We should be an inclusive group whose goals include education, debate, critical thinking, and outreach. The world needs more skeptics and we should be willing to provide the world with just what it needs. What we should be doing is providing evidence and debate on the issues we face. That includes everything we are facing today, from large issues like the massive oil spill in the Gulf and religious extremism to small issues like whether or not organic food is actually better for you. People should be able to, and need to make their own decisions. We have an obligation to be there to provide all options. To be able to highlight and participate in the debate.

The Inverse is true for the Atheist groups. Is it right for a Skeptic to walk into an Atheist group and demand they apply the scientific method to their meetings? Many of us had to deal with the issue of “Atheist anger”. There are many good articles on dealing with it here and here. Is the anger justified? I think so. Atheists are one of the most hated groups in America. I often hear people chuckle with amusement when Atheists talk about “coming out”. They relate it to being homosexual, which is why I believe the term came to be used for us as well. The same (and sometimes worse) stigmas and repercussions apply. It is completely normal to be shunned and disowned by family and friends, to be treated differently and in some cases attacked or targeted by vandalism. I do however think it’s important to move past that anger and to put it to good use. While Skeptics add to the dialog and debate, Atheists outright challenge extremism, fundamentalism, corruption and religious control. That is a good thing and necessary in this country if not the world.

So should Atheist and Skeptc groups be separate? Yes, and also no. The groups have different goals and methods, so they should be kept separate. There is no reason however, that a person can’t belong to both groups. I am a proud member of Michigan Skeptics (ok, founder), CFI, The Skeptics Society, Detroit Atheists, Detroit COR and Ann Arbor Atheists. I have friends that are religious and are Atheists. I’m married to a Deist. There’s no reason why our different groups can’t work together. We have similar goals and are at least heading in the same direction.

Let’s close the rift. We should work together.

First Post!

Welcome to the Beta test of the Michigan Skeptics site! Feel free to look around. There isn’t much yet. The forum should be working though so feel free to register and say hi!

I expect to have the site and group completely within a week or two. As a new group we’re also looking for participating members. If you want to help in the formation of the group feel free to speak up!

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