13 May, 2006

First Posting

Welcome to my personal rants page. This is the space where you can find out what is going on in my life, what my thoughts are for the day, what pissed me off, what made me glad, pretty much anything that strikes me to write about.

To say the least, I am a bit of an odd duck. Kind of a nerd.

Well, my wife, Elizabeth has started her training as a massage therapist. Today is her second day of a nine-month program. The school she is attending, The Port Townsend School of Massage Therapy, is a legitimate trade school with a very good reputation. She got a stack of text books that range from "The Professional Massage Therapist" to books on anatomy and one on all kinds of pathologies she may run into. Fairly intense stuff. The school is not cheap, she took out a $12k student loan to attend the school. We purchased a $700 table and accessories.

Yet, despite all this, in the back of my mind is the rep of massage as being a cover for prostitution. I have no concerns Elizabeth will somehow become a prostitute just because she is a masseuse but, I do worry about the potential clients she may run into - guys (or girls) who may insist on trying anyway. I know she can handle herself quite nicely on her own but, still, I do worry that she could get into trouble of some sort.

I am also worried the investment will pay off. Since moving here to the Northwest, finding work and bringing enough in has been a real challenge. The idea is, between the two of us, we can bring in enough to get by. I just hope massage is the right course for her. Let's just hope is goes OK.

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Atheism

Yep, I am one of those "Evil Atheists" that the religious community likes to vilify so much. What does that mean?
It means:

  • I do not believe in any god
  • I do not believe in any sort of supernatural being, place or event
  • I do not believe in any sort of "spiritual" anything, not reincarnation, not ghosts, not spirits, not magic crystals, pyramids, rocks, rings, I do not believe in astrology, I do not believe in UFO crashes, sightings, visitations or experiments of a sexual nature.
  • I do not believe there is any "soul." When you die, you die. Since all thought, feeling, cognition, memory, your very sense of yourself is all contained within, and purely a function of, your brain. When you die, your brain dies. When your brain dies, it is lights out, the end. You become worm food. Nothing more.
  • I accept only a physical universe that exists only as energy, matter, time and space, governed by only natural forces that are identified and described as science does. There is no intelligence, no guiding mind, no god behind any of it.
  • God (and all things supernatural or spiritual) are purely creations of Man's own imagination, nothing more. In a very literal sense, man created God in his own image.
  • Evidence is king. Without hard, empirical, testable, verifiable evidence, you have nothing. I do not give one rats fart how many people believe in any given thing. I only accept what there is credible evidence for. Thus far, throughout the entire course of human history, there has never been one, single, verifiable, shred of evidence that supports any claim of any sort of supernatural being, place or event. Not one, nada, nothing, zippo, zilch, zero - nothing.
  • I feel belief in gods and spirits and all the rest is nothing but self-delusion, chosen ignorance. Those that choose to believe, despite the complete and utter lack of evidence that supports their belief—or even evidence that directly contradicts it (creationism and "Intelligent Design"— are those that actively choose myth and fantasy over reality.
  • I have very little regard for organized religion. To me religion is nothing but a social structure mechanism designed to control people's behavior. Religion has been the main vehicle with which to commit atrocities, cause destruction, shed blood and, commit mass murder throughout human history. Incredible cruelty, ignorance, intolerance and sheer stupidity is continuously committed in the name of religion to this very day.
  • As such, I believe a complete and strict separation of church and state is crucial to this (or any) country. When religion mixes with politics, only bad things happen. The current US administration (Geeeorge Dubya and Co) is a perfect example of why a strict separation of church and state is crucial. We have a simpleton in the white house who sees the world as "Us and them" where the "Us" are Christian Americans and the "Them" is everybody else. That attitude is rooted in his fundamentalist Christian beliefs. He is conducting his foreign policy based on that mentality. He is pushing his religious agenda here in the US via things such as his "Faith Based Initiative," and his systematic attack on science in general.
  • I have very little regard for ignorant people - especially those who are ignorant from their religious beliefs. People who reject science and knowledge are, quite simply, fools. Too often people like that insist on believing in myth and superstition over science and knowledge. Too often, they are intolerant of those "not like them" and vilify anybody who does not follow the same code they do. Too often, they demonize people just because they are different and somehow, immoral/amoral just because those people don't as they do. I call this, "The Aggressive Pursuit of Ignorance." I have no use for such people.

If this makes me "Evil" in your view, that is just too bad. Frankly, that is your problem, not mine.

Atheism for me means I am not bound and confined by the narrow, superstitious world view of any religion. It means I am free to pursue knowledge to where ever it may take me, what ever I may learn. It means I get to view and understand the this world and the universe as it actually is, not as some ancient book tells me it is. The universe is an an even more wonderous place when you understand the incredible time, distances, forces and energies at play and that it all happens naturally with no "guiding hand" behind any of it. It means I don't have to live in fear of some imagined punishment if I don't "behave just right." It means my own conscious is my guide to what is right and wrong, what is moral and immoral, ethical and unethical. Make no bones about it, I am very moral and ethical person - far more so than most theists I have ever met.

As an atheist, I believe completely that we truly are alone, there is not "Sky Daddy" watching over us. That means that, there is no bailout should we ultimately blow it. It means that we, alone, are responsible for our own destiny. I means we, alone, are responsible for this planet and all life on it.

I believe that the only hope the human race has to service in the long run is to learn to abandon myth and superstition and accept that responsibility for our (collective) selves. As long as we keep our heads buried in the sand, pretending that "God is behind it all," we will never learn to get along without killing each other, we will never learn to take responsibility for our role as part of all life on this planet, and that will spell, ultimately, doom for all of us.

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