Thursday, December 29, 2005

An open letter to the atheist blogosphere

These past two days saw some warfare on the godless blogosphere. It began yesterday with a post by The Raving Atheist, "the sole purpose" of which, according to TRA, "was to torment Francois Tremblay."

It continued with a quarrel in the comments of The Evangelical Atheist's latest post. The dispute was namely over Tremblay's 'Shit List'; The Uncredible Hallq weighed in on that issue, requesting the removal of said list.

Now that I'm through with my journalistic need to establish a context, I must urge the immediate cease of petty spats such as this one. Arguing with each other does not help us build a front against theism. I have recently been losing respect for TRA because of his pointless attacks aimed at Objectivists and Individualists and [insert -ist here]. Such attacks are no better than feuds between Protestants and Catholics, Baptists and Methodists, or the People's Front of Judea and the Judean People's Front. We're all godless! We are all different! (I'm not)

The problem with the blogosphere is that it is so easy to waste a comments section with arguments and personal attacks. As soon as Person A says something Person B doesn't like, B can respond and instigate the wrath of A as well as C, D, and E. Then we all get mad at each other, as happens so often with Francois Tremblay. We desperately need to stop degrading him, because in doing so we degrade ourselves.

But it was right to take down the Shit List, Franc. That reflected poorly upon you; it sunk you to the level of your attackers. For the longest time, I did not believe my parents, but they were right: The best way to deal with petty personal insults is to ignore them. If you ignore the antagonist, he goes away. Be better than him.

Now, I'm not saying we should just stop feuding with Francois Tremblay. I suggest we cease all such arguments between atheists. We have a common enemy.

How do we do this, you ask? Simple. Avoid all criticism unless it's constructive. Today Franc called GOD or NOT a "personality contest" over at TEA (he has since apologized), and the warfare ensued shortly thereafter. It was an unnecessary statement, and the reaction to it was just as unnecessary. Therefore, it is also advisable not to respond to such comments.

Furthermore, blogs are about content, not the bloggers. For all you know, I could be a jerk in real life (betcha Aeger'll make a joke about that), but you would have no idea. Some of us are better at hiding it than others. On any given blog, you should focus on what the blogger produces, not the blogger him/her/itself. Save that for real life. I mean, geez, Goosing the Antithesis is a great blog; don't ignore a post just because Francois Tremblay wrote it.

If our blogs are to progress and become more successful, we must put these inconsequential squabbles in the past. Perhaps that can be a general New Year's Resolution.

Good night.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

GOD or NOT submissions

According to I AM,, there's a startling lack of submissions for the next GOD or NOT carnival. The topic is "ghosts, angels, etc," so get writing and send 'em on in.

What? I'm an atheist blogger too, you say? Ah, hell. I'm on vacation.

Oh, fine. I'll write something at some point. Next time I get up before 12.

…You are all individuals! You are all different!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Happy Holidays from His Noodlieness

Have a happy Flying Spagetti Monster weekend everyone.

Yes, I am just doing this because I need to post.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Christmas should be called Buy-Mas

Christmas is rolling around, and with it come the commercials we see on TV and the ads we see in newspapers.

Christmas has experienced a sort of evolution over time. It started out as a purely religious holiday, celebrating the birthday of Jesus Christ. Then, Christians all over started adding things to the celebration. For example:
  • The Christmas tree, which Started out as just a custom, but went on to be a way for stores to make money selling "super-high-efficiency Lightomatic SuperGloober christmas lights."
  • Mistletoe, which I really can't argue against :)
  • Candy canes... just plain wtf
  • Santa Claus, who started out as a character in christmas stories. It's evolved into a way to get kids to be nice to each other, and also into something we atheists like to use as a metaphor for countless things.
  • Gift giving, which started out as a nice way to celebrate the holiday for families. Now it's a nice way to get people to buy tons of expensive consumer electronics.
Christmas just annoys me in that it's linked to religion but also used by companies to suck money from you into their pocket. I kinda like the way atheism doesn't force you to buy things...

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Every so often, I encounter something produced by Christians that is so hilarious I think it must be fake. Most of the time, it's not. This seems to be one of them:

Our God Is An Awesome God


This is a bit of a non-sequitur for KoH, but it does have something to do with spiritualism and a lot to do with science, and besides, I need to post again. Hypnosis has always been very interesting to me. Well, actually not just hypnosis but also the whole idea of meditation and all that mind-over-matter type stuff. But whenever I've asked about it, I've always just been given some spiritual explanation. I was reading something online (I seem to have lost the URL, sorry) about hypnosis and its scientific value, and becoming very intrigued. What follows is derived from a paper I wrote for school on the subject.

Hypnosis is not just a parlor trick. From its original use by German physician, Dr. Franz Mesmer in the 18th century to fool people into giving him money to its application in neuroscience today, it has always had an air of mystery about it. Now its mysteries are beginning to become unraveled by modern day science, and the results are truly revealing.

"The idea that perceptions can be manipulated by expectations" is fundamental to the study of cognition, said Michael I. Posner, an emeritus professor of neuroscience at the University of Oregon and expert on attention. "But now we're really getting at the mechanisms." Neuroscientists like Posner are speedily conducting tests on hypnotizables (people that can easily be hypnotized) and hypnosis resistants to look deeper into this world of discovery barely identified. Now, Dr. Posner and others said, new research on hypnosis and suggestion is providing a new view into the cogs and wheels of normal brain function.

One area that it may have illuminated is the processing of sensory data. Information from the eyes, ears and body is carried to primary sensory regions in the brain. From there, it is brought up to so-called higher regions where interpretation occurs. These higher regions are what we use to think, and it is here that hypnosis takes hold.

Allow me to illustrate: photons bouncing off a flower first reach the eye, where they are turned into a pattern that is sent to the primary visual cortex. There, the rough shape of the flower is recognized. The pattern is next sent to a higher region, where color is recognized, and then to an even higher region, where the flower's identity is encoded along with other knowledge about the particular bloom. Exciting, isn’t it?

This system of information traveling from lower to higher regions in the brain, which also works for all of your other senses, is what is call feedforward. But here’s the cool part: information travels the other way too. Surprisingly, there are ten times as many nerve fibers carrying information down as there are carrying it up. These feedback fibers mean that consciousness, what people see, hear, feel, etc., is based on what neuroscientists call “top down processing.” Here’s the point: what you see is not always what you get, because what you see depends on a framework built by experience that stands ready to interpret the raw information - as a flower or a hammer or a face. Your frame of reference can determine how you experience your life. Now that’s neat.

That’s where hypnosis comes in. A hypnotist can burden the higher functions of your brain so that they overload your lower regions, meaning that when your eyes see a pink flower, but your higher regions want it to be blue, it becomes blue. If the top is convinced, the bottom level of data will be overruled.

That is quite neat. I hope that y'all have learned something.

Thank you for your time.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I think most of us agree that atheists produce better humor than theists. Many great comedians and comedy groups (Mark Twain, George Carlin, Monty Python, Penn & Teller) are godless. So, us heathen bloggers recently started a carnival for the collection of humorous quips, a tradition which origination over at the Pix Capacitor.

It's called "Wow! That's Funny!" but we abbreviate it as "WTF" to save time and punctuation. It's not exclusively for atheists, but that's how it seems so far.

Anywho, the new edition is now up at Quailitude Dot Com. I encourage you all to vote for your two favorite quips, promote it, and if you like us enough, sign up to host.

And now I am done abusing my ability to post here.

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