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290 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - My Calling · 0 replies · +3 points

I was *just* having a conversation about this with a labmate yesterday. As grad students we spend a lot of time thinking about how to find the "right path" for ourselves, and my friend uses words like "calling" and "discernment" to describe it. I told her that I thought we were talking about the same feelings, but I wasn't comfortable assigning some kind of outside agent to it ("If you say you have a calling, you're implying that someone or something is doing the calling.") She was totally cool with that and we found neutral ground for us to vent about looming postdoc/more permanent job searches. I wonder if she thinks I *am* being called by God, and just don't realize it ...

306 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - Christian Email: Belie... · 0 replies · +7 points

Heh. "I dont condemn or judge you for what you believe. Nor do I think harshly toward the way that you believe ..." but my god sure does! And he says you're going to burn in hell unless you love him!

Sigh. At least the author seems to be trying to be nice...

316 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - Do You Support Religio... · 0 replies · +5 points

There's a difference between companies that happen to be owned by religious people, and companies whose mission and identity is centrally religious. I don't care about the former (if I boycotted those, I'd hardly be able to buy anything anywhere) but I do my best to avoid the latter (like Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby).

My perception based on the radio ads I hear is that (evangelical, at least) Christians want to patronize stores run by Christians, and implicitly that means avoiding any stores not run by Christians whenever possible. This isn't the kind of attitude I take. Of course to some extent by supporting a business you support the leisure and charitable giving activities of the owner and whoever else makes money when that business prospers. But I can't examine the private spending habits of every business owner, that would be nuts. I can feasibly avoid the companies that explicitly make evangelizing part of their business plan and the companies that make a big deal out of spending a portion of their profits on "ex-gay" ministry or indoctrination of children.
My recent post In love with God?

323 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - Jerry Coyne on Science... · 2 replies · +2 points

Can you explain a bit about what "their accommodationist approach" involves? I guess I always saw it as more of a focus on the science classroom environment and outcomes there ... but I don't actually know many details about it. The NCSE is one of the groups I often mention to family members who ask me for Christmas present ideas (donate to [charity x] instead of buying me a present) ... if there's a better group to support instead, I'd certainly want to.
My recent post I’m “hung up on” what’s true

323 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - Only 38% of Americans ... · 1 reply · +2 points

Interesting survey. I'm inclined to think, though, that this isn't a commentary on Americans' suprisingly-more-reasonable-than-expected beliefs as it is about how people tend not to think through to all the logical consequences of the beliefs they hold. The Pew article also said, "a majority (56%) say God is in control of everything that happens in the world." How can that not include natural disasters? Do ~20% of Americans believe that God sends huge earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. just whimsically, not as a "sign" as such? More likely, I think they just didn't really think about it.
My recent post There’s no one like you

323 weeks ago @ Atheist Revolution - Only 38% of Americans ... · 1 reply · +2 points

It's of Americans, not of the whole world.

Also, that's rather grotesque, don't you think? ... Stupid people don't deserve to be "mulched". Everyone has the right to their own stupid opinions, and everyone is stupid about some things even if we strive to be stupid about as few things as possible. I don't want to put anyone in charge of writing "comprehensive examinations" to decide who deserves to be murdered and who gets to survive. What we need is smart people to be in charge of making most of the decisions that affect most of the people. We need to structure things so that the bad decisions of stupid people only mess up their own lives.

323 weeks ago @ http://tuckersdoppelga... - Spiritual but not reli... · 1 reply · +1 points

I've heard "celebrant" as a general term used to encompass priests, pastors, ministers, rabbis, imams, justices of the peace, whoever might lead a "celebratory" life occasion. It's not exclusive of religious people, but rather inclusive enough to also refer to atheists who do the paperwork so that they can preside over their friends' wedding.

339 weeks ago @ Frequently Unasked Que... - We're Bringing Slavery... · 1 reply · +3 points

Yeah, I'm with the other commenters -- if you get pay and benefits, and you have a union to advocate for better working conditions, etc. ... that's employment. Slavery is about owning another person as property. Does your couch complain to its local union rep if you put your sneaker-clad feet up on it? No, it's just an object.

We do have laws about how you can treat your pets, etc. so I guess there isn't a perfectly bright line. But I think it's safe to say that getting paid a million dollars a year to work for someone else is not what the vast majority of people mean when they talk about "slavery" or "property ownership."

340 weeks ago @ Frequently Unasked Que... - Debt: Don't Ever Belie... · 1 reply · +3 points

Heh. Good point. I suppose it depends on whether his father taught him to question things and think about them from an objective standpoint, or whether he just pointed out things he thought were stupid and said, "That's stupid, son." Thinking critically is a skill, and it doesn't make much sense to say that you were "brainwashed into thinking critically." It sounds to me like Matt's experience has been more along these lines.

340 weeks ago @ Frequently Unasked Que... - Debt: Don't Ever Belie... · 6 replies · +3 points

Nice post. One question - is there something I'm missing about buying furniture (or anything else) with a credit card? I use my credit card all the time, because it's a lot more convenient than carrying cash, but I don't spend more money than I have and I always pay it off in full. People certainly do treat credit cards like free money, but I think the problem's in the attitude, not the credit card itself.