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Category: Q&A

October 28 2009

Q: Do you think ex-president Bush used religion in a manipulative way to gather support for the war in Iraq? Or do you think he’s a delusional nutbag who has hallucinations?  I know it sounds like a false dichotomy, but it really isn’t: http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=haught_29_5

A: It doesn’t sound like a false dichotomy at all. He did, in fact, use religion to manipulate people to gain support. And he is, in fact, a delusional nutbag, though I’m not so sure about the hallucinations. (Depends on how real he thought God’s voice was when He was telling Bush to wage the war.) Either way, there’s nothing dichotomous about these two options. They can exist perfectly fine alongside one another.

October 27 2009

Q: Why has evolution programmed us to believe we have immortal souls?

A: Because (in a sense) we do have immortal souls: our DNA. Every strand of DNA in every living cell of every organism is a genetic history lesson. We share our respiratory, circulatory, digestive, system as trillions of other animals, and we are related to all of them. Our billions of human ancestors lived, learned, died, and passed on their knowledge to us. Long before we had speech or writing, we inherited the instincts of our parents. Those that didn’t listen to those instincts tended to die off, so natural selection favored those that listened.

Those instincts, those primal feelings that everyone feels (even if their logical side seems to think otherwise), are just the shadows of our forgotten ancestors. Their “souls” live on as our instincts, nudging us in certain directions. What some people call “common sense” I like to call “common consciousness” because we all experience it and it doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes our instincts are useful, like defending ourselves from attack. Sometimes they are harmful, like letting religions or politicians exploit our fears. But for the most part they have proven to be highly successful in keeping us alive long enough to pass those instincts onto the next generation.

Though the idea of immortality is a bit exaggerated (because all things must come to an end), we *are* part of an unbroken chain that stretches back almost to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago. And considering most humans don’t live beyond 80 years, 4.6 billion years is (practically speaking) eternity.

October 27 2009

Q: What are the chances of something happening to save us the embarrassment of another Bushtard in office?

A: We would have to endure eight full years of embarrassment. And considering the only embarrassment to our nation has come in the form of baseless accusations from the right and people suffering from ODS, it would take a monumental incident to balance out the Bush administration.

October 26 2009

Q: If you had a spouse that claimed homosexuality was a choice?

A: If my spouse claimed homosexuality was a choice I would immediately doubt their reasoning skills and seriously consider divorcing them. Then I would slap myself for not realizing their bigotry before I married them.

October 25 2009

Q: Has anyone ever seen a ghost?

A: No one has ever seen a ghost. Our brains misinterpret the unknown by giving them more reality than they actually have. If there was any proof of ghosts we would’ve found in the several thousand years that humans have been claiming it. We even live in a world where cameras are running 24 hours a day all over the world and we only get glimpses of things that some people think might be a ghostly apparition. In other words, they didn’t see crap.

October 23 2009

Q: Why do couples break up so easily? When a husband and a wife disagree and argue, they divorce and they don’t love eachother anymore. But when siblings fight or if someone argue with their parent, they still love eachother and value them as family. Isn’t the spouse apart of the family? It was their choice to marry them. So is it different when a couple feuds?

A: There is a misconception that marriage means family. Marriage is an artificial construct of our society intended to achieve a specific goal, just like a contract. Being married does not guarantee that things will work out just like signing a contract doesn’t mean everyone will honor it.

Family, on the other hand, is a completely different concept. You do not have to be related by blood to someone for your mind (or heart) to consider that person family. After all, if you go back far enough we’re all related, so blood relation isn’t really *that* significant. What *is* significant is family; those people we love no matter what. Best friends, siblings, parents, and even spouses.

The question is whether your significant other is part of your marriage or part of your family. But be honest with yourself about that because that’s the crux of the whole issue. Are you just honoring the contract of marriage (which is a perfectly decent and acceptable thing to do) or do you actually consider this person to be an integral part of your family?

October 23 2009

Q: Is the human mind capable of grasping the universe?

A: I don’t think the human mind is capable of fully understanding it, but only because we were not evolved for such advanced thinking. It doesn’t make a difference in our lives whether or not we can grasp these concepts, so the tendency towards advanced mathematical or theoretical thinking isn’t bred into us. That’s not to say that we can’t begin to understand these concepts; we just have to use metaphors and other tricks to come to an understanding.

Try this. Imagine a rock in your head. Visualize it. Now imagine two rocks. Easy to see, right? Now imagine four. No problem. Now imagine eight. Don’t just imagine them, visualize them. Now imagine sixteen…now thirty-two…now sixty-four…lost yet? Can you actually see sixty-four in your head or do you see a six and a four next to each other?

Now consider how insignificantly small 64 is compared to, say, 6,400…or 6.4million…or 6.4trillion. We understand the concepts of these things but we can’t truly grasp them. And if we can’t grasp the number of starts in our own galaxy, how could we possibly understand that there are billions of stars in billions of galaxies across trillions of light years?

I don’t think we’re stupid, but we aren’t even capable of understanding most of what this universe has to offer. It shouldn’t be seen as a shortcoming, though. The fact that we are even able to understand concepts like a billion (even if we don’t fully grasp them) is a miracle of nature.

October 22 2009

Q: What is the email etiquette in this situation?
I emailed my colleague who happens to have about 4 different email addresses. I used the one she was using a few months ago……but I have a feeling she doesn’t check that one anymore. I sent the email 2 days ago but I still haven’t gotten a response. Should I email her using her “primary” email account even though she asked a few months ago to use the other one? How long should I wait without sounding annoying/desperate in case she did receive the original email and is just thinking about what to write back.

A: Until everyone in the world realizes that multiple email accounts makes as much sense as multiple physical addresses, you have to work around everyone’s annoying tendency to open a new address at the drop of a hat. I would recommend sending an email to all of her addresses in a single email, that way she can see that you have no idea which one to send it to. If they complain that you sent it to an old address, ignore it and just pay attention to which one they prefer.

Email is so new that most people have no idea what to do in terms of etiquette. Best thing to do is just cover all of your bases.

October 22 2009

Q: Why is it OK for Jews to hate Christians, but wrong for people to hate Jews?

A: It’s not okay to hate anyone. People are hypocritical and they use their religion as justification. It’s evil, no matter which way you slice it.

October 22 2009

Q: Why the cross?

  • LOCATED IN Q&A

Q: Why the cross ??????
Evil is all around us. I get that. Why do people use , in my humble opinion , a negative symbol of Christ? A cross is what he was killed on. I don’t want that around my neck. And what is a symbol going to do for you anyway? When push comes to shove , you need the power of the priesthood…not a cross. What do you think?

Why focus not on his death…and focus on his life?

A: Bill Hicks pointed out something that has got to be true. If Jesus came back to Earth, do you think he ever wants to see a cross? That’s like us wearing a rifle pendant and saying to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, “Just thinkin’ of John, Jackie.”

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