Monthly Archives: October 2007

Dump the A symbol

3 words for you people: Chris Angel Mindfreak
I saw his show for the first time last night and low and behold what did I see at the end of his show? You guessed it – a great big red A in a circle. Check out his online store Angel store. We have to dump the Atheist Alliance International proposed new atheist symbol the A in a circle, now! Chris has obviously been using the symbol for a while, he’s liable to sue us for using a very similar one (the new symbol by AAI can be seen here , it basically a mirror image of Chris’s)

 I never really liked the big red A symbol, it’s connotations of adulterer, the fact that Richards Dawkins sells the symbol on T-shirts with advertising for his web site on them, the fact the new symbol seems to be drawn backwards (try and draw this by hand, I can’t!). But after seeing Chris Angel’s Mindfreak last night, and then finding out he’s been doing this for years, I think us atheists should dump the big red A now.

The other problem I see is that Christians don’t go around with big T for Theist, or C for Christian, or I for Islamic on their web sites, T-shirts or whatever. So why the heck are we atheists using a letter anyway?

Wouldn’t it be better to use a symbol? The Christians have the cross or the fish, why not use something similar?

I’ll be hitting lots of forums and blogs over the next few days with this message, please help out.

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Archbishop Pell ‘out of touch’

Catholic Archbishop George Pell is out of touch on climate change.

Pell’s out of touch with everything! One of Pell’s comments on the issue:

“My task as a Christian leader is to engage with reality, to contribute to debate on important issues, to open people’s minds…”

The article I’ve referenced was written by Anglican Bishop Browning, it’s nice to know that at least some religious people have got it right., and are prepared to attack other religious leaders. Perhaps we should make him an honorary atheist?

There were three letters to the editor in response to this, they can be read here, scroll down to ‘Get real, Dr Pell’. These were also in the printed version of the paper today, good to see the Sydney Morning Herald are happy to post quite atheistic letters.

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In the News

The Knights Templar weren’t heretics after all, says the Vatican.

Atheists aren’t a bad lot. I could have told Dan this, but he says it quite eloquently.

Sweden to suppress religion in schools. Don’t we all wish this would happen everywhere?

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Why no Islam?

I have seen blogs and comments where people decry that ‘we atheists’ mainly have a go at Christianity, we hardly ever complain about Islam. I guess there is some truth in this, but a truth that has mitigating circumstances.

I have lived my whole life in predominately Christian countries, English is my first (and only) language and the majority of blogs I read are written by Americans, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, and people from the UK. The majority of people in these countries are, I would hazard a guess, similar to myself; so it’s hardly surprising that we focus on Christianity.

Truth be known, I knew very little (and now only a bit more) about Islam until about nine years ago, and wouldn’t be surprised there was a lot of others like me. However, come 2001 and suddenly Islam is all over the media – nothing like blowing up a few buildings to attract attention!

As yet the Islamic faith has had little impact on the government policies of the countries I’ve mentioned above, unlike Christianity (banning abortions, gay marriages, stem cell research, the list is endless).

Indirectly Islam has, due to increased ‘terror alert status’, but I won’t go into that here.

However the last few years has seen a rise in the predominance of Islam in the media (they will keep blowing shit up!) and more people have started to study and criticize it (Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Michel Onfray have all had a go). Still, the impact on our political policies and influence on our politicians is still minor. Our political leaders are still predominately Christian.

What we don’t want happening is for Islam to get a hold on politics in any of the countries I mentioned above (or any others they haven’t already, for that matter), and I think we’d also like Christianity to have less of a hold as well. To that extent, I think non-Islamic countries should be very wary how they treat Islamics within their societies and not be too tolerant of their beliefs, just because they are a minority group.

Janet Albrechtsen wrote an excellent article concerning this in todays Australian, and I’ll quote a section:

Instead, Islam has thrown into focus the need for the West to work out precisely which values it will not surrender – values such as the equality of the sexes, the rule of law, free speech and freedom of religion.

Something to think about?

PS. I have just bookmarked a few Islamic related sites today, and may post views from these in the future.

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The Political Compass

The Political Compass has a neat little test to see where you fit on the economic and social dimension, particularly as it relates to politics.

My Political Compass The resulting graph shows if you are Left or Right on the economic scale and Authoritarian or Libertarian on the social scale. Here’s where I ended up, just Left of the Greens. Guess where Family First and One Nation ended up?

There are links to a few regional specific results, including the Australian Election 2007, and the US Primaries.

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The lesser of two evils

Coming up to an election and we have to decide between Liberal’s John Howard and Labour’s Kevin Rudd. Both leaders have shown strong inclinations towards religion. Howard’s disapproval of gay marriages and holding talks with the Exclusive Brethren. Rudd has also not been shy in declaring his religious leanings, he’s also opposed to gay marriages and has appeared at Hillsong churches.

So, apart from voting for the Greens, Democrats or Secular Party (if they make it) in the Senate, Australia has to decide which is the lesser of the two evils: Howard or Rudd?

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Cheney, Howard ‘did deal on Hicks’

From ABC news it appears that our PM John Howard did a deal with US Vice-President Dick Cheney to release former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks. Now, you may not agree with what Hicks did, or did not do, but to have heads of government organising plea bargain deals instead of letting ‘due process’ function is a worry. Especially if the deal was made purely for the political gain of John Howard?

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The Significance of Atheism

Over at Austin Cline has written about the significance of atheism. I particularly liked this section:

Simply critiquing religion doesn’t accomplish much — and unfortunately, that is what occupies too much of the time of many atheists. The problem is, merely attacking religion won’t necessarily cause any changes either in peoples’ behavior or in society. A better methodology is to ensure that such critiques take place within a general program of promoting reason.

I think Austin has a valid point, he suggests atheists should be debating political and consumer issues, as well as theological ones.

As an election is coming up (24 November), here in Australia, don’t be too surprised to see a few political oriented blogs over the next few weeks.

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God – all you need to know.

Everything you’ll ever need to know about God/Gods: 

The Official God FAQ

Godchecker – your guide to the Gods

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Why would comedians be atheists?

At Tiny Frog the question is asked: “Are comedians more likely to be atheist/agnostic?”

I’ve also wondered, why would so many comedians be atheists?

I have no empirical evidence for any of this, but here’s a few possible reasons:

They are relatively smart

They are widely read

They question everything

They see the funny side of things

They are quick witted

I think the way they look at the world and poke fun at it, lends them to look at religion and poke fun at it.

Tiny Frog’s site lists a few comedians, here’s a few more: Ross Noble, Paul McDermott. Any more?

What other jobs (beside sciences) lend themselves to have a higher proportion of atheists?

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