Archive for January, 2010

January 31, 2010

My Ten Commandments (plus a few more)

One does not need to believe in the supernatural or an imaginary Sky-King to have a moral and ethical code. Humans have developed a moral code over many thousands of years existence. They are good, not because some mythical God orders them to be good but because it of a natural, evolutionary process which works to the betterment of us all..
I’ve lifted these “new” commandments from Richard Dawkin’s book,The God Delusion but they did not originate with him. I’ve also added a few more of value. I strive to live by them. You may have additions of your own.

1. Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you
2. In all things, strive to cause no harm
3. Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect.
4. Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.
5. Live life with a sense of joy and wonder
6. Always seek to be learning something new
7. Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.
8. Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you.
9. Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.
10. Question everything
11. Preserve things of beauty for future generations to enjoy
12. Tell the truth
13. Resolve conflicts with dialogue rather than violence
14. Oppose injustice
15. Take full responsibility for all your actions
16. Do not indoctrinate your children. Teach them how to think for themselves, how to evaluate evidence, and how to disagree with you
17. Enjoy your sex life(as long as it damages no one else) and let other consenting adults enjoy theirs in private, whatever their inclinations. which are none of your business

I’m sure you can think of others. Suggest them and I might include them in my list

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January 18, 2010

For The People of Haiti, For All Of Us

January 18, 2010

To All My Religious Friends

I still love you. Really, I do, but I’m no longer an Atheist-in-the-closet. I’m a proud Secular-humanist. I promise not to take down your Facebook posts about Jesus and the Big G, but don’t expect me to not challenge your beliefs. After all, every time a missionary knocks on my door, tries to hand me a tract on the street, or challenges my beliefs, I’m entitled to defend myself. I’ve been told by believers that I’m going to hell and they want to save me. They’ll pray for me, they say. How is that different than if I tell you that what you believe is nonsense and I want to save you from your own delusions? The difference is, I won’t pray for you. Nothing to pray to or at.

The fact is, I gave up my imaginary friends along time ago. God, the tooth fairy, Santa, all the same to me. I believe in Reason, in Science, and in the wonder of nature. I’m happy with my beliefs.

So, I still love you. I don’t require that my friends to think what I think or do what I do, but I expect the same respect. Good friends can disagree, argue, and still be friends at the end of the day. At least I believe that. Maybe you don’t. What is it you Christians always say, ” Hate the sins, but love the sinner.” Well, I feel that way too. I hate, not sins but failings and weaknesses, and we all have those.

While were on the topic of beliefs, let me tell you that God didn’t have anything to do with the tragedy in Haiti because God doesn’t exist. Neither does the devil. What caused the earthquake in Haiti in called plate tectonics and scientist have known about this for sometime. Port au’ Prince sits right on top of a big-ass earthquake fault and things broke loose. Add to that the poverty; poor construction; political instability of the country; all human failings,and you have a disaster of epic proportions. God won’t have anything to do with solving the problems either, although many will undoubtedly lay the credit there. the problem will be solved by good human beings; caring, compassionate, hardworking, generous, self-sacrificing human beings. thats how all bad and good things like this happen. Either forces of nature or human stupidity create the tragedy and good human beings clean it up.We should be falling to our knees and thanking them.

January 18, 2010

Tom Luna Sucks

Today I created a new Facebook page called Tom Luna Sucks. Idaho State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna has been terrible for public education in our state. From his on-line degree in weights and measures , his so-called “presidential appointment,” his mindless iStars proposals and his several attempts at taking away teachers rights, he has shown himself to be all about Tom Luna . He’s an anti-public education libertarian wolf in sheep’s clothing. In a word, he SUCKS! We need to replace him. Please join the group and pass it to like-minded friends. you have to join Facebook, if you haven’t already. Just enter “Tom Luna Sucks” into the search box at the top of your Facebook page.

There area few people who know who the candidate running against Luna will be. Evidently the announcement will not come until mid February. I am hoping for a viable candidate and I know that fund-raising is beginning.

I also posted a discussion topic ~ Okay,say we defeat Luna, then what? The Republics will still be in charge of the legislature and the State Board of Ed will still be the group of ineffective political hacks they currently are. What can we, working together with a new, more progressive Supt, accomplish?

January 18, 2010

So, how’s the veggie thing going?

I’ve had several people ask that. It’s going well, thank you. Experimenting with some recipes and sticking with some old standby’s. Our busy schedules mean that we need some quick and easy foods. ON the weekends we prepare soups, stir-frys, and large servings of rice, beans, and other items that can be combined or used in a variety of ways.

I also get asked if we miss meat. Not yet. Not me, at least. Merre has been mostly vegetarian for a couple of years now, only eating meat rarely. Although I have been eating more meat than Merre, I had still been cutting back, seldom eating red meat except when I was on the road. Then I would eat burgers occasionally, and traditional egg and sausage/bacon breakfasts. Mostly, when I ate meat it was chicken, turkey. or fish. and then only 3 or four meals a week. I’m sure it would be a much harder adjustment to make had I been eating steaks , roasts, chops and burgers every day like I used to do.

So, things are going well. I foresee no problems, but keep asking? I appreciate your concern.

Keep on Keepin’ on

January 3, 2010

My Other Good Reads Over the Break

If you are more into reason than religion. If you believe in placing rational thought above magic, fantasy and witchcraft. If you think science provides better explanations than priests, popes, shamans, preachers, witchdoctors, astrologers and other con artists, then these two books might be for you.

I finished God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything; by Christopher Hitchens. I am almost finished with <The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Both of these writer make what appears to me to be insurmountable arguments in favor of Reason over Religion. I also reccommend Dawkins’ newest work, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.

Reason on my friends.

January 3, 2010

If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls…

…we’d all be vegetarians. Watch the video. I posted earlier today that one of my reasons for choosing vegetarianism was ethical. This video illustrates what I was talking about. Of course one video didn’t change me. I didn’t see this until after the decision was already made and I have been thinking about this for several years. However, this video could change someone if they are already thinking in this direction.

January 2, 2010

Kentucky Fried Cruelty

KFC suppliers cram birds into huge waste-filled factories, breed and drug them to grow so large that they can’t even walk, and often break their wings and legs. At slaughter, the birds’ throats are slit and they are dropped into tanks of scalding-hot water—often while they are still conscious. It would be illegal for KFC to abuse dogs, cats, pigs, or cows in these ways.

KFC’s own animal welfare advisors have asked the company to take steps to eliminate these abuses, but KFC refuses to do so. Many advisors have now resigned in frustration.

Please join Pamela Anderson, Sir Paul McCartney, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, me, and countless other kind people worldwide by not eating at KFC.

Watch more videos at KentuckyFriedCruelty.com.

January 2, 2010

Doing the Right Thing–For Me

I have decided to become a vegetarian. Not a new thought for me but something I’ve come to over a period of time. I am approaching the change gradually, but I hope that within the month I will have made the full transition. I have experimented with this lifestyle off and on for the past several years. I have gone meatless for two or three weeks at a time and even now, I eat red meat infrequently, almost always away from home ( in reality I believe that beef production is the most humane of all meat production methods, which isn’t to say it is truly humane anymore). At this time I will become a lacto-ovo vegetarian ( dairy products and eggs allowed). Would I ever become a full fledged vegan? Probably not, but it could happen and I do have a great deal of respect for those who choose this rather difficult path. In case you’re wondering, my life-partner Merre has already mostly made the transition. She very seldom eats any meat at all. I believe that this will ease my transition.

Why am I making this transition now? There are many reasons but they all tie back into three “big” considerations. Those are; 1.Ethical; 2. Environmental; 3. Physical (health). I’ll briefly discuss all of those here but I will be discussing them more thoroughly on this blog in days ahead.

1. Ethical. I do not wish to support or participate in the factory farming meat production system, that has taken over in the United States and many other countries. Make no mistake about it, sickeningly cruel, inhumane and unhealthy practices are standard and if you eat meat in this country you are a part of it. If you think you can escape it you are wrong (unless you are raising, slaughtering, and butchering your own meat, or subsistence hunting/fishing). Well over ninety-five percent of the meat sold in the United States comes from factory farms owned and controlled by a handful gigantic corporations. The “family farm” of forty or fifty years ago, is now largely non-existant.

2. Environmental. The about sixty percent of the green house gases that are likely causing global climate change come, not from autos and industry, but from commercial livestock production. In addition to being horribly cruel and unhealthy, factory farms pollute, the air, the water, and destroy the quality of life for the people who live near them. Please note that factory farms are never placed next to the homes of rich folks. A single spill of hog-shit and urine from a gigantic hog factory in North Carolina a couple of years ago resulted in the worst pollution disaster in U.S. History, the damage done far outstripping the environmental impact of the Exxon-Valdez oil spill.

3. Health. There is plenty of scientific evidence demonstrating that a proper vegetarian diet is not only healthy, but can actually help prevent disease. Check the Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets by the American Dietetic Association and check this article from the Mayo Clinic.

As I mentioned earlier, I have been thinking about this for along time. As my knowledge increased and the facts became more clear, I have reached a moral and ethical decision. I am not claiming that this path is morally superior. We each have to make our own decision as to how much inhumanity and cruelty we can tolerate in an imperfect world. I have read and studied the subject but the book that has proved to be my tipping point is Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. An excellent book which expands on Foer’s own decision to become vegetarian. I can relate . You might also read The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan. Also consider reading The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer.

I’ll be discussing some of these issues in the future, so if you’re interested, check back. Thoughtful Comments are welcome.

Keep On Keepin’ On