Thursday, June 5, 2014

The helpful atheist project

So been pretty inactive here, but been pretty busy in meat space.  A while back I tried to get some interest going with some atheist Facebook groups for designing and ordering atheist shirts to wear and spread the good news about atheists (mostly hey we're here and we're people too).

Didn't get a lot of interest, so I did my first one myself (pictures later) with iron on letters stating "Hi  I'm an atheist", and have been wearing it around town (in N. Louisiana) for a few months.  Its been an interesting experience with lots of different reactions from people.  I'll post more on peoples reactions later, but over the course of wearing it I've started turning it into a sort of one man atheists are good people too publicity campaign to change peoples minds about atheists, one encounter at a time by tipping well, lending a helping hand wherever I see the opportunity, and in general trying to be the friendliest most polite person I possibly can be.  Having used cheap iron on letters, they are starting to crack and peal after a few months of pretty frequent wear.  So I think its time I evolve this project a little bit, and will soon be using an online t-shirt printing company to make a couple new shirts.  One version a lot like the first one, but with a font upgrade, and a second version along the lines of:

FRONT:                                                                                 BACK:

HELPFUL                                                                           How can I help you?

The idea being to wear this shirt, then venture forth into the public looking for people to help, places to volunteer, and in general going out to make the world a better, friendlier place wherever I can.  An additional part of this project is that I am intending to use a t-shirt printing company that allows you to sell shirts with your design, hoping to sell enough to sell enough to raise money for charity (Foundation Beyond Belief and St. Jude's).  The more people who jump in on this, the more good we can do, so heres to hoping this project takes off.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Back Again, Also What Diversity?

I have a new job as a nurse on a telemetry floor, which explains why once again, I have been extremely busy and neglecting this blog.  hopefully now I can make myself post on a more regular schedule.  Also once again I've been intending to write this post for a little while.

At my new job, I had to go through a week long orientation session along with all the other new hires in the nursing services for the hospital I work for.  During this orientation, we listened to a presentation by the spiritual services director which was essentially about how there are people who are available to come by and minister to the spiritual needs of the patients if they need.  Keep in mind that this is not a religious hospital. Where it started to get interesting though was when he proudly presented the slides with the people who could come and offer spiritual assistance.  It was made up almost exclusively by Christians, with the one  exception being a Jewish Rabbi from a local synagog that they could contact to come and make calls to patients rooms on select days of the week.  It then got somewhat more interesting as he proceeded to tell us that we have to be sensitive to the religious considerations of our patients, and that because we are going to be working with the public we should expect to interact with people of different faiths.  This lead to him listing the different faiths our patients might have and how we should be sensitive to their beliefs.  The part that was really interesting about that though, was that his list of faiths contained solely Christian denominations.  At that, Mormons were also left off the list.  While it would be hard for me to judge accurately since this group of orientees consisted of 70+ people, I would guess from knowing, talking to, and observing a fair number of them that about 95% were Christians.

This all lead me to wondering what it is that people here think diversity means.  To be fair, there is a large population of black people in Shreveport, but its still pretty segregated in a lot of ways.  There seem to be a fair number of Muslims, theres even a mosque in town apparently  but I almost never see them outside of Walmart and the two or three families that live in the neighborhood behind my apartment.  Similarly, you do not see many Asians around town.  There are some Jewish people in town, but not very many, and their number is getting smaller.

So is the idea of diversity in Shreveport really that they have to interact with people who go to a church with a different take on Christianity than their own?  It really seems like it.  This is after all the 2nd most religious city in the US (, and it is also the city where a local buisiness was boycotted briefly because someone got a dollar bill with "in god we trust" crossed out as change on their purchase (I couldn't find the newspaper story on it, but here's the Friendly Atheists take).

This has however given me an idea.  I had been thinking about going to services at a couple of the local churches every so often and seeing what it was like to go as an out atheist, but now I think I might want to try going to the local mosque and meeting the people there.  While obviously I woln't have much in common religiously with them, they are the next most hated minority in this town (and much more visibly so) so there might be some commonalities there.  If this idea leads to fruition, it should make for an interesting story.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Some friends...

So I've been busy  but I finally graduated from nursing school, and hopefully will have a job soon.  In my down time, I had a few things happen I will be talking about on here in the near future.  However since it is almost 5 am here I'm going to keep my "I'm back/alive" post short.  So here is a thread off one of my Facebook friends posts.  I highlighted the parts I'll actually bother to talk about, because if I wrote about all of the fail in this thread it could take up several pages.  Because I'm tired, I'll keep this brief.

First off, he obviously didn't bother to look this up.  I'll freely admit I don't always fact check things either, especially when it is painting a politician or pundit I don't like in a bad light.  However when its this conspiratorial and crazy... yeah I try and take that shite with a grain of salt.

The next part I like is where he discounts the fact checking site, because anything that doesn't agree with the anti-Obama message has to be a lie...  Not that the other guy did very well backing Snopes up with Wikipedia, but to equate Snopes with the Onion puts JS way out there in crazy conspiracy land.  This is the part I almost decided to jump into the fray....

...and then I got to the bottom and realized there was about as much of a point in commenting here as there would be in painting a wall with a dry paint brush.  A whole lot of effort and nothing to show for it.  However, his last two comments do show what I see so much of in people who associate with the Tea Party, and to a large extent around here, in the people who embrace the modern Republican party.  It's an attitude of "I know my facts, and your facts are irrelevant no matter how unreliable my source is or how good your source is". It is also the lack of regard for what is actually true, as long as I get to get some laughs while "sling poo at the a-hole".  The person that posted all of this is not someone I have been friends in real life with for quite some time, however here in Louisiana I have several friends who on most other matters are completely reasonable people, once the conversation turns to politics or anything to do with liberals or Obama this sort of "I hate them so I can say whatever I want and believe the craziest conspiracies about them" thinking seems to take over.  I know there are people on the left who are like this as well, but I just don't see it being nearly as prevalent.  Maybe it's because I'm living in a place where you are expected to be a conservative Christian Republican, so the majority of people who can break out of that kind of thinking are the people who actually think for themselves.  Perhaps in more liberal areas the reverse is true.  When I was living in Colorado though I didn't see much evidence of that though (possible I could have missed it because of my personal biases.)

Something I have to wonder about with this though, if he can acknowledge (kind of) that this claim against Obama has no merit and is based on a conspiracy theory, how does he not reach a point where he has to wonder about the accuracy of all the other terrible things he believes about the left and the president?  I also wonder what it is that causes him to be so full of hate and animosity to Obama and the left.  Perhaps I will just have to ask.

  1. JS------ shared's photo.
    Usama bin Obama is such a tool.
    What the hell is this about? People are sick. Fake Sandy Hook parents! --Marky
    Like · Comment· Share

Monday, June 18, 2012


Im starting to get excited for the summer Olympics :-D  I played water polo for all 4 years of high school and all four years at Colorado State University, so guess which event Im excited to get to watch?

Anywho here's a link to the schedule of events:

Friday, June 15, 2012

The DREAMers

So Im back after being super busy, hopefully I can keep at this once a week for the foreseeable future, but Im not making any promises.  I have some good things to write about, but today Im writing on the fly after working 9 hours between two jobs (landscaping and cooking) on less than 2 hours of sleep.  So I hope y'all can forgive me if Im not very eloquent.  Anywho, here goes:

Today President Obama gave a speech on the Dream act and why he is for it.  I've seen my Facebook feed light up with comments about how hes just trying to fire up his base and get votes with this.  Well of course he is, that why politicians do almost everything they do in the public eye.  But I think that Obama is also right when he says that this is the right thing to do.  There are problems with it, it apparently is very easy to get away with saying you meet the requirements on how long you have been in the US and at what age you got here, and Ive heard some concerns on how this will hinder prosecution and deportation of gang members and cartel traffickers, and if thats the case then those issues should be addressed.  It doesn't seem like you could say with confidence that this will be true of a significant portion of those that apply for it if the DREAM act passes though.  It also seems like some protections could be made to prevent these problems (ex: for the concern about it protecting gangsters, institute rules similar to those for financial aid such as if arrested for drugs, they are out of the program, if arrested for gang related activities kick them out, ect)  The thing with this act though is that they have to actively be pursuing a path that is beneficial to our country such as serving in the military or getting a college degree. I have a hard time imagining a large number of active gang members getting college degrees.  Maybe Im having a failure of the imagination here, but it seems like gang life is not very conducive to being successful in school.  Similar for being in the military, though I can come up with plausible sounding conspiracy theories there about cartels sending people to our military to get trained.

Those seem to be the best arguments people have against the Dream act other than it being "AMNESTY!!! OMG!!!"  The only other argument I've seen that holds any water at all is that the undocumented people applying for acceptance into the program will be taking the place of US born people in Universities, then taking jobs, all while getting financial assistance.  Yes, if they graduate college they will compete in the US job market with the rest of us, but you know what?  They will still be at a disadvantage compared to US born with money.  Any aid they may be able to get will not cover much, and they will have to work harder for the same degree as another student who does not have the added stress of worrying about affording rent, food, electricity, ect.  So really the only US born people they will be on equal footing with are those in the same financial bracket as themselves who are eligible to the same financial assistance from the government.  Even so, someone here in the country illegally will have had more obstacles to success than someone born here.  So really if your US born and your worried about getting out-competed for a spot in a university or for a job than an illegal immigrant, I'd say that says more about you than what our policies should be.  Then again maybe Im just too much of a sympathetic liberal, and I have it all wrong on this.  However to those who argue that anyone who is willing to serve in our military, then completes that service honorably, should not be allowed citizenship I just have to say chinga tu.  Really, it's that simple, if they put their life on the line for our country, you dont get to complain about their citizenship status and still look respectable.  (of course your still free to state your opinion, but the rest of us have the right to ignore you on this one)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A trip into biblical mythology.

So I've decided that Im going to re-read the bible and put my thoughts up here.  I wolnt get far until school settles down a bit for me, but I'm getting a start on genesis, and having reached the part where god gives Noah directions on how to build the ark and what to bring aboard, I have a few questions for the faithful...

1) According to some of the Christian websites I looked at to convert cubits to feet, the arc measured 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet tall.  How did Noah fit all the different species of animal on there?  That equals just over 1.5 million cubic feet... seems big, but compared to a China max cargo ship its rather small, and I have my doubts that you could keep all the animal species of the earth together on a China max for 40 days and nights and keep them all alive... (

2) If all Noah brought on board the ark were two of every creature, and "every sort of food that is eaten" (gen. 6:21) where did poison ivy come from and all of the other plants that an not survive under water for over a month, but are not food and thus did not make it onto the ark?

3) According to the English Standard Version of the bible (the one Im reading because its the one I have that isn't too pretty to mark in) Noah had his three sons in the year 1556 after the world was created.  if the world has been around for 6000 years, and its ~2012 years after Jesus was born, that means Jesus was born  2433 years after Noah's children.  Seems like we should have better archaeological evidence of this time if it was so recent.  Ill be running a tab on biblical years and lets see if the years add up to match the 6,000 year creationists idea, or the 10,000 year creationist idea... I dont know if we can get a good record of years to Jesus or not, but lets see how close the bible gives us and see how reasonable it seems.  ( I realize this isn't really a 3rd question but more a set of questions turned into statements but Id still like to see a Christians response)

Well that concludes this adventure in biblical mythology, Im going back to studying.

Monday, April 23, 2012

In which I try to generate comments, also wish me luck in school

When I logged on here today I pulled up the blogs stats on a whim and one interesting thing I learned is that the vast majority of people that have stopped by are in Russia.  Pretty cool!

So a bit busy with tests for school right now.  The next couple weeks are going to be pretty hellish for me as I finish up the semester.  But just over 3 months until my BSN (RN) degree if I can keep it up so that's pretty exciting.  I thought since I wolnt be updating too much in the next two weeks Id put something up now so this blog doesnt look so dead, dont worry about the absence though Ive been amassing interesting articles with interesting ideas/news in science/other things to write about so when this set of exams is over I should be fairly prolific on here.  One interesting thing I learned in checking the stats on here I learned something interesting, the vast majority of people that have stopped by are in Russia.  Pretty cool!  

Since Im going to be a bit scarce for the time being I thought Id put something up to try and get some comments (and down the road Ill probably come back to refine this set of questions because I think they're interesting) so heres some questions for yall out there:

-According to the bible unrepentant sinners are punished for eternity in hell, what do you think about it?  Is it fair to punish someone infinitely for minor infractions/how sinful would one have to be in order to deserve this?  Or do you think this is really what the bible says?

-Christians disagree on whether its works or faith that gets a person accepted into heaven, if you've read the bible, whats your view on what it says about this?

-Assuming we can take a modified approach to Pascals wager and say maybe there is a god (or gods) and we wanted to have the best chance of getting it right, what religious tradition would you pick and why?

-There a non-religious view on pre-determinism that says our decisions are essentially predetermined because we are all essentially biological calculators.  In the same way that when 2+2 is put into a calculator it will spit out a 4, when certain inputs are given to us (i.e. a set of comments plus a specific situation) we don't actually choose our decision, instead our decision is already set and will be the same given the same input.  So if you could rewind your life to a certain point and relive everything, but you didn't bring back any additional knowledge then your life would play out exactly like it already has.  SO my question then is do you think that we have free will or not (if you don't feel this is a fair definition of free will then give why and say if you think we have free will or not in your definition)

Also feel free to post any questions on anything here for me, Ill try to answer in a fairly timely fashion and if its a really interesting question Ill do a post on it.