Salt Lake Tribune Interviews David Silverman

Posted by Jim Newman on April 17th, 2014 – Be the first to comment – Posted in religion

david silevreman in utahOh the jokes I remember from living in Utah, geographically gorgeous, culturally not so pleasant.

You know why Christ wasn’t born at BYU? They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin.

Ok then.

You know how you can tell which sheep belong to the Bishop? They have Pink Bows.


You know why Mormons have their own planets? No one else would play with them.

You know why Mormons have their own section in heaven? They think they’re the only ones who made t?


How many Mormons does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One man and three wives.


You know why Mormons are so overweight? They think eating ice cream is sex.


You know why Mormons speak in tongues? They don’t. No one understands them.


You know why teenage sex isn’t a problem in Utah? They just get married.

Last but not least.

You know why it always rains during Mormon Conference? God’s crying.

I’ll be here all week. Buy your drinks early.

I wouldn’t make such fun of them if I hadn’t been told I was satan so many times…If I hadn’t had so many friends that had been ostracized and hurt by them.  On a more elevated plane.

Interesting stuff come out in this interview. David Silverman was an inventor with some 74 patents, knew he was a nonbeliever at 6,  his father came out at 30, and there is almost no difference between an agnostic and an atheist.

What do you think of Mormonism?

Mormonism demonstrates the power of indoctrination. Unlike older religions, we know much about how Mormonism was created. … Mormonism has been proven wrong beyond reasonable doubt, yet it persists, due to the power of indoctrination. From this we can learn how strong childhood indoctrination (let’s just call it brainwashing) must be, and can only imagine the power of such indoctrination for the older religions, where such data as criminal records and plagiarized texts cannot be obtained.

Why did you stage a march around Temple Square during LDS conference?

We tried to get billboards, but were unable to find a single Salt Lake City-based company that would take our billboards. Then we tried to put them in a mall, any mall. They were not offensive, but happy, friendly, saying, “Hey, we’re atheists. Come party with us.” But no one would take them. It’s not right and it’s not American. People were angry. We decided to take that anger and show the Mormon church that atheists will not be squelched. We wanted our message to be public and vocal, to be an example to other atheists in the Mormon ranks that they have a place to land when they leave the church.

I am so glad I left Utah.

Jim Newman, bright and well

Reconsidering Barbara Ehrenreich’s Wild God

Posted by Jim Newman on April 17th, 2014 – Be the first to comment – Posted in atheists, Famous People

barbara ehrenreichAfter listening to a few interviews and reading a few more of Barbara Ehrenreich, while waiting to read her new book “Living with a Wild God: a Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth About Everything” myself when a check comes in, I have to reconsider her dialog with wild god(s). My first post responded strongly to an interview where it seemed like her mystic experiences troubled and excited her in a long repressed way, at least in expressing them. Further that her materialism was yielding to idealism where it’s all in the mind. Her interviews in the NYT, NYT Self,  NYT magazine, HarpersSlate, Salon,  NPR, and POI added more.

I was wrong. And that’s the great thing about evidence. I can be wrong. There’s no shame in it. It’s really quite liberating. We all would hate to have to be right all of the time. I’ll probably revamp my view again when. My own didactic personality is peripatetic anyway. Anyone who has followed my peregrinations here has seen my thoughts are as linear and singular as a crab circling the beach. Arguments are never singular in either direction or number. Which puts me at odds with most scientists and rationalists.

I find myself on a similar journey as a kindred seeker with Ehrenreich.

Ehrenreich has been a strong force against the psychobabble of people like Martin Seligman who first positioned positive psychology in both study, grants, and popularity. In her previous highly readable books she wails on the idiocy of American can do attitudes, motivational seminars beware, while praising the gumption and resourcefulness of  common workers, blue and white collar. This you can do it mind numb is used to pillage and pacify too many who really can’t do it and need shitloads of help. Indeed, information technology has become the coal mines of today. It may help to have a positive attitude, like any other drug, but it wold be better to be real, get support, and change the system.

BeforeI joined the skeptical movement, which is what I am even more than an atheist, I spent considerable energy deconstructing science and reason. The first for prostituting itself to industry, product grants, and research myopia. The second for its insularity as a formal system that thought itself self-sufficient, self autonomous. Working in technical publications allowed me to see engineers, scientists, and logicians (I worked on PALASM for AMD which is a language of the basic logic of EPROMS; controls fundamental computer logic) as being nearly as biased as the rest. The rest being the mystical and New Thoughters that invaded my public and private life of concerts, nature, writers, friends, and Hippies trying to drag me into New Ageism, ESP, and parapsychology.

A basic issue was consciousness. Never in my wildest dreams of youth could I imagine adults would be so sincere that only humans have consciousness, self-awareness, cognitive frameworks, and conceptual abilities. Everything in my experience showed many things to have these qualities. When Jane Goodall showed chimps to be tool makers the reaction by most was not really or a paradigm shift. My reaction was of course; I read everything she wrote and saw her several times.

Ehrenreich’s wild god is a metaphor for consciousness experienced in others and as perceived by us by our limited ways. A fisherman does always believe his fish in pain. A dog trainer often denies their animals are more than Pavlovian automatons. A lion tamer forgets his Tiger is still a tiger and may someday play with him to death, in reverse blindness. I attributed all this nonsense to religions which worked against the animisms and paganisms of foragers who had no issue whatsoever with most if not all things having consciousness.

Further I see no issue with rocks having a kind of consciousness, nor other inorganics. After spending so much time with algorithms and computer logic I could even attribute a weird kind of consciousness to them–something I didn’t find alliance with until finding Godel and other  mathematicians that were platonists of a different ilk. I couldn’t take that though. Consciousness is never separate from materials. The silly idea that a thought has no form was vapid and facile to me. I was a terror to those who thought ideas had an independent, self-autonomous life. What recourse do you have to anything but the Mute button if you deny material? Only an existential nothingness that allows any meaning as meaning, where action is the only consciousness but doesn’t say what to do, hoping movement is enough.

Communication as consciousness is a tempting description where even bacteria inform each other. Where chemistry and the physics of that substrate rules. Remarkable to me that it took so long to prove the vast communication between lifeforms through a macrobiotic world. Where consciousness is a team of players, adversaries even, usually, communicating. Where trees communicate to each other through vast networks of mychorhiza. Get rid of the mychorhiza and plants and trees suffer from both nutrient loss and lack of communication to other vascular plants. Not some sort of plants love western music thing but direct communication through chemistry.

By this measure I have long been interested in metaphysics or mysticism but was driven away by rampant woo. Only forager society anthropologists, naturalists, and creatives were willing to understand that I might be willing to spend days and weeks climbing mountains and having deep relationships with so-called objects simply for the view. The same for repetitive actions, mantras, contemplation, and psychoactive drugs. Just being there was enough.

I don’t call this mysticism or a wild god but communicating with nature directly but I often experience it–I live by it. Once called the sublime by those like Beethoven, classicists, and now called the awesome, the inspiring, or the feeling of something more, else, I can’t choke down this verbiage. It is too easily called god. A kind of god religions steal to show their god must be that god with their assumptions of form, content, and all the other clap-trap they can’t possibly witness. Even if “god” were atoms, waves, mass, extension, or form that speaks nothing to what religions claim, mystical or not.

Perhaps Ehrenreich is speaking to that in which case it does provide a more accessible means of getting people to talk beyond their personal god, and more about how we experience consciousness. I am afraid that to her benefit it will be seen as ubiquitous to all types of theology or spirit. It may also backfire to more spiritual but not religious gunk that needs to be cleared away with some kind of expectorant. It’s all in the dialog.

Jim Newman, bright and well




Jaclyn Glenn On Sexism, Genderism & Homophobia

Posted by Jim Newman on April 16th, 2014 – Be the first to comment – Posted in atheists

jaclyn glennJaclyn Glenn posts several videos on sexism, gender roles, and the idiot agendas against human rights. The videos speak for themselves.

We need to mock religions, any or all of them until they allow freedom and justice.

Gender roles and religion. She’s right. This school should be shut down. Who cares what’s natural? Freedom is about the rights of being different.  If we do care then we have to admit we’re omnisexual and omniogamous.

Sexism. Atheists are not immune. Ban the trolls. If the NSA spies on everyone why can’t the justice department pursue these assholes? I am more worried about them and the harm they do then being invaded by a physical terrorist. This insidious crap cripples too many and silences the rest.

Here’s her antihomophobic rap song and deconstruction of the original.

Jim Newman, bright and well


Bill Nye “We Can Change the World”

Posted by Jim Newman on April 16th, 2014 – Be the first to comment – Posted in Famous People, Global Warming, Science

bill nye climate changeWIth his renewed visibility Bill Nye brings hope and immediacy to his audiences. “We Can Change the World.” It is incredibly refreshing compared to the inane tropes of apocalypse whether from creationists, war hawks, or environmentalists. While not demeaning the urgency of action to remediate climate change he makes science and reason much more than lab coats, beakers, and research grants. Even the religious when they say they saw an angel are using science. It’s just bad science.

blii nye space

Though I was unsure of the benefit of Dancing WIth The Stars and debating Ken Ham he has shown to be brilliant in raising awareness again. Particularly after I reread Hitchens who reminded me that it is always worth arguing the faithful–just remember to take the drugs, do the therapy, and ply the meditation. Success not dreams. Action not hope. Resolution not comfort. Confirmation not mimicry. Here he is reflecting on the debate with Bill Maher.

He is completely unrepentant on the value of science. No namby-pamby liberal part way. If you want a future get behind science. It’s too late to quarrel, act now.

bill nye on science

It should be no shock to the religious that the world is more complicated than it appears. Without needing a sky daddy. The hypocrisy of accepting inane miracles while denying basic discoveries of the world, known for hundreds if not thousands of years validates the necessity of going forward away from isolation to working together. It’s not the scientists that are hyper individual but the religious. A religiot can claim to be the only prophet–hence why 99% of scientists agreeing with global warming is irrelevant to them still. A scientist is nothing without confirmation support but no one individual knows  everything. Here is why Creationism is inappropriate for children.


Bringing humility to the religious and pseudoscientists that insist one person’s opinion is not enough would be a great antidote to the egoism that makes people think they alone know best, furthering their narrow view of the world. We can understand the world enough to make appropriate change. We do not need to rely on mysticism to create effective remedies. Or wait for an absent god.

bill nye humility    and

bill nye humility 2

With the obvious benefit of science to morality. If half of women should be scientists then women need support from men in rearing families whether personally or through social programs. Even in families of two working parents the women do most of the house work. Lazy, selfish, bastards.

bill nye feminism

Here is BIll discussing how he came to science. I remember when bumble bees were used to mock science. Like Nye I assumed we just hadn’t studied them enough–no miracle here, no proof of god as engineer.

Jim Newman, bright and well

Greta Christina – SkepticMoney On Air 016

Posted by Phil Ferguson on April 15th, 2014 – Be the first to comment – Posted in SMOA

Greta ChristinaGreta Christina is our special Guest!

Greta’s Christina’s Blog

Greta Christina has been writing professionally since 1989, on topics including atheism, sexuality and sex-positivity, LGBT issues, politics, culture, and whatever crosses her mind. She is author of “Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless,” and of “Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More,” and is editor of “Paying For It: A Guide for Sex Workers for Their Clients.” She has been a public speaker for many years, and is on the speaker’s bureaus of the Secular Student Alliance. Her writing has appeared in multiple magazines and newspapers, including Ms., Penthouse, Chicago Sun-Times, On Our Backs, and Skeptical Inquirer, and numerous anthologies, including “Everything You Know About God Is Wrong” and three volumes of “Best American Erotica.” She lives in San Francisco with her wife, Ingrid. You can email her at gcgreta (at) doubtfulpalace (dot) com, and follow her on Twitter at @GretaChristina .

Twitter @GretaChristina

Coming Out Atheist (click link to buy now at Amazon)

Coming  Out Atheist by Greta Christian

“There’s no doubt that it’s hard to be an atheist in America, but Greta Christina’s message will make you rethink keeping your beliefs to yourself. There’s an optimistic truth that ties her book together: By coming out publicly as non-religious, we are doing something courageous, powerful, and important. Given the choice between simply handing someone a copy of The God Delusion and telling that person you don’t believe in God, Greta reminds us that the personal message may be the most powerful weapon in the atheist arsenal.”
-Hemant Mehta, blogger at and author of “The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide”

“Old and new atheists alike will find this book invaluable as a road map through the often murky waters of coming out as a nonbeliever. As an out atheist, I was struck by how much I learned about the coming out process and its intricacies. There is no doubt that it has made me a better advocate and voice in the movement. BUY THIS BOOK IT’S AMAZEBANANAS!”
-Lauren Lane, Skepticon Co-Founder