In Remembrance of My Uncle Michael

In Remembrance of My Uncle Michael

I know it has been a while since I posted anything. These last few weeks have been filled with a lot of changes to my personal life, and it has taken my focus away from [37G]. Most of the changes have been positive, but not all of them. I am sad to report that I recently lost my uncle Michael to cancer, only five weeks after his initial visit to the doctor to investigate a painful mass in his neck. 

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Why I Believe a More Inclusive Atheism Benefits Us All

Why I Believe a More Inclusive Atheism Benefits Us All

I was perusing r/TrueAtheism recently and came across a link to an article by Sam Harris. It turned out to be a response to Daniel Dennett’s criticisms of Harris’ book Free Will, written in the form of an extended, somewhat conversational (if not a bit irritated) essay. As someone with a strong philosophical inclination [looks at Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy hanging on wall], I found the essay’s topic – free will - to be quite interesting, even if I had not read either Free Will or Dennett’s extensive critique. What I found to be more interesting, however, was the lone comment attached to the article, posted by reddit user Siguard. To quote...

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Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham: A Minute-by-Minute Recap

Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham: A Minute-by-Minute Recap

I notated pertinent parts of the debate found at the link above and have created a paraphrased reference guide for anyone who might be interested. I’ve provided hour/minute/second marks for the link above, though they may not translate to all versions of the video...

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Me vs. Ray Comfort: An Emotional Response to "Evolution vs. God"

Me vs. Ray Comfort: An Emotional Response to "Evolution vs. God"

Ray Comfort is, philosophically, a vacuous waste of space, and one of his online videos – “Evolution vs. God” – only serves to further confirm this. This video isn’t exactly new, but it did crop up again recently and it made it onto our radar here at [37G] this time around. Making it through the 38 minute video was a serious chore; it is so disingenuous in its methodology that it is intellectually offensive. Despite this, we managed to find the necessary fortitude and soldiered on through all 2,306 seconds of mental banality so that you, dear reader, could possibly avoid having to view it yourself...

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Arguing Charitably: What One Can Learn from r/atheism

Arguing Charitably: What One Can Learn from r/atheism

A trip down r/atheism lane on reddit.com can be an amusing affair, albeit a rather one-sided one. The subreddit is littered with quips, memes, and snide attacks on religious institutions, persons, and ideas of every stripe, even after a fairly recent effort to reform the subreddit into something more constructive (and less dominated by Raptor Jesus and his meme-kin). There was a pretty serious uproar at the time, though things seem to have settled down since, but I must confess I sympathize with the effort. This is not because there shouldn’t be a place that atheists can blow off some steam at the expense of their philosophical adversaries; rather, it is because – as the largest online community of atheists, and definitely one of the most visible to the world at large – r/atheism has the potential to be something more than a clearing house for religion-oriented negative emotions.

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Tax Breaks, Religion, and Fairness

Tax Breaks, Religion, and Fairness

There has been an interesting challenge in Minnesota to some of the tax-free income enjoyed by professionally religious persons – clergy men and women, priests, pastors, etc. – that seeks to eliminate the tax-exemption on housing allowances paid to these people. At first glance, this may seem like a petty attack on religious persons by those who do not share their religious inclinations, but I think that it is rather more important than something so trivial. 

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