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Listing Details
ID: 2625
Title: The Atheist Response -
Description: Blog of Kelly O'Connor from the Rational Response Squad that discusses issues related to Atheism and differences between other beliefs.
Category: Religion: Atheism
Link Owner: Kelly O'Connor
Date Added: January 12, 2008 09:07:24 PM
User Rating: Rated as  6.00 out of 10 (1 Votes)
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Number Hits: 9
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Last 5 Posts
Voices of Disbelief (the book)

Voices of Disbelief will likely be available around August of 2009. 

The contributors are as follows:

1. Peter Adegoke
2. Athena Andreadis
3. Julian Baggini
4. Gregory Benford
5. Ophelia Benson
6. Russell Blackford
7. Susan Blackmore
8. Damien Broderick
9. Lori Lipman Brown
10. Sean M. Carroll
11. Thomas W. Clark
12. Austin Dacey
13. Edgar Dahl
14. Jack Dann
15. Margaret Downey
16. Taner Edis
17. Greg Egan
18. Nick Everitt
19. Prabir Ghosh
20. A.C. Grayling
21. Joe Haldeman
22. John Harris
23. Marc Hauser
24. Philip Kitcher
25. Miguel Kottow
26. Stephen Law
27. Dale McGowan
28. Sheila A.M. McLean
29. Adèle Mercier
30. Maryam Namazie
31. Kelly O’Connor  (yours truly)
32. Graham Oppy
33. Christine Overall
34. Sumitra Padmanabhan
35. Tamas Pataki
36. John P. Phelan
37. Laura Purdy
38. James Randi
39. Michael R. Rose
40. Julian Savulescu
41. J.L. Schellenberg
42. Udo Schuklenk
43. Michael Shermer
44. Peter Singer
45. J.J.C. Smart
46. Victor J. Stenger
47. Peter Tatchell
48. Emma Tom
49. Michael Tooley
50. Ross Upshur
51. Sean Williams
52. Frieder Otto Wolf


Russell Blackford (co-editor) says "When it appears on the shelves, you'll see that it has something for everyone, from austere philosophical articles to relatively lighthearted biographical pieces - to some not-so-lighthearted ones! Some authors have encountered religion at its best; some have encountered it at its worst; none actually sees any good reason to believe its supernatural claims."

The announcement and more details are available here.

A Temple of Science?

 In an interesting event inspired by Richard Dawkins at Beyond Belief 2006, Jonathon Keats has built a temple of science which he has named The Atheon. Hmmmm... For the full story, click here.

Christians in Texas Command Hurricane Ike to Stop

 A group of Christians from Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, has decided to call upon the Almighty to stop the advancement of Hurricane Ike into Houston.  By beseeching the assistance of Jesus, the alleged son of God, they have "power and authority to affect the weather," says one churchgoer upon questioning. When asked how it came to be known that they possessed this extraordinary ability, the answer was simple: faith. While it may seem absurd to claim any knowledge of this power since it has not been borne out by evidence of any kind, faith is all the evidence these believers need. Rev. Caldwell, pastor of the church, says, "It is definitely by faith that we know that we have an impact." Their church recently held a prayer meeting in order to officially command Ike to cease and desist its approach into the Houston area. Some participants claimed to have calmed Edouard and sent hurricane Gustav into southern Louisiana. No explanation was given for the Almighty's lack of regard for the residents in that area. 

Other incredulous residents have demanded proof. "If they do have this power, then they should be using it for the good of all, possibly even 24 hours a day for weather all over the world," says one of these skeptics. Another person suffered mild oxygen deprivation and was nearly hospitalized after hearing the news due to sanguinea, or excessive laughter. Overall, the reaction has ranged from anger to hilarity. Some are simply curious. In order to quell the doubts of the faithless, it is the responsibility of the members of Windsor Village UMC and all others who feel that they possess this power to gather en masse and put this argument to rest.  

Staying in the Houston area and commanding this "satanic" storm to stop is not only the right thing to do for the sake of all of the residents of this heavily populated area, it will also prove the veracity of their claims. The existence of such a power could have life-saving potential for people all over the world, and the brave men and women here should do all they can for the benefit of humanity--gather together on the beaches of Houston, Galveston, wherever this storm is predicted to make landfall, and push it back with the power of prayer. With more knowledge of this phenomenon, we can all look forward to a future free from natural disasters and other, shall we say, acts of God.

(portions of the above are parody) 

If you are interested in helping to stop Hurricane Ike, the following prayer is the official "Severe Weather Prayer" being used:



Dear Believer,

Stand in your front or back yard, extend your hand in the direction of the Gulf of Mexico and speak to Hurricane Ike.

Pray with the authority that has been given to you in Jesus Christ and pray in faith. Please pray this prayer out loud and with fervency and determination. God has placed His power in our verbal expressions so lift up your voice. Believe that your prayers will produce results in Jesus’ name.

Please pray this prayer 1-2 times per day.

Thank you, in advance, for standing on the wall for Houston.

A Prayer Against Hurricane Ike

Father, there is none like You. You are great and Your Name is great in might. Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? This is Your rightful due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like You. We acknowledge You as Lord over the United States. Thank You for blessing our great city. Thank You for Your continued love, grace, and provision.

Using the authority given to us in the Name of Jesus, we speak to Hurricane Ike and we command the winds and storms to dissipate. We command the peace of God to be still within Hurricane Ike and we declare that Ike will not bring harm or devastation to Houston and the surrounding coastal areas.

Lord, we ask You to touch the heart of every believer in this area to pray against this hurricane.

Father, please forgive us for our many sins. Please forgive disobedience, rebellion, unbelief, forms of idolatry, shedding of innocent blood, and the rejection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. God have mercy on the Houston Metropolitan Area.

Lord, help us to overcome our temptations and deliver us from this impending destruction. We ask You to destroy every satanic assignment against us.

Now to You, the King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, to You who alone is wise be honor and glory forever and ever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture References for the Written Text: Jeremiah 10:6-7, Mark 4:39, Matthew 6:13, I Timothy 1:17


For the full story from the weather channel, click here.

Evolutionary Psychology and Political Incorrectness

I found this gem of an article while perusing Psychology Today, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite magazines. I won't reprint the entire thing here, since it is long, but here's the link.

Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature
Why most suicide bombers are Muslim, beautiful people have more daughters, humans are naturally polygamous, sexual harassment isn't sexist, and blonds are more attractive.

Alan S. Miller Ph.D., Satoshi Kanazawa Ph.D.

The implications of some of the ideas in this article may seem immoral, contrary to our ideals, or offensive. We state them because they are true, supported by documented scientific evidence. Like it or not, human nature is simply not politically correct.

Glory hallelujah! Finally, somebody is willing to tell truth even if it hurts somebody's feelings.


Men like blond bombshells (and women want to look like them)


Men prefer young women in part because they tend to be healthier than older women....

Men also have a universal preference for women with a low waist-to-hip ratio. They are healthier and more fertile than other women; they have an easier time conceiving a child and do so at earlier ages because they have larger amounts of essential reproductive hormones....

Harvard anthropologist Frank Marlowe contends that larger, and hence heavier, breasts sag more conspicuously with age than do smaller breasts. Thus they make it easier for men to judge a woman's age (and her reproductive value) by sight—suggesting why men find women with large breasts more attractive.

Alternatively, men may prefer women with large breasts for the same reason they prefer women with small waists. A new study of Polish women shows that women with large breasts and tight waists have the greatest fecundity, indicated by their levels of two reproductive hormones (estradiol and progesterone).

Blond hair is unique in that it changes dramatically with age. Typically, young girls with light blond hair become women with brown hair. Thus, men who prefer to mate with blond women are unconsciously attempting to mate with younger (and hence, on average, healthier and more fecund) women....

Women with blue eyes should not be any different from those with green or brown eyes. Yet preference for blue eyes seems both universal and undeniable—in males as well as females. One explanation is that the human pupil dilates when an individual is exposed to something that she likes. For instance, the pupils of women and infants (but not men) spontaneously dilate when they see babies. Pupil dilation is an honest indicator of interest and attraction. And the size of the pupil is easiest to determine in blue eyes. Blue-eyed people are considered attractive as potential mates because it is easiest to determine whether they are interested in us or not.

The irony is that none of the above is true any longer....Men can cognitively understand that many blond women with firm, large breasts are not actually 15 years old, but they still find them attractive because their evolved psychological mechanisms are fooled by modern inventions that did not exist in the ancestral environment.

This goes against everything that the femi-nazi PC police want you to believe, but it is entirely accurate.

Humans are naturally polygamous

The history of western civilization aside, humans are naturally polygamous. Polyandry (a marriage of one woman to many men) is very rare, but polygyny (the marriage of one man to many women) is widely practiced in human societies, even though Judeo-Christian traditions hold that monogamy is the only natural form of marriage. We know that humans have been polygynous throughout most of history because men are taller than women.

Among primate and nonprimate species, the degree of polygyny highly correlates with the degree to which males of a species are larger than females. The more polygynous the species, the greater the size disparity between the sexes....

Relative to monogamy, polygyny creates greater fitness variance (the distance between the "winners" and the "losers" in the reproductive game) among males than among females because it allows a few males to monopolize all the females in the group. The greater fitness variance among males creates greater pressure for men to compete with each other for mates. Only big and tall males can win mating opportunities. Among pair-bonding species like humans, in which males and females stay together to raise their children, females also prefer to mate with big and tall males because they can provide better physical protection against predators and other males.

In societies where rich men are much richer than poor men, women (and their children) are better off sharing the few wealthy men; one-half, one-quarter, or even one-tenth of a wealthy man is still better than an entire poor man....

Gawd's perfect plan involves polygyny...hmmm. We won't even mention the thousands of biblical instances since we already know that they just make shit up at random.

Most women benefit from polygyny, while most men benefit from monogamy


When there is resource inequality among men—the case in every human society—most women benefit from polygyny: women can share a wealthy man. Under monogamy, they are stuck with marrying a poorer man.

The only exceptions are extremely desirable women. Under monogamy, they can monopolize the wealthiest men...However, the situation is exactly opposite for men.

Take that, every person who's ever criticized us for stating that being pretty is evolutionary advantageous. After all, what do we know?

Most suicide bombers are Muslim


According to the Oxford University sociologist Diego Gambetta, editor of Making Sense of Suicide Missions, a comprehensive history of this troubling yet topical phenomenon, while suicide missions are not always religiously motivated, when religion is involved, it is always Muslim....

The surprising answer from the evolutionary psychological perspective is that Muslim suicide bombing may have nothing to do with Islam or the Koran (except for two lines in it). It may have nothing to do with the religion, politics, the culture, the race, the ethnicity, the language, or the region. As with everything else from this perspective, it may have a lot to do with sex, or, in this case, the absence of sex....

The other key ingredient is the promise of 72 virgins waiting in heaven for any martyr in Islam. The prospect of exclusive access to virgins may not be so appealing to anyone who has even one mate on earth, which strict monogamy virtually guarantees. However, the prospect is quite appealing to anyone who faces the bleak reality on earth of being a complete reproductive loser.

I love this guy. Seriously. Can he confirm everything that I already thought was true?

Having sons reduces the likelihood of divorce


The continued presence of (and investment by) the father is therefore important for the son, but not as crucial for the daughter. The presence of sons thus deters divorce and departure of the father from the family more than the presence of daughters, and this effect tends to be stronger among wealthy families.

I was about to say that one didn't work in my case, since I am divorced and have 3 sons, but thankfully he added the "wealthy families" part. *pshew*

Beautiful people have more daughters


(The biological mechanism by which this occurs is not yet understood.)

Yeah--where are my daughters? Although, it's probably better for me to have boys. Mothers tend to pass on their body image issues to their daughters, and that would not be good.

The midlife crisis is a myth—sort of


Many believe that men go through a midlife crisis when they are in middle age. Not quite. Many middle-aged men do go through midlife crises, but it's not because they are middle-aged. It's because their wives are.

Geez...we women are the masters of our own destruction...

It's natural for politicians to risk everything for an affair (but only if they're male)

Let's Bill Clinton off the hook...and the countless other philandering leaders throughout history.

Men sexually harass women because they are not sexist


An unfortunate consequence of the ever-growing number of women joining the labor force and working side by side with men is the increasing number of sexual harassment cases. Why must sexual harassment be a necessary consequence of the sexual integration of the workplace?

Psychologist Kingsley R. Browne identifies two types of sexual harassment cases: the quid pro quo ("You must sleep with me if you want to keep your job or be promoted&quotEye-wink and the "hostile environment" (the workplace is deemed too sexualized for workers to feel safe and comfortable). While feminists and social scientists tend to explain sexual harassment in terms of "patriarchy" and other ideologies, Browne locates the ultimate cause of both types of sexual harassment in sex differences in mating strategies.

Studies demonstrate unequivocally that men are far more interested in short-term casual sex than women. In one now-classic study, 75 percent of undergraduate men approached by an attractive female stranger agreed to have sex with her; none of the women approached by an attractive male stranger did. Many men who would not date the stranger nonetheless agreed to have sex with her.

The quid pro quo types of harassment are manifestations of men's greater desire for short-term casual sex and their willingness to use any available means to achieve that goal. Feminists often claim that sexual harassment is "not about sex but about power;" Browne contends it is both—men using power to get sex. "To say that it is only about power makes no more sense than saying that bank robbery is only about guns, not about money."

Sexual harassment cases of the hostile-environment variety result from sex differences in what men and women perceive as "overly sexual" or "hostile" behavior. Many women legitimately complain that they have been subjected to abusive, intimidating, and degrading treatment by their male coworkers. Browne points out that long before women entered the labor force, men subjected each other to such abusive, intimidating, and degrading treatment.

Abuse, intimidation, and degradation are all part of men's repertoire of tactics employed in competitive situations. In other words, men are not treating women differently from men—the definition of discrimination, under which sexual harassment legally falls—but the opposite: Men harass women precisely because they are not discriminating between men and women.

I quoted that whole section because it the most difficult one to wrap my head around. I find that fascinating and I venture to guess that most have not considered it from that angle. Of course, men still need to learn how to behave in the work environment, but at least the concept of a man's brain being taken over by his penis is still undeniably true. Sticking out tongue


Psychology Today Magazine, Jul/Aug 2007 Last Reviewed 20 Sep 2007 Article ID: 4359


Sapient and Explorologist reach a settlement agreement

Sapient and Explorologist Settle Lawsuit

Explorologist Ltd. and an online critic have settled their legal battle over a YouTube video challenging Uri Geller's claims about his mental powers.

EFF and Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, LLP, represent Brian Sapient, who uploaded an excerpt from a documentary that critiqued Geller's performances and abilities to YouTube. Explorologist claimed the clip infringed its copyrights. More information about the case is available here.  Here is a previous post from Sapient on the court case.

The agreement should allow the healthy debate about the existence of 'supernatural powers' to continue without interference. As part of the legal settlement, Explorologist has agreed to license the disputed footage under a non-commercial Creative Commons license, preempting future legal battles over the fair use of the material. A monetary settlement was also reached.


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