Archive for October, 2011
Trapse through freethoughtblogscom. The blogs in the right margin of the site will become an ezine of sorts for you.
My previous post touched on a couple of blog posts there. From the most recent Republican debate, Newt Gingrich’s position, which I too heard him say, is troubling. (See previous post).
I was nspired by another freethoughtblog on poetry (relax, I wasn’t inspired to write poetry) that refers to poet Stephen Fry’s urging the poet to arise in all of us, Fry is quoted, “I believe poetry is a primal impulse within us all…”
(This touches on one of my pet inspirations, we all share by inheritance, I think, and from a truly organic source, the evolution that made us human, our our urge to be spiritual. Don’t overlook the fact that this is from a very secular source–200,000 years of evolution AFTER we became anatomically modern humans. The upshot: believer or non, our spiritual need/longing/quest comes from the same secular source–our long, tribal past–200,000 years without science or knowledge–only belief. In the absence of knowledge, humans did what it was that they could control–they believed.)
I think Fry’s primal source of poetry is that urge from within for spiritual achievement. To obtain… To reach… Even to become… We’ve let religions fill in the blank. To become what ______?
Though we must deal with the institutions of religion to take our spirituality back, it is worth it. Why? Our psychological well being is at stake. We could take an example from the New Agers. They found the existing religions to fall short. To be inadequate or no longer relevant. And they did something about it.
Well, we are doing something about it, too. The rising chorus of our millions of voices. Our new activism, our new visibility. Our dialogue with each other and society and those religions.
That all points toward our goals and it can have some hidden “spiritual” goals, too. In this empowerment, this self-actualization our spritual goals are embedded. We achieve some fulfillment as we gather for community like at the AAA/Texas Freethought Convention, like the upcoming Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Conference in New Orleans.
It is so easy to become negative. We negate religious belief. We can fall into the habit of negating society and everything else. After all, a number of believers perpetually negate us. Just as belief had previously done, we jump to conclusions. We fall into the trap of our primate brains, our believing machines as Michael Shirmer terms them.
Don’t forget the positives. Be open to life affirming things as well. Look at all our new liberator–the internet– has done for us. It’s truly revolutionary. Celebrate! Reach out. Blog.
If you like the flow of different ideas steadily washing over your mind, there’s freethoughtblogs.com. Several blog posts of interest were That Allegedly Liberal Media on a Pew study of positive vs. negative media reports on presidential candidates.
The Newt Gingrich article was of special interest as I saw him in the last Republican debate make some rather inane observations. “Does faith matter? Absolutely.” Gingrich said. “How can I trust you with power if you don’t pray?” As this article points out, and I was so stunned to hear, Gingrich said that Americans should value religion first, above morality and knowledge.
This ties into related posts I’ve made about that radical connection from deep within our evolutionary (which is now deep within or gene) of GODANDCOUNTRY. I’ll leave those arguments for the other posts. I’ll let Herb Silverman (Secular Coalition for America) have the last word on this topic, “We may be the last minority against whom intolerance and discrimination are not only permitted, but also sometimes promoted by politicians.”
It was good to be there. I enjoyed seeing Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Sad to see Christopher looking frail, but very glad he made it out. He hasn’t made a personal appearance in a while due to his pancreatic cancer.
The banquet was packed and the crowd was attuned to the night’s business: Richard Dawkin’s presentation, on behalf of his foundation, of the Humanist of the Year award to Hitch. There were at least a half dozen standing ovations in recognition of Hitchens’ contributions and his effort to persevere in the cause as well as his shear pluck to go on.
The presenters were all top notch. I would highly recommend the convention, though I can’t imagine how they could top this year’s event. I was torn more than once as to which lecture to attend when there was more than one.
It’s surprising at first that these lectures and presentations are directed at issues we all have. Here in the wilderness, we’re accustomed to there being nothing that’s on topic, no consideration of our issues or wishes, no acknowledgement that we exist. (Granted that’s better than being pointed out and dragged off to be burnt at the stake.) So a whole lecture, germain & to the point, it’s heaven if you don’t push the analogy too far.
The presenters had multiple purposes for being there. Most have published books, the newest being on display in the convention’s bookstore (The bookstore graciously afforded me equal display space to start advanced publicity for Post Script to a Christian Nation.). Though we all had issues in common, some led the way for their special issue. For instance, Barbara Taylor is battling creationism in the public schools in her state, Louisiana.
I connected with the convention’s book store for half a dozen items, books, DVDs. We are a community by our issues; we have similar, but different interests. Some of the ones I like to pursue I’ve mentioned in this blog. I’m interested in the philosophical implications of all sciences for humankind. I’m especially interested in paleo-anthropology, evolutionary psychology and the study of how we evolved religion. Beyond that starting point, is that somewhat difficult to define “spirituality” that we all seem to have is not only a nurturable aspect of the human spirit, but is better for each and everyone of us to nurture it with our highest aspirations.
I reserve a special place, also, on this blog, for any who want to share how they came to freethought, humanism or atheism. So, again, you are welcome to share, to bear witness to your journey, the journey of the Doubtful Sojourner.
Oct. 7, 2011
Good Morning Houston!
I’m here pouring over the schedule to cram everthing I can into the day. The book store is one of my favorite spots. So much intellectual prowess; it’s fun to swim around all these great titles.
After the intros by Nick Lee and “Brother” Richard Haynes, PZ Myers started us off with an explanation of why gene mutation isn’t always bad–as creationists characterize it–showing that some beneficial genetic changes can improve the indivisual/species.
I’m off to see what’s next. Come on.