Friday, December 21, 2012

The War Against Atheism

One of the best parts about being an atheist is how low-key it is. I get to go about my day to day business without a single atheist based thought, listening to my jams and working on some Family Guy/Resident evil fan fiction without a care in the world. Then I head to the store to buy some more pulp less OJ, because I am not a filthy animal, when I see something like this...

Wait, what?

...and my brain resets. Atheists have their billboards too, simple things like reminding people that it's okay not to believe, they might even go so far as to call religion out for having been harmful or unnecessary, but they never threaten open revolt. Those of you who have been reading my atheist stuff for a while should remember that I belong to the school of thought that believes that there is plenty of room in our culture for religion, just so long as that religion doesn't try to inappropriately try to influence the government or actively try to ruin people's lives (I'm a big fan of reminding everyone that the Catholic church still hasn't done enough to stop kid fucking in their system). I think that's a balanced and even tone for an atheist, even most of my posts on here are just a lame attempt to explain something about us atheists to people who might not understand. There's no hatred here, I honestly don't care what you believe as long as you're not being a dick about it.

So, where does all this hatred come from? Why do some believers hate us so much? Some atheists seem to believe that the basis of that hatred is fear, just like Yoda says, that the fact that there is a group of productive and happy people who openly defy the will of their god undermines the belief that you need faith to be happy and productive. I don't know about that, but the things said about atheists are sometimes so silly that it's hard to even answer them, never mind taking someone who says this stuff seriously.

Atheists, according to Fox News.

But who honestly believes that atheists are actively trying to murder your children? Turns out, plenty of people. Thomas Aquinas called unbelief the "greatest of sins", and the rhetoric has only gone up from there. Since time immemorial, atheists have been ostracized, tortured, and murdered simply for not believing. It's been done by a lot of religions with a lot of excuses, but it all comes down to the same thing, the believer's complete inability to empathize or understand why somebody would disagree with them. Here's an excellent example of how completely without reason their line of thinking is: 

Seems legit. 

Stare at that for a second. We have a bald and angry man, chosen for the emotional response one gets while staring into his over-ham exposed face, and an interesting attempt at logic to show why being an atheist is stupid. You see, every atheist obviously hates god because they don't believe in him. Wait, maybe they don't believe in him because they hate him. See, being an atheist is silly.

Atheism is the first world view. You are born completely without understanding or knowledge, reliant upon your parents and your culture to imprint on you a world view. Every child is exposed to the religion of their parents and then grows up believing what they were told as a child, and some people seem to act like if you disagree with their religion, you're calling their parents morons (which, considering the number of morons on this planet, might actually be true).

And don't even get me started on the 'War on Christmas'. Saying there's a war on Christmas when it's already an eight week long economy masturbator and stolen collection of pagan rituals is borderline idiocy.

Somebody already got me started

So, sometimes we get mad. Sometimes we fight back. And yet, when we do that, we play right into the hands of the pundits and they continue to paint us as terrorists and feminist promoters (I cannot underline enough how completely out of touch with reason some of these people are), they like to call us Nazis despite the fact that nobody takes the Nazi insult seriously and that Hitler was an open Catholic with support from the church. 


Sure, sometimes a teenager will sue her school because of a bible verse located in the gymnasium after she asks nicely and they ignore her. I can see why this would piss off people (I can't see why this would piss off people), but the response was pages of death threats and insults to her social media accounts. Once again, she did something completely legal and protected by her constitutional rights, then many god fearing Americans decided to insult, threaten, and vilify a harmless teenager. You know, God's work.

And that's why were here. That's why I give a shit. Because there aren't any atheist groups threatening the lives of teenagers for any reason. So does that make me an atheist soldier? I don't know. But do I have a handful of jokes I tell on stage and a blog where I try to help us all get along? Absolutely. And if that makes me evil, maybe being evil isn't so bad after all.

We have cookies. Lots of cookies. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What is an Atheist?

An atheist is someone that lacks faith, someone who doesn't believe in something that other people do. When you have faith, you have confidence that something is true, you rely on it and expect things to happen the way you believe that it will. You have confidence in these things and your ethics, life choices, and daily habits are all influenced by this thing that you feel to be true. But all of these things are tied up into emotion, and emotion, as any tantrum throwing child could tell you, doesn't do much to change reality.

An atheist lacks these feelings. But can we label someone based on their lack of an emotion? To be fair, there are a lot of links in any search engine where a theist will attempt to justify that faith is not an emotion, however the root of the word lies in Latin where it essentially means 'to trust', and trust is not based in reality any more than the promises of all of the ex-girlfriends that I used to have faith in. The label itself is fairly silly, but it we use it because it simplifies conversation and, at heart, primates are pretty lazy.

But what about the middle ground, can I be agnostic?

Sure, agnosticism is about knowledge. Faith is a light switch, you either have the feelings or you don't, there is no middle ground, but most people are agnostic because not knowing everything is pretty normal in our corner of the universe. There are even Gnostic Christians around, people who assert that they have evidence of God based upon the facts found in his writings, my father is one of them, but most Christians rely on faith and not knowledge because metaphor is a lot more flexible than trying to defend the biblical assertion that the bat is a bird (Leviticus 11:13-19) or any of the other inaccuracies that keep the Bible from being taken seriously as a scientific source.

A lot of intelligent scientists and atheists have labelled themselves as agnostics because they are educated enough to know the difference between the two words, but they are still atheists in that they lack faith. As a matter of fact, I would suggest to you that even considering yourself an agnostic (by the normal usage of the word) means that you lack enough faith to be counted amongst the faithful, so you automatically fall in with the rest of us. The problem here is one of perspective, people have a tendency to simplify thoughts that they don't entirely understand, so agnosticism as been thrown out there as a middle ground between those that believe and everybody else when, in reality, it's another thing entirely.

Do atheists have faith?

Pictured: a gross over-simplification of something that most of us don't entirely understand. Not faith.

In the beginning there was something, probably, and then something happened, we think. It seems to make sense that since we're here now that something had to cause that, and our species has collectively done a lot of work to get as much information as possible as to where we all came from, but we can only go back so far before the laws of physics break down and we aren't exactly sure what happened before that. This isn't faith because it has nuance and changes with facts, even the theories about the history of reality before that aren't considered faith because nobody believes in them. Faith is what you rely on when you don't know something, even if that feeling itself is so strong that you have certainty, it's origin are based in something else entirely. And this is why atheists are always asking for evidence, because in the absence of our shared emotion, the only thing we have to share is something tangible that might change the facts that we have accumulated about the world. Faith can be learned, it can be instilled, it can be challenged, but it is mostly used to fill in the gaps of things that cannot be known for sure, because it is disconcerting to admit that we just don't know something.

So, what is an atheist? Well, I'm an atheist, and so is everyone else who isn't born with the feelings of God (protip: everybody that has ever been born) that is, until someone convinces them otherwise. Atheism makes no claims, has no rules, is not an organization (although a branch of us are becoming a lot more organized), and accepts as default everyone who doesn't claim a specific faith. So that's what an atheist is, just somebody who doesn't feel the same way that you do. Funny how it's such a big thing.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Interview with Us Dudes Like Things

I was interviewed! Atheist talk starts at 16:30 and pretty much goes the rest of the way....

Watch it here!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Are atheists afraid of death?

It's happened to all of us. You're casually driving along on a beautiful, sunny afternoon, enjoying the fresh air and singing along to the music. The light turns green and you start through the intersection. Suddenly, a scream of tires and brakes rips you from your tranquil mood. You look to the left and directly into the terrified eyes of a teenager who was too distracted to notice his light had changed until it was too late. Somehow he misses you and you pull over. You can feel the adrenaline flood your system, your hands start to shake as you pull out your cell phone and call somebody.

Over the next few days you realize what a boring story this is. At first people seem to care because it just happened and you're still close enough to it to sound excited, but sooner or later the novelty wears off. You lose a few nights of sleep over it, but eventually everything goes back to normal.

Or maybe he hits you. In some cases you wake up in a hospital, maybe somebody who was in the car with you doesn't ever wake up again.

I wasn't speeding officer, I promise.

 Or maybe you're the teenager, I was. I just wasn't paying attention. I misjudged how fast somebody was coming down the road and pulled my station wagon out right in front of them. The driver of the other vehicle left a long streak of tire marks when he somehow expertly dodged around me at 60mph and continued on down the road. I pulled off to the side of the road completely terrified. This misjudgment changed my perspective long enough for me shift everything I was doing and to quickly propose to my first wife. I had looked into the abyss, peacefully waiting to embrace me for eternity, and I was afraid. Life is too short, I thought, anything could happen.

It is natural for life to decay, age, and expire. There are billions of organisms living on your skin and inside your organs as you're reading this. They live, feed, breed, and die constantly. Without them you wouldn't be healthy, but they are effectively invisible and an individual lifeform passing means nothing to you. Why should it?

Over 16,000 children die from hunger every single day. You don't have enough capacity in your heart to care about this. It's horrible and, if some commercial on televisions forces you to watch a kid with emaciated fingers pawing at a crust of bread, they might guilt you into giving them some money, but you can't wander the planet all day counting a new dead child every 1.5 seconds, you would rightfully go mad before dinner. But it matters, doesn't it?

If someone you care deeply about passes, your life is shattered, sometimes forever. One of my grandmothers woke up to a corpse one morning and never got married again. She's slowly losing her mind, but somewhere inside of her are the memories. Sometimes she calls me by his name.

I know it's taken me a long time to get to the point. I'm only 34, but one of my friends recently had her first heart attack, and two weeks ago my 88 year old grandfather fell nine feet off of a ladder and may never have complete use of his arm again. He served in the Navy in WWII, owned and operated a brick company with his brothers and father. He was always a tough guy and yesterday somebody and to stop by the house to give him a sponge bath, and it made him tired. There are no more ladders in his life, but he lost his father and brothers years ago. 

So are atheists afraid of death? They tell me that there are no atheists in foxholes, easily proved wrong when you talk to atheist soldiers, but it's something that gets thrown at us a lot.


Sometimes when you're talking to the faithful on twitter, they like to vomit out the "You'll change your mind on your deathbed, you just wait", like I haven't already tasted it before. Last year I went to the ER at the end of a three hour asthma attack. As the team of highly trained professionals worked on me, there was one no-nonsense nurse with a Nebulizer calmly reassuring me that I just needed to slow down and breathe, but I couldn't. I couldn't breathe. If you haven't had a severe asthma attack, I wouldn't recommend it. My attention was flitting from trying to slow down my breathing, to the calm eyes of my nurse, to the terrified eyes of my girlfriend who I dragged out of bed too damn early in the morning. She had wanted me to wait for her to finish putting on makeup. I yelled at her and she finally took me seriously. I found out later that she thought I was faking, there's a lot of reasons we're not together anymore, but in that moment the scariest thing to me wasn't dying, it was that our last conversation was going to be me yelling at her about her stupid makeup. I wanted her to know that I loved her, that everything would be okay. My self defense mechanisms are sarcasm and humor, neither of which work when half your face is obscured and there's an ER doctor stoically checking your oxygen levels. A small eternity later we got out of the danger zone and everybody started to relax. I felt the tension leave the room at the exact same rate as that my breath started to come back. Afterwards the doctor told me that in ten more minutes I would have stopped breathing altogether. Just another day in the ER.

I use one of these now, so I'm basically almost Darth Vader

My health issues contributed to the dissolution of my relationship which led to me currently living in a tiny basement apartment and writing this for you on the back of a cardboard box. But you know what I never thought about once? God. At no time during any of it did I pray or beg for something to rescue me. The calm in the center of my mind was positive that even if I had passed out they had other means to rescue me, I still don't know if this is true or not, but I was more focused on the strong voice of my nurse, the confidence in the stance of my doctor, and the fear in the eyes of my love, to waste time thinking about something miraculous happening. And when it was done, the doctor wanted me to stay for observation but we had a party to host in a few hours, I thanked everybody and we went home. I slept through most of the party.

I can't speak for all atheists when I say that I'm not afraid of death. I have a myriad of chronic health issues and have had my share of depressive episodes and near suicides, but I do know one thing: We don't talk about death. Not ever. There are a lot of clever quotes from atheists about death, but at no point does a group of us normally bring up the subject. Death exists, it is a normal part of the cycle, but it is just one part. Atheists believe that life is all that we have, that the feelings of the dead are the same as the feelings of those that are not yet born. We don't hold rituals where we drink the blood of a god to cleanse us for the afterlife, we don't wear magic underwear or promise each other virgins (overrated!) when we die, and we certainly don't martyr ourselves in the belief that an eternity of heaven awaits us. From our perspective, everyone else seems to be obsessed with death, but when our number is finally up, I think most of us would rather have lived a full life than fear what happens after.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Does science require faith?

Last week a picture was circulated around my neighborhood of Facebook.

This one right here.

It immediately spawned two conversations with believers and I, of course, gleefully joined in the fun. Both discussions were interesting in their own way, I do love a good argument, but one of them really stuck with me because it underlined one of the many difficulties people have when discussing science and religion, and that problem is language.
It started out simple, we were having a discussion about whether or not there was evidence for souls (protip: there isn’t), when this guy popped in:

That's right, his contribution to the discussion on creation science, neurology, quantum physics,and souls, is "We may not be able to prove anything, but you don't know anything either". Now, as is typical of Internet arguments, everyone stopped the interesting argument we were having to engage the new guy. We all tried our own tactics of logic and reason, an atheists favorite game, but it didn't go anywhere. We tried explaining the difference between blind faith and verifiable evidence...

Wait, wat?
And here is where we run into a little problem that the English language has created for us. This gentleman is someone I've known casually for a few years. He's not an idiot, but he's clearly not highly educated either. He was surrounded on all sides with researched and practiced atheists, and in these things everybody just wants to be right, so all he was left with was something that he felt couldn't be disproved: the only things that we truly have evidence for are the things that we ourselves have experienced, all the rest requires an element of faith, thus, faith is both normal and prudent. 

But that isn't what faith is at all. There is a difference between faith and reasonable belief, and all real science is based upon reasonable belief. He goes further to say that he WOULD listen to us, but he doesn't have to because none of us are scientists. 

Notice that someone 'liked' this. That's when I knew we had a problem.
When I leave to start my car in the morning, it's not faith that I have walking out the front door. I know barely anything about the mechanics of my vehicle, but I have a reasonable belief that everything is in working order and enough rudimentary knowledge of the physics behind it to expect it to continue functioning. The difference between myself and a mechanic or engineer who designs motor vehicles is collected knowledge and experience. If I do know something about how a car works, let's say the car battery, it is not considered invalid information just because I can't explain the rest of the car. And even the engineer herself didn't start off at the beginning, she jumped into a career where people were already building and designing cars, learned everything she had to, and started working in the field where she continued her education.She doesn't have to know how to make car paint, just how to apply that knowledge. There is just too much information for one person to know everything. Science works the same way.

A final parting shot from our antagonist...

So now, not only are we uneducated, but all of our knowledge that he doesn't understand was acquired through science fiction as opposed to valid sources. Not only this, but he raises the stakes. Now we have to prove Evolution (This has already been done, just speak to the nearest biologist or use google if you have any questions), disprove souls (It's impossible to disprove something that doesn't exist, which only underlines how we've been wasting our time here), and become brilliant scientists with MANY accolades. That's right, unless Neil deGrasse Tyson himself wonders into this conversation, golden boy refuses to listen to anything we say. 

I think I'll let someone else have the last word about this conversation...

I try to stay away from direct insults, but that doesn't mean I don't agree with them.

And it all comes down to our antagonist's understanding of what the word 'faith' means. Faith is a belief not based on truth. It is not faith to believe that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow, that is an expected occurrence. To burden 'faith' with every nuance of "things that are believed" is to make the word lose all meaning. There is also a misunderstanding of how scientists use the word 'theory' and how the rest of us do. In science a theory is a highly tested hypothesis, so even things we consider facts like gravity are always considered theories. When your typical person uses the word theory, they mean some idea they've just had, and it is easy for those uneducated in scientific terminology to confuse the definitions. This ignorance is frequently exploited by the Intelligent Design crowd who like to cast doubt on evolution because it is considered a theory, highly tested and verifiable as that might mean, and your average citizen has no idea that there's any difference.

Well, now you do. To be clear, science is not a construction of faith because there are people testing it for weak spots every single day. It is stretching the definition of faith to say that my knowledge in science is based on faith because I myself am not a scientist. I hope that clears everything up, although I doubt it will for our friend here, because I don't have many accolades. Yet.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why people make fun of religion.

A lot of people like to make fun of religion and religious people do not like that AT ALL. But why not? After all, every single religion operates in the closed minded belief that they are the only ones who actually know the real truth, and that the rest of us are misguided fools or stupendously ignorant. If you acted like this for any other reason people would never take you seriously, but faith wants to be respected and I just won't go along with that.

Many people take these attacks personally, like they are somehow representative of their entire faith. It's not that, it's just that there are too many things that beg to be mocked. As a comedian, I love picking apart things, and religion is always a fun subject. Following are three of the reasons I can currently think of that make it okay to mock religion.

1.) The Pope
Where would Jesus sit?

Somewhere on this planet is an old man sitting on a golden throne making decisions that influence the lives of millions of people. He is not beholden to any governmental body, he's elected for life, and he has followers in leadership positions across the globe. His organization is repeatedly in trouble for molesting children all over he damn place and then covering it up afterwards. Nobody knows how many people have left the church over this issue but, the more it happens, the more I wonder why the true faithful haven't cast down their leadership and replaced them with people who don't allow children's lives to be ruined. If any other organization other than a church did this kind of thing this often, this widespread, the entire world would shun them.

And let's not forget how many lives are forced into this world because the Catholic church refuses to allow their members to do any family planning. The world is over populated in many places, poor people are burdened with extra mouths they cannot feed, and the best defense against Aids in Africa is thrown right out the door because the Pope thinks that condoms are somehow the work of Satan.

And please note I'm not even remotely touching on anything that happened before I was born. History is full of examples where the Catholic faith was responsible for horrendous deeds.

You are always allowed to make fun of the Pope until he sells everything he owns to feed the poor, just like Jesus told him to.

2.) Hypocrisy

There's only one rule.

Long time readers know that I started my own satirical Facebook page specifically to make fun of this one thing. The amount of hypocrisy in the world is appalling. Every single time I see someone like Newt Gingrich talk about family values when he has three overlapping marriages, I want to throw my television out the window. And I have a large television and very small windows. We all know by now that the louder someone yells about gay people, the less we have to wait for them to get caught with a gay prostitute. And it doesn't end with people who claim to love you so much they want to beat the crap out of you for being different either. Here in the U.S. there is a direct correlation to how religious the state is to how racist it is. Politicians and other idiots will gladly speak both hate and religion in the same paragraph, all with a nice little "God Bless You" to tie it together.

This behavior is most common when I get into discussions online with the faithful. Even the smallest disagreement, or sometimes even a question, is frequently met with open hostility and rage. If, for instance, I point out that the same books in the bible that dictate our sexual behaviors also tell us that we aren't allowed to shave, wear mixed fabrics, AND give us rules for selling our daughters into slavery, so maybe they aren't the best standard for modern behavior, I am frequently met with a stubborn insistence that I should just shut up instead of challenging their belief that gay people are evil.

Occasionally someone will blow up an abortion clinic, killing plenty innocent people, most who are there for regular medicinal stuff, and they still have the audacity to do it in the name of the 'Pro-lifers'. As a matter of fact, the Pro-life movement pays the smallest amount of lip-service to calling these psychos the terrorists that they are. Go to ANY comment section where religion is discussed and you'll see countless examples of open hatred towards people who just believe differently. This is not only hypocrisy, but scary.

And, let me set this straight, you are always allowed to mock people who say one thing then do the opposite. If you establish a rule, you must follow it. If you claim to love all creatures and then slap someone in the face, you deserve everything people decide to say about you. Especially if it upsets you.

3.) Logic

Sure, whatever.

In most countries, the faithful far outnumber the rest of us. For thousands of years we've been forced to quietly acquiesce to the will and opinions of the mob. Even last night, the President of the United States ended his speech asking God to bless us and to bless America. Despite the fact that almost no Christian in this country behaves as the Bible tells them to, you don't have to live here more than two hours before you run into the influence that these people have on our society. And, while most of the faithful of all religions are nice and decent people, it's the violent thugs that tend to be the loudest and most willing to decide things for you. Since this is an election year, I get to hear a major presidential candidate cry out against the application of sharia law in the exact same conversation that he insists that we use his religion as the basis for law.

Logic and reasoned thought are the enemy of religion. It is actually the policy of most Intelligent Design 'Scientific' communities to automatically reject any evidence that disagrees with what they already believe. If we ever have the technology to build a wormhole to send probes back into the past to visually record dinosaurs 73 millions years ago, if these people are still alive the first words out of their mouths will be that the entire thing is fake. You could send them there and they would accuse you of drugging them. There is no way to get through to people who have made up their mind and refuse to listen to you.

Eventually you get tired of foolishly trying to reason with the unreasonable, but you still have to deal with them every single day, so how do you deal with this? Well, if you're like most of us, you just make fun of them. Everybody else who secretly agrees with you gets a laugh and when the target of your mockery gets upset, at least you got a laugh out of it. It's just that simple. I'm not trying to make fun of your faith, I'm sure you're a friendly person who feels guilty for not calling their mother every week and tries real hard not to beat your children, just like the rest of us, but the next time you see something on the internet mocking your faith, please remember that's it not target at the normal people. It's for the douchebags who reduced us to this.

Shocking, I know.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why are atheists so smug?

Atheists get called a lot of things, but arrogant and smug are two of the most common. I get where you're coming from by asking, the New Atheist movement has no problem shoving their opinions in everyone's face and, when you watch videos of Dawkins or Hitchens casually dismissing away thousands of years of belief as superstition, it doesn't sit well with the average believer who has built their life on a foundation of ritual and faith. There are also innumerable Facebook groups created seemingly only for the reason of mocking faith, and the condescending attitude that we atheists cam have towards the faithful can be downright infuriating to those who don't understand us.

So, in the interest of creating a greater understanding, here are a few of the reasons why I believe we atheists can be such dickbags when it comes to dealing with people who don't see the world like we do.

1.) Santa Claus

This is how you teach your children not to trust everything you tell them.

This first one is going to require a little bit of imagination on your part. Now, I understand that it's easy to get defensive about what you believe, but if you're really curious about what makes us tick, try to keep it bottled up and ignore the imperfections in the analogy.

Imagine, if you will, a world in which almost everyone you knew never stopped believing in Santa Claus. When you drove to work, there would be posters of him everywhere, and his message of secretly watching you and your behavior for an upcoming judgement day would just casually slip out of the mouth of nearly everybody, from newscasters to politicians everyone believes in Santa.

But here's the thing, you don't. Now, for the most part you can just ignore it, after all, what harm does it really do? But then you start noticing that an uncommonly large amount of daily discussion has to do with this mythical creature. You turn on the news and there's wars overseas over the names of his reindeer or what color he is. Santa's rules for who is naughty or nice seem kind of arbitrary or common sense, but people will straight up punch you in the face if you disagree with them.

Most of the time you keep your mouth shut, but eventually everything just seems so silly. We've been to the North Pole, there's no sweatshop full of elves making toys. When you mention that at a family dinner, your mother tells you that parents buy the toys themselves and are happy to assist in Santa's good work. You want your mother to see the truth, but when you try to have a nice, logical discussion about it she clams up and you can see the disappointment in her eyes. Clearly she agrees with the community that if you don't believe that Santa is watching you every minute, there's no reason for you NOT to go on a murderous rape rampage any day.

I know that sounds silly, but that's pretty close to the world that we live in. You might believe in God, you might not, but if you don't there is absolutely no way to talk about the subject without sounding like you know something everybody else doesn't, because that is exactly the way that you view the world. And when only one out of ten people agree with you, it can get very frustrating.


I think I can see my genome from here!

Humans like to codify their existence. We've always enjoyed naming and then grouping things together, and there are few arguments more intense than over the minutia that separates two very similar things, thoughts, or ideas. We've been noticing patterns in reality for thousands of years and this has led to every single modern advancement, be it beer, cellphones, eyeglasses, or even the Internet you're using to read this. This conversation amongst ourselves has involved every single type of person, religious creed, sex, or nationality that wanted to get involved. It isn't owned by anybody and the advancement of knowledge could arguably be considered one of the best pursuits of our time on this planet. Science isn't a religion, it's the way of the human species. It's how we've grown and evolved from wandering groups of barbaric tribes to civilizations with robots in space.

That being said, a lot of the war about religion takes place here and, while it's true that a lot of scientists are also atheists, it is not an atheist endeavor; there are many people of many faiths involved in the process and if you are ever interested in any aspect of it, the information is practically free for you to discover. The more you know about science, the more amazing the world around us is. So it seems strange to me that this is where the battles are most frequently waged, and the people with decades of experience, knowledge, and training, are somehow given less weight in the discussion when it happens in the public. If you watch a talk show about psychics there are going to be three or four charlatans well versed in duping the crowd, and exactly one person who everyone despises who will try to politely discuss how psychics work and nobody will listen to him. A politician can casually dismiss millions of man-hours of dedicated research, laboratory testing, and heated discussion hammering out theories that stand up to reality, many of them completed by people who believe exactly what he does, and the audience will actually cheer him for it.

Let's pause on that for a second.

There is no other occupation that I know of where the smartest people in the room are considered the least qualified people to listen to. Here in America over 50% of the GOP think biologists are full of garbage. Even the Catholic Church admits that evolution is true, and we even have evidence of it, but that doesn't stop the faithful for dismissing the greatest achievements of human intelligence because it's too complicated for the uneducated to understand. People would instead rather trust the man behind the pulpit (not the molester, we have a new one) who tells them differently because of something he read in a book once. Apparently it's easier to believe that thousands of the smartest people in the entire world are somehow trying to scam the rest of us because, profit? I'm not sure how it works, but that seems to be the discussion.

So, how do you talk to talk to someone who doesn't even believe in reality without sounding smug? I don't know, but it's difficult.

3.) Revenge. 

This is why we get angry.

 I'm going to be perfectly frank here: religion is about control. That's not necessarily a bad thing, parents have to watch their children, but unchecked authority rarely turns out well for the people involved. The list of crimes against religion are legion, and they are still happening every single day.
Is it really arrogant to tell the same group of people who used to burn herbalists for being witches that it's superstition that makes them believe that a woman who owns a cat she so doesn't get the plague must be using the powers of Satan? Sure we don't believe that anymore, because of science, but when the conversation is brought into something that matters today, like who has permission to get married, the arguments against it are unscientific and superstitious. Sure the Bible suggests that we should kill gay people, but there are also a ton of verses that equate women to property, and we're mostly smart enough not to take those seriously anymore. You also aren't allowed to shave or wear mixed fibers in your clothing, but nobody marches in the street over those issues.

Atheists and nonbelievers have been treated badly for thousands of years, almost worse than people tend to treat the heretics of a different (read: almost identical) faith. Now that we understand enough of the universe to be able to close many of the gaps in human knowledge, the conversation and deference to power have started to shift. New Atheists like myself aren't against you or even what we consider to be your quaint and harmless rituals and sacrifices, but when religion is still trying to control us when we know better, the conversation easily takes on a new and different flavor.

If you've been grinding someone's face in the dirt for untold centuries you shouldn't complain when they start to fight back. And now, mostly thanks to the internet and free information, the numbers of nonbelievers are increasing every day. We don't try to actively convert most of them, all it takes is a simple internet search and everything that your religious leaders don't want you to know is right in front of you.

And it's not smug to point at things if you're the only one who has their eyes open.

Monday, January 9, 2012

4 ways to meet your lover.

These are some of the strategies I've implemented in my quest for past relationships. These experiences are all drawn from my early days. I obviously operate from dumb luck and brass balls.

1.) Naivete

I was cute and innocent too, once. Later: Sharp claws and pissing on things

Who was it?

My first girlfriend was a 19 year old premed student and was hands down one of the most attractive young women this homeschooler had ever seen. She was staying with her family through the summer and got a seasonal job at McDonald's where I was working at when I was 18.


None, I had no clue how to talk to women. The Australian surfer dude and Keanu Reeves wannabe found her to be the only girl who didn't respond to his six pack and accent, so he encouraged the virgin to go after her instead. He did everything to coach me ('Just TALK TO HER YOU IDIOT!!') but I had never even come close to asking a girl out in my life and she eventually just did it herself.

Did it work?

If by 'work', you mean 'chaste kissing' and having a pretty girl sit on my lap for the first time in my life, then yes. Our first date was a coffee at a local restaurant and I won her heart by not caring if she brought her kid sister. We saw each other the rest of the summer.

What happened?

She used to be a Wild Child and had converted to Mormonism after alcoholism and depression had almost led her to killing herself in high school, she believed her new faith had saved her life and it was everything to her. I was still 9/10ths of a Jesus Freak, and her heading back to BYU pressured us into trying to convert each other which led to the relationships demise. There were no hard feelings and I sent her off with the first Teddy Bear I owned as an infant. 

What did I learn?

Damaged sexy women respond well to a healthy dose of chivalry. This being my first relationship, I started the mental femanese dictionary that I still use today. Also: Heartbreak sucks.

  2.) Prayer
The best way to feel like you're contributing without doing a damn thing.

Who was it?

My first wife. She was a nice girl and looked like a giant chipmunk with food stuffed in her cheeks.


Starting when I was aprox. 14 I prayed for my future wife every single day. It wasn't hell or damnation that kept me from pursuing women, but the belief in predestination and that if I even touched another woman it was like cheating on my future spouse. Pretty messed up, I know.

Did it work?

Technically yes. Someone did some matchmaking between the two virgins that they knew and we ended up making out on our first date (a home viewing of the movie, 8 seconds. I still don't know how that movie ends). Our relationship grew stronger after her adopted family (She was raised by her aunt and uncle after her mother was considered too much of an alcoholic and the state of Illinois took her away) and her started fighting and she ran away. I never knew where she was, but the resulting stress  kept us together and we ended up getting married less than a year after dating, two days after she turned 18. Also, we were virgins and had no idea what the hell we were doing. I convinced myself it was God's will and the rest was history.

What happened?

She really wasn't into the whole church thing and it turns out she felt like our domestic lifestyle was stealing her youth and she broke up with me so she could go out partying with her friends. We lost touch almost immediately and the last time I saw her she was with her new family over ten years later with a small swarm of children and an even bigger ass. She looked happy.

What did I learn?

Like the lady said, love just isn't enough. I also learned that sometimes someone will leave you without telling you there's even a problem because they care enough about you to try to work through it, which goes against what they selfishly want to happen. Also, being divorced makes you like 10X more cynical. I also figured out that you can't have premarital sex if you've been divorced already, which lead me to doing a lot of really fun things down the road.

3.) P.R. dept.
This picture will mean something different to you after the following entry.

Who was it?

Before my first wife and I even finalized our divorce I had quit my job, started waiting tables, started smoking, and had an entirely new set of friends. Like most large groups of friends, it was held together by the female relationships and I love me some girlfriends. There are a few stories that fit this model, but I'm going to talk about the one focused on Anal Sex.


I was the sweet young guy who gets his heart broken and armors himself with cynicism, but I have always loved women and make friends with them easily. My personal code of ethics at the time prevented me from sleeping with my friends, but women love to promote the decent guys that they know and I started dating a LOT of my friends' friends.

Did it work?

It still works as a great way to meet people. As a matter of fact, this is my preferred route. It's easier to build up great friendships with people and to casually be introduced to all of their friends than to have to filter out all the assholes yourself. This worked a lot better in my 20's before everybody's friends got married and had kids, but now that I'm in my 30's everybody is getting divorced and finally catching up to me.

What happened?

The best story is the three week relationship with a moody girl who was trying to re-establish her relationship with God so was trying to keep her virginity, so we were only allowed to have anal sex. And we had a lot of anal sex. Quite frankly, those three weeks removed the taboo aspect of it for me so I can pretty much take it or leave it. Also, she was pretty crazy and it just didn't work out.

What did I learn?

How to Anal correctly. No, seriously, that's all I learned from this one. Since then, I've been trusted enough to introduce this into several relationships (it's always been their idea), which only backfired once when one of my ex's discovered she got her most powerful orgasms that way and never stopped shoving her butt in my face. So, there's that.

 4.) Bond, James Bond.

I'll take her shaken AND stirred.

Who was it?

Resident overworked and oversexed Denny's waitress.


Wanting to take control of this whole dating thing, I simply started mimicking the most charming character I had ever seen or read about, James Bond. We have absolutely nothing in common, but you would be amazed at how far eye contact, unshakeable confidence, and a charming sense of humor will get you with the opposite sex. This is my go-to personality when I'm interested in someone and every girlfriend I have ever had will tell you how charming I can be when it suits me.  Gentlemen, this is the answer to the question, 'why does that average looking guy get so many attractive women?'

Did it work?

Fuck yes this works. In this scenario I had just finished working security at the local gay bar for New Years Eve, I think I still had lipstick on my cheeks from all the drag queens who wanted to kiss me that night and I left it on there because why the hell wouldn't you? My best friend and I went to grab a bite and the waittress came up to our table with a quip, I responded in turn and, just like in the movies, skip forward a bit to some of the most amazing sex of all time. Despite the fact that she did this kind of thing whenever she wanted to, later she admitted to sex addiction, the difference between enjoying someone and being invisible is sometimes separated only by your ability to straight up act like a boss.

What did I learn?

That playing with women was more interesting than the RPG group I used to hang out with. This was before WOW took all of my nerdy friends away and we had to meet in person to nerd out. Boobs just happen to be a lot more interesting in person than dice and Orcs. I also learned that adults can sexually explore each other without being emotionally attached, which incidentally led to both some of the best stories that have ever happened to me. More on that later.


When I put it out there like this, you can actually watch my evolution with women. These experiences led me to become comfortable around women and confident in my ability to make things enjoyable for both of us. I'm not always so good at the long term stuff, but meeting people only gets easier. I have since earned my Friends With Benefits badge several times and have taken a stab at a second marriage and several other 2-3 year relationships. I was going to stop writing about dating for a while, but my previous blogs have come up in conversation several times since then, and you might as well give them what they want. And that's the best advice ever.