All posts by admin

The Creator On Trial – Part 1

A Little History of Creationism in the US Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. --- Amendment I to the U.S. Constitution   Scopes Trial: Dayton, Tennessee, 1925 Sometimes called “The Scopes Monkey Trial,” John Scopes, a substitute science teacher, Read more [...]

Five Kinds of Guys

“All generalizations are dangerous, even this one.” ― Alexandre Dumas, fils From Wikipedia: Expressed in philosophical language, a hasty generalization is a fallacy of defective induction, a conclusion that has been made on the basis of weak premises. Unlike fallacies of relevance, in fallacies of defective induction, the premises are related to the conclusions yet only weakly buttress the conclusions. A faulty generalization is thus produced. In spite of the danger, I am going to Read more [...]

The Nightmare Song

I love Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. The music is fun, and the lyrics are always amusing, sometimes downright hilarious, especially the “patter songs.” The patter songs from HMS Pinafore, The Mikado and Pirates of Penzance are widely known, but a less well-known G&S work, Iolanthe, has a good one called “The Nightmare Song.” The subject, as it often is in G&S works, is unrequited love, and the tortured fantasies of a lovesick Lord Chancellor. If you hear this performed, you Read more [...]

Classical, Romantic and Bombastic

Composers have written Requiems for hundreds of years, encompassing the full range of musical composition styles, from Renaissance to contemporary and everything in between. Three that stand out for me were written by Mozart, Brahms and Verdi. I call them classical, romantic and bombastic. Now calling Verdi’s “Manzoni” Requiem bombastic is not meant to be derogatory. It’s a stunning piece of music. Verdi was an opera composer, and he liked grandiose gestures (Think “Aida”). So it is Read more [...]

Robert Ingersoll’s Creed

Robert G. Ingersoll is one of my heroes.  He confronted religious faith and showed that it was nothing more than primitive superstition.  At the end of the 19th century, he had accumulated quite a following for what he called "freethought," based on reason, logic and experience.  Sadly, he died in 1899 at 66, far too soon.  He still had much work to do, and nobody of his stature arose to take his place.  His writings, speeches and debates are collected in twelve volumes which can be found at Read more [...]

Abstinence Is Hard

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. -Anonymous The author of this proverb is unknown. Some say Shakespeare, but that is questionable. Nobody really knows…and that is good, because it is nonsense. I am immensely fond of my wife, but before I retired, when I went on business trips, I did not become fonder. I got horny! Substitute horny for fonder in the above proverb, and it would make more sense. But wait, it isn’t my heart that gets horny. I know enough about my anatomy to know where horniness Read more [...]

On Human Cloning

Recent advances in stem cell research have reopened the controversy that has surrounded the issue of human cloning.[i]  There is widespread opposition throughout the world to the reproductive cloning of a human being. Many countries have enacted laws prohibiting it. The UN struggled with the issue for years and finally enacted a non-binding Declaration on Human Cloning in 2005, calling for a ban on all forms of human cloning “inasmuch as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection Read more [...]

Why is the Vatican a State?

[This was written a few years ago when the pedophile priest scandal was at its peak.  The scandal seems to have died down, but the questions that were raised have not gone away.] The central office of the Catholic Church, The Vatican, is considered a nation.  No other religion is accorded this honor.  Why does the Catholic Church deserve such recognition? This is not a matter of great antiquity or longstanding tradition.  It happened in 1929, less than ninety years ago.  The hallowed figure Read more [...]

Who Gives More To Charity?

Conservatives frequently claim that they give more money to charities that help the poor than liberals do. Is it true? I did some digging and came up with some numbers. In 2010, individuals and their estates gave over $290B to charities.  By far the largest category, (35%) of all charitable giving went to churches.[1]  That’s over a hundred billion dollars. The next largest recipient was educational institutions at about $40B. White evangelical Christians are big contributors to their Read more [...]

Quotes by Victor Stenger – One of my Heroes

Victor Stenger was a physicist, author, philosopher and a religious skeptic. He wrote several books, including “God: The Failed Hypothesis” Subtitle: “How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist.” I have read most of his books, and had a few conversations with Vic via Email. I found him very approachable and friendly…just like his books, which are written in a direct, no-nonsense style. Sadly, he died in 2014, suddenly and unexpectedly. Here are some quotes from his books and writings. “In Read more [...]

Religious Right – Defender’s of Women’s rights?

This was written before the last Presidential election, but it still applies to the current political situation. The Virginia state legislature passed a bill requiring women to have an ultrasound probe inserted into their you-know-what before they could have an abortion.  Governor Robert McDonnell called it the “women’s right to know bill.” The idea is to force the woman to hear the heartbeat of the fetus, obviously with the hope that she will then change her mind about the abortion.  Read more [...]

Pre-Game Prayers…Another View

Not all Christians think public prayers are a good thing.  I read a very moving piece by a devout evangelical Christian who had an experience that not many US citizens will ever have.  Gary B. Christenot was in the military and was assigned to a base in Hawaii.  The small town where his family was assigned housing was predominantly Chinese and Japanese immigrants, but the family was able to find a small Baptist church that filled their needs.  Most of the other churches in the town were Buddhist Read more [...]

Kneeling is a Mortal Sin

This was written a few years ago, but it’s still good for a chuckle. The Catholic Church here in Orange County, California has yet another controversy to deal with along with their pedophile priests.  In an LA Times article today, I learned that kneeling can be dangerous to your spiritual health.  The pastor at St. Mary’s By the Sea in Huntington Beach has decreed that parishioners should not kneel after the Agnus Dei.  After a number of people defied this and continued to kneel, he declared Read more [...]

Home Schooling

Some people do not like what their kids will experience in public schools, so they educate them at home.  Is this good or bad? First, I must admit that I have some bias here.  I come from a long line of schoolteachers.  Most of my family…my mother, and most of my brothers and sisters and their spouses have been involved in the teaching or administration of public schools. Can an amateur teach a child all the things that they will learn in public schools?  I suppose it is possible.  Read more [...]

Where Have I Heard This Before?

I was reading an article yesterday about the history of the NFL, and some of the legendary teams that gained nationwide fame. The “front four” defensive linemen of the Los Angeles Rams were known as the “Fearsome Foursome.” The Minnesota Vikings had a great name for theirs: “The Purple People Eaters.” That name just stuck in my head for some reason. When I went to bed last night, I dreamed that I was shopping for veggies at the local farmers’ market when a guy walks up to me, Read more [...]

Are Man’s Powers Divinely Gifted?

Several years ago, I participated in a discussion about how Man had influenced the evolutionary process. The premise was that since no other animal had ever had the capability to do this, it must be the result of a gift from God. Sy says: “I now realize that while Darwinian evolution might have been the single predominant force for change during the almost 3 billion year history of life on Earth, this is no longer true, and it is likely that it will never be true again.” There is no doubt Read more [...]

Big Brother is a Schizophrenic

“And Bert, well I just guess that Bert is typical of the kind who complain about Big Brother while asking the same Big Brother to fix all of their problems.” The above comment was posted in a thread that I was participating in recently. My first response was to reject it. And then, I thought some more and decided that the comment was correct. But the problem is, Big Brother is a schizophrenic; at times a benevolent Dr. Jekyll, at others a sinister Mr. Hyde. I love the good things that Read more [...]

Does Faith Give Meaning To Life?

Religious believers say that faith gives "meaning" to their life. As a lifelong nonbeliever, I do not understand that.  My life is what I make of it...what I DO with it. How does sitting and praying to God or believing in God give meaning to life? It may give some people believe that death is not the end. Belief in an afterlife leads some to consider life here on earth just a temporary interlude before the REAL eternal life begins. Rather than giving life meaning, that devalues life. I Read more [...]

A Question of Grace for Nonbelievers

A nonbeliever friend recently posed a question to me. He recounted an experience that he and his wife had at a family dinner during a recent holiday season, and asked what my response would have been to the situation. Most of the people present were either nonbelievers or what I will call “Nominal Christians.” They attend church occasionally, mostly as a social activity, but one individual was a devout Christian and asked if she could say Grace at the table. The hosts’ response was Read more [...]

On Separation of Church and State

"It is true that the literal phrase 'separation of church and state' does not appear in the Constitution, but that does not mean the concept isn't there. The First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." What does that mean? A little history is helpful: In an 1802 letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson, then president, declared that the American people through the First Amendment Read more [...]