Thursday, November 11, 2010
The American Humanist Association and similar groups are plastering up billboards and running TV ads about leading a good life without God. One billboard, a copy of which was defaced in Idaho recently, states "Millions of people are good without God."
In time for Christmas one will go up outside New York picturing the nativity and reading "You know its a myth. This season celebrate reason." I am reminded of Mr. Costanza's festivus, where the merry tree was replaced by a boring pole.
As drab as atheism, especially the Baby Boomer variety, has always seemed I can't say this campaign is so terrible. That is, as long as it really inspires all those good Cartesians who only believe in themselves to behave as best they can.
The thinly veiled truth is these groups are seeking converts.
The good thing is billboards and ads rarely work for all us crazy God-fearers so I don't think they will work for the secular humanists either.
I often think of modern atheism as a sect of Christianity as it seems most (not all) of its adherents come out of churches in the West. What would atheism and agnosticism be without the faith it rejects? Joseph Bottum has some good things to say about that.
Monday, October 11, 2010
The series follows Shaun and his fellow flock, the farmer, and the sheep dog as they go about their days on the English farm. All stop animation, clever like W&G, and no actual talking. Lucy and I have enjoyed watching the 20 minute episodes in the afternoon. I think it is age appropriate but some might find the cranky farmer a bad example, or the underwear jokes and slapstick too much for little ones. I happen to think it is a nice change of pace from all the edutainment stuff on PBS and Nick. Kids deserve a break from numbers and reading once in a while, after all.
The whole first season is up on Netflix right now if you are interested.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Now as much as I love Journey covers and Jane Lynch, what was most interesting to me was the mentioning of life issues from the get go. So far (just 1.5 episodes into last season) the show's touched on IVF, euthanasia, and contraception-- the first is poked at a bit ("I was a love child... conceived in a lab"), the second ascribed to the villainous Ms. Sylvester, and the third roundly defended as the only sensible answer to the problems of premarital sex.
If such things can be mentioned off the cuff they must be deep in the American mind, no? Glee will certainly be a decent substitute while I recuperate from the most disappointing television phenomena that shall not be named (*cough... lost*). It will also fit in nicely, I think, with my all time favorite show, Tyra, what with the sermonizing about condoms and great hair and all that.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
How can you forget your mother's birthday, right? I mean, I am not good with birthdays but I at least remember my mom's. Today I forgot Mary's (as in Jesus' mother) birthday and feel just awful. I just now read about all the children around the world who brought flowers to shrines and made special food-- Lucy is now in bed and I didn't mention anything about the significance of the day. I could blame being raised Protestant, or that the kids and I have a cold, but these are lousy excuses.
At the very least we will celebrate in some way tomorrow, pray we remember next year, and perhaps I will find something that correlates to post here tomorrow.
Mark Shea is a Catholic writer who I really want to not like-- he is an abrasive Irish ass-- but usually find he is spot on. Here's some food for thought from Mr. Shea, how he handles intrinsic evils when it comes to politics and voting.
I've been following the story of the Chilean miners daily. It sparked a conversation about survival between Alan and I. We found an interesting list of survival tales and were especially intrigued by the one about Steven Callahan. Ever since a classmate of Alan's was lost to the wilderness in Glacier National Park a few years back, such tales have become more sobering than they are sensational to us.
Anyone else remember the Blu Cantrell song "Hit 'Em Up Style" from 2001 or so? Here is a folksy version of it by my new favorite band, Carolina Chocolate Drops. A great new way to enjoy an R&B/pop favorite.
Will be back to my usual abortion hating self tomorrow, I promise.
1) I build up a better toleration to simpering, Baby Boomer liberalism
2) Tuck away bits of information that can be turned into small talk at all these social gatherings I've been attending
3) Avoid Top 40 stations
There is plenty to roll my eyes at-- like the recent story "Chinese Experiment Seeks Secret to Happiness" where Chinese psychologists, and the NPR reporters along with them, are baffled about why so many people in China are unhappy. It is confusing why the recent flood of consumerism into the nation wouldn't counterbalance the fact that their lovely, ancient civilization has been smashed to pieces by an oppressive government.
Anyway, what I really want to complain about is this bit on "un-natural selection" as they call it (listen for yourself, it is very short). They rehash the old notion that all this medical science, while keeping people alive and healthier for longer, is also perpetuating "bad genes" which undoes all those glorious eons of survival of the fittest. People who otherwise would not survive long enough to bear children now can thanks to scientific advances.
Joe Palaca says directly "But now, in some cases, we choose to keep these bad mutations around."
And this is followed up by the sound of a crying baby.
Ah yes, the bad mutation baby. I can't help but think there are people out there who really loathe the thought of sharing food, water, and the oxygen we are supposedly running out of with people whose genes are less than "perfect."
"But abortion isn't about eugenics at all!" say the detractors. "It isn't ever about weeding out the people that make some other people uncomfortable, abortion is just about personal choices." Right.
Monday, September 6, 2010
“The 50 poorest countries on earth are also those with the highest fertility rates.”
So says the Zero Population Growth website. Does anyone else see this as terribly sexist? In other words, “Wherever women en masse are not guarding the Pandora’s Box (no giggling) of their uteri, starvation and poverty are sure to follow.”
So much for advances in feminism. No, no, it can’t be that the people in India grow enough food to feed themselves only to see it exported elsewhere and that is a significant cause of their suffering—it is because Mrs. Patel does not have proper access to birth control or an abortion clinic, and she has six children as a result. Did anyone ever bother to ask Mrs. Patel if maybe she intended to have all those kids?
Oh wait, the Zero Population people have that covered in another section on their site, “Defending Women’s Rights.” They say over 200 million women worldwide want fewer children than they have. With no stats to back that up, as far as I can tell. I recently read “Women in the Material World” which chronicles in photos and interviews the lives of women around the globe. Most of the women claimed they wanted fewer children than they had according to their little profiles:
Favorite Activity: Watching TV
Number of Children: 6
Number of Children Desired : 3
Number of children hardly came up in the printed interviews. And I have to wonder if "facts" like these are prompted by poor ethnographic tactics. Who wants to let down the pleasant American lady with a camera and notebook? Tell her what she wants to hear and get her the hell out of your rice paddy.
The Z.P.G. people love the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Sites like this have a ton of information on how $1 million spent on birth control will keep so many children in the future from starving with so many less brothers and sisters to fight with over the food. But this does absolutely nothing for the children starving now (unless our pharmaceuticals companies have finally found a way to make birth control pills fulfill our daily requirement of vitamins along with curing acne, preventing bone thinning, and gentling down that nasty PMS).
It is chauvinistic for a bunch of white men and women from the West to tell women in the third world what to do with their bodies (I dare someone to frame it in a different light!), and it is sexist to accuse women as the ushers of poverty and destruction in the world.