Monday, July 30, 2007

Those Muggle Atheists

I can't help writing another post about Harry Potter. B's comment in the last one started me wondering if there are any atheists in the Potterverse. I could understand being a muggle atheist, but could you be an atheist wizard? I imagine those old invisible pink unicorn arguments falling flat when you have a bunch of thestrals running around. And uh, real unicorns too. Plus a whole slew of other supernatural creatures.

Jesus Christ: Liar, Lunatic, or... Leprechaun?

Friday, July 27, 2007

To Catch An Atheist

Tonight on Dateline NBC we'll be investigating men and women who gather online to promote their atheist dogma. We rented this house in Lynchburg Virginia to see how many of these atheists we could catch in our web. Actors trained to pose as famous atheists go online to various chat rooms looking for blasphemers.

The first man to come that day was a 37 year old software developer Frank Smith who drove over 200 miles to meet our famous atheist alone here in this house. Online he was calling himself "Ultimate747" and claimed he was a 21 year old college philosophy major.

Chris Hansen: Hi there, what brings you here today?

Smith: What? Uh... who are you?

Hansen: We'll get to that later. I have copies of your chat transcript here. Why would a grown man like yourself be interested in driving over 200 miles to discuss the problem of evil?

Smith: Is Professor Dawkins here? I thought he was going to meet me.

Hansen: Oh, you were planning to meet Richard Dawkins? Have you met other atheists before?

Smith: No. Well, not really, I...

Hansen: Because it says here you often meet up with other atheists. By the way, what's in your bag?

Smith: Um, I just brought some books. (laughs nervously)

Hansen: (looking at the books) The God Delusion? The End of Faith? Do you have any idea how this looks?

Smith: I wasn't going to do anything crazy. I was hoping he could sign his book and maybe we could have a beer.

Hansen: So you brought alcohol too? Well, I should tell you I'm Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC and we are doing a show on atheists meeting online. Now you are free to go, but if you have anything you want to say, we'd like to hear it.

Smith didn't have much to say then but we had our crack team of evangelical preachers waiting outside ready to save his soul.

(Video of Smith being tackled outside by burly men carrying Bibles.)

I'm Chris Hansen, from all of us here at Dateline, goodnight and God bless.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

More Labels!

As you might know from reading this old post and this old post I love labels and semantics. I can't get enough of those atheist forum flame wars over definitions of the various labels out there. Google alerts sent me the link to this guy's blog post. I've never even heard of some of those. Good stuff!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and The Atheist Table

It was a beautiful Saturday perfect for a relaxing afternoon at the atheist table. However Harry Potter prevented that. Yes, I had to stay home and finish reading the final installment which, if you happen to be living under a rock, came out on Saturday at 12:01 AM. Because of my voracious blog and forum reading habits I had to get it done quick before the Internets ruined the ending for me. I was in Web blackout mode for most of the weekend.

I did happen to pass some bookstores on the way home Friday night. (Specifically Saturday morning around 12:30 AM.) I was returning from a gathering of fellow atheists who enjoy drinking alcohol and eating bacon apparently. Anyway, I figured things would have calmed down by 12:30 and I could just waltz in a pick up a copy but there was no chance of that. Lines stretched around the block for both the local Barnes and Noble and the little Mom & Pop bookshop. There were even potter-heads sitting on the sidewalk reading under the street lamps. Forget that!

The next morning I stopped by the bookstore again. No lines! It wasn't even sold out. Sheesh. I'm glad I didn't waste time reserving a copy online or waiting in line all night.

To make this post somewhat atheism and/or religion related I have to comment on all the bizarre Christian protests against these books. Hasn't anyone noticed the yearly Christmas celebrations at the Hogwarts school?! I think we should have an atheist War on Christmas at Hogwarts. Someone has to stand up for all those poor young atheist wizards and witches suffering under all the Christian propaganda that is plastered all over Hogwarts school every December. What about Kwanzaa and Festivus? So much for multiculturalism in the wizarding world. I even heard about a poll showing people would rather vote for a house elf to be the Minister of Magic over an atheist.

For more on Harry Potter from an atheist's view point, check out The Friendly Atheist.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

CFI Movie Night

CFI sponsored a screening of Jonathan Miller's excellent documentary A Brief History of Disbelief last Friday. It is finally being broadcast on the local PBS station channel 13 WNET. It was good to see it with fellow infidels, but the after viewing discussion kind of fell flat mostly due to the layout of the room. Most of the atheist cats quickly skedaddled.

One person passed me some odd documents for some kind of organization. I have no idea what the documents say because every time I try to read a paragraph my brain shuts down. Of course they have a web site, so you can see for yourself. (The animated GIFs tell you it's a real classy operation!) If I had known how bizarre the papers were upon receipt I would have quizzed the person in more detail.

The 2nd and 3rd parts of Miller's documentary will be shown the next two Sundays on Ch. 13.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Cosmic Taxonomy

A previous post of mine has been superseded by an excellent article in Skeptic Magazine (vol. 13 no. 2) by Robert Lawrence Kuhn. Not only does he outline a taxonomy of different kinds of gods, but he also describes different kinds of godless material universes including illusory ones. Lucky for us the article is currently available for download [PDF link]. If that link has died, send me an e-mail and I'll send you a copy.

I'm not sure where some of my ideas would fit into his taxonomy (especially 3, 4, and 5) but his list seems exhaustive. Can you think of any other possibilities?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm melting!

I was away for the 4th of July holiday (holiday = holy day you know), and various events have been keeping me away from blogging. It is also very hot. We atheists don't like the heat. I am feeling very lethargic. I hope Hell really doesn't exist because I hear it is hot there!

I am also way behind on reading my blog roll. Stop posting so much people! I can't keep up. Oh Internet, why do you have to be so interesting and full of fun?

Actually I might have to change this blog's name since I have found evidence that some kind of god exists. Here it is:

Planet Unicorn!

My God, it's full of stars...