Announcing the “Openly Secular” Coalition

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      

April 29, 2014

                               New Coalition Formed to Highlight and Overcome

                                  Discrimination Against Nonreligious & Atheists

 

                                            Group Calls Itself “Openly Secular”;

                             Makes Call To Action for Victims to Share Their Stories

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science and other secular groups have joined together to form a new coalition called Openly Secular to highlight and overcome discrimination in America.

 

Atheists and other nonreligious people not only face discrimination on a regular basis, but the prejudice often goes unrecognized because it can be socially acceptable to distrust those outside the majority religious faith. A Gallup poll in 2012 found almost half of Americans would vote against a well-qualified presidential candidate from their party, if he or she was an atheist.

“Our mission is to is to eliminate discrimination and increase acceptance by getting atheists, freethinkers, agnostics, humanists and all nonreligious people to be open about their beliefs,” said Todd Stiefel, Chair for the Openly Secular coalition and founder of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation. “By being open about our beliefs and values, we can show that we, like all people, are worthy of love and kindness undeterred by religious differences.”

 

“After I spoke openly about being an atheist, I lost many friends and was threatened with

rape and death. My own representative publicly called me an ‘evil little thing.’ All of this, simply because I did not believe in God,” said student activist Jessica Ahlquist, who successfully sued her public high school in 2012 to remove a religious prayer banner from the auditorium. “But this experience has not discouraged me. Today, I hold my head high as a proud, secular American.”

 

Other cases of discrimination against people who are nonreligious have gotten limited media attention, including a high school student kicked out of his own home, a man who lost child custody rights, and two women who were denied U.S. citizenship. U.S. Representative Barney Frank came out as gay 26 years before he felt comfortable being an open atheist, and then, only after leaving office. Each of these cases underscores the need for new momentum.

 

Openly Secular is headed by leaders from the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, the Secular Coalition for America, the Secular Student Alliance and the Stiefel Freethought Foundation. They are joined by a group of over 20 prominent national partner organizations from the secular movement. Openly Secular hopes to engage both nonbelievers and believers in a dialogue about acceptance, love and equality.

 

The coalition is now looking to expand to bring in religious and civil liberties groups as allies mutually interested in ending discrimination. Openly Secular has launched a new online outlet for people to share their own stories of discrimination. There’s a form at this link: secular.org/stories.

 

“We want to live in a world where there are no social costs for being nonreligious, where families and communities remain whole even when some have moved away from religion,” said Robyn Blumner of the Richard Dawkins Foundation.

 

Contact: Carolyn Becker

Phone: (916) 769-7976

Email: cbecker@mercuryllc.com

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About the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science

 

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS or RDF) is a non-profit organization founded by British biologist Richard Dawkins in 2006. Our mission is to support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and human suffering.

 

About the Secular Coalition for America

 

The Secular Coalition for America is a non-profit advocacy organization whose purpose is to amplify the diverse and growing voice of the nontheistic community in the United States. Formed in 2002, the Secular Coalition for America holds that freedom of conscience, including religious freedom, is a fundamental American value and is best guaranteed by protecting and strengthening the secular character of our government.

 

About the Secular Student Alliance

 

The Secular Student Alliance – an educational nonprofit – was formed in 2000 to organize, unite, educate, and serve students and student communities that promote the ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human-based ethics. The SSA devotes the majority of its resources to supporting affiliate groups through various avenues, including supplying literature and outreach supplies, group running guides, hands-on assistance, discounted access to prominent speakers, and monetary project grants.

 

About the Stiefel Freethought Foundation

 

The Stiefel Freethought Foundation is a non-profit that provides financial support and volunteer strategy consulting to the Freethought Movement. Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason and should not be influenced by authority, tradition or any other dogma (including religion).

SIMILAR ARTICLES

68 COMMENTS

  1. Congratulations! This may be a historic moment, starting an organized conscious struggle to free humanity from bigotry and supersitition. It is important because it begins in America, which has enormous influence on other parts of the world. The task should be, considering the unbearable pressure of most religious movements on the individual at every society, taking this nondiscrimination policy to a level similar to the position against the holocaust / fascism. Achievements of this movement will not only protect the secular individual, but also free those who have been or will be indoctrinated by various sects or orders.

    • In reply to #4 by inquisador:

      It would help if we were to amplify the message that secularism is staunchly pro-freedom of religion. Some may not realize this.

      That’s a problem, as I do not support freedom of religion anymore than I support freedom of any other fraud or organized crime group. Freedom of belief, no problem, freedom of religion, no way. Guess I’m not secular.

      • In reply to #25 by aquilacane:

        That’s a problem, as I do not support freedom of religion anymore than I support freedom of any other fraud or organized crime group.

        You are personally secular but not politically. What’s your political view? Stalinist?

        • In reply to #30 by aldous:

          In reply to #25 by aquilacane:

          That’s a problem, as I do not support freedom of religion anymore than I support freedom of any other fraud or organized crime group.

          You are personally secular but not politically. What’s your political view? Stalinist?

          I need to know exactly which very specific political topic we are discussing to have a political view. It is dependent on what I am looking at. I can be centre, left, right, top, bottom or invisible. I don’t have a blanket political opinion other than I will not vote for a person who represents a political party. Only an independent can represent the people, everyone else represents themselves via a logo.

          • In reply to #31 by aquilacane:

            I need to know exactly which very specific political topic we are discussing to have a political view.

            The political topic is the separation of Church and State. That’s what secularism means as a political stance. That means that citizens are free to practise any religion or none. A Muslim or a Christian is not personally secular but their political outlook is secular if they accept that everybody has an equal right to practise their own religion or no religion

            Do you agree that the state should be secular in the sense of giving equal rights to followers of all religions and none? If you do, I don’t know why you said you didn’t believe in freedom of religion.

          • I happen to be onboard with aquilacane in this instance. Keep plugging in the cog of insanity into the machine of reason and the machine will continue to break down. The religious tolerance argument gets us to the same point time and time again, NO WHERE. The delusion that an invisible friend is steering our destiny is total rubbish, it was rubbish back in the day and it is rubbish now. If you want to give credence and comfort to the proposition that invisible friends exist you are simply turning a blind eye and supporting crap thinking, nothing more.

      • We may not support the religious in the practice of their religion, but, we respect their right to believe and practice their religion, just as our right not to believe or practise any religion is respected by them under secularism. Respect for the individual’s conscience is a basic moral principle of the Enlightenment, expressed so well by Voltaire when he said, “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” More specifically, secularism is the separation of church and state, ensuring that, while the state protects a church’s right to exist and function, no church or religious doctrine can be part of the state and how it conducts its business.

        When I was at high school here in New Zealand (I attended a Catholic boys’ high school), I was, I recall, surprised to learn that the New Zealand bishops were very much in favor of secular pluralism in public policy, because this protected the Catholic Church’s right of existence and practice in an irreligious country. Interesting to see the same point from the opposite perspective.

        • Having read a former PM and RP (of Portugal) that mentions that Vatican only after the II Council 1962 has accepted secularism, while, as I can acknowledge too, fascist politicians and the Vatican seemed allies, not that possibly the individual conscience had some value (say as it may have in Rosseau´s political ideas), but perhaps simply because politicians had not any longer to be submissive to the religious power. Perhaps it is far from having the same ideals than true philosophers of Enlightenment.
          Ok, it would be useful to study all the historical context in which the Vatican had accepted secularism, but I doubt the ideals are quite the same as Voltaire´s.
          I remind here a funny expression I have read somewhere here on RDF, if we can consider that the clergy had humanist values, it would be a “boiled humanism”, while for me, it would be secularism i this context would be only to institutionalize the frontiers of the two to better reign.
          (I had to study the Social Doctrine of the Church as far as Marshall´s plan for instance, but didn´t study it so well as the French Revolution nor the Russian, what a pity, because it would be more useful than what I have expected and I hve losted the work of others on it).

        • Semantics is critical when focusing on fine shades of meaning between what at first appear to be simiar words. differences between words such as atheism, anti-theism, non-theism. Please critique the following thoughts:

          Theism is belief in a personal deity.

          Non-theism is being distant from the concept of a personal deity.

          Atheism is disbelief in a personal deity.

          Anti-theism is active opposition to theism.

          Many people who use the term atheist to describe themselves appear to me, a nontheist, to be anti-theist.

          To a nontheist, anti-theism has nothing to do with god’s existence. instead it refers to hostility to religions espousing belief in a supernatural personal deity.

          The only attribute god must possess is being infinite.

          At present there’s no scientific evidence that reality is infinite. Scientifically verifiable reality is only 13+ billion years old and that number of light-years in the other observable dimensions. Science leads some scientists to think of greater options, but can’t prove anything.

          So, as always, god is a matter of faith.

          If scientifically verifiable evidence could provide evidence that god and thus reality are infinite (a timeless multiverse) god would be impersonal and natural, which I is what I believe. Theists, atheists and anti-theists don’t.

          Anti-theism has nothing to do with god’s existence or non-existence. Anti-theism is opposed to religions espousing belief in a supernatural god, not an entity subject to scientific observation.

  2. I don´t quite figure out why nothing could be done against nonbelievers being discriminated n in USA, Christopher Hitchens himself mentioned it:“atheists cannot hold public office- in Kentucky or Tenasse?- because of an unconstitutional state law.”
    And, it is the second time I an mentioning this on RDF, can´t anyone take the case for appeal in Constitutional Court? why doesn´t anyone do anything about it? (sorry about my ignorance about justice functioning in USA.
    Am I outdated about this? (I wasn´t there to ask the question either, what a pity)
    Christopher Hitchens in Lisbon, Feb 18, 2010

    TGD mentions this situation too- from where I knew such aberrant thing for the first time-I think, although I can be mistaken-

    Hope it will be worth for atheists and nonbelievers. Good luck, hope it will make a useful difference.

    • In reply to #7 by maria melo:

      I don´t quite figure out why nothing could be done against nonbelievers being discriminated n in USA, Christopher Hitchens himself mentioned it:”atheists cannot hold public office- in Kentucky or Tenasse?- because of an unconstitutional state law.”
      And, it is the second time I an mentioning this on…

      I’m not familiar with the law you are talking about but the way the US law works is that pretty much anything, no matter how crazy, can be made a law. There is supposed to be rational debate before any bill becomes a law. And part of that rational debate is supposed to include any reasonable arguments that the law may be unconstitutional so if a law is not constitutional people will realize that and not even bother making it a law. And for the most part that worked up until the last few decades. But now we have many idiots and lunatics holding elected office who both don’t understand the constitution and don’t care anyway.

      They have proposed all sorts of laws that are clearly unconstitutional. Once that happens the only way to get rid of the law is to take it to court. So if someone is prosecuted for a crime based on law X part of their defense can be that X is not constitutional so even if they did it, they shouldn’t go to jail or pay a fine because the law isn’t just. If they win then the law gets overturned. Those kind of court challenges often end up in the supreme court.

      Sometimes crazy laws can stay on the books for a long time because someone has to challenge them. Even if some altruistic person just wants to challenge a law they think is not constitutional they may not be able to do so. The court has to recognize that they have a legitimate interest in the law. That was one hurdle to over turning some of the gay marriage laws. That could be an issue with the law you mention, it requires someone with the proper standing to take the state to court and over turn the law even though a religious requirement for any government office would clearly not be constitutional.

      • In reply to #8 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #7 by maria melo:

        I don´t quite figure out why nothing could be done against nonbelievers being discriminated n in USA, Christopher Hitchens himself mentioned it:”atheists cannot hold public office- in Kentucky or Tenasse?- because of an unconstitutional state law.”
        And, it is the secon…

        So, if someone wanted to challenge that evolution was “constitutional” to be taught at schools someone had to teach it to reach the legitime right to appeal to a higher court and open up a precedent? (as the Scopes monkey trial?)

        (Portuguese democracy is much younger, the constitution- inspired by Rosseau- really mentions in its own written words that it stands to prevent tyranny.
        Even if a political party holding the majority of votes and with more deputies pass a law, the RP can send it to fiscalization to be sure if it is constitutional _ as our President has with the law that permit same gender marriage, because he understands freedom otherwise, the opposed as it should be-, even if RP does not suspect that law is unconstitutional and does not send it, any other deputies no matter if they are not the majority can do so, send it to the Constitutional court for preventive fiscalization.)

        • In reply to #10 by maria melo:

          So, if someone wanted to chanllenge if evolution was “constitutional” to be taught at schools someone had to teach it to reach the legitime right to appeal to a higher court and open up a precedent? (as the Scopes monkey trial?)

          Yes, exactly. Of course, such a trial wouldn’t be required or even possible now because there are no laws right now that say evolution can’t be taught and because evolution is included in the standards used for all US public schools. But you are correct, the reason for the Scopes monkey trial was that at the time there was a law that said evolution could not be taught in some southern state.

          If someone in some backwards state such as Oklahoma passed a law that said it was illegal to teach evolution because it conflicted with the Bible it would be possible for that to actually become a law and it would require a court case to over turn it.

    • In order to have standing to challenge the law, an atheist would have to declare his candidacy, be otherwise eligible to be added to the ballot, and be denied a spot on the ballot because of his atheist beliefs. He would have to prove harm to gain even injunctive relief from a court.

      I can’t imagine a professed atheist gathering many votes from the electorate in the Bible Belt. And thus no brave person has come forward to challenge a law that is facially unconstitutional.

      In reply to #7 by maria melo:

      I don´t quite figure out why nothing could be done against nonbelievers being discriminated n in USA, Christopher Hitchens himself mentioned it:”atheists cannot hold public office- in Kentucky or Tenasse?- because of an unconstitutional state law.”
      And, it is the second time I an mentioning this on…

    • In reply to #12 by bluebird:

      *In reply to #7

      Tennessee, Kentucky

      These states.

      Not enforcible; Herb Silverman ran for office in S C specifically to draw a line in the sand.

      Thanks for the link, I was looking for more about it in the book “God is not Great”.
      Hope something can be done about it.

  3. You may think you are walking forever in a straight line only to find out that mentally you have been on a dry planet,and the distance traveled has no footprints remaining upon return to starting point.A long time ago we made the universe,we are the gods.

  4. This news made my day! The Openly Secular Coalition will make noticable progress in public acceptance of atheists and other non-believers. Reports of discrimination will also help motivate armchair secularists into action. The most important byproduct of this effort will be to help promote rationalism and science at a time when the future of the human race and our planet hangs in the balance.

  5. And today, when our Supreme Court rules in favor of legislative prayer at City Council meetings even when those prayers overwhelmingly refer to Xianity and address the public at large, we really need to band together and stand up for our rights to be secular Americans treated the same as religious Americans. We secularists are individualists and not joiners by nature. We think for ourselves and aren’t comfortable being in flocks, which remind us of sheep. But we just can’t afford to not use our greater and ever-growing numbers to make our presence known to our political leaders. I’m openly secular and my name is Pamela Koslyn.

    • In reply to #17 by PKoslyn:

      presence known to our political leaders

      To permanently be rid of an invasive weed, it needs to pulled at the roots.

      To wit, check out the cat that ate the canary, Kansas Attorney General. But, this state is overwhelmingly red – I don’t know what gardening tool is needed.

      Possible that a newly formed group, Women for Kansas, might be in favor of non-prayer, maybe, but I digress…

  6. I am wondering if someone ever complained in court because of these discriminatory laws against non believers and atheists.

    Am I being so naive that I cannot figure out why doesn’t anyone complain about it? (I myself – work in a court and have heard from some mentally disabled people that they would complain in Human rights Court,-because of their children- some others have indeed, and the portuguese state will pay for it.

    REALLY, Is that all that can be done to demove these laws?

    Is the USA so busy protecting democracy and human rights abroad so that it cannot care for itself?

    • In reply to #21 by maria melo:

      I am wondering if someone ever complained in court because of these discriminatory laws against non believers and atheists.

      Hi Maria…. 8-)

      People complain & initiate legal actions all the time, but they are up against a voting majority of wealthy, indoctrinated, submissive & cohesive faithist groups who are well-trained to do what they are told by their celestial & temporal ‘authorities’ – with both overt & covert threats to shepherd them blindly along the path of ‘God’s Truth’, as interpreted for them to suit the situation by theological ‘experts’.

      It is very difficult to fight for reality, truth, social fairness & legal equality when up against ‘God’s Army’, which is (superficially- as in UK) most of the voting citizens who listen to the faith-virus memeplexes at least once a week & are surrounded by the pervasive symptoms of faithism in their families, gatherings, churches, schools & daily social lives.

      Religious memes are absorbed constantly, from a very young age, so the faith parasite is easily able to rewire our brains to operate within the blinkers & filters of the faith mafia dictates by constant repetitions, community services, chanting, singing, praying, in-group inculcation – plus all the ego-stroking promises & fear-inducing threats that have been fine-tuned over 1000′s of years to benefit the religion itself, whatever physical & psychological harm is done to their mind-slaves.

      This is cultural evolution in a highly developed state – but remember that cultural evolution, unlike natural evolution, can be designed, assembled & manipulated for a known purpose, plus like natural evolution, it can ultimately be a dead end by taking directions that lead to ‘mass’ (pun intended) extinctions.

      The issue is made more difficult because non-believers are mentally independent, don’t belong to atheism-specific neighborhood groups, are not recognised or well-oganised as an large community, don’t fit into specific political boxes & do not have the social acceptance, the numbers or the financial power to take on all those believers.

      In Scandinavia, the faithists have basically made themselves irrelevant & are becoming extinct, while France, UK, Australia, Canada, etc. are well along the path to accepting reality, cutting off their ‘god-did-it’ mind-chains & building psychological freedom in better societies…. Mac.

      • In reply to #22 by CdnMacAtheist:

        In reply to #21 by maria melo:

        I am wondering if someone ever complained in court because of these discriminatory laws against non believers and atheists.

        Hi Maria…. 8-)

        People complain & initiate legal actions all the time, but they are up against a voting majority of wealthy, indoctrinated, s…

        I see, but:
        - The making of a new Constitution gathered the “elite” here- in Portugal., there are actually people whose expertise is constitutional law, politicians, social scientists… People can even discuss other issues concerning politics,or economy and disagree, but cannot disagree about fundamental basic human rights that should assured by the Constitution.
        - Laws must be discussed and made by people whose expertise is law, and perhaps not only law, but economy, science etc as this is arguable.(this discussion was held not long ago in Lisbon), but to change fundamental law concerning basic human rights NEVER.
        -Judges must be educated as an elite indeed so that grotesque violations as these should never happen,
        There is no excuse for such laws coming from a civilised country.
        I myself I´m no expert, but even as a child at school children´s rights were taught to me and my generation, later on, young people learnt about citizenship at school – I am afraid not at this moment-
        There is no excuse whatsoever, I don´t understand nor do I need to.

  7. Hey all. First time posting. First can I start by saying Dawkins is the man. Secondly, I totally understand what this represents and stands for, but If people start assembling based on what they believe (a.k.a. The truth, science) doesn’t that kind of lump us in with those other “groups”. Just a thought. I feel like scientific minds assembling is all it’s gonna take to get the job done. Religion is gonna be dead within a couple generations here ( the states ) anyway. At least In the intelligent states.

  8. The separation of church and state doesn’t seem to have any influence in Australia as our religious government has decided to remove thousand of social workers in schools and spend MILLIONS of dollars replacing them with chaplains. But what about non believers, don’t our kids deserve the option for normal and unbiased social support? We are all born atheists until someone starts telling us lies, and its time the lies were exposed for what they really are, discrimination! Good luck Richard, you have my complete support but its looking like a long, long battle ahead of us. I suspect the political growth of religions around the world is a knee jerk reaction to islamaphobia and unfortunately the majority are still blind to the facts that all religions are the problem, not the solution.

  9. I realize this is completely off topic but I hate the new site design. Its a classic example of going for style over usability. One of the best things about the previous design was the list of current comments right on the home page. Also, where are the discussions, I think they should be given prominence as in the old design. It’s almost as if the new design is trying to diminish the social networking of the site or nudge us all to Facebook or Twitter.

    • One doesn’t know what is around the bend until a journey is taken to look around the corner and take in the new view. I agree it’s good to point out possible down-sides to a new prospect but it needs time to prove itself before it is discounted entirely. First we crawl, then we walk, and after that, “we run”. If it turns out that our shoe-laces are tied together we fall flat on our faces but at the very least we learned something about that journey by taking the first step.

      • Did you copy that gibberish from a Fortune cookie or is that the intro from Oprah Winfrey’s latest book? Either way it was just a bunch of woo nonsense not a rational argument. Although it seems perfectly appropriate for this new site. The old site was one of the few places on the Internet where people could actually have serious rational discussions. The new site seems designed to dumb us down to the same level as everyone else.

        • You seem to be a little mean spirited with your responses at times. I get the feeling you might be satisfied if I just accepted your opinion only. I have my own and will be keeping it. I had no intention to pick a fight with you Red Dog, I was simply suggesting we give the new format some time. I would say that discarding something new could have resulted in us still using horse drawn carts and not cars, many had a problem with that new technology and the carts worked just fine but the auto found it’s evolution over time and wasn’t discarded just because many didn’t like it. Extreme example to be sure but I was only implying in my initial response that maybe something good could come from a new style, thats all. I won’t keep beating the drum and I’m fairly certain you might have a problem with my reply so I will leave it at that.

          • Just “a little” mean spirited? I must be doing something wrong I was going for misanthropic asshole levels of mean spiritness, Mark Twain or Gore Vidal levels of mean spirit, although those guys could both be a lot funnier than I ever can be. It’s too bad you don’t want to pick a fight, I find legitimate fights a lot more interesting than most of the bullshit that goes on on these comment threads.

            But getting back to your argument, saying that all change is good because cars are better than horses is like saying that it’s not right to laugh at some raving lunatic because some people considered Einstein or Spinoza to be raving lunatics. Yes, they did but they also considered Marvin Spudknocker to be a raving lunatic and you’ve never heard of Marvin because he WAS a raving lunatic and lived a not so interesting life locked up in a mental institution. My point is that just because some apparent lunatics turned out to be geniuses doesn’t mean they all are and just because some change turned out to be good doesn’t mean all change is good.

            So rather than have generic discussions about change what I was trying to do was have a specific discussion about the changes to this web site and as one of the people who used to comment the most IMO the new site sucks, and here are the specific reasons:

            1) No real time comment feed. Seeing the latest comments (regardless of the topic) really helped me (and I suspect others) watch for comments that were worth replying to. It fostered a sense of community on this site that was fairly rare and at least for now is gone.

            2) Where the fuck are all the discussions? It’s bad enough that there is no way to create a new discussion but there were many interesting discussions that now seem to be lost. I can find them on Google but when I go to the link I get a Page Not Found error. IMO this is totally irresponsible. I think there was some fairly interesting prose in some of those discussions and to just discard it without giving the users a chance to save it shows a disdain for the user community.

            3) It’s all style over substance. There is no new actual functionality in this new site. Instead it all just looks slicker. This is a disturbing trend I’ve noticed in Prof. Dawkins lately, he seems to be angling to be a media star more than a serious intellectual. I want the Dawkins who wrote The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, not the guy who tweets and has rallies with comedians.

            4) I realize that some of these things (I hope) may be addressed in future versions but that gets me to the last major point: I used to do this shit for a living and the way this site was rolled out was awful. I would bet there was no actual user testing to see what functions users wanted. There were no announcements that change was coming and be patient as we work out the bugs. There is no article that even announces the new site and lets us comment on it which is why I’m going off comment and commenting here.

          • Just realized a couple more: we can no longer edit our comments (so sorry for some poor wording in the previous comment) and we can no longer Fav a comment to show we like it.

    • Although I am resolved to give the new website design time to prove itself, I am already inclined to agree with you, Red Dog, that members have lost a few options with this new design. There now seems to be no way for members to introduce discussion topics, and access to the latest comments has been reduced now that there is no list of the latest comments on the homepage. In contrast with the old website design, there is now no sign on the homepage that any discussion is going on; one has to look further to find what is currently being discussed. As for Facebook and Twitter, let them be anathema!

    • I received this response from support when I asked what happened to the discussions:

      Discussions have been removed. The time and personnel required to moderate them are simply not available to us at this time. Given our current resources, we felt that focusing on high-quality reputable content was a more efficient use of those resources.

      Thank you for your feedback and understanding.

      Well, they certainly are welcome for my feedback, but not for my understanding. After all, how many resources do unpaid moderators consume, anyway?

  10. Breath of fresh air is always good. The old stale propositions have always gotten our asses into a sling as self- evidenced by the multitude that continue to believe that a god or gods are a part of their lives. Had more individuals spoken up in the past it may have thwarted our ever present predisposition of being chained to this constant emphasis on bowing down to an invisible old fart that supposedly started the engine of existence. Sorry, I woke up and there is no way I am going back to that dribble. Free at last, free at last, good great “thing that nature is” that I am free at last.

  11. To reply to Red Dog and Cairsley, I certainly agree that we have lost some of our input ability, and the option to edit or delete are gone, but that makes me want to check myself on my laziness in posting dribble that has no merit or substance on RDFRS. I agree that the changes are dramatic and the options seem limited, but I hope the momentum is positive and “evolving” as we move forward as a community in solidarity to free-thought. Stale and isolated dogma has gotten us (humans) into trouble more times than I can count so fresh ideas and movement are important to me, and I hope they are for others as well.

    I could careless about being a legend in our times, or any other for that matter, so I feel we need to get on with fixing the substantial problems of the day and forget about the badges or trophies we might acquire individually. That’s me about the problems that we are facing and I hope we get on to a new way of getting things done without the vitriol that has shown up as of late, and unfortunately I am just as guilty in being lead down the wrong path as anyone else. The delusional crap being pedaled in the States these days is getting old and stale, and I would think the disappointment is just as severe abroad too. As George Carlin put it, the rich love the fact that we keep arguing amongst ourselves while they continue to have fun and go to the bank, and that is an unpleasant truth that steers us away from collective action. I would suggest we say screw that nonsense, and at the very least have reasonable discourse on our side and we can still speak our mind and should continue to do so. That hasn’t always the case in the past and I am very grateful that I can do that today with the help of the internet and Richards site.

    No harm people, and please keep looking forward, because the past is full of many lies that need to be sorted out, and we can certainly do better than the spoon-feed delusions that we’ve been subjected too, along with the continuing daily news of zero substance that we have to suffer daily that really isn’t news, and actually is more akin to propaganda in actual fact.

    I am clearly bitter over the delusions i’ve suffered in the past but maybe those after me will be free to discern their actual environment better than I did and face this revisionism crap that we all face. They say the winners write the new chapters in history but that does not guarantee valid or truthful prose, direction, or fact being forwarded to the masses and it is up to us to dig though that mess and come up with a believable truth. There are many purveyors of news these days that the owners would have us accept as truth but they are often not a friend to actual fact and their objective is not enlightenment so the old saying holds true, buyer beware of what you receive. As Napoleon stated, history is the lie agreed upon and we should always be mindful to what we are told to believe.

  12. A real Atheist is only interested in what has practical application here on the ground; the key problem with humans is that we are subject to fears and desires, and these impulses can spawn a range of irrational behaviours, so adequately mitigating fears and appropriately disciplining desires is very important, and there is a number of ways that can be attained, the method is a lot less important than the result.

    The fears of death and “surreal aloneness” are good examples of things we all have to come to terms with otherwise we will just be subject to them, manifesting in panic and heightened chaotic reactions. Faith can help deal with these, but then faith can also be exploited simply by asking to prove it. But faith is only really proven by not over-reacting, not by indulging behaviours that are contrary to what makes sense to you, what your nature reveals as conflicting.

    So where people can come to terms with fears and desires, keeping them in perspective for where they have a place and where they only cause disruption, this is the success of both faith or logic, and not something contrary to Atheism.

    So ultimately I think there is a big difference between Atheism and Anti-Theism; the latter wants to eliminate a method that can lead to psychological self-control because it can threaten rational direction, the former is only interested in psychological self-control. But I would say that rational direction is only really threatened by people who lack psychological self-control, and that can be and IS anyone regardless of belief.

    So the Anti-Theist campaign is basically targeting a symptom of a more fundamental issue, and considering I quite easily spelled out the issue, the Anti-Theist campaign seems over-indulgent to me.

    • I’m not quite sure what you’ve just said. Is it me or is it you? I think you’ve proposed that anti-theism is not justified ( though in a rather roundabout way). My understanding of anti-theism is in regard to the set-up of the religious establishment, be it Christianity, Islam etc. Perhaps one could be an anti-theist in regard to the sort of magic and sorcery that results in the needless death and/or torture of individuals suspected of bad Khama.

      Atheism is simply a disbelief in gods or goddesses, no more, no less.

          • Fair enough, personally I am only interested in what has practical application here on the ground, it is in our behaviour that knowledge proves relevant, so appropriate behaviour is more important than whatever the knowledge itself is that motivates it.

          • For example; I find fears to be one of the most disruptive influences on our behaviour, granted at times a healthy dose of fear can save us or help solve a problem, but often it causes erratic or irrational behaviour so keeping it disciplined can be vital.

            In the realms of fear, I find we have two stand out types; Mortality, the fear of death, and what I call ‘surreal aloneness’ that even where we are not alone we are basically isolated within our own minds, hence a powerful moving force for communication and intimacy, but also a vulnerability in that we seek connection beyond this isolation, we end up with the idea of a God linking us to each other, the world/universe, or something greater than what we are.

            Personally I use pseudo methods to keep these disciplined; with mortality I use the idea Carl Jung expanded; Eternal Recurrence, basically if the universe is infinite, or works on an infinite variable equation, then the chances of a repeat in the unique combination of factors that in essence is us occurring again becomes a probability. That being unaware is absent of the passage of time, we really spend an eternity as an aware being (also we spend an eternity unaware but we don’t notice it).

            And with ‘surreal aloneness’ again in pseudo; the idea that consciousness and awareness are two different phenomena, where the simple act of matter or energy responding to natural laws of physics is an expression of consciousness. As opposed to a God which is aware, consciousness does not necessitate the presence of awareness.

            An example is how a cockroach has no adrenal gland so would not experience fear or self-awareness yet instinctively runs away from us as a result of evolution proving it an advantage to its ancestors. Or a piece of iron responding to a magnet according to the laws of circumstances, there are reactions and driving forces responding to stimuli absent of advanced levels of awareness, and I suggest this is what consciousness really is; the primordial expression of awareness present in all matter, energy and likely further down the quantum scale.

  13. Impulses such as fear and desire, as well as conceptual defects such as the superiority complex and ideology, each of these can serve a valid function but they can also propagate the worst attributes in the human condition when we fail to keep them in perspective and appropriately discipline them.

    This can happen to anyone really, the problem with categories like race, religion, class, nationality or sometimes even sex or sexuality is that individuals that fit the category can pool resources and have greater impacts subject to these defects.

    Religion is one of the more successful ways of doing this, uniting like-minds, but ultimately everyone has the capacity and just about any category of distinction carries with it risks, even Atheism, so just keep that in mind and learn to recognise it.

  14. The accuracy or amount of knowledge we possess is not as vital as we think; all in all it is our behaviour that is the most relevant thing about us, and so an arrangement and discipline that results in appropriate behaviour is the key, ultimately regardless of how or what that arrangement consists of.

    Basically; knowing everything is irrelevant, it is what you do with it that counts.

    I consider myself to have two God’s:

    1) “God is the line between the relevant and the irrelevant” meaning it is really only that which has practical and beneficial results in application that holds any value.

    2) “God is the vision of the person we want to be” which is pretty much self explanatory but whatever you visualise a good person to be and aim to become, that is God, and reaching for it is success alone, you do not actually have to attain it. Ambition is seldom the same as potential, so the goal isn’t really the goal but the attempt toward the goal is the real goal.

    • Ray Jul 12, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      The accuracy or amount of knowledge we possess is not as vital as we think; all in all it is our behaviour that is the most relevant thing about us, and so an arrangement and discipline that results in appropriate behaviour is the key, ultimately regardless of how or what that arrangement consists of.

      If the arrangement is not consistent with objective scientific evidence, it won’t work in the real world. Our behaviour will only be functional if it is based on understanding of the issues relevant to the decisions we are taking. This becomes very obvious when dealing with machinery or social relationships.

      Basically; knowing everything is irrelevant, it is what you do with it that counts.

      No one “knows everything”! It is knowing, or knowing how to reliably find out, relevant knowledge which matters.

      I consider myself to have two God’s:

      1) “God is the line between the relevant and the irrelevant” meaning it is really only that which has practical and beneficial results in application that holds any value.

      2) “God is the vision of the person we want to be” which is pretty much self explanatory but whatever you visualise a good person to be and aim to become, that is God, and reaching for it is success alone, you do not actually have to attain it. Ambition is seldom the same as potential, so the goal isn’t really the goal but the attempt toward the goal is the real goal.

      Why call them gods when they are only features of personality and personal interactions with reality?
      It only causes confusion, with the more usual supernatural definitions.

  15. First point; you are talking about engineering, I am talking about motive; our motives are Form, our actions are Substance, so I agree that actions must be consistent according to known physical laws, but we still require the discipline to keep them aligned, and whatever motivates us to do that is more important, what we do is more important than what we can do, and that comes down to our needs and wants and what is appropriate.

    Second point; I’m not saying anyone knows everything, just broadly, whatever you know is irrelevant it is what you do with that knowledge that counts, to keep knowledge in perspective as a tool, not an identity.

    And third point; why call them God’s? Because they are of founding importance to me, people call God the most fundamental aspect of the universe, these two points I find such.

    • Ray – http://richarddawkins.net/2014/07/announcing-the-openly-secular-coalition/#li-comment-147666

      Second point; I’m not saying anyone knows everything, just broadly, whatever you know is irrelevant – it is what you do with that knowledge that counts, to keep knowledge in perspective as a tool, not an identity.

      The confusion in that statement, is that what you know IS relevant to what you do with that knowledge. You can’t do anything with knowledge you don’t have!

      And third point; why call them God’s? Because they are of founding importance to me, people call God the most fundamental aspect of the universe, these two points I find such.

      That would be a remote deist type of god, who does not interfere with the running of the present universe, so in effect would be no different to a godless atheist universe, in practical operation in accordance with the laws of physics.
      It sounds like you understand the science, but are hanging on to some earlier personified god-image you grew up with.

      First point; you are talking about engineering, I am talking about motive; our motives are Form, our actions are Substance, so I agree that actions must be consistent according to known physical laws,

      Our motives, thoughts, and emotions, are driven by biochemical processes and the electric circuits of the brain. They all work on physics, having evolved as living material, like engineered electro-chemical systems.
      http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/synapse.html
      We also know that certain drugs can block or interfere with these processes.

    • Ray Jul 12, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      First point; you are talking about engineering, I am talking about motive; our motives are Form, our actions are Substance, so I agree that actions must be consistent according to known physical laws,

      Our motives and actions have to work in the real world just the same as engineered machines. Our rational and emotional decision making processes work on evolved material systems operating under the laws of physics, using biochemistry and the electrical circuitry of the brain.

      http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/synapse.html

      It can be demonstrated that drugs affect and distort these processes to produce illusions and delusions, illustrating features of their normal operations.

      but we still require the discipline to keep them aligned, and whatever motivates us to do that is more important, what we do is more important than what we can do, and that comes down to our needs and wants
      We are motivated to meet our needs, but an informed rational approach is more likely to achieve this, than a blind emotional response such as panic or wish-thinking!

      and what is appropriate.

      What is appropriate, is a value judgement, but needs a knowledge basis to connect to reality.
      Scientific methodology has been shown to consistently give the most reliable results, whereas “faith-thinking” and “wish-thinking”, is consistently shown to be no better than random in its outcomes!

      Second point; I’m not saying anyone knows everything, just broadly, whatever you know is irrelevant it is what you do with that knowledge that counts, to keep knowledge in perspective as a tool, not an identity.

      What you know is relevant, because you cannot use knowledge you do not have and do not know how to acquire!
      You may have knowledge which is irrelevant to particular actions, but if you lack the relevant knowledge, the judgements on specific issues, will be random or very poor. – Sometimes even perverse!

      And third point; why call them God’s?
      Because they are of founding importance to me, people call God the most fundamental aspect of the universe, these two points I find such.

      You seem to be describing a deist god, but in using a capital “G”, this is likely to be confused with the Abrahanic god of the Tora / Bible / Quoran, with all its magic and supernatural mythology.
      It would seem you are hanging on to some earlier vague god concept, after accepting the scientific mechanisms of the universe.

      • Alan4discussion Jul 13, 2014 at 6:58 am

        The formatting is wrong on the above post, but I did not see it until the edit window closed. .
        It should be:-

        Ray:- but we still require the discipline to keep them aligned, and whatever motivates us to do that is more important, what we do is more important than what we can do, and that comes down to our needs and wants

        We are motivated to meet our needs, but an informed rational approach is more likely to achieve this, than a blind emotional response such as panic or wish-thinking!

        and what is appropriate.

        What is appropriate, is a value judgement, but needs a knowledge basis to connect to reality.

  16. @Ray
    . Second point; I’m not saying anyone knows everything, just broadly, whatever you know is irrelevant it is what you do with that knowledge that counts, to keep knowledge in perspective as a tool, not an identity.

    I just briefly glanced at your comment, so I hope it’s not out of context, but for some knowledge is an end in itself. I’m not saying this is a good or bad thing, it’s just the way it is in some cases.

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