Posts Tagged ‘ignorance’

My last blog, “We Are All Born Theists” generated a great deal of gratifying discussion, even though most of it was in disagreement with me.  Which, though, was what I expected.  What I did not expect was that most of the discussion and disagreement was on something I had thought the minor point of the  blog:  whether a person who does not even have the concept of God is an atheist, as per the meme in my blog, which had stated babies are born atheists. rf_detail_174_0

So, given the number of discussions this topic on atheism generated, and the fact that I did not really get to fully explain my position (and, indeed, until I had seen all the arguments against it, did not really know how to do so), I am continuing it in this blog.

Now, for my position – I do not believe that a person, in this case a baby, can be called an atheist if they do not have even the concept or idea of God.  And by God, I mean any sort of supernatural entity invoked to explain natural and/or human events.  This includes nature spirits such as water and wood entities, ancestors, pantheon of Gods, our own solitary God, etc.

Now, let me be clear what I am not saying.  I am not saying that:

  • Atheists have to be materialists and/or naturalists. A person can believe in life after death, in ghosts, in psychic phenomena, in reincarnation and karma, etc.  and still be an atheist.
  • I am not saying a person cannot be ignorant and still be an atheist. An atheist can be a flat earther.  An atheist can believe contrails are chemicals being sprayed down by the government to better pacify and control us.  An atheist can believe all sorts of irrational and ignorant things and still be an atheist.

I think this covers the main areas of misunderstandings of my position.  Which is, again, F16-SEP-do-nothing-borderthat a lack of knowledge about even the concept of God does not make a person an atheist.

Those who disagreed with me argued that it is only a lack of belief in God that defines an atheist, not the cause. dark

To a point, I agree.  Why a person became an atheist is immaterial.  It could be trauma, rational thought, rebellion, or just finding the whole idea silly.  Whatever  the reason, if they lack a belief in God, then they are an atheist.

However, to me, to not even have the concept of God, is different.  The why of this hinges on the word “belief”.  To believe or not believe something you have to first know of it.  For example, can you say that a person who has never heard of or seen pictures of dragons really does not believe in dragons?   I guess you can, but I think a much more accurate statement would be that they are ignorant of the idea of dragons. A lack of knowledge of is not the same as a lack of belief in.

The same holds true for atheism.  Ignorance of God would be a much more accurate description of a person who has no concept, never heard or read of God than would be atheist.

And then I look at who this definition of atheism as including even those totally ignorant of the concept of God would apply to in real life. Babies.  Do you really want to say that babies who lack the ability to understand anything or reason at that age are atheist just because, along with everything else, they have no concept of God?

Or what about persons with severely intellectual and developmental handicaps?  So severe that they cannot talk and understand little to no words?  Do you really want to call them atheists?


Sorry, this does not pass my silly test.  And sorry  for how dismissive that might sound, but it really does describe my initial reaction to this. To put this another way,  I mean it does not make logical sense to say that they are atheists.  Ignorance and belief/lack of belief are not the same.

To equate ignorance of even the concept of God to being an atheist is, basically, equating ignorance and atheism.





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With so many political posts lately I had thought to make this one about religion.  After all, a blog titled Bad Atheist should be discussing religion every now and again.  However, instead, I wrote another political post.   Why?  Because, as the saying goes, shit happens.   And that shit is Trump.

This week Trump started confirming my worst fears about him.  While it is hard to pick and choose which of his executive actions was the worse, since he has provided us with a full, rich smorgasbord  of terrible decisions and actions to choose from, I am going to talk about his latest one.  The one where he stopped and banned all migrants and refugees from seven countries from entering the United States, even those who hold permanent resident status.   These countries were supposedly picked due to their failed nature, terrorist activity, and violence.

This sudden and drastic action reeks of so many things – fear, hatred, ignorance.   This action, and Trump’s and his supporters justification for it make it seem as if there is no vetting of these travelers, as if we just say “yep, come on in” without doing any sort of check.   Trump and crew seem to believe that we have avoided a terrorist attack from the citizens of these countries due solely to the grace of God.

The reality is that we do check them, each and every one.   Some more than others.  But none are given a free pass to just come and go without any scrutiny.  And you know what?  It seems to work.

Consider this fact – a true fact and not an alternate one that Trump and his followers are so fond of – none of the attacks carried out in the United States were done by a citizen of these seven countries.  Not one.

Consider this fact too, none of the attacks carried out in the United States were done by Syrian refugees.

Finally, consider this fact, and it is one that Trump’s defenders are making a big to do about; all of these seven countries were identified by the Obama administration as posing special risks for visa status.  In other words, the situation within those countries are dire and rife with terrorism and violence.

And yet, with just the procedures we have now, none of its citizens who have traveled here, go to school here, work here, and live here have committed any attacks against the hnan_and_lian_fadi_kassar_5758bdbd2e3fc99559b93f42d7bf4d69-nbcnews-ux-2880-1000United States here.    Despite being from high risk countries.

Seems like pretty good evidence that we are doing something right.  And that sudden, drastic measures such as those Trump engaged in, are not necessary or needed.  Examining those procedures and tweaking them, possibly so.  Full out stop – no.

An analogy from my own background might be useful here.  If I have a productive piece of equipment that, although not giving me zero defects, does do well and whose defects are well below our goals, I am not going to shut it down to examine it in order to find ways to improve it.  Instead I will let it run while I look at improvements, or even replacement.

Now, if the same machine were to malfunction and we had more defects than good product, or, even worse, someone were injured or killed, then yes, shut it down and fix it.

Our immigration system from these seven countries was working well, as evidenced by the fact that we had no terrorist attacks from anyone from these countries on our soil.  Agreed, some from those countries have engaged in terrorist acts in Europe, but Europe is not the United States and the dynamics and situations are different.  The situation in Europe is a cause to examine our system by using what is happening in Europe to see how it could be improved.  However, it is not cause to shut it all down to do so.  As I said, our immigration system for these seven countries so far has had zero defects.

Moving on, let me point out one other fact of interest.  Refugees are going to come from high risk countries with high levels of violence and terrorists.  If it were all nice and peaceful they would not have uprooted themselves from home and family and fled their country.  What this means it that in using the criteria of not allowing people in from high risk countries Trump effectively blocks entry to this country to those who need its safety the most.

So, what does this tell us about Trump and his administration?

That they are, tactfully speaking, not deep thinkers.   In fact, they are not thinkers at all – they do not analyze and try to understand the situation and system before making changes.  Instead, they are reactors.  They react and then try to justify, often with alternative facts and denial of actual facts.  Think of them as being the proverbial bull in a china shop, only with the ability to speak.

Next, they don’t care.  They do not care about the hardship that this imposes on people and families – on their livelihood, on their jobs, on their goals and plans.  They  don’t care that many of these people are in productive jobs in the United Sates and that their absence impacts American businesses. They don’t care that some of these people are engaging in important research that could have a potential impact on our medicines and healthcare.  They don’t care that their actions may even cost people their lives.  They don’t care.  They x_lon_syriaboy_170129-nbcnews-ux-1080-600reacted and damn , that felt good.  The rest – they don’t care.

Moving down the list of things we learned from Trump and his administration.  They don’t like to communicate. Nor do they like to coordinate.  A small group wrote this up without input from anyone.  The normal vetting of this executive order to ensure it does not violate laws and the Constitution, that it does what they want it to without unwanted complications and consequences, was not done.  But of course, Trump knows it all anyway and so doesn’t need to worry about that.  Which, come to think of it, is why he so often seems to live in a fantasy world.

This last trait, not vetting it (and isn’t that rather ironic), along with not communicating it in advance and planning on how to best implement it with those who are charged with actually implementing it contributed greatly to the chaos and uncertainty that followed.  That with, of course, the fact that this was a bad, very bad, hugely and bigly bad executive order.

A bad executive order done badly .    Trump and friends managed to get nothing right about this.

All for what?  National security?  To make out country safer?

This does not do that.  Not even a little bit.  In fact, it does the opposite.  It provides evidence for the radicals claim that the US is waging war on Islam and Muslims.  That our words about freedom of religion are nothing more than hollow hypocrisy.  Trump and company’s actions have the potential to increase the effectiveness of the terrorist’s recruitments efforts.

I know, I know.  Many of those supporters of Trump would pooh pooh my claims that Trump’s actions here actually help the terrorists and radicals rather than hurt them.  This despite the fact that the reasoning is sound and is supported by actual events.

There are currently several  Jihadist groups who are hailing Trump’s piece of ant-terrorist action.  One even said that Trump was “the best caller to Islam”. Why?  Because it shows that what the terrorists and radicals have been saying about the United States, that it is at war with Islam and has no true freedom of religion, are true.  It turns what had been their lies into truth.

Or consider the citizens in Iraq.  We, the United States, are working with them to defeat ISIS.  But we won’t let them in?  What message does that send – hello, we think you make fine cannon fodder but don’t really want to have anything else to do with you. Other than help you become good cannon fodder.

Even worse, the message this executive order sends to the American Muslim community is that the United States does not care about the ideals of religious freedom.  That Muslims are second class at best.  Especially when they consider that now Christians will get preferential treatment over all other refugees.

Which brings us to another question being asked – is this a ban on Muslims?  Trump did call for such a ban during his campaign.  Add to that former New York City mayor Giuliani stating during a Fox interview on Saturday that Trump had tasked him with finding some legal way to make a ban on Muslims happen.  Then add to the pot Trump’s order giving Christians priority.

While this is not conclusive, there is enough here to cause extremely justified suspicion that it is indeed a ban based on religious belief.  A ban on Muslims disguised… rather like how laws to discourage black voting back in the good old days were disguised as literacy tests.  And if somehow it is not, then it gives every appearance of being such with all the accompanying issues and problems that such a ban would create.  Including providing aid and comfort to the terrorists.

Not good


Moving to another one of the interesting questions being asked – why these seven countries?  Yes, President Obama had them on a list.  But, it was not for the sort of actions Trump is engaging in.   Since Trump is busily doing everything he can to undo what President Obama has done, then why not add countries who have actually had some of their citizens attack us on our own soil?   Why not add Egypt and Saudi Arabia to the list?  Or Turkey?

Hmmm, let’s see.  Trump has significant business interests in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey.  He has none in Syria, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.

While not conclusive, it is suspicious.  Add to that the fact that he continues to refuse to release his tax returns and divest himself of his business holdings, or even put them in a blind trust, and I think we have a grand cause to investigate.  Is Trump trying to benefit, or at the very least, trying to protect, his business interests through the office of the Presidency without consideration on whether that is good for the United States or not.

Finally, despite all of this, the facts and the reasons, the protests and the pain it is causing to good people, I see many of his supporters still trying to justify this order and support these actions.  In reading some of the articles and in my discussions with them, some do it out of hatred of Muslims and Islam.  To those people I can only say go to hell cause we are not going to let you create one here in the United States.

Others though are doing so out of fear and ignorance.  To them I say, heal yourselves.  While your intentions may be good, ignorance and fear turn even the best of intentions into terrible actions.  They are the bricks used to line that road to hell.

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In a previous blog in July I gave free reign to my ego and let it proudly proclaim that I have a way with words such that I can pithily and succinctly capture some of the great truths about the world we live in and in how we live in the world.


In other words I shared some witty and relevant aphorisms that I thought very much worth sharing for the purpose of improving my reader’s insights into life and living.  There were only four at that time, but I at that time reserved the right to add to these at any time.  Since I have not died between then and now I find that I have indeed created six more witty aphorisms well worth sharing and most definitely worth your time in reading and cognizing upon.  I believe that before I die I will have created even more, several of which will be as eternal as the English language (I did warn you I was letting my ego run unchecked).

Please feel free to use either the new ones of the original ones that I am reprinting in your conversations, at the appropriate moments of course.



My wife sometimes has to tell me to do something four or five times before I don’t do it. 


Good or evil, moral or immoral, rational or irrational; a religion is what its followers make of it. 


Never bet on there being a limit to human ignorance.  You’ll lose. 


To expect perfection from yourself in all your endeavors it to set yourself up for a lifetime of frustration, anxiety, and pain.  After all, human is not even close to being synonymous with perfection.


Genius shared is not genius halved but rather genius squared.

Genius is not defined by length and even the shortest of sayings, even if of only one word, can contain all the wisdom of the world.




Shopping for a Grandchild:

It is not a success until done to excess.



The worth of a vacation is not determined by how many building and mountains were seen, nor in how many events attended and experienced.  Instead the worth of a vacation is determined by how much joy you experienced in those you did see – even if it is only one.  



Humans are not lifted up to dignity by God but rather lift themselves to dignity on the basis of their own efforts.  



Miscommunications occur when two or more people think they have communicated effectively and successfully and then refuse to believe otherwise.


As I said in my original blog, this list is short (especially for me) but then genius is not defined by length and even the shortest of sayings, even if of only one word, can contain all  the wisdom of the world.

Also, if anyone has an aphorism, pithy and witty saying, or cleverly expressed short insights that they have said in the past and would like to share please feel free to do so.   I do not mind sharing other people’s insights, as long as they meet my high and demanding standards.

After all genius shared is not genius halved but rather genius squared.



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