The Study of Nothing and its Vacuous Morality

11372074_757963564316312_45887615_nI recently ran into an arrogant, bloviating theologist in the comments of a blog to which I am a regular contributor. He made it quite clear how much better he was than everyone else, with his theology degree and his perfectly infallible bible and his deep understanding of absolutely nothing.

So I collected some of his most noteworthy insights and listed them here, mistakes and missing words and all, to demonstrate how you should definitely NOT act if you’re a Christian who wants to convert atheists.

He started out by attacking someone who left an encouraging comment for the author of the article:

“Gee….has anyone bothered to tell you that being an atheist, you have no way even defend the concept of courage, let alone praise someone for being courageous?”

Has anyone bothered to tell you that you’re an asshole? The question of whether or not a god exists has nothing to do with the concept of courage, which is the trait of showing strength in the face of pain, fear, or grief. Do you see anything in that definition about belief in a god? I don’t.

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High Cooking: Barbecue Chipotle Chili

IMG_6424This is some damn good chili, according to a coworker.

I spent three days making a rather unique chili for the annual company picnic, since we had a chili cook-off this year. I didn’t win, but I came close. The scoring sheets they used had sections for texture and appearance, which is probably where I fell behind. I tried the winning chili and it was very good, though I prefer the lower salt and higher capsaicin content in mine. Anyway, that’s all subjective and I definitely succeeded in making the delicious chili I envisioned.

I broke the cooking process down into four stages, and I made double my target amount so I could enjoy the rest for myself after failing to win the cook-off. My recipe involves the use of a smoker, but grilled meat would be adequate. Not great, just adequate.

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Dunning-Kruger, Evangelicals, and Donald Trump

20-let-the-hate-flow-through-you-Trump-memeAt the beginning of my article last October about vaccines, I quoted the saying “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”, and noted that fundamentalist religion in my experience overlaps greatly with proponents of anti-science ideas, who continue to use blatant lies and terrible logic to support their flawed hypotheses long after they’ve been proven wrong.

In some cases, though, malice is definitely present. Take Trump’s campaign, for example. From the very beginning it has been firmly based on all the traditional values of fascism: glorification of violence, authoritarianism, scapegoating of out-groups, and an unrealistic nationalism focused on “returning” the country to some mythical golden era that never actually existed. It’s obvious that a significant portion of Trump’s support arises from hatred of Democrats, minorities, foreigners, Muslims, and so on. However, ignorance may be playing a much larger part.

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Fuel Injected Freedom: Gold, Sport Seats, and Giant Googly Eyes

IMG_6075I have another Porsche story to tell. This one starts with a 1901 US $5 gold coin, and it will probably end with profit. But first, I have to tell an old story about the time I got a 1984 Porsche 944 for free.

On my 22nd birthday in October 2013, I happened upon a post on the Rennlist forums by a guy in Portland, saying he wrecked his 944 and whoever could haul it away within a couple days would get it for free. Otherwise, it would be scrapped.

I’d recently bought a $900 Chevy pickup so I borrowed a trailer hitch from a coworker, a trailer from a different coworker, and the next day I hauled my free Porsche home.

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Mason Lynch Rambles at Facebook: Episode 4

hats

Today’s free advertisement goes to Mostly Hats, a small shop in Long Beach, WA that sells mostly hats, as their name indicates. It’s a wonderful place.

What’s on my mind, Facebook?

This evening I was on my porch, which has a clear view of one disc golf goal and two starting points. People come by all the time.

Today a clean-cut guy in a baseball cap strolled along, pushing what looked like a legitimate baby stroller, and he stood like a statue of some Roman emperor surveying the land. He surveyed for a long moment, and then took a disc from the back pouch of the stroller.

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How Religion Deprived Me of Understanding Myself

photo-1427348693976-99e4aca06bb9A key part of my deconversion was recognizing the prevalence of emotion-based reasoning in the sort of religion my siblings and I grew up with. From earlier than we remember, we were given a specific narrative that dictated to us what was true. Young children do not have the experience or the knowledge to question what they are taught; what they hear is what they believe, and that effect even lingers into adulthood as shown by a study in 1977.

To further enforce the religion’s dictated truth, its concepts were linked to common emotions. Instead of discerning right from wrong and truth from falsehood by considering the evidence logically, we were taught concepts based on feelings, as if they were more reliable than rational thought. Rituals created emotions and continued to repeat the narrative, linking sin to shame, hell to terror, heaven to happiness.

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