The Humanist Advocate

Robertson should be hospitalized!

Why does this man get any media coverage at all? His latest pronouncement that the Haitians brought this devastating earthquake on themselves because of some purported agreement with Satan in the 18th century is beyond insanity. It’s certifiably nuts! And yet, there he is in the Times-Picayune getting valuable news space complete with explanations and public respect, if that’s what it’s called. What kind of modern person can spout this crap and not be carted away by the white coats?…

BOOK REVIEW: Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

Daniel Dennett, 2006, Viking (Penguin) There are few times in my life where I’ve experienced “revelation.” Not in the religious sense, but in the sense of scientific enlightenment. Even though my education and career is in engineering, I’ve made it a point to become familiar with the science of evolution. However, I’ve always unknowingly limited my learning to the perspective of biological adaptation. Dennett’s book brought the realization crashing home that our brains and therefore our thought processes are just…

Learn the five moral foundations

There is a very enlightened theory circulating that morality has several central themes that cross all cultures and explain the differences worldwide in how liberal and conservative thinking individuals interpret morals in society. But what is extremely interesting is that understanding conservative interpretations of morality will help you identify the reason why a person believes the way they do which is a very powerful thing to know. Does that then make their belief acceptable? Not at all, but it will…

Health care…do you feel lucky?

Okay, here’s something that I think we need to talk about in our country: We’re all going to die someday. What? Should I say it again? Did you think you heard me wrong? We’re all going to die someday. I wish I had better news, but it’s a fact of life. Some Americans pretend it only happens to other people AND the unluckier ones at that. But if luck does have anything to do with it, you and everyone you…

BOOK REVIEW: Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion, and the Appetite for Wonder

Richard Dawkins, 1998, Houghton Mifflin Co. The title of this book comes from a line in John Keats’ poem ‘Lamia.’ In one verse of that poem, Keats accused Newton of unweaving the rainbow, having destroyed the beauty of the rainbow by explaining the physical principles that result in the formation of rainbows. Dawkins, in defense of Newton, argues through many enlightening examples that an understanding of our physical reality in terms of its own laws leads to an appreciation of…

Therapy group forming for secular humanists…

Taking the idea from New York City Atheists, addressing the question as to counseling help for nonbelievers, NOSHA is proposing the formation of a therapy group for its members with psychological, emotional or other personal problems. New York calls its group “Living Without Religion,” led by a psychotherapist. Their group “will meet once a month, with the goal of helping each other resolve our personal problems through reason, scientific knowledge, empathy, logic and understanding. There will be no charge for…

Is Science Compatible with Religion?

Even if you think you know the answer, it never hurts to hear from some “experts.” ****************************** SELU Forum: Is Science Compatible with Religion? This will be a panel discussion consisting of representatives from the two sides: •Dr. Barbara Forrest•Adam Hicks•Dr. David Norwood•Dr. Matt Rossano•Doug Stewart•Dr. James Walter•Dr. Frank Tipler The dialog will conclude with an audience question & answer session. Tuesday, November 177:00 PM Southeastern Louisiana UniversityStudent Union Theatre303 Texas Ave.Hammond, LA 70402 You can park in the lot…

Are women second class citizens?

I’m curious….in light of the Stupak Amendment passing, does anyone else think that perhaps we really do live in a society that honestly thinks of women as second class citizens who don’t warrant respect for our bodies or reproductive health needs? (Or at least when certain religious viewpoints such as the “Bishops’ Caucus” are given credence over medical decisions in our political system.) And before you reject this comment out of hand, consider that when religious opinions are brought into…

Best Halloween Costume of 2009?!!

My good friend Pope Ratzi sent me this photo from his visit to the French Quarter on Halloween night. It’s his submission to the Best Costume on Bourbon Street contest of 2009. What do you think? I know. Tasteless! Assaulting! But you can’t deny that it is absolutely funny as hell if you ignore the terrible truth behind it. But I don’t know if we can or should ignore this. It’s what keeps atheists up at night. Think about it….a…

Veneration and the leg bone….

I know many of you can’t conceive of anything as bizarre as viewing a relic and expecting to take away something emotionally or spiritually important from it. Well, that’s what happened here here in New Orleans over Halloween weekend. Mary Magdalene’s leg bone was on display at a Catholic church on Canal Street. How do they know it was her leg bone? I don’t know, but perhaps it was authenticated in some way. I don’t see this as any different…