Kapanalig Sa Wala - Literally, one who also have faith in nothing, is a play on words and wasn't really intended to mean something. It was made in jest to call the atheist camp when I was still actively debating god in one of the demised public forums out there. I think walang pananalig (faithless) would have proven to be more precise but I think the intended humor will be lost.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Delusion & Reality

"One man's delusion is another man's reality."

I heard a creationist tell me once before. Not that I subscribe to it but the die-hard creationists believe their world in as much as we do our own - and so to them, in some aspects of 'reality' with which we don't agree, am delusional, e.g., evolution. Taking this view will make the statement above 'true' based on their own POV. I don't think that my atheistic POV and their theistic POV are part of the same legendary elephant since atheism is the negation of theism - gods cannot exist and not exist (now nor before) at the same time. Although there are only two possible outcomes to the question 'does god exist?', it should be easy to decide which one is true and which one isn't true, right? It doesn't look like so clean given all types of variations of opinion in the spectrum . For me atheism is most probably true that I now take it for granted that it can be false. I'd say atheism is true by default - until theism is proven. (I hear the howls of the theistic defenders in the list now.)

But... I don't think the belief in a being called 'god' in itself is delusional. Delusion is too strong a word for me. But when the believer attaches many attributes and events to this 'god' such as that this 'god' is an active agent in their day to day lives, hhmm.... I believe that there are probably ET life waiting out there to be discovered but I don't think that intelligent ET have invaded our planets abducting humans (most specially American citizens) and experimenting on them.

About two weeks ago we bought this 500-piece jigsaw puzzle and started solving it but not before I took one piece and hid it in the binder on top of my PC table. As the puzzle requires a considerable effort, we only managed to finish 2/3 of it with the 1/3 lying unfinished for a week before it caught the fancy of my 4-yr old daughter again. So then we completed it except for one piece missing. I tried looking for it in the binder but it wasn't there anymore so I gave up. A few days later, my daughter found the missing piece under the rocking chair. When I asked her where she found it (it's a different piece from the one I first hid which I now presume to had been found by my wife earlier and put back into the puzzle box), my daughter said the fairy took it from the binder where she saw me looking days earlier, and the fairy moved it under the rocking chair. I told her that fairies are not real but she insisted so I did not pursue it. Is my daughter delusional? I'd think she has been deceived - that fairies exist - so I am reminding her from time to time that fairies are not real - just stories for kids. God is also just a story or but unlike fairy tales, it's one tale that most of us will be believing well into adulthood. Kids are fine for sometime believing in fairies but as for adults? I'd still say that most have been honestly deceived but if believers say their 'god' started talking to them, say to invade Iraq, that is delusional.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All For A Pack Of Lies

These soldiers died as well as tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, all for a pack of lies.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pesky Born Again Christians

Once again, in a public forum, I found myself at odds with a born-again Christian who is so "sure" he holds The One Truth(tm). The discussion was for awhile about why the woodcarving industry of Paete has been on the decline while at the same time that of Betis (Pampanga) is slowly taking the title away from Paete. The first post was by a young priest commenting on the quality of religious carving from Paete in particular, based on a recent personal anecdote. Then out of the blue, this born again Christian, like a true disciple of his faith, started preaching on the Catholic "sin" of idolatry supposedly by commissioning graven images. While I would say the born again Christian have some small plus point on this issue (if the god of the bible exists of course) about what the bible say about graven images (of dead people also called saints by the Catholics) even if it's just for "veneration" (what does it really mean anyway), I find it funny only because I think both Catholics and born again Christians are arguing about something, in my view is completely worthless. At least some believers are honest to admit what is essentially very close to agnosticism. For example, one wrote

"sa pagkaka alam ko walang sinuman ang nkaka alam kung sino at saan ang daan para maligtas" [AFAIK, nobody knows who (will be saved) or which way is salvation].

And another replied:

"Base sa likas na kakulangan ng tao, ay totoo ang sinabi mo na walang sinuman na nakakaalam kung sino at kung saan ang “kaligtasan. Itong kaisipang ito ay “pinagtitibay” (?) ng seglar (secularist/humanistic/anthropological/rationalistic) na kabihasnan." [Based on the limitation of humans, what you said is true that nobody knows... This is reinforced by secular (humanistic/anthropological/rationalistic) civilization]

If only they can translate that "nobody knows" into something else altogether and stop arguing about it since if "nobody knows" about the topic, how do we suppose the discussion will be meaningful? You will find the rest of the postings here.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Affable Atheist

Affable atheist.

The Unholy Father Apologizes

Holy Cow! Mr. Pope apologized to the Muslims. It's a good sign or what? This pope guy is not "sinless" or "holy" - whatever those words mean. He is just as human as anybody else, prone to commit mistakes. Haha.

Anger with Pope Benedict XVI had intensified across the Muslim world Saturday, uniting Sunni Islam's leading authority, Malaysia's moderate premier, and Afghanistan's extremist Taliban militia.

Now, that's a potently dangerous mix of nutcases to get angry at the pope, don't you think? Is Mr. Pope afraid of going to heaven now courtesy of a fatwa?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

OFWs as Export Commodities

Japan and the Philippines signed a free-trade agreement. Its most important feature is the provisions on the movement of labor. Rather than bringing the jobs home, this fake Arroyo administration sees OFWs like myself as export commodity. When I was to leave for Tokyo last June, the immigration officer held me until I produced a POEA permit. I don't usually get an OCW permit because of lack of time and to avoid the hassles of dealing with the bureaucracy. But if I didn't get the permit, I had to pay for travel tax and terminal fees for me and my family. Last June, I had to pay for three people, but still I had to go back to the POEA because the immigration officer wouldn't let me leave, which I could not afford. At the POEA desk, I had to argue with the guy on the desk because he was not very quick in processing my request, my flight was close to boarding and he was not in a hurry at all pausing to listen to his colleagues gossip. After getting my POEA permit, I went back to the desk where I earlier paid for my travel tax then terminal fees if I could get my money back (1,600 + 550 for three people or about 6,500 pesos). They said I can only get my refund from the main POEA office, which I suppose is the one in EDSA corner Ortigas avenue, and which is like saying: good luck dude. We always have to pay dearly for our government's inefficiencies. After going back to the immigration officer with the permit, she had to give me a lecture about the importance of getting the POEA for my own protection from my employer. I told her I work for a very good company, which is a fact. This company has done me more good than any of our government agencies, save the public school system. (I attended a public elementary school.) She insisted that I was making a mistake by not availing myself of the POEA permit, that if in case problems erupt in the country where I work, I will be helped by OWWA because I am registered. BIG DEAL. The war in Lebanon highlighted what kind of help I shall be expecting if and when that actually happens. The OWWA didn't have the funds nor the muscle for such a situation. Our govenrment is so weak and ineffective when dealing with events outside our country, and yet, one of the main push of this government is to continue to commoditize its citizen, to deploy to all corners of the world. If penguins hire househelps and nannies, we'd be in Antarctica.

Our government negotiated the free trade agreement with Tokyo which includes the provision for the deployment of nurses and caregivers. The pact is about free trade. We get electronics, in exchange, the Japanese gets our nurses among other commodities. Fair trade?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Deja Vu

A few hours ago as I just stepped into the elevator at the train station, I had my book (The World Is Flat by Friedman) ready on this page with my index finger acting as bookmark. I had been reading the book in my commute and it was such a good read I could not close it even as I walk to the turnstiles. Just as I stepped into the lift, I opened the book to continue reading it, I had a deja vu. Not only that I thought it was queer coincidence but a few moments right before the deja vu happened, I thought I predicted that I would be having the deja vu. Afterwards, I kept on thinking how was that even possible? In the end, I thought when I first got hold of the book, I must have casually opened it in that exact page and read a paragraph or two, but which I already put deep in my subconscious for forgetting. Then since I take the elevator quite often, the memories of both events were combined to make the collage that is the deja vu. Plausible? Hhhmmm....

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Book on Japanese Occupation in Ilo-ilo

I just finished reading this book by Jose Maria Lacambra, Rising Sun Blinking: A Young Boy's Memoirs Of The Japanese Occupation In The Philippines published by Sinag-Tala Publishers. The copyright says that it's published in 1994. I picked it up in one of those numberless visits to Powerbooks' Filipiniana section but I kept on putting it down after starting to read it a couple of times. A few days ago, I ran out of light and small books to read on my commutes to and from the office so I picked it up again and at last I was able to finish it. I found it a good book overall and at only PHP100.00, it's a steal. Google only managed to give me 2 links to it when I turned to the web to see if it has caught the fancy of somebody else and posted some more info about it or the author online. The book is a light read and is only 250 pages but it did manage to capture some of the characteristics and traits of the Pinoys. I give it a four out of five stars and recommend it to all Pinoys most specially to Ilonggos and Guimaras islanders.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Tommy's Story

This is about the story of Tommy on which I was commenting on in one of the forums I participate in.

a wrote:
Dear ----:

I guess the story is really told from the perspective of the instructor, John Powell. And you are correct, there was no direct mention on why Tommy was looking for God. However, Tommy did say the following:

Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It's a matter of weeks....
Well, it could be worse.
Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real biggies' in life.

But of course! Thanks for pointing it out. Not believing and having no values nor ideals are two separate things. This makes the story suspect because it is associating atheism with *vices* when it's not really necessary. I searched for it in the net. Although Mr. Powell is still alive to confirm the story to be "true", unfortunately Tommy is no longer here to dispute it. For the sake of discussion, let's asume the story is true. But first, we must admit that one can be a believer, be fifty and think that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real biggies' in life. This is so obvious now even as we speak.

As for meaning, one can be a non-believer and still find meaning (think Sartre here). Meaning is not the monopoly of (Christian) believers.

On Kant (so far I have only read his introduction to his philosophy Logic so I may be off the track here. This is how I'd put it using my own understanding.), if there must be an absolute code of morality - The Right Thing (tm) - then even a god must be governed by this absolute code. For example, if murder in any context is absolutely unjustifiable, then even god will have to abide by it. But if god is exempted, i.e., if a god sanctions murder (e.g., god of the Old Testament) and if this is justifiable simply because it's god (I have heard this often enough that even genocide is justified if it's god who is doing/ordering it) then there will be no absolute code of morality because god must be following a separate rule (murder is okay), while humans follow another set (murder is unjustifiable). But.... if there must be just one absolute set of values (e.g., murder is in any time and all cases is absolutely unjustifiable), then this absolute must be above both gods and humans alike. That god must abide by this same absolute code, it then follows that the same absolute code can and must be existing independently of the gods. Therefore you don't need a god in order to have absolute set of values. OTOH, if god is required in order to define this absolute moral code, again morality becomes arbitrary because god can say murder is a virtuous act and because it was god who said so, it becomes absolutely the right thing to do, magically. If, as you say, human minds can grasp these supposed absolute code of morality, why do we *have* cultural relativism? And why is morality evolving? Whereas slavery and race segregation used to be acceptable in the southern states, they are not now? And very recently, the Philippine congress moved to abolish capital punishment whereas it was re-instituted as lately as 1993?.

I personally believe that people do the right thing because they think it's the Right Thing to do given the context or circumstances. Man is capable of weighing the quality and consequences of his actions and act morally. Even if there is indeed an absolute code of morality, it still doesn't follow that there must be a god who put it there (Occam's Razor). It's just there. Now, Tommy could have been a better person than he already was without having to believe. This reminds me of this challenge made by one fundamentalist Christian website on whether turning to atheism could make an ex-believer a better person for example by making him stop beating his wife. The idea being, that there have been atheists who have lead sinful lives but who have stopped beating his wife after turning Christian. The question that should have been asked in the first (Christian) case was pointed out by one visitor is that, why despite being a Christian would one would lead *sinful* ways and want to beat his wife?

I apologize if I seem to be out of context. This being under the inspirational and spiritual. I just think that if a story should inspire us or uplift our "spirits", it must not come at the expense of other religion or in this case, non-belief. Just in case you are wondering, I do have very strong opinion against religion (not on belief itself) and its effects to our society but I put it somewhere else. For me, mere belief and non-belief are not ethical systems by themselves.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Silly Music Videos

I'm an 80s person. The hair, the Molly Ringwald movies, and the silly music videos.

Oh, would if I could go back to the time of less care and worries.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Catholic Education: Good or Evil?

My 3 1/2 year old daughter is attending a Catholic-run yochien since they came back last week. This morning, they had an activity for the Marian Festival. They had to bring flowers and offer them to, I presume to be, a graven image of Mary. My wife told me my daughter was asking her WHY do they have to offer flower to it. I couldn't remember if she told me what answer she gave her. I was alarmed because my daughter is just 3 1/2 years old. Even the coloring materials are pictures of Mary! My wife is Catholic. Because the yochien is near our place it is very convenient for us but I feel uncomfortable about the quick turn of events. My wife thinks it's okay because my daughter can always change her mind later just as *I* changed my mind on the matter. I am not worried about that. What I am worried and against is that why do they have to put the kids at such tender age to such activities centering to what I think is a LIE. I am afraid it's gonna make an impression on her and may confuse her later on. I plan to convince my wife to transfer our daughter to another non-religious yochien next year. It's gonna be a long argument about something that I had been avoiding for the longest time. I had given her many reasons why those activities are bad but since she is herself Catholic and a believer, she is quite irritated by my arguments and wont entertain anymore of it so I usually stop before if I see signs of breaking point. I will continue next opportunity to again argue my case but I would like to ask others who have been in the same situation before what have they done, by experience, given a similar situation and what have been the results.

I have many friends who are of different beliefs but at the same time were also Catholic-school educated since, they say, in their place the Catholic-run schools are simply the best in their country. This is of course debatable given that being religion-run, the world-view and frame of reference itself may exclude the teaching of more "radical" theories because the education policies are being decided by religious orders who have something to protect. This is exactly like in the high school I attended where sciences were deplorable. For example, biology should teach evolution as a science devoid of any references to religion but all I could remember being taught were taxonomy, cells, basic anatomy.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Gloria Should Learn Honesty From Singapore's PM Lee

Letter I sent to INQ7.net just now. Please refer to this link for further reference.


Dear Editor,

That the Philippines is truly the basket case of Asia is no longer disputable. Why we are a long way to go in the Asian Politician Honesty survey. Take for example the recent elections in Singapore where PM Lee said:

"What is the opposition's job? It's not to help the PAP do a better job ... because if they help the PAP do a better job, you're going to vote for me again and they're going to be out of a job for a long time. So their job is to make life miserable for me... Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in Parliament. Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right policy for Singapore, I'm going to spend all my time thinking what's the right way to fix them, to *buy my supporters votes*, how can I solve this week's problem and forget about next year's challenges?"

On fixing the votes, it seems that Gloria needs to learn a lesson or two from PM Lee about honesty. Why say "I'm sorry" when you can just brag about it?


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PDI feedback

Sunday, May 07, 2006

She Is Not My President

I have been listening to the voice recordings including the "Hello, Garci" and the "I'm Sorry" speech by Gloria. There are many things wrong with it. This president is making us look like fools. She is not my president.

Numbing Pain

For the past six hours I have been feeling a slight discomfort. My chest muscles and neck seems to be numbed I have to exert some effort to really ignore it. Must be caused by my erratic schedule the past few days, being holidays here - oversleeping and eating unhealthy food at the wrong hours and intervals. I will try to go sleep now.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Doctor Is Out: A Reaction

There is this tragic story in the INQ7.net today (4/29/06) about a doctor studying to become a nurse so she can leave for the US. I am not a nurse but I can sympathize with the author being an "OFW" myself. I spent six years trying to "resist assimilation" by rejecting the invitations of my college friends who had shipped out to the US, Europe, and Singapore within the first three years of their IT careers. I can say, I was not in financial want but eventually, me too had to fly out. I would have stayed longer were it not for more reasons not entirely everything economic. Now, I am not sure if I can ever go back because to do so, will mean having to give up the small conveniences you can enjoy by living in a more egalitarian society. Every time I come back for a vacation, I get frustrated and distressed by what I see. I would like our nation, our people, to change for the better, to progress in terms of human spirit, to mature intellectually and economically, for our government and society to address the current gross inequity amongst our people and be the latest Middle Class Economy, so that our doctor neighbors like Czarinah Pagay will no longer find a reason or the need to fly-out, to make a forced-move career-change midstream. Our society need not aspire to be an economic powerhouse like Japan, or a military powerhouse like the US, all she needs is to provide equal opportunity for everyone to choose the kind of life they want to live, with no second class citizens. To let everybody be in control of one's fate provided he/she respects the rights of others to be equal to his/her own. I'd bet that what most would want are just the bare minimum, the basic things like health, food, shelter, literacy, security, peace and quiet, and the small savings that will help us get through our retirement in simple comfort. I am sure many of us - a minority - have already achieved some or all of those wants I mentioned - our bottom-line - but I am also sure that we wish the same bottom-line to be available for the big majority as well as this reduces our anxiety on a day to day basis not having to trouble ourselves with the thought that our neighbors are practically starving or even dying of diseases that could have been prevented were it not for the cure not forthcoming because the doctors are out.


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INQ7.net Feedback
Pinoy Atheists, off-topic

Thursday, April 27, 2006

CHEd To Investigate Pangilinan

The news item today about CHEd ordering the investigation on the recent heckling of PGMA in Cavite State University by graduating students led by Maria Teresa Pangilinan for purposes of imposing sanctions to the protesters, is truly nauseating. What should be investigated is the vote stealing by PGMA which is the root cause of all these. These people - Arroyo and her lapdogs - are really shameless. If there is somebody or something that warrants immediate, thorough, and impartial investigation, it's the biggest theft of all - the presidency itself.


Above, modified slightly and sent to INQ7.net feedback section:

The news item today (PDI, 4/27/06) about CHEd ordering the investigation on the recent heckling of PGMA in Cavite State University by graduating students led by Maria Teresa Pangilinan for purposes of imposing sanctions to the protesters, is truly nauseating. Arroyo should not be surprised by the heckling at all. As the cliche goes, "respect is earned." These people - Arroyo and her lapdogs - are really shameless. If there is something that warrants immediate, thorough, and impartial investigation, it's the biggest theft of all - stealing the presidency itself. It is the root cause of all the mess our nation now finds itself in.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Incoherent Article in INQ7.net

This is a letter I sent today to INQ7.net. The article is a confused one about secularization or so it seems. Click on the link and go judge for yourself.

Dear Editor,

This is about the article titled "Gullibility" (PDI 04/17/06) by Antonio Montalvan II. I don't quite understand why a paper of your stature allows articles of such low quality to be printed in its pages. This must be one if not the most incoherent article your paper ever allowed to see print. I understand that the amount or articles that the editors have to sift through on a daily basis is just enormous but this one at least should not have been allowed to pass even an assistant proofreader's eyes if only to correct the atrocious sentences.

I originally set out to rebut the assertions he made against secularization but the gist of his message escaped me completely.

Please take this constructively.

Thank you.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Refreshing Lenten Season Article

Dear Editor,

I would like to congratulate Neal H Cruz on his article about the origin of the bible which appeared in Inq7.net (4/12/2006) titled "Where did the Bible come from?" As our country celebrated the Lenten Season, it's refreshing to read somebody who tries to
shed light on the origins of the bible under the light of historical facts. It comes as a respite for irreligious people like me when the whole week newspapers are filled with tiring articles about faith and religion.


Letter sent to INQ7.net feedback and cc'ed a couple of friends.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Holy Week in Paete, Laguna

If you have visited the Philippine Atheists web recently, I posted two pictures of the traditional afternoon procession of the dead Christ in Paete, Laguna. This procession is called locally as Dapit. In my whole life, I have been only a spectator of the Friday events, except one time when my college friends came over for a visit. But I used to participate in the Wednesday events way back before then. Dapit starts at around 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon so the sun is still blazing and hot. The poon is brought to the Catholic church for the mass later in the evening followed by the evening procession. Here are more pictures that came with those I posted in the website.

In the first set of pictures, the figure is taken from the Catholic church and brought to the house of the family who owns it. Then on Friday afternoon, it's taken out for Dapit (the pictures I took) going back to the church for mass. The Friday evening procession is the "main event" of the Holy Week celebration in this town of about 23,000 people. I hope others will post more pictures later. It's only today I learned that there are more ceremonies/rituals with the same poon.

These Holy Week events have become a popular tourist attraction for some time now. It's also the time where townfolks who have settled elsewhere come back and visit their remaining relatives which is one good reason to go home on these days as the town comes alive with plenty of out-of-towners. It's also the perfect opportunity to catch up with old friends who take their vacation during this time of year to come home.

On Good Friday, no marching bands will accompany the processions, neither will the bells be knelt. Instead, pieces of metals attached to small planks of wood will be used like clappers (forgot what its called) together with split bamboos are used throughout the procession for sound effects. The bells will not be knelt until early morning of Easter, when another procession traces its way across town with the poon Risen Christ.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

PhilStar Quote of the Day

From PhilStar.com today:
"There would be no crown-wearers in heaven had Christ not been the cross-bearer on earth."
I wonder what this means? I wonder what's going on inside the head of whoever is responsible for these quotes appearing in a respectable nationwide broadsheet?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Waiting For A Week Or Two

...for your letter to the editor to be published may be a good idea. I sent an an email about the main editorial (3/21) and it got published just today. I sent that a few days earlier than the one I sent about Orbos' column. (See previous post.) I should watch out for the change of title though because it looks like they do that fairly common. Or maybe I have been choosing bad titles. :)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Spreading Lies and Half-truths

In his column Moments in the article titled "Spread light, not lies" (Mar 26, 2006), Orbos started off with telling a lie masquerading as a "good" story. Of course we know that the story is just fiction. When you tell that to the kids, let them know that it's just a story created to promote a lie at the expense of non-believers. In the same article, he wrote "A Catholic dines at a restaurant and orders shark, dolphin and whale meat. Told that there was none, he right away orders roast beef, lechon and steak thinking that, at least, he tried to order fish." Well, the thing is, only shark is a fish. Dolphins and whales are mammals. Talk about spreading lies and half-truths.



I sent the above letter to the editor of Inq7.net, a shorter version of the previous post.

Spreading Lies

In the INQ7.net article yesterday (Mar 26, 2006), the priest Jerry Orbos in his column Moments : Spread light, not lies he started off with telling a lie masquerading as a "good" story.

THE story is told about an atheist couple who had a son. Both parents never told their child anything about God or about Jesus. One night, the couple had a fight where the father shot the mother and then shot himself. It all happened in front of the child. The child was sent to a foster home. One day, in a Sunday School, the teacher held up a picture of Jesus and asked if anyone knew who it was. The child in our story raised his hands and said: "That's the man who was holding me the night my parents died.

Of course we know that the story is just fiction. When you tell that to the kids, let them know that it's just a story. Just like Jesus Christ is just a story. In the same article, he wrote:

An example of the absurdities of a liar: It's Ash Wednesday. A Catholic dines at a restaurant and orders shark, dolphin and whale meat. Told that there was none, he right away orders roast beef, lechon and steak thinking that, at least, he tried to order fish.

Well, the thing is, only shark is a fish. Dolphins and whales are mammals. Talk about spreading lies and half-truths.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Duh? Atheism List?

The Pinoy atheists are in a cunundrum. A poll was conducted to determine if the atheism list should rid itself of a believer who has made it a point to make it his turf and think it’s his right to defend his belief when it’s being attacked by atheists. Does that make sense? But it seems it does to some atheists if we are to take the result of the poll as an indication.

It’s only in Pinoy atheists where a Christian runs amuck and atheists think that such behavior is necessary for the health of the discussion, or to serve as a reminder of how far stupidity can go. The same nutcase claimed that “god is energy” and the resident irreligious members think that they are learning from such claims. It’s also in Pinoy atheists where posts by believers - believer really, since there is only one very active nutcase - is a good percentage of messages. It’s only in Pinoy atheists where you can see that believers complain about being provoked by atheists (duh? as expected since atheists are irreligious) and getting sympathies from the atheists! On first glance, an atheist who is willing to join might mistake the list as an INC-ADD debate list and turn away. No end to be in sight, the debate has caused undue distress to some of the early members who never intended the list to degenarate into its current state where discussions have been hijacked from being mostly secular to just about anything nonsense and a long parade of name calling. If there are topics that the non-believers try to bring up for secular discussion, they are quickly lost in the longest raging debate that should have been moot and academic in an atheism list.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

PhilStar.com Daily Quotes

From the PhilStar.com main page today (3/21/2006):

"No trial would cause us to despair if we knew God’s reason for allowing it. "

This PhilStar feature - quotes at the bottom of the main page - is now a source of humor for me. Sometime ago, they had this really stupid quote:

"The question is not 'Where is god?' but rather 'Where isn't He?'"

Whatever the question is doesn't really matter. What matters is the answer. Chuckles. If they are not so sure about the question, why do they seem to be so sure if the answer really constitutes knowledge?

Letter to the Editor - Orwell's "1984"

A few minutes ago, I sent this letter to the editor of Inq7.net.

This appeared in your editorial today (Inq7.net, 3/21/2006):

"'1984' is a chilling portrayal of a totalitarian society. It was meant to be prophetic, and it came true in Stalin’s Soviet Union, Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Mao’s China and Kim Il Sung’s North Korea. It is happening in other countries now."

Orwell wrote "1984" in 1948 (published 1949), well after the downfall of Hitler's Nazi. Stalin's term of office started in 1924 and ended in 1953. The purges under Stalin's rule started even before the second great war or a decade before the book was written. The book therefore is not prophetic inasfar as the two cases are concerned.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

What This Is About

This is my space for writing anything not necessarily about atheism nor geek stuffs. Instead, I will put my thoughts on many other things that interest me. I figured, maybe the reason why I was not very productive writing is that because I am trying to write on one area only suppressing my ideas about my other interests - because the outlet is a very narrow one. So here you go, a new blog! I deleted my earlier blog in another blogging service. I hated that blog. And the colors, pamatay!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I have always been fascinated by science. I was introduced to it by my penchant for reading. My nanay kept lying around the house some college papers that I was able to read --- Greek mythology, geology, paleontology, and astronomy and astrophysics. I also loved to read her college physics book, and an old popular science magazine. In fact, I was in a hurry to understand how the physics math worked but there was no book in the house on at least algebra and trigonometry. All of that before I turned 12 or 13. Of course, I did not learn advanced math to had understood much of the physics but I understood that it was supported by math. And I knew math was reliable because I loved math too. I contented myself with the color pictures, diagrams, and the descriptions, and skipped the math with letters and symbols (instead of just numbers). I also loved to read science journals. I noticed that they never mention anything about prayers in explaining how things work. So somehow, I knew or thought I knew that prayers just don't work or at least unreliable. I even tried praying to the devil to experiment. :) Eventually I stopped believing there is ever a devil, just as there is no Santa.

I grew up in the province in Laguna. We had an old man neighbour, a hilot, who would always tell enkanto stories that I really enjoyed since I was six til eight or nine when I grew tired of it. Often times, I'd ask my mother if such stories were true and she'd say it's just myths. My nanay is also a non-believer in the mystical. I know this for sure and have seen her show it many times. Both my parents don't go to church but my sister and brothers do. My parents is what they call themselves KBL or kasal, binyag, libing. Nanay doesn't believe in usog (balis as it's called where I grew up in), for example. She doesn't believe in aswangs or kapres and all of those stuffs my summer nights of pangangapitbahay were made of. It had a great influence in my thinking as a child. For her, all things can be explained without resorting to superstition or what is beyond nature - the supernatural. Of course people can argue that our senses may not be enough to discover the existence of non-material entities. But as far as I am concerned, if it is not supported by evidence or the claim violates natural law, I will not believe existential claims. I also began to suspect that there were no American kapre or a British manananggal, as well as Filipino banshees. I thought mystical truths must also have some universality in them first to be acceptable.

In high school, my science teacher (I had only one science teacher until my senior year) was mediocre. Imagine someone with more than a decade of teaching experience in chemistry, using chalks for counterweight of a platform balance! Duh, what for are those metals with engraving on them telling us how much matter they contained? I wondered how she managed to continue doing that year after year after year. I wondered how un-questioning, un-critical, un-thinking all of her previous students had been! Were they all grade conscious? Luckily, I had some common sense in me and a little science as well. So I answered my experiment paper with a strong "philosophical" essay. I expounded on the virtue and wisdom of using the provided for counterweights and the evil of using chalks. I was rewarded handsomely, a good investment I'd say. ROI was only a year. I got grades only I could ever be proud of. I was proud of it as soon as I received it. Because of it, I never trusted my teachers again, so did my classmates. I told myself, I'd manage myself just like before. I needed to verify by myself what they were talking about if it really bothered me, or if I thought it mattered at all.

I attended a Catholic high school so that religion was a yearly and year-round boredom. My first day of school, we were forced to buy an illustrated bible at an exorbitant price. The pictures were not really cool and I thought they were drawn by religion teachers. I grew up in Paete and lots of kids there can draw better. I was told that god is benevolent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. I don't know how they managed to ram that big concept down our throat while good god himself did nothing to stop famine in Africa, a war engulfing the Middle East and elsewhere children suffer; all these however hard Jimmy Swaggart prayed. I don't know now how I managed to not always ask my usual pilosopo questions in the religion classes. Maybe I got tired of being excommunicated from the class for one hour. My religion teachers were what you would call marginal, one of them could not even spell Pentateuch (tama ba?) correctly and kept mistaking it with Antioch (<---how about this one?). Sila yung isinusuka ng seminaryo. Bro. Noli is now a baranggay captain. Good for him, he found his real calling. If science teachers can teach wrong science which is supposed to be based on observable facts or demonstrable, repetitive, and universal concepts, but not know they taught wrong, how much more if the subject does not admit evidence as the basis of truth? How much wrong could I be forced to believe or accept without question? One way to find out was to read the only evidence they rely on, the Catholic bible. I loved reading the bible. My favourite is the King James version. It's like reading Shakespeare, only better. The stories were true, er, supposed to be true. I loved the story of Joseph. Lotsa miracles then and mostly in the Middle East. I kept hoping I'd read Manila or Luzon somehow. Cool, the Philippines is part of god's plan after all. I thought the Philippians were Filipinos. I turned to Grolier's and I was deeply upset but I never told my parents or teachers afterwards. If Christianity can save us from hell, I was glad Magellan discovered the Philippines. The rest they say is history. Wait a minute, that was 1521! So the earlier Filipinos, not by choice but by birth and death, are now in hell? But I could not care less, I was glad the Spaniards came and subjugated our pagan forefathers for 300 years. Why, more than 90% of us are Christians. We are indeed lucky god is with us. Look at our progress now! We know we can improve the economy by praying, we can choose good presidents in prayer rallies, we heal the sick by prayers. I think in the next millenneum, we can totally eradicate diseases, and usher in world peace if we each light a candle and pray just a little bit harder.

Stay cool and, God less.


I posted this message in the now-defunct Yahoo e-groups Pinoy Defenders of Faith and Pinoy Atheist. Now both lists are gone, so I am re-posting it here to serve as introduction.

From: pinoy_infidel
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003 18:38:59 -0000
Subject: [Pinoy_Atheist] Science and Religion