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.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Evolution of Thought

I have rediscovered reading when I got my first credit card, I browsed Amazon for music CDs of bands I used to listen to as a teenager. In one of the days I was browsing music, I naturally jumped to browsing books. I originally only had computer books in mind but that quickly changed to books that I would have learned had I access to them as a teenager. I'd like to read them because I wanted to learn, to understand, and to straighten things out about the things that I only had a vague idea of, but occupied my thoughts before, or simply I wanted to know more. As a child, I used to read books but I had very limited access in that the libraries in my place did not stock good books. They mostly stocked textbooks. Another reason was that in both grade school (public) and high school (Catholic), reading books was not encouraged. I'd say the teachers were close to being indifferent about reading books outside the normal class topics. I think this is because the teachers themselves were product of the same environment where indifference to books is common. When I rediscovered it much later, I felt some regrets that I didn't rediscover it much earlier that I could've. But what is past is past and here I am in another cycle of slow pace, I am reading books in a much slower pace than I did a few years ago when I used to read about two hours a day. Now I could only devote an hour if I am not so tired. My interests vary. Surveying my shelf, my books are heavy on science, specially evolutionary biology, a surprise now given that as a teenager, I thought I didn't like biology. I thought it was a boring science. As it turned out, it's because we were being taught the small picture, the leaves and twigs without giving us the unifying principle behind it, the trunk, and the roots where the concept got it's heritage. The great biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky once famously remarked that
Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
If one understands biological evolution, one cannot but wholeheartedly agree. When I started reading books again, one of the first books I read was Charles Darwin's Origin Of Species. As a teen I had this partial knowledge of evolution theory. Partial because as a teenager I already had ideas about what is evolution (as obviously as it sound, I understood it then as change over time) but I was totally clueless about how organisms could change over time. (Not that I know now completely though.) I got these ideas mainly from watching television programs on archaeology, anthropology, and geology on government operated television channels. The Marcos-era government-run TV channels were a lot better than our current crop of stupid private television channels, including those run by religious corporations. I think the pre-Cory channel 9 was run by very literate people, probably going all the way up to Malacanang. Nowadays, I don't watch any Philippine TV which I now consider as contributing to the further dumbing down of the Pinoy society, but I digressed. Going back to the topic, after reading Darwin's book, sometime later I read Thomas Malthus' essay on population and now reading Adam Smith's Wealth Of Nations. Reading Smith now is for purposes of understanding his ideas and not merely being able to say Invisible Hand without knowing the ideas behind it. In the course of time, I come to read the works of Milton Friedman, F. Hayek, Ayn Rand, and other authors, even Thomas Friedman! I now think that the ideas come back in many forms and in different spheres of knowledge and don't stand on and by itself. Ideas of course have their own heritage as Newton once wrote (paraphrased) that he saw further because he was standing on the shoulders of giants. What I am talking about is that ideas have parallels in other fields while they may not be related, and that ideas also have some evolutionary characteristics though it doesn't seem Darwinian at the core. There are some form of cross-germinating other fields with novel insights in other fields that may or may not be related at all. For example, here is a short list of books that I think have parallel/overlapping ideas:

Origin of Species (Charles Darwin) - This book about biological evolution asserts that nature acts as a sieve that "favors" changes that confers very small advantages to individual organisms, change that accumulated over time produce different species. Darwin called this Natural Selection. (Approximates the best biological "designs" for a given environment.)

Structure Of Scientific Revolutions (Thomas Kuhn) - This asserts that scientific theories change over time or oftentimes completely overturned, such that what what is earlier accepted as scientifically true may at times be considered obsolete or patently false. Kuhn called these upheavals in thought as paradigm shifts and gave as textbook example the changes in the theory on gravitation from Aristotle to Galileo to Newton to Einstein. (Approximates truth.)

Popper Selections - (selected essays of Karl Popper edited by David Miller) - Popper was a prominent 20th century philosopher of science. This book gathers some of his writings about "truth" and how we may approximate it. He asserts that there is Truth but it's not provable since there is no absolute authority on Truth. Instead, we have conjectures, the falsehood of them can be established, and so must be discarded, or it's truthfulness stands as long as if it survives the assaults to falsify it through critical rationalism. (Approximates truth.)

Logic (Immanuel Kant) - This small book serves as an introduction to Kant's philosophy on truth. He asserts that definitions of concepts can only be approached asymptotically, that synthetic definitions are impossible while analytic definitions are uncertain, and that only constructive synthetic definitions can both be logical and certain. (Approximates truth.)

The Wealth Of Nations (Adam Smith) - This book on economic theory asserts that an economic system where the individuals are free to do as they choose will, as a consequence advance the common good. (Approximates the common good.)

Other prominent books with similar or overlapping concepts are An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Malthus, Anarchy, Utopia, and State by Robert Nozick, and On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. I'll write about them sometime next.

Sometimes, reading some passage in one book brings back memories of another such that I find myself cross-referencing them. This has told me somehow that I need constant re-reading of the packages of books read in the past in order to cement the concept, to make it more concrete, and less abstract.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Church on Reproductive Method

The only approved family planning method by the Church are: billings ovulation method (BOM, sometimes called incorrectly as rhythm method) and abstinence. So if one is not to run away from the consequences - pregnancy - the drill should be like this:

a) If you are and not planning on having a baby, then it's abstinence.
b) If you are planning on having a baby, use BOM to find out when the woman is LIKELY to get pregnant and during this time have sex with her. You do this with BOM so that you have sex only when she is most LIKELY to be fertile.
c) go back to a)

I don't know if that's how the RCC really formulates it but that's the only way I see it. If the RCC say that BOM can be used in order to AVOID pregnancy, then doesn't it contradict the responsibility-with-the-consequence part?

I found this article making the same point:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-contraception_thinkjul27,0,221957\
1.story


The RCC say that the purpose of sex should be for reproduction. It means, almost like a moral duty, that you have sex only if you want to have a child, and if you know about BOM, use it to time when to have sex. That's the highest and purest way, morally speaking. Or if man/woman are ignorant about BOM, try and try until you succeed. Otherwise, if you don't want any child, it should be strictly abstinence. That is NOT natural. "Natural" is a lottery. Men cannot tell if the woman is fertile (unlike other animals e.g., dogs and chimps) so the main rule of reproduction is to have sex as many times as possible without regard to BOM. If a Catholic doesn't want to have another child, there should not be any question to the only method allowed - abstinence. Unfortunately, the RCC also says jerking off is absolutely not allowed and that if you do it, god will know and IN FACT god is keeping a book counting how many times you jerked off. This is the reason why there are no males in heaven except a few who were run over by cars right after they had their confession.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Awareness

One cannot fathom the possibility of changing the society to accept atheism if one is not known to be one in his own immediate environment - friends, family, and even neighbors. If you are not an out-of-the-closet atheist, you cannot appreciate the changes in people's perception when they are confronted with the real thing. To most Pinoys, a non-believer is an unimaginable being but here I am and I am real. And more, I belong to a growing community. They cannot dismiss us if we have a case. If we can argue well our position, we can either gain respect or get derision. Personally I'd prefer respect but I can also take derision if that's the price of being intellectually honest to myself. In the end, one ends up in one hand real friends who will respect your views despite the vast difference because they saw beyond your atheism, and on the other hand may lose superficial friends. I think religious differences, which I take to include non-religion, in matters of personal relationships should take a backseat but if the other party cannot do that, it will surely result in rough roads ahead that can also mean separating. It's gotta be painful if he/she is a very close friend or family but I wouldn't know since so far I have been in good terms with all of them.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Secularism

I just posted a small article about the path to secularism as mandated by the Philippine constitution. I have been trying to do this for some time and only now I had the motivation to actually write. You see, I write my articles very slowly because I am a bad writer. I have plenty of ideas but most of them are not concretized into a whole. I will continue to expand this thought and will continue to revisit it as I learn more about it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bonifacio's Death

In the last couple of days, after finishing reading Stephen Jay Gould's The Lying Stones Of Marrakech, I picked up this small book, almost like a booklet, The Tragedy Of The Revolution by Adrian Cristobal. I am a big fan of history but recently I haven't been reading Philippine history due to lack of books accessible enough to me with living outside the country. I have in my shelves here a few books I picked up in one of my visits to PowerBooks during one of my vacations. All in all there are exactly six small books comprising what I call my Filipinana section. Three of them are about Andres Bonifacio the Katipunan Supremo; the other two Bonifacio books are by Ambeth Ocampo. I quickly finished Cristobal's book and while reading it, it made me realize that I really need to go back to reading more about Philippine history since the book showed that I am grossly ignorant of a lot of the details in the most important episodes of the history of our people. I knew that Bonifacio was killed by fellow Filipinos but I never knew more than that. He was portrayed as an unfortunate casualty of the revolution, his death was brought upon by his own short temper in the Tejeros Convention. While reading Cristobal's book, I felt angry about the circumstances surrounding the hero's death. In sweeping the historical narrative into a cohesive whole historians seemed to have sanitized the past such that we forget that the people involved are individuals not without their own (good and/or evil) motives and convictions. In the second book i am reading now by Ocampo, there is the excerpt of the memoir of Gregoria De Jesus, Bonifacio's widow, narrating about her two-weeks search for the remains of her husband without getting any meaningful help from people who could have easily shown her the exact spot. According to Cristobal, Bonifacio fell victim to a conspiracy by the Magdalo faction to remove him so that the Katipunan would be under the new revolutionary government that they were to form. Cristobal provided good arguments in this view, in that it was not necessary to kill Bonifacio in order to achieve their aim. I am now going to trying to read additional documents that can shed more light into what he called the tragedy of the revolution.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Beijing Olympics

The 2008 edition of the Olympics has closed a few hours ago. I must say I truly enjoyed following the day to day events now that I am rooting for the athletes of the nation of my residence - Japan. Japan had less gold medals than it hoped to get before the games started but national pride in this nation is not tied to the performance of its athletes abroad so even though the gold medal haul is less than hoped for, it doesn't seem to matter a bit. As they say, they did their best and they are happy with what they have achieved.

Most matches by Japanese athletes and the most important matches, for example the swimming races that Michael Phelps participated in, and athletics, were broadcast live in terrestrial digital TV and in high definition and it was really a spectacle to behold. I was impressed by the camera shots and instant-replay, in slow motion, you can see the sweat and almost feel the emotion of the athletes. One big advantage of this Olympics is that the timezone is almost the same as Tokyo's so there's no waking up in early morning to catch the matches, for example, to catch Wimbledon live, I had to stay awake up to 4am at times. China has done a great job in organizing this Olympics. I hope the British can do as well in London 2012. I also hope Tokyo will bring The Games to this city in 2016. It's still far but I have been here almost nine years now and looking back it doesn't seem that long a wait. I like the festive atmosphere when something non-political but big is happening like when Manila hosted the SEA Games or when Japan co-hosted with Korea the World Cup in 2002.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

hb4110.net

We are currently in the process of putting up a website to support the consolidated Reproductive Health Care Act now filed in the 14th Congress. Once it's setup, we'll let everybody know. Please keep yourself informed by reading the bill yourself first-hand and maybe you can write your congressman to express your support for this very important but still pending legislation.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Support HB4110 or Reproductive Health Care Act

We the undersigned express our support of HB 4110, The Reproductive Health Care Act.

We fully support the bill’s principles as laid out in Section 2.

We all hope for a healthy Filipino society. We believe the bill will help us build such a society where reproductive health care is available to anyone and everyone, free of discrimination on age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, and religious affiliation or non-affiliation. Where policies concerning reproductive health care that affects everyone is not dictated by any particular religion or belief system. We believe in the right to choose one’s method of planning a family and spacing children, or to choose to have no children at all. The rights of the individual to choose according to his conscience don’t fall under the aegis of self-proclaimed moral authorities of the religious establishment.

The Philippines is a nation of diverse religious beliefs/non-beliefs. No single belief system represents the whole diversity of Filipino religious and non-religious thought or belief nor does any of its leaders speak for all its adherents. The continued opposition by the leaders of certain sects is a clear encroachment on the rights to free choice on reproductive health methods and services of every Filipino, and trample on the rights of those who do not adhere to their beliefs. We strongly condemn the negative campaign being waged by these leaders to mislead its adherents by misrepresenting the bill’s content, and by resorting to using dogmatic, unscientific, and outmoded beliefs to support its arguments.

We strongly support the legislation because we believe this is for the well-being our nation in particular and humanity in general as we face the future of a planet with limited resources.

Please read the bill here: http://dirp3.pids.gov.ph/population/documents/HB4110.pdf

Please sign the petition here.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

FanBox, spam machine

I just visited this site because I am getting annoyed by the spam it is sending to my mailbox and one of the things that struck me was their service described: "Spam-Free Web-based Email." I marked it as spam in my account for now.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Atheism and Agnosticism

Atheism and agnosticism deal with the concept "god" in different spheres. Agnosticism is about not having knowledge about god or its existence while atheism is about not having a belief in the existence of god.

Agnosticism = lack of knowledge
Atheism = lack of belief

I think that nobody has true knowledge of the existence of god. Therefore, everybody is ultimately and technically an agnostic. A form of weak atheism is also referred to as agnostic atheism. There is a middle ground between theism and atheism in the technical sense since there are those who are "undecided" and some of them prefer to call themselves among many terms as non-theist or post-theist or what-not. Agnosticism is not a middle ground between theism and atheism since agnosticism is present in the whole set. But in practice, those who are at the atheism end of the spectrum, live in a world where gods are not part of reality.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Earthquake

A series of small earthquakes with the strongest registering a magnitude of 6.7 in the Japanese scale hit the Kanto region of the main island of Japan. The epicenter is just north of Tokyo where it was felt as M5.0 in Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures. My area is lumped together with the rest of Tokyo's 23 wards, where it's reported that we just felt it as M3.0 though I'm close to Saitama prefecture which in turn lies immediately south of the two prefectures earlier mentioned. Saitama felt the quake as M4.0 strong. It's my first time to be caught in this apartment with a moderate quake and while the stronger one lasts and frankly I felt scared with the doors and tables shaking and making noises. I work up earlier around 12MN because I left the idiot box on but couldn't sleep again. It's amazing how quickly the earthquake data is gathered here. The publicly funded TV network NHK flashes the data on the TV oftentimes while it's happening! It hope it's the last for this time. I plan to go to sleep now and forget about it.

Tiebreaker

Tiebreaker. That's what Clinton called Tuesday's primaries result where she won (by the skin of her teeth) Indiana with her 51% to Obama's 49% but lost in North Carolina by double-digit margin, (42% Clinton, 56% Obama). Only somebody in denial can call that a tiebreaker since Obama widened his lead in both popular vote and pledged delegate. She also reportedly lent another $6.4M to her campaign. The wisest decision she can make as a candidate in the coming days is conceding the race to Obama. More and more Clinton is appearing to be the desperate candidate.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mojoey's Atheist Blogroll

This site is is now officially listed in Mojoey's Atheist Blogroll.

Mojoey's atheist blogroll



"The Atheist Blogroll is a service provide to the Atheist and Agnostic blogging community. The blogroll currently maintains over 650 blogs. Membership is limited to Atheist and Agnostic bloggers."


If you are maintaining an atheism or an agnosticism blog, please consider joining the atheist blogroll.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

US, self-appointed global cop

This is a reply to a thread currently being discussed in the Pinoy atheists mailing list.

Do the neo-cons really believe in the Christian solution or is it only a card they they use to rally the gullible American majority into any war it fancy? Is McCain a religious nut just like Bush is? The greatest puzzle for me is why did the Americans voted that idiot TWICE into the White House. The Americans must really be proud of their president.

Just a curiosity, do you guys think that the neo-cons have not lost some credibility or do the majority of Americans still buy the fear that they manufacture? Will it more likely that they will vote for McCain or with the Democrat? How about Clinton, has she expressed an unequivocal commitment to a US pull-out if voted? I think Republican or Democrat, it doesn't really matter since the US will continue to be in Iraq indefinitely as much as can be possible. History is replete with examples including the Philippines. According to Dean Jorge Bocobo, the Philippines is the first Iraq. He's got a point. If not for Marcos - one of the good things that he did as president - who re-negotiated the "lease" of the US bases from 99 years to 25 years which expired in '92, and for Erap, one of the good things that he did as a senator who voted against its extension, the American "global cop" will still be in Subic and Clark and the US service-men out of reach of our courts. It's a complete disgrace to us as a nation that only a full-blooded Am-boy can accept. That's what the Americans want, if possible, from all the nations that host their bases. Unfortunately, the Philippines was too weak economically to escape the unequal "partnership". This is what will eventually happen with Iraq. The government will be handed over to the Iraqis but the US bases will stay. The Americans will do all the best they can to prevent an anti-American Iraqi president from being voted whether the US president be a religious nut
or otherwise.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Post-meet-up

I came back from the meet-up about two hours ago. It was as expected a lot of fun. I met two new people both Japanese. It's unusual in the sense that most Japanese people I suspect are not into religion and consequently irreligion should not be a big deal with Japan being a country teeming with heathens. All in all, seven people attended. I almost couldn't make it though as when I was leaving work, something urgent came up - a production problem. I was just too happy after I got hold of the morning support guy in the US to take over n look after the problem even if it's a Tokyo- local issue. I arrived at Gonpachi restaurant about five minutes past eight but it seemed that they haven't started yet. (It's supposed to be have started at seven.) Of course we talked about the evil of religion and how religion skews the view of reality of what otherwise appear to be normal people. Beers were drank and yakitori (焼き鳥) were eaten and ideas exchanged for 2 1/2 hours before we decided to call it a day. We parted ways at Shibuya (渋谷) station around 11:15 - just about the right time to catch one of the last trains of Saikyou line (埼京線) towards Saitama (埼玉県). It's 12 midnight at the station. Another interesting day has ended.

Sorry, no pictures about the meet-up.

On Tuesday we are planning to visit together the exhibit on Charles Darwin currently being held at the National Science Museum in Ueno (上野). Hopefully, I can take pictures.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tokyo Brights meet-up tomorrow



Tomorrow I will be attending the Tokyo Brights Meet-up group. The group meets every third Thursday of the month except tomorrow which will happen on a Wednesday. It will be my second time to join the party. I joined last January but I failed to join the two succeeding meet-ups because I was out of the country. Again, it will be in Gonpachi in Shibuya. I like the place. They say it's the inspiration for the last scene of one of the Kill Bill movies but I've never seen any of them.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Re-learning Some Things

I am re-learning some of the things that I dropped. One of them is playing the guitar. I first learned the basics of guitar playing when I was a sacristan. I was about fourteen then. I had this friend who seemed to had been carrying all the problems of the world on his shoulders and the way he chose to cope with it was to turn a little into himself and learn the guitar in the kumbento. The first and only song I learned and used to play then was the older version of Santo, Santo, Santo which required only a small set of very simple chords and where the transitions between those chords are much easier. Whenever we had the chance on the guitars (I think there were two guitars which were not always idle), we'd start strumming that song. The elder sacristans and church choir members would tease us and they'd be right that we would be singing the same song over and over and over again. Years passed and my friend went on to have his own electric guitar gifted to him while I moved on to different things. He has progressed enough to playing his favorite songs on his guitar and even got to play with his own band while I almost forgot all about it. But I learned the guitar basics such that I never had to re-learn it again. From time to time, opportunity to play the guitar arose but it required developing the habit which I didn't. My younger brother bought his own guitar which I used to borrow and practiced with but I never really quite progressed beyond simple strumming. Eventually I had accepted that maybe I never really had what it takes to play it. I think I am better at singing than at playing any musical instruments so I envy those people who can really play well, like my cousin who could play well the accordion before he was able to read and write. Whenever I pick up the guitar to strum a few chords of simple songs, I'd listen to my playing and I wouldn't be satisfied to the point of frustration. Or I'd start singing and my chords will quickly deteriorate into abhorrent noise. Maybe I was consciously trying to play it rather than using more ouido. Some years later, I'd still be playing the same set of chords as Santo, Santo, Santo but this time it's the simplified chords of The One I Love by REM but whenever I do, I still remember my sacristan days. It was short-lived but I had plenty of good memories about it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Yotsuya Church

They say the churches of Europe, where religion is declining, are sometimes filled to the brim not by Europeans but by Filipinos. This is true also in Tokyo. There is Yotsuya (四谷) Catholic church in Shinjuku (新宿). Shown in the picture taken sometime in 2006 were our kababayans and their half-Filipino half-Japanese children starting to come out of the church after the Sunday English mass. I don't go to Yotsuya to hear mass. I go there to see people or accompany my family there. I usually just stay outside the church ogling the pretty girls that pass by, and which by the way has become so rare now that the Japanese government has come under fire from the US government on the trafficking of women. I saw one statistics some years ago that say nine out of ten Filipinos in Japan are women, most of them working or has worked as hostesses in Filipino bars. Filipino bars aside from Filipino stores is where you can find the Philippine flag displayed. My poor countrymen who are so devout believers will brave the uncertainties of life in a foreign land of heathens and yet their god seemed to have chosen to make the heathens to be more economically free than the devotees who work and pray for a life that's a little bit better than a life of poverty. Such irony for the believing Pinoy!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Bookmarks

I have just wrapped up reading Ann Gibbons' The First Human: The Race To Discover Our Earliest Ancestors. It's a short book of about 240 pages so I was able to finish it in a few days. I would have finished it even earlier if not because I haven't fully picked up the habit of using bookmarks for all the books that I read. In such cases I'd fold the page where I'm at but even that I consciously avoid because it makes the book look ugly later. I am now starting to re-read Sean Carroll's Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science Of Evo Devo And The Making Of The Animal Kingdom. I had attempted to read it before but dropped it after probably finishing the Introduction. I went to a cafe so I can have my Saturday cup of cappuccino and started reading it. I could not remember where I stopped the last time so that I had to restart from the beginning. But this time I am definitely going to use a bookmark. Another book that I have been reading which I had started even before I started reading the Gibbons book and which is almost finished is Steve Gould's Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History. I'll finish it shortly tonight. With it I used a bookmark, the kind they give away for free at some cafes here. When I do use a bookmark, I still find myself re-reading portions I have read previously because I don't stop at the end of each chapter or another suitable area like the end a well-defined section. This is often the case with me with books I read on my commute when I don't have complete control on the time I will arrive at my stop will be about enough time I'd need to finish the current section/chapter. To aid me in this case, I let the bookmark give me a hint on where I should resume my reading. If the front side of the bookmark is facing the left page, I stopped at the left page. Otherwise, I should resume on the right page. If I stopped in the upper portion of the page, I put the bookmark on the upper portion of the page; otherwise, I put it at the lower portion. It does help me save some time except when I really need to re-read the last few sentences or even paragraphs so that the train of thought will be picked up where I left off. With books I read at home and if I don't have a bookmark (sometime I am too lazy to get one even when there are many available!), I try as much as possible to stop at the end of each chapter.

By the way, the Gobbons book is a good historical sketch of how anthropologists/paleontologists
race against each other in finding hominid fossils that could shed light on our origins. Together with the book by Gould - also a historical sketch about paleontology dealing with the Burgess Shale fossils - the two books are very informative and give us an idea of how much discipline is required by serious paleontology. In the cover of the Gibbons book pictured above is the fossil nicknamed Toumai or Sahelanthropus Tchadensis.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Mere Belief and Mere Atheism

Mere belief and mere atheism are amoral philosophical positions. Some people spent a good deal of time and effort to seek his/her answers. I applaud them regardless of the outcome. Some people are just lazy to seek their own answers and take it for granted. It's not a fault and it doesn't matter. In any case, we cannot fault people who honestly believe or disbelieve for whatever reason they may hold or not hold and by the amount of effort he exerted to support his position. But we do take interest in people who will coerce others to subscribe to their own philosophical/moral position by using threats or abuse mentally (teaching children punishment of hell for "sins") or physical harm and even murder (Crusaders & jihadists). I subscribe to the idea that individuals are free to believe what they believe or not believe as long as it never harm another person and that he has no right whatsoever to force this belief or non-belief on others. So the communists did bad things to persecute the believers and the Catholics and Protestants did bad things to persecute the heretics.

Theism (belief in god(s)) or atheism are fundamentally amoral -isms. It's in the conclusions that supposedly follow from these two -isms that address morality that gets us into trouble.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare, Unread Edition

When I was a high school student, I used to hang around in the school library. It's a smallish library with books that were mostly textbooks. Uninteresting. But there was a cabinet that contained great books that still looked so new with crisp pages including a collection of books titled The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. I wanted to pick up those books and read them but the glass cabinet was padlocked, with a sign that read: For Teachers Use Only. I bet those books remained unread for a long, long time since I left that school. What a waste.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dear God

Dear God, I hope you got the letter and I pray you can make it better down here...

video

This is a work in progress. I will still do some minor edits later after I have reviewed it. I just want to see it earlier so I am posting it now. If you have any suggestion or critique, please let me know.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Two Books

If you will be exiled to the moon for a year and are allowed only to bring 2 books, which books will you bring?

My choices will be:
1) The Wealth Of Nations by Adam Smith
2) The Descent Of Man by Charles Darwin

I know you will say they are boring books so why did I choose them? They are two books that I think so important that I find many books that I have read so far reference them. Each book is more than 600 pages long so it will take me some time to complete and probably do a 2nd reading to understand them. I keep putting them down each time I attempt to start reading them so it's like if I'm left with not much choice but to finally finish them.

The reason I ask is that I would like to know what 2 books each one of us put great value. I might consider adding them to my future reading list too.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Organizing Eyeballs (EB)

Organizing eyeballs require communication. Constant communication building up the the headcount and disseminating information in a timely manner. I have had experience only in organizing small eyeballs where there are only less than 15 participants. The advantage of small groups is that it doesn't require a lot in terms of reserving venues. You just meet-up and can decide right there which place you want to sit for a chat be it restaurant or cafe. Recently, I tried to organize one for the Pinoy atheists but I didn't have time myself so it was a resounding failure. I have been organizing meet-ups and I was busy with my high school reunion meetings to have time to look after the PA meet-up. I have been doing this with the various groups I help keeping in touch. I have a group each for my HS and college friends, and a newwave music group. So far I have been most successful with the three having organized meet-ups for as much as twenty-five people excluding children. This was mainly because venue is not much of a problem in Laguna where most of my high school friends are. But organizing a Pinoy atheists EB is always difficult. Some wise guy once said organizing atheists is like herding cats. It has been proven once more that he is right on the money.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Get The Scarlet Letter

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