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Atheism activism, penicillin in a world plagued by religious infection

Posted: Thu, January 09, 2014 | By: Religion / Atheism

Why should we care what people tell children? What would you think about all the children in your town, including yours, being mandated to go to a camp where they would be taught that walking backwards whenever you are outside is the only way to prevent your heart from exploding, that if you feed grapes to dogs then an medieval dog genie will give you 100 gold bars when you’re 20, that the earth is shaped like a triangle, and that you should sleep with your head in a box to keep your immune system strong? For the love of life, we wouldn’t. For the love of the continual growth and betterment of the human condition… What if we taught children that it was alright to put their hands on stoves? Should we teach them that pencils are the reincarnation of women that lived in the past and that you should always properly court one before you touch it? 

People that are shown to be having delusions and imagining things are taken down to the psych ward, but why? The examples provided above are so ludicrous that you must be shaking your head. Who are we to say that they are delusional? Why not mandate that primary elections choose at least 3 candidates from every psych ward? Some people are born in need of our help because of the state of their mental conditions, through no fault of their own. It’s a sad situation and we do our best to help people that are unfortunate enough to find themselves in those situations. For as bad as that reality is, many times more people are purposefully coached to be delusional and irrational by religion. 

If a child is raised with wolves then they act like wolves. What you feed a brain shapes it. If you can’t be sure that religion is true, if you haven’t verified that there is a god, then why would you drive it into children’s brains as though it is? How do you feel about all the other people of the world that teach their children to believe in other gods? Why are we forcing this stuff into children’s heads? Why not just teach children to think? Why not? What’s the problem? What could you possibly have against teaching children to think?

In Texas, for example, there was a relatively high profile case of religious people trying to mandate critical thinking out of public schools:

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

And you know they aren’t the only ones thinking about or doing that kind of thing. You hear people talking about it all the time. Just yesterday I saw a lady write that she doesn’t need to or want to ask questions and that its wrong because faith is all that she needs! This is a world being held hostage by mentally helpless psych ward patients created by religion. These people need and deserve our help. So let’s stand up for them by not allowing their delusions to persist. We stand up for their mental well-being by standing against their destructive behavior and pointing them in the right directions. 

Religious people, teach your children, and stand with advocating that the world teaches all children to think. Impress upon people how wrong it is to knowingly use fallacy to their advantage. After being taught reasoning and intelligence, children could come to the same conclusions as you, so why not give them that chance? If you are so right, then why not see, after teaching your children how to be smart, thoughtful, deliberative, careful thinking, critical thinking fallacy spotters, if they come to the same conclusions as you? It’s absolutely criminal to teach children bullshit and you should be ashamed of yourself if you do. You think its criminal to teach children bullshit too, so knock it off. Stop being a hypocrite. Most of you don’t agree with sharia law, burkas, and killing people that renounce a Middle Eastern con man, do you? You don’t support people that believe voodoo and witchcraft do you? Stop setting the world up to be a worse place, you’re sabotaging reason and progress. 

I like this reminder of such kinds of sabotage from a book by bio-gerontologist Aubrey de Grey: 

So, in the August heat, with the [embryonic stem cell (ESC)] controversy raging and President Bush’s popularity resting on unsteady ground, it seemed possible that public opinion would mobilize against the restrictive policy, and scientists would within reasonably short order be enabled to work with ESCs from a wide range of sources. 

Then, the planes hit the World Trade Center. 

In a month, everything had changed. Where ESC research had been front-and-center on the national stage in August, it was off the radar screen for almost everyone in late 2001, replaced by the immediate fear of terrorism.

Instead of dickering around, instead of muddling about and leading with our brains half cocked, and raising generations that believe that flying planes into buildings for bullshit is great, and that banning use of new lines of embryonic stem cell life-saving research, is great, how about lets enjoy the totality of the ins and outs, the bigs and smalls of the universe, instead? How about if we act in accordance with our potential and what’s going on here? We are, now listen carefully because this is important, we are, human beings are: the opportunity to know the big picture of the universe, in all its innumerable facets and dynamics. This mysterious existence is far too high stakes, rare and potential-brimming, to stop and humor dangerous, nonsense fairy tales for our entire lives. Engage in some recreational or even professional theater, or something like that, if you have a craving for that kind of thing, but keep your common sense rooted in the hard, collective, human work of what it means to exist here. 

After the embryonic stem cell battle all but fell off the table in the chill of religious terror, those life restricting policies stood tall for nearly a decade. Religion vetoed the bills of stem cell supporters at least twice in the coming years. 

Progressives finally reversed the restrictions in 2009. Stem cell shares started to rise, with places like Geron Corp going up by 35% and StemCells Inc by 73%. Whereas before the research strides were few and far between, they began to make the news in a growing, steady stream. Stem cells can now be chemically controlled, produced faster and stronger, used to strengthen hearts, make new organs, and have created working neurons that send and receive signals, to name a few. 

It took every person that stood up for progress and moving forward, in the 2012 US Presidential elections, to change that issue from death back into life. 

The religious elements that flew those planes into those buildings killed a lot of people, but the religion-based delays in stem cell research killed, and continue to kill, a lot more. Every day that eventual life saving treatments have been delayed takes thousands of lives. Al Qaeda doesn’t fly airplanes into buildings every day. Every progressive voter is a religious terror fighting hero. Every progressive ballot that was cast in 2012 was a heroic deed for life. 

Every time people stand up for some good, some bad recedes. You don’t think that your standing up makes a difference though, but it does, and we need you. Stand up. Even if your friends yawn at you, you’ve at least planted that seed in their head. 

In 2012, one guy started a group to develop a protest against hereditary religion. It didn’t grow very far and remained a yahoo group chat with a few hundred people that first year. Undaunted, Richard Collins came back the next year and grew the protest in size and scope, and brought in a thousand or so participants and viewers. Now there are already over a thousand signed up for this year’s protest, the 3rd Annual International Day or Protest Against Hereditary Religion, and we still have all of the day-of spreading by activists yet to go. The trajectory of this year’s event is set for growth once again. This all happened because one person, and the first few hundred, stood up. Stand up god damn it. 

I fully support that event and have volunteered extensively with it. I also more broadly support the notion that we need to get the teaching of logic and the understanding of fallacy into primary and secondary schools around the world, through a think-tank/discussion-board/petition of sorts, via this “Logfal” Facebook group. Right now it’s small and ungrowing with a few basic planks for us supporters there to work out, but I remain completely undaunted. Unless somebody else takes this issue to the world stage, I will help make it happen or die trying. If I fall off a cliff, may some of my very last words be to remind people to chip in at Logfal.

There are plenty of ways for the rational to and the newly rational to get involved. Encourage the discourse, keep the issues alive. Talk about it, donate, volunteer, start an initiative, join one, write about one, do what you can. 


Take people to the upcoming Ken Ham and Bill Nye debate in Kentucky, on February 4th, if you can, and if you can’t, then spread the links about it, or see about doing what it takes to get people that you may know in that area to go. I’ve listened to hundreds of hours of creation/evolution debate and other material like that, for sharpening my discussion skills and insight on the matter, to be better able to stand against religion. I also did it to challenge myself and to give their insights a shot. It is worth listening to what some creationists try to say. They are trying really hard to disprove evolution; they just might have something in some places. Being a creationist doesn’t mean you can’t do substantial inquiry and research into a given matter. Tons of creationists do all kinds of fantastic things in the fields of engineering, chemistry, etc. Science should be like a laughing Steven Colbert reading a copy of Poe’s Law when these kinds of events take place, because religion is helping evolution by trying to punch holes in it. The more times that science has a public forum to bat down falsehoods, the more people will see that science stands up where it does stand up, and, the more times creationists do successfully topple a post or pillar or two of science, the more opportunities science has to strengthen itself. It’s like every time an opponent fighting to take over a castle strikes the castle wall, the wall gets thicker and stronger. Every time people like Ken Ham open their mouth in a public forum, where the truth fills the room, the truth bursts forth from beneath the dark boulders of religious intellectual oppression, like rays of light. Welcome and encourage this kind of debate and dialogue. Let them bring it, let the discussions be had in every corner of the world. 

The sooner that truth comes out, the sooner that new generations who grow up in the midst of actual discussion and attention to the matter, will grow to become the people that run this world. Then we can transition out of more of the dark parts that we still remain mired in from the holy omen empire of fallacy middle ages. 

Set up a team to help arrange for Sam Harris to come to your area and lecture. I’ve seen a science professor debate Kent Hovind live. I would go if for no other reason than to endorse the vital concept. Go even if you have to make some sacrifices. We’ll make sacrifices to go check out a car, or a new mall in another town - do it for the sake of the sanctity of intellectualism. Challenge creationists in your Cities to debate you or a person you know at venues like colleges and libraries. I’ve held multiple humanist meetings at my local library, free of charge, in a nice meeting room. Take out an ad in the newspaper and on Facebook and work to draw a crowd. If you would just start in and speak up then your influence will catch hold of somebody somewhere, no matter how small. Just one or two rational notions bolstering a person’s wavering mind on the issue can bring the tipping point that saves them from religion. 

Get involved with the Center for Inquiry. Help organize the next Atheist Alliance International conferenceBuy a pack of rationalist bumper stickers and hand them out to your friends  Not being sure of what you could do is not an excuse. There is always something that anybody could be doing from where they are, with what they have, at just about any time. 

You won’t create more action takers on the issues you stand up for every time you stand up, but don’t let that discourage you or fool you into thinking that it’s pointless. Those seeds you are planting, those fence sitters you are swaying, the one or two action takers you do create here and there, are adding to the consensus. You are helping to unleash more of the truth in more places. 

Truth is like a penicillin that attacks destructive forces, like religious memes. If you had the cure for the plague then would you keep it to yourself? I don’t think so. So what do you think the right thing to do with your atheism penicillin is?


Or have an Atheist Pride Day parade:

By deedee on Jan 09, 2014 at 9:52pm

So true.

By Ian on Jan 10, 2014 at 7:13pm

Thanks for your kind words of praise. Many people are now on board with the annual protest and the vision is to hold actual street protests in major towns and cities around the world in a few years as we grow the activist communities in far flung places. The problems are international and this is the reason for the international response. Your support is so heartwarming, I cannot even begin to express my appreciation.

By Richard Collins on Jan 12, 2014 at 4:57am

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