Skeptic Con

June 2, 2014

Protected Ex-Cons

Filed under: Atheism,Libertarian — skepticcon @ 12:55 pm
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I generally like the fact that I differ from my peers enough to argue with them about pretty much everything. For instance, I disagree with cities passing laws that prohibit employers from even ASKING whether a candidate has been convicted of a felony. Guys in here love it. I will be an ex-con in 2-1/2 years, but I don’t want that advantage. It isn’t fair. If I owned a business, I’d want to ask. In fact, I encourage people to be suspicious or at least skeptical of ex-cons. We deserve it. Just from looking at the absurdly high recidivism rates, if you’re dealing with an ex-con, the chances are better than even that he’s not reformed, no matter what he says.

The 9/11 Cross

Filed under: Atheism — skepticcon @ 12:54 pm
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Does anyone really believe that in the midst of the awful 9/11 tragedy, God made a piece of crossbeam wreckage appear like a rough cross to comfort Christians? Why not a more useful act, like saving a few lives or stopping the attack altogether? I know, maybe I shouldn’t be critical, because it brings comfort and helps people deal with loss. But some say the same about “dead-relative” hucksters like Sylvia Brown. Should the point really be to find a comforting belief? I think it’s far more important to learn to be comforted by the truth.

May 13, 2014

Homosexual Woes

To silenceofmind: Homosexuality is a disorder because it prevents people from fulfiling their nature (to procreate)? I love how you Christians just proclaim what everyone else’s “nature” is. According to your definition, all the straight people out there who choose not to have children for whatever reason are going against their nature and thus have a disorder. Homosexuals can have children, and do it every day. Who cares if they don’t want to procreate in the manner of straight people? We’re not obligated to act as you or God or nature intended. We have minds to decide our own course. Further, sex is not solely for the purpose of procreation, in case you hadn’t heard, so your case for sexual reproduction determining our nature falls flat. And why do you care so much? Why do you want to make laws prohibiting their rights? Is a free society not important in your moral code?

God’s Free Will

I agree with physicsbasedonbrain: A creator who says worship me or go to hell (or even miss out on heaven) is not dispensing free will. (He is also not moral; no moral being demands to be worshipped.) A 5-year-old who dies of leukemia or HIV or a tsunami also didn’t get much free will. And if you believe the Old Testament, God repeatedly took away free will by killing countless people (or having his chosen crusaders do it). And the virgin girls from Judges 21 taken as sex slaves (oops, I mean wives) of the Benjamites by God’s orders probably didn’t feel particularly free either.

May 7, 2014

Prison for Strangers

Filed under: Prison life — skepticcon @ 12:19 pm
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I was thinking of how to describe prison to someone who asked about the emotional experience, and I thought of how everything is backwards. Show kindness or empathy to your peers, and it’s seen as a weakness to be exploited. Can’t have that. Show it to a staff member, and they think you’re hiding something or you’re trying to get something out of them. But hate and nastiness is expected and even respected. Hateful beliefs and bitter cynicism earns you a place. Prison takes everything that is good and twists it into something bad, and turns everything negative and ignorant into a badge of honor and strength. That is prison: the most awful of all negative feedback loops.

Racism in Prison

Filed under: Libertarian — skepticcon @ 12:18 pm
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Regardless of how the stories about Stern and Bundy turn out, I find it encouraging that we live in a country where they were immediately and roundly condemned for their racist views. I’d like to think of them as relics; the old prejudices are slowly but surely making their way to the dustbin of history. I’ve seen a similar trend here in prison. Although prison may be one of the last strongholds of this type of socially acceptable ignorance, it has still changed considerably since I first arrived here in 1997. And if attitudes are changing here, in this environment, that has to be a good sign.

April 29, 2014

Homosexual Woes, II

Filed under: Atheism — skepticcon @ 12:24 pm
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Reponse to silenceofmind’s comments: Nature has also developed homosexuality, just so you know. It has been observed in many animal species. In any case, who cares what Nature made? Mankind is defined by our struggle against nature. Nature means brutality, smallpox, and famine. We should aspire to moral behavior when it comes to issues of gay rights, not plead to blind, heartless nature.
And I didn’t lie by saying gay fascists were forcing you christians to marry gay people; I was being sarcastic, mocking your decidedly victimish attitude about how these ephemeral gay fascists are somehow forcing you to participate in gay marriage and abortion. Who are these people and how they are doing it? Just because you live in a free society with people of different views and lifestyles doesn’t mean you’re forced into anything.

Homosexual Woes

Filed under: Atheism — skepticcon @ 12:23 pm
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In response to ludybina: I think you have clones mixed up with robots. Clones are biologically human; twins are clones of one another that occur naturally.
But the bigger point is to be moral and decent with our fellow human beings, and I cannot see how outlawing gay marriage fits into that. I find every one of the Christian arguments to be either terrible, bigoted, nonsensical, or simply a statement of their opinion about how things should be. I don’t think any rational society should be engineering and restricting its citizens’ lives … especially not because of the religious beliefs of a bloc of voters. America is not run by Biblical law. And thank God for that.🙂

Why Science Matters

Filed under: Free thought — skepticcon @ 12:21 pm
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This morning I saw a perfect example of the harm that can be caused when people favor belief and shoddy thinking methods over science, or reality. The instances of measels in children is the highest in 20 years, most likely because of this anti-intellectual fad among parents who decline getting their kids vaccinations for fear of autism. They trust anecdotes and celebrities, not science. Belief, not reality. The way of the world, unfortunately.

April 25, 2014

O’Reilly’s Drug War

Leaving aside Bill O’Reilly’s ridiculous idea that selling drugs is a “violent” act, it’s clear he wants harsher penalties for drug crimes. Well, my perspective is this: I’ve spent the last 17 years in prison with every kind of user and addict, and I’ve seen what drugs do to people. I’ve also seen that in the vast majority of cases, drugs are only a symptom of the person’s larger problem, as they were in my case. Further, I am doing about 19-1/2 years for murder, and there are people who are doing more time for drugs. There are people doing mandatory 7-12 years just for having a bottle illegal prescription meds. There are black men who receive more time for crack than their white counterparts do for cocaine. So yes, the drug laws do need to be rethought, and not like reactionary blow-hards like O’Reilly want.

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