August, 2013 Newsletter of the Lake Superior Freethinkers
Facilitators: David Broman - 218-349-7455, Bill Guse - 834-4583, 343-4806
First Sunday -Radisson – 9:00 AM Social – 9:30 Breakfast - 10:00 Presentation
George Erickson, editor, email@example.com
Program - George Erickson, "Thorium Nuclear Power - Carbon-Killer for the 21st century"
Former V P of the American Humanist Assoc., past president of the Minnesota Humanists, Member - Union of Concerned Scientists, and best-selling author of four books.
As our planet warms and nations create expensive, short-sighted plans to “adapt” to catastrophic changes, why not eliminate the largest source of CO2-caused Climate Change? Why not replace fossil-fuel and uranium power plants with Thorium Nuclear Power – Climate Change Killer for the 21st Century?
The Industrial Revolution, the genie that delivered the Age of Hydrocarbons and its endless supply of marvels, also had a dark side – a world of melting ice caps, rising sea levels, resource wars, extinctions, increasingly powerful storms and desiccating droughts. Nevertheless, there is hope! In no more than fifty years, we can reverse these trends, and address the most critical problem that 21st century humans will face if we welcome the Age of Thorium.
In 1959, the United States already had a design for a thorium-powered reactor that had proven advantages over uranium, but uranium won because U-235 is useful for making bombs. And because uranium won, we settled for an Edsel when we could have built a Porsche.
From Rod Sheffer
“Christianity and the other monotheistic religions demand credulity, never critical thinking or rigorous intellectual evaluation of ideas. The result is uniformity of thought, and a kind of mental stasis that inevitably leads to intellectual dry rot…. It is small wonder that both Saul of Tarsus (aka St. Paul) and Martin Luther both condemned reason.”
“Unlike religion, science does not project our wishes, dreams, ideologies, fantasies or irrationalities onto the people of the world. While religion tries to coerce nature into what it wants nature to be, science tries to explain nature as it is.”
“Albert Schweitzer, the great German physician, philosopher, Humanitarian, and theologian who devoted a part of his life to trying to find the historical Jesus wrote: “There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the life of Jesus. The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the kingdom of God, who founded the kingdom of heaven on earth, and died to give his work its final consecration, never had any existence. This image has not been destroyed from without, it has fallen to pieces, cleft and disintegrated by the concrete historical problems which came to the surface one after the other.”
“I do not believe in God, because I believe in man. Whatever his mistakes, man has for thousands of years been working to undo the botched job your god has made. There are . . . some potentates I would kill by any means at my disposal. They are Ignorance, Superstition, and Bigotry--the most sinister and tyrannical rulers on earth.”
If you remember Dr. Eben Alexander’s best-selling book titled Proof of Heaven, you might like an new expose’ that reveals that Dr. Alexander is not only a liar, but has been denied surgical priveleges repeatedly and has been sued for malpractice and falsifying surgical reports.
For the article, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send you the antidote to Proof of Heaven.
A Secular Look at the Bible - a review by Edd Doerr
Noah's flood and the David/Goliath story are pure fiction, based on the many centuries earlier Epic of Gilgamesh. So begins Allen Wright's interesting, naturalistic, secular, humanistic summary of the books of the Bible from Genesis through Kings II, the first half of the Jewish Bible and the first third of the combined JudeoChristian scriptures. The author makes repeatedly clear that these writings are pure fiction, but goes on to show when, where, why, how and for whom they were put together. These anonymous writings were developed during the Hebrews' Babylonian Captivity of 586 to 537 BCE - begun around the time of the death of the Babylonian empire's King Nabuchadnezzar in 562 BCE.
When the Babylonians occupied Judea in 586 BCE they brought to their capital only the Hebrew upper classes, leaving the commoners behind in Judea. Beginning around 562 BCE Jewish writers in Babylon wrote these books to "sustain their ancient civilization and society during the years of the Babylonian-imposed exile of their upper classes", to "prevent the cultural demise that had befallen the Judeans' northern brothers and sisters in Israel". It worked, and when Christianity spread, the collection of books called the Bible came to be an influential cultural artifact, even though very largely fiction.
From our Library - “Just Smoke and Mirrors”
Dr W. Sumner Davis begins each chapter with a pertinent quote, and for his chapter on Mysticism and Mythology, he chooses Joseph Goebbels, Hiler’s Minister of Propaganda, who observed “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will come to believe it.”
Chapter 2 – Deconstructing Noah begins with a quote from G B Shaw: “The Bible is the greatest hoax in all history. The leading characters of the Old Testament would today be in a penitentiary, and those of the New would be in psychopathic wards.”
The chapter on Extrasensory perception and the paranormal begins with Carl Sagan, one of my favorites: Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.
Michael Crichton provides: “For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told, and become upset if they are exposed to a different view.”
And Howard Stern (of all people) reports “Religion has divided people. I don’t think there is any difference between the pope wearing a tall hat and parading around with a smoking purse and an African painting his face white and praying to a rock.”
With quotes like these, you’d be right to expect that the chapters they introduce are just a good – and just as forthright.
From our Library “Imagine There’s No Heaven” is a collection of gems.
In the first story, The Night I Saw the Light, Gina Allen tells of confronting her father, a pillar in the church, demanding that he defend his beliefs, but is stunned to learn that he disagrees with all of the dogmas, but argues that without the church there would be no morality.
In Viruses of the Mind, Richard Dawkins eloquently pleads the case for keeping children religion-free:
Washington Post on line on 7/22/13 in response to various media stories about Pope Francis’ trip to Brazil ---
Letter published in the Washington Post
If Pope Francis really wants to help the poor and promote social justice, he should immediately rescind the Vatican's horribly mistaken 1968 condemnation of contraception, which was opposed by the vast majority of Pope Paul's VI's advisers in the first place and ignored by the vast majority of Catholics. The Vatican's absurd misogynist opposition to contraception has led to the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of women, untold misery for hundreds of millions of women and children, and contributed enormously to the civilization-threatening problems of overpopulation, resource depletion and global climate change. And all because of medieval, patriarchal dogma.
The Vatican has used its unique special Permanent Observer status at the United Nations to thwart international efforts to protect the rights and welfare of women, often in cooperation with fundamentalist Islamists. In the US and other countries the Catholic bishops have been able to frighten politicians into clamping down on women's rights to religious liberty and freedom of conscience in dealing with problem pregnancies. As studies have shown, outlawing abortion does not end abortions, it drives them underground and threatens women's lives health.
The Vatican and the bishops are also behind the worldwide drive to have politicians divert public funds to religious private schools (vouchers and tax credits in the US) that divide kids by religion and indoctrinate them with views hostile to women's rights and welfare.
Politicians need to get over their fear of clerical pressure, and citizens need to help strengthen their backbones.
Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty, past president, AHA