Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Mental Challenge

When tragedy strikes  our country or abroad  we deal with it in many personal ways. Some aspire anger,others sorrow,grief or tears. Fill in the blank here of how you react to the news of school shootings or massacres in movie theaters. Many people seek their comfort from misery in God. The mass majority of people I know will utter prayers,and declare that God is in control even though we don't understand his ways in times like these. As many believers seek solace in a higher power for comfort,Us non-believers cope in a much different way. 

As a non-believer sometimes I grow tired and often get frustrated over the overwhelming approach that people seek prayer for comfort. "Putting everything in God's hands" is not a valid reasoning for trying to understand the why and how tragedy strikes in our world. To me its a failure to reason honestly about the nature and understanding of the world. It almost seems to the non-believer like the situation is being ignored all together,even though I know that's not the case it sure seems that way. 

As an atheist I can tell you that based on the people that surround me from day to day and those of whom I interact with on a daily basis via Facebook makes one feel very alone in the world. My view vs hundreds of believer's views. And so I make it a point to challenge the mind of the believer. In a haste of rushing out the door I quipped the following status update on Friday evening that started a firestorm.

"God this and God that...and Praise Jesus for survivors! This not intended to be insulting but merely factual when I suggest that believers are mentally challenged....."

Now that's far enough. This status was spawned from the outcry of the terrible school shooting this week that left some 20 school children dead. Most of everyone's status was referencing this shooting and most were turning to higher power and prayer. So I lashed out... Hastily.  And unfortunately my statement can easily be interpreted as I think believers are mentally retarded. This is a mistake on my part and my apologies are being declared here.

My intentions were not in any way to insult of belittle the believer. My intentions were,as with all, anti-belief status or posts meant to cause believers to think. And consider a non-believer's approach to coping with such madness as witness in CT.

My posts are always meant to challenge the believer to understand what its like to be the non believer. I'm issuing a mental challenge. It is,after all, mentally challenging to understand anyone's point of view that can conflict your on personal beliefs not just with religion but with any subject matter. 

Lesson learned...think before you speak(or type) and not rely on anger to voice haste opinions. This should apply to all.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy New Year! What's Happening?

Elaine Benes: You know I got happy new yeared today?!!

Jerry Seinfeld: I once got happy new yeared in March!!

Happy 2012 everyone. I have been taking a breather from a weekly blog but will continue to write from time to time. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and is enjoying the beginning of 2012 as much as I am. January is a pretty busy month for me. The last two years I have been spending a week in Amsterdam this time of year but this year I went and played a GLTA event in Miami, FL. I was seeded 10th and upset the #7 seed to make it to the quarterfinals where I ended up losing to the #1 seed and eventual champion. It was a good run and I felt good going into the match but I refused to move my feet and my body was feeling lazy from the previous day of 3 total matches. I feel as if I'm getting too old to do both singles and doubles in these events. Might just try the singles draw only to try to win some hardware this year. Next up is Fort Lauderdale in February. 

The Australian Open is in full swing as well. It's been tough to watch this year . I have no cable and find myself being unable to stay up all night to watch the action. Ironic seeing how I work at night. Good thing for live radio feeds while I'm at work. Go Federer!

Ive taken on a lottery pool at work as well. This keeps me on my toes. Deacade$ of Dollar$ with 14 other coworkers. We plan on striking it rich this year. Maybe I'll buy a new car with my winnings.

That's whats been happening on my side of town. The Super Bowl is set. The Aussie Open finals are this coming weekend. My tennis is in full swing on the weekends. I've made my doctors appointments recently. (I'm overdue a skin check and physical). Ive booked my flights to Mexico and Fort Lauderdale. I celebrated Oliver's 12th birthday this month,and this weekend my newphew turns 4! Boom! Busy 2012 so far....bring on the next 11 months.

PS, Just heard a rumor that the Roanoke P&DC is safe from losing jobs til at least January 2013. So I guess I can start to finish unpacking at my apartment. and a possible buyout is in the works by March...stay tuned...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Keeping the X in Xmas

Happy Holidays
Merry Christmas
Season's Greetings
Feliz Navidad
Joyeux Noel
Merry Xmas
Happy Hanukkuh 

Six of the seven above mentioned just offended the "Keep Christ in Christmas"crowd. You familiar with this crowd? The "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" crowd? The "How dare you eliminate my savior from "our" holiday" crowd? They pretty easy to spot....anyone who list a Facebook status as Merry CHRISTmas! Is feeling the social pressure of understanding that Xmas is a holiday for ALL to celebrate,with or without recognizing that a supernatural baby was born of a virgin on who knows what date (The actual birth date of the Christian savior is not known).
These are the same Christians that incorporate Pagan rituals into their religious rituals as well. You'll find it hard pressed to find a "Keep Christ in Christmas" rep that does not have a Xmas tree in his or her home,and of course adhere to other secular rituals during the holiday season. How many people down at the local baptist church does not play the Santa game for religious reasons? You never hear a secularist campaigning for the end of Xmas trees or Santa rituals from the Christian home. But reverse this and notice how easily the "Jesus is the reason for the season crowd" is offended by a denotation of Xmas. It's like a personal attack on their religion. and We are treated as though we just rejected the Jesus Lord and Savior and just booked a first class direct ticket to hell fire.
 I personally don't have issues with saying Merry Christmas. If I know you celebrate Christmas in a Jesus kind of way or even in a secular fashion you'll get a Merry Christmas from me. Its only when I address a large group of people that I'll announce a "Happy Holiday's" I just so happen to know a large diverse group of people and I like to include ALL in that greeting. It's not like anyone is purposefully trying to offend anyone by "excluding" Jesus. It's merely an acknowledgement that during the Holiday season there are multiple ways for people in this world to celebrate. The "Keep Christ in CHRISTmas"crowd sometimes fails to notice this world they live in is extremely big and full of diversity. Its easy not to notice or even acknowledge when this crowd is used to surrounding themselves by people that only think and believe as they do. Once you block out the rest of the world...and view them as nothing more than lost souls and sinners it becomes a little more clear why the "How dare you eliminate my savior" crowd gets offended.
Their total lack of understanding that, well, Jesus may be "THE" reason for the season. (even though I would submit that even Christians;at the very least really don't believe this either considering the Pagan rituals they subscribe to. It would be more fair to suggest a more suitable motto like : Jesus is A (one of many) reason for the season.)
So as for me...I'm keeping the X in Xmas and I'm wishing everyone a happy and joyous holiday season. Season's greetings to one and all..Yes..even to you dear Muslims and Hindu's...and Buddhists...and atheists....and secularists....and Jews...and Christians :)

One of my favorite aspects of the holiday season is how everyone you meet tends to be a little more polite, more friendly, more willing to help their fellow man. It is indeed a certain type of (for lack of better word) spirit that fills the air. And I don't care how you celebrate the holiday season you'll have no trouble in agreeing with the idea that this world would be a much better place if the spirit of Xmas lingered for 12 months of the year. You don't need a Jesus type figure in the world to figure that out.

Happy Holiday's everyone!! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mission Accomplished

 Well, a year of blogging has come and gone. I set out to post an entry a week for the last 52 weeks and I have just about raced across the finish line. This entry and my next will be a completed task and goal that I set forth in 2011.
I was having breakfast with my dad a little over a year ago and the conversation we had that morning was a helpful tool in determining what my blog set out to do. He explained to me this idea and fantasy he had about writing about his life,a memoir if you will, because he understood personally that  no one knew him very well. He is such a quiet and private private in fact that I dare say even his three sons doesn't know him very well. He isn't exactly the kind of guy that opens up and communicates very well either. I know this because he has passed on those genes to me. Anyone who has ever dated me knows I don't speak my mind when I should. It's a suppressed feelings gene and the Weaver's have it!
So, That lead me to take action and create a blog to create some openness between I and the people that know me best. I saw that I was living the same life as my dad and that I do not always speak what I feel. So a blog was born. My opinions and ideas are shared to all those that care enough to read. 
I would like to thank everyone that has read an entry or two in the past year. Some of you have read every one of the entries and to that I say're the best! Thanks!
All the thumb's up,comments, and concerns were greatly appreciated. To date I have 5505 total hits for the 50 current entries....and counting.

I will continue to blog in 2012 but at a more random schedule. I still have a lot to say and open up to and I didn't get to approach every subject that I set out to comment on. I hope every one has a great holiday season and a Happy 2012!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Poor College Football Fans

Well, another college football regular season has come to a close. I would love to be able to tell you that 2011 was an exciting and thrilling season but I never watched a single minute of any of the games. What's the point knowing the end game is always a disaster. By end game of course I'm referring to the travesties that await at the end of the season. A final time of booting up the BCS computers to see which two teams finally qualified for the BCS Championship Game. Everyone knows the story. A complex computer formula for determining the final 2 colleges. The formula has to do with a few polls,added in with a win/loss record...perhaps influenced by a touch of strength of schedule...and who's got the prettiest cheerleaders I think is a factor...after all that is determined then you divide all those results by the square root of average attendance. Top two teams plays for the title. 
The bottom line is pretty simple. Once your favorite college team suffers its first loss of the season....Their season just ended. So it could be said that the NCAA college football playoffs starts in week one of the season. Its a shame that college football is so popular. Fans don't seem to mind the lack of a playoff system and no one seems to be allergic to all that wool the BCS has used to cover the eyes of the fans. 
It just doesn't seem right to me. College water polo is settled through a final NCAA tournament. Until college football adopts a playoff system,I'm officially boycotting the game. Enjoy the 6 week break before the "big game" fans. Seems to me that is plenty of time to have a top 10 playoff system. Keep your user friendly ranking system intact and use it for this playoff system. If there is a controversy...and there will be a the very least let it be between the 9th-12th ranked teams. Leave the finger pointing and blame out of the top 3 or 4 ranked schools.
Every year fans piss and moan about this team and that team not be worthy of going to their respected bowl games. VA Tech caught a lot flack for being assigned the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans this year. A playoff system would most definitely  be the best way to prove the VA Tech Hokies are not deserving of this. They lose in the first round and only have themselves to blame.... they win...well off to the next round. I won't waste any time bashing VA Tech or and other college I said I don't keep up with college football. I don't want to upset any Hokie fans out there...I understand Beamer walks on water. I get it. Go Hokies!!

Meanwhile I'm gonna go watch the NCAA Women's volleyball tourney to get my December madness fix.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Don't Call Me Daddy

I wonder what life would be like being a father? I spent some time this week day dreaming on the idea that I had a son or daughter running around this world and contemplated how much my life would have changed as a result. I wonder how or what approach I would use to raise such a being into adulthood. It is at the very least an 18 year commitment. I know that the days of sleeping in would be gone. I'm quite sure I would have to buy all their meals. Less tennis to be played.Eventually trying to figure out Algebra all over again. I've never considered being a parent to be a very enticing job description. I'm pretty sure its very rewarding but I wouldn't know if I were up to the task. 

One of the problems facing society is a result of natural selection. It's pretty simple really and there is nothing that can be done about it. Its a given in the world you were born into. The simple fact is: If you can get can become a parent. This by the way, is not a good thing. There are plenty...PLENTY of unfit parents in this world. Anyone who has googled images of child abuse will see true evil in this world. Some parents aren't fit enough to even supply the bare basics to their children. At times this is at no fault of their on. They refuse to use birth control and out come the babies. Unfit parents can barely manage their own lives and it complicates life more to try and supply children with proper shelter,food and clothes. Its a harsh reality we live in. Sad.

If I Were a Daddy::

If I became a dad my child would learn about the realities of the world as soon as he/she became old enough to understand them. My child would know at a very early age that he/she has it much better than millions of children in the world,and that understanding how lucky we have it and consider helping those that have less. I think that's a very good first lesson in sharing. I would want a child that finds it more fulfilling to go pick an angel off the angel tree at the mall during the holiday season rather than haul ass to Santa's lap to selfishly start naming off a list of 20 different wants for his elves to consider. In fact, I wouldn't play the Santa game at all..My child would know from a very early age there is no Santa that makes dreams come true. The Santa game is just awful. Lying to your kids about a fictional character that shows up once a year,delivering gifts to kids that's been good. Nonsense. How do parents react to their children when they lie to them? Usually punishment of some form. Double standard really. Society lies to their kids about Santa,tooth fairies,Easter bunnies,etc. How about the magic of reality? Nothing rewarding about that? Might as well tell your children that we are here on earth because Adam and Eve are responsible for populating this entire planet...or depending on your fictional beliefs Noah's family considering they were the only survivors of the Great Flood. Oh, What a sec. That's another thing people lie to their children about.... But to quote the great George Costanza "It's not a lie, if you believe it!"
My child would understand and (hopefully) accept evolution. And also ( I apologize in advance) be the kid at school telling your kids the wonderful truths of the world. Science and math would be of the utmost importance living under my roof. Education couldn't be emphasized enough. Yes dear society,what I'm saying to you is...My child would be taught how to think,not what to think. I guess that means presenting both sides to the arguments. But that's nothing to worry about knowing that critical thinking and reason wins the day. Just look to the evidence right?!

I have in the past considered donating sperm to have a little Weaver running around out there. I don't think that would be a lot of fun knowing I couldn't have a hand in raising him/her. Then again I'm not so convinced raising a son/daughter would be fun. Who knows....
I know the actual act of donating would be a lot of fun. I've had plenty of practice runs at that activity. I wonder if there's is an audition......

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sam's Greatest Hits

Sam Harris is an author,neuroscientist,and co-founder and CEO of Project Reason. He has a Bachelor of Arts of philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA. He is a proponent of scientific skepticism and is the author of "The End of Faith"(2004),"Letter to a Christian Nation"(2006),"The Moral Landscape"(2010),and"Lying" (2011). He has written numerous articles concerning the criticism of religion for the Huffington Post,Los Angeles Times,The Washington Post,The New York Times,Newsweek,as well as scientific journals such as Nature.

Many of the blog posts that I have written are concerning my disbelief in the supernatural. More so the disbelief in religions and gods. I will admit that most of the ideas are not original or new to anyone but by all means I have made every effort to reference and quote when necessary. I have also added my personal experiences into my blogs as well as my on ideas. Sam Harris is by far my favorite influence and I love to quote him as much as possible. He,among many other free thinkers have really shifted my way of thinking in the last several years and I wanted to give an collage of quotes this week to highlight some of my favorite Sam Harris quotations. Some of which may have been used to previous blog entries but is worth re-reading. I have yet to hear a more rational,reasonable,articulate,well-mannered voice in the world of atheism. If you have the time he is well worth a youtube adventure.
Ladies and gentlemen.....Dr Sam Harris:

"All of our scriptures were written by people who, by virtue of their placement in history had less access to scientific knowledge and to what is now basic common sense than any person in this room. In fact, there's not a person in this room,who's ever MET a person,who's world view is as narrow as the world view of Abraham,Moses,Jesus or Muhammad. These people knew to nothing of the facts that are now reverent to us in the 21st century. They knew nothing about the origins of life,the relationship between the mind and brain.They didn't know that mental illness was even a category of human suffering. They knew nothing about DNA,or viruses,or computation,or electricity.None of this is in scripture.They had no idea why people got sick and died.Unless you saw someone stabbed with a had no idea why they died."

"Our situation is this:most of the people in this world believe that the Creator of the Universe has written a book.We have the misfortune of having many such books on hand,each making an exclusive claim as to its infallibility."----The End of Faith

"Science is not in principle committed to the idea that there is no afterlife or the mind is identical to the brain. Or that materialism is true. Science is completely open to whatever in fact is true. And if its true that conscienceness is being run like software on the brain and by virtue of ectoplasum or something else we don't understand can be disociated from the brain at death. That would be part of our growing scientific understanding of the world if we could discover it.There are ways we could in fact discover that if it were true.,the problem is there are very good reasons to think that it is not true. And we know this now from now 150 years of neurology where you damage areas of the brain,and faculties are lost and its not that everyone with brain damage has their soul perfectly intact...they just can't get the words out. Everything about your mind can be damaged by damaging the brain. You can cease to recognize faces,you can cease to know the names of animals but you still know the names of tools.The fragmentation in the way in which our mind is parcellated  at the level of the brain is not at all intuitive and there is a lot known about it,but what we are being asked to consider is: You damage one part of the brain and the mind and subjectivity is lost,you damage another and yet more is lost...and yet if you damage the whole thing at death! We can rise off the brain...with all our faculties intact recognizing grandma and speaking English!"---debating the afterlife

"Religion as we speak of it. Islam, Christianity,Judaism is based on the claim that God dictates certain books.  He doesn't code software,He doesn't produce films,He doesn't score symphonies...He is an author. And this claim has achieved credibility because these books are deemed so profound they could not have possibly been written by human authors. Please consider for a moment how differently we treat scientific claims,texts and discoveries."

"Consider: every devout Muslim has the same reasons for being a Muslim that you have for being a Christian. And yet you do not find their reasons compelling.The Koran repeatedly declares that it is the perfect word of the creator of the universe. Muslims believe this as fully as you believe the Bible's account of itself.There is a vast literature describing the life of Muhammad that,from the point of view of Islam,proves that he was the most recent Prophet of God. Muhammad also assured his followers that Jesus was NOT divine. (Koran 5:71-75;19:30-38) and that anyone who believes otherwise will spend eternity in Hell.Muslims are certain that Muhammad's opinion on this subject,as on all others,is infallible.
 Why don't you lose any sleep over whether to convert to Islam?Can you prove that Allah is not the one,true God? Can you prove that the archangel Gabriel did not visit Muhammad in his cave? Of course not.But you need not prove any of these things to reject the beliefs of Muslims as absurd. The burden is upon them to prove that their beliefs about God and Muhammad are valid. They have not done this.They can not do this. Muslims are simply not making claims about reality that can be corroborated. This is perfectly apparent to anyone who has not anesthetized himself with the dogma of Islam.
 The truth is,you know exactly what it is like to be an atheist with the respect of the beliefs of Muslims. Isn't it obvious that Muslims are fooling themselves? Isn't it obvious that anyone who thinks that the Koran is the perfect word of the creator of the universe has not read the book critically? Isn't it obvious that the doctrine of Islam represents a near-perfect barrier to honest inquiry? Yes, these things are obvious. Understand that the way you view Islam is precisely the way devout Muslims view Christianity.And it is the way I view all religions." ---Letter to a Christian Nation