Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

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The Delicious Interlude

In the moment between claims of infallibility, Becky, Dan and Sam talk about the “honest” atheists, catch up with Mandisa Thomas of Black Nonbelievers, and discuss the passing of and lack of skepticism regarding Hugo Chavez.

Also, fungi are terrifying.   There are many show notes.

The article Sam references in the first segment, Damon Linker’s “Where are the Honest Atheists?”,  is available here.

Here is a list of links of source material for this week’s Moment of Science: “Mind Control Parasites”

And finally, a list of sources for Sam’s complains about Hugo Chavez:

Steps towards the autocracy

  • Told Jorge Ramos of Univision in 1998 regarding an open press: “Enough already with State Media. The State already has chanel 8…I have a great relationship with the other channels…They should remain private. In fact, we’re interested in their expanding and deepening.” link
  • But, limited freedom of press despite 1999 constitution emphasizing free press (Freedom House Human Rights WatchReporters Without Borders
  • Refused to renew the license of Radio Caracas Televisión, the main opposition voice to his presidency link
  • Told Jorge Ramos of Univision in 1998 that he’d “Absolutely not” nationalize any of the freely operating businesses in Venezuela. “We are even prepared to have even more than there already are, to have private international ventures come and invest. I am not the devil.” link
  • But removed autonomy from Venezuelan Central Bank (Time Magazine profile 2007)
  • Nationalized the largest telecommunications corporation (CanTV)link
  • Kicked out 6 foreign petroleum companies in favor of nationalizing petroleum production link

Crazy Anti-Skeptic Quotes by Chavez, From Reuters

  • ON CAPITALISM’S ROLE IN LACK OF LIFE ON MARS, 2011: “I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and finished off the planet.
  • ACCUSING THE CIA OF SPREADING CANCER IN LATIN AMERICA, 2011: “It would not be strange if they had developed the technology to induce cancer and nobody knew about it until now.”

     

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Quintin...stephenSam MulveyHellbound AlleeeDoug Recent comment authors
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Doug
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Doug

Do the world a favor and don’t refer to yourself as skeptics when presenting such misinformed political opinion. Perhaps “fair and balanced” would be more appropriate. Radio Caracas Televisión had their license revoked because they called for the coup against the President, which was a violation of the broadcast laws in that country. Just like in other countries, if a media outlet violates the law they can have their license revoked. The FCC in America has revoked licenses of stations for broadcast violations, that doesn’t mean our leaders are just like Pinochet or violating the Constitution. Perhaps it’s a good… Read more »

Mike Gillis
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I would recommend you look at what Human Rights Watch — not FOX News — has to say about Chavez’s regime: “Hugo Chávez’s presidency (1999-2013) was characterized by a dramatic concentration of power and open disregard for basic human rights guarantees. After enacting a new constitution with ample human rights protections in 1999 – and surviving a short-lived coup d’état in 2002 – Chávez and his followers moved to concentrate power. They seized control of the Supreme Court and undercut the ability of journalists, human rights defenders, and other Venezuelans to exercise fundamental rights. By his second full term in… Read more »

Quintin
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Quintin

That last line says it all. Anything that has to be protected from criticism clearly can’t stand up to it. It’s all the criticism you’ll ever need.

Hellbound Alleee
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I think that, to say it is our job to create meaning is actually just creating a “comforting illusion.” You might as well go back to religion. Many folks who come out of religion feel a panic about atheism, because they feel that they’ve lost a reason to live, and that now they must scramble to create meaning for themselves. Well, that just kind of sounds like making your own religion, really. I like to think that we don’t actually need to create meaning (where none exists). I think it just might be better to discover acceptance of one’s place… Read more »

Sam Mulvey
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I think that, to say it is our job to create meaning is actually just creating a “comforting illusion.” You might as well go back to religion. Many folks who come out of religion feel a panic about atheism, because they feel that they’ve lost a reason to live, and that now they must scramble to create meaning for themselves. Well, that just kind of sounds like making your own religion, really. Can you explain this a little bit more in full? I’m advocating a search and decision for meaning without dogma, without an external supernatural authority, staying with what… Read more »

...stephen
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...stephen

The fight for significance and the creation of meaning, to me, is just a substitute for religion.

I suppose it depends on what you mean by “religion.” For example, to me, religion must have an element of the sacred (something beyond scrutiny and criticism). I think it’s possible to avoid that kind of religion when forging one’s own meaning from what one understands about the universe.

Quintin
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Quintin

I’ve always had trouble with this idea that it’s even meaningful that atheism somehow can’t provide meaning. If that is so, than that is so. You can be afraid of it, but that’s simply an irrational fear, or you can make the best of your life regardless of it. Let me take a quote from the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca, one I had the fortune to translate myself (though this one I took from wikisource and edited it to ): “[W]hat shall we say of one who is angry with those who stumble in the dark. What [shall we say]… Read more »