traditional marriage

I just heard someone say they support “traditional marriage”. I assume they mean marriage the way god intended, a financial transaction between a man and another man whereby one of the men agrees to sell his daughter to the other man in exchange for two cows and a pig. Or perhaps he meant the biblical description of how to deal with rape. The rapist pays the father a sum of money and then they get married, with the consent of the girl who was raped. HAH, just kidding. Nobody cares what she wants. That’s like asking a sandwich if it wants you to eat it. So… Hooray for traditional marriage!

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Bicycles will save the world.

The two biggest problems we face are overpopulation and climate change. They are both really two sides of the same coin. How can we reduce the amount of CO2 released per person? And will it make any difference if we can’t stop increasing the number of people? The solution to both problems is one word.

Bicycles.

If you’re one of the poorest billion people, having a bicycle changes everything. It means you can go 10 km each way to get a jug of water and it only takes 1 hour instead of 3. It means when your children get sick you can take them to the doctor. It means when you children are old enough to go to school, it doesn’t take all day to get there and back. And with all those improvements in your life, maybe, finally, you will be convinced that you don’t need to have 6 babies because you’re afraid 4 of them will die. You can just have 2 babies and be confident that both of them will live. Bicycles are the key to improving the lives of the poorest 1 billion people, which is what it will take to stop population growth.

If you’re one of the richest billion people, you probably already have a bicycle but you consider it a toy. It’s something you take out for a day at the park. But if you actually use it to go to the grocery store, or to commute, then you can significantly cut back on how much fuel you burn in your automobiles. Maybe your family can get along with just one car instead of two. If 10% of the people who are out and about every day use a bicycle instead of a car, we’ll have 10% less CO2, and 10% less fumes, and the streets won’t be as crowded. If we have more bike lanes and lower speed limits, the bicyclists won’t feel so threatened sharing the road with two-ton metal monsters. Imagine a day when half the people on the street are riding bicycles. You might not be able to afford an electric car or put solar panels on the roof of your house, but almost anyone who is reading this can afford a bicycle. You probably already have one. All you have to do is decide to use it.

Are you an atheist?

Plenty of people don’t like using the label “atheist“. There’s a lot of arguing about what it means. Some people insist that being a atheist means you are 100% convinced that the number of gods is zero, and since they don’t feel 100% convinced they don’t like to call themselves atheists.

I have a simpler definition.

Do you live your life based on the assumption that a supernatural being is watching you and will give you great rewards or punishment depending on their approval of your behavior? Yes or No?

I am not asking whether you think it’s possible that such a being exists, or whether you think it’s likely, or whether you are 100% convinced that such a being does not exist. I’m also not asking your opinion about how the universe was created. I only want to know how you make decisions in your life. Do you make decisions based on [A] what’s good your own self interest, plus empathy for other people, taking into account the big picture (as you see it), and staying out of trouble? Or do you make decisions based on [B] avoiding punishment from supernatural beings?

If you don’t consider supernatural beings when you make decisions, then you’re an atheist.

I read an article recently where someone was asked if there is a god and he went on and on about cause and effect and how philosophy may or may not dictate that the universe has a “first cause” and then his final answer was basically “maybe”. I call shenanigans on this answer. When someone asks you if you believe in god, they aren’t talking about the hypothetical first cause which created the universe. That’s not what they’re asking you, and you know it. What they are asking you is Do you believe there’s a supernatural being watching you with the intent of giving you a great reward or a great punishment depending on whether he/she/it approves of your behavior? And, if you say yes you believe it, do you put your money where your mouth is and actually base your decisions on it? Do you only talk the talk or do you also walk the walk? Because if you don’t walk the walk, then that means deep down you don’t really believe it.

Actions speak louder than words.

I submit that if you picked 10 random people from all over the world and you watched them going about their lives, you’d see that 5 of them would be walking the walk (some more seriously than others) and the other 5 would not.

Therefore, half of us are atheists, whether we admit it or not.