Random ramblings of a middle-aged liberal Buddhist American male - Observations on society, culture, science, technology, education, politics and religion - Intolerance, irrationality and irresponsibility are primary targets of rudeness and sarcasm.
I believe that the freedom of conscience is the most fundamental freedom, from which all other freedoms descend. I believe that there can be no real freedom without the freedom to think one's own thoughts and express one's own ideas without fear of harm or persecution. I believe that government should concern itself only with the actions of its citizens, not their thoughts and beliefs.
I believe that religion is not a force for good in the world. I believe that religious beliefs are not deserving of automatic and unquestioning respect. I believe that belief is less desirable than understanding. I believe that beliefs should be supported by facts. I believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I believe that science has a good track record of explaining the natural world and improving people's lives, and that religion does not. I believe that the world will be a better place when its people abandon irrational belief.
The preceding two paragraphs are not in conflict with each other. No one should be persecuted for his beliefs, but neither should he expect those beliefs to grant him privilege or respect.
In much of the world today, religion enjoys the support of the majority, and therefore feels little pressure to support its pronouncements with rational argument. The purpose of this blog is to increase, by some small amount, that pressure, and to demonstrate that religion, in the words of Christopher Hitchens, "poisons everything."