It’s a sad day here for the ScrwMedia family as one of our own, Steven Hodson, a contributing poster to Urlybits and Geek Is Awesome, lost his wife Kim after a long fight with cancer and several chronic illnesses. Steven has been a blogger for just about as long as the word has been around, and has written for a number of sites large and small. Over the years Steven has served as a mentor and friend to many in the tech community.
He has been unable to work outside the home for the past several years due to being Kim’s full-time caretaker, something most of us cannot imagine dealing with. We would like to give back and support Steven in his time of grief and ensure that Kim’s cremation expenses are not another burden on him during this difficult time.
We have set a goal of $2,000 to cover her cremation cost and hopefully a little extra to see him through while he begins the process of rebuilding. We are donating $200 ourselves to kick this off, and hope that you guys can find it in your hearts to make a donation, however big or small, to help us with this. Every dollar counts, and it will be going to something so very important – not a nameless, faceless charity, but a dear friend in need. Between us all $2,000 should be easy to raise, but it would mean the world to the man who has just lost the center of his own world.
Please use the widget below to donate if you can, and spread the word.
Paul and Sara O’Flaherty
Remember the controversial “Slaves Obey Your Masters” billboard that we mentioned last week, which was being erected in Harrisburg, PA. Pennsylvania ?
Well the “Year Of the Bible” billboard was erected and, true to form the religious proved exactly why we trust them to take the superior moral ground (that’s saracsm, in case you missed it).
Less than 24 hours after the billboard was put up, someone made sure its message came down.
It really doesn’t say much about the strength of faith you have in your religion when you can’t stand to have it questioned.
If you had the exact chemical composition of Ted Bundy, then you would be a serial killer. Your chemical makeup, your genes, and your environment are not something that you choose. Yet, your brain and all of the pleasures, pains, memories, and decisions are influenced by or directly composed of the things just mentioned.
A person who achieves is the very last person that should seek credit for so doing. Your attitude, your diligence, your internal motivations are either innate or entirely influenced by your environment. Would Warren Buffett be a wealthy man if he was born in Bangladesh? Even he admits that this is highly unlikely. Can one choose to comprehend? Absolutely not. Intelligence is no more the product of one’s diet than it is of one’s will. Yet many believe that achievement comes from within. The truth is that achievement comes from without. Every great thinker, every great idea has stood on the shoulders of mental giants (and sometimes even mental dwarfs) to attain their status.
This is where both religion and conservative politics fail to grasp an important truth: society is more an agent than an individual. Your thoughts and ideas are influenced by society itself, and not the conscious “you”. While the unconscious “you” is certainly a part of “you”, it makes every decision for you, and you are merely a spectator. If you’d like to claim credit for the beating of your heart, please feel free. I will be standing over you and pointing to “individual responsibility” when it spontaneously stops beating for reasons outside your control. The chemical processes that make your heart beat decide what foods you like, what you should wear in the morning, and whether my opinion on this subject is valid. Because we are more influenced by each other than ourselves, society seems to be the real agent at work, and each individual person is more like a cell in the body of society.
Excerpt from the book:
“Within a religious framework, the belief in free will supports the notion of sin- which seems to justify not only harsh punishment in this life but eternal punishment in the next. And yet, ironically, one of the fears attending our progress in science is that a more complete understanding of ourselves will dehumanize us.”
Can you “want to want”? For example, if I walk into a bar and order a pint of India Pale Ale because it’s my favorite beer and I wanted it, can I have wanted to want a pint of Stout? Can I wish that India Pale Ale wasn’t my favorite and that Stout was? No, and the question is meaningless. It applies to every decision that you make. Do you like math? Do you hate wearing green? Your tastes and motivations can change through physiological or cultural influence, but the conscious “you” has no choice.
Sam Harris’ new book “Free Will” was released today, available on paperback ($9.99) or Kindle ($3.99). It’s really more of a pamphlet or long essay similar to many Hitchens books and can be read in one sitting.
We’ve just rolled out a new design for UFJ with some cool new features including the ability to submit your own content.
Submitting your own posts is ridiculously simple – just fill out the form to submit either a video or a picture, hit the send button at the bottom and achieve instant internet infamy. If your email address is hooked up to Gravatar we’ll display your image next to your name at the bottom of the post and, if you’re feeling particularly brave we’ll even include the ability for people to follow you on Twitter.
Let us know what you think of the new design in the comments, let us know of any bugs you may happen across so I can fix them, and don’t forget to put the submissions forms to good (or bad) use.
I can’t help feeling that this billboard is a double dig, not just at the teachings of the bible but at the apparent totalitarian regime in the sky.
American Atheists announced today that it is putting up its first “Year Of the Bible” billboard starting in Harrisburg, PA. Pennsylvania Nonbelievers has joined in the cost of this billboard. The first billboard will be in place on or about March 5th, 2012 on 13th and Paxton Street in Harrisburg, PA.
The first billboard, designed by the Pennsylvania State Director, Ernest Perce V, and the design team, Emily D., and Zachary B., that includes a picture of a slave in obedience to his master citing a new testament bible verse Colossians 3:22 “Slaves obey your masters” found in several versions of the bible
The message this billboard conveys is the House of Representatives should not be celebrating a barbaric and Bronze Age book. We do not in any way condone slavery, but the bible does. We have outgrown such hideous actions toward humanity.