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FF Podcast 48: Ethics and Celebrity Nudes

FF Podcast 48: Ethics and Celebrity Nudes

This week, we talk about the recent celebrity nude leaks and the so-called “Fappening.”

You may also download the podcast file here.

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Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

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FF Podcast (Audio) 47: Secular DepEd, Catholic Bullies, and Ramon Bautista

FF Podcast (Audio) 47: Secular DepEd, Catholic Bullies, and Ramon Bautista

FF Podcast 47: Secular DepEd, Catholic Bullies, and Ramon Bautista

In this week’s jam-packed episode, we talk about the Philippine government, for once, respecting secularism by removing “God-loving” from the Department of Education vision statement. Then, we talk about Pro-Life Philippines President Eric Manalang and his homophobic and violent comments against Carlos Celdran. We also talk a bit about Ramon Bautista and his being declared persona non grata by the Davao City local government.

You may also download the podcast file here.

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Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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Atheists Can Be Assholes

The interest for the film God is Not Dead was immediate. It had Kevin Sorbo, a man I will forever remember as Hercules (the bastard son of a god), and it’s never a bad idea to hear what the other side has to say even though…well, it’s not even though I already have a position. I’m hoping that despite a predisposition to be stupid, I’ve worked past most of my deficiencies as a fallible human being and have decided based on evidence that the Judeo-Christian god is as real as all the other gods in all other mythologies. All gods were created equal, so to speak. However, if, one day, I wander into a room filled with fairies, I’m going to change my opinion about them.

Gods-not-dead

So I watched the film, eager to find out what they will do to try and change my mind. I didn’t quite expect them to be that offensive to Muslims, but I can’t say that I don’t think it’s true. I’m pretty sure being disowned is the least of your worries if you suddenly find yourself questioning Allah’s legitimacy as the one and true creator of all and everything. When a father slapped his daughter for listening to the Bible, it became clear to me that this was not about god. Like most debates, this is about religion. The film doesn’t just want to“revive” god from being “dead”, it aims to resuscitate one specific god. I admire it for that. I like close-minded bigots more than apologists. You’re not a Christian unless you believe in every word of the Bible. Faith defines you. A hint of doubt means you’re a nonbeliever to some extent.

Now, some have cried foul over the depiction of nonbelievers in the film, but let’s face it, it happens. You can’t honestly say that you’ve never (not even once) felt superior to people who need god or religion as a crutch to live. It would be great if I can actually say that I’ve never met Professor Angry Atheist (Kevin Sorbo’s character) in real life, but I have. He is very real but I don’t really give a shit. I care about the depiction of atheists as much as I care about the depiction of Christians and Muslims. Everyone in it was a caricature instead of a character, which is not surprising at all. For all I know, people perceive me as Professor Angry Atheist.

Here is a list of things that people assume of me once they find out that I’m an atheist:

I hate god

Talking about religion will make me angry

I have no morals and will do evil things because I can

I don’t say “Oh God, Oh God” when I have sex

I need saving

How can I prove that I’m not any of those? Except for number four, I’m guilty of all that and more. I do occasionally hate god as an idea. Talking about religion sometimes makes me angry. I’m probably evil by some standards. I do need saving (from poverty, mostly).

I think it’s true that atheists can be, at some point, a bunch of assholes wanking off during sessions of intellectual exhibitionism. I can’t say that anything the Christian Kid in the film said made any actual sense “scientifically” speaking, but anyone more willing to debate a point is more“scientific” in my book. Had he met a less dicky atheist, he might’ve become a heathen.

Watching that film, all I could think of was how I should try very hard not to be that guy, because I hate that guy too. Who wouldn’t? He’s the kind of guy that reads big books so he can drop big names in conversation. He throws around the word reason as a shield, but he doesn’t actually act nor think rationally. He’s an atheist, sure, but when did that become a safeguard against being a douchebag?

The fight against the predisposition to be stupid doesn’t culminate in one’s godlessness. For me, atheism was a by-product of skepticism—not a wonder drug against fits of rage, irrationality, and becoming a stereotype.

 

Image Source: http://dl0.creation.com/articles/p094/c09451/Gods-not-dead.jpg

Posted in Personal, Pop Culture, Religion, Reviews, Society2 Comments

FF Podcast (Audio) 46: Depression

FF Podcast (Audio) 46: Depression

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) 46 - Depression

This week, we talk about Robin Williams, his death, and the general public reaction to suicides.

You may also download the podcast file here.


 

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Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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FF Podcast 46: Depression

FF Podcast 46: Depression

This week, we talk about Robin Williams, his death, and the general public reaction to suicides.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Podcast, Religion, Society0 Comments

FF Podcast (Audio): Dan Barker (Conversations for a Cause)

FF Podcast (Audio): Dan Barker (Conversations for a Cause)

Dan Barker - Conversations for a Cause - Filipino Freethinkers

Conversations for a Cause is a series of interviews with celebrity freethinkers, part of an online donation drive to support ongoing Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) relief and rehabilitation efforts.

This week, we talk with Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. We ask him about being a former pastor, about secularism, what he thinks about Pope Francis, and about being a secular musician.

Dan Barker’s book, Life-Driven Purpose: How An Atheist Finds Meaning, will be available on September 16, 2014.

His latest album, Adrift on a Star: Irreverent Songs By Dan Barker, is now available.

You may also download the podcast file here.




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Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Posted in Audio, audio podcast, Philosophy, Religion, Society0 Comments

A Conversation with Dan Barker

A Conversation with Dan Barker

Conversations for a Cause is a series of interviews with celebrity freethinkers, part of an online donation drive to support ongoing Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) relief and rehabilitation efforts.

This week, we talk with Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. We ask him about being a former pastor, about secularism, what he thinks about Pope Francis, and about being a secular musician.

Dan Barker’s book, Life-Driven Purpose: How An Atheist Finds Meaning, will be available on September 16, 2014.

His latest album, Adrift on a Star: Irreverent Songs By Dan Barker, is now available.

You may also download the video files here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Media, Podcast, Politics, Religion, Secularism, Society, Video0 Comments

FF Podcast (Audio): Darrel Ray (Conversations for a Cause)

FF Podcast (Audio): Darrel Ray (Conversations for a Cause)

Darrel Ray

Conversations for a Cause is a series of interviews with celebrity freethinkers, part of an online donation drive to support ongoing Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) relief and rehabilitation efforts.

This week, we talk with Darrel Ray, psychologist and author of Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality. We discuss polyamory, how religions use guilt, and curing the “God Virus.”

Darrel Ray is also the founder of Recovering from Religion.

You may also download the podcast file here.




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Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

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Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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A Conversation with Darrel Ray

A Conversation with Darrel Ray

Conversations for a Cause is a series of interviews with celebrity freethinkers, part of an online donation drive to support ongoing Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) relief and rehabilitation efforts.

This week, we talk with Darrel Ray, psychologist and author of Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality. We discuss polyamory, how religions use guilt, and curing the “God Virus.”

Darrel Ray is also the founder of Recovering from Religion.

You may also download the video file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Media, Podcast, Religion, Science, Society, Video0 Comments

Filipinos Need Sex Scandals

So, another scandal hit multiple media outlets this week.Paolo Bediones is reported to have allegedly starred in his own sex video. Who cares? Well… everyone, it seems. From the cigarette vendor around the block, to primetime news channels, everyone has a statement to make regarding whether or not:

scandal…it was really Paolo Bediones.

…there are ethical boundaries violated in the production of a private sex video.

…Paolo Bediones exhibited a superior skill-set of sex moves as compared to the other celebrities involved in scandals of a similar nature.

Seriously, why do so many people give a shit about this?

Let’s put a little bit of context on why this is surprising: Israel is currently bombing Gaza, Russia started a war with Ukraine, our own president just delivered a “State of the Nation Address,” and Filipinos are talking about a sex video.

At this point, it would be tempting to make a judgment about our nation and say that it’s just Filipinos being morons. However, that’s not always the case. Thankfully, we have science to rationally explain the irrational decision-making of many human beings. It’s comforting to think that, to some extent, there are socio-biological factors that could distort a human being’s priorities to such a degree as to prioritize sex scandals over anything else.

In an article published in The Atlantic called, “Why So Many People Care So Much About Others’ Sex Lives,” Cari Romm explains the evolutionary psychology behind human interest in private matters that doesn’t concern them.

According to the article, “In environments in which female economic dependence on a mate is higher, both a woman and her mate have a greater interest in maximizing paternity certainty. Because promiscuity undermines paternity certainty, both men and women should be more opposed to promiscuity by both sexes.”

In the Philippines, women are mostly economically dependent on men, and structures are in place to ensure the persistence of such a status quo. Many Filipinos still live by traditional gender roles that restrict a woman’s economic potential.

Therefore, in countries like the Philippines, both men and women are interested in maintaining a social order that penalizes sexual deviance, if only to improve paternity certainty. To simplify, Filipinos like hearing about sex scandals because it gives them an opportunity to create a stigma against sexual deviance and dissuade behaviors that may inspire doubts about paternity.

As Romm says:

“We’ve evolved to consider sex, the researchers argue, as a game of finite resources. For our ancestors, multiple sexual partners meant things could get knotty when it came to proving whose kids were whose. For women who depended on men for their livelihoods (and the livelihoods of their offspring), that uncertainty meant losing out on the support of their male partners. Bad news. For men, it meant investing in the well-being of children they hadn’t necessarily fathered. Also bad news.”

Filipinos talk about sex scandals and demonize people involved in them because of a desire to maintain a social order that guarantees paternity certainty. In other words, Filipinos are poor and fostering an environment that may help guarantee paternity certainty is a more pressing and primal concern to them than deaths in Gaza, a war in Europe, or the state of the Philippine nation.

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Posted in Entertainment, Pop Culture, Science, Society1 Comment

Population and Poverty

Father Castro, a church executive, recently mentioned, “100 million population, it’s good for the economy. Ibig sabihin niyan meron tayong workers, hindi bad news ang population. Na brainwash tayo na malaking population is equated with poverty.”

100 million

This sentiment has been repeated by many; that the growing population is good for the economy and does not lead to poverty. Their logic is that the the more people, the more workers; the more workers, the better the economy.

There is some truth to the assertion that a fast growing population may lead to faster economic growth. Even the New York Times published an article by Floyd Whaley called, “A Youthful Populace Helps Make the Philippines an Economic Bright Spot in Asia.”

Although it is true that more people can produce more goods and services, leading to faster economic growth, the question we should ask is, “Who benefits from this kind of growth?”

About 1 million people enter the labor force every year, each one of them competing with each other and with existing employees for jobs. With such an abundance of labor, employers face very little pressure to raise wages. After all, if one person doesn’t want to work for next to nothing, there are hundreds of others lining up to apply for the same job.

To quote HSBC economist Frederic Neumann:

“The Philippines stands out as the youngest population. As other countries see their labor costs go up, the Philippines will remain competitive due to the sheer abundance of workers joining the labor force.”

In other words, the economy will grow rapidly precisely because wages will not.

Who will benefit? The rich who have an army of workers competing for a small number of jobs, willing to work for next to nothing just to stay alive, and Father Castro’s church which will gain legions of faithful poor.

Posted in Advocacy, Personal, Politics, Religion, RH Bill, Secularism, Society2 Comments

FF Podcast (Audio) 45: Do Selfies Cause Demonic Possession?

FF Podcast (Audio) 45: Do Selfies Cause Demonic Possession?

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) 45 - Do Selfies Cause Demonic Possession?

This week, we talk about the children from San Fernando, La Union, who were supposedly possessed by demons after taking selfies under a plum tree.

You may also download the podcast file here.

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Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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A Filipino for Palestine

gazaAs a Filipino, the struggle of Palestine for independence strongly resonates with me. Being used as a pawn by regional powers; the attempts to marginalize,ignore, and demonize them; and even their own tragically bad decisions–these all mirror the Philippine experience. After visiting both Palestine and Israel some years back and learning of the region’s tortured history, here is what Have to say:

Let’s be frank. Before, when Hamas was not in power, Israel refused to give the PLO under the late Nobel Peace laureate Yasser Arafat a fair deal. They wouldn’t even return land annexed after the Arab Israeli Wars, allow Palestinian refugees to return, or share Jerusalem as a capital, as they did before occupation.

Let’s be frank. If the US or any other country was invaded, occupied and blockaded for half a century, every peaceful and democratic means for liberty was defeated, and the use of conventional armies and weapons was denied,wouldn’t they also be so desperate as to turn to the most brutal of organizations and use the most extreme and desperate measures to fight for their freedom?

Let’s be frank. How can Palestine get a fair deal peacefully when one of the international arbiters, the United States, supplies weapons to Israel and sides with it unconditionally?

Let’s be frank. Terrorism is terrorism, whether you use US-supplied weapons or homemade rockets, whether you say, “oops, sorry, collateral damage” or not.

Let’s be frank. Before this war, there was no reason that Israel would give Palestine back its liberty peacefully on its own accord. They had no incentive to do so.

Let’s be frank. Without Hamas and other threats, Israel would have run out of reasons for getting the unconditional military, economic, and diplomatic support of the United States. Without Hamas, Israel runs out of excuses to continue land grabbing and blockade of Palestine. Without the constant threat of war, Israel loses its special status.

Let’s be frank. Using Hamas as an excuse for more land grabbing, apartheid,and occupation is like using the Ku Klux Klan as an excuse to bomb all of America. I don’t like Hamas. But that doesn’t excuse turning a blind eye to Palestinian suffering.

Let’s be frank. Not even Germany, despite perpetrating the Holocaust during the Second World War that murdered six million Jews, had its right to exist as a nation revoked or questioned. Not even the United States, despite being founded on the extermination and expulsion of Native Americans and the enslavement of African-Americans, had its right to exist as a nation revoked or questioned. No one has a right to question or deny Palestine’s right to nationhood, regardless of their tragically bad choices, such as choosing Hamas.

Let’s be frank. Creating a state whose identity is based on one religion or race and whose borders are defined by mythology is undemocratic in a multi ethnic world. If only the British colonizers, instead expelling indigenous Arabs to create a Jewish state after the Holocaust of the Second World War,created a nation that was inclusive of all religions and races, we wouldn’t have this war. A modern, peaceful, and democratic nation state defines itself with a shared culture and universal values that unite citizens regardless of race, religion, ideology, or gender.

Let’s be frank. The reason Christians outside the Middle East support Israelis because they want to ensure the fulfillment of their own end-time prophecy,their own mythology. Many of these supporters have yet to actually spend time in both Israel and Palestine. I’ve been there on the ground, Christians and Muslims are allies there. Every successful Palestinian business is blown up or bulldozed by Israelis, saying the building could be used by snipers. The best land is annexed for Jewish settlers who have never lived in Middle East before as long time Palestinian residents look on, still clutching their land titles.

Let’s be frank. The United States’ unconditional support for Israel is more a reflection of its own voter demographic–Jewish American and ChristianEvangelical voters and campaign donors are more numerous and far wealthier thanArab Americans. Morality has little to do with it. After all, US supports many other allies with alarming disregard for human rights (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan,etc.) even as it demonizes it rivals for the same reasons (Iran, Syria, etc.)It only intervenes when profits are to be made or interests are threatened.

Let’s be frank. History and holy books cannot be used to justify this occupation and land grabbing. History books reveal that, besides the Hebrews,the Assyrians (Syria), Babylonians (Iraq), Romans (Italy), Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates (Saudi Arabia), Mamluks (Egypt), Ottomans (Turkey) and the British Empire (United Kingdom) all claimed and ruled present day Israel and Palestine. The holy books of all three Abrahamic religions–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–have been used to justify the worst atrocities: the genocide, rape, and enslavement of Philistines, Canaanites, Midianites, etc.; the bloody Jihads; and the murderous Crusades. Studies show that indigenous Semites, whether Israeli or Palestinian, are genetically identical. After all, many of today’s Palestinian Muslims and Christians were once Jews before converting to the religion of past conquerors of the region. Ironically, it was the Jews who refused to convert and were displaced by the Diaspora throughout Europe and America who bear little resemblance to native Semites, culturally or otherwise,after generations of conversions, intermarriages, and assimilation.

Let’s be frank. The fact is that the Palestinians exist–despite every attempt to marginalize, ignore, demonize, and eradicate them–and they have aright to exist, as all people do. Like Israelis do.

Let me be clear: I am for a peaceful and democratic Palestine and Israel. I do not condone atrocities on either side. But these atrocities cannot justify injustices.

Supporters of Israel also have to consider how the occupation is corrupting Israel. It has made Israel occupiers, land grabbers, and human rights violators. Unconditional support isn’t friendship; it’s a license to bully. Areal friend tells someone when they are doing wrong. And yes, I consider myself a friend of both Palestine and Israel.

 

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Image 1

Posted in Personal, Politics, Society1 Comment

FF Podcast (Audio): Dan Ariely (Conversations for a Cause)

FF Podcast (Audio): Dan Ariely (Conversations for a Cause)

Dan Ariely

Conversations for a Cause is a series of interviews with celebrity freethinkers, part of an online donation drive to support ongoing Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) relief and rehabilitation efforts.

This week, we talk with Dan Ariely, psychologist/behavioral economist and the author of Predictably Irrational. We ask him about attractiveness, cheating, and the value of human irrationality.

You may also download the podcast file here.



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Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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