Tag Archive | "FF Davao"

Meet a Freethinker: Bede Daniel Garcia


No two freethinkers are exactly alike; a group of freethinkers contains a great diversity of perspectives, so there is no one, official perspective shared among all of them. This makes the freethought community a truly vibrant source of ideas and opinions!

In this light, Meet a Freethinker is our series featuring freethinkers of all backgrounds and perspectives. We want to introduce you guys to the people who make up the proverbial melting pot of this growing movement.

Our next freethinker is Bede Daniel Garcia from the Filipino Freethinkers Davao Chapter. Bede has been a skeptic since secondary school. He is a registered nurse currently working at Davao Doctors Hospital. He is also a Naturalist, and a Secular Humanist

Bede Daniel Garcia1) How would you define a freethinker?

The basic gist of being a freethinker would simply mean to think outside the boundaries of dogma, religion and tradition — to not accept “truths” simply because they were handed down to us by those in authority. We are always guided by logic, evidence and sound reason.

If we are presented with situations where we are tasked to take sides or to voice our opinions, we take into account facts and evidences. We do not merely go with our gut feeling that is purely based on our biased emotions. On the contrary, we sometimes set aside our emotions to focus on cold hard evidence even though it may sometimes be against our own stand.

This is a freethinker, ever growing and changing. Science, and the world, changes and so must we and our opinions of the things that happen around us.

2) What belief system do you subscribe to?

I am a secular humanist and an avid naturalist. I subscribe to the fact that everything has its own natural and logical explanation. I focus on the things that are truly important in life and the lives of others like relationships, science, and politics, to name a few.

3) What was the funniest or most interesting reaction you got from a person after you told him or her that you were a freethinker?

I get the funniest reactions from people who put together religion and morality. The moment I say I’m an atheist, they would immediately think I’m evil and an antichrist. No amount of explanation can save me from the harsh and vicious verbal attacks (peculiar, because it usually comes from supposedly religious and pious people).

4) In what way has being part of a freethinking community benefited you?

This is when I can shout out loud “At last! I’m not alone in this universe!” It’s difficult to converse with narrow minded individuals, especially if it does not agree with their belief system. I am not saying that all freethinkers are open-minded because I’ve met some that aren’t. But it’s just nice to know that I can have a conversation with a person and not feel persecuted or ostracized.

5) What are your thoughts on euthanasia?

This is a very sensitive subject. Its handling and execution depends on several reasons (prognosis, finances, etc). In my opinion, if the reasons for euthanasia are valid, then I am okay with it. But with regards to its execution on myself, here are my thoughts. I will, in the near future, prepare a written directive to remove the responsibility of “pulling the plug” from my loved ones. I plan on stating in this directive that if my prognosis is poor or my financial state cannot support my hospitalization, then I would hereby donate all working organs to those in need and my body to an educational institution for study. At least, even in death, I can still be useful.

6) What keeps you calm from stress in work?

I cannot really remove stress from work, but I can divert my focus. I sometimes spend my “alone time” helping people and enjoying the company of colleagues and friends.

7) How do you react when patients mainly thank god and the prayer warriors instead of thanking the physicians, the nurses and support staff who provided the expertise, the medicine, the bedside care, and the true and tangible solutions in a difficult time?

Since we live in a predominantly religious country, it is a given that a lot of people would first thank their supernatural deity before thanking us humans. I was once enraged by this notion. It did not make sense to give thanks to something that barely lifted a finger, and to forget those who truly helped. But as I matured, I realized that this was of least importance. Appreciation is a plus in our line of work. So I just give myself a pat on the back and learn not to hunger for recognition in my chosen vocation. I also realized that if I constantly clamored for recognition, wouldn’t I just be like the god that created humans in order for them to worship him? Isn’t that narcissistic?

8) How has freethinking helped you value life more?

When I had a gradual transition from a theist to becoming an atheist and to embracing freethinking, I initially felt lost, thinking that one day, I will be gone and only memories of me will remain. But I had to look at the brighter side of things. I have come to accept that my body is vulnerable to a lot of factors, that time is indeed limited. This has become a catalyst which has pushed me to accomplish things I did not think I could or would do: running a half marathon, completing a triathlon, exercising, and building friendships, relationships, and the like. Life is temporary, so live life.

9) How would you react to comments pertaining to their belief when consoling family members of a patient who just died?

Death of a family member is never easy. It is but human nature to call upon someone in troubled times. As a freethinker, I gather support from loved ones. I hang on to the notion that there are people around me who can help me and that is sufficient for me. For the religious, it is automatic for them to cry in pain to their deity. I, for one, am not militant regarding my atheism. I respect their practices so long as they respect mine. If a family member has just died and a relative cries to their god, then I will respect that. I will, however, remind them that I’m here to help them cope if they wish to talk to someone. Respect begets respect.

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Meet a Freethinker: Clyde Marces Mante


No two freethinkers are exactly alike; a group of freethinkers contains a great diversity of perspectives, so there is no one, official perspective shared among all of them. This makes the freethought community a truly vibrant source of ideas and opinions!

In this light, Meet a Freethinker is our series featuring freethinkers of all backgrounds and perspectives. We want to introduce you guys to the people who make up the proverbial melting pot of this growing movement.

Our next freethinker is Clyde Marces Mante. Clyde is a professional graphic artist from Davao City and is responsible for the awesome meetup posters of the Davao Chapter of Filipino Freethinkers.

The Poster Boy and his posters

The Poster Boy and his posters – Photo by Anthony Montecillo

1. How would you define a freethinker?

All human beings who think clearly, fairly, rationally, objectively, independently, unswayed by any tradition, religion, myth, dogma and irrelevant emotions are basically freethinkers. Freethinkers make up their mind based on their best judgement, guided by reason, science, and logic — as opposed to “sheeple” (sheep+people), a commonly used slang for those who are gullible and predominantly fed by illusory “truth”.

2. What belief system do you subscribe to?

I am an eclectic skeptic. I like to question, analyze, and test things. I exercise intellectual caution and suspended judgement. However, there are times when I tend to tame or even shut down my skeptical side for the moment and see if there is anything I can learn from something whether or not I agree with it. I try to pick up the best elements of any belief system, which makes me eclectic. My interests are wide and varied and I like it that way rather than being very narrow and specific.

3. What was the funniest or most interesting reaction you got from a person after you told him or her that you were a freethinker?

One evening, I was having a conversation with a friend and other FF-Davao core members via Facebook. At the same time, I was doodling some stuff for our meetup poster. I sent my draft art to my friend’s message window by mistake and he said: “Ay freethinker ka? Kaya naman pala… di nakakapagtaka na hanggang ngayon (4 years to be exact) single ka pa!”

4. In what way has being part of a freethinking community benefited you?

Aside from having a great sense of belonging to a group that adopts reason, logic, and scientific methods in most aspects of life, I also made some dramatic changes and improvement in my self-education, standard of living, and as well as my moral attitudes.

5. How do you deal with family members who are not so open to your free-thinking ideas?

We live in a world of different customs and not everyone is going to have the same opinions as we do. However, I have my ever charming way of dealing it every time they strongly disagree. I just keep calm and…

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6. What drives you to do graphic designing? Does being a freethinker help you have better creative process?

It’s always a pleasure pursuing a longtime passion. What I lack in effective verbal communication, especially in explaining and describing things, I let loose in my art.

With the help of reason (purpose and essence of the art), logic (to arrive an appropriate and effective design) and science (the available technology), yes, being a freethinker vastly improves the creative process.

7. Does seeing all the beauty in nature around you somehow make you think that there is a Grand Designer who made it all?

I don’t appreciate the beauty of nature just by looking at it. I try to understand how it works. The complexities of science and physics make me somehow think that our universe does have a designer. But by this, I do not mean a “god figure”/deity monitoring and molding all aspects of our lives. My idea is more like the universe could be sentient and that it is its own designer.

 

Image credit: http://www.reactionface.info/sites/default/files/imagecache/Node_Page/images/1314029819767.png

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Meet a Freethinker: Jong Atmosfera


No two freethinkers are exactly alike; a group of freethinkers contains a great diversity of perspectives, so there is no one, official perspective shared among all of them. This makes the freethought community a truly vibrant source of ideas and opinions!

In this light, Meet a Freethinker is our series featuring freethinkers of all backgrounds and perspectives. We want to introduce you guys to the people who make up the proverbial melting pot of this growing movement.

Our next freethinker is Jong Atmosfera. Jong is the chapter president of Filipino Freethinkers Davao and a writer/editor of the FF website. He works as a regional marketing manager of a manufacturing company. He is also a bug-loving macro photographer.

1) How would you define a freethinker?

Too often people focus on the “free” and leave out the “thinker” when they hear the word for the first time and try to speculate on its meaning. But as the English secularist George Holyoake wrote, “Free thought is founded upon reason. It is the exercise of reason, without which free thought is free foolishness.” The free in freethinking therefore only means freedom from dogma imposed by “authority” – but not from the rules of logic and the burden of proof.

2) What belief system do you subscribe to?

I subscribe to many “isms” since they are not necessarily mutually exclusive from one another (e.g., secularism, humanism, agnosticism, atheism, ignosticism, apatheism), but the belief system I can mostly identify myself with is skepticism – modern skepticism, that is, which is a provisional approach to claims using the scientific method; not the all-I-know-is-I-know-nothing skepticism of the ancient Greeks.

3) What was the funniest or most interesting reaction you got from a person after you told him or her that you were a freethinker?

I once told a friend (who happens to be a chemical engineer but at the same time a devout Catholic) that the only difference between us is that while we are both scientifically literate, I employ the scientific method in every applicable aspect of my life while he only uses it at work and leaves a few sacred cows untouchable by scientific scrutiny. His reaction: “Wow, you must be really bright because only smart people tend to apply science that way.”

4) In what way has being part of a freethinking community benefited you?

The FF online forum, which I joined in 2009, helped keep my mind on its toes and on the lookout for logical fallacies. Then when I founded the FF Davao Chapter in December of that same year, the conversations during the drinking sessions became more interesting but at the same time sobering.

5) How would you describe the freethinking culture over in Davao?

Unlike other FF chapters, we don’t go to rallies and mobilizations, but that’s mostly because we live so far from the nation’s capital that such activities won’t make much impact on our government. Our offline activities are therefore limited, at least for now, to our monthly meetups where we aim to spread awareness of freethought and secularism as our membership grows. But I am really proud of our chapter here in Davao because the discussions are lively yet very professional, and we have generous members who buy platters of food and rounds of drinks for everyone during our meetups.

 

More pics of our March 9 meetup here

6) Since many in your family are still religious, how do you avoid conflict with them?

I simply avoid discussing religion with my conservative aunts and especially my mom who is a devout Christian (Protestant). Fortunately, they also don’t ask me about my faith. I do, however, take every opportunity to openly praise science for every achievement that helped make our lives better.

7) In what way has macro photography affected the way you think, vis-a-vis freethinking?

Capturing images of bugs with the level of detail no one can see with the naked eye – like the thick mandibles of a soldier ant and the large eyes of a jumping spider – has helped me gain a deeper appreciation of evolution. And seeing predation and even cannibalism at a near-microscopic scale reminds me that not all things are bright and beautiful, and that it is very unlikely that a loving creator made them all.

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More pictures of Jong’s bugs here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jongatmosfera

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FF Davao Post-Summer Outing (August 14-15, 2010)


Many thanks to Ms. M for the generous treat and the books, and to the rest of the FF Davao guys for the fun weekend.

It was great meeting you all!

Books

And More Books

Singing

And More Singing

Food

And More Food

Sharing

And More Sharing

Catching Some Fresh Sea Air

Raiding our host’s Farm For The Coconuts And The Vinegar 🙂

Even More Food, Italian This Time

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FF Davao Meet-up


Twelve freethinkers plus the one holding the camera. Not bad for a first meet-up.

This is Harley’s P90 burger. That patty is almost 2 inches thick, made of pure lean beef, flame-broiled of course. They have a great homemade hot sauce and a nice mustard.

More beer please…

Introductions and journeys…

More food…this is Lydon’s baked scallops:

That is Sam at the center, the owner of Harley Blvd. Motor Cafe.

And Sam was kind enough to let our banner stay on his wall…

What can I say? It was awesome guys. Can’t wait for the next one.

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