Thursday, December 12, 2013

God: Credit vs Blame

Oh Gabby! America loves you, and I do to. 

     Gabby Douglas seems like a great woman, no doubt. She won two Olympic gold medals and many other medals in national and world gymnastics competition. At the age of eight, Douglas won the Level 4 all-around gymnastics title at the 2004 Virginia State Championships. She also was named an Associated Press named her the Female Athlete of the Year, led the Pledge of Allegiance at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte and received two BET Awards for her accomplishments.

She has been training and working hard her whole life. Missing out on many childhood things in order to practice what she loves. Her family sacrificed untold hours to make sure that she was able to get the gear she needed and to the places she needed to go and she turns 18 years old in a couple of week. Gabby and her family did these things. 

Not God. 

My friend and colleague Mark Sandlin, posted an interesting question on Facebook. 

He simply asked "Do I give God too much credit?" 

To me, that is an astounding and eye opening question for a man who is an ordained minister currently serving at Vandalia Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC with a M.Div from Wake Forrest.  He is also a regular Huffington Post Contributor and a co-founder of The Christian Left

I don't believe he is asking because he doubts god. I say that because I have learned a new form of devotion and dedication to faith by talking to him over the past several months. His isn't asking because he wants some person to prop up his faith. He doesn't need it.  He is asking because it is a valid question that needs to be asked. God no more deserves the credit for Jonas Salk developing the polio vaccine than he deserves the blame for J. Robert Oppenheimer leading the team of the Manhattan Project.  So, why does he deserve credit for your bachelors degree or blame because of your bad credit?

Being an atheist, I credit everything to something else, even when those things haven't been discovered or would be something to ask Krauss about.. because I certainly don't know. I DO believe that everything happens for a reason, but not for the reason that people often think. Gods plan. 

But my friend Mark, while maintaining a steadfast and honestly admirable faith he has been able to take the approach of learning and challenging the norms of the Christian theology. He doesn't blame god for his mistakes and although he may thank God for helping him see things clearly or inspiring him, I have a hard time believing that he credits his masters degree to God. 

Take credit for your success. 

Take responsibility for your failures. 

Seek motivation and clarity where you will, but you ultimately succeed or fail based on your actions. Going a set further, we as humans succeed or fail based on our common successes or failures. 


Monday, October 21, 2013

Missing White Woman Syndrome... Greek Style.

Natalee Holloway, Lori Hacking, Laci Peterson, Madeleine McCann and now Maria?

Maria isn't missing or dead... but she is white. 

This past Wednesday Greek authorities raided a Roma gypsy camp on suspicion of drug trafficking. In the process, they rescued a girl who apparently was not related to either of the adults that she was living with, nor anyone else in the camp. The though being that she maybe have been abducted and a victim of human trafficking.

A tragedy that is on its way to be being corrected. Possibly. An adopted child taking illegally from her parents?  Maybe.

A world wide news worthy story? Only because she is white and blonde.

If this girl was ______________ (take your pick of any non-white ethnicity) or possibly even not cute and blonde, this would have been shelved for all new outlets not in Greece, or possibly the countries they are GUESSING that she may be from, Scandinavian and eastern European countries.

This is MWWS at its zenith.

Regardless of the outcome, be it that the police were over zealous and took this child from her adopted family illegally, or if she was abducted and was rightly rescued, or she was the product of a black market adoption pipeline etc... the news coverage is outlandish, especially considering that hundreds of people died around the world due to suicide bombings, many people were killed here in the US due to gun accidents (including children) and drug violence...just during the week they found Maria.

She is adorable, and I hope that the right outcome is on its way... but the fact that I even heard about it is ridiculous. 



Friday, October 11, 2013

Psychics being consulted in the Avonte Oquendo case...

You are probably all familiar with the Avonte Oquendo story by now.. heartbreaking.

 "Avonte Oquendo, a Rego Park teen who can't speak, was seen on surveillance footage running away from the Riverdale School at 1-50 51 Ave. in Long Island City just before 12:40 p.m. last Friday. "We only get a few hours of sleep every day, our mom can't stop crying, we can't eat," said Danny Oquendo, Avonte's older brother. "It's very tough on our family, but we believe he is still alive."

Huffington Post Article

Then.. today I see this....

"As the search for missing autistic teen Avonte Oquendo continues, psychics are being consulted to help find the 14-year-old mute child from New York City, who disappeared from his Queens school last Friday.

NY Daily News

Fuck you. It makes me want to puke. Even if the "psychics" donated their time and "skills" they are still monsters to be shoving this shit down the throats of an already terrified family.

If there was a hell, it would be filled with people like this.


PHOTO: NY Daily News

Monday, October 7, 2013

America's Weight Problem...

America has a weight problem.

We take death too lightly, while reality TV weighs too heavily on our minds.

But then again, heavy is the head that wears the crown right?

Isn't America the king?

We carry our pride on our shoulders and drag our children behind us.

We drink Pepsi and contaminate water.

America has a weight problem.

Shedding this weight won't be easy.

Sympathy is the diet plan and Empathy is the treadmill.

Work out your compassion.


Friday, August 2, 2013

The Sleeper Effect and Atheism

After WWII Yale researchers Carl Hovland, A.A Lumsdale, and F.D. Sheffield, wrote a report called Experiments on Mass Communication: Studies in Social Psychology in World War II. In this report they discussed several things including the surprising phenomenon called "The Sleeper Effect."

In the study they talk about the governments attempts to test and see if their propaganda, via war support films, directed at boosting support for the war were actually working. Producers of the films and psychologists expected to see a shift in attitudes in favor of the war after watching them. In fact, they found the opposite... at first.

While the films were informative and did strengthen some existing attitudes, experiments showed they were extremely unlikely to make soldiers more optimistic about the war in general. This should come as little surprise as the GIs knew these were films were created to sway their attitudes, so their skepticism was high.

Surprisingly, while attitudes didn't change immediately, minor shifts were picked up weeks later. Allied soldiers who watched one film about The Battle of Britain showed little extra sympathy towards the British five days later, but, after nine weeks, they had softened. Hovland and colleagues called this the 'sleeper effect'.

This effect is employed today in the political and commercial arenas. For example, in political campaigns voters often see negative advertisements about a party or candidate. At the end of the advertisement, they often will see that an opposing candidate paid for the advertisement. Presumably, this would make voters question the truthfulness of the advertisement, and consequently, they may not be initially persuaded. However, as surprisingly as it may sound, even though the source of the advertisement lacked credibility, voters will be more likely to be persuaded later, and vote against the candidate.

This pattern of attitude change has puzzled social psychologists for over half a century, primarily due to its counter-intuitive nature and for its potential to aid in understanding attitude processes.

Attempts to replicate this effect after the result being discovered initially failed. Researchers Capon & Hulbert, and then Gillig & Greenwald, went as far as suggesting that it might be better to accept the null hypothesis and conclude that the sleeper effect does not exist. However, further researchers (Cook, Gruder, Hennigan, & Flay) responded by suggesting that previous studies failed to obtain the sleeper effect because the requirements for a strong test were not met. Specifically, they argued that the sleeper effect will occur only if:
(a) the message is very persuasive;
(b) the discounting cue has a strong enough impact to suppress initial attitude change;
(c) enough time has passed between immediate and delayed post-tests; and
(d) the message itself still has an impact on attitudes during the delayed post-test.
Experimental studies conducted did, in fact, provide support for the sleeper effect occurring under such theoretically relevant conditions and as predicted the sleeper effect did not occur when any of the four requirements were not met.

                       Image Source: Wikipedia

So, basically, what is happening is that people see a message, feel like because of its source it ins't reliable, and dismiss it. However, they don't process the dismissing info (IE: the terrible survey or the opposition being the source) as well as the message, and over time the message sticks stronger than the disclaimer.

This is what is happening to some religious people who see the very thought provoking ads against their faith. Initially, when they see the powerful ad, such as the ad depicting "YOU KNOW ITS A MYTH" by American Atheists that ran during the holidays recently. 

They dismiss it as ridiculous or even insulting. But, overtime the initial shock of the message dies down and they begin to realize that they really DO know it's a myth. That is one reason why these billboards work and they need to keep being made. I often hear from some people in the atheist community, things along the lines of "You catch more flies with honey"... and while I agree with that to an extent, considering I am one of the founders of Be Secular, a company that is BASED on the idea of accommodation, understanding and working together, I certainly see a need for billboards and messages like this.

Not only because it helps those who are already hiding the fact they they don't believe and are seeking comfort and community as a means to escaping the lie they are living, but also for this who are currently strongly and wholeheartedly against us.

The Sleeper Effect works, just give it time.

- Nebo

I would love to connect with you on Twitter!


Cook, T. D., Gruder, C. L., Hennigan, K. M., & Flay, B. R., "History of the Sleeper Effect: Some Logical Pitfalls in Accepting the Null Hypothesis", Psychological Bulletin, Vol.86, No.4, (July 1979), pp. 662–679.

Hovland, C.I., Lumsdale, A.A. & Sheffield, F.D, Experiments on Mass Communication: Studies in Social Psychology in World War II: Volume III, Princeton University Press, (Princeton), 1949.

Hovland, C.I., Weiss, W., "The Influence of Source Credibility on Communication Effectiveness", Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol.15, No.4, (Winter 1951), pp. 635–650.

Capon, N. & Hulbert, J., "The Sleeper Effect — An Awakening", Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol.37, No.3, (Autumn 1973), pp. 333–358.

Gillig, P.M., & Greenwald, A.G. (1974), "Is it Time to Lay the Sleeper Effect to Rest?", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol.29, No.1, (January 1974), pp. 132–139.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Secular Sunshine: Disagreements: Being Wrong and Wretched

Secular Sunshine: Disagreements: Being Wrong and Wretched: "Opinion: a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter" - Mirriam-Webster Dictionary Everyone ...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Secular Sunshine: Breast Cancer and Anti-Choicers

Secular Sunshine: Breast Cancer and Anti-Choicers: Currently Texas, Ohio, and North Carolina are in the process of passing abortion legislation to limit women's access to safe and leg...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Catching up on images!



All us sinners.

Wishful Thinking.


The devil.

Being a humanist

Do not believe.


Depart from evil.

Fact remain facts.

Why trade?

Fear ain't working.

Real Seeker.

Yeah. I am.