Let’s open our coloring books to the world map

This makes me sad. Wikipedia’s page on Universal health details the history of health care in the world. It says,

Universal health care is health care coverage for all eligible residents of a political region and often covers medicaldental and mental health care. Typically, costs are borne in the majority by publicly-funded programs.

Universal health care is implemented in all industrialized countries, with the exception of the United States, which has drawn both praise and criticism.[1] It is also provided in many developing countries.

Germany has the world’s oldest universal health care system, with origins dating back to Otto von Bismarck‘s social legislation, which included the Health Insurance Bill of 1883, Accident Insurance Bill of 1884, and Old Age and Disability Insurance Bill of 1889. In Britain, the National Insurance Act 1911 marked the first steps there towards universal health care, covering most employed persons and their financial dependents and all persons who had been continuous contributors to the scheme for at least five years whether they were working or not. This system of health insurance continued in force until the creation of the National Health Service in 1948 which extended health care security to all legal residents. Most current universal health care systems were implemented in the period following the Second World War as a process of deliberatehealthcare reform, intended to make health care available to all, in the spirit of Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, signed by every country doing so. The US did not ratify the social and economic rights sections, including Article 25’s right to health.

This diagram is particularly useful (blue is single payer system and green is “universal by other means:

I don’t know about you, but being equated with third-world countries isn’t cool with me. Hell, Saudi Arabia offers their population a form of universal health care.

We are so behind the times.

Via Joe my God

It’s not god who brings morality to the world, it’s the threat of a viral video

Growing up, I feared the eyes of god. This was back when I was maybe five or six. By feared, I mean I would lay in bed at night searching my memory to ask god for forgiveness for all the sins I committed over the course of a day. I was scared that I would miss something and god would send me to hell for forgetting a minor altercation. These were my prayers for many years.

In my mind as a child, death was an extended sleep. I equated death to not waking up. There wasn’t anything bad about sleep. In fact, sleep was often great. It was the threat of the devil or ghosts that scared me at night. Those ideas kept me up, and I retain a little anger about my parents teaching me about hell and demons, because of the amount of sleep I lost. Up until the last few years, fear of sleep has been one of my biggest “demons.”

Since I’ve started this blog, I have found that sleep and paranoia of sleep has subsided drastically. I digress.

As a youngster, I had no idea where I was in sleep. All I knew was, at around 8 p.m., my parents put me in my room. And around twelve hours later after I fell asleep — twelve hours is a life time to a child by the way — I would emerge from my room, rubbing my eyes, hungry and needing to pee.

I remember coming to the conclusion that sleep was no different than death, and if I could have held onto that rationale instead of being influenced by religion, I would have easily concluded that god was unnecessary even then.

As far as “sinning” was concerned, I was more afraid if someone physical, like my mom or dad, saw me do something wrong. Disappointing god meant some punishment in the hereafter. The threat of getting caught by my parents … that meant a paddling or a grounding.

Yes, hell scared the bejesus out of me. But the threat of a paddle … a piece of wood landing with parental power on my bare ass … that frequently had more staying power than burning in hell.

I just saw a story about two teachers who might not have gotten into trouble over pretending to give a lap dance if it weren’t for the viral video that surfaced on the Internet. The lap dance happened at a high school pep rally.

Here’s the video:

I would hope that you and I would agree that this was inappropriate behavior. With or without the video evidence, if a gym full of students saw two teachers engaging in superfluous sexual behavior, it shouldn’t fly.

What scares me is the way the story is told, the teachers may not have been suspended if it weren’t for the video. YouTube raised its mighty sword and screamed, “I HAVE … THE POWER!”

Big brother is a scary threat. Christians already believe in a “big brother” in heaven watching their every move. As an atheist, I have no such threat. But I must say I value the need for a high standard of morality. Since the bible proves that it has no major sense of morality, I think Christians and non-Christians get morality from similar sources. It’s secularism that has helped Christians edge out immorality like inequalities and slavery. It will be secularism that helps Christians edge out homophobia, and it will be secularism that helps Christians become more Christlike and help disadvantaged people get affordable healthcare that they rightly deserve.

I’m sometimes torn over the ubiquity of cameras.

On one hand, you have more people obeying the law thanks to security cameras. Check out how great traffic cameras can be. In Chicago, I refuse to run red lights to the point of paranoia, because if you run a red light a traffic camera will take your car’s picture and in a week you’ll receive an orange envelope in the mail with a $75 or more ticket.

Take it a step further. Having more people drive safely will mean less accidents.

As a photographer, the pervasion of cameras have confused the need for a “photographer.” Kids are conditioned to have cameras in their faces, just as their conditioned to watch a lot of TV. There’s nothing thrilling about getting a photo done anymore.

With the changing zeitgeist, I must adapt.

YouTube, and social media, is becoming a better threat to immorality than god is. Social media might just edge god out of the national need for something bigger in the universe. Something bigger does exists, and you’re likely staring into its face right now. “God” is your computer.

Nothing changes minds faster than the prevalence of information. And I hope as people start seeing, reading, watching and hearing what more and more people think, there will be more and more changes for the good of humanity.

It’s bizarre to me that the inspiration from this post was a video of two teachers doing a public lap dance.

What do you think? Do you think social media is replacing the public’s need for god? Do you think the Internet is doing any good to edge out erroneous thought or do you think it contributes to furthering it?

I’m dying to know.


A list of billions of “Gods” you don’t believe in. In other news, I have more in common with Christians than I thought

The conversation over at the biology teacher taunting creationist students post has continued to baffle me. I can’t believe that a simple story such as that seemed to garner the need for that much discussion.

One of the contributing voices is a trollish voice from one-trick pony riding mystery person who goes by the name of … themysteryof. And yes, he or she is literally a one-trick pony. This person has a blog with literally one post. And despite Glock’s valiant efforts to communicate with this person, themysteryof continues to shell out the same clichéd script.

And yes, themysteryof, you are trolling when you only have one blog post and you’re out scavenging the blogosphere with inept discussion such as yours.

In a recent comment, themysteryof wrote: “Now we have billions of “gods” fussing and fighting over what’s right and what’s wrong.”

Not only is saying stuff like that a major hyperbole, gods in quotation marks always makes me laugh.  The modern Christian has assimilated the idea that anything that competes with the Christian deity is a “god.” Money, fame, celebrities … these are all things that qualify as modern-day gods. But back in biblical times, YWHH literally competed with a billion other gods. I wanted to repost something I saw last year at the Common Sense Atheism blog.

Make no mistake, this is a repost from Luke Muehlhauser’s blog Common Sense Atheism. You should bookmark his blog if you haven’t already. He’s done a lot of work to accomplish this list, and he needs big kudos for his patience and diligence.

While those guys are all battle royale over the intent of god in the Hebrew bible, I just thought I would put into context the competition of gods and show just how common atheism is between Christians and atheists. We have a lot more in common than you might think.

Continue reading “A list of billions of “Gods” you don’t believe in. In other news, I have more in common with Christians than I thought”

TLC Reality Show Family The Duggars go to the Creation “Museum”

Today is going to be a little quiet. My subconjunctival hemorrhage and I have to record a voiceover at 2 p.m. and I’m shooting a cocktail event this evening.

PZ Myers posted the perfect distraction for me to repost here. He says,

The Duggars are that creepy family paraded about on The Learning Channel — the ones with the swarm of kids. It’s a horrifying show, but in this episode, the nightmare is compounded by the fact that they visit the Creation “Museum” and even get a personal guided tour from freakishly dead-eyed Ken Ham. Only watch it if you like to torment yourself.

I’ve been to the Creation “Museum”. It’s a shrine to ignorance. The best part about the museum is the garden area outside where you can escape the damning hellfire, and screaming inside the “museum.”

These videos might give you a little heartburn, but they’re worth a watch.