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Monica McGee (Monicks)
Lives in This Pale Blue Dot
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I am an atheist guided by reason, instructed by science, motivated by kindness - I'm also kinda nice. Atheist, Freethinker, Humanist, Blogger, Activist.
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Other names
@Monicks, Monica Salcedo McGee
I am Monica (Salcedo) McGee, known for being a fiercely outspoken atheist, on, on Twitter (@Monicks), and here on Google Plus. I am a humanist, a freethinker, a rationalist, and an egalitarian. I am married to Joshua McGee, (@McGeekiest). I also occasionally write over at

I am an atheist guided by reason, instructed by science, motivated by kindness - and I'm also kinda nice. 

I am a secular humanist. I rely on reason to understand the world, and compassion guides my effort to apply my knowledge ethically. 

I behave decently to everyone without any expectation of rewards or punishment after I'm dead.

Want to know more? 

tl;dr? @Monicks

If I added you, it probably means I find something you do or said interesting, or most likely I think we have similar interests. If I'm right, and you feel so inclined, you can add me yourself, if not, just feel flattered and carry on.
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Bragging isn't classy. (◕‿~)✿
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This Pale Blue Dot


Glenn Dufresne (gforce)'s profile photoLukas McCormick's profile photoVarun Shastry's profile photoAzrafael A. R. (Azra)'s profile photo
He was one of the rare wise ones.
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"I heard Ted Cruz announce his plan to run for president. I gotta be honest: not my favorite Ted Talk."

"I'm the kind of guy that Carl Sagan warned you about." #TedCruzCampaignSlogans

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+Tony Ben Anyone who considers Fox News to be a reputable news source is extremely ignorant.

Are you such a person?
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+Woozle Hypertwin 
"There are two things that you are discussing... -- the first having to do with the nature of truth, and the other having to do with the context of Ham's beliefs."

Yes, more or less. The first is where the conversation inevitably goes when I try to raise the point of oversimplification, such as I did in my original comment:

"It also begs the question by over-simplifying a complex concept."

That the conversation moves in the direction of epistomology ought to be sufficient enough to grant that assertion prima facie; right? :)

As for the second, it's related to the first, but in a much less abstract way. I'll address these, briefly, in reverse order. In the case of the second point:

Richard: "Ham doesn't say that nothing will change his mind in the realm of science, rather, that nothing will change his mind in the realm of faith."

Woozle: "That would be fine, except that he is attempting to apply his faith-realm beliefs to the realm of science/reality -- and trying to convince others to do the same -- and demanding that schools teach his faith-based beliefs about reality."

That he may be 'attempting to apply' anything is a separate question from the one I originally engaged, which is the matter of the meme's over-simplification of the answers given, and that they're presented out of the original context.

Ham may be a fraud, or severely deluded (ad hominem?). I'm not defending his agenda or his rationality overall. I'm saying, again, that the info-meme oversimplifies a complext concept, and that it presents the answers out of their original context.

If anyone in this conversation so far believes that either of those assertions is incorrect, I'll welcome a rebuttal.

As for the first point (re: epistomology)

"It sounds as though you are arguing that a being with vastly greater cognitive abilities than ourselves might well have different (presumably better) ways of determining truth than we do -- "

On the matter of 'vastly greater cognitive abilities', I allege that this is the relation to Clarke's Third Law, which I offered as food for thought (analogy, and a loose one at that) rather than as a literal 1:1 map.

"and that therefore religious belief should be admitted as being at least possibly correct because it might involve forms of cognition we don't understand."

To constrain the context of interest to 'religious belief' would be to artificially limit it as I've tried to unpack the more general context of the 'magic' that Clarke referred to.

If, for the sake of brevity, we grant the possibility of 'greater cognitive abilities' (without the baggage associated with its embedding in religion), then we have an unknow for which zero evidence either way is available. Linguistic frames are relevant in how receptive many people are to such possibilties:

'False until proven true' is an implied bias embedded within a particular linguistic frame, whereas 'Unknown' isn't a bias -- it's a simple recognition of the state of knowledge from an evidence-based perspective, within an evidence-based paradigm, within which all 'true' and 'real' thing are presumed to be validated.

I sometimes refer to pop-culture when it seems a fitting point of support for some notion I'm suggesting. In this case, Jodie Foster's experience at the close of the movie, "Contact". If you've got 2-minutes, it may offer something of value to the conversation:

"First, this seems unlikely to me; even the most basic of creatures operate at least partly on the basis of evidence"

Granted. However, I'm not suggesting otherwise so you're not really addressing what I am suggesting. Second, just to elaborate a bit, and to reinforce what I wrote in an earlier comment, I'm not suggesting that this possible unknown paradigm is either mutually exclusive or superior to an evidence-based one.

"I see no reason to think that minds more advanced than our own would not use evidence; they would merely analyze such evidence in ways we might not be able to comprehend at present."

Again, I'm not suggesting a mutually exclusive scenario so, again, you're not addressing what I am suggesting.

"...and that being the case, we as mere humans have no way of distinguishing between an HB and a con-artist peddling pseudointellectual woo... much less distinguishing between a HB that is honestly trying to educate us, and one that wants to exploit us in some way."

See, now we're getting closer to the crux of the matter:

"Having no way of distinguishing between" speaks not to truth as it is, but truth as we're currently capable (and bias-inclined) to label as such. But, 'having no way' is a separate matter than whether something may be true apart from, or even transcendent in relation to, the ways that we do have... ways that are both broadly useful and, unless one is biased, not known to be universally applicable to all truth as it is.

In other words, we're back to the original point of oversimplification, and to the emergent point that 'unknown' isn't the same frame as 'presumed false until proven true'.

"Arguing that we therefore should take religion more seriously does not follow"

Except that I'm not arguing that.

See, this is part of the bias that I mentioned several times in the unfolding conversation. When I speak abstractly of all 'unknowns,' the linguistic frame that emerges is constrained by 'religion'. Religion is properly a subset of all unknowns, but it's just that: a subset. If we stop addressing the matter within this artificial boundary defined by religion, we might be further along in the conversation (not just here, but overall) than we are.

This, too, is a bit of that bias-confirmation habit that I've mentioned several times before. Some folks hear 'unknown' and automatically reach for the handy tome of religion reubttals. As a subset, it's an incomplete scope of consideration.

If I claim that N things are safe to eat, and one points out that, no, N(7) isn't known to be safe, therefore it's presumed to be unsafe until proven safe... are you with me here?

"I could go on, but I think that ought to be sufficient."

Um... only sufficient insofar as you've misunderstood in the ways that I've described, above. Otherwise, not so much :)

Okay, gentlemen, I'm again out of time. +Mark Hall, next time I'm on, I'll reply to you.
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Monica McGee (Monicks)

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From the article:

A law enforcement official familiar with the report described two emails included in the report that were exchanged between police and local court employees. ...  One says Obama will not be president for long because "what black man holds a steady job for four years." 

As for data, the report found that blacks were disproportionately targeted by the police and the justice system. ... The report found that 88 percent of times in which Ferguson police used force it was against blacks and all 14 cases of police dog bites involved blacks.  The report uncovered similar statistics in the courts system.

96 percent of people arrested in traffic stops solely for an outstanding warrant were black.  Blacks accounted for 95 percent of jaywalking charges, 94 percent of failure-to-comply charges and 92 percent of all disturbing-the-peace charges.

#ferguson #race #racerelations #handsupdontshoot #icantbreathe #blacklivesmatter
The Justice Department found that the department violated the Constitution with discriminatory policing practices. It found blacks disproportionately targeted by the police and the justice system.
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Too little, too late — but it's something, at least.
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I'm astounded by the lack of knowledge or education in biblical history or philosophy. 
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It's evolution, baby. ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬   (◕‿~)✿ 

The sea slug E. chloritica will steal chloroplasts from algae it eats and embed them inside its own digestive cells.  The slugs can then go for months "feeding" on sunlight before they have to replenish the chloroplasts.  

This shouldn't be possible.  Chloroplasts are complex subcellular machines that require maintenance to operate.

New research published this week in The Biological Bulletin demonstrates that the sea slugs' DNA includes a critical gene to repair damage to chloroplasts, keeping them functioning for up to nine months inside slug cells.  This gene for repairs jumped between species — from algae to an individual slug — at some point in the past.


#evolution   #evolutionisafact   #naturalselection   #science   #darwin   #darwinday   #cool  
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Imagine if our science technology got to the point to genetically change our genome to do the same. 
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Have her in circles
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+Micah Crawford what? what? what? layer of water that surrounded the earth? greenhouse effect? mile temperature? humans lived so "drastically" longer back then???? what are you smoking son? holy cow, you are tying to so hard to make it believable story. Somethings are leave as it is and not even trying to make sense because you will lose if yo do.
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+Stefan Thiesen
What use is love , when your partner dies and you loose your home because of some financial bs that wouldn't apply if you were married?

Then the right to marry becomes about more than just unicorns and pixie dust.
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Monica McGee (Monicks)

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U.S. Representative Mike Conaway (R-TX) [1], who has a net worth of $4.8 million and represents a district in which the median annual household income is just over $50k [2], is now chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.  He is holding comprehensive hearings on USDA.  He freely admits having "a personal bias" that the food stamp program (SNAP) should be cut drastically [3].  In his words, "We ought to do a soup-to-nuts review of the entire program."

Which is to say: a multimillionaire is using the metaphor of a ten-course dinner to explain why poor people don't deserve to eat.  You couldn't make this stuff up.


#MichaelConaway #gop #Republicans #p2 #foodstamps #foodrights #poverty #SNAP #APlaceAtTheTable
“It’s never too early to start on the next farm bill,” said Rep. Mike Conaway, the next chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. The Texas Republican, whose position in the top agriculture post was confirmed Tuesday by the House Republican Steering Committee, told POLITICO in an exclusive interview Friday that he’s already...
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It writes itself. 
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That's an assumption based on a vastly huge lack of knowledge. As far as we know, life could be as abundant as the stars in the cosmos. 
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I'm with you, +Stephen Bates 
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Happy Darwin Day Everyone!  ♥
Happy Darwin Day, everyone.  And a very Happy Birthday to my wife +Monica McGee, also born on this day!
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This made me smile.
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Monica McGee (Monicks)'s +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend. Free Pearl Jam bootlegs and radio. For fans, by fans. Legally. Pearl Jam Bootlegs. By fans, for fans. Legally. Collaborative serial storytelling

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