An atheist speaks out.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Currently Reading: Born on a Blue Day - Daniel Tammet

I saw this guy, Daniel Tammet, on 60 Minutes a few weeks ago. He is in his twenties, lives in Kent, and is an autistic savant - think Rain Man. The difference between Daniel and Dustin Hoffman's character is that while Daniel displays characteristics of savantism, he is not as afflicted by social anxiety as most other savants.

He experiences synesthesia, which means that he experiences numbers as shapes, colors, and sensations. "In his mind, he says, each number up to 10,000 has its own unique shape and feel, that he can "see" results of calculations as landscapes." (

This guy is really amazing. The really cool thing about his situation is that he is one of the few savants who are capable of explaining how he does the things he does.

I would suggest checking this guy out, either by reading his book, which is very good so far, or by looking up more information about him on the interwebs. The URL for wikipedia is already listed above, and he has his own website,, where you can get more information about him and buy his book.

He is probably one of the most interesting people I have learned of in a long time.

Recurring Dream

I have had this particular dream at least three times now, which, I believe, qualifies it as a recurring dream. In these dreams, I find myself looking at myself, although I don't think it was ever in a mirror. It was always like an out of body experience.

When I look at my face, I am pleasantly surprised to find that I have a respectable amount of facial hair, in all the appropriate places. In real life, I have a barren patch of face on each side, right where a mustache, goatee, and sideburns would connect, leaving me in the awkward position of being able to grow any three of the aforementioned face coverings, but not being able to put them together.

In these dreams I don't have a fantastic beard, but there is something, and every time I think, "Wow! This is great, I actually have a full face of hair! If I let it grow in a little more, it might look really good." I comforts me to know that even in my dreams I am reasonable.

Anyway, these are truly great dreams, for I am afraid I may never be able to connect my facial hair into a full beard. Waking is the nightmare. The last time I had this dream, which was a couple nights ago, I didn't realize it was a dream until I had been awake for several minutes, and I wandered into the bathroom to take a leak, only to glance at my bald face in the mirror.

"They" say that it will help facial hair to grow if you shave a lot, so I have been trying to shave every day, whether it looks like I need it or not. I am tempted to try Rogaine on my face, but I hesitate for fear that I will end up looking like Michael J. Fox in that movie he did, you know, Back to the wait, wrong flick.

If anyone has suggestions about how I might increase my facial hair growth, I am very interested in hearing it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Light Beer

I really like beer. While I don't exactly consider myself a beer snob, I certainly wouldn't be caught dead paying for light beer, unless of course I am playing some drinking game and pitchers of Guinness just doesn't make sense (I know, it is hard to believe, but sometimes a whole pitcher of Guinness just isn't a good idea).

I will, however, always drink a beer if one is given to me free of charge. I'll drink Bud Light, or Miller Lite, or even something as degrading as Natural Light or PBR. There are people who would tell you they even saw me drinking Milwaukee's Best Ice. It happens...

Anyway, as you would probably imagine it is not common for a guy to be given free beer, so I have very few experiences in the realm of beer flavored water, and I don't remember the last time I drank enough of it to actually become intoxicated...until last night.

This was a standard night of drinking and good times with good friends, but I realized something last night about light beer that I have never known before. It makes me so incredibly gassy! They should market this stuff as Burp Juice or something!

I am not saying this is a bad thing, I love burping as much as the next guy. Now I know that whenever I am in the mood to belch up a storm, all I have to do is crack open a frosty six pack of ___________ (insert light beer here).

Monday, March 19, 2007

Non-Religious Church

I don't why I got to thinking this the other day in the car, but I think it is a great idea!

Many people say that going to church is beneficial because there is a community like a large family that one feels they belong to and can turn to in times of trouble. I know that when someone is ill many churches will include prayers for them in their services. For a long time my grandmother was in charge of sending "get well" cards to the hospitalized members of the church.

I agree that having a group a people outside of and larger than your biological family would be beneficial, but I do not see why this group must be a religious group. It is true, unfortunately, that most support groups or other welcoming communities are religiously based, but this is not inherently true.

I propose a non-religious "church". This church would welcome believers and non-believers alike, but would be 100% secular. Anyone who longs for family and a sense of belonging can come to the meetings of this church. People can discuss difficult times they are going through, and receive support from other members who have similar experiences or can help in other ways. Other people can share successes they have had in their life, ones that are of great importance to them. These people might not have any other family or friends, and needs someone to congratulate them and encourage them to do more or stick with it.

Many people turn to religion in times of hardship. Do they turn to religion because believing what is said in ancient books makes them feel better? Or is it the sense of belonging and the support of other members of the church? I would argue the latter.