Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Response to God’s Image – The Difference Maker in Answers In Genesis by David Casas and Dr. Russell Fuller

“We’re such good stewards,” claims a fundamentalist, proudly displaying how she turned a milk carton into a pot for plants. 

I read a Christian article this morning, “God’s Image – The Difference Maker,” about how humans are special, have dominion over animals, how animals can’t reason, how humans are commanded to reproduce, how animals are not spiritual, how humans are told to be “good stewards of the earth,” and how humans are the only spiritual beings because humans talk to each other about God.  It is another “feel good about humans, feed the human ego” article.

I think the fundamentalists really have a point on this one – animals probably do not chat about the Christian god – or Jesus.  Of course, this was another one of those epic length Christian articles, but my paragraph above encompasses all of it, except for the huge emphasis on how we humans are all spiritual. 

The funny thing is, the word spiritual is never defined.  Sometimes, when I see an animal standing still, breathing in the air, or when I see an animal playing, I think it is spiritual.  It is experiencing life or joy.  If spirituality is being thankful, revering life, enjoying life, being present, feeling life and trying to do good, then animals pass the test as often as humans do.  

I consider myself a very spiritual person.  I am truly thankful to be alive, even though there is no one to thank.  I am so grateful for all the beauty in life, and try to notice the good as much as possible.  I pay attention to the feeling of the breeze on my arms, and always look up and enjoy the stars when I walk my dog outside at night.  If I am not considered spiritual by Christians, it is because they have too narrow a view of what is spiritual.  Spiritual is not exclusively their word. 

Do Christians actually think we were put here to have dominion over animals?  Why, then, did so many animals die before humans even came on the scene?  We have the fossils, you know.  I realize the fundamentalists will not accept the fossils, but even thinking about the present, there are so many animals alive right now that humans have never seen.  How do we have dominion over them?  It is absurd that such a command would be given, instead of a command to respect other animals.  The only reason we have to take care of some of them is because we have destroyed their habitats! 

How in this day of information can Christians still believe that animals cannot reason?  We have YouTube!  Have you not seen all the videos and read all the articles that show animals reasoning?  They figure out how to get themselves and friends out of locks; they put themselves in danger in order to save other animals; they figure out mazes; they communicate in groups; they use tools to get what they want; many have a sense of self; they share, they talk, and they love.  I am not sure what “reasoning” higher animals lack!   We know of a dog who understands over 300 words.  Not all dogs can do this - animals have varied personalities and I.Q.s, just as do people.  Some animals grieve when they lose a member of their group or a loved one.  A few wild animals look sad after they have had to kill an animal for food.  They have feelings too!  There is a bonobo who recognizes 3,000 words and can put short sentences together on a computer.  He can gather sticks, light a fire with a match and then roast marshmallows!  How more human-like is that!

It used to be that the difference between an animal and a human was that humans made tools.  But we now have proof that many animals make and use tools.  So they have to move the goal posts and find something else to stall the fact that we are much like our cousin primates!

Animals learn by watching.  Dolphins imitate humans’ poses!  Animals have so many skills that are superior to humans, such as bats coordinating hearing with navigation while flying, dolphins using echolocation, birds and fish using group synchronization, sharks using electric signals from their noses to locate food under the sea floor, and dogs with their superior sense of smell – even a talking bird saying, “Talk clearly” when it was frustrated!  How can anyone try to claim they are reasonless?  Their world is different from ours so why are we judging them by their ability to talk to God?  The reason humans are “chosen” is because they have the ability talk to an imaginary friend?  Pretty funny something unintelligent and unreasonable is what divides us from the animal world, according to Creationists! 

Also included in the article is the statement that humans are commanded to reproduce.  Where does it say that?  In the Abrahamic holy books, written by men.  If this were a command, you would think all women would be able to have children and all men’s sperm would be a’swimmin.  In case these fundamentalists didn’t notice, animals reproduce and don’t need a book to command them to do so!  If a human does not want to reproduce or cannot reproduce, no one should force them to go through something so unnecessary when we certainly are not dying out as a species.  Why can’t fundamentalists look at the big picture – our dying planet – and see that reproducing exponentially is not “intelligent design?”  Thousands of people dying from starvation each year, and they think they must reproduce, and think it is a woman’s duty.  These examples show why holy books can be so dangerous.  They cannot get past the intelligence of 2,000 years ago.

Fundamentalists always make excuses for their “dominion over the animals” command.  They say it means to be a “good stewards of the earth.”  This is how Christians take all the guilt away from themselves--by making proclamations, “I am a good steward of the earth!”  Really?  And you eat meat and dairy which produce methane, excess CO2, destroy rain forests, all our land and you populate which takes away animal habitat?  “I am a good steward” is such an egotistical statement for someone to make.  Even though I recycle, am vegan and don’t travel much, and buy from thrift shops if I purchase at all, I would never call myself a good steward of the earth.  There is much more I could do, like ride my bike or take the bus to work which I do not do.  If you eat meat and dairy, you are not a good steward, you are part of the problem.  That is not a mean statement – it is a fact.  I’m tired of apologizing for something all should recognize at this point.  The arrogance, selfishness and narrow mindedness of fundamentalists continues to amaze me. 

How will Christians respond?  “She’s angry.”  We need to show her how loving Christianity is.  Do you think other humans cannot love?  We have all the emotions a Christian has – we just use reason instead of being fooled by our emotions.  We are all human animals, and realizing our connection is very spiritual!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fructose Malabsorption - Extreme Pain after Drinking Apple Juice or Eating Dried Fruit

I discovered a name for a malady I have, and it is not too rare to have some problems with the foods that cause it, but most people do not have this malady to the extent where it causes the pain that it causes me. 

The name for this illness is “fructose malabsorption” (not hereditary fructose intolerance – a SERIOUS disease), but just the inability of the small intestine to absorb much fructose.  It causes a quick buildup of fructose in the entire intestine.  No wonder the cramping felt like something deep inside me that radiated all over my middle! 

(I don’t need the next quote marks, because it will be obvious I am quoting WIKI.)  “The physiological consequences of fructose malabsorption include increased osmotic load, rapid bacterial fermentation, altered gastrointestinal motility, the formation of mucosal biofilm and altered profile of bacteria.”  So I am not making it up!  

For years I noticed I could not eat more than a few cherries without debilitating cramping coming from somewhere deep inside me.  I would occasionally have the same problem when drinking apple juice – ¼ of a glass could bring on weird symptoms where I hurt inside from my clavicle to my back to my stomach.  A couple of times I thought perhaps I should go to the hospital.  Other fruits would slightly bother me, but about three weeks ago at work, just a few pieces of dried pineapple sent my whole “trunk” area into spasms of pain, and I wanted to crawl to the bathroom – just as an animal will go hide when they are in pain, that is what I wanted to do.  I managed to walk to the bathroom and wait for the pain to go away.  I thought this was serious - maybe my kidneys were shutting down!  But the pain subsided, and realized it was time to Google my symptoms.

It was difficult to describe what this pain felt like, but I Googled something like “pain stomach drinking apple juice” and found a few other people describing this strange, very painful cramping that happens to them, and asking, “What is this?!!”  Most of the responders did not know what it was and offered “cleanses and pseudoscience,” but finally I found enough people agreeing that it was fructose malabsorption.  Sprinkled on the pages were people claiming they had fructose malabsorption, when all they had was gas, which really muddies the page and makes it more difficult to find other people with the same symptoms!  If you have fructose malabsorption, you definitely know there is a huge difference between it and “just gas!”  Also muddying the information are the pages with varied foods to avoid. 

Yes, the remedies are all dietary.  At the most extreme, they say to follow the FODMAP diet.  If you have ever looked that up, you will wonder how the followers on a FODMAP diet survive!  There are very few foods allowed.  I decided I would pass on that, and just avoid apples (which mostly give me headaches and jaw and neck pains – and which never stopped me from eating several of them in one day), apple juice and cider, drink smaller amounts of orange juice (safer fruit), have no dried fruits except a small amount of blueberries or raisins, no cherries and watch my consumption of artichokes, asparagus, and all of the “itol” chemicals such as sorbitol, manitol, and xylitol, which somehow make the fructose malabsorption worse.

It’s a “cruel joke” that a vegan who absolutely loves apple juice and apple cider and fruits has to eliminate some of them and just have small amounts of others.  I even am watching my “high fructose corn syrup” amounts.  Something I never worried about. Glucose is just fine, but a high fructose to glucose ratio is something I need to avoid.  

Further, what cruel irony that I used to tease all the people claiming they needed a gluten-free diet because they wanted some special malady - and then I come down with a special malady!

And lastly, what a cruel shame that my brother has an apple orchard and makes the best apple cider ever, and apple cider is something that may bring on the cramping for me.  I guarantee, I will still drink small amounts of that deliciousness, and risk the attack! 

I’m not going to make a big deal about this and I really think I just need to eliminate a few foods.  I will learn by trial and error!  My experiences with fructose malabsorption are written here so that someone else searching for a fellow sufferer will learn the name of what he/she is experiencing! 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ideas to End All this Bombing

It is upsetting that we seem to need to use more violence to try to end the violence of ISIS.  I don’t feel good about it, but perhaps it will work.  

What could also work, without using violence is to rid us of the Abrahamic religions.  We could have a Qur’an Buy-Back program.  I like it.
Can you imagine a few generations without the Qur’an or the Bible?  What a beautiful world we could create!  I wish we had a really good humanist book that is easy to read and is about feeling happy, loving life, being kind, thinking beyond our species, and helping the earth.  I can’t think of one, but I’d love to swap out the holy books with such a humanist book!  

In reality, no one would dream of taking away those “wonderful” holy books where the most we got out of them are: “The Golden Rule,” “Love thy neighbor,” and “A camel can’t go through the eye of a needle” (or something like that).  People sit in churches all their lives and those are about all they can remember!  All these ideologies of love, respect, don’t be greedy and treat people well are present in most societies and are not original to Christianity anyway.  

Since I know the holy books will not disappear, the next idea is to have a panel of neutral people with scissors to go through the Qur’an and the Bible and cut out anything objectionable.  What will be left after excision could be their new holy books; and these books would be short enough, everyone could read them cover to cover!  Perhaps we could add a few important lessons we have learned, such as slavery and rape are bad.  Update these shortened, more positive versions of the holy books from time to time by people with no vested interest.

Well, those are my ideas instead of blowing people and cities and countrysides apart in order to bring peace.  Simple, effective, yet none of these ideas will come to fruition.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Rapture and the Second Coming - It's a Mystery to Me!

Did you ever stop and picture yourself being raptured up to be with Jesus?  How did it go – did you just fly up and meet him in the sky in your neighborhood and then go on up to your Heavenly home?

Yes, Jesus is planning on meeting you in the sky, but at what location?  How will you see him when you can’t even see past the trees at the end of your block?  Jesus seems to be interested in a renewal of Jerusalem, and I kind of doubt he will be waiting for you over Bad Axe, Michigan.

Anyway, you will have to be zoomed over to Jerusalem to meet Jesus in the sky, as far as I can tell, and then you will journey on to Heaven, along with all the dead people who were good Christians who will come out of their graves to fly up to Heaven too.  They may be half-eaten by worms or just skeletons - it could be gross; unless they are given a spirit body on the spot.  I am not sure what air you will breathe, since it is hard enough breathing at Arapaho Basin in Colorado.  How are asthmatic, overweight Christians going to make the journey to Heaven, being whisked up “in a moment?” 

Well, we will assume everyone made the trip alive.  Or you died and are all spirits.  After you are up in Heaven for awhile, according to a very knowledgeable Christian site about Heaven that I visited on the Internet, you will come back to earth with Jesus and his horse and sword, where he will destroy everyone who is left behind.  That would be all the people of the other religions and a good share of my friends and me.  So you will get to see us wait for Jesus to swing his mighty sword at us and kill us all, including the Antichrist (Who or what the heck is he?  Last I knew, it was President Obama.)  After all the murdering, you will watch Jesus establish a Millennial Kingdom.  For whom?  For youm, I guess!  Somehow, I feel the Jews have been swindled, because Jesus was a Jew and when he was supposedly alive, he supposedly said he would come back and restore everything to his fellow Jews, and during their lifetimes at that! 

I guess you all will live in Jerusalem for awhile – not sure how long.  Not sure if you are alive or dead at this point, since you have already been to Heaven.  Not sure if you are returning to Heaven, but I would assume you are – and that makes me wonder why it was so important to restore the Millennial Kingdom.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Eternal Life! (No Matter What!)

Humans really seem to have a tendency to be hopeful.  I think that is why they developed an afterlife – because they really want to live on. 

Even after I knew there was no afterlife, I found I still had those hopeful tendencies.  I thought I might exist, somehow.  Many secularists do think there might be some life “in another realm” or “a force for goodness” or “my atoms will incorporate with other atoms and I will live again”; but the evidence is not as rosy.

According to Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist, "The mind is the brain.  The brain is made of atoms.  We know how atoms work.  The laws of physics relevant to the atoms in your body are known and there is no room for new laws of physics that would affect how the atoms in your brain actually work.  When you die, your brain decomposes, and atoms eventually decompose, with all that information that was “you” stuck in those atoms, and there is no way for the information to leave your body, or to persist after your death."   Oh, thanks, Sean.

Then Sean goes on and destroys all hope, by telling us the fate of the universe.  Even though there may be multiverses, our universe will burn out one day, billions of years from now and even the black holes will disappear.  Our universe will then exist as nothing – no time or space or anything – just nothing.  Just stab me, why don’t you, Sean!

Yet, I still feel I might escape!  (That is the human condition at work!)  I imagine that one atom of mine (that somehow has all of my personality and my looks contained in that one atom) escapes out a porthole into the universe next door, and I live on! 

Isn’t that funny how we just do not want to die and we cannot allow ourselves to fully accept that we will not live on.  We keep hold of the slightest hope that we will live eternally – and without arthritis!  Just like in the movie, Cocoon, “You’ll never get old, and you’ll never die!”


Saturday, September 26, 2015

I Predict a Blood Moon on September 28th!

This is not a sign of the Apocalypse:  blood moons happen when the earth is between the sun and the moon (eclipse), and light will scatter off the earth’s atmosphere, casting a red glow on the moon.

If God were sending you a signal, 1,  He would do something supernatural – not a normal, scientifically sound eclipse;  2. We would not be able to predict it – scientists have told you the date and time that the eclipse will happen.  3.  He would tell the “good people” directly to prepare – not send a vague signal of a blood moon that could mean anything (he has “personal relationships” with most people these days, you know).  3.  He would make sure it was not cloudy anywhere.  We may not be able to see it here because it will be partly cloudy here in Illinois. 
Enjoy the blood moon if you can see it!  It will be a “super moon” (at a closest point to earth in their natural orbits), a “harvest moon” (closest full moon to the start of autumn) and a “blood moon” (lunar eclipse). 
And stop the silly superstitions!  I have seen so much violence in my life due to superstition:  killing children because “they are possessed”; sacrifices to a god in order to save themselves; denying civil rights in the name of a god, and god telling climate change deniers to run for president.  Just enjoy nature at its finest and bask in the wonder of it all!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Three Excellent Atheistic Videos!

This is a wonderful video about what life is, and the fate of the universe. For a physicist, he is very easy to understand and enjoyable!

Such a logical thinker!  Sam does an excellent job of describing just how horrific the Bible really is, in his soft, calm voice.

David Fitzgerald shows how unreliable any historical sources are for the Bible.  Wonderful video!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Grass Fed Beef - The Test Results Do Not Look Good!

1.  Any Paleolithic humans who engaged in nutritionally motivated hunting would have done so in order to increase their food energy intake in order to maintain or gain weight, not in order to achieve weight loss… In view of this, the "Paleo diet" theory that overfed sedentary modern humans who need to lose excess adipose should regularly eat the fatty flesh and eggs found in supermarkets because active, underfed, extremely lean prehistoric people who struggled to meet their basic caloric needs ate lean game flesh or eggs whenever possible lacks basic credibility. Don Matesz

2.  Think “humane” meat is healthy?  Over a century ago, high rates of cancer were observed in Argentina which was inhabited by the Gaucho, a nomadic population that for months subsisted entirely on pasture raised beef. Similarly, a study carried out in Uruguay where livestock is predominantly grass fed, with no hormones added, found that a high intake of fresh red meat was associated with between a 87% and 290% increased risk of 13 different major cancers, independent of other food groups.

3.  You have read studies recently about saturated fat and cholesterol being fine, right?  “The evidence from thousands of experiments carried out over the last century has shown that the feeding of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat has accelerated the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries due to plaque buildup) in virtually every vertebrate species that has been sufficiently challenged. This includes mammalian, avian and fish species- herbivores, omnivores and carnivores, and over one dozen different species of nonhuman primates.  The article below is really fascinating, showing that cholesterol built up in every type of animal and their health declined in specific ways.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Zoroastrianism's Influence on Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Most people know that Pagan religions existed before Christianity and Judaism, and that many of them contained familiar themes:  an underworld, a hero/god/savior born of a virgin, powers of magical healing, and a resurrection.  For instance, we know about the vegetation god Tammuz who resurrected for six months each year.  We know about gods like Thor, who ruled a specific part of nature (God of Thunder), and we know gods and goddesses like Attis, Inanna and Osiris could have inspired the Jesus resurrection story.  But which stories are verified to have influenced Judaism and Christianity?  Were all of these similar stories just coincidence?   Although there is a very good chance these ancient religions leaked into the modern religions, and I can think of a few ancient stories that in my opinion “just had to have been the origin of stories in the Bible,” it is difficult to find when such links occurred or prove they occurred. 

But there is one religion we know directly influenced the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  It is the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism.  We can be certain that these following themes came from Zoroastrianism:  a war in the world between good and evil, God versus Satan, a warring of the human spirit between good and evil, and the idea of one god only (monotheism), with a hierarchy of angels and archangels underneath.  Additionally, the story of the “slaughter of the innocents,” the idea of a general resurrection, the wording “a present age of darkness with a coming age of light,” and the concept of a final judgment at the end of the world with a savior who will “come very soon,” all derive from Zoroastrianism.

How did the Israelites pick up these ideas?  An exile occurred in 597 B.C.E. and continued until 538 B.C.E.  Approximately 10,000 Israelites were sent into exile to Babylon where they were surrounded by Zoroastrian beliefs, and when they returned, their own writings took a sharp turn and emphasized all of these new themes.  Nearly all religious historians are in agreement that Zoroastrianism was the reason for these beliefs in Christianity, Judaism and Islam; of course, some fundamentalist Christian scholars disagree.  

Many Pagan religions believed in an underworld, with Hades as guard to keep people from escaping.  A very few dead people negotiated with Hades to return to earth, including Tammuz and several of his dead friends.  Hades, himself, was a god who “got the short end of the stick” and had to rule the underworld when three gods, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades drew straws.  Zeus became King of the Gods, Poseidon the Ruler of the Sea, and Hades the Lord of the Underworld. 

The Israelites had a similar underworld they called Sheol, which, in early writings, was just a vague, gloomy place where everyone went when they died, like other descriptions of underworlds.  It was thought that when people were buried, they fell into the Underworld and lived underground.  Stories as far back as when Sumerians lived spoke of gods visiting the Underworld, and the Underworld and Sheol were what the early Israelites believed in until they were exiled and decided a place of punishment for sinners was more exciting.  (The Bible has mistranslations, and the word Sheol is called Hell in a lot of Bibles, whether it was the gloomy place or the punishing pit of fire.)

The book of Daniel was written after the exile to Babylon.  It has the first description of a Hell as a direct opposite to Heaven.  Anyone can see how a story would improve with an arch-enemy and wars and fear put into it!  The Israelites did not admit they had just absorbed Pagan, Zoroastrian beliefs and called all these beliefs their own.

Does anyone wonder why most of us never heard of Zoroastrianism?  Here it is, one of the oldest religions in the world, and we know nothing about it.  But, a few of us will recognize the phrase (and book) “Thus Spake Zarathustra!”  The Prophet Zarathustra (which means “shining light”) also became known as Zoroaster.  The writings of Zoroaster are in the Gathas and date to 1300 B.C.E.  Many claim the religion is much older than that, some saying it goes back to 6350 B.C.E., but the “evidence” is not of a type that can be seen, so I am going by when the words were written down, because that would be the time period Zoroaster would have lived.  At 1300 B.C.E., it still puts Zoroastrianism as one of the most ancient religions, along with Hinduism.

Let us learn exactly what Zoroastrians believe.  Our Yahweh sounds like the descriptions of the “good” Zoroastrian god, law giver and judge, Ahura Mazda.  Ahura Mazda is the supreme creator and all that is good, but he is battled by the evil Angra Mainyu (our Satan), so there is this strong duality between good and evil.  Angra Mainyu is the evil god of snakes and scorpions, and Ahura Mazda is the god of all other animals.  Zoroastrians believe in seeking good and in doing good deeds, because the more good they do, the more good will be in the world, and one day evil will be destroyed.  They believe in a warring duality both in spiritual thoughts of the body and the warring of Ahura Mazda versus Angra Mainyu in the world.  There is only one god in Zoroastrianism; it is credited as being the first monotheistic religion, but there are many angels and arch angels working under Ahura Mazda.  They believe Ahura Mazda and his son, Saoshyant (which means Savior), will judge in next world and he will bring the end of evil.  Keep in mind all of this was written before any of these ideas appeared in Judaism and before Christianity existed.

No one wants to admit that their religion evolved from earlier religions, because it would negate their religion as chosen, special - the only true and right religion, with the writers being inspired by their god.  But credit should be given where credit is due:  the prophet Zoroaster founded most of the major, underlying concepts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Death of My Gay Friend

I had a friend (we shall call him Kevin) who died a few months ago, at 25 years of age.  His cause of death is not mentioned, but I can assume it was either suicide, drug overdose, or a sudden illness.  His mother wrote that he, "went to bed and did not wake up," so at first I thought it could be a heart problem, but then I saw where one of her friends had talked about a different boy who "went to bed and did not wake up" and I see that Kevin's mother simply took and copied those words as her own so she would not have to explain what actually happened.   Certainly, I suspect it was suicide.

Kevin was gay and became a freethinker, and most likely an atheist.  He never achieved his academic goals, and I doubt he was employed.  His great intelligence was not being used, and I am sure it frustrated him.  He "met me" on YouTube in the comments section of a Human Rights video, and he supported me because he could tell from my exasperation at responding to a troll that I was new to the Internet.  It was so cute that he was taking care of me!  Later on, Kevin said he wished I were his grandma – I chuckled a bit because I didn’t think I was that elderly looking, and imagined myself more of a mom figure.  But the grandma persona was a real compliment and I wish I could have been his grandma too! 

His family was very religious and what I did not know until after his death is that he had a twin who is a born again fundamentalist Christian.  I did know he had family issues because of religion and because he was homosexual.  His mother seemed supportive of him, but also was very religious.  

His Facebook page has been turned into a Memorial page, and all the people say they will “See you in Heaven” and “I believe in the power of Jesus!”  It is funny how some of them probably told Kevin he would suffer in Hell when he was alive because he was gay, but once they missed him after his death, they wrote "Kevin will be waiting for us in Heaven.” 

The top of Kevin's page shows the flying spaghetti monster as his profile landscape picture (because they probably can’t change it).  Kevin knew who he was, but now that he has left, the comments have all become religious.  I do not respond to them because these people are grieving.  The mother is so sad and I am sure guilt plays a part in all of the family’s grief.  Yet they turn to one of the main causes of Kevin's turmoil – their religion.  For them, it is the strongest comfort they can have, and they do not see the contradiction in worshiping “the god who does all things and took their son away.”  I “like” their comments to give them support, and know there are times to fight religion and times to let people do what they need to do.  I miss Kevin too, and that is what his FB page is about now.

I grieved quite a bit myself, as I truly liked this young lad.  He will always be remembered, with his true personality and thoughts.  We had great conversations together.  I am thankful to have met him online and to have been his friend and “grandma!” 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Response to Pegan Diet of Dr. Mark Hyman

There is a new diet craze in the United States, and at first I felt insulted that Dr. Mark Hyman had the nerve to combine the words Paleo and Vegan into one word.  The fact that anyone would combine a diet word like “paleo” that is high meat protein and requires killing animals with the word vegan is disgusting enough, but the word “Paleo” to describe a diet from the Paleo era is totally inaccurate and unscientific.  The Paleo diet was voted the worst diet by U.S. News and World Report, so it should not continue being used.

Of course, since Americans love fads, they are ready for the newest diet craze and the Pegan diet is it.  Let us look at the gut of this diet: Dr. Hyman cuts out all fibrous wheat breads and carbohydrates except for gluten free ones, simply because of the extremely small percentage (1%) of people who are actually allergic to gluten or have FODMAP (6%) and gave up only gluten whether they are sensitive to that or not.  Dr. Hyman also does not allow beans because beans give some people gas and can raise glycemic levels.  Guess what - carrots raise glycemic levels too!  Why take away these good, nutritious foods?  We know it is fat that causes diabetes, not beans or carrots! 

The Pegan Diet is just another meat and vegetable diet like the Paleo diet, but it does call for organic foods, and lots of fruits and vegetables, and smaller portions of meat - so that is an improvement.  This diet, however,  is way too high in fat from the meats and fats allowed, and we all know the consequences of meat in a diet!  Any amount over 1 ounce a day of meat for a woman or 1.5 ounces of meat a day for a man is not safe from a cancerous standpoint and a fat standpoint!

Don't forget, we have many x-rays showing total reversal of heart disease from Dr. Esselstyn and other doctors who advocate a low fat vegan diet.  And, yes, when studies involving meat or dairy are done they are put up against a 35% fat vegan diet instead of a 7% to 10% vegan diet, because they know it would be "game over."  I am glad Dr. Hyman points out that a lot of studies are cherry picked and flawed, but we do know what causes heart disease and high cholesterol, because those recent saturated fat studies that claim saturated fat is fine to eat are terribly flawed!  

Many vegans eat pasta, rice and other simple sugars and we do not have diabetes or weight problems, but Dr. Hyman tries to make the vegan diet seem less ideal by mentioning simple sugars. We vegans who keep up with nutrition by reading articles by Dr. John McDougall and Dr. Michael Greger know to keep sugars low, but we also know sugar is not as bad as fat in the diet!  After all, severe diabetes and kidney problems have been cured with the Kempner Diet, a temporary diet of white rice, fruit juice and fruit – all sugars!  

As you can see, I was offended by just about every aspect of this “new” Pegan diet.  But then I took another look.  It’s an improvement over the Standard American (SAD) diet (which shows just how unhealthy most Americans eat)!  It contains no dairy, which is a real point in its favor.  This diet calls for eating only “sustainably raised, grass fed meat,” but we know sustainable is a misused word, and grass fed beef is not sustainable.  However, the fact that he calls for cutting down on meat makes it more sustainable than the SAD diet.

I wonder how many people actually buy grass-fed beef?  Do they buy it at restaurants or seminars or eat it at other people’s houses?  Of course not!  I have caught people who argue for organic beef with “humane” killing (humane?), eating regular beef in photos on their Facebook pages.  The only person I met who did not eat meat if it was not grass-fed thought he was allergic to "regular meat."  Still, I am sure there are some people who think they are being moral or are trying for better health by eating grass-fed beef.  Trust me, cut the beef out all together for better health!

But I have to thank Dr. Hyman, for getting people more familiar with a vegan diet!  Even though I still find the combination of vegan and Paleo offensive, I think he did vegans a favor, by breaking people from the horrid dairy habit, getting them to eat more fruits and veges and uncontaminated food, and making the word, vegan, more acceptable!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Being More Spiritual Can Backfire!

Most spiritual people are open-minded and easy going, and never bother anyone.  But I keep coming across spiritual people who seem to spend their days on Facebook giving people irrelevant advice about how to be more spiritual.  For instance, I wrote a status on Facebook about how I am in a writing contest (about being a vegan atheist), and that writing it is a labor of love, but having to cut out 232 words in order to make the 400 word minimum is stressful!  Right away, she pipes up:  “It’s only stressful if you let it be (smiley face).”  Constant comments about how I dare have emotions and do not smother them, gives me one more emotion:  annoyance!  I’m annoyed by these pseudo-Buddhists who tell everyone not to let anything in life bother them, and try to “one-up” everyone else with the same advice about turning off any feelings about our lives.  It just feels condescending to me.

I happened, the night of her comment, to have a son who got in some fairly serious trouble, a daughter who is getting married and has turned into Bridezilla, a husband who keeps giving our dog food she is allergic to, a Vegan newsletter deadline, a deadline for an article in our local town’s online magazine, and this contest - on top of working full time.  On top of all this, I am naturally wired to be a worrier.  How can I be expected to have my Zen on all the time?!  "It's only stressful if you let it be" grates on my nerves!

Of course, I just put a “like” on her comment and decided not to rant about it.  After all, I could improve my stress levels a bit; but being told continuously that I am not spiritual enough gets stale.  After all, even on my most stressful days I take time to actively enjoy either the scenery or appreciate the people around me.  But trying to be calmer when someone is critical of me and trying to ignore life’s situations just makes me more stressed! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


June! Gemini! Do you know the story behind the constellation called Gemini? It’s a good one. Twins were born to Leda, the mother, but there were two different fathers. Tyndareus, Leda’s husband (the king of Sparta) impregnated her, and Zeus (also known as Jupiter) came to her disguised as a swan, and impregnated her – on the same night! (Do you dare picture her with a swan and wonder why she had such an attraction?)

Anyway, Leda gives birth to the twins, Castor, who is a mortal, and Pollux who is immortal. As they grew up, Castor became skilled with horses and Pollux was just plain strong. When they started warring with enemies, the mortal son, Castor, was killed. Pollux mourned his brother’s death, and asked his father, Zeus, if he could make some arrangement to share his immortality with Castor. Zeus got creative and put them both up in the sky as the constellation Gemini, for all of eternity. 

Two stars that look about the same size represent the heads of the twins – Castor is actually six stars in one - three binary stars and is white, and Pollux is more golden. They are very visible in the northern hemisphere in the winter, and are not visible at all from June 21 through July 20th due to the sun which stays within Gemini during that time.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Inanna's Descent (I'm on a mythology kick right now)!

I’ve been reading about Inanna, a Sumerian Goddess.  This is the best summary I can give, and I borrowed heavily from Dan Sewell Ward at and first heard about Inanna from Richard Carrier.

The most popular myth about Inanna was that she willingly gave up her possessions and went to the underworld, possibly to attend a funeral, but once she was there she was forced to take off all her clothes, and suffering and humiliated, with her hair wrapped around her head, and she was hung on a peg on a wall (a form of crucifixion).  So Inanna dies and is reborn, which is quite unusual (possibly the first god/goddess to do so) so she was told someone had to come down to the underworld in her place.  It is also part of the story that Inanna becomes rather demonic, but still has feelings for people.  It seems as if some negative characteristics are added to the storyline which don’t always fit!

Inanna brings many people from the dead with her, and then goes searching for the right person to send to the underworld in her place.  As she looks around she notices that many people are still mourning her death, but notices that her husband (Dumuzi – later known as Tammuz) is the only one not mourning that she had died.  He is wearing fancy royal clothes and jewelry, so she decides he is the one she will send to the underworld in her place. 

Dumuzi begs the sun god, Utu, to save him, and he is transformed into a snake (always a serpent somewhere), but that only hides him for so long.  He is then sent to the underworld, but his sister, Geshtinanna shows her love and willingness to sacrifice her current life by switching off with Dumuzi every six months.  So for six months Dumuzi is in the underworld, and the other six months of every year, Geshtinanna is in the underworld.  Here we have one myth’s explanation for the changing of seasons, and Dumuzi/Tammuz becomes known as the God of vegetation!

The myths of Inanna were most likely created anytime between 1900 BC and 3500 BC, but could have been created even earlier.  When they were first made up, they were pre-patriarchal myths.  But by the time they were written down, the myths showed the assaults of the patriarchy, with Inanna’s gradual weakening in power and loss of status.  
Inanna’s story is also known as the Babylonian Ishtar’s Descent, but Ishtar’s tale is told with only 145 lines whereas the original story it came from is “Inanna’s Descent,” and is told with 415 lines.  The difference is attributed to the patriarchy, as it steadily eroded the power and significance of the Goddess during the second millennium BC.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Is Veganism a Religion?

If you are either an atheist or a vegan, at some point you may be compared by a Christian, to a Christian!  For some reason, Christians don't see the oddity of insulting atheists and vegans by accusing us of "being in a religion."  It is as if they are calling religion a bad thing! 

Below is a status I copied from Dave Rogers' page:

"Many consider veganism to be just another religion trying to force its dogma upon the unwilling masses, but is this really the case? Let’s take a moment to compare religious faith vs. the vegan facts.
It takes faith for one to believe that the Bible or any other book is actually the inspired and infallible word of God.
But it's a fact that animals are living, breathing sentient creatures capable of experiencing pain and pleasure, just like you and I.
It takes faith to believe that God created the heavens and the earth in six days.
But it's a fact that humans have no biological or dietary requirement for animal flesh or their bodily secretions (milk, cheese and eggs).
It takes faith to believe that humans once lived to be over 900 years old.
But it's a fact that farm animals are killed before they even reach half of their natural lifespan.
It takes faith to believe the sacrificial death of one man is sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world.
But it's a fact that no animal willingly lays down her or his life to satisfy our palate pleasure, to provide their skin for our clothing, or to become lab experiments in the name of science.
It takes faith to believe that a man was actually raised from the dead.
But it's a fact that 7 billion people are responsible for the deaths of over 70 billion animals every year.
It takes faith to believe that the righteous will go to heaven and the wicked to hell.
But it's a fact that the enslavement, exploitation and killing of animals by humans has been directly linked to the violence and oppression that we inflict upon one another, especially towards the most vulnerable among us.
Some would say that you are putting the facts over and above faith. Perhaps, but is that necessarily a bad thing? To place more importance on what can be proven instead of what must be accepted by faith?
Everyone is entitled to embrace or disavow the various doctrines and beliefs of any or all of the many religions in this world. After all, none of them can be proven empirically. Hence, it is called “faith.”
But what will you do with the vegan facts? That is the question."
~ Dave Rogers

Monday, April 20, 2015

Watch "Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret" for $1!

As a special treat for Earth Day, April 22, 2015, the Cowspiracy web site is showing this movie on-line for just one dollar! This offer will be good from April 22nd through April 29th. I highly recommend that this film be seen. Although I do not want to give away the plot and contents of this movie, Cowspiracy is suspenseful, revealing, amusing, tender and just might make you angry in a few spots. For those who worry that this will be a typical animal rights movie, I can assure you that there will not be more than a couple of seconds of factory farm footage in the entire movie.
Now you are ready to celebrate Earth Day in a fun way! Watch “Cowspiracy” with friends!
Check out the Cowspiracy web site where you will be able to watch the movie for $1 from April 22nd through April 29th!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Coyote Killing by Dogs - a New Popular Sport

A husband, wife and an older woman who seemed to be a stranger to the couple were sharing space with me in the waiting room of a local tire company. My interest was piqued when the man started speaking to the older woman about a coyote. He talked about the trap he used to catch the coyote, and that the door did not slam down hard enough to break a leg or injure the coyote. I wondered why he was catching the coyote, and I assumed it was to keep him out of chicken coops or away from their property. I was glad that he was concerned about the safety of the coyote and that the trap did not harm the coyote.

Was I wrong! The man continued matter-of-factly about how he opened the trap door and duct taped the coyote’s mouth shut. I was shocked! He went on proudly to say the coyote did not move or fight – he seemed to accept the situation. The older woman never reacted to the coyote’s mouth being duct taped and also accepted that abuse was customary when dealing with wild animals.

What happened next was unbelievable; the man pulled out his cell phone and showed the older woman a picture of the coyote in the trap, duct tape and all. The older woman commented on how big the coyote was and what a pretty, full red coat he had. At this point, normally, I would jump in the conversation to scold them, but I really did not know why he had trapped the coyote, so I decided to just listen. The conversation went downhill further than I ever imagined. I will recount everything I can remember from their conversation, and also add some information I have read about coyote hunting via dogs.

This man bragged about how he watched one of his greyhound dogs run up on a coyote, go underneath the coyote and grab his neck and bring him down, “a beautiful kill.” Yes, he said, greyhounds are great dogs.

In the woods, hunters now use greyhounds to chase a coyote for miles until the coyote gets cornered and drops from exhaustion or decides to fight. Then fresh fighting dogs, like curs, are brought in. Talk about an unfair fight! The fresh fighting dogs kill the coyote, sometimes ripping it apart. They also get injured and bitten in these fights. The dogs sometimes die from these fights with the coyote.

I hope readers feel just as bad for the coyote and not just for the dogs. People seem to be conditioned to cry over a dog, but not over a relative of a dog! Doesn’t this remind you of illegal dog fighting? But coyote killing by dogs, including coyote killing contests, are legal in most states.

But why did the man trap a coyote? I still sat silent, quite shocked, as the man spoke of how his dogs are trained. I gathered that he trapped coyotes to sell or give to a man who trains dogs to run after and kill coyotes. Dogs are trained by keeping one coyote at a time in a fenced off area and the dogs chase it and are “forced” to kill it. The dogs wear collars that shock them if they get sidetracked or go after anything other than the coyote.

Once the dogs graduate to the open woods, they often do not wear the collars because they could snag on a bush and get the dogs stuck. Imagine being out for a walk in the woods with your children when a pack of killer dogs comes your way. The dogs chase the coyote for hours because coyotes are skillful. Dogs that won’t kill are often euthanized, so again, this makes you wonder how owners of such hunting dogs can claim they love their dogs.

These killings in our area do not seem to be for the coyote’s fur, as far as I can tell. It costs much more to feed these expensive dogs, give them anti-infection medicine when they are bitten, and spend time training the dogs, so I doubt a profit could be made from the coyote fur. This hunt seems to be for the thrill of the kill, the false idea that they are helping get rid of a pest, and some “manly” custom.

In this particular case, I do not think the man was killing coyotes for his “bread and butter” but instead, as a new hobby. The man and his wife were educated, well spoken, dressed nicely and were attractive with otherwise good personalities. The entire time the wife engaged in pleasantries and was totally accepting of this brutal practice.

Are they doing any good by killing coyotes? It certainly does not seem like there is anything good about this horrific practice. Coyotes under stress will produce more offspring and any attempt to lessen the coyote population through hunting has failed. In areas where coyotes are plentiful people just learn to live with them, and scare them away as they will run to preserve themselves. Although that is not a solution to the coyote population either, hunting has been shown to be purposeless; so for now, it is best to learn to live with them. A vegan lifestyle is helpful as chickens in the yard attract starving coyotes! And of course, watch your small pets closely if you live in an area that has coyotes.

In conclusion, it seems coyote baiters kill coyotes for sport. I am certain all three people sitting with me in the waiting area, the older woman, the man and his wife, would tell you they loved the out-of-doors and that they were “conservationists.” They would most likely claim they especially loved dogs. As I hope I have shown, this is not really love at all.   It is up to humans to learn to become less aggressive and have a more peaceful definition of love.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

God Talking Here

"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces. . . ."  Malachi 2:3.

Trash-talking again, God?

Seriously, this sounds like it is from a perverted, nasty, bratty kid I would never allow around my children. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Where Are the Vegan Labels?

Where are the vegan labels? Oh, here one is, in the corner of the tofu package – a tiny “v.”
My husband was like a little kid, waiting impatiently for the new County Market store to open. He drove out of his way to check on its progress for three months, hoping to find it open. On the day of the grand opening, he and I were part of the crowd entering the store, and we were not disappointed! The vast produce section with its high ceiling and balcony restaurant made us feel like we were in a bustling metropolitan area!

Hubby and I checked out all the sales, and I thought I would look for some vegan food items. Disappointingly, what I did NOT find is what I do not find in all grocery stores: vegan signs! I am not singling out County Market nor am I blaming any other store, because the problem does not start with the grocery stores.  To understand what most vegans encounter when shopping, I will describe the typical store. There will be a couple of “okay” substitute meats, some tofu, and the vegetarian (not vegan) cheese called “Go Veggie!” (It fools many people due to its name and the words “Lactose free” on the front, but it contains Casein, cheese culture, milk and cream.) The truly vegan items either have no labeling, or have that very small “v” somewhere on the package. IF there is a “vegetarian/vegan” frozen food section, it is packed with vegetarian options and from zero to a smidgen of vegan ones.

A few years ago, I took a “Most Wanted Vegan Items” list to all the grocery stores in this area and talked with the produce managers. I mentioned that the list was compiled by 127 vegans and vegetarians who emailed me their desired items. The produce managers were all gracious and said they would do what they could to order the items in, but to this day I do not see the “double-starred” most wanted items from the list in their stores.

Our vegan movement has not gotten off the ground like it should, which makes little sense since it is a scientifically backed diet that can reverse heart disease, and is environmentally and morally sound. But instead of a vegan label, what I see on packaging throughout the store is “Gluten-free.” All over the County Market store I saw tags advertising gluten-free products, because it is popular and is a marketer’s dream. If “Gluten-free” is on signs then it is possible to have “Vegan” signs in stores, too!

Gluten-free signs are wonderful for the 1% of the people who have Celiac disease, and the “Organic” signs are certainly helpful! Vegan signs should be right up there with them.
So why did gluten-free catch on so quickly? Four years ago, “gluten intolerant” was not known to the public; now the aisles are loaded with gluten-free labels. If gluten-free can become popular so quickly, with people seemingly proud to have a digestive issue, then it should be possible to make veganism an “overnight sensation” too, since it actually helps the planet! Unfortunately, the word “vegan” is seen in a negative light, with vegans hesitant to use the term and almost fearful of the reaction. The perception of a vegan has been vilified and must change! Somehow, we must make vegan products “cool” and “needed.”

Vegan foods should have large V’s on the front of packaging for easy identification, or have the entire word “Vegan” spelled out.  Every company should be hankering to brand the package with the word “Vegan.” There are many foods in the stores that could wear the vegan label, such as several Italian and French salad dressings, tortillas, cereals, cake mixes, pudding mixes, candies, crackers, cookies, pie crusts, and breads. The produce section is one huge vegan smorgasbord!

Most people give up starches when they diet, even though the results are not as effective as a low-fat vegan diet (with plenty of starches). The gluten-free dieters have shown that they can give up wheat, barley and rye when they think their systems cannot tolerate gluten, even though studies have not proven “gluten-intolerance” exists (except for those with Celiac disease).
When it comes to foods people cannot tolerate, hopefully, more people will soon decide their conscience can no longer tolerate mass animal torture, and will give up meat and dairy. With more dedicated vegans we can create a demand for well-labeled vegan products, and being vegan will be a symbol of pride!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Do You Really Want to Leave Earth? Does God Really Need You?

I rewrote this blog post from a week or so ago and added a little bit.  I wanted to address the "God Needed Him" excuse I hear when people die.

Do you ever wonder about the mindset of Christians, who revel in the coming destruction of our Earth?  The earth being annihilated is seen in a positive light, and they anxiously await the second coming of Jesus, where he will battle those who are not “on his side,” scoop the good Christians up to fly away with him, and then destroy the earth months later.  This insistence on death before the few obedient ones receive their reward is the embodiment of a death cult.  The worship of a bloody sacrifice is the symbol of a death cult.

Why are the religious so joyous about the earth being destroyed?  Don’t they want their great grandchildren to have a good life on Earth?  When comparing any descriptions we have of Heaven to the beauty and variety found on Earth, from our forests to mountains, to jungles to prairies to lakes and rivers, why isn’t Earth seen as the real Paradise?  Do you really want to leave this boundless sphere of beauty?

I could more easily get on board with variations on the Buddhist theme, with belief in reincarnation, where people come back and relive their lives, but their lives become better each time they come back.  Wouldn’t you love to return as yourself and have your friends, but be able to travel more to exotic places, and not make the dumb mistakes you made in the past?  Yes, that would be a great improvement!  It would be closer to Heaven than going to some place to worship, not know your family, and be surrounded by white and gold clothed egotists.  Why more people do not latch on to Buddhism is beyond me.  Perhaps they just have not thought about any religion beyond the one they were raised in.  (This does not mean I believe in reincarnation, because I see no evidence for it, and am a “stone-cold atheist.”  I just would be happy if it were true – probably because I had a great childhood and would want to relive it – I am sure there are many out there who had childhoods that were miserable, but would want to live someone else’s life instead the next time around!)

I do understand how people in our past came to think about the spirit being separate from the body.  My friend’s husband recently died, very suddenly, of a heart attack, and as she stood in front of him at Visitation (which is another way we torture the surviving spouse), I looked at Mike with his dead grayish skin covered in flat foundation, and thought that primitive people would see a person there, but no personality, and they could easily make the assumption that the personality floated away somewhere else.   But that should have been cleared up long ago, with our understanding of how our brain produces our personality, and how our brains die when we die. 

The common excuse the religious use for death, even a very painful and unfair death, is that God needs the person in Heaven.  Really?  Does God need a three year old who died of bone cancer?  Does God need an athlete in Heaven?  Why would someone “all powerful” need a person in Heaven?  Please enlighten me – try to think of an answer! 

Certainly God does not need another choir member.  After all, not only are there a lot of people in Heaven already, but God could make a lone spirit voice sound like 100 spirit voices if he wanted to have a choir.  There is no need to kill someone in order to have another voice in the choir.  

I think all Abrahamic religions’ concepts of death are very anticlimactic, after the beautiful earth we inhabit, and do not see the draw of these religions at all.