Make America Gullible Again

I have some trepidation about posting this article, because I’m not interested in making this a political blog. I do have political views and even some legit cred in this area, but again, not my goal with this platform. However, it seems that there is some crossover that is worth addressing.

A little note first, since this is an atheist blog. There are stupid atheists. There are atheists with no particular science training (me). There are atheists that believe in lots of crazy conspiracy theories and whatnot. There is nothing about atheism that means you’re a logical person or a critical thinker or a skeptic. However, I believe strongly that education is the best inoculation to religion. The better the education, the stronger the medicine. This is a project for an entire community, an entire nation, not just teachers.

So obviously, the title is a take-off of Trump’s campaign. He wants to make America great again. As it has been noted many times, he doesn’t really explain when America was great, or why it was great. There’s just a general feeling-ish that we used to be better. However, the churches of this country would have you believe that loosing belief is why we are no longer a great country. This is just flat out bullshit. Religious belief is at an all-time high in this country, as you can see below.

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When our 13 loosely associated colonies decided to get together and throw off the rule of the King of England, write one of the finest Constitutions the world has ever seen, and began building this country at an unprecedented rate, religion was at it’s lowest. Religious adherents were still less than half of the population for the Industrial Revolution, when America became an emerging superpower.

Religion as part of the political experience is a new player on the scene. In the first half of the century, they were not thought of together, and science and technology were not hampered by bronze age myths. In between the Industrial Revolution and the Nuclear Era, the U.S. was attracting the most brilliant minds in the world. By the time of the space race, science and technology were what every child dreamed of doing. Kids grew up wanting to be astronauts, invent things, and change the world. The “world of tomorrow” was a popular theme for the majority of the 20th century at various amusement outlets.

Then religion started taking over. The simple but powerful motto “out of many, one” (E Pluribus Unum) defined the American experience as a nation of immigrants, multiple states working together, and a melting pot. But in 1956, it was replaced by “In God We Trust”, which marginalizes our greatness from individual accomplishments and conceding them to some magic dude. Thomas Jefferson didn’t even believe in the divinity of Jesus, but by 1959 we were highly concerned about the religious beliefs of a Presidential candidate. By the 1970’s, religiosity in the U.S. had hit an all-time high, which still remains. By 1979, the religious had become a caucus of its own right, and have been a major player in every Presidential race since.

Now, many of our children are taught every day in class, church, and social media that scientists are lying to us. They aren’t taught that they can change the world, they are taught the world is changing and it’s bad. Nobody cares about the world of tomorrow, they fight to have the world of yesterday.

Science and technology solve problems. They fuel the economy. Attract brilliant minds. This increases science education funding, which increases all education stats. Good science ensures longevity of resources. It makes us economic leaders. It makes us a world leader. It makes our military the most advanced.

Is America getting greater? NASAs budget is down again. Betsy DeVos, an idiot that is almost 160 years behind in her science education, is in charge of American education. Limited resources are being squandered, while new energy technology is getting sidelined. Our education stats keep slipping. If a brilliant mind also happens to be from an Islamic country or Mexican, we lost ’em. Tariffs are already running farmers out of business, so not only won’t we lead the world, we also won’t feed the world.

China, already kicking our butt on education, has an active space program, polar and ocean research, and most recently has begun benefiting from the U.S. tariffs, as more countries look to them for agricultural and technology trade. They are an emerging superpower. And don’t forget Russia.

The US has a big military, and we still are recruiting international talent in communication technology. But that’s pretty much the only edge we have. How will we compete if more and more of our population is taught that gullibility is a virtue, and science is the devil? How will we get better if our economy stagnates? How will we stay ahead of the arms race, literal and figurative, if we don’t have the best minds working on the problem?

Trump didn’t make the problem, but he stamped approval on it. He made China and Russia great again.

The Spartan Atheist

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62 thoughts on “Make America Gullible Again

  1. It’s the organisation of this deliberate ignorance that worries (and astonishes) me the most.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And on the prayers of Christians. They want to take credit for these great successes. They can have it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so disgusted with the trend here in the US! This ridiculous anti science, anti education, corporate greed, the emergence of more racism, homophobia and the list goes on. But what bothers me most is that religion is behind so much of this. This idiotic belief in this god fantasy and some old book that was written thousands of years ago that is permeating our culture like a cancer. We are falling behind the rest of the western world and China in many many areas and a big one is happiness. What good has all this religion done? Well nothing and that’s the point. We are going to continue dropping farther and farther back because of these 40% idiots that support trump and the republicans. Just my view.

    The only consolation I have is that at least humanity will improve and prosper and progress in other countries, just not here. I just hope we don’t infect them because people so often want to emulate us.

    I believe, if memory serves me, the Muslim world was at its height in science and progress around the 14th century and then they became fanatically religious. Then they fell back greatly and lost everything they had gained and to this day, have never recovered. All because of religion.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. On your last paragraph, I agree and Neil Degrasse Tyson speaks exactly to this somewhere on YouTube. I dont have a link in front of me at the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “When our 13 loosely associated colonies decided to get together and throw off the rule of the King of England, write one of the finest Constitutions the world has ever seen, and began building this country at an unprecedented rate, religion was at it’s lowest.”

    Somebody needs to take a class in US History.

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    1. John, I provided the history. I even provided a graph.

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      1. I read your entire article. Even saw the graph.
        Do you know why the colonists “threw off the rule of England”?

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      2. Taxes. And lack of interest in governing the colonies that had become essentially independent because of the lack of royal interest.
        I’m assuming you are messing up your history, the pilgrims that came here 300 years earlier were not the population that fought for independence.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You assume a lot of things.
        The colonies were deeply religious. Suggesting that religion was at a low point when the country was founded is simply wrong.

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      4. To be honest, I thought the graph a little odd.

        Spartan, you know where the numbers for that graph came from, and what they’re counting as ‘religious’? Deism, for example, was huge in the 18th Century, and I suspect it’s not being counted.

        I’ve read a few of the Colonial Charters, and the language in those was often over-the-top Christian, like that for Connecticut. Here’s the preamble to their charter of 1639:

        For as much as it hath pleased Almighty God by the wise disposition of his divine providence so to order and dispose of things that we the Inhabitants and Residents of Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield are now cohabiting and dwelling in and upon the River of Connectecotte and the lands thereunto adjoining; and well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Government established according to God, to order and dispose of the affairs of the people at all seasons as occasion shall require; do therefore associate and conjoin ourselves to be as one Public State or Commonwealth; and do for ourselves and our successors and such as shall be adjoined to us at any time hereafter, enter into Combination and Confederation together, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess, as also, the discipline of the Churches, which according to the truth of the said Gospel is now practiced amongst us; as also in our civil affairs to be guided and governed according to such Laws, Rules, Orders and Decrees as shall be made, ordered, and decreed as followeth:

        For all your sakes, it’s good that the framers of your constitution did not think this kind of declaration particularly smart. Theocracies never are.

        As to the silliness of your Republican Party, I had this list from some years ago, and nothing appears to have improved since. In fact, it appears to have become worse. Meet the Republican members of the Congressional “Science” Committee (2009, if I recall correctly).

        Todd Akin (R-MZ): “Pregnancy from rape is really rare. If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.”

        Ralph Hall (R-TX): “We have some real challenges; we have the global warming or global freezing and then we have the space, the NASA program, that’s enough for any one committee.”

        Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI): “I personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climate cycles than anything that human beings do.”

        Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA): “Is there some thought being given to the clearing of rainforests so some countries can eliminate that source of greenhouse gases?”

        Paul Broun (R-GA): “Scientists all over the world say that the idea of human induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated by the scientific community. It is a hoax. There is no scientific consensus.”

        Sandy Adams (R-FL): “I am encouraging us to reduce funding for climate change research, which undercuts one of NASA’s primary and most important objectives of human spaceflight.”

        Mo Brooks (R-AL): “We have higher levels of carbon dioxide. That means that plant life grows better. Does that mean I want more of it? I don’t know about the adverse effects of carbon dioxide on human beings.”

        Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell… And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

        Paul Broun (R-GA) “You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.”

        Liked by 3 people

      5. You’re agreeing with me, JZ?
        Yikes. I’m bracing for the end of the world.

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      6. Well, just did a little research and found the numbers assume from church participation.

        “In 1776, fewer than 1 in 5 Americans were active in church affairs. Today, church membership includes about 6 out of 10 people.”

        Here’s a NYT’s article on it

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I thought I linked this in my article??

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Apologies, missed it.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. The Churching of America, 1776-2005
        Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy

        Roger Finke and Rodney Stark

        Publication Year: 2005

        “In this provocative book, Roger Finke and Rodney Stark challenge popular perceptions about American religion. They view the religious environment as a free market economy, where churches compete for souls. The story they tell is one of gains for upstart sects and losses for mainline denominations.

        Although many Americans assume that religious participation has declined in America, Finke and Stark present a different picture. In 1776, fewer than 1 in 5 Americans were active in church affairs. Today, church membership includes about 6 out of 10 people.

        But, as Finke and Stark show, not all denominations benefited. They explain how and why the early nineteenth-century churches began their descent, while two newcomer sects, the Baptists and the Methodists, gained ground. They also analyze why the Methodists then began a long, downward slide, why the Baptists continued to succeed, how the Catholic Church met the competition of ardent Protestant missionaries, and why the Catholic commitment has declined since Vatican II. The authors also explain why ecumenical movements always fail

        In short, Americans are not abandoning religion; they have been moving away from established denominations. A “church-sect process” is always under way, Finke and Stark argue, as successful churches lose their organizational vigor and are replaced by less worldly groups.

        Some observers assert that the rise in churching rates indicates increased participation, not increased belief. Finke and Stark challenge this as well. They find that those groups that have gained the greatest numbers have demanded that their followers accept traditional doctrines and otherworldliness. They argue that religious organizations can thrive only when they comfort souls and demand sacrifice. When theology becomes too logical, or too secular, it loses people.”

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Your research is always thorough and unbiased.

        Finke and Stark’s book (according to the NYTimes article you Googled) view churches as “firms” which compete with each other for converts. I don’t disagree with that sentiment. I’ve complained about it myself.

        This does not make true the Spartan’s claim that the United States was largely made up of secular citizens at its inception and the religious hordes overtook society during the Industrial Revolution.

        You atheists should make up your minds about we religious vermin. Are we a growing plague that’s going to trap the planet in theocratic oppression? Or are we superstitious nitwits whose antiquated beliefs are dying under the bright light of science?

        You guys should huddle up and figure this out.

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      11. What are you blabbering about, Branyan?

        The book is controversial, which is what I was pointing out.

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      12. I’m blabbering about the controversial nature of the book so Spartan will understand why you posted it. Controversy may count as “conclusive” to a guy who thinks there’s no evidence for sky chariots anymore.

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      13. Controversial or not, the fundamentals remain the same: staggering (yet strangely pride-filled) ignorance is the bedfellow of evangelicals, and this staggering ignorance is concentrated inside the US Republican Party. If it’s not witches, its some global science conspiracy.

        Liked by 2 people

      14. Lol! JB, are you saying there IS evidence for sky chariots???

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      15. Yep.
        LOL! You saying the sun doesn’t go across the sky?

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      16. John, I’ve explained to you that information isn’t evidence at least 4 times. Here’s a fifth time. My house has walls. Who was the King of England in 1322?
        See? Not evidence. Doesn’t help answer the question.
        This is really rudimentary stuff here. If you can’t get that, then I’m sorry, I just can’t help you.

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      17. Rudimentary stuff for sure.
        Why did people think a chariot carried the sun?

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      18. Because instead of looking for evidence, they drew a conclusion based on their feeble understanding of how the universe works. Just like you do when you talk about the big bang.

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      19. You didn’t answer the question.
        WHY did they believe in the chariot.
        Think.

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      20. JB, I already answered. No evidence. Made assumptions. Are you really this dim?

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      21. Made assumptions about WHAT?

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      22. Jesus Fucking Christ, JB. They assumed that since they had to carry things, something must be carrying the sun. I’ve said this countless times. And if you don’t get to whatever stupid ass point your trying to get at in your next comment, I’m ignoring you.

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      23. Point is the evidence lead to an assumption. Calm down.

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      24. Oh. Your. God. JB, I’ve explained evidence. I have an entire article on it, and we discussed it at length. You don’t understand evidence. It is blatantly obvious.

        One more time, since you are so hell bent on not understanding: Information is only evidence if it can be used to confirm or deny an idea. If information doesn’t rule out any idea, or if it doesn’t support an idea, it’s not evidence.

        Your absolute insistence that the sun moving across the sky is evidence is demonstrably false because it doesn’t support or deny the chariot idea NOR a universe of planets.

        Until you accept that the sun moving across the sky isn’t evidence that a chariot carries it, you are clearly too far deep in a fantasy world to discuss further. Concede it isn’t evidence.

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      25. Where did you get this idea about how evidence works?

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      26. Both science and criminology. But if you’d care to undo rules of evidence for our entire justice system, or all of science, I’d be happy to sit back and watch you make a fool of yourself.

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      27. You’re the first person who has ever described evidence to me like this.

        I would like to see a link to somebody else who explains it this way.

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      28. Thats why I wrote the evidence post. I saw a disconnect between what some people consider evidence, and what it actually is.
        Since I have education in and dealt with evidence in my background, I hoped to explain it in a way that made sense to people that don’t.

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      29. As for a link, I wrote about evidence based on my training and experience. I don’t know if anyone else said it like I did. But feel free to print my article on evidence and take it to a lawyer or scientist and have them look it over and offer comments.

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      30. So you’re the only one saying this and it’s absolutely right?

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      31. No, everyone that works in the criminal justice system or science says this. It’s in the very definition of “evidence”.

        ev·i·dence
        ˈevədəns/
        noun
        the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

        I was just explaining it in a way even you could understand.

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      32. So you’re only calling things “evidence” when they are true or valid.

        What word do you use to describe a body of facts or information that is inconclusive?

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      33. Wrong. Completely wrong. You are using the word so wrong, JB.

        If you’d do more listening and less posturing you would get this.

        Evidence indicates if a belief is true or valid.

        You took the definition of evidence, compleyely re-arranged the words, added some other words, and now you’re trying to pretend thats what I said. Charlatan.

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      34. “Evidence indicates if a belief is true or valid.”
        That’s essentially what I said. But let’s use exactly your words.

        If you’d do more conversing and less swearing and whining we might go somewhere.

        Again. What word do you use to describe a body of facts or information that is inconclusive?

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      35. You’re right. I said: “So you’re only calling things “evidence” when they are true or valid.”
        That is completely different from “Evidence indicates if a belief is true or valid.” I apologize.

        What word do you use to describe a body of facts or information that is inconclusive?

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      36. I call them facts and information.

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      37. Seriously?
        You’ve never heard the phrase, “the evidence was inconclusive”?

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      38. Ah, I see the problem. We’re talking about something different. But in light of that concept, I’ll amend my comment to say the body of information that is inconclusive includes a variety of things that I wouldn’t categorize in one single bucket. If I was late for work, there isn’t a single bucket to categorize that, it could be laziness, tech issues (alarm), car trouble, or family issues. Result is the same, but completely different buckets.
        So let’s assume we’ve determined it’s evidence. Full stop.
        Once we figure out if something is evidence, then we’re into a whole different enterprise of figuring out how strong the evidence is or what it actually rules out. When you’re discussing a crime, for example, you’re trying to rule out thousands or millions of possible conclusions. Let’s just say 10 for ease. So one piece of evidence may rule out five possibilities. Another piece of evidence may point toward 4, of which one is already ruled out, but 3 are still in the possible category. We still have three suspects. So the evidence did tailor down our conclusions, but we still can’t decide among the three. So it’s inconclusive.
        Or let’s just pretend there’s just 4 options. Four eyewitnesses each claim it was a different one of the four. Eyewitness testimony is very weak, and they conflict. So eyewitness testimony is evidence, but it’s weak and the evidence conflicts. So it’s also inconclusive.

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      39. JB, I’m going to state a proposition: Your name is John.

        Which of the following indicate if it is true or valid?

        1) There are clouds in the sky
        2) Lots of people are called John
        3) John has four letters
        4) Roses are red
        5) Your profile name is John

        Please answer “yes” or “no” to which of these 5 qualify as evidence that the proposition is true or valid.

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      40. Number 5 is the only relevant piece of evidence for my name.

        Numbers 1-4 are pieces of evidence that could lead to other conclusions.
        Concluding my correct name does not invalidate any of the other statements.

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      41. Correct. The other information is all good information in it’s own right, but since it doesn’t help our proposition, it isn’t evidence for that proposition. So NOT EVIDENCE.
        Of the single remaining piece of evidence, it is weak evidence. Your real name could be Mark. But it gives us a little clue.

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      42. The proposition is usually determined by the evidence. You see my profile name and formulate the proposition that my name is John. You wouldn’t formulate that proposition from looking at clouds in the sky or the color of roses.

        In the same way, the proposition for a chariot carrying the sun was formulated from looking at the evidence that the sun moved across the sky.

        If you learned that my name is Mark, it would be incorrect to say there is NO EVIDENCE for my name being John. Clearly, my profile name is evidence for John. The evidence points to a wrong conclusion but it still qualifies as evidence regarding my name.

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      43. Yes. A proposition is a tentative conclusion. It can be used to determine what kind of evidence may still be available to find, or a sum of some evidence. Propositions (or even conclusions) can be drawn in all manner of ways, including wild ass guesses. However, we only give credence to the propositions that have supporting evidence.
        In a crime, for example, we take a quick look at any available suspect (proposition) and begin looking for evidence.

        In the case of the sun, it is a proposition that after much searching has resulted in no evidence. That’s how we know it’s not reliable. Plus, there is a competing proposition that is highly evidenced.

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      44. And yes, your profile name is weak evidence of your real name, but still evidence. You are correct in this.

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      45. Hooray!

        This is why you should be cautious about using words like “charlatan”. It turns out, I was telling the truth the whole time.

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      46. No, you weren’t. You’ve misrepresented “evidence” so much that lady justice quit holding her scales and said “fuck it.” But you seem to be getting it. Maybe. Just a little.

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      47. You have no idea how important your approval is to me.

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      48. Very cute, John. Once again, you are a charlatan. Instead of conceeding on facts that you obviously understand, you refuse because it doesn’t fit your narrative, and employ a game of one-upmanship.
        I don’t care who you rely on for support, how big your dick is, or who your daddy is. I care about the truth, and the only demonstrable way of finding the truth. How about we focus on that, eh?

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      49. John, I don’t know what else to say. I provided the data. Many of our founding fathers were nit religious, and as I pointed out, Thomas Jefferson didn’t believe in the divinity of Jesus and was still elected president. Benjamin Franklin was Deist. If you just ignore facts then we can no longer have an intelligent discussion.

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      50. I also see Zande was discussing the data with you. And John, since you seem to still have so little understanding of evidence, I’ll just explain what this is.
        We don’t have a Pew poll from the 1770s. We do have church participation numbers. If average church participation tells us how deeply the population holds on to religious belief, then the data is evidence that religion was not as deeply held then as it is now. More evidence sure would be nice, but this is evidence since it leads us to a particular conclusion, even if it is not as strong of evidence as we would like.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post … and one of your most accurate statements was this: Nobody cares about the world of tomorrow, they fight to have the world of yesterday.

    It’s difficult to admit, but I was pretty much raised in the “world of yesterday” but believe you me! There is NO WAY I would go back to it. I LOVE the world of today because of the many advances in medicine, technology, science, communication, etc. And I find it extremely disturbing that RELIGION is trying to quash all these advancements and take us back to the log cabin days. All because of their misguided beliefs that the “sciences” are taking the place of their invisible “god.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very true. It’s an odd thing to long for.

      Like

  6. FYI, America was great in June of 1952 when Jesus was President and all non-Christians were sent to Siberia. OK? Duh!

    Liked by 1 person

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