Issues in the news and thoughts:
Victory for same sex marriage equality in New Jersey, if you haven't already heard. The march of progress and justice moves on. One day of course, there will be marriage equality even in states like Alabama and Oklahoma and who knows, maybe in a century or two, ultra-homophobic nations like Saudi Arabia.
But hatred and intolerance against gays and transgenders lingers. A talk show host I was listening to stated that to those who are born biologically boys, but want to live as girls, simply point to their testicals and say they are boys.
He believed that the gender identify disorder was not them being born the wrong sex but them believing they are the wrong sex. Yes, becausing pointing to their sex organs will resolve this in a jiffy, because it is not like they know what sex organs they possess.
The same host also believed that atheists like me force others not to say a god in the Pledge of Allegiance by objecting to a god in the Pledge of Allegiance. No, no we don't. One can easily mention a god without it in the official pledge, indeed until the 1950s a deity wasn't even in it.
Lastly, another right-wing host stated that if there is no free will, why punish criminals? Well, we punish them to stop them from harming others.
Even if there is no actual free will outside of material causes (which there is not) does not mean people still don't suffer or suffer harm. That is real, even if free will is not. The same host also believes faith, belief without evidence or sufficent evidence, is the same as reason.
That they are two sides in fighing reality. No, faith is belief for the sake of wanting belief. It has as much to do with finding out what is true, as my toothpaste in giving me the ability to fly. Neither will work for such as assigned task, though toothpasge unlike faith will accomplish something in the process.