I haven’t read Collapse yet but “Guns, Germs and Steel” and “The Third Chimpanzee” were superb.
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The pony hidden in slavery is the fact that it was the ticket to America for black people. I have long urged blacks to consider their presence here as the work of God, who wanted to bring them to this raw, new country and used slavery to achieve it. A harsh life, to be sure, but many immigrants suffered hardships and indignations as indentured servants. Their descendants rose above it. You don’t hear them bemoaning their forebears’ life the way some blacks can’t rise above the fact theirs were slaves.
It makes sense. God needed a way to transport some people, thought about having them build an ark and said, “No wait, I’ve got a brilliant and mysterious idea,” and then enslaved a race of people for a few centuries. You can’t argue with that logic.
From The SEO Blog:
The press release was issued through the free service I-Newswire and contained a number of spelling mistakes.
When you enter your search terms and select one of the search buttons, the lower part of your browser window will show a split display of the results for the two countries. For example, if you’re comparing China and the United States, you’ll see information about the Chinese search on the left and the United States search on the right.
Ingersoll, along with Twain, uttered some of my favorite quotations on religion. Here are a few of the more famous ones:
It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed. The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave.
All laws for the purpose of making man worship God, are born of the same spirit that kindled the fires of the auto da fe, and lovingly built the dungeons of the Inquisition. All laws defining and punishing blasphemy — making it a crime to give your honest ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of the ancient Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your opinion of Jehovah, were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once repealed by honest men. An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures. Certainly he ought not so to act that laws become necessary to keep him from being laughed at. No one thinks of protecting Shakespeare from ridicule, by the threat of fine and imprisonment. It strikes me that God might write a book that would not necessarily excite the laughter of his children. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that a real God could produce a work that would excite the admiration of mankind. Surely politicians could be better employed than in passing laws to protect the literary reputation of the Jewish God.
– Robert Green Ingersoll
SecularHumanism.org has a pretty good concise bio on Ingersoll (Wikipedia’s entry was a bit bare).
In 1897, Dr. Goodwin wrote a bill incorporating his new ideas, and persuaded his State Representative to introduce it. Taylor I. Record was the Representative from Posey County to the Indiana General Assembly. Representative Record was a farmer, timber and lumber merchant. The session of 1897 was in his first and only term in the legislature. During the debate on the bill, he was quoted as saying he knew nothing of it, but introduced it at the request of Dr. Goodwin.1 Representative Record submitted the bill, House Bill 246, on January 18, 1897.
Dr. Goodwin had copyrighted his solution to squaring the circle, and his idea was to allow Indiana to use these new facts in its schools free of charge. People in the rest of the country and the world would have to pay him a royalty.