On tragedies and charities: ego gratification is the rule…

Feel free to adopt the following to any current or future hullabaloos:

People wait for tragedies so that they can use them as political fodder to whip up the masses.
These people don’t care what tragedy, they don’t care about the particulars of it, and they quickly forget the actors involved once they’re done with using it. That’s a reality.
Anti-X folks were all over this as soon as they realized they could politically profit from it. They only care about their political goals, and they weep crocodile tears to get there. They see it as their job to maximize the outrage.
Pro-X folks are justifiably nervous and also do not actually care about the actors involved. They see their job as to minimize the outrage or defensively stir up counter-outrage.
We all care about the incident as much as it pleases or displeases our self-interest: that’s human nature.

further..
The same thing occurs with charity, people only support charities insomuch as it gratifies their ego.
How many times have any of you known someone to support a charity that they didn’t have some personal investment in. Either their kid is retarded or has developed a disease, or someone they admire (and want to emulate) has taken up the cause.
Dudes fly the flag for X cause a hot chick they want to bang is really into it, and chicks routinely adopt their boyfriends agendas.
99% of the time, what is touted as “charity” is actually a form of self-flattery or self-defense.
1% of the time, someone needs to get rid of “extra money” for tax reasons.
—-
Within minutes of posting this Yahoo News gives me this headline:
“Obama: ‘If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon’”
Self-flattery, self-interest, self-defense.

What discovering a mass murderer’s manifesto can do for your site… (UPDATE)

My biggest “story” in 2011 (not my favorite, but certainly the “most popular”) was finding Anders Breivik’s 2083 manifesto online and getting it to someone in the media. I haven’t discussed it much, and I wasn’t asked to discuss it except for my pal David Harris for his podcast.And I’m not going to talk about it too much here either. This may be the most boring post I’ve made in a while, in fact, but maybe you’re curious…

Here are the blog posts I made on the subject, in order of appearance:

  1. Anders Behring Breivik | Probable facebook/twitter pages of Oslo bomber/gunner Posted on 
  2. Anders Behring Breivik’s comments with Document.no (Translated) Posted on 
  3. Anders Behring Breivik | 2083 Manifesto and Movie: Real or Not? Posted on 
  4. Anders Behring Breivik | 2083 A European Declaration of Independence | Manifesto Posted on 
  5. Anders Behring Breivik | Is this the e-mail he sent to friends with 2083 Manifesto? Posted on 
  6. STATUS “STATEMENT: It appears that Massimo Introvigne is fabricating and spreading unchecked rumors and making unfounded implications…” Posted on 
  7. An open letter to Massimo Introvigne…. Posted on 
  8. Response from Massimo Introvigne Posted on 

In that last one I state that I’m going to write a blog post on Introvigne’s misinformation and the false linking of Breivik to myself or the Church of Satan. That never happened, mainly because it only seemed to have picked up traction among the lunatic fringe and strange foreign press. This means I may be on some “no fly list” for Botswana or other shithole, but the misinformation would probably have no “real world” effect on me, and any statement made past what I’d already said in the “open letter” would probably be pointless. It ain’t going to convince the kooks, and no serious news source had picked up on it.

So what DID happen?

First, it can bring your website down. This site was offline for many hours after it really hit that I was hosting a found copy of the manifesto.

Very few people came to this site before I had the manifesto up, and then WHAM:

As you can read, this chart is plotting out traffic by week, with a few months before and everything since. It’s still rare that the manifesto posts aren’t some of the top pages viewed in a day, but I actually DO manage to post some interesting things now and again that generate their own traffic.

Here’s a chart less bar-graph, more real numbers:

I actually had taken my website down for a good part of June of this year.

So where the hell was all that traffic coming from? Here’s a snapshot of 7-24-2011:

So, when it was going on, I was curious what people were looking at OTHER than the posts about Breivik. Hell, there were only 102 hits on the “contact” page… I guess after reading my bio on the “about” page, they weren’t so interested in chatting me up.

So, all in all, I’m still getting a lot of residual traffic, but I don’t think it’s actually helped anything else that I do. That wasn’t the goal, and I did my best to not comment on the whole thing and just maintain conservative speculations and stating facts.

So, I was mentioned by name on the New York Times website, there’s a tag of my name on gawker ( http://gawker.com/kevin-slaughter/ ) and I’ve seen how the two phrases “American blogger Kevin Slaughter” and “Kevin Slaughter, priest in the Church of Satan” translates into many different languages  (you see, it depended on if they used Introvigne or a REAL news source to quote from).

 (UPDATE)

Through ALEXA.com I easily scrambled up a bunch of the websites that deep linked directly to the PDF on my website, you know, instead of linking to the blog post itself…

Continue reading

Unwelcome to Facebook… [UPDATE: welcome back, sorry!]

UPDATE July 26th, 2pm – just got an e-mail stating I was reinstated. The only thing that seems to be missing is my “public” Kevin I. Slaughter profile, so I have to assume it was that page.

—–ORIG. POST BELOW—–

Woke up to find Facebook has killed my account… no explanation of course, just a generic “You figure out what you did wrong from this list of vague infractions.”

Find me on Twitter here, unless they decide I’m unwelcome there too. Now I have to worry about my G+ account. Do I need to act like a clean cut god-fearin’ simpleton so that my google accounts aren’t pulled out from underneath me? Fuck.

Yeah, good luck with that, me.

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Satanism as Weltanschauung, a lecture in 9 parts (plus Q&A bonus)

I’m pleased to release the video of a lecture given on March 1st of this year when I was invited to speak on the topic of Satanism for a class at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Filmed in HD and edited to include quite a few graphics not presented in the original lecture, I’m pleased with the outcome and hope that for those already familiar with Satanism there is enough to still keep you interested and possibly entertained.

Embedded below is a playlist of all 9 videos, to play without interruption.

Below are two parts of the Q&A session that followed:

If you enjoyed the lecture and would like to make a voluntary monetary donation, please do so below:

Satanism as Weltanschauung

Ch. 1 “Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself…”

Rev. Kevin I. Slaughter introduces himself and gives a short biographical background to establish his long-held interest in Satanism explicitly, but also the occult or hidden aspects of culture.

Ch. 2 “A Brief Overview of Satanism”

Rev. Slaughter gives a very brief overview of Satanism, what a Satanist is, and how it is viewed by society.

Ch. 3 “The Satanic Bible”

Rev. Slaughter discusses the first High Priest of the Church of Satan’s book “The Satanic Bible”. He reads “The Nine Satanic Statements” and other pertinent selections from it.

Ch. 4 “The Satanic Scriptures”

Rev. Slaughter discusses the current High Priest of the Church of Satan’s book “The Satanic Scriptures”. He reads pertinent selections from it.

Ch. 5 “Egalité vs. Hierarchy”

The natural world is stratified, the weak, slow and stupid tend to be worse for wear. The smart, quick and strong tend to have a better time of it. In the animal kingdom, the world that we exist in, it is eat or be eaten.

Rev. Slaughter makes reference to Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron”, and reads an excerpt from Theodore Dalrymple’s book “Life at the Bottom”.

Ch. 6 “Lex Satanicus”

Satanism takes few overtly political positions, and there is absolutely no affiliation between the Church any political party. The Satanic philosophy positions itself as a third side, rejecting the simplistic dichotomies of good vs. evil, republican vs. democrat, liberal and conservative. The one position most clearly associated with politics is Lex Talionis.

Ch. 7 “Magic”

Magic, in the Satanic sense, is not about shooting fireballs or riding on broomsticks, we do not have “spells” that guarantee sex or death – the two things people always seem to want a spell for. When the Satanist performs greater magic, it is an emotional psychodrama, intended to charge the participant with a specific feeling or to put him in a specific emotional state. It’s made clear in the writings that Greater Magic is an emotional working as opposed to intellectual. Like the power of a masterfully written book or piece of music has, this productive fiction is useful and possibly necessary to the human animal.

Ch. 8 “A Few Unkind Words…”

In this part of the lecture Kevin discusses Christian Child Abuse, a blog that collects stories about pedophile priests. He discusses religiously motivated atrocities committed by Islam and Judaism in the name of their religion and accepted by their communities.

The website is found at http://christianchildabuse.blogspot.com

Ch. 9 “Love”

Satanism isn’t merely a reactionary stance, it is about knowing ones self and building real relationships with worthy people. Rev. Slaughter recites a poem titled “Love” that was written by freethinker Robert Greene Ingersoll, to illustrate this and other points in the Satanic worldview.

Kevin has participated in two oratory contests where contestants read their choice of Ingersoll’s work, and won first place in 2010. The video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8UPNFcnYIM

Rev. Slaughter is an official representative of the Church of Satan. More information can be found on the website http://www.churchofsatan.com

Filmed and edited by Kevin I. Slaughter for Underworld Amusements: http://www.underworldamusements.com

Music composed and performed by Michaelanthony Mitchell

Book Nerd :: Where someone asks me to recommend books…

Someone writes:

I am enjoying reading your ‘Iron Youth Reader’ Vol 1.    Approve of your ‘self-directed study’ emphasis.  Further to this, which top ten books would you recommend or which had the profoundest positive effect on you?  Am always looking out for books that come with the highest recommendation from people with a similar outlook.

Thanks for writing, and that’s awesome that you’re enjoying the collection. I’m outrageously tardy in putting a second volume out, but I have released some pretty interesting titles in the meantime. It’s pretty much just me here punching away, trying to get some eyeballs on this stuff.

I like your question, but as a bibliophile the task of a Top 10 is daunting. It’s so easy to rank the most recent books higher, or forgetting ones that lead me to other great ideas, so putting an honest list together is going to take a bit of time.

I will say that the one book I’ve recommended most over the past few years has been Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature”. It has the advantage of being a fun read and not so “kooky” that I’d be hesitant to tell someone more… ahem… “normal” about it.

Then there’d be a book like “The Satanic Bible” and “The Devil’s Notebook”. It was my gateway drug in my youth to some really great thinkers, but did it with an appreciation for style, sleaziness and fun. LaVey was a deeply flawed anti-hero, and I mean that in the absolutely best way.

“Atheism: The Case Against God” was my first introduction to critical thinking about religion, my first Atheism book proper. I was godless before I read it, but I had good arguments afterwards.

The two books on groups psychology “The True Believer” by Hoffer and “The Crowd” by LeBon were important in dissuading me from ever really falling for populist rhetoric. Years later (for me) Stirner’s “The Ego and It’s Own” worked well in  those prior two, a smashing assault on statism, populism, socialism, anything outside of MEism… heh. Just now I’m reminded of the quote on my website from Norman Mailer’s “The Naked and the Dead”: “I hate everything which is not in myself.”

HL Mencken’s “Chrestomathy” would have to be on the list. I can’t get enough of his writing. From his own translation of “The Anti-Christ” to his three volumes of “The American Language”, it’s all fascinating and inspiring.

There’s also a slew of more “cultural” books that had a major influence on me that I don’t think are going to be important for others. From RE/Search’s “Industrial Culture Handbook” to Feral House’s “Apocalypse Culture”. Moynihan and Soderlind’s “Lords of Chaos”, Jim Goad’s “ANSWER Me!” and then later “The Redneck Manifesto” (it’s been over a decade since I’ve read that… I just checked and I couldn’t believe it. I bet it’s still good.)

Similar to what I find in Mencken, I’ve recently discovered Theodore Dalryple. First recommended to me by the co-author of the aformentioned “Lords of Chaos”, his “Life at the Bottom” should be read sometime after Luc Sante’s “Low Life”. A more fun book that I mentally connect with the two is “Tales of Times Square” by Josh Allen Friedman.

I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend Peter H. Gilmore’s “The Satanic Scriptures”, a book I was heavily involved with from nudging the author to finally publish, to overlooking every stage of production to promotion once it was released. In a way I feel the book is partly my own.

But that’s not an exhaustive consideration, just my struggling to scrape something together to serve as a rough list. I may try to do something better, but that could take a while, if the time it took me to just slap this together is any gauge. I would post it on my personal blog: http://www.kevinislaughter.com

Thanks again for writing, hope this at least gives you a few leads for further reading.
Kevin I. Slaughter

HL Mencken on the first great evolution trial…

I’ve spent a LOT of time putting together a series of 13 podcast episodes of HL Mencken’s Baltimore Evening Sun reports on the Scopes trial from Dayton, Tenn. I’m releasing them in somewhat “real time”, according to the dates they were published 85 years ago. I’d like my visitors to this blog to hear them, and if you enjoy it, please pass a link along to others.

First, a list of the episodes and dates they’ll be released, I’ll link them up as they come out:

June 29th – Homo Neanderthalensis
July 9th – Sickening Doubts About Publicity
July 10th – Impossibility of Obtaining Fair Jury
July 11th – Trial as Religious Orgy
July 13th – Souls Need Reconversion Nightly
July 14th – Darrow’s Eloquent Appeal
July 15th – Law and Freedom
July 16th – Fair Trial Beyond Ken
July 17th – Malone the Victor
July 18th – Genesis Triumphant
July 20th – Tennessee in the Frying Pan
July 27th – Bryan
Sept. 14th* – Aftermath
*Will be released by July 30th.

The full text of the report at the end of the blog!

As frequent readers of this blog know, I’m a big fan of Mencken’s writing. He’s got a viewpoint that is hardly expressed anymore – a no-bullshit commentator on the follies of his day. Moreso, much of what he criticised then has only gone downhill, and his mockery and scathing verbiage is a balm for the mind appalled by the utter stupidity of the modern scene. The only man I’ve read that was able to mix his best elements together with style was Anton Szandor LaVey. LaVey introduced me to Mencken, as well as any number of authors, philosophers, artists and ideas. LaVey is indeed the proverbial gateway drug. It is the opposite of the religions of “the book”, his was a religion “of the world”. When Adversary Recordings rereleased his “Satan Takes a Holiday” CD, and I was tasked with writing promotional copy, this is the tail end:

“…as with most of the work that Anton LaVey has done, it’s a small door to a sometimes unseemly and Satanic world. Applying the true definition of “occult” to these songs is probably most appropriate, as they are hidden wonders.”

A few of the folks who didn’t get turned onto LaVey get real tripped up on the S-word. I’m not going to go into apologetics here, but I think I will be doing an episode on the topic. Let me assure you that you are nowhere near the first person, if you’re like many, to ask “But why not just call yourself ______?”

***

I’m not a writer. There are a few things that I’ve pecked out on the keyboard that I’m proud of, but I hold no illusion that they could even serve as an introduction to Mencken’s own words. Though mecken has penned a few pithy quotable lines, there has been one that I’ve found most reflects my own lifelong work, and I’ve used it many times. It is, in fact, the very first quote on my quotes page:

“I hope I need not confess that a large part of my stock in trade consists of platitudes rescued from the cobwebbed shelves of yesterday… This borrowing and refurbishing of shop-worn goods, as a matter of fact, is the invariable habit of traders in ideas, at all times and everywhere. It is not, however, that all the conceivable human notions have been thought out; it is simply, to be quite honest, that the sort of men who volunteer to think out new ones seldom, if ever, have wind enough for a full day’s work.”

-H.L. Menken, from “In Defense of Women”

***

July 6th was my 35th birthday and the 2nd anniversary of Underworld Amusements (I made a public announcement in October of ’08, but July was the time I started working on it seriously… well, as seriously as I’ve had spare time for). I’ve done quite a bit in the last two years under the banner of UA, but I’m reevaluating it as one should do everything. The podcast started in

The past month and a half I’ve been running ads on Facebook. It’s as cheap or expensive as you want to make it, so I made it cheap and tried to target the people I think would be most interested. It’s brought traffic to the site, but the idea of paying .15 to .50 cents for someone to merely visit the site is hard for me to do. UA is a no-budget operation, more or less. The meager profits from books just go to spending money on website hosting and whatever expenses come along.

This isn’t a wind-up to hitting you up for donations, though it probably sounds like it. No, this is a wind-up to ask anyone who has enjoyed a podcast or book released under the Underworld Amusements banner to occasionally, or at least once, post a link on facebook, write a review on itunes, or do some simple free task to promote what I’m doing. After 14 podcasts, including a number of interviews (from Oscar winner HR Giger, to one-time “worlds worst person” John Derbyshire, to Church of Satan High Priest Peter H. Gilmore, among others), I’ve received exactly one review on iTunes, and that I hounded a friend for.

A few folks have been very supportive, and I’ve done my best to reciprocate. That’s how I roll. I’ve done my best to avoid SPAMMY behavior. I haven’t trolled social network sites begging for folks to “friend” me. I rarely do it on my personal profile and just as rarely do it on my “business” pages. I promote other projects and publishers directly on the UA site and moreso on my personal site. This respectable method isn’t working. Paying for clicks is, but it’s also spending the little money I make that could be spent on new projects or making ongoing projects better.

***

I’ve tried thinking of ways to organize some sort of project that would assist others who are working on projects or have blogs or books to promote to do so easily. Something either a little more targeted than “facebook”, but not a whole separate system that competes with the established sites. I don’t want to build a social network for misfits, but I would like something like an Instapundit for misanthropes. Something that’s compelling enough to bring returning visitors, but not so involved that people have to set up identities, and something that can push that same info out to folks.

I’m not sure what form it’ll take, but it has a name and a url, though I’m not letting that on right now, as it could radically change or not happen. It’d be like telling you my sons name while still a virgin (well, technically, after I had the first two kids aborted, and was planing on making another kid).

What are you willing to do to live ethically?

A blurb about Peter Singer’s book “In Defense of Animals” on Amazon.com begins: “Paul McCartney once said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

I hate The Beatles, and John Lennon, and to a lesser degree Paul McCartney. This aside, my version of that quote would be “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would have a better understanding of the cruelty inherent in life, and it would be more difficult to convince people that life should be fair.”

I need to work on that… it’s not there yet.

I’ve been wanting to read Singer. I haven’t read more than some articles and seen a few videos and interviews. I feel he’s wrong, and I’m interested to read his argument… it’s just not as compelling as some of the other things I want to read, so I haven’t picked it up.

About a week ago  someone on facebook asked the question “Are circuses morally objectionable?”

I made the response (quoting another response):

“…but circuses are not known for ethical treatment of non-humans.”
I don’t think they’re particularly known for the ethical treatment of humans either. It’s one of those situations where you can get bogged down by the ethics, wrestle with the implications, maybe come to the conclusion that ultimately it’s harmful that humans reproduce at all and advocate for the extinction of life on the planet.
Or go to the circus.
Each is an appealing way to spend an evening. Only one results in seeing monkeys in funny hats.

Someone e-mailed me “You were kidding, right?”

Augh… here’s one of those things… I find it really hard not to respond to certain topics. I find it impossible in most cases to be moderate, even when I’m trying to moderate. I’m a cynic and a boor, fine, but you have the ability not to read this, and she DID contact ME.

I responded:

Had to check what you were referring to…
Circuses.

No, I really wasn’t. I was barely being flippant.
Living a fulfilling, considered, fully ethical life is probably impossible.

Sometimes you have to compromise, and compromise usually means nobody is happy with the results.
I recently read “Better Never to Have Been”… it’s an anti-natalist work that uses arguments that readers of animal rights books would be familiar with. The theory is that “it’s always a harm to bring a life into the world”.

I can’t counter his logic with logical counter-arguments. He’s a professional in the field of ethics, if all things were equal, he’s got more time to think about it. I’ve got a job and other shit.
So, let’s say logically, rationally, ethically, he’s right – just for the argument.
Should we not have children? Should all human life cease to be?

These are miserable, brain and gut wrenching things to spend any time pondering. It can lead to ponderous thoughts and disturbing consequences. The nature of evil, of rampant brutality and treachery in nature…

I read and consider, I try to be honest and a good person to those in my life that I care for, and not to be intentionally harmful to those outside that circle.

For all of this, I could look away from the road for one second… coffee could spill, an elderly woman could fall on the sidewalk and I want to see if she’s alright, and I careen into a minivan and kill a family.

If you’re in a lifeboat that will hold a maximum of 12 people, and dozens are swimming and grabbing on to the sides of the boat to save themselves, are you willing to lift up an axe and chop their hands off, so that they don’t capsize the crowded boat causing everyone to die?

If a city spends $2 million rescuing a child who has fallen down a well, would you be willing to cover the well and divert the funds to vaccinations that may save dozens or hundreds or thousands of lives?

I am serious, and wouldn’t it be nice to just go to the circus…

It ain’t poetry, and I’d edit it a number of different ways, but it says basically what I want it to say.

I’m driving to work one day last week, as I do every day, and this day I see a cat run out under the van in front of me and get mangled. I’m horrified by this and my thoughts were “I need to finish it off.” I needed to swerve the wheel of my car toward the animal that I just saw be twisted and magled by the wheels of the speeding van in front of me in hopes that I would smash its skull and kill it instantly. In the few seconds I had to bridge the gap between my current position and where the cat was still rolling from the impact, I saw its battered body twitching and bleeding profusely and a massive evisceration to the abdomen that was spilling out its entrails. I was horrified and my guts turned and I wanted to recoil and pull over but I knew that it couldn’t be saved, I couldn’t slam my breaks at that speed with all this traffic and what I needed to do was to stop it from suffering and being run over by a series of cars until it died from the repeated smashing or someone dealt a deathblow.

I couldn’t do it. I failed to do the only thing that would have helped.

I cursed cars and overpopulation and the whole goddamn world. I couldn’t have saved the life of that cat, but I didn’t do the one thing that probably should have been done to stop the suffering.

I looked in my rear view, it jerked and bled and was still dying. It disappeared under the car behind me and I sullenly, wincingly looked back at the road ahead, cursed humanity and gloomily made it through the day. I probably would have felt worse if I’d done it, even though I would have stopped the suffering of that poor animal.

When I got home and I sat down and the daily ritual of my own cat welcoming me home by standing on my lap and demanding my full attention until he’s tired of me commences like every other day. He doesn’t know about the dead relative, and if he did, would he care?

Life is just not that simple, and it certainly ain’t fair. Not eating meat or wearing a leather belt or abstaining from going to see the trained monkeys may make you feel better, but it doesn’t mean you’re not going to commit unspeakable suffering on someone or something at some point in your life. It certainly won’t stop unspeakable suffering from being committed upon you.

You’ve got to have some principals, some ethical framework, but unless they’re really fucking vague (or contradictory), you’re going to have to break a few to get through life. Tough shit. We’re poorly constructed meat-machines. What we think of as “I” is an illusion created by the brain. You lie to yourself every day, but you don’t know it.

I consider myself a skeptic, and pro-science and reason… but sometimes my gut overrides my brain. I can’t build an argument against the anti-natalist, but I disagree with him. Where I disagree with Singer, I probably can’t mount a logical counter, but I can’t forsee anyone convincing me to stop eating meat.

Am I less of a skeptic? Do I have a “faith”? Am I “anti-science”?

Be a “good person”, whatever you can figure that out to be. Be reflective and considerate, but don’t think you’re absolutely right. Reason and logic will get your far, but you’re not made for it. You’re made to run on lies and irrational impulses. You can’t get away from it. I can’t get away from it. You can only struggle and maybe at the end of the day you didn’t fuck up and hurt someone you didn’t mean to. If it’s a good day, you did something nice for someone you care about.

I don’t want cats to die.

I don’t want to be the cause of a cat dying.

I don’t want to see someone else be the cause of a cat’s death.

I don’t want to see a cat suffer a prolonged miserable and suffering death.

What’s ethical when a cat is in the road ahead of you, half dead?

Can you make the call in 3 seconds? Can you act on that?

The girl didn’t write back. I’m not holding my breath.

Letter to the Freedom From Religion Foundation

Dear Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor,

Around the 12 minute mark of the recent podcast edition of Freethought Radio, during a conversation about prayer in Lodi city meetings, Ms. Gaylor stated “…or even Satanists, if there are such people”. As a regular and fairly long time listener of the podcast version of the show, I thought I would write in on the subject. I will try to keep it as succinct as possible.

I am a skeptic, an atheist, a secularist and a Satanist. There is no contradiction or ethical or logical tension between these four self-identifying labels. I am an ordained priest in the Church of Satan and the day after this episode aired (Oct. 4th) I gave a rather rousing rendition of a lecture on blasphemy by Robert G. Ingersoll at a contest in Washington, D.C. – sponsored by CFI-DC, American Humanist Association and the Washington Area Secular Humanists. I am not a member of any of the organizations, however, and only officially represent the Church of Satan.

I attended the Satanic High Mass on 6-6-06 held at CFI Los Angeles in the Steve Allen Theater and have attended local atheist Meet Up groups. Just recently I found a Usenet post I made from 1997 where I stated flatly that I was an Atheist and a Satanist, giving proof that this is not a passing phase or lark.

Though there may be significant differences in Humanism and Satanism, it doesn’t discount the fact that Satanism has a strong streak of skepticism and atheism that goes back to its founding in 1966 by Anton LaVey. The current High Priest of the organization, Peter H. Gilmore and I had a discussion about how important the book “Atheism: The Case Against God” was to the both of us. I can provide a long list of unequivocal quotes by LaVey and Gilmore stating that skepticism and atheism are integral parts of Satanism.

I can offer a list much much longer of quotes from mainstream media sources, Christian media and (more recently) the blogopshere and websites blatantly misrepresenting and slandering our world view and sometimes even calling for the criminalization of our legally recognized organization and the imprisonment of our members merely because they adhere to a minority philosophy. As a persistent and rather infuriating urban legend, I can’t recall how many times I’ve seen (possibly) well-meaning but woefully misinformed people send out letters or post flyers around Halloween claiming that “Satanists” may “steal your cat, especially if its black, and kill it” and urging pet owners to keep their animals indoors.

I write all of this not because I want you to appreciate Satanism, defend or promote it, or even accept it (Satanists do NOT evangelize). I only want to make it clear that it exists, and the largest Satanic organization in the United States, having been in existence for over 44 years, has been a constant and strident advocate for pluralism, skepticism and separation of church and state.

Please keep up the work you are doing at the FFRF to secure a proper secular American government, nationally and locally.

Thank you,

Rev. Kevin I. Slaughter

Church of Satan

References:

http://www.churchofsatan.com

http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Satanism:_An_interview_with_Church_of_Satan_High_Priest_Peter_Gilmore

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/peter_h_gilmore_science_and_satanism/

http://www.religioustolerance.org/satanis1.htm

http://www.religioustolerance.org/satanism.htm

http://ingersollcontest.wordpress.com/

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/mayhem/blackcat.asp

A Causal Chain

I used to believe that we only used 10% of our brains.  I was told this and I did’t mentally cross reference it with other information I had. This kind of thing happens all the time, to all of us. It’s impossible to keep all the facts straight, much less correlating them all with all the others we’ve accumulated.  When we hold two conflicting opinions about a topic, this is called cognitive dissonance. I do my best to rout it out, but sometimes when one of these errors is corrected it can be embarrasingly obvious that the mistaken belief was founded on nothing but lack of consideration. How many television shows (or better yet, documentaries) have you seen where a CAT scan or other test is being performed and areas all over the brain are lighting up based on various stimuli? This alone should cast a stark skeptical shadow over the “10%” theory.
I’m sitting in an airport in Baltimore, waiting to fly to Newark, to then wait around to fly to Geneva. Because yesterday was 9-9-09, I was thinking about Los Angeles on 6-6-06.
There wew two events my wife and I attended on that vacation, and one was held at a place called Zen Sushi.  Sitting in the smoking area outside, some young guy struck up a conversation with Ida…
(on the tarmac now, just informed we’ll have a 55 minute wait because of high winds.. luckily we had a 3 hour layover in Newark)
The young man and his girlfriend started asking Ida questions about Satanism, a topic she doesn’t care to discuss, and she passed them off to me, “My husband can answer that”
I can only recall that what questions they had were very basic, and would have been very eaqsy to answer using google… in other words, it was a bother. At some point he says “Well, I’ve got a theory I’d like to run by you, and it has to do with Satanism…”
That’s rarely going to be good.
“Well, you know how people only use 10% of their brain power?” he begins what seems like become a really convoluted idea.
“No” I respond, “we use most or all of our brains. It’s a myth that we only use 10%”.
“Oh,” he says, a bit deflated but gearing up to recover. “Well, let’s say that’s true though.”
“No. If you are building this theory of yours on a lie, the rest is going to be a lie, and I don’t care to hear it.”
I try to be polite, when possible, but I’m not going to let a stranger, who I’ve already answered a number of questions from, elaborate on a theory that will probably be stupid, but was definitly predicated on a lie. I was on vacation with my wife, and some of my favorite people in the world – I had better shit to do.
Though I told myself I’d onlybring one book, I couldn’t resist packing Mickey Spillaine’s “I the Jury” along with Carl Sagan’s “Demon Haunted World”. In Sagan’s book you’ll find his baloney detection kit in chapter 12. A fine introduction to critical thinking he conveys the bulk of the concepts in bulleted lists. One of these was “If there’s a chain argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise)– not just one of them.”

(posted using WiFi at the Geneva airport!)

A series of propositions…

Just something I’ve been considering… this is the first attempt at putting order to it, though it’s not finished or terribly orderly.

A series of propositions:

  • The best method for understanding the world is scientific method.
  • For things untestable, reasoning and logic is best.
  • Being able to win an argument or debate does not equal being correct.
  • It is possible that a stupid man has come to a correct conclusion where a brilliant man fails.
  • The mind is a product of the brain, body and environment.
  • There is no mind/body dualism, the mind is part of the body.
  • Our minds process information that we are not conscious of. It makes decisions that we are not conscious of.
  • Our minds sometimes produce mental states that confuse us, such as deja vu.
  • The feeling of certainty is independent of facts and logic. We may feel certain that we know something but don’t.
  • The scientific method cannot test every hypothesis, due to any number of reasons.
  • Even if a hypothesis is testable, an individual may be incapable of performing those tests or accessing data.
  • Even if an individual was capable of accessing all data and performing all tests to a level of certainty, there would not be enough time to do so for all aspects of his life.
  • An individual has to rely on data and/or conclusions generated by others in order to form opinions.
  • All humans are capable of error in performing tests and applying scientific methodology.
  • Some humans intentionally create false results through any number of means.
  • An individual most likely understands any number of theories incorrectly based on an combination of flawed, partial, wrong, or skewed logic and data.
  • Even if an individuals facts are complete and accurate they may come to an incorrect conclusion based on personal intellectual limitations to process all data.