Apr 21, 2018 Last Updated 5:33 AM, Feb 24, 2018
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PATAS 6th anniversary

Age of Reason, reasoning amidst social reality

 

When writing about the PATAS 6th anniversary, we have to reflect on the idea and the origins of the short form PATAS. PATAS used to stand for the Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society but was recently transformed to the Philippine Atheists and Agnostics and Secularists, making this the first year of its celebration.

This year’s celebration was held in the well-known Conspiracy Café and Restaurant located in Quezon City. Many new and old faces mixed in this event; people from abroad and nationals, to remember the origins of reason, the organization and discuss its present and future.

Two speakers were invited, and they fitted their topics into the headline of the event.

First speaker was Thomas Fleckner, who took the title of the anniversary as topic, followed by Don Paez, who catapulted the guests thousands of years back to Socrates.

 

The first speech by Thomas Fleckner:

 

Age of Reason, reasoning amidst social reality

 

What is the age of reason? The age of reason was born, when people realized that explaining life, occurrences and natural phenomena could be based on sense, science ad evidence. Reasoning is therefor a condition loose from belief, doctrines and unfounded dogma.

European politics, philosophy, science and communications were radically reoriented during the 18th century and before (1685-1815) as part of a movement referred to by its participants as the Age of Reason, or simply the Enlightenment.

In our modern world, it seems that everything, from business to transportation, is progressing at an ever-accelerating pace. The Human Intelligence Knows No Bounds

What is social reality? Social reality is the condition we live in today, and if documented correctly, the condition and circumstances people lived before. Correct documentation requires evidence-based literature, and not made up stories, like we can find in religious books.

Yet: "The social reality as an expression deals with people’s opinions and beliefs of the present time."

Next to social reality we have the following: Personal reality (this can vary from very personal views on reality till self-determined realities over adapted realities); Shared objective reality (not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.)

 

The age of reason gave sense and universal explanation to life, occurrences and natural phenomena, standing above the different mythical explanations religions in different geographical locations gave.

One other crucial point the age of reason taught us, was that reasoning never came along with punishment, that even wrong reasoning the later rectification and correction of the mistake only resulted in growth and prosperity. Whilst religions aim was to punish the critics, either on earth through countless torture methods, be it physical or psychological, or through invented afterlife threats like hell or limbo, reason was able to admit mistakes and allowed critics and improvement.

Where religion criminalized all opposition and critique under hate crime and blasphemy laws, reason and science kept on walking and developing.

As the years went on social reality changed, and with it its methods.

In 1811 one could be prosecuted for criticizing Christianity under the blasphemy laws, whereas in 2018 one can be prosecuted under hate crime laws for promoting anti-Islamic views, on the same grounds and country. This is where social reality comes in. Social reality is the pool of different influences: The present development of a society, political presence and government, education and the religious / non-religious mindset of the people.

The current Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and police definition of a hate crime is: “Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated

by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”

At first glance this seems to make sense, without reasoning though. If we start to apply reason on the stage of development we are currently in, we can see something drastically wrong.

  1. The definition of hate crime does not include hate speech, so one can reason that it is not covered.
  2. This definition throws together natural and unnatural terms under the same offence. Whilst sexual orientation is natural, and can be observed in any society, under or with any religion and among any race or political system, religion is an unnatural construct that can be adapted, laid off, changed or mixed even. So how can criticizing, opposing or even verbally attacking (ridiculing) inventions be measured the same as discriminating a race, a gender or a sexual orientation?
  3. The final question is: Why is it a crime to criticize anyway, when on the other hand there is freedom of speech and expression?

The problem is that hate speech has no universal definition. The truth is hate speech to those that hate the truth. To suppress the truth spoken by others they then create the hate crime.

The attack on freedom of expression is inconsistent when it comes to religion. Criticism of Islam is considered to be more offensive than criticism of any other religions, even Judaism, which is astonishing, having laws against anti-Semitism. Islam has created its very own protections under hate speech, they call it Islamophobia. This is a term that was invented by Iranian fundamentalists to silence criticism of Islam. Any negative comments about Islam are usually met with this label, as an effortless way to shut down logical and reasoned arguments. This is particularly in social media, where criticism of Islam frequently results in users being banned.

And again, we can reason, because phobia is an unfounded fear towards something. We just need to view our history and observe the many lives religion has taken, destroyed or ruined.

Being able to criticize all religions is the basis of freedom of expression, especially in a secular society and amidst social reality. We should be free to mock, criticize and even ridicule religion, because it is neither racist, xenophobe nor a sexual discrimination.

 

The Age of Reason is a book written by Thomas Paine. He writes the following: “The most important position is the call for ‘free rational inquiry’ into all subjects, especially religion.” Christopher Hitches often cited Thomas Paine too.

Reasoning amidst social reality is something that needs to start at school level. Children are curious, yet also take for grated what their parents and teachers tell them. Sadly, religion is still taught in schools as if it were real, and not a historical period where people just didn’t know better.

As Atheists and Agnostics, we have the obligation to carry out reason, more than anybody. We cannot defend reason, and then follow or accept religious practices, just because we think it is a social obligation.

Social reality was extremely local in the past, and with that advantage, religion was able to control society, and give no further reason to reason. But with the new age explorers, the internet and the growth of knowledge through education, we have seen that the past social reality isn’t as real as they have sold it to us, ad that what is real is universal and what is not local.

The social reality is that we are diverse, naturally different. Our things in common are happily agreed upon, not through force, threat or punishment, and of course through natural realities.

Our social reality is yet also that we have been shaped and formed to fit, that we are told to be punished or doomed if we don’t believe certain things; and what is most sad, that even the ones that don’t believe still too often accept the belief system as social obligation to keep family, community or friendships in takt.

The truth is, there is no development without sacrifice, struggle or change; and the question is, if a loss can be an enrichment and for the better.

Yet when reasoning stops, or even just stays behind closed doors, humanity loses for the worse.

 

Thomas Fleckner stood for the usual questions and answers yet held a three-question quiz after his speech. He gave out three original PATAS T-Shirts as prize.

 

 

The second speech was given by Don Paez, who is also well known to the community, and who was active as an officer in PATAS before.

 

Socrates 470BC Stonecutter and soldier by profession, father cut stone for the Parthenon Married to Xanthippe “By all means marry, if you get a good wife you become happy. If you do not, you become a philosopher. Retired and became a teacher Plato was his most famous student Did not write anything. Mostly known through dialogues of Plato, Xenophon, Aristophanes. Mostly known by “Socratic method” Basis for scientific method of elimination of hypothesis. Also attributed to be author of the saying “a life not examined is not worth living” Apology “Wisest man” title came from Oracle of Delphi who said “there is no one Wiser than Socrates” Socrates took as a riddle because he always proclaimed to be ignorant. He interviewed Athenians about their knowledge and concluded most did not “know” what they were talking about, since most of what is considered knowledge is opinioned belief, including love, justice, beauty, etc. He compared himself to a gadfly, always stinging a horse so it could not be lazy. Socrates concluded superiority in only one aspect: knowledge of one’s ignorance.

Socratic method as a dialogue with a series of questions testing for consistency, and ultimately arriving at new information for both parties. Unfortunately, most are not ready to accept their own ignorance Republic Allegory of the cave / matrix. Shadow demonstration. Veil of ignorance Socrates was charged with corrupting youth of Athens and being atheist. Brought to trial and represented himself. Sentenced to death and suggested he be given pension instead. His disciples planned an escape, but he declined citing that as a citizen his duty is to follow Athenian laws. He was given hemlock to drink and did so willingly. To his followers he said: “To fear death is to think ourselves wise when we are not. To think one knows when one does not. Death may be the greatest of all blessings, but men fear it as the worst of all evils.” With those words, Socrates breathed his last breath, and the world lost one of its great thinkers. He was 70 years old.

Takeaways 1. Know the limits of your knowledge and push further by learning as much as possible. Claims to “truth” can and must always be questioned. Even those which agree with our biases. That is the only way we learn and discover truth. Stone cutting analogy. In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. In the age of fake news, it is our obligation to find and promote the search for truth. A philosopher is not a wise person but simply a person who loves wisdom. 2. Some people are not ready to accept truth, no matter how much it is forced upon them. Best to let them mature at their own pace but be there to help by occasionally feeding things to think about. Used properly, Questions are more powerful than statements. When everyone is talking, listen and ask. 3. Ideas are powerful, and some ideas can immortalize us. Rationality is what separates man from animals, and plants and minerals. It is important to constantly develop our rational faculties since it is what gives meaning to our existence, and possibly despite any form of pressure that society places on us, it is the only context in which we are able to truly be free.

The only life worth living is a life properly examined.

 

 

The event was followed by personal remarks, poetry and music.

 

 

A big cheers to the continuous promotion of reason, non-religion and critical thinking in The Philippines.

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The 2017 Pride March in the Shoe Capital of the Philippines

 

Forty-eight years after the Stonewall riots which inspired the very first ever LGBT Pride Parade in the world a year later, and twenty-three years after the very first LGBT Pride March in Metro Manila, the Metro Manila Pride March was held for the first time in the city known as the shoe capital of the Philippines, Marikina. The theme for this year’s parade is entitled “Here Together”, emphasizing the need to work and live together in peace and harmony despite the diversity and the differences of everyone in the society. The 2017 parade which was organized in a city that is considered as one of the cleanest and greenest in the Metropolis is truly a resounding success.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community of Metro Manila Philippines reiterated their appeal for approval and legalization of marriage equality when they marched around the city centre of Marikina which embarked and culminated in Marikina City Hall on the sunny Saturday afternoon of June 24, 2017.  Organizers estimated that a total of more than 7,500 participants took part in this colourful event despite the massive opposition from the Catholic Religion in this country, a religion which had been contradicting the LGBT advocacy since the beginning.  Of course, during the parade the religious supporters were seen opposing the LGBT appeal for equality and acceptance but the parade’s participants overpowered the opposition through loud chanting, singing and dancing.

This year’s Pride March garnered significant coverage from the press including CNN Philippines which will strengthen the spreading of the message of this parade’s advocacy. Also present during the parade were Philippine lawmaker Senator Riza Hontiveros, Miss Philippines Intercontinental Katarina Rodriguez, and the Philippine premier movie star Nora Aunor. The presence of celebrities in the Pride March indeed bolstered the LGBTs quest as their participation will help earn numerous publicity for the advocacy.  The mayor of Marikina, Mayor Marcy Teodoro, who is a strong supporter of the LGBT cause, was impressed by the turnout of the participants in the parade. 

It was an afternoon of joy, colours, music, dancing and sound while the rainbow flags with their lively colours dominate the crowd. And the rainbow colours did not only stay with the people, it spread further up in the heavens as an actual rainbow appeared among the clouds in the sky.

 

By Roderick Tubil

 

 

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Join us at the Pride March Marikina

 

For all people who are in support of the LGBT community and its cause it is time for one of the "must join" events.

lgbtBUS was the organiser of the first ever Pride March in Marikina last year 2016, and with the help of the local government it all became reality.

More infos soon....

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BUGSO: A Movie About HIV / AIDS Awareness

 

Never in my entire life had I seen a Filipino film that dealt with the topic of HIV / AIDS with so much emotion, depth and technical details.  The title of the movie is BUGSO, which means “coming in great numbers” in English.  And the title of the movie accurately describes the increasing number of people in the Philippines who are getting infected with HIV and AIDS.  And this movie had its premier for public viewing on the night of June 18, 2017 at SM North EDSA in Metro Manila, Philippines. The opening night was hosted by the director of the film Ace Rocha and were attended by the movies’ actors and actresses.

The film revolves around three simultaneous stories of HIV / AIDS tragedies.  And all stories eventually intertwine with each other in a road accident.  And after that intersecting climax, each narrative would end separately with different conclusions.

The first story is about Vanessa (Mercedes Cabral), a migrant nurse working in Dubai so that she could save up for the medical expenses of a sick infant child who was left in the Philippines in the care of her husband Ken (Victor Neri). During a medical procedure where the medical staff were reviving a dying AIDS patient, Vanessa accidentally injected an AIDS infected syringe into her arm causing her to get infected with the virus.  Vanessa was isolated because of the virus and had only a fellow nurse Jam (Izella Agbulos) to support her.  Vanessa was eventually deported back home only to find out that her infant child is already dead and Ken is already having an affair with another woman. Vanessa had to live alone in a house owned by Jam only to deal with gossiping neighbours who eventually kicked her out of the neighbourhood after finding out she had HIV.  During an emotional rage where she was running on the street, she almost got hit by a motor biker who eventually hit a child instead. But instead of getting involved with the rescue, she fled the scene.  Vanessa went in isolation and eventually dies of hunger and the sickness.

The second story is about Nadine (Baby Martin) and his son Ivan (Bon Andrew Lentejas).  Nadine labours as a sexual worker at night to financially support herself and Ivan. Although Nadine uses condoms for protection, she performs oral sex during times she had mouth blisters.  Upon learning that she got infected, Nadine flees from society but leaves behind a letter to Ivan and advises him to get tested for the infection.  Upon learning that he was not infected, Ivan goes into an emotional rage knowing that he and his mother will forever be separated by the infection.  Ivan’s emotional rage led him into a road accident with a motor biker.  Ivan together with the motor biker were brought to the hospital and both eventually survive. Ivan is then adopted by the childless couple who had been his supportive acquaintances. Twenty-five years later, Ivan becomes a medical doctor and his story ends with him giving lectures about HIV and AIDS.

The last story is about Harry (Dong Literal), a financially challenged single man who is a member of a motor bikers club who gets involved in multiple same sex relationships with financially wealthy men to support his financial needs. This idea he got from a fellow motor biker Lester (Kristofer King) who advised him that having sexual relations with wealthy men are safe because they are clean and having sexual relations with them would ease his financial burden. Because Harry got the notion that wealthy men were clean and were not prone to HIV / AIDS, he ended up getting infected for not using any protections during these sexual encounters.  After finding out that he got the infection, Harry goes into a violent rage and confronts Lester with whom he loses a fistfight. He then goes driving in his motor bike which led him into a road accident with Ivan after trying to prevent his bike from hitting Vanessa.  He and Ivan survive the accident and he eventually gets support from his motor biker friends, medical authorities and non-government HIV/AIDS awareness advocacy group lgbtBUS where there is a cameo appearance by the lgbtBUS CEO and I-Arose founder Thomas Fleckner and the lgbtBUS president Regie Pasion.  The story ends 25 years later with Harry together with his remaining surviving motor biker friends commemorating the memories of their departed motor biker club members.

This movie really reflects what is really happening when our society deals with HIV and AIDS.  It shows how the sickness destroys peoples’ lives and their future if people involved do not know how to deal with this issue.  It also enlightens viewers how the infected persons really need emotional support in times of tragedies like these.  It reminds me of movies like Philadelphia.  But one thing that is different with this movie is the inclusion of technical statistical data graphics showing how the number of people getting infected with HIV and AIDS are increasing. Another thing that makes this movie unique are the scenes showing processes on how doctors work in determining how the virus is detected, where the scenes and the camera shots of blood being tested are so intense.  I really recommend this movie for viewing so that we can remove wrong notions about HIV and AIDS and to get more information and advise on how to deal with the sickness.  And hopefully, there would be more movies like this that would educate the movie-goers and would contribute to the removal of stigma against people with HIV and AIDS.

 

By Roderick Tubil

 

 

 

lgbtBUS President Regie Pasion, Movie Director Ace A. Rocha and CEO lgbtBUS Thomas Fleckner

 

Filipino Artist and 'Dad' of Kristofer King Sunny Garcia, Regie Pasion, Int'l awarded movie actor Kristofer King and lgbtBUS CEO Thom as Fleckner

 

 

    

 

... with lead actor Dong Literal

 

Exclusive scenes from the movie:

     

 

 

 

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Bugso, the new movie announced

 

Regie Pasion and Thomas Fleckner, both President and CEO of lgbtBUS Philippines, have important cameo roles in this new Movie coming out soon, and to be shown on DVD and cinemas. This film is very important for the HIV/AIDS awareness and enlightenment. The movie stands out for its natural and 'real life' approach, shifting away from stereotyping. Kristofer King, a straight actor and supporter of the LGBT community, plays also a role. Further, Mercedes Cabral,Vandolph Quizon,Victor Neri and Dong Literal.

lgbtBUS officially and specially thanks the director Ace Aenlle Rocha for choosing lgbtBUS to be a part. 

 

Further thanks go to Sunny Garcia, without this would not be possible!

More about the launch and the movie itself coming soon.

 

 

 

 

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    Sweeten your season with a chance to win purchase balance for amazon     This is a great opportunity to win an amazon gift card / code. Don't miss this, so that you can buy... Read More...
IMAGE ALFA - A new party, a new hope?
Tuesday, 08 September 2015
    ALFA - A new party, a new hope?   Since July 19 2015 Germany has a new party. Split off from the AfD (Alternative for Germany) the new ALFA Party (Alliance for Process and Renewal)... Read More...
IMAGE Google Glass - See the future is here
Thursday, 01 August 2013
  Google Glass (styled "GLΛSS") is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project, with... Read More...
IMAGE Ayala Museum
Tuesday, 15 January 2013
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IMAGE Nudging - The 'other' way of mass manipulation
Wednesday, 25 January 2017
  Nudging - The 'other' way of mass manipulation   "Nudge or nudging is a concept in behavioural science, political theory and economics which argues that positive reinforcement and... Read More...
IMAGE The Original 25th of December Celebrations
Tuesday, 20 December 2016
  The Original 25th of December Celebrations   Before the onset of the New Year, people around the world would annually celebrate a festivity called Christmas.  And those folks... Read More...
IMAGE The human psychology on ones position - Radicalism
Saturday, 19 November 2016
  The human psychology on ones position - Radicalism   Radicalism is a result of oppression, suppression or isolation. It is the call for attention in regards to something... Read More...
IMAGE The Abuse of “Conditioning” By Religion
Sunday, 18 September 2016
  The Abuse of “Conditioning” By Religion   Religion is in our face every day even if we have made it out of the hands of those who abuse the minds, the religious conditioning is still... Read More...
IMAGE Pascal’s Wager: Is it Your Best Bet?
Thursday, 15 August 2013
  The Wager.   “What if you’re wrong?” It’s a common question theists ask to non-believers.  What if you’re wrong and god exists and sends you to hell for your non belief?... Read More...

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