Welcome to the Always Question Authority blog, which came into existence, out of nothing, on 07.11.2011.
“Call me Madison.” I am an outspoken, unabashed, unapologetic, strident atheist, uncompromising antitheist, antinatalist, antiauthoritarian, anti-Capitalist, feminist, monist, rationalist, and political dissident. The intent of this blog is to inform readers of the vast negative social and political implications to humanity caused by the poison of political and religious reactionary right-wing dogmatism.
This blog is for the well-informed, and well-read with an independence of mind that place a high value on reason, critical thought, and general intellectualism. It is for those that value reason over revelation, science over superstition and facts over faith!
The Always Question Authority blog consists mostly of articles, videos, etc. that I have read, or watched, and choose to share with my viewers. Posts penned by me will explicitly read, “By Madison S. Hughes (mm.dd.yyyy).” All aphorisms are written by me, and labeled as such. I will re-post Aphorisms when updated. I will also re-post any article, video, etc., that I deem worthy of repetition. All other posts are linked to the source from which they were accessed, or, if able, the root source of their origin. I claim no credit for posts, that do not bear “By Madison S. Hughes (mm.dd.yyyy).”
Although most of the material contained within will have social and political implications, some art, poetry, and music selections will be posted for aesthetic appreciation.
It is my sincere hope that you find the posts on this blog informative, intellectually stimulating, and rewarding. If you have any suggestions that you feel would make your visits even more profitable, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
To spare you from the idiotic comments made by the bat-shit crazy, all comments are moderated, and Trolls will not be fed here.
Awesome website. I grew up in a non-religious (“none”) household. Unless we were invited to attend a church service, we never attended. We never belonged to a church. We never read the Bible. We never prayed. And the only time Christianity was ever discussed was when we laughed at the bullshit by such Televangelists as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell (Sr), Billy Graham, and Jim Bakker. We never bought into what they said.
Nice blog… Have you heard about Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev in India? I think you may find many things to write about him.. He is a very influential figure in India, many people consider him as a spiritual authority but he has made many extraordinary claims. No one wants to challenge him but many independent blogs have criticized him.
For example, Once he narrated an incident in one of his talks:
“So this lady in the house brought water for me and she’s like Kali suddenly, not just kathak, she’s like Kali. I looked at her – she’s a nice lady, today she’s in the Kali form – so I looked at her and she offered water to me and I said, ‘Amma, I don’t need this water. I don’t need to drink this water. You’re like Kali right now, I don’t need Kali’s prasadam right now, I’m fine.’ She said, ‘Why, will I poison it?’ I said, ‘No, you don’t have to poison it, it’s already done.’ Then I told her, ‘You take a sip from this glass.’ She took a sip from the glass, then I said, ‘Give me the glass to me.’ I held in my hands for two minutes and I just gave it to her, ‘You drink it now.’ She drank one sip and burst into tears and started crying, she said, ‘It’s sweet.’ I said, ‘That’s all the difference it is.’”
He was talking about water having memory which has been dismissed as pseudoscience. But in that particular talk, he claimed that science has evidence for it.I have written more about it here: http://bit.ly/rallyforscience
He has also ridiculed science, which has been harshly criticized here: http://nirmukta.com/2012/07/26/jaggi-vasudev-doesnt-understand-science-or-the-nature-of-the-universe/ . If you read the comments, you will see how blindly people support him. I would love to see his claims challenged. By the way, On 13th April 2017, he was conferred the “Padma Vibhushan” by the Government of India, the highest amongst the annual civilian awards, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service.
Greetings Madison! As I have been a devoted atheist for most of my life I find Always Question stimulating, especially that there are other thinking people in the world!
I am thinking of starting a movement here in Cape Town South Africa? Any advice?
Ie. SAAA = South African Atheist Alliance or something to do with critical thinking. Any pointers would be appreciated.
Thank you for your comments. I am not sure if there are any existing atheist organizations in South Africa, but here in the US we have some wonderful organizations such as Freedom From Religion Foundation, American Atheists, Americans for Separation of Church and State, etc. And, of course, there is the Richard Dawkins Foundation in the UK.
Many organizations like these have local chapter affiliations. If there is no such thing in South Africa perhaps you might consider starting a local chapter affiliation from an organization like those mentioned. If you choose to start such an organization please let me know, and I will add a link to it to my blog.
I remember a video posted on your site that began with a candle being lit and the narrator explaining why he didn’t want to live forever. Some dialogue went like this, “I’d have eternity to learn French…” Can you send me the link if I have my facts correct please?
You meant it when you said you were outspoken! I’m going to enjoy reading your blog.
And here’s a little light reading in return…
– Your friendly local atheist tax preparer
It was a pleasure meeting you. I am glad to see you here, and I hope you enjoy it. By the way, my YouTube Channel may be found here:
Finally getting around to checking your blog. (Only like two years later…) This is awesome Madison! I can tell that you have put some real time into this. I am going to have to dive into all the cool info that you have on here. Anyway, wanted to let you know that I finally checked it. Come by and say hi and browse some books sometime soon.
Thank you for your comments and compliments. I am glad you enjoyed your visit. I look forward to seeing you at the bookstore soon.
Are you still going Madison?
Only it’s been about 2 or 3 weeks since I last heard from you!
07.09 – England
I’m not trying be bias. I love your blog. I’m so glad you listened to Bill and me to start this blog. Every day I read your blog, and I always learn something new.
I’m so proud of you,
I appreciate your blog and agree with a lot of it. However, I could not help but notice it seems strongly biased to the left… yet you advise ALWAYS questioning authority? Seems like a contradiction to me.
Why is there no mention of the current drone controversy and Rand Paul’s filibuster? Hopefully not because most people classify him as a Republican. It would seem to me he is questioning authority when others have not. Those that dismiss him as a fool don’t truly understand civil liberties.
For the record, I am a Libertarian, not Republican. I loathe Republican policies on crime & punishment, the failed drug war, interventionist wars and national offense. Please don’t brush me off as some partisan hater. Thanks
Thank you for your comment.
You are absolutely correct, my blog is biased to the left, however, it is by no means partisan. As is clearly stated in my About Page, “I am an outspoken, unapologetic atheist, uncompromising anti-theist and an antinatalist. The intent of this blog is to inform readers of the vast negative social and political implications to humanity caused by the poison of specifically religious, and generally political, reactionary right-wing dogmatism.” Do notice that there is no mention of Party. Be assured that I “ALWAYS question authority,” and I give no exemption to the left.
I could not agree with you more concerning the drone controversy, for I have never stated otherwise! As a matter of fact, to both personal friends and acquaintances alike, I have been rather vocal in my expression of commendation to Rand Paul for his courage and endurance concerning his filibuster, and I wholeheartedly agree with him that the President has not been forthright and transparent concerning the drone program.
However, his filibuster does not dismiss him as not being foolish on the whole. While I agree with many of the Libertarian views, I do dismiss their most popular and vocal spokesmen, e.g., Rand Paul and Alex Jones as utter fools. Many of the Libertarian convictions are viable; however most of the Libertarian spokesmen are irrational, irresponsible, and as bat-shit crazy as their white-wing Tea Party compatriots.
I too “loathe Republican policies on crime [and] punishment, the failed drug war, interventionist wars and national offense,” and frankly everything else for which they and their benighted followers stand.
For the record, I am a not a Democrat. I am a registered Green Party member, and my political, social and economic views are most closely aligned on the Marxist/Socialist end of the spectrum.
Again, thank you for your comment, and know that I do not dismiss you as “some partisan hater.”
Indeed, Madison has, in other venues and offline, been severely criticial of POTUS and the AG in their muddled and shifting stance on the use of drones domestically as well as other administration policies. He is no water boy for Obama to be sure.
I would add to this discussion that, in the absence of progressives stepping in to challenge the government’s drone policy, they ceded important strategic and moral ground to Rand Paul. In my view they missed an opportunity to demonstrate ideological consistency and, strategically, to cultivate an important ally for future struggles. Remember, Paul has pretty consistently opposed the Patriot Act.
At the same time, as Madison suggests, let’s no one get too carried away with Rand Paul. He has a fairly mixed record on civil rights himself. I won’t go into all that here but check out his history on Guantanamo, the Ground Zero Mosque controversy, and surveillance of foreign exchange students. He has also opposed in the past certain provisions of the Civil Rights Act.
Hello. I really appreciate all the resources on your blog. I think we share many ideas in common, and you may be interested in my blog. investmeinmymotley.wordpress.com
Today I wrote about Robert G Ingersoll’s Thanksgiving sermon.
I try to keep my blog less angry and assertive, not because I disagree with atheist principles, but because I want to reach a large audience that may not be ready yet to admit their doubts. It can take a very long time and a lot of hard work to let go.
Your blog is coming into my email.
I appreciate your comment; however, your blog content indicates that you are much too intelligent to have misconstrued my blog’s indignant tone for anger. The “Great Agnostic,” is one of my favorite authors—always a pleasure to read.
Love your courage.
Love the blog, love the quotes, love the aphorisms. I hope you don’t mind that I’m not overly well-informed, or well-read but I do have an independent, open mind! 🙂 I look forward to reading more!
You have been tagged. http://windupmyskirt.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/tag-im-it/
I’m a member from a Dutch FreeThinker forum. ( http://www.freethinker.nl )
To promote skepticism/critical thinking our admin wrote some questions for the Christian believer.
Maybe you can put the link on your blog, so somebody can discus them here.
The topic on Freethinker is locked, so discussion there is not possible.
I hope you can enjoy them.
Jim, Warmenhuizen, The Netherlands.
The original questions
The English translation
Love the site man. I was reading one of your Aphorism articles and can’t seem to locate it. You wrote about how the 99% are forced to work for a pittance…and be happy about it. That was the gist. Can you email me the link please; it was right on.
-Rick from PA
I am glad to read that you are enjoying my blog. If it was an Aphorism, a better way to search would be to select the Aphorisms button at the top of the Home page. Also, if you scroll to the bottom of the sidebar on the right of the page, and select the month from the MONTH ARCHIVES, then just roll your cursor over each day to see the title of each subject posted on that particular day. With all that said, I found an aphorism titled “On Supply-side Economics,” dated 09.20.2011, that may be what you were describing. It may be found here:
Of course, I can’t be sure it is the one of which you refer; however, if it is not let me know, and I will continue to help you find it.
Love the site. Found from Atheist blogroll. You had a Aphorism speaking about
how the 99% “…are forced to work for a pittance” and be happy about it. I CAN’T FIND IT!
I went all the way up to page twenty and I can’t read any more. Please advise. It was right on.
-Rick from PA
Keep up the great work man.
May I question *your* authority? (And mine too, of course.) Three big icon-figures look out from your home page – they’re not saints for a new religion, by any chance? I admire Dawkins and Hitchens (who’s the third one?) but my admiration or veneration alone isn’t enough. Honesty, truth to experience, fallibility, humanity, generosity – these matter. The established churches may not say much about this, but the man chosen by Jesus to be the rock of his church denied him on the day of his execution *three times* – fallibility is the core of our humanity. I can’t see much difference between Hitchens’ willful political vacillations and the absurdity of an infallible church. The point is the generosity of spirit that credits to us the fallible something better than our fallibility. Love and generosity, in an absurd world, are more important than intelligence. Science is a fantastic tool but it is not the or an answer. The universe may be tending towards entropy, but the consciousness that could make that perception isn’t. I’m not saying that established religions are the answer either, but I would argue that we need to have a conception of the good in order to make things better. Have a rational – and generous – day.
Thank you for taking the time to comment.
The third figure on my home page banner is Sam Harris, an American author, and neuroscientist. He authored the 2005 book titled “the End of Faith.”
Many people take issue with what they perceive as “Hitchens’ willful political vacillations.” I used to be of that ilk concerning his support for the United States’ illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. However, after watching a video interview of one of his great friends, writer Ian McEwan, I realized why Christopher seemed to vacillate to those of us that did not understand that he was simply against tyranny, and what one would consider a rare member of the Anti-Totalitarian Left. It is just that in contemporary times the ‘left’ is ‘dovish,’ while the ‘right’ has gone extremely ‘hawkish,’ therefore, anyone on the left that has any hawkish bone in them, even if it is against tyranny, is seen as one with “willful political vacillations.”
The video interview I mentioned above is worth the watch, and may be found here:
Good answer Madison. Hitchens never moved to the right. His justification for Iraq did not mean a support for US foreign policy. He wrote many great polemics against that too. He was for the Iraq invasion for the same reason as he supported the British in the Falklans. He could imagine no worser place to live than under the bondage of a thought oppressive tyrant.
Love the blogs by the way. Good to see fellow atheists waving the banner
That is not really the case. Given thier Lutheran Past and present. In Scandinavia it would seem that religion and reason coexist. The reilgious are not restricted, in essence they have not rid themselves of religion.
History tells us that every society that has sought to rid itself of religion to replace it with “reason” has become authoritative. The Soviet Union, Cuba, Vietnam, etc.
Contemporary Scandinavia proves otherwise.
Thoughtful blog; well organized. Do we have an obligation to reason such that reason itself is authoritative? If so, then is reason itself an authority that should also be questioned?
Those are excellent questions! I have enjoyed pondering them for the last few minutes, and my preliminary responses are as follows:
Allow me to answer in reverse order, if you will.
“[I]s reason itself an authority that should also be questioned? To me, this is a no-brainer. Any, and all, authority should be questioned at all times without exception. Even if an abstraction like reason is elevated to the level of authority.
“Do we have an obligation to reason such that reason itself is authoritative?”
There are many ways to go on this one. I want to reflect on this further. Great question!
Considering the contrasting lenses with which we view life, I imagine our answers to this question would be quite dissimilar as well.
After reflection, my answer to the question, “Do we have an obligation to reason such that reason itself is authoritative?,” is that reason acts as a built-in check valve against itself becoming authoritative.
Awesome stuff. Yay for rejecting blind acceptance. 🙂
Your blog looks great, Madison. I’ve only gone through some of the most recent posts, but I’ll be sure to make some time for the rest later. Please keep up the good work.
I am glad you enjoyed your visit. I share your great admiration of Carl Sagan. I am posting, “Pale Blue Dot – Carl Sagan [Original],” for others to enjoy. Thank you for the nostalgia of the great Carl Sagan.