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Kiva Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious

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Loan-A-Thon Dates:
January 1+2 (New Years)
April 1+2 (April Fools)
July 1+2 (near Muhammad Yunus' birthday and many national sovereignty celebrations)
October 31+November 1 (Halloween)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Self-Deception: To Believe What We Are Not

It is true that people live in a world of self-deception. They remain aware that it is possible to be deceived by another person-- a family member, a coworker, or a friend-- so they try to ensure that they are not taken advantage of or fooled. They know that if they are deceived that they will have to reap the costs of their error in judgment. It is sort of like a part of the human radar in order to avoid people that are dishonest and greedy--- a social behavior that was used long ago by our ancestors to do the same for the protection of their families, tribes, territory, and resources.

Deception is prevalent in society among relatives and non-relatives. It takes effort and energy to maintain a straight face and charm in order to deceive others. Whether the deception has to do with telling a lie to get away with something or take advantage of someone the individual has to almost believe their own deception to outwardly give an impression of honesty and genuineness. Not only do they deceive others but they subconsciously deceive themselves. It becomes increasingly difficult for the person to distinguish between what is real and what is superficial and where to draw the line.

It is not easy to understand self-deception from the point of view of a human being. We constantly judge ourselves while judging others and adopt or develop stereotypes in order to understand other people. We feel that we are more or less right about our judgments about ourselves and others but we are simply not. We tend to hold biases about different things (i.e. politics, race, gender, age, beauty, wealth, happiness, etc.) that make up part of our moral sense. These biases do not necessarily make up who a person is but instead reflects what society as a whole believes. These beliefs are emphasized in the media in order to get the attention of individuals and mold their opinions--- it is a form of deception. We pick and choose what to believe based on societal 'norms' and in turn deceive ourselves by accepting different biases without really understanding the ideas.

There is truly a cycle of deception which exists in society and it causes human beings to continuously deceive ourselves. Although it is important to detect when someone is being deceptive it is also important to understand that deception exists in all parts of society whether it is in government, business, media, social interactions, religion, education, it is everywhere.

We cannot simply believe something without knowing the basis of the idea or belief. There needs to be a means to understand society. One credible method is to look to science and evolutionary psychology for an understanding of human nature and why our thoughts operate in such a way. We are no more than a biological species with feelings and thoughts but we cannot believe that the basis of our moral sense comes from something beyond our biological limits. In that case, we are simply deceiving and confusing ourselves and driving us further from reality-- from what is true in the realm of our nature. We are only hurting ourselves when we believe what we are not.

By Rajvee

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Loan-A-Thon: April 1st 2009

Our next Loan-A-Thon is April 1st, can't wait because they are always so fun. Let's work to stretch our lead and help reduce poverty in the world.

We recently got a nice mention from one of our team members on the blog Daylight Atheism and a link from Reddit

Kiva released an API recently that allows for some cool Kiva related Web Apps to be created. Here's one that crossed my desktop: Kiva World

In a sad turn of events for Canada, the Minister for Science is ignorant of the factual nature of Evolution (Google

By Peter

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Goal: $1 million dollars by year end 2009

There's been plenty discussion on our team message board recently. The topic of setting a new goal has come up and the consensus is that our new goal is to loan $1 million by the end of 2009! Goals have worked great for us in the past and I predict we will meet and beat this goal. Our team is expanding, we are now over 3000 members and growing. Current members have been recruiting new members and we are surely getting new members every time people come back to Kiva and see us at the top of the team list, a position we desire to keep ;)

Although only a small percentage of Kiva users are participating in teams I think it's safe to say that our numbers are reflective of the amount of Atheist/Agnostics in the overall Kiva loaner population. It's a joy for me to be a team member with all of you and we are making a stand for reasoned and rational thinking.

One of our team members Viktor wrote a blog about our success; great read.

Abortion is a topic that's been extensively discussed recently on the message board. In my opinion Michael had the most Enlightened comment:

first, the concept that life "begins" at conception is completely misleading. Life does not begin when a sperm enters an egg because sperm and egg are already alive. It is the continuation of a biological process. We can confirm this by considering what would happen if egg or sperm were exposed to harsh conditions like heat: they would loose their biological activity, i.e. die, and no longer be fertile. In strict biological terms the question "When does life begin?" is moot: it began several billion years ago and hasn't stopped since. Implying some new life has been created by the fertilization of an egg is just putting on own cultural view on it. In fact, this whole concept has been hijacked by Christians, making it difficult to have a meaningful conversation regarding ethics and responsibility in human pregnancy.

By Peter