Thursday, June 30, 2011

Discussion with Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Great discussion with my main man Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Dan Barker. Sometimes when I get riled up over religious ideology, I use Neil (and my wife) as a check against myself so I don't become a raving looney ambassador for secularism (no one can stand a raving looney ambassador for a specific religion either). There has to be a respectful dialogue when dealing with these most powerful of human emotions, blind faith, especially when discussing with adults who have been indoctrinated and immersed in their beliefs for years and years. You also have to be aware of the battles you wish to choose and realize some people are not willing to keep an open mind on topics such as this, and some people base their beliefs on faulty logic and faulty science, while still others have a desire to remain a slave to their minds and there's nothing you could say or present to them to make them think otherwise. Lucky for us, we have science and facts and an ever growing wealth of knowledge of the universe, of human history and the history of the earth on our side. If nothing else, this is a never-ending positive reinforcement for us that leaving organized religion was the best decision we ever made. 

Neil has this incredible way of putting things into perfect perspective. He knows his science and stands behind that and presents his arguments in a way that is not invasive and makes people think rationally without pointing fingers at what is blatantly wrong or ill-conceived or calling people fools. He is one of my heroes because he makes science fun and exciting... 

Ancient Quasar Puzzles

Most Distant Quasar Raises Questions

A gigantic primordial quasar has been detected in the far reaches of the universe, only some 770 million years after the "big bang". If the findings are accurate, this may lead scientists to redefine how they think black holes of this size can form in such a short period of time. One of the studies going on at the Large Hadron Collider is seeing if atom-sized black holes are created by smashing particles together at near the speed of light, a discovery there could help our understanding of the formations of black holes in the early universe. In a side note, I highly recommend the tv series "Through the Worm Hole with Morgan Freeman". It is an excellent excellent show on some of the most exciting topics in the science world today, from time to extra dimensions, to whether humans have souls.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Jesus was claimed to have been divinely begotten, but if we look into our past we see that this is, in fact, a recurring theme among deities:

Horus - Egyptian god (The Falcon). Horus was born to the virgin goddess Isis after she became fertilized by a gold phallus. Horus is worshipped as the god of the sky, containing both the sun and the moon.

Attis - Greek eunuch god of vegetation. Attis was born to the virgin Nana, who then abandoned the baby (moses, anyone?)

Krishna - Hindu god born, not to a virgin, but through divine conception between Vasudeva (the supreme deity) and princess Devaki (whose birth threatened the current king's reign - this sounds familiar)

Dionysus - Greek god of wine and ecstasy. Father was Zeus (king of the gods) and mother was a mortal named Semele. Zeus' wife Hera wanted the child killed.

Mithra - Persian god, Zoroastrianism, of covenant and oath, the god of truth and the god over pastures (ie shepherd).

Buddha - born to Queen Maya who conceived during a dream by a white elephant

Tammuz - babylonian/sumerian shepherd god born of the god Ea and virgin mortal Ishtar, hidden as an infant

Quetzalcoatl - mesoamerican god (feathered serpent),  was the boundary maker between the earth and the sky, and was considered the morning sun

It's quite obvious that ancient man, in his foggy interpretation of the awe and wonder of the natural world around him and his keen sense of the attributes of man, assigned human-like gods to the powers of the earth and the universe to help make sense of it all. These were passed down through legend and stories to explain to the common people how they got there and why things were the way they were. It's blatantly obvious that bits and pieces of these ancient tales made their way through the ages as gods became increasingly all-powerful and all-knowing. The similarities between these gods (and there are much too many with similar exaggerated tales to mention) is striking. Virgin births, sex between gods and mortals, the most powerful gods being associated with the sun and the motion of the planets and alignment of the constellations, gods of fertility and of harvest, you name it. Gods who died and were raised from the dead. There is so much to derive from, that when you read the stories in the bible, new and old testament, you can't help but be reminded of these ancient epic tales, and think how this is plagiarism, but slightly rewritten again for a specific audience who wanted their own god who watched over them, versus their enemy's gods. I wish I had paid more attention to the mythology lessons when I was a kid, it's something that fascinates me now. How I wish we could add the rest of the "gods" to the annals of the mythology lesson and out of the science lesson.

Christians Reach Accord on Proselytizing

Evangelicals, WCC, Vatican Reach Accord on Proselytizing

"Christian missionaries should renounce all “deception and coercive means” of winning converts, according to an agreement released Tuesday (June 28) by a broad coalition of evangelicals, the World Council of Churches and the Vatican."

If they indeed stick to this decision, wouldn't this mean the end to proselytizing altogether? We should be so lucky! Their whole concept of winning converts is through deception and coercion to have people believe that which is not true by evoking retribution of eternal damnation in hell. How much more deceptive and coercive can you get? I will be amazed if an agreement like this has any effect on anything. The goal of these faiths is to convert as many people as possible to A, bring in the money, B, foster their opinions and beliefs with the masses so they can control the people, and C, to fulfill the prophecies to bring on the end times. This is it. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

King James

When the King Saved God

Fantastic history lesson from one of the great intellects of our generation, Christopher Hitchens. While I am a devout non-believer, I also understand the impact the bible has made on our species culturally. There are many many wonderful lines of scripture that can be words to live by, but couple that with the many many terrible, nasty lines of scripture it seems so easy to see how it was written by man in the 1st century (new testament) and prior (old testament). What this essay does for me, is highlight how easily manipulated the text can be from one inscription to the next (then, let your mind imagine how many times this may have happened over the centuries. Prior to the king james version, only a select few influential people had the ability to manipulate it how they saw fit), and what one should take from it is that the words and messages of the bible are not to be taken literally as edict or as a history lesson, but to be read as a book of myths and legends or a source for inspiration in some cases; a literary work to be appreciated for just that, not for something divine.

I can take two thoughts from this major event in the history of man, the translation of the bible into english. The first is that this was an initial sign of an undercurrent that began to pick away at the foundations of church dogma and church control. After this point, people didn't only have to go to the church for heavenly dictate on the meaning of life or human existence or our place in the cosmos. It allowed the noose of the control of the church over the people to loosen ever so slightly as to allow dissent and differing opinions and interpretations. After this point, you start to see a fracturing of christianity into its various sects, various versions of the bible were written for each faith's specific interpretations of the passages. While heretics were still burned at the stake, this initial loss of control ultimately allowed for the atheist/agnostic/deistic sentiment to arise. [Tangent story- One of the things I always thought was wrong about the catholic church is that there were never any bibles in the pews. Now that I reflect back as an adult, I see how the catholic church still tries to manipulate the message it sends to its congregants because the only scripture ever addressed in mass are the cherry-picked verses in the liturgy of the word. My personal opinion on this is while they obviously pick passages to inspire, etc., the underlying message is that they still don't want the sheep to read the whole book for fear they might lose their faith. This is why there are no bibles in the pews. You would think for a faith based on this one book, they would have the book available for its parishioners to read, or you would at least think the people would want to read the book in which they place so much faith. It baffles me.]

My second thought on this is a question of whether translating the book allowed for christianity to linger longer than it would have. Making the text widely available to the masses also kept the idea of a christian faith-based belief culturally popular and allowed it to pervade society to the core. It was one of a few books that most people have been influenced by one way or another, and was one of a handful that commoners were allowed to read. This may have helped entrench these beliefs in people to this day, passed on from generation to generation. I wonder if there had been no english translation, would the corrupt church-government relationships have been overthrown in a time of upheaval? Would humans have switched to another all-powerful deity instead or would they have been converted to islam or some other faith of an invading nation? It's fascinating to learn about the history of religions and to realize the amount of people that now believe these myths throughout the world can be traced back to just one or just a handful of emperors'/rulers' decisions on how to control their people. How different the world could have been if the gods of the greeks or romans or egyptians had been indoctrinated on the people instead! Or if major scientific discovery had come sooner in our history, would we be a more secular, free and advanced society today?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Energy Frontiers

Can One Idea Be Energy's Holy Grail?

Interesting look into the race to find cheap, mass-produced, safe, unlimited energy. This "Hot Fusion" concept offers some major advantages over our current situation and while I believe we should pursue all avenues available through rigorous R&D, we should all be mindful of our own personal energy use and take advantage of the technologies currently available to reduce energy consumption in the home and on the roads. The "Big Energy" Companies behind these new frontiers aren't likely to give up their record profits any day soon, so whatever we ultimately switch to will still cost an arm and a leg (and someone is likely to figure out how to turn it into a weapon). Wind, Solar and Geo-thermal energy are all viable options currently available to consumers (with government rebates still applicable in most cases) as well as a wide variety of energy saving technologies such as upgraded insulation and energy star appliances and hybrid vehicles. There is plenty out there now that we can do to lower our own energy bills without having to wait for major industry change, which is bound to be long and messy. If we reduce our needs for fossil fuels, we can eliminate the crazy geo-political entanglements we find ourselves in and can worry about truly important global issues other than energy.

May the Great Turtle Bless You

It's actually quite scary how close some of these ignorant morons are to becoming the leader of the free world. I hope people understand the scary ramifications of electing someone like Bachmann... 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

One Giant Leap for Mankind

'Have to Do This': Cuomo Charts Course for Gay Marriage in NY

Well done, New York! Hats off to you for doing the right thing. Great article here about the background story bringing this momentous law to fruition. A couple of things that jump out to me are just how much "politics" really goes on behind the scenes. The back room handshake deals and I'll rub your back if you rub mine and give me lots of $$$, kind of shows how corrupt the system really is. It seems most politicians don't even get to vote the way their heart is telling them, but allow many outside factors to influence their votes for political gain (The religious are going to jump all over this aspect of the story, but the truth is that every piece of legislation in our government is adopted in such a manner, the religious have some of the most influential lobbying power of them all - so don't let them fool you). In this particular case, the outcome is worth the meddling because it offers equality to those who have been unjustly discriminated against in the past. The other thing that I noticed is how much of a personal effect knowing or being related to a homosexual can affect politicians who voted the other way previously. This all stems from the fear mongering and bigotry spewed by the religious to hate what you don't understand because it is different, but once you get to know some of these people you start to realize that they are, in fact, just like you. Congratulations to Governor Andrew Cuomo for being relentless in fulfilling this campaign promise, this truly could be the gateway that marks the beginning of true equality for all in the United States... Cheers!

"I Accept Evolution Scientifically but Reject it Religiously"

Does Islam Stand Against Science?

Really great article here discussing the relationship and many different facets between science and islam. I was raised christian, so my knowledge and experience comes from the other side of this same equation. While there are so many similarities between the two, there are quite a few variations and this piece really goes in depth. I shutter to think where our species would have been if not for the many waves of religious fundamentalism and violence over the millennia. Christianity and Islam have both tremendously hindered our scientific progress and it's good to talk about these issues that affect us all in a growingly ever-connected world.

Friday, June 24, 2011

2 Hands Working Can Accomplish More than 1000 Clasped in Prayer

Guru Kailash Singh Quit Bathing 37 Years Ago

In some lighter news, it is beyond me how you could go this long without being clean. I can't go a day without showering or I feel filthy. This is just another example of the power of religious persuasion over the feeble minded. A priest told him to stop washing so it would bear him a son (I would love to know where this ludicrous idea even sprouted from), and he's had 7 daughters since, haha! You honestly can't make this stuff up, the truth is stranger than fiction sometimes. There is scientific proof that prayer has no effect:

Prayer Study: An Example

One of the greatest errors of mankind is this idea that god answers prayers. The system, unfortunately is stacked to sway the believer as a double-positive. I mean to say that if you pray for something and it happens, well then it's obvious that god heard you and indeed answered your prayer. If you pray and nothing happens, well god still heard you but he is testing your faith and your prayer will be answered exactly as you wished it in due time or it will be answered in some other fashion down the road and you say "ah hah! this was god's will all along". In every case, god wins. I hate to break it to you, but this is just the nature of being. Some things will happen to you and other things won't. Some things that happen will be good for you, others will be bad. This is life. Praying about it has no effect because there is no supernatural force controlling any special requests you make of it. You would think after 37 years, Kailash would get the hint, but his religion has blinded him to believe that his prayer will be answered in due time, to the detriment of the nostrils of the townspeople. God is obviously testing his faith otherwise he would have had a son.

"Two hands working can accomplish more than a thousand clasped in prayer"... what a great quote

This brings me to another thought I've had about amazing events happening to people around the world. Insane coincidences that seem to baffle the mind. When something extraordinary happens to you or someone you know, it makes you stop and wonder how could this be? is this god? This obviously gives fuel to the believers, but the odds are actually pretty good when you crunch the numbers. Consider the world has almost 7 billion people... 7 BILLION. Each going through their daily routines, etc, etc... What would be a good estimate for the odds of something out of the ordinary or extraordinary happening to someone? 1 in a million? Simple math here would show that 7 billion over 1 million leaves 7,000 extraordinary events per person in a lifetime! what about the odds of something truly mind-numbing happening to you? Let's say, 1 in a billion? that still gives you 7 out of this world events per person in a lifetime, plenty that can be accounted for by natural processes and the odds given the sheer number of people alive. The feelings that these events bestow on the eventee that seem other worldly are only made more pronounced by the circle of people you interact with. You are affected by their extraordinary events second-hand and so forth. Seems divine on the surface, but when you think about it critically, it is really just the statistical eventuality that you feel.

This is not to take away from those special events, you should want to feel the full impact of an extraordinary occurrence, good or bad, because that is the essence of living. We can be in awe of the power of statistical anomalies.

I suggest a new strategy, instead of praying for something to happen, go out an do it. Go out and accomplish what it is you want. Work hard and make yourself a better person for going through the struggle. If it's someone you are praying about, instead help them with all the resources available to you or comfort them if they are ill or grieve with them if they've lost someone special. This will only serve to grow the bond between you and those you care about. You will find life much more fulfilling and rewarding in this way instead of just waiting for something to happen, waiting for that statistical anomaly to show you a path. Go out and blaze the path you want to blaze and accept the good with the bad along the way. But please, whatever you do, shower regularly...

Delta Enables Saudi Arabia's Anti Semitism

U.S. Jews Not Able to Fly on Delta Flights to Saudi Arabia

This is absolutely absurd. This type of intolerance is unacceptable. Who cares what people are wearing? Who cares what god they pray to and how they choose to show it. If they aren't bothering anyone, there should be no issue to allow people into your country. It's really a shame they have the world's largest oil reserves, because this allows the Saudi's to get away with it. They don't rely on foreign tourism dollars and the country is run by an islamic absolute monarchy that stifles individual freedom and whose religious leaders run the judicial system, education system and scientific research. Seems like the last bunch you would want running those departments from a purely world industrial competitive sense. I'm not sure what the desire is to keep power within a family... (obviously wealth and power and prestige) but people you happen to be related to aren't necessarily the best ones for the job. This is all a calculated measure of control to keep the thing going as long as possible to better themselves. If we could get off our dependence on fossil fuels, the world would see just how bankrupt a system like theirs really is (from a humanistic point of view). Their natural resource is their saving grace from having to reform in real, honest ways. I am disappointed with Delta Airlines in making this arrangement with the Saudi's because they are legitimizing their narrow-minded hateful world view to make a few bucks. Let's spread the word to avoid flying Delta to show them that these types of deals are not in the best interests of its customers.

NASA Dawn Mission Nears Asteroid Rendezvous

NASA Probe 'On Target' For Yearlong Asteroid Encounter

A mission started 4 years ago is about to start paying off. NASA's Dawn spacecraft is due to rendezvous with one of the larger asteroids in the asteroid belt, Vesta, next month. It will orbit for a year, taking all sorts of measurements and images and then fly off to meet up with the dwarf planet, Ceres. This mission should reveal all sorts of fascinating information about the early solar system and planet formation. I am excited to see the images when they start rolling in next month!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Hate You Because "god" Says You're Evil

In African Women's Soccer Homophobia Remains An Obstacle

This is just like the behavior of someone relying on faith to guide their beliefs.

"Uche said she had never witnessed her own players participating in homosexual activity. Instead, she said that she had relied on rumors, speculation and news media accounts to form her belief that lesbian behavior had been common in the Nigerian team."

There is no effort here on the coach's part to find the truth. She came in with preconceived notions about the team and preconceived notions about homosexuality that are by her own words not based in fact, but speculation. Some of these players now have to live in fear of hiding their true identities to be able to make the team or be ostracized or worse. It's terrible that people can get away with such hatred against others and just hide behind their faith and call that being righteous...

In other news, NY Senator Ruben Diaz gets caught in his own web of hypocrisy... This from the guy who so proudly boasted "I am the church AND the state!"

NY Senator Ruben Diaz on Gay Marriage - Interview with the Village Voice 6/23/11

Life, the Universe and Everything

Saturn Moon's Ice Shows Signs of Salty Sea

This is very exciting news for anyone interested in extraterrestrial life out there in the universe. Obviously being a moon made of ice, Enceladus had shown promise for oceans and life, but now scientists have been able to detect salt in the ice plumes from giant geysers erupting on the southern hemisphere. Because the moon is so far from the sun, as soon as the water erupts from the surface, it is immediately turned into ice crystals, freezing whatever elements may be contained as pristine as they were on the surface. The amount of salt present in these geysers shows the very real possibility of giant oceans under the surface, and where there is water, there may be life. The other cool bit about this news is that since these pristine salty water vapor crystals are shot out into space around the moon, a mere orbiter could go and collect very important data on the makeup of those crystals without having to land on the surface or drill. We may be able to detect bacterial life in this fashion.

Multicellular Life Arises in a Test Tube

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

US Evangelicals Pessimistic

U.S. Evangelicals Gloomy About Future, 'Global South' Optimistic, Study Finds

Really interesting study here done by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life on a large number of the world's evangelical leaders. They surveyed over 2,000 church leaders attending the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization held in South Africa last October.

One of the things that jumps out at me right away is how the numbers are pretty split on who they sympathize with more, Israel or Palestine. Really thought this would have been a vast majority favoring Israel, what with the whole second coming and all. Another one is the question on the government's role in helping the less fortunate. "The good samaritan" mantra comes through here in the poll, but it sure doesn't come across in the ballot boxes (their utter dislike for homosexuals and women's rights and science gets in the way of them voting for other progressive social issues).

Evangelicals seem to hold a higher favor with catholics, orthodox christians and jews, but generally have a low favor with buddhists, muslims, hindus and atheists (no surprise here).

I'm not exactly sure what to take from this survey aside from the fact that the results are telling and informative. But the fact that the large majority of evangelicals in the US have a pessimistic outlook on the future sure seems to fit right in to their "end times" baloney prophesies. The good news, however, is the fact that they are pessimistic at all must mean the word is getting out about organized religions being a farce. All we can hope for is the continued education of our species, if we can pull out of our primitive fearful malaise and take full advantage of the amazing lives we have and wondrous universe we live in, it could truly be an amazing transformation of mankind. We can be "spiritual" beings at one with the universe without all of this 1st century barbarism and bigoted division. Spread the word.

Most Voters Would Back Mormon or Gay, but Not An Atheist

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Delusions of Grandeur

Woman Said God Told Her About Plane Bomb

Another wild story. If you speak to god, you are praying. But if god speaks to you, you are a lunatic. The reporter in this story claims this woman has a history of mental illness... so, she's been religious her whole life? You know, it's not like we don't have enough threats from credible enemies. Some crazy lady with god on the brain can shut a whole airport down. I wonder what, if any, recourse is possible to deal with this woman because the threat wasn't from "her". I guess we can be glad her god didn't tell her to blow up the plane.

When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called religion.

Former Priest Goes After Old Peers

Onetime Priest Now Crusades for Abuse Victims Suing Catholic Church

You hear it all the time, but it really is stunning just how severe and widespread this problem is within the church and especially within the catholic church. I also wonder what these events have done to Patrick Wall's beliefs. It's good to know someone is going to bat for these victims with inside knowledge of the cover ups and corruption among these pederasts. These pedophiles sicken me because they hide under the shroud of "holiness" and seem to get away with their perversion. I don't doubt that there are some good men in the priesthood who do it for the right reasons, but honestly it's starting to appear that they are in the minority with all of these reports coming out.

Friday, June 17, 2011

George Washington's Letter for Religious Freedom For All

In a letter to the Newport, R.I., Hebrew congregation (Aug, 1790), President George Washington expresses his gratitude for a recent visit to the city and for Rhode Island's participation in the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, but also highlights again the purpose of the newly established nation: Freedom

While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.
The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.
If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.
The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy--a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.
It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.
May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants--while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.
May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.

Rep. Peter King's Muslim Hearings: A Unique Perspective

Muslim Hearings Recall My Life in Internment Camp

Rep. Michael Honda, an American born citizen was subjected to discrimination and isolation in Japanese-American internment camps as a child during World War II. His early memories remind him starkly of what's happening on capital hill with Muslim-Americans today.

Comet's Coming

Comet Could Be a Stunner (or Not)

Astronomers have recently detected a comet that may come close to earth's orbit in March 2013. Comet C/2011 L4 was discovered in the outer reaches of the solar system and has such an irregular orbit, that this may be the only time we see it come into the inner solar system. Could be quite a show if the trajectory is right. These types of objects have never been so close to the sun so the potential for a bright, beautiful tail is certainly possible. I remember seeing Hale-Bop many years back and being amazed by it's presence and beauty in the night sky.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

There is No "Truth", There is Only You and What You Make the Truth

After Controversy, Baptists Affirm Belief in 'Eternal, Conscious' Hell

Not that anyone is surprised by this, but this reaffirmation comes on the heels of the recent book "Love Wins" by Rob Bell, a book questioning the beliefs that hell is a real place and that there will be eternal damnation for sinners. I have spent much of my life around very religious christians, and I can tell you one thing for sure. They live with hell inside them each and every day. They are always so offended by the actions of others and this world's reality and live in constant fear of their own sin and wickedness. This is the reality of hell, this is no way to go through life. They put themselves in position to suffer of their own accord. The absurdity in it all, is that this is completely voluntary. With blind faith, they believe anything that was written ages ago to be "holy" and base their lives off of archaic principles and "miracles" written by people who were not even there to witness the events. They proselytize and command others to believe as they do or suffer eternal torment by their god because it was written in their book. If they had done a little research on their beliefs and the origins of their religions and studied a little science along the way, they could understand that they are making themselves (and their offspring) into mental slaves for no reason. I wish I could just grab them by the shoulders and shake the delusions off, but many are so deeply entrenched in their own little worlds that there is little hope for them. All we can do, is try to get the word out and protect our right to freedom from religion and try to keep their deluded minions from passing laws that support their religion over others.

There is no Truth, there is only you and what you make the truth...

Black Holes and Loop Holes

Ancient Galaxies Hold Secrets of Earliest Black Holes

Great insight into black hole formation and their correlation to galaxies...

Loophole Found in Genetic Traffic Laws

Interesting finding here that could lead to greater understanding of mutation and disease...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's Time to WAKE UP

'True Statesman' is Real Leader of Free World

How can anyone honestly give this woman the time of day? Laurie Cardoza-Moore's foundation is not based in reality. Anyone in the 21st century claiming bad weather and natural disasters are the results of human sin and error didn't pay attention in their science classes. They played hooky with Harold Camping.

"President Obama is bringing us down. If you look at what happened after Obama made that speech, look at the weather patterns that we had. Day after day, horrific tornadoes [came] blazing across this country [and] hundreds of people [lost] their lives," she recalls.

'Proclaiming Justice to the Nations' is Moore's brainchild and is just a front for the radical christian zionist movement. The whole point of these positions and immense interest in the affairs of the jewish nation is not out of pity for the jews, or just looking out for a U.S. ally. It is because they are trying to align conditions so their biblical prophesy can come true. Right wing christians believe that the gathering of the jews in the holy land is a prerequisite for jesus' second coming and the apocalypse and armageddon of earth. These are the people who are trying to influence our public policy. This is a diabolical scheme to bring on the end of the world as we know it. 

While I do realize the jewish people have had it just about awful in every sense of the word all the way through history, the fact is that this ludicrous christian theology is being a major barricade to a peaceful solution to all parties involved. The palestinians deserve a homeland just as much as the jews. Both have been wronged in various ways and both have been instigators in this silly land war that is absurd and childish and keeping the human race from moving on to something more special together. All 3 major theistic religions are the reason the middle east (and the whole world, for that matter) is an absolute mess and has been so for a millennia. Each claims their land is "holy" and given by their god to them and what have we gotten in the meantime? nothing. no progress. no advancement.

It's time to give up the childish behavior and longing for some imaginary force to come save us. Its time to step up and do the right thing for mankind. It's time to be responsible for our own actions and be thoughtful of others. It's time to give a little without expecting anything in return. It's time for us all to get along. It's time to WAKE UP

Monday, June 13, 2011

Religious Schools in America

Religious Schools A Sometimes Tense American Tradition

Interesting article touching on some of the history of american religious schools. In my opinion, if you want to teach religion in schools, then you need to teach all of the major ones so the children can understand the choices in front of them. Otherwise, leave religious teachings to the church and at home.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Madman or Something Worse

Interesting movie coming out that addresses a very touchy subject matter for people...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Building Blocks

Asteroids May Have Nurtured the Chemical Seeds of Life

Great article describing the analysis of meteorite fragments that give insight to what early asteroids may have delivered to a primitive earth. Amino acids and building blocks for life. It is so interesting to understand how life came about, and everywhere you turn you hear the words "goldilocks zone". I consider this planet fortunate that seemingly all the right things happened for it to go right and sustain life for as long as it has. But just because all the conditions are right for us here doesn't mean that "someone" made it that way. Considering the immensity of our galaxy and the universe that we can observe, the odds of a situation like ours coming about, with how we know elements are formed and what life is made of, are actually pretty good. This gives me hope to think that there is life elsewhere in the universe. It seems all of these heavier elements created in the crucibles of nuclear reactions of stars that go supernova laid the groundwork for life to form if combined in the right fashion. All of the necessary elements are there and can be accounted for. You and I are made from the same stuff that everything else in the universe is made of. What an incredibly comforting thought!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Book of Hearsay

The following is an excerpt from 'The Age of Reason' by Thomas Paine discussing the term "revelation" and its profound meaning with regards to divine inspiration:


EVERY national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet; as if the way to God was not open to every man alike.
Each of those churches shows certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
As it is necessary to affix right ideas to words, I will, before I proceed further into the subject, offer some observations on the word 'revelation.' Revelation when applied to religion, means something communicated immediately from God to man.
No one will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty to make such a communication if he pleases. But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and, consequently, they are not obliged to believe it.
It is a contradiction in terms and ideas to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication. After this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner, for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him.
When Moses told the children of Israel that he received the two tables of the commandments from the hand of God, they were not obliged to believe him, because they had no other authority for it than his telling them so; and I have no other authority for it than some historian telling me so, the commandments carrying no internal evidence of divinity with them. They contain some good moral precepts such as any man qualified to be a lawgiver or a legislator could produce himself, without having recourse to supernatural intervention. [NOTE: It is, however, necessary to except the declamation which says that God 'visits the sins of the fathers upon the children'. This is contrary to every principle of moral justice.--Author.]
When I am told that the Koran was written in Heaven, and brought to Mahomet by an angel, the account comes to near the same kind of hearsay evidence and second hand authority as the former. I did not see the angel myself, and therefore I have a right not to believe it.
When also I am told that a woman, called the Virgin Mary, said, or gave out, that she was with child without any cohabitation with a man, and that her betrothed husband, Joseph, said that an angel told him so, I have a right to believe them or not: such a circumstance required a much stronger evidence than their bare word for it: but we have not even this; for neither Joseph nor Mary wrote any such matter themselves. It is only reported by others that they said so. It is hearsay upon hearsay, and I do not chose to rest my belief upon such evidence.
It is, however, not difficult to account for the credit that was given to the story of Jesus Christ being the Son of God. He was born when the heathen mythology had still some fashion and repute in the world, and that mythology had prepared the people for the belief of such a story. Almost all the extraordinary men that lived under the heathen mythology were reputed to be the sons of some of their gods. It was not a new thing at that time to believe a man to have been celestially begotten; the intercourse of gods with women was then a matter of familiar opinion. Their Jupiter, according to their accounts, had cohabited with hundreds; the story therefore had nothing in it either new, wonderful, or obscene; it was conformable to the opinions that then prevailed among the people called Gentiles, or mythologists, and it was those people only that believed it. The Jews, who had kept strictly to the belief of one God, and no more, and who had always rejected the heathen mythology, never credited the story.
It is curious to observe how the theory of what is called the Christian Church, sprung out of the tail of the heathen mythology. A direct incorporation took place in the first instance, by making the reputed founder to be celestially begotten. The trinity of gods that then followed was no other than a reduction of the former plurality, which was about twenty or thirty thousand. The statue of Mary succeeded the statue of Diana of Ephesus. The deification of heroes changed into the canonization of saints. The Mythologists had gods for everything; the Christian Mythologists had saints for everything. The church became as crowded with the one, as the pantheon had been with the other; and Rome was the place of both. The Christian theory is little else than the idolatry of the ancient mythologists, accommodated to the purposes of power and revenue; and it yet remains to reason and philosophy to abolish the amphibious fraud.

The entire pamphlet is a must read for anyone questioning the rigid dogmas of a theistic religion. While Paine remains a devout deist, I think if he knew what we know now scientifically he might be more of an agnostic than anything else. I'm amazed that this was written in 1794 (published in 3 parts: 1794, 1795, and 1807). It's frightening that we haven't come much further as a society since with respect to organized religion. Please do yourself a service and read the entire pamphlet.

Introduction to 'The Age of Reason'

'The Age of Reason' Part 1

'The Age of Reason' Part 2

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

TED Talks: Janet Echelman - Taking Imagination Seriously

stunning combination of art, imagination and engineering... 

"Sissy Boy" Experiments With Tragic Outcomes

Reporters Find Tragic Story Amid Embarrassing Scandal

What a tragedy. Unfortunately, we see this kind of thing all too often. The ones that shout the loudest against homosexuality and gay rights always seem to be the ones caught up in it themselves. When will we learn to grow up as a species and accept people for who they are and what they can contribute to society? Instead we keep playing these silly games of "holier than thou" and "ignorance is bliss" with truly tragic outcomes. The life of Kirk Murphy was cut short due to internal strife over these "sissy boy" experiments to keep him from being who he was supposed to be. I can't imagine how a 5 year old could deal with those types of situations. It's hard enough knowing that you are different from most people and coming to terms with it and loving yourself for who you are, but to be subjected to this type of torture from your own parents and doctors, trying to prove that who you think you are is the most evil thing to be (at 5 years old no less). I'm honestly amazed Kirk made it as long as he did. He was a soldier and a proud uncle and should have been allowed to be whoever he wanted to be. This is the state of affairs we live in... It is our moral duty as rational people to weasel out these hateful anti-gay activists like George Rekers and show them for who the really are. A great deal of gratitude goes to the reporters who followed this story relentlessly to get the word out. There was a great bit on this story last night on AC360 with Anderson Cooper on CNN with the second part (of 4)  to be aired this evening. I strongly urge you to check it out!

Links to the AC360 clips below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

8 Year Old Starves to Death from Forced Fasting By Cult

Irvington Women Plead Not Guilty to Child Endangerment Charges in Death of 8-Year-Old Girl

How people fall into cults is beyond me, but these "Walking With Christ" followers are pretty extreme. How you can slowly watch your children starve to death when you can do something about it is just about the most despicable thing someone can do. At least they were able to remove the other two children to safety. I just don't understand the desire to follow someone so blindly, accepting any ludicrous idea as being divinely inspired and expect to be a better person for it. This defies logic and rationale.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Dynamical Casimir Effect

Light Created From the Void

And Man said, let there be light: and there was light
And Man saw the light, that it was good: and Man divided the light from the darkness

Church Cancelled Due to Lack of God

Church Cancelled Due to Lack of God

This is a really funny piece from 'The Onion' a few years back. Although it is tongue and cheek like all of their articles, the premise and style is hilarious. If only it were true.

“They made it all up, and they were ignorant, unwashed, half-naked pre-historic barbarians,” Leobald said. “So who are you gonna believe: Carl Sagan, and the pantheon of the world’s greatest scientific and intellectual minds, or some guy who measured wealth by how many goats he had?”

“Why convene to donate time, money and personal resources to a being which exists only in fabulous legends and mythological ancient texts? If we were to keep doing that, week after week, why, we’d feel ridiculous, wouldn’t we? Plus, we’d look pretty stupid as well. It’d be like talking to a wall, and frankly, I’ve got better things to do with my time. And I sincerely hope all of you do too.”

CERN Scientists Refine Antimatter Trap

CERN Scientists Refine Antimatter 'Trap'

In the next few years we may be on the cusp of understanding a much larger chunk of the invisible cosmos. These types of experiments are designed to analyze antimatter created shortly after the big bang which disappear just as quickly. We have theoretical calculations to show that matter and antimatter are created during these types of collisions, but antimatter "disappears" too quickly to understand, until now. They have found a way to supercool these particles to less than 0.5 degrees above absolute zero, allowing a much longer sample time to analyze the particles. These studies may go a long way to explaining dark matter and dark energy and some of these alien forces we know are there but can't quite figure out what they are. Exciting stuff!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Biochemical Device Can Calculate Square Root

Computer Circuit Assembled From 74 DNA Molecules

Will wonders never cease? A breakthrough like this has some serious potential to create mini biological computers to treat disease and battle cancer, fight aging and so many other possibilities. Plus, it's just really freakin cool!

DakotaLapse Milky Way

Found this website today and I was floored to see how beautiful these videos are... The milky Way is absolutely stunning and these time lapse videos really give you a great cosmic perspective...

please visit the site for more videos!

A Decent Human Being

A Victim of 9/11 Hate Crime Now Fights for His Attacker's Life

How about a positive story for once? Really interesting article here about a man filled with hate and vengeance after the 9/11 attacks, shot local convenience store clerks as retribution for the attacks on the country by muslim extremists. Now he is being put to death 7/20 by the state of TX and one of his victims is fighting for a change to a life sentence without parole instead. Not sure it will work, but maybe those christians can learn a thing or two from this muslim about what it's like to be a decent human being.

Update 7/21/11... looks like Mark Anthony Stroman has been put to death by Texas Corrections. his appeals were denied and the appeals of one of his victims, Rais Bhuiyan, were not answered. Heart wrenching story of grief, anger, ignorance and revenge followed by compassion and understanding. Let's be clear, this Stroman character was bad news (part of a white supremacist group and had previous convictions). It did appear that after this final act, he started to finally get what it is to be a human being. At least he understood that before he passed. And what a stand-up guy Mr. Bhuiyan is. It goes to show that there are some very fine individuals in this world, it's nice too see. I know this blog is intended to shed light on the fallacy of organized religion, but religious/spiritual people themselves can be very amazing indeed (although one does not need religion do be this way).

Texas Man Executed for Post 9/11 Murder

A Lesson in Religious Power

For Baha'i Educators, A Lesson in Power From Iran

While the Baha'i Faith is based on a monotheistic style belief system, it appears a relatively benign religion emphasizing the spiritual unity of mankind over absolute faith in one specific doctrine. Persecution of these people is ongoing in Iran and this is a powerful article to show their struggle in the face of a theocratic regime hell-bent on the world domination of their version of islam...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Westboro Baptist with a Twist

'Most Hated', Anti-Gay Preacher Once Fought for Civil Rights

This really is an interesting twist to this story. Fred Phelps, the leader of one of the most notorious hate groups in America (The Westboro Baptist Church) was once a lawyer defending the civil liberties of african americans in the deep south in the 1960s. Although it appears on the surface that he may have flip-flopped on his feelings towards other people, I tend to believe his estranged son as he seems the most rational and well-grounded person of the lot. I love the quote from the ignorant daughter, "You're born black. It's something you can't change even if you're Michael Jackson," she says. "God never said it was an abomination to be black." (Unless you're a Mormon)

Obviously, these people have never ventured to interact with any homosexuals in an open-minded way because their holy book calls it an abomination and those who lay with the same sex are committing the most dastardly sin against god. Ignorance of who you don't know leads to insecure feelings, couple that with a "mandate" from scripture and you've got a perfect storm of legitimized hatred and bigotry. Most christians believe that homosexuality is a sin because of the verses from Leviticus, ("If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives", Leviticus 20:13) but if they read more they could see how they should treat handicapped individuals as well:

Leviticus 21:17-23  “Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, or a man that is broken footed, or broken handed, or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; no man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy, only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish, that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the Lord do sanctify them.”

They don't read you that one on Sundays, do they? When the KKK thinks you are an awful group, that should really say something... These loons that preach "god's judgement" sure do a hell of a lot of their own judging...