Friday, July 28, 2006
More religious/superstitious/primitive CRAZINESS!
Indonesian Hindus throw a cow into the sea during a ritual ceremony at the Pelabuhan Ratu in West Java July 25, 2006. Hundreds of Hindu people held a ritual prayer aimed to avoid earthquakes and tsunamis.
And proof how well that worked:
LINK: 6.1 quake hits Indonesia's Sumatra island Thursday, July 27, 2006
This article sums up much of what has been stated time and time again by atheists that xians either choose to dismiss in lieu of blind “faith” or never even bother to read:
At the core of the Christian belief system is the notion that “God gave his only begotten son” to save humans. The basic idea is that God was so angry with humans because of their sins that he would damn them all to hell. But God had a son. God decided to vent his anger by murdering his son (which was suicide according to the trinity dogma). Since God’s anger was properly relieved, he no longer felt the need to damn everybody; now the people who believe this story would no longer have to go to hell.
But since God is suppose to be omnipotent, he should be able to do anything, including forgiving people, without first demanding sacrifice. There is no reason why an omnipotent god would have to resort to the artifice of having his son murdered in order to avoid sending people to hell. This is why the notion that “God gave his only begotten son” is so absurd. Somehow Christians do not realize that their barbaric savior god story is absurd; they never seem to be able to ask themselves “Why did God have to sacrifice his son? Couldn’t he just forgive people?”.
Here are some points to ponder when thinking about Christianity:
* There are many savior god myths much older than Christianity. The supernatural aspects of Christianity are clearly nothing more than evolved myth (see Christianity and Other Mythologies).
* Christianity would not exist today if not for genocide. In the early part of the fourth century, the Roman emperor Constantine carried out “holy” wars against pagans; and in 356 CE, a law was passed officially declaring the practice of non-Christian religions to be a crime punishable by death. Before Constantine, Christianity was an insignificant little cult.
* Christianity, if taken seriously, would lead to the most perverse kind of moral relativism. The Bible is self-contradictory. People who attempt to base their morals solely on the Bible will have morals that depend on what parts of the Bible they choose to believe and what parts they choose to ignore. Fortunately, most Christians ignore the many Bible passages which glorify genocide.
* By placing emphasis on a mythical afterlife at the expense of real life, Christianity devalues human life. Many Christians claim that life would have no meaning without God and the hope for an eternal afterlife. This is equivalent to saying that they think that our life here on Earth is worthless. How very sad.
(Some “atheist proselytizing” here): If you are a Christian, there is hope for you. You don’t need God to save you from himself; you can take responsibility for your own life. All you need to do to start down the path of becoming a freethinker is to open your mind and think! If, like most Christians, you have never read the Bible, that would be a good place to start. Read it starting from Genesis and try to understand what it really says without twisting the meaning into some preconceived notion of what you think it should say. Most Christians would be shocked to learn what is really in their “holy” book.
“Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.” - Thomas Paine
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
–Dan Barker, from his book, Losing Faith in Faith
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Explanation: This was home. Last week, the STS-121 crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) and returned to Earth. As the shuttle departed the space station, they took the above image. Visible on the ISS are numerous modules, trusses, and long wing-like solar panels. The space shuttle crew spent over 12 days calling the space station home. The shuttle crew resupplied the space station and prepared it for future assembly. The ISS's crew of two was expanded to three by the shuttle visit, and now includes one Russian, one American, and one European.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
In an interview in 1999, Schultz said that although his philosophical views evolved over the years, "the term that best describes me now is 'secular humanist.'" He went on to say, "I despise those shallow religious comics. Dennis the Menace, for instance, is the most shallow. When they show him praying--I just can't stand that sort of thing, talking to God about some cutesy thing that he'd done during the day. I don't think Hank Ketcham [Dennis' creator] has any deep knowledge of things like that." Schultz cringed at the mention of Family Circus, the strip by Bill Keane that is strewn with cutesy references to Jesus (who wants to protect children on school buses, but can't because of laws about separation of church and state!) and those sickly-sweet images of invisible deceased grandparents looming protectively over the kids. "Oh, I can't stand that," Schultz laughed. "You could get diabetes reading them, couldn't you?"
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
My brother-in-law died in 1992 at the age of 35 after struggling with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) for five years. He became totally paralyzed and my sister had to do EVERYTHING for him. My sister also had two small kids to raise while caring for him, and then continued to raise them on her own after he died. He never got to see his children grow up and get married and never got a chance to hold his grandbabies. ALS is a cruel, cruel disease, as are many other diseases and injuries for which stem cell research could help in finding cures.
I also have a friend who has MS. She is a wonderful person and fortunately has a very loving and patient husband who takes care of all of her needs. She is a very creative person, who loved to do crafts and artwork but can no longer use her arms and is confined to a wheel chair. She cannot do anything on her own anymore and is only in her mid-50s.
It's very cruel to deprive already-living people with disabilities of hope. Polls show as much as 70 percent public support for embryonic stem cell research. The Senate voted Tuesday after two days of emotional debate to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, sending the measure to President Bush for a promised veto, the first of his presidency. "King George" and his xian-agenda once again ignores the voices of his "subjects". I wonder if he would be as heartless if one of his daughters had a spinal cord injury or had a grandson with Muscular Dystrophy? What a jackass!
~I have endeavoured to dissipate these religious superstitions from the minds of women, and base their faith on science and reason, where I found for myself at last that peace and comfort I could never find in the Bible and the church. . . . The less they believe, the better for their own happiness and development. . . .For fifty years the women of this nation have tried to dam up this deadly stream that poisons all their lives, but thus far they have lacked the insight or courage to follow it back to its source and there strike the blow at the fountain of all tyranny, religious superstition, priestly power, and the canon law. ("The Degraded Status of Woman in the Bible," 1896)
I can say that the happiest period of my life has been since I emerged from the shadows and superstitions of the old theologies, relieved from all gloomy apprehensions of the future, satisfied that as my labors and capacities were limited to this sphere of action, I was responsible for nothing beyond my horizon, as I could neither understand nor change the condition of the unknown world. Giving ourselves, then, no trouble about the future, let us make the most of the present, and fill up our lives with earnest work here. ("The Pleasures of Age," The Boston Investigator, February 2, 1901)
The happiest people I have known have been those who gave themselves no concern about their own souls, but did their uttermost to mitigate the miseries of others. (Eighty Years And More: 385)
Monday, July 17, 2006
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Explanation: Is this our Sun? Yes. Even on a normal day, our Sun is sizzling ball of seething hot gas. Unpredictably, regions of strong and tangled magnetic fields arise, causing sunspots and bright active regions. The Sun's surface bubbles as hot hydrogen gas streams along looping magnetic fields. These active regions channel gas along magnetic loops, usually falling back but sometimes escaping into the solar corona or out into space as the solar wind. Pictured above is our Sun in three colors of ultraviolet light. Since only active regions emit significant amounts of energetic ultraviolet light, most of the Sun appears dark. The colorful portions glow spectacularly, pinpointing the Sun's hottest and most violent regions. Although the Sun is constantly changing, the rate of visible light it emits has been relatively stable over the past five billion years, allowing life to emerge on Earth.
Friday, July 14, 2006
LAS VEGAS - A high school valedictorian who had the plug pulled on her microphone as she gave an address referring to Jesus Christ has filed a lawsuit against school officials, claiming her rights to religious freedom and free speech were trampled.
Brittany McComb, 18, said she was giving her June 15 commencement address to some 400 graduates of Foothill High School and their family members when the sound was cut.
"God's love is so great that he gave his only son up," she said, before the microphone went dead. She continued without amplification, "...to an excruciating death on a cross so his blood would cover all our shortcomings and provide for us a way to heaven in accepting this grace."
McComb said she was warned that her speech would be cut off if she did not follow an approved script that deleted references to Christ and invitations for others to join the faith. But she memorized the deleted parts and said them anyway.
The lawsuit asks the court to declare that school officials deprived McComb of her rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, The Rutherford Institute, the conservative legal group backing the lawsuit, said in a news release.
School District lawyer Bill Hoffman has said previously that the school was following 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rulings that have obligated districts to censor student speeches for proselytizing.
Allen Lichtenstein, lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said the school appropriately followed the appeals court's decisions"Proselytizing is improper in school-sponsored speech at valedictorian graduations," he said, adding the ACLU had sued in the past to ensure proselytizing was prevented at school-sponsored events.
See video of the speech at: http://www.rutherford.org/movieclips/mccomb_lrg.mov
Thursday, July 13, 2006
If we wait long enough, someone will come through with their delusional visions for our entertainment! Allah sure has a funny way of showing himself once again...this time coming out of a chicken's butt!
ALMATY (Reuters) - A chicken in a Kazakh village has laid an egg with the word "Allah" inscribed on its shell, state media reported Thursday.
"Our mosque confirmed that it says 'Allah' in Arabic," Bites Amantayeva, a farmer from the village of Stepnoi in eastern Kazakhstan, told state news agency Kazinform.
"We'll keep this egg and we don't think it'll go bad."
The news agency said the egg was laid just after a powerful hail storm hit the village.
Kazakhstan is a large, thinly populated Central Asian state where Sunni Islam is a dominant religion.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Through dark regression's cave, told she must find
Life's purpose in that blackness, without hope,
Denied the luminescence of her mind
Until, at last, she finds the darkness kind,
Religion's child--a babe once bright and fair,
Curls up, tucks in her tail, and says her prayer.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Explanation: In 1787, astronomer William Herschel discovered the Eskimo Nebula. From the ground, NGC 2392 resembles a person's head surrounded by a parka hood. In 2000, the Hubble Space Telescope imaged the Eskimo Nebula. From space, the nebula displays gas clouds so complex they are not fully understood. The Eskimo Nebula is clearly a planetary nebula, and the gas seen above composed the outer layers of a Sun-like star only 10,000 years ago. The inner filaments visible above are being ejected by strong wind of particles from the central star. The outer disk contains unusual light-year long orange filaments.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
(Officials at the University of Cambridge, where Hawking is a mathematics professor, confirmed that Hawking wrote the message but said he would have no further comment.)
Hawking's question was: "In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?"
Some of the answers were short — "get rid of nuclear weapons" — and others vague — "Somehow we will." Many were doubtful: "I don't think it is possible unless we expand into space," one user wrote.
A number of people suggested thinking differently, ending bickering or fostering cooperation.
In a June 13 speech in Hong Kong, Hawking said the survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy Earth.
He said that if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, they should have space settlements that can continue without support from Earth.
Over the next week, Yahoo employees are expected to work with Hawking to sift through the answers and select one or several to highlight as best responses.I have thought long and hard about what my answer would be, and I say for humans to survive we MUST abandon religion for starters. I know that is a rather radical statement, but religious beliefs have brought us some of the most terrifying and bloody events in the history of civilization and serves as a "ball and chain" to the ancient past and backward thinking. Sam Harris writes, "Religious faith represents so uncompromising a misuse of the power of our minds that it forms a kind of perverse, cultural singularity—a vanishing point beyond which rational discourse proves impossible." Since many of those who hold the power believe their ancient superstitious texts to be the "true" word of their gods, we may end up screwed because in reality there are no gods or supernatural beings to save us from ourselves. Harris states that "We can no longer ignore the fact that billions of our neighbors believe in the metaphysics of martyrdom, or in the literal truth of the book of Revelation, or any of the other fantastical notions that have lurked in the minds of the faithful for millennia—because our neighbors are now armed with chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.
Do you think the human race can sustain another 100 years?
Friday, July 07, 2006
The object known as 2004 XP1 was continually monitored as it made a close approach to Earth and sped past. Scientists estimated that the asteroid will have 10 more close encounters with Earth over this century, none of which will pose a threat. Another asteroid will pass close enough to Earth that it will be seen with the naked eye, but it won't arrive until Friday, April 13, 2029. It will be within the geosychronos orbit of some satellites.
LINK: NEAR EARTH OBJECT PROGRAM
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Church's $2.5 million Christian Statue of Liberty (how screwed up is this? Fundies protest about the burning of our flag, yet millions of dollars to desecrate the symbol of freedom, liberty and justice for ALL. Typically hypocritical!) Atheists and liberal xians who are in support of separation of church and state are going to have to get more aggressive if we want to keep the freedoms that our founding fathers established and what so many people have died to uphold.
Over at GifS, Sean posted another story about Patrick Henry College which is an institution (I refuse to call it a college) that is pumping out "politically active" xian robots who are encouraged to take their education (brainwashing) into our government at both the state and federal levels. Apparently they go there to get their brains sucked out and turned into zombies who are programmed with a mission to tear apart the U.S. Constitution and bring church and state together.
Back to this story: Instead of "building idols" which their bible condemns (and most xians conveniently ignore), this money could have gone to much better use. I have read several comments from "compassionate conservatives" who say that government should leave social problems and needs of the poor to the churches, and then we read about these things happening.
We who support separation of church and state are going to HAVE to become more proactive.
A Memphis church that claims a membership of 12,000 will unveil a 72-foot-tall statue during Fourth of July services.
The Statue of Liberation looks a lot like the Statue of Liberty, but the famous torch is replaced by a cross. Instead of the inscription about giving the lady the tired and poor, there are Roman numerals for the Ten Commandments.
Across the street from the church is a convenience store where Mary Preyer is a manager. She's eager to see the statue unveiled, but says its funding could have been put to better use for the neighborhood.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Push for simpler spelling persists
By DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - When "say," "they" and "weigh" rhyme, but "bomb," "comb" and "tomb" don't, wuudn't it maek mor sens to spel wurdz the wae thae sound?
Those in favor of simplified spelling say children would learn faster and illiteracy rates would drop. Opponents say a new system would make spelling even more confusing.
Eether wae, the consept has yet to capcher th publix imajinaeshun.
It's been 100 years since Andrew Carnegie helped create the Simplified Spelling Board to promote a retooling of written English and President Theodore Roosevelt tried to force the government to use simplified spelling in its publications. But advocates aren't giving up.
They even picket the national spelling bee finals, held every year in Washington, costumed as bumble bees and hoisting signs that say "Enuf is enuf but enough is too much" or "I'm thru with through."
Thae sae th bee selebraets th ability of a fue stoodents to master a dificult sistem that stumps meny utherz hoo cuud do just as wel if speling were simpler.
"It's a very difficult thing to get something accepted like this," says Alan Mole, president of the American Literacy Council, which favors an end to "illogical spelling." The group says English has 42 sounds spelled in a bewildering 400 ways.
Funny, I was never "bewildered" with spelling in general. Maybe some words that aren't often used are difficult to spell, but these people are proposing changing the spelling of our already simple common language. It shows how lazy the world is getting when people can't even be bothered with learning a simple thing like spelling.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
The worst "flag attire" I have ever seen was someone similar to the woman in the cartoon who had a flag swimsuit with thong bottoms and her ass was way too huge to be exposing...the ol' red white and blue going up the crack of her butt was a real disgusting sight.
Why do people feel such strong desire to cover their bodies, homes and automobiles in flags? Is it to show other Americans that they are more patriotic than everyone else and somehow MORE American? They should leave flags on the flagpoles where they look so much better and respectable up high, waving FREELY in the breeze.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
I like to see the Chicago Fireworks at Navy Pier which are beautiful, so I am not a total fireworks scrooge; I just don't understand what fun there is in blowing up sticks of dynamite in your backyard while yelling 'YEEEHAAAWWW" and "WOOOOHOOOOO!" I cannot understand the fun in taking a week's salary and sending it up in flames. People have ZERO consideration for their neighbors, and have ZERO concern for themselves. My nephew and his wife are paramedics and they could write books on what happens to people on the 4th of July. Missing fingers is the most popular call they get, sometimes a limb, sometimes people blind themselves, blow their toes or whole foot off -- and not to forget about those first, second and third degree burns!
In addition to the bodily injuries is property damage when one of these explosives goes awry and ends up going through someone's house or ignites their roof in flames. Sirens have been blaring off and on since the weekend started. When I was a kid, the 4th was ONE day of fireworks, maybe two...but nowdays it starts in mid June and continues till everyone is done exploding everything they have, which can be until the end of July.
Human beings are bizarre creatures.
Latest News link: Data: Fireworks injuries on the rise
Explanation: The scene might have been considered serene if it weren't for the tornado. Last June in Kansas, storm chaser Eric Nguyen photographed this budding twister in a different light -- the light of a rainbow. Pictured above, a white tornado cloud descends from a dark storm cloud. The Sun, peeking through a clear patch of sky to the left, illuminates some buildings in the foreground. Sunlight reflects off raindrops to form a rainbow. By coincidence, the tornado appears to end right over the rainbow. Streaks in the image are hail being swept about by the high swirling winds. Over 1,000 tornadoes, the most violent type of storm known, occur on Earth every year, many in tornado alley. If you see a tornado while driving, do not try to outrun it -- park your car safely, go to a storm cellar, or crouch under steps in a basement.