Tuesday, February 27, 2007
JERUSALEM - Archaeologists and clergymen in the Holy Land derided claims in a new documentary produced by James Cameron that contradict major Christian tenets, but the Oscar-winning director said the evidence was based on sound statistics.
"The Lost Tomb of Christ," which the Discovery Channel will run on March 4, argues that 10 ancient ossuaries — small caskets used to store bones — discovered in a suburb of Jerusalem in 1980 may have contained the bones of Jesus and his family, according to a press release issued by the Discovery Channel.
One of the caskets even bears the title, "Judah, son of Jesus," hinting that Jesus may have had a son. And the very fact that Jesus had an ossuary would contradict the Christian belief that he was resurrected and ascended to heaven.
Cameron told NBC'S TODAY show that statisticians found "in the range of a couple of million to one in favor of it being them." Simcha Jacobovici, the Toronto filmmaker who directed the documentary, said the implications "are huge."
"But they're not necessarily the implications people think they are. For example, some believers are going to say, well, this challenges the resurrection. I don't know why, if Jesus rose from one tomb, he couldn't have risen from the other tomb," Jacobovici told TODAY. Link to full story.
The last comment by Jacobovici is an example of how any evidence would be looked upon...in immediate and persistant denial.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Explanation: Dust makes this cosmic eye look red. The eerie Spitzer Space Telescope image shows infrared radiation from the well-studied Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) a mere 700 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius. The two light-year diameter shroud of dust and gas around a central white dwarf has long been considered an excellent example of a planetary nebula, representing the final stages in the evolution of a sun-like star. But the Spitzer data show the nebula's central star itself is immersed in a surprisingly bright infrared glow. Models suggest the glow is produced by a dust debris disk. Even though the nebular material was ejected from the star many thousands of years ago, the close-in dust could be generated by collisions in a reservoir of objects analogous to our own solar system's Kuiper Belt or cometary Oort cloud. Formed in the distant planetary system, the comet-like bodies have otherwise survived even the dramatic late stages of the star's evolution.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Two clowns shot dead at circus
BOGOTA (Reuters) - Two clowns were shot and killed by an unidentified gunman during their performance at a traveling circus in the eastern Colombian town of Cucuta, police said Wednesday.
The gunman burst into the Circo del Sol de Cali Monday night and shot the clowns in front of an audience of 20 to 50 people, local police chief Jose Humberto Henao told Reuters. One of the clowns was killed instantly and the second died the next day in hospital.
"The killings had nothing to do with the show the victims were performing at the time of the incident," Henao said in a telephone interview. "We are investigating the motive."
With an entrance fee of under 50 U.S. cents, Circo del Sol de Cali attracts mostly poor Colombians. It pitched it tents in Cucuta, near the border with Venezuela, earlier this month.
"The clowns came out to give their show and then this guy came out shooting them," one audience member told local television. "It was terrible."
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A Malaysian state plans to recruit "spies" from the public to snoop on unmarried lovers and report them to Islamic religious authorities, a newspaper said Tuesday.It's not only Malaysia, Saudi Arabia has "religious police" to keep people in line even if they are not Muslim:
The Terengganu state government plans to enlist the part-time spies to look out for un-Islamic behavior, such as unmarried couples kissing or holding hands, the Star daily said.
"Some of these 'spies' could be waitresses or even janitors at hotels acting as auxiliary undercover agents for our religious department," the head of the state government's Islamic and welfare committee, Rosol Wahid, was quoted as saying.
"Accurate details are required for the enforcement officers to act, otherwise they could be pouncing on married couples."
Last October, religious police in another part of this mainly Muslim country caused an outcry when they mistakenly raided the rented holiday apartment of a Christian American couple on suspicion that they were unmarried Muslims in "close proximity."
20 face lash, prison for dancing in Saudi Arabia
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - A Saudi Arabian judge sentenced 20 foreigners to receive lashes and spend several months in prison after convicting them of attending a party where alcohol was served and men and women danced, a newspaper reported Sunday.
Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which it bans alcohol and meetings between unrelated men and women.
The religious police, a force resented by many Saudis for interfering in personal lives, enjoys wide powers. Its officers roam malls, markets, universities and other public places looking for such infractions as unrelated men and women mingling, men skipping Islam's five daily prayers and women with strands of hair showing from under their veil.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
American Atheists has posted a story about something I have been talking about that has been growing in the Chicagoland area and is becoming a real nuisance for some neighborhoods where mosques have been built. Mosques sending out calls to prayer across neighborhoods via loudspeakers and fill the air with wails to the masses to stop what they are doing and pray to the imaginary sky daddy of Islam. When I worked in Bridgeview,Il. only a few blocks from the Bridgeview Mosque, I heard this crap over loudspeakers five stinking times a day. This noise makes Christian churchbells seem like nothing. It’s hard to tune out, as it’s so loud the wailing sounds came right through closed windows and can be heard despite the hustle and bustle of office noises.
Here is the article describing what is happening because of these calls to prayers from loudpeakers of The Masjid Nur Al-Islam mosque at 21 Church Avenue in Kensington in NYC.
“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,” the man sings in simple and repetitive musical notes. The message is in Arabic, and translates to, “God is the greatest.”
In Kensington, the call to prayer is amplified by a loud speaker perched atop the Masjid Nur Al-Islam mosque at 21 Church Avenue.
If you haven’t heard it before, it sounds just like this. Imagine trying to take an afternoon nap and being woken up by this:
Church bells are one thing, but chanting religious dogma over loudspeakers is another. Why is it ok for religious folks to be obnoxious and inconsiderate? They don't know when to pray? These "faithful" have to be reminded with bells and wailing alarms? Maybe someone should invent watches that are preset to go off and remind the holy it's time to pray, or maybe a little zapper they can wear that goes off at certain intervals to let them know. Why do the rest of us have to hear it?
Monday, February 19, 2007
click on image to enlarge
Some time ago, I posted an article about a small number of people who still worship Zeus in these modern times. (see Zeus Revival! Zeus worshippers demand access to temple) While reading one of my favorite websites today about the Greek god, Cronos, I clicked on the Zeus link and refreshed my memory about this Top God of ancient mythology. I then looked at website images of the ruins of the Temple of Zeus and ruins of other ancient temples where people at one time actually believed these gods were real and worshipped them. I then thought about all of the churches in the world today and then think about people in ancient times walking to temple for worship much like the people of today go off to their buildings to worship the Christian god, the Muslim god, the Hindu gods. One day these holy places where people worship gods they believe truly exist will one day be ruins for civilizations of the future to dig up and write and read about in an attempt to understand our "ancient" world. Anyway, here is Godchecker's entry on Zeus I thought you all might enjoy reading again, or for the first time if you haven't already. For Christian lurkers, you won't go to hell for reading since there is no such place except in the mythologies of human invention. ;- )
ZEUS: Top God of the Earth and Ruler of Mount Olympus, the lofty cloudland where the Greek Gods live and look down upon mankind.
He is a real high-flyer, an Olympic champion, battling with the giant TITANS, casting thunderbolts and engaged in all manner of gut-busting glorious Godly pursuits.
His father CRONUS was so terrified of the newborn baby ZEUS's awesome power that he swallowed him up. And lived to regret it. It was left to AMALTHEA (and her goat) to protect the budding SuperGod while he learned to walk, talk, and rule the Universe. Since then he's never looked back.
ZEUS is married to the long-suffering HERA, but spends most of his time lusting after Goddesses, mortals, animals, and indeed anything that will keep still long enough.
It's tough at the top being the most fantastic hunky irresistible God of all time and having constantly to prove it. And never a quiet night in with slippers and a mug of cocoa because he has to keep his long-suffering wife HERA happy too. Their trials and tribulations form the basis of half the Greek entries in our database.
ZEUS has had so many mistresses and fathered so many children that there's no point in giving a list here. Just take our word for it. See also CRONUS, RHEA, HEPHAESTUS, ATHENA... and in fact most of the other Greek Gods.
Moving on to more Godly matters, ZEUS was also known to the ancient Greeks as Epiphanes, the Magnificent One, whenever a certain star appeared in the east. This was celebrated with piph-ups known as epiphanies.
When he's not running around after nubile Goddesses in the form of a lusty animal, ZEUS looks after Law, upholds Justice, and casts thunderbolts on those deserving it.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Joking aside, mutations are often caused by copying errors in the genetic material during cell division and by exposure to ultraviolet or ionizing radiation, chemical mutagens, or viruses. Some mutations can lead to changes in a whole species naturally over time.
Mutations create variation in the gene pool, and the less favorable (or deleterious) mutations are removed from the gene pool by natural selection, while more favorable (beneficial or advantageous) ones tend to accumulate, resulting in (gasp!) evolutionary change.(From Wikipedia...read more about mutations HERE.)
Article from Yahoo news:
LONDON - Webbed feet run in Stumpy's family, but a rare mutation has left the eight-day-old duckling with two nearly full-sized legs behind the two he runs on.
Nicky Janaway, a duck farmer in New Forest, Hampshire, 95 miles southwest of London, unveiled the duckling to reporters on Saturday.
"It was absolutely bizarre. I was thinking 'he's got too many legs' and I kept counting 'one, two, three, four,'" Janaway said.
Stumpy would probably not survive in the wild, but Janaway, who runs the Warrawee Duck Farm in New Forest says he is doing well.
"He's eating and surviving so far and he is running about with those extra legs acting like stabilizers," Janaway said.
The mutation is rare, but cases have been recorded across the world. One duckling named Jake was born in Queensland, Australia, in 2002 with four legs but died soon after.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Explanation: Planetary nebula NGC 2440 has an intriguing bow-tie shape in this stunning view from space. The nebula is composed of material cast off by a dying sun-like star as it enters its white dwarf phase of evolution. Details of remarkably complex structures are revealed within NGC 2440, including dense ridges of material swept back from the nebula's central star. Near the center of the view, the star itself is one of the hottest known, with a surface temperature of about 200,000 kelvins. About 4,000 light-years from planet Earth toward the nautical constellation Puppis, the nebula spans over a light-year and is energized by ultraviolet light from the central star. The false-color image was recorded earlier this month using the Hubble's Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2(WFPC2), demonstrating still impressive imaging capabilities following the failure of the Advanced Camera for Surveys.
Friday, February 16, 2007
I was tagged by Krystalline Apostate to list five of my favorite quotes. It's going to be hard to narrow it down to five, but here goes. (They aren't in any certain order.) :
1. "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."
2. "A rocky vineyard does not need a prayer, but a pick ax." ~Navajo proverb~
3. "I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound — if I can remember any of the damn things." ~Dorothy Parker~
4.“Everything cometh to he who waiteth, as long as he who waiteth worketh like hell while he waiteth!” ~ by fictional character Charlie Chan and is our family motto~
5. "I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence." ~ Frederick Douglas~
I now tag tommy, The Merchant of Menace, Mikayla Starstuff, Danica and MichaelBains
"WHEN MORE IS NOT ENOUGH"
P.T. Barnum is credited with the saying, "There's a sucker born every minute" and it's so true. People will believe anything, and when it comes to medicine they are just waiting for that next new pill to come on the market.
Australian artist Justine Cooper created a fake drug and a fake ad campaign for the drug to parody the tactics used by the drug industry to sell their wares to the public.
Amazingly, many people think this is a real drug and the pill-poppers are all over this one even though it doesn't even exist!
LINK: Fake drug, fake illness -- and people believe it!
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A media exhibit featuring a campaign for a fake drug to treat a fictitious illness is causing a stir because some people think the illness is real.
Australian artist Justine Cooper created the marketing campaign for a non-existent drug called Havidol for Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder (DSACDAD), which she also invented.
But the multi-media exhibit at the Daneyal Mahmood Gallery in New York, which includes a Web site, mock television and print advertisements and billboards is so convincing people think it is authentic.
"People have walked into the gallery and thought it was real," Mahmood said in an interview.
"They didn't get the fact that this was a parody or satire."
But Mahmood said it really took off over the Internet. In the first few days after the Web site (www.havidol.com) went up, it had 5,000 hits. The last time he checked it had reached a quarter of a million.
"The thing that amazes me is that it has been folded into real Web sites for panic and anxiety disorder. It's been folded into a Web site for depression. It's been folded into hundreds of art blogs," he added.
The parody is in response to the tactics used by the drug industry to sell their wares to the public. Consumer advertising for prescription medications, which are a staple of television advertising in the United States, was legalised in the country in 1997.
Cooper said she intended the exhibit to be subtle.
"The drug ads themselves are sometimes so comedic. I couldn't be outrageously spoofy so I really wanted it to be a more subtle kind of parody that draws you in, makes you want this thing and then makes you wonder why you want it and maybe where you can get it," she added.
Mahmood said that in addition to generating interest among the artsy crowd, doctors and medical students have been asking about the exhibit.
"I think people identify with the condition," he said."IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION"
Problems can be avoided if you take HAVIDOL only when you are able to immediately benefit from its effects. To fully benefit from HAVIDOL patients are encouraged to engage in activities requiring exceptional mental, motor, and consumptive coordination. HAVIDOL is not for you if you have abruptly stopped using alcohol or sedatives. Havidol should be taken indefinitely. Side effects may include mood changes, muscle strain, extraordinary thinking, dermal gloss, impulsivity induced consumption, excessive salivation, hair growth, markedly delayed sexual climax, inter-species communication, taste perversion, terminal smile, and oral inflammation. Very rarely users may experience a need to change physicians.
Talk to your doctor about HAVIDOL
Thursday, February 15, 2007
From FFRF: On this date in 1564, Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, Italy. Galileo was appointed professor of mathematics at the University of Padua, where he lectured for 18 years. Galileo pioneered the experimental scientific method, building a thermoscope, constructing a geometrical and military compass, and building an improved telescope. His observations of the satellites of Jupiter, sunspots, mountains and valleys on the moon made him a celebrity, but his Copernican views were investigated and condemned by the Church. Diplomatically seeking Church permission, he published "The Assayer," describing his scientific method, which was tactfully dedicated to the pope (1723). It took Galileo nearly two years to persuade the church to permit him to publish "Dialogue on the two Chief Systems of the World - Ptolemaic and Copernican" (1632), in which he wrote about impetus, momentum and gravity. The Holy Office banned the book, summoning the frail scientist to Rome for trial. Galileo was ordered to abjure his theory and was condemned to house arrest for the rest of his life.
“I have been . . . suspected of heresy, that is, of having held and believed that the Sun is the center of the universe and immovable, and that the earth is not the center of the same, and that it does move . . . I abjure with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith, I curse and detest the said errors and heresies, and generally all and every error and sect contrary to the Holy Catholic church.”-- Galileo Galilei's Recantation, June 22, 1633
Three hundred and fifty years after his death, the Catholic Church "forgave" Galileo. D. 1642.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Explanation: Would the Rosette Nebula by any other name look as sweet? The bland New General Catalog designation of NGC 2237 doesn't appear to diminish the appearance of the this flowery emission nebula. Inside the nebula lies an open cluster of bright young stars designated NGC 2244. These stars formed about four million years ago from the nebular material and their stellar winds are clearing a hole in the nebula's center, insulated by a layer of dust and hot gas. Ultraviolet light from the hot cluster stars causes the surrounding nebula to glow. The Rosette Nebula spans about 100 light-years across, lies about 5000 light-years away, and can be seen with a small telescope towards the constellation of Monoceros.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
LINK: MORE ABOUT THE "MORALS" OF GOD
Whenever we read ... the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize humankind. And, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel. -- Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason
Remember this whenever xians ask you where you get your morals from and tell you they get their's from God.
Monday, February 12, 2007
The well-preserved skeletons were discovered facing each other, their arms entwined, during excavation work in an industrial zone of the northern city of Mantua.
"We found these two individuals entwined in a neolithic burial chamber," the lead archeologist Elena Menotti told AFP.
"We believe them to be a man and a woman, DNA tests should be able to clear that up in a few months. From first observations, they were young because their dentition is complete and shows little signs of wear," she said.
"Everybody obviously wants to know why they were buried in an embrace like that. I think that it's a sign of a great love which has transcended time.
"They obviously had strong feelings for each other," she said.
Menotti said the find was unlikely to be an example of widow sacrifice, a practice whereby women were sometimes buried along with the remains of their naturally-deceased husband.
"In such 'widow sacrifices' the women is buried alongside her husband and not in his arms."
On this date in 1809, the 16th U.S. president, Abraham Lincoln, was born in Hardin County, Kentucky. Largely self-educated, he worked on farms, splitting those famous rails, and clerking at a store. Lincoln spent eight years in the Illinois legislature and also rode the circuit of courts for many years. He married Mary Todd; only one of their four sons lived to adulthood. While seeking the nomination for Congress, Lincoln ruefully wrote Martin M. Morris, of Petersburg, Illinois, that "There was the strangest combination of church influence against me . . . everywhere contended that no Christian ought to vote for me because I belonged to no Church, [and] was suspected of being a Deist." (March 26, 1843, Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, Nicolay & Hay edition.)
“Mr. Lincoln was never a member of any Church, nor did he believe in the divinity of Christ, or the inspiration of the Scriptures in the sense understood by evangelical Christians.
When a boy, he showed no sign of that piety which his many biographers ascribe to his manhood. When he went to church at all, he went to mock, and came away to mimic.
When he came to New Salem, he consorted with Freethinkers, joined with them in deriding the gospel story of Jesus, read Volney and Paine, and then wrote a deliberate and labored essay, wherein he reached conclusions similar to theirs.”-- Colonel Ward H. Lamon (a religionist and Lincoln's longtime friend), Life of Abraham Lincoln, pp. 486, 487, 157 (1872), cited by Franklin Steiner in The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
From The Clergy Letter Project:
On 11 February 2007 hundreds of congregations from all portions of the country and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. Now, on the 198th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, many of these leaders will bring this message to their congregations through sermons and/or discussion groups. Together, participating religious leaders will be making the statement that religion and science are not adversaries. And, together, they will be elevating the quality of the national debate on this topic.
The Clergy Letter states:
We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.
While I would like to be optimistic about the attempts of these “rational” thinking xians in their endeavor to embrace both religion and science, I looked up just how many congregations there are total in this country and found this:
There is no official directory for all the congregations in the county, so sociologists of religion have to rely on statistical estimates extrapolated from surveys. These are often disputed, and to complicate matters, thousands of new churches open each other, while thousands of others close. Hartford Institute estimates there are roughly 335,000 religious congregations in the United States. Of those, about 300,000 are Protestant and other Christian churches, and 22,000 are Catholic and Orthodox churches. Non-Christian religious congregations are estimated at about 12,000.These figures indicate that 10,000 signatures is a mere drop in the bucket — not even ten percent of the total congregations in this country have signed this letter thus far. There is such a long way to go yet. It's hard to believe in the year 2007, despite the fact that Darwin's theory of evolution is so highly regarded at our best institutions of higher learning around the world, that superstition still precedes rational thought and scientific evidence.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Explanation: What's happening to our Sun? Another Coronal Mass Ejection (CME)! The Sun-orbiting SOHO spacecraft has imaged many erupting filaments lifting off the active solar surface and blasting enormous bubbles of magnetic plasma into space. Direct light from the sun is blocked in the inner part of the above image, taken in 2002, and replaced by a simultaneous image of the Sun in ultraviolet light. The field of view extends over two million kilometers from the solar surface. While hints of these explosive events, called coronal mass ejections or CMEs, were discovered by spacecraft in the early 70s, this dramatic image is part of a detailed record of this CME's development from the presently operating SOHO spacecraft. Near the minimum of the solar activity cycle CMEs occur about once a week, but near solar maximum rates of two or more per day are typical. Strong CMEs may profoundly influence space weather. Those directed toward our planet can have serious effects.
Conjoined Twins and Parasitic twins (click previous and next to scroll through to see numerous photos and stories about these special people)
Conjoined Twins - Todd Battis on the Twins' Birth
Amazing Conjoined Twins
Monday, February 05, 2007
We could get even more in-depth and ask why a loving god allowed his creations to become amputees in the first place, and why he allows little children to be born without arms or legs. Of course, we know that things happen in life due to human error, errors of doctors, disease and oftentimes freaky things of nature. To believe that there is a loving god who has the power to prevent these things in the first place, but chooses to allow this kind of thing to happen anyway, is absurd.
Key Point from Why Won't God Heal AmputeesNo matter how many people pray, no matter how often they pray, no matter how sincere they are, no matter how much they believe, no matter how deserving the amputee, what we know is that prayers do not inspire God to regenerate amputated legs. This happens despite what Jesus promises us in Matthew 21:21, John 14:14, Mark 11:24, etc.