Sunday, September 30, 2007
I started blogging in October 2005 with my oldest blog, Random writings, photography and artwork: mine and those of others as sort of a place to put down my thoughts, photos, artwork, fiction, poetry . . . and articles, essays and other things about atheism and freethought. However, a close relative of mine was offended by my atheistic and freethought posts, and said how it "hurt" her and she wanted to read my blog but could not just overlook the posts she didn't agree with. This person said it hurt her deeply to read things that dissed her faith, religion and her god. It was not my intention to hurt anyone, especially this person, so I moved all the atheistic stuff to a new blog . . . this one.
So, that's how Stardust Musings and Thoughts for the Freethinker got started way back in November 2005 and I told this person not to go to this blog as it would offend her. However, that was not enough and she could not stand the fact that I had this blog and wrote the things I did and continued to take it personally...since she sees it as dissing god is dissing her. I toned it down for awhile, but then after some thinking I decided that this is MY space, my blog, my thoughts which reflect my worldview. Even Christians and other god believers of the same faiths don't even agree with each other about various aspects of their religions especially concerning the characteristics of their god, and their widely differing interpretations of their holy texts, and about hell and even if this god is involved in the lives of humans or not. But that's okay because they all believe that their is "something" that is in control. I, on the other hand do not because there hasn't been one shred of evidence to convince me otherwise. I should be able to speak and write what is on my mind in the same way that god believers speak and write about their beliefs that people like me are the baddest of the bad and how they believe we are going to burn in hell for all eternity for simply not believing in a god, specifically THEIR version of this god and the religion that goes along with that.
Now, back to the meme...
1. I started out in blogging rather casually, not really intending it to be read by anyone. If they did, fine. If not, oh well. It was a place for me. I began with no real direction, no plan or goal in mind. I was an art major in high school and in my first two years of college, and worked as a graphic artist for a number of years so enjoyed playing with the graphics and text and making everything look pretty while posting poems and essays that weren't really too involved. Simple, aesthetically appealing. My first post was my favorite quote of all time by Groucho Marx, " 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. I soon went on to post about my lack of belief and reasons why in Life is Here and Now which explains my view of why humans cling to religion and superstitious beliefs, and openly expresses my lack of belief in the existence of any god and reasons for that disbelief.
3. I became very "rabid" for awhile, attacking any Christian who happened upon my blog, and became very defensive when someone tried to proselytize to me in "my house" here in blogland and sometimes got into it in a not so nice way with these god believers, which is unlike how I would behave in the real world. (However, Christians can be quite annoying and still provoke me and bait me into senseless circular arguments at times.) The blogosphere allows us to say things we would never say to anyone face-to-face and allows our worst to come out because we cannot see the person behind the computer screen who we are talking to. Sable Chicken especially would get my "feathers ruffled" and bring out the worst in me. ( I was wondering where she went, and it looks like she has shifted from blogging to YouTube...and is as crazy as ever!) Just type in Sable Chicken if you are interested. It's good for a chuckle or two.
4. Astronomy is a love of mine, and like I say in my profile, if I could live life over again I would become an astronomer. I began to add Astronomy posts from various astronomy sources and also other bits of science and evolution news, politics, and also odd news and cartoons thrown in to add some variety. Here is one of my first Astronomy posts from NASA's Picture of the day.
5. After some more confrontation from the certain family member who, even though I had asked this person nicely not to go here, this person did and the hurt feelings etc happened again, SO . . . I posted much less about religion, and toned-down my religion bashing (for awhile) but I was not happy because I was allowing this person to dictate to me what I can and cannot say on my own personal blog. I felt a lot of resentment about this, and then thought this is MY blog, my space, my place to express my thoughts, and my worldview. While I continue to post and speak out about my atheism and in support of freethought, separation of church and state and against theocratic rule, I have toned down using derogatory and hurtful language while doing so.
As for who I am, and what I write, I have to be true to myself. This post sums it up nicely as to why I continue Stardust Musings.
I now tag:
KA of biblioblography
poodles of Atheist Rants
The Atheist Jew
Cyberkitten of Seeking a Little Truth
I don't know whether to be amused or disgusted by the story below that reports the kind of things that persist in these modern times. The story comes from Nigeria so we might think they are backwards and superstitious people...BUT, we live in a country where the majority of people resort to prayers and rituals in order to try to control things they could never have any control over. Wishing upon a star, coins in fountains, prayers to a million versions of god, angels, saints and whatnot. Rabbits feet, lucky clothing and trinkets, holy cards, special incantations. It is all around us.
The human being is quiet a pathetic creature the way we wish for impossible things, like living forever, stopping Mother Nature's destructive forces, etc. through merely reciting some magic words. These things may make people feel better, or like they are not alone. But deep down, I think most people know that shit happens and there isn't a damn thing we can do about a large number of things except to pray (wish). Some things we can fix, or make happen through our own knowledge and efforts...other things all we can do is hope.
Witchdoctor caught at poll tribunal
ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian police have arrested a witchdoctor employed by a politician to perform rituals at an election tribunal, local media reported Thursday.
Officers caught Oluwole Abiodun Wednesday at the court building in southwestern Ondo state with charms and copies of the Bible and Koran in a black plastic bag.
A pot containing a rabbit, seven eggs, cowrie shells and palm oil was found nearby, the state News Agency ofsaid.
"Abiodun said that he was sent by one of the principal officers of the state House of Assembly to perform some rituals in the court premises," the agency said.
Hundreds of cases are being heard across Nigeria to resolve disputes arising from April elections that were so heavily rigged they were deemed not credible by international observers.
The witchdoctor's rituals would have been intended to ensure that the challenge to the election of the legislator failed.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Explanation: In a close-up from the HiRISE instrument onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, this mysterious dark pit, about 150 meters across, lies on the north slope of ancient martian volcano Arsia Mons. Lacking raised rims and other impact crater characteristics, this pit and others like it were originally identified in visible light and infrared images from the Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. While the visible light images showed only darkness within, infrared thermal signatures indicated that the openings penetrated deep under the martian surface and perhaps were skylights to underground caverns. In this later image, the pit wall is partially illuminated by sunlight and seen to be nearly vertical, though the bottom, at least 78 meters below, is still not visible. The dark martian pits are thought to be related to collapse pits in the lava flow, similar to Hawaiian volcano pit craters.
Friday, September 28, 2007
We rationalists, however, know that nature isn't perfect. Shit happens. (poor things)
Two-headed turtle goes on display in Pa.
NORRISTOWN, Pa. - A pet store has bought a from a collector and plans to keep it on display, the store manager said. The 2-month-old turtle, actually conjoined red-eared slider twins, fits on a silver dollar.
It has two heads sticking out from opposite ends of its shell, along with a pair of front feet on each side. But there is just one set of back feet and one tail.
The turtle is apparently healthy, and the species can live 15 to 20 years, said Jay Jacoby, manager of Big Al's Aquarium Supercenter in . The turtle has not yet been named.
The store would not disclose how much it paid.
The same exotic-turtle collector sold another Big Al's store a conjoined-twin turtle about 20 years ago, Jacoby said. The man lives in, but he declined to identify him.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Chicago started installing these video cameras on street corners stating that it will help control gang problems and deter them from committing crimes and lessen drug trafficking. (So far, it hasn't helped much since by the time someone sees the video tapes, and realizes something bad happened, it's too damn late...the perpetrators and criminals are long-gone.) But they can get people for running stop signs and other minor traffic violations which will most likely increase city revenue for those misdemeanors that would otherwise never be found out.
Chicago video surveillance gets smarter
CHICAGO - A car circles a high-rise three times. Someone leaves a backpack in a park.
uch things go unnoticed in big cities every day. But that could change in with a new video surveillance system that would recognize such anomalies and alert authorities to take a closer look.
On Thursday, the city and IBM Corp. are announcing the initial phase of what officials say could be the most advanced video security network in any U.S. city. The City of Broad Shoulders is getting eyes in the back of its head.
"Chicago is really light years ahead of any metropolitan area in the U.S. now," said Sam Docknevich, who heads video-surveillance consulting for IBM.
Chicago already has thousands of security cameras in use by businesses and police — including some equipped with devices that recognize the sound of a gunshot, turn the cameras toward the source and place a 911 call. But the new system would let cameras analyze images in real time 24 hours a day.*snip*
Some critics question whether such systems are effective and whether they could lead to an unwarranted invasion of privacy.
CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY
Am I just being paranoid, or is this the delayed start of George Orwell's fictional "prophecy" becoming reality?
'Meteorite' Crash Breeds Mass Hysteria
On what started as a normal Saturday night one week ago, residents of a small, remote Peruvian town saw a bright light streak across the sky, heard a resounding bang and suddenly found themselves at the center of a media frenzy.
Initial suspicions of an airplane crash quickly spiraled into widespread reports that a meteorite had plummeted to Earth and left a smoking, boiling crater whose supposedly noxious fumes were reported to have sickened curious locals who went to peer at the hole.
Despite doubts expressed by geologists that the crater was actually caused by a meteorite and firm explanations that a meteorite would not even emit fumes and that the "sickness" was likely a case of mass hysteria, numerous onlookers far and wide were fascinated by the idea that this event could be some real-life "Andromeda Strain" (the 1969 novel by ), where a mysterious rock falling to Earth from outerspace made anyone who went near it ill.
So what is it about things falling from the sky that fills us with such fear that we can make ourselves sick with panic?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
This really pisses me off:
A community college instructor in Red Oak [DesMoines IA] claims he was fired after he told his students that the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be literally interpreted.
Steve Bitterman, 60, said officials at Southwestern Community College sided with a handful of students who threatened legal action over his remarks in a western civilization class Tuesday. He said he was fired Thursday.
“I’m just a little bit shocked myself that a college in good standing would back up students who insist that people who have been through college and have a master’s degree, a couple actually, have to teach that there were such things as talking snakes or lose their job,” Bitterman said.
Of course, the director of the school’s campus declined to comment, and the school president simply blew it off saying that Bitterman was fired because of a “personal issue.”
“I can assure you that the college understands our employees’ free-speech rights,” she said. “There was no action taken that violated the First Amendment.”
Bitterman, who taught part time at Southwestern and Omaha’s Metropolitan Community College, said he uses the Old Testament in his western civilization course and always teaches it from an academic standpoint.
Bitterman’s Tuesday course was telecast to students in Osceola over the Iowa Communications Network. A few students in the Osceola classroom, he said, thought the lesson was “denigrating their religion.”
“I put the Hebrew religion on the same plane as any other religion. Their god wasn’t given any more credibility than any other god,” Bitterman said. “I told them it was an extremely meaningful story, but you had to see it in a poetic, metaphoric or symbolic sense, that if you took it literally, that you were going to miss a whole lot of meaning there.”
There’s that persecution complex again the minute their beliefs are challenged. Do they pray to their god? Nope…they run out and pay for lawyers to get their revenge.
Bitterman said he called the story of Adam and Eve a “fairy tale” in a conversation with a student after the class and was told the students had threatened to see an attorney. He declined to identify any of the students in the class.
If this happened to me I would be so furious I wouldn’t be able to stand it. Colleges and universities are supposed to be places where ideas and thoughts are exchanged in intellectual discourse, aren’t they? It’s bad enough that the bible thumpers try to interject their mythology into elementary and secondary education, but it’s just going too far when they want to infiltrate our institutions of higher learning and take away one of our most valued rights…the right to free speech.
Bitterman said Linda Wild, vice president of academic affairs at Southwest, fired him over the telephone.
Wild did not return telephone or e-mail messages Friday. Bitterman said that he can think of no other reason college officials would fire him and that Smith, the director of the campus, has previously sat in on his classes and complimented his work.
“As a taxpayer, I’d like to know if a tax-supported public institution of higher learning has given veto power over what can and cannot be said in its classrooms to a fundamentalist religious group,” he said. “If it has … then the taxpaying public of Iowa has a right to know. What’s next? Whales talk French at the bottom of the sea?”
Reading about this incident is both maddening and depressing at the same time.
Explanation: An unusual triangle of light will be particularly bright near the eastern horizon before sunrise during the next two months for observers in Earth's northern hemisphere. Once considered a false dawn, this triangle of light is actually Zodiacal Light, light reflected from interplanetary dust particles. The triangle is clearly visible toward the left of the frame taken from the Paranal Observatory in Chile in July. Zodiacal dust orbits the Sun predominantly in the same plane as the planets: the ecliptic. Zodiacal light is so bright this time of year because the dust band is oriented nearly vertical at sunrise, so that the thick air near the horizon does not block out relatively bright reflecting dust. Zodiacal light is also bright for people in Earth's northern hemisphere in March and April just after sunset.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
This speech was given at the "Rally for Reason" the evening before the opening of the Creation Museum in Boone County, Kentucky. The speaker is Hemant Mehta, a blogger at http://www.friendlyatheist.com and author of "I Sold My Soul on eBay." Mehta is also the chair of the Secular Student Alliance.
Video is courtesy of Michigan Atheists.
Friday, September 21, 2007
CHICAGO (AFP) - An analysis of the wrist bones of the tiny prehistoric human dubbed the "Hobbit" bolsters the theory that it was a new species of human and not some aberration of modern man, a study released Thursday said.
Scientists who examined the fossilized remains of the pint-sized human using three dimensional laser imaging say the anatomy of its wrist is primitive -- more akin to that of contemporary apes or ancient human ancestors than modern man or his immediate predecessors.
The creature's wrist lacks a modern innovation seen in homo sapiens and Neanderthals, a wrist that distributes forces away from the base of the thumb and across the wrist for better shock-absorbing abilities.
That suggests that the "Hobbit," whose remains were found on a remote Indonesian island in 2004, evolved at an earlier point in the history of mankind than either modern man or Neanderthals, the authors of the paper said.
"The wrist doesn't show the same specialization for tool behaviour as modern man or Neanderthals," said Matthew Tocheri, a paleoanthropologist at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.
"It retains the same primitive morphology as ancient hominids."
Tocheri contends these latest findings should settle once and for all the heated debate over whether the creature constitutes an entirely new human species, or whether as some critics contend, it's a pygmy or a modern human afflicted with microcephaly, a virus that stunts the growth of the brain.
"This seals the deal," said Tocheri. "Modern humans do not show up with a chimpanzee hand."
The ancient remains have stirred controversy ever since a team of Australian and Indonesian anthropologists announced their discovery in 2004.
The team that found the remains of the 1m (3ft) 18,000 year-old female on the Indonesian island of Flores claimed it was a member of a heretofore unknown species, formal name Homo floresiensis.
They speculated that it was descended from Homo Erectus or some other ancient species that reached Flores just under a million years ago and that, cut off from the rest of the world, the species evolved a small stature and a chimp-sized skull.LINK TO FULL STORY
at Drake University, USA, in March, 1981.
If you can be made to believe that you yearn a life after death, you can be made to believe that you ought to die for your country in some senseless war. If you can be made to believe in a virgin birth, you can be made to accept that the federal reserve system makes sense. If you can be made to believe you are going to go to a heaven when you die, you will be willing to spend your life in a slum or die in a nuclear holocaust. If you can be made to believe that prayer helps, you will sit idle and do nothing.
And, on other hand, here are the Atheists, lone sentinels in a mad world; still espousing individualism, freethought, gain through education (formal and that of self-help); advocating that you grapple with life -- you will find you enjoy it. Life is not a spectator sport. Organized big religion must be divorced from government, not wedded to it to make an immoral majority. One should not use the other for political reasons, for power struggles, for psychological control of the mass of mankind. If our system is good, you don't need to be tricked into supporting it or conditioned into supporting it. Ours was intended to be a secular government. The founding fathers were right -- the danger is religion. Religion is, or ought to be, a matter of private concern, not one of public policy.
The task of Atheists is formidable; how does one deprogram a nation? How does one return amour propre to every citizen? How do we make you understand that the proper course for you is to educate yourself to the last degree that is possible, to stand proud, to be independent, self-actuating, to utilize your full potential, reach to the possible, try to ameliorate the human condition, and treasure life and peace.
Fight for peace. Demand peace. It is only in a peaceful world that you have a chance for an enriched good life. Question everything. Let nothing be sacred, sacrosanct or beyond your exploration.
An atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An Atheist accepts that heaven is something for which we should work nowhere on earth -- for all men together to enjoy. An Atheist accepts that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it and to enjoy it. An Atheist accepts that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellowman can he find understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment.
Therefore, he seeks to know himself and his fellow-man rather than to know a god. An Atheist accepts that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist accepts that a deed must be clone instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. Fie wants man to understand and to love man. He wants an ethical way of life. He accepts that we cannot rely on a god nor channel action into prayer nor hope for an end of troubles in a hereafter. He accepts that we are -- in a sense -- our brothers' keepers in that we are, first, keepers of our own lives; that we are responsible persons, that the job is here and the time is now.
Life is for living; not for dying.
The joy is in involvement, not in watching.
The excitement is in outreach, not in recoil.
For total freedom, the ultimate freedom -- freedom of the mind -- try Atheism.
This simple video shows how one can take a child and teach him anything when he/she is little and impressionable. They will believe you because most little kids think that mom and dad, or their caretakers and adults would not lie to them. Considering the innumerable gods, stories about those gods, stories about how the world came to be that are told to children at very young ages, that is exactly what is happening. Brainwashing via using the parents own learned beliefs at an early age, mixed in with bits and pieces of other people's variations of those learned beliefs. Get 'em while they are still in the cradle is most god believer tactics. Brainwashing about a great sky daddy watching their every move, and the delusion of living forever if they simply believe is a very important priority of the god botherers. Then they are hoping that the little ones will become brainwashed enough to go out into the world for such causes as THIS as posted by vjack at Atheist Revolution, "Christian Extremists to Invade Public Schools". And these same god botherers wonder why the world is so screwed up.
(Maybe we atheists should ban together and start "adopting churches" to rescue from their ancient superstitious beliefs?)
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
This image has been left imprinted in my mind for some time. A vulture stands there on the sidelines waiting for this innocent child to die so the bird of prey can swoop in and devour her. She is struggling to crawl to a foot station.
Yes, nature is quite cruel in the way of the survival of the fittest. It bothers me much though that god believers think that their god is good, and not a sadistic bastard for sitting back after creating a world which is set up in such cruelty, suffering and heartache. The suffering of innocent babies, and children come to my mind first, for they suffer the very most because they are so naive, helpless and dependent on others for their mere survival. No god is going to come rescue them if another human being is not around or does not care.
To say that there is an "intelligent designer" who invented the grand scheme of things would make this designer highly incompetent and unable to control his creations or to correct his errors at best, or at the worst, he is a sick, sadistic bastard who is all powerful but set up the world as a puppet stage to play who suffers, who doesn't, who dies, who doesn't...etc. The strong devour the weak. One living creature must kill and eat another for its own survival. While there is much beauty and awesomeness in the world, it is also a very violent, chaotic and cruel world and to say that this is all an all-knowing, all-powerful entity could think up is absurd. It is NATURE and life can be very good, or very cruel. Outside of natural happenings and disasters, it is totally up to other humans to help other humans. Not some sky genie.
While I was in the hospital with this serious illness, I saw firsthand how the religious take advantage of a sick person's vulnerability and sit on the sidelines and wait, and wait for the right moment to pounce. Most likely, their intentions are good ones based on their own worldview, and they believe they are showing loving concern that the atheist who is sick doesn't have that "afterlife insurance just in case" thing and their "just" god is going to send a very good person to eternal suffering in the pits of their mythical hell. I am sure that my relatives who are fundamentalists are indeed concerned about me, however they seem to be far more concerned about me AFTER I die! This is frightening and I am glad that there aren't many in the family or in my immediate family who think this way. The ones who bother me the most about it are only a few and they live out of town and I rarely talk to them.
The other morning I was calm and happy to be recovering. I am glad to be back home and on the mend. I still have medical problems I will have to deal with my whole life, but I can do it. I have a whole team of doctors who I trust and access to some of the best medical facilities in the world and insurance to pay for it. While I was happily checking my emails, there was one from one of those distant Baptist relative who after saying she would never, ever bring up "being saved" and religion to me again...LIED and brought it up again in a most disturbing and disrespectful way. She sent me a very "deep" email with emotional examples of sick people being sick because they reject god, and some Bible passages she told me to really focus on and consider. (cherry-picked just for me and I resisted the urge to cherry-pick some counter-passages back to her. This person forgets that I WAS an active and believing xian for a long time and a leader in several churches.) She implied that all of my problems are because I didn't trust god! (She just proved the "sadistic bastard" point to me again). She said my ulcers are from "anger" I am holding back towards her god! My ulcers are most likely from trying to spice up my food with jalapenos and other spicy stuff after I was not allowed salt anymore a few months ago ! They are clearing up with Protonix medication and staying away from spicy crap, praise Jeebus. ;)
I am not supposed to get upset or stressed out. But I was furious with this email because this person had lied to me....AGAIN FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME. I want very much to stay in communication with her, and don't want to ban her from communication like I have been banned from communicating with a certain other fundamentalist twig of the family tree, so I will just not open anything that starts out with "I know I said I wouldn't bring this up again" and not read past that.
Most people in my family respect my beliefs or lack thereof. My parents are great. They offer physical help and my mom was so worried about me but she was there, and never once mentioned godly crap to me...she asked a lot about doctors and if they knew what they were doing though! That's what matters...if the doctor is an idiot or incompetent or not.
The Lutherans and the Catholics in the family don't do that preachy, cry-baby crap to me. (The Baptists cry and seemed to want to make it somehow morbid, like they expected death to come any minute and I MUST be saved and trust their version of this god being.) This person who sent me the email said that I was on the huge prayer list at her church and is why it was found that I didn't have LUPUS after all...however, she doesn't know everything except bits and pieces of what my folks told her via brief short telephone conversations, and I do have several other problems that are serious that she doesn't know about and won't. I don't want to be on any more oogie boogie prayer lists and it is insulting and maddening that I am on one at all. If it makes them happy to bring attention to themselves with it or makes them feel better in some way to put me on it DON'T TELL ME ABOUT IT. IT ONLY PISSES ME OFF.
I wrote this person back and said that I appreciate her concern and am glad that she is thinking of me in whatever way makes her feel better. But I told her I am a pretty upbeat person and have endured a lifetime of illnesses, from being born premature in the 50s, to suffering with severe asthma and other ailments as a child, to difficult and unusual pregnancies, the death of a newborn in delivery, a miscarriage, the loss of our middle son's twin during pregnancy, hysterectomy, benign liver tumors removed, Rheumatoid Arthritis, gout, pulmonary edema, abnormal water metabolic deficiency, irregular heartbeat, and the list goes on and on as it does for many people as they age. If these people believe god made us, then their god made me and many others "defective" and sits back and does nothing but let the doctors struggle to figure out how to fix his mess. Of course, that is not what I believe. I believe this crap happens in nature...survival of the fittest and the individual resilience and desire to keep on going for as long as we can. Believer or non, it's up to individual attitude. Look at all the studies that say patients who are prayed for do worse when they start feeling pity for themselves.
I also told this person that most of my roommates were god believers as were probably most of the people in the hospital I was in and many are far worse off than I am, and many younger, and many of them KIDS. Their families pray, they chant, they cry, they beg.....their loved ones are still sick and dying. Praying is pointless. They say so themselves..."god's will" which means to me, "that's life"...and we have to deal with it.
Back to the "vulture" example, it is sad that they must take advantage of the non-believer at stressful and difficult times of illness or distress. But for me, I believe being respectful and loving does not include telling me that a bad god is doing this to me because I cannot believe in something for which there is zero evidence or logic for.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
What is alive is what I share the earth with.
What lives is what shapes this world we inhabit,
and no other force, by any means, possesses this gift.
To believe in God is to refuse to recognize your power
to change things and send the world in the right direction.
To wait for God to make things right is only a showcase
of your weakness and lack of belief in yourself."
If anyone knows who the author of this is, please let me know.
Newsblurb at MSNBC.com
LINCOLN, Neb. - The defendant in a state senator’s lawsuit is accused of causing untold death and horror and threatening to cause more still. He can be sued in Douglas County, the legislator claims, because He’s everywhere. [my emphasis]
State Sen. Ernie Chambers sued God last week. Angered by another lawsuit he considers frivolous, Chambers says he’s trying to make the point that anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody.
Chambers says in his lawsuit that God has made terrorist threats against the senator and his constituents, inspired fear and caused “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.”
The Omaha senator, who skips morning prayers during the legislative session and often criticizes Christians, also says God has caused “fearsome floods … horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes.”
He’s seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Ellen Johnson. President of American Atheists. September 12th, 2007
Explanation: At about 100 meters from the cargo bay of the space shuttle Challenger, Bruce McCandless II was further out than anyone had ever been before. Guided by a Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), astronaut McCandless, pictured above, was floating free in space. McCandless and fellow NASA astronaut Robert Stewart were the first to experience such an "untethered space walk" during Space Shuttle mission 41-B in 1984. The MMU works by shooting jets of nitrogen and has since been used to help deploy and retrieve satellites. With a mass over 140 kilograms, an MMU is heavy on Earth, but, like everything, is weightless when drifting in orbit. The MMU was replaced with the SAFER backpack propulsion unit.
I promised you some stories from my two-week-long incarceration in a lunatic asylum (catholic hospital). The physical pain and illness I was feeling was nothing in comparison to having to hear the various roommates of mine that came and went having communion every day and cry in their beds for hours afterwards. The god representatives and religious visits did absolutely no good for them at all, and actually made them WORSE. One woman who happily chatted on the phone with a friend despite her cellulitis in her leg stopped to take communion from a priest and he was so somber and sad. Droned out the mumbo-jumbo incantations to the great sky daddy, the sad and sorrowful prayer for the sick and by the time it was over she had to tell her friend she was in dire pain, had to go and was calling for morphine and for the nurse to come comfort her. She even went so far as to request a catherter to be inserted because her leg was too painful to get out of bed to go to the bathroom, though she was getting up to reach her snack crackers minutes before the priest arrived. The god incantations seemed to do much more harm than good.
I lay there in pain while Drs. Larry, Moe, Curly, Shemp, and Joe tried to figure out where to start with me since I had a variety of problems. Pulmonary edema, irregular heartbeat, biliary dyskenesia of the gallbladder, ulcers. I needed surgery, but they needed to get other things figured out so they would not be responsible for killing me on the operating table. But like I said, those problems were just a puzzle that doctors needed to use science and their education to figure out and fix. The real suffering was caused by the god-botherers who swooped in for the kill the minute I was admitted to the hospital.
I had told them in the ER when I was admitted that I HAD NO GOD BELIEFS and to please leave me be about it. No sooner I was in my room, before seeing a nurse or a doctor, a chaplain came waltzing in asking about my “spirituality”. I said I was an atheist, I had no god beliefs and she said she would leave some tracts by my bedside and I said “NO THANK YOU, TAKE THEM AWAY”. I explained I did not believe in god and didn’t want to be bothered with it. Does she respect that and respect that I am in great pain and sick? Of course not. The selfish need to validate their own beliefs takes priority over patient wellness and stress levels.
Most of my roommates didn’t stay more than a couple of days and didn’t have anything too serious, except for one woman who had open-heart surgery a few months before and was having a bit of complications. She took communion and became like a baby afterwards, letting herself be cooed and coddled, refusing to even sit up though she had been sitting up earlier that morning. The two who were not religious struggled through their problems, went for their tests, were optimistic about getting out ASAP and were very active in finding out what was making them ill so they could fix it and get home, and they went home happy. I was trying to do the same thing, as was my husband since I had a similar problem in 1987 and he was trying to round up medical records from ancient archives, and I was trying to get doctors to listen to me…all productive things that oogie boogie prayers would be no use for.
I had an aunt who never, ever calls me at any other time except when I have been in the hospital over the years called me once again to tell me “god is with me”. I told her in a kidding-on-the-square kind of way that if that was true to tell the sick, sadistic bastard to BACK OFF! She was stunned for a minute, then started to talk about god bringing us trials and not giving us more than we can handle and blah, blah, blah and how god helped her though all of her strokes and her friends dying etc. and I told her it seems like god did nothing but torture people. I told her I could not believe in her god. I believe in human will and resilience. I am like Tigger, I bounce back. I don’t need god beliefs. I was in so much pain I just said things as I felt like it. I didn’t really care if I offended anyone who was trying to take advantage of my vulnerable situation to zoom in for the “kill” with the god stuff.
I am usually a very nice person, and try not to be mean to people, however, the pain and the added god botherer aggravation turned me into a very militant atheist at times. I was taken down for a test one day and left on a gurney to wait in a holding area. There was an older woman there waiting for her husband to have a test done. She said to me “so what’s your problem?” I said, “I don’t feel like talking.” She said, “did you have surgery?” I told her “I don’t talk to strangers about my business, please leave me alone.” She said, “My husband had a blah, blah blah, and I had a stroke back in January, and I have arthritis and blah, blah, blah, waa, waa, waa….” I interrupted and told her that I was sorry to hear that but I really didn’t want to hear it. She then got close to me and said “trust in the Lord, he is there for you” and I said “I AM AN ATHEIST, THERE IS NO GOD” and she backed up as if I had spit fire at her. LOL! It was great. I wanted to add if god is there for her, she still has a bunch of freakin' problems and he didn't seem to be helping since she had so much to complain about.
There was an incident even worse than the frustrating god representatives and godly roommates. I had been in the hospital in the cardiac ward for about four days and just got a big drowsy with the pain meds and was all hooked up to monitors and I.V lines and all of a sudden a shriek came from another room “ALLAH AKBAR! durkadurkadurkaalalalalalalala and a bunch of chanting in what sounded like Arabic. I was so startled, and disoriented. It continued. “ALLAH AKBAR!! ALLAH AKBAR! durkadurkadurkaalalalalalalall” Then a bunch of people were chanting and yelling and sounded like there were about 40 people in one room. I started scanning my room for someplace to hide. I was delirious with pain med and pain itself so everything was quite surreal. Turns out what happened was that an old muslim man had died and I guess it is normal tradition to bellow to their sky daddy like Klingons when a loved one dies. Holy crap, that sounded like they were screaming out war cries of the start of some kind of violence! It would not be allowed if it were not for “religious tolerance”.
I should have done this sooner, but I looked up the “Mission Statement” of that hospital and of several hospitals in our area and all are affiliated with some kind of mythology cult. The hospital I was at is affiliated with the catholic church and according to the ethics and religious doctrine of the catholic church. Then there are Lutheran run hospitals, Baptist and Methodist. I have found that the only few places I can go where people are treated medically first and where individuality is considered and respected are the secular university hospitals. I am now in the process of finding new doctors and specialists at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Northwestern is another good one, but too far away. As atheists, I suggest that before an illness strikes, check out the hospitals in your area and find one that you can be comfortable in because when it’s really religious it causes more stress, uncomfortableness and frustration.
It’s sad that these religious patients who were my roommates could not see that talking with their friends made them feel better. Watching television made them feel better and took their minds off their problems. My family who visited cheered me. Watching a sitcom did far more for me than communion did for the god believers. Religion made them SICKER and more full of self-pity. But it seems like many of them like and even thrive on that masochistic part of xianity.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Explanation: On September 1, Aurigid meteors filled the sky, in keeping with an innovative prediction of an outburst from this historically tentative meteor shower. The prediction was made by Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute, in work with Esko Lyytinen of Finland and Jeremie Vaubaillon of Caltech. Astronomers flying at 47,000 feet on a dedicated mission to observe the outburst collected image data for this composite photo of the Aurigids' bright and colorful streaks. The source of the shower is understood to be Comet Kiess, a comet that would have swung through the inner solar system around 2,000 years ago, and again in 1911. Pushed outward by solar radiation pressure, dust from the tail of the comet has been drifting toward the Earth's orbit, creating the 2007 outburst as well as outbursts of the Aurigids recorded in 1935, 1986, and 1994. Of course, the shower's radiant point is in the eponymous constellation Auriga, the Charioteer.
Explanation: Stars are forming in a dense molecular cloud a mere 1,000 light-years away in the constellation Serpens Cauda (The Serpent's Tail). At that estimated distance, this sharp, near-infrared close-up of the active Serpens star-forming region spans about 2 arcminutes or just over half a light-year. Though such near-infrared observations can be made by mountain-top telescopes with specialized detectors, near-infrared light has too long a wavelength to be visible to the eye. This view was recorded with a sensitive camera, HAWK-I (High Acuity, Wide field K-band Imaging), just commissioned at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. Intended to illustrate HAWK-I's impressive capabilities, the tantalizing image highlights reddish young stars and protostars, likely up to a few million years old, emerging from the nebular gas and dust.