Saturday, February 28, 2009

God is not enough . . .

Many, if not most, God believers must realize that their god will not protect them since they go so far as wanting to allow concealed handguns in their sanctuaries. They go to doctors when they are sick, they go to counselors when they are depressed, they turn to human assistance when disaster happens. And now they want to be allowed to carry guns that are made specifically for killing others to protect themselves in "God's houses".
Guns in church bill dies in Arkansas Senate panel
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A state Senate panel has rejected a bill that would allow concealed handguns in Arkansas churches, a proposal that divided religious leaders.


The bill's sponsor, Rep. Beverly Pyle, R-Cedarville, told the panel after the vote that she may try again with the proposal.

"This is not a gun question, it is a question of religious freedom," Pyle said.

What? A question of "religious freedom"?! Why don't these reporters every ask the questions that would put these idiots on the spot? Why didn't someone ask "why don't you trust your god to protect you?" and see what their answer is?

Fortunately, there are those who can think rationally and though they don't ask the question about "where is your god?" but they legally reject the nonsense that guns are somehow a religious right.

State Sen. Sue Madison, D-Fayetteville, said she didn't see the need for the bill.

"I don't know of any church where the carrying of guns is a sacred belief intrinsic to the doctrine of that church, like the holding of communion might be," Madison said.

Stephen's Moral Dimension

H/T to Bob at GifS

Friday, February 27, 2009

"Crosses to bear"

I often hear people talk about how their god GIVES them terrible illnesses and other "challenges." How the hell people can believe their god gives them terrible illnesses, injuries and tragedies as sadistic burdens they must bear in order for this god to walk beside them as they are on their journey to healing?” It would be like a mother or father intentionally breaking the leg of their child so they can lovingly nurse that child back to health! Ludicrous! But this is what some of my friends and family believe, that god gives you these “crosses” as “burdens of his love”.

I have often heard Xians say that “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” Those of us who have stopped to analyze the things Xians say understand how this statement implies that this god is some kind of torturer who sadistically brings pain and suffering on his creatures to get them to be closer to him, or some other “purpose”…and all-the-while they already are devout believers in him. Also, wouldn’t an omniscient, all-power god already know who is a “True Believer” and who is not?

While I will support my friends and family members in hard times, I just cannot stand hearing them talk about the challenges this god asshole is putting on them.

I found THIS on a Xian website “Good News Ministries”:

To serve Jesus, we must follow Him. Where did He go? To the cross! We’ve grown up with the illusion that happiness comes from being right and protecting ourselves from hurts and from crucifixion. To find true happiness in troubled relationships, we must allow these people to crucify us. It doesn’t make sense in the world’s view, but Jesus showed us from the cross that it makes perfect sense from the perspective of love. He said: Stop fighting AND offer no resistance.

Creepy, isn’t it? Their goal is to get the suffering and downhearted to believe that resistance is futile.

I have had that happen even to myself during my hospital stays in recent years. Xians swoop on in with their god crap, hoping to suck another into the god delusion by convincing them that they need the crutch of an imaginary friend instead of simply friends and family being there for them as human beings. That’s who is there to help in reality, anyway.

For the annoyingly cheerful

From The Onion:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Turning to religion in hard times

Monday, February 23, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

Creedocide for your infestation problems!

H/T to Bob at GifS and Pharyngula

Infant married to dog

Just thought this little story would bring a chuckle or two.

LINK: Boy marries dog in India to ward off tiger attacks

BHUBANESWAR, India (Reuters) – An infant boy was married off to his neighbours’ dog in eastern India by villagers who said it will stop the groom from being killed by wild animals, officials and witnesses said Wednesday.

Around 150 tribes people performed the ritual recently in a hamlet in the state of Orissa’s Jajpur district after the boy, who is under two years old, grew a tooth on his upper gum.

The Munda tribe see such a growth in young children as a bad omen and believe it makes them prone to attacks by tigers and another animals. The tribal god will bless the child and ward off evil spirits after the marriage.

“We performed the marriage because it will overcome any curse that might fall on the child as well on us,” the boy’s father, Sanarumala Munda, was quoted as saying by a local newspaper.

The groom, Sagula, was carried by his family in procession to the village temple, where a priest solemnised the marriage between Sagula and his bride Jyoti by chanting Sanskrit hymns, a witness said.

The villagers then ate a feast with rich food and alcohol to celebrate.

The dog belongs to the groom’s neighbours and was set free to roam around the area after the ceremony. No dowry was exchanged, the witness said, and the boy will still be able to marry a human bride in the future without filing for divorce.

The last line, “the boy will still be able to marry a human bride in the future without filing for divorce” cracked me up.

Indian law does not recognise weddings between people and animals, but the ritual survives in rural and tribal areas of the country where millions are illiterate.

He won’t have to divorce his dog-bride because rational people realize that this is just superstition. I would say the more illiterate the weirder the religion, then I look at the educated Catholics and their ghoulish practices.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Space debris orbiting Earth

From YoPress. Makes me wonder how we see any stars at all.

Beware of Falling Space Junk and Space Debris
Here is a map and a chart showing just how much there is.
1) Russians Space Debris
2) Geosynchronous satellites

3) Junk from Scientific Missions

4) Junk from Other Countries
- including the European Space Agency, Japan, France, India, and several companies.
5) Space Junk/ Debris that Will Fall Soon
- old junk falls back through the atmosphere about once a day.

Is this debris dangerous?
In one case, a collision with a tiny space trash particle (only about one tenth of a millimeter wide) resulted in a 1 millimeter wide crack in a space shuttle window.

What you may have called a “falling star” is probably space junk, which falls back through the atmosphere about once a day. Usually the debris completely burns up on reentry, but several 100-pound-plus fragments have crashed to Earth. Surprisingly, there has only been one report of an injury, a woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who was hit by falling space junk.

MissleThis brings us to the current news of a bus-sized satellite now hurtling toward earth, which is carrying about 1,000 pounds of toxic fuel. The plan is to shoot it down with a star-wars like missile.

There will be one chance / attempt at getting this right, which is going to be about as difficult as hitting a bullet with another bullet. If successful, it will just create millions of little pieces of space junk, which will probably burn up on re-entry, but if it fails, we can only hope that someone will be able to predict exactly where it will land.

Apparent "honor killing" in NY

A Muslim television executive beheaded his wife a few days after she served him with divorce papers.

Link: Muslim TV exec accused of beheading wife in NY

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – The crime drips with brutal irony: a woman decapitated, allegedly by her estranged husband, in the offices of the television network the couple founded with the hope of countering Muslim stereotypes.

Muzzammil “Mo” Hassan is accused of beheading his wife last week, days after she filed for divorce. Authorities have not discussed the role religion or culture might have played, but the slaying gave rise to speculation that it was the sort of “honor killing” more common in countries half a world away, including the couple’s native Pakistan.

While investigators are still trying to figure out if this horrific incident was just an act of “domestic violence”, those who work for women’s rights see this crime as something more:

The New York president of the National Organization for Women, Marcia Pappas, condemned prosecutors for referring to the death as an apparent case of domestic violence.

“This was, apparently, a terroristic version of ‘honor killing,’” a statement from NOW said.

Nadia Shahram, who teaches family law and Islam at the University at Buffalo Law School, explained honor killing as a practice still accepted among fanatical Muslim men who feel betrayed by their wives.

“If a woman breaks the law which the husband or father has placed for the wife or daughter, honor killing has been justified,” said Shahram, who was a regular panelist on a law show produced by Bridges TV. “It happens all the time. It’s been practiced in countries such as Pakistan and in India.”

Call it what you want, but it’s an act of gruesome murder. This is not Pakistan or India, and allowances and excuses are not given to those who break the law, period. Many who murder believe they are justified in the killing and that their immoral god is pleased. Most Christians here have learned that they cannot murder in the name of their sky boss or “tradition” and get away with it. Their god cannot save them from human justice.

Acquaintances said Mo Hassan was not overtly religious — co-workers did not see him pray, for instance. But he seemed to adhere to many traditional practices.

Nancy Sanders, the television station’s news director for 2 1/2 years, remembers him asking her to move her feet during her job interview so he would not see her legs. She was wearing a skirt and stockings.

He also would not let women enter his office unless his wife was there, and he blocked the station from airing a story about the first Muslim woman to win the title of Miss England in 2005, Sanders said.

Acquaintances said Aasiya Hassan was trained as an architect. Sanders described her as obedient to her husband, and that she wore a traditional hijab for a time but later stopped without explanation.

It seems like this poor woman was a victim of oppression and domestic violence and only wanted her freedom. Stories like this are unbelievably sad whether religion is involved or not, especially when innocent children are left without a mother and father.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Unusual Red Glow Over Minnesota

Credit & Copyright: Tyler Blessing

What can the superstitious make out of this one?

There is always an explanation for these phenomena whether we have found it yet or not.

Explanation: What in heaven's blazes is that? When landing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA in 2002, just after his flight descended below cloud level in the early evening, passenger Tyler Blessing saw and photographed "huge curved sheets of glowing light extending from cloud to ground." The glow appeared unlike other unusual lights more typically seen, including crepuscular rays, anticrepuscular rays and the glory. A leading possibility, mentioned initially by the photographer, is that the light sheets are setting sunlight scattered off of falling rain. Alternatively, the phenomenon could just be a peculiar window reflection. APOD readers, who have previously shown an impressive ability to pool their collective intelligence to create a better understanding of photographed sky anomalies, are invited to discuss this online. It might help to know that EXIF data indicates that the image was captured on 2002 September 23 at about 8:07 pm in the evening (local time), and that the camera was reported to be pointing north of west at that time. The oval on the ground, visible in the lower right of the above image, is Canterbury Downs race track.

Black Hole Montage

H/T to Cole for this one. Though they are awesome and frightening at the same time, black holes are mysterious and intriguing...spectacularly beautiful:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes

When I was a child and first learned about communion, I was horrified. It was even more grotesque as any horror movies I watched while peeking from beneath a blanket. Eating a dead guy’s body, drinking blood! Gross!

Then later, when I was still a Christian and a Sunday School teacher, I actually was one who engaged in telling horrible things to small children and brainwashing them to believe it was all okay, normal. Now live to regret it. Many of the children sat before me with either puzzled expressions or expressions of horror. And some had lots and lots of questions of which I couldn’t seem to answer very well. Why didn’t I recognize the horrible thing I was implanting in the minds of small children? While Christian parents keep their little ones from seeing scary movies, and violent cartoons, etc. they think that telling them the gruesome stories of Jesus is okay.

The site “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees” has a scenerio that goes like this in the Chapter “Why Do We Eat Jesus?”:

Child: Daddy, what are they doing?

Daddy: Well dear, this part of the service is called communion.

Child: What’s communion?

Daddy: Well, it’s where… Well, it’s… you know, what we do is we eat Jesus’ body to… Well, it’s complicated. Let me see…

Child: We eat Jesus’ BODY???

Daddy: Yes. Well, no, but…

Child: Why do we need to eat Jesus??? I don’t want to eat Jesus!!!

Daddy: No, no, no. It’s OK honey. It’s OK. Be quiet now, don’t cry in church. Shhhh. Shush. Now it’s OK.

Child: But Daddy, I don’t want to eat Jesus!

Daddy: Mom, help me out here.

Mom: Honey, it is a holy sacrament. You see, we eat Jesus’ body and we drink his blood because…

Child: I have to drink his blood too??? Mommy, I don’t want to drink blood!!!

Mom: Honey, calm down! You don’t actually drink his blood.

Child: But that man up there is holding up a cup and he is saying that it is Jesus’ blood! Mommy! I want to leave! I am leaving!

Mom, Dad: No honey! Wait! We can’t leave now!

So what happens to people as they grow older? Why do they come to accept this bizarre ancient ritual as something sacred and beautiful? While the story of Dracula drinking the blood of humans, and cannibalism are things that frightens most people, the ritual of eating Jesus’ body and drinking Jesus’ blood is respected and loved.

WWGHA states:

Because Christians have been participating in the communion rite for many years, they tend to forget just how bizarre this ritual is. But any child sees it with fresh eyes. And many children are, naturally, horrified at the thought of eating Jesus’ body and then drinking his blood. It is grotesque in the extreme and a child implicitly understands that.

So, what happens? Years and years of brainwashing? Parents being trusted to tell them the truth and telling their young ones that it’s okay and nothing at all wrong with it and children accept it because they trust their parents? The point is, when children are small it seems they instinctively know when something is not right, so what the heck happens to make grown-up adults participate in such bizarre rituals?

Anemic Galaxy NGC 4921 at the Edge

Credit: NASA, ESA, K. Cook (LLNL)

Explanation: How far away is spiral galaxy NGC 4921? Although presently estimated to be about 320 million light years distant, a more precise determination could be coupled with its known recession speed to help humanity better calibrate the expansion rate of the entire visible universe. Toward this goal, this image was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in order to help identify key stellar distance markers known as Cepheid variable stars. Since NGC 4921 is a member of the Coma Cluster of Galaxies, refining its distance would also allow a better distance determination to one of the largest nearby clusters in the local universe. The magnificent spiral NGC 4921 has been informally dubbed anemic because of its low rate of star formation and low surface brightness. The remarkably sharp image was made with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, currently in need of repair. Visible in the image are, from the center, a bright nucleus, a bright central bar, a prominent ring of dark dust, blue clusters of recently formed stars, several smaller companion galaxies, unrelated galaxies in the far distant universe, and unrelated stars in our Milky Way Galaxy.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Egyptian Cleric's deranged rant against Valentine's Day

Some of us may not like Valentine’s Day for reasons that it is too commercialized, just another “Hallmark Holiday” and a day for businesses to make money. However, this Muslim cleric, Hazem Shuman says that Valentine’s Day is “more dangerous than AIDS, Ebola, and Cholera” and that it’s an “extremely dangerous virus” to young people because this day of love, hearts, candy and roses destroys the relationship with their imaginary friend. Valentine’s Day is worse than blowing up cafes full of innocent people? Valentine’s Day is worse than famine, war and violence between nations? You never see these god botherers of any religion getting in such a tizzy over the real problems of the world.

Here is the video link and YouTube video below:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Evidence for evolution and creationism

The tired old religion vs evolution debate goes on, and on, and on

Tomorrow is Darwin Day, the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin. The Seattle-based Discovery Institute that pushes “intelligent design” theory and anti-evolution propaganda, plans to put its own spin on “honoring” Darwin this Thursday, calling it Academic Freedom day, which can also be described as Freedom to Teach Your Child to Be Stupid Day.

LINK: Americans United’s Sandhya Bathija says,

Instead of “Darwin Day,” Institute strategists will observe what they call “Academic Freedom Day,” promoting events that “give students and youth workers a way to express their support for free speech and the right to debate the evidence for and against evolution.”

The think tank, which was behind Ben Stein’s documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, masks its intentions to push a creationist agenda by working in the name of “academic freedom.” The Religious Right-backed outfit claims that students’ “academic freedom is trampled everyday” because students are “censored” from critiquing Darwin’s theory of evolution in science classrooms.

These creationist idiots just don’t get it. Their religious beliefs have no place in a science classroom. No one is “trampling on their academic freedoms”. If they wish to offer debate to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, then do it with sound science and not bring your “faith” into it. They have their churches, and they have their own church schools where their children are free to attend to be trained to be ignorant of Science and evolution. It’s very sad for the children who are brainwashed with lies and false information, but religious folks have the freedom to pump whatever crap they want into their children’s brains.

Because of the Institute’s influence, four states are already mulling “academic freedom” bills this year: Iowa, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Alabama. These bills seek to require science educators to teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution, or use other code language to push a creationist agenda.

It’s not enough for them to believe what they choose to believe, but these amendments are attempts to witness to all children and to push their religion into the public school classrooms.

Thank human reason there are other people who believe in the god fantasy who have managed to reconcile their faith and evolution.

That’s the message many religious leaders plan to send to their congregations this week in observance of Darwin Day. Nearly 1,000 clergy members will discuss the relationship between religion and science in an event called “Evolution Weekend.”

And from Ethics

With the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin occurring on Feb. 12 and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his work On the Origin of Species also happening in 2009, many religious leaders hope to use services that weekend to make “it clear that those claiming that people must choose between religion and science are creating a false dichotomy.”

“One important goal is to elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic–to move beyond sound bites,” explains the Web site for Evolution Weekend. “A second critical goal is to demonstrate that religious people from many faiths and locations understand that evolution is sound science and poses no problems for their faith.”

If the Religious Right dumbasses took time to understand what evolution actually is then there wouldn’t be any need to debate theology vs science. They are two separate things. Fortunately, many religious folks do understand this.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Where stars are born

click on image to enlarge
NGC 604: X-rays from a Giant Stellar Nursery
Credit: X-ray: NASA / CXC / R. Tuellmann (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA) et al.;

Explanation: Some 3 million light-years distant in nearby spiral galaxy M33, giant stellar nursery NGC 604 is about 1,300 light-years across, or nearly 100 times the size of the Orion Nebula. In fact, among the star forming regions within the Local Group of galaxies, NGC 604 is second in size only to 30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. This space-age color composite of X-ray data (in blue hues) from the Chandra Observatory, and Hubble optical data shows that NGC 604's cavernous bubbles and cavities are filled with a hot, tenuous, X-ray emitting gas. Intriguingly, NGC 604 itself is divided by a wall of relatively cool gas. On the western (right) side of the nebula, measurements indicate that material is likely heated to X-ray temperatures by the energetic winds from a cluster of about 200 young, massive stars. On the eastern side the X-ray filled cavities seem to be older, suggesting supernova explosions from the end of massive star evolution contribute to their formation.

Pope Ratzi says euthanasia “false solution” to suffering

Pope Ratzi, along with most right-to-lifers wish to impose their god beliefs on others when they force people to remain on feeding tubes even though they are comatose and brain damaged or in terrible suffering from incurable illness. They think it is a “noble” thing to suffer and that euthanasia and “pulling the plug” are “false solutions” for the terminally ill. While I am not completely certain where I stand on euthanasia, when it comes to people in vegetative states who are brain dead, their illogical thinking in these matters is perplexing.

LINK: Pope: Euthanasia ‘false solution’ to suffering

The controversy is an ethical one, and once again we are debating the right for the terminally ill and dying patients to not suffer. In the case of this recent story the news article refers to, a woman has been on a feeding tube for nearly 20 years and has no hope of recovery. Her father wants to let her rest in peace, let her go and accept reality of her condition. But Pope Ratzi and those who hold beliefs in a supreme god of suffering and sado/masochism, Ratzi said in his Sunday blessing that love can help confront pain and that “no tear, from those who suffer and those who are with them, is lost before God.”

God botherers say these things without evidence, without explanation except that ending the life of a terminally ill person, no matter if that life is already gone without the assistance of devices shown in photo here, is a bad thing even when it comes to ending suffering. While euthanasia is a more complex and ethical debate, keeping an otherwise dead person in a perpetual and often lengthy vegetative state via a feeding tube seems more of a “sin”. The god believers are also once again contradicting themselves, saying that going to meet one’s maker is an awesome and the most ultimate experience which is the goal of all believers, but on the other hand they attempt to keep brain dead and terminally ill in this world at the price of pointless great pain and suffering.

I just don’t get it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

How come I never see these in my vicinity?

Lenticular clouds are often what some mistake for UFOs, alien spaceships, etc. Cloud formation can be quite weird at times in some places.

Lenticular Clouds Above Washington

Click on image to enlarge
Credit & Copyright: Tim Thompson

Explanation: Are those UFOs near that mountain? No -- they are multilayered lenticular clouds. Moist air forced to flow upward around mountain tops can create lenticular clouds. Water droplets condense from moist air cooled below the dew point, and clouds are opaque groups of water droplets. Waves in the air that would normally be seen horizontally can then be seen vertically, by the different levels where clouds form. On some days the city of Seattle, Washington, USA, is treated to an unusual sky show when lenticular clouds form near Mt. Rainier, a large mountain that looms just under 100 kilometers southeast of the city. This image of a spectacular cluster of lenticular clouds was taken last December.