Sunday, March 29, 2009

Atheist Comedian on Religion

Keith Lowell Jensen

Sunday funnies

Jimmy Kimmel Show - Nadya Suleman Giving Birth

Friday, March 27, 2009

Catch a falling star

Here is a story brought to my attention by tinaFCD. Very interesting news.

LINK: Astronomers catch a shooting star for 1st time

WASHINGTON – For the first time scientists matched a meteorite found on Earth with a specific asteroid that became a fireball plunging through the sky. It gives them a glimpse into the past when planets formed and an idea how to avoid a future asteroid Armageddon.

Last October, astronomers tracked a small non-threatening asteroid heading toward Earth before it became a "shooting star," something they had not done before. It blew up in the sky and scientists thought there would be no space rocks left to examine.

But a painstaking search by dozens of students through the remote Sudan desert came up with 8.7 pounds of black jagged rocks, leftovers from the asteroid 2008 TC3. And those dark rocks were full of surprises and minuscule diamonds, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Nature.


The asteroid, which mostly burned in the atmosphere 23 miles above the ground, is likely a leftover from when chunks of rock tried and failed to become a planet, about 4.5 billion years ago, scientists said.

"This is a look back in time and it came to us," said University of Maryland astronomer Lucy McFadden. She wasn't part of the study, but like four other outside experts praised the findings as important to the understanding of the solar system.

"It's a beautiful example of looking at an earlier stage of planet development that was arrested, halted," said NASA cosmic mineralogist Michael Zolensky, a co-author of the study.

But it also serves as a lesson for the future if this asteroid's big brother comes hurtling toward Earth.


Blowing it up like in the Bruce Willis movie "Armageddon" wouldn't be smart because this type of asteroid turns out to be very much like a "traveling sandpile," Zolensky said. "If you blow it up, all the pieces are heading toward Earth."

Instead, a spaceship-aided nudge would be more effective, said NASA Ames Research Center director Simon "Pete" Worden, another study co-author. He is a longtime advocate of a worldwide program to plan for the threat of asteroids and comets hitting Earth.

"The real important issue is to understand the physics of these objects," Worden said.

Let's hope they figure it out before a big one comes at us.


Martian Dunes and the Shadow of Opportunity

Explanation: Human made robots continue to roll across the surface of Mars. Both Opportunity and its sister rover Spirit are in their sixth year on Mars, exploring the red planet for years longer than original expectations. Pictured above is a composite of recent images taken by the navigation camera on top of the Opportunity rover in Meridiani Planum. Visible are parallel rover tracks, rippling sand dunes, light-colored bedrock protrusions, metallic rover parts, and the dark shadow of the sometimes-artistic robotic photographer. Currently, Opportunity is on its way toward huge Endeavor crater, while Spirit is trying to climb an unusual rock structure known as Home Plate. If it can survive the harsh martian environment, Opportunity should arrive at Endeavor crater in about two years, at which time it may revolutionize human knowledge of this ancient martian landform.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Prayer instead of action leads to disaster

When will people ever learn that prayer does not work.

Crash pilot who paused to pray convicted

PALERMO (Reuters) – A Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures before crash-landing his plane, killing 16 people, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by an Italian court along with his co-pilot.

The 2005 crash at sea off Sicily left survivors swimming for their lives, some clinging to a piece of the fuselage that remained floating after the ATR turbo-prop aircraft splintered upon impact.

A fuel-gauge malfunction was partly to blame but prosecutors also said the pilot succumbed to panic, praying out loud instead of following emergency procedures and then opting to crash-land the plane instead trying to reach a nearby airport.

Another five employees of Tuninter, a subsidiary of Tunisair, were sentenced to between eight and nine years in jail by the court, in a verdict handed down Monday.

The seven accused, who were not in court, will not spend time in jail until the appeals process has been exhausted.

Yet another instance where this god doesn’t show up. When will people ever get it. All those people died because of the religious bullshit belief of a delusional pilot. If I was a relative of one of the victims, I could never forgive such stupidity .

Obama administration upholds ban on Muslim scholar

The ACLU has championed the case of Swiss Muslim Tariq Ramadan, an Oxford University professor and a vocal critic of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, who has been barred first by the Bush Administration from entering the United States on the grounds national security concerns, and that decision has now been upheld by the Obama administration.

While I was expecting a clean break from the Bush administration’s failed policies, Obama still clings certain policies from the previous administration, as we have discussed here a few times concerning Bush’s faith-based programs that Obama plans to continue, as well as policies involving our national security. But in this case, is he justified? I think maybe he is.

Obama lawyer sticks to ban on Muslim scholar

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A lawyer arguing on behalf of the Obama administration on Tuesday echoed Bush administration policies to back a decision to deny one of Europe’s leading Muslim intellectuals entry to the United States.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jones told a U.S. federal appeals court panel that they should uphold a decision to bar Swiss Muslim Tariq Ramadan, an Oxford University professor and a vocal critic of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, from entering the United States.

Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, had hoped Tuesday’s arguments would see a reversal of Bush administration policies that they argue exclude foreign scholars from visiting the United States due to their political beliefs.

“Consular decisions are not subject to litigation,” Jones told the three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, broadly arguing the courts have no power to examine visa denials. The ACLU argued against a judge’s ruling in late 2007 that upheld Ramadan’s ban.

Ramadan is the grandson of Hasan al-Banna, an Islamist thinker and activist who in 1928 founded the Muslim Brotherhood, which opposed secular and Western ideas.

The ACLU has championed Ramadan’s case as part of a larger pattern of scholars and writers being excluded due to unwarranted or unspecified U.S. national security grounds.


The ACLU argued the government was using the provision more broadly to deny entry to people whose political views they did not approve of.

My immediate reaction, while remembering what happened on September 11, 2001, is to say fuck this terrorist sympathizer and America hater. On the other hand, is it right to ban people from coming here simply because of their political viewpoints? Is this a dangerous anti-American instigator who should be kept out of this country for security reasons, or should he be allowed a visa to enter and exercise his freedom of speech?Many people, liberal and conservative think he should be barred from entry because of the rhetoric he espouses. He isn't simply speaking in disagreement of an act committed by the USA, but is against the USA and all of Western culture, in general. Ramadan says he is a moderate, but holds very strong Islamic views towards women and in support of the fundamentalist form of his religion.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Greatest Story Ever Told - again and again and again

Christianity is just a spin-off of other past religions, based on the movement of the sun. The sun worshipers were closer to the truth than other god creators. The sun is what gives us life, we cannot live without the sun. Throughout time, "sun" turned into "son" in various religions. But it's all based on astrology. The Egyptian religion is very likely the basis of the Christian religion.

This revealing documentary is part of the piece called Zeitgeist. This segment deals with the Ancient African origins of the Christ story based upon the story of Heru (Horus), Auset (Isis) and Ausar (Osiris). Even though the documentary says the story occurs around 3,000 B.C. It actually goes back to about 8,000 B.C.

This documentary shows in clear cut manner shows the similarities between Heru, the other crucified saviors and Jesus the Christ. It is all based on the journey of the Sun through out the 12 signs of the Zodiac. The Astro Theology has been put into literal form and taught as Theology. This is inaccurate.

A few of the similarities are between Heru and Jesus are:

1) The Virgin Birth
2) The Annuniciation
3) The Crucifixtion
4) Resurrection
5) 12 Disiciples
6) Birth on December 25th
7) Healing the sick
8) Raising the Dead
9) A Star in the East
10) Three Kings or Wise Men
11) Started teaching at age 12
12) Was dead for 3 days

Watch the videos:

Part 2

Part 3

Friday, March 20, 2009

"God-less" churches for humanists

A major reason so many people congregate at churches on Sunday mornings is for the social aspects and sense of community of being together with other people. While many of us atheists, agnostics, and humanists, reject anything that resembles organized religion, there are many who like the idea and humanist and atheist “churches” are growing in numbers all across the nation like this one in Cambridge, MA.

LINK: God-less ‘congregations’ planned for humanists

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The monthly schedule is church-like, with its parenting classes, guest speakers and small group meetings to hash out shared beliefs. But God isn’t part of this Cambridge congregation.

Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard University, is building a God-free model of community that he hopes helps humanists increase in numbers and influence.

Epstein sees potential in research showing that there are more people with no religion. In the latest American Religious Identification Survey, released this month, 15 percent of respondents in 2008 said they had no religion, compared to 8.2 percent in 1990. Epstein believes that group includes large numbers of people who are humanist, but have never identified themselves that way and can be reached.

At the same time, there is broader acceptance of those with no faith, as indicated by President Barack Obama’s mention of “nonbelievers” in his inaugural address, Epstein said.


“This is a new mission field, if you will, but are those vineyards ripe for the picking?” Edwords said. “I haven’t seen sufficient evidence of it.”

Still, both men agree that more humanist communities are needed, for mutual support and to offset isolation humanists often feel.

I never feel isolated. I’m just a person living among millions of other people who just has no god beliefs. I really don’t need the support group, which in my opinion is what these “churches” resemble. I feel that these folks just can’t let go of the whole church routine that many of us atheists have freed ourselves from. Many will be turned off by these gathering places.

But he said he doubts humanism can sustain itself in the local congregations Epstein envisions because community is not a natural part of humanism, where the individual is the ultimate source of meaning. If humanism becomes concerned with the “greater good,” and a sort of natural moral order that implies, it starts to resemble religion and humanists will back away, he said.

What is your opinion?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

World religion extreme fighting event!

This would make for a quite entertaining reality show!
click on cartoon to enlargeThanks to Austin Atheists of Austin, Texas

Evolution is NOT about people coming from apes

nor did people come about via dirt and magic.
Thanks to Austin Atheists of Austin, Texas

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St Patrick's Day!

I did a search to find out if there are people who actually believe in leprechauns and sure enough, I found this group of "believers" in Alabama who try to take pictures, videoes and even special flutes to try to lure the leprechaun out of hiding. Just when you thought you heard it all, there is always more.

(If you shine a light in its direction, it disappears…that cracked me up!)

Alabama Leprechaun Part II

What star created this huge puffball?

click on image to enlargeTycho's Supernova Remnant
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Optical: MPIA, Calar Alto, O. Krause et al.

Explanation: What star created this huge puffball? Pictured above is the best multi-wavelength image yet of Tycho's supernova remnant, the result of a stellar explosion first recorded over 400 years ago by the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe. The above image is a composite of an X-ray image taken by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory, an infrared image taken by the orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope, and an optical image taken by the 3.5-meter Calar Alto telescope located in southern Spain. The expanding gas cloud is extremely hot, while slightly different expansion speeds have given the cloud a puffy appearance. Although the star that created SN 1572, is likely completely gone, a star dubbed Tycho G, too dim to be easily discerned here, is being studied as the possible companion. Finding progenitor remnants of Tycho's supernova is particularly important because the supernova was recently determined to be of Type Ia. The peak brightness of Type Ia supernovas is thought to be well understood, making them quite valuable in calibrating how our universe dims distant objects.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Stem cell research -- releasing science from the prison of religion

Solar Prominence from SOHO

click on image to enlargeCredit: SOHO - EIT Consortium, ESA, NASA

Explanation: What's happened to our Sun? It was sporting a spectacular -- but not very unusual -- solar prominence. A solar prominence is a cloud of solar gas held above the Sun's surface by the Sun's magnetic field. In 2004, NASA's Sun-orbiting SOHO spacecraft imaged an impressively large prominence hovering over the surface, pictured above. The Earth would easily fit under the hovering curtain of hot gas. A quiescent prominence typically lasts about a month, and may erupt in a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) expelling hot gas into the Solar System. Although somehow related to the Sun's changing magnetic field, the energy mechanism that creates and sustains a Solar prominence is still a topic of research.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

God's favorite way to kill quiz

From Landover Baptist Church

A Landover Baptist Bible Quiz

We all know God has historically killed or tortured those who rub Him the wrong way. What you may not realize is that God’s methods of maiming are as varied as his reasons for smiting people. A Biblical scholar/True Christian should have no difficulty determining God’s favorite way of torturing and/or killing less desirable folks in each of the following circumstances. Get the correct answers by clicking here

1. Which of the following are among God’s methods of punishing those who break His commandments?

A. He strikes them with plagues, burning fevers that consume the eyes, pestilence, consumption, blasting, the sword and even mildew.
B. He strikes them with hemorrhoids, scabs, itching, madness and blindness.
C. He sends wild bears to devour their children.
D. Any of the above, depending on His mood.

2. How does God handle people who make Him jealous by having a religion different than ours?

A. Trick question. God is not vain.
B. He has them burned with fire, shot with arrows, bitten by beasts, poisoned by serpents, stabbed with swords and dashed to pieces with rods of iron-man, woman and child including infants, the aged and virgins.
C. He gently nudges them in the right direction.
D. None of the above.

3. How does God kill whiners?

A. What? God wouldn’t kill people just for complaining.
B. Fire.
C. Earthquakes.
D. Terminal illness.

4. How does God prefer to torture those who somehow become enemies of His chosen people?

A. He breaks their bones and pierces them with arrows.
B. He sends hornets to kill them.
C. He has them eat their own flesh and drink their own blood.
D. All of the above.

5. How does God kill those who vacation in Egypt?

A. Sword.
B. Famine.
C. Pestilence.
D. Take your pick.

6. How did God express his hatred toward people living in metropolitan Babylon?

A. By destroying their livestock.
B. By making the women barren.
C. By turning the men into drag queens.
D. All of the above.

7. When a community’s sins really make God mad, how does God find comfort?

A. By killing a third of the people with plagues and famine.
B. By killing a third of the people with local warfare.
C. By killing a third of the people with international warfare.
D. All of the above.

8. Whom does God slaughter when He gets jealous because a community is worshiping someone else?

A. The women.
B. The babies.
C. The unborn infants.
D. All of the above.

9. How does God punish promiscuous folks, like men who have sex with both their wives and mothers-in-law and daughters of priests who sleep around?

A. He has their genitals mutilated so they can sin no more.
B. He ensures their misdeeds result in unwanted pregnancy or venereal disease.
C. He has them burned with fire.
D. Any of the above.

10. In Jesus’ time, how did the Trinity deal with nonbelievers?

A. They had one eaten by worms.
B. They struck one blind.
C. A and B.
D. None of the above.

More Medieval bizarrness

So much stuff can be found on the grotesque beliefs and rituals of the Christian church throughout the centuries. How people in today's world can still have anything to do with an ancient religion in any way, shape or form is beyond me. In these modern times, with education and all the information we now have, many of us find it mind-boggling how folks can still cling to religions associated with unrealistic, barbaric, hideous, crazy beliefs. What do the people today do when they find something like the girl in the story below? They bury her with some other "new and improved" form of mythology.

Girl decapitated 700 years ago gets church burial

LONDON – More than 200 people have attended the funeral of a teenage girl decapitated 700 years ago in a gruesome medieval ritual.

Archaeologists discovered the girl's body two years ago in unconsecrated ground beside an English church. Her head had been placed beside the body.

Experts believe she may have been executed or committed suicide and then decapitated. The ritual was sometimes done during medieval times to deny Christians eternal life.

The church's vicar, the Rev. Andy Harding, requested that the girl be reburied in the main churchyard. Harding said that whoever she was or what she had done, "everyone deserves a dignified and respectable funeral."

Yeah, complete with magical incense, magical holy water and magical incantations...yeah, that's more respectable. (sarcasm)

The ceremony was held Saturday at Hoo St. Werburgh parish church, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of London.

The more respectable thing to do would be just let the poor maiden's remains RIP.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Medieval "vampires"

Religion often leads to beliefs in other supernatural absurdities, like witches, demons, ghosts, flaming dragons, etc. And in medieval times, the Church was instrumental in perpetuating the vampire myths, and often performed "exorcisms" of exhumed bodies of dead people. During times of plague, when they would open mass graves to bury more bodies, the sight of the decomposing bodies were horrifying and the people back then didn't understand the whole decompression process. So what did they do when they didn't know what was happening? They do like they do today and make up an explanation, and a quite scary one at that. The god of Abraham believers are very good at doing that, making stuff up to scare their followers into submission.

This is a pretty interesting find:

LINK: Italy dig unearths female "vampire" in Venice

ROME – An archaeological dig near Venice has unearthed the 16th-century remains of a woman with a brick stuck between her jaws — evidence, experts say, that she was believed to be a vampire.

The unusual burial is thought to be the result of an ancient vampire-slaying ritual. It suggests the legend of the mythical bloodsucking creatures was tied to medieval ignorance of how diseases spread and what happens to bodies after death, experts said.

The well-preserved skeleton was found in 2006 on the Lazzaretto Nuovo island, north of the lagoon city, amid other corpses buried in a mass grave during an epidemic of plague that hit Venice in 1576.

"Vampires don't exist, but studies show people at the time believed they did," said Matteo Borrini, a forensic archaeologist and anthropologist at Florence University who studied the case over the last two years. "For the first time we have found evidence of an exorcism against a vampire."


During epidemics, mass graves were often reopened to bury fresh corpses and diggers would chance upon older bodies that were bloated, with blood seeping out of their mouth and with an inexplicable hole in the shroud used to cover their face.

"These characteristics are all tied to the decomposition of bodies," Borrini said. "But they saw a fat, dead person, full of blood and with a hole in the shroud, so they would say: 'This guy is alive, he's drinking blood and eating his shroud.'"

Modern forensic science shows the bloating is caused by a buildup of gases, while fluid seeping from the mouth is pushed up by decomposing organs, Borrini said. The shroud would have been consumed by bacteria found in the mouth area, he said.

At the time however, what passed for scientific texts taught that "shroud-eaters" were vampires who fed on the cloth and cast a spell that would spread the plague in order to increase their ranks.

To kill the undead creatures, the stake-in-the-heart method popularized by later literature was not enough: A stone or brick had to be forced into the vampire's mouth so that it would starve to death, Borrini said.

Ignorance proves once again to be at the core of superstitious beliefs. While we cannot say that folks who hold religious beliefs are ignorant in modern western society, some have used the phrase "willfully ignorant" to those who cling to ancient superstitious beliefs in imaginary gods, goddesses, elves, aliens that live in volcanoes, magic underwear, etc. While we atheists find it all silly, it is rather interesting.

Culinary Iconography - Jesus on a French fry

Here's another one for my ever-growing collection of culinary icongraphy (see link in sidebar to all of them I have found so far.) This one was found by an 88-year-old woman in Sacramento. While I can see a cross in this, she claims she sees Jesus in there, too. People see what they want to see.Here is the link to LiveLeak video...listen to the dude in the background saying " that is very cool." She has a special pretty little embroiderd cloth to keep it in and everything.

She admits to being influence by other people seeing images in stuff, and when we look hard enough, we can all see familiar images in other objects, and she saw what she wanted to see.

To me, it just looks like two old stuck-together pieces of fried potatos.

Culinary Iconography - Cheesus sightings

Well, here are two reports from the godly folks who see visions in their food of Jesus according to their own imaginings of what he looked like. Funny this Jesus always has the standard beard, long hippie hair parted in the middle. No portrait or statue was ever made of the historical Jesus (maybe because his existence is debatable), yet people seem to know exactly what he looked like. (Because that is how Jesus has been portrayed based on the creations of how humans imagined him to be.)

Here we have a couple of Jesus sitings in Cheetos.

The first is from a youth director from a church in Houston, Texas.

He says ""Seeing the image of Christ in a Cheeto means that I was able to imagine it. God's creation is full of signs and things that can and do remind us of Him." Well, humans see all kinds of images in things and that is psychology of the human mind, not some "miracle" from an entity that lives in another dimension in the cosmos.

The next was of Jesus being crucified on a cheese puff. This one was seen by a woman named Kelly Ramey from High Ridge, Missouri.

The local pastor is one of those who give southerners a bad name. He asserts that "all that really matters here, people, is that we learn that all of us have to find Jesus. Be it a Church or at the bottom of a bag of greasy, cheese-covered puffed corn nuggets." Some idiot commenter in the thread of that article says that it "tastes like salvation". Cheese puffs are not good for you, they are greasy, high in cholesterol and can bother your stomach and clog your arteries, so fitting to compare it to believing in imaginary salvation since that is only hurting your mind.

Cheesus and other "spiritual" iconography

Instead of imprinting his image on the ass ends of dogs and cats and on cheese puffs, etc. why doesn't this god drop loaves of bread and fish in the laps of the starving? (Because god does not exist, Jesus if he existed is long dead, and humans have some incredible imaginations.)

Thanks to my friend Bob for yet another good find for our amusement. I will be highlighting some of these "findings" for my Culinary Iconography collection (links found in my sidebar).

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Click on image to enlarge
Hickson Compact Group 90
Credit: NASA, ESA, R. Sharples (Univ. Durham)

Explanation: Scanning the skies for galaxies, Canadian astronomer Paul Hickson and colleagues identified some 100 compact groups of galaxies, now appropriately called Hickson Compact Groups (HCGs). This sharp Hubble image shows one such galaxy group, HCG 90, in startling detail. Three galaxies are revealed to be strongly interacting: a dusty spiral galaxy stretched and distorted between a pair of large elliptical galaxies. The close encounter will trigger furious star formation. On a cosmic timescale, the gravitational tug of war will eventually result in the merger of the trio into a large single galaxy. The merger process is now understood to be a normal part of the evolution of galaxies, including our own Milky Way. HCG 90 lies about 100 million light-years away in the constellation Piscis Austrinus. This Hubble view spans about 80,000 light-years at that estimated distance. Of course, Hickson Compact Groups also make for rewarding viewing for Earth-bound astronomers with more modest sized telescopes.

Blasphemy- The Movie

H/T to my friend KA over at biblioblography for pointing to this one.

I am going to rent this via Netflix so I can watch the entire thing. You can view it via YouTube in seven parts.

Synopsis:Martian Garcia announces to his parents that not only is he proud to have converted to Atheism, but he intends to tell his whole family on Christmas. His parents then disown him on the spot, and they turn to his Aunt Patrica, who turns the rest of his family against him, and she's determined to either bring him back to the fold or kill him trying.

(That's what some religious folks to, disown their own relatives when they don't accept their worldview as truth...I have had it happen to me with a couple of members of my extended family. Hopefully one day they will see just how unnecessary and extreme their actions were all because I asked them nicely not to witness to me via email or otherwise.)

Here is part two, just for a preview:

Televangelist Swine

Ozzy Osbourne's Miracle Man tells it like it is about greedy, evil televangelists


Miracle Man

[Daisley - Osbourne - Wylde]

I'm looking for a Miracle Man
That tells me no lies
I'm looking for a Miracle Man
Who's not in disguise
I don't know where he'll come from
And I don't know where he's been
But it's not our Jimmy Sinner
Because he's so obscene

Miracle Man got busted
Miracle Man got busted

Today I saw a Miracle Man
On TV cryin'
Such a hypocritical man
Born again, dying

He don't know where he's going
But we know just where he's been
'Twas our little Jimmy Sinner
That I saw on the screen

Miracle Man got busted
Miracle Man got busted
Miracle Man got busted
Miracle Man

A Devil with a crucifix
Brimstone and fire
He needs another carnal fix
To take him higher and higher
Now Jimmy, he got busted
With his pants down
Repent ye wretched sinner
Self righteous clown

Miracle Man got busted
Miracle Man got busted
Miracle Man got busted
Miracle Man got busted

Miracle Man got busted
Miracle Man got busted
Miracle Man got busted

American Jesus

By Bad Religion (Link)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Elves in Iceland

I have two pen pals in Iceland who live near Reykjavik and never once have they mentioned any belief in elves. So I emailed them and am waiting for their response to my questions. Since Iceland is not a very devoutly religious country as a whole, it would seem that elf-believers are replacing god belief with elf fantasies. This would be yet another illustration of how humans use their imagination to make their boring lives more interesting.
From Slate:
LINK: Elf Detection 101
How to find the Hidden Folk of Iceland

An article on Iceland's de facto bankruptcy in the April issue of Vanity Fair notes that a "large number of Icelanders" believe in elves or "hidden people." This widespread folklore occasionally disrupts business in the sparsely populated North Atlantic country. Before the aluminum company Alcoa could erect a smelting factory, "it had to defer to a government expert to scour the enclosed plant site and certify that no elves were on or under it." How do you find an elf?

With psychic powers. According to a poll conducted in 2007, 54 percent of Icelanders don't deny the existence of elves and 8 percent believe in them outright, although only 3 percent claim to have encountered one personally. The ability to see the huldufólk, or hidden folk, can't be learned; you're just born with it. To find elves, seers don't really need to do anything—they'll just sense an elfin presence. The Vanity Fair article says that elf detection can take six months, but it's usually a quick process that can last under an hour. And although the magazine claims that a "government expert" had to certify the nonexistence of elves, the Icelandic Embassy insists that these consults are performed by freelancers, not government contractors.
Love this part
The huldufólk are thought to live in another dimension, invisible to most.
Just like where the gods live, in other dimensions that are invisible to us! When will all of these believers in fantasies see the correlation between the vast variety of beliefs. What it comes down to is invisible, supernatural beings who live in other dimensions whether it's fairies, elves, ogres, dragons, gods, goddesses, ghosts and whatnot. While we know that these things are only imagination, the article is quite interesting and fun to fantasize about.

Here is a link to the story about the hidden people and a photo below of of the
tiny wooden álfhól (elf houses) people build in their gardens for elves/hidden people to live in.

Just when you think you've heard it all . . . there's more.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eight years of research of Eve riding side-saddle, gone!

click on image to enlarge

Sacred sand

click on image to enlarge

Stem cell decision divides god believers

Well, it’s no surprise, we knew the right-to-lifers would react this way. While they fight for the life of a frozen embryo that will never be used and would otherwise be tossed into the trash heap, my bet is that if many god botherers would be faced with a disease that threatens their life or the life of their child, like multiple myeloma, for example, they would be running to science and the doctors for a cure since they understand that faith is not enough.

LINK: Stem cell decision exposes religious divides

The embryonic stem cell research debate is steeped with religious arguments, with some faith traditions convinced the research amounts to killing innocent life, others citing the moral imperative to alleviate suffering, and plenty of religious believers caught somewhere in between.

President Barack Obama’s order Monday opening the door for federal taxpayer dollars to fund expanded embryonic stem cell research again brings those often colliding interests to the fore.

Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, called Obama’s move “a sad victory of politics over science and ethics.”

“Sad victory of politics over science and ethics”? What is sad is to stop science from finding a cure for terminal illnesses and paralysis all in order to save the life of frozen embryos which would otherwise end up being destroyed. How can it be a sad thing when these embryos that would otherwise be destroyed would be used to help save the life of others. Isn’t it better to use what the embryos can give to others?

“This action is morally wrong because it encourages the destruction of innocent human life, treating vulnerable human beings as mere products to be harvested,” Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia, said in a statement.

These “innocent lives” are already being destroyed. What is going to happen if they are not used for medical research? My question to them is why are they so concerned about this “innocent life” that is not implanted where that life can be sustained? Take it out of the freezer and it dies quickly.

Some groups and faiths are divided on the issue. Muslims disagree over — among other things — whether an embryo in the early stage of development has a soul. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormon church, has not taken a position.

If embryos that would otherwise be destroyed not be allowed for stem cell research, then other lives are lost in addition to the life of the embryo all because of some people’s superstitious beliefs about embryos having a “soul”. Well, they also believe that everyone has a soul. What about the soul of the already living person who was carried to term and born into this world? If they believe that it is “God’s will” to allow that person’s “soul” to “fly up to heaven” then why do they have a problem with the soul of an embryo going to a place they believe they are eventually going anyway? God believers contradict themselves on this afterlife business all the time.

Fortunately, despite their delusional beliefs, there are believers on the side of common sense who look at this stem cell decision in a positive way (and that includes our new president).

On the other side is the Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a United Church of Christ minister and a professor at Chicago Theological Seminary.

“There is an ethical imperative to relieve suffering and promote healing,” she said. “This is good policy for a religiously pluralistic society that cares about human suffering and the relief of human suffering.”

Obama alluded to religion in announcing the changes, saying, “As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly.”

As people of faith and non-faith, we are all supposed to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. Obama failed to make that point, implying that only those of faith care about such things.

Some religious traditions teach that because life begins at conception, any research that destroys a human embryo, as this research does, is tantamount to murder and is never justified. The Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention are among those that oppose the research.

How can it be murder when the embryo is outside of its mothers womb and unable to sustain itself on its own? Keeping it in a freezer forever also will kill it. They are only good for so long. Then they are disposed of. These folks should be fighting for the lives of those who were born into this world and who are in need of help them live as long as they can. These two denominations mentioned above are more focused on death and afterlife than they are the here and now so they should be jumping for joy when all these little embryos get their wings and fly up to heaven.

Other more liberal traditions, including mainline Protestant and Jewish institutions, believe the promise to relieve suffering is paramount. In 2004, the governing body of the Episcopal Church said it would favor the research as long as it used embryos that otherwise would have been destroyed, that embryos were not created for research purposes, or were not bought and sold.

This is where I draw the line, also. I think that it would be unethical to create embryos to be harvested specifically for research purposes. They should not be bought or sold, but I can see where that would happen anyway. There are those who will create their own little embryo businesses for profit, and that in my opinions is just wrong. However, the embryos that are frozen and never used will be destroyed anyway, and I think that using them for scientific research would be something good that comes from them ever being conceived.

The good news is:

Polls show some believers are willing to buck their leaders on the issue. Fifty-nine percent of white, non-Hispanic Catholics and 58 percent of white mainline Protestants favor embryonic stem cell research, according to a poll released in July 2008 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

But most evangelical Christians still have a problem with it:

Only 31 percent of white evangelical Protestants, however, favored the research.

Many of those other 60% of evangelicals against stem cell research would be changing their minds if they or their child came down with a terminal illness or paralysis and they see prayers don’t work. Just like they run to medical science now to cure them when they are sick or injured instead of waiting for their god to heal them.

The UN vs Right to Blaspheme

LINK: Freedom Under Fire: U.N. Anti-Blasphemy Resolution - With Christopher Hitchens

While we are usually focused on the Christian Religious Right here in the U.S., we should be more concerned with what is going on internationally with the muslims. Fundamentalist Muslims, with the help of the UN, are trying to get their way in controlling free societies by saying that their wittle feewings are being hurt when others criticize their religion. Their faith must be quite fragile if they need to make laws to attempt to silence the rest of us. This one even has Christians in a tizzy. (Though some Christians are mainly upset that their international brainwashing missions are threatened.)

The United Nations Anti-Blasphemy Resolution aims to curtail speech that offends religion, specifically Islam. Critics, religious groups and free speech advocates say the resolution is spreading Sharia law to the Western world. Christopher Hitchens joined Lou.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Kepler's Streak

click on image to enlarge

Explanation: Streaking skyward, a Delta II rocket carries NASA's Kepler spacecraft aloft into the clear night of March 6. The dramatic scene was recorded in a time exposure from the crowded pier in Jetty Park at the northern end of Cocoa Beach, Florida, about 3 miles from the Cape Canaveral launch site. Kepler's mission is to search for Earth-like planets orbiting in the habitable zone of other stars. A planet orbiting within a star's habitable zone would have a surface temperature capable of supporting liquid water, an essential ingredient for life as we know it. To find Earth-like planets, Kepler's telescope and large, sensitive camera will examine a rich star field near the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. Located in the constellation Cygnus, Kepler's field of view will allow it to monitor the brightness of many stars in the solar neighborhood and detect a slight dimming as a potential Earth-like planet crosses in front of the star.

Editor's note: I have added a link in my sidebar under Astronomy and Space blogs and websites if you want to keep track of Kepler's progress.

Terrible tragedy in Illinois church

We atheists know the answer to that question…God never shows up because he doesn’t exist. But the believers still cling to the delusion that God is with them even when he doesn’t come to protect even his own followers in their sacred and holy temples.

Recently, there was a shooting at a church in Illinois where a deranged 27-year-old man walked into a Baptist church, up the aisle and shot the pastor to death. While these Baptist folks profess they believe that everything is “god’s will”, they blame the fictitious devil when bad stuff like this happens.

MARYVILLE, Ill. – A man suspected of killing a pastor with a barrage of shots that ripped through the church leader’s Bible was in serious condition Monday from stab wounds he suffered in the confrontation, and authorities expect to charge him soon.

The gunman, identified by authorities only as a 27-year-old from Troy, strode toward the Rev. Fred Winters shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday, exchanged words with him, then fired a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol until it jammed. Winters, 45, later died of his injuries.

I am not here to make light of a man dying in a very violent and tragic way. The reverend was a family man, and doing his own thing inside his own church. However, what the other pastor is telling the congregation and the news media is completely absurd. He is using this terrible incident to control his flock by “reinforcing” to them that this was some sort of an act of evil instead of being honest and saying that this was a mentally-ill person who happened to choose their establishment to take out whatever hidden wrath was built up inside him.

The Rev. Mark Jones, another First Baptist pastor, later urged a Sunday evening prayer service attended by hundreds at nearby Metro Community Church in Edwardsville to be resilient after “this attack from the forces of hell.”

The standing-room-only crowd cried, cradled Bibles and stretched their hands skyward as they packed into the church, many watching the service on large television monitors in overflow areas.

“We need to reassure our hearts and reinforce our minds that Pastor Fred is in that place that we call heaven,” Jones said. “Church, evil does exist. Today, we saw the visible results of evil and its influence.”

There it is, right out of his own mouth “need to reassure our hearts and reinforce our minds” — in other words “we must keep ourselves brainwashed instead of seeing things as they really happened.” What really happened was a mentally-ill individual, for whatever reasons, took his pent-up anger out on a place he either chose by random or had a beef with…

and again, no god came to save his own followers in the “sanctity” of their own “holy and blessed” gathering place. It also goes to show just how fragile their faith is if they need to keep “reinforcing their minds.” Deep down they have to be questioning why their god never shows up in times like these, not even in his own holiest of places.