Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve Celestial Show

You amateur astronomers out there might want to get those telescopes out tonight for a spectacular event (if weather permits where you are).

From LINK:

A delightful display of planets and the moon will occur on New Year's Eve for anyone wishing to step outside and look up just after sunset.

Venus, brighter than all other planets and stars, will dangle just below the thin crescent moon in the southwestern sky. It'll be visible -- impossible to miss, in fact -- just as the sun goes down, assuming skies are cloud-free.
Then for an added treat, a stellar meteor shower on January 3rd! LINK

Monday, December 29, 2008

Crab Pulsar Wind Nebula

click on image to enlargeCredit: NASA / CXC / SAO / F. D. Seward, W. H. Tucker, R. A. Fesen

Explanation: The Crab Pulsar, a city-sized, magnetized neutron star spinning 30 times a second, lies at the center of this remarkable image from the orbiting Chandra Observatory. The deep x-ray image gives the first clear view of the convoluted boundaries of the Crab's pulsar wind nebula. Like a cosmic dynamo the pulsar powers the x-ray emission. The pulsar's energy accelerates charged particles, producing eerie, glowing x-ray jets directed away from the poles and an intense wind in the equatorial direction. Intriguing edges are created as the charged particles stream away, eventually losing energy as they interact with the pulsar's strong magnetic field. With more mass than the Sun and the density of an atomic nucleus, the spinning pulsar itself is the collapsed core of a massive star. The stellar core collapse resulted in a supernova explosion that was witnessed in the year 1054. This Chandra image spans just under 9 light-years at the Crab's estimated distance of 6,000 light-years.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Mithras

LINK: Jesus was a Roman creation of the Persian Mithra

Happy Festivus

Madness in Olympia, Washington

Things are getting rather crazy in Olympia, Washington where all kinds of people are jumping on the bandwagon to have their various beliefs displayed at the state capitol. Then there are those who come to protest against each others’ displays. Wouldn’t it be easier just to keep church and state separate like it is supposed to be? They have now even approved a Fesitvus pole that was made famous in the television series, “Seinfeld”.

This all seems like an episode from Seinfeld itself. Read on. . .

LINK: Coming to Capitol: ‘Festivus’ display

OLYMPIA, Wash. - State officials, besieged by requests for more seasonal displays at the state Capitol, have approved several more - including a “Festivus” display honoring a faux holiday popularized by TV comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

The new display requests come on top of an anti-religion placard, a Christmas tree and a Christian nativity scene erected earlier this week and a pro-religion sign added Friday.

The state General Administration, which runs the state Capitol building, have OK’d four of the requests so far:

- On Saturday, Dec. 6: A balloon nativity shelter from a private citizen.

- On Sunday, Dec. 7: A demonstration by a group called “Private Citizens of Federal Way” against the atheistic sign will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on the front steps.

- On Monday, Dec 8: A display will go up in the capitol from the Washington Values Alliance.

- On Wednesday, Dec 10: A Festivus display from a private citizen.

According to the online reference Wikipedia, Festivus is an annual holiday invented by writer Dan O’Keefe and introduced into popular culture by his son Daniel, a scriptwriter for the TV show Seinfeld.

Most people now celebrate the holiday on Dec. 23, as depicted on the December 18, 1997, Seinfeld episode “The Strike.”

The holiday includes novel practices such as the “Airing of Grievances”, in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Peaceful Solstice to you all -- the real reason for the season

Click on image to enlargeSolstice at Newgrange
Credit: Photograph by Cyril Byrne - courtesy of The Irish Times

Explanation: Tomorrow's solstice marks the southernmost point of the Sun's annual motion through planet Earth's sky and the astronomical beginning of winter in the north. In celebration of the northern winter solstice and the International Year of Astronomy 2009, you can watch a live webcast of the the solstice sunrise from the megalithic tomb of Newgrange, in County Meath, Ireland. Newgrange dates to 5,000 years ago, much older than Stonehenge, but also with accurate alignments to the solstice Sun. In this view from within the burial mound's inner chamber, the first rays of the solstice sunrise are passing through a box constructed above the entrance and shine down an 18 meter long tunnel to illuminate the floor at the foot of a decorated stone. The actual stone itself would have been directly illuminated by the solstice Sun 5,000 years ago. The long time exposure also captures the ghostly figure of a more modern astronomer in motion. To watch the live webcast follow the indicated link below. The webcast is planned to go live at 0830 coordinated Universal Time (for example, at 3:30am Eastern Time in the US) tomorrow, Sunday, the 21st.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Bailout Explained

Thanks to my friend Jimmer for this one!

Finally, a very simple and brief look into the issue of the day. This is how the Detroit 3 will get their $25 B. It just took Ma and Pa Kettle to explain it!

God's awesome nothingness

From the Atheist Eve series at Austin Atheists. This is taken from an actual email exchange. I found myself chuckling at this one because I have heard almost these exact words from religious folks when they attempt to describe their god to me.

click on image to enlarge

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pagan Origins of our beautiful holiday celebrations

When will Xians ever stop and try to understand that the way they celebrate the birth of their man-god is mostly PAGAN aspects anyway. Xians are the biggest promoters of the belief in Santa Claus and the biggest participants in the pagan aspects of the holiday season despite even the warning in their Bibles about it in the book of Jeremiah. They have ignored that passage of their very own scripture to attach their baby Jesus to it and want to call it all their own.

Ninety minutes of school holiday music – and nary a note about Jesus

Well, Barbara Curtis…the holiday season is not about Jesus for everyone.

Curtis writes:

Bluemont, Va. – The holidays are here, which means public school teachers across America are presenting “winter programs” with music selected to challenge students and delight parents, but too often sacrificing artistic merit to avoid singing of the Bethlehem Babe.

One program I attended featured songs about Santa, chimneys, and reindeer, plus five Hanukkah tunes and one Kwanzaa melody – even though the school had only one (nonpracticing) Jewish family, and not a single African-American. Ninety musical minutes with nary a note about Jesus.

I know Christianity will survive whether censored out of public schools or not, but that’s not the point. Why bend over backward to acknowledge religious minorities while singling out Christianity for exclusion?

Curtis misses the point that Xian aspects of Christmas ARE included in the program she describes. As I said before, it is the Xians who are the biggest promoter of Santa Claus and the biggest embracers of the pagan aspects of the Winter Solstice season. Curtis also leaves out the point that there are Hanukkah songs that are about culture with the exclusion of mention of God, and Kwanzaa is about CULTURE and especially since there is “not a single African-American” in their school, it is good for these children to be exposed to other cultures. Barbara Curtis fails to realize it’s about promoting culture and inclusion of EVERYONE into the holiday season. Xians need to get it through their thick brainwashed skulls that this holiday does not belong to only them. And they have their churches for their religious programs of whatever variety they choose. And as I had found in my own community, even when Jesus songs are included and other songs are also included for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa…they still belly-ache about the “intrusion” of these other beliefs that they feel do not belong together with holiday school programs and celebrations.

I don’t blame teachers or principals; they feel paralyzed by the threat of parental complaints or lawsuits, and by the purging of Christmas from the public square and workplace. Like deer caught in headlights,

Deer caught in the headlights by the U.S. CONSTITUTION? How predictably Xian. And that persecution complex beams out of Barbara Curtis and other whining Xians at this time of year who cannot have everything their way.

Curtis goes on to whine:

But those aren’t Christmas carols,” I said. “What about the birth of Jesus?”

Someone needs to stop being so polite and just tell it like it is to people like Barbara…NOT EVERYONE BELIEVES IN JESUS. The winter solstice is not a religion, but a time of year that affects all people on planet earth and was celebrated long before even the idea of the Jesus myth came about.

6 signs that aliens might exist

I found this article at rather interesting. They provide six signs for us to contemplate, and the more we know our astronomy, the more likely it seems that there is life elsewhere in our universe.

With so many stars, alien life is probable

Shostak notes that there is no direct proof for any life beyond Earth, but the universe is home to a lot of stars. And as research over the past decade has shown, perhaps at least 50 percent of those stars harbor planets. Shostak estimates there are 1 trillion planets in the Milky Way alone. "Surely some of them have undergone what Earth has undergone and developed life, and eventually what we call sentient life," he says. The argument, he notes, is simply one of probability. "If we are the only intelligent beings in the galaxy, or for that matter in the universe, then we are truly a miracle," he says. This image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a cluster of young stars in the Milky Way.

Water worlds abound in our solar system

Water is a key ingredient for life as we know it. And liquid water, it turns out, is fairly common in our local solar system. For example, evidence is mounting that liquid water may flow underneath the surface of Mars. Europa, a moon of Jupiter, appears to have a liquid ocean. So too might the Jovian moons Callisto and Ganymede. Saturn's moons Titan and Enceladus, shown here, may be watery. Even Venus might have a bit of liquid water in its atmosphere. "There you already have seven other worlds that might have liquid water, just in our backyard. So that's kind of encouraging news," Shostak says.

Life evolved 'quickly' on Earth (no not 6,000 on)

Scientists estimate that planet Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. The earliest evidence for life comes from 3.4 billion-year-old mats of bacteria called stromatolites in Australia. Since even bacteria are biologically complex, scientists think they arose from life forms that got a foothold on Earth even earlier. "That suggests it wasn't terribly improbable, the evolution of life, because it happened very quickly," Shostak says. The caveat, of course, is that Earth could have won the evolutionary equivalent of the lottery, and no place else is quite so lucky.

Life thrives in extreme environments

Almost everywhere scientists go on Earth, they find life: the cold, dark depths of the oceans; snuggled up to piping-hot hydrothermal vents; buried under the Antarctic ice; and in South America's parched Atacama Desert. "Life can adapt to really tough conditions and, of course, most of the universe is going to be filled with habitats that are tough," Shostak says. For example, Mars is a harsh environment, but some of the microbes found on Earth, including the one shown here found deep in a mine, could survive beneath the surface of the Red Planet, he notes. These findings of so-called extremophiles have allowed scientists to scale back their list of requirements for extraterrestrial life. "We just say it has to have some liquid water, and maybe that's it," Shostak says.

E.T. might be calling from afar

Shostak and his colleagues at the SETI Institute frequently harness some of the world's largest radio telescopes to home in on distant stars for a telltale signal of alien communications. Although their searches have raised a few alarms, the signals have been dismissed as human-caused interference, such as noise from a passing satellite. Contact remains elusive. Undaunted, the scientists keep searching. Meanwhile, a signal detected on Aug. 15, 1977, during a search with Ohio State University's Big Ear Observatory, continues to pique interest because it has never been explained. "It was impressive enough to encourage the astronomer who found it to write 'Wow!' on the printout," says Shostak. Follow-up experiments to detect it again, however, have failed. "You can say it was E.T. and then he went off the air. You may never know," Shostak says. "But it is not science to say it was E.T."

Some see evidence that 'aliens' have visited (I am not convinced on this one.)

Somewhere around half the people in the U.S. believe that aliens have already visited us. To back their claims, witnesses have presented snapshots of flying saucers and debris from crash landings. None of the evidence, however, convinces Shostak. Nor does he buy into theories that the world's governments are coordinated and efficient enough to collectively keep what would be the world's biggest secret. "That's hard for me to believe," he says. Such doubt does little to stop the tide of tourists coming to places such as Roswell, N.M., the site of a purported UFO crash more than 60 years ago. This fake alien at a museum is a commonly photographed attraction.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christian persecution complex

In my opinion the Christian persecution complex is just an emotional game that Christians (and those of other religions) play when they are backed into a corner and cannot answer questions asked of them (or when they cannot get their way to mix religion and government). When their god does not come to their aid, when their minds go blank, they turn on the boo-hooing tactics to distract from the real fact that they just don’t have any answers to back up what they are professing to believe in. The persecution tactic is turned on when religious folks cannot get their way concerning issues of separation of church and state. They turn on the tears when they are not allowed to impose their personal religious beliefs on others.

Here is a good essay written by Rob Boston

Persecution Complex: Why Religious Right Claims Of Hostility Toward Christians Ring Hollow

Yesterday I received an e-mail from the Rev. Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association advertising a new DVD titled “Speechless: Silencing the Christians.”

“Facing rising persecution and discrimination, many Christians feel hopeless, uncertain what to do,” reads the promotional copy. The e-mail promises that I will learn “how you can be prepared if you feel the pressure to be silenced for your faith.”

This is the sort of bullcrap propaganda that religious leaders brainwash their followers with. When backed into a corner, and have no answers, start belly-aching and boo-hooing persecution. The religious are free, and should be free to believe and practice their religion without oppression. But allowing them to do so without the oppression of others or imposing of their variety of religion, or any religion on others. Upholding the first Amendment, and maintaining Separation of Church and State are not persecuting ChristiansChristians who live in other countries and who are tortured, imprisoned and killed for their beliefs have a right to cry persecution, but not here. .

Are Christians being persecuted in America?

In a word: no.

What’s happening is that fundamentalists of Wildmon’s ilk constantly try to use the power of the government to promote their narrow faith or foist it onto others. When they are told to stop, they start screaming about persecution.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thanks for the publicity, Bill!

First, Bill O’Reilly does a report against the atheist sign that is on display at the Capitol Building in Olympia, Washington. He has his panties all in a knot over this one and is bringing far more attention to this than if he had just left it alone. Thanks Bill!

Sometimes Christians are do more to help get the facts out that there are no gods than we could ever hope to do ourselves!

Then, O’Reilly debates Megyn Kelly over this atheist sign. He is using the example of what if there was a display of Dr. Martin Luther King and someone put a sign up that says “We hate blacks” next to it. I wish he had debated an atheist because he would have been told that Jesus is a MYTH. He is comparing denouncing an IDEA to denouncing Dr. Martin Luther King -- a real person. He was not said to be born of a virgin only to die on a cross and then come back to life and fly up into heaven where he lives forever and waits for believers to come kiss his feet for all eternity in another dimension. Dr. Martin Luther King is a very respected historical figure who should not even have been brought up as an example, and that is what Miss Megyn should have told him loud and clear. Of course, Bill would not invite someone on his show who would make him look like the asshat he is. Megyn, though she is a lawyer is stymied by her beliefs that Jesus is real. At least she does support freedom of speech and understands that all of his should be kept off the steps of public buildings.

Listen up, Bill, The real point is that religious displays should not be allowed on public and government property. Period.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

This isn't one we have heard on Springer yet!

click on image to enlargeYou can buy atheist and secular humanist cards here at Cool Cards. I would buy some and send them if I wasn't so damned considerate.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


I have a great idea. Instead of bailing out these banks and corporations, why not bail out those who are so buried in student loans that they cannot even think of buying a house, car, or any big purchase for many years. My three kids are all still paying for their student loans. I still owe a few thousand on my student loans. Young people are coming out of college owing thousands upon thousands of dollars and monthly payments are the size of a small mortgage payment in many cases. If student loans were forgiven, that would allow college graduates to buy those homes, new cars and put money back into circulation which would stimulate the economy and no need for corporate bail-outs. Give some money to those who are responsible for running the economy.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Fireball over Edmonton

This is awesome. I wish I could have been one of the lucky ones to see this.

Explanation: What if you're driving down the street and an object from space shoots across the sky right in front of you? Such was the case last week for many people in south central Canada. Specifically, an extremely bright fireball, presumably a desk-sized meteor from deep space, flashed across the sky just after sunset on 2008 November 20. The bright fireball was recorded on many images and movies, including the spectacular video shown above that was captured by a dashboard camera of a police cruiser in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Because at least two streaks appear to be visible, the falling object likely broke up into pieces as it fell deep into Earth's atmosphere. By triangulating fireball images from several simultaneously recorded sources, astronomers hope to find an approximate orbit from whence the object came, as well as the likely place(s) on Earth where large pieces would have impacted, were they to have survived entry. In the best case scenario, pieces would be recovered from a known deep space comet or asteroid, giving humanity an unprecedented look at an ancient object that likely holds clues to the early years of our Earth and the Solar System.

The Night Jesus Met Santa Claus

We atheists could not have written this to be any funnier. This is supposed to be a serious Christian video/song to show how Santa, after climbing down a chimney finds another bearded figure standing before him who is dressed in robes and the glowing man introduces himself as Jesus. Santa is witnessed to by Jesus and is forgiven of his imaginary sins and then imaginary Santa bows to worship imaginary Jesus. Then Santa tells Jesus that he believes in him, and then is told by his new imaginary friend, Jesus to fill his bag with Bibles instead of toys and give them to all the little kids around the world now that he is “saved”.

Here’s the link, (Rated RRS for really, really sappy. Christians have huge imaginations.)

The Night Jesus Met Santa Claus

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It's that crazy-ass time of year again.

Funny video by Jib Jab illustrates just how out of control this whole Christmas season is getting to be. People stampeding and trampling folks to death. Fighting and stabbing and shooting at the worst, and at best, shoving, rushing, rudeness, etc. And most of the ones involved are Christians. Gotta go get the loot for magical Santa to bring the kiddies as magical Jesus looks down from a magical place in another dimension. Then at other time of the year, certain sects of Muslims and Christians are flogging themselves or crucifying themselves to show how faithful they are to their version of their invisible friends. Looking at it from the outside now for more than a decade of giving it all up, I can see the insanity. I really am thinking more and more that planet Earth is some sort of planetary insane asylum.

This time of year, my family and I do exchange one gift each. We used to do more but it's dwindled down to a better meaning. Being together. Sharing time playing board games and having a nice meal, watching a movie together and AVOIDING THE MALL AND SHOPPING CENTERS. It's absolutely too nuts out there. We should go back to the days when kids were happy getting an orange and a piece of sugar candy.

The stores are hugely to blame in this whole fiasco of people getting trampled to death. They make bizarre offers of limited insanely low offers to lure the stupid people to line up at 4 am in the freezing cold, herded together to behave like a bunch of animals. The stores are to blame, but so are the people. Everyone there on that day the poor man was trampled is to blame.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Atheist sign installed at Capitol

Some idiot commenter wrote this to Dan Barker concerning the billboard in the story below: “So tell me, in order to deny that there is a God you must first accept that there is a God. How can you deny something that doesn’t exist? Sounds very illogical to me.”

In order to deny that there is a God you must accept first that there is a God?????? WTF???

Atheist sign, Christmas tree installed at Capitol

Washington became the second state in the country to host an atheistic billboard in its capitol today, when the Freedom from Religion Foundation placed one in the Legislative Building.

“Over superstition and faith, we think reason may prevail,” said foundation co-president Dan Barker. He was joined by about a dozen people at a dedication.

The group’s sign says there is no god or other supernatural power, and that religion “hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” It sits on the third floor, a few paces from a Nativity, which depicts the birth of Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity. His birth is the basis for Christmas.

A 30-foot tree was also moved into the Capitol this morning, which will be decorated and lit in a celebration Friday.

Another commenter who claims to “follow no religion” wrote the second comment of the thread: “This is why I won’t even say I’m an athiest. The few that demand stupid signs like that one be put up make the rest of us that don’t follow any religions look like jerks.”

So, is Freedom from Religion Foundation going to far with the signs, making all of us look like jerks? I don’t think so. I suspect commenter #2 is actually a Xian and neither one of them understand what the sign is saying and why it is being placed in the Capitol next to the Christmas tree

Addition: The sign at the Capitol is engraved with the following inscription:

“At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail.”

“There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.”

“There is only our natural world.”

“Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts

and enslaves minds.”

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from Freethunk

This makes a good point

Musn't give them time to think!

Keeping the flock herded together is what it’s all about in fundamentalist religions, because exposure to anything different, or anything that allows or even encourages time to clear the mind (meditation and relaxation) threatens the weak beliefs they have been taught to maintain. It’s interesting that the most “devout” are the most fearful of losing their beliefs at the influence of others. And so what does that say about their god/gods?

Malaysia Muslim council under fire for banning yoga

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – One of Malaysia’s highest Islamic bodies was under fire Sunday after its chairman said yoga was forbidden for Muslims because the practice would weaken religious faith.

Devotees of yoga and moderate Muslim groups criticised the ruling by Abdul Shukor Husin, chairman of the government-backed National Fatwa Council. Yoga is hugely popular in mostly-Muslim Malaysia.

“I don’t think it had caused any Muslim to convert to Hinduism, neither has it weakened their faith,” said Norhayati Kaprawi, an official with Sisters of Islam, a private group which champions the rights of Muslim women.

“It is just an exercise like tai chi, which has its roots in Buddism,” she told the Sunday Star newspaper. She said her group’s staff had been holding yoga classes for the past year and that they would continue.

Rulings by the Fatwa Council are not legally binding on the country’s Muslims, and there are no laws to punish those who ignore Council decisions — but it is an enormously influential body.

Abdul Shukor decreed that yoga was forbidden because it involves the recitation of mantras and that it encourages a union with God that is considered blasphemy in Islam.

“The practice will erode their faith in the religion,” he said on Saturday. “It does not conform with Islam.”

With religion, there can be no peace

Pope: Dialogue among religions should be pursued

VATICAN CITY – Jewish and Muslim leaders on Monday cautiously praised recent remarks by Pope Benedict XVI, who said that dialogue among faiths should be pursued even though it is impossible on strictly religious issues. [my emphasis of Pope's very own words]


The pontiff has often discussed the theme of dialogue among religions and has worked for the improvement of interfaith relations.

But this improvement they talk of only goes so far as saying “howdy” and maybe being polite with each other. It’s all nice for them to talk about “interfaith dialogue” but they admit right up front that their dialogue can only go so far. While they all worship the same imaginary friend, the God of Abraham, their own firm beliefs about this god will keep them divided forever.

“Faiths cannot hold dialogue beyond a certain point because there are insurmountable limits,” Di Segni told The Associated Press on Monday. “This is a limit to all religious dialogue: It’s not like a political negotiation where I give you this and that and we make peace. It’s not like we give up dogmas.”

And there you have it. They come right out and admit it. And as long as they cling to their dogmas, there can never be peace as long as religion exists because each group believes they are the true chosen ones of the gods they imagine to be their very own.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Missionary "sees the light" in Amazon jungle

This is an uplifting story I found in the Chicago SunTimes online edition. It should happen more often.

Missionary went to change tribe, but they changed him


The mission assigned to Daniel Everett after he graduated from Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute was to change the lives of members of a tiny tribe in the Amazonian rain forest.

It was, however, Everett who was changed.

Everett, along with his wife and three children, were met in the rain forest by the Piraha people of central Brazil — a primitive culture which has no words for numbers or colors and no concept of war or personal property. They live in the present.

For a missionary like Everett, then 26, that last part proved a stumbling block as he tried to find the language to talk about Jesus and an afterlife to people who never talk about the past nor the future.

In the end, Everett, now a linguistics professor at Illinois State University, abandoned his own religious faith, a tale he tells in his new book, Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes (Pantheon, $26.95).

“I had preached the evidence of Christianity could be seen in the lives of the believers,” Everett said Tuesday. “Then I realized, these people, were, if anything, more secure, happier.”

Oh, if only more self-righteous, intrusive god botherers would “see the light” and leave the innocent alone.

“The Piraha don’t feel poor — they feel satisfied and that’s the basis of their happiness,” said Everett. “If they start to feel a lack in their own culture, a need for western goods, that will be a very destructive force in their lives.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Religious Right Power in Washington Greatly Diminished?

Americans United for Separation of Church and State says it is. However, liberals are going to need to pay more attention to politics at the state and local levels where the Religious Right may still hold much influence:
Watchdog Group’s Election Analysis Suggests Religious Right May Target State And Local Government For Next Advances

The Religious Right’s access to power in Washington, D.C., has been seriously diminished, but its divisive influence at the state and local level remains deeply problematic, according to an election analysis by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

“Religious Right forces did everything in their power to demonize Barack Obama and maintain their influence in the White House,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, “but it didn’t work. The majority of white evangelicals voted predictably Republican, but most other Americans ignored the Religious Right’s shrill and partisan message.”


Lynn, however, said he deplores the Religious Right’s continuing baleful influence at the state and local level. The movement engineered anti-gay measures and restrictions on reproductive rights onto many state ballots.


Lynn said the Religious Right is likely to increase its activity at the state and local level, now that advances in Washington will be harder to obtain.

“The Religious Right is not dead,” concluded Lynn, “but I’m happy that most Americans seem very wary of the movement’s reckless merger of religion and politics. Those of us who value church-state separation must remain on the alert to counter the Religious Right’s next gambit.”

I am guilty of not paying as much attention as I should to politics at our local and state levels. Most of the time the flyers and things we get hanging on the door knob or in the mail don’t even say what party the candidate is affiliated with. I think it’s important that we pay as much attention to the local level candidates beliefs and where they stand on issues as we do for the presidential candidates, maybe even moreso.

Boy whose relgious parents battled hospital dies

This is such a sad story of a 12-year-old boy who lost his battle with brain cancer. When I read the headline above I figured it was another crazy Christian family withholding medical treatments from their child while just relying on their faith, and “God’s will”. But this story is totally opposite and involves an Orthodox Jewish family. The parents had been fighting to keep their son alive via a ventilator despite him being declared brain dead and that his bodily functions had ceased. The only thing a ventilator was doing was keeping his lungs working, but the parents demanded that the machine not be turned off.

NEW YORK – A 12-year-old New York boy with brain cancer has died after his family battled a hospital to keep him on a ventilator.

The lawyer for the Orthodox Jewish family says Motl Brody’s bodily functions ceased Saturday. A machine had continued to work his lungs after he was pronounced dead Nov. 4 at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

The boy had already been declared brain dead, but some adherents of Jewish religious law say death occurs only when the heart and lungs stop functioning.

The family had asked a judge to prevent further tests for brain activity. The hospital argued that its “scarce resources” were being used “for the preservation of a deceased body.”

This is an odd twist, in their extreme heartbreak, of treating a machine of medical science as some sort of god. Because no god comes to comfort. No god comes to save the children. No gods come.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

UN is discussing a global ban on blasphemy?

Here is something Geoff of Stupid Git Says So brought to our attention This is appalling the way the Saudis are ever so sly in how they are wording their UN proposal to criminalize blasphemy against religion (making it sound as if they want respect for other religions they will not even allow to exist in their own nation), and I can see where this is going to go if they get their way.

(Geoff, I hope you won’t mind if I copy and paste parts of your blog post here?)

Is God a Pussy? By Stupid Git

[SG]Apparently the creator of all has a fragile ego and his followers are out to protect their delicate deity:

“Saudi King Abdullah is quietly enlisting the [UN] leaders’ support for a global law to punish blasphemy - a campaign championed by the 56-member Organization of Islamic Conference that puts the rights of religions ahead of individual liberties. If the campaign succeeds, states that presume to speak in the name of religion will be able to crush religious freedom not only in their own country, but abroad.”

Discussions touched upon a number of hot issues including … Prophet Muhammad lampooning cartoons …


[SG]Lest we blame this all on the barbarian mindset of Theocratic Islam, we in the “enlightened” West should look in the mirror. A few highlights:

Offensive Jesus remark cut from Emmy show
Danish paper rejected Jesus cartoons
• Everyone’s favorite - the supposed War on Christmas! To that I say, “Merry Horusmas!”

I can see where this is all going, and the Christian fundies will all say it’s meant to be, (the coming of the End of Times). If global blasphemy laws are initiated at the UN, then what next? It won’t end there because Islam and Christianity each believe that the other is wrong, and must be defeated for the glory of their imaginary friends. How sad that the end of civilization may eventually be brought on my silly ancient superstition and ignorance and the desire to dominate.

There is no evidence for this "other world" people. There is no evidence of this glorious afterlife with golden mansions and riches and all bowing to the feet of their god 24/7 if you are a Christian, or making it with 72 virgins in some afterlife porno fantasy if you are fundie Muslim.

It's mind boggling with all the scientific discoveries and advances that have been made to make our lives easier that so many people still cling to superstitious fantasy, even it if involves blowing up the entire planet.

(Thanks Geoff!)

God needs your money

During the past couple of months, I have written a few posts on bigot, Pastor Mondo Gonzales, whose rants against gays and atheists are allowed to be featured in the Pastor’s Corner of our local community newspaper. Along with Mondo, other church leaders take their turns and most are benign “Gob is with you” sort of fluffy messages for the general public to read. But the fundamentalists never fail to provide material for a post.

This time I focus on Pastor Jeff Robinson of the Lincolnway Christian Church just up the road from me. The title of his Pastor’s Corner message is Being ‘Unshakable’ in shaky economic times

God never intended us to build our lives on money. Money is to be managed wisely. But, money makes a lousy foundation on which to build one’s life. Even if you manage your money wisely, economic forces outside your control can shake you to the bone. A major sickness or injury, a job loss, or uncertain financial times can financially devastate all but the very wealthy. Building your life on a financial foundation is unwise.

You are leaving out a very important point, Pastor Jeff . . . People cannot pay doctor bills after a major sickness without money. People cannot rebuild after a natural disaster without money. Physically, people cannot be “saved” without help from other humans. People’s property cannot be replaced without insurance policies paid for with money. People cannot buy a home unless they save their money for it or establish a mortgage loan. People cannot replace their property, or recover from illnesses or injury without other people and charity and financial institutions because no god comes.

Lincolway Christian Church was once located on a busy corner of our town, where two big streets intersect, and also where developers are paying big bucks for residents and existing small businesses and churches to move elsewhere so they can build their strip malls and banks, etc. In the past, Lincolnway Christian Church always boasted about how God blessed them to be on such a busy corner where many people would notice them and come in to “fellowship” with them. As businesses built up around them, and the persistent offers of cash for their land, the big final money offer must have been just too tempting to turn away from. They called it “God’s will” that they sold their church for a huge sum, and they used all that money to build a large modern facility for all of their country club church activities. The new church sits on a large plot of land of many acres, away from heavy traffic and surrounded by farmland and ranches. In our area, it had to cost them a fortune for that plot (of which they pay no taxes and the rest of us watch our mortgage payments rise as taxes go up and up). The money they spent on a fancy meeting place, which stands empty much of the time, could have been used to help all those people they are praying for week after week to no avail. Money can help where prayer and their god cannot. Money could definitely help those in need in the Will County region and beyond.

In his article, Pastor Jeff writes,

“Jesus tells through a story that there is only one sure foundation. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash,”

To build a house on rock or sand costs money. If one has a lot of money, they can well afford to build their house of stone on a foundation of rock. But there are those in the world who have less money and can only afford to build their modest home on a lesser foundation.

One question I would love to ask these pastors when they preach about money from the pulpits of quite comfortable and even elaborate temples is “Why does Jesus need your money?”

Why the need to beg for money, often using guilt as a tool to swindle as much as they can from the pockets of hard-working people? Why do they need money from an all-powerful creator who they say provides everything?

Every church tells it’s members every Sunday morning when they pass the plate that Jesus is the all-powerful creator of the universe and everything in it, he will answer all of your prayers, but he has no money. Many people I know often complain about that. That the church passes the collection plate at every gathering, begging people for their offerings, saying how Jesus needs their money to help others, and no one ever speaks up about it. They receive their pledge sheets in the mail on a regular basis and feel compelled to budget part of their income and pledge that amount to a God who is supposed to be the creator and provider of everything.

Here’s a little message I found at Why Won’t God Heal Amputees that should be sent to every church pastor or those who find themselves in a church for whatever reason to stick in the offering plate instead of money:

“Hello. My name is Jesus, and I am God. I am the all-powerful creator of the universe. I created everything that you see before you — the galaxies and stars in the heavens; the oceans, the mountains and the plains of earth; the sun and the moon and the skies; along with every living thing on the planet. I created you personally, and I gave you your unique soul. I created everything!

Everything of value on earth I created. I buried thousands of tons of gold in mines around the planet. I placed billions of gallons of oil under the sands in the Middle East. I created the millions of carets of diamonds being mined in South Africa.

And I will answer your prayers. Pray to me for anything and I will hear and answer your prayers. I say it in dozens of places in the Bible, but I like the way I say it in Mark 11:24 the best: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Anything you need — money, love, happiness, you name it — I am here to provide it for you.

Now, there is just one thing I need in return. I need your money. I need lots of your money. The Bible specifies that you send me ten percent of your gross income, but think of that as a starting point. Feel free to give more! When they pass the offering plate at church, be sure to give generously!

Because even though I created the universe and everything in it, and even though I will give you everything you ask for in prayer, I can’t give a cent to any church, ever.

So, please give generously at your place of worship today! I thank you for your support!”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two Black Holes Dancing in 3C 75

click on image to enlargeNASA / CXC / D.Hudson, T.Reiprich et al. (AIfA); NRAO / VLA/ NRL

Explanation: What's happening at the center of active galaxy 3C 75? The two bright sources at the center of this composite x-ray (blue)/ radio (pink) image are co-orbiting supermassive black holes powering the giant radio source 3C 75. Surrounded by multimillion degree x-ray emitting gas, and blasting out jets of relativistic particles the supermassive black holes are separated by 25,000 light-years. At the cores of two merging galaxies in the Abell 400 galaxy cluster they are some 300 million light-years away. Astronomers conclude that these two supermassive black holes are bound together by gravity in a binary system in part because the jets' consistent swept back appearance is most likely due to their common motion as they speed through the hot cluster gas at 1200 kilometers per second. Such spectacular cosmic mergers are thought to be common in crowded galaxy cluster environments in the distant universe. In their final stages the mergers are expected to be intense sources of gravitational waves.

The Cosmic Web of the Tarantula Nebula

click on image to enlargeCredit & Copyright: Joseph Brimacombe

Explanation: First cataloged as a star, 30 Doradus is actually an immense star forming region in nearby galaxy The Large Magellanic Cloud. The region's spidery appearance is responsible for its popular name, the Tarantula nebula, except that this tarantula is about 1,000 light-years across, and 180,000 light-years away in the southern constellation Dorado. If the Tarantula nebula were at the distance of the Orion Nebula (1,500 light-years), the nearest stellar nursery to Earth, it would appear to cover about 30 degrees (60 full moons) on the sky. The spindly arms of the Tarantula nebula surround NGC 2070, a star cluster that contains some of the brightest, most massive stars known. Intriguing details of the nebula are visible in this scientifically-colored image. The cosmic Tarantula also lies near the site of the closest recent supernova.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Recuperating without Jeezus...

Most of you probably wonder if I am still around, so am making a little post to say that I have had surgery in September to repair a torn ankle tendon, and then while struggling to get around in a walking boot I blew out what was left of my L5 disc and also L4 in my spine so had to have spinal fusion for L5-S1 and L4-L5 on November 3rd. I will spare you the in-between stuff because every day it was the same pain, pain meds and ER visits. After a week spent in the hospital after the operation, I am now home waddling around with my old lady walker and working on recovering more as time goes by. It's difficult to sit here for too long so will try to find some short pieces to post for awhile until I feel more up to sitting here longer than five minutes. I hope to be posting something soon! Hang in there! Don't leave me!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

When the going gets tough . . .

. . . people start beckoning to their imaginary friends in all cultures.

Hundreds in India pray for global economic recovery

BHUBANESWAR, India (Reuters) – Hundreds of people gathered for a Hindu religious rite in a town in eastern India on Friday, seeking divine intervention into the global economic crisis as stocks plummeted worldwide, organisers said.

The rite was performed on the same day as the Indian rupee hit a record low of 50.15 per dollar, and the Indian share market dropped 11 percent to three-year lows.

More than three hundred people watched the rite being performed by 131 priests in a temple in the beach city of Puri in Orissa state.

The priests poured water into pots from a nearby pond and carried them out in a procession to the temple, shouting praises of Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth.

The priests burnt sandalwood and clarified butter, and offered flowers to the goddess while chanting hymns.

“The entire world is witnessing a financial crisis and Goddess Laxmi can only help us in this crucial situation,” Kumuda Ranjan Samantray, one of the organisers told Reuters.

The financial crisis was set off by a U.S. housing market collapse nearly 15 months ago.

Only fools believe . . .

. . . in zombie Jesus.

Mondo Gonzales is at it again, this time focusing on another group of people with his intolerant bigotry — atheists.

“Atheism is a faith”, says Mondo, which we know is totally false. He might be able to understand correctly what atheism is if he could step outside of his fundie bubble for five minutes and take the time to truly educate himself about atheism instead of simply inventing a meaning for himself from his own imagination.

Mondo, atheism = WITHOUT GOD. No god beliefs. And if you want to make the claim that there is a god, then it is you who must show us the proof of the existence of your god, without using your mythology book. Where is your verifiable evidence? I can say there is a pink unicorn buried in my back yard based on a storybook which was written about the pink unicorn, and you will tell me I am full of it. Millions of people believe in the various Hindu gods. You cannot prove that the Hindu gods do not exist, you cannot prove that Odin doesn’t exist, you cannot prove that Isis doesn’t exist, you cannot prove that Ra doesn’t exist. And all of these mythologies that were once religions have texts. Human beings have invented so many gods throughout the ages. So Mondo, based on your reasoning, all of these other gods and goddesses that people believe in must exist simply because no one can prove that they do not exist?

With his published ignorance, Pastor Mondo is showing just how little he understands science and theology. My neighbors and I just shake our heads after reading his little essays. (And shows us the lack of quality of this newspaper that prints such drivel.) It’s disturbing to see grown people in the year 2008 who are so incredibly ignorant in the field of science and with such a lacking of knowledge in the field of evolution. Fundamentalism such as Mondo’s is one of the bigger reasons why our country is so far behind the rest of the Western world in the fields of science and mathematics. Mondo, here is a site for you to read through concerning evolution.

Mondo’s latest tirade is simply is an attempt to justify his own worldview. Mondo’s worldview shows lack of tolerance of those who are different. I think we atheists are getting under Mondo’s skin by knowing that we just simply exist. And it is bothering the god believers immensely that there are more of us than they had realized and we are no longer staying silent in the shadows. But I think that it is a good thing that Mondo is bringing attention to the subject of atheism and drawing us into discourse and hopefully he is also bringing it up in his church sermons. There are many atheists in church pews who are encouraged to hear that so many others think as they do and may realize the fear tactics being used to control them.

Is Atheism a religion of faith?

The typical atheist “believes” somehow life evolved from non-living things (rocks, primordial soup, etc.). Yet let it be screamed from the rooftops, not a single scientist has ever produced life from non-life empirically or in any other way. The laws of science and probability all speak against this even being a possibility, most specifically for those who believe it happened randomly, with no intelligent input. Yet this is exactly what evolutionists want us to “believe” happened.


The chemical steps that led to life on Earth remain a matter of intense speculation.” What’s the point? They have no proof, but instead will dismiss evidence a Creator is the only logical conclusion while staying committed to their “intense speculation.” That is why God calls them fools (Rom 1:22).

How many times do we have to tell these fools that atheism simply means lack of belief in the existence of any god, gods,goddesses. Period. We are not the delusional who believe that a 2,000 year old mythology book is real. Atheism is saying gods do not exist and requires no faith in anything. But it sure takes a whole lot of faith to believe that a god always existed, and took interest in a speck of a planet in the vastness of the universe, made his own little pets on this little speck of a planet for the sole egotistical purpose of worshiping him forever, and then plays games with these little pets if he doesn’t like how they use the “free will” so creates a son for himself to torture and kill in a most horrific way, only come back to life and float up into heaven. This Christian mythology is just as bizarre as any of the myths invented by humans to try to explain things they do not understand, or things they have no control over.

Mondo…science is based on a hypothesis, verifiable evidence and facts. Religion is based on faith and falls in the category of delusion theology. Mondo, you have zero evidence for the existence of your god, you have zero evidence that your god made a son for himself and turned him into a zombie and floated him up into some other dimension. Christianity is MYTHOLOGY. A mythology as bizarre as humans have ever invented. Jesus and God are figments of human imagination just as all the gods of other cultures around the world throughout time.