Saturday, August 29, 2009

It is health INSURANCE reform, not health care reform

Click through each frame, it's not automatic. . .
Healthcare Napkins All
View more documents from Dan Roam.

Fundie quote of the week . . .

This is a new feature I am going to be posting. "Fundie quote of the week".

Mike says:

“Contrary to popular misconception, biblical Christian faith is not blind. It is reasonable, evidence-based, and testable”

Then Mike goes on to quote his “evidence” from the Babble:

“(2 Thes. 3:2, Heb 11:1, Isa 1:18, etc.)”

2 Thes. 3:2 — And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.

Heb 11:1 — Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Isa 1:18 — Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

These passages were so obviously written by superstitious (yet very creative and imaginative) delusional humans. The “reasoning” provided in the last passage you provided is simply a bunch of pretty adjectives and analogies of basically, nothing.

Sorry Mike, but Bible passages are NOT “reasonable, evidence-based, and testable”. Your beliefs are based on faith and your contradictory and inconsistent mythology book that was written by many human beings in ancient times. Nothing “evidence-based” and nothing “testable” concerning the existence of your god and resurrected zombie Jesus has been found to date. Your Bible provides no more evidence for the existence of your god any more than the Book of the Dead proves Ra exists, or the Hindu ancient texts prove that their multiple gods exist. It's all mythology that people choose to believe is real.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Americans United warns Illinois state officials

Illinois May Not Fund Religion

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Illinois should move carefully when awarding $40 million or more in state funds to religious organizations, two national activist groups warned Wednesday.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Anti-Defamation League told state officials that they’ve identified at least 97 religious organizations [my emphasis] that would get the money from the capital construction bill signed into law last month.

They pointed out in a letter to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity that the constitutional separation of church and state forbids using tax dollars for religious purposes and that the grants carry no restrictions.

“When grants are made to religious groups with no safeguards whatsoever, the rights of taxpayers are clearly being infringed,” said Barry Lynn, executive director of the Washington-based Americans United. “No American should ever be forced to contribute money in support of religion.”

Without watchdog groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State, this news would never come to light and most of us would not know about it.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed a $31 billion infrastructure improvement plan last month aimed at improving roads and bridges, but also included millions in grants to local organizations. There could be more groups with religious affiliations than the 97 that the Americans United and the Chicago-based Anti-Defamation League counted because their names don’t immediately identify them as such.

Among grants that the groups want reviewed are $75,000 for capital improvements to the library at the Chicago Baptist Institute; $100,000 each for renovations at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, St. Ann Catholic School and St. Paul Parish; and $50,000 for a housing project by the Lawndale Christian Development Project.

Citing numerous court cases, the two groups asked the department to review all the grants it releases to ensure that none support religious activities. They want the state to require recipients to sign statements that they won’t use the money for religious purposes.

The groups want the agency to ban grants to sectarian organizations or those that, according to court rulings, cannot separate their religious missions from secular ones.

According to Americans United,

The Chicago-Tribune reported that the bill earmarks $250,000 for renovations to the Friendship House of Christian Service in Peoria, awards $150,000 for “facility improvements” at the Salaam Conference Center of Muhammad’s Holy Temple of Islam in Chicago and assigns $700,000 for capital improvements at St. Malachy School, a Catholic elementary on Chicago’s West Side, among many others.

Sneaky religious bastards!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Today's religion is tomorrow's mythology . . .

The difference between religion and mythology according to Lewis Black:

"If you believe it, it's religion. If you don't, it's mythology. "

I am God, I listen to myself, figure things out and do.

"How do you know you're God?"
"When I pray to him I find that I am talking to myself."

From The Ruling Class by Peter Barnes

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rob Bostons of Americans United debates Mike Huckabee on religion in schools

Rob Boston on FOX and Friends discussing Florida school officials prayer

“Rob Boston of Americans United is on FOX and Friends discussing, with Mike Huckabee, Florida’s Pace High School administrators who prayed in school after court injunction not to.” The religious people, including Huckabee just don’t get separation of church and state. And they do not respect the legal system. They will do what they want to do no matter what in order to promote their own agenda, then cry persecution when there are consequences for going against a court order.

Definition of prayer

Prayer is attempted coercion

It is a form of violence against one’s chosen god

Telling the immortal what to do.

If you do not do this I will not do that

Ex: I do not get a new bike, I will not follow you.

Frank Herbert, God Emperor of Dune

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Parking for prayer

So much controversy going on in the small town of Falmouth, MA which lies on the southwestern tip of Cape Cod:

First, a former town employee accused the town manager of sexual harassment. Then the local constable accused town officials of illegally disseminating sealed records containing his criminal history.

Now we learn that the selectmen recently voted 4-0 to allow four local churches to set up “a prayer station” in the public parking lot at Old Silver Beach in North Falmouth.

The “prayer station” occupies a parking spot and is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. Volunteers from Heritage Christian Church in East Falmouth, First Baptist Church of Pocasset, Falmouth Church of the Nazarene and Bay Community Alliance Church in Buzzards Bay staff the station. No preaching or solicitation is allowed. The volunteers can only talk to those who approach them.

Is the board’s decision unconstitutional? Does it violate the separation of church and state?

Legally, no.

But what the selectmen have unwittingly done is create a public forum in a parking lot.

“The issue is whether or not the town has created a public forum,” said Joe Conn, director of communications for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in Washington, D.C. “If you let this group use this space, you have to let all groups — religious or nonreligious — use this space. It could come back to bite them if they are turning a public parking lot into a free-speech zone.”

Gasp! What where they thinking? They might have to allow evil atheists and other godless groups to use the space!

PZ Myers at the Secular Student Alliance Conference

In case you haven’t seen this yet, PZ Myers’ keynote speech at the Secular Student Alliance conference last week:

Counting Coup - PZ Myers - Secular Student Alliance Conference 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Stars, moving Moonbow and rainbow over Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile, by St├ęphane Guisard

Night timelapse movie showing successively a Moonbow (='rainbow' from Moon light) and a classical rainbow and their motion with time as Moon and Sun change their position in the sky. Video made in Torres del Paine national park, Patagonia, Chile. Time lapse by St├ęphane Guisard

Adler Planetarium - Cosmic Collisions

For those of you who live in the Chicagoland area, or within easy driving distance to Chicago, or if you are planning to visit Chicago soon, I highly recommend a visit to the Alder Planetarium and while you are there make sure to get tickets to see Cosmic Collisions. It was a beautiful twenty-minute presentation on how just chaotic our solar system, galaxy and the universe actually is. A good one for those who believe the universe is "organized" and perfectly made.

Narrated by award-winning actor, director, and producer Robert Redford, Cosmic Collisions launches visitors on an awe-inspiring trip through space and time-well beyond the calm face of the night sky-to explore the hypersonic impacts that drive the continuing evolution of the Universe. This new space show focuses on the full range of collisions, from catastrophic planetary impacts and the merging of massive galaxies to the continual explosions occurring in the center of the Sun and the incessant barrage of small ionized particles in the solar wind ricocheting off Earth's magnetic field creating other-worldly conditions called "space weather."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

An Antarctic Total Solar Eclipse

Explanation: The Sun, the Moon, Antarctica, and two photographers all lined up in 2003 Antarctica during an unusual total eclipse of the Sun. Even given the extreme location, a group of enthusiastic eclipse chasers ventured near the bottom of the world to experience the surreal momentary disappearance of the Sun behind the Moon. One of the treasures collected was the above picture -- a composite of four separate images digitally combined to realistically simulate how the adaptive human eye saw the eclipse. As the image was taken, both the Moon and the Sun peaked together over an Antarctic ridge. In the sudden darkness, the magnificent corona of the Sun became visible around the Moon. Quite by accident, another photographer was caught in one of the images checking his video camera. Visible to his left are an equipment bag and a collapsible chair.

Stars at the Galactic Center

Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Susan Stolovy (SSC/Caltech) et al.
The center of our Milky Way Galaxy is hidden from the prying eyes of optical telescopes by clouds of obscuring dust and gas. But, in this stunning vista, the Spitzer Space Telescope's infrared cameras penetrate much of the dust, revealing the stars of the crowded galactic center region. A mosaic of many smaller snapshots, this detailed, false-color image shows older, cool stars in bluish hues. Reddish glowing dust clouds are associated with young, hot stars in stellar nurseries. The galactic center lies some 26,000 light-years away, toward the constellation Sagittarius. At that distance, this picture spans about 900 light-years.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Speeding Stars Confirm Bizarre Nature of Faraway Galaxies

This image provided by NASA this July 23, 2009 is a photo made by the Spitzer Space Telescope of the galaxy, called NGC-1097, is located 50 million light-years away. It is spiral-shaped like our Milky Way, with long, spindly arms of stars. The 'eye' at the center of the galaxy is actually a monstrous black hole surrounded by a ring of stars. In this color-coded infrared view from Spitzer, the area around the invisible black hole is blue and the ring of stars, white. The black hole is huge, about 100 million times the mass of our sun, and is feeding off gas and dust along with the occasional unlucky star. The galaxy's red spiral arms and the swirling spokes seen between the arms show dust heated by newborn stars. Older populations of stars scattered through the galaxy are blue. The fuzzy blue dot to the left, which appears to fit snuggly between the arms, is a companion galaxy. This image was taken during Spitzer's cold mission, before it ran out of liquid coolant. (AP Photo/NASA)

Speeding Stars Confirm Bizarre Nature of Faraway Galaxies

Stars in a distant galaxy move at stunning speeds — greater than 1 million mph, astronomers have revealed.

These hyperactive stars move at about twice the speed of our sun through the Milky Way, because their host galaxy is very massive, yet strangely compact. The scene, which has theorists baffled, is 11 billion light-years away. It is the first time motions of individual stars have been measured in a galaxy so distant.

While the stars' swiftness is notable, stars in other galaxies have been observed to travel at similarly high speeds. In those situations, it was usually because they were interlopers from outside, or circling close to a black hole.

But in this case, the stars' high velocities help astronomers confirm that the galaxy they belong to really is as massive as earlier data suggested.


When insanity and God beliefs meet

By now most of you probably have read about the horrible story of yet another mass shooting: Pa. man kills 3, himself; Web page describes plans

Was he an “evil atheist”? No, he was clearly mentally ill, and was influenced by fundamentalist Christian teachings that no matter what people do, no matter how awful, this God is going to forgive them and take them to that “better place”. Of course, Christians will say he was not a “True Christian” and will not want to claim him, disregarding that is exactly what their religion teaches. You don’t get into heaven via good works, but just by saying the magic words.

In his online journal, the killer wrote:

Maybe soon, I will see God and Jesus. At least that is what I was told. Eternal life does NOT depend on works. If it did, we will all be in hell. Christ paid for EVERY sin, so how can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when the penalty was ALREADY paid. People judge but that does not matter. I was reading the Bible and The Integrity of God beginning yesterday, because soon I will see them.

It’s so sad that lives turn out like this. He was clearly mentally ill and suffering tremendously and extremely lonely. What he needed was psychiatric help. Again, like the woman who killed her little baby “at the devil’s request”, this man’s actions is an example of how religion affects some who are mentally ill. In this case, he thinks there will be no consequences. But yet he was so wrong. He gave up his life, he is dead and sadly so are three of his victims…and life goes on.

PZ Myers at Pharyngula also posted on this story.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Lagoon Nebula in Gas, Dust, and Stars

click on image to enlargeCredit & Copyright: Florencio Rodil

Explanation: Stars are battling gas and dust in the Lagoon Nebula but the photographers are winning. Also known as M8, this photogenic nebula is visible even without binoculars towards the constellation of Sagittarius. The energetic processes of star formation create not only the colors but the chaos. The red-glowing gas, shown on the above left in re-assigned colors, results from high-energy starlight striking interstellar hydrogen gas. The Trifid nebula is visible on the far right. The dark dust filaments that lace M8 were created in the atmospheres of cool giant stars and in the debris from supernovae explosions. The light from M8 we see today left about 5,000 years ago. Light takes about 50 years to cross this section of M8.

SN 1006 Supernova Remnant

click on image to enlarge
Image Credit:
NASA, ESA, Zolt Levay (STScI)

Explanation: A new star, likely the brightest supernova in recorded human history, lit up planet Earth's sky in the year 1006 AD. The expanding debris cloud from the stellar explosion, found in the southerly constellation of Lupus, still puts on a cosmic light show across the electromagnetic spectrum. In fact, this composite view includes X-ray data in blue from the Chandra Observatory, optical data in yellowish hues, and radio image data in red. Now known as the SN 1006 supernova remnant, the debris cloud appears to be about 60 light-years across and is understood to represent the remains of a white dwarf star. Part of a binary star system, the compact white dwarf gradually captured material from its companion star. The buildup in mass finally triggered a thermonuclear explosion that destroyed the dwarf star. Because the distance to the supernova remnant is about 7,000 light-years, that explosion actually happened 7,000 years before the light reached Earth in 1006. Shockwaves in the remnant accelerate particles to extreme energies and are thought to be a source of the mysterious cosmic rays.