Monday, May 23, 2011

Detectable Civilizations in our Galaxy (Khan Academy)

more after the jump!

Monday Morning Quotes ~ Sigmund Freud

Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.

Neither in my private life nor in my writings, have I ever made a secret of being an out-and-out unbeliever.

It would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent providence, and if there were a moral order in the universe and an after-life; but it is a very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be.

The idea of God was not a lie but a device of the unconscious which needed to be decoded by psychology. A personal god was nothing more than an exalted father-figure: desire for such a deity sprang from infantile yearnings for a powerful, protective father, for justice and fairness and for life to go on forever. God is simply a projection of these desires, feared and worshipped by human beings out of an abiding sense of helplessness. Religion belonged to the infancy of the human race; it had been a necessary stage in the transition from childhood to maturity. It had promoted ethical values which were essential to society. Now that humanity had come of age, however, it should be left behind.

Our knowledge of the historical worth of certain religious doctrines increases our respect for them, but does not invalidate our proposal that they should cease to be put forward as the reasons for the precepts of civilization. On the contrary! Those historical residues have helped us to view religious teachings, as it were, as neurotic relics, and we may now argue that the time has probably come, as it does in an analytic treatment, for replacing the effects of repression by the results of the rational operation of the intellect.

The psychoanalysis of individual human beings, however, teaches us with quite special insistence that the god of each of them is formed in the likeness of his father, that his personal relation to God depends on his relation to his father in the flesh and oscillates and changes along with that relation, and that at bottom God is nothing other than an exalted father.

The true believer is in a high degree protected against the danger of certain neurotic afflictions; by accepting the universal neurosis he is spared the task of forming a personal neurosis.

In the long run nothing can withstand reason and experience, and the contradiction religion offers to both is only too palpable.

The rest of our enquiry is made easy because this God-Creator is openly called Father. Psycho-analysis concludes that he really is the father, clothed in the grandeur in which he once appeared to the small child.

Religion is an illusion ... it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our intellectual desires.

The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Link Dump ~ 5/20/11

Rapture Parties Planned to Celebrate Doomsday Saturday May 21 I’ll admit that I’m going to be a little sad on May 22nd. The Rapture is so much more satisfying to mock than the “Rogue Planet” that will collide with Earth in 2012. I do plan on leaving a pile of clothes next to my mailbox ~ just to mess with my neighbors.

Jesus Hates Yoga ‘Cus he loves America.

Hundres of Proofs of God’s Existence A brilliant reference tool for the Arguing Atheist.

Monday Morning Quotes ~ Isaac Asimov

The Catholic Church’s New Policy Sucks. Period.

Government comes to atheist party. The Four Horsemen (all four!) are hosting The Global Atheist Convention, A Celebration of Reason.
“The Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau has confirmed that state government funding will be provided to the convention, which they expect to attract 2500 people.”
Australia. You didn’t think it was America, did you?
iPriest iPhone Apps

HiRISE: Hi Resolution Photos of Mars identify a possible landing site.

Newt is Looking Fabulous.

He also claims to have Never Heard of Seven Mountains Dominionism

God told Huckabee not to run for president. Just kidding...about God.

With Huckabee Out, the Next in Line for the Fundie Vote is Sarah Palin I would like to think that at the end of the day, the average American is intelligent enough to understand that Sarah Palin cannot actually lead our country. Yet somehow, this chills my blood.

Mid Week Rant: Penn Jillette - Agnostic vs. Athiest

Stephen Hawking says That Heaven is a fairy story for people who are afraid of the dark.

Kirk Cameron says that Stephen’s beliefs are “wishful thinking and not good science.” Somewhere, the Gods of Irony are beating a crocoduck to death.

Louisiana Students March on Baton Rouge, Demanding Accurate Science Classes "When Louisiana students apply to college, people won't know if that student was taught creationism in their science classes," says Kopplin. "Maybe they'll think they don't have the science background to get into college."

Michigan to Decrease Funding for Universities that Provide Same-Sex Benefits. This is blatant discrimination. They can’t hide behind fiscal motivations because they will still need to pay for benefits for straight married people in identical positions. Is the goal here to punish universities that hire gay people? Or to punish them for recognizing gays as people.

Gov. Scott Walker Moves to Ban Hospital Visitation Rights for Same-Sex Couples. I am seeing a pattern here.

For Years, Fox News Has Provided a Platform for Anti-LGBT Activity and Attacks

Sunday Morning Hate ~ Tony Perkins

A five-year study conducted by the Catholic Church has blamed the rise in sexual abuse on the sexual revolution of the 60’s and 70’s. There are several things wrong with this study. The most glaring being the way the data was collected...

The Vatican: 2000 Years of Pedaphilia

Theory of a Recycled Universe is Called Into Question

Atheists Thrown Under the Bus by Progressives This sucks, but I can’t say I’m surprised.

Comet Theory Comes Crashing to Earth

Fundamentalism Kills

After Bashing NPR and Planned Parenthood Subsidies, Fox Now Defends Oil Subsidies. Anybody know a synonym for “hypocrite?” I’m tired of saying it.

Tarantulas Shoot Out Silk Like Spiderman Further proof that Stan Lee is a genius.

Pictures: America’s Top 10 Endangered Rivers

Take the Dante’s Inferno Test! See what level of Hell you belong in.

Life with a Bionic Hand

Free Worlds: Billions of Extra-Stellar Planetary Bodies May be Adrift in the Galaxy Another testament to the general disorder of the Universe.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Morning Quotes ~ Isaac Asimov

Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.

There are many aspects of the universe that still cannot be explained satisfactorily by science; but ignorance only implies ignorance that may someday be conquered. To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.

I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.

I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.

If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.
I would also want a God who would not allow a Hell. Infinite torture can only be a punishment for infinite evil, and I don't believe that infinite evil can be said to exist even in the case of Hitler. Besides, if most human governments are civilized enough to try to eliminate torture and outlaw cruel and unusual punishments, can we expect anything less of an all-merciful God?

People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence. They are far too ready to dismiss it and to build arcane structures of extremely rickety substance in order to avoid it. I, on the other hand, see coincidence everywhere as an inevitable consequence of the laws of probability, according to which having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be.

[Creationists] make it sound as though a "theory" is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.

But suppose we were to teach creationism. What would be the content of the teaching? Merely that a creator formed the universe and all species of life ready-made? Nothing more? No details?

How often people speak of art and science as though they were two entirely different things, with no interconnection. An artist is emotional, they think, and uses only his intuition; he sees all at once and has no need of reason. A scientist is cold, they think, and uses only his reason; he argues carefully step by step, and needs no imagination. That is all wrong. The true artist is quite rational as well as imaginative and knows what he is doing; if he does not, his art suffers. The true scientist is quite imaginative as well as rational, and sometimes leaps to solutions where reason can follow only slowly; if he does not, his science suffers.

I feel that if there were an afterlife, punishment for evil would be reasonable and of a fixed term. And I feel that the longest and worst punishment should be reserved for those who slandered God by inventing Hell.

There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death.

To be sure, the Bible contains the direct words of God. How do we know? The Moral Majority says so. How do they know? They say they know and to doubt it makes you an agent of the Devil or, worse, a Lbr-l Dm-cr-t. And what does the Bible textbook say? Well, among other things it says the earth was created in 4004 BC (Not actually, but a Moral Majority type figured that out three and a half centuries ago, and his word is also accepted as inspired.) The sun was created three days later. The first male was molded out of dirt, and the first female was molded, some time later, out of his rib. As far as the end of the universe is concerned, the Book of Revelation (6:13-14) says: "And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind." … Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.

There's something about a pious man such as he. He will cheerfully cut your throat if it suits him, but he will hesitate to endanger the welfare of your immaterial and problematical soul.

I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Morning Hate ~ Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council wants us to remember that gay activists are actually pawns of Satan. It’s not their fault.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Link Dump ~ 5/13/11


Its Friday the 13th!! Burn Hide the children.

NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment More evidence in accord with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. *Geek swoon*

What does it look like when a human embryo grows a face? You really get a glimpse of the transitional forms of our evolution while watching this. It is kinda creepy though.

Revolutionary New Paper Computer Shows Flexible Future for Smartphones and Tablets SCIENCE!

Monday Morning Quotes ~ Sir David Arrenborough


Christopher Hitchens: Unspoken Truths This nearly brought me to tears.

OBL was “Removed” by Pope John Paul II : According to Peruvian President Alan Garcia Yes, the number one global terrorist in the world was murdered by the soul of a dead pope.

What Vaccine Refusal Really Costs

“Very Positive”: Fox News’ Smear of “Vile Rapper” Common Debunked by Own Reporting Even Fox News doesn’t believe Fox News. The Neo-Con Talking Heads should feel threatened by an intelligent, thought provoking artist (from Chicago **gasp**). He represents everything they fear. An outspoken educated inner city black man inspiring children. But seriously, I doubt that these people know anything about Common other than the genre of music he creates and yes, I'll say it: the color of his skin. The event has also inspired a few Conservative Racist Tweets which are always a good time.
TN Bill Calls Two or More Observant Muslims a “Sharia Organization”
Steve says: I have no love lost for Islam, but this is just plain discriminatory and illegal. I agree; as long as we still can't call two or more Scientologists a "cult meeting".

First Evidence That Gorillas Pass on Traditions

Flood Prevention

The Department of Secular Studies Finally, somebody gets it.

Who Are America’s Godless? Diversity of Godless Americans in the United States We spend so much time knowing our enemies. Let’s take a moment to identify our friends.

Sunday Morning Hate ~ Paseka Motsoeneng OK back to our enemies.

Richard Dawkins and Dr. Yan on Genetic Ancestry MORE SCIENCE!

Mid Week Rant : Richard Dawkins

The Daily What: Hilary Clinton was photo shopped out of the Situation Room for an Orthodox Newspaper Der Tzitung. What are these people going to do when the US eventually has a female president?

What the Pope Knew

10 Quirky science tricks to use at parties SCIENCE DAMMIT!

Sonogram Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk in Austin Texas Let’s be even more condescending to frightened young women, shall we?

Rapture Map I’m looking forward to the extra space.

And now, just because it makes me laugh EVERY TIME: Benny Hinn, Dark Lord of the Sith

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mid Week Rant - Richard Dawkins

This classic clip that has been circulating for a while. It's just too good.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Flood Prevention

Incorrect: will not prevent flooding. 

Correct: prevents flooding.

*joke stolen from a friend.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Morning Quotes: Sir David Attenborough

“I often get letters, quite frequently, from people who say how they like the programmes a lot, but I never give credit to the almighty power that created nature. To which I reply and say, "Well, it's funny that the people, when they say that this is evidence of the Almighty, always quote beautiful things. They always quote orchids and hummingbirds and butterflies and roses." But I always have to think too of a little boy sitting on the banks of a river in west Africa who has a worm boring through his eyeball, turning him blind before he's five years old. And I reply and say, "Well, presumably the God you speak about created the worm as well," and now, I find that baffling to credit a merciful God with that action. And therefore it seems to me safer to show things that I know to be truth, truthful and factual, and allow people to make up their own minds about the moralities of this thing, or indeed the theology of this thing.”

“An understanding of the natural world and what's in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment.”

“It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for - the whole thing - rather than just one or two stars.”

“The whole of science, and one is tempted to think the whole of the life of any thinking man, is trying to come to terms with the relationship between yourself and the natural world. Why are you here, and how do you fit in, and what's it all about. “

“The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?”

“Neither have I said we have got to do this because of some pharmaceutical advantage there may or may not be. The moral issue is that we should not impoverish this world.”

“It's not just that we are dependent on the natural world for our food and for the very air we breathe-which is, of course, the case-and that the very richness of the natural world continues to provide us with all kinds of assistance.”

“Three and a half million years separate the individual who left these footprints in the sands of Africa from the one who left them on the moon. A mere blink in the eye of evolution. Using his burgeoning intelligence, this most successful of all mammals has exploited the environment to produce food for an ever-increasing population. In spite of disasters when civilisations have over-reached themselves, that process has continued, indeed accelerated, even today. Now mankind is looking for food, not just on this planet but on others. Perhaps the time has now come to put that process into reverse. Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps it's time we control the population to allow the survival of the environment.”

“This is the last programme in this natural history, and it's very different from all the others because it's been devoted to just one animal: ourselves. And that may have been a very misleading thing to have done. It may have given the impression that somehow man was the ultimate triumph of evolution, that all those thousands of millions of years of development had no purpose other than to put man on Earth. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever for such a belief. No reason to suppose that man's stay on Earth should be any longer than that of the dinosaurs. He may have learned how to control his environment, how to pass on information from one generation to another, but the very forces of evolution that brought him into existence here on these African plains are still at work elsewhere in the world, and if man were to disappear, for whatever reason, there is doubtless somewhere some small, unobtrusive creature that would seize the opportunity and, with a spurt of evolution, take man's place. But although denying a special place in the world may be becomingly modest, the fact remains that man has an unprecedented control over the world and everything in it. And so, whether he likes it or not, what happens next is very largely up to him.”

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday Morning Hate ~ Paseka Motsoeneng

South African Pastor pastor Paseka "Mboro" Motsoeneng has been using his church's "Demon Banishing" services as a stage to publicly sexually abuse women in his congregation. Here is one of several examples of his abhorrent behavior at his Incredible Happenings Ministry.
Quoted text via The Friendly Atheist :

… Mboro called another young woman to the stage and made her lie down.
The young woman, who was not asked to identify herself, was told to tell the packed hall what her problem was.
“I haven’t slept with my husband for some time because it hurts when we make love.
“Every time he penetrates me, it feels like he is cutting me with a sharp knife,” she said.
Mboro took off his shoes and placed his foot on her vagina.
“There’s something breathing in her biscuit. It feels like a heartbeat,” he said.
He later ordered the woman to take off her undies. She complied. He said he wanted to “stitch it with his holy water”.
Motsoeneng sprinkled water on his right hand and rubbed the woman’s genitals.
He ordered her to call her husband “with all the nice words in the book of love and tell him she would discharge her conjugal rights”.

Enough attention has been brought to this monster's actions that he has been arrested. Although there is no guarantee that he will serve time.