Thursday, November 27, 2008

“A Humanist Thanksgiving Proclamation,” by Robert Green Ingersoll

“When I became convinced that the universe is natural—that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom.

The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts and bars and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf or a slave. There was for me no master in all the world—not even infinite space.

I was free. Free to think, to express my thoughts. Free to live my own ideal. Free to live for myself and those I loved. Free to use all my faculties, all my senses. Free to spread imagination’s wings. Free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope. Free to judge and determine for myself. Free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the “inspired” books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past. Free from popes and priests. Free from all the “called” and “set apart.” Free from sanctified mistakes and “holy” lies. Free from the winged monsters of the night. Free from devils, ghosts and gods.

For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of thought, no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings, no claims for my limbs, no lashes for my back, no fires for my flesh, no following another’s steps, no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously, faced all worlds.

And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers, who gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain, for the freedom of labor and thought, to those who fell on the fierce fields of war, to those who died in dungeons bound with chains, to those who proudly mounted scaffold’s stairs, to those by fire consumed, to all the wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons and daughters of men and women. And then I vowed to grasp the torch that they have held, and hold it high, that light may conquer darkness still.”

—Robert Green Ingersoll (1833–1899)

Letting Go of God--The Trailer(2008)

Princeton Scientists Discover Proteins that Control Evolution

By Annalee Newitz
Evolutionary changes are supposed to take place gradually and randomly, under pressure from natural selection. But a team of Princeton scientists investigating a group of proteins that help cells burn energy stumbled across evidence that this is not how evolution works. In fact, their discovery could revolutionize the way we understand evolutionary processes. They have evidence that organisms actually have the ability to control their own evolution.

Let's get a few possible misconceptions out of the way first. The Princeton group, composed of researchers Raj Chakrabarti, Herschel Rabitz, Stacey Springs and George McLendon, haven't proven that intelligent design is a valid scientific theory. Nor are they claiming that DNA is making a set of conscious decisions about growing extra legs or wings (though that would admittedly be cool).

What they are saying is that evolution is not entirely random, as Darwin believed. The researchers were tinkering with a set of proteins forming the electron transport chain, a system that regulates energy use in cells. They discovered that the proteins were correcting any imbalance imposed on them through artificial mutations, constantly restoring the chain to working order. A mathematical analysis revealed that these proteins seem to make these minute corrections all the time, steering organisms toward evolutionary changes that make the creature fitter.

Said Chakrabarti:

The discovery answers an age-old question that has puzzled biologists since the time of Darwin: How can organisms be so exquisitely complex, if evolution is completely random, operating like a 'blind watchmaker'? Our new theory extends Darwin's model, demonstrating how organisms can subtly direct aspects of their own evolution to create order out of randomness.

Their work seems to confirm ideas held by Darwin's colleague Alfred Wallace, who co-discovered the theory of evolution. Wallace believed that life forms undergoing natural selection could adjust their evolutionary course "exactly like that of the centrifugal governor of the steam engine, which checks and corrects any irregularities almost before they become evident." In other words: Wallace believed that organisms had a kind of evolutionary feedback control mechanism.

Added Rabitz:

What we have found is that certain kinds of biological structures exist that are able to steer the process of evolution toward improved fitness. The data just jumps off the page and implies we all have this wonderful piece of machinery inside that's responding optimally to evolutionary pressure.

The researchers put together a paper recently published in Physical Review Letters, which suggests that control theory could help explain evolution. This is likely to spark a lot of debate.
But Chakrabarti says their ideas fit neatly within theories of evolution:

Biological change is always driven by random mutation and selection, but at certain pivotal junctures in evolutionary history, such random processes can create structures capable of steering subsequent evolution toward greater sophistication and complexity.

In other words, organisms are evolving ways to evolve better.

You dont hear this position much

Monday, November 24, 2008

Moronic priest talks about atheism on Fox News

Evolution of the Eye:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Eyes of Nye: Pseudoscience

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Christian Ignorance

Gay Marriage Opponents Now Want Legal Definition of Christmas

Opponents of gay marriage who believe marriage should only apply to heterosexuals now wish to restrict access to another sacred institution: Christmas.

"Much like traditional marriage, the traditions of Christmas have been under assault for many years now," says Brent Slabroller, leader of The Defense of Traditions Coalition. "In order to preserve those traditions, we're calling for a constitutional amendment that defines Christmas as only for Christians."

Read more at Ryan Garns blog: Here

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More Debate Over Christmas Atheist Ad

(1) Faith & Intelligence

Intelligence & Religion

Religiousness, Spirituality, and IQ: Are They Linked?

Plus: Scientists & Belief

Leading scientists still reject God

Scientists' Belief in God Varies Starkly by Discipline

(2) Faith & Violence

Does biblical violence
cause aggressive readers?

When God sanctions killing, the people listen

(3) Faith & Morality

Divorce: Born Again Christians Just As Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians

Prison: The results of the Christians vs atheists
in prison investigation.

Secular Nations:

The following is taken from Sam Harris' An Atheist Manifesto (a).

Countries like Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom are among the least religious societies on Earth.
According to the United Nations' Human Development Report (2005) (b) they are also the healthiest, as indicated by measures of life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality. Conversely, the 50 nations now ranked lowest in terms of human development are unwaveringly religious.
Other analyses paint the same picture: The United States is unique among wealthy democracies in its level of religious literalism and opposition to evolutionary theory; it is also uniquely beleaguered by high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, STD infection and infant mortality (c).
The same comparison holds true within the United States itself : Southern and Midwestern states, characterized by the highest levels of religious superstition and hostility to evolutionary theory, are especially plagued by the above indicators of societal dysfunction, while the comparatively secular states of the Northeast conform to European norms (d).
Countries with high levels of atheism also are the most charitable in terms of giving foreign aid to the developing world (e).
The dubious link between Christian literalism and Christian values is also belied by other indices of charity (f).
Consider the ratio in salaries between top-tier CEOs and their average employee: in Britain it is 24 to 1; France 15 to 1; Sweden 13 to 1; in the United States, where 83% of the population believes that Jesus literally rose from the dead, it is 475 to 1(g).

(a) An Atheist Manifesto

(b) Human Development Report 2005

(c) Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiously and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies

(d) Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'

(e) US and Foreign Aid Assistance

(f) Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

(g) Europe vs. America

(4) Faith (Prayer) & Healing

Prayer does not heal the sick, study finds

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Yahweh and Asherah

Friday, November 7, 2008

Olbermann Worst Persons - They Don't Matter Anymore!!

Classic CNN Creationism Debate

Arthur Miller on his Atheism

This bulletin has been posted by your friends at The A-Team :

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008