December 27, 2007

Gospel of Brigstocke

British satirist/comedian Marcus Brigstocke tells it like it is!

December 25, 2007

Quote Of The Day

John Lennon

"God" by John Lennon:

God is a concept,
By which we can measure,
Our pain,
I'll say it again,
God is a concept,
By which we can measure,
Our pain,
I don't believe in magic,
I don't believe in I-ching,
I don't believe in bible,
I don't believe in tarot,
I don't believe in Hitler,
I don't believe in Jesus,
I don't believe in Kennedy,
I don't believe in Buddha,
I don't believe in mantra,
I don't believe in Gita,
I don't believe in yoga,
I don't believe in kings,
I don't believe in Elvis,
I don't believe in Zimmerman,
I don't believe in Beatles,
I just believe in me,
Yoko and me,
And that's reality.
The dream is over,
What can I say?
The dream is over,
I was dreamweaver,
But now I'm reborn,
I was the walrus,
But now I'm John,
And so dear friends,
You just have to carry on,
The dream is over.

December 23, 2007

Quote Of The Day

Baron d'Holbach

If we look back at the begining we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned or disfigured them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them; and that custom, respect and tyranny support them, in order to make the blindness of man serve their own interest. If the ignorance of nature gave birth to Gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them.

December 21, 2007

Quote Of The Day

Richard Dawkins

Natural selection builds child brains with a tendency to believe whatever their parents and tribal elders tell them. Such trusting obedience is valuable for survival: the analogue of steering by the moon for a moth. But the flip side of trusting obedience is slavish gullibility. The inevitable by-product is vulnerability to infection by mind viruses.

God Under The Microscope

Watch this excellent discussion on religion presented by the BBC, featuring Richard Dawkins; do you get the impression (as I did) that none of these people believe in god, but rather they believe in religion?

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


December 18, 2007

The Four Horsemen

Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens. Four brilliant minds, they have helped shape my understanding of the world and done the same for countless others. Watch this discussion, and listen. Much of what we have talked about is mentioned here. I laughed after I watched this film. Their discussion fully encompasses the movement we are a part of. Enjoy.

Hour 1

Hour 2


Top Ten Signs You're A Fundamentalist Christian

Eric from our Meetup group sent us this, and I think that it's hilariously dead on!

Top Ten Signs You're a Fundamentalist Christian

10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

December 17, 2007

Gospel of Monty

Here's a sublime slice of irreverence from the inimitable Monty Python. It's an excerpt from "The Meaning of Life" (1983).
The funniest part (to me) is the hymn near the end of the clip.


December 14, 2007

Holiday Spirit

To all my fellow Atheists...

Don't do stuff like this. When Bill O'Reilly and the other self-absorbed blow hards on Faux News rail against the War On Christmas, don't give them fodder. Bill O'Reilly is a bigot, a racist, an ignorant, pompous, jingoistic, pig-headed, conceited, sexual deviant who shouts much but says little; in his dogmatic little brain anything that dares to impose upon the sanctity of his precious holiday is automatically going to be suspect of nefarious intent to disrupt, deprive, destroy, rape and pillage the very spirit of Christmas. A holiday of which he does not know or understand its history (I know this because I have watched the man many, many times, and have noticed his insistence on not acknowledging anything remotely resembling that which we call reality, so far as it it contradicts what he already believes...)

These a-holes in Vermont thought it would be funny to piss off every civil minded person by posting this sign in the city park near the traditional nativity scene. Well, congrats. You took a perfectly good holiday tradition and turned it to crap. For us. What does the sign (depicting an image of the burning World Trade Center Towers accompanied by the words "Imagine no religion" from John Lennon's song) tell people about Atheists? Well, my interpretation of the sign is, "Hey, we're Atheist's, and we're assholes too, so fuck you and your family, and enjoy your holiday, but, while you do, don't forget about the horrible atrocities that people doped up on your stupidity have committed!" I'm an Atheist, and that's what I take from that image. Guess what every Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan, Hindi, etc. is going to think? Wow, Atheists really are assholes!

We are the least trusted minority group in America. This is because people do not understand us. They are told things about Atheists that are at best untrue, and at worst hateful, fear inspired, and ignorant. So, when we are given a chance to express our beliefs, at a time of the year when everyone is frustrated from shopping and stressed out by their travels, just wanting to make it home, bake their cookies with the kids, put on a movie and drift asleep in the warm comfort of tradition; they see that sign and think, "Wow, whoever put that there really is an asshole." They go home, forget about the sign as soon as the dog tracks muddy paw prints into the kitchen, but the damage is done. Things like that stay in our minds. A powerful image like 9/11, a well known lyric of John Lennon's, seen while already annoyed with people you don't know, against a background of the birth of the savior of man in many minds; that is precisely the type of meme we must never imbue upon the consciousness of our society.

You want to put something up this Christmas? How about something we value? Something we love? That's what they do. That's the whole point behind this commercialized, politicized aberration of a holiday season we celebrate. Its about unity, about love, compassion, about celebrating what we have accomplished and what we have to look forward to. Do you know why we put up the gaudy decorations, spend billions and travel vast distances to be with the ones we love? Because 11 months of the year life is violent, difficult, stressful, strenuous, demeaning, demoralizing, demanding, painful and bitter; for a month we try to let go of everything, embrace the merriment and cheer, revel in what we have achieved, rejoice in each others company. We enjoy ourselves, shake off the stress of the year, and prime ourselves for a new one.

On Christmas Day, 1914, the western front fell silent for the day, as the Germans stopped fighting and shared food and goods with their British enemies. It happened the next year with the French, all in spite of orders from higher up. The reason they did it is simple. They had had enough of killing and living in squalid conditions; they wanted to regain some of their humanity.

I think this is why we all like this time of year (even though we say we hate it). It gives us a chance to let go of things, to ease our burdens, to forget about our troubles for a while. Sure, its hectic, and sometimes can be a pain in the ass; but I feel that we all recognize that we need some time in our lives to let go of things. The coming of winter is the perfect opportunity for this. The pagans recognized this; so did the early Christians; so should we. I think that it is foolish to abandon such a terrific time of year over such a petty difference as faith. I say, Happy Holidays everyone. Just enjoy it. Don't be selfish and demand the day all to yourself (War on Christmas), or mock it (Festivus), or rub peoples faces in the bad things (Imagine no Religion). Just enjoy the season, and save the hate and spite for after new years.


Quote Of The Day

Abraham Lincoln

Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure.

December 13, 2007

Quote Of The Day

Joss Whedon

I believe we are the only sentient beings in the universe, and I believe that 500 years from now, we will still be the only sentient beings around.

December 11, 2007

Life Elsewhere...a No-Brainer?

This image might look like a painting or a digital graphic, but it's not...

So... is the existence of life common in the Universe? Can an assertion that life probably does exist elsewhere be construed as a valid scientific theory, or can it be viewed as an assumption only?

The answers seem to be: probably; and such an assertion might be viewed as a valid, but borderline scientific theory- based on probability, which in turn may be based on observational evidence.

Anyone reading this post knows that our Earth is a mere speck in the vastness of the known universe. The Sun is a very average yellow dwarf star. According to the latest estimates, there are between 200 and 400 billion stars in the galaxy we reside in (the exact number will most likely never be known because of the gargantuan amount of gas and dust obscuring our view). How many of these stars have planetary companions? It's safe to say that a large percentage of them do.

How many galaxies are in the known universe? Recent estimates are as high as 500 billion. The Hubble Deep-Sky camera photographed a small area of the sky a few years back- an area 1/150th the apparent size of the moon. 3,000 galaxies were counted in that small area alone!

As far as we know, the universe elsewhere is composed of the same elements that we, our Earth, our sun, and our galaxy are composed of. The physical laws of nature, as we know them, seem to apply everywhere in the observable universe, as far as we have seen.

It happened here... why not elsewhere? It doesn't even have to be carbon-based... but we'll save that for a future post.

And what about the probability that some "supreme being" created the whole universe just for us? One can't help but be purely subjective on this, but I say... ZERO.

Mark T.

December 9, 2007

All About Mormonism?

In honor of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's grade "D-minus" speech on religious freedom (12/6/07)...

Here's a cartoon made by a mainstream Christian sect in denunciation of the Mormon faith. It must have been produced sometime circa the early '70s- it has that "Scooby-Doo-ish" sort of feel.

While I'm sure that the Church of Latter-Day Saints' detractors went a TAD overboard with this, most of the cartoon seems to follow the church's teachings, which current LDS adherents seem to be squirming to whitewash.

Apparently, this cartoon was indeed banned by the Mormons- there is at least one major jaw-dropper in it... enjoy!

Mark T.