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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fundies Say the Darndest Things

Sure, this might not represent everyone, but they are all actual passages taken from fundie messageboards, so NO POE!

Jizzle to the Crizzle Mothafizzle!

Happy Birthday Alan

Today is Alan's 25th Birthday!! A very big Happy Birthday to you Alan. You do such a fantastic job at keeping this blog up to date and so interesting, and it is enjoyed by many. You are a great freethinker and skeptic, always using reason in all that you do. Please, keep up the great work; it is appreciated by all. We love you very much.

Also sharing your birthday today is another of our favourite fellow atheists - Matt Dillahunty from the Atheist Experience!

So a big happy birthday to you both!! Keep up the fabulous work!!

What a Momentus Day

Today is a huge day in history, and there have been so many important events on this day throughout history.

Some historic events on 31/3 include:

1146: Bernard of Clairveaux urged the necessity of the second crusade, in which pretty much all the Christan groups got pissed off with each other.

1492 : The Alhambra Decree was issued, ordering 150000 jews to convert to Christianity or face expulsion.

1717: The Bangorian Controversy was initiated, which argued that there was no biblical justification for a church government of any sort.

1889: The Eiffel tower was inaugurated.

1921: The RAAF was formed.

1930: The MPPC was instituted, destroying freedom of expression and art in film by imposing strict censorship for 38 years.

1942: 5000 Jews were moved into the death camps in Stanislawow.

1951: The first US commercial computer UNIVAC I was delivered to the US census beureau.

1966: Luna 10, the first spaceprobe to orbit the moon was launched.

1985: The first Wrestlemania was held at Madison Square Garden.

1994: Nature reports the finding of the first complete Australopithacus afarensis Skull.

Notable Deaths:

1631: John Donne
1703: Johann Cristoff Bach
1727: Sir Isaac Newton
1993: Brandon Lee dies on set, while filming The Crow.

Notable Births:
250: Emperor Constantine
1499: Pope Pius IV
1596: Renee Descartes
1675: Pope Benedict XIV
1685: Johann Sebastian Bach
1732: Joseph Hayden
1777: Charles Cagniard de la Tour
1811: Robert Wilhelm Bunsen
1884: Adriaan van Maanen
1890: William Lawrence Bragg
1906: Sin-Itro Tomanoga
1914: Octavio Paz Lozano
1943: Christopher Walken
1948: Al Gore
1965: Jean-Cristophe Lafaille
1969: Matt Dillahunty

and most importantly...

1984: ME!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Darwin's Dangerous Idea Pt3. Life and Death

This is the third installment of the series, also see part 1 and part 2

5 under 5

Here's 5 interesting videos, each under 5 minutes in length, to get your week off to a running start.


Over the weekend, I was a bit busy being horrible, so I didn't get any posts up. I did read a whole lot of stuff online though, and it's time to clean out my browser.


The Visable Human Project
Yes, religion does cause harm
Rejection of defamation of religion campaign
A heartless faith
At least they weren't facebook quizzes
Religion news roundup
Mexico destroys death saint
Scientology labor violations
Oldest brain ever found
Women told to commit suicide
Evolution is a scientific fact
You are not your brain
TAM London
3 steps to becoming a successful prophet
From the mouths of babes
Dumpster baby
Apocryphal Science
Brother Theodore on David Letterman
Art and anatomy tour
Medical Illustrations
Drunk otter
Texas on evolution
Kids slide cock train
Eat your saints, purge your demons
Jesus and Mo reconcile evolution
Hindus cannot burn each other
Must we cater for the faithful when teaching science?
Church gets legally stoned
The second coming
De-mask us on the road to God
Building a better way of understanding science
Honest to Jesus
Deluding Australia
Dead sea scrolls authors never existed
The reality of evolution
Evangelism = Predation
Jesus and Mo find the meaning of easter
Consciousness originates all over the brain
Science and faith
Murder, bashings and bullets
Anatomy of a serial killer

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Some fun quizzes I took

I'm busy preparing for my HORROR PARTY this weekend and was doing a little horror themed websurfing. I came across these quizzes and was quite proud with my results

$200,000The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth.




and there were some cool badges there too!

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

This one's for Jason...
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Thanks to Rach, this one's true
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

You know this one's true
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

This is a pretty good feat for a skeptical blog
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Even better than Zombies!
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

I'm sure there'd never be any contention over this.
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Now the question is, which one should become a permanent fixture on the blog?

James Randi tests Psychic Investigator

In this video, a very young James Randi puts a 'Psychic Investigator' to the test. It is from a TV series of his called James Randi: Psychic Investigator.

I think we would all agree with her statement at 2:52

The real question is why would a self-aware fraud put themselves through a test like this on national television? There can be a few answers.

She may truly believe in her 'power', which sounds like a difficult thing to do, but it is actually quite easy for someone to give it a go, get some positive feedback (whether true or not), which becomes a self perpetuating feedback loop. It is not often that such a person would be tested and they then have the blinkers of the old 'counting the hits and ignoring the misses' fallacy. Thinking that she has a good chance to be able to display her powers to the public and change some people's minds, she decides to give it a go.

Or she may be a fraud who thinks that she can outwit James Randi (watch out, he's pretty sharp!) with some Barnum statements and cold reading techniques. Out of the three items that she 'receives psychic energies' from, one, she says may have been used for something innocent (which covers her for both a crime situation, or a mundane one), the hammer 'makes her feel glass', which isn't a stretch, using a hammer to smash glass is probably the most common use of the item in a crime situation. She also goes out on a limb with the axe/pick, saying that it makes her think of a heavy vehicle tyre. This could mean it was used to damage such a tyre, that it was transported in such a vehicle, that the crime was committed near one, or that somebody involved in the crime owned such a ehicle. It sounds specific, but has cast the net pretty wide, increasing the chance of a hit. I would say that in a less controlled situation, where she would be able to discuss back and forth abit, it wouldn't take long before she hits on some information that sounds pretty amazing (if you'll pardon the pun, Randi) but is actually no different to a cold reading, fortune cokie or astrological reading.

Have a think about whether she is truly self-deluded, or a charlatain. Enjoy her explaination at 2:52.

Adam Carolla and Seth Macfarlane on Religion

Adam Carolla has been doing the rounds as an 'opinion personality' through TV, Radio and now podcasting. He also co-created Crank Yankers and has done voice work for Family Guy and Drawn Together. Oh yeah... he also has a FREAKING ASTEROID NAMED AFTER HIM!

Seth Macfarlane is the creator of Family Guy and American Dad. He also produces the Seth Comedy channel and I am certain that if you cut him, he'll bleed cool.

They are both atheists and this is a pretty intereting discussion on Carolla's podcast.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Religious Advice

This is an old video, from mid last year, I think.

He seems to say that it is ok to beat your wife, then goes on to explain that to beat your wife means to tap them with a toothbrush. I feel that this could be easily misconstrued, leading to increased acceptance of violence against women. If not straight away, it is wide open for a 'slippery slope' wherein a a tap becomes a slap, becomes a shove, becomes a fist, becomes a hospital visit. I'm not saying that it will happen, I'm just saying that putting the idea out there is a dangeous thing to do.

Your wife must respond to your sexual advances. He even accepts that this is legally defined as rape in Australia. This again opens the door for abuse to take place. It is advocating that a man force himself upon his wife if he's 'in the mood'. It says that a man 'cannot rape his wife' as if, by marrying him, she has become his servant and must satisfy his every desire even if she is occupied cleaning your house for you!

So what can a woman do if she is not happy? Well, she cannot divorce her husband 'without reason' because she will be denied entry to heaven. There is a bit of fuzzy ground around the 'without reason' inclusion, and I'd be pretty sure that being beaten and raped (in the above context) would be unlikely to be reason enough to divorce her husband. I wonder if it would be easier to divorce him for eating pork?... stupid religions...

Great advice!

I'd like to see these kinds of signs being mandated on churches, along with these signs on the bibles:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Something New is Coming...

There's a rustle in the hedge-row, there's a whisper on the breeze...

We are about to witness the biggest news in Critical Mass history!!!!!

This Friday, we will be welcoming a NEW CONTRIBUTOR to the Critical Mass family!

They will be bringing a new dimension to the blog that I am so excited about!

Get ready for the launch of...

Coming 27.3.09

ooh... aaahhh... suspense... excitement... intrigue...

The Placebo Effect

Why do quack doctors, sham treatments and ineffective medicines continue to gain public appeal despite being shown time and time again not to have an affect?

Because people will believe anything!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Testing remote blogging

Here's a little pic of a good friend of mine. Actually it's Rachel's god, so now when she says 'oh my god' you'll know what she's referring to.

Good sex, from the mind of a Catholic monk

Who better than a sexually repressed man in a dress to write a sex-guide?

I buggered the feed. Sorry...

Hi there,

It seems that by posting the first million digits of Pi to celebrate Pi Day (March 14th) I completely buggered our syndication feeds.

I think I've fixed it now, and hope the last week wasn't too hard to deal with without regular Critical Mass updates to keep you happy.

And, as a consolation, please accept this religiously critical stick figure webcomic, courtesy of 909sickle.

Hey, Job

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Pope is Wrong, Put a Condom on!

It seems that there has been a whole lot of discussion about the intersection of sex and religion doing the rounds recently.

The Sydney Atheists recently participated in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade, wearing buses with slogans including 'Keep religion out of the bedroom', 'Out of the atheist closet' and 'Queer and happy without god'.

Also at the mardi gras were nuns (1, 2), Jews, devils, angels, and of courde, the Raelians. It looks like they had a lot of fun and it was a good opportunity to reach out to a portion of the population which is generally frowned upon by organised religion.

The pope publicly announced that that condoms could make the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa worse.

Which has been reported much better than I could by the BBC (1, 2 3), Guardian, Times, and the Age , among many others.

Basically, with over 22 million African people infected with AIDS, it is criminal to be putting forward such unfounded crap. I agree with the 'experts' quoted in the video below, who say "People really just need to listen to the healthcare workers and experts of the community leaders on how to avoid HIV infection."

Listen to religious experts for religious advice, listen to health experts for health advice.

I came across this little Jesus and Mo 'toon which helps to unearth the real problem.
But I guess things could be worse... this guy probably just needs a good shag! (the xtian gay-fixer, not Sascha Baron Cohen)

When you think you've seen it all...

I love all things capuchin. Firstly, capuchin monkeys are sooo cute.

Also, when Rach and I were in Ialy a few years back, we had a chance to visit the Capuchin Church of the Immaculate Conception, or more specifically, the crypt. It was perhaps one of the most intriguing, disturbing and amazing experiences that we had in Europe. In a little crypt, consisting of about 6 small rooms, the walls are plastered in intricately patterned and designed human remains. Each room has a theme to it, ending in a room with 3 children's skeletons.

It was so bizarre, it blew my mind.

And then, while surfing the net this morning, I came across this wacky vid. It's a capuchin monk that heads up an Italian heavy metal band!

I've gotta get me a capuchin of my own, those friars are pretty cool!

Obama vs Religion

This is awesome awesome awesome. Obama takes a stance against the dogmatic prejudice of religion. Some quotes:

"We are no longer a Christian nation."

"Folks haven't been reading the Bible."

"...universal rather than religion-specific values."

" a pluralistic society, we have no choice."

"...religion doesn't allow for compromise."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them)

Picking up where Bible expert Bart Ehrman's New York Times bestseller Misquoting Jesus left off, Jesus, Interrupted addresses the larger issue of what the New Testament actually teaches—and it's not what most people think. Here Ehrman reveals what scholars have unearthed:

The authors of the New Testament have diverging views about who Jesus was and how salvation works

The New Testament contains books that were forged in the names of the apostles by Christian writers who lived decades later

Jesus, Paul, Matthew, and John all represented fundamentally different religions

Established Christian doctrines—such as the suffering messiah, the divinity of Jesus, and the trinity—were the inventions of still later theologians

These are not idiosyncratic perspectives of just one modern scholar. As Ehrman skillfully demonstrates, they have been the standard and widespread views of critical scholars across a full spectrum of denominations and traditions. Why is it most people have never heard such things? This is the book that pastors, educators, and anyone interested in the Bible have been waiting for—a clear and compelling account of the central challenges we face when attempting to reconstruct the life and message of Jesus."

About the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestselling Misquoting Jesus and God's Problem. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus. He has been featured in Time magazine and has appeared on NBC's Dateline, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, The History Channel, major NPR shows, and other top media outlets. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Darwin's Dangerous Idea Part 2

(From youtube) Andrew Marr discovers something surprising about his own evolutionary history as this epic series continues with an exploration of Darwin's impact on politics and society. Under the banner of Survival of the Fittest, Darwin's theory of natural selection has been used to justify imperial expansion and the oppression of indigenous peoples; to inform the science of eugenics - the selective breeding of humans which was implemented in the United States in the early 20th century; and to provide a veneer of scientific respectability to Nazi plans to create an Aryan master race. It was also used quite explicitly to explain the twisted logic of the final solution. But Andrew Marr also finds a kind of redemption for Darwin's theory of evolution. After the Second World War, it was a founding idea behind the democratic, anti-racist values of the United Nations. More recently, it has also been used to help eliminate a fatal genetic disease from the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. Marr goes on to consider the difficult social and political choices presented by predictive DNA testing - the final frontier of Darwin's Dangerous Idea.

Pat Condell: Freedom


New Species

Matt Dillahunty: How to fool the mind

Matt Dillahunty is the Presedent of the Atheist Community of Austin and Rotating host of the Atheist Experience tv show. He also contributes to the Non-Prophets podcast and the Atheist Experience blog.

Matt has an amazing knowledge of the bible and is a great advocate for atheism. This video is of his talk at the February ACA lecture series. Through demonstrating some mentalist tricks, Matt explains how people can be psychologically manipulated.

The Stupid, It Burns!

Check out this video of Michael Shermer interviewing Georgia Purdom, a creation "scientist" at the Creation Museum. She insists that we can only trust the god's word, so anything science says must be wrong if it doesn't fit with bible. She believes the earth is around 6000 years old, and that the universe was created in 6 literal 24 hour days. She even talks about how we are all sinners; even her 5 year old daughter, even a 1 year old baby; and that everyone is going to hell unless they have accepted Jesus Christ into their heart. According to her, hell is full of Jews and babies. *Sigh*. Michael Shermer, as per always, does a great job at providing the voice of reason.

Dan Dennett: Sweet, Sexy, Cute Funny.

How Psychology evolves to change our perception of the world.

It's not that the external stimuli evolved to become attractive to us, it's that our perception of stimuli witch are beneficial to us has been made gradually more favorable over time until we got to where we now are.

My favorite quote is "Chocolate cake is a supernormal stimulus"

Michael Shermer Interviews Georgia Purdom at The Creation Museum

Via Atheist Media Blog (via Pharyngula)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Critical Mass now on Facebook!

Critical Mass has just started up a facebook page.

Check it out, become a fan and leave us a message!

The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello

Awesome animated steampunk short film. I have this on DVD and there's a lot of other cool short films by the same guy on it.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Oh God, Oh God! OH GOD!!!

Hmmm, interesting. Who ever thought of bible based sex education? What an amazing thought!

Seriously, the bible has been used to repress people's sexuality basically since it was written, but there is so much perverse stuff in the bible, of which only a little is condemned by God. It seems like, as we've seen so many times before, people are reading into the bible what they want to find and are blind to all the other stuff that they don't agree with. This happens a lot amongst those who claim the bible as a source of knowledge.

Let's have a look-see at the video and see if we can't unpack it a little...

Jerry Lawson says:
Gods way of sex is very straightforward. In the scripture it's a husband and a wife, only within the confines of marriage.
Well, in Genesis alone there's a whole lotta strangiosity!

Just some of the exceptions to the wedded heterosexual model can be seen with descriptions of:
  • Incest Gen 19:33
  • Having sex with your wife's handmaiden Gen 16:2, 30:3
  • Trading vegetables for sex Gen 30:16
  • Sex with your stepmother Gen 35:22, 49:4
  • Sex with your sister in law is fine Gen 38:9 (just don't come on the ground)
  • Sex with your daughter in law Gen 38:16
Jerry Lawson Continues:
We're just bible people and we make no bones about it, we're just going to talk about what's in the bible
Well, I guess that means no decent sex education, just a whole lot of really strict laws with horrific consequences:

If a man has sex with his mother, sister or another man, kill them both (Lev 20:11, 12, 13)
If a man has a threesome with his wife and her mother, all three must be burned (Lev 20:14)
If a man or woman has sex with a beast, kill them both (Lev 20:15-16)
If a man has sex with his sister or a menstruating woman they are to be shunned (Lev 20:17, 18)

Geez, abstinence only education would be a lot more attractive if screw ups get you killed!

Oh, and while we're in the sex-ed section of the bible, don't forget that God is ABSOLUTELY OBSESSED with how dirty-filthy-filthy-yuck-yuck-eww the seed of man is. I guess he really should have put a bit more intelligence into his design of that squidgy little creation!

Then there's the argument from ignorance where he holds up a stack of emails and says that he only got 5 negative ones. I guess it just goes to show that people who are not interested in this aren't compelled to respond. Lawson's email is not an adequate census of the population's feelings about the billboard. This is obvious, but I'm just pointing out some tomfoolery when I see it.

Finally, Lawson says:
People are tired of a one sided debate and they'd really like to hear what God has to say about it
Now I think I have a good litmus test to apply to this scenario. Make a film depicting all of the sex in the bible, with the required response to each act and try to get ANYONE to publish it. I'm pretty sure that it would be less a sex education film and more of an extreme porn/snuff/ moral imposition film. It would be very unlikely that an honest representation would be permissable in any country unless it only cherry-picked the bits that would be considered respectable.

When it comes to sex education, the best source is well researched, scientifically based information presented gradually over a child's progression through school. The topics should be presented based on the child's ability to understand and think about the subjects that they are exposed to.

There is no rational basis to restrict the sexual activities of informed consenting adults acting in a way that does not impact on the rights of others.

Using the bible as a moral compass is almost definately going to complicate the issues.

and just for those who might be thinking 'that stuff is all old testament, it doesn't count'. Lawson is referring to the bible as a whole and at no point says that he is using specific books of the bible over others.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Jared Diamond on the Evolution of Religions

At the time of posting this, I haven't had a chance to watch it, but knowing how good Jared Diamond usually is, this is bound to be pretty good.

Christianity Doesn't Cause Wars

The Missing Links





I'm going to start filling this up with random interesting links.

Just click around and see where it takes you, there's lots of stuff there to keep you busy!

Sir Links-A-Lot

It's probably time to clean up my tabs again, so here's a big list of fairly random links.

Yesterday was Pi day.

Psychiarty on Here's Why

Ninja Kangaroo via the Sydney Morning Herald

Hemant reviews Neil DeGrasse Tyson's book 'The Pluto Files' on Friendly Atheist

Get a PDF of 'The Jesus Mysteries'

Daniel Dennett's 'Kinds of Minds' as an audiobook.

Turkish professor expelled for publishing evolutionist content

Morality is a matter of taste

Creationism changes tactics

Witch hunting continues in Africa via Atheist News

Hitler's religion via Atheist News

78yr old flogged for mingling

Some odd claims examined at Creationist Idiocy

Beautiful images of dead stuff at Morbid Anatomy

Michael Shermer looks at the Monty Hall Problem on Skepticblog

Student Jailed over women's rights via Richard

Slamming UK Antiscience via Bad Astronomy

Christian Cult Controversy

The world's Fastest Magician

Monkey Sex

Noah's Ark Built (Dinosaur's tickets refunded)

Dark Roasted Blend

Read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies online!

PZ Myers on the impending attack

Science ruins the fun in life

Hunting Humbug

Disability support oganisation running Fight Clubs for the Disabled (this is terrible)

And I've just been getting into Johnathan Coulton. Here's Still Alive and re: Your Brains


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hapy Pi Day!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

God is just a theory

This weeks eSkeptic concentrates on '27 ways to honor Charles Darwin' and comprises a list of 27 terrific resources for people wanting to learn more about and be able to defend evolution.

Check it out and order yourself some swag. Their store is just brimming with awesome merchandise. Also, make sure you get a chance to browse around the main site. There's a lot of really good resources there.

This edition of eSkeptic also contains a link to Shermer's "God is Just a theory" editorial, which suggests a mandatory insertion at the beginning of all church services, explaining that the material contained within the service cannot be validated and must be viewed as 'theoretical'

Here's the original:

God is Only a Theory

July 2007

I have given much thought to the creationists’ demand that evolution be stricken from public school science classes, or that it be taught side-by-side with creationism because “evolution is only a theory” and since “no one was there to witness the creation” we cannot say for sure what really happened.

I have come to the conclusion that what’s fair is fair, and that the creationists have a good point. After all, isn’t education all about hearing both sides of an issue? And they are correct, no one was there to witness the creation, so any ideas about who or what caused the creation can only be speculative theories and therefore never provable.

Therefore, I am certain that Ministers, Priests, Rabbis, and religious leaders of all sects will be pleased to read the following disclaimer to their respective congregations every Sunday morning, or before any sermon delivered:

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, God bless and welcome to [fill in the name of your church, temple, mosque, or center of worship here].
This morning we are going to talk about the creation of the universe and the origins of life on Earth. According to the Bible, Genesis 1:1–3: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

Now, it is important for us to understand that no one was actually present at the creation so we don’t really know what happened. Genesis 1:1–3 is only a theory, and as such cannot be treated as fact. And it is only fair that I share with you that there are other theories of the creation.

For example, some Sumerians and Babylonians, Gilbert Islanders, Koreans, and Greeks believed that the world was created from the parts of a slain monster; some Zuni Indians, Cook Islanders, and Tahitians have a theory that the world was created by the interaction of primordial parents; and some Japanese, Samoan, Persian, Chinese, and Hindu have a theory that the world was generated from an egg.” And, of course, there is that dogma being foisted upon us by the liberal media and intelligentsia, the theory of evolution.

As for the origins of human life, that is spelled out in Genesis 1:27: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Of course, not only was no one present to witness this act — except for Adam and Eve after they were created — I should point out that this theory has a counter theory in Genesis 2:7, where “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” In this theory Adam is all alone without a mate, so in Genesis 2:21–22 “the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

Since everyone here was blessed by the almighty with a brain that thinks, I will allow you to decide which theory is the correct theory of the creation of humans, Genesis 1 or Genesis 2. Weigh the evidence and decide for yourselves. You be the judge.

Oh, there is one other minor detail. Adam and Eve begat Cain and Abel, and as you all know Cain — as firstborns are wont to do to their laterborn siblings who compete for the limited parental resources — slew him. That left Adam, Eve, and Cain as the only humans on the entire Earth. But in Genesis 4:17 we read that “Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch.” Now, I don’t mean to burden you with more of the liberal media’s fascination with smut and porn, but I think as created beings endowed with intelligence and critical thinking skills blessed to us by the good Lord, it might be reasonable to ask just who it was that Cain “knew.” Unless Adam was himself blessed with both types of reproductive organs, or Cain was capable of parthenogenesis, then we are left with the theory that Cain “knew” his mother. But that’s just a theory, and as we all know, theories are just wild guesses and should not be taken seriously.

Great YouTube Channels

I just realised that you can embed full YouTube channels, so here are a handful of my favourites

Regulatin' Genes

This bizzle's the shizzle!

Bringin' on some evo-dizzle to explizzle some gene replicizzle to douchebizzles who belivvle in inteligent desizzle.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Darwin's Dangerous Idea

In the first episode of the three-part series, Andrew Marr explores how Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection has taken on a life of its own far beyond the world of science.

He argues that Darwin's theory has transformed our understanding of what it means to be human. Over the last 150 years, Darwin's ideas have challenged the need for a creator, undermined religious authority, and provided new ways of looking at the origins of human morality.

Marr's journey begins following Darwin's footsteps in Tierra del Fuego at the southernmost tip of South America where Darwin first encountered an 'uncivilised' native tribe. This began to raise questions in his mind about the origins of the human race. The answers to these questions would emerge over the next 30 years, culminating in the publication of On The Origin of Species in 1859.

Marr then traces the development of Darwin's idea in the years since then and finds a range of influences that Darwin could never have imagined: from the existential philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche to the battlefields of the First World War; from the Freudian psychoanalyst's couch to the Vatican; and from the genetic logic of kindness to an Islamic creationist's claim that Darwin is to blame for modern terrorism. Darwin's dangerous idea is as influential and challenging today as it was 150 years ago.

What's in the news?

Obama has lifted funding restrictions on stem cell research which is good, seeming that there is very little reason to cut funding. It seems to be more of a religion vs medicine controversy than a controversy amongst medical ethicists.

More suicide bombings in Iraq it's sad that we are hearing this kind of news so regularly these days. "Person from (x religious group) had killed (#)people from (y religious group)". I know that there's more politics to it than that, but it seems that religion plays a major role in this kind of nonsense.

Man shoots a pastor mid sermon it'll be interesting to find out more about this as it develops. I wonder what the guy's motivation was? Was he just mad, or was he a fan of the Insane Clown Posse?

Percentage of non-religious Americans rises which isn't too surprising. This has been happening steadily over the last few census'. It seems that the numbers in most denominations are dropping off, but pentecostalism is remaining steady. I guess more people just want to sing and dance than sit solemly in pews.

Spiritual assessment in British hospitals condemned they wanted to put a question of spiritual belief on the intake survey, so that your spiritual needs could be catered for. I see that as an opportunity for allowing discrimination. I'm glad there's a backlash.

Worshiping Darwin can be dangerous though I'm not sure that worship is the right word, and I wonder who it's dangerous to? Probably the intelligent design crowd most of all.

9 year old's abortion causes controversy for church little kid gets raped, becomes pregnant, needs abortion or she will die, gets abortion, family and doctors excommunicated from church. This is completely ridiculous! The social support falling out from under them when they need it most. More on this here

Australia wasn't mentioned in the bible, so it doesn't exist! well, I guess you can't argue with that logic!

Teaching atheism in English schools in religious education is to be introduced. Terrific. It would be great to break down the barriers of misconceptions early in the piece so that children are given the information they need to make an informed decision about their religious stance.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Massive eyesore or religious freedom?

Wow, a cross the size of the statue of liberty.

So, what do you think?

Is it a gaudy eyesore? An expression of religious freedom? A waste of money? A sign of hope?

Personally, I think that a church has the right to promote their religion in whatever way they see fit, as long as it does not significantly impact the lives of others. Having this big sign up could be seen as sending a message to non-christians that they are not welcome, which would be bad. Also, as mentioned in the vid, it is quite possible that the big cross will effect property values, a double blow to the non-christians in the area.

If they wanted to put one up in my neighborhood, I'd definitely be complaining!

Jesus is everywhere!

My favorite bit is at about 4:00, when they start going on about cheesus.

Another great moment is at 5:40
"I don't see her"
"I don't either, but it's still a good story"

Unless you've been under a skeptic proof rock, you'll know that this is the result of pareidolia (1 2 3), which is basically a perceptual illusion which comes from our pattern recognition system. The human brain is wired to selectively perceive things that look like a human face, which may be an inherited survival mechanism, or just one of many floors in our "intelligently designed" perceptual systems (ahem).

Either way, I find illusions and perceptual psychology incredibly interesting. There is even an audio type of pareidolia, an example of which is the 'Angel in the choir'. This is when a choir is singing in perfect harmony, which creates a harmonic resonance that creates the illusion of an additional, etherial voice singing amongst the choir. I'm not sure if anyone has ever claimed to have smelled Jesus (I wouldn't be surprised), but I'd guess he wouldn't be too fresh after all this time!

Some famous examples of pareidolia are:
Grilled cheesus
Allah gristle
The face on mars
The bigfoot on mars
The Moon Rabbit
ET's Nutrigrain
And of course the Jesus is and arsehole

It seems that most of the images are somehow connected to a myth, superstition or folklore, but the one example of pareidolia that really clinces for me is this one.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

James Randi: Questioning the Bible

Exactly how it happened

Finally, the true story behind The thing that made the things for which there is no known maker and that causes and directs the events that we can't otherwise explain and doesn't need to have been made and is the one thing from which you can ask for things that no human can give and without whom we can't be fully happy and is unlimited by all the laws of physics and never began and will never finish and is invisible but actually everywhere at once and who is so perfect that even if he killed millions of people including babies he'd still be perfect and who could even make a virgin pregnant if he wanted to.

I aways wondered how it happened...

What if God Disappeared

Good advice...

Well, i guess it is evidence based...

Friday, March 6, 2009

James Randi + Sephen Novella = Skeptic goldmine!

Why I love japanese videos

Japanese videos seem to be completely separated from reality.

From tentacle cleaner

To health advice




and even education!

Japan is the country of amazingly bizarre videos. Full stop!

Atheist now accepts intelligent design

Poe or no?

Before giving a decent commentary, I want to see what others think about this.

Before getting too heated, lets play 'spot the fallacy', listen to the voice, and think about the verall argument...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gee whizz!

Well, this one lends itself to so many jokes that i just don't know where to begin.

From Reuters:
A hardline Hindu organization, known for its opposition to "corrupting" Western food imports, is planning to launch a new soft drink made from cow's urine, often seen as sacred in parts of India.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or National Volunteer Corps, said the bovine beverage is undergoing laboratory tests for the next 2 to 3 months but did not give a specific date for its commercial release.

The flavor is not yet known, but the RSS said the liquid produced by Hinduism's revered holy cows is being mixed with products such as aloe vera and gooseberry to fight diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Many Hindus consider cow urine to have medicinal properties and it is often drunk in religious festivals.

The organization, which aims to transform India's secular society and establish the supremacy of a Hindu majority, said it had not decided on a name or a price for the drink.
"Cow urine offers a cure for around 70 to 80 incurable diseases like diabetes. All are curable by cow urine," Om Prakash, the head of the RSS Cow Protection Department, told Reuters by phone.

Prakash, who is based in Hardwar, one of four holy Hindu cities on the river Ganges where the world's largest religious gathering takes place, said the product will be sold nationwide but did not rule out international success.

"It is useful for the whole country and the world as well. It will be done through shops and through corporates," he said.

The Hindu group has campaigned against foreign imports such as Pepsi and Coca Cola in the past, which it sees as a corrupting influence and a tool of Western imperialism.
The RSS was temporarily banned after a Hindu mob tore down a mosque in 1992 which lead to bloody religious riots.

The Shiv Sena, a hardline Hindu political party also known for attacking what it sees as threats to Indian culture such as Valentine's Day, started a similar initiative last year to appeal to its powerbase in Mumbai.

To promote the food of the native Marathi culture, the Shiv Sena said it was "making a chain like McDonalds" to sell a popular local fried snack.

This is perhaps one of the funniest irrational medicines since Silvester Stallone's mother and her rumpology diagnostic methods.

I'm not telling you not to drink cow pee, but i think I'll stich to nice clean water thankyouverrymuch!

You can read more atheist opinions on the Mellow Yellow thread of the Atheist Network

Divine Comedy

Jon Andrew Davis' 'Divine Comedy' exhibition is a collection of blasphemous, internet meme citing whimsical looks at religious topics.

Below are some gems...

By far my favourite is the Ghostbusters vs Jesus painting.

"I ain't 'fraid o no holy ghost!"

Then there's the Jonestown Cool Aid, with a splash of holy water to wash it down.

Nothing get's rid o' the demons like a jones and holy on the rocks!

Lending a sense of fun to choosing your brand of foolish idolatry is the Dartboard of blind faith.

Just don't stigmatize yourself with the darts!

And after a long, hard day's work there's nothing like the soft touch of a holy roley when you go for a Deuteronomy 23:13!

Finally I understand why it was written on scrolls!

Check out some more lighthearted blasphemy at the full Flickr set here

February's Podcasts

Looking back over February, there were a lot of really good podcasts produced throughout the various freethinking groups, and here's a showcase of some of the cream of the crop

American Freethought spoke to:
Neil deGrasse Tyson (awesome science and astronomy communicator),
Ken Miller (literally wrote the book on evolutionary biology) and
Phil Plait
(hyper excitable skeptic extraordinaire)

Astronomy Cast spoke to Bob Novella of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe

The Atheist Experience had a double show with a call in theist Matt Slick (#592 & 593), as well as their usual terrific 'Live Calls' show (#590)

Freethought Radio spoke to Charles Darwin's great great grandson, Matthew Chapman (Feb 14)

The Infidel Guy spoke to Neil Shubin, author of 'Your Inner Fish'

Skepticality spoke with Ben Radford

The Skeptics Guide interviewed Massimo Pigliucci as well as their always interesting 5x5 mini show

Other shows worth checking out include:
(I haven't hyperlinked them... I'm heading off to work and don't have time. Just google them, they're out there. If you can't find something, I can provide links)

Australian Shows

Here's Why
Hunting Humbug
Brains Matter
Diffusion Science Radio
Here's Why
Ockham's Razor
The Psuedo Scientists
The Skeptic Zone
G'Day World
Dr Karl (Great moments in science, and the naked scientist, on Triple J)
Sunday Night Safran

International Shows

Another Goddamned Podcast
Are We Alone?
Ask an Astronomer Videos
Atheist Talk
Bad Science
Beyond Belief
Dogma Free America
Geologic Podcast
The Good Atheist
The Non-Prophets
Nova Vodcast
Pat Condell's Godless Comedy
Point of Inquiry
Rearview Radio with Rick Wood
Reasonable Doubts Podcast
Secular Nation Podcast
Slacker Astronomy
Star Stuff
This Week in Science
Scientific American's 60 second podcasts (Earth, Psych, Science, Video)