Saturday, February 28, 2009
There have been some pretty good 'debunking religions curtly' sites, like the transitional fossil and the shut up campaign.
But even those pale in comparison to the best creationist refuting site ever! (can also be used with christian scientists, raelians and Peter Andre)
Enjoy, and use sparingly.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
And I always thought it was about the whole evil thing...
From The Devil's Panties.
Odd name, odd comic, funny cat...
From Schlock Mercenary.
This would have been much funnier if the doctor had changed his mind!
Christian science anyone?
From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
I'm not sure this would lead to agnosticism. More likely nocturnal enuresis.
I think I learn more from these dinosaurs than I did in a year of stats at uni.
And to round it off, some good advice.
Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children For The Apocalypse?
We Get Email- The Atheist Experience Blog
Scientology Critic Arrested- Religion News Blog
Chris Hitchens gets beaten up- Infidel Guy
Open Thread on Today's (Mat Slick) Show- The Atheist Experience Blog
Matt Slick in the Christian Discussion Forum- Post Atheist Experience Show
A response to Matt Slick's Trancendental Argument- Christian Discussion Forum
Kazim's thread on the Trancendental Argument- Atheist Fools Forum
Worst Caller Ever- Iron Chariots Forum
Church and Dead Teens in Fiji- Religion News Blog
White House Denies the Existance of Carl Rove- The Onion
Humans VS Galaxies- Starts With A Bang
It's News- Ask Dr Eldritch
Gooley Eyed Clock- Boing Boing Gadgets
The Majorly Mysterious Mima Mounds- Dark Roasted Blend
Personals Ad- Amazing Super Powers
Nano Song- Boing Boing
Biblical Counselling and Caffeine- Against Biblical Counselling
God's Thoughts- Swift
Billions and Billions of Earths- Rogues Gallery
Scientifically correct Sci-Fi- Boing Boing
Conservapedia- Kazim's Corner
The Slick Trancendental Argument- The Atheist Experience Blog
Phelps and Other Anti Gay Preachers Banned From Britain- Religion News Blog
Suicide in Crystal Palace- Religion News Blog
The Year of Panic- Seed
The Ease of Religious Manipulation
Richard Dawkins Playlists- YouTube
Grape Lady Falls- YouTube
Something to Offer- Escaping Christianity
I might start doing this kind of 'link dump' weekly to tidy up my tabs and give a random link pool for you to have a look at. If you think that's a good or bad idea, let me know.
Also, If you find something interesting and want to discuss it, go mad in the comments below!
TAM6 was such an incredible time last year and actually marked the start of this blog.
And got to see so many of our friends from the various social network sites we frequent
It was an absolute blast, and one of the best times I've ever had! I will be doing all that I can to make sure I get back this year!here.
Here's some to whet your appetite
Neil DeGrasse Tyson
James Randi and Richard Dawkins
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
It covers all manner of topics, from
and even demon summoning!
It's a laugh-a minute riot festival of fun-time comic genius!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Did he forget this?
Here's a video of the douche
A Kazakhstan court has banned Scientology as an abuse to the rights of freedom of religion. More developed countries should be ashamed that thay have note done the same.
A mother sued Scientology over the wrongful death of her son resulting from withholding medications.
And the founder of an Islamic TV station might well have decapitated his wife! (1 2 3)
It's a mad mad world...
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
This is very encouraging, as it has been a very long time since America has had a President that has got it right like this one.
"It's time we once again put science at the top of our agenda" - President Obama.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
You can check out more of the 'Randi Speaks' series on this player:
or just go to the James Randi youtube channel.
Links for this video are:
Direct link to Theta Healing website http://www.thetadnahealing.co.uk/thet...
More about Jack Myers challenge
More info on Homeopathy by James Randi
More info on Homeopathy by Stephen Barret, M.D.
Video shoot and edited by: Richard Montalvo
In his latest bit, he talks about Fitna, Politics and freedom of speech.
Here's the vid:
Britain's spineless government
Here's a list of links to the topics discussed:
Dutch MP banned from Britain
Labour minister praises Muslims because "secular commentators are afraid to criticise them."
"Freedom go to hell" and other choice slogans.
When the original screening was cancelled Lord Ahmed told the Pakistani press it was "a victory for the Muslim community".
Fitna the movie
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION IN SUPPORT OF GEERT WILDERS
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION AND SUPPORT THE GLOBAL CAMPAIGN AGAINST SHARIA LAW
You can download an audio version of this video at http://patcondell.libsyn.com/
I like how one of the rebuttals was "The fool says in his heart there is no god", apparently unaware of Matthew 5:22 "whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire".
Also the pompous "There definitely is a god, so join the Christian Party and enjoy your life", which I don't think that even the theists that coment on this blog would agree with.
He has finally got around to uploading my favourite series "Growing up in the Universe". It is a collection of videos that explore basic important concepts in science, and it was from this lecture series that "Climbing Mount Improbable" was written.
If you haven't seen it already, it is definitely worth checking out.
There are 5 one hour videos, so clear your schedule and enjoy!
If you prefer to, you can buy the DVDs (as we did) and enjoy it over and over again.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Thanks to everyone that has been supporting us over the last six months or so. You keep us motivated to keep it up!
And to those with whom we have differing opinions (and occasionally heated arguments), thank you for your keeping the discussion alive! It wouldn't be the same without you!
Now, as a token of our appreciation, and reverence in the holiday trinity (Darwin day, Friday the 13th and Valentines day) that is upon us, please enjoy these videos.
Friday the 13th
Immaculate conception, yeah right
Crazy Mary it's good that you lied
A test tube baby, seed of the lord
Breaking the law with the man next door
Blame it on an angel, they'll believe
Joseph will wonder but you know he won't leave
They all love you like I still do
Magin in the air, swirling around you
Mary, Mary under veil of stars
You changed the world, you broke my heart
Thank you Mary, you saved me too
They'd stone us both if they ever knew
Sold out the manger, well alright
The mystery baby got a supernova spotlight
They say that he's the One
Brother Joseph got a king for a stepson
Mary kissed me and we lost control
The oldest story never told
Crazy Mary you're forever divine
They'll never know the baby's mine
Charles Darwin was a British naturalist who developed the concept of natural selection. Basically, if you look at the way that farming works, taking the best examples of a current crop to grow an improved future crop (or heard, etc), that is artificial selection. The overall quality of the crop over time improves because the better samples are selected for by the farmer. The poor quality crops are not used to seed the new crops and therefore don't contribute to the ongoing quality of the overall yield.
Natural selection looks at artificial selection and says that what the farmer is doing in selecting for the better samples, which improves the quality of the overall crop, also happens in nature. This comes from a combination of many pressures, most notably resources and reproduction. The more able an organism is to compete for resources and the ability to reproduce, the more offspring it will have, the more it's characteristics will be passed on to subsequent generations. This also works in reverse for the unfit organisms. If they can't acquire resources or reproduce, they will die and not pass on their genetic material. The combination of these processes leads to a slow, gradual shift in populations towards more fit examples of the organism. The natural pressures have therefore selected the better examples, which have enjoyed more chances to reproduce, which increases the percentage of the population in which the successful genes are displayed.
The beauty of the theory is the incredible simplicity of it. It accounts so well for the variety of life on the planet and has been shown time and time again to be the best explanation we have.
There is a bit of an argument between some (definitely not all) religious people and the scientific consensus over the truth of the theory, but there has never been presented any evidence able to significantly dis-rail the theory and it seems that, for the most part. Those arguing against evolution are basically doing it because of the repercussions that it has for the ideas that man was created as separate from the animals, that all life was spontaneously created and that the earth is too young to allow the times needed for evolution to occur.
These are all unsubstantiated rubbish being spouted by foolish people clinging onto the memoirs of a zombie jew-king by their fingernails, wishing that they could support their beliefs. It's the theological equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going "lalalalalalalalalalalala I can't hear you!!!!"
I wish everybody out there a happy Darwin Day!
Learn a bit about the process of evolution!
Have a wonderful day!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Richard Dawkins Exclusive Interview: Professor Richard Dawkins explains the importance of Charles Darwin, what evolution means and why the National Geographic Channel should celebrate the bi-centenary of his birth. Watch the exclusive interview with Richard Dawkins now.
From National Geographic
Sunday, February 8, 2009
So what can you do?
I'd recommend sitting back, pouring a glass of ice-cold beer and watching a few stimulating films.
Here's some I prepared earlier:
Richard Dawkins interviewing Jill Mytton, uncut interview from 'The Root of All Evil'
Jill Mytton left a religious cult as a young adult, and now helps counsel people who are struggling with life after leaving cult environments.
Attenborough on the Tree of Life
This is the six-minute Tree of Life video that appeared on the BBC One programme ‘Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life’ narrated by David Attenborough.
the full video is available for download here
(4 Rapidshare files a 200 MB)
Richard Dawkins interviewing Ian McEwan, uncut interview from 'The Root of All Evil'
A bit of Scientology nonsense
And Brian Malow bringing the funny back to science
Enjoy and stay cool!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
We arrived about 45 minutes early, which gave us a chance to check out the books that were on sale before the stand was swarmed by other attendees. I bought a copy of ‘Animal Liberation’.
Everyone from our group (about 10 people, I think. Maybe a few more) arrived and we went and got some pretty good seats up near the front. Margaret, whose birthday it was (happy birthday, Margaret!) was sitting next to one of the cameramen, who got into a discussion about the origins of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and explained that the talk was being taped for ‘ABC 2 Forum’, so keep an eye out for it (I’ll post it on the blog if I find it).
Singer started by explaining that this book has been 30 years in the making, as it pulls together a variety of ideas that have been discussed in part in the article ‘Famine, Affluence and Morality’, and in bits and pieces across many of his other books, but it was a topic that, to comprehensively cover it, would require a full book of it’s own.
Over the time that has passed since his article on Famine, Affluence and Morality, Singer noted that the percentage of people in the world living in ‘Extreme Poverty’ (under $1US a day) has dropped from approximately 40% to around 25%. This is an encouraging statistic, no matter how you look at it!
Singer then explained the pond dilemma. If you see a child drowning in a shallow pond, almost all people would jump in and save them. Now imagine that you are wearing a brand new pair of nice business shoes, worth a couple of hundred dollars. Now would you save the child, at the cost of ruining your shoes? Again the answer is an almost unanimous YES!
This is the basic moral argument of the book. It is, in most cases, worth paying a small personal cost for a large social gain.
There are, Singer explained, 27000 children under 5 dying every day. Would it not be worth a little of your money, which you probably would have spent on something you didn’t need, to make a difference in that statistic?
Singer explained that there is a strange attitude towards focused tragedy, such as the September 11 attack, when more children are dying each day than the number of people killed in that single act. By supplying the funding to provide mosquito nets, immunisation and health care clinics, we (those of us lucky enough to live comfortably in the first world) have the ability to actually save lives!
Singer made a point that you have to be sceptical bout the statistics given to you. For example, for the cost of a single mosquito net, you will not be saving a child’s life. Not all children with out nets die, not all children with nets are fully protected. Instead of the, as advertised, ‘$10 to save a life’, the cost per life saved is actually in the hundreds of dollars, once you crunch the numbers, which brings you back to the pond analogy and saving a life for the price of a pair of shoes.
Where the real world poverty problem diverts from the pond analogy is that there is only one child to be saved in a pond, whereas there are millions of children to be saved from poverty, so how much can you be expected to give away without causing your own economic problems?
The practicality of giving away all but the absolute necessities doesn’t work. There are a few people (1 in a million or more) who live this kind of existence and give everything that they don’t immediately require, but you are never going to expect the wider population to share this ethic. It’s unrealistic. Singer’s solution is that by gradually raising communities’ standards, so that many people are giving a small amount each, we will actually be making a bigger difference than a small number of people giving everything.
Singer then described the different minimum standard donations that he prescribes for different income brackets.
For those earning up to
$100k, a 5% donation will suffice (up to $5k a year donated)
$100k- $1M- a 10-15% donation should be possible
$1M plus, a 30% donation should be made.
I’m sure this is the part that most people are going to have difficulty with. I’m thinking, at this stage, that for me to give up a few thousand dollars per year to charity is an unrealistic ask! (however, after thinking about it, I have decided that I will try to give a respectable amount to charities that I can be sure are spending the money wisely, and not using it to further any peripheral goals)
And so ended Singer’s talk. You can find out more about what you can do to help minimise poverty by getting a copy of Singer’s book.
There followed a QnA session.
Eran, a regular at the atheist meetings, and a member of the Australian Skeptics, asked about the mismanagement of funds and the problems inherent in giving money to a corrupt regime.
Singer’s response was that there are many charities that are fairly reliable and trustworthy in disseminating donated funds to where it will make the most difference, such as Oxfam, Unicef and the Gates foundation. He admits that the occasional scandal does happen, but that does not mean that withholding donations totally is the correct response. Also, it is advisable to donate to charities that give money to NGOs, who generally distribute the funds more appropriately than a ‘regime’ might.
Then, a man asked about the ‘superogatory ethico-moral duties privileged nations to provide not only funds, but sustainable means of selfperpetuatalising pericombobulations. (I think it was an arts major)
Singer then explained that sustainability must be considered whenever developing and providing resources to the third world. How he understood the question, I’ll never know!
Someone got up and proposed that a more fitting conclusion to the pond analogy would be that after saving the child, the protagonist then goes about his job as a shallow pond digger! Singer seemed to like this analogy and suggested that there would be a more in-depth explanation of such issues in his book.
Perhaps the most interesting question (to the nature of this blog and the Sydney Atheists in general) was “Do you believe in a god and if so, do you believe that you should have been consulted in the creation?” To which Singer’s response was “I think that the second part of the question answers the first. If there was a god, then we wouldn’t be in the situation we are now.” “All life can be best explained through the process of evolution [sic]”
After the talk, we had a chance to meet him (as did everyone else in attendance, if you waited in line long enough!), he signed our books and we spoke to him about the influence that his book “The Ethics of what we eat” has had on our recent decision to become vegan. He was really accommodating and despite there being a huge crowd waiting to get their books signed, was happy to have a discussion with us. We were very happy and, by all accounts had a wonderful night!
If you’re interested in Peter Singer and are in the
Peter Singer debating Dinesh D’Souza
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Post them in the comments section.
Here's some to get you going:
One day the zoo-keeper noticed that the orangutan was reading two books - the Bible and Darwin's Origin of Species.
Surprised, he asked the ape, "Why are you reading both those books?"
"Well," said the orangutan, "I just wanted to know if I was my brother's keeper or my keeper's brother."
Over the massive front doors of a church, these words were inscribed, "The Gate of Heaven." Below that was a small cardboard sign which read, "Please use other entrance."___________________________________________________
An atheist buys an ancient lamp at an auction, takes it home, and begins to polish it. Suddenly, a genie appears, and says, “I’ll grant you three wishes, Master.” The atheist says, “I wish I could believe in you.” The genie snaps his fingers, and suddenly the atheist believes in him. The atheist says, “Wow. I wish all atheists would believe this.” The genie snaps his fingers again, and suddenly atheists all over the world begin to believe in genies. “What about your third wish?” asks the genie. “Well,” says the atheist, “I wish for a billion dollars.” The genie snaps his fingers for a third time, but nothing happens. “What’s wrong?” asks the atheist. The genie shrugs and says, “Just because you believe in me, doesn’t necessarily mean that I really exist.”___________________________________________________
A Christian, a Jew, and an atheist are standing in line to be executed during the French Revolution.___________________________________________________
The christian is first, and he lays down on the guillotine. Before the executioner pulls the lever he shouts, "My god will save me!". The lever is pulled, and the blade swooshes down, stopping just short of his neck. The executioner, believing a miracle of god has occurred, figures he can't kill this man, as so sets him free.
The Jew lays down on the guillotine. Like the christian, he shouts, "My god will save me!". The lever is pulled, the blade falls, and once again it stops just short of his neck. The executioner, again, believes god is on this man's side, and lets him go.
Finally, the atheist lays down on the guillotine. He examines the guillotine, finds a rock in the gears, and says to the executioner, "Well here's your problem..."
The moral? There's a time and a place for skepticism.
I look forward to seeing some of the reader's favourites!
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Upon arrival, we affixed our compulsory name tags, and were greeted by many friendly, smiling Christians, many of whom were complaining about the intense heat. Thank god for the air conditioning in the church!
The evening opened with a few prayers and some jesus themed music from the band. Donny Kwan then began his topical talk. He opened with a brief outline of the four main arguments: cosmological, ontological, teleological and the moral argument. One of my favourite annecdoetes was a discussion between an "atheist" and a Christian. It went something like this:
Christian: So Mr Atheist, can you see god?
Christian: Can you smell god?
Christian: Can you see your own brain?
Christian: Can you smell your own brain?
Christian: Aha! But you know you have a brain! This is the same way we know god exists.
Seriously. I really did have to bite down hard on my tongue to stop the laughter. Afterwards, we asked Donny if he had ever heard of an MRI scan? This allows us to see our own brains! Hooray for medical science! As hard as we have been trying though, none of us have yet had a whiff of our own brains...
Other examples he used to argue for the existence of a god were "clues in creation". "The skies proclaim the work of his hands," he said. No, the sky is a completely natural phenomenon and is the atmosphere around the earth. The existence of the sky is in no way any evidence for the existence of god.
Donny likened "clues in creation" to a game of Cluedo, where by investigating all the clues of the crime you can come to a conclusion about whodunnit. This metaphor it similar to the watchmaker argument, likening the fact that a murder case has a murderer, the universe has a designer. This is one of the worst argements for the existence of a god, and is often used by the credulous Ray Comfort. It is a faulty analogy, debunked so well by Richard Dawkins in "The Blind Watchmaker". As an aside, Donny quirked (in regard to the game Cluedo) "I've never understood how you could kill someone with a candlestick!". You beat them Donny. A candlestick made of metal will do a lot of damage if you constantly beat someone over the head with it.
The rest of the talk was filled with arguments from the bible, such as "god speaks to us through the bible, so therefore he exists...". I was really hoping for some interesting arguments, but when all you talk about is "evidence" from the bible, it is completely unstimulating and boring.
The bass player from the band then got up at the end to say a prayer that he had written. He started by expressing his absolute sadness and dismay that in these modern times we would need to even be asking a question such as "does god exist". He then went on about how atheists are spreading hateful messages, and that we need to pray that Richard Dawkins stop spreading his disgusting messages. At this point I got the giggles and really had to exercise some self control. The hilarity factor was going off the scale.
Before the talk we were given a pamphlet encouraging us to take notes throughout the talk, on which the pamphlet says "take notes to raise a question for future discussion." However there was no Q & A at the end. We had many, many questions and points we wanted to clarify, which would have been useful for the congregation to hear, but no one was asked if they had a question. At the end of the pamphlet is a box that says "Do you believe in this God who exists?". I find this question rather odd in the way it is worded. It assumes that the god is a who and that it exists. If you answer no, then they would argue that you are denying god, because he does exist, rather than asking the question "do you believe in a god?".
We then had some very interesting discussions with Donny, and a few others who were interested in what we had to say. It was very friendly and I was pleased that they welcomed us and these discussions. We discussed topics such as contradictions in the bible, to which we were constantly told "but you have to consider the context!". Yes, in some cases this maybe so, but I suspect that most of their points of reference consist of christian apologetics. I was recommended to watch Tim Keller's Authors at Google talk, as he is "one of the best apologetics and difficult to refute". I watched it, and it was pretty bad. In fact, it was truly awful. (I will blog about that talk another time). Honestly, if that is the best they've seen, then they have some serious researching to do.
We do thank Toongabbie Anglican church for welcoming and being so friendly to us, and we had some great conversations, which were stimulating and interesting. We would love to have any of them come to our meetups, or even give a talk. Details can be found at www.sydneyatheists.org.