Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Papa Haydn

Franz Joseph Haydn (March 31, 1732 – May 31, 1809) was an Austrian composer. He was one of the most important, prolific and prominent composers of the classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these genres.

I truly love his symphonies. I have felt such deep emotion with his music I even teared up.

Here is his 94th symphony, the "Surprise". The reason is it is called the Surprise because he did something very startling in the 2nd movement. People literally fell out of their chairs when it was first played. Papa Haydn had a good sense of humor which I think is an important quality of a great composer and song writer.

It was hard to find a good version on youtube. I like to watch a conductor and his orchestra, but the versions I found were unappealing. So, instead here is a version that highlights the music.

The first movement

The second movement

The third movement

The final movement

Monday, March 29, 2010

Madagascar - Before it is too late

An interesting series on the animal life on Madagascar with its wonderful variety of lemurs, chameleons and other unusual animals.

A 9 part video series here that are 7 minutes or less. Click on each subsequently.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Madagascar's Dancing Lemurs

What a delightful animal and it is only found on Madagascar. This, the 4th largest island in the world, was without human habitat until the time of Christ and evolved unusual species found no where else, which is a thorn in the side of young earth creationist and believers in all creatures fitting into Noah's ark.

The hop bipedally, a dance.

from Wiki
Verreaux's Sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi) is a medium sized primate in one of the lemur families, Indriidae. It lives in Madagascar and can be found in a variety of habitats from rainforest to western Madagascar dry deciduous forests and dry and spiny forests. The fur is thick and silky and generally white with brown on the sides, top of the head, and on the arms. Like all sifakas, it has a long tail that it uses as a balance when leaping from tree to tree. However, its body is so highly adapted to an arboreal existence that on the ground its only means of locomotion is hopping.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The illusion based on suffering

Paul in Philippians 1: 28-29 wrote:
Don't be frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him

One of the powerful connections that religion glommed on to was identification of suffering with religious suffering. It took advantage of such a low level, hard wired experience and parasitically attached itself to it. Real pain and suffering all humans experience. Religion stepped in and created the illusion that it was all due to God or Satan or something invisible and woo like.

The book of Job in the Bible is an unusual book. It definitely seems set a part, an argumentive dissertation. It tries to explain human suffering especially for and to "good" people. It opens with Job, how rich and righteous he is. Satan comes before God and says that Job only worships Him because he has got it so good. Therefore, God permits Satan to destroy everything Job has except take his life. All his children were killed, all his wealth removed and his health destroyed. His nagging wife remains and the worst friends possible come and seeing the horror said he should curse God and die. But what was Job's response?

Job 1:20-22
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Job is honored that he saw himself as completely vile and God as the most magnificent, glorious being. His suffering was his due despite his aforementioned righteousness. He is worthless and God is not responsible for his suffering. Me thinks the Bible protests too much. God always right. Man is always wrong. That is a sick relationship but it is the basis for all monotheist religions. Suck it up. Religion has tied itself to human fear and experience. It is very powerful and basic. The story of Job goes on for 40 chapters and at the end of course God rewards Job with even more than he had before.

Pain and suffering are part of life. Religion has tried to explain it but it simply distorted it. It doesn't numb people out but causes them to use their normal life suffering as justification for all kinds of crazy behavior such as flying into the Twin Towers or killing an abortion doctor or denying global warning or evolution. They are simply right regardless of any fact put before them. How do they know? Well look they are suffering. It might even be as little as simple challenge to their beliefs, a cartoon, a question. They delude themselves they are suffering for their God or Messiah when they are just being assholes.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Is God sitting on his thumb, watching

Nature has always perplexed me. It didn't make a lot of sense with my religious understanding of a God who loved us more than we could possibly know. I had to believe He loved me in spite of what I could see in nature. When I watched nature documentaries about predator and prey I found it terribly disturbing. I would challenge myself to watch them because it IS what happens countless times daily. The terrible suffering of a prey just seems more than I could bear and yet there was a God in heaven who watched all this with apparent disinterest. Surely He had the power to stop it. If a human parent did this to his child we would call it neglectful abuse.

I am reading Richard Dawkin's wonderful book on evolution called "The Greatest Show on Earth". In the light of evolution prey and predator simply makes sense. In Chapter 12 he demonstrates that evolution is like an arms race.

One thing about arms races that might worry enthusiast for intelligent design is the heavy dose of futility that loads them down. If we are going to postulate a designer of the cheetah, he has evidently put every ounce of his designing expertise into the task of perfecting a superlative killer. One look at the magnificent running machine leaves us in no doubt. The cheetah, if we are going to talk design at all, is superbly designed for killing gazelles. But the very same designer has equally evidently strained every nerve to design a gazelle that is superbly equipped to escape from those very same cheetahs. For heaven's sake whose side is the designer on? When you look at the cheetah's taut muscles and flexing backbone, you must conclude that the designer wants the cheetah to win the race. But when you look at the sprinting, jinking, dogging gazelle, you reach exactly the opposite conclusion. Does the designer's left hand not know what his right hand is doing? Is he a sadist, who enjoys the spectator sport and is forever upping the ante on both sides to increase the thrill of the chase?

But if you remove an intelligent designer and look at it as natural selection it simply makes sense. The cheetah needs to be fast to kill the gazelle to survive and to feed its young. Those that are successful are able to pass on their genes. A slow cheetah will not catch prey and starve to death and so will it's young so that those genes will fall from the gene pool of cheetahs. The gazelle that is slow will be caught and eaten. It too will not send on its' genes to future generations. The gazelles that are fast and have endurance to eventually out run the short burst of the cheetah will live to breed and pass on its' genes.

I still am sad to see this, but completely understand this is how natural selection works. And better I don't wonder why a personal being would sit up in heaven with indifference.

Evolution is a fact. For those who don't agree they don't understand it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

An open letter to conservatives

I don't like politics here but this was just too much not to note.

A conservative is tearing Republican conservatives a new one with incredible back up references.

An Open Letter to Conservatives

Man's Evil Nature

One of the things I learned in becoming a Christian and a minister was to make sure everyone knew just how bad they really were. They might have low self-esteem but that was not good enough. We need them to realize that every cell in their body is INTENSELY evil. Now did I make that crap up? Was I instructed wrong? Not if you believe the Bible. The Bible is quite explicit about how fundamentally wicked man's nature is. It is important to tell your future customer how badly he is going to need your product.

Here are the Bible text that found their way into my sermons and evangelistic revivals.

Every inclination of man's heart is evil from childhood. Genesis 6:5 and Genesis 8:21

Paul wrote I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. Romans 8:17

David wrote Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalms 51:5

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6 That is a good one. Even our best is unappreciated by God.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil. Jeremiah 13:23

Jesus asks Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:9-11 A bit of a dilemma. How can I be evil and still do something good? Weird and contradictory stuff in this Bible.

This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. Ecclesiastes 9:3

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. Ephesians 4:18-19

Here is my favorite one from Paul who pulled together lots of text from the Old Testament. The best of the best is my throat is an open grave.
As it is written:
There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good, not even one.
Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.
The poison of vipers is on their lips.
Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.
There is no fear of God before their eyes. Romans 3:10-18

They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. Psalms 14:1

Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Psalms 5:9

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 1 John 5:19

Well, since I no longer a believer, I haven't felt a need to lie. In fact I am more honest, no agenda to defend. When I give someone my word it is very important to me that I abide by it. I don't have any need to kill anyone. Am not bitter. My heart doesn't want to destroy anything. Don't feel any compulsion to do anything impure or feel incredibly lustful. Hmmm...internally I am fairly calm. The people I meet don't seem to be evil. Many of them are great and I have friends that are from all 3 monotheistic faiths, an eastern religion or two and atheists. None particularly stand out as better than any other. I think our society would not exist if what the Bible says about man's nature is true. Are there very bad people in the world? Yes. But in my experience there are few. Another lesson life teaches me that the Bible is made up hooey.

Psychology has shown us low-self esteem leads to destructive behavior. It even becomes self-fulling behavior. Well, I am just plain evil so what does it matter what I do. But when we have higher self-esteem, not the kind that says we are better than, but equal to, we behave in far better ways. Religion was built by man to make men behave better but failed in understanding human nature and caused men to behave even worse. Putting aside a primitive bronze age understanding of ourselves and the world around us can only be a good thing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

God is a logic exercise

  • Does God exists? If so what does he look like?
  • Did God create the heavens and the earth in six literal days?
  • What did God do before the earth was created?
  • Who created God?
  • If God is omnipotent couldn't he have simply made a perfect (sinless) man and also have given him free will? God can do anything right?
  • If God is omnipotent, could he make a round square?
  • Can God make a stone so heavy He could not pick it up?
  • If God is loving, why does he allow so much suffering and pain?
  • Why will God put bad people in the lake of fire to burn for all eternity?
  • Why did God create Satan?
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • Before the Fall what did Adam and Eve eat? Couldn't they have accidently stepped on an ant?
  • Will my pet go to heaven?
  • Once I am saved am I always saved?
  • Is there one God or are there three (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)?

I have laid out a bunch of questions a newbie Christian might ask and even some old timers. There are countless others. Paul in the his epistles repeatedly throws out all kinds of odd logic questions for him to answer. One is if my bad behavior brings glory to God than how can God punish me? Romans 3. Wonder who was even asking.

In the early Church there arose apologetics. People who would use logical arguments to "prove" the divine. Apologetics is defined as a systematic argumentative discourse in defense of a doctrine.

This all boils down to a simple logic exercise that amuses the brain but really is insignificant. God doesn't live in reality but in the mind. His existence cannot be proven. He lives in an imaginary world. Read C. S. Lewis books and you will get the idea. Being that humans are not entirely rational it is no wonder there are countless concepts of God(s). Therefore none can really be trusted and it is meant simply for entertainment purposes but that part has been forgotten.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Offerings from Science and Religion 1800's

The 1800's provided an explosion in new ideas. I am reading Jan Sapp's book Genesis - The Evolution of Biology. It is a well-written book giving me lots of background on how our current understanding of biology was developed. I definitely recommend it if you can afford it's steep price ($50).

During this century many people from many countries contributed to science. Brilliant and dedicated minds contributed hard scientific evidence for ALL to see, to comment on, to test for themselves and even to build on. It is very impressive to see a combined human effort to discover realities about life. Their discoveries gave rise to knowing how to fight diseases allowing us to live longer and more healthfully.

Many sciences arose during this century.
  • paleontology
  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • zoology
  • botany
  • embryology
  • cytology
  • bacteriology
  • protistology
As Sapp notes "The days were over in which an individual could pretend to be an expert on all aspects of the life sciences"

As I reading this section my mind drifted to what was going on in the religious world, particularly in the northern eastern United States, a lot of it in the so-called burned over district. These religions arose:
  • Mormons - 1830
  • Seventh-day Adventist - 1844
  • Spiritualism (mediums) - 1848
  • Christian Science - 1875
  • Jehovah Witness - 1881
  • Pentecostalism - versions from 1830 to 1901
These were not noble efforts to serve mankind, but instead the local interest of the prophets or ministers. They had secret knowledge which required you to believe before you would understand. Nothing could be tested or validated. Many Christians today believe these are cults. They would even call each other cults or under the control of Satan.

How advanced science could be if great minds were not burdened down by wacky religions trying to stop their progress?

Monday, March 22, 2010


There are some Christians who have a one-note religion. It is entirely about abortion. There are even a few disturbed ones who see nothing wrong with murdering abortion doctors.

So, to be so fixated on this one cause, the Bible must clearly say "Thou shalt not commit abortion". But yet there is not even a single reference to it.

One text often quoted is the 6th commandment "Thou shall not kill". Exodus 20:13. It is often pointed out that this is better translated "Thou shat not murder" because you don't want to confuse Christianity with Hinduism that honors all life. This commandment is about humans only, not animals. And Christians believe in righteous wars and in God commanding them to kill others especially if they believe in a different invisible man in the sky than they do.

Murder is legally defined as killing someone with malicious intent. Unintentionally murder is called manslaughter which carries a much lighter sentence or none at all. Question: Does a pregnant woman who seeks an abortion have malicious intent against the baby that she is carrying? Does she hate that baby? It is hard to have malicious intent against someone you don't even know. For these women it is an intensely awful decision we would all agree.

But what about the God of the Bible? Does He ever have exhibit malicious intent?

Noah's flood - Genesis 6:6-7
The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” The inconvenient birth of mankind offended God so much he had to destroy every man, woman and child. How can an all-knowing God grieve when He knew from eternity this was going to happen and He had the power to prevent it?

Sodom and Gomorrah - Genesis 19:24-25
Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. Offended again He torched the two cities like Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing every man woman and child.

God got tired of doing the killing and decided to have his children do his dirty work instead. He instructed Joshua to destroy everyone in the towns of Jericho and Ai as his people were entering their promised land.
When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys. Joshua 6:20-21
Twelve thousand men and women fell that day—all the people of Ai. Joshua 8:25

God speaks to the first king of Israel Saul through the His prophet - 1 Samuel 15:2-3
This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’” Saul killed all the humans but saved the good livestock. God got really pissed at Saul over that.

Now wait a minute. There were loads of women killed in these acts of genocide. There must have been a few pregnant women. So, God is OK with killing some fetuses. Interesting. They certainly could not have been evil. Couldn't God have said save the pregnant women and when they give birth kill the mother and save the baby? Perhaps that would have been too inconvenient. Or is it that these people were heathen and abortion is OK for them?

Abortion was widely practiced before, during and after the time of Christ. Yet how odd there are no Biblical prohibitions to it. You would think Paul would say go to the government and get a law in place to stop this practice, but instead he worries about such things as men and women's hair length (1 Corinthians 11).

Abortions are an ugly and emotional mess for sure. However, it is again the shortsightedness of crazed fundamentalist that make it a black and white issue. Some say that abortion is not allowed even in the case of rape or the health of the mother. How would you like to see the face of your rapist for the rest of your life? How would you like to know your mother died giving you birth?

There are those who think the reduction in crime in the U.S. was in part due to allowing abortion. Unwanted babies will most likely become abused children. Also we think of the human species as so sacred that it doesn't matter if we destroy the earth. One human does a lot of destruction to the earth. It requires a lot of stuff to maintain a homo sapien. Think of how much one human consumes particularly an American. This is not to make the decision of having an abortion any lighter or cavalier, but no idiot should mandate this for an entire country or even one pregnant woman.

The first recorded evidence of induced abortion, is from the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus in 1550 BC
A Chinese record documents the number of royal concubines who had abortions in China between the years 500 and 515 BC.
In Greek and Roman history abortion was a gynecological procedure and it was primarily the province of women who were either midwives or well-informed laypeople. In his Theaetetus, Plato mentions a midwife's ability to induce abortion in the early stages of pregnancy.
Christian authors like Tertullian and Saint Augustine wrote about the methods used for abortion as a medical procedure. Tertullian refers to performing it to save the life of the mother.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sex and Religion

Religion is all about controlling others. What is the best way to do that? Tell the children what what is going on in their body is evil. As we adults know it is all quite confusing as our bodies morph into adults. So, this is the perfect time to take advantage of the vulnerable which is religion's favorite target.

Right off the bat Jehovah decrees in Exodus 20:
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

The 10th commandment is against envy and sexual feelings. An aside: Envy is what keeps capitalism going but American Christians conveniently sweep that under the rug.

Most people remember Jesus' Sermon on the Mount as a loving sermon, like blessed are the meek. However, this is also part of it:

Matthew 5:27-30
You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. From the peanut gallery: What if you masturbate with your left hand?

Sweet Jesus. I should destroy some part of my body because of a simple biological need to keep our species alive? If we could kill all our sexual feelings then the human race would die out in less than 150 years and then you would have no one to shame. It just does not make sense unless you want people to feel shame in order to control them.

Movies like Jesus of Nazareth, which I have watched many times for inspiration to believe the illusion, leave the dismember your body part out of the sermon on the mount. They need Jesus to be sweet and loving. Most preachers would leave it out as well. The part they leave in says you should be happy when you are persecuted. Again don't feel what you naturally feel.

Mind control. Religion is not happy enough with controlling your behavior it must also have control of your thoughts. What was that crap about God giving us free-will?

The above t-shirt is from Jesus and Mo a website with bi-weekly religious oriented comics. Check it out.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

On March 17, 2010 the Smithsonian opened its human evolution hall. There are hundreds of human fossils, artifacts and forensically recreated faces of our prehistoric ancestors there, covering a 6 million year history. There is an original fossil of a Neanderthal skeleton, the only original in the United States. They have a morphing station where you can have it take your picture and it will morph you backwards in time to see what you would have looked like as an early human. Lucy, a 3.2 million year old human fossil, has a corner. Homo floresiensis, the "hobbit" fossil discovered in 2003 in Indonesia will have a replica.

I am taking a day off next week to go down there and explore.

I plan to print Wikis list of human fossils webpage as a guide.

When I was younger I went there but preferred the Air and Space Museum. I couldn't tell you what I thought as a Christian. I think any info would simply have bounced off with my religious force field to protect me. But now I couldn't be more excited. I am so looking forward to it and will post my experience there later.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I have my plastic Jesus

One of my favorite movies of all time is Cool Hand Luke. He is trusting in his plastic Jesus and with the Virgin Mary it assures him he won't go to hell.

What we have here is failure to communicate?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am an apeman

I think I'm sophisticated
'Cos I'm living my life like a good homosapien
But all around me everybody's multiplying
Till they're walking round like flies man
So I'm no better than the animals sitting in their cages
in the zoo man
'Cos compared to the flowers and the birds and the trees
I am an ape man
I think I'm so educated and I'm so civilized
'Cos I'm a strict vegetarian
But with the over-population and inflation and starvation
And the crazy politicians
I don't feel safe in this world no more
I don't want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man

I'm an ape man, I'm an ape ape man
I'm an ape man I'm a King Kong man I'm ape ape man
I'm an ape man
'Cos compared to the sun that sits in the sky
compared to the clouds as they roll by
Compared to the bugs and the spiders and flies
I am an ape man
In man's evolution he has created the cities and
the motor traffic rumble, but give me half a chance
and I'd be taking off my clothes and living in the jungle
'Cos the only time that I feel at ease
Is swinging up and down in a coconut tree
Oh what a life of luxury to be like an ape man

I'm an ape, I'm an ape ape man, I'm an ape man
I'm a King Kong man, I'm a voo-doo man
I'm an ape man
I look out my window, but I can't see the sky
'Cos the air pollution is
fogging up my eyes
I want to get out of this city alive
And make like an ape man
Come and love me, be my ape man girl
And we will be so happy in my ape man world

I'm an ape man, I'm an ape ape man, I'm an ape man
I'm a King Kong man, I'm a voo-doo man
I'm an ape man
I'll be your Tarzan, you'll be my Jane
I'll keep you warm and you'll keep me sane
and we'll sit in the trees and eat bananas all day
Just like an ape man

I'm an ape man, I'm an ape ape man, I'm an ape man
I'm a King Kong man, I'm a voo-doo man
I'm an ape man.
I don't feel safe in this world no more
I don't want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore
And make like an ape man.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You're Not One Of Us

No true Scotsman is a logical fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion. When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim, rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of assertion to tautologically exclude the specific case or others like it.
Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the "Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again." Hamish is shocked and declares that "No Scotsman would do such a thing." The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again and this time finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, "No true Scotsman would do such a thing."
—Antony Flew, Thinking About Thinking (1975)

Humans are humans are humans. It is good to be horrified by human behavior. It is the group mentality that is most dangerous and we have a strong tendency to self-justification. Christian fall prey to this all the time. When the behaviors of other Christians is found lacking their reply is "Well, they were not TRUE Christians". Sometimes you just got to own up to reality. I don't have to belong to a group except being a human being. Christian history is not better than any other history. When they stop pretending otherwise the world will be a better place because they will stop trying to make the world safe for their twisted reality.

I do not speak for God is the most important lesson a human can learn because we have such a rich history to teach us the results of that.

Have you heard Peter Gabriel’s great song “Your Not One Of Us”? Its a great tune in addition to the pertinent lyrics here:

It’s only water

In a stranger’s tear

Looks are deceptive

But distinctions are clear

A foreign body

And a foreign mind

Never welcome

In the land of the blind

You may look like we do

Talk like we do

But you know how it is

You’re not one of us

Not one of us

No you’re not one of us

There’s safety in numbers

When you learn to divide

How can we be in

If there is no outside

All shades of opinion

Feed an open mind

But your values are twisted

Let us help you unwind

You may look like we do

Talk like we do

-But you know how it is

You’re not one of us

Not one of us

No you’re not one of us

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

God says Pi=3. Who are you to think otherwise?

Science teaches the value of Pi is this

The Bible teaches the value of Pi is this

Which shall you believe?

I Kings 7:23-26

He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. Below the rim, gourds encircled it – ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea. The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center. It was a handbreadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths. (NIV)

The Bible is the word of God, yes? Anyone who claims otherwise is a heretic bastard.

Well look at this grave, grave offense to your beliefs.

Pi. π. .

The value for pi used in calculators is 3.141592654. But if we look at the word of God, it states that the ratio of the circumference to the diameter is 30:10 cubits. In other words:


Also known as 3.00 or 3.0. But here we have these self important mathematicians who believe they can improve on the word of God! What an effrontery. Biblical literalists, you are faced, as when with evolution, with an important dilemma if you wish to continue your peace of mind.

You can either accept that the word of God is fallible and men have improved upon it, therefore casting into doubt your claims of Creation.

Or you could hold steadfast to your God-given beliefs. Stand by in the face of scientific persecution and shout loud to the heavens that PI, goddammit, is equal to 3.0 because God said so.

Chances are if you’re not a hypocritical believer that you’ll take the second road. I’ve anticipated this, and I’ve made a partial list of all the things which you are going to have to forbid teaching in schools and universities if you want to preserve moral rectitude:

  • Trigonometry
  • Radians
  • Complex numbers
  • \hbar
  • Circular motion
  • Physics
  • Electrostatic force
  • Isotropic transmission
I invite the readers to contribute to this list in order to make sure no further offenses to God’s word take place.

Interesting dilemma for biblical literalists: Either recant and accept the Bible is just a cute collection of bloodthirsty stories (Genesis included) or stand strong in face of the whole world of science and maintain that Pi = 3. Teach it in schools.

You can stop me here, now. You can say that “Ah, but if you look at the volume measurements and cook some of the values here and there you end up with Pi = 3.14, which is the modern version! QED, bitch!”. That the Bible doesn’t state that the value of Pi has no end is a testament to the fact that it was written by Middle East settlers in the BRONZE AGE. Clearly nobody expects the people who wrote the Bible to put down all of the digits of Pi – the book would be a greater pain in the ass than it is now if only out of sheer size. But a simple disclaimer, a simple Pi 3:23 “Oh yeah, but it has no end” or Numbers 1:1 “And God told Moses: ‘Pi, it hath no end’” or even I Kings 3:27 “And God rudely interjected: ‘Sorry guys, I forgot to mention, Pi is irrational’” would have done.

God said Pi = 3; Stand by your beliefs Dammit

To be fair here is a fundies retort Holy Bible Knew about Pi

Fun, eh?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tiktaalik roseae: Transitional species

Tiktaalik lived approximately 375 million years ago (Devonian age) and it is a "missing link", a transitional species. It shows characteristics of fish and tetrapods (four legged animals). This animal had both gills and lungs and also fins and leg like limbs (when fins became limbs). It was discovered in the Canadian Arctic in 2004.

Click here Tiktaalik WebPage Univ of Chicago to see details about how it has evolving characteristics. It also provides a simple explanation of how lucky we are to even find a fossil. There are special circumstances for fossilization and exposure of a fossil. After all life cycles itself and scavengers usually make clean work of any decomposing matter. I live in the country and deer get hit frequently. One day my little Jack Russell terrier brought home a whole deer leg. It was both funny and disgusting. The website has pictures of the dig and the painstaking effort to bring the fossil to "life".

Evolution for all living species is continuous. The term "missing link" is misleading because insinuates that there were unique creatures that provided a link between one species and another as if it only served that purpose. Actually all species are transitional. Humans as we know them today will look quite different one million years from now. In fact there could be multiple branches of future "humans". I prefer the term transitional over missing link and it is even better to talk in terms in transitional features rather than transitional species.

Here are some other links related to this exciting discovery

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Philosopher's drinking song

Immanual Kant was a real pissant
Who was very rarely stable
Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy begger
Who could think you under the table
David Hume could out consume
Schopenhauer and Hegel
And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
Who was just as sloshed as Schlegel
There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach ya
'bout the raising of the wrist
Socrates himself was permanently pissed

John Stuart Mill, of his own free will
On half a pint of shanty was particularly ill
Plato, they say, could stick it away
Half a crate of whiskey every day
Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle
Hobbes was fond of his dram
Rene Descartes was a drunken fart
"I drink, therefore I am"

And Socrates himself was particularly missed
A lovely little thinker but a bugger when he's pissed

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bible's prophecies LOL

Matthew 24:30-35
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it end is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Mark 8:38-9:1
If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”

Christians say that the Bible is full of fulfilled prophecies. When you really study them you see they are weak. Either they happened at the same time as the author wrote them or backfilled them to fit history or if they were future references they are on the obvious side. No brilliance is required. There is the Daniel one about knowledge increasing and men running to and fro. Every subsequent generation could identify with them. Nothing outstanding. This is a major point. If every generation can identify with the prophecy then it is not truly a prophecy.

The key prophecy is Christ's return for Christians. What else would really matter? For the first generation that heard it they strongly identified with it. You see that clearly through all the books of the New Testament. Paul was discouraging getting married because the TIME WAS AT HAND. Yet that generation passed away and more than a couple of hundred more generations did likewise. This prophecy has failed but no Christian wants to admit it. They are not very good at accepting truth.

So, if you are a Christian reading this name me the strongest prophecy that we can see and validate. Picking Jesus' life is one of those backfilling ones. It could have predicted someone like Horus or Krishna or the dozens of other Messiahs as I talked about previously. Is there one that says at 3pm on January 15, 1987 this or that will happen? That would be a prophecy worth its salt.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Brian O'Briain on evolution and religion

Brian O'Briain amusing take on evolution, creationism and religion

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bible calls bats a bird

Bats are mammals

Deuteronomy 14:11-18
You may eat any clean bird. But these you may not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, the black kite, any kind of falcon, any kind of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the cormorant, the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What happens in seminary?

Dan Dennett at AAI

I had loads of feelings while watching this video about clergy who were closeted atheist since I am a former minister who struggled with doubt. As a lay person I could easily believe many things that weren't true about my religion, but once the study began I had to deal with cognitive dissonance (See yesterday's post for background on this). I was a fundamentalist and believed the Bible was literally and entirely inspired by God. I went to the Christian college for my church and my major was theology.

Studying the Christian Church history in addition to Bible studies had quite a profound affect on me. One would think studying Christian history would be inspiring. As we progress through the course I will never forget what one of my peers said "This is so sad".

One of the great points in this video is ministers learn how to talk to parishioners so as to relieve their "skepticism without raising curiosity and it has to sound profound"

Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived - Isaac Asimov

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a great study in the context of religious belief. The larger the disparity the harder one has to internalize the conflict between belief and doubt. The outcome of the experiment below is profound. The response of those with the greatest disparity will externalize a positive presentation about their deeply suspected belief. Being an former minister with loads of doubt I totally related. I have expressed it that I had to FORCE myself to believe. The alternative was hell of course. I felt I was carrying around a facade or even multiple facades.

Understanding this post will be beneficial for tomorrow's post.

Boring task experiment

In Festinger and Carlsmith's classic 1959 experiment, students were asked to spend an hour on boring and tedious tasks (e.g. turning pegs a quarter turn, over and over again). The tasks were designed to generate a strong, negative attitude. Once the subjects had done this, the experimenters asked some of them to do a simple favour. They were asked to talk to another subject (actually an actor) and persuade them that the tasks were interesting and engaging.
Some participants were paid $20 (inflation adjusted to 2009, this equates to $148.40) for this favor, another group was paid $1 (or $7.42 in '2009 dollars'), and a control group was not asked to perform the favour.

When asked to rate the boring tasks at the conclusion of the study (not in the presence of the other "subject"), those in the $1 group rated them more positively than those in the $20 and control groups. This was explained by Festinger and Carlsmith as evidence for cognitive dissonance. The researchers theorized that people experienced dissonance between the conflicting cognitions, "I told someone that the task was interesting", and "I actually found it boring." When paid only $1, students were forced to internalize the attitude they were induced to express, because they had no other justification. Those in the $20 condition, however, had an obvious external justification for their behaviour, and thus experienced less dissonance.

In subsequent experiments, an alternative method of "inducing dissonance" has become common. In this research, experimenters use counter-attitudinal essay-writing, in which people are paid varying amounts of money (e.g. one or ten dollars) for writing essays expressing opinions contrary to their own. People paid only a small amount of money have less justification for their inconsistency and tend to experience more dissonance.

Source and more information found here Wiki Cognitive Dissonance

Monday, March 8, 2010

A fundies wet dream

Can't you just feel the love? Hostile Love.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tree of Knowledge

I am impressed with Margaret Downey

How backwards is America?

Which of the following is different from all the others?
  1. Cuba
  2. Iran
  3. Israel
  4. Tajikistan
  5. Texas
The national academies of science of Cuba, Iran, Israel, and Tajikistan have all signed a statement on the teaching of evolution while the Texas State Board of Education has made it clear that it has serious doubts about the subject.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

No mention of Jesus outside the Bible

A small list of Jewish and pagan writers at the time of Christ who make no mention of him.

Wouldn't someone performing miracles and defeating death not be noticed?

Auls Gellius
Dio Chrysostom
Dion Pruseus
Florus Lucius
Justus of Tiberius
Quintius Curtius
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Younger
Pompon Mela
Theon of Smyran
Valerius Flaccus
Valerius Maximus

There is one author that Christians use and that is Josephus. It is believed his work was tinkered with by Christians so they could have one person to point to.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Story of Jesus done before - Horus

- Horus was the only begotten son of the God Osiris.
- Jesus was the only begotten son of Yehovah (in the form of the Holy Spirit).

- Horus mother was Isis-Meri
- Jesus mother was Miriam (now often referred to as Mary)

- Horus foster father was Seb, (a.k.a. Jo-Seph), who was of royal descent
- Jesus foster father was Joseph, who was of royal descent

- Horus was born in a cave
- Jesus was born in a cave or a manger. In Bethlehem the historic site is a cave.

- Horus annunciation was by an angel to Isis, his mother
- Jesus annunciation was by an angel to his mother, Miriam (Mary)

- Horus birth was heralded by the star Sirius, the morning star
- Jesus birth was heralded by an unidentified star in the east

- Ancient Egyptians paraded a manger and child representing Horus through the streets at the time of the winter solstice (about DEC-21). In reality, he had no birth date; he was not a human.
- Jesus birth date is now celebrated on DEC-25. The date was chosen to occur on the same date as the birth of Mithra, Dionysus and the Sol Invictus (unconquerable Sun), etc.

- Horus arrival was announced by angels to shepherds
- Jesus arrival was announced by angels to shepherds

- The infant Horus was later visited by three deities
- The infant Jesus was later visited by wise men who brought three gifts

- During Horus infancy Herut tried to have him murdered. A god that tells Horus' mother "Come, thou goddess Isis, hide thyself with thy child."
- During Jesus infancy Herod tried to have him murdered. An angel tells Jesus' father to: "Arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt."

- Rite of passage: Horus came of age with a special ritual, when his eye was restored. Horus was 12.
- Rite of passage: Taken by parents to the temple for what is today called a bar mitzvah ritual. Jesus was 12.

- There is no information on Horus between ages of 12 and 30
- There is no information on Jesus between ages of 12 and 30

- Horus was baptized in the river Eridanus at the age of 30 by Anup the Baptiser who was subsequently beheaded
- Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan at the age of 30 by John the Baptist who was subsequently beheaded.

- Horus was taken from the desert of Amenta up a high mountain by his arch-rival Sut. Sut (a.k.a. Set) was a precursor for the Hebrew Satan. Horus successfully resists temptation.
- Jesus was taken from the desert in Palestine up a high mountain by his arch-rival Satan. Jesus successfully resists temptation.

- Horus had a group of disciples follow him.
- Jesus had a group of disciples follow him.

- Horus walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind. He "stilled the sea by his power."
- Jesus walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind. He ordered the sea with a "Peace, be still" command.

- Horus raised Osirus from the grave
- Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave

- Horus was transfigured on a mountain
- Jesus was transfigured on a high mountain

- Horus gave his key address on a mount
- Jesus gave his key address on a mount (Sermon on the mount)

- Horus death was accompanied by two thieves and he was buried in a tomb
- Jesus death was accompanied by two thieves and he was buried in a tomb

- Horus descended into hell for 3 days. His resurrection was witnessed by women.
- Jesus descended into hell for 3 days. His resurrection was witnessed by women.

- Horus was to reign for 1,000 years in the Millennium
- Jesus was to reign for 1,000 years in the Millennium

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Story of Jesus done before - Krishna

Date of Birth
Krishna - July 18, 3328 BC
Jesus - December 25, 4 BC

Comparison of the Jesus and Krishna Myths

- Krishna is the son of the Virgin Devaki.
- Jesus is the son of the Virgin Mary.

- Krishna's birth occurs while his foster father, Nanda, is in his native city to pay taxes to the king, King Kansa.
- Jesus' birth occurs while his foster father, Joseph, is in his native city to pay taxes to the Governor.

- King Kansa tried to kill Krishna by ordeing the slaughter of all males born on the same day as Krishna.
- King Herod ordered the slaughter of all infants born on the same day as Jesus. (Matt 2:16)

- The Virgin Devaki is told by an angel, "In thy delivery, O favored among women, all nations shall have cause to rejoice."
- The Virgin Mary is told by an angel, "Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (Luke 1:28-33)

- The nativity of Krishna is heralded by a star.
- The nativity of Jesus is heralded by a star.

- Krishna is born in a cave. The cave story is an indication of lower-class birthplace.
- Jesus is born in a cave. (Source: The Apocryphal Gospel entitled Protevangelion) The manger story (wherein Jesus was born in a stable) is an indication of a low-class birthplace.

- Krishna is visited in the cave by three wise men bearing gifts.
- Jesus is visited in the stable/cave by three wise men bearing gifts.

- The cave was mysteriously illuminated.
- The cave was illuminated so brightly Joseph and Mary's midwife could not tolerate the light. (Source: The Apocryphal Gospel Protevangelion)

- Nanda is warned by an angel to flee from King Kansa by crossing the Jumna River with the infant Krishna.
- Joseph is warned in a dream to flee from King Herod into Egypt with the infant Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

- The baby Krishna began speaking to his mother shortly after birth.
- The baby Jesus began speaking to the Virgin Mary shortly after his birth, saying, "Mary, I am Jesus, the Son of God, that WORD which thou didst bring forth according to the declaration of the Angel Gabriel to thee, and my Father hath sent me for the salvation of the world." (Source: The Apocryphal Gospel, The First Gospel of the Infancy)

- Krishna performs miracles in Mathura.
- Jesus performs miracles in the town of Materea in Egypt.

- Krishna is the second person of the Hindu Trinity: (1) Brahma, (2) Vishnu, (3) Siva. Krishna is the incarnation of Vishnu.
- Jesus is the second person of the Christian Trinity: (1) God, the Father, (2) Jesus the Son, (3) the Holy Ghost.

- Krishna was crucified.
- Jesus was crucified.

- During the crucifixion, Krishna was wounded by an arrow.
- During the crucifixion, Jesus was wounded by a spear.

- At noon on the day of Krishna's crucifixion, the sun darkened.
- From the sixth hour to the ninth hour on the day of Jesus' crucifixion, the sun darkened.

- Krishna descended into Hell. He raised the dead. He brought back two boys from Hell.
- Jesus descended into Hell. He raised the dead. He brought back from Hell two boys, the sons of the high priest. (Source: The Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus.)