Sunday, August 19, 2007

Poem for Pat

Les Barker Iraq

Why Intelligent Design is WRONG

Another really cool computer example of the outcome of natural selection. Now if we could just get highschool students to learn basic biology, this would be persuasive to them.

Hitchens' Whirlwind Tour Recounted

God Bless Me, It's a Best-Seller!

This article by Christopher Hitchens recounts his long and event filled tour debating and discussing religious superstition in the states. Plenty of behind the scenes remarks that will make you laugh.


June 10, Washington, D.C.: It's been weeks on the road, and after a grueling swing through Canada I am finally home. I tell the wife and daughter that's it: no more god talk for a bit—let's get lunch at the fashionable CafĂ© Milano, in Georgetown. Signor Franco leads us to a nice table outside and I sit down—right next to the Archbishop of Canterbury. O.K., then, this must have been meant to happen. I lean over. "My Lord Archbishop? It's Christopher Hitchens." "Good gracious," he responds, gesturing at his guest—"we were just discussing your book."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Slice of Americana

60% of republicans flat out don't "believe" in evolution.
and 40% of democrats.
I couldn't believe this. I had to poll the masses to see if it were true and I found the perfect place to get a random slice of Americana.
To put it into perspective, I would estimate there to be between 100-1000 times more evidence for evolution than there is for man made global warming. For all practical purposes there is an infinity more evidence for evolution because it is a closed case, as certain as the earth revolves around the sun. Even academic IDers almost universally acknowledge the reality of evolution.
In my random slice of Americana (source withheld), these were typical responses to the question- do you believe that evolution is true or false? The typical answerer was also quick to rail on about the "evil librolls" trying to destroy America etc etc.. in the other forums. This strange marriage between disbelieving science and being a staunch conservative republican is fascinating to me. Statements:
There has been no proof that evolution has ever taken place.
Evolution is impossible. Why do so many people believe it?
it takes more faith than anything to believe we evolved from apes.
Nothing would be able to survive if it lost something as important as a piece of it's heart---so how did anything ever evolve?
The big bang theory is as erroneous as saying a tornado went over a junk yard and made a jet plane.
people beleive this because they are in denial and cant beleive that we were created from scrath by a higher beingthese people will beleive anything if its "scientificly proven" against god
satan is doing every thing that he can to get into people's heads
Call me stupid but I think their little scientific reasoning sounds more stupid than the Bible does.
Because everyone knows biologISTS are atheISTS (aka satanISTS)
It's a big atheist conspiracy!
there is no half monkey half man. they look for a missing link but there is none. God created the world.
What kind of a world are we living in? People think they can just believe whatever they feel like believing even if they have very little knowledge on subjects?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hello America

There's nobody on the internet funnier than Pat Condell. I have no idea who he is, but his rants against religion are hillarious and eloquent.

Friday, August 10, 2007


It's about time someone described the phenomenon which has taken the country by storm- Denialism. See the denialism blog. Denialism is defined thusly-
Denialism is the employment of rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when in actuality there is none. These false arguments are used when one has few or no facts to support one's viewpoint against a scientific consensus or against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They are effective in distracting from actual useful debate using emotionally appealing, but ultimately empty and illogical
Yes, we are living in a modern society which deems evidenced based science and reason as merely an alternative way of interpreting the world.
Examples of common topics in which denialists employ their tactics include:
Creationism/Intelligent Design, Global Warming denialism, Holocaust denial, HIV/AIDS denialism, 9/11 conspiracies, Tobacco Carcinogenecity denialism (the first organized corporate campaign), anti-vaccination/mercury autism denialism and anti-animal testing/animal rights extremist denialism. Denialism spans the ideological spectrum, and is about tactics rather than politics or partisanship.
5 general tactics are used by denialists to sow confusion. They are conspiracy, selectivity (cherry-picking), fake experts, impossible expectations (also known as moving goalposts), and general fallacies of logic.

Evol t on

I'm sure everyone has seen this cartoon by now. But it's so perfect, I had to post it myself.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Enemies of Reason

Prof Richard Dawkins caused a furore with a stinging attack on religion. Now the evolutionary biologist has turned his wrath on "new age" alternative therapies, describing them as based on "irrational superstition".

Prof Dawkins launches his attack in The Enemies of Reason, to be shown on Channel 4 this month

He appears bemused as she intones: "Smile your very best smile, swallow the smile with some saliva into the heart and let the heart smile back at you… and the golden glow that comes from the heart, comes from a golden flower and use the gold light from the centre of the flower like a sunbeam and beam it on to those petals and wake them up…"

The medium who found Dawkins's father on the far side-
When Dawkins consulted a medium who has appeared on daytime television and charges £50 for instant phone readings she said she could hear or see his father "on the other side". He did his best not to look surprised as she continued: "I'm aware of your father stood right behind you. "On a spiritual level he wasn't the most openest man with his thoughts and his feelings. Ummm, I kind of want to say that I do love you and I do care – but that wouldn't have been his character." (Or that of many middle-class father figures of his generation, a sceptic might have said.) But Dawkins let her continue. "I'm aware that you don't have you dad's photograph out" – it was true, he didn't – "so I'm a little bit concerned why. So I'm going to ask you: why don't you have it out?"
Dawkins had a bombshell ready: "Well, he might be aware that I don't have it out because he comes to the house about once a week." "Oh, he's still here," she said, adding after a few seconds: "I don't feel it's working.""Is that because you thought my father is dead and discovered that he's still alive?""No, nothing to do with that. I don't know."She commented later: "As a clairvoyant you're only as good as the client."

The Little Girl Giant

I title this movie "Free Will".

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Carol Tavris

Most Saturday mornings I make a cup of coffee and listen to the week's "Point of Inquiry" interview. I admire D.J. Grothe, and wish I had his job. This week was particularly good. Carol Tavris studies my favorite subject- cognitive dissonance. Why do people conitune to believe things that are obviously false? Turns out the more evidence against the belief, the stronger someone tends to believe it. Turns out, people surround themselves in echo chambers of people who only say what they want to hear and they ignore counterpoint. They search selectively for a reason to bolster their preformed opinion. When evidence to the contrary comes up they do not seek to incorporate it, but to invalidate it. In the interview, Tavris delves into the unique human capacity for undaunted self-deception.

Francis Crick Quote

"If we don't play God... who will?"

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Atheism Tapes 2 - Steven Weinberg (3 of 3)

The most brilliant of the most brilliant, Steven Weinberg. My favorite interview. "I sometimes think that Americans believe in religion much more than Europeans do..they don't believe in *god* much more than Europeans do".

"Science is corrisive to religious believe, and it's a good thing too."