Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

policymic:

How many Earth twins are out there? Hundreds possibly

NASA’s recent discovery of Kepler-186f, the first habitable Earth-sized planet is big news in humankind’s long search for extraterrestrial life.

A universe full of exoplanets: Thanks to the Kepler Space Telescope, which was launched in 2009 to hunt planets across the universe, we’ve managed to find around 1800 exoplanets so far, many of which have been discovered in just the last year or so.

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Resources for Atheist Parents

Thankfully, there are many fabulous resources available both for parents and for kids to navigate this world without religious guidance. Here are just a small sampling…

The peculiar history of the Pledge of Allegiance


(CNN) — Seventy one years ago — December 22, 1942 — Congress got the United States out of what had turned into an unexpectedly embarrassing situation.

It concerned the Pledge of Allegiance — specifically, something called the Bellamy Salute.

Most people today have likely never heard of it, but the Bellamy Salute was once a constant part of the country’s life.

Until 1892, there was no such thing as a Pledge of Allegiance.

Daniel Sharp Ford, the owner of a magazine called Youth’s Companion, was on a crusade to put American flags in every school in the country. He sensed that the U.S. needed a boost of patriotism. Keep in mind: Not even 30 years before, the Civil War had still been raging. National unity was a fragile concept.

As part of the campaign, Sharp gave an assignment to a member of his staff: Francis J. Bellamy, who was an author, a minister and an advocate of the tenets of Christian socialism. Sharp asked Bellamy to compose a Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Bellamy wrote it, and it was published in the magazine.

It didn’t take long for the Pledge to become wildly popular, even omnipresent. At schools, at campgrounds, at public gatherings, in Congress, people routinely faced the flag and pledged their allegiance to it.

Because, inherently, there is something physically awkward about people simply standing in place, their arms hanging limply by their sides, staring at a flag and reciting a pledge, it was decided that devising a salute would be appropriate.

Instructions for carrying out the salute were printed in the pages of Youth’s Companion. The gesture came to be called the Bellamy Salute, in honor of the Pledge’s author.

The Bellamy Salute consisted of each person — man, woman or child — extending his or her right arm straight forward, angling slightly upward, fingers pointing directly ahead.

With their right arms aiming stiffly toward the flag, they recited: “I pledge allegiance…”

For a while, the salute wasn’t especially controversial.

But, as World War II was forming in Europe, and Italians and Germans began saluting Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler with extended-armed “Heil Hitler!”-style gestures…

Well, perhaps you can see the problem.

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chakathemighty:

reversephilosophy:

Keeping tabs on this for later

Sorcerers-Druggies!!!! AAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I just spit ginger ale back into my can.



Jesus The Destroyer is coming for you, Sorcerers-Druggies!

chakathemighty:

reversephilosophy:

Keeping tabs on this for later

Sorcerers-Druggies!!!! AAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I just spit ginger ale back into my can.

 photo imagejpg1.jpg

Jesus The Destroyer is coming for you, Sorcerers-Druggies!

(Source: cybertunage)

confrontingbabble-on:

It is just too hard for many (predominantly young and inexperienced) to mentally mature…and fully wean themselves from their own insecurities: Pseudoscience, confirmation bias…and comforting delusions…the lure of waning organized religion..is being replaced with other meaningless superstitions…in a vain attempt to fill a sense of impending vulnerability, in an uncertain world…

Science and Engineering Indicators 2014 has found: “In 2012, slightly more than half of Americans said that astrology was “not at all scientific,” whereas nearly two-thirds gave this response in 2010. The comparable percentage has not been this low since 1983.”  http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind14/index.cfm/chapter-7

Further…

"More and More Americans Think Astrology Is Science" http://www.motherjones.com/authors/chris-mooney?page=6

StarTalk Radio w/ Neil Degrasse Tyson: Cosmic Queries

NDT is doing some spring cleaning of his ask box.

This episode is bursting with conspiracy theories and strange hypotheses, but that doesn’t stop your own personal astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson from dropping some serious science. You’ll learn why the government isn’t secretly using HAARP to manipulate weather and why we shouldn’t dispose of pollution in our atmosphere. Find out where black holes go when they die, why there is no speed of dark, what would happen to the planets if we moved the Sun, the difference between black holes and white holes, and whether we could use quantum teleportation to explore inside a black hole. Neil also explains atmosphere, air pressure and vacuums, why hot air rises but air is colder at higher altitudes, and why time passes differently on Jupiter than on Earth. Plus, he tells comic co-host Eugene Mirman how to use physics to communicate with a 3-meter tall alien “gummy bear.”

Saw the top image on Facebook, so I made the bottom one to continue the story.

Top 10 Resurrections

Death fascinates humans, and probably always has. The oldest extant epic, that of Gilgamesh, directly addresses the question of why death exists. With Easter on its way, it seems timely to remember a religious figure who died and came back to life—I’m just not sure which one to choose. World mythology is full of religious figures who have undergone resurrection. Here are ten of the more interesting stories

Let us celebrate the day Jesus took back his sacrifice and instead of dying for you (you filthy dirty sinner), came back to live forever, in paradise. He still gave up a lot though, he loves pizza and they don’t have pizza in heaven, so….

Let us celebrate the day Jesus took back his sacrifice and instead of dying for you (you filthy dirty sinner), came back to live forever, in paradise. He still gave up a lot though, he loves pizza and they don’t have pizza in heaven, so….

The Thinking Atheist Podcast - Did Jesus Exist?

Dr. Richard Carrier (the ancient-history ninja) joins tTA to help wade through the waist-high bullshit from all sides regarding the historicity of Jesus and the New Testament.