In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.

"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

 

Atheists in Black America

A short documentary about coming out as a non-believer in the African American community.

What do you think science is? There’s nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. Which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?

Steven Novella

It is right that we should stand by and act on our principles; but not right to hold them in obstinate blindness, or retain them when proved to be erroneous.

Michael Faraday, renowned 19th century scientist (via whats-out-there)

Frank Sinatra on Religion (like a boss)

Playboy: From what you’ve said, it seems that we’ll have to learn something of what makes you tick as a man in order to understand what motivates you as an entertainer. Would it be all right with you if we attempt to do just that—by exploring a few of the fundamental beliefs which move and shape your life?

Sinatra: Look, pal, is this going to be an ocean cruise or a quick sail around the harbor? Like you, I think, I feel, I wonder. I know some things, I believe in a thousand things, and I’m curious about a million more. Be more specific.

Playboy: All right, let’s start with the most basic question there is: Are you a religious man? Do you believe in God?

Sinatra: Well, that’ll do for openers. I think I can sum up my religious feelings in a couple of paragraphs. First: I believe in you and me. I’m like Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein in that I have a respect for life—in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don’t believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice. I’m not unmindful of man’s seeming need for faith; I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. But to me religion is a deeply personal thing in which man and God go it alone together, without the witch doctor in the middle. The witch doctor tries to convince us that we have to ask God for help, to spell out to him what we need, even to bribe him with prayer or cash on the line. Well, I believe that God knows what each of us wants and needs. It’s not necessary for us to make it to church on Sunday to reach Him. You can find Him anyplace. And if that sounds heretical, my source is pretty good: Matthew, Five to Seven, The Sermon on the Mount.

Playboy: You haven’t found any answers for yourself in organized religion?

Sinatra: There are things about organized religion which I resent. Christ is revered as the Prince of Peace, but more blood has been shed in His name than any other figure in history. You show me one step forward in the name of religion and I’ll show you a hundred retrogressions. Remember, they were men of God who destroyed the educational treasures at Alexandria, who perpetrated the Inquisition in Spain, who burned the witches at Salem. Over 25,000 organized religions flourish on this planet, but the followers of each think all the others are miserably misguided and probably evil as well. In India they worship white cows, monkeys and a dip in the Ganges. The Moslems accept slavery and prepare for Allah, who promises wine and revirginated women. And witch doctors aren’t just in Africa. If you look in the L.A. papers of a Sunday morning, you’ll see the local variety advertising their wares like suits with two pairs of pants.

Playboy: Hasn’t religious faith just as often served as a civilizing influence?

Sinatra: Remember that leering, cursing lynch mob in Little Rock reviling a meek, innocent little 12-year-old Negro girl as she tried to enroll in public school? Weren’t they—or most of them—devout churchgoers? I detest the two-faced who pretend liberality but are practiced bigots in their own mean little spheres. I didn’t tell my daughter whom to marry, but I’d have broken her back if she had had big eyes for a bigot. As I see it, man is a product of his conditioning, and the social forces which mold his morality and conduct—including racial prejudice—are influenced more by material things like food and economic necessities than by the fear and awe and bigotry generated by the high priests of commercialized superstition. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m for decency—period. I’m for anything and everything that bodes love and consideration for my fellow man. But when lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday—cash me out.

Playboy: But aren’t such spiritual hypocrites in a minority? Aren’t most Americans fairly consistent in their conduct within the precepts of religious doctrine?

Sinatra: I’ve got no quarrel with men of decency at any level. But I can’t believe that decency stems only from religion. And I can’t help wondering how many public figures make avowals of religious faith to maintain an aura of respectability. Our civilization, such as it is, was shaped by religion, and the men who aspire to public office anyplace in the free world must make obeisance to God or risk immediate opprobrium. Our press accurately reflects the religious nature of our society, but you’ll notice that it also carries the articles and advertisements of astrology and hokey Elmer Gantry revivalists. We in America pride ourselves on freedom of the press, but every day I see, and so do you, this kind of dishonesty and distortion not only in this area but in reporting—about guys like me, for instance, which is of minor importance except to me; but also in reporting world news. How can a free people make decisions without facts? If the press reports world news as they report about me, we’re in trouble.

Playboy: Are you saying that…

Sinatra: No, wait, let me finish. Have you thought of the chance I’m taking by speaking out this way? Can you imagine the deluge of crank letters, curses, threats and obscenities I’ll receive after these remarks gain general circulation? Worse, the boycott of my records, my films, maybe a picket line at my opening at the Sands. Why? Because I’ve dared to say that love and decency are not necessarily concomitants of religious fervor.

Playboy: If you think you’re stepping over the line, offending your public or perhaps risking economic suicide, shall we cut this off now, erase the tape and start over along more antiseptic lines?

Sinatra: No, let’s let it run. I’ve thought this way for years, ached to say these things. Whom have I harmed by what I’ve said? What moral defection have I suggested? No, I don’t want to chicken out now. Come on, pal, the clock’s running.

How Rocks Move - The mystery of the sailing stones has been solved.

The Racetrack Playa — a barren lakebed in Death Valley National Park — is home to one of the world’s natural wonders: “sailing stones” that mysteriously meander across the dried mud, leaving tracks in their wake. Since the 1940s, these rocks have fueled wonder and speculation because no one had seen them in action — until now. More at Discover Magazine

godlessmen:

"I Just Wanna Be a Sheep" Source: reddit

Better than the alternative title: “I just wanna be a slave”

godlessmen:

"I Just Wanna Be a Sheep"

Source: reddit

Better than the alternative title: “I just wanna be a slave”

If you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomena of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that - and there is nothing wrong with you at all.

Alan Watts (via whats-out-there)

A man who is certain he is right is almost sure to be wrong.

Michael Faraday, renown 19th century scientist (via whats-out-there)

thechapterfourblog:

Holy shit.
If that doesn’t put the finest point on it you’ve ever seen/heard, I don’t know what does.

thechapterfourblog:

Holy shit.

If that doesn’t put the finest point on it you’ve ever seen/heard, I don’t know what does.

(Source: thedragoninmygarage)

Spark of life: Metabolism appears in lab without cells

Metabolic processes that underpin life on Earth have arisen spontaneously outside of cells. The serendipitous finding that metabolism – the cascade of reactions in all cells that provides them with the raw materials they need to survive – can happen in such simple conditions provides fresh insights into how the first life formed. It also suggests that the complex processes needed for life may have surprisingly humble origins.

"People have said that these pathways look so complex they couldn’t form by environmental chemistry alone," says Markus Ralser at the University of Cambridge who supervised the research.

But his findings suggest that many of these reactions could have occurred spontaneously in Earth’s early oceans, catalysed by metal ions rather than the enzymes that drive them in cells today.

The origin of metabolism is a major gap in our understanding of the emergence of life. “If you look at many different organisms from around the world, this network of reactions always looks very similar, suggesting that it must have come into place very early on in evolution, but no one knew precisely when or how,” says Ralser.

In fact men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth – often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you cannot get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable

Hypatia of Alexandria

confrontingbabble-on:

Other than religion’s own produced stories, there is no evidence for a resurrection…
"Examine the evidence presented in the New Testament. It shows that the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus is not based on historic evidence. The New Testament evidence is contradictory in fundamental issues and events. Its most salient promise — that of a return by Jesus within the lifetime of his contemporaries never occurred. Christian apologists have spent the last 2000 years devising many different and often contradictory explanations of what they allege the New Testament really means when it promises a quick return by Jesus. They cannot all be right, but they can all be wrong. When all the Christian theological myths are seen for the fantasies they are it comes down to this — Jesus was never God’s son, did not shed his blood on the cross, was not a substitute who took upon himself the punishment for the sins of others, did not die to save sinners and was not resurrected. And he is never coming back."
http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-0036023049/The-Resurrection-Fantasy.aspx
*****
“Besides the Bible where is Jesus’ resurrection reported?
Answer: The resurrection of Jesus would have been a momentous event that would have shaken the ancient world. Yet there is no contemporary record of the resurrection outside the Bible. Philo of Alexandria was a contemporary who sought to document everything of interest to the Jewish world, yet never mentioned this amazing event. Pontius Pilate could be expected to have reported such an event to the emperor, who would have been anxious to discover more about an event with possible consequences for the empire, but no Roman records exist to show that either man knew anything.  It was only long after the event that other Christians began to write about the resurrection of Jesus.”
http://www.answers.com/Q/Besides_the_Bible_where_is_Jesus%27_resurrection_reported
Why the Resurrection is Unbelievable… http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=11338

confrontingbabble-on:

Other than religion’s own produced stories, there is no evidence for a resurrection…

"Examine the evidence presented in the New Testament. It shows that the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus is not based on historic evidence. The New Testament evidence is contradictory in fundamental issues and events. Its most salient promise — that of a return by Jesus within the lifetime of his contemporaries never occurred. Christian apologists have spent the last 2000 years devising many different and often contradictory explanations of what they allege the New Testament really means when it promises a quick return by Jesus. They cannot all be right, but they can all be wrong. When all the Christian theological myths are seen for the fantasies they are it comes down to this — Jesus was never God’s son, did not shed his blood on the cross, was not a substitute who took upon himself the punishment for the sins of others, did not die to save sinners and was not resurrected. And he is never coming back."

http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-0036023049/The-Resurrection-Fantasy.aspx

*****

Besides the Bible where is Jesus’ resurrection reported?

Answer: The resurrection of Jesus would have been a momentous event that would have shaken the ancient world. Yet there is no contemporary record of the resurrection outside the Bible. Philo of Alexandria was a contemporary who sought to document everything of interest to the Jewish world, yet never mentioned this amazing event. Pontius Pilate could be expected to have reported such an event to the emperor, who would have been anxious to discover more about an event with possible consequences for the empire, but no Roman records exist to show that either man knew anything.

It was only long after the event that other Christians began to write about the resurrection of Jesus.”

http://www.answers.com/Q/Besides_the_Bible_where_is_Jesus%27_resurrection_reported

Why the Resurrection is Unbelievable… http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=11338

Why do only Christians do this?

atheistatheism:

I am a computer technician and in my day to day work, I have to communicate with people on a regular basis via phone or chat.

I was just speaking with a woman who near the end of our call asked me if I was a Christian. I told her that due to work place policies, I was not able to discuss that and would need to end the conversation. She cut me off and started telling me that Jesus loves me and that he died for my sins and what not. It upset me. Not because she told me that Jesus loves me, which as any Atheist can attest, is something we’ve all heard countless times, but because I stepped back and thought about this scenario.

I realized that Christians are the only people who push their beliefs on people in the manner. I’ve never once heard someone who practices Judaism say, “Hey, are you Jewish? No? Well just so you know, Jesus wasn’t the son of God and as such should not be worshiped or adored. If you continue to do so, you will never experience salvation since you are worshiping a false God.”. Better yet, you NEVER hear an Atheist say “Are you religious? Oh you are? Well just so you know, there is no God. Nothing happens when you die. Everything you believe is a lie and nobody in the sky loves and watches over you.”.

It just really blew my mind because I’ve never thought of this scenario in that way. And that is what upset me. That Christians can spew their beliefs on to anyone and everyone they come across and make them fell uncomfortable, but nobody else does or would. I feel like Christianity is the USA of religions. They can say whatever they want because they feel like they are right and everyone else is wrong. And since I have dated a Christian, whose favorite movie was Jurassic Park but only for the action because dinosaurs never existed(yes, she said this to me), they believe that they are right and everyone else is wrong and will be proven wrong when they die. This is also the same group of people who, in a very un-christ-like manner, condemn and chastise people who do not believe that Jesus Christ died for our since and rose from the dead and all that stuff and who do not follow the writing of a 5000 year old book written in a dead language.

The whole thing boggled my mind and I had to vent a bit and share my thoughts. Thanks for taking a few minutes to read this and thanks for any feedback or comments.

submitted by
gorg235 

5 Successful People Who Everyone Forgets Are Exposed Frauds

Making a career out of ripping people off takes a special kind of asshole. But to make a career out of defrauding the general public, get exposed as a fraud, and then keep right on defrauding people as if nothing ever happened takes a special kind of asshole with balls of industrial steel. Either that, or a sociopathic lack of self-awareness. Here are five people who just can’t stop making shit up (and are inexplicably rewarded for it).