“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)
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.
“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)
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
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.
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).
A Facebook friend of mine posted this story this morning:
"I have learned the God often uses things that annoy me to teach me to give thanks. Today I got cut off by a woman coming out of a gas station driving a Honda Civic. While I was stewing about rude drivers, she went through the next green light and was slammed into (tboned) by a teenager in a huge pick-up truck running a red light. I stopped to make sure she was ok and she had a badly broken arm and was bleeding but otherwise would be ok. I am sad she was hurt, but I couldn’t help but be thankful to God that she cut me off or that would have been me."
Really? God punished her for cutting you off? Or god protects you and is pretty much okay with fucking over other people? WTF??
What was even more appalling was the comments she got — mostly of the “praise god” and “amen” sort. One said, “I guess she ran over her own guardian angel when she cut you off, lol!”
What kind of people think this way? I’m not even referring to their theism — that’s obvious — but that they think the deity that they call “loving and all-forgiving” on the one hand is simultaneously petty, vicious, vengeful, and full of malice.
“In the Old Canaanite religion, Baal had married the soil and the people had celebrated this with ritual orgies, but Hosea insisted that since the covenant, Yahweh had taken the place of Baal and had wedded the people of Israel.
They had to understand that it was Yahweh, not Baal, who would bring fertility to the soil.
He was still wooing Israel like a lover, determined to lure her back from the Baals who had seduced her:”
…“I will take the names of the Baals off her lips”…
-Excerpt From: Armstrong, Karen. “History of God.” Ballantine Books, 2011-06-08. iBooks.
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1. We like to think of romantic feelings as spontaneous and indescribable things that come from the heart. But it’s actually your brain running a complex series of calculations within a matter of seconds that’s responsible for determining attraction.
2. Playing an instrument is the brain’s equivalent of a full-body workout. As you play, your brain simultaneously processes different information in intricate, interrelated, and astonishingly fast sequences.
4. As we grow, we install pain detectors in most areas of our body. Just like all nerve cells, these detectors conduct electrical signals, sending information from wherever they’re located back to your brain. But, unlike other nerve cells, nociceptors only fire if something happens that could cause or is causing damage.
Okay, I understand the point you were trying to make in your celibacy post, but it came off as kind of offensive to asexuals. I realise you probably didn't mean it that way, but that's how it came off. Also, celibacy is a choice, not an orientation
For the life of me, I don’t know which post you are referring to. I can’t remember writing or sharing anything regarding celibacy.
“All science asks is to employ the same levels of skepticism we use in buying a used car or in judging the quality of analgesics or beer from their television commercials.”—Carl Sagan (via whats-out-there)
“What else do you call it when someone knows nothing about science and thinks they can blather on and on about it anyway? What do you call it when someone refuses to change their beliefs when faced with evidence? What do you call it when they try to tell us there’s some nonexistent “controversy” to be debated? What do you call it when they think their own intuition and baseless conjecture are more reliable than any research? And what do you call it when they don’t even care that this lack of acceptance makes life so much worse for trans people? I sure wouldn’t call that a secular value.
How is believing I’m a woman any different from believing in God? Really? Here’s a question: How is believing that transitioning is “mutilation” any different from believing that vaccines cause brain damage? How is believing that trans people have an unfair advantage in sports any different from believing the earth is 6,000 years old? How is believing in an epidemic of transgender rapists any different from believing in “irreducible complexity”? And how is believing that trans people are “deluded” any different from believing that atheists are just angry at God?
Sorry, but you’re not Neil deGrasse Tyson giving a science lesson to middle America. You’re Ken Ham telling an audience of faithfully ignorant sycophants how Adam and Eve rode around on a T. rex. Science and observation and reality should matter to everyone, and I hope they matter to you. But if you’re leaving out the science, the observation, and the reality, you suck at being a skeptic.”—Atheist transphobia: Superstition over science » Zinnia Jones (via brutereason)
On any social media website there is no shortage of sensational science headlines, old, recycled urban myths and rumors and flat out lies being spread around without any questions or critical thought from the people perpetuating them.
The 10,000 hour rule—first proposed by a Swedish psychologist and later made famous in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers—states that exceptional expertise requires at least 10,000 hours of practice. The best of the best (the Beatles, Bill Gates) all amassed more than 10,000 hours of practice before rising to the top, Gladwell argued. So greatness is within virtually any person’s grasp, so long as they can put in the time to master their skill of choice.
A new meta-analysis, however, indicates that the 10,000 hour rule simply does not exist. As Brain’s Idea reports, authors of the new study undertook the largest literature survey on this subject to date, compiling the results of 88 scientific articles representing data from some 11,000 research participants. Practice, they found, on average explains just 12 percent of skill mastery and subsequent success. “In other words the 10,000-Hour rule is nonsense,” Brain’s Idea writes. “Stop believing in it. Sure, practice is important. But other factors (age? intelligence? talent?) appear to play a bigger role.”
While this is the largest study to date to arrive at this conclusion, it’s not the first. Soon after Outliers was published, experts began calling foul—including the expert who supposedly coined the rule, Anders Ericsson. As the Guardian pointed out in 2012:
There is nothing magical about the 10,000 figure, as Ericsson said recently, because the best group of musicians had accumulated an average, not a total, of over 10,000 hours by the age of twenty. In the world of classical music it seems that the winners of international competitions are those who have put in something like 25,000 hours of dedicated, solitary practice – that’s three hours of practice every day for more than 20 years.
Ericsson is also on record as emphasising that not just any old practice counts towards the 10,000-hour average. It has to be deliberate, dedicated time spent focusing on improvement.
So despite the new evidence that the 10,000 rule is bull, like the studies and articles that came before it, that message will likely fall on many deaf ears. The 10,000 hour rule seems to have entered into the common lore about success: it’s a nice idea, that hard work will actually pay off. And no peer-reviewed study has so far succeeded in toppling that catchy message.