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

 

confrontingbabble-on:

Have you been conditioned to believe…that to doubt the say-so of the religious with no evidence…is immoral?

It’s not just OK, it’s essential to progress. Truth is not threatened by inquiry.

confrontingbabble-on:

Have you been conditioned to believe…that to doubt the say-so of the religious with no evidence…is immoral?

It’s not just OK, it’s essential to progress. Truth is not threatened by inquiry.

I mean not to exhibit horror for the purpose of provoking revenge, but to awaken us from fatal and unmanly slumbers, that we may pursue determinately some fixed object.

Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

And I mean to exhibit skepticism for the same reason. Like ending the concept of monarchy (Paine’s cause), clearing the fog of superstition and finding the natural foundations must be a base goal of progressive society, I.e. One which is to move forward on the continuum of well being. As long as big decisions are being made for imaginary reasons we will hindered at the basic level of our cognitive abilities. It is indeed a fatal slumber; a tragic waste of our unique cognitive skills.

The sign of intelligence is that you are constantly wondering. Idiots are always dead sure about every damn thing they are doing in their life.

Vasudev (via felicefawn)

Exhibit one: Sarah Palin.

(via progressivepost)

(Source: onlinecounsellingcollege)

Thomas got to finger the wounds and we have to take it on faith from old stories. Each generation is just expected to have even more faith than the one before it.

Thomas got to finger the wounds and we have to take it on faith from old stories. Each generation is just expected to have even more faith than the one before it.

(Source: naprasno)

It would be better for us to have some doubts in an honest pursuit of truth, than it would be for us to be certain about something that was not true.

Daniel Wallace

Global Warming Denial Is Science-Proof

goodreasonnews:

This is a great article on understanding:

a) Climate change

b) The nature of science as a tool

c) The major malfunction with right-wing, anti-intellectual, climate change denier, asshats.

Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt

In the small but cohesive Mormon community where he grew up, Hans Mattsson was a solid believer and a pillar of the church. He followed his father and grandfather into church leadership and finally became an “area authority” overseeing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout Europe.

When fellow believers in Sweden first began coming to him with information from the Internet that contradicted the church’s history and teachings, he dismissed it as “anti-Mormon propaganda,” the whisperings of Lucifer. He asked his superiors for help in responding to the members’ doubts, and when they seemed to only sidestep the questions, Mr. Mattsson began his own investigation.

But when he discovered credible evidence that the church’s founder, Joseph Smith, was a polygamist and that the Book of Mormon and other scriptures were rife with historical anomalies, Mr. Mattsson said he felt that the foundation on which he had built his life began to crumble.

Around the world and in the United States, where the faith was founded, the Mormon Church is grappling with a wave of doubt and disillusionment among members who encountered information on the Internet that sabotaged what they were taught about their faith, according to interviews with dozens of Mormons and those who study the church…

Continue

The Essential Atheist

1. The Demon-Haunted World, Science as a candle in the dark - Carl Sagan
PDF
Audiobook

2. The Believing Brain, the evolution of superstition - Michael Shermer
iBooks
Lecture

3. The Age Of Reason - Thomas Paine
PDF
Audiobook

4. Why I Am Not A Christian - Bertrand Russell
Speech
Transcript

5. Why I’m Not a Muslim - Ibn Warraq
PDF
Lecture

6. The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
PDF
Documentary

7. God Is Not Great: how religion poisons everything - Christopher Hitchens
PDF
Audiobook

8. Breaking The Spell: religion as a natural phenomenon - Daniel Dennett
PDF
Lecture

9. The End Of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason - Sam Harris
PDF
Lecture

10. Letter To A Christian Nation - Sam Harris
PDF
AudioBook

11. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea - Daniel Dennett
Essay
Lecture

12. Why People Believe Weird Things - Michael Shermer
PDF
Lecture

13. Losing Faith in Faith: from preacher to atheist - Dan Barker
Book Excerpts
Lecture

14. The Portable Atheist - Christopher Hitchens
iBooks
Audiobook

15. Complete Works Of Robert Green Ingersoll
Internet Database

16. The Moral Landscape: how science can determine human values - Sam Harris
PDF
Lecture

17. A Universe From Nothing - Lawrence Krauss
iBooks
Lecture

18. The Greatest Show On Earth, the evidence for evolution - Richard Dawkins
PDF
Lecture

19. Freewill: is Freewill just a persistent illusion? - Sam Harris
iBooks
Lecture

20. God: The Failed Hypothesis - Victor Stenger
PDF

21. The System of Nature - Baron Holbach
Vol. 1 PDF:
Vol. 2 PDF

(Source: )

Atheists to start 1-800 hotline for doubters

(CNN) – Who can people call when religious doubts arise, but they’re afraid to talk to their faith leaders or families?

A group that helps people “recover” from religion says it’s ready to pick up the phone.

Recovering from Religion, which has about 40 support groups in the U.S. and Britain, plans to launch a hotline that will offer doubters an anonymous place to ask difficult questions and find communities of like-minded nonbelievers.

The group plans to staff the help line 24 hours a day and is modeling it after services like suicide prevention hotlines.

Sarah Morehead, executive director of Recovering from Religion, told CNN that the mission is to help people, not convert them to atheism.

“A lot of the times they just need someone to talk to,” Morehead said.

The 1-800 number has yet to be named. Recovering from Religion is trying to raise $30,000 by June 30 to fund “The Hotline Project” with up to 40 counselors.

Ideally, the help line would be live by the holiday season, said Morehead, which is often a difficult time for people struggling with religious doubts…

Thomas had doubts

"It should not be lost on us that Thomas was depicted as no less righteous for refusing to believe so wild a claim without physical proof. We have as much right, and ought to follow his example. He got to see and feel the wounds before believing, and so should we. I haven’t, so I can’t be expected to believe it.] And this leads me to one final reason why I don’t buy the resurrection story. No wise or compassionate God would demand this from us. Such a god would not leave us so poorly informed about something so important. If we have a message for someone that is urgently vital for their survival, and we have any compassion, that compassion will compel us to communicate that message clearly and with every necessary proof—not ambiguously, not through unreliable mediaries presenting no real evidence. Conversely, if we see something incredible, we do not attack or punish audiences who don’t believe us, we don’t even expect them to believe—unless and until we can present decisive proof.

There is a heroic legend in the technology community about the man who invented elevator safety brakes. He claimed that any elevator fitted with his brakes, even if all the cables broke, would be safely and swiftly stopped by his new invention. No one trusted it. Did he get angry or indignant? No. He simply put himself in an elevator, ordered the cables cut, and proved to the world, by risking his own life, that his brakes worked. This is the very principle that has delivered us from superstition to science. Any claim can be made about a drug, but people are rightly wary of swallowing anything that hasn’t been thoroughly tested and re-tested and tested again. Since I have no such proofs regarding the resurrection story, I’m not going to swallow it, and it would be cruel, even for a god, to expect otherwise of me. So I can reason rightly that a god of all humankind would not appear in one tiny backwater of the Earth, in a backward time, revealing himself to a tiny unknown few, and then expect the billions of the rest of us to take their word for it, and not even their word, but the word of some unknown person many times removed.”

-Richard Carrier, Why I Don’t Buy The Resurrection Story

christinsanity:

“I’ll give them brain, and then I’ll reward only those assholes, who will ditch it and rely on stupid faith”. 
Sounds like a plan.

I think this (Jefferson’s) is a sentiment that has occurred to me since I was a small boy in church: How could The Truth be opposed to critical examination; to skepticism?  I didn’t pursue my doubt until it dawned on me that I could use the Internet to find all of the arguments for and against the proposition that God exists. And while certain sub-propositions remain unsettled -like is religion inherently bad/good for humanity- the main proposition of God actually existing, I found thoroughly refuted from every possible direction. That’s when it began to annoy me when people use it as a presupposition for anything. I’m trying to look past it when I can in order to be socially tolerable.

christinsanity:

“I’ll give them brain, and then I’ll reward only those assholes, who will ditch it and rely on stupid faith”. 

Sounds like a plan.

I think this (Jefferson’s) is a sentiment that has occurred to me since I was a small boy in church: How could The Truth be opposed to critical examination; to skepticism? I didn’t pursue my doubt until it dawned on me that I could use the Internet to find all of the arguments for and against the proposition that God exists. And while certain sub-propositions remain unsettled -like is religion inherently bad/good for humanity- the main proposition of God actually existing, I found thoroughly refuted from every possible direction. That’s when it began to annoy me when people use it as a presupposition for anything. I’m trying to look past it when I can in order to be socially tolerable.