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

 

theletteraesc:

anarcho-queer:

Study Reveals It Costs Much Less to House The Homeless Than to Leave Them on the Street

Not only is it morally wrong to let people live desperately on the streets, but it doesn’t make much economical sense either.

A new study has found that it’s significantly cheaper to house the homeless than leave them on the streets.

University of North Carolina Charlotte researchers released a study on Monday that tracked chronically homeless adults housed in the Moore Place facility run by Charlotte’s Urban Ministry Center (UMC) in partnership with local government. Housing these people led to dramatic cost savings that more than paid for the cost of putting them in decent housing, including $1.8 million in health care savings from 447 fewer ER visits (78% reduction) and 372 fewer hospital days (79% reduction). Tenants also spent 84 fewer days in jail, with a 72% drop in arrests.

Moore Place cost $6 million in land and construction costs, and tenants are required to contribute 30% of their income (mainly benefits) towards rent. The remainder of the $14,000 per tenant annually is covered by donations and local and federal funding. According to the UNCC study, that $14,000 pales in comparison to the costs a chronically homeless person racks up every year to society — a stunning $39,458 in combined medical, judicial and other costs.

What’s more, Moore Place is enabling the formerly homeless to find their own sources of income. Without housing, just 50% were able to generate any income. One year after move-in, they’re up to 82%. And after an average length of 7 years of homelessness, 94% of the original tenants retained their housing after 18 months, with a 99% rent collection rate.

The general population is biased: The original proposal for Moore Place was “controversial, if not ridiculed,” according to the Charlotte Observer. Locals mocked the idea that giving the homeless subsidized housing would do any good. A 2011 report commissioned by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority found that people have condescending attitudes towards the homeless, with the public perceiving higher levels of substance abuse problems (91%) and mental health issues (85%) than reported by the homeless themselves (41% and 24% respectively). It concluded that if “personal failings as the main cause of homelessness, it is unlikely that they will vote for increased public assistance or volunteer to help the homeless themselves.

But “you can’t argue with the statistics," said UMC housing director Caroline Chambre. “This approach was controversial at one time because of the stereotype of who the homeless are, and we had to change that stereotype.

In 2012, total welfare spending for the poor was just 0.47% of the federal budget. It turns out that maybe if we spent a little more to help the chronically destitute solve their problems, we could save a lot of money.

Of course, what’s more important than saving money is being able to punish people and enjoy the warm glow of moral superiority while you do it.

British judge orders Mormon leader to prove faith’s origins...

confrontingbabble-on:

Now we are actually getting somewhere!  Next, Christians must prove the resurrection…by bringing Jesus to court…and getting him to walk on water!

"A disgruntled former Mormon has convinced an English court to file two summonses to appear against Thomas S. Monson, the current president of the Mormon Church. Tom Phillips based his complaint on the Fraud Act of 2006, a British law that outlaws making a profit off of false representations. According to Phillips, this is precisely what the Mormon Church does — it uses statements it knows to be factually untrue in order to secure tithes from members of the Church. The facts in question, court records show, are tenets of the Mormon faith, including that Joseph Smith translated The Book of Mormon from ancient gold plates, that Native Americans are descendants of a family of Israelites, and that death didn’t exist on this planet until 6,000 years ago. “These are not statements of mere ‘beliefs’ or opinions or theories,” Phillips wrote. “They are made as actual facts and their truthfulness can be objectively tested with evidence.”

Read in full http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/05/legal-experts-gobsmacked-after-british-judge-orders-mormon-leader-to-prove-faiths-origins/

Splendid.

omgitsbrilliant:

livindavidaloki:

redhjedi:

The Hulk ain’t never lied.

I can’t even express how much respect I have for Mark Ruffalo.  The dude’s on the US terrorism watchlist for fuck’s sake.

Omg, it’s true

(Source: pipeschapman)

I mean, if you think about the trillion dollars of public money that went to bailing out Wall Street after the 2008 financial crisis, and the terms of that bailout as well, asking nothing of Wall Street, prosecuting nobody, and preparing people for this idea that says the role of public spending is really to bail out private capital. And that’s the way our society is going to work. Money will flow up. We have a trickle-up economic program in this country. So instead of a more classical economic model that says, if you get money in the hands of working people, they will spend that money, and that will stimulate more demand and make the economy grow, the other thing the other model is now it’s a finance model that says, get as much money as possible in the hands of big business. And that’s going to be the basis of our economy, even though it’s going to, in an incredible sense, be like inequality on steroids.

When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession — as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life — will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease … But beware! The time for all this is not yet. For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight.

John Maynard Keynes

stfuconservatives:

smdxn:

Eliz. Warren wants to cut student interest rates to near zero

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has introduced her first piece of legislation. It’s called the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, and would reduce the rate students pay on federally-subsidized student loans for one year, from 3.4% to 0.75%.
Without congressional action, on July 1 the rate is set to double from 3.4% to 6.8%.
Warren brings up an interesting point – her bill simply asks students to pay the same rates that big banks pay for borrowing.


She’s literally just asking if college grads can get the same deal as bank CEOs. The exact same interest rate. Not even a bailout or anything fancy (pipe dreams!) - just the same interest rate.

stfuconservatives:

smdxn:

Eliz. Warren wants to cut student interest rates to near zero

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has introduced her first piece of legislation. It’s called the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, and would reduce the rate students pay on federally-subsidized student loans for one year, from 3.4% to 0.75%.

Without congressional action, on July 1 the rate is set to double from 3.4% to 6.8%.

Warren brings up an interesting point – her bill simply asks students to pay the same rates that big banks pay for borrowing.

She’s literally just asking if college grads can get the same deal as bank CEOs. The exact same interest rate. Not even a bailout or anything fancy (pipe dreams!) - just the same interest rate.