In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and religion, 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

 

A Satirical Take on Earth’s Dystopian Future

Made by Duncan Elms, this video imagines a future where Earth has been ravaged by wars, cyclones, food shortages, destructive weather and horrible humans and turned into areas of uninhabitable zones. And yet, cities would still make bids to host the Olympic Games, even if they’re during a nuclear winter.

(Source: Gizmodo)

Many people object to “wasting money in space” yet have no idea how much is actually spent on space exploration. The CSA’s budget, for instance, is less than the amount Canadians spend on Halloween candy every year, and most of it goes toward things like developing telecommunications satellites and radar systems to provide data for weather and air quality forecasts, environmental monitoring and climate change studies. Similarly, NASA’s budget is not spent in space but right here on Earth, where it’s invested in American businesses and universities, and where it also pays dividends, creating new jobs, new technologies and even whole new industries.

Chris Hadfield, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (via thedragoninmygarage)

US Congressman Opens Climate Change Denial Confrence With Rant Against Water Fluoridation

Here at the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas, an aging crowd has gathered for the largest climate change skeptic conference in the world. Sponsored by the Heartland Institute—an oil and gas industry-funded think tank famous for its 90s-era role in taking tobacco money to deny the health risks associated with smoking—speakers at the opening session last night stressed that despite being well outside the scientific mainstream, their beliefs will one day win the battle of ideas on climate policy.

Then, things quickly got weird when the most prominent speaker of the evening opened his mouth…

If the atheist complainer is so uncomfortable when they walk into a church that there’s something inside of them squirming and making them feel these feelings of hatred toward the cross of Jesus Christ, don’t you think it’s something inside of the atheist complainer that’s wrong?

I have a solution: Let’s do an exorcism and cast the Devil out of them and then they’ll feel comfortable when they walk into church.

Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, the official Republican nominee for House District 15 in the Colorado House of Representatives

Klingenschmitt made his remarks on his “Pray In Jesus Name” program while responding to a recent Supreme Court decision which upheld a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against a Wisconsin school district that had been holding its graduation ceremonies in a local church…

Klingenschmitt, a confirmed homophobic, demon obsessed, former Navy Chaplain, is no stranger to controversy. Previously Klingenschmitt has claimed President Obama is possessed by demonic spirits; and that regardless of what the courts on earth rule, Jesus will eventually rule against gay marriage and toss all gays into Hell.

(Source: patheos.com)

Political, Religious Identity More Influential Than Scientific Literacy

Belief appears to trump fact and reason, which is why dealing with anti-vaxxers, creationists, or climate change deniers can be such a rage-inducing experience. This news is also a bit disheartening, as changing minds is not as easy as explaining the facts. What can we do to combat the fact that scientifically-literate individuals are turning their backs on facts in order to toe the line for political party or religious sect?

Map: Publicly Funded Schools That Are Allowed to Teach Creationism.
Thousands of schools in states across the country can use taxpayer money to cast doubt on basic science in the name of a particular religion.
Map: Publicly Funded Schools That Are Allowed to Teach Creationism.

Thousands of schools in states across the country can use taxpayer money to cast doubt on basic science in the name of a particular religion.

How Conspiracy Nuts Are Duping Well-Meaning Liberals

Unlike Infowars, which many people know makes little effort to hide their crackpot ideas, pages like The Mind Unleashed and WorldTruth.tv are far more subtle, at least on the surface. But dig down a little deeper as I have suggested and you’ll find Holocaust denialism and other anti-Semitism in addition to the usual vaccine conspiracies or government mind control or weather control stories.

Instead of blaming the problems our country faces on gerrymandering, voter apathy and unlimited money in politics, these sites blame wacky conspiracies. They encourage people to open or free their minds which really means to abandon educated skepticism and critical thinking and embrace pseudoscience and fantasy instead. Again, these aren’t right-wing prepper sites trying to sell overpriced survivalist gear or books. Pages like The Mind Unleashed or WorldTruth.tv are aimed firmly at the left and once they get you hooked on one kooky idea – like vaccines are plot to depopulate the planet – then they can introduce you to other insane stories and further line their pockets with advertising or merchandise dollars. Just think of it like a gateway drug to the world of anti-Semitism, chemtrails and lizard people.

As More Latinos Drop Religion, Should GOP Be Extra Worried?

…Put differently, almost 1 in 5 Hispanics now says he has no religious affiliation, more than the approximately 1 in 6 who identifies as Republican (many of whom are Cuban-Americans).

And the ranks of the Hispanic nones are growing quickly — nearly doubling from 10 percent in 2010, with the most pronounced jump occurring among younger Latinos. A whopping 31 percent of those ages 18-29 say they are religiously unaffiliated, about two-thirds the number of those who say they are Catholic (45 percent).

Only a fraction of the Hispanic nones identify as atheist (68 percent of all nones believe in God), but the growth in the number of nones mirrors a larger national trend: According to a 2012 Gallup poll, 17.8 percent of all Americans said they were nonreligious.

The growth of the Hispanic nones represents a “catching up” to the broader U.S. trend, particularly among younger Hispanics, says Hector Avalos, a professor of religious studies at Iowa State University. “It used to be that Latino identity meant a Catholic identity,” Avalos told Religion News Service. “That is no longer the case.”

The trend also means that the number of Hispanic nones has now surpassed Hispanics who say they are born-again or evangelical Protestants (16 percent), which could have some significant political consequences, particularly for Republicans. For example, according to the 2013 Hispanic Values Survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, 80 percent of religiously unaffiliated Hispanics favored same-sex marriage, while only 21 percent of Hispanic evangelical Protestants did. A similar gap exists when it comes to abortion (69 versus 25 percent) and other social issues.

So while Hispanics may not be lining up to buy the latest Richard Dawkins book, the growth of the left-leaning Latino nones suggests that the Republican Party’s “Hispanic problem” may only get worse. And given broader trends, it may not be long before the real question facing the GOP is how to address its “nones problem.”

The Shady Agendas Behind 5 Popular Conspiracy Theories

Do you ever wonder why some conspiracy theories, no matter how [ridiculous] they sound, seem to never die? Where do these things come from, anyway?

Well, it turns out that politicians have realized that in the Internet age, a good conspiracy theory can work wonders. So why not just start one? You know, like…

To Analyze Thinking We Must Identify and Question its Elemental Structures

Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudiced. If we want to think well, we must understand at least the rudiments of thought, the most basic structures out of which all thinking is made. We must learn how to take thinking apart.

Eight basic structures are present in all thinking: Whenever we think, we think for a purpose within a point of view based on assumptions leading to implications and consequences. We use concepts, ideas and theories to interpret data, facts, and experiences in order to answer questions, solve problems, and resolve issues.

Thinking, then:
-generates purposes
-raises questions
-uses information
-utilizes concepts
-makes inferences
-makes assumptions
-generates implications
-embodies a point of view

(Click through and) Simply “Mouse Over” any object on the page to learn more about it.

To Analyze Thinking We Must Identify and Question its Elemental Structures

Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudiced. If we want to think well, we must understand at least the rudiments of thought, the most basic structures out of which all thinking is made. We must learn how to take thinking apart.

Eight basic structures are present in all thinking: Whenever we think, we think for a purpose within a point of view based on assumptions leading to implications and consequences. We use concepts, ideas and theories to interpret data, facts, and experiences in order to answer questions, solve problems, and resolve issues.

Thinking, then:
-generates purposes
-raises questions
-uses information
-utilizes concepts
-makes inferences
-makes assumptions
-generates implications
-embodies a point of view

(Click through and) Simply “Mouse Over” any object on the page to learn more about it.