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; natural wonders and supernatural blunders.

"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

 

Pakistani Taliban vow to attack Malala Yousafzai again

SWAT: The Pakistani Taliban on Monday said schoolgirl campaigner Malala Yousafzai had “no courage” and vowed to attack her again if they got the chance.

This would also be acurate with a mob of evangelical Christian home-schoolers.

This would also be acurate with a mob of evangelical Christian home-schoolers.

breakingnews:

14-year-old peace activist shot in Pakistan
BBC News: A 14-year-old rights activist who has campaigned for girls’ education has been shot and injured in the Swat Valley in north-west Pakistan.
Malala Yousafzai was attacked on her way home from school in Mingora, the region’s main town.
Nominated for an international peace award, she came to public attention in 2009 by writing a diary for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban.
Photo: Malala Yousafzai pictured on March 26, 2009 in Peshawar, Pakistan (Photo by Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images)

breakingnews:

14-year-old peace activist shot in Pakistan

BBC News: A 14-year-old rights activist who has campaigned for girls’ education has been shot and injured in the Swat Valley in north-west Pakistan.

Malala Yousafzai was attacked on her way home from school in Mingora, the region’s main town.

Nominated for an international peace award, she came to public attention in 2009 by writing a diary for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban.

Photo: Malala Yousafzai pictured on March 26, 2009 in Peshawar, Pakistan (Photo by Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images)

Karzai Calls for Arrest of Taliban in Public Execution

hatefulatheist:

A video of a woman being publicly executed, supposedly for adultery, sparked outrage in Afghanistan—and now President Hamid Karzai has ordered the arrest of the Taliban involved. Officials actually believe the woman was killed—shot nine times as a throng of people cheered—because two Taliban commanders both had a relationship with her and ended up fighting over her; the adultery charge, they believe, was simply an attempt by the Taliban to safe face.

The two commanders “faked a court to decide the fate of this woman and in one hour, they executed the woman,” a provincial governor tells CNN. But both commanders were then killed by a third commander, he claims. Karzai ordered today that everyone involved be arrested and punished, and the commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan has offered the help of NATO troops. The video has sparked concern over the 2014 NATO withdrawal and the consequences it has on women in the country.

The above link also includes a CNN video related to the story where it mentions that dozens of men sit on a hillside nearby watching it all happen and chanting “God is great”. It is unfortunate to say but these stories will likely not stop anytime in the near future as troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

Taliban shoot woman 9 times in public execution as men cheer

friendlyatheist:

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — A shot rings out, but the burqa-clad woman sitting on the rocky ground does not respond.

The man pointing a rifle at her from a few feet away lets loose another round, but still there is no reaction.

He fires a third shot, and finally the woman slumps backwards.

But the man fires another shot.

And another. And another.

Nine shots in all.

Around him, dozens of men on a hillside cheer: “God is great!”

God is not great.

mohandasgandhi:

newsweek:

Soldiers seem to be a bit peeved at Joe Biden for his comments in this week’s issue stating the Taliban aren’t our enemy in Afghanistan.

Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us.

But are they actually our enemy? We originally went to Afghanistan in search of the terrorists behind 9/11. Now, Al Qaeda’s mostly moved on to other countries. But the Taliban, many argue, are just as guilty for harboring the terrorists in the first place—not to mention their continuing to kill American troops. What do you guys think?

[h/t BuzzFeed, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus]

It depends on what one means by “enemy” and in this case, Joe Biden is right. Sure, the Taliban’s ideology may be contrary to U.S. “values” but are they a force we need to be actively fighting in Afghanistan over? No. What are we doing to do, kill every last Taliban member? Continued Western presence in the Middle East is “radicalizing” people who don’t want us there. The UN coalition troops stationed in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War helped fuel the “radicalism” that brought down the Trade Centers. If you look at the Taliban numbers, they decreased after the initial invasion of Afghanistan because we were killing them but they’re nearly back up to their original numbers. Why is that? Because we’re occupying the Middle East! Are we supposed to stay forever to prevent the Taliban from ever taking power over Afghanistan again? No. We need to get out. We “lost” these ridiculous “wars on terror” and we need to end them because they’re counterproductive. As long as we’re in Afghanistan and occupying the Middle East, “radicalization” will grow.