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

 

Yet another reason that I deplore organized religion

helvetebrann:

I waited a day to post this in the hopes that I wouldn’t be so furious. It didn’t help much.

In order to avoid presenting any identifying information about this story, it does have to be vague. I’m going to be talking about one my students, whom I shall now refer to as X. X…

CHILD BRIDE FORCED TO MARRY POISONS GROOM

KANO, Nigeria (AP) — A child bride forced into marriage in Nigeria killed a groom and three of his friends with a poisoned meal, police said Thursday.

Fourteen-year-old Wasila Umaru was married last week to 35-year-old Umaru Sani, according to assistant superintendent Musa Magaji Majia.

Over the weekend, the groom invited a dozen friends to celebrate at his Ungwar Yansoro village, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the northern city of Kano.

The teenager told police she bought rat poison at a village market and used it to prepare a dish of rice.

"The suspect confessed to committing the crime and said she did it because she was forced to marry a man she did not love," Majia told The Associated Press…

nationalpostphotos:

NEW BORN: Gorilla mother Kumili arms her newborn at the zoo in Leipzig, central Germany, Thursday, March 20, 2014. The baby gorilla was born during the night between 10 and 11 March 2014 and its sex is still unknown. It’s the second  gorilla baby born  within four month in this monkey group. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

adorable

Fail: Pope Francis defends church record on sexual abuse of children

Liar or a fool? Pope Francis is defending the appalling record of the Catholic Church concerning the rape and sexual abuse of children by priests, claiming the church has moved with “transparency and responsibility” on the matter.

Transparency and responsibility? Is he serious? The Catholic church has been neither transparent nor responsible in their handling of the rampant sexual abuse of children by pedophile priests. To claim otherwise is ludicrous.

In fact, according to a scathing report issued by the United Nations, the Vatican, under the watchful eye of Pope Francis, continues to protect and enable pedophile priests engaged in the sexual abuse of children…

I think that it is such a privilege to understand where we come from, a privilege for all of us born after 1859, that to deny children that privilege is wicked, it’s a deprivation that should not be visited on any child, when the truth is so staggeringly exciting. When we have shared ancestors with every living thing, we have a history of four billion years of slow, gradual evolution, that’s not something that we can easily take on board, but the effort of doing so is well worth it. It’s such a beautiful thought that we are the heirs of four billion years of evolution. When you put that against the measly, piddling little ideas in Genesis it’s just no comparison, and it’s a sad and diminishing deprivation of a child’s opportunity to be denied that knowledge.

Richard Dawkins, interview with The National Geographic Channel (via thedragoninmygarage)

Many adults are put off when youngsters pose scientific questions. Children ask why the sun is yellow, or what a dream is, or how deep you can dig a hole, or when is the world’s birthday, or why we have toes.

Too many teachers and parents answer with irritation or ridicule, or quickly move on to something else. Why adults should pretend to omniscience before a five-year-old, I can’t for the life of me understand. What’s wrong with admitting that you don’t know? Children soon recognize that somehow this kind of question annoys many adults. A few more experiences like this, and another child has been lost to science.

There are many better responses. If we have an idea of the answer, we could try to explain. If we don’t, we could go to the encyclopedia or the library. Or we might say to the child: “I don’t know the answer. Maybe no one knows. Maybe when you grow up, you’ll be the first to find out.

Carl Sagan (via perfect)

(Source: cosmo-nautic)

Dear Theist Parents

teachthemhowtothink:

//I’ve been fighting off tears of sympathy and sadness and horror for the last six hours, but now that the kids are in bed I can finally let them flow freely.

Dear theist parents,

Your children would have made you proud today.  They told the one child that stood up for them against bullies on the playground a few weeks ago that he was a terrible person because he doesn’t go to church. 

Your children would have made you proud today.  They told the one child they trusted to never laugh at their expense, that he was headed for hell because he doesn’t believe in your god.  And that they would laugh at him from heaven.

Your children would have made you proud today.  They told their best friend, the friend that was always there for them with encouraging words and a huge smile and help with reading, that they would never talk to him again him because he was evil.  They don’t want his evil to turn them evil too.

Your children would have made you proud today.  They told the child that has so much empathy he would happily spend HOURS searching for medicine on that silly City Folk game because one of the characters was sick, that he is just as bad as your devil.

Your children would have made you proud today.  They told the child who decided to donate all of his allowance money and several of his Christmas presents to the women’s shelter so the kids there could have a few nice new things, that he’d be better off gone because atheists are evil.

Dear theist parents.  Pat yourself on the back.  You’ve taught your children hate and cruelty, you’ve taught them malicious words and a spiteful religion, you’ve taught your children how to bully anyone that doesn’t bow down to a god your kids couldn’t even define. 

I hope you’re proud.

~JJ

teachthemhowtothink:

perpetualvelocity:

theskylardiaries:

I need to remember these sometimes.

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Excellent advice, all of it.

(Source: lydieslittlefamily)