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

 

christiannightmares:

The U.S. military is worried about atheists, thinks ‘lack or loss of spiritual faith’ could be dangerous and lead to suicide (To read the story, click image or here; For a related post, click here http://christiannightmares.tumblr.com/post/993673476/u-s-soldiers-punished-for-not-attending)

Makes sense that the military commanders want religious soldiers. The perfect soldier obeys without question, feels divine superiority/warrant for his actions, and is convinced that death can be conquered. What better tool than religion?

christiannightmares:

The U.S. military is worried about atheists, thinks ‘lack or loss of spiritual faith’ could be dangerous and lead to suicide (To read the story, click image or here; For a related post, click here http://christiannightmares.tumblr.com/post/993673476/u-s-soldiers-punished-for-not-attending)

Makes sense that the military commanders want religious soldiers. The perfect soldier obeys without question, feels divine superiority/warrant for his actions, and is convinced that death can be conquered. What better tool than religion?

brooklynbrentton:

DARPA Atlas Robot Unveiled, Brings Judgement Day Even Closer (video)

The series of Terminator movies are a great bit of science fiction but DRAPA seems to be creating…

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Here’s some video of this technology in action.

And here’s what it will look like in a few years. 




I kid! I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

brooklynbrentton:

DARPA Atlas Robot Unveiled, Brings Judgement Day Even Closer (video)

The series of Terminator movies are a great bit of science fiction but DRAPA seems to be creating…

View Post

Here’s some video of this technology in action.

And here’s what it will look like in a few years.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I kid! I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

(Source: chasemacko)

Fight over nontheistic chaplains shows prejudice, progress


Though it didn’t make many headlines, a legislative showdown on Capitol Hill last week can be seen as the latest development in the so-called culture wars. On the surface it would appear that this particular battle was won by religious conservatives, but a closer look shows otherwise.

The legislation in question would have allowed nonreligious chaplains in the military, a proposal that sponsor Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) said was designed to serve the large segment of America’s military (almost 25%) that is nonreligious. Currently, chaplains must be appointed by religious organizations such as the Catholic Church, but Polis said this unnecessarily excludes those who are “secular humanists and ethical culturists or atheists” and that nonreligious chaplains are needed to support the “brave (nonreligious) men and women who serve in the military.”

Some have suggested that secular military personnel in need of chaplain services should opt instead for secular counseling services, but Polis pointed out that the chaplaincy option has definite advantages. “When someone (in the military) sees a psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor, it has a certain stigma that can be attached to it that doesn’t exists when you’re seeing a chaplain,” he said. “It doesn’t enjoy the same confidentiality that a chaplain visit does.”

The Polis bill was defeated, 150-274, with every House Republican voting against it. This may seem like a defeat for seculars, but such a view would be shortsighted. The fact that a bill specifically recognizing and benefiting atheists-humanists was put forward at all, and then garnered the support of 150 members of Congress, is itself significant, something that would have been highly unlikely just a few years ago, and it demonstrates the progress that the secular movement has made.

Moreover, Republican opposition to this effort revealed the ugliness of anti-atheist prejudice, a fact that will only raise awareness further and motivate seculars to push forward. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) aggressively opposed the idea of atheist chaplains, saying they would call fallen soldiers “worm food.” As outrageous as this sounds, it also ignores the reality that, under current conditions, dying atheist soldiers must face the possibility of meeting fundamentalist Christian chaplains who preach that they are heading to hell if they don’t accept Jesus. Unlike Conaway’s “worm food” absurdity, such proselytizing and threats of eternal damnation are not unknown in the military.

To add further insult, Conaway repeated the common, mean-spirited, erroneous slander that atheists “don’t believe in anything.” One must wonder whether Conaway realizes that there are atheists in his district and defending his country. Would he spit on the grave of Pat Tillman?

A Louisiana congressman, Rep. John Fleming, added to the insult, saying atheist chaplains would be “a mockery” and suggested they would only inflict misery on dying soldiers.

This may show that the American political arena is unlikely to be mistaken for an intellectual hotbed, but it also reveals something more. Seculars have lost a battle, but it’s a battle that would not have even been fought a few years ago. “Rather than dwelling on the disappointment,” said Edwina Rogers of the Secular Coalition for America (full disclosure – I am SCA president), “we are encouraged. We are proud that our issues are being more widely supported and that we are being heard and our issues taken seriously.”

Indeed, you can be sure these issues will not go away.

Source

Focus on The Family jackass braying over yoga in the military

goodreasonnews:

A new Mind Fitness Training program being tested in the U.S. military has integrated yoga, breathing classes and meditation alongside other more traditional training regimes to keep soldiers calm and mentally fit and to reduce depression and use of alcohol and drugs. To Perkins, however, this new initiative is a stand-in for one’s personal relationship with God.

When he heard about the goals of the program — that yoga promotes relaxation, mental calm, productivity and restraint from substances— he exploded:

“What a coincidence–so does faith! Unfortunately, the military seems intent on driving religion out and replacing it with wacky substitutes,” he said on his morning radio program. “They’ve added atheist chaplains, Wiccan worship centers, and now, meditation classes. But none of them are as effective or as constructive as a personal relationship with God. Unfortunately, though, it’s mind over what matters–and that’s faith.”

Abroad, armed with science, the United States could make an even bigger difference. Instead of paying $1 billion for a new B-2 bomber or $2 billion for a Virgina Class Submarine – tools designed to forcefully combat the symptoms of the world’s problems — we could pay less and actually work to solve those problems. We live in a new age where people can collaborate as never before, working cooperatively across previously insurmountable barriers of distance and language. In this modern age, we don’t need an army of soldiers; we need an army of scientists.

Chickenhawk (also chicken hawk and chicken-hawk):

a political term used in the United States to describe a person who strongly supports war or other military action (i.e., a War Hawk), yet who actively avoided military service when of age.
The term indicates that the person in question is hypocritical for personally dodging a draft or otherwise shirking their duty to their country during a time of armed conflict while advocating that others do so.

Generally, the implication is that chickenhawks lack the moral character to ask others to support, fight and perhaps die in an armed conflict. Those who avoid military service and continue to oppose armed aggression are not chickenhawks.

(from Wikipedia)

(Source: odinsblog)

religiousragings:

cynicalxme:

sugashane:

The notion that if we cut our defense budget by as little as 10%, we’d be completely defenseless and prone to disaster is ridiculous. 
We could cut our defense budget by 75% (nearly $500 billion!) and we’d still spend more than our two biggest threats combined; Russia & China.

Can we plaster this graph all over the news, and billboards, pls?
thx.

And the notion that we need to INCREASE our defense budget by two trillion when the DOD isn’t even asking for it is even more ludicrous.

religiousragings:

cynicalxme:

sugashane:

The notion that if we cut our defense budget by as little as 10%, we’d be completely defenseless and prone to disaster is ridiculous. 

We could cut our defense budget by 75% (nearly $500 billion!) and we’d still spend more than our two biggest threats combined; Russia & China.

Can we plaster this graph all over the news, and billboards, pls?

thx.

And the notion that we need to INCREASE our defense budget by two trillion when the DOD isn’t even asking for it is even more ludicrous.

Update: Armed Forces Show Overwhelming Support for Obama | OpenSecrets

Update, Oct. 21: Fundraising numbers for the month of September show Obama continuing to dominate when it comes to contributions from the military. The new data, which came in after the story below was published Oct. 15, show he raised $142,197, just a shade less than he collected in August, his strongest month with this set of donors. Romney brought in $111,015 for his best month ever with military donors, but that was still 22 percent less than Obama received.

The new numbers bring Obama’s total from military donors to $678,611, and Romney’s to $398,450.

(Source: sarahlee310)

As a combat veteran of two tours in Vietnam with twenty-two years of service as a Republican member of the U.S. House and Senate, I endorse President Barack Obama for a second term as our Commander-in-Chief. Candidates publicly praise our service members, veterans and their families, but President Obama supports them in word and deed, anywhere and every time.

underthemountainbunker:

Sen. Jim Webb issues stinging attack on Mitt Romney
Roll Call: Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) joined President Barack Obama in Virginia Beach today and issued a stinging attack on Mitt Romney’s failure to mention veterans during his presidential nomination acceptance speech, while also noting that Romney did not serve in the military.
“They will not say this, so I will say it for them. They are owed, if nothing else, at least a mention, some word of thanks and respect, when a presidential candidate who is their generational peer makes a speech accepting his party’s nomination to be commander in chief,” Webb said, according to his prepared remarks. “And they are owed much more than that – a guarantee that we will never betray the commitment that we made to them and to their loved ones.”
The former Marine and Navy secretary appeared to poke at Romney for receiving draft deferments during the Vietnam War.
“Gov. Romney and I are about the same age. Like millions of others in our generation, we came to adulthood facing the harsh realities of the Vietnam War,” Webb said, adding that he didn’t envy or resent choices people made about how to handle the draft as a long as they did so under the law.
“But those among us who stepped forward to face the harsh unknowns and the lifelong changes that can come from combat did so with the belief that their service would be honored and that our leaders would, in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, care for those who had borne the battle, and for their widows and their children.”
The veterans of that war “are not bitter. They know what they did. But in receiving veterans’ benefits, they are not takers. They were givers, in the ultimate sense of that word. There is a saying among war veterans: ‘All gave some, some gave all.’ This is not a culture of dependency. It is a part of a long tradition that gave this country its freedom and independence.”

underthemountainbunker:

Sen. Jim Webb issues stinging attack on Mitt Romney

Roll Call: Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) joined President Barack Obama in Virginia Beach today and issued a stinging attack on Mitt Romney’s failure to mention veterans during his presidential nomination acceptance speech, while also noting that Romney did not serve in the military.

“They will not say this, so I will say it for them. They are owed, if nothing else, at least a mention, some word of thanks and respect, when a presidential candidate who is their generational peer makes a speech accepting his party’s nomination to be commander in chief,” Webb said, according to his prepared remarks. “And they are owed much more than that – a guarantee that we will never betray the commitment that we made to them and to their loved ones.”

The former Marine and Navy secretary appeared to poke at Romney for receiving draft deferments during the Vietnam War.

“Gov. Romney and I are about the same age. Like millions of others in our generation, we came to adulthood facing the harsh realities of the Vietnam War,” Webb said, adding that he didn’t envy or resent choices people made about how to handle the draft as a long as they did so under the law.

“But those among us who stepped forward to face the harsh unknowns and the lifelong changes that can come from combat did so with the belief that their service would be honored and that our leaders would, in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, care for those who had borne the battle, and for their widows and their children.”

The veterans of that war “are not bitter. They know what they did. But in receiving veterans’ benefits, they are not takers. They were givers, in the ultimate sense of that word. There is a saying among war veterans: ‘All gave some, some gave all.’ This is not a culture of dependency. It is a part of a long tradition that gave this country its freedom and independence.”

suitep:

Ricky Watson of Littleton, Colorado wipes tears from his eyes after he thanked President Barack Obama for repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at a campaign rally in Golden, Colorado, September 13. Watson was kicked out of the Air Force 25 years ago for being gay.

The only people who want to hug Mitt Romney on the trail are investment bankers.

ikenbot:

How much money is spent on space exploration?

Space agencies involved in human space flight are located in the US (NASA), Russia, The European Union (ESA), China, Canada, Japan and India. The US, Russia and China are the only countries to have independently put people in space. India and Japan state that they have the intention of doing this in the coming decades. European and Canadian astronauts fly with NASA, and the Russian Space Agency and are involved in the International Space Station.

You can see the NASA budget over the last 40 or so years here. In 2005 NASA had a budget of $16.2 billion, this includes not only the human spaceflight division, but also other engineering projects, and science funded by NASA. The total federal spending budget in 2005 was on the order of $2 trillion ($2000 billion), making the NASA share 0.8% of the budget. By comparison roughly 19% of the budget was spent on the Military, 21% on Social Security and 8% went to paying interest on the national debt.

The ESA budget for 2005 was 2.98 billion euros (about 3.5 billion dollars), but many European countries also have their own space agencies which are independently funded, so it’s not strictly a fair comparison.

ESA and NASA are by far the highest funded agencies. The Russian space agency has an annual budget of $800-900 million dollars (and it’s about the same for India), Japan ~1.8 billion, China ~1.2 billion.

:.(

ikenbot:

How much money is spent on space exploration?

Space agencies involved in human space flight are located in the US (NASA), Russia, The European Union (ESA), China, Canada, Japan and India. The US, Russia and China are the only countries to have independently put people in space. India and Japan state that they have the intention of doing this in the coming decades. European and Canadian astronauts fly with NASA, and the Russian Space Agency and are involved in the International Space Station.

You can see the NASA budget over the last 40 or so years here. In 2005 NASA had a budget of $16.2 billion, this includes not only the human spaceflight division, but also other engineering projects, and science funded by NASA. The total federal spending budget in 2005 was on the order of $2 trillion ($2000 billion), making the NASA share 0.8% of the budget. By comparison roughly 19% of the budget was spent on the Military, 21% on Social Security and 8% went to paying interest on the national debt.

The ESA budget for 2005 was 2.98 billion euros (about 3.5 billion dollars), but many European countries also have their own space agencies which are independently funded, so it’s not strictly a fair comparison.

ESA and NASA are by far the highest funded agencies. The Russian space agency has an annual budget of $800-900 million dollars (and it’s about the same for India), Japan ~1.8 billion, China ~1.2 billion.

:.(