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

 

Atheists Classified As Terrorists Under New Saudi Arabian Laws

Atheists are being defined as terrorists under a raft of new Saudi Arabian laws, a report from Human Rights Watch states.

The new laws are accompanied by a series of related royal decrees which appear to criminalise virtually all dissident thought or expression as terrorism.

“Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their policies, but these recent laws and regulations turn almost any critical expression or independent association into crimes of terrorism,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at HRW.

Regulations from the Interior Ministry cite “terrorism” provisions to include: “Calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.”

All that we have to do is to send two mujahedin to the furthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaeda, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies. This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the mujahedin, bled Russia for ten years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat… So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was an Alex Jones fan

cognitivedissonance:

From the “Shit you can’t make up” files:

In a bizarre twist befitting a Hollywood conspiracy theory movie. the AP reports today that Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was influenced by conspiracy theories, including Alex Jones’ website Infowars, which has been pushing a narrative that the Tsarnaev brothers were patsies set up by a government cabal to take the fall for the bombing

There’s no doubt that Jones will take this report as confirmation of everything he’s been preaching. The report, he will claim, was planted in the AP — the government controls the media, after all — and is a naked attempt to discredit him and definitive proof that the globalist cabal views him as a serious threat. He was getting too close to the truth in Boston, so they decided to try to take him out. It’ll be a big shot in the arm to Jones’ grand theory of the bombings, which has suffered from an embarrassing lack of evidence and logical consistently. He said the government first planned to blame the Tea Party, but then was found out and had to switch Plan B — blame Muslim extremists — so with the AP report, Jones will say, the government is trying to return to Plan A.

Other reports state that the suspects’ mother was a believer in 9/11 truther theories — specifically ones spouted by Jones and others -- that  claim 9/11 was a government conspiracy to make Americans hate Muslims because terrorism, but was concocted to take away civil rights and gain power, blah blah blah.

For people who think the government is largely incompetent, Jones and his followers sure have a lot of faith in it. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out as the investigation continues, considering anything said regarding Tsarnaev being a fan of Alex Jones can, of course, just be another part of the “conspiracy.”

Swap jihad for lush rehab: Saudi Arabia opens relaxation center for jailed Al-Qaeda extremists

Saudi Arabia hopes to put imprisoned Al-Qaeda militants on the right path and make them drop their thoughts of jihad by offering them spa treatments, exercise and counseling at a new luxurious rehabilitation facility in the capital, Riyadh.

As part of the program de-radicalization program, inmates will be able to relax in the center in between sessions with counselor and talks about religion, reports AFP.

The Riyadh rehab center is designed to accommodate 228 prisoners: 19 inmates in each of the facility’s 12 buildings.

The facility spreads over an area equivalent to around 10 football pitches (over 10 hectares) and includes an Olympic-size swimming pool, a sauna, a gym and a television hall. The prisoners will also have access to special suites where they can spend time with visiting family members. Besides that, as a bonus for good behavior, they could get a two-day break with their wives[…]

[…]Another similar facility has already been opened in the western port city of Jeddah, while three more are planned for different parts of the kingdom.

The Riyadh center though is the first one to offer jailed Al-Qaeda members – or the “deviant group,” as they are referred to by the country’s authorities – a lap of luxury as a boost to reconsider their beliefs.

It is planned that during the day prisoners will attend seminars on religious affairs.

“In order to fight terrorism, we must give them an intellectual and psychological balance… through dialogue and persuasion,” said the director of the rehabilitation centers, Said al-Bishi.

So far, some 2,336 Al-Qaeda prisoners have been through Saudi rehabilitation schemes, he said. No more than 10 per cent of former inmates rejoin extremist groups, Bishi noted, adding that such proportion is “encouraging.”

However, the program does have its opponents, especially given that some there have been some high-profile returns to the ranks of jihad. For instance, Saeed al-Shehri - a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who went through a rehabilitation program in Saudi Arabia - upon his release traveled to Yemen and became deputy leader of Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula.

Liberals are particularly unhappy with the religious content of the program, saying that it draws on an ultra-conservative version of Islam – which not so different from Al-Qaeda’s own.

(Source: rt.com)

Black guy kills some people.

Society: Criminal.

Muslim guy kills some people.

Society: Terrorist.

Latino guy kills some people.

Society: Criminal.

White guy kills some people.

Society: Mental illness. (lost soul, complicated psyche, quiet loner, misunderstood, frustrated with life, experienced recent, traumatic, life-altering events that set him off; not to mention all the positive descriptors that are attached to him, i.e. intelligent, PhD candidate, honor roll student, etc.)

What both of these groups do represent are the very real dark sides of their religions. The reason I don’t judge all Christians or Muslims on the actions of these few, is that I give the vast majority of religious people the benefit of the doubt; not that their religion is benevolent, but that they rightfully ignore large parts of it.

 I have to assume that the majority of Muslims don’t agree that I should lose my life for criticizing their prophet, if it turns out that they do believe that, then it might be reasonable to think that these bastards do indeed represent them. If religious groups don’t wish to be judged by the actions of their more fundamentalists members, then they should publicly ostracize those members. But I believe the reason they often hesitate to do so is that it’s uncomfortable to have to publicly denounce parts of your own religion that they would rather just privately ignore. Passive believers provide the environment for these mad men to feel justified in their beliefs. 

The problem with religious fundamentalists are the fundamentals of religion. We should consider that religion has evolved (reformed) as much as it has due, in part, to reasonable pressure to cut out the violent and hateful bullshit and to drop the more ridiculous doctrines in order to remain viable.

What both of these groups do represent are the very real dark sides of their religions. The reason I don’t judge all Christians or Muslims on the actions of these few, is that I give the vast majority of religious people the benefit of the doubt; not that their religion is benevolent, but that they rightfully ignore large parts of it.

I have to assume that the majority of Muslims don’t agree that I should lose my life for criticizing their prophet, if it turns out that they do believe that, then it might be reasonable to think that these bastards do indeed represent them. If religious groups don’t wish to be judged by the actions of their more fundamentalists members, then they should publicly ostracize those members. But I believe the reason they often hesitate to do so is that it’s uncomfortable to have to publicly denounce parts of your own religion that they would rather just privately ignore. Passive believers provide the environment for these mad men to feel justified in their beliefs.

The problem with religious fundamentalists are the fundamentals of religion. We should consider that religion has evolved (reformed) as much as it has due, in part, to reasonable pressure to cut out the violent and hateful bullshit and to drop the more ridiculous doctrines in order to remain viable.

9/11 and the Science of Controlled Demolitions

Is there any scientific validity to the claims of 9/11 controlled demolition conspiracists about the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings?

Skeptic Magazine did a thorough job finding the answer.

Killing in the Name of God: Not a Crime to the FBI Unless Your God is Allah

goodreasonnews:

republicanidiots:

“…While Islamists and animal rights and environmental activists regularly spend years behind bars under terrorism sentences, antiabortion criminals are seldom punished as severely. Grady, it would seem, is the latest antiabortion activist accused of a crime that would be harshly punished if, say, he had done it in the name of Allah or Mother Earth…”

Source: Salon.com

I’d also like to know why this piece of shit isn’t being charged with attempted murder.

Also, what in the funk happened to Wisconsin?

Anti-abortion terrorists are attacking women’s health clinics that don’t even perform abortions

abaldwin360:

Anti-abortion violence has been a critical part of the so-called culture wars since the 70s.  And it raises profound issues that as a democratic society, built on a constitutional system and carefully constructed culture of religious pluralism, we have dealt with poorly.  

Although the vast majority of anti-abortion leaders condemn violence and consider acts of violence to undermine their cause; serious crimes, including acts of violence against abortion providers continue.  Most recently, there have been three burglaries and two arsons against Atlanta area clinics and the offices of ob gyn physicians,   making regionalnews. However, the doctors who have been victims of the burglaries and one of the arsons believe that although they do not perform abortions, they were being targeted in retaliation for public opposition to antiabortion “fetal pain” legislation recently signed by the governor. 

read more

These are the actions of terrorists.

Terrorism for damn sure.

FDR was right: ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’ More so than any terror threat, it is the fear mongering about national security that presents the greatest danger to our Republic’s future. No ‘home of the brave’ would be brow-beaten by fears of ‘giving rights to terrorists’ into resigning its own rights, inviting repression upon itself by allowing government powers long used to define authoritarianism. Welcome to the U.S. House of Representatives! Is it too generous to say that democracy in America hangs by a thread?

Shahid Buttar, Congress cans the Constitution, as Chicago police abduct activists

The failures of Congress, or for that matter the (to quote…ahem…Sarah Palin) “lamestream press” to pay any heed to these myriad [transpartisan] voices [of dissent against the NDAA] suggests a process problem even beyond military detention. If our elected leaders are beholden to executive power and hellbent on eroding the judiciary’s (and their own) ability to check future abuses, does it even matter what We the People do?

It’s a bit like watching a Republic fall apart at the seams, in slow motion.

(via theamericanbear)

Latest Underwear Bomber Was CIA Informant

anti-propaganda:

‘A report coming out of the Los Angeles Times and citing US and Yemeni officials appears to confirm widely-voiced suspicions that the latest supposed “underwear bomb” plot was little more than a contrived threat - the potential Al Qaeda bomber was actually, it seems, a CIA informant.

The LA Times reports how the informant, working under the direction of Saudi Arabian intelligence and the CIA, posed as a would-be suicide bomber in an attempt to persuade Yemeni bombmakers to provide him with a “new kind of non-metallic bomb that the militants were designing to easily pass through airport security”.

The double agent instead arranged for the explosive device to be delivered to US intelligence agents in Yemen, and he is now out of the country and being debriefed. The bomb is reportedly currently being analysed at an FBI laboratory.’

So the plot that the CIA foiled was of their own making?? I guess somebody had to revive Al Qeada’s ghost. How else would we keep the war on terror rolling along?