News And Links For Atheists:4/26/08
AUDIO: Interviews with Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer
AUDIO: Interview with Dan Dennett
Top 10 Conversation Killers for Atheists: How Religious Theists Can Hurt Their Cause
Is religion a threat to rationality and science?
Pope Benedict XVI: You're Free to Agree With MeYes, says Prof Daniel Dennett
Freedom isn't really freedom in the Catholic Church. When they say that adherents are "free," I hope that Catholics pay a lot of attention to the fine print because it's the fine print that will kill you if you aren't careful. According to Pope Benedict XVI, academic freedom in Catholic institutions of higher learning only extends so far as Catholic doctrine does — once you pass that, freedom begins to disappear.
I hate to say it, but I find this Pope very creepy. He would fit in well with the Watchtower's Governing Body, I think.Scientists study evidence modern birds came from dinosaurs
Human line 'nearly split in two'It looks like chickens deserve more respect. Scientists are fleshing out the proof that today's broiler-fryer is descended from the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. And, not a surprise, they confirmed a close relationship between mastodons and elephants.
News And Links For Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses:4/19/08
Worlds Apart: An Independant Film About Jehovah's Witnesses Starts Showings Soon
Thanks to another Isaac from JWD for this one. Click the JWD link to see the times and dates.I pray her kids forgive her: Jehovah outcast's message to twins who lost mum when she refused transfusion
AN ex-Jehovah's Witness whose dad died refusing a blood transfusion last night blasted the religion that led tragic mum Emma Gough to leave her newborn twins motherless.
Also of interest from Letters From The Governing Body Of Jehovah's Witnesses...Organ Transplants Were Once forbidden
Announcement To Elders Only: A new Tract Campaign
Special Talk Given by Brother Losch To Members of the Bethel Family. Instructions Were Given Not To Post This Talk on the Internet.
Organ Transplants Were Once forbidden
News And Links For Atheists:4/18/08
Pope attacks US sex abuse record
If the pope is 'ashamed,' why isn't he ashamed that he's sheltering Bernard Law?
The afterlife is an oxymoron
The Paranoid Style in American Science
Teach the controversy?
A Conversation with Expelled's Associate Producer Mark Mathis
VIDEO SPOOF: Sexpelled: No Intercourse Allowed
Sexpelled: No Intercourse Allowed tells of how Sex Theory has thrived unchallenged in the ivory towers of academia, as the explanation for how new babies are created. Proponents of Stork Theory claim that "Big Sex" has been suppressing their claim that babies are delivered by storks. Furthermore, Stork Theory proponents warn of the serious moral dangers posed by teaching children that sex has a function. They point out that evil dictators such as Hitler, Stalin and Mao all believed in Sex Theory, and they may have even had sex themselves.
News And Links For Atheists:4/17/08
Consider it "Evolution VS Creationism Thursday" on AGN, kids! "Expelled" - the pro-creationist documentary - is partly to blame.Expelled: Now with added anti-Semitism
Look, ma! I can quote-mine historians too!
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed--Scientific American's TakeIn the absence of evidence or solid logical arguments, Creationists have long resorted to the strategy of quote-mining, the purposeful misrepresentation of scientists' opinions by selective or distorted quotation of their words, to buttress their claims. With the Creationists behind the movie Expelled hard at work to demonstrate that "Darwinism" was a necessary pre-condition for the Holocaust and Hitler's primary inspiration, it was only a matter of time before historians suffered the same fate. Enter David Klinghoffer, the Discovery Institute's hired hit-pen and journalistic hatchet job expert.
John Rennie, Michael Shermer and Steve Mirsky all watched Ben Stein's new antievolution movie. Here's what they had to say about its design flaws.
And, on a related note...Evolution: 24 myths and misconceptions
AUSTIN CLINE: What is Intolerance? What is Tolerance? What Does it Mean to be Intolerant?If you think you understand it, you don't know nearly enough about it
Love the Sinner, Hate the SinMany Christians Have a Double Standard in their Demands for More Tolerance
Why The New Battlestar Galactica Is Better Than Star Trek(Eat It Trek Nerds!)4/15/08
I've been wanting to do a review of the first episode of Battlestar Galactica, season 4, for a while now. This is pretty much because the new Galactica rules. But since the second episode has already come and gone, all my Battlestar Galactica buddies will have seen the new season by now and realized that it's going to be totally awesome. (Duh!) Therefore, a review would be a little late. So how can I spin this in a way that will keep me both smug and amused?
More at the link...
News And Links For Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses:4/13/08
Jehovah’s Witness elders must testify about molest allegations
Jehovah’s Witness who died giving birth after refusing blood transfusion told doctor I am dying faithful to my God, inquest hears
I've often wondered what would happen if my wife needs a transfusion. Unfortunately, the impact this decision can have on those who love and depend on the Witness doesn't matter. Too bad for us I guess. What if it's a single mother with kids? What will the kids do?FROM Beyond Jehovah's Witnesses: Wives
Officials in Penza, Russia Demonize Mormons, Jehovah's WitnessesRecently I was talking by phone with a JW. He has come to the realization that he no longer wants to be one. For me a very interesting moment came when I heard his wife in the background. She was criticizing our conversation. I began to reflect on the difficulty spouses have with mates who leave the WT. His wife was complaining that it made no sense in her mind why her husband should be seeking out exJWs to talk with. "Why not just leave if you want to go?", she cries.
TOPIC FROM JWD Forum: Songs that move you XJW style
NEW YAHOO GROUP: Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses Youth Support
EXCERPT: Visions of Glory Series
There is no voluntary resignation in our organization, Covington told a jury in the Moyle case.
For years after I left Bethel, I dreamed that I was back in the antiseptic halls of the Watchtower residence, fighting to find a way out. At each EXIT sign a Witness stood, smiling, barring my way: "There is no way out.' The dream was trite; my fear was fresh and vivid and palpable.
Read the whole book here.
Also in Watchtower news, my wife has gone to the convention today with her parents. Some of you may have similar things to look forward to. And on the Society's web site, the main article is called "Where Is The World Headed?" The subtitle reads: Today’s moral breakdown is so severe that it is fulfilling Bible prophecy! Well, since this is the first time they've made this declaration, we should all finally start to worry. See ya at the Kingdom Hall. (Not.)
If I don't see you, no sweat. They'll say the same thing next year. And the year after that...
News And Links For Atheists:4/13/08
Ben Stein: Front Man for Creationism's Manufactroversy
FROM AUSTIN CLINE: Atheists are Irrational Because... They Suppress the Truth?
Atheism, Bad Luck, and the Comfort of ReasonMany Christians are so convinced of the truth of their religion that they can't conceive of anyone disbelieving it or rejecting it for sound reasons — or even unsound reasons which might appear legitimate to someone with a different perspective. Some of these Christians are convinced that atheists must not have heard the "good word" of Christianity and that's why they proselytize to us so aggressively; others are equally convinced that we atheists are not only familiar with Christianity, but know it is true and are either lying or just suppressing the truth.
Atheist PlumbingI know that religion is repeatedly defended as a source of comfort in difficult times. But this has been one of the more difficult times in my life... and I've been finding that my atheistic, skeptical, rational view of my difficulties is more comforting than any religious belief I've ever held, or could ever imagine holding.
But the evidence does not bear this viewpoint out. Even a cursory glance at the workings of the world shows that good and bad plumbing strikes good and bad people in roughly equal proportions, apparently at random. In fact, recent research shows that countries with high rates of religious belief are more likely to suffer from bad plumbing, not less. And while few would argue that religious belief actually causes bad plumbing (it's far more likely that poverty and poor education results in higher rates of both), it is clear to all but the most fervently close-minded true believer that, if God is handing out good and bad plumbing as reward and punishment for good and bad lives, his systems and pipe fittings leaves a great deal to be desired.
News And Links For Atheists:4/11/08
VIDEO: Discussion between Richard Dawkins and Paula Kirby
VIDEO: Hitchens vs. HitchensProfessor Richard Dawkins FRS was interviewed on stage by Inverness resident Paula Kirby. Paula, who used to be a Christian and is now an atheist, talked to Richard Dawkins informally about the ideas that have informed his life and work. This was followed by an extended opportunity for the audience to put their own questions and challenges to this world-renowned and controversial figure.
This one is about the debate between Christopher Hitchens and his brother.VIDEO: Rep. Davis: The Worst Person in the World
A Theologian Pretends to Answers Atheists
David Carlin: Countering Feisty, Uppity Atheists
Expelled producers accused of copyright infringement
Human Evolution is Still Occurring
The Blasphemy of Creationism
Geometry, not God, as an Explanation for the Universe
Replacing Doctor Who with Jesus
Normally, I wouldn't consider posting this one. But when its geek and atheist friendly... I couldn't resist.
News And Links For Atheists:4/5/08
Flying Spaghetti Monster Lands Outside Tennessee Courthouse
Student Sues 'Anti-Christian' Teacher Over Remarks in Class
Christopher Hitchens debates Peter Hitchens
Watching a debate between Christopher Hitchens and Peter Hitchens is fascinating on so many levels. They are both very good speakers and debaters, so the oratory mastery is impressive on its own, and the technique is fun to watch. The topics discussed are easily inflammatory: just ask anyone, “How do you feel about the Iraq war?” Or, “How does God affect your life?” You’ll receive very heartfelt responses. Finally, as you may assume upon reading their last names, Christopher Hitchens and Peter Hitchens are indeed related. They’re brothers.
What’s interesting about their relationship is that it’s not what you’d expect. Or, at least not what I expected upon seeing them debate for the first time. To specify: 1) this was the first time I’d seen either one debate any one else, and 2) this was the first time Peter and Christopher have publicly debated each other in the United States.
News And Links For Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses:4/5/08
VIDEO: Jehovah's Witnesses Exposed by Fred Franz
VIDEO: Jehovah's Witnesses and Mental Illness
VIDEO: The Hopeful Atheist on Hope Commentary on the April 15, 2008 Watchtower Magazine
New rules could threaten charity status of Jehovah's Witnesses (in the UK)In the article , "Repudiate Ungodly Things" it immediately puts down having too much time spent on "fun" things at the expense of "activities connected with our worship," saying, "relaxation becomes a valueless thing, adversely affecting our spiritual well-being." Where do they come off telling people not to relax? No wonder witnesses are so uptight!
Jehovah's Witnesses grow by 'devious' methods, charge anti-missionaries
Recent success by controversial religious group Jehovah's Witnesses to bring in local Israelis has anti-missionary activists accusing the group of using devious recruitment methods. The Witnesses, as they are known, have had a presence here since the state's founding but say their active missionary work - an obligation for members - has gained traction in recent years, bringing in several hundred additional members. They now number an estimated 2,500 in Israel.
I've only recently discovered House M.D. It's one of those shows that I'm almost glad I missed during it's early years. Now, I have a sh*tload of episodes to watch and I don't have to wait a whole week in between doses. Let me start my review by saying this: No, I don't wish Dr. House was my dad. (That honor remains with the T-800 and Sauron, Lord of Mordor.) I would be very pleased to have him as a crazy uncle, though. Sort of like Dexter Morgan from Showtime and that series of books.
Continued at the link...
News And Links For Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses:3/29/08
Jury selection begins in molestation trial of Jehovah Witness
Memorialize 11-Year-Old Madeline by Removing Faith Exemption
This one isn't directly Watchtower or Jehovah's Witness related. But it does address the issue of children forced to sacrifice themselves over parent's beliefs ... such as a ban on blood transfusions. Note that this is really an atheist site, so if that weirds you out or anything ... well, you've been warned.
News And Links For Atheists:3/29/08
Hitchens v. Hitchens: Faith, Politics & War
Christopher and Peter Hitchens, throughout a long estrangement and recent reconcilliation, have clashed in print on many issues. On April 3, 2008, the Hauenstein Center, with support from the Center for Inquiry and the Interfaith Dialogue Association, will bring the two together on a stage for the first time to debate numerous issues, from the Bible to the bomb.
Shuh-weet! We can all argue about who won afterward.Blood and Suffering: A Seriously Pissed-Off Rant About Alternative Medicine
Readers, be warned: This is not one of my more diplomatic pieces. I'm angry, and while I'm trying to be fair here, I'm not trying to be nice. If you don't want to read that, please don't. (It was also written under the influence of an entertaining assortment of prescription drugs; so if I'm more meandering than usual, please forgive me. Hey, what a pretty tree!)
I'll say it before some alternative health person does: If your vaunted prescription drugs were so awesome, why do they have side effects that can influence you? Answer: Because they also work, which is one of the side effects.Atheist speaker and publisher answers questions on God, Christianity and Faith
How dare you call me a fundamentalist: The right to criticise ‘faith-heads’ASSIST News Chief Correspondent Michael Ireland caught up with [Michael] Shermer via e-mail and asked him the following questions.
This one's an interview with Richard Dawkins from last year.Godless Political Values: Importance of Godless Values to Modern Democracy
I thought I'd counter the recent documentary "The Protestant Reformation" from the History Channel (which kinda felt like fundamentalist propaganda to me) with this article from Austin Cline.BONUS
Here are a few more articles you may find interesting.Evolution For Creationists (from Answers In Genesis BUSTED!)
Noah's Flood Is A Fairy Tale! Part 1 (from Answers In Genesis BUSTED!)
...and Part 2!
News And Links For Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses:3/26/08
New web sites keep popping up! Here are a few more I'd like to recommend to former Jehovah's Witnesses.The Committee On Religious Shunning
Letters From The Governing Body Of Jehovah's WitnessesVideo Interviews with individuals coping with the consequences of religious shunning:
Jehovah's Witnesses And Thought ControlNow, for the first time ever, the average Jehovah's Witness is privy to the actual Confidential Letters sent by the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses to the Congregation Elders.
A blog offering breaking news, resources, and information about Watchtower policies and the issues members face.
That last one doesn't seem all that active. (Their last post was on March 6.) But maybe it will continue to gain momentum. The subject was enough to get my attention, so I wanted to make everyone aware of it.
And now, for some good old fashioned links...VIDEO: Jehovah's Witnesses, Spirit Directed or Not?
Jehovah's Witnesses elders refusing to testify in Murrieta molestation case
Followed by...Jehovah's Witnesses elders must testify in Murrieta molestation case, judge rules
News And Links For Atheists:3/26/08
If you want a blow-by-blow of the whole Expelled fiasco, here it is. Also, there's a commentary by Dawkins himself on the whole affair.VIDEO: Discussion on PZ Myers being expelled from Expelled
St Peter was not the first Pope and never went to Rome, claims Channel 4
Hillary Clinton's Religious Background & Beliefs: What Does Clinton Believe?
Sam Harris: What Barack Obama Could Not (and Should Not) Say
Ex-Scientology Kids: I was born. I grew up. I escaped.
My fellow ex-Witnesses may find this one especially interesting. It's a web site where former scientologists talk about their experiences with the church. (Thanks to Austin Cline for the find.)Austin Cline's Comment of the Week: Comparing Apples and Gods
News And Links For Atheists:3/21/08
John McCain on Secular Atheists: Is John McCain Bigoted Against Atheists?I went to attend a screening of the creationist propaganda movie, Expelled, a few minutes ago. Well, I tried ... but I was Expelled! It was kind of weird -- I was standing in line, hadn't even gotten to the point where I had to sign in and show ID, and a policeman pulled me out of line and told me I could not go in. I asked why, of course, and he said that a producer of the film had specifically instructed him that I was not to be allowed to attend. The officer also told me that if I tried to go in, I would be arrested. I assured him that I wasn't going to cause any trouble.
Sadly, John McCain is on record as supporting anti-atheist bigotry. According to John McCain, the most important thing which voters must take into consideration is whether a candidate will carry on "in the Judeo-Christian principled tradition."
I think Austin might be pushing this one a tad hard. (Sorry bro.) Still, there was a time when I wouldn't have been totally upset to have McCain be President. Almost any other Republican would have driven me off to Canada. But then he changed his tune and started changing his image. (Presumably to get the backing he needed within the Republican party to run.) Too bad - an actual "old school" conservative sells out.Will God Get You Out of Your Depression?
Religion 'linked to happy life'
I thought I'd throw both of those last two articles at you guys. Personally, I have no trouble believing the claims made. I just don't think it's religion per se that's of benefit. I think it's the certainty that strong religious beliefs can give a person, not religion itself. Besides, as one of the articles pointed out, deep religious beliefs can make you happier or sadder. It all depends on how the attitude it fosters and how you're treated.Non-religious deserve candidates' attention
Muslim Plan to Fight Negative Perception: Suppress Free Speech
Well, that'll do it. Works for the Watchtower Society, so...
Sorry everyone. Remember when my computer threw a wheel a while back? Well, the other three were wobbling off the rims and I didn't know it. I couldn't even limp along with the old system any longer. It was actually starting to blue screen when I tried to reinstall windows! So I did a complete rebuild.
I'm kept plenty busy with the new job, so updates may only come twice a week. Hopefully Tuesdays and Fridays. This may affect some of the content, but we'll see how things go.
-The Atheist Geek-
News And Links For Atheists:3/18/08
PODCAST - Special Guest On Freethought Radio: Richard Dawkins
Full house captivated by atheist Dawkins' take on religion
Seven new deadly sins: are you guilty?People feel strongly about their religious faith and are deeply offended if you insult it, Oxford University scientist Richard Dawkins told a full house Tuesday night at the Wisconsin Union Theater.
After 1,500 years the Vatican has brought the seven deadly sins up to date by adding seven new ones for the age of globalisation. The list, published yesterday in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, came as the Pope deplored the “decreasing sense of sin” in today’s “securalised world” and the falling numbers of Roman Catholics going to confession.
I think the Pope might be trying a wee bit too hard to keep his grip on power.James Randi: Our skeptical angel
Soldier: Army blocked promotion over religionThis past Monday, the Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers hosted two complementary avatars of modern skepticism; a meeting which proved to be microcosmical to the broader Atheist dialogue in America. Also, there were magic tricks. In fact, as far as godless functions go, it was downright festive. This could easily have been because one of the speakers was professional entertainer James Randi, renowned debunker of the paranormal, exposer of grift and mythical Gnome-king. Even the other speaker, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Richard J. Roberts, told at least two jokes. For comparison: The average chemist makes 6.02214179 jokes in his or her entire lifetime.
Moses was high on drugs: Israeli researcher
Also - a bit of a side note here for readers who are both skeptics and BBC fans (or British I guess) - a new show is coming up called Science Behind The Trance.
In the first in a new series, professor Kathy Sykes from Bristol University embarks on a journey to explore the three popular alternative therapies - hypnotherapy, reflexology and meditation. Travelling across the UK, Europe and Canada, she follows patients pinning their hopes on hypnotherapy.