Wednesday 21st of March 2018

believers attack an atheist...


Here we have two of the most important figures of science of the 20th century together.
Important people because these characters have dwelled into complex areas of comprehension about the world we live in — a stylistic comprehension that is very difficult to deal with, even if accurate.

Here Einstein and Bohr are discussing the idea of god... Einstein was an agnostic with a tendency to believe in god —possibly not to alienate the punters and political donors, while Niels Bohr was a fierce atheist. 

Albert had a strong argument against Niels' Quantum Theory. One should know that the Quantum Theory has some idiosyncrasies that are rather spooky, especially around what is called "the entanglement of particles". In Quantum Theory as well, processes are fuzzy within fields due to "chance" (uncertainty) except at the time of observation. This amazing giant leap of a concept was formulated at a time when machines had barely been invented to precisely weight "the atom".
Of course, Einstein rejected the concept of chance in science, at that level of understanding... This is why his famous "god doesn't play dice with the universe" came from... Bohr was direct and gently sarcastic: "don't tell god what to do..." or "don't tell god what he can or can't do" according to other sources... Bohr may have said both, on various occasions... Bohr did not believe in god.

As we know the Quantum Theory still survives today and Einstein could not disprove it, despite spending nearly 30 years of his life to dismantle it — as any good scientist should... Science always doubt itself. This is an important trait of science that is contrary to religious dogma which requires total belief.
Anyway, further scientific experiments have so far "confirmed" the Quantum Theory, including the biggest machine in the world (SCERN) designed to crack open protonic bits to find the smallest (so far) particle expected in the universe... 

And now we have the pedestrian midgets, the men of "faith", trying to belittle Richard Dawkins on god... 

Richard, of course, explains in simple terms what he has called "the delusion of god"... He is not the first person to express this idea, but he is one man trying to "popularise the concept". And he tweets about it. In the age of the 18th century enlightenment, many elegant philosophers entertained the view that "god was an idea" - an invention of homo sapiens... Simple straight forward statement....

But here comes the unenlightened Scott Stephens at the ABC drum with a sarcastic rebuttal of Dawkins views...

Can a religious believer be a serious journalist? Richard Dawkins and the unbearable smugness of tweeting.

Scott Stephens

For some time I've been expecting to see a particular secularist conceit expressed in a particular way - and over the weekend, Richard Dawkins finally came through. Without any direct provocation that I can see, apart from whatever bad feelings remain from a bruising encounter late last year on al-Jazeera, Dawkins tweeted: "Mehdi Hasan admits to believing Muhamed flew to heaven on a winged horse. And New Statesman sees fit to print him as a serious journalist."

Dawkins's views on religion are by now extremely well-known, to the point of cultural saturation thanks to the media's fixation with him. Dawkins makes for good copy - that's why journalists love him. But the dogmatic assertions and withering dismissals that made Dawkins a media-darling and The God Delusion an international bestseller lend themselves particularly well to the anarchic medium of Twitter, where his unjustifiable claims can shrug off any residual requirement for justification. At the hand of his hundreds of thousands of followers, who rehash and #hashtag with a well-nigh evangelical fervour, Dawkins's tweets take on the force of a Delphic pronouncement.

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The article by Stephens is full of his own boots... Stephens can write what he wants anyway: he is in charge of the website Religion and Ethics at the ABC... It's his baby...  But it is my very strong view the ABC has the gall to let him get away with this little crappy article of religious bile against a man, Dawkins, who is trying to steer "adult" humanities away from the fairies... 


Scott Stephens is also one of these (too many) moronic journalists who follow the mainstream fashion that places Labor and the Liberals in the same basket, all in order to belittle Julia's real efforts to improve the Australian society with more fairness and less brickbats... Yes we know Scott, Julia is an atheist and from your perspective Rudd was the better fellow because he wrote a book "Faith in Politics"... I won't go into the details why Rudd did not get the numbers — and my position on this subject is well-known on this site. But this is not about Rudd, I've digressed... But let me go on a similar tangent a bit more...


Now it seems your only hope, Scott, for faith being brought back into politics is that ghastly Tony Abbott whose religious beliefs are wafties coming from under Cardinal Pell's frocks and an idiotic dogma solidly defined by the extremist views of B A Santamaria... 


Scott?... Faith is based on stories that have as much relevance to reality as Santa Claus. Faith has led churches and islamic forces to do some really nasty stuff through the ages — under the name of god... Doing nasty stuff is not the exclusive realms of believers though, but not doing nasty stuff should be better adhered to by believers and their associates.... 


Since the "enlightenment" of the 18th century, christianity has had to come to terms with a lot of the other nastiness within — and today we still have to deal with some more — like sexual abuse by priests. This is of course the domain of downgraded individuals who are perverted by their own frustrated self. But the institutions, as entities designed to foster the dogma upon the gullible, have protected these pedophiles with various means, from confessions and absolutions to shifting priests from parish to parish...  rather than protect the flocks...


The winged horses of Muhammad is an allegory for something that did not happen, does not happen and will not happen, like Dante going to hell, Like me going to heaven... Like the big fish I caught yesterday...


If one studies the ancient history through the Bible and the Koran, and believe everything in these, or interpret the allegories to promote a god  — who is at best a psycho, a Schizophrenic-being, sometimes "nice" and sometimes "angry" or "vengeful" —  one gets a slanted view of this Planet of the Monkeys...  


The god of the bible is mad. Simply mad. 


He, because of course it's a HIM, shows extreme signs of madness. Imagine HIS perfection-ness being bored with HIS eternal-self, deciding to share HIS realm with creatures, 6012 years and 5 months ago precisely... HE wanted HIS own creatures made in HIS own image... To make HIS boredom less boring, the god-game has spit personality, where a devil is born from HIS own good self, as an angel of rebellion... Of course the angels of god and the angels of the devil fight it between each others but the battle is undecided... though god, knowing everything, knows the end game... More boredom... 


Yes, god is still bored... Yes, because HE knows everything so he already knows the result... Boring..!!!.  


He thus decides to create earth... with animals and day and night and people who could make the game interesting... But of course god being perfection and ultimate knowingness, HE knows what follows as well... that Adam and Eve will eat the apple and HE will make sure their descendants carry that sin — and are born with that sin... 


It makes no sense to me. It should make no sense to anyone. It's silly. 


So in order to remove that sin from the players in this game of godly wars and dungeons, we are told to BELIEVE in the son of god, who is god because we have to also believe that god has split personalities while being a singular god... Yes there is also an other fellow lurking under that jolly beard, the holy spirit...


Meanwhile those humans who are born but "do not believe" will GO TO HELL, without passing GO... 


Of course the application of this fierce dictum shows god IS a sadist... His own creations sent to be perpetually cremated while being looked after by his other creation the devil? Sadism plus...


Journalists who believe in this shit, are not journalists. They have a silly slanted viewpoint for starters. One cannot be objective from this faith base. Mind you no journalist can be objective anyway... But "having faith" is an ultimate self-deception in interpretation of events, even if we are right, not about faith but about the events... 


Santa Claus does not exist, Scott... It's a myth... Parents bring the presents that are manufactured — not at the north pole — but in China...


And let me continue with the story of the "chosen people" which is a hard one to take seriously... Sure, it makes the Jews go around the paddock with thick ankles in big boots, but that's about it... Aboriginal Dreaming makes far more sense than Christianity or Islam... At least the Dreaming is not exclusively male dominant, nor female bashing oriented. 


One of the major problem with religion is that morality has been woven into the fabric of "faith". It's ludicrous. 


From the time Moses came down the mountain with his tablets till now, there has been commandments and a zillion interpretations thereof. In Islam, no such thing as "you shall not kill" as far as I know, but all Abrahamic religions from Judaism to christianity have exploited loopholes in the "shall not kill" dictum... How many deeply religious chiefs of states have "turned the other cheek" recently? None. The only one weaving HER way through the religious minefields is Julia Gillard... But many journalists want her to fail because she exposes the duplicity of faith, by being reasonably kind herself. See, faith claims exclusivity to kindness, while being a bastard behind the scene... I know. I've been there.


Priests and religion have a subconscious problem reconciling the Virgin Mary with the idea of god being "born" of the flesh... God on earth had a "mother" but no dad... And that god experienced the life of humans for 30 years (except HE did not not have the original sin)... It doesn't not make any sense, but the faithful accept it as a given because they have been told so. And this is what faith is about — the acceptance of idiotic belief as if true. 


People will say the same thing about science and many people doubt the Quantum theory... Fair enough I would say, but without this masterly understanding of "natural" interactions below the atomic level, our mobile phones, and a lot of modern comfort acquired since this important complex formulation, would never have happened... Simple truth. Your tablet only functions because someone applied the Quantum Theory to thingsters...

But then it is quite annoying to see some seemingly intelligent people argue the point by suggesting infantilism in science and serious glory to "faith"...

Even with a chance of one in billions, life can develop by chance.  That is the point.

In fact there are more common circumstances in the universe in which life can develop not instantaneously, but by a set of processes in which some molecules become able to duplicate themselves by the sheer accidental construct of the molecules and of the quality of environment in which they are (were, will be)... This is a simple tipping point... Add another 3.5 billion years and we have a monkey.
For science, there are many tipping points in the universe, including those that lead to the formation of black holes, in which light cannot escape gravity. Global warming is full of tipping points at a micro level and is a very simple scientific analysis and concept compared to say quantum mechanics.

Some other people refer to "Dawkins' philosophical ineptitude"... This is crap — expressed in this fashion when one runs out of ideas...


Like that of many atheists, Dawkins philosophy is simple: god does not exist... End of story. The existence of god does not make sense. Quoting philosopher and scientist Anthony Flew's "conversion to god" does not change the fact that god does not exist for pure scientists. 


The closed mind of the pure scientists to faith is simple: faith has no place in science. end of story... There could be hope for a different premise, but as Einstein I think said: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."


I actually think he meant "idiocy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results", because of course some people in the field of psychology argue against the proposition in regard to "insanity", which is a disease. But even then, they don't see that the slightest increment of change in one of the parameters such as having someone like a psycho-analyst present, is not the same experiment. This is why when certain analysis are done, there is always a control group... though even the control group may become "slanted" by being part of the experiment.


That is one of the points of the Quantum Theory observations — the observer influences the result, not by influencing the fuzziness of the space, but by choosing the moment and position of the observation. 



To be clear, insanity is a legal term pertaining to a defendant's ability to determine right from wrong when a crime is committed. Here's the first sentence of's lengthy definition:

Insanity. n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behaviour.


Faith is a form of insanity, that takes a Santa Claus belief from childhood into adulthood... It is an insanity with a strong habit, like an addiction to a belief of a greater being — a greater being who "should he exists" has completely screwed up HIS creation for HIS own sadistic entertainment. 



What?... The bible stories being "Mythopoetic stories which are intended to pass on deep existential truths about our lived experience" tells us a comment below the article... Brother, these are BIG words in the hand of a small mind full of faith...


As soon as faith enters the domain of science, science becomes voodoo... as soon as faith enters the world of journalism, journalism becomes conjuring hocus pocus... Even if journalism with faith is sensitive enough to recognise human frailty and be kind... Rarely is...

Love of other beings, including human beings, can happen without the idea of god... 


Gus Leonisky

the machine to weigh an atom, 1920s...

atom weighing machine

60 years of a double helix...

The myth is that science proceeds in fits and starts, with eureka moments delivering revelation and revolution. The reality is usually much more mundane: a case of scientists grinding out small, incremental advances. But the publication 60 years ago of Francis Crick and James Watson's celebrated structure of DNA – the twisted ladder of the double helix – can legitimately be regarded as a turning point: our understanding of life was changed forever that day, and the modern era of biology began.

"It has not escaped our notice," they wrote in a brief paper in the journal Nature, that the double helix "immediately suggests a copying mechanism for the genetic material." And so it does. This elegant spiral, first drawn by Crick's wife Odile, depicts life's most famous molecule. Nowadays it is part of our culture: in films, as art, on shampoo adverts. We now know that DNA is a dynamic, tortuous coil, constantly shuffling and unwinding, bustling with activity as it enacts its many programs.

Since 1953, biology has evolved into a global industry, with our ever-increasing command over DNA at its core. We have seen the emergence of genetic modification and now synthetic biology – for both scientific and commercial gain – each with its own mire of ongoing legal wrangles. And now we are entering the post-DNA era. In the past couple of years, the nature of DNA itself has been modified, its alphabet mutated and its function reinvented for non-biological uses.

the machine that moves atoms, 2013

Scientists have unveiled what is believed to be the world's smallest movie, made with atoms.

Named A Boy And His Atom, the movie used thousands of precisely placed atoms to create nearly 250 frames of stop-motion action.

The movie depicts a character named Atom who befriends a single atom and goes on a journey that includes dancing, playing catch and bouncing on a trampoline.

Set to a playful musical track, the movie represents a unique way to convey science outside the research community.

"Moving atoms is one thing; you can do that with the wave of your hand," said Andreas Heinrich, principal investigator from IBM Research.

"Capturing, positioning and shaping atoms to create an original motion picture on the atomic level is a precise science and entirely novel."

In order to make the movie, the atoms were moved with a scanning tunnelling microscope.

The microscope weighs two tonnes, operates at minus 268 degrees Celsius and magnifies the atomic surface more than 100 million times.

Remotely operated on a standard computer, researchers used the microscope to control a super-sharp needle along a copper surface to "feel" atoms.

Only one nanometre from the surface, which is a billionth of a metre in distance, the needle can attract atoms and molecules on the surface and pull them to a specified location.

The moving atom makes a unique sound that is critical feedback in determining how many positions it has moved.

As the movie was being created, the scientists rendered still images of the individually arranged atoms, resulting in 242 single frames.

As computer circuits shrink toward atomic dimensions, researchers are running into physical limitations using traditional techniques.

an atheist muslim self-protection...


An Atheist Muslim's Perspective on the 'Root Causes' of Islamist Jihadism and the Politics of Islamophobia


Posted: 05/03/2013 10:09 pm

The ambassador answered us that [their right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.


The above passage is not a reference to a declaration by al Qaeda or some Iranianfatwa. They are the words of Thomas Jefferson, then the U.S. ambassador to France, reporting to Secretary of State John Jay a conversation he'd had with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, Tripoli's envoy to London, in 1786 -- more than two and a quarter centuries ago.

That is before al Qaeda and the Taliban, before the creation of Israel or the Arab-Israeli conflict, before Khomeini, before Saudi Arabia, before drones, before most Americans even knew what jihad or Islam was, and, most importantly, well before the United States had engaged in a single military incursion overseas or even had an established foreign policy.

At the time, thousands of American and European trade ships entering the Mediterranean had been targeted by pirates from the Muslim Barbary states (modern-day North Africa). More than a million Westerners had been kidnapped, imprisoned and enslaved. Tripoli was the nexus for these operations. Jefferson's attempts to negotiate resulted in deadlock, and he was told simply that the kidnapping and enslavement of the infidels would continue, tersely articulated by Adja in the exchange paraphrased above.

Adja's position wasn't a random one-off. This conflict continued for years, seminally resulting in the Treaty of Tripoli, signed into law by President John Adams in 1797. Article 11 of the document, a direct product of the United States' first-ever overseas conflict, contained these famous words, cementing America's fundamental commitment to secularism:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext, arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.


Yes, the establishment of secularism in America back in the 18th century was largely related to a conflict with Islamist jihadism.

So where did Abdul Rahman Adja's bin Laden-esque words come from?

They couldn't have been a response to American imperialism (the start of the conflict precedes the presidency of George Washington), U.S. foreign policy, globalization, AIPAC or Islamophobia. Yet his words are virtually identical to those spouted ad nauseum by jihadists today who justify their bellicosity as a reaction to these U.S.-centric factors, which were nonexistent in Adja's time.

How do we make sense of this? Well, the common denominator here just happens to be the elephant in the room.

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings and the foiled al Qaeda-backed plot in Toronto, the "anything but jihad" brigade is out in full force again. If the perpetrators of such attacks say they were influenced by politics, nationalism, money, video games or hip-hop, we take their answers at face value. But when they repeatedly and consistently cite their religious beliefs as their central motivation, we back off, stroke our chins and suspect that there has to be something deeper at play, a "root cause."

The taboo against criticizing religion is still so astonishingly pervasive that centuries of hard lessons haven't yet opened our eyes to what has been apparent all along: It is often religion itself, not the "distortion," "hijacking," "misrepresentation" or "politicization" of religion, that is the root cause.

The recent attack on "new atheists" like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens by Nathan Lean and Murtaza Hussain have been endorsed by renowned liberal writers like Glenn Greenwald, who has also recently joined a chorus of denialists convinced that jihad and religious fervor had nothing to do with the Tsarnaev brothers' motive, despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary. (HuffPost Live recently had a great segment holding Murtaza Hussain accountable for his claims.)

In a way, these attacks on Dawkins et al. are a good thing. Typically, resorting to ad hominem attacks and/or labeling the opposing side "bigoted" is a last resort, when the opponent is unable to generate a substantive counterargument.

This phenomenon can be wholly represented by loaded terms like "Islamophobia." As an atheist Muslim (I'm not a believer, but I love Eid, the feasts of Ramadan and my Muslim family and friends), I could be jailed or executed in my country of birththe country I grew up in and a host of other Muslim countries around the world for writing this very piece. Obviously, this is an unsettling, scary feeling for me. You may describe that fear as a very literal form of "Islamophobia." But is that the same thing as anti-Muslim bigotry? No.


see article at top...

dying into nothingness...


Belgian scientist and winner of the Nobel prize for Medicine, Christian de Duve, has died at the age of 95 after committing euthanasia, his family said.

Mr de Duve was the second well-known Belgian to choose mercy killing after the death in 2008 of writer Hugo Claus.

He died on Saturday, his family said.

Belgium was the second country in the world after the Netherlands to legalise euthanasia in 2002.

"It would be an exaggeration to say I'm not afraid of death, but I'm not afraid of what comes after because I'm not a believer," Mr de Duve told Belgian newspaper Le Soir last month.

"When I disappear I will disappear, there'll be nothing left."

Mr de Duve had decided to commit euthanasia after suffering a fall in his home but was awaiting the arrival of his son from the United States in early May in order to die surrounded by family.

"He left us serenely and refused to take anti-anxiety pills before the final injection. He left with a smile and a good-bye," his daughter Francoise told Le Soir.

Vale Christian...


the science of science...


Science is undoubtedly humanity’s greatest achievement, says AC Grayling, Master of the New College of the Humanities. People have to wake up to the fact that they have to be part of the story in thinking about science, and thinking about the meaning of science as it applies to our world.

People feel excluded by science and debates about science, they use laptops, they fly in planes, use appliances in the home and they don’t know what’s behind this technology. That is a problem, as it turns people into the slaves of our technology. The less people know the more they are likely to be manipulated or influenced by people who may not have their best interests at heart.

People are aware that there are lots of problems with the environment and the climate. If people knew more about the science behind this, they more likely they would be to press governments that are involved in policy decisions.

We have to start this at school. Our traditional way of teaching science is that the people who are learning it will go on to be scientists. For many people, that’s not the way to go. People could get a good understanding of science, without the need to have technical expertise. Universities tend to be very over-specialised very early on. Educated people should be challenged to have knowledge across the humanities and sciences. And in society there needs to be more interchange between people at the coal-face of science and the people on the street.


See article at top...


thank god I am an atheist...

The tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma had a casualty count of two dozen killed and hundreds injured, with the cost of damage still being tallied, according to a recent report. Directly after the event, social media sites began seeing a plethora of tweets and posts of the damage from first-hand accounts, as well as a tremendous amount of hopes, good thoughts and prayers – just as anyone might expect. On the ground, many relief organisations moved in to give aid to those whose lives had just been drastically altered by the storms. 

But what were the reactions of those who not only believe in a divine creator, but also claim to know the mind of the creator or have a direct link to the divinity? First, I checked into what the largest, worldwide, Christian organization was doing to see what aid was coming from their leader. The Vatican’s response was to offer prayers, but not aid.  Here are some notable citations from public prayers given by Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome:

“Let us pray for the victims and the missing, especially the children, struck by the violent tornado that hit Oklahoma City yesterday. Hear us, O Lord”.

“Conscious of the tragic loss of life and the immensity of the work of rebuilding that lies ahead, he asks Almighty God to grant eternal rest to the departed, comfort to the afflicted, and strength and hope to the homeless and injured”.

“Upon the local civil and religious leaders, and upon all involved in the relief efforts His Holiness invokes the Risen Lord's gifts of consolation, strength and perseverance in every good”.

Pat Robertson, a well-known Christian leader, gave his sickening opinions about the tornadoes on The 700 Club. His response can be summed up as ‘it’s their own fault.’  According to Robertson, the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent sky father did not send the tornadoes; he only set the weather currents in place. It is entirely the victims’ fault for building homes there in the first place, and if they had only prayed more, or perhaps harder, they could have been saved from the disaster. His lack of compassion mixed with an arrogant display of ‘knowing God’s will’ should be enough to turn any non-sociopath’s stomach.

With all the money the Vatican has received from its own members, not to mention “donations” that have been coerced in order to buy “salvation” from the Church, could the Holy See not even make a suggestion to donate funds or time for those in need? Let alone, make a donation from their overflowing coffers? I could not find a single statement inciting followers to give money or time. I am quite sure local Catholic groups in the area are doing what they can to aid those in need, and I am not trying to suggest otherwise. Good people will do good things to aid their fellow humans. Luckily this is true even if the person whom they choose as their representative to their deity doesn’t bother to tell them that they should do so.

Billy Graham has been noted as one of the most recognised Christian leaders in America.  Well, let’s give credit where it is due. A support organisation called Samaritan’s Purse, which is associated with Billy Graham’s work, has been on the ground giving aid and helping to rebuild since the skies cleared. They do so while telling the survivors that God was looking out for them, while their sister-group, the Billy Graham Chaplains, provide counselling and ‘spiritual’ support. While they certainly appear to be doing more good than harm, I have to ask, are they taking advantage of a horrible situation in order to push the agenda of the church onto susceptible victims? People who have suffered and lost eagerly desire answers, even if there is little logic behind those answers. At least this group is providing actual help to those in need in addition to the sermons – although the comfort provided by the Chaplains, to me, would seem very fleeting, and in reality would only serve as a reminder that while God decided to save me, part of that decision was not to rescue the children who were killed in their school, or my neighbours and loved ones. It is my opinion that such a deity, if one existed, does not deserve worship, nor should they be thanked for their so-called mercy.

As the storm caused a giant upswing in prayer posts (which I see as nothing more than what I would call Religious Slacktivism), some posts from prominent atheists began appearing as well to counter the prayers, not so much to discredit or countermine the prayers, but to discourage the idea that prayers would have actual, meaningful effects. The posts suggested donating. One example tweeted by Ricky Gervais said that “The best way to help the disaster victims is to donate at  or text REDCROSS to 90999. #ActuallyDoSomethingForOklahoma“. Many Christians were offended by the idea that an atheist would suggest that they were not actually doing something to help. They completely ignored the fact that Gervais was encouraging people to help one another. They were more focused on how their actions (or lack thereof) were being belittled.

One story that received a lot of media time was from CNN. While interviewing a random survivor of the storms, Wolf Blitzer made the mistake of assuming that anyone who survived would be thankful to God and asked a young woman named Rebecca Vitsmun if she was thankful to God.  She very politely responded with, “I am actually an atheist”. Good for her! It would have been very easy to just say, “Oh, we are thankful,” or something else equally as ambiguous so as to not publicly come out as an atheist, but she chose not to.  The outcome of such a statement, if it were made 50 years ago, would have had a devastating effect on this woman’s life.  It is good that we have made enough progress that, at least so far, the negative response to her has been completely overwhelmed by the positive. Comedian Doug Stanhope began a fund saying, "It's important that our community shows that we have your back when you come out publicly as an atheist."  Since that time, Sean Faircloth tweeted, “Give to the fund for the atheist tornado victim's family or to relief generally or both. Options here:“, adding a huge audience of non-believers to the cause. Atheists Unite has raised more than $100k in support of Rebecca and her family. Becky Garrison has written an article detailing the story of support among atheists.




A shout out to the godless!  Atheist Alliance International is proud to support its Affiliate, Atheist Alliance of America, and its 2013 Convention in Boston 30 August - 2 September 2013.  

Featuring speakers including Dr Steven Pinker (recipient of the 2013 Richard Dawkins Award, which honours an outstanding atheist whose contributions raise public awareness of the nontheist life stance), Paula Apsell, Seth Andrews, Mary Ellen Sikes, Seth Andrews, Maryam Namazie and many more, this weekend will be a great opportunity to hear about atheist and secular issues around the world and enjoy the company of rational, like-minded people.

The event starts with registration Friday afternoon, continues with a welcome reception on Friday night and speakers during the day on Saturday and Sunday and concludes with the Sunday Evening Awards Banquet where the Richard Dawkins Award will be made.   Baby sitting for toddlers and Camp Quest for children up to teenage years will be provided.  For more information go to the convention website as

atheist attacks a manual...

It’s not just people labouring under the “God delusion” who provoke the ire of Professor Richard Dawkins. The outspoken atheist has launched a furious rant at Amazon over an instruction manual he described as an “illiterate disgrace”.

The evolutionary biologist, who once described The Bible as a “chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents”, posted a scathing customer review of another fallible guide to human behaviour - the instructions accompanying his $31.19 purchase, “AmazonBasics USB 2.0 8x DVD Writer External Optical Drive (Black).”

The “appallingly bad” manual was a “disgrace, and alone is enough to merit the minimum possible number of stars,” Dawkins wrote.


Guide books to electronic gidgits (gadgets) are a wonderful (FRUSTRATING) source of confusion... The author of this piece is quite right to mention the "chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents" view of the bible by Dawkins, as the bible is a wonderful source of confusion — like a manual to assemble a time machine (made in Sweden) on Red Dwarf...

science attacks believers....


Religious people are less intelligent than atheists, analysis of over 63 scientific studies stretching back over decades concludes


Study found 'a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity' in 53 out of 63 studies


Monday, 12 August 2013

A new review of 63 scientific studies stretching back over decades has concluded that religious people are less intelligent than non-believers.

A piece of University of Rochester analysis, led by Professor Miron Zuckerman, found “a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity” in 53 out of 63 studies.

According to the study entitled, 'The Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity: A Meta-Analysis and Some Proposed Explanations', published in the 'Personality and Social Psychology Review', even during early years the more intelligent a child is the more likely it would be to turn away from religion.

In old age above average intelligence people are less likely to believe, the researchers also found.

One of the studies used in Zuckerman's paper was a life-long analysis of the beliefs of 1,500 gifted children with with IQs over 135.

The study began in 1921 and continues today. Even in extreme old age the subjects had much lower levels of religious belief than the average population.

The review, which is the first systematic meta-analysis of the 63 studies conducted in between 1928 and 2012, showed that of the 63 studies, 53 showed a negative correlation between intelligence and religiosity, while 10 showed a positive one.

Only two studies showed significant positive correlations and significant negative correlations were seen in a total of 35 studies.

The authors of the review looked at each study independently, taking into account the quality of data collection, the size of the sample and the analysis methods used.

The three psychologists carrying out the review defined intelligence as  the “ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience”.

Religiosity is defined by the psychologists as involvement in some (or all) facets of religion.

According to the review, other factors - such as gender or education - did not make any difference to the correlation between intelligence and religious belief.

The level of belief, or otherwise, did however vary dependent upon age with the correlation found to be weakest among the pre-college population.

The paper concludes that: "Most extant explanations (of a negative relation) share one central theme —the premise that religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable and, therefore, unappealing to intelligent people who 'know better'."

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This is a slippery slope.... One thing's for sure: religion tends to kill-off natural and stylistic curiosity with ready made answers — all silly and fanciful — to the question of existence. Thus believers are swallowed in a vortex of unquestioned idiocy before they start. This does not mean they are less intelligent than some dorky atheists. Rather, because atheists tend to question reality and our relative stylistic interpretations thereof, they have a much better chance of being CURIOUS about the processes of consciousness, of life in general and of the restriction of understanding imposed by religious ready made answers.

Take for example the near death experience:


It’s called a near-death experience, but the emphasis is on “near.” The heart stops, you feel yourself float up and out of your body. You glide toward the entrance of a tunnel, and a searing bright light envelops your field of vision.

It could be the afterlife, as many people who have come close to dying have asserted. But a new study says it might well be a show created by the brain, which is still very much alive. When the heart stops, neurons in the brain appeared to communicate at an even higher level than normal, perhaps setting off the last picture show, packed with special effects.

“A lot of people believed that what they saw was heaven,” said lead researcher and neurologist Jimo Borjigin. “Science hadn’t given them a convincing alternative.”

Scientists from the University of Michigan recorded electroencephalogram (EEG) signals in nine anesthetized rats after inducing cardiac arrest. Within the first 30 seconds after the heart had stopped, all the mammals displayed a surge of highly synchronized brain activity that had features associated with consciousness and visual activation. The burst of electrical patterns even exceeded levels seen during a normal, awake state.

In other words, they may have been having the rodent version of a near-death experience.

“On a fundamental level, this study makes us think about the neurobiology of the dying brain,” said senior author and anesthesiologist George A. Mashour. It was published Monday online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Near-death experiences have been reported by many who have faced death, worldwide and across cultures. About 20 percent of cardiac arrest survivors report visions or perceptions during clinical death, with features such as a bright light, life playback or an out-of-body feeling.

“There’s hundreds of thousands of people reporting these experiences,” Borjigin said. “If that experience comes from the brain, there has to be a fingerprint of that.”

An unanswered question from a previous experiment set her down the path of exploring the phenomenon. In 2007, Borjigin had been monitoring neurotransmitter secretion in rats when, in the middle of the night, two of her animals unexpectedly died. Upon reviewing the overnight data, she saw several unknown peaks near the time of death.

This got her thinking: What kinds of changes does the brain go through at the moment of death?

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bugger the higgs boson...


Physics would have been "far more interesting" if scientists had been unable to find the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider in Cern, according to Stephen Hawking.

The cosmologist was speaking at an event to mark the launch of a new exhibit about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the Science Museum in London and discussing the unanswered questions at the edges of modern physics as part of a history of his own work in the field.

Though the Higgs boson was predicted by theory in the early 1960s, not everyone believed it would be found. If it had not been, physicists would have had to go back to the drawing board and rethink many of their fundamental ideas about the nature of particles and forces – an exciting prospect for some scientists.

"Physics would be far more interesting if it had not been found," said Hawking. "A few weeks ago, Peter Higgs and François Englert shared the Nobel prize for their work on the boson and they richly deserved it.

"Congratulations to them both. But the discovery of the new particle came at a personal cost. I had a bet with Gordon Kane of Michigan University that the Higgs particle wouldn't be found. The Nobel prize cost me $100."


$100?... Small change... But what is the Higgs Boson made of? Cosmic marmalade?


hypocritically religious


From Antony Loewenstein


We too often poke fun at political leaders who espouse certain religious views only to have a change of heart – like former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, who reversed his position on gay marriage and arrived at the conclusion that it was un-Christian to discriminate against gay couples. This shows there is place for debate and U-turns in religion – and surely this is something to be welcomed.

The ideal secular nation is one where people of all faiths, or none, believe that everybody is encouraged to not feel ashamed of public displays of faith. The richness of humanity, after all, lies in the desire to avoid sterility and uniformity.

An atheist utopia sounds like a nightmare on earth...


Usually Antony Loewenstein is right on the ball.

On this issue he's missed the mark by a wide margin... The point is, there is not many things such as a secular nation. Most nations cultivate ideals that are hypocritically wrapped up in religious beliefs — overtly and covertly. Another point is that most atheists are rarely pushing their ideas, but they resent being under the thumb of religious political nuts or don't like to see other people being trodden upon by religious fanatics... What do we care? We care about the sanity in understanding reality without being sterile or uniform about it... We dream many dreams where there is no god.  Antony Loewenstein is yet propagating the myth that all atheists are the same and monochrome... They are not.

The political dynamics are quite complicated due to democratic constructs often giving power to whom will shout best and loudest, whether what is said is beneficial to the people or placed in sustainable context with what the planet is about. Most of the religious ideals dismiss this earth as unimportant compared to the life thereafter... Most atheist value this little planet, for the short time we live upon it, as the place from which we are. To paraphrase someone, the planet is what it is, not what we want it to be — even if we can modify some of its aspects for our benefit — some of these benefits acquired by being hypocritically religious about what we do, being detrimental to the earth as a whole.

In the end, should it be a contest between the rich variety of the hypocritically religious versus the boring sterile and uniform atheists, you soon find the atheistic position would not be so boring after-all and does bring far more care and genuine heart-feelings to living and sharing, than any religious indoctrination can do.

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the smallest particle yet...

... At 84, Higgs is in impressive health, and recounts an altogether different kind of life, in which his political beliefs and trade union activities frequently got in the way of his work, making him so troublesome that he says his university would have sacked him decades ago, were it not for the chance he might one day win the Nobel prize. For more than 20 years Higgs wasn't even on speaking terms with his principal at Edinburgh university. He says he struggled to keep up with developments in particle theory, published so few papers that he became an "embarrassment" to his department, and would never get a job in academia now. Then again, in today's hectic academic world he thinks he would never have had enough the time or space to formulate his groundbreaking theory.

Higgs has no idea how the myth came about of him striding alone across the Cairngorm mountains when inspiration struck. Then he was a young member of Edinburgh university's physics department, regarded by colleagues as "a bit eccentric, maybe cranky" on account of his unfashionable fascination with particle theory and the mechanism by which most building blocks in the universe have mass.

When he identified the crucial particle, his elation was shortlived, for the paper he wrote up in excited haste was rejected. Determined to get published, he added some more paragraphs to "spice it up". This was where he explicitly identified the particle for the first time – and it's a good job he did, because on the day his revised paper was submitted for publication, another appeared in a different journal, proposing a near-identical theory. But Higgs had added enough new material for his paper to be published, and the particle to become known by his name. He shares the Nobel prize with the surviving co-author of the rival paper, and never doubted for a moment that the existence of his particle would one day be proved. At Cern in Switzerland in July last year, it was.

He'd nearly been put off physics when still a schoolboy in Bristol, by the nuclear bombs the allies dropped on Japan. "These were obviously things I didn't want to be involved with." A lifelong Labour supporter, he was active in CND in his youth, only leaving because he got fed up with fellow members "who just didn't draw the distinction between a reactor and a bomb. I thought they were just being misguided by confusing the two."

an algorithm-driven investigation picked Carl Linnaeus...

An algorithm-driven investigation of Wikipedia has found a Swedish botanist from the 18th century to be more influential than Aristotle, Hitler and Jesus.

Research published by the University of Toulouse this week mapped the web of links within the crowdsourced online encyclopaedia in all 24 languages the platform is published in.

The study used Google’s PageRank algorithm to assess the incoming links and a similar algorithm called 2d Rank for outgoing links to over 100,000 biographical pages selected for the project.

The fundamental assumption was simple: the more links, the more influential.

According to incoming links, the most influential person is Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus who developed the naming system for plants and animals used today, followed by Jesus, Napoleon and Hitler.

a hunch about a cyclotron...


Beijing, China - Chinese scientists are racing to complete plans for a supergiant particle collider that, when built, will dwarf every other accelerator on the planet.

The underground particle-smashing ring aims to be at least twice the size of the globe's current leading collider - the Large Hadron Collider (CERN) outside Geneva. With a circumference of 80 kilometres, the Chinese accelerator complex would encircle the entire island of Manhattan.

A preliminary conceptual design for this leading-edge particle physics laboratory is now being drafted by China's elite sphere of physicists, joined by a circle of Western counterparts.

Called the Circular Electron Positron Collider (CEPC), China hopes it will shine as a symbol of the country's rise as a global superpower in terms of pure scientific research.

"This machine is by and for the world," explains Professor Gao Jie, one of the leaders of the project at the Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing.

Beijing plans to speedily expand cooperation between China's foremost physicists and their European and American counterparts with the new collider. 

The new collider research outpost, situated on the Avenue of Eternal Peace in the centre of Beijing, is aiding in the conceptual design that plans to be submitted to China's top leadership in December, according to Professor Arkani-Hamed, a scholar at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, the one-time home of Albert Einstein

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It's Gus's simpleton belief that such machine should be in multiples of nine (3 x 3). For example the CERN is 27 kilometre long (3 x 3 x 3). For better performance the new machine should be 36 kms minimum, or 54 kms long, or preferably (3 x 3 x 3 x 3) 81 kilometres long... Just a hunch based on an old "practical" German theory that "discovered" that 75 was better than 77... Who knows... 


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time will tell or not...


Einstein vs Bergson, science vs philosophy and the meaning of time

Wednesday 24 June 2015 4:19PM

Joe Gelonesi

When Henri met Albert the stars didn’t quite align; nor did their clocks. Jimena Canales, historian of science, tells Joe Gelonesi about her discovery of an explosive 20th century debate that changed our view of time and destroyed a reputation.

Physicists and philosophers have a curious relationship. They both need each other for the cosmic dance, but one partner sometimes refuses to join in. Star physicist Stephen Hawking even declared the end of philosophy in 2011.

In some ways the pronouncement was to be expected; physics triumphalism dictates that at some point philosophy will exhaust itself and be unable to solve the mysteries that science seems to conquer in leaps. It’s been coming for a while; at least since the word science replaced natural philosophy a few centuries ago.

Along this narrative are high points of confrontation, played out by grand actors on the intellectual stage. Jimena Canales has rediscovered one such moment, which pitted a grandee of philosophy against a rising star of physics.

Canales is an award winning historian of science with a penchant for cosmological themes. She has also authored an ambitious history of the idea of a tenth of a second. As part of her research she came across rare documents which chronicled an extraordinary standoff. She immediately understood her luck.

‘It is the dream a historian could have—I bumped into very interesting material that hadn’t been told before. It’s one of those incredible untold stories.’

Canales had uncovered the transcript of a meeting that took place on April 6, 1922 at the esteemed Societe  Francaise de philosophie in Paris. The protagonists were none other than Albert Einstein and Henri Bergson. In dispute was the very nature of time.

Taking on Einstein might seem foolhardy now, but the world of ideas was a different place a century ago. Bergson was already someone; Einstein was on the make.

Bergson’s Creative Evolution, published in 1907, had put him on the map, and introduced perhaps his most enduring idea—elan vital. Through it Bergson attempted to explain the march of the universe in a non-Darwinian sense, the vital energy that drives all forward. Bergson understood this as a concept that science could grasp only imperfectly, and one that lies at the heart of the creative impulse.

The book also develops a theory of time. Rather than a physical account, Bergson explores the subjective nature of time—what it means to us as living beings, rather than as an abstract concept external to our concerns. This is the notion of lived time.

Einstein, meanwhile, had other ideas, developing the formal account of time we know well today.

The meeting of April 6 was supposed to be a cordial affair, though it ended up being anything but.

‘I have to say that day exploded and it was referenced over and over again in the 20th century,’ says Canales. ‘The key sentence was something that Einstein said: “The time of the philosophers did not exist.”’

It’s hard to know whether Bergson was expecting such a sharp jab. In just one sentence, Bergson’s notion of duration—a major part of his thesis on time—was dealt a mortal blow.

As Canales reads it, the line was carefully crafted for maximum impact.

‘What he meant was that philosophers frequently based their stories on a psychological approach and [new] physical knowledge showed that these philosophical approaches were nothing more than errors of the mind.’

The night would only get worse.

‘This was extremely scandalous,’ says Canales. ‘Einstein had been invited by philosophers to speak at their society, and you had this physicist say very clearly that their time did not exist.’

Bergson was outraged, but the philosopher did not take it lying down. A few months later Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the law of photoelectric effect, an area of science that Canales noted, ‘hardly jolted the public’s imagination’. In truth, Einstein coveted recognition for his work on relativity.

Bergson inflicted some return humiliation of his own. By casting doubt on Einstein’s theoretical trajectory, Bergson dissuaded the committee from awarding the prize for relativity. In 1922, the jury was still out on the correct interpretation of time.

So began a dispute that festered for years and played into the larger rift between physics and philosophy, science and the humanities.

Bergson was fond of saying that time was the experience of waiting for a lump of sugar to dissolve in a glass of water. It was a declaration that one could not talk about time without reference to human consciousness and human perception. Einstein would say that time is what clocks measure. Bergson would no doubt ask why we build clocks in the first place.

‘He argued that if we didn’t have a prior sense of time we wouldn’t have been led to build clocks and we wouldn’t even use them ... unless we wanted to go places and to events that mattered,’ says Canales. ‘You can see that their points of view were very different.’

In a theoretical nutshell this expressed perfectly the division between lived time and spacetime: subjective experience versus objective reality.

The stoush between the physicist and the philosopher brings to mind William James’ belief that philosophers tend to subscribe to the ideas that best meet suit their individual temperaments. Bergson and Einstein were very different people, as Canales found out in her research.

‘I was intrigued by how different these two men were. Everywhere we look Bergson and Einstein are taking completely opposite stances: from war to vegetarianism,’ she says. ‘Bergson was well known for his stance on meat eating whereas Einstein loved the goose crackling his girlfriend sent him through the mail. ‘

These personal differences might seem trivial but the clash exemplified larger scale divergences. The world was changing—and fast.  Science and the humanities were parting ways, and would soon become different cultures entirely.

Older values still held, however, in the world of sexual politics. As Canales sees it, this was to Einstein’s advantage.

‘The fact that women read Bergson was used as evidence against him; that his theory was light and unsophisticated. [It was believed that] women couldn’t follow Einstein’s science because physics was masculine. Bergson and philosophy were feminised. '

Canales believes this stereotyping was tied in part to the rise of the expert and the decline of the lay opinion—a process which was gathering momentum in the 1920s. In this view, the true expert was a man, and a masculine one at that.

The argument between the titans of time went through many phases and both men enlisted the support of the leading physicists, philosophers, mathematicians, logicians, and thinkers of the era. Time, however, was on Einstein’s side. As the century progressed and technology sharpened its capacity to verify predictions of physics, the more subjective views of Bergson and his followers began to fade. 

Bergson’s decline was inevitable in the context of a technologically driven modernity. He fell precipitously from pre-eminence in the study of time to a fringe figure of continental thought. History has not been kind to him.

‘I was very shocked to go to the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy’s entry of time and see that Bergson was not even mentioned,’ says Canales. ‘It’s an incredible reversal. April 6, 1922 was the day that started that downward fall.’

Surely history got it right, though, didn’t it? Canales doesn’t quite read it so simplistically.

‘I would like to move beyond the asking of who’s right and who’s wrong. It obscures what is most interesting about this story. It was a divided century, especially after the 1920s.We need to take a step back.

‘Einstein and Bergson are particularly good subjects: how can it be that two of the smartest people who ever lived ended up taking completely opposite positions? What was it about the 20thcentury that gave ground for these broad divisions?’

Bergson still inspires great intellectual respect, and his notions of duration and of elan vital are studied and debated in a scholarly context, but his power to influence the time debate has been greatly diminished.  

Or has it?

Just when Einstein thought he had it worked out, along came the discovery of quantum theory and with it the possibility of a Bergsonian universe of indeterminacy and change. God did, it seems, play dice with the universe, contra to Einstein’s famous aphorism.

Some supporters went as far as to say that Bergson’s earlier work anticipated the quantum revolution of Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg by four decades or more.

Canales quotes the literary critic Andre Rousseaux, writing at the time of Bergson’s death.

‘The Bergson revolution will be doubled by a scientific revolution that, on its own, would have demanded the philosophical revolution that Bergson led, even if he had not done it.’

Was Bergson right after all? Time will tell.


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Note that Einstein spent a lot of time trying to disprove Quantum Theory... He failed.

the idea of god does not make any sense...

Egyptian TV host Mahmoud Abd Al-Halim kicked invited guest Mohammad Hashem, who is open about being an atheist, out of the studio, the former recommending that the latter see a psychiatrist.

Hashem, who was invited on the Egyptian privately-owned TV network "Alhadath Alyoum" last month, stated during a live broadcast that he was an atheist, and as he began to detail his view, the show's anchor kicked him out.

"I'm an atheist, which means I don't believe in the existence of God. I don't believe in him," Hashem said, adding that he doesn't need religion to have moral values or to be a productive member of society.

Frightened by the statement, the host asked Hashem how he explained his existence in the universe. The guest detailed that there are several theories that attempt to explain the existence of the universe and humanity, including one that claims everything was created by a God.


But, the guest explained, there are many other theories with much more concrete evidence, like the Big Bang theory. Hashem was then cut off by his host.


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Gus is a fierce atheist.