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Christianity &Islam &Politics &Science Thomas on 11 Nov 2010

Christians beat Middle School Student because of her name

What is it about Christianity (and religion in general) that causes such huge, senseless bigotry and violence?

Middle School Student Beaten Because of Her Name

FAST FACTS:
* 12-year-old girl at Hernando Middle School was attacked by fellow students.
* The attackers said the victim’s name, Randi, was a ‘boy name’.
* No charges were filed because police were not called.

(Hernando, MS 11/4/10) – A 12-year-old girl was beaten by fellow students at Hernando Middle School on Wednesday, ostensibly because of her masculine-sounding name.

Randi Foster is a four-foot-nine student who doesn’t go looking for trouble. But on Wednesday morning at school, she ran into plenty of it.

After a Fellowship of Christian Students meeting, four girls and a boy surrounded her.

“They started talking about me like I was a man, and like, stuff like that. That I shouldn’t be in this world. And my name was a boy name,” she said.

Foster described how these people attacked her.

“I was kicked in the rib. I was kicked in the leg. I was hit in the face. I was sat on top of and my face was jammed into the floor. I was thrown onto the cafeteria table. I was thrown in between the seats.”

Her mother, Meggan Foster, is appalled at the whole ordeal.

cached image of article

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals &Science Thomas on 20 Aug 2010

Don’t be a dick – the need for skeptics to be kindler, gentler, nicer

Phil Plait speaks about being polite: “I was basically telling people to be nicer”.

Phil Plait – Don’t Be A Dick from JREF on Vimeo.

Here’s the back story on his talk:

- Don’t Be a Dick, Part 1: the video

- Don’t Be a Dick, Part 3: the aftermath

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Science Thomas on 10 Jun 2010

According to Stephen Hawking, “Religion will be defeated by science”

Let us hope Stephen Hawking is right:

Hawking: Religion will be defeated by science

Hawking, who has already recommended that we should steer clear of aliens, suggested to Sawyer that this was somewhat less likely than North Korea winning the World Cup: “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, (and) science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals &Science Thomas on 02 Jun 2010

The ultimate answer to the “science doesn’t know everything” line

The ultimate answer to the “science doesn’t know everything” line:

Deserves to be played twice.

This little video from Feynman is relevant:

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals &Science Thomas on 09 May 2010

The absurdity of religion is demonstrated by its geographic distribution

Watch the video and it will be immediately obvious how the geographic distribution of religion is an absurdity:

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals &Science Thomas on 08 May 2010

If you believe in God, realize that he designed the system to work this way

Ask yourself this question: Did a loving God design this system, or did evolution:


Octopus Versus Huge School of Fish – Watch more Funny Videos

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals &Science Thomas on 07 May 2010

Why science is way better than religion

Simple and straightforward – science blows religion away:

Christianity &Science Thomas on 06 May 2010

What a shoddy piece of work is man

Anyone who looks objectively at the human body, or the human genome, sees thousands of flaws and problems:

What a shoddy piece of work is man:

Whether or not that is so, the human body is certainly no masterpiece of intelligent planning. The eye’s retina, for instance, is wired back to front so that the wiring has to pass back through the screen of light receptors, imposing a blind spot.

Now John Avise, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of California at Irvine, has catalogued the array of clumsy flaws and inefficiencies at the fundamental level of the genome. His paper, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA1, throws down the gauntlet to advocates of Intelligent design, the pseudo-scientific face of religious creationism. What Intelligent Designer, Avise asks, would make such a botch?

What Intelligent Designer would make such a botch? Indeed.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Science Thomas on 26 Apr 2010

Go ahead, explain it

If you are religious, offer your explanation. If you are rational, offer yours:

If this post ends in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9, then God doesn’t exist…

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Science Thomas on 08 Apr 2010

Science vs. belief – a handy chart

Science vs. belief – a handy chart

Christianity &Islam &Science Thomas on 16 Mar 2010

Creationists are like Holocaust deniers, and they are destroying science education

Creationists are like Holocaust deniers, and they are destroying science education:

Christianity &Islam &Science Thomas on 24 Jan 2010

The “miracles” of Jesus and other God-men explained

In many parts of the world today there are people performing “miracles” for money. Here’s how they do it, and the effect they can have on ignorant villagers:

Christianity &Islam &Science Thomas on 19 Jan 2010

How did evolution create human beings?

This video explains how evolution created human beings:

“Based on simple rules and feedback, from which complexity spontaneously emerges.”

Christianity &Rationals &Science Thomas on 29 Dec 2009

Noetic Science

What is Noetic Science? It will soon have millions of followers, so it pays to have it on your radar. The Institute of Noetic Sciences defines it this way:

The word “noetic” comes from the ancient Greek nous, for which there is no exact equivalent in English. It refers to “inner knowing,” a kind of intuitive consciousness—direct and immediate access to knowledge beyond what is available to our normal senses and the power of reason.

What are ‘Noetic Sciences’?
Noetic sciences are explorations into the nature and potentials of consciousness using multiple ways of knowing—including intuition, feeling, reason, and the senses. Noetic sciences explore the “inner cosmos” of the mind (consciousness, soul, spirit) and how it relates to the “outer cosmos” of the physical world.

If that is too wordy, here is a “typical person” trying to describe it:

Noetic science? What is it?

So I came across ‘noetic science’ for the first time in the new Dan Brown novel and thought to expand my knowledge of this obscure branch of science by googling it…. Apparently, noetic science is a branch of science in which “scientists are trying to measure things we’ve long regarded as immeasurable, like prayer, intuition, or maybe even life after death, with the help of evidence-based research and peer review”. Now tell me, how do you measure prayer and/or its efficacy thereof? Really!!

A quick answer to the question: “Now tell me, how do you measure prayer and/or its efficacy thereof?” You measure it by asking, “Why won’t God heal amputees?” As soon as you pray to heal an amputation you can plainly see that prayer has no effect. This page explains why. Or you can perform scientific experiments – there have been dozens.

Or you can understand what is actually happening when people pray, as demonstrated in these two videos:

As you can see, prayer is a superstition, nothing more. We can perform more and more experiments to prove that over and over again, but it is not going to change anything. Prayer is a superstition just like “black cats cause bad luck” is a superstition. We could perform experiments on black cats for decades but nothing will change – the experiments will all demonstrate that black cats have no effect on the outcome of future events. At some point this obvious fact becomes conclusive to intelligent people, and there is no need for further study.

The following video offers an introduction to Noetic Science from the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Yes, Deepak Choprah appears, as you would expect, right after the introduction:

The Institude describes its activities in this way:

The institute explores consciousness from three perspectives:

(1) First-person perspective — Supporting individuals exploring and developing their own subjective consciousness (e.g., meditation and other spiritual practices). Emphasis on inner knowing and personal transformation.

(2) Second-person perspective — Exploring and supporting transformative relationships and intersubjective consciousness (e.g., compassionate dialogue, community building, a global wisdom society). Emphasis on transformative learning and collective wisdom.

(3) Third-person perspective — Gathering data about objective physiological correlates of consciousness (e.g., research using rigorous scientific protocols, including experiments in psi, mind-body healing, and subtle energies). Emphasis on scientific understanding.

If that sounds like “New Age” repackaged, you would be correct. This is the new New Age, and it will probably garner millions of supporters like New Age did. The fact that things like psi, mind-body healing, and subtle energies are easily debunked does not matter.

You can see the New Age/Spirituality/Religion angle in this article:

Spooky Coincidences and “Noetic Science”

There’s an Institute of Noetic Science (IONS) near San Francisco, and it happens to be the subject of a chapter in a book I read last week, NPR religion reporter Barbara Bradley Haggerty’s excellent Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality. Haggerty investigates the scientific underpinnings of psychic phenomena. One of her themes is this idea of entanglement — that the universe is somehow knitted together in ways that materialist science currently can’t explain and maybe never will. On a certain view, a religious one, the unifying factor is God. We’re unified with each other through Him, which is why minds can affect each other across vast distances. That’s the case for the elementary reason that, as in the Jewish prayer Shema, “the Lord is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4). That doesn’t mean just that there’s one God instead of two or three. Rather, God really is One. Somehow, there’s a unity to God that extends to the rest of creation. If we could see to the heart of reality, we would perceive that everything that seems to enjoy a separate existence from God is really nullified before Him.

Our minds are mostly shut to evidence of this unity — it would be overwhelming otherwise, infinitely so — but occasionally, with more sensitive people or sometimes under the influence of events, spiritual practices, or certain substances, intimations will make themselves felt.

Haggerty’s book just came out in May so obviously it’s not Brown’s source on this. Still, readers of The Lost Symbol will be interested to read Haggerty’s journalistic take on the subject. She visits IONS and interviews researchers who have documented the way, for example, married couples can produce measurable physiological effects in their partners by directing loving thoughts to them even if the two are in separate, totally sealed rooms. Somehow their minds, one might venture to say their souls, are entangled. One woman, a subject in the research, turns out to be psychically sensitive to an unusual degree.

Let’s say this were true – either the part about married couples or the part about a woman who is “psychically sensitive to an unusual degree”. Then it would be possible to win a million dollars by demonstrating the effect to James Randi:

One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge

It is a very simple and friendly process to win $1 million:

At JREF, we offer a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. The JREF does not involve itself in the testing procedure, other than helping to design the protocol and approving the conditions under which a test will take place. All tests are designed with the participation and approval of the applicant. In most cases, the applicant will be asked to perform a relatively simple preliminary test of the claim, which if successful, will be followed by the formal test. Preliminary tests are usually conducted by associates of the JREF at the site where the applicant lives. Upon success in the preliminary testing process, the “applicant” becomes a “claimant.”

Here James Randi explains how the challenge got started and how people can claim the prize:

Also interesting:

Anyone with real ability could easily claim the money.

The million dollars will not be claimed by these people because Noetic Science is nonsense.

Christianity &Islam &Rationals &Science Thomas on 29 Dec 2009

A brilliant message about atheists

A brilliant message about atheists: “Imagine if many Christians got their wish, and all atheists left America…”

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