Monday, November 30, 2009

British school to drop education in fear of Islam

Former Editor Sues Washington Times For Religious Discrimination

The former opinion editor of The Washington Times has filed a religious discrimination complaint against the paper.

November 29, 2009 on CNN

Richard Miniter says the company president "coerced" him into attending a Unification Church event in 2008 that included a mass wedding. He says the company launched a background investigation into him earlier this year after he made a joke about the church to a co-worker.

The Times was founded by the leader of the Unification Church, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, in 1982.

BBC Newsnight on Public Funding of 'Muslim Extremist Schools' in Britain

November 27, 2009 on BBC Newsnight

Bringing Up Baby

Natural World investigates the vital bond between animal mothers and their babies. The more we study animals, the more we realise just how emotional they are; all mothers are faced with tough choices as they struggle to bring up babies in a difficult and dangerous world, constantly balancing their own needs with those of their infants.

Yet there are many ways to raise your brood, from the fish who looks after her young in her mouth to the extended childhoods of gorillas or orang-utans.

Narrator David Attenborough

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Catholic Church Attacks 'In Vitro Fertilization'

The Roman Catholic Church has lambasted the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF), and has taken steps to have it banned altogether, while for some families it is the only way to have children in Poland.

Aggressive atheism

Thank you, Pat Condell.

Why do people laugh at creationists (part 31)

Okays, looks like Banana Man has decided to fill the shoes of PCS. Fine by me.

Ray Comfort, of Way of the Master (Living Waters Ministry) is a fundamentalist Christian, best known for declaring that bananas prove the existence of God.

Now Ray always tries to put the positive spin on this, like look at all the publicity I get, while ignoring the fact that he is an internet star only for his stupidity.

However, while Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron may be slow learners, its dawning even on them, that having someone who is famous for their stupidity endorsing a product like the bible, may not really be a particularly good strategy.

Dispatches: Return to Africa's Witch Children

A year ago, Dispatches told the story of how children in Africa's Niger Delta were being denounced by Christian pastors as witches and wizards, and then killed, tortured or abandoned by their own families.

Following the introduction of the Child Rights legislation and an increase in financial support for a British charity providing a refuge for affected youngsters, the programme returns to find out what happened to some of the people featured in the first film.






Aired November 23, 2009 on Channel 4

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Muslims Cast Stones at 'devil' at Start of Eid

Vast crowds of pilgrims cast stones at walls symbolizing Satan on the third day of the Hajj in Saudi Arabia. Around the world, Muslims have begun celebrating the Eid al-Adha holiday.

November 27, 2009 by Associated Press

Religious Displays Banned at Washington State Capitol

FOX News: Atheist Victory? - Religious Displays Banned at Washington State Capitol

Atheist Victory?

Aired November 27, 2009 on FOX News

Darwin, Humanism and Science - Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins talks to the Darwin, Humanism and Science day conference (6 Jun 2009) on the subject "There is grandeur in this view of life". This talk reflects the final chapter of his boo, The Greatest Show on Earth.

British Humanists

Police and Catholic Church Blasted Over Child Abuse Report

The Police and Catholic Church in Dublin have come under fire today as a report reveals that child abuse within the church was known about but they 'turned a blind eye' to it. Sky's Paul Harrison reports.

Sky News November 26, 2009

The Kirk Cameron Action Kit

Friday, November 27, 2009

Skeptic podcast

There is many free skeptic podcast, here some I know:

* The Skeptics guide
* Skepticality - Science and Revolutionary Ideas
* Skeptoid weekly
* Digital Bits Skeptic
* The Skeptic Zone
* The Big Podcast
* Point of Inquiry
* Rationally Speaking by New York City Skeptics
* Righteous Indignation Podcast
* The Conspiracy Skeptic

Millions in Mecca for Hajj Despite Rain

Millions of Muslims have been arriving in Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. They are taking part this year despite rain and the threat of swine flu dampening the rituals.

Associated Press November 25, 2009

Michio Kaku on the Internet, UFOs, and Gods

Michio Kaku, leading physicist, reveals the startling and indeed frightening future of the internet: how it will become the equivalent of the 'magic mirror' of fairytale fame, even able to find your perfect match. Although he admits to Lisa Dwan that computers will never have the ability of intuition, they will be able to 'read minds' in the future. He also speaks on parallel universes, nuclear weapons, the loss of the North Pole, and God.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Palin's Religious Beliefs on Israel and the Rapture

Keith Olbermann looks at Sarah Palins religion

Aired November 24, 2009 on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann

Magnus Larsson - transform the harsh Sahara

Architecture student Magnus Larsson details his bold plan to transform the harsh Sahara desert using bacteria and a surprising construction material: the sand itself.

Damned to Heaven

Documents the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a polygamist religious sect on the Utah/Arizona border headed by Warren Jeffs. TV14 2008 7th Art Releasing

Atheist Billboard Stirs God Debate

It is the Central Florida billboard condemned by Christians. Now it is pulling people into a big debate over God in Lakeland. Atheists invited people to join them, and Christians are pushing back firmly.

It was supposed to be a meeting for the Atheists of Florida to recruit more members, but it turned into a debate with Christians about whether or not God exists.

"When I realize there are some people who think that God does not exist, this is just unbelievable to me," said Dr. Byron George, a local pastor.

The Atheists of Florida hosted a forum at the Lakeland Public Library. Pastor Byron George told atheists to be open to a revelation. Ellen Bath Wachs says, "Christians are disrespectful when they cannot accept the belief of atheists, that there is no God."

Aired on November 24, 2009 on FOX 35 News

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Creation science

Why would you teach creation in school?

Rob Hopkins: Transition to a world without oil

Rob Hopkins reminds us that the oil our world depends on is steadily running out. He proposes a unique solution to this problem -- the Transition response, where we prepare ourselves for life without oil and sacrifice our luxuries to build systems and communities that are completely independent of fossil fuels.

CNN Connector of the Day: Richard Dawkins

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins discusses evolution versus creationism with CNN's Max Foster.

Aired on CNN November 24, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Catholic Church Trying to Control Our Secular Government

Bill Donohue, President, Catholic League on the Ed Show

Aired on The Ed Show, Ed Schultz, MSNBC, 11-23-2009

Chris Matthews Pwns Catholic Bishop on Rep. Patrick Kennedy Issue

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

Hardball with Chris Matthews, MSNBC, 11-23-2009

Darwin's Brave New World (Episode 3)

After labouring in secret for 20 years, Charles Darwin is almost trumped by the obscure young naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, who has been in the southern world of Australasia for almost a

Shocked that someone else is drawing the same conclusions, Darwin knows that he must publish his own work post haste. Hooker helps to ensure that Darwin has priority over Wallace, by arranging a joint reading of their theories, whilst Huxley sharpens his beak and claws in readiness to defend Darwin against the Church and scientific establishment Wallace returns to England and immediately joins battle in defence of Darwin.

On the Origin of Species is published to acclaim and attack and Darwins allies embark on a bitter and brutal public battle for Darwins idea and the future of science. The battle culminates with the legendary Oxford debate in which Hooker and Huxley go toe-to-toe with the reactionary forces of Church and the scientific establishment. Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution eventually triumph.

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Aired 11-22-09

KRQE News: "Anti Religion" Billboards Surface

Messages questioning religion are popping up across the city of Albuquerque just weeks before the biggest religious holidays in the world.

The Freedom from Religion group sponsoring the billboards said they are paid through next month.

Even if some find them controversial, the group said they arent about to take the billboards down.

Many times religion is a crutch that doesn't do as much good as people think it does, Freedom of Religion member Ron Herman said. We paid for the space, just like people paid for their space in newspapers advertising their services."

The colorful messages are on 10 billboards around Albuquerque. One billboard reads Imagine No Religion and Keep Religion out of Government.

Rep. Kennedy Says He's Banned From Communion

Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin has banned Rep. Patrick Kennedy from receiving Communion, the central sacrament of the church, in Rhode Island because of the congressman's support for abortion rights.

AssociatedPress November 22, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mrs Betty Bowers: Less is Mormon

America's Best Christian, Mrs. Betty Bowers, calls out Mormons and schools all Americans on the unconstitutional craze of doling out civil rights by popular vote.

Scientology: Big Clanking Balls

Australian Senator Nick Xenophone calls Scientology a criminal organization, Marc Headley releases "Blown for Good," and Aussiie critic Aaron Saxton makes a great video. Why I think people should stand together denouncing Scientology abuse even if we don't fully agree on every issue.

Nick Xenophon calls for senate inquiry into Scientology

Australian Senator Nick Xenophon calls for a senate inquiry into the scientology organisation.

"Scientology is a criminal organisation."

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Howard Stern Show discusses Kirk Cameron




Priest Off - Clergy Repellen

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Creationist Cowards Diss Darwin

So Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron of The way of the Master have again chosen to let their actions speak to the worth of character that their religion instills. In their latest publicity stunt they have decided to take a book written 150 years ago by Charles Darwin and put in the front a 50 page introduction, a significant portion of which is devoted to bad mouthing the dead.

Yup thats right, apparently dissing the dead is now fair game if you are a creationist.

Rusty Lee Thomas on the Christian bootcamp

"Life is not a playground," says Rev. Rusty Lee Thomas in The Kingdom Leadership Institute Manual. "It is a war zone."

The Thom Hartmann Program

CNN reports: Ray Comfort & Kirk Cameron go on a Crusade to Debunk Evolution

Former teen idol Kirk Cameron is on a crusade to debunk evolution. CNN's Carol Costello reports.

Aired 11-20-09 on CNN

Creationists Want to Put God Back in Classroom

One creationist in Louisiana is striving to take the Bible from the church and into the classroom, arguing that it is un-American not to allow students to learn different views of how the world was created. While it is not illegal to teach creationism in public schools, most science teachers opt to teach evolution alone. Dave Prentice wants to change that.

November 20, 2009 on Russia Today.

On the Origion of Religion

How and when did religion arise? In the 11th essay in Science's series in honor of the Year of Darwin, Elizabeth Culotta explores the human propensity to believe in unseen deities.

by Elizabeth Culotta (Published in Science 6 November 2009:
Vol. 326. no. 5954, pp. 784 - 787)

To Charles Darwin, the origin of religious belief was no mystery. "As soon as the important faculties of the imagination, wonder, and curiosity, together with some power of reasoning, had become partially developed, man would naturally crave to understand what was passing around him, and would have vaguely speculated on his own existence," he wrote in The Descent of Man.

But our propensity to believe in unseen deities has long puzzled Darwin's scientific descendants. Every human society has had its gods, whether worshipped from Gothic cathedrals or Mayan pyramids. In all cultures, humans pour resources into elaborate religious buildings and rituals, with no obvious boost to survival and reproduction. So how and when did religion arise?

No consensus yet exists among scientists, but potential answers are emerging from both the archaeological record and studies of the mind itself. Some researchers, exploring religion's effects in society, suggest that it may boost fitness by promoting cooperative behavior. And in the past 15 years, a growing number of researchers have followed Darwin's lead and explored the hypothesis that religion springs naturally from the normal workings of the human mind. This new field, the cognitive science of religion, draws on psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to understand the mental building blocks of religious thought. "There are functional properties of our cognitive systems that lean toward a belief in supernatural agents, to something like a god," says experimental psychologist Justin Barrett of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Barrett and others see the roots of religion in our sophisticated social cognition. Humans, they say, have a tendency to see signs of "agents"—minds like our own—at work in the world. "We have a tremendous capacity to imbue even inanimate things with beliefs, desires, emotions, and consciousness, ... and this is at the core of many religious beliefs," says Yale University psychologist Paul Bloom.

Meanwhile, archaeologists seeking signs of ancient religion focus on its inextricable link to another cognitive ability: symbolic behavior. They, too, stress religion's social component. "Religion is a particular form of a larger, social symbolic behavior," says archaeologist Colin Renfrew of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. So archaeologists explore early religion by excavating sites that reveal the beginnings of symbolic behavior and of complex society.

Yet these fields are developing chiefly in parallel, and there remains a yawning gap between the material evidence of the archaeological record and the theoretical models of psychologists. Archaeological objects fall short of revealing our ancestors' minds, says Bloom, while on the psychological side, "we need more evidence."

Birth of the gods
When did religious beliefs begin? A likely place to find out is the archaeological record, but inferring "religion" from ancient objects and practices can be a tall order. Many researchers take the use of symbols as a clue to budding spirituality. As far back as 100,000 years ago, people at the South African site of Blombos Cave incised pieces of ochre with geometric designs, creating the first widely recognized signs of symbolic behavior (Science, 30 January, p. 569). Although it's difficult to equate enigmatic lines on a chunk of ochre with a belief system, researchers agree that such use of symbols is a prerequisite for religion, and some argue that religious beliefs must have existed by this time.

The first deliberate burials are found at roughly the same time, at a site called Qafzeh in Israel, dated to about 95,000 years ago. Researchers have dug up more than 30 individuals, including a 9-year-old child with its legs bent and a deer antler in its arms. And starting about 65,000 years ago or even earlier, Neandertals also sometimes buried their dead. Henry de Lumley of the Institut de Paléontologie Humaine in Paris has referred to these ancient burials as "the birth of metaphysical anguish."

But others aren't sure what metaphysical message burial conveys. "There can be lots of reasons to bury things; just look at kids in a sandbox," says Barrett. Burial by itself, says archaeologist Nicholas Conard of the University of Tübingen in Germany, may best be considered a sign of "protobelief."

If they had to name one time and place when the gods were born, Conard and some others might point to 30,000 to 35,000 years ago in Europe. That's when symbolic expression flowered in what's called the Upper Paleolithic explosion (Science, 6 February, p. 709). At this time, Ice Age hunter-gatherers painted strikingly realistic animals—and a few half-animal, half-human figures—on the walls of France's Grotte Chauvet and other caves. They also left small but spectacular figurines in caves in Germany, including a dramatic carved ivory "Venus" reported in May and three "lion-men"—each a carved male body with the head of a lion.

The "Venus of Hohle Fels" illustrates the difficulties of interpreting such ancient objects: Conard, who discovered it, considers the 6-centimeter figure of a headless woman with huge breasts and carefully carved genitalia to be a religious fertility object, while archaeologist Paul Mellars of the University of Cambridge has called it "paleo-porn."

Yet many observers agree that the lionmen, with their combination of human and animal qualities—something seen in many early religions—are strong candidates for a supernatural being or spirit guide. Some go so far as to suggest that the small statues were part of shamanistic rituals, though Conard says we cannot know for sure. "Even if it wasn't shamanism," he says, "I'd bet the bank it was something I'd consider religious beliefs."

Twenty thousand years later, humans reached another religious milestone, building what is often considered the world's first temple at the 11,000-year-old site of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey (Science, 18 January 2008, p. 278). There, rows of standing stones up to 6 meters tall march down a high hillside in circles; each massive stone is carved with images of wild animals. "There is the erection of monumental and megalithic architecture for the first time," says excavator Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin.

After this time, more organized sites with apparently religious aspects appear elsewhere. For example, at one of the first settled towns, Çatalhöyük in southern Turkey, excavator Ian Hodder of Stanford University and his crew are finding what they consider copious evidence of spiritual life: feasts with wild bulls, burials of ancestors beneath houses, and sometimes the removal and reinterment of skulls. And yet Hodder notes that separating "religion" from other activities seems arbitrary, as it is not clear that the people of Çatalhöyük themselves separated the religious sphere from the rest of life.

Renfrew cautions that it might not be possible to know for sure that a culture worshipped gods until we can read their names—that is, until the literate societies of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, some 5000 years ago. Those early empires had both secular and religious hierarchies, with priestly elites and sometimes a god-king who ruled both the temporal and spiritual realms. In this view, full-fledged "religion" develops hand in hand with organized social hierarchies. It may be that "you don't necessarily have belief in deities until you have persons of enormously high status, who themselves are close to divine," like a pharaoh, says Renfrew.

Born believers?
While archaeologists trace the outward expressions of religious and symbolic behavior, another group of researchers is trying to trace more subtle building blocks of religious belief, seeking religion's roots in our minds.

According to the emerging cognitive model of religion, we are so keenly attuned to the designs and desires of other people that we are hypersensitive to signs of "agents": thinking minds like our own. In what anthropologist Pascal Boyer of Washington University in St. Louis in Missouri has described as a "hypertrophy of social cognition," we tend to attribute random events or natural phenomena to the agency of another being.

When it comes to natural phenomena, "we may be intuitive theists," says cognitive psychologist Deborah Kelemen of Boston University (BU). She has shown in a series of papers that young children prefer "teleological," or purpose-driven, explanations rather than mechanical ones for natural phenomena.

For example, in several studies British and American children in first, second, and fourth grades were asked whether rocks are pointy because they are composed of small bits of material or in order to keep animals from sitting on them. The children preferred the teleological explanation. "They give an animistic quality to the rock; it's protecting itself," Kelemen explains. Further studies have confirmed this tendency. Even Kelemen's own son—who "gets mechanistic explanations of everything"—is not immune: At age 3, after hearing how flowers grow from seeds, his question was, "Who makes the seeds?"

The point of studying children is that they may better reflect innate rather than cultural biases, says Kelemen. But recent work suggests that it's not just children: Kelemen and Krista Casler of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, found the same tendency to ascribe purpose to phenomena like rocks, sand, and lakes in uneducated Romany adults. They also tested BU undergraduates who had taken an average of three college science classes. When the undergrads had to respond under time pressure, they were likely to agree with nonscientific statements such as "The sun radiates heat because warmth nurtures life."

"It's hard work to overcome these teleological explanations," says Kelemen, who adds that the data also suggest an uphill battle for scientific literacy. "When you speed people up, their hard work goes by the wayside." She's now investigating how professional scientists perform on her tests. Such purpose-driven beliefs are a step on the way to religion, she says. "Things exist for purposes, things are intentionally caused, things are intentionally caused for a purpose by some agent. ... You begin to see that a god is a likely thing for a human mind to construct."

Other researchers find the work intriguing. "If her data are right, we all from childhood have a bias to see the natural world as purposefully designed," says Barrett. "It's a small step to suppose that the design has a designer."

This predisposition to "creationist" explanations has resonance with another tendency in the human mind, says Barrett—something he calls the "hypersensitive agency detection device": looking for a thinking "being" even in nonliving things. In classic experiments in the 1940s, psychologists found that people watching animations of circles, triangles, and squares darting about could identify various shapes as characters and infer a narrative. Anthropologist Stewart Guthrie noted in 1993 that this tendency could help explain religion, because it implies we attribute "agency" to all kinds of inanimate objects and ambiguous signals. As Barrett describes it: "When I hear a bump in the night, I think ‘Who's there?’ not ‘What's there?’ ... Given ambiguous stimuli, we often posit an agency at play."

Guthrie suggested that natural selection primed this system for false positives, because if the bump in the night is really a burglar—or a lion—you could be in danger, while if it's just the wind, no harm done.

Of course, this is still a long way from believing in gods or spirits. But a hair-trigger agency detector could work with another sophisticated element of the human mind to make us prone to believe in gods, cognitive researchers say. They refer to what's called theory of mind, or the understanding that another being has a mind with intentions, desires, and beliefs of its own. Studies have shown that this ability develops over time in children and is usually present by age 5; functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have localized the parts of the brain involved.

If you suspect that an agent was responsible for some mysterious event, it's a short step to thinking that the agent has a mind like your own. "Higher order theory of mind enables you to represent mental states of beings not immediately or visibly present, and who could have a very different perspective than your own," says Barrett. "That's what you need to have a rich representation of what it might be like to be a god." (It's also what is needed to have a functional religion, because people need to know that others share their beliefs.) As Darwin put it, humans developing religion "would naturally attribute to spirits the same passions, the same love of vengeance, or simplest form of justice, and the same affections which they themselves feel."

Some fMRI studies lend support to this idea. In the 24 March issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team led by Jordan Grafman of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland, asked 40 people to evaluate statements about God's emotions and relationships to humans, such as, "God is removed from the world" and "God is forgiving," while they were in an fMRI scanner. The researchers found that the areas that lit up (indicating oxygen uptake and so presumably brain activity), such as the inferior frontal gyrus on both sides of the brain, are also involved in theory of mind. This and other results argue against any special "god region" of the brain as some have suggested, says Grafman. Rather, he says, "religious belief co-opts widely distributed brain sectors, including many concerned with so-called theory of mind."

Other researchers are extending this cognitive model, finding additional thought processes that they say make religious belief natural. For example, Bloom and Jesse Bering of Queens University Belfast argue that children are predisposed to think that the mind persists even after the death of the body—something that approaches the idea of an afterlife. Bering showed children ages 4 through 12 years old a puppet show in which a crocodile ate a mouse. Then he asked the children questions about the mouse. Did it feel hunger? Was it still mad at its brother? The children agreed that the mouse's body no longer functioned; it didn't need to eat, for example. But they thought it would still feel hunger; its psychological states persisted. Preschoolers showed this tendency more than older children.

We can acknowledge the death of the body, says Bering, but we believe that the mind continues: "We have this unshakeable sense that our minds are immortal." Bloom notes that this kind of belief "is universal. You won't find a community anywhere where most people don't believe that they are separate from their bodies."

Mind or soul?

Such hypotheses seem to make intuitive sense. But critics such as Paul Harris of Harvard University say that children learn about the afterlife from others. Working in Spain and Madagascar, Harris and colleagues did studies somewhat similar to Bering's, asking children about the physical and psychological states of a person who had died. Older children and adults were more likely than younger children to think that psychological states continued after death, suggesting that ideas of the afterlife are learned. What's more, people in many cultures distinguish between the mind, which learns and changes over time, and something like an unchangeable soul, says Harris. "To say that there is a continuance of mind after death misrepresents these people's beliefs," he says. "I think people are disposed not to dualism but to ‘triadism’" of mind, body, and soul.

Even those who embrace the cognitive model concede that more studies are needed to distinguish what is learned from what is innate. As for hypersensitive agency detection, "it's a compelling idea, but I haven't seen lots of empirical evidence that you can get from there to religious beliefs," says social psychologist Ara Norenzayan of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, in Canada.

Indeed, even if more data are forthcoming, such models are a long way from explaining the complex systems of gods and rituals that make up religion. Cognitive researchers face what has come to be called the "Mickey Mouse" problem: The Disney character Mickey Mouse has supernatural powers, but no one worships or would fight—or kill—for him. Our social brains may help explain why children the world over are attracted to talking teacups, but religion is much more than that. "Deriving belief from the architecture of the mind is necessary but not sufficient," says Norenzayan.

He favors an additional class of explanations for why religion is so prominent in every culture: It promotes cooperative behavior among strangers and so creates stable groups (Science, 3 October 2008, p. 58). Other researchers hypothesize that religion is actually adaptive: By encouraging helpful behavior, religious groups boost the biological survival and reproduction of their members. Adhering to strict behavioral rules may signal that a religion's members are strongly committed to the group and so will not seek a free ride, a perennial problem in cooperative groups (Science, 4 September, p. 1196).

Norenzayan and others also note that helpful behavior is more common when people think that they are being watched, so a supernatural god concerned with morality could encourage helpful behaviors, especially in large groups where anonymity is possible. Some researchers suggest that cognitive tendencies led to religion, which then took hold and spread because it raised fitness.

But others, such as Boyer, counter that this adaptationist explanation is itself light on data. "It is often said that religion encourages or prescribes solidarity within the group, but we need evidence that people actually follow [their religion's] recommendations," says Boyer. "The case is still open."

Meanwhile, disciplinary gaps persist among archaeology, psychology, and neuroscience. Cognitive types insist that ancient objects can answer only a small subset of questions, while some archaeologists dismiss the cognitive model as speculation. Yet there have been some stirrings of interdisciplinary activity. Archaeologist Steven Mithen of the University of Reading in the United Kingdom has suggested that the half-human, half-animal paintings and carvings of the Paleolithic demonstrate that early Homo sapiens were applying theory of mind to other animals 30,000 years ago. And anthropologists focusing on the development of religion are finding signs of key changes in ritual at archaeological sites like Çatalhöyük. All agree that the field is experiencing a surge of interest, with perhaps the best yet to come. "In the next 10 to 15 years there's likely to be quite a transformation, with a lot more evidence, to give us a compelling story about how religion arose," says Norenzayan.

The Word - Skeletons in the Closet

How is the governor of Rhode Island supposed to rest in peace knowing that a couple of plots over two dudes are being gay dead.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Skeletons in the Closet
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

Aired Monday, November 16, 2009. The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Eddie Izzard - Science vs Religion (2009)

From the Eddie Izzard Stripped Live DVD.

Mass - We pray

A family shouldn't have to wait until Sunday to worship the Lord. Now you can go to church every day without leaving your home. Participate in more than 24 unique and exhilarating Ceremonies. Be sure to try them all. The more you play, the more Grace points you collect.

Then trade in your Grace points to unlock the Holy Mysteries. Only from Prayer Works Interactive. Help bring your family closer.
To Heaven.

Devdutt Pattanaik: East vs west - the myths that mystify

Devdutt Pattanaik takes an eye-opening look at the myths of India and of the West -- and shows how these two fundamentally different sets of beliefs about God, death and heaven help us consistently misunderstand one another.

Great lecture

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sam Harris - The Credibility of Miracle Stories

The Credibility of Miracle Stories (Re-Evolution Festival 2009)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Universe Extreme Energy

Ours is a universe of energy, from powerful jets ejected from black holes to the raw nuclear fury of our Sun. But, the total amount of energy in the universe maintains perfect equilibrium--no more can be added or taken away.






There is grandeur in this view of life

Richard Dawkins' talk at the 2009 Atheist Alliance International Conference in Burbank, California. He expands the last paragraph of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" as a framework for the talk. This is also the framework for the last chapter of Dawkins' new book "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution".

Gaddafi invites hunderds of attractive women to a party

Seeking 500 attractive girls between 18 and 35 years old, at least 1.70 meters (5 foot, 7 inches) tall, well-dressed but not in mini-skirts or low cut dresses," read the ad by the Hostessweb agency and quoted in Italy's Corriere dell Sera newspaper in its story.

Some 200 women showed up at a Rome villa, having been told they would receive 60 euros ($90) and "some Libyan gifts." Among them was an undercover reporter for Italian news agency ANSA, who took photos and described the evening's proceedings.

Gaddafi Invites Hunderds of "Attractive" Women to a "Party" and Tries to Convert Them to Islam.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Evangelical Call For Holy War!

Psalm 109:8

The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, 11-17-2009

Darwin's Brave New World (Episode 2)

Darwin turns his back on scientific celebrity and becomes a virtual recluse, secretly gathering evidence for his theory of evolution. He is almost trumped by a rival book on evolution but finds a steadfast supporter in the young botanist, Joseph Hooker.

Darwins faith is shattered by the death of his beloved daughter, Annie, but he is buoyed up by the return from Australasia of one of his greatest allies - the young firebrand, Thomas Huxley. Darwin knows he has found the men he needs to help him when he goes public with his ideas. Hooker and Huxley push Darwin to publish but events overtake everyone when a letter arrives from Indonesia.

An obscure collector called Alfred Russell Wallace has come up with an evolutionary theory almost identical to Darwins own. Darwin is shattered and fears that 20 years of his own work
has come to.

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Debate - Hitchens, Harris, Dennett vs Boteach, D'Souza, Wright

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

God and the Scientists: Evolution

For over fifteen hundred years, Christians saw the bible as the primary source of knowledge, but in the seventeenth Century the beginnings of a scientific revolution began to challenge the Christian view of the world.

Eminent scientist Colin Blakemore interviews esteemed scholars and Churchmen in order to understand how Science has transformed Christianity over the last four centuries.

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Atheist Experience #630: Viewer Calls

Martin and Matt take on viewer calls.

The Atheist Experience TV Show #630: Viewer Calls
Host: Matt Dillahunty
Co-host: Martin Wagner
November 8, 2009

Psychic Readings revealed

Is the reader really psychic? If not, just how does she seem to know so much?

The Oldest Quranic Manuscripts

Gerd Puin was the head of a restoration project, commissioned by the Yemeni government, which spent a significant amount of time examining the ancient Qur'anic manuscripts discovered in Sana'a, Yemen, in 1972. According to writer Toby Lester, his examination revealed "unconventional verse orderings, minor textual variations, and rare styles of orthography and artistic embellishment." The scriptures were written in the early Hijazi Arabic script, matching the pieces of the earliest Qur'ans known to exist. The papyrus on which some of the text appears shows clear signs of earlier use, being that previous, scraped-off writings are also visible on it, though this does not necessarily demonstrate modifications to the over-all text of the Qur'an.

More than 15,000 sheets of the Yemeni Qur'ans have painstakingly been cleaned, treated, sorted, and photographed and 35,000 microfilmed photos have been made of the manuscripts. Some of Puin's initial remarks on his findings are found in his essay titled the "Observations on Early Qur'an Manuscripts in San'a" which has been republished in the book What the Koran Really Says by Ibn Warraq.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Evangelist Sentenced to 175 Years in Prison

Evangelist Tony Alamo was sentenced Friday to 175 years in prison for taking underage girls across state lines for sex, effectively punishing him for the rest of his life for molesting children he took as "brides" in his ministry.

Associated Press November 13, 2009

Interview with a Taliban Trained Suicide Bomber

What are the intentions and what are the motive forces behind the Suicide Bombing & other acts of terrorism? Watch from the mouth of a Taliban suicide bomber himself.

An interview with a Taliban trained Suicide Bomber With English Subtitles.

Hinduism: Fire Jumping Festival

Worshippers dive into burning coals in this fiery festival from Kerala, India.

Doug Stanhope - Locals Only Pub Indianapolis

Doug Stanhope at Locals Only Pub in Indianapolis.

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spirituality for a Longer Life

Chris Wragge and Debbye Turner Bell speak with one of the world's leading authorities on alternative medicine and spirituality, Deepak Chopra about spirituality for living a longer life.

CBS News November 14, 2009

Is the Catholic Church a Force For Good?

"Each week, BBC World viewers can join the multimedia phone-in programme, broadcast alongside BBC World Service Radio and BBC Online, and share their views on topical issues of the day with a global audience.

This week is a follow up to last week program, Intelligence Squared Debate The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world?

BBC Have Your Say - Is the Catholic Church a Force For Good? (Part 1/3)

BBC Have Your Say - Is the Catholic Church a Force For Good? (Part 2/3)

BBC Have Your Say - Is the Catholic Church a Force For Good? (Part 3/3)

Aired 11-14-09 on BBC World

Hi-Tech Holy Water Dispenser

The anti-swine flu holy water dispenser

Italian worshippers use an electronic holy water dispenser to help prevent the spread of swine flu at a church at Capriano Briosco, about 50 kilometres north of Milan.

Godless Billboard Moved After Threats

In the wake of multiple, significant threats, the downtown billboard that says Dont Believe In God? You are not alone came down early Thursday morning.

The billboard had gone up Tuesday afternoon at Reading Road and 12th Street, one block south of Liberty Street and it is being moved to a new site Thursday at the Sixth Street Viaduct.

[...] "Everything that has happened shows just how vital our message is," said Shawn Jeffers, co-coordinator for the Cincinnati Coalition of Reason. "It proves our point, that bigotry against people who don't believe in a god is still very real in America. Only when we atheists, agnostics and humanists come together and go public about our views will people have a chance to learn that we too are part of the community and deserve respect."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

David Cross on religion

Mr Deity & Cast at the AAI 2009 Conference

Mr. Deity and cast perform live skits from their excellent web series. Brian Dalton (Deity) explains his personal journey from Mormonism to creating the show.

Filmed and Edited by JOSH TIMONEN

Connect The World: Will 2012 be the end?

"CNN's Becky Anderson asks astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson if the end is near." (Will the world end December 21, 2012.)

Aired 11-12-09 on CNN

Buckingham Palace to be mosque

Nic Robertson reports on a radical Islamic fringe active in Europe and close to al Qaeda.

November 12, 2009 on CNN

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lynn Westmoreland not remembering the Ten Commandments

Representative Westmoreland wants the Ten Commandments displayed in the houses of Congress; Stephen wants Representative Westmoreland to name all 10.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a District - Georgia's 8th - Lynn Westmoreland
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

From The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Neil deGrasse Tyson on the end of the world

Astrophysicist Neal deGrasse Tyson predicts that 99942 Apophis, a near-Earth asteroid and the namesake of an evil demon in Egyptian mythology, may collide with Earth in April 2029.

Science in Hollywood by Carolyn Porco

Carolyn Porco examines how science and scientists are portrayed in the film industry. She also explains how she interprets some of the stunning imagery taken by the Cassini mission to Saturn and the outer planets, which she oversees.

Download free amazing Cassini images.

Mohammed was a Pedophile

"Mohammed was a Pedophile": Movement for Italy Leader Daniela Santanchè on Domenica Cinque

November 09, 2009

Ann Coulter & Bill O'Reilly Go After Muslims & President Obama

Ann Coulter & FOX's Bill O'Reilly Go After Muslims, Major Nidal Malik Hasan & President Obama.

Fox News November 10, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catholic Church Does Not Want Socialized Medicine

Sean Hannity's Catholic Priest Guest Father Jonathan Morris: "The Catholic Church Does Not Want Socialized Medicine".

Fox News November 11, 2009

Miracle of Kaaba

Total bullshit Islam propaganda

It is not it is Pi (3.1415947)

Neil deGrasse Tyson debunks the 2012 myth

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson debunks the 2012 myth at a meeting of the Secret Science Club at the Bell House in Brooklyn, NY.

Good Reasons for "Believing" in God

Dan Dennett's talk at the AAI 2007 Conference in Washington, D.C. He is presented with the 2007 Richard Dawkins award at the introduction.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Signs from Heaven (Penn and Teller)

Penn and Teller investigate religious icons such as the Turin shroud, a toasted cheese sandwich with the face of the Virgin Mary, and a toilet door with the eyes of Jesus.

Part 1/3

Part 2/3

Part 3/3

Mr Deity and Death

Mr. Deity has to deal with an angry Death, whose day goes from bad to worse.

Doug Stanhope - Religion in politics

Doug Stanhope at the Trocadero in Philadelphia, PA October 18th 2008.

Origin of the Universe - Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking gives a lecture on the Hawking-Hartle no boundary universe.

Lecture given to a sold out crowd at the Berkeley on March 13 2007.

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2 of 5

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5 of 5

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jesus vs terminator

James Randi and Project Alpha

Project Alpha was a famous hoax orchestrated by famous magician and skeptic James Randi. It involved the "planting" of two fake psychics, Steve Shaw and Michael Edwards, into a paranormal research project who became convinced the pair's psychic powers were real.

The hoax was later revealed publically, leading to a backlash against the entire paranormal field. This is an interview with the men involved.

James Randi Lecture @ Caltech - Cant Prove a Negative

James Randi explains why you can not prove a negative. The burden of proof is on the person presenting the claim. He then goes into an example of how you can't prove that Reindeer can fly.

James Randi lecture excerpt from a 2 hour lecture at Caltech in 1992.

Jesus Has Issues

Several Christian groups has made a Jesus ad

Video by Australian ABC "Hungry Beast" from 4. November 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

War on religion, the media attack on Christianity

Darwin's Brave New World

Darwins Brave New World is the story of how four young voyagers to the southern hemisphere, Charles Darwin, Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley and Alfred Russel Wallace revolutionised science and gave birth to an extraordinary theory about the evolution of life on earth.

Featuring a cast of Australian and Canadian actors and commentators such as controversial author and Oxford academic, Richard Dawkins, the Canadian scientist and broadcaster, David Suzuki and Australian scholar and author, Iain McCalman, from the University of Sydney, this brilliant drama-documentary tells the story of Charles Darwins struggle to produce one of the greatest scientific theories of our age and the roles played in it by Hooker, Huxley and Wallace - Darwins fellow voyagers to the southern hemisphere.

Episode 1: Part 1/6

Episode 1: Part 2/6

Episode 1: Part 3/6

Episode 1: Part 4/6

Episode 1: Part 5/6

Episode 1: Part 6/6

Aired 11-8-09
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