Hilarious. Click here to see the list!
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
(click to enlarge)
Interesting that the Mormon church fares so well. From statistics I've been, it is hemorrhaging members. Of the 15,000,000 purported members, the LDS church actually has only around 4-5 million who attend regularly. It also counts a lot of dead people as Mormons, because names are not removed for 100 years. All is not happy in the Mormon church. See my earlier post on the rotten fruits of Mormonism. Still, this infographic has some interesting data and is worth a view. Link
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Denver has passed a new “odor ordinance” with a potential $2,000 fine for anyone found guilty of polluting the atmosphere.
The need to draw up standards emerged because of the confusion over the legal position of whether somebody smoking marijuana in their own home could be committing an environmental offense when the smell seeps into the street.
Under the new law an offense is committed if the odor is detectable when the smoke is mixed with seven times the volume of clean air.
The nose telescope – also known as an olfactometer – is the device used to measure the concentration of cannabis in the air. -Telegraph Reported
When there's some strange smell in your neighborhood, who are you going to call? The Nasal Ranger! That's who.
"Futurama's" Professor Farnsworth isn't the only one with a powerful smelloscope. In Denver, when a complaint is filed about marijuana odor in an area, the Department of Public Health's Ben Siller is called out with his field olfactometer to sniff around and see if the law has been broken.
Siller told 7News that he's mostly called out to smell marijuana odor complaints from businesses that grow marijuana, not from marijuana smokers enjoying some legal weed in the privacy of their own homes.
Siller, who has been investigating odor complaints for 26 years, uses the department's Nasal Ranger device to determine how strong the odor is and if a violation has occurred -- which it turns out is rare. The Denver Post reports that the odor has to reach a level of 8:1 or greater which can mean a fine of up to $2,000. But that hasn't happened since 1994.
In an appearance before a gathering of OK2A, an Oklahoma Second Amendment advocacy group, Rafael Cruz, father of freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that atheism leads to sexual abuse of children.
In his talk, which took place earlier this month, the elder Cruz railed against atheism and secular humanism, which he said are two of the main ills facing our society.
“Let’s look, for example, at the behavioral consequences of these two foundations,” Cruz said to the group. “Well, if there is nothing, if there is no God, then we are ruled by our instincts.”
“There is no moral absolute, which means we operate by situational ethics,” he said, “which unfortunately is something being taught in every high school in America.”
Situational ethics, explained Cruz, maintain “that right and wrong depends on the situation. In other words, it’s a moral relativism.”
Because atheists believe in doing whatever they want, and if there are no moral absolutes, then there will be nothing but moral anarchy, he said.
Monday, November 11, 2013
This article in Salon is fascinating. I agree with everything the author says in the quoted portions below. After that, he loses me. As best I can determine, he is arguing that the delusion of religion, independent of its truth or falsity, helps to promote peace -- or at least happiness. However, the opposite facts are simply too clear. As I mentioned in the context of Sweden, atheism tends to correlate with societal well-being. Believers will argue that there are other reasons that the Scandinavian countries are peaceful, e.g., socialism, homogeneous populations, etc. However, this overlooks the fact that many conflicts are directly attributable to religion, e.g., abortion clinic bombing, KKK, homophobia, etc. In any case, this article is a fascinating read.
With regret, I left Sweden yesterday after a marvelous trip. It is an amazing place, with less than 30 percent or so of the population believing in a god or gods. Is it the miserable, lawless wasteland that theists would like you believe it to be? Hell no. :) It is a model of peace with low crime and a healthy and happy population.
Sweden is one of the leaders of the world in clean energy, with a majority of its power coming from hydroelectric, wind, and nuclear power. Its recycling program is so good, it has to important garbage from neighboring countries to power its garbage burning program.
There are relatively few countries with so few believers. As you can see from the following map, only Japan and a few other countries have achieved the same level of rationality. I'm sure I will get a comment telling me to move to Sweden. What I would rather do is work to make the US different from all of the third world countries that are likewise plagued by a religious majority.
The Hawaii House has granted marriage equality its third and final passage with a vote of 30-19, as it had on Wednesday. The bill was amended in committee, which means it must return to Senate for passage before advancing to Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D), who is committed to signing it.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Evolutionary biologist and atheist author Richard Dawkins has revealed in an interview why he doesn't debate people who believe in the Young Earth creation theory, stating that simply engaging them on a platform allows them to get what they want.
"When the debate is with someone like a Young Earth creationist, as the late Stephen Gould pointed out – they've won the moment you agree to have a debate at all. Because what they want is the oxygen of respectability," Dawkins told Seth Andrews of "The Thinking Atheist" in a recently-published interview about his latest book, An Appetite for Wonder.
"They want to be seen on a platform with a real scientist, because that conveys the idea that here is a genuine argument between scientists," Dawkins continued. "They may not win the argument – in fact, they will not win the argument, but it makes it look like there really is an argument to be had."
The biologist has often defended the theory of evolution in his work, going against creationism and any notion that a divine being might have been involved in the process. While Dawkins has participated in a number of public discussions with faith figures throughout his career, he has largely avoided getting into debates with creationists, or with people who believe the Earth is between 6,000 to 10,000 years old.
"Just as I wouldn't expect a gynecologist to have a debate with somebody who believes in the Stork-theory of reproduction, I won't do debates with Young Earth creationists," he said.
Americans have held contrasting views on human origins, with 46 percent of voters in a 2012 Gallup poll indicating that they believe God created humans in their present form sometime within the last 10,000 years. Another 32 percent said that humans evolved but with God guiding the process, and 15 percent said evolution occurred without any divine involvement.
I had the good fortune of having dinner with Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, and Bill Nye last week. The best way I can describe it was finding refuge in an oasis of "reason and science," a far cry from the Utah where I live and work. Michael Shermer was a wonderful host, and his home was gorgeous. Richard was as amazingly open and personable as I have known from our previous interactions. I sat next to him at dinner and discussed everything from evolutionary biology to free will. Having Bill Nye "drop by," was icing on the cake. I also got to meet Jaclyn Glenn of YouTube fame, and she is more charming and gorgeous in person than I could have imagined.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
The American Atheists says it had a tough time buying billboards for its Salt Lake City convention, and that goes to show what’s wrong with the Beehive State.
"What this really communicates to us is the stranglehold that the Mormon church has on the community in Utah," said Dave Muscato, American Atheists public relations director. "It reminds me of the Mafia in Italy. They don’t even have to make threats. People just know that they’re supposed to be afraid."
The outspoken group’s 40th annual convention will run April 17-20 at the downtown Hilton and is expected to draw about 1,000 people, including keynote speaker and NFL punter Chris Kluwe. AA officials say they called nine Utah companies looking for three to five billboards to promote September’s early-bird rates, but after repeated attempts, only two called them back.
Muscato said Reagan Outdoor Advertising told him it would pass, and YESCO, after first rejecting a play on the church’s "I’m a Mormon" ad campaign, then nixed three other submissions that didn’t mention Mormons but instead depicted a family, students and an elderly couple with a red arrow pointing to them from the word "Atheists."
"The reason that we’re coming to Salt Lake City in the first place is that so many atheists feel oppressed by the preponderance of the Mormon church," said AA President Dave Silverman, who acknowledges they’ve experienced backlash elsewhere but added it’s never been unanimous. "The church controls much more of public life than it has the right to do. This [rejection] seems to support that."
In an email to Muscato, a YESCO employee wrote that his ad director signed off on AA’s resubmissions but that the company’s sales director and president declined the contract because "it was deemed to be too controversial for our Salt Lake market."
In a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune, YESCO wrote: "We believe that our medium is an effective outlet for free speech. However, we balance that with a strong commitment to adhere to community standards and to ensure that the messages we advertise are not offensive toward any business, group or individual. … In rare instances, we reject advertisements that we find to be misleading, deceptive or offensive to the moral standards of the community."
Reagan Outdoor Advertising didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.