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cleanhippie

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Member since: Sat Jul 3, 2010, 12:24 PM
Number of posts: 16,973

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Sam Harris rips the head of the National Institute of Health for pushing religious ‘bullsh*t’

Neuroscientist Sam Harris had some harsh words for one of the nation’s top scientists during a recent podcast.

The outspoken atheist said that Francis Collins, the current head of the National Institute of Health and the former director of the international Human Genome Project, was an example of an intelligent person who peddled religious “bullshit.”

--snip--

“Now, this is not to say that people don’t have great experiences that they want to capture in religious language,” Harris said. “But when you look at someone like Francis Collins, who is running the NIH, who is a medical geneticist and obviously a very smart guy who has made real contributions to science — but he is also a bit of a Bible-thumper, he’s an evangelical Christian. He believes in evolution, thankfully, but he also believes that immortal souls and free will were just downloaded onto the hard drive of only one species of primate at some point in history by an almighty God.”

“And when you ask him about the resurrection, he believes in the resurrection (of Jesus) and he believes in the coming resurrection of the dead, and he, I think, is sensitive to how unseemly it is for the head of the NIH to talk about these things, so when you ask him for details, he says, ‘Well, this is all very complicated and you should consult the work of John Polkinghorne and N.T. Wright.’ And when you consult their work, you get just pure madness. It is just a word salad, which is foisted on scientifically illiterate people by scientifically literate people for reasons that are patently emotional.”

“I think we should be even more critical in some sense of people like Francis Collins, the so-called nuanced religious person,” Harris concluded.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/12/atheist-sam-harris-rips-the-head-of-the-national-institute-of-health-for-pushing-religious-bullsht/

Kansas mom stabs son to death while he sleeps: It’s ‘better for him to go to heaven tonight’

A Kansas mother has been charged with the chilling death of her 10-year-old son, who she allegedly stabbed to death while he was sleeping because she thought he would be better off in heaven.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/12/kansas-mom-stabs-son-to-death-while-he-sleeps-its-better-for-him-to-go-to-heaven-tonight/



Read the link for details. I'm not going to post any more of it because I'm sure it really had nothing to do with her religious beliefs. Nothing at all.

Did historical Jesus really exist? The evidence just doesn’t add up.

Did a man called Jesus of Nazareth walk the earth? Discussions over whether the figure known as the “Historical Jesus” actually existed primarily reflect disagreements among atheists. Believers, who uphold the implausible and more easily-dismissed “Christ of Faith” (the divine Jesus who walked on water), ought not to get involved.

Numerous secular scholars have presented their own versions of the so-called “Historical Jesus” – and most of them are, as biblical scholar J.D. Crossan puts it, “an academic embarrassment.” From Crossan’s view of Jesus as the wise sage, to Robert Eisenman’s Jesus the revolutionary, and Bart Ehrman’s apocalyptic prophet, about the only thing New Testament scholars seem to agree on is Jesus’ historical existence. But can even that be questioned?

The first problem we encounter when trying to discover more about the Historical Jesus is the lack of early sources. The earliest sources only reference the clearly fictional Christ of Faith. These early sources, compiled decades after the alleged events, all stem from Christian authors eager to promote Christianity – which gives us reason to question them. The authors of the Gospels fail to name themselves, describe their qualifications, or show any criticism with their foundational sources – which they also fail to identify. Filled with mythical and non-historical information, and heavily edited over time, the Gospels certainly should not convince critics to trust even the more mundane claims made therein.

--snip--

Also important are the sources we don’t have. There are no existing eyewitness or contemporary accounts of Jesus. All we have are later descriptions of Jesus’ life events by non-eyewitnesses, most of whom are obviously biased. Little can be gleaned from the few non-Biblical and non-Christian sources, with only Roman scholar Josephus and historian Tacitus having any reasonable claim to be writing about Jesus within 100 years of his life. And even those sparse accounts are shrouded in controversy, with disagreements over what parts have obviously been changed by Christian scribes (the manuscripts were preserved by Christians), the fact that both these authors were born after Jesus died (they would thus have probably received this information from Christians), and the oddity that centuries go by before Christian apologists start referencing them.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/18/did-historical-jesus-exist-the-traditional-evidence-doesnt-hold-up/

.

When my son survived a serious accident, I didn’t thank God. I thanked Honda.

Last Friday night, a semi-trailer pushed the car my son was driving into a Jersey barrier. The trailer’s back wheel landed on the hood of the car, less than six inches from my son’s head. Every window shattered, throwing glass inches from his face.

But my son has not a scratch on him.

I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that I wrote a letter to Honda praising the expertly engineered safety features that saved his life. I explained that I had been in an equally serious accident 18 years earlier and had suffered a serious brain injury and broken bones all over the right side of my body, requiring countless surgeries.

I posted the letter on Facebook, and closed it with this:

I want to extend my thanks to the engineers who used their intelligence and skill to create a car that safe, to the crash test dummies who have died a thousand horrible deaths and to your executives who did not scrimp on safety.

Thank you, Honda.

That last line rubbed some people the wrong way. While many who left comments on my post were just glad that my son was alive and well, others wanted to know why I had thanked Honda for that outcome. The entity that deserved my thanks, they said, was God. One commenter wrote: “I am thankful that God held your son in His embrace and I am curious why you thanked Honda rather than Him.”

--snip--

However, over many years of thinking about religion and faith, I have noticed that something sad and somewhat strange happens when we thank God: We tend to stop there. We simply overlook the decisions, the science, the policies and the people who contributed to the “miracle.” To put it another way: When we focus on supernatural deliverance from harm, we often ignore all of the human ways we can improve our own safety. I am concerned that we may associate survival of serious accidents with the unpredictable hand of Providence, not with airbags, safety testing and the regulations that have put them in place.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/12/when-my-son-survived-a-serious-accident-i-didnt-thank-god-i-thanked-honda/

“Choose Faith in Spite of the Facts”

I usually don’t think it’s worth beating up on the purveyors of popular evangelical feel-goodism, for the same reason I don’t get in boxing matches with life-size Jell-O sculptures. But I had to make an exception for this tweet from human tooth-whitening strip Joel Osteen:


The facts may tell you one thing. But, God is not limited by the facts. Choose faith in spite of the facts.



Osteen is most famous for his surgically implanted smile and his prosperity-gospel theology which teaches that Jesus is a jolly, rosy-cheeked Santa Claus who’s eager to shower you with wealth, happiness and worldly success, if you only ask. His relentlessly upbeat preaching style, which has all the forced cheerfulness of a singing animatronic display in a mall, has given rise to a brutal satire, Third World Osteen, which juxtaposes the preacher’s blandly positive pablum with stark images of destitution and violence. For the record, Osteen himself owns a multimillion-dollar mansion in a rich Houston suburb. (You’d think prosperity-gospel believers would realize, eventually, that the only ones getting rich off this theology are the preachers who write the books about it; but somehow they never do.)

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/2014/12/choose-faith-in-spite-of-the-facts/


more at link

New Book On Irish Priests Reveals Struggles With Celibacy, Trips To Gay Clubs

New Book On Irish Priests Reveals Struggles With Celibacy, Trips To Gay Clubs
The Huffington Post | By Antonia Blumberg


When sociologist and former seminarian Dr. John Weafer started looking for studies on the personal lives of Catholic priests there were only a few. Those that did exist only began to approach what the researcher imagined was a much richer and more complex story beneath the surface.

Weafer took matters into his own hands by embarking on an in-depth study on Irish priests, using contacts he had from his seminary days nearly 30 years ago. The resulting book, "Thirty-Three Good Men: Celibacy, Obedience and Identity," explores the personal lives of a range of priests, often going into what Weafer called "graphic detail" about romantic relationships, abuse allegations and daily struggles with clerical life.

--snip--

Fr L went on to discover a "clerical gay scene in Ireland," saying he believed there were "quite a lot of gay guys in the priesthood" and during one visit to a gay bar in Dublin recognized at least nine priests in the venue.

Weafer said he did not believe the church hierarchy would be surprised to read these revelations.

--snip--

The Catholic Church has maintained strict doctrine against gay relationships, in addition to the expected celibacy of priests. Weafer found, however, that many priests struggle with the requirements of celibacy, and few would judge a fellow priest who broke his vow.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/03/ireland-priests-gay-clubs_n_6261188.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

FFRF combats ‘pervasive religious endorsement’ in Texas school district



Numerous allegations of Establishment Clause violations include religious postings in several classrooms. One kindergarten teacher displays 10 Christian crosses on the wall next to her desk, several with bible verses printed on them. A high school Spanish teacher has a printed list of "Bible Verses for Teachers" on her wall that quotes such New Testament verses as Ephesians 3:16-17, "I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith."

"Public schools have a duty to ensure that 'subsidized teachers do not inculcate religion' or use their positions of authority to promote a particular religious viewpoint," FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover wrote Superintendent John Kaufman in the Oct. 31 letter. "When teachers place Latin crosses or bible quotes on classroom walls, they have unconstitutionally entangled the school with a religious message, specifically a Christian message."

It is FFRF's information that hallways in multiple Mt. Vernon schools contain religious quotes painted on the walls. At Mt. Vernon High School, the quotes include, "Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face," attributed to Ronald Reagan, as well as one attributed to Thomas Paine, "Reputation is what men and women think of us, character is what God and angels know of us."

--snip--

"Given the variety and pervasiveness of the violations reported to us, we recommend that the district not only address the specific violations reported here, but also make an effort to educate all district employees about their obligation to remain neutral toward religion under the Establishment Clause," the letter concluded.

"We have rarely seen such a collection of egregious state/church violations in one school district," commented Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. "This is religion run amok, targeting a captive audience of young students, including elementary school students. All of these religious mottos, symbols, posters, bible verses and Christian T-shirts should be removed immediately."


- See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/21713-ffrf-combats-pervasive-religious-endorsement-in-texas-school-district#sthash.RwJZ2Qfr.ObAUdIUH.dpuf

And now for a look at the Brighter Side of things... (pic heavy)

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The point? Things could be much, much worse.

A Message to Liberals on the Eve of the GOP’s Big Mid-Term Win

--snip--
If you already think you’re defeated, you are. Republicans will certainly hold the House tomorrow and they very well may take the Senate. That’s how it works. You win some. You lose some.
America lurches back and forth, left and right and left and right again, like a drunk staggering into the future. Sometimes your party and your ideology is going to win, sometimes it isn’t. And it for damned sure won’t if you don’t get out there and vote for it.
But you know what’s going to happen if Republicans do take the Senate tomorrow?
Do you know what’s going to happen if Conservatives control both houses of Congress?
Nothing.
Absolutely nothing.
Literally nothing.
That’s what will happen.
For the next two years.
Nothing.

--snip--

And so what if they take the Senate?

Fix the debt? They won’t do that.

Balanced budget? They won’t do that. In fact, if history is any guide you’ll be lucky to see an unbalanced budget. More likely they’ll just shut the government down again, blame Obama, and go home.

Jobs bill? They won’t do that either. Minimum wage? Forget about it.

Immigration reform? Nope, they sure won’t do that. They won’t even “secure the border,” because that will cost hundreds of billions and require huge amounts of assets, organization, oversight, and a bigger government. And they’ll need the cooperation of the president they just tried to impeach.

Energy policy? They won’t do that. Fixing America’s aging infrastructure? I wouldn’t hold your breath. Banking reform? Middle East policy? Action on climate change? Education? Gun violence? Tax reform? Trade?

Instead we’ll hear endless, endless debate over gay marriage and Benghazi and government overreach, but in the end they’ll do nothing and count it as a victory.

--snip--

They’ll do nothing and count it as a victory because stopping Obama is all they care about.
Republicans have no big vision, they don’t even have a small vision.
They have no fresh ideas.
The GOP’s message is one of revenge and sullen resentment and fuck you I got mine and nothing more.
They’re on the wrong side of history and they’re going extinct and they know it and it makes them small and mean.
And the very best they can offer for the next two years is … nothing.
But if you want more than that, more than nothing, then shrug off your defeat and gather up your friends and all the like-minded Americans you can find and get your ass to the polls.
Sure it’s hard.
Sure it’s an uphill battle.
Sure the odds are stacked against you and the game is rigged.
So what?
If your vote didn’t matter, then these rotten sons of bitches wouldn’t be working so damned hard to take it away from you.

http://aattp.org/a-retired-navy-officers-message-to-liberals-on-the-eve-of-the-gops-big-mid-term-win/



Read the entire thing at the link, because it's a good read and the guy is right.

God is a byproduct of your hard-wired narcissism

"At the “Science Technology Future” conference in Melbourne, Australia last month, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss was asked whether spiritual experiences could ever be scientifically validated.

“The spiritual things — the exotic phenomena people experience — in general violate the things we know to be correct on the basis of experiment, so they’re highly likely to be wrong,” Krauss answered.

“I can’t say to someone who’s heard God in their ears that they’re not hearing God,” he continued. “But I can say that it’s much more likely that they’re hallucinating, based on what we know.”

--snip--

“So I can’t tell someone that what they’ve heard, or what they’ve seen, or some mystical experience — I can only say that it’s likely a coincidence,” he concluded.

“But none of us like to believe that things that happen to us are coincidences. We’re all hard-wired to believe that things that happen to us are significant.”

Watch video of the conference via organizer Adam Ford on YouTube below.



http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/10/lawrence-krauss-spiritual-experiences-are-a-byproduct-of-humanitys-hard-wired-narcissism/

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