The Importance of Unbelief | Stephen Fry

July 30, 2010 § 1 Comment

Skeptic Top Trumps Cards by Caricature Club

Stephen Fry, for those who don’t know him, is a brilliant actor, writer, quiz show host and all around great guy. I stumbled upon this interview on  bigthink.com from December 2009. I missed it so I am sure others did as well. Despite his fascination with European football, my husband and I are huge fans.

“You can’t just say there is a God because well, the world Is beautiful. You have to account for bone cancer in children. You have to account for the fact that almost all animals in the wild live under stress with not enough to eat and will die violent and bloody deaths. There is not any way that you can just choose the nice bits and say that means there is a God and ignore the true fact of what nature is. The wonder of nature must be taken in its totality and it is a wonderful thing. It is absolutely marvelous and the idea that an atheist or a humanist if you want to put it that way, doesn’t marvel and wonder at reality, at the way things are, is nonsensical. The point is we wonder all the way. We don’t just stop and say that which I cannot understand I will call God, which is what mankind has done historically. That’s to say God was absolutely everything a thousand or two thousand years ago because we understood almost nothing about the natural world, so it could all be God and then as we understood more God receded and receded and receded, so suddenly now he is barely anywhere. He is just in those things we don’t understand, which are important, but I think it just is such an insult to humanity and the Greeks got it right. The Greeks understood perfectly that if there were divine beings they are capricious, unkind, malicious mostly, temperamental, envious and mostly deeply unpleasant because that you can say well yes, all right, if there is going to be god or gods then you have to admit that they’re very at the very least capricious. They’re certainly not consistent. They’re certainly not all loving. I mean really it’s just not good enough.” Read or see Video of the full interview.

via The Importance of Unbelief | Stephen Fry | Big Think.

A Ridiculous Essay on Rational Outreach (via The Tribal Scientist)

July 19, 2010 § 5 Comments

Fantastic insights. Humor has always reached me better than any other form of communication. Someone is always going to be offended. It is the up to the person that was offended to look at themselves and ask why? Obviously there is some truth in what was said that frightens you and you are not willing to laugh at yourself.

“I don’t think we should go out of our way to insult Islam because it doesn’t do any good to get your head cut off. But we should always say that I may refrain from publishing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, but it’s because I fear you. Don’t for one moment think it’s because I respect you.” -Richard Dawkins, 2010 Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne. Fear can be quite an effective motivator when it comes to silencing your critics. Make peop … Read More

via The Tribal Scientist

Essential Freethought Library

July 13, 2010 § 4 Comments

The wonderful people at American Freethought have compiled a Skeptics Summer Reading list. See if there is anything you have missed.

American Freethought

THE ESSENTIAL FREETHOUGHT LIBRARY (Updated July 11, 2010)

“We contacted a more or less random sample of notable freethinkers–bloggers, podcasters, authors, and leaders in the freethought/atheist/skeptic communities–and asked them to send us their list of recommended works for the well-read freethinker.  (Among those who responded are Sam Harris, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Phil Plait, George Hrab and Massimo Pigliucci.)  From this long list of suggestions–over 250 works–we have compiled this Essential Freethought Library.  The list takes into account the frequency with which a work was recommended, the frequency with which a particular writer was recommended, and the dates of publication.  Free free to send us your suggestions.”


The Essential Ten (←click Here for original link and full list of publications)

Do you remember the “First Amendment”?

July 12, 2010 § 3 Comments

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Those words are so simple. So many of us grew up with those freedoms that we take them for granted. We think we know what they mean. We get indigent when someone tells us “You can’t say that”, “You can’t protest here” or “Turn those camera’s off.” But the First Amendment means so much more.

I was reminded of how truly free we are, and how much we take it for granted by a voice reaching out from true oppression. A teacher named Sam in Iran read my post of June 20, 2010 Is it time for scientists to come out of the closet? He posted the following comment on July 11:

“I don’t know why they’re pretending on some nonsense. In a free society where you all live, practically there shall be zero constraints on people’s believes. This is exactly what I don’t understand, when only few people believe in god these days, politicians & scientists still have doubt about speaking out…”

I have been thinking about this comment and Sam. What must it be like to live in a place where expressing your beliefs will get your beaten or killed? I encourage everyone to read Sam’s blog to get some perspective on human rights.

1forAllI also encourage everyone to join 1 for All is a national nonpartisan program designed to build understanding and support for First Amendment freedoms. 1 for All provides teaching materials to the nation’s schools, supports educational events on America’s campuses and reminds the public that the First Amendment serves everyone, regardless of faith, race, gender or political leanings. It is truly one amendment for all.

Is it time for scientists to come out of the closet?

June 20, 2010 § 2 Comments

Increasingly over the last few months I have become less tolerant (on twitter) of scientists, astronomers, astronauts, politicians and other “educated” people who still pretend to believe in god just pander to the masses.  I say it is time to come out of the proverbial closest.  I think you will find that most people will be quite understanding. How can we make scientific advancements if we are still holding to our childish superstitions?    Richard Dawkins makes a brilliant case.

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