Sep 29, 2010

New at Aristotle's Muse; Three Invisible Dicks!

Aristotle's Muse isn't meant to be a blog about politics.  That being said, it's very hard not to talk about politics when up-and-coming politicians are routinely spewing forth creationist banter and total lies (as though one could differentiate the two).

I received a lot of comments when I posted the picture of Sarah Palin with the caption "Three Invisible Dicks"  Seeing as how politics have been heating up recently, and the teabagger movement has spiraled out of control, I thought it might be good to expand on the idea.  Since I already had a Obama HOPE poster template from the SAGAN poster, I decided to go the route of another Obama HOPE style design.

First the original

Then the finished poster

I don't know, I think "Three Invisible Dicks" has a lot better ring to it than the original Obama HOPE poster's monosyllabic message. What do you think?

Sep 25, 2010

New anti-Christine O'Donnel campaign button says it all.

After having won in the primaries, Christine O'Donnell is now the GOP's nominee for V.P. Joe Biden's former senate in the state of Delaware, thanks to the influence of the Tea Party and at the dismay of many republicans.  

The Republican Party's hopes for winning back the Senate now rest on a candidate with a sketchy employment history who has dissembled about her education, defaulted on her student loan and her mortgage, sued a former employer for mental anguish, led a campaign against the evils of masturbation and questioned whether it would have been OK to lie to prevent Nazis from killing Jews during World War II.

To provide perspective into O'Donnell's mindset and values, I have conveniently assembled a list of quotations including context and sources.

O’Donnell led a campaign against masturbation, claiming it is a form of adultery. In a 90s era discussion on MTV, O’Donnell said, 

  • “The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. So you can’t masturbate without lust.” [Huffington Post, 9/2/10]

Asked by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, “You’re going to stop the whole country from having sex?” O’Donnell replied, 

  • Yes.” [Scarborough Country, 11/13/03]

O’Donnell believes that handing out condoms at schools is like legalizing drunk driving. Arguing that abstinence is the only acceptable option, O’Donnell if said of condoms at school, 

  • “Go ahead and have a condom. That’s like saying, don’t drive drunk but if you do, make sure you wear your seat belt. It’s going to kill.” [Hannity & Colmes, 6/6/00]

O’Donnell believes distributing condoms to teenagers ‘reduc[es]them to the level of a dog.’ 

  • “We’re doing a great disservice to our young people because the only protection is abstinence, as condoms have been proven fallible. … The federal government should not be telling young people to use condoms. … It’s also an insult to teenagers, reducing them to the level of a dog that can’t control its hormones.” [Washington Times, 12/1/95]

O’Donnell argued that distributing condoms is ‘just going to further the spread of AIDS.’ 

  • “About President Bush’s stand against condoms, condoms will not protect you from AIDS. So to just throw a bunch of condoms over to Africa and say, here, we’re helping you with AIDS, is just going to further the spread of AIDS over there.” [Donahue, 8/27/02]

O’Donnell believes contraception is ‘anti-human.’ 

  • “And to me, it’s a very anti-human way to go about this. And what I mean about anti-human is even if the population is increasing, so what? So what? People aren’t bad. When did humans become a bad thing? Why is it that we have to, you know, stop people from getting pregnant?” [The O'Reilly Factor, 1/6/06]

O’Donnell thinks condoms ‘will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.’ 

  • “Even not from a moral perspective, if you take it just purely from a health perspective, condoms will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. There’s a 20 percent failure rate that it will protect from pregnancy.” [Hannity & Colmes, 12/17/99]

O’Donnell claimed abstinence-only education has been an ‘incredible success.’ 

  • “Overwhelmingly, programs that teach abstinence only have an incredible success rate because you’re not giving them a confused message.” [Hannity & Colmes, 6/6/00]

O’Donnell believes gays suffer from an ‘identity disorder.’ In a 2006 profiled of O’Donnell in the Wilmington News Journal, she explained, 

  • “People are created in God’s image. Homosexuality is an identity adopted through societal factors. It’s an identity disorder.” [Washington Post, 9/20/10]

O’Donnell believes gays are ‘attacking the very center of what is America.’ 

  • “This same group that is — is fighting against Paramount are the ones who claim to be devoted guardians of the First Amendment. Yet they are fighting for government-sponsored censorship of anybody who disagrees with them. They’re — they’re attacking the very center of what is America, freedom to have different views.” [Hannity & Colmes, 6/26/00]

O’Donnell warned about mice with ‘fully functioning human brains.’ 

  • “Now we’re using this to start cloning humans. … They are — they are doing that here in the United States. American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains." [O'Reilly Factor, 10/16/07]

O’Donnell believes there is ‘just as much, if not more, evidence’ supporting creationism than evolution. 

  • “Now too many people are blindly accepting evolution as fact. But when you get down to the hard evidence, it’s merely a theory. … Well, creationism, in essence, is believing that the world began as the Bible in Genesis says, that God created the Earth in six days, six 24-hour periods. And there is just as much, if not more, evidence supporting that.” [New York Magazine, 9/15/10]

O’Donnell wonders why monkey aren’t ’still evolving into humans.’ 

  • “You know what, evolution is a myth.” Host Bill Maher responded, “Evolution is a myth?!? Have you ever looked at a monkey!” To which, O’Donnell said, “Well then, why aren’t monkeys still evolving into humans?” [Politically Incorrect, 10/15/98]

O’Donnell used to ‘dabble[ ] into witchcraft.’ On Politically Incorrect in 1999, O’Donnell said, 

  • “I dabbled into witchcraft — I never joined a coven. … I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn’t know it.” [Politically Incorrect, 10/29/99]

Asked to explain her witchcraft comment, O’Donnell downplayed its significance. 

  • “There’s been no witchcraft since. … How many of you didn’t hang out with questionable folks in high school?” [ThinkProgress, 9/19/10]

O’Donnell blamed school shootings on the lack of prayer in schools. 

  • “We took the bible and prayer out of public schools, and now we’re having weekly shootings practically.” [New Statesman, 9/15/10]

O’Donnell warned that the ACLU is trying to ‘institute a communist country.’ 

  • “In the guise of so-called freedom of separation of church and state, they’re trying to institute a communist country and that sounds radical but that’s the truth. I mean why aren’t they trying to take out, you know, thou shall not kill? That’s a religious concept. That’s a commandment. Why are they not taking that our of our legal system.” [Savage Nation, 5/24/03]

O’Donnell found the Middle East’s censorship ‘refreshing.’ 

  • “I’ll tell you, I just came back from the Middle East, and it was refreshing. With all that is going on, it was refreshing not to be constantly bombarded with smut all the time.” [MSNBC, 3/23/04]

O’Donnell feared that bloggers are ‘dangerous.’ 

  • “What makes bloggers good makes them dangerous. They don’t have to answer to anybody. They can give a local story attention, but they also can publish rumors with no accountability.” [Wilmington News-Journal, 1/7/07]

Oh, bloggers are dangerous alright.  Dangerous to Christine O'Donnell's chances of winning a senate seat.

Lewis Black tears into Glenn Beck for Nazi comparisons.

Lewis Black draws attention to how often Glenn Beck likens his opponents to Hitler and Nazi Germany after Beck attacks opponents of Arizona's immigration reform for comparing new policies to the Gestapo. This is one of the funnies things I've seen in a while. Even if you've seen this, I'm sure you'll agree that it's worth another watch.

Sep 24, 2010

The Friendly Atheist of needs your help!

Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist of needs your help!  If you're clever enough, you just might win a free tee shirt from Aristotle's Muse!

It seems like everything has worked out and I’ll be able to attend the Jon Stewart “Rally to Restore Sanity”/Stephen Colbert “March To Keep Fear Alive” in Washington, D.C. on 10/30/10!
*Happy dance*
I am very excited, to say the least.
The only thing that would make it better is a clever poster to haul around.
I must top those. So I’m putting out a call for suggestions!
What should my sign read at the rally?
Just to sweeten the incentive to submit your idea…
The best suggestion will receive a free shirt from the excellent Aristotle’s Muse online store. (There’s hilarious stuff there; check it out!)
Unlike other contests, this prize can be shipped to: the USA, the U.K., Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Portugal, and France.
So enter!
There will also be a prize for a runner-up!

Sep 22, 2010

Don't put away your childish things.

I find it a little strange how deeply this moves me.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Richard Dawkins refutes the Pope's claim that Hitler was an atheist.

If you haven't had the chance to listen to Richard Dawkins' speech that he gave at the Protest the Pope March in London, UK, you'll want to see this.  The video captures Dawkins' short but passionate response to the Pope's attempt to confuse the public by claiming that Hitler was an atheist, and that his supposed atheism led directly to the holocaust.  Pope Ratzinger, conveniently failed to mention Hitler's status as a Roman Catholic and his public speeches referencing his faith in defense of his actions. 

You would think that as a Pope and a former member of the Hitler Youth, Ratzinger would have some knowledge about Hitler's faith as a Roman Catholic.

Also available is the NEW shirt featuring Richard Dawkins, "Dawkins Is My Homeboy".

It is available here...
Aristotle's Muse

Sep 20, 2010

Geeky Proud Parent Bumper Stickers

For all those parents that are proud of their children for their video game acumen, here are some great bumper stickers that you can stick on your minivan. Personally I feel that these achievements are more difficult to obtain then others that parents currently have on the Astrovan. Hopefully I’ll see a couple of these plastered to cars in the not to distant future, they deserve it.

You know how I know I'm a nerd?  I've actually done almost all of these things.
These are done by artist Das Chupa, be sure to check out his website.

Jon Stewarts "Rally to Restore Sanity"

Jon Stewarts "Rally to Restore Sanity" is a direct response to Glenn Beck's "Resotring Honor" rally, and is by some measures, already shaping up to be bigger than Becks.  We can only hope.

From The Daily Show Website...

"I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Who among us has not wanted to open their window and shout that at the top of their lungs?

Seriously, who?

Because we're looking for those people. We're looking for the people who think shouting is annoying, counterproductive, and terrible for your throat; who feel that the loudest voices shouldn't be the only ones that get heard; and who believe that the only time it's appropriate to draw a Hitler mustache on someone is when that person is actually Hitler. Or Charlie Chaplin in certain roles.

Are you one of those people? Excellent. Then we'd like you to join us in Washington, DC on October 30 -- a date of no significance whatsoever -- at the Daily Show's "Rally to Restore Sanity." Ours is a rally for the people who've been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) -- not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence... we couldn't. That's sort of the point.

Think of our event as Woodstock, but with the nudity and drugs replaced by respectful disagreement; the Million Man March, only a lot smaller, and a bit less of a sausage fest; or the Gathering of the Juggalos, but instead of throwing our feces at Tila Tequila, we'll be actively *not* throwing our feces at Tila Tequila. Join us in the shadow of the Washington Monument. And bring your indoor voice. Or don't. If you'd rather stay home, go to work, or drive your kids to soccer practice... Actually, please come anyway. Ask the sitter if she can stay a few extra hours, just this once. We'll make it worth your while.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Woman thought infant she stabbed was "Antichrist"

It appears that another religious fundamentalist has attempted to murder a family member in the name of her religion.

Sandra Clanton, 39, of Elmhurst Illinois was in her kitchen last September eleventh with her boyfriend, her 9 month old grandson, and the child's mother when she "went into a rage", picking up the baby and slamming its head into the sink. She then took a large butcher knife and began sawing at the babies face under his eye.

The infants mother grabbed the child and ran to the police station while the boyfriend wrestled Clanton to the ground.

Clanton later told plice that the "baby was the Antichrist"

The child suffered a "substantial would" under his eye and bruising to his head, but a scan showed no other serious damage.

Bond has been set at $2 million.

A link to the story in the Chicago Tribune can be found here.

Sep 19, 2010

Carl Sagan Memorial Station

This is so awesome I can hardly stand it.  I so desperately wish these were real.

These images are from Star Trek: Enterprise. The “Terra Prime" episode was written by Nick Sagan. The plaque is fictional, but the Carl Sagan Memorial Station is real. It’s the formal name of the NASA Mars Pathfinder lander, which delivered the Sojourner rover that explored the Red Planet.

SMALL PRINT: "Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you." - Carl Sagan

Nick Sagan's website can be found here...

No Pope Ratzinger, Hitler Was Not An Atheist.

I came across this today.  I thought it would be a great time to share it considering that the pope just recently drew a connection between Hitler and atheism.  You'd think that as a member of the Hitler youth as well as the leader of the catholic church, he would be aware that Hitler was himself a catholic.

The only explanation I can come up with is that he is aware of this fact and he is just simply spreading slanderous propaganda.  Nothing new to Catholicism, so not very surprising if true.

Nazi belt buckle reading "gott mit uns"
God is with us

Sep 18, 2010

Who Is This Man? (The Worlds 16 Crucified Saviors)

Often times what we regard as obvious common fact isn't so much fact as it is just simply common.  For instance, nowhere in the bible is the fruit eaten by Eve in the garden of eden referred to as an apple, the ten commandments are not consistent from one religion to another, or even among Christian sects, and nowhere in the Bible is Mary Magdalene ever referred to as a prostitute.  Some things in life are simply accepted at face value, and religion is absolutely no exception to the rule.  That being the case, I wonder if you could venture a guess and tell me, who is this man...?

- He is God made flesh, the savior and 'Son of God'.
- He is the son of God and his mother is a mortal human virgin.
- He is born in a cave or humble cowshed on 25 December before three shepherds.
- He offers his followers the chance to be born again through the rites of baptism.
- He miraculously turns water into wine at a marriage ceremony.
- He rides triumphantly into town on a donkey while people wave palm leaves to honor him.
- He dies on the Easter holiday as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
- After his death he descends to hell, then on the third day he rises from the dead and ascends to heaven in glory.
- His followers await his return as the judge during the Last Days.
- His death and resurrection are celebrated by a ritual meal of bread and wine which symbolize his body and blood for holy communion with god.
- Is depicted in ancient art works with a bright, usually golden halo around his head, often in his mothers arms.

Who is this man?
Did you say...


If you did, you were wrong.  I was describing the pagan deity Osiris (Dionysus), though few would ever have guessed.  That is, of course, because no-one lives today that believes in him.  This mythical god's followers largely lived before what Christians today consider the period in which Jesus lived.  Yup, that's right, this story is older than Jesus. 

They say Jesus brought salvation.  Osiris brought salvation 1,400 years earlier.

In fact, Osiris-Dionysus, Aten, Mithra, Sol, Invictus, Lugh, Lieu, Hesus, and later Yeshua/Jesus  among many others, all share many many strikingly similar parallels in their mythology.  Yes, all of them.

Stunning, isn't it?  Get ready, because there's more. 

Kersey Graves, a well respected biblical scholar, published in 1875 a classical work of Mythical Religious scholarship called "The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors".
The following is from his book in which he is comparing these 16 deities, many of whom I already mentioned, with Jesus.
(beginning of book excerpt)

1. There were many cases of miraculous birth of Gods BEFORE Christ.
2. Many cases of Gods being born of human virgin mothers.
3. Many gods (later including Christ) were born on the 25th of December.
4. Many god-men were supposedly foretold by "inspired prophets."
5. Guiding Stars were featured in the birth of many of the god-men.
6. Many of them were associated with angels, shepherds, and Magi (wise men).
7. Many including Christ were claimed to be of Royal or Princely descent.
8. As infants they were all threatened by the ruler of the country. (Herod)
9. Some showed signs of divinity early (as did Jesus).
10. They all retired from the world and practiced fasting.
11. Most declared, "my kingdom is not of this world."
12. Some preached a "spiritual religion" like later Jesus.
13. Most of them were crucified for the "sins of the world."
14. Many of them were anointed with oil, like Jesus.
15. All were killed, then entombed for three days, then "rose from the dead."
16. Most of them like Jesus who followed, ascended into heaven.
17. Similar earthquakes, storms, darkness, occurred in most of them after the man-god's death.
18. Most were called "saviors," "sons of God," "Messiahs," "Redeemers," "Lords," or "Lamb of God."
19. Each god man was the second member of a Trinity of "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."
20. Each of the 16 Sin-atonement religions included the doctrines of "Original Sin," "Fall of Man," "The Atonement," "THE WORD," "The Trinity," "forgiveness," "an Angry God," and "Future Endless Punishment."

What is amazing about what eventually became Christianity in the 4th Century, is not just it's similarity to it Pagan precursors. What is strange is that it failed to invent any original ideas whatsoever. It is all recycled myth.

(end of book excerpt)

Osiris-Dionysus and the pagan religions were prevalent in Rome before Christianity.  In fact,  on the site where the Vatican now stands, there once stood a Pagan temple.
These remarkable similarities are today not common knowledge largely because the early Roman church did everything in its power to prevent later peoples from ever learning of them.  It systematically destroyed Pagan religious texts as well as all sources of Pagan mythology and history -- a task it performed so completely that today classical Paganism is regarded as a dead religion.

Although surprising to us now, to writers of the first few centuries CE, these similarities between the then new Christian religion and the ancient Mysteries (pagan holy scriptures) were extremely obvious. Pagan critics of Christianity, such as the satirist Celsus, complained that this recent religion was nothing more than a pale reflection of their own ancient teachings.

Early 'Church fathers'  were understandably disturbed and resorted to the desperate claim that these similarities were the result of "diabolical mimicry." Using one of the most absurd arguments ever offered.  They accused the Devil of "plagiarism by anticipation," of deviously copying the true story of Jesus before it had actually happened in an attempt to mislead the gullible.

The church still does not deny the similarities.  Instead, it continues to maintain it's original explanation.  That the devil created these other religions and deities to confuse people and lead them astray.  To gain everlasting ownership of their immortal souls so that they would forever burn in the torment of eternal hellfire.

Guess I'm gonna burn.

This is a related video.  A trailer for the documentary "The God Who Wasn't There" 

Sep 17, 2010

Carl Sagan Is My Hero.

This is a collection of some of my favorite passages in the writings of my personal hero, Carl Sagan.  Read on and I think you'll see why it is that I hold him in such high regard.

First, some Carl Sagan exerpts from "Cosmos".

"Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge."

"The civilization now in jeopardy is all humanity. As the ancient myth makers knew, we are children equally of the earth and the sky. In our tenure of this planet we've accumulated dangerous evolutionary baggage.... propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders.... all of which puts our survival in some doubt. But we've also acquired compassion for others, love for our children and desire to learn from history and experience, and a great soaring passionate intelligence.... the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity.
Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet Earth. But up there in the cosmos, an inescapable perspective awaits. National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatic ethnic or religious or national identifications are a little difficult to support when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars. There are not yet obvious signs of extraterrestial intelligence, and this makes us wonder whether civilizations like ours rush inevitably headlong to self-destruction. I dream about it, and sometimes they're bad dreams."

"Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries."

----exerpts from "a pale blue dot" 1994

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar", every "supreme leader", every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there â.... on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds."

"Look back again at the pale blue dot. Take a good long look at it. Stare at the dot for any length of time and then try to convince yourself that God created the whole Universe for one of the 10 million or so species of life that inhabit that speck of dust. Now take it a step further: Imagine that everything was made just for a single shade of that species, or gender, or ethnic or religious subdivision. If this doesn't strike you as unlikely, pick another dot. Imagine it to be inhabited by a different form of intelligent life. They, too, cherish the notion of a God who has created everything for their benefit. How seriously do you take their claim?"

"It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

"We've tended in our cosmologies to make things familiar. Despite all our best efforts, we've not been very inventive. In the West, Heaven is placid and fluffy, and Hell is like the inside of a volcano. In many stories, both realms are governed by dominance hierarchies headed by gods or devils. Monotheists talked about the king of kings. In every culture we imagined something like our own political system running the Universe. Few found the similarity suspicious."

"It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure things out robs the world of beauty and mystery. But is it not stirring to understand how the world actually works â.... that white light is made of colors, that color is the way we perceive the wavelengths of light, that transparent air reflects light, that in so doing it discriminates among the waves, and that the sky is blue for the same reason that the sunset is red? It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it."

"Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every step. Many passengers would rather have stayed home."

Exerpts from...
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

"I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudo-science and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us-then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls. The candle flame flutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir."

"I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But as much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.
If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?
It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Credulity kills."

"A central lesson of science is that to understand complex issues (or even simple ones), we must try to free our minds of dogma and to guarantee the freedom to publish, to contradict, and to experiment. Arguments from authority are unacceptable."

"Arguments from authority simply do not count; too many authorities have been mistaken too often."

"The world is so exquisite, with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better, it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look Death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides."

"A millennium before Europeans were willing to divest themselves of the Biblical idea that the world was a few thousand years old, the Mayans were thinking of millions and the Hindus billions."

"Every one of us is precious in the cosmic perspective. If a man disagrees with you, let him live. You will not find another in a hundred billion galaxies."

"For most of human history we have searched for our place in the cosmos. Who are we? What are we? We find that we inhabit an insignificant planet of a hum-drum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions, and by the depth of our answers."

"In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion."

"Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works."

"We have designed our civilization based on science and technology and at the same time arranged things so that almost no one understands anything at all about science and technology. This is a clear prescription for disaster."

"We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it's forever."

I challenge anyone to read Sagan's work and deny that they count him as a hero as well.

A critical thought time capsule

I went through an old profile of mine and came across a handful of old blog posts I had made.

I decided to re-post some of them as a kind of time capsule of myself at the time.  It was September of '06, Bush's presidency was in full swing, and I was in the midst of another full on love affair with the writing of Carl Sagan.
September 26th 2006

I've recently become frustrated with the mindless conservative banter bombarding my in-box in the form of chain letters.  This is my answer to all of that mindless theocratic rhetoric. 

An excerpt from Carl Sagan's "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark"

"I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudo-science and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us-then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls. The candle flame flutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir."

The metaphors stated previously are a little obscure when stated without the rest of the original text. The darkness is in reference to the absence of scientific thought, much like the dark ages, and the demons are mankind's tendencies to believe in superstition, religion, pseudoscience, etc. when in the absence of scientific knowledge and to act on these falsities with the absence of logical reason.

The events of 911 happened in 2001, right near the turn of the millennium Carl is making reference to, brought about by ignorance and religious fanaticism... a global lack of scientific thought.

Indeed, theology and fanatic religious fundamentalism is undergoing a popularity boom here in America as well as in the middle east. The demons are no longer stirring, they are in full force. It's unfortunate that in such a dark time, people don't see the dangers for what they are. Blind faith and it's tradition of non-thinking fuels hatred and encourages tendencies to follow authority without question, and in its extremes; terrorism and murder.

I find myself asking;  Why are Americans following suit with their own theological interpretation of the same god? (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all branched from the same root religion. The old testament with moses, Noah etc is present in all three faiths in its entirety.)  There is nothing in science or history, no evidence at all, that lends more credibility to Christianity than to Islam or to Judaism. History stands witness to the uncountable travesties perpetrated by Christians in the name of Jesus Christ, just as we stand witness now to what is happening at the hands of some Muslims.

The cure to violent fundamental religious brutality is not standing behind the opposing fundamental religion common to your corner of the world. There are literally tens of thousands of distinctly different religions in our world, and each believe that theirs is the one true religion while all others are completely without credit. Most religions count differing theologies as a travesty, blasphemies perpetrated against their god, and they are willing to fight and often die for it.

Our current president is trying to work religion , i.e. Christian fundamentalism, deep into government policy including legislation and education. Effectively installing the demons into government policy. This is what the Iatola did when he created the Islamic Republic of Iran in the 70s... a government based on the Islamic religion. Now, Iran may soon have nuclear weapon capabilities. The world is holding it's breath.

However, to say that all of Bush's policies are wrong are just as foolish as to say that they are all right. He has done some good, as well as terrible things, just like every other president in American history. There is a grey area between left and right that American politics is forgetting.  American politics should not be about finding which group you agree with and standing behind all of their policies, it should be about MAKING a stand-- alone. Making up your mind for your self courageously and unashamedly.  To never follow mob mentality and always question authority.

I think it would be nice for a change to receive a chain letter that does more good than harm. I would make no promises of good luck or threats of misfortune for deciding to forward the message, of course.  But I do think that perhaps the world would improve, if only for a minute and only for a few.