Wednesday, February 22, 2017

They don't like it "up-em"...

The ever excellent J&M covering the story about free booklets on Humanism being distributed in schools around the UK. Many religious people don't like it "up-em" especially in Northern Ireland; that superstition soaked, sectarian obsessed outlier of the United Kingdom where one of Ian Paisley's old buddies Rev. David McIlveen has come out and condemned the move saying, 

"I think that they are far too young to even make that decision as to the rights and wrongs of Humanism and I think this is an exploitation of young people to try and indoctrinate them into a view that many people in NI would reject. I would feel very strongly about the fact there there should be a clear barrier between the message of Humanism and impressionable minds."

The irony and hypocrisy dripping from his words is nauseating; this sad old man is quite happy to oversee and condone the continuance of a system of segregation based upon ridiculous Bronze age myths that has ruined his entire country and set it back decades. Not to mention indirectly and directly led to the murders of thousands; yet objects to educating children about equitable and humane systems of philosophy and ethics that don't require his particular brand of voodoo and magic. As the old saying goes, "turkeys don't vote for Christmas" and that sentiment is plain for all to see in his spiteful and self-serving attitude. 

I spent a year living in N. Ireland and loved the place, particularly the welcoming and generous people, they deserve much better political representation than they've historically had from narrow minded bigots like this. The sooner the younger generation kick these ancient religious relics into touch the better off I believe they'll all be in that land.

Here's a sample from the book, as you can see, it's terrifyingly subversive (or for the rational, non-religious reader.. common-sense)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Right of reply

I wonder if this could be legally binding? 

TBH I would probably discount religious messengers as long as they agreed to me having equal time in the conversation, i.e. a right of reply, insisting that they listen to my response in the same way that they expect me to listen to their pitch. Unfortunately, most religious sales people aren't too interested in the listening part in my experience, preferring the classic "FUD" factor pitch (fear-uncertainty and doubt) an ages old sales technique; spread it thick and get out quick, before the punter has a chance to see too many flaws, then follow up with a momentum play, always keep them moving through the funnel.

Friday, February 17, 2017

We'll never know

The most beautiful chart in the world. Humans and science did that, not Gods, in case you were in any doubt. All of the thousands of Gods that our species have invented over the years were silent on the matter; perhaps they were happy with the way it used to be? They're still silent now, so we'll never know..

Friday Smirk..

I've always said that if someone provides sufficient (or any) evidence of a God or Gods then I would seriously and honestly reconsider my Atheism. 

It seems like that day has arrived; here we see some poor Woman in South Africa with one hand shorter than the other being healed by a miracle of God! No question about it, irrefutable proof that hands exist. So, give generously people, This preacher may well be able to make bodily appendages grow in front of our eyes but he still needs cash, apparently God can conjure up whole universes on a whim, but is hopeless with money.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Anti-vax = pro-death?

I see that Robert de Niro is making a right tit (see above) of himself again over vaccinations. In a recent publicity move he has teamed up with well known vaccine sceptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to offer a silly prize of $100,000 dollars to anyone that can "prove" vaccines containing Thiomersal (which was a compound used as a preservative up until 1999 and hasn't been used in almost two decades in children's vaccines) are safe. It's worth noting that there is no scientific evidence that this compound ever caused anything let alone autism. People like de-Niro and Kennedy harp on about Mercury in vaccines being a potential cause of autism, Mercury is one molecule in the compound that is Thiomersal along with Sodium, Carbon, Oxygen, Sulphur and Hydrogen; if I injected pure Sodium into a Human Being (especially a child) they would probably die; but as a compound bound to another deadly chemical Chlorine, in say, common table salt; it's perfectly safe. A point of detail that these faux crusaders seem not to want to grasp.

Even if Thiomersal were still used (and it isn't) each dose of vaccine would deliver roughly 1 micro-gram (1 millionth of a gram) or less of Mercury; this is an amount equivalent to the average amount of Mercury found in a portion of barbecue sauce containing HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and certainly exceeded in most fish species these days. Eating a Swordfish or Tuna steak could easily deliver a dose of pure Mercury (i.e. not bound into any compound) of around 0.5 micro-grams per gram of fish which means a 250 gram steak would contain 14 times as much Mercury as a vaccination.

None of this is even relevant if you simply look at the numbers; 85 percent of children in the world have been immunised against Measles so according to these people most of Humanity is in peril? The only study ever to make a link between vaccination and autism was written by a fraudster and convicted criminal; a corrupt doctor who used fear to extort unnecessary fees from gullible parents. The hypothesis is dead in the water, has been for years.

Talking of death, it could be your own child (like in the case of a young boy in Spain) that dies, it could be your baby cousin who's too young for a vaccine, it could be your Father battling cancer and going through chemotherapy with a suppressed immune system, more likely it will just be strangers. Widespread vaccination generates herd immunity; people who are vaccinated keep the ones who can't safe, between 2000 and 2015 roughly 20 million children were saved by the Measles vaccine alone. It's a simple equation, if we don't vaccinate kids, people are going to die, choosing not to vaccinate is choosing death.

Global warming?

Here's some interesting research, it's from the Pew Center and attempts to document the changing attitudes among Americans of differing political leanings, ages and personal circumstances towards different religious groups or none. The good news is that Americans generally are at last realising that the childish view that Atheists are demons in disguise is in fact, childish, and in most cases have "warmed" toward none-believers over the last 3 years. What is most promising is that among young people this warming effect is the most dramatic; having gone from second lowest as a respected group (only slightly above rapists) Atheists are now higher than Mormons, Evangelicals and Muslims, no longer in the relegation zone! Of course among older bigots people Atheists are still thought of as pond scum, battling it out (in their minds) with Islamic terrorists for the chance to corrupt the youth and destroy the American dream; although from here in Europe it looks like Americans these days seem to be perfectly able and willing to do that for themselves, particularly the older ones.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Freedom of religion

Latest J&M cartoon; to re-purpose an old saying, we're all equally free, it's just that some are more equal than others.

A couple of old balls

Happy 453rd birthday Galileo Galilei

It may be slightly fanciful to believe that the man actually dropped a couple of different sized cannonballs from the leaning tower of Pisa but he certainly worked out that acceleration due to gravity does not depend on the mass of the object. 

I remember visiting Pisa many years ago, before the tower was closed to visitors, and the weird feeling of climbing a spiral staircase that's tilted was an intriguing distraction from the oppressive Summer heat. The view from the top was wonderful and the thrill to think that the genius that was Galileo may have once stood at the exact same spot was well worth the sweat of the ascent. Much later Newton added some flesh to the bones of Galileo's ideas and then in more recent times Einstein polished them even further. In these days of the LHC we've been fortunate to witness even further refinements but lest we forget that the whole edifice of explanation rests on the shoulders of many giants, not least of whom was this persecuted (but brilliant) Pisan.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Origins of atheism

Viral business model

Happy Valentines day! If truth be told I'm not really convinced about this particular annual ritual. It seems to me that if you have to wait a whole year to give or receive love and affection from your partner then you're doing it wrong. Still, I suppose it makes some kind of focal point for important relationships (or not!) and there are strong evolutionary underpinnings to displays of affection; it's generally good for gene transport down the generations!

These days most people don't realise that the origin of this particular feast day is much darker and sillier than red roses and chocolates. It stems from that eternal religious obsession with martyrdom and death by some form of execution (the bloodier the better) Apparently back in Roman times some geezer called "Valentine" was imprisoned for practising Christianity and later executed, however whilst banged up he supposedly healed the daughter of his jailer (oh really) and wrote her a letter signed "your valentine" (not entirely unreasonable for someone actually called "Valentine").

Of course saintly origins are by definition mythical, they have to involve some kind of suspension of the natural order otherwise no one would take any notice. From Mother Theresa to Valentine of Rome the pattern is a familiar one, take some poor sucker who had a hard life or did something exceptional, add a layer of supernatural (unfalsifiable) hocus-pocus and bingo you've got an excuse for a piss-up and a reason for followers to donate cash to your particular cult. Simple really; one of the first truly viral business models.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Caption time..

- Trudeau thinks, no way am I touching that, I know where it's been..


- Trump says, look Justin, fishy fingers..