Link

Scientists Discover 3.4-Million-Year-Old Foot Fossil of Possible New Human Ancestor

1 Apr

http://www.sci-news.com/paleontology/article00236.html

Top 10 Reasons why Beer is better than Jesus.

31 Mar

1.  No one will kill you for not drinking beer.
2.  Beer doesn’t tell you how to have sex.
3.  They don’t force beer on minors who cannot think for themselves.
4.  Beer has never caused a major war.
5.  When you have a beer you don’t knock on people’s doors trying to give it away.
6.  Nobody has ever been burned at the stake, hanged or tortured over a beer.
7.  You don’t have to wait 2000 years for a second beer.
8.  There are laws saying beer labels cannot lie to you.
9.  You can prove you have a beer.
10. If you are devoted to beer then there are groups who can help you stop.

Image

Wise kid at the Reason Rally!

25 Mar

Wise kid at the Reason Rally!

Michael Shermer On Strange Beliefs

25 Mar

God Hates Women Feminism and religion do not mix

7 Mar

By Allison Kilkenny

 

Most religions have a creepy fixation with the eradication of women’s vaginas. Some African cultures mutilate the clitoris and sew the vagina shut for the sake of maintaining virginal “purity.” Other zealots don’t like their saviors free-falling from the womb. In fact, ideological fanatics have done everything in their power to explain away the vagina. God impregnated Mary from his great big bachelor pad in the sky, fat little Buddha burst from his mother’s side, and we know little of Amna, Mohammad’s mother, let alone his actual birth, but we can assume the good prophet didn’t sully himself in vaginal juices. Like the rest of the prophets, Mohammad probably materialized from the heavens. After all, a woman’s body is a dirty, sinful thing, which is why women are taught from an early age to be ashamed of their bodies and to keep them covered always. The belief in a divine creator aside, no rational person can seriously argue that feminism and religiosity can coexist. If you claim to be a religious person, you are not a feminist, nor if you believe men and women are inherently equals can you claim to believe in the fundamental beliefs of any religion. As far as I know, there is no religion on Earth that presents men and women as exact equals. The most popular version of Christianity claims women are inherently subservient to men, since Eve came from Adam’s rib. Meanwhile, Mohammad married at least 11 times during his life, and his favorite wife, Ayesha Bibi, was six-years-old when he married her. Sexy. Here are some jewels from the Quran, the sacred text of Islam: II/223: Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate). So go to your tilth as ye will… I don’t know about you, but if some dude walked up to me at a bar and said, “Hey, baby. Mind if I plow your field?” that man will receive my fist in his eye socket. IV/34: Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other … As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Short and simple: Men are superior to women. Women are to be controlled, whether through violence or fear. IV/15: (to women) If any one of your women is guilty of lewdness … confine them until death claims them. IV/16: (for men) If two men among you commit indecency (sodomy) punish them both. If they repent and mend their ways, let them be. Allah is forgiving and merciful. Homophobia aside, we see Allah, much like God, is all sunshine and puppy kisses, forgiving and loving, until you’re a woman and you sin. Then, you’re a whore in need of punishment. In fairness to Mohammad, the God of the Christian bible is no better than the typical baby’s daddy you see on an episode of COPS. Picture the big, white dude in the sky who orated this stirring tale: Exodus 21:7-10 shows us that it is perfectly cool to sell your daughter into slavery and allow her master to rape her. Also in Exodus (22:16-17), if a man sleeps with a virgin (with or without her consent,) he must marry her. However, if her father refuses to allow her to wed, the man must then pay the father a dowry of virgins. How does the recently deflowered virgin feel about being treated like a piece of property? Well, funnily enough, we don’t know. The Bible doesn’t seem concerned about her feelings. Leviticus chapter 12 reminds us that women are unclean. After giving birth to a boy, a woman is considered unclean for seven days. However, if she has given birth to a girl, she is unclean for 33 days. Regardless, the concept that a woman is somehow unclean after giving birth is ludicrous. Of course, all religions fear the vagina, so it makes sense that the scribes (along with all men) went into a complete tizzy after childbirth, which very much relies upon the vagina. Leviticus 19:20-22 teaches us that a man can rape his female slaves and be forgiven, though the slave must be punished. Likewise, Deuteronomy 22:28-29 reminds us that a man can rape a virgin, though he must marry her, and also pay her father 50 shekels. The Bible is a weird, scary place. In case you needed further proof of that, along comes 1 Samuel 18:25-27 where Saul sells his daughter to David. Instead of wanting to be paid money for his daughter, Saul asks for … are you ready? Saul asks for the foreskins of 100 Philistine men. …. WHAT? There’s a happy ending, though. David gives 200 foreskins, a profit of 100 foreskins for Saul to squirrel away for the winter. HUZZAH! Eastern religions, such as Hinduism, leave no room for interpretation when it comes to the role of women: “By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house. In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent”. (Laws of Manu, V, 147-8). Women are subservient to men and inherently inferior, period. What about Eastern religions? Even Buddhism has been used to repress people (especially women), such as under Hirohito’s rule and currently in Burma. The armies that began the horrible civil wars in Sri Lanka during the ’50s and ’60s were comprised of Buddhists. The Theravadan Buddhists claim a woman could never become a Buddha. A popular belief in Buddhist countries is that negative karma results in a man being reborn as a woman. Again, the female gender’s state is seen as a punishment, one filled with shame. Buddhism teaches that institutions like marriage must be regulated by society though social, political, and legal processes. This does not mean Buddhism is a progressive religion. Rather, it’s sort of like passing the buck. We don’t want to say women are equal to men, so we’ll just let you figure it out. If you decide they’re equal, fine. If you decide she’s the social equivalent of a cow, and you can sell her for a dowry, that’s cool too. I’ll just be over here, under my Bodhi tree. Jainism is frequently referenced as the one truly peaceful religion. They even cover their mouths whilst walking outside so they cannot accidentally inhale a defenseless bug. Surely they, the Jains, are enlightened in matters of gender. Think again. Jainism does not teach that women can gain ultimate spiritual liberation, though a woman could strive to become a man in her next life so she could then reach enlightenment. What happens when so-called feminists create alliances with religion? You get police-sponsored Iranian fashion shows with women dressed in different colored Hijab. Viva La Revolucion! What better way to freely express creativity, passion, and art than in the free world of fashion? The liberated, passionate world of art, music, and fashion cannot coexist with a regime that maintains these guidelines for women’s dress: Conditions of Islamic Dress Code 1. Clothing must cover the entire body, only the hands and face may remain visible (According to some Hiqh Schools). 2. The material must not be so thin that one can see through it. 3. The clothing must hang loose so that the shape / form of the body is not apparent. 4. The female clothing must not resemble the man’s clothing. 5. The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non-believing women. 6. The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention. 7. Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one’s status in society. Sounds chic, doesn’t it? But hey, Allah never said he wanted fashion shows. He said: “Say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty ; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof. ” [Quran : 24.31] Now get into your burka, and shut up. It’s sad and embarrassing when feminists try to rationalize their religiosity, say with Iranian fashion shows. It’s not tolerance. It’s hypocrisy, illogical and downright silly. It’s a bit like watching a black person try to explain why they vote Republican. Essentially, there is no way to reconcile the rational hope of all genders peacefully coexisting with irrational dogmas. Modern feminists desperately attempt to reshape their religions into something that looks vaguely modern and tolerant, but at their cores, all religions are sexist and repressive. If the only proof of a religion’s dictated guidelines to morality are their religious texts, then we must believe that the Bible, Quran, and Buddhist sutras, vinaya, and abhidharma all represent the core beliefs of their religious sources. If we are to believe they are not truly reflective of their religious roots, then why did God dictate incorrect information to his scribes? If the errors of the texts are man’s folly, why has God not corrected them or made his true beliefs known? God is, after all, the supposed creator of the cosmos. Surely, he could have given us a Bible 2.0 by now. Perhaps a Bible XP? No, we must assume these texts are truly reflective of their religion’s ideologies. With that assumption firmly cemented, we see that there is no room in religion for feminism, the doctrine advocating the equality of rights, social and political, with those of men. For feminism to work, it must exist outside of the constraining margins of religion. It must operate outside of the assumption that women are inferior to men, which is a foundational belief of the major theologies. Or, feminists must attempt to rationalize their religious ideologies to reconcile them with their desire for social equality, which is an impossible order. You end up changing the definition of your religion by rejecting their sacred texts or you change the definition of feminism so it says: I want to be equal always, except when it comes to your religion that says I am inferior, and I accept that. Either you are a feminist and you reject religion, or you are a worshiper and you reject the concept that the genders are equal.

Why Atheism Will Replace Religion

4 Mar

Why atheism grows faster than religion Published on May 18, 2010 by Nigel Barber, Ph.D. in The Human Beast

Atheists are heavily concentrated in economically developed countries, particularly the social democracies of Europe. In underdeveloped countries, there are virtually no atheists. Atheism is thus a peculiarly modern phenomenon. Why do modern conditions produce atheism? First, as to the distribution of atheism in the world, a clear pattern can be discerned. In sub-Saharan Africa there is almost no atheism (Zuckerman, 2007). Belief in God declines in more developed countries and is concentrated in Europe in countries such as Sweden (64% nonbelievers), Denmark (48%), France (44%) and Germany (42%). In contrast, the incidence of atheism in most sub-Saharan countries is below 1%. The question of why economically developed countries turn to atheism has been batted around by anthropologists for about eighty years. Anthropologist James Fraser proposed that scientific prediction and control of nature supplants religion as a means of controlling uncertainty in our lives. This hunch is supported by data showing that the more educated countries have higher levels of non belief and there are strong correlations between atheism and intelligence.

Atheists are more likely to be college-educated people who live in cities and they are highly concentrated in the social democracies of Europe. Atheism thus blossoms amid affluence where most people feel economically secure. But why?

It seems that people turn to religion as a salve for the difficulties and uncertainties of their lives. In social democracies, there is less fear and uncertainty about the future because social welfare programs provide a safety net and better health care means that fewer people can expect to die young. People who are less vulnerable to the hostile forces of nature feel more in control of their lives and less in need of religion.

In addition to being the opium of the people (as Karl Marx contemptuously phrased it), religion may also promote fertility, particularly by promoting marriage, according to copious data reviewed by Sanderson (2008). Large families are preferred in agricultural countries as a source of free labor. In developed “atheist” countries, women have exceptionally small families and do not need religion helping them to raise large families.

Even the psychological functions of religion face stiff competition today. In modern societies, when people experience psychological difficulties they turn to their doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. They want a scientific fix and prefer the real psychotropic medicines dished out by physicians to the metaphorical opiates offered by religion.

Moreover, sport psychologists find that sports spectatorship provides much the same kind of social, and spiritual, benefits as people obtain from church membership. In a previous post, I made the case that sports is replacing religion. Precisely the same argument can be made for other forms of entertainment with which spectators become deeply involved. Indeed, religion is striking back by trying to compete in popular media, such as televangelism and Christian rock and by hosting live secular entertainment in church.

The reasons that churches lose ground in developed countries can be summarized in market terms. First, with better science, and with government safety nets, and smaller families, there is less fear and uncertainty in people’s daily lives and hence less of a market for religion. At the same time many alternative products are being offered, such as psychotropic medicines and electronic entertainment that have fewer strings attached and that do not require slavish conformity to unscientific beliefs.

References
Sanderson, S. K. (2008). Adaptation, evolution, and religion. Religion, 38, 141-156.
Zuckerman, P. (2007). Atheism: Contemporary numbers and patterns. In M. Martin (ed.), The Cambridge companion to atheism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. This book is not held by any U.S. Library.

Religion lies about women

3 Mar

By Paula Kirby

“The discrimination against women on a global basis is very often attributable to the declaration by religious leaders in Christianity, Islam, and other religions that women are inferior in the eyes of God,” former President Jimmy Carter said last week. Many traditions teach that while both men and women are equal in value, God has ordained specific roles for men and women. Those distinct duties often keep women out of leadership positions in their religious communities. What is religion’s role in gender discrimination?

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

Here, in Ephesians 5, attributed to St Paul, we have in a nutshell the church’s attitude to the respective positions of man and woman. The man’s role is to be the head, the woman’s to submit to him. The meaning is crystal clear, unmistakable; and yet, despite the fundamentalists who firmly believe such Iron Age prejudices still apply today, there are many liberal Christians who have the decency to cringe at the primitiveness of such instructions and who therefore bend over backwards to pretend they’re not as bad as they quite patently are. “Ah yes,” they say, “but Paul goes on to say that husbands must love their wives. And not just love them, but love them as they love themselves. So clearly this is a reciprocal arrangement, equal in value, imposing constraints of equal weight on both man and wife. All is well with the world and we can continue to pretend that Christianity is the friend of women.” But no. All is not well with the world, and only the deluded or the disingenuous could claim to see equality where there is only subservience.

It is interesting to note the context in which this infamous passage occurs: immediately following the commandment to women to submit to their husbands we find the commandment to children to obey their parents, and to slaves to obey their owners. No amount of instruction to the husbands, parents and owners in question not to ruthlessly exploit their positions of power can alter the fact that women are classed with children and slaves when it comes to their social standing, freedom and self-determination and, like them, are called on to embrace their inferior status with cheerfulness and enthusiasm. In this same sequence of instructions slave-owners are exhorted not to threaten their slaves. Does this make slavery acceptable? Of course not. Only religion could attempt to present such a loathsome idea as though it were not a blot on the dignity of humankind, and the requirement for women always to submit to their menfolk is no less repugnant.

The truth is that the Abrahamic religions fear women and therefore go to extraordinary and sometimes brutal lengths to control them, constrain them, and repress them in every way. Show me a non-religious society that feels so threatened by the thought of female sexuality that it will slice off the clitoris of a young girl to ensure she can never experience sexual pleasure. Show me a non-religious society that feels the need to cloak women from head to toe and force them to experience the outside world through a slit of a few square inches. All three Abrahamic religions share the myth of Adam and Eve, the myth that it was through woman that evil was let loose in the world. They share the heritage of Leviticus, which declared a menstruating woman unclean, to be set aside, untouched, a revulsion that remains even today among some orthodox Jews, who will refuse to shake a woman’s hand for fear she may be menstruating. What kind of lunacy is this? It is the lunacy of a Bronze Age mindset fossilized by the reactionary forces of religion.

And perish the thought that these religions – in their alleged equal valuing of women – should permit them actually to control their own bodies! Women exist for the purposes of reproduction! So let them reproduce! Let them reproduce, whether they wish it or not. Woe unto the woman who dares to engage in sex without being willing to conceive as a result! Woe unto the woman who uses contraception to control her fertility and manage the size of her family! And a hundred times woe unto the woman who actually dares to terminate a pregnancy she does not want! The question of abortion illustrates perfectly the role of women so far as the church is concerned. A woman’s reproductive organs are not her own, and she may not be permitted to decide what happens to them. The Catholic Church would forbid abortion, even when the mother’s life is at risk if she continues with the pregnancy. It would forbid it, even if she has been raped and is carrying the child of her violator. How much clearer could it be that the woman has value only as the carrier of a man’s child and has in herself no intrinsic worth whatsoever?

In the eyes of the Abrahamic religions, the archetypal woman is Eve: disobedient, unreliable, easily led astray, and a seductive temptress of man – man being more noble, yet easy prey to the wiles and seductions of his weaker mate. Woman is the source of danger, the one who corrupts him, the conduit for all that is evil in the world. She is dangerous … yet irresistible; and this very irresistibility makes her more dangerous still. But you will notice that the dangers of sexual temptation are not to be faced equally by men and women: no, religion demands that it is the woman who bears the burden. Solomon, we are told, had 700 wives and 300 concubines, and David had a more modest yet still energy-sapping five wives and 10 concubines, yet neither of these has become a by-word for male insatiability. Jezebel, on the other hand, has become synonymous with sexual excess, despite this not being among the vices attributed to her in the bible story. Fundamentalist Islam, far from requiring its male followers to control their lusts and take responsibility for them, conceals its women in hideous, sexless sacks, depriving them of their beauty and their individuality, literally even their ability to breathe freely – and still permits polygamy, though only for men, of course. And have you ever stopped to wonder what became of the male lover of the woman taken in adultery in the Gospel of John? Why wasn’t he threatened with execution by stoning and hauled before Jesus?

The New Testament is woefully short of significant female characters, and a brief look at those who do make it to the hall of fame will suffice to tell us exactly how they were perceived. On the one hand we have Mary Magdalene – the prostitute. And on the other we have Mary the mother of Jesus – the virgin. To paraphrase the late Dorothy Parker, the New Testament’s view of women runs the full gamut from A to B. Prostitute or virgin: take your pick, ladies. The woman who engages in sex with multiple men is held up as the epitome of fallenness, brokenness, wickedness; as one so corrupt that Jesus’s willingness to forgive her is seen as bordering on the miraculous. And at the same time we are offered as our ideal, our aspiration, our role-model – the eternal virgin: sexless, locked forever in a childlike state; devoid of sexual passion or sensuality; obedient, self-sacrificing, selfless: a woman, in other words, from whom all that would make her fully human, let alone fully woman, has been stripped. Here, finally, is the woman that religion need not fear. This is the highest ideal to which a Christian woman may aspire: a cardboard cut-out of womanhood, a mere handmaid, silent, submissive, a vessel for the production of babies, passively and gratefully accepting her fate.

Religion is one lie after another: the lie of original sin, the lie of eternal life, the lie of hell, the lie of answered prayer, the lie that life can have no meaning without religion, the lie that religion is the source of morality, the lie of creationism, the lie of a spy-in-the-sky who hears your every word and reads your every thought. And to this list we must add the lie that it views men and women as equal. It has got away for so long with the kind of lunatic word-games that allow death-by-torture to be presented as an act of love, and eternal torment in the flames of hell to be seen as a necessary act of justice, that we should perhaps not be surprised that it has also managed to dupe its followers into seeing the systematic suppression and silencing of women as an act of liberation and equality. Nevertheless, it is a lie, like all the others: a cynical and wicked lie. It is time women everywhere woke up to it.

PAULA KIRBY  | APR 13, 2011 3:58 PM

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.