Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Humor, Morality, Movies, Music, Neuroscience, Politics, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

Neil deGrasse Tyson on Moyers and Company

Caught the first of three parts over at the Why Is Evolution True blog. I enjoyed this series of interviews very much, so I decided to post all three.

Cannot wait for the new Cosmos to air!

Oh! And if you care to watch, this is the link for live streaming of today’s Bill Nye vs Ken Ham Debate, it starts at 7 PM ET (1 AM CET). Go Science Guy!

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Blasphemy, Coffee, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Humor, Morality, Movies, Music, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Thanks and Seasons Greetings

To all of  you who allow my soliloquies to sometimes turn into monologues and in even rarer occasions permit them to become conversations, my most heartfelt thanks. Thank you for sharing your most precious resource with my rants; time. I hope that in some way you have shared my feelings and enjoyed some of the ideas expressed in my posts.

Fleeting Beauty

We are at that time of year when many people across the globe get time off to celebrate a diversity of different holidays. Preparations are made for travel to get to a friend’s or relative’s home to share in this special time or sometimes just to get things ready to do this at one’s home.

Whether you celebrated Hanukkah or are getting ready to celebrate Christmas, Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, Winter Solstice, Festivus, HumanLight or nothing at all, I wish you all the best.

And may we all put some Hygge into our life, as is a custom of the Danes.

In essence, hygge means creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking – preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life.

 http://www.visitdenmark.com/denmark/culture/art-danish-hygge

Hygge
Hygge (Photo credit: dlebech)
Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Satan Is Comin’ to Town

Read this Big Think post today (although it is 6 days old). Satan Is Comin’ to Town.

US Postage issue, 1894, $2
US Postage issue, 1894, $2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just love the James Madison quotes in the article. It is so hard to understand how after all this time, people do not get what separation of church and state is all about.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

Youth: you are the hope of the world

A recent poll by YouGov / The Sun Survey Results has reported results that give hope for the future.

The poll was taken from June the 14th to the 19th and involved young adults aged 18 to 24.

The questions related to their feelings about the future, jobs, relationships, buying a home, etc.

The poll demonstrated, contrary to popular belief, that parents have a great deal of influence upon this group. Much more than politicians, celebrities and a great deal more than religious leaders.

What was most striking were the results of the questions related to religion.

According to the results 56% of this age group have no religion. Only 25% believe in a god and 19% believe in a spiritual greater power. That means that 56% of young adults are non believers, a big difference when compared to the 2011 census. Atheists accounted for 38% and Agnostics 18% which is higher than earlier reports  I have commented before.

Belief in god graph
Click on graph to enlarge

For a link to the complete survey click here.

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Pope Benedict resigns after being handed report into corruption,gay sex and blackmail in Vatican.

Vatican City
Vatican City (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

 

There has been much speculation about the unexpected resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. According to a report in the February 21 edition of The Reppublica “Sesso e carriera, i ricatti in Vaticano dietro la rinuncia di Benedetto XVI – Repubblica.it ” it appears that the cause was learning of a web of corruption, sex scandals and blackmail within the Catholic Church.

Having deconverted from Catholicism and been witness to a few priests with their “nieces” and “godchildren” and watching how they were changed from one parish to another and some minor corruption, it comes as no surprise.

The report was done by a  three-man commission that investigated the Vatileaks affair. Spearheaded by a Spanish cardinal, Julián Herranz. Assisted by Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, a former archbishop of Palermo, and the Slovak cardinal Jozef Tomko, who was once in charge of the Vatican’s department for missionaries.

It seems that the information contained in the almost 300 page volume was too much for the octogenarian pope to handle. And though his resignation is being purported to be an act of strength and not of weakness, I believe that he is only trying to save face and has more interest in the institution he presides than in the welfare of the members. The pope’s position on human rights and the sexual molestation by the clergy has been lacking. The systematic cover-up makes all those involved just as guilty as the rapists themselves. The Catholic Church has not handed the culprits over to the justice system and the stories of priest-shuffling are myriad. There is no justifiable excuse for not taking an open stance against these criminals. Once detected , they should be immediately removed from their parish, handed over to the police and if found guilty defrocked and have anathema imposed upon them. The problem with the anathema bit is that it would have to include much of the hierarchy including a number of popes.

Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive (Name) himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church; we deliver him to Satan to mortify his body, that his soul may be saved on the day of judgment.

Laurens_excomunication_1875_orsay

The article also mentions that the next pope should be strong, young and “saintly” enough to handle this situation. As I can not get my wish to have them all resign and have the institution disbanded and its assets sold with the proceeds put to use in some charitable fashion, I would hope for an ethical pope with a high degree of respect for human rights.

The report mentioned in the article is for the pope’s eyes only and will be handed to the next pope only, so unless there comes a new Vatileaks style butler, don’t expect to be privy to the details.

See you next time.

 

Posted in Coffee, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

The end of modern civilization

English: Coffee berries Polski: Owoce kawy
English: Coffee berries Polski: Owoce kawy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the past  weeks I stumbled upon a series of articles in the news that quite frankly were the harbingers of doom. Modern civilization is coming to an end in this century.

The Mayas missed the date, but it seems that in the later half of this century, civilization will come to a halt. At least in the way we know it today.

The articles all talk about climate change and how around 2080 wild arabica could be extinct. This does not mean that coffee per se will disappear, but it will be more difficult to keep up production of this variety of coffee.

Coffee production will not come to a halt, but we could be in for a change in the variety of coffee used in our blends. Reuters reported in an article called Analysis: Coffee roasters stick with less costly robusta that roasters are using more robusta in their blends due to cost and the possibility to maintain market share .  Consumers have switched to non-premium blends of coffee that contain a higher content of lower quality robusta.

The more resistant variety of coffee known as Robusta or Coffea canephora gives your coffee more bitterness, more caffeine and an unpleasant rubbery taste.  The best espresso roasts use primarily Arabica beans, which originated in Ethiopia, but have spread around the  world. In some blends Robusta beans are typically included in the blend because of their ability to generate crema. High quality Italian espresso blends such as Illy  use no robusta at all.

Robusta has on average half the flavour and aromatic oils compared to Arabica. These oils attack the foam and make it disappear. Less oil in your brew equals more foam – crema. But at a cost. Less oil equals less aroma, flavor and overall quality of your espresso.

COFFE REFLECTIONS

So let us reduce, reuse and recycle so as to limit our carbon footprint, lest we leave behind a world of low quality/high price coffee to those that come after us.

Here is the link to the article from PLOS ONE.

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Coffee, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

One in six people worldwide are “nones”

1st UK edition
1st UK edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to a recent study 16% of the world’s population are religiously unaffiliated. That is 1.1 billion people. The “nones” include atheists, agnostics and people who do not identify with any particular religion in surveys.

The tendency for unaffiliated persons is higher in Asia-Pacific followed by Europe and North America and lowest in the Middle East-North Africa.

The Pew Research Center study is called The Global Religious Landscape – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life .

However, many of the religiously unaffiliated have some form of religious beliefs and  also engage in certain kinds of religious practices.

The age of the global “nones” is a bit higher than the average in the U.S. study ‘No Religion’ on the Rise: 19.6% Have No Religious Affiliation – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life bet there is a trend worldwide.

I would like to remind you that the Atheist Census is now underway and would ask you to take part. There are only 6 questions you have to answer. It takes a few minutes to contribute to this project that will allow us to counted. Or as the census site states Atheist Census – Numbers matter. Be counted..

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

Support the Atheist Census

After only 17 hours the Atheist Census page went offline as the result of a denial of service (DoS) attack.

There were  8,880 confirmed entries and another  2,300 pending according to the Atheist Alliance International site.

Looks like somebody does not want us to be counted. What are they afraid of?

I hope that the people at AAI get the site up and running soon.

Please support this effort through donations, reblogging, and above all by participating in the census.

Stand up and be counted. Let others know that they are not alone. Let others know that there are more of us than they think we are.

Posted in Agnosticism, Art, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Family, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Too Young To Wed — the exhibition — begins in New York this week

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and VII Photo Agency are hosting an exhibition called “Too Young to Wed” at the Visitors’ Lobby at the United Nations. This in celebration of  the first inaugural International Day of the Girl Child on October 11, 2012. So if you are in New York City from October 11 through November 29, 2012 don’t skip this exhibition that will feature photography by Stephanie Sinclair and video by Jessica Dimmock.

Let’s put an end to this barbaric custom.

Too Young To Wed — the exhibition — begins in New York next week.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

Campaign for Free Expression: In Defense of the Right to Free Speech – YouTube

Don’t forget to visit the Center for Inquiry‘s Campaign for Free Expression .

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Blasphemy, Everyday life, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, The Conscious Disbeliever

Blasphemy Laws and Freedom of Speech

Much has been written about the third-rate film “The Innocence of Muslims” and the senseless violence that erupted in its aftermath. Meanwhile members of the OIC push  for enactment of blasphemy laws.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

“Freedom of thought and belief ends where the freedom of thought and belief of others start. You can say anything about your thoughts and beliefs, but you will have to stop when you are at the border of others’ freedoms. I was able to include Islamophobia as a hate crime in the final statement of an international meeting in Warsaw.”

“When it is in the form of a provocation, there should be international legal regulations against attacks on what people deem sacred, on religion. As much as it is possible to adopt international regulations, it should be possible to do something in terms of domestic law.”

That is not a very democratic sentiment. And it denotes a very thin skinned faith that cannot withstand a tiny bit of satire, of criticism. I thought that faith was supposed to move mountains, but it seems to buckle down when something contrary to it is said. I guess omnipotence has its limits, remember the iron chariots. I would like to remind them, that each and everyday they commit blasphemy against other religions, for example when they say that Jesus was a messenger and not the son of God, they commit blasphemy against Christian religions, and Christians do it against Islam when the affirm the contrary. But maybe, just maybe, religion has nothing to do with all this fuss about blasphemy. It could be that it is all about political control.

I prefer something on the following lines:

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Ideas do not have humans rights, people do. We must respect people, but ideas are free to be contested.

You may want to read the speech by IHEU representative Josephine Macintosh at the Human Rights Council 21st Session on Tuesday 25 September 2012.

The words spoken by President Obama resonate with anybody that has an inclination towards democracy.

Recognizes that the open public debate of ideas, as well as interfaith and intercultural dialogue, at the local, national and international levels can be among the best protections against religious intolerance and can play a positive role in strengthening democracy and combating religious hatred, and convinced that a continuing dialogue on these issues can help overcome existing misperceptions

UN Human Rights Council resolution 16/18

And don’t forget that September 30th is  International Blasphemy Rights Day  . So go out there and express yourself, exercise your freedom of speech,it will be good for you. In fact swearing has been shown to alleviate  pain:  Why the #$%! Do We Swear? For Pain Relief, and swearing oftentimes includes a healthy bit of blasphemy. Remember that if you offend somebody by this, you are causing them absolutely no harm.

Do you know how many people got killed due to protests about this film?

Yes, you are correct:  ZERO.

See you next time.

Related articles

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Everyday life, Human Rights, Morality, Politics, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

My morning read: Jill Tarter and Science

I was going through the latest edition of The Morning Heresy from the Center for Inquiry, which is as they state “Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities” . A very good way to catch up on many interesting topics. Reading this I  came across an excellent quote by Jill Tarter that I will share with you.

Jill Tarter at TED
Jill Tarter at TED (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Science isn’t a popularity contest. Science isn’t what you want to believe. It isn’t what anyone believes. Science is what currently is the best explanation for the data and evidence that we have at hand.”

Jill Tarter

Take a look at her 2009 TED talk on the importance of the  search for alien intelligence (SETI), it is inspiring and puts some perspective on humankind.

See you next time.

Posted in Agnosticism, Atheism, Everyday life, Family, Morality, Neuroscience, Politics, Religion, Science, The Conscious Disbeliever

Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals

“If you ask anyone, what is morality based on? These are the two factors that always come out: One is reciprocity, … a sense of fairness, and the other one is empathy and compassion.”

Frans de Waal