The Recycled Messiah

James Randi and Parapsychology

Sometimes when discussing reason it's easy to get a bit too lofty about ideals such as the scientific method. I'm not knocking the method - it's the only way we can reliably find out about the world. Sometimes however the work of a scientist is not quite so elegant - years of hard slog through jungles or equations (or sometimes both) to get the tantalising first glimpse of new knowledge. I'm not convinced parapsychology will ever pay off - but it's only by trying to bring it into the umbrella of natural science that it can. Of course, if it can't be bought into line factually and methodologically with natural science, then.....


The Year of Obama

In the UK it seems that most people are Obama fans (particularly are our US ex-pats). So as a Christmas present here is some mad preacher going a bit mental about the smallest of things. If you don't like it you'll get a left hook!


Italy science council funds creationist book

"After hosting a panel earlier this year to discuss supposed flaws in evolutionary theory, Italy's science agency the National Research Council (CNR) reportedly put up thousands of dollars to help with the publication of a follow-up book, Evolutionism: The Decline of an Hypothesis. The move has vexed many scientists in the country where the Vatican recently came out in support of Darwin's ideas.

Authored by CNR's Vice President Roberto de Mattei, the book asserts, among other things, that scientific dating of rocks is inaccurate and that dinosaurs went extinct just 40,000 years ago (rather than some 65 million years ago, not accounting for modern birds, of course), according to the blog ScienceInsider. The American Academy for the Advancement of Science blog notes that an Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, is reporting that CNR provided 9,000 Euros (some $13,255) to help publish the book, which came out last month. "

This really is the last thing we need. Imagine if AAAS or the Royal Society was found doing this.

Half-life of Christianity in the UK: 1 generation

"the gap between age groups arises not because individuals become more religiously committed as they get older, but because children are less religious than their parents. The results suggest that institutional religion in Britain now has a half-life of one generation, to borrow the terminology of radioactive decay. Two non-religious parents successfully transmit their lack of religion. Two religious parents have roughly a 50/50 chance of passing on the faith. One religious parent does only half as well as two together."


Quite Interesting

"It's the ones who think they know what there is to be known that we have to look out for. 'All is explained in this text - there is nothing else you need to know,' they tell us. For thousands of years we put up with this kind of thing. Those who said, 'Hang on, I think we might be ignorant, let's see...' were made to drink poison, or had their eyes put out and their bowels drawn out through their botties."
- Stephen Fry in The Book of General Ignorance.


Bill O'Reilly

Being entirely reasonable, as always.

John Humphrys favours Atheist Thought for the Day

BBC heavy-weight John Humphrys had added his support to a campaign for non-believers to have a say on the Today Programme's Thought For the Day on BBC Radio 4.

Humphrys has previously written a book, In God We Doubt, which discusses his life an agnostic.

Cure the Gays

"People are relieved to know the condition [of homosexuality] is both treatable and preventable."

Right. That makes sense. The Catholic church seems to be developing a more extreme response to homosexuality, encouraging people to remain chaste, or trying to convert them.

This does nothing for the church, and on top of that may cause severe damage to the people that it tries to change. Good move?



This is a sad story of how a mother let her children starve rather than look for a job or food. The reason, she was waiting for god to provide. Well, he didn't. Thankfully this isn't a valid excuse for neglecting your children, so I hope the mother gets some help.

The return of Sarah Palin

After a break of a few months Sarah Palin has again appeared in the UK media. This time she is keen to promote religion views and opinions in government.

"No one person has all the right answers. It takes a united nation, and it does take godly counsel, and it takes prayer and answers to prayer - and a collective humble heart of a nation seeking God's hand of protection and his blessings of prosperity."

"I think if we can get back to that, our country will be a safer, more prosperous and healthier nation."

Of course, religious states are well known for their love and humanity. What we really need is people who are intelligent enough and competent to make tough choices based on the best available evidence.

Jesus appears on an Iron

Mrs Cody, a 44-year-old mother from Massachusetts, spotted a likeness of Jesus in the residue on the burnt bottom of her old iron.

She immediately told her two daughters, who said "Mom, that's Jesus looking at us."

The medical secretary said the siting had renewed her religious faith. The image, which she first noticed last week, had reassured her that "life is going to be good", she said.

She added that she would keep her old iron - but would buy a new one for everyday use.

It's called coincidence. I bet you can find images resembling most people if you look at enough irons! It's certainly not something to take solace from.


Prince Charles wants to protect homeopathic "medicine"

The well know crack-pot Prince Charles has met Health Secretary Andy Burnham to try and persuade him to protect homeopathic "medicine". Yes, that's right, we need to protect people who sell water to the sick telling them it's medicine.

At least the Royal College of Physicians has the right idea, opposing the licensing of homeopaths on the grounds it may make them "respectable".

Latest from the Tree Lobsters

Original here: #106 Science Cops 2: Sci Harder


Climate Change Poll

Do it!

"I've seen the evidence. And I want the government to prove they're serious about climate change by negotiating a strong, effective, fair deal at Copenhagen."

Basic maths....

Do you see anything wrong with the pie chart in this video? I hope so.

Gang Rape, etc.

Over at Dwindling in Unbelief Steve takes a look at Judges 19. Can anyone explain why this story made it to the final cut?


A History of Christianity

The BBC has been showing this series, A History of Christianity, for a few weeks. As most of you lot know I have an interest in the history of Christianity, and this is the first series on the subject I have enjoyed. Here is what the BBC have to say:

"When he was a small boy, Diarmaid MacCulloch's parents used to drive him round historic churches. Little did they know that they had created a monster, with the history of the Christian Church becoming his life's work."

UK residents can get all four episodes to date on the iPlayer here. If not you will have to find somebody who has mastered the use of iplayer-dl to send it to you by other means.


Good without God?

The Washington Post has an interesting comment piece on whether we can be good without god.

There's a diversity of opinion, much of it religious. Some of it even says that I can be good as an atheist because of god.

Thankfully there are some more sensible comments, such as this from Paula Kirby (she lives in Scotland):

".. it is the myth that religious belief is somehow necessary for morality that is providing the life support for religion in many Western societies, long after we should have been reaching for the embalming fluid. "

The question of whether there is an absolute morality is an interesting one, indeed organised religion has changed its rules of morality over the years, mainly to fit in with accepted norms. Religion can teach good morals, however there are a large number of secular people who do far better at behaving well.


Sharia Law

It seems that there's a crowd out to ban Sharia law again. Thankfully the Gaurdian seems to have the right idea.

In the UK we are all subject to UK law. Period. It doesn't matter what religion or cult your belong to, or whether you belong to none at all.

If you want to live your life by additional rules that don't conflict with our national law, then do so.

As long as I don't have to live under your additional rules, and your additional rules don't conflict with the law of the UK, have whatever rules you wish.


Scientology under attack

In another recent Guardian article pseudo-religion and business, Scientology, seems to be coming under attack. One of its great legal minds has died, it has been convicted of fraud and nearly banned in France, and moves are afoot in Australia to give it a good probing.


My four year old wants to be baptised....

....but thankfully Guardian Unlimited has some useful advice that follows the current 'Don't Label Me' theme.

'Evangelical' children used for Atheist Billboard

The Times today claims that the children fronting the Don't Label Me campaign are Evangelical. They are not, they are too young, they are the children of evangelical parents. we can't hold that against the children.

The reason these children seem so happy has absolutely nothing to do with the fact they "are" Christian. It is ridiculous to make such a claim. The photographs just happened to be from a photo library.


Atheist Billboard Campaign

A while ago the atheists took the war against religion to the sides of London buses. Then the Christians retaliated. Now the ball is back in the atheists' court.

The new campaign (reported by the BBC) aims to challenge the idea that children can be labelled with their parents beliefs. Which is a good thing to challenge. Freedom of thought goes alongside freedom of speech as being pretty important.

This is the last part of Ariane Sherine's project, and her Guardian piece on this campaign is found here: Hey, preacher - leave those kids alone.


More Tim Minchin

Why I like Mendeley?

I recently wrote a post on my personal blog about why like Mendeley. It has been bought to my attention that this may be due to the following reason.


More Than A Theory Lyrics

To the tune of More Than A Feeling. Thanks to Evolving Thoughts.

I woke up this morning and the sun still shone
Bath of neutrinos to start my day
The spectrum’s light was a familiar song
Now analysed, and the maths all say

It’s more than a theory (more than a theory)
When the data lines up that perfect way (more than a theory)
I begin dreaming (more than a theory)
Of a world where pure science holds sway

I want my science world ruling the day

By noon I wandered through Nature’s wilds
So many lifeforms to marvel at
All a wond’rous now as when a child
This jackpot we’ve won, just observing that -

It’s more than a theory (more than a theory)
When the data lines up that perfect way (more than a theory)
I begin dreaming (more than a theory)
Of a world where pure science holds sway

I want my science world ruling the day

When I’ve retired and gotten old
My life wasn’t wasted, regret no day
My dream still unfurls, and ever grows
I built my part, and they’ll always say

It’s more than a theory (more than a theory)
When the data lines up that perfect way (more than a theory)
I begin dreaming (more than a theory)
Of a world where pure science holds sway

I’ll have my science world ruling the day


Mayor Refuses to judge Halloweeen pumpkins

OK, Halloween is a fraud. There are no dark or evil spirits, just a chance to have fun, increase the rate at which children become obese, and get something tasty off of the old woman who wakes you up to the sound of Radio 4 every morning.

Except that the woman who wakes you up at such an ungodly hour is actually a mental, Halloween-hating Christian. Now the evidence for the dark side and the godly is equally scant, so I can only assume she uses one set of fairytales that encourage murder to stop my childhood self using a different set of fairytales to ask her for chocolate.

In fact she's almost as big a killjoy as the Mayor of Nuneaton, who for religious reasons refused to judge a pumpkin carving competition. We all know Halloween isn't Christian (some of us now Christianity isn't real either) - but as a mayor refusing to do something that pulls your community together is just wrong.

Mayor of Nuneaton


Religion Flow Chart

Originally uploaded by hedwig_the_owl
Click on the image to get a bigger version. If it's still too small click on 'All Sizes'.

Let me know where you end up!

Loch Ness Monster and the Natural History Museum

Apparently it seems the Natural History Museum, London has an agreement to identify any organisms claiming to be the Loch Ness Monster or the Yeti given them to by bookmakers William Hill.

This may seem pretty trivial, but it has netted the museum some much needed cash, and goes some way to ensuring that unusual finds get to be examined by scientists. Of course I am rather sceptical about the existence of either of these things, but weirder organisms are found on a daily basis in the rainforests and deep seas.

Some Well-known Atheists


Christianity Cartoon

Sell The Vatican, Feed The World

Grammar Failure (Church Sign)

I know many scientists - never have any of them turned into a troop of monkeys. Maybe I'm just looking at the wrong scientists.....

Via whyevolutionistrue: Grammar, Please!

Pat Condell: Wake up, America



Just in case you wanted some images of famous atheists shown alongside a song I really don't like that much...

Silencing Churches

Original article: Church has its hymns silenced by council ban

I'm not really sure this is a good thing. I do like some peace and quiet, and I don't like people singing religious songs in public (at least if the songs are meant to be promoting/supporting a religion - sometimes the songs are quite good when they're not used as a recruiting tool). I once had to sit on a bus with a load of school children singing religious songs. It was made (even) more annoying as I was trying to work!

On the other hand, if you buy a house next to a church......

Noah Joke

Design vs Chance: PZ Myers

A debunking of the complexity argument for intelligent design. Which in PZ Myers opinion, leaves very little of ID left.


O'Reilly vs Dawkins

Dawkins sometimes get accused of being an evangelical atheist. In this interview however he just comes across as the voice of reason. Science classrooms should be full of science. Period.

The interview was meant to be about RD's latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth, a topic deftly missed by O'Reilly. Indeed O'Reilly winds himself up into such a state that he shouts and calls Dawkins a fascist for saying Jesus should stay out of science lessons.

At least we don't get this nonsense in the UK!

Egyptian Fake Hymen Scandal

Original Story: Egyptian lawmakers want to ban fake hymen

I find it kind of sad that a market for this exists at all. It is a bad mixture of a state where male superiority and an anti-female rights religion are elevated on pedestals. It is a great example of why religion and state must be kept separate.

The website of the Chinese manufacturere claims: “No more worry about losing your virginity. With this product, you can have your first night back anytime... Add in a few moans and groans, you will pass through undetectable.”

Would this product have a market if throughout the world people's sex lives were their own personal business and not interfered with by religion or state?

Tolerant Christian of the Week

It's a good job I'm not going to heaven, as I have no intention of spending an eternity with people like this.

The guy on the right just seems to have strung a chain of words he doesn't like together. I'm the sure that most people aren't drunkards all the time, or sodomites, or even necessarily pro-abortion.

Derren Brown: Science Scams - Ghost

If you haven't yet checked out Derren Brown's Science Scams then do so. In this, episode 2, learn about how to create ghostly apparitions.

QuickLink: Americans are fleeing religion as atheism surges

Americans are fleeing religion as atheism surges from Godless in Chicago.
Atheism in America is on the rise, coupled with a greater disregard for the church and its beliefs.

Penn & Teller: Catholicism

"American Catholics have condemned comedians Penn & Teller for launching the most ‘defamatory, obscene and vicious’ attack on the church ever screened on TV." - Chortle

Thankful the Catholic League were kind enough to post the video on their website, from which the below is gratefully borrowed.

'Haunted' Indian Station Reopens

Originally from BBC news: 'Haunted' Indian Station Reopens

All ghost stories are either scams or lies. This one definitely lies in the lies category. Indian railway workers invented a ghost to prevent them having to work at a remote train station. The sad thing is, until just recently, it worked.

Australian Study: Reflexology Doesn't Work

Original article here: No Convincing Evidence Reflexology Works

An extensive review has failed to find good evidence which convincingly demonstrates reflexology (a practice involving applying pressure to, or, massaging feet) is an effective treatment for any medical conditions.

Details of the review, conducted by Dr Edzard Ernst, Director of Complementary Medicine at the Peninsula Medical School in the United Kingdom, were published in theMedical Journal of Australia.

"There is little doubt that a foot massage is pleasantly relaxing, however specific medical claims should always be supported by sound evidence," Dr Ernst said. "


Creation gets A Distributor

yI've just noticed that Derren Brown has posted about the BBC Film/Ocean Pictures latest offerring, Creation, a film about Charles Darwin. In his post Brown says the film has yet to get a US distribution deal (because of the religious nature of its citizens), however I have heard on the grapevine that the independant outfit Newmarket Films will be distributing the film for my friends across the pond. Good news indeed.

Here's a preview.


Another Christianity Cartoon

I think this one quite effectively demonstrates that whilst folklore is very interesting, and can be a positive thing, it becomes distinctly weird when people start to believe it is real, and that worshipping it can change your life.


On the nature of evil

I found this post on the nature of evil at Aydin's Snail's Tales blog. A great piece of enlightened thought from the 1870s.

The existence of evil is then a terrible stumbling-block to the Theist. Pain, misery, crime, poverty, confront the advocate of eternal goodness, and challenge with unanswerable potency his declaration of Deity as all-good, all-wise, and all-powerful. Evil is either caused by God, or exists independently; but it cannot be caused by God, as in that case he would not be all-good; nor can it exist independently, as in that case he would not be all-powerful. Evil must either have had a beginning or it must have been eternal; but, according to the Theist, it cannot be eternal, because God alone is eternal. Nor can it have had a beginning, for if it had it must either have originated in God, or outside God; but, according to the Theist, it cannot have: originated in God, for he is all-good, and out of all-goodness evil can not originate; nor can evil have originated outside God, for, according to the Theist, God is infinite, and it is impossible to go outside of or beyond infinity.

To the Atheist this question of evil assumes an entirely different aspect. He declares that each evil is a result, but not a result from God or Devil. He affirms that by conduct founded on knowledge of the laws of existence it is possible to ameliorate and avoid present evil, and, as our knowledge increases, to prevent its future recurrence.

Charles Bradlaugh. 1874. A few words about the devil: and other biographical sketches and essays.


Richard Dawkins

Gathering Crowds
Originally uploaded by edwbaker
I just about managed to spot Richard Dawkins at the opening ceremony of the new Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum, London. If you click on the photo to go the Flickr page you will be able to get a large sized version proving that it is indeed Richard Dawkins.


Trust Me, I'm a Scientist

....and making important decisions based on bad science is not good for you.

Such as a 13-15 year old girl (I guess she was about 14) agreeing to have sex because of the fear of CERN making a black hole. This is not a good way to make decisions.


Seth MacFarlane

A clip of an interview with Family Guy and American Dad creator, the Emmy award winner and atheist, Seth MacFarlane.


Will they still dispute the moon landings?

NASA has uploaded photographs of the Apollo moon landing sites for you to look over. The photographs were taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Will people still dispute the fact we landed there? Probably....


More from Pat Condell

I can only aim to sound this angry. This time Pat debunks 'islamophobia' and woolly liberal thinking.

Camp Quest

A couple of interesting things in the news about Camp Quest.

First there is this article, which is the first thing I've seen in a while that encourages children to think about difficult questions.

Second, an interview with one of the children attending who sounds more mature than many adults who make it into the media.


Romanian Atheist

PZ Spotted this ages ago - it's pretty snappy, I like it.

Francis Collins

Collins has been nominated by Barack Obama to head the National Institutes of Health. Initially this seemed to be ok, he's a skilled administrator of science, as his work on the Human Genome Project showed. The problems started when details of his religious beliefs came out. It seems like the man from "nominally Christian" parents and who is 'ex-atheist' is a bit too mad for comfort. Sam Harris dismantles the man in this New York Times op-ed.

Homeopathic A&E

From That Mitchell And Webb Look.


View to the "Promised Land" from Mount Nebo

Just for the record, this is very close to the spot where Moses was (mythically) murdered by his creator.

This photograph is from the top of Mount Nebo, looking out towards the 'Promised Land'. It was New Year's Day, and I'd celebrated the night before, but still doesn't look particularly promising. In fact, if you turn around 180 degrees the country was much more lush.

Spring of Moses II

Spring of Moses
Originally uploaded by edwbaker
I tapped the rock, turned around, and that water you see was there. Cool, eh?

Rock, Spring of Moses

Rock, Spring of Moses
Originally uploaded by edwbaker
This may look like an innocent rock, but it has a nasty past (assuming that you follow a certain set of Bronze Age beliefs and this is, in fact, the right rock). You see this lump of rock is allegedly involved in God's murder of Moses.

You see, the rock first does it's magic trick of providing water when Moses is instructed to hit it by God. But then, 40 years later, God instructs Moses to talk to it. But he hits it, and water comes out.

The punishment for tapping a rock? Murder before you reach the promised land. Sounds very reasonable and forgiving to me!

(Yes, I've been there. I find the Biblical stories fascinating. I just recognise that they aren't true. The Middle East would be a much nicer place if people realised this.)


More Marcus Brigstocke

More comedy from comedian Marcus Brigstocke - the Daily Express gets a pretty major bashing at the end.


More Dara O'Briain

TED Talks: Maths, Coral and Crochet

I love maths (I did a physics degree), I love invertebrate biology, I've never done crochet. This video may seem a bit light hearted but it highlights the links between the natural sciences, and how crucial mathematics is to our understanding of the world.

Dara O'Briain: Homeopathy and other quakcery

Some more light-hearted looks at reason. Contains strong language (and humour).


Marcus Bridgstocke

Thanks to GrrlScientist. I have mentioned the chastity ring girl, Lydia Playfoot before. The recording is rather old, but still worth listening to. It seems that Marcus Brigstocke is almost a comic Richard Dawkins.


Darwin Matrix Wallpaper

Grab the original here. I really like it, must have taken some work.


Michael jackson's Ghost

It was only a matter of time before the idiocy began!


God is a milk bottle

A friend sent me this, one I hadn't seen before. even though it's not an optical illusion, it's still got an interesting point.



Richard Dawkins interviews Derren Brown

I like Derren Brown, he is an entertainer who admits that what he does is entirely rational. In this interview he comes across well, but is slightly reluctant to criticize psychics in their entirety.

Good enough for these Idiots

I found this on the Richard Dawkin's Foundation for Reason and Science Flickr Group. I quite like it.

Latest Mr Deity

If you haven't yet seen Mr Deity then make sure you start watching!


Homeopathy Awarness Week (HAW)

The British Homeopathic Association has today launched Homeopathy Awareness Week. I'd like to make you aware of the all of the evidence that shows homeopathy to be effective: .

It was that easy! Incidentally, the BHA's website is www.trusthomeopathy.org. Trust homeopaty to take your money and not cure you? Trust homeopathy practitioners to be liars? Trust homeopathy to give you water when you need medicine? Any more suggestions?


The truth about homeopathy: it's full of shit.

I guess this just about sums it up really!

Psychics & Twitter

In what is probably the first big experiment performed on the micro-blogging service Twitter, psychologist and magician Richard Wiseman has shown that those people calling themselves psychics are no more psychic than the rest of us. Of course this is hardly surprising, but by opening the experimental process to anybody who wants to participate it may become easier to show the deluded and fraudulent for what they really are.


Simon Singh and Free Speech

I haven't said anything really on the libel action taken by a bunch of frauds (the British Chiropractic Association) against somebody who dared to point out they were frauds (Simon Singh, author of Fermat's Last Theorem, The Code Book & Big Bang). Needless to say the case seems to have progressed to the stage where th chiropractors are on the back foot.

This is an interesting case that will hopefully highlight to the public that not all of those who claim to be able to heal you actually can. Unfortunately unless the British legal system protects the right of people to criticise alternative 'medicine' it may become harder for honest people to speak freely.


Colour change frog

Why do people insist on worshiping something just because it's unusual? (Actually, it's probably not that unusual).

I caused a fuss!

I've been using Newsvine for a while now, for two reasons. The first is it acts like a storage facility for stuff from the press that I find interesting and would loose otherwise, the second is it produces an RSS feed of what I find interesting that I use on my site.

I haven't, until now, been particularly interested in its other features. An article I posted a while ago about creationism in the UK education system has gathered around 200 comments (that's roughly 200 more than any other article I've posted). This shows that the debate is alive and well.

So, shamelessly, here is a link to my Newsvine. You can even vote for my stories!


Suing Scientology

Well I've been away and I have hundreds of e-mails to sort through and thousands of new posts filling my Google Reader.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things that I have heard about post Costa Rica however is the French taking the Church of Scientology to court. look forward to seeing how this case develops.

Pat Condell's Latest Video

Behind the stand-up style there's some excellent points here.


On Illinois

Later this week I will be flying out to Champaign, IL. So far everyone I have met from the "most average state" has been very bright and forward thinking. To ruin my illusion PZ posted this video.

Apparently gay rights and Christian rights don't mix. Guess which side is becoming oppressive to try and win the day....


Is The Pope Evil?

Stepping short of calling the Pope evil, The Lancet speaks out against the Pope's views on AIDS and condoms. His holiness is on the record as saying this of HIV: "a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem".

The Lancet stands up to him - quotes from BBC News:

But the London-based Lancet said the Pope had "publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on this issue".

It said the male latex condom was the single most efficient way to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV/Aids.

"Whether the Pope's error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear," said the journal.

But it said the comment still stood and urged the Vatican to issue a retraction. "When any influential person, be it a religious or political figure, makes a false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record," it said.


Dwindling In Unbelief: Did God create the Ichneumonidae?

Dwindling In Unbelief: Did God create the Ichneumonidae?

This post is worth a read, I was meant to write about it earlier but I am pushed for time at the moment.

I quite like the arguments here - I guess because my interests in invertebrates and reason join forces.


Beagle Project Blog

I find the Beagle Project very interesting. I suggest you go and listen to the first episode of their podcast. Why not give them a donation too? It would be for a good cause....


PayPal Donations

On the suggestion of a fellow blogger I have added a link to the menu (right hand column) that gives you the option of donating money to support this blog. Blogging is not lucrative financially but does take a fair amount of time. Instead of plastering the blog with adverts I have decided to give you the option to throw some money my way if you enjoy the blog.

I don't want your life savings - just your spare change. In compensation for your donation I will accept ideas for topics to blog about. I won't make any promises - but if I know enough, or can research enough in my spare time I will write about them.

If you do donate, thank you!


Atheist Dog

Brian: dog, intellectual and now atheist.

I love Family Guy!


Nigerian Car Stealing Goat

Police in Nigeria held a goat after a vigilante group reported that an armed criminal used black magic to turn himself into the animal.


Psychics given Government funding

This is a pretty sad tale. Giving £4,500 to people who claim that they can talk to the dead. Creating jobs is a good idea, nobody would argue with that. Giving money to two likely frauds to con other people on the other hand is absolutely ridiculous. In the words of one member of the Welsh Assembly: "It is an utter disgrace that taxpayers' money is being wasted and given to an organisation that believes it can teach people how to communicate with the dead."

Incidentally, I can talk to the dead. They never reply though...


Pay as you Pray

Yep, that's right. You can pay for a computer to read out your prayers!

Click to enlarge.

The Atheist Delusion

Argument from the old book that doesn't provide evidence. Why don't I find this a compelling argument at all?


Another video...

Pat Condell has a bit of a rant about the United Nations trying to ban defamation of religion.

Religion TV Commercial

This fantastic parody pretty sums up what I feel about religion. Except it doesn't get as angry.

The Pope and AIDS

The Pope has suggested that condoms are not the key to preventing AIDS in Africa. In fact he has said they aggravate the crisis.

This is essentially a "do as I do, or die" philosophy. Yes, if people stuck to abstinence before marriage there would be no problem. But there are a large number of people who are not under the delusion that one of the most joyous activities is sinful. Distributing condoms does help, and we must keep doing it.


Dawkins in Oklahoma

What I find most shocking about this is the state legislature trying to censor who can talk to university students - who are more than capable (perhaps uniquely in Oklahoma) be able to listen to an idea and choose whether to adopt it, or not, based upon evidence.


World's Most Respected People (According to Britain)

It may not be the best poll ever designed but I think it says enough. The top three are as follows.

1) Barack Obama

Good choice, it's great to have someone literate as "leader of the free world" again.

2) Nelson Mandella

Possibly should be at number 1 given his track record, but without doubt a worthy contender.

3) Jade Goody

EPIC FAIL. Britain I want to disown you. Yes, she has cancer and will die. That shouldn't be a reason for somebody whose only reason for fame is (1) being stupid, and (2), going on Big Brother, to rank higher than David Attenborough. Or even, well.... anyone else really.


Skeptically pwnd

Made me laugh. If you're unsure what pwn means go here.


Atheist does Stand Up Comedy in Church

Worry not, ye non Scandinavians, there be subtitles in English. I think it's pretty funny, and would like to see it happen over here.


Guardian Bible Quiz

It's good to know about the bible. It will help you understand many references in our greatest literature and prevent you becoming a Christian. To see how well you know it check out the Guardian's bible quiz. I got a shameful 9/10!


Friday the 13th

I suggest that this day is just the same as any other day, and the following will not influence whether good, or bad, things happen to you.

1. Breaking a mirror

2. Walking under a ladder

3. Friday 13th

4. Opening an umbrella indoors

5. A black cat crossing your path

6. The sight of a single magpie

7. Spilling salt

8. Placing shoes on the table or on the bed

9. Treading on cracks in the pavement

10. Walking over three drains

I mean, really? People actually believe this?

Bush fires caused by abortions

This is a tragic example of how religious extremists try to use natural disasters to promote their cause. The ironically named 'Catch the Fire Ministries' has stated that a relaxation of abortion laws was behind the bush fires in Victoria.

Pastor Danny Nalliah is quoted as saying: "a flash from the Spirit of God: that His conditional protection has been removed from the nation of Australia, in particular Victoria, for approving the slaughter of innocent children in the womb".

Statue Allows Pregnancy

The Telegraph reports that visiting a Hindu god statue allowed a woman to fall pregnant, despite the drugs she was taking.

I'm going to file this one under 'coincidence' along with the fact that I recently went to visit Big Ben and have woken up on time ever since.

Northern Ireland Troubles

It seems like there are troubles brewing in Northern Ireland. Recently Sammy Wilson, DUP Environment Minister, claimed that climate change is not due to the influence of our species. Now his DUP colleague, Mervyn Storey, has threatend the Ulster Museum with legal action if it does not stage a creationist exhibition alongside its forthcoming exhibition on Charles Darwin.

digging a bit deeper into the shadowy world of Mervyn Storey we find that he has already tried to get intelligent design (read: creationism) taught in schools.

Hopefully this lunatic will disappear in a giant failure, but then again.


UFO Athens

There seems to be lots of UFO stories doing the rounds at the moment. This one comes from Athens, but thankfully is a little more realistic than some reports I have read: "Greek officials say that the object, which was not detected on any radar, was probably a mistaken sighting of the planet Venus in the Autumn night sky."

There have also been reports of UFOs above the Houses of Parliament, and from Somerset (see video below).

Also it seems that someone has been collecting UFO reports from police officers.

Shocking UFO news

It appears that the wind turbine damage wasn't due to UFOs after all, it was just mechanical failure. I bet some of the conspiracy theories drag on for a bit though! I do have some more UFO news to follow though - perhaps I'll reveal some real evidence?

Happy Birthday Charles Darwin

Today marks the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, co-discoverer with Alfred Russel Wallace of the theory of evolution by natural selection.

I won't go on too much; Darwin and Wallace where both great men but science is the collective work of many individuals. Some of us just hit the big time. Rather than make you read a load I'd suggest you go and make a donation to the Beagle Project and help fund a rather cool project.

To celebrate the day Google has created a special logo - see above.


Create your own bus slogan

...well, sort of: http://ruletheweb.co.uk/b3ta/bus/.


Tony Blair on Religion

I have mixed feelings about Tony Blair. I remember the excitement he caused when I was at middle school about him becoming Prime Minister. Which is odd on two fronts: I knew nothing of any worth about politics, and as fas as I remember the school election was won by the Monster Raving Loony Party.

Since his departure from Number 10 Blair has been going on about god a lot. Most notably Blair was guided by an imaginary friend, voice or apparition when deciding whether to invade Iraq. This is not a good way to make such decisions. The decision to go to war is difficult, just as the decision not to can be difficult. That decision can only be made on the basis of the evidence available at the time.

But Blair seems to have continued on, and at a recent 'Prayer Breakfast' (who says there's no division between church and state in the USA?) he mention god over 3o times. Quotes such as 'The 21st century will be poorer in spirit, meaner in ambition, less disciplined in conscience, if it is not under the guardianship of faith in God' are find highly comical. It is the liberation from faith that seems to be driving moral progress.

Read through this article, it seems the UK thankfully isn't quite as bad as the USA yet!


A New Atheist Bus Campaign

From Rebroadcast.

George Hargreaves

Will the atheist bus campaign help promote The Christian Party in forthcoming elections? Well, not really. Sadly for their leader, George Hargreaves, we have a political system with, on average, 2.5 main parties. Thankfully the Christians are miles down the list.

Obama blurring church and state boundary

Unlikely to be a good precedent.

This kind of funding would be better applied through the state directly, rather than through the use of religious groups.

Christian Bus Campaign

It seems that the Christians got a bit peeved by the atheist bus campaign. The Christian Party, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Trinitarian Bible Society. I find this quite amusing, the original atheist bus campaign was a response to Christian advertising and it's message that non believers will go to hell.

So what do these organisations have to say?

The Christian Party: "There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life." That's very definite, if, I believe, almost certainly wrong. I have huge issues with bringing religion into politics, so I will refuse the offer to join their party.

The Russian Orthodox Church: "There IS a God, BELIEVE. Don't worry and enjoy your life." Unfortunately believing in the Christian god requires worry, and more often than not fear. Not for me either.

The Trinitarian Bible Society: "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God," I take exception to being called a fool.

Oh well, looks like I'm going to be a godless heathen for a while longer, damn!

P.S. Have you notice how terrible all three of those websites are? The TBS even refers to Richard Dawkins as an 'atheist'. Do the quote marks indicate they know something we don't?


My Reply From UVM

RE: Ben Stein

Thank you for your note. Although we have recently learned that Mr. Stein will be unable to receive the honorary degree here or to serve as commencement speaker, please know that it was our expectation that his remarks would address the global economic crisis and that he would speak from his widely acknowledged area of expertise on the economy. We regret that he will be unable to do so.

With thanks again for writing and with every good wish—Daniel Mark Fogel, President

How very impersonal! Just a form letter.

At least he won't be there.

Alternative Expelled Advert

I couldn't not show you this from PZ's blog.