Saturday, November 11, 2006

Stem cells fend off lung cancer

Cancer vaccine harnesses similarities between embryos and tumours.

Embryonic stem cells, the controversial and versatile cells that seem able to do just about anything, have now expanded their repertoire into cancer prevention. A vaccine made from these cells shields mice against developing lung cancer.

The stem-cell injection protected 20 out of 25 mice from developing tumours, whereas tumours grew in all unvaccinated mice.


We have moved! -

Thanks to everyone who has enjoyed this new blog over the past week. I am moving it to what I feel is a more fitting name, Articles of Reason. The new site will be using Google's new beta features. Once the posts and comments are tranfered it will be open for business!

Update: The move is complete! Please update your bookmarks/RSS readers!


Could Science Ever Substite The Role Religion Plays In Lives?

A gathering of scientists and atheists explores whether faith in science can ever substitute for belief in God.

Much as Weinberg would like to see civilization emerge from the tyranny of religion, when it happens, "I think we will miss it, like a crazy old aunt who tells lies and causes us all kinds of trouble, but was beautiful once and was with us a long time."

[Dawkins] would not, for instance, try to talk a Christian on his deathbed out of a belief in Heaven...but it's unlikely he would be calling for a priest.

Hard for atheist author Sam Harris ("Letter to a Christian Nation") who likes to point out that people today believe in God based on no more evidence than the ancients had for believing in Zeus or Poseidon—with the result that in addition to all the mail he gets from Christians, he's now getting angry letters from pagans who claim he's insulted their beliefs, as well.


Ex-pastor, Ex-wife, Ex-christian

I was a pastor’s wife. I lived a Christian life. I did the Christian things. I believed the Christian doctrine. I did it all. I believed it all. Now I am not a pastor’s wife. I do not lead a Christian life. I do not believe the Christian doctrine. This is my journey.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Hatred Unites Jerusalem's Feuding Faiths

Police warn that some groups plan to pelt the marchers with apples jagged with razor blades

In a Holy City fissured by faith, finding a consensus on anything among Jewish, Christian and Muslim clerics is a near-miraculous occurrence. Yet Jerusalem's rabbis, priests and imams have united, however briefly, to stop the city's Gay Pride parade.

For some of their followers, the issue is worth spilling blood over: An unknown extremist Jewish group pasted up signs announcing a $500 "reward" for every gay man or woman killed during the parade, which is scheduled for Nov. 10. Several ultra-orthodox rabbis have vowed to mobilize more than 100,000 protesters to shut down Jerusalem on the day of the parade, and police warn that some groups plan to pelt the marchers with apples jagged with razor blades.


Teach about sex education and evolution or close, Quebec evangelical schools told

The Quebec ministry of education has told unlicensed Christian evangelical schools that they must teach Darwin's theory of evolution and sex education or close their doors after an Outaouais school board complained the provincial curriculum wasn't being followed.

This is great progress that scientific ideas are assured in classrooms. I can imagine the droves of theists trying to say, "How is this different than forcing God in classrooms?" Well, my idea on the matter is that the ideas and theories that require the least amount of "just take our word for it"/"faith" are the ones that should be taught in classrooms.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Controversial Religious Summer Camp Closed

Organizers of an evangelical summer camp for children featured in the documentary "Jesus Camp" are discontinuing the camp because of negative reaction sparked by the film and recent vandalism at the camp site in Devils Lake, North Dakota.

And as if to leave things open for a sequal,

"We have decided to hold different activities in future," Pentecostal pastor and camp organizer Becky Fischer told Reuters.


Jesus: Historically Impossible?

Featured in Newsweek under the headline, "Imaginary Friend?"

"The problem is that we let religious people say stunningly false things and we consider it rude to question those beliefs. But we should be shunning those people" If that sounds intolerant, that's the point Flemming says, "I'm not tolerant of suspending reason."


Letters to God found dumped off New Jersey coast

"I'm still praying to hit the lottery twice: first the $50,000," one man wrote. "Than after some changes have taken place let me hit the millionaire."

Another asked God to make a certain someone "leave me alone and stay off my back," while still another asks God to calm a woman who "call the Internal Revenue on me."

One woman complained that her husband always talks about sex, and another writer anonymously dropped a dime to God on someone cheating on his wife, complete with dates, times and locations.


Free Will

Interesting commentary on an important paradox

You gotta love Foxtrot for asking these deep questions:

Complete omniscience (total knowledge of all past, present and future) requires God to know what choices is he going to make in the future before he makes them. All his actions must therefore be preordained, perhaps to his own plan, but fixed nevertheless. Any departure from the preordained sequence of choices God knows about invalidates his omniscience.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Dissent: The Case Against Faith

It is, of course, taboo to criticize a person's religious beliefs. The problem, however, is that much of what people believe in the name of religion is intrinsically divisive, unreasonable and incompatible with genuine morality.

A case in point: embryonic-stem-cell research is one of the most promising developments in the last century of medicine. It could offer therapeutic breakthroughs for every human ailment (for the simple reason that stem cells can become any tissue in the human body), including diabetes, Parkinson's disease, severe burns, etc. In July, President George W. Bush used his first veto to deny federal funding to this research. He did this on the basis of his religious faith.


Saving Secular Society

This is Christianity as a total ideology—I call it Christian nationalism. It’s an ideology adhered to by millions of Americans, some of whom are very powerful. It’s what drives a great many of the fights over religion, science, sex and pluralism now dividing communities all over the country.

It’s like being a lobster in a pot, with the water heating up so slowly that you don’t notice the moment at which it starts to kill you.


Bill Aims to Hamper Seperation of Church and State Lawsuits

This is still in the Senate!

The House passed a bill yesterday that would bar judges from awarding legal fees to the American Civil Liberties Union and similar groups that sue municipalities for violating the Constitution's ban on government establishment of religion.

"But we're watching it, because it is designed to do real damage to First Amendment protections," she said. "What the backers of this legislation are leaving out of the discussion is that fees are only awarded when we've been successful in showing that someone's constitutional rights have been violated."


Monday, November 06, 2006

Bananas, An Atheist's "Nightmare"

The design of a banana proves that God exists and designed bananas. (No for real, these guys are serious)

Update: It was pointed out to me that to the right is Kirk Cameron from Growing Pains.

David Kuo's 'Tempting Faith'

New book accuses the Republican Party of using Christians for their votes

The Bush administration has denied accusations contained in the book that evangelical Christians were courted for votes but referred to dismissively behind closed doors.


Vote Tomorrow!


Atheist Evangelist

Atheist evangelist Sam Harris devoutly believes that religion is the root of all evil

Sam Harris doesn't target just the devout. Religious moderates, Harris says in his patient and imperturbable style, have immunized religion from rational discussion by nurturing the idea that faith is so personal and private that it is beyond criticism, even when horrific crimes are committed in its name.

His first book, "The End of Faith," won the 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction and sold more than 270,000 copies, making Harris a very high-profile voice of the godless. Now there is a follow-up, "Letter to a Christian Nation," a 96-page shiv inspired by the reaction to his first book


Family rejects medical help for seven hours in favour of prayer - child dies

In 1998 two-year-old Harrison Johnson, shown here with his friend Megan, was stung 432 times by wasps while the family was visiting church friends in Tampa, Florida. His parents asked neighborhood children and fellow church members to pray for him, but did not call for medical help until more than 7 hours after the attack.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Religions don't deserve special treatment

It is time to reverse the prevailing notion that religious commitment is intrinsically deserving of respect.

It is time to refuse to tip-toe around people who claim respect, consideration, special treatment, or any other kind of immunity, on the grounds that they have a religious faith, as if having faith were a privilege-endowing virtue, as if it were noble to believe in unsupported claims and ancient superstitions. It is neither. Faith is a commitment to belief contrary to evidence and reason...


Caution: ‘God Delusion’ might turn you atheist

A critical look at Richard Dawkins' new book, The God Delusion.

Few religious-minded individuals will likely read a book titled “The God Delusion.” But perhaps they should.

Many, perhaps rightly, have charged Dawkins with intolerance. He dismisses religion in general as “nonsense,” describes the Old Testament God as a jealous psychopath and blames organized religion for wars, genocide and homophobia. In one of his hyperbolic fits, he likens religious education to child abuse.


Rev. Ted Haggard Confesses: "I Am A Liar And A Deceiver"

CNN's Wolf Blitzer reported Sunday on Late Edition that the Rev. Ted Haggard, currently embroiled in a gay prostitution scandal, has admitted that he did have sex with an escort. Previously, Haggard had admitted to contacting the escort, but denied that any sex took place. Haggard reportedly said that he is "a deceiver and a liar, and admits "I am guilty of sexual immorality."


Christian Author Warns Of Growing Atheist Backlash

Atheists Become Organized To Fight Religious Influence

In an interview with a radio station in St. Paul, Minn., Guinness said he doubts that atheists have grown more numerous, but he believes they're now more organized and determined to press their case against religion and its influence in society.

He cited the best-selling books by atheists Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Both reject religion as an irrational delusion that indoctrinates children, poisons cultures and holds back science.


The New Atheism

A band of intellectual brothers is mounting a crusade against belief in God. Are they winning converts, or merely preaching to the choir?

This is the challenge posed by the New Atheists. We are called upon, we lax agnostics, we noncommittal nonbelievers, we vague deists who would be embarrassed to defend antique absurdities like the Virgin Birth or the notion that Mary rose into heaven without dying, or any other blatant myth; we are called out, we fence-sitters, and told to help exorcise this debilitating curse: the curse of faith.

The New Atheists will not let us off the hook simply because we are not doctrinaire believers. They condemn not just belief in God but respect for belief in God. Religion is not only wrong; it's evil. Now that the battle has been joined, there's no excuse for shirking.