#0027 RRS Newsletter for July 10, 2007

hellfiend666's picture






This has turned out to be a video heavy post today.

For the Christopher Hitchens fans, I have posted a series of videos I received from the A-Team. they are in the Community section, and they are highly reccomended! His public speaking skills are second to none.

I would also like to draw your attention to the Entertainment section for the atheist comedian I just found (well, rather, he found me) Jamie Kilstein, he is very funny and he is currently in an online competition that YOU can vote on! Go register and vote for this dude, you can go straight to his article and video by clicking HERE. I will be featuring him all week, the voting closes this Saturday so be sure to get your vote in before then!

Thanks for reading, if you have any comments or suggestions you can reach me directly HERE.
Stay rational,
Jack
and the RRS MI team

Table of Contents

Rational Response Squad News

RRS Michigan News

Science News

My contributions for today Origin of Life - Lecture by John Maynard Smith (4 of 6) Origin of Life - Lecture by John Maynard Smith (5 of 6) Origin of Life - Lecture by John Maynard Smith (6 of 6) Jupiters Polar Aurora, Photos

Religion

My contributions for today Abortion: Why The Religious Right Is Wrong Scientology is evil Donnie Davies - "God Hates Fags"

Government

My contributions for today Conyers brings up the Impeachment polls

Community

My contributions for today Christopher Hitchens on Religion Atheism on MSNBC Today The Conflict Between Religion and Science Education

Entertainment

My contributions for today Jamie Kilstein Unbelievably Messed-Up Bible Stories Atheist's Nightmare, Bitch (LOL) George Carlin - Touched by an Atheist repost for SATAN

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Back to Table of Contents

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I have decided that I will host monthly RRS MI meetings and/or outings in an effort to build a better sense of community. These will be held on the last Thursday of every month. This means the first one will be held on July 26th, and we will be watching the movie "The God Who Wasn't There". If you all have seen this, please let me know, we can choose another, but I thought it fitting to start with that one, and I WILL start the evening off with a group discussion on where and what we would like to see come out of this local chapter (something that was never really talked about in depth yesterday). Other activities under consideration are things like scientific exhibition outings, protests where needed, and possibly the planning of political activism as our state is concerned.

Back to Table of Contents

Back to Table of Contents

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Origin of Life - Lecture by John Maynard Smith (4 of 6)

Origin of Life - Lecture by John Maynard Smith (5 of 6)

Origin of Life - Lecture by John Maynard Smith (6 of 6)

Jupiters Polar Aurora, Photos

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

March 30, 2007—No, Jupiter hasn't acquired a new toupee and goatee to impress Venus.

Those dashing purple puffs are x-ray images of the gas giant's high-voltage auroras—"northern lights on steroids," said planetary scientist Randy Gladstone of this image released yesterday by NASA.

The colorized picture is something of a collage. Several x-ray images taken by NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory have been combined and superimposed on the latest Hubble Space Telescope image of Jupiter.

"Jupiter has auroras bigger than our entire planet," said Gladstone, of the independent, nonprofit Southwest Research Institute in Texas, in a statement.

Gladstone hopes these latest observations will help him crack some Jovian mysteries. For starter, what causes these "hyper-auroras"?

The solar system's biggest planet and its magnetic field rotate extremely quickly—every ten hours—generating ten million volts around its poles. Toss in charged particles from the volcanic moon Io and you've got a crackling, nonstop sky show.

But how do the volcanic particles get from a relatively small moon to Jupiter's planetary poles? That, Gladstone says, remains one of the planet's unsolved puzzles.

—Ted Chamberlain

Taken from National Geographic News

Back to Table of Contents

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Abortion: Why The Religious Right Is Wrong

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jul 9, 2007 11:50 AM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: ATHEISTS AGNOSTICS SKEPTICS & HUMANISTS ON MYSPACE
Date: Jul 8, 2007 11:56 PM


TPO

Abortion: Why The Religious Right Is Wrong
by Steven Morris, PhD
"The dead women we saw had either bled to death or they had died from overwhelming infections. Some had tears along the vaginal tract where they had used coat hangers to get up into the uterus and break things up--like rupture the amniotic sac... Most of the dead women I saw were in their teens or twenties... The deaths stopped overnight in 1973, and I never saw another abortion death in all the eighteen years after that until I retired." --Pennsylvania coroner (1)

Anti-abortionists are patiently chipping away at the right that women now possess to choose whether or not to have an abortion, enshrined in law by the Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973. Arbitrary waiting periods, harassment, unjust financial burdens and the murder of doctors by 'pro-life' assassins, are considered by many right-wing Christians to be the moral approach to forcing their opinions on everyone else. We may yet return to the 'good old days' of back-alley abortions, and their harvest of abandoned women, mutilated or dead.

This places the well-meaning Christian in a difficult dilemma. Despite the immorality of the anti-abortion position, how can the Christian be pro-choice when the Bible and the history of Christianity are anti-abortion? However, it is the dirty little secret of the anti-abortionist leaders that their prejudice against abortion has nothing to do with the Bible or the alleged life of the fetus.

History
Abortion has been practiced since early times. Plato suggested in The Republic that abortion be used in cases of incest or older parents, and Aristotle recommended abortion as a way to limit family size. (2) The position of the Catholic Church varied over the centuries, and it was only in the 18th century that the teachings of the Church shifted significantly toward the position that the human fetus deserves from conception the care due to humans. (3) It was in 1869 that Giovanni Ferretti (Pope Pius IX) issued a decree declaring abortion sinful and banning it entirely. (2) His reason for doing so was bizarre, and had nothing to do with morality; the change in doctrine originated with the acceptance of the Immaculate Conception. (4) This unnecessary doctrine supposed that Mary (not Jesus) was without sin from the moment of her conception. To emphasize her sinlessness, the rest of us must be sinful (and alive) from conception. In any case, the penalty for all abortions was merely excommunication, not civil punishment.

Since then, the Catholic position has become increasingly irrational. In 1968, the encyclical Humanae Vitae by Giovanni Montini (Pope Pius VI) banned contraception. Surveys in the United States indicate that more than 80% of Catholics of child-bearing age do not, in fact, observe the encyclical's teaching. (5) This failure has not deterred Church leaders from trying to make secular government enforce doctrines that the Church itself did not believe for most of its own history.

The anti-abortion laws that Rod vs. Wade overturned were not originally adopted to halt "the murder of unborn children," but to reduce the morality rate of women who obtained abortions from midwives, homeopaths and local healers. Because of the lack of modern scientific knowledge in the 19th century, surgical abortions carried a 30% mortality rate from infection. Anti-abortion laws were not passed by an overwhelming public vote against abortion, but rather through the efforts of a few powerful groups such as the American Medical Association. Before these laws were passed, advertisements for abortionists were carried in religious publications as well as newspapers and magazines. (6) The AMA's concerns are now obsolete; legal abortions have a mortality rate that is thirteen times smaller than for childbirth. (1)

How did parents regulate the size of their families during the Middle Ages, when the churches controlled what people thought and did? Infanticide. Studies of 9th century manorial rolls at St Germain-de-Pres, of 15th century Canterbury Church courts, of 17th century Somerset parish records, and interviews with women in 20th century Bosnian hamlets all show the same choice. Let the child be born and then let it die. In particular, let it die if it is female. (7) this callous attitude is echoed in the Christian Right today, whose 'Parental Rights' amendment to the Constitution would strip children of legal protection. Fundamentalists may weep for the fetus in its three trimesters, but when the 'fourth trimester' begins, the baby is on its own.

The Bible
It would surprise many in the anti-abortion flock to learn that abortion is nowhere mentioned in the Bible. The closest the Bible gets is an accidental miscarriage that might occur when men are fighting with each other (Ex. 21: 22, 23). If the woman dies as a result if the miscarriage, the man at fault must die because he committed a murder; "thou shalt give life for life." If a miscarriage occurs and the woman is unharmed, the man merely pays a fine; no life for life here, as no life was lost.

"Abortion is murder!" cry the anti-abortionists, despite the Bible. "Thou shalt not kill!" But they conveniently ignore another well-known passage; "To every thing there is a season... a time to kill, and a time to heal' (Eccles. 3:1, 3). Even if the fetus were alive, the taking of life is Bible-based.

But what is life, anyway? On this subject, the Bible is hopelessly confused. "The blood is the life" (Deut. 12: 23), "For the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Lev. 17: 11). But fertilized egg cells have no blood, and it is only when the umbilical cord is cut, after childbirth, that the fetus lives as more than a blood-sustained part of its mother. But then the Bible contradicts itself; it is the breath, not the blood that makes the difference between life and death; "I will... cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live" (Ezek. 37: 6), "thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust" (Ps. 104- 29). To live one must first breathe, .."text-decoration: underline;">after childbirth.

According to the Bible, the fetus is not alive and abortion isn't murder. But what Christian cares for what the Bible says?

When abortions were illegal, hundreds of thousands of desperate women endured back-alley abortions every year. We will never know how many died, a horrific human sacrifice on the altar of Christianity. The Religious Right looks back on this bloodbath and says. "Let's do it again!" The truly pro-life position is to stand up and say, "Never!"


Click here to comment on this article...

We are The A-Team and we approve this message.

Back to Table of Contents

Scientology is evil

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: TPO
Date: Jul 9, 2007 4:20 PM

Scientology is evil

Now their insane denial of the legitimacy of modern psychiatry leads to an insane woman butchering her family. It's appalling: the parents were scientologists who refused to give anti-psychotic drugs to their daughter, and the end result is that they and another daughter are slaughtered.

This is where delusional, irrational, wishful thinking leads you — to a rejection of reality that has the potential to crash in on you in lethal ways.

Read the comments on this post...

Back to Table of Contents

Donnie Davies - "God Hates Fags"

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jul 9, 2007 5:20 PM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Cheryl
Date: Jul 9, 2007 4:44 PM


For all the newbies who may have missed this a few months ago when it was all over myspace bulletins.




<div>glumbert.com - Christian Pop: God Hates Fags</div>


We are The A-Team and it's funny how Donnie Davies insists this passage from Leviticus must be followed, yet if you ask him why he doesn't stone his disobedient children or kill anyone who works on the Sabbath, he'll tell you the Old Testament laws no longer apply. Hmm.

Back to Table of Contents

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Conyers brings up the Impeachment polls

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: TPO
Date: Jul 9, 2007 4:30 PM

Conyers brings up the Impeachment polls

johnconyers-tw.jpg Rep. John Conyers spoke on ABC’s This Week about the stonewalling of the White House on Congress’s investigation of the firings of the US Attorneys (he wants the President to waive Executive Privilege). He said he wouldn’t hold Sara Taylor in contempt to compel her to testify, since according to her attorney, she wants to testify. Duncan asks how the WH can prevent a former employee from testifying about anything? John said he’ll press on with subpoenas if Bush refuses.

Conyers then told Stephanopoulos that he thought the White House would be more cooperative in light of the latest polls that say a majority of Americans want Cheney impeached while Bush is at almost 50%.

Click here to watch the video...

CONYERS: Well, I certainly wouldn’t hold her in contempt. And we’re in negotiations with Mr. Fielding in the White House. We’re hoping that as the cries for the removal of both Cheney and Bush now reach 46% and 58%, respectively, for impeachment that we could begin to become a little bit more cooperative, if not amicable, in trying to get to the truth of these matters.

This White House will never comply, Mr. Conyers. (Full transcript below the fold via ABC)

Back to Table of Contents

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Christopher Hitchens on Religion

I love this guy!

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jul 9, 2007 11:19 AM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Beatle bones 'n' smokein' stones
Date: Jul 8, 2007 3:19 PM


Uncle Chad
Brett [leftist anti-authoritarian motherfucker]



























We are The A-Team and we approve this message.

Back to Table of Contents

Atheism on MSNBC Today

Written by Voiderest of RRS Texas

This time we were on MSNBC. Good? Think again...


It came up over a book titled, I think poorly, "The Atheist's Bible" (review). The book was compiled by Joan Konner, but in the video she says she isn't an atheist... "Thank you for inviting a non-atheist whose written about atheism." Why she feels she is qualified to compile a book for atheist let alone call it a bible is beyond me. The host of the program, Tucker, is, well, Tucker Carlson. The video is here and here. You can contact MSNBC at Tucker@msnbc.com


You may want to wait until the transcript is released, "24 hours of airing." I'll try to update this with it, but if I don't do it by 6 pm tommorow (10th) look for it here

Back to Table of Contents

The Conflict Between Religion and Science Education

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: TPO
Date: Jul 9, 2007 5:44 PM

The Conflict Between Religion and Science Education

This is one of my pet rants.

Here's the conflict. On the one hand, we attempt to maintain a level of education in our public schools, and in some of our private schools, designed to impart sufficient knowledge for the students to go out into the world upon graduation, and make a living. More than that, we hope that the best and the brightest of our students will actually help maintain the status of America as a leader in science and technology, a lead which has resulted in our country becoming the wealthiest and most powerful nation ever to grace this Earth.

On the other hand, in many of our churches, and in many of our private schools, not to mention now universities and law schools, the focus on education is to maintain a Christian viewpoint, to raise our future leaders to conduct themselves, and to advance society, in a Christian mold.

Some churches and schools are more "Christian" than others. By this I mean, that some religions don't view any conflict between a religious education and a secular one. The Catholic Church, for instance, believes that biological evolution is not in conflict with the concept of a supernatural force behind it. Others, more evangelical and fundamental in their outlook, believe in the inerrancy and literal nature of scripture, and hence do not "believe" in any science that contradicts it, such as evolution. In effect, they discount facts in favor of beliefs and superstition.

But regardless, whether Christians are fundamentalists, or moderates in their approach to education, aren't they setting our children up for failure, by allowing the schools to teach secular topics, such and science and history, in the public schools during the week, while their ministers, priests and rabbis teach something completely contrary on Sunday? Teaching children to assume that there is a supernatural explanation for anything, undercuts the actual education attempted in the schools. Children are children, and will become confused when confronted with alternative explanations.

I'd like to give credit to all children, and say that they could compartmentalize their secular and religious educations, and some might, but I tend to think most will ultimately pick and choose, and many otherwise brilliant children, may, and will, choose religion over science. Or, worse yet, they will devise a mish-mash of knowledge and belief that will not work in either realm. We can see that in society today by the common beliefs in various psuedoscience such as astrology, UFOs, parapsychology, biorhythms, ESP, and other oddly fascinating but unsupportable subjects for the supermarket tabloids. We should be categorically opposed to teaching anything supernatural as causative in fact, in church or otherwise, for these reasons.

Richard Dawkins relates the story of Kurt Wise, the geologist who, when confronted with his religious beliefs conflicting with the science he learned and practiced, after much anguish and soul searching, gave up his career in science. The God Delusion, p.284. The lure of supernatural belief is that strong.

Let us also not forget that it is adults - trained, educated adults - who push Intelligent Design into the schools, so that their children can be indoctrinated in the same beliefs they have. And not only their children, but yours and mine, too.

The problem goes deeper than this though. These children grow up to be teachers themselves. If they compartmentalize their beliefs from their education, those beliefs are likely to bubble to the surface at a time when we will have no control over it. For instance, religious science teachers who are required to teach something they don't personally believe in will do so with little or no enthusiasm for the subject, or worse, as I mentioned here, will subconsciously or even consciously attempt to undermine the science teaching, so as to elevate their religious beliefs over the science. While it's not legal in public schools, it can be done, and is being done every day. It's human nature to downplay matters in which one has no interest, or that contradict firmly held beliefs.

So what we have to deal with is a natural conflict between teaching knowledge, facts, reality, science and teaching beliefs based on age old superstitions. 2000 years ago, running the world on superstition made a certain amount of sense. It brought to bear a unified world view, and imposed that on the population, which, while untrue, still provided stability in the course of human dealings. Now, we know that superstitious beliefs have no place in reality, and are actually in conflict with science, a discipline without which the world would stop running. Religion is hampering progress.

Studies have shown that America is losing it's predominance in the areas of science and technology to countries such as Japan and South Korea. If religion continues to try to undermine secular education, this problem will get worse. This Fact Sheet underscores some of the problems.

    <li>By 2010, if current trends continue, more than 90 percent of all scientists and engineers in the world will be living in Asia.</li><li>In 2002, foreign nationals accounted for more than half of all engineering and math doctorates, and almost half of all computer science doctorates.</li><li>South Korea, with one-sixth of our population, graduates as many engineers as the United States.</li>

It is axiomatic that if we downplay science (and what do we call students of science in the US? Geeks? Nerds? Does that not indicate a disdain for advanced knowledge?) in a world where the advancements in science have been so rapid over the past century, we will no longer be the leader. We will shortly be overtaken by countries who place more emphasis and importance on education and less on theology. We will become dependent on countries like Japan, South Korea and India for our technology. Instead of being an export nation, we will become an import nation.

Is that what we want?

[EDIT: I hadn't intended to comment on this, but it is relevant. Doctors, who are professionals significantly steeped in the sciences that a medical degree demands, are responsible for the latest terrorist attacks in the UK. One would think that, having received the taste that their education provides of reality, their religious indoctrination would not be powerful enough to override their Hippocratic Oath. In the case of Islam, apparently it is.


Scary thought.]

Back to Table of Contents

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Atheist Stand-up Comedian, Jamie Kilstein

I MADE THE TOP 10 VOTE AGAIN SAVE DEMOCRACY!!

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Jamie Kilstein
Date: Jul 7, 2007 6:28 PM

I MADE THE TOP 10! VOTE AGAIN SAVE DEMOCRACY!
REGISTER HERE
http://famecast.com/registerfan.php

VOTE HERE http://famecast.com/contest/centerstage.php?stage_id=6&round_id=59

Lots of people on the list have been cheating with bots and multiple acounts so if you could repost this and help out that would be swell.Mailing lists bullitains, anything! Thanks so much. This could get me out of living in my car.

And even though I am desperate for cash I will donate 1000 bucks to Democracy Now! Independent media is the only way to get real news. If you are not familiar
go to democracynow.org Haza!

J

Jamie Kilstein

Unbelievably Messed-Up Bible Stories

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jul 9, 2007 9:06 AM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: ATHEISTS AGNOSTICS SKEPTICS & HUMANISTS ON MYSPACE
Date: Jul 8, 2007 3:57 PM








We are The A-Team and we approve this message.

Back to Table of Contents

Atheist's Nightmare, Bitch (LOL)

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jul 9, 2007 11:32 AM



----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: ♥ l e x ♥
Date: Jul 9, 2007 11:18 AM


From: Freethinker's Forum





We are The A-Team and we approve this message.

Back to Table of Contents

George Carlin - Touched by an Atheist

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The A-Team
Date: Jul 9, 2007 11:48 AM

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Chi
Date: Jul 9, 2007 11:19 AM


----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Invisible Pink Unicorn
Date: Jul 9, 2007 2:10 PM


From: mike







We are The A-Team and we approve this message.

Back to Table of Contents

repost for SATAN

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The Rev. Kelly Christopher Luttrell
Date: Jul 9, 2007 6:39 PM

REPOST FOR SATAN



Greetings Minions:


For argument sake, let us assume that the Deity of All deities in question is: Omnipotent; Omnipresent and Omniscience.

1.) If God knows all before it happens, then God is responsible for all sin by knowingly creating the Devil, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan, Lord of Darkness, Prince of Darkness, or any other euphemism by which I'm known. Surely the Almighty God would have known that I would create evil. The only logical conclusion is that the Almighty God wanted evil, sin and Satan.

2.) If the Almighty knows all, then why pray? Shouldn't God know what you want, what you need, and know how you feel, even before you feel it? To pray is to ask God to change his mind, which would also assume that you know better than one who is Omnipotent, Omniscience, and Omnipresent. Clearly no mere mortal has qualities as such.

God, like a Genie in a bottle, supposedly grants wishes when asked. If this all powerful Omni-creature wishes you to ask, then why all the ignoring? I've known many that prayed for healing, with no luck at all, and for every instance of this -- there's an Omni who ignores the request. Knock and you shall receive. Bah!

The fact is, God needs me, and you need me. Why would God place human conditions on you mere mortals that's not expressly human? The very nature of God requires my existence, so therefore is powerless against stopping me, and the inability to destroy evil suggests the absolute lack of omnipotence. You see, I never claimed omnipotence, nor being perfect. Those in fundamentalist Christian circles consider me an archangel who fell from grace and was thrown out of heaven because of "sinful pride." It would appear that I'm NOT the one with the pride issues.

Supposedly, one of the most evil things I tempt you to do is to make you think that YOU are God. I now see my error. I'm sorry for making you think that. You're much better than God!

Always remember, SATAN LOVES YOU!
Stay Evil,



Satan

Back to Table of Contents

The darkness of godlessness lets wisdom shine.