#0045 RRS Newsletter for August 17, 2007

hellfiend666's picture










Yet another change was made. When I started this Newsletter it was for the Michigan members, to keep them informed and to get thier feedback on local and national issues. I never thought it would be picked up on the mother site. So, I have changed the Michigan Local News section into the new RRS Affiliate News. I will now be covering anything going on on the local level through the Affiliates. Any meetings, protests, rallies, or functions of any kind that will involve the presence of an RRS Local Affiliate will now be covered.

Well, there's a lot to get to today, so I'll not ramble any longer. Of special interest are the Science and Community sections for this post.

Thanks for reading, if you have any comments or suggestions you can reach me directly HERE. Or on Myspace HERE.
Stay rational,
Jack




Table of Contents

Click HERE to find your local affiliate!

Rational Response Squad News

Rooks Intro to History class, Powerpoint presentations now available! Essay contest! Win Prizes!

RRS Affiliate News

Austin, TX atheists unite September 8th RRS Michigan social gathering at Alberts

Science News

Physicists Discover Inorganic Dust With Lifelike Qualities Did Life Begin In Space? New Evidence From Comets Conquest Of Land Began In Shark Genome Scientists Retrace Evolution With First Atomic Structure Of An Ancient Protein

Religion

Iraq bombings kill over 250 The End of Monotheism - Cutting down the world's top 3 Woman Arrested for Yelling Witch Chants District 2 board adopts Bible course

Government

Kurds, Shiites create alliance U.S.-led troops focus of Iraqi protest U.S. general: Momentum against al-Qaida The General Laws of Massachusetts: Blasphemy

Community

Atheist Blood Drive Atheists for Autism Research Charity! Religious Victim of the day There Is No God, an essay by Penn Jillette YT Changing Lives - Atheists & Theists working for change Atheist Volunteers update

Entertainment

Bill Maher Making New Documentary Movie, "Religulous" Woah! De ja vu! Maybe a glitch in the Matrix? George Carlin-Natural Disasters Lamb of God-Ruin

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket



Rooks Intro to History class, Powerpoint presentations now available!





The Powerpoint Presentations for the RRS Academy Intro to Classical and Modern History, presented by Rook, are now available for download for anyone who wishes to do so. Special thanks go to Jason Hoblin on this.



Check it out HERE!





Essay contest





****UPDATE 7-22-07 CONTEST EXTENDED. GREYDON SQUARE CATEGORY ADDED. OTHER CHANGES AND PRIZES AWARDED. PLEASE REVIEW AGAIN AND SUBMIT SOMETHING!!!****

NOTE: DUE TO ERROR IN LINKS AND LOW SUBMISSIONS, THIS CONTEST HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO MARCH 15TH, 2008.

IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION READ EVERYTHING FIRST, CLICK LINKS! COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS SHOULD BE POSTED PUBLICLY IN THIS THREAD FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL PARTICIPANTS! PLEASE DISTRIBUTE THE INFORMATION OF THIS SUBMISSION DRIVE FREELY.

The Rational Response Squad is proud to announce a call to action for content submissisions. We have been blown away by the positive feedback we've received from the freethinking community. Thanks to everyone who has placed a banner, or our player on your website and helped spread the word in some manner. We've received many great written submissions of thoughts and views, but had no place to put them, so we've created a guideline to help you, help us. The categories in which we need submissions are listed below, send us your best material. Your writings will be added to our library of articles, essays, and debunkings. We're hoping to build one of the largest and diverse free libraries of rational thoughts on the internet. Please post everything publicly on our forum so it's there for all RRS members to access who are working on this project. In addition to hosting everything in a free web archive, we may also compile views into a free e-book or a book for sale to generate money for activist projects. Not that you need a reward to share your views with others, but as a thank you we'll be awarding prizes to as many of the top participants as we can. Prizes will be awarded based on effort put in and quality of writing.

We've put the categories in order of need and may alter the order later as submissions come in.
Prizes will be awarded MARCH 15TH, 2008, but you can continue to submit content well after MARCH 15TH, 2008.

Read the whole list of rules, prizes and submission categories HERE!





Back to Table of Contents





Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket



Austin, TX atheists unite September 8th









Back to Table of Contents





RRS Michigan social gathering at Alberts





I've decided the next meeting will simply be a social gathering at a nearby restaraunt/bar called Alberts on the Alley on Thursday, August 30th. I'll be getting there around 6:00 pm. If your not familiar, it's at the corner of Ford Rd. and Middlebelt at 5651 Middlebelt Rd, Garden City, MI - (734) 525-5231. The food is good, and the drink and food prices are great! I'm hoping this will draw more of you reclusive bastards out so we can discuss and just get to know each other. Hope to see you all there, but please RSVP me at so I know how many will be attending. I am also still planing a "feild trip" to the Detroit Science Center to see the Universe within exhibit, for Friday, August 24th. We'll meet there at 7:00 pm. Admission is $24.95, for details on this exhibit Click HERE!

Back to Table of Contents





Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket



Physicists Discover Inorganic Dust With Lifelike Qualities





Science Daily — Could extraterrestrial life be made of corkscrew-shaped particles of interstellar dust? Intriguing new evidence of life-like structures that form from inorganic substances in space have been revealed in the New Journal of Physics. The findings hint at the possibility that life beyond earth may not necessarily use carbon-based molecules as its building blocks. They also point to a possible new explanation for the origin of life on earth.

Life on earth is organic. It is composed of organic molecules, which are simply the compounds of carbon, excluding carbonates and carbon dioxide. The idea that particles of inorganic dust may take on a life of their own is nothing short of alien, going beyond the silicon-based life forms favoured by some science fiction stories.

Now, an international team has discovered that under the right conditions, particles of inorganic dust can become organised into helical structures. These structures can then interact with each other in ways that are usually associated with organic compounds and life itself.

V.N. Tsytovich of the General Physics Institute, Russian Academy of Science, in Moscow, working with colleagues there and at the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany and the University of Sydney, Australia, has studied the behaviour of complex mixtures of inorganic materials in a plasma. Plasma is essentially the fourth state of matter beyond solid, liquid and gas, in which electrons are torn from atoms leaving behind a miasma of charged particles.

Until now, physicists assumed that there could be little organisation in such a cloud of particles. However, Tsytovich and his colleagues demonstrated, using a computer model of molecular dynamics, that particles in a plasma can undergo self-organization as electronic charges become separated and the plasma becomes polarized. This effect results in microscopic strands of solid particles that twist into corkscrew shapes, or helical structures. These helical strands are themselves electronically charged and are attracted to each other.

Quite bizarrely, not only do these helical strands interact in a counterintuitive way in which like can attract like, but they also undergo changes that are normally associated with biological molecules, such as DNA and proteins, say the researchers. They can, for instance, divide, or bifurcate, to form two copies of the original structure. These new structures can also interact to induce changes in their neighbours and they can even evolve into yet more structures as less stable ones break down, leaving behind only the fittest structures in the plasma.

So, could helical clusters formed from interstellar dust be somehow alive? "These complex, self-organized plasma structures exhibit all the necessary properties to qualify them as candidates for inorganic living matter," says Tsytovich, "they are autonomous, they reproduce and they evolve."

He adds that the plasma conditions needed to form these helical structures are common in outer space. However, plasmas can also form under more down to earth conditions such as the point of a lightning strike. The researchers hint that perhaps an inorganic form of life emerged on the primordial earth, which then acted as the template for the more familiar organic molecules we know today.



Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Institute of Physics.





Read the original story HERE!





Back to Table of Contents





Did Life Begin In Space? New Evidence From Comets





Science Daily — Recent probes inside comets show it is overwhelmingly likely that life began in space, according to a new paper by Cardiff University scientists.

Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and colleagues at the University's Centre for Astrobiology have long argued the case for panspermia - the theory that life began inside comets and then spread to habitable planets across the galaxy. A recent BBC Horizon documentary traced the development of the theory.

Now the team claims that findings from space probes sent to investigate passing comets reveal how the first organisms could have formed.

The 2005 Deep Impact mission to Comet Tempel 1 discovered a mixture of organic and clay particles inside the comet. One theory for the origins of life proposes that clay particles acted as a catalyst, converting simple organic molecules into more complex structures. The 2004 Stardust Mission to Comet Wild 2 found a range of complex hydrocarbon molecules - potential building blocks for life.

The Cardiff team suggests that radioactive elements can keep water in liquid form in comet interiors for millions of years, making them potentially ideal "incubators" for early life. They also point out that the billions of comets in our solar system and across the galaxy contain far more clay than the early Earth did. The researchers calculate the odds of life starting on Earth rather than inside a comet at one trillion trillion (10 to the power of 24) to one against.

Professor Wickramasinghe said: "The findings of the comet missions, which surprised many, strengthen the argument for panspermia. We now have a mechanism for how it could have happened. All the necessary elements - clay, organic molecules and water - are there. The longer time scale and the greater mass of comets make it overwhelmingly more likely that life began in space than on earth."

The new paper, The Origin of Life in Comets, by Professor Wickramasinghe, Professor Bill Napier and Dr Janaki Wickramasinghe is to be published shortly by the International Journal of Astrobiology.



Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Cardiff University.





Read the original story HERE!





Back to Table of Contents





Conquest Of Land Began In Shark Genome





Science Daily — Scientists at the University of Florida have identified genetic activity in sharks required for the development of hands, feet, fingers and toes in limbed animals. The finding shows what was thought to be a relatively recent evolutionary innovation existed eons earlier than previously believed, potentially providing insight for scientists seeking ways to cure human birth defects.

When the first four-legged animals sprouted fingers and toes, they took an ancient genetic recipe and simply extended the cooking time, say University of Florida scientists writing in Wednesday's issue of the journal PLoS One.

Even sharks -- which have existed for more than half a billion years -- have the recipe for fingers in their genetic cookbook -- not to eat them, but to grow them.

While studying the mechanisms of development in shark embryos, UF scientists identified a spurt of genetic activity that is required for digit development in limbed animals.

Previous work suggested that the transition from fins to limbs involved the addition of a late phase of gene activity during embryonic development, something thought to be absent during the development of fish fins.

The finding shows what was thought to be a relatively recent evolutionary innovation existed eons earlier than previously believed, shedding light on how life on Earth developed and potentially providing insight for scientists seeking ways to cure human birth defects, which affect about 150,000 infants annually in the United States.

"We've uncovered a surprising degree of genetic complexity in place at an early point in the evolution of appendages," said developmental biologist Martin Cohn, Ph.D., an associate professor with the UF departments of zoology and anatomy and cell biology and a member of the UF Genetics Institute. "Genetic processes were not simple in early aquatic vertebrates only to become more complex as the animals adapted to terrestrial living. They were complex from the outset. Some major evolutionary innovations, like digits at the end of limbs, may have been achieved by prolonging the activity of a genetic program that existed in a common ancestor of sharks and bony fishes."

Researchers say the same genes that produced ancient fins likely enlarged their role about 365 million years ago in amphibians struggling to adapt to swamps and terrestrial living, creating a distinct burst of development and more versatile appendages.

Using molecular markers to study the formation of skeletal cartilage in embryos of the spotted catshark, UF scientists isolated and tracked the activity of Hox genes, a group of genes that control how and where body parts develop in all animals, including people.

They discovered a phase of gene expression in sharks that was thought until recently to occur only when digits began to form in limbed animals.

Why, then, don't sharks have fingers?

Renata Freitas and GuangJun Zhang, co-authors of the paper and graduate students in the zoology department of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, speculate that sharks and many other types of fish do not form more dramatic appendages during this late phase of Hox gene expression because it occurs briefly and only in a narrow band of cells, compared with the more extended time frame and larger anatomical area needed to prefigure the hand and foot in limbed animals.

"We know when this particular Hox gene is mutated in humans, it results in malformations of fingers and toes," Cohn said. "Until now it was thought these mutations were affecting a relatively recent innovation in the genetic process of limb development. Our results show that this phase of Hox expression is much more ancient and suggest that if the origin of digits involved a prolonged activity of Hox genes, a truncated period could result in defective digits."

In a parallel study, researchers at the University of Chicago found this second phase of gene expression in paddlefish, a primitive living descendant of early fish with the first bony skeletons.

Finding the second phase in sharks, which have skeletons consisting not of bone but of cartilage, means the genetic processes necessary to muster fingers and toes existed more than 500 million years ago in the common ancestor of fish with cartilaginous skeletons and bony fish -- more than 135 million years before digits debuted in the earliest limbed animals.

"The leap from aquatic life to terrestrial life is an extremely dramatic, important point in evolution that has captured the interest of many," said Marie Kmita, Ph.D., director of the Genetics and Development Research Unit at the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal who was not involved in the research. "Understanding how changes in gene regulation modify the body architecture is of extreme interest to scientists who are trying to find ways to improve human health by learning from developmental processes. This work shows a late phase of gene regulation seems fated to the emergence of digits."


Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of Florida.





Read the original story HERE!





Back to Table of Contents





Scientists Retrace Evolution With First Atomic Structure Of An Ancient Protein





Science Daily — Scientists have determined for the first time the atomic structure of an ancient protein, revealing in unprecedented detail how genes evolved their functions.

"Never before have we seen so clearly, so far back in time," said project leader Joe Thornton, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oregon. "We were able to see the precise mechanisms by which evolution molded a tiny molecular machine at the atomic level, and to reconstruct the order of events by which history unfolded."

A detailed understanding of how proteins -- the workhorses of every cell -- have evolved has long eluded evolutionary biologists, in large part because ancient proteins have not been available for direct study. So Thornton and Jamie Bridgham, a postdoctoral scientist in his lab, used state-of-the-art computational and molecular techniques to re-create the ancient progenitors of an important human protein.

Thornton then collaborated with University of North Carolina biochemists Eric Ortlund and Matthew Redinbo, who used ultra-high energy X-rays from a stadium-sized Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago to chart the precise position of each of the 2,000 atoms in the ancient proteins. The groups then worked together to trace how changes in the protein's atomic architecture over millions of years caused it to evolve a crucial new function -- uniquely responding to the hormone that regulates stress.

"This is the ultimate level of detail," Thornton said. "We were able to see exactly how evolution tinkered with the ancient structure to produce a new function that is crucial to our own bodies today. Nobody's ever done that before."

The researchers focused on the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), a protein in humans and other vertebrates that allows cells to respond to the hormone cortisol, which regulates the body's stress response. The scientists' goal was to understand the process of evolution behind the GR's ability to specifically interact with cortisol.

They used computational techniques and a large database of modern receptor sequences to determine the ancient GR's gene sequence from a time just before and just after its specific relationship with cortisol evolved. The ancient genes -- which existed more than 400 million years ago -- were then synthesized, expressed, and their structures determined using X-ray crystallography, a state-of-the art technique that allows scientists to see the atomic architecture of a molecule. The project represents the first time the technique has been applied to an ancient protein.

The structures allowed the scientists to identify exactly how the new function evolved. They found that just seven historical mutations, when introduced into the ancestral receptor gene in the lab, recapitulated the evolution of GR's present-day response to cortisol. They were even able to deduce the order in which these changes occurred, because some mutations caused the protein to lose its function entirely if other "permissive" changes, which otherwise had a negligible effect on the protein, were not in place first.

"These permissive mutations are chance events. If they hadn't happened first, then the path to the new function could have become an evolutionary road not taken," Thornton said. "Imagine if evolution could be rewound and set in motion again: a very different set of genes, functions and processes might be the outcome."The atomic structure revealed exactly how these mutations allowed the new function to evolve. The most radical one remodeled a whole section of the protein, bringing a group of atoms close to the hormone. A second mutation in this repositioned region then created a tight new interaction with cortisol. Other earlier mutations buttressed particular parts of the protein so they could tolerate this eventual remodeling.

"We were able to walk through the evolutionary process from the distant past to the present day," said Ortlund, who is now at Emory University in Atlanta. "Until now, we've always had to look at modern proteins and just guess how they evolved."

The work involving the protein is detailed in a paper appearing online Aug. 16 in Science Express, where the journal Science promotes selected research in advance of regular publication. 

The work was funded by multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship to Thornton.



Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of Oregon.





Read the original story HERE!





Back to Table of Contents





Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket



Iraq bombings kill over 250





This is a video of a BBC news story concerning the latest, and most devastating bombing in Iraq. Commited by Muslims against Curds. The embedding option has been disabled for this video, so here is the link...



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lHCWnd5oaQ





Back to Table of Contents





The End of Monotheism - Cutting down the world's top 3





A hearty Hi-Ho-Fuck Yeah goes to g0at on this one!

Back to Table of Contents





Woman Arrested for Yelling Witch Chants

Katie DeLong



WAUKESHA - A Waukesha woman was arrested early Tuesday morning for disturbing neighbors by yelling witch chants around a bonfire she built 10-feet from her home, police Capt. Mike Babe said.

Brenna K. Barney, 42, told police that they were infringing on her religious beliefs since she is a Wiccan and she was performing a ritual because of a new moon, Babe said. She said her name is Brenna Raven Moonfire.

Criminal charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct were filed against Barney in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

Police may also give Barney a ticket alleging negligent handling of burning materials, Babe said.

Neighbors in the 2300 block of Madison St. called police at 12:11 a.m., Babe said.

When an officer arrived, he heard the woman yelling in the backyard and found her wearing headphones, a T-shirt and underwear, Babe said. The officer tried to get her attention by shining a flashlight on her but she continued yelling her chants.

At one point she poured lighter fluid on the fire, which was 10-feet from her residence, he said. She was burning rubber car mats and a cooler, Babe said.

When the officer was able to get the woman's attention she refused to cooperate telling the officer she was performing a religious ritual. She continued to be belligerent and the officer could smell alcohol on the woman's breath, Babe said.

Four officers responded to the scene and were able to take the woman into custody. She was first taken to Waukesha Memorial Hospital where she continued to yell and swear at officers and hospital staff, Babe said.

After she was medically cleared, she was taken to jail.



Read the original story HERE!





Back to Table of Contents





District 2 board adopts Bible course

The Post and Courier

Tuesday, August 14, 2007





SUMMERVILLE — Sunday school classes at church aren't the only place the Bible will be taught this year.

The Dorchester District 2 school board approved an elective course Monday night called History and Literature of the Old Testament and New Testament.

The course will be taught as an English elective and is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors at Fort Dorchester High School.

The board's unanimous decision, which came with little debate, makes the suburban Summerville district the first in the Lowcountry to offer a Bible-based elective course during the upcoming school year. The school board's vote follows a law passed by the Legislature in the spring giving power to local districts to approve such courses.

"I'm absolutely thrilled that Dorchester 2 has taken the lead on this issue," state Sen. Larry Grooms, the law's primary sponsor, said late Monday. "Hopefully, their action will give other districts in the state much more of a comfort level with teaching the history and literature of the Bible."

Grooms, R-Bonneau, proposed the course not as a means of teaching religion in secular schools but as a way of boosting students' knowledge of the "best-selling publication of all time," he said in May.

The bill got widespread support in the state Senate and House before Gov. Mark Sanford signed it.

Grooms said he thinks most South Carolina school districts will make the course available next year, after the state Department of Education designs an official curriculum this year and approves textbooks.

When Grooms first discussed the bill, school board members in Charleston and Berkeley counties said they weren't opposed to offering the course at high schools in their districts but that such a decision would require extensive debate at the school board level.

Other South Carolina districts, such as Horry County, have had lengthy debates on whether to bring elective Bible courses to their schools. Opponents criticize the Bible-based courses as a roundabout way of violating the separation of church and state. Others say schools would be required to teach all faith-based books, such as the Koran and the Torah, if they decide to teach the Bible.

District 2 board members seemed caught off guard Monday when secondary education director Mike Casey presented the course as a high school elective option for the upcoming year. Casey and Laura Knotts, the Fort Dorchester High instructor who will teach the course, explained that the class would focus on the Bible and its influence in language, arts, linguistics, culture and heritage.

As Knotts read from a syllabus, school board Vice Chairwoman Fran Townsend interrupted her.

"Is there any way we can get a copy of that?" Townsend asked. "This course has been kind of controversial."

Knotts passed out a copy of the course's curriculum to all board members, and less than a minute later, the unanimous vote was taken to approve the class.

Also at the meeting, school board members heard from Southern Management officials about construction progress at River Oaks Middle School. A state facilities inspector returned to the $24 million school Monday for the school's second attempt to earn its occupancy permit.

The inspector found that more than 30 items still need correcting before the school can open but said he's comfortable enough with the school's progress that he doesn't need to return again. The architects can sign off on the remainder of the work, which represents an important step in the construction process, officials said.

Superintendent Joe Pye said he still expects River Oaks to open Aug. 27, one week later than the rest of the district's schools.

Reach Mindy B. Hagen at mhagen@postandcourier.com or 937-5433.





Read the original story HERE!





Back to Table of Contents





Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket



Kurds, Shiites create alliance





BAGHDAD, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has announced an alliance between Shiite and Kurdish parties that will give the groups a majority in Iraq's National Assembly.

The new alliance between Iraq's two main Kurdish parties -- along with the Islamic Dawa Party and Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council -- is being called "the moderates front," The Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) said Thursday.

"Our alliance is for the success of the political process and it is open for all," said Talabani.

The alliance was announced in a joint press conference that included Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahi and Masoud Barzani, president of Iraq's Kurdistan region.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.




Read the original story HERE!





Back to Table of Contents





U.S.-led troops focus of Iraqi protest





BAGHDAD, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Members of Iraq's Sadrist Movement protested in Baghdad Wednesday, calling for an end to operations by the U.S.-led Multi-National Force.

The Kuwait news agency KUNA protesters demanded the release of all MNF prisoners and criticized the military force for allegedly making indiscriminate arrests in the region.

Citing a recent series of crackdowns by coalition forces, the protesters demanded the Multi-National Forces withdraw from Iraq.

Ahmad Al-Shibani, spokesman for Shiite leader Moqtada Al-Sadr, said the religious political party's leader was currently in Iraq. He warned MNF leaders not to continue with military efforts against regional Sadrist leaders, and said the Sadr-lead group would maintain its support of the nation's political process.

Sadrist leaders Fuad Al-Tarafi and Imad Al-Hasnawi were arrested earlier in the week by MNF soldiers, KUNA reported.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.




Read the original story HERE!





Back to Table of Contents





U.S. general: Momentum against al-Qaida





BAGHDAD, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A key U.S. Army general in Baghdad says the "tactical momentum" is moving against al-Qaida in Iraq.

Brig. Gen. Keven Bergner, deputy commander of coalition forces in the western part of the country, spoke to reporters Wednesday.

"Tactical momentum is Â… continuing against al-Qaida in Iraq networks and leaders, even as we simultaneously chip away at the Iranian-supported militia extremists," Bergner said. "In the month of July, some 18 senior al-Qaida in Iraq leaders were either captured or killed, and hundreds of other lower-level operatives were also captured or killed."

As of mid-August, "together with our Iraqi partners, we are seeing continued progress, with five al-Qaida senior leaders killed or captured from Mosul, Salahuddin, Samarra and Baghdad," Bergner said, including "Haitham Sabah al-Badri, the emir of Salahuddin and the organizer of both bombings of the Golden Mosque in Samarra." He was reported killed by a U.S. airstrike.

Bergner also said Iraqi security forces and government leaders provided "a safe and secure passage for millions of people. Last week Â… millions of Iraqis fulfilled an important obligation of their faith by walking to the Al-Kadhim Mosque (a Shiite shrine in Baghdad). Ensuring security for such a large gathering was an enormous undertaking."

Copyright 2007 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.





Read the original story HERE!





The General Laws of Massachusetts





PART IV. CRIMES, PUNISHMENTS AND PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL CASES


TITLE I. CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS


CHAPTER 272. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY, DECENCY AND GOOD ORDER


Chapter 272: Section 36. Blasphemy

Section 36. Whoever wilfully blasphemes the holy name of God by denying, cursing or contumeliously reproaching God, his creation, government or final judging of the world, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching or exposing to contempt and ridicule, the holy word of God contained in the holy scriptures shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good behavior.





Visit this webpage HERE!





Back to Table of Contents





Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket



Atheist Blood Drive





In an attempt to show the world that atheists are every bit as charitable as the religious of society, and that we need no "divine warrent" to be so, the RRS has set up a daughter organization called Atheist Volunteers. We hope you will all chip in. The most prominent of it's projects is the Atheist Blood drive.

Click HERE to get more info on this important project!

Back to Table of Contents





Atheists for Autism Research Charity!





Check these guys out, and donate if you can!



Back to Table of Contents





Religious Victim of the day





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

In 1998 two-year-old Harrison Johnson 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.
His parents belong to a group called The Fellowship, which reportedly shuns all medical care on grounds that doctors practice witchcraft.

Back to Table of Contents





There Is No God

by Penn Jillette



I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy -- you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word "elephant" includes mystery, order, goodness, love and a spare tire?

So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. She needs to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. All the people I write e-mails to often are still stuck at this searching stage. The atheism part is easy.

But, this "This I Believe" thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life's big picture, some rules to live by. So, I'm saying, "This I believe: I believe there is no God."

Having taken that step, it informs every moment of my life. I'm not greedy. I have love, blue skies, rainbows and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough. It has to be enough, but it's everything in the world and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more. Just the love of my family that raised me and the family I'm raising now is enough that I don't need heaven. I won the huge genetic lottery and I get joy every day.

Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.

Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something.

Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-O and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.



Read the original story HERE!





Back to Table of Contents





YT Changing Lives - Atheists & Theists working for change









Atheist Volunteers update





Visit Atheist Volunteers website HERE!





EARTHWARD has been working to restore a family of Ugandan refugees fleeing attacks by the Lord's Resistance Army to full self-sufficiency. Donations thus far have been largely consumed by their immediate needs, such as food, water and medicine, Unfortunately,little has been left over for the more long term goals of relocating them to a safer area, and helping them re-acquire a means of earning their own livelihood. In order to accelerate progress in this area, we have launched a sponsorship program. The program is similar to some offered by certain religious organizations, with the exceptions that it is equally available to all, regardless of religion, or lack thereof, and that we do not proselytize to the sponsored children,
nor their families. Perhaps you have considered sponsoring a child before, but did not want any part of your donations used for religious indoctrination. Here is an opportunity for two familiesof diverse cultures and circumstances, to learn from each other.
For details of the plan, please see:

http://earthward.org/okellokids.shtml

Also, please read the details of this families tragic ordeal at:

http://earthward.org/refugee.shtml

It is our hope that the sponsorship program will cover most, if not all of the family's immediate needs, so that other donations can be devoted to the longer term goals. If the program is successful, it may be expanded to include other children in similar circum- stances, in the future. Please contact

pr@earthward.org

if you would be interested in sponsoring one of these children, or if you have any questions.

Thanks
Tomcat





Back to Table of Contents





Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket



Bill Maher Making New Documentary Movie, "Religulous"









Back to Table of Contents





Woah! De ja vu! Maybe a glitch in the Matrix?





Watch for Olbermanns comment at the end of the peice, awesome!




Back to Table of Contents





George Carlin-Natural Disasters





Back to Table of Contents





Lamb of God-Ruin









The knowledge that seeking the favor of another
Means the murder of self.
This is the resolution
The end of all progress
The death of evolution
It bleeds all life away.
Silence speeds the path to the streams of solace that run so few and narrow.
Brooks that babble the sounds of torture the sounds of torture
You will one day rise.
To flood the banks of the chosen.
This is the art of ruin.
This is the resolution
The end of all progress
The death of evolution
It bleeds all life away.
I will show you all that I have mastered
Fear. Pain. Hatred. Power.
This is the art of ruin.(x3)

Back to Table of Contents