#0020 RRS Newsletter for June 23, 2007

hellfiend666's picture

Hello, fellow free thinkers. This is another long one, but before you think to yourself, "screw this, where's one o those surveys", look over the New Table of Contents. There is some really good information in this one that everyone should be aware of!

Huge thanks go to Voiderest over at RRS Texas for help with the html coding I needed to make the new "Table of Contents" feature happen!

Please do not hestiate to throw me a comment, a suggestion, an article or video you think might make an interesting addition, or just to bitch at me. All are equally welcome!

As always, thanks for reading,
and the RRS MI team...

Table of Contents

Rational Response Squad News

RRS Michigan News

Science News

My contributions for today What makes circadian rhythms tick?


My contributions for today Earth's Greatest Lawsuit Are science and religion compatible? Don't ask Dawkins and Hitchens, ask Isaac Newton? God is beginning to judge us as atheism continues to grow


My contributions for today Raped - Want the morning after pill? Sorry, can't do it… Fargo City Commission Votes To Move 10 Commandments Off City Property What does Being President Have To Do With Evolution? (I/D) Barack Obama Wants to Inject His Religion into Politics


My contributions for today Atheists: stand up and be counted This is unbeleiveable! Nation's Children Call For Cuts In Math, Science Funding?


My contributions for today Chasers war on everything: Evangelicals Creation Science Sing-A-Long!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Rational Response Squad MARATHON ALL NIGHT!

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
Date: Jun 22, 2007 8:11 PM

Come join us in the chatroom for a RRS Marathon hosted by Rational Response Squad co-founder, Rook Hawkins!

Going on all night! Pass on!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The first RRS MI meeting

The first meeting for the Rational Response Squad Michigan chapter, a 4th of July BBQ party!
Hosted By:
Jack Wynne
When: Wednesday Jul 04, 2007
at 2:00 PM
Jacks house
321 Central
Inkster, MI 48141
United States
This will be an informal event, a chance for us to meet an discuss what we want to see out of this chapter. This will be a BYOB event, but I will be cooking the main courses, including baby back ribs, various grillable fish, chicken, some game, burgers, and hot dogs. If anyone feels so inclined to bring a side dish to add to the spread, I will not object! Space to crash for those who may need it will be available, so I hope to see all of you locals here! You schmucks in Canada and Ohio too!

Click Here To View Event

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Questions for Christian: Don't Believe in Evolution?

Add to My Profile | More Videos

What makes circadian rhythms tick?

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Reverend AtheiStar Date: Jun 22, 2007 7:03 PM


What makes circadian rhythms tick? By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

Tired, hungry, busy or sad? Maybe your circadian rhythms are having their way with you. Again.
"What are these rhythms good for? That is the basic question everyone is asking," says neuroscientist Colleen McClung of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Circadian rhythms are mental and physical changes in characteristics like temperature, alertness and hormones that take place over the course of a day. Circadian is a Latin term that describes a cycle roughly 24 hours long.

They are controlled by the biological clock at the heart of a rapidly expanding scientific field, a region of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Although this nucleus — a collection of about 20,000 cells located close to where the optic nerve connects with the base of the brain — was discovered three decades ago, researchers are in hot pursuit today of the secrets behind the bodily mechanism that plays such a big role in jet lag, depression and hunger, not to mention sleep.

Last week, McClung joined several hundred circadian rhythm researchers at Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.) Lab's "Clocks & Rhythms" symposium.

"On so many levels, this is a very exciting area for biologists," says Harvard University's Charles Weitz. "There are so many things we know nothing about — we don't even really know why animals sleep — and this is a good way to ask those questions." Scientists don't understand the mechanism behind a body's need for sleep. Why does it need to restore itself in this fashion? And, in the case of people, why do we need eight hours of sleep and not two?

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Scientists | Clocks | Medical Research | SCN
Folks with a healthy SCN, even if left in a dark cave, typically conform to a slightly longer than 24-hour day, sleeping and waking in regular patterns, notes chronobiologist Claude Gronfier of the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research. Damage to the SCN — by stroke, for example — starts people "free-running," waking and sleeping with no set routine.

Every day, the brain takes in light from the eyes to the SCN, resetting the daily clock.

Animals, plants and microbes display circadian rhythms, Weitz says. "This is a very deep part of biology, with (related) genes driving the process." Those genes, with names like CLOCK and PER, became obvious to researchers working in mice and fruit flies in the last decade, he adds, opening a "golden age" of circadian research.

In daily life, body temperature is the basic indicator of a healthy circadian clock, says exercise scientist Christopher Kline of the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Your temperature drops to its lowest from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., a time of deep rest. It rises as morning approaches, rousing you to wakefulness. Hormones also start to flow. For example, testosterone in men increases in the morning. Literally, the juices start flowing.

Help for the sleep-deprived

For folks just looking to get a better night's sleep, circadian rhythm studies offer a leg up. Last month, Gronfier and colleagues unveiled a light pulse trick for fooling the circadian clock onto a new rhythm in a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report. Working with 12 volunteers for two months, the researchers found they could shift the natural rhythm's duration one hour backward or forward with exposure to bright pulses of light.

The idea behind the study was to see whether someday astronauts on Mars, which has a longer, 25-hour day, could have their natural rhythms reset. But the research might also help shift workers and travelers, Gronfier says.

Researchers are also investigating the effects of circadian rhythms on obesity, suspecting that disruptions in sleep and eating routines throw the body's clock off balance, setting the biological stage for weight and metabolic disruption.

An out-of-whack circadian system seems to be at fault for jet lag, Weitz notes. But the culprit isn't the SCN, which adapts to sunlight cues to a new time zone, but rather "peripheral" body clocks located in virtually every organ: "heart, blood vessels, lungs, ovaries, muscles, liver," he says.

The SCN cues these organ clocks to start ticking. But their activity seems more tied to food intake, and they respond more slowly to changes in meal times. Jet lag means your muscles and organs are expending energy at a time their internal clocks are trying to husband it. So, you feel crummy.

"Nothing in evolution prepared us for jet travel or jet lag," Weitz says, but peripheral body clocks help the body to shepherd its energy for when it really needs it, ramping up the release of hormones needed for tasks like digestion or exertion when they are needed, not all the time.

Triggering serious disease

In people, circadian rhythm disorders can trigger serious problems, notably depression. Seasonally affective disorder is a winter depression tied to a lack of the sunlight cues that trigger the SCN into proper rhythm.

Also, there are indications that bipolar disorder also involves circadian problems, McClung says. This disorder causes unusual shifts in mood and energy, with episodes varying between extremes and afflicting some 5.7 million people nationwide, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. "People might sleep all the time or not sleep at all," says McClung. Body temperatures and hormone levels similarly race, all pointing to a body clock with its springs missing.

At the Cold Harbor conference, McClung presented a mouse engineered to lack a specific clock gene which "looks as close to a bipolar person in a manic state as we can determine in a mouse," she says. The manic mice are hyperactive, sleep little, disregard signs of predators and voraciously consume cocaine.

For medical research, the most intriguing thing about the manic mice is that lithium, which human bipolar patients take to treat their illness, cuts their symptoms. "We don't know why lithium works, and we hope the mouse gives us an opportunity to explore its mechanism," McClung says.

Opening up the mechanism by which clock genes work, or don't work, is the task before scientists today, McClung adds. "Everyone on this planet has a 24-hour internal clock, and it is deeply ingrained in our biology," she says. "If we lived on a different planet, we'd have a different rhythm — that's how fundamental they are."

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Crazy Preacher says 9-11 WTC was abortion

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Another BAD Creationist: Joe's Earth Balloon

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Anointed-One, Atheism is against the law?

This site is just full of self contradictions and fallacies. You all should check this out.

Earth's Greatest Lawsuit

----------------- Bulletin Message ----------------- From: Bill Date: Jun 22, 2007 11:53 AM

Repost from Net

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Net
Date: Jun 21, 2007 8:14 PM

Has anyone heard about this? I haven't been in the loop lately but I thought it was a great task. For anyone who feels like they were ripped off by a religion institution. As a former faither I was a victim of Rod Parsley & Billy Graham both. Send money, get prayers, get rich, send more money, get free book, get rich. You know how it goes. Anyway...check it out. Evidently they're trying to find people who have been swindled by preachers or televangelists to sign up.

Earth's Greatest Lawsuit

Isn't it about time that televangelists and preachers begging from money from their congregation be put to a stop? Religion is business, plain and simple and it should be treated as such. Pay taxes like everyone else! The only two people who don't pay them are illegal immigrants, preachers and nonprofits. Which of these does not belong.

Someone on RRS mentioned going into churches during election season and recording the events and words of preachers to find out if candidates are endorsed or not or asking for opposing parties to come participate and see the response. If they endorsed someone then the recorder should send the tapes and reports to the IRS here: http://www.irs.gov/compliance/enforcement/article/0,,id=106778,00.html.

I think politicians going into churches should be illegal because if that's not "endorsing" I don't know what is. I know I've been told a preacher we know literally told his congregation that they must vote for Bush or they aren't real Christians (of course I wasn't there so I could never prove that). With several hundred of Falwell's graduates from his bottom of the barrel college in the White House ... it's easy to see why it's so dangerous. It's like they're attempting to create a Protestant Vatican in the USA.

Anyway...just thought I'd pass this info along.

Are science and religion compatible? Don't ask Dawkins and Hitchens, ask Isaac Newton

----------------- Bulletin Message ----------------- From: Reverend AtheiStar Date: Jun 22, 2007 6:32 PM

Are science and religion compatible? Don't ask Dawkins and Hitchens, ask Isaac Newton Yeah, don't ask a modern scientist -- most of those are nonbelievers. Theists remind us of that all the time with their complaints! Oh no, go back in time when we knew so very little -- before even On the Origin of Species was published (1859)! Go back in time when religion had a stranglehold on everything. Go back in time where admitting Atheism was akin to admitting murder, only much worse. Gee, why were there so few Atheists? I wonder!



Dinesh D'Souza

A War Between Science and Religon? Ask Isaac Newton

Posted Jun 19th 2007 10:38AM by Dinesh D'Souza
Filed under: Breaking News, Science, Religion, Christianity

A Jerusalem exhibit of Isaac Newton's manuscripts has some newly-discovered papers showing Newton's calculations of the exact date of the Apocalypse. Using the Book of Daniel, Newton argues that the world will end not earlier than 2060. "It may end later," Newton writes, "but I see no reason for its ending sooner. This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophecies into discredit as often as their predictions fail." Newton also interprets biblical prophecy to say that the Jews would return to the holy land before the world ends.

Yemima Ben-Manehem, curator of the exhibit, remarks that "these documents show a scientist guided by religious fervor, by a desire to see God's actions in the world." Newton's massive corpus of work reveals that he wrote almost as much about Scripture as he did about science, and indeed he saw his discoveries as showing the handiwork of the divine creator. All of which raises the interesting question: if arguably the greatest scientist of all time was such a fervent believer, indeed if most of the great scientists of the past five hundred years have been practicing Christians, what can we make of the insistence by contemporary atheist writers--from Dawkins to Pinker to Hitchens--that there has been an unceasing war between science and religion?

The atheist case relies on a few key episodes, mostly involving Darwin and Galileo. In my forthcoming book What's So Great About Christianity I will show that these episodes have been ideologically manipulated, and that the "lessons" drawn from them are largely fictitious. Here's a small example of that. We have all heard about the famous showdown between "Darwin's bulldog" Thomas Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce. When Wilberforce asked Huxley whether he was descended from an ape on his grandfather's side or his grandmother's side, Huxley famously responded that he would rather be descended from a monkey than from a cleric who used his learning to prejudice people against scientific discoveries. The only problem with this incident is that it seems not to have occurred. Huxley apparently made it up to make himself look good. It's not reported in the minutes of the scientific association meeting. Darwin's friend, the botanist Joseph Hooker, was present at the debate. He gave Darwin a full account, which says nothing about Wilberforce's alleged jibe or Huxley's supposed rejoinder. In fact, Hooker told Darwin that Huxley had failed to answer Wilberforce's arguments so that he (Hooker) felt compelled to come to Darwin's defense. Nevertheless Huxley's winning rebuttal lives on in atheist propaganda.

Are science and religion compatible? Don't ask Dawkins and Hitchens, ask Isaac Newton.

God is beginning to judge us as atheism continues to grow

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Reverend AtheiStar
Date: Jun 22, 2007 6:56 PM

There is a wonderful modification of the blanket prejudice found in Psalms 53:

The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. The wise man shouts it out loud!

It's also an odd position for a Christian to take. How many of these same believers say 'in their heart' that there are no gods or goddesses - save for theirs? They disbelieve in almost the same amount as we do, and that's a pretty large number!



God is beginning to judge us as atheism continues to grow

The book of Psalms53: 1 says "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." If a person is an atheist, he's a fool. I didn't say that; God said it in His word.

In the Old Testament, God dealt with the patriarchs in a personal way by one means or another. He walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. He talked with Moses from the burning bush and on Mount Sinai.

In those days, there were no atheists. There were a lot of polytheists, and they believed in many gods.

We have come so far from creation and the Old Testament and patriarchs who had a personal relationship with the living God. We now have atheists.
You couldn't tell those people there is a God, since we have put him out or our schools and public places and are trying to get rid of Him.

He's starting to judge us. I think it's happening right now and if we don't repent, it's going to get worse. Chronicles7: 14, says: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Raped - Want the morning after pill? Sorry, can't do it…

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: The Secret Delusion
Date: Jun 22, 2007 6:18 PM

Raped - Want the morning after pill? Sorry, can't do it…


Lori Boyer couldn't stop trembling as she sat on the examining table, hugging her hospital gown around her. Her mind was reeling. She'd been raped hours earlier by a man she knew — a man who had assured Boyer, 35, that he only wanted to hang out at his place and talk. Instead, he had thrown her onto his bed and assaulted her. "I'm done with you," he'd tonelessly told her afterward. Boyer had grabbed her clothes and dashed for her car in the freezing predawn darkness. Yet she'd had the clarity to drive straight to the nearest emergency room — Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon, Pennsylvania — to ask for a rape kit and talk to a sexual assault counselor. Bruised and in pain, she grimaced through the pelvic exam. Now, as Boyer watched Martin Gish, M.D., jot some final notes into her chart, she thought of something the rape counselor had mentioned earlier.

"I'll need the morning-after pill," she told him.

Dr. Gish looked up. He was a trim, middle-aged man with graying hair and, Boyer thought, an aloof manner. "No," Boyer says he replied abruptly. "I can't do that." He turned back to his writing.

Boyer stared in disbelief. No? She tried vainly to hold back tears as she reasoned with the doctor: She was midcycle, putting her in danger of getting pregnant. Emergency contraception is most effective within a short time frame, ideally 72 hours. If he wasn't willing to write an EC prescription, she'd be glad to see a different doctor. Dr. Gish simply shook his head. "It's against my religion," he said, according to Boyer.

This is, incredibly, a true story. In such a case, even if one were to argue that the doctor has the right to deny treatment on grounds of personal beliefs (which I think is utterly ridiculous), the doctor should step back and tell the patient that they are unable to treat them and then find them another doctor. To simply deny a request in this manner is despicable.

Fargo City Commission Votes To Move 10 Commandments Off City Property

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Reverend AtheiStar
Date: Jun 22, 2007 6:49 PM

Contrary to what most people believe, America is not a democracy. We merely have democratic elections. We are, instead, a constitutional republic. That is the highest law of the land, not what amounts to mob rule, and the constitution forbids our governemnt from supporting any one religion over others. The government is to remain neutral. When a Ten Commandments monument is on the front lawn of a government building, that is an undeniable endorsement of the Christian god! This simply cannot be in such a religiously plural society!



Fargo City Commission Votes To Move 10 Commandments Off City Property Jun 19 2007 12:00AM http://sayanythingblog.com/index.php

Now a local citizen wants to put the issue to a vote of the people.

Local religious activist Martin Wishnatsky said today he has started an initiative petition to let voters decide whether the Ten Commandments monument should remain on the City Hall mall.

I think the people in the city overwhelmingly favor keeping the monument where it is, he said. I think the City Commission majority is out of tune with the voters.

Commissioners voted 3-2 Monday to move the monument off city property by donating it to a private entity.

I posted previously on this issue here.

I’m an atheist, but personally I don’t really have a problem with religious imagery on public property. As long as people of all religion (and people of no religion at all) are treated equally under the law I couldn’t care less about some monument. But seeing as how most people do care about whether or not a religiously-themed monument should be on public grounds I think a vote of the people is a perfect solution.

A solution that should be applied every time controversy over something like this pops up. Elected political representatives should encourage such votes, if only to remove themselves from the middle of a sticky issue.

Better to just let the people decide. If a majority of the taxpayers want the monument on the land they paid for, so be it. If a majority don’t, ditto.

Sadly, far too many of the people who foment these controversies are more concerned with imposing their will on everyone else than solutions that please the largest number of people. Which is the case with these unthinking “Freethinkers” who pushed to have this monument removed in the first place

What does Being President Have To Do With Evolution? (ID)

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Reverend AtheiStar
Date: Jun 22, 2007 7:08 PM

"'Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind.'

It is this specific Darwinian claim that change in the biological world is not owed to intelligence, that it has no goal other than immediate survival, which the majority of Americans reject. We still believe in the quaint notion that we are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. We believe that humanity was intended and is not the result of fortuitous mutations alone."


Discovery's Logan Gage in The Examiner: What does Being President Have To Do With Evolution?

Discovery policy analyst Logan Gage was recently published in Washington DC's up and coming political paper, The Examiner, commenting on the recent flurry of debate among presidential candidates over evolution.

"I’m curious, is there anyone on the stage that does not believe in evolution?” came the question at the first Republican presidential debate. Much has been made of the fact that three candidates raised their hands. The candidates were not allowed to elaborate, but what should they have said had they more time?

What makes the original question difficult to answer yes or no is that “evolution” can mean many things. It can range from simple change over time, which no one disputes, to the specifically Darwinian idea that all of life’s diversity — from bald eagles to newborn baby boys — is owed to the mindless process of natural selection and random mutations and nothing more. As the eminent Harvard Paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson famously summarized it, “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind.”

It is this specific Darwinian claim that change in the biological world is not owed to intelligence, that it has no goal other than immediate survival, which the majority of Americans reject. We still believe in the quaint notion that we are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. We believe that humanity was intended and is not the result of fortuitous mutations alone.

As Pope Benedict XVI said in his first homily, “We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God.” While Americans are wary of rehashing court trials over evolution, candidates are on safe, middle-of-the-road ground in rejecting the Darwinian proposition.

But the question still arises, what does all this have to do with being president? Though he is not commander in science, the president can create an atmosphere of openness, freedom and honest dialog on this culturally hot subject. Many Americans are increasingly alarmed at the intolerance in this discussion at government and government-funded institutions.

As reported in Nature, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez was recently denied tenure at Iowa State University. Despite “dozens of articles in top journals” and “an important discovery in the field of extrasolar planets,” Gonzalez’s pro-intelligent design views appear to have cost him tenure.

And as chronicled by a House subcommittee staff report, Richard Sternberg, a man with two doctorates in biology, faced harassment intended to force him to resign from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History after allowing the publication of a peer-reviewed article favoring intelligent design. This must stop. Good scientists should not be intimidated, especially using government funds, from expressing dissenting opinions.

Finally, what about the contentious issue of the teaching of evolution in public schools? Americans know that if our students are to compete in an increasingly global marketplace, they must learn to think critically. And this has implications for how science, especially contentious scientific issues such as global warming, embryonic stem cell research and evolution, should be taught.

Instead of dogmatically teaching kids only the arguments on one side of these debates, let’s encourage them to learn about the full range of informed views in the scientific community. Not only would this increase students’ knowledge of evolution and other scientific topics, but it would also allow them to weigh evidence and think critically about competing claims in science.

In short, we’d be teaching them to be better scientists. If qualified teachers want to discuss the scientific evidence for and against key aspects of Darwin’s theory with their students, they should be defended rather than reprimanded.

At the end of the day, surely presidential candidates can urge the American people to come together and discuss Darwin — and other scientific issues — thoroughly and openly. Students coming together to discuss and debate an idea that changed the world: What could be more American than that?

Logan Paul Gage is a policy analyst with Discovery Institute in Washington.

Posted by Robert Crowther on June 20, 2007 10:30 AM | Permalink

Barack Obama Wants to Inject His Religion into Politics

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
Date: Jun 22, 2007 7:27 PM


Barack Obama Wants to Inject His Religion into Politics... On His Terms

Barack Obama
Scott Olson / Getty Images Taking the lead in trying to get liberals, progressives, and Democrats to imitate the Christian Right, Barack Obama has declared that his religion does indeed have an important place in politics — but apparently only on his terms and in the way he wants. As has become common with the so-called "Religious Left," religion used the way he wants is good; religion used differently is not.

According to Barack Obama, religious faith must be used to "tackle moral problems" but not "divide the nation." Since when have "moral problems" not divided the nation? Do the words "slavery" and "segregation" ring any bells? Then again, Obama also tries to suggest that religion only divides people when it is "hijacked." It's implausible that he's so ignorant as to truly believe such things, which means he's telling people what they want to hear, however disconnected to reality, for the sake of votes. Read more...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Atheist Fatwa 001

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Atheists: stand up and be counted

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Reverend AtheiStar
Date: Jun 22, 2007 6:39 PM


Atheists: stand up and be counted Our children are being force-fed government endorsed religious dogma, and we have to launch a counter-offensive.

Adam Rutherford

June 18, 2007 10:35 AM
Recently on these very pages, Theo Hobson called me pretentious and cowardly. It was not directed personally, but to all atheists, and particularly to those he describes as "militant".

One of those so-called "militants", AC Grayling, dealt quite adequately with Hobson's muddled and unnecessarily straw-clutching logic, and I need not add to Grayling's reply or the staggering 971 responses that the original comment generated.

But Hobson's rhetoric exemplifies a cultural position of mistrust towards atheism, that this default and rational position has negative connotations, associated with amorality and pessimism. This, of course, is nonsense. Wanting to live a life free of superstition is not cowardly, but increasingly brave under the government's burgeoning endorsement of faith. Realism is inherent in atheism, in contrast to the false promises of life eternal, and if morality simply follows a divine command, it is not moral at all.

Mercifully, although many of our politicians may be openly religious, Britain's political landscape is such that candidates do not have to be overtly religious to even stand a chance of election. There is even a cross-party Humanist Group. Compare that to the US, where in 2006 atheists were not represented in Congress at all. Perversely, the US has secularity protected by the constitution, whereas we Brits are subjects of the Defender of the Faith. But as Andrew Copson pointed out, the UK is moving at a menacingly creeping pace towards a government that is in thrall to religion.

The indoctrination that occurs at the ever-increasing faith schools can only promote the mistrust of atheists, and move us towards the deplorable situation in North America, where a 2006 survey revealed that atheists rank lower than "Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in 'sharing their vision of American society'."

I recently gave a talk to science students at a secondary school about the risible promotion of intelligent design and creationism as an alternative to the theory of evolution in science lessons. One of my biggest worries before delivering this lecture was not the validity of my arguments, or whether I might offend any of the faithful, but is a bunch of 17-year-olds really going to give a shit?

I was pleased and relieved to find that they did. In conversation with some of them afterwards, they revealed that creationism was indeed a topic in science and religion classes, and the (admittedly self-selecting) audience was largely opposed not only to ID, but also all forms of Biblical literalism. I made a point of asking students what they think of Richard Dawkins, and to my horror, the vast majority had not heard of him.

Now, I support Richard Dawkins in his words and his manner, which while forthright, is also polite and thoughtful, as this video of him chatting to the Bishop of Oxford shows. It is a very rare occasion for me to disagree with anything he says. But it is shocking to think that in schools atheism's most vocal defender is unknown. I can only assume that Professor Grayling and Christopher Hitchens are similarly unheard of. While this debate bats back and forth in the pages of Comment is free and in the grand halls of the Royal Society, schoolchildren are being fed government-endorsed indoctrination into religion, and conversely are not exposed to the intellectual freedom that is inherent in atheism.

I call upon atheists everywhere to stand up and be counted. Take pride in being rational. I'm a humanist and a Darwinist, but not all atheists are. There is a positive message in atheism, which is that it is a position of intellectual curiosity, and our children should not be subjected to the bullying negativity of faith schools towards the atheist. I live a full and moral life. It is untroubled by fear or deference of supernature, and I am proud of that.

Nation's Children Call For Cuts In Math, Science Funding

Editorial note: How is anyone rationalizing a cut in the education of our children? Do they really want this country to slip to the unadmirable spot of least educated in the world?! We are already being outdone by every major nation, and a cut in public education will ONLY lead to more of the chaos already seen in our government! A less educated populous will inevitably lead to a populous that is apathetic, and submissive to whatever the government throws at them.

Is that what we want?

We CAN change this!

The biggest problem is the apathy has already begun, the last 2 elections are a blinding example of the indifference of the general population. The bottom line on this issue is, in my eyes, if we are going to go around the planet boasting about how great our nation is, cutting public education will nullify that boast. W

We don't want to be the most ignorant nation in the world! That will lead to the demise of this country!!! Or another civil war, but the choice is ours. The outcome is in our hands. Vote for education spending, insist on seeing the money get into the right hands, donate to local schools, make your voice heard!

The outcome is in our hands...

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
Date: Jun 22, 2007 7:30 PM


WASHINGTON, DC—Calling current levels of funding "unconscionably excessive," thousands of schoolchildren descended on the nation's capital Monday to demand drastic cuts in math and science funding for public schools.

"Something must be done about America's bloated education budget," said Douglas Witherspoon, 11, director of the Committee To Cut Math & Science. "Each year, math- and science-education funding sucks an estimated $40 million out of taxpayer wallets. How much longer will we as a nation continue to prioritize the teaching of things like algebra and biology?"

"Besides," Witherspoon added, "you can just use a calculator anyway, so why learn all that math?"

"The U.S. has the most advanced space program in the world," Witherspoon continued. "We invented, among other things, the microchip, the PC and the Internet. We cured polio. Are these the accomplishments of a nation that lags in math and science education? Clearly not. But like a bloodthirsty leech, federal expenditures on laboratory equipment, textbooks and flash cards continue to go up and up each year."

Pointing to a chart of world standings in various educational subjects, Witherspoon noted: "The U.S. has consistently ranked in the top 20th percentile among industrialized nations in the test scores of third- through eighth-graders in both math and science. The sensible path for Congress to take is clear: Slash the budget."

Continued Witherspoon: "We'll never actually use any of that stuff in the real world anyway."

When asked where funds currently going toward math and science education might be better spent, CCMS associate director Kimberly Neesin, 10, suggested field trips.

"Shocking as it may be, our nation's students barely get to go on two field trips a year," Neesin said. "This leaves them woefully ill-prepared to enter a world in which they will frequently find themselves taking trips. Adults don't sit behind desks all day listening to boring teachers—they get in vehicles and go places. How else will kids learn how to do this than by taking field trips?"

Neesin also recommended an increase in gym-class funding.

"While we are wasting our precious time memorizing multiplication tables and learning the parts of a flower," Neesin said, "a Norwegian child is gaining vital physical-education skills that will prepare him for a productive career in dodgeball the day he leaves high school."

Reaction to the CCMS agenda has been mixed. While the group has been praised by Burger King Kids' Club officials, many education leaders are dismayed by its call for math and science cuts.

"Math and science are essential subjects, crucial to children's understanding of the world and their place within it," said Dr. Wilson Hanratty of the National Science Foundation. "The government would reduce funding for these crucial subjects at its own peril—and that of the nation."

Responding to Hanratty's remarks, Neesin said: "Nuh-uhhhhh!"

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Add to My Profile | More Videos

The Ten Commandments

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Chasers war on everything: Evangelicals

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
Date: Jun 22, 2007 7:47 PM

Freethinking Transgirl

Creation Science Sing-A-Long!

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
Date: Jun 22, 2007 7:57 PM