Two out of ten isn’t that bad, right?

30 September 2012

Yesterday was Blasphemy Rights Day. A day intended primarily to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of expression, especially of opinions which are contrary to religious views. After all, why should I, a non-believer, be beholden to another’s self-imposed rules? With this thought I decided to see how well I would measure up to some of those rules. Rather than messing about with about petty things like eating bacon or wearing clothes of more than one fabric, I decided to opt for the ten commandments. Surely everyone lives their life pretty much adhering to those, right? Well, it turns out I didn’t do so well.

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Keep your Bible; I want Wikipedia in my hotel room

10 September 2012

Anyone who has succumbed to boredom in a hotel room, and begun exploring the drawers and cupboards will have almost certainly stumbled across a religious text (in Western nations, usually a copy of the King James Bible, courtesy of the Gideons). I don’t like having a Bible in my hotel room, and usually take steps to remove it. These steps range from simply opening the door and throwing the book out into the corridor to leaving it at the front desk when I head out for dinner. Some may think this an over-reaction. If I don’t like the Bible, why don’t I just ignore it? Let me explain why I object to this surreptitious planting of scripture in my temporary place of sleep.

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I don’t want to be ‘saved’: vicarious atonement is immoral

3 September 2012


I find myself in the unusual position of thanking the Jehovah’s Witnesses for inspiring me. After dismissing the pair who tried to “save” me yesterday, I started thinking about those who proselytize, for Christianity in particular, and this eventually lead me to the idea expressed in the title of this post: Christianity’s offer of atonement is immoral.

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In response to John Gray’s “The enduring appeal of Sherlock Holmes”

20 August 2012

Yesterday I came across an opinion piece on the BBC news website titled The enduring appeal of Sherlock Holmes, written by political philosopher and author John Gray, in which he claims that we are living “in an age when we have lost faith in the power of reason to solve problems”. I have serious objections to the messages conveyed by this piece. Since I will only be quoting passages from Gray’s piece here, I suggest that you follow the first link above and read it for yourself before continuing. Don’t worry I’ll wait.

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Church: Blackcurrant squash “cures” cancer

13 August 2012

I used to think that selling sham cures was mainly the purview of quacks out to make some quick cash by exploiting desperate and vulnerable people, but it seems religion is getting in on the scam.

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6 August 2012

Following from last week’s post, I’m pleased to report a successful landing:

One of the first images transmitted by Curiosity from the surface of Mars. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Curiosity sees its own shadow. Hopefully that doesn’t mean 6 more years of NASA budget cuts. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Now the real work begins:

Seven minutes of terror

30 July 2012

Next week the most recent Mars mission – Mars Science Laboratory, or Curiosity – is scheduled to set down on the surface of the red planet. The mission has four goals: Determine whether Mars could have ever supported life, study the climate of Mars, study the geology of Mars, and plan for a human mission to Mars.

The Curiosity rover, being roughly the size of a Mini Cooper, is much larger than any of the previous mars rovers. As a result, the approach of using airbags to cushion the final landing stage, used in previous rover missions, isn’t an option.

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Overpriced rocks will stop your brain from frying

23 July 2012

Yesterday I went to check out a “mind, body and spirit fair” being held near me. I’m highly skeptical of the kinds of things promoted at these events, but decided to go out of curiosity. I’d never seen a psychic, medium or clairvoyant perform in person, and was hoping to see if I could get one of them to give me a reading which revealed something specific and personal, rather than vague and obvious.

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Does eye movement betray lying?

16 July 2012

No. It doesn’t.

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Which God particle is it?

9 July 2012

Last week researchers at CERN announced that the have observed a new particle which is consistent with the theory of the Higgs boson. Confirmation of the existence of this particle will explain why other particles have mass (see here for a nice explanation). Since it helps to explain a fundamental property of matter, the Higgs boson is occasionally referred to as the “God particle” by those outside those scientific community. But, the question which the teams at CERN haven’t answered is which God?

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