Thursday, August 23, 2012
In previous publications «ORIENTATION OF TEMPLES IN THEBES AND VALLEY OF KINGS» and «SYSTEM OF ANCIENT MONUMENTAL STRUCTURES» some words were told that meridians and latitudes of some known ancient constructions have curious regularities in the arrangement relatively each other. So, the meridian of Great Pyramid (GP) is a symmetry axis perpendicular to the meridians of Tiwanaku and Uluru, and the meridian of Easter Island is an axis of symmetry of the meridians of Teotihuacan and Vera Island, and practically with identical values close to 10 degrees.
Upon further study of the characteristics of the location of the meridians most significant and monumental buildings of antiquity revealed that most of them are directly related and are a system similar to the modern geodetic system.
If the equator - a natural baseline Latitude, it is equally obvious equivalent to the reference longitude missing. In the II century AD. e. Ptolemy oriented own meridian with the blessing of the islands (then called the Canary Islands), which, in his view, is the westernmost point of the world's population. In the Age of Discovery, followed the discovery by Columbus in the New World in 1492, almost every state to use its own meridian.
That fact is little-known that when in 1884 at the International meridian conference in Washington the point through which will pass prime meridian , along with Grinvich was defined, for this right applied Paris and … A Great Pyramid in Giza. If then a zero meridian carried out through GP, everything would rise on the places. More...
Saturday, May 26, 2012
6:35PM - Taxing Religions
Religious organizations in the US get a free ride when it comes to paying taxes. Both directly and indirectly. (Red numbers indicate estimated amount lost to local, state, and federal governments in 2011. I don't have reliable estimates for entries without numbers.)
- They don't pay federal income taxes. $35.3 billion lost.
- They don't pay state income taxes. $6.1 billion lost.
- In some states, they pay no property taxes. In other states, they get huge discounts on property taxes. (e.g. - They pay less than 10% what other businesses pay, and in Florida, they pay about 1/55th what other businesses pay.) $26.2 billion lost.
- They don't pay investment taxes. $41 million lost.
- Their donors get tax breaks.
- In some states they don't pay sales taxes.
- Related business income tax subsidy.
- They get a parsonage subsidy. (Ministers, priests, rabbis, and reverends who live in parsonages get to deduct their living costs from their income tax - unlike other professions.) $1.2 billion lost.
- Religious professions can opt out of the SECA tax.
- They get money from President Bush's Faith Based Initiative which is still in effect.$2.2 billion lost.
All US taxpayers are funding religions to at least $71 billion per year - and perhaps well over $100 billion per year.
Last year, many state and local governments laid off teachers, fire fighters, and police officers because of budget shortfalls. If those states taxed religions as they tax other businesses, those states would have more funds. Religions benefit from police and fire protection, but they don't pay for those services as everyone else does.
Religions own over $600 billion dollars in US property. Isn't time for them to pay their fair share?
Sunday, April 22, 2012
I'm not atheist, I'm pretty much 50/50 agnostic, but, unusually, I don't know if I even like the idea of God. However, my life motto is to be as open-minded as possible, and I have heard a few things which make me think maybe a God does exist. Does anyone have specific experiences or heard specific stories which turn them away from full atheism, or are most of you not 100% atheist because you can't 100% disprove God?
Anyway, here are some stories I've heard.
I've removed names for the sake of my own and others' anonymity.
*Someone I know was having a beer with a medium, who out of the blue said he was getting messages from my friend's ancestors (even giving their unusual, foreign names and specific message, apparently vaguely about an afterlife). My friend had only just met the man.
*A woman (mutual friend) had not heard from her son for months. She went to church and prayed for him to call, and arrived home to find a missed call from him.
*I was watching a TV programme the other night about the diaries of Titanic survivors. There was one man who said that he thought he was going to die as he sunk underwater, so he prayed God would send his loved ones a message. His wife was not on the boat with him, and had a sudden strong feeling to pray - her prayer book by chance fell open at the page of a prayer for those at sea.
For me, the first is the spookiest, partly because my source is more reliable - I am extremely close not to the medium, but to the other man. The second and third could be coincidences I suppose, but then again, they could mean something.
What is your reaction to these stories? Have you heard similar or had an experiences of your own. Admittedly I've never experienced any of these things first hand.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
1:06PM - A Documented Question
OKC: Eternal source of thought-provoking personality questions?
Here's one of agnostic interest that stuck in my memory, paraphrased.
Q. You discover a document which "proves" the existence or non-existence of God. Do you publicize it or keep it secret?
The four options are to publicize only if it shows there is a God, publicize only if it shows there's not, publicize regardless, or keep it secret regardless.
( My response.Collapse )
Thursday, August 11, 2011
10:59PM - Joe Rogan is man
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Yesterday I watched Glee's episode Grilled Cheesus, now for all of you who are not obsessed with glee like I am, this episode talks about people beliefs in God.
I also approaches the subject of atheism, a student and a teacher are both atheists.
This episode irked me because of the portrayal of atheist, it wasn't a negative one, but I feel it was... I don't know...flawed and vapid, maybe, can't explain it.
Personally I don't identify myself as an atheist, I don't deny the existence of God, sometimes I think it doesn't exist, sometimes I think that I have no clue... Bottom line, and even though some people have told me it makes no sense, I am not saying God doesn't exist, I just say that I don't believe in it.
Going back to the main topic, I think that what irked me is that both characters were just too cliched for my taste, they gave all the reasons people believe that atheist have to not believe.
The teacher who has a disabled sister and prayed and prayed as a child to make it all better, and one day realized that there was no God. In my opinion, and maybe it is wrong and silly, is that people like that are what I call the angry theists, they actually kind of believe in God, but the can't reconcile their idea of God to their life, so they go, ok there might be a God, but that god sucks. I don't identify with that, I am an agnostic not because a huge tragic event in my life, I am actually very lucky, I have a great family, friends and my life has been awesome. I don't go all.. Well if there is a god, why is there so much pain in the world? That is not my reason to not believe. I actually don't even wonder about that.
The student, well he didn't believe because the idea of god didn't make sense to him... well it has crossed my mind but is not my reason either, I don't think people who believe in god are stupid, delusional, I don't go around saying that they believe in a fairy tale and that they should just accept that there is no god. Because seriously sense is kind of overrated, sciencie is supposed to make sense and the whole universe created itself out of reactions or whatever.. well I don't get that either and I don't think it is false, I just don't get it.
For me it is about something that is beyond consideration and reasoning is out of my control, I simply can't. I can't believe I am physically, biologically unable to believe in God. So following my selfish tradition of thinking just of me, what about me? What about my portrayal? What about the need I have for people to stop believing atheist feel like I described, so whenever I speak up and say I'm an atheist, they won't try to explain to me that there is a reason for pain in the world or that god creating tha universe makes all the sense in the world? Because honestly I don't give a... you know.
The way they showed non believers... it made me feel like they think that we just need to let go of some anger or resentment, or that we just need to allow ourselves to have a little bit more faith.
And well that is just not me, and I am a non believer.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I’m 40 and I am about to get married for the second time. I would love to have a purely secular wedding this time (ie. No prayers or other hocus pockus.). I feel very strongly that religion is neither correct nor particularly moral (have you read the bible? It is not fit for kids to read!). Because of past family dynamics, I think I am particularly piss off when it comes to any religious displays. I feel like I am a child and I have to shut up because it is for my own good. I am too old for that!
I would love to have my dad play a major role in the ceremony. Ideally, I would love to have him as my best man. He is a rather unspiritual guy but he holds on to religion as a warm blanket that reminds him of the past. When I was 16 and tried to stop going to church, he gave me a great deal of pain with this point. His pastors that I was fairly good friends with told me he was not very spiritual at all. They said I was so much more spiritual than he was (if they said that now, I would have issue with their implication and likely want to argue that I am not.). I went to them with my hatred of church and they were oddly sympathetic. However, my dad always insisted I go and seemed to act as if it was just a fase I was going though. My older sister also insisted I go. Now I am much older and I steel think they think it is a fase that I will grow out of.
Whenever I go to my parent’s house for a meal they insist on praying over the meal. I detest this and hold hands while making funny faces at the nieces and nephew. I put up with it because it is their house and their rule but really hate it.
Is it possible or even advisable to include my dad in my upcoming wedding ceremony? Also, in what role? Damn it this is my day right?!
PS: My fiancé is Buddhist and her folks are Christian. She feels cool with this.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
"Come on," she pleaded. "Just stick it in there!"
"I'm trying," I responded, breathlessly. "It just
doesn't want to go in."
Cameron was sprawled out on the bed with her platinum
blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, showing off the
dark roots. Anxiously, she waited for me to slide the
large shaft home.
After being apart for nearly two months, this was a
much-anticipated meeting. "Come on," she moaned
again. "You're fucking killing me here!"
"That's it," I said, no longer hiding my frustration.
"I give up." I dropped the large metal shaft I had
been holding for the last 15 minutes. "I didn't come
over here to help you put your furniture back
together. Get your dad to do this shit when he gets
"Good," she said with a smile. "I'm starving. Let's
order some Chinese food to go with that wine."
Cameron hopped off the bed and led the way back
It was the first weekend of summer break, and the two
of us were celebrating a reunion or sorts. Cameron
and I had been friends for as long as I could
remember. We grew up together, and had been nearly
inseparable since the beginning of high school. Over
the last nine months, we had each been away for our
first year of college. Although we talked on the
phone several times a week, this was our first time
hanging out together since Easter.
Read the rest at free christian dating site
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
I read this awesome article called "The Anosognosic's Dilemma: Something's Wrong but You'll Never Know What It Is' by Errol Morris at The New York Times.
It's all about the Dunning-Kruger Effect - which is basically that incompetent people are too ignorant to know they are incompetent.
"When people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it. Instead, they are left with the erroneous impression they are doing just fine."
"When you’re incompetent, the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is."
"Many tasks in life contain uncertainties that are known — so-called known unknowns. These are potential problems for any venture, but they at least are problems that people can be vigilant about, prepare for, take insurance on, and often head off at the pass. Unknown unknown risks, on the other hand, are problems that people do not know they are vulnerable to."
"Unknown unknown solutions haunt the mediocre without their knowledge. The average detective does not realize the clues he or she neglects. The mediocre doctor is not aware of the diagnostic possibilities or treatments never considered. The run-of-the-mill lawyer fails to recognize the winning legal argument that is out there. People fail to reach their potential as professionals, lovers, parents and people simply because they are not aware of the possible."
"Ignorance is infinite but knowledge is finite."
"Some people have barriers to understanding an explanation of something, or a solution to a problem due to bias, and of these there are two general types. Some people have a religious or political belief system that would be undermined by any information that posed a contradiction to it and therefore certain possibilities and explanations are unacceptable -- ideas that other people find perfectly reasonable and sensible are ignored or treated as utter nonsense -- no argument is persuasive, so these people are immune to new information and knowledge.
There are also people with egos and self-esteem so outsized as to prevent them from hearing or accepting any challenge to their will or desires; psychologically they cannot afford to be wrong, or their sense of themselves would crumble. Frequently, their explanation for any error in judgement is that it is somebody else's fault; the test was unfair, the deck was stacked, they have enemies.
The real danger is when the two things are combined -- an intransigent belief system and an outsized ego. Someone like Sarah Palin comes to mind. She is stunningly ignorant and so filled with hubris and a sense of being "called by God" that it prevents her from realizing just how ignorant she is, so every challenge to her thinking is dismissed and derided."
"He who knows and knows he knows is a wise man, seek him;
he who knows and and knows not he knows is asleep, wake him;
he who knows not and knows he knows not is a child, teach him;
he who knows not and knows not he knows not is a fool - shun him!"
Kurt Vonnegut, describing of one of his characters, wrote, "He was too stupid to realize that there was such a thing as being smart."
"Ignorance can be cured, but stupid is forever."
Mark Twain: "It's not the things I don't know that worry me. It's the things I know for sure that just ain't so."
"Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure." -- Thomas Edison
And a quote from one of my LJ friends: Humans are the only creatures smart enough to realize how stupid they are.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
11:14PM - What Can Ya Do?
Not long ago, I did a Google search about agnostics. Far too high on the results was this ridiculously offensive essay. The thesis was that agnosticism was only for those who hadn't heard enough arguments or info to decide between atheism and theism. Claimed any agnostic who listened to the arguments would be swayed one way or the other.
It made some specious points. Quoted Huxley, galling as that is, after presenting him in an unflattering light. Hadn't heard the quote before. Said that agnosticism is a method and not a creed. The essay also noted that everyone has some bias one way or the other. The author struck me as some kind of thinly veiled fundamentalist.
Mentioned this while spending yesterday with essexxx. Thought her counterpoints were notably clearheaded.
Thing is reading it kinda boiled my blood for a bit, there. It's begging to be argued with and debunked, yet what can I do?
Could e-mail the author and point out the logical errors. But people usually can't be talked out of their long-held philosophies. Author would probably just not reply with more bad logic or, more likely, just ignore me.
Could write an essay in response, referencing and counterpointing. Problem there is I'd be directing people to the original essay and bad publicity, as they say, is better than no publicity.
Could write a pro-agnostic essay of my own and not mention the evil essay. Could then try to preclude the evil essay on search results. This idea mayn't have any of the associated drawbacks.
Will most likely do what I've been doing; just ignoring it.
Friday, January 22, 2010
buddhistgroup is having Beginner's Week this week!
Anybody new to Buddhism, interested in it, or with any questions is encouraged to start a topic this week.
Our community is 9 days old, with already 68 members. We are dedicated practitioners from different backgrounds, in a friendly environment, and eager to help anyone out. Thanks!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Episode 15 - "Sex, Drugs and the 'R' Word" is now on air - this podcast is aimed at those who might refer to themselves as spiritual, but not religious. No baseline of belief or unbelief is assumed. Click on the link to sample episodes; if you like what you hear you can subscribe via iTunes or Podbean.com
Friday, October 9, 2009
9:51AM - Seasonal Greeting Cards
It's about that time again-- greeting card season.
I have been on google for the past hour looking for cards that are not religious to send out to friends and family this year with no luck. The closest I have found are winter solstice cards.
Can anyone point me in a better direction?
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
5:18AM - Seriously?
Conservatives to re-write the Bible, make it more Conservative and less Liberal. Seriously.
Actual quote: "The earliest, most authentic manuscripts lack this verse set forth at Luke 23:34: Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Is this a liberal corruption of the original? This does not appear in any other Gospel, and the simple fact is that some of the persecutors of Jesus did know what they were doing. This quotation is a favorite of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible."
I actually wish this was a joke, but apparently it's not.
Link: Conservapedia: Conservative Bible Project.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Pop round to my site to catch the latest episode, in which I reserve the greatest admiration for dead gods and the apocrypha. More would be telling.
The show can also be found through iTunes, Podbean.com, or through following my blog on Facebook (link below)
Saturday, August 29, 2009
12:16AM - Giving God Credit
A few months ago I finally caved and joined Facebook. I’m not really that impressed, and I don’t see why people find it so addictive.
For better or worse, many people from my high school found and friended me. For the most part, getting updates about people I used to know has been good, but it’s amazing how much people change. People who were really worldly back in the day have become really religious. I guess the reverse is true of me—I grew up Church of Christ (twitch), whereas now I’m an agnostic gay science nerd. Good times. And there are others who were, relatively speaking, liberal and who, having married and reproduced, have become uberconservative. Maybe that change is a normal part of getting older.
A woman I was friends with in high school posted on Facebook today about how her son, who just started kindergarten, was nearly run over in a crosswalk zone by the driver of a daycare bus. The child was leading a line of kids when this nearly happened. She’s posted about her relief, and she made comments about how God was watching over her son. My inner skeptic kicks in the second I read stuff like that, but I can let it go and understand that this belief makes the event easier for her to endure.
Then, however, people from the hometown start chiming in about “God and His protection,” and my friend responded that she realizes that “God pulled [her son] back” out of harm’s way. Okay, still. Maybe she needs to believe this to make herself feel better. I get it. And, for all I know, God might well have intervened. I can’t prove that he did or that he didn’t. (This is why I like labeling myself “agnostic”: I’m comfortable saying “I don’t know.”)
Here’s what bugs. During the presidential election, this friend announced to everyone that God told her to vote for McCain. And she cites God in her reasons against health care reform. When she pulls this kind of stuff, that’s when (to me) she’s lost credibility. She uses God to justify anything: whom to vote for, whether to support a proposed law. Where does one draw the line? Is every near accident supposed to be attributable to God’s watching over us? I don’t understand—I truly don’t—this need to ascribe all good things to God and all bad things to bad human behavior or to God’s retribution.
Part of me wanted to join in her comment thread on Facebook to propose the idea that maybe her son was just lucky, but I know that would come off as hurtful. Just because someone else doesn’t share my views doesn’t mean that I have to debunk or propose alternative explanations. Nothing I said would possibly change anyone’s mind. But I wonder if any of you have had similar situations and, if so, how you deal with it.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
7:07AM - Pascal's Wager
I came across this description of Pascal's Wager recently and thought I would share with you.
Pascal's Wager is the ultimate con game to gain belief. For instance, I have a lotion. I want to sell it to you. I tell you it is a magic lotion that prevents sharks from attacking you. Since you have no proof that what I am saying is false then it might be better to believe in the lotion than allow yourself the risk of being attacked by a shark. Well, if you're an easy mark, I just made money and got you to believe in something out of fear. That is Pascals Wager. Better to believe in the 'lotion' than to face the possibility that I may be right about the danger that I claim you face.
I've never liked Pascal's Wager, but until now, could not give a simple explanation why other than it seemed wrong. Now this simple paragraph really puts the wager in perspective.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
11:23PM - Article on Skepticism
This article in Scientific American provides an excellent description of the skeptical mind. I found the article well worth reading.
Monday, June 29, 2009
7:34AM - New Podcast Episode
Episode 11 of "SNR-The Naked Soul" is now out. It looks at the arguement sometimes raised by organised religion againt those who reject it, that they are missing out on a deeper level of interacting with fellow humans. Heather Gout looks back on 20 years of churchgoing, to honestly comment on what religious community did, and did not, provide.
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