Review: The Life of Pi

We watched Life of Pi last night, a film that has garnered much critical acclaim and won four coveted Oscar awards (although it has not been without controversies). I had struggled somewhat with the book (for reasons given below), but the lavish praise for the film made me decide to try again. I had read about the movie’s stunning camera work and CGI graphics, and these … (more–>)

What if you’re wrong?

[youtube=www.youtube.com/watch?v=beYYZRN1sEs] Great visualization of the now-famous response from evolutionary biologist, author, and well-known atheist, Richard Dawkins, when asked in 2006 about his argument that there is no god, “What if you’re wrong?” “Anybody could be wrong, ” he replies. “We could all be wrong about the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Pink Unicorn and the Flying Teapot.” All of these refer to various arguments used to illustrate the … (more–>)

Creationism’s stench still lingers in American education

Creationism (and it’s dressed-up-in-drag younger brother, “intelligent” design) is the black mold of education. It’s an insidious infection of the mind, an intellectual parasite. And like real-life black mold, it creates a toxic environment – for learning and critical thinking. This week, creationism again came up in American school board discussions. According to the HuffPost, the American Taliban* – the Tea Party – is behind the … (more–>)

Religion, Logic, and Tornadoes

What has a tornado in common with prayer in schools and US President Barack Obama? Rhonda Crosswhite. Yes, the Oklahoma teacher praised as a hero for saving several children when a massive tornado ripped through her town of Moore, earlier this week. And no doubt she was. But there were many other teachers who were heroes that day,  none of whom have become a rallying point … (more–>)

Speaking with the dead

Can the dead speak to us from beyond the grave? No, of course not. But that doesn’t stop literally millions of superstitious people from believing they do. And some think they can use technology to facilitate the conversation. Of course, when you put technology into the mix, it simply cements the belief in place, no matter how ludicrous. And the internet has provided a platform for … (more–>)

The Secret Teachings of All Ages

“When confronted with a problem involving the use of the reasoning faculties, individuals of strong intellect keep their poise, and seek to reach a solution by obtaining facts bearing upon the question. Those of immature mentality, on the other hand, when similarly confronted, are overwhelmed.” That’s one of the few quotable pieces I’ve found while reading through The Secret Teachings of All Ages, by Manly P. Hall. Originally … (more–>)

Another Zen tale

Carrying on in the tradition of my last post, here’s another of the stories from Paul Reps’ book, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Before I repeat it, consider the story of Diogenes, the Greek philosopher and founder of the school of Cynics (cynos is Greek for dog, thus the “dog” philosophers). Diogenes once complained that, “Dogs and philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards.” I … (more–>)

A Zen story

There are all sorts of great stories, great tales of wisdom and enlightenment, to be found in Zen Buddhism. They often have that sort of eternal depth and universal meaning to our lives, regardless of your personal beliefs. The one below came back to me, last night, while I was walking my dog and pondering why some people remain so angry over little things, why they … (more–>)

ID’s deep roots in creationism

Proponents of creationism often try to deny that “intelligent” design (ID) is merely creationism wrapped in a fake lab coat to make it look like it’s pals with science. It isn’t. They’re not buddies, didn’t go to school together, and don’t ‘like’ each others Facebook pages. ID is merely a tawdry, paper-thin attempt to hoodwink the gullible who can’t see past the plastic pocket protector that … (more–>)

The other conspiracy theories….

After writing about the nonsensical “chemtrail” conspiracy theory and its tin-foil-hat brigade believers, I amused myself by reading up on some of the other conspiracies-du-jour on the internet. And no, I don’t mean your garden-variety secret-mushroom-farm, PRA dome, lobbyists-and-rec-facilities, aliens-in-disguise-running-the-library, Eddie-Bush-is-falling-down, Scoop-is-working-for-the-town or other local conspiracies. I mean real conspiracies: meaty stuff shared by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of wingnuts. Maybe millions… Wikipedia – … (more–>)

Forgery!

Forgery. It’s something that one normally associates with criminals; passing counterfeit bills, scammers, online pirates, people selling fake relics or fake ID. It’s something I would not normally associate with religion. But it’s a significant problem in the book millions of people cherish as infallible, perfect and absolute: the Bible. At least that’s what Bart D. Ehrman contends in his latest book, Forged. If you are … (more–>)

Four words about the Mayan Apocalypse

For all of you New Agers who expected something momentous to happen, December 21, because an obscure, millennium-old calendar ended on that date, and are disappointed that the world didn’t end, I have four words for you: I told you so. Let me further educate you with a few choice bits of practical wisdom in case the lesson of Dec. 21 hasn’t yet sunk in: Astrology … (more–>)

Evolution, Creationism, and Elections

Earlier this summer, Gallup released the results of its latest poll on American belief in evolution, creationism and “intelligent” design. The results are among the most depressing numbers ever posted about the decay of American thought and education. Yet although this should set off the warning bells to both US presidential candidates that something needs to be done to stem this problem, none of this has been raised … (more–>)

A Pyramid Hoax Reappears on Facebook

This Facebook headline caught my skeptic’s eye right away: “Energy beam coming from the Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun.” After I finished guffawing at the gullibility of some folks, I decided to spend a little time researching how widespread this silliness had become. As expected, and sad to relate, it was all over the Net. Seems every psychic-New-Age-crystal-therapy-astrology-aura-UFO-conspiracy-theory-Atlantis-Elvis-is-alive obsessed wingnut site has repeated the claims, usually … (more–>)

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