Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Billy Graham has the wrong answer

I was browsing through the local paper yesterday while my car was being serviced, and I happened across the "My Answer" column by Billy Graham. Here's the question that was asked (I found it online here at the Wichita Eagle):

DEAR REV. GRAHAM: My neighbor is the nicest person I know, and she'll do anything for anyone who needs help. And yet she isn't at all religious, and says she's never found any need for God. How do you explain this? I thought only religious people were supposed to know what it means to love others. --S.G.
You can guess what's coming, right? Not content to say that it doesn't matter what the person's religion (or lack thereof), and that moral behavior isn't limited to fundamentalist christians, Graham states:
DEAR S.G.: Your neighbor's concern for others is commendable -- but if she had Christ in her heart, I believe she'd be an even more loving and compassionate person.
Pray for your neighbor, that she will come to understand the greatest love of all: God's love.
So what he's saying is that she'd be even nicer if she knew god.

Religious fundamentalists believe that the only Christians are moral people, and everyone else is evil, especially us atheists. Moral behavior has nothing to do with religion, and, as studies are beginning to show, has everything to do with evolution and the survival of the societies that tended to cooperate.

Laying into a woman "the nicest person I know" and saying that she could do better, even though he doesn't know her at all, hardly strikes me as "loving and compassionate"

M81 writ large

The sharpest ever image of the spiral galaxy M81 was released yesterday at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Honolulu.
The galaxy is 11.6 million light years distant (practically next door!), yet the image can resolve individual stars. The Hubble data was taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys in 2004 through 2006. You can download the high resolution image here, although be warned, it is 690MB (yes, 690!!) in size, and full resolution is 22620 X 15200 pixels. What's really cool is picking an area and zooming in to see the individual stars (assuming your computer can handle the image).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ham-fisted science

Sorry for not blogging for a while - I've been away on business with only limited connectivity (how is that even possible these days?!).

Anyway, I wanted to weigh in on the whole Creation museum issue. For those of you who've been living under a rock recently, the Creation Museum in Kentucky is designed to show the literal biblical view of creation. It's great if you think the Flintstones is a documentary.

Lawrence Krauss, the noted theoretical physicist, debated the museum's founder, Ken Ham last night on Fox. Here's the clip:

Krauss has also posted an article that lays out the facts about the age of the Earth, and let me tell you, it doesn't add up to 6000 years.

The media has, surprisingly given the museum pretty much a free pass. I won't bother to go into details here (you know who you are, and I'm looking at you, NY Times). At least the LA Times has done a much better job of reporting on the Yabba-dabba science.

The museum, a 60,000-square-foot menace to 21st century scientific advancement, is the handiwork of Answers in Genesis, a leader in the "young Earth" movement. Young Earthers believe the world is about 6,000 years old, as opposed to the 4.5 billion years estimated by the world's credible scientific community. This would be risible if anti-evolution forces were confined to a lunatic fringe, but they are not. Witness the recent revelation that three of the Republican candidates for president do not believe in evolution. Three men seeking to lead the last superpower on Earth reject the scientific consensus on cosmology, thermonuclear dynamics, geology and biology, believing instead that Bamm-Bamm and Dino played together.

If you want a (very) detailed rebuttal, Pharyngula has a creation carnival that's a must read.

Here's the deal. $27 million was pumped into this travesty of science. That's $27 million that could have gone into helping the cause of science education in this country, or providing clean drinking water for the poor in Africa for example - that would be a much more Christian activity.

Good science education is under attack from all sides, and as a start, let's use the opening of this "educational" "museum" to go to our local school boards and make sure good educational standards for science are enshrined in their teaching guidelines. And look out for those Flintstones documentaries!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Draft Gore

If he would just decide to run, I'd vote for him in a heartbeat. Who? Al Gore. That's right, Al Gore. Not only is he actively, passionately trying to communicate the dangers of global warming across the world, but it seems he's the only voice of reason left in US politics. In an passage from his new book "The Assault on Reason", excerpted in Time, Gore writes:

"Why do reason, logic and truth seem to play a sharply diminished role in the way America now makes important decisions?" The persistent and sustained reliance on falsehoods as the basis of policy, even in the face of massive and well-understood evidence to the contrary, seems to many Americans to have reached levels that were previously unimaginable.
We must stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudo-studies known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the public's ability to discern the truth. Americans in both parties should insist on the re-establishment of respect for the rule of reason.
Gore is right. We've got to get rid of pseudoscience and religion from politics. We've got to launch a new Age of Reason. Draft Gore in 2008!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Pat Condell (a British Stand up comedian) has been accused of spreading ‘racist hate speech’ in California. Except he wasn't there.

He posted a bunch of anti-religious clips to YouTube, including one that got passed around the commissioner's office in the City of Berkeley on Islam. Here's one on the "United States of Jesus"

Hmmm....nothing wrong with that! Check out his other clips (you can find them on the same page as the one above), or check out his homepage at

As Pat says:

I think this is clearly more about their internal politics than it is about me. I'm glad they included a link to the video so people can make up their own minds.
You know, I think he's right.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dark Matter: It exists!

A remarkable new image was revealed yesterday that constitutes strong new evidence for dark matter:

Dark matter is matter which makes up the bulk of the mass of the universe, but which has escaped detection by conventional means. It's required because observations of things like the rotational speeds of galaxies and orbital velocities of galaxies in clusters, Gravitational lensing of background objects by galaxy clusters and the temperature distribution of hot gas in galaxies and clusters of galaxies don't make sense unless there is additional, undetected mass. Dark matter also plays a central role in galaxy evolution and has measurable effects on the anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background. All these lines of evidence suggest that galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and the universe as a whole contain far more matter than that which interacts with electromagnetic radiation.

Unfortunately, because it doesn't interact with electromagnetic radiation, it's hard for us to see directly - we can only infer its presence via gravitational effects. That's what the new study, to be published in Astrophysics Journal, has done.

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered a ghostly ring of dark matter that formed long ago during a titanic collision between two massive galaxy clusters. The ring's discovery is among the strongest evidence yet that dark matter exists. Astronomers have long suspected the existence of the invisible substance as the source of additional gravity that holds together galaxy clusters. Such clusters would fly apart if they relied only on the gravity from their visible stars. Although astronomers don't know what dark matter is made of, they hypothesize that it is a type of elementary particle that pervades the universe.

This Hubble composite image shows the ring of dark matter in the galaxy cluster Cl 0024+17. The ring-like structure is evident in the blue map of the cluster's dark matter distribution. The map was derived from Hubble observations of how the gravity of the cluster Cl 0024+17 distorts the light of more distant galaxies, an optical illusion called gravitational lensing. Although astronomers cannot see dark matter, they can infer its existence by mapping the distorted shapes of the background galaxies. The map is superimposed on a Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys image of the cluster taken in November 2004.

This ring will prove important to astronomers for many reasons. This is the first time a dark matter halo has been discovered that's different in shape from the other mass in a cluster, and it will allow researchers to make better predictions of how dark matter behaves, and how it can be shaped by normal matter. Plus, the image is just way cool!

Respecting Religion

Saw this over on Pharyngula today:

I think it makes the point perfectly that we live in a world where you have to respect religious beliefs, no matter how ridiculous they are. Religion is the last major area in life that is untouchable from serious skepticism and scrutiny, in public at least.

Why should this be? You wouldn't ordinarily respect someone for having outlandish beliefs with no proof - look at 9/11 conspiracy theorists for example - they're dismissed as deluded. Why can't we have the same levels of scrutiny for religious beliefs - they're no less crazy.

Oh, that's right. You have to respect belief in a magical sky fairy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ding Dong.....

....Jerry Falwell is dead. While I feel sympathy for his family, it's hard to mourn the man.

Falwell founded the Moral Majority, which led directly to the current religious right extremism in this country - which has been a major contributor to the social and political climate that has given us the Bush (both of them) and Reagan presidencies. He also actively campaigned against women's rights, gay rights, the separation of church and state, and the teaching of sound science education.

In my opinion, this man has done more damage to America than Al Qaeda and rather than promoting tolerance and unity, which would seem to me to be what his religion should be preaching, he divided the nation, and was probably the least tolerant person on the planet.

And yet there are people stupid and bigoted enough to regard him as hero. It's a sad state of affairs in this country when the entire 2 hour "Anderson Cooper 360" show on CNN was devoted to this man. A brief mention on the news scroll at the bottom would have been more appropriate.

Update: Christopher Hitchens has it right in a blistering attack last night:

Monday, May 14, 2007

First Communion

My wife's family is Catholic. This means that I periodically have go to to one of the rituals they periodically hold (I think this is known as "going to church" :-) ). Last weekend was one such example. One of the kids of my wife's cousin was receiving first communion. Apparently, at the age of 6 or 7, kids are deemed old enough to understand that what they're eating is really the flesh and blood of a jewish rabbi who died nearly 2000 years ago.

What really struck me this time though, was sadness. Here's 3 dozen innocent children being initiated via rituals, into what can only be described as a cult. The brainwashing has begun. I agree with Richard Dawkins that this comes very close to child abuse.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Just ran across this site - Fundies Say the Darndest Things! Check out the Top 100. A couple of my particular favorites:

"One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn't possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it. [emphasis added]"
Really? So what's the big yellow ball in the sky, then? Another few (and these all have a common refrain):
"I didn't come to Jesus by my intelligence and neither will you my friend."

"I can patently dismiss 100% of anything that does not completely agree with the Word of God."

Of course it doesn't make sense! I am talking about faith in God, not sense."

"[Am I in discussion with a human who has a functioning brain?]
What does a functioning brain have to do with the Bible?"
Check it out!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Bill Hicks on Religion

Wonder what Bill would have made of the current administration? It's a pity he's gone. Much of his comedy is still relevant (even more so!) today.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Most Massive Supernova

The brightest supernova ever recorded may in fact be a new kind of supernova, according to researchers using the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The supernova is so bright, researchers are having to revise their ideas of what happens when supermassive stars (100-150 sun masses) explode. SN2006gy is 240 million light years distant in the galaxy NGC 1260, and it shone brighter than the galactic center:

Previously, it was thought that these types of supernovas usually occur when massive stars exhaust their fuel and collapse under their own gravity, forming a black hole. In these cases, much of the mass of the star doesn't explode, but is captured by the black hole.

It's postulated that in the case of SN2006gy however, that the core of a the massive star produced so much gamma ray radiation that some of the energy from the radiation converted into particle and anti-particle pairs. The resulting drop in energy caused the star to collapse under its own huge gravity.

After this violent collapse, runaway thermonuclear reactions ensue and the star explodes, spewing the remains into space. The SN2006gy data suggest that spectacular supernovas from the first stars - rather than completely collapsing to a black hole as theorized - may be more common than previously believed.

"Of all exploding stars ever observed, this was the king," said Alex Filippenko, leader of the ground-based observations at the Lick Observatory at Mt. Hamilton, Calif., and the Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. "We were astonished to see how bright it got, and how long it lasted."
Full details can be found here.

Those Fanatical Atheists

Dan Gardner has a fantastic article in the Ottawa Citizen in which he talks about his atheism, and takes on those folks who think that any atheist who is vocal about religion is "fanatical":

Yesterday was one major religion's holy day. Today is another's. Tomorrow is a third's. So I thought this is an opportune moment to say I think all three of these faiths -- these mighty institutions, these esteemed philosophies, these ancient and honoured traditions -- are ridiculous quackery. Parted seas. Walking corpses. Nocturnal visits to Heaven. For goodness sake, people, the talking wolf in Little Red Riding Hood is more plausible.
Dan goes on to talk about fanatics:
But just what is the core of Dawkins' radical message?

Well, it goes something like this: If you claim that something is true, I will examine the evidence which supports your claim; if you have no evidence, I will not accept that what you say is true and I will think you a foolish and gullible person for believing it so.

That's it. That's the whole, crazy, fanatical package.

When the Pope says that a few words and some hand-waving causes a cracker to transform into the flesh of a 2,000-year-old man, Dawkins and his fellow travellers say, well, prove it. It should be simple. Swab the Host and do a DNA analysis. If you don't, we will give your claim no more respect than we give to those who say they see the future in crystal balls or bend spoons with their minds or become werewolves at each full moon.

And for this, it is Dawkins, not the Pope, who is labelled the unreasonable fanatic on par with faith-saturated madmen who sacrifice children to an invisible spirit.

This is completely contrary to how we live the rest of our lives. We demand proof of even trivial claims ("John was the main creative force behind Sergeant Pepper") and we dismiss those who make such claims without proof. We are still more demanding when claims are made on matters that are at least temporarily important ("Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction" being a notorious example).

So isn't it odd that when claims are made about matters as important as the nature of existence and our place in it we suddenly drop all expectation of proof and we respect those who make and believe claims without the slightest evidence? Why is it perfectly reasonable to roll my eyes when someone makes the bald assertion that Ringo was the greatest Beatle but it is "fundamentalist" and "fanatical" to say that, absent evidence, it is absurd to believe Muhammad was not lying or hallucinating when he claimed to have long chats with God?

I couldn't have put it better myself. Bravo to Dan Gardner for being willing to make his statement in a public forum.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Atheism and America

There's a new article today in the Telegraph, a leading newspaper in the UK, on the rise of atheism in the US. It's a story about how there's a growing acceptance of rational thought in the US, and that non-belief in a god - something that has been suppressed for too long - is now gaining momentum.

Official figures show the ranks of the non-religious have doubled to 13 per cent, or 30 million people, since 1990.

Now a hard core of five million atheists is seeking the political clout that has made Christian conservatives and the Jewish lobby powerhouses in Washington politics.

The report also quotes Richard Dawkins:

Mr Dawkins said last week: "On my book tour of America I was agreeably surprised by the positive reception it got. There is a huge undercurrent of non-believing feeling in America which has felt repressed, suppressed, almost persecuted.

"Many people said, 'Thank you for saying what I have always wanted to say but didn't feel I could'."

Mr Dawkins is an advocate of increasing atheist militancy. "The secular, non-religious vote, if properly mobilized, is nine times as numerous as the Jewish vote," he said.

I think the interesting thing here though is that this awakening is a sign that the religious right has gone too far in trying to push religion into every facet of society, and we're now starting to see the backlash.....but it's a backlash not to change the constitution, but to reaffirm it.

We're not interested necessarily in "converting" people to atheism, just to making sure that the separation of church and state is maintained and strengthened, while at the same time promoting rational, scientific approaches to solve the very real problems of the age (global warming, AIDS, cancer and so on) instead of asking an imaginary sky fairy for help.

Atheist Blogroll

I've joined the Atheist Blogroll - a group of atheism themed sites. Check out the link on the sidebar to the right. Lots of good stuff there. The blogs are not just about atheism - like this site, the authors have other interests also, but the common denominator for each one is that atheism is one of their themes.

Conservatives and Darwin

Well, they're at it again: Blaming Nazism and Communism on Darwin, and this time, The New York Times is responsible for regurgitating the same old, thoroughly debunked story. In a May 5th story, George Gilder is quoted as saying:

Skeptics of Darwinism like William F. Buckley, Mr. West and Mr. Gilder also object. The notion that “the whole universe contains no intelligence,” Mr. Gilder said at Thursday’s conference, is perpetuated by “Darwinian storm troopers.”

“Both Nazism and communism were inspired by Darwinism,” he continued. “Why conservatives should toady to these storm troopers is beyond me.”

Aside from the obvious (The Communist Manifesto was written 11 years before Origin of Species), and the fact that Stalin actively suppressed Darwin's ideas in the 1950s, there are clearly more important motivations for communism than Darwin. It's like saying that both Stalin and Hitler had a mustache, so all people with mustaches are clearly mass murderers. It's nonsensical.

As for Nazism, Hitler certainly did not need Darwin's science to come to the idea that certain unfavorable traits could be removed from a population by selective breeding; that realization stretches back through thousands of years of human civilization. Take a look at dog breeders, farmers, even pigeon fanciers, who have bred out unfavorable traits for thousands of years. Darwin may may have formalized the knowledge in science, but here was no "secret" truth that Darwin alone came upon. Hitler's atrocities came about because he identified ethnic origin as an unfavorable trait, and sought to use the force of government eradicate the Jewish people, leading to the holocaust. The idea that natural selection ought to be government policy simply doesn't originate in Darwin. Darwin identified a natural process, a process that works all on its own.

Now, the story is actually about a larger split amongst conservatives about how to approach evolution and Darwin. The argument is outlined below:

For some conservatives, accepting Darwin undercuts religious faith and produces an amoral, materialistic worldview that easily embraces abortion, embryonic stem cell research and other practices they abhor. As an alternative to Darwin, many advocate intelligent design, which holds that life is so intricately organized that only an intelligent power could have created it.

Yet it is that very embrace of intelligent design — not to mention creationism, which takes a literal view of the Bible’s Book of Genesis — that has led conservative opponents to speak out for fear their ideology will be branded as out of touch and anti-science.

Some of these thinkers have gone one step further, arguing that Darwin’s scientific theories about the evolution of species can be applied to today’s patterns of human behavior, and that natural selection can provide support for many bedrock conservative ideas, like traditional social roles for men and women, free-market capitalism and governmental checks and balances.

The bottom line here, however, is that both sides of the debate seem to be missing the point (emphasis mine):

To many people, asking whether evolution is good for conservatism is like asking if gravity is good for liberalism; nature is morally neutral. Andrew Ferguson in The Weekly Standard and Carson Holloway in his 2006 book, “The Right Darwin? Evolution, Religion and the Future of Democracy,” for example, have written that jumping from evolutionary science to moral conclusions and policy proposals is absurd.

As for Mr. Derbyshire, he would not say whether he thought evolutionary theory was good or bad for conservatism; the only thing that mattered was whether it was true.

And that's the key thing. Science isn't political, it's just a set of theories that hope to describe what we see around us, and allow us to make predictions about what will occur in the future. It's got nothing to do with politics, and shouldn't be used as a measuring stick to hold up against political ideologies.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Republican Debate

Nice to see most of the Republican field came down on the side of rationality last night, despite what must have been overwhelming pressure to pander to their religious nut-job base. John McCain was asked whether he believed in evolution (the entire transcript is here):

MR. VANDEHEI: Senator McCain, this comes from a reader and was among the top vote-getters in our early rounds. They want a yes or on. Do you believe in evolution?


MR. VANDEHEI: I’m curious, is there anybody on the stage that does not agree -- believe in evolution?

(Senator Brownback, Mr. Huckabee, Representative Tancredo raise their hands.)

SEN. MCCAIN: May I -- may I just add to that?


SEN. MCCAIN: I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also.

Update: Here's a link to the video of the exchange (at Crooks and Liars)

I think it's a pretty good sign when most of the candidates, despite potentially alienating their base vote, came down on the side of science, although McCain was clearly nervous about it - hence his lame "but I still believe in God!!" response when he felt that the answer might not go over well with the religious right.

For the others, I wonder just how deeply they've studied the evidence. Not very, would be my guess. You'd have gotten the same response from them if the debate was in 1407, not 2007. It's called progress, people.


Religion in Schools

Look, I have no problem with people believing whatever they want to believe, however wrong they may be. Just don't proselytize, and don't teach my kids fairy stories in science class. If you want to promote your particular version of an ancient myth as science, then that's what Sunday school is for.

Creationism isn't science. It isn't verifiable, it doesn't make predictions that can be tested, and it relies on the intervention of a sky fairy to explain everything. It shouldn't be taught as science in schools. Period.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Cool Jupiter Pictures

NASA's New Horizons probe to Pluto (our fastest ever space probe) has just passed Jupiter, and used the big planet's gravity to boost its speed. The flyby added 9,000 miles per hour, pushing the velocity of New Horizons past 50,000 miles per hour and setting up a flight by Pluto in July 2015. While it was there though, it took some amazing pictures, including Europa rising over Jupiter:

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

...and the most detailed picture ever of the Little Red Spot:

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Also from the article:
Under a range of lighting and viewing angles, New Horizons also grabbed the clearest images ever of the tenuous Jovian ring system. In them, scientists spotted a series of unexpected arcs and clumps of dust, indicative of a recent impact into the ring by a small object.

Movies made from New Horizons images also provide an unprecedented look at ring dynamics, with the tiny inner moons Metis and Adrastea appearing to shepherd the materials around the rings. (Scroll to the middle of this page to see the movies.)

"We're starting to see that rings can evolve rapidly, with changes detectable during weeks and months," said Jeff Moore, New Horizons Jupiter Encounter science team lead from NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "We've seen similar phenomena in the rings of Saturn."

Time 100

The latest Time 100 list of 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world is out.

Richard Dawkins made the list at number 73. The interesting thing about this, other than the fact that he's clearly making an impact in bringing the debate about religion to the mainstream, is that the writeup on him was by Michael Behe, one of the leading proponents of intelligent design. Here's a quote:

It is a measure of the artful way Dawkins, 66, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford, tells a tale and the rigor he brings to his thinking that even those of us who profoundly disagree with what he has to say can tip our hats to the way he has invigorated the larger debate.
While the piece was by and large respectful, I have to call him on this point: Debate? There's a debate? Only in his mind and the minds of his cronies at the Discovery Institute. Evolution is the single most tested theory in science, and while there's certainly healthy debate as to some of the mechanisms at the detail level, no-one with any standing in the scientific community disagrees that process of Evolution is a fact.

Even more impressively, Dawkins made #3 on the Time poll of readers. Now, part of this may have been due to a concerted effort by fans to vote (Rain #1 anybody? Sanjaya #6? Who's Dane Cook?), but it's clearly a statement that he's now well know out in the real world. It's a positive sign, I think.

I'll have more comments about the rest of the list later, but these are the "scientists and thinkers" who caught my attention (not a creationist among them!!):
  • Al Gore (politician)
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson (astronomer)
  • Lisa Randall (Physicist, Harvard)
  • John Mather (astrophysicist)
  • Svante Paabo (evolutionary biologist)
  • Paul Allen (ex-microsoft founder, philanthropist)
  • Frans de Waal (primatologist)
Most of these folks are doing real, important science, or popularizing science and inspiring the next generation - a vital role in today's climate (excuse the pun). I'll talk about each in more detail in the next posts.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalty kicks yesterday to advance to the European Champion's League final.

As my niece would say: woot!

Science Books

I posted this over at Pharyngula yesterday, in response to a post about science and creationist books:

In my local Waldenbooks, I had to ASK where the science section was. The answer: "You'll find the science books under 'Nature and Pets'". Sure enough, there they were, two measly shelves and maybe 30 random books. You couldn't miss the floor to ceiling "New Age" section, or the several shelves packed full of several flavors of bibles. It's no wonder the state of education on science is where it is.

I'm an Atheist

I'm an atheist.

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” - Stephen F Roberts

I'm fortunate to have grown up in a country (England) which is pretty secular. My parents are largely non-religious, and this gave me the benefit of being able to objectively assess whether religion in general (and christianity in particular) has anything beneficial to say about, in the words of Douglas Adams, "Life, the Universe and Everything". The answer? No. Ascribing things you don't understand to a giant sky fairy is not a rational belief. You may as well believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Pastafarians unite!).

Does Science have all the answers? Of course not. But, there's a verifiable methodology that lends itself to objective understanding of natural phenomena, and there's no reason to assume we won't be able to fill in our current gaps in understanding. Remember, once upon a time, rainbows were magic too.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

First Post

This blog is my first foray into the wide world of posting my thoughts to the world. I've spent many years reading others thoughts, and it's about time to add my voice to the community.

Over the course of my life, I've become interested in many things, but a few have stuck with me - a general interest in science (especially physics, astronomy and evolution), computers (where I make my living) and a skepticism around extraordinary beliefs (extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence).

Increasingly, and what has led me to begin this adventure, I'm becoming more concerned about fundamentalist agendas, especially here in the US, and specifically around the state of science education, and the encroachment of religion into every facet of life here.

I'll be posting on the issues that concern me on a daily basis, and I hope to be able to shed some light into the dark corners of irrational belief. If you'd like to come along for the ride, welcome.