Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Contest: free signed John Loftus anthology The End of Christianity

CONTEST!: Win a signed copy of the John Loftus anthology The End of Christianity!

Here are the contest details:
1) The contest is open to members of Think Atheist with a Twitter account. Create one now so that you're prepared ahead of time for the contest.

2) The contest will be held 9AM Friday August 5th to 12PM Sunday August 7th. (All times are Eastern US. Here's a timezone converter for those in other timezones around the world.)

3) You will be considered to have entered the contest when, as a Think Atheist member, you take to Twitter between the hours of 9AM Friday August 5th and 12PM Sunday August 7th to follow Think Atheist on Twitter and tweet a specific phrase. This page will be updated Friday morning with the specific phrase that will need to be tweeted. (It does no good to attempt, on the basis of our previous contests, to try to guess the phrase as tweets sent before the contest won't be counted. Having said that, if you'd like to follow Think Atheist on Twitter ahead of time there's no problem whatsoever in your doing so. And certainly it's a good idea to join Think Atheist ahead of time.)

4) One entry per person. Multiple entries will not count and may result in your being excluded from the contest entirely!

5) At the conclusion of the contest we will randomly draw 3 numbers corresponding to 3 entries. Winners will be announced on the Think Atheist Radio Show on August 7th beginning at 5PM Pacific/8PM Eastern*. Make sure you tune in to the show to see if you've won! (Remember, if you can't listen live you can listen to the show from the archive at any time immediately following its having aired live!) *Should any of the chosen entrants not be verified as Think Atheist members and as followers of Think Atheist on Twitter we will then randomly select another entrant. This will continue until such time as we have 3 verified Think Atheist members/Think Atheist Twitter followers as winners.

6) Winners MUST contact Nelson by emailing Nelson at iThinkAtheist.com with their address, a link to their Think Atheist profile page, and a link to their Twitter within 48 hours of the announcement of the winners to be eligible to receive their prize.** Upon verification of their eligibility as Think Atheist members and Twitter followers of Think Atheist we will take the shipping addresses of the winners and forward them to the publisher. All costs of shipping the book will be handled at no cost to the winners, whether a winner is within or without the US.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

1966: the good ol' days.

"Personally, I've never been confronted with the question of God," says one such politely indifferent atheist, Dr. Claude Lévi-Strauss, professor of social anthropology at the Collège de France. "I find it's perfectly possible to spend my life knowing that we will never explain the universe."

Friday, April 01, 2011

Some Jordanian Lead Plates 'made of people,' Miskatonic scientists reveal.

April Fools!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dispraxis was edited

Recent changes on Dispraxis

Page My questions to Dr Robert M Price in mp3 format

edited by John F. Felix (diagroup)
Added links to my last two questions to Dr. Robert M. Price, the Bible Geek, in .mp3 format.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dispraxis was edited

Recent changes on Dispraxis

Page My questions to Dr Robert M Price in mp3 format

edited by John F. Felix
Question # 7: Jesus curses the fig tree. (2010/08/24) I have yet to rediscover the web page that mentions other tree-cursing stories from antiquity. Any help?
Note: I have had some email correspondence with the author of: 'Mythology, Menstruation and the "Woman with the Issue of Blood,"' Andre Zsigmond, on the site http://www.goddess-pages.co.uk, concerning alternate interpretations of the tree-cursing motif. He sent along some interesting links:
# 8: Does the Torah prohibit blood transfusions? (2010/11/17)
Copyright (c) 2010 by John F. Felix. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

One Week to Carl Sagan Day! How are you celebrating?

Carl Sagan at the VLACarl Sagan Day: November 9
Celebrate with us!

Carl Sagan was a Professor of Astronomy and Space Science and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University, but most of us know him as a Pulitzer Prize winning author and the creator of COSMOS. That Emmy and Peabody award-winning PBS television series transformed educational television when it first aired in 1980, but now, thirty years later, it's gone on to affect the hearts and minds of over a billion people in sixty countries.
No other scientist has been able to reach and teach so many nonscientists in such a meaningful way, and that is why we honor Dr. Sagan, remember his work, and revel in the cosmos he helped us understand.
Last year’s inaugural Carl Sagan Day event in Ft. Lauderdale was a fantastic success.  They're back again this year and now other groups around the world are planning their own tributes with science fairs, planetarium shows, teacher workshops, star parties, COSMOS marathons, and more – all to say “Thanks!” to Sagan and to bring his gifts to another generation of “star stuff.”

Look for events already planned near you and
check back with us for updates at

Whether you're an independent skeptics group, an astronomy club or a science department, a researcher, a teacher, or a student, let us know how you're planning to commemorate Carl Sagan Day 2010 and we'll add your event to our Carl Sagan Day event calendar to help spread the word. 

Please email your event information to centerforinquiry.net.

cosmos necklaces
LIMITED TIME ONLY! Don't forget to check out our CFI Store where you can find
special edition COSMOS-themed necklace pendants made by hand by Surly-Ramics!

COSMOS imagery and logo copyright © 1980 Druyan-Sagan Associates, Inc. formerly known as Carl Sagan Productions, Inc.  For more information about CFI or Carl Sagan Day, please visit carlsaganday.org or email centerforinquiry.net.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dispraxis was edited

Recent changes on Dispraxis

Page My questions to Dr Robert M Price in mp3 format

edited by John F. Felix (diagroup)
Question # 5 & # 6: How reliable are Dr. Price's Pre-Nicene New Testament translations? and Evidence in the Septuagint Greek for reverse engineering by the MT.
Question # 7: Jesus curses the fig tree. I have yet to rediscover the web page that mentions other tree-cursing stories from antiquity. Any help?
Note: I have had some email correspondence with the author of: 'Mythology, Menstruation and the "Woman with the Issue of Blood,"' Andre Zsigmond, on the site http://www.goddess-pages.co.uk, concerning alternate interpretations of the tree-cursing motif. He sent along some interesting links:

Copyright (c) 2010 by John F. Felix. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Help support Double Feature Press.

From the Double Feature Press kickstart page:

Welcome to the Kickstarter page for Double Feature Press. We are a small press formed by Sarah L. Covert in October of 2010. Sarah grew up on drive-in movies. That is where her love for Science Fiction, Strange Tales, and Horror was born. Double Feature Press has an interesting concept, based around the old double feature drive-in flicks. Each book has two authors. Each author contributes either short stories, poems, or novellas to make up their half of the book. The books will all be in the genres Sarah loved as a child and loves even more now. They will be limited edition runs.Our first book is due out in 2011.

Project By

Sarah L. Covert
Charlotte, NC

Sarah L. Covert is a fiction writer and editor living in Charlotte, North Carolina with her adorable cat Misha and her wonderful husband, Henry. She grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, where her love for reading and writing science-fiction, strange tales and horror began. She was only 10 years old when she wrote her first scary story. She lived in Portland, Oregon for a decade, where her love for the strange and unusual was fostered.

“Someone once asked what it was that first drew me to horror, science-fiction and strange tales. That's easy - Drive-In Theater Double Features. As a child my family and I would regularly go to the drive-in (back when they were far more prevalent). Usually they would play a "kid friendly" movie as the opener and a more adult movie later in the evening when the kids should have been sleeping. I never slept.” – Sarah L. Covert


Friday, October 01, 2010

Dispraxis was edited

Recent changes on Dispraxis

Page FrontPage

edited by John F. Felix (diagroup)
Welcome to DIAGroup - Digital Interlinear Analysts Group wiki!
Just added:

Mythicism→Mythicism in 12 Easy Pieces→Earl Doherty 10 Years After

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Forge a New Symbol for Tolerance

The one of most essential aspects of me as a person is that I don’t live religiously, in that considering Ground Zero as a “sacred site” is not within my ken. I do see it as a powerful symbol -- a statement about secular-based American democracy against sectarian fanaticism. Because I am a non-theist, I oppose in principle any religious shrine, icon or building there because, in my opinion, it was religion that was at the heart of the problem and ultimately the cause of the attacks in the first place.

However, my concern for preserving the site from intrusion by religious centers, whether Muslim or not, became modified by the fact that there was a “sacred space” within the south tower for Muslim workers to perform their daily obligations. Thus the symbol changed in its significance for me, becoming representative of America -- just one country among many-- rather than as an idealized sysmbol of a principled system of freedom of, and from, religion, now under attack for its capacity for tolerance by enemies who themselves suffer no tolerance.

To me, it is an obvious no-brainer that burning Qurans would lead to anti-American violence. However the Iman Rauf has maintained that if the center is forced to move, Muslims world-wide would still commit violent acts, because it would be perceived as persecution of Islam in the U.S. This dubious reasoning is an attempt to corner us into giving in and allowing the center to remain close to Ground Zero, and is at best a probable exaggeration. The American extremists on the other hand maintain that giving in would make America look weak and encourage anti-American violence. This position is also based on the assumption that inevitable effects will follow from the cause, and is also logically fallacious. It could be just as likely that it will make America appear strong, not fearing that such a clear gesture of tolerance would be exploited, but rather praised and revered, perhaps leading to a lowering of the threat level.

I hope for a new symbol of everything that I personally love about America to be forged., though in practice it is far from becoming a reality.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reflections on the origins of Judaism

The Assyrians were the probably the first major power in the Levant that practiced pacification through hegonomy, i.e., the imposition of standards of government, taxation, political affiliation and, most importantly, religion. The indigenous peoples were required to reform their worship along the lines of the Assyrian chief deities, although the locals were allowed to call them by whatever name they wished.

The Assyrian vassal treaty that forms the core of Deuteronomy was indeed a reform imposed from without. The cherubim iconography of the writings and of Northern Israel temples stems from this period, but Hezekiah and others were not cleansing the religious system of idolatry, but instituting the “correct” form, under the directives from their Assyrian overlords. The Assyrian highest god, Asshur, became the first model of what was later to morph into YHWH.

Other native city states, such as Judah, were also introduced to the new concept of Henotheism, the belief that although there were many gods, there was only one chief God. The northern kingdom of Israel was eventually overrun by the Assyrians, who imported in non-native peoples who quickly mixed with the Canaanites, the records of the statelet being transfered to the notoriously literature-hungry Assyrians. Later the city-state of Judah, centered in a newly prosperous Jerusalem, was also absorbed into the Babylonian empire, heir to the Assyrian records, among other things.

The Henotheistic exiles were purposefully isolating themselves into a distinct group while in captivity, who found that it was theologically impossible to worship their chief god, a form of Baal-Asshur, called YHWH, in a land that was under control of another god, Marduk. Zoroastrian religion was filtering into the Babylonian empire and the exiles converted to a form of it, a system near enough to be considered Zoroastrian, but having the monotheistic-trending god, YHWH, as the name of the God of Heaven, thus necessitating to account for “Mazda,” as explained below. As Zarathustranism turned to polytheism under the influence of Babylon, the exiles became ultra-monotheistic, rejecting all other gods, which represented everything bad that hitherto had happened to them.

The book of Daniel is actually a tale of the subversion of Babylon by a disloyal internal force, the ancestors of the people resettled into Judah. Daniel interprets the writing on the wall, declaring that the "Most High God" has decreed an end to the empire of the Chaldeans, and "In that night was Belshazzar, the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom...." [KJV, Dn 5:30, 31]. By this time, the now ancient Daniel is decked out as "third ruler in the kingdom," a convenient position from which to influence subsequent events.

Cyrus, king of Persia, favored the Juddin of Babylon, as they were called, at first, but eventually found it expedient to encourage them to govern hostile territory in Judah, establishing a temple and tax-collection statelet for "all Jewry." Here I interpret Jewry, another variant of Juddin, as a non-ethnic, religious distinction. When they arrived, their religion and holy writings fasioned in the libraries of a Mesopotamian land, encountered native Canaanites heavily influenced by Egyptian culture, as the Levant had been mostly under their control before the Assyrians. The tensions between Persia and Egypt were mythologized into Egypt vs. the Israelites, or vs. God himself.

These Canaanites that lived in the land of re-settlement were still worshippers of YHWH and El, but were now seen as unclean and outcast pagans, as devotees of demons, and as forgetters and perverters of the “true worship,” a mythical system synthesized during the Babylonian captivity and fasioned after worship of YHWH (Ahuramazda) as the God of Heaven. The reluctance of the Juddin to voluntarily settle in a “land of promise” and the resistance of local worshipers of El, various Baals, including YHWH, led a forced settlement under Darius II, later mythologized as the forced migration of slaves in Egypt to the land of Canaan. Persian loyalties made it literarily inevitable that the main antagonist of the Hebrew writings be burdened upon the Egyptians. Nevertheless, the indigenous population of Judah contributed much to the ever-evolving collection of writings that provided the statelet with its national mythology. The pre-exilic kingdoms of Israel and Judah were myths, likewise based on the surviving records of the various conquerors, a Jewish southern kingdom having been woven out of parallel events recorded of the actual historical northern kingdom.

As Mazda mutated into Moses at the hands of Alexandrian Juddin, spurred by antagonism between the Egyptians and Persian-loyal Juddin, or Jews, living there, a Hebrew work was created to weld together the exilic and post-exilic story of the Jews, presenting the Egyptians as the main enemy. Just as Persia had detested all things Egyptian, their Juddin descendants, once Persia was neutralized by the Greeks, continued to see the Egyptians as their chief antagonists. As knowledge of Hebrew died out (Aramaic had already displaced it by this time) Greek translations became necessary. Since Hebrew was probably a dead language by this time, to write extended literary works in this language should be interpreted as an effort at deliberate archaizing.These Alexandrian romances were, over an extended period, translated into Greek and redacted, becoming the Septuagint, an ongoing work probably until the time of Herod the Great.

The myth of the Septuagint, as recorded by some ancient writers, can be seen in many ways as a deliberate inversion of the actual circumstances. The Hebrew texts were not imported into Egypt, but were in actuality created there, and allowed to become moth-eaten and corrupted by copyists. Later the Palestinian Jews imported what remained of the older texts, supplementing the many corruptions by “reverse-engineering” the Septuagint into Hebrew where necessary, making editorial changes, etc., a process that possibly continued at Qumram.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sacrifice on the Serengeti - A Guest Post by Eric M Johnson | Dr. Carin Bondar

RushA_sm “However, on average, the general trend for Homo sapiens is to follow the same evolutionary forces that exist for any other species. Those traits that allowed more of an individuals genes to be passed on to the next generation were selected for and those that didn’t were ultimately discarded. The evidence has been steadily advancing that menopause is not simply the result of women living longer than their chimpanzee counterparts but that it was an evolutionarily successful strategy that allowed more members of our species to survive and reproduce.”
Sacrifice on the Serengeti - A Guest Post by Eric M Johnson | Dr. Carin Bondar

Refuting Quackery with Science-Based Medicine

The Center For Inquiry/Chicago is pleased to co-sponsor, with Chicago Skeptics and the Women Thinking Free Foundation:

Refuting Quackery with Science-Based Medicine

with David Gorski, MD

Saturday, August 21st, 2010 at 12:30 pm
Black Rock Pub/Kitchen, 3614 N. Damen Ave., Chicago

Free to attend.

David H. Gorski, MD, PhD, FACS is a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, specializing in breast cancer surgery. He will be discussing science and evidence-based medicine (SEBM).

Dr. Gorski first became interested in pseudoscience and "alternative" medicine around 2000, when quite by accident he wandered into the Usenet newsgroup "misc.health.alternative" and began critically examining the claims there. Since then, he has accumulated considerable experience refuting quackery and pseudoscience online. For the last five years, he has blogged under a pseudonym, producing what is consistently ranked as one of the top ten medical blogs. (Finding Dr. Gorski’s other, far more (in)famous blog persona is left as an exercise for the interested reader.)

Black Rock Pub & Kitchen has a good menu and was voted as CitySearch's "best neighborhood bar" of 2008.

We are co-sponsoring this event, so you are sure to meet at least a few new skeptical and secular friends from the other groups. Remember, this is a SATURDAY AFTERNOON meeting!
No cover charge. Of course, you purchase your own food and beverage.

If you are thinking of coming to this event, please RSVP to the CFI office with your name so we can estimate the number of people who will be attending. CFI office: 312-226-xxxx or email us at chicago@.

I Support CFI Button [Small]Support CFI/Chicago

The CFI/Chicago is uniquely positioned to help you live a secular, inquiring, joyful life in Chicago. Join us, won't you? It's only $60 per year, and joining helps demonstrate your commitment to our shared values!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dispraxis was edited

Recent changes on Dispraxis

Page Young's Analytical Lexicon

added by John F. Felix (diagroup)
The work has already begun.