Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Invention of Lying (2009)


Imagine a world where nobody tells lies. That means there will be no any religion in that world. What if a person attempts to lie, and create an imaginary story on afterlife to make happy his mother on her deathbed, and writes down his thoughts on a man in the sky to the pizza boxes afterwards? So everyone may believe him and he may even be a prophet!

The Invention of Lying is a clever and profound movie about plastic and selfish lives in modern societies and the ruthless results of obsessions, and of course it is fun to watch.

I don't know how it gets a low score on IMDb, it really deserves much more.

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Total Size (MB) ....: 698,84 MB
Video Length .......: 01:39:43
Video Codec Name ...: XviD MPEG-4 codec
Resolution .........: 592 x 320
Subtitles .........: Arabic, Bulgarian, English, Finnish, Hebrew, Portuguese, Portuguese-BR, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish

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Top Ten Creationist Arguments

The arguments for the existance of God are like the lyrics to familiar TV jingles. Sure intelligent design doesn't make a lot of sense but everybody knows the words, and sometimes it's fun to sing along. So here is the top ten favorite creationist arguments by The Thinking Atheist.

One of the best videos that hits the target!

Transcription by me:

# 1: Carbon dating isn't accurate to determine the age of the Earth. Well perhaps that's why carbon dating isn't preferred method for dating rocks and fossils in fact there are great many methods radiometric dating that accurately measuring the decay of radioactive elements in rock, meteorites and fossils and those methods can confidently measure the age of planet Earth 4.5 billion years.

# 2: You cannot prove evolution. As opposed to proving the young Earth theory from primitive and anonymous documents? Well actually, man has unlocked world of genetics to reveal that all living things have and do evolved and that similiatiries exist between the DNA of plants, animals and humans alike. Evolution is observable, provable science. To quote the famous evolutionary biologist Stephen J. Gould :"creationist critics often charge that evolution cannot be tested, and therefor cannot be viewed as a properly scientific subject at all. This claim is rhetorical nonsense."

# 3: If man evolved from monkeys why do we still have monkeys? This is like asking if America was colonized by English why do we still have England? Next question please.

# 4: The human eye is to complex to be evolved. This arguments also known as irreducible complexity. This gross oversimplification ignores the creatures like this single celled euglena which have evolved antenna for light. Molluscs and jellyfish have evolved varying grades of vision. Plus consider this: human eye is more poorly constructed and much less acute than the eye of octopus or great horned owl. Did God care more about the design of the horned owl than his own children.

# 5: Atheism is actually a religion. Indeed much like not collecting stamps might be called a hobby or not smoking might called be a habit.

# 6: Scientist x believes in God. That's nice! So did icons like Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, who also lived during the time of dirt floors, bleeding sick people to cure them of illness, and burning witches at the stake. Sir Isaac Newton was a believer and theologian, he was also an alchemist. Did Newton's groundbreaking research on gravity and laws of motion also prove his beliefs that metal had magical powers and could be combined to make gold. Chery pick all you want but 93% of members of National Academy of Sciences reject the concept of god, that's not just a majority its overwhelming majority. In fact this is just a sampling reputable scientific organizations that reject intelligent design and support evolution by natural selection.

# 7: So you are saying that everything happened by chance. No, chance certainly plays a part evolutionary cycle but natural selection promotes non random change of specific desirable traits over time. Living organisms didn't just pop into the existence by chance but they did evolve over millions, sometimes billions of years.

# 8: America was founded as a Christian nation. Actually the US constitution never mentions God and the mention of religion in article 6 and first amendment served to separate religion from government altogether, the words in god we trust imprinted on American coins until in 1863 after a religious surge during the civil war. Paper money didn't have until 1957. The words "under god" weren't even in original pledge of allegiance they were added by congress in 1954 and many of our founding fathers were either deist and ambivalent about Christian God. Including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Adams, Thomas Paine, and George Washington.

# 9: The second law of thermodynamics. We love this argument because it is thrown out so flippantly and with so little understanding. In a nutshell the second law of thermodynamics says the systems must become more disordered over time, so complex living cells and organisms couldn't have come out in basic inanimate chemicals, in other words more time means more chaos. What creationist failed to mention is that this law only works in closed system where no energy or matter leaves or enters. The Earth is not a closed system, it receives outside heat and light from our Sun's nuclear fusion fueling simple organisms so that they can become more complex by consuming other forms of life than nonliving materials.

Here is an easy way to frustrate this argument: When a Christian brings up the second law of thermodynamics, ask him what the other laws are? When he shrugs and stares into space you know how truly informed he is on the subject.

And finally #10, our favorite. Adolf Hitler was an atheist. Well actually Hitler was raised Roman Catholic. In Mein Kampf Hitler speaks of the creator of the universe and says Aryan race created by God, his religious views or lack thereof them remain in dispute but using the name of the history's greatest tyrant is not an argument, its a provocation, that has nothing to do with concept of the evolution or creation. Invoking Hitler is a hot button, designed to distract people from the true evidence that God only exist in the imagination of man.

So there they are our top ten favorite creationist arguments. Next time you come up against one of these just remember the your world view is based on evidence, their world view includes invisible divine daddy, two naked people and a talking snake, contradictory documents written in bronze age, the wearing torture devices around one's neck and bumper stickers that proudly say "7 days without prayer makes one weak". For the record, we are not sure the creationist's argument could be much weaker, we're just saying.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Space Opera

Also watch: Symphony of Science - Our Place in the Cosmos (ft. Sagan, Dawkins, Kaku, Jastrow)

Thus Spoke Zarathustra - F. W. Nietzsche

"But that I may reveal my heart entirely unto you, my friends: IF there were gods, how could I endure it to be no God! THEREFORE there are no Gods."

Great German philosopher Nietzsche argues the problems of religion and shows the irony within Christian and Jewish morality and tradition in this famous work.

File size: 1.48 MB
Format: pdf

Life: The Science of Biology, 7th Edition - W. Purves, D. Sadava, G. Orians, C. Heller

Authoritative, thorough, and engaging, Life: The Science of Biology achieves an optimal balance of scholarship and teachability, never losing sight of either the science or the student. The first introductory text to present biological concepts through the research that revealed them, Life covers the full range of topics with an integrated experimental focus that flows naturally from the narrative. This approach helps to bring the drama of classic and cutting-edge research to the classroom—but always in the context of reinforcing core ideas and the innovative scientific thinking behind them. Students will experience biology not just as a litany of facts or a highlight reel of experiments, but as a rich, coherent discipline. Amazon

Sample pages (click to enlarge):

File size: 39 MB
Format: pdf

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Bertrand Russell on God

Related to: Religion and Science by Bertrand Russell

The Known Universe

Look at our tiny place from the most complete four-dimensional map of the universe.

Also watch: The Universe in 3D

Monday, December 28, 2009

COSMOS: Carl Sagan

Since the first broadcast in 1980, Cosmos has become one of the greatest achievements in TV history. A generation grew up with this show, and every image, every sound, every word have shaped our minds in every scene, and enriched our imagination. All we are thankful to Carl Sagan for this magnificent work.

I strongly believe that every human being should watch Cosmos, and new generations should carry on Sagan's story.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Faith II

Faith II by *immanuel on deviantART


Faith by *immanuel on deviantART

Christmas Unwrapped: The History of Christmas

Centuries before Jesus walked the Earth, early Europians were celebrating light and birth in the darkest days of winter. In a Norse country this winter celebration was known as Yule. In ancient Rome, winter solstice, December 25th was the birthday of Mithra, the Sun God at the same time. Mithra was born from a rock, shepherds came to worship him as he was an infant God and many of those stories transferred to the Christian tradition.

File Name ..........: The.History.of.Christmas.avi
Total Size (MB) ....: 355,62 MB
Video Length .......: 00:44:40

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Critical Thinking

(Transcription by me)

Give someone a fish, and they'll eat that day. Teach them how to catch a fish and they'll never go hungry. Proverbs like these remind us how learning skills help us to move towards self-reliance. This is never more true than critical thinking. Memorize the solution to a problem, and you may master that particular problem. Improve your critical thinking and you'll give yourself the tools to create your own effective solutions to a multitude of unfamiliar problems. Critical thinking refers to a diverse range of intellectual skills and activities concern with evaluating information as well as on our thought in a disciplined way. When we are willing enable to examine our capabilities thinkers acknowledging problems and weaknesses, this can help us refine our thought processes, so we learn to think and assess information in more comprehensive way that increases our ability to identify and reject false ideas and ideologies.

Critical thinking isn't just thinking a lot. A person may spend of great deal intellectual energy defending a flawed position or pursuing a question that actually needs reformulating before can progress begin. If they never examine possible flaws and biases behind their approach that's not thinking critically.

We must want to be better at thinking, to pinpoint and minimize any biasing influence on our thought from culture and upbringing, to seek out and be guided by knowledge and evidence that fits with reality even if it refutes our cherished beliefs. Indeed when we think critically believes cannot to be cherished. But held on the understanding that if shown to be unfounded a change of position is most appropriate response.

Critical thinkers cultivate an attitude of curiosity and eagerness to wide their perspective and broad their knowledge and they are willing to do the work required to keep themselves properly informed about a subject. They recognizes an explanation must actually explain and be testable to be worthy of series consideration and their legitimate theories clearly define the circumstances which though conceived defeat.

Critical thinking embraces scepticism. Scepticism doesn't mean any indiscriminate rejection of ideas as some mistakenly believe. It refers to doubting and suspending our judgement about claims with which we are presented, so we don't simply accept claims which might be unjustified the first take the time to understand them, examining the reasoning and possible assumptions and biases behind them.

Reasoning behind factual claims should be based in sound, consistent logic, not on emotions or social pressure. Because the truth value of factual claims is not determined by the emotion that accompanies them or the fact that they may be believed by certain social groups. Sometimes people tried to persuade us that reason has no value, that's an untenable position. Arguing against reason is cutting of the branch which you sit using the very thing you're dismissed in order to construct a case against it.

Reason has an intrinsict role in our decisions and judgements we may negotiate a way through life whether they be momentous or trivial. If it particular line of reasoning is flawed what will increase our understanding? Dismissing reason or looking honestly at our flaws? A lack of respect for reason or evidence or any number of abstracted character traits will sabotage one's capacity for critical thought.

One of the biggest barriers to critical thinking is unwillingness to see complex issues in anything other than black and white terms. If one sees only two options when more exist, this constitutes false dichotomy. Consciousness is often presented as something that's an either eternal and immaterial entity or reducible and identical to brain states when in effect there are various other positions. Many divide people into those who accept evolution and those who believing in specific gods when these categories are not mutual exclusive. If we think in false dichotomies we'll tend to draw false conclusions. For example by judging that if option A is false, option B must be true. We may also misrepresent others by wrongly assuming if they don't hold attitude X, they MUST hold attitude Y.

Black and white thinking often reflects underlying reluctance or refusal to deal with uncertainty results from complexity and absence of definitive answers. Leaping to flawed conclusions because you can't tolerate the ambiguity of not knowing is not about truth or curiosity but comfort. A critical thinker can handle uncertainty, preferring to be aware of their own areas of ignorance and wait for valid evidence and evidence-based by answers.

Critical thinking provides each of us with the keys for unlocking our own intellectual independence leaving us willing and able to explore unsolved problems for ourselves.
It moves us away from rash conclusions, mystification and reluctance to question, received wisdom, authority and tradition. It moves us towards intellectual discipline, clear expression of ideas and the acceptance of personal responsibility for our own thinking.

Communities in which individuals are eager to acquire and apply the best knowledge and reason in all fields and willing to acknowledge and correct flaws in their own thinking are better equipped to create more profoundly effective solutions to the challenges we face in living and living together. When we teach and encourage critical thinking we empower individual lives and invest in our collective future.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Terry Pratchett on Religion: 'I'd rather be a rising ape than a falling angel'

Transcription by me (I didn't understand some parts quite well. If you complete them, I'll be glad) :)

The Girl: Do you believe in God, do you believe in the belief of Gods?

Terry Pratchett: Hallelujah!

That's gonna be quite an interesting one in recent month as you see if you followed the news.

Do you mean do I believe in Jehovah?

The Girl: I am gonna go for broad here.

Terry Pratchett: Oh, she is gonna go for broad here! He is God of the Universe how bad broad can be that? Look, I know what you mean...

Recently, we watched, spent a week watching Carl Sagan's COSMOS series. I don't know if it is back on DVD for very long but I was astonished to find it and that was the best piece of popular science there has ever been. Anyone here seen it?

Rest of you, go and get it. Because it is everything!

Carl (Sagan) is very, now alas dead, was quite polite when it came to religion. He used to term "mysticism" but never actually confronted Christianity if you see what I mean. You could tell, but not to the point of tying him to the stake and burning him.He didn't particularly like Christianity very much.

I think lots of people including Einstein, Spinoza and me... well, I can't help, it is just a list, and Stephen Hawking, we have an instinct towards to good. Most people if left alone and I'm pressured I'm really quite pleasant people, my religion such as it is that we're shaped by the universe to be its consciousness. We tell the universe what is. In my religion, the building of a telescope is the building of a cathedral. I have no tract whatsoever with Genesis, I've inoculated against the Judaic Christian religion by reading the whole of Old Testament through in one go... well, apart from the begats, and I thought if this is true we are within the hands of a maniac!


I find it far more interesting in a sense far more religiously interesting that a bunch of monkeys got down off trees and stopped arguing long enough to build this to build that to build everything. That is so much more interesting being falling angels. I think, God help me if I ever become a Christian [...] because in fact within the story of evolution, is a story far more interesting than any in the Bible.

Because, it teaches us amazing things that stars are not important. There is nothing interesting about stars. Street lamps are very important because they are so rare, as farther as we know there is few million of them in the universe. And they've been built by monkeys who came up with philosophy and gods and this is so much more interesting and it is so much right. Admittedly we do err, such as the when we made Tony Blair prime minister, given where we started from, which was climbing up some beach somewhere, which no one ever knows where that was, we actually haven't done that badly. I'd rather be a rising ape than a falling angel.


P. S Thanks Mehdy for the corrections and additions.

Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo - Sean B. Carroll (Audiobook)

"Every animal form is the product of two processes--development from an egg and evolution from its ancestors," writes Sean B. Carroll in his introduction to Endless Forms Most Beautiful. The new science of "evo devo"--or evolutionary developmental biology--examines the relationships between those two processes, embryonic development and evolutionary changes, despite their radically different time scales. Carroll first offers a recap of how genes express themselves in a growing embryo, then peers into the life histories of real-life examples to explain how those genes have changed (or not changed) over millions of years of evolution. Paraphrasing Thomas Huxley, he asks us to consider evolution and development as two sides of the same coin.

The book's second half is where Carroll really gets at the meat of evo devo, explaining how regulatory genes control such mysteries as individual and population changes in butterfly's spots, jaguar fur, and hominid skulls. Evo devo is one of the hottest areas of study in 21st-century biology, and Carroll's outline of the field is a great place to start understanding it. Amazon

[E-book version]

File Size: 240 MB
Format: MP3, 64 kbps/Unabridged

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Friday, December 18, 2009

'The God Particle': The Higgs Boson

NASA TV Season's Greetings 2009

A very secular X-mas message from NASA! :)

American Dad! - The Rapture for Kids

Ricky the Raptor: Hey, kids! I'm Ricky the Raptor, here to tell you about the rapture! The rapture is the beginning of the end of the world. It starts with all true christians floating up to heaven.

Jojo: What about the sinners that are left behind?

Ricky the Raptor: Well, Jojo, they get to witness the second coming of Jesus.

Jojo: Jesus is coming back? Did he forget something?

Ricky the Raptor: Nope, Jesus is coming back for Armageddon! A seven-year war where Jesus and his angels will battle demon soldiers of the underworld! All leading up to a final showdown between Jesus and the antichrist!

Jojo: Antichrist? You mean that green stuff that your daddy puts in the car?

Ricky the Raptor: No, silly, that's antifreeze! The antichrist is the son of Satan!

Jojo: Well, who's gonna win?!

Ricky the Raptor: I don't know, but you sure don't want to be around to find out!

-- A christian kids production! Stay cool! --

From season 5, episode 9: Rapture's Delight (F.K.A Holy Crapture)

Also watch: American Dad! - Crazy for Christianity

P.S Thanks Indy. Ripped by me.

American Dad! - Crazy for Christianity

Stan: See, at least Roger shows the proper respect for this holiest of days.

Roger: Oh, I love your religion. For the crazy! Virgin birth? Water into wine? It's, it's like Harry Potter but it causes genocide and bad folk music. Eh? Eh? Who-who am I nudging? There's no one next to me.

From season 5, episode 9: Rapture's Delight (F.K.A Holy Crapture)

Also watch: American Dad! - The Rapture for Kids

P.S Thanks Indy. Ripped by me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Creation The Movie Poster and Trailer

Here is the exclusive trailer of Creation movie which is based on the book "Darwin, His Daughter, and Human Evolution" by the author and descendant of Charles Darwin Randal Keynes. It is focusing on Darwin's (Paul Bettany) relationship with his daughter Annie (Martha West) and his wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly) who they highly influenced Darwin's life.

Release date for USA January 22, 2010.

The new photos from Creation (click to enlarge):

Darwin, His Daughter, and Human Evolution - Randal Keynes

In this intimate portrait of the great naturalist as devoted family man, Keynes describes how Charles Darwin's "life and his science were all of a piece." The great-great-grandson of the scientist, Keynes uses published documents as well as family papers and artifacts to show how Darwin's thinking on evolution was influenced by his deep attachment to his wife and children. In particular, his anguish over his 10-year-old daughter Annie's death sharpened his conviction that the operation of natural laws had nothing to do with divine intervention or morality. Keynes, also a descendant of economist John Maynard Keynes, shows that much of Darwin's intellectual struggle in writing On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man arose from his efforts to understand the role of suffering and death in the natural order of the world. Early in his career, Darwin saw the indifference of natural law as an answer to the era's religious doubts about how a benevolent god could permit human misery; cruelty and pain, he argued, should not be seen as moral issues, but as inevitable outcomes of nature. After Annie's death, however, Darwin's views darkened, and in a private letter he railed against the "clumsy, wasteful, blundering low and horridly cruel works of nature!" Though Keynes doesn't break new ground about Darwin's life and work, he produces a moving tribute to a thinker who, despite intimate acquaintance with the pain inflicted by the "war of nature," could still marvel that, from this ruthless struggle, "endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." Publishers Weekly

File Size: 7 MB
Format: pdf

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Atheists Can't Think For Themselves!

Edward Current is back again.

David Attenborough's Life Stories (BBC Audio)

This is the complete "BBC Radio 4" series written and presented by Sir David Attenborough featuring all twenty episodes about some of the strangest plants and creatures from around the world. One of the nation's most popular presenters examines twenty marvels of the natural world from his extraordinary and pioneering experiences. What was Sir David's first pet? Which animal would he most like to be? What creature lays 'the biggest egg in the world'? How do you communicate with an ancient nomadic community in Fiji? And what did Sir David do when confronted by a ten-foot-long reptile? His enthusiasm is as infectious as ever, and conveys a unique fascination on topics as diverse as the Sloth, Monstrous Flowers, the Platypus, Giant Birds, Dragons, the Fire Salamander, Faking Fossils, the Coelacanth, the Dodo, Bird's-nest Soup and the Large Blue Butterfly. So listen to these stories to find out the real reason why animals sing, the story behind a 150-million-year-old feather and what it is about snakes that really unnerves Sir David. Amazon

File Size: 182 MB
Format: MP3, 128 kbps

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Transitional Forms - Undeniable Evidence For Evolution

Transcription by me (if you find errors, correct me please. I'm not a native English speaker):

The following video demonstrates that the theory of evolution is useful for making sense out of biological observations. In my last video I addressed the prevalent misconceptions regarding evolution and fossil record namely they claimed that they are no intermediate fossil forms. By critically examining this claim I show that those who make it are usually harboring fundamental misconceptions about how evolution works. The purpose of this video is to explore several examples of fossil intermediate forms that were predicted using evolutionary theory prior to their eventual discovery.

This will illustrate the predictive power of evolutionary theory and once again show that evolution is real science. Before we look at some examples of actual intermediate forms, it is important to clear up one other misconception. It is sometimes argued that fossil specimen cannot be considered an intermediate form unless it has been showing to be direct ancestor of existent species or group of species. This argument sets up an impossible task because in words of paleontologist Colin Patterson "Fossil may tell us many things, but one thing they can never disclose is whether they were ancestors of anything else."

Those who make this argument often do so precisely because they know that is not possible to definitively determine ancestry based solely on fossil evidence. Any purpose transitional fossils could therefore be disputed on these grounds. The reply to this flawed argument is to point out that evolution pursuits a branching pattern of descent and not a long linear line from one species to the next. Therefore at any giving point in time, there will likely many possible lineages that exhibit intermediate characteristics even though only one of this lineages represents direct ancestor of existing group even though we cannot predict the exact combination of characteristics that should be found in ancestral species we can specify which sets of features must have changed and make predictions about what such a changes look like if evolution by common descent has occurred, then we look for fossils with those characteristics to test our predictions.

Evolution is REAL science because it has been used for numerable such predictions about which intermediate form should be found and when they should occur. These predictions are repeatedly confirmed by incredible new fossil discoveries. For the remainder of this video we will explore some examples of fossil intermediate forms there are predicted to exist before they were actually discovered.

The first example involves the evolution of frogs and salamanders from ancient amphibians. Modern molecular studies have suggested to that among the three groups of amphibians frogs and salamanders are more closely related to each other than to worm like caecilians. Based on this evidence paleontologists used evolutionary theory to predict the existence of a creature with a combination of frog like and salamander like features. That should have existed prior to the earliest known frog and salamanders in the fossil record. This prediction was confirmed by the discovery in Texas of fossil remains of Gerobatrachus a primitive amphibian that existed appr. 290 million years ago well before the earliest fossil evidence recognisable frogs and salamanders. Gerobatrachus isn't intermediate form that fits needly into the gap between frogs and salamanders.This intermediate form exhibits an unique mosaic of features and its teeth, ears, limbs and backbone that all suggested a close to modern frogs and salamanders.

The second example involves the evolution of turtles. Turtles are unique among the existing reptile groups and they have a beak instead of teeth and their bodies are protected by a bony shell. In modern day turtle embryos the lower shell forms first and then their ribs and backbone expand and wided to form into upper shell. Based on this evidence, some herpetologists have hypothesized that the lower shell probably formed first in turtle evolution, followed by an outgrowth and broadening of the ribs and the backbone to form the upper shell. Paleontologists predicted that the oldest turtles should show evidence of these changes. This prediction was confirmed by the discovery of fossil remains of the oldest known turtle, and deposits of China. Three specimens of the species named Odontochelys were fossilised and rocked stating back to 220 million years ago. Just as predicted this intermediate form had a false teeth and no beak, also as predicted it had a complete an upper shell and an incomplete upper shell made from broad and ribs and back bone. This evidence confirms the hypothesis that the lower shell evolved first, followed later by upper shell.

Our third example involves the evolution of snakes. Evidence from the morphology and development of the existing snakes suggested that they evolved from limbed ancestors. Molecular evidence also supports this hypothesis showing that among living animal groups snakes are most closely related to lizards in fact the most primitive existing snakes Pythons and boa constrictors have tiny knob like legs beneath their skin and minuscule half inched claws that protruded around the bodies. Based on this evidence paleontologists used evolutionary theory to predict the existence of primitive snake fossils with evidence of limbs. This prediction was confirmed by the discovery of fossil remains the oldest known snakes dating back around the 90 million years ago. Each of which shows the evidence of hind limbs. Among these fossils is the most primitive known snake Najash found in 90 million year rocks from Argentina. This specimen not only shows evidence of robust functional hind limbs but also pelvic supported by sacrum. All of these features were predicted to be found in the limbed ancestors of snakes.

The next example involves the evolution of bats. Bats are unique among mammals because their ability to fly and ability to echolocate. For quite sometime the oldest known bast in the fossil record showed evidence of both this abilities. Using evolutionary theory paleontologists predicted that they should find primitive bats with one of these abilities but not the other. This prediction was confirmed by the discovery of Onychonycteris, the most primitive known species of bat discovered in Wyoming and bat ? in rocks that are around 50 million years old. Onychonycteris had underdeveloped inner ear that suggests unable to echolocate and also it has short, broad wings with claws and all five fingers longer hind legs and broader tail than modern bats. This evidence indicates that flying evolved first, and echolocation evolved later.

The fifth example involves the evolution of flatfish, the group of fish that includes flounder, place and halibut. All adult flatfishes have asymmetrical skulls with both eyes located on one side of the head. This unique arrangement arises early in the life of every flatfish. When asymmetrical larva under goes into a metamorphosis to produce asymmetrical juvenile flatfish. During this process one eye actually migrates up and over the top of the head before coming to rest adult position on the opposite side. Development of this unique arrangement is a such a significant transformation that paleontologists predicted evidence of this transition should be found in the fossils of primitive flatfish. This prediction was confirmed by the identification of fossils there are the most primitive known flatfishes, these specimen known as amphistium and heteronectes were found in European limestone deposits dating back 50 million years. They showed evidence slightly asymmetrical skulls with eyes still on opposite sides of the head. Each of these specimens represent an intermediate form between the peculiar eye arrangement in living flatfishes and arrangement found around other fishes.

Our final example involves the evolution of Sirenians, group of mammals that includes manatees and dugongs. Sirenians are fully aquatic mammals with flippers and no hind limbs. Morphological and molecular evidence indicates that among existing species the sirenians are most closely related with elephants. Based on this evidence paleontologists predicted the existence of primitive sirenians with hind limbs. This prediction was confirmed by unearthing Pezosiren the oldest and the most primitive sirenian in the fossil record which was found in 50 million year old deposits from Jamaica. Pezosiren was fully capable of walking on land with four well developed legs and long tail. However the details of its nasal opening and its stick ribs suggested that pezosiren also spent much of its time in water. This evidence makes pezosiren a clear intermediate form between land and animals and fully aquatic animal sirenians. So there you have it. Fossil discoveries combined with evidence of morphological and genetic and embryological studies of existing organisms led us to powerful explanation our biological observations. These six examples only scratch the surface.

Other transitional fossil series include fossils documenting the evolution of amphibians from lobe-finned fish, evolution of mammals from reptiles, evolution of birds from theropod dinosaurs, evolution of whales from hoofed animals, evolution of horses from five-toed ancestors, and of course evolution of humans from bipedal apes. The list of transitional fossil series truly goes on and on. These observations only make sense using the real science of evolution.

Watch the first part: Does The Fossil Record Support Evolution?

Richard Dawkins on Newsnight Review: Darwin Special

Richard Dawkins, Man Booker prize-winning author Margaret Atwood, Reverend Richard Coles, and poet and great-great-grand-daughter of Charles Darwin Ruth Padel discuss the book, On the Origin of Species, which shook the world, and influenced art, culture, philosophy and religion.

Broadcasted on September 11th, 2009, BBC Two.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution - Stuart A. Kauffman

"The facile claim that natural selection can accomplish every adaptive change fails to grapple with the problems posed by a highly structured system with its own laws of assembly and interaction. Stuart Kauffman's book, The Origins of Order, returns the problem of evolution to the central issue that evolutionists have been avoiding for too long, the problem of the evolution of a complex, organized system that we call, appropriately, an organism. Evolutionists had better take Kauffman's arguments seriously."
Richard C. Lewontin

Stuart Kauffman here presents a brilliant new paradigm for evolutionary biology, one that extends the basic concepts of Darwinian evolution to accommodate recent findings and perspectives from the fields of biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics. The book drives to the heart of the exciting debate on the origins of life and maintenance of order in complex biological systems. It focuses on the concept of self-organization: the spontaneous emergence of order that is widely observed throughout nature Kauffman argues that self-organization plays an important role in the Darwinian process of natural selection. Yet until now no systematic effort has been made to incorporate the concept of self-organization into evolutionary theory. The construction requirements which permit complex systems to adapt are poorly understood, as is the extent to which selection itself can yield systems able to adapt more successfully. This book explores these themes. It shows how complex systems, contrary to expectations, can spontaneously exhibit stunning degrees of order, and how this order, in turn, is essential for understanding the emergence and development of life on Earth. Topics include the new biotechnology of applied molecular evolution, with its important implications for developing new drugs and vaccines; the balance between order and chaos observed in many naturally occurring systems; new insights concerning the predictive power of statistical mechanics in biology; and other major issues. Indeed, the approaches investigated here may prove to be the new center around which biological science itself will evolve. The work is written for all those interested in the cutting edge of research in the life sciences. Amazon

File Size: 84 MB
Format: pdf

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Substance Dualism

Monday, December 14, 2009

RDF TV - The Unconsidered Life - A.C. Grayling

Transcription by me (if you find errors, correct me please. I'm not a native English speaker):

One very very important moment in history of philosopy when Socrates said "unconsiderate life is not worth living". It seems very dramatic claim anyway. If you don't reflect on your life, if you don't consider it, if you don't choose the values that you are going to live by then you are going to live according to somebody else's choices, you are going to be like a football that they're kicking around because you are not... you haven't chosen something and directed your life towards those goals.

There is very very big differences between having data, information and turning that into knowledge, something you can make it yourself and there is yet further step beyond knowledge which is understanding is having good insights into what really matters. All this involves having to think critically you equip yourself with information about the world to be literate across the whole range and especially to be scientifically literate because in this world of ours now to be informed participant and great conversation of mankind is to have an alert awareness, an understand of what is happening in the world.

So to be good citizen of the world to be a person who recognises that something is valuable and pursue those things, demands being critically reflective to think about your ethics, to think about world to be well informed, to challenge always yourself another people when they make claims and when you feel moved to make certain claims about the world. I think one consequence this is people should think very critically and deeply about e.g the claims of religion. Is that source of value in the world or is it our humanity and our connection with other human beings. So across whole range this central demand is to be critical to be reflective to think for oneself.

Bertrand Russell once famously said, "most people would rather die than think, and most people do", and one doesn't want to be one of them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Tetris God

Found on

The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster - Bobby Henderson


Behold the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), today’s fastest growing carbohydrate-based religion. According to church founder Bobby Henderson, the universe and all life within it were created by a mystical and divine being: the Flying Spaghetti Monster. What drives the FSM’s devout followers, a.k.a. Pastafarians? Some say it’s the assuring touch from the FSM’s “noodly appendage.” Then there are those who love the worship service, which is conducted in pirate talk and attended by congregants in dashing buccaneer garb. Still others are drawn to the Church’s flimsy moral standards, religious holidays every Friday, or the fact that Pastafarian heaven is way cooler: Does your heaven have a Stripper Factory and a Beer Volcano? Intelligent Design has finally met its match–and it has nothing to do with apes or the Olive Garden of Eden.

Within these pages, Bobby Henderson outlines the true facts– dispelling such malicious myths as evolution (“only a theory”), science (“only a lot of theories”), and whether we’re really descended from apes (fact: Humans share 95 percent of their DNA with chimpanzees, but they share 99.9 percent with pirates!) Amazon
Audiobook: The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster - Bobby Henderson (Unabridged Audiobook)

File size: 15 MB
Format: pdf/epub

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Richard Dawkins Foundation - 2009 Fundraiser

Please support RDFRS by donating here:

Tricks of the Mind - Derren Brown

Derren Brown's television and stage performances have entranced and dumbfounded millions. His baffling illusions and stunning set pieces - such as "The Seance", "Russian Roulette" and "The Heist" - have set new standards of what's possible, as well as causing more than their fair share of controversy. Now, for the first time, he reveals the secrets behind his craft, what makes him tick and just why he grew that beard. "Tricks of the Mind" takes you on a journey into the structure and psychology of magic. Derren teaches you how to read clues in people's behaviour and spot liars. He discusses the whys and wherefores of hypnosis and shows you how to do it. And he investigates the powers of suggestion and how you can massively improve the power of your memory. He also takes a long hard look at the paranormal industry, and looks at why some of us feel the need to believe in it in the first place...Alternately hilarious, controversial and challenging, "Tricks ofthe Mind" is essential reading for Derren's legions of fans, and pretty bloody irresistible even if you don't like him that much... Amazon

File size: 20 MB
Format: pdf

[Buy it]

Saturday, December 5, 2009

AAI 2009 - Atheist Alliance International Convention

The conference videos from the Atheist Alliance International 2009 Convention in Burbank, California.

[PZ Myers - 392 MB, 00.46.20]

[Andy Thomson - 743 MB, 00:51:49]

[Lawrence Krauss - 419 MB, 01:04:51]

[Dan Dennett - 619 MB, 00:56:19]

[Jerry Coyne - 471 MB, 00:57:10]

[Carolyn Porco - 260 MB, 00:41:40]

[Mr. Deity and Cast - 393 MB, 00:50:57]

[Richard Dawkins - 226 MB, 00:44:36]

[Eugenie Scott - 369 MB, 00:56:03]

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A House Divided

Penn & Teller: Bullshit! - Exorcism

According to a recent poll 68 % of all Americans said they think the devil exists.

In 2007 Pope Benedict ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to fight against Satanic forces.

I suppose the Pope does not know that you can chase out evil spirits just coughing!

File size: 242 MB

MBB 2009 Distinguished Lecture Series by Daniel Dennett

Brains, Computers, and Minds with Professor Daniel Dennett
The 2009 lectures include three nights of conversations with Daniel Dennett, Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, University Professor, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University.

UPDATE! Low quality versions added.

Battles in the Brain (Tuesday, April 21)
Post-lecture commentary by Harry Lewis
Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science
Harvard College Professor

A consideration of the seemingly paradoxical nature and structure of the brain, including: intra-cerebral conflicts, 'selfish neurons,' and anarchic computer architectures.

My Body Has A Mind Of Its Own: So What Does It Need Me For? (Wednesday, April 22)
Post-lecture commentary by Sean Kelly
Professor of Philosophy

If "conscious thought" is an evolutionarily recent and hugely expensive innovation, what pays for it?

How Brains Become Minds: The Role Of Cultural Software (Thursday, April 23)
Post-lecture commentary by Steven Pinker
Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology
Harvard College Professor

An exploration of how culture in general and language in particular shape our minds, installing perspectives and values, and building the thousands of cognitive micro-habits that constitute both our competences and our disabilities.

The links removed by the request of Harvard. (Now only a limited number of countries are able to watch them via Veoh! What an elitist approach to spread the voice of reason.)
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