Monday, January 31, 2011

Daniel C. Dennett on What Should Replace Religions?

Dennet begins his talk presenting some scenerios about the future of religion. He looks at religion from highly optimistic point of view. Dennett suggests that religion is the source of great art, moral teamwork etc. In other words, it's not so easy to banish the effects of religion on culture and tradition. Later he states that we are not lovers of God but lovers of truth and introduces Ockham's broom, the idea that sweeps inconvenient facts under the carpet.

Found on Atheist Media

File size: 148 MB

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Meme Machine - Susan Blackmore

"Showing greater courage and intellectual chutzpah than I have ever aspired to, she deploys her memetic forces in a brave--do not think foolhardy until you have read it--assault on the deepest questions of all: What is a self? What am I? Where am I? ... Any theory deserves to be given its best shot, and that is what Susan Blackmore has given the theory of the meme."
Richard Dawkins

Over a decade ago, Richard Dawkins, who contributes a foreword to this book, coined the term "meme" for a unit of culture that is transmitted via imitation and naturally "selected" by popularity or longevity. Dawkins used memes to show that the theory known as Universal Darwinism, according to which "all life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities," applies to more than just genes. Now, building on his ideas, psychologist Blackmore contends that memes can account for many forms of human behavior that do not obviously serve the "selfish gene." For example, a possible gene-meme co-evolution among early humans could have selected for true altruism among humans: people who help others (whether or not they are related) can influence them and thus spread their memes. Meme transmission would also explain some thorny problems in sociobiology. From a gene's point of view, celibacy, birth control and adoption are horrible mistakes. From a meme's point of view, they are a gold mine. Few or no children free up the meme-carrier to devote more energy to horizontal transmission to non-relatives (monks and nuns the world over figured that out long ago), something the gene is incapable of. With adoption, memes can even co-opt vertical transmission between generations. Blackmore posits that, in modern culture, meme replication has almost completely overwhelmed the glacially slow gene replication. Well written and personable, this provocative book makes a cogentAif not wholly persuasiveAcase for the concept of memes and for the importance of their effects on human culture. Publishers Weekly

File size: 1.6 MB
Format: pdf

[Buy the book]

Saturday, January 29, 2011

BBC Horizon - What is Reality?

There is a strange and mysterious world surrounding us. For most of the time it's hidden from our senses. It's one of the simples and yet most profound questions in science. The searh to understand the nature of reality. But in this quest common sense is no guide. Looking for clues has taken scientists to the fronties of what is possible to know from black holes to the deepest structures of space and time.

What is Reality uncovers the incomprehensible ideas and experiments that change our understanding of reality.

Prof Anton Zeilinger conducts the double-slit experiment to show strange behavior of photons.

File Name ..........: Horizon.What.Is.Reality.HDTV.XviD-FTP.avi
Total Size (MB) ....: 549,96 MB
Video Length .......: 00:58:12


Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross - John M. Allegro

"What began as a hoax, became a trap even to those who believed themselves to be the spiritual heirs of the mystery religion and took to themselves the name of “Christian”. Above all they forgot, or purged from the cult and their memories, the one supreme secret on which their whole religious and ecstatic experience depended: the names and identity of the source of the drug, the key to heaven — the sacred mushroom. The fungus recognized today as the Amanita muscaria..."

Where did God come from? What do the Bible stories really tell us? Who or what was Jesus Christ? This book challenges everything we think we know about the nature of religion? The ancient fertility cult at the heart of Christianity? The living power of cultic rites and symbols? The sacred mushroom as the emblem and embodiment of divinity? The secret meaning of biblical myths? The language of religion that links us to our ancestors The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross sets out John Allegro's quest through a family tree of languages to find the truth about where Christianity came from. Amazon

File size: 897 KB
Format: pdf

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The Great Debate: Can Science Tell Us Right from Wrong?

A lively panel held at Arizona State University brings together brilliant names: Sam Harris, Patricia Smith Churchland, Peter Singer, Lawrence Krauss, Simon Blackburn, Steven Pinker and Roger Bingham.

I ripped off the whole discussion rather than getting Youtube videos in parts. The package includes the panel and speeches of the six panelists.

Sam Harris on the Great Debate:

File size: 1.15 GB

[Audio - MP3, 160 kbps - 148 MB]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? - George Carlin (Audiobook + E-book)

There's no better way to enjoy one of Carlin's books than to hear him read it himself. With his gravelly voice, Carlin sounds like a foul-mouthed, grumpy grandfather as he riffs on everything from politics and the improper use of language to plane-boarding etiquette and the differences between the sexes. He's alternately crude ("Every evening at seven-thirty, citizens and consumers get a chance to sound off and air their complaints. Don't miss Blow It Out Your Ass!...") and outrageously funny (such as when he compares people of faith to UFO believers), and he's always irreverent ("A children's museum sounds like a good idea, but I would imagine it's not very easy to breathe inside the little glass cases"). Publishers Weekly

File size: 69 MB


[Buy the book]

Depeche Mode - John The Revelator

It's a brilliant song with powerful lyrics, but that line might be a little confusing: "There is only one God through and through" but I don't think it is there to promote the theistic idea, the whole song is a political satire about the Book of Revelation. This line says it all: "Let him tell his book of lies."

Picks of the Month (January 2011)

Richard Dawkins Interviews Creationist Chemistry Teacher [VIDEO]

Does God Exist? - Christopher Hitchens vs William Lane Craig [VIDEO]

South Park - Red Hot Catholic Love [VIDEO]

God and the State - Mikhail Bakunin [EBOOK]

The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster - Bobby Henderson [EBOOK]

Atheism: A Very Short Introduction - Julian Baggini [EBOOK]

First Life with David Attenborough [DOC]

BBC - Noah's Ark: The Real Story [DOC]

BBC Panorama - British Schools, Islamic Rules [DOC]

Infidel - Ayaan Hirsi Ali [AUDIO]

Jesus, Interrupted - Bart D. Ehrman [AUDIO]

Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory - Edward J. Larson [AUDIO]

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lourdes (2009)

Lourdes, famous pilgrimage place and holy theme park in France. Every year 5 million people visit here and expect to be healed by alleged holy water. Since 1860, over 200 million people have visited the shrine but scientifically nothing found about healing power of the water. The film tells a story of a disabled woman, named Christine who comes to Lourdes to be cured. The film was shot with the agreement of Church authorities but I think, it is dealing with the phenomenon from highly secular point of view. While we witness the insight and routine of this place, the dialogs force us to think about authenticity of the miracle. For example, after a small group watched a footage about an allegedly healed man, two women start to discuss together:

"Did you notice anything?"
"The man who'd had the miracle, he was sitting down."
"Yes, so?"
"We didn't see him get up once."
"Doesn't that make you think?"

Just after Christine bathed with the holy water, she gets up and begins to walk. And that day, questions arise among the other pilgrims: Is this a miracle? Or is this just a temporary improvement? Why her, not me? And for Christine, what will happen to her after this event? Can she make a career and family and live happily ever after?

As one IMDb user stated that this artistic and cleverly written film portrays "commercial aspects of organised religion and the negative aspects of human nature masquerading as piety" and leaves us with questions at the depressing ending (in contrast to the song called Felicita which means happiness).

File Name ..........: Lourdes.2009.LiMiTED.BDRip.XviD-AVCDVD.avi
Total Size (MB) ....: 695,91 MB
Video Length .......: 01:39:18
Video Codec Name ...: XviD MPEG-4 codec
Resolution .........: 624 x 336
Language .......: French
Subtitles .......: English

[Buy it]
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