Friday, December 30, 2011
The interview features the discussion took place between D.J. Grothe (host of For Good Reason) Richard Dawkins at the Amazing Meeting 8 in Las Vegas. He talks about his new book The Magic of Reality, the differences between skepticism and atheism, exobiology and so on.
It was released on November 14, 2011.
File size: 16 MB
Length: 46 mins
Monday, December 26, 2011
Another Xmas Pack to improve your collection!
Other packs:  -  -  -  - [Rapture] - [Xmas] - [Xmas 2]
File size: 23.46 MB
Thursday, December 22, 2011
"In Gods We Trust is by far the best exploration so far of the evolutionary basis of religious behavior."
—James Fox, Prof of Anthropology, Stanford University
How do we explain the cultural hold of religion throuhout history? Why are supernatural concepts culturally universal? What do biology, psychology, anthropolog, and cognitive neuroscience have to tell us about the religios differences and similarities among different cultural groups? How is it that religious explanations of natural phenomena have had a greater hold on our collective imagination than most political, economic, and scientific accounts?
In this groundbreaking and highly interdisciplinary book, Scott Atran addresses these questions and more as he attempts to map the evolutionary landscape of religion. From the book
File size: 8 MB
Friday, December 16, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
A short history about Pagan roots of Christmas and Christianity by The Thinking Atheist.
Also watch: Christmas Unwrapped
UPDATE! I made a transcription for the video by the request of antifuffa83. However, I'm not a native English speaker, so sorry for any mistakes.
People often ask me as a skeptic if celebrate the Christmas and I say "sure" Well, not because of the baby Jesus but then again most Christmas traditions have nothing to do with the baby Jesus. Take the Christmas tree for example. Centuries before the Christ child was supposedly born, many cultures brought evergreen trees into their home for decoration in the month of December to celebrate the arrival of the Winter Solstice and do ask their various pagan gods ... harvest the following season. The practice continued in various forms throughout the ages. The ancient Egyptians honored their sun god Ra with palm leaves and evergreens trees.
The early Romans decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs as part of pagan festival called Saturnalia: the festival of Saturn, the god of agriculture.
The Vikings of Scandinavia believed that evergreens were the special plant of their god, Baldur and they were burned Yule logs in feast until the last amber burned out. The actual Christian tradition of Christmas tree began as late as the 16th century in Germany and Christmas trees were still seen as pagan symbols throughout the US until the 1840's. The Winter Solstice, not the baby Jesus, most likely account for the selection of the December 25th as the Christmas day. Late December was when the day started to become noticeably longer and the Sun seized its movement to the south. So the Winter Solstice was celebrated for the birth of the Sun. It just wasn't the Sun most religious people have in mind. And you might be surprised that America didn't even declared Christmas day as a national holiday until June 26th, 1870.
The exchanging of gifts? Pagan in origin. Standing back to the festival of Saturnalia and originally banned for that reason by the Catholic Church in the middle ages.
Christmas carols? They traced back to the middle ages as well. Not as religious songs but as common folk songs sung during harvest festivals and they were only later integrated into worship by religious figures like Martin Luther. Mistletoe was a happy Christmas tradition but few realised that mistletoe was once considered as mysterious magical plant by the Druids and Greeks, a Pagan symbol of life and fertility. In Scandinavia mistletoe was considered "the plant of peace" under which enemies could declare a truce and arguing spouses could kiss and make up.
Many decried the use of word "Xmas" to mark the holiday often clamouring that we should put Christ back in the Christmas. Well, actually Xmas is Christmas. The "X" comes from the first letter of the Greek word for Christ and those who declaring Xmas a war on Christ are appereantly confused. Of course confusion would be understandable, if you follow the Biblical acount of the Christ child. For example, the book of Luke has Mary and Joseph living in Galilee. But Matthew has them living in Bethlehem, in Judea. Matthew: Chapter 1 says angel appeared to Joseph but Luke: Chapter 1 says the angel appeared before Mary.
And what about the three kings we hear so often about? In the book of Matthew they were magi, astronomers, not kings! There is no mention of three anywhere. And the entire account contradicts to one in the book of Luke which has been Jesus visited by local shepherds, not astronomers!
And miraculous virgin birth? Not so much. Matthew apparently misread the original translation from Hebrew to Greek. The Hebrew word "almah" doesn't mean virgin, it translates "young woman of marriageable age" or "young maiden."
What about the lineage of Jesus? The book of Matthew has 28 generations between David and the birth of Christ. But Luke lists 41 generations. According to both Matthew and Luke, Jesus was born on or before 4 BCE during the reign of Herod the Great. But Luke said that Joseph and pregnant Mary had to go to Bethlehem for a census by Quirinius. That census took place in 6 AD, years later and after the death of Herod. And even if there was a census it would taken place in their local tax district requiring no travel and Roman tradition was to register only the men meaning that Mary wouldn't have had to make the journey at all.
Matthew says the Jesus' birth took place in a house but the book of Luke says Jesus' birth took place in a manger because there was no room in the inn. After Jesus was born Matthew says the family immediately fled to Egypt for several years to escape of Herod's wrath. But the book of Luke has them returning immediately Nazareth. And by the way no ancient historian or geographer, no other source other than the Bible confirm that the city of Nazareth even existed in the 1st century AD. In fact, the expression Jesus of Nazareth is most likely a bad translation which means the one of the truth and city of Nazareth was likely named much later by the faithful or the opportunistic. The list goes on and on.
Ultimately, many of the traditions of Christ's supposed birthday have absolutely nothing to do with Jesus Christ and instead came from other earlier Pagan traditions. And even if there had been a Jesus Christ as much as hate to break into you unlike the depiction on yearly Christmas card, because he was born in the Middle East, Jesus Christ was most certainly not white!
Still, I'm a fan of Christmas. I enjoy family, friends, Christmas light displays, the Christmas trees, stockings, gifts, the classic Christmas songs, hot chocolate and pumpkin pie. But like many other skeptics I also celebrate the season knowing that those plastic Nativity "Jesus"es are actually more real than the Jesus they represent and his millions of Christians erect pagan symbols and practice pagan traditions while defending Christian saviour story, it is a chance for the rest of us, to simply smile warmly, offer them a cup of hot cider and wish them a "Merry, Merry Xmas!"
Monday, December 12, 2011
"The Atheist’s Guide to Reality will, like the best scholarship and science, remove you from your comfort zone. And that is the only way to gain new and better perspectives on our place in the cosmos."
—Lawrence Krauss, author of A Universe From Nothing
A book for nonbelievers who embrace the reality-driven life.
We can't avoid the persistent questions about the meaning of life-and the nature of reality. Philosopher Alex Rosenberg maintains that science is the only thing that can really answer them—all of them. His bracing and ultimately upbeat book takes physics seriously as the complete description of reality and accepts all its consequences. He shows how physics makes Darwinian natural selection the only way life can emerge, and how that deprives nature of purpose, and human action of meaning, while it exposes conscious illusions such as free will and the self. The science that makes us nonbelievers provides the insight into the real difference between right and wrong, the nature of the mind, even the direction of human history. The Atheist's Guide to Reality draws powerful implications for the ethical and political issues that roil contemporary life. The result is nice nihilism, a surprisingly sanguine perspective atheists can happily embrace. Amazon
P.S Thanks to Glenn for the link.
File size: 0.6 MB
Sunday, December 11, 2011
BBC Earth Films combines the most astonishing strories of the living world, depicting its uniqueness and richness. This is the story that connects us all. It's a story of hope, triumph, intelligence, determination, strength, courage and love. The things we share in common. Narrated by Daniel Craig.
Friday, December 9, 2011
"Like a selfish gene or a parasite, the religion virus catches a free ride in the minds of our species, infecting our history and culture. What Guns, Germs and Steel did for anthropology, this book does for faith. It puts the pieces together into a fascinating, coherent model that makes sense!"
—Dan Barker, President, Freedom From Religion Foundation
Why is religion so incredibly tenacious? Why do intelligent people believe the universe is only six thousand years old? How can so many people believe the Bible, written over two thousand years ago, is 100% accurate in every respect?
Using the powerful new science of cultural evolution called "memetics" -- how ideas spread and mutate as they move across society and down through history -- Craig James takes us on a fascinating tour of religion's peculiar and convoluted history. Amazon
P.S Thanks to Glenn for the link.
File size: 625 KB
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
A brilliant book celebrating improbability as the engine that drives life, by the acclaimed author of The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker.
The human eye is so complex and works so precisely that surely, one might believe, its current shape and function must be the product of design. How could such an intricate object have come about by chance? Tackling this subject—in writing that the New York Times called "a masterpiece"—Richard Dawkins builds a carefully reasoned and lovingly illustrated argument for evolutionary adaptation as the mechanism for life on earth.
The metaphor of Mount Improbable represents the combination of perfection and improbability that is epitomized in the seemingly "designed" complexity of living things. Dawkins skillfully guides the reader on a breathtaking journey through the mountain's passes and up its many peaks to demonstrate that following the improbable path to perfection takes time. Evocative illustrations accompany Dawkins's eloquent descriptions of extraordinary adaptations such as the teeming populations of figs, the intricate silken world of spiders, and the evolution of wings on the bodies of flightless animals. And through it all runs the thread of DNA, the molecule of life, responsible for its own destiny on an unending pilgrimage through time. Amazon
Also watch: Growing Up in the Universe - Climbing Mount Improbable
File size: 3.99 MB | 9.64 MB | 49.19 MB
Format: epub | djvu | pdf