Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Richard Dawkins & Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams - Nature of Human Beings and the Question of Their Ultimate Origin
Richard Dawkins and The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams discuss the nature of human beings, the origin of human species and the origin of life on Earth and the origin of Universe at Oxford University's Sheldonian Theater. February 23, 2012.
This is a webcast video which was recorded by me.
Monday, February 20, 2012
I was searching for a PC game based on the short story, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by American sci-fi author Harlan Ellison and I found this clip by chance. Ellison discusses his interesting views on God and religion in a witty and sarcastic manner. It is from a documentary called Harlan Ellison: Dreams With Sharp Teeth.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Randi is a conjuror who has done much to expose spoon-benders, remote viewers, "telepaths" and others who, perhaps through insufficient self-knowledge, have bilked the public with claims at the boundaries of science.
In this book, which can properly be described as tirade, Randi turns his attention to faith-healers. He has done more than anyone else in recent times to expose pretension and fraud in this lucrative business. He sifts refuse, reports gossip, listens in on the stream of "miraculous" information coming to the faith healer—not by inspiration from God, but by radio from the preacher's wife backstage; he challenges the reluctant clergymen to provide any serious evidence for the validity of their claims; he invites local and federal governments to enforce the laws against fraud and medical malpractice; he chastises the news media for their studied avoidance of the issue. He shows concern for the sick who are being bilked and remorse that, even after they've been taken to the cleaners, they will acknowledge that they've been bilked.
Randi is rambling, anecdotal, crotchety, and ecumenically offensive. He raises questions that many of us would prefer not to consider. But I think it is important that we pay attention. Carl Sagan
Related to: Secrets of the Psychics with James Randi (Documentary)
File size: 4 MB
Friday, February 17, 2012
"A lot of people hate my skepticism, and I think I understand why. The psychics offer wonders and endless possibilities in a world that often seems difficult and mundane. They promise health, wealth, wisdom, eternal life. But if you examine the record, it's not the psychics but the hard-nosed scientists who have actually delivered the things that improve human life. And, to me, science describes a world far more interesting than any psychic fantasy. It's a good world - not perfect - but it's ours. So we'd better learn to live with it, the way it is."
Magician James Randi (aka The Amazing Randi) as a skeptic investigates a wide range of paranormal claims like spoon bending and palm reading and exposes the hoaxes of pyschics such as famous Uri Geller, televangelist Peter Popoff. There is also interesting tests regarding to astrology, mind-reading and charged water.
This rare documentary is a special contribution to our blog by a reader. Thanks to Terry.
File size: 689 MB
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Darwin's Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin's Views on Human Evolution - Adrian Desmond, James Moore
Happy Darwin Day!
There has always been a mystery surrounding Darwin: How did this quiet, respectable gentleman, a pillar of his parish, come to embrace one of the most radical ideas in the history of human thought? It’s difficult to overstate just what Darwin was risking in publishing his theory of evolution. So it must have been something very powerful—a moral fire, as Desmond and Moore put it—that propelled him. And that moral fire, they argue, was a passionate hatred of slavery.
Leading apologists for slavery in Darwin’s time argued that blacks and whites had originated as separate species, with whites created superior. Darwin abhorred such "arrogance." He believed that, far from being separate species, the races belonged to the same human family. Slavery was therefore a "sin," and abolishing it became Darwin’s "sacred cause." His theory of evolution gave all the races—blacks and whites, animals and plants—an ancient common ancestor and freed them from creationist shackles. Evolution meant emancipation. Amazon
PS Illustrations included.
Related to: Darwin Day Selections
File size: 5.21 MB
Saturday, February 4, 2012
"Marvelously funny and provocative."
Why do 70 percent of Americans believe in angels, while others are convinced that they were abducted by aliens? What makes people believe in improbable things when all the evidence points to the contrary? And don't almost all of us, at some time or another, engage in magical thinking?
In Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, evolutionary biologist Lewis Wolpert delves into the important and timely debate over the nature of belief, looking at its psychological foundations to discover just what evolutionary purpose it could serve. Wolpert takes us through all that science can tell us about the beliefs we feel are instinctive. He deftly explores different types of belief—those of children, of the religious, and of those suffering from psychiatric disorders—and he asks whether it is possible to live without belief, or whether it is a necessary component of a functioning society. Amazon
File size: 677 KB