Thursday, December 31, 2015

Once Upon a Time: Re-Thinking the Fight Against Extremists | Tina Dupuy | eSkeptic

eSkeptic: the email newsletter of the Skeptics Society

What does it mean to be radicalized? In a rare Oval Office address in the wake of the San Bernardino massacre, President Barack Obama described the killers as having “gone down the dark path of radicalization.” It used to be extremists. We were fighting extremists in the equally nebulous War on Terror. Then someone found a thesaurus and now we’re battling radicalization. “[It] is the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalization,” urged Obama. What are these ideas exactly?

Every group of radicals nee extremists—from ISIS to the Klan to the House GOP’s Freedom Caucus—all have the same lure: Today is chaotic, unpredictable and worse than it was, so we must return to a time when things were better. A well-proven formula for radicalization is to take the disorientated, disenfranchised and disappointed; add a universal yarn about the Good Ol’ Days and stir.

Let’s examine some backward reasoning about the past: “Back to basics,” you’ll hear. Back to the values of the founders! Original intent! Back to the peacefulness of ancient times. Back to the core of the Koran. Back to the tranquility of our ancestors! Paleo diet, anyone? Fundamentalists use this concept in their own moniker; they’re going back to fundamentals. Even New Agers peddle this idea. The site SacredEarth.com says, “Once upon a time—not too long ago, the ancient craft of midwifery and the art of herbal healing were intimately linked.” Yeah sure, back in the good old days when women had a 50/50 chance of dying during childbirth. Just a quick Google search of “alternative medicine” will land you in a sea of alternate history. As one site touting amber as a pain reliever puts it, “For many centuries since time began, people have used nature’s bounty for traditional medicine.”

Once, I went to the Brooklyn Flea Market and there was a ratty chair kept together by electrical tape. The price tag was a whopping $250! When I asked the seller if that was a typo, he responded “No,” shocked by the question. “It’s old.” Which is essentially what alternative medicine is saying. “Back when people only lived to 35, they knew better than us!” […]

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Contemplation Hour Podcast 2


itunes pic

One of my high school chums just started a podcast, and I was honored to be one of his first guests on The Contemplation Hour. In this episode Sean and I discussed my music, my band, In Autumn, my influences, my progression from religion to atheism, my philosophy, my activism, and my work for the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign.

You can download this episode straight from the site, and it will soon be available on itunes. Please make sure you follow the The Contemplation Hour Podcast and subscribe. Enjoy!



Monday, December 7, 2015

The Cold Swift Blow of Logic & The Shadow of Sensationalized Terror - Why We Should Not Live In Fear

My heart quickens to fear lately. The terror of radical Islam has felt a little too near after the massacre in Paris, but San Bernardino literally hit too close to home. It seems more frequent than ever. While driving home from a wonderful birthday celebration with friends, I was shocked when my wife received a message from her father that read that he was shopping at Tyler Mall in Riverside, and there was a mass shooting occurring, and everyone was in a state of panic. False alarm. It was just an armed robbery, but still, you can't blame anyone for feeling jumpy. In fact, a coworker of  mine told me that she was considering getting a gun, and I can't say that I blame her. But, should we really live in terror? This is a serious crisis, but do we truly need to worry?

No. When it comes to terrorism, the cold, swift blow of logic reveals to us that you are SIXTEEN times more likely to die from the flu. Furthermore, you are three times as likely to kill yourself than you are to die by someone else's gun.

Number of deaths for leading causes of death

  • Heart disease: 611,105
  • Cancer: 584,881
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 149,205
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 130,557
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,978
  • Alzheimer's disease: 84,767
  • Diabetes: 75,578
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,979
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 47,112
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 41,149

I do not intend to trivialize these incidents. I am certainly sensitive to how horrific and barbaric these occurrences are. However, even if you fail to count them all, our day-to-day lives include a substantial number of calculated risks. Some of these risks are so likely to cause our eventual demise that they utterly fail to be newsworthy. Though news outlets rake in record-high ratings by sensationalizing acts of terror, humans are pattern-seeking animals, and we are especially equipped at detecting extraordinary phenomena that interrupt the typical routine.

What can we do, confine ourselves to empty islands? Even then, sea-level-rise will likely wash you away. No. Life must go on. Liberty will endure. As for me, if I have learned anything, it is that I must cherish each blessed moment of my existence, and the beautiful individuals I am fortunate enough to share it with. However, I will also constantly strive to be consciously aware of the harsh reality of death and it's ever-looming shadow, and frankly, it should not take the woeful barbarism of religious extremists to bring this truth to life.

Friday, December 4, 2015

12-3-15 "Do Something About Climate Change" @ Riverside ArtWalk / Festival of Lights | In Autumn

We were downtown last night, down on the corner at the Riverside ArtWalk / Festival of Lights, jamming our Folk songs and provoking our brothers and sisters to DO SOMETHING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE.

Posted by In Autumn on Friday, December 4, 2015

12/4/15 - Riverside Folk & Rock Showcase | In Autumn

Consilience and Consensus - Or why climate skeptics are wrong | Michael Shermer | Scientific American

Scientific American

At some point in the history of all scientific theories, only a minority of scientists—or even just one—supported them, before evidence accumulated to the point of general acceptance. The Copernican model, germ theory, the vaccination principle, evolutionary theory, plate tectonics and the big bang theory were all once heretical ideas that became consensus science. How did this happen?

An answer may be found in what 19th-century philosopher of science William Whewell called a “consilience of inductions.” For a theory to be accepted, Whewell argued, it must be based on more than one induction—or a single generalization drawn from specific facts. It must have multiple inductions that converge on one another, independently but in conjunction. “Accordingly the cases in which inductions from classes of facts altogether different have thus jumped together,” he wrote in his 1840 book The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, “belong only to the best established theories which the history of science contains.” Call it a “convergence of evidence.”

Consensus science is a phrase often heard today in conjunction with anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Is there a consensus on AGW? There is. The tens of thousands of scientists who belong to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Medical Association, the American Meteorological Society, the American Physical Society, the Geological Society of America, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and, most notably, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change all concur that AGW is in fact real. Why? (Continue reading...)


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sam Harris: The ‘Salon’ Interview

(Photo via the  Matthias Rhomberg)

"I consider Salon to be among the worst offenders of the new pseudo-journalism, and I have long maintained a personal boycott of the website. I ask my publishers to ignore any requests from its editors for interviews or for review copies of my books. And on the rare occasions that Salon publishes good work—the articles of Jeffrey Tayler stand out—I decline to forward the links on social media. My reason is simple: Despite the work of a few blameless writers, Salon has become a cesspool of lies and moral confusion."

-Sam Harris


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Can venting angrily on the Internet lead to heart disease? | Skeptic.com

Can venting angrily on the Internet lead to heart disease? In this week’s eSkeptic, Carol Tavris discusses some research that points to a significant correlation between our negative language patterns (such as anger, hatred, and aggression) and health risks such as heart disease.

Dr. Carol Tavris is a social psychologist and coauthor, with Elliot Aronson, of Mistakes Were Made (but not by ME).

Trolling (illustration by Pat Linse)

The story that follows is prehistoric. It involves a once-famous columnist, a letter (the written kind), the U.S. post office, an apology, and a moral.

The columnist was Russell Baker, who had written an essay that I, in my self-righteous gadfly-in-training youth, regarded as a sarcastic dismissal of what was then called women’s liberation—the movement for mere improvements in education, work, family life, reproductive rights, and so forth. These issues were important to me, so I wrote him a letter, full of what I thought were equally sarcastic, witty put-downs. I failed to sleep on it overnight. I mailed it.

Baker returned my letter to me— edited. I’d irked him, and he had written all over the margins with sparky annoyance.

I replied, apologizing for my rude tone and explaining what I’d meant to say.

He replied warmly, and ended, “Could this be the beginning of a beautiful and civilized correspondence?”

Skeptic magazine 20.3 (cover) This column of “The Gadfly,” by Carol Tavris, appeared in Skeptic magazine 20.3 (2015). Order the print edition Order the digital edition At the time, researchers in many fields, from social psychology to epidemiology, were rapidly dismantling the “catharsis hypothesis,” held by millions of therapists, group leaders, teachers, and parents who believed that it was important for a person’s mental and physical health to ventilate their anger. (You can still buy bats and dolls to use for this reason in the privacy of your own home.) This belief stemmed from a misreading of Freud, who thought that aggressive energy builds up in us like steam in a teapot, and will boil right over in disastrous ways if not “let out.” However, they missed part 2 of Freud’s argument, which was that the “letting out” part should be sublimated into constructive activities, such as creating art. Freud would have been horrified by the many therapists who were handing out bataca bats to violent teenagers and to quarreling married couples with instructions to pound away…
READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Monday, November 16, 2015

Still Sleepwalking Toward Armageddon | Sam Harris

Daniel Pierce Wright (Getty Images)

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris reflects on the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Deep In The Amazon, An Unseen Battle Over The Most Valuable Trees | NPR

Elizeu Berçacola leads this group of rubber tappers who fight to prevent illegal logging.

In this part of the Amazon rain forest, they call it "the war over wood." It has front lines.
One of them is here, in Machadinho d'Oeste in the western Brazilian state of Rondonia.

The self-described "Guardians of the Forest" defending the land don't look like fighters, at least when we first meet them. But they are pitting themselves against criminal logging gangs that have infiltrated their protected reserves.

In their everyday life, they are rubber tappers. They take us on a trail that leads to their rubber trees, which grow wild on the reserves where they live. These trees are native to the Amazon region, one of the most dangerous places in the world to be an environmental defender.

Tappers milk the trees for their sap by cutting them and collecting what comes out in small metal buckets. It's what natural rubber is made from, and it's completely sustainable. As long as the trees live, they can be used this way.
http://www.npr.org/2015/11/04/452555878/deep-in-the-amazon-an-unseen-battle-over-the-most-valuable-trees

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Poll Finds Americans, Especially Millennials, Moving Away From Religion | NPR

A woman prays at Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. The shift away from religion among Americans has taken place in a relatively short period of time.

Religion is apparently weakening in America. A new report from the Pew Research Center shows that the percentage of Americans who say they believe in God, pray daily and attend church regularly is declining.

Among the findings:
  • The share of Americans who say they are "absolutely certain" that God exists has dropped 8 percentage points, from 71 percent to 63 percent, since 2007, when the last comparable study was made.
  • The percentage of adults who describe themselves as "religiously affiliated" has shrunk 6 points since 2007, from 83 percent to 77 percent.
  • The shares of the U.S. adult population who consider religion "very important" to them, pray daily and attend services at least once a month have declined between 3 and 4 percentage points over the past eight years
The shift is small but statistically significant, according to the authors, given that the changes have taken place in a relatively short period of time, and the survey sample is large enough (about 35,000 U.S. adults) to be considered reliable.

Read More:
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/03/454063182/poll-finds-americans-especially-millennials-moving-away-from-religion

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sarah Posner: Trump, Carson, and the Religious Right in 2016 | Point of Inquiry



This week Josh Zepps chats about the 2016 Republican presidential primaries with journalist Sarah Posner, a senior correspondent for Religion Dispatches and the author of Gods Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters. She is an expert in the political machinations of the religious right in the United States.

 The current GOP field has Seventh-day Adventist Ben Carson and the newly Bible-loving Donald Trump battling for the top spot in polls, despite their theological differences with the Evangelical base of the party. Posner explores what’s behind the appeal of these two unlikely front-runners, compares their very different demeanors, and weighs on such topics as the influence of Pope Francis and the prospects for atheist political candidates.

 Click here for more: http://www.pointofinquiry.org/sarah_posner_trump_carson_and_the_religious_right_in_2016/

Inside Assad's Syria | FRONTLINE | PBS

Inside Assad's Syria
For weeks, the world's eyes have been fixed on the tens of thousands of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria for Europe. But what is life like for those left behind? Correspondent Martin Smith goes "Inside Assad's Syria" to report from government-controlled areas as war rages, with on-the-ground reporting and firsthand accounts from Syrians caught in the crisis.
54:16

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2015 | Democracy Now!


Stories

October 28, 2015

Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz discuss their book, Islam and the Future of Tolerance, with Tony Jones on LATELINE.


An atheist & a Muslim discuss the future of Islam. Fantastic segment with @SamHarrisOrg & @MaajidNawaz on ABC Australia.

China and the U.S. Are Long-term Enemies | Intelligence Squared Debate



Is China's ascendancy a threat to the U.S.? China's rise as an economic and military power, coupled with its aggression in the South China Sea, have led some to call for a major rebalance of U.S. policy and strategy. Can China be trusted to act as a responsible global stakeholder? And will they be a long-term ally, or adversary?

Bernie Sanders Full Speech at Iowa Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

Joe Rogan Experience #713 - Dave Rubin


Dave Rubin is a stand-up comedian, talk show host, and television personality. He is the creator and host of political comedy talk show The Rubin Report, part of Ora TV and formerly of The Young Turks Network. http://www.youtube.com/rubinreport

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sam Harris On Progressivism, Torture, Religion & Foreign Policy



"I hesitate to promote this interview, because it shows me at the end of my patience (and I stay there for 2 hours). However, I did manage to express almost everything I think about the “regressive Left” in general and about my least-honest critics in particular. I stand by everything I said here, but I’d like to apologize to the interviewer, Kyle Kulinski, for all the interruptions."—SH

Visit Sam's Blog Here:
http://www.samharris.org/

Interview With Greenwald Here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDqYz...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In Autumn for the People's Climate Movement National Day of Action


Do something about Climate Change!Tomorrow, In Autumn will be street performing in Downtown Riverside, demonstrating...
Posted by In Autumn on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: North Dakota (HBO)



North Dakota is known for being polite, but perhaps they’ve been a little too hospitable to oil companies.

Talk Nerdy Episode 83 - Chad Hanson | Cara Santa Maria


Dr. Chad Hanson, ecologist with the John Muir Project, informs Cara about current legislative efforts to deregulate logging in America's forests. Myths are also busted regarding forest fires (hint: they're necessary for this habitat to thrive!).

Religious Scholars Use Social Media To Counter ISIS Interpretation Of Koran | NPR

As the military response to the Islamic State heats up, an ideological front is opening against the group. They're using social media to explain why ISIS' interpretation of the Koran is wrong.


TRANSCRIPT:

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's turn now to the battle against ISIS, though a battlefield we haven't heard as much about. Religious scholars are taking on ISIS, openly questioning the religious credentials of the group's leadership. Their way in, a social media campaign explaining why ISIS' violent interpretation of Islam is wrong. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports.

DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: ISIS has lured tens of thousands of foreign fighters to Syria over the past two years. And the man inspiring them is the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He claims to be a religious scholar and a descendant of the prophet. Will McCants is with the Brookings Institution and just finished writing a book about Baghdadi and the history of ISIS.

WILL MCCANTS: His brother recounts that whenever the young Baghdadi would come home from the mosque, he would lecture the other family members about how to be a proper Muslim.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Now his audience isn't just his family. It's the entire Muslim world.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDADI: (Foreign language spoken).

TEMPLE-RASTON: That's Baghdadi at the Grand Mosque in Mosul last summer, when he announced the establishment of an Islamic State.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AL-BAGHDADI: (Foreign language spoken).

TEMPLE-RASTON: Prominent religious leaders immediately denounced his declaration, saying it was a violation of Islamic law. But even so, Baghdadi found a huge audience. His Mosul video went viral on YouTube, which is where 80-year-old Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah comes in.

ABDALLAH BIN BAYYAH: (Foreign language spoken).

TEMPLE-RASTON: He wants to challenge Baghdadi's violent interpretation of Islam. And he plans to do that where ISIS' audience is largest, on social media. Sheikh bin Bayyah is a world-renowned specialist in Islamic law and a professor of religion in Saudi Arabia. He says Baghdadi isn't qualified to interpret the Quran.

BAYYAH: (Foreign language spoken).

TEMPLE-RASTON: He's speaking here through an interpreter.

BAYYAH: (Through interpreter) As a learned person within this tradition and those amongst the scholars that I know, it doesn't appear to us that he's learned. We have reference points that are known amongst the scholastic community, and many of them he seems to be clearly unaware of.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Reference points - for example, according to bin Bayyah, Baghdadi's justification for a holy war is invalid. Scholarly tradition requires that interpretations of the Quran take historical context into account. Baghdadi is trying to return Syria and Iraq to the seventh century, when the Quran was written, and that falls outside the set rules of interpretation.

BAYYAH: (Through interpreter) When people come with any conclusions about these texts, the question is always, was the methodology sound in which they arrived to that conclusion or not? That's the test.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Baghdadi's edicts, scholars say, don't past that test. For example, he's claimed that the Quran sanctions the practice of sexual slavery. But bin Bayyah says Baghdadi clearly didn't go through the necessary steps to draw that conclusion.

BAYYAH: (Through interpreter) If this is enticing the youth, this isn't a religious issue. This is a sexual appetite issue. This is an issue simply of just human appetites.

(Foreign language spoken).

UNIDENTIFIED INTERPRETER: He said, "this isn't Islam."

TEMPLE-RASTON: Getting that message out has been difficult. ISIS is using social media, and scholars barely have a presence there.

BAYYAH: (Through interpreter) I'm an elderly man, and I don't know things like tweeting and - but I leave that to the center that I work with. The youth do that for me.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Bin Bayyah's plan is to get into the digital space. Early next year, he'll launch an online resource which targets ISIS' audience of young Muslims. The platform will provide an answer to Baghdadi's violent edicts. There will be e-learning curses and a place where religious questions can be asked and answered by scholars like bin Bayyah.

BAYYAH: (Foreign language spoken).

TEMPLE-RASTON: Sheikh bin Bayyah says the world can't beat ISIS with military power alone. Instead, it's the responsibility of Muslim scholars to engage intellectually and explain where ISIS is going wrong in the online spaces where the group's potential recruits are gathering. Dina Temple-Raston, NPR News.

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Is The Resilience Of Millennials Underrated? | NPR

Katherine Streeter for NPR

"I'm a member of Generation Y, or the millennial generation. People like me were born in the '80s and early '90s. But I don't like to broadcast that fact. Millennials tend to get a bad rap.

Journalists and commentators love ragging on us. They say we're ill-prepared to deal with life's challenges. And that, as a result, we have higher rates of mental health issues like depression and anxiety...."

Read More...
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/10/12/446928518/is-the-resilience-of-millennials-underrated

Democracy Now! StoriesOctober 13, 2015

Stories

October 13, 2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher: New Rules – October 9, 2015 (HBO)



Bill Maher issues his latest decrees for society, including a plea for people to stop experiencing life through their phones.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Riddle of the Gun (Revisited) | Sam Harris | Waking Up

(Photo via KLaFaille)
In this episode of the Waking Up Podcast, Sam Harris discusses his views about guns and gun control in light of a recent mass shooting.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Common Sense 296 – Immigration Breakdown | Dan Carlin

cs-home-txt
cs-home-imag
Dan tries to break down some of the issues and add some context to the arguments, nuances and complexities of the current immigration and refugee situation in Europe and the U.S..

Monday, October 5, 2015

StarTalk Radio Cosmic Queries: Colonizing Mars

Mosaic of the Valles Marineris hemisphere of Mars projected into point perspective, a view similar to that which one would see from a spacecraft. The distance is 2500 kilometers from the surface of the planet, with the scale being .6km/pixel. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This week, Neil Tyson and Chuck Nice answer questions from our fans about colonizing Mars, from the smelly, to the psychological, to the political. What would happen to garbage on Mars without microbes to break it down? Which is a bigger psychological challenge for colonists: isolation, or getting along with each other? Are there treaties governing interplanetary colonization and homesteading? You’ll learn all about terraforming, and how long it might take before pioneers would be able to grow crops outside of greenhouses. Find out whether it’s more efficient to send pre-fab habitats or a large 3-D printer for ISRU (In Situ Resource Utilization). Explore adaption, mutation, and speciation, as well as the possible impact of growing up in 40% Earth gravity. Discover what it would take to restore Mars’ magnetic field, and whether Mars is more or less geologically active than Earth. Finally, step up to the plate for a description of the impact of Martian gravity and atmosphere on the first baseball game between the NY Yankees and the Martian Reds.

Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris in Conversation on Religion, Atheism and ...

Real Time with Bill Maher: New Rule – Supply Side Jesus (HBO)





In his editorial New Rule, Bill Maher explains how Pope Francis’ recent visit exposed just how little the “Christians” of the far right believe in what Jesus actually said.

Talk Nerdy Episode 82 - Leslie Rogers



Astrophysicist Dr. Leslie Rogers joins Cara to talk about exoplanets, specifically those that are larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. They offer an exciting opportunity to learn about planetary bodies that are different from anything in our own solar system. Also discussed: why Kepler-452b likely isn't Earth's twin.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cara Santa Maria | The Rubin Report




Science communicator Cara Santa Maria joins Dave Rubin to talk about the big ideas surrounding atheism and secularism, dive into the controversy surrounding GMO's, and dealing with depression.

Watch more on Ora TV: http://www.ora.tv/rubinreport
Subscribe: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c...

Comment below or tweet to Dave at https://twitter.com/RubinReport

******
Cara Santa Maria
Science Communicator, Host of the 'Talk Nerdy' podcast
https://twitter.com/CaraSantamaria

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Conversation with Edward Snowden (Part 2) | StarTalk Radio



Neil deGrasse Tyson’s exclusive, one-on-one conversation with Edward Snowden - via robot - concludes with a deeper dive into metadata, personal privacy and covert communications, before exploring pulsars and cosmic background radiation.

Drought Is Driving Beekeepers And Their Hives From California | NPR

Dry conditions in California have limited the amount of pollen and nectar bees can collect.

The drought in California over the past four years has hit the agriculture industry hard, especially one of the smallest farm creatures: honeybees. A lack of crops for bees to pollinate has California's beekeeping industry on edge.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Richard Dawkins > Quotes: "We are going to die..." | Goodreads

Richard Dawkins

“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?”


― Richard DawkinsUnweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder


http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/83303-we-are-going-to-die-and-that-makes-us-the

Friday, September 25, 2015

Islam and the Future of Tolerance | Sam Harris


This panel discussion was held at Harvard’s Kennedy Forum on September 14, 2015.

Sam Harris:
Neuroscientist; Co-founder and Chief Executive, Project Reason; Author, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, among others

Maajid Nawaz:
Author, Radical; Founding Chairman, Quilliam

The Multiverse & You (& You & You & You…) | Sam Harris - Waking Up Podcast

A Conversation with Max Tegmark

Photo
(Photo via Dave Morrow)

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark about the foundations of science, our current understanding of the universe, and the risks of future breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.

Known as “Mad Max” for his unorthodox ideas and passion for adventure, Max Tegmark’s scientific interests range from precision cosmology to the ultimate nature of reality, all explored in his new popular book Our Mathematical Universe. Tegmark is a professor of physics who has published more than two hundred technical papers and been featured in dozens of science documentaries. His work with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey on galaxy clustering shared the first prize in Science magazine’s “Breakthrough of the Year: 2003.” For more information about his work, please visit his MIT website and the Future of Life Institute.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Public Defenders (HBO)



The Miranda warning includes the right to a public defender. It doesn’t include the fact that public defenders are highly overworked and grossly underpaid.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Punk Show at Back to the Grind, Saturday Oct. 3rd.


I am playing a solo set to open up this awesome show next Saturday, Oct. 3rd. I am also playing bass for my cousin's...
Posted by Jonny Miller on Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Native Groups Protest Pope Francis’ Canonization of Junípero Serra over Role in California Genocide | Democracy Now!



Pope Francis’ decision to canonize the 18th century Spanish missionary Junípero Serra has drawn a strong protest from many indigenous groups. Serra founded nine of the 21 missions in California that later were the basis of what is now the modern state. Hundreds of thousands of people died after the missionaries arrived. According to historian Alvin Josephy, what happened in California "was as close to genocide as any tribal people had faced, or would face, on the North American continent."

http://www.democracynow.org/2015/9/23/native_groups_protest_pope_francis_canonization

Fact-Checking Vaccine Statements in the GOP Debate | eSkeptic

Nurse Administers a Vaccine. This image was released by the National Cancer Institute, an agency part of the National Institutes of Health. This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Rhoda Baer (Photographer). See: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nurse_administers_a_vaccine.jpg
About this week’s eSkeptic
"In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall examines the statements about vaccinesmade by four candidates in the recent GOP debate. They all demonstrated a poor grasp of vaccine science, and advocated delays in the vaccine schedule that would represent a danger to the young, the immunocompromised, and to the herd immunity that is a mainstay of our public health."
Dr. Harriet Hall, MD, the SkepDoc, is a retired family physician and Air Force Colonel living in Puyallup, WA. She writes about alternative medicine, pseudoscience, quackery, and critical thinking. She is a contributing editor to bothSkeptic and Skeptical Inquirer, an advisor to the Quackwatch website, and an editor of Sciencebasedmedicine.org, where she writes an article every Tuesday. She is author of Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: The Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon. Her website is www.skepdoc.info.

Fact-Checking Vaccine Statements in the GOP Debate

BY HARRIET HALL, M.D., THE SKEPDOC
1.Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon, said that there have been numerous studies and they have not demonstrated any correlation between vaccines and autism. TRUE.
He said certain vaccines are very important: those that would prevent death or crippling. He said others don’t fit in that category. FALSE. Although some vaccine-preventable diseases have the potential to do more harm than others, there is not a single vaccine that doesn’t prevent a disease that can cripple or kill a percentage of its victims.
He said there should be some discretion. NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE. There is no reason to think “discretion” is warranted in following the recommended vaccine schedule, and there is clear evidence that not following the recommendations can lead to harm. If vaccines are delayed, the infant remains susceptible to a preventable disease until the vaccine is given. Decreasing the number of vaccinated children decreases the herd immunity of the entire population. It means that when a disease enters a community it is more likely to spread, and that harms 3 categories of people: infants too young to have been vaccinated for that disease; sick, elderly, and immunocompromised people who are more susceptible to infection and more likely to sustain serious harm if they catch the disease; and the small percentage of immunized people who may still be susceptible despite the vaccines, which are not 100% protective.
He said “but you know, a lot of this is pushed by big government.” NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE. In fact, I don’t even know what he means. It is not “big government” that supports the current vaccine schedule, but the scientific and medical community.
2.Trump responded to Carson, saying autism has become an epidemic that has gotten totally out of control. FALSE. Most scientists interpret the evidence as showing the rate of autism has risen very little or not at all. The perception of an “epidemic” is due to wider awareness of the disorder, better identification of patients, and re-categorization of children who formerly would have had a different diagnosis. . .

Read more:
http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/15-09-23/#feature

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

StarTalk Radio: A Conversation with Edward Snowden (Part 1)


Neil deGrasse Tyson chats with whistleblower Edward Snowden via robotic telepresence from Moscow. In Part 1, they discuss Isaac Newton, knowledge and learning, the Periodic Table, encryption and privacy, and much more.

FRONTLINE: Bush's War (Part 1)


Bush's War Part 1

2009 Emmy Winner: FRONTLINE unfolds the saga of the invasion of Iraq in a two-part series.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Talk Nerdy Episode 80 - Steven Paul Leiva


Cara is joined by independent author Steven Paul Leiva ("Traveling In Space") to talk about the power of storytelling, the difference between genre fiction and literary fiction, and why it's okay to be a nerd, even if you aren't all that into sci-fi.

In Autumn: The Universe (EP) Online Release - #1 - Trans-Moun...

For several months now, In Autumn has been working hard on a new full-length album. We are so terribly excited that we cannot wait until the full-length is done to share it with you. Instead, we are pausing at this halfway point to release “The Universe”, a 4-track EP and precursor to our upcoming full-length. Over the next few weeks, stay tuned as we release one track at a time off The Universe EP. It all starts Wednesday, September 30th with our release of the studio recording of the first track, “Trans-Mountaineer”. 



Back in June, we had an online release of the music video for Trans-Mountaineer, recorded live in Corona, CA. If you missed it, you can watch the video here:
http://inautumnband.blogspot.com/2015/06/trans-mountaineer-by-in-autumn.html 

Keep ‘Em Separated: Rev. Barry Lynn on God and Government | Point of Inquiry

September 21, 2015

Host: Lindsay Beyerstein

One of the United States’ most prominent and respected advocates for secularism is a reverend, and that of course is our guest this week, Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Few have more experience untangling religion from government as Rev. Lynn, who has spent a career making the case that a truly free country requires a secular government, and true religious freedom requires church-state separation.
He and host Lindsay Beyerstein discuss the numerous ways the mixing of church and state have resulted in corruption and injustice. While Lynn believes that religion can play an important role in our communities and in many people’s lives, government should never be in a position to rely upon whatever charitable services a religious group might provide. Recounting some of fascinating experiences from his career, many from his new bookGod and Government: Twenty-Five Years of Fighting for Equality, Secularism, and Freedom Of Conscience, Lynn believes that the long battle for the wall of separation is one that secularists will eventually win.

Listen Here:http://www.pointofinquiry.org/keep_em_separated_rev._barry_lynn_on_god_and_government/

Friday, September 18, 2015

Common Sense 285 – Torturing our Values

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Common Sense 285 – Torturing our Values

Sat, 13 Dec 2014 – 1:13:16 minutes – 53.6mb Was torture an effective tool in the War on Terror? As legislators in Washington debate the point, Dan stands up for timeless American values. Also: New deadly police encounters spawn more Ferguson-style protests.

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