This is a Godless place.

atheism for the win.

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sagansense:

It vexes me when they would constrain science by the authority of the Scriptures, and yet do not consider themselves bound to answer reason and experiment.

Nature is relentless and unchangeable, and it is indifferent as to whether its hidden reasons and actions are understandable to man or not.

By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox.

Facts which at first seem improbable will, even on scant explanation, drop the cloak which has hidden them and stand forth in naked and simple beauty.

I think that in the discussion of natural problems we ought to begin not with the Scriptures, but with experiments, and demonstrations.

Galileo Galilei

(Source: youtu.be)

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sagansense:

"Americans always expected their children to face a brighter economic future, and we scientists expected our students to inherit a world where science was embraced by an ever-larger fraction of the population. This never implied turning science into a religion or demanding slavish acceptance of this year’s hot research trends. We face many daunting challenges as a society, and they won’t all be solved with more science and math education. But what has been lost is an understanding that science’s open-ended, evidence-based processes — rather than just its results — are essential to meeting those challenges.

My professors’ generation could respond to silliness like creationism with head-scratching bemusement. My students cannot afford that luxury. Instead they must become fierce champions of science in the marketplace of ideas.

During my undergraduate studies I was shocked at the low opinion some of my professors had of the astronomer Carl Sagan. For me his efforts to popularize science were an inspiration, but for them such “outreach” was a diversion. That view makes no sense today.

The enthusiasm and generous spirit that Mr. Sagan used to advocate for science now must inspire all of us. There are science Twitter feeds and blogs to run, citywide science festivals and high school science fairs that need input. For the civic-minded nonscientists there are school board curriculum meetings and long-term climate response plans that cry out for the participation of informed citizens. And for every parent and grandparent there is the opportunity to make a few more trips to the science museum with your children.

Behind the giant particle accelerators and space observatories, science is a way of behaving in the world. It is, simply put, a tradition. And as we know from history’s darkest moments, even the most enlightened traditions can be broken and lost. Perhaps that is the most important lesson all lifelong students of science must learn now.”

Adam Frank, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester, is the author of “About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang” and a founder of NPR’s 13.7 Cosmos and Culture blog.

From the NY Times article “Welcome to the Age of Denial”

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We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.
Carl Sagan (via whats-out-there)

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sagansense:

explore-blog:

Do your soul a favor and read Tolstoy’s letters to Gandhi on love, violence, and the truth of the human spirit – doubly resonant in our present cultural climate. 

And very much relevant as well…a few shots of humility, as Carl Sagan discusses (via Callum C.J. Sutherland’s ‘Carl Sagan Tribute Series’) the deflation of our conceits, the implications of technological progress and the future we hold in our hands, the importance of the ‘Pale Blue Dot’ photo, and the blessing and curse of human civilization.

sagansense:

explore-blog:

Do your soul a favor and read Tolstoy’s letters to Gandhi on love, violence, and the truth of the human spirit – doubly resonant in our present cultural climate. 

And very much relevant as well…a few shots of humility, as Carl Sagan discusses (via Callum C.J. Sutherland’s ‘Carl Sagan Tribute Series’) the deflation of our conceits, the implications of technological progress and the future we hold in our hands, the importance of the ‘Pale Blue Dot’ photo, and the blessing and curse of human civilization.

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As a social primate species, we modulate our morals with signals from family, friends, and social groups with whom we identify because in our evolutionary past, those attributes helped individuals to survive and reproduce.

Michael Shermer

Conformity to religion was important for survival for thousands of years, making religion a good example of natural selection among humans: To not believe was to risk being ostracized or killed. For billions of us this is still true today. Evolution is slow change…

(via whats-out-there)

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benaddicted4life asked: I just found your blog and wanted to drop by toTHANK YOU for being so rational and informed and enthusiastic about our world and it's beauty. I myself was raised on Darwin, Sagan, Dawkins, Hitchens, etc by two biologists who taught me early on to question and explore and think progressive thoughts. And while it can sometimes be extremely frustrating that there are many out there who are the exact opposite, it's nice to know that people are like you are here with me. So keep fighting : )

sagansense:

I’m continually grateful to how many people drop in and share their stories. Thank YOU…for the support and the inspirational words.

Often I consider the implications on my life if I were brought up by a family absent of religious fundamentalist views from the toxic indoctrination they underwent in their childhood. Although, I only rest on it as a passing thought, because the perspective I’ve gained by being raised by such a family permits genuine empathy for all those amongst our species who have and continue to endure such manifest nonsense thrust onto their lives by others who are free to not only celebrate ignorance, but abuse/misguide others through manipulation by taking advantage of others’ vulnerability and ignorance without impunity. 

And yes, it is frustrating…daily. Seth Andrews (@ThinkingAtheist) wrote an inspiring blog post in 2011 which resonates with your encouragement to keep fighting

- - - - - - -

The protests come every day from the religious, and they go something like this:

* “Why spend your time disproving God?”

* “Why not just let people believe what they want to believe?”

* “Why can’t you leave religion alone?”

As one YouTube commenter said recently, “No one can explain to me why it is so important to convince theists to abandon their beliefs.

The answer is simple. Pages like this one exist because religion exists.

Religion permeates our culture, shows up on our doorsteps with literature, scriptures and threats of eternal damnation, influences our science books, contaminates our political systems, indoctrinates our children and postulates that its doctrine must be followed, lest we be destroyed in body, in soul, or both.

Non-believers are simply responding to the avalanche of religious messages that bears down upon us daily.

Religion gets carte blanche to be as vocal as it wants, to knock on our doors and accost us in our homes, in our places of work, in our personal and professional lives. Believers are charged with a life mission to preach, teach, disciple, shout it from the mountaintops and to “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Religion…is everywhere.

Ask yourself. When’s the last time an atheist rang your doorbell with the Good News of Humanism? How often do you find Richard Dawkins books in the dresser drawers of your hotel rooms? When was the last atheist temple erected in your neighborhood? Have you ever attended an atheist revival? Has atheism demanded 10% of your household income? How many dedicated atheist television channels come through your satellite dish? How many atheist verses were you instructed to memorize as a child? When’s the last time someone thanked a FARMER (or even the cook) at the dinner table instead of God?

On a more radical front, what’s the name of the last atheist who sawed the head off of an “infidel?” Or sentenced a shrouded woman to death for displeasing an oppressive husband? Or strapped explosives to his belt in order to kill hundreds in a public square? Or publicly hung a gay person for his lifestyle?

It’s everywhere. Religion is a pounding drum that has gone mostly unanswered for a long, long time. And religion is not satisfied with merely existing quietly in the homes and hearts of the faithful. Its very nature compels the believer to proselytize, preach, promote, convince, convert and prevail. If you play on the team of the religious, your game plan is to stay, always, on offense.

Throughout our history, those who raise a simple hand of protest against these advances have been portrayed as the real problem. Religion has attempted to marginalize and defeat legitimate questions and concerns by indignantly portraying any resistors as misguided, immoral, rudderless, angry, miserable, lost and alone.

And when skepticism challenges wildly improbable (or impossible) stories found in the bible, the Qur’an and other holy books, the religious wail, “Why can’t you just leave us alone?”

The irony is thick.

And religion impedes curiosity and inhibits learning, as the much-maligned Creation Museum proves. It stymies critical thinking. It stretches us to believe the unbelievable. And it poisons the foundational teachings we are using to train up the generations of tomorrow.

Pages like mine exist as a response… a counter-argument to ensure that the cacophony of superstition does not go unchallenged. And if your belief system is so undeniable, so factual, so provable, so real and so true, certainly it can withstand the opposing viewpoints presented here and elsewhere. Certainly, it can survive the acid tests.

Just remember. Religion began the argument. It amplifies itself before the world. And it threatens all mankind with punishment upon its rejection.

And as long as religion insists on fixing human beings who are not broken, we will respond with the evidence that we are not the problem.

- - - - - - -

I will continue to fight, as it may seem a fitting way to put it, but I think we choose to use that word because of how insurmountable the struggle seems to be, and how persistent the ignorance is permeated throughout our society, affecting our lives still, on the grandest scale, to the reality that we may be shackled to this planet due to the socially acceptable insanity of superstition and religious belief. 

However, the word “fight” implies participation in a violent struggle involving the exchange of physical blows or the use of weapons; in other words, a violent confrontation. And if there’s one thing that our present/past human timeline reveals, the only people involved in such a battle are the fundamentalist-minded themselves: religion vs religion or, opinion vs opinion, and further: ignorance vs ignorance. 

So, “fighting” is not what I’m doing. My role as a sprout amidst the tree of life on this planet and as a citizen of the cosmos, is to educate.

By Carl’s poignant words, “we are all star stuff," and "when you’re in love, you want to tell the world." So, as star stuff, I will not fight, merely continue to illuminate reality through the tools we call science curiosity.