Archive for February, 2013


BEHIND THE DICTATORS

Insightful, provides a clue to the seminal inspiration, real ideological and political force behind the rise of the Christo-fascist, American Religious Right!

http://archive.org/stream/BehindTheDictators#page/n9/mode/2up

Behind the Dictators

http://archive.org/details/BehindTheDictators

Fascism and Nazism as the political arms of Right Wing Catholicism

 


Now you have!

Anthony Jeselnik on Jim norton down and dirty on HBO

The whole thing is a gem, but note from 4:28 (Source: youtube.com)

Watch his new show “The Jeselnik Offensive!”


7 reasons why religion is a form of mental illness
Article by Sweet  Tea The Southern Skeptic Fairy
I would like to propose that religious beliefs be placed in the DSM as a category of mental illness for the following reasons:-
(1) Hallucinations – the person has invisible friends who (s)he insists are real, and to whom (s)he speaks daily, even though nobody can actually see or hear these friends.
(2) Delusions – the patient believes that the invisible friends have magical powers to make them rich, cure cancer, bring about world peace, and will do so eventually if asked.
(3) Denial/Inability to learn – though the requests for world peace remain unanswered, even after hundreds of years, the patients persist with the praying behaviour, each time expecting different results.
(4) Inability to distinguish fantasy from reality – the beliefs are contingent upon ancient mythology being accepted as historical fact.
(5) Paranoia – the belief that anyone who does not share their supernatural concept of reality is “evil,” “the devil,” “an agent of Satan”.
(6) Emotional abuse – ­ religious concepts such as sin, hell, cause feelings of guilt, shame, fear, and other types of emotional “baggage” which can scar the psyche for life.
(7) Violence – many patients insist that others should share in their delusions, even to the extent of using violence.

Cover Image: August 2010 Scientific American Magazine
Faith and Foolishness: When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous

Religious leaders should be held accountable when their irrational ideas turn harmful

By Lawrence M. Krauss

A church tower in Budva, Montenegro.

Image: iStockphoto

Every two years the National Science Foundation produces a report, Science and Engineering Indicators, designed to probe the public’s understanding of science concepts. And every two years we relearn the sad fact that U.S. adults are less willing to accept evolution and the big bang as factual than adults in other industrial countries.

Except for this time. Was there suddenly a quantum leap in U.S. science literacy? Sadly, no. Rather the National Science Board, which oversees the foundation, chose to leave the section that discussed these issues out of the 2010 edition, claiming the questions were “flawed indicators of scientific knowledge because responses conflated knowledge and beliefs.” In short, if their religious beliefs require respondents to discard scientific facts, the board doesn’t think it appropriate to expose that truth.

The section does exist, however, and Science magazine obtained it. When presented with the statement “human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals,” just 45 percent of respondents indicated “true.” Compare this figure with the affirmative percentages in Japan (78), Europe (70), China (69) and South Korea (64). Only 33 percent of Americans agreed that “the universe began with a big explosion.”

Consider the results of a 2009 Pew Survey: 31 percent of U.S. adults believe “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.” (So much for dogs, horses or H1N1 flu.) The survey’s most enlightening aspect was its categorization of responses by levels of religious activity, which suggests that the most devout are on average least willing to accept the evidence of reality. White evangelical Protestants have the highest denial rate (55 percent), closely followed by the group across all religions who attend services on average at least once a week (49 percent).

I don’t know which is more dangerous, that religious beliefs force some people to choose between knowledge and myth or that pointing out how religion can purvey ignorance is taboo. To do so risks being branded as intolerant of religion. The kindly Dalai Lama, in a recent New York Times editorial, juxtaposed the statement that “radical atheists issue blanket condemnations of those who hold religious beliefs” with his censure of the extremist intolerance, murderous actions and religious hatred in the Middle East. Aside from the distinction between questioning beliefs and beheading or bombing people, the “radical atheists” in question rarely condemn individuals but rather actions and ideas that deserve to be challenged.

Surprisingly, the strongest reticence to speak out often comes from those who should be most worried about silence. Last May I attended a conference on science and public policy at which a representative of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences gave a keynote address. When I questioned how he reconciled his own reasonable views about science with the sometimes absurd and unjust activities of the Church—from false claims about condoms and AIDS in Africa to pedophilia among the clergy—I was denounced by one speaker after another for my intolerance.

Religious leaders need to be held accountable for their ideas. In my state of Arizona, Sister Margaret McBride, a senior administrator at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, recently authorized a legal abortion to save the life of a 27-year-old mother of four who was 11 weeks pregnant and suffering from severe complications of pulmonary hypertension; she made that decision after consultation with the mother’s family, her doctors and the local ethics committee. Yet the bishop of Phoenix, Thomas Olm­sted, immediately excommunicated Sister Margaret, saying, “The mother’s life cannot be preferred over the child’s.” Ordinarily, a man who would callously let a woman die and orphan her children would be called a monster; this should not change just because he is a cleric.

In the race for Alabama governor, an advertisement bankrolled by the state teachers’ union attacked candidate Bradley Byrne because he supposedly supported teaching evolution. Byrne, worried about his political future, felt it necessary to deny the charge.

Keeping religion immune from criticism is both unwarranted and dangerous. Unless we are willing to expose religious irrationality whenever it arises, we will encourage irrational public policy and promote ignorance over education for our children.

This article was originally published with the title Faith and Foolishness.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

Lawrence M. Krauss, a physicist and science commentator, is Foundation Professor and director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University (www.krauss.faculty.asu.edu).


ILLuMiNuTTi.com

by Steven Novella via NeuroLogica Blog

spontaneous human combustion 1122News reports of a recent death by fire in Tulsa, OK read, “Sheriff: Oklahoma Man Died of Spontaneous Human Combustion,” and “Sheriff Rules Out Homicide, But Not Spontaneous Combustion After Autopsy.”

It’s actually not difficult to rule out spontaneous human combustion (SHC) – you can rule it out because SHC does not exist. The notion of SHC is that some process occurs in the body that causes it to heat to the point of spontaneous ignition, without an external ignition source. There simply is no known process by which this could occur.

This is not a trivial objection. While it is, of course, impossible to completely rule out the unknown, the laws of physics can make something so improbable that we can comfortably treat it as if it were impossible. At the very least the burden of proof should…

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How Did Dov Hikind’s Career Survive His Purim Blackface Gaffe? Thuggery And Lies, Say Democrat Insiders

Dov Hikind in blackface Purim 2013

“Cross him and he’ll call you an anti-Semite and put you in the New York Post. In New York City politics, that’s something people are genuinely  scared of and he plays it. … It’s like identity politics, mixed with  money, mixed with intimidation.”

Dov Hikind in blackface Purim 2013 Dov Hikind, center, his wife, left, and son, right Purim 2013

Dov Hikind, center, his wife, left, and his adult son Yoni, right, Purim 2013

Politicker reports:

…[S]everal insiders we spoke with insisted Mr. Hikind was spared from a stronger reaction because of the unique power he wields on the local political scene.

One local political insider noted this isn’t the first time Mr. Hikind has courted controversy without facing lasting repercussions. In 2011, Mr. Hikind was one of the most vocal Democrats opposed to New York’s legalization of gay marriage. He bucked his party again this year when he suggested Jewish support for President Barack Obama was a “disease.”

“Can you imagine if somebody else had said that? What does that even mean right?” the insider said of Mr. Hikind’s comments on the presidential election. “People are not willing to stick up to him. Internally, everyone realizes he’s a dirtbag, we’re just not going to say that because that’s the game we play.”

A Brooklyn politico told us political figures running for citywide office are reluctant to take on Mr. Hikind because they fear “retribution” from a man who’s seen as “the gatekeeper of Orthodox Brooklyn.”

“If this were another Assemblyman what would happen here? A three-car pileup of city officials denouncing his actions,” they said of the costume incident before citing names of several elected officials who hadn’t weighed in on the flap.

The local political insider listed several factors as contributing to Mr. Hikind’s strength including his status as a perceived “kingmaker” in Brooklyn’s Orthodox community, his large war chest and his past association with the militant Jewish Defense League, which has been described by the FBI as “right-wing terrorist group.”

“It’s a number of things, one, he has created a perception that he is a power broker who can actually deliver and, in a city where fewer and fewer political machines are relevant, this hits home. People really are afraid to go up against him,” the insider said of Mr. Hikind. “Number two, he’s amassed an awful lot of campaign cash. … Thirdly, he’s like genuinely a scary dude. He’s connected with quasi-terrorist organizations that have been investigated by the FBI and he’s the kind of guy that can flip on you at any moment. He operates in this sort of mysterious, shadowy way up in Albany.”
Mr. Hikind’s Assembly district encompasses the neighborhoods of Borough Park and Midwood, two major components of the city’s Orthodox community. Last year, he was re-elected by defeating his lone opponent in the district 94 percent to six percent. He received over 19,000 votes in that effort, an impressive total in a city where the last mayoral election was decided by about 50,000 votes.

All of the sources we spoke with speculated the impression of Mr. Hikind as an influencer in the Orthodox community might be, as the Brooklyn politico put it, “overblown.” Indeed, some Orthodox insiders privately told us Mr. Hikind’s reputation as a power broker in the community is largely a myth because the younger generation of Orthodox Jews is less beholden to old institutional forces. However, the perception of Mr. Hikind  as a key Orthodox power player clearly persists on the political scene.

In addition to the idea Mr. Hikind influences a solid base in the Orthodox community, the insider described his role as a visible figurehead in the city’s wider Jewish community as a major source of his strength. Mr. Hikind hosts his own show on a local Jewish radio station and is always among the first and loudest officials to speak out on issues seen as affecting the community and instances of discrimination against Jews.

“He really does the Jewish thing very, very effectively,” said the insider. “Cross him and he’ll call you an anti-Semite and put you in the New York Post. In New York City politics, that’s something people are genuinely scared of and he plays it. … It’s like identity politics, mixed with money, mixed with intimidation.”…


Denver DA arrests two psychics for fraud, going for hattrick
By idoubtit
Psychic parlor tricks and curses.

2 Psychics Arrested, 3rd Sought « CBS Denver.

One Denver psychic has been convicted of theft, a second was arrested this month in California and Denver prosecutors are still seeking to arrest a third psychic accused of convincing clients she was a “witch doctor.”

“In these cases, where after they’ve paid money for services rendered, they take additional money, I believe through theft and deception, through magic and things like that and then don’t give money back to the victims … that’s when we get involved,” said Stevenson.

Denver psychic Cathy Ann Russo is currently on probation after being pleading guilty last August to felony theft and misdemeanor theft. Over the course of five years, beginning in 2007, Russo conned a Hispanic man out of $35,250. according to court records.

She is still acting as a psychic, although when a CBS4 producer went to see her for a tarot card reading, she identified herself as “Miss Anna.”

Earlier this month, authorities in California arrested Denver psychic Isabel Costello on an arrest warrant for theft and conspiracy to commit theft issued by the Denver DA’s office.

They say the two women conned at least four victims out of thousands of dollars by convincing them their money was cursed, and the more money turned over to the psychics, the easier it would be to remove the curses.

In order to convince clients of their “powers”, they did things like making grapefruits bleed, tomatoes taste like salt and cracking eggs open revealing black yolks. Anyone have info on how these tricks worked?

The psychics took advantage of clients’ belief in black magic and curses.

When will ALL psychics who take money be able to be charged with fraud?