Friday, May 15, 2009

Think Atheist

Visit Think Atheist

This is where I spend most of my time these days.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Playlist

Find more music like this on Think Atheist

Songs and musical pieces I like.
The player can be detached from your browsing.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

God an the Military


God's army: the U.S . Air Force.

Here's an example where people in authority - and we know how hierarchical the military is - can push their beliefs unto subordinates. Something I'm very intolerant about.

To allow such a piece of propaganda to be shot on their premises also shows the Pentagon's interest in religion as a control tool. Now try to do the similar atheist propaganda or just an honest documentary with soldiers who are atheists or who have become atheist following their war experience...

Plus we trust incredibly powerful weapons to these irrational people and that's a scary thought.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Religions!

Quantum Theology and Quantum Spirituality!

Something hinted at by the great fraud Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (Transcendental Meditation inventor, parasite of Beatles fame) is now becoming more widespread. The book review for "Quantum gods don't deserve your faith" by Amanda Gefter on New Scientist Opinions is revealing.

Maharishi claimed that transcendental meditation gave practitioners access to the "quantum field of cosmic consciousness". This, he said, was identical to SU(5), the model physicists were then investigating in their search for a grand unified theory. Sadly for cosmic consciousness, real experiments later falsified SU(5).

As for the notion of creating our own reality, this relies on brains in some sense operating quantum mechanically - and there is no evidence for this. As Stenger says, the scales of distance involved in brain processing are more than a thousand times too large for quantum effects to necessarily come into play. Likewise, physicist Max Tegmark has shown that the timescales of events in the brain are 10 or more orders of magnitude longer than the timescales of "decoherence", the process by which quantum effects "leak" out of the quantum system.

Let's get real! Let's not grab any new idea and flex it into our needs for imaginary food without some verification or validation...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How Should We Call Them ?

It would be nice to have name, a monicker, an appellation or designation, for those who really profit Big Time from their lies and their siblings' ignorance and gullibility.

Other than priests, pastors, shamans, frauds, thiefs or the Federal Reserve Bank for that matter. An original nickname - could be funny ironic sarcastic or just plain factual.

It could also be a completely made-up word. Like Beliefants, for instance.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Atheism Logo Study

A litttle while back, on Twitter, Michael Nugent, who hosts an atheist blog on Atheism, Happiness and Life suggested the idea of creating a visual symbol for Atheism.

There are already existing icons on the web representing atheism or certain aspects of the worldview, the FFS, Dawkins' A, the Skeletal Fish and others. But it started me thinking and I came up with the above design and the following argumentation:

My proposal for an Atheist Logo:
1 - Since everything either spirals in or out in this Universe, here's the Spiral.
2 - It also represents a Birdsnake, a fantasy hybrid link between reptiles and volatiles. Evolution.
3 - It has an organic sketchy-like irregular rendering, indicating the finest any (known) given star can produce: Life.
4 - Also suggests a galaxy... of like-minded thinkers.

Any opinions or suggestions?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Souls Don't Exist After Death

Myth: We have immortal souls that survive the death of the body.

We have mountains of evidence that makes it clear that our consciousness, our beliefs, our desires, our thoughts all depend upon the proper functioning of our brains our nervous systems to exist.

So when the brain dies, all of these things that we identify with the soul also cease to exist.

Despite the fact that billions of people have lived and died on this planet, we do not have a single credible case of someone's soul, or consciousness, or personality continuing to exist despite the demise of their bodies. Allegations of spirit chandlers, psychics, ghost stories, and communications with the dead have all turned out to befrauds, deceptions, mistakes, and lies.

From Matt McCormick's blog Proving The Negative

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Just A Quote

This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'this is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' this is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for'

Douglas Adams

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

On The Importance Of Philosophy

I'm Just An Amateur Philosopher

Philosophy examines and studies existence, as well as knowledge, action, force and the arts. At the root it stems from the need to understand existence and the nature of existence. Life and death, as far as we, conscious and sentient living things are concerned.

Well, as far as I'm concerned. But I'm a real amateur philosopher. A newbie, not because I'm young - I'm not - but because I wasted too much time dabbling with the same fundamental issues that philosophy deals with but without the proper tools. And without a solid framework such as the one presented for instance here, on The Importance Of Philosophy.

It is based on an Objectivist worldview, first laid out by author and philosopher Ayn Rand, who said:

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute....

And we, the self-aware, can't escape philosophy. On this other website, Objectivism 101, it says

...that everyone has a philosophy, even if they don't know it. There's no way to avoid it. It's the way you make sense of the world. It's how you put your knowledge together into an understanding of the world. It's how you make choices, weigh costs and benefits, and decide how to live your life.

A statement with which I wholeheartedly agree. For years I developped "a" philosophical point of view without my knowing it. As I was examining the development of my own condition, in itself and within human society, as I was searching for answers and more knowledge on this universe I found myself in, ideas somehow organised themselves around a few pivotal concepts and I slowly became an amateur philosopher...

One who's trying to attain a little more clarity from whithin this chaotic and entropic life he woke up in, fifty eight years ago....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Evolution Is Wrong


According to the simplistic arguments presented in this clip - based on the ideas of Adnan Oktar, the islamist creationist - because some species have not changed in hundreds of millions of years, all life was created at once. He uses numerous fossil examples and compares them with almost unchanged living species today to prove that evolution did not happen.

We estimate that there are between seven to one hundred million different living species today - numbers vary because of issues categorising species - some of them are bound to not need to evolve. To be so well niched at one point that major changes become unnecessary and the form stabilises.

Of course he doesn't mention the fact that there are no human fossils dating hundreds of millions of years, but oddly, and contrary to Bible-bound American creationists, he admits to those millions of years.

Here's a nice example of propaganda for you. It uses all the tricks in the book to sustain Oktar's fallacious argument that Darwin was wrong. About a third of the program is spent on pseudo-scientific explanations of the process of fossilisation, another third tells without giving any facts that all sciences have proofs against evolution and the last consist of enumeration of species that haven't changed.

All with dramatic music, fast editing, lush 3D animations, quality graphics and diagrams, lies and wide approximations, and a smirk in the narrator's voice.

A Good Sermon

Amazing! What the power of a good sermon can do. And on any subject. This excellent and hilarious demonstration of arguing convincingly against food shows how one can, in more serious fields, with words, intonations and attitude, influence and manipulate other people towards any ideology imaginable. Gain an advantage over siblings.

Good to know about that trick and have a good laugh at the same time.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Belief

My only faith:

There will be one more day for me.

My only certainty:

And once, there won't!

Status: So far so good.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Hate Syndrome

Hatred is many things. But in very general terms it is attention targeted at an idea, an objet or person, with intent to do damage. The foundation of which is usually pain, past or current. Hate features ignorance of all other angle on or concern about its target. It fuels focused imagination and eventually actions to resolve itself.

The picture above was taken in Montreal, Quebec, a few weeks ago during an annual yet impromptu march against police violence. Hatred is often but not always mutual. And it is sometimes caused not by directly by pain, where the object of hate is unrelated to its subject, as in the case of acute mental illness. Or when hatred is directed towards a symbol, an image that incorporates what the subject feels. To hate is to feel intense dislike, or extreme aversion or hostility, always with a reason. Hatred is not evil, it is a syndrome of many emotions, attitudes, views, intentions, and it burns everything it touches. Hatred is animal.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Prayer Is Superstition

A prayer has the same effect as a lucky horseshoe. Statistically none. No effect whatsoever. It does however stimulate the imagination into creating excuses when a demonstration of the effect of prayers (or horseshoes) fails miserably.

The above video is somewhat "not exciting" to watch but it's arguments are rock solid.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jesus, Good Luck

Someone just rang at the door and offered me to participate in a celebration of Jesus in the neighborhood.  I answered that I wished him good luck.

He didn’t get it and asked if I was interested to learn more about Jesus. I repeated that I wished him good luck in his enterprises, he left.

The Jesus of the age

I’m not sure but I think it was our parish priest.  The Catholics are frenetic with Easter coming…  Here’s a collage I made: The Jesus Of The Age, constantly re-manufactured through time.

Myths, legends and superstitions have incredible long lives, which tends to show that imagination is useful in evolutionary terms.

I heard someone saying that at least, priests don’t reproduce.  It is true, but the really serious problem is that they teach errors, misconceptions, biases and worse.

I find nothing to celebrate here.

The Biological World

When I first saw Carl Sagan's Cosmos, I never thought it would still be necessary, almost thirty years later, to be argueing these points over and over again...

This program (Carl Sagan's Cosmos - Part 2, released in 1981, is posted here) should simply be required viewing for every kid, as soon as she or he can understand half the words Dr. Sagan uses. They all absolutely need to be exposed to these clear explanations on the "stuff of life" and what is the scientific worldview. Not just the bright, curious or scientifically-inclined child, every child should watch Cosmos. Better in an educational curriculum but if not, in all possible contexts.

I agree that "we are a way for the Cosmos to know itself" and I think that fighting ignorance is part of that job, still.

Side Note: At 43 min. he uses as demonstrations of DNA's vital role blood processes that would eventually lead to his death in 1996, of pneumonia caused by myelodysplasia an immune system disease. See also here.

Monday, March 23, 2009



When you rearrange the letters:

Is that confirmation or evidence?
The French certainly don't have to worry about this one!

Counter Measure:

Design Fiction, for a better, more creative use for imagination.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Immaterial Reality

Matter is immaterial, but you can now slow and freeze light.

Better be able to wrap our heads around the idea. Since we must learn to often rely on the unreliable, fundamental concepts on the uncertain nature of reality are of a certain importance.

Better be able to wrap our heads around these experimental ideas than filling them with notions of "invisible forces". Make me a machine like the lady's got in the above video that capture's god's will and I'll gladly reconsider.

Bring me data that shows a soul leaving a body at death - while I'm waiting, I'll keep on thinking there's enough exciting stuff going around in the actual universe without introducing the superfluous "otherly".

Local Reality

There's enough information on our local neighborhood to counter irrational knowledge about its purported created origin.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Humans Still Evolving

To my great surprise, I only recently learned that the consensus among scientists was that humans had ceased evolving more than fifty thousand years ago. They held that natural selection hasd't come into play since then and that our modern skulls houses Stone Age minds.

But closer observation of the genetic material of the last ten thousand years now seem to show that instead, there's rather been a growth, an avalanche of evolutionary changes in the human body during that recent period and apparently the mutations accelerate as we speak.

The brain, digestive system, lifespan, immunity, sperm production and bones, some two thousand mutations have been identified and traced back. We are differenciating under a wide diversity of environments, the variations in social condition, lifestyle, stress levels, pollution, and the intensification of some of these factors that comes with population growth, all at a recently unsuspected speed.

What will we be in five hundred years?

Learn more from DiscoverMagazine.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Converting First Impressions

Neuroscientists at New York University and Harvard University have identified the neural systems involved in forming first impressions of others. The findings, which show how we encode social information and then evaluate it in making these initial judgments, are reported in the most recent issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience.


The neuroimaging results showed significant activity in two regions of the brain during the encoding of impression-relevant information. The first, the amygdala, is a small structure in the medial temporal lobe that previously has been linked to emotional learning about inanimate objects, as well as social evaluations based on trust or race group. The second, the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), has been linked to economic decision-making and assigning subjective value to rewards. In the Nature Neuroscience study, these parts of the brain, which are implicated in value processing in a number of domains, showed increased activity when encoding information that was consistent with the impression.

Think Fast, A Vital Ability

In the brain, first impressions seem to be linked to multiple functional areas: to an emotional learning enabler, to the system used in building a sense of social rewards and values, and to how we estimate winning compatibility with our peers. The original first few seconds imprint can then initiate a self-confirming loop of likes or dislikes that will usually stick to us. Specially if corroborated by further information.

But then again, these first impressions can be shattered, switched, eroded or mutated. A friendship of forty years, I started with a strong antipathy; another long-time friend I did not really trust for a long while.

More information, intuition, effort, a revelation or even chance can convert a first impression. It happens. Both ways, from right to wrong and from mistaken to pertinent. The relative reliability and success of this arrangement though, seem to show that we are more often right than we are wrong, fast judgement is probably a vital ability.

The success of this strategy however also might explain why some first impression will never be convertible. Why some people will not be able to change their mind, adopt a different view, reconsider a relationship or the nature of some content. With fast (or lazy) jugments the flexibility seems to be lost.

Hence the hard-core devots, irreductible fanatists and even suicide-cultists.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Benevolent Design

Evil proven. Maybe more than an indifferent universe.

It is fearsome. And it somewhat legitimizes this need to fantasize on an imaginary benevolent designer. But it is now safe to say that observations and measurements have shown no trace of such benevolence in the known universe.

Other than for small occasional "pockets of luck", this is a dangerous place.


Supernatural faith-based religions create undue fear and worries in the minds of children and adults about things that don't exist. It redirects time, money, resources and people wanting to do good into useless endeavours. It promotes magical and superstitious thinking. It gives respect and credence to religious leaders for no good reason - and often with terrible results.


Fear, worries, time, money, resources, useless endeavours - all soaked in good intention salsa (from dulce to picante).

That's what one has to invest in order to adhere to irrational views.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Pretension

Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.

Bre Pettis and Kio Stark's "Cult of Done manifesto".

So let's pretend that I'm a human animal, bent on science and philosophy, an artist and a curious observer of both inside and outside realities.

That's what I say I am.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Learning From Books

Learning From Books, originally uploaded by me.

My advice at this point in time:

Learn from as many books as possible. When learning is to come from books, make sure there are enough in your library. If learning is to come through the entertainment you get from books, read multiple tales from different authors to build as many angles as possible.

Friday, February 27, 2009


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Singularity may refer to any of a variety of concepts.

Mathematical singularity, a point at which a given mathematical object is not defined

In complex analysis:
Essential singularity, a singularity near which a function exhibits extreme behavior
Isolated singularity, a mathematical singularity that has no other singularities close to it
Movable singularity, a concept in singularity theory
Removable singularity, a point at which a function is not defined but at which it can be so defined that it is continuous at the singularity

In algebraic geometry:
Singular point of an algebraic variety, a point where an algebraic variety is not locally flat
Rational singularity, a concept in singularity theory
Singularity theory, which deals with these concepts

Gravitational singularity, a point in spacetime in which gravitational forces cause matter to have an infinite density and zero volume
Mechanical singularity, a position or configuration of a mechanism or a machine where the subsequent behaviour cannot be predicted
Prandtl-Glauert singularity, the point at which a sudden drop in air pressure occurs
Singularity (climate), a weather phenomenon associated with a specific calendar date
Technological singularity, a theoretical point in the development of a technological civilization
Van Hove singularity in the density of states of a material

Singularity is an interesting concept in a universe where things are
generally self-similar and continuous (as part of a continuum).
Singularities also happen in one's life. A birth, a tragic loss, a very
close call with death, a brush with mental illness, something or an event that changes the rules for ever.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bad News

Intermediate Ends Of The World

When I die it will be the end of the world as far as I'm concerned - and since I don't believe I'm the habitat of something "higher" than me, that'll be that. For most of us and most of our descendants' descendants, it will be the same, a private end of the world.

There is also a probability that the human civilization will exterminate itself, and that catastrophic change might happen so relatively quickly that people will be witness to it. That's another possible intermediate end of the known civilized world.

Then there's the chance an asteroid hits our planet to smithereens, in which case we would all live through an end of the earthly world. And if none of the above occur, the following clip illustrates what's most likely to happen as far as a galactic end of the world.

Then later, something might endanger our local cluster of galaxies either ripping the fabric of the universe, or having it's space filled with neighboring clusters, as the heading picture (educated simulation) of clusters of clusters suggests.

An ultimate End Of The World? of course! One day - a freeze, a crunch, no one is yet certain. But all seems to indicate that fatal entropy will win. Until then let's just forget about the many religious justice scare tactics and expected judgement days, and relax. Let's consider instead and keep busy with our own peremptionality.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Making or doing art

A fabricated object or behavior loaded with intent.

Intent to share, communicate, intervene, interfere, entertain or otherwise impact fellow humans.

For the artist it is a statement. The object or performance is infused with his intent. The viewer is touched and reacts, feels and interpret its effects and forget, remembers or integrates the experience. Not much need be done for art to be made. In the above picture (taken by somenone else) I just added some tint and texture and an english word. Other artists will put an ordinary object out of context or under a different light. Or highlight a pattern or behave in special ways... Art can be simple or flourish in sophisticated intricacies and technical achievements. And it is something we human animals do to each other to enjoy or enlighten ourselves on our ephemeral condition. And we are now at a point in our evolution where art has become vital.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Basic Cosmological Knowledge

This is the basic knowledge about the universe that should underlie all theological and philosophical speculations and assumptions. Please push the Play button.

And this explains the method by which knowledge such as the above is acquired, verified, built upon.

For more vids on scientific knowledge, try this . Or watch the following clip on what "life" really is.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Table's End

Where does the table effectively end?

Infinitesimally, atoms of solid wood turn into flowing atoms of air while from my point of view, there is a surface of solid wood. But is there?

We know that however polished that surface is, if you look close enough, it is rough and ragged. And at the atomic level, there are places that are wood and places that are not. There's even a level of uncertainty on what is part of the table and what, is part of the room's air.

We also know that this solid wood surface is constantly being modified by traveling molecules and electromagnetic bombardments and other contacts with solid objects. And that atoms and molecules of the table are constantly let loose from the solid. We also know that some particles can even go through that solid wood table.

What's interesting it that there is no exact frontier between the table and the air, even though from my point of view, there seems to be one. Then my assuming that there is a trustable interface between solid and gaseous would be "close enough for rock and roll".

So for most of us, most of the time, approximate assumptions are more than enough for functional living. If it wasn't for challenges and curiosity.

Monday, February 2, 2009


There will be justice
Bad people get punished.
You, however, will be forgiven.

From The American Cargo Cult.
Get the rest

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reading, Evocation and Simulaton

Readers build vivid mental simulations of narrative situations, brain scans suggest

A new brain-imaging study is shedding light on what it means to "get lost" in a good book — suggesting that readers create vivid mental simulations of the sounds, sights, tastes and movements described in a textual narrative while simultaneously activating brain regions used to process similar experiences in real life.

Does that mean that stories use the same brain areas as real-life?

Or that what we conceive to be real-life is really happening in the same brain areas as fiction but with the added benefit or sensorial input? Both seem to operate in the same fashion. A friend who studies lucid dreaming also expects the similar brain areas to fire up when a dreamer acquires lucidity.

Real-life worldviews are of the same substance as more or less educated stories?

That would render myths, legends, fallacies, and other imaginary constructions indistinguishable from evidence-supported hypothesis.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Faith & Consequences

Miss Beatrice, the church organist, was in her eighties and had never been married. She was admired for her sweetness and kindness to all.

One afternoon the pastor came to call on her and she showed him into her quaint sitting room.

She invited him to have a seat while she prepared tea. As he sat facing her old Hammond organ, the young minister noticed a cut-glass bowl sitting on top of it. The bowl was filled with water, and in the water floated, of all things, a condom! When she returned with tea and scones, they began to chat.

The pastor tried to stifle his curiosity about the bowl of water and its strange floater, but soon it got the better of him and he could no longer resist. 'Miss Beatrice', he said, 'I wonder if you would tell me about this?' pointing to the bowl.

'Oh, yes,' she replied, 'Isn't it wonderful? I was walking through the Park a few months ago and I found this little package on the ground. The directions said to place it on the organ, keep it wet and that it would prevent the spread of disease.

Do you know I haven't had the flu all winter.'

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


What happens happened because it was the most probable thing to happen then. Most of the time.

The next now for most average folks is a highly probable, predictable, expected moment, life that continues. Until for some, the unexpectedly improbable outside force strikes directly and life takes a turn. But the surprise doen't always come from beyond.

Errors, mistakes, bad choices and other wrong moves are examples of points where we ourselves are the cause of an unexpected turn of event. Which of course doesn't exclude the improbable - an erroneous assumption leading to real discovery for instance, or a bad turn in an alley... Even the highly improbable can happen - News Of The Weird is full of such demonstrations.


My point: In view of the chaotic circumstances of the universe at the time, I'd dare to say that the emergence of life and subsequent self-aware beings resulted from a chain of these highly improbable events. If you consider that reality, at our level, is the gazillion nano-to-mega events required to maintain the consistency of matter, with such numbers improbable things are bound to happen.

But they just rarely do, sitting at the edges of the Bell curve as they are.