Thursday, December 16, 2010

Man Cured of HIV

Finally, right?  A Berlin man has been given the official word from doctors that he no longer has HIV.  While battling cancer, the man underwent a very risky stem-cell transplant from just the right donor in order to replenish his weakened immune system.  Read about it here.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Does the Universe Have a Purpose? Debate Analysis

Perhaps you have watched the panel debate that took place last month in Mexico that pitted Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer and Matt Ridley against William Lane Craig, David Wolpe, and Douglas Geivett.  The proposed question of the debate was, "does the universe have a purpose?"  It seemed an important topic, with important figures on both sides, so I thought I would give my thoughts on it.  You can watch the debate here.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

New Symphony of Science: A Wave of Reason

John Boswell from symphonyofscience has posted a new music video promoting reason, skepticism and science.  This could be the best one yet.  Watch, listen and enjoy.  Be sure to visit his site!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Humanism Ad Campaign

Richard Dawkins appears in this tv spot that will be appearing on several networks very soon.  There are currently two other spots available to watch on  The campaign features readings from holy books about various issues such as women's rights, violence, slavery, intelligence and homosexuality, and contrasts it with what humanists think.  You will find that what the humanists think is very much in line with what most thinking people think about morality and values.  The contrast between the ancient world's ideas and today's values is a stark one.

The ads are designed to make people consider the source of these holy books.  Do the values contained in the Bible or Koran seem like they were breathed from a perfectly moral god?  I think most will find that the ideas and morals found in holy books clash with our moral intuitions.  Apologists no doubt deal with these "problem verses" in effort to make them sound less repugnant, but the honest thinker should wonder why, if god himself inspired the entire thing, would he have the authors write down such dated thoughts in the first place?  It seems more likely that ancient people wrote what is contained in holy books, and their prejudices and morals of the day inspired them - not god.

The official site also has various ads that can be printed and distributed by the inspired free-thinker.  Print some out, work with the humanist club at your school or in your community to spread the word.
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Large Hadron Collider Creates "Mini Big Bang"

via & BBC News:

Lead ion collision inside the LHC

CERN scientists have recently collided lead ions which have created some beautiful and curious reactions.  Scientists hope these experiments will help us understand the processes at work at the very beginning of the universe.  Temperatures reached upwards of 10 trillion degrees, which are the highest ever reproduced in an experiment. Still no word on when the LHC will destroy the world.  Read the full article here.
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Happy Carl Sagan Day!

Today is Carl Sagan Day.  A day we remember a great mind and popularizer of science.  Carl has been a major influence on my life and my interest in science, and I never knew much of him until he had already passed.  I urge you all to watch his PBS series, Cosmos.  Search youtube for Carl Sagan, and enjoy.  Celebrate his life with me.  We miss you, Carl.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bionic Eye Success in Sight

via Atheist Media Blog:

Man, science is amazing.
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bacteria Can Drive the Evolution of New Species


Lactobacillus plantarum

A recent study shows that bacteria can influence the sexual selection of fruit flies.  Read the full article here.
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Monday, November 1, 2010

I Want Your Input!

I thought it would be an interesting task to make a comprehensive list of what Christianity asks its believers to accept, but seem incoherent and backward to people not raised in it.  A couple examples of what it would be:

Christianity asks us to accept:
  • Our ancient ancestors were told to not eat a fruit, but did it anyway, and now every person who has ever lived since then is sinful and fallen from God.
  • Everything, including humans with our many defects (and vulnerabilities) were created by a perfectly all-powerful, all-knowing, and infinitely far-reaching being, and he said it was "good."
  • This same being, being infinitely powerful and knowing, cares about what job we get.
I am still compiling and will soon be lining up scriptural citations for the applicable ideas.  Let's see if I still remember my Bible!

This is where I need your help.  Can you think of some interesting things that Christianity (or just the Bible) asks its believers to accept?  I am looking for doctrines, historical and scientific claims, moral imperatives, etc.  Please list them in the comments section of this post or email me at doubtingeric(at)  Thanks!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

PZ Myers: Sophisticated Theology?

On his blog, Pharyngula, PZ Myers brilliantly criticizes the notion of "sophisticated theology."  He says what I have been thinking for a while, and I couldn't say it better myself.

Notable tidbit:
"...theology adds nothing to our knowledge, no matter how intricate or voluminous, and in fact it detracts from it when the sophisticated theologians insist that we must ignore the evidence where it conflicts with their fairy tales. I don't care how sophisticated it is, and I have no problem admitting that clever minds have constructed an elaborate castle of wind and vapor for their fairy tales, but bullshit shoveled into majestic mountains must still slump into shapeless, decaying mounds when the props are knocked out with the facts."
Read it here.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Atheist Blogroll

This blog has been added to The Atheist Blogroll. You can see the blogroll in my sidebar. The Atheist blogroll is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts for more information.  Check it out for links to many other non-believing sites.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Poetry of Science: Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson


Watch as two science rockstars talk about the wonders of science, the limit of our human viewpoint, and the strange possibilities that are yet unrealized.

Original article here.
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Monday, October 18, 2010

Richard Feynman: Fun to Imagine

The 1983 BBC series of conversations with Richard Feynman in which he tries to express the joy he gets from thinking scientifically about the world is available on the BBC's website.  Feynman was a genius physicist and Nobel prize winner, who had a passion for science.  His excitement when discussing simple (and not so simple) concepts is contagious.  Check it out here.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our Place in the Universe

Delusions of Grandeur

Humans have the amazing inclination to feel like we are the most important thing in the universe.  In the not so distant past, nearly everyone thought our solar system was all there was to the cosmos.  Not only that, but they also largely believed that the Sun and planets all revolved around the Earth.  We have since learned that the Earth revolves around the Sun (with all the other planets in our solar system), and our entire solar system revolves around the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.  In fact, up until as recently as the 1920's, astronomers were under the impression that our immense galaxy was all that existed.

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Difficulties in Understanding Evolution: Dividing Lines of Species

There are many impediments to understanding the theory of evolution.  I really had to struggle out of the misinformation I had gathered about it in order to accept it as fact, and when I did, it was like a cartoon lightbulb appeared above my head.  It explains so much of the world around us!  No doubt many people have always accepted it as fact, and maybe some of the eureka! moment is lost on them.  But there are many people who do not accept it as anything other than an impossible fairy tale.  I believe that many of these doubters have an incorrect idea of what evolution really is (as I once did).  While I am in no position to correct all of the possible misunderstandings of the theory of evolution (I am a layman, and my own knowledge is severely limited), I can offer some helpful bits that I found very insightful.  For now, I will cover just one.
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Monday, October 11, 2010

"A Glorious Dawn" featuring Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking

I know it's old, but there are still some who have not seen this.  It's a wonderful music video by John Boswell of the website Symphony of Science.  John takes clips from Carl Sagan's Cosmos, along with footage of Stephen Hawking, and masterfully works it into original music, using autotune.  The result is something that shows the raw passion and love for science that Sagan had, and it's beautiful.  Be sure to watch all John's videos on his site,

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This blog is about thinking.  It's about being free to pursue the truth about ourselves and the world around us.

My perspective is one of a former Christian who has become an atheist.  For about 20 years, I was a believer.  As time went on, I got more and more interested in my Christian faith, but also in knowing why I believed what I did.  I took an interest in philosophy and Christian apologetics, and enjoyed lively discussion about issues of faith.  I had reasons to believe in God, and I wanted to convince others why it was reasonable to believe.

Turns out I was too skeptical for my own good.  Over the years, less and less about my faith seemed defensible as I tried to think honestly and from someone else's perspective.  More and more of my beliefs about God and Jesus were questioned and marginalized, until I had a very agnostic view of God.  I believed in God, and the resurrection of Jesus, but that was really all I could defend.  Eventually, even those were called into question, and I have finally broken free of the mental gymnastics I was doing in order to make my faith seem reasonable.

Now I do not believe a god exists - I see no good reason to.  I find the world around me is exactly how I would expect it to be if there was no divine creator.  The explanatory power of God is, to me, profoundly impotent when compared to the secular options.  The world makes more sense to me now, and I am free to follow the evidence.

As a result, I have accepted science back into my heart, and asked for forgiveness from my mind for hiding the beautiful and elegant truths that were more than just a little uncomfortable to my faith-infected intellect.  The world is a much more wonderful and mysterious place to me now, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  It is the great joy and excitement I still feel knowing that I am free to accept those things that I couldn't before due to my religious state of mind that drives me to want to manage this blog.  I want others to know that feeling, to experience that freedom of mind.  Ironically, Jesus said, "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  Indeed it has.
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