Thursday, October 29, 2009

Devolution?

The family who walked on all fours is an absolutely fascinating discovery. Although this is old news for some, I only recently learned of these children. The family was visited by scientist and journalist beginning in about 2002 and PBS broadcast a program in 2006 and reran it recently.

“The three sisters and two brothers may offer insight into the way our apelike ancestors moved, according to scientists. Human ancestors are believed to have begun walking on two legs more than three million years ago. Discovered in a remote area of southern Turkey last summer, the family of ethnic Kurds has sparked a scientific debate…”


On one side of the debate Uner Tan, a neurophysiologist at Cukurova University in Adana, Turkey believes the siblings are “evolutionary throwbacks—a "missing link" to our forebears.”

Then, German geneticists believe the siblings' genetic abnormality may be because the children do not have the gene responsible for bipedalism, or two-legged walking, in humans.

And yet another says the cause is twofold: the way the siblings were raised and brain damage resulting from the genetic defect.

An incredible discovery to say the least but what fascinates me about all this is the debate! At this point none of the scientist involved agree…that’s perfect! Now they go to work, they ask questions, they test theories and make conclusions. We may never have a definitive answer but we will always have the questions. As long as there are questions and someone seeking answers, we will progress.

Wow! What a wonderful world to which we are born.

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1986/JASA3-86Murphy.html

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Big Bang

Okay we need a new thread. I have said before that I cannot argue the big bang theory. I don't claim to believe it, but I also don't disbelieve it. I am waiting to see what else is discovered and what new "proofs" become available. I really do not spend a lot of time thinking about how humanity or the universe came into existence. I am certain that I do not believe in a creator beyond that I cannot say any more about it.


How did I come to this place? I asked questions; hard questions. Why can't I see god, why does he let kids get sick and die, why does he allow bad things to happen? Where is he and why is he hiding? Why is the bible so vulgar and cruel if it is the word of god?

I asked my parents, my ministers anyone who would listen. But I soon realized that no one had the answers to my questions. I realized that I would have to find out for myself. So I began to read...everything. I started with the bible and book about how to read the bible, which I received from my minister. The more I read the bible the more disturbed I became. I was only 12 years old. I needed guidance so I went to one of my teachers for help. She could not answer my questions either.

So I went to the library. It was a small library, only one room and the librarian showed me to the 200's where the books on religion are shelved. I finally knew where to find the answers but they were not there.

I came to my disbelief in gods and all things supernatural by reading and studying many materials, including the bible, the book of Mormon, Will and Ariel Durant's History of Civilization, the work of Joseph Campbell and many others.

It was not a pivotal moment it was a slow process and it took years. I continued to go to church until 1991 when I woke one morning knowing that I would never again doubt myself or depend on others for my answers. I made up my own mind.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Richard Dawkins-The God Delusion

I had no idea how powerful this book really is. I read it a few years ago along with several other atheist books but never realized what an impact it had on so many people.

Check out the Converts Corner. Awesome stories of rationality. It gives me hope that so many are finding their way out of superstition and ignorance.

"The most valuable thing you have taught me is that there are people in the world who think rationally, reason justly and don't live in subjugation to superstition. That knowledge alone makes me feel, at times, quite a bit better."

-Stephen "the onus of proof is not on me" H

http://richarddawkins.net/convertsCorner

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This I Believe

I believe that the earth is one of 8 (or 9 if you count Pluto) planets in a Solar System which revolves around the sun. I believe that our Solar System is just one small part of a huge galaxy which is only one small part of a vast Universe.

I believe that I was born of the love of two wonderful people I call my parents as they were born of their parents and my children of me and their father.

I believe that the only constant is change and that all life is evolving as it has in the past and will continue in the future. I believe humans like all life, adapt to the situation at hand

I believe that while I am on this earth that it is my responsibility to leave it better than I found it. I believe that my children and their children are my legacy and that it is my task to pass on my beliefs to them.

I believe most people are morally sound and emotionally logical. I believe that religion is dangerous because it provides an excuse for bad behavior (“I am weak and I sin.”) and a crutch when things don’t turn out well (“God please forgive me”). I believe that religion provides a bucket for one’s responsibility. (“It’s God’s will”)

I believe that I am responsible for my life; my decisions and the consequences. I believe that I make mistakes and that I learn from my mistakes. I believe that I have something to offer the world, even when I have no idea what it may be. I believe that I will die and that my body will become dust and rejoin the earth. I believe that I will live on after I die in the memories of those who love me. I believe that death is the end of the body and that the only thing that remains is the footprint I made while I was here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Faith...what is it?

Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith,
then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits.
- Dan Barker

Last night I watched several episodes of The Athesim Tapes. If you aren't familiar with them they we done by Jonathan Miller for the BBC. He interviews several scientist and avowed atheist and theologians. He is a terrific interviewer but I kept wanting him to ask about faith. He asked for a definition of atheism but not faith....so I am still wanting.

What is it? How can you explain it? How is it defined?