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The Surrender of Intellectual Liberty

Posted by Brandon | Filed under Articles

The truth, of which we can barely ascertain under fair conditions, has been obscured – the people have lost all independent thought except that which has been garnered from political pundits and those we elect to pedestals of undeserved adulation.

Methodically, like an insidious pathogen taking years to incubate, we have allowed the responsibility of self preservation to be unduly left in the hands of those whose only pervasive desire is the same: self-preservation and justification of their own existence. Though in fairness, can we not claim the same philosophy in our every waking motivations?

Absolving personal responsibility only allows for subjugation and intellectual slavery. This is apparent through every medium, from the political process to countless shallow television program we carnally indulge in; and yes, allowed – have no compunctions as to the reality of how the infectious properties of force-fed programming came to existence. It was fueled by the quite understandable notion of selfishness, naturally, but the economic laws of supply and demand can be further extrapolated to the entertainment sector, of which we, Americans and the like, determine it’s course and duration. Parallels can be drawn from the aforementioned dichotomy to the recent spread of organic products and the industry’s response to our moral sensibilities.

Taking to literal arms is the simplest of battles to win; an instinctual response to tangible dangers and made such by millions of years of evolution. Yet the most important battles, those of memes and ideology are far more pernicious in their avenues of causal influence. They, above even violence and retribution have written the course of human history.

Complacency will always lead to the rotting of liberty and personal freedoms. I will end this with one of the most important religious proselyting ever uttered:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe simply because it has been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is written in Holy Scriptures. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of Teachers, elders or wise men. Believe only after careful observation and analysis, when you find that it agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all. Then accept it and live up to it.” – Buddha

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A Stark Encounter

Posted by Brandon | Filed under Articles

Awhile ago I had written a brief article on Kentucky’s Creationist Museum; a “historical museum” where children can visualize young earth creationism and even ride a triceratops (saddle included) and discover the planet was created six thousand years ago.

Well Ken Ham is at it again with the Ark Encounter. This time it’s a park that includes “…full-scale, all-wood ark based on the dimensions provided in the Bible (Genesis 6), using the long cubit, and in accordance with sound established nautical engineering practices of the era.” Yes, sound nautical engineering sans the fact that in no way imaginable could a ship like this survive for over a year at sea. But we all know we aren’t dealing with facts here, so let us continue.

This $150 million park of ignorance will also include a walled city, the tower of babel and of course the aforementioned ark. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear will assist this endeavor in the form of $37 million dollars in tax incentives.

“Bringing new jobs to Kentucky is my top priority, and with the estimated 900 jobs this project will create, I am happy about the economic impact this project will have on the Northern Kentucky region,” he said in a prepared statement. I don’t even want to get into the separation of church and state, though that’s a worthwhile discussion, but rather focus on the implications of the situation.

Let us sit back a moment and truly contemplate what we are actually building in this country. This is not Disneyland posturing itself as a world of fiction where you and the kids can get away from the world for a weekend but rather a historical perspective of the biblical interpretation of the world.

Directly from the ark encounter site says as much: “The Ark Encounter will be an immersive, historically themed experience for the whole family focused on having fun while learning about history. It is not an amusement park. It will feature a number of daily live performances, as well as live special events. It will also include “edu-tainment” aspects–educational and entertaining experiences within each attraction.”

So what are we building in this country? A nation of ignorance.

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Introducing Plasma Cosmology

Posted by spitlermike | Filed under Articles

Hello, for my first post I have chosen to introduce an alternative cosmology.

(Let me preface this by mentioning that I am not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to cosmology and physics; I just happen to have read about this theory and found it interesting. I welcome anyone who is more knowledgeable about the subject to comment on it.)

In short, plasma cosmology argues that electromagnetism is the main force shaping the universe rather than gravity. The reason for this is that most of the universe that we know of consists of plasma, rather than regular matter. The stars are plasmas, auroras are plasmas, nebulas are plasmas, and on and on.

One of the most baffling things about the universe is its filamentary structure. However, novelty plasma globes also exhibit this type of behavior. When electrons flow through a plasma, magnetic fields form around it and compress it more closely together, resulting in filaments of plasma forming.

Another interesting fact is that electromagnetic force is much more powerful when acting on plasmas than gravity is. While the force of gravity is the inverse of the square of the distance between two objects, electromagnetism is only inverse to the distance. Therefore gravity tapers off far sooner than magnetic force does, meaning that at the macro-cosmic scale electromagnetism should be dominant rather than gravity.

Among some of the interesting implications of this theory is that the Sun is actually powered from external electrical currents rather than from within. As the theory goes, the filaments of plasma that streak the universe act as conductors for massive flows of electrons that cause the stars to burn, rather than internal nuclear reactions.

Oh, and it also holds that the universe has no beginning or end.

Here are some relevant links on the subject:

Plasma Cosmology videos

So, what do you guys think?

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A Reasonable Transformation

Posted by Brandon | Filed under Articles

This post is going to be a personal one but in it I hope to bring to light how it was that I came to atheism. I didn’t wake up one day and decide that I would abandon the idea of god and reject the bible’s teachings. It was a long, arduous process throughout which I felt torn apart, confused, frightened and filled with inner turmoil. There was nothing simple or rushed in this transformation. But in the end I gained more than I could have ever thought possible.

I was born in October of 1984 and raised in a Christian family. It wasn’t a very strict family and though we did goto church it wasn’t all that often. The times I did goto church and/or Sunday school I was taught about the history of creation and what was right or wrong. Though I cannot personally remember, relatives have said that I used to imitate preachers and pray when I was just a kid.

Move ahead to when I was fourteen. I started to hang out with people who for the most part were Christian but a few of my friends were either agnostic or atheist. I would lecture them on denying their creator and would feel genuine sadness over what I thought would be their ill-fate when they would finally meet their maker. I had even gone to a bible camp for a few days once and I can honestly tell you that at the time I felt like Jesus or god or something had touched me. I know now what I felt was adrenaline and the rush of being with so many like-minded individuals.

Skipping ahead to seventeen years of age, I was in high school and had taken quite a liking to science, especially astronomy. This was when the first seeds of doubt had begun to form in my mind. I don’t know what exactly separates the believer from the non-believer but I do think one personality trait really benefits: skepticism. This is not to say you need to argue over everything but if you can question what you think and what you ‘know’ then you have started your first few steps away from the shackles of ignorance.

I was that type of person. I questioned myself and what I thought in other areas, not just religion. I remember once someone had challenged my belief in god and I immediately began to refute what they had said. I realized right at that moment that I was not answering their question from any logical perspective but was doing it in almost a reflexive way. That person’s question did not even enter the logic area of my brain but instead, just like in a cartoon where the character changes the train’s destination by pulling a lever, went down the emotional track and was answered in a purely emotional fashion.

I had to come to grips with my new found revelation later that day. I had literally almost felt my brain being retarded. Couple that with my new appreciation of science and I had a problem that I felt I needed to come to terms with.

I started to feel a sort of intangible kinship with science. Here I was questioning myself and what I believed only to realize that science behaved much in the same way. Science is set up to question itself, to challenge itself and it’s understanding of the universe. You have an innumerable amount of people that do nothing but dedicate themselves to the pursuit of knowledge. They question themselves, they question current theories, they question past theories. Many times they are right but many times they are wrong. And that ability to re-factor, rethink and re-examine concepts and ideas you have held true, regardless if it meant you were wrong, drew me to it like nothing before.

This left me at odds with myself, and prompted what was probably the most difficult step. I couldn’t believe in science and believe in god. No matter how the religious try to swing it, the two are incompatible. But I wasn’t ready to become atheist. I even felt real fear at calling myself agnostic. All the years of believing with every fiber in my being that god would strike me down and send me to hell affected me. Indoctrinating children at a young age will brainwash a child’s mind and to say otherwise is sheer and utter ignorance.

By the time I was eighteen I was a full fledged agnostic. Still not ready to go at it 100% and call myself atheist but I was on the band wagon and loving it. There were two main reasons why I couldn’t go all the way. One was what I said earlier: Afraid that if I was wrong god would punish me. But secondly, and this is why I have this site, I had no community. There wasn’t an “atheist church”. No place to meet with fellow skeptics and share our knowledge and experiences, or at least none that I knew of. Plus I was afraid of how my family would feel about me. Would they judge me? Would they disown me? (They didn’t by the way, much to my satisfaction)

When I was about twenty-one I read a book: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I was immediately changed. I mean, here was a guy that understood me. It was ok to be atheist, it was ok to doubt myself and question what I believed and there were plenty of other people who felt the same. After I read that book I went on a crusade if you will; reading anything I could get my hands on. Watching debates all day, everyday, with people like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.

It wasn’t long after that I was able to call myself atheist with pride. No more feeling guilty about doubting god or challenging the Christian belief system. It was a change in me that was epic in scale and reward. I take the philosophy of science and reason and use it in all aspects of my life today. My only hope with this site is to help people in similar situations. I know what it’s like to believe in god and feel like everyone who questions that is ridiculous. I understand Christians and empathize with them. The only words of wisdom I hope I can convey to you is that you need to question. Always question yourself and your surroundings. Ask your self why? Why do you believe in what you believe. Try and step back as far away as you can from yourself, away from any emotional bias and figure it out.

Hopefully this helps answer any questions people might have of why I dedicate such a large portion of my life to this cause. And I say that without any embarrassment because this is a cause. Religion affects so many facets of our lives from individual rights to politics to how we even think as human beings that I couldn’t live with myself not trying to make some dent, however small it may be, in this world. If I only save one person from a life of ignorance then that will have made all of this worthwhile. Thanks everyone.

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The Four Horsemen

Posted by Brandon | Filed under Articles

I wanted to post a link about a favorite video of mine. It’s an unmoderated 2 hour discussion between Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett.

I think it’s a great conversation and they cover everything from atheism to philosophy to science and much more. I definitely recommend this video to anyone who is interested in some of the more well known atheists of our time. This is a 2 hour video but it’s definitely worth it. Enjoy.

The Four Horsemen – Hour 1
The Four Horsemen – Hour 2