Recent Articles

“All Natural”: A comment on the false advertising industry

What does it mean when you see “100% Natural” on a food label? Nothing at all!

February 13, 2014 | By | Reply More

Thinking at different levels

“Problems cannot be solved by the level of awareness that created them.” Albert Einstein

This quote appeals me more than the platitude to think outside the box. It challenges us to reframe problems, which sometimes means there’s actually no problem at all (or the problem might be much worse than we thought). I often think of this quote in terms of our seemingly intractable national problems. Conservation can substantially alleviate the “need” to spew CO2 into the air, but conservation is not part of the Chevron-driven national dialogue. Good schools and decriminalization of drugs are a LOT cheaper than prisons, but politicians fail to connect the dots to those other levels. Ubiquitous applications of this quote, but we so often get trapped on our own cozy level, cozy because that’s what we are used to, and we are so used to it that it seems to be stone foundation rather than something to vigorously question.

February 12, 2014 | By | Reply More
Stop Watching Us Campaign aimed at NSA

Stop Watching Us Campaign aimed at NSA

StopWatching.us is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the political spectrum. Join the movement at https://rally.stopwatching.us. This video harnesses the voices of celebrities, activists, legal experts, and other prominent figures in speaking out against mass surveillance by the NSA. Please share widely to help us spread the message that we will not stand for the dragnet surveillance of our communications.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a nonprofit civil liberties law and advocacy center that has been fighting the NSA’s unconstitutional spying for years. Learn more at https://eff.org.

February 12, 2014 | By | Reply More

Religion and science in three sentences

I saw this on Facebook, apparently published by this group:

atheism sign

February 12, 2014 | By | Reply More

What happens when everything is a commodity

Chris Hedges discusses America’s warmongering, the war that the military is waging on journalism, the rise of hyper-masculinity, the fact that most problems are now seen as invitations to apply violence, and the fact that most things have become valuable only insofar as they are commodities. Hedges is not a defeatist, though. He states, “You can’t talk about hope if you don’t resist. Once we give up, we’re finished. . . . We have a moral duty to fight against forces of evil even if it seems certain that those forces will triumph.”

February 12, 2014 | By | Reply More

The Intercept is launched

Glenn Greenwald recently left The Guardian to begin a new journalistic enterprise, which has now launched. The mission statement of The Intercept is as follows:

The Intercept, a publication of First Look Media, was created by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill. It has a two-fold mission: one short-term, the other long-term.

Our short-term mission is to provide a platform to report on the documents previously provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Although we are still building our infrastructure and larger vision, we are launching now because we believe we have a vital obligation to this ongoing and evolving story, to these documents, and to the public.

Our NSA coverage will be comprehensive, innovative and multi-faceted. We have a team of experienced editors and journalists devoted to the story. We will use all forms of digital media for our reporting. In addition, we will publish primary source documents on which our reporting is based. We will also invite outside experts with area knowledge to contribute to our reporting, and provide a platform for commentary and reader engagement.

Our long-term mission is to produce fearless, adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues. The editorial independence of our journalists will be guaranteed. They will be encouraged to pursue their passions, cultivate a unique voice, and publish stories without regard to whom they might anger or alienate. We believe the prime value of journalism is its power to impose transparency, and thus accountability, on the most powerful governmental and corporate bodies, and our journalists will be provided the full resources and support required to do this.

While our initial focus will be the critical work surrounding the NSA story, we are excited by the opportunity to grow with our readers into the broader and more comprehensive news outlet that the The Intercept will become.

February 11, 2014 | By | Reply More

The sickness of creationism

At Slate, Mark Stern argues that creationism is dangerous:

Creationists reject not just evolution but most of the Enlightenment and pretty much all intellectual development since. Rather than celebrate the brilliance of the human mind, they disparage free thought as dangerous and sinful. Instead of extolling the virtues of creativity and imagination, they malign all unorthodox ideas as immoral and wicked. For all creationists’ insistence that evolution denigrates humanity, creationism is fundamentally anti-human, commanding us to spurn our own logic and cognition in favor of absurd sophism derived from a 3,000-year-old text. It turns our greatest ability—to reason—into our greatest enemy. Using our brains, according to creationism, will lead us to sin; only mindless piety can keep us on the track to salvation.

It’s easy to scoff at all this, to giggle at the vivid weirdness of young Earth creationism and then shrug it off as an isolated cult. But the 40 percent of Americans who reject evolution, as well as the tens of thousands of children or more who are being brainwashed with it in publicly funded classrooms, aren’t laughing

A friend of mind was raised as a fundamentalist, but he was also a relentless questioner. As an adult he questioned his beliefs until there were cracks in the foundation. He is now a free-thinker who describes his fundamentalist state of mind as follows: “I was taught to be afraid to question. It was like there was an electrified fence built around my religious beliefs, and I would be risking death to question those beliefs.” The man I’m speaking of is a ferociously smart man, but mere intelligence is not enough. It wasn’t logic that causes people to be fundamentalists, and therefore logic and facts will not undo the damage. That is certainly my experience.

I have much to say about religion and what it takes to communicate meaningfully with believers in my five-part series, “Mending Fences.”

February 10, 2014 | By | Reply More

The Bible predicted the Beatles

Mike Morris cites chapter and verse in his proof that the Bible predicted the Beatles. Here are his first 2 citations of many:

1. He sendeth among them the beetle. —Psalm 78:45
2. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. —John 1:6

February 10, 2014 | By | Reply More

How to slice up Ken Ham

“Finlarg” rolls up his sleeves and proceeds to chop up Ken Ham quite well. If only evidence had anything to do with creationists views on evolution …

February 10, 2014 | By | Reply More