Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Darwin Day!

Happy 200th Birthday Charles Darwin! (and of course Abe Lincoln) 

I dressed as Darwin (white beard and all)and my friends and I advertised our club (Secular Student Allaince) in the main quad my college. it went really well, I got alot of laughes and I had only one creationist the whole time!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Hudson landing was NOT a miracle

And the co-pilot agrees with me!

When I heard about the amazing Hudson river landing, I immediately thought to myself, Thank goodness no one was hurt! That pilots must of known what they were doing! And I thought the flight crew and the pilot would get the credit for this amazing achievement. But nooooooooo

Bill O'Reilly is a perfect example. He declared it to be a "miracle", that there was no way that these amazing circumstances could have happened by accident and that secular people would give coincidence the credit for the aversion of disaster again.

No it WASN'T a miracle nor was it "just chance". The laws of nature weren't suspended, no invisible hand reached down from the sky and helped the plane come to stop, prayer and other superstitious behavior had NOTHING to do with it. Disaster was averted due to the exact opposite. The flight crew relied on their knowledge of both the aircraft and their training. They kept calm in the face of great danger and uncertainty and were able to keep 150 people from catastrophe by relying on reason and experience. Imagine if they had hoped for a miracle. What if the pilot had thrown his hands up in the air and said "Jezuz'll land da plane!" 

The lives were saved due to the instinct and expertise of the pilot and the crew. This was a a demonstration of the detrimination and tough mindedness of the human spirit, not the imaginary paranoid fantasy that "made" or let birds fly into the planes engines and then reached down to help the plane out because the people had prayed to the right god. This was a human acheivement. Period.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Journal #1

Okays, I'm an amateur birder/hiker and I keep a little log of what I see and think about on hikes and I decided to start posting some of it here!

At the park near my house, I saw & was able to identify a Steller's Jay! I had been hearing a particularly loud bird for the whole of the time I was out and luckily the bird finally managed to fly low enough for me to see it. It was much bigger than than the other songbirds in the area and it took me a few minutes to flip through the little field book I carry with me and find him(my thanks to the bird who stood reasonable still this whole time!). 

About the same time I identified him (it was his beak size and shape plus the feathers on his head that gave him away), he flew to the branch that was right above my head and then chased another Stellers Jay away!

My binoculars aren't that great so smaller birds are harder to look at but I'm pretty sure that there was a finch of some kind near me too. However all the birds took shelter when it started raining again. I wuz able to find a big tree near the creeks edge and jot down some notes on what I had seen. I could stayed there longer and listened to the rain splash against the creek but I hadn't dressed warmly enough! As I was out, I couldn't help thinking of all the other animals that don't have a home to run to and they have to tough it out in the storm & it started pouring by the time I got inside. 

It's a curious feeling, knowing that even though nature seems harmonious and at peace with itself, the closer you look, the more apparent the obvious struggle and strife becomes. Nature is constantly at war with itself, never resting, never letting up, never displaying anything but cold blind indifference. At the same time though, it's so curious why I should get such a feeling of peace whenever I hike. I find it's like meditating in a battlefield, rather perverse indeed. Weird, oh well maybe the my fellow tree huggers who read this will get it! ;)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A snake as long as a school bus?! WTF?!

Wow! When I was younger, I used to go to pet stores and the people who worked there used to drape milk snakes and king snakes around my shoulders. I would love it (my mom and dad never liked doing it with me though......). My favorite part in the first Indiana Jones movie was when Indy had that boa in his lap when he was in the airplane, so when I saw this article, I immediately felt the little kid inside me go YAY! However, I doubt that I would appreciate a 2,500 lb snake dropped on me (or in my lap for that matter.)

That's right, this ancient (now extinct) snake was HUGE! Its been apporiately dubbed Titanoboa and it was dug up in Columbia.

The discovery sheds light on the development of the Amazon rainforest and the "comeback" of the reptiles after the dinosaurs died out, along with simply being an amazing find on its own. I mean come on, imagine tripping over this skeleton in your backyard!. This snake is bigger than the fake snake that tried to eat Jennifer Lopez in that stupid Anaconda movie! Hollywood, religion and imagination have nothing on the unbelievable and jaw dropping brilliance of reality. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Book Review: Short and Sweet

First of all, Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design is a great book, short and sweet. It's not so much a defense of evolution, but all out assault on the junk science of intelligent design.

Intelligent Design is merely creationism (GAWD DID IT) relabeled. It makes no predictions, isn't being actively researched, isn't falsifiable, and is grounded completely wrong headed assertions about Darwinian theory. For more READ THE BOOK

(takes a deep breath) However, Shermer includes several chapters on how science and God occupy different realms and don't effect each other. The two fields should be in harmony, they aren't in opposition. 

I don't accept this, for myself anyway. I don't want to believe anything, I want to know. If I have to rely on "faith" or personal feeling for anything, that means I don't have enough reason or physical evidence to lean on so in that case it's better say that I don't know than attempt to fool myself into believing that I do.

I won't hide the fact that I also get a great deal of annoyance whenever I pass by a church or even the religion section a book store. Pointless speculation with no grounding in reality has no place in the 21st century. A single pair of hands at work beats a billion clasped in prayer. People can believe whatever they want to believe, as long as it doesn't scare the horses or become a problem for humankin but, I would rather have people take comfort in the natural world than on the fantasies that religion commands them to love. 

Oh well, one of my best friends is Christian and I'm sure he'll have something to say about this. lol