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Here’s a beautiful essay by astronomer Phil Plait made even more accessible through Zen Pencils artwork:



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Why I’m Not Quitting the Online Atheism Community

Martin S. Pribble, a long-time atheist blogger, says he’s calling it quits and “no longer want[s] to be part of the online atheist ‘community’.”

Well, shit. What did we do now? And what does it even mean to you say you’re leaving us?

What this means is that I will no longer be dragged into debates with theists who make a ludicrous claim, then base their evidence on the very book from which their ludicrous claim originates. There is no point in it…

… It doesn’t mean I will be leaving the social networks, or even changing the style of my tweets and Facebook posts. I’ve been moving in this direction for some time now, and I think I’ve come to a point where I am only injuring myself if I were to continue engaging on a level of theistic debating

So… you’re gonna ignore the trolls?

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Judge Rules That Mt. Soledad Cross Must Come Down Within 90 Days

It’s been the longest-running Establishment Clause case in American history and it’s still being debated more than 23 years later.

It involves the Mount Soledad cross in San Diego — a huge cross on public land erected in 1954. After the now-deceased Philip Paulson challenged the cross’ constitutionality more than two decades ago and after atheist Steve Trunk took up the case a few years ago, atheists have generally prevailed in the court system. Last year, the Supreme Court declined to hear any more challenges from Christian groups, putting the future of the cross back in the hands of lower courts.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ordered the cross to come down from the mountain within 90 days… which sounds great until you realize the Christian side will appeal, further delaying the inevitable. Burns actually ruled in 2008 that the cross should stay put, but the Appeals court above him overturned his decision. With that in mind, Burns said there was no way the cross could still stay:

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After Showing Up to His Live Event, Skeptics Debunk Promoter of ‘Touchless’ Karate

Master Jukka Lampila is a Finnish con artist who claims to be able to teach you a form of karate that requires no kicks or punches. All you need is your mind and your opponents will be defeated. It’s called “EFO” or Empty Force and it’s all a trick.

Last week, Lampila was giving a demonstration of the technique in Spain (you bet your ass there was a pricey entrance fee) and a few skeptics decided to pay him a visit. I seriously don’t know why Lampila allowed cameras to be there…

While he “demonstrates the power” for the first couple of minutes, the fun begins at 2:28 when the skeptics decide to allow Lampila to use his powers on them:

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Yes, Salon, Atheists Do Help the Poor

CJ Werleman wrote a piece for Alternet about how atheists should learn a lesson from Pope Francis when it comes to dealing with poverty — and since it slams atheists, Salon was eager to reprint it:

When the Pope washes the feet of convicts while calling for greater efforts to lift up the world’s poor, he makes it possible to establish meaningful partnerships with other moral communities, secular and religious. Of course, when Francis speaks about the “idolatry of money” and “growing income inequality,” you know, the things Jesus spoke about, you can set your watch in waiting for someone on the Right to accuse him of being a Marxist. Hello, Rush Limbaugh.

Atheists like to talk about building a better world, one that is absent of religiosity in the public square, but where is the atheist movement, as defined by the some 2,000 atheist groups and organizations in the U.S., when it comes to dealing with our third-world levels of poverty? Not only is the atheist movement absent on this issue, it is spending thousands of dollars on billboards that make atheists look like assholes, at the same time Catholicism is looking hip again. The Pope has changed the perception of the Church in the minds of millions while the atheist movement has been sucked into the Right’s fictitious “war on christmas.”

I’ll give him that Pope Francis walks the walk on poverty, saying no to the Papal palace and making outreach to the poor and criticism of capitalism run amok an important part of his legacy.

But what’s with trashing atheist groups for not dealing with the same issues?

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