Two-Time Nobel Prize Winner Frederick Sanger, an Agnostic, Dies

Frederick Sanger, the two-time Nobel Prize winner, died on Tuesday at the age of 95:

It was remarkable what he accomplished in his career:

Dr. Sanger won his first Nobel Prize, in chemistry, in 1958 for showing how amino acids link together to form insulin. The discovery gave scientists the tools to analyze any protein in the body.

In 1980 he received his second Nobel, also in chemistry, for inventing a method of “reading” the molecular letters that make up the genetic code. This discovery was crucial to the development of biotechnology drugs and provided the basic tool kit for decoding the entire human genome two decades later.

The reason I bring this up is because the New York Times included an interesting tidbit in his obituary:

[Read more...]

‘Psychic’ Sylvia Browne is Dead

Sylvia Browne, the “psychic” whose appearances on talk shows like “Montel” and “Larry King Live” made her a well-known celebrity despite her not-even-close-to-the-truth predictions, died earlier today at the age of 77.



[Read more...]

Jesus Called, Kim Answered

Share your favorite epitaph. This, for now, is mine:

Damn good thing I have Jesus on my ‘blocked’ list.

(via Dangerous Minds)

[Read more...]

The Lawyer Who Helped Remove Mandatory Bible Readings from Public Schools Has Died

In 1963, Madalyn Murray O’Hair gained notoriety for her role in the Supreme Court case that removed mandatory Bible readings from public schools. Less noticed, but equally important, was her lawyer Leonard J. Kerpelman. Kerpelman took on her case pro bono in 1960 and successfully argued in front of the justices years later, leading to an eventual 8-1 victory.

Late last week, the 88-year-old Kerpelman died from complications from a tumor.

“I see no constitutional objection to the study of religion, history of religion, or the study of the Bible as literature,” he told The [Baltimore] Sun in 1963. “But this ceremony is sectarian, and it is impossible to have such a ceremony that is not sectarian.”

After the decision, both client and attorney were vilified and accused of taking God out of the classroom and leading the nation down the road of atheism.

After the case was resolved, Mr. Kerpelman had few dealings with O’Hair, who left Baltimore in 1964 and disappeared in 1995. Her mutilated remains, along with those of a son and granddaughter, were identified in a remote part of Texas in 2001.

[Click headline for more...] [Read more...]

Ask Richard: Speaking Truth to Grief: An Atheist Responds to His Bereaved Girlfriend

Dear Richard
 
My background: My name is Elliot and I am a 28 year-old guy living in London, UK. I am a teacher and have considered myself an atheist for the last 8 or so years. I am open but not preachy about my beliefs and encourage my pupils to make up their own minds. However I recently ran into a crisis of “faith”.
 
Last weekend my girlfriend’s 21 year-old brother committed suicide. It was not without warning as he had had over 10 years of mental health issues including chronic depression and had made 4 failed attempts in the past. Despite this it was sudden, and she was understandably devastated. They are not a religious family, however in her grief she asked me: “where do you think he is now?” I was at a loss for words as I have never really had to combine comforting someone with an expression of my views. To tell her that he is nowhere anymore, that he simply has stopped being, seemed callous and uncaring. I went with “he is in a better place” (kind of an an opt out) as I figured that not existing anymore must be better than 10 years of depression.
 
My question is this: How do you convey to someone, about whom you care deeply, that the person they have lost is simply dead? Nothing more? How do you make this sound okay? Religion, despite its delusions, does give people who choose it much peace-of-mind (assuming they are not considering the  hell option) and I was wondering how I could convey this through atheism.
 
Any advice would be very welcome.

[Click headline for more...] [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X