We are not entitled to warp drive

Dear fellow skeptics, trekkies, and readers of IFLS: No. NASA has not discovered Warp Drive. It is sad for me to see people taken in by very exciting but very wrong hoaxes about science. It happens relatively infrequently, but I think it’s always important for us to pay attention when when we make these kinds of mistakes so we can hit ourselves in the head and scream ‘no! bad skeptic!’. Part of the issue is that we’ve all seen Star Trek and… Read more

Cognitive Biases unknown until 1972

OMFSM, we didn’t know what we didn’t know until 1972? As a humanist, I have great faith in the capacity of humans to do good and to be responsible for our own destiny. I use that word ‘faith’ specifically because I believe* these kind things about my fellow humans despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. Every once in a while, that faith is shaken by some troubling news about just how bumbling we humans are. On my previous post… Read more

A second look at Pope Benedict

Fellow patheos author The Anchoress Elizabeth Scalia recently posted several quotes from former Pope Benedict on the event of his 88th birthday. She wanted to show appreciation for someone who rose to the highest position in Christendom (due respect to Protestants…). That having been said, Benedict was reviled by the secular community. John Paul II earned at least some praise for expanding reforms of Vatican II and being ecumenical and worldly in his approach. Pope Francis has been praised for openness… Read more

Only a mortal Jesus is worthy of praise

Don’t forget today that Jesus gave up his weekend or your sins… If Jesus was divine, then at some point, he knew exactly what was going on and allotted three whole days for this supposed great sacrifice — not exactly inspirational. But if he was just some guy, then maybe he did die for a noble cause, at least in his own mind. Ironically, Jesus is only an inspiration in an atheist world. Here are a few representations of the… Read more

My Poly Valentine – One Day, Multiple Partners – What to do?

Be Ours. Be Mine, ya’ll. How does Valentine’s Day work for the poly community? The ‘poly’ community are those not in traditional dual / two-partner relationships. The anti-gay folks sometimes relent the slippery slope of gay marriage to multiple partners in a relationship. Poly folks have lubed up the slide from traditional marriage to multiple marriage. But unlike gay marriage, which is just straight marriage with no meaningful difference from straight marriage, multiple partner relationships have challenging complexity. For instance,… Read more

Atheist kills Muslims

Have you seen the headlines? The Evangelicals are all a-twitter on Facebook talking about the Chapel Hill Shooter and his New Atheist identity and anti-religious sentiments. After millennia of religious violence and in the face of continuing worldwide genocides of one religion against all others, we finally have an example of an atheist killing those of another faith… well not really. Apparently, in Chapel Hill, someone who happens to be atheist allegedly killed three who happened to be Muslim because of… Read more

Manifest Destiny to Human Habitats

The American Dream is often summarized as a House, a yard, a car, and 2.5 kids. This American Dream creates overpopulation and waste. This arises from Manifest Destiny, the early-America dream of colonizing the continent. Conquering the continent or the planet like a plague can’t be the best way. The overpopulation and waste we have now is an improvement on the genocide of Manifest Destiny, but we can do better. The Clean Air Act and rotation toward renewable energy have… Read more

Atheist Documentarian Takes Serious Look at Comedy

Trigger Warning – Uncensored Comedy. This short phrase encapsulates the problem Mike Celestino and Robert Garren are tackling. What are the triggers and to what extent should comedians or society protect the vulnerable from the potentially harmful messages of comedy? I use that word ‘harmful’ because issues arise to more than just a matter of ‘offensive’ messages. Intellectual or even emotional indignation at a message is something we can easily set aside. But comedians are blamed for causing others to… Read more

Dogs enjoying the piano

It might not sound like music we’re used to, but that’s not the point. These dogs are loving it. This isn’t training or mating or hunting… just socialization and enjoyment. And some smiles for people too. 1. 2. 3. And one cat:     Read more

RIP Greg Plitt, West Point, PETA, Dr Manhattan

I graduated from West Point in 2000 and so did Greg Plitt. He was recently hit by a train and killed while doing a fitness video. It was a bad way to go for someone who lived hard and died pretty. He was an Army Ranger, the body model for Dr Manhattan, and appeared in an ad for PETA to oppose animal cruelty. He was a great motivator with a message to push harder, help others, and always stay positive. I also couldn’t… Read more