Galaxies Far, Far Away

galaxies

The Hubble Deep Field (HDF) is an image of a small region in the constellation Ursa Major, constructed from a series of observations by the Hubble Space Telescope. It covers an area 2.5 arcminutes across, about one 24-millionth of the whole sky, which is equivalent in angular size to a 65 mm tennis ball at a distance of 100 meters. The field is so small that only a few foreground stars in the Milky Way lie within it; thus, almost all of the 3,000 objects in the image are galaxies, some of which are among the youngest and most distant known.

9/11 Cross Generates Death Threats Against Atheists


FOX News readers on Facebook started going off after Blair Scott, Communications Director for American Atheists, appeared on America Live with Megyn Kelly. Blair reports that when he returned home from his local FOX station for the interview that his voice mail was full of messages and his inbox had almost 200 hateful messages. “I can always tell when someone from American Atheists is on FOX news, because my Inbox explodes with hate email,” said Blair...read article

More about the cross
More about the cross

Victory for evolution in Texas

Pop the champagne corks. The Texas Board of Education has unanimously come down on the side of evolution. In a 14-0* vote, the board today approved scientifically accurate high school biology textbook supplements from established mainstream publishers — and did not approve the creationist-backed supplements from International Databases, LLC.
"This is a huge victory for Texas students and teachers," said Josh Rosenau, NCSE programs and policy director, who testified at the hearings this week...read article

A look at some of the principles of critical thinking


Do You Believe in Fairies?

10 tips for pleasing the fairy realm.
If you believe in fairies, you’re not alone. In my global travels, I meet people worldwide who tell me about their encounters with the magical fairy realms. They fondly recall childhood experiences of connecting with fairies, and some continue to talk with these beings as adults. I didn’t see my first fairy until adulthood. Since then, I’ve developed a benevolent and loving relationship with these beings. I have enormous respect for their mission of healing the environment, protecting animals, and reminding us of the importance of play...read article

Serves Em Right

After months of debate and protest, Romanian income tax officials have now formally become aware of the fact that certain professions have escaped their net by working from the shadows, so to speak. The government has now officially amended its labor laws to include astrology and witchcraft as actual professions, meaning that star-charters and ladies-on-brooms will now have to pay up annually, perhaps on one of our April Fools Days – April 1st or 15th…

Recession of the economy in that country has prompted the law to require these woo-woo artists to pay their share of supporting the country while they continue to misinform, swindle, and cheat the citizens – professionally. Sounds fair to me. The hoi polloi will never give up their favored delusions, so I think they should contribute to the support of superstition – religious or not – and to the cumbersome governmental system that has to now handle another angle of public idiocy.

Ah, but now a real witch has announced that the Romanian bureaucracy will be reduced to a shambles as the result of her planned interference. She’ll be casting her famous tried-and-true “black pepper and yeast” curse, so we can confidently expect that the country will collapse. It sure beats the “tobasco and baking powder” spell, I can tell you…

(What’s that cackling I’m hearing…?)

James Randi Educational Foundation...Read article

Debate: Does the universe have a purpose?

Frank's Box

Number one item on Saint Fillan's Christmas list!!!
Plans to make your own



Hear what Michael Shermer has to say.

Christopher Hitchens: 'You have to choose your future regrets'

I wasn't sure what, or perhaps whom, to expect as the door opened at Christopher Hitchens's top-floor apartment in downtown Washington. The last time I had interviewed the renowned polemicist, author, literary critic and new resident in the medical state he's called "Tumortown" was in 2005. On that occasion, after a 5am finish to our extravagantly lubricated conversation, it was I who had felt the pressing need of hospital attention.

Since then there have been two dramatic changes in his circumstances. The first was the international bestselling success of his 2007 anti-theist tome God is Not Great. After decades of acclaimed but essentially confined labour, Hitchens suddenly broke out to a mass audience, becoming arguably the global figurehead of the so-called New Atheists. Almost overnight he was upgraded from intellectual notoriety, as an outspoken supporter of the invasion of Iraq, to the business end of mainstream fame. In America, in particular, he has reached that rare position for a journalist of becoming a news story himself.
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First JREF in the Classroom Module Now Available Free

 
 Do You Have E.S.P.? exposes students to concepts identified in the national science content standards and AAAS science literacy benchmarks related to the scientific process, Science as Inquiry, and Science in Personal and Social Perspectives and does so while presenting a topic of great interest to students as a result of E.S.P.'s wide-spread acceptance and its prominent place in popular culture.

Do You Have ESP? can be downloaded here.
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The Skeptic’s Skeptic


SCIENCE VALUES DATA and statistics and champions the virtues of evidence and experimentation. Those of us “viewing the world with a rational eye” (as the new descriptor for this column reads) also have another, underutilized tool at our disposal: rapier logic like that of Christopher Hitchens, a practiced logician trained in rhetoric. Hitchens—who is “leaving the party a bit earlier than I’d like” because of esophageal cancer, as he lamented to Charlie Rose in a recent PBS interview—has something deeply important to o!er on how to think about unscientific claims....read article

Paganism could join the six world religions taught in county schools


PAGANISM could be taught in Lincolnshire's schools after the issue was raised with the county's religious education advisor.
The question of whether Paganism should join the six world religions on the curriculum was raised with Lincolnshire County Council's body for religious education.
The board, due to meet again today, left the topic open for discussion after the RE advisor said she would look into the issue.
Minutes from a meeting of the Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (Sacre) in March said: "The RE advisor reported she had looked into the query about Paganism forming part of the school curriculum.
"It was determined this covered a broad range of beliefs and practices.
"However, there was no direct guidance about whether it should be included, and it was left to the individual schools to make the decision about whether to include it.
"The RE adviser told the committee she would keep her eye on the situation and report back should there be any developments."
The Pagan religion venerates nature and worships many deities, both goddesses and gods.
The cycle of the natural year is seen by most Pagans as a model of spiritual growth and renewal, and as a sequence marked by festivals which offer access to different divinities according to their affinity with different times of year.
In October, Druidry was recognised as a religion in Britain for the first time. The Charity Commission accepted it as a faith and gave it the charitable status afforded to other religious groups.

Reported in Lincolnshire Echo
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