Tuesday

Human, All Too Human : Nietzsche (1999)


Betty Butterfield tries to Find a Church.

Pint Glass Antitheist

All Inclusive £292.

Christian Invaders - Trailer

Monday

Bloody Sunday - Antitheist

Bloody Sunday Full Film






Very moving account of the day the British army or more accurately a rogue platoon of the British army opened fire on unarmed peaceful protesters. Referred to as the Bogside massacre which occurred 30th January 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry Northern Ireland. Superbly acted without any unfair bias.






Sunday

Michael Specter: The danger of science denial

Michael Specter: The danger of science denial




Vaccine-autism claims "Frankenfood" bans the herbal cure craze: All point to the publics growing fear (and often outright denial) of science and reason says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress. Michael Specter is a staff writer for the New Yorker. His new book Denialism asks why we have increasingly begun to fear scientific advances instead of embracing them.

Wednesday

Child Abuse Prevention Measures.







Dear Dr Lucas,


After recently learning of the church being held responsible for the actions of a person deemed an employee, I write to ask please what checks and precautionary measures are taken by religious organisations to protect children from potential abusers?


If as I assume there has been no responsibility prior to the recent case, will you please bring this up as a matter of urgency and see that mandatory background checks are required and any governing body responsible for any religious activity within its organisation is held responsible for all breaches of negligence in this area.


With the extremely unacceptable high number of sex abuse cases coming to light within the different religious organisations, I'm sure you too like myself share the concern for children's safety and abuse of parent's and children's trust.


I look forward to your advice as to how the safety net works at present and your thoughts on how it needs to be tightened for the sake of future children's welfare.


Yours sincerely




http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/


http://www.house.gov/representatives/


http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm


Please contact your local political representative. Even if it's just this copy pasted. It would take all of 2 mins max.

Super Preachers - The Underdog (Trailer)


Friday

BIRD AND FORTUNE BLOGGING/INTERNET NEW MEDIA

BIRD AND FORTUNE BLOGGING / INTERNET NEW MEDIA


video

Robert Anton Wilson talks about Alfred Korzybski, Friedrich Nietzsche, etc.

Robert Anton Wilson talks about Alfred Korzybski, Friedrich Nietzsche and others.


video

  Robert Anton Wilson's unusual but seemingly perfect description on how we create our own individual realities. We all create he suggests our own universes and no two universes are exactly the same.
Also:
  True, false, indeterminate and meaningless. Everything falls into one or more of these and is explained in the clip.
 The adoption of maybe over "is" sounds quite simple but the implications are far reaching and ends the arrogance of certainty with such a small change in use of language.
  Not universal truths, the things science has agreed on and set parameters, the things which are to each of us different and open to interpretation.
  That said with the scientific method of measurement and quantifying, we are the ones responsible for drawing the parameters and they may not of course be suitable. As RAW  puts it "we draw the lines on the map."
  Robert Anton Wilson maybe seen as a crackpot by many, he lived an interesting life often articulating very different insights by drawing influence from many sources and then using the info to think outside of the box, If RAW was ever inside the box. 

Thursday

Pastor Shepherd's New Book

The Satanic Verses Affair - Salman Rushdie



The Satanic Verses Affair:
 The most repugnant part of this whole affair was the agreement by the chief Rabbi of Israel, the Vatican along with the Archbishop of Canterbury and numerous other lesser religious figures,  all despite managing a few words condemning the Ayatollah's call for violence, sympathised instead with the Ayatollah and saw the crime of blasphemy more the problem than the state sponsored order for murder by the Ayatollah.

At first glance it would seem Islam extremists but when balanced with the non outright condemnation by the three monotheistic faiths, it puts the whole grisly affair into perspective and shows them all to be as barbaric and unjust as each other. Salman Rushdie was of course previously a Muslim and had an understanding of the Koran and so was guilty of apostasy. Apostasy according to the hadith is only punishable by death.  Many of the faiths have these archaic barbaric written rules, it seems Islam is champion at present at having its followers actually doling out God's punishments here and now on earth.

This behaviour flies in the face of moderate Muslims calling Islam, the faith of peace. his Norwegian publisher was shot several times in the back and left for dead. Incredibly he survived. His Japanese and Italian translators were criminally assaulted and one of them was savagely mutilated as he lay dying.




Sunday

Carl Sagan's essay on marijuana




This account was written in 1969 for publication in Marijuana Reconsidered (1971). Sagan was in his mid-thirties at that time. He continued to use cannabis for the rest of his life.



It all began about ten years ago. I had reached a considerably more relaxed period in my life - a time when I had come to feel that there was more to living than science, a time of awakening of my social consciousness and amiability, a time when I was open to new experiences. I had become friendly with a group of people who occasionally smoked cannabis, irregularly, but with evident pleasure. Initially I was unwilling to partake, but the apparent euphoria that cannabis produced and the fact that there was no physiological addiction to the plant eventually persuaded me to try. My initial experiences were entirely disappointing; there was no effect at all, and I began to entertain a variety of hypotheses about cannabis being a placebo which worked by expectation and hyperventilation rather than by chemistry.




After about five or six unsuccessful attempts, however, it happened. I was lying on my back in a friend's living room idly examining the pattern of shadows on the ceiling cast by a potted plant (not cannabis!). I suddenly realized that I was examining an intricately detailed miniature Volkswagen, distinctly outlined by the shadows. I was very skeptical at this perception, and tried to find inconsistencies between Volkswagens and what I viewed on the ceiling. But it was all there, down to hubcaps, license plate, chrome, and even the small handle used for opening the trunk. When I closed my eyes, I was stunned to find that there was a movie going on the inside of my eyelids. Flash . . . a simple country scene with red farmhouse, a blue sky, white clouds, yellow path meandering over green hills to the horizon. . . Flash . . . same scene, orange house, brown sky, red clouds, yellow path, violet fields . . . Flash . . . Flash . . . Flash. The flashes came about once a heartbeat. Each flash brought the same simple scene into view, but each time with a different set of colors . . . exquisitely deep hues, and astonishingly harmonious in their juxtaposition. Since then I have smoked occasionally and enjoyed it thoroughly. It amplifies torpid sensibilities and produces what to me are even more interesting effects, as I will explain shortly.




I can remember another early visual experience with cannabis, in which I viewed a candle flame and discovered in the heart of the flame, standing with magnificent indifference, the black-hatted and -cloaked Spanish gentleman who appears on the label of the Sandeman sherry bottle. Looking at fires when high, by the way, especially through one of those prism kaleidoscopes which image their surroundings, is an extraordinarily moving and beautiful experience.


I want to explain that at no time did I think these things 'really' were out there. I knew there was no Volkswagen on the ceiling and there was no Sandeman salamander man in the flame. I don't feel any contradiction in these experiences. There's a part of me making, creating the perceptions which in everyday life would be bizarre; there's another part of me which is a kind of observer. About half of the pleasure comes from the observer-part appreciating the work of the creator-part. I smile, or sometimes even laugh out loud at the pictures on the insides of my eyelids. In this sense, I suppose cannabis is psychotomimetic, but I find none of the panic or terror that accompanies some psychoses. Possibly this is because I know it's my own trip, and that I can come down rapidly any time I want to.


While my early perceptions were all visual, and curiously lacking in images of human beings, both of these items have changed over the intervening years. I find that today a single joint is enough to get me high. I test whether I'm high by closing my eyes and looking for the flashes. They come long before there are any alterations in my visual or other perceptions. I would guess this is a signal-to-noise problem, the visual noise level being very low with my eyes closed. Another interesting information-theoretical aspects is the prevalence - at least in my flashed images - of cartoons: just the outlines of figures, caricatures, not photographs. I think this is simply a matter of information compression; it would be impossible to grasp the total content of an image with the information content of an ordinary photograph, say 10<sup>8</sup> bits, in the fraction of a second which a flash occupies. And the flash experience is designed, if I may use that word, for instant appreciation. The artist and viewer are one. This is not to say that the images are not marvelously detailed and complex. I recently had an image in which two people were talking, and the words they were saying would form and disappear in yellow above their heads, at about a sentence per heartbeat. In this way it was possible to follow the conversation. At the same time an occasional word would appear in red letters among the yellows above their heads, perfectly in context with the conversation; but if one remembered these red words, they would enunciate a quite different set of statements, penetratingly critical of the conversation. The entire image set which I've outlined here, with I would say at least 100 yellow words and something like 10 red words, occurred in something under a minute.




The cannabis experience has greatly improved my appreciation for art, a subject which I had never much appreciated before. The understanding of the intent of the artist which I can achieve when high sometimes carries over to when I'm down. This is one of many human frontiers which cannabis has helped me traverse. There also have been some art-related insights - I don't know whether they are true or false, but they were fun to formulate. For example, I have spent some time high looking at the work of the Belgian surrealist Yves Tanguey. Some years later, I emerged from a long swim in the Caribbean and sank exhausted onto a beach formed from the erosion of a nearby coral reef. In idly examining the arcuate pastel-colored coral fragments which made up the beach, I saw before me a vast Tanguey painting. Perhaps Tanguey visited such a beach in his childhood.


A very similar improvement in my appreciation of music has occurred with cannabis. For the first time I have been able to hear the separate parts of a three-part harmony and the richness of the counterpoint. I have since discovered that professional musicians can quite easily keep many separate parts going simultaneously in their heads, but this was the first time for me. Again, the learning experience when high has at least to some extent carried over when I'm down. The enjoyment of food is amplified; tastes and aromas emerge that for some reason we ordinarily seem to be too busy to notice. I am able to give my full attention to the sensation. A potato will have a texture, a body, and taste like that of other potatoes, but much more so. Cannabis also enhances the enjoyment of sex - on the one hand it gives an exquisite sensitivity, but on the other hand it postpones orgasm: in part by distracting me with the profusion of image passing before my eyes. The actual duration of orgasm seems to lengthen greatly, but this may be the usual experience of time expansion which comes with cannabis smoking.


I do not consider myself a religious person in the usual sense, but there is a religious aspect to some highs. The heightened sensitivity in all areas gives me a feeling of communion with my surroundings, both animate and inanimate. Sometimes a kind of existential perception of the absurd comes over me and I see with awful certainty the hypocrisies and posturing of myself and my fellow men. And at other times, there is a different sense of the absurd, a playful and whimsical awareness. Both of these senses of the absurd can be communicated, and some of the most rewarding highs I've had have been in sharing talk and perceptions and humor. Cannabis brings us an awareness that we spend a lifetime being trained to overlook and forget and put out of our minds. A sense of what the world is really like can be maddening; cannabis has brought me some feelings for what it is like to be crazy, and how we use that word 'crazy' to avoid thinking about things that are too painful for us. In the Soviet Union political dissidents are routinely placed in insane asylums. The same kind of thing, a little more subtle perhaps, occurs here: 'did you hear what Lenny Bruce said yesterday? He must be crazy.' When high on cannabis I discovered that there's somebody inside in those people we call mad.


When I'm high I can penetrate into the past, recall childhood memories, friends, relatives, playthings, streets, smells, sounds, and tastes from a vanished era. I can reconstruct the actual occurrences in childhood events only half understood at the time. Many but not all my cannabis trips have somewhere in them a symbolism significant to me which I won't attempt to describe here, a kind of mandala embossed on the high. Free-associating to this mandala, both visually and as plays on words, has produced a very rich array of insights.


There is a myth about such highs: the user has an illusion of great insight, but it does not survive scrutiny in the morning. I am convinced that this is an error, and that the devastating insights achieved when high are real insights; the main problem is putting these insights in a form acceptable to the quite different self that we are when we're down the next day. Some of the hardest work I've ever done has been to put such insights down on tape or in writing. The problem is that ten even more interesting ideas or images have to be lost in the effort of recording one. It is easy to understand why someone might think it's a waste of effort going to all that trouble to set the thought down, a kind of intrusion of the Protestant Ethic. But since I live almost all my life down I've made the effort - successfully, I think. Incidentally, I find that reasonably good insights can be remembered the next day, but only if some effort has been made to set them down another way. If I write the insight down or tell it to someone, then I can remember it with no assistance the following morning; but if I merely say to myself that I must make an effort to remember, I never do.


I find that most of the insights I achieve when high are into social issues, an area of creative scholarship very different from the one I am generally known for. I can remember one occasion, taking a shower with my wife while high, in which I had an idea on the origins and invalidities of racism in terms of gaussian distribution curves. It was a point obvious in a way, but rarely talked about. I drew the curves in soap on the shower wall, and went to write the idea down. One idea led to another, and at the end of about an hour of extremely hard work I found I had written eleven short essays on a wide range of social, political, philosophical, and human biological topics. Because of problems of space, I can't go into the details of these essays, but from all external signs, such as public reactions and expert commentary, they seem to contain valid insights. I have used them in university commencement addresses, public lectures, and in my books.


But let me try to at least give the flavor of such an insight and its accompaniments. One night, high on cannabis, I was delving into my childhood, a little self-analysis, and making what seemed to me to be very good progress. I then paused and thought how extraordinary it was that Sigmund Freud, with no assistance from drugs, had been able to achieve his own remarkable self-analysis. But then it hit me like a thunderclap that this was wrong, that Freud had spent the decade before his self-analysis as an experimenter with and a proselytizer for cocaine; and it seemed to me very apparent that the genuine psychological insights that Freud brought to the world were at least in part derived from his drug experience. I have no idea whether this is in fact true, or whether the historians of Freud would agree with this interpretation, or even if such an idea has been published in the past, but it is an interesting hypothesis and one which passes first scrutiny in the world of the downs.


I can remember the night that I suddenly realized what it was like to be crazy, or nights when my feelings and perceptions were of a religious nature. I had a very accurate sense that these feelings and perceptions, written down casually, would not stand the usual critical scrutiny that is my stock in trade as a scientist. If I find in the morning a message from myself the night before informing me that there is a world around us which we barely sense, or that we can become one with the universe, or even that certain politicians are desperately frightened men, I may tend to disbelieve; but when I'm high I know about this disbelief. And so I have a tape in which I exhort myself to take such remarks seriously. I say 'Listen closely, you sonofabitch of the morning! This stuff is real!' I try to show that my mind is working clearly; I recall the name of a high school acquaintance I have not thought of in thirty years; I describe the color, typography, and format of a book in another room and these memories do pass critical scrutiny in the morning. I am convinced that there are genuine and valid levels of perception available with cannabis (and probably with other drugs) which are, through the defects of our society and our educational system, unavailable to us without such drugs. Such a remark applies not only to self-awareness and to intellectual pursuits, but also to perceptions of real people, a vastly enhanced sensitivity to facial expression, intonations, and choice of words which sometimes yields a rapport so close it's as if two people are reading each other's minds.


Cannabis enables nonmusicians to know a little about what it is like to be a musician, and nonartists to grasp the joys of art. But I am neither an artist nor a musician. What about my own scientific work? While I find a curious disinclination to think of my professional concerns when high - the attractive intellectual adventures always seem to be in every other area - I have made a conscious effort to think of a few particularly difficult current problems in my field when high. It works, at least to a degree. I find I can bring to bear, for example, a range of relevant experimental facts which appear to be mutually inconsistent. So far, so good. At least the recall works. Then in trying to conceive of a way of reconciling the disparate facts, I was able to come up with a very bizarre possibility, one that I'm sure I would never have thought of down. I've written a paper which mentions this idea in passing. I think it's very unlikely to be true, but it has consequences which are experimentally testable, which is the hallmark of an acceptable theory.


I have mentioned that in the cannabis experience there is a part of your mind that remains a dispassionate observer, who is able to take you down in a hurry if need be. I have on a few occasions been forced to drive in heavy traffic when high. I've negotiated it with no difficult at all, though I did have some thoughts about the marvelous cherry-red color of traffic lights. I find that after the drive I'm not high at all. There are no flashes on the insides of my eyelids. If you're high and your child is calling, you can respond about as capably as you usually do. I don't advocate driving when high on cannabis, but I can tell you from personal experience that it certainly can be done. My high is always reflective, peaceable, intellectually exciting, and sociable, unlike most alcohol highs, and there is never a hangover. Through the years I find that slightly smaller amounts of cannabis suffice to produce the same degree of high, and in one movie theater recently I found I could get high just by inhaling the cannabis smoke which permeated the theater.


There is a very nice self-titering aspect to cannabis. Each puff is a very small dose; the time lag between inhaling a puff and sensing its effect is small; and there is no desire for more after the high is there. I think the ratio, R, of the time to sense the dose taken to the time required to take an excessive dose is an important quantity. R is very large for LSD (which I've never taken) and reasonably short for cannabis. Small values of R should be one measure of the safety of psychedelic drugs. When cannabis is legalized, I hope to see this ratio as one of he parameters printed on the pack. I hope that time isn't too distant; the illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.

Black Sabbath to reunite for new album, tour - Antitheist




Heavy metal legends Black Sabbath are to reunite to make a new album and tour, the original four members of the band led by Ozzy Osbourne have announced.

The group, whose hits include "Paranoid" and "Iron Man," unveiled their plans at the legendary Whisky a Go Go club on Sunset Strip, where they played their first Los Angeles gig four decades ago.
"We've tried a reunion before, and it didn't work, but this time, for some magical reasons... we've written seven or eight songs and they're really good," Osbourne, who after musical success became a reality TV star, said Friday.
Guitarist Tony Iommi said the group's members had always stayed in touch but it was good to be back in the band.
"It's not that we haven't spoken for all these years. It's been a constant thing. It's great that we can all actually be in a room and start playing together."
Osbourne, Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward, who are all now in their early 60s, wore the group's signature black outfits at the announcement, dubbed "Reunited. 33 years in the making," on their website.
The band, which formed in 1968, reunited for a first time in 1997 but did not produce an album.
The new record -- their first material together since 1978's "Never Say Die" -- will be released next year through Vertigo/Universal Republic Records.
At the same time they will embark on a worldwide arena tour, including headlining the Download Festival in England next June.
"It's now or never. We are getting along great. Everything's really good," said Iommi, adding: "It's like putting on an old glove. It's fantastic."
Frontman Osbourne has been best known in recent years for his role in the eponymous reality show "The Osbournes," about the domestic life of his family, which ran from 2002 until 2005.

Do you Yahoo? We did for this article.

Pope speaks out in favour of stem cell research




Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday spoke out in favour of adult stem cell research and called for any ensuing treatments to benefit all who need the care regardless of their financial means.
"Illness is no respecter of persons, and justice demands that every effort be made to place the fruits of scientific research at the disposal of all who stand to benefit from them, irrespective of their means," Benedict told some 250 delegates who attended a Vatican conference on the research this week.
The Vatican, which is opposed to embryonic stem cell therapy because it requires the destruction of a human embryo, hosted experts in adult stem cells, seen by the Roman Catholic Church as an alternative since no embryo is involved.
In May 2010, the Holy See signed a deal with US biopharmaceutical company NeoStem that specialises in adult stem cells and the Vatican has already invested one million dollars (730,000 euros) in the company's work.
"The potential benefits of adult stem cell research are very considerable," the pope told the experts Saturday, while also speaking of the ethical concerns.
The fact that human embryonic stem cells (ESC) can potentially become any type of cell in the body has long held out the tantalising promise of diseased organs or tissue being repaired or replaced with healthy, lab-grown cells.
"When the end in view is one so eminently desirable as the discovery of a cure for degenerative illnesses, it is tempting for scientists and policymakers to brush aside ethical objections...," Benedict said of embryonic stem cell research.
But the discovery in 2007 that it is possible to coax certain adult cells back into their immature, pre-specialised state has fuelled renewed efforts to generate brand new muscle, heart or even brain cells, this time from raw material provided by the patient.
And for the Church adult stem cells pose no ethical dilemma.
"No such ethical problems arise when stem cells are taken from the tissues of an adult organism, from the blood of the umbilical cord at the moment of birth, or from fetuses who have died of natural causes," the pope said.
The Vatican hailed its conference on adult stem cells as dispelling the widespread notion that the Catholic Church is at "loggerheads with science", said Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Sources estimate that the global stem cell product market will reach 88 billion dollars by 2014.

Yahoo News blatantly just copied.