“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, August 12, 2013

A piece of University of Rochester analysis, led by Professor Miron Zuckerman, found “a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity”

Religious people are less intelligent than atheists, analysis of over 63 scientific studies stretching back over decades concludes

Study found 'a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity' in 53 out of 63 studies

MONDAY 12 AUGUST 2013A new review of 63 scientific studies stretching back over decades has concluded that religious people are less intelligent than non-believers.

A piece of University of Rochester analysis, led by Professor Miron Zuckerman, found “a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity” in 53 out of 63 studies.
According to the study entitled, 'The Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity: A Meta-Analysis and Some Proposed Explanations', published in the 'Personality and Social Psychology Review', even during early years the more intelligent a child is the more likely it would be to turn away from religion.
In old age above average intelligence people are less likely to believe, the researchers also found.
One of the studies used in Zuckerman's paper was a life-long analysis of the beliefs of 1,500 gifted children with with IQs over 135.
The study began in 1921 and continues today. Even in extreme old age the subjects had much lower levels of religious belief than the average population.
The review, which is the first systematic meta-analysis of the 63 studies conducted in between 1928 and 2012, showed that of the 63 studies, 53 showed a negative correlation between intelligence and religiosity, while 10 showed a positive one.
Only two studies showed significant positive correlations and significant negative correlations were seen in a total of 35 studies.
The authors of the review looked at each study independently, taking into account the quality of data collection, the size of the sample and the analysis methods used.
The three psychologists carrying out the review defined intelligence as  the “ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience”.
Religiosity is defined by the psychologists as involvement in some (or all) facets of religion.
According to the review, other factors - such as gender or education - did not make any difference to the correlation between intelligence and religious belief.
The level of belief, or otherwise, did however vary dependent upon age with the correlation found to be weakest among the pre-college population.
The paper concludes that: "Most extant explanations (of a negative relation) share one central theme —the premise that religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable and, therefore, unappealing to intelligent people who 'know better'."
Criticisms of the conclusions include that the paper only deals with a definition of analytic intelligence and fails to consider newly identified forms of creative and emotional intelligence.
The psychologists who carried out the review also sought to pre-empt the secularist interpretation of the findings by suggesting that more intelligent people are less likely to have religious beliefs as they associate themselves with ideas around personal control.
"Intelligent people typically spend more time in school - a form of self-regulation that may yield long-term benefits," the researchers wrote.
"More intelligent people get higher level jobs (and better employment (and higher salary) may lead to higher self-esteem, and encourage personal control beliefs."


  1. "In old age above average intelligence people are less likely to believe, the researchers also found."

    Only a dummy wouldn't "hedge his bet" at that point. :)

    1. Shit, I don't guess I have to worry about that; I completely misread that sentence. Jeez, nap time. :)

    2. Well, anyway, if I start quoting scripture just understand that ol ruffie is starting to feel a bit mortal.

      Taking unnecessary risks is, just, . . . . . . . well, unnecessary. :)

  2. 'Religiosity' being the operative word.

    Get some perfesser out of Salt Lake City you'll get a different answer.

    What a lot of horse shit.

    I find a reliable negative relationship between perfessers such as Miron (what the hell kind name is that?) Zuckermann and intelligence and a basic understanding of myth and religion.

    And, really, Ruf, it's not a 'betting' matter. God Almighty!

    1. I'm driving down to the Casino, and taking a look at the harvest on the way, which is starting here now.


    2. Yup, settled.

      Next topic please.

  3. Rep. McClintock Says the US Should Grant Snowden Amnesty

    Matthew Feeney|

    Aug. 12, 2013 3:00 pm

    ReasonRep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) says that the U.S. government should grant NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden amnesty so that he can answer questions without the threat of prosecution. Snowden was recently granted temporary asylum in Russia.

    From Buzzfeed:

    California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock wants amnesty for former NSA contractor and NSA leaks source Edward Snowden.

    “I think it would be best if the American government granted him amnesty to get him back to America where he can answer questions without the threat of prosecution,” McClintock said. “We have some very good laws against sharing secrets and he broke those laws. On the other hand, he broke them for a very good reason because those laws were being used in direct contravention of our 4th Amendment rights as Americans.”

  4. Now I know Peter King is not what anyone would call bright or look to for anything short of pay to play but really,

    Peter King Says Calling NSA Surveillance “Spying” or “Snooping” is Slander
    Ed Krayewski|Aug. 12, 2013 2:41 pm

    CBSNational security state enthusiast Peter King was very disappointed in Barack Obama last week for even countenancing concerns about the NSA’s massive Internet data collection programs, and he doesn’t like it when we call the NSA’s activities spying or snooping, because those people at the NSA are patriots. His comments on CBS’ Face the Nation, via Mediaite:

    “These people in the NSA are patriots,” King said. “Probably what’s annoyed me the most over the last several months is people casually using words like ‘spying,’ ‘snooping,’ ‘what is the NSA up to now?’ Does anybody think General Alexander wants to snoop on America? I think that demeans the whole political dialogue, and that’s why I wish the president would be more outgoing and defend the NSA lot more than he did.”

  5. .

    That third Stooge job opened up when Lieberman retired. King wants the job bad. Real bad. He's right there with his buddies McCain and Lindsay.

    He must have gone on 'Face the Nation' after he attended church.

    Does anybody think General Alexander wants to snoop on America?

    Lord, it's enough to give you brain freeze.


  6. Well that will certainly make all the non believers who think they are smart feel better about themselves.

  7. .

    Intelligence Quotient. Is it sufficient to measure intelligence?


    1. They may not measure intelligence but they do measure stupidity.

      It is un-PC to say they measure intelligence.

      But it is OK to say they measure stupidity.

    2. .

      No, it is PC to say that every child is above average.


    3. Every child is above average.

    4. In Lake Wobegon.

  8. Pseudo intellectuals polling themselves for a consensus. That's rich. I have had the unfortunate experience of having to spend too much time with them. You think you will get some revelation from their comments. You eventually realize you're talking to Elmer Fudd. The banality is mind numbing.


  9. Did you know 'Whitey' Bulger, Ouirk?

    What kind of a guy was he, really?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. "We are truly a virtual company that exists mostly in the cloud.

      Anyway, when Whitey tried to threaten us, there just wasn't much there to threaten."

      What you say here is true, Quirk-O, as I know well. When the Court awarded me 'Souls' for punitive damages, there was, almost literally, nothing there at all. I felt as if I were being punished, and not you.

      I'm disappointed Whitey wasn't able to get a grip on you. HE would have made you come up with SOMETHING. I got virtually NOTHING.

      I guess what I was really asking was did Whitey love his mom, that kind of thing. But you seem not to have known him well enough to say. I'll ask around at the barbershop.

  10. As Idaho goes, so goes the national GOP -

    >>>August 12, 2013
    Idaho 2nd 'ground zero' for GOP war
    Rick Moran

    So says Politico, and they are probably right. Seven term congressman Mike Simpson from Idaho's 2nd district is about as GOP establiishment as you can get. A powerful member of the Appropriations Committee and long time friend of Speaker John Boehner, Simpson is the sort of congressman the Tea Party likes to hate.

    He is being seriously challenged by Bryan Smith, an attorney who was handpicked by the Club for Growth to take on Simpson.

    Smith is branding the eight-term Simpson as a dusty creature of Washington who has turned wobbly on the spending issues that are near and dear to the conservative cause. Simpson, meanwhile, is stressing that he is, in fact, a conservative while making the case that his experience and seniority are, in fact, plusses.

    "Idaho's 2nd Congressional District is turning into a proxy war for the middle-right of the Republican Party and the right-right of the Republican Party," said Phil Hardy, an Idaho Republican operative and a political analyst in the state. "It's already happening."

    The 2014 midterm elections will likely feature a long list of primaries in which House and Senate incumbents will encounter significant threats from insurgent challengers. If history is any guide, the vast majority of the sitting members - who typically benefit from a fundraising advantage and have nearly universal name ID within their districts - will prevail.

    But there are indications that Smith's campaign is a more serious one. He's notched early endorsements from the Club and RedState founder Erick Erickson, which will help him expand his fundraising base beyond Idaho - where raising cash is hard. And Smith's backers call the district - where Mitt Romney captured an overwhelming 64 percent of the vote in 2012 - a perfect laboratory for waging a battle over which candidate hews more strictly to conservative ideology.

    To survive, Simpson will be counting on the support of Washington's heavy hitters - and his friend Boehner in particular.

    The speaker has already donated $5,000 to Simpson, and Boehner aides say more fundraising help is on the way. Boehner will head to Boise later this month to headline a fundraising event for the congressman.

    Fotunately, no matter who wins this donnybrook, the GOP will almost certainly hang on to the seat. Romney won the district with 64% of the vote which means a Democrat would have a very hard time of it.
    As a microcasm of what is happening nationally in the Republican party, the second district race should be a good barometer of how things might shake out as we get into the primary season next year.<<<

    Read more:

    Not in my district so can't vote for Smith over Simpson but can send in a few bucks. Simpson voted against that bill that was trying to put the brakes on NSA snooping. He might well lose over that vote.

    Time for the pasture for Simpson.

    1. .

      It will be interesting to see how 2014 shakes out.

      I see someone else jumped into the primary race against Graham in S.C.

      I's getting pretty crowded there.


    2. One thing Rufus is right about.
      (The only thing?)

      The National GOP is terminally stupid.

      Karl Rove being the leading moron.

      ...or evil genius, take your pick.

  11. Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is knowing that it doesn't belong in a fruit salad.

    Intelligence tells me that Truth is God.
    Wisdom tells me the G_D of Israel is truth.

    1. And being the Goyim that I am,
      knowing the little I know, through experience.
      I'll stand with Israel.


  12. John Keats. 1795–1821

    625. Ode on a Grecian Urn

    THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,
    Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
    Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
    A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
    What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape 5
    Of deities or mortals, or of both,
    In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
    What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
    What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
    What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? 10

    Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
    Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
    Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
    Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
    Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave 15
    Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
    Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
    Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
    She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
    For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! 20

    Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
    Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
    And, happy melodist, unwearièd,
    For ever piping songs for ever new;
    More happy love! more happy, happy love! 25
    For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
    For ever panting, and for ever young;
    All breathing human passion far above,
    That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
    A burning forehead, and a parching tongue. 30

    Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
    To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
    Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
    And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
    What little town by river or sea-shore, 35
    Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
    Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
    And, little town, thy streets for evermore
    Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell
    Why thou art desolate, can e'er return. 40

    O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
    Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
    With forest branches and the trodden weed;
    Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
    As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! 45
    When old age shall this generation waste,
    Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
    Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
    'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

  13. Surge of brain activity may explain near-death experience, study says

    By Meeri Kim, Monday, August 12, 4:02 PM

    You feel yourself float up and out of your physical body. You glide toward the entrance of a tunnel, and a searing bright light envelopes your field of vision.

    Rather than an ascent into the afterlife, a new study says these features of a near-death experience may just be a bunch of neurons in your brain going nuts.

    “A lot of people believed that what they saw was heaven,” said lead researcher and neurologist Jimo Borjigin. “Science hadn’t given them a convincing alternative.”

    Scientists from the University of Michigan recorded electroencephalogram (EEG) signals in nine anesthetized rats after inducing cardiac arrest. Within the first 30 seconds after the heart had stopped, all the mammals displayed a surge of brain activity that had features associated with consciousness and visual activation. The burst of electrical activity even exceeded levels during a normal, awake state.

    In other words, they may have been having the rodent version of a near-death experience.

    “On a fundamental level, this study makes us think about the neurobiology of the dying brain,” said senior author and anesthesiologist George A. Mashour. It was published Monday online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Near-death experiences have been reported by many who have faced death, worldwide and across cultures. About 20 percent of cardiac arrest survivors report visions during clinical death, with features such as a bright light, life playback or an out-of-body feeling.

    “There’s hundreds of thousands of people reporting these [near-death] experiences,” said Borjigin. “If that experience comes from the brain, there has to be a fingerprint of that.”

    An unanswered question from a previous experiment bothered her. In 2007, Borjigin had been monitoring neurotransmitter secretion in rats when, in the middle of the night, two of the animals unexpectedly died. Upon reviewing the overnight data, she saw several unknown peaks near the time of death.

    This got her thinking: What kinds of changes does the brain go through at the moment of death?

    Last year, Borjigin turned to Mashour, a colleague with expertise in EEG and consciousness, for help conducting the first experiment to systematically investigate electrical brain activity after cardiac arrest. EEG uses electrodes to measure voltage fluctuations in the brain caused by many neurons firing at once. A normal, awake brain should show spikes of activity depending on what types of processing are going on; in a completely dead brain, it flat-lines.


  14. {…}

    When the heart suddenly stops, ongoing blood flow to the brain stops and causes death in a human within minutes. A likely assumption would be that, without a fresh supply of oxygen, any sort of brain activity would go flat. But after the rats went into cardiac arrest, Mashour and his colleagues saw the opposite.

    “We saw a window of activity with certain signatures typically associated with conscious processing,” said Mashour.

    Those signatures include heightened communication among the different parts of the brain, actively seen in an awake state, but often lost during anesthesia. In the rats, this connectivity went above and beyond the levels seen during the awake state — which could possibly explain the hypervivid, “realer-than-real” perceptions reported close to death, said Borjigin.

    Mashour speculates this integration coincides with consciousness while we work to process aspects of the world in different areas of the brain, like visual in one area and auditory in another.

    “The brain kind of gets it all together so we have this unified, seamless experience,” he said.

    But there are many gray areas of consciousness — for instance, being under anesthesia or in a vegetative state or seizing — and scientists are still trying to pin down a clear-cut electrical marker of consciousness.

    “We don’t have any rough and ready way to take a measurement and assign a meaning to it with regards to conscious content,” said neurologist Nicholas D. Schiff of the Weill Cornell Medical College, who was not involved in the study.

    Borjigin also noted an increase in EEG activity that has been tied to visual stimulation in humans that could possibly explain the very bright light that survivors describe.

    The researchers also confirmed the effect using another form of death, asphyxiation via carbon dioxide inhalation. The same highly aroused features were seen in a nearly identical pattern.

    Schiff find the study “very interesting” and novel, but is very skeptical about any near-death interpretations.

    “There’s no intrinsic reason to believe that these rats are in some heightened state of awareness,” he said. He believes the spike in activity is simply a shock-to-the-system response by the brain cells to a major change in physiology.

    While the study does look at the data within the context of near-death experiences, both Borjigin and Mashour hesitate to state a direct connection between the two. The links are merely speculative at this point and provide a framework for a human study, said Borjigin.

    Even if the EEG patterns after cardiac arrest appear similar to the those of the awake state, Schiff cautioned that the same rules may not apply when the brain’s playing field has changed drastically due to lack of blood flow. He does think that a similar surge in activity, if seen in rat brain, would translate to human brain as well.

    There are some case reports by doctors who have witnessed a surge in EEG activity in their patients at the point of death, but no systematic study has been done.

    © The Washington Post Company

    1. I just hope that anesthesia induced comma results in an auditory disconnect from the environment.
      As usual, I should have kept my big mouth shut at the hospital.

      ...or better yet, talked about things we enjoy ("ed") in her presence.

      Her precious spirit lives on.

    2. Please explain to me NDE's when the brain is totally without activity.

      "Rather than an ascent into the afterlife, a new study says these features of a near-death experience may just be a bunch of neurons in your brain going nuts."

      How does 'a bunch of neurons in your brain going nuts' create a coherent experience?

      This is really old news, and the de-bunkers have been de-bunked themselves.

      The mystery remains.

    3. You gotta admit tho that

      "may just be a bunch of neurons in your brain going nuts"

      Is a highly descriptive and Scientifically Accurate statement of "reality"

    4. William James was seemingly of the view that the brain does not create consciousness, but focuses it, excluding much of the incoming info, a filter of a sorts, a survival organ. However this may be, it is hard to see how a flat lined brain, as in the famous Pam Reynolds case (which has been bunked, de-bunked, de-de-bunked ruthlessly) can create much of anything at all, much less a coherent experience. And if there is brain activity, as in a bunch of neurons going nuts, again it is very difficult to see how a coherent experience might arise from this.

      The mystery remains.

    5. >>>"may just be a bunch of neurons in your brain going nuts"

      Is a highly descriptive and Scientifically Accurate statement of "reality"<<<

      Well, it's a passable scientific description of Quirk's brain on Vodka and Skittles and tea and codeine.

  15. Last week, the world as we knew it was ending and Americans consulates and embassies were being shuttered throughout the ME. The Republican Brain Trust was reporting that the chatter was deafening and they were really, really scared. This was the most serious thing since 911.

    Obama stood up though. He wasn’t going to be intimidated by al Qaeda and bravely flew himself and the dogs to Martha’s Vineyard.


    Factoid: More Americans get killed per month in Philadelphia than have all Americans that been killed by Islamic terrorists in the US since 911.

    The threat in Philadelphia is mostly from American black males. No other group comes close.

    Here is the Official Philadelphia 90 most wanted list with photos. No consulates have been shut down in Philadelphia:

    1. When we all get access to free Rufuscare, more of them little black bastard crack babies will survive, leading to more crime.
      Thus the need to give more money to "Family Planners"


      Routine infanticide:

      Lila Rose and Live Action expose the abortion industry's darkest secret
      2013.08.12 - 2:00pm - Doug Bean / Celebrate Life Magazine

      Kermit Gosnell isn’t an isolated case. The latest undercover investigation by Lila Rose’s pro-life group, Live Action, makes that perfectly and painfully clear.According to his employees’ testimony, this Philadelphia abortionist delivered hundreds of late-term babies and then killed them by snipping their spinal cords.

      But months before Gosnell’s trial ended in May with his conviction on three counts of first-degree murder in the brutal deaths of newborn children outside the womb, involuntary manslaughter of a patient, violation of Pennsylvania’s 24-week abortion limit, and hundreds of other crimes,
      Live Action sent investigators into late-term abortion facilities. This was the organization’s eighth undercover investigation of the abortion industry. read more...

    2. Humiliating to recall I could not even stomach pithing a frog.

    3. Never thot about it, but why the hell couldn't we gas them to sleep, or lethal injection?

      (Good training if we wanted to get into prison work)

  16. Sir Isaac Newton, Trinity College, Cambridge
    fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge at age 25
    named fellow of Royal Society at age 29

  17. “The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another.”
    ___Albert Einstein

    1. Was Albert forced to go to Synagogue as a child?

      That's this Presbyterian's excuse for my lack of much access to the higher power.

      Couldn't be that Einstein's way out of my league brainpower-wise. everyone here surely knows.

    2. Also spelled synagog - from Greek: συναγωγή transliterated synagogē, meaning "assembly"; בית כנסת beyt knesset, meaning "house of assembly"; ...

    3. Newton was my hero in college, not Albert.

      His genius was accessible to mechanical minds a couple of hundred years later.

      Einstein, not so much.

  18. Reps. Poe and Labrador Working to Double Low-Skilled Worker Visas

    Ted Poe (R-Texas)
    One of them Texicans, as the Border Dwelling Rat called them.

    More and more productive folk are leaving the highest corporate tax country in the World, companies like Apple will never bring over 100 BILLION Dollars back here, and now we are paying for Hotel Rooms for low-skilled "political refugees" from Mexico!

    ...the better to accomadate the terrorist nation we are turning Mexico into by way of the "Drug War."

    1. When this melting pot we call America is boiling already lets cram in more people.
      (More cowbell!)

  19. “There can be no doubt that as a matter of fact a religious life, exclusively pursued, does tend to make the person exceptional and eccentric. I speak now not of ordinary religious believer, who follows the conventional observances of his country, whether it be Buddhist, Christian, or Mohammedan. His religion has been made for him by others, communicated to him by tradition, determined to fixed forms by imitation, and retained by habit. It would profit us little to study this second-hand religious life. We must make search rather for original experiences which were the pattern-setters to all this mass of suggested feeling and imitated conduct. These experiences we can only find in individuals for whom religion exists not as a dull habit, but as an acute fever rather. But such individuals are geniuses in the religious line; and like many other geniuses who have brought forth fruits effective enough for commemoration in the pages of biography, such religious geniuses have often shown symptoms of nervous irritability… Invariably they have been creatures of exalted emotional sensibility. Often they have led a discordant inner life, and had melancholy during a part of their career. They have known no measure, been liable to obsessions and fixed ideas…and presented all sorts of peculiarities which are ordinarily classed as pathological.”
    ___William James

    1. So it's God's fault that I'm nutz.

      I knew I was a victim, but never knew of what.

    2. Somebody is certainly to blame!


  20. Mexico moved to end the country's 75-year-old monopoly on oil and gas production, potentially opening up some of the world's biggest remaining untapped oil reserves to private companies and setting the stage for a new energy boom on the U.S. doorstep.

    The government on Monday unveiled a bill to change the constitution to let it partner with private companies to find and produce oil and gas in a country that is the third biggest supplier of crude to the U.S. and has the world's fourth biggest reserves of shale gas.

    1. It'll be a flash in the pan that runs out in a year or two.

      Rufus will explain the details.


      And Again.


  21. Doug,

    Einstein was not forced to attend synagogue.

    For years, he opposed the Big Bang. Finally, bowing to science, he accepted the theory. His reluctance was simple: an origin of the universe implied an author. He gave much thought to this in later life.

    1. Being a student of Garret Hardin, it's always pissed me off that idiot atheists are forever claiming that Darwin explained the origin of life.

      He made no such claim, and anyone that knows anything about the Theory of Evolution should know that.

      Dawkins is a loud-mouth Moron of the first order.

    2. You are absolutely correct. Dawkins is an embarrassment to 'intellectual life'.

    3. An origin, such as the beginning of the universe, the big bang, does not imply an author. It may not imply a beginning. If you accept that there was an instant when a unit, “The Unit” exploded and expanded, then it is not beyond reason to go back to that instant minus one. At unit time minus one, we could have had the ultimate, final and complete collapse of the universe that preceded the instant our universe was formed. We assume it started from nothing and was created. That is faith. With faith you van believe anything.

      It is just as logical to believe that if there was a big bang, then that which preceded it was a big collapse and a compression to the same unit when one ended and another began. Creation could be the mirror image of the grand collapse of everything. It is more logical to believe in a grand transition at the crossover point than to believe something started from nothing.

      Faith is the only thing that can rescue you from the absurdity that their must be a creator. If there must be a creator to start everything, then something had to create the creator. If you say no, god always was and always will be and will always remain the same, then you can just as logically apply that with the same conviction to the notion that the universe in one form or another always was and always will be.

    4. I can come to no other conclusion than life evolved from the chemistry of the universe and that at some stage as human intelligence and experience expanded, man created god in the societal and technological terms of the time.

      If you need it , use it. but I am also convinced that over time, the concept has done much more harm than good.

    5. It seems to me that all the energy that goes into an expanding universe has to be stretched to some limit some time and the ultimate exhaustion and collapse would begin.

      Likewise, a collapse over eons would recover all the energy utilized in the expansion and the compression would reach a point where it could compress no more. At that point, the big bang and the process begins again. I find that far more inspirational and magnificent.

    6. ...over time, the concept has done much more harm than good.

      Define what is good.
      Is life created just to feed death?
      Or is death a needed partner for life everlasting?

    7. At that point, the big bang and the process begins again. I find that far more inspirational and magnificent.

      I agree, but it sounds painful

    8. You have everlasting life, as you are a part of the universe. You have one over the universe in that you know that you exist and the universe doesn’t know that it exits. By being alive at all you won the lottery. For an absurd instant you shine. That is a gift that should not be pissed away. You, I, and everyone else is in the better place. Live well and be good for goodness sake. We are the mind and soul of the universe, at least our part.

    9. There has always been an universe, there is an universe now, there will always be an universe. The penultimate cause of this current universe is the liberation of those few who are ripe in it for liberation from duality. The ultimate cause is the great mum's secret, presumably she likes what she does, finds it playful.

      There is never matter without mind, nor mind without matter. Consciousness with the big C is separate from both.

      The divine patience is infinite, the divine compassion without limit.

      Ho,ho! All is well.

      Becoming yields to Being, and we come to something without knowing why.

      But you must save yourself, and will, eventually.


      (simple Hinduism, the original perennial philosophy)

    10. See, now that gives me inspiration.

    11. You have everlasting life, as you are a part of the universe. You have one over the universe in that you know that you exist and the universe doesn’t know that it exits. By being alive at all you won the lottery. For an absurd instant you shine. That is a gift that should not be pissed away. You, I, and everyone else is in the better place. Live well and be good for goodness sake. We are the mind and soul of the universe, at least our part.-Deuce

      Can I quote you on that?

    12. Everlasting life, as in everlasting time, is a misconception.

      It is the eternal that is longed for, above time, beyond time, and it's past time we got it.

      In time there is always duality, and duality is not it. Time is duality.

      Being, not becoming, is what is longed for.

      Being, Consciousness, Bliss.

      Sat, Cit, Ananda.


    13. "You, I, and everyone else is in the better place."


      With Grammar like that, you have to wonder if selection didn't sometimes find some time to take off.

    14. Seriously Deuce.
      I want to put that on my fb status and see what reaction I get'
      Maybe it will go viral :)

    15. .

      It seems to me that all the energy that goes into an expanding universe has to be stretched to some limit some time and the ultimate exhaustion and collapse would begin.

      I believe the current and growing scientific consensus would disagree with you. The universe seems to be expanding and doing so at an accelerating rate rather than slowing down.

      You say 'it seems to me' but how does that differ from 'I believe'?

      Live well and be good for goodness sake.

      Who's to say those who have faith in a supreme being don't live well, that they aren't good? Also, I suspect there are many who have faith that find the universe as inspirational and magnificent as you do.

      It is more logical to believe in a grand transition at the crossover point than to believe something started from nothing.

      Who says so? We know the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. And given the speed of light, we are already beyond the horizon where we can see back to that point. It may 'not be logical' that we can go back to that 'instant minus 1' to prove anything. Everything about that 'instant minus 1' is theory and may remain so.

      If you need it, use it. but I am also convinced that over time, the concept has done much more harm than good.

      The problem with religion is not that they believe but that there are many religions and they all believe they have the one real truth. The trouble with atheists is that they share the same arrogance even though they as a group may have as many theories on reality as the religious.

      If you want to speak of logic and talk science then it seems to me logical means being an agnostic and admitting you don't know. But forgetting about logic and getting back to Dougman's question "Define what is good", I would ask the same question in a different context. How do you define a good life? I would argue you can have a good life regardless of your religious beliefs or lack thereof. And since we will never know until that other 'instant' we all reach eventually, I envy those who can take comfort in the believe that when that instant comes there will be something waiting for them there.


  22. Doug,

    "Bi-Polar like me"

    ...great title for a book or rock band...

    1. Jay Mohr Podcast

      This is my pick for the funniest man alive today.

      Had Chris Titus as a guest.
      Chris came up with

      "Here's my excuse, if I have one."

      Mohr thot that would be a great title also.

    2. Chris's mom shot her husband, then herself after she got out of prison.

    3. Jay is bipolar and depressed.
      Just doesn't sound like it much.

      Although what his once-beautiful wife did to her face depresses me.


    4. Being bi-polar sucks, it's awesome!

    5. Jay was raised Catholic, T.

      (haven't investigated, but maybe a Catholic Jew?)

      Carolla is a mongrel raised by 70's Hippies.

      "...we may be broke and on Welfare, but we're morally superior."

  23. When President Obama announced a series of intelligence reforms last Friday he called for the creation of an independent advisory group made up of "outside experts" who will review controversial surveillance programs. But based on a memorandum issued today by the White House, it's not clear how independent the effort will be.


    While Clapper may be technically well-suited to direct a review group given the intelligence community's unique need for secrecy, it may be difficult to sell the process to the American people with current skepticism about his accountability. Earlier this month, lawmakers concerned with the government's broad surveillance efforts said that Clapper should resign for lying to Congress.

    1. I just can't get excercised about anyone named Clapper.

      ...except in a good way.

    2. How about a round of applause?

    3. How about some applause with one hand clapping?

      Levin is on Hannity talking Liberty Amendments.

    4. Only a true clapper is capable of this.

    5. You just say that 'cause you're to much of a puss to tolerate the sound of two.
      ...much less the impact.

    6. Quirk tried to accomplish this once by high fiving with an employee, but everyone could immediately see it was a clapperoo, and not real one handed clapping at all.

    7. The audience threw tomatoes at Quirk, and booed him too, and demanded their money back, which was not forthcoming.

    8. Did he declare himself a victim of bankruptcy?

    9. He'd already spent the ticket money before the show on whiskey and Skittles, tea and codeine.

      One can understand why, you need courage to do the work quirk tried to do.

    10. Courage in a bottle.

      ...and a Cellophane Sack.


    11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. The foundation of the Big Bang Theory is an enormous corpus of scientific evidence supporting the claim that the universe was not and is not infinite but, indeed, had a beginning. Like Einstein, you can choose not to accept those facts and stick with Aristotle and Ptolemy. My money is on the converted, elderly Einstein, given his track record.

    The universe cannot be infinite because, as the matter of undisputed scientific fact, it is expanding at an accelerating rate, a major anomaly in the conventional understanding of physics, which posited that expansion would continue for some indefinite period of time, but at a fixed decelerating rate.

    Into what is the universe expanding is a question worth asking. For instance, when I light up a cigar and contentedly exhale its smoke, that smoke drifts about the room or around the patio. But into what space does the stuff of the universe drift? Certainly not space, because space must have dimensionality, the product of light and matter (the universe).

    Depending upon the authority, Newton and Einstein, between them, fill spots "#1" and "#2" in terms of intelligence. The only argument revolves around who gets which place.

    All I know about Rochester is that it is cold during Thanksgiving. To my knowledge, the university there has never produced a Leibniz.

    1. I know I'm prejudiced, but I never trust Fat Corpuses.

    2. The universe comes and goes. All the rest is detail.

  25. My daughter just told me she met an 70 year old parrot today.

    "If you don't find Leo my friend has a cute little kitten she wants to give away. It's litter box trained!

    I met a 70 year old parrot today. It has cancer and is missing some feathers but seemed pretty happy. Her name is Jamie. I took some pictures."

    If I were a 70 year old female parrot named Jamie with cancer and missing some feathers I'd be getting the grumpy old parrot syndrome.

    1. They never hire parrots over 50 in Lahaina for shots w/Tourists to send back home.

      ...there oughta be a law.

  26. If there was a universe preceding this one, no evidence has been found, to date, to support that claim. A continuing mystery is why 95% of the matter that should have been produced by the Big Bang is invisible to the current detection technology. This could bring in string theory and sub-sub-atomic particles literally creating a cosmic sea.

    1. Why would there be any evidence of something that is utterly not any longer?

      Where 'in the world' would you expect to find the 'evidence'?

      In a museum?

    2. Out past infinity, where some have the temerity to act as though they think their thoughts can go.

    3. If there was a universe preceding this one, no evidence has been found, to date, to support that claim.

      How could there be any evidence of anything that preceded the big bang?

  27. I'm off to bed, too.

    Been nice chats today.

  28. .

    Hey, I know the president has to have a vacation. And maybe I complain too much over the $1 million he spent on that golf weekend with Tiger Woods and his coach. However, I think he jumped the shark on this one.

    Using Marine One to ferry Bo to Martha's Vineyard for their vacation! Come on!


    1. I've been threatening (myself) to see the totals spent V W.
      (Not a Volkswagen)
      The press liked to say W took as many vacations as this Obamanation that should have been aborted.

      Never mentioning that most of them were way out in Texas, not hither and yon around the Globe with his, hers, and it's means of Transport.

      One thing I KNOW:

      More has already been spent on these wastrels than all the Kings, Queens, Pawns, and Queers in Great Britain COMBINED.

      Only DC can put the Monarchy to shame w/o raising a sweat.

  29. It seems to me the "Big Bang Theory" is similar to Dawkin's mindless contention that Evolution explains the origin of life:

    Let's say it's true:

    Who, or what caused the Big Bang?

    1. Doug, space only emerges when there's at least two things and a gap between them. Time only emerges when that gap between the things changes. The word "before" doesn't apply when you are outside of the domain of time.

  30. You are assuming something had to cause something because you are putting it in terms of human experience. You are limiting possibilities to your own experience and understanding.

    Human beings have always done that. It was during a period of ignorance of the world and and absence of scientific knowledge that all the not-so-great religions evolved and god was created within the restrictions of limited human technology and experience.

    Who would believe in the medical practices of four thousand years ago? Who would bet their life on applying them today?

    What machines from that period would you use?

    It is nonsense, myth and wishful thinking. Why do people bury the only life that they will ever have in the wish for life beyond their own time? It can only be fear.

    1. That story of "Hell" was a stroke of pure genius (or, malfeasance, if you wish.) :)

  31. Would you allow a medicine man of three thousand years ago to use his tools to treat your child of a ruptured appendix? Why would you base your life on a religious theory constructed at the same time? Just asking.

    1. I find the notion of a child being birthed from a ruptured appendix abhorrent.

    2. Because the first don't work, and the second don't seem to have been surpassed in many respects.

      As to the second it can be argued, and has been many places (Eliade) that today we are in a period of devolution. Though our plumbing and technology is better, so we are in an uptick there in the first.

    3. "I find the notion of a child being birthed from a ruptured appendix abhorrent."

      Me too.

      I like the idea of a child being born from the frontal lobes much better. Seems much more dignified.


      Image from the temple of Athena at Mycenae, c. 625 BC (National Archaeological Museum of Athens)
      Olympian version

      After he swallowed her pregnant mother, Metis, Athena is "born" from Zeus' forehead as he grasps the clothing of Eileithyia on the right —black-figured amphora, 550–525 BC, Louvre.
      Although Athena appears before Zeus at Knossos —in Linear B, as a-ta-na po-ti-ni-ja, "Mistress Athena"[17]—in the Classical Olympian pantheon, Athena was remade as the favorite daughter of Zeus, born fully armed from his forehead. wiki

    4. .

      You are assuming something had to cause something because you are putting it in terms of human experience. You are limiting possibilities to your own experience and understanding.

      As are you.


  32. "It was during a period of ignorance of the world and and absence of scientific knowledge that all the not-so-great religions evolved...."

    Axial Age
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    See also: Ancient philosophy

    Axial Age or Axial Period (Ger. Achsenzeit, "axis time") is a term coined by German philosopher Karl Jaspers to describe the period from 800 to 200 BC, during which, according to Jaspers, similar revolutionary thinking appeared in Persia, India, China and the Occident. The period is also sometimes referred to as the Axis Age.[1]

    Jaspers, in his Vom Ursprung und Ziel der Geschichte (The Origin and Goal of History), identified a number of key Axial Age thinkers as having had a profound influence on future philosophies and religions, and identified characteristics common to each area from which those thinkers emerged. Jaspers saw in these developments in religion and philosophy a striking parallel without any obvious direct transmission of ideas from one region to the other, having found no recorded proof of any extensive intercommunication between Ancient Greece, the Middle East, India, and China. Jaspers held up this age as unique, and one to which the rest of the history of human thought might be compared. Jaspers' approach to the culture of the middle of the first millennium BC has been adopted by other scholars and academics, and has become a point of discussion in the history of religion.
    Contents [hide]
    1 A pivotal age
    1.1 Thinkers and movements
    1.2 Characteristics of the Axial Age
    2 The term and the theory
    3 References
    4 Further reading
    5 External links
    A pivotal age[edit source | editbeta]

    Jaspers argued that during the Axial Age "the spiritual foundations of humanity were laid simultaneously and independently in China, India, Persia, Judea, and Greece. And these are the foundations upon which humanity still subsists today."[2] These foundations were laid by individual thinkers within a framework of a changing social environment.

    Thinkers and movements[edit source | editbeta]

    Jaspers' axial shifts included the rise of Platonism, which would later become a major influence on the Western world through both Christianity and secular thought throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. Parsva[3][4] (23rd Tirthankara in 9th century BCE) and Mahavira, (24th Tirthankara in 6th century BCE), known as the fordmakers of Jainism lived during this age.[5][6] They propagated the religion of sramanas (previous Tirthankaras) and influenced Indian philosophy by propounding the principles of ahimsa (non-violence), karma, samsara and asceticism.[7] Buddhism, also of the sramana tradition of India, was another of the world's most influential philosophies, founded by Siddhartha Gautama, or the Buddha, who lived during this period; its spread was aided by Ashoka, who lived late in the period. In China, Confucianism arose during this era, where it remains a profound influence on social and religious life. Zoroastrianism, another of Jaspers' examples, is crucial to the development of monotheism[8] – although Jaspers uses the Seleucid-era estimate for the founding of Zoroastrianism, which is actually the date of Cyrus' unification of Persia. The exact date of Zarathustra's life is debated by scholars with some, such as Mary Boyce, arguing that Zoroastrianism itself is significantly older.[8] Others, such as William W. Malandra and R.C. Zaehner suggest that he may indeed have been an early contemporary of Cyrus living around 600 BC.[9] However, Boyce and other leading scholars who once supported much earlier dates for Zarathustra/Zoroaster have recently changed their position on the time when he likely lived, so that there is an emerging consensus regarding him as a contemporary or near-contemporary of Cyrus the Great.[10]

    1. Jaspers also included the authors of the Upanishads, Lao Tzu, Homer, Socrates, Parmenides, Heraclitus, Thucydides, Archimedes, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Deutero-Isaiah as axial figures. Jaspers held Socrates, Confucius and Siddhartha Gautama in especially high regard, describing each of them as an exemplary human being and paradigmatic personality.[11]
      In addition to Jaspers, the philosopher Eric Voegelin referred to this age as The Great Leap of Being, constituting a new spiritual awakening and a shift of perception from societal to individual values.[12] Thinkers and teachers like the Buddha, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Anaxagoras contributed to such awakenings which Plato would later call anamnesis, or a remembering of things forgotten.
      Characteristics of the Axial Age[edit source | editbeta]

      Jaspers argued that the Axial Age gave birth to philosophy as a discipline.
      Jaspers described the Axial Age as "an interregnum between two ages of great empire, a pause for liberty, a deep breath bringing the most lucid consciousness".[13] To the extent that the Axial Age represents an in-between period, a period where old certainties had lost their validity and where new ones were still not ready, it has also been suggested that the Axial Age can be considered a historically liminal period.[14] Jaspers was particularly interested in the similarities in circumstance and thought of the Age's figures. These similarities included an engagement in the quest for human meaning[15] and the rise of a new elite class of religious leaders and thinkers in China, India and the Occident.[16] The three regions all gave birth to, and then institutionalized, a tradition of travelling scholars, who roamed from city to city to exchange ideas. After the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period, Taoism and Confucianism emerged in China. In other regions, the scholars were largely from extant religious traditions; in India, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism; in Persia, the religion of Zoroaster; in Canaan, Judaism; and in Greece, sophism and other classical philosophy.
      Jaspers argues that these characteristics appeared under similar political circumstances: China, India and the Occident each comprised multiple small states engaged in internal and external struggles.
      Anthropologist David Graeber has pointed out that "the core period of Jasper's Axial age [...] corresponds almost exactly to the period in which coinage was invented. What's more, the three parts of the world where coins were first invented were also the very parts of the world where those sages lived; in fact, they became the epicenters of Axial Age religious and philosophical creativity."[17] Drawing on the work of classicist Richard Seaford and literary theorist Marc Shell on the relation between coinage and early Greek thought, Graeber argues that an understanding of the rise of markets is necessary to grasp the context in which the religious and philosophical insights of the Axial age arose. The ultimate effect of the introduction of coinage was, he argues, an "ideal division of spheres of human activity that endures to this day: on the one hand the market, on the other, religion."[17

    2. The term and the theory[edit source | editbeta]

      The word axial in the phrase Axial Age means pivotal. The name comes from Jaspers' use of the German word Achse, which means both "axis" and "pivot".
      German sociologist Max Weber played an important role in Jaspers' thinking.[18][19][20] Shmuel Eisenstadt argues in the introduction to The Origins and Diversity of Axial Age Civilizations that Max Weber's work in his The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism, The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism and Ancient Judaism provided a background for the importance of the period, and notes parallels with Eric Voegelin's Order and History.[16] Wider acknowledgement of Jaspers' work came after it was presented at a conference and published in Dædalus in 1975, and Jaspers' suggestion that the period was uniquely transformative generated important discussion amongst other scholars, such as Johann Arnason.[20] In literature, Gore Vidal in his novel Creation covers much of this Axial Age through the fictional perspective of a Persian adventurer.
      Religious historian Karen Armstrong explored the period in her The Great Transformation,[21] and the theory has been the focus of academic conferences.[22] Usage of the term has expanded beyond Jaspers' original formulation. Armstrong argues that the Enlightenment was a "Second Axial Age", including thinkers such as Isaac Newton, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein,[23] and that religion today needs to return to the transformative Axial insights.[24] In contrast, it has been suggested that the modern era is a new axial age, wherein traditional relationships between religion, secularity, and traditional thought are changing.[25]

    3. References[edit source | editbeta]

      ^ Meister, Chad (2009). Introducing Philosophy of Religion. Abingdon: Routledge. p. 10. ISBN 0-203-88002-1.
      ^ Jaspers, Karl (2003). The Way to Wisdom : An Introduction to Philosophy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. p. 98. ISBN 0-300-09735-2. Page image.
      ^ Fisher, Mary Pat (1997). Living Religions: An Encyclopedia of the World's Faiths. London: IB Tauris. ISBN 1-86064-148-2. p. 115
      ^ "Parshvanatha". Encyclopædia Britannica. Online. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
      ^ "Mahavira", Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, Encyclopædia Britannica, 2006.
      ^ Mahavira, Answers, 28 Nov 2009.
      ^ Zydenbos, Robert J. (2006). Jainism Today and Its Future. München: Manya Verlag. pp. 11, 56–57, 59..
      ^ a b Boyce, Mary (1979). Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-23903-6.
      ^ Malandra, William (1983). An Introduction to Ancient Iranian Religion. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-1114-9.
      ^ Brown, Brian Arthur (2012). Three Testaments: Torah, Gospel, and Quran. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-1492-7. Text " pages 23-24 " ignored (help) /
      ^ Jaspers, Karl (1962). The Great Philosophers: The Foundations. Hannah Arendt, trans. London: Ralph Manheim. pp. 99–105. cited in Armstrong, Karen (2006). The Great Transformation: The Beginning of our Religious Traditions (First edition ed.). New York: Knopf. p. 287. ISBN 0-676-97465-1.
      ^ Voegelin, Eric (2000) [1985]. Order and History (Volume V): In Search of Order. Collected Works of Eric Voegelin 18. Columbia, Missouri: The University of Missouri Press. ISBN 978-0-8262-1261-0.
      ^ Jaspers, 1953, p. 51 quoted in Armstrong, p. 367
      ^ Thomassen, Bjorn (2010), "Anthropology, multiple modernities and the axial age debate", Anthropological Theory volume = 10 (4): 321–42
      ^ Neville, Robert Cummings (2002). Religion in Late Modernity. SUNY Press. p. 104. ISBN 0-7914-5424-X.
      ^ a b Eisenstadt, SN (1986). "Introduction". The Origins and Diversity of Axial Age Civilizations. SUNY Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 0-88706-094-3.
      ^ a b Graeber, David (2011). Debt: The First 5000 Years. Brooklyn, NY: Melville House. p. 224. ISBN 978-1-933633-86-2.
      ^ "Karl Jaspers". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-14.
      ^ Szakolczai, Arpad (2003). The Genesis of Modernity (First hardcover ed.). UK: Routledge. pp. 80–81. ISBN 0-415-25305-5.
      ^ a b Szakolczai, Arpad (2006). "Historical sociology". Encyclopedia of Social Theory. UK: Routledge. p. 251. ISBN 0-415-29046-5.
      ^ Armstrong, Karen (2006). The Great Transformation: The Beginning of our Religious Traditions (First ed.). New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-676-97465-1.
      ^ Strath, Bo (2005). "Axial Transformations". Retrieved 2006-06-14.[dead link]
      ^ Armstrong, p. 356
      ^ Armstrong, pp. 390–99
      ^ Lambert, Yves (1999). "Religion in Modernity as a New Axial Age: Secularization or New Religious Forms?". Sociology of Religion 60: 303. doi:10.2307/3711939.

    4. Notes
      Jaspers, Karl; Bullock, Michael (Tr.) (1953). The Origin and Goal of History (1st English ed.). London: Routledge and Keegan Paul. LCCN 53001441. Originally published as Jaspers, Karl (1949). Vom Ursprung und Ziel der Geschichte (1st ed.). München: Piper Verlag. LCCN 49057321.
      Further reading[edit source | editbeta]

      Wisdom, Revelation and Doubt: Perspectives on the First Millennium B.C., Daedalus, Spring 1975.
      Shmuel Eisenstadt (1982). The Axial Age: The Emergence of Transcendental Visions and the Rise of Clerics. European Journal of Sociology 23(2):294–314.
      Rodney Stark (2007). Discovering God: A New Look at the Origins of the Great Religions. NY: HarperOne.
      Gore Vidal (1981). Creation. NY: Random House. A novel narrated by the fictional grandson of Zoroaster in 445 BC, describing encounters with the central figures of the Axial Age during his travels.
      Karen Armstrong (2006). The Great Transformation: The Beginnings of our Religious Traditions. NY: Knopf. A semi-historic description of the events and milieu of the Axial Age.
      Yves Lambert (1999). "Religion in Modernity as a New Axial Age: Secularization or New Religious Forms?". Oxford University Press: Sociology of Religion Vol. 60 No. 3. pp. 303–333. A general model of analysis of the relations between religion and modernity, where modernity is conceived as a new axial age.
      David Graeber (2011) Debt: The First 5000 Years. Brooklyn: Melville House Press.
      External links[edit source | editbeta]

      Religions Timeline. Sacred-Texts.
      The Axial Age and Its Consequences, a 2008 conference in Erfurt, Germany

    5. "god was created within the restrictions of limited human technology and experience"

      Yes, yes, we have unlimited human technology and unlimited human experience and are without restrictions these days. We have become gods ourselves.


      Whatever the case may be about technology in the future, what else other than human experience are we ever going to have to talk about - human experience?

  33. Newest jihad threat: exploding clothes undetectable with current security devices

    The best thing that could come out of this would be the closing-down of the TSA, an extraordinarily wasteful and increasingly intrusive boondoggle that arose from the government's unwillingness and inability to face the reality of the jihad threat.

    "Newest terror threat: Exploding clothes," by Rick Couri for, August 8:

    The clothes are reported to become potentially devastating after being dipped in a special liquid. Once the clothes dry they become highly explosive.

    To make matters worse they are feared to be undetectable with current security devices.

    American operatives looking into the claims say of the liquid "It's ingenious."

    al-Qaeda explosives guru Ibrahim al-Asiri is thought to be the man behind the new threat.

    Just last month TSA chief John Pistole pointed out the group had a newer, better underwear bomb and are close to perfecting explosives that are surgically implanted in the body cavities of “Frankenbombers.”...

    Jihad Watch

    1. And it would be utterly moot if they put everyone from the Dar al-Islam on the No Fly List.

    2. More rubbish from the jihad industry. There are more people murdered per month in Philadelphia than Americans have been killed in the US by foreign terrorists since 911. The shooters are over 80% black males. There is no national concern over this. Some dead Americans are outranked by other dead Americans?

      It is clear to me that all the hype, scare tactics, domestic surveillance, militarization of police, al over exploding jihadi underwear, is a ruse for something far more sinister.

      Raise the flag higher boys.

    3. I don't know about the sinister part, but it makes for some damned fine "bidness." :)

    4. How about we profile.

      We profile blacks in inner cities.

      We profile moslems at airports.

      We profile based on the stats that push us to those conclusions.

      IF a given population, which is a minority, causes the majority of a crime? then target that minority for additional layers of screening.

      Stop and frisk comes to mind.

  34. I don’t know what the spam dump is supposed to prove. I am always amused at how threatened true believers are of skeptics. The reverse is rarely true.

    1. Was to show your limited comprehension of the origins of many of our traditions, and how dumb an idea it is to assume we live in a more 'authentic' or 'enlightened' age.

      Hardly a 'true believer' here, I do think we have a lot to learn from the past and that many 'sceptics' today are very ill informed concerning it.

      Religious/mythical ideas are not technological innovations.

      Your toilet may work better, and your hygiene is possibly or higher quality (this might be debated) but the workings of your mind, insight, logic, etc are much the same as in the past.

    2. Why do you care what I think? Why are you threatened when god is on your side? I would think that you would be playing with loaded dice.

  35. Interfaith outreach in Syria: Jihadists destroy Orthodox church

    "They tore up the sanctuary curtains, Bibles and other holy books, and broke all the crosses, chairs and icons of Jesus and the saints. They stole electrical appliances like fans, chandeliers and lights. They took whatever was in the church, and sold it all. There is nothing there now."

    "Even though I have left, the terrorists still call and text me from there, on my cell phone, to bother me. They recently called and told me: 'If you attempt to return to al-Tabqah we will cut off your head and display it on the mosque so that all the Muslims there can see it and be proud of it.' They say other things too, but what they say is so disturbing, that I keep my phone switched off unless I really need to use it."

    "We have lost everything. There is nothing for us over there now, nothing to return to. We just need help to get out of here and settle in a country that's safe."

    And Obama is sending aid to these jihadists.

    "Syrian Rebels Destroy Orthodox Church in Al-Thawrah," from AINA, August 9 (thanks to Paul):
    (AINA) -- The Antiochian Orthodox church of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus was a landmark of al-Thawrah (also known as al-Tabqah). It was an impressive, modern structure with a large yard, surrounded by a high wall and well-situated on a main street near the corniche -- a well landscaped area hugging the southern bank of Lake Assad which was popular with locals going on an evening stroll. Its elegant dome, surmounted by a cross, could be seen from all parts of the Third Quarter (also known as Hayy al-Ishtirakiyah), where it was located.
    Spiritually, this church was under the jurisdiction of the archdiocese of Aleppo, the metropolitan of which, Boulos al-Yazigi, was kidnapped (and allegedly murdered) on April 22 of this year, along with the Syriac Orthodox metropolitan of the same city, Mor Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim. It was built between 1985 and 1994, on land offered by the al-Thawrah's city council, and could accommodate up to 300 worshippers. Moreover, not only did this church serve more than 250 Orthodox families, but it was also used by local Christian denominations which did not have their own places of worship, including the small Syriac Orthodox congregation.

    This was also one of only two Christian places of worship in the town, the other being the small church of St. George, which belonged to the Assyrian Church of the East. Built around 1973, along with a community hall, this was located in the older part of al-Thawrah, known locally as al-Qaryah (the village). Around 2000, a plot of land in the Third Quarter was purchased by this community in order to build a new church, closer to the three quarters that housed those working in the Euphrates dam -- and where the bulk of the Assyrians lived. Due to lack of funding, however, this project never materialised and, perhaps, for the better.

    1. On February 11, rebel fighters from the Islamist Jihadist "al-Nusra Front" -- designated by the USA, UN, Australia and UK as a terrorist organisation -- took control of the city and its strategic hydroelectric dam, the largest of its kind in the country. They also seized control of the three quarters that housed dam workers and in which, of course, stood the Orthodox Church of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus, and in which most of the Christians were settled.

      Christian eyewitnesses who fled al-Thawrah, now displaced in other parts of Syria, as well as in Lebanon and Turkey, tell of religious discrimination by the rebels, as well as forced confiscation of Christian possessions and properties, with many items being sold on the black market in order to purchase weapons and ammunition. Even the churches weren't spared.

      "The 'Free Syrian Army' demolished the [Sts. Sergius and Bacchus] church," lamented one refugee, "They tore up the sanctuary curtains, Bibles and other holy books, and broke all the crosses, chairs and icons of Jesus and the saints. They stole electrical appliances like fans, chandeliers and lights. They took whatever was in the church, and sold it all. There is nothing there now."

      There is no hope, however, for the Christians to return and rebuild after the conflict subsides -- that's if it indeed subsides. They were once considered better off than their relatives and friends who still lived in the villages they had migrated from, but are now destitute, having lost everything -- their homes, businesses, and even personal belongings.

      "Even though I have left," recounted another Assyrian refugee, "the terrorists still call and text me from there, on my cell phone, to bother me. They recently called and told me: 'If you attempt to return to al-Tabqah we will cut off your head and display it on the mosque so that all the Muslims there can see it and be proud of it.' They say other things too, but what they say is so disturbing, that I keep my phone switched off unless I really need to use it."

      Whilst it may be easy to switch off a cell phone, and ignore such threats, it is not so easy to shake off the trauma of dispossession and loss. After spending up to 45 years in a town which became their home, many of these refugees managed to escape with nothing but the clothes on their backs. "We have lost everything," said the head of an Assyrian household displaced from al-Thawrah, "There is nothing for us over there now, nothing to return to. We just need help to get out of here and settle in a country that's safe."

      Jihad Watch

    2. As peace talks resume with Palestinians, Israel faces opposition from another group fighting for land rights. The nomadic Bedouin lived for centuries in the Negev desert, but Israel’s proposed apartheid bill could force more than 30,000 from their homes.

    3. As peace talks resume with Palestinians, Israel faces a group whose primary goal is to drive them into the Mediterranean Sea.

      Genocide Watch

    4. As peace talks resume with Palestinians, the Palestinians declare their insistence on a State Without Jews.

      Apartheid Watch

    5. I don't think these 'peace talks' are going anywhere.

    6. Over 850,000 jews were driven from their historic lands that they lived on for over 3000 years, these peace talks will not bring justice to them.

    7. How many Indians were displaced or murdered to create America?

      How many Armenians were murdered by Turkey?

      How many Tibetians were displaced by China?

      How many in Northern Cyprus are currently displaced by Turkey?

      How many africans have been displaced by the arabs of sudan?

      How many Palestinians (or as I like to call them "arab Crips") have been displaced by the syrian war? Or the expulsion from Kuwait?

    8. Deuce: The nomadic Bedouin lived for centuries in the Negev desert, but Israel’s proposed apartheid bill could force more than 30,000 from their homes.

      Nomads dont HAVE HOMES. They have tents.

      Forcing them from one area to another reminds me of America and barb'd wire issues of the 1800's

    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. Like you care about an Orthodox Church? Give me a break.

  37. You know how I read the Gospels - the monomyth in Christian dress.

    I like a good rite though, and the Orthodox provide that. As do the Catholics.

  38. August 13, 2013
    Benghazi and the Banality of Evil
    By Daren Jonescu

    >>>The question is, will mainstream America ever start to care enough to do something about it? In this regard, Benghazi is a symbol of the current predicament of Western civilization. The fact that Obama was re-elected president of the United States while this story was still fresh, and that Clinton is casually presumed to be the presidential frontrunner for 2016, elevates Hannah Arendt's famous concept, the banality of evil, almost to the point of being definitive of this final stage of modernity's decay. Millions of ordinary people close their eyes and walk "forward" on demand -- without evil intent, perhaps, but without the reason and judgment that men must possess if they are to discern and avoid evil outcomes.

    In such an era, evil outcomes are guaranteed.<<<

    "this final stage of modernity's decay"


    Wow, this guy must think we are going retro/devo!

  39. Why'd they screw around with two handled jugs on ships?

    Wouldn't shrink wrapped cases of pop tops be more secure, transportable, and being disposable, a lot more convenient?

    1. Probably a Federation of Mediterranean Amphora Workers deal.

      Those guys didn't know free labor from Adam.

      ...probly didn't know Adam.

  40. I've been thinking about the "Hyperloop."

    I could see the future looking something like that.

    They said the "Chunnel" was an idiot idea, right?

  41. What is "Occupation"Tue Aug 13, 08:52:00 AM EDT
    How many Indians were displaced or murdered to create America?

    How many Armenians were murdered by Turkey?

    How many Tibetians were displaced by China?

    How many in Northern Cyprus are currently displaced by Turkey?

    How many africans have been displaced by the arabs of sudan?

    How many Palestinians (or as I like to call them "arab Crips") have been displaced by the syrian war? Or the expulsion from Kuwait?

    Let me ask you a question:

    Does an evil act, a pogrom, an act of ethnic cleaning, any past human atrocity give cover and justification for a current illegal or evil injustice? If it does, then just wait your turn for paybacks.

  42. .

    Cost of Detroit bankruptcy estimated at $1 billion.

    Detroit— City Hall’s estimated $1.4 million-a-month restructuring tab includes a consulting company billing $275 an hour for a 22-year-old financial analyst who graduated from college last year, according to records obtained by The Detroit News.

    Wade P. Johnston got his bachelor’s degree in finance in 2012 from Michigan State University and is part of the team the consultants, Conway MacKenzie, have working to turn around city operations. The Birmingham firm billed the city $288,671 for the work of 11 staffers over two weeks in July, including more than $26,000 for Johnston alone.

    The records give a rare look at the costs being picked up by the city and state, a breakdown city council members and other critics have argued has been hidden amid Detroit’s historic bankruptcy. Conway MacKenzie’s hourly rates range from $495 for the group’s senior managing director to $275 for Johnston, who started with the company in June as a senior associate, according to records.

    From The Detroit News:


  43. Deuce,

    I am assuming nothing; rather, I have quoted from and referenced some of the thoughts of several of the undisputed greatest minds ever to have lived. What I know is pitifully little. Like Socrates, "I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing." In Greek this quote is a pun on the word "know" - absolute, ultimate understanding v. limited knowledge, such as - I have five fingers.

    As to looking for evidence of previous universes, the logic is the same as looking for evidence of previous geologic ages or previous pre-historic or historic cultures: major events tend to be untidy.

  44. .

    I am always amused at how threatened true believers are of skeptics. The reverse is rarely true.

    I would probably argue the point. Atheists have pretty much been out of the norm and ignored until their recent (in historical terms) activism.

    You have groups like Freedom From Religion Foundation printing adds attacking the Catholic Church in the NYT because it opposes the abortion positions in Obamacare. We have all witnessed the decades long attacks on Christmas trees and nativity scenes.

    There are atheist activist groups world wide. And one has to ask the same question you asked, 'Why do you care what I think?' In my opinion the aim is to gain relevance, the same as other minorities have.

    The GLBT community could have gotten all the civil and economic advantages they 'say' they desire through civil litigation and civil unions. But they rejected that and instead demanded 'gay marriage'. Why? Because the main thing they wanted was relevance. They want the gay lifestyle to be not only accepted but 'normalized'.

    Atheists preach that they are merely trying to protect the secular roots of American society. Bullshit. They are a 'religion' the same as all religions. Theirs merely lacks a supreme being. Everything prior to the Big Bang is theory (as is the Big Bang itself). The accelerating expansion of the universe and the constraints of the speed of light pretty much guarantee it will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

    You argued the difference between true believers and atheists when in reality you offer us a contradiction in terms. Atheists are true believers and just as the other religious they have no 'proof' to support their beliefs other than speculation about what did or didn't happen just before that first moment in time.

    If you are interested in the true face of atheism today look at guys like Todd

    (CNN) – Todd Stiefel is far from a household name, and the odds he gets recognized on a street corner, even in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, are small.

    For Stiefel, a slim, scruffy ex-Catholic, his public persona is his wallet and activism. Through the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, the 38-year-old has made an indelible impact on the nation’s fastest-growing “religious” group: the nonbelievers. Most of the highest-profile atheists campaigns –- flashy billboards in high-traffic areas, news-making efforts to get atheists to come out of the closet, and boisterous rallies - are funded by his fortune.

    Stiefel isn’t shy about his far-reaching goals.

    “What I am trying to accomplish is multifold, he told CNN. “I consider myself working on the next civil equality movement, just like women’s rights, LGBT rights and African-American Civil Rights. We are still in the early stages of eliminating discrimination against atheists and humanists. That is something I really want to accomplish.”

    Cristopher Hitchens was arrogant but correct when he stated, "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

    The obvious rejoinder to that is it works both ways.

    He also said, "I learned that very often the most intolerant and narrow-minded people are the ones who congratulate themselves on their tolerance and open-mindedness." This too is probably correct.


  45. Re: the relevance of time

    In a universe comprised of sub-sub-x-atomic particles having a half-life measured in thousandths of trillionths of seconds, and producing supernovas at not too great a relative distance, the light of which takes 158,000 earth years to be observed by our most sophisticated telescopic arrays, time is relevant only in the poaching of an egg.