Friday, March 31, 2006

The Other Intelligent Design Theories

The Other Intelligent Design Theories
David Brin (Skeptic Magazine)
By basing their offensive on core notions of fair play and completeness, ID promoters have employed a clever short-term tactic, but have incurred a long-term strategic liability. Because, their grand conceptual error is in believing that their incantation of Intelligent Design is the only alternative to Darwinian evolution.

Study: Prayer Doesn’t Affect Heart Patients

Study: Prayer Doesn’t Affect Heart Patients
The study looked for any complications within 30 days of the surgery. Results showed no effect of prayer on complication-free recovery. But 59 percent of the patients who knew they were being prayed for developed a complication, versus 52 percent of those who were told it was just a possibility.

Ha, my earnest desires are more powerful than three whole Christian groups. It’s so much fun to mess with these silly Templeton studies from the comfort of your living room.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Muslims Flock to See “Miracle” Fish

Muslims Flock to See “Miracle” Fish
He spotted a squiggle on the side of one fish that mirrored the Arabic word for God—Allah.

Then he noticed another fish, in a different tank, that seemed to bear the Arabic spelling of Mohammed, known by Muslims as Islam’s last Messenger.

Ali said: “This is a message from Allah to me, a reminder, and now my faith is stronger. Everyone is so excited by the discovery.”

Yet another in a long series of such reminders. Hallahlujah!

Take that, Underpass Mary!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Prime Numbers Get Hitched

Prime Numbers Get Hitched
(Seed Magazine)
There is an important sequence of numbers called “the moments of the Riemann zeta function.” Although we know abstractly how to define it, mathematicians have had great difficulty explicitly calculating the numbers in the sequence. We have known since the 1920s that the first two numbers are 1 and 2, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that mathematicians conjectured that the third number in the sequence may be 42—a figure greatly significant to those well-versed in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hospital Asks Jesus to Change Name

Hospital Asks Jesus to Change Name
(The Local, Sweden)
According to Jesus, an auxiliary nurse at Huddinge hospital, his superiors were worried that patients told “Jesus will be coming soon,” might get the wrong idea.

”If they thought that Jesus was coming they might believe that they were already dead,” the nurse told The Local.

Fear the Reaper.

Secret To A Long Life—Get Even More Often

Secret To A Long Life—Get Even More Often
(Sydney Morning Herald)
The study tested students working in an imaginary call centre who were subject to abuse from clients.

Some of the participants were allowed to answer back, while others had to be polite and friendly all the time.

Those who stood up to clients had a rapid heartbeat for a brief period, but for those who had to remain friendly their heart was still racing long after the client had hung up.

The conclusion reached by the psychologists was that “being friendly against one’s will causes nothing but stress.”

My sole bet at longevity.

via ELI.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Afghan Man Faces Execution after Converting to Christianity

Afghan Man Faces Execution after Converting to Christianity
(Voice of America)
He says he still believes in the almighty Allah, but cannot say for sure who God really is. “I am,” he says, “a Christian and I believe in Jesus Christ.”

Rahman reportedly converted more than 16 years ago after spending time working in Germany.

Officials say his family, who remain observant Muslims, turned him over to the authorities.

Earlier instance of familial love.

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” –George Burns.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The God Fossil

The God Fossil
(New Times)
To Bjorklund and Bering, the findings were clear: children come into the world with a strong tendency to believe in a soul that survives death. The children responded, in other words, exactly the way they would if there were systems already in their brains that prevented them from thinking that intentions, thoughts, and feelings ceased after death.

“This is precisely the opposite of the pattern that one would expect to find if the origins of such beliefs could be traced exclusively to cultural indoctrination,” Bering wrote recently.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

How Islamic Inventors Changed the World

How Islamic Inventors Changed the World
(The Independent)
From coffee to cheques and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we take for granted in daily life. As a new exhibition opens, Paul Vallely nominates 20 of the most influential, and identifies the men of genius behind them.

1. The story goes that an Arab named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry. He boiled the berries to make the first coffee.

Let’s also celebrate the Christian theory of evolution, the Jewish theory of relativity, and the Hindu theory of stellar mass limits.

The article has gone behind a subscription wall (damn you tarrying Blogger bots), but mail me for a PDF.

On eBay, Atheist Puts Own Soul on Auction Block

On eBay, Atheist Puts Own Soul on Auction Block
(AOL News)
The DePaul University graduate student promised the winner that for each $10 of the final bid, he would attend an hour of church services. The 23-year-old Mr. Mehta is an atheist, but he says he suspected he had been missing out on something.

“Perhaps being around a group of people who will show me ‘the way’ could do what no one else has done before,” Mr. Mehta wrote in his eBay sales pitch. “This is possibly the best chance anyone has of changing me.”


Mr. Henderson wasn’t looking for a convert. He wanted Mr. Mehta to embark with him on an eccentric experiment in spiritual bridge-building.

They’re all such good sports, it feels like watching a wholesome family serial. But, $504? Is that the going rate for eternal souls these days? Tch tch. That Dr. Faustus sure got a killer bargain.

(via Amy’s LinksAlertWire)

A Minor Hiccup (a.k.a. A Run-In with the Blogger Bot)

One fine morning, as I was about to post something:

This blog has been locked by Blogger’s spam-prevention robots. You will not be able to publish your posts, but you will be able to save them as drafts.

Save your post as a draft or click here for more about what’s going on and how to get your blog unlocked.

I sent a support request and waited four days, muttering to myself, “Of all the spam blogs in all the world, they walk into mine … and it’s not even a spam blog.”

I got this in the mail today:

Your blog has been reviewed, verified, and whitelisted so that it will no longer appear as potential spam. If you sign out of Blogger and sign back in again, you should be able to post as normal. Thanks for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

Blogger Support

Whew. So it’s not the government, it’s just artificial stupidity. Back to our regularly scheduled intermittence, then.

Update: Blogger Buzz: On Spam Removals

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Sudan man forced to ‘marry’ goat

Sudan man forced to ‘marry’ goat
The goat’s owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders.

They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi.

“We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together,” Mr Alifi said.

Charming. Maybe they’ll honeymoon in Capri.

Of course, and I repeat myself, this is all old hat for the Indians.

Girl weds dog to break ‘evil spell’
“Members of the village jury asked us to get her married to a dog or to face the bad omen,” the girl’s father was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

The tribe elders said the marriage would not affect the girl’s life, and that she would be free to marry again later and did not need to divorce the dog.

Bow wow! And then there are those who hate humans marrying each other. Sheesh! Get some sensible elders, yo!