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Evolution: Evolution Arguments Headed for Islamic World

The next major battle over evolutionary theory is likely to occur not in the United States but in the Islamic world or in countries with large Muslim populations, because of rising levels of education and Internet access there, as well as the rising importance of biology, a scientist now says.

Like with Christians or Jews, there is no consensus or "official" opinion on evolution among Muslims. However, some of them say that the theory is a cultural threat that acts as a force in favor of atheism, says Hampshire College’s Salman Hameed in an essay in the Dec. 12 issue of the journal Science. This is the same beef that some Christians have with evolution.

However, a general respect for science in the Islamic world means scientists have an opportunity to counter anti-evolution efforts, including the "Atlas of Creation," a glossy 850-page color volume produced by Muslim creationist Adnan Oktar who goes by the name of Harun Yahya. Numerous university scientists and members of the media received copies of this book as an unsolicited gift in 2007.

-Article continues off site, courtesy Live Science.

Posted by Shinai_Gene on Friday, December 12, 2008 @ 13:17:54 PST (80 reads)
(comments? | Evolution | Score: 0)

Politics: The Man Behind Proposition 8

Among the local ballot measures to be decided on Election Day, California’s Proposition 8 is perhaps the most fiercely contested. Backers of the proposition to ban same-sex marriage in the state cast their campaign in apocalyptic terms. “This vote on whether we stop the gay-marriage juggernaut in California is Armageddon,” born-again Watergate felon and Prison Fellowship Ministries founder Chuck Colson told the New York Times. Tony Perkins, the president of the Christian right’s most powerful Beltway lobbying outfit, Family Research Council, echoed Colson’s language. “It’s more important than the presidential election,” Perkins said of Prop 8. “We will not survive [as a nation] if we lose the institution of marriage.”

The campaign for Prop 8 has reaped massive funding from conservative backers across the country. Much of it comes from prominent donors like the Utah-based Church of Latter Day Saints and the Catholic conservative group, Knights of Columbus. Prop 8 has also received a boost from Elsa Broekhuizen, the widow of Michigan-based Christian backer Edgard Prince and the mother of Erik Prince, founder of the controversial mercenary firm, Blackwater.

-Article Continues with Video Off Site, courtesy Alternet.
Posted by Shinai_Gene on Tuesday, November 04, 2008 @ 19:20:00 PST (801 reads)
(Read More... | 1 comment | Politics | Score: 0)

World: Archaeologists report finding oldest Hebrew text

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Archaeologists in Israel said on Thursday they had unearthed the oldest Hebrew text ever found, while excavating a fortress city overlooking a valley where the Bible says David slew Goliath.

The dig's uncovering of the past near the ancient battlefield in the Valley of Elah, now home to wineries and a satellite station, could have implications for the emotional debate over the future of Jerusalem, some 20 km (12 miles) away.

Archaeologists from the Hebrew University said they found five lines of text written in black ink on a shard of pottery dug up at a five-acre (two-hectare) site called Elah Fortress, or Khirbet Qeiyafa.

-Article continues Off Site.
Posted by Shinai_Gene on Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 17:25:00 PDT (982 reads)
(comments? | World | Score: 0)

Religion: Did Muhammad Ever Really Live?
A number of Islamic associations have put a quick end to their collaboration with a professor -- and trainer of people who are supposed to teach Islam in German high schools -- who has expressed his doubt that Muhammad ever lived. Islam scholar Michael Marx spoke with SPIEGEL ONLINE about what lies behind the debate and the historical person of the Prophet.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Marx, someone studying Islam learns that the Prophet Muhammad was born on the Arabian Peninsula in A.D. 570 and died in Medina in A.D. 632. Is there any reason for doubting that this is true?

Michael Marx: Those are provisional dates that we should hold on to until there are better figures. The Islamic sources are rich with material about the person of the Prophet and his life story. Some of it is has elements that are somewhat mystical. But we can generally rely on the solid core of Islamic tradition.

-Article Continues Off Site
Posted by Shinai_Gene on Saturday, October 04, 2008 @ 21:00:00 PDT (1655 reads)
(Read More... | 1 comment | Religion | Score: 0)

Archeology: Earliest Reference Describes Christ as 'Magician'
Oct. 1, 2008 -- A team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio recently announced that they have found a bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., that is engraved with what they believe could be the world's first known reference to Christ. If the word "Christ" refers to the Biblical Jesus Christ, as is speculated, then the discovery may provide evidence that Christianity and paganism at times intertwined in the ancient world. The full engraving on the bowl reads, "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS," which has been interpreted by the excavation team to mean either, "by Christ the magician" or, "the magician by Christ." "It could very well be a reference to Jesus Christ, in that he was once the primary exponent of white magic," Goddio, co-founder of the Oxford Center of Maritime Archaeology, said. -Article Continues Off Site
Posted by Shinai_Gene on Friday, October 03, 2008 @ 02:00:00 PDT (1731 reads)
(comments? | Archeology | Score: 0)

Law and Justice: Atheist family challenges minute of silence law
Every day in every Texas public school, students pledge allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags and sit through a moment of silence so they can pray, meditate, daydream or twiddle their thumbs. The quiet time, mandated by the Legislature since 2003, has survived one federal court challenge, but a pending appeal seeks to scrap the practice as an improper religious exercise. "It's clear if you watch the video and read the transcripts of the legislative debates that the main purpose of this law is to create school-sponsored silent prayer, and that with a wink and a nod they're just sort of calling it a moment of silence," said David Croft, a suburban Dallas parent and atheist who seeks to overturn the law. In 1985, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed moments of silence in public schools when the practice is motivated by a secular purpose. In the years since, almost every lawsuit challenging the practice has failed. The first challenge to the Texas law by David Croft and his wife, Shannon, failed in January when U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn found a nonreligious purpose for the quiet time, though she said that she had to hunt for it. -Article Continues Off Site
Posted by Shinai_Gene on Thursday, October 02, 2008 @ 03:00:00 PDT (1596 reads)
(comments? | Law and Justice | Score: 0)

Follow Up: Oregon school says 4 confessed to Obama effigy
NEWBERG, Ore. - A Christian university in Oregon said Tuesday it has punished four students who confessed to hanging a likeness of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama from a tree on campus. George Fox University broke the news to students and staff Tuesday afternoon at an all-campus meeting. About 1,000 people attended, said Rob Felton, a university spokesman. A statement from the school said the penalties against the four students were "immediate long-term suspension and public service." The school cited federal privacy rules in not disclosing more about the students or their punishment. The FBI is investigating whether any civil rights were violated. "A criminal investigation is much more rigorous than an academic one, obviously," said Beth Anne Steele, an FBI spokeswoman. She could not say when the investigation would be complete. -Article Continues Off Site
Posted by Shinai_Gene on Wednesday, October 01, 2008 @ 13:00:00 PDT (1677 reads)
(comments? | Follow Up | Score: 0)

Education: The fight over teaching science in Texas begins
Last week the first draft of the science curriculum that would be used in Texas schools for the next 10 years was released. The size of the fight to come was quickly made evident by members of the state Board of Education who want to inject religion into the public schools. The draft, the work of science teachers and academics, would remove language from the guidelines that govern the teaching of science that mandates that classrooms include covering the "weaknesses" of major scientific theories. The only major scientific theory the conservatives have in their bull''s eye is evolution. The draft was the opening shot in what promises to be a long and contentious debate next year. The guide that directs science teachers to include lessons on the "strengths" and "weaknesses" of scientific theories has been part of the state''s teaching guidelines for decades. But the guide has meant little because there is no detail on what that means. The growing power of the conservatives on the State Board, however, could make that mandate explicit, especially as the board goes through rewriting the entire teaching curriculum. Article Continues Off Site
Posted by Shinai_Gene on Monday, September 29, 2008 @ 18:30:00 PDT (1622 reads)
(comments? | Education | Score: 0)

Law and Justice: State faces “mark of the beast” lawsuit
Does it violate freedom of religion for the government to require that electronic markers be implanted in cows and other livestock? A group of Michigan farmers thinks it does and they’ve filed suit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) to prevent the requirement of electronic tags on their livestock.

The tagging procedure is being mandated to help the government track diseases in animals as they travel from farm to slaughterhouse to stores, but the farmers say that such a system violates their religious freedom because it represents the “mark of the beast” mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. The complaint says:

“Use of a numbering system for their premises and/or electronic numbering system for their animals constitutes some form of a ‘mark of the beast’ and/or represents an infringement of their ‘dominion over cattle and all living things’ in violation of their fundamental religious beliefs.

The “mark of the beast” is, according to some interpretations of the Bible, a mark that all people will have to get during the “end times” predicted in Revelation.

The RFID tag system for livestock is part of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which is being implemented in Michigan by the MDA. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction against the implementation and enforcement of the law and are asking for a preliminary injunction to be issued immediately to prevent “irreparable, actual harm” to the plaintiffs’ rights and interests.

Article Continues (Off Site)
Courtesy The Michigan Messenger
Posted by Shinai_Gene on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 @ 02:23:17 PDT (1886 reads)
(Read More... | 2 comments | Law and Justice | Score: 0)

Westboro Baptist (GHF) Church Damaged by Fire

Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, known for its vocal condemnations of homosexuality, website and picketing of gay pride parades and funerals, has sustained thousands of dollars in damage after a fire early Saturday morning. Impromptu protest followed as firefighters carried out their response.

"None of what they do is going to stop us from delivering our message," said church counsel Shirley Phelps-Roper of any "cowards" that would have set the fire on purpose, also saying that it was the "most aggressive act" towards the Phelps family to date.

"There is evidence that hatred of our religion was the motivation, in part at least," states a "Civil Rights Hate Crime Complaint" written by pastor Fred Phelps Sr. to Attorney General Michael Mukasey. In a recently released YouTube presentation, Phelps also blames law enforcement, judges, and the "filthy, fag-riddled military" for what he considers an assault on his First Amendment rights.

Meanwhile, a neighbor is suspicious that the fire is a hoax meant to intimidate her into giving up her property. "They keep claiming that this property is theirs, and it is not theirs," said 91-year-old Leona McQueen. "They keep wanting to buy me, but I don't want to sell it. I don't know if whether they are trying to push me out."

Complete Article with Video (Off Site)

Courtesy Pageone Q

Posted by Shinai_Gene on Monday, August 04, 2008 @ 14:50:29 PDT (2553 reads)
(comments? | Score: 0)

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Blog and Articles
Friday, July 25, 2008
· Codex Sinaiticus to be made Available Online to the Public
Thursday, June 12, 2008
· Report: Texas judge under guard after polygamist ruling
Sunday, May 25, 2008
· Non-religious summer camps develop niche; emphasize science, evolution
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
· Man Asks Court to Change his name to ''In God We Trust''.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
· Islamic states seek world freedom curbs-humanists
Saturday, March 01, 2008
· A Pragmatist and a Lobbyist on Atheism
Saturday, January 26, 2008
· Bill Maher on 'Intelligent Design'.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
· Hitchens Versus Richards 1/27/08
Saturday, January 19, 2008
· To Avoid Closure, Texas Creationist Museum to Auction Off Mastodon Skull
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
· Is Religion a Threat to Democracy?
Monday, January 14, 2008
· Richard Dawkins at AAI 07 part 1 of 2
· The Moral Instinct
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
· There is no God, and you know it
Saturday, December 29, 2007
· Kooks, Christians, Killer Germs: Dispelling myths about vaccines and disease
Thursday, December 27, 2007
· The Origin of Life Made Easy
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
· Lying to Kids About Santa
Monday, December 17, 2007
· Dan Barker vs. Alex McFarland
Sunday, December 16, 2007
· Matt Bors on The Pope's Comments
Saturday, December 15, 2007
· Creation vs Evolution argument ends in man's death.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
· Muslim Teen Killed By Fundy Muslim Dad
· Deconstructing Lewis
Sunday, December 09, 2007
· An Irish Family Changes Their Minds, Thanks to IG and Bob Price
Friday, December 07, 2007
· 2nd Kings 2:23 - A Story of God's Love
· The Golden Compass and The View
Thursday, December 06, 2007
· Join IG as he interviews Steve Wells, author of the Skeptics Annotated Bible
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
· No Atheists in Foxholes eh?
Monday, December 03, 2007
· Happy Birthday Dorian - 15
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
· Teacher arrested over Teddy bear insult
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
· The Golden Compass - An Atheist Movie?
· Sean Zicari - Demons are Real!

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