News
The Power Of Light Works
July 2019
LightSail 2 is changing its orbit using only the power of sunlight. The Planetary Society announced this week that their LightSail 2 solar sail is working well, and actually raising the orbit of the spacecraft as it travels around the Earth. According to mission managers, they've been able to raise the orbit of the spacecraft by about 2 kilometers at the high point of its orbit. Unfortunately, they'll only be able to go for about a month before the sail dips into the atmosphere at the low point of its orbit and it crashes.
Sci-Fi Writers Include Religion
October 2018
At his appearance at the American Writers Museum in Chicago, John Scalzi said that it is important that science fiction writers include religion in their universes, "When 5 billion people out of 7 billion very strongly have professed religious belief of some sort or another, to ignore it, minimize it or just say it doesn't matter is foolish," he said.
Freedom Of Speech
Ben S [2019-09-10]

 Freedom Of Speech
In our more liberal countries, there is much comment on human rights. Which rights are, to coin a phrase, 'inalienable' and which are assigned by laws? It took civilisation to instil them into the fabric of society. If rights are dependent entirely upon the society in which a person lives, that means that there could be somewhere with no rights for its citizens at all, a different culture, with different standards and rules.


Flat Earth Encounter
James C. Rocks [2019-08-03]

 Flat Earth Encounter
I thought Flat-Earthers were something one only saw on the internet but one day (it must have been a year ago) my best friend and I actually met one; that's right, a real, honest-to-god, plain as the hand in front of my face and the beer it was holding, Flat Earther. To say I was shocked was an understatement, but, bit by bit, I scrabbled back my dignity and helped put the critter down where he belonged.


No, I'm Not Broken!
James C. Rocks [2016-05-01]

 No, I'm Not Broken!
I am an atheist and pretty damned proud of being one! I like that I don't subscribe to anyone's particular way of thinking. Of course, like anyone else, I am influenced by views I hear or read but I believe I think about those things and decide whether or not they make any sense. Whether I use it or not all the time, I believe I have the ability to think critically ... that's why I am a fan of science, why I am an atheist and, more recently, why I am not a Brexiter. I like to think of it as an alarm bell, a bullshit-o-meter that goes off whenever I think something doesn't feel or smell right.


A Personal Relationship With God
James C. Rocks [2018-03-19]

 A Personal Relationship With God
If I had a dollar for every time a theist has tried to tell me we atheists can't understand their relationship with god I'd be ... well I wouldn't actually be rich but I'd probably be able to buy my family a decent curry and several beers each. Suffice to say, it's a common claim but it's also wrong and here's why.


Why I Celebrate Christmas
James C. Rocks [2016-13-15]

 Why I Celebrate Christmas
Over twenty years ago, an ex-colleague of mine (who had turned out to be a creationist, the first I have ever met) got into an email discussion where, after making a number of typically unsupportable assertions, aggressively asked me why I, an atheist, celebrated Christmas.


Genesis and The Big Bang
James C. Rocks [2016-10-15]

 Genesis and The Big Bang
Fundamentalists will often use the argument attempt to claim that the bible and science are compatible in that Genesis can be interpreted as predictive of modern-day scientific knowledge. The implications of such a claim, were it to be demonstrated as true would be immense ... whilst it would not automatically demonstrate the bible as being correct from cover to cover it would certainly lend it a great deal of credence.


The Passion of The Christ
James C. Rocks [2016-09-01]

 The Passion of The Christ
I genuinely had no intention of going to see Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ". Several people had opined on how bad (gory, violent, bloody) the film was and I did not want to contribute to the coffers of Mr Gibson whose then behaviour I had been viewing with some alarm. The offer of free tickets by some local churches apparently aware and happy that many of those applying for them were atheist or agnostic changed that and both I and a friend set off to see it.


Evolution and Immorality
James C. Rocks [2016-08-15]

 Evolution and Immorality
Young Earth creationists, attempting to disprove any theory that disputes their belief that the Earth & universe were divinely created, often use arguments that attempt to demonstrate theories opposing theirs as immoral. Darwin's theory of Evolution (or Neo-Darwinism as it known today) is claimed to be the cause of violence, racism and other forms of immoral behaviour.


Science Versus Truth
James C. Rocks [2016-08-01]

 Science Versus Truth
Science is an ongoing attempt to explain the universe and in this respect, is attempting to explain all that is observable. Science is not absolute and the rational minded would not claim so or that it has the absolute answer to anything. So, what is truth? Truth is something which is absolutely correct, without doubt, and the polar opposite of something which is not true.


Sharia Law
Ben S [2016-07-15]

 Sharia Law 
I have always had a fairly tolerant attitude towards pretty much everything, part of being a liberal at heart, so I have generally felt that religion needed to be tolerated just as long as it didn't actually do anything inherently divisive. The example I always used was that of the Church of England. Anglicanism in the UK has always been the village-fête faith. The tombola faith. The bingo faith.


Ghosts and Out-Of-Body Experiences
James C. Rocks [2016-07-01]

 Ghosts and Out-Of-Body Experiences
Are ghosts real and are people's claims to out-of-body experiences genuine? An entire media culture, books, films and TV are devoted to such things, indeed, the basis of almost all religions is that an important part of us is the ghost-like spirit, soul or daemon. In my not-so-humble opinion, it is ludicrous to believe in such things as there isn't a shred of validatable evidence ...


Has Satan Been Given A Fair Chance?
James C. Rocks [2016-06-15]

 Has Satan Been Given A Fair Chance?
So, I was wondering about Satan. You know, the little red angry guy with the horns and off around the world corrupting it 'n all that and I started wondering. I mean, has the guy really been given a chance? We're told he lives in a place called hell which is where we all go if we don't follow "da roolz" after we're dead but if we do (follow "da roolz") we're good and off we po to some place called Heaven. I mean, do we? I mean, is this bloke Satan really all that bad?


Why I Defend Science!
James C. Rocks [2016-06-01]

 Why I Defend Science!
Science represents our best effort to understand the universe around us and, regardless of whether the understanding it engenders is used for good or ill, that knowledge is a good thing. I want the human race to reach as high as we can. I want us to leave this lonely planet in this far-flung corner of what may well be a lonely galaxy and throw ourselves outwards exploring and finding out more about the universe. IMO, the further we throw ourselves the greater we ensure our survival.


Why I Am An Atheist
James C. Rocks [2016-05-01]

 Why I Am An Atheist
I am an atheist. I'm proud of being what I am because, to my mind, it implies a certain amount of intelligent consideration of the issues surrounding religions and their claims. However, I don't usually start discussions on atheism or religion because of what I am ... more often than not, something or someone will bring up the subject. That's in public but mostly it's online where I have frequently been as to why it is, I am an atheist.


Why I Am Anti-Faith
Unknown Author [2016-04-15]

 Why I Am Anti-Faith
We've all heard the stories. A guy's down in the dumps, life's shot, no money, no future, in pain from some sort of medical problem that he can't afford to have fixed, probably in trouble for some reason or another beyond that… and then, one day, that person finds God. It's from such ideas that the comfort of the "salvation" story seems to arise.


A Hospice for the Mind
Ben S [2016-04-01]

 A Hospice for the Mind
A recent poll suggests that Americans see religion as increasingly important in their lives. Another shows numbers visiting British churches are on the rise for the first time in decades. However, this is interpreted, the sheep are clearly flocking. It seems the reason is far from shrouded in obscurity, on this occasion there is no movement in mysterious ways, it is caused by the change in attitude following the atrocity of the eleventh of September 2001.


A Good God?
James C. Rocks [2016-02-15]

 A Good God?
In 2002 two young British girls went missing from the house of one of their parents. As a father of two young (at the time) girls, I followed the story to its inevitable conclusion with the girl's bodies being found in shallow graves near an airbase in Surrey and a couple in their home village being arrested for their murder.


"The Jesus Mysteries", Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy
James C. Rocks [2016-02-01]

 Despite being an atheist, I had always accepted the existence of a man called Jesus Christ as actual but Freke and Gandy's "Jesus Mysteries" forced me to re-evaluate my view. Although I did not believe Jesus was the son of any god, I had envisaged him a s real, perhaps a Jewish leader, perhaps a "freedom-fighter", perhaps wise, perhaps soft-spoken and the kind of man around which legends are built ... a kind of early-day Robin Hood if you like. In their book, the authors reveal the mystery religions, whose various dying & resurrecting godmen they refer to as "Osiris-Dionysus", as showing a great degree of similarity in their multi-level teachings that were interpreted more literally by the uninitiated and allegorically by the initiated.


When Will We Learn?
James C. Rocks [2016-01-01]

 When Will We Learn? 
September the 11th, 2001 felt like a turning point for the world. Yes, we'd had terrorism before, but never (it seemed) such a catastrophic and appallingly planned one it would seem as well as one that played out, with its bloody aftermath, on TV in front of us all.

We laughed when we heard a plane had struck the World Trade Centre, why shouldn't we have done? It wasn't real! Just some daft amateur we thought. We were so very, very wrong!


Open-Mindedness
James C. Rocks [2015-11-15]

 Open-Mindedness
Have you ever been cynical of someone's opinion and have them tell you, you should be more open-minded? What they usually mean by that is that you should be more willing to accept their opinion or their version of events regardless of how much sense it makes, of how rational a view, a claim, it actually is. The really important question is, should you?


The Human Pinnacle
Bethnewt [2015-11-01]

 The Human Pinnacle
Many people believe that evolution proceeds by changing organisms slightly, so that species can be lined up to form a gradual series that shows complexity slowly increasing. This view was once held by most biologists but has since been discarded. However, it has been dumpster-dived by creationists seeking materials for straw-man representations of evolutionary theory. Evolution actually takes the form of a branching family tree. Stephen Jay Gould calls ladders and bushes "the wrong and right metaphors respectively for the topology of evolution"


Atheists in Foxholes
Ben S [2015-10-01]

 Atheists in Foxholes
An oft-quoted saying, certainly I have encountered it many times, goes: "There are no atheists in foxholes." This is supposed to indicate that an atheist will, if placed into a life and death situation, turn to some deity or other for assistance. Well let's put some perspective onto the quote, shall we?


The Perfect Designs of God
James C. Rocks [2015-09-01]

 The Perfect Designs of God
Creationists and those favouring intelligent design often point to us, to the complexity, the perfection & the sheer improbability of the world around us in order to justify their view that there must be a designer for the universe, but is this viewpoint fully justifiable?


"Why Elephants Have Big Ears" by Chris Lavers
James C. Rocks [2015-08-01]

 A brilliantly written popular science book that explains how evolution can create the staggering variety it has, whether dinosaurs were warm or cold blooded, why cinematic monsters such as King Kong and Godzilla are laughably impossible, why the marsupials kept control of Australia, why insects are so small. Finally, he explains why, despite our apparent superiority, we really don't own the world at all, that there is no such thing as a superior or dominant lifeform on the planet. He also explains why, of course, elephants do have big ears.


What Is Evidence?
James C. Rocks [2015-07-01]

 What Is Evidence?
Once upon a time, debating in a forum (those things that used to be so popular before the advent of social networking) and following my usual strategy of demanding evidence for various claims, I was asked to define evidence. You could have smacked me down with a wet kipper! I hadn't actually given any real thought to it beyond pretty much knowing what it was. Still, an answer was expected and, as is usually the case when debating evangelists, involved a lot more work than their usual strategy of picking holes in established theory.


"River Out Of Eden" by Richard Dawkins
James C. Rocks [2015-04-01]

 In "River Out Of Eden", Dawkins writes of a universe with no apparent design or purpose and explains more of our evolutionary past. With thorough knowledge and captivating style, Dawkins illuminates how life has achieved what to the uneducated or bigoted appear to be miracles. Science journal 'Nature' says, "It abounds with metaphors that make things brilliantly clear, an excellent introduction to many important evolutionary ideas"


Religion and Morality
James C. Rocks [2015-03-01]

 Religion and Morality
Young Earth creationists, believing the Earth & universe were divinely created, use arguments attempting to show other ideas as immoral and Neo-Darwinism the cause of violence, racism and other forms of immoral behaviour. They favour arguments citing communist Russia, Nazi Germany and others. It is interesting to look at religions' records on human rights and abuses before one starts a comprehensive defence of such charges and that is what this article attempts to do.




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The only victories which leave no regret are those which are gained over ignorance.
Napoleon Bonaparte