Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

Is Truth Relative?

In order to answer this question I will examine the claim that truth is relative. This claim must be true, false, or neither true nor false. Consider the condition in which it is true that the truth is relative. The claim can not be true because, if it is absolutely true, the statement must be subject to the very principle it asserts. If truth is relative then it is meaningless to say of any claim that it is either true or false. Because accepting the claim leads to an inherent contradiction, it can’t be true that truth is relative. Thus, we must accept that it is not true.

Short and sweet

- Chalmer

September 27, 2008 Posted by | philosophy | , , , | Leave a comment

In the News: Counting Bees, or Bees Counting?

Check out “Bees Can Count” from http://www.LiveScience.com.  Heres and excerpt

…at the Australian National University, Marie Dacke and Mandyam V. Srinivasan trained European honeybees to pass a particular number of colored stripes in a tunnel to get a food reward, which was placed by a stripe. When they removed the food, the bees still returned to the same stripe.”

September 27, 2008 Posted by | science | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sombrero Galaxy

Sombrero Galaxy

Sombrero Galaxy

This is one of the favorite pictures. It just seems so three dimensional.

- Chalmer

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Astronomy, science | , , , , | Leave a comment

David Grinspoon: Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission

So, right now there is a Denver ballot initiative for and “Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission”. I’ll be calling it EAC for short. You can check out the campaign website here. According to the campaign site, 57 extraterrestrial humanoids have been classified, the government has not only conspired to cover up the presence of extraterrestrials but the clean energy technologies they have offered us as well, and that photos from NASA are doctored to remove evidence of extraterrestrial life. For the evidence of these claims, they give a link to the Star Trek Institute The Disclosure Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to uncovering the truth about our alien life. The Men In Black big bad U.S. government, though, is standing the way. Here is a copy of the bill itself.

If your from Denver, I urge you attend David Grinspoon’s lecture on the ballot initiative before you consider voting for this bill. The title of his lecture is “Alien Life: The Science and the Hype: Why Denver Doesn’t Need an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission”. David Grinspoon is the curator of astrobiology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, author of “Lonely Planets” and “Venus Revealed”, and winner of the Carl Sagan Medal. The lecture will be on the Auraria campus, 9000 Auraria Parkway, Denver CO 80217, in the North Classroom Atrium A/B from 3pm to 5pm on October 23rd. His personal web page is David Grinspoon’s Word. Metro State Atheists is hosting the event, the Center For Inquiry will be co-sponsoring, and Elles of Splendid Elles will be presenting David Grinspoon.

- Chalmer

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Lecture, Pseudoscience, science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holy Money

Heres great work of satire by our friend and mentor Riki Mathews. Check our her blog, The Trickster Tells.

Joyful and triumphant

O come Ye, O come Ye to the altar,

of the al mighty dollar

O come let us adore it

O come let us adore it

O come let us adore it

Money, and, Our Lord

Let me preach it, brothers and sisters! Are we losing our faith? Have we forgotten the power of our joint saviors so intertwined that we have stamped “In God We Trust” on our money. A religious revival after the Civil War got the ball rolling, and we persevered. That’s what Christians do! And so finally, threatened by “Godless Communism,” as one particularly pious letter asked, “ … relieve us from the ignominy of heathenish. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my heart I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters.” Congress concurred because “In these days when imperialistic and materialistic Communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, it is proper” to “remind all of us of this self-evident truth” that “as long as this country trusts in God, it will prevail.”

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Now, just because our founding fathers did not do so from the beginning does not mean that they disagreed! Just because the Constitution never once mentions God and the Bill of Rights strictly calls for the separation of church and state does not mean they intended us to leave God out. Absolutely not! Don’t you believe that factual mumbo jumbo for one minute. And never you mind that the most significant founding fathers wrote that they were Deists, believing only in a prime mover that had no personal engagement with us! And you can just ignore all the letters and treaties and statements they wrote saying how much damage Christianity did to freedom. You only have to remember one thing: like God, they meant it all to test our faith and see if we would persevere in spite of all the facts to the contrary. Why, it’s just like testing our faith with all the garbage manufactured by the scientific community to get us to believe the Earth wasn’t created in seven days when we know it sure as all get out was. Or in attempting to convince us that global warming is an issue. We know that faith conquers all and that God works in mysterious ways so we just have to trust. And for our trust, God provides protection.

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Is this not why we pray, pray for divine salvation and protection from our enemies? Our spiritual leaders know the heavy prices for building proper churches, that Glory must be displayed according to its power, and that takes money, money to establish a hierarchy, to outfit a bishop in the style his faith tells him he’s due, to hang a gaggle of golden crosses around the Pope’s neck—and wield the power to make and take down governments. We have been instructed to tithe, to give one-tenth of our income. (Never mind the minor abuses over selling indulgences and other matters throughout initial history of the Catholic Church. After all, we all make mistakes. Oh, and some of those televangelists who mismanaged the funds; I know that God has them crying out with pain and suffering in hell as we speak.) The Bible tells us that this ten percent of our income belongs to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30). A person is stealing from God (Malachi 3:8) if he fails to give to his church hierarchy so that it may be used for the purposes of church support and growth.

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Even Mormons must give this amount to the church or they may be barred from temples where ceremonies take place. And I openly applaud those evangelical Protestant churches that require new members to sign covenants, promising to tithe or give generously. And those who openly refuse to tithe should indeed be denied leadership roles or asked to leave the congregation. As God is my witness, I can say Steve Sorensen, director of pastoral ministries at Cornerstone, acts righteously when his church demands its paid and volunteer leaders to tithe, and teaches new members to do so, with or without proof of income. “When you tithe, God makes promises to us, that He … is not going to let anything bad or destructive come about,” says Mr. Sorensen. For those who don’t tithe, he states, the Lord “is not obligated to do those things for you.” Sorensen is right, true believers; he is right, and he is practicing God’s justice. “In God We Trust”; it’s on our money: therefore, our money belongs to God, to do God’s work. And you must give! Give down to your last dime!! For how else will Jesus know that you are with him, not against him?

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What more proof do you need?

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Rev. Rob Peters, trained by Crown Financial Ministries to teach parishioners to, manage debt and still make giving a priority, states, “When they obey His word, that is to give, God creates opportunities supernaturally for them to save more and spend less.” A true miracle: giving to the church rose 31% the first year the classes were taught compared with the year before. Of course some members objected, but just as God does not show mercy if we do not do His bidding, neither did the church, quoting stern scripture from Hebrews 13:17: “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls; as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” The key word, as I’m sure my God-fearing worshipers have discerned, is profit. In obeying the Lord we will profit.

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We know in our hearts, people, that our God is a vengeful God, that our God is an “eye for an eye” God, a tit-for-tat God, who rewards the golden-tongued preachers who trust in money: Cadillacs, silk suits, multi-million dollar houses…

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God bestows his gifts on the wealthy; just look around you—at the CEOs, the politicians, the judges that have heard the word and listened to the money of the Focus on the Family Action lobbying arm (Praise be!, they raised $9 million in only 6 months) or American Family Association or any of our other vigorous, vital, well-funded action networks. We, and they, place their faith in the power of money, in capitalism. Oh yes, dear followers, those without faith have money, but it is Godless Money, just as their politics are Godless communism or Godless socialist democracies or some other offshoot, but most certainly not God Blessed Capitalism, and in time, they will suffer. Now I’m sure some of you are confused right now as to what the difference is, given the lies you have been told by various leftists that try to undermine our great country, pointing out that in reality we are a “representative republic.” [“A government under the rule of people acting on the behalf of and, to a lesser extent, in the interests of the voting blocks by which they were elected.”] And others who try to confound your senses claiming that capitalism is the economic system and the two, as those of little faith would have you believe, do not go together like peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese or a hamburger and fries.

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Shock time. Breath, breath, breath. Shake your head. (Lies I tell you! Words of the devil! Ignore them when they ask why the conventional wisdom that if we export capitalism, democracy will follow hasn’t worked.)

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Faith in God and Money has made us Great, has built this country. Desire for money is good; money is the incentive that makes us produce, for without the fear of where our next meal is coming from, we would just be lazy bums, slothful and weak. And that is why we must resist universal healthcare, taxes on God’s chosen rich, spending collectively to keep education public, to fund the FDA, or any other watchdog agencies and other such dangerous socialist notions. It is fear that keeps us from giving in to our vile natures, fear that forces us to deserve healthcare, to deserve education, to deserve a job, to turn to God to protect us from salmonella in our food supply, and so on. Just look at filthy socialism [the economic system of “social and economic equality, collective and public control of productive capital and natural resources”]. It has produced happy, guilt-free, high-quality-of-life, little debt, universal healthcare, democratic nations.

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Godless nations I tell you! For only those who do not believe in the Christian God could possibly think themselves happy! A proper Christian knows he is full of sin, that his nature is evil and base and that only through prostrating himself before God, begging for forgiveness, and trusting in what money can buy may he even hope to possibly avoid God’s wrath and hell. Enjoying their work? Enjoying a high standard of living? Enjoying quality medical care? Living without fear? Spending more of their national budget on foreign aid than the less than one half of one percent that we do? This is Godless I repeat! GODLESS!!! Sacrilege—it isn’t capitalism.

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And China with its strong economy based on buying our debt and our high consumption of their goods. So they aren’t democratic yet. And they have human rights violations that God cannot forgive, unlike us, a Christian nation. Have faith. That’s what religion—and money are for—to have faith. We will buy this country and then we can force God’s agenda on everyone living there, just as we are here. Just as we have bought judges to break down the barriers between church and state, bought politicians to pass bills so we control what a woman can do with her body and who we can discriminate against, bought preachers to scare their flocks into voting the right way…

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And the liberal-commie-peace-tolerance Christians that don’t agree? We will eradicate them; we need a crusade to bring us together. And have faith, God is always on our side, as is Jesus: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword. -Matthew 10:34 (KJV)

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Bible, Christianity, Politics, religion, Satire | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life Control in the US Under McCain/Palin

The following was written by Riki Mathews, our friend and mentor. Check out her blog, The Trickster Tells.

When I look at McCain’s advisors, the same ones that shaped the Bush/Cheney White House, I realize that nothing will change, only the top names stamped on the policies. And the more I watch the invectives spewing out of the GOP humanity grinder, as they count on us to mistake our baser selves for the best in us, I am sickened by the stench emanating from their lies, innuendoes, and true disgust for all of us who have tried to help each other through the catastrophes and hard times made worse by the Bush administration. McCain, Maverick no more, in 2007 voted for Bush-favored policies 95% of the time. Nor will I ever forget that as Katrina, at category 5-level hit, as people clung to rooftops, as governors from Louisiana and Mississippi pleaded for more government help, Bush and McCain orchestrated a madhatter’s tea party—with cake instead of jam. Forty Senators and 100 members of Congress visited New Orleans before McCain did; he finally got there in March 2006.

McCain voted against establishing a Congressional commission to examine the Federal, State, and local responses to Katrina in mid-September 2005. He repeated that vote in 2006. He voted against allowing up to 52 weeks of unemployment benefits to people affected by the hurricane, and in 2006 voted against appropriating $109 billion in supplemental emergency funding, including $28 billion for hurricane relief. Shortly after the disaster in New Orleans, McCain did introduce a bill that sought to improve communications mechanisms for first-responders and authorities. The bill failed to go anywhere, and McCain later voted against other bills that had similar provisions.

And McCain’s economic policy, which he tries so hard to hide—with good reason—is to eliminate ALL regulatory agencies along with unemployment benefits, Medicare and Medicaid while making tax cuts to the wealthy permanent and funding only the military industrial complex. Stripped to the minimum now, thanks to Republican ideology, the agencies that are there to come to our aid during natural disasters, to prevent food contamination, to research and contain disease, provide vaccines for our children, and so on, would be axed under the McCain/Palin administration. McCain claims country first, but I must ask whose country does he mean? Certainly not the country of the poor, the workers, single women, minorities, the sick, or those trying to get an education.

I worked for 30 years teaching college and high school (recognized in Who’s Who for my contributions to the US, to education, to women) before I became disabled; now I depend on a poverty level pittance from Medicare to survive. Myself and others like me, despite what we have given to our country, would eventually be cut off with no government support under the McCain/Palin ideology, even veterans—as McCain has repeatedly voted against bills to help them, still, McCain runs on his story of being a POW as qualifying him to be president while denying veterans further benefits, and so I ask again, just what kind of country does he mean? Those willing to give their lives for this country get slaughtered or maimed for a pittance while those who got their money through inheritance or by investing, those living off the money others make …. get government subsidies.

Now McCain has chosen Sarah Palin for VP, the anathema of feminist and humanist values. As many before me have said, I yearn for qualified, independent, thinking women in all roles—but Palin has none of these qualities. A person, man or woman, with Palin’s record, being sheltered from the press, needing to be protected from questions crucial to the direction of this country, is not an appropriate candidate. We are told Palin’s religion, record, and family are off limits by the same people that demeaned Obama’s family, clamored he was racist, a sexist, that his religion was not the “right” kind of religion, even attacked his patriotism and his qualifications. That she should be held to an entirely different set of standards is despicable.

She has lied about lobbying congress for earmarks, for supporting the bridge to nowhere. She wants to force her beliefs upon the entire country, throwing out wholesale the concepts of liberty and freedom, ignoring the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Of course she is the darling of the extremist right; she believes that a grouping of undifferentiated embryonic cells is of more value than the living, breathing, thinking, laughing, crying female in which the cells reside. Make no mistake; she is not interested in educating women in order to reduce the need for abortion; she is against helping women make wise choices, helping them have the tools to prevent abortion, but when it comes to once the damage is done, she is all for forcing a woman to give birth even if the woman was raped, a victim of incest, or, yes, the woman will die from the pregnancy. I believe, as do all women, that abortion is tragic. But I do not see the extreme right taking on the burden of prenatal, natal, and postnatal care—including the millions of dollars it now costs to raise a child—due to their extremist, toxic mix of no education regarding birth control, no access to birth control, and then forcing a woman to give birth against her wishes. I simply cannot see that this helps women or children, and while[now wile] the majority of Americans are against it, the Federal government under the Republicans and the conservative judges they’ve gotten appointed, is forcing the rest of us against our will to follow.


And for the brave women raising their children alone, Palin’s brand of religion and GOP ideology has plenty of names for them: irresponsible, lazy, immoral, unworthy of help. But far be it for anyone to make a judgment about Palin’s family “choice.” Where I come from, that is called hypocritical, and it most certainly is not feminist, compassionate, or the type of country I want to live in. It is not a country that respects all women, that recognizes all women’s contributions to the fabric of this land.

In an age where anyone being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan makes you VP material and thus potential presidential material makes me cry for the future of this country. If I sent out a resume claiming I had foreign affairs experience because I lived “close to” Russia, I wouldn’t get even a first look from any capable business. In an age where the man running for President blatantly lies and when caught continues to lie (just like George Bush), who believes smearing his opponent with the most vile pejoratives passes for “straight talk” yet has the gall to talk about honor and duty to his country clarifies for me the problems we face: we can choose to descend back into the Middle Ages of chronic warfare (the cost of Iraq alone is clocking close to $545, no 6, billion as I write), abject poverty, financial ruin, pettiness, ignorance, narrow-minded hateful rage, and extremist religious rule—or we can choose to rise out of the muck, work together, and leave a better world for all.


Perhaps McCain’s contempt toward everyone but those who weave his webs of deceit comes through best in his exchange with a concerned citizen who asked him a legitimate question about his ability to lead given his age; McCain, rather than simply answering the question, called the man a “little jerk.” As a life-long educator, I know that there is a calling to become our better selves. Let this be the time that we realize it is critical to answer that call.


“All of us are in the gutter; only some of us are looking at the stars”-Oscar Wilde

Riki Matthews

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Acid Snake

I saw this done in my Organic Chemistry lab once. Concentrated sulfuric acid is mixed with regular sugar. Essentially, the acid is dehydrating the sugar. Sugar has a lot hydroxide groups, which become protonated and leave as water, leaving behind a pillar of black porous carbon.

- Chalmer

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Chemistry, science | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Banana Hammer

I mentioned this in the previous post, and then found the video. A banana being used to hammer a nail into a board.

- Chalmer

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Chemistry, science | , , , | Leave a comment

Hydrogen Balloon Explosion

So last night I went to a chemistry demonstration and among the various awesome things that I saw was nail being hammered into a board with a -400 degree F banana.  I also saw a balloon filled with hydrogen and then ignited.  If your ever curious why we use helium instead of hydrogen in our balloons, just check out the high speed video below.

- Chalmer

September 27, 2008 Posted by | science | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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