Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yet another flea - Richard Dawkins' God Delusion [NOOK Book] - Klaus N├╝rnberger - B&N Nook

Overview

Is evolving Nature all there is - a self-generated, self-propelled, and self-contained mechanism? Are human beings, as the peak of nature, sovereign owners and masters of their lives and their world? That is the stance taken by Richard Dawkins, naturalist, biologist and atheist. Or is evolving reality derived from, dependent on and empowered by God, the transcendent Source and Destiny of reality? Does this God reach out to humans as a person because humans are persons? That is the conviction of the Christian faith and the stance taken by the author of this book.

TAGGED: BOOKS, FLEAS



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Study reveals why our ancestors switched to bipedal power - - - PhysOrg.com

A chimpanzee moving bipedally during the study. Credit: Prof. W C M McGrew.


Our earliest ancestors may have started walking on two limbs instead of four in a bid to monopolise resources and to carry as much food as possible in one go, researchers have found.

A study published in the journal Current Biology this week, investigated the behaviour of modern-day chimpanzees as they competed for food resources, in an effort to understand why our “hominin”, or “human-like” ancestors became bipedal.

Its findings suggest that chimpanzees switch to moving on two limbs instead of four in situations where they need to monopolize a resource, usually because it may not occur in plentiful supply in their habitat, making it hard for them to predict when they will see it again. Standing on two legs allows them to carry much more in one go because it frees up their hands.

The joint University of Cambridge and Kyoto University team of biological anthropologists, led by PhD student Susana Carvalho and Professor Tetsuro Matsuzawa, conclude that our earliest hominin ancestors may have lived in shifting environmental conditions in which certain resources were not always easy to come by. Over time, intense bursts of bipedal activity may have led to anatomical changes that in turn became the subject of natural selection where competition for food or other resources was strong.

Professor William McGrew, from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, said: “Bipedality as the key human adaptation may be an evolutionary product of this strategy persisting over time. Ultimately, it set our ancestors on a separate evolutionary path.”
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TAGGED: BEHAVIOR, EVOLUTION



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Military A-Week: How to put ATHEIST on your records (all branches) - Justin Griffith - Rock Beyond Belief

Yesterday I told you why it was IMPORTANT to stand up and be counted as an “ATHEIST” and not a “NO-REL-PREF”. Today, I’m going to tell you how.

Army: Walk in to your unit’s S-1 office. Ask them to update your ERB or ORB. Tell them you want to fix your religious preference. Tell them you want “ATHEIST”. If they say anything about it not being an option, calmly explain that they are mistaken, and to check the list (it’s alphabetical for them.) If you still need more ‘proof’, here is the regulation: AR 680-29 (page 41). I made a cheat sheet for you.

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Bloggers and activists,

The vast majority of military atheists do not have 'ATHEIST' on their records. Most of us were told (incorrectly) that you must instead use “NO-REL-PREF” which means No Religious Preference. This hasn’t been true for over a decade. It’s time to overcome this climate of fear. The silence is part of the problem.

PLEASE help get the word out about this: < a href="http://freethoughtblogs.com/rockbeyondbelief/2012/03/20/a-week-for-the-military-demand-atheist-on-your-records/">http://freethoughtblogs.com/rockbeyondbelief/2012/03/20/a-week-for-the-military-demand-atheist-on-your-records/

Don’t back down brothers and sisters. Out of those closets.

If you have NO-REL-PREF on your records, you are wrong. Go to S-1 today.

You walk right in. Tell them you want to update your records. Tell them your religious preference is wrong. They will type a few things. When they get to the correct screen, they’ll ask you what you want instead of NO-REL-PREF. You look them in the eye and tell them “ATHEIST”. That’s it. Nothing else to it. It takes two minutes.

"ATHEIST" is on the list, despite what 99% of us were told at MEPS and boot camp. You can purchase dogtags to match if your unit does not have a machine. A few bucks, and again, a few minutes.

The Wiccans did it a decade ago. They used to be looked down upon as satanic puppy stabbers. Now they’re world of warcraft nerds. I’ll take that kind of upgrade. Perhaps we can be the military’s bookworms?

Whatever your fear is, it’s part of the problem, rational or not. When we come out in great numbers, we will change some opinions. More importantly, we will change the conversation. Just 18 months ago, nobody thought Rock Beyond Belief was possible (myself included). We’ve got a breakthrough on our hands. Stand up and be counted. See you at Fort Bragg.


“If you’re scared to die, you better not be scared to live.”
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TAGGED: ATHEISM



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Americans United's Barry Lynn interviews Sean Faircloth - Barry Lynn - Culture Shocks

Sean Faircloth, with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, discusses his new book, Attack of the Theocrats, which examines the crumbling of the wall of separation between church and state—and offers a specific and sensible plan for rebuilding it.

Listen or download

Continue to website


Book Description
Copies on sale at the RDFRS store which inlcude a free DVD
and Amazon Kindle or Barnes and Noble Nook
At no time in American history has the United States had such a high percentage of theocratic members of Congress-those who expressly endorse religious bias in law. Just as ominously, at no other time have religious fundamentalists effectively had veto power over one of the country's two major political parties. As Sean Faircloth argues, this has led to the crumbling of the country's most cherished founding principle-the wall separating church and state-and presages yet even more crumbling. Faircloth, a former politician and current executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, moves beyond the symbolism to explore the many ways federal and state legal codes privilege religion in law. He goes on to demonstrate how religious bias in law harms all Americans-financially, militarily, physically, socially, and educationally. Sounding a much-needed alarm for all who care about the future direction of the country, Faircloth offers an inspiring vision for returning America to its secular roots.

TAGGED: INTERVIEWS



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Why I'm saying no to a smear - Dr Margaret McCartney - The Independent

Renew travel card. Book haircut. Go for screening test. Buy cinema tickets. Meet friends." You may have spotted the odd one out – for this is not a list of things to do at the weekend, but the front cover of the NHS Scotland's "Cervical Screening Test" information booklet.

Here's a confession. I am a GP, and I don't go for cervical smears. Nor do I know what my cholesterol level is, and when I reach 50 and am invited to mammography screening, I won't be turning up. I haven't decided about bowel-cancer screening, but at the moment, on the evidence, I'm unconvinced.

Why? Part of the problem is the trivialisation of the choices that are offered to us when it comes to screening tests. It's important to be clear – screening tests are for people who are well and who have no symptoms for disease. So if you have bleeding between periods, or a change in your bowel habit, you don't need screening tests – you need diagnostic tests.

Screening tests are different. Because they aim to find disease you don't know about, the trade-off between benefits and harms tends to be more nuanced compared with tests done to investigate symptoms. Cervical screening does prevent deaths from cervical cancer. But to get that reduction, you have to follow up and/or treat all the women who have cell changes on their screening test. However, most cervical-cell changes found at screening will not lead to cervical cancer. The problem is we can't predict which will, so all need further monitoring or treatment. A study from Bristol in 2003 found that 1,000 women have to be screened for 35 years to prevent one death from cervical cancer; and to prevent that death, 80 women have to have further investigation, with 50 women having treatment to their cervices. Four out of five women found at screening to have "high-grade" changes in their cervix did not go on to develop invasive cancer.

Clearly, there is a benefit – but overall, it's small. That potential for good has to be weighed against the risks of treatment. It's known that having a cervical biopsy – which is done to get more information about the degree of abnormality – raises the risk of pre-term birth in later pregnancies. And the worry and anxiety that the results cause shouldn't be underestimated.

I'm not against screening, but I am against unthinking screening. I weighed up my personal risk factors for cervical screening (for example, smoking is a risk factor), threw in my own priorities – and decided not to have it. And here's the problem. The NHS persists in sending me red-ink letters despite my written declaration to opt out. I'm made to feel a risk-taker in not having cervical screening – yet I'd also be taking my chances if I had it done.

Read on

TAGGED: CRITICAL THINKING, MEDICINE



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