background preloader

559.jpg from

History of Life For decades the origin and evolution of life was restricted to the fossil record that recorded hard-shelled life. We now know, through determination of absolute ages by radioactive decay, that this record only record the last 500 m.y. or so of life. Prior to that, life existed as soft-bodied organisms, or even earlier, as single cell bacteria (prokaryotes) or single-celled organisms with nuclei (eukaryotes). Click on the thumbnails below for larger image. Above is a diagram that casts the origin and evolution of life into a 24 hour clock. The oldest microfossils, composed of single-celled organisms that probably were similar to cyanobacteria, are 3.5 b.y. old, and are found in Western Australia (not the same locality where the very old zircon mineral grains were found). More convincing evidence for life in the Archean comes from fossil layered microbial communities called stromatolites (above). The base of the Cambrian is defined as the occurrence of the first-hard shelled fossils.

Gay Homophobe Ancient People Are Still Awesome: Centuries-Old Japanese Tsunami Warning Markers Saved Lives "High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants," reads the centuries-old stone tablet above. "Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this point." This marker, and several more like it, some more than 600 years old, "dot the coastline" of Japan, according to a report in The Canadian Press. Not all of them were quite as specific: Some acted more as general warnings, lasting reminders of a risk that might only recur every fourth or fifth generation. One, in the coastal town of Kesennuma, gave instructions: "Always be prepared for unexpected tsunamis. But in the tight-knit community of Aneyoshi, where marker pictured above still stands, the wisdom of their ancestors saved the homes and the lives of the tiny village's inhabitants. Everybody here knows about the markers. Image via the Star-Telegram; story via @stevesilberman.

The Improbability of God - StumbleUpon The Improbability of God by Richard Dawkins from Free Inquiry, Volume 18, Number 3. Much of what people do is done in the name of God. Irishmen blow each other up in his name. Why do people believe in God? So ran Paley's argument, and it is an argument that nearly all thoughtful and sensitive people discover for themselves at some stage in their childhood. What do all objects that look as if they must have had a designer have in common? This is not a circular argument, by the way. Of all the trillions of different ways of putting together the atoms of a telescope, only a minority would actually work in some useful way. We can safely conclude that living bodies are billions of times too complicated -- too statistically improbable -- to have come into being by sheer chance. For instance, it is theoretically possible for an eye to spring into being, in a single lucky step, from nothing: from bare skin, let's say. Eyes and wings cannot spring into existence in a single step. Return to Top

Reaction Engine's Skylon: A brilliantly British spaceplane Skip to Content Home » Reaction Engine's Skylon: A brilliantly British spaceplane Reaction Engine's Skylon: A brilliantly British spaceplane Bookmark/Search this post with: Copyright © 2014 . Copyright 2010 Ben Gilliland Theme by Dr. Religion No Excuse For Not Doing Your Job It seems like these religious nuts never learn. Now we have another example of someone who wants to use his religion as an excuse for his failure to properly perform his job duties. In the past, we have had some pharmacists trying to use their religion in this way, but remarkably it's a bus driver this time. Who knew driving a bus could make god angry? The Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) operates buses near Austin, Texas. The fired driver claims to be a minister (although probably not a very good one since he can't make a living doing it) and says his religion would not allow him to take the customer to Planned Parenthood because she might have been going there to get an abortion. Last Wednesday the ex-employee, Edwin Graning, filed suit in U.S. What a ridiculous statement! If this guy wanted to be a bus driver, he should have done his job and transported passengers to whatever location they desired. Religion is not a good excuse to fail to do a job you agreed to do.

The Origins of Electricity, Tesla vs. Edison More Infographics on Good An Atheist Manifesto - StumbleUpon Update: (2/08/2006 1:35 p.m. EST) Read Sam Harris’ additional arguments about The Reality of Islam Editor’s Note: At a time when fundamentalist religion has an unparalleled influence in the highest government levels in the United States, and religion-based terror dominates the world stage, Sam Harris argues that progressive tolerance of faith-based unreason is as great a menace as religion itself. Harris, a philosophy graduate of Stanford who has studied eastern and western religions, won the 2005 PEN Award for nonfiction for The End of Faith, which powerfully examines and explodes the absurdities of organized religion. Truthdig asked Harris to write a charter document for his thesis that belief in God, and appeasement of religious extremists of all faiths by moderates, has been and continues to be the greatest threat to world peace and a sustained assault on reason. An Atheist Manifesto Somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. No. Continued: The Nature of Belief

Electoral Vote 2008 Since I posted this page originally, the main images have been picked up in Pin-the-Tail StrangeMaps (which has a nice overlay of the cotton and electoral vote maps) Andrew Sullivan Wonkette The Vigorous North (with further explanation tracing this pattern back to the Cretaceous!) Bill Nye Boo'd In Texas For Saying The Moon Reflects The Sun Bill Nye, the harmless children's edu-tainer known as "The Science Guy," managed to offend a select group of adults in Waco, Texas at a presentation, when he suggested that the moon does not emit light, but instead reflects the light of the sun. As even most elementary-school graduates know, the moon reflects the light of the sun but produces no light of its own. But don't tell that to the good people of Waco, who were "visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence," according to the Waco Tribune. Nye was in town to participate in McLennan Community College's Distinguished Lecture Series. But nothing got people as riled as when he brought up Genesis 1:16, which reads: "God made two great lights -- the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. The lesser light, he pointed out, is not a light at all, but only a reflector. At this point, several people in the audience stormed out in fury.

Hundreds of Proofs of God痴 Existence NOTE: For real proofs of the nonexistence of any god, see "Why Atheism?" For other evidence, go to Atheists of Silicon Valley debate page . Hundreds of Proofs of God’s Existence Formerly: Over Three Hundred Proofs of God’s Existence Originally adapted from a forum on the Internet Infidels . TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENT, a.k.a. (1) If reason exists then God exists. (2) Reason exists. (3) Therefore, God exists. COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT, a.k.a. (1) If I say something must have a cause, it has a cause. (2) I say the universe must have a cause. (3) Therefore, the universe has a cause. (4) Therefore, God exists. (1) I define God to be X. (2) Since I can conceive of X, X must exist. (1) I can conceive of a perfect God. (2) One of the qualities of perfection is existence. (1) God is either necessary or unnecessary. (2) God is not unnecessary, therefore God must be necessary. ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN, a.k.a. (1) Check out the world/universe/giraffe. (2) Only God could have made them so complex. ARGUMENT FROM BEAUTY, a.k.a.