#23: Astronomy Saves The World

Are the presidential rallies getting too violent and losing sight of what they were supposed to be for? Chris and Christopher weigh in on the hypocrisy rampant on BOTH sides lately. After that Daniel Batcheldor stops by to explain to us how astronomy can save the world and plug his amazing upcoming book! To close out the show, some bunk arguments against GMO foods were crushed and Christopher got Chris a bit ripped, leading to his first rant about teaching the controversy. You have been warned!

http://www.spreaker.com/user/cellardoorskeptics/astronomy-saves-the-world

Segment
——
00:00 Bernie & Super Pac/Crazy Shit Christopher Used to Believe
35:00 Astronomy Saves The World Interview with PhD Dan Batcheldor
69:00 Answering Anti GMO Apologists
88:00 Teaching the Controversy

Episode: http://www.spreaker.com/user/cellardoorskeptics/astronomy-saves-the-world
Subscribe: http://www.spreaker.com/user/cellardoorskeptics
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Website: http://cellardoorskeptics.com
Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/cellar-door-skeptics
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/cellardoorskeptics
Intro Music: http://aloststateofmind.com/

Links
——
https://www.gofundme.com/exqv3qyc
——
http://www.factcheck.org/2016/03/temperature-at-trump-rallies/
http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/mar/15/obama-criticizes-trump-violence-rallies/
http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/12/politics/donald-trump-protests/
——
http://danielbatcheldor.com
http://cor.gsfc.nasa.gov/copag/rfi/Extreme_Contrast_Ratio_Technologies.pdf

http://www.fit.edu/faculty/profiles/profile.php?value=553
@DanBatcheldor
——
http://thescientificatheist.com/responses-to-popular-anti-gmo-rhetoric/
——
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/05/creationism_and_evolution_in_school_religious_students_can_t_learn_natural.html

International Women’s Day Episode 21 Notes

International Women’s Day

Theme: Pledge For Parity

Definition: noun

  1. the state or condition of being equal, especially regarding status or pay.

 

#PledgeForParity

 

Links

http://www.internationalwomensday.com/Theme

***All the information has come from the International Women’s Day website.  I have consolidated it for the purpose of my notes on the podcast.  Chris Hanna and Myself felt that it would be a benefit to everyone to have all the links in one place along with the flow.  Please check out the links below and listen to our podcast here.

What is International Women’s Day About

 

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since in the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. Many organizations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause, and some of these are adopted more widely with relevance than others.

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights,” says world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem. International Women’s Day is all about celebration, reflection, advocacy, and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women’s Day has been occurring for over a century – and is growing annually from strength to strength.

 

2016 and Beyond

 

The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation may feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so each year the world inspires women and celebrates their achievements. IWD is an official holiday in many countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more. Many global corporations actively support IWD by running their own events and campaigns. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google often changes its Google Doodle on its global search pages to honor IWD. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status.

 

Why it is Needed Still In 2016

 

Worldwide, women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement. And we have much to celebrate today. But progress towards gender parity has slowed in many places. The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.

 

So make a difference, think globally and act locally!

Make everyday International Women’s Day.

Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.

 

So how do we want to celebrate International Women’s Day 2016? We say by Pledging For Parity!

 

Everyone – men and women – can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.

 

Globally, with individuals pledging to move from talk to purposeful action – and with men and women joining forces – we can collectively help women advance equal to their numbers and realize the limitless potential they offer economies the world over. We have urgent work to do. Are you ready to accelerate gender parity?

 

———

 

Take The Pledge

 

  1. Help women and girls achieve their ambitions.

 

The most important determinant of a country’s competitiveness is it’s human talent via the skills and productivity of its workforce.

Organizations must illuminate the path to leadership, showing women the career and advancement opportunities that match their skills and professional objectives and provide the experiences necessary to fulfil their potential.

Individuals can commit to advocating for themselves, and when appropriate, becoming effective role models and sponsors of women to help them achieve their goals.

 

Examples to Help Accomplish The Goal:

EY’s Global Diversity & Inclusiveness Officer, Karyn Twaronite, interviews Deborah Gillis, CEO of Catalyst on accelerating the pace of women’s advancement in the workplace

EY report: Mentoring and sponsorship is an overview of mentoring and sponsorship at EY and why they’re critical to reaching gender parity

Forbes article Beyond The Olympic Flame: How Mentoring Guides Former Athletes discusses the importance of a mentoring program for athletes and how a background in sport can help accelerate a woman’s leadership

 

  1. Challenge conscious and unconscious bias.

 

Studies show that gender-balanced organizations and teams deliver stronger results, and that inclusive societies are more progressive, but ingrained bias slows the progress of equality.

Organizations must build cultures where all people feel valued and included and can contribute fully according to their capabilities.

Individuals can commit to learning about their own biases, adjusting their behaviour as needed and welcoming different experiences and points of view.

 

Examples to Help Accomplish The Goal:

UnderstandingPrejudice.org is a website is for students, teachers and others interested in causes and consequences of prejudice

Projectimplicit.net is a nonprofit organization and international collaboration between researchers interested in implicit social cognition (thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control)

 

  1.  Call for gender-balanced leadership.

 

Companies with women board members outperform in return on equity, net income growth and price-to-book value as well as a host of non-financial measures.

Organizations must ensure women are exposed to strategic operations and functions to gain the experience needed for senior positions and set measurable targets for appointing women to leadership.

Individuals can show potential or current employers that they value and expect gender-balanced leadership. They should seek out leadership, sponsorship and mentoring programs, exposure to strategic and financial roles and integrated networks designed to help women advance.

 

Examples to Help Accomplish The Goal:

EY’s The power of many is a global survey on the correlation between teaming, diversity and corporate performance and how critical strong leadership is for high performing teams

EY report: Diversity drives diversity looks at US diversity in boardrooms and C-suite

EY’s Chair, Global Accounts Committee & Global Vice Chair, Markets, Uschi Schreiber, explores methods for increasing female leadership

 

  1.  Value women and men’s contributions equally.

 

Raising the female labour force participation rate to match that of men will have a positive impact on GDP in both developed and developing economies.

Organizations must ensure all their talent processes are equitable, fair and that they further their gender parity and diversity objectives.

Individuals can seek out perspectives different from their own, prioritize building diverse teams and engage in mixed networks that build trusted relationships.

 

Examples to Help Accomplish The Goal:

Forbes report Fostering innovation through a diverse workforce highlights how diversity is a key driver of innovation and critical for success

EY’s short video Differences matter reveals the importance of diversity in organizations

 

  1. Create inclusive, flexible cultures.

 

After competitive pay and benefits, workers in eight countries rank working flexibly and still being on track for promotion as what they value most in a potential job.

Organizations should recognize that lines between career and personal lives are becoming more fluid. They should create progressive policies like flexible working that allow everyone – regardless of age, gender, rank or geography – to manage their personal and professional lives and realize their ambitions.

Individuals can create trusting, team-oriented work environments by encouraging flexible working supporting choice about the times, places and ways work gets done.

 

Examples to Help Accomplish The Goal:

EY’s brochure Inclusive leadership – Accelerating progress in gender equity from the inside out explains how EY is working to lead the way on gender parity

Building inclusion is research by Diversity Council of Australia into an evidence-based model of inclusive leadership

 

Further Resources for Gender Equality

 

EY’s The time for gender parity is now survey documents the economic imperative of gender parity and outlines three accelerators to help achieve it

EY’s Women. Fast forward on ey.com is a digital hub with resources and guidance for women in the workforce, women in leadership, women entrepreneurs and women athletes

McKinsey & Company report Unlocking the full potential of women at work features 60 companies that show how women have fuelled the US economy and its largest corporations

McKinsey & Company study, in partnership with LeanIn Women in the workplace discusses the state of women in America

EY’s Women in the public sector report reveals women are woefully under-represented in the public sector but a significant part of the workforce

EY study: Global generations is a survey of workers in eight countries about what they want from their jobs

Saying Goodbye Instead of See You Later

We, as social animals, do not typically enjoy saying goodbye. I have never met anyone who was excited to say goodbye to someone they love. What makes this inevitable event more bearable is the fact that we will be able to see them again. What happens though, when this promise of reunion is taken away? A religious person never truly experiences the feeling of losing someone with no hope of ever seeing them again, but for an atheist, losing someone to death is a very final thing.

 

Since embracing my atheism, letting go of the delusion that my deceased loved ones are: “watching over me” or are “up in heaven talking to Jesus” has been the biggest struggle. It is a reality, however, that I was ok to accept in theory. Recently though, my willingness to accept a harsh reality over a kinder lie has been put to the test.

 

On May 13th, 2015, my dad died due to lung cancer. He had only been diagnosed about 3 months earlier, so it happened pretty quickly. My relationship with my father was not your typical father-daughter relationship, I was raised by my grandparents and did not even know who my father was until I was 13. At that time, we began writing letters. I still have every letter that he ever sent me. When we were able, we spent quite a bit of time together. Being around him when he was sober, was a very enjoyable experience. For a while though, I did not see him, he was addicted to drugs and alcohol and I refused to bear witness to him stumbling all over himself. After he was diagnosed, I had a choice to make. I could have stayed away and then losing him would have been much easier. It still would have hurt, but not near as severely as it does now. I decided that I wanted to reestablish our relationship. I wanted to use the time that was left to get a better understanding of who exactly my father was underneath the drugs and addiction. Some (including myself) may think that is was a stupid thing to do. In a way, it was setting myself up for a fall. I felt that it was the right thing for me to do though.
Continue reading “Saying Goodbye Instead of See You Later”

Dreaming of Neverland: Faith and Extinction

This essay is my response to a song from Peter Pan. Here’s a video

Many historians and observers of the human condition have likened the “stages of life” of civilizations and empires to those of individual human beings. They have spoken of the birth, infancy, adolescence, maturity and senescence and, of course, death of countries and cultures. This is, needless to say, a poetic use of language; but poetry often serves as a vehicle for truths that cannot be conveyed nearly so well – or perhaps at all – by other means.

 

I want to take this line of thought a step further: I propose that the human species as a whole follows a parallel developmental trajectory, and that there are valuable insights to be gained by recognizing it. It may be a bit surprising to some, exactly where I fix the watersheds.

 

In a nutshell: I liken our Pleistocene, Paleolithic condition to the childhood of the species, and reckon its condition ever since the Agricultural Revolution to be a form of adolescence out of which we are currently struggling to emerge into full maturity. Dotage is far in our future, and whether our species will survive to see it is very much an open question.
Continue reading “Dreaming of Neverland: Faith and Extinction”

The Afterlife

© The Unassuming Atheist

“Life is a short warm moment. Death is a long cold rest.” These are lyrics from a favorite Pink Floyd song of mine called “Free Four” from the album Obscured by Clouds. OBC was the album before Dark Side of The Moon and provided the fertile ground that would blossom into one of the best-selling recordings of all time. Many of Roger Water’s lyrics focused on death. “Free Four” is about what one thinks about on their deathbed. “You shuffle in gloom of the sick room…and talk to yourself as you die.”

 

Pretty profound stuff. However, I’m not writing an article about Pink Floyd. I just wanted to point out a portion of the first line that I quoted. …”Death is a long cold rest.” Is that what death really is? A dirt nap, so to speak?

 

Without attempting (poorly) to give a history lesson, I think we all know that mankind has always had a fascination with death. It is the Great Mystery, isn’t it? Look at the incredible detail found in the burial tombs of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs. One ancient Asian emperor had an entire terracotta army buried with him to command in the afterlife. Look it up, it’ll blow your mind.

 

There are many examples throughout history of man trying to explain the unexplainable. As we moved through the ages and learned some things along the way, the answers to these mysteries revealed themselves. The earth is flat, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox created the Grand Canyon…you know, stuff like that. Those that believed the myths of their point in time went kicking and screaming when science, reason, or whatever, provided the explanation that solved the mystery. Look what is happening right now in our lifetime with the evolution versus creationism debate. Kicking and screaming.
Continue reading “The Afterlife”

“God is just Ego, Misspelled….My Ego has Better Credentials than your Ego.”

My Anti-theist Friend, Marchal: “God is just Ego, Misspelled….My Ego has Better Credentials than your Ego.”

 

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One of my favorite people to converse with about religion is my good buddy, Marchal. I met Marchal in college, and like me, he was getting a bachelors degree in psychology. We lost touch after Heidelberg, but we recently rekindled our friendship. He contacted me after he read a couple blog posts, he was excited to share with me that he too, is an atheist. Marchal has an interesting story as well, and I would like to share with others, some of the conversation that we recently had.

 

After Heidelberg, Marchal went to Ohio State University, where he received a PHD in psychology. Marchal did not spend any time in the field though, because after he graduated he co-founded a start up company and has been traveling the world ever since. He has spent more time in other countries, than he has in his own, over the last couple of years.

 

“What is the most frustrating thing when it comes to dealing with religious people?” Marchal asked me.

 

“Their ego. They are extremely ignorant, yet so arrogant. They believe they are entitled to whatever they want,” I replied.
Continue reading ““God is just Ego, Misspelled….My Ego has Better Credentials than your Ego.””

Sometimes, For All to Live, Something Must Die

Christianity’s most outrageous and ruinous conceptual coup has also been its most brilliant, and has positioned the church for success in perpetuity by poisoning the well of humankind until the end of time. In a single stroke, this odious religion has enslaved a large portion of the human species by implanting the following malignant, two-headed brainworm into a hundred generations of potentially reasonable people:

 

 a) Instead of being an integral and necessary part of the way the universe works, death is a curse (hence dreaded – not simply feared, as our biology would have it) incurred by “sin”(hence “a shame,” especially if self-inflicted).

 

b) Christianity offers a way to avoid that curse even as one appears to succumb to it.

 

The latter an inconvenient datum that is rationalized to insignificance (Granny didn’t really die, she just went home to be with Jesus), a way into eternal life. And it indoctrinates children with that nonsense before they’re old enough to recognize the difference between fantasy – especially of the wishful thinking variety – and reality.

 

That’s why Christianity is never going to go away. Talk about brilliant! Is any more effective program of mind control even conceivable?
Continue reading “Sometimes, For All to Live, Something Must Die”

Season’s Greetings!

It’s that time of year when the sun approaches its southernmost track across the northern hemisphere’s sky and people of various religious persuasions celebrate the winter solstice without actually knowing that that’s what they’re doing. Predictably, some of the Christian commentators who make their living defiling the airwaves and manipulating public opinion are doing their damnedest to ramp up paranoia about a wholly hallucinated “war on Xmas.” Crèches on public property and holiday greetings at retail outlets are being shoved to the forefront of national attention in the midst of an existential crisis that’s never even mentioned because that’s something only “liberals” talk about. It’s comic and tiresome simultaneously. If the promises of the Enlightenment held any water, you’d think that by now western civilization would have grown beyond that kind of thing.
 

By the time this post goes public I’ll have undergone cataract surgery and will probably have a great deal of vision restored to me. I thank science for that. For all the early 21st century’s horrors, I’m glad to be living in a time when the healing arts reflect the scientific understanding of the human body, not the shamanistic one. A surgeon armed with lasers and an artificial lens is going to do for me what Jesus of Nazareth is reputed to have done with a little clay on which he spat.

 

The prospect of that restored vision has me in an expansive mood, and I guess it’s for that reason that I want to couch this post as a kind of seasonal greeting to Christians – not that I think any of them will read it here. (But if anyone who does read it finds merit in the thought experiment I propose, please feel free to appropriate it and use it as you like. Who knows: in some rare cases, it might have an effect.)

 

I probably should say that as I write the following, I very much have certain members of my family in mind. This is the letter that I will not write to them because I know what kind of reception it would get and how much rancor would ensue. I’ve tried something like it before and learned my lesson. For whatever it’s worth, and for the benefit of whomever, here’s my letter:

 

Dear Christians:
Continue reading “Season’s Greetings!”

Nature is Not Your Friend… But Transhumanism Is

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For all of human history, humans have been forced to die from the natural effects of aging. Unless humans have been living forever in secret unbeknownst to our history books, they had no choice in the matter of death. But now, with advancements in medicine and technology, death is seemingly becoming closer to being a choice for possibly, the first time in history—that is, if we survive long enough to benefit from these therapies.

 

But even despite this apparent choice in the foreseeable future, many people claim they would still choose death and their actions suggest they are telling the truth. They seem to be very happy with accepting the hand that nature has dealt them. They show no fear as they draw nearer to the end of their lives. This attitude of accepting death is what we call Deathism (see “Deathism Explained”)

 

The parallels between Deathism & Stockholm syndrome

In many ways, deathists exhibit symptoms of someone who is suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Mankind has been held hostage by death for so long that most of us have learned to be helpless and we gave up fighting. It’s as if nature’s plan of involuntary death from aging has broken our spirit, and now we just go along with the plan. We don’t question it. Betraying our own survival instincts, we have become willing victims.
Continue reading “Nature is Not Your Friend… But Transhumanism Is”

Secular Philosophy: Countering Pascal

“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” -Christopher Hitchens – God Is Not Great

One of the last bastions of faith is a proposition known as Pascal’s Wager. Presented by the philosopher Blaise Pascal and it goes like this.

  1. “God is, or He is not”

  2. A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.

  3. According to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.

  4. You must wager (it is not optional).

  5. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.

  6. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (…) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.

(Taken from Wikipedia)

  Continue reading “Secular Philosophy: Countering Pascal”