Monday, April 29, 2013

Zero Effect and Cognitive Dissonance

      The following article in a recent Popular Science issue provides another look at the concept of Cognitive Dissonance.  L. Mitchell, Zero Effect, Popular Science, March 2013. P 32.
      The simple definition for cognitive dissonance is when people rationalize alternative explanations for cherished beliefs when evidence proves these beliefs are invalid.  Frequently, people even create explanations to hold even more firmly onto beliefs that defy logic.  The phenomenon is most common in religion and politics.  When some beliefs are extremely in opposition to reality the adherents may become radicalized. The recent Boston Marathon bombing is an example.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Value of Petitions and the People who Sign Them

The following YouTube flick has less to do about the Gun Debate and a lot about the significance of petitions and the awareness of people to current events. REMEMBER: these people vote!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Economist Begins to Reasses Position on Global Warming

      The Economist backed away from its past alarmist position, saying that “If climate scientists were credit-rating agencies, climate sensitivity would be on negative watch.” The high-end estimates of warming coming from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is unlikely if not far-fetched.
      Temperatures have not risen over the past 15 years, making a mockery of the computer programs that showed temperatures rising in lockstep with carbon dioxide.

150 Years of Cognitive Dissonance

      Seventh-day Adventism was founded in the aftermath the Great Disappointment, which dashed the hopes of some 50,000 followers who expected Jesus to arrive in 1844. Some had sold their possessions and let their fields lie fallow. The celestial letdown drove a few insane, crushed under the weight of what social psychologist Leon Festinger would later call “cognitive dissonance.”
      But the movement did not disintegrate, as Festinger argued. Instead, early Adventists like James and Ellen White adjusted their beliefs. Something of divine import had happened in 1844, even if it wasn’t the Second Coming, they taught.
      Over the past 150 years, Seventh-day Adventists have built one of Christianity’s most inventive and prosperous churches, all the while praying for the world to end as soon as possible. These 50,000 believers believers has mushroomed to more than 17 million baptized members, including 1.2 million in the U.S. Nearly 8,000 Adventists schools dot dozens of countries. Hundreds of church-owned hospitals and clinics mend minds and bodies around the world.
      The success of this church is a lesson to Skeptics who think a logical argument based on evidence might dissuade the misguided, but often a failure of faith often strengthens that faith. 
      Most Christian churches preach the Second Coming, and nearly half of Americans believe Jesus will return in the next 40 years, according to a 2010 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center

List of Gods

      Like one God? Think what you can do with 3700 of them.  Check out the Godchecker    This website claims to features over 3,700 weird and wonderful Supreme Beings, Demons, Spirits and Fabulous Beasts from all over the world. Explore ancient legends and folklore, and discover Gods of everything from Fertility to Fluff.
      Just so Christians don't feel left out with just one God, the website list saints for them. There is a saint for every location and occasion. You can have your own patron saint. Saints have holy wells and work miracles as they become — to the untrained eye — demi-deities in their own right. It was the saints, angels and holy artifacts that helped draw pagans to Christianity.
     Godchecker is 100% non-denominational. Our Holy Database aims to cover all Gods of mythology, literature and legend. All Gods are welcome, whether Greek, Roman, Egyptian, or of No Fixed Abode. Polytheism is much more fun than monotonous monotheism. Terry Pratchett fans, Tolkien afficiandos, Douglas Adams devotees, Lovecraft lovers and Harry Potter nuts will love our selection of Goddities. All our Gods are certified genuine and digitally signed. This site is blessed by the Holy Snail™ 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

So let it be written; so let it be done.

      Every year we are graced with Cecil B Demille's movie Ten Commandments. The movie follows along very closely to what I learned in Catholic grade school.  Although I may have thought the story of the parting of the Red Sea was an exaggeration, I didn't doubt the existence of Moses.  After all, from where did the Ten Commandments come?  There is also a problem of who wrote the first five books in the Bible - the Pentateuch. Okay, well its unlikely he is the author of this work, but what about the rest of the story?  What about Passover?
      I really hadn't given this much thought until I read the following from Herb Silverman, My Passover Evolution.
I believe the traditional Passover story to be both fictional and horrible. Here’s why: There is no historical or archaeological evidence that Moses existed, that Israelites were slaves in Egypt, or that they wandered in the desert for 40 years. And that’s the good news. I find the Passover story of the Exodus is horribly inhumane: An insecure and sadistic God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Why? So God could respond by bringing 10 plagues to Egypt, which culminated in killing innocent first-born Egyptian sons (but passing over Jewish households). Now and forever, we Jews are to thank God every Passover for creating plagues to benefit his “chosen” people.
I decided to do a little research on my own.  I found out that there is no historical or archaeological evidence for Moses.  That doesn't confirm that Moses didn't exist, but it does mean the stories that I learned as a child and get to watch repeatedly during the Easter season are fictional.