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Saturday, August 30, 2003

Life has no "meaning", except that which each individual creats for themself 

People need to feel that their life has a greater meaning in the order of things.

People surely do feel that need, but there is no reason to believe that any such meaning MUST exist. There is no evidence to prove the validity of the assumption that life on Earth MUST have a "meaning". Life on Earth evolved out of the organic and inorganic elements of the Solar system. In countless billions of other solar systems, no such life has evolved. The fact that in our solar system life did evolve, is just a matter of chance. Therefore there is no reason to think that there had to be any special "meaning" for the evolution of life.


Any "meaning" that there is to our life, is that which we create for ourselves. There was no a priori "meaning" assigned to our life before we evolved out of the solar dust.



The human mind does not stop at the borders of its 5 senses that feed it. The human mind takes the input from the 5 senses, and makes something bigger and better out of it (I mean that in a subjective or perhaps "poetic" sense).



What gives human beings satisfaction, is their interaction with other human beings; and yes that interaction is through the 5 senses. all the human emotions are synthesized inside the same brain that processes the sensual input and creates our sense of reality. Our sense of reality is enriched through our mutually enjoyable interactions with other humans.



What the "meaning of life" is for me, is to have mutually enjoyable interactions with other human beings, that will help me and the other persons learn and grow, and enjoy life even more.



what is the final "meaning" of all of that ? what is the "purpose" of all of our joys and sadnesses and other emotions ? Who knows ? who cares ? maybe there is no meaning or purpose anyway. But so what ? We are alive by freak chance of luck, and so lets enjoy it and help everyother person enjoy their life too.


life is a rare "gift" in the Universe. we don't have to waiste our time searching for some "meaning" that is outside of our mutual human interactions. we can just spend our time enjoying ourselves and our lives, and letting and helping others enjoy theirs.





Literal:


Khayam, if you are intoxicated with wine, enjoy!

If you are seated with a lover of thine, enjoy!

In the end, the Void the whole world employ

Imagine thou art not, while waiting in line, enjoy!




Meaning:


In life devote yourself to joy and love

Behold the beauty of the peaceful dove

Those who live, in the end must all perish

Live as if you are already in heavens above.



http://www.okonlife.com/poems







Literal:



The secrets eternal neither you know nor I

And answers to the riddle neither you know nor I

Behind the veil there is much talk about us, why

When the veil falls, neither you remain nor I.




Meaning:



In vain we scream, in vain shout


And try our best to find out

And when it�s end of our route

What�s left is simply naught.




Listen to Shajarian sing Khayyam's poem


The question of sacrifice is an interesting one. I think the primary drive for sacrifice comes from a parents' sacrifice for their children. And that sense, comes from the evolutionary drive for survival and for passing on of our genes. Therefore, a parent would sacrifice him/her self for the sake of their children, in order to ensure their own survival, in a sense. (like Richard Dawkins' "Selfish Genes")



Then perhaps this sense and instinct is translated into a similar sense towards those who one considers as one's own kin. that could be brothers and sisters, or it could be members of the same clan, or members of the same country, etc. One considers the survival of those next-of-kin to be important to the survival of one's own progeny and descendents.



I think that's an evolutionary instict that's built into us, even for those who don't yet have children.



Here is a quote from Richard Dawkins, the famous British scientist:



"The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all
decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this
sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are
running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being
devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying
of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time
of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the
population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored."


"In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and
genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are
going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any
justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should
expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good,
nothing but pitiless indifference."
[Richard Dawkins in "God's Utility Function,"
Scientific American, November 1995, p. 85.]



If humans truly want to be "masters of the universe", or at least masters of their own lives, they have to come to grips with the realities of the Universe, its makeup, and the physical laws that govern it. No amount of WISHFULL THINKING will be of any benefit to the human race ! Empty pipe dreams of "immoral life" and "immortal soul" are not going to help humanity make progress and improve its condition.


anti-scientific nonsense and empty pipe-dreams of "immortal soul" and "life after death" are going to make people complaicant about dealing with the difficulties of their lives. The first step for dealing with hardship and problems is to recognize their source. if a real source is found, then it can be dealt with directly. when no real source can be found, it must be conceded to be due to chance. But even bad "luck" can be overcome. The important thing is to not get deluded into blaming "supernatural" beings and phenomena and nonexistant entities such as "god" and "devil". This will only make it harder to deal with the problems and fix them, because it puts one's focus on a non-existant potential source for problems. Going after the wrong source of problems cannot possibly lead to a solution.


The second step for solving problems and overcomming difficulties, is to come up with a realistic plan of action, and to rely on all of the resources and powers that a person can muster. putting one's faith in nonexistance sources of assistance and resources, such as "if god is willing ..." only leads to disillusioinment and eventuall disapointment, if things don't work out. When one has the courage to take full responsibility for one's successes and failures, then one can more realistically follow up on good strategies for making progress, and more correctly eliminate ineficient or incorrect strategies. but if one says "if god is willing ..." or "it wasn't god's will ..." then one is not able to distinguish between what one did right and what one did wrong.


religious dogma and superstition and anti-science will continue to impede the progress of humanity and science, and human knowledge about the universe and his/her place in it, unless more and more people come to abandon the perenial wishfull thinking of humans for "immortal life" and such empty pipe dreams, and instead get a grip on the reality of the Universe and the physical laws that govern it.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

being a "seyyed" (descendent of mohammad) means nothing ! 

almost 1400 years have passed since mohammad was alive.

Humans reproduce on the average by the time they are 25 years old. Meaning that each generation is separated from the previous one by about 25 years.

1400 divided by 25 is equal to 56 (56 generations have passed since mohammad)

1400 / 25 = 56

Each child gets half of his/her genetic material from the father, and half from the mother. Therefore, each generation of "seyyed" are only half as much related to mohammad as the one before. This is assuming that in each marriage, only one spouse is a "seyyed".

In that case, each person currently living, is related to mohammad by a factor of 0.5 to the power of 56.

1/2 to the power of 56 is equal to 1.38 times 10 to the power of -17

in other words, each person alive today who claims to be a "seyyed", is related to mohammad by a factor of 0.0000000000000000138

That is quite insignificant indeed !!! So basically, being a "seyyed" means NOTHING ! Because those who claim to be a descendent of mohammad, are just as much descendents of 28 (56 generations of a "seyyed" marrying a non-"seyyed") other people who were NOT "seyyed" !

even if we assume that half of a person's ancestors married another "seyyed", that would still mean that they are related to mohammad only by a factor of 0.00000000373

The Human genome contains 3 billion base pairs

4 chemicals named Adenosine (A), Threonin (T), Cytocene (C), and Guanene (G), pair up, to create one piece of DNA

(A) pairs up with (T)

(C) pairs up with (G)
Each one of these pairs is one piece of DNA, and the human genome contains 3 billion of these pairs.

3 billion multiplied by the factor by which a "seyyed" is related to mohammad is equal to 0.00000000414

300000000 * 0.0000000000000000138 = 0.00000000414

That means that not even A SINGLE PIECE of a "seyyed" 's DNA is likely to have come from mohammad !!!

even if we take the second scenario

300000000 * 0.00000000373 = 1.119

ok, in that case ONE of your pieces of DNA may have come from mohammad !
BIG DEAL !

I am not talking here about the inheritance of traits, which follow the Mendelian laws of inheritance. I am talking about "being related to someone". for example, you are more "related" to your brother or sister, than you are to your cousin. for example, your "pesar khaleh" 's father comes from a different family than your own father, therefore you are not related as closely as your own siblings.

each generation that passes, one is half as related to the previous generation. for example my mother is a descendent of my maternal grandparents. but my father is not. therefore half of my chromosomes, having come from my father, are different than those of my mother.

my own children's chromosomes, will be half mine, and half those of my wife. therefore their chromosomes will be 1/4 those of my parents.

(lets ingore chormosome cross overs, since they are rare) this is something different than the inheritance of traits. because my wife may have the gene for a particular trait, and therefore the probability of that phenotype showing up in our kids will be different. but assuming that the gene pool we are looking at is large enough, and that there isn't any inbreeding, then you can assume that the actual chromosomes of two "unrelated" people came from different lines of people.
so, the probability that any one of the chromosomes of someone claiming to be a "seyyed", actually came from mohammad, is next to zero.

lets say MM is a chromosome pair from mohammad.


and lets say ww is a chromosome pair from his wife.


MM X ww


and you get Mw in mohammad's child


now lets see mohammad's child and his/her spouce (remember, we are looking at chromosome pairs, not traits)


Mw X SS



and mohammad's grand kids will be


MS


MS


wS


wS


so as you can see, half of mohammad's grand kids already do not have that same exact copy of that particular chromosome as mohammad did.


now repeat that for 50 generations, and you will see that a person calling himself or herself a "seyyed" is dillusional !


Hala boro delleto ba een khosh kon ke to mas'allan joone khodet "seyyed" hasti !!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

islam has been the source of terrorism since its inception 

qoran 47-13: "we destroyed their towns, and there was no one to help them"









In the year 620 AD, the prophet sent Khaled-ebn-valid to the Bani Hares tribe to make them become moselms, and emphasized that should they refuse to become moslems, he should make war with them. Khaled (who was famous for his massacres of the tribes of Arabia) reminded the leaders of the Bani Hares tribe to "convert to islam in order to remain alive". The leaders of Bani Hares, fearing the lives of their people, converted to islam, and went with Khaled to see mohammad. Mohammad emphasized to the representatives of the Bani Hares tribe that "if khaled had not written that you have converted to islam, I would have rolled your heads beneath your feet"




source: History of Tabbari [arab historian]

volume 4, pages 1256-1258




The slogan "there is no obligation in religion" in the qoran, did not stop the prophet mohammad to summarily behead followers of other religions ("people of the book" [ie, jews]) for not converting to islam, such that in the case of the Bani Quraizeh tribe, after they surrendred following a war [with mohammad's army], it was ordered [by mohammad] that 900 of their men and youth be beheaded, and their property was taken as war booty, their women and children as slaves, and devided among the moslems. (1) Tabbari [arab historian] reminds us that "the prophet ordered that holes [mass graves] be dug in the ground, and "imam" ali and zobeir cut off their heads in mohammad's presense." [see picture below] (2)


In such wars, the moslem arabs did not even refrain from sleaping with [having sex] the married wives of the captured men, but ofcourse this was also permitted in the qoran.(3)




references:


1) Nafaes-ol Fonoon by Shamseddin Mohammad Ameli, page 312; Montakheb-ol Tavarikh by Haj Mohammad Hashem Khorasani, page 54; Parto Eslam by Ahmad Amin, volume 1 page 117; Tarikh Tabbari, by Tabbari, volume 3 pages 1088-1091


2) Tarikhk Tabbari, volume 3 page 1093

3) qoran 4:24


"the prophet ordered that holes [mass graves] be dug in the ground, and "imam" ali and zobeir cut off their heads in mohammad's presense."










Indeed,



Today majority of terrorists are of Moslem origin and they obviously get the inspiration from their so called holy prophet. Mohammad was the one who started terrorising the political enemies during his time with the same methods used today by molsem terrorist. He also got help in form of revelation from Allah.



[al-Baqarah 2:191] And kill them wherever you find them...


[al-Ma'idah 5:33] The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands
and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land.



[an-Nisa' 4:89] ...Choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah;
if they turn back then take them and kill them wherever ye find them.



Here is the short list of people who got assassinated by Mohammad's terrorist:


1- Salam Ibn Abi-Alhaghigh one of Mohammad's enemy who got assassinated by AbdAllah Ibn Atiik. When Mohammad received the news of killing he stood and said Allah o akbar, Allah o akbar


2- Assassination of Khaled Ibn Sayan Khadli was carried out by AbdAllah Anis ordered by Mohammad.


3- Assassination of Sholim was carried out by Khalje ordered by Mohammad, Khalje set also fire to Sholim's house.


4- Assassination of Rafate Ibn Ghies was carried out by AbdAllah Ibn Jadr ordered by Mohammad. AbdAllah Ibn Jadr cut his head to Mohammad's delight.


5- Assassination of Yasrem Ibn Barzam was carried out by AbdAllah Ibn Ravahe ordered by Mohammad.


6- Assassination of Abu Anak was carried out by Salem Ibn Umiier ordered by Mohammad. Abu Anak was a Arab poet and wise man who have had servral peoms about Mohammad ridiculing him.


7- Assassination of Asma daughter of Marvan also poet, was carried out by Umiier Ibn abbdi ordered by Mohammad.


8- Obaarze was killed by Zobiar.


9- Fartna and Ghoriibe two women poet were also assassinated.


10 - Hane daughter Attabe and Sare Mulat daughter of Hashem.


11 - Kaab Ibn Ashraf crried over those boddies Mohammad has thrown in a well in battel of Badr. Kaab insulted Mohammad many times in public. He was killed by four man in Kaybar.


12- Umar Ibn Amieh was sent to kill Abu Sofian but was not successful in his mission. He killed two other people not to go back empty handed.


13- Abu Ezate Alhajmi was kidnapped by a group. He was brought to Mohammad and was beheaded infront of everybody, including Mohammad, the holy prophet.


14- Nasr Ibn Hares was captured and was beheaded by Ali(shah-e mardan:) himself.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Alabama supreme court judge should move to Iran and become an ayatollah 

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (CNN) -- Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore vowed Thursday to continue fighting to keep a massive monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments in the state judicial building even though the state's other justices overruled him and ordered it removed.


by disobeying the ruling of Alabama's supreme court, Mr. Moore has violated the principle which sets the US government apart from regime's like that which is oppressing the people of Iran. by stating that the word of HIS 'god' shall overrule the laws of the State of Alabama, he has declared that he wishes Alabama to become a theocracy, just like the one in Iran. he has declared himself the representative of 'god' on Earth (or in Alabama), and has allowed himself to destroy the civil institutions of that State based on his religious bigotry. Mr. Moore should move to Iran, and join the Ayatollahs in doing the 'work of god', ie, opressing people and destroying democracy

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

M.R. Pahlavi humiliated Iranians by worshiping the 'god' of the arabs ! 



how could that filthy bastard, MRP, stand there and worship the symbol of arab imperialsm, and at the same time stand in Front of KOUROSH, and tell him "asoodeh bekhab" ???

MRP was a filthy disgusting TRAITOR !!!! he stood there and bent down in front of the symbol of the masacre of hundreds of thousands of Iranians at the hands of filthy desert nomads of the 7th century !!! how could he stand there and worship the symbols of arab imperialism, WHILE THE ARABS ARE STANDING THERE AND WATCHING ???? they are thinking to themselves: "look at this stupid so-called 'king" of the Iranians. he is standing here in front of us, and worshiping our 'god', that we shoved up their ass with our swords".

how could he humiliate Iranians like that ?????

and the same thing goes for his filthy cronie, ard-e-koon zAhedi, standing to his right !

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

The five shaky pillars of islam 

Declaration: Blind irrational faith in a man-made religion. Give up your own powers of thought, and believe in whatever "allah" says, like Earth is Flat, and "beat your wife with a stick"

Ritual prayer: Anything that is ritualistic by compulsion, is a tool of brain washing. Bending up and down five times a day has nothing to do with being a good human being. The time spent bending up and down could be used to work, to perform charitable activities, to read, to study. Meditation and relaxation can be good for health, but they don't have to be a duty to perform ritualistically.

Fasting: Prolonged fasting is bad for human health ! It leads to hormonal imbalances, ulteration of sleep cycle, mood disturbances, irritability, inability to work, problems with digestive system (empty stomach all day, and then a big meal at night)

Giving to the Poor: Charity and generocity should be done willingly, not out of duty. If somebody is kind to me, only because they fear "punishement from god", or because they expect rewards in "heaven", their kindness is totally worthless for me.

pilgrimage: A ritualistic circling around a bunch of black stone has nothing to do with being a good human being. It is a total waste of time. Throwing stones at "devil's house" is completely stupid ! These are man-made objects, and worshiping them or throwing stones at them is stupid and backward. Those who keep and control the Ka'beh, made this prilgrimage into a duty, so that they could make money out of all the tourists (pilgrims) who would come there !

The pilars of islam:

Kill your opponents, make women into your sexual objects, brain wash your followers with useless mind-numbing rituals, make your followers donate their money to your foundations thinking that they are givign to poor, when in fact they are giving it to you, make your followers come to your tourist attraction and pay you money.

fasting during ramazan is BAD for health !!! 

"allah" has no idea about medicine !!!

Saturday, January 3, 1998

Fasting has adverse impact on the body

By Lisa Lytle

The Orange County Register

For millions of people of various religions, fasting retains its centuries-old meaning: the emptying of the vessel -- the human body -- so that something else may fill the space.

Faithful practitioners of fasting say they experience a feeling of enlightenment, a sense of closeness to the deity upon which they place their faith.

Yet fasting also has become a weight-loss fad. It is shamelessly hawked over the Internet and in self-help books as a way to physiologically cleanse or "remove toxins from the body."

And that's what concerns physicians. Detoxification benefits remain unproven while, in fact, the opposite can happen, says Dr. C. Wayne Callaway, a specialist in endocrinology, metabolism and clinical nutrition at George Washington University Medical School.

Ketosis sets in when you fast for more than 18 hours, says Dr. William Daughaday, clinical professor specializing in endocrinology and metabolism at the University of California, Irvine. "You're burning so much fat that your body can't handle effects of byproducts of fat oxidation."

Fasting can exacerbate conditions, including Refsum's disease and Reye's syndrome, he said. Neurologic problems can result.

"The longer the fast, the greater the risk of gall bladder disease," Callaway says. "The risk goes up to about 67 percent. And if you've lost at least 22 pounds, the risk doubles."

When you fast, your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood fats decrease, but these are transient effects, Callaway says. "They go up as soon as you eat."

Ditto for weight. Sure, a long period of fasting can make you lose about half a pound a day -- and lessen your appetite, but you gain them back once you eat, Daughaday says. Worse, you also lose bone and muscle.

But doctors don't dispute spiritual benefits. "The spiritual side is quite valid," Callaway says. "There are biochemical changes that occur in the body during fasting and that may be part of the spiritual aspect. For example, in fasting, one would have a greater propensity to have visions [halucinations]."

NO KIDDING !!! Depriving your brain of glucose and vital nutrients obviously would make your brain go crazy and start halucinating !!! These are not "visions", they are halucinations caused by a STARVING BRAIN !!!

fasting makes people irritable !!!! This is NOT good for society !!!


Irritability during the month of Ramadan.
Kadri N, Tilane A, El Batal M, Taltit Y, Tahiri SM, Moussaoui D
Psychosomatic Medicine 2000 Mar-Apr 62:2 280-5

Abstract
OBJECTIVES: We hypothesized that people in Morocco are more irritable during the month of Ramadan than during the rest of the year. Our objectives were to measure irritability in fasting Muslims during the month of Ramadan, to describe its various modes of expression, and to examine risk factors for this irritability. METHODS AND SUBJECTS: We studied 100 healthy volunteers during the month of Ramadan for two successive years (1994 and 1995). All subjects were male (mean age, 32+/-5.8 years), and 51% of them were smokers. Irritability was assessed over a 6-week period (before, four times during, and after the end of Ramadan). We assessed both subjective (visual analog scale) and objective irritability. We also recorded the consumption of psychostimulants, duration of sleep, and anxiety level as measured by the Hamilton Anxiety Scale. RESULTS: Irritability was significantly higher in smokers than in nonsmokers before the beginning of Ramadan. It was higher in both groups during the Ramadan month. Irritability increased continuously during Ramadan and reached its peak at the end of the month. Consumption of psychostimulants (coffee and tea) and anxiety level followed the same pattern. Smokers and nonsmokers had a similar pattern of irritability over time, but irritability increased more in smokers than in nonsmokers.


[Ramadan. A month of fasting with risk for both nocturnal overeating, dehydration and starving]
Rössner S
Lakartidningen 1997 May 21 94:21 2017

Ramadan diet restrictions modify the circadian time structure in humans. A study on plasma gastrin, insulin, glucose, and calcium and on gastric pH.
Iraki L, Bogdan A, Hakkou F, Amrani N, Abkari A, Touitou Y
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 1997 Apr 82:4 1261-73

Abstract
The rule of Ramadan (1 month of food and water intakes restricted to night hours) is followed by the majority of the Moslem fraction of the human population, but the possible consequences of this long-lasting modification of food intake schedule on public health have not yet been extensively documented. Therefore, a group of healthy control subjects and a group of healed duodenal ulcer patients were studied before (controls), during (both groups), and after (both groups) the month of Ramadan. The time-restricted food and water intakes were associated with variations of gastric pH, plasma gastrin, insulin, glucose, and calcium documented on a circadian basis. All of the studied biological variables, except insulin, underwent changes in their 24-h mean concentration (e.g. decrease in gastric pH, increase in plasma gastrin), some of which were still present 1 month after the end of Ramadan. The circadian patterns of all the studied variables were altered during the month of Ramadan. Some differences between the group of healthy control subjects and the group of healed duodenal ulcer patients may suggest a greater susceptibility of the latter to the modifications of feeding and sleeping schedule, which could possibly be a risk factor for the disease.


fasting is bad for productivity and work !!!

The health risks of occupational stress in islamic industrial workers during the Ramadan fasting period.
Schmahl FW, Metzler B
Polish Journal of Occupational Medince 1991 4:3 219-28

Abstract

During Ramadan, Moslems are required strictly to avoid fluids and nourishment from dawn to sunset. Heat stress during such abstinence represents a substantial health hazard. In the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) where numerous Moslems, particularly of Turkish origin, perform heat work and other heavy labour, we observed moderate to severe health disturbances in such labourers during Ramadan, e.g.: tachycardia, severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and circulatory collapse. The severe dehydration of these workers was demonstrated by substantial increases in their hematocrit, serum protein, urea, creatinine, uric acid and electrolyte imbalance. Because of the evidence of the substantial health hazard to Islamic workers in such situations, we have strongly urged employers to refrain from assigning Islamic workers to heat work or heavy daytime work during Ramadan; we have therefore limited systematic studies of health problems during Ramadan to persons performing only moderate work. Even under these conditions signs of dehydration were found in the 32 labourers monitored. Some of these labourers also had to interrupt their observance of Ramadan due to health problems, e.g.: acute gout due to serum uric acid increase, or circulatory insufficiency. In light of the observed potentially harmful pathophysiological effects, the danger of dehydration of Islamic workers due to heat work during Ramadan should be taken very seriously.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Some behavioural changes observed among fasting subjects, their nutritional habits and energy expenditure in Ramadan. Karaaðaoðlu N, Yücecan S International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition 2000 Mar 51:125-34

Abstract
This study was conducted in five provinces and food consumption, physical activity types and duration for 3 consecutive days were recorded in the questionnaire together with some general characteristics of 750 (320 males, 430 females) adults who were on fast during Ramadan at time of interview. One hundred and eighty-seven subjects had some type of health problems, among whom 60.4% were using drugs, and 31.6% were on diets; however, during Ramadan 9.7 and 18.8% of the subjects dropped taking drugs and did not regularly keep on diets, respectively. During the fasting time, from dawn to sunset, 34.3% of the subjects developed some behavioural disturbances, such as feeling tired and being unwilling to work. Although the meal consumed at dawn consisted of foods that were usually eaten at breakfast, the meal consumed at sunset consisted of a great variety of foods. Calcium intake was the most insufficiently consumed nutrient. It was observed that the daily energy intakes were less than the expenditures both in males and females. Further research should be done on the effects of fasting in health and disease.

Daytime alertness, mood, psychomotor performances, and oral temperature during Rramadan intermittent fasting. Roky R, Iraki L, HajKhlifa R, Lakhdar Ghazal N, Hakkou F Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 2000 44:101-7

Abstract
During the month of Ramadan, Moslems abstain from drinking and eating daily between sunrise and sunset. This change of meals schedule is accompanied with changes in sleep habit, which may affect diurnal alertness. This study examined the effect of Ramadan intermittent fasting on the diurnal alertness and oral temperature in 10 healthy young subjects. The cognitive task battery including movement reaction time (MRT), critical flicker fusion (CFF) and visual analogue scale, was administered at 6 different times of the day: 09.00, 11.00, 13.00, 16.00, 20.00 and 23.00 h on the 6th, 15th, and 28th days of Ramadan. The baseline day was scheduled one week before Ramadan, and the recovery day 18 days after this month. Oral temperature was measured prior to each test session and at 00.00 h. During Ramadan oral temperature decreased at 09.00, 11.00, 13.00, 16.00 and 20.00 h and increased at 23.00 and 00.00 h. Subjective alertness decreased at 09.00 and 16.00 h and increased at 23.00 h. Mood decreased at 16.00 h. MRT was increased at the beginning of Ramadan (R6) and CFF was not changed. These results showed that daytime oral temperature, subjective alertness and mood were decreased during Ramadan intermittent fasting.

Epidemiological study: chronotype and daytime sleepiness before and during Ramadan.
Taoudi Benchekroun M, Roky R, Toufiq J, Benaji B, Hakkou F
Therapie 54:567-72

Abstract
Few epidemiological data have been reported on the relation between Ramadan fasting, life habits (meal frequency, sleep habits) and daytime sleepiness during Ramadan. This paper presents the results of a detailed study of the chronotype and daytime sleepiness before and during Ramadan. It was conducted on a sample of 264 subjects aged between 20 and 30 years. Results have revealed a significant decrease in the meal frequency during Ramadan compared with the control period. Before Ramadan, the majority of subjects woke up between 6 and 7 a.m. and went to sleep between 10 and 11 p.m. however, during Ramadan fasting, they woke up after 8 a.m. and preferred to go to sleep later (after midnight). Chronotype as evaluated by the Horne and Ostberg scale was changed significantly during Ramadan: an increase of the evening type and a decrease in the morning type of subjects was observed. Daytime sleepiness as evaluated by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale was significantly increased.


"tired and being unwilling to work"
"subjective alertness and mood were decreased"
"Daytime sleepiness was significantly increased"

you can't have a productive and progressive country when the whole population turns into a bunch of lazy, irratable, moody bums for a whole month out of the year !

Allah knows nothing about medicine: Islamic concept of "najjes" is stupid and unscientific 

The Islamic concept of "najjes" is unscientific and primitive. It is based on a concept of cleanliness/dirtiness that is totally uninformed of the scientific fields of microbiology, epidemiology, and evolutionary biology.

Dirtiness can be defined in various ways. We might call something "dirty" if it has dust on it, or it has some junk stuck to it. for example our carpet may be "dirty", so we vacuum it. Something may be dirty, because something spilled on it. For example if we spill coffee on our shirt, our shirt becomes "dirty", so we wash it to get the stain off and make it "clean".

But the definition of dirty or clean that is relevant to matters of sanitation and human health, depends mainly on the presense of micro-organisms such as bacteria or viruses. Unless something is contaminated with microorganisms, it does not qualify as "dirty" as far as human health is concerned.

So, as the first example of why the Islamic concept of "najjes" is unscientific, we consider human urine. The urine of a healthy inidividual is completely free of bacteria or viruses. Urine is extracted directly out of blood by the kidneys, so if a person does not have an infection in their body, they will not have any bacteria or viruses in their blood, and therefore not in their urine either. The only bacteria that may be in urine, is that which was on the skin, just outside of the urinary tract. In that case, it would be the skin that was "dirty", and not the urine. Human skin always has some bacteria on it.

So, the islamic concept of "najjes" as far as urine is concerned is stupid. Urine is not inherently "dirty". it has potential for harboring bacteria and therefore becoming dirty, but it is not in and of itself dirty. But many other things have potential for harboring bacteria, and islam doesn't consider those as "najjes". The question realy is a matter of hygene and proper sanitation, NOT the inherent property of something being "najjes".

"Najjes" is just a primitive way of telling people that something has the potential for causing health problems. Just like when we tell little kids that something is "jizz", meaning its hot, so don't touch it. There is nothing scientific or medical about "najjes". In fact it shows the ignorance of "allah" (or rather, Mohammad and other authors of Koran) about microbiology and medicine.

Other things that the title "najjes" is attached to are pigs and dogs. Ok, so we can get the disease called trichinosis if we eat infected pig meat, and dogs can have the disease rabies. But so what ? All major human diseases have come from animals ! Those people who domisticated animals, developed the diseases such as measels, tuberculosis, smallpox, flu, pertussis, malaria. Those humans who did not domesticate animals, did not develope those diseases.

For example, people who lived in the American continents, didn't domesticate animals, and so they didn't develope any of those diseases. But Europeans had domesticated animals, and had acquired diseases from those animals. Therefore, when the Spaniards invaded the Aztecs and Incas, they wipped out more than 90% of them just by giving them Smallpox !

Genetic and molecular analysis has shown that the major human diseases have EVOLVED from bacteria or viruses that originally only infected domesticated animals. Measles, Smallpox, and Tuberculosis came from cattle (cows), Flu came from pigs and ducks, Pertussis came from pigs and dogs, and Malaria came from chickens.

If cows and chickens gave us those terrible diseases, why aren't they considered "najjes" ???

The reason is that arabs of 1400 years ago had not developed the proper science and technologies to raise and farm pigs in a clean and sanitary fashion as to ensure that they are not infected with trichanosis or other diseases. If we can farm and raise cows in a sanitary fashion, and if we can drink their milk (thanks to Pasteurization), then there is no reason why we can't farm and raise pigs in a clean and sanitary fashion also. There is nothing that is inherent to pigs that makes them "najjes". We inherrited terrible diseases from cows and they are not "najjes" ???

"Najjes" is just a primitive concept designed by and for primitive people. Modern humans who know microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, and modern farming and sanitation methods, do NOT need to bother themselves with stupid and primitive concepts like "najjes".

Things are not "dirty" by decree by "god". They are "dirty" only if they have bacteria or viruses in them, in which case we can boil liquids or disinfect solids with chemicals and kill the bacteria.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Imperfections of Human body indicate evolution, and not creation by "god" 

by looking at the human body and its physiology, we can realize that it was NOT created by an all knowing and all powerful "god", who would supposedly be a perfect engineer. "god" would supposedly create a body that was maximally efficient and durable.

but is the human body such an engineered machine ? NO !

our blood is buffered with the equilibrium between carbon dioxide and carbonic acid. a buffering system based on phosphoric acid would be more effective. obviously the only reason we have carbon dioxide / carbonic acid in our blood, is that CO2 was abundant in the atmosphere as we were evolving. it was not because some engineer decided that it would be the best buffer for our blood.

The fact that we stand on two legs, given the structure of our musculoskeletal system, shows that our body was NOT designed by an engineer. Over the course of a single day, disks in our lower back are subjected to pressures equivalent to several tons per square inch. All that weight hurts our spine, knees and joints. We all suffer from back pain to some extent at some point in our lives. A "god" who can enginner an efficient and durable body, whould NOT desing our bodies the way they are.

Now consider the human eye. The light-sensitive photocells are backwards, pointing towards the back of the eye, instead of towads the light. The optic neurons are on top of the photocells, in the path of the light ! NO engineer would design the eye that way, with neurons blocking the path of the light, and photoreceptors pointing away from the light ! Octopus eyes are not made that way, so why humans ? Its simple: Evolution.

Why do humans have an appendix at the end of the small intestine ? it serves no function at all, and occasionally gets infected and must be surgically removed. What crazy engineer would put a useless part in the body that is only a liability ?

The human embryo has a yolk sack, but the embryo is nurished through the umbilical cord. Why would an engineer put a yolk sack when it is not used ? Simple: it is a remnant of the evolutionary past of humans.

humans do not have the best eye sight or hearing or smelling ability among animals. We can't run all that fast, we can't swim that well, and we sure can't fly.

all this for the "ultimate creation of god" ???

I don't think so !


After a moslem replied to this article, I answered him in the following:


"For instance, it is indeed laughable that you draw a comparison between the eye structure in humans and that of a fairly primitive organism such as the Octapus"

comparisons between different organisms is not at all laughable. It is a very common observational tool that scientists use to understand how different organisms opperate. It is obvious that humans, as well as octapuses and eagles and bees all have eyes. But it is not immediately obvious why their eyes are different and how they work differently from each other. It is very instructive to compare the structure and function of those different eyes.

What is truly laughable, is your lack of real scientific knowledge and understanding, and how you just copy and paste a bunch of stuff from some creationist web site, and you call what I say "laughable", when in fact I am merely echoing the ideas of distinguished and accomplished scientists. (like Richard Dawkins)

"You have to understand that we "humans" use our eyes differently than the rest of the animal world. Reading which is something you apparently do a lot of, for example, is specific to humans"

Like I said, you lack real understanding of biology, and the evolution of human physiology and culture.

Human eyes evolved MILLIONS of years ago, whereas reading only came about no more than 10,000 years ago. It is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that human eyes have been designed for reading !!! If reading had to do with eye function, then chimpanzees could read too. actually they can to some extent, but obviously the difference is in their brain, and not in their eyes. The human ability to use language comes from the language centers of the brain (Broca's, Wernekes', etc.), and not from the eyes. Human language evolved on the order of 50 to 100 thousand years ago, whereas human eyes evolved MILLIONS of years ago (when humans had not yet diverged from the apes).

"Please try to be more judicious in your search for answers. Selective amnesia is the worst enemy of a true researcher."

please try to learn some science, before you go around copying stuff from creationist web sites, and before you call a bunch of nut cases who support creationism as "accomplished scientists". no real scientist takes those loonies seriously !!! Just take a look at the most prestigious scientific journals (""Nature" and "Science"), and you will not see a single article by those m.oronic creationists. In fact the FACT (no longer just a theory) of evolution is fully supported by all articles in those journals.

selective reading is the halmark of a dogmatic religionist.

"The greatest of all creations is man himself, the marvellous machine — precise and efficient. "

the human body is anything but precise ! If the human body was precise, they would not have to invent robots to manufacture everything from automobiles, to computer chips and boards. Human muscles are very jittery, and movement planning and coordination is imprecise. voluntary control of movement is not perfect. many times our brain's motor centers initiate a movement which we regret a couple seconds later (closing of the locked car door eventhough we see the key is still inside - we cringe as we close the door, but we are unable to prevent ourselves from doing it, because of the delay between congnition and motor execution).

the human body is also not efficient. muscles waste a lot of heat. not only that, they get filled up with lactic acid during strenuous activity, leading to cramping and fatigue.

"The human skeleton is flexible, with hinges and joints that were made to move. "

like I said, the human skeleton is NOT efficiently designed for the way we walk and sit. that is why so many people suffer from back pain and joint pain. The human body was not designed to last very long. For example, women start to rapidly loose their bone mass after their estrogen levels fall after menopause. Almost every human will eventually suffer from arthritis.

"despite the defects from genetic copying errors (mutations) that have accumulated since the Fall of man brought on the Curse (Genesis 3)."

What a bunch of BULLSHIT !!!!

genetic mutations have NOTHING to do with the "fall of man" !!! The book of Genesis is a FAIRY TALE , and NOT a book of science and genetics !!!! Genetic mutations are a NATURAL result of the structure of DNA ! They occur in ALL living organisms on earth !!! Even as we sit under fluourescent lamps, or walk under the sun, our skin cells suffer from DNA mutations (the Threonin bases in our DNA form crosses with each other - this is caused by ultraviolet radiation, and has NOTHING to do with "fall of man"). These mutations are then CORRECTED by enzymes that maintain our DNA. Only a minor fraction of these mutations remain uncorrected (one out of millions). These mutations can lead either to cell death (if they affect critical functions), or they can lead to altered characteristics, or they can lead to cancer (by damaging the cell's growth control mechanisms).

besides damage from ultraviolet radiation and heat damage, the main source of mutations is errors made during replication of DNA. When the DNA molecule replicates (during cell division and creation of sperm and egg), there are occasional copying errors made by the enzymes that carry out the DNA replication. There are other enzymes that go over the DNA after replication, and correct those errors. But like I said, once in a while they miss, and the mutation (error in copying DNA) remains.

Genetic (DNA) mutations are exactly that which lead to the occurance of changes which allowed humans to domisticate wild plants, and develope agriculture, around 10 to 13 thousand years ago. For example, wild almonds contain a chemical (amygdalin) that releases the poison cyanide. That is what gives some almonds their bitter taste. Obvious a person can die if they eat too many such almonds. But, a SINGLE GENE MUTATION makes some almond plants unable to synthasize amygdalin, and therefore they do not taste bitter. Obviously humans prefered to eat and plant the nonbitter almonds, and therfore created a selective pressure on almond plants to produce nonbitter almonds.

That is exactly how evolution works: random mutations, coupled with natural selection. random mutations create changes in characteristics and properties of organisms, and natural selection determines if the mutants survive, or the wild types. random mutations created non-bitter almonds, and natural selection (human preference) determined that the mutants would grow more than the wild-types.

The book of Genesis is just a book of stories, and NOT a book of science !!!

Yes the human body (as well as animal bodies) are very wonderous and complex systems. But the human body is definately NOT the best body in the world. it is NOT the strongest (try wresteling with an elephant), it is NOT the fastest (try racing with a cheetah), it is NOT the tallest (giraffe), it is NOT the best addapted to cold or hot climates (humans could live in arctic only after learning to use skin from other animals - also, some bacteria can live in tempretures below zero centigrade, and over 100 degrees centigrade, that is, freezing or boiling water).

Humans do NOT have the best eyes (eagles are better), the best ears (bats are better), or the best smell (dogs are better).

"The control centre of the human body is the human brain. It is by far the most complex information-management system in the universe."

we have not yet visited the entire universe to be able to make such a statement. Even right here on earth, humans themselves will create (in a few decades) machines which will surpass the human brain in computational power and "information-management" !!! The human brain is the product of millions of years of evolution, not "creation" by some "god" !

"‘So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him, male and female created He them’ (Genesis 1:27)."

That's make a nice bed-time story for kids (Harry Potter ?), but as far as scientific claims, the Book of Genesis is a piece of garbage ! It is humans who created this "god" in their own image, not the other way around !!!

Program on PBS about Evolution

instead of embarrassing yourself by associating wiht creationists, I suggest you realize that these so-called "holly" books are just collections of fables and myths and fairy tales, created by humans. they are NOT books of modern science, and they are NOT blue prints of the universe from "god" !

if you take these books seriously and literally, then you put yourself in the precarious position of supporting such statements such as "the earth is flat", "the sun sets in muddy water", "the moon is a lamp", "women were made out of man's ribs", "noah made a ship and put all creatures on it", and other such laughable scientifically incorrect statements.

the so-called "holly" books have been proven WRONG on all their claims on science: The Earth is NOT flat; the Sun does NOT set in muddy water, or anywhere else for that matter - it just goes out of view due to rotation of Erath; the Moon is NOT a lamp (it only reflects the light from the Sun, women were NOT created out of men's ribs - they co-evolved together when sexual reproduction evolved on Earth; the so-called "Noah's flood" was a myth created by people in Babylonia and other peoples around the Mediteranean and Black Sea, when there was a cataclysmic break in the land-wall that separated the two bodies of water, and there was a huge flood in that region. There was no flood that covered the whole Earth, and even if there was, notbody could put all of the Earth's creatures into one ship !

so, like I said, if you take what the bible and koran say literally, you end up supporting such stupid and laughable statements. So, just take Genesis and everything else in those books as just being myths and fables created by humans, and save yourself from the embarassement of associating with creationist nut cases !

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Excerpts from "Age of Reason" 

by Thomas Paine

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

Every national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet, as if the way to God was not open to every man alike. Each of those churches show certain books, which they call revelation, or the word of God. The Jews say, that their word of God was given by God to Moses, face to face; the Christians say, that their word of God came by divine inspiration: and the Turks say, that their word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from Heaven. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.

No one will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty to make such a communication, if he pleases. But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and consequently they are not obliged to believe it. It is a contradiction in terms and ideas, to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second-hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication- after this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him. When Moses told the children of Israel that he received the two tables of the commandments from the hands of God, they were not obliged to believe him, because they had no other authority for it than his telling them so; and I have no other authority for it than some historian telling me so. The commandments carry no internal evidence of divinity with them; they contain some good moral precepts, such as any man qualified to be a lawgiver, or a legislator, could produce himself, without having recourse to supernatural intervention.*

When I am told that the Koran was written in Heaven and brought to Mahomet by an angel, the account comes too near the same kind of hearsay evidence and second-hand authority as the former. I did not see the angel myself, and, therefore, I have a right not to believe it.

When also I am told that a woman called the Virgin Mary, said, or gave out, that she was with child without any cohabitation with a man, and that her betrothed husband, Joseph, said that an angel told him so, I have a right to believe them or not; such a circumstance required a much stronger evidence than their bare word for it; but we have not even this- for neither Joseph nor Mary wrote any such matter themselves; it is only reported by others that they said so- it is hearsay upon hearsay, and I do not choose to rest my belief upon such evidence.

It is, however, not difficult to account for the credit that was given to the story of Jesus Christ being the son of God. He was born when the heathen mythology had still some fashion and repute in the world, and that mythology had prepared the people for the belief of such a story. Almost all the extraordinary men that lived under the heathen mythology were reputed to be the sons of some of their gods. It was not a new thing, at that time, to believe a man to have been celestially begotten; the intercourse of gods with women was then a matter of familiar opinion. Their Jupiter, according to their accounts, had cohabited with hundreds: the story, therefore, had nothing in it either new, wonderful, or obscene; it was conformable to the opinions that then prevailed among the people called Gentiles, or Mythologists, and it was those people only that believed it. The Jews who had kept strictly to the belief of one God, and no more, and who had always rejected the heathen mythology, never credited the story.

It is curious to observe how the theory of what is called the Christian church sprung out of the tail of the heathen mythology. A direct incorporation took place in the first instance, by making the reputed founder to be celestially begotten. The trinity of gods that then followed was no other than a reduction of the former plurality, which was about twenty or thirty thousand: the statue of Mary succeeded the statue of Diana of Ephesus; the deification of heroes changed into the canonization of saints; the Mythologists had gods for everything; the Christian Mythologists had saints for everything; the church became as crowded with one, as the Pantheon had been with the other, and Rome was the place of both. The Christian theory is little else than the idolatry of the ancient Mythologists, accommodated to the purposes of power and revenue; and it yet remains to reason and philosophy to abolish the amphibious fraud.

The ancient Mythologists tell us that the race of Giants made war against Jupiter, and that one of them threw a hundred rocks against him at one throw; that Jupiter defeated him with thunder, and confined him afterward under Mount Etna, and that every time the Giant turns himself Mount Etna belches fire. It is here easy to see that the circumstance of the mountain, that of its being a volcano, suggested the idea of the fable; and that the fable is made to fit and wind itself up with that circumstance. The Christian Mythologists tell us that their Satan made war against the Almighty, who defeated him, and confined him afterward, not under a mountain, but in a pit. It is here easy to see that the first fable suggested the idea of the second; for the fable of Jupiter and the Giants was told many hundred years before that of Satan.

When the Church Mythologists established their system, they collected all the writings they could find, and managed them as they pleased. It is a matter altogether of uncertainty to us whether such of the writings as now appear under the name of the Old and New Testament are in the same state in which those collectors say they found them, or whether they added, altered, abridged, or dressed them up.

Be this as it may, they decided by vote which of the books Gut of the collection they had made should be the WORD OF GOD, and which should not. They rejected several; they voted others to be doubtful, such as the books called the Apocrypha; and those books which had a majority of votes, were voted to be the word of God. Had they voted otherwise, all the people, since calling themselves Christians, had believed otherwise- for the belief of the one comes from the vote of the other. Who the people were that did all this, we know nothing of; they called themselves by the general name of the Church, and this is all we know of the matter.

As to the account of the Creation, with which the Book of Genesis opens, it has all the appearance of being a tradition which the Israelites had among them before they came into Egypt; and after their departure from that country they put it at the head of their history, without telling (as it is most probable) that they did not know how they came by it. The manner in which the account opens shows it to be traditionary. It begins abruptly; it is nobody that speaks; it is nobody that hears; it is addressed to nobody; it has neither first, second, nor third person; it has every criterion of being a tradition; it has no voucher. Moses does not take it upon himself by introducing it with the formality that he uses on other occasions, such as that of saying, "The Lord spake unto Moses, saying."

Why it has been called the Mosaic account of the Creation, I am at a loss to conceive. Moses, I believe, was too good a judge of such subjects to put his name to that account. He had been educated among The Egyptians, who were a people as well skilled in science, and particularly in astronomy, as any people of their day; and the silence and caution that Moses observes in not authenticating the account, is a good negative evidence that he neither told it nor believed it The case is, that every nation of people has been world-makers, and the Israelites had as much right to set up the trade of world-making as any of the rest; and as Moses was not an Israelite, he might not choose to contradict the tradition. The account, however, is harmless; and this is more than can be said of many other parts of the Bible.

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.

There is not, throughout the whole book called the Bible, any word that describes to us what we call a poet, nor any word that describes what we call poetry. The case is, that the word prophet, to which latter times have affixed a new idea, was the Bible word for poet, and the word prophesying meant the art of making poetry. It also meant the art of playing poetry to a tune upon any instrument of music.

We read of prophesying with pipes, tabrets, and horns- of prophesying with harps, with psalteries, with cymbals, and with every other instrument of music then in fashion. Were we now to speak of prophesying with a fiddle, or with a pipe and tabor, the expression would have no meaning or would appear ridiculous, and to some people contemptuous, because we have changed the meaning of the word.

We are told of Saul being among the prophets, and also that he prophesied; but we are not told what they prophesied, nor what he prophesied. The case is, there was nothing to tell; for these prophets were a company of musicians and poets, and Saul joined in the concert, and this was called prophesying.

It is somewhat curious that the three persons whose names are the most universally recorded, were of very obscure parentage. Moses was a foundling; Jesus Christ was born in a stable; and Mahomet was a mule driver.

Human language is local and changeable, and is therefore incapable of being used as the means of unchangeable and universal information. The idea that God sent Jesus Christ to publish, as they say, the glad tidings to all nations, from one end of the earth to the other, is consistent only with the ignorance of those who knew nothing of the extent of the world, and who believed, as those world-saviours believed, and continued to believe for several centuries (and that in contradiction to the discoveries of philosophers and the experience of navigators), that the earth was flat like a trencher, and that man might walk to the end of it.

But how was Jesus Christ to make anything known to all nations? He could speak but one language which was Hebrew, and there are in the world several hundred languages. Scarcely any two nations speak the same language, or understand each other; and as to translations, every man who knows anything of languages knows that it is impossible to translate from one language to another, not only without losing a great part of the original, but frequently of mistaking the sense; and besides all this, the art of printing was wholly unknown at the time Christ lived.

It is always necessary that the means that are to accomplish any end be equal to the accomplishment of that end, or the end cannot be accomplished. It is in this that the difference between finite and infinite power and wisdom discovers itself. Man frequently fails in accomplishing his ends, from a natural inability of the power to the purpose, and frequently from the want of wisdom to apply power properly. But it is impossible for infinite power and wisdom to fail as man faileth. The means it useth are always equal to the end; but human language, more especially as there is not an universal language, is incapable of being used as an universal means of unchangeable and uniform information, and therefore it is not the means that God useth in manifesting himself universally to man.

It is owing to this long interregnum of science, and to no other cause, that we have now to look through a vast chasm of many hundred years to the respectable characters we call the ancients. Had the progression of knowledge gone on proportionably with that stock that before existed, that chasm would have been filled up with characters rising superior in knowledge to each other; and those ancients we now so much admire would have appeared respectably in the background of the scene. But the Christian system laid all waste; and if we take our stand about the beginning of the sixteenth century, we look back through that long chasm to the times of the ancients, as over a vast sandy desert, in which not a shrub appears to intercept the vision to the fertile hills beyond.

It is an inconsistency scarcely possible to be credited, that anything should exist, under the name of a religion, that held it to be irreligious to study and contemplate the structure of the universe that God has made. But the fact is too well established to be denied. The event that served more than any other to break the first link in this long chain of despotic ignorance is that known by the name of the Reformation by Luther. From that time, though it does not appear to have made any part of the intention of Luther, or of those who are called reformers, the sciences began to revive, and liberality, their natural associate, began to appear. This was the only public good the Reformation did; for with respect to religious good, it might as well not have taken place. The mythology still continued the same, and a multiplicity of National Popes grew out of the downfall of the Pope of Christendom.

The persons who first preached the Christian system of faith, and in some measure combined it with the morality preached by Jesus Christ, might persuade themselves that it was better than the heathen mythology that then prevailed. From the first preachers the fraud went on to the second, and to the third, till the idea of its being a pious fraud became lost in the belief of its being true; and that belief became again encouraged by the interests of those who made a livelihood by preaching it.

But though such a belief might by such means be rendered almost general among the laity, it is next to impossible to account for the continual persecution carried on by the Church, for several hundred years, against the sciences and against the professors of science, if the Church had not some record or tradition that it was originally no other than a pious fraud, or did not foresee that it could not be maintained against the evidence that the structure of the universe afforded.

As mystery and miracle took charge of the past and the present, prophecy took charge of the future and rounded the tenses of faith. It was not sufficient to know what had been done, but what would be done. The supposed prophet was the supposed historian of times to come; and if he happened, in shooting with a long bow of a thousand years, to strike within a thousand miles of a mark, the ingenuity of posterity could make it point-blank; and if he happened to be directly wrong, it was only to suppose, as in the case of Jonah and Nineveh, that God had repented himself and changed his mind. What a fool do fabulous systems make of man!

It has been shown, in a former part of this work, that the original meaning of the words prophet and prophesying has been changed, and that a prophet, in the sense of the word as now used, is a creature of modern invention; and it is owing to this change in the meaning of the words, that the flights and metaphors of the Jewish poets, and phrases and expressions now rendered obscure by our not being acquainted with the local circumstances to which they applied at the time they were used, have been erected into prophecies, and made to bend to explanations at the will and whimsical conceits of sectaries, expounders, and commentators. Everything unintelligible was prophetical, and everything insignificant was typical. A blunder would have served for a prophecy, and a dish-clout for a type.

Upon the whole, mystery, miracle, and prophecy are appendages that belong to fabulous and not to true religion. They are the means by which so many Lo, heres! and Lo, theres! have been spread about the world, and religion been made into a trade. The success of one imposter gave encouragement to another, and the quieting salvo of doing some good by keeping up a pious fraud protected them from remorse.

Upon the whole, mystery, miracle, and prophecy are appendages that belong to fabulous and not to true religion. They are the means by which so many Lo, heres! and Lo, theres! have been spread about the world, and religion been made into a trade. The success of one imposter gave encouragement to another, and the quieting salvo of doing some good by keeping up a pious fraud protected them from remorse.


CONCLUSION.

In the former part of the Age of Reason I have spoken of the three frauds, mystery, miracle, and prophecy; and as I have seen nothing in any of the answers to that work that in the least affects what I have there said upon those subjects, I shall not encumber this Second Part with additions that are not necessary.

I have spoken also in the same work upon what is called revelation, and have shown the absurd misapplication of that term to the books of the Old Testament and the New; for certainly revelation is out of the question in reciting anything of which man has been the actor or the witness. That which a man has done or seen, needs no revelation to tell him he had done it or seen it, for he knows it already; nor to enable him to tell it or to write it. It is ignorance or imposition to apply the term revelation in such cases: yet the Bible and Testament are classed under this fraudulent description of being all revelation.

Revelation then, so far as the term has relation between God and man, can only be applied to something which God reveals of his will to man; but though the power of the Almighty to make such a communication is necessarily admitted, because to that power all things are possible, yet the thing so revealed (if anything ever was revealed, and which, bye the bye, it is impossible to prove), is revelation to the person only to whom it is made. His account of it to another person is not revelation; and whoever puts faith in that account, puts it in the man from whom the account comes; and that man may have been deceived, or may have dreamed it, or he may be an impostor and may lie. There is no possible criterion whereby to judge of the truth of what he tells, for even the morality of it would be no proof of revelation. In all such cases the proper answer would be, "When it is revealed to me, I will believe it to be a revelation; but it is not, and cannot be incumbent upon me to believe it to be revelation before; neither is it proper that I should take the word of a man as the word of God, and put man in the place of God." This is the manner in which I have spoken of revelation in the former part of the Age of Reason; and which, while it reverentially admits revelation as a possible thing, because, as before said, to the Almighty all things are possible, it prevents the imposition of one man upon another, and precludes the wicked use of pretended revelation.

But though, speaking for myself, I thus admit the possibility of revelation, I totally disbelieve that the Almighty ever did communicate anything to man, by any mode of speech, in any language, or by any kind of vision, or appearance, or by any means which our senses are capable of receiving, otherwise than by the universal display of himself in the works of the creation, and by that repugnance we feel in ourselves to bad actions, and the disposition to do good ones.

The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most dishonorable belief against the character of the Divinity, the most destructive to morality and the peace and happiness of man, that ever was propagated since man began to exist. It is better, far better, that we admitted, if it were possible, a thousand devils to roam at large, and to preach publicly the doctrine of devils, if there were any such, than that we permitted one such impostor and monster as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and the Bible prophets, to come with the pretended word of God in his mouth, and have credit among us.

Whence arose all the horrid assassinations of whole nations of men, women, and infants, with which the Bible is filled, and the bloody persecutions and tortures unto death, and religious wars, that since that time have laid Europe in blood and ashes- whence rose they but from this impious thing called revealed religion, and this monstrous belief that God has spoken to man? The lies of the Bible have been the cause of the one, and the lies of the Testament of the other.

Some Christians pretend that Christianity was not established by the sword; but of what period of time do they speak? It was impossible that twelve men could begin with the sword; they had not the power; but no sooner were the professors of Christianity sufficiently powerful to employ the sword, than they did so, and the stake and fagot, too; and Mahomet could not do it sooner. By the same spirit that Peter cut off the ear of the high priest's servant (if the story be true), he would have cut off his head, and the head of his master, had he been able. Besides this, Christianity grounds itself originally upon the Bible, and the Bible was established altogether by the sword, and that in the worst use of it- not to terrify, but to extirpate. The Jews made no converts; they butchered all. The Bible is the sire of the Testament, and both are called the word of God. The Christians read both books; the ministers preach from both books; and this thing called Christianity is made up of both. It is then false to say that Christianity was not established by the sword.

Morality is injured by prescribing to it duties that, in the first place, are impossible to be performed; and, if they could be, would be productive of evil; or, as before said, be premiums for crime.

The Bible-makers have undertaken to give us, in the first chapter of Genesis, an account of the creation; and in doing this, they have demonstrated nothing but their ignorance. They make there to have been three days and three nights, evenings and mornings, before there was a sun; when it is the presence or absence of the sun that is the cause of day and night, and what is called his rising and setting that of morning and evening. Besides, it is a puerile and pitiful idea, to suppose the Almighty to say, Let there be light. It is the imperative manner of speaking that a conjuror uses when he says to his cups and balls, Presto, begone, and most probably has been taken from it; as Moses and his rod are a conjuror and his wand. Longinus calls this expression the sublime; and by the same rule, the conjuror is sublime too, for the manner of speaking is expressively and grammatically the same. When authors and critics talk of the sublime, they see not how nearly it borders on the ridiculous. The sublime of the critics, like some parts of Edmund Burke's Sublime and Beautiful, is like a windmill just visible in a fog, which imagination might distort into a flying mountain, or an archangel, or a flock of wild geese.

All the knowledge man has of science and of machinery, by the aid of which his existence is rendered comfortable upon earth, and without which he would be scarcely distinguishable in appearance and condition from a common animal, comes from the great machine and structure of the universe. The constant and unwearied observations of our ancestors upon the movements and revolutions of the heavenly bodies, in what are supposed to have been the early ages of the world, have brought this knowledge upon earth. It is not Moses and the prophets, nor Jesus Christ, nor his apostles, that have done it. The Almighty is the great mechanic of the creation; the first philosopher and original teacher of all science. Let us, then, learn to reverence our master, and let us not forget the labors of our ancestors.

Had we, at this day, no knowledge of machinery, and were it possible that man could have a view, as I have before described, of the structure and machinery of the universe, he would soon conceive the idea of constructing some at least of the mechanical works we now have; and the idea so conceived would progressively advance in practice. Or could a model of the universe, such as is called an orrery, be presented before him and put in motion, his mind would arrive at the same idea. Such an object and such a subject would, while it improved him in knowledge useful to himself as a man and a member of society, as well as entertaining, afford far better matter for impressing him with a knowledge of, and a belief in, the Creator, and of the reverence and gratitude that man owes to him, than the stupid texts of the Bible and of the Testament from which, be the talents of the preacher what they may, only stupid sermons can be preached. If man must preach, let him preach something that is edifying, and from texts that are known to be true. The Bible of the creation is inexhaustible in texts. Every part of science, whether connected with the geometry of the universe, with the systems of animal and vegetable life, or with the properties of inanimate matter, is a text as well for devotion as for philosophy- for gratitude as for human improvement. It will perhaps be said, that if such a revolution in the system of religion takes place, every preacher ought to be a philosopher. Most certainly; and every house of devotion a school of science.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

what is the origin and purpose of religion ? 

religion is there to solace the minds of the simple minded. pre-historic humans could not help but be simple minded, because they had not yet attained the scientific understanding that we now have of the world. yes, they invented religions and supernatural explanations for their dreams, and for the natural phenomena which they had to live and cope with to survive. they invented fertility goddesses like Ishtar, which then evolved to become "marry, mother of jesus", so that they could apeal to them for better crops.
to be able to ascribe natural phenomena to the moods of "the gods", and to be able to apeal to them in times of need and desparation, is a solace and shelter for the minds of the simple-minded. The human mind has a desire to believe in something. anything that will fill the void in his understanding of the world. when science has not yet learned the explanation for something, simple-minded people fill that gap in their knowledge by inventing supernatural explanations, which eventually get incorporated into religions. soul, heaven, hell, and life after death are all such beliefs.
these beliefes were invented to sooth the troubled minds of naive people. hence, they are the opiate of the simple minded masses, who cannot help themselves, but to fill the gaps in their knowledge with supernatural fairy tales.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

What do we mean by Secularism ? 

Secularism in Iran means ending the role of religion, particularly islam, in politics.

But it does NOT mean hindering Iranians from practicing islam, or making them feel in any way that their religious freedoms, and their ability to practice their religion is threatened in any way. mosques must NOT be attacked, religious institutions must NOT be attacked. clerics must NOT be attacked nor harrassed. (only those who can be shown by the process of law to have committed crimes should be brought to justice).

I say this, because I feel that those who want to prevent secularism from taking hold in Iran, will try to portray Secularists, as people who want to threaten islam as a religion, and want to attack people's religious rights. I want to emphasize that Secularism does NOT mean an attack on religion itself, or attack on any religious institutions.

on ther other hand, intellectual criticism and challenges against religions of any kind, including islam, must also be comepletely free.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Planet MARS is as close to Earth is it has been in 60,000 years ! 

if you have a small telescope, or even a large binocular, you can even see some surface features of Mars ! check out these links for pictures and info:

space.com
Astronomy magazine

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

We must be persistant and steadfast in our opposition to mixing of religion with politics! 

Iranians may be moslems, but they do not want islam as part of the political processes of their government. by designating themselves as "meli-mazhabi", this group is continuing to make the statement that "we consider our religion a part of our politics". I realize that many political parties in the west do the same thing, but as I have said before, I totally disagree with that, and i believe that such a thing should be forbidden in a secular government. ESPECIALLY in Iran, which is under a theocratic tyrranical regime, it is vital that ALL traces of religion are removed from the government and politics. That is NOT to say that Iranians should stop being moslems.

In fact Iranians must be absolutely free to believe or not believe in whatever religion they want.

but, because we are trying to save Iran from a RELIGIOUS dictatorship, we must be insistant and steadfast in our opposition to any involvement of religion in politics, even if it is in a group's name.

if we hold strong in this position, more and more members of the regime will make statements such as those of khomeini's grandson. none of these chicken shits will dare to stand in front of the Iranian people, determined to have a secular democratic republic.

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