All posts by Daniel Bennett

Growing up as a child I was never really exposed to religion per se, I would be technically considered a third generation atheist. My childhood home in Los Angeles afforded me a great opportunity to observe the cultural complexities others have and how their different religious idolism effected their day to day lives. To me, I see religion as something that people use as a coping mechanism to better understand a world they cannot seem to grasp; a metaphorical crutch on reality. I am often bewildered by what others tell me about their beliefs and how contradictory they can be to contemporary scientific understanding. People are sometimes shocked when I tell them that I myself am an atheist and sometimes they're even confused by this notion. "But you seem like such a nice person", "How could you have served in the military and been an atheist? ", "How can you be so moralistic and not believe in god?" These are the some of the typical questions I get when talking to people when the subject comes up. I have had plenty of people who become almost instantly hostile towards me after they learn that I am a 'non-believer', even when I have been very polite and non-confrontational. I have even had people I had once considered to be my friends stop communicating with me upon learning that I don't aspire to some higher power. When I look at how people use their religion in order to influence and control others I am disheartened by this in many ways. It's wielded like a weapon to channel their hate and discriminatory views into society. To me and many others, some of the things they do in the name of their god are as indelible as the sins they detest so greatly, a great many of people suffer and die due to this. I care about people because life is the most precious commodity in the universe. We have but this one chance to live and isn't that reason enough to care for one another? That is my experience.

There Is No Conclusive Evidence That Cannabinoids Actually Cure Cancer

 

 

On the subject of cannabis:

Many healthcare providers can agree that cannabis can alleviate some symptoms associated with cancer, like pain and nausea, as well as the side effects associated with the various kinds of cancer treatments available. But there is no conclusive evidence that it targets any one of the thousands of different and unique types of cancer systemic to the human population. Cancer isn’t just a simple disease: it has multiple causes and multiple ways of causing death and bodily harm. The drugs that can treat these various cancers can be extremely diverse, and one drug that will work with one particular type of cancer won’t work with another. In addition to the many varieties of cancers, each person has unique genetic characteristics which must be taken into account when designing a treatment plan.

The study people like to cite is this one:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4171598/

When you look at the actual facts, cannabis isn’t a miracle cure. The conclusion in the paper states that the  study was inconclusive and needed more research. The paper makes no mention of cancer cell destruction, either. It does talk about slowing down metastasizing factors, but not actually killing cancer cells themselves. It even acknowledged that in some cases cannaboids enhanced tumor growth:
“Furthermore, endocannabinoids- AEA and 2-AG are broken down into secondary metabolites like prostaglandin (PGE2) and epoxyeicosatetraenoic acid (EE) which enhance tumor growth and metastasis in diverse cancer types.”

Even if it was shown to have an effect on receptor sites or outright kills pancreatic cancer cells for example, without damaging the surrounding tissue, that’s still just 1 cancer out of many other varieties with multiple variables. With that being said another study even showed that cannabinoids actually had carcinogenic factors that increased the risk of pancreatic as well as other cancers for that matter:

http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/64/6/1943.short

“In contrast, Grand and Gandhi recently presented a case study of acute pancreatitis induced by cannabis smoking, indicating that cannabinoids may be a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.”


Above are test results that presents a potential link to cancer from cannabinoids. See the above citation for further information.                                 

Thinking a plant or a single chemical can cure cancer is ridiculous and shows a fundamental lack in understanding medical science. Cannabis has become the new herbalism that quacks and charlatans are using pushing without any evidence to back up their claims.

So in, conclusion, there are specific cancers that cannabinoids may have an effect on reducing metastasis in cancer cells but in others it enhances tumor growth. The current state of the research does not support cannabis as a miracle cancer cure, or even a particularly effective cancer treatment.

A typical method utilized by alternative medicine and quacks are using the plea to emotion to bolster their position rather than using empirical evidence.

Can’t we just agree that it’s simply fun to enjoy without all the nonsense attached to it?

Whooping In Washington

KitsapPeninsulaAreaMap02
In Washington state, here in the United States, pertussis (whooping cough) caused nearly 200 campers to be sent home early after whooping cough prompted the YMCA of Greater Seattle to close the overnight camp on the Kitsap Peninsula. This is yet another dangerous example of the rejection of vaccine uptake. The rise of misinformation and alternative medicine has been increasing and the rejection of science-based modern medicine has been gaining momentum. As we know, vaccines work by stimulating our immune system to produce antibodies (substances produced by the body to fight disease) without actually infecting us with the disease. They trigger the immune system to produce its own antibodies, as though the body has been infected with a disease. There have been many factors leading to this decline: a lot of this has to do with celebrities endorsing fallacious claims; Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Oz, Jim Carrey, Jenny McCarthy, for example. All this was due to a former British Gastroenterologist named Andrew Wakfield and his fraudulent study published in the Lancet articles.

The best way to prevent pertussis (whooping cough) is to get vaccinated. There are vaccines for babies, children, preteens, teens, and adults. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP, and the pertussis booster vaccine for preteens, teens, and adults is called Tdap. Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease. Initial symptoms are usually similar to those of the common cold with a runny nose, fever, and mild cough, followed by weeks of severe coughing fits. After a fit of coughing, a high-pitched whoop sound or gasp may occur as the person breathes in, and may last for 10 or more weeks, hence the phrase “100-day cough”. A person may cough so hard that they vomit, break ribs, or become very tired from the effort. Children less than one year old may have little or no cough and instead have periods where they do not breathe. Infection in newborns is particularly severe.

Pertussis is fatal in an estimated 1.6% of hospitalized US infants under one year of age. First-year infants are also more likely to develop complications, such as: pneumonia (20%), encephalopathy (0.3%), seizures (1%), failure to thrive, and death (1%) perhaps due to the ability of the bacterium to suppress the immune system. Pertussis can cause severe paroxysm-induced cerebral hypoxia, and 50% of infants admitted to hospital suffer apneas. Reported fatalities from pertussis in infants increased substantially from 1990 to 2010. There is no excuse for these kind of vaccine preventable diseases.

Sources:

http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/state/washington/article93698202.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pertussis

https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/

Enough With The 9/11 Conspiracy Theories!

 

Some facts and figures for conspiracy theorists

 

•1 Inertia is a bitch, a fully loaded jumbo jet slammed into a tower at high speed dead center and at an angle; so the structural stability of the building was already compromised.

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•2 The steel doesn’t have to melt, although jet fuel doesn’t burn hot enough to melt steel, the higher the heat the higher the plasticity of the metal; thus increasing structural instability.

twin-towers

•3 There was plenty of structure above the point of impact that was still being supported, which equals a lot of weight above the point of impact.

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•4 Time, with all these factors at play, the longer the fire burned, the more the structure became unstable.

•5 The perfect storm: with everything that happened to the tower, the tower catastrophically failed and the weight of the structure being supported above the impact site came down. The collapsing building acted like a zipper which is why the buildings fell in the fashion they did.

WTC-041

•6 The reason windows were blowing out below the collapsing building was due to differential pressure from air compression.

weststreet.jet.b


So no, this is easily explained by science…

Any questions? If not, class is dismissed…

#infowars #truthers #AlexJones #ConspiracyTheories #ItsAConspiracy

Atheism is not an Institution

When religion and those that align themselves with a particular one like the RCC that commits atrocities against people that should be protected. Those names and people that have done these horrific crimes are protected instead. Then we get the apologists sticking up for this behavior. Don’t waste the hot air on those of us that don’t agree with your religion instead look within and start asking questions yourself and why the victims of abuse have been met with resistance.
Atheism is not a religion nor does it follow a doctrine and it isn’t a political movement. Non-belief in a deity is what separates atheism from theism period. I don’t have a Dawkins shrine at my house (contrary to belief)…and I actually disagree with a couple minute things….but the differences in my disagreement can do be based on individual views……These men don’t speak for me, they aren’t my appointed leaders. I don’t look for their guidance in my everyday life.
Do I agree with them on a debate about rational thought, evolution, biology and secularism? Sure, but not because of who they are and what they promise me, but because I agree with their non-belief.
The very reason I am an atheist is because I am an individual thinker in my non-belief. I am skeptic. I do right by society because I have to live in THIS society.
Misogyny, homophobia, GM, and other mistreatment of those that don’t subscribe to their stupidity is something every believer should be asking themselves today. “Why would I belong to a group that commits these horrific acts?” And “Why am I, as a believer, not doing everything I can to stop these crimes yesterday?”

Reason;
The believer would have to ask themselves some hard questions and that might rock their world. As a citizen of the world but more specifically of the USA, I’m concerned that a very vocal group wants to take away the right to choose to have a legal procedure done, that is of no business to anyone except my doctor and myself. They want to take away human rights to those people that are different in skin color, gender or sexual orientation.
I believe these communities need equal rights NOW not when people feel “more comfortable” about the idea.
The false equivalence that I’m oppressing religion by speaking truth about their practices is ridiculous. Especially when thousands of years worth of death, violence and mutilation have occurred and been encouraged by religions. Should we address these issues as a group? YES of course, that however doesn’t make one a believer in a religion but a protector of the human experience.

religious-fanatic

Religion is an institution. Atheism is NOT.

– Gelliebeans

How Racism and Sexism Still Persists in the Atheist Community

racism

 

How Racism and Sexism Still Persists in the Atheist Community

In my time being active in the atheist community, I have noticed that there has been a sort of subset of radical thinking. Racism and sexism have really been on the rise in the atheist community, and it’s showing up often in social media.

Talking as an administrator on the general AAPN Facebook page (commonly referred to as “the main page”) where my gender was unknown to the person, has shown me how people will talk differently when they make gender assumptions. When we shared a Facebook post about this topic, we were swarmed with comments and as I was pitching my 2 cents with the other admins, I had noticed a strange thing happen. As I said, when an administrator on the main page speaks, it just shows as AAPN speaking, well when I was criticizing some people for having a sexist attitude, it seemed that they assumed that I was a woman speaking to them, which I thought was an odd assumption since there are no details on who exactly was speaking.

What was even more interesting was how some of those folks started referring to me as “sweetie” or “babe”, at that point after they started calling me pet names, I finally confronted them about it and that they were talking to a male the entire time, suddenly the pet names stopped.

We have also had messages to the main page from self professed atheists wanting to know our opinions on race and intelligence, and which race we thought as being superior. This is an absolutely terrible train of thought to be in as to somehow view yourself as superior to your fellow man. Every culture, has something great to offer the world when religious beliefs are cast aside.

We atheists need to strive to be the example in the world, and sadly we are failing at that. Lately my mantra has been “atheism =/= rationalism, it’s just a step in the right direction”; and sadly that’s been holding true. I have seen first hand how atheists that are woman and/or minorities are treated very disrespectfully and the only thing they did was stick up for themselves. Sexism and racism is a real thing that is happening in our community and it’s time we step up to it and not tolerate it anymore.

Using Genetics to Disprove Biblical Stories

In genetics we can look at genetic diversity in everyone and everything and find common genetic traits which would indicate a significant reduction in a given population. This is done by finding and identifying genetic traits that only a small breeding population would have in common and would be subsequently carried down through subsequent generations. If the story of Genesis and Noah were true, we would see genetic bottlenecks showing a breeding population of a very limited number and we would be able to identify roughly when it happened; but this is not the case at all.

wrong

If you don’t know what a genetic bottleneck is, it is a sharp reduction in the size of a population due to environmental events (such as earthquakes, floods, fires, disease, or droughts) or human activities (such as genocide). Such events can reduce the variation in the gene pool of a population; thereafter, a smaller population with a correspondingly smaller genetic diversity, remains to pass on genes to future generations of offspring through sexual reproduction. Genetic diversity remains lower, only slowly increasing with time as random mutations occur. In consequence of such population size reductions and the loss of genetic variation, the robustness of the population is reduced and its ability to survive environmental changes can be reduced.

Our last genetic bottle neck is estimated to have occurred over 100,000 years ago and even then there were still thousands of genetic variances belonging to a few thousand individual ancestors.  In 2000, a Molecular Biology and Evolution paper suggested a transplanting model or a ‘long bottleneck’ to account for the limited genetic variation, rather than a catastrophic environmental change. This would be consistent with suggestions that in sub-Saharan Africa numbers could have dropped at times as low as 2,000, for perhaps as long as 100,000 years, before numbers began to expand again in the late stone age.

worldpopulat

 Now with that being said, we would see this same genetic bottleneck in every animal on earth happening at the exact same times if the bible was accurate, and yet there is zero evidence to support these ridiculous conclusion. What is so frustrating to scientists is that creationists think that the only evidence for evolution is fossils and educated conclusions. This is entirely incorrect since evolution is also written in your genes and thus not only debunks the story of Noah, but the Genesis story as well. This is yet another reason why we know evolution is a fact and that the bible is not factual by any scientific standard.

-AAPN

References:

http://news.discovery.com/human/genetics/human-diversity-bottlenecks.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_bottleneck

Hawks J, Hunley K, Lee SH, Wolpoff M (January 2000). “Population bottlenecks and Pleistocene human evolution”. Molecular Biology and Evolution 17 (1): 2–22. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a026233. PMID 10666702.

The Divine Plan Fallacy

A Quick Dose of Harsh Reality  

I can’t stand it when people try to assert to me their god has “a plan for me”…
If God has a plan for you, me and every other poor smuck in the world to include the world itself, did god plan to have the twin towers destroyed in such a horrific manner? If the Jews are supposedly “gods chosen people” and god is all knowing with a divine plan, did god plan Hitler and the Holocaust?

Christian apologists claim god gave us free will but in the next breath claim god always has a plan. When things don’t exactly pan out the way they wanted it to, they attribute it to god working in mysterious ways, or it was not part of god’s plan (as if they somehow knew).

So would this loving god that works in mysterious ways have a reason to plan the horrific events like the Boxing day tsunami in the south pacific? Why would this be considered as just or good when such unmerited human suffering is created? Why would god let countless children die of starvation in Africa, especially since he is claimed to have loved us so much and values the lives of the innocent so dearly?

People attribute god as being whatever it is they imagine it to be, after all, it makes perfect sense that god is exactly as the believer imagined it to be; that’s the key word here, imagined…
So why find fault in something that is claimed to be perfect, especially when things go badly it can be claimed as god working in mysterious ways or that of being man’s free will… Even though there’s a divine plan and god supposedly made a plan for us…

See the conflict here?
Divine Plan Fallacy

What Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter Fails to Address

What Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter Fails to Address

1972433_1595499960703396_6558738229847551945_n

(Above is the picture of the Wyoming)

There are many, many flaws with the Genesis story of Noah’s Flood, and there are many articles debunking it as well. So to add the case we will debunk just the size and construction of the wooden Ark alone.

The ark was purported to be 516.24′ x 86′ x 51.6′(converted from cubits). There was supposed to be 3 decks. Using this data, we get a total square footage of 133,189.92 ft on 3 decks.

Assuming you don’t accept Evolution, you must arrive at the assumption that the number of species we currently see is exactly the same number of species that existed at the time of Noah. (Excluding the Dinosaurs, even though Ken Ham believed they were also on the Ark.) And for simplicity we will forgo that whole 7 of every clean animal part since the math with only counting 2 of every species is more than adequate.

According to conservative estimates, there are between 3 Million to 10 Million different species on Earth today.
Using the MOST CONSERVATIVE numbers, 3 Million species x 2 of each species (not taking into consideration species that reproduce via non-sexual reproduction)= 6 Million animals.

133,189.92 Sq Ft divided by 6 Million animals = 0.0221983 sq ft, or 0.27 sq in. This is simple math folks and we aren’t even including food, water or excrement. So each animal gets about 1/4 of a square inch in the Ark, but we’re not done just yet.

Let’s talk about the live animal cargo on the Ark and how it’s construction effected that as well.

An adult elephant in captivity will eat around 50kg of food per day. A mixture of hay mostly but with vegetables and oddly, bread. 50×365= 18,250kg. Times two, of course, is 36,500kg of food or 36.5 metric tonnes. Also, an elephant in captivity will drink about 200 litres of water per day. That’s 146,000 litres of water for two elephants, or 38569 gallons. And this is for just elephants, there’s apparently an entire planet’s worth of animal species x2 left to feed after this. So with every animal having only a 1/4 inch to roam, where did they fit all the food?

Digesion of food = gas and waste…

In order to prevent explosive levels of methane gas, not to mention an odor of biblical proportion, the air in the ark would need to be totally exchanged every two hours. The velocity of the air in Noah’s window needed to be maintained at 170.45 miles per hour for 11+ months. No provision were made for exhaust gas according to the bible, they must have overlooked this ripe fact.

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What is very convenient is that the folks involved in The Ark Encounter and Answers in Genesis never address what happened to the Wyoming . Although they give a size comparison of the Wyoming, they conveniently fail to go into the details about this ship, and what happened to it.

The Wyoming was a wooden six-masted ship, and the largest wooden schooner ever built. She was built and completed in 1909 by the firm of Percy & Small in Bath, Maine. Wyoming was also one of the largest wooden ships ever built, 450 ft (140 m) from jib-boom tip to spanker boom tip, and the last six-masted schooner built on the east coast of the US.

Because of her extreme length and wood construction, Wyoming tended to flex in heavy seas, which would cause the long planks to twist and buckle, thereby allowing sea water to intrude into the hold. Wyoming had to use pumps to keep her hold relatively free of water. In March 1924, she foundered in heavy seas and sank with the loss of all hands.

ark-compared-to-other-ships
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Now as you can see, the Ark was considerably larger than the Wyoming and would have had to carry an immense weight in cargo.
So going by all this information, just the construction and contexts surrounding the Ark is enough to sink this story.
-AAPN

 

Why the God of the Gaps Drive Atheists Nuts!

Why the God of the Gaps Drive Atheists Nuts!

 

God of the Gaps

 

The ‘God of the Gaps’ fallacy seems to be one of the most common philosophical errors in today’s age, from the dawn of humanity, to the big bang, we have many explanations and plenty of evidence, but many still reject the evidence.

External link for video here 

“Science doesn’t seem to know, therefore it must be god” seems to be the common ploy. The reality is that the notion of God is an ever receding line drawn in the sand as science presses forward. For example the definition of God then is different than it is now, so this begs the question, what is “God”.  When will this realization dawn upon us and people draw that oh so logical conclusion that  there was no god in the first place? We live in an era where we can now explain how events happen(ed), the world, the universe, they’re all wondrous in every aspect, we don’t need to attribute a supernatural aspect to it for us to appreciate it.

 

When woo memes get DANGEROUS and DEADLY!

When woo memes get DANGEROUS and DEADLY!

woo memes

Woo memes like this need to be pointed out as being dangerous nonsense, gullible people can actually die from bad advice such as this.

According to the World Health Organization:
Cardiovascular disease is number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause. An estimated 17.5 million people died from CVDs in 2012, representing 31% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, an estimated 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to stroke .Over three quarters of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries. Out of the 16 million deaths under the age of 70 due to noncommunicable diseases, 82% are in low and middle income countries and 37% are caused by CVDs. Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioural risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol using population-wide strategies. People with cardiovascular disease or who are at high cardiovascular risk (due to the presence of one or more risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidaemia or already established disease) need early detection and management using counselling and medicines, as appropriate.
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/

According to a large case study in the Journal of the American Collage of Cardiology on Short- and long-term mortality for patients undergoing primary angioplasty for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack): .METHODS: New York’s coronary angioplasty registry was used to identify New York patients undergoing angioplasty within 6 h of AMI between January 1, 1993 and December 31, 1996. Statistical models were used to identify significant risk factors for in-patient and long-term survival and to estimate long-term survival for all patients as well as various subsets of patients undergoing primary angioplasty. RESULTS: The in-hospital mortality rate for all primary angioplasty patients was 5.81%. When patients in preprocedural shock (who had a mortality rate of 45%) were excluded, the in-hospital mortality rate dropped to 2.60%. Mortality rates for all primary angioplasty patients at one year, two years and three years were 9.3%, 11.3% and 12.6%, respectively. Patients treated with stent placement did not have significantly lower risk-adjusted in-patient or two-year mortality rates. CONCLUSIONS: Primary angioplasty is a highly effective option for AMI.
http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1126729

Five years after the procedures, 90.7% of the bypass patients and 89.7% of the angioplasty patients were still alive -source Web MD
http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20071015/bypass-angioplasty-similar-survival

It is absolutely imperative that woo like this is pointed out as the dangerous nonsense that it is.