Windsor Humanist Society

September 17, 2010

Stephen Hawking: God NOT Needed For Creation

Filed under: The Sciences — moderator @ 9:17 pm

Famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking now says definitely that God did not create the universe or spark the Big Bang. 

In his new book, “The Grand Design,” scheduled for a September release, Hawking argues that the universe didn’t need divine inspiration to come into being.

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” writes Hawking. “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists why we exist.

“It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going,” he writes, according to excerpts published in the Times of London today.

Hawking, who co-wrote “The Grand Design” with Leonard Mlodinow, a U.S. physicist, has come to this position fairly recently.

In June, when ABC News’ Diane Sawyer asked him about the biggest mystery he’d like solved, Hawking said, “I want to know why the universe exists, why there is something greater than nothing.”

“What could define God … as the embodiment of the laws of nature. However, this is not what most people would think of that God,” Hawking told Sawyer. “They made a humanlike being with whom one can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible.”

When Sawyer asked if there was a way to reconcile religion and science, Hawking told her, “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

Our question to you today: Do you agree or disagree with Stephen Hawking about the role of God in creation?

December 21, 2009

‘A Universe From Nothing’ by Lawrence Krauss, Atheist Alliance International 2009

Filed under: The Sciences — moderator @ 2:36 pm

Lawrence Krauss gives a talk on our current picture of the universe, how it will end, and how it could have come from nothing. Krauss is the author of many bestselling books on Physics and Cosmology, including “The Physics of Star Trek.”

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science

Atheist Alliance International

November 15, 2009

In Turkey, fertile ground for creationism

Filed under: Craziness,The Sciences — moderator @ 8:40 am

U.S. critics of evolution help translate their ideas for a society already torn between Islam and secularismPH2009110703216

By Marc KaufmanWashington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 8, 2009

 ISTANBUL — Sema Ergezen teaches biology to Turkish students interested in teaching science themselves, and she has long struggled with her students’ ignorance of, and sometimes hostility to, the notion of evolution.

But she was taken aback when several of her Marmara University students recently accused her of being an atheist, or worse, for teaching anything but the doctrine that God created the Earth and everything on it.

“They said I was a liar if I called myself a Muslim because I also accepted evolution,” she said.

What especially disturbed — and amused — the veteran professor was that the arguments for creationism presented by some of the students came directly from the country where she was educated in the biological sciences years before — the United States. Translated and adapted for a Muslim society, the purported proofs that Darwinism and evolution were wrong came directly from American proponents of Christian creationism and its less overtly religious offshoot, intelligent design.

Continue here…..

July 4, 2009

Paleontologists brought to tears, laughter by Creation Museum

Filed under: Craziness,The Sciences — moderator @ 9:38 am

PETERSBURG, Kentucky (AFP) — For a group of paleontologists, a tour of the Creation Museum seemed like a great tongue-in-cheek way to cap off a serious conference.ALeqM5jxASzv5uSW0wOGqeaqEL3cruIB_Q

But while there were a few laughs and some clowning for the camera, most left more offended than amused by the frightening way in which evolution — and their life’s work — was attacked.

“It’s sort of a monument to scientific illiteracy, isn’t it?” said Jerry Lipps, professor of geology, paleontology and evolution at University of California, Berkeley.

“Like Sunday school with statues… this is a special brand of religion here. I don’t think even most mainstream Christians would believe in this interpretation of Earth’s history.”

The 27 million dollar, 70,000-square-foot (6,500-square-metre) museum which has been dubbed a “creationist Disneyland” has attracted 715,000 visitors since it opened in mid-2007 with a vow to “bring the pages of the Bible to life.”

Continue here….

July 1, 2009

Michael Shermer of Skeptic magazine presents the Baloney Detection Kit

Filed under: The Sciences — moderator @ 3:06 pm

May 20, 2009

Missing Link Found? 47 Million-Year-Old Primate Fossil Revealed

Filed under: The Sciences — moderator @ 1:31 pm

Scientists announced on Tuesday in New York the discovery of a 47 million year old human ancestor. For the past two years, an international team of scientists, led by world-renowned Norwegian fossil scientist Dr Jørn Hurum, University of Oslo Natural History Museum, has secretly conducted a detailed forensic analysis of the extraordinary fossil, studying the data to decode humankind’s ancient origins. At 95% complete, Ida is set to revolutionize our understanding of human evolution.

Discovered in Messel Pit, Germany, the fossil is twenty times older than most fossils that explain human evolution. Known as ‘Ida’, the fossil is a transitional species showing characteristics from the very primitive non-human evolutionary line (prosimians, such as lemurs), but she is more related to the human evolutionary line (anthropoids, such as monkeys, apes and humans). This places Ida at the very root of anthropoid evolution – when primates were first developing the features that would evolve into our own.

May 17, 2009

Why We Believe in Gods – Andy Thomson – American Atheists 2009

Filed under: The Sciences — moderator @ 9:35 am

Andy Thomson gives his talk titled ‘Why We Believe in Gods’ at the American Atheist 2009 convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

Primate Fossil Could Be Key Link in Evolution

Filed under: The Sciences — moderator @ 9:26 am

Young Female Had Thumbs, Fingernails, May Have Walked

By NED POTTERnm_evolution_090516_mn

May 16, 2009

Scientists say a 47-million-year-old fossil found in Germany may be a key link to explain the evolution of modern human beings.

The fossil, of a young female that probably resembled a modern-day lemur, is described as “the most complete primate fossil ever found.” It is small — with a body about the size of a raccoon — but it has characteristics that suggest a relationship both to primates and humans.

It has, among other things, opposable thumbs, similar to humans’ and unlike those found on other modern mammals. It has fingernails instead of claws. And scientists say they believe there is evidence it was able to walk on its hind legs.

Continue here…

October 13, 2008

2008 Nobel Prize for Medicine to HPV and HIV Experts

Filed under: The Sciences — moderator @ 12:05 pm
Tags: , ,

The scientists who discovered HIV will share the Nobel prize for medicine with the expert who linked human papilloma virus (HPV) to cervical cancer.

French team The Nobel Prize were recognised for their groundbreaking work in uncovering the virus responsible for Aids.

Harald zur Hausen, from Germany, received the prize for making the link between HPV and cervical cancer.

More than 25 million people have died of HIV/Aids since 1981.

Globally, more than 33 million people are living with HIV.

Following medical reports of a new immunodeficiency syndrome in 1981, Professor Barre-Sinoussi, of The Institut Pasteur, and Dr Montagnier, director of The World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention, were the first to identify HIV as the culprit.

In its citation, The Nobel Assembly said their discovery was vital in enabling scientists to begin to understand the biology of a virus which continued to pose a huge public health threat throughout the globe.

Their work led to the development of methods to diagnose infected patients and to screen blood products, which has limited the spread of the pandemic.

It has also led to new treatments.

Dr Adriano Boasso of The Imperial College said: “The availability of a vaccine against HPV is now a reality thanks to the original discovery of the virus by Harald zur Hausen”.

There is still no cure for HIV. However, for many the disease is no longer an imminent death sentence thanks to the major advances in research and drug development over recent years.

With treatment, people with HIV can live for decades with the condition.

However, HIV medicines are not widely available in many poor countries around the world.

The citation said: “Never before have science and medicine been so quick to discover, identify the origin and provide treatment for a new disease entity.

“Successful anti-retroviral therapy results in life expectancies for persons with HIV infection now reaching levels similar to those of uninfected people.”

Nick Partridge of the HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust said: “Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier are very deserving winners of the Noble Prize for Medicine.

“Their work was hugely significant, leading to enormous progress in the understanding and treatment of HIV.”

Both Dr Montagnier and a US researcher Dr Robert Gallo are co-credited with discovering that HIV causes Aids, although for several years they staked rival claims that led to a legal and even diplomatic dispute between France and America.

The Nobel jury made no mention of Dr Gallo in its citation.

Professor Barré-Sinoussi said the award was “a great honour that I wasn’t expecting.

Professor zur Hausen, of the University of Duesseldorf, was praised by the Nobel committee for going “against current dogma” to discover that HPV infection caused cervical cancer.

HPV can be detected in 99.7% of all women with cervical cancer, and persistent infection with the virus is estimated to be responsible for more than 5% of all cancers worldwide.

Professor zur Hausen’s work helped others to develop vaccines against HPV, which are now routinely given to millions of teenage girls in many countries to prevent cervical cancer.

Dr Adriano Boasso, research fellow at Imperial College and Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow, said: “Isolating the causing agent of an infectious disease is the single most important step toward developing a vaccine.

“The availability of a vaccine against HPV is now a reality thanks to the original discovery of the virus by Harald zur Hausen.

“HIV vaccine research has instead recently suffered the failure of promising clinical trials, but there is no doubt that the discovery of HIV by Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier will be the pillar on which an efficient vaccine will eventually be built.”

Professor zur Hausen, 72, received half of the prize with Professor Barré-Sinoussi, 61, and Dr Montagnier, 76, splitting the other half.
…this post forwarded by Windsor Humanist, Matt Achine, after an October 6, 2008 article from BBC News

October 3, 2008

The Ontario College of Physicians & Surgeons: MDs’ Religious Views Trump Health Care Measures

Filed under: Human Rights,The Sciences — moderator @ 9:53 am
Tags: ,

The regulating body for Ontario physicians has backed off a controversial proposal that would have forced doctors to put aside their religious views when dealing with patients.

Protests from The Ontario Medical Association and numerous religious groups appear to have tempered the thinking of The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

The new document, released on Wednesday, has removed provisions that would have potentially seen doctors face more misconduct charges for putting their own conscience before the convenience of patients.

For example, it could have applied to doctors who not only refuse to prescribe birth control pills, or do fertility treatments for same-sex couples, but also to those who refuse to offer referrals to doctors who do those things.

“Referring is just a way of sloughing off your responsibility,” Rabbi Reuven Bulka of Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Ottawa, said last week. “If you’re opposed to these things, referring is the same as taking part in the evil.”

The College of Physicians and Surgeons released its first draft policy in August. It warned doctors that they could see more charges being filed through The Ontario Human Rights Commission for withholding services. But it also indicated that doctors would face misconduct charges by the college as well, something that happens in no other province.

The new policy, which is scheduled to be voted on today, now serves as more of a warning about what doctors may face from the Human Rights Commission.

“The draft policy was always meant as a basis for discussion,” said Jill Hefley, a spokeswoman for the college.

Last week, The Ontario Medical Association asked the college to abandon the draft policy because it “interfered with physicians’ existing rights and freedoms.” It said the draft failed to note that doctors are also protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, like any other citizen.

“We believe it should never be professional misconduct for an Ontarian physician to act in accordance with his or her religious beliefs.”

Thomas Collins, Archbishop of the Dioceses of Toronto, also told the college that many physicians feared they would be “brought before human rights tribunals for following their consciences.” But he saw no reason why it would then be necessary for the college to add sanctions of its own. “Is that the cost of being true to one’s conscience?” he asked.

Sean Murphy of The Protection of Conscience Project, a group that tries to protect the rights of health workers, said the new document appears to be much improved from the original draft.

“It’s more clear in this document that the bogey man is the Ontario Human Rights Commission,” he said.

But he is concerned that one clause remaining in the policy could hurt doctors who exercise conscience.

It says the “college has its own expectations for physicians who limit their practice, refuse to accept individuals as patients, or end a physician-patient relationship on the basis of moral beliefs.”

He said this provision still needs to be clarified by officials.
…this post forwarded by Windsor Humanist, Alexander Neil, after a Sept 17, 2008 article by Charles Lewis in The National Post

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