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Science and Religion: 5 Questions – Edited By Gregg D. Caruso

Posted on 05 June 2014 by The Secular Nerd

science and religion

Announcing the publication of *Science and Religion: 5 Questions* edited by Gregg D. Caruso—a collection of interviews with thirty-three of the world’s leading philosophers, scientists, theologians, apologists, and atheists.

Description: Are science and religion compatible when it comes to understanding cosmology (the origin of the universe), biology (the origin of life and of the human species), ethics, and the human mind (minds, brains, souls, and free will)? Do science and religion occupy non-overlapping magisteria? Is Intelligent Design a scientific theory? How do the various faith traditions view the relationship between science and religion? What, if any, are the limits of scientific explanation? What are the most important open questions, problems, or challenges confronting the relationship between science and religion, and what are the prospects for progress? These and other questions are explored in Science and Religion: 5 Questions—a collection of thirty-three interviews based on 5 questions presented to some of the world’s most influential and prominent philosophers, scientists, theologians, apologists, and atheists.

Contributors include a Nobel Prize winning physicist, three Templeton Prize winners, two “Humanist of the Year” winners, the “Most Influential Rabbi in America” (Newsweek, 2012), “the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism” (New York Times), a National Humanities Medal winner, a National Medal of Science winner, a Star of South Africa Medal winner, a Carl Sagan Award winner, a National Science Board’s Public Service Medal winner, a MacArthur Fellow, a Lakatos Award winner, an Erasmus Prize winner, a “Friend of Darwin Award” winner, a “Distinguished Skeptic Award” winner, the first Muslim to deliver the prestigious Gifford Lectures, and many more.

Contributors: Simon Blackburn, Susan Blackmore, Sean Carroll, William Lane Craig, William Dembski, Daniel C. Dennett, George F.R. Ellis, Owen Flanagan, Owen Gingerich, Rebecca Goldstein, John F. Haught, Muzaffar Iqbal, Lawrence Krauss, Colin McGinn, Alister McGrath, Mary Midgley, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Timothy O’Connor, Massimo Pigliucci, Rev. John Polkinghorne, James “The Amazing” Randi, Alex Rosenberg, Michael Ruse, Robert John Russell, John Searle, Michael Shermer, Victor Stenger, Robert Thurman, Michael Tooley, Charles Townes, Peter van Inwagen, Keith Ward, Rabbi David Wolpe

Now available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/8792130518

Many thanks,

— Dr. Gregg D. Caruso

www.greggcaruso.com

www.scienceandreligion5questions.com

@GreggDCaruso

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Breaking: Reading Rainbow Kickstarter gets funded in one day

Posted on 29 May 2014 by The Secular Nerd

Screenshot right when it hit 1 million at 6:58pm Central Time

 Screenshot right when it hit 1 million at 6:58pm Central Time

 

 

Well folks, LeVar freakin Burton did it. In one day, he managed to get “One Million Dollars” for a web based Reading Rainbow expansion. As A kid, I grew up with Star Trek and of course Reading Rainbow. His Kickstarter barely even had a chance to exist on the internet, and he got backing. That whooshing sound you heard, were the thousands of netizens opening up their wallets.

This speaks volumes for the impact Reading Rainbow had on all our lives, and to have it continue to new generations gives me warm fuzzy feelings inside.

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The Hunger Games Series: Review

Posted on 25 August 2012 by That Heathen Girl

The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins Review
(Warning! Major Spoilers)

Let me start off by saying how much I was looking forward to reading the series after I found out the movie was coming out. The idea of something so messed up like that peaked my interest, as I’m always looking for interesting reads. Basically the story is about Katniss Everdeen and her family and friends of District 12; the area that specializes in coal mining for the Capitol, which is a huge city that houses President Snow. Every year the Capitol hosts the Hunger Games, which was created in order to remind the citizens of the 12 districts who was boss. Back in the day a rebellion within the districts had broke out and in order to keep his people from turning on him, he instituted the Hunger Games and wiped District 13 off the map.

At the reaping, Katniss’s worst fears are realized when her sister, Prim, is selected and she volunteers to replace her. Now, I won’t go into a huge spill on details since I’m assuming you read the books. She and Peeta are taken from their homes and forces to compete in a battle to the death between two other kids from each other district, a boy and a girl.

I have to say that the first two books were phenomenal. The detail of the food alone in the Hunger Games made it seem so real, and quite often I found myself hungry or cold or thirsty just from the description of Katniss’s senses. In Catching Fire, I was quite shocked to see that Katniss and Peeta were once again to take part in the Hunger Games, a ploy in which President Snow stated that the reaping would be using only winners of the Hunger Games as participants. The Quarter Quell was more interesting as far as the characters in the games, who were much older and wiser than the children they once were. The arena was even more fascinating; a large dome that resembled a clock, so that at certain times of the day specific areas would bring on deadly occurrences to kill the tributes. One section of the clock included jabberjays, birds that could mimic voices to trick them and drive them to madness.

Now, like I said, the first two books were pretty good. However, in Mockingjay, it seemed that Suzanne Collins just gave up. After they retreat to District 13, a place they once thought didn’t exist anymore, they settled into a very routine lifestyle, where they planned to fight the Capitol and use Katniss as a propaganda piece for their rebellion. You would think after the endless torment Katniss had to suffer along they way she get a bit of a break, but no. She ends up in the hospital two or three more times. Her friends die one by one, one of which was a guy who had just gotten married to his long time sweetheart. She was also a former tribute winner and was kidnapped by President Snow and had just reunited with him. Peeta ends up being batshit insane, having been tortured using tracker jacket venom to rewrite his memories so he’d kill Katniss. The worst part is, that after she manages to sneak into the Capitol and disguise herself to get closer to the mansion that houses Snow, she sees her sister, who was supposed to have been in District 13, get blown to bits along with a whole group of children. Best part is, and I hope you can sense the sarcasm there, she ends up being with Peeta after all the crap he did to her! I get that he was “tricked” but she even says he still has freak outs at the end of the book, but she just deals with it.

I can understand what she was trying to accomplish (Collins). I’ve written stories where the main character gets shit on constantly, not really catching a break until the very end. However, in this instance, I don’t feel like Katniss ever really caught a break. She didn’t even get to kill Snow like she wanted, she had to watch him die of whatever disease he already had. I just think she went too far with the sister dying. That was the whole point of her volunteering at the reaping. She could have saved herself so much misery. I really think that if Prim had been taking into the area she would have died, and Peeta would have won. Sure the whole mockingjay symbol wouldn’t have happened, but I think she still would have fought for the rebellion and I think they still could have won.

As for Peeta vs. Gale, I think she probably picked him just because he’s the only one that really understands her insanity.

All in all I’ll give this series a 3 out of 5 stars. If the last book hadn’t been such a let down I’d give it a better rating.

-That Heathen Girl

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The Dalai Lama had a point…

Posted on 24 August 2012 by That Heathen Girl

Image ©dreamstime.com

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” – Dalai Lama

What if all the religions sacrificed the need to build monuments and temples to their faith and instead built schools, houses, even hospitals. If they instead used kindness to their fellow man instead of living in fear of some unknown entity. Helping their fellow man because they care, not out of fear of some unknown entity. Not to say I condemn them for their beliefs, because I’m just not that kind of person. I live in the bible belt, and there can be up to 10 churches in one town around here. That’s just way too much! If they used that money to help the community instead of building fancier and fancier churches, they could help their fellow man.

I’m That Heathen Girl, and I figured since the Secular Nerd posted such a thorough opening post I’d introduce myself.
You can check out our bio’s to learn more about us. We will also have links to our personal sites at a later date.

The kind of posts you can look forward to from me are going to be the entertainment reviews. Some of my nerdy points of interest are:
– Books & Movies
– Graphic Design & Photography
– PC Gaming

Welcome to the site and enjoy!
– That Heathen Girl

 

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It all started with a big bang…

Posted on 24 August 2012 by The Secular Nerd

It all started with a big bang…

The Secular Nerd said “let there be nerdy reasoning” and so it began…

We are extremely thrilled to start what is going to be a very exciting journey into the world of secular nerds. What are secular nerds you ask? Let’s explore these two words in detail, shall we?

sec·u·lar
[sek-yuh-ler] adjective
1. of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as
religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal: secularinterests.
2. not pertaining to or connected with religion ( opposed to sacred): secular music.
3. (of education, a school, etc.) concerned with non religious subjects.
4. (of members of the clergy) not belonging to a religious order;not bound
by monastic vows ( opposed to regular).
5. occurring or celebrated once in an age or century: the secular games of Rome.

nerd
[nurd] noun Slang .
1. a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.
2. an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.

Our first word “secular”, is very important to many people. It is the pursuit of a world not connected with religion. We live in a society that’s focused on many different agendas. The pushing of a religious agenda is one huge conglomerate of many sub agendas, meaning there are many different religions, and many different interpretations of their religious dogma.  The forcing of these many different religious beliefs in our world has caused not only wars, but skewed day to day habits that infringe on many peoples way of life.

You might be wondering where I’m going with my take on this. It’s simple; get religion out of politics, government, and public places. Don’t get me wrong when I say that though. I consider myself a secular humanist. I believe people are free to believe whatever they wish to believe, but I don’t want your beliefs interfering with my day to day life, or that of humanity as a whole.  One very bright, shining, and painful example of what I mean, is marriage equality. The term used a lot against marriage equality, is “the sanctity of marriage must be upheld. It is a union of one man, and one woman”.

Let’s look at the word “sanctity” before you claim that religion has nothing to do with marriage equality.

sanc·ti·ty
[sangk-ti-tee] noun, plural sanc·ti·ties.

1. holiness, saintliness, or godliness.
2. sacred or hallowed character: the inviolable sanctity of the temple.
3. a sacred thing.

Let’s talk about “the sanctity of marriage” for a moment. Marriages between one man and one woman happen everyday. They also divorce everyday. What happened to the sacred oath they have taken? Till death do you part, right? People divorce all the time, yet there is no war against divorce lawyers. The war is against what peoples beliefs are. In a secular government, you would have none of this. We would already have marriage equality. We, however, do not live in a secular world, we do not have a secular government, and we have the religious agendas to thank for this.

The above, is what you can expect on the secular side of this website. It won’t always be “militant”, but it sure will be blunt, and straight to the point. I am a nerd which embraces many of the “nerdy” genres. Let’s look at them in a fancy bullet list!

My nerd expertise:

  • Computer Programming (Website design, application, databases)
  • Network Administration
  • Table-top Role-Playing (Dungeons and Dragons, White Wolf’s World of Darkness, etc)
  • Collectible Card Games (Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, etc)
  • MMO’s (World of Warcraft, Star Wars, etc)
  • Computer Strategy Games (Starcraft, Command and Conquer, etc)
  • Social Network Marketing
  • Live Action Role-Play (Vampire: The Masquerade, Dagorhir, etc)
  • Star Trek AND Star Wars fanatic

When it comes to any of these topics, I become an elitist monster. I’m very passionate about these topics, but I also enjoy a good clean friendly debate. Why, you may ask, did I list my hobbies and skills? Because those are the topics I will discuss, along with a secular twist (but not always).

So here’s to a very exciting journey together!

– The Secular Nerd

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