Archive for October, 2008

Yes, this is a bit late to be writing on this topic. However, this incident happened before I had this blog. And the monumental stupidity of this whole thing keeps lingering in my mind as everyday on my way to work, I pass Dunkin Donuts, henceforth known as DD. What happened was that DD came up with this ad of some woman named Rachel Ray endorsing it. The picture in the ad was the one below. Now if you hadn’t heard of this incident, what would you find objectionable about this?

Only a crazy fucking idiot would have a problem with this. Did I say crazy fucking idiot? Her name is Michelle Malkin and you can find her psycho-babble on this ad over here. Let me also add obnoxious, retarded cretin to that. This mental case thinks that this scarf represents “the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad”.

Now there will always be lunatics in this world. And a lot of them will thrive in a world where a retarded chimpanzee like Bush can become president. What is frutrating is that DD actually pulled their ad in response to this. Ironically, this crazy retard says of them “They have braved boycott threats and attacks over their lonely, principled stance against illegal immigration.

I used to get coffee, donuts, and hash browns regularly at DD. Now I don’t. If you are sick of such pandering to the ravings of mad lunatics, you should also boycott them. Write about it if you can.

Funnily enough, the only other people who would have a problem with this ad would be the crazy Islamic terrorists because her face and arms are not covered! Right wing nutjobs like Malkin and Islamic terrorists have one thing in common: Brain Damage.

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Today, I was following this discussion on RichardDawkins.net. The question was “Could fairy tales have a pernicious effect on the reasoning abilities of small children”? The general consensus was that this would certainly be something worth researching and that we don’t know yet. However, until the results of the research are in, I thought, why not try to sneak in some science and reason into fairy-tales?

The sneaky bits are in bold italics like this.

Snow-White and the Seven Dwarves

Once upon a time, as the queen sat sewing at her window, she pricked her finger on her needle and a drop of blood fell on the snow that had fallen on her ebony window frame. As she looked at the blood on the snow, she said to herself, “Oh, how I wish that I had a daughter that had skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony”. Now the queen knew that simply wishing for something would not make it happen. Then she realized that the king was white-skinned. And she was also white-skinned. From Biology, she knew that the color of her skin was because of her genes and the color of the king’s skin was due to the color of the king’s skin. If those genes were to be mixed together, the resulting gene would also cause white-skin. So she and the king went to the bedroom and mixed those genes*. Soon after that, the queen gave birth to a baby girl who had skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony.

Snow-White was pretty hot.

Snow-White had pretty hot genes.

They named her Princess Snow White.

* Yeah, you’re on your own here!

Hansel and Gretel

While the witch prepares to cook Hansel, she orders Gretel to fetch her candies and fats to force feed Hansel. In the cage, Hansel finds a thin bone from his meals. When the witch tells Hansel to stick out his finger (so she can tell if he is fat enough to eat), he deceives her by sticking out the bone instead.

The Wicked Witch

The Wicked Witch

The witch has poor eyesight and even her glasses do not help because she is very old, and thus cannot see that Hansel’s “finger” is actually a bone. Days pass by, but the witch cannot perceive how fat Hansel is getting. The mistake the witch was making was that she stuck to a single method of analysis. If she had instead decided to try something else in addition, like say, weighing him, she would have found out that he had become fatter. Luckily for Hansel and Gretel, the witch had recently turned to religion, so her powers of reasoning had been dulled.


The Prince pocketed the slipper and vowed to find and marry the girl to whom it belonged. The Prince tried the slipper on all the young women in the land. When the Prince arrived at Cinderella’s villa, the stepsisters tried in vain. When Cinderella asked if she might try, the Stepsisters taunted her. Naturally, the slipper fit perfectly. This made the prince ecstatic and he believed that he had found his mate. However, the prince’s scientific adviser pointed out that in the entire kingdom, there would be more than one lady whose feet would fit the slipper.

The Scientific Adviser

The Scientific Adviser

Cinderella agreed and was happy that the Prince had such an intelligent adviser. So she brought forth the second slipper as evidence. Now there was enough reason to believe Cinderella was indeed the one and the Prince and Cinderella lived happily till old age.


The Turquoise Fairy scientist asked Pinocchio where the gold coins were. Pinocchio lied, saying he had lost them. As he told this lie (and more) his nose began to grow until it was so long he could not turn around in the room.



The scientist had used a lie-detector. A lie-detector is a machine that monitors your heart beats and based on that detects when you tell a lie. The scientist had put a lie-detector inside Pinocchio in such a way that every lie would trigger an electronic circuit that would enlarge his nose. The scientist explained to Pinocchio that it was his lies that were making his nose grow long.

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One of the first things you learn about American car culture is the “road trip”. Now I had a friend coming over from Seattle to visit New York, and he wanted to see the Niagara Falls.  I had bought my first car ever just 6 months ago and I wanted to do a road trip. The plan was to leave in the morning and come back at night. I had never driven for more than 2 hours in one direction at any time. This would be a 7 hour trip one-way! (more…)

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The Replicators – I

The journey of evolution is a long one. Our starting point is an existing universe with atoms that make up all of the matter in it and the forces that exist between these atoms. Of course, that does not answer how the universe came into being, or how the atoms came into being, or even how the forces between the atoms came into being. Those are questions whose answers lead to more of the same kind of questions. However, we need to start our explanation of evolution somewhere and this is a pretty simple starting point that does not require a lot of answers.

So, we have a universe with atoms, and there are certain forces between these atoms. If there were no forces, that would be the end of the story. Nothing would happen. But because there are forces, there will be interactions. We can consider these interactions as random. Note that we have not assumed the forces to be random, but merely the interactions. For example, if you put together two hydrogen atoms at a certain distance from each other, they will always react in the same manner every-time. Now when these atoms interact with each other, some of them may repel each other, whereas some may attract each other. The ones that attract each other may form a combination or what is called a molecule. The molecules so formed stay as such precisely because the forces of push and pull between the atoms balance out. Given this universe with atoms and forces between these atoms, it is not hard to imagine that certain patterns of atoms are stable and others are not. The ones that are stable, are by definition, molecules.

Now the same attractions and repulsions may happen between molecules and atoms as well as molecules and other molecules. This gives rise to a little bit more complexity in the universe. We now have different kinds of molecules in the universe. Now we can go backwards and apply the same kind of reasoning to the constituents of atoms such as electrons, protons, and neutrons. So we get different kinds of atoms as well.

We now have a fairly complex universe of different kinds of atoms and molecules. However, this complexity is nowhere close to the complexity found in living organisms. You can take all the atoms in the universe and all the forces between them and juggle them around for eternity and you will probably not come up with even an amoeba. So far we have relied on randomness in nature to form certain molecules which are just combinations of a few atoms. Nothing more complex. This is a reasonable assumption as we can observe this happening in nature ourselves. Water molecules are simply stable formations of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. However, if we want to create more complexity from this stage onwards, we need more rules. Pure random forces of nature will not create anything more complex, or to put it more correctly, greater the complexity of a molecule, lesser is the chance of it occurring in nature based purely on the random interactions happening among the inhabitants of our universe so far.

In my next post, I’ll explore how more complexity can arise from this stage onwards.

Memorable Quote

In the beginning was simplicity.

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Neil the Astronaut
Neil the Astronaut



Joe the Plumber
Joe the Plumber

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Atheists and religious people share the same roads. These roads happen to exist in the real world where the laws of physics hold firm. However, these same roads are viewed through different perspectives by the religious and the atheists. How could they not? Their entire world-views are different. As an atheist, I will not be going to heaven and so, in the interest of prolonging my stay on earth for as long as possible, I’d like to offer some tips to fellow faith based drivers in the USA.

  • I know the lord works in mysterious ways. However, that doesn’t mean you have to also. Especially, not on the road. When you intend to turn, give a turn signal.
  • Yes, I know you are going 80 mph in the passing lane on a 55 mph speed limit road and I also know your prophet George Bush says “Stay the course”, but he’s not really talking about driving on the roads. Just like we atheists go one god further than you do, we might also want to go just 1 mph more than you. So move over to the right.
  • I know I am not supposed to pass you on the right, but because of “Stay the course” people, I sometimes have to. I know you feel all goosie-woosie about faith, but please don’t have any in me and turn on your signal and check before making a faith based swing over to the right.
  • You are supposed to follow the Lord closely in your heart, not me at 80 mph in the right lane.
  • The bible says “A man’s wisdom gives him patience “. This means: wait at least a few seconds after the light turns green before blasting your horn.
  • Just as it’s impossible for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle, so also is it for me to squeeze my car through the tiny gaps between other cars. If I am in front of you and you see 10 cars in front of me not moving, then no amount of honking is going to make me try it.
  • Do not attempt to read the Bible, Koran, or the Gita while driving. God may be watching over you, but he doesn’t really know how to drive because he’s only ridden asses.
  • Here’s a non-divine revelation: no-one cares that your kid is an honor student at St. Paul High or that Jesus is watching over all of us. Bumper stickers should be funny or creative like this one, not sleep inducing.
  • I know you have to drive huge SUVs because your God commands you to subdue the earth. But if you really have to drive these slow ass houses on wheels, at least stay in the slow lane.
  • God does not want you to get into an accident, so He will not reveal himself to you by forming an image of the virgin Mary in the clouds. So stop looking up at the sky while driving and keep your eyes on the road.

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It’s just a matter of time. Sooner or later, the other half of America that has so far resisted the charms of this sweet hockey mom will succumb under the gaze of her bright Alaskan eyes. And then, there will come about a real change! What will happen?

  1. National bird of America changed from bald eagle to moose.
  2. Declaration of independence amended at the end – “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” – You betcha’.
  3. Bridge built from Wasilla to Seattle so that Americans don’t have to leave God’s country by crossing through heathenish Canada.
  4. Palin describes her support for evolution by pointing out the fact that the Alaskan gray wolves have evolved into white wolves within a year of her becoming president.
  5. Biology test scores shoot up across the nation as “God did it” becomes a valid answer for every question on the test. Trick questions such as “Why is there disease?” however, ensure that everyone does not get an A. Correct answer: “Satan did it”.
  6. Comes up with proposal for solving global warming by sprinkling ice cold water from the melting Alaskan ice-caps everywhere.
  7. Putin looks into her eyes and says he can see his own soul in there.
  8. Porn industry surges as hundreds of new PILF movies are produced.
  9. Nationwide shortage of lipstick as proud pit bull owners buy up all the stock.
  10. Rest of the world begs America to bring back George Bush.

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Well, this is exactly what it says. I doubt most atheists will need these, but maybe a few religious people looking for grammar tips will be brainwashed into atheism through this. Yes, I do suffer from a mild form of OCD when it comes to language.

Oh…and there’s also some rational logic hidden in here.


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It’s been over 2 years since I first read “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins, and in the meantime I have forgotten quite a bit of it. The basic idea of evolution is simple, but once you start studying it, lots and lots of details emerge, and these are quite complicated. No other book has influenced my worldview as much as this book has and I know that if I simply only read it again, I will probably forget a lot of it in another couple of years. So I thought, this time, I would note down whatever I learn as briefly and succinctly as possible and create a “The Selfish Gene for Dummies” if you will. I am not a biologist, scientist, or an English language expert, so any comments or suggestions pointing out my mistakes are very welcome indeed.

This will be a short post as I start reading the first chapter titled

“Why Are People?”

The theory of evolution is a fact. There is no denial among real scientists that evolution is true. In common parlance, however, a theory has a different meaning. It means something which can be easily doubted. In science, however, a theory means something that is supported by facts and evidence, and is a valid explanation for whatever question the theory attempts to answer. In the scientific world, the theory of evolution has the same standing as the theory of gravity, it is the best explanation of the how and why of life. In fact, maybe even a greater standing, since the theory of gravity breaks down at speeds approaching the speed of light.

Evolution is survival of the fittest genes, not the fittest animal, nor the fittest group of animals i.e species.

The genes are ‘selfish’, not the organism that the gene is part of. This is why having selfish genes does not necessarily mean we are selfish too. The gene’s selfish ‘agenda’ is to survive as a gene through replication. Now genes do not really have thought or purpose, so what the ‘agenda’ above really means is that genes which replicate will survive and those that don’t replicate will not. The ‘selfish’ refers to the fact that the replication of the genes is at the gene level i.e a gene of type A, when it replicates, will only make copies of gene A, and not of gene B. That is why it is selfish, and not altruistic.

Altruism exhibited at the individual level is still selfish at the gene level. This, to me, is a very good explanation of why we “treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves”. Not because some stupid book says so, but because if we treat each other well, and not kill each other, our chances of survival increase, and hence the chances of survival of the genes that are part of us, also increase.

Speciesism is distinguishing between organisms based on their species, just as racism is distinguishing among people based on race. If we were to derive our morals based purely on biology (There is no suggestion we should), then there is no basis for thinking that a human fetus is more privileged or precious than a chimpanzee.

Memorable Quotes

Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to.

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  1. When you go to the bathroom, you don’t have to worry about whether He is looking
  2. You don’t have to worry every time you flush the toilet because your poop might be resembling the virgin Mary.
  3. You still have the same rate of success as before in everything you do, but you don’t have to pray.
  4. When you’re having sex, and you yell out “Oh God”, you don’t have to worry that he might pop in for a visit.
  5. George Bush is not an atheist.
  6. Neither is Ahmed MakhmoudinaSomethingBad.
  7. The earth now revolves around the sun, so you don’t have to worry about it wandering off one day.
  8. You can actually communicate with your God over the Internet by posting on RichardDawkins.net and he might even actually respond.
  9. If you’re a heterosexual male, no more gay dreams about Jesus or Mohammad. If you’re a heterosexual female or a gay man, get rid of your guilt by replacing them with real imaginary characters like Batman and Superman.
  10. If you’re Christian, you don’t have to listen to Christian rock. If you’re Hindu, no more Bhajans, and if you’re Muslim, you can now listen to music. (Hint: Don’t start with Christian rock).

Feel free to add your reasons in the comments.

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