Religious Americans Are Ignorant About Religion

Atheists Outdo Some Believers in Survey on Religion. ‘Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion.
Researchers from the independent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life phoned more than 3,400 Americans and asked them 32 questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, famous religious figures and the constitutional principles governing religion in public life.

On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.

Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences.

“Even after all these other factors, including education, are taken into account, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons still outperform all the other religious groups in our survey,” said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at Pew.

That finding might surprise some, but not Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, an advocacy group for nonbelievers that was founded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

“I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people,” Mr. Silverman said. “Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That’s how you make atheists.” ‘ ( – NYTimes)

New terms for new sensations

Douglas Coupland reading Eleanor Rigby at A Cl...
Douglas Coupland: “The thing about the future is that it never feels the way we thought it would. New sensations require new terms; below are a few such terms to encapsulate our present moment…” [more] (The Independent)

“My Lie”

The Courage to Heal
Image via Wikipedia

“Why I falsely accused my father: More than 20 years ago, Meredith Maran falsely accused her father of molestation. That she came to believe such a thing was possible reveals what can happen when personal turmoil meets a powerful social movement. In her book My Lie: A True Story of False Memory (the introduction of which is excerpted on Salon), Maran recounts the 1980s feminist-inspired campaign to expose molestation, which hit feverish levels in 1988 with the book The Courage to Heal. As an early reporter on the story, Maran observed family therapy sessions, interviewed molesters and steeped herself in cases where abuse clearly took place. Meanwhile, she divorced her husband and fell in love with a woman who was also an incest survivor. Maran began having nightmares about her own molestation and soon what had been a contentious relationship with her father turned into accusations of unspeakable crimes. Eventually, she came to realize the truth. She was the person who had done wrong.

Toward the end of her memoir, her father asks her, “What I really want to know is how the hell you could have thought that of me.” Salon wanted to know, too. We spoke with Maran recently about how a false memory is born, what she thinks of Courage to Heal today, and what her story can teach us about such dangerous political narratives as the undying “Obama is Muslim” lie.”  (Salon)

Have U.S. Nuclear Weapons Been Compromised by UFOs?

Grainy B&W image of supposed UFO, Passoria, Ne...
Ex-military men say unknown intruders have monitored and even tampered with American nuclear missiles; group to call on U.S. Government to reveal the facts: “Witness testimony from more than 120 former or retired military personnel points to an ongoing and alarming intervention by unidentified aerial objects at nuclear weapons sites, as recently as 2003. In some cases, several nuclear missiles simultaneously and inexplicably malfunctioned while a disc-shaped object silently hovered nearby. Six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man will break their silence about these events at the National Press Club and urge the government to publicly confirm their reality.

One of them, ICBM launch officer Captain Robert Salas, was on duty during one missile disruption incident at Malmstrom Air Force Base and was ordered to never discuss it. Another participant, retired Col. Charles Halt, observed a disc-shaped object directing beams of light down into the RAF Bentwaters airbase in England and heard on the radio that they landed in the nuclear weapons storage area. Both men will provide stunning details about these events, and reveal how the U.S. military responded.” (Reuters via Julia)

What explains the ascendance of Homo sapiens?

Early Pleistocene Animals
Start by looking at our pets: “…[A]nthropologist Pat Shipman believes… that the unique ability to observe and control the behavior of other animals is what allowed one particular set of Pleistocene era primates to evolve into modern man. The hunting of animals and the processing of their corpses drove the creation of tools, and the need to record and relate information about animals was so important that it gave rise to the creation of language and art. Our bond with nonhuman animals has shaped us at the level of our genes, giving us the ability to drink milk into adulthood and even, Shipman argues, promoting the set of finely honed relational antennae that allowed us to create the complex societies most of us live in today. Our love of pets is an artifact of that evolutionary interdependence….” (Boston Globe)

Optical Illusion of Child Gets Drivers to Brake

[Image 'http://blogs.discovery.com/.a/6a00d8341bf67c53ef0133f3f55e97970b-800wi' cannot be displayed]
“I don’t know about you, but my heart skips a beat if I see a ball suddenly roll out into the street in front of my car. I’m on the brake as fast as I can.

It’s a reaction that the British Columbia Automobile Association Traffic Safety Foundation is hoping lots of people have. In an effort to get speeding drivers to slow down, they’re painting an image of a child playing with a ball on the road in a school zone. The image is painted in an elongated manner, so that at the right distance, it appears three-dimensional.” (Discovery News)