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  • I'm Gonna Be a Grandpa (It's a Girl)! | Thank God For Evolution
    are both in the United States Marine Corps stationed in Jacksonville North Carolina The picture to the left is the two of them on their honeymoon in Jamaica last year Sheena and Jon are both truly amazing Among other things they ve both been wrestlers on the USMC wrestling team Yes that s right even though I m 6 tall 190 lbs and in good shape my little girl can

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2039 (2016-04-30)
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  • Highlights of Astronomy from an Historical Viewpoint | Thank God For Evolution
    system was understood Ancient wise men used this knowledge to claim mystic powers In the Western world a Greek astronomer Aristarchus 310 BC 250 BC from the island of Samos was perhaps the first to point out that instead of the Sun going around the Earth the Earth goes around the Sun He did not dispute the basic facts of the motion of the planets but he did offer an alternate interpretation He made some observations and interpretations that led him to believe that the Sun was much larger and heavier than the Earth From this he reasoned that the Earth must revolve around the Sun His idea was not generally accepted although it was referred to by Copernicus many centuries later Claudius Ptolemy 85 165 was a strong advocate of the idea that the Sun and the planets revolve around the Earth and that the Earth is stationary Studying the ancient observations he noticed that while the Sun moved in a smooth circular path around the Earth that the planets moved at an uneven rate and Mars for example appeared to move backwards for part of its orbit This apparent backward motion is called retrograde motion To visualize this imagine sitting on the outer edge of a slow moving carousel Now add in your imagination a bicyclists riding around the carousel at a rate that is slower than that of the carousel but in the same direction As you approach the rear of the bicycle it will appear to slow down and then go backward with respect to your position on the carousel When the bicyclist is on the opposite side of the carousel it will appear to move at a rapid uniform rate This can only be explained by adding an additional circular orbit to the basic circular orbit Further uneven rates were explained by adding additional small circular orbits These additional circular orbits are known at epicycles Nicolaus Copernicus 1473 1543 introduced two new concepts The first was that the Earth and all the other planets revolved around the Sun and second that the daily motion of the Sun and planets was the result of the 24 hour rotation of the Earth around its own axis His concept had the advantage of being simpler but he had no observational facts to support his idea From today s prospective his work seems to be primitive and trivial but we must imagine what the universe looked like through 500 years ago Copernicus did not have a telescope or a mathematical concept of gravity Eyeglasses had been invented but no one thought to use two lenses to make a telescope Images of the universe were carried in people s minds Everything that happened appeared to be caused by an invisible force The team of Tycho Brahe 1546 1601 and Johannes Kepler 1571 1630 provided the observations and interpretation that led to an accurate mathematical formulation of the motion of the planets They did not like each other but Kepler the

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2032 (2016-04-30)
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  • Cancer Update: Great News - Cancer Free! | Thank God For Evolution
    my oncologist Dr Damien Green a few days ago in Seattle to discuss the results of the blood test and CT scan I underwent the day before The tests continue to show no sign of cancer and Dr Green said he saw nothing that concerned him He wants me to have another blood test done in 3 months and to fly back to Seattle in December for another CT scan

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2029 (2016-04-30)
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  • I'm Responsible for the Gulf Oil Crisis | Thank God For Evolution
    be the catalyst for me as a citizen to wean myself off of my petroleum based lifestyle Citizen is the key word It s what we do as individuals that count For those on the left government regulation will not solve this problem Government s role should be to create an environment of opportunity that taps into the innovation and entrepreneurialism that define us as Americans For those on the right if you want less government and taxes then decide what you ll give up and what you ll contribute Here s the bottom line If we want to end our oil addiction we as citizens need to pony up bike to work plant a garden do something So again the oil spill is my fault I m sorry I haven t done my part Now I have to convince my wife to give up her S U V Mark Mykleby I think Mykleby s letter gets at something very important We cannot fix what ails America unless we look honestly at our own roles in creating our own problems We both parties created an awful set of incentives that encouraged our best students to go to Wall Street to create crazy financial instruments instead of to Silicon Valley to create new products that improve people s lives We both parties created massive tax incentives and cheap money to make home mortgages available to people who really didn t have the means to sustain them And we both parties sent BP out in the gulf to get us as much oil as possible at the cheapest price Of course we expected them to take care but when you re drilling for oil beneath 5 000 feet of water stuff happens As Pogo would say we have met the enemy and he is us But that means we re also the solution if we re serious Look we managed to survive 9 11 without letting it destroy our open society or rule of law We managed to survive the Wall Street crash without letting it destroy our economy Hopefully we will survive the BP oil spill without it destroying our coastal ecosystems But we dare not press our luck We have to use this window of opportunity to insulate ourselves as much as possible against all the bad things we cannot control and get serious about fixing the problems that we can control We need to make our whole country more sustainable So let s pass an energy climate bill that really reduces our dependence on Middle East oil Let s pass a financial regulatory reform bill that really reduces the odds of another banking crisis Let s get our fiscal house in order as the economy recovers And let s pass an immigration bill that will enable us to attract the world s top talent and remain the world s leader in innovation We need all the cushions we can get right now because we are living in a world

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2027 (2016-04-30)
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  • Supernatural Is Unnatural Is Uninspiring (When You Think About It) | Thank God For Evolution
    I point out in the preface to the Plume paperback edition of my book How was the world made Why do earthquakes tornados and other bad things happen Why must we die And why do different peoples answer these questions in different ways The big questions that children have always asked and will continue to ask cannot be answered by the powers of human perception alone Ancient cultures gave so called supernatural answers to these questions but those answers were not truly supernatural they were prenatural Prior to advances in technology and scientific ways of testing truth claims factual answers were simply unavailable It was not just difficult to understand infection before microscopes brought bacteria into focus it was impossible Without an evolutionary worldview it is similarly impossible to understand ourselves our world and what is required for humanity to survive For religious leaders today to rely on prenatural answers puts them at odds not only with science but with one another dangerously so Their resistance however does make sense Until scientific discoveries are fleshed into the life giving forms of beauty and goodness as well as truth and utility scriptural literalism will command power and influence As we have learned more and more about the natural the so called supernatural has become less and less attractive After all supernatural and unnatural are synonyms Anything supposedly supernatural is by definition unnatural And most people find unnatural relatively uninspiring when they really stop and think about it I mean does this sound like good news to you An unnatural king who occasionally engages in unnatural acts sends his unnatural son to Earth in an unnatural way He s born an unnatural birth lives an unnatural life performs unnatural deeds and is killed and unnaturally rises from the dead in order to

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2024 (2016-04-30)
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  • Secular Religion - Davidson Loehr | Thank God For Evolution
    combine it with James Russell Lowell s pungent Time makes ancient good uncouth I think we re very close to the soul of a prophet Time can make customary beliefs about women gays foreigners heretics and those holding to all other beliefs not only wrong or anachronistic but simply uncouth We re watching most of these statements of ancient good become uncouth all over the world as people react to the world s growing pluralism and the relativism of all beliefs Christians were once persecuted and killed for being atheists We re all atheists regarding the overwhelming majority of gods of history as Richard Dawkins has wittily put it What I see and feel from these four atheist writers though they don t put it this way isn t that God has died but that God talk can no longer frame our most important questions and will almost certainly saddle us with absurdities and prepare us for atrocities because it s grounded in an ancient worldview that never existed the three story universe For all their differences most critics from both inside and outside of religion share a remarkable area of agreement Their concerns are both this worldly secular and centered on our moral responsibilities and ultimate concerns Taken together they form a 12 point outline of what I m calling Secular Religion 1 They reject supernaturalism and the 3 story universe in which our religions were born 2 They are clear that healthy religion is about behavior not belief it s about personal transformation as Origen said eighteen centuries ago 3 Almost all agree that God is a symbol a concept not a being or a force other than psychological The word is in the same capitalized category as Truth Justice Beauty Goodness etc They don t agree on whether the word God can be cleaned up enough to use for public discourse 4 Many know that religions and gods are used as hand puppets to give power to priests and rulers as Seneca said a couple thousand years ago 5 Most or all of them agree with the golden rule 6 Their comments indicate that they believe our morality is innate and can be educated 7 None believe that God is a Fellow a Being Some could be called theists when God is understood as a symbol others won t even buy the word God as a symbol But this is a question about the most useful language not about a being 8 All would agree that at its best religion can inspire confidence compassionate behavior and so on They would also agree that at its worst it s awful They would not agree about whether the word religion is any more acceptable than the word God 9 The critics do agree on what they re after honest language open to public scrutiny and testing whenever it makes a truth claim 10 They agree that religion or the legitimate heir to what was once called religion must be

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2020 (2016-04-30)
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  • The New Atheists Are God's Prophets | Thank God For Evolution
    clock and God as a clockmaker thereby divorcing God from reality Scientific discoveries were not granted the status of divine revelation of reality revealing its nature and ways as was in fact the case In the intervening centuries largely because of the printing press and widespread idolatry of the written word religious people increasingly made an idol of traditional images and language for God while science helped humanity as a whole learn ever more about the real world further distancing God and reality As St Thomas Aquinas one of Christianity s most celebrated theologians warned 750 years ago A mistake about creation will result in a mistake about God If this is true what it means among other things is that the more we learn about the nature of the Universe if we re not also updating what we mean when we use the word God we may have understandings of the divine that are so out of touch with reality as to no longer be lifegiving And that s precisely what has happened Charles Darwin didn t kill off God to the contrary he and Alfred Russel Wallace gave us the first glimpse of the real creator behind and beyond all the world s mythic portrayals of the divine They freed us from the vision of God as an unnatural cosmic terrorist By mocking traditional mythic understandings of the divine and attacking religious dogma and theology the New Atheists are thus calling religious people back to reality In so doing they are paradoxically functioning as prophets those who boldly warn the people Get right with reality or else So in a strange but very real way the New Atheists are God s prophets VERSION B CONNIE S EDITED AND FLESHED OUT VERSION Religions have traditionally offered their adherents a sense of how things are and what things matter which in turn shape the ways individuals and cultures envision wholesome and honorable paths of living that is of living in right relationship with reality Today of course how reality impinges on the human adventure and vice versa is radically different from how it showed up for our ancestors millennia ago Yes there are still terrifying floods and storms but now individual actions amplified by sheer numbers and technological prowess have ramped up the power of elemental forces leaving multitudes even more vulnerable than in days of yore And there are altogether new catastrophes looming on the horizon too the specter of cascading worldwide financial and economic chaos the possibility that human rage festering in a small group of people anywhere in the world might access weapons of mass destruction or the storm of information meltdown if solar upheaval space trash or our own psychotic tendencies wreak havoc with satellite communications What this means is that worldviews and systems of guidance that individuals and cultures continue to promote and propagate precisely because of their antiquity and resistance to change have become paradoxically enormous impediments to human persistence and progress In a

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2018 (2016-04-30)
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  • Mission / Purpose / "Must See" Links and Books | Thank God For Evolution
    this process is my calling and deepest inspiration Life purpose I serve the future by boldly yet compassionately evangelizing evolution by celebrating our best collective intelligence about the nature of reality and by offering deep time eyes and a realistically hopeful vision of the future I consistently affirm and invite others to update naturalize REALize their maps of reality including what they mean by God and to excitedly participate in bringing forth a mutually enhancing human Earth relationship Actions In every sermon workshop interaction and creative project I seek to inspire and motivate by 1 Offering DEEP TIME EYES our current most accurate map of reality regarding A human nature inherent meaning makers hardwired for sociality and empathy with mismatched instincts B the necessary and creative role of death disturbance chaos and chance C our magnificent shared ancestry which offers kinship an expanded sense of self and a glorious lineage D the flow of big history as the direction of increasing complexity cooperation and collective intelligence E the evolutionary significance of competing belief based maps of reality what s so and what s important F the emergence of a globally produced evidential knowledge based map of reality G inspiring and motivating ways to interpret the knowledge based map of reality 2 Offering a vision of HUMANITY S RITE OF PASSAGE from mythic to evidential guidance A from beliefs to knowledge updating REALizing our maps of reality from unnatural to undeniable inspiration B from believing the world was made for us to knowing that we are made for the world C multi level aligning of self interest with the wellbeing of the whole wise incentives D progressive perspectives biomimicry collective intelligence triple bottom line true cost etc E green initiatives distributed energy permaculture bioregionalism continental commonsense etc 3 Sharing my testimonial heaven bliss enlightenment here now and how natural evidential ways of evoking trust gratitude and inspiration can enrich all spiritual paths and philosophies 4 Inviting others to participate in something truly momentous Evolutionize Your Life by advocating this five fold prescription for experiencing the bliss of coming home to reality A Learn your history strengthen deep time perception know thyself adopt big history as your creation story B Interpret generously make life right trust what s real REALize God and religion honor science C Grow in integrity let go of secrets resentments unfinished business the DNA of relational spirituality D Follow your bliss bless do the joy needs exercise in TGFE pp 178 9 evolutionary activism legacy E Become an evolutionary activist work toward emergence of increasingly conscious social systems Bequest If I die anytime soon and even if I don t I trust that others will stand on my shoulders and fulfill this vision or something like it Whatever the future may bring I give my permission for anyone and everyone to use my words and ideas without needing to credit or quote me and to spread the memes that I ve been spreading on my our websites MichaelDowd

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2014 (2016-04-30)
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