New Bible

"There are those who want to repress reason. Christian, Muslim, and Hindu fundamentalists, and those who pick a totem market economy, the liberal economic state. These are all anti-reason. " Amartya Sen. from Harper's Magazine, June 2009.
Regarding liberty, justice places limits on the amount allowed; regarding equality, justice places limits on the kind and degree it allows. Thus justice is the sovereign idea among those that we act on—it places limits on the subordinate values of liberty and equality. Too much of either liberty or equality results in an unjust society. I agree with Adler, justice is the ultimate idea of moral and political philosophy. John G. Messerly, PhD

We need a new bible to explains what we now know of the origins of the universe, the earth, life, man, morality, and our challenges Not to do so is to continue to deceive our children, hold back education, continue cultural conflict, and deny the challenges we face. It should replace not just the Christian Bible, but any other 'sacred' texts that misinform.

It should reject the parts of the 'sacred' texts that we know are wrong, so that we stop the misinformation. As we learn, our understanding should evolve. We will do well to avoid our own self-destruction.

Since science is a belief system, it qualifies as a religion, it has a well developed methodology, it is constantly evolving, it is as close as we are likely to get to understanding the truth, and we better grow up, evaluate the evidence, and face nature before we destroy our only home planet.

We have learned a lot in over two thousand years.

Faith is best placed in the unity of all knowledge, although we will never know it all.

Ultimately, reality will win. It doesn't care if we survive.

Consilience: The Unity of All Knowledge, E O Wilson (free on-line.)

The Origins of the Future: John Gribbin

A Brief History of Humankind: lecture series by Yuval Noah Harari

Big History Project

Our Lonely Home in Nature: Alan Lightman

The Language GOD Talks: Herman Wouk

Truth

Religion, to be a useful human activity, should be about seeking truth. That's not usually what it is about though. Politicians use it to advantage. (Bush says he talks to God.) Evidence does not support biblical accounts of the origin of the universe, the earth, or of species, but the faithful in their continuing wilful ignorance, cling to the old stories.

Men who spoke to god, or thought they did, wrote the bible. We have such people today, but they are not ones we listen to seriously. They are sometimes locked up for their own safety. Out of their imagination they invented stories to explain the creation, the origins of life, the ancestry of man. We have gathered evidence of geological history, evolution, of the history of man and it is a rich story, but it is not the one told in the bible.

Our most prominent rulers use religion for their own ends. Sometimes they declare themselves devine. Other times they simply want more power or empire and they don't care if they torture or kill a lot of people for their own personal goals. Medieval religions became a political tool. Every city and town has churches that provide jobs to many. Resources of the faithful build impressive cathedrals used to convey the message that they are helping the poor, while opposing efforts to actually provide civic supports. The faithful tend to be Republicans.

Because they tell a story that has been shown false,  major Religions are a drag on education. They discourage inquiry, they claim the revealed truth, and they often become violent when an argument arises. The faithful are the most fervent deniers of evolution, global warming, peak oil, environmental degradation, or the need to slow population growth. See Chris Mooney's book: the The Republican War on Science.

Religion, when successful, is very profitable. It is big business, it is tax-free and because it serves the short-term wishes of a powerful elite, it seems to oppose every effort to assure the long term survival of humanity and of the planet.

Declaration in Defense of Science and Secularism

Censoring Science: Inside the political attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming. Mark Bowen.

Functions of Religion

Jared Diamond: The Evolution of Religion (Video about 88 minutes.) 

Medieval religion usually accompanied initiatives for empire, it is one of the major causes of war, or at least it is a pretext. It is often sexist, racist, and brutal. It relies on early childhood indoctrination to convince people of unbelievable things. As many people would like to believe, it is a way to deny death and to offer great rewards to those going to war. That can be comforting at a funeral, but it is yet another gross misconception.

Religion is actually promoting falsehoods.

"Almost a third of ordinary Americans say human beings have existed in their current form since the beginning of time, a view held by only 2 percent of the scientists. Only about half of the public agrees that people are behind climate change...in fact, there is no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution and there is little doubt that human activity is altering the chemistry of the atmosphere in ways that threaten global change." New York Times reporting on a survey comparing public opinion to that of scientists.. 7/18/2009 pg A17

What's worse is the religious right thinks climate change is a hoax, but, on a geological time scale, it means life has only a limited time left on this planet.

David Sloan Wilson: Darwin's Cathedral

Commandment 1: Use your head.

Major traditional religions teach from the ancient books that, in many respects, we know now are false.

We have learned a lot in the last 2000 years. We have instruments that established that the earth is not the center of the universe, it is not flat, and it is, as far as we can see, quite unique. Peering deep into the cosmos, we now know that it is the only place that we can survive. It is an accidental space ship. At one time when population was much smaller, we did not have to worry that our activity would destroy earth's ability to support humanity. Now we do. Our values need to change so that we do not destroy our only home.

Although, compared to human lifespan, it appears that the environment is stable, on a geological time-scale it is clear that rapid change is occuring as ice caps melt, the oceans acidify...

Maybe earth IS the garden of eden.

Earth Commandments

Commandment #2: Look at the Evidence

Unity of Knowledge

Science is evolving our increasingly improving knowledge. Religion has been resisting it. Getting it right is becoming a matter of survival of the species.

E. O. Wilson: Consilience  discusses the unity of all knowledge. Similarly, Einstein attempted to unify all of physics. This assumption has proven extremely productive.

The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist: Richard P. Feynman

Universe

Astronomy has shown us that our place in the universe is very limited. We are, at the moment, prisoners on a single planet with no other place to go.

In the beginning was the big bang.

PBS series.

Technology may one day enable us to make places other than earth habitable, but don't count on it any time soon.

The Origins of the Future: John Gribbin 

World

At present, Earth provides the only example of an environment that sustains the evolution of life. It is a spaceship which we may be destroying.

How the earth was formed:

 

The geological record tells a story.

The fossil record, while fragmentary, documents the path taken by evolution. Carbon dating determines age. DNA contains the software of life and we can now simulate its growth and change using large computers. We can even create new life. (See Craig Venter's books. and related work.)

Why is evolution true ? (video) from Stated Clearly.

There is growing evidence that we have exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet, our only home, and our population is still growing.

Over population has destroyed the habitability of many places: Haiti, El Salvador, Easter Island, ....see Jarad Diamond's book "Collapse".

For Humanity it's already too late.

Life

We know about DNA and that it is the mechanism that allows life as we know it. We can use it to trace ancestry, identify individuals, look for changes, and we can modify it. But it contradicts traditional religious teachings, so it is still controversial.

Why Evolution is True

Evolution

Steven Jay Gould

Daniel Dennet: Darwin's Dangerous Idea.

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: Daniel C Dennett

The Creation, An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, E. O. Wilson

Man

We can map the paths taken by our ancestors from Africa and to other parts of the world. DNA provides forensic evidence. See Jared Diamond's: Guns, Germs, and Steel

Religions that deny evolution also deny certain fundamental properties of people. Viewing people as exceptional and unrelated to the rest of the environment, they think it is not important to preserve the planet. They are like Jim Jones only on a planetary scale.

All major religions place women in a lower status. See Agony in the Garden, Sex, Lies and Redemption from the Heart of the American Catholic Church.

While organized religion demonizes sex outside of marriage, in the afterlife Muslims promise many virgins, Christians look forward to either a glorious afterlife or, depending on behavior, an etermal fire.

Human Geography

Last Ape Standing: Chip Walter

You Are Here, A Portable History of the Universe: Christopher Potter.

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are divided by politics and Religion: Jonathan Haidt

Support of the State

Commandment #3: Thou shalt not kill or make war except in immediate self-defense.

Thou shalt not kill. No exceptions for the state, for foreigners, or even the death penalty. War is a crime.

Tribal warfare has always been with us, but, now that nation states have the capability for total destruction, we must stop it if humanity is to survive.

Although the ten commandments make pronouncements like " Thou shalt not kill", no major religion rules out war.

For some reason, the faithful love guns. They are inclined to use them on people they disagree with...like abortion doctors. Medieval religions, major contributors to terrorism, are a major enabler of war. Usually they want to take over the state, and rule according their own 'values' whatever they may be. Thus they become heavily involved in politics as recent US experience shows. Because they have little appreciation for first amendment law that "Congress shall not establish...", they continue to loudly complain that they cannot pray in public places including schools. They would teach their ideology, such as creationism, in primary schools.

Traditional religion justifies war. The ten commandments are only for your own. It's ok to kill non-believers or those of other states. Perfectly ok to torture heathens...if you don't kill them so the inquisition was ok.

Deuteronomy:

Joshua slaughtered all the inhabitants of 400 cities.

Large scale slaughter of different religions. Nazis kill Jews and Gypsies.

Languages/Culture

There have been few successful attempts to improve language, but we know that many languages have fragmented people and rendered communication between cultures difficult.

The incredibly productive language of science is mathematics.

Tribalism (nationalism, class, race, religion, sports, etc ) of various kinds is a motivation for violence and war. Inclusiveness should be fundamental to civilized behavior.

See In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent.

Holy Hullabaloos: A Road Trip to the Battlegrounds of the Church/State Wars: Jay Wexler

Ethics: What's Right and Wrong

Major traditional religions all have laws, but law need not be from religion.

Traditional religion regulates sex, usually making women second class.

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion: Jonthan Haidt

Money: A False God

Income inequality, has a natural tendency to increase, It is unfair. When extreme, is a fundamental problem for all institutions including democracy.

Knowing that the earth is a spaceship, it is critically important to get resource allocation right. Money (the free market) cannot and will not do the job.) Currently there are many times more money than assets to be claimed. Manipulation of the currency makes a few people very wealthy at the expense of everyone else. The market, since it is run by corporations, does not serve or care about the people. It is on track to destroy the environment.

Economic entities, be they corporations or any other form, must be required to be good citizens serving the best interests of the public.

Through the eye of the needle.

Agenda For A New Economy, David Korten

End Times

The looming climate catastrophe

The Food Crisis

Migration

Forecast

apocalypse

Bibliography

Anarchy Evolution Faith, Science and Bad Religion in a World Without God: Greg Graffin & Steve Olson

Convergence, Peter Watson

Dreams of a Final Theory: Steven Weinberg

The Language God Talks, On Science and Religion: Herman Wouk

The Moral Arc: Michael Shermer

The Island of Knowledge, the Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning: Mrcelo Gleiser

the God Delusion Richard Dawkins

God is Not Great: Christopher Hitchens

A review of Sam Harris' fine book: The End of Faith

The Story of Earth, the first 4.5 billion years from stardust to living planet: Robert M. Hazen

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values: Sam Harris

The Atheists Guide to Reality: Alex Rosenberg.

Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believers's Guide to the Uses of Religion: Alain de Botton

Ishmael: Daniel Quinn

American theocracy - the peril and politics of radical religion, oil, and borrowed money in the 21st century: Kevin Phillips.

Made in Texas: Michael Lind

The Varieties of Scientific Experience: Carl Sagan

Divided By God, Noah Feldman

The Cross and the Lynching Tree: James Cone

Breaking the Spell: Daniel C. Dennett

The Scandal of Evangelical Politics: Ronald Sider

Fall From Grace - Fred Phelps (Part 1 of 8) (documentary)

Misquoting Jesus: Bart Ehrman

Kingdom Coming: Michelle Goldberg

The End of Days: Gershom Gorenberg

Letter to a Christian Nation: Sam Harris

God: the Failed Hypotheses: Victor Stenger

Freethinkers: Susan Jacoby

Sleeping with Extra-Terrestrials: Wendy Kaminer

The Quotable Atheist: Jack Huberman

The Good Book: A.C Grayling

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds: Charles MacKayChosen by God to Mock Bush (Sticker)

Why I am not a Christian: Bertrand Russell

God, the Devil, and Darwin: Niall Shanks

Atheism: The Case Against God: George H. Smith

The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs, Fundamentalism and the Fear of Truth: Solomon Schimmel

Religion Gone Bad: Mel White

Blind Faith, the Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine: Richard P. Sloan, Ph.D

Film

The God Who Wasn't There (Watch It On-Line)

Religilous: Bill Maher

For the Bible Tells Me So

Lake of Fire (2006 Movie)

Links

Reason and Meaning

The Skeptics Annotated Bible

The Reason Project

Sam Harris

Robert M Price

Infidels.org

Richard Carrier

Alan Dundes

Religion