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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

 

I'm always running across some interesting tid-bit that I'd love to share with others, but, but, but, they just don't seem to fit into any particular group.

Here is your chance to post interesting, entertaining, funny, and noteworthy topics, videos, pictures, links, that tickle your fancy...

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Replies to This Discussion

The 50 Most Brilliant Atheists of All Time

Atheism is generating quite a lot of attention these days. Prominent atheists are getting the word out about their views in increasing numbers and generating lots of public debate on the proper place of religion in governments and societies in the modern world. And now more than ever, atheists have been able to network together and join forces because of the Internet.

Today about 2.3 percent of the world's population identifies themselves as atheist, and nearly 12 percent more (a number that is quickly growing) describe themselves as nontheist - non-believers in any deity. The ranks of scientists boast probably the largest concentration of atheists, and many of those have been recognized as among the most brilliant of human beings for their work. But there are atheists in all walks of life and throughout history as well.

Here's a look at 50 of the most prominent atheists of all time who also happen to be recognized as some of the most brilliant members of our species.

As a note of clarification: we've ordered this list chronologically and we use the term "brilliant" to mean "brilliant at their craft" - not just pure brainiacs;-)




1. Democritus

Democritus was an ancient Greek philosopher, the most prolific and influential of the pre-Socratics and whose atomic theory is regarded as the intellectual culmination of early Greek thought. For this atomic theory, which echoes eerily the theoretical formulations of modern physicists, he is sometimes called the "father of modern science." He was well known to Aristotle, and a thorn in the side to Plato - who advised that all of Democritus' works be burned.

A cheerful and popular man with the citizenry for his uncanny ability to predict events, his was known among his fans as the "Laughing Philosopher," a title that may well have referred more to his scoffing rejection of assigning to gods the mechanistic operations of nature itself. His cosmology and atomic theory held that the world was spheroid, that there were many worlds and many suns, and that all things manifest in nature were comprised of atoms bound together. There are varying accounts of his age at death, ranging from a ripe 90 all the way to 109 years.




2. Diagoras of Melos

The first and most ancient of recognized atheists must include a 5th century b.c.e. poet and sophist from Melos known as Diagoras the Atheist. Not content to simply speak against the popular pantheon of Greek gods, he also criticized the Eleusinian Mysteries. He became a disciple of Democritus after that notable philosopher paid a hefty ransom to free Diagoras from captivity following the subjugation of Melos in 416 b.c.e.

Prosecuted by the Athenian democratic party for impiety in 415 b.c.e., he was forced to flee the city and died in Corinth. None of Diagoras' own writings survive, but in the 1st century b.c.e. Cicero wrote that one of Diagoras' friends tried to convince him that the gods did exist by citing the many people saved from storms by their pleas to their favorite gods, to which Diagoras was purported to reply, "there are nowhere any pictures of those who have been shipwrecked and drowned at sea."


3. Epicurus

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Born in 341 b.c.e. in Athens, Epicurus established the school of philosophy known as Epicureanism, and was a follower of Democritus even though his own philosophy denied the influence of strong determinism and often denounced other philosophies as confused. He was an important figure in the early development of the scientific methodology, insisting that nothing which cannot be tested through direct observation and defended through logical deduction should be believed.

For Epicurus the purpose of philosophy was to attain peace of mind and a happy life, freedom from fear and absence of pain. He considered pleasure and pain the measures of that which is good or evil. He insisted that there were no gods to reward or punish humans after death, that the universe is infinite and eternal, and that all things are ultimately material in nature. Epicurus himself was never able to escape a life of pain or a painful death, as he suffered greatly from kidney stones and died at the age of 72 of complications from that ailment.

CONTINUE READING HERE:
Hey, they forgot me on that list! Lol!

Actually, Syd, I'd think this would be great in the Forum.
we have a forum? ha ha, i hadn't seen that yet, but, i AM still finding my way around!!
Here is a quote from our member, Curly Girl. I just love this...she's got a way with words:

//"We do not need religion to be moral. We do not need to project our insecurities, doubts, and fear of our own mortality, onto a nonexistent, omnipotent being. The only faith we need to have, is in ourselves, our own abilities, and our capacity to love without parameters imposed on us by a supernatural entity or spiritual laws. We need to believe in our own personal and inner strengths. The rest…will take care of itself…." //


i'd start a thread with that, but, all one could reply would be "wow..."

At Long Last, a Creepy-Realistic Humanoid Robot

For decades, we’ve seen movies depicting futuristic robots that are nearly-identical to human beings. But we haven’t actually seen a machine that could truly be mistaken for a person. That is, until now.

Seriously, if you were just walking down the street and this thing passed you, would you even look twice? Watch video below and read more about our soon-to-be robot overlord here.

 

 

Gotta say that was pretty darn creepy, but also quite extraordinary.  It won't be long until they will be existing among us, should we be concerned?

If Microsoft does the software, no need to worry.

So i'm thinking, we need a group, or thread, for Dallas Gaytheist to post those stories he is so good at finding....

LIke, make it a weekly, or even monthly feature?  somewhere..........and then, we have to talk DG into this, ha ha!!  (if we leave it as random thing, i won't know where to look for it...)

 

 

I LOVE his stories, i love to get on my softest robe, make a cocktail, light a candle or hit print and go sit by the fireplace,

 and read whatever story he has put up. 

 

 He is most excellent at finding very good ones.  I "save" them to read later, when i am in no hurry, no errands or chores pressing down, etc..  I've never been disappointed, he is just the best at finding a good yarn.....

 

so what do you think, do we need a new group?  "The weekly/monthly story from Dallas Gaytheist"??

 ~~or~~

 A special, ongoing thread somewhere? 

 

 

oh,  and who will convince DG he wants to do this???

Hey JM, thanks a lot. I'm glad you like the short stories I've posted. However, you're about the only one, I think. No one ever reads or comments on them. I'll dig some more up for you. I think I've given you:

 

The Upper Berth
Narrative of the Ghost of a Hand
Mrs. Amworth

 

What else?

Geez, i am terrible with names...seems there was a fourth one, i LOVE them, i can't believe no one but me reads them. Ooh, i love them, i savor them!! Look fwd to them very much, i can't pick stories out that well!!

I think i should start a lil thread (in this coffee group?) for "Story Selections from Dallas Gaytheist"???

I have a fascination with those who hoard.  No doubt it's because I have a strong tendency toward hoarding myself.  Having watched some of the many new TV programs that expose the worst cases of hoarding, I'm very relieved that I never let it get anywhere near as bad as these extreme examples. But if I had kept it up, I might very well have found myself drowning in too much of everything! 

 

I know my 'collecting' began because the art that I made required collage materials, so that gave me license to collect all manner of stuff for artistic purposes of course.  Later in my life when I was dealing with a great deal of personal stress, buying stuff was a distraction which gave me a quick pick-me-up.

 

Stuff was piling up and my home became extremely cluttered.  It wasn't until I sold my home a few years later that I was forced to finally deal with the fact that all this accumulated stuff would have to be disposed of because I was moving into a small two bedroom apartment.  It was painful to let go, but I had no choice in the matter.  The thought occurred to me to rent a storage unit, but deep down I knew better than to continue to feed this unsustainable addiction of mine.  I hired a couple of women who specialized in organizing Tag Sales, and opened my house to the hoards of other hoarders - haha.  I wasn't laughing then though, my stuff flew out the door because the prices were unbelievably low.  Most everything had to go, so there was no point in stuff not selling. I was in shock before, during and after the sale, but once I moved into my apartment and had only what I really needed, did I breathe a sigh of relief.  Honestly, I got rid of too much stuff, and should have kept a few things that I now regret I didn't, but I don't regret the lighthearted feeling of now living clutter-free.

 

I do have to still watch myself, needing to think twice before I buy something new.  Do I really need it?  Is there space for it? I also force myself to purge stuff seasonally that I haven't used and are just a waste of precious space. 

 

Anyone of you have or have had a similar 'collecting' problem?  How are you coping?


 

Children of Hoarders on Leaving the Cluttered Nest

 

Holly Sabiston said that her home in Austin, Tex., fluctuates between neat and “über neat.”

New York Times

 

JESSIE SHOLL’S West Village apartment is a rent-stabilized fifth-floor walk-up, three small rooms and a sleeping loft where she and her husband, both writers, have lived for seven years. Perfect-storm conditions for clutter. But Ms. Sholl, a petite, pale-skinned woman of 42, keeps things tidy with routine “purges.” Even of objects she likes.

 

“I should get rid of this,” she said on a recent afternoon, pointing to a chicken sitting on top of a bookshelf, handmade by an artist out of recycled shower curtains. “It serves no purpose.”

 

Two minutes earlier she had been admiring its colorful plumes.

 

She laughed. “It’s a little pathological, I admit.”

 

If Ms. Sholl is overly zealous in her approach to housekeeping, one can understand why after reading her recently published memoir, “Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean About Her Mother’s Compulsive Hoarding.” The parent Ms. Sholl describes is a woman whose cluttered living room inexplicably contains five sewing machines and at least eight pairs of moldy cowboy boots. She is someone who buys too much and doesn’t throw anything away, even as the stuff piles up and impedes normal life — the textbook definition of a hoarder.

 

In dealing with her mother’s home in Minneapolis, Ms. Sholl has spent much of her life alternating between feeling shame about its squalid condition and attempting to rid it of the books, scraps of paper, empty food cartons and thrift-store tchotchkes littering every available surface.

When she learned that her mother had cancer, in 2006, Ms. Sholl flew out for one last-ditch cleanup attempt, an effort that inspired “Dirty Secret.” “The stove was piled feet-high with dirty pans,” Ms. Sholl said. “It gnawed at me that she was living that way.”

 

Many children of hoarders know the feeling. Even as scientists study the cognitive activity that accompanies the disorder and television shows like TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive” and A&E’s “Hoarders” have made it a mainstream issue, scant attention has been paid to how hoarding affects families of the afflicted, especially their children. Most are left to their own devices to make sense of growing up in homes where friends and relatives are unable to visit, with parents who seem to value inanimate objects more than the animate ones navigating the goat paths through the clutter.

Randy O. Frost, a psychology professor at Smith College, has been studying hoarders for two decades and is an author of “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.” Children of hoarders, he noted, often display a tortured ambivalence toward their parents, perhaps because unlike spouses or friends of hoarders, they had little choice but to live amid the junk.

 

“They grew up in this difficult environment and naturally came to resent it,” Dr. Frost said. “But at the same time, these are your parents and you have to not only respect and love but take care of them. What happens when they get old?”

 

NOT surprisingly, there are a number of online support groups and blogs devoted to children of hoarders, including Hoarder’s Son and Behind the Door. The most popular, Children of Hoarders,   maintains an online forum where members trade strategies for helping parents, discuss issues like “doorbell dread” (more on that later) and share stories. One account, posted by a woman named Tracy Schroeder, details in emotionally raw terms her mother’s death and the subsequent cleanup of the family home in Clovis, N.M., which was filled with magazines, craft supplies and dog feces.

 

“The COH Web site was my saving grace,” Ms. Schroeder, 42, said. “Nobody understands the weirdness of growing up this way unless they go through it.”

 

In high school, Ms. Schroeder said, she was a cheerleader and president of her class, but she lived in constant fear that “someone would see our house.” After her parents divorced, she strategically arranged visits with friends when she was spending weekends with her father. The college she attended was 20 minutes from her mother’s house, but she rarely visited, she said, because “I wouldn’t want to stay there, and that would cause fights.”

 

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Weekend Diversion: The World Beard and Mustache Champions!

Posted on: May 22, 2011 2:22 PM, by Ethan Siegel

 

The 2011 World Beard and Mustache Championships just took place in Trondheim, Norway. Those of you who've been following what's been going on with me for a while know that I shaved my head for charity two years ago, and, thanks to my 2009 astronomy class, I've been growing a beard for the last 18 months (and counting). But, as you can see, I have a long way to go until I can compete with some of these show-stoppers:

 

enhanced-buzz-11421-1305551673-1.jpeg

Fritz Sendlhofer, champion of the Garibaldi category,

(All photos from 2011 WBMC credit Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images.)

 

enhanced-buzz-11416-1305550587-1.jpeg

Karl-Heinze Hille, Imperial Partial Beard champion,

 

Beards Championship : The Beards and Moustaches World Championship .jpeg

Dusan Lalos, Natural Partial Beard champion,

 

Beards Championship : The Beards and Moustaches World Championship -1.jpeg

and Dieter Besuch, Freestyle Partial Beard champion.

 

And, while having a partial beard perhaps makes me partial to them, I can't help but marvel at some of the full beards, including Full Beard/Styled Mustache champion Burke Kenny:

enhanced-buzz-11423-1305550449-1.jpeg

3rd place in Full Beard Freestyle, Gerhard Knapp:

 

Beards Championship : The Beards and Moustaches World Championship -3.jpeg

2nd place in Full Beard Freestyle, Hans-Peter Weis:

 

beard-championship1[2].jpeg

and the most impressive beardsman I know of, Full Beard Freestyle champion, Elmar Weisser, whose Norwegian flag + Moose beard also deservedly won "Best in Show."

 

Un-hair advantage: German hairdresser Elmar Weisser,47, beat 160 hopefuls after transforming his whiskers into a NORWEGIAN FLAG and a MOOSE.jpeg

Just... wow! I have a long way to go before I'm competitive with these guys, but in the meantime, I have my hirsute heroes. You can see more of the best beards and the 2011 World Championship results by following the links.

 

But what about astronomy beards? Well, I have to give credit for greatest transformation to British astronomer John Couch Adams. Famed for almost discovering Neptune, he had one of the worst (and least successful) comb-overs of his day.

 

John Couch Adams.jpegjohn-couch-adams-1.jpeg

But, after finally admitting his baldness to himself and embracing it, he grew a beard. And the results, at least in my opinion, were a vast improvement.

 

PE_62.jpeg

Even as an old man, the beard impresses me. In any case, I hope you're getting to enjoy whatever it is that amuses you this weekend, and that you have a great one!

 

http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2011/05/weekend_diversion_t...

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