From Temple of Ignorance to House of Learning

September 23, 2009 at 14:11 | Posted in Architecture, Religion | Leave a comment

 Wp-Content Uploads 2009 07 Bookstore-Selexyz-Dominicanen-By-Merkxgirod-Architects-In-Netherlands

















BoingBoing.Net reports that “this breathtaking place is a former Dominican church that was converted into a new retail location for bookseller Selexyz Dominicanen.”

[read more here…]


Would you pledge your soul as loan collateral?

July 6, 2009 at 02:03 | Posted in Humor, Religion | Leave a comment

 Fri Jul 3, 11:53 AM

RIGA (Reuters) – Ready to give your soul for a loan in these difficult economic times? In Latvia, where the crisis has raged more than in the rest of the European Union, you can.

Such a deal is being offered by the Kontora loan company, whose public face is Viktor Mirosiichenko, 34.

Clients have to sign a contract, with the words "Agreement" in bold letters at the top. The client agrees to the collateral, "that is, my immortal soul."

Mirosiichenko said his company would not employ debt collectors to get its money back if people refused to repay, and promised no physical violence. Signatories only have to give their first name and do not show any documents.

"If they don’t give it back, what can you do? They won’t have a soul, that’s all," he told Reuters in a basement office, with one desk, a computer and three chairs.

Wearing sunglasses, a black suit and a white shirt with the words "Kontora" (office) emblazoned on it, he reaches into his pocket and lays out a sheaf of notes on the table to show that the business is serious and not a joke.

Latvia has been the EU nation worst hit by economic crisis.

Unemployment is soaring and banks have sharply reduced their lending, meaning that small companies offering easy loans in small amounts have become more popular.

Mirosiichenko said his company was basically trusting people to repay the small amounts they borrowed, which has so far been up to 250 lats ($500) for between 1 and 90 days at a hefty interest rate.

He said about 200 people had taken out loans over the two months the business was in operation.

(Reporting by Patrick Lannin; Editing by Steve Addison)


The really funny story is, however, that close to 90% of people on a yahoo poll said they would NOT sign this contract:


Close to 90% of these people actually believe they have a soul? Or are at least some of them simply kind-hearted folks who feel it is unfair to agree to such a contract?

And – what is the legal situation for an atheist here?

If You thought Ecclesiastes is the Best Book of the Bible…

June 16, 2009 at 14:03 | Posted in Bible, Islam, Koran, Mormonism, Religion | Leave a comment


Here’s proof you are right:

The Best Book in the Bible

In the SAB, I identify the Bible’s verses that contain good advice about how we should live our lives, whatever our religious views might be. For example, I think it’s a good idea to try, at least as much as possible, to treat others kindly. So I include Leviticus 19:18 ("Love thy neighbor as thyself.") in the "Good Stuff". Of course, not all the verses that I’ve marked good are as good as this verse, but I marked them good because they seemed (at least somewhat) good to me.

So take a look at the SAB’s good stuff to see if you agree, at least most of the time, that the verses that are marked good are, in fact, good. If so, then the following analysis should be reasonable for you, as well.

I’ll begin with a plot of the number of good things in each book of the Bible.

There are two far outliers in the data: Ecclesiastes and Proverbs. Proverbs has the most good stuff, but it is also a much bigger book. Here is how it looks when size is taken into account. (The graph on the left is a histogram; the graph on the right is a box plot.)

So Ecclesiastes has nearly twice as much good stuff (per 100 verses) than any other book in the Bible.

But what about all the bad stuff in the Bible? Shouldn’t we try to find a way to rate the goodness of a book by weighing both the book’s good and bad stuff?

The simplest solution, I think, is to count up the good things in each book and subtract the bad. The result is the net good. (I totaled cruelty, injustice, intolerance, family values, women, and homosexuality to get the number of bad things, since the verses marked with these categories are all morally objectionable.)

When I did that, I found that there are only two good books in the Bible: Ecclesiastes (of course) and Proverbs. There are three others that have a zero net goodness. The other 61 books are all more bad than good (with a negative net goodness).

Here are the statistics for the two good and three not bad books in the Bible. (I’ll deal with the bad books elsewhere.)


  Good Verses Bad Verses net good (good – bad) net good / 100 verses
Ecclesiastes 37 1 36 16.22
Proverbs 54 47 7 0.77
James 9 9 0 0
Jonah 0 0 0 0
3 John 1 1 0 0


And here’s a plot of the net good / 100 verses.


Check out the rest on that site – it’s brilliant – and don’t miss the fact the authors did the same to the Koran and the Book of Mormon

Why Atheism?

May 28, 2009 at 12:04 | Posted in Atheism, Religion | Leave a comment


There really shouldn’t be a need to write a post with the title Why Atheism? The absurdity of theistic beliefs has been exposed for centuries, again and again, on strictly logical grounds only, but recent advancements in science have really put the final nail into whatever pseudo-empirical rejoinder the theists had to offer. However, as Atheism still remains the minority opinion globally, it is from time to time necessary to repeat the obvious.

For those who think the issue calls for some humour there’s always the Internet Infidels’ classic “Hundreds of Proofs of God’s Existence”, made famous in Dawkin’s “The God Delusion”. Some of my personal favourites:

(1) [arbitrary passage from OT]
(2) [arbitrary passage from NT]
(3) Therefore, God exists.

(1) Billions of people believe in God.
(2) They can’t all be wrong, can they?
(3) Therefore, God exists.

(1) Human reasoning is inherently flawed.
(2) Therefore, there is no reasonable way to challenge a proposition.
(3) I propose that God exists.
(4) Therefore, God exists.

(1) God exists.
(2) [Atheist’s counterargument]
(3) Yes he does.
(4) [Atheist’s counterargument]
(5) Yes he does!
(6) [Atheist’s counterargument]
(7) YES HE DOES!!!
(8) [Atheist gives up and goes home.]
(9) Therefore, God exists.

But, for the more seriously inclined, this discussion should refresh the memory.


May 21, 2009 at 20:17 | Posted in Religion | Leave a comment


That pretty much sums it up for me…


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