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Crisis of Credit

The current recession/credit crisis is affecting the entire world. In America, homeowners are getting hit especially hard. If you’re not a homeowner, you know someone who is. This short video will teach you why there is a credit crisis, and it will probably make you hate the banks and wall street (more than you already do). I’ll write moreo n the monetary system in a future post.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

I’ve said before that the theory of evolution does not say there is no God. The Catholic church believes in evolution, and they believe that the earth is billions of years old. Most of the world, and indeed almost every scientist in the world, accepts the theory of evolution as fact. I’d like to point out, for those that don’t know, the definition of theory. Those that argue against evolution point out the definition of a theory as “a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation” (taken from Merriam-Webster). However, another definition, and most definitely the one that applies to evolution, is “a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena” (also taken from Merriam-Webster, but go ahead and look it up in any dictionary). This same definition can be applied to the theory of gravity, or the theory of light waves, or the theory that the sun is in the middle of our solar system.

I don’t post every article I read about evolution, just the ones that I think the general public would find interesting. I can’t believe with all the evidence there is for evolution, that some 40% of Americans believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. That is not only an affront to biology, but every other form of science as well. Just today, two new articles about evolution: First Evolutionary Branching For Bilateral Animals Found; New Comprehensive Analysis Sheds Light On The Origin Of Cetaceans. I implore those of you that doubt evolution to pick up Richard Dawkin’s new book “The Greatest Show on Earth”. He beautifully illustrates the scientific fact of evolution in a way anyone can understand. For those of you that do accept evolution, the book is still a great read, and will give you tons of facts to present if ever arguing the side of evolution.

A Point for Evolution

Molecular Evidence Supports Key Tenet Of Darwin’s Evolution Theory

An international team of researchers, including Monash University biochemists, has discovered evidence at the molecular level in support of one of the key tenets of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

My apologies for the lack of original posts lately, I promise there are some in the works. Until then, have some articles:

Molecular Decay Of Enamel-specific Gene In Toothless Mammals Supports Theory Of Evolution

Long-term Cooling Trend In Arctic Abruptly Reverses, Signaling Potential For Sea Rise

An Atheist Meets God

Funny video that brings up some good points about the Christian god.

I found this video to juxtapose very well a series on Bible literalism I will be posting. It’s one thing to believe the Bible is a thousands-year-old book full of teachings and metaphors…that makes sense. But to believe the Bible is word-for-word true, even where it clearly is incorrect or where it contradicts itself, is nothing short of foolish.

I came about wanting to write a series about this because of an argument I had a few months ago with a Christian Fundamentalist. They told me only their religion’s interpretation of the Bible was correct, and that people who believed the Bible is full of stories and metaphors are “watered-down Christians”. The Bible was written over a thousand years ago, and the Catholic church has existed as well for over a thousand years, but Christian Fundamentalism was founded less than 200 years ago. How then does that give the Fundamentalist church authority to say their way of thinking is correct, while others are not?

Besides, as I’ve said before, the “We’re right, you’re wrong” argument does not comply well with the important Christian notion of judge not lest ye be judged.

Food, Inc Trailer

This is an film I believe everyone should see. There’s so many things wrong with the American food industry, and it’s important to know where your food is coming from and what’s in it.

Over half of the inhabitants of Fiji do not have access to clean drinking water, yet the Fiji factory makes about a million bottles a day to be purchased in other countries for a premium price. 1/6th of the world’s population doesn’t have clean water to drink. Thousands of people die every day from diseases contracted from tainted drinking water. The corporations that make billions of dollars every year from selling bottled water want us to think it’s a healthy choice, and better than tap water (or other municipal sources). The truth is, it’s incredibly expensive, not to mention unhealthy for us, and terrible for our environment.

Last week, I received a brochure from my city’s water department detailing the quality of the municipal water in my area. You’ll never get a similar report from the bottled water companies. Municipal water is inspected frequently by the EPA and must meet its standards. Bottled water is controlled by the FDA, but most is not transported between states, which exempts it from FDA regulation. Even when it is, the testing is less rigorous and the standards are not as high as for tap water. For more information, check the startling charts on the NDRC’s site, including EPA tap water/FDA bottled water rules, comparison of standards, and monitored contaminants.

It seems there is a large choice when you see the varieties of bottled water offered for sale, but the truth is that Pepsi, Coke, and Nestle own more than half of them (including the largest 2, Aquafina and Dasani, which are nothing more than purified municipal water). At least those 2 save oil, they start as municipal water and don’t need to be transported far. Half of the wholesale cost of bottled water that must be transported, like spring water, is spent on transportation. It takes millions of gallons of oil every year to make plastic bottles, and even more oil to transport bottled water. Water is so heavy, you cannot fill an 18-wheeler truck with it, you must leave empty space.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used to make plastic bottles that has been shown to harm reproductive development in animals. In humans, it has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, chemotherapy resistance, and a whole wealth of other problems. A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health showed a 2/3 increase in BPA found in subject urine that used plastic bottles for a week. They used cold drinks; if the plastic bottle is heated the amount of BPA is higher. This does not only apply to disposable containers, but some baby bottles and other polycarbonate products.

Buying bottled water is like throwing away your money. Actually it’s worse than throwing away your money, you’re giving it to huge corporations. Water is extremely cheap. Most of the money you pay for a bottle of water goes toward paying for the bottle. Municipal water like tap or well costs, at the most, a few cents per gallon. Assuming you get a 20oz bottle of water at the vending machine for $1, that’s 5 cents per ounce, or $6.40/gallon. Where I live, gas is pretty expensive, but bottled water is 3 times the cost of gas here. The companies don’t have to spend very much on advertising, either. Water practically sells itself, especially if you make it seem healthier than tap water. The bottled water industry is about half the size of the soda industry, but the advertising budget is only 15% of what they spend to market soda.

The bottles are recyclable, but most of them are thrown out. Plastic has a very slow rate of decay, and bottled water alone (not including sodas and other drinks) account for 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year. I can’t deny that bottled water is convenient. It’s there, it’s ready, you can just grab it and go. But is using a refillable container all that much of an inconvenience? My advice is buy a water filter and buy a stainless steel thermos. You can save money, help the environment, and it’s better for your health.

Sources/further reading:

Message in a Bottle

Natural Resources Defense Council’s Bottled Water Information

Five Reasons Not to Drink Bottled Water

Plastic Bottle Facts Make You Think Before You Drink

Thirst: A Documentary on the Corporatization of Water

Let’s all sit back and revel in the amazing things we are discovering these days. The future is shaping up to be pretty cool. Thanks, science!

‘Five Dimensional’ Discs With A Storage Capacity 2,000 Times That Of Current DVDs

New Memory Material May Hold Data For One Billion Years

Robot Scientist Becomes First Machine To Discover New Scientific Knowledge

Breakthrough In Quantum Control Of Light: Implications For Banking, Drug Design, And More

Scientists Engineer Cellular Circuits That Count Events

If you’re a Christian, you follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. You believe his message was good and true, and you live your life to please him. Right? Why then are so many Christians against homosexuals, when Jesus Christ never said anything about them? That’s right, never does he mention them. He did say to love others and to not judge others.

Let’s see what the King James version, the most widely used English Bible, has to say. Leviticus 18:22 says, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Leviticus 20:13 says, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Romans 1:26-17 says, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

If those verses make unquestionable law, then there are some laws we’ve been ignoring. We’d better repent and follow these laws, lest we be stricken down: Don’t plant different crops in the same field (Lev 19:19), don’t wear clothes made of mixed linen and wool (Lev 19:19), stay away from menstruating women (Lev 20:18, Ezekiel 18:5-6), don’t wear clothes belonging to the opposite sex (Deut 22:5), women can’t wear gold (1 Peter 3:3), men should have short hair and womens’ hair should be long (1 Corinthians 11:14-15), the list goes on.

How can some laws be ignored, while others are upheld? Churches, like every human-run business, have agendas. If a Bible passage works for them, why then it’s Divine Law. If it doesn’t work for them, it must be a metaphor or outdated rule that doesn’t fit in with our modern society. But who has the authority to say which laws are right and which ones are wrong? Your pastor? He’s human too, flawed like all the rest of us. If you think you can decide which laws are good, I give you this verse: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).

I’ve heard the argument that being gay is a choice, and I cannot help but guffaw when I hear such absurdity. In our society, it’s obvious that gays are persecuted. Why would someone choose to put themselves in a position where they’ll be mocked, hurt, or even killed for their choice? Science tells us it’s genetics and environmental factors (news video, medical article, science article). Some people says it’s unnatural. Why then, does it occur quite often in nature? It is most definitely a natural occurrence (Wiki article, news article, NatGeo article).

So, to all the Christians that think gay people are going to hell…there are more Bible verses that tell you not to judge others, than there are about homosexuality. Therefore, my reasonable conclusion is you are way more likely to go to hell for judging someone than for being gay. Next time you want to use the Bible justify your dislike of homosexuals, remember that the KKK used the Bible to justify their beliefs, too. I think Jesus would tell you to love and accept all people, no matter their orientation, and leave the judging to God.

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