Thursday 29 December 2011

Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

Zeitgeist: Moving Forward Official Release 2011

This is the Official Online (Youtube) Release of "Zeitgeist: Moving Forward" by Peter Joseph.

On Jan. 15th, 2011, "Zeitgeist: Moving Forward" was released theatrically to sold out crowds in 60 countries; 31 languages; 295 cities and 341 Venues. It has been noted as the largest non-profit independent film release in history.

This is a non-commercial work and is available online for free viewing and no restrictions apply to uploading/download/posting/linking - as long as no money is exchanged.

This is a long Documentary (2hr 42min) but it's essential viewing.

Monday 19 December 2011

The Star of Bethlehem.

Matthew 2:9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
In order for the Nativity story to be true and for the wise men to follow a star hovering over a city, it would have been necessary to believe the earth was flat.

If the earth was flat. The wise men could just look up and move towards the star. When they were directly underneath the star, they would be in the right place. Also the star would need to move then stop and hover over Bethlehem. The star the Magi followed to find Jesus is a physical impossibility, a pious embellishment. This story could only be physically possible if the Earth was flat.

Let me explain... We know the earth is spherical and rotating on it's axis. If a star is visible on the horizon in the East at sunset, The Magi could start walking East towards the star... As the night wore on, the position of the star would rotate about the pole star. In the middle of the night, the star would not be in the east. it would be overhead or on a line north or south of the observer depending on the inclination of the star from the polar axis. Later on, just before dawn, the star would have rotated approximately' 180 around the polar axis and would now be setting on the Western Horizon. 

So, if the Magi were following the star, They would start walking East towards the star on the eastern horizon. They keep following the star as it rises, but as it passes overhead or through the north/south line of longitude, they would have to change direction and start walking West. If they walked at a constant speed through the night, by Dawn, they would be back where they started the previous evening.

Now... come on.... even a believing Christian can see that's a pretty useless way to navigate.

Here's a star field time lapse video to demonstrate the apparent passage of stars overhead. Note the absence of stationary stars. The only stationary star that could possibly exist would need to be above the rotational axis of the Earth at either the North or South rotational pole. 

For an object to remain stationary over a city, it would need to be in a geostationary orbit (not to be confused with a geosynchronous orbit) around the Earth. A geostationary orbit is directly above the equator, not Bethlehem.

Additionally, a "star", even a very small star can not orbit the Earth due to it's mass. OK, I know Christians believed the Sun revolved around the Earth until quite recently but thanks to People like Copernicus, Galileo and Newton we understand why this is not possible.

Could it have been a comet? 
No, Astronomers have tried many times to fit the known orbits of comets to the time period in question. There are no likely candidates. A comet would also be seen to rotate with the star field as the Earth rotated. 

Could it have been a planetary conjunction or a supernova. 
No. Both would rotate with the star field.

Perhaps it was a UFO.
Well surprisingly, this is more plausible than the possibility of an actual Star. However we would simply be substituting an absurd myth with an un-evidenced speculation. 
Besides, the Bible clearly states it was a star (ἀστήρ = astēr). 
Something other than a star would negate the intended divine sign. A UFO (Alien Spaceship) would totally destroy any divine explanation and promote The Bible to a Sci-Fi novel.

There is another small problem. The Magi could see a star in the East and walked towards the star until it hovered over Bethlehem. That means they must have been due west of Bethlehem. So unless they started off very close to Bethlehem (within 32 miles), they would have real problems because there is nothing but Mediterranean Sea for a thousand miles west of that point.

A rather obvious solution
The Magi were probably Persian religious leaders or senior figures representing the Persian religious leaders. The Persians were excellent astronomers and would not make such an obvious error. The Bible writers were ignorant religious zealots and would happily embellish the story of the birth of their prophet with mystical nonsense and pious embellishments to add import to their stories.

The Persians were also keen Astrologers and engaged in fortune telling, horoscopes, prophesy and the reading of signs in the constellations. This is a far more plausible explanation. They were not following a physical star in the sky, but were travelling looking for a king predicted in a horoscope or by the interpretation of a particular constellation configuration.

 This fits very well because at that time, the Astrological age of Aries was coming to an end.(The constellation where the sun passes through at the vernal equinox) . The new astrological age was the age of Pisces, This may even be from where Christianity gets it's fish symbol. The king of this age would be a water sign associated with fish. The Persians were out looking for such a king. Likewise, in a few hundred years we will enter age of Aquarius.... hence the song.

The evidence points to a mistake by the Christian story writers. The Persians were skilled astronomers and would not have made this mistake. The Jews were not a scientifically knowledgeable people, They explained everything in terms of their religion and were ruled by religious zealots who enforced this ignorant mentality. The early Christians didn't understand celestial mechanics, to them, a star hovering over a city would not seem impossible simply because they didn't know what a star was or that the earth was a rotating sphere. Any mention of a geostationary orbit would have just got blank looks.

It seems quite clear that they just made a mistake when they made the story up. The mistake is quite understandable when you consider Judeo/Christian knowledge of the universe at that time. It does however throw big questions onto the authenticity of the divine origins of the Bible. This is not simply a scribal error, it is an integral part of the story that simply is not true.

If this story is to be considered true, that a physical star literally remained static over Bethlehem, the only way this can be reconciled is by supernatural magic.

.... OR...... Perhaps it's just a nice story constructed to ensure the origins of the Christian figurehead complied with known prophesy.

Thursday 15 December 2011

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Skepticule Extra Podcast #18

The Skepticule Extra Podcast #18 is out now.

Featuring The Thee Pauls.

  • Father Gabriele Amorth — Vatican Chief Exorcist
  • Channel 4: — "Should creationism be taught in schools?"
    • Sam Scott Perry
    • Stephen Law
    • Randall Hardy — Creation Research
    • Rosie Harper
    • Laura Horner — CrISIS
    • Abdul Aziz
    • Michael Reiss
  • "Phillip"
  • eChurch Blog — Guardian Angels

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The scale of the Universe

A Spectacular demonstration of the scale of the universe from the Planck length to the whole universe. (Interactive Flash).
The website of the Huang Twins!

Science is Awesome !

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Quantum Jumping


"Now imagine what you could accomplish if you could somehow tap into these alternate universes to meet and learn from these alternate versions of yourself. Imagine the wisdom you’d learn. The opportunities you’d recognize, the skills you’d acquire, and the pitfalls you’d know to avoid".
"By meeting these alternate selves, you’d essentially be tapping into an endless universal sea of knowledge and experience. But how, might you be asking, does one access these alternate realities? That’s where Quantum Jumping comes in".
"The answer is that all physical matter is the result of particles vibrating at a certain frequency. A frequency that if you alter, change or amplify in any way, you change your physical and current reality".
"If Quantum Theory is correct, it implies that to change your current reality, all you need to do is change the frequency of your thoughts."

WOW !!!!! 
Where's my Credit Card?
I wonder if they do Air Miles.

Monday 12 December 2011

Vanity Personified

One single jewel from just one of this vain man's clown hats.....

Could have fed this child, his extended family and everyone in his village FOR LIFE.

The money spent on Bullet-Proofing this vain man's $511,000 clown car...

Could have been better spent.

This makes me so very sad.

Thursday 8 December 2011

You Atheists are just Angry with God.

How many times have I heard the accusation from Christians, even liberal Christians that I am an Atheist because I'm angry with God?

An Analogy:
Lets hypothesise something Christians don't believe in:-
I have tiny Magical Invisible Chromium Scorpions that live inside my earlobes. They sing to me and tell me absolute truths when ever they decide I need to know. They talk to me every day and they have never been wrong... ever.

Unbelievers can not see, hear or detect them by any means known to science, but science doesn't know everything and I know for sure they are there because I have a personal relationship with them.

All Christians have Magical chromium Scorpions in their earlobes too, but they can't hear them because their mind is closed when they choose to worship false gods.

I assume Christians don't believe in my magical scorpions? They will think it's a ridiculous belief system and obviously false.

Now suppose I said that my magical Scorpions have just told me that you must stop listening to all music... because they find music offensive, an abomination. If you continue to listen to music, your own Magical Chromium Scorpions will cause you to have a brain hemorrhage.

What would you do?

1. Would you completely ignore my instructions because you don't believe in Magical Chromium Scorpions?

2. Would you rebel against the Scorpions in your earlobes and listen to more music just to irritate them and because you are arrogant enough to think you know better than the magical Scorpions?

3. Would you feel anger and hatred toward the magical Scorpions because they are trying to impose their will on you and prevent you from doing what you want to do.

4. Would you stop listening to music in case you offend your magical Scorpions?

You have no belief whatsoever in any magical invisible chromium scorpions so option #1 is the only viable option. It's an easy decision, You can't possibly rebel against something of which you have no belief. You can't be angry or wish to irritate something that does not exist. Likewise, Atheists can not possibly be angry with Zeus or Leprechauns, Tooth Fairies... or God.

How would you perceive someone who has a very strong belief in Magical Chromium Scorpions, someone who has committed their whole life to them and will not listen to anyone who denies their existence?...   That is exactly how many Atheists perceive Theists.

So why is it that you and I and the vast majority of Christians can see that #1 is the only logical response for a non-Scorpion believer and yet many Christians still use #2 and #3 as arguments as to why Atheists do not follow their own brand of deity? 

If a Christian can understand his own reaction to 'Magical Scorpion believers' and why option #2,3 and 4 obviously contradict non-belief, why do they have a huge reasoning blind spot when they run into people who reject their own beliefs? Does an intense desire to believe override the most basic of critical thinking skills to the point where options #2, 3 and 4 seem perfectly rational and can be used to explain Atheism.

Why are they perfectly capable of recognising the absurdity of such arguments for all other belief systems... but see no contradiction when the exact same absurdities are manifest in their own arguments.

What is the reason for this mental blockage?  Can anyone explain the psychology to me? How does it work?

Sunday 4 December 2011

Skepticule Extra Podcast #17

The Skepticule Extra Podcast #17 is out now.

Featuring The Thee Pauls.

  • Spam from psychic web site.
  • Anjem Choudary - Islam4UK
  • Libel Reform Campaign
  • Nutty US Republican Nomination Candidates
  • Unbelievable? The Conference DVD set.
  • Attributing to God
  • Absolute Morality
  • Remembrance Sunday

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Taking Scripture out of context

This animation by NonStampCollecter is a good demonstration of how Theists use the "Out of Context" ploy to excuse the parts of scripture they themselves find repugnant and unjustifiable.

Nice one NSC.

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Woo products galore

This one eShop page has more Woo than it is mentally possible to handle without turning your brain to porridge. When I saw this Woo laden page I was so Gob-smacked my ear candle nearly fell out.
  • Power Balance Bands
  • Sabona Bracelets
  • Q Link Pendants
  • Mag Titan Tiamo Magnetic Bracelet (£300.00)
  • Trion Z Magnetic Sports Bracelet Dual Loop
  • Q Link Nimbus Active USB

Richard Saunders of The Skeptic Zone Podcast explains 
how many of these products work.

It's a shame really, the rest of the store has some pretty good healthcare products.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

The futility of debating Creationists.

Theist:- Where did matter come from?
Atheist:- Matter has always existed in some form.
Theist:- So where did it come from?
Atheist:- It didn't come from anywhere, It has always existed.
Theist:- So who created it?
Atheist:- It was never created, It's always existed.
Theist:- So where did it come from then?
Atheist:- It has always existed, it didn't come from anywhere and never needed to be created.
Theist:- It must have come from somewhere?
Atheist:- No, It's always existed, Forever.
Theist:- It couldn't have started to exist all by itself.
Atheist:- If it's always existed, there was never a time when it needed to be created.
<Much Later>
Theist:- It couldn't have come from nothing.
Atheist:- It didn't come from "nothing", It's always existed.
Theist:- It's impossible for matter to just start existing all by itself.
Theist:- Anything that exists must have been created, that creator is God.
Atheist:- So where did God come from?
Theist:- God has always existed.
Atheist:- <sigh>

Oh My.... I just found out...

When I was a teenager in the 70s, I had pictures of Ben Goldacre's Mum all over my bedroom wall.

Ben Tweeted earlier this year that his mum is Noosha Fox, lead vocal from the band "Fox". I followed them avidly and was smitten by Noosha (Susan Traynor). I evetually got to see a Fox gig at the Coatham Bowl in Redcar in 75... a very memorably day in my life.

A remarkable lady... hey, look how smart her son turned out to be.

Ben, If you you ever get to read this, I don't suppose you could get me a signed photo?

Monday 28 November 2011

The Circularity of Presuppositional Apologetics

Breaking the Circle

In the "Unbelievable" Discussion Group, there is a long discussion about Paul Baird and Sye Tenbruggencate's radio show on presuppositional apologetics. In that discussion I postulated a hypothetical document called the Sinbad Codex. 

Unfortunately, I was debating Despeville, When he was banned, all his posts disappeared so it looks like I'm debating with myself or an invisible opponent.

The Sinbad Codex was used to demonstrate the circularity in one of the arguments for presuppositional apologetics. (The Bible proves the Bible).  

The Sinbad codex contains exactly the same circular argument... (The Sinbad Codex proves the Sinbad Codex).

The Sinbad Codex. (an extract).
1. Sinbad wrote this.
2. God is never wrong.
3. The Moon is bigger than an Elephant.
4. The Pope is a Chimpanzee.
5. Presuppositional Apologetics is wrong.
6. Sinbad is God.

The reasoning in both arguments is fallacious because simply presupposing the conclusion is true in the premises does not constitute evidence for that conclusion. Clearly, assuming a claim is true does not constitute evidence for that claim. ("X is true. The evidence for this claim is that X is true.")

If you were to rely only on the Sinbad Codex for evidence of the Truth of the Sinbad Codex, it could not be disputed, all the claims in the document are be proven to be True. 

If I had to prove the truth of the claims in the Sinbad codex without using the Sinbad codex as proof or evidence, could I do it?

I could probably prove claim #1 and #3 to a very high level of certainty. Claims #4 and #5 are debatable and I would fail to prove #2 and #6. 

I propose that the same applies to the Bible. Yes, you can prove the non-spectacular claims in the Bible in the same way I can prove the non-spectacular claims in the Sinbad Codex. But Spectacular Claims need Spectacular evidence. 

Bearing in mind that Faith is not evidence or proof, calling something the Truth does not make it True and something is not necessarily true because someone believes it to be True......

Can a Christian prove or supply conclusive evidence or even present a convincing argument that:-

1. Jesus was who he claimed to be.
2. Whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 

They should be able to do this without referring to Biblical scripture as evidence for Biblical Scripture (Directly or indirectly). They should be able to do this in a way that isn't also equally valid for the truth claims of any other religion.

If this can not be done, I can only assume that all religious scripture, from any religion is equally valid and equally true... including the Sinbad Codex.

Evolution Morality.

How can Evolution account for the existence of Morality.

Consider the following strategies for survival:

1. I prefer to eat healthily, exercise regularly and avoid unnecessary risk.
2. I like to hammer rusty nails into my head, wrestle with crocodiles and only ever eat roadkill.

Strategy #1 is a good strategy for my personal health and survival while strategy #2 is detrimental to my health and survival. 

People are not identical in their behaviour, beliefs, likes and attitudes. There is always a range or a spread of such attributes encompassing both #1 and #2 strategies. This spread can be plotted on a standard distribution curve. 

This is a standard normal distribution curve marked up with standard deviation percentile values. All statisticians are familiar with this graph.

Most (68%) people will be close to the centre of the curve, and as we get further from the average or the "Mean" or the "Norm", we get more extreme versions of those attributes but fewer practitioners. There will be a very small number of people at the very extremes. People who follow strategy #2 would be close to the extreme left of the curve in the bottom 0.15% of the population, It's an extreme behaviour and there will be very few people with such a lifestyle. People who follow strategy #1 would be somewhere to the right of the central average maybe at a standard deviation from the mean of about +1.5. Most of us will be near the centre, We eat healthily some of the time but we still like our burgers, chocolate and the occasional bacon butty. We exercise sometimes but usually not enough. 

The curve is not fixed or set in stone, it's free to move as the behaviour of the group changes. The "Norm" can (and does) move over time.

In the above example, the people who don't live healthily and don't look after themselves will on average die earlier and have less chance/ability to breed when compared to the healthy members of the group. Their offspring will inherit or learn equally unhealthy habits and perpetuate the poor survival strategy thus further decreasing their ability to survive.  The healthy members will live longer and be better able to reproduce and successfully bring up healthy offspring who will perpetuate a healthy lifestyle. 

Over many generations, on average there will be a reduction of people on the left hand side of the curve and an increase in the number of people on the right hand side of the curve. Therefore the average or mean point of the curve will move sightly to the right each generation. The change may be imperceptibly small but will become apparent over time.  

It's self evident,  Fit healthy populations are more successful than unhealthy, self abusive populations. An A Priori argument.

This transfers easily to the development of Morality.

To demonstrate the principle, we'll throw in some additional parameters and real life scenarios. We'll also expand the scale and scope of our groups to large populations, civilisations or empires. The groups live in proximity to each other and may, or may not be in competition with each other for resources or territory.

Each group will have a distribution curve of attributes.

1. Cooperate, has empathy, is compassionate
2. Selfish, doesn't care about others.

Type 1 attributes to the right of the mean and type 2 attributes to the left of the mean.
Different groups will have different sized and shaped distribution curves and the mean point will be different relative to the other groups.

A group that works cooperatively between its members will build teams and organisations that are more effective than the sum of it's individuals. If the members are cooperating with each other for the benefit of the group even slightly more than than another group, it will give a slight advantage to the group. If the members of the group feel empathy to-wards their fellow group members, if they can understand when someone is in distress or needs assistance, they will be more inclined to help the weaker members. Such assistance increases the overall strength of the group. Two groups that are willing to work cooperatively in an alliance or a trading partnership will perform better and be able to defend itself better than groups that have a tendency to be solitary and insular.

Conversely, A group who's members can not or will not work cooperatively will not develop, or will develop an inferior infrastructure, weaker organisations and fragile, insecure teams. If the group does not help the weak or it eliminates the weak, the overall strength of the group will be lower on average or will leave it underpopulated. In either case, they will be weaker than their neighbours or there competition. If members steal from others or treat them badly, the group as a whole will suffer. A reluctance to trade with other groups and form alliances will hinder the development of the group and make it susceptible to stronger groups and alliances of groups.

Over time, Groups that work cooperatively for the benefit of the group and strengthen it's weaker members will be more successful than groups who do not or do so to a lesser extent. 

Over time, the population of stronger cooperative, empathic groups will increase while the population of weaker selfish groups will decline. This will move the global overall mean point of out distribution curve to the right.

The thing or concept we call "Morality" is directly proportional to the mean point of the distribution curve. It has a tendency to increase over time, to become more refined and developed and it's benefit to society more easily recognised as desirable. 

Even is you start from a position of total chaos with no recognisable mean point, the variation and spread of the type 1 and type 2 attributes will guarantee the development of "Morality" in a group over time.

Christians generally reject the Evolutionary explanation for morality and insist on an absolute objective morality promulgated by God in a religious book. But let's have a look at some real life scenarios:-

Entities that are internally cooperative and join cooperative alliances like the USA, UK, Europe are generally stronger and more successful than those that don't, such as North Korea, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan.

Animals that look after and nurture their young only need a few offspring while animals that abandon their young at birth need to generate large numbers of offspring to remain a viable species.

War was seen as glorious, the winner determined by who was left. Later on, who killed the most.  Wars still happen but much greater effort is given to protecting the innocent non-combatants of war zones. There is probably no such thing as a moral war, but it is becoming less immoral.

Biblical morality is not absolute or objective. Genocide of infidels was considered OK, it is now morally wrong, Beating a slave to death was OK in certain circumstances, it is now wrong. Slavery itself was just a part of everyday life, it is now wrong for a person to own another person. Moral guidelines change between the OT and the NT... if they've changed, then neither testament can be promulgating absolute objective Morality.

Over time, morality is changing, it's increasing, moving to the right of the distribution curve. It's becoming more developed and refined. It is subjective and relative to other societies and other periods in history. It is a natural self improving process that follows many of the principles of Evolution. 

This evolutionary process doesn't conflict with the Christians aversion to Evolution because it is Micro Evolution in action, not Macro Evolution. The vast Majority of Christians accept Micro Evolution and should have no problems with the Micro Evolution of Morality... even if the morality of today bears no resemblance to the morality of Neolithic man.

The Christian concept that morality can not exist without their God is incorrect. Anyone can derive from first principles that a group that kills it's own, steals from potential allies, is dysfunctional, anti-social and generates mistrust is detrimental to that society. A supportive and caring society is beneficial and strengthens the group. No one can pretend we would be completely ignorant of this concept without having to be told in a book from a supernatural entity. Even dogs, rats and aardvarks understand this. Why do Christians think we need to be told that selfish = bad and cooperative = good. 

There is still however a distribution curve with an extreme left hand side. There are still individuals and groups in that section of the curve who do immoral things relative to the norm. Religion is the way society has determined it can provide a formulaic promulgation of Morality to those who do not have, or have a weak intrinsic morality. There are many who just don't get it, they have no internal concept of morality and need it to be provided by some external authority. Religion provides this function and helps move the mean point to the right.

I've listened to many Christians stating if it wasn't for their God, there would be no reason to act in a moral way, if there are no consequences (Hell, loss of salvation etc.), there would be nothing to prevent us all from doing as we please. They see Atheists as Immoral because Atheists do not live by the morality given to them by their own brand of religion. Morality determined by society is invisible to them, they have no concept of such morality or it's value. 

Religion is allowed to perpetuate for exactly those individuals and groups that lack an understanding of intrinsic morality and need to be given a simple binary moral code that allows them to be productive members of society. One of the problems of relying on religion is that it is a historical promulgation, it can not self improve or adjust to meet prevailing circumstances. In fact it is desirable to convince the adherents of religious morality that it's morality is static, unchanging and doesn't need to be changed because it is somehow infallibly perfect.

Religious Morality is an imperfect system. As well as being unable to make corrections based on circumstance, it often backfires. When the adherents believe their own morality is perfect, anything they do is therefore morally perfect. They confuse the moral code they have been given with their own moral values. They incorrectly equate the two. Of course the reason they follow a promulgated code is BECAUSE their own moral code is lacking. Another problem is that religious moral codes are followed by people with defective moral values, which is why they need a promulgated code in the first place. This becomes painfully evident amongst the leaders and policy makers of each religion. The Pope was less concerned with the welfare of the children being molested by his staff and more concerned with the damage it would do to the reputation and the assets of the church if the extent of the abuse became public knowledge. People with intrinsic morality understand that molesting children and providing safe haven for paedophiles is morally repugnant. The leadership of the Catholic Church is missing this intrinsic morality but believes it's own actions are morally justified... because it follows a perfect moral code.

Evolutionary Morality is not perfect either but it IS able to improve. Once you believe your moral code is perfect there is no need to improve. If in the 1920s Ford believed the car it was building was the ultimate machine and could not be improved upon, it could have concentrated all it's efforts on manufacture and sales. It could get rid of all it's designers, market research people etc. They would no longer be required. 90 years later Ford would still be trying to sell Ford Model 'T's while BMW is selling the latest 645i Convertible. This is what has happened with religious morality, It's now totally inappropriate for today because like our imaginary Ford company, it believed in it's own perfection and is now obsolete.

© Sinbad July 2008

Sunday 27 November 2011

Has anyone seen my horse?

I can live in a world where the man who lives on the corner, takes his "invisible" horse out for a ride.  I'll smile and step aside when he "gallops" by.  After all, he's not hurting anyone.  No harm, right?  I know there's not an invisible horse, but it makes him happy and that's the important thing.  It's amusing, actually.  But if almost everyone in my town starts to ride "invisible" horses, the dynamic changes drastically.  Then I am continually stepping aside for them to "ride" through.
They build barns and stables for their "invisible" friends and they don't pay taxes on these buildings or on anything they buy, that relates to their "invisible" companions.  So, I'm paying their share of the taxes and stepping politely aside for them.  As if accomodating their "invisible" buddies in these ways isn't bad enough, many people want to talk about them.  Although they don't show me pictures, they certainly have a lot of funny stories.  Be careful though, they don't think these stories are funny.  They want you to respect their invisible friend and get kind of cranky if you don't.  It gets tricky, because although they are entitled to their beliefs, I am just as entitled to think they are at the very least, childishly delusional.  This creates more akwardness.  I am somewhat resistant to stepping aside, paying extra taxes, listening to their stories AND pretending like what they believe is okay.  I have limits, I suppose.

A walk through their stables is silent and there is nothing to indicate these invisible creatures actually exist.  The building is empty, yet the "riders" enter, talk and carry on like there is something there.  They don't notice the silence, because they simply answer for their "invisible" companions, too.  No problem, because they know what their "invisible" friend is thinking and what he wants.  It's almost like watching a puppet show, but with real people.  

When I actually have the termerity to ask them to please ride around me occasionally, they wonder why I hate their invisible entities.  Any attempt to explain why I can't be hostile toward something that doesn't exist, seems to fall on deaf ears.  They claim, if I didn't "hate", then I would see that invisible creatures do exist.  Inevitably comes the challenge to prove that these shy little buddies DON'T exist!!  Attempts to explain that non-existence is, well....nothing and can't be proven, seem beyond their comprehension.  I have asked them to prove that aliens, IPU's, the Almighty Schlogg or Bigfoot DON'T exist, but I've had no takers on even one of these choices.  It is apparently unfriendly and unloving to tell someone that their invisible friend doesn't, um....appear to exist.  Somewhere along the way, I find that I'm not smiling as much, anymore.

[Original by my friend Just_Sub].

Is sticking your foot in your mouth a form of Yoga.

Well done Father Amorth for services to Catholic intolerance and bigotry.

Yoga work devil says Vatican's chief exorcist doesn't like Harry Potter either.