Tuesday, 24 August 2010

My t-shirt designs

Here are a stack of t-shirt designs I've done with a science/skeptic/religion angle - they are all available through my RedBubble shop in a ton of colours and sizes! Check out the shop here. Here are the designs:

"Dawkins Says" (two different t-shirts available):


"Hitch Says" (three different t-shirts available):


Pope On Tour 2010:


Harry Houdini "Houdiniac":


Physics Standard Model:


Hopefully I'll add more soon (I really should do an "Einsteiniac" shouldn't I?), there are a few other caricature designs on the site too. Again, here's the RedBubble shop with all my designs - check 'em out ;)

Monday, 23 August 2010

The Greatest Show On Earth

Almost finished reading Richard Dawkins' latest book describing the evidence for evolution "The Greatest Show On Earth" and it is a wonderful book. Got to hand it to Dawkins, he writes so compellingly about his subject. It's a real page turner. I really hope it gets a wide readership amongst those who are unsure of evolution (for whatever reason, but mainly religious. Is there another reason someone would deny it I wonder?) because it is utterly convincing. Even I've learnt many knew things about not only particular cases of evidence but the strength and breadth of the whole package.

I'm almost tempted to get a couple more copies to have ready the next time Jehovah's Witnesses knock on my door. I'd be happy to hand one over to them if I thought they might read it. The book does an excellent job of highlighting why the creation theory of how the variety of life exists just makes no sense at all in the face of the evidence. Evidence that fits perfectly, and indeed may only be fully explicable by the theory of evolution (natural selection). A couple of times I have JW's into my house for a chat (I never used to, but these days I figure that if they are going to try and persuade me of their beliefs, my best response is to try even harder to explain to them why they are wrong - as politely as possible of course) and the argument from design is raised. It's not long after that happens that they leave, usually in somewhat of a rush.

Dawkins' book is one of the best arguments against design I know of, because it explains what we find when we look at the natural world as clear results of evolution and completely nonsensical if you assume a designer. Things like the geographical distribution of species, the molecular evidence of common ancestry, many examples of really terrible 'design' in nature and many more areas. The fossil record is of course discussed, but what he repeats (and is an important fact to remember when JW's and other religious people criticise it) is that even if we had no fossils whatsoever, the evidence for evolution is totally rock solid from all these other areas. That there has never been a fossil discovered that disproves evolution, which would be trivially easy if creation were true) is just the icing on a very big cake.

Great book, essential reading.

One caveat to that though... Dawkins writing does at a couple of points become a bit too school-teachery. It is a bit annoying when he says before launching into a detailed but perfectly clear description of a scientific experiment concerning E.coli, that the reader should maybe have a good sleep beforehand, or make sure they are rested well, because they might not follow it if a little tired. Condescension like that I could really do without.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Dawkins' 'Faith School Menace?'

This is now on 4oD, it's a very good programme and Dawkins was remarkably restrained I thought (which was a good thing I think). The most worrying sequence is in the Muslim school where it highlights not only the children's lack of knowledge about evolution, but the science teacher's also. I must admit I wasn't aware that faith schools didn't have to have OFSTED approve their RE curriculum, but have their own bodies do that. Scary stuff frankly.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/faith-school-menace/4od#3112619

I definitely agree with Dawkins that faith schools should be scrapped, and support the British Humanist Associations campaign:

http://www.justgiving.com/nofaithschools

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Good article on the 'death' of British Christianity

This is a good read:

The slow, whiny death of British Christianity

Now that only six percent of British people regularly attend a religious service, it's only natural that we should dismantle the massive amounts of tax money and state power that are automatically given to the religious to wield over the rest of us.


Couldn't agree more with that, it really is time to make some changes regarding religion if only to save that money. We're all going to suffer from Govt cuts soon. Lots about faith schools in that piece also, which I've always been dead against. I think next week there is a new Richard Dawkins programme on C4 called 'Age of Reason' which tackles faith schools. Should be good, and he always makes good arguments, but I do wonder if a lot of people switch off when they see his name attached to anything. Reading his latest book 'The Greatest Show On Earth' about the evidence for evolution now and it is a cracker.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Some light reading

A quick post to recommend a couple of excellent books I read recently (hello my one follower ;) ):

Why Does E=mc²? by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw

First of all, what a great title! Why does E=mc²? Well as I'm sure everyone knows it's all part of Einstein's special theory of relativity which has always been a bit of a mind-bender. Once you learn about it though, it isn't all that weird. Ok, it is, but it's not too tough to get it - and this is probably the best book I've read in terms of explaining it all simply. You will feel about a million percent more cleverer once you've read it :)

From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time by Sean Carroll

If relativity doesn't trouble you then Sean Carroll's investigation into the nature of time will completely bake your noodle. The book deals in some depth with the concept of entropy, which seems straightforward at first but I still wake up with the sweats thinking about it. A big book with big ideas about not only time, but how the universe bagn and how it might end... brilliant.