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Member since: Sat Jul 3, 2010, 12:24 PM
Number of posts: 19,705

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Gagarin's Falsified Flight Record

On April 12, 1961, the world met Yuri Gagarin, a former Soviet Air Force pilot who shot from obscurity to international fame after making one full orbit around the Earth in his Vostok 1 spacecraft.

But the mission records the Soviet Union submitted to international authorities to secure Gagarin's place as the first man in space present a very different mission. Specifically, his landing was deliberately falsified. During the year, lies about the Vostok landing system called into question whether or not Vostok 1 deserved its place as history's first spaceflight at all.

In 1905, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI, known as the International Air Sports Federation in English) was established to manage and maintain all records of accomplishments in aviation. By the 1950s, the FAI had grown to include aeronautic and astronautic categories under its umbrella. With spaceflight on the horizon, the organization established a set of guidelines for what constitutes a spaceflight -- if two nations were going to vie for the record of first in space, the FAI should have clear rules to determine a winner.

The terms of spaceflight reflected the organization's roots in aviation. For a flight to count, the pilot-astronaut or pilot-cosmonaut would have to land with his spacecraft. After all, if a pilot fails to land with his aircraft, it's usually because something has gone wrong and the flight has been a failure. Why should spaceflight be any different?

The Soviet Union statement presented to the FAI stated that the cosmonaut had landed inside Vostok 1 as per the organization's guidelines on spaceflight. Signed by the sports commissar of the USSR, the document asserts that "at 10:55 a.m. Moscow time on the 12th of April 1961 ... the pilot-cosmonaut Yuri Alexeyvich Gagarin landed with the 'Vostok' spaceship."

He hadn't. He couldn't have even if he'd wanted to.

The Vostok spacecraft was basic and unsophisticated and lacked a braking system. Gagarin did as he was trained to do: He ejected during the final phase of his descent. He and Vostok 1 touched down separately by parachutes.


Very interesting. Entire story at link.

Incomplete Pass: Tim Tebow Says America Based on ‘One Nation Under God’

New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow, already a polarizing figure, has given anyone who favors church-state separation reason to be uneasy about him.

On Easter Sunday, Tebow participated in a question-and-answer session at Celebration Church, a megachurch in Georgetown, Texas. News reports said 15,000 people attended the service at which Tebow spoke, and he said plenty of benign things, like “it’s ok to be outspoken about your faith.”

But one thing Tebow said is problematic from a church-state standpoint.

In response to an inquiry about what needs to change in America, he said, “First and foremost is what this country was based on: one nation under God. The more that we can get back to that [the better].”

I wonder which God he’s talking about.


And JUST when I had decided to look past his religious BS and see him as a pro football player. Fuck. That. Guy.

Last Supper? Pshaw. Here's the last words...

Andrew Sullivan: Politicization of Christianity fuels atheism in U.S.

Columnist and author Andrew Sullivan said Sunday that atheism was growing in the United States because more and more people saw Christianity as an organization intent on gaining political power.

“I think our ability to be reasonable in politics and faithful in religion, and to keep those two things separate, has atrophied to the great disadvantage of religion,” he said during a panel discussion on CBS News’ Face the Nation.

Two other members of the panel, Dr. Richard Land and Rev. Luis Cortes, had said that the separation of church and state was meant to prevent the government from infringing on faith. But it was not meant to prohibit religion from influencing the government.

“What has happened since 1960 is that organized groups, like the Southern Baptist Council and other religious groups, have in fact become self-consciously political,” Sullivan explained.

“They have become fused with one political party, the Republican Party — a party that is now defined by a particular religious faith, evangelicalism or far-right Catholic hierarchy. And that is making many people feel that faith in Jesus is about politics and power and partisanship, in ways that’s turning off an entire generation. The biggest growth in any belief sector in this country in the last ten years has been atheism.”


Man, that shit is great for your core!

Teaching Skepticism In Science Classes Instead Of Facts

Every few years, an international test is given and American students finish in the middle of the pack. They went up during the 2000s but American kids have never been at the top - international students learn facts and American kids learn 'how to think'. Americans were 11th out of 12 countries taking the international assessment the first time it was given in the early 1960s. They are not testing what American students are learning.

Given the rampant criticism educators, the government and students get from cultural pundits ('dismal', 'being left behind', etc.) each time one of those assessments is given, it seems like a non-starter to try and change education to teach more critical thinking.

But a group is trying. They call it the 8+1 Science concept and it calls for a radical overhaul in K-12 schools that moves even farther away from memorizing scientific facts and puts more focus on helping students understand eight fundamental science concepts. The "plus one" is the importance of inquiry, the practice of asking why things happen around us – and a fundamental part of science.

The 8+1 concepts were derived from two basic questions: What are things made of and how do systems interact and change? The eight concepts are: atoms, cells, radiation, systems change, forces, energy, conservation of mass and energy, and variation. Traditionally, science in the United States has been taught in separate classes for chemistry, biology and physics, without clear connections being made between the subjects. The 8+1 effort encourages K-12 teachers to use the eight science concepts to build understanding within and between their courses as students advance through the grades.


Read the rest at the link.

Did the Easter Bunny egg Jesus?

The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

(CNN)– Timothy Freke was flipping through an old academic book when he came across a religious image that some would call obscene. It was a drawing of a third-century amulet depicting a naked man nailed to a cross. The man was born of a virgin, preached about being “born again” and had risen from the dead after crucifixion, Freke says.

But the name on the amulet wasn’t Jesus. It was a pseudonym for Osiris-Dionysus, a pagan god in ancient Mediterranean culture. Freke says the amulet was evidence of something that sounds like sacrilege – and some would say it is: that Jesus never existed. He was a myth created by first-century Jews who modeled him after other dying and resurrected pagan gods, says Freke, author of "The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?"

“If I said to you that there was no real Good Samaritan, I don’t think anyone would be outraged,” says Freke, one of a group of mythicists who say Jesus never existed. “It’s a teaching story. What we’re saying is that the Jesus story is an allegory. It’s a parable of the spiritual journey.” On this Easter Sunday, millions of Christians worldwide will mark the resurrection of Jesus. Though Christians clash over many issues, almost all agree that he existed.

But there is another view of Jesus that’s been emerging, one that strikes at the heart of the Easter story. A number of authors and scholars say Jesus never existed. Such assertions could have been ignored in an earlier age. But in the age of the Internet and self-publishing, these arguments have gained enough traction that some of the world’s leading New Testament scholars feel compelled to publicly take them on.


All In, Balls Out for Easter

It falls upon me, the resident Heathen here at PoliticusUSA, to say a few words about Easter. Why a Heathen? Because at its heart, Easter is as much a Heathen as a Christian holiday, with intertwining themes few seldom bother to try to disentangle. It’s just accepted, I guess, that a dead Jew and brightly colored eggs and bunny rabbits go together. If you’re satisfied with that, fine, go read something else. Otherwise, stick with me for a few minutes.

First, my objections: I’ve never seen so many pictures – often quite gruesome – of dead guys as at this time of the year. For a non-Christian it’s a hard-sell, Easter. We hear people around us, online, on the television, all talking about the “holiday weekend” but it isn’t really a holiday, is it? And isn’t celebrating a holiday about rebirth with images of death kinda sick? It’s almost as if some of these Christians, like a bunch of Mel Gibson wannabes, compete to see who can post the bloodiest Jesus. Yay! They nailed him to a cross! Look at all the blood! Whoopee! People pass these pictures around via social networking as though they were photos of their newborns and with the same sort of ecstatic glee. Note: this is the time of year, if you’re so inclined, to “un-friend” people because of religion, even if they are family.

And then there are the eggs. Eggs everywhere, mixed with the blood and gore, and I’m trying to figure out as a little boy what eggs and cute bunny rabbits have to do with dead saviors nailed to crosses. The cacophony of sounds and images is too much for my Heathen brain even now. It’s all as discordant as Madonna sensuously writhing while she sings about being a virgin. Not to insult anybody’s beliefs but isn’t enough, enough? I hear complaints about a war on Christian belief but how about a war on my sanity? You can’t have all my Heathenism and claim you’re celebrating a Christian holiday. I’m sorry, but you just can’t. Not without me having my say.

Look, stripped to its core you have a story about Jesus that has little or nothing to do with the historical Jewish Jesus, and a later layer of Gentile Christian belief about a Jesus who is a God and not a dead Galilean Jew, and a bunch of Heathen themes cut and pasted onto it. Easter itself, as a name, is taken from a Heathen goddess, Eostre/Ostara, whom modern Heathens still remember this time of year for reasons of spring and fertility. Jesus, manifestly has nothing to do with fertility. Neither, arguably, does his mother, since Catholics insist the woman was pure her entire life. I mean, fertility doesn’t even enter into the whole Jesus spiel. As we Scandinavian Americans say, Uff da!


Easter ain’t just for Jesus, kids. So this Easter Sunday, as you look at your little Heathen eggs and bunnies, remember your Gods and do them proper sacrifice. If you really want to do due justice to Easter/Eostre, be, as the song says, “all in, balls out” because that’s how a Heathen approaches life, and Easter in its Heathen manifestation is about just that: life. Don’t let ‘em fool ya: remember the fertility gospel this spring.


Read the rest at the link.

Welcome to the Loony Bin...

Although some might call it R&T! (On edit: and by "some might call it R&T, I mean that this exact same argument is frequently made in R&T about one person being mentally ill while another is simply just religious. I am NOT calling R&T nor anyone IN R&T, "loony"
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