Friday

Assange expects Ecuador embassy stay for up to a year. - Antitheists




Assange expects Ecuador embassy stay for up to a year





Talks over Assange's fate resumed this week, and Ecuador's government said it was optimistic it will be able to strike a deal with Britain for Assange to receive guarantees he would not be further extradited from Sweden to the United States.

Ecuador granted him asylum earlier this month saying that it shares his fears that he could face charges in the United States over the publication in 2010 by WikiLeaks of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

"I think the situation will be solved through diplomacy ... The Swedish government could drop the case. I think this is the most likely scenario. Maybe after a thorough investigation of what happened they could drop the case," Assange told Ecuador's Gama television network in comments dubbed into Spanish.

"I think this will be solved in between six and 12 months; that's what I estimate," he said in the interview, which was recorded earlier this week inside the embassy.

Britain says it is legally obliged to extradite Assange to Sweden, and that it will not allow the 41-year-old Australian to leave the embassy and travel to the South American country.

But Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said on Wednesday he was optimistic the British government would agree to give Assange written guarantees that he would not be extradited from Sweden to any third country.

Ecuador has said that if Assange received such assurances, he would decline its offer of asylum and hand himself over to Swedish prosecutors. Asked during the interview if he could travel to Sweden under those conditions, he was non-committal.

"At some point, if the way has been paved ... it would not be correct to hold me in prison (in Sweden) without charges."

He did not mention the allegations of rape and sexual assault made against him by two WikiLeaks supporters in 2010.

A veiled British threat to enter the embassy to arrest Assange angered Ecuador's President Rafael Correa. But the leftist leader said last weekend that the threat had later been lifted and he considered the "unfortunate incident" over.

In another sign of thawing tensions, Ecuador's Vice President Lenin Moreno met British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Wednesday, but any deal looks likely to take time.

"Given Ecuador's position on what they call diplomatic asylum and our very clear legal position, such a solution is not in sight at the moment," Hague told the BBC on Thursday. (Reuters)
________________________________________________________________
UK wants to resume talks with Ecuador over Assange
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Correa the most popular leader of Ecuador by a long stretch.



For the entire series of "The World Tomorrow" with Assange interviewing people not usually interviewed and broadcast by Russia Today, see the playlist below.

Tuesday

David Attenborough On Creationists And God - Antitheist Blog



'My response is that when creationists talk about god creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, that's going to make him blind. And I ask them, are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child's eyeball? Because that doesn't seem to me to coincide with a god who's full of mercy.'



What are your views on vegetarianism? Michael Steer, student, Barnsley, South Yorkshire

I think that if there is such a thing as biological morality, you might say that we evolved as omnivores. We don't have long guts like a cow to digest nothing but vegetation. We have molars, which are there to grind up, but we also have canine teeth, which are good for eating meat. So I think that, biologically, we evolved as omnivores and not as vegetarians. However, as I get older, I get more and more distressed about what I discover about the way that animals are killed [for meat]. There are other reasons for being vegetarian as the world starves – you can get much more sustenance from vegetation than from feeding that vegetation to animals and eating the meat. But I am not a vegetarian myself.

Wednesday

My Brother’s Keeper? Compassion predicts generosity more among less religious Individuals. - Antitheist


My Brother’s Keeper? Compassion predicts generosity more among less religious Individuals.


“Love thy neighbor” is preached frequently by the religious. But new research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that the highly religious are less motivated by compassion when helping a stranger than are atheists, agnostics and non religious people.

Study finds highly religious people are less motivated by compassion to show generosity than are non-believers.

In three experiments, social scientists found that compassion consistently drove less religious people to be more generous. For highly religious people, however, compassion was largely unrelated to how generous they were, according to the findings which are published in the most recent online issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.


The results challenge a widespread assumption that acts of generosity and charity are largely driven by feelings of empathy and compassion, researchers said. In the study, the link between compassion and generosity was found to be stronger for those who identified as being non-religious or less religious.

“Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not,” said UC Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer, a co-author of the study. “The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns.”

Compassion is defined in the study as an emotion felt when people see the suffering of others which then motivates them to help, often at a personal risk or cost.

While the study examined the link between religion, compassion and generosity, it did not directly examine the reasons for why highly religious people are less compelled by compassion to help others. However, researchers hypothesize that deeply religious people may be more strongly guided by a sense of moral obligation than their more non-religious counterparts.

“We hypothesized that religion would change how compassion impacts generous behavior,” said study lead author Laura Saslow, who conducted the research as a doctoral student at UC Berkeley.

Saslow, who is now a postdoctoral scholar at UC San Francisco, said she was inspired to examine this question after an altruistic, nonreligious friend lamented that he had only donated to earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti after watching an emotionally stirring video of a woman being saved from the rubble, not because of a logical understanding that help was needed.

“I was interested to find that this experience – an atheist being strongly influenced by his emotions to show generosity to strangers – was replicated in three large, systematic studies,” Saslow said.

In the first experiment, researchers analyzed data from a 2004 national survey of more than 1,300 American adults. Those who agreed with such statements as “When I see someone being taken advantage of, I feel kind of protective towards them” were also more inclined to show generosity in random acts of kindness, such as loaning out belongings and offering a seat on a crowded bus or train, researchers found.

When they looked into how much compassion motivated participants to be charitable in such ways as giving money or food to a homeless person, non-believers and those who rated low in religiosity came out ahead: “These findings indicate that although compassion is associated with pro-sociality among both less religious and more religious individuals, this relationship is particularly robust for less religious individuals,” the study found.

In the second experiment, 101 American adults watched one of two brief videos, a neutral video or a heartrending one, which showed portraits of children afflicted by poverty. Next, they were each given 10 “lab dollars” and directed to give any amount of that money to a stranger. The least religious participants appeared to be motivated by the emotionally charged video to give more of their money to a stranger.

“The compassion-inducing video had a big effect on their generosity,” Willer said. “But it did not significantly change the generosity of more religious participants.”

In the final experiment, more than 200 college students were asked to report how compassionate they felt at that moment. They then played “economic trust games” in which they were given money to share – or not – with a stranger. In one round, they were told that another person playing the game had given a portion of their money to them, and that they were free to reward them by giving back some of the money, which had since doubled in amount.

Those who scored low on the religiosity scale, and high on momentary compassion, were more inclined to share their winnings with strangers than other participants in the study.

“Overall, this research suggests that although less religious people tend to be less trusted in the U.S., when feeling compassionate, they may actually be more inclined to help their fellow citizens than more religious people,” Willer said.

In addition to Saslow and Willer, other co-authors of the study are UC Berkeley psychologists Dacher Keltner, Matthew Feinberg and Paul Piff; Katharine Clark at the University of Colorado, Boulder; and Sarina Saturn at Oregon State University.

The study was funded by grants from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley’s Center for the Economics and Demography of Aging, and the Metanexus Institute.

Tuesday

Lemon Tree - Antitheist Blog.



A Palestinian widow, who lives on the border between Israel and the West Bank, is suddenly forced to fight for her lemon grove when the Israeli Defense Minister moves to a house next door. The Israeli Secret Service regards the grove a threat to the Minister and his wife, and obtains permits to uproot the widow's lemon trees. Although very symbolic, the film is actually based on true events.

When released in Israel 2008 the film was not greeted very warmly. Since its release internationally 2009 it has been nominated for multiple awards and is critically highly acclaimed.


Entering embassy 'suicide' for UK - Antitheist Blog



It would be "suicide for Great Britain" if authorities tried to enter Ecuador's embassy in London to reach Julian Assange, the country's president has said.
Rafael Correa said that if the British authorities forced their way into the London site to arrest the WikiLeaks founder, then other people should be able to gain access to British embassies in foreign countries.

Mr Assange, who is wanted in Sweden for questioning on sexual assault allegations, has been seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for two months, sparking a diplomatic row between the South American country and the UK.

Speaking on state television, Mr Correa said such a course of action would be "suicide for Great Britain because then people could enter their diplomatic premises all around the world and they wouldn't be able to say a thing."
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He added: "While the United Kingdom hasn't retracted nor apologised, the danger still exists.
"Remember that David beat Goliath. And with many Davids it's easier to bring down a number of Goliaths.
"So we're hoping for clear and coherent backing because this violates all inter-American law, all international law, the Vienna Convention and all diplomatic traditions of the last, at least, 300 years on a global scale."

Foreign ministers from across South America have called for dialogue between the two countries, issuing a statement of support for Ecuador following the meeting of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) in the country.

In the statement, released after the 20-minute meeting, the ministers "condemned the threat of the use of force between states" and reiterated "the right of states to concede asylum".
Unasur's meeting was held a day after Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Argentina endorsed Ecuador's asylum decision. Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Chile are among Latin American nations that have not taken a stand.

Copyright © 2012 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

Sunday

Stephen Fry - The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive - Antitheist Atheist



Stephen Fry - The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive.

Stephen Fry presents this documentary exploring the disease of manic depression; a little understood but potentially devastating condition affecting an estimated two percent of the population.
Stephen embarks on an emotional journey to meet fellow sufferers, and discuss the literal highs and lows of being bi-polar.
Celebrities such as Carrie Fisher and Richard Dreyfuss invite the comedian into their home to relate their stories.

Also Stephen looks into the lives of ordinary people trying to deal with the illness at work and home, and of course to the people studying manic depression in an effort to better control it. A fascinating, moving and ultimately very entertaining Emmy Award-winning programme.


Cure For Love - Antitheists


Cure For Love






Sad film documenting how some Evangelical Christians think they can cure being gay. They are oblivious to the self hate they are promoting in some young people through telling them how disgusting and sinful they are. This is especially noxious when you consider the disproportionate number of teen suicides being gay teen suicides.

The church and these teachings without doubt help contribute to this number of teen suicides being gay and have the blood of those young people on their hands. Several young people having tried suicide speak candidly about how they reached that point, with one young man wanting to sever his own genitals.


In the evangelical mind all people are sinful and require saving and re-saving. Quite a disturbing watch. So much for unconditional love, unconditional love except,him, her and him over there.



Cure for Love by Francine Pelletier & by Christina Willings, National Film Board of Canada

The Perfect Vagina - Antitheists

Vagina.

We all come from the vagina, and what a mighty great thing the vagina is. There is an increasing trend for vagina surgery and it's quite sad to think women rather than being happy with their genitals are opting to go under the knife.



This documentary explores this growing trend and hopefully shows women that their bits are as unique as they are and there is no such thing as the perfect vagina and having surgery carries risks to fix a problem that doesn't existed.

Like the husband of the presenter in the film, I can't think of a conversation ever about a 'bad fanny' and the idea of a perfect vagina is more likely born from pictures of vaginas that are not that natural looking to start with.

Thursday

Intelligence Squared - Atheism is the new fundamentalism - Antitheist

Intelligence Squared Debate - Atheism is the new fundamentalism. 



Richard Harris tells us how he feels towards certain atheist types and details his disappointment with new atheists, claiming new atheists pick the daftest areas of religion to challenge and Harris bemoans atheists for holding the idea of a Christian as a stereotypical creationist , they aren't all creationist believing types apparently. He fails in softening the fact he is a believer.

A C Grayling author of the humanist good book points out the word atheist is redundant, stating he's not afairyist or any other thing he has no belief in.  He draws the boundaries for where the believer's rights meet the rights of the non believer and promotes secularism as a positive stance for the religious and atheists.

Charles Moore says something about nothing and takes ten minutes to say it. He's rather sad and cringe worthy for some reason, maybe it's his self righteousness or perhaps his cliches, probably both. Quite rich he should be stood in opposition to fundamentalism,  with his ideas and scope being as narrow as his examples of fundamentalism.

Richard Dawkins is fourth to speak.

Saturday

Peter Greenaway Religion - Cinema - Democracy.

Peter Greenaway discusses his atheism, religion and democracy.



A great discussion, shame not longer.



Another great reason to love RT.

The youngest of all arts, cinema has nonetheless had a reach and eventful history. It’s gone through vast transformation. So much so that some artists and critics suggest it’s no more that cinema that we used to know. The legendary British filmmaker Peter Greenaway is one of those who say cinema has died. But what do we watch in the movies then? What has come in the place of that “dead cinema?"

Tuesday

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — A 3-year-old Malaysian girl was killed in a suspected exorcism ritual.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — A 3-year-old Malaysian girl was killed in a suspected exorcism ritual.




KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — A 3-year-old Malaysian girl was killed in a suspected exorcism ritual by family members who believed she was possessed by evil spirits, police said Tuesday.

Police raided a house in northern Penang state late Sunday after receiving a distress call from a family member and found a group of eight people lying on top of the girl in a bedroom, said district police chief Azman Abdul Lah.

The girl was face down under the human pile, which comprised her parents, grandmother, uncle, aunt, two cousins and their Indonesian maid, he said.

The room was dark and chanting could be heard from under a blanket covering the group, Azman said.

The girl died of suffocation, and all eight involved have been detained, he added.

Belief in the supernatural has long been entrenched among Malaysia's main Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnic communities, though occult rituals have waned in recent decades.

Deaths linked to such rituals are occasionally recorded. Two Malay cousins were sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2010 for killing the parents of one of them during a spiritual cleansing ritual in that involved beating the slain couple with brooms and motorcycle helmets.

Associated Press

Monday

Pope's Butler Likely To Stand Trial. - Antitheists

Pope's Butler Likely to Stand Trial.


Pope Benedict XVI's butler is likely to be charged with leaking confidential papers, his lawyer said Monday, days before a Vatican judge is expected to rule on whether Paolo Gabriele will stand trial.

"We expect a formal charge," lawyer Carlo Fusco told Italian news agency ANSA. The Vatican has said the decision over whether Gabriele will be charged with "aggravated theft" is expected some time between Thursday and Saturday.

The 46-year-old was arrested in May during an investigation into the leak of private papal documents to the media. He was held for 53 days in a Vatican cell before being put under house arrest in July to await the judge's decision.

The Vatican said after his arrest it had found documents and copying equipment in Gabriele's home, revelations which shocked the close-knit community of the Holy See and saddened the aged pontiff.

Fusco said his client had acted alone, denying reports that Gabriele is part of a wider whistleblowing operation aimed at shaking up the Vatican hierarchy.

Gabriele, known as Paoletto, has worked for the pope since 2006 and was one of a select few with access to Benedict's private chambers. He risks up to six years in prison but could also be pardoned by the pope.

If the trial goes ahead, it would not take place until October at the earliest, the Vatican has said.

© ANP/AFP


Thursday

Nietzsche - Antitheist Blog

Faith means not wanting to know what is true. _ Friedrich  Nietzsche.




Dalai Lama Extensive playlist. Emory University and Templeton Prize Winner 2012

Dalai Lama Extensive playlist. Emory University.




His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama returned to the Emory University campus Oct. 17-19, 2010, in his capacity as Presidential Distinguished Professor, the first university appointment accepted by the 1989 Nobel Peace Laureate and leader of the Tibetan people.

The Dalai Lama participated in a series of public events, including programs on science research and meditation, creativity and spirituality, an interfaith dialogue and a teaching for the Buddhist community on compassion.





The Dalai Lama was the 2012 Templeton Prize winner.

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader whose long-standing engagement with multiple dimensions of science and with people far beyond his own religious traditions has made him an incomparable global voice for universal ethics, nonviolence, and harmony among world religions, has won the 2012 Templeton Prize.
For decades, Tenzin Gyatso, 76, the 14th Dalai Lama - a lineage believed by followers to be the reincarnation of an ancient Buddhist leader who epitomized compassion – has vigorously focused on the connections between the investigative traditions of science and Buddhism as a way to better understand and advance what both disciplines might offer the world.
Specifically, he encourages serious scientific investigative reviews of the power of compassion and its broad potential to address the world's fundamental problems - a theme at the core of his teachings and a cornerstone of his immense popularity.
Within that search, the "big questions" he raises - such as "Can compassion be trained or taught?" – reflect the deep interest of the founder of the Templeton Prize, the late Sir John Templeton, in seeking to bring scientific methods to the study of spiritual claims and thus foster the spiritual progress that the Prize has recognized for the past 40 years.
The announcement was made this morning online at www.templetonprize.org, via email to journalists, and on Twitter via @TempletonPrize by the Templeton Prize office of the John Templeton Foundation in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
The Prize will be presented to the Dalai Lama at a ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral in London on the afternoon of Monday, May 14. A news conference with the 2012 Prize Laureate will precede the ceremony. Both events will be webcast live at www.templetonprize.org and to global media on a pool basis. Photography from the events will also be pooled.
Valued at £1.1 million (about $1.7 million or €1.3 million), the prize is the world's largest annual monetary award given to an individual and honors a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life's spiritual dimension.
The announcement praised the Dalai Lama for his life's work in building bridges of trust in accord with the yearnings of countless millions of people around the globe who have been drawn by the charismatic icon's appeal to compassion and understanding for all.
"With an increasing reliance on technological advances to solve the world's problems, humanity also seeks the reassurance that only a spiritual quest can answer," said Dr. John M. Templeton, Jr., president and chairman of the John Templeton Foundation and son of the late Prize founder. "The Dalai Lama offers a universal voice of compassion underpinned by a love and respect for spiritually relevant scientific research that centers on every single human being."
He also noted that the Dalai Lama's remarkable record of intellectual, moral and spiritual innovations is clearly recognized by the nine Prize judges, who represent a wide range of disciplines, cultures and religious traditions. The Prize judges evaluate - independently of each other - typically 15 to 20 nominated candidates each year and then individually submit separate ballots - from which a tally then determines the selection of each year's Laureate.
The Dalai Lama responded to the prize in the humble style that has become his signature. "When I heard today your decision to give me this quite famous award, I really felt this is another sign of recognition about my little service to humanity, mainly nonviolence and unity around different religious traditions," he said in a video available at www.templetonprize.org.
In other brief videos on the Prize website, the Dalai Lama elaborates on key issues including his call for humanity to embrace compassion as a path to peace, both personally and on a global scale. "You can develop genuine sense of concern of well-being of others, including your enemy,” he states in one video. "That kind of compassion - unbiased, unlimited - needs training, awareness."
The Right Reverend Michael Colclough, Canon Pastor at St. Paul's Cathedral, welcomed this event: "A non-violent voice of peace and reason in a calamitous world, the Dalai Lama represents core values cherished by many different faiths. The award of the Templeton Prize to the Dalai Lama under the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral will be a reminder that working towards peace and harmony is a practical and spiritual challenge to all faith communities."
The Dalai Lama is no stranger to honors and accolades, with scores to his name. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his advocacy of nonviolence as the path to liberation for Tibet. He becomes the second Templeton Prize Laureate to have also received the Nobel Peace Prize; Mother Teresa received the first Templeton Prize in 1973, six years before her Nobel.
He often notes that the rigorous commitment of Buddhists to meditative investment and reflection similarly follows the strict rules of investigation, proof and evidence required of science.
Among his most successful efforts is the Mind & Life Institute, co-founded in 1987 to create collaborative research between science and Buddhism. The Institute hosts conferences on subjects such as contemplative science, destructive and healing emotions, and consciousness and death. While initially beginning as quiet academic affairs, they have evolved into enormously popular public events.
In 2005, after a series of dialogues at Stanford University among the Dalai Lama, scientists in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and medicine, and contemplative scholars, the university became the home of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. The interdisciplinary discourse recognized that engagement between cognitive sciences and Buddhist contemplative traditions could contribute to understanding of the human mind and emotion. The center now supports and conducts rigorous scientific studies of compassion and altruistic behavior.


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