19th July 2013 is the day of celebrations of the Pale Blue Dot, our home – Earth, named thus by the great Carl Sagan, famous cosmologist. The iconic photograph of Earth was taken by the space probe Cassini. Cassini’s image, taken in September 2006 when the spacecraft was placed, for scientific purposes, at significant remove in the shadow of Saturn, has become one of our most beloved images. This is an image (2.4mb) that draws gasps from anyone seeing it for the first time. Small wonder: In it, we behold something human eyes had never before seen … a backlit view of the full resplendent glory of Saturn’s rings during an eclipse of the Sun, the smoky blue ring created by the exhalations of the small moon, Enceladus, and … best of all … a sight of our planet, Earth, a billion miles in the distance. This is an image without peer, an image that can make one weep with joy, love, concern, an abiding sense of fellowship, and unspeakable awe.
How will we best celebrate the day of the Pale Blue Dot? Those who work on the Cassini project, including Carl Sagan’s colleague Carolyn Porco, are readying to take another iconic photograph of our home from the Cassini spacecraft, only this time with millions of us aware of the fact, and hopefully looking upwards with awe and wonder. We do not need to march down main streets of our towns and cities with plackards proclaiming the Day of the Pale Blue Dot. All we have to do on the day is give our existence and our insignificant place in the Cosmos a brief thought, maybe alone or maybe among friends. And tell as many people as we can to do the same so that that awesome achievement of Cassini team, and the image of our Earth they obtained, will become even more famous and recognized. Additionally, listen to, and have others listen to Carl Sagan’s mesmerising piece about the Pale Blue Dot and its, and our place, in the Universe.
The Pale Blue Dot.
Congratulation to Professor Richard Dawkins on being voted the Top Thinker of the year! This is truly a great achievement personally and for the atheist movement as a whole since the Professor is its leading champion, not only in Britain but across the world. Professor Dawkins has been voted in a poll by Prospect magazine and he leads an illustrious list of 65 prominent figures of science, literature, politics and economics.
Among the group are such great minds as psychologist Stephen Pinker, economist Paul Krugman, novelist Hilary Mantell and physicist Peter Higgs, as well as four Nobel Prize winners.
This huge achievement is especially significant since it demonstrates that issues of free thought, science and reason predominate in people’s minds – the selectors’ criteria were ‘influence over the past 12 months’ and ‘significance to the year’s biggest questions’.
My most favourite atheist ever, after Christopher Hitchens of course, must be Robert Green Ingersoll. In fact, I consider him to be 19th century’s own Hitch! He was a lawyer and later became a commander in the American Civil War as well as being a political activist and following his legal profession but is best remembered for his Essays and Lectures on topics of religion and his own non-belief. He was a master of oratory which he exercised on massive audiences akin to modern day pop concert crowds. He was totally unafraid to speak against the abuses of religion, origins of belief, mistakes in the Bible, and he delivered his criticism with resoluteness and wit, in a society that was much more religious than our own. In that he was a great pioneer, brave and outspoken despite the overwhelming religiosity of his era.
Although he was deemed an agnostic, I consider him an atheist, since his main conviction was non existence of gods at whom he often poked fun openly. I recommend his lectures, for example, ’The mistakes of Moses’ which you will find here. I guarantee you will get much enjoyment from listening to his rational wisdom, and you will like his compassion and humanity – oh, you simply cannot not love the man altogether!
Additionally, you might be interested to know that a new book has just been published about him. It is called “The Great Agnostic” by Susan Jacoby, and I, for one, cannot wait to read it in order to learn more about the great man himself.
I just signed the petition “Freedom for Hamza Kashgari” on Change.org.
It’s important. Will you sign it too? Here’s the link:
I am an atheist not for any fancy, intellectually complicated reasons. I simply only believe in what there is, and not in what can be imagined or analysed (and overanalysed) from an ancient text or passed on from one generation to the next as superstition. I simply refuse to be told how to live my life by primitive ideology of people for whom the wheelbarrow was the latest technological invention.
Join me if you also chose to throw off the shackles – breathe freely, reason independently, share your story. Maybe by doing it we can help others to overcome ancient fears and contribute to a better life for all!
Here’s a link if you want to check up on other people who chose to live free lives, unencumbered by any religious constraints: – http://brainz.org/50-most-brilliant-atheists-all-time/.
Welcome to Cosmic Atheist!
As you can see from the name, this blog concerns itself with atheism. Atheism, in its broadest sense, is a rejection of existence of gods. However, the blog does not limit itself to this rational conviction only. You are very welcome to join the discussion if you are an agnostic, a humanist, a skeptic, a secularist or even some other -ist. Even if you are the opposite of an atheist, namely a theist – be it Christian, Muslim or any other religion, please voice your views since a free dissemination of rational thought based on reason and science is the only way for humanity to co-exist and prosper.
Another feature of this blog is its international appeal. The recent Atheist Census carried out across the world has demonstrated that the numbers of freethinkers unafraid to be counted are growing even in radically religious regions of the globe. This is very good news for all those who are governed by reason, and what there is, rather than by imaginary deities and their pronouncements on how to conduct ourselves. If you have not signed up yet, here is the link - http://www.atheistcensus.com - Numbers matter. Be counted.
Looking forward to hearing from all who are interested in improving the world! Let’s help to banish superstition, bigotry and barbarity from our world! Let’s open the world’s eyes to the beauty of life governed by reason and driven by science! Let’s make the Pale Blue Dot shine proudly, and rationally, in the vastness of space!