Friday, September 19, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Support House Bill 4110

We are currently in the process of putting up a website to support the consolidated Reproductive Health Care Act now filed in the 14th Congress. Once it’s setup, we’ll let everybody know. Please keep yourself informed by reading the bill yourself first-hand and maybe you can write your congressman to express your support for this very important but still pending legislation.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Greatest Show on Earth

And so the 2008 Beijing Olympics finally begins with the Opening Ceremony! And what a spectacular show! To those that missed it, I highly recommend that you watch it on Youtube, TV replays, or any other way you get your hands on it.

The whole show was an attempt to distill 5,000 years of Chinese culture and civilization into a couple of hours, and I must say it was superb! The start was exhilirating as 2008 drummers performed the countdown with lighted Fou drums, followed by a splendid fireworks display, one part showing huge pyrotechnic footprints making their way to the Bird's Nest.

The show encompasses diverse themes including world peace, global harmony, environmental awareness, and science and technology. And who could forget Li Ning's astounding aerial run in the lighting of the Olympic Torch? It made me very, VERY proud to be Chinese.

One thing's for sure, the organizers for the 2012 London Olympics have their work cut out for them.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Here Be Dragons

Brian Dunning, host of the skeptical podcast Skeptoid, has produced a well-made and well thought out movie, a sort of primer on skepticism. It's entitled Here be Dragons. You can download it for free at the website or you can view it on YouTube.

It lays out skepticism and what it's all about in easy to understand terms. Whether you're an atheist or not, it's a good movie to watch to learn more about critical thinking, and how it can help us in a world full of snake oil salesmen and pseudoscience.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Religion, Tolerance, and Respect

Blogger PZ Myers has been getting a lot of flak lately from the religious and religious apologists for stating that he wants to "disrespect a cracker".

I'll repeat what he said: "IT'S A FRACKING CRACKER!!!"

Yes catholics, it's really just a cracker. It's not REALLY the body of your savior. How can it be? Do you really eat Jesus everytime you have communion? And that grape juice you're drinking, no it's not his blood either. If you really, really, REALLY believe it's Jesus flesh and blood you're eating and drinking, then DAMN, you're a cannibalistic vampire!

PZ's mailbox has gotten overloaded with hate mail from christians, some just wanting to pray for him, but most want him fired, or worse, want him dead! Some are even threatening harm to his family! WOW! How's that for a religion that supposedly teaches peace, love, and harmony? The Islamic Fundies don't sound that bad after all!

If you want your beliefs to be tolerated and respected, then first, you yourself must learn to tolerate others' beliefs (or non-beliefs). Second, you must show that your religion is actually worthy of that respect you demand.

The problem is, most religious sermons are highly intolerant and outright disrespectful of others who do not believe the same. Is saying "those who do not believe in our god are going to burn in hell!" or "There can be no morality without god" more tolerant and respectful than someone taking home a cracker? If you're willing to criticize others for their non-belief, then be prepared to accept criticism of yours.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The problem is poverty, not population???

Say again Mr. Pabillo? Population is not the problem? How do you propose to eradicate poverty if the population keeps rising at the current rate? Where will you get the jobs? How will you provide education? Has it ever occurred to you that MAYBE, too many children, especially those that are not planned for, can be a burden, both financially and emotionally?

Of course, for a priest who cannot have children (yeah right), you don't really know what it's like. Your pope is being hailed as the "Green Pope", someone who says that good catholics should try their best to preserve the Earth. How are you helping by shifting the blame away from overpopulation?

How about asking your big bosses to release the massive amount of money they have to REALLY help the poor, instead of lavishing it on themselves? How about building homes for these people instead of building grand churches? How about giving them jobs instead of throwing pennies at them?

Instead of yapping about your dogma, why not propose REAL solutions? I think the most glaring fact here is that the Church is part of the problem. Please Mr. Pabillo, stop embarassing yourself and your business associates.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Catholic Church Blackmailing Politicians

Here we go again, this time, they're getting bolder. Recently, the Catholic Church has threatened to forbid giving the holy communion to politicians who will support the reproductive health bill. Some are even going so far as to say that refusing communion to them would be an act of love. Yes, just like baptizing the Aztecs before killing them was an act of love. right?

If any of you are concerned at all about the welfare of our country and it's people, please, write your local representative and tell them they NEED to support this bill, regardless of what some men in goofy robes tell them. They have no other argument except for their particular interpretation of a cherry-picked statement from their holy book. These men are NOT their god.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Any chance they'll show this movie here?

I'm not holding my breath, but I hope they do. :)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The System

Here's an excellent show by Derren Brown showing us how we can easily be fooled into thinking that the impossible is possible.

He shows us that seeing is not always believing, and that personal experience is severely limited and cannot be extrapolated over a large number of people.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The importance of critical thinking

Yesterday I got a text message and it reads like this:
U.S. GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY PREDICTS A 6.8 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE WILL HIT PHILIPPINE PLATES TONIGHT. PLEASE BE CALM AND ALERT. This text message comes from Hawaii State Emergency Preparedness Office. Pls pass (no harm in being prepared). pls pray
Now I'm pretty sure many people were scared (and rightly so) and passed it onto family and friends. But is there really any merit to it? This is where critical thinking helps. Here's are some of the red flags raised by this bogus message:

1.) There's no such thing as U.S. Geological Society. There's the U.S. Geological Survey, and they certainly don't make any specific predictions.

2.) There's no such thing as the Hawaii State Emergency Preparedness Office.

3.) There is no technology that accurately predicts earthquakes. The fact that this states a specific time (last night) and a specific magnitude (6.8) should also raise a red flag.

It irks me that there are people who are willing to create a panic and spread fear for a cheap laugh. True, there is no harm in being prepared, but there is plenty of potential harm in creating a panic.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It takes religion

I am stunned at this. What does it take to be able to do something so horrific?

For Abdel-Qader Ali there is only one regret: that he did not kill his daughter at birth. 'If I had realised then what she would become, I would have killed her the instant her mother delivered her,' he said with no trace of remorse.
Wow! And what crime did his daughter commit?

Two weeks after The Observer revealed the shocking story of Rand Abdel-Qader, 17, murdered because of her infatuation with a British soldier in Basra, southern Iraq, her father is defiant.
For an INFATUATION with a British soldier???? What's even worse, the brothers helped kill their sister! Having a daughter myself, I cannot imagine wanting to kill my own. Even if god was real, I would rather defy him than kill my own daughter just because he says so, because any god that imposes such barbaric rules is evil himself, and deserves to be rejected.

What's worse is that even though he was arrested, he was released after two hours, and the police actually CONGRATULATED him! Is this the kind of sick and twisted society that a "religion of peace" brings?

One thing's for sure, there won't be any Muslims rioting in the streets in protest of this horrendous and evil act. If a child dies because of ridiculous beliefs happens to a Christian family, you'd certainly see the backlash from other Christians...

...or would you?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Pope with a rap sheet?

Someone just filed criminal charges on the Pope.

MANILA, Philippines -- A lawyer filed on Tuesday a criminal complaint before the Manila prosecutor's office accusing Pope Benedict XVI and Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales of human rights violations, including alleged disturbance of public order, swindling and teaching immoral doctrines.

Elly Pamatong claimed the Pope and Rosales "have been arrogantly, oppressively and offensively mounting loudspeakers on church rooftops, towers, belfries and trees that are blaring with monotonous false dogmas and doctrines."

"They have been disturbing the peace and quiet of non-Catholics throughout the country," he said in his complaint.

Among others things, Pamatong wants the court to rule that those who will not respect the rights of non-Catholics to live in peace "be deported to the Vatican and forever barred from entering the country."

However, I don't know if this is the same Ely Pamatong as the infamous Spike Boy, who wreaked havoc on EDSA last June 2004. If he's one and the same, he has no right to complain about "disturbing the peace". Can't say I don't agree with him on the "monotonous false dogmas and doctrines" thing, though.

Monday, April 28, 2008

"Science leads to killing people" - Ben Stein

What a sorry excuse for a human being. Ben Stein = BS.

Hypocrisy rears it's ugly head again

From an article in the Inquirer:

“For an official of the Roman Catholic Church, the commission of a homosexual act is the real issue behind the rectal surgery in Cebu City that exploded into a scandal on YouTube.

Msgr. Achilles Dakay, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, Wednesday said the doctors and nurses who had made fun of an anesthetized male patient in the operation room of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) and uploaded a video of the surgery on YouTube should not be blamed solely for the scandal.

“We are asking everyone not to forget or to bypass the main issue: the wrong act of a guy with another man,” Dakay said in an interview over the Church-run Radio Veritas. “People are not talking about what happened before the operation—the homosexual act that was done very badly.”

A homosexual act done badly? I suppose a priest would know how to do it correctly. Their kind have had plenty of experience with little boys.

Mr. Dakay (I won't call you monsignor because it means nothing to me), that is not the real issue here. Granted, what the patient did was disturbing to say the least, and allowing someone to shove something up your ass is pretty stupid, but THAT'S NOT THE REAL ISSUE HERE. The issue was that the doctors disrespected the privacy rights of the patient. Does it matter that it was the result of a homosexual act? If he was the victim of a car crash, would it then be acceptable to upload the video on Youtube?

Mr. Dakay, I would suggest you focus your energies on what goes on behind the curtains in your own organization. You'll find plenty to be disappointed about there.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Silly Signs #1

U-turn?? Or No U-Turn???

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Expelled Exposed

The most recent anti-science, anti-evolution attempt by the horribly misnamed Discovery Institute is a trashbag of a movie called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. For those who do not know, The Discovery Institute is an organization in the U.S. that aims to further fundamentalist religious propaganda, more specifically, Creationism.

The deception and dishonesty starts even BEFORE the movie was being produced. First it sets up a shell company called Rampant Films to hide the real company behind it, Premise Media. Then they proceed to lie to the scientists they wanted to interview for the movie, saying that the movie was entitled "Crossroads", and that it was an unbiased look at evolution and creationism. They later claim that it was during filming that they changed the title of the movie. However, when the website of Expelled went up, it was found that they registered for the url MONTHS before they started interviewing the scientists. I guess lying and deceiving are sins unless they are done in Jesus' name huh?

What's even worse, they EXPELLED biologist and Intelligent Design critic PZ Myers (who was one of the scientists duped for an interview in the movie) from attending one of their screenings in Minnesota. The film does all it can to appeal to free speech, freedom to dissent, and freedom of thought (yeah religion sure values those things). How ironic then, that they go through every effort to keep critics out of any public screenings; and they suck at it too!

The movie was chockfull of logical fallacies, disinformation, and just plain bad taste. It was so bad, they had to PAY people to watch it! Rumor has it though, that they've already started on a sequel. :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lies, damn lies, and marketing

Younger cells, younger you???

Enhances normal cell regeneration? What the heck does that mean? Do they make you renew your cells faster? That would be the most likely conclusion because they claim to make your cells "younger". That would mean that your cells will die younger, and the telomeres at the ends of your DNA shortens faster too. In the end, that would also mean that YOU WILL DIE YOUNGER TOO.

Of course, this is all bullcrap. You won't really die early by taking this product, because vitamins and minerals won't do squat to "enhance normal cell regeneration". All it does is make your piss more expensive.

This just illustrates that the majority of advertising will say ANYTHING to sell you a product. Never mind that what they claimed, if true, will end up killing you faster. Whatever happened to "Truth in Advertising"?

What's even worse is that they copied the name of a parody medicine for a parody disorder.

Another example of crappy journalism

Another prime example of how the media loves to jump on the bandwagon without doing much research.

Supposedly, a 13 year old German boy calculated that there is a 1-in-450 chance of Apophis, an asteroid, hitting Earth in 2036, as opposed to NASA's 1-in-45,000. Supposedly, NASA has corresponded with this boy and has revised their calculations because he was right.

Turns out, it wasn't true.

It's a sad case of very bad sensational journalism. I mean, how hard is it to pick up a phone and call NASA to verify these claims??? Just shows how the media would do anything to sell a story. We all love these David and Goliath stories, of how a 13 year old boy trumps nerdy scientists and big bad government, but the truth is, it doesn't really happen.

Even worse, they're acting like this was a prediction of a doomsday scenario. Sure 1-in-450 sounds so scary compared to 1-in-45,000, but if your doctor told you that you only have a 1-in-450 chance of living past tomorrow, would you jump for joy? 1-in-450 translates to 0.002%! That's a tiny TINY fraction! It's the same as the percentage of effort used by the media to check the veracity of their reports.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Farewell Arthur C. Clarke...

Today is a sad day for all science and science fiction fans. World famous science fiction writer and inventor Arthur C. Clarke died today at the age of 90. We will miss you Arthur...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Church "Modernizes" the Sins List

The Vatican just added 7 more deadly sins to the original seven.

But this brings a snicker to my lips:

Accumulating excessive wealth
Inflicting poverty
Violation of fundamental rights of human nature

WOW! Talk about looking in the mirror! Do you see the boulder in your eye? Or the HUGE wart on your nose?

Monday, March 10, 2008

They're Certainly Persistent...

Wow these guys can't get over it. Check out this photo.

Can't see it? Let's zoom in a little closer...

They "strongly oppose" the Population and Reproductive Health Management Policy. Why? Because it is deceptive? Because it endangers the lives of women and unborn children? How so? I'm willing to bet that the Church will say it promotes promiscuity and abortion. Never mind that the Church doesn't really have a good track record for treating women properly, but that's for another post.

Teaching people about reproductive health, and raising their awareness about sex is a good thing. It protects women (and men!) from disease and from unwanted pregnancy.

Does it promote promiscuity? Hardly. No one is telling the kids to go out and experiment with sex. In fact, informing them about it could possibly take away the element of curiosity, and therefore even minimize the chances. Besides, it's not like people won't try sex if they're kept ignorant about it.

Does it promote abortion? Of course not. In fact, it helps to avoid needing abortion. The more informed you are, the less chance of an unwanted pregnancy, the less need for abortion.

But as usual, the Magisterium.... I mean, the Church says, "evidence schmevidence!" They would rather put dogma and ideology over logic and reason.

Now if I was a conspiracy nut, I would say the Church is doing this on purpose, so they can keep the general populace poor and uneducated. As we all know, the main source of funds for the Church is from the masses. If the general populace were to be highly educated, God forbid that the clergy would actually have to WORK for a living. But I'm not a conspiracy nut so I wont say it. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Danish Cartoons Again...

Islam really can't take criticism very well can it? Is their faith so weak that critics must be punished with death? Plotting to kill a friggin' cartoonist? How cowardly can you get? If Allah was insulted, let him do the job. He's all powerful anyway. What's a lightning bolt to Him? Why must he depend on incompetent murderer-wannabes?

In a show of defiance, 12 Danish papers published the cartoons again. I hope that more news media around the world will join with their Danish brethren and show that they will not be cowed by threats. I for one, will show my support for them by "reprinting" the most controversial of the cartoons.
Freedom of speech and freedom from tyranny are more important than political correctness and "multicultural respect". If Islam wants to be respected, then it must show that it is worthy of the respect that they so violently demand. For now, I have nothing but contempt for these Fundamentalists of the "Religion of Peace".

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Church Protests against Sex Education (or, "What Else Is New?")

The Catholic Church is at it again. In a protest against teaching sex education in public schools, here's what Cubao Bishop Ongtioco had to say:

"[It's] not good to teach adolescents about sex... it will perpetuate sex early... results may be abortion..."

Really? So, does ignorance about sex prevent them from having sex early? I think not. On the contrary, teaching them what sex is all about will actually help prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Then the results may be abortion? That's a slippery slope fallacy. The whole point of sex education is to AVOID unwanted pregnancies, unnecessary abortions and raise the quality of life of the average Filipino. The only other reason the protesters gave was that it "violates the beliefs of the Church". A stunningly brilliant argument, I must say.

But of course, we all know that unwanted pregnancies or abortion isn't what the Church is whining about. It's about SEX, period. The Catholic Church (and most other religions for that matter) have this love-hate relationship with sex. They hate sex, and if given the chance to cut it out of the reproductive process, they'd do it. But they also love it! Especially with little boys.

A little tip to the Church, why not clean up your ranks first, then whine about the sexual morality of other people?

Fortunately, the Quezon City Councilors had the balls to ignore the protesters and the Church, and passed the bill anyway.

"It's time for family planning, because this is really a poverty issue," said Councilor Joseph Juico.

Damn right Councilor Juico! I guess there is still some hope for our country yet.

Friday, February 8, 2008

At least SOMEONE still has some sense

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is right. Believe in all the supernatural stuff you want, but please, don't ignore medical science because of it.

"Healing Priest" Father Fernando Suarez claims to be able to heal the faithful of their illnesses, and has been holding "healing masses" all over the country. Of course, the danger here is that people will forego science-based medicine in exchange for "faith healing". In fact, more than a hundred people in total have fainted and 2 people actually died during these "healing masses", something a healing priest could have easily prevented, given that the limitless power of the Lord was on hand.

Some would argue that the mere hope of a cure is good for the people; that it gives them the strength to fight. I contend that false hope is worse than no hope at all. Having no reasonable hope for a cure enables the person to better accept their plight and make do with what they have left. If I had a terminal illness and had only 6 months to live, I would strive to accept the reality and make the most of my remaining six months with my loved ones.

Having false hope only ruins what is left of the person's life. If I had false hope of a cure from Father Suarez, then I would be wasting away the remaining six months of my life chasing Father Suarez, and most probably wasted all the money I would have otherwise left to my children.

Faith healing has been omnipresent throughout human history, but the desired effect of relative good health and longevity hasn't. In fact a large study has found that prayer had absolutely no effect on heart surgery patients. In some cases, those who were prayed upon actually had more complications than those who weren't.

Science, or more particularly Medical Science, isn't perfect. but it doesn't claim to be perfect. It is, however, the best tool we have. It is no coincidence that life expectancy shot up and mortality rates went down with the advent of modern, science-based medicine. Not convinced? Check out the life expectancy of countries with almost no access to science-based medicine (i.e. the African nations).

Monday, February 4, 2008

Islam and (The Fairer) Sex

I have to say, no other mainstream religion is more misogynistic than Islam. Stoning two sisters just because they happened to be caught on videotape "with other men"? Doesn't matter that they weren't engaging in any sex. What's worse, the two women have already been punished for the "crime" of being seen with other men. 99 lashes to be exact. Now they're being tried again for the same "crime"?

Even worse, according to Islamic Law, being raped is also considered a crime. They say that it is the woman's fault for tempting men by their mere presence. What kind of sick and twisted reasoning is that?

When the Danish media published a cartoon Mohammed, Muslims all over the world went up in arms and rioted in the streets, claiming to be offended. But when crap like this happens, where are the apologists? Why don't they go out and protest? When 9/11 happened, Muslim communities around the world actually celebrated! Did we hear from the apologists? They certainly should feel insulted because these events make the "Religion of Peace" look REALLY bad.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What is Skepticology?

What is Skepticology?

Skepticology is a blog that I decided to start because I felt the need to address a lot of the scientifically unsupported distortions of reality like religion, complementary and alternative medicine, paranormal claims and such.

Why did I feel the need? Because skepticism, critical thinking and rationality are in very short supply where I live (and in many other places for that matter). I live the Philippines, where faith healers, witch doctors and fortune tellers are a pretty common part of the average Filipino's life; Where religious organizations meddle in our daily lives; Where people so readily accept supernatural explanations above scientific ones. Where scam artists and alternative medicine practitioners reign free to part the foolish (and not so foolish) from their hard-earned money.

My goal here is not to convert or convince you that your view is wrong and that my view is right. My goal is to inform, educate, and provide proof, or at least help you to ask the relevant questions about some of your particular beliefs. I will be the first to tell you NOT to take my word for it. Ask your own questions. Do your own research. Ultimately, it is you yourself who will decide what you will and will not believe.