I finally saw the movie Agora and would definitely recommend it to anyone who cares about the history of science, empirical thinking, and how religion has stopped the expansion of human knowledge.
It deals with the murder of philosopher Hypatia by a mob of Christians in Alexandria during the fourth century of Common Era, and with the destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria which held all the scientific knowledge that people had accumulated up until that time.
It was actually in Alexandria where scientist and philosopher Eratosthenes had speculated about the Earth being round and orbited around the sun. Eratosthenes worked at the Great Library of Alexandria and successfully calculated the circumference of the Earth two centuries before Common Era!
Another reason why we know that Egyptian scientists knew that the Earth was round is because they have found coca (the plant that cocaine of made from) in Egyptiam mummies from 4,000 years ago, but coca only grows in the Andes region of South America, which means that the Incas or their predecessors had traded with Ancient Egyptians long before Colombus sailed to the New World.
In other words, the destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria held humanity back for about 1,500 years: it wasn't until the Renaissance that we would be able to finally question Christianity again enough to reacquaint ourselves again with all these ideas.
Please watch Agora. It is a very important history lesson for all of us.
Monday, July 19, 2010
This documentary deals with the personal story of Neda who was killed by the Islamic authorities of Iran while protesting against the government. As the documentary unfolds, Neda appears to have been rebellious from the beginning, successfully challenged the government's rules on wearing a hijab in her high school and she got away with it!: she was the first and the only teenage girl who didn't wear it in her school ... and then the documentary goes into how women are treated in Iran. This is where my tears started flowing.
I know that the video of her death is very morbid and shocking, and they do show it at the beginning, but I would invite everyone who is unfamiliar with what the current islamic regime has done to the Iranians, to please take the time to watch the documentary and share it with others. Neda has become a symbol of Iranian people's resistance and especially of Iranian women's resistance and courage.
Another movie that shows an Iranian woman's story is Persepolis. It's also based on a true story and the woman who tells the story is a very good storyteller.
Oh, and Neda's name appropriately means 'Voice' in Persian.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Traditionally, the studies that have been carried out on religious attitudes, beliefs and on the psychology of belief have focused on religious people. I believe that a thorough understanding of religious phenomena requires that non-religious people's attitudes and psychology also be the subjects of study. That is what the Atheism Rising study is all about. If you are a non-believer, please support this Study of Values, Attitudes, and Personal Histories of Atheists, Humanists, and Skeptics.