The Missing Peace

I went into the city ("the city" = NYC, of course) Monday night for Andrew's birthday. We met one of his Canadian friends in Washington Square Park, and there were some people standing around the entrances handing out flyers or something. This is common urban areas, so I just ignored them as I walked by.

After dinner (which was great, by the way - OTTO is one of Mario Batali's restaurants, and the gelato was crazy good)we walked back to the park to relax for a few minutes. I noticed that a lot of the flyers those people had been hanging out were scattered about (Mitch Hedberg joke - "Here, you throw this away"). I also noticed that there were puzzle pieces on the cards, so I thought it had to do with autism awareness. It is so much better than that.

There's nothing offensive about it. It's just a harmless advertisement for the Times Square Church. I like it because of the clever(?) title: "The Missing Peace". Becker suggested that this is like the bumper sticker "Know Jesus, Know Peace. No Jesus, No Peace."

Christians are good with puns.

Genesis 1 & 2

Ah, creationism. I’d like this part of the bible more if I didn’t know that millions of people take this story literally. It’s a great tale. In fact, another interesting study (which I am sure someone has already done) would be to compare creation myths of various religions/fantasy literature.

There are two points I’d like to discuss about Genesis 1 and 2 – that man and woman were created equal, and that god created all animals to be vegans.

I’ve always thought that the creation story in Genesis supported a male dominated society, and I think this might be a common misconception. In the first creation story (that’s right, there are two creations, one right after the other!) god creates males and females at the same time:

“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the Earth.’ So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27, NRSV)

In this story, god creates man and woman at the same time and gives them dominion over the other animals. There is absolutely no indication a superior sex. In the King James bible god says, “Let us make man in our image,” but this certainly refers to human beings in general and not males specifically because this is following by, “…and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea…” (1:26-27, KJV)

The creation story in Genesis 2 describes things differently. After god created man (meaning a male this time) “from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (2:7, NRSV) he created the garden of Eden in which man should live. God decides that the man should not be alone and attempts to find him “a helper as his partner,” (2:18) so god creates all the animals and brings them to the man to be named, but none of them are suitable partners.

Here’s the story most people know: God puts the man in to a deep sleep, removes one of his ribs, and from that rib god creates a woman. At first glance this might seem to indicate that man is superior to woman because he was created first and she is made from just a small part of him. Keep reading.

“Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.’ Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (2:23-24)

Finally the man has found a suitable partner. No other creature could be found to fill this position, until god created a creature made of the same stuff as man. Woman is the creature that completes man, the yin to his yang, the salty to his sweet, the Samwise Gamgee to his Frodo Baggins. Man “clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.” That sounds like equality to me.

Okay, back to Genesis 1. On the third day god creates dry land on the earth and brings forth vegetation. On the fifth and sixth days god created all the animals including humans. God said to man, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; and you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” (1:29-30)

I know that very shortly god is going to give men all sorts of laws about food and that these will include what animals you can and cannot eat, but this first passage about what man, and all the animals, will have for food is a blatant endorsement of veganism. God does not mention the eating of other animals, as though this thought has not even crossed his mind. Perhaps when the man and woman eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they learn about eating animals, but I don’t remember that being explicitly stated. We may find out shortly.


I’ve been having lower back pain for a few weeks now. I believe it first happened when I tried the simplest yoga pose on the Wii fit, so that tells you something. It’s been really bothering me, it got worse the other day when I was moving some things around in the attic. I finally decided to go and get some acupuncture. I’ve seen the chiropractor and I’ve gotten a massage, to no avail. An episode of M*A*S*H reminded me of acupuncture so I decided to give it a shot.

I found an acupuncturist near home, only about 5 minutes away, on Google maps, and I went there for an appointment and I filled out the paper work like you always do. It started with a consultation type of thing. She explained how it works, double checked my problem, and had me show her where I have pain. What really got me was the explanation of how it works. Acupuncture is what, like, 3000 years old, and obviously it works because people have been getting acupuncture for 3000 years. How it works is something like the following:

Your body has things called chakras, different places in your body, and your body has an energy called chi. You have pain or you are ill because your chakras are blocked, and chi can’t get around your body. So based on what type of pain you’re feeling or what sickness you have they put the needles into the different chakras which unblocks them and allows the chi to flow.

That’s not what actually happens, because that’s not real. That’s not science. I like the explanation; it’s a great analogy for what probably happens in real life, scientifically, in your body. We know what the body is made of now; 3000 years ago that’s what they thought it was. Again, I think it is a good analogy for what happens in real life, which is something like this:

The ancient Chinese found important pockets of nerves in the body, by, I guess, trial and error. By sticking the needles into those nerve clusters you stimulate them, which I can see causing extra blood to flow to that area. When blood flows to the affected area it carries the toxins away, and the cells get healthier.

It works! I still have some discomfort in my back, but it’s feeling better, and acupuncture is absolutely painless. You almost don’t feel anything at all. I laid down, she tapped the needles in, and it only feels like a little pressure. It doesn’t even feel like something pointy going into your skin. She put a heat lamp over my back and I fell asleep for twenty minutes. Then she took the needles out, massaged the area a little, and put these patches on that supposedly contain Chinese herbs. They are like nicotine patches, I guess, but instead of nicotine, it’s, you know, Chinese herbs.

I’ve been there twice, and I am going two more times next week. If it’s not better by then I’ll probably stop going, as it’s costing me $55 a visit. So far, though, I’m liking it. Even if the Chinese explanation about how it works isn’t right something happens, and I like it.

Old Mr. Gruff

Another post from the old blog that I just can't allow to gather dust:

Do you exhibit any of these symptoms?

  • always so sad
  • very grumpy
  • bitter
  • lashing out at children
  • tricking people into neglecting God's Word

If you suffer from any or all of these symptoms you are probably an atheist, and require "advanced witnessing techniques." Sounds like the Bush administration is not the only organization that supports waterboarding.

Bless You?

Here is a post I made on an old blog from 2 years ago:

I have been swaying back and forth lately between saying "Bless you" and not saying "Bless you" when people around me sneeze. I NEVER say "God bless you" of course...that would be stupid.

Since I am currently working toward my teacher certification and Masters degree, I have been thinking about how things will be when I can a teacher. I certainly can't say "Bless you" sometimes and not say it other times, or students might think I am playing favorites.

I think the responsible thing for me to do as an atheist is to stop saying anything, but I am afraid people will find this to be rude. We need to come up with a new, secular phrase to use when people sneeze. Sometimes I tell people "Shut Up!" when they sneeze, but that's just plain mean.

As the title of my blog suggests, I have finished my education education (suggestions on something better to call that?) and I am now teaching physics at a high school on Long Island. The decision was easier to make than I thought - I just don't say anything. No one really cares.

Atheist Blogroll

Atheist Physics Teacher has been added to The Atheist Blogroll. You can see the blogroll in my sidebar. The Atheist blogroll is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts for more information.

Project Bible for Atheists: Introduction

I am currently listening to the audio book Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible, by David Plotz. (I am literate, by the way, but it is unsafe to read and drive at the same time). This book originated as a blog series on, which Mr. Plotz is currently the editor of. Plotz is a secular Jew, and he decided to undertake this endeavor when he was flipping through a Bible at a Bat Mitzvah and discovered an alarming story he had never heard of or read before.

The book is incredibly interesting. It is a reaction to the most widely read and translated book in the world by a normal, albeit well educated, man. It is intelligent and insightful without being academic and boring. I am not sure who his intended audience is though, and in fact it would seem that he has no particular audience in mind. Plotz relates a lot of what he is reading to Jewish culture and the current situation in the Middle East, but as an atheist from a Christian background I do not feel left out of the discussion.

Listening to this book has sparked my interest in delving into this incredible work once again. The first time I attempted to read the Bible, it turned me into an atheist. The first time I actually made it through the Bible in its entirety (I might have skipped a few “begots” here or there) it was for a class at Union called World of the Bible, which was an examination of the bible as an historical and cultural document.

This time through I want to read the Bible specifically from the point of view of an atheist. I want to see what a non-religious person might glean from this text. Just because I don’t believe in the existence in real life of the main character of the book and that I believe almost nothing written on its pages to be the literal truth doesn’t mean there aren’t ways a serious reading can’t be enriching. After all, I feel I have been enriched by reading many novels, notably The Lord of the Rings and the Ender series.

As I read through the Bible one more time, I will reflect on the things that even an atheist can take away from it. Our understanding of history, human behavior, morality, philosophy, and more will be improved.

Oh! How could I forget? Another thing an atheist might come away from a perusal* of the Bible with is an arsenal of contradictions and horrendous stories to use in the battle against the Religious Right.

I have to credit David Plotz for inspiring me to reread the Bible and share my own thoughts with you. I hope he will keep in mind that imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

* peruse – verb – to read through with thoroughness or care. Crazy, huh?

Project Bible for Atheists

Coming Soon...

Time Machine

Wow, I thought I had given up on this blog. Guess not. Here is a sketch I did for a GURPS campaign I'm planning. Notice it has the mandatory multi-colored control panel and the green glowing windows into the nuclear reactor. That's how time machine work, right?