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Anonymous asked:

As a science-lover, what do you think about the role that religion clearly plays in human psychology? Looking at history, and the fact that religions have always been present, there must be something to trigger it all. If you don't believe that it stems from God, then you must believe there is something about humans that wants something to have faith in. In your personal opinion, what is this aspect of human psychology that draws us to God? I am truly curious to hear an atheist's point of view.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the need for religion is genetic. I think a few people have written on that actually…the God gene…. I feel that some humans need faith to feel secure. I don’t think it stemmed from an actual deity. Not only is religion a great way to rely on faith it is also an amazing way to control the masses. You can manipulate so much with religion and I also think that’s why it has succeeded so well. 

People are scared to die. Religion fills that void.


My opinion on overly religious people that completely deny science in a nutshell. There’s a difference between not understanding and being ignorant. Religion was built around the time where scientific occurrences were not able to be explained. As we have grown as a species we’ve outgrown these stories and mythologies, as we should! Without science we would be still within a dark age of no electricity, no medicine, no fast travel, and countless more things. Science does not deny religion, if anything I think it should be an even more magical and religious experience [if you will], I think understanding how scientific processes and occurrences work should be a humbling thing. In reality we are so unbelievably insignificant and I feel [as someone who was not raised in religious household] that people who are religious are frightened by the idea of being alone.


New Archaeopteryx fossil sheds light on feather evolution

Archaeopteryx fossils have been key to putting together how birds and dinosaurs fit together in their evolutionary histories. You’ve probably seen images of fossils of this bird/dino before, but it’s actually amazing how rare the specimens are.

This is a new specimen described in a paper published today in the journal Nature by scientists in Munich, Germany. This is only the 11th fossil Archaeopteryx that has been found and characterized, and it sheds new light on the most amazing feature of it; its feathers (scale bar = 5 cm).

Like many fossils, it isn’t perfect; part of the skull and the left wing are missing, but it shows details not seen in any previous sample including the feathers on the tail. Even with those limitations, the fossil is important.

The feathers of this fossil, seen as imprints in the mudstone that surrounds it, appear strong. Reports from other recent fossils had suggested the cores of Archaeopteryx feathers might have been too weak for it to fly long distances; the feathers in this specimen are described as strong and clearly able to hold weight, implying substantial flight ability. The tail in this fossil is also the best-preserved of any Archaeopteryx fossil, allowing a full description of the feathers on that portion.

By adding in these new details, the scientists attempted to improve estimates of how Archaeopteryx fits in the evolutionary tree of dinosaurs and birds. Based on the characteristics they describe, they suggest that the feathers on dinosaurs originally were used mostly for decoration, particularly since so many different versions of tail patterns have now been described from early-feathered dinosaurs.


Image credit and original paper:
Image caption: Abbreviations: bp, body plumage; ft, feather ‘trousers’; hf, hackle feathers; lh, left hindlimb; n, neck; rf, right forelimb; rh, right hindlimb; rw, right wing; s, skull remains; t, tail; tf, tail feathers.

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