Home automation – Wikipedia

“Domotic” redirects here. For the vernacular form of a language, see Demotic.

Home automation or domotics[1] is building automation for a home, called a smart home or smart house. A home automation system will control lighting, climate, entertainment systems, and appliances. It may also include home security such as access control and alarm systems.[2] When connected with the Internet, home devices are an important constituent of the Internet of Things.

A home automation system typically connects controlled devices to a central hub or “gateway”[3]. The user interface for control of the system uses either wall-mounted terminals, tablet or desktop computers, a mobile phone application, or a Web interface, that may also be accessible off-site through the Internet.

While there are many competing vendors, there are very few worldwide accepted industry standards and the smart home space is heavily fragmented.[4] Manufacturers often prevent independent implementations by withholding documentation and by litigation.[5]

The home automation market was worth US$5.77 billion in 2013, predicted to reach a market value of US$12.81 billion by the year 2020.[6]

Early home automation began with labor-saving machines. Self-contained electric or gas powered home appliances became viable in the 1900s with the introduction of electric power distribution[7] and led to the introduction of washing machines (1904), water heaters (1889), refrigerators, sewing machines, dishwashers, and clothes dryers.

In 1975, the first general purpose home automation network technology, X10, was developed. It is a communication protocol for electronic devices. It primarily uses electric power transmission wiring for signaling and control, where the signals involve brief radio frequency bursts of digital data, and remains the most widely available.[8] By 1978, X10 products included a 16 channel command console, a lamp module, and an appliance module. Soon after came the wall switch module and the first X10 timer.

By 2012, in the United States, according to ABI Research, 1.5 million home automation systems were installed.[9]

According to Li et al. (2016) there are three generations of home automation:[10]

The word “domotics” (and “domotica” when used as a verb) is a contraction of the Latin word for a home (domus) and the word robotics.[1]

In a review of home automation devices, Consumer Reports found two main concerns for consumers:[22]

Microsoft Research found in 2011, that home automation could involve high cost of ownership, inflexibility of interconnected devices, and poor manageability.[24]

Historically systems have been sold as complete systems where the consumer relies on one vendor for the entire system including the hardware, the communications protocol, the central hub, and the user interface. However, there are now open hardware and open source software systems which can be used instead of or with proprietary hardware.[24]

Home automation suffers from platform fragmentation and lack of technical standards[25][26][27][28][29][30] a situation where the variety of home automation devices, in terms of both hardware variations and differences in the software running on them, makes the task of developing applications that work consistently between different inconsistent technology ecosystems hard.[31] Customers may be hesitant to bet their IoT future on proprietary software or hardware devices that use proprietary protocols that may fade or become difficult to customize and interconnect.[32]

The nature of home automation devices can also be a problem for security, since patches to bugs found in the core operating system often do not reach users of older and lower-price devices.[33][34] One set of researchers say that the failure of vendors to support older devices with patches and updates leaves more than 87% of active devices vulnerable.[35][36]

Domestic patch panel, unstructured.

Well and booster pump automation

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Home automation – Wikipedia

Rotex Automation

Rotex is a leading manufacturer and exporter of fluid control systems, pneumatic actuators, valve automation systems and control components, with a market presence in more than 30 countries. Having started off in 1967 with one modest industrial building, Rotex now has 4 state-of-the art manufacturing facilities in India and recently acquired 1 in Germany. Through constant innovation and providing customised solutions, Rotex has achieved a steady annual growth of 30% with a sizeable share of the Indian market. Rotex caters to clients come from a wide spectrum of industries like steel, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, railways, power etc. Through a dedicated and highly experienced team of agents and a global network of local offices, Rotex caters to its customers requirements and provides quality service and after sales support. Rotex has secured numerous patents on its innovative designs developed to help their customers gain maximum benefit.

Rotex has 20 offices in India, Netherlands and USA and over 80 distributors across the globe, enabling it to provide prompt service.

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Rotex Automation

Home – Unitronics

Founded in 1989, Unitronics innovative approach to reliable automation is driven by in-depth knowledge of the needs of the automation control industry. This knowledge is gained through the companys decades of experience with diverse projects in automated parking systems, packaging and palletizing, energy production, agriculture, HVAC, food, dairy, chemical, wastewater, boiler industries, plastic extrusion, and other industrial channels.

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Blockchain – Most Trusted Crypto Company

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Exchange and transact bitcoin, ethereum, and bitcoin cash using the worlds most trusted and secure cryptocurrency wallet.

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Blockchain – Most Trusted Crypto Company

Blockchain – Wikipedia

distributed data store for digital transactions

A blockchain,[1][2][3] originally block chain,[4][5] is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography.[1][6] Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block,[6] a timestamp, and transaction data (generally represented as a merkle tree root hash).

By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data. It is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way”.[7] For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communication and validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires consensus of the network majority. Although blockchain records are not unalterable, blockchains may be considered secure by design and exemplify a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. Decentralized consensus has therefore been claimed with a blockchain.[8]

Blockchain was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin.[1] The invention of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency to solve the double-spending problem without the need of a trusted authority or central server. The bitcoin design has inspired other applications,[1][3] and blockchains which are readable by the public are widely used by cryptocurrencies. Private blockchains have been proposed for business use. Sources such as the Computerworld called the marketing of such blockchains without a proper security model “snake oil”.[9]

The first work on a cryptographically secured chain of blocks was described in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta.[6][10] They wanted to implement a system where document timestamps could not be tampered with. In 1992, Bayer, Haber and Stornetta incorporated Merkle trees to the design, which improved its efficiency by allowing several document certificates to be collected into one block.[6][11]

The first blockchain was conceptualized by a person (or group of people) known as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. Nakamoto improved the design in an important way using a Hashcash-like method to add blocks to the chain without requiring them to be signed by a trusted party.[6] The design was implemented the following year by Nakamoto as a core component of the cryptocurrency bitcoin, where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions on the network.[1]

In August 2014, the bitcoin blockchain file size, containing records of all transactions that have occurred on the network, reached 20GB (gigabytes).[12] In January 2015, the size had grown to almost 30GB, and from January 2016 to January 2017, the bitcoin blockchain grew from 50GB to 100GB in size.

The words block and chain were used separately in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original paper, but were eventually popularized as a single word, blockchain, by 2016. The term blockchain 2.0 refers to new applications of the distributed blockchain database, first emerging in 2014.[13] The Economist described one implementation of this second-generation programmable blockchain as coming with “a programming language that allows users to write more sophisticated smart contracts, thus creating invoices that pay themselves when a shipment arrives or share certificates which automatically send their owners dividends if profits reach a certain level.”[1]

As of 2016[update], blockchain 2.0 implementations continue to require an off-chain oracle to access any “external data or events based on time or market conditions [that need] to interact with the blockchain.”[14]

IBM opened a blockchain innovation research center in Singapore in July 2016.[15] A working group for the World Economic Forum met in November 2016 to discuss the development of governance models related to blockchain.

According to Accenture, an application of the diffusion of innovations theory suggests that blockchains attained a 13.5% adoption rate within financial services in 2016, therefore reaching the early adopters phase.[16] Industry trade groups joined to create the Global Blockchain Forum in 2016, an initiative of the Chamber of Digital Commerce.

In May 2018, Gartner found that only 1% of CIOs indicated any kind of blockchain adoption within their organisations, and only 8% of CIOs were in the short-term planning or [looking at] active experimentation with blockchain.[17]

A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed and public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the consensus of the network.[1][18] This allows the participants to verify and audit transactions inexpensively.[19] A blockchain database is managed autonomously using a peer-to-peer network and a distributed timestamping server. They are authenticated by mass collaboration powered by collective self-interests.[20] The result is a robust workflow where participants’ uncertainty regarding data security is marginal. The use of a blockchain removes the characteristic of infinite reproducibility from a digital asset. It confirms that each unit of value was transferred only once, solving the long-standing problem of double spending. Blockchains have been described as a value-exchange protocol.[13] This blockchain-based exchange of value can be completed quicker, safer and cheaper than with traditional systems.[21] A blockchain can assign title rights because, when properly set up to detail the exchange agreement, it provides a record that compels offer and acceptance.

Blocks hold batches of valid transactions that are hashed and encoded into a Merkle tree.[1] Each block includes the cryptographic hash of the prior block in the blockchain, linking the two. The linked blocks form a chain.[1] This iterative process confirms the integrity of the previous block, all the way back to the original genesis block.[22]

Sometimes separate blocks can be produced concurrently, creating a temporary fork. In addition to a secure hash-based history, any blockchain has a specified algorithm for scoring different versions of the history so that one with a higher value can be selected over others. Blocks not selected for inclusion in the chain are called orphan blocks.[22] Peers supporting the database have different versions of the history from time to time. They keep only the highest-scoring version of the database known to them. Whenever a peer receives a higher-scoring version (usually the old version with a single new block added) they extend or overwrite their own database and retransmit the improvement to their peers. There is never an absolute guarantee that any particular entry will remain in the best version of the history forever. Because blockchains are typically built to add the score of new blocks onto old blocks and because there are incentives to work only on extending with new blocks rather than overwriting old blocks, the probability of an entry becoming superseded goes down exponentially[23] as more blocks are built on top of it, eventually becoming very low.[1][24]:ch. 08[25] For example, in a blockchain using the proof-of-work system, the chain with the most cumulative proof-of-work is always considered the valid one by the network. There are a number of methods that can be used to demonstrate a sufficient level of computation. Within a blockchain the computation is carried out redundantly rather than in the traditional segregated and parallel manner.[26]

The block time is the average time it takes for the network to generate one extra block in the blockchain.[27] Some blockchains create a new block as frequently as every five seconds.[28] By the time of block completion, the included data becomes verifiable. In cryptocurrency, this is practically when the transaction takes place, so a shorter block time means faster transactions. The block time for Ethereum is set to between 14 and 15 seconds, while for bitcoin it is 10 minutes.[29]

A hard fork is a rule change such that the software validating according to the old rules will see the blocks produced according to the new rules as invalid. In case of a hard fork, all nodes meant to work in accordance with the new rules need to upgrade their software.[30]

If one group of nodes continues to use the old software while the other nodes use the new software, a split can occur. For example, Ethereum has hard-forked to “make whole” the investors in The DAO, which had been hacked by exploiting a vulnerability in its code.[31] In this case, the fork resulted in a split creating Ethereum and Ethereum Classic chains. In 2014 the Nxt community was asked to consider a hard fork that would have led to a rollback of the blockchain records to mitigate the effects of a theft of 50 million NXT from a major cryptocurrency exchange. The hard fork proposal was rejected, and some of the funds were recovered after negotiations and ransom payment.[32]

Alternatively, to prevent a permanent split, a majority of nodes using the new software may return to the old rules, as was the case of bitcoin split on 12 March 2013.[33]

By storing data across its peer-to-peer network, the blockchain eliminates a number of risks that come with data being held centrally.[1] The decentralized blockchain may use ad-hoc message passing and distributed networking.

Peer-to-peer blockchain networks lack centralized points of vulnerability that computer crackers can exploit; likewise, it has no central point of failure. Blockchain security methods include the use of public-key cryptography.[4]:5 A public key (a long, random-looking string of numbers) is an address on the blockchain. Value tokens sent across the network are recorded as belonging to that address. A private key is like a password that gives its owner access to their digital assets or the means to otherwise interact with the various capabilities that blockchains now support. Data stored on the blockchain is generally considered incorruptible.[1]

Every node in a decentralized system has a copy of the blockchain. Data quality is maintained by massive database replication[8] and computational trust. No centralized “official” copy exists and no user is “trusted” more than any other.[4] Transactions are broadcast to the network using software. Messages are delivered on a best-effort basis. Mining nodes validate transactions,[22] add them to the block they are building, and then broadcast the completed block to other nodes.[24]:ch. 08 Blockchains use various time-stamping schemes, such as proof-of-work, to serialize changes.[34] Alternative consensus methods include proof-of-stake.[22] Growth of a decentralized blockchain is accompanied by the risk of centralization because the computer resources required to process larger amounts of data become more expensive.[35]

Open blockchains are more user-friendly than some traditional ownership records, which, while open to the public, still require physical access to view. Because all early blockchains were permissionless, controversy has arisen over the blockchain definition. An issue in this ongoing debate is whether a private system with verifiers tasked and authorized (permissioned) by a central authority should be considered a blockchain.[36][37][38][39][40] Proponents of permissioned or private chains argue that the term “blockchain” may be applied to any data structure that batches data into time-stamped blocks. These blockchains serve as a distributed version of multiversion concurrency control (MVCC) in databases.[41] Just as MVCC prevents two transactions from concurrently modifying a single object in a database, blockchains prevent two transactions from spending the same single output in a blockchain.[42]:3031 Opponents say that permissioned systems resemble traditional corporate databases, not supporting decentralized data verification, and that such systems are not hardened against operator tampering and revision.[36][38] Nikolai Hampton of Computerworld said that “many in-house blockchain solutions will be nothing more than cumbersome databases,” and “without a clear security model, proprietary blockchains should be eyed with suspicion.”[9][43]

The great advantage to an open, permissionless, or public, blockchain network is that guarding against bad actors is not required and no access control is needed.[23] This means that applications can be added to the network without the approval or trust of others, using the blockchain as a transport layer.[23]

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies currently secure their blockchain by requiring new entries to include a proof of work. To prolong the blockchain, bitcoin uses Hashcash puzzles. While Hashcash was designed in 1997 by Adam Back, the original idea was first proposed by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor and Eli Ponyatovski in their 1992 paper “Pricing via Processing or Combatting Junk Mail”.

Financial companies have not prioritised decentralized blockchains.[44]In 2016, venture capital investment for blockchain-related projects was weakening in the USA but increasing in China.[45] Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies use open (public) blockchains. As of April2018[update], bitcoin has the highest market capitalization.

Permissioned blockchains use an access control layer to govern who has access to the network.[46] In contrast to public blockchain networks, validators on private blockchain networks are vetted by the network owner. They do not rely on anonymous nodes to validate transactions nor do they benefit from the network effect.[47][bettersourceneeded] Permissioned blockchains can also go by the name of ‘consortium’ or ‘hybrid’ blockchains.[48]

The New York Times noted in both 2016 and 2017 that many corporations are using blockchain networks “with private blockchains, independent of the public system.”[49][50][bettersourceneeded]

Nikolai Hampton pointed out in Computerworld that “There is also no need for a ’51 percent’ attack on a private blockchain, as the private blockchain (most likely) already controls 100 percent of all block creation resources. If you could attack or damage the blockchain creation tools on a private corporate server, you could effectively control 100 percent of their network and alter transactions however you wished.”[9] This has a set of particularly profound adverse implications during a financial crisis or debt crisis like the financial crisis of 200708, where politically powerful actors may make decisions that favor some groups at the expense of others,[51][52] and “the bitcoin blockchain is protected by the massive group mining effort. It’s unlikely that any private blockchain will try to protect records using gigawatts of computing powerit’s time consuming and expensive.”[9] He also said, “Within a private blockchain there is also no ‘race’; there’s no incentive to use more power or discover blocks faster than competitors. This means that many in-house blockchain solutions will be nothing more than cumbersome databases.”[9]

Blockchain technology can be integrated into multiple areas. The primary use of blockchains today is as a distributed ledger for cryptocurrencies, most notably bitcoin. There are a few operational products maturing from proof of concept by late 2016.[45]

As of 2016[update], some observers remain skeptical. Steve Wilson, of Constellation Research, believes the technology has been hyped with unrealistic claims.[53] To mitigate risk, businesses are reluctant to place blockchain at the core of the business structure.[54]

Most cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology to record transactions. For example, the bitcoin network and Ethereum network are blockchain-based.

Blockchain-based smart contracts are proposed contracts that could be partially or fully executed or enforced without human interaction.[55] One of the main objectives of a smart contract is automated escrow. An IMF staff discussion reported that smart contracts based on blockchain technology might reduce moral hazards and optimize the use of contracts in general. But “no viable smart contract systems have yet emerged.” Due to the lack of widespread use their legal status is unclear.[56]

Major portions of the financial industry are implementing distributed ledgers for use in banking,[57][58][59] and according to a September 2016 IBM study, this is occurring faster than expected.[60]

Banks are interested in this technology because it has potential to speed up back office settlement systems.[61]

Banks such as UBS are opening new research labs dedicated to blockchain technology in order to explore how blockchain can be used in financial services to increase efficiency and reduce costs.[62][63]

Berenberg, a German bank, believes that blockchain is an “overhyped technology” that has had a large number of “proofs of concept”, but still has major challenges, and very few success stories.[64]

Blockchain technology can be used to create a permanent, public, transparent ledger system for compiling data on sales, tracking digital use and payments to content creators, such as wireless users [65] or musicians.[66] In 2017, IBM partnered with ASCAP and PRS for Music to adopt blockchain technology in music distribution.[67] Imogen Heap’s Mycelia service has also been proposed as blockchain-based alternative “that gives artists more control over how their songs and associated data circulate among fans and other musicians.”[68][69] Everledger is one of the inaugural clients of IBM’s blockchain-based tracking service.[70]

New distribution methods are available for the insurance industry such as peer-to-peer insurance, parametric insurance and microinsurance following the adoption of blockchain.[71][72] The sharing economy and IoT are also set to benefit from blockchains because they involve many collaborating peers.[73] Online voting is another application of the blockchain.[74][75]

Blockchains can be used to catalog game assets (digital assets), as with Cryptokitties.[76]

Other designs include:

On May 8, 2018 Facebook confirmed that it is opening a new blockchain group[80] which will be headed by David Marcus who previously was in charge of Messenger. According to The Verge Facebook is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency for facilitating payments on the platform.[81]

In September 2018, IBM and a start-up Hu-manity.co launched a blockchain-based app that let patients sell anonymized data to pharmaceutical companies.[82][83]

Currently, there are three types of blockchain networks – public blockchains, private blockchains and consortium blockchains.

A public blockchain has absolutely no access restrictions. Anyone with an internet connection can send transactions[disambiguation needed] to it as well as become a validator (i.e., participate in the execution of a consensus protocol).[84][self-published source?] Usually, such networks offer economic incentives for those who secure them and utilize some type of a Proof of Stake or Proof of Work algorithm.

Some of the largest, most known public blockchains are Bitcoin and Ethereum.

A private blockchain is permissioned.[46] One cannot join it unless invited by the network administrators. Participant and validator access is restricted.

This type of blockchains can be considered a middle-ground for companies that are interested in the blockchain technology in general but are not comfortable with a level of control offered by public networks. Typically, they seek to incorporate blockchain into their accounting and record-keeping procedures without sacrificing autonomy and running the risk of exposing sensitive data to the public internet.

A consortium blockchain is often said to be semi-decentralized. It, too, is permissioned but instead of a single organization controlling it, a number of companies might each operate a node on such a network. The administrators of a consortium chain restrict users’ reading rights as they see fit and only allow a limited set of trusted nodes to execute a consensus protocol.

In October 2014, the MIT Bitcoin Club, with funding from MIT alumni, provided undergraduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology access to $100 of bitcoin. The adoption rates, as studied by Catalini and Tucker (2016), revealed that when people who typically adopt technologies early are given delayed access, they tend to reject the technology.[85]

The Bank for International Settlements has criticized the public proof-of-work blockchains for high energy consumption.[88][86][89]

Nicholas Weaver, of the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley examines blockchain’s online security, and the energy efficiency of proof-of-work public blockchains, and in both cases finds it grossly inadequate.[87][90]

In September 2015, the first peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology research, Ledger, was announced. The inaugural issue was published in December 2016.[91] The journal covers aspects of mathematics, computer science, engineering, law, economics and philosophy that relate to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.[92][93]

The journal encourages authors to digitally sign a file hash of submitted papers, which will then be timestamped into the bitcoin blockchain. Authors are also asked to include a personal bitcoin address in the first page of their papers.[94]

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Blockchain – Wikipedia

The Blockchain: What It Is and Why It Matters – Brookings

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Chances are that youve heard of bitcoin, the digital currency that many predict will revolutionize payments or prove to be a massive fraud depending on what you read. Bitcoin is an application that runs on the Blockchain, which is ultimately a more interesting and profound innovation.

The Blockchain is a secure transaction ledger database that is shared by all parties participating in an established, distributed network of computers. It records and stores every transaction that occurs in the network, essentially eliminating the need for trusted third parties such as payment processors. Blockchain proponents often describe the innovation as a transfer of trust in a trustless world, referring to the fact that the entities participating in a transaction are not necessarily known to each other yet they exchange value with surety and no third-party validation. For this reason, the Blockchain is a potential game changer.

In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous person or group of people credited with developing bitcoin, released a whitepaper describing the software protocol. Since then, the network has grown and bitcoinhas become a recognized unit of value around the globe. Bitcoinis extremely important because it provides a mechanism for accessing the Blockchain but its not the only application that can leverage the platform.

Bitcoin has also been on the receiving end of some bad press, such as around the collapse of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange earlier last year. The Mt. Gox story is not necessarily an indictment of bitcoin. For the purposes of this post, simply remember this: bitcoin is just a mechanism for transacting on the Blockchain and the Blockchain is the key innovation.

The Blockchain enables the anonymous exchange of digital assets, such as bitcoin, but it is not technically dependent on bitcoin. The elegance of the Blockchain is that it obviates the need for a central authority to verify trust and the transfer of value. It transfers power and control from large entities to the many, enabling safe, fast, cheaper transactions despite the fact that we may not know the entities we are dealing with.

The mechanics of the Blockchain are novel and highly disruptive. As people transact in a Blockchain ecosystem, a public record of all transactions is automatically created. Computers verify each transaction with sophisticated algorithms to confirm the transfer of value and create a historical ledger of all activity. The computers that form the network that are processing the transactions are located throughout the world and importantly are not owned or controlled by any single entity. The process is real-time, and much more secure than relying on a central authority to verify a transaction.

There are many analogous concepts both ancient and modern. Technology has and will continue to transfer power and control from central authorities and distribute them to the masses. For example, time used to be determined and communicated by large clock towers that were expensive to build and maintain. Engineering innovations ultimately decentralized the quantification of time to the individual. Likewise, WhatsApp, a popular cross platform messaging app, cut the transaction cost of sending messages globally and cut profits for the carriers. The central authority (phone carriers) lost to the application (WhatsApp) built on a decentralized network (i.e. the Internet).

Similarly, third parties that currently verify transactions (the central authority) stand to lose against the Blockchain (the decentralized network). As such, the Blockchain essentially disintermediates these third-party transaction verifiers: auditors, legal services, payment processors, brokerages and other similar organizations.

While you may not be convinced that exchanging bitcoin is an invaluable service, there are many other examples of value transfer that are critical and currently very slow and expensive. Consider the exchange of property: numerous intermediaries are currently involved in this process, such as a third-party escrow service that works for both parties to ensure a smooth transfer. The escrow service, like other services built solely on trust and verification, collect fees that would be mitigated by performing the transaction on the Blockchain as would wire transfer fees, third party financial auditing, contract execution, etc.

The use case of the Blockchain enabling a decentralized currency exchange such as bitcoin is well defined and will likely be the dominant use case near term, however there are a multitude of innovative and disruptive use cases. Companies are already building their own Blockchains for various applications such as Gridcoin that leverages the Blockchain to crowdsource scientific computing projects. Gridcoin uses its own protocols that require much less computing power and electricity to manage than traditional bitcoin networks.

The Blockchain is a foundational technology, like TCP/IP, which enables the Internet. And much like the Internet in the late 1990s, we dont know exactly how the Blockchain will evolve, but evolve it will.

Similar to the Internet, the Blockchain must also be allowed to grow unencumbered. This will require careful handling that recognizes the difference between the platform and the applications that run on it. TCP/IP empowers numerous financial applications that are regulated, but TCP/IP is not regulated as a financial instrument. The Blockchain should receive similar consideration. While the predominant use case for the Blockchain today is bitcoin currency exchange that may require regulation, this will change over time.

Had we over-regulated the Internet early on, we would have missed out on many innovations that we cant imagine living without today. The same is true for the Blockchain. Disruptive technologies rarely fit neatly into existing regulatory considerations, but rigid regulatory frameworks have repeatedly stifled innovation. Its likely that innovations in the Blockchain will outpace policy, lets not slow it down.

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The Blockchain: What It Is and Why It Matters – Brookings

Blockchain Wallet: Bitcoin on the App Store

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Send, receive, and exchange Bitcoin, Ethereum, & Bitcoin Cash instantly with anyone in the world. Securely buy and sell bitcoin alongside your already safely stored cryptocurrency. Sign in to your existing crypto wallet or create a new one for free.

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More Blockchain digital currency wallet features: Simplified backup and recovery with a 12 word backup phrase Server-side entropy for optimal anonymity 20+ fiat currency options 25+ languages Dynamic fees Paper Wallet import Spending from watch-only addresses Hierarchical deterministic address architecture TOR blocking Open source platform QR Code Support

Cryptocurrencies are digital assets that can be transferred between digital wallets. Transactions are recorded on a public ledger ensuring no change can be made without network consensus.

Bitcoin is the first ever cryptocurrency and is used like other assets in exchange for goods and services. Unlike traditional currencies and assets, bitcoin is easily portable, divisible, and irreversible. Bitcoin increases system efficiency and enables the provision of financial services at a drastically lower cost, giving users more power and freedom.

Bitcoin Cash is a form of peer-to-peer electronic cash that was created after a fork of the Bitcoin block chain in August 2017. Bitcoin Cash, or BCH, has since grown to be one of the top cryptocurrencies, along with bitcoin and ether.

Ethereum is a decentralized platform for sharing immutable information across the globe. Ether is a decentralized digital currency, also known as ETH. In addition to being a tradeable cryptocurrency, ether powers the Ethereum network by paying for transaction fees and computational services. Ether is paving the way for a more intelligent financial platform.

Blockchain is the worlds leading software platform for digital assets. Our software has powered over 100M transactions and empowered users in 140 countries across the globe to transact quickly and without costly intermediaries.

Need help or have a question? Our best-in-class support team will always be there for you. Reach out at support.blockchain.com.

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Blockchain Wallet: Bitcoin on the App Store

Blockchain | Definition of Blockchain by Merriam-Webster

: a digital database containing information (such as records of financial transactions) that can be simultaneously used and shared within a large decentralized, publicly accessible network also : the technology used to create such a database The technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani

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Blockchain | Definition of Blockchain by Merriam-Webster

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Paymium and Blockchain.io are paving the way to enter the Internet of value.

Blockchain.io: Building an effective team in the crypto industry

Our tech team has been hard at work to ensure that our users experience the best.

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BCIO: The art of building a successful Crypto team

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Pierre Noizat, CEO of Paymium & Blockchain.io describes its vision of the Internet of Value at Chainges, Amsterdam.

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What is BCIO Token ? A brief rundown of our crypto-exchange proprietary token.

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Pierre Noizat will be speaking at Chainges in Amsterdam on May 4-5th. Meet us there !

Pierre Noizat announces the launch of Blockchain.io at The Bitcoin, Ethereum & Blockchain SuperConference in Dallas – February 16th 2018

Cryptocurrencies, why should Europe embrace them ?

In the crypto-economy, France has shinning global champions, among them include Ledger, Paymium and Stratumn.

Why are crypto-currencies indispensable to Europe? A rundown from Pierre Noizat on perspectives in Europe.

Round table on cryptocurrency regulation with Cathy Lubochinsky, member of the Circle of Economists; Pierre Noizat, cofounder of Paymium; and Emmanuel Lechypre, columnist at BFM Business.

Paymium is capitalizing on bitcoin with Dentsu Consulting.

Paymium Launches European Cryptocurrency Trading Platform Blockchain.io

Watch Pierre Noizat interview with CEO Money about blockchain.io cryptoexchange at the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Blockchain Superconference in Dallas

Paymium launching European cryptocurrency trading platform Blockchain.io

Pierre Noizat will speak at the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Blockchain Superconference in Dallas, Texas on February 16th to present blockchain.io .

Welcome to the Internet of Value ! In the same way as the Internet redefined global communication, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are now reinventing money and value transactions.

Sbastien Couasnon and his guets are investigating the rise of bitcoin. with Eric Larchevque, CEO of Ledger and Pierre Noizat co-founder of Paymium.

Cofounder of Paymium (Bitcoin Central) and bitcoin specialist Pierre Noizat reacts to the bankruptcy of MT Gox and explains his service.

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Blockchain.io | Your Gateway to the Internet of Value

BlockchainHub – Blockchain, Smart Contracts, ICOs, Tokens & Web3

Advisor: Technology

Joachim is an entrepreneur and tech enthusiast. He is obsessed with knowledge, change and innovation. Currently, he is Founder and CEO of Jolocom, a Berlin-based startup building decentralized tools that lets you generate your own digital identity to assist linkage and attribution of data. Besides that Joachim is a connector for Ouishare, curating the topic of Decentralization & Blockchain. Also he organizes GETDcent and is an active member of the Agora Collective in Berlin.

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BlockchainHub – Blockchain, Smart Contracts, ICOs, Tokens & Web3

Blockchain Live 2019 | 25 September | Olympia, London

Are you a blockchain beginner? If so, weve put together a helpful Blockchain Factsheet which you can download for free by clicking the button below.

If youd simply like to know what blockchain and DLT is, and if it can help your organisation, then this is a good place to start your journey.

By downloading the Factsheet you can start to see how blockchain and DLT will influence different industries and sectors, and how its implementation will no doubt change the way you structure processes and deliver services.

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Blockchain Live 2019 | 25 September | Olympia, London

Blockchain Technology Conference 2018 | Berlin

Blockchain Technology Conference 2018 | Berlin

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CoinDesk – Leader in blockchain news.

Coinbase Now Lets You Buy and Sell Ethereum Token 0x

Oct 16, 2018 at 20:40 | Nikhilesh De

Retail investors can now trade the 0x Protocol on Coinbase.com, as well as its Android and iOS apps.

Oct 16, 2018 at 15:30 | Yogita Khatri

A subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Ports haspartnered with Port of Antwerp for a blockchain pilot aimed to facilitate international trade.

Oct 16, 2018 at 14:30 | Yogita Khatri

The New South Wales state government is trialing blockchain tech from ChromaWay as part of a bid to digitize property conveyance by next summer.

Oct 16, 2018 at 13:40 | Daniel Palmer

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex says it has rolled out a new process for depositing fiat currency after it halted the service last week.

Oct 16, 2018 at 12:59 | Brady Dale

Decred is handing control of its $21 million treasury and all aspects of the protocol, from consensus through staffing, over to token holders.

Oct 16, 2018 at 11:00 | Omkar Godbole

Bitcoin’s recovery from three-week lows has kept a key long-term moving average support intact.

Oct 16, 2018 at 10:00 | Wolfie Zhao

Messaging giant LINE’s Bitbox exchange has made its LINK token available for trading against bitcoin, ethereum and tether.

Oct 16, 2018 at 09:00 | Wolfie Zhao

The Huobi exchange has announced it will add support for four U.S. dollar-pegged cryptos, a day after OKEx did the same.

Oct 16, 2018 at 05:23 | Nikhilesh De

The Ethereum Foundation has awarded 20 different startups and individuals a total of $2.86 million in its latest grant program round.

Oct 16, 2018 at 03:18 | Wolfie Zhao

Paxos claims it has so far issued a total of $50 million-worth of its Paxos Standard crypto stablecoin since its official launch last month.

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CoinDesk – Leader in blockchain news.

Blockchain community – Blockgeeks

We believe that the current smart contract auditing process is broken. BountyOne Audits incentivizes auditors to seek the truth no matter what through a triple dutch audit. A set number of auditors pay(stake) to do an initial audit, those audit reports are audited, and finally the entire community completes a final audit. Find out exactly how Bountyone works.

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Blockchain community – Blockgeeks

Atheism – Wikipedia

Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities.[1][2][3][4] Less broadly, atheism is the rejection of belief that any deities exist.[5][6] In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[1][2][7][8] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[9][10] which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.[10][11][12]

The etymological root for the word atheism originated before the 5th century BCE from the ancient Greek (atheos), meaning “without god(s)”. In antiquity it had multiple uses as a pejorative term applied to those thought to reject the gods worshiped by the larger society,[13] those who were forsaken by the gods or those who had no commitment to belief in the gods.[14] The term denoted a social category created by orthodox religionists into which those who did not share their religious beliefs were placed.[14] The actual term atheism emerged first in the 16th century.[15] With the spread of freethought, skeptical inquiry, and subsequent increase in criticism of religion, application of the term narrowed in scope. The first individuals to identify themselves using the word atheist lived in the 18th century during the Age of Enlightenment.[15] The French Revolution, noted for its “unprecedented atheism,” witnessed the first major political movement in history to advocate for the supremacy of human reason.[17] The French Revolution can be described as the first period where atheism became implemented politically.

Arguments for atheism range from the philosophical to social and historical approaches. Rationales for not believing in deities include arguments that there is a lack of empirical evidence,[18][19] the problem of evil, the argument from inconsistent revelations, the rejection of concepts that cannot be falsified, and the argument from nonbelief.[18][20] Nonbelievers contend that atheism is a more parsimonious position than theism and that everyone is born without beliefs in deities;[1] therefore, they argue that the burden of proof lies not on the atheist to disprove the existence of gods but on the theist to provide a rationale for theism.[21] Although some atheists have adopted secular philosophies (e.g. secular humanism),[22][23] there is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere.[24]

Since conceptions of atheism vary, accurate estimations of current numbers of atheists are difficult.[25] According to global Win-Gallup International studies, 13% of respondents were “convinced atheists” in 2012,[26] 11% were “convinced atheists” in 2015,[27] and in 2017, 9% were “convinced atheists”.[28] However, other researchers have advised caution with WIN/Gallup figures since other surveys which have used the same wording for decades and have a bigger sample size have consistently reached lower figures.[29] An older survey by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in 2004 recorded atheists as comprising 8% of the world’s population.[30] Other older estimates have indicated that atheists comprise 2% of the world’s population, while the irreligious add a further 12%.[31] According to these polls, Europe and East Asia are the regions with the highest rates of atheism. In 2015, 61% of people in China reported that they were atheists.[32] The figures for a 2010 Eurobarometer survey in the European Union (EU) reported that 20% of the EU population claimed not to believe in “any sort of spirit, God or life force”.[33]

Writers disagree on how best to define and classify atheism,[34] contesting what supernatural entities are considered gods, whether it is a philosophic position in its own right or merely the absence of one, and whether it requires a conscious, explicit rejection. Atheism has been regarded as compatible with agnosticism,[35][36][37][38][39][40][41] and has also been contrasted with it.[42][43][44] A variety of categories have been used to distinguish the different forms of atheism.

Some of the ambiguity and controversy involved in defining atheism arises from difficulty in reaching a consensus for the definitions of words like deity and god. The plurality of wildly different conceptions of God and deities leads to differing ideas regarding atheism’s applicability. The ancient Romans accused Christians of being atheists for not worshiping the pagan deities. Gradually, this view fell into disfavor as theism came to be understood as encompassing belief in any divinity.

With respect to the range of phenomena being rejected, atheism may counter anything from the existence of a deity, to the existence of any spiritual, supernatural, or transcendental concepts, such as those of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism.[46]

Definitions of atheism also vary in the degree of consideration a person must put to the idea of gods to be considered an atheist. Atheism has sometimes been defined to include the simple absence of belief that any deities exist. This broad definition would include newborns and other people who have not been exposed to theistic ideas. As far back as 1772, Baron d’Holbach said that “All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God.”[47]Similarly, George H. Smith (1979) suggested that: “The man who is unacquainted with theism is an atheist because he does not believe in a god. This category would also include the child with the conceptual capacity to grasp the issues involved, but who is still unaware of those issues. The fact that this child does not believe in god qualifies him as an atheist.”[48] Implicit atheism is “the absence of theistic belief without a conscious rejection of it” and explicit atheism is the conscious rejection of belief.For the purposes of his paper on “philosophical atheism”, Ernest Nagel contested including mere absence of theistic belief as a type of atheism.[49] Graham Oppy classifies as innocents those who never considered the question because they lack any understanding of what a god is. According to Oppy, these could be one-month-old babies, humans with severe traumatic brain injuries, or patients with advanced dementia.

Philosophers such as Antony Flew[51]and Michael Martin have contrasted positive (strong/hard) atheism with negative (weak/soft) atheism. Positive atheism is the explicit affirmation that gods do not exist. Negative atheism includes all other forms of non-theism. According to this categorization, anyone who is not a theist is either a negative or a positive atheist.The terms weak and strong are relatively recent, while the terms negative and positive atheism are of older origin, having been used (in slightly different ways) in the philosophical literature[51] and in Catholic apologetics.[52]Under this demarcation of atheism, most agnostics qualify as negative atheists.

While Martin, for example, asserts that agnosticism entails negative atheism,[38] many agnostics see their view as distinct from atheism,[53][54]which they may consider no more justified than theism or requiring an equal conviction.[53]The assertion of unattainability of knowledge for or against the existence of gods is sometimes seen as an indication that atheism requires a leap of faith.[55][56]Common atheist responses to this argument include that unproven religious propositions deserve as much disbelief as all other unproven propositions,[57]and that the unprovability of a god’s existence does not imply equal probability of either possibility.[58]Australian philosopher J. J. C. Smart even argues that “sometimes a person who is really an atheist may describe herself, even passionately, as an agnostic because of unreasonable generalized philosophical skepticism which would preclude us from saying that we know anything whatever, except perhaps the truths of mathematics and formal logic.”[59]Consequently, some atheist authors such as Richard Dawkins prefer distinguishing theist, agnostic and atheist positions along a spectrum of theistic probabilitythe likelihood that each assigns to the statement “God exists”.

Before the 18th century, the existence of God was so accepted in the western world that even the possibility of true atheism was questioned. This is called theistic innatismthe notion that all people believe in God from birth; within this view was the connotation that atheists are simply in denial.[61]

There is also a position claiming that atheists are quick to believe in God in times of crisis, that atheists make deathbed conversions, or that “there are no atheists in foxholes”.[62]There have however been examples to the contrary, among them examples of literal “atheists in foxholes”.[63]

Some atheists have doubted the very need for the term “atheism”. In his book Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris wrote:

In fact, “atheism” is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a “non-astrologer” or a “non-alchemist”. We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.

Pragmatic atheism is the view one should reject a belief in a god or gods because it is unnecessary for a pragmatic life. This view is related to apatheism and practical atheism.[65]

Atheists have also argued that people cannot know a God or prove the existence of a God. The latter is called agnosticism, which takes a variety of forms. In the philosophy of immanence, divinity is inseparable from the world itself, including a person’s mind, and each person’s consciousness is locked in the subject. According to this form of agnosticism, this limitation in perspective prevents any objective inference from belief in a god to assertions of its existence. The rationalistic agnosticism of Kant and the Enlightenment only accepts knowledge deduced with human rationality; this form of atheism holds that gods are not discernible as a matter of principle, and therefore cannot be known to exist. Skepticism, based on the ideas of Hume, asserts that certainty about anything is impossible, so one can never know for sure whether or not a god exists. Hume, however, held that such unobservable metaphysical concepts should be rejected as “sophistry and illusion”.[67] The allocation of agnosticism to atheism is disputed; it can also be regarded as an independent, basic worldview.[68]

Other arguments for atheism that can be classified as epistemological or ontological, including ignosticism, assert the meaninglessness or unintelligibility of basic terms such as “God” and statements such as “God is all-powerful.” Theological noncognitivism holds that the statement “God exists” does not express a proposition, but is nonsensical or cognitively meaningless. It has been argued both ways as to whether such individuals can be classified into some form of atheism or agnosticism. Philosophers A. J. Ayer and Theodore M. Drange reject both categories, stating that both camps accept “God exists” as a proposition; they instead place noncognitivism in its own category.[69][70]

Philosopher, Zofia Zdybicka writes:

“Metaphysical atheism… includes all doctrines that hold to metaphysical monism (the homogeneity of reality). Metaphysical atheism may be either: a) absolute an explicit denial of God’s existence associated with materialistic monism (all materialistic trends, both in ancient and modern times); b) relative the implicit denial of God in all philosophies that, while they accept the existence of an absolute, conceive of the absolute as not possessing any of the attributes proper to God: transcendence, a personal character or unity. Relative atheism is associated with idealistic monism (pantheism, panentheism, deism).”[71]

Some atheists hold the view that the various conceptions of gods, such as the personal god of Christianity, are ascribed logically inconsistent qualities. Such atheists present deductive arguments against the existence of God, which assert the incompatibility between certain traits, such as perfection, creator-status, immutability, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, transcendence, personhood (a personal being), nonphysicality, justice, and mercy.[18]

Theodicean atheists believe that the world as they experience it cannot be reconciled with the qualities commonly ascribed to God and gods by theologians. They argue that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent God is not compatible with a world where there is evil and suffering, and where divine love is hidden from many people.[20]A similar argument is attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism.[73]

Philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach[74]and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud have argued that God and other religious beliefs are human inventions, created to fulfill various psychological and emotional wants or needs. This is also a view of many Buddhists.[75]Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, influenced by the work of Feuerbach, argued that belief in God and religion are social functions, used by those in power to oppress the working class. According to Mikhail Bakunin, “the idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation of human liberty, and necessarily ends in the enslavement of mankind, in theory and practice.” He reversed Voltaire’s famous aphorism that if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him, writing instead that “if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.”[76]

Atheism is not mutually exclusive with respect to some religious and spiritual belief systems, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Syntheism, Ralism,[77] and Neopagan movements[78]such as Wicca.[79]stika schools in Hinduism hold atheism to be a valid path to moksha, but extremely difficult, for the atheist can not expect any help from the divine on their journey.[80]Jainism believes the universe is eternal and has no need for a creator deity, however Tirthankaras are revered that can transcend space and time[81]and have more power than the god Indra.[82]Secular Buddhism does not advocate belief in gods. Early Buddhism was atheistic as Gautama Buddha’s path involved no mention of gods. Later conceptions of Buddhism consider Buddha himself a god, suggest adherents can attain godhood, and revere Bodhisattvas[83]and Eternal Buddha.

Apophatic theology is often assessed as being a version of atheism or agnosticism, since it cannot say truly that God exists.[84] “The comparison is crude, however, for conventional atheism treats the existence of God as a predicate that can be denied (God is nonexistent), whereas negative theology denies that God has predicates”.[85] “God or the Divine is” without being able to attribute qualities about “what He is” would be the prerequisite of positive theology in negative theology that distinguishes theism from atheism. “Negative theology is a complement to, not the enemy of, positive theology”.[86]

Axiological, or constructive, atheism rejects the existence of gods in favor of a “higher absolute”, such as humanity. This form of atheism favors humanity as the absolute source of ethics and values, and permits individuals to resolve moral problems without resorting to God. Marx and Freud used this argument to convey messages of liberation, full-development, and unfettered happiness.[68] One of the most common criticisms of atheism has been to the contrary: that denying the existence of a god either leads to moral relativism and leaves one with no moral or ethical foundation,[87] or renders life meaningless and miserable.[88] Blaise Pascal argued this view in his Penses.[89]

French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre identified himself as a representative of an “atheist existentialism”concerned less with denying the existence of God than with establishing that “man needs… to find himself again and to understand that nothing can save him from himself, not even a valid proof of the existence of God.”Sartre said a corollary of his atheism was that “if God does not exist, there is at least one being in whom existence precedes essence, a being who exists before he can be defined by any concept, and… this being is man.”The practical consequence of this atheism was described by Sartre as meaning that there are no a priori rules or absolute values that can be invoked to govern human conduct, and that humans are “condemned” to invent these for themselves, making “man” absolutely “responsible for everything he does”.

Sociologist Phil Zuckerman analyzed previous social science research on secularity and non-belief, and concluded that societal well-being is positively correlated with irreligion. He found that there are much lower concentrations of atheism and secularity in poorer, less developed nations (particularly in Africa and South America) than in the richer industrialized democracies.[93][94]His findings relating specifically to atheism in the US were that compared to religious people in the US, “atheists and secular people” are less nationalistic, prejudiced, antisemitic, racist, dogmatic, ethnocentric, closed-minded, and authoritarian, and in US states with the highest percentages of atheists, the murder rate is lower than average. In the most religious states, the murder rate is higher than average.[95][96]

People who self-identify as atheists are often assumed to be irreligious, but some sects within major religions reject the existence of a personal, creator deity.[98]In recent years, certain religious denominations have accumulated a number of openly atheistic followers, such as atheistic or humanistic Judaism[99][100]and Christian atheists.[101][102][103]

The strictest sense of positive atheism does not entail any specific beliefs outside of disbelief in any deity; as such, atheists can hold any number of spiritual beliefs. For the same reason, atheists can hold a wide variety of ethical beliefs, ranging from the moral universalism of humanism, which holds that a moral code should be applied consistently to all humans, to moral nihilism, which holds that morality is meaningless.[104] Atheism is accepted as a valid philosophical position within some varieties of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.[105]

Philosophers such as Slavoj iek,[106] Alain de Botton,[107] and Alexander Bard and Jan Sderqvist,[108] have all argued that atheists should reclaim religion as an act of defiance against theism, precisely not to leave religion as an unwarranted monopoly to theists.

According to Plato’s Euthyphro dilemma, the role of the gods in determining right from wrong is either unnecessary or arbitrary. The argument that morality must be derived from God, and cannot exist without a wise creator, has been a persistent feature of political if not so much philosophical debate.[109][110][111]Moral precepts such as “murder is wrong” are seen as divine laws, requiring a divine lawmaker and judge. However, many atheists argue that treating morality legalistically involves a false analogy, and that morality does not depend on a lawmaker in the same way that laws do.[112]Friedrich Nietzsche believed in a morality independent of theistic belief, and stated that morality based upon God “has truth only if God is truthit stands or falls with faith in God.”[113][114][115]

There exist normative ethical systems that do not require principles and rules to be given by a deity. Some include virtue ethics, social contract, Kantian ethics, utilitarianism, and Objectivism. Sam Harris has proposed that moral prescription (ethical rule making) is not just an issue to be explored by philosophy, but that we can meaningfully practice a science of morality. Any such scientific system must, nevertheless, respond to the criticism embodied in the naturalistic fallacy.[116]

Philosophers Susan Neiman[117]and Julian Baggini[118](among others) assert that behaving ethically only because of divine mandate is not true ethical behavior but merely blind obedience. Baggini argues that atheism is a superior basis for ethics, claiming that a moral basis external to religious imperatives is necessary to evaluate the morality of the imperatives themselvesto be able to discern, for example, that “thou shalt steal” is immoral even if one’s religion instructs itand that atheists, therefore, have the advantage of being more inclined to make such evaluations.[119]The contemporary British political philosopher Martin Cohen has offered the more historically telling example of Biblical injunctions in favor of torture and slavery as evidence of how religious injunctions follow political and social customs, rather than vice versa, but also noted that the same tendency seems to be true of supposedly dispassionate and objective philosophers.[120] Cohen extends this argument in more detail in Political Philosophy from Plato to Mao, where he argues that the Qur’an played a role in perpetuating social codes from the early 7th century despite changes in secular society.[121]

Some prominent atheistsmost recently Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins, and following such thinkers as Bertrand Russell, Robert G. Ingersoll, Voltaire, and novelist Jos Saramagohave criticized religions, citing harmful aspects of religious practices and doctrines.[122]

The 19th-century German political theorist and sociologist Karl Marx called religion “the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”. He goes on to say, “The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.”[123] Lenin said that “every religious idea and every idea of God is unutterable vileness… of the most dangerous kind, ‘contagion’ of the most abominable kind. Millions of sins, filthy deeds, acts of violence and physical contagions… are far less dangerous than the subtle, spiritual idea of God decked out in the smartest ideological constumes…”[124]

Sam Harris criticizes Western religion’s reliance on divine authority as lending itself to authoritarianism and dogmatism.There is a correlation between religious fundamentalism and extrinsic religion (when religion is held because it serves ulterior interests)[126] and authoritarianism, dogmatism, and prejudice.[127]These argumentscombined with historical events that are argued to demonstrate the dangers of religion, such as the Crusades, inquisitions, witch trials, and terrorist attackshave been used in response to claims of beneficial effects of belief in religion.[128]Believers counter-argue that some regimes that espouse atheism, such as the Soviet Union, have also been guilty of mass murder.[129][130] In response to those claims, atheists such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have stated that Stalin’s atrocities were influenced not by atheism but by dogmatic Marxism, and that while Stalin and Mao happened to be atheists, they did not do their deeds in the name of atheism.[132]

In early ancient Greek, the adjective theos (, from the privative – + “god”) meant “godless”. It was first used as a term of censure roughly meaning “ungodly” or “impious”. In the 5th century BCE, the word began to indicate more deliberate and active godlessness in the sense of “severing relations with the gods” or “denying the gods”. The term (asebs) then came to be applied against those who impiously denied or disrespected the local gods, even if they believed in other gods. Modern translations of classical texts sometimes render theos as “atheistic”. As an abstract noun, there was also (atheots), “atheism”. Cicero transliterated the Greek word into the Latin theos. The term found frequent use in the debate between early Christians and Hellenists, with each side attributing it, in the pejorative sense, to the other.[13]

The term atheist (from Fr. athe), in the sense of “one who… denies the existence of God or gods”,[134]predates atheism in English, being first found as early as 1566,[135]and again in 1571.[136]Atheist as a label of practical godlessness was used at least as early as 1577.[137]The term atheism was derived from the French athisme,[138] and appears in English about 1587.[139]An earlier work, from about 1534, used the term atheonism.[140][141]Related words emerged later: deist in 1621,[142]theist in 1662,[143]deism in 1675,[144]and theism in 1678.[145]At that time “deist” and “deism” already carried their modern meaning. The term theism came to be contrasted with deism.

Karen Armstrong writes that “During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the word ‘atheist’ was still reserved exclusively for polemic… The term ‘atheist’ was an insult. Nobody would have dreamed of calling himself an atheist.”

Atheism was first used to describe a self-avowed belief in late 18th-century Europe, specifically denoting disbelief in the monotheistic Abrahamic god.[146]In the 20th century, globalization contributed to the expansion of the term to refer to disbelief in all deities, though it remains common in Western society to describe atheism as simply “disbelief in God”.

While the earliest-found usage of the term atheism is in 16th-century France,[138][139] ideas that would be recognized today as atheistic are documented from the Vedic period and the classical antiquity.

Atheistic schools are found in early Indian thought and have existed from the times of the historical Vedic religion.[147]Among the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, Samkhya, the oldest philosophical school of thought, does not accept God, and the early Mimamsa also rejected the notion of God.[148]The thoroughly materialistic and anti-theistic philosophical Crvka (or Lokyata) school that originated in India around the 6th century BCE is probably the most explicitly atheistic school of philosophy in India, similar to the Greek Cyrenaic school. This branch of Indian philosophy is classified as heterodox due to its rejection of the authority of Vedas and hence is not considered part of the six orthodox schools of Hinduism, but it is noteworthy as evidence of a materialistic movement within Hinduism.[149]

Chatterjee and Datta explain that our understanding of Crvka philosophy is fragmentary, based largely on criticism of the ideas by other schools, and that it is not a living tradition:[150]

Though materialism in some form or other has always been present in India, and occasional references are found in the Vedas, the Buddhistic literature, the Epics, as well as in the later philosophical works we do not find any systematic work on materialism, nor any organized school of followers as the other philosophical schools possess. But almost every work of the other schools states, for refutation, the materialistic views. Our knowledge of Indian materialism is chiefly based on these.

Other Indian philosophies generally regarded as atheistic include Classical Samkhya and Purva Mimamsa. The rejection of a personal creator God is also seen in Jainism and Buddhism in India.[151]

Western atheism has its roots in pre-Socratic Greek philosophy,[154][155] but atheism in the modern sense was nonexistent or extremely rare in ancient Greece.[156][157][155] Pre-Socratic Atomists such as Democritus attempted to explain the world in a purely materialistic way and interpreted religion as a human reaction to natural phenomena,[152] but did not explicitly deny the gods’ existence.[152] In the late fifth century BCE, the Greek lyric poet Diagoras of Melos was sentenced to death in Athens under the charge of being a “godless person” () after he made fun of the Eleusinian Mysteries,[156][157][152] but he fled the city to escape punishment.[156][157][152] Later writers have cited Diagoras as the “first atheist”,[158][159] but he was probably not an atheist in the modern sense of the word.[157]

A fragment from the lost satyr play Sisyphus, which has been attributed to both Critias and Euripides, claims that a clever man invented “the fear of the gods” in order to frighten people into behaving morally.[160][157][161][157][155] This statement, however, originally did not mean that the gods themselves were nonexistent, but rather that their powers were a hoax.[155] Atheistic statements have also been attributed to the philosopher Prodicus. Philodemus reports that Prodicus believed that “the gods of popular belief do not exist nor do they know, but primitive man, [out of admiration, deified] the fruits of the earth and virtually everything that contributed to his existence”. Protagoras has sometimes been taken to be an atheist, but rather espoused agnostic views, commenting that “Concerning the gods I am unable to discover whether they exist or not, or what they are like in form; for there are many hindrances to knowledge, the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life.”[162][156]

The Athenian public associated Socrates (c. 470399 BCE) with the trends in pre-Socratic philosophy towards naturalistic inquiry and the rejection of divine explanations for phenomena.[152][153] Aristophanes’ comic play The Clouds (performed 423 BCE) portrays Socrates as teaching his students that the traditional Greek deities do not exist.[152][153] Socrates was later tried and executed under the charge of not believing in the gods of the state and instead worshipping foreign gods.[152][153] Socrates himself vehemently denied the charges of atheism at his trial[152][153][163] and all the surviving sources about him indicate that he was a very devout man, who prayed to the rising sun and believed that the oracle at Delphi spoke the word of Apollo.[152] Euhemerus (c. 300 BCE) published his view that the gods were only the deified rulers, conquerors and founders of the past, and that their cults and religions were in essence the continuation of vanished kingdoms and earlier political structures.[164] Although not strictly an atheist, Euhemerus was later criticized for having “spread atheism over the whole inhabited earth by obliterating the gods”.[165]

The most important Greek thinker in the development of atheism was Epicurus (c. 300 BCE).[155] Drawing on the ideas of Democritus and the Atomists, he espoused a materialistic philosophy according to which the universe was governed by the laws of chance without the need for divine intervention (see scientific determinism).[166] Although Epicurus still maintained that the gods existed,[167][155][166] he believed that they were uninterested in human affairs.[166] The aim of the Epicureans was to attain ataraxia (“peace of mind”) and one important way of doing this was by exposing fear of divine wrath as irrational. The Epicureans also denied the existence of an afterlife and the need to fear divine punishment after death.[166] In the 3rd-century BCE, the Greek philosophers Theodorus Cyrenaicus[159][168] and Strato of Lampsacus[169] did not believe in the existence of gods. The Roman philosopher Sextus Empiricus held that one should suspend judgment about virtually all beliefsa form of skepticism known as Pyrrhonismthat nothing was inherently evil, and that ataraxia is attainable by withholding one’s judgment. His relatively large volume of surviving works had a lasting influence on later philosophers.[170]

The meaning of “atheist” changed over the course of classical antiquity.[157] Early Christians were widely reviled as “atheists” because they did not believe in the existence of the Graeco-Roman deities.[171][157][172][173] During the Roman Empire, Christians were executed for their rejection of the Roman gods in general and Emperor-worship in particular.[173][174] When Christianity became the state religion of Rome under Theodosius I in 381, heresy became a punishable offense.[174]

During the Early Middle Ages, the Islamic world experienced a Golden Age. Along with advances in science and philosophy, Arab and Persian lands produced outspoken rationalists and atheists, including Muhammad al Warraq (fl. 9th century), Ibn al-Rawandi (827911), Al-Razi (854925), and Al-Maarri (9731058). Al-Ma’arri wrote and taught that religion itself was a “fable invented by the ancients”[175] and that humans were “of two sorts: those with brains, but no religion, and those with religion, but no brains.”[176] Despite their being relatively prolific writers, little of their work survives, mainly being preserved through quotations and excerpts in later works by Muslim apologists attempting to refute them.[177] Other prominent Golden Age scholars have been associated with rationalist thought and atheism as well, although the current intellectual atmosphere in the Islamic world, and the scant evidence that survives from the era, make this point a contentious one today.

In Europe, the espousal of atheistic views was rare during the Early Middle Ages and Middle Ages (see Medieval Inquisition); metaphysics and theology were the dominant interests pertaining to religion.[178] There were, however, movements within this period that furthered heterodox conceptions of the Christian god, including differing views of the nature, transcendence, and knowability of God. Individuals and groups such as Johannes Scotus Eriugena, David of Dinant, Amalric of Bena, and the Brethren of the Free Spirit maintained Christian viewpoints with pantheistic tendencies. Nicholas of Cusa held to a form of fideism he called docta ignorantia (“learned ignorance”), asserting that God is beyond human categorization, and thus our knowledge of him is limited to conjecture. William of Ockham inspired anti-metaphysical tendencies with his nominalistic limitation of human knowledge to singular objects, and asserted that the divine essence could not be intuitively or rationally apprehended by human intellect. Followers of Ockham, such as John of Mirecourt and Nicholas of Autrecourt furthered this view. The resulting division between faith and reason influenced later radical and reformist theologians such as John Wycliffe, Jan Hus, and Martin Luther.[178]

The Renaissance did much to expand the scope of free thought and skeptical inquiry. Individuals such as Leonardo da Vinci sought experimentation as a means of explanation, and opposed arguments from religious authority. Other critics of religion and the Church during this time included Niccol Machiavelli, Bonaventure des Priers, Michel de Montaigne, and Franois Rabelais.[170]

Historian Geoffrey Blainey wrote that the Reformation had paved the way for atheists by attacking the authority of the Catholic Church, which in turn “quietly inspired other thinkers to attack the authority of the new Protestant churches”.[179] Deism gained influence in France, Prussia, and England. The philosopher Baruch Spinoza was “probably the first well known ‘semi-atheist’ to announce himself in a Christian land in the modern era”, according to Blainey. Spinoza believed that natural laws explained the workings of the universe. In 1661 he published his Short Treatise on God.[180]

Criticism of Christianity became increasingly frequent in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially in France and England, where there appears to have been a religious malaise, according to contemporary sources. Some Protestant thinkers, such as Thomas Hobbes, espoused a materialist philosophy and skepticism toward supernatural occurrences, while Spinoza rejected divine providence in favor of a panentheistic naturalism. By the late 17th century, deism came to be openly espoused by intellectuals such as John Toland who coined the term “pantheist”.[181]

The first known explicit atheist was the German critic of religion Matthias Knutzen in his three writings of 1674.[182] He was followed by two other explicit atheist writers, the Polish ex-Jesuit philosopher Kazimierz yszczyski and in the 1720s by the French priest Jean Meslier.[183] In the course of the 18th century, other openly atheistic thinkers followed, such as Baron d’Holbach, Jacques-Andr Naigeon, and other French materialists.[184] John Locke in contrast, though an advocate of tolerance, urged authorities not to tolerate atheism, believing that the denial of God’s existence would undermine the social order and lead to chaos.[185]

The philosopher David Hume developed a skeptical epistemology grounded in empiricism, and Immanuel Kant’s philosophy has strongly questioned the very possibility of a metaphysical knowledge. Both philosophers undermined the metaphysical basis of natural theology and criticized classical arguments for the existence of God.

Blainey notes that, although Voltaire is widely considered to have strongly contributed to atheistic thinking during the Revolution, he also considered fear of God to have discouraged further disorder, having said “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”[186] In Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), the philosopher Edmund Burke denounced atheism, writing of a “literary cabal” who had “some years ago formed something like a regular plan for the destruction of the Christian religion. This object they pursued with a degree of zeal which hitherto had been discovered only in the propagators of some system of piety… These atheistical fathers have a bigotry of their own…”. But, Burke asserted, “man is by his constitution a religious animal” and “atheism is against, not only our reason, but our instincts; and… it cannot prevail long”.[187]

Baron d’Holbach was a prominent figure in the French Enlightenment who is best known for his atheism and for his voluminous writings against religion, the most famous of them being The System of Nature (1770) but also Christianity Unveiled. One goal of the French Revolution was a restructuring and subordination of the clergy with respect to the state through the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Attempts to enforce it led to anti-clerical violence and the expulsion of many clergy from France, lasting until the Thermidorian Reaction. The radical Jacobins seized power in 1793, ushering in the Reign of Terror. The Jacobins were deists and introduced the Cult of the Supreme Being as a new French state religion. Some atheists surrounding Jacques Hbert instead sought to establish a Cult of Reason, a form of atheistic pseudo-religion with a goddess personifying reason. The Napoleonic era further institutionalized the secularization of French society.

In the latter half of the 19th century, atheism rose to prominence under the influence of rationalistic and freethinking philosophers. Many prominent German philosophers of this era denied the existence of deities and were critical of religion, including Ludwig Feuerbach, Arthur Schopenhauer, Max Stirner, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche.[188]

George Holyoake was the last person (1842) imprisoned in Great Britain due to atheist beliefs. Law notes that he may have also been the first imprisoned on such a charge. Stephen Law states that Holyoake “first coined the term ‘secularism'”.[189][190]

Atheism, particularly in the form of practical atheism, advanced in many societies in the 20th century. Atheistic thought found recognition in a wide variety of other, broader philosophies, such as existentialism, objectivism, secular humanism, nihilism, anarchism, logical positivism, Marxism, feminism,[191] and the general scientific and rationalist movement.

In addition, state atheism emerged in Eastern Europe and Asia during that period, particularly in the Soviet Union under Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, and in Communist China under Mao Zedong. Atheist and anti-religious policies in the Soviet Union included numerous legislative acts, the outlawing of religious instruction in the schools, and the emergence of the League of Militant Atheists.[192][193] After Mao, the Chinese Communist Party remains an atheist organization, and regulates, but does not forbid, the practice of religion in mainland China.[194][195][196]

While Geoffrey Blainey has written that “the most ruthless leaders in the Second World War were atheists and secularists who were intensely hostile to both Judaism and Christianity”,[197] Richard Madsen has pointed out that Hitler and Stalin each opened and closed churches as a matter of political expedience, and Stalin softened his opposition to Christianity in order to improve public acceptance of his regime during the war.[198] Blackford and Schklenk have written that “the Soviet Union was undeniably an atheist state, and the same applies to Maoist China and Pol Pot’s fanatical Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia in the 1970s. That does not, however, show that the atrocities committed by these totalitarian dictatorships were the result of atheist beliefs, carried out in the name of atheism, or caused primarily by the atheistic aspects of the relevant forms of communism.”[199]

Logical positivism and scientism paved the way for neopositivism, analytical philosophy, structuralism, and naturalism. Neopositivism and analytical philosophy discarded classical rationalism and metaphysics in favor of strict empiricism and epistemological nominalism. Proponents such as Bertrand Russell emphatically rejected belief in God. In his early work, Ludwig Wittgenstein attempted to separate metaphysical and supernatural language from rational discourse. A. J. Ayer asserted the unverifiability and meaninglessness of religious statements, citing his adherence to the empirical sciences. Relatedly the applied structuralism of Lvi-Strauss sourced religious language to the human subconscious in denying its transcendental meaning. J. N. Findlay and J. J. C. Smart argued that the existence of God is not logically necessary. Naturalists and materialistic monists such as John Dewey considered the natural world to be the basis of everything, denying the existence of God or immortality.[59][200]

Other leaders like Periyar E. V. Ramasamy, a prominent atheist leader of India, fought against Hinduism and Brahmins for discriminating and dividing people in the name of caste and religion.[201]This was highlighted in 1956 when he arranged for the erection of a statue depicting a Hindu god in a humble representation and made antitheistic statements.[202]

Atheist Vashti McCollum was the plaintiff in a landmark 1948 Supreme Court case that struck down religious education in US public schools.[203] Madalyn Murray O’Hair was perhaps one of the most influential American atheists; she brought forth the 1963 Supreme Court case Murray v. Curlett which banned compulsory prayer in public schools.[204] In 1966, Time magazine asked “Is God Dead?”[205]in response to the Death of God theological movement, citing the estimation that nearly half of all people in the world lived under an anti-religious power, and millions more in Africa, Asia, and South America seemed to lack knowledge of the Christian view of theology.[206] The Freedom From Religion Foundation was co-founded by Anne Nicol Gaylor and her daughter, Annie Laurie Gaylor, in 1976 in the United States, and incorporated nationally in 1978. It promotes the separation of church and state.[207][208]

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the number of actively anti-religious regimes has reduced considerably. In 2006, Timothy Shah of the Pew Forum noted “a worldwide trend across all major religious groups, in which God-based and faith-based movements in general are experiencing increasing confidence and influence vis–vis secular movements and ideologies.”[209]However, Gregory S. Paul and Phil Zuckerman consider this a myth and suggest that the actual situation is much more complex and nuanced.[210]

A 2010 survey found that those identifying themselves as atheists or agnostics are on average more knowledgeable about religion than followers of major faiths. Nonbelievers scored better on questions about tenets central to Protestant and Catholic faiths. Only Mormon and Jewish faithful scored as well as atheists and agnostics.[211]

In 2012, the first “Women in Secularism” conference was held in Arlington, Virginia.[212] Secular Woman was organized in 2012 as a national organization focused on nonreligious women.[213] The atheist feminist movement has also become increasingly focused on fighting sexism and sexual harassment within the atheist movement itself.[214]In August 2012, Jennifer McCreight (the organizer of Boobquake) founded a movement within atheism known as Atheism Plus, or A+, that “applies skepticism to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, politics, poverty, and crime”.[215][216][217]

In 2013 the first atheist monument on American government property was unveiled at the Bradford County Courthouse in Florida: a 1,500-pound granite bench and plinth inscribed with quotes by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Madalyn Murray O’Hair.[218][219]

“New Atheism” is the name that has been given to a movement among some early-21st-century atheist writers who have advocated the view that “religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized, and exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises.”[220]The movement is commonly associated with Sam Harris, Daniel C. Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Victor J. Stenger, Christopher Hitchens, and to some extent Ayaan Hirsi Ali.[221] Several best-selling books by these authors, published between 2004 and 2007, form the basis for much of the discussion of “New” Atheism.

In best selling books, the religiously motivated terrorist events of 9/11 and the partially successful attempts of the Discovery Institute to change the American science curriculum to include creationist ideas, together with support for those ideas from George W. Bush in 2005, have been cited by authors such as Harris, Dennett, Dawkins, Stenger, and Hitchens as evidence of a need to move toward a more secular society.[223]

It is difficult to quantify the number of atheists in the world. Respondents to religious-belief polls may define “atheism” differently or draw different distinctions between atheism, non-religious beliefs, and non-theistic religious and spiritual beliefs.[224] A Hindu atheist would declare oneself as a Hindu, although also being an atheist at the same time.[225] A 2010 survey published in Encyclopdia Britannica found that the non-religious made up about 9.6% of the world’s population, and atheists about 2.0%, with a very large majority based in Asia. This figure did not include those who follow atheistic religions, such as some Buddhists.[226] The average annual change for atheism from 2000 to 2010 was 0.17%.[226] Broad estimates of those who have an absence of belief in a god range from 500 million to 1.1 billion people worldwide.[227][228]

According to global Win-Gallup International studies, 13% of respondents were “convinced atheists” in 2012,[229] 11% were “convinced atheists” in 2015,[27] and in 2017, 9% were “convinced atheists”.[28] As of 2012[update], the top 10 surveyed countries with people who viewed themselves as “convinced atheists” were China (47%), Japan (31%), the Czech Republic (30%), France (29%), South Korea (15%), Germany (15%), Netherlands (14%), Austria (10%), Iceland (10%), Australia (10%), and the Republic of Ireland (10%).[230]

According to the 2010 Eurobarometer Poll, the percentage of those polled who agreed with the statement “you don’t believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force” varied from a high percentage in France (40%), Czech Republic (37%), Sweden (34%), Netherlands (30%), and Estonia (29%); medium-high percentage in Germany (27%), Belgium (27%), UK (25%); to very low in Poland (5%), Greece (4%), Cyprus (3%), Malta (2%), and Romania (1%), with the European Union as a whole at 20%.[33] In a 2012 Eurobarometer poll on discrimination in the European Union, 16% of those polled considered themselves non believers/agnostics and 7% considered themselves atheists.[232]

According to a Pew Research Center survey in 2012 religiously unaffiliated (including agnostics and atheists) make up about 18% of Europeans.[233] According to the same survey, the religiously unaffiliated are the majority of the population only in two European countries: Czech Republic (75%) and Estonia (60%).[233]

There are another four countries where the unaffiliated make up a majority of the population: North Korea (71%), Japan (57%), Hong Kong (56%), and China (52%).[233]

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 30% of Australians have “no religion”, a category that includes atheists.[234]

In a 2013 census, 41.9% of New Zealanders reported having no religion, up from 29.6% in 1991.[235] Men were more likely than women to report no religion.

According to the World Values Survey, 4.4% of Americans self-identified as atheists in 2014.[236] However, the same survey showed that 11.1% of all respondents stated “no” when asked if they believed in God.[236] In 1984, these same figures were 1.1% and 2.2%, respectively. According to a 2014 report by the Pew Research Center, 3.1% of the US adult population identify as atheist, up from 1.6% in 2007; and within the religiously unaffiliated (or “no religion”) demographic, atheists made up 13.6%.[237] According to the 2015 General Sociological Survey the number of atheists and agnostics in the US has remained relatively flat in the past 23 years since in 1991 only 2% identified as atheist and 4% identified as agnostic and in 2014 only 3% identified as atheists and 5% identified as agnostics.[238]

According to the American Family Survey, 34% was found to be religiously unaffiliated in 2017 (23% ‘nothing in particular’, 6% agnostic, 5% atheist).[239][240] According to the Pew Research Center, in 2014, 22.8% of the American population does not identify with a religion, including atheists (3.1%) and agnostics (4%).[241] According to a PRRI survey, 24% of the population is unaffiliated. Atheists and agnostics combined make up about a quarter of this unaffiliated demographic.[242]

In recent years, the profile of atheism has risen substantially in the Arab world.[243] In major cities across the region, such as Cairo, atheists have been organizing in cafs and social media, despite regular crackdowns from authoritarian governments.[243] A 2012 poll by Gallup International revealed that 5% of Saudis considered themselves to be “convinced atheists.”[243] However, very few young people in the Arab world have atheists in their circle of friends or acquaintances. According to one study, less than 1% did in Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Jordan; only 3% to 7% in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Palestine.[244] When asked whether they have “seen or heard traces of atheism in [their] locality, community, and society” only about 3% to 8% responded yes in all the countries surveyed. The only exception was the UAE, with a percentage of 51%.[244]

A study noted positive correlations between levels of education and secularism, including atheism, in America.[95] According to evolutionary psychologist Nigel Barber, atheism blossoms in places where most people feel economically secure, particularly in the social democracies of Europe, as there is less uncertainty about the future with extensive social safety nets and better health care resulting in a greater quality of life and higher life expectancy. By contrast, in underdeveloped countries, there are virtually no atheists.[245]

In a 2008 study, researchers found intelligence to be negatively related to religious belief in Europe and the United States. In a sample of 137 countries, the correlation between national IQ and disbelief in God was found to be 0.60.[246] Evolutionary psychologist Nigel Barber states that the reason atheists are more intelligent than religious people is better explained by social, environmental, and wealth factors which happen to correlate with loss of religious belief as well. He doubts that religion causes stupidity, noting that some highly intelligent people have also been religious, but he says it is plausible that higher intelligence correlates to rejection of improbable religious beliefs and that the situation between intelligence and rejection of religious beliefs is quite complex.[247]

In a 2017 study, it was shown that compared to religious individuals, atheists have higher reasoning capacities and this difference seemed to be unrelated to sociodemographic factors such as age, education and country of origin.[248]

Statistically, atheists are held in poor regard across the globe. Non-atheists, and possibly even fellow atheists, seem to implicitly view atheists as prone to exhibit immoral behaviors ranging from mass murder to not paying at a restaurant.[249][250][251] In addition, according to a 2016 Pew Research Center publication, 15% of French people, 45% of Americans, and 99% of Indonesians explicitly believe that a person must believe in God to be moral. Pew furthermore noted that, in a U.S. poll, atheists and Muslims tied for the lowest rating among the major religious demographics on a “feeling thermometer”.[252]

Links to related articles

More:

Atheism – Wikipedia

Atheism – creation.com

Some atheists apparently dont like this video, A Fool’s Heart, but you can view it here. It recaps some of the effects of anti-Christian atheistic/evolutionary thinking in recent times, beginning with Robespierre, a leader of the French Revolution.

byKen Ammi

For many other articles on this topic, seeAtheism, agnosticism and humanism: godless religionsQuestions and Answers

There is confusion and debate about the term atheism and its definition.

The term atheism finds its etymology in the Greek combination of a and theos. What atheos means is, as with any term, subject to context (and perhaps personal interpretation). Note that if an atheist states, I do not believe in God, this is technically not a statement about Gods existence or lack thereof. Does atheos mean no God, without God, lack God belief or God does not exist?

References

EarlyChristians were referred to as atheists because they did not believe in the Greek or Roman gods. Yet, while they positively affirmed the non-existence of those gods they likely believed that those gods were deceptive demons whom they did believe existed (1Corinthians 8:46).

Let us consider other Greek-derived a words:

Generally, as popularized by the New Atheist movement, atheists prefer the definition of atheism as lacking belief in god(s). Thus, by applying the term atheist to themselves, such atheists are not technically making a statement about Gods existence or lack thereof.

This definition has been popularized, at least, since Charles Bradlaugh (circa 1876). It appears to be preferred so as to escape the philosophic difficulty of proving a negativeGod does not existand in order to shift the burden of proof to the theist, since the theist is making the positive affirmation that God exists.

On a polemical note there are two things to consider:

In reference to the above mentioned term agnostic, note that Thomas Henry Huxley coined this term in 1869.1 He explained that he noted two extremes: one was the atheist who positively affirmed Gods non-existence (claiming to know that God did not exist) and the other was the theists who positively affirmed Gods existence (claiming to know that God exists). Huxley said that he did not possess enough evidence to affirm positively either position. Thus, he coined a term which he saw as a middle position, which was that of lacking knowledge to decide either way (whether such knowledge actually exists outside of his personal knowledge or may someday be discovered is another issue).

As we will see next, there are various sects of atheism. There is a vast difference between the friendly atheist next door and the activists. Generally, even the activist types who are typified by the New Atheist movement will define atheism as a mere lack of belief in God. However, it is important to note that their activism demonstrates that their atheism is anything but mere lack: it is an anti-religion, anti-faith and anti-God movement.

1.1 Variations of Atheism

Atheists may be categorized under various technical terms as well as sociopolitical and cultural ones, which may overlap depending on the individual atheists preferences:

Some atheists claim that atheism is a religion3 and others have attempted to establish secular/civic/atheistic religions which we will elucidate below.

Michael Shermer, editor of The Skeptic magazine, draws a distinction between the atheist who claims, there is no God and the non-theist who claims to have no belief in God.4

As to the sociopolitical and/or cultural terms, these abound and some are: Brights, Freethinkers, Humanists, Naturalists, Rationalists, Skeptics, Secular Humanists andMaterialists.

Some atheists squabble about terminology. For example, American Atheists webmaster wrote, Atheists are NOT secular humanists, freethinkers, rationalists or ethical culturalists Often, people who are Atheists find it useful to masquerade behind such labels5 while the Freedom from Religion Foundation, claims that, Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists.6

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By nature worship and neo-paganism I refer to the atheists tendency to replace a sense of awe of God and seeking transcendence by relating to God with seeking awe and transcendence in nature. This natural high, as it were, is not merely enjoyed but it is enjoined and said to be holier than theism.

Referring to our ability to step off the Earth and look back at ourselves, as was done in Voyager 2, Carl Sagan stated,

The very first episode of his televised series entitled Cosmos, began with Carl Sagan stating,

Presupposing a God-free reality, why atheists seek transcendent experiences remains unanswered.

Michael Shermer stated that his study of evolution was, far more enlightening and transcendent, spiritual, than anything I had experienced in seven years of being a born again Christian.8

Michael Shermer made reference to the spiritual side of science, which he referred to as sciensuality:

Michael Ruse; philosophy professor (University of Guelph), ardent evolutionist and professedly an ex-Christian who has argued for the ACLU against the balanced treatment (of creation and evolution in schools) bill in the USA, wrote:

Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religiona full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today

“As a social reformer therefore, Huxley, known in the papers as Pope Huxley, was determined to find a substitute for Christianity. Evolution, with its stress on unbroken lawwhich could be used to reflect messages of social progresswas the perfect candidate. Life is on an upwardly moving escalator

Indeed, recognizing that a good religion needs a moral message as well as a history and promise of future reward, Huxley increasingly turned from Darwin (who was not very good at providing these things) toward another English evolutionist. Herbert Spencerprolific writer and immensely popular philosopher to the massesshared Huxleys vision of evolution as a kind of metaphysics rather than a straight science

Evolution now has its mystical visionary, its Saint John of the Cross. Harvard entomologist and sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson tells us that we now have an alternative mythology to defeat traditional religion If people want to make a religion of evolution, that is their business The important point is that we should recognize when people are going beyond the strict science, moving into moral and social claims, thinking of their theory as an all-embracing world picture.10

Addressing fellow atheist Jonathan Miller, Richard Dawkins stated:

you and I probably do have feelings that may very well be akin to a kind of mystical wonder when we contemplate the stars, when we contemplate the galaxies, when we contemplate life, the sheer expanse of geological time. I experience, and I expect you experience, internal feelings which sound pretty much like um, what mystics feel, and they call it God. Ifand Ive been called a very religious person for that reasonif I am called a religious person, then my retort to that is, Well, youre playing with words, because what the vast majority of people mean by religious is something utterly different from this sort of transcendent, mystical experience [ ]

The transcendent sense the transcendent, mystic sense, that people who are both religious and non-religious in my usage of the term, is something very very different. In that sense, I probably am a religious person. You probably are a religious person. But that doesnt mean we think that there is a supernatural being that interferes with the world, that does anything, that manipulates anything, or by the way, that its worth praying to or asking forgiveness of sins from, etc. [ ]

I prefer to use words like religion, like God, in the way that the vast majority of people in the world would understand them, and to reserve a different kind of language for the feeling that we share with possibly your clergyman [ ] the sense of wonder that one gets as a scientist contemplating the cosmos, or contemplating mitochondria is actually much grander than anything that you will get by contemplating the traditional objects of religious mysticism.11 [the un-bracketed ellipses appear in the original transcript denoting Richard Dawkins halting way of speaking, the bracketed ones were added]

Richard Dawkins, in Is Science a Religion? said,

science does have some of religions virtues All the great religions have a place for awe, for ecstatic transport at the wonder and beauty of creation. And its exactly this feeling of spine-shivering, breath-catching awealmost worshipthis flooding of the chest with ecstatic wonder, that modern science can provide. And it does so beyond the wildest dreams of saints and mystics

Science can offer a vision of life and the universe which, as Ive already remarked, for humbling poetic inspiration far outclasses any of the mutually contradictory faiths and disappointingly recent traditions of the worlds religions

The universe at large couldnt possibly be anything other than indifferent to Christ, his birth, his passion, and his death I want to return now to the charge that science is just a faith. The more extreme version of that chargeand one that I often encounter as both a scientist and a rationalistis an accusation of zealotry and bigotry in scientists themselves as great as that found in religious people. Sometimes there may be a little bit of justice in this accusation; but as zealous bigots, we scientists are mere amateurs at the game. Were content to argue with those who disagree with us. We dont kill them.

Stephen S. Hall, in Darwins Rottweiler Sir Richard Dawkins: Evolutions Fiercest Champion, Far Too Fierce, said:

Einsteinian religion is a kind of spirituality which is nonsupernatural And that doesnt mean that its somehow less than supernatural religion. Quite the contrary .Einstein was adamant in rejecting all ideas of a personal god. It is something bigger, something grander, something that I believe any scientist can subscribe to, including those scientists whom I would call atheists. Einstein, in my terms, was an atheist, although Einstein of course was very fond of using the word God. When Einstein would use the word God, he was using it as a kind of figure of speech. When he said things like God is subtle but hes not malicious, or He does not play dice, or Did God have a choice in creating the universe? what he meant was things like randomness do not lie at the heart of all things. Could the universe have been any other way than the way it is? Einstein chose to use the word God to phrase such profound, deep questions. That, it seems to me, is the good part of religion which we can all subscribe to

What I cant understand is why we are expected to show respect for good scientists, even great scientists, who at the same time believe in a god who does things like listen to our prayers, forgive our sins, perform cheap miracles which go against, presumably, everything that the god of the physicist, the divine cosmologist, set up when he set up his great laws of nature. So I dont understand a scientist who says, I am a Roman Catholic or I am a Baptist

I suppose my hope would be that sciencethe best kind of science, the sort of science which approaches the best sort of religion, the Einsteinian spirituality that I was talking aboutis so inspiring, so exciting that it should be sellable to everybody

We have something far better to offer Why are we freethinking secular scientists not getting into that same marketplace and selling what weve got to sell? Because its a far better product, and all weve got to do is hone our salesmanship to the level that they are already doing it. [italics in original]

Such sentiments appear to be fulfillments of the Apostle Pauls reference to:

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2.1 Atheist religion

Let us consider the atheists from the 18th to the 21stcenturies who express desires to establish an atheistic religion. Perhaps we should begin with Jean-Jacques Rousseau (17121778), who conceived of a civil religion:

Two other notable 18th century attempts are Claude Henri de Rouvroy, Comte de Saint-Simon (17601825) who conceived of a new Christianity which would be founded upon Humanism and scientific socialism. The secular priesthood would consist of scientists, philosophers and engineers. Lastly, Auguste Comte (17981857) conceived of a religion of humanity.

Forwarding to the 21stcentury we will consider Gary Wolfs interview with Sam Harris:

Gary Wolfs interview with Daniel Dennett:

Sam Harris, Selfless Consciousness without Faith:

Sam Harris, A Contemplative Science:

ABC Radio National, Stephen Crittenden interviews Sam Harris:

Sam Harris, Science Must Destroy Religion:

Sam Harris, Rational Mysticism:

Humanist Manifesto I (1933) states,

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There may be as many reasons that people choose atheism as there are individuals who make that choice. These range from philosophy or science to emotion or rebellion and various combinations of such factors.

Prominent Argentinean hyperrealism artist, Helmut Ditsch, retells part of his upbringing:

Joe Orso, writing on the origin of beliefs, interviewed atheist Ira Glass, who said:

I find that I dont seem to have a choice over whether or not I believe in God, I simply find that I do not. Either you have faith or you dont. Either you believe or you dont.

Orso: I was once talking with a Chinese friend. She asked whether I believed in God. I told her I did. I returned the question. She said no, and I asked her why not. Her father, she explained, had told her there was no God when she was a child. She hadnt really thought about it much since then.16 [emphasis added]

Note carefully the words of Thomas Nagel (B.Phil., Oxford; Ph.D., Harvard), Professor of Philosophy and Law, University Professor, and Fiorello La Guardia Professor of Law. He specializes in Political Philosophy, Ethics, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Mind. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the British Academy, and has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities:

Consider the following words of Isaac Asimov, one of the most prolific scientific writers of the last century:

Gary Wolf , contributing editor to Wired magazine, includes himself in the following description: we lax agnostics, we noncommittal nonbelievers, we vague deists who would be embarrassed to defend antique absurdities like the Virgin Birth or the notion that Mary rose into heaven without dying, or any other blatant myth. He wrote:

At dinner parties or over drinks, I ask people to declare themselves. Who here is an atheist? I ask.

Usually, the first response is silence, accompanied by glances all around in the hope that somebody else will speak first. Then, after a moment, somebody does, almost always a man, almost always with a defiant smile and a tone of enthusiasm. He says happily, I am!

But it is the next comment that is telling. Somebody turns to him and says: You would be.

Why? Because you enjoy [irritating] people . Well, thats true.

This type of conversation takes place not in central Ohio, where I was born, or in Utah, where I was a teenager, but on the West Coast, among technical and scientific people, possibly the social group that is least likely among all Americans to be religious.13

Thus, we find various motivating factors which lead to atheism and have absolutely nothing to do with science or intellect.

Paul Vitz, Professor of Psychology at New York University, made a fascinating study of the lives of some of the most influential atheists. In his book Faith of the Fatherless: the Psychology of Atheism he concluded that these persons rejected God because they rejected their own fathers. This was due to their poor relationships with their fathers, or due to their fathers absence, or due to their rebellion against their fathers.20 Along this line of research, it would be interesting to consider the effect that the death of friends and family has had on the rejection of God. From Charles Darwin to Ted Turner the death of friends and family has played a part.

Gary Wolf noted,

The Associated Press reported on an interview with Ted Turner published in The New Yorker:

CNN founder Ted Turner was suicidal after the breakup of his marriage to Jane Fonda and his loss of control of Turner Broadcasting his marriage to Fonda broke up partly because of her decision to become a practicing Christian

Turner is a strident non-believer, having lost his faith after his sister, Mary Jane, died of a painful disease called systemic lupus erythematosus. I was taught that God was love and God was powerful, Turner said. And I couldnt understand how someone so innocent should be made or allowed to suffer so.

Tony Snow, who was the White House Press Secretary in 2006/2007, and was a Christian, died of cancer in July 2008. He wrote an essay entitled, Cancers Unexpected Blessings.23 Consider, in contrast, how a God-centered person dealt with his own impending death:

In contrast, consider the words of atheist William Provine, professor of the history of science at Cornell University:

With regards to his own cancer, a brain tumor, Provine has stated that he would shoot himself in the head if his brain tumor returned.25 Apparently, one less bio-organism is irrelevant in an absolutely materialistic world.

3.1 Natural born Atheist

Another reason for rejecting God (choosing atheism), is a willing acceptance of satanic deception.

The angel Lucifer (luminous one) fell and became Satan (adversary) due to his desire to supplant God. This was Lucifers single-minded obsession.

He not only rejected God by attempting to supplant Him, but he urged humans to do likewise. Satan urged Eve to choose against God for her own self-fulfilment:

He said to the woman, Did God actually say, You shall not eat of any tree in the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. But the serpent said to the woman, You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:1-5 ESV).

The tactic is clear: firstly, question Gods statements, then, contradict Gods statements and, finally, urge rebellion in seeking equality with God.

This manifests in atheists as

This satanic deception appeals strongly to atheists as it bolsters two of their desired delusions: 1) absolute autonomybeing free to do as they please, and 2) the lack of ultimate accountabilitythere are no eternal consequences for doing as they please.

A subset of the question of why some people choose atheism is the atheist claim that we are all natural born atheists. In part this is incumbent upon which definition of atheism we are employing. Obviously, we are not born positively asserting Gods non-existence. Thus, the claim is that we are all born lacking a belief in God. Logically, this claim is accurate only at this point and is actually not successfully applicable beyond this point.

Atheists who make this argument claim that this argument demonstrates that man is not God-made but that God is man-made. In other words, they claim that we only believe in God because someone taught us to believe in God, often during childhood before we were able to consider the claim rationally. Yet, this claim is faulty on many levels, for example:

We are born knowing nothing at all and must be taught, and later take it upon ourselves to learn, anything and everything that we will ever know or believe, including atheism.

We are natural-born bed wetters but that does not mean that we should remain that way.

This is ultimately a form of the logically fallacious ad hominem (to the man). This fallacy occurs when what is supposed to be a counterargument attacks the person, the source of the original argument, while leaving the argument unanswered. Thus, just because belief in God is something that is taught does not discredit belief in God. It would be fallacious to claim that God does not exist because human beings invented the idea of Gods existenceGod wants us to discover His existence: you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

Furthermore, this claim does not consider that many people came to believe in God in adulthood and having come from a completely secular (atheistic) upbringing.

Although, perhaps we could grant the claim: if atheists want to argue that atheism requires no more intellect than that which an infant can muster, why should we argue?

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Here is a video debate between an atheist and the author of this article: Morality: natural or supernatural?

Technically, ethics refers to what should be and morals to what is or; prescription and description. Atheists differ on the issue of ethics and morality; some claim that there are absolutes and some do not. As to the question of whether atheists can make absolute moral statements, this is tantamount to the first year theology student who, when asked, Do you believe in infant baptism? responded, Sure I do; Ive seen it done. Yes, atheists can make any statements about anything at allthe question is: are the statements viable?

Atheists make epistemic statements about morality but do not provide an ontological premise for ethics.26 That is to say that they can muse upon issues of morality and come to any conclusion that they please. However, these turn out to be arbitrary personal preferences that are expressed as dogmatic assertions.

Some atheists do make attempts at providing an ontological basis for ethics. These range quite widelyfrom considering the behavior of apes to Game Theory.

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Atheism – creation.com

Top 10 Atheism Quotes – Common Sense Atheism

There are hundreds of great atheism quotes out there. Like most skillful turns of phrase, they all sound good. But there are many I disagree with, for example All thinking men are atheists (Ernest Hemmingway).

Or consider this Julian Baggini quote: Goblins, hobbits truly everlasting gobstoppers God is just one of the things that atheists dont believe in, it just happens to be the thing that, for historical reasons, gave them their name. Actually, no. Perhaps we could say that God is just one of many things that naturalists dont believe in, or something like that, but atheism is defined only by a lack of belief in gods.

There are hundreds of other atheism quotes to choose from, but these are the ones that strike me most deeply right now.

When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

Stephen Roberts

When I was a kid I had an imaginary friend and I used to think that he went everywhere with me, and that I could talk to him and that he could hear me, and that he could grant me wishes and stuff. And then I grew up, and I stopped going to church.

Jimmy Carr

Believe nothing,No matter where you read it,Or who has said it,Not even if I have said it,Unless it agrees with your own reasonAnd your own common sense.

Buddha

To understand via the heart is not to understand.

Michel de Montaigne

I dont know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didnt.

Jules Renard

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish.

Anonymous

Do not pass by my epitaph, traveler.But having stopped, listen and learn, then go your way.There is no boat in Hades, no ferryman Charon,No caretaker Aiakos, no dog Cerberus.All we who are dead belowHave become bones and ashes, but nothing else.I have spoken to you honestly, go on, traveler,Lest even while dead I seem talkative to you.

Ancient Roman tombstone

An atheist doesnt have to be someone who thinks he has a proof that there cant be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the God question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question.

John McCarthy

Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions.

Blaise Pascal

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.

Anonymous

More here:

Top 10 Atheism Quotes – Common Sense Atheism

Atheism: The Case Against God (The Skeptic’s Bookshelf …

George H. Smithis a freelance writer who writes a weekly article for the Cato Institute (libertarianism.org) titled Excursions into the History of Libertarian Thought. He is the author ofAtheism: The Case against God;Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies;Why Atheism?; andThe System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism. Since 1971, he has written more than one hundred articles and book reviews that have appeared in a wide range of publications, including theNew York Times, theArizona Daily Star,Newsday, Reason, Free Inquiry,theHumanist, andInquiry ,among many others. He was formerly senior research fellow for the Institute for Humane Studies, a lecturer on American history for Cato Summer Seminars, and executive editor of Knowledge Products.

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Atheism: The Case Against God (The Skeptic’s Bookshelf …

Atheist Apologist: My Favorite Atheism Quotes

Here is a collection of my favorite quotes about atheism and religion. They’re in no particular order:”I would challenge anyone here to think of a question upon which we once had a scientific answer, however inadequate, but for which now the best answer is a religious one. Now, you can think of an uncountable number of questions that run the other way, where we once had a religious answer and now the authority of religion has been battered and nullified by science, and by moral progress, and by secular progress generally. And I think thats not an accident.” — Sam Harris

“Why should I allow that same God to tell me how to raise my kids, who had to drown His own?” — Robert G. Ingersoll

“If god doesn’t like the way I live, Let him tell me, not you.” — Unknown

Eskimo: “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?” Priest: “No, not if you did not know.” Eskimo: “Then why did you tell me?” — Annie Dillard, ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’

“Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions.” — Frater Ravus

“‘I refuse to prove that I exist,’ says God, ‘for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'” — Douglas Adams

“A man without religon is like a fish without a bicycle” — Unknown

“Without God, life is everything.” — Rev. Ron

“When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called Religion.” — Robert M. Pirsig

“Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in organized religion.” — Superintendent Chalmers, The Simpsons

“Deaths in the Bible. God – 2,270,365 not including the victims of Noah’s flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, or the many plagues, famines, fiery serpents, etc because no specific numbers were given. Satan – 10” — Unknown

“The essence of Christianity is told us in the Garden of Eden history. The fruit that was forbidden was on the tree of knowledge. The subtext is, All the suffering you have is because you wanted to find out what was going on.” — Frank Zappa

“The Christian god makes man human, then burns him when he acts like one.” — HSM

“Blasphemy is a victimless crime” — Anonymous

“Why would some all powerful being create creatures capable of reason and then demand that they act in a manner contrary to their creation?” — Josh Charles

“I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.” — Richard Dawkins

“Do I think Im going to paradise? Of course not; I wouldnt go if I was asked. I dont want to live in some fucking celestial North Korea, for one thing, where all I get to do is praise the Dear Leader from dawn till dusk. I dont want this; it would be hell for me.” — Christopher Hitchens

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? — Epicurus

“It is, I think, an error to believe that there is any need of religion to make life seem worth living.” – Sinclair Lewis

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” — Stephen Henry Roberts

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” — Blaise Pascal

“Blind faith is an ironic gift to return to the Creator of human intelligence.” — Anonymous

“If God wants us to do a thing he should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till he has done this before paying much attention to him.” — Samuel Butler

“I cannot believe in a God who has neither humor nor common sense.” — W. Somerset Maugham

“Question: How do you know you’re God?Answer: Simple. When I pray to him, I find I’m talking to myself.” — Peter O’Toole

“Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?” — James Madison

“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.” — George Bernard Shaw

“Gullibility and credulity are considered undesireable qualities in every department of human life — except religion … Why are we praised by godly men for surrendering our ‘godly gift’ of reason when we cross their mental thresholds?” — Christopher Hitchens

“If this is your God, he’s not very impressive. He has so many psychological problems; he’s so insecure. He demands worship every seven days. He goes out and creates faulty humans and then blames them for his own mistakes. He’s a pretty poor excuse for a Supreme Being.” — Gene Roddenberry

“Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nation, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have.” — James Baldwin

“I would believe any religion that could prove it had existed since the beginning of the world. But when I see Socrates, Plato, Moses, and Mohammed I do not think there is such a one. All religions owe their origin to man.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

“The existence of a world without God seems to me less absurd than the presence of a God, existing in all of his perfection, creating imperfect man in order to make him run the risk of Hell.” — Armand Salacrou

“It is an insult to God to believe in God. For on the one hand it is to suppose that he has perpetrated acts of incalculable cruelty. On the other, it is to suppose that he has perversely given his human creatures an instrument — their intellect — which must inevitably lead them, if they are dispassionate and honest, to deny his existence. It is tempting to conclude that if he exists, it is the atheists and agnostics that he loves best, among those with any pretensions to education. For they are the ones who have taken him most seriously.” — Galen Strawson

“The Way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason.” — Benjamin Franklin

“Once miracles are admitted, every scientific explanation is out of the question.” — Johannes Kepler

“None of the miracles with which ancient histories are filled, occurred under scientific conditions. Observation never once contradicted, teaches us that miracles occur only in periods and countries in which they are believed in and before persons disposed to believe in them.” — Ernest Renan

“Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from its readiness to fit in with our instinctual wishful impulses.” — Sigmund Freud

“Only the atheist realizes how morally objectionable it is for survivors of a catastrophe to believe themselves spared by a loving God while this same God drowned infants in their cribs.” — Sam Harris

“If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him? If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our future? If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers? If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him?” — Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?” — Douglas Adams

“Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which cannot exist when I do?” — Epicurus

“Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.” — Anonymous

“You believe in a book which has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd, and primitive stories; and you say that I am the one who is mentally ill?” — Dan Barker

“The continually progressive change to which the meaning of words is subject, the want of a universal language which renders translation necessary, the errors to which translations are again subject, the mistakes of copyists and printers, together with the possibility of willful alteration, are themselves evidences that human language, whether in speech or print, cannot be the vehicle of the Word of God.” — Thomas Paine

“As to the book called the Bible, it is blasphemy to call it the word of God. It is a book of lies and contradictions, and a history of bad times and bad men. There are but a few good characters in the whole book.” — Thomas Paine

“One’s convictions should be proportional to one’s evidence.” — Sam Harris

“Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he’ll starve to death while praying for a fish.” — Anonymous

“A faith which cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.” — Arthur C. Clarke

“The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.” — Anonymous

“Wherever morality is based on theology, wherever the right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established.” — Ludwig Feuerbach

“I cannot see why we should expect an infinite God to do better in another world than he does in this.” — Robert G. Ingersoll

Is your favorite quote missing from here? E-mail it to atheistapologist@gmail.com and I’ll add it!

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Atheist Apologist: My Favorite Atheism Quotes

Space exploration – Wikipedia

Space exploration is the discovery and exploration of celestial structures in outer space by means of evolving and growing space technology. While the study of space is carried out mainly by astronomers with telescopes, the physical exploration of space is conducted both by unmanned robotic space probes and human spaceflight.

While the observation of objects in space, known as astronomy, predates reliable recorded history, it was the development of large and relatively efficient rockets during the mid-twentieth century that allowed physical space exploration to become a reality. Common rationales for exploring space include advancing scientific research, national prestige, uniting different nations, ensuring the future survival of humanity, and developing military and strategic advantages against other countries.[1]

Space exploration has often been used as a proxy competition for geopolitical rivalries such as the Cold War. The early era of space exploration was driven by a “Space Race” between the Soviet Union and the United States. The launch of the first human-made object to orbit Earth, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1, on 4 October 1957, and the first Moon landing by the American Apollo 11 mission on 20 July 1969 are often taken as landmarks for this initial period. The Soviet Space Program achieved many of the first milestones, including the first living being in orbit in 1957, the first human spaceflight (Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1) in 1961, the first spacewalk (by Aleksei Leonov) on 18 March 1965, the first automatic landing on another celestial body in 1966, and the launch of the first space station (Salyut 1) in 1971.After the first 20 years of exploration, focus shifted from one-off flights to renewable hardware, such as the Space Shuttle program, and from competition to cooperation as with the International Space Station (ISS).

With the substantial completion of the ISS[2] following STS-133 in March 2011, plans for space exploration by the U.S. remain in flux. Constellation, a Bush Administration program for a return to the Moon by 2020[3] was judged inadequately funded and unrealistic by an expert review panel reporting in 2009.[4] The Obama Administration proposed a revision of Constellation in 2010 to focus on the development of the capability for crewed missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), envisioning extending the operation of the ISS beyond 2020, transferring the development of launch vehicles for human crews from NASA to the private sector, and developing technology to enable missions to beyond LEO, such as EarthMoon L1, the Moon, EarthSun L2, near-Earth asteroids, and Phobos or Mars orbit.[5]

In the 2000s, the People’s Republic of China initiated a successful manned spaceflight program, while the European Union, Japan, and India have also planned future crewed space missions. China, Russia, Japan, and India have advocated crewed missions to the Moon during the 21st century, while the European Union has advocated manned missions to both the Moon and Mars during the 20th and 21st century.

From the 1990s onwards, private interests began promoting space tourism and then public space exploration of the Moon (see Google Lunar X Prize).

The highest known projectiles prior to the rockets of the 1940s were the shells of the Paris Gun, a type of German long-range siege gun, which reached at least 40 kilometers altitude during World War One.[6] Steps towards putting a human-made object into space were taken by German scientists during World War II while testing the V-2 rocket, which became the first human-made object in space on 3 October 1942 with the launching of the A-4. After the war, the U.S. used German scientists and their captured rockets in programs for both military and civilian research. The first scientific exploration from space was the cosmic radiation experiment launched by the U.S. on a V-2 rocket on 10 May 1946.[7] The first images of Earth taken from space followed the same year[8][9] while the first animal experiment saw fruit flies lifted into space in 1947, both also on modified V-2s launched by Americans. Starting in 1947, the Soviets, also with the help of German teams, launched sub-orbital V-2 rockets and their own variant, the R-1, including radiation and animal experiments on some flights. These suborbital experiments only allowed a very short time in space which limited their usefulness.

The first successful orbital launch was of the Soviet uncrewed Sputnik 1 (“Satellite 1”) mission on 4 October 1957. The satellite weighed about 83kg (183lb), and is believed to have orbited Earth at a height of about 250km (160mi). It had two radio transmitters (20 and 40MHz), which emitted “beeps” that could be heard by radios around the globe. Analysis of the radio signals was used to gather information about the electron density of the ionosphere, while temperature and pressure data was encoded in the duration of radio beeps. The results indicated that the satellite was not punctured by a meteoroid. Sputnik 1 was launched by an R-7 rocket. It burned up upon re-entry on 3 January 1958.

The second one was Sputnik 2. Launched by the USSR on November 3, 1957, it carried the dog Laika, who became the first animal in orbit.

This success led to an escalation of the American space program, which unsuccessfully attempted to launch a Vanguard satellite into orbit two months later. On 31 January 1958, the U.S. successfully orbited Explorer 1 on a Juno rocket.

The first successful human spaceflight was Vostok 1 (“East 1”), carrying 27-year-old Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on 12 April 1961. The spacecraft completed one orbit around the globe, lasting about 1 hour and 48 minutes. Gagarin’s flight resonated around the world; it was a demonstration of the advanced Soviet space program and it opened an entirely new era in space exploration: human spaceflight.

The U.S. first launched a person into space within a month of Vostok 1 with Alan Shepard’s suborbital flight on Freedom 7. Orbital flight was achieved by the United States when John Glenn’s Friendship 7 orbited Earth on 20 February 1962.

Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, orbited Earth 48 times aboard Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963.

China first launched a person into space 42 years after the launch of Vostok 1, on 15 October 2003, with the flight of Yang Liwei aboard the Shenzhou 5 (Divine Vessel 5) spacecraft.

The first artificial object to reach another celestial body was Luna 2 in 1959.[10] The first automatic landing on another celestial body was performed by Luna 9[11] in 1966. Luna 10 became the first artificial satellite of the Moon.[12]

The first crewed landing on another celestial body was performed by Apollo 11 on 20 July 1969.

The first successful interplanetary flyby was the 1962 Mariner 2 flyby of Venus (closest approach 34,773 kilometers). The other planets were first flown by in 1965 for Mars by Mariner 4, 1973 for Jupiter by Pioneer 10, 1974 for Mercury by Mariner 10, 1979 for Saturn by Pioneer 11, 1986 for Uranus by Voyager 2, 1989 for Neptune by Voyager 2. In 2015, the dwarf planets Ceres and Pluto were orbited by Dawn and passed by New Horizons, respectively.

The first interplanetary surface mission to return at least limited surface data from another planet was the 1970 landing of Venera 7 on Venus which returned data to Earth for 23 minutes. In 1975 the Venera 9 was the first to return images from the surface of another planet. In 1971 the Mars 3 mission achieved the first soft landing on Mars returning data for almost 20 seconds. Later much longer duration surface missions were achieved, including over six years of Mars surface operation by Viking 1 from 1975 to 1982 and over two hours of transmission from the surface of Venus by Venera 13 in 1982, the longest ever Soviet planetary surface mission.

The dream of stepping into the outer reaches of Earth’s atmosphere was driven by the fiction of Peter Francis Geraci[13][14][15] and H. G. Wells,[16] and rocket technology was developed to try to realize this vision. The German V-2 was the first rocket to travel into space, overcoming the problems of thrust and material failure. During the final days of World War II this technology was obtained by both the Americans and Soviets as were its designers. The initial driving force for further development of the technology was a weapons race for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to be used as long-range carriers for fast nuclear weapon delivery, but in 1961 when the Soviet Union launched the first man into space, the United States declared itself to be in a “Space Race” with the Soviets.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Robert Goddard, Hermann Oberth, and Reinhold Tiling laid the groundwork of rocketry in the early years of the 20th century.

Wernher von Braun was the lead rocket engineer for Nazi Germany’s World War II V-2 rocket project. In the last days of the war he led a caravan of workers in the German rocket program to the American lines, where they surrendered and were brought to the United States to work on their rocket development (“Operation Paperclip”). He acquired American citizenship and led the team that developed and launched Explorer 1, the first American satellite. Von Braun later led the team at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center which developed the Saturn V moon rocket.

Initially the race for space was often led by Sergei Korolev, whose legacy includes both the R7 and Soyuzwhich remain in service to this day. Korolev was the mastermind behind the first satellite, first man (and first woman) in orbit and first spacewalk. Until his death his identity was a closely guarded state secret; not even his mother knew that he was responsible for creating the Soviet space program.

Kerim Kerimov was one of the founders of the Soviet space program and was one of the lead architects behind the first human spaceflight (Vostok 1) alongside Sergey Korolyov. After Korolyov’s death in 1966, Kerimov became the lead scientist of the Soviet space program and was responsible for the launch of the first space stations from 1971 to 1991, including the Salyut and Mir series, and their precursors in 1967, the Cosmos 186 and Cosmos 188.[17][18]

Although the Sun will probably not be physically explored at all, the study of the Sun has nevertheless been a major focus of space exploration. Being above the atmosphere in particular and Earth’s magnetic field gives access to the solar wind and infrared and ultraviolet radiations that cannot reach Earth’s surface. The Sun generates most space weather, which can affect power generation and transmission systems on Earth and interfere with, and even damage, satellites and space probes. Numerous spacecraft dedicated to observing the Sun, beginning with the Apollo Telescope Mount, have been launched and still others have had solar observation as a secondary objective. Parker Solar Probe, launched in 2018, will approach the Sun to within 1/8th the orbit of Mercury.

Mercury remains the least explored of the Terrestrial planets. As of May 2013, the Mariner 10 and MESSENGER missions have been the only missions that have made close observations of Mercury. MESSENGER entered orbit around Mercury in March 2011, to further investigate the observations made by Mariner 10 in 1975 (Munsell, 2006b).

A third mission to Mercury, scheduled to arrive in 2025, BepiColombo is to include two probes. BepiColombo is a joint mission between Japan and the European Space Agency. MESSENGER and BepiColombo are intended to gather complementary data to help scientists understand many of the mysteries discovered by Mariner 10’s flybys.

Flights to other planets within the Solar System are accomplished at a cost in energy, which is described by the net change in velocity of the spacecraft, or delta-v. Due to the relatively high delta-v to reach Mercury and its proximity to the Sun, it is difficult to explore and orbits around it are rather unstable.

Venus was the first target of interplanetary flyby and lander missions and, despite one of the most hostile surface environments in the Solar System, has had more landers sent to it (nearly all from the Soviet Union) than any other planet in the Solar System. The first successful Venus flyby was the American Mariner 2 spacecraft, which flew past Venus in 1962. Mariner 2 has been followed by several other flybys by multiple space agencies often as part of missions using a Venus flyby to provide a gravitational assist en route to other celestial bodies. In 1967 Venera 4 became the first probe to enter and directly examine the atmosphere of Venus. In 1970, Venera 7 became the first successful lander to reach the surface of Venus and by 1985 it had been followed by eight additional successful Soviet Venus landers which provided images and other direct surface data. Starting in 1975 with the Soviet orbiter Venera 9 some ten successful orbiter missions have been sent to Venus, including later missions which were able to map the surface of Venus using radar to pierce the obscuring atmosphere.

Space exploration has been used as a tool to understand Earth as a celestial object in its own right. Orbital missions can provide data for Earth that can be difficult or impossible to obtain from a purely ground-based point of reference.

For example, the existence of the Van Allen radiation belts was unknown until their discovery by the United States’ first artificial satellite, Explorer 1. These belts contain radiation trapped by Earth’s magnetic fields, which currently renders construction of habitable space stations above 1000km impractical.Following this early unexpected discovery, a large number of Earth observation satellites have been deployed specifically to explore Earth from a space based perspective. These satellites have significantly contributed to the understanding of a variety of Earth-based phenomena. For instance, the hole in the ozone layer was found by an artificial satellite that was exploring Earth’s atmosphere, and satellites have allowed for the discovery of archeological sites or geological formations that were difficult or impossible to otherwise identify.

The Moon was the first celestial body to be the object of space exploration. It holds the distinctions of being the first remote celestial object to be flown by, orbited, and landed upon by spacecraft, and the only remote celestial object ever to be visited by humans.

In 1959 the Soviets obtained the first images of the far side of the Moon, never previously visible to humans. The U.S. exploration of the Moon began with the Ranger 4 impactor in 1962. Starting in 1966 the Soviets successfully deployed a number of landers to the Moon which were able to obtain data directly from the Moon’s surface; just four months later, Surveyor 1 marked the debut of a successful series of U.S. landers. The Soviet uncrewed missions culminated in the Lunokhod program in the early 1970s, which included the first uncrewed rovers and also successfully brought lunar soil samples to Earth for study. This marked the first (and to date the only) automated return of extraterrestrial soil samples to Earth. Uncrewed exploration of the Moon continues with various nations periodically deploying lunar orbiters, and in 2008 the Indian Moon Impact Probe.

Crewed exploration of the Moon began in 1968 with the Apollo 8 mission that successfully orbited the Moon, the first time any extraterrestrial object was orbited by humans. In 1969, the Apollo 11 mission marked the first time humans set foot upon another world. Crewed exploration of the Moon did not continue for long, however. The Apollo 17 mission in 1972 marked the sixth landing and the most recent human visit there, and the next, Exploration Mission 2, is due to orbit the Moon in 2023. Robotic missions are still pursued vigorously.

The exploration of Mars has been an important part of the space exploration programs of the Soviet Union (later Russia), the United States, Europe, Japan and India. Dozens of robotic spacecraft, including orbiters, landers, and rovers, have been launched toward Mars since the 1960s. These missions were aimed at gathering data about current conditions and answering questions about the history of Mars. The questions raised by the scientific community are expected to not only give a better appreciation of the red planet but also yield further insight into the past, and possible future, of Earth.

The exploration of Mars has come at a considerable financial cost with roughly two-thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars failing before completing their missions, with some failing before they even began. Such a high failure rate can be attributed to the complexity and large number of variables involved in an interplanetary journey, and has led researchers to jokingly speak of The Great Galactic Ghoul[19] which subsists on a diet of Mars probes. This phenomenon is also informally known as the “Mars Curse”.[20]In contrast to overall high failure rates in the exploration of Mars, India has become the first country to achieve success of its maiden attempt. India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)[21][22][23] is one of the least expensive interplanetary missions ever undertaken with an approximate total cost of 450 Crore (US$73 million).[24][25] The first mission to Mars by any Arab country has been taken up by the United Arab Emirates. Called the Emirates Mars Mission, it is scheduled for launch in 2020. The uncrewed exploratory probe has been named “Hope Probe” and will be sent to Mars to study its atmosphere in detail.[26]

The Russian space mission Fobos-Grunt, which launched on 9 November 2011 experienced a failure leaving it stranded in low Earth orbit.[27] It was to begin exploration of the Phobos and Martian circumterrestrial orbit, and study whether the moons of Mars, or at least Phobos, could be a “trans-shipment point” for spaceships traveling to Mars.[28]

The exploration of Jupiter has consisted solely of a number of automated NASA spacecraft visiting the planet since 1973. A large majority of the missions have been “flybys”, in which detailed observations are taken without the probe landing or entering orbit; such as in Pioneer and Voyager programs. The Galileo and Juno spacecraft are the only spacecraft to have entered the planet’s orbit. As Jupiter is believed to have only a relatively small rocky core and no real solid surface, a landing mission is precluded.

Reaching Jupiter from Earth requires a delta-v of 9.2km/s,[29] which is comparable to the 9.7km/s delta-v needed to reach low Earth orbit.[30] Fortunately, gravity assists through planetary flybys can be used to reduce the energy required at launch to reach Jupiter, albeit at the cost of a significantly longer flight duration.[29]

Jupiter has 69 known moons, many of which have relatively little known information about them.

Saturn has been explored only through uncrewed spacecraft launched by NASA, including one mission (CassiniHuygens) planned and executed in cooperation with other space agencies. These missions consist of flybys in 1979 by Pioneer 11, in 1980 by Voyager 1, in 1982 by Voyager 2 and an orbital mission by the Cassini spacecraft, which lasted from 2004 until 2017.

Saturn has at least 62 known moons, although the exact number is debatable since Saturn’s rings are made up of vast numbers of independently orbiting objects of varying sizes. The largest of the moons is Titan, which holds the distinction of being the only moon in the Solar System with an atmosphere denser and thicker than that of Earth. Titan holds the distinction of being the only object in the Outer Solar System that has been explored with a lander, the Huygens probe deployed by the Cassini spacecraft.

The exploration of Uranus has been entirely through the Voyager 2 spacecraft, with no other visits currently planned. Given its axial tilt of 97.77, with its polar regions exposed to sunlight or darkness for long periods, scientists were not sure what to expect at Uranus. The closest approach to Uranus occurred on 24 January 1986. Voyager 2 studied the planet’s unique atmosphere and magnetosphere. Voyager 2 also examined its ring system and the moons of Uranus including all five of the previously known moons, while discovering an additional ten previously unknown moons.

Images of Uranus proved to have a very uniform appearance, with no evidence of the dramatic storms or atmospheric banding evident on Jupiter and Saturn. Great effort was required to even identify a few clouds in the images of the planet. The magnetosphere of Uranus, however, proved to be unique, being profoundly affected by the planet’s unusual axial tilt. In contrast to the bland appearance of Uranus itself, striking images were obtained of the Moons of Uranus, including evidence that Miranda had been unusually geologically active.

The exploration of Neptune began with the 25 August 1989 Voyager 2 flyby, the sole visit to the system as of 2014. The possibility of a Neptune Orbiter has been discussed, but no other missions have been given serious thought.

Although the extremely uniform appearance of Uranus during Voyager 2’s visit in 1986 had led to expectations that Neptune would also have few visible atmospheric phenomena, the spacecraft found that Neptune had obvious banding, visible clouds, auroras, and even a conspicuous anticyclone storm system rivaled in size only by Jupiter’s small Spot. Neptune also proved to have the fastest winds of any planet in the Solar System, measured as high as 2,100km/h.[31] Voyager 2 also examined Neptune’s ring and moon system. It discovered 900 complete rings and additional partial ring “arcs” around Neptune. In addition to examining Neptune’s three previously known moons, Voyager 2 also discovered five previously unknown moons, one of which, Proteus, proved to be the last largest moon in the system. Data from Voyager 2 supported the view that Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, is a captured Kuiper belt object.[32]

The dwarf planet Pluto presents significant challenges for spacecraft because of its great distance from Earth (requiring high velocity for reasonable trip times) and small mass (making capture into orbit very difficult at present). Voyager 1 could have visited Pluto, but controllers opted instead for a close flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan, resulting in a trajectory incompatible with a Pluto flyby. Voyager 2 never had a plausible trajectory for reaching Pluto.[33]

Pluto continues to be of great interest, despite its reclassification as the lead and nearest member of a new and growing class of distant icy bodies of intermediate size (and also the first member of the important subclass, defined by orbit and known as “plutinos”). After an intense political battle, a mission to Pluto dubbed New Horizons was granted funding from the United States government in 2003.[34] New Horizons was launched successfully on 19 January 2006. In early 2007 the craft made use of a gravity assist from Jupiter. Its closest approach to Pluto was on 14 July 2015; scientific observations of Pluto began five months prior to closest approach and continued for 16 days after the encounter.

Until the advent of space travel, objects in the asteroid belt were merely pinpricks of light in even the largest telescopes, their shapes and terrain remaining a mystery.Several asteroids have now been visited by probes, the first of which was Galileo, which flew past two: 951 Gaspra in 1991, followed by 243 Ida in 1993. Both of these lay near enough to Galileo’s planned trajectory to Jupiter that they could be visited at acceptable cost. The first landing on an asteroid was performed by the NEAR Shoemaker probe in 2000, following an orbital survey of the object. The dwarf planet Ceres and the asteroid 4 Vesta, two of the three largest asteroids, were visited by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, launched in 2007.

Although many comets have been studied from Earth sometimes with centuries-worth of observations, only a few comets have been closely visited. In 1985, the International Cometary Explorer conducted the first comet fly-by (21P/Giacobini-Zinner) before joining the Halley Armada studying the famous comet. The Deep Impact probe smashed into 9P/Tempel to learn more about its structure and composition and the Stardust mission returned samples of another comet’s tail. The Philae lander successfully landed on Comet ChuryumovGerasimenko in 2014 as part of the broader Rosetta mission.

Hayabusa was an unmanned spacecraft developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to return a sample of material from the small near-Earth asteroid 25143 Itokawa to Earth for further analysis. Hayabusa was launched on 9 May 2003 and rendezvoused with Itokawa in mid-September 2005. After arriving at Itokawa, Hayabusa studied the asteroid’s shape, spin, topography, color, composition, density, and history. In November 2005, it landed on the asteroid to collect samples. The spacecraft returned to Earth on 13 June 2010.

Deep space exploration is the branch of astronomy, astronautics and space technology that is involved with the exploration of distant regions of outer space.[35] Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights (deep-space astronautics) and by robotic spacecraft.

Some of the best candidates for future deep space engine technologies include anti-matter, nuclear power and beamed propulsion.[36] The latter, beamed propulsion, appears to be the best candidate for deep space exploration presently available, since it uses known physics and known technology that is being developed for other purposes.[37]

In the 2000s, several plans for space exploration were announced; both government entities and the private sector have space exploration objectives. China has announced plans to have a 60-ton multi-module space station in orbit by 2020.

The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 provided a re-prioritized list of objectives for the American space program, as well as funding for the first priorities. NASA proposes to move forward with the development of the Space Launch System (SLS), which will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment, and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station. The SLS rocket will incorporate technological investments from the Space Shuttle program and the Constellation program in order to take advantage of proven hardware and reduce development and operations costs. The first developmental flight is targeted for the end of 2017.[38]

The idea of using high level automated systems for space missions has become a desirable goal to space agencies all around the world. Such systems are believed to yield benefits such as lower cost, less human oversight, and ability to explore deeper in space which is usually restricted by long communications with human controllers.[39]

Autonomy is defined by three requirements:[39]

Autonomous technologies would be able to perform beyond predetermined actions. They would analyze all possible states and events happening around them and come up with a safe response. In addition, such technologies can reduce launch cost and ground involvement. Performance would increase as well. Autonomy would be able to quickly respond upon encountering an unforeseen event, especially in deep space exploration where communication back to Earth would take too long.[39]

NASA began its autonomous science experiment (ASE) on Earth Observing 1 (EO-1) which is NASA’s first satellite in the new millennium program Earth-observing series launched on 21 November 2000. The autonomy of ASE is capable of on-board science analysis, replanning, robust execution, and later the addition of model-based diagnostic. Images obtained by the EO-1 are analyzed on-board and downlinked when a change or an interesting event occur. The ASE software has successfully provided over 10,000 science images.[39]

An article in science magazine Nature suggested the use of asteroids as a gateway for space exploration, with the ultimate destination being Mars.[40] In order to make such an approach viable, three requirements need to be fulfilled: first, “a thorough asteroid survey to find thousands of nearby bodies suitable for astronauts to visit”; second, “extending flight duration and distance capability to ever-increasing ranges out to Mars”; and finally, “developing better robotic vehicles and tools to enable astronauts to explore an asteroid regardless of its size, shape or spin.”[40] Furthermore, using asteroids would provide astronauts with protection from galactic cosmic rays, with mission crews being able to land on them in times of greater risk to radiation exposure.[41]

The research that is conducted by national space exploration agencies, such as NASA and Roscosmos, is one of the reasons supporters cite to justify government expenses. Economic analyses of the NASA programs often showed ongoing economic benefits (such as NASA spin-offs), generating many times the revenue of the cost of the program.[42] It is also argued that space exploration would lead to the extraction of resources on other planets and especially asteroids, which contain billions of dollars worth of minerals and metals. Such expeditions could generate a lot of revenue.[43] As well, it has been argued that space exploration programs help inspire youth to study in science and engineering.[44]

Another claim is that space exploration is a necessity to mankind and that staying on Earth will lead to extinction. Some of the reasons are lack of natural resources, comets, nuclear war, and worldwide epidemic. Stephen Hawking, renowned British theoretical physicist, said that “I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.”[45]

NASA has produced a series of public service announcement videos supporting the concept of space exploration.[46]

Overall, the public remains largely supportive of both crewed and uncrewed space exploration. According to an Associated Press Poll conducted in July 2003, 71% of U.S. citizens agreed with the statement that the space program is “a good investment”, compared to 21% who did not.[47]

Arthur C. Clarke (1950) presented a summary of motivations for the human exploration of space in his non-fiction semi-technical monograph Interplanetary Flight.[48] He argued that humanity’s choice is essentially between expansion off Earth into space, versus cultural (and eventually biological) stagnation and death.

Spaceflight is the use of space technology to achieve the flight of spacecraft into and through outer space.

Spaceflight is used in space exploration, and also in commercial activities like space tourism and satellite telecommunications. Additional non-commercial uses of spaceflight include space observatories, reconnaissance satellites and other Earth observation satellites.

A spaceflight typically begins with a rocket launch, which provides the initial thrust to overcome the force of gravity and propels the spacecraft from the surface of Earth. Once in space, the motion of a spacecraftboth when unpropelled and when under propulsionis covered by the area of study called astrodynamics. Some spacecraft remain in space indefinitely, some disintegrate during atmospheric reentry, and others reach a planetary or lunar surface for landing or impact.

Satellites are used for a large number of purposes. Common types include military (spy) and civilian Earth observation satellites, communication satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, and research satellites. Space stations and human spacecraft in orbit are also satellites.

Current examples of the commercial use of space include satellite navigation systems, satellite television and satellite radio. Space tourism is the recent phenomenon of space travel by individuals for the purpose of personal pleasure.

Private spaceflight companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, and commercial space stations such as the Axiom Space and the Bigelow Commercial Space Station have dramatically changed the landscape of space exploration, and will continue to do so in the near future.

Astrobiology is the interdisciplinary study of life in the universe, combining aspects of astronomy, biology and geology.[49] It is focused primarily on the study of the origin, distribution and evolution of life. It is also known as exobiology (from Greek: , exo, “outside”).[50][51][52] The term “Xenobiology” has been used as well, but this is technically incorrect because its terminology means “biology of the foreigners”.[53] Astrobiologists must also consider the possibility of life that is chemically entirely distinct from any life found on Earth.[54] In the Solar System some of the prime locations for current or past astrobiology are on Enceladus, Europa, Mars, and Titan.

Space colonization, also called space settlement and space humanization, would be the permanent autonomous (self-sufficient) human habitation of locations outside Earth, especially of natural satellites or planets such as the Moon or Mars, using significant amounts of in-situ resource utilization.

To date, the longest human occupation of space is the International Space Station which has been in continuous use for 17years, 348days. Valeri Polyakov’s record single spaceflight of almost 438 days aboard the Mir space station has not been surpassed. Long-term stays in space reveal issues with bone and muscle loss in low gravity, immune system suppression, and radiation exposure.

Many past and current concepts for the continued exploration and colonization of space focus on a return to the Moon as a “stepping stone” to the other planets, especially Mars. At the end of 2006 NASA announced they were planning to build a permanent Moon base with continual presence by 2024.[56]

Beyond the technical factors that could make living in space more widespread, it has been suggested that the lack of private property, the inability or difficulty in establishing property rights in space, has been an impediment to the development of space for human habitation. Since the advent of space technology in the latter half of the twentieth century, the ownership of property in space has been murky, with strong arguments both for and against. In particular, the making of national territorial claims in outer space and on celestial bodies has been specifically proscribed by the Outer Space Treaty, which had been, as of 2012[update], ratified by all spacefaring nations.[57]

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Space exploration – Wikipedia