News From Around The Blogosphere 6.9.11

June 10, 2011

I’ve been away for almost a week, so I’m going to have to play catch-up for the next few days.

1. New Pew Poll suggests atheists still unelectable – If the poll is accurate, atheists are less electable than a candidate who is Mormon, gay, divorced, or even an adulterer.

2. ‘Psychic’ leads Texas Rangers and FBI down dead end  – Police followed a tip by an alleged psychic who told them where to find a supposed mass grave containing dozens of dismembered bodies. Now Craig McNair, head of the county commissioners, is looking to hold her responsible for giving a false tip and creating havoc.

3. ‘Expelled’ production company expelled from existence – Premise Media Holdings LP has gone bankrupt and its shitty creationist propaganda film starring Ben Stein is going up for auction:

The high bidder will become the owner of the movie that The New York Times (2008 Apr 18) described as “[o]ne of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time … a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry … an unprincipled propaganda piece that insults believers and nonbelievers alike” and that was denounced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for its “profound dishonesty” and condemned by the Anti-Defamation League for its “outrageous” misuse of the Holocaust to “tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution.” (NCSE’s Expelled Exposed provides a collection of reviews, commentary, and resources documenting the extensive problems with Expelled.)

4. Tennessee passes law banning images that “cause emotional distress” – Though it remains to be seen if anyone will actually try to enforce this new law signed by Gov. Bill Haslam, it’s hard to imagine a greater offense to the First Amendment.

5. Hot nun fired over lap-dancing past – Wasn’t there something in Christian mythology about turning the other cheek? Which cheeks the passage was talking about is unclear.

And on a related note…

6. Pole dancing for Jesus causes controversy – There’s a pole dancing class that allegedly is intended to help women stay in shape while simultaneously bringing them closer to God:

Set to Christian music, church-going women spin and slither around poles. But the instructor and the students say it’s not about sex.

7. South Carolina prison insist lingerie ads lead to “deviant behavior” -

But the organization says the jail has gone even further in its screening of mail to inmates by banning publications that contain any level of nudity, including beachwear and underwear.

Oh, and there’s a video in the link above.

 

And finally…

8. Congratulations to my friend Page Van Meter, who’s been named the new president of the NYC Skeptics!

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Rep. Henry Brown and other Republicans’ new proposed waste of tax-payer dollars

December 29, 2009

I’ve blogged about this story before but here’s a horrible waste of tax-payer money during a recession:

Rep. Henry Brown of South Carolina and 74 Republican co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives actually wants Congress to pass a resolution condemning people for saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”

Son of a bitch! This is seriously how these clowns want to spend tax-payer dollars? Really? After refusing to support spending for health care reform, a measure that would have undeniable benefits for almost every man, woman, and child in the country? These people are insane. They should be locked up in mental asylums, not running our country.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There’s no “War on Christmas.” The only “war” being waged is by Christians against anyone else who has the audacity to not celebrate Christmas. I have no beef with Christmas. It’s not even a real Christian holiday and many of its traditions are either Pagan in origin, secular in origin, and/or explicitly condemned in the Bible such as the Christmas tree in Jeremiah 10. Also, if you polled a hundred people on the street about their favorite part of the holiday, you’d be lucky to find even one who’d name Christmas mass or any other unambiguously religious element.

Sure, I’m a little unnerved by the ultra-commercialism of this time of year. And I think pressuring everyone into being generous is manifestly paradoxical and ultimately a flawed system since ideally, everyone reciprocates by giving presents to those they receive presents from and those presents are ideally of relatively equal worth, guaranteeing that people would just be better off buying their own gifts (hence gift cards and cash presents). But I enjoy many elements to the season. I love Santa Claus, the patron saint of this holiday, who’s inspired by numerous cultures’ myths as well as the Coca Cola Corporation, and as I understand it, is said to have died for our sins on a cross (That is what the holiday’s about, isn’t it?).

But it isn’t enough for these wankers that this holiday, currently most associated with one specific religion, is ALREADY regarded as a national holiday. No, that isn’t good enough for them. They need to force this down everyone’s throats and force us all to celebrate no matter what. Well I call bullshit! This is the United States of America, goddamnit! And we don’t have to celebrate or honor a goddamned thing! I’ll celebrate Burn The Flag Day if I please, and there ain’t a damned thing you can do about it because that’s my Constitutional right as a citizen of this amazing country. And if you don’t like it, you can just close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and sing, “la, la, la, la” over and over again. That’s your right. Your right to swing your fists end at my nose.

And ironically, it seems that the more atheists surprise Christians by announcing that they enjoy celebrating Christmas, the more Christians seem to be outraged and call for the exclusivity of the holiday. Just see Garrison Keillor’s rant in the Chicago Tribune, which I’ve previously mentioned in a blog. You just can’t win with people who insist on being argumentative about everything and will argue regardless of what side you’re on. So atheists might as well just continue to praise Christmas for its secular and explicitly anti-Christian components just to see if we can get more Christians to denounce the holiday.


News From Around The Blogosphere 11.12.09

November 13, 2009

1. MILF cleared of abduction charges by Irish priest – Okay, get you minds out of the gutter. Of course I’m talking about the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). In the Philippines, Irish Fr. Michael Sinnott was held hostage for 31 days and after being freed, said that his abductors were the original lumad of Mindanao who lost their homeland and everything else when the merchants came in, but not the MILF. In fact, the MILF Central Committee are credited for effecting his release.

2. Nanotechnology kicks cancer’s ass -

Led by Elena Rozhkova, scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago’s Brain Tumor Center have developed the first nanoparticles that seek out and destroy glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain cancer cells without damaging nearby healthy cells.

Nanomedicine, an offshoot of nanotechnology, refers to highly specific medical intervention at the molecular scale for curing disease or repairing damaged tissues, such as bone, muscle, nerve, or brain cells. Nanoparticles – anywhere from 100 to 2500 nanometers in size – are at the same scale as the biological molecules and structures inside living cells. Cancer detection using nanoparticles shows great promise as a therapy for certain types of cancer. And the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) is taking nanoparticles very seriously. The NIH has established a national network of eight Nanomedicine Development Centers, which serve as the intellectual and technological core of the NIH Nanomedicine Roadmap Initiative.

3. South Carolina rules religious license plates unconstitutional - The smoking gun of the case seems to this:

When State Sen. Yance McGill was asked by the Associated Press in May 2009 whether he would support a Wiccan tag, he said, “Well, that’s not what I consider to be a religion.”

When asked about a Buddhist tag, he said “I’d have to look at the individual situation. But I’m telling you, I firmly believe in this [Christian] tag.”

Rep. Bill Sandifer also backed the “Christian” plate, but emphatically asserted that he would never do the same for a plate featuring Islamic symbols and language.

“Absolutely and positively no,” he said.

And, let’s not forget, [ed: Lt. Gov] Bauer himself also said no to the same question.

“I would not [support a tag for Islam] because that is not the group I support,” he said.

Oops. Thanks guys.

4. Rhode Island governor vetoed domestic partners burial bill – This bill would have allowed a same-sex partner to make funeral arrangements for a dead partner. Governor Carcieri, have you no decency, sir? Have you no decency?

5. Catholic Church gives Washington D.C. an ultimatum – The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington threatened to pull aid to homeless if the state doesn’t change a proposed same-sex marriage law. Yay extortion!

6. Cincinnati Coalition of Reason billboard taken down due to death threats –  And while extremely unfortunate, it both illustrates why these completely unoffensive ads are so important in the first place and on the plus side, the billboard was just moved to a new location. And this will no doubt generate more publicity than the billboard itself.

7. Alabama Atheists and Agnostics get publicity - Last month, they went around chalking their university to advertise their upcoming meeting. Then it got erased and so they chalked everything again, only to have that erased to. And now the story has gotten them some great new publicity, which like the Cincinnati billboard incident, will likely reach a much larger audience than originally intended. Thanks assholes!

8. 10-year-old refuses to stand for Pledge for gay marriage – 10-year-old Will Phillips refuses to stand for the Pledge of Allegience to show support for gay marriage:

“I’ve always tried to analyze things because I want to be lawyer,” Will said. “I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all.”

At the end of our interview, I ask young Will a question that might be a civics test nightmare for your average 10-year-old. Will’s answer, though, is good enough — simple enough, true enough — to give me a little rush of goose pimples. What does being an American mean?

“Freedom of speech,” Will says, without even stopping to think. “The freedom to disagree. That’s what I think pretty much being an American represents.”

9. Why chimps can’t speak -

Scientists suspect that part of the answer to the mystery lies in a gene called FOXP2. When mutated, FOXP2 can disrupt speech and language in humans. Now, a UCLA/Emory study reveals major differences between how the human and chimp versions of FOXP2 work, perhaps explaining why language is unique to humans.

Published Nov. 11 in the online edition of the journal Nature, the findings provide insight into the evolution of the human brain and may point to possible drug targets for human disorders characterized by speech disruption, such as autism and schizophrenia.

 


South Carolina Pastafarians get press

May 13, 2009

more about “South Carolina Pastafarians get press“, posted with vodpod


With Obama’s speech tonight, I almost forgot that politicians are often stupid

February 24, 2009

Here’s some pearls of wisdom from Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina:

Well I think that it’s just, and science is more and more documenting this, is that there are real “chinks” in the armor of evolution being the only way we came about. The idea of there being a, you know, a little mud hole and two mosquitoes get together and the next thing you know you have a human being… is completely at odds with, you know, one of the laws of thermodynamics which is the law of, of … in essence, destruction.

the-more-you-know

Thanks professor, but if it’s all the same with you, I’ll leave the science to the scientists, not the crazy people.

And Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, responding to creationist statements by Sarah Palin,  said this little gem:

I saw her comments on it yesterday, and I thought they were appropriate, which is, you know, let’s — if there are competing theories, and they are credible, her view of it was, according to the comments in the newspaper, allow them all to be presented or allow them both to be presented so students could be exposed to both or more and have a chance to be exposed to the various theories and make up their own minds…

In the scientific community, it seems like intelligent design is dismissed — not entirely, there are a lot of scientists who would make the case that it is appropriate to be taught and appropriate to be demonstrated, but in terms of the curriculum in the schools in Minnesota, we’ve taken the approach that that’s a local decision.

I think the key here is “if there are competing theories, and they are credible.” Creationism is neither a competing theory nor credible. So I guess then I agree with Pawlenty under those conditions.


Athvertising in South Carolina but still not in Australia

January 29, 2009

Another piece of athvertising is going up in South Carolina – It’s my favorite of the atheist billboard campaigns, this one:

It says all the right things.

Also, the local NBC affiliate in Charleston, South Carolina interviewed Secular Coalition for America president Herb Silverman yesterday (though not about SCA). Here’s the clip.

And in related news, the Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA–not to be confused with our AFA, the Christian hate group, the American Family Association) is on the lookout for religious adverts; particularly on buses, billboards, or other media managed by APN because the AFA was planning on conducting an Atheist Bus Campaign similar to the ones in the UK, USA and Spain until APN refused to carry the adverts.

If the AFA find any evidence of APN carrying religious advertising then this can be used as evidence in the case.


News From Around The Blogosphere 12.13.08

December 14, 2008

Secular Humanism to be taught in Australia – This is to be an alternative to religion classes. Of course the religionists are pissed. Some are ironically (on multiple levels0 arguing that this will open the door for every religious nut to also demand equal time for satanism or witchcraft, etc. in school because apparently Humanism is a religion while others are arguing that because Humanist ISN’T a religion it should not be taught when learning about religion. So Humanism is simultaneous too religious and not religious. Got it?

South Carolina “I Believe” license plates halted – This isn’t like the vanity plate issue, where individuals choose a particular combination of letters and numbers containing a religious message, something I personally have no problem with. Rather this actually costs  state tax dollars. And the judge wisely saw that if you give this privilege to some, you have to give it to everyone. What’s also awesome about this case is that none of the plaintiffs were even atheists, just individuals representing many different religions who recognized that this was a bad idea.

Would you help restore a nativity scene? – When the atheist display in Olympia was stolen it (though later recovered), the Christians weren’t willing to lend a helping hand. But when a Christian nativity scene was destroyed, one atheist, Dale McGowan, chose to help repair the damage:

I hope and trust I am not alone in the freethought community in feeling outrage at this news. Whether or not you support the message of the display, vandalism and violence are completely out of bounds. I’ve sent messages to the Atlanta Freethought Society, Secular Coalition for America, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation urging them to take a quick public stand on this. I’ll shortly be contacting the other national organizations as well.

One of our most fundamental shared values — free expression — has been attacked. Secular humanist organizations and individuals should take an immediate and public stand condemning these actions.

The View on Evolution vs. Intelligent Design (It’s not pretty):

Shocked by The Bible? – In the book Shocked by the Bible, Joe Kovacs informs his readers of many things about The Bible that people probably don’t know. For instance:

  • The word “Easter” has vanished from today’s Bibles
  • The practice of decking a tree with silver and gold is actually condemned by God
  • God wanted to kill Moses
  • Animals had meaningful discussions with people
  • The Bible calls the devil “god”

It’s insane how many people actually believe this:

And they say the atheist bulletins are hateful?

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:scientist-use-in-case-of-emergency

Iron Age ‘Sacrifice’ Is Britain’s Oldest Brain – “The oldest surviving human brain in Britain, dating back at least 2000 years to the Iron Age, has been unearthed during excavations on the site of the University of York’s campus expansion at Heslington East.”

Supermassive Black Hole Seen Clearer Than Ever – “Combining a double natural “magnifying glass” with the power of ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers have scrutinised the inner parts of the disc around a supermassive black hole 10 billion light-years away. They were able to study the disc with a level of detail a thousand times better than that of the best telescopes in the world, providing the first observational confirmation of the prevalent theoretical models of such discs.”

Wobbly Planets Could Reveal Earth-like Moons – “Moons outside our Solar System with the potential to support life have just become much easier to detect, thanks to research by an astronomer at University College London (UCL).”

Celebrate the birth of the Flying Spaghetti Monster:


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 61 other followers