Why is Fox “News” so scared of “5%” of Americans

February 28, 2010

I do wish Newdow had corrected her false statistics as there 15% of Americans state that they are not affiliated with any organized religion, not “5%.” That means there are more Americans unaffiliated with any religion than there are Jews and blacks combined.

Fox’s other amusing swipe at Newdow and “the atheists” comes from Sean “I never met I fact I couldn’t deny” Hannity:

Of course it wasn’t “the atheists” who met with White House officials but those who promote secular government, some of whom are in fact religious. And I fail to see how agreeing to be “fair and balanced” makes the Obama Administration hostile to religion.

Also of course, it’s also a mystery why Newdow’s name even came up at all in this story as he was not in attendance at this meeting with the Secular Coalition.

But of course Hannity already knew that because as everyone knows, “the most trusted name in news” has the best fact checkers around.

And I’m sure they had good reason to not actually report the story at all but instead merely use it as just a launching pad to criticize the Obamas, who also did not attend the meeting.

Another stellar reporting job by “America’s most trusted name in news.”


Roland Emmerich’s latest crappy movie to promote Shakespeare denial

February 27, 2010

This has the distinguished honor of being my very first post about the moderately popular conspiracy theory invented by the certifiably insane that claims that William Shakespeare did not author his plays but rather they were penned by some dude named Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. Of course the complete lack of evidence for these claims never stopped anyone from believing in them.

But now the filmmaker responsible for the slavery-denial film The Patriot (starring the Jew-hating Mel Gibson that also revised history to depict the British as pure evil), the scientifically impaired The Day After Tomorrow,  and the hysteria-promoting 2012 is responsible for a new project called Anonymous, that allegedly promotes this long-debunked myth that Shakespeare didn’t really write his plays.

But I guess Roland Emmerich has one thing going for him. He makes Michael Bay not look so bad and Oliver Stone slightly less crazy.


Does astrology disprove climate change?

February 27, 2010

Well South Dakota thinks so:


Secular Coalition meeting w/ White House goes well

February 27, 2010

Yesterday I blogged that today a meeting would take place between the Secular Coalition and officials in the Obama Administration. And it seems as though the Secular Coalition did a good job of presenting their case and that White House officials were receptive to their message.

But the clearest sign that we’re moving in the right direction is the completely hilarious, over-the-top, doom-saying rhetoric of Bill Donohue, who either doesn’t know anything about the people he’s criticizing or just doesn’t care:

People of faith, especially Christians, have good reason to wonder exactly where their interests lie with the Obama administration. Now we have the definitive answer. In an unprecedented move, leaders of a presidential administration are hosting some of the biggest anti-religious zealots in the nation.

If President Obama does not want to go to church, that is his business. But it is the business of the American people, most all of whom are believers, to know where the president and his administration stand with regards to their concerns. It is not likely that this outreach to anti-religious activists — many of whom would crush Christianity if they could — will do anything to calm the fears of people of faith. Indeed, it will only alienate them even further.

It is important that the public learn of the contents of this meeting. We will do what we can to find out what happened.

This was followed up by In God We Trust’s Chairman Bishop Council Nedd basically just repeating the same talking points about the Secular Coalition being a bigoted hate group.

Of course these accusations have no basis in fact, which should be obvious considering that some of the organizations associated with the Secular Coalition are religious. Funny how there’s a direct inverse correlation between godliness and honesty. But who needs honesty when you can get far more media attention from just saying a bunch of crazy lies? Plus Donohue is in love with his own outrage.

Stay classy, guys!


News From Around The Blogosphere 2.25.10

February 26, 2010

1. A new study suggests acupuncture is good for depression in pregnancy. . .or does it?

In other words, acupuncture specific for depression produced an effect that was not different from that of one of the controls. But by creating a group that combined non-specific acupuncture (ineffective) with massage (effective), they were able to create a composite that was ineffective, and then they compared the experimental group with the composite. But that doesn’t change the fact that acupuncture for depression was no better than massage.

Have the authors shown that acupuncture specific for depression is effective for treating depression in pregnant women? I don’t think so. If it offers no advantage over massage, we can forget about acupuncture and simply offer depressed pregnant women a day at the spa. It is no less effective and probably far more enjoyable.

2. Smile or Die:  How positive thinking fooled America and the world – In her new book, Barbara Ehrenreich presents the evidence of numerous studies demonstrating that positive thinking has no effect on survival rates. She also provides testimonies that suggest that possibly great harm comes from this false hope.

Pity, for example, the woman who wrote to the mind/body medical guru Deepak Chopra: “Even though I follow the treatments, have come a long way in unburdening myself of toxic feelings, have forgiven everyone, changed my lifestyle to include meditation, prayer, proper diet, exercise and supplements, the cancer keeps coming back. Am I missing a lesson here that it keeps re-occurring? I am positive I am going to beat it, yet it does get harder with each diagnosis to keep a positive attitude.”

New Age mysticism may sound harmless enough but here is a great example of how dangerous such irrational beliefs are.

3. A gene mutation is linked to autistic symptoms in mice – Once again, this is research that would not exist if J.B. Handley, Jenny McCarthy, and their anti-vaccine cohorts were making the decisions because they have zero interest in exploring the genetic basis for autism.

4. Stem Cells restore sight to blind mice – I feel like this news story is a rerun. Anyway though, once again this is research that might not have existed if George Bush was president.

An international research team led by Columbia University Medical Center successfully used mouse embryonic stem cells to replace diseased retinal cells and restore sight in a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa. This strategy could potentially become a new treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, a leading cause of blindness that affects approximately one in 3,000 to 4,000 people, or 1.5 million people worldwide.


Secular Coalition to meet with Obama Administration

February 26, 2010

Can atheists ever get their concerns listened to by the federal government? The Obama Administration has now answered this question with a resounding, “Yes We Can!”

Tomorrow may mark a new chapter in American history, one where the White House officially takes an interest in atheists. Although they don’t just represent atheist organizations, the Secular Coalition for America is fighting to protect the wall separating church and state. And now the Secular Coalition is meeting with White House officials to discuss those issues of particular importance to the secular community. This has never happened before and hopefully it’ll set a precedent for all future presidents.

Particularly, they plan to discuss religious exemptions for parents who mistreat their children (i.e. kids with medical issues), military proselytization, and fixing Faith-Based Initiatives.

Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists, said “We are delighted that we will get the chance to speak to and to hear from the Obama administration at the briefing with the Secular Coalition for America tomorrow. We will not be seeking support for Atheism from the federal administration, because we know they must be neutral and because we are confident that our conclusions can compete and win in the marketplace of ideas, unaided by government. We seek an end to special rights for religious ideas and beliefs–in all regulations, laws, procedures, and pronouncements. The privileging of religiosity violates the First Amendment and good sense.”

Here’s the official press release (PDF).


Symphony of Science – The Poetry of Reality

February 26, 2010