News From Around The Blogosphere 2.23.11

February 24, 2011

1. Creationists defeated in Oklahoma – Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern tried to pass a bill that would bar teachers from grading students down on science tests because of that student’s particular belief. This was the latest attempt by creationists to force their way into science classrooms. Fortunately, it didn’t work and the bill was defeated. Sadly though, it was only defeated by a 7-9 vote.

2. Watson moving to Columbia Medical Center – The computer that brutally defeated Jeopardy‘s two greatest champs is being taken to the Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan where it will be used to help doctors evaluate patients.

“Watson has the potential to help doctors reduce the time needed to evaluate and determine the correct diagnosis for a patient,” said Dr. Herbert Chase, professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, in a public statement.

Chase also said that the super genius would lend doctors a hand when it comes to developing more “personalized treatment options” for patients’ needs through use of the Watson software.

3. Bible Fail – When a gay man was attacked, a news crew interviewed one of the attackers’ friends, a wrestler who proudly brandished a tattoo featuring the entire Leviticus 18:22 verse in the Bible, which infamously condemns homosexuality as an abomination. Sadly, this wrestler didn’t keep reading as in the very next chapter, Leviticus 19:28, the Bible condemns tattoos.

4. There’s no such thing as a lie detector

A new report in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, discusses some of the common misconceptions about those proficient in the art of deception, reviews the shortcomings of commonly used lie-detection techniques, and presents new empirically supported methods for telling liars from truth-tellers with greater accuracy.

Lie detectors routinely make the common mistakes of overemphasizing nonverbal cues, neglecting intrapersonal variations (i.e., how a person acts when they are telling the truth versus when they are lying), and being overly confident in their lie-detection skills

News From Around The Blogosphere 2.17.11

February 17, 2011
Jenny McCarthy at E3 2006.

Image via Wikipedia

1. Anti-vaxxers don’t just make sane people sick but themselves too – My old friend, Jenny McCarthy, is back in the news again. While holding a fund-raiser at the Playboy mansion for her kill the children campaign, they managed to get 170 attendees sick with a milder form of Legionnaires disease, caused by bacteria that live in warm water like hot tubs, air conditioners, and fog machines. Now according based on Jenny and Generation Rescue’s model of disease, we must conclude that they all must have gotten sick because of their terrible hygiene, lack of clean water, and lack of vitamin d.

2. The Rise and Fall of the Bible – The incredibly awesome cult-buster Rick Alan Ross tweeted a link to this fascinating article about new book that explains what many of us atheists have known for a long time, that most Christians don’t read the Bible and have no idea what it says. And despite not reading the Bible, Christian households keep buying more and more copies of it:

Beal notes that “the average Christian household owns nine Bibles and purchases at least one new Bible every year” — but actually reading them is another matter. Beal believes that’s because today’s Christians are seeking a certainty in their holy book that simply isn’t there, and shouldn’t be.

But it’s even worse than that. Most Christians don’t understand the history behind the Bible either or anything about how it was compiled.

This is why there are so few atheists — not enough people read the Bible. If they did, they’d be atheists. If you’re not currently following Rick Alan Ross on Twitter, I highly recommend it.

3. Bill O’Reilly’s scientific ignorance starts an internet meme


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News From Around The Blogosphere 12.2.10

December 2, 2010
Hubble Illuminates Cluster of Diverse Galaxies...

Image via Wikipedia

1. The universe is larger than we thought – How much larger? At least three times larger, according to new research that shows elliptical galaxies contain five to ten times more stars than we thought. I’d imagine that this would significantly impact the Drake Equation that attempts to estimate the likely amount of extraterrestrial civilizations exist. It certainly makes the gods of human religions seem much, much smaller if they’re main concern is for one particular bipedal life form on a pale, blue dot in the middle of nowhere in the universe.

2. Anne Hathoway discusses why she left the Catholic Church – She’s not an atheist but Hathoway does go into more detail about her feelings towards the Catholic Church and her family’s decision to each independently leave the Church.

3. The End is Near…again – The Christian radio network, Family Radio Inc. is predicting that The Rapture will occur on exactly May 21, 2011 (apparently in honor of Star Wars) despite the Bible specifically stating that no one would be able to predict the time or the hour Jesus would return. But that isn’t stopping Family Radio from putting up a billboard announcing it. I think people should better them every dollar their staff owns that the world will not end on that date, to be paid in full on May 22, 2011. If they’re so certain, what do they have to lose?  Right?

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Mysteries, Magic, and Miracles 1.23.10

January 24, 2010


Why would anyone think that in this time of crisis, the Haitians need solar-powered, digital Bibles? – The only ones who may hold the key to his mystery is Faith Comes By Hearing, the group who instead of offering financial aid, food, or medical supplies decided that the most important priority was to send useless, solar-powered audio Bibles.

According to their website, the Proclaimer is “self-powered and can play the Bible in the jungle, desert or … even on the moon!”

Well as long as it can work on the moon. I was worried there for a minute but that completely alleviated my concerns for the health and safety of the Haitian people. Come to think of it though, another great mystery is how the sound waves from this audio Bible work in a vacuum. That just blew  my mind. I’m gonna have to ask Mr. Owl for the answer to that one.


U.S. military weapons inscribed with secret ‘Jesus’ Bible Codes

Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the United States military by a Michigan company, an ABC News investigation has found.

The sights are used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers.

Yup, nothing says Jesus loves you like seeing an enemy combatant in the sight of a high-powered rifle. And don’t we all feel so much safer knowing that our troops are now protected by magic?  You can’t put a price on that kind of protection. Well actually you can. And in case you were wondering, it’s $660 million. Maybe next we should replace their armor with magic Mormon underwear.


Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Zombies

December 19, 2009

Adding zombies to old classics isn’t new. Someone’s already done “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” Now someone’s adding zombies to the Bible:

Though the Bible is an ancient book, full of beautiful prose, timeless stories, and great truths, there has long been a barely spoken of dissatisfaction over the one element it sorely lacks: zombies. At Zombible, we hope to remedy the situation by carefully inserting lovingly crafted zombie-oriented text into the Bible, for the enjoyment and enlightenment of all.In our first work — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Zombies — we ask the question, “How might the Gospels have been different if Jesus had come to Earth not to save mankind from sin, but from zombies?” (Be forwarned — it’s sort of a “work in progress” at the moment, so there are some nasty typos and bugs that we’re still working out.)

Isn’t Jesus already a zombie in the unaltered version?

This Week In God 10.20.09

October 19, 2009

1. Jesus returns. . .to Ikea – It’s unclear at this time whether Jesus has come for the Swedish meatballs; the elegantly designed furnature at low, low prices; or he just wanted to return the furnature he bought from them before because he couldn’t assemble it himself. But one thing is certain. Jesus is at Ikea.

2. Jesus is also black and in an electric chair, as well as a crucified gorilla – Artist Paul Fryer has just introduced his latest work, which is guaranteed to piss off Child Rapist Apologist Bill Donohue any time now.

3. R. Crumb’s The Book of Genesis, Illustrated is finally here – Greta Christina gives a review of the controversial comics artist’s complete, unedited translation of Genesis into graphic novel form, a project that took five years to produce.

What book are Christians burning now?

October 15, 2009

The Amazing Grace Baptist Church in North Carolina has decided to organize an annual book burning around Halloween. So yes, they are celebrating Halloween, only in their own fascist, Nazi-like way. Among the many books they intend to burn is the Bible. I’m not joking:

Yes, apparently “God” didn’t write the Bible; he just cribbed off of thousands of older versions and decided to copy it all into his native language, English.

Conservapedia redact the Bible to remove liberalism

October 6, 2009

The psychotics over at Conservapedia have decided that the Bible is too liberal and that “God’s” perfect book needs to be rewritten to get rid of all that liberal stuff like having to free you slave after poking his eye out.

News From Around The Blogosphere 9.29.09

September 29, 2009

1. Egypt out to stop fake virgins

A leading Egyptian scholar has demanded that people caught importing a female virginity-faking device into the country should face the death penalty.

That just says it all, doesn’t it?

2. R. Crumb’s Bible to be released soon – A while back, I blogged about subversive Cartoonist R. Crumb’s plans to release his own take on the Bible. Well now it’s about to be released:

“I grew to hate the Bible,” he told a press conference for the international launch of “Robert Crumb’s Book of Genesis”, which he called a “gruelling” four year project.

. . .

“The idea of millions of people taking this so seriously is totally nuts,” he added. “The Bible doesn’t need to be satirised. It’s already so crazy.”

3. SGU makes you smarter – My favorite podcast, the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, has been named among the 15 podcasts that will make you smarter, according to College Crunch website. Congrats guys!

4. Atheist bus ad goes up in Saskatchewan, Canada – It uses the “Don’t Believe In God? You Are Not Alone” slogan but looks a bit different from the one we’ve all gotten used to.

In Texas, school’s out…of their minds!

August 17, 2009

Texas schools have been teetering on the edge of doom for some time now, but it’s finally happened. They’d gone over the edge. Teaching the Bible is now REQUIRED in Texas schools:

Come this fall, a Texas law says all public schools must offer information relating to the Bible in their curriculum.

“By the end of the year, what they begin to realize is that it is pervasive. You can’t get away from it. The kids came back and were like ‘It’s everywhere,'” said John Keeling, the social studies chair at Whitehouse High School. Whitehouse already offers a Bible elective. “The purpose of a course like this isn’t even really to get kids to believe it, per se, it is just to appreciate the profound impact that it has had on our history and on our government.”

. . .

“I don’t want anybody teaching their religious beliefs to my child unless they want to send their child to my house and let me teach them my religious views,” said Tatum. “There is no difference.”

Now I did study some of the Bible in high school, but only in a literature class being taught as literature next to The Bhagavad Gita, Gilgamesh, and Oedipus. And I have no objection to teaching the Bible as literature in a literature class, a mythology class, or comparative religion class. But the key is that you have to teach it along side other religious texts. And this law doesn’t not require the teaching of other religious texts, only the Judeo-Christian Bible, which means government is playing favorites and respecting the establishment of religion, a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

Though depending on what parts of the Bible they’re teaching, this could be a good thing because nothing causes people to run faster away from religion than reading the whole Bible from beginning to end. But I doubt that will be done.

And somehow I doubt the following passages will make it into the curricula:

Exodus 21:2-6, Exodus 21:7-11, Exodus 21:20-21, Leviticus 25:44-46, Deuteronomy 15:12-15, Ephesians 6:5, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, Colossians 4:1, Luke 12:47-48, Acts 5:1-10, Hosea 13:16, Ezekiel 9:6, Ezekiel 23:22-27, Joshua 10:5-11, Joshua 8:1-28, Judges 1:4-6, Joshua 6:20-21, Joshua 7:19-25, Joshua 10:28-42, Judges 3:28-29, 1 Samuel 15:1-3, 1 Sam 18:25-30, Deut. 28:15-68, Lev. 20:13, Exodus 32:27-28, Lev. 21:9, Exodus 21:17, Exodus 22:18, Exodus 31:15, Exodus 22:20, Lev. 20:10-16, Lev. 20:27, Deut. 17:3-5, Deut. 22:20-21, Deut. 17:12, Deut. 22:23-24, Numbers 31:32-40.