Iranian actress sentenced to 90 lashes

October 12, 2011
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Lately, I’ve been appalled to hear some fringe voices in the Occupy Wall Street protests assert that the United States is “the most fascist country in the world.” Even worse, when asked to tone down the exaggerated rhetoric, the response has been either the insistence that it’s true if you look at the evidence or, almost equally preposterous, that we’re growing more and more fascist each day. Such statements seem to me to really be another way of saying, “Don’t take anything I say seriously because I’m crazy.”

Obviously, the U.S. isn’t the most fascist country in the world. On its worst day, the U.S. might not even make the top 100 list of fascist countries. And anyone who isn’t completely ignorant of the what’s happening in the rest of the world knows this. Hell, the very fact that Americans have no trouble publicly criticizing this nation and its government without fear that they’ll be assassinated or mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the night by secret police demonstrates the absurdity of this claim quite well.

Another great example can be found in this recent case of an Iranian actress being sentenced to ninety lashes for committing no crime other than appearing in an Australian film critical of Iran:

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This is what fascism really looks like. And we do a great disservice to victims like this around the world when privileged Westerners downplay their oppression in ill-conceived attempts to exaggerate their own plight. Don’t get me wrong. The majority of the Occupy Wall Street Movement is fighting a legitimate cause against a legitimate target and I largely support their efforts. So I’m not trying to downplay the serious problems we face here at home. But it’s just that they’re first-world problems. I’d wager that even the American poor by in large have it better than many of the poor in third-world countries. So I’m all for the Occupy Wall Street Movement. But let’s just keep things in perspective. The U.S. is not the most fascist nation in the world and using such rhetoric only hurts the credibility of that movement.

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Happy Boobquake Day!!

April 25, 2010

If you don’t know what Boobquake is, then you don’t watch enough news. But if that is the case, here’s the story. An Iranian Islamic cleric, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, is predicting that earthquakes will hit Iran soon and it’s the women who are at…fault (Eh? Eh? See what I did there?).  Apparently he thinks women wearing immodest clothing and behaving promiscuously have offended “God,” and that is why we have earthquakes.

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes”

Of course, Iran sits on top of a very unstable fault, so it’s only a matter of time before another earthquake hits regardless of whether the Iranian women wear underwear under their burqas.

So this little farce has inspired Boobquake, a movement designed to fight such primitive superstition byand the oppression of women by dressing immodestly. The proposal was to scientifically test his claim by devoting an entire day to women dressing immodestly to see if they could cause an earthquake with nothing but the power of their breasts.

Today, Monday April 26th, is that day!

So by the end of today, we’ll know scientifically who the real boob is.

News From Around The Blogosphere 11.9.09

November 10, 2009

1. Cancer Boy is now cancer-free – As Carl Sagan once wrote, science delivers the goods. Many months ago, I blogged about the continuing saga of Daniel Hauser, the boy with Hodgkin’s lymphoma whose crazy anti-medical mother kidnapped to keep him from being poisoned by his court-ordered chemotherapy, but who later returned home with him. Unfortunately, while the boy was receiving real medical care, he was also being given bogus “alternative” medicine” products, which pretty much guarantees that the medicine denialists won’t give science the credit its due. But what’s most important is that Daniel Hauser is cancer-free and the chemotherapy didn’t poison him to death like the medicine deniers predicted.

2. An economic collapse didn’t occur today, so the world won’t end on Wednesday! – Cause I know you were all worried that it would. Ever since September, I’d been blogging about the constantly moving doomsday goalpost of one really delusional website. First, it predicted the world would end on September 21st. Then that turned into October 21st. Then October 23rd. But now whoever’s running it is wising up and adding conditions. Yesterday, the prediction was that if an economic collapse occured on November 9th, The Rapture would come on November 11th. Well, the Dow Jones went up over 200 points today, so I guess we’re all safe. Phew! That was a close one.

danish-cartoon-bomb3. Iran to execute 3 men for being atheists? – 3 Iranians are charged with apostasy, or leaving Islam:

Habibollah Latifi, Ehsan (Esma’il) Fattahian and Sherko Moarefi have all been sentenced to death for “enmity against God” in unconnected cases over the last two years. They are believed to be on death row in a prison in Sanandaj, the provincial capital of Kordestan.

Everything you’ve come to expect from “The Religion of Peace.” Please sign this petition to the Iranian government.

4. Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry definitively and demonstrably defeat the Catholic Church in debate – At the start of the debate, 678 people in the audience thought that the Catholic Church was a force for good in the world while 1102 disagreed and 346 were undecided. But by the end, only 268 thought the Catholic Church was a force for good in the world while 1876 disagreed with only 34 left undecided.


News From Around The Blogosphere 9.3.09

September 3, 2009

1. Israel’s richest woman now claiming to be psychic – Businesswoman Shari Arison, who’s worth $2.7 billion, is claiming she can see the future. But I actually think this is a case where she actually believes she can see the future. Here’s why:

Armed with the insight gained through work with Florida-based psychiatrist Brian Weiss, a proponent of regression therapy and the exploration of (take your pick) deep memories or past lives, she says she is ready to go public with her visions and bring together her spiritual and business goals.

Yup, you talk to some wacky past life regression guru and the next thing you know, they get you believing that your own thoughts are messages from the future. I tell ya, if I had a nickel for every time. . .

2. Ben Stein, fresh off of his being fired by the NY Times, calls gay people pedofiles:

We have … an entire party, the Democrats, whose primary constituency, besides the teachers’ unions, is homosexual men and lesbian women. I hope it won’t come as a surprise to anyone that a big part of male homosexual behavior is interest in young boys.

And hope it won’t come as a surprise to anyone that a Ben Stein holds such ignorant views on gay people. C’mon Ben. It’s 2009. You’re not fooling anyone. It’ll be okay. Just come out of the closet, Ben.

3. Iranian leaders trying to get rid of social sciences

Ayatollah Khamenei said this week that the study of social sciences “promotes doubts and uncertainty.” He urged “ardent defenders of Islam” to review the human sciences that are taught in Iran’s universities and that he said “promote secularism,” according to Iranian news services.

“Many of the humanities and liberal arts are based on philosophies whose foundations are materialism and disbelief in godly and Islamic teachings,” Ayatollah Khamenei said at a gathering of university students and professors on Sunday, according to IRNA, the state news agency. Teaching those “sciences leads to the loss of belief in godly and Islamic knowledge.”

4. Weight Watchers is in bed with Jenny McCarthy – This can only mean one thing. I won’t be discouraging people from buying Weight Watchers.

monkey-thinking5. Chimpanzees Use ‘Tool Kits’ To Catch Ants

Chimpanzees in the Congo have developed specialised ‘tool kits’ to forage for army ants, reveals new research published today in the American Journal of Primatology. This not only provides the first direct evidence of multiple tool use in this context, but suggests that chimpanzees have developed a ‘sustainable’ way of harvesting food.

6. Eyeless, fanged crustacean found

“A species of crustacean with no eyes and venom-injecting fangs has been discovered in an underwater volcanic cave in the Canary Islands off the coast of North Africa.”

That is so freakin’ cool! That’s the most interesting fauna I’ve heard about in a while. It’s been named Speleonectes atlantida.

News From Around The Blogosphere 12.15.08

December 16, 2008

House Resolution 847 – Proving even in an economic crisis Congress can still manage to waste more. Seriously guys, this isn’t Brewster’s Millions. Can someone please explain the point of this bullshit?

Remember the Iranian guy who recently blinded a woman by throwing acid in her face? Well his punishment is to be blinded as well. Ya gotta love the Iranian justice system, huh? Not really. As just as this punishment might seem from an safe distance, this is a preposterously barbaric and antiquated form of justice that leaves me once again wondering why that fairly accurate and still fairly accurate lyric in Disney’s Aladdin (‘where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face.’) was ever deemed “controversial.”

Teacher banned from primary school for saying Santa isn’t real? – This is the stupidest story I’ve heard all day. . .

. . .because obvious Santa is real. How else can you explain the Christmas presents, and the devoured milk and cookies?

Harry Potter sticking his broom where it doesn’t belong – I have no issue with Harry Potter. I’m not too into it but lots of other people are. And he seems to piss off a lot of religious kooks. . . and of course I love that. But one place where Harry doesn’t belong is in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

Talking religion with the kids from Children’s Scientology Pageant – I blogged about this show before here. Now the kids in the show are having a conversation about religion, which is hilarious. I’m also very happy to see how many critical thinkers there are in the group.

Have scientists finally solved the yawn? – The notion that yawning is a sign that an individual is tired is an almost universally accepted myth.  As far I’m aware, scientists have had several hypotheses regarding the purpose of yawning but have yet to reach a solid conclusion. But according to this article a new study suggests that yawning is primarily to regulate brain temperature.

Ghosts stop thief?

A burglar in Malaysia who decided to rob a house while its owners were out of town on vacation claims his getaway was held up for three days by a ghost that took him prisoner.

Wow. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the amazing feats of these alleged ghosts are exaggerated and that the guy’s just very superstitious. But I’ll admit, it makes a good story. But of course once again, where’s the evidence? But a ghost solving crimes sounds like a mid-season replacement show you’d expect to be coming to NBC.

The other day I mentioned that the Japanese were working on capturing dreams. I didn’t realize how close they were. They can already display images from the brain.


scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyPesticides In Fruit-based Drinks Outside U.S. – “In the first worldwide study of pesticides in fruit-based soft drinks, researchers in Spain are reporting relatively high levels of pesticides in drinks in some countries, especially the United Kingdom and Spain. Drinks sampled from the United States, however, had relatively low levels, the researchers note.”

Brain Genes: Obesity All In Your Head? – “Is obesity all in your head? New research suggests that genes that predispose people to obesity act in the brain and that perhaps some people are simply hardwired to overeat.

A genetic study of more than 90,000 people has identified six new genetic variants that are associated with increased Body Mass Index (BMI), the most commonly used measure of obesity. Five of the genes are known to be active in the brain, suggesting that many genetic variants implicated in obesity might affect behaviour, rather than the chemical processes of energy or fat metabolism.”

Waste Coffee Grounds: Source Of Biodiesel Fuel – “Researchers in Nevada are reporting that waste coffee grounds can provide a cheap, abundant, and environmentally friendly source of biodiesel fuel for powering cars and trucks.”


Science explains nothing!

The flu is here – Get vaccinated.

News From Around The Blogosphere 9.8.08

September 9, 2008

Scientists find ‘commitment’ gene – Scientists have now isolated the gene for commitment and monogamy.


cdesign proponentsists invade Oregon – At Jefferson High School near Salem, Oregon, IDeots have surfaced to push teaching “the other view” in the Science classes. Here we go again. Do we need to have another Dover Trial? (Complete Trial Transcript here, Judge Jones’ complete 139-page decision here, and all other trial documents here.)

Ron Reagan said:

““Creationism is one of the scary beliefs Palin advocates.”

Not surprisingly, this didn’t go over too well with Answers in Genesis.

The How of Steve – Project Steve has hit the 895 mark, almost reaching 900 signers. If you don’t know what Project Steve is, it was devised by the National Center for Science Education as a parody of the signed lists of “Ph’d’s” and “scientists” collected by creationist that allegedly have serious doubts about the Theory of Evolution so that the creationists can make it look as though there’s actually a scientific controversy when in actually there isn’t. To really hit home how absurd this is the NCSE decided to make their own list of pro-Evolution scientists only they’d deliberately limit their list only to scientists with variations of the name “Steve,” such as Stephen, Stephan, Stephanie, etc. Last I heard, just the number of scientists with Steve names that supported the Theory of Evolution was way ahead of the un-handicapped creationist list of any scientist on Earth that they can find to sign that they have doubts of Evolution and the Steve list included more scientists in relevant fields.

And now the epic conclusion of a drunken adventure of 2 women infiltrating the creationist Discovery Institute and getting a personal tour from Casey Luskin – Here is the first installment, the second installment, and the third installment. And now here is the fourth and final installment from Enemy Combatant: Trailmix Appreciation Club. And here’s the epilogue, a personal thank you to Luskin.

The Theory of Childhood is just a theory – This is a better written version of an argument I love to use on creationists.

The Tooth Fairy


The Prime Minister of England gives the first ever Ramadan message as Britain moves to adopt Sharia law:

In Iran, four women have been jailed from blogging about women’s rights.

Speaking of Islam, my next story comes from Denmark:

Something is godless in the state of Denmark – It must be Godless Beer – thanks to the Danish Atheist Society.


Obama’s Science Policy – Doesn’t look half bad.

Obama – “I am not for selective vaccination. I believe that it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio.” – Awesome! As you can imagine, Age of Autism’s kinda pissed. Please call the Obama campaign at 866-675-2008 or email them at to tell them you support Obama’s position on this issue. Otherwise, he’s likely to hear from enough kooks on the matter to maybe influence his position.

“There’s an underground church that the world has no idea exists.” – Prepare to enter Crazytown, USA … aka Wasilla, Alaska:

They picked the wrong Palin:

The tragic absurdity of delusional religious beliefs – I’m reminded of my Christian Death Paradox argument.

A Musical Journey from Christianity to atheismMatthew Terry is a musician who is about to release a song detailing his personal journey from Christianity to Atheism. You can check out the lyrics by clicking the link.

Haunted Spice Rack on eBay!

10 Things You Don’t Know About The Earth


Comets Throw Light On Solar System’s Beginnings – “Scientists already know that comets played a significant role in ensuring that conditions were right for life on Earth. Most of the icy, small planetary bodies that otherwise became comets went into forming the gas giant planets in the outer Solar System but some were ejected from the vicinity of the largest planets. Of these, a fraction ended up in the inner Solar System bringing water and biogenic elements of interest to Earth. Without this cometary transport, life on Earth may never have had a chance to start.”

Large Hadron Collider Seeks ‘Universal’ Answers – “How did the universe come to be? What is it made of? What is mass? Can science prove that there are other dimensions? We may have answers soon. On September 10, 2008, Tel Aviv University’s Prof. Erez Etzion from the School of Physics and Astronomy will be in the control room of the new CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) on the border of France and Switzerland when the LHC is first turned on. Scientists are calling it the largest experiment in the world. It’s taken about 6,000 researchers, $8 billion and ten years to build.”

Smaller Males Go The Distance For Sex – “In a field study on Maud Island, New Zealand, evolutionary biologists from the University of Toronto at Mississauga discovered that male giant weta most successful at mating travel greater distances each night. Remarkably, it appears that being lightweight and having longer legs assist male wanderlust. Clint Kelly, Luc Bussière, and Darryl Gwynne found that males can walk more than 90 m each night in search of a mate – roughly equivalent to a 7000 m outing by a human male.”