1. May 20 is “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”! – Obviously this is inspired by the recent controversy surrounding the show South Park. But as my previous post shows, I got started early.
2. Where the South Park creators got it wrong – I’ve written two defenses of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s recent 200th and 201st episodes of South Park over on my Examiner page (here and here). However, Trey Parker was just quoted in a Washington Post “On Faith” article and what he has to say about “atheism” is so extraordinarily idiotic that it merits the kind of mockery worthy of South Park:
But Parker says atheism is more ludicrous to him than anything else.
“Out of all the ridiculous religion stories — which are greatly, wonderfully ridiculous — the silliest one I’ve ever heard is, ‘Yeah, there’s this big, giant universe and it’s expanding and it’s all going to collapse on itself and we’re all just here, just ‘cuz. Just ‘cuz. That to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever,” he says.
Um, what?! Putting aside the ultra straw man he presents that doesn’t accurately describe the physics, this isn’t just some wacky ideas scientists made up out of whole cloth. It’s empirically testable and measurable. This is not up for debate. It’s scientific fact. And I’m sorry, Trey, if you’re unimpressed by this bastardized version of the science but that’s just too bad.
3. Could the winner of the UK’s next top leader be an atheist? – When asked if he believed in god, Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ new leader in the UK, said no. And it seems as though he’s now leading in the polls. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about Clegg. But assuming he isn’t a nutter or a wanker of some sort or another, I’m rooting for him.
4. Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver sues newspaper for poisoning the well on climate change – I’ve been saying for a while now that we need to start holding cranks more accountable for their potentially libelous accusations, so I’m all for this. It’s quite different than when the cranks sue their critics like when the British Chiropractic Association sued Simon Singh, because there we’re talking about frivolous lawsuits used merely to intimidate critics. But when the cranks inevitably launch into their grand conspiracy theories, they make serious accusations that often do satisfy the criteria of defamation. And when you’ve got a legitimate defamation suit there’s no shame in taking legal action. And if Weaver is correct and this newspaper did publish articles that promoted “grossly irresponsible falsehoods,” he may have a good case. Of course I don’t know the Canadian statutes on defamation but I’d be surprised if they radically differed from those in the U.S.