News From Around The Blogosphere 3.13.10

March 13, 2010

1. Anti-vaxxers vs. the U.S. legal system – I’d been saving this for a much longer piece I intend to write for The Gotham Skeptic this weekend but I felt it was necessary to at least mention it here. It seems that not only has the media turned on the anti-vaccine movement, but this week has been devastating to them in the courtroom. Last year, the best three cases of alleged autism due to vaccine-injury their lawyers could find had their days in court and lost miserably. Now the next three Autism Omnibus cases went before the court and. . .also lost miserably. Additionally, the contemptible Barbara Loe Fisher’s libel suit against Dr. Paul Offit, Amy Wallace, and Conde Nast was thrown out of court. It’s not a good day to be an anti-vaxxer.

2. Frying up Jesus – Jesus has finally returned. . .as bacon grease:

3. Life-enabling molecules spotted in Orion Nebula

The chemical fingerprints of potentially life-building molecules have been detected in the Orion nebula by Europe’s Herschel Space Observatory.

The Orion nebula is a nearby stellar nursery, brimming with gas, dust and infant stars. It is known to be one of the most prolific chemical factories in space, although the full extent of its chemistry and the pathways for molecule formation are not well understood.

No god required.

4. McLeroy failed to change the science textbooks but succeeded in changing the history books – Take note as this may be remembered as the day the new dark ages began:

After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

The vote was 10 to 5 along party lines, with all the Republicans on the board voting for it.

. . .

“We are adding balance,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left.”

Yes, history is too liberal. Better change it.

Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)

Yeah, who needs Thomas Jefferson anyway? It’s not like he did anything important in our nation’s history, right? This is an academic disgrace and I hope the school board is sued for violating the Constitution. . .unless of course there is no more constitution according to the new revisionist history.

5. Tom Cruise desperate to salvage his failing career – He seems to think that making light of his previous scandals will fix thing problem. Sorry Tom but there’s only one way to repair your reputation. Leave the cult.

News From Around The Blogosphere 7.2.09

July 3, 2009

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these, but it saves a lot of time. Anyway. . .

1. Age of Autism attacks Eric London – Man, didn’t see that coming. Oh yeah, I did. So what tactic did they go with? They latched onto the Autism Science Foundation’s (ASF) unwillingness to blindly promote the long disproven vaccine/autism hypothesis in order to create a straw man that paints him and the ASF as dogmatically opposed to researching vaccines. Of course, the ASF is not dogmatically opposed to vaccine research:

Vaccine safety research should continue to be conducted by the public health system in order to ensure vaccine safety and maintain confidence in our national vaccine program, but further investment of limited autism research dollars is not warranted at this time.

And nothing in Katie Wright’s smear piece makes a convincing argument for a link between vaccines and autism, just the standard collecting of cherry-picked anecdotal accounts. And rather amusingly she accuses him of being soooooo dogmatic in his certainty that vaccines were not responsible for her child’s condition in the same article where she states:

I have always accepted that London’s belief that vaccines had nothing to do with his son’s autism, but no one is going to tell me that they “know” what happened or did not happen to my child.

Apparently, except yourself. Pot. Kettle. Black.

2. Fired from the Boy Scouts for being an atheist – Neil Polzin has been fired from the publicly funded Boy Scouts of America simply because he does not believe in Yahweh.

3.  Ice cream ad depicting ‘sexy’ nun and priest is banned

4.The Jefferson Code – “For more than 200 years, buried deep within Thomas Jefferson’s correspondence and papers, there lay a mysterious cipher — a coded message that appears to have remained unsolved

The atheist buses come to Seattle

March 5, 2009

Seattle Atheists is preparing to launch an atheist bus ad campaign, which will kick off on April 1st, as in April Fool’s Day. And I really like this one. It’s not just an attack on the religious but rather promotes reason and skeptical inquiry, while also implicitly challenging the myths that this is a Christian Nation and that atheism is un-American.

Wrong President’s Bible

December 24, 2008

There’s been talk that at his inauguration, Barack Obama will take the oath of office using the same Bible used when President Lincoln was sworn into office. This will take place after pRick Warren casts a magic spell to cast out the “-elect” from the title of “President-elect.” Either that or to cast out demons or witches or gays. Who the fuck knows what the invocation is actually supposed to invoke?

Now according to Wikipedia:

There is no requirement that any book, or in particular a book of sacred text, be used to administer the oath, and none is mentioned in the Constitution. Use of the Bible being customary for oaths, at least in the 18th and 19th centuries, a Bible was generally used. Several Presidents were sworn in on the George Washington Inaugural Bible.[citation needed] On some occasions, the particular passage to which it was opened has been recorded, as below. Only one president, Franklin Pierce, is definitely known to have affirmed rather than sworn; there are conflicting reports concerning Herbert Hoover, but the use of a bible is recorded and suggests that he swore in the usual fashion.

Wikipedia also records that John Q. Adams used a book of US law instead of a Bible. Of course using Lincoln’s Bible, while furthering Obama’s association with Lincoln, makes for an ultimately empty publicity stunt as of course Lincoln didn’t even own a Bible. . .

The Lincoln Bible was not a family heirloom—he came to Washington without one—but is thought to have come from the Supreme Court’s holdings.

. . . and for obvious reasons. Lincoln didn’t care that much for Christianity . . . at all:

“The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession.” -Abraham Lincoln

“My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them.” -Abraham Lincoln

“What is to be, will be, and no prayers of ours can arrest the decree.” -Abraham Lincoln

“It will not do to investigate the subject of religion too closely, as it is apt to lead to Infidelity.” -Abraham Lincoln

“The only person who is a worse liar than a faith healer is his patient.” -Abraham Lincoln

For more anti-Christian quotes from Lincoln, go here.

But, you know, if Obama really, really feels the need to swear on a former president’s Bible, I have a better suggestion:  The Jeffersonian Bible. It’s got all the good ethical teachings of Jesus without all that religious dogma and other supernatural crap.