Archive for October, 2008

Senator Elizabeth Dole goes godless on “atheist” Senator Kay Hagan

Posted by on October 29th, 2008 Comments (3,790)

Recently we wrote about Fox News’ absurdly juvenile blog post, “The Devil Is In the Details: Another Obama Connection You Ought to Know About“, in which the author attempts to tie Obama to, wait for it, Lucifer. The devil, as you may know, is totally evil, and you should super not vote for someone with an extremely tenuous connection to the lord of the imaginary underworld.

[That was sarcasm. Please vote for Barack Obama.]

We despaired for the future of America upon reading that ridiculous blog post, and hoped that was the last we would hear of politicians with so very little regard for the intellects of their constituents that they would try to fearmonger with such sad material. Alas, America, Senator Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., thinks you’re even dumber than Faux Noise does.

It’s not entirely politician’s marketing team’s fault that they think their electorate is susceptible to being manipulated by this garbage. The Pew Forum on Religion and Politics reports that almost 70%, “the vast majority of Americans agree that it is important for a president to have strong religious beliefs”. Regardless of political affiliation,

Overall views of the presidential candidates are linked with views of their religiosity; those who perceive a candidate as being very religious tend to express the most favorable overall views of each candidate, followed by those who perceive the candidate as being somewhat religious. Those who view candidates as being not too or not at all religious, on the other hand, are much less likely to express favorable views. Notably, even people who themselves are not particularly observant have a more positive opinion of candidates they believe are at least somewhat religious.

Americans, the Pew shows, have a bias towards thinking religious people are good guys. In light of the survey results, no candidate would dream of campaigning without professing to be religious, so a) you can’t trust that they even are genuinely religious and b) they may well turn out to be Ted Haggart-level hypocrites, a self-fulfilling prophecy with a Christ complex. Not necessarily good guys, so shake that image and give the good people at Pew a straight answer next time they call.

And what of Dole’s opponent, the atheistic Democrat Senator Kay Hagan? A practicing Christian, Kay said that Dole should be “ashamed of herself.”

Tags: , , , , Category: Atheism & Agnosticism, Marketing, Politics & Law, Seperation of Church & State

Creationist trouble in Texas

Posted by on October 28th, 2008 Comments (4,514)

When Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, asks for something, you just have to help out. And yesterday the Bad Astronomer asked people who care about science, reason, and defeating creationist attacks on education to blog about the what’s going on in Texas.

The Texas State Board of Education is working on nominations for a six-member panel that will review proposed new science curriculum standards. Half of the nominees are anti-science creationists. Not just any creationists, but among them are the vice-mac daddy of them all: Stephen C. Meyer, VP of the loathsome Discovery Institute, who isn’t even from Texas. Texas Citizens for Science notes that

Texas has hundreds of highly-qualified professional scientists who could have served on the review panel.

These nominations are no coincidence. “Intelligent design advocates on the state board have been maneuvering for months to undermine the teaching of evolution in science classes,” according to the Houston Chronicle. TCS agrees:

It is unfortunate that some SBOE members have such a poor regard for the education of Texas science students that they must resort to pushing their own anti-evolutionist and Creationist religious ideologies into the science standards revision process. What the Texas SBOE is doing perfectly matches what the Kansas SBOE tried to do: force its anti-science ideology onto the students and teachers of our state’s public school system. All Texas citizens who care about education and wish to ensure that their children receive the best science education they can get in a world that requires scientific knowledge and technological skills should be appalled by the reprehensible actions of some of our State Board of Education members.

This one’s for you, Google: the Texas State Board of Education has a creationist agenda.

More odious, perhaps, is that Meyer’s interest in sitting on inter-state science education committees is about more than just pushing the Bible on innocent children. He’s the lead author of Exploring Evolution, a despicable scienceless Trojan horse intended to infiltrate elementary schools and release an attack of nonsense.

Discovery Institute fellows have been attempting to have their arguments against evolution incorporated into the US public school system. EE appears to be part of (that) strategy. In June, Louisiana became the first state to enact a law specifically enabling the use of supplemental materials for the critical evaluation of evolution; similar legislation has been introduced in several other states. EE appears to have been intelligently designed to be the sort of supplemental text that’s appropriate under the Louisiana legislation, and so it’s likely to be making an appearance in classrooms there. But EE may appear in other states, as the approval process for supplementary material is often far less strict than that governing textbooks.

[The above quote was from Ars Technica's excellent and thorough review of Exploring Evolution, "A biologist reviews an evolution textbook from the ID camp". The review explains in depth the core of the creationist argument against Darwin's tree of life, in favour of an orchard (ie the idea that not all life descended from the same source. Man, for instance, was put here by God on the sixth day). Read this if you were hoping Expelled was going to illuminate anything about the intelligent design position.]

So there, Bad Astronomer, another voice is added against the creationist ideologues. What they’re doing is embarrassing and ludicrous. Texas, if you don’t want to be ridiculed as backward hillbillies (or if you don’t want your children to become backward hillbillies), please make a lot of noise about this to your elected officials.

Tags: , , , , , , , Category: Creationism, Evolution, Politics & Law, Seperation of Church & State

The best damn anti-Creationist rant ever, period.

Posted by on October 27th, 2008 Comments (3,926)

AronRa, a 46-year-old geoscience student and prolific video ranter, has created an excellent series about the “Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism”. He’s been working on these for about a year, and though he has to hang it up for now for an extremely busy semester, the first 13 (yes 13!) installments are fantastic. We look forward to his return and wish him well on exams. Let the debunking begin.

1st Foundational Falsehood of Creationism

My personal rant against one of foremost falsehoods of the creationism movement; the idea that accepting evolution is tantamount to declaring atheism, or that one need be creationist to be Christian.

2nd Foundational Falsehood of Creationism

Exploring the erroneous notion that the holy scriptures were written by God, rather than be subject to the errs of humanity.

Tags: , , , , , Category: Atheism & Agnosticism, Creationism, Critical Thinking

Lessons from the Scriptures Part 4 – Incest is Best

Posted by on October 26th, 2008 Comments (2,250)

This is a continuation of the “lessons from the scriptures” series. This is to show how great the scriptures are as a moral guide and how it must be the place to get your morals from, whereas we hell-bound agnostics are a people without morals since we don’t hold this ancient book up as a moral compass. Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

O.K., incest.

Incest in the Bible? Oh yeah, even with the righteous people.

Let’s talk about Lot. Remember him, the man whose wife God turned into a pillar of salt for just turning her head? (Genesis 19:23) Well, Jesus considered him pretty righteous.

“And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 2 Peter 2:7-8”

Lot was so righteous that he got drunk and impregnated his two virgin daughters.

Genesis 19:32-36
“Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. ”

Now that’s a party! This is of course not long after Lot offered his two daughters to be raped by a horny mob. (Genesis 19:5-8)

So Jesus called this man righteous, yet he (Lot) was willing to have his daughters raped, and ended up having sex with them himself. Yep that’s pretty righteous.

Now, some people may say “hey, he was drunk, he didn’t know what he was doing!” As many males can attest to, that is just a cover story that males will use to try and not take responsibility for their actions. It says that he didn’t know that he was having sex with them. Right.

Another excuse given is that the daughter thought that they had to “preserve the seed” of their father, and continue the human race after the destruction of Sodom, believing that they were the last tio survive. I’ve heard that before, “Hey baby, there’s a war coming, tonight might be our last night on Earth, and I don’t want to die a virgin”.

Moving on from Lot, the great Patriarch of the Christians, Muslims and Jews, Abraham, had his share of family fun.

Genesis 20:11-12 (New International Version)
11 Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife.

I’m so glad that the world has this wonderful book to help guide our actions and teach us the morals to live by.

Tags: , , , , , , Category: Christianity, History, Islam, Judaism, Sex

Fox News tries to tie Obama to Lucifer, because people think the devil is scary

Posted by on October 25th, 2008 Comments (3,236)

Republicans, your “news” sources thinks so very little of you that they’re hoping you’ll be scared if you hear that Obama once read a book by someone who jokingly called Lucifer a “rebel”.

What’s next, the revelation that Obama used to hang out with the Boogey Man? If a single person changes their vote as a result of Fox News’ puerile plea for fear of the dark, then America is truly lost to the absurdity of religion. Fox is making the entire country look stupid by even suggesting Obama is is down with Lucifer—the guy in the red suit with the sparkly pitch fork—and that it should matter to anyone.

Tags: , , , Category: Critical Thinking, Politics & Law, Superstition

Thunderf00t vs. VenomFangX

Posted by on October 24th, 2008 Comments (5,693)

THE APOLOGY

I will recap.

VenomFangX is a creationists that makes videos for youtube about why Christianity is so great and why “Darwinism” is so bad/evil/of the devil, etc.

Thunderf00t is a non-creationist (i.e. scientifically minded person) that routinely makes videos debunking various creationist claims. He often uses portions of those creationist video in his own, to comment on them. This is authorized under “fair use” in the U.S. Copyright Law.

VenomFangX decided to be an ass and started filing DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) take-down notices to YouTube about  Thunderf00t’s videos where he used material from VenomFangX’s video.

VenomFangX was in the wrong because of the fair use doctrine, and filing DMCA notices where there isn’t a violation, is a violation! VenomFangX got some heat because of this, and ended up having to make this apology, seemingly supplied by Thunderf00t.

Browse around their other videos, they are quite entertaining.

Tags: , , Category: Atheism & Agnosticism, Creationism, Critical Thinking, Politics & Law, Technology

Virgin Radio Dubai fires DJ for going off on Senator Chambers’ God lawsuit

Posted by on October 23rd, 2008 Comments (2,754)

Ernie strikes again! On Monday, a Dubai DJ reporting on Senator Ernie Chambers’ recently-dismissed lawsuit against God, joked around pretending he was on the phone with The Big Guy. Under a barrage of listener complaints, the DJ, Revin John, was immediately fired. He was allowed to come back on air briefly Tuesday to apologize.

Mariam Zarouni, a 20-year-old chemical engineering student at the American University of Sharjah, said she was so offended by John’s comments that she formed a group to protest the incident on the social networking Web site Facebook. It had 569 members by Wednesday evening.

“When somebody crosses the line, then you have to defend your religion,” Zarouni said. “Honestly … how can he do this? We’re in a Muslim county. But even Christians would take offense to that. You can’t insult God.”

The comments on the Facebook thread largely concern Zarouni’s nuttiness, and a lot of the Muslims in the group seem to be there just to tell her she should lighten up.

John wasn’t even talking about Islam, but Zarouni is making sure nobody’s God is getting dissed!

A commenter mentioned the definition of ‘vain’, as in ‘taking the Lord’s name in’:

4. without real significance, value, or importance; baseless or worthless.

I can see why that would bug some people. At least the pretense of John’s joke was that God exists, and he seems to want the good people of Dubai to listen to Britney Spears.

Tags: , , , Category: Intolerance, Politics & Law

Mel Gibson stashes $42 million in his own personal church

Posted by on October 22nd, 2008 Comments (2,390)

Did you know Mel Gibson started his own Catholic church? Like, a seriously Catholic church. It’s called Church of the Holy Family (Jesus’, not the Gibsons), has about 100 members, does mass in Latin, and has assests totaling 42 million bucks.

42 million tax-free bucks.
The Archdiose of New York, by comparison, had assets last year of $3.4 million. Holy Family owns artwork to the tune of $500 grand.

Gibson’s tax receipts this year revealed a $10 million donation for 2007. He built the Traditionalist church for his dad Hutton, presumably because regular Catholics just aren’t traditional enough. Do check out Hutton’s crazy website, with its vengeful-Jesus lightning storm and acres of ramblings on the Papacy.

Tags: , , , , Category: Catholicism, Celebrities

Atheist bus ad campaign launches in the U.K., supported by the British Humanist Association and Dr. Richard Dawkins. And us!

Posted by on October 21st, 2008 Comments (11,935)

Awesome. Awesome. A bus-side ad campaign launched today in the U.K. featuring the atheist slogan: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

Writer Ariane Sherine of the Guardian’s Comment is Free website hatched the idea after being irritated by the “Jesus will toast you in Hellfire eternally” ads from Jesussaid.org, a website not even worth visiting (so don’t). Investigating transit advertising practices, Ariane joked that atheists might have a chance to fight back.

As far as I can tell, you can buy a “bendy bus streetliner” for only £23,400 for two weeks.

Which means that if there are 4,680 atheists reading this and we all contribute £5, it’s possible that we can fund a much-needed atheist London bus ad with the slogan: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and get on with your life.”

A joke that sparked a flood of donations. That brought the British Humanist Association to volunteer to administer the donations. That got Dr. Richard Dawkins on board with a matched gift of £5500. That’s currently raised £49,560, way more than the group expected. The extra cash means inside-the-bus ads are within reach as well.

Professor Dawkins was more than happy to lend his stamp of approval:

“Religion is accustomed to getting a free ride — automatic tax breaks, unearned ‘respect’ and the right not to be ‘offended’, the right to brainwash children. Even on the buses, nobody thinks twice when they see a religious slogan plastered across the side. This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think — and thinking is anathema to religion.

60 buses will carry the ads for 4 weeks. You can donate to the campaign here, and for the next 4 weeks every Pay Pal donation that comes through Topic Agnostic will be redirected to the Atheist Bus Campaign.

Because it rules.

Tags: , , , , Category: Atheism & Agnosticism, Culture, Marketing

Fear of God (or “Religion”, as it’s called) makes people behave themselves

Posted by on October 20th, 2008 Comments (4,631)

This month’s issue of Science features a review article synthesizing data from several studies that looks at the question: does being religious make you nice?

The answer was yes, when you think someone’s watching.

Although sociological surveys reveal an association between self-reports of religiosity and prosociality, experiments measuring religiosity and actual prosocial behavior suggest that this association emerges primarily in contexts where reputational concerns are heightened.

When you’re reminded that God’s watching, or when you think someone’s watching who may later talk to God about you, you try harder to appear helpful. “God” served a policing role in evolving societies, encouraging people to be selfless to those not biologically related to them.

Category: Evolution, Science

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