Category Archives: Culture Warfare

Secular Time Travelers

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Philip Pullman On Freedom Of Speech

No matter how well a person states something, no matter how eloquent, mild mannered, and straightforward they are, religious drones will find some way of belittling and warping the initial message. Promoting a reverence for Christianity only protects Christians; promoting freedom of speech protects everyone. But some Christians miss this point entirely and criticize writers like Philip Pullman for writing an “offensive” book they don’t have to buy or read. And then some of them sometimes ask why Western atheists don’t speak blasphemously of Allah, too. What’s most disturbing is the envy that question betrays.

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The Civil War & States’ Rights

All the graves of US Confederate soldiers have opened up, and the evil dead are walking among us in the form of revisionist amateur-historians. For only a mindless corpse could make the case that the American Civil War was fought over states’ rights. Here’s why –It’s an undisputed fact that leading up to the Civil War, the slave states demanded, in no uncertain terms, that by law all slaves that runaway to free states ought to be forcibly returned to their masters; it was a major issue leading up to the war. The slave states argued that states ought to be able to decide for themselves whether or not to participate in slavery. And to this day Confederacy sympathizers attempt to fight the Civil War for a second time by saying that it was really all about states’ rights, and not so much about that pesky side-issue called slavery. Bullshit, I say.

The difficulty with this most hypocritical of arguments is that for slavery to have continued, the free states would have had to comply with the returning of runaway slaves, which is an act of slavery in itself. But how can a state have a choice if it is forced to participate in an evil it wholeheartedly rejects?

Do you see the contradiction? The South was happy to use the states’-rights argument when it worked in its favor, but when it was inconvenient it insisted that the law compel the North to participate in the horrors of slavery. You can’t have it both ways. Either a state had the choice or it didn’t. What the South really desired was that all the states abide by the tenets of slavery, which wasn’t going to happen, hence the inevitable war. The Union either had to consist of all free states or all slave states; it could not exist peacefully as a combination of both.

I recommend everyone read The Causes Of The Civil War (edited by Kenneth Stampp), a wonderful little book of essays, which chronicles the politics preceding the war.

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My Vision Of Hell

Christians regularly tell me I’m headed for hell for being a freethinker. But when I try to imagine this fiery underworld, my mind falls short, and all I see is spending an eternity with them  –an army of pious brain-dead conservative robots, dressed in matching polyester outfits, oafishly shuffling about under twinkling chandeliers and gaudy lighting, to the most insidious, elevator music ever conceived. It’s an intellectually barren world where the only shape is a square. I’m afraid even considering its existence. Now, peer into my hell, if you dare.

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Ken Ham: The Cartoon – Part 1

The rugged gentleman on the left is Captain Ahab (as played by actor Gregory Peck), the obsessed whaler who hunts down Moby-Dick, the great white symbolic whale. The individual on the right is Australian-born conservative Christian, Ken Ham, the crazed founder of the infamous, Kentucky creation ‘museum’. Is it just me or is there a slight similarity between the two –in appearance and obsession level? If you don’t see it, then just pretend for the sake of the cartoon.

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A Little About Paleontologist Per Ahlberg

Anyone interested in paleontology, rational thought, or the scourge of creationism might want to read the transcript of an interview with Per Ahlberg, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala University in Sweden. His straight talk and wit are refreshing. Here’s a sample:

I think mainstream science has a duty and a responsibility to expose creationism and ID for the pseudoscientific frauds that they are. This is something quite different from engaging them in debate, the way you would do with adherents of an opposing but conceptually sound scientific viewpoint. Scientists must expose them simply because they are frauds, and it won’t do to have large parts of the population bamboozled by the lies and misrepresentations of charlatans… Note that there is an important point here: creationists and ID proponents by necessity attempt to befuddle their audience, not just about the evidence for evolution, but about the nature of scientific enquiry in general. They have to, because it is their only way of concealing the threadbare nature of their own claims. (His emphasis)

From this, it should be clear why I have chosen to take part; though you can add the fact that I enjoy talking to people and presenting my ideas to popular audiences. Money, fame and hot chicks would be welcome but have not been forthcoming so far…

Per Ahlberg is known for his work with fossil tetrapods. His latest contribution is as co-author of a paper about 395-million-year-old tetrapod trackways that were found in Poland. (Here’s a summary of the find by PZ Myers at Pharyngula). And a short video about the find is available on the Journal Nature website. Enjoy!

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Filed under Atheism, Culture Warfare, paleontology, Skepticism

Flu Vaccination – Free Medical Advice On The Street

I think this is the type of socialized medicine the GOP will accept wholeheartedly, because it’s absolutely free, with no cost to the taxpayer. What better place is there to gain solid medical advice than from the street. Forget those egg-head doctors and their years of training and their access to the greatest data bases of knowledge in the world. I want the dumbo brunette on the corner who passes out pamphlets, and her gibbering throng of morons who can’t help but play to a camera, to determine whether or not I get the flu shot. Would you ask any of these halfwits to do your taxes? I think not.

 

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Obama Kenyan Birth Certificate Forgery

The hard-core birthers –the ones who are mulishly clinging to the belief that Obama was born in Kenya– are now waving  about an obvious forgery of a Kenyan, birth certificate, as proof of their conspiracy theory. Take a look at the so-called document. This is perhaps the first birth certificate I’ve seen that fails to mention any details of the baby –no weight, or race, or time of birth.  Obama’s mother was Caucasian and his father was black, and that certainly would have been recorded, especially in the 1960’s. Thousands of white Europeans were living in Kenya  –a British colony back then. A birth to a mixed-racial couple surely would not have gone unrecorded. But no section for entering race is even provided on the form. And no section is provided for the doctor’s name, signature, or office address. What’s most suspicious is the size of the paper and all the wasted space. Would a birth certificate from that time period would be printed on a full 8.5″ x 11″ sheet? –the document in question is clearly of those dimensions. My own birth certificate is a third that size. The whole point of using small paper is that printed records are traditionally stored in filing cabinets, or boxes, or large books, which take up space. So, the smaller the better. In a single lifetime, or beyond, how many times is an official, government copy of  a birth certificate going to be accessed — once or twice, or never? Searching through a filing cabinet full of 8.5″ x 11″ papers –which are generally stored horizontally –is highly inefficient, unless Kenya’s civil servants are trained to hold their heads tilted to one side for extended periods of time.

P.S.  Every popular conspiracy theory appears to contain the same contradiction. According to the theorists, the powerful conspirators are resourceful enough to orchestrate a grand lie, but not so much when it comes to keeping it a secret. They always leave a trail for the amateurs to follow. Not a very likely scenario.

All the other flaws in this forgery are listed here.

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Canada Export Denyse O’Leary

(At the end of the video she actually claims to be a non-fiction writer. LMAO.)

Denyse O’Leary is an aged Canadian cheerleader for intelligent design. Some may have heard of her. Give me an A. Give me an S. Give me another S. Yes, Denyse, is an ass. Her writings on evolution are unchallenging to say the least. But this one post from 2008 made me laugh. In it she attempts to knock Jeffrey Kluger’s article in Time Magazine on Ben Stein and the ID movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.  Kluger had made a comment about the so-called primordial soup:

Organic chemicals needed eons of stirring and slow cooking before they could produce compounds that could begin to lead to a living thing.

And O’Leary shot back with:

Huh? Stirring and slow cooking? Look, I am not making this up.

Every serious origin of life (OOL) researcher finds OOL an excruciatingly difficult problem. Genome mapper and Nobelist Francis Crick, a staunch atheist, suggested that life must have been brought here by intelligent aliens, and Richard Dawkins is willing to entertain that idea too. But science writer Jeffrey Kluger somehow knows the “answer” that eludes all those guys?

Here we have further proof that creationism is popular among willfully uneducated buffoons. Perhaps, O’Leary really hasn’t heard that some chemical reactions are helped along by mixing and heat, two naturally occurring phenomena. And while organic chemists don’t claim to know exactly how life on Earth started, they do have a good general idea. And it doesn’t involve a magical sky-daddy, which is O’Leary’s non-answer to the question. At the end of her post, she adds:

Anyway, given recent wholesale attempts to suppress discussion of the problems with Darwinism and materialist theories in general, the ID guys are well past concern about the atheist circus. Kluger probably didn’t notice the drive to restore intellectual freedom. Just as well, because you only need that if you have new ideas.

No one has told Denyse that ID predates Darwinian evolution by several centuries. And that ID remains an unchanged and unproductive pursuit. There’s no point in having academic freedom, Denyse, if you aren’t going to use it.

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Filed under Christianity, Creationist Of The Month Club, Culture Warfare

Sarah Palin, The Anti-Intellectual

Like George W. Bush, Sarah Palin (I keep typing “plain” mistakenly) is an anti-intellectual. She comes across as completely incurious about economic issues and about international politics in general. She obtained her first passport only last year. And she spouts mindless uninformed opinions on important scientific issues; for example, mocking the use of fruit flies in genetic research. A periodic reading of the science section of a news magazine would have educated her on the basics. Slogans like “Joe Sixpack”, “Hockey Mom”, and “Joe The Plumber” aren’t a substantive political platform, they’re advertizing jargon. You Betcha!

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