Flintstones Archaeology

My presentation to the Humanists of Houston, 2013/02/16, recorded by Steve Jordan and Vic Wang.

Most of my references came from this creationist website: http://www.genesispark.com/

I probably should have mentioned here how there was never any unfossilized original biological material, and certainly no undecomposed blood cells confirmed found in any non-avian dinosaurs.  If anyone wants to contest me on that, here is a link to where Pastor Bob Enyart made those specific claims with several scientific citations.

http://www.theleagueofreason.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=9320

In that link, I and others carefully examined each of his references and explained to him how none of them actually say what he said they would.

I had hoped that the creationists’ claims about “Carbon14 everywhere” would come up in the Q&A, and it did.  Sadly the audio cut out of both recordings during various parts of that, and I could not include it here.  It’s probably just as well, as I think it ends better this way anyway.

Since I mentioned it in my talk, here is a link to my 19,000-word critique of the 2nd chapter of Dr. Jobe Martin’s book, ‘Evolution of a Creationist’  http://tinyurl.com/3ftk8

Why did I think I could watch this video about Fish Tongue Eating Isopods?

Lilandra is a username from a little known comic book character.  In real life, I named my children after comic book characters, so my geek credentials cannot be questioned.   My husband is a large biker, cyber-viking ape, that opines about religion, and knows his place in a cladogram. Read the comment policy before posting.

Lilandra is a username from a little known comic book character. In real life, I named my children after comic book characters, so my geek credentials cannot be questioned. My husband is a large biker, cyber-viking ape, that opines about religion, and knows his place in a cladogram. Read the comment policy before posting.

Warning! Do not be fooled by the cartoon fish.It is not for the squeamish.

Thanks to Meg of The Thinking Atheist for the scare…

This is Meg with a video for you to share the next time one of your friends starts in about how a god must have made the world because look at the pretty trees and blue sky and rainbows and baby animals and whatnot.

This is the Cymothoa exigua, otherwise known as the tongue-eating louse.

If you’re squeamish, you might want to skip this. When they call it “Gross Science”, they’re not kidding.

– Meg

She warned me.  I thought I could take it because it is a cartoon, but then they showed an actual picture of the louse in a fish. I actually jumped in my chair.

So Aron and young MiniRa came home, and I showed it to them expecting a reaction. I covered my eyes when it got to the picture. They didn’t bat an eye.  Aron was like…

“What? Isopods are cute.  Roly Polies are the only land-based crustaceans. “

I replied that that is what made it so gross because it was cute.  In the picture it looks as if to say, “Oh, hi there! Welcome to my home.”

Then MiniRa added…

“I have mucus. Would you like some mucus?”

This delightfully cute, little creature lives on mucus and fish blood. Yuck!

Showing Solidarity with Black Nonbelievers when you aren’t Black

Lilandra is a username from a little known comic book character.  In real life, I named my children after comic book characters, so my geek credentials cannot be questioned.   My husband is a large biker, cyber-viking ape, that opines about religion, and knows his place in a cladogram. Read the comment policy before posting.

Lilandra is a username from a little known comic book character. In real life, I named my children after comic book characters, so my geek credentials cannot be questioned. My husband is a large biker, cyber-viking ape, that opines about religion, and knows his place in a cladogram. Read the comment policy before posting.

Last weekend, Aron and I went to a presentation about the history of Black Freethought by Alix Jules hosted by Houston Oasis.  Right now the Houston Atheists boast the largest group of freethinkers in Texas with a population of 2,078.

Salute!

We happen to know Alix from being members of DFW’s Fellowship of Freethought the largest group of freethinkers in Dallas at 1,127.  If you have never heard of him, he is in charge of DFWCOR Diversity Council.

This billboard placed in a historically black section of Dallas earned Alix much scorn. It started a dialogue about how atheists don't really do good things like the neighborhood churches. In response to a pastor's challenge Alix and friends picked greens for the needy.

This billboard placed in a historically black section of Dallas earned Alix much scorn. It started a dialogue about how atheists don’t really do good things like the neighborhood churches. In response to a pastor’s challenge Alix and friends picked greens for the needy.

We happened to be in Houston because Aron was giving a speech for the Humanists of Houston, another sizable group of Texas freethinkers, about the supposed coexistence of dinosaurs with people. Yes. People still do seriously believe that.

If you’re from Texas, you know that many freethinking Texans are actively interested in seeking the community of other nonbelievers because we can feel isolated and lonely. Two words…Rick Perry, if he’d been elected president -you’d all be feeling our pain right now. However terrible the pain freethinkers feel here, it can’t be directly compared to being a black freethinker.

As many of us already know, African-Americans are the most religious ethnic group.

While the U.S. is generally considered a highly religious nation, African-Americans are markedly more religious on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole, including level of affiliation with a religion, attendance at religious services, frequency of prayer and religion’s importance in life. Compared with other racial and ethnic groups, African-Americans are among the most likely to report a formal religious affiliation, with fully 87% of African-Americans describing themselves as belonging to one religious group or another, according to the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted in 2007 by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Although black nonbelievers exist somewhere in the 12 percent of the African American population that is religiously unaffiliated, they earn the distinction of being triple mavericks from the American status quo as they are not white, religious, and disproportionately economically disadvantaged. Few people really set out to alienate themselves from society, but black nonbelievers are often double alienated. As Alix says

I remember the feeling of abandonment when grappling with the realization that it was my belief (or lack of it) that caused the rift in my relationships. I recall receiving a text: “write back when you’ve found Jesus.” There’s no more belittling feeling than being told that your lifelong congregation had been asked to pray for your safe passage and deliverance from Satan, yet watch the church say nothing to condemn priestly pedophilia.

 I noticed during the Q&A that non-blacks can have difficulty identifying with what black nonbelievers go through. More importantly, they struggle with how to help support blacks coming out of religion. The first question for Alix was why blacks are Christians because of slavery in the Bible.  Alix had a good answer that they identify with the bondage of the Israelites.  I want to add that black slaves like the poet Phillis Wheatley took an unintended lesson to heart from their white slave owner’s religious indoctribation.

But how presumptuous shall we hope to find

Divine acceptance with the Almighty mind

While yet o deed ungenerous they disgrace

And hold in bondage Afric: blameless race

Let virtue reign and then accord our prayers

Be victory ours and generous freedom theirs.

How could they be worthy of salvation, but unworthy of their own freedom? Unfortunately. Wheatley fell prey to the rationalization that salvation was the purpose of slavery that still exists today.  It is exactly the same type of rationalization that plagues women believers of any race.  How can women be believers with the overt misogyny in the Bible? Anyone can cherry pick among the hateful verses in the Bible to try to find a higher purpose.

Another questioner asked how one could help when for example their attempt at volunteering to register black voters was met with seeming coldness from the local black community, In some ways a better question is how can I as a non-black show solidarity or support with black nonbelievers?  The greatest voices of  African Americans have been black voices like Martin Luther King.  Alix was a bit dismayed that even today many prominent black voices are reverends.  And too, he pointed out that he originated from Haiti, a colony with a rich, cultural history of Black Freethinkers before Christian regimes governed there.

It should be self evident that Blacks are perfectly capable of speaking and leading themselves.  As an Eurasian, I would find who already has a strong voice in the community and support their efforts.  When, I was a child I went to a predominately black school.  I could sing along with the “Black National Anthem” and learn black history because it is the history of fellow human beings. So, we can join our fellow human beings in Solidarity this weekend and support them as freethinkers because their feelings of stigmatization from leaving religion are not of an unrelated category to our own. “Out of the many one” is definitely a better motto than “In God we trust”.

Aron and I will show our solidarity this weekend at an event where Alix Jules will be speaking at to kick off the newly formed Black Nonbelievers of Dallas. This is a post by Mandisa Thomas that might help you hook up with a local event.

Texas’ cryptozoology conferences

The Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy is sponsoring an all day event -from 9:00am to 7:00pm Saturday March 16th at the Fort Worth Convention Center.  Not kidding.

As a former sasquatch myself, (Luna, New Mexico 1988) I’m really surprised that I wasn’t asked to speak at this convention.  Especially since there really haven’t been that many Fauke monsters in these parts since the Legendary target=”_blank”>Boggy Creek incident of 1972.  But also because I also happen to be an activist advocating reason and rationalism, and it seems that all these boys could use a dose of that.

I will not be at the Texas Bigfoot Conference in Fort Worth.  However I will be speaking to the Humanists of Houston this week-end, and the topic includes cryptozoology.  How ironic is that?  In one town, you’ve got all these empty-handed investigators insisting that Bigfoot exists, while in another town you have Bigfoot himself saying no, he doesn’t.

If he’s serious, he’s seriously insane

Is it merely an irrational assumption?  Or a deeply disturbing delusion?

How would you reason with this guy?  Could you?

I can’t help but imagine a waterphone playing in the background as he whispers.

I often wonder about people like this. Did his religion drive him crazy?

Or is he religious because he’s already crazy?

Pope Palpatine

I’m gonna miss the old sith lord.  He was the best pope atheists could hope for. He started out as a Hitler youth actually wearing a Nazi uniform.  As a Cardinal, he famously conspired to conceal sex crimes against children for the sake of the church.  As pope, he addressed an audience in an AIDS ravaged area of Africa, and told them that use of condoms actually increased risk of STDs.  His objection to birth-control took precedence over human life.  That is how evil he is.  Maybe after he is no longer a head of state, perhaps we can prosecute him properly. Let’s hope he trades in his elegant dresses for an orange jump suit and a retirement time-share at Gitmo. Darth Ratzinger will be a hard act to follow.

If you’re in Dallas this weekend…

JT Eberhard will open the North Texas Secular convention this afternoon. Brian (Mr Deity) Dalton will be on at 8:00pm.  I will speak at 9:00am tomorrow (Saturday) morning.  Several good speakers are there, Greta Christina, Jerry DeWitt, Zack Kopplin, David Smalley of DogmaDebate, and Brother Sam Singleton, the Atheist Evangelist -to name a few.  It’s a relatively cheap conference, ($35.00 at most) on the UT Dallas campus.  So if you’re around, come on down.

another Godless documentary

This is not the same ‘Godless’ as the documentary made by Staise Gonzalez.  It’s a different piece with the same name.

A couple years ago, a Canadian film crew came to record our Fellowship of Free Thought meeting for a documentary on atheists.  We skipped Skepticon that year to be involved.  I didn’t feel it appropriate or necessary to be interviewed, but my wife did.  Until then, she had never spoken out as an atheist before.  At that time, she was afraid of being recognized by her faculty or students.  We were assured that this movie would only be seen in Canada.  Apparently some copyright condition must have just expired, because on the first day of this year, that video became available on YouTube.

One thing we didn’t know was that the film crew were Christians attempting to present atheism as a religion.  We’ve still never seen this film, only pieces of it.  I thought it was a shame that my wife gave such an eloquent and moving off-the-cuff interview, and almost all of it was edited away.