Whoa! Can AXP readers “Pharyngulate” a poll? Try now!

Via Pharyngula, of course, we learn of this poll that Jen (not ours) has put up over at Blag Hag, asking for votes on “the most influential female atheist of 2009.” And while there are certainly a number of admirable names on that list — Susan Jacoby, Amanda Marcotte, Rebecca Watson, Eugenie Scott — they still must, in the end, lose ignominiously to our very own Tracie Harris & Jen Peeples, who are listed together for some reason, probably so AETV fans won’t have to pick their favorite but most likely because they’re just that awesome! So get your asses over there and spike this one, people. Despite PZ’s plug, the votes have become rather spread out, meaning that regular readers here should be able to muster up the numbers to boost Tracie and Jen, if not into the lead, well up into the top tier where they damn well should be (especially when you delete cookies, refresh the page and vote 20 times)! Stand up and be heard, AETV fans! Fear the mighty mightiness of the Jen & Tracie “Chicks Kick Ass” Power Team!


Addendum, 10:25 AM the next morning: Okay, it now looks like Tracie & Jen have inched past Rebecca Watson to move into the third-place spot, behind Eugenie Scott and Ariane Sherine. Nicely done, gang, but keep them votes a-comin’.

Why we need blasphemy

Pat Condell, in one of his wonderfully cranky YouTube rants, opined that the Danes (I think it was the Danes) were probably wondering what the hell had happened to their free country since Islam showed up. The idea that freedom should surrender without a fight to religious fundamentalism of any kind, but especially that which has only fear and violence to support itself, is disgusting. And craven laws like that passed in Ireland, which naively strip away basic rights out of the fear of even a little bit of violence, merely give the fundamentalists what they want: a culture of oppression which is the only kind of culture where fundamentalism can thrive.

Now from Denmark comes word that a Somali terrorist has been shot (to which I say “Good,” and the PC crowd can flame away all they like) and wounded attempting to break into the home of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who was responsible for some of the controversial Mohammed cartoons that caused such a stink some years ago. The man’s goal was, of course, not to sit down over coffee with Westergaard to offer constructive critiques and rebuttals to his work, but to murder him, which is of course a perfectly rational response to a cartoon.

Once more with feeling: if your religion cannot stand up to a fucking cartoon, it ain’t the cartoon that has the problem.

I have spoken to a number of atheists who, with the very best of intentions, have naively asserted that the best thing to do when faced with the violence of radical religious extremists is to sit down, shut up, and not get them riled, because really, we don’t want anyone to get hurt, do we? That they cannot see how this cowardice and capitulation gives religious lunatics the power over us they wanted all along never ceases to amaze me. And does anyone actually think that, by appeasing them once in this way, they’ll be satisfied and decide they can stop shooting and bombing and whatever else it is sky-daddy has told them to do this week, “peace” be upon him? Let’s do that as a multiple choice question: A) No; B) No; C) Hell no!; D) What, are you stupid? Once they know that a tiny bit of fear is all it takes to control you, then they’ll just keep demanding and threatening more and more, until you’re afraid to wipe your tender bottom without their divine mandate.

People, what we need is more blasphemy, more anger and more outrage in the face of this lunacy. Religious extremists are the cockroaches in the kitchen, and only the light of reason will send them scurrying to hide. Belief systems propped up by violence are ones that have already failed. No respect should be given them. So pick up your pens, cartoonists, and blaspheme your butts off! And if they turn up at your door, well…shoot first. If they really think they’re the only ones out there to be feared, they obviously haven’t heard Matt Groening’s dictum: “It is unwise to annoy a cartoonist!”

Happy 2010, everyone! Unless you’re Irish, in which case, happy 1410!

You know, today is a really great day. Seriously. Here in Austin the weather could not be more perfect, unless it were raining money. And I’m in a terrific mood, bursting with optimism. No, really, I’m not being sarcastic. I just feel good, and it feels good to feel good, so I think I’ll just go on feeling good for as long as it feels good.

You know what cannot even dampen my mood? The fact that Ireland’s preposterous blasphemy law goes into effect today. That’s the one that fines you €25,000 — which comes to $35,971.25 according to XE.com’s currency converter — if you say or publish anything that’s “grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion.” So I guess “There’s nae God ya fookin gormless gobshites!” probably qualifies.

This doesn’t dampen my mood because I find it hilarious. It makes me think that if I could do one thing other than what I’m doing today, which is enjoying the lovely weather in my hometown with my dogs, it would be to walk boldly down the streets of downtown Dublin wearing my “Jesus Did It For The Chicks!” T-shirt. How Ireland thinks it will avoid becoming the subject of international ridicule with this stupidity is beyond me. Hell, they’ll have to block a good chunk of BBC comedy programming right off the bat, unless the government plans to arrest and fine itself. And oh yes, I’m quite sure that the awesome crowd at Atheist Ireland is going to take this ball and run with it!

The spectacle of a Western nation suddenly behaving like some Christian version of Yemen and taking a bold step back towards medieval theocracy like this as we move into the second decade of Century 21, for Christ’s sake (oops!), is, to me, nothing short of riotously funny. Especially when, in the last week, the international news has been full of reports of the Irish Catholic Church’s own shielding-the-pedo-priests scandal.

All in all, a day to make an atheist very, very happy indeed. Happy Blasphemous New Year, everyone! And oh yes, Irish Catholics? Hint: if your religion cannot stand up to free speech, the problem is not with free speech.


Addendum: Well, it’s hit the news big time, so we’ll see how things go.