Smile when you call them bitches!

What do Jen, Tracie, and Beth do when they aren’t kicking buttock on the TV show, here, on Facebook, and in the world at large? Well, as of now they’re concentrating on their new podcast, Godless Bitches, the first episode of which is now submitted for your approval. Think of it as The View, except intelligent.

It’s time for the Blag Hag BLOGATHON for the SSA!


I’m not just on the Secular Student Alliance‘s Speaker’s Bureau, I’m a fan of the work they do and as supportive as I can possibly be. (Which basically means that I talk them up whenever I can and then run around to whatever schools ask me to speak.)

Well, Jen McCreight of Blag Hag fame, is gearing up for another BLOGATHON to raise more money for the SSA. It seems that some people actually find time to not only blog, but blog for a good cause. In 2009, she raised $531.17 and last year she raised an amazing $2753.10…and this year, she’s trying to raise BILLIONS (or at least “more”).

So, if the SSA is your bag (and why wouldn’t it be?!) and you have some money that you were saving for a good cause, get over there and donate!

Yes, I know, I’ve asked people to donate to the ACA, Camp Quest, American Atheists, The Atheist Community of Austin, Atheist Alliance America, The Texas Freethought Convention, The Texas Freedom Network, The Seculare Coalition for America, The James Randi Educational Foundation, Atheists Helping the Homeless and a few others…and it will continue. Why?

– Because these are organizations that are doing good work and need funding.
– Because everyone can’t donate every time (or any time, for some) but without reminders donations tend to drop off.

Don’t worry, I don’t assume that you’re a bad person for not donating. I’ve been poor (more than I’d like to admit) and unable to donate money.

I won’t even think you’re a bad person for not donating time – everyone isn’t comfortable helping out.

But for those who can, or feel like the should, I’ll happily show you a picture of intellectually-starved college and high-school students that should tug at your heart and purse strings…

Something to read with your Monday morning coffee

Everyone loves a good beatdown of those two adorable sad-sack clowns, Ray Cameron and Kirk Comfort. (Or is that the other way around? Oh, who cares!) And here, a fine young atheist writer named Nathan Dickey provides one for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.


Talking to Nathan on Facebook this morning, he brought up that he was inspired to take the opposite approach suggested by this post of mine from a year ago, in which I tried to encourage atheists simply to ignore Ray. My opinion then, which I still hold, is that the vast majority of what Ray says and does is every bit as much about self-promotion and aggrandizement as it is about evangelizing.

It’s nothing but a publicity stunt when Ray and Kirk do things like publish their own version of Origin of Species, or “challenge” people like Richard Dawkins to a debate (simply so they can crow he must have chickened out when he refuses). And Ray’s legendary dishonesty is so shameless in all of his dealings with atheists that for atheists to continue to seek engagements with him can only be seen as an act of futility. This is quite simply a man who cannot be trusted to show any degree of integrity whatsoever. He is a pathological liar, straight up, as we saw most recently in an exchange where Ray informed an atheist commenter to his blog that he would be delighted to phone in to AETV if we extended an invitation to him, as he did not want to invite himself. I immediately went to Ray’s blog and posted an invitation. Ray replied by posting a link to his “interview request” form, which would seem bizarre, considering that I wasn’t requesting an interview with him, only extending the invitation to call us that he had asked for. I say it would seem bizarre, until you realize that Ray is dishonest in every imaginable way. Then you realize this behavior is par for the course for him.

Weeks later, we were told by a reader that Ray was once again repeating the whole “Sure I’d love to call them, but they haven’t invited me!” thing, which makes him nothing less than a blatant, bald-faced lying sack of shit. So in this regard, yes, I still say, atheists should ignore Ray, because he has demonstrated through his every behavior that honesty at even the most basic level is just not part of his playbook.

But then, to do as Nathan has done, and critique the content of Ray and Kirk’s evangelism — well, that remains an entirely legitimate exercise in counter-apologetics. And a fun one too, as Ray and Kirk are without question the most laughable excuses for apologists alive — and when you consider the generally low intellectual level the bulk of religious apologetics is working in, that’s really saying something. So keep tearing apart their silly books and websites and TV programs. As Nathan notes, beating down Ray and Kirk’s drivel can be thought of as the training wheels for newbie atheists just learning to ride the counter-apologetics bike. It’s good sport, and good practice.

Get your nerd on, with Castles of Air

I apologize for the self-promotion, but I know we have a big audience and I’d like to drum up an initial following for my newest blog.

Castles of Air is about the art and science of software development. While this is admittedly a very specialized interest, I know we are blessed by a high proportion of nerds and smart people among our fans. I’ve been a developer for about a decade and a half now, because I’ve always felt that writing programs is an enjoyable hobby which also, luckily, is often worth good money. I also believe that working with computers is an excellent introduction to rigorous logic and everybody should learn at least the basics as an important part of their education.

You know my strong feelings about science, and I approach programming from a scientific background as well. I expect to be writing several posts about how to approach debugging as a science, making hypotheses about where the problems might lie and testing those to prove them true or false. And of course, I think of the mind as a great big virtual reality machine for modeling the world.

If all that doesn’t sound like it could possibly hold the slightest bit of interest for you, just get back to the regularly scheduled programming and forget I wasted your time. But if you are interested, please check out my new blog, bookmark it, follow it, save the RSS feed, or whatever you want to do.

Critical Mass

Once again I have to wave at my good friends Lloyd, Alan, and Rachel, who live way way way down on that big island. (Actually, I think Lloyd is still freezing his ass off up in Scotland. I’d say he’s due home.) At TAM they were all excited to get their own blog and podcast started up, and now they have. At least, the blog is up — I don’t know if they’ve gotten the podcast launched yet. All the same, pay a visit to the fledgling Critical Mass and give them some of that AE-fan love.

Sprouting Seeds

It warms my heart to see young people embrace reason and critical thinking and declare themselves atheists. I have always valued learning and it is wonderful to see young people independently reach the same conclusion I have. It makes me wish I was able to do so earlier in my life. Alas, I’m from a different generation than those in college and high school today. Some things are easier for them and some things are harder, I’m sure. I will always be an avid supporter of college campus groups like the local Atheist Longhorns. Watching these sprouting seeds gives me so much hope for the future.

It’s doubly wonderful to hear from an outspoken young atheist who is a freshman in high school. Lucia Guatney recently finished her freshman year in high school and she has written a nice article on what it’s like to be an atheist high schooler, about her conversation with Richard Dawkins, and about how exciting that was for her. She even has her own blog. Wow. Go Lucia!

It was triply wonderful for me to notice that Lucia is going to the same high school that I did. It made me think about how the school has changed and how I’ve changed along the way. I think it was there that some seeds of atheism were planted in me. My best friend was an atheist, but I didn’t form an opinion on religion until much later. Perhaps I was fortunate to not be too immersed in religion in my youth.

I remember three high school teachers who helped to plant some seeds. One had us read about the Holocaust and think critically about convention and authority. Another helped me appreciate the Spanish conquest of the Americas and the fraud behind Guadalupe. A third (math) teacher pointed out that according to the Bible, pi is 3. Hats off to these fabulous teachers, wherever they may be.

I have to give a nod to the Secular Students of Rice University, my alma mater. While college freethought groups are now common, they were rare when I was in college and Rice didn’t have one. I’d like to think that I helped to pave the way for them in some small way. When I was in college, I did some sparring with the Campus Crusade for Christ and Maranatha student groups. An acquaintance of mine from college looked me up on Facebook recently and gave me an unsolicited compliment about how brave I was to sand up to their viewpoints those many years ago. I don’t think of myself as particularly brave.

It’s nice to look back on some of those early experiences and feel a connection to the next generation of young people who are poised to make their impact on the world. I have high hopes for them.

New blogs by atheist women

Within the last few days we’ve been emailed by two different atheist women who have just started their own blogs. The first was Kafir Girl, an ex-Muslim in originally from Pakistan, who has decided to read the Koran cover-to-cover and blog the entire experience. I don’t know how far she’ll get, but her first post is filled to the brim with humor, sarcasm, and profanity. Should be fun.

The second was Microbiologychick, a self-described southern atheist college girl from Tennessee, studying… um… Russian Literature? No wait, I deduce that it’s Microbiology. Together with her friend Philosophychick (who is obviously studying Kinematic Engineering) she has started a blog called Atheist Girls.

I’m a fan of atheist women — the movement needs more diversity, and the ubiquitous Possum Momma has been a long term source of enjoyment for me. Not to mention my wife, who rarely blogs about atheism but sure takes good pictures.

Anyway, I’ve added both new blogs to my favorites section on Google Reader for now. Go say hi if you’re so inclined.

Correction: As she pointed out in the comments, Kafir Girl has not lived in Pakistan since she was 6; hence the fix to the first paragraph.