Which god is why there is something rather than nothing?

I saw most of this the other day: Star Talk hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, talking to a Jesuit priest and playing sections from a taped interview he did with Richard Dawkins. (There was also a comedian but he didn’t get to contribute much.) It was pretty entertaining.

One bit was very funny, when Dawkins was explaining something about why he challenges religion or some such thing, and he said he “good-naturedly ridicules” people’s odd beliefs. I burst out laughing at that, and laughed some more when Tyson gently said the people might disagree about the “good-natured” part. Dawkins chuckled amiably, but…you could see that no dent had been made.

So I guess that really is how he sees himself? As good-naturedly ridiculing people’s beliefs, as opposed to waspishly or sharply or harshly or brutally?

The Jesuit priest was predictably frustrating. He pretended to be perfectly reasonable and like a scientist and trying to figure things out just like Tyson and yadda yadda. He said he likes to ask people why there’s something rather than nothing, and Tyson said he answers he doesn’t know, and he’s happy with that – later amended to not happy in the sense of not wanting to try to find out, but in the sense of not letting it force him to answer “god.”

I liked that, but I also wished he had pressed the Jesuit – James Martin, his name is – on why “god” is any kind of answer to that question anyway. I also wished he had pressed him to say exactly what he meant by god, especially when he (Mr Jesuit) kept offering different versions of god, all of them much nicer than the fascist daddy-figure. I wished he had asked how any of that makes sense together.

Playing doctor

I heard about this on Facebook this morning via Vyckie; now RawStory is reporting on it.

Responding to criticism of the Christian “Quiverfull” movement, the wife of a Texas pastor who promotes the “be fruitful, and multiply” philosophy, took to Facebook to explain that admitted child-molester Josh Duggar was “playing doctor” as a teen and should be “left alone to live a good life.”

The conservative fundamentalist Quiverfull movement sees children as a blessing from God and promotes constant procreation, eschewing all forms of birth control.

In her rant on Facebook, Carrie Hurd, wife of Heritage Covenant Church Pastor Patrick Hurd, blasted Quiverfull critic Vyckie Garrison for being critical of Duggar, and Christians in general.

[Read more…]

Why anyone should care

I’m seeing people asking a lot of very strange questions about why anyone should care that Josh Duggar groped his younger sisters and his family covered it up and did nothing about it.

Are they serious? We should care because the Duggars think and say they are better than everyone who doesn’t think like them, and they have a very large public megaphone – and may still have it if TLC’s cancellation of their show turns out to be temporary. We should care because Josh Duggar was a higher-up in the reactionary homophobic Family Research Council until he resigned two days ago because the truth about his past came to light.

We should care because the Duggars are reactionary theocratic homophobic antifeminist Christian activists who pose as Nice and Smiley and Good. They do harm, so of course we should care that they covered up a crime against their own god damn daughters.

Libby Anne of course has a lot to say on this, and we should all be camping out on her blog for the foreseeable future. Yesterday she and a guest poster talked about the silencing power of forgiveness. [Read more…]

Stones

IS has taken Palmyra.

Islamic State militants have locked Palmyra’s museum and placed guards outside its doors, days after seizing the ancient city, Iraqi officials say.

Antiquities director Maamoun Abdulkarim said they had destroyed some modern plaster statues and also raised their flag on the ancient castle overlooking the Roman ruins.

Most of the museum’s antiquities had been transferred to Damascus, he said.

[Read more…]

It feels brilliant

NBC News reports on the Irish vote, with scenes of people rejoicing outside Dublin Castle, which I was waiting for all morning.

At final count, 62 percent voted in favor of legalizing gay marriage in the country, while 38 percent voted against it. Nearly 2 million people voted, with more than 1.2 million voting “yes” and 734,300 voting “no.”

A celebratory mood had come over Dublin even before the official results were announced around 7 p.m. local time, with tallies for each constituency displayed on big screens to thousands watching from Dublin Castle’s sun-soaked central square.

Sisters Rebecca and Rachel Doyle from Enniscorthy, County Wexford, were among 2,000 members of the public allowed to view the counting process at Dublin Castle.

“It feels brilliant, especially since we thought it was going to be so close and now it looks like such a definite ‘Yes’,” Rebecca told NBC News, adding that the experience was “emotional.”

It was emotional even for me, thousands of miles away.