On Origins

The atheists, in arrogance, say man evolved from slime
From nothingness to everything, and all you need is time
With no one there to witness it, they simply cannot know
The truth is, they are idiots… the bible tells me so.

I may not know my science, but I know my holy book
It’s got all the truthful answers there; you simply have to look
Its authors took dictation from Almighty God Himself
That’s a sample of omniscience you’ve got sitting on your shelf.

The bible is, we all agree, God’s perfect, holy word
The scholars say it’s error-free; it’s what the ancients heard
With no one there to witness it, they simply cannot know
But you can trust the bible’s word… the bible tells me so.

[Read more...]

Atheists Are Going To Hell

(to the tune of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”)

You’d better watch Fox
You’d better watch now
You’d better watch Bill
He’s telling us how
Atheists are going to Hell.

He’s throwing a fit
He’s taping a show
He’s telling us all
He wants us to know
Atheists are going to Hell

He hopes we all are watching
There’s stuff he wants to say
He doesn’t have the slightest clue
But he’s talking anyway

So

It’s time to watch out
It’s time to beware
It’s time to know Bill
Has bullshit to air
“Atheists are going to Hell”

Oh… Bill. The gift that keeps on… talking.

The War on Christmas must be a real money-maker for Bill.

Sepia Friday

That is, not quite Black Friday (or CyberMonday) yet. But I’ve been tweaking the store just a little bit, so consider this a soft opening. Let me know if there are any problems.

There are the regular Cuttlefish With Quill t-shirts and such, the best mug in the world (and matching glassware, if you like), a few other tweaks on the design (including, for those who read this blog before it was FtB, stuff with the original Cuttlefish). I’ve added in some more of Mike McRae’s wonderful illustrations on other drinkware–sadly, they are too small to be good shirts. For you artists out there–yes, he’ll be getting his half of any profits. Shh, it’s a secret–don’t tell him. So you can collect all the cephalopod shot glasses, for instance (I have not yet been able to find a way to have them packaged as a single set–sorry!), or treat the world to the wonderful sight of a toddler with a blasphemy sippy cup. Myself, I’ve got my eye on a different sort of sippy cup.

Anyway, take a look. (And like I said, please let me know if there are any problems!) I’ll have it linked up top soon, and maybe a widget somewhere. But I want the bugs out of it (if there are any) by next week when people start thinking about Cephalopodmas!

It Was The Church

I was going to write a long diatribe… but honestly, the simple story is more moving than any framing I could possibly give it. I am late to the table when it comes to this story. But, frankly, to let that stop me from saying something would be wrong. People should be stopping each other on the street to tell one another this is wrong. Which, in some places… they are. And, no, it isn’t even close to an over-reaction.

When a tragically dying fetus was threatening the life
Of Rick Santorum’s wife

They performed what, without the Catholic church’s (and the Santorum family’s) quite understandable contortion
Was an abortion

Which saved the life of the mother.
You might have thought that the lessons learned from this incident might perhaps be applied to another.

But not so much.
Because the Catholic Church, in Ireland and around the world, is out of touch.

And when they feel the absolute control they exert over their subjects start to slip
They tighten their grip

So yes, when Savita died—died!—because a hospital refused to perform a routine but life-saving procedure in deference to religious proscriptions, a decision which should, now and forever, be for the hospital an unending source of shame
And you’re wondering who to blame

You don’t have far to search—
It was the church.

An Atheist’s Christmas…

It must be mid-November; I’m starting to get lots of hits for “Atheist Christmas” and related terms. So I thought I’d make it a little easier, and bring this one back to the top of the stack for a bit. I’m working on one (which, by the way, is very strange for me, but I have been very busy) which I quite like, but for now this will have to do.

An Atheist’s Christmas

We’ll all open presents, and cook a big dinner,
And share in traditions we learned long ago
But Christmas is different for this humble sinner,
No “birth of the saviour”, just people we know.

It has nothing to do with a babe in a manger
Or kings being led by a star up above,
But rather in family, friend, and in stranger,
In kindnesses done for the people we love.

A spirit of hope, and a season of giving,
A promise of peace in a troubling day,
A chance to examine the way we are living–
The courage to say what we’ve wanted to say.

You don’t need to think there’s a god up above you
To want to be good to your fellows on Earth.
To give to your friends, and to tell them “I love you”
Has nothing to do with some son of god’s birth.

For love, and for giving, we say “tis the season”
For caring, for kindness, for sharing good cheer
But why limit ourselves? I mean, what is the reason?
Why can’t we be giving the rest of the year?

This Christmas, my wish for each sister and brother,
To you, and to everyone you may hold dear;
Remember, this Christmas, to love one another—
Not only this season, but all through the year!

Related posts: An Atheist Christmas Card
Tis the Season
The War Against Christmas Comes Early

And yes, feel free to use this in any personal projects. If you use it in some money-making scheme, talk to me first. If you use it in a money-making scheme without talking to me first, you are agreeing to pay me 150% of the gross. Merry Christmas.

Would You Vote For An Atheist?

You may have already seen this, but there are the beginnings of what might be a vigorous but civil discussion over at NPR, on the subject of voting for an atheist candidate.

NPR gets some great commenters, but I happen to think mine are even better… so I’m pointing you that direction so you can cross-pollinate. After all, FtB discussions have pretty much already looked at everything in the NPR article many times over, so you are more than prepared.

Back to grading…

Wait, Isn’t The Election Over?

I just saw one of the Romney-affiliated PAC commercials. Four days after the election.

An abbreviated version of this one:

You know, the ad that was totally not coordinated with Romney’s claims that Jeeps were all going to be built in China?

I guess huge amounts of money don’t really care who actually wins the election. Keep telling the big lies, and no matter who is nominally in charge, control the conversation. The people have spoken, but there’s no reason to listen to them. They don’t have money.

Romney Really Expected To Win; Here’s The Good News

If you can’t see the scope of your trouble
Then the silly mistakes more than double
So expect to be mocked
When your whole world is rocked
Cos you lived your campaign in a bubble

Hey, it happened to Dukakis, too. People (candidates, staffers, even embedded journalists) who get their information from within the protective bubble of the campaign, are subject to an echo chamber of information; if the accepted fiction is that their candidate is ahead (and that these particular issues are foremost in voters’ minds, and that undisclosed polls show a tsunami of support just beginning to unleash its effects….or fill in whatever narrative you like), the availability heuristic kicks in and we believe the message we can most easily bring to mind. And then, of course, confirmation bias kicks in, and we seek out the things that support our preconceived notions.

It’s really no wonder the numbers wonks were so roundly derided in the weeks prior to the election. Everything human about us works against them.

Fortunately, we have learned to accommodate for our humanity. The scaffolds, the external supports, of science, of critical thinking, of statistical methodologies and representative sampling, the combative interactions within the scientific community itself, all of these are tools we have stumbled upon that help us to overcome our evolved biases. We use them, frankly, not because we see their inherent superiority (a good many can’t tell you how we choose an alpha level, but do so competently on a regular basis; at a more abstract level, more people “believe in” evolution or relativity than understand them) but because they work.

In this election, paying attention to numbers… worked. And Obama did a much better job of paying attention to numbers than did Romney. The “ground game” in the final weeks was, for Romney, the tried and true method of the past. For Obama, it was the experimentally verified wave of the future. Use what has been shown to work; don’t use what has been shown to be ineffective. Take data on everything.

I am hopeful that this election changed some things it was not designed to change. Yes, we chose a president, and other officials, but I suspect this is the beginning of the end for the traditional campaign, and the beginning of a data-driven future. And, frankly, a data-driven future should show different issues come to the fore, issues no longer mandated by archaic religious systems or philosophical positions far removed from reality.

This would be good news indeed.

Wait, What… Christmas Already?

So yeah, PZ has a Christmas post up already? I know the malls already have spray snow, holly and mistletoe, and other signs of war Christmas; I’ve heard the music, seen the decorations, smelled the mulled cider… but PZ? This must mean it’s getting late.

I’m hopeful (but hey, the real world imposes itself sometimes) that I’ll have some cool cephalopodmas swag for you soon, but for now…

In mega-malls and coffee shops
In giant chains and mom-and-pops
The mistletoe and holly have been decked
The garland—silver, red, and green
Has been in place since Halloween
In store displays we’ve all come to expect
Employees dressed as helpful elves
Are stringing lights and stocking shelves
And spraying trees with artificial snow
And everywhere, the carols play
There’s no place you can get away
Cos Christmas is endangered, don’t you know?

I’m gearing up for this year’s war on Christmas
It’s gonna be a knock-down, drag-out fight!
I’m pissed off and I’m ranty, cos
It’s two full months of santy claus
And all I really want’s a silent night

We see displays in family yards
And messages in greeting cards
Which use an anti-Christian sort of phrase
Though everywhere across the earth
They’re celebrating Jesus’ birth
They use the PC “Happy Holidays”
I’ve seen examples by the scores
In catalogs and online stores
As well as at some places here in town
As everybody celebrates,
Their choice of phrases demonstrates
Their real agenda’s tearing Christmas down!

I’m gearing up for this year’s war on Christmas
It’s gonna be the worst you’ve ever seen
A little bad behavior’s worth
The selling of our savior’s birth
And doing so since not quite Halloween

We’re gathering with friends, to go
Despite the cold, despite the snow,
Sing carols for the old folks down the street
Surrounded by the happy greetings,
Hugs and kisses, merry meetings,
Smiles on all the faces that we meet.
We’re celebrating life and love
And not some savior from above
Our Christmas is a secular affair
Cos Christmas is for everyone—
Believe, or not, it’s still just fun
And if that thought offends you, I don’t care

I’m gearing up for this year’s war on Christmas
The birthday of our savior Jesus Christ
And what the hell, if this myth fails
There’s always after-Christmas sales
Where underwear and liquor are half priced

I really want to be able to actually sing this for you. It’s really pretty cool. Or not; I’m not a musician. Yes, it is an oldie. I’m grading. It’s this or the test pattern….

There Are Dangers In Election Drinking Games

When the people are standing in line
But the leaders assert all is fine
As the populace votes
And the media notes
…The Cuttlefish drinks some more wine.

I have family in too many states to just sit back. I am hopeful, but damn. This is not easy. And I must say, if I had a time machine I would clearly tell myself to start this election day without any alcohol available. Lots of little signs look promising… which leads to wine. Occasionally, signs look bad… ditto. See? A lose-lose proposition, disguised as a win-win.

I can’t tell you how many typos I already fixed in this post. If it makes sense, this is a victory of obsession over inebriation. If it’s gibberish… you won’t be able to tell it from most other posts.

In other words, this is an open election thread. Say lots of stuff, and pity my headache tomorrow morning.