New at Rosetta Stones: The Testimony of Vehicles

So I thought I would do a short little aside on vehicles and what happened to them during the lateral blast at Mount St. Helens, only it turned out to be a long big aside and has to be split into two parts. This always happens to me. Here’s part one, wherein we deal with deposits and other sundry effects, and in part two, coming soon, we shall consider heat. This post was a bit gritty and abrasive; I promise the next will be hawt.

Aerial view of damaged logging equipment on Coldwater Ridge, north of Mount St. Helens. Skamania County, Washington. July 2, 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

Aerial view of damaged logging equipment on Coldwater Ridge, north of Mount St. Helens. Skamania County, Washington. July 2, 1980. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

Bodacious Botany: Not Mace, I Said A Mace

You’ll understand the reason for the title in a moment, although if you’re a Doctor Who fan, you’re already sniggering.

Right, so, here we are. Due to my mad photo organizing skillz and an inordinate amount of British detective shows, I’ve now got a folder full o’ botany. I figure I might as well get some use out of the stuff, seeing as how so much of it covers my beloved geology round here. Sigh. [Read more…]

Definitely Not Equal

There’s this thing guaranteed to jam my rage button in the on position, and it’s when supercilious people whine, “But both sides do it!” in response to whatever outrageous behavior is noticed to be deepening the rifts in atheism at the moment.

Let’s see what both sides are up to. I see we have Rebecca Watson getting sent an image suggesting in the most graphic terms possible that she’s an object that should be sold to violent rapists at bargain prices. Gosh. That’s certainly some cogent criticism right there. Very reasoned. Oh, and here we have a whole sparkling collection of wit and erudition, crowned with some intellectual’s amazing trifecta of sexism, ageism, and violence (see here for the reason why acid isn’t referring to the stuff that takes you on trips. No, this Pitter is referring to the kind that takes you to the hospital with your flesh melting off your body).

And on this side… [Read more…]

Ensuring Women Remain Part of the Secular Movement

Having your consciousness raised is interesting. It’s a strange sensation, seeing the scenes that previously wouldn’t have caused a single eyelash to step up to the plate, spit on its hands, and prepare to bat. Then it’s pointed out to you that something’s wrong with the picture, and your eyelashes resemble the batter’s cage at a baseball stadium during spring training. I don’t think you ever really get used to it. And good thing, too, because we have a lot of scenes that should cause some consternation.

What is seen... cannot be unseen

[Read more…]

Saturday Song: Butterfly Lovers

Okay, so this is the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen human beings do. Well, do while dancing, anyway. I mean, she’s standing en pointe on this dude’s head, and – just watch.

Words. I haven’t any. I just. That’s simply. Mwah.

You know what, that’s art. That’s pure bloody art right there, and it’s one of the reasons why I don’t give up on humanity in despair (you, my darlings, and my fellow Freethought Bloggers, plus the other folks out there doing magnificent work making this world better and more beautiful every day, are the other reasons). All right? It’s moments like these that just make me sit back with my jaw flapping gently in the fully unhinged position and my eyes popping out and my poor little tempted-to-be-misanthropic heart welling, and I burst out with a robust, “I bloody love people!” when I’m capable of drawing breath again.

I rather imagine this is what it’s like running about the universe with the Doctor, actually. [Read more…]

Freethought Friday: Quotable Atheists I

Oh, those early freethinkers could turn a phrase on a dime, my darlings, and it’s time we had a selection of their quotable bits. Here I’ve a small selection of quotes loosely themed around religion and morality. Do you have any favorites of your own? Do share!

Elizabeth Cady Stanton: “When women understand that governments and religions are human inventions; that Bibles, prayer-books, catechisms, and encyclical letters are all emanations from the brains of man, they will no longer be oppressed by the injunctions that come to them with the divine authority of ‘Thus sayeth the Lord.’”

Robert Ingersoll: “Religion has not civilized man—man has civilized religion. God improves as man advances.”

Baron d’Holbach: “Is there anything better calculated to annihilate every idea of morality in the minds of men, than to make them understand that their God, who is so powerful and so perfect, is often compelled to use crime to accomplish His designs?”

Charles Southwell: “Witness the character of Him implied in the conceit of that popular preacher who declared ‘there are children in hell not a span long’—a declaration which could only be made by one whose humanity was extinguished by divinity.”

Matilda Joslyn Gage: “The church has ever obstructed the progress of humanity, delaying civilization and condemning the world to a moral barbarism from which there is no escape except through repudiation of its teachings.”

Torture Chamber of the Inquisition. From 'A Complete History of the Inquisition', Westminster, London 1736. Image and caption courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Torture Chamber of the Inquisition. From ‘A Complete History of the Inquisition’, Westminster, London 1736. Image and caption courtesy Wikimedia Commons.