Liberty University Pumping Creationists Into Public Schools

Sometimes, I wonder if my obsession with debunking Christianist textbooks is rather ridiculous. After all, how many truly committed creationists are there, really? Aren’t there more important causes I should be investing my time in? Surely I could be doing more on the feminist front, f’r instance. I could be pouring my time and energy into meatier posts about the magnificent science of geology. And I feel vaguely guilty that I let myself get distracted by the latest creationist outrages in textbooks that are foisted upon a mere fraction of the world’s children.

But then, I read survivors’ stories, and yes, I do think of the children: all those bright and curious minds stunted by the ignorant adults around them. I hope at least a few of them stumble upon this series, and find themselves jolted out of the confining creationist box and launched on an epic adventure in the science of their choice (even if it’s not one of the geosciences, although of course I think those are the best).

And there’s the fact we all learn some things about the earth sciences along the way, in what I hope is an entertaining fashion.

Not an inconsiderable consideration for me is that I’ve found so few women* debunking creationist nonsense, so it helps me feel like I’m doing my bit for diversity in the creationist nonsense debunking community.

Besides, Jonny Scaramanga recently said why creationism and the debunking thereof matters, so that’s told me this quest is not quixotic.

But when it really comes down to it, the main reason why I feel it’s bloody damned important to keep you guys informed as to what creationists are teaching their kiddies is because their kiddies are growing up ignorant, and then spewing that ignorance all over our public schools: [Read more…]

New at Rosetta Stones: The Story of Wallace’s Woeful Wager

Well, you knew I couldn’t resist doing up a post on that subject, right? Of course! I looked up some of Wallace’s writings on the subject, did some digging round inside Flat Earth and the net regarding his nemeses, and wrote you up a little something. All right, it’s not little, it’s actually a bit long. Not like novella length or anything, but nice and meaty. Settle yourselves in and enjoy the tale! [Read more…]

Flat Earth: An Astonishingly Good Book About a Very Bad Idea

When I’m reading creationist textbooks, one thing I’m grateful for is that they’re not written by flat-earthers. One wonders why they’re not: after all, a literal reading of the Bible points very much to the idea that the earth is, indeed, a plane rather than a sphere. But some ideas are so difficult to sustain in the face of plain scientific evidence that even people who, in all seriousness, claim that every living thing on Earth descends from the inmates of a single wooden boat which survived  a violent global flood, can’t bring themselves to believe it. Really, did anyone post-Renaissance ever seriously believe that nonsense? [Read more…]

Baker in Winter

I’ve got a treat for ye! You’ll have to look close, though, because the bloody trees everywhere:

Image shows Mount Baker just barely visible through the branches of bare-branched deciduous trees.

Mount Baker from Lord Hill.

There are several places at Lord Hill Regional Park marked as scenic views. And they probably were, back when the park was first created. However, it’s the Pacific Northwest, and trees love to grow very quickly. In summer, this isn’t a viewpoint at all. In winter, if you’re lucky, and find just the right position, and squint a little, you’ll see Baker peeking through the bare winter branches.

Image is similar to the above, cropped to show the mountain better.

Moar Mount Baker

There are places you can go on Lord Hill where you get magnificent views, but we didn’t make it there this time. We were tuckered by the time we reached this. But there’s plenty of winter left, and there will be sunny days with bare branches, and possibly less fog. The Skykomish River valley was still full of it even in the late afternoon, and my portion of Bothell pretty much remained socked-in. The Sammamish River valley here loves to fog up, and refuses to unfog. We’d actually planned to go to Discovery Park, but a webcam in the area assured me we were out of luck there, too. But Lord Hill’s high enough to pop above the fog, so there we went, and at least we got to see a bit of Baker.

I love Lord Hill. It’s a knob of basalt, and basalt is rather rare in this part of the Puget Sound lowland. I drool over it. I also noticed quarries I hadn’t seen before, but unfortunately, one was rather densely coated in plant life, and the other was not situated in a way that my camera would deal with well in low light conditions, so no photos of those. Sometime this summer, though, B and I will do the transect across the park from the riverside quarry, and see lots of sights, and show them to you properly.

And sometime soonish, we’ll make it back to Discovery Park. I’ve heard the view of the Olympics from there right now is mega-fantastic with all the snow on them. And perhaps we’ll even see a UFD or two.

The Charlie Hebdo Massacre and Free Speech

I want everyone to consider what Giliell said:

No, folks, please, we’re usually better than that.

No, the cartoonists didn’t “have it coming”. Nobody should be murdered for publishing their shit and suggesting that this is to be expected does nothing but paint muslims as irrational beasts who just cannpt control themselves. It’s just two sides of the same coin.
But this “you don’t have the right not to be offended nanana freeze peach” is the same bullshit we’re constantly getting when discussing feminism. And people here are usually better than that.

We usually understand quite clearly that “equal opportunity offense” usually means kicking down the ladder.

I stand for the right of Charlie Hebdo to publish their cartoons, I stand against the people who murdered them. I also stand to my opinion that their cartoons were racist and misogynist. This is not incompatible. My enemy’s enemy is NOT my friend.

She summed up a lot of my thinking over these past several days.

In looking for Charlie Hebdo covers for my post on the massacre the other day, I noticed themes that I don’t support. There’s a definite taste of racism. There’s homophobia, and some things swerving awfully close to rape. I think that’s lazy, using knee-jerk cultural distastes in order to outrage people. I don’t know what the magazine itself is like – I don’t read enough French to have followed any of its issues. Quite possibly, in different times, I might have criticized them, not for publishing offensive cartoons, but for hitting down rather than up.

But no matter what tropes they employed, even if they were utterly despicable, those artists and journalists didn’t deserve to die. [Read more…]

Mystery Flora: Winter Wonders, Plus Fútbol Fog

About the last thing I expect in early January is a blooming tree. I mean, seriously, tree, don’t you understand it’s winter?!

Image shows a tree with lots of skinny vertical branches. The branches hold bunches of tiny white-pink blooms.

Mystery Flora I

But it does not care. No, siree, this tree that’s growing along a serene Pacific Northwest residential street gives not one shit that it’s January, it’s going to bloom anyway, it can do what it wants! [Read more…]

Suggestions for Rosetta Stones Topics?

I’ve put up a post outlining a bit of what I’ve got planned for Rosetta Stones this year, and I’ve opened the floor to suggestions. Leave your wants in the comments! The more topics, the merrier. Also, if you have any subjects you’d like me to tackle for ye here at the cantina, let me know. We can do whatever we want here, so don’t feel constrained in subject matter. Suggest away!

Picture of me pointing to contact between basalt and sedimentary rock. Caption says, "2015's gonna be amazeballs"

Adventures in ACE X: Misinformed About Metamorphic

There comes a point when, during the perusal of an ACE science PACE, the brain bluescreens. The system shuts down for self-protection. It’s usually at about the point where you’ve encountered the umpteenth wrong thing in as many sentences, and you begin wondering how any adult can be so bloody fucking ignorant. You suddenly realize that more than one bloody fucking ignorant adult was involved in writing this pablum. And you begin to consider that some of the children being subjected to this shit will never recover, but will someday regurgitate this shit with updated pictures and errors, then expect a whole new generation of kids to lap up their intellectual vomit. This is about the point where the brain crashes.

It’s hard to get through without multiple system failures, is what I’m saying. [Read more…]

Charlie Hebdo Journalists Murdered by Religious Fanatics

Ah, yes, adherents of the Religion of Peace™ peacefully protesting cartoons they don’t like by murdering cartoonists wholesale.

They want to terrorize people into silence. They will, if we allow fear to shrink us down to terrified little things skittering away at the slightest hint we may upset the religious sensibilities of men with guns. Well, I’m not interested in being a fearful skittering little thing today. I’m inclined to rub their noses in what they despise.

Cover of Charlie Hebdo. The man in the turban is saying, "100 blows of the whip if you are not laughing!"

Cover of Charlie Hebdo. The man in the turban is saying, “100 blows of the whip if you are not laughing!”

Like Yemmy says,

It would be a great idea to widely reproduce the images these barbarians killed people for. The world needs to say NO to this intimidation by these barbaric, bloodthirsty religious fanatics!

Cover of Charlie Hebdo for The Life of Mohammed, Part One: the Debut of the Prophet. Image is a goofy yellow man leading a sweating camel in a desert with rocky hills in the background.

Cover of Charlie Hebdo for The Life of Mohammed, Part One: the Debut of the Prophet.

I hope that Charlie Hebdo can continue on. I hope the magazine has enough staff members left to carry on despite the tragedy, and that cartoonists line up around the world to contribute their work. I hope a million Charlie Hebdos spring up around the world. Let the fanatics see that killing people who satirize their prophet will accomplish nothing besides making the killers and their enablers pariahs, giving a huge boost to apostate and progressive Muslims, and lead to most people in the world deciding that, no matter how many warm fuzzy feels they may have for religion, it needs some disrespect if its followers are willing to murder people over cartoons.

You want your religion to be respected? Use it to become the best people you can be. Make it something worthy of respect. Don’t think you can demand respect at gunpoint. And don’t think your religion can shield you from the consequences of your murderous actions.

Charlie Hebdo cover showing a Muslim man with crosses for eyes, holding a Koran in front of him. Both Koran and man are being riddled with bullets. The French captions say, "The Koran is shit. It can't stop bullets." The purple box says, "Slaughter in Egypt."

Charlie Hebdo cover saying, “The Koran is shit. It can’t stop bullets.” The purple box says, “Slaughter in Egypt.”

There’s nothing honorable or noble in what these people did. They aren’t honoring their god. They’re just proving that if it exists, and if it approves of this sort of brutality, it deserves nothing but our condemnation. They’d demonstrating that religion does not make people moral, and in fact, too often inspires murder. We must eradicate this inane idea that a deity is up there that cares so deeply about offensive cartoons that it demands artists be slaughtered.

My heart goes out to the survivors and the victims’ loved ones.