The Unstoppable Force of Huxley, Darwin, and Frances Power Cobbe

Reading this book on Victorian England’s marriage laws is slow going, because I keep running into fascinating women. Mary Lyndon Shanley quotes a snippet of their work, and then I end up haring off after the source and promptly getting immersed in that instead. I made it to Chapter Two, and I did intend to get all the way to Three, but then I ran into Frances Power Cobbe. And I had to read her article “Criminals, idiots, women and minors” in its entirety. It is so full of good things that I will probably quote from it even more. The woman was a caution. She may have been an anti-vivisectionist, but she completely eviscerates the laws against married women owning their own property. She impales her opponents’ arguments on their own logic before she finishes them off with several master strokes. It’s just amazeballs.

Since we’re just past Darwin Day, I figured I’d share this bit with you. It seems appropriate. [Read more…]

Darwin on Free Thought

Happy Darwin Day to ye! Over at Rosetta Stones, I have a juicy selection of quotes from Charles Darwin on that most beautiful of sciences, geology, which he loved. There’s cake and dinosaurs, too!

Whilst I was searching for some more quotations, I came across several of Darwin’s thoughts on social issues. He talks about free thought, and I thought, what better quote for Freethought Blogs, then, eh? Here is a small selection of Darwin’s quotes on freethought, religion, and abolition. [Read more…]

Remember that Behind Beliefs are People

We don’t yet how Craig Stephen Hicks calmed his conscience as he entered his neighbors’ apartment and shot three young people death. I doubt he allowed himself to see them as actual people.

This isn’t what atheists should be. This is why so many of us went beyond a simple dictionary atheism, why we try to remember that behind beliefs are people, and their lives have value, no matter how awful we think their religion is. This is why we try to punch up, not down; why we fight against the various isms that attempt to reduce people to things. Once you start seeing some people as less-than, it’s too easy to take another step and decide that their lives are worth less than yours. [Read more…]

Adventures in ACE XII: Wibbly about Water

I know, two ACE posts in a row. And our Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education installment is a whole day early! Don’t you all feel like lucky duckies?

It’s about time we finish with the risible ACE PACE 1086, and the subject matter segues nicely into the chapters on oceans we have coming up in our other “science” textbooks. Besides, after last week’s installment, I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats wondering if the Loyaltons are about to go splat against a mountain. So let us continue our flyover with them, and see where we end up. [Read more…]

Scaredy-Christians

Okay. So you’ve got an omniscient, omnipotent god on your side who’s sent his only son (who is also himself) to die for your sins, thus saving you (from himself). Fantastic! You lucky, lucky bean, you. Your god has told you to go out and share the Good News™ about himself sacrificing himself to himself to save humanity from his own wrath. He tells you that all you need is a tiny speck of faith, and you’ll have the power to do battle with Satan and move mountains and stuff like that. Outstanding! Sharing that really Good News™ with people shouldn’t be hard at all, should it? And you’ve got the example of your god to go by – or maybe it’s his son, things are a little wobbly there, it’s cosmic and beyond our ken, etc. Anyway, you’ve got his example. He liked hanging out with the outcasts and crooks, the sick and poor, and he’d even have a drink with unbelievers. While he was kicking around Earth, he mucked about with the least powerful, and thumbed his nose at all the holier-than-thous. He told you to get out there in the world and get converting. Yeah! That’s what it’s about. Bring the sinners to the Lord! Hallelujah!

So you go to the library, where you see a mother with her children. [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories Excerpt: Introduction

Ready to dip into one of the most violent, sexually explicit, and immoral books ever written? Please pick up your Bibles and turn to Genesis.

I’m flabbergasted when people tell me they get their moral instruction from this tome. I’m even more astonished when they insist on shoving a copy into every child’s hands, then turn around and try to ban books from the library because they contain sex, violence, magic, or sundry other supposedly outrageous thing. Have those morality crusaders ever read their own Bible? It should be the very first book on their To Burn list! The bloody thing contains every single indecency they campaign against – and more!

Image shows Jackie Chan with his hands up by his head and a WTF face. Caption says, "What the actual fuck did I just read?"

Alas, this photo won’t be in the book. But I couldn’t resist including it here.

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Researching 19th Century Sexism with Cat, Plus Bonus Squee

Over the last couple of days, Misha’s been insisting on me making a blanket cave for her to sleep in. She likes to pick random inconvenient times, like when I’m asleep, or about to grab the computer and start typing. I could tell her no, but snuggling with a warm kitty is not to be turned down. I mean, honestly, look at how adorable she is.

Image shows Misha lying with her cheek on her paws. A bit of my red shirt is visible beside her. The blanket is overhead.

Snoozin in teh warms.

 

She’s actually preventing me from avoiding research, because that’s pretty much all I can do when I’m having to make a cave roof with one arm. I might be able to type, but it would be slow and complicated. And I have a 19th century MRAnt to dissect. [Read more…]

Shrooms of the Gods: A Geostory

If I told you the gods were rock gardening in southern Illinois, would you believe me? No, I know, I thought the same: American Midwest. Flat. Full o’ cornfields. Bo-ring. I’m originally from neighboring Indiana. I would’ve sworn there wasn’t a surface rock more exciting than a pebble anywhere within 500 miles.

Wrongo.

Get beyond those areas where vast continental ice sheets planed the land and left everything buried under thick deposits of nothing visually stunning. You won’t have to go far, just fifteen miles (24 km) north of the Shawnee Hills. Things begin to get rather more interesting. There are rocks. Keep going south, into the hills. Then: stunning. [Read more…]

A Collection of Pretty Photos from Discovery Park For Ye

I’ve been so busy you would not believe. I wrote you a book! I am typing and revising it right now! You will have an excerpt soon! And I am fisking an MRA rant from the 19th century, and trying to get some geology stuff written, and I have that silly conspiracy book to dissect. So while I keep meaning to post Discovery Park photos, I haven’t quite gotten round to it.

Today, let’s just have some of the random pretty photos from our trip to Discovery Park when it was all foggy. [Read more…]

Order This Weekend for Valentine’s Day!

Are you one of those folks who celebrates V-Day? Do you need a punny geological gift for your rock-loving loved one? Of course you do! You’ve still got time to get them some Holy Schist with Guaranteed Garnet. Hooray! And if you use the coupon code VALDAY, you’ll get 15% off your entire purchase! Place that order now.

Image is a macro of a small piece of garnet mica schist with tiny, red-orange garnets speckling it.

Lovely little garnets! In Holy Schist!

Remember, Holy Schist is for a lifetime, unlike flowers, which will rot within the week unless you get a living plant. Unlike living plants, Holy Schist does not need water or sunlight to stay beautiful, though, so it’s still a more thoughtful gift.

[Read more…]