Ladies and gentlemen: crocoduck.

In case you haven’t heard, one of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron’s lines of argumentation involves holding up a photoshopped monster (whose origin is very likely the Something Awful, Worth 1000, or Fark photoshop contests), and saying “evolution says this should exist as a transitional form, and it doesn’t, therefore God, QED.” They usually just troll the image boards to find their silly “transitions”, like the bull frog. Bonus points for finding “transitions” between two branches that are nowhere near one another and saying that it must look like some weird hybrid of both present-day forms, rather than a basal form unique unto itself from which both branches stem.
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Our child

Meet Ginger, our ten and a half year old Nova Scotia duck toller / border collie cross. She’s very intelligent, which makes for problems when we have to leave the house outside of our normal routine — it upsets her to the point where things get eaten and/or chewed.

Taken with our Kodak EasyShare Z8612IS, shortly after I’d gotten it earlier this summer. Jodi only just figured out how to copy from the internal memory to the external, to pull the file off the camera where it was giving locking errors whenever we plugged it in.

RCimT: This Week, Without Gods

This is long overdue, but this week’s Cool Atheist of the Week is awarded posthumously to George Carlin, who veiled his insight into humanity under the guise of being a comedian — as in Shakespeare’s plays, the Fool is the one freest to speak to the King without fear of retribution.

You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: First of all, I think he’s a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn’t fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.

For years I asked God to do something about my noisy neighbor with the barking dog, Joe Pesci straightened that cocksucker out with one visit. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a simple baseball bat.

So I’ve been praying to Joe for about a year now. And I noticed something. I noticed that all the prayers I used to offer to God, and all the prayers I now offer to Joe Pesci, are being answered at about the same 50% rate. Half the time I get what I want, half the time I don’t. Same as God, 50-50. Same as the four-leaf clover and the horseshoe, the wishing well and the rabbit’s foot, same as the Mojo Man, same as the Voodoo Lady who tells you your fortune by squeezing the goat’s testicles, it’s all the same: 50-50. So just pick your superstition, sit back, make a wish, and enjoy yourself.

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Forced morality

Fundamentalist Christians oftentimes attempt to legislate sexuality — from laws that state marriage is “between one man and one woman”, to laws against women getting abortions even in cases where the mother was raped, or where the baby has no chance of surviving and poses a health risk to the mother. They oftentimes attempt to legislate that their specific religion be established — demanding that they display religious iconography on public or government property without regard for the other religions that are being excluded in the process. They cry and moan that their children are not allowed to pull out their bibles in science class in an attempt to disrupt said class when the teachings run contrary to established religious dogma. They secure laws that allow insurance companies to pay out for their faith-healing nonsense. They get their churches exempt from taxation, then preach politics from the pulpit, sometimes even campaigning on specific issues using church collections.

When secularists (which group includes both god-believers and the godless alike, don’t forget) manage to make some headway in creating laws that establish that certain outgroups, like women, blacks, or homosexuals, are every bit as human and every bit as deserving of the rights afforded to others, for instance where the civil institution of marriage is concerned, the sturm und drang from the fundies nearly drowns out any rational discourse. Extremely well-funded campaigns spring up to insert the newly passed civil equality laws as ballot initiatives, generally worded such that, rather than being presented as a repeal of a civil rights law, the question posed is “do you want to PROTECT MARRIAGE by not letting the filthy gays have them too?” And in the event that these initiatives are recognized for what they are, the fundies have another tactic — complaining that the people on the side of civil liberties are out to “force morality” on them.

Take, for instance, our favorite troll. [Read more…]

We know the Origin of Species

… but what’s the Origin of Stupidity?

Ray “Bananaman” Comfort and That-Other-Guy-You-Know-The-One-From-Growing-Pains, have teamed up once more to put together a 150th Anniversary edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. They did so in order to include a 54-page “rebuttal” to smear Darwin as being Hitler’s BFF, and a racist and misogynist, as though even if any of that were true, it would somehow lessen the impact that his work had on the course of scientific research. Their initial attempt at this intro was so horrid that after the hue and cry about how many inaccuracies there were about Darwin’s history, Comfort rewrote it. Their initial attempt at their edition of the original work, as well, excluded Charlie’s original intro and chapters 11, 12 and 13, three of the probably strongest chapters with regard to evidence for Darwin’s original form of the now-much-evolved (heh) theory of evolution. Again, after much excoriation by historians, science-buffs, atheists, and anti-idiots, Comfort had the printing press reduce the font significantly and reproduced the Origin in its entirety.

Not only are they giving away the book for free at university campuses (where, it seems, the only people taking it are people that “believe” in evolution to begin with), but they’re also giving away the intro at their own website. That, coupled with the Full Charlie over at Talk Origins, means those of us that aren’t near one of the chosen universities can get in on the facepalm fun of ripping apart Comfort’s illogic and then cleanse the palate with Darwin’s original work too. We just don’t get to do it with a physical book, sadly.

As soon as I’m back in fighting form, expect a rebuttal to the Origin of Bananaman intro.

A quick story

A middle aged man (we’ll call him Jim) and a twenty-something woman (we’ll call her Jane) are engaged in conversation. Jim mentions that he has found himself a job for the winter seasonal break. Being friendly, Jane congratulates him and asks what kind of job he’s found. Jim happily informs her that he’s going to go ‘work on the boats’. Having grown up in Nova Scotia, Jane knows this means working on the fishing boats specifically, something she knows only a little about but finds interesting. Continuing to make friendly conversation she asks how long the fishing trips usually last on ‘the boats’. Jim tells her that he’ll be going out for 10 days at a time, but that’s ok because the boat he’s going on is new and has a shower and everything. He continues to tell her about the boats and that the last one he was on didn’t even have a bathroom, you had to do your business in a bucket then toss it overboard. Jane laughs and inquires whether there are many women on these boats. Jim quickly shakes his head and firmly states that women don’t belong on boats, they’re bad luck to the fishermen. Jane laughs again outwardly but on the inside she begins to rage.

If you think this sounds like a story that came from a century ago, I wouldn’t blame you. Unfortunately it was a conversation I overheard a couple days ago.

Equality has a long, long way to go yet.

Gay Puerto Rican decapitated, burned…

… and the presiding investigator says “people who lead this type of lifestyle need to be aware that this will happen”.

Wait, seriously? Being gay leads to mutilation? Let’s just reiterate exactly what happened to this poor boy:

He was found on the site of an isolated road in the city of Cayey, he was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered, both arms, both legs, and the torso.

Let me be perfectly clear — that kind of thing DOES NOT just “happen”. There’s no passive voice to be had. That’s the kind of thing someone does to someone else. This is murder, and beyond that, it’s likely torture. How much of that damage was done before he was killed? We don’t know! And why was he killed? Is it, as the investigator suggests, because he is gay? Then it was a hate crime, and that means any gay person could have been targeted equally, which means that the perpetrator is a terrorist who, by mere dint of fact that he disagrees with what that person is, could very likely kill again. Treat that person like a potential mass-murderer. Don’t hand-wave the whole incident away with “this kind of thing happens”. If you do, you are complicit. Also, you’re a bigot and an asshole.

Here’s a report on the murder (in Spanish) from Said activist Pedro Julio Serrano: “It is inconceivable that the investigating officer suggests that the victim deserved his fate, like a woman deserves rape for wearing a short skirt. We demand condemnation of this investigator and demand that Superintendente Figueroa Sancha replace him with someone capable of investigating this case without prejudice.”

Hear hear.

Hat tip Godless Blogger