It’s Blasphemy Day

I suppose you could all celebrate Blasphemy Day, but it’s not such a big deal for me. As far as I’m concerned, every day is Blasphemy Day.


All right, Rebecca Watson does a good job of getting into the spirit of Blasphemy Day.

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I’ll try to do my part. I’m out here in Cleveland tonight (“Hellooooo CLEVELAND!”) to talk to some humanists, and looking over my speech, I just realized it is pretty damned blasphemous. I sort of took it for granted, so I just noticed. Let’s hope I’m not arrested — Ohio doesn’t have one of those laws, does it?

Aim for the stars, creepy guy!

Wow. It’s just like science.

I wouldn’t say I know all that much about porn. More than the average guy for sure but there is a whole other level of porn aficianado out there that dwarfs mine. It’s the guys who have been following porn for 20+ years and have tens of thousands of posts on sites like Adultdvdtalk and planetsuzy.com and run blogs about porn who are the real experts who have helped educate me. It’s kind of like what Newton said about standing on the shoulders of giants.

I’ve completely missed out on that kind of education — I’ve wasted all those years studying mere biology.

The weird cluelessness is compounded when you consider that Newton died a virgin, and proud of it.

Anthony Navarro is an evil scumbag

Be warned. This is a horrific story.

Anthony Navarro Jr. is a righteous fundamentalist who is opposed without reservation to divorce. His brother, Dave Navarro, decided to leave his marriage — so Anthony Jr. stalks and harasses his own brother, threatening him, harasses people associated with him, lies about him, contacts his clients and basically destroys his business, all because he will not tolerate the fact that a man and a woman can decide to dissolve the bonds of matrimony. He has a religious belief in an absolutely insoluble form of marriage, which he insists on imposing on others (Anthony Jr.’s wife is apparently trapped for life).

Anthony Jr. writes a letter to Dave.

Psalms 69:5
O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.

Jeremiah 3:25
Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”

Brother, no matter how fast you run, you cannot run from your sin, nor its penalty. Come back to the light, come back into the circle of blessing. You need not continue to live like a fugitive… Like a coward.

Adultery is the greatest sin addressed in the bible. Realize, Dave, that you are committing adultery… Against your wife, Alison; against your children, and against God. You are guilty of the same sin as our mother and it cost her her life in the end… It cost her her soul. Her selfishness was her downfall. Do not fall into the same trap… The same spiral… The same death… The same eternity.

Why do you not even talk? Are you so ashamed? You can turn back to the right path, and you can be forgiven.

It’s not too late. Yet.

-Anthony

That’s a scary letter. That’s a letter written by a demented fuckwit. But you haven’t heard the worst of it yet.

What happened to Dave and Anthony Jr.’s mother?

Their mother left their father when they were children. Anthony Navarro Sr. hired a hit man to murder her in front of her daughter and mother. Anthony Navarro Sr. was convicted of this crime and is currently serving life in prison.

So Anthony Navarro Jr. is now blaming his mother for her murder by his father, and is now perpetuating the same warped, sanctimonious idea that divorce justifies murder.

So that’s what the Bible means by “sins of the father”.

Haters gotta hate

Rebecca Watson takes a moment to vent about the internet bile aimed at her, and it’s a depressing read. Who would have imagined a mild admonition to “guys, don’t do that” would turn into months of seething hatred and demonization? As she documents, there are whole sites and ongoing threads dedicated to trashing her and anyone associated with her. I took a quick look at some of her links, and found this treasure on one thread committed to hatin’ everything Watson:

“freethoughtblogs” has become a spiteful ghetto built on a river of bile for insecure gutter-fascists.

That is supernova-grade irony.

Rebecca Watson has my support as an appreciated and valuable member of the skeptical community, who has made many contributions and has also been an entertaining and informative face for skepticism.

The saddest part of this whole contemptible witch-hunt, though, is that several of the people who are still spittle-spewing ranters against the Skepchicks were also appreciated members of the skeptical community, who have unfortunately done a fine job of isolating themselves with their obsessive hate-mongering and slander. Let it go, people. Grow up, move on, shed the misogyny. And make no mistake, you have exposed yourselves as irrational misogynists.

Crowdsourcing for a good cancer text

Among the many joys plaguing me recently is learning that I get to teach, for the first time for me and for the first time at my university, I get to teach a course in cancer biology this spring term. I’m not totally unprepared for this — I was on a cancer training grant for about 5 years, got some basic education in clinical oncology as well as the basic science of the processes, and really, it’s all about gene regulation, cell cycle control, signal transduction, and specification and commitment, all stuff that is eminently familiar to a developmental biologist. But still, you can guess what I’ll be doing over Christmas break: cramming for one of the most depressing subjects in the world.

Anyway, here’s what I need. I’m going to have to order books for the students next month: the prerequisite for the course is simply cell biology and major status, so I need something that’s not too advanced, but has a good overview of mechanisms. This will not be a course in clinical oncology, but on the cell biology of cancer…but still, students will expect at least a little bit of direct medical relevance (I’ll probably ask around to find a local doctor who’d be willing to give a guest lecture, too). I am not a medical doctor, and this will not be a course to give out medical advice at all.

So, request #1 is for a good solid intermediate level cancer textbook.

Request #2 is for me: I’m going to have to dive into a crash cramming event in December/January to bring myself up to speed on current developments in the field, so I can be smarter than the students. What are some good review texts for a guy who knows a fair amount of biology but took his last course in oncology about 15 years ago?

(Also on Sb)

Theocracy will sneak in one justification at a time

Rick Perry is unsuited to high office. That he’s a cretin is one thing, but that he has an anti-American, unconstitutional attitude towards the law is another. He thinks the US is in an alliance with Jesus, as revealed in his recent comments about Israel.

Well, obviously, Israel is our oldest and most stable democratic ally in that region. That is what this is about. I also as a Christian have a clear directive to support Israel. So from my perspective, it’s pretty easy. Both as an American and as a Christian, I am going to stand with Israel.

So the US role in the Middle East is driven by Christian fundamentalist theology? That’s scary stuff to announce, on top of practicing.

I don’t even know what the Israel of the Bible is, except that it is defunct and doesn’t exist anymore. To equate the modern state of Israel with the fantasy kingdom of the Bible is even more absurd than pointing at Italy and calling it the Roman Empire.

Old Atheists, same as the New Atheists

Wait a minute here…this cartoon is from 1903?

And it prompted this comment?

And I have realized that C.C. Moore was reincarnated as PZ Myers.

I feel weirded out by the comparison, but I did go ahead and order the collected writings. We’ll have to see if I experience deja vu and start having flashbacks or mysterious dreams of my past life.

Mainly, right now I want my own Whip of Ridicule and Sword of Cold Facts. I think I’ll pass on the funny hat with the candle.

(via Camels With Hammers)