MRAs are almost as hilarious as creationists

I swear, it’s the same oblivious stupidity, just expressed in a different domain, and I deal with enough inanity trying to cope with creationionism — I should probably avoid this stuff lest I suffer an overdose. But Manboobz hurts me again, and I can’t turn my eyes away. This is a real revelation about how these guys think:

[W]hen most men pass the age of 30-35, they begin to awaken from this biochemical “dream” and what do they awaken beside? What do married men look forward to the next 30-50 years of their lives? Sleeping with a living corpse, which continues to torture and destroy them day by day? Looking forward to the time when the woman undergoes the process of metamorphosis, into a completely insane mummy (menopause and post menopause)?

Pussy is indeed way overrated and if younger men could get a shot of “anti-testosterone” for a few weeks, they could see through the eyes of men who are 40+; without the haze of hormones, you cannot believe how much farther you can see! It’s the difference between seeing the horizon through LA style smog and seeing the horizon from a high mountain in the Rockies.

Guys, you’re doing it wrong. I don’t think your wives are the insane ones, it’s you.

If you’re doing it right, the relationship gets stronger and the sex gets better the older you get; while I might well be willing to trade in my sputtering 50+ year old body for a 20 year old model, I would not ever want to exchange the kind of sex I get at 50+ for the kind I got at 20 (which was great, don’t get me wrong, but experience in these matters really does improve everything). People who look at their spouses as hostile occupiers are just weird, sick, and deprived individuals; I simply don’t get it.

I also like my testosterone, thank you very much. If those wackos were serious, there really is an easy fix: a do-it-yourself orchidectomy. Just think, a little knife work, and his vision will be so clear it’ll be like sitting on board the space telescope.

Grace under pressure

The BBC is running an interview with Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, and it’s very good. Bell-Burnell is the woman who discovered pulsars, and until I heard this interview, I hadn’t realized how it was done.

Yeah, there weren’t computers available so the reams of data came out on strip chart – paper chart – and the configuration produced a hundred foot a day and I ran it for six months, which gave me about three miles of paper, which I had to analyse by hand. I would go through the charts and I would log where I saw what I thought were quasars and I also saw that there were chunks of manmade interference – artificial interference. But just occasionally, one time out of five or one time out of 10, when we looked at a particular bit of sky there was this additional signal that didn’t look exactly like a quasar, didn’t look exactly like low level interference, occupied about a quarter inch of the chart.

So…spotting periodic quarter inch blips scattered on 3 miles of paper. I don’t want to hear any of you students complaining about your daily grind any more!

Unfortunately, she was robbed: she discovered pulsars, it was her persistence that got her advisor to take the observations seriously, after initially dismissing the whole idea — and guess who won the Nobel in 1974 for the discovery? Her advisor, and not Jocelyn Bell-Burnell. She does not complain, however; those were the facts of life.

I think at that time science was perceived as being done by men, senior men, maybe with a whole fleet of minions under him who did his bidding and weren’t expected to think. I believe the Nobel Prize committee didn’t even know I existed.

And then the newspapers covered pulsars, and called her the “girl”…

Oh yes and worse than that what were my vital statistics and how tall was I and you know – chest, waist and hip measurements please and all that kind of thing. They did not know what to do with a young female scientist, you were a young female, you were page three, you weren’t a scientist.

Apparently, it was also the custom when she was a student in Glasgow for the men to stamp their feet and wolf-whistle whenever a woman walked into a lecture hall, and she of course was the only woman in the entire physics program at the time.

None of this could possibly have influenced the career decisions of an entire generation of women, I’m sure.

(Also on Sb)

Why I am an atheist – Robert Light

I’m an atheist because I was born that way.

My parents were not church-goers, but I was christened in the local Church of England, because that’s what my family did. My mother, in particular, was quite happy for me to be given enough information about the church to “make up my own mind”. When I was old enough, I went to Sunday School. I don’t remember particularly liking it or disliking it, but I didn’t have to go too many times before my parents let me stop.

I remember being given a illustrated book of Bible stories when I was about 8 or 9. I liked the stories, and read them a few times. But all the time, I had this feeling that said: “But it’s not true. It’s just made up. Why would people believe in this?”

When I got to be a teenager, I had a small Pascal-style crisis of faith (not that I had heard of Pascal, of course). I wondered to myself about what would happen if I was wrong. If there was a God, and I did not worship Him, I would go to hell. Hell was pretty scary. So I considered going to church and going through all the right motions. But I couldn’t. I figured that I just plain didn’t believe, and if a God existed, he would see through any pretend worship. So I decided to just go ahead living without God – because what else could I do?

I worried less and less about it, but it took me until my early twenties until I finally got rid of the last vestiges of doubt. That happened when I was speaking with an atheist guy I worked with about life after death. He brought up the topic of religious belief in the afterlife, and I jokingly said something about “just in case they’re right”. He looked at me and said, “No – they’re wrong.”

Something clicked when he said that, and I realised that of course “they” are wrong and “we” are right.

Now, I can back up my feelings with all sorts of logic and rationality, and lots of information that I have learned at Pharyngula and through the writing of Dawkins, Hitchens and so on. But I still think that I was just plain born as a non-believer.

Robert Light
Australia

Oh, no…a costume?

Crap. I’m leaving for New Orleans and CSIcon in a few days, and they keep telling me about this costume party. I’m sufficiently funny-looking that I’ve never had much need for a costume.

I need suggestions. Something fast, easy, and not too embarrassing, and also easy to transport (no way am I going the elaborate cosplay route, in other words). Hey, it’s not too late: maybe you should register, show up in New Orleans, and dude me up.

Stand for Science: Confront Homeopathy

Aww, the students of Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists have warmed the frigid, friable cockles of my black heart. They’re having a protest of homeopathy on the Twin Cities campus this Friday! They’re hosting a lecture debunking that nonsense, and are planning to poison themselves with homeopathic dilutions.

Take that, Center for Spirituality and Healing! We all see right through you.

Homeopathy is renowned for both its popularity and the overwhelmingly incorrect pseudoscientific tenets it purports. In the UK, the growing 10/23 protest has called for the end of government support of such unsupported blather. It’s about time the United States joined her sibling. This October 28th, join CASH at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities and the Center for Inquiry at Michigan State in protesting the pseudoscience of homeopathy and its faulty ‘regulation’ by the FDA.

The Food and Drug Administration regulates the homeopathic industry not to lend credibility to such products, but to supposedly protect consumers from products that can kill them. This is not enough. Just like with actual medications (as homeopaths liken their products to), testing of the claims made by such companies must be both accurate and rigorous. Without such standards, homeopaths openly use the stamp of FDA approval to advertise for the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies.

Join the growing numbers who are taking a stand for science-based medicine. Join us on October 28th in confronting homeopathy and demanding that the FDA require peer-reviewed, scientific research in order to garner its approval. Participation is easy!

Protest on October 28th at your local university, hospital, or drugstore that dispenses homeopathic remedies. Conduct an ‘overdose’. Give a statement to your local media. Write a letter. Sign the petition. Take a stand for science.

The following materials may be of interest as well:

CFI’s industry-wide petition (no signatures):
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/media/newsroom/pdf/petition_to_fda_re_standards_for_homeopathic_drugs.pdf

CFI’s Walmart-directed petition (signature-based):
https://secure3.convio.net/cfi/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=251

Secular Student Alliance activity packet:
http://www.secularstudents.org/node/4015

More information from CFI:
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/news/cfi_and_csi_petition_fda_to_take_action_on_homeopathic_drugs/

Updated information from CASH:
http://cashumn.org/main/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=146&Itemid=100167

Join CASH and CFI in taking a stand for science-based medicine on October 28th. Making evidence-based thinking a movement and not a counterculture requires effort, and the efforts of many hands can move more mountains than the faith of a few.

Sincerely,

Chelsea Du Fresne
Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists
University of Minnesota- Twin Cities
cashumn.org

(Also on Sb)

What have my students been thinking about lately?

I gave them an exam, that’s what. That and long boring lecturings at 8am on pattern formation in the nervous system. But otherwise, I’ve had them blogging, so we can take a peek into the brain of a typical college student and see what actually engages them.

I understand these are all the things all college students everywhere are contemplating.

(Also on Sb)

shhh…it’s supposed to be a secwet

As you may know, Rebecca Watson has been getting a lot of rather nasty flak tossed her way — the kind of over-the-top hatred I thought we were reserving for…oh, wait, no one. A couple of people are organizing a little surprise (which is why they asked me to post this on an obscure blog which Rebecca never bothers to read) affirmation for her. If you want to join in the recognition, write to oniongirl for suggestions. Quietly. Don’t let any Skepchicks know.

Anything is fine. A quick positive note; a postcard; she probably wouldn’t turn down a chest of pirate treasure. It’s the thought that counts.

It’s not really going to be a surprise, is it? Unless somebody does deliver the pirate treasure.

Why I am an atheist – Kristen G

When I was 13 years old and still interested in being a good
Presbyterian, I came across a few issues with my Bible that no one was
willing to discuss with me. I kept finding lines telling me that I was
inferior to men, that I should submit to their instructions and
desires, that I should accept and learn from my father’s or my
husband’s punishments, like a child should from its parents and a
slave should from its master. I told my youth group leader I could
never tolerate that, that no man would ever be the boss of me and
would certainly never punish me. If I ever got married it would be as
an equal partner in a loving, mutually-respectful pairing, and I would
file for divorce at the first inkling that my husband thought our
family had a hierarchy. He tried to pull the same old bullshit that
you hear again and again–yes, wives are to submit to their husbands
and men are the default heads of households, but husbands are required
to love their wives as Jesus loved the church, so see, it’s all fair.
Moreover, in the rearing of children it is necessary for someone to
have the final say in any decision, so see, you need your husband to
be in charge. I refused to accept that–I would never worship my
husband as the church worshipped Jesus, and didn’t think having a
willy justified the overturning of my own decisions–particularly if
my decision was better. I was eventually told “well too bad, that’s
God’s will,” to which I retorted “well I’m terribly sorry but God is
wrong.”

The realization that many religious rules were written for the express
purpose of repressing me unclouded my vision regarding the church.
After the credibility of their central text collapsed it was then
really only a matter of time before the rest of my mind found peace
and sense in atheism. I was doused in religion from infancy, and a
good deal of the bullshit regarding omniscient beings reading my every
thought had already taken hold. It was hard to shake free of this
Thoughtcrime training, and led me to feeling unhinged for many years.
I’m sure many would-be rationalists have eventually caved under the
nagging sensation that Santa Claus is reading along and does not
approve of what you’re thinking. Religion is brain damage, a type of
forced schizophrenia–church leaders carefully insert another voice in
your head to constantly judge you against their bizarre rubric. A
voice which can be difficult to silence until you learn that it is not
your conscience or the voice of God–it is a result of brainwashing,
and it should be a crime.

I met with plenty of resistance on my way out of religion–from
screaming matches with my mother to physical abuse from my father to
other children shunning me for my views on evolution, women’s rights
and contraception (this was South Carolina in the 90′s, after all). I
had always been an astronomy geek, and when I pointed out in school
that the mere existence of other galaxies pretty much debunked the
whole “our group of our species on our planet was created specially by
the master of the whole universe in his image” bupkis, I discovered
just what it feels like to be alone.

Even now, getting toward twenty years later, relations with my family
are strained. I moved to London in 2009, after spending an Erasmus
year in Canterbury in 2004 and discovering just how happy and sane
secular British society is compared to where I grew up. I’m engaged to
a man who never had to fight his way out of theism, something I’ve
always envied. He wasn’t rebelling or atheistic to be cool, as there
was no familial or cultural precedent for him to rebel against. The
issue just never came up. In his company (and country) I stopped
hearing the garbage, stopped having to fight for quiet from the
hate-based tribalism that chokes rational thought and prevents peace
among cultures. When my fiancé’s aunt asked if there were any nice
halls or historic buildings in our borough for us to get married in I
felt positively dizzy with happiness–no one assumed we were going to
a church, and no one expected us to do it “just to keep up
appearances”. For the first time, here in the UK, I’m not living a
lie.

I am free and it feels wonderful.

Ms. Kristen G
England