It will be a fine day to be glued to the computer, because TONMOCON VI is happening, and this year they’ll be broadcasting it on the internet.
Some day I will be there, when I’m not stretched thin and tied down with classes.
We had another mass murder in America this week, and there’s no way around it: it was by a “none”, someone who hated organized religion, and who described himself as
Conservative Republican, and if he were attending CPAC, we have atheists who’d enthuse about a possible recruit to the cause. But instead, he slaughtered innocent people, so we turn around and pretend his disbelief had absolutely nothing to do with it. It’s all very convenient. If he’d been a Christian we’d all sneer at the hypocrisy of all the believers who’d reassure us that he wasn’t a True Christian™, but now it’s only reasonable that we rationally and calmly divorce ourselves from any responsibility.
I don’t accept that.
I agree completely with Ashley Miller’s point that the myth of atheist superiority is dangerous, and leads to terrible consequences. Even if it isn’t causal, it leads terrible people to do terrible things to achieve that affirming sense of being better than everyone else. It has to stop. And the first step is acquiring some sense of responsibility.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: yet another creationist has disproved evolution. This one has a site called creationdino.blogspot.com — he thinks dinosaurs are evidence against evolution — and calls himself “@BeholdBeast” on Twitter, and is actually named David Wilson. He thinks he has an undeniable proof that evolution did not occur. His claim is that there ought to be more fossils of failed mutations than successful ones.
For evolution to be a viable hypothesis, it must have the element of mutation playing a vast and critical role. Mutation is a chaotic – random – process. Therefore every evolutionary jump should be flanked in the fossil record by countless random mutations which did not succeed. That means billions of failed mutation fossils for 1.5 million species of life on earth, demanded statistically because we have many fossils of many particular animals which did “succeed”. Such a fossil record of countless failed mutations does not exist. That is the end of the theory of evolution. It’s over.
This one is at Umpqua College in Roseburg, Oregon. Ten people are dead.
I feel cynicism and despair. Nothing will be done. We are targets in the sights of the NRA, and there will be the usual excuses from armed lunatics.
More gun control NOW.
I’ve just heard on the evening news that the shooter was “mentally ill” — I’ve heard this repeatedly now. I’m going to demand some consistency.
If this guy was so sick in the head that he should have been institutionalized before he committed this crime, then we need to round up all the sick fucks on 4chan and get them medicated right now. If you’re not willing to do that, if it is too much to label a huge fraction of the privileged male population mentally ill, then stop claiming somebody who is actually representative of a common attitude is diseased.
So polite, and they even spell my name correctly! And offer me a free weekend in London!
Dear PZ Myers
Hope you are well. As part of our ethos we would like to extend our hand of friendship to leading intellectual figures that hold views contrary to our own. With this spirit we would like to invite you to London for a dialogue on Islam and Atheism. Please let us know if you are available on any 3 weekends between January and March.
We will cover any associated costs of your travel, accommodation etc. We hope you accept our offer for a fruitful dialogue. Here is an example of one our past events:
Now I have a dilemma, and will leave it to my readers to help me decide how to respond.
Is the correct answer “No” or “Hell no!”?
(In case you don’t know what the iERA is, here’s one helpful explanation.)
Don’t flirt with your students. Ever. Under any circumstances. It is gross and inappropriate, and leads to nothing but trouble. The story of Stephanie Jenkins and her mentor is a prime example.
Bill Nye talks about the realities of reproduction, and the right wing completely loses its shit.
It is not Nye at his most eloquent, but…he’s actually right about everything important. Read this title for an example of the inanity of far right responses, titled WATCH: Bill Nye, Science Guy Makes An Idiot Of Himself On Reproduction. Nye is clearer and more correct than whoever wrote that, making it particularly amusing. It makes a lot of claims.