Perhaps there’s something in the water in Queensland?

It’s where Ken Ham comes from, you know, and apparently the region has a bit of a reputation. Not everyone from Queensland can be bog-ignorant, of course, so it’s perfectly reasonable that someone from Queensland would be appointed head of the Australian national science organization, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). So good on their latest head.

[Read more...]

CJ Werleman self-destructs

And it’s really unfortunate — politically, we’re probably more alike than different, and we need more outspoken liberal voices in atheism. But he has done the unforgivable: serial plagiarism, and when caught out, has apologized, but simultaneously belittled the seriousness of the offense and blamed it on a campaign by our little neo-conservative atheist cabal of Harris and Boghossian.

I agree that they are wrong about so much else, but when they’re right, they’re right, galling as it is. This is a situation that requires much more reflection and far greater amends than Werleman has given it. He has also effectively written himself out of any of the debates, internal or external, about atheism.

This annoys me

Atheists, be ashamed.

I find it ironic that self-described “atheist” men are far more hateful and awful towards me online than conservative Christians are.

No, I’m not annoyed with Sarkeesian: I’m annoyed that the atheist movement has gotten this bad.

Here’s a lovely representative response:

I’m annoyed that anyone is still asserting the atheist labels implies anything other than a lack of belief in gods.

Right. ‘The dictionary doesn’t say atheists have to be decent human beings, therefore I’m going to be more annoyed that you have this expectation than at the fact that some atheists are hateful numpties.’

Whatever happened to the rational idea that we should look at our failings honestly and strive to correct them? You know, when Francis Bacon set out to tell the world about how science should be done, he didn’t just pull a sentence out of a dictionary and be done with it. “Inductive reasoning is best, rah rah rah!” No — he wrote at length about the pitfalls, and spelled out the preconceptions to which we are prone.

The idols and false notions which have already preoccupied the human understanding, and are deeply rooted in it, not only to beset man’s minds, that they become difficult of access, but, even when access is obtained, will again meet and trouble us in the instauration of the sciences, unless mankind, when forewarned, guard themselves with all possible care against them.

The idols of the tribe are inherent in human nature, and the very tribe or race of man. For man’s sense is falsely asserted to be the standard of things. On the contrary, all the perceptions, both of the senses and the mind, bear reference to man, and not to the universe, and the human mind resembles those uneven mirrors, which impart their own properties to different objects, from which rays are emitted, and distort and disfigure them.

But I guess atheists have moved so far beyond mere scientists that self-awareness and recognition of their own errors of perception no longer matter — “There is no god!” is the great All of their philosophy, and no other consideration need be made.

Well, at least we’re better than the theists in one thing: our dogma is shorter and easier to memorize.

Ken Ham is right about one thing

He tells everyone that if you question anything in the Bible, it puts you on a slippery slope to apostasy — you must believe every word is literally true or doubts will creep in, and then you are damned. He’s right, sort of. I’ll qualify that a bit, though.

Here’s a beautiful example: the story of Sandra Edwards, a serious, dedicated Christian and young earth creationist, so serious that she published a children’s book promoting creationism, who one day find herself thoughtfully reading material on the internet…and next thing you know, GODLESS.

[Read more...]

Atheists, wake up to the way your world works

There are a lot of Christian movies coming out: we had God is Not Dead and The Passion of the Christ, and now a remake of Left Behind with Nicholas Cage is hitting the theaters. A review of the trend points out how bad these movies are, and that rather than propping up Christianity they seem to be doing a better job of exposing its stupidities.

I agree with the review, and I’m sure most atheists wouldn’t find much cause to argue with it, either. But I’d like to point out one telling phrase that emerged when the author was explaining his background.

By way of background, I have lived both irrational religion and right-wing politics. To “find myself” and salvage a crumbling marriage, I converted to fundamentalist Christianity in my early twenties. Both my religion and marriage ended up failing, but I remained supportive of right-wing social politics for several years after, because “religious values” were part of my political identity. I opposed gay marriage long after I left the church (I am very, very sorry), even though without religious motives there is no logic behind such discrimination.

[Read more...]

Another weird twist on the argument

When I argue that atheists ought to aspire to be better people, I always get this weird counter-argument, along these lines: Ayn Rand was an atheist, and she pretty much opposed every single thing you lousy Social Justice Warriors stand for. Are you saying she wasn’t an atheist? No. I’m saying she was a rather crappy person, and that maybe atheists ought to aim a little higher, and not insist on reducing every atheist to the same feeble common denominator. That the general term encompasses some awful people does not mean we’ve been given a pass to be awful ourselves. If the atheist movement were synonymous with the objectivist movement, I wouldn’t be proud to call myself one.

Here’s another perspective:

[Read more...]

Sunday Sacrilege: The Responsible Atheist

I’ve been vicariously following the #MovingSocialJustice conference this weekend, and feeling that these are really my people. At the same time, though, my nominal people, the ones called atheists, seemed to be remarkably stirred up and have been hitting me with messages of protest: don’t you know that atheism only means you don’t believe in gods? It has zero meaning beyond that. It’s just a straightforward, simple term that has been overloaded by those nasty Social Justice Warriors.

I don’t know what has roused these guardians of the One True Meaning this week — I suspect it’s the latest idiocy from #gamergate — there is some overlap between atheist and gaming communities, and definitely between some atheists and the anti-feminists.

So I get bizarre comments like this one:

[Read more...]

Your astrological forecast for October: you’re a gullible twit

I read on Jezebel that Susan Miller is sick. I had no idea who Susan Miller is until I read the article, and then I was aghast on multiple levels.

Susan Miller is the unrivaled Queen of Astrology. She is known for her affable delivery, her reverence in the world of fashion and, most importantly, her accurate horoscope forecasts which she publishes monthly to her site

Miller’s monthly forecasts—generating 6.5 million unique monthly visitors—are released on the first of each month as her readers anxiously wait to see, they believe, what their future holds and to use the readings to help guide their real life decisions. Her fans are devoted and some might even say rabid. Many readers will begin to panic if an updated forecast isn’t published on AstrologyZone on the first of the month. If such a horror occurs, the anxiety only increases as the horoscope-less days tick away.

[Read more...]