I think the chemtrails have been destroying the brains of Arizonians

It’s the only possible explanation. The Arizona senate has just appointed Sylvia Allen to be chair of the Education Committee. This Sylvia Allen:

Allen is best known for her controversial public comments over the years. During a legislative hearing in 2009, she said the Earth is 6,000 years old, a belief held by “Young Earth” biblical creationists. In 2013, a Facebook post about chem-trail conspiracies gained widespread media attention, as did a March comment suggesting mandatory church attendance.

She was appointed to regulate the educational policy in Arizona by a fellow Republican, the senate president. I don’t know what he was thinking — she sounds like the kind of loon you steer into positions where she can’t do much harm. Maybe it’s just the standard Republican game of blowing up the government from within?

But you can’t just blame this on Republican idiocy.

Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, who had criticized Allen’s church comment, said he looks forward to working with her on education issues.

“She’s made some interesting comments to the public, but it’s not like she’s going to be teaching,” he said. “We have accredited teachers for that.”

He said Allen has always had an open door for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

“I think she’ll do a pretty good job,” he said.

A pretty good job. Of what? Saying stupid stuff to make the Republicans look even more nuts? Or did the chemtrails get to him, too?

Getting ready for the Christmas myth


I don’t know about you, but this is the time of year when I get all kinds of amusing messages affirming the literal accuracy of the Christian myth of a virgin birth 2000 years ago. When someone tells me that they have Compelling Historical Evidence for the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, as they so often do, I pay attention, because it is always so enlightening. Not enlightening in the sense that they convince me their beliefs are reasonable, but enlightening because they always show off how weak their evidence is. Here’s the initial puffery I was sent.

Here are some historical evidences for the virgin birth of Jesus Christ:

  • A physician and world-class historian documented it

  • Modern archaeology affirms it

  • An agnostic professor of mythology is convinced

  • Old Testament prophets predicted it centuries in advance

  • The earliest Christians believed it universally

  • Oooh. Well, gosh. An authority and a whole scientific discipline have said it’s so, to the point that it convinced an agnostic? Must be true. Until you read a little further.

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    Social Justice Warriors for Trump

    Guess whose fault it is that Trump is running for president, and has some popular support? It’s not the mobs of bigoted known-nothings who cheer his every simplistic solutions. It’s not the right-wingers who have been feasting on a steady diet of Fox News. It’s not the beady-eyed monomaniacal fanatics who love their guns and god.

    Nope. It’s all the fault of the leftists who oppose every single thing Trump stands for.

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    In our apocalyptic zombie wasteland of the future, there will be no zombies

    Just evangelical Christians, which is even worse.

    Jim Bakker has taken his apocalyptic Christian ministry to the next logical step. Since the world is going to end soon, with years and years of tribulation, his flock is going to need to eat, and with no more senior discounts at the Sizzler he’s going to have to provide for them. So after stirring up fear of doom for a while, he now tells his audience to hoard gold and silver and buy great big buckets of food to store away for Armageddon. Nice racket.

    One little problem: somebody actually tasted the food in buckets. Their sole virtue is that they’re so loaded with preservatives that they should last for 20 years.

    They taste, he says, like, “paper-mache,” “a bathroom at a bar at the end of the night in a college town,” and, simply, “one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten in my life.”

    Religion poisons everything. Including, literally, food.

    Valerie Tarico isn’t afraid to use the word “terrorism”

    She knows what’s up.

    On November 27, a mass shooting left three dead and nine wounded at a Planned Parenthood clinic just miles from the headquarters of the Religious Right flagship, Focus on the Family. Was the shooting exactly what conservative Christian presidential candidates and members of congress wanted? Maybe, maybe not. But it is what they asked for. Republican members of the Religious Right incited violence as predictably as if they had issued a call for Christian abortion foes to take up arms. Inciting violence this way is called stochastic terrorism:

    “Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.”

    In an incident of stochastic terrorism, the person who pulls the trigger gets the blame. He—I use the male pronoun deliberately because the triggerman is almost always male—may go to jail or even be killed during his act of violence. Meanwhile, the person or persons who have triggered the triggerman, in other words, the actual stochastic terrorists, often go free, protected by plausible deniability.

    She’s also not afraid to name names.

    We can be confident that communications teams for Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and others are scrambling at this very moment to figure out the nuances of plausible deniability—weighing how best to distance themselves from the violence that killed a police officer and two others without making their protestations of surprised dismay sound as hollow as they actually are—without actually denouncing the disgust and dehumanization of women who have abortions and those who provide them.

    But of course they’re going to get away with it. They’ve got obedient masses who were trained in the churches to obey authorities.

    Consider the possibilities, atheists!

    Let’s look on the bright side of this infuriating story.

    Khalil, 29 and Ayyad, 28, moved to Philadelphia from Palestine 15 years ago. Khalil now owns the Feltonville pizza shop — Pizza Point — that gave him his first job. The friends were in Chicago visiting each other’s families and met back at the airport Wednesday night to take the same flight home. The gate agent told them apologetically they wouldn’t be allowed to board because a passenger was afraid to fly with them after overhearing the men speaking Arabic.

    So they called the police, and argued, and finally, after a delay, were allowed to board the plane. It’s totally unjust that someone can just whine about a fellow passenger’s religion or language and get them kicked off.

    But…you know, last time I was on a flight, there was a Catholic priest in all the sombre regalia boarding the plane with me.

    You can see where this is going.

    Can I go to the gate agent and claim that I am afraid to fly with a member of a child-raping cult that worships death? Because that is just as reasonable as claiming I’m afraid that a couple of pizza guys were a danger because they didn’t speak English to each other. But hey, if airlines are going to bend over so much to avoid defying the bigotry of their passengers, we could start acting as stupid as those fools and be really annoying.

    Except, unfortunately, that I have no interest in competing in the idiocy race with bigots, and generally when I’m boarding a plane I just want to get the process over with and get to my destination.

    Also, I doubt that they would care what an atheist fears, anyway.

    Bristol Palin gets something right for a change


    She has declared the current Starbucks holiday cup ‘controversy’ stupid.

    Do not buy in to the media hype surrounding this story!! It is just another attempt by the LEFT to make Christians look stupid.

    She still gets some things wrong. All of us on the “LEFT” are shocked and bemused by the fact that anyone on the “RIGHT” thinks this is a matter of any significance at all…but the original instigator, people like Joshua Feuerstein, are most definitely not part of any left-wing conspiracy.

    I am also amused by one other little fact. She thinks the controversy is stupid, but…

    But even Palin said that she had chosen to buy her coffee at the local Mocha Moose instead of patronizing Starbucks.

    But then maybe that’s entirely because Starbucks coffee is terrible.

    Religion makes you selfish


    You can read this new paper in Current Biology titled The Negative Association between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism across the World and see for yourself — religiosity is not a good thing for fostering generosity, it seems. The authors are a truly international group who tested children from Canada, China, Jordan, Turkey, USA, and South Africa with a set of games, and got a set of results that showed a statistically significant difference in the degree of altruism for different religions, or lack thereof. Here’s how the results look:


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    Christians aren’t oppressed, they’re entitled

    Christians are adamant that they are persecuted, despite being a majority in this country and despite controlling all of politics — not only is it almost impossible to get elected to high office unless you’re Christian, but one of the most common complaints about politicians people don’t like is that they are non-Christian, as if that’s enough reason to impeach. Look at Obama, who’s always getting called a Muslim. He’s clearly not, by all that he says and does, and besides, it shouldn’t matter if he were a Muslim or a Satanist.

    As a vocal and activist atheist, I’m in a peculiar position. I ought to be in a position to hammer young minds with godless propaganda, but I don’t — I’m actually very conscientious about avoiding making students think about the anti-scientific nature of religion in the classroom, because we’ve got more than enough topics to cover. Yet over and over again, I learn that Christian educators have no such compunction, and are happily engaged in indoctrinating their students, while at the same time, whining that they get no respect and are oppressed by godless scientists.

    Zack Kopplin interviewed students in Louisiana. It’s all preachin’ and bible-thumpin’.

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