FTB Presents: A Dark Intellectual Web (Episode 1)

As the night consumed the last rays of sunlight, the glowing neon lights of Lucy’s Bar and Grill stood out in the darkness like a lighthouse in a sea of ripe cornfields.  The residents of Gabrel’s Crest, population 300,  had long since retreated to their homes after an afternoon of trick or treating.  Curtains covered all the residential windows.  Not a single porch light was turned on.  Mary’s Meat Shop and Joe’s Relics, the only two businesses in Gabrel’s Crest, were closed for the night.  Cars streamed towards Lucy’s, like illuminated blood flowing towards a glowing heart.  Lucy’s full parking lot forced most of the guests to line their cars along Gabrel’s Crest small roads.  The visitors to Gabrel’s Crest, many wearing costume masks and almost none wearing protective masks, filled the otherwise still cool fall air with laughter and chatter as they walked towards Lucy’s.
A portable sign promised a “Very Special Halloween Party.”  On top of the sign, an LED display scrolled the following message:  “Abandon your cares and hope you have a good time at Lucy’s.”
Several yards away, a black pickup truck waited near the intersection of State Highway 1 and Chris Road.  The four occupants each wore dark neck gaiters and baseball caps.  One detached a badge from her belt.
(The story continues tomorrow at Freethinking Ahead!)

Rebecca Watson: Masks don’t increase Your CO2 (Non-fiction)

From: Rebecca Watson:

Rabbi Adam Chalom’s humanistic messages for the 2020 High Holidays (Non-fiction)

Kol Hadash Humanistic congregation, based in the Chicago area, held its High Holidays services last weekend.  The full services, lead by Rabbi Adam Chalom, can be viewed here.  Below are the messages from each service:

Before I met my wife, I never imagined myself being involved in a religious humanistic community, let alone one centered around Jewish traditions.  Honestly, I’m still learning about the community, even after seven years, but I enjoy learning and experiencing this community.  I’m also proud of how we’ve handled the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and pulled off virtual services.  Though it will be nice to enjoy an oneg once we can stop social distancing.

THE FREETHOUGHTBLOGS CARNIVAL OF CURIOSITY presents ‘The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story’ live reading in about an hour.

Just a reminder that I will be doing a live reading of my upcoming novel in about an hour.  The book is called “The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story,” and is based on the Bolingbrook Babbler setting.

I’ll also talk a bit about the history of the Babbler blog, and answer appropriate questions.  See you soon!
Do not forget that the purpose of this glorious weekend of fun and frolic is to entice you to make donations to either our PayPal or to our GoFundMe!

My Freethought Blogs CARNIVAL OF CURIOSITY schedule for the weekend of 9/25/20 to 9/27/20 (Non-fiction)

In addition to holding an auction, I’m also doing four events for this weekend’s Carnival of Curiosity, a fundraiser for the network, and to pay off the consolidated legal bills from the recently concluded S.L.A.P.P. case.  Donations can be sent to either our PayPal or to our GoFundMe! So if you want to see the guy who survived poking fun at Mayor Emeritus Roger Claar for years, here’s my schedule of events:

Parade of Bloggers, part I (Friday, 5pm PT-8pm ET, 1am BST):  I’ll be joining some of my fellow bloggers as we preview our events, talk about our blogs, and who knows what else.

The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story (Saturday, 3pm PT-6pm ET, 11pm BST):  I’ll be doing the very first live public reading of The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story.  I will take reasonable questions if I can figure out how the chat feature works on YouTube.  🙂 Starts at 5pm Bolingbrook time.  🙂

The Quiz (Saturday, 6pm PT-9pm ET, 2 am BST):  Will I figure out the QI format before I participate?  Will I avenge my game show loss at TAM 9 to PZ Myers?  Find out!

The Panel of Inexpert Discussion (1-pm PT-4pm ET, 9pm BST):  Babbler columnist Dale Onofrey has taken on skeptics, taken on politics, and now he’s ready to take on expertise itself!  Dale will join a panel of inexperts to shatter the boundaries of thinkable thought.  Can thinking be too free?  Find out!

You can also check out the other carnival events here.  Crip Dyke is also hosting an auction for a custom story.  I’ve put in a bid, but I’m sure you guys have better ideas for her to bring to life.  So outbid me!  🙂

Do not forget that the purpose of this glorious weekend of fun and frolic is to entice you to make donations to either our PayPal or to our GoFundMe!

For the September Fundraiser: A special preview and an auction! (Non-fiction)

The lawsuits are settled, but the legal bills still need to be paid.  So Freethought Blogs will be hosting a fundraiser.  I’ll be contributing two things.

First, I’ll be auctioning off a PDF collection of Babbler articles published before I moved the FTB.  Some of them haven’t been online in years.  I’m still putting it together, but I’m pretty sure it will include the infamous “Bank of Roger” article and one of my favorites, “EvoPsych House.”  The tentative title is God to Smite Bolingbrook: The Best of the Bolingbrook Babbler 1998 to 2017.

Here are the rules:

  • Bidding starts at $1
  • You can place a bid in the comments for this article or by email. I will post the amount of an emailed bid in the comments. 
  • The auction will run from 9/14/20 to 9/27/20 11:59 PM.
  • The winner will only have to pay $1 more than the second-highest bid.
    • For example, if the highest bid is $100 and the second-highest bid is $75, the winner will only have to pay $76.
  • I reserve the right to refuse or reduce bids.
  • After the auction, the winner will need to email proof of payment to receive the PDF. 

(Thanks to Marcus for the rules.)

Second, I’ll be reading an excerpt from my in-progress novel: The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story.  If the fundraiser reaches $250, I’ll post a recording.  If it reaches $500, I’ll do it live!  You can make a donation through PayPal.  

Many of the other FTB Bloggers will be hosting auctions, participating in panels, and other events during the fundraiser.  The schedule is here.  It will be a fundraiser in the defense of free speech and a fun virtual conference.  I hope to see you there!

Rebecca Watson video on terrified conservatives (Non-fiction)

Rebecca Watson from Skepchick just posted a video about a study into how people determine what kinds of protests are they consider “extreme:”


I don’t believe conservatives hide in fear all the time, but I agree there is an element of fear when I hear conservatives talk or read their writings.  Like how a new tax will ruin the economy, or how granting a “special right” will harm heterosexual whites, or how atheism will destroy society.  What they fear evolves over time, but there is always that element of fear in their beliefs.


Say their names (Non-fiction)

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal recently posted profiles of the victims of Kenosha, WI shooting, and, refreshingly, it wasn’t a hit piece.

Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake

Friends described Huber as a happy and laid-back guy who loved to skateboard.

“He was always a really sweet person. Always had a smile on his face,” said Max Seebeck, who grew up skateboarding with Huber in Kenosha.

From what I saw in the video, I believe he saved at least one person’s life when he charged at the shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse.  It’s disgusting that the right-wing media has tried to portray Huber as the attacker.  Especially when some conservative writers call bystanders cowards for not charging at a shooter during a shooting spree.  There is a GoFundMe page for his partner.

Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha

According to social media posts from friends and family, Rosenbaum is a Texas native. He moved to Kenosha within the last year.

Rosenbaum was shot in the head, a friend said.

There is a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for burial expenses.

Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, of West Allis

Grosskreutz was shot in the arm and is expected to survive.

Grosskreutz was in Kenosha on Tuesday with the Milwaukee-based social justice group the People’s Revolution Movement, spokeswoman Bethany Crevensten said…Grosskreutz had volunteered as a medic at Black Lives Matter protests across Milwaukee this summer, according to WTMJ-TV.

There’s a GoFundMe page set up to help cover his medical expenses.  The last update on the page says he won’t lose his arm, but will need more surgeries.

All three of them peacefully protested that night for social justice.  Their lives were more valuable than a boarded up gas station Rittenhouse claimed he was defending.  We should be saying their names too.

Video: Rebecca Watson on the so-called ‘Neck Gaiter’ study (Non-fiction)

Rebecca Watson recently released a video detailing the study behind the news reports claiming that neck gaiters are worse than not wearing a mask.  Basically, the study wasn’t about the effectiveness of various kinds of mask, but about a possible method to test the effectiveness of masks:

As this article from ScienceNews points out, the type of material, thickness, and the environment are the most important factors to the effectiveness of any face covering.  Droplets don’t tell the whole story, and hopefully, more studies will be conducted to determine which face coverings, aside from N95 masks, are the most effective.

I think I’ll stick with the cloth and coffee filter masks my wife makes for personal use.

Ed Brayton’s last blog post (Non-fiction)


Ed Brayton

Ed Brayton, a co-founder of Freethought Blogs and a blogger at Patheos, died last night. I never met him, but I did appreciate both his blog and Facebook posts.  He understood that disbelief in God wasn’t enough.  His answer to the question of “So what?” was to work for social justice.  Which why he helped create this network, and he continued that work on his blog, as well as through various humanist organizations.

I never meet him, but if I had, I would have thanked him for his work, and for creating the platform that I’m currently on.  I did say that his memory would be a blessing, but I don’t know if he ever read it.

He wrote in his last post:

Don’t be sad about this, be hopeful. I got to make the decision myself and spare others from that awful task. I did it while still of sound mind, if not body. That means the world to me. I maintained my self-determination until the end.

In closing, let me just say thank you again. You made my life better, richer and more fulfilled and who could ask for more? Goodbye, one and all. I will miss you as I hope you will miss me. Be good to each other along this incredible journey.

Many of us will miss him, and, in a universe without a God or higher cause, being missed is one of the signs that you lived a good life.  My condolences to those who knew him better than I did.