Why it matters

It ought to be obvious why it matters that an imposter is sending out messages under my name, but the fans of the imposter are pretending it’s just a harmless joke and I’m a whiney idiot for objecting.


That’s just a sample of the pretending it’s just a harmless joke and I’m a whiney idiot for objecting, to give you an idea of it.

So I’ll demonstrate.


That’s why. One of the haters is telling the other haters that I started following him yesterday. I didn’t. That’s why the imposter account matters.

Some romantic victory over a single virus

Helen Epstein in the New York Review of Books says polio eradication campaigns aren’t such a good idea. Even if they weren’t mixed up with CIA spying, they wouldn’t be such a good idea, she says. They might might seem like a good idea, but…

The killings in Pakistan—which played out in a series of attacks in several different cities on December 18 and December 19—were heinous. But they also point to some serious problems with the heroic approach. [Read more…]

Some tropes

I drew up a list of some of the anti-feminist tropes I’ve been seeing lately. (They’re not overtly anti-feminist – they’re more “this is how feminism is supposed to be done” – but they’re so crude and wrong and clueless that in fact they are anti-feminist. They’re anti everything that has been recognizable as feminism for a couple of generations now. The “feminism” they think they’re for isn’t really feminism.)

  • Heroism is better than feminism. Don’t talk about systemic problems, don’t be a “victim,” don’t “whine,” don’t say there are obstacles, don’t resist harassment. Just suck it up and be tough and succeed anyway. Anything else is an insult to women, especially to women who did suck it up and succeed anyway.
  • The struggle is over. We won. Feminism has fixed all the things already. There are no barriers, no obstacles, no issues, nothing to overcome, nothing to get rid of. [Read more…]

Santa and God have much in common

Kevin Smith (of CFI-Canada) contributes to an Ask the Experts piece on Should parents allow children to believe in Santa Claus?

It’s a short stretch of a child’s imagination to blur the legends of Santa and the Christian god. They have much in common.

That’s why allowing for a belief in the magic of Santa Claus is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their little ones at Christmas. While it may seem irrational to perpetuate a myth about a jolly old man who slides down chimneys delivering gifts, it encourages a child’s development in critical thinking.

Unless the adults block it! [Read more…]

You have to rub your hands together like a nefarious villain

Kate Donovan reminded us of a certain transcript she did way back last June. It was that first Google+ hangout, run by PZ, with Ian and Stephanie and Dan and Rebecca and Jason and Greg and me and…Al Stefanelli. It’s why I’m always so surprised by the height and depth of his rage now – given how well concealed it was then.

Ian Cromwell: If you look at DJ’s record before this latest thing, there’s nothing to suggest he was looking for, or trying to encourage sexual harassment. In fact, my understanding is that it was quite the opposite. That he was trying his damndest to make TAM a more inclusive, diverse environment. His reaction is bad. But it is not uniquely bad. It is not atypically bad. This is what happens when you think there isn’t a problem, and people point out to you, hey look, you’ve got a bunch of problems. The first thing that anyone does is say you’re making it up, you’re exaggerating, it’s not a problem, you’re crazy. That’s a completely normal human stupidity thing to do.

Al Stefanelli: Ian, that might be normal, and I completely and totally agree with you. But we’re supposed to be men and women—people—of reason. And it doesn’t do well when one of us makes a statement, and we’ve all, at one time or another in our careers, made statements, printed things, said things, that turned out to be inaccurate, and when we were called on it, we retracted it. We came, on our blogs and our videos and our [couldn’t make it out], and said, you know, I said this, I wrote this, I was wrong, let’s move on. [Read more…]

Santa is real!!

So what about Santa Claus, huh? Alex Gabriel has been saying on Twitter that adults shouldn’t tell children lies and Santa Claus is a lie so what about it eh? And people are unagreeing with him.

I agree with him though. I agree with him because I resented being lied to about it when I was a kid. I thought it was a dirty trick, since adults have that advantage that children tend to believe them, because they’re supposed to know better and tell the truth and all like that. You know what? I still think that.

I don’t see the point of it, in the case of people who value the truth. It seems strange not to want to begin as you mean to go on. Why not just treat Santa Claus as a fun story and ritual?

What do you think, Linda?

No message in the event

The Washington Post takes a look at how atheist parents try to comfort their children after (our all-too-frequent) mass shootings.

As so many millions of Americans turn to clergy and prayers to help their
children sort out the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, parents like Drizin
do not. They don’t agonize over interpreting God’s will or message in the event.
They don’t seek to explain what kind of God allows suffering, and they don’t
fudge it when children ask what happens to people who die, be they Grandma or
the young victims of Newtown.

And that’s not all bad. God and heaven seem like quick and ready comfort to many people, and no doubt that’s how it works for many, but… [Read more…]

We are blighting the entire concept of social justice and equality

Holy shit. Al Stefanelli has really jumped the shark.

He’s done a video to say how horrible the Bad FTBers are, and he doesn’t hold back.

He starts with a bang:

So what the hell is wrong with these people? Who? Well, PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson, Stefanie [sic] Zvan, Rebecca Watson, to a degree Jennifer McCreight, Amy Roth, Melody Hensley, several people over at the Atheism Plus forum, a handful of others who have managed to not only drive people away from nonsectarian activism in droves, but have driven a wedge deep into what should be a unified cause. They aren’t helping, anywhere. They are radical extremists in several genres, including feminism, and are giving a bad name to several groups, several marginalized groups, including real feminists, the LGBT community, and they appear to have an incredibly unhealthy vendetta against men, as it appears, and in general against the entire Caucasian race as well.

We’re giving a bad name to real feminists? The LGBT community? We have an incredibly unhealthy vendetta against men and against the entire Caucasian race?

I don’t know any of that, and I don’t think it’s true.

But that’s comparatively mild. There’s more.

Well together they appear to be nothing other than another religious cult. They have not only become a caricature unto themselves, but they are blighting the entire concept of social justice and equality, and they are trampling on the rights of several other demographics.

 His demeanor is…unpleasant. It’s O’Reilly-like. It’s thuggish. It’s ten minutes of ragey rage, much of it quite frankly lies, and it ends with a hymn of praise for…the slyme pit.

Well Merry Christmas to you too, Al.