One difference: these zombies are repelled by brains

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I knew there was a creationist connection to Halloween. Glenn Branch figured it out:

When the distinguished philosopher Philip Kitcher recently addressed the creationist movement in his Living With Darwin, he judiciously assessed creationism in its latest incarnation as historically respectable but currently bankrupt, and proposed to describe it as “dead” science. “In light of its shambling tenacity,” I replied, “‘zombie science’ is perhaps a preferable label.”

Read the rest for the real horror story — the zombies have taken over the Texas educational system.

Happy Halloween!

It’s Halloween, and I’m on my way to Toronto, where I’ll be spending a most unhallowed evening giving a talk. The one thing I regret about this is that I won’t be indulging in my favorite guilty pleasure for this time of year: watching an old horror movie or two. I’ll just reminisce here for a few minutes over my favorites. Don’t expect profundity, I admit up front that my taste is indiscriminate.

  • All of the Hammer films — I happened to hit adolescence just as there was this renaissance of British horror, so these caught me at an impressionable age.

  • The Abominable Dr Phibes. Vincent Price at his cheesiest. Vincent was splendid in lots of movies: The House of Wax, House of Usher, Witchfinder General, The Raven. And The Raven starred Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff as well!

  • Cat People, both the Val Lewton original and the remake with Nastassja Kinski. It’s one of those movies that tangled sex and horror together wonderfully.

  • Speaking of sex and horror…The Lair of the White Worm. Amanda Donohoe is my kind of woman.

  • The Wicker Man. Not the awful recent remake, but the creepy one with Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee.

  • Quatermass and the Pit aka Five Million Years to Earth. Who cares that it had cheap special effects — intelligent writing always wins out.

  • Cheesy Japanese rubber suit flicks. These are ridiculous and weird, which is the appeal. I can snarf ’em down like popcorn.

  • Mad scientist movies, for some unfathomable reason, appeal deeply to me. From Colin Clive tho Jeffrey Combs, if it’s got a deranged maniac with a gift for violating the laws of god and man, I will identify.

  • There are a few movies that can only be described as surreal which are wonderfully disquieting: Eraserhead and Tetsuo come to mind.

  • I haven’t been too impressed with more modern horror — grisly gore just bores me — but one recent movie that I thought was well done was El Orfanato. If I were staying home tonight, that’s the one I’d be watching while handing out candy to the kiddies at the door.

Your turn.

A pox on them all

I really regret ever recommending Kay Hagan. That race has taken a turn from a vivid example of anti-atheist bigotry on Dole’s side, to one where all sides are taking turns bashing the godless to wash off the taint of association with us subhumans with no faith. Greg Laden has a couple of examples of the way the media is sliming us.

Kay Hagan herself has a counter-ad that closes with an admonition against “making false witness against fellow Christians”. Well, gosh, that’s mighty white of her. Wouldn’t it have been enough to leave off those last three words? Or was that the really important clause?

And then there’s this awful chatter between Wolf Blitzer, Donna Brazile, and Bill Bennett…I guess there were no atheists in the neighborhood to sit on the panel.

Blitzers starts by asking if Hagan made “a mistake going to that fundraiser at the home of a woman who professes that there is no god?”

Donna Brazile answers that it’s OK to do that because “that’s how you convert ’em”, while claiming that there is strong evidence for god. Wrong, Donna. The way you could convert us is by actually presenting that evidence.

Then he asks Sinful Bill (why is he still appearing on these shows, anyway?), “Is it a problem to associate with atheists?”

Bennett has to wonder, “god knows why people have fundraisers with people like this”…and then says that yes, it is a problem, because it’s just like the association game (with terrorists!) that has tagged Barack Obama. Right. Accusing people of associating with atheists is just like accusing them of hanging out with terrorists, because, after all, Ellen Johnson is quite capable of ripping a man’s throat out with her teeth.

Come on, Blitzer — is this how you analyze the news now, by putting a couple of god-walloping morons on the stage and asking them to echo their prejudices?

She’s baaaack…

A while back, I posted this video of an enthusiastic young atheist — and would you believe that almost immediately after I put it up, censorious theistic jerks started dunning youtube to remove all of her videos and ban her? It’s nice to know that bullying thugs are monitoring Pharyngula to seek out more fragile targets, but it’s not good to see that they sometimes actually succeed in getting people suspended. We all have to hang in there and be tough, and support our fellow godless rationalists against the sleazy weasels who want to silence our voices.

Anyway, she’s back now.

Hey, Christian cowards — if you’re going to try again to get this person kicked off youtube, at least be brave enough to ‘fess up here first…and let’s hear you explain why your faith is so weak that it cannot hold up against free speech.

I get mail

I’m still experiencing fallout from the cracker incident, like the slow drift of dandruff from the flaking scalp of a gyrating televangelist. The latest is a letter from Mr. E.P. Bruk, who I suspect believes he is making a sarcastic point, but is actually making my point for me…that it is absurd to equate the value of a silly little cracker to a human life, or in this case, an entire ethnic group.

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