The divine right of penis

I thought this was pretty funny.


But then I realized that this was the answer to the whole problem of the political assault on women by Republicans. If they don’t give a damn about women’s rights in the first place, we just have to reframe the whole question: Rick Perry and the whole lot of abortion-hatin’, planned-parenthood-defundin’, make-life-more-difficult-for-women patriarchal party-poopers are interfering with men’s ability to get laid.

Put it in those terms, and I expect the party of plutocrats will turn right around. Nothing may be allowed to get in the way of a man and his sacred penis.

Stay classy, Kirk!

I missed the classiest part of Kirk Cameron’s remarks about Stephen Hawking — the source I cited apparently edited out the over-the-top preliminaries as words that should not be witnessed. We don’t exhibit such decorum here, so I’m willing to repeat what Cameron said.

To say anything negative about Stephen Hawking is like bullying a blind man. He has an unfair disadvantage, and that gives him a free pass on some of his absurd ideas.

Oooh, he went there. So the only reason physicists pay attention to Hawking is out of pity? Kirk Cameron is so far out of touch, and such a boorish asshole.


It’s true, and it has been empirically evaluated: Guinness really does taste better in Ireland.

The results of the Guinness-tasting t-test were clear. Pints consumed in Ireland had a mean GOES score of 74, compared with a score of 57 in pubs outside Ireland. While Ireland may not necessarily keep the best stuff to itself, the science is clear: Guinness tastes better over here.

Being a Man of Science myself, of course, I’m not going to simply accept this claim, but will have to engage in some spot-testing and verification next week in Dublin.

Ireland! Scotland! England!

I’m beginning to feel like I’m a bit organized for my visit to the Ireland and the UK next week. Here’s when and where.

3-5 June: DUBLIN. I’ll be attending the World Atheist Convention, and speaking at noon on 4 June.

6 June: GLASGOW. I’ll be speaking to the Glasgow Skeptics at 7:00 in the Crystal Palace, 36 Jamaica Street.

7 June: BRIGHTON. I’ll fly from Glasgow to Gatwick in the morning, I might be saying hello to Johann Hari in the early afternoon, and then I hitchhike or something to get to the
Brighton Skeptics in the Pub by 8:00, to speak at The Caroline of Brunswick, 39 Ditchling Road.

8 June: LONDON. I zip back up to the big city to speak to
Atheism UK at 7:00, in Conway Hall, Red Lion Square.

9 June: LONDON. It’ll be me and Richard Dawkins sharing the stage for the British Humanist Association at 7:00, in Logan Hall, Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way.

10-12 June: LONDON. Hey, what do you know…I have a few days free. I’m sure there must be something to do in London, besides sitting in a pub for 3 days and drinking good beer. If you have suggestions, let me know.

13 June: I get on a plane at Heathrow around 6 in the morning, fall unconscious, and wake up somewhere in the American midwest that evening.

Nobody will be surprised by this

Father Riccardo Seppia is a priest under one of the advisors Pope Ratzi appointed to oversee church reforms in the wake of the pedophilia scandals.

You know exactly where this is going, don’t you?

Investigators examining tapped cellphone conversations between a Moroccan drug dealer and 51-year-old Father Riccardo Seppia found evidence of arranged sexual encounters with young boys, some of whom were paid for sex with cocaine.

“I do not want 16-year-old boys but younger,” Seppia is accused of having said on the tapes. “Fourteen-year-olds are O.K. Look for needy boys who have family issues.”

Ain’t no heaven, ain’t no afterlife of any kind, either, say the physicists

Hasn’t Sean Carroll learned from Stephen Hawking’s experience? Nothing stirs up the public like a physicist explaining how silly their cherished myths are. Now Carroll gives the physicists’ perspective on life after death.

Very roughly speaking, when most people think about an immaterial soul that persists after death, they have in mind some sort of blob of spirit energy that takes up residence near our brain, and drives around our body like a soccer mom driving an SUV. The questions are these: what form does that spirit energy take, and how does it interact with our ordinary atoms? Not only is new physics required, but dramatically new physics. Within QFT, there can’t be a new collection of “spirit particles” and “spirit forces” that interact with our regular atoms, because we would have detected them in existing experiments. Ockham’s razor is not on your side here, since you have to posit a completely new realm of reality obeying very different rules than the ones we know.

And then he body-slams the opposition with the Dirac equation. Theologians break down and weep. The faithful flee, and then riot. Churches implode as the void at their heart is exposed.

Well, we can hope.

The biologists’ perspective, which is a little less fundamental, is simply that there is no identifiable ‘receiver’ localized in the brain (no, not even the pineal gland, as Descartes believed), distributed physiological activity is associated with thought, and injury, disease, and pharmacology can all profoundly influence the mind. Furthermore, the way the brain works involves trans-membrane ion fluxes and synaptic activity — it’s all electrochemistry and biochemistry. In addition to that new physics, we’d need a new chemistry to explain how spirit interacts with neurotransmitters or gene expression or protein phosphorylation.

While we won’t see the churches shut down, at least we can say that wishful thinking withers in the face of science.