I’d almost forgotten what a terrible atheist I am

Suddenly I’m seeing this image popping up all over. But it’s over ten years old! And worst of all, it’s not real — it’s made by an atheist, which explains why the list of characteristics sounds so awesome. It’s also not a particularly useful perspective on how non-atheists think.

Hate atheists? So do we! Your typical atheist smokes marijuanana associates with jews masturbates regularly partakes in deviant sexual proclivities worships at the alter of the internet. To find out more come to atheist awareness week!!! april 2008

While I was trying to track this down, though, I ran across this old post on Scienceblogs by Matt Nisbet, which reminded me of how much I was hated by some of my colleagues on that site. No, really, you might have seen evidence of the friction in some of the published posts, but there were a couple of people who really pulled out the knives in the back channel. This is relatively mild stuff.

Consider this recent article at the National Catholic Register. Titled “The Face of the New Atheism,” it profiles PZ Myers and his rants against the Eucharist and the Catholic community. Notice the key words emphasized. The dominant image of atheism portrayed in the article is one of “hate,” “contempt,” “dogmatism,” “a junior high level understanding of religion,” “irate,” “incredulous,” “bigoted”…the list goes on.

Is this how we really want Catholics to view us? Do we really want a group of moderately religious Americans–who polls show otherwise prize science and reason, and who stand for many of the same values that we hold dear–to think of us through the prism of PZ Myers?

Right. The National Catholic Register. This is a guy holding up as a source an extremely conservative newspaper that idolizes Bill Donohue, echoing the arguments of Donohue and Mark Mathis, producer of the movie Expelled, which worships Catholicism, and considers atheists as tools of the anti-christ. I guess he thought it was as valid a source of information about atheists as anything else. It’s a bad memory. Sometimes things got rather toxic at the old site.

But what redeems it all is that Nisbet then goes on to cite as a counter-example, his paragon of what a good atheist should be. It’s DJ Grothe, the guy who later was found to have covered up sexual harassment at the Amazing Meetings, who abruptly left the JREF under a cloud, who was strangely characterized as a psychopath by people who had to spend much time with him, and who had a fondness for crude rape jokes.

I actually first met DJ Grothe about a year before at Dragon*Con in 2010. I had admired his work on Point of Inquiry and when he became president of the JREF I thought it would be a great thing. When I got a chance to meet him that year I was excited. We encountered one another at a Skepchick party (one that had to be moved to the lobby because of noise complaints as soon as it started). He was drunk, but it was a social occasion and I’d had a couple cocktails as well. No big deal. I was fairly surprised though, when DJ turned to me and said that the reason everyone loved the Skepchicks was because they “want pussy”. That seemed to be a rather dismissive and insultingly sexist way to dismiss the work of your professional colleagues (not to mention the people whose booze you were at that moment drinking.

I’m embarrassed to say that at the time I was still a bit fame-struck and too shocked to really process it. I didn’t do what I should have done, and told him how rude, insulting, and unprofessional it was to say something like that, even while drunk. Even in a casual social setting. But then it got more bizarre and incredible. I’m a tall guy, chubby (fat, honestly) and bearded. If I were gay I would definitely be a bear. This was discussed and DJ then made an hilarious horrendous “joke” about how I should pay him a visit down in Los Angeles so that he could drug me and let some of his friends have some fun with me. You know, in other words so that I could be gang raped.

Nisbet’s post hasn’t aged well, and I’m now proud to have been such a bad atheist, if that’s what atheism is supposed to be more like.

By the way, Rebecca Watson talked about Grothe back in 2014. If you want a glimpse into what a shitshow the skeptic/atheist movements have been, just read the comments.

Our useless social media

It’s been depressing watching these social media services scramble to cover their butts after a tragedy they fed.

So, Facebook, you’re telling me you’ve got 1.5 million assholes under your wing who rush to display pornographically violent videos, and you’ve managed to block individual instances of scumbaggery? That’s supposed to make me happy to be part of your big internet party? What I’d like to see is more thorough screening of the sources of this poison, but that’s not going to happen. You want to sell ads to neo-Nazis.

Right, YouTube. You’re a haven for right-wing jerks; you’ve built algorithms that drive traffic to, and monetize, misogyny, racism, and stupidity. You ought to look in the mirror at yourself and recognize that if vapid, worthless content like that produced by Pewdiepie and the Paul brothers is the most popular shit on the service, you’re doing something wrong. Something seriously wrong. You reward scumbaggery. But oh yes, when you’ve got a narrowly specific item that you can remove without offending legions of trolls, you can clean that up and pat yourself on the back for it.

People are being murdered and our governments are a shambles, and the big players in social media like to pretend that they are apolitical purveyors of totally free speech. Nothing is apolitical, and free speech has become an empty mantra recited by the deplorables to defend shitposting. Thanks to you.

Rush Limbaugh has a theory

Of course he went there, because Limbaugh is a malignant fusion of a puckered asshole with a gasbag filled with toxic flatulence. He rushed to claim that a terrorist attack with 49 dead is a “false flag”.

Another thing that happens here when these events happen, you have all kinds of speculation that erupts. And there is an ongoing theory — Mr. Snerdley, correct me if I’m wrong about this. There’s an ongoing theory that the shooter himself may in fact be a leftist who writes the manifesto and then goes out and performs the deed purposely to smear his political enemies, knowing he’s going to get shot in the process. You know you just can’t — you can’t immediately discount this. The left is this insane, they are this crazy. And then if that’s exactly what the guy is trying to do then he’s hit a home run, because right there on Fox News: “Shooter is an admitted white nationalist who hates immigrants.”

He even precedes it with the mention of all kinds of speculation, and then goes ahead to excrete that nonsense. The left is this insane, crazy, but at least we aren’t trying to bury other peoples’ pain in an avalanche of shitty “theorizing”. Here’s an alternative theory that is much more plausible.

People still listen to that noxious pill-swilling, sex-trafficking scumbag? What a world.

I guess we’ve got to start hatin’ on another class of immigrants

Christians. I’ve just learned that they regard themselves as Not Of This World, so they’re not even from Earth. I guess we’ll have to deny them the vote now, and send ’em back to where they came from. Or maybe Build The Roof so they’ll quit invading in their terror caravans.

Apparently there is a popular bumper sticker for this mob of illegal aliens, although I haven’t seen any around here, or I’d have to turn them into homeland security. I’d never put one on my car, that’s for sure. But I did get an alternative in the mail: Noodles of the Marinara

Now that’s a true American symbol.


It’s our wedding anniversary today! It’s a little strange, because we started dating when we were 19, and got married at 23, so most of our lives have been spent together. We’re still happy together so it’s not going to change until the day I die.

We don’t have anything fancy planned. I brought her coffee in bed (but I do that every day! Should I have refused, in order to make it special?) and also…avocado toast. I went all out here. Maybe dinner and a movie tonight. I hope that isn’t too crazy.

The hero we needed

A teenaged boy — I’d say he even looked “angelic” — slapped the back of the despicable Fraser Anning’s rotten head with an egg. He was a brave young man. Not only did he give Anning a small taste of what he deserves, but he stood his ground as the Australian senator punched him twice, and as his crack team of thugs wrestled the unresisting assailant to the ground and put him in a chokehold. You never know, he might have a second egg somewhere, or a high capacity egg magazine, or an assault egg. You can’t be too careful.

I had to use the word “angelic” to describe him, since the newspapers are doing their usual thing of looking into people’s backgrounds after a crime and trying to paint white people as innocent sweethearts right up until the moment they did the thing. The Daily Mirror has a feature on the childhood of the fucking asshole murderer who killed 49 innocent people in a mosque, and look what they say:

“Angelic boy” — my god, he’s blonde. As everyone knows, all angels are blonde and white-skinned, too, so how could such a sweet child grow up to be a terrorist?

I’m just thinking…there are a lot of blonde white people in Iowa, and as a rural state, a lot of chickens, too. It would be a real shame if Steve King were pelted with eggs at his next public event.

Paratropis, Stormtropis

I was just reading about these recently identified genera of Central and South American mygalomorph spiders, Paratropis and Stormtropis, and got a little thrill from the photos, so I had to share. Their eyes are mounted in a little turret-like structure bulging up above the cephalothorax, and when you flip them over, oooh, those fangs. All black and pointy.

I know some of you don’t get that excited about spiders, especially ones that hairy and weird-textured and equipped with especially prominent bitey gear, so I’ll hide them below the fold.

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Ablation zone found, also identified some firn

We must be approaching Spring, when the weather gets even worse. We had a brief thaw earlier this week, and all this liquid water trickled out from under the glacier covering our lawn, and then flowed across our sidewalk. Then the temperature dropped below freezing again, and is going to stay there for a few days. You know what that means: ice skating rink!

I tried to get into the lab again today, and saw that…and it gets much worse a little further on, where the walkway slopes downward. Decided I’m too old to risk these bones and turned around and went back home. That’s unfortunate, because nothing is more soothing than feeding the spiders. Instead I had to settle for salting down the sidewalk so I wouldn’t be at fault for any student casualties braving the path.

Then I decided I need to hang out with spiders for a bit, so I actually drove to the lab. It was a whole half a block! But it was safer than trying to walk on the ice ramp.

The spiders are fine, thanks for asking. They were hungry and wolfed down a couple of flies each.