Just Another Salem

You may recall that distressing story of discrimination against atheists in Oklahoma—it worked out well in the end, but the family involved was raked through the coals first. I recently received some email that is purportedly written by the defendant in that case, Chuck Smalkowski. I haven’t been able to get more information to verify it, but it doesn’t seem to be anywhere else on the web, and the mail does trace back to an origin in Hardesty, OK, so I’m accepting it as legitimate. It’s Smalkowski’s own perspective on the events in his trial.

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You can have him

Like rats deserting a sinking ship…atheism is in trouble. We’ve lost a beloved leading light of atheism, a highbrow master of humanist ethical conduct, a highly principled representative of secularism. One of our own has converted to Christianity. Oh, how shall we bear it? The Christians will be trumpeting this news ecstatically.

Alas. Larry Darby, holocaust denier, racist sleazebag, and opportunistic maggot, has embraced Jesus.


So…is this you?

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I expected the world to end, but maybe this means I have to wait until I’ve harvested 666,666,666 souls for Satan now.

Godless conservative?

DarkSyde interviews Brent Rasmussen of UTI today. The interview is good, but skip the comments—they descend into the usual mush-mouthed yammering about dictionary definitions of “agnostic” and “atheist,” ignoring the fact that for all practical purposes they’re exactly the same, and they’re both going to get burned at the stake for apostasy and heresy when the theocracy comes.

I’ve decided that when I invent my time machine, my first stop is going to be 19th century England, where I shall slap Tom Huxley upside the head and tell him that he’s being a waffling coward by inventing a word that’s going to paralyze freethinkers for the next 150 years or more. Then I’m going to go on to the Cambrian.

Oh, and being a godless conservative isn’t that unusual—witness the Corsair and the Commissar.

What’s the difference between a pope and a frill-necked lizard?

In superficial morphology, surprisingly little. The lizard looks a little more friendly to me.

The lizard is probably a little less concerned about where other lizards put their hemipenes, though, and certainly isn’t at all worried about this:

Benedict, a German, has made combating a Europe of empty churches and religious apathy a priority of his papacy. Vatican officials have declared that such former Catholic bedrocks as Spain are in need of what they call a “new evangelization.”

Empty churches and religious apathy? What an excellent idea! I’m thinking we need to begin some secular evangelization over here in the States.

The Eternal Fishmonger

I’ve been told that there is a drop of old Dutch blood in my ancestry—that way back in the 17th century, an intrepid few Dutch immigrants mingled their seed with the mongrel mess of my father’s line. I think now I sense a kindred spirit. Adriaen Coenensz, a fisherman and fish seller from Scheveningen in Holland wrote and illustrated a book between 1577 and 1580 titled Het Visboek (“The Fishbook“). It’s an amazing browse. Apparently, Coenensz was interested in adventure and exotic dining experiences…


…he was an early devotee of science fiction…


…and most of all, he was obsessed with squid and fish. There’s page after page of aquatic organisms.


It suits my fancy to imagine that Old Adriaen had a few grandchildren who emigrated to the New World, intermarried with English and Scots and German settlers, had families that drifted west with the frontier, ended up on the Pacific coast where they blended with Swedes and Norwegians, and the end result is me, here to carry on the long-hallowed family tradition. Frater, ave atque vale!

Comment away!

We’ve received word that there have been some behind-the-scenes improvements in spam filtering, and I’ve gotten enough complaints about that annoying typekey thingie, that I’ve gotten rid of it. This is provisional, and I’m hoping I don’t get a flood of spam now, but try it—commenting should be easier.