A good day to get a day pass

There are several items of note at Salon today, so if you don’t subscribe, watch the little commercial, you’ll get some good bang for the buck.

Reich gets reamed

My response to this odious essay by Dale Reich was, well, terse. He wrote a very silly editorial in which he claimed to have doffed the mantle of his faith to see what the life of an atheist was like, and found it empty and hateful…and his conclusion was to insist that we atheists need to start living up to our philosophy and be mean and brutal and cruel.

The heartening thing is that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where it was published, now has an editorial in reply and a set of letters from readers that unanimously condemn Reich’s ignorance. It’s good to see reason winning a popularity contest.

Hate mail

I was asked to show some of my hate mail, but I’m afraid I’m not going to dig through all the ancient, musty piles of old email to find it—I have a hard enough time wading through the new stuff! Here’s the most recent, though, which arrived just this evening, although I think it is in response to a post I wrote about a year and a half ago, Is Mike S. Adams a fool?. This stuff just keeps dribbling in.

Mike Adams is god. This statement of truth, however, leads me to another question. Simply put, are you a) a eunuch, b) a hairy-armed white female feminazi type with no discernible talent or c) one of those kool-aid democrats our children are taught to avoid? I would be interested in some typological clarification on this point as you seem like a very perverse bundle of mistaken beliefs and psychological neuroses.

It’s a little more coherent than the usual babble I get, but it says more about him than me, anyway. Note that the original post was about Adams’ anti-evolutionist views, yet somehow it’s been distorted into something about my views on sexuality. I guess that’s not terribly surprising, given Adams’ own insecurities on the subject.

Dawkins for Pope

By Neddie Jingo! This is my ideal messenger:

I’ve banged on about this before, and others have said it as well: in a Breughel landscape of insanity, bad faith, desperately knotted thinking and crazed cupidity, Dawkins shines out of the darkness like a Bodhisattva, a pillar of mental health in a vortex of madness.

In the current climate of deadly foolish nonsense, I don’t know why we consider any kind of religiosity a virtue in any endeavor, let alone science.

We gave Deutsch too much credit

This political hack who was dictating the interpretation of science to scientists was a college dropout.

His sole qualification for his job was his enthusiasm for George W. Bush—where have we heard that before?

The story has been confirmed in the most emphatic way: Deutsch has resigned. It’s not quite over, though, and it’s clear that James Hansen is going to keep pushing.

Yesterday, Dr. Hansen said that the questions about Mr. Deutsch’s credentials were important, but were a distraction from the broader issue of political control of scientific information.

“He’s only a bit player,” Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Deutsch. ” The problem is much broader and much deeper and it goes across agencies. That’s what I’m really concerned about.”

“On climate, the public has been misinformed and not informed,” he said. “The foundation of a democracy is an informed public, which obviously means an honestly informed public. That’s the big issue here.”

Me, humorous? I was deadly serious!

Whee! Another Koufax nomination for Most Humorous Post. I’ve moved the copy over here to the new site, in the post below this one.

This was an interesting post, though—it prompted something close to the record volume of hate mail for a single article, ever (I don’t keep count, though, so I can’t be sure—but man, were some people ever furious about it.) Joke about peeing on a bible, and people react like you’d expect them to if you threatened to imprison and torture and kill foreign civilians.

It’ll be an experience if it makes it into the final nominations. More hate mail, oh boy!

Link to me, or the Bible gets it!



Alright, people, I’m gonna get tough. You know what I want, and you’d better give it to me.

I’ve got a bible here, and a 44oz. Diet Coke…lots of liquid containing a diuretic, to boot. In about an hour, I figure my bladder is going to be pretty full. You know what could happen.

I don’t need information from you, and I sure don’t want your money. This is a weblog, and the currency here in these parts is the link, the trackback, the comment. Fork ’em over, or I’m taking this Bible down the hall. You know I’d do it. I’m a godless atheist—I don’t think your Bible means doodley-squat.

Intimidated yet?

I’ve also got some razor blades here. I don’t have to do it all at once—I could slice out bits piecemeal and prolong the agony. I don’t care for Genesis in particular, and Revelation is just crazy. Maybe I’ll start with those.

But hey, maybe it’ll hurt you more if I soak Psalms or the Sermon on the Mount with my heretical urine. Decisions, decisions. Shall I surprise you?

Come to think of it, I feel the need to go right now. Maybe I’ll take this book with me to the bathroom to read. Yeah, that’s it. I sure hope I don’t have an “accident” in there!

I’m going to check back in an hour. There better be some good linkage goin’ on here, or I might just let a drop fall on “Jesus wept.” You heard me. Get going. Type.

Update: I don’t think you people care enough. A few comments, a few trackbacks, and I don’t think most of the people doing it are particularly devout. I’m going to hold off a little longer, but I’m going to stash the Bible in the bathroom in case the whim strikes me in the middle of the night.

And I had another thought…if my sacrilegious urine is not scary enough, there’s a cat box downstairs. Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.

It’s Day 2 of the Bible Hostage Watch. It’s the Sabbath, and I’ve just put a big pot of coffee on.

I want you all to know I’ve got the Bible sandwiched between a copy of Jacoby’s Freethinkers and Darwin’s Origin. I’m waiting for the Stockholm Effect to kick in.

Before there James Frey made the news, there was me. The article above was posted on June 4, and by June 7 I was a broken man, my charade exposed. My confession is duplicated below.

I have a terrible confession to make. I lied. This whole thing was just a desperate plea for attention. Here’s the truth:

  • It was a 16oz bottle of diet Cherry Coke.
  • I made no effort to build up a good volume of urine; when I felt the urge, I’d just walk down the hall to the bathroom and go.
  • While I have no particular reverence for the Bible, I’m an academic—I love books. I get the heebie-jeebies at the thought of defacing any book.
  • I don’t respect the Bible, the Koran, Dianetics, the Torah, or the Book of Mormon as holy texts, but I’d get pee-shy about destroying any of them just because they are books. Even if they are worthless piles of pulp.
  • The really big lie: there was no Bible. I don’t own one. I was getting worried there when commenters started pressing me for details on what edition I had, because I didn’t have a clue what to say.

I know what this confession puts me at risk for: I expect I’m going to have to fight off all the movie deals, and those Big City Newspapers are going to be pestering me with job offers. The hassle will be worth it, though, if only it will get rid of those Army recruiters. They keep pounding on my door, telling me I’ve got the complete lack of scruples they need for some jobs in exotic foreign lands, and they promise I’d never have to confront anyone who might fight back—just frightened men and women and kids and old people in chains. They’re making me so nauseous that I’m willing to admit to being a big fat lying liar who lies in order to get them to go away.

By the way, since I made that post two people have sent me Bibles, so now I do have copies to deface…if I could.

Why should Catholicism be a prerequisite for speaking science?

I just received my copy of the latest Seed, and although I feel a bit reluctant to say it because it may be interpreted as sucking up to the corporate masters who provide my bandwidth, it really is a very good science magazine—I’d be subscribing even if they weren’t sending it to me for free. Take a browse through it sometime, there’s a lot of the content available online.

Anyway, of course the first thing I turn to in the magazine is Chris Mooney’s article on Learning to speak science. It’s good and has some productive suggestions, and I agree with Mooney on 90% of what he says in it, but…

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