Dick to the Dawk to the PhD

This is one of the funniest things I have seen all week. Great satire in the style of the Landover Baptist parody. Here is a partial list of characters.

Update:
According to comments at ERVs blog here and here, it looks like the maker of the parody also worked for the Discovery Institute and perhaps also made the cell animation ripoff from Harvard. What’s really funny about this video is that it seems to be a parody of the creationist’s fears about science.

Update:
The maker of the parody claims not to have made the cell animation used in the Expelled “documentary”.

PZ Myers Strikes Again

The producers of the creationist propaganda movie, Expelled, had a “conference” call and press release. PZ Myers signed in early and the idiots on the other side of the line gave out the number to actually speak in the conference instead of simply listening in. PZ Myers describes he experience here. Heh Heh Heh.

Update:
Cectic has a new comic.



This Just In: No Sex In Heaven

Last Saturday I was heading home after a trip to the hardware store. A man was standing at a bus stop, holding a sign in both hands, a tool belt full of what looked like religious tracts, and surrounded by small signs in the landscaping.

Some examples:

Refuse the 72 virgins for there is no sex in heaven.
The end-times are near.
There are no gays in heaven.
etc…

I did not have much time to read the signs before the light changed. I had to make another trip into town so I brought a camera with me to get a picture but the man and his signs were gone. Well perhaps he will be back for our viewing pleasure.

There seems to be something particular about this street corner. About 10 years ago a loudmouthed obnoxious preacher known as “Brother Stephen” preached on the same street corner, yelling out at passers-by. He surrounded himself with a “posse”of young teen-age Hispanic boys.

I decided to look up “Brother Stephen” on Google to see what is has been up to. Apparently, he has been up to preying upon these young teenage boys. He is currently serving time for offering to blow a young man. Heh Heh Heh.

IDiots on Parade

Wow, I’m gone for a couple of days and miss all of the excitement. PZ Myers over at Pharyngula was thrown out of the Expelled movie. Hilariously, in their haste to remove PZ from the theater, they missed Richard Dawkins who was standing right next to him. Now the creobots are in serious damage control. There are a lot of links starting at Pharyngula and over at Richard Dawkins’s site. Greg Laden is collecting links for the story over here.

Unfortunately, Matt Nisbet has been drinking too heavily of his own koolaid. He seems to have forgotten that ruthless ridicule is the most effective way to vanquish hypocrites and pontificating fools. It was the way the Klan was removed from power in the 1930’s and I think that we should take every advantage we can with these people. They don’t play fair and expecting them too, won’t work.

Update:
It looks like Chris Mooney has also dranketh deeply of the Koolaid as well. And PZ’s reply of “Fuck you very much” to Matt Nisbet was right on the money.

Chris Hedges’s New Book

It looks like Chris Hedges has a new book called I Don’t Believe in Atheists. He does not like what Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris has to say, and seems to think that they speak for all atheists. Why else this title? If he is not over-generalizing, then wouldn’t a more accurate title be I Don’t Believe in Harris or Hitchens. Hedges also has a interview in Salon Magazine. PZ Myers has a review of the article as well. Bruce Wilson over at Talk2Action also has a reply to the interview with Hedges. These reviews give opposing views to what Hedges has to say. I left this reply over at Talk2Action.

Chris Hedges does not seem to be very familiar with the atheist community or with some elements of American Christian fundamentalism. I have read American Fascists and his analysis of the Religious Right seems very incomplete. He almost exclusively covers the Dominionists, but barely mentions the Reconstructionists who have heavily influenced them as well as the white separatist churches and militias who are at the very right-wing fringes of the Christian community. In that book, he treats atheists and secular humanists as the boogymen of fevered right-wing paranoid nightmares, not as people who actually exist and feel threatened by “organized” religious extremism.

In the Salon article, it is obvious he is reacting to Hitchens and Harris, but does not seem to bother differentiating these two individuals with atheists in general. The atheist community does not have leaders with organized followers, unlike the Christian fundamentalist community which does. If he does realize that Harris and Hitchens only speak for themselves and not for anyone else, he does not make it clear in the interview. Not being personally acquainted with Hedges, I can only read what he has written and said in the Salon article. I have not read his new book.

I say that Hedges is not familiar with the atheist community because he seems to equate atheists with neocons. This is patently ridiculous. Polls have shown that about 76% of atheists and agnostics voted for Democratic candidates in the last election, with atheists and agnostics having one of the highest rates of voter participation (about 80%). The remaining atheists and agnostics were libertarian with only single digit percentages voting for conservative or Republican candidates. This doesn’t sound very hawkish or conservative to me. Compared to the average Christian, atheists are fiercely pro church-state separation. We realize that freedom to believe and practice one’s belief, where it does not interfere with another’s freedom, is the very cornerstone of American democracy and our voting patterns reflect this.

And in the Salon interview, Hedges says “Not believing in sin is very dangerous.” He is conflating sin with ethics. Sin is a religious concept. Lets take the example of female genital mutilation. I am firmly against the practice of forcing this horror on innocent children. If one wants to have this done on oneself as an adult, its fine with me, but not on a child. According to the parents of these children, not having the procedure is a sin. Is it? I don’t believe in the concept of sin because, as the old saying goes “One man’s sin is another man’s sacrament.” Actions are either ethical or unethical based on some socially agreed upon standard. As times change, the standard changes.

I, like most of the atheists I know are firmly against the Iraq war and have been so before it started. Perhaps Hedges needs to spend time in the company of more atheists instead of a couple of obnoxious authors. He’ll find that we are a very diverse and individualistic community.

I don’t agree with some of the things that Hitchens or Harris have to say, I am an individual and have my own opinions. I certainly am not some sort of follower. That is the beauty of being a freethinker, unlike a religious follower. I think that Hedges needs to get out and talk to various people in the non-believing community. The atheist community is not consisted only of Hitchens, Harris, and Dawkins, and no atheist speaks for another, everyone speaks only for themselves.

Thumpin In Da Hood

Last Saturday morning I dropped off a friend to her house after some shopping. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the birds were singing. On the way over, we passed a couple of guys in suits, with one carrying a large thick book, which looked like a Bible. This neighborhood runs up the side of a large hill on the north side of town. There is a large non-denominational church (the largest in town) on the uppermost street. And above this, at the top of the hill, is a large, white cross. This cross was placed there by the members of the church apparently to mark their territory, much like the graffiti that teenage gang members use to mark their territories and neighborhoods.

Driving back over to my house, I passed the group of men. Now I saw that there were 5 to 6 men in suits ranging in ages from their 20’s to their 60’s. They were walking back to the church up the hill. I feel sorry for the folks in the neighborhood, as this church is fairly aggressive with pushing its religion on people. The church has really grown in the last 5 years.

My friend cares for a foster child and he occasionally goes to this church with his friends as they play in the game room and there are activities for children and teens there. My friend is not too worried about the church getting their claws into her child as he is a typical boy and is not very interested in “all that god stuff”. Her teenager says right now that he is a Christian, but his idea of being a Christian is wearing a cross and going to church to socialize with his friends. (Colors anyone?) I don’t think he even knows what Christian beliefs are. Heh Heh Heh.

I was curious about a month ago and looked up this church on the web. I won’t give a link because this is an anonymous blog and I live in a very small, conservative town. I wouldn’t want my house torched or anything. The preacher has posted his sermons on the web. I briefly listened to some. Holy Shit! He is a dominionist, an authoritarian, and a creationist. He was talking about “traitors” in the church, from the context, it seems that he really has problems with people who don’t believe exactly as he does and is willing to advocate shunning members until they do. The church appears to be pentecostal-lite, with speaking in tongues, etc.

I looked on the church calendar and they practice something called “Evangelism Explosion“. This is a very scripted way to use friends as a mission field, similar to the way Ambots try to get their friends into Amway. If the person is not interested, then they are supposed to canvas the neighborhood. I wonder if this is what I was occurring.

From talking to neighbors, who are members, seems that they don’t have a very high success rate with the door to door selling. I wonder why? I certainly would not be interested in a religion that is marketed like cheap soap from door to door.

Wisdom of the Crowds? WTF?

PZ Myers over at Pharyngula has written a couple of posts about the nutty online book supplier, Abunga. ABC News has now picked up the story. Abunga allows its registered users to suggest books to ban from their accounts. Thats fine with me, its their company, but you won’t see me order from such a weird bookseller. But what is even worse, books that are regularly banned by their users get banned for all users (if the management agrees) . And the right-wing management seems to agree with the right-wing customers.

The ABC News story is hilarious, especially the title “Cowabunga! Their burning books online.” ABC is comparing Abunga to the Nazis. Wow a Godwin in the title before you even read the story. Heh Heh Heh. My favorite line from the story is:

Some marketing experts have applauded Abunga’s strategy as ahead of the curve, saying it reflects the growing popularity of the “wisdom of the crowds”.

So I guess Abunga’s chairman, Lee Martin, has no problem when he asks his kids “Well, if everyone else wants to jump off the cliff, so I guess you want to as well?”; and his kids answer with “Yes.”

I’ve been increasingly hearing this sort of authoritarian idiocy from conservative Christians lately. What’s up with this? I saw a glimpse of this type of thinking in a bizarre business leadership class at work a few months ago. I detailed it here.