A few days ago I walked from my apartment down to the Guggenheim museum, to see an exhibit by artist-philosopher Lee Ufan.
Jen McCreight is deep into her blogathon day. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go over there and provoke, tittilate, inspire, annoy, or enrage her so she'll be able to keep churning out posts.
No, this blog will not be self-destructing at all. Relax.Read the comments on this post...
I have to throw in more videos featuring Rebecca Watson around here, just to piss off the clueless men. She does such a good job of that. Or maybe next time I'll put up some clip of Amanda Marcotte, to mix it up a little and make them cry harder.
(Last edition of TET; Current totals: 12,788 entries with 1,445,355 comments.)Read the comments on this post...
I have been negligent in my self-appointed mission to oppose the hegemonic oppression of the Catriarchy, so today, behold, the beauty of sea pens and sea cucumbers. Cats can only dream of this level of exotic elegance, and of course, no one defaces echinoderms with juvenile LOLspeak.Read the comments on this post...
The New Statesman has an article that asked a lot of atheist luminaries and some lesser glowworms like yours truly to explain why they don't believe in gods. I don't think it's available online (I have a copy, though, and posted it outside my office door, so stop on by if you want to read it), but there is a discussion on the New Statesman blog. There are a whole bunch of entertaining short entries in the full article, but I'll just post mine — I gave them two reasons that I don't believe in gods.
1. The process. I am accustomed to the idea that truth claims ought to be justified with some reasonable evidence: if one is going to claim that, for instance, a Jewish carpenter was the son of a god, or that there is a place called heaven where some ineffable magical part of you goes when you die, then there ought to be some credible reason to believe that. And that reason ought to be more substantial than that it says so in a big book...after all, there are seven books claiming that Harry Potter is a wizard, and there aren't very many people who see that as anything but fiction. Religious claims all seem to short-circuit the rational process of evidence-gathering and testing, and the sad thing is that many people don't see a problem with that, and even consider it a virtue. It's why I don't just reject religion, but actively oppose it in all of its forms — because it is fundamentally a poison for the mind that undermines our critical faculties.
2. The absurdity. Religious beliefs are lazy jokes with bad punchlines. Why do you have to chop off the skin at the end of your penis? Because god says so. Why should you abstain from pork, or shrimp, or mixing meat and dairy, or your science classes? Because they might taint your relationship with your god. Why do you have to revere a bit of dry biscuit? Because it magically turns into a god when a priest mutters over it. Why do I have to be good? Because if you aren't, a god will set you on fire for all eternity. These are ridiculous propositions. The whole business of religious is clownshoes freakin' moonshine, hallowed by nothing but unthinking tradition, fear and superstitious behavior, and an establishment of con artists who have dedicated their lives to propping up a sense of self-importance by claiming to talk to an invisible big kahuna. It's not just fact-free, it's all nonsense.
Christian knees are trembling, sensing imminent doom brought on by juvenile fantasy literature. Which is ironic, considering that they worship a big sloppy book that fits perfectly into the genre. Anyway, first there was the Harry Potter series, which turned all the teenagers into Wiccans (what?); then there was the Twilight series, that has led to an upsurge of teenagers drinking blood (I missed that one, too). What next?
Think carefully: What might happen if a "third wave" of popular entertainment inspires gullible teenagers to seek possession by demonic entities, thinking it's good for them? To those who believe in a real behind-the-scenes war between good and evil, the prospect is truly terrifying.
There are no people with magic powers or functioning magic wands, and there are no quidditch matches on ESPN; vampires aren't real, and all that can happen with rare instances of blood drinking is a little nausea and the potential transmission of blood-borne diseases.
Demons aren't real, and inviting one to possess you is just a waste of time that will make you look very silly. And the people believe it's a peril deserve a little terror, and should lock themselves up in their churches and not come out any more.Read the comments on this post...
Isn't he clever?
YES - The definition of marriage should be expanded to include same-sex couples. 434 votes
NO - Traditional marriage is a sacred institution & cornerstone of our society. 284 votes
Let's make him regret it.Read the comments on this post...
Casey Luskin has been at it again. The underwhelming squeak toy of the Discovery Institute, the good Christian kid with an undergraduate degree in earth sciences who couldn't cope with reality so he went for a law degree instead, has written another of his uninformed screeds explaining evolutionary developmental biology to the masses, despite knowing nothing about the subject himself, except what Jonathan Wells shat into his cranium. And I'm not going to waste any more time with it; I've hammered home the stupidity of his comments often enough recently. He also wrote an appalling pile of ignorant nonsense about the Miller/Urey experiment, and I don't need to write about, because Andy Ellington took care of it.
Ellington is a researcher into chemical evolution and mechanisms of abiogenesis in Texas; he recently testified to the Texas SBOE, and after Luskin vomited up his folly, was moved to write a thoroughly kick-ass summary of the significance of Miller/Urey, with good solid dismissals of the incompetence and futility of the Discovery Institute. Ellington vs. Luskin is like fierce Siberian tiger vs. anemic, dull-witted rodent.Read the comments on this post...
You want to see how the Right loves to twist events to whatever end they want, just read the conservative columnists. Jennifer Rubin at the WaPo has already decided this was the work of jihadists, and sees this as an opportunity to lobby for mo' money for defense.
This is a sobering reminder for those who think it's too expensive to wage a war against jihadists. I spoke to Gary Schmitt of the American Enterprise Institute, who has been critical of proposed cuts in defense and of President Obama's Afghanistan withdrawal plan. "There has been a lot of talk over the past few months on how we've got al-Qaeda on the run and, compared with what it once was, it's become a rump organization. But as the attack in Oslo reminds us, there are plenty of al-Qaeda allies still operating. No doubt cutting the head off a snake is important; the problem is, we're dealing with global nest of snakes."
Well, leaving aside the point that it's not clear how more tanks, stealth bombers, and drones would make the streets of Oslo safer, this is a great idea, marred by the poor aim of the conservatives who always seem to go after the wrong target. I would support more tanks for the army iff they were immediately dispatched to take out the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Discovery Institute, Focus on the Family, a few thousand megachurches, and miscellaneous other extremist organizations. It's a nest of snakes, you know. And as these loons are always urging us, stomping on a nest of snakes really, really hard always works to end the problem. (For the snark impaired, cock one eyebrow and read the last two sentences sardonically.)
(via Lawyers, Guns, and Money)Read the comments on this post...
I love astronomy (duh), I love geology, and I love meteorology, so if you combine all three in a high-definition time lapse video, well, I’ll love it:Very pretty! It’s by someone who goes by the name Metron, who also has a pretty cool video[...]
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