Monthly Archives: February 2010

News from the Back of the Atheist Bus: Richard Dawkins and Josh Timonen Put Their Fellow Atheists and Agnostics in Their Proper Place

Disgruntled Peter Harrison, a (former) forum moderator at RichardDawkins.net, dishes on a behind the scenes controversy between the site’s support volunteers and Josh Timonen, the site’s manager. Peter Harrison now wants people to join him at a different (and presumably more open) … Continue reading

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Alexander McCobin: The Future of the Republican Party?

I hope so. Alexander McCobin is a coherent libertarian and here he is standing up for gay rights in the face of more than a little crowd resistance. I salute the young conservatives in the crowd who loudly applauded McCobin and stood with … Continue reading

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Teaser for the Pilot TV Show “The Skeptologists”

Michael Shermer and his gang of skeptical inquirers look like they’re channeling the Sopranos. And in the word “skeptologist” I feel a vague association with “exorcist.” I don’t know if this show is ever going beyond the pilot stage—or if any … Continue reading

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How Does Philosopher AC Grayling Ground Atheist Morality?

I thought this was an excellent answer. It came from a recent interview at The Freethinker: It is actually very easy to identify and to act upon the moral baselines. Moral baselines derive from our understanding of what it is … Continue reading

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Keith Kimmel Lets His Freedom Ring—and the State of Oklahoma Doesn’t Like It One Bit

Go Keith!

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IM GAY is Not Okay in OK?

This today at NewsOK: A college student wants IM GAY on his Oklahoma car tag, and he is suing to force state tax officials to approve his request.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             . His name is Keith Kimmel:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           . I want … Continue reading

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Structural Demolition and the Religious Psyche

Hmm. I understand the metaphor, but there’s also something vaguely disturbing about mixing a spiritual message with the primitive glee of tearing down a real building:

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Angry at his bank and the IRS, Terry Hoskins smashes a bulldozer into his own $350,000 home!

Talk about an ironic reversal on the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes: you don’t win a big home, you bulldoze it! Terry Hoskins says he’d had enough. This today at AP: Terry Hoskins says he has struggled with the RiverHills Bank over … Continue reading

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Hell is Real, Pope Benedict Says

So according to the Times of London: Hell is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to galvanise the faithful, the Pope has said. Addressing a parish gathering in … Continue reading

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What Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini Got Wrong: Boston Review is Tough on Fodor and Piatelli-Palmarini’s New Book

Fodor and Piatelli-Palmarini’s new book, What Darwin Got Wrong, gets a scathing thumbs down from two philosophers:  Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini are not biologists. Fodor is a leading philosopher of mind and cognitive scientist, best known for his ideas about the … Continue reading

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Hostile and Gay Baiting Ryan Sorba: The Future of the Republican Party?

This is what an authoritarian looks like, and he may represent the future of the Republican Party: Sarah Palin’s VP pick for 2012? More on this California crank here. The anti-humanist turn in conservative politics is breathtaking. What is happening to … Continue reading

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Is America a Christian Nation Founded by Christians?

No. Key players in the founding of America—such as Jefferson, Paine, and Franklin—were not Christians. They were Deists and religious skeptics. And other icons of America’s cultural history—people like Abraham Lincoln and Emily Dickinson—were agnostics with a lot of emotional ambivalence toward … Continue reading

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Why Joe Stack Matters

Austin tea bomber Joe Stack is the canary in the right-wing mental coal mine. His action tells you where the hysterical rhetoric poured from hate radio takes a mind in a moment of crisis. In anticipation of a crisis, the … Continue reading

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Why I Worry about the Tea Party Authoritarians

I would like to see a moderate conservative party with sane politicians that balance Democratic excesses. But since Barack Obama’s election Republicans have been getting rewarded for running to the political margins of the far right. My fear is that … Continue reading

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Tea Terrorism: Joe Stack (1956-2010) Draws Tea Party Populism into a New Round of Violence and Celebrations of Violence

And as Jonathan Capehart reminds us, it’s not the first time that the so-called “Constitution patriots” have moved down this road: In the 1990s, there was lots of talk about the excesses of government power, a U.N.-run New World Order … Continue reading

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The Hundredth Cricket Phenomenon?: Pregnant Crickets Forewarn Their Young Before Birth! An Opportunity for Natural and Supernatural Speculation?

And that would also mean that baby crickets have prebirth “memories” (either somatic or mental), doesn’t it? There must be a mechanism responsible for this, but what could it possibly be? This today in the New York Times: Researchers from the University … Continue reading

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Anti-Gay Stridency: A Dark Spirit Settles over American Conservatism

The far right’s gay baiting is getting more strident: I find the above image and the video below enormously troubling. There is a shamelessness to these two conservatives’ bigotry that almost takes your breath away. If fascism ever comes to … Continue reading

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Mental Health Break

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A Great Critical Thinking Quote from Groucho Marx

Watching Animal Crackers last night, a line of Groucho’s jumped out at me as the voice of all people possessed of a vested interest in producing and maintaining a culture hostile to critical thinking (which, of course, is damn near everybody): Once we … Continue reading

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Lancaster, California: A City without a Bookstore

Lancaster, California’s only general purpose bookstore—serving a city of close to 200,000 people—closed a couple of weeks ago. It was a Waldenbooks, and, ironically, it shut down within about a week of the city’s mayor—R. Rex Parris—making this comment to a gathering of 160 … Continue reading

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