This Is Disturbing as Hell

burka

This post on Between a Veil and a Dark Place — What it is like to be a Muslim woman, and why we know what freedom is (and you may not) — is like a bad car accident. You pass by and it's not you, but you can't look away because it's horrible, and it's SOMEBODY. I have keys. When I first moved to the United States eleven months ago, it took me several weeks to grasp this bit of information. I have keys. I have keys to my own front door and I can open this front door and walk down … [Read more...]

Finding the Real Villain in [Churches Hate Gay Boy Scouts]

Boy Scout

Thinking about this story, Some Churches Say They'll Cut Ties to Boy Scouts Following Its Lifting Ban on Gay Scouts, a first reaction might lead you to lambaste the people who'd do such a thing. "If the Boy Scouts are going to support gays, we're not going to support the Boy Scouts." Of course they have every right to say that, to act that way, but it's not a decent reaction, not a reaction that recognizes equality and fairness. You'd be prone to blame the people who'd do such a thing. On … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Never Doubt the Power of Religion

The basic rationale for establishing Beta Culture is to provide a balancing force against three "social entities" that are the only current avenues into any sort of future. As I say it: "There's the future we might WANT, and the future we're going to GET." The future we're going to get is the one government, business and religion will get us to. You and I might want a cure for Alzheimer's in ten years, but if government won't help fund the research, if universities, hospitals, pharma … [Read more...]

I’m Ready for My Inheritance, Granny — Would You Kindly DIE??

Youth in Asia

I was talking to my friend Dirt Boy (he owns a plant nursery, and I never shake his hand that he doesn't have to wipe it off first) last night about Beta Culture, and we got onto the subject of death. If you're an existing reader here, you probably know about my Cowboy Dad. For you others: I grew up in Houston, Texas, moved to a little mountain town in California when I was 22. I met this guy there who became my mentor, teacher and eventually, "Dad." We were both mule packers and wilderness … [Read more...]

Shoving Orphans Away From the Table

How many times have you seen it? Someone convenes a panel of talking heads to discuss morals, justice, or any of the other “goodness” issues, and the speaker’s table is filled with a priest, a minister and a rabbi (and here lately, to prove our generous and inclusionary nature, an imam). As far as the organizer is concerned, and large swaths of the audience, atheists don’t exist. Because we don’t know anything about morals, you see, or deep human convictions, or even feelings. We … [Read more...]

4th Grade Quiz: Four Ways Not to be Fooled

Science Quiz

"What do you get when you cross an elephant with a rhino?"  goes the old joke. The answer: Elephino (hell if I know)! To the question of whether the attached image is the real thing, that's the best I can figure out. (Click to see it full-size.) I saw it this morning on the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason Facebook page, a link shared by J.O., commenter from Gothenburg, Sweden. The original image appears to be from Imgur. The Imgur side-caption says the picture was … [Read more...]

Hawking T-Shirts at Funerals (More or Less)

If I die and somebody shows up to sell "Hug Me - I'm an Atheist!" T-shirts at my service, it would tickle me to death. (If I wasn't already dead, I mean, and was, you know, capable of being tickled.) [ Note: If you do this, you have to donate the money in my name — all of it — to a black bear rescue operation or sanctuary. ] But if it happened at any other funeral, I would expect the family to be furious. I feel the same way about selling religion at funerals. Even at second hand, … [Read more...]

Atheist Discrimination by the U.S. Post Office?

Are U.S. postal workers tampering with or destroying U.S. mail? According to this article, Packages sealed with "Atheist" tape go missing 10x more often than controls ... the evidence suggests they are. … [Read more...]

Dispatches from Dullardia: The War on Christmas (deep sigh)

Sorry, I couldn't resist responding to a couple of yesterday's stories. One is about a sign in Times Square, put up by American Atheists, that shows a picture of Santa above a picture of a statue of a crucified Jesus. The inscription says "Keep the MERRY!" and "Dump the MYTH!" (photo credit: American Atheists) Holiday message: Atheists dub Jesus a 'myth' on Times Square billboard Good on you, American Atheists! And fie upon the critics: "This year it's different," said Catholic League … [Read more...]

Tin Ear for Jesus, Black Eye for Xtianity

No, my objection to JesusWeen isn't the name. Although, dayyum, it does sorta grate on the ears, doesn't it? JesusWEEN. Jesus Weenie. It just sounds so silly — something thought up by one of those Christian-nerdy people who are tone deaf to common social nuance because they live in this weird little cloistered bastion of religiosity.  … [Read more...]