Beta Culture: Bridges and War and All Things Daft

Bush & Bridge

I know there are people who don't like driving across long, high bridges. I'm one of them, I guess, but my job requires me to gird my loins and cross the huge, 3-mile-long, almost-60-year-old  Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River near New York City twice a day. The collapse of the Interstate 5 highway bridge in Mount Vernon, Wash., on Thursday, brought that roaring to mind over the past few days. On days when traffic is slow and you're standing still on the Tappan Zee — like … [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...]

Atheism In The News

Columnist Lee Dye made the front page at ABCNews.com yesterday, with a book review titled Do We Need God to Be Moral? Are we moral because we believe in God, or do we believe in God because we are moral? Frans de Waal argues in his latest book that the answer is clearly the latter. The seeds for moral behavior preceded the emergence of our species by millions of years, and the need to codify that behavior so that all would have a clear blueprint for morality led to the creation of … [Read more...]

The Infiltration Makes Progress, Comrades

Saw this story on ABCNews.com today: Is Religion Good for Your Health? ... and got the shock of my life. Okay, well, it wasn't the shock of my life, but it was surprising, and more than a little pleasing. What would you expect from a story with that headline in any mainstream news medium in America? They wouldn't dare answer anything but --> YESYESYES!! <--, right? But this writer, Dr. Richard Besser, sort of DID answer something other than yes. … [Read more...]

Sorry, Change.org, I’m Not On Board

Got an intense email about a Change.org petition TSA: DO NOT allow knives on airplanes! ... to stop the TSA from allowing pocketknives on planes. Ian Funderberg's petition says: "I am a flight attendant and this news outrages me: the Transportation Security Administration just announced rollbacks of security rules -- allowing pocket knives to be carried on US planes, starting April 25. This policy would affect the safety and well-being of FLIGHT CREWS and PASSENGERS. This decision must be … [Read more...]

Is the Internet Killing the Baby Jesus?

According to an article in yesterday's Salon, Religion may not survive the Internet Tech-savvy mega-churches may have twitter missionaries, and Calvinist cuties may make viral videos about how Jesus worship isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship, but that doesn’t change the facts: the free flow of information is really, really bad for the product they are selling. But, but, but ... if everybody becomes an atheist, who's going to read my blog?? Actually, I'm not panicking just yet. I think … [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...]

Offensive on Soooo Many Levels

Read this representative paragraph from an Elevate GF ad: SPECIAL REPORT: How To Grow 3+ Inches Taller in Just a Matter of Weeks Using This 1 Simple Trick That Celebrities Use. You may have heard of the enormously popular Elevate GF in the news. It's a completely organic supplement that celebrities & body builders use around the world that they don't want you knowing about. But today we are leaking the secret. Elevate GF offers many benefits primarily due to its high anti-oxidant content. … [Read more...]

Bad Answers: Inevitable Result of Mistaken Beliefs

Looking at a story in the news this morning. Study: Free Birth Control Leads to Fewer Abortions Free birth control led to dramatically lower rates of abortions and teen births, a large study concludes. The findings were eagerly anticipated and come as a bitterly contested Obama administration policy is poised to offer similar coverage. The project tracked more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, many of them poor or uninsured. They were given their choice of a range of contraceptive methods at no … [Read more...]

Sam Harris Nails ‘Moral Cowardice’

Sam Harris hit one out of the park with his Sept. 19 piece On the Freedom to Offend an Imaginary God. The latest wave of Muslim hysteria and violence has now spread to over twenty countries. The walls of our embassies and consulates have been breached, their precincts abandoned to triumphant mobs, and many people have been murdered—all in response to an unwatchable Internet video titled “Innocence of Muslims.” Whether over a film, a cartoon, a novel, a beauty pageant, or an inauspiciously … [Read more...]