GMOs, Part 3: Sociopaths in Paradise


GMOs, Part 1: The Horizon of Sanity GMOs, Part 2: Functional Sociopaths I should probably make the point here that when I use the term “sociopath,” I’m using more of a common-colloquial understanding of the term than a clinical one. One of the more formal definitions goes like this: Diagnostic Criteria (DSM-IV) 1. Since the age of fifteen there has been a disregard for and violation of the rights of others, those rights considered normal by the local culture, as indicated by at … [Read more...]

GMOs, Part 2: Functional Sociopaths


[ Start here: GMOs, Part 1: The Horizon of Sanity ] Given this horizon of sanity, is it possible there are people out there who not only seem crazy but crazy in some really bad way? Well, sure. Perfectly ordinary people, people who function in the real world just as well as you and I do, nevertheless believe and do things that you’d consider insane, even evil. And here’s the thing: The people around them, the ones used to them and well within their horizon of sanity, think they’re … [Read more...]

GMOs, Part 1: The Horizon of Sanity


I've gotten into several arguments online about GMOs, and inevitably, if you have any reservations at all about genetically modified foodstuffs, somebody will instantly claim you're an idiot, a luddite, a conspiracy theorist, and a wearer of tinfoil hats. (Why do you want to kill the starving children, you bastard?) Science aficionados will earnestly point out that thousands and thousands of studies have shown GMOs to be totally safe. Besides which -- and here's a glib argument I truly hate … [Read more...]

RoboCop and Beyond: Fanboy Says Yes to 2014


RoboCop I saw RoboCop tonight. If you're younger than me, you can't imagine the thrill the original Star Trek gave science fiction fans and budding futurists. The thing was nothing short of a revelation about a future of light and beauty, technological brilliance and human adventure. And Captain Kirk was this intrepid figure of never-give-up determination and courage, a studly MAN to match alien beings and technologies, the depths of space, and the challenges of the unknown. When Star … [Read more...]

Feeling the Pain of the Rich and Famous


Apparently actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died. He ROCKED "Capote," but hell, I liked him as far back as "Boogie Nights." There seems to be some doubt about his death: Yep, dead: Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead with needle in arm Nope, alive: Philip Seymour Hoffman Death Hoax ... but his Wikipedia page lists him as deceased, so I'm going with that. Considering it a "teachable moment," I said something unflattering about Whitney Houston back when she died of an overdose: "Whitney, … [Read more...]

Help Get ‘Hug An Atheist’ to a Wider Audience

Sylvia Broeckx writes: I apologise for sending you this message out of the blue, but we could really do with some help. We've made a film about atheists in the USA and it's from the perspective of everyday atheists, dealing with the aspects of life where religions provide solace and guidance such as morality, raising a family, and coping with tragedy. But, what’s the point of making a film that presents atheism in a positive light, if it doesn’t get seen by lots of people that aren’t … [Read more...]

An Unpopular View of Pets — and Pet “Lovers”


I'm conducting an argument on Facebook with a "lover" of cats, following the announcement of her soon-to-be-acquired hairless Sphynx cat. Argument follows: ... SF: This is the Sphynx kitten I will be getting in a few weeks. [ Photo attached, not the one shown here ] Right now he will be two weeks on the 28th. If you have any idea's for names let me know. Right now Mr. Wrinkles is what we have so far lol Hank Fox: If this is one of those hairless cats ... argh. I would never, ever own one, … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: The Footprint of the Past

War Dead

One of my many interests is the residual social / societal effects of historical events and social movements. For instance, the fact that we still say “God bless you” when people sneeze, 14 centuries after the supposed origin of the practice ... One explanation holds that the custom originally began as an actual blessing. Gregory I became Pope in AD 590 as an outbreak of the bubonic plague was reaching Rome. In hopes of fighting off the disease, he ordered unending prayer and parades of … [Read more...]

Killing People, With Kindness


Watch this video of a 94-year-old man in an epic 65-meter footrace last year. Would it sadden you to know the winner, European masters athletics champion Emiel Pauwels, is now dead? And that he deliberately ended his own life a week or so ago? 95-year-old ‘Belgian Bolt’ holds big party before ending life by euthanasia In his hometown of Bruges he held a big party with friends and family two days before his death – and even downed two glasses of champagne for the … [Read more...]

Susan K. Perry Reviews My Book!

Multiply-published author and Creative Atheist blogger here at Patheos, Susan K. Perry, reviewed my book! Who Would Have Thought? Reason makes strange bedfellows, so to speak. Sharp thinkers aren’t limited to blue states or big cities. Those who “get it,” those who think rationally rather than having mindless faith in the impossible, are everywhere. Even after you've written and published a book or two, you still tend to think an "author" is somebody distant and impossible. Can't be … [Read more...]