The Nye-Ham Debate Was a Net Win for Science

I think the Bill Nye-Ken Ham debate (liveblogged by me and Hemant) turned out to be a net-win for science and reason. I know that many of us in the skepto-atheosphere disagree; that the debate put reality on the same plane as nonsense, or thought that Nye wasn’t up to the task of fully enlightening Ham or his audience. I understand and respect those criticisms, but I think they overlook what Nye really did accomplish.

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Florida Group’s Proposal to Put Atheist Monument Outside Levy County Courthouse Gets Rejected by Local Officials

Two weeks ago, I posted about how the Williston Atheists (in Florida) wanted to erect a pro-atheist monument outside the Levy County Courthouse where a Ten Commandments monument currently resides (see image below):

The group was modeling its efforts after what American Atheists did outside the Bradford County Courthouse in northern Florida last summer:

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On Facebook, Ray Comfort Demands Respect, Bans People for Mockery, Blasphemy, Not Capitalizing God

Banana king Ray Comfort has a new Facebook policy, revealed in a recent status update:

Immediate banning for cussing, mockery of Christians, blasphemy, mocking the Bible, libel of Ray, rudeness, or not giving “God” or “Jesus” caps. A lot of atheists have already been banned today for not giving “God” and “Jesus” caps. Old habits die hard.

One commenter was banned for responding “How pompous can you get?,” so Comfort means business.

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New York State Senator Says Inclusion of ‘Under God’ in the Pledge is a ‘Unifying Legacy’ of Our Nation’s History

Yesterday, the New York State Senate passed a resolution sponsored by Lee Zeldin (Republican, of course) commemorating the 60th anniversary of the addition of “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance:

For the most part, this is one of those acts of privilege for religious politicians. Zeldin doesn’t know or doesn’t care about what those words have meant to non-religious students who have been forced or pressured to stand up and say them despite not believing them. I wouldn’t care all that much if it wasn’t for Zeldin saying this in his press release:

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How Should Nonbelievers Label Themselves? Humanist Roy Speckhardt Says It Doesn’t Matter

As we’ve seen, David Silverman of American Atheists recently took umbrage to the term “secular Jew.”

Silverman wants Jews who don’t believe in God to assert their atheism and stop identifying as Jews. He believes that nonbelievers should “come out” to their families and friends and in some instances their work colleagues, identifying themselves as atheists. He argues that when religionless Americans avoid the word “atheist” to describe themselves for fear of sounding exclusionary, they are being dishonest. “Atheist is the correct word that has simply been made into a bad word by bigots,” he said, arguing that only the word “atheist” accurately conveys the proper meaning to people who are believers, “and telling the truth benefits everyone.”

Friendly Atheist guest contributor Kate Bigam raised her voice in protest, arguing that “secular Jew” is most assuredly a perfectly fine descriptor of many people whose culture and heritage is Jewish, even if they never open the Torah or go to a synagogue.

Now, at the Huffington Post, Roy Speckhardt of the American Humanist Association weighs in. Speckhardt would like all nontheists to present a more or less united front, without petty squabbling about labels.

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