Archives for January 2013

Icelandic Parliament passes life stance equality law

I got the following message from Thor Viðar Jónsson of Siðmennt.  We don't hear about most of the cool stuff going on in Iceland, so I thought I would share.Today, January 30, 2013, the Icelandic Parliament (Althing) passed a law which gives secular life stance organizations the right to apply for equal legal status with religions. The new law amends the current law about registered religious organizations. Thus, for the first time in Icelandic history, the government recognizes and gua … [Read more...]

This blog is moderated

Aron and I have been debating on the internet for years.  The best discussions even on Christian sites have been moderated.  In fact as a former Christian I changed my mind about evolution on a Christian site with Aron's help.  The quality of the discussion is important. This is not YouTube.  Bad comments are not going to slip off the page within hours as new comments replace it. Legitimate disagreement and criticism are welcome provided they discuss the topic of the original post and engage in a … [Read more...]

A Short Response to Steven Novella’s “Bigfoot Skeptics, New Atheists, Politics and Religion”

   Dr. Steven Novella of JREF has posted in response to PZ's post on skeptical consistency in defense of economic policies particularly libertarianism. The gist of Novella's main contention with PZ is...Perhaps I am misunderstanding what PZ is saying here, and if so please correct me, but this sounds an awful lot like a desire to purge the skeptical movement of those with a differing political outlook. I find it hard to see how this would be a good thing.There is … [Read more...]

Finding courage to keep the darkness of ignorance at bay Part I

While there may be places on Earth that equal the darkness of Mordor of Middle Earth in terms of the very real evil of ignorance more than Texas this year; that won't be from a lack of effort on the part of the Texas Legislature. Secularists here are already beleaguered trying to stamp out the encroachments on the separation of church and state and the religious-based war on women and science.The amount of ignorance that sees the light of day all over the country's state legislatures is a b … [Read more...]

Gay man’s love is more powerful than his father’s religious hate.

This man's story from NPR's "Story Corps" brought a tear to my eye. Bryan Wilmoth and his 7 siblings were raised in a brutally religious family.  Upon finding a love letter from another boy to Bryan, his father abandoned his 15 year old son in the middle of a field with a 5 dollar bill. Rather than transform his father's hatred into more hatred aimed at different targets, Bryan chose to grow up into a loving man instead.Bryan missed his siblings most of all and attempted to contact them.  He … [Read more...]

One of these days, I’m gonna say something really stupid.

We all do eventually.When I was in Ireland, I shared a stage with Rebecca Watson and Richard Dawkins.  Later that evening, Watson stepped into what may now be the most famous of all elevators.  We all know that after that Watson said something that was blown way out of proportion.  This was largely because Dawkins said something that, well, wasn't his most brilliant commentary. This lead to a whole bunch of other people saying a lot of shit I wish they hadn't said, escalating a series of wh … [Read more...]

Constant Attacks on Education

Sometimes the research I have to do is nothing short of disheartening.  This weekend that that included Mark Chancey's report on problematic religious studies in Texas public schools. if that weren't already bad enough, some Texans also want to blindly follow Louisiana's misdirection in their attempts to undermine public education, by adopting the Religious Right's voucher … [Read more...]

Are atheists more compassionate than religious people?

So there's another study implying that the most compassionate people also tend to be atheist or barely religious, while the more religious one is, the less compassionate they're likely to be.  Now I don't like to reinforce negative stereotypes, but I have also seen studies implying that the more deeply religious someone is, the more likely they are to be violently abusive under-educated chemically-depentant bigoted child molesters calling for the torture and execution of prisoners.  I've also see … [Read more...]

That Dubious Dutko

Some months ago, I was on Bob Dutko's young-earth creationism radio show.  He tried to argue that if any non-avian dinosaurs were ever discovered, that would somehow disprove evolution.  He doesn't know how it would disprove evolution.  I think he thinks that evolution is just a story, like his own belief system is, and that the story has to be 'just so' the same way his own story has to be. Like so many of his ilk, he tried to cite weird and often laughable anomolies -misunderstood and mis … [Read more...]

on the Israeli atheist convention

A couple weeks ago, I posted to this blog a promotion for an atheist conference called MA-HA-R, "Tomorrow", described as an Israeli Reason Rally in Tel Aviv.  One never knows how these things will turn out in advance, and I had my doubts.  When I went to the World Atheist Convention in Dublin, there were less than 400 attendees and we had Dawkins with us.  How well could Isreal possibly do?  Well by the time I posted my blog promotion, they had already sold more than 400 tickets.Their con … [Read more...]