Anti-evolution political ad

For non-USAnians who might be reading this, I have to point out that all the US is not as crazy as this (Alabama). Or perhaps I should phrase that differently. We may well be all as crazy as Alabama Christian conservatives, but we're not always crazy in exactly the same ways. California-crazy is different from Alabama-crazy and so forth. … [Read more...]

High weirdness by H-Net

Academia can be a rich source of weirdness. Personally, I'm fascinated by paranormalist physics-abuse as it percolates through popular culture, and, let's face it, quite a few places outside of physics. Here's a lovely example: somebody presented a paper at a conference called "The Semiotics of Time." From the announcement on H-Net:Some scientists believe that viral DNA dispatched from an alien cosmic civilization has been transferred into the DNA of earth’s organisms. In relation to this idea o … [Read more...]

If religion were to fizzle out

Chris Hedges's column today, "After Religion Fizzles, We’re Stuck With Nietzsche" claims that mainstream Christian and Jewish religion is in decline, and that the kind of secular options that might replace religion are nothing to be enthusiastic about.I think he underestimates the resilience of religion—particularly the right wing, magical-thinking, enthusiastic forms of religion he does not have much use for. It looks like conservative Christianity and Islam will continue to go strong, e … [Read more...]

Modal logic

In every possible world, modal logic is a useless waste of time. … [Read more...]

Commonsense Atheism interview

The Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot podcast has seen it fit to air my rant about intelligent design, physics, God, and so forth. It's 45 minutes, if you want to listen. … [Read more...]

Blasphemy revival

A Polish entertainer has apparently been charged with blasphemy—"insulting religious feelings." It's nice to see that it's not only Muslims; Catholics are also doing their best to demonstrate how delicate their sensibilities are.I also just finished David Nash's Blasphemy in the Christian World. He has a lot of recent history in it as well, and he points out that blasphemy as a legal and social concept has been undergoing something of a revival in the Christian world since the 1990s. I've … [Read more...]

Why we should have ceremonies with religious speeches

A benediction speech during graduation at Midwestern State University. It's the best argument for encouraging religious performances in public events that I've come across in a while.I figure that if you have a zealous religious performance along these lines, anyone with some sanity remaining will be embarrassed or repulsed by such a display. It will reinforce any inclinations they have to keep some distance between religion and things that actually matter.And if you have a generic performance … [Read more...]

Who is the audience?

It's an old (2009) photo, but I ran into it again today:It prompted me to ask if some of the more militant Islamic groups are aware of the disastrous public image presented by posters with "freedom can go to hell" and so forth on them. But then, many of them seem media-savvy to a fault. They must know how negatively the average liberal Westerner will respond to that sort of display.I guess their real audience must be others. Disaffected Muslims who will support groups who look like they will … [Read more...]


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