7 Quick Takes (10/21/10)


I’ve been terribly deficient w/r/t blogging this week, so I pledge to make it up by posting this weekend (especially the promised response to Peter Somerville’s criticism of my post on the (im)morality of drone strikes).

For today, I shall fill out the remainder of my seven takes with paired posts.


Disappointing Democrats  (Part 1)
Like pretty much everyone in the atheist blogosphere, I’m extremely upset by the new attack ad that Democrat Jack Conway is running against Rand Paul.


I’m horrified to see a Democrat implying that a candidate who is not a Christian or who has ever disparaged Christianity is unfit for public office.  There is no religious test for office in the United States.  One may only consider the policies a candidate endorses, regardless of what religious feelings (if any) motivate those positions.


She Blinded Me with Science  (Part 1)
This week, the Boston Globe highlighted the winners of the Nikon International Small World Photomicrography Competition as its Big Picture feature.  I particularly liked the photo below.

The photo shows HeLa cells in the process of dividing.  HeLa cells are human cervical cancer cells that are derived from the tumor of a woman named Henrietta Lacks.  They were the first human cells to be immortalized as a cell line.  I can’t recommend highly enough Rebecca Skloot’s book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks which tells the story of this woman and her family, who only discovered her cells had been taken long after she dies.  I am personally grateful, having used HeLa cells in my first lab internship.

Check out all the photos here.


Churches Countenance What?!? (Part 1)

I think I wouldn’t have had many questions about whether I should participate in Open Communion if I were visiting a church that treated it as lightly as the Episcopal church that offered “Seusscharist.”  Their promotional materials read:

With brains in your head and feet in your shoes
Please come to Calvary from any direction you choose.
Friday, October 22 will be the day.
Fun is waiting, so get on your way.
We’ll have a light supper and share together
A little Seuss fun, no matter the weather.
A movie, and popcorn, and stories, too.
We’ll finish with a Seusscharist designed just for you.

(h/t First Thoughts)


Disappointing Democrats  (Part 2)

The Democratic Governors Association is airing an ad slamming Texas Governor Rick Perry for promoting the HPV vaccine.  The ad falsely implies that Gardasil is dangerous, despite its excellent track record and extensive testing.  It feeds into the unfounded fear that surrounds vaccination and endangers children by diminishing herd immunity.

I highlight these two ads not because Democrats alone have aired misleading ads, but because these two issues are quite important to me and foul play always rankles worse when it’s from your own team.


She Blinded Me with Science  (Part 2)
I’m always fond of craft blog Corvus Tristis, but I was overcome by delight when I saw that she had designed a paisley embroidery pattern based around the distinctive dumbbell shape of the smallpox capsid.

Corvus has a number of highly delightful embroidery patterns, all of which are available for download here.


Churches Countenance What?!? (Part 2)
ETA:  Apparently I was a little too trusting of the website I linked to for the explanation of the below.  The banner does read ‘Orthodoxy or Death” but I now have no idea why it exists/is receiving a blessing.  Enjoy it in its contextless glory.

This photo depicts an Orthodox Priest blessing a new tattoo design reading “Orthodoxy or Death” meant to allow converts to alter a pre-existing tattoo to something more befitting of their newfound faith.

[Seven Quick Things is a blog carnival run by Jen of Conversion Diary]

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  • Aristarchus

    The Conway add isn't surprising to me at all in that I expect someone who "mocked" Christianity to get criticized for it in today's political culture. What's surprising is that of all the utterly insane and idiotic things Paul has said, they pick this one to focus on in the ad. I expected that "He isn't Christian" would be one avenue of attack when it applies, but I also expected that when "He doesn't support the Civil Rights Act" was available, that would obviously be the better choice. It says something really sad about Kentucky voters that they thought this was the most productive line of attack.

  • I'm in agreement, Aristarchus. (So much so that I actually did a piece for HuffPo on this topic over the summer)

  • Ah… so, while the increasing popularity of the "Orthodoxy or Death" banner is vaguely unsettling, it did not start as a tattoo design, and that's not why it was being blessed… Steven Robinson, over at Pithless Thoughts, often writes things mocking/poking fun at various aspects of Orthodox Christianity, and I think the post you linked to is one such example.

  • Thank you for the link!