Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Creation Museum Brings Tears To Believers And Non-Believers Alike...Tears of Laughter And Horror That Is

One would probably expect that most scientists would have issues with Ken Ham's Creation Museum, a $27 million ode to literal biblical interpretation of the beginning of the Earth. And they did.
"It's sort of a monument to scientific illiteracy, isn't it?" said Jerry Lipps, professor of geology, paleontology and evolution at University of California, Berkeley.

"Like Sunday school with statues... this is a special brand of religion here. I don't think even most mainstream Christians would believe in this interpretation of Earth's history."

So what is the reaction from many mainstream Christians after their tour of the "museum" that Professor Lipps mentions?
Lisa Park of the University of Akron cried at one point as she walked a hallway full of flashing images of war, famine and natural disasters which the museum blames on belief in evolution.

"I think it's very bad science and even worse theology -- and the theology is far more offensive to me," said Park, a professor of paleontology who is an elder in the Presbyterian Church.

"I think there's a lot of focus on fear, and I don't think that's a very Christian message... I find it a malicious manipulation of the public."

With the above background and putting the humor/disappointment aside, what an interesting time should be had by all in Kentucky if Ken Ham accepts the invitation to tag along on the tour of his museum being attended by noted scientist and blogger PZ Myers on August 7th. Myers and a small group of his friends who will be packing a laundry list of questions for the museum proprietors and the answers to those questions will be must read material for sure.

Unlike banana man Ray Comfort's trip to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History looking for the evidence of evolution,  I am disappointed that I will not be there to see it...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Militant Atheism

Many of the blindly faithful like to throw around the term of militant atheist in response to non-believers pointing out the extremism present in most religions or when we try to exert our rights to be free from someone else's religious views. Below is a video providing an interesting view on that subject.

So what is a militant atheist to most Christians? From what I can tell and what this video implies is that it is any atheist that has the audacity to open their mouths.

(H/T to EXchristian.net via Atheist Revolution)

RIP Billy Mays

This has been a rough week for the famous even surpassing the old adage that they die in threes as the news has broken that obnoxious TV pitchman Billy Mays has died this morning in Florida at the age of 50.
Mays, 50, was found unresponsive by his wife inside his Tampa, Fla., home at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Tampa Police Department.

Police said there were no signs of forced entry to Mays' residence and foul play is not suspected. Authorities said an autopsy should be complete by Monday afternoon.

Mays joins Ed McMahon, Farrah Faucett, and Michael Jackson, who died earlier this week. Our TV commercials will never be the same, or as loud.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Setting Your Home Schooling Priorities

The New York Times did a story on football leagues for home schooled students and this picture showing one particular home school team's priorities was the first one in the slide show for the article. (Hint, spelling doesn't seem to be one of those priorities)



(h/t - Pharyngula via Free Thought Fort Wayne)

Why Does Talent Win Out?

michael jacksonDespite being a child of the 70's and early 80's I never was much of a Michael Jackson fan so the news that he had died yesterday didn't affect me much. With that being said, everything that has happened since his death with all the media attention and the amazing amount of despair from his fans causes nothing but wonder on my part.

There is no doubting the enormous talent that Jackson possessed, the millions upon millions of albums sold is a testament to that but in his later life, the utter weirdness and criminal behavior he exhibited has been the only picture most have seen from him for the better part of 2 decades. So why is this behavior having little if any effect on the millions of people whom are now heart broken over his death?

Jackson had an admitted soft spot for children (for some reason you rarely saw female children overnighting at his amusement park of a house) and thought that it was normal to sleep with young boys. He settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit with the family of one such young boy and was charged with multiple felony counts for his relationship with another but still was worshiped by fans despite polls showing that more people thought he was guilty than did OJ Simpson.

I certainly do not revel in anyone's death but I must ask again, why the huge outpouring of sorrow for a washed up alleged pedophile that hadn't been relevant since the 80's?

Priests and entertainers apparently have more in common than one would think...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Say What You Will About Values Voters, They Are Quick

As Right Wing Watch notes, whatever you think of the "Values Voters", they are quick to wipe out any remnants of their fallen heros taking only hours to completely remove recently outed adulter Mark Sanford from the list of featured speakers at their upcoming summit.

wheres-sanfordII

While the hypocrisy continues with religious right darling Sanford's fall from grace today and John Ensign's shenanigans last week, our popular junior Senator John Thune seems to be reaping the rewards of the scandals by moving up the GOP food chain the old fashioned way.  Everyone ahead of him is sleeping their way out of favor.

Just stay out of that GOP glass house John...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hypocrisy From The Religious Right, You're Joking Right?

While the South Dakota right concentrates on how the recent resignation of Republican Senator John Ensign from the #4 position in the GOP leadership will possibly leave an opening for our rising Senatorial star John Thune, the hypocrisy that drips from this whole situation remains pretty much untouched.

What hypocrisy you say? Well it seems the Senator Ensign, who just admitted having an extra-marital affair,  has a history of calling out those that didn't live up to his high Christian morals: (which commandment covered adultery again?)
The Nevada Republican once called on President Bill Clinton to resign, declaring "the truth must come out." In October 2007, he was sharply critical of former Sen. Larry Craig, of Idaho, calling the Republican's arrest in an airport bathroom sex sting "embarrassing for the Senate."

Wow a Republican politician who calls out others and then gets busted himself, what is that biblical quote about throwing stones again? Maybe it's time for these guys to leave their overdeveloped sense of morality at the door as it seems they are having a hard time living up to it as well.

Oh and Senator Ensign, while you have given up your leadership position, when exactly will you be resigning from the Senate as that seems to be your penalty of choice for those in the past that have had some indiscretions in their closets?

Move along, no hypocrisy here...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thune And Johnson Hit The Big Time

Ok not really as it was only HBO but Bill Maher gives South Dakota's Senators John Thune and Tim Johnson, along with many others in Congress, the business over their hair styles.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What Do You Say Now Dwight?

Orlando Magic forward Dwight Howard was quick to thank god for the Magic's success going so far as saying that god was the reason his team was in the finals. So now that the Magic have lost to the LA Lakers in 5 games, does that mean that god doesn't like the Magic and Dwight Howard anymore? And why are those in the sports media not following up with Howard to ask him if he now blames god for their loss?

I know, stupid question...

Monday, June 15, 2009

More Wiley Drake

A couple of days ago I wrote about former Southern Baptist Convention officer and Alan Keyes VP choice Wiley Drake (what a ticket that was) who had taken to praying for the deaths of those that he disagreed with including murdered abortion doctor George Tiller and Barack Obama. As if his use of imprecatory prayers (praying passages from the Psalms where the Psalmist is asking God to bring death and misfortune on his enemies) to wish harm onto others isn't bad enough, it appears that Drake is also a bit of a conspiracy nut as well.

Drake thinks that it is unlikely that radical pro-life groups would ever do something so heinous as murdering an abortion doctor because of the harm it would do to the cause. So who does he think is behind crimes such as the one committed against Dr Tiller? Barack Obama of course...
"I'm of the opinion -- and now everybody's going to say 'There goes Wiley down the conspiracy-theory road,' I'm of the opinion that somebody in the Obama camp had this guy killed."

"Who benefits the most from this man killing a doctor?" Drake asked. "We certainly don't. Pro-life people certainly don't. It hurts us. It damages us, but Obama will indeed advance it. This will be one of those crises to take advantage of, and he's already done that."

Personally I think this further enhances Drake's chances for induction into the wingnut hall of fame but I do have one question for those like Drake that feel the need and believe in the power of prayer, especially imprecatory prayers. If they work so well, why not just pray that Obama and those of the pro-choice persuasion repent and see the "error of their ways"?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Didn't See It Coming?

So if you are a nationally known psychic with appearances on Oprah and Larry King, how is it that you didn't see this coming?
Denise M. Hall, 51, of East Arlington, was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return, after taking between $120,000 and $200,000 from her employer, Rosemary Altea of Dorset, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Darrow.

Hall was employed by Altea, a nationally known self-proclaimed psychic and "spiritual medium" who has appeared on "Oprah" and "Larry King Live," between 2001 and 2008 as an office manager and bookkeeper.

Sunday Funnies

The dilemma faced by someone trying to hold a discussion with those that require no evidence.



(Cartoon via Atheistcartoons.com)

Friday, June 12, 2009

More On Traditional Marriage

Regular readers here (ok, maybe there is 1 or 2) might remember my post on the many different biblical definitions of marriage. After yesterdays announcement of the firing of Miss California Carrie Prejean, whose quoting of one of those biblical definitions of marriage got her more press than the eventual winner of the Miss USA pageant (who won again?), a reminder of that post and this video from America's Best Christian Betty Bowers seemed fitting.

Chosen One Chooses Different Profession

As if Tibetan Buddhists don't have enough problems considering that whole being under oppressive Chinese rule thing, they now have a problem with their "chosen one". It seems the supposed reincarnation of spiritual leader Lama Yeshe, groomed for the job since childhood, has traded in his room at the monastery for a room at the Holiday Inn Express.
Instead of leading a monastic life, Osel Hita Torres now sports baggy trousers and long hair, and is more likely to quote Jimi Hendrix than Buddha.

Yesterday he bemoaned the misery of a youth deprived of television, football and girls. Movies were also forbidden – except for a sanctioned screening of The Golden Child starring Eddie Murphy, about a kidnapped child lama with magical powers. "I never felt like that boy," he said.

He is now studying film in Madrid and has denounced the Buddhist order that elevated him to guru status. "They took me away from my family and stuck me in a medieval situation in which I suffered a great deal," said Torres, 24, describing how he was whisked from obscurity in Granada to a monastery in southern India. "It was like living a lie," he told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. Despite his rebelliousness, he is still known as Lama Tenzin Osel Rinpoche and revered by the Buddhist community. A prayer for his "long life" still adorns the website of the Foundation to Preserve the Mahayana Tradition, which has 130 centres around the world. The website features a biography of the renegade guru that gushes about his peaceful, meditative countenance as a baby. In Tibetan Buddhism, a lama is one of a lineage of reincarnated spiritual leaders, the most famous of which is the Dalai Lama.

Wow, so for some reason he chose to give up a life of prayer, celibacy, and poverty for one with entertainment, fun, and women? I guess they are going to have to find another reincarnation of Lama Yeshe. So how does that work exactly?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quote Of The Day

Irony In Religion? Of course not but Twitter user tolstoyscat sure comes close.

Religious Irony: "I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness."

Reserve A Spot For Your Enemy

If praying for the eternal damnation of those you despise isn't enough, you can now guarantee their place in hell all for the bargain basement price of $12.79.
It is now possible to send yourself or someone you know deep into the pits of Hell to live a terrible life after death, but how?

Reserve A Spot In Hell is here for the sole purpose of allowing you the opportunity to secure yourself (or someone else) a spot within the depths of Hell. We understand that some people would rather live a life of crime and trickery and Heaven just doesn’t sound too appealing. Maybe the idea of floating around in Heaven, holding hands and singing songs doesn’t sound like your thing and you would rather be indulging yourself in hardcore drugs, consuming massive quantities of alcohol and committing all sorts of random acts of violence and crime. Or maybe you have someone that you don’t like and you want to make sure they suffer for the rest of their life. Either way, we are here to help.

So if you are Wiley Drake or some other wingnut praying for the deaths of those that aren't god fearing enough, why not be doubly sure that they don't share the fruits of the afterlife. Reserve their spot now and while you are at it, why not buy your way into heaven at the same time because you can never be too sure can you?

(h/t - Pharyngula)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Next Up For God's Wrath?

Fresh off their "successful" campaign to get Dr George Tiller's abortion clinic closed, the fringe wing of the Christian right is moving on to their next project led by wingnut pastor Wiley Drake. Drake who openly admitted praying for Tiller's death is now focusing his hateful prayers in the name of god towards Barack Obama.
A former Southern Baptist Convention officer who on June 2 called the death of abortion provider George Tiller an answer to prayer said later in the day he is also praying “imprecatory prayer” against President Obama.

Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., and former running mate of American Independent Party presidential candidate Alan Keyes, said June 2 on Fox News Radio he didn’t understand why people were upset with his comments

“Imprecatory prayer is agreeing with God, and if people don’t like that, they need to talk to God,” Drake syndicated talk-show host Alan Colmes. “God said it, I didn’t. I was just agreeing with God.”

Kind of puts a whole new spin on "Love thy enemies" doesn't it...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Militants Of All Stripes

Just about every faith(or lack thereof) has their own militant wing.



(Courtesy atheistcartoons.com)

UPDATE: This cartoon has even more meaning today as Christian extremists have accomplished their goal and gotten Dr. Tiller's abortion clinic closed with one bullet. Oh and while our local anti-abortion blogger, Pastor Hickey, half heartedly denounced the killing to the dismay of some, a few of his readers are rejoicing.

Fundamentalist Muslim Sex Advice?

Would you read a book on sexual advice for women from this person? Well apparently she is an author of a book on just that subject.



So exactly how many different ways are there for you to say "do whatever your husband wants because women are second class citizens that must obey his every wish or be subject to severe punishment"?

Then again, Catholics take marriage advice from priests that have never been married so I guess anything is possible...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Spiting Your Face

I am sure that you are keenly aware that you as a tax payer are now a proud 60% owner of GM so what is your next move? How about trying to boycott them out of business.
The far right wing of the American political spectrum has begun channeling its displeasure over the federal government's involvement in the restructuring of General Motors into calls for a boycott of the company's products. Reportedly spearheaded by right wing pundits and radio show hosts, the boycott would be a response to the U.S. government taking a 60% stake in GM in exchange for forgiving most of the tens of billions of dollars loaned to the company over the last six months...

...Therefore, a successful boycott of GM products could have the adverse effect of driving the company into liquidation. This would eliminate any hope of getting reimbursed for the tens of billions in loans that the government has given GM.

At least the righties are consistent, not too bright, but consistent. Now where was that next tea party again?

Keeping The Patient Pool Large

I will leave the reasoning for universal healthcare to my much more knowledgeable blogging colleague Cory over at the Madville Times and his buddy Dennis Kucinich but I thought you might want to keep this story in mind the next time you are writing that huge check or looking at your pay stub seeing what is being sent to your health insurer (if you can afford it at all that is).
Health insurers want you to keep smoking, Harvard doctors say

Health and life insurance companies in the US and abroad have nearly $4.5 billion invested in tobacco stocks, according to Harvard doctors.

It’s the combined taxidermist and veterinarian approach: either way you get your dog back,” says David Himmelstein, an internist at the Harvard Medical School and co-author of a letter published in this week’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The largest tobacco investor on the list, the 160-year old Prudential company with branches in the US and the UK, has more than $1.5 billion invested in tobacco stocks. The runner-up was Toronto-based Sun Life Financial, which apparently holds over $1 billion in Philip Morris (Altria) and other tobacco stocks. In total, seven companies that sell life, health, disability, or long-term care insurance, have major holdings in tobacco stock.

Why is it a big deal? “If you own a billion dollars [of tobacco stock], then you don’t want to see it go down,” says Himmelstein, “You are less likely to join anti-tobacco coalitions, endorse anti-tobacco legislation, basically, anything most health companies would want to participate in.”

But with $4.5 billion still invested in Big Tobacco, many insurers are reaping profits from a cancer-causing industry. As Himmelstein puts it, “Is this who we want running our healthcare system?”

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Secular Nations Less Warlike?

For some reason, it appears that nations that do not base their policies on the mythological beliefs of religion live a more peaceful existence. At least that seems to be the most logical conclusion based on the 2009 Global Peace Index results of most peaceful countries compared with the World Values Survey data listing percentages of population in each country that identify themselves with a certain religious belief or lack thereof.

Atheist nations are more peaceful

global-peace-index.png

Considering the large percentage of wars throughout history that were fought in the name of one religion or another including a few going on right now, these results shouldn't be very suprising should they?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Airports have been the big target in our local blogosphere lately. In particular my Republican brethren have been targeting stimulus money being used to do some runway work at Jack Murtha's local airport in Pennsylvania. While the $800,000 going to Johnstown's 3 flight a day regional zit of an airport might seem like a bad use of funds and make for good fodder to be used to slam our Democratic Congress woman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, local airport funding issues continue to be ignored.

At the time of the hit pieces over at the War College I tried to highlight some of the wasteful spending happening in our own backyard including the $677 per passenger EAS (Essential Air Service) subsidies that had been going to Brookings Regional airport. This is the same funding which had originally been stopped but was eventually re-instated by John Thune though it currently sits unused because of the lack of an airline commitment to fly out of the airport. Also rarely mentioned was the $1.4 million in stimulus money given to Pierre to help build their new terminal.

I'll be the first to admit that Pierre is in dire need of a new airport and in fact a recent $200,000 study funded by a government grant came to that same conclusion. Anyone that has been to Pierre's airport can confirm that it is not the kind of first impression our state capitol would like to convey. With that said, $1.4 million from Uncle Sam would seem like a nice chunk to put towards the new terminal though some interesting info that I recently was made aware of regarding those tax dollars might make you go hmm.

It seems the only strings attached to the stimulus money is that it be used this year. The city of Pierre is not required to match it or show that they have the remaining funding in place to complete the project (they don't by the way). So what exactly will your $1.4 million buy you? In this case it will buy you a new parking lot and a foundation with utility hookups and not much else.

So as things stand right now. US taxpayers have given Pierre a brand new slab of concrete with no guarantee of much else though I am being told that every effort is being made to get the funding to add a few walls and a roof at some point in the future. Nice use of your money...

Oh and remember that $200,000 grant that funded the airport study? It seems that it did come with strings attached that could end up making the city of Pierre responsible for paying it back if they do not act on it's recommendations.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

His Lips Are Moving

Dick Cheney was speaking again and as usual the BS was flowing. The latest stop on his defend the atrocities committed during the last 8 years tour was at the National Press Club and a couple of things caught my eye this time around.

Topping the list was Cheney again touting the need for Guantanamo Bay. Obviously his support for this torture camp is no surprise but I found this statement to be the most telling yet as to why Cheney really wants all the prisoners kept outside of the US and the possibility of them walking our streets has nothing to do with it no matter what he or John Thune would scare you into believing like you to believe.
Cheney said if the jail had not existed, captured terrorists would have had to have been brought to the United States where they would have legal rights denied to them at Guantanamo.

Keep them out of our country so that we can pretty much do anything we want to them, finally a straight answer for why they feel the need to keep Gitmo open! (though isn't a US military base actually US soil?) And speaking of straight, Cheney also had some choice and un-Cheney like words on gay marriage.
"I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone," Cheney said in a speech at the National Press Club. "I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish."

Okay so if you disregard for a moment Cheney coming out in support of freedom "for everyone" in the same speech he is advocating withholding it, where was this sentiment when he was President had the President's ear? Or did it just take his openly gay daughter Mary this long to get him to come around...

Stay tuned, Cheney is writing a book so we still have a lot more of him to deal with before he fades into history. What will he say next?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sports And Faith

I've had this post bouncing around in my head ever since last Saturday when my Cleveland Cavaliers finished off another sports season without a Cleveland team winning a championship. I wasn't sure if I was going to write about it but an article from Hemant Mehta about how Magic center Dwight Howard places his team's success squarely on god's shoulders pretty much forced me to write something.

You see this year was going to be different. We had the "chosen one" in Lebron James and we finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA. We swept through the first 2 rounds winning all 8 games by at least 10 points and were only 4 wins away from a date with destiny against Kobe and the Lakers. But that shot at destiny hit the latest in a series of speed bumps that Cleveland fans have had to endure for 45 years.

I am sure that most sports fans even those not from Cleveland have heard of "The Interception", "The Drive", "The Fumble", "The Shot", and "The Choke". All of these are famous phrases from Cleveland sports history and all refer to massive collapses by Cleveland sports teams on the brink of winning championships and now listening to Howard we will have to add "Divine Intervention" to the growing list of Cleveland sports failures.

I have always laughed when sports figures thanked god for their successes on the sporting front. Like somehow that mythical guy in the sky would care who won a freakin baseball game and I always wondered why the same athletes never chastised that same god when they failed miserably but the fact that these athletes believed so strongly that god was in their corner got me thinking.

If god was somehow picking sides in sporting events, how could anyone from Cleveland still have faith in that god? If these athletes were right and some mythical god was responsible for their victories, a Cleveland sports fan would have to think that god hates them.

What other explanation could there be for allowing the Elway's and the Jordan's of the world to consistently dash their hopes and dreams. God helped Dwight Howard's Magic to beat the Cavs? So why didn't he guide Brian Sipes' pass in the endzone out of the hands of Lester Hayes in 1980 or give Jose Mesa the strength to close out game 7 of the 1997 World Series or otherwise intervene in even one of the several chances Cleveland has had to win a championship during the last 45 years?

Now I am sure that the faithful are reading this saying that this is just silly. Of course god isn't picking sides in something as trivial as sporting events, he obviously has more important things to worry about. Try explaining that to a Cleveland sports fan sometime or better yet just tell athletes to stick to their usual cliche filled unintelligible doublespeak and stay away from religion when being interviewed.

Caption This

This is just wrong on so many levels.



(Courtesy The Most Awesome Stuff Ever via Facebook)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Headline Of The Day

Leave it to The Onion to connect the dots between right-wing Christian terrorism and abortion especially in light of the murder of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas yesterday. Classic Onion story from 1998
Christ Kills Two, Injures Seven In Abortion-Clinic Attack

HUNTSVILLE, AL–Jesus Christ, son of God and noted pro-life activist, killed two and critically wounded seven others when He opened fire in the waiting room of a Huntsville abortion clinic Tuesday.

Security guards at the Women's Medical Clinic of Huntsville were able to disarm the Messiah before He could reload His weapon, a secondhand Glock 9mm pistol that authorities said He purchased legally at a Jackson, MS, sporting-goods store. "Abortion is a sin," said Christ as He was led away in handcuffs. "It is an abomination in the eyes of Me." Witnesses said the attack, which took the lives of Dr. Nelson Woodring, 51, and clinic nurse Danielle Costa, 29, came from "out of nowhere."

While The Onion story is satire, the suspected killer's probable ties to radical right wing groups, in this case Operation Rescue and the Montana Freemen is not, and just further highlights the problem of home grown extremism in the name of religion that is becoming harder and harder to deny.

Sorry, Muslim's don't have a monopoly on the religious extremism market.

Some Folks Have Too Much Time On Their Hands

I got an interesting email from Twitter yesterday. It seems that I have drawn the attention of god (HolyGod that is) and he is now following me on that popular social networking site. Putting aside that whole imaginary deity thing for a moment, I'm not sure what is more disturbing, the idea of "god" on Twitter or the fact that Rush Limbaugh has more followers.

Again it needs to be said, some folks just have way too much time on their hands.
picture-2

UPDATE: I guess I am experiencing the wrath of god as HolyGod has stopped following me (was it something I said?) but never fear I still have AlmightyGod in my corner.

Community Blogroll

atheist

You may or may not have noticed a new feature recently added to my sidebar. The Atheist blogroll is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. Be sure and check out these sites and if you are an Atheist or Agnostic blogger and would like to promote your blog and the community, head over and see Mojoey over at Deep Thoughts to find out how.