I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed watching this

Gee, I seem to remember something in the Christian scriptures about not bearing false witness.

Ahh, wait. That’s Old Testament. Never mind it, then.

Focus on the Family, just to be clear, is not a “fringe organization” or representative of an “ignored minority.”  FotF is, by all accounts, the most influential evangelical group in the United States, and untold millions of Christians ate up James Dobson’s bullshit every day on his radio program (including yours truly, once upon a time).

So if you’re thinking of complaining that atheists like me get bent out of shape over mere straw-men or extremists, think again. These people are knowingly spreading misinformation to a huge portion of my countrymen, who don’t even think twice to question it because they’d rather trust a prick with a bible and a psychology degree than make the effort to read actual scientific research.

And what’s worse, these people vote.

A Yearbook Page from 1943

Notice anything… different? (Click to embiggen, if it’s too hard to read)

That’s right. This was in those days prior to the phrase “Under God” being forcibly thrust like a splintery wooden dildo added into the Pledge of Allegiance. Back before people were willing to ignore the Constitution just to stick a thumb in the eye of millions of non-believers.

“Part of this country’s history,” my black messianic ass. More like revisionist history.

(via reddit)

First it was “Creation Science,” then it was “Intelligent Design,” and now… “Non-Evolution”

So there’s this legislator in my home state who seems to think that simply stating the opposite of a well-established scientific principle counts as a theory in itself. Despite the fact that his “theory” has no evidential leg to stand on.

We (and by “we” I mean “they,” and by “they,” I mean “ill-informed zealots” which are actually the worst kind of zealot) used to call this “Creation Science,” employing the popular-yet-misguided notion that adding the word “science” makes something scientific (to see why this is complete bullshit, one need look no further than Scientology). Certain irrational citizens of our country thought that it should be taught alongside evolution, which is kinda like saying that Rick Moranis deserves to play in the NBA. No… actually it’s like saying that Lucky the Lucky Charms Leprechaun deserves to play in the NBA.

Long story short, they were wrong, and the courts agreed.

After that, they made yet another attempt to teach religion as science, only this time they called it “Intelligent Design.” Same tired arguments. Same utter lack of evidence. So, naturally, the results in the judicial system didn’t change.

Now they’re back, echoing the same vacuous sentiments, dressed up in yet another pretentious title: non-evolution. With any luck, this story will be the last we hear of it, but if history is any indication, I don’t think it’s likely to stop here. Quite fitting when you think about it… the movement rallying against evolution refusing to evolve itself?

The irony is not lost on me.

Joe Nickell on Demon Possession

As these examples from my own work as a skeptical demonologist show, belief in demons and the Devil merely harks back to a time of ignorance and superstition. We may well wonder—if we are to use the word at all—what has possessed the Roman Catholic Church to believe, or pretend to believe, otherwise.

…and with that, Joe Nickell officially solidifies his position of a Grade A badass in my book.

For those unwilling to read this brilliant and short breakdown of some of the more ridiculous aspects of Christian superstition, I’ll save you some time. There is no devil. There are no demons. Belief in either is sad, misguided, irrational and completely useless (except at allowing a believer to absolve oneself of responsibility for his or her actions).

Fox News Says Heaven is Real. Evidence: a Little Boy’s Hallucination.

Most hilarious line: “So many people want to know what you now know…”

Come on, people. Is this how you want our generation to be remembered? In thousands of years, when future generations unearth our culture, do you really want them to say, “Wow! Look at this. These people actually thought that one little boy’s anesthesia-induced hallucinations were valid evidence for an afterlife!”

Seriously, if you would actually recount this story to someone as evidence for an afterlife (in any context other than a joke), I’d like you to wear aluminum foil on your head, so’s we know who you are.

The Short Rebuttal (which any one of the idiots down at Fox News could have done, if they’d taken literally five minutes to do the research):

  1. Experiencing hallucinations while under general anesthesia is a well-known, common phenomena. There’s nothing unusual about seeing things that aren’t there, feeling like you’re “outside your body,” or having intense feelings of euphoria when you’re being put under.
  2. Even ignoring the anesthesia, NDEs and OBEs are also very common phenomena, occasionally triggered when the brain loses oxygen. So what we have are at least two natural, common, well-documented explanations that were completely ignored by Fox News’ crack research team. Figures.
  3. A bronze-age Palestinian Jewish carpenter with blue eyes? Srsly?!
  4. Even if the god this boy saw was big enough to hold the world in the palm of his hand, he’d still be infinitely smaller than the universe itself. So… proportion fail.
  5. Let me get this straight… there was absolutely no way that the kid could have known that at least one of his very religious parents would be praying for him as he was about to be cut open? (See: definition of “naive“)
  6. It’s Fox News.
  7. If this boy had seen Allah and Muhammad while under the influence of general anesthesia (akin to what happened to this woman, for instance), I’m willing to bet my life savings that it would have been dismissed as a meaningless hallucination in no time.

Are atheist women out there?

This article I read yesterday got me thinking about the general state of the atheist movement. (I refuse to succumb to calling it the “New Atheist” movement, because there really is nothing new about the fact there’s never been any good reason to believe in a god)

The first thing I thought is that the author is quite wrong: I can think of more than a few strong female atheist leaders. Annie Laurie Gaylor, Rebecca Goldstein, Rebecca Watson, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Susan Jacoby, and Eugenie Scott come to mind.

But it does seem that there are fewer women who express disbelief in god than men. I’ve always wondered why. I refuse to believe that it has anything to do with the false contentions that women are less rational than men, or that women rely much more on emotions than on intellect. Thousands of years of human history should serve as testament that this isn’t the case.

Women are every bit as insightful as men, and from my own experience, women are also a lot better at knowing bullshit when they hear it. So why the lapse?

Perhaps there are just as many disbelievers in the female population as there are in the male population, but males are simply more vocal about it?

It would be a little upsetting if this were the case. One place I do agree with the author is in this particular passage:

Given the immense harm many organized religions inflict on women through outright violence and institutional oppression, it seems women may have more to gain than men from exiting their faith. Yet no women are currently recognized as leaders or even mentioned as a force within the movement.

Religion (the world’s major ones in particular) deals women the worst hand possible. If they’re not treated outright as property, then they’re commanded to keep quiet and obey their husbands in modest servility. Time after time, I see religious women actually defending these passages and commandments. I would think women would be the first ones waiting to break free from the chains placed on them by an imaginary deity invented by prehistoric misogynists, and the first ones to speak out against this rubbish.

So I pass the question onto you, ladies. Do you believe in a god or not? Either way, why do you think women aren’t as vocal about atheism as men are?