atheist news feeds

When Creationist Idiots Say “Only a Theory”

Crackpot Chronicle - February 16, 2014 - 6:01pm

Written by Johnny O’Coileain (Add him on Facebook)

Editor, One Nation Under Nothing

(Picture Source)

Recently, I had the disdainful, roaring, pants-shitting displeasure of reading an article about a South Carolina state senator who blocked evolution from the state’s biology curriculum. Spoken with the eloquence of a baboon taking a dump from its bright blue ass, this semi-educated primate postulated:

“I don’t have a problem with teaching theories. I don’t think it should be taught as fact…”

Sen. Mike Fair, the guy responsible for the above verbal murder scene, seems to think facts and theories are separate ideas. It’s understandable, because those who elected him obviously believe intelligence and law-making are separate as well. Mr. Fair suffers from the common psychological delusion of definition switching. It’s typical of having an educational deficiency. He is, in fact, using the definition of “hypothesis,” a tentative explanation, while superficially saying “theory” instead.

It’s important in describing this brand of intellectual bankruptcy. If we traverse the steps in the scientific method, we notice that people of faith never move beyond the hypothetical stage. Stopping all inquiry at a hypothesis, for them, is completely valid. The psychological disconnect between “facts” and “theories” eludes them because imagining the complete picture is purposely stifled.

If the information in Sen. Fair’s brain were written into books, there wouldn’t be enough to fill a fanny pack. “Theory,” as it’s used by science, arises from facts. Theories unite collections of facts to explain a natural phenomenon. Just as animal or plant cells construct lifeforms, they are one-and-equal. The germ theory of disease, and gravity, are technically theories. If a creationist contracted herpes while jumping off a cliff, I wonder how they’ll “theoretically” feel?

The creationist mindset stops at the halfway point; and thus, imagining the rest of the equation becomes impossible. This is a consequence of someone with crippled knowledge trying to run an intellectual marathon. Sorry bro, but your brain is broken in five places. Sen. Fair also regurgitated:

“To teach that natural selection is the answer to origins is wrong.”

When did science take sides on moral opinions? That’s like saying teaching chemistry is wrong because it pisses off alchemists. Why aren’t we giving “equal time” in chemistry class for alchemy? This isn’t “wrong,”: it’s “incorrect”. Morality takes sides. Science doesn’t. Nature unfolds regardless of belief. When “right” and “wrong” replaces “correct” and “incorrect,” science adopts the veneer of religious infighting. In this light, it ceases to be science.

Also, evolution by natural selection doesn’t “answer” the “origins” of life. Evolution explains what happened AFTER life already originated. Genetic traits can’t be selected for unless they exist. Just as creationists confuse facts and theories, they confuse life’s origins with something that occurs after it originates.

I don’t blame Sen. Fair; I blame the people that ever considered him a political option. Creationist politicians aren’t the cause of intellectual degradation. Like the later stages of a disease, they’re a symptom that things were already degraded. Unless the population experiences a rise in science literacy, the politicians they choose will only be a reflection of them. 

Those excuses look awfully familiar

Pharyngula - February 16, 2014 - 5:18pm

Feminist Philosophers

Hmm. Seems to be missing “It’s a guy thing.”

Categories: Our friends

You can talk about the Nye/Blackburn debate here

Pharyngula - February 16, 2014 - 3:24pm

I watched it, and I was unimpressed. Blackburn had a smirk on her face that was baked in rock solid; Nye couldn’t close the deal; the moderator was trying so hard to be “fair” to both sides when Blackburn was full of shit. I just about threw something through the TV screen when she made that absurd argument that CO2 has only gone from 320ppm to 400ppm. Lying with a smile; it’s what the right wing frauds are great at.

Let’s look at the positive benefits of carbon! Yeah, and let’s look at the benefits of ocean-front property in central Pennsylvania.

Here’s an antidote.

Hey, why couldn’t they get someone like Peter Sinclair to debate that congressfool?

Categories: Our friends

[Lounge #451]

Pharyngula - February 16, 2014 - 10:08am

This is the lounge. You can discuss anything you want, but you will do it kindly.

Status: Heavily Moderated; Previous thread

Categories: Our friends

Free CONvergence passes!

Pharyngula - February 16, 2014 - 9:55am

Trust me. You don’t want to be in Minnesota in February — only the hardiest and most foolish people can survive it. Minnesota in July, though, is a whole different thing, and I suspect that even a soft, pampered Texan might be able to cope with a visit to the north then.

And 3-6 July, in Bloomington, Minnesota, is where CONvergence takes place, which hosts the annual Skepchickcon science track. You want to come to Minnesota for that.

To help you get there, Surly Amy is giving away convention passes — just follow the link, make a comment, and add the line “ADD MY NAME TO THE HAT”. That’s it. You’re in the drawing for a free convention pass.

Then you just have to show up in Minnesota. In July. Not yet, you’ll regret it if you’re so eager that you show up this early. Wait a few months for us to thaw out.

Categories: Our friends

Hawaii Church Reaches Settlement in Atheist Lawsuit Over Public School Rentals - Christian News Network

"Atheist" in google news - February 16, 2014 - 9:44am

Christian News Network

Hawaii Church Reaches Settlement in Atheist Lawsuit Over Public School Rentals
Christian News Network
HONOLULU, Hawaii – A church in Hawaii has reached a settlement in an atheist lawsuit that asserted that five area churches had bamboozled area public schools out of millions in rental fees. As previously reported, the suit, Kahle v. New Hope ...

Categories: Atheist News

Apparently, atheism has been disproven

Pharyngula - February 16, 2014 - 9:41am

At least, that’s what a guy with some children’s toys thinks.

I take flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and milk and mix them up even more thoroughly than our smug Islamist fool does his Legos; then to be really, really sure, I put it in a 350° oven for 40 minutes and totally destroy the original ingredients. And out comes…CAKE (no lie!).

Thus, I have disproven god.

Look, their argument is invalid. You can’t talk about a chance-driven process shaped by selection over billions of years and so blithely compare it to a few seconds of shaking, with no selection, of building blocks. You also cannot compare one specific possible combinatorial outcome out of an uncountably vast number of possibilities and say, presto, that you didn’t get this one result implies that the process doesn’t work. Every poker hand, with its improbable individual likelihood, does not in any way imply that dealing cards is impossible.

Categories: Our friends

That’s some pep talk

Pharyngula - February 16, 2014 - 9:26am

Today’s Doonesbury has a couple of characters reminiscing about being in the Iraq war in 2004…and they quote George W. Bush.

Is that real? I’ve been working hard to erase the Bush years from my memory, but did we really have a president that simple-minded in office just 5 years ago?

Yes, we did.

“Kick ass!” he quotes the president as saying. “If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can’t send that message. It’s an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal.”

“There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!”

‘We are better! Kill them! Demoooocraaaaacyyyyy!’

I am so disappointed in Obama. But it helps to remember the idiot in office before him.

Categories: Our friends

An atheist meets an al-Shabab 'recruiter' - BBC News

"Atheist" in google news - February 16, 2014 - 7:28am

BBC News

An atheist meets an al-Shabab 'recruiter'
BBC News
Abubakar Shariff Ahmed is not a hard man to find. Ask around in the Majengo area of Mombasa and people will know where he lives. But ask around too conspicuously and you are likely to arouse suspicion. Mr Ahmed is perhaps better known by his ...

Categories: Atheist News

Atheist Radio Host and Christian Filmmaker Come Together for Film - KTXL

"Atheist" in google news - February 16, 2014 - 3:54am

Atheist Radio Host and Christian Filmmaker Come Together for Film
An atheist radio show host and author, and a Christian filmmaker—who happen to be friends—came together to make “My Week in Atheism,” a film illustrating their friendship through talk shows, college debates, and atheist conventions they did together.

Categories: Atheist News

I’m back from the Creation Science Fair!

Pharyngula - February 15, 2014 - 7:36pm

And I don’t have a lot to say. If you were looking for horrifying tales of creationist stupidity and extravagant inanity, it wasn’t here — it was a fairly typical range of posters, of the same sort you’d see at a public school science fair. Some were descriptive, some were about experiments; some were mundane, some were a bit out there; some you could tell Mom & Dad did most of the work, some were clearly driven by the passion of the students; some were rather poor, some were really good examples of kid science. The only difference between this and a secular science fair was the requirement to include a Bible verse on the poster.

There were about 2 dozen exhibits in a hallway on a Christian bible college, so it was on the small side. It was fairly busy, though, with lots of adults having conversations with the kids.

I actually came out of it fairly optimistic. The organizers might want to skew the kids towards their bizarre mythology, but in practice, the kids were having none of it; they were playing with pulleys or breeding rabbits or testing water quality or talking about bees, and it was all about the evidence. Whether they like it or not, these kids are being given the tools to kick their tired Christian ideology to the curb. Give ‘em time. Let them keep thinking. Creationism is unsupportable by the honest application of the tools they are learning.

Also, surprisingly, the Bible verses on each poster were extremely encouraging. Nobody was testing biblical nonsense at all — there were no hypotheses, even, derived from the Bible. The overwhelming impression was that the kids had an idea they wanted to test first, and then, after the fact, slapped on a verse that somehow related to the experiment that they’d done. They were either non sequiturs or amusingly inappropriate. Take, for instance, this one:

That’s right: this student just compared the absorbency of diapers to Jesus. I hope they think this through and that the true meaning of the Bible becomes apparent to them.

This was another one I appreciated. The Bible says “fear and dread” of people will be upon all the birds and beasts, so this kid’s idea was to test whether that hypothesis was true by seeing if he could tame birds.

The result: yes, he could. Therefore, the Bible is false. Oh, wait, he didn’t actually say that.

Anyway, good work, kids. Keep ignoring the Bible or debunking it!

Categories: Our friends

NC School Under Fire for Not Approving Atheist Student Club - Christian Post

"Atheist" in google news - February 15, 2014 - 3:37pm

NC School Under Fire for Not Approving Atheist Student Club
Christian Post
The letter sent by the atheist groups argues that by not accepting the secular club, the school violated the Equal Access Act, which requires schools receiving government funds to allow student clubs to have equal access to school resources without ...

and more »
Categories: Atheist News

Ellen Page comes out

Pharyngula - February 15, 2014 - 9:13am

Very publicly, and with a very nice — if nervous — speech.

Categories: Our friends

I have discovered a time machine!

Pharyngula - February 15, 2014 - 8:56am

And I’m a little dizzy after a short jaunt to the 1950s. It turns out it’s really easy to find your way to 60 years in the past; just open the pages of the Wall Street Journal, where dinosaurs walk again, and they’ve got control of all of your money. They ran an amazing opinion piece on Valentine’s Day, giving advice to all you little women out there.

Think about it: If you spend the first 10 years out of college focused entirely on building your career, when you finally get around to looking for a husband you’ll be in your 30s, competing with women in their 20s. That’s not a competition in which you’re likely to fare well. If you want to have children, your biological clock will be ticking loud enough to ward off any potential suitors. Don’t let it get to that point.

That’s the whole story: the author is telling all the women that careers are a waste of time, you need to find yourself a man, and do it while you’re still as young as possible, because face it, when you’re 30, you are so over. We’re not even going to contemplate 40, and 50…OMG, you’re supposed to be dead.

I always wonder what the women with these attitudes are actually like. Do they admire mayflies? Do they think only the first quarter of their life is worth living?

Anyway, she has specific advice for all you ladies: go to college. You face a confusing dilemma, though, because men like their women young and stupid (did I mention that the author has also assumed a deep contempt for us guys?), so you should attend college as a kind of meat market, but don’t learn too much.

An extraordinary education is the greatest gift you can give yourself. But if you are a young woman who has had that blessing, the task of finding a life partner who shares your intellectual curiosity and potential for success is difficult. Those men who are as well-educated as you are often interested in younger, less challenging women.

Could you marry a man who isn’t your intellectual or professional equal? Sure. But the likelihood is that it will be frustrating to be with someone who just can’t keep up with you or your friends. When the conversation turns to Jean Cocteau or Henrik Ibsen, the Bayeux Tapestry or Noam Chomsky, you won’t find that glazed look that comes over his face at all appealing. And if you start to earn more than he does? Forget about it. Very few men have egos that can endure what they will see as a form of emasculation.

It’s also horribly cliche-ridden.

Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.

Grandma? Is that you? You’ve been reincarnated and are writing dating books for Republicans?

Categories: Our friends

Atheist gathering looks a lot like church - Alexandria Town Talk

"Atheist" in google news - February 15, 2014 - 4:56am

Atheist gathering looks a lot like church
Alexandria Town Talk
At Five Points, people file into The Building, many holding paper coffee cups from the shop across the street, for the first of two services of the atheist group Sunday Assembly. Launched in London more than a year ago by comedians Sanderson Jones and ...

and more »
Categories: Atheist News

My plans for the Creation Science Fair

Pharyngula - February 14, 2014 - 11:25pm

As I mentioned, I’ll be heading off to the Creation Science Fair early tomorrow morning. I’m aiming to get there around tenish, but I do have a 3 hour drive, and there are hints of snow tomorrow, so I may be a little late. Feel free to start without me.

Afterwards, let’s do lunch before I turn around and head home!

Categories: Our friends

Who set up the Nye/Blackburn debate?

Pharyngula - February 14, 2014 - 8:50pm

I find this mystifying. Bill Nye is going to do another debate this weekend, this time on climate change. At least one site considers this a bad idea, too.

This Sunday, “Meet the Press,” the renowned televised political news forum, will host a discussion of climate change — perhaps the single most pressing issue of our time — featuring a professional children’s entertainer and a Republican member of Congress. Yes, David Gregory will be refereeing a “debate” — their word — between “Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy’ and Tennessee Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.” Nye will be arguing the pro (climate change is real and bad) and Blackburn will be arguing the anti (climate change is made up and not bad). By the end, America will be just a little bit more stupid and doomed.

Marsha Blackburn is bonkers — not only is she a birther, a climate change denier, and a gun fondler, but she’s also corrupt and incompetent. As pointed out above, she’s being given a little more credibility by this ‘debate’.

Honestly, I expect that Nye will have no problem dealing with this wackaloon, but not because he’s brilliant on climate science…but because his opponent is a crank. Just like Ken Ham is a crank.

And that’s what I don’t get. Does Nye really want to get the reputation as the willing body ready to engage with the looniest side of any discussion, a status he’s going to reinforce with this event? It doesn’t do him any favors.

And why would Blackburn so readily accept the position of the Ken Ham proxy in this punching bag session? Is she that stupid? Or does she think playing the role of a Ken Ham equivalent is admirable?

Categories: Our friends

Hey Atheist! - (press release)

"Atheist" in google news - February 14, 2014 - 3:44pm (press release)

Hey Atheist! (press release)
After all, if the atheist had his way, there would be no faith to discuss. Their socialist utopia on earth would be better than heaven. To hear them speak, only the “faithful” are guilty of any miscarriage of justice. Nevertheless, there have been ...

Categories: Atheist News

The Tom Perkins system

Pharyngula - February 14, 2014 - 2:43pm

He has opened his mouth again. Tom Perkins, the privileged, overpaid rich guy who thinks the wealthy in America are as oppressed as the Jews under the Third Reich, has an ideal democratic system.

The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get the vote if you don’t pay a dollar in taxes. But what I really think is it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars, you get a million votes. How’s that?

Wait, why base votes on money? There’s an assumption there that what we value in citizens is their income.

Here’s the PZ Myers system: You don’t get the vote if you don’t graduate from high school. You get an extra vote for every year of graduate and post-graduate work at an accredited institution. Professors get an extra vote for every year post-tenure. (I am JOKING. This would be a horrible system.)

The Heinlein system: You don’t get the vote if you don’t serve at least four years in the military. You get an extra vote for every military rank above private that you achieve.

The compensation system: You get one vote for every day served in prison while innocent. You get 5 votes every time the police beat you while peacefully protesting. Every year that you work full time but get paid below the poverty level, you get an extra vote.

The albedo system: Instruments are used at the polling places to measure the albedo of your forehead, and all votes are scaled by that value. Might as well institutionalize it, right? And make it sciencey!

The nerd system: We develop an index that takes into account the number of Magic:The Gathering cards you own, the level of your D&D character, the bulk tonnage of your comic book collection, and your high score at Call of Duty/Harvest Moon, and use that to determine how many votes you get.

The astrological system: Point values are assigned to the zodiac signs. Pisces, of course, get the highest number of votes. Just because we’re the best.

The physiological system: Your erythrocyte count, sampled at the polling station, is multiplied by 1 for type O, 2 for type A or B, and 3 for type AB blood. Finally, cell surface glycoproteins get representation!

The young male system: Everyone gets into a pissing contest each year. You get a number of votes equal to the number of feet your stream reaches.

I’m sure there are other arbitrary vote weighting schemes you can come up with…and then we can vote on which is the best using some other vote weighting scheme!

Categories: Our friends

Atheist Group Launches Media Outlet; Calls It the 'New Godless Hub' for News - Christian Post

"Atheist" in google news - February 14, 2014 - 1:58pm

Atheist Group Launches Media Outlet; Calls It the 'New Godless Hub' for News
Christian Post
An atheist group has launched a secular-themed media outlet as their latest communications endeavor, describing the new website as the go-to place for all things "godless." The American Humanist Association launched their new "" media ...

and more »
Categories: Atheist News
Syndicate content