Stewart’s Rally to Restore Inanity
Sunday October 31st 2010, 10:02 am

*sigh*I had immensely high hopes for the Stewart/Colbert rally in DC- high enough to get me out of bed at 3:00AM local time to watch the online stream.

It had all the trappings of making a difference- satellite rallies all over the planet, big splashes in mainstream media, celebrity endorsements (Oprah ‘anti-vaccination’ Winfrey, no less), a crazy amount of Twitter chatter, drew around 150,000 215,000 people to The Mall in DC… but then near the end, Keith Olbermann was cited as an hyperbolic offender of the ilk of Glenn Beck. That’s a false equivalency that pulled the rug out from under the whole thing.

Olbermann is not in any way, shape or form comparable to Beck. Olbermann’s an editorialist but doesn’t distort and lie. Beck is a complete corkscrew nutball tinfoil-hatted fantasist who spreads fear using hate speech for fun and profit.

In his attempt to appear moderate, Stewart changed the tone of the event such that it became a clarion call for inanity. To quote @UncommonRecords: “All Stewart really represents is the thought that if you are passionate about ANYTHING, you must be a radical.” While that may be a bit of a generalisation, that’s where the tone of the event landed when Stewart threw Olbermann under the bus.

Sorry, Jon, but you stepped on your dick.


The kind of atheist I’m not
Friday October 22nd 2010, 10:10 pm

I was raised in the 1960s by an upstanding pair of parents in a rather conventional US midwestern household. Mom was a hairdresser when she wasn’t housewifing and Dad was an elementary school teacher and later, principal. As a schoolteacher in that place and time, one was expected to keep up appearances, so Sis and I were dutifully shepherded off to a Lutheran church every Sunday. Even as a 7 year old, I had a belting voice and could rattle the rafters, so I was put in the choir. There was a Sunday school after the church service. The high point was doughnuts in the church basement after the service. Bring on the cream sticks with chocolate icing.

But somehow, Pastor Buchholz never was able to get one rather core idea through my head- that there really was a god. Even as a kid-kid, completely innocent of any contact with anyone who professed a lack of belief in gods, I thought the whole idea of an all-powerful invisible man was just about the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard. The idea that the Earth was created in 7 days by some bloke snapping his fingers was a total implausibility. The NASA Apollo missions were ongoing at the time and I was very much a big science geek kid. As such, I had a fairly realistic idea that an Earth would be pretty hard to cook in just 7 days and that it was just a tiny speck in a very large universe full of such specks. It was immediately obvious to me that humans were animals like any other and that save a few differences, not terribly special by comparison.

I didn’t think everyone who did believe in gods was a blithering moron, because in the midwestern USA in the 1960s, that would have been… well, everyone. Probably the most accurate term to describe my relationship with religion was indifference.

One day when I was perhaps 9, Dad piped up and asked Sis and I if we would mind much if we didn’t go to church anymore. This sounded to me like more pancakes and comics on Sunday, far superior to getting in uncomfortable clothes and schlepping off to a place full of people I really didn’t care to see, to listen to some man in a gown tell me more and more about something that I couldn’t possibly care less about. Waytago, Dad! More pancakes, please.

And so ended my relationship with religion for a good long time.  As a schoolkid through the 1970s, I always identified as a non-believer and simply ignored any religious activities promoted through the school. (more…)

Aus govt thumbs nose at separation of church & state, blows $1.5m on MacKillop crap
Friday October 15th 2010, 8:00 am

MacKillop celebrations funding a waste, say atheists

The Atheist Foundation of Australia has criticised the amount of Federal Government funding for celebrations over the canonisation of Mary MacKillop.

Blessed Mary (1842-1909) passed the first stage to sainthood when pope John Paul II beatified her in 1995, after recognising a first miracle attributed to her in which a woman was said to have been cured of terminal leukaemia.

Last year the Vatican decreed she has cured a woman with inoperable cancer, giving her the second miracle she needed for canonisation.

She will be canonised on October 17 as Australia’s first Catholic saint.

The foundation says the $1.5 million is a waste of taxpayers’ money for a cause that has no right to be government subsidised.

President David Nicholls says the funding could be better spent in areas like cancer research.

“That is $1.5 million taken from every taxpayer. Now we know in Australia 50 per cent of the population don’t have a god in their life at all, why are we continually spending money on this?” he said.


So, do dead nuns really cure cancer? A larger statistical study should be performed.


MOAR: Dave (The Happy) Singer tweets:

Seriously. What is the world coming to when the Cancer Council issues a press release saying, ‘No, wishing on a corpse doesn’t cure cancer’?