Mashup: Intelligent design creationism vs. Dr Seuss

26 06 2008

(Click image to see the slideshow)

Genius. Via Pharyngula.

Your taxes, hard at work . . .

1 06 2008

. . . funding the teaching of pseudoscience at Sydney’s Pacific Hills Christian School, where, according to Friendly Atheist,

students were being taught the following spectrum of beliefs in regards to evolution:

Somehow, this teacher places Intelligent Design to the right of Theistic Evolutionist. That makes sense…

More at Open Parachute and Maralyn Parker. I’m not opposed in principle to federal funding of private schools: every dollar spent on the education of students is money well spent, as far as I’m concerned. But the emphasis in that previous sentence should be placed on education. I don’t support telling lies to schoolchildren at the taxpayer’s largess ($200,000 in the case of Pacific Hills, as of June 2007), thanks. If you want to lie for Jesus to your kids, do it with your own money.

And while you’re at it, fire that sad excuse for a teacher, whose lesson plan appears to have been inspired by this creationist website.

Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XIII

3 05 2008
  1. The Mayor of Birmingham, Alabama is sick and tired of all the crime and other problems afflicting his city, so he’s decided to take action. He wants a practical solution. And what’s his solution? Prayer.

    But not just any old prayer. Langford is going to sponsor prayers of repentance by folks dressed in sackcloth and ashes – just like they did in Old Testament days. [. . .] To make sure everyone has appropriate attire, the mayor has reportedly ordered 2,000 sacks. (Presumably, one size fits all.)

    Do not adjust your sets. (Americans United)

  2. Muslim organisations such as the Australian National Imams Council and Muslims For Peace are taking a page out of David Horowitz’s book and calling upon the University of Western Sydney to review the content of the Women in Arabic and Islamic Literature course, complaining that it promotes a negative view of women in Islam, and “an emphasis on sexuality and a sexually explicit content that is not reflective of normative Islam.” Muslims For Peace (certainly not to be confused with Muslims For Irony) also wants the University to fire lecturer Samar Habib, and has declared that “Muslims should fear Almighty Allah and break all connections with this diabolical centre of Kufr (non-believers).” (The Australian)
  3. By the way, an eight-year-old girl in Yemen has been granted a divorce from her 28-year-old husband, who, while denying beating her, admits the marriage was consummated. (AFP)
  4. In the US, military installations have been used to promote Christian Fundamentalism, as military officials worked with members of the far-right Focus on the Family to promote the recent National Day of Prayer. The military officials involved had to sign an oath stating that they believe “that the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of The Living God” and that “Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only One by which I can obtain salvation and have an ongoing relationship with God,” and promising to “ensure a strong, consistent Christian message throughout the nation” and that National Day of Prayer events held on their bases would be “conducted solely by Christians.” (OpEdNews)
  5. GodTube claims: “Every whole food has a pattern that resembles a body organ. This could only be achieved by intellectual design.” (Pharyngula)

Is there a difference between lying and lying for Jesus?

9 04 2008

If you’ve spent any length of time in the atheosphere over the past month, you’ll be aware of the by-now-infamous “Expelled from Expelled” debacle involving PZ Myers. Myers himself gives the most entertaining account of what happened (but see also Matt’s series of posts on this incident). Basically, the producers of Expelled have been so desperate to get bums on seats that until very recently (hmmm) they were encouraging people to sign up on the movie’s website for private screenings, and to bring guests. Myers (who appears in the film as is thanked in the credits) signed up, arrived at the Mall of America screening with guests in tow, had his name checked off, and was then pulled out of the queue by a security guard, acting on the specific instructions of the producers, who threatened Myers with arrest if he attempted to enter the theatre. What the producers failed to notice is that one of Myers’ guests was none other than Richard Dawkins (who has written his own piece on the incident), who announced his presence to an ashen-faced producer Mark Mathis in the Q & A session after the screening.

Sure, it’s one hell of an own goal for the creationist movement, but for me the bigger irony lies in the tremendous amount of spin the producers and other ID luminaries have attempted to put on this incident, given Expelled‘s overarching thesis–that evolution –> atheism –> the Holocaust–and, by implication, antievolutionists’ claim to the moral high ground. (The motto of the production company behind Expelled reads as follows: “Producing world class media that stirs the heart and inspires the mind to truth, purpose and hope.” (Emphasis added.)) The creationists have been manifestly dishonest about the “Expelled from Expelled” fiasco–that much is certain–but they also seem to think they’re doing the right thing.

So here’s my question. Under what circumstances is mendacity theologically, ideologically or ethically justifiable?


22 02 2008

Take a vat of whine, add a heaped tablespoon of chutzpah, and you have the perfect recipe for an RWA on the losing side of an argument. 3 cases in point: Read the rest of this entry »

Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City V

19 01 2008

The week in fundie (updated) . . .

  1. Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins agrees with Mike Huckabee that the US Constitution should be “updated” to align with “Biblical standards.”

    What’s more troubling, Dan: Huckabee saying that we should have–reflect in our Constitution biblical standards of life and marriage–which, by the way, our nation has held throughout most of its history–or, a candidate who subscribes to Darwin’s theory of evolution and ‘survival of the fittest’ proposing a health care program? (PageOneQ)

  2. On the subject of Huckabee, Salon reports on the amount of Christian reconstructionist pies in which the Republican candidate has inserted his fingers. See also this comprehensive report by Chris Hedges at Truthdig.
  3. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland has an enlightened new policy regarding employees and volunteers making anonymous reports of sexual abuse of minors that can be summed in four words: shut the fuck up. (AP)
  4. Evidently Expelled, Ben Stein’s “documentary” promoting intelligent design creationism, is so bad that producers are actually paying people to see it. (via Pharyngula)
  5. Pan MacMillan too scared to release an unauthorised book on Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology to the Australian market. (Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion)
  6. It’s “too expensive” to be an atheist. (The Jakarta Post)

Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City

9 12 2007

Given that I’ve had to reincarnate FPO in WordPress anyway, I’ve decided to revamp the Wonderful World of Magical Thinking series ever so slightly with a new title, “Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City,” taken from Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Entries will still be categorised under the label “Magical Thinking,” and will still bring you the latest news, both depressing and amusing, in fundamentalism, irrationalism and dogmatism. Without further ado . . .

The week in fundie . . .

  1. Republican presidential candidate sums up his commitment to liberal democracy with a simple remark: “Freedom requires religion.” (CNN)
  2. Texas Education Authority director is forced to resign for her bias in favour of teaching science in the science classroom. (The Austin-American Statesman)
  3. Canadian secular humanist group Family of the Heart has a page of conference papers and presentations on Fundamentalism that is worth exploring.
  4. North Dakota middle school teacher shows her class the GodTube “Letter from Hell” in order to–get this–show the effects of drunken driving.”(Via Pharyngula)
  5. Only the fundamentalist brain could have dreamed up this equation: Prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity = “homosexual indoctrination.”