Friday, January 30, 2009

Marching in the Moral Vanguard

I know, I'm an atheist. I'm supposed to be immoral, evil, wretched, etc. I suppose I should be on board for whenever people lie or say completely horrible things, or are utter hypocrites. I feel like that's the expectation for my "moral station."

Well, sorry to disappoint. I mean, granted, my evil-o-meter is a little different from many of my religious friends', in that I don't see anything inherently wrong with "blasphemy," nor eatting shellfish, nor disobeying some pretty strict commandments to stone people for various offenses. I mean, sorry. I don't like stoning people, and I don't think it should be done.

So, here are three examples of things that I find morally reprehensible, in all my atheistic-baseness, below the fold. Take it for what you will.

First, a recently re-instated, un-excommunicated priest:

Yes. Indeed. Some Jews may have died, but none were gassed, no, never. There was no Holocaust. Just stories that got exaggerated. Funny, no? Especially since the Catholic Church would never have anything to do with that, or refuse to excommunicate any Nazi leaders. This is one of the same strategies that we see across all denialism - admit to the reasonableness of some part of a position, and then declare the rest as mere exaggeration and fantasy. We'll call it the "strength and weaknesses" approach.

"Well, microevolution, sure. We can observe that. No one in their right mind would doubt it. But macroevolution? Speciation? Clearly just exaggeration. Plus Darwinism leads to the Holocaust." (sorry, also a reductio ad Hitlerum there).

"Well, sure, some Jews died during the war, sure. Maybe a lot. But not millions! That's ridiculous! And gassing them? No, the Nazis never gassed anyone. Why would they?"

"Well, vaccines may have reduced some occurences of disease, but they contain mercury, which casues autism!....Oh, wait, you mean thimeresol isn't the same kind of, it breaks down in the body? Oh, and it hasn't been in most vaccines for years? ...Huh. Well, it must be the vaccine itself that causes autism!" (never mind that we're beginning to have serious outbreaks of otherwise preventable diseases...and, you know...children dying, for the sake of Jenny McCarthy's "mommy-instincts.")

"Well, sure the temperature has showed a steady increase, but it can't have anything to do with humans!"

It's all the same. The trends in denialism run rampant and obvious.

Via PZ at Pharyngula.

Second, it's apparently alright for 10-year old girls to be married. Yeah, funny story, it's actually those of us who think that marriage should be reserved for consenting adults that have been acting immorally all this time and going against the will of God. Well, damn. Look at that turn-around. It's sort of like saying "You know, murder is probably wrong," and having someone come back with "Well, maybe those who don't murder are the ones who are wrong. God tells us to murder all the time!"

As much as you expect it, you still never see it coming.

Tip o' the blogging pen to Tiny Frog.

Lastly, Mr. Ted Haggard. He's...well...just watch:

Ah...your sexuality is complicated. It's not in a box. Well. If only you had realized that, you know, before you starting decrying the evils of homosexual behavior and demanding that everyone fit neatly into the heterosexual, wait-until-marriage, monogomous, marry-your-high-school-sweetheart box...See, that's why we call hypocrite. I'd say it's nice to see that you've had a breakthrough, but you really haven't. You're just giving yourself more slack. And it disgusts me.

So, there you have it. Three things that caught my eye that, as an atheist, I am morally upset about. And the day started off so well.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama and Science

Obama is now the 44th president of the United States of America. I'm proud of us in a lot of ways, and I'm proud of him. The Inauguration was interesting to watch, and I found the fub during the Oath...well, adorable. It was a very human moment. Apparently, that's been corrected.

He has some interesting plans for our foreign policy coming in soon. I'm glad to see these, though of course we'll have to see how these pan out and the consequences/problems associated with them.

Lastly, I'm very glad to hear that Obama has pledged greater transparency in his administration. I am cautiously hopeful about it:

Obama has pledged to return science to its rightful place during his administration. And he has recognized non-believers in his speech. These are both good signs. Let's make sure that he follows through with them.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Nother Update on

Hey all,

I just wanted to flag a new extension of Obama's connection to the masses through As you may have heard, he has been taking questions through the website via a process in which people submit questions and comments and those with the highest votes get addressed by the president. He's applying this formula now into a Citizen's Briefing. I think this is pretty fundamentally radical of a President and I applaud him. Now for the humor: below the fold is a posted comment by user BeelKeel that I found hilarious.


The Times I Wish I Believed in God or Fate...

There are times when you want to cry yourself to sleep. Times when a situation is so fucked up that there's really no hope for it, save praying to a deity who more than likely doesn't exist or wouldn't care about your concerns if you asked him...what's an atheist to do?

To be honest, I don't know. I've never really known, and I continue to not know. Instead of trying to spiel with whatever I might have, I'm going to just let Nick Cave say it for me. He's already got it down, perfectly:


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cost of Applying to 13 Ph.D. Programs in Philosophy

$10 (large envelopes, postage stamps)
$10 (250 sheets of “fine linen paper”)
$260 (each GRE score release is $20)
$176 (release of transcripts)
$162 (priority/express mail service for 9 schools)
+ $930 (application fees)
= $1548