Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

What If I Took My Students on a Field Trip to Get Debaptized?

Posted in Friendly Atheist by Skepdude on September 9, 2009

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I help coach my school’s Speech Team.

I think I’m going to plan a pre-season party to get everyone pumped up about the tournaments ahead — We’re going to listen to a motivations speaker and get dinner together. I won’t ask the administrators for money, but I am borrowing a school bus. Another coach will pay for the gas, though. No one *has* to go, but seriously… they should all go if they know what’s best for them.

Oh. And on the way to dinner, I’m going to take everyone to a local atheist Meetup, where they can perform the Blasphemy Challenge on video, get “debaptized” with a blow dryer, and play Pin the Tail on the Jesus.

That should be ok, right?

You can imagine the reaction if any atheist did that. No doubt every Christian Right group would be after your head. Your bosses would (rightfully) get rid of you. FOXNews would have a field day.

So why has there been little to no repercussion for Scott Mooney, the head football coach at Breckinridge County High School in Louisville, Kentucky, who took his players to get baptized?

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT THE FRIENDLY ATHEIST

Irish Blasphemy Law Passes

Posted in Friendly Atheist by Skepdude on July 10, 2009

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Well, shit.

Ireland passed the blasphemy law.

What does this mean for Irish citizens? It means you can be convicted for trashing someone’s beliefs if you cause “outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion.” (Again, what is a “substantial number”? Who knows.)

Paliban Daily offers up some frightening consequences, given that “blasphemy” isn’t very well-defined:

  • Atheists can be prosecuted for saying that God is imaginary. That causes outrage.
  • Pagans can be prosecuted for saying they left Christianity because God is violent and bloodthirsty, promotes genocide, and permits slavery.
  • Christians can be prosecuted for saying that Allah is a moon god, or for drawing a picture of Mohammed, or for saying that Islam is a violent religion which breeds terrorists.
  • Jews can be prosecuted for saying Jesus isn’t the Messiah.

Those aren’t all accurate… for example, Jews can say Jesus isn’t the Messiah because their religious beliefs are protected under the law. But I suspect if they went around saying as much, holding posters that said he wasn’t the Messiah in a dickish sort of way, and made a “substantial number” of Christians angry, then we’d have problems.

We’re also told that academic and theological debate isn’t subject to the rules. But again, it’s tough to say what constitutes those kinds of debates. Can bloggers tear apart religious arguments and those who make them if they’re not professors? Can Irish people call certain Catholic priests rapists and attribute it to their faith and just say it’s part of theological debate? Can we call out certain adherents of a fundamentalist version of Islam as terrorists if that is warranted? Either everything in these categories is blasphemy or nothing is.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT THE FRIENDLY ATHEIST

Do You Know What Time It Is?

Posted in Friendly Atheist by Skepdude on July 8, 2009

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For the American readers, at some point this morning, in whatever time zone you’re in, the time will be:

04:05:06 07/08/09

(4:05 am, 6 seconds, on July 8th, 2009.)

You know what the significance of that is?

There is none. None at all.

Just thought I’d point that out.

Now, if only someone could tell these people that…

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Why is Comcast Referring to Ben Stein as the “Smartest”?

Posted in Friendly Atheist by Skepdude on June 22, 2009

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As a Comcast customer only because I have no other choice in my area, I’m used to their shitty customer service.

But when you see the following, it’s clear they’re not even trying to improve…

Here’s a promo for “Comcast Digital Cable with On Demand and HBO.”

The headline: The Best and the Smartest.

The picture to go along with that: Shaquille O’Neal and Ben Stein.

SteinSmart

No one’s ever accused Shaq of being the smartest man around… so I presume they mean he’s the “Best.” Even that’s arguable since he didn’t win the NBA championship this past year…

But that means Ben Stein represents “Smartest.”

Say what now?

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Oh Dear God, They Found a Real Crocoduck

Posted in Friendly Atheist by Skepdude on March 2, 2009

Ray Comfort doesn’t need to ask for a debate with Richard Dawkins anymore.

The debate is already over. Comfort and banana-pal Kirk Cameron have lost.

The Creationism proponents used to say that if evolution were true, we should expect to see a crocoduck (a crocodile/duck transitional form) in the fossil records:

crocoduck

They said we haven’t seen that hybrid, thus evolution is untrue.

Now comes news of a new fossil that was found…

The unusually intact fossilized skull of a giant, bony-toothed seabird that lived up to 10 million years ago was found on Peru’s arid southern coast, researchers said Friday.

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Alcoholics Anonymous Not As Helpful as Secular Alternatives

Posted in Friendly Atheist by Skepdude on February 4, 2009

I’ve written about the topic before: Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs which require participants to submit to a higher power (PDF).

You would think that, because AA is so famously known and its program so widely used, it would at least be effective… right?

New research says otherwise.

So what works better than AA’s 12 steps?

In last month’s Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, University of New Mexico addiction specialist William Miller and his colleagues presented findings from two controlled trials in which patients underwent drug treatment. Some of the patients received spiritual guidance as part of the treatment — learning such practices as prayer, meditation and service to others, all of which are central to 12-step programs. Others received secular psychotherapy. Because of the enduring popularity of AA and similar programs that involve a spiritual component, Miller and his team expected the patients in the spiritual group to do better than those in the secular group. They were wrong — at least in the short term.

While both groups eventually benefited relatively equally from their treatment — abusing substances on fewer days — it took longer to see improvement among those in the spiritual group. What’s more, those who received spiritual guidance reported being significantly more anxious and depressed after four months than those who got secular help. Those problems abated at about the eight-month point, but because substance abusers are at high risk for suicide, some worry that it may not be a good idea to put them through demanding spiritual calisthenics in the early months of their recovery.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT THE FRIENDLY ATHEIST

How Are Atheists Like Smokers?

Posted in Friendly Atheist by Skepdude on September 22, 2008

Rev. Keith Crosby from Green Bay, Wisconsin provides the answer to that question with the worst comparison you’ll hear all day:

Atheists are like smokers. Smokers know that smoking is harmful and yet they smoke while consciously suppressing the fact that harm will come to them if they persist. Atheists act as if their feigned unbelief somehow grants them immunity from responsibility vis-à-vis what politicians in the Watergate era once called “plausible denial.” Plausible denial won’t work with God.

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Atheist Threatens Two Christian Women?

Posted in Friendly Atheist by Skepdude on September 13, 2008

If this is accurate (and I can’t seem to find other references to the case), we should all be utterly disgusted.

A man is now facing charges of Felony Menacing after police say he threatened to cut off the heads of two women because they were Christians.

The encounter happened at 711 Tia Juana around three o’clock in the morning Friday. Police say Russell Bowman, who claims to be an atheist, had made the threat on September 8th.

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Would You Give Your Life For a Symbol?

Posted in Friendly Atheist by Skepdude on September 12, 2008

Last night, I met up with an acquaintance of mine — A pretty hard core Christian, even compared to many of the devout religious people I know.

One of the topics that came up was PZ Myers‘ recent desecration of a communion wafer.

I’m not condoning everything PZ did, but I told my friend I thought he made a good point. That is: A communion wafer is not actually the body of Christ, regardless of your religious beliefs. It’s a symbol. And symbols only possess whatever meaning you give them.

My friend seemed to agree here. He’s a Christian after all. He thinks the wafer is a symbol, too (as opposed to the actual body of Christ).

As it turned out, my friend had a Bible with him. So I asked him a hypothetical question: How much would it bother him if I ripped a page out of his book? I mean, I would be pissed off if you ripped a page out of any book I own, but outside of that destruction of one’s property, would that torn page actually offend him?

Or, how about this: Would he ever be willing to rip a page out of his own book? Not because he wanted to mock his God or show any disrespect, but because it’s just a book and his faith was stronger that that.

His response really shocked me.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT THE “FRIENDLY ATHEIST”

This Must Be the Most Uncomfortable Math Class Ever

Posted in Friendly Atheist by Skepdude on September 11, 2008

Take a look at this sign:

I was thinking of hanging that banner in my high school math classroom…

That shouldn’t be any cause for concern, right?

Isn’t it just my freedom of expression?

Of course not.

Even if you agreed with me, you’d say my banner should be taken down and I should be reprimanded. Who am I to force my views upon my students? Students would feel intimidated by me (if they were religious). They would rightfully be concerned that their grades would be affected if they dared to disagree with me.

The banner has no business hanging in any classroom. What does it have to do with math, anyway?!

Conservative Christians would agree, too, I imagine.

But what if I Jesufied my banner?

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT THE ‘FRIENDLY ATHEIST”

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