left biblioblography: February 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Legislating Reality: More Proof That Evolution Doesn’t Select For Intelligence

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

selectivescienceMan, in his ignorance, supposed that all phenomena were produced by some intelligent powers, and with direct reference to him. – Robert Ingersoll, The Gods

“To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.”  Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

It is simple madness, to try to smother the truth by passing a law against it:

Unprecedented Attack On Evolution 'Indoctrination' Mounted In Missouri

A Missouri lawmaker has proposed what ranks among the most anti-evolution legislation in recent years, which would require schools to notify parents if "the theory of evolution by natural selection" was being taught at their child's school and give them the opportunity to opt out of the class.

Holy shit, like it’s not bad enough some parents resist sex education. But this? It’s lunacy.

The bill had its first public hearing Thursday after being introduced in late January.

It really shouldn’t have been heard at all.

State Rep. Rick Brattin (R), who sponsored the bill, told a local TV station last week that teaching only evolution in school was "indoctrination."

Oy gevalt. A Republican sponsored it. Whadda surprise.

"Our schools basically mandate that we teach one side," he told KCTV. "It is an indoctrination because it is not objective approach."

Oh, let me guess: this assclown wants to the schools to teach Islamic or Vedic creationism, right? Also, reeks of a tu quoque.

The bill is one of several anti-evolution proposals that have already appeared in statehouses across the country; the Daily Beast counted four states (Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Virginia) where legislation had been introduced. The proposals would allow for a range of approaches to evolution, from presenting a "debate" over evolution versus creationism to requiring that local school boards allow intelligent design to be included in biology courses.

There is no debate. This was settled back in the seventies. Forensic evidence for the win! (Were it that easy.)

But Brattin's bill appears to be the only one, and perhaps the first, that would mandate parental notification that their children were being taught evolution in school, the curriculum that most mainstream science teacher groups endorse.

Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education, told TPM that he was not aware of any state legislation that had included a provision that parents be notified if evolution was being taught at their local schools.

Well, then that’s it for biology.

“It’s an absolute infringement on people’s beliefs,” Brattin told the Kansas City Star of requiring schools to teach evolution. “What’s being taught is just as much faith and, you know, just as much pulled out of the air as, say, any religion."

Codswallop. No, better to call it what it is: bullshit. Religion is just the rotting dingleberry on the anal hairs of humanity. Evolution is many things, but the core component is anything but ‘faith’. It is a systemically empirical methodology whose very foundation is based on scientific principles.

Unsurprisingly, the proposal has drawn criticism from those science teacher organizations.

The bill "would eviscerate the teaching of biology in Missouri," Branch said in a statement. "Evolution inextricably pervades the biological sciences; it therefore pervades, or at any rate ought to pervade, biology education at the K–12 level. There simply is no alternative to learning about it; there is no substitute activity."

"The value of a high school education in Missouri would be degraded," Branch said.

So people’s hard-earned tax dollars are being funneled into unnecessary political nonsenses? Wonderful.

Brattin's bill provides:

The policy shall require the school district or charter school to notify the parent or legal guardian of each student enrolled in the district of:

(1) The basic content of the district's or school's evolution instruction to be provided to the student; and

(2) The parent's right to remove the student from any part of the district's or school's evolution instruction.

The bill would also require schools to "make all curriculum materials used in the district's or school's evolution instruction available for public inspection ... prior to the use of such materials in actual instruction."

It looks like the future of our children’s education is falling into the wrong hands: the hands of the preacher, who breaks the back of reason with rhetoric; the mob, who will shred the rational in the name of superstition; the foam-flecked fanatic, with his fantasies of world’s end and all living bowing down to his deranged dogma; the willfully woefully ignorant, who delight in their lack of sense and are rewarded for their mindlessness with empty promises of an afterlife never to come.

May the days of religious ignorance end soon: it is an embarrassment to the species.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Allegories Gone Wild: A War On Tugs, Or A Tug Of War?

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis


Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also. – Genesis, Chapter 38

But Rosie, you're all right
(You wear my ring)
When you hold me tight
(Rosie, that's my thing)
When you turn out the light
(I got to hand it to me)
Looks like it's me and you again tonight, Rosie – Jackson Browne, Rosie

Courtesy of the Atheist Republic:

Mormons Release Video Declaring War on Masturbation


It’s time to cry havoc, and let slip the floggers of war. (oh…all right. Not very good. Trot out your own damned euphemisms then.)

It seems as if the Mormon church is trying to get a handle on this ‘problem’. But hey, wait: how is it a problem? It isn’t. It’s a normal, natural step for people to understand  their own sexuality. In fact, most professionals say that it’s actually quite healthy (unless of course, the practice interferes with relationships, work, or general intercourse with other people).

So why do these wearers-of-holy-underwear, these baptizers-of-the-dead, these polygamous sanctimonious purveyors of a hat-born religion give a rat’s ass in a whirlwind what anyone does with their privates in private? That’s right – because old Scratch is giving us all hand-jobs to lure us away from Jebus.

All because some nitwit in the lying bible made up a story about sperm landing in the dirt.


Till the next post, then.


Saturday, February 08, 2014

Mars Madness–A Panspermic, Frivolous Lawsuit

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

howlifeonearthreallybeganNecrophilia. Murder. Cannibalism. Sacrifice… and then we wonder why UFOs don’t just land and aliens don’t just say hello. - George Carlin

Let’s face it: it would be a neat alternative, that aliens laid the foundations of life on this planet. Some mysterious otherworldly being spreading alien seed on a lifeless orb, and watching it spring forward.

In fact, this very item tends to be a stock-in-trade for science fiction writers of today, not to mention some very popular science fiction shows and movies.

Alas poor Yorick, wouldn’t that be swell?

The proof has, sadly, not been forthcoming. Evidence is at zero. Rational consensus is that not only are we alone, we have been all along.

There are those of course, who disagree:

Alien Life Lawsuit: Rhawn Joseph Claims NASA Is Involved In A Cover Up Over Mars ‘Jelly Doughnut’ Rock

Scientist Rhawn Joseph has filed a lawsuit over what he alleges to be a conspiracy involving NASA, Mars and a mysterious rock.  Joseph claims the space agency refused to investigate what he deemed to be alien life on Mars, calling the conclusions reached by NASA as “little more than magical thinking.”

Joseph filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, reports Popular Science. Joseph, working as an astrobiologist, claims NASA has failed to investigate evidence of life on Mars. The astrobiologist discusses his working, published in the Journal of Cosmology, that concludes the “jelly doughnut” rock that suddenly appeared in front of the Opportunity rover is a “ a fully grown bowl-shaped organism resembling Apothecia.”

The abstract reads, “What appears to be spore-producing "paraphyses" can be observed on the structure, as is apparent upon magnification and which is typical of Apothecia. Apothecia are composite organisms, a mixture of fungus and cyanobacteria.” Joseph refutes NASA’s claims that the object is either a rock or piece of debris from a nearby impact.

Joseph is focusing on the “jelly doughnut” rock that was discussed during a public event for Opportunity’s 10th anniversary.  The Mars rover first photographed the outcrop on Sol 3528 and again 12 days later, Sol 3540. Despite not traveling over the area, Opportunity discovered a mysterious rock, dubbed “Pinnacle Island.”

Steve Squyres, lead scientist for the NASA Mars Exploration Rover mission, said at the time, “It just plain appeared at that spot and we haven’t driven over that spot.” During their initial analysis of the rock, the “jelly” part has a high concentration of magnesium, sulfur and manganese than other Martian rocks. For now, the team has yet to reach a definitive conclusion as to how the rock got there, they believe it may have been knocked over by Opportunity’s wheel as it was making a turn, but do they determine it is a rock and not a sign of Martian life.

While life on Mars would be a significant discovery, Joseph says NASA has refused to actually investigate the rock with all photographic evidence taken by Opportunity being of “low resolution” and “slightly out of focus.” Joseph says he discovered the evidence of a Martian organism after magnifying the images.

After comparing structural examples of apothecia, or “shield lichen,” with what was found on Mars, including the “paraphyses,” the “spore producing organs, he concludes the organism grew over the twelve days that Opportunity photographed the rock outcrop. “Typically, if deprived of moisture, Apothecia will quickly dry and dehydrate and then become quite brittle--exactly as depicted in the photos of the Martian ‘mystery" structure,’” states Joseph.

Despite this evidence, NASA has yet to acknowledge the Mars mystery rock is in fact evidence of life. Joseph’s lawsuit laws out his claims as well as detailing the ways he tried to contact NASA officials to research the rock. Joseph is not seeking damages but wants NASA to “take 100 high resolution close-up in-focus photos of the specimen identiļ¬ed in Sol 3540, at various angles, from all sides, and from above down into the "bowl" of the specimen, and under appropriate lighting conditions which minimize glare. Take a minimum of 24 microscopic in-focus images of the exterior, lip, walls, and interior of the specimen under appropriate lighting conditions. NASA, and the rover team, must make public and supply Petitioner with all high resolution photos and images of that specimen.”

As io9 points out, Joseph does not have the best reputation within the scientific community. The Journal of Cosmology tends to have some dubious articles and would not be considered as reputable as journals such as Nature or Science. The journal previously hosted a dubious "proof of alien life" article last year and has a history of publishing research that has been deemed "Way, way, way ridiculously oh-holy-wow-how-could-anyone-publish-this wrong."

So who is this Rhawn Joseph anyways? The Rational Wiki says this:

Rhawn Joseph is a neuropsychologist who worked at the Veterans' Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in California.

He is involved with the Journal of Cosmology, and he advances eccentric views on the origin of life on Earth.

Joseph is the author of Astrobiology: The Origins of Life and the Death of Darwinism, published in 2001. In the book he writes that "Contrary to Darwinism ... the evidence now clearly indicates, that the evolution of life had been genetically predetermined and precoded..."

And he has co-authored a book titled NeuroTheology: Brain, Science, Spirituality, Religious Experience – the title alone is enough to make some of us cringe.

It’s simply New Age self-entitled self-validation for the weaker minds. We’re here, we’re alone, get the fuck over it. Say what? We’re not? Prove it.

As for Rhawn: he’s making a tempest out of a teapot before he even handles the teapot. Why isn’t NASA jumping on the bandwagon? Because they’re doing what real scientists should do – collating data and waiting for the Martian dust to settle.

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, February 02, 2014

More Muslim Madness–Sharia Sucks Dick Part Two

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
jesusandmohomoIt is sickening, that something like this should happen anywhere on the planet, but there it is.

'Nobody thinks I'd dare show my face here' – inside a Nigerian sharia court

The man who threw the first stone was a taxi driver, his skinny shoulders poking through a faded red football shirt. He hurled a rock with such force it splintered as it crashed into the side of the sharia court. The next one sailed in through an open window, hitting a spectator on the head.

"God will punish homosexuals!" the taxi driver screamed as the crowd joined him in pelting the building.

Inside Upper Sharia Court 4, officials sprang into action, unsurprised by the violent turn in the trial of seven men accused of being homosexual in the ultraconservative Nigerian state of Bauchi. Judge El-Yakubu Aliyu's white scarf, a symbol of wisdom, was trampled in the dusty ground as he was bundled into a back office for his safety.

Among the viewers trapped in the court was John, a gay rights activist, who wondered if he had made a terrible mistake in attending the trial. On the run since a sweeping anti-gay bill was passed this month, John had ignored the advice of everyone he knew by sneaking into his home state at dawn. "Nobody thinks I'd dare show my face here, so I have the element of surprise," he had said earlier, directing a rickshaw along labyrinthine back routes to avoid detection.

The legislation had whipped up an undercurrent of homophobia in the sleepy north-eastern state, where sharia law already outlaws sodomy, and prompted an exodus among gay men. But John, who secretly founded the state's first gay association in 2007, said he couldn't stay away. "It's my job to help these men," he added. He hoped to speak to the judge privately and pay the men's bail using money he had scraped together from donations.

Rabid homophobes. Just fucking great. As if there’s not enough of these animals to go around already. Angry, sickening hatred and raging tribalism.

In fact, the savagery goes even deeper:

It had begun with a message posted on a website last June. Edward, a bread-seller, began talking with a user named "FynBoy" on 2go, a popular instant messaging service. The two connected instantly; weekly messages became daily messages, until they were talking constantly. In December, FynBoy made a plea: "I love you and I can't stop thinking of you. I want to meet you," he wrote to Edward.

Where to meet in a rural state that had outlawed being gay? Using their homes could endanger their families. Hotels were risky, as frequent arrests across the country showed. Edward never considered another risk, a betrayal that took on cataclysmic proportions in a virulently anti-gay climate. By the time he had messaged to say he had found somewhere, FynBoy had placed two of his own calls. One was to friends connected with a local vigilante group. The other was to the Hisbah – the religious police.

FynBoy came to Edward's friend Barry's house. At first Edward and FynBoy sat on the bed, in the room with no light, and talked in whispers. Then FynBoy touched Edward's arm and asked him to undress. He wanted to take a picture on his battered phone, for a memento.

As Edward undressed, FynBoy picked up his phone. Within minutes, a group of neighbourhood vigilantes were swarming into the mud-brick alleyways. "It was a trap," said Edward later, shaking as he recalled the beating the men inflicted on him. "I don't know why they did it. I can't sleep when I think of it."

They dragged him outside, naked, and demanded the numbers of every other "dirty gay" he knew. They agreed to let him go in exchange for testifying against his friends in a court. "We know where you live," they warned him, before leaving him barely conscious in a sewage-filled gutter.

Completely despicable, what some ignorant shitheads will do to satisfy their hatred and release it. Do entrap someone in such a way as to do violence over an imagined affront – it turns the stomach.

It cannot be too soon, that this mental disease called religion is gone.

Till the next post, then.