Open Thread January 4, 2011

Open Thread

I’m getting back from a short vacation and preparing lesson plans since school is back in session tomorrow, so consider this an open thread while I recover 🙂

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  • John G
  • ACN


  • Anonymous
  • Reginald Selkirk

    For those with a serious philosophical bent:
    The Divine Attributes: The State of the Discussion

  • Bob

    Reuters reports that the Sense About Science group in the UK issued its annual list of what it sees as the year’s worst abuses against science.

    In general, the group debunked diet and exercise claims made by actors, pop stars and others in the public eye, including:

    – hologram-embedded silicone bracelets seen on the wrists of David Beckham and Kate Middleton, which makers claim can improve one’s energy and fitness

    – a ‘maple syrup, lemon, and pepper’ cleanse favored by Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, and Naomi Campbell. Campbell touted the cleanse on an episode of Oprah

    – Pop star Sarah Harding crumbles charcoal over her food, saying it doesn’t affect the taste and ‘apparently absorbs all the bad damaging stuff in the body.’

    – Cage fighter Alex Reed tells the Sun tabloid that he ‘reabsorbs’ his sperm to prepare for a big fight.

    SAS offers their own list of pointers:

    1. Nothing is chemical-free: everything is made of chemicals, it’s just a case of which ones.

    2. Detox is a marketing myth: our body does it without pricey potions and detox diets.

    3. There’s no need to boost: bodily functions occur without boosting.

    4. Energy and fitness come from … food and exercise: there are no shortcuts.

  • Jagyr

    Anyone jonesing for a poll to Pharyngulate, I’d be much obliged if you could go here and vote for my daughter Zoe (and her friend Mo) in a photo contest:

    Nothing to do with religion, science, politics, whatever…just an atheist father that has trouble paying rent each month and wouldn’t mind a $250 prize.

  • Claudia

    I decided to see what kind of articles came up when I searched “god” on google news. It did not disappoint, though it did depress:

    Anger at God is Good for Atheists and Believers Alike? – Huffington Post (blog) – 2 hours ago

    All humans angry with God at some point in their lives? – TheMedGuru

    Study Links Anger Toward God To Tragedy, Disappointments? – SmartAboutHealth
    Unbelievers also angry at God? –

    Ugh. Moving on to the next one it doesn’t get better, with a Malyasian article titled “Blame the non-God fearing organisers” and a text that hilariously starts off saying:

    Before I start whacking the organisers of the Christmas Eve gathering at the St John’s Cathedral, let me state clearly that I am not a Christian.

    I am a free thinker but I believe in the existence of God and I am God-fearing


    ohhhhkaaaay then.

    It just keeps getting bad from there, so I’ll let anyone who think’s their mood could use a bit of a downturn to look it up themselves. I’m going to go brood in a corner now.

  • Claudia

    Aww cute pic Jagyr, just what I needed after a foray into stupid-land. Duly voted.

  • parv

    College asks for US$ 100,000 “donation”, per alumnus; alumnus father gives less than half; son is denied admission; father sues … (found via Consumerist)

    (Hemant, I failed to make a link out of above KTRK raw URL.)

  • parv

    (Ah. I see the link was created after the comment was sent, which preview did not show as such.)

  • Dan
  • Andi

    Dan, that’s really really scary.

  • AWayfaringStrainer

    I found this on a DOD site about the new Spiritual Fitness regulations. While the entire post is vapid and condescending, it gets really annoying when they write:

    A spiritual world view gives people a reason for living, gives life meaning,” he said. “When you’re out there on the field, constantly on the alert, trying to figure out, ‘What’s my life all about?’ … meaning is very, very important. When people lose their sense of meaning, they lose their sense of grounding, of direction.

    The last thing I want is for soldiers to think that they (like the Blues Brothers) are on a mission from Gawd. This is just plain scary.

  • HamsterWheel

    I’m surprised that Hemant didn’t post about the news coverage of Judgment Day which is scheduled to occur on May 21, 2011. Jesus is finally coming back! PZ Meyers already covered it, but I thought it was interesting because that particular doomsday cult is making a lot of publicity for themselves. The more the better I say! I can’t wait for the world to laugh at those deranged fuckwits on May 22nd. I hope CNN does a follow-up story, but I doubt they will.

    (Hemant says: I did post about that! Link is here.)

  • Rich Wilson

    We all saw this one, right?

    (The Facebook “Don’t ever correct me again” pic)

  • Anonymous

    Punjab Governor Salman Taseer assassinated in Islamabad

    The influential governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, Salman Taseer, has died after being shot by one of his bodyguards in the capital, Islamabad.

    Mr Taseer, a senior member of the Pakistan People’s Party, was shot when getting into his car at a market.

    Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the guard had told police that he killed Mr Taseer because of the governor’s opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy law.

    Many were angered by his defence of a Christian woman [Asia Bibi] sentenced to death.

  • The Pint

    For any literary enthusiast, you might want to be aware of this – a Mark Twain expert, Alan Gribbens, has edited an upcoming edition of Huck Finn that replaces all mention of the “n” word with “slave,” as well as removing any instance of the word “Injun.” Apparently he’s arguing that it’s “updating” rather than “censoring” the book to appeal to more modern sensibilities. Because Twain totally meant for his criticism of racism and the slave trade to be inoffensive and easy to digest for future generations.

  • How about my encounter with a Southern Baptist minister who thinks Jesus’ teachings are irrelevant in this day and age, because he was speaking to a bunch of first-century hicks.

  • Rich Wilson: I saw that! That just left me dumbfounded, as in I found the person to be extremely dumb.

  • Jon Peterson

    @ AWayfaringStranger

    Indeed. It also gets scarier when you consider that the base test system they use is also the foundation of most psychological testing across the U.S. (See my comment on the original post about the DOD Spiritual Fitness nonsense.)

  • cypressgreen

    Jagyr– voted!

  • kat

    @Anonymous —
    I was going to post that, too.

    I think the man was a hero and is a martyr for the secular state.

    The Lede on The NY Times has commentary on his (amazingly blunt) Twitter feed, too:
    On Twitter, Glimpses of a Slain Pakistani Governor’s War on Religious ‘Fanatics’

  • Friend of mine is a naturalized US citizen from Iran, 70+ years old… one of the most gentle souls I’ve ever known (artist, architect, ex-muslim atheist). He got pulled over for speeding last week, cop asked him for an explanation. Friend said he was mad at God and cursing him and not paying enough attention to driving. Cop says “why are you mad at God?” Friend says he had seen a cat get run over and killed earlier in his trip and he was terribly upset about it, blamed God for letting it happen. Cop tells him to cool down and drive safely – no ticket.

  • Rollingforest

    I live in an area where the vast majority of people are conservative and Baptist. There was a debate in the paper about whether parents should teach their kids about Santa Clause. I wrote a letter saying that finding out the truth about Santa teaches kids that whenever someone tells them something about science, politics, religion, or history, that the kids should think to themselves “Can they prove that?” I’m hoping that this will be subtle enough not to get me thrown out of the county, but still be able to get a few people to begin questioning their faith.

  • Anonymous

    Mackey’s coverage was excellent, kat, thanks. Gawker did a good job too, but not that good.

    I think the man was a hero and is a martyr for the secular state.

    I feel awful that I didn’t even know about him until now.

  • RollTheBones

    If Jesus came back today, would he be considered an illegal alien? I mean with a name like Jesus..?

  • Is there a god instinct? If there is then I don’t have it.

  • samm

    hey dan, you thought that first church sign was bad? this is even scarier: Free thinkers are satans slaves.

  • Nakor

    I saw a scientology commercial during the rose bowl parade of all things, so I was curious if anyone knew… when did those nuts come out of their shells? I thought they were all about keeping secrets and staying out of the public eye (because they knew how bat-shit crazy their stuff really is). Anyone know what changed their mind? (And is anyone bothering to counter it?)

  • JB Tait

    Man crashes truck full of beer across a yard, onto the turnpike, and into a Jersey barrier. He is in hospital recovering from life-threatening injuries.

    Witness tells the news: “It’s a miracle! If it had been two weeks ago, it would have been a Christmas Miracle.”

  • Teri

    When I saw this, I grabbed a Bible and checked. This is crazy shit. (Click these words.)

  • dsdquilts

    At the catholic hospital where I work, in Arkansas, one of the chaplains says a prayer over the intercom system every night. Tonight’s prayer began “Lord, we are 500 miles from where the Sugar Bowl is being played.. .” I thought I was going to throw up!! I was scolded last week for not stopping what I was doing when the prayer was broadcast.

  • cypressgreen

    @dsdquilts: I hope no one’s ever coding during prayers.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Nakor: I saw a scientology commercial during the rose bowl parade of all things, so I was curious if anyone knew… when did those nuts come out of their shells? I thought they were all about keeping secrets and staying out of the public eye (because they knew how bat-shit crazy their stuff really is). Anyone know what changed their mind?

    It’s been ongoing for about a year. Scientology has been taking a beating for a couple of years – legal troubles in Europe, a rough time in Australia, former members in the USA speaking up about ill treatment, Tom Cruise being Tom Cruise –
    so they started a PR campaign. I occasionally search G**gle news for “scientology” and see their press releases. There’s a series called “Meet a Scientologist” for example, in which they give a fluff focus to an individual member in an attempt to humanize their image. Other press releases tell about their charitable activities, such as offering to treat Haitian earthquake victims with Dianetics (!), etc.

    Most often these show up on sites dedicated to running press releases, rather than at mainstream news outlets. For example, I did a search just now and see one of their “Meet a Scientologist” press releases showing up at CisionWire (link deliberately omitted). There is a page at the main scientology web site where you can find all the accumulated “Meet a Scientologist” profiles.

  • How many Gods does it take to change a light bulb?

    It depends how many arms they’ve got.

  • samm

    I just want to show you guys this: “if your faith is big enough, facts don’t count”
    honestly this says it all and scares me!

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