There are many patterns in nature that repeat. There’s probably a reason for them, but being more into geology, I’m not sure what many of them are. Take this little cryptopod sent in by RowanVT: I think part of it wants to be a zebra.
Silly wasp or bee or whatever you are. You’re not a zebra. Even if you do have zebra stripes on your rear.
Ever since the Benson-Dawkins joint letter explaining that of course we can disagree, we just shouldn’t abuse the people we disagree with, I’ve been getting occasional attempted comments snidely wanting to know if this means the folks at Freethought Blogs will shut up. You see, they don’t understand the difference between harassment and criticism.*
Some folks seem to have imagined a cease-fire situation in which one side (theirs) gets to go on saying and doing awful things, while the other side (ours) is supposed to completely shut up.
Anyway, because Dawkins has a habit of tweeting his most problematic thoughts and then getting huffy and uncomprehending when advised the tweets are problematic, rather than listening to criticism and doing a bit of investigation to find out why he’s badly misstepping, we nearly instantly have an example of what Ophelia and Richard meant with that joint letter when they said this: Continue reading “How… Nice… of Richard Dawkins to Provide This Opportunity So Quickly”→
In a statement, the Satanic Temple said that it will use the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision to exempt its believers from state-mandated informed consent laws that require women considering abortions to read pro-life material.
Informed consent or “right to know” laws state that women seeking elective abortions be provided with information about alternatives to the procedure, often couched in language that attempts to personify the fetus. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 35 states currently have informed consent laws, and of those, 33 require that the woman be told the gestational age of the fetus.
In some states, that information consists of pro-life propaganda that links abortion to a higher incidence of breast and ovarian cancers, or discusses “post-abortion syndrome,” a mental condition not recognized by any major medical or psychiatric organization.
Because the Satanic Temple bases its belief “regarding personal health…on the best scientific understanding of the world, regardless of the religious or political beliefs of others,” it claims that state-mandated information with no basis in scientific fact violates its “religious” beliefs.
B and I are off to Mount Baker, because summer is short and it’s hot. But not hot on top of Mount Baker. Which is the point. And I’d have stuff of substance for you, only I’ve be doing the deep-dive cleaning and organizing in order to turn the house into a place where I can work full-time. This is complicated, and involves a lot of standing around staring at piles in despair, and going to the store for Yet Another Necessary Thing, and hunting round places for inexpensive yet useful compact storage stuff, and then attempting to store stuff in it. And then it’s back to the store because you forgot the labels to label the storage stuff so you know where stored stuff is…
Then a day off for throwing apples for cats, and watching MMA and kickboxing, and planning for said trip up to Mount Baker. Which you will love.
Joint statement by Ophelia Benson and Richard Dawkins
It’s not news that allies can’t always agree on everything. People who rely on reason rather than dogma to think about the world are bound to disagree about some things.
Disagreement is inevitable, but bullying and harassment are not. If we want secularism and atheism to gain respect, we have to be able to disagree with each other without trying to destroy each other.
In other words we have to be able to manage disagreement ethically, like reasonable adults, as opposed to brawling like enraged children who need a nap. It should go without saying, but this means no death threats, rape threats, attacks on people’s appearance, age, race, sex, size, haircut; no photoshopping people into demeaning images, no vulgar epithets.
[Read the rest. Especially those drive-by slimers who seem to think they’re on Team Dawkins. My, don’t you have a nasty shock coming?]
Let us reassess whether atheism should be divided or not. Lemme see… Would I want to be on the same side as The Amazing Atheist, f’r instance? Ha ha ha ha no.
My, that was easy. Someone that despicable clearly has no place on my side of the Deep Rift™. I don’t fancy wading hip-deep in festering hatred just to get a larf at creationism. Why, all I need for that is to read their very own textbooks.
But what about his addled supporters? Should I, perhaps, build a small rope bridge between us?
I shall be assidiously avoiding all association with those who think it’s better to defend an asshole than find and promote the non-assholes who do the same work. I am not so desperate for allies that I need to accept such grotty specimens.
No, the side that embraces people who find it sporting good fun to deliberately trigger rape victims, threaten to rape people with a fist, and hate on teenage girls because society frowns on them salivating on same, can stay far, far away from my side. They, to me, are what the Westboro Baptist Church is to my liberal Christian friends.
I think we can do nicely without that sort, thanks. In point of fact, I think we must.
New curiosity: what the heck is that danger zone where Missouri meets Tennessee?
Heh. Pretty startling, innit?
That great big target painted on Middle America, my friends, is the New Madrid Seismic Zone. In 1811, it broke in a big way, so big it caused the Mississippi River to run backwards for a bit. Lots of interesting things happened that weren’t quite so interesting to the people who lived through it. More terrifying. And since then, people have watched that fault with a wary stare. It still kicks from time to time, letting us know the earth isn’t as stable as we’d like. But some studies suggest that those may just be aftershocks, long after the main event, and nothing much to worry about. I wrote that up here, a long time ago when I was a young, fresh science blogger.
The thing about New Madrid is this: it was so dramatic, so unexpected, that we’ve approached it with an overabundance of caution ever since. And until further studies confirm it’s no longer a threat, I personally think we’d be wise to continue to treat it as a potential, even if not probable, problem. And this is an excellent place to study intercontinental earthquakes, which are odd and intriguing, so let the science continue!
Here are some additional links should you wish to investigate further.