Not So Polite Dinner Converation – nothing says divine love like deadly diseases

Someone else has to have already done something like this, but here’s my version of the ebola virus and the creation painting by Michelangelo.  When reality is contrasted to what many theists claim.

ebola and god copy

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Did you miss the social anarchy? Cal Thomas and the usual deceit by Christian conservatives

as usual, from

as usual, from

Seems like we have a wealth of less than true comments here in the news from conservative Christians.

Here in the US, the Supreme Court has essentially abdicated its responsibility and has left a series of lower court decisions to stand when it comes to the legality of same sex marriage. They have let the Equal Protection Clause argument stand. From my perspective, it seems that the usual conservative justices are too afraid of speaking their opinions on the subject (mostly Roman Catholic) and want the whole issue to just go away so they aren’t exposed for the theocratic twits that they are.

Of course, this means that the usual conservative pundits are having a conniption that their ignorance and bigotry hasn’t a chance of becoming the law of the land. One pundit has a great column in my local Sunday paper; it shows just how nasty this type of person is. The pundit is Cal Thomas, the former VP of the infamous Moral Majority, which was neither moral or a majority, a sad collection of Christians who hated other Christians, other theists and everyone else. It, and its founder Jerry Falwell (see here for some good quotes from ol’ Jerry) did its best to make the US a theocracy. It died a deserved death when people realized its predictions of dire events were nonsense and money driven by fear dried up.

Cal does want some attention, so I am inclined to give it to him, if only to show that such people still exist. They occasionally crawl back into the light and it is worth seeing what misery they might be fomenting in the darkness.

In Cal’s column, titled What Next? (my local paper doesn’t have a link to it, so we’ll use the Albany Herald’s), he says that there are three points that need to be made about the SCOTUS action to allow the Equal Protection Clause (EPC) argument to stand without challenge. The EPC states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This was originally just applied to states but it was expanded to the federal government in the 1950s with the Bolling vs Sharpe decision.

Point number one is a baseless claim which may or may not be partially true. Cal is sure that the conservative justices are all about states’ rights and simply must have wanted the states to decide for themselves on matters of equal protection under the law. He is sure that the liberal justices must have wanted to accept these cases where states banned same sex marriage and that the lower courts over turned those laws. This doesn’t make much sense because if the SCOTUS let the lower courts ruling stand, as it did, the liberal justices would have to do nothing and still agree with the result and still have the overturning of DOMA on their side. If the conservative justices thought their arguments had merit, they would have wanted to establish that states rights trumped federal. They intentionally chose not to. Why would they allow lower court decisions that they did not agree with stand? It seems that they were not confident in their arguments at all and again, did not want to be forced to declare what they really believed, that some people have more rights than others according to religion.

Cal tries to make the argument that maybe (!) they conservative justices didn’t want to have another Roe vs Wade, because they didn’t want to create a controversy that would exist for a long time. Umm, Cal? Roe vs Wade didn’t create a controversy; it came about because of a controversy, if women could exercise their rights without interference from the government.  Same sex marriage has been a controversy for years; having one more ruling on it would make no difference to that controversy. You and yours would still be claiming that the sky will fall if you don’t get your religious beliefs made law.

Point number two is Cal trying to claim that it’s fine for the court to ignore its responsibilities because it stops “judicial activism”. If there is no ruling, then the judges weren’t activist and no one can complain about conservative justices being the same activists as they say liberal justices are. What an attempt to claim that well it’s no our fault if something bad happens and oooooh, it will, honest, really, just like every other prediction of disaster if we go against some religion. I live about 20 miles from Dover, PA, where another Christian conservative predicted dire consequences for saying that his religion was wrong and still nothing. Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Study has evidence that religion does not make one more moral. Theist shakes his head furiously, hoping that equals evidence

threat__-650x487A research report “Morality in Everyday Life” was featured in the September 2014 issue of Science (this is just the abstract, there’s a fee to read it in its entirety). This research demonstrated that religious people and non-religious people did not differ in the number of moral acts that they did And of course, this sent the theists into a tizzy, because a common claim is that no human can be a decent moral human being without some magical being to enforce this behavior by promises of reward or punishment after a human dies. I’ve had more than a few Christians tell me how horrible a person they would be/were if they didn’t have their god requiring them to be decent so they can get their magical prize in the afterlife. (One can read more about the study in some articles at the NYT, a blog about empirical research on morality, the Daily Mail article mentioned below, and a pdf of an article from one of the participating universities in the study. As always, this study is not the final word on such things, until it is supported by more research.

Now with that as background, you’ll understand more as I address an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette claiming that the religious have one up on the rest of us because religion is a moral “safety net”. This is by a fellow named Tom Purcell, a conservative who has been featured on such lovely things as the Rush Limbaugh show (one of the more verminous conservative liars in the US), the Laura Ingraham show (a woman who subs for Bill “I have no idea how tides work” O’Reilly on Fox News, and why yes, she *is* blonde and finds homosexuals e.g. “sodomites” and feminists abhorrent. Well, she does think that homosexuals should have some rights now just like so many conservatives who suddenly have an out family member.)

So, what does Mr. Purcell have to say? Well, boiled down, it comes down to a grudging acknowledgement of the study but a baseless claim that religion somehow “helps” having morality, even though the study showed that it did not. Unsurprisingly, this is another example of how a type of theist will do anything to ignore reality in favor of making false claims to shore up their religion. It isn’t only creationists…

In this study, the researchers reviewed the acts recorded and assigned them as they related to six principles related to morality: authority, caring for others, fairness, liberty, loyalty and sanctity, which I assume must mean the dictionary definition: the quality of being worthy of worship.   Again, the research says that religion has no impact on acts based on these things. All the research came down to is that theists may feel more positive emotions when doing/observing moral things, aka “I did good so I feel good. I see someone doing good, I think they should be rewarded.” and more negative emotions when doing/observing immoral things aka “I did bad so I feel guilty. I see someone doing bad, I think they should be punished.”

After reviewing the study, Mr. Purcell says “It is certainly true that nonreligious people can be principled and that regular churchgoers can be crooks in their business dealings.” Here seems to be the usual claim that not all Christians are “TrueChristians”, with the attendant circular argument that TrueChristians are Good are TrueChristians, etc.

Mr. Purcell argues that “many religions people” have a framework and community that helps them lead “more” moral lives. Which is again not supported by the evidence presented in the study. He claims that religion gives theists a “methodology”, that allows them to decide what is moral and what is not, what is “good” and what is “bad”. This is a problem since many things that are god-approved and deemed moral in the various holy books are seen now as very immoral and bad. This shows that religions are no objective way to know what is moral and what is not and thus, this “framework” is not to be trusted at all. This lack of any special powers of religion also jibes with the evidence that there is no difference between theists and non-theists when it comes to actions.

Mr. Purcell mentions that Greek philosophers had names for what is good: prudence, temperance, etc. They did indeed, and again it shows that no particular religion has anything special about it. The ancient cultures, from Greek to Chinese to Egyptian, were talking about morality long before any Abramic religions were around. The idea of the “golden rule” was nothing new. Continue reading

From the Bar – a pair of autumnal beers

beerIn the midst of starting the new job, so here’s a quick post on some new beers we’ve tried. There were going to be more, but we tossed the other bottles in the recycling bin and I can’t recall them. Here’s the memorable ones.

Elysian Night Owl – probably the best pumpkin beer I’ve had so far. Just the barest touch sweet and a strong spice taste, far more than many other beers supposedly brewed with pumpkin and the sweet spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. Occasionally, I like a half and half blend of beer and hard cider and this would be tasty with a cider like Strongbow.

DuClaw Guilty Filthy Soul – DuClaw’s unusual names are probably the amusement and aggravation of wait staff and bartenders everywhere. It does amuse me to order a “guilty filthy soul” to drink… This reminds me of a cross between a porter and a stout, with the richer mouthfeel added from the cocoa. It strikes me as tasting like a Tootsie Roll. I do like that you can’t really taste that it is a bit higher in alcohol, and it doesn’t end up tasting like a chocolate barleywine.

Now that I have a regular schedule (thank Sekhmet! if she existed), I hope to have a new beer in the fermenter this weekend.

That’s it. Drink well!

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Surprise! No, not really. Theists lie to Supreme Court.

History-of-religionHello folks, sorry I’ve been quiet for a while. But it’s for the best reasons: I have a new job! In 8 days I shall be back in my alter ego as administrative assistant for a non-profit.   My sojourn in retail has been interesting and occasionally fun, but I am so happy to be out of it.

Not much on the atheist front at the moment, except for news from the FFRF (original story in Slate) that the folks in Greece NY who were part of the Supreme Court decision about public meeting prayers are intentional liars when they falsely claimed that anyone would be allowed to give an invocation. It shows that the SCOTUS conservative judges were wrong when they claimed that these prayers were “only” ceremonial, since now we have only theists being able to give such invocations.

Nope, now only people from “assemblies with an established presence in the town of Greece that regularly meet for the primary purpose of sharing a religious perspective” can give these invocations (and it does a lovely job of showing that my commenter self-proclaimed Bishop Robin was utterly wrong with his claims that no one is being forced to participate in religion at public meetings). No surprise there at all and we can see again that religion doesn’t make anyone a decent person but it sure does seem to guarantee that their supposed moral god-given laws will be broken when convenient. Thanks, you, certain theists in Greece, NY for showing again that there is no reason to trust people just because they claim to be religious and therefore supposedly moral.

And yes, their actions are quite stupid when one thinks that they could have simply said people from Greece, NY could be the only ones to give invocations, no matter what the type. Then, their lie of “With this policy in place, we can return to the business of the town.” Wouldn’t be a baseless excuse, and they wouldn’t be in contempt of the court. Of course, it would also mean that they wouldn’t be ignoring their bible again and again (Prov 6, 12, 19, 24; Exodus 20; Matthew 15; Leviticus 19; Romans 13; 1 Peter 2; etc).

I haven’t been able to find much about what happens if someone ignores the SCOTUS and what happens now that they’ve reneged on what they promised. Seems like this could be a basis for yet one more SCOTUS court case, and this one could be quite fun to watch. Let’s see how many theists want to put their religions to the vote: are they “real” religions or not?  Are Jews better than Christians? Are Muslims better than Sikhs?  Are Catholics better than Presbyterians?  Again, I am quite happy to offer to do the altar test with anyone who insists that their god is real.  Or perhaps another test, where a god will allow you to walk out of a burning furnace (some of my ancestors were named after one of the fellows in the story).  Plenty of ways to determine what, if any, gods are real.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – well, at least it shows that many theists are wrong again

this also applies to those who think "boys will just be boys"

this also applies to those who think “boys will just be boys”

I’ve been observing the current tussling in the atheosphere, about who has said what, and means what, who’s a feminist, who’s a sexist asshole, what women are, what men are. who’s a liberal, who’s a conservative, who simply can’t express themselves without screwing up,  etc etc.  It’s rather sad and annoying.   Yes, there are people I agree with and those who I don’t.  I can address that in another post, if anyone cares.

But, it has done something important.  It has shown that yet again many theists are wrong.  I get to hear on how atheism a religion, how that all atheists follow famous atheists as if they were saviors, that we all think the same, etc.

The above nonsense has shown that this is most certainly isn’t the case.  Why, we’re just as happy to follow the gourd or the shoe as any other human beings. We’re also just as likely to watch and shake our heads as antics commence.

Believing or not believing in a god certainly doesn’t make you a good or bad person.  It does give you a lot of excuses to act either way.

So, my theist subscribers, remember: don’t accuse atheists of being religious or believing in the same things.  We’ll just roll our eyes at your ignorance, and with some regret, point out just how much that isn’t the case.

From the Kitchen – The Hungry Cat Tavern Cookbook

cat bird woodcut 2I thought I might put all of my husband’s and mines recipes together in one document.  We’ve fantasized for years about having a restaurant of our own so that’s where the title comes from.  Please no stealing it and trying to pass it off as your own.  There may be mistakes in it, though I’ve tried to eliminate them.  Let me know about them if you find something that looks squiffy.  It’s not perfect and just a vanity project for my own amusement.

It has food, drinks, and my tips/opinions at the back.

It’s available in a pdf (top) and docx (bottom).  If printed, it is a 44 page booklet, on folded 8.5″ x 11″ paper.

hungry cat tavern cookbook

hungry cat tavern cookbook

The image is a purchased clipart from