Thursday, December 19, 2013

Long time..

Wow. I know. I didn't forget this blog, I just haven't had anything to say.
That is till today.

Let me just say this.
I AM SO SICK AND TIRED OF THE FAKE CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION MYTHS!

Christians: You are NOT persecuted! You are the fucking majority in this country and members of your belief system are doing the best they can to cram their

You are confusing persecution with not always getting what you want.

Monday, September 23, 2013

More Video Fun

Seriously.  Do these videos come from some other parallel world? Do Christians honestly think these are conversations people have?

Watch Every Young Man's Battle



Of course the best thing for this is merciless mocking.  And special buzz juice.

Cult of Dusty:


And Jaclyn Glenn


I could not have done a better job myself.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Well. I guess I should stay in Illinois

Here are the State Constitutions that ban Atheists from holding office.

Arkansas:
"No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court."

Maryland:
"That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.”

Mississippi:
"No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state."

North Carolina:
"The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God."

South Carolina:
"No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution."

Tennessee:
"No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state."

Texas:
"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being."

Pennsylvania:
"No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth."

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination_against_atheists#United_States

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Loophole

Remember kids do what other people tell you is in the bible ...or something.




Thinking outside the box.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Uh...yeah...

I was talking to my wife last night about how it's been more than a month since I updated this.

I should start out with some basics again I guess.

Atheist = Someone that doesn't believe in god or a god.
Agnostic = Someone that doesn't know if there is a god or not.

So I would say I am an Agnostic Atheist. I don't believe in god or worship one, and I am pretty sure that no such person exists, but I could be wrong.  Granted there is no evidence for a god so it would take something pretty big to convince me.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The First Amendment is the First Post

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; "

It could be the first post here.

Happy Independence Day America.  You are not perfect, but you are better than most where it counts.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Doors: As Seen On Facebook



Or you can open it. Cause doors have handles and can be opened as well.

Though I do feel I have to pay at least some homage, given how the picture looks, to my D&D roots.

"If a door is closed...kick it in cause that is where the DM is hiding all the best stuff!"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DOMA and Prop 8 are Dead!

Two posts in one day here?

I just wanted to get the word out that DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act) and California's Prop 8 are dead.

The Religious right is freaking out and I am not ashamed to admit that I am enjoying the show.
But most important this is a victory for everyone.  It upholds the rights of people over religious bigotry.

Now Illinois just needs to get their own act together.

Google Reader

Well it's going to happen.

Google Reader will be shut down in just a couple of days.  I was hoping for some sort of reprieve or stay of execution, but no such luck.

I have moved on, rather reluctantly, to Feedly.  It has some very nice features but it's not the same.

Hopefully in this case change will be good.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cult of Dusty

So I just discovered The Cult of Dusty.

I rather like his one on GMO foods ("I Love Monsanto").

Going to spend some time with these today I think!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Getting Hitched Again

Sorry for the length of time between posts here.

I have been looking for something new to help heat up my creativity.
So I picked up Arguably by Christopher Hitchens.

So far I like it.  I don't always agree with everything Hitch says, but he never fails to get me to think.

Hopefully it will spill over to here some more.

Monday, June 10, 2013

More from Pat Robertson

Old douchebag Pat Robertson is at it again:



I got nothin.
Here's a thought Pat maybe these kids are killing themselves because they are bullied by Christian fascists like you.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Towel Day: That About Wraps it up For God



Today is Towel Day! A Celebration of the life of Douglas Adams.
This is also the Towel Day Blogfest!

Today I want to talk about Douglas Adams the atheist.   Adams had described himself as a Radical Atheist, he was also best friends to Richard Dawkins another famous atheist, but I never knew that back when I was young.

When I was 13-14 I discovered a wholly remarkable book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  It was funny, clever and so very British that I fell in love with it.  It was perfect for my teenage mind then; living on a steady diet of Doctor Who, British metal and TV.

Reading the book though I recognized something.  Here was an author that felt the same things I did. Sure he was hiding it in comedy and irreverent space travel, but here was someone that knew the same things I did:
The was no God.

As I got older I learned more about Douglas Adams.  Of course I knew the Doctor Who connection, but later I learned he and Richard Dawkins owned the first Macs in England. He introduced Dawkins to the woman that would be his wife, Lala Ward aka Romana II.

He was involved in computers, he was on Monty Python he was an advocate of science, technology, environmentalism and he was an atheist.

Reading his books made me happy, they made me realize that the thoughts I was having as a teenager were just ok, but certainly a sign that I was a hoopy frood that really knew where my towel was.

I am currently rereading The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy now.
It is every bit as great today as it was in the 1980s.


Monday, May 20, 2013

The Thaw

Gotta get on this.

There is this newish video out called The Thaw.
It has a bunch of whiny teenagers complaining about the "fact" that Christians are being "frozen out of America".

Here. Watch it yourself.



Hemat and TJ have already posted their responses.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/18/these-christian-kids-think-theyre-being-persecuted-now-watch-them-get-called-out-on-it/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIrHwHYtQxo
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/20/more-atheist-responses-to-the-thaw/

Here are some video responses.

This one is just awesome, from the Cult of Dusty
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EtRxYf7APwE


The first one I saw, from the Amazing Atheist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIrHwHYtQxo



The BarkingAtheist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWeV98JIXko
This one is actually makes a lot of great points.



Livelife8072
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLWKGBBHeuU



EssenceOfThought
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBmuqr9R1w8



All these videos make the same points.
No you are not being forced from being Christians. Bulling is bad no matter WHO is doing it.
You are not special and you don't get special rights.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blogfest: Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia

Cross posting this from my gaming blog The Other Side.

Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia
http://hopagainsthomophobia.blogspot.com/2013/03/hop-against-homophobia-and-transphobia_15.html


I have never been shy about the fact that I support equal rights for everyone. In particular I have been a strong supporter of gay rights and freedom to marry rights.  So I am very pleased to be part of this one.  Since this hop is focused on authors I am going to talk about some characters.

But this is not just a regular blog hop.  This one is about making a difference.

So. For the time period between May 17 to May 27 I will donate all the money I make from The Witch and from my DriveThruRPG Affiliate money to The Trevor Project.

This is a charity I have given money to in the past and they are a worthy cause.
In the unfortunate event I make no money then I will make it a function of the number of visitors I get. I get something like a 1,000 hits a day over at the Other Side.  So that over ten days, maybe a penny a visitor would be like $100.  A drop in the bucket for their operating costs to be sure, but every little bit helps.  No idea yet. Gotta see how much I can budget for this.

So help me out and help out a group kids that really need some understanding.
We can certainly do more than debate the merits of ascending vs. descending AC right?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Illinois Family Institute: Little Hate Machine

I have talked about the IFI in past here.
Not so subtle reminder: Did you know that the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies them as a hate group?  It's true. They are right up there (down there?) with the Klan.
Good place for them too because they are a hate filled bunch of evil little minded people.

I had a post I was working on about them. But Sheldon over at The Ramblings of Sheldon did a much better job. Go read his post (but do it in the same voice you use when reading my posts.)

http://ramblingsofsheldon.blogspot.com/2013/05/exposing-extremism-illinois-family.html

It is a great read and touches on a lot of the same things I wanted to talk about.

I have had the misfortune of dealing with these people (the IFI). I find them to be so closed minded and hate filled that I am ashamed for our species because of them.  Sure there are worse groups out there. But these twits are so clueless about their hate that they make me sick.

You know what I am glad Sheldon wrote his post instead of me writing one now. I don't think I would have been able to get to the end.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Psychics make me sick

From Hemant Mehta,

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/06/in-2004-psychic-sylvia-browne-told-amanda-berrys-mom-her-daughter-was-dead/

So this piece of shit Sylvia Browne told the girl's mother she was dead. The mother soon died afterward.
Now granted, the stress of loosing a child was ample enough to kill anyone.  But this fraud continues unabated in her cold-reading bullshit.

Another one I can't is that Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo.  I won't link to her site or to her stupid "reality" show on TLC, but here is a blurb about her on James Randi's site, http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/1755-long-island-medium-a-tall-story.html

I think what gets me the most is not that they get away with it, but people are falling over themselves to throw money at them.  That's not just willful ignorance, it is blind, rabid stupidity.

I shouldn't disgusted or surprised, but I am.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Faith vs. Reason

As seen recently on Facebook...



Reason: 
Knowing to turn on a light to see the rest of the damn staircase. 

-  Me.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Another Thing (blogging contract)

I will not enable moderator approvals on this blog.

You post, you will see it right away.
I have lost track of the blogs I have posted to only to have the post never seen by others because the moderator has decided not to approve it.

Yes I find this mostly on Christian blogs, but I also know of a couple of atheism blogs that do this.

Not naming names, but I am saying I am not going to do that.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Blogging Contract

I posted this to my other blog, The Other Side.  It applies here too.

Blogging is not writing. Not really.  Sure there are a lot of similarities but there are plenty of subtle differences.

When writing an RPG book I have an audience in mind. That is a nebulous audience that I may or may not interact with.  I don't know who bought every copy of The Witch or Ghosts of Albion or Buffy.

I do have the chance to get to know each and every reader here via the comments section.  I post, you comment, I reply.  There is a social contact at work here.. You are not expected to reply, but I write my posts hoping that people will.

Implicit in that is one of control.  I try to keep my posts interesting to my known audience.  This is one of the reasons I have different blogs.   I control what I post.  You control what you reply with, but ...I also control your reply. See I can delete any reply I don't like.  But I don't.  There are few good reasons for that.

I don't because it is dishonest. Having people disagree with me is a great way for me to learn something new.  I have lost track of all the things I have looked into because some one said "no. you are wrong."

I don't because it violates the social contract we have.  You put yourself out there, those were your thoughts.  I may not agree with it, but that doesn't give me the right to shut it down.

I also don't because , and lets be honest here, controversy and conflict means more hits, more audience and hopefully more people reading my stuff.  Not fake controversy, people can see that a mile away, but real and honest.

A natural extension of that is I will also not delete old posts.  I don't see the point. You may want to go back a read something I posted in 2012. Great!  I will leave it there.  Even if it something I don't agree with, like or otherwise grok anymore.

I have been seeing too many cases of people taking down posts, editing posts to put themselves in better light. Sorry folks, between Archive.org and Google cache people can find anything that was posted given time, so don't try to change history.

I'll remove a post of your own if you ask me to. I'll delete multiple posts if looks like you were fixing a typo or something. I'll delete spam.

That's my contract with you.
Your contract with me is not post anything to make be doubt this choice! ;)

Pat Robertson and D&D (Again)

Someone needs to wake this fool up and tell him it's not 1983 anymore.


In pure "No True Scotsman" tradition I keep hearing that he doesn't speak for all Christians.  But no one told him that.

Though persecution of D&D might make the sales of my book The Witch a little better!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I must be getting under someone's skin

I got an email from "Rep. Morrison" last night.
I say that in quotes since I have never gotten anything from him that wasn't a canned stock letter. This one was not a reply, was bounced through a server in VA and Google tagged it as being suspected of Phishing.

Plus the wording was all wrong from an Illinois politician.

I am not reading a lot into this.  People do crap like this all the time on the internet.  But I must have touched a nerve for them try this particular trick.  Even if it was sloppy.

Friday, April 5, 2013

April 4, Stand with Amina Day

I will be honest. I don't like religions.
When religions are used to keep a group of people down just because of how they were born it makes me livid.
Many (not all) Christians used to do it African slaves, they (again many, but not all) still do it to gays and lesbians.
And Many (but not all) Mulslims do it with women.
Granted there is a lot of cultural issues here that are hard to tease out of the religious ones.  But if the religious ones were removed then the culture would adapt.

Case in point, Amina.
This 19 year old Tunisian woman posted a topless photo of herself with “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” written on her chest.  She has been threatened with death by her family, police and there are religious leaders asking for her stoning death.

W. T. F.??

Seriously if your religion is so fucked up that it can't stand the sight of a woman's bare breasts then get the fuck off of the same planet I am on.  Seriously.

There are a lot of blogs talking about this, but here are some good links.
http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/2013/03/21/4-april-2013-international-day-to-defend-amina-she-represents-us/
http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/2013/04/03/on-4-april-we-will-breast-them/
and a facebook group, http://www.facebook.com/femens.tunisie?fref=ts
The main site for protest is here: http://femen.org/

And as an extra special fuck you to any religious group that might be offended here is Amina's picture.




Tuesday, April 2, 2013

An Open Letter to the Secular Community

I try to stay out of the online drama in the atheism community (and to be fair this sort of drama is common to ALL online groups).  So I am reposting this mostly without comment.

It's just a a good idea.

Source:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/04/02/national-atheist-groups-respond-to-growing-incivility-in-online-communities/

An Open Letter to the Secular Community


It is an amazing time to be part of the secular movement. Look at what’s happened in 2012 alone. We held the Reason Rally, the largest event our community has ever had, which brought over 20,000 atheists, humanists, and other secular people together on the National Mall. We are growing, attracting new people, and drawing more attention than ever before. A big part of that growth is thanks to our large and dynamic online community. Online secular communities have helped people encounter new ideas, deepen and broaden their thinking, and even change their minds.
A Problem with Online Communication
At the same time, the fact that so much of our community is online brings with it certain challenges. Communicating primarily online can make it difficult to recognize each other’s humanity. Online we don’t have the same vocal and physical cues to tell us what another person means by his or her comments, so it’s easier for misunderstandings to develop. The instantaneous and impersonal nature of online communication also makes it much easier for these misunderstandings to escalate, or for civil arguments to turn into bitter fights. Like many online communities, our comment and forum threads all too often become places for name calling and even threats, rather than honest dialogue based on mutual respect. Between the small but vocal number of abusive participants (often called “trolls”) who hurl threats and insults, and the overheated rhetoric of some ordinarily friendly and reasonable people, our online environment is in danger of turning toxic. Fortunately, our secular values of reason and compassion give us tools to rise above the lowest common denominator of online communication.
Our Position and Our Pledge
We, the leaders of the undersigned national secular organizations, pledge to make our best efforts toward improving the tone and substance of online discussions. The secular movement as a whole is friendly, welcoming, and committed to the use of reason and evidence as a means of resolving disagreements. We refuse to allow the deplorable conduct of a few to debase the reasonable, appropriate, and respectful conduct of the overwhelming majority of our community.
We seek to promote productive debate and discussion. We firmly believe open and candid discussion is the most reliable means of resolving differences of opinion and bringing about needed change.
Insults, slurs, expressions of hatred, and threats undermine our shared values of open and candid discussion because they move us away from an exchange of views supported with reasons.
Of course we will disagree with each other on some issues, but we can do a better job of expressing our disagreements. We can resolve to avoid mischaracterizing the positions of others, relying on rumors as the basis for our opinions, and using inappropriate tactics such as guilt by association. Instead, we can give one another the benefit of the doubt, strive to understand the whole story, and de-escalate rhetoric to foster more productive discussions. We can become better at disagreeing by treating each other like reasonable human beings.
It takes patience to educate people, but we can change how people think by having a constructive dialogue. If that weren’t the case, we wouldn’t bother in the first place to communicate online about important issues.
The Debate over Sexism and Feminism
Before listing some specific recommendations regarding improvement of online communications, we have observations about one particular set of interrelated issues that has engaged much of the secular community in the past year, namely sexism within the secular movement, the appropriate way to interpret feminism, and the extent to which feminism, however interpreted, should influence the conduct, policies, and goals of movement organizations. This set of issues is worthy of careful consideration, but in a few areas our positions should be very clear.
The principle that women and men should have equal rights flows from our core values as a movement. Historically, there has been a close connection between traditional religion and suppression of women, with dogma and superstition providing the rationale for depriving women of fundamental rights. In promoting science and secularism, we are at the same time seeking to secure the dignity of all individuals. We seek not only civil equality for everyone, regardless of sex, but an end to discriminatory social structures and conventions — again often the legacy of our religious heritage — that limit opportunities for both women and men.
Unfortunately, the discussion of these issues has suffered from the same problems that plague online discussion in general — although arguably to a greater extent. Some blogs and comments actually exhibit hatred, including rape threats and insults denigrating women. Hatred has no place in our movement. We unequivocally and unreservedly condemn those who resort to communicating in such a vile and despicable manner.
Our Approach
Here are some things that we plan to do to make our online secular community a place where we can exchange ideas and views instead of insults. We hope that others may also find this approach useful.
  • Moderate blogs and forums.
  • Any organization or individual engaged in blogging or administering a forum has an obligation to moderate comments. Slurs, threats, and so forth beget more of the same. Keeping our online spaces free of these elements creates a civil climate that makes it much easier for people to engage issues productively.
  • Go offline before going online: pick up the phone.
  • When you hear that an organization or member of our community is doing something that you think is wrong or bad for the community, call and talk with them, find out what they are actually doing and why they are doing it. If you don’t have a phone number, send a private email and arrange a time to talk. So much of the time there’s more to the story, and talking to another person on the other side of the issue can help us more fully understand the situation. Plus, a phone call makes it easier for people who are making mistakes to change course, because they aren’t on the defensive as they would be after being called out publicly.
  • Listen more.
  • We miss the nuances and differences within “the other side” once an issue becomes polarized, while continuing to see our side as filled with nuance and distinctions. There is a tendency to stop listening and treat everyone associated with an opposing position as a monolithic group. People can be painted with views that aren’t their own just because they may disagree with some aspects of your own position. We should listen more so we can see distinctions among those with opposing views and start to move toward a more accurate understanding of the issues rather than being deadlocked into two entrenched camps.
  • Dial down the drama.
  • It’s tempting to overuse inflammatory and derogatory rhetoric. It gets attention. We should be cautious about using this tactic within our community because of the long-term damage it does to relationships and morale. When critiquing people within our community, everyone should remember that our goal is to persuade our allies to see our perspective and modify their opinions. Insults don’t change opinions; they harden them.
  • Be more charitable.
  • We should remember that the purpose of argument within our community is to come to shared and correct conclusions that move us forward, not to score points against the opposing side. To that end, we should apply the principle of charity, which tells us to aim our argument against the best interpretation of the opposing arguments rather than picking off weaker versions. By applying the principle of charity we will elevate the discussion so we’re actually talking about our real differences, not just engaging in a pointless exchange.
  • Trust but verify.
  • Before we believe and repost something we see, we should ask ourselves about the evidence provided and the context. It’s easy for multiple people saying the same thing to look like a lot of evidence, but if their statements are all based on the same original source, they do not constitute independent verification. We should look for the original data and corroboration from independent sources before believing and spreading claims.
  • Help others along.
  • We should remember that we weren’t born knowing the things we know now. To get to the reasoned conclusions that we’ve reached, we learned by reading, thinking, and talking with others. When we encounter someone espousing a view we think is based on lack of knowledge or experience, we should remember that we have all held ill-informed views. We should cultivate patience and try to educate instead of condemn.
By improving our online culture, we can make this movement a place that engages, fulfills, and welcomes a growing number and increasing diversity of secular people.
Sincerely,
David Silverman, President, American Atheists
Rebecca Hale, President, American Humanist Association
Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director, American Humanist Association
Chuck VonDerAhe, President, Atheist Alliance of America
Richard Haynes, President, Atheist Nexus
Ayanna Watson, CEO, Black Atheists of America, Inc.
Mandisa L. Thomas, President, Black Nonbelievers, Inc.
Mynga Futrell, for Brights Central, at The Brights’ Net
Amanda Metskas, Executive Director, Camp Quest
Ronald Lindsay, President and CEO, Center for Inquiry
Tom Flynn, Executive Director, The Council for Secular Humanism
Jan Meshon, President, FreeThoughtAction
Joseph McDaniel Stewart, Vice President, FreeThoughtAction
Margaret Downey, Founder and President, Freethought Society
D.J. Grothe, President, James Randi Educational Foundation
Stuart Jordan, President, Institute for Science and Human Values
Jason Torpy, President, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers
R. Elisabeth Cornwell, Executive Director, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
Edwina Rogers, Executive Director, Secular Coalition for America
August E. Brunsman IV, Executive Director, Secular Student Alliance
Todd Stiefel, President, Stiefel Freethought Foundation
Fred Edwords, National Director, United Coalition of Reason

Monday, April 1, 2013

Not Doing A to Z this year

I am actually, just not here.

You can see what I am doing though over at my other blogs: The Other Side and Red Sonja: She-Devil with a Sword

Over at the Other Side I am doing demons.  Now it might sound odd an atheist and skeptic talking about demons, but really it isn't.  It was my reading about how Christians took the gods of other faiths and turned them into demons, literal and figurative demonizing, that put me on the path that lead me here.

So have a look and I promise to try to sneak in little bits of atheism when I can.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Peter Gabriel - Biko

I have to admit.  During the entire Stubbenville rape saga I kept thinking of this song.



Not everything in the song.  Gabriel was singing about apartheid and the death of Steven Biko at the hands of the police.

But this:


You can blow out a candle
But you can't blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher

And the eyes of the world are
watching now
watching now


There are thousands of Steubenvilles out there.  Some more horrible.
But with some luck we can make some changes.







Tuesday, March 19, 2013

UGH...I have to stop arguing with idiots.

Word of advice. Arguing with the Illinois Family Institute is like arguing with a duck. They just look at you, don't understand a word you are saying, say the same thing over and over and then crap on the ground.

Explaining Gay Marriage to My Children

I have two boys.  Aged 10 and 13.

I was talking to my 10 year old yesterday about marriage and I told him that my brother was getting married today (yesterday).  I asked him if he ever wanted to get married and he said "of course".  Ok. So they get, at their level, what marriage is.  Cool.

Last might I was mentioning my brother again and said that he got married to his long time boyfriend (and btw it was married, not a domestic partnership).  Their responses where along the lines of "great! are we going to the wedding?" "that's nice. Can I play Minecraft now?"

My kids get it.

Why can't the idiots at the Illinois Family Institute get it too?
Well that is because they are quite literal dumber than a 4th grader.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Asking For it

Somethings from my own little corner of geekery:
http://karinacooper.com/rage-warnings-she-was-asking-for-it

Long story-short a well known Steampunk "personality" opens up a fetish-y/erotica site.  Steampunk "fans" go ape shit.

Then there was this little gem about cosplayers, ie women (mostly) that go to comicbook/fantasy cons dressed as their favorite characters. I think it is great that women are interested in what has been to date a predominately male-centric hobby.  But not everyone agrees.

Comic book illustrator Tony Harris doesn't like cosplayers. Here are some links, you can read them.


http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/comic-book-illustrator-tony-harris-hates-women-co
http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post/35644420254/tonyharris
and one from Other Side favorite Strikes Twice, http://strikes-twice.deviantart.com/#/d5l04ol

If there is someone in fandom and you don't like them or think they don't belong there then the trouble might be with you, and not them.

Following me so far?

We have had the same battles in Atheism and Skepticism.   (Remember "Elevator-gate"?).

The problem is this is all the same thing.  The systemic devaluation of women in society.
It's not a male-rights thing or something like that. No one is trying to stand up for something they want or need.  This is about keeping a certain class of humans down.  In this case, women.

Overreaction?  No. Not really.

See we have built a culture here where women are treated like sex objects. Look no further than the recent Steubenville rape trial where one of the guilty rapists claimed he didn't even know what rape was, or the victim's mother stating that their daughter was used like a toy.

I am not saying someone can't be sexy, or have sex appeal. At all.  I am saying that we need to start treating each other better than what we have been doing.
In fact "sexiness" isn't even the issue.  A woman (or a man for that matter) should be able to walk down the street in ANYTHING or NOTHING and isn't "Asking for it" any more or less than any other circumstance.

For example.


Who is this woman?  No idea. But she is brave as hell.

I love the look on her face. Strong and confident.  She could be covered head to toe and with that look still more confident than anyone else there.

Could that pic be considered "sexy" of course it is. But message matters. The message here is "don't judge me by how I look. Judge me by my actions and words."  Same with the Cosplayers. Same with Kato. Same with Jane Doe in Steubenville.

And then who is to blame?  The victim. At least that who gets blamed by the media, courts, people involved.
https://twitter.com/search?q=%23steubenville&src=typd
http://publicshaming.tumblr.com/
http://rogercanaff.com/site/2013/03/media-rundown-on-steubenville-from-thinkprogress-org-its-her-fault/

and so many more that it is making me ill reading these responses.

All I can do really is raise my kids better and ask you all to do the same.
The rest of humanity seems pretty fucked if you ask me.



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Guilty

That is the verdict on the Stuebenville rape trail.
Both of the boys were found guilty on all counts and will spend 1-2 years in a juvenile detention center.

It's a victory and I hope that the victim, Jane Doe, can heal.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Week

A Week is coming up. Thanks to Hemant for pointing this out to me.

You can find out more at: http://www.aweek.biz/ and http://www.facebook.com/AWeekOfficial

They have banners and icons for your Facebook or G+ pages.




Those are the two I am going to use.

My goal on Facebook is NOT to get into any fights about this, but rather answer questions posed to me.
We will see how long that lasts.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Religious Freedoms end where Human Rights begin

One of the reasons I set up this blog was so I could talk about issues that interest me without having to deal religious minded people that use dogma in place of thinking.

Here is yet another case.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is going up again for a vote.  This legislation would keep people from being fired or not being hired in the first place on the basis of their sexual or gender orientation.

Sounds fine really.  Read the page, nothing here that really should offend anyone right?
Wrong!

The Religious Right are saying this legislation is impeding their religious freedom.  Their freedom to be bigoted assholes maybe.

Here is a letter I got on one of my stealth accounts I use to keep track of these people.
Read this and consider the fear mongering here. The persecution complex. They have decided that treating others fairly is an attack on them.


Click to make bigger (I am including the image to show this has not been edited)
Here is the text, in text format.


ENDA Will Destroy Your Religious Freedom
March 06, 2013 |  | Share with Friends 
Dear XXXXX,
Like a B-grade 1950's horror-movie, ENDA is coming back from the dead.
ENDA--the Employment Non-Discrimination Act--is dangerous. It feeds on freedom, primarily the freedom of religion and speech: not in theory, but on a practical, everyday level. It leaves few freedoms behind.
Yes, the bill has a fair-sounding name, but in fact, ENDA would givespecial rights to men and women who engage in homosexual behavior. It will force Christian schools and colleges, Christian-owned businesses, day care centers, and other organizations to employ people who make their sexual behavior an issue as they parade their proclivities into the workplace.
Under ENDA, biblical morality becomes illegal.
Now is the time to stand firm
ENDA was first proposed in 1994 and has been repeatedly introduced since then. We've beaten it back again and again. But in today's political climate you don't need subtitles to know this is their "perfect storm":
  • a Liberal majority in the Senate;
  • a strongly pro-homosexual media machine;
  • an emboldened homosexual lobby;
  • a Republican establishment that is afraid to stand up;
  • and most of all, a second-term President with no need to worry about reelection, who has sworn to his radical homosexual supporters that he will personally "usher through an Employment Non-Discrimination Act and sign it into law."
I urge you to get involved personally, immediately, in fighting ENDA--because this dangerous bill could rise from the floor of Congress at any time they choose.
Certainly to you and me, the very idea of ENDA--giving special rights and protections to people based solely on their sexual behavior--is outrageous. But to this pro-homosexual President and the totalitarian homosexual lobby, it's a reasonable way to advance their cause--and crush the biblical view that stands in their way of fundamentally transforming America. ENDA is massive leap forward in redefining America.
You probably will not hear much about ENDA in the news. This could give liberal members of Congress the opportunity to move ENDA forward without a lot of noisy opposition. President Obama also could try to enact ENDA-type policies with federal regulations.
We've got to prevent any kind of "stealth" operation--by making our position overwhelmingly clear to our Senators and Representatives.
FRC Action stands ready to lead the way, but we need your support. Your generous donation today will make a real difference. FRC Action is the most influential and most respected group inWashington on the Hill every day, deeply involved in the inner workings of legislative battles affecting faith, family and freedom.
We must defeat ENDA to protect our religious freedom
The specter of life under ENDA is not theoretical: we have the tragic experiences of Christians in Canada where a version of ENDA is already the law.
The evangelical Christian Horizons ministry, committed to extending God's love to developmentally disabled children, dismissed a lesbian employee for lying about her immoral sexual behavior. The woman sued under Ontario's ENDA-type law.
The ministry was immediately fined thousands of dollars, plus two years of back pay, and ordered to indoctrinate its Bible-believing employees in the homosexual agenda.
It's easy to see that the same kind of disaster will come to America if ENDA becomes law here. It will become impossible for any church or ministry or Christian organization to stand as a Christian example, as Titus 2:7 admonishes. Our freedom of religion will be destroyed.
We must defeat ENDA to protect our children
The danger of ENDA goes beyond employment. It will essentially give the radicals government approval to reach the heart of your family. We've seen how this will work too.
In Indiana, a child on a school bus stated her pro-life, pro-marriage beliefs--the bus driver verbally assaulted the girl, demeaning her as "a stupid little bigot"--and the school district defended the bus driver as "working within the scope of her employment."
This was a preview of ENDA: government workers empowered to intimidate children who dare express Christian values that conflict with the homosexual agenda.
We must also defeat ENDA so that the good work you are accomplishing through your support of FRC Action can continue. It's no secret that we are the number-one target of the homosexual Left's hatred because we repeatedly stand against their agenda on Capitol Hill ... when fewer and fewer are willing to stand. Many in Congress describe FRC Action as the most effective voice for your traditional Christian values in Washington, D.C.
But if ENDA becomes a federal law, I have no doubt activists will use it to provoke a confrontation--and try to silence us through legal action. If they silence us, they silence you!
Take action today
To keep Christians from being fired for their faith ...
To keep Christian businesses from being forced to hire cross-dressers ...
To keep a Christian from being terminated for "anti-gay harassment" simply because he kept a Bible on his desk ...
To keep Christian schools from being forced to employ homosexual teachers ...
To keep our children free to proclaim the values we've taught them ...
We will continue to fight every single day for the preservation of your freedoms. Meanwhile, I hope you will follow your gift with prayer Thank you. God bless.
Sincerely,

Tony Perkins
President
P.S. After making the most generous gift you can, please share this with your friends.
FRC Action is a tax-exempt corporation under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Financial contributions to FRC Action are not tax-deductible.

What I see here is a group whining about the loss of their ability to persecute and bully another group.
To bad.

I hope that they are right in one respect. I do hope that the time has never been better to get this passed.

Friday, March 1, 2013

SB 10 and the Culture of Blindness

I know I have been going on a bit about Illinois SB10, aka the Gay Marriage bill, and not Atheism, but this is my blog after all....

Anyway I just got this letter back from Rep. Tom Morrison,


Well I thanked him for emailing me back but I think it is obvious (to me) that he didn't really read my letter.

While I don't want to come off as smug on this, I do think that Marriage Equality in Illinois is only a matter of time.  If not now, then in a few years.  Certainly a generation.  While I am sure that Rep. Morrison believe he has the best of intentions he is letting his religious belief get in the way of his civic duty. He is putting his on comfort over the rights of others.  One day we will look back on these days the same way we look back on the South in the 1960s with civil rights.

I still say email your representatives in Illinois.  You can find them here.
Let them know how you feel.

This is another case of religion denying another group of people their human rights.

Now while I will grant Rep. Morrison the benefit of the doubt in terms of whether his vote against human rights is hate-motivated, the Illinois Family Institute gets no such pass from me.  They keep referring to this bill as the "faux marriage" bill or the "counterfeit marriage" bill.  There is nothing but hate on their site.  They are even designated a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

I say please use their own "Take Action" center to email your reps to let them know that your support this bill and you do not support the IFI.

Monday, February 25, 2013

SB 10 Goes to the House Tomorrow


The IL House votes on SB 10 tomorrow.  This bill, already passed by the Senate, will allow legal adults of either gender to get married in the state of Illinois.  This is the "gay marriage" bill and it will extend basic civil rights to ALL in Illinois.

Call your state house Representative today.  Please urge them to vote YES on this.

www.Ilga.gov/house/

What's the old quote? "As long as some of us are not free then none of us are free."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I Have a Hard Time with Pagans/Wiccans

If you follow my other gaming blog you well know that I like Witches.

A lot.

I like that fantasy archetype. I like the Jungian Archetype and I love the stories.

When it comes to religion I have a hard time with Wiccans and other Pagan groups in general.
Why?  Well. To be blunt most are just so darned nice.  Really.
You can talk to them (and please excuse me lumping all Pagans together for this, right now "them" means anyone "not me") about science and evolution and they get it.  They really do.  They all seem to be very reasonable and, again, nice.

You don't even see

It's the "woo" stuff I don't get.
Now an aside.  "Woo" or "Woo Woo" is in my mind a fairly derogatory term.  Not that I am concern so much with insulting people, it is though lumping a bunch of ideas together and assuming they are all equal.  It is dishonest and intellectual laziness on our parts and unnecessarily derogatory to the audience.   IF I am going to be derogatory then I want people to know it and to know I know what I am talking about.

Ok. Back to it.  I will say it is the "baggage" or even the "magic" stuff.
The basic idea of most Pagans is to go to perceived earlier form of practice that is more in-tune with the cycles of the earth.  Hey that is cool, if you are an agrarian society then celebrations based on certain times of the year that coincide with planting and harvesting are fine.   If you are doing it as some sort of way to get in touch with a past (that may or may not have existed) then that is fine too. 
To assume that ghosts and the spirits of the dead are more active on Samhain than other times of the year though...sorry.

The trouble is there is still the element of the fanciful. The unreal.
So spells, healing crystals, homeopathy, auras.  All that stuff makes for great fiction but terrible for real life.

I remember once I had been duped by this guy that gave me some homeopathic remedy. I had hurt my back and my insurance company wanted me to go to physical therapy or a chiropractor.  I was only about 20 and never been to a chiropractor before, so I gave it a try. Yes he made my back feel better. So would have a massage therapist or physical therapist.  But this guy was also one of those homeopathy nuts and he pulled some slight of hand trick on me.  I never figured it out and can't recall all the details.  But it involved me making a fist and not being able to move my arm then taking his so called wunder-drug and then being able to move it.  Again, I never figured out, but it sure left a bad taste in my mouth.  I should have known that after I stopped going he kept harassing me (yes my bill was paid up) to come back.  The cure should have been enough for me to stay to be honest.

I have talked to some pagans in the past that were, for all intents and purposes, atheists.
I asked one about even about their belief in magic one guy told me that of course there is no magic, but the "spell" I do is just a way of me imagining my goals, they don't get done unless I do something about them.
That is not a bad philosophy I guess.  I'd remove the whole spell and magic bit.

I guess in the end that is what confuses me the most.
Reasonable people that choose to believe in crazy stuff.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Illinois Senate Passes SB 10

Illinois Senators passed SB 10 today.
This is so called "Gay Marriage bill".

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-illinois-senate-approves-gay-marriage-20130214,0,5929022.story

This is a huge step forward for the state of Illinois, so of course mindless fear groups like the Illinois Family Institute feel this is bad thing.
I suggest going to their site and using their action menus to email your state representatives to tell them to pass this bill when comes to the House.

https://www.votervoice.net/ILFI/Campaigns/30125/Respond

You will need a valid email address, but isn't that what Hotmail is for?


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Darwin Day!

My current big project is "Darwin's Guide to Creatures, Mythical and Mundane" a creature book for the Gaslight RPG (OGL and Savage Worlds)

I got on this since it covers many of my interests well.  I love old bestiaries, the Victorian age and my interest in Darwin himself.

I thought that since today was Darwin Day, Id spend some time talking about this book.

For starters it is a monster manual.  Creatures mythical and mundane to pit against your Gaslight characters.
It is circa 1888 and we are at the height of the Late Victorian Empire.

The book is written as a naturalist guide, similar in some respects to Darwin's work on the Galapagos Islands in his study of finches.  I tried to put myself into Darwin's shoes and write about orcs and trolls as if he had seen them himself.  Not an easy task.  I also tried whenever possible to avoid any supernatural agencies.  That was particularly difficult.   I rather like what I did about elementals, but less so about undead and will have to edit them a bit.

To prep for this book I reread Darwin's greatest work, "On the Origin of Species".  If you have never read this, then please do.  It is a masterwork and so ahead of it's time.  This man, through careful and painstaking observation put together this theory of common descent and change of species over time.  I know from reading his autobiography that this was not an idea he took lightly.  He knew that this would not sit well with the clergy and especially his religious wife.  But he also knew it had to be done.

Reading his autobiography got me to one of the key conceits of the book.  The book is "published" in 1885 or thereabouts.  Darwin was of course dead by that time.  It is edited from years worth of notes by his son William Erasmus and his daughter Etty.

I wanted to stay true to the spirit of Darwin, if not the letter, but I also wanted to stay true to the game system and world.  Gaslight is a world where Dracula preys on maidens in their bedchambers while Sherlock Holmes peruses Jack the Ripper and Mr. Hyde in the streets of White Chapel.

This is also giving me a chance to stat up some monsters that I have not had the chance to try out yet.  In particular some dinosaurs.

Looking forward to getting this one out there too!

Cross posting this to the Other Side.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Save Me White Jesus!

So this picture showed up on Pharyngula today.



Again, it would be better to laugh if so many didn't take it do serious.  Not taking Jesus serious, but White Jesus.

To start off I know this is sub minority of Christians out there. Plus many Christians probably would agree with me on all of this. Or most of it.

I can recall having a conversation when I was younger.  I am not going to say with whom, it was too long ago and they could have changed their minds by this point.  But the conversation basically went along the lines of them telling me that since Jesus was God's son he therefore looked more like god and thus blond hair and blue eyes.  I remember asking if this person was getting Jesus confused with Superman.

I can also recall sitting in the library at college and looking some of this stuff up.  Yes, there is scholarship where people go to great lengths to explain how this 1st Century Jew would have looked like a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, or at least like a less-Disco BeeGee.

But you don't have to pull an anecdotal comment out of my past.  Just go over to right wing whack job Victoria Jackson's Facebook page.
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=473833846012912&set=a.230529357010030.59347.229633827099583&type=1&relevant_count=1

Ok, Ok, I know poking fun at Victoria Jackson is like picking on a child, but ignore her and read the crap posted about the picture.

There are two big issues at work here.  Both of course are denied by the people that partake in this.

Issue 1, Racism.  This is the easy one.  While the defenders (and you can read this all for yourself) will say that they see Jesus as some sort of shapeshifting Pooka that changes to fit who is worshiping him, it is really about white Americans being uncomfortable with a guy that probably looks more like a stereotypical cab driver than anything else.   It's just racism pure and simple.

Issue 2, Stupidity. Sorry this is also the big one. Not only is it racist, it's also stupid.  I mean honestly do they really expect us to believe this shit?  Back to the scholarship above, a lot of the claims are based on what sort of lineage Jesus had.  Hmmm Did they all miss the fact that by tracing this all through Joesph they are missing the big picture? According to the tale, Mary was a virgin and Jesus had no biological relationship to Joesph or anyone in his line. So they can't even keep their own story straight.

Both issues only serve the same one goal.  To make this group of Christians a laughing stock.  Really.
To other Christians, you should cull your herds a bit more.  Their stink will rub off on you as well.
Don't like it?  Well remember that the next time you lump all atheists in with Stalin.

Though I have to admit there is one other Jesus meme that cracks me up so much I can't stop laughing long enough to even take it serious.  You think White Jesus is bad?  Allow me to introduce Super Mega Fighting Jesus!


I can hear it now like a bad movie sequel.  "It's the Second Coming and Jesus is Pissed!   This time there will be no forgiveness "  You can almost hear the the wood splintering.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I would laugh but...

The other day I posted a link to some information on National Darwin Day.
http://freedomofnonbelief.blogspot.com/2013/01/darwin-day-2-12-2013.html

I think it is a neat idea, but it doesn't have much of a chance of getting through.  Our Government can't even pass a budget or immigration reform.

But that doesn't mean the crazy Christian right is going to take this one sitting down! No. This is 'Merica damn it!

So check out this petition:  http://questionevolution.blogspot.com/2013/01/stop-darwin-day-in-usa-petition-our.html

Sure. Cause their little petition, under a hundred signatures, will have any bearing at all.
I would say it is like they don't understand how governments work, but that is obvious.

Reading over the blog (which to be fair is like mine in some weird, evil parallel mirror/mirror universe) would be funny, except that I fear too many people read it and take it seriously.

I particularly love how the makes claims and then uses his own blog to support those claims.  Or uses such websites as Creation.com.  Sure. What ever you need to do to convince yourself your are right.

I spent a little time on the site, but frankly the circular logic made me dizzy.
Go there if you must. But don't expect anything like rational arguments or intellectual discourse.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Boy Scouts. Too Little, Too Late?

I have had a complicated relationship with the Boy Scouts of America.

I would like to like them more, what they mean for boys and young men.  The trouble is I just can't.

The times I was in the Cub Scouts and briefly the Boy Scouts were great.  I will say I learned a lot of things that I find useful today and want to pass on to my own boys.   But the truth is I can't get past a few things.

First is the whole God thing.  I never liked it then, I don't like it now.
That's fine though. The Boy Scouts NEVER have to change that.  I never expected them too, even when I knew the only thing for me to do was to quit.

The other thing is different.
The exclusion of gay Scouts is not ok. It's not ok for an organization like the Scouts to say they are there for all boys, and then turn around and tell a few that they didn't mean them.

Well the Scouts maybe changing this, but I wonder if it will be enough to save them.
http://www.scouting.org/MembershipPolicy.aspx

I think this is a good move on the part of the Boy Scouts and one I hope brings them into the 21st Century.
Sure there is much less need to know which knot to use where than there is on how to perform a good web search, but baby steps I guess.

I just hope it isn't too little, too late.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Darwin Day 2-12-2013

There is some momentum growing for a national Darwin Day on February 12, 2013.




I think this is a great idea, but I have my doubts we will see it.    There are still too many members of Congress that freak out over the slightest mention of Darwin or Evolution.  Like he was some bogey man.

Still.  I have a book on Darwin coming up and this would be some good PR!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Losing Religion

I never had any religion myself to lose.  Like I have mentioned before I always considered myself a nonbeliever so admitting my atheism (at age 10) was really nothing big.

Yet it is always interesting when a very high profile religious person rejects all or some of their belief.

Case in point, Former President Jimmy Carter.
Carter has been well known for his less that stellar Presidential term, his highly successful role in world peace and his deep religious convictions.   Well...scratch one of those.

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/losing-my-religion-for-equality-20090714-dk0v.html

In brief Carter can no longer justify how religions treat women.
The article itself is an interesting read and fascinating not just what it says, but who is saying it.

 I doubt it will have any impact whatsoever on the people that need to hear it the most. But I am glad he said it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Kids are Alright

When ever people go on about the "youth of today" I do have to laugh.
It wasn't that long ago when they were the  "youth of today" and yesterday's adults were complaining about them.

While I do acknowledge that there are some serious issues out there I am mostly confident about the youth and tomorrow.

Case in point Zack Kopplin.  He is a 19 year old activist try to repeal Louisiana's biggest anti-science law.
You can read more here.
http://io9.com/5976112/how-19+year+old-activist-zack-kopplin-is-making-life-hell-for-louisianas-creationists

We live in a world that is full of really wonderful things and science is doing it's best job of helping explain those things.  Cut kids off from science and I really will worry about the youth of today.

EDITED TO ADD: Even Hemant Mehta agrees.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/01/16/io9-profiles-teen-atheist-and-science-advocate-zack-kopplin/

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Beginnings Blogfest

I am participating in the Beginnings Blogfest hosted by L.G. Keltner over at Writing Off the Edge.

The theme of this blogfest is to talk about why you started blogging in the first place.

If you go to my other blog, The Other Side, you can read why I started blogging to begin with.

This blog had a clearer focus. It even had a mission statement as it's first post.

The Freedom of Nonbelief is my self-journey, in front of everyone, of my atheism.  I have been an atheist since well forever really.  I didn't self-identify myself as such till age 10.

I detailed my story of this in three posts back when I started this blog (all the way back in March 2012!)



The purpose of this blog was to talk about what I go through as an atheist and what others are saying.

I also delve into the worlds of religion, politics, social justice (or lack-thereof) and of course science and skepticism.

The other difference between this blog and my first one is that with this one I started out knowing what I was doing.

I don't post here as often as I would like. But I think I can improve on that a bit.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Rape Culture

I am so angry at this I can't even put together a paragraph on it.  So I am info dumping.

Asshole High School football "stars" drug an rape a 15 year old girl.  They drag her from house to house to keep doing it.  Now the school officials, the police and the town are trying to cover it up in the name of All Mighty Fucking Football.

There is video of one of these assholes bragging about it.


KnightSec which is connected to Anonymous is on it.
https://twitter.com/KYAnonymous
http://localleaks.blogs.ru/

PZ Myers is talking about it, but he is as disgusted as I am.
His site though will fill up with links.
http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/03/i-hope-this-haunts-michael-nodianos-for-the-rest-of-his-life/

A local crime blogger, Alexandria Goddard, is also talking about it.
http://prinniefied.com/wp/
She had been sued by the parents of one of those little assholes, but have since dropped the suit.  I guess they realized they are going to need the money.
CORRECTION:  The lawsuit was "Dismissed with Prejudice".
http://www.wtov9.com/news/news/local/civil-suit-against-blogger-and-several-john-does-d/nTgnH/

There is another site that is collecting stories and items as well.
http://bustedbitchesandinternetstalkers.com/tag/big-red-rape-case/
http://bustedbitchesandinternetstalkers.com/tag/steubenville-ohio/

Frankly someone needs to be on OHSAA about this and getting those oh-so-fucking-important Football trophies taken away from them.
Maybe contact their board of directors. http://www.ohsaa.org/general/biographies/board_bios.htm

And the obligatory petition.  It's to the White House and has little chance of having the outcome they want, but more media on this can never hurt.