Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Anti-evolutionists at it again in Louisiana

This isn’t old news or anything surprising. We have reported on the attempts by the delusional of Louisiana to force their magical beliefs into the classroom while expecting their religious beliefs to be taught side-by-side with subjects in the category of Science that are backed by extensive evidence and data. Morons just won’t give up. 
Creationism is stirring in Louisiana, with a proposal to teach creationism in Livingston Parish and a call for creationists to scrutinize textbooks proposed for adoption by the state in the headlines.
 “The Livingston Parish School Board will begin exploring the possibility of incorporating the teaching of ‘creationism’ in the public school system’s science classes,” reported the Baton Rouge Advocate (July 24, 2010). The director of curriculum for the district reportedly told the board that, under the Louisiana Science Education Act, schools are allowed to present “critical thinking and creationism” in science classes. The response from the board was enthusiastic, with David Tate asking, “Why can’t we get someone with religious beliefs to teach creationism?” and Clint Mitchell adding, “Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom.” Keith Martin, the president of the board, agreed, “Maybe it’s time that we look at this,” and proposed the formation of a committee to study the possibility.
NO! Teachers should NOT “have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the public school classroom.” That’s what mythology temples churches are for! Religion belongs in churches or in classes dealing in theology, not in classes that present verifiable scientific facts.

We will be keeping an eye on this one to see how it turns out.

Deadly Superstition and Abuse

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, there’s more…evil genie possession:

Saudi man chains his son in the basement for six years because he is ‘possessed by an evil female genie’
A Saudi man has been chained in a basement apartment for more than six years because his father believes he is possessed by an evil female genie.
‘When he has fits he has convulsions and his entire body twists and his eyes become completely white,’ said the father of the 29-year-old man who has been identified only as Turki.
‘Then the voice of a woman can be heard coming from him.’
The following excerpt is identical to the Catholic horror tales of demon possession (some have said this proves that the debbil exists :roll: )
When Turki first began behaving bizarrely, his father took him to local Muslim clerics to recite the Koran over him.
‘But most of them became scared when they heard the female voice telling them that she was a royal jinn (genie) and that no-one can exorcise her unless Turki dies,’ his father said.
One cleric advised him to shackle his son’s arms and legs in chains and read the Koran to him.
Instead of all this woo, it is obvious that this young man needs some urgent emergency medical care!
A Saudi human rights activist and professor in Sharia (Islamic law) who visited Turki found him to be in a ‘semi-coma’.
Muhammad Al-Suhali said Turki ‘did not know what was going on around him. He could not eat, drink or use the toilet without the help of others’.
And no one called the medics? Is this really 2010???

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Christianity's message to its children

Chilling video from the Thinking Atheist. What children are being taught in the name of God. And it is all true and not an exaggeration. Those of us who were born into and raised in Christian homes were all told these things and had them drilled into us again and again, week after week in the churches and Sunday school.

"Stealth evangelism" in public schools

“Stealth evangelizing”, (fundamentalist proselytizing) groups are forming all around the country intending to sneak “under the radar” at public school events with the intention of evangelizing to the children once they get in the door.

Stealth Evangelism And The Public Schools by Rob Boston

These groups share common tactics: They approach school officials with an offer of an engaging assembly on a topic that looks secular, such as suicide prevention, drug awareness or anti-bullying strategies.

Speakers may have scant credentials to address these topics. That’s not surprising, because they are really just fundamentalist evangelists looking for a way to preach to a captive public school audience.

Boston reports that “Several fundamentalist Christian ministries seek to bring proselytizing messages into public schools. Here is information about some of those organizations. All mission statements are taken directly from the groups’ Web sites.”

• The Power Team
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
Budget: $1,522,438
Description: This fundamentalist-oriented ministry relies on a bevy of buff athletes who perform feats of strength such as bending metal bars and ripping up phone books. Led by Todd Keene, the group offers programs on suicide prevention, drug awareness, nutrition and other topics – but there’s no evidence that the presenters are experts in any of these fields.
Mission: “The Power Team, Inc. endeavors to preach and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. People are motivated and encouraged to live virtuously and righteously by following the teachings of Jesus Christ.”

• Sports World
Headquarters: Indianapolis, Ind.
Budget: $1,308,079
Description: Sports World recruits former pro athletes and converts them into proselytizers in the public schools. The ex-athletes give lectures on topics such as suicide, drug abuse and abusive relationships.
Mission: “The vision of Sports World Ministries, Inc. is to have a presence on every available school campus, encouraging and challenging students through the Message of Hope…. Sports World is a seed-planting ministry and always seeks to pass the baton to local groups for discipleship and Christian mentoring.”

• Strength Team
Headquarters: Missoula, Mont.
Budget: $499,718
Description: The Strength Team is a sort of poor man’s version of the Power Team. It uses a crew of muscle men who perform feats of strength while offering talks on character and anti-bullying strategies.
Mission: “We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory. We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.”

• You Can Run But You Cannot Hide
Headquarters: Annandale, Minn.
Budget: $385,670
Description: This fundamentalist ministry uses a rock band to lure youngsters into fundamentalist Christianity. The band, called Junkyard Prophet, claims to be able to address any number of issues. According to its Web site, the band offers an “overall message of responsibility” touching on issues such as “drugs, alcoholism, suicide, sex, media, our country, our Veterans, our freedom, the Constitution, the choices we make, the friends that we have, and more in a language that speaks directly to the heart of this generation.”
Mission: “[To] bring permanent change to the people in your community and to the whole nation.”

• Commandos! USA
Headquarters: Katy, Texas
Budget: $169,957
Description: The “commandos” are a team of performers who dress in quasi-military garb while demonstrating feats of strength and engaging in mock battles in loud, high-energy presentations. The events are interspersed with lectures on motivation and character, but the group’s evangelical bias is clear.
Mission: “[Commandos founder Billy Lowery] has a very strong belief that Biblical values are not suggestions, rather solid mandates that assure some degree of civility and success in our culture.”

• Team Impact
Headquarters: Coppell, Texas
Budget: $1,865,141
Description: Similar to the Power Team and the Strength Team, Team Impact uses muscle-bound performers to get the attention of young people. According to the group’s Web site, “[Y]our church has the ability to impact your schools with this powerful message. Very rarely do we not couple these effective school outreaches with our local church events.” The ministry claims to address 700,000 students every year.
Mission: “To spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The organization promotes and sponsors programs directed to the youth of America to encourage them to live and grow in life styles which are based on Biblical principles.”

• Go Tell Crusades
Headquarters: Duluth, Ga.
Budget: $499,779
Description: Evangelist Rick Gage offers anti-drug and anti-alcohol lectures in public schools, trading on his past experiences as a football coach.
Mission: “To promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

• Todd Becker Foundation
Headquarters: Kearney, Neb.
Budget: No information available
Description: This group was founded by the older brother of a Nebraska high school student who died in a drunk-driving accident in 2005. It purports to offer lectures on the dangers of drunk driving to schools, but critics say its real purpose is to evangelize public school students.
Mission: “The Foundation’s purpose is to motivate young individuals to discover their potentials and ultimately discover themselves through first discovering God’s plan for their life by placing their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.”

Sneaky, sneaky bastards!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mosque near ground zero?

Most of you are probably aware of the battle going on in New York City over whether a mosque and Muslim community center should be allowed to be built at Ground Zero.

Opponents pack hearing on mosque near ground zero

NEW YORK – Dozens of opponents and some supporters of a mosque planned near ground zero attended a raucous hearing Tuesday about whether the building where the Muslim place of worship would be created warrants designation as a city landmark and should be protected from development.


After noting the lower Manhattan building’s history and architectural significance, Lazio said it also warranted landmark designation because on Sept. 11, 2001, it was struck by airplane debris from the terror attacks against the nearby World Trade Center. That connection to the attacks, he said, made it “a place of deep historical significance and a reminder of just what happened on New York’s darkest day.”

As hard as I try to be open-minded on this one, I am having great difficulty with it. For Muslims to even consider putting a mosque and Muslim community center right next door to ground zero is highly insensitive to the people of New York City and to the remaining family members and friends of the 911 victims. I hope that the building can get historical status and they can build their mosque somewhere else. Having a mosque at ground zero will only intensify the memories of the “Allah Akbar!” shouts as planes flew into the Twin Towers, destroying lives, families and our national security in the name of the Muslim god.

Tea Party scare tactics

While driving back home from Key West, amongst the numerous anti-abortion billboards, and the “you are going to Hell if you don’t love Jesus” billboards, and the sex toys and nude-girls-at-next-stop billboards, my husband and I also saw a few anti-Obama and anti-liberal billboards. I should have had my camera ready to snap a pic of the one that said to be liberal is to be socialist. However, coincidentally in today’s news is a photo of one of the billboards we had seen while passing through Georgia [ed. note: same one as the one in the following news story]. Here it is:

Iowa Obama Billboard

Billboard linking Obama, Hitler draws complaints

DES MOINES, Iowa – A billboard created by an Iowa tea party group that compares President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin is drawing sharp criticism — even from fellow tea party activists who have condemned it as offensive and a waste of money.

Never before in our history, has a president been so radically disrespected. I have never seen so many blatantly hateful billboards against anyone in the public or private realm.

Even many tea party folks say that this billboard is offensive and slanderous, but do they really mean it?

One person who welcomed the billboard was Dean Genth, a Democratic activist from Mason City, a city of 30,000 people just south of the Minnesota border, who said he thinks the sign lays bare the views of tea party supporters.

These hateful scare tactics may just backfire, though. As Genth says:

“I welcome them to continue to spew that kind of stuff because I think it’s going to do a lot of good for the good Democrats around the state,” Genth said.

We can only hope.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Fundie watch

Sarah Palin is using the “mama grizzly” theme in her new ad, big female protector of her children, however where are her cubs? Why are her children never around her except for when she wants to prop them up for a photo shoot? I’m not against working moms at all, but I am against someone being hypocritical and using her offspring for her own gain and pretending to be something she is not. Someone else is raising her kids while she is on the road and her husband is working, and she has money to pay nannies, sitters, whoever to care for her little darlings. All she really cares about is her own political gain.

And of course there is the question of what a quitter she is. She walked away from her term as governor and did not fulfill her elected promises and obligations. Why would anyone believe she will make a loyal and strong president? Because she loves Jeebus and has conservative imaginary friend beliefs?

While many would not consider Palin a serious threat in the 2012 Presidential election, I don’t think we can take the stupidity of the conservative fundamentalists for granted. They elected Dubya…twice! And don’t underestimate their desire and ability to elect someone even dumber.

Palin touts ‘mama grizzlies’ in new ad

The video of the ad

If she did by some bad luck get elected, that would really suck. We cannot allow that to happen.

Doesn't matter how bad marriage is, as long as it's heterosexual (snark)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Prehistoric Frilled Shark fossil

It will be amusing to hear what explanations creationists invent to explain this prehistoric specimen.

Fast Gas Bullet from Cosmic Blast N49

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Penn State/S. Park et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI/UIUC/Y. H. Chu & R. Williams et al.

Explanation: What is that strange blue blob on the far right? No one is sure, but it might be a speeding remnant of a powerful supernova that was unexpectedly lopsided. Scattered debris from supernova explosion N49 lights up the sky in this gorgeous composited image based on data from the Chandra and Hubble Space Telescopes. Glowing visible filaments, shown in yellow, and X-ray hot gas, shown in blue, span about 30 light-years in our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. Light from the original exploding star reached Earth thousands of years ago, but N49 also marks the location of another energetic outburst -- an extremely intense blast of gamma-rays detected by satellites about 30 years ago on 1979 March 5. The source of the March 5th Event is now attributed to a magnetar - a highly magnetized, spinning neutron star also born in the ancient stellar explosion which created supernova remnant N49. The magnetar, visible near the top of the image, hurtles through the supernova debris cloud at over 70 thousand kilometers per hour. The blue blob on the far right, however, might have been expelled asymmetrically just as a massive star was exploding. If so, it now appears to be moving over 7 million kilometers per hour.

Respect ?

Companion of a Young, Sun-like Star Confirmed

Credit: Gemini Observatory, D. Lafreniere, R. Jayawardhana, M. van Kerkwijk (Univ. Toronto)

Explanation: The first direct image of an extrasolar planet orbiting a star similar to our Sun has been confirmed. Located just 500 light-years away toward the constellation Scorpius, the parent star, cataloged as 1RXS J160929.1-210524, is only slightly less massive and a little cooler than the Sun. The star is, however, much younger, a few million years old compared to the middle-aged Sun's 5 billion years. This sharp infrared image shows the young star's planetary companion positioned above and left of center. The planet is estimated to have a mass about 8 times the mass of Jupiter, and orbit a whopping 330 times the Earth-Sun distance from its parent star. The young planetary companion is still hot and relatively bright in infrared light, likely due to the heat generated during its formation by gravitational contraction. In fact, such newborn planets are easier to detect before they age and cool and become much more faint. The discovery image, shown above, was taken in 2008 but confirmed only recently by noting that the planet stayed with its parent star as background stars slightly shifted over time.