Friday, April 25, 2008

Bad Religion Frontman to be Honored


I got the following from Jay, the bass player in Bad Religion. I wish I could go. I love BR, and have always wished I could take a course with Greg Graffin, even if it would likely be mostly over my head.


Bad Religion's Greg Graffin to Be Honored for Lifetime Achievement in Atheism, Punk Rock, and Science

"Cultural Humanism" Awardee is Seminal Punk Singer, Earned Ivy-League PhD in Evolution

CAMBRIDGE, MA - Harvard University's prominent community of atheists and agnostics is poised to honor a rock star and scientist whom they argue is an ideal role model for the nation's millions of non-religious youth.

The Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard has gained considerable national attention in the past year for its unique approach to building a culture and community for the non-religious, and this April 26 it will give its highest honor, the "Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism," to a unique figure: Dr. Greg Graffin, frontman of the influential punk rock band Bad Religion. Graffin, whose "day job" since 1980 has been recording and extensive worldwide touring with a band boasting such hits as "How Could Hell be Any Worse" and "American Jesus," earned his PhD in Zoology at Cornell and is a member of the UCLA's Faculty in Biology, teaching Life Sciences courses covering Darwin and natural selection. Graffin will give an acoustic performance after accepting the award.

"I always put education high on my list of priorities because I thought, Wouldn't it be neat if you can have a singer of your favorite band who also has something more to offer than looking cool - which I don't - or dressing cool - which I don't;" Graffin said. "Those are the things that I try to inspire young people to do, whether it is in the lecture hall or on stage on the Warped Tour."

But Bad Religion, considered among the most influential modern punk bands, has been known for inspiring young people towards a particular set of ideas: those of atheism and Humanism. Graffin's lyrics make plain his passionate disbelief in God. Yet the Harvard Humanists cite his faith in the ability of music and science to improve the world as making the singer unique.

"Graffin is proof positive that atheists can be great ethical role models: young people idolize rock stars, and what more could you want from one than his lifelong dedication to science, education, and Humanism?" said Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain of Harvard University.

The award, intended to honor a Humanist or atheist having made a lasting impact on US culture, was presented last year to renowned novelist Sir Salman Rushdie before a sold-out audience of 1100 that Rushdie likened to a celebration of "Atheistmas," and will once again be conferred at Harvard's Memorial Church, the official University Chapel. Graffin was selected for this year's award by the Harvard Secular Society, an undergraduate student group affiliated with the Humanist Chaplaincy. The event is co-sponsored by Newbury Comics, Harvard Book Store, & the Cambridge Forum.


Date: Saturday, April 26, 2008

Time: 8:00pm - 10:00pm

Location: The Memorial Church, Harvard

Thursday, April 24, 2008

'9/11 Conspiracy Theories Ridiculous' - Al Qaeda

Ahh, The Onion. This is priceless. Take that, you 9-11 Truth nutjobs.

Inappropriate Corporate Logos



Ahh, thank you Keith Olbermann. The above is the new logo for the Office of Government Commerce in the UK. Now, it's all right, if a little too trendy and Gucci-like. But that's not my issue. Look at it sideways. Turn your head to the left and give a good look.



All Right! Now that's a logo to respect!

Hypocrisy on Florida License Plates




Florida may be on the verge of approving license plates that feature a stained glass cross and the words "I Believe", a less than subtle endorsement of christianity in the state. While they may argue that it does not violate the Establishment Clause in the US Constitution, I disagree. The state congressman who is sponsoring this says that he wouldn't support similar plates for other religious views.


Rep. Edward Bullard isn't sure all groups should be able to express their preference. If atheists came up with an "I Don't Believe" plate, for example, he would probably oppose it.

What hypocrisy!


While some christians also oppose the plates, their reasoning isn't exactly reassuring.


Rep. Kelly Skidmore said she is a Roman Catholic and goes to Mass on Sundays, but she believes the "I Believe" plate is inappropriate for the government to produce.
"It's not a road I want to go down. I don't want to see the Star of David next. I don't want to see a Torah next. None of that stuff is appropriate to me.
"


Great. So she opposes the plates because she doesn't want to see other religions get the same thing and force here to see the Star of David, or the Torah, or sacred cows, or crescents, or Buddhas, or Darwin fish (since the religious right is so certain in their claims that Darwin is a religious faith).


Gah! Come on, ACLU. Get your shit together and make sure this doesn't happen.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Horrendous Astronomy


A new movie is in the works. OK, technically it's a mini-series, but what's the difference.

"...the effects-heavy "Impact" chronicles the aftermath of a meteor shower during which a piece of a dwarf star lodges itself in the moon. That triggers a series of anomalies on Earth, including cell phone service interruption, exaggerated tides and the occurrence of sporadic weightlessness. Astrophysicist Alex Kinter (Elliott), with a help of a female astronomer, discover that the moon has been dislodged from its orbit and is on a collision course with Earth."

*bangs head against wall, over and over again*

Simply terrible. On the humourous side, I find it funny that the first anomaly listed is interruption of cell service. The other two are potentially deadly. But oh no! I can't use my cell phone! The world is gonna end! Gah...what rot. We have become a truly phone obsessed society that will one day........ oops, hold on. I gotta take this call.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Documentary about scientific theory being repressed getting no hype.

I love Dawkins at the end, providing the reductio ad absurdum argument.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ms. John Lennon should be apalled.

That propaganda-ist film, Expelled, may be in for more legal troubles for using someone else's material without obtaining permission.

First, there was the news that there sequence travelling through a cell is an almost exact clone of a film put together by Harvard and XVIVO. Only the colour of the animation changed. They even kept the music the same!

Now comes news that their use of John Lennon's song "Imagine", complete with the wonderful line "Imagine no religion" (which must infuriate the fundamentalist, creationist kooks who put together this film), is used in the movie. Many, including myself, have found it odd, and maybe a bit infuriating, that they somehow got the rights to use this great song for their hit-piece. Turns out, they didn't get the rights.


Please, Ms. Ono/Lennon, do the right thing and sue the pants off these people. They think they're above the law and then complain when they get called on their cheating/lying ways. It's time to put them in their place!

God must really hate black people

A family of Minnesotans were involved in a horrific plane crash in the Congo.

Barry and Marybeth Mosier were on their way to visit their son Keith, 24, in Kinsangani, Congo, with two younger children when their plane crashed on takeoff Tuesday in Goma. At least 36 people died as the plane plowed through a market and burned. Most of the people who died were on the ground, according to the U.N. mission in DR Congo.

…Mosier said, he and his wife were carrying their son Andrew, 3, in the shoving "mass of humanity" trying to escape the burning plane. They got out through the opening in the fuselage.

…"Outside the plane, she was wandering around. ... It was total chaos," he said. "People were screaming and yelling because the plane had landed on this market. All of a sudden, out of the blue, all of these people who were just standing there are now dead.

"So there's parts of bodies and people burning and people screaming and yelling, and she was out there by herself."

It sounds like a nightmarish event, and I'm glad they survived. I wish a few more people hadn't died horrible, painful deaths in such a catastrophe, but this was a family of despicable missionaries, so you know what's coming next.

"We couldn't believe that our family of four could all escape a plane that was crashed and on fire, but by God's mercy, we did," he said.

Mosier said he believes the family made it for a reason.

"I think the Lord has a plan for us, otherwise we wouldn't have survived," he said. "He still has work for us to do."

Their god has no mercy to spare for the innocent people in the market, of course, and their lives must have been totally useless for their god to be able to dispense with them in such a brutal fashion. Or perhaps they were wicked and deserved a flaming extinction with lots of fear and screaming?

In a just theistic world, I think their god would despise such smug, self-satisfied Christians.

NCSE Site moving on up!

Well, the campaign seems to be working. There has been a push to get the site Expelled Exposed, the NCSE (National Center for Science Education) website dedicated to countering the propaganda in the new Ben Stein lie-fest, Expelled, into the top of the Google. As of 9:15, when you do a Google search for Expelled, the first hit is for the movie, 3rd is PZ's blog post about being booted from a screening, and now on the first page, in the 8th spot, is Expelled Exposed! It's a great site, including movie reviews from a number of sources, information countering lies in the film, and great resources for anyone with questions about the people the movie claims were fired for supporting ID creationism.

Check it out!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Creationist Propaganda Film

Friday, we get the premiere of the creationist, piece-of-shit movie, Expelled. As their hypocrisy has hit the airwaves, including banning scientists who oppose the film from attending screenings (and they were in the movie!!) and telling people screenings are cancelled while moving the time and informing just those who would be favorable, news of lawsuits pend. Apparently, the film contains clips from a Harvard movie on the cell, and from a PBS production, both without obtaining copyright permission. These Expelled morons will stoop to all sorts of lows! I'll go see it, just to see what the controversy is about, and maybe take my son to enlighten him to the fallacies there in. But the movie sounds like pure crap, and I may wait to check it out from the library. As a teacher, I want to know what crap brain-washed students may present in class, and I want to be prepared to counter with an understanding of where their ideas came from.