Archive for July, 2010

Whore Journalism and the Myth of Uncivil Atheists


Lying for Templeton?

Coyne nailed the source of the supposed incivility of atheists. It was all a hoax, which has then been broadcast in every major media outlet. The reason why Americans are bad at science is because scientists are militant atheists who ridicule their religious beliefs. Yeah. Right. Did you read chapters 1-4 of  “Introduction to Cell Biology” The word “god” isn’t mentioned in the four chapters, but if you didn’t read them and understand them you’re flunking exam 1, monkeyboy.  Scientists are excellent communicators, contrary to the myths promulgated by “journalists.”  The problem with science education and literacy in the United States is that education is hampered by religious fundamentalists, and low rates of baseline literacy mean that communicating to the average American is impossible.

I’m intrigued by this Chris Mooney’s motives, and suspect they are nothing short of prostitution. He’s a hipster type who needs to climb up the social ladder so he can be invited to all the cool parties, and maybe  have a high enough salary so mommy and daddy can supplement his income in good faith. So, where is the money in science journalism? Why, religion, of course!!! And, where, do tell, does that money come from?  Well, well, well. I wonder. So, Mr. Mooney and associates, have you ever worked for an organization funded by the Templeton Foundation or one of their subsidiaries? Have you ever received an award for your “journalism” from Templeton or one of their foundations? Does Discover receive funding from one of these agencies? Has Templeton, Biologos, or any other associated organization purchased copies of your books in quantity? Just wondering…..I find it fascinating that these non-scientist science journalists climb to the top by saying that real scientists are the problem, and that religion is just fine. I’m also aware that Templeton hands out about a quarter million dollars a year in direct prize money to journalists who say things like “religion and science are perfectly compatible” and “atheists are evil people who actually hurt science.”

Bill Vandergraph’s Bald Knob Cross of Pedophilia


I had a Knobber, and Jesus said suffer the children

Well, well, just down the road outside Alto Pass on the way to Anna-Jonesboro is the big ugly KKK cross signaling to African Americans that they aren’t welcome in Union County Illinois. It was a warning light to African Americans traveling along Hwy 127 that they should just keep on going to Cairo, don’t stop in Anna (which local lore erroneously states was named that because there “Ain’t No Niggers Allowed”).  The white Anglo Protestants built the cross in the early 1960s (after a long fundraising drive after Brown v. Topeka….), and it was basically a rotted-out plywood wasp nest. Unfortunately, it has a steel infrastructure or it might have burned down in one of the many cross burnings on the side of Bald Knob. Instead of letting the thing rot and rust, local fundamentalists, aided by the local press and many local conservatives have sought to rebuild the big ugly cross, rather than donate the land to the Forest Service and give the people of the United States a nice camping area adjacent to the Bald Knob Wilderness Area and Trail of Tears State Forest.

What a shocker to learn that the grandstanding Pentecostal minister, Bill Vandergraph who took over the effort to rebuild the big ugly cross (pushing out a nice little old lady who is not a child molester) was just arrested for sexual assault on a child. Details remain sketchy, but my local sources suggest the victim was a four year old.

To add to the insult, these Christianist Cretins just got $30k from the bankrupt State of Illinois to pursue the work of Jesus in making a KKK symbol on land that should be absorbed into the Shawnee National Forest. That this “tourism grant”  is blatantly unconstitutional seems not to phase local conservative Christianists, including the editor of the So. ILL. “newspaper.” Yes, Jesus wants you to fuck children, then shove it in our faces. Thanks.

Abstinence Means Forever: Palintology 243


Number of Sex Partners in the last 5 years

My old friend Anthea Butler has a nice take on Bristol Palin’s supposedly forthcoming wedding to the guy she was banging without any contraception when she was 16. Ah yes, if only all unwed pregnant teens would simply get rich parents and marry the little sperminator, Jesus would return and deliver us from the Anti-Christ (BHO, of course). Of course, if they’d just use a fucking condom they wouldn’t get pregnant in the first place.  But, Anthea’s beef is with the long term message of the religious right. Abstinence is necessary. You should marry young, just like the little pseudosociologists tell you, and have sex only for the creation of god conscious children (just like in the Hare Krishna!). End of problem!!!!

So, we all know this doesn’t work too well for the fundy kids, and most normal people wait until they are adults to marry.  The fundy kids, they tend to wind up like Bristol Palin, only their mommies don’t have a slush fund to help pay the rent, food, and other things a kid will need it you’re too stupid to purchase and use condoms. So, instead we see the single mothers with three children before they’re 22, or young couples forced to marry at 18 and live in squalor with no knowledge of how to raise their poor offspring (who they will, no doubt, homeschool)…But what about those nice good fundy kids who just can’t quite meet the right person. That perfect soul-mate for whom it is worth it to have disgusting sex and give away your purity.  What about fundies over 35 who aren’t married. Are they celibate?

I examined this using the 5 year sex partner data from the GSS. I look at three groups. 1: Never married people (comparing members of sectarian denominations to more normal Americans); (2) Never Married People over 35 (again, sect members versus others); and All people (married, widowed, divorced, never married).

Among never marrieds, the sectarians are only slightly  more likely to be celibate, and even more unmarried sectarians report having one or two sex partners in the last five  years than do unmarried people with other religious ties (more fornication, from their perspective).  Unmarried people who aren’t fundies are more likely to have three or more partners when compared with fundies.

Jumping to older unmarried people, the differences disappear. Among unmarried people over age 35, there is no significant difference between the number of sex partners reported by sectarians versus others.  About 27% in both groups report no sex in the last five years (pathetic! Anthea, I’m going to start screening your dates!). Another 28% in both groups were monogamous.  About 14% in both groups had two partners, and about 30% in both groups had more than that.

The little pantie wad crowd needs to get a life and stop dreaming about fornication. When we look at ALL Americans (most of whom are married), about 14% are celibate, and 54% are monogamous—regardless of religious ties. Sectarians are less likely to report having more than three sex partners compared to other Americans. If they can be believed about anything…..

Scientific Illiteracy in Action!


The religionists who ignore science think that it doesn’t really matter what people think about science and religion because they ask different questions and all of that blather. Jesus and Mo have a nice take on the latest bit of apologetic forced on us from the Templeton Foundation through one of their Baptist tools, Al Mohler (Dr Al? Dr of what? Baptism?). Mohler and his Biologos enablers are full of shit. Biologos does the typical wishy washy namby pamby “teach the controversy” crap, which in the end gives legitimacy to wackjob fundies like Mohler, and puts their bullshit on the same plane as real science. Of course, on many basic questions, science and religion are asking the same question, science gets a different answer and religion doesn’t even bother to test for an answer since it already knows the truth. Virgin births, the age of the earth, the evolution of species, miracles, and such can’t simply be asking different questions. More pernicious are the consequences of religious exclusivism which shuts out the testing of dogma and denies the legitimacy of science.

First, as I’ve shown in several posts related to my forthcoming paper in Social Science Quarterly, fundamentalist religious beliefs and attachments to sectarian denominations and Catholicism undermine scientific literacy. People who adhere to these beliefs and associate with these organizations can’t correctly answer basic questions about science. Second, people who are ignorant make poor decisions about civic matters, and this can lead them to do things in their private and public lives which have negative consequences for them and for their communities. The concept of civic scientific literacy implies that knowledge of science is important, and that without it people and their communities are less able to capably navigate modern life. The case of global warming is a great example. Global warming deniers oppose the development of alternatives to carbon based fuels, and underplay the need to reduce demand for fossil fuels. They argue that there is nothing really wrong with the dramatic shifts in climate, and that if they occur, they are not really the fault of humans. They support political campaigns which seek to limit regulations on extractive industries, and diminish the enforcement of environmental laws put into place to ensure clean water and clean air (classic public good problems!). Further, deniers tend to drive big ugly cars, live long distances from work, and take up hobbies which are fossil fuel dependent. Deniers are heavily concentrated in particular regions and industries, as we would expect. If you make big ugly gas-guzzling American cars, it may be in your interest to ignore environmental problems and seek solace in “drill, baby, drill!”

Religionists doubt science from a perspective of ignorance, rather than interest. Having doubted science because of its conflict with dogma, fundamentalists find it quite easy to transpose their negative views of scientific resources and findings into other areas like global warming. Sure enough, using 2006 data from the GSS, I find that the ratio of people who believe environmental scientists regarding global warming to those who reject scientific findings is nearly three times lower among fundamentalist bible believers than among seculars who think the bible is a bunch of poorly written fairy tales. Notably, even fundies largely agree with global warming researchers (40% agree to 15% disagree), but the margins are much greater among less rigid believers and especially seculars (47% agree, and only 6% disagree).

This is a battle the fundies will lose if they keep fighting it. You don’t have to understand science to realize that the planet is heating up. Anyone North of the Mason Dixon line can tell. It used to snow, now it doesn’t. Frat boys used to drive their cars across the frozen Campus lake here at my humble university—nobody would dare even ice skate on it in the 10 years I have been here.

Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are!


Serious Person Looking for Action

What I’d really like to see is for “public intellectuals” to simply post up. Put it out. What are you about? What do you really believe? Do you think my kids are going to fry in hell for not believing in your gods? Do you think that Jesus not only existed, but was the son of a god and born of a virgin? Do you think that the gods hear the prayers of Jews, Moslems, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikh’s and etcetera? Do you think that women who get pregnant should be forced to have babies? Do you think that abortion is murder, and if so, what should the penalty be for the female? What about the provider? Do you think that teenagers should be allowed to purchase condoms? Get birth control pills? Come on, assholes. Fess up. Tell me true. Come out of the closet. What about these gays? Should they be put in prison? Allowed to vote? Allowed to hold jobs? How about visit their own children? You know, GLBT people very often have children, and most of them didn’t buy them in China.

The reason why I’d really like to see this is because many people consider me “beyond the Pale”. Yeah. I’m not a serious person. Not a real scholar. Just ignore those 53 peer reviewed publications, 10 book chapters, book, 6 editorial boards, and shit like that. No. I’m not a serious person because I say fuck a lot. And, I’m mean. And, I’m frequently condescending and unprofessional–If I think you made a stupid comment in a presentation or in an article review, I’ll point that out publicly.  If it’s in a presentation, the audience will laugh at you (I’m exceptionally funny). If it’s in an article review, the editor will think you’re an idiot or a liar when s/he reads my memo. Oh, and, I once wore tights to a professional presentation (never mind that the paper was published within six months of my usual flawless delivery of the theoretically informed and methodologically sophisticated  scientific material), and haven’t worn a suit since my father’s funeral fifteen years ago.

So, while a normal scholar who says fuck a lot and sometimes wears tights and has a life beyond scholarship is considered an unserious person, can we really think that people who believe in a god who condemns all Moslems/Buddhists/Sikhs/Hindus/ etc to hell is a serious person? Can we really respect the opinions of a “scholar” who believes that unless you believe in his gods, you are damned to eternal torture? Should we really consider parochial religious activists to be serious people, and then dismiss the views of others based on their hobbies or mode of dress? Can you really be a serious scholar and believe that some illiterate Palestinian 2000 years ago was a god who was born of a virgin? If these people are so fucking serious, why don’t they come out and ‘fess up? Tell us what you really think. You know what I think.