I just linked to something from PZ Myers’ Pharyngula blog that made me laugh almost as much as it made me nauseous.  Apparently creationist Eric Hovind (who I assume is related to “Dr Dino” Kent Hovind) has a website with one minute videos promoting creation science.  Of course, in this case ‘science’ really means ‘Christian fundamentalist dogma’.  But be that as it may, these videos are a flashy new approach to spouting the same old superstitious bible literalism nonsense that predates real science by thousands of years.  The production is smooth but the message is the same.

I don’t want to spoil the laughs (Hovind’s comedic timing could use a little work) but here are a few gems in case you don’t visit:

Creation Minute is an exciting series hosted by Eric Hovind that explores the creation worldview using cutting-edge visual effects and digital technology. Each episode challenges the evolution theory and gives evidence of the Bible’s historical and scientific accuracy.

OK.  First sentence makes sense.   He does use new technology to promote fundamentalist non-scientific nonsense.  (That’s what it says, right?)  The second sentence is a real laugher though.

..gives evidence of the Bible’s historical and scientific accuracy.

You can’t deny that that’s a frggin hoot!  “scientific accuracy”…

A prime example of his Bible-based science is this formula:

Evolution Formula

Evolutionists are forced to believe that nothing + time = everything.

Seriously if want to waste some time (and maybe lose your last meal) watch some of these videos which use “cutting-edge visual effects and digital technology” to promote the same lame arguments that fundamentalists have been using against evolutionary biology for 150 years.  A new shiny package but inside it’s the same old pile of stinking crap.

Seriously, why are these backward close-minded irrational beliefs held by more than just the tiniest fringe of society?

Every year in America, the Holiday Season is fraught with Separation of Church and State battles across our great land as secular and civil rights groups challenge public displays of religion such as nativity scenes on government property.  This year, a different battle is being waged on the airwaves and in the press regarding a display at the Washington State Capitial.  The Freedom From Religion Foundation got permission to display a placard next to a nativity scene and holiday tree.  This blog post is not about that, per se, but rather about a statement made by everybody’s favorite right wing pronosticator, Bill O’Reilly.   One of his recent rants included a statement that our “country was founded on Judeo-Christian traditions”.

My first thought was: “Really Bill?  Really?  Judeo-Christian traditions like slavery?”  Both the Old and New Testaments sanction slavery and we all know that it was certainly a tradition supported by the Founding Fathers.

After that, I wondered just how many Judeo traditions the founding fathers practiced.  I don’t remember reading that Thomas Jefferson observed the Sabbath or that George Washington stopped campaigning in the war during Yom Kippur.  Christian traditions, sure, but not Judeo-Christian traditions.

So where did this concept of Judeo-Christian tradition come from?  According to Wikipedia, the term Judeo-Christian didn’t even exist in the language until the late 19th century.  In the 1920’s and 30’s, civil rights groups were using the term to battle antisemitism by people who believed that the US was a Protistant country.  It wasn’t until much later in the latter part of the 20th century that the term became widely used in the way that Billo is using it now.

As an aside, I find it interesting that as time went on, the hardline conservatives went from being antisemitic to eventually bringing the Jews into the fold, so to speak.  I guess in their eyes, they share a belief in the Old Testament despite centuries of hatred and persecution.  “Sure, they don’t believe in Jeeesus, but they like that Yahweh dude, so maybe they’ll come around.  At least they’re not tools of Satan, like atheists and homosexuals.” Is that how it works?

But back to the main point, Billo’s assertion that the country was founded on Judeo-Christian traditions is absolutely false.  An argument can be made that it followed Christian traditions, though most schollars agree that the founding fathers favored secular government.

So it would seem that in Billo’s world, it’s not politically correct to claim that the US is a Christian country founded on Christian traditions such as Christmas alone.  (We have to include our brother Jews now and accept their traditions, right Bill?)  But there is NO place for anyone else to sit at the holiday table.  Secularists and atheists are certainly not welcome.  He made a point of dissing Muslims.  (No surprise there.)  He didn’t mention Buddhists or Hindus, but I think it’s safe to say that unless they’re willing to say “Merry Christmas” and participate in grace, then they wouldn’t be welcome either.

Happy Holidays everyone and count me in on the feast, just don’t ask me to say grace…

Today is a good news / bad news kind of day.  Two articles from the UK have inspired me to write.  First the bad:

A rather lengthy, and extremely disturbing, article in the Telegraph details horrendous behavior in Nigeria at the hands of so-called Priests and other religious leaders – namely the torture, abuse, and even murder of children deemed to be witches.  That’s right – Witches!

In a bizarre combination of Christianity and ancient mythology, tens of thousands of children have been accused of witchcraft and Satanic possession.  Though exorcisms are sometimes performed, most families can not afford the large fees charged by the local religious leaders – an entire year’s income for an average family!  Most children are simply banished from their homes with no where to go or outright killed.  Even the exorcisms (which are basically two weeks of torture) are not guaranteed to work.

It’s no surprise that the same people who identify the child witches are the ones who charge the exorbitant fees for the exorcisms.  One of them is Helen Ukbabio.  Check this out:

Some Nigerians blame the increase on one of the country’s wealthiest and most influential evangelical preachers. Helen Ukpabio, a self-styled prophetess of the 150-branch Liberty Gospel Church, made a film, widely distributed, called End of the Wicked. It tells, in graphic detail, how children become possessed and shows them being inducted into covens, eating human flesh and bringing chaos and death to their families and communities.

The preacher says that her work is true to the Bible and is a means of spreading God’s word.

She claims that her films and books do not contribute to child abuse.  Yeah right…

Another piece of crap highlighted in a new documentary to be aired in the UK is a man who refers to himself as “The Bishop”.  He proudly claims to have killed at least 110 witches and that there are over 2.3 million in Akwa Ibom province.  He also charges a hefty fee to perform his rituals.

The fear is so pervasive that many hospitals won’t even treat the children who have been abused and thrown out in the streets.  Thankfully there are shelters for these children but that is little consolation in the face of such horrors.

I can’t even talk about this anymore…

Just when you think that the American school systems are failing (which they are in terms of teaching math and science), there are a few bright spots that indicate that all is not lost.  One such example is 18 year old Laci (gogreen18) from California.  If you haven’t heard of her of yet, consider yourself notified.  She has recently been featured on PZ Myers’ incredibly popular Pharyngula Blog.  PZ’s blog is read by scientists, skeptics, atheists, as well as many many creationists and believers who despise his views and the fact that he pulls no punches.  His readers have a reach that is far and wide and have a history of stepping up for good causes.  (Rather than cite examples, I’ll just recommend that you check out his blog.)

Anyhow, what is encouraging is that Laci is intelligent, articulate, and willing to stand up and state her  opinions in her own words.  (Being young, attractive, and charming doesn’t hurt either.)  To me, what is especially important is that she is engaging her peers using the media of the day – social networking sites like youtube & myspace.  Another encouraging thing is that the ratings and comments on her videos suggest that those very same peers are paying attention and not simply spouting the fundamentalist dogma and scripture that floods some sites.

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I was reading a news story today about the apparent success of the Creation Museum.  Rather than go into the reasons why this museum would be funny if it weren’t so damned ridiculous, I’ll instead focus on something else.

I always find the comments to these stories interesting because there are always people doing their best to defend God and their literal interpretation of the Judeo-Christian Bible.  This story was no exception and prompted me to leave the following comment:

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This stuff is great:

There are several videos on youtube and on the mr.deity website. Enjoy!

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A Swedish Muslim woman believes that she received a sign from Allah when she found the words “Muhammad” and “Allah” inside a Mango that she sliced open. (article)

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