Notes and Comment Blog

Our short and pithy observations on the passing scene as it relates to the mission of Butterflies and Wheels. Woolly-headed or razor-sharp comments in the media, anti-rationalist rhetoric in books or magazines or overheard on the bus, it’s all grist to our mill. And sometimes we will hold forth on the basis of no inspiration at all beyond what happens to occur to us.

Speed marrying

Sep 3rd, 2012 4:21 pm | By

Lots of people gather in a ballroom at a Washington DC hotel for the the Matrimonial Banquet, a fun evening of speed dating and socializing with semi-arranged marriage as the goal. It’s part of the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America, and it is in no way to be confused with a livestock market.

…in recent years, the demand for such banquets has increased, and the society plans to hold them more frequently. More Muslims are embracing them as an acceptable alternative to arranged marriages and the vagaries of 21st-century, American-style dating. Online matchmaking is also popular, but some prefer to meet in person. Saturday night’s banquet was sold out, as was a second one scheduled for Sunday.

Speed spouse-hunting; sounds fabulous.

Raza said he wanted to ask the women whether they wanted to keep working after starting a family, not so much because he had a staunch preference, but to gauge her reaction. “I want to see flexibility,” he said. “Is she angry when I ask? Does she look at me like, ‘You’re so stupid?’ If so, it’s not the right person.”

Aha. If she gives him a funny look on account of how it’s a sinister question, she’s not the right person. (But then would such a person be at a Matrimonial Banquet in the first place?)




(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

I want to walk safely and like a human being

Sep 3rd, 2012 11:50 am | By

The BBC looks at the joys of being a woman in Cairo.

Said Sadek, a sociologist from the American University in Cairo, says that the problem is deeply rooted in Egyptian society: a mixture of what he calls increasing Islamic conservatism, on the rise since the late 1960s, and old patriarchal attitudes.

“Religious fundamentalism arose, and they began to target women. They want women to go back to the home and not work.

“Male patriarchal culture does not accept that women are higher than men, because some women had education and got to work, and some men lagged behind and so one way to equalise status is to shock women and force a sexual situation on them anywhere.”

In other words, it’s hostile, and meant to suppress and subordinate.

For women – like Nancy, who lives in central Cairo – it is a question of freedom.

“I want to walk safely and like a human being. Nobody should touch or harass me – that’s it.”

That is, indeed, exactly it.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Whose spit, which venom?

Sep 3rd, 2012 10:02 am | By

I wasn’t going to say anything about this (because it’s too goofy), but other people are, so I will after all, because it’s there – the Comment is Free piece on Atheism+.

First, before we even get to the article – there’s the subhead, and the url. The subhead says

A new movement, Atheism+, has prompted non-believers to spit venom at one another rather than at true believers

And the url obligingly includes the words “spit” and “venom” – and yet Peter McGrath did not use the word “spit” in the article. Venom, yes, but spit, no. So the editor gave the article an extra dose of nasty, just for the fun of it. Andrew Brown at work?

The article itself.

A+ was born when Freethought blogger Jen McCreight (the mind behind Boobquake) made a passionate call for a “third wave” of atheism, one that extends atheist activism into progressive politics and calls for a part of the movement to be one where women can exist free from the harassment that has plagued women publicly involved in the atheist movement.

The founders of Atheism+ say clearly that “divisiveness” is not their aim, but looking through the blogs and voluminous comments in the two weeks since A+ was mooted, trenches have been dug, beliefs stated, positions staked out and abuse thrown. A dissenting tweeter is “full of shit”, while, according to one supporter, daring to disagree with Atheism+’s definition of progressive issues and not picking their side makes you an “asshole and a douchebag”.

One, bad writing. “Looking through the blogs…trenches have been dug.” Bad, bad writing. If you’re going to omit a subject to the verb, you need to be careful not to mix the subjects. The trenches weren’t looking through the blogs.

Two…what? One sentence on Atheism+ (called “A+” to imply that it’s like “Brights”?) and then immediately on to dissecting comments on blogs? That’s the important thing? And the only comments dissected are from supporters of Atheism+?

He mentions the harassment that has plagued women publicly involved in the atheist movement, but that’s all he does – he just mentions it, but then rushes on to give actual examples of commentary from people opposing the harassment. Why?

He quotes PZ being schismatic, but neglects to quote what he is being schismatic about. He quotes Carrier, but still neglects to quote what he is reacting to.

If it were racial harassment, would he be quite so perfunctory, do you think? I doubt it. Racism is serious. Sexism? Not so much.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

So that’s where Clint Eastwood got the idea

Sep 2nd, 2012 5:31 pm | By

Have you seen the little three-part drama on Jesus and Mo?

It started with Mo doing some web surfing on the evidence for Jesus.


Oh no! It’s too poignant.

The next one is even more poignant.

How does it end? See for yourself.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The bible is a fantastic marriage manual

Sep 2nd, 2012 4:44 pm | By

Ah the supposedly “liberal” Anglican church.

Peter Jensen, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, is not “liberal.” He demonstrates this in his explanation of the Anglican demand for wifely sumbission in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Many of our young people want to be ”wives and husbands” rather than simply  ”partners” and in their weddings they come as ”bride and groom” rather than  simply two individuals.  They believe that expressing these differences,  including different responsibilities, makes for a better marriage.

Both kinds of promise are provided for in the Sydney Anglican diocese’s  proposed Prayer Book, which has been the subject of commentary this  week.

There is nothing new in this – it is the same as the Australian Prayer  Book which has been used for decades.

Did you spot the oh-so-subtle dig at same-sex marriage? I know you did.

And then the nothing new nothing to see here move along  – well lots of things aren’t new, but that doesn’t make them good. We’ve been doing lots of things for decades, in fact centuries and millennia; some of those things are bad things to do.

Where different promises are made, the man undertakes great responsibility and  this is also the wording of the book, as it has always been. The biblical  teaching is that the promise made voluntarily by the bride to submit to her  husband is matched by the even more onerous obligation which the husband must undertake to act towards his wife as Christ has loved the church. The Bible says  that this obligation is ultimately measured by the self-sacrifice of Christ in  dying on the cross.

That’s what we’re always being told about Islamic laws of marriage. It’s such a great deal for the woman, because the man has to support her and all she has to do is surrender all her rights. And all that crap about as Christ has loved the church and the self-sacrifice of Christ in  dying on the cross – what’s that got to do with anything? What does it even mean? How has “Christ loved the church”? By doing the dishes one evening a week? Flowers? Diamonds?

And anyway what is the point? It’s a way to end arguments. Yes, but not a good way, and how is that the archbishop’s business anyway – how other people end their arguments?

This is not an invitation to bossiness, let alone abuse. A husband who uses the  wife’s promise in this way stands condemned for betraying his own sworn  obligations.  The husband is to take responsibility for his wife and family in a  Christ-like way. Her ”submission” is her voluntary acceptance of this pattern  of living together, her glad recognition that this is what he intends to bring to the marriage and that it is for her good, his good and the good of children  born to them. She is going to accept him as a man who has chosen the  self-discipline and commitment of marriage for her sake and for their children.  At a time when women rightly complain that they cannot get men to commit, here  is a pattern which demands real commitment all the way.

Along with inferior status. What “glad recognition”? And who says it’s “for her good?” It’s all purple language – so typical of churchy types – that doesn’t say anything. They can both perfectly well choose self-discipline and commitment without one of them having to be inferior to the other. Just get over it, dude – it’s not written in the stars that women are required to “submit” to men.

Secular views of marriage are driven by a destructive individualism and  libertarianism. This philosophy is inconsistent with the reality of long-term  relationships such as marriage and family life.

Referring to ”partners” rather than husband or wife gives no special  challenge to the man to demonstrate the masculine qualities which he brings to a  marriage.

Boy, that’s their go-to reason now, isn’t it – the alternative is ew ick secularism and individualism. The pope does it, the archbish of Canterbury does it…It seems to be all they have left.

It is a pity that the present discussion has been so overtly political.  Instead of mocking or acting horrified, we should engage in a serious and  respectful debate about marriage and about the responsibilities of  the men and  women who become husbands and wives.  The Bible contains great wisdom on this fundamental relationship.

The rush to embrace libertarian and individualistic philosophy means that we  miss some of the key relational elements of being human, elements which make for  our wellbeing and happiness. It’s time to rethink marriage from first  principles. It really matters.

The bible contains great wisdom on marriage? Please.

This kind of thing reminds me why I’m a gnu atheist (with or without pluses). That article is so annoying – all that windy dignified word salad, saying very little and that little totally wrong. It’s perfectly possible to have a serious and respectful debate about marriage and about the responsibilities of  the women and men who become wives and husbands, but the bible has nothing to contribute to such a process.

Religion simply obstructed Peter Jensen’s ability to say anything even faintly relevant or interesting or useful.



(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Destroying the joint

Sep 2nd, 2012 11:54 am | By

Jane Caro is feeling sympathetic toward men. It must be embarrassing “to see your normally rather pleasant and decorative gender being represented by such a pack of loudmouthed fools.”

Men like Todd Akin for instance. Or the Anglicans.

In what they clearly regarded as a great leap forward into the 15th century, the Sydney Anglicans triumphantly announced that they had changed the female version of their wedding vows so that women no longer promised to obey, but merely to  submit.

And the difference is…?

The next bloke to trash the male gender’s reputation was ex-Liberal Party  machine man, Grahame Morris. Asked what he thought of the ABC’s 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales’s withering interview with Tony Abbott, he remarked  that Sales could be a bit of a “cow” sometimes. (Only when confronted with a lot  of bull, perhaps, but that’s another story.) Worse, even when challenged on his use of such a term, Morris seemed unable to comprehend what the fuss was about.

Which is typical. “But bitch/cunt/twat/pussy/cow isn’t sexist at all, what is your problem, you uptight Femistasi bitch?”

Long-time broadcaster Alan Jones let rip with a tirade on 2GB against PM  Julia Gillard. This time it was about her promise of additional aid to help get  more women in the Pacific into parliament and other decision-making positions.  Gillard argued raising the status of women was the best way to reduce the  appalling domestic violence statistics in the region. Jones didn’t agree. He claimed that “Women are destroying the joint – Christine Nixon in Melbourne,  Clover Moore here. Honestly.”

He then topped it off by revisiting a remark he’d made about Gillard  previously: “There’s no chaff bag big enough for these people.” (Federal  Attorney-General Nicola Roxon responded by branding the Jones comment ”good old  fashioned sexism”.)

His previous remark was that Gillard should be put in a chaff bag and dropped in the sea.

Caro confesses shyly that she started the hashtag #destroyingthejoint in homage to Alan and his ilk and it’s been trending just a little bit. [Looks at the ceiling and whistles casually.]


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

I shouldn’t laugh, but…

Sep 2nd, 2012 10:16 am | By

But the headline alone is funny enough -

Lost Lake District fell walkers rescued twice

What, I thought, they were rescued and then ran away and got lost again? And the answer is yes.

Volunteers from three rescue teams were call on Friday when a man aged 73 and his daughter in her 50s failed to turn up at accommodation near Keswick.

Rescuers were called the next night to search for the same man, who had been joined by a second daughter.

Team leader Mike Park said the group lacked basic equipment like maps.

Did they think that’s just how  fell walking is done? You tramp along, you get lost, you get rescued, you have a good sleep, you do it all again the next day?

Apparently, yes.

Mr Park, who leads the Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team, said: “After dealing with these people on Friday we thought they would have learned their lesson and perhaps not continue with their planned walk, especially as the elderly man had sustained an ankle injury.

“But unfortunately we got a call at 10.30pm on Saturday to say they had not turned up at their next accommodation in Grasmere.

“We eventually found them at 2am on Sunday off their planned route, but otherwise uninjured.”

I wonder where they are now…


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

What Imam Chishti said

Sep 2nd, 2012 10:08 am | By

More on the zealous imam who tried to frame a child for “blasphemy,” from the BBC.

A Pakistani imam has been remanded in custody, accused of planting pages of the Koran among burnt pages in the bag of a Christian girl held for blasphemy.

They still don’t quite spell out that there were no pages of the Koran in the girl’s trash bag until the imam planted some, but that appears to be what they’re saying.

Prosecutors say Imam Khalid Chishti will himself face charges of blasphemy…

Imam Khalid Chishti allegedly told a witness, after tampering with the girl’s bag, that this was a “way of getting rid of Christians”, a prosecutor said.

He shouldn’t be charged with blasphemy, because blasphemy should not be considered a crime. He should be charged with attempted murder and obstruction of justice.

(Ok I’m not a lawyer. Maybe those aren’t the right crimes. But he should be charged with whatever is the right crime for trying to get the girl killed, and tampering with evidence.)

Imam Chishti appeared in the Islamabad court with a white blindfold and shackled hands.

There was a large police presence as he was ushered into the building.

“The imam was arrested after his deputy Maulvi Zubair and two others told a magistrate he added pages from the Koran to the burnt pages brought to him by a witness,” an investigator Munir Hussain Jaffri said.

He said Mr Zubair and some others had told the imam not to interfere, urging him to “give the evidence to the police as he got it”.

According to Mr Jaffri, Imam Chishti had told them: “You know this is the only way to expel the Christians from this area.”

Well good morning ethnic cleansing.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Jadoon adding pages of the Quran

Sep 1st, 2012 5:21 pm | By

The Islamabad police have arrested a prayer leader for fabricating evidence to implicate that 13-year-old girl in “blasphemy.”

Police have arrested prayer leader Khalid Jadoon on charges of fabricating evidence, which he had used to accuse Rimsha Masih of committing blasphemy by allegedly burning Quranic pages, Express Newsreported early on Sunday.

Express News correspondent Qamarul Munawar said that Hafiz Muhammad Zubair, who witnessed Jadoon adding pages of the Quran, recorded a statement with the Rawalpindi magistrate on Saturday.

According to Zubair’s account, he was sitting in Iteqaaf in the mosque when some people handed burnt pages to the prayer leader. After a little while, Jadoon added additional pages of the Quran to the pile.

Zubair, in his statement added that three other people present with him in the mosque asked Jadoon why he was adding documents to the pile of burnt paper, to which prayer leader said that such an act was necessary to strengthen their case.

Some people gave this fella some burned pages. They weren’t from the Quran. So he put in some pages from the Quran, to ”strengthen” their non-existent “case.”

How very…pious.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)


Sep 1st, 2012 11:36 am | By

Richard Bartholomew takes a close look at the ghastly Rao Abdur Raheem, the lawyer intent on persecuting the girl of 13 who may have thrown out a few pages of a primer on the Arabic alphabet.

In December 2010, Raheem created a self-described “lawyers’ forum”, called the Movement to Protect the Dignity of the Prophet; according to the New York Times, the group produced a petition in support of Qadri which was signed by a 1,000 lawyers in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Members of the group also reportedly ”greeted Mr. Qadri’s… court appearances by throwing rose petals”.

Qadri, you’ll remember (yes you will, because I blogged about it a lot!), is the bodyguard who shot Salman Tasser to death for the horrible crime of offering support to Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman accused of “blasphemy” and saying rude things about the prophet by a neighbor after a quarrel about touching the water container. (Yes really. Purity and contamination. Blasphemy and murder.)

That Times article Bartholomew cites is useful too. It says the younger generation of lawyers in Pakistan were raised to be…well, like Raheem.

…under General Zia in the 1980s, the government began supporting Islamic warriors to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the Indian control of Kashmir, and the syllabus was changed to encourage jihad. The mind-set of students and graduates changed along with it, Mr. Minallah said.

That change is now no more apparent than among the 1,000 lawyers from the capital, Islamabad, and the neighboring city of Rawalpindi, who have given their signed support for the defense of Mr. Qadri, who has been charged with murder and terrorism.

Their leader is Rao Abdur Raheem, 30, who formed a “lawyers’ forum,” called the Movement to Protect the Dignity of the Prophet, in December. The aim of the group, he said, was to counter Mr. Taseer’s campaign to amend the nation’s strict blasphemy laws, which promise death for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

The Times reported on the simmering furies yesterday.

Christians had been living side by side with the Muslims more than 12 years in the locality, the men in the barbershop said. There had been no overt tensions earlier, but Christians said they felt pressured not to perform their religious duties openly.

“We pray inside our houses,” Mr. Ghori said. “There is no sense of freedom.”

But nearby, in the area where Muslims live, several conservative Muslim men complained about how Christians lived.

Nadeem Haider, 20, a Muslim shopkeeper, said he was repelled by the sight of Christian women, who mingled freely with men. “They spread vulgarity,” he said and added that liquor, which is banned by Islam, is available in the Christian neighborhood.

“Repelled.” We know. That’s what it all comes down to, isn’t it.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The Republicans and “moms”

Sep 1st, 2012 10:15 am | By

Jessica Valenti is not much charmed by the Republicans’ fetishization of motherhood and “moms” as a compensation for their attack on women’s actual rights and needs.

These days, “mom” is king. It was perhaps the most frequently used word at the Republican National Convention this past week, where Ann Romney, mother of five, said, “It’s the moms of this nation . . . who really hold this country together.” Paul Ryan said his mother is his role model, and Chris Christie all but called himself a mama’s boy.

Republicans’ efforts to woo women have become fever-pitch pandering as the party tries to undo damage from comments such as Rep. Todd Akin’s remark that a “legitimate” rape victim can’t get pregnant and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s advice to women who object to invasive ultrasounds before an abortion: “You just have to close your eyes.”

But given the GOP’s extreme antiabortion platform, which does not include exceptions for rape or incest, focusing on motherhood as a gateway to women’s hearts and votes seems misguided. After all, no matter how many platitudes are thrown around, this is the party that wants motherhood not to be a choice, but to be enforced.

Yes but the two are connected, or even the same thing. Women are swell as “moms,” they’re the best thing ever, but women who aren’t “moms” and who in fact think being a “mom” should be optional and the choice of the woman in question? They’re monsters. That’s the choice for women: “moms” or monsters. “Moms” good, monsters shudder shudder bad. Women who aren’t “moms” are worthless, pointless, a mistake, dead weight, a drain on everything.

American culture can’t seem to accept the fact that some women don’t want to be mothers. Parenting is simply presented as something everyone — a woman especially — is supposed to do.

This expectation is in line with the antiabortion movement and the Republican ethos around women and motherhood. No matter what women actually want, parenthood is perceived as the best, and only, choice for them.

Also in line with conservatism in general. It’s always good news for the rich and dominant when people rally around “family values,” because that means they won’t risk going on strike or telling truth to power. There’s nothing like a mortgage to make a rebel stop rebelling.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

When misfortune hits a village

Aug 31st, 2012 5:44 pm | By

It’s all the fault of that mouthy woman.

When misfortune hits a village, there is a tendency in some countries to suspect a “witch” of casting a spell. In Ghana, outspoken or eccentric women may also be accused of witchcraft – and forced to live out their days together in witch camps.

The witch camps appear to be unique to northern Ghana. But Ghana shares with other African countries an endemic belief in witchcraft with illness, drought, fires and other natural disasters blamed on black magic. The alleged witches are nearly always elderly.

An ActionAid report on witch camps, published this week, says that more than 70% of residents in Kukuo camp were accused and banished after their husbands died – suggesting that witchcraft allegations are a way of enabling the family to take control of the widow’s property.

“The camps are a dramatic manifestation of the status of women in Ghana,” says Professor Dzodzi Tsikata of the University of Ghana. “Older women become a target because they are no longer useful to society.”

And because they’re ugly and everybody hates them.

Women who do not conform to society’s expectations also fall victim to the accusations of witchcraft, according to Lamnatu Adam of the women’s rights group Songtaba.

“Women are expected to be submissive so once you start to be outspoken in your views or even successful in your trade, people assume you must be possessed.”

And then they want to kill you, so you have to go to a camp for safety.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)


Aug 31st, 2012 5:06 pm | By

Fun and games in the LAPD – headline -

Woman dies after genital kick from LAPD officer

Huh. That can’t be right. Kicking women between the legs is just a joke, as any fule kno.

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating at least five officers after one of them allegedly stomped on a woman’s genitals and she later died of suffocation.

Patrol car video camera captured a struggle between police and Alesia Thomas and several officers on July 22, according to the Los Angeles Times.

LAPD Cmdr. Bob Green admitted to the Times that a female officer had followed through with a threat to kick Thomas in the genitals when she resisted being put into the patrol car.

Oh well. I’m sure they’ll all see the funny side eventually.

H/t EllenBeth

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Priests ensnared by little boys

Aug 31st, 2012 11:00 am | By

A priest in Australia has been charged with hiding child sexual assaults by another priest.

He didn’t just hide them, either, he caned two boys who reported being assaulted.

Father Brennan, 74, was arrested and charged yesterday with two counts of  misprision of a felony – failing to disclose a serious crime – relating to alleged child sex offences by defrocked priest John Denham against two boys in  the late 1970s.

The offences allegedly occurred at St Pius X, in the Newcastle suburb of  Adamstown, where Father Denham was a teacher and Father Brennan was school principal.

In addition Father Brennan, of Toronto, south of Newcastle, was charged with assaulting the two boys by caning them after they allegedly reported being  sexually assaulted by Father Denham, 70.

“Compassion is at the heart of every great religion.” Karen Armstrong.

One of the  men from the Hunter Valley, who alleged Father Brennan caned him in 1978 after he alleged Father Denham had repeatedly sexually assaulted him at the school, thanked police for a determined investigation.

”If this makes one person stand up and say, ‘This is what happened to me’, then I’ll feel better,” he said.

Another Hunter man, who also alleged Father Brennan caned him after he alleged Father Denham had repeatedly sexually assaulted him at the school, said it was ”great news”.

”I feel better now that I’ve got it off my chest after saying nothing for all these years, but there’s still a dark side of it,” he said.

Probably because of the 34 years it took before Pa Brennan was charged.

But, hey, the boys probably seduced Pa Denham. That’s what they do you know.

A Catholic newspaper has removed an interview from their website in which a priest said that pedophiles are seduced by children in “a lot of the cases” and the abusers should not go to jail.

During an interview with National Catholic Register, 78-year-old Father Benedict Groeschel was asked about his experience working with priests involved in abuse.

Mmmmyes, and of course (assuming there is any truth in that, which I haz my doubts) the adult has no responsibility whatever to resist the child’s “seduction.”

You know what’s scary about that?

Groeschel has a PhD in psychology from Columbia University and hosts a television talk show on the Eternal Word Television Network, which also owns National Catholic Register.

That’s what. A PhD in psychology from Columbia.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Art morning

Aug 31st, 2012 9:30 am | By

Since we’re talking about it – Las Meninas.

File:Las Meninas, by Diego Velázquez, from Prado in Google Earth.jpg

From the Wikimedia Commons.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

A little outing

Aug 31st, 2012 8:57 am | By

Village life in Punjab.

Five men allegedly shaved off the hair and eyebrows of a young woman and paraded her in the streets of a village in Pakistan’s Punjab province, police officials said Tuesday.

The incident occurred yesterday in Layyah district, 350 km from Lahore, after the married woman was accused of having “illicit” relations with a man.

According to an FIR registered by police, Parveen Bibi, 25, the wife of Sabir Husain, had a quarrel with her sisters-in-law.
Yesterday, her brothers-in-law Muhammad Pervaiz and Muhammad Zafar and three other men shaved off her hair and eyebrows. They then blackened her face and paraded her through the streets of their village.

Five men bullying one woman. How picturesque.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Jacob Jordaens

Aug 31st, 2012 6:31 am | By

Here’s the source painting, by the way.

Pieta - Jacob Jordaens


Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Anybody who resorts to tactics of desperation like this

Aug 31st, 2012 5:25 am | By

A blast from the past at the Richard Dawkins Foundation (of which Paula Kirby is the UK head), December 15, 2006.

The following is an email sent by William A. Dembski to Richard Dawkins along with other prominent Darwinists, particularly those who defended Darwinism during the Dover Trial.

There’s a Christmas present for you at my website.

– a flash animation that features each of you prominently (some of you are probably aware of it already). We’re still planning a few enhancements, including getting Eric Rothschild in there and having Judge Jones do the actual voiceovers himself (right now it’s me speeded up though it’s his actual words). In return for the judge doing himself, we’ll drop some of the less flattering sound effects. We would have included Prof. Padian, but the images of him on the internet weren’t of sufficient quality (I’m copying Prof. Padian — if you send me a hi res jpg of yourself, I’m sure we can work you in — you were after all the expert witness at the trial).

Best wishes, Bill Dembski

How festive. What a pleasant friendly winter solstice joke.

Or was it. The recipient didn’t think so.

Reponse from Richard Dawkins:

Anybody who resorts to tactics of desperation like this has to be a real loser. Dembski is a loser, and it now looks as though he KNOWS it. My guess is that he will try to take it down when he realizes how foolish it makes him look. Josh, can we can keep a copy, after he tries to remove it from his own website?


Update: Here it is, on the original site, where Dembski found it. Apparently it had farts, but the hosts came over all adult and removed that aspect. What’s left is totally adult and clever.

H/t Gerry.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)


Aug 30th, 2012 4:03 pm | By

Gosh. Paula Kirby made a funny on Twitter.

Paula Kirby@PaulaSKirby

Ladies and gentlemen, may I request a moment of silence in honour of CrucifixionPlus (Restored).


That’s kind of startling. As I said before, when she called me a Feminazi and Femistasi and part of the Sisterhood of the Oppressed, I liked her a lot when I met her at QED. She was friendly to me, and I thought we’d had a good rapport – or to put it another way, I thought the liking was reasonably mutual. Clearly it wasn’t.

Fine; nobody has to like anybody. On the other hand, calling people totalitarians and Nazis and Stasi (when they’re not)? And circulating sneery caricatures? That’s…well it’s not very adult, for a start. And it’s nasty.

I’ve said this before too, but I’ll say this again too. I’m supposed to be such a monster, but I don’t do shit like that.

Mind you, the restored Jesus still makes me laugh; it makes me laugh every time.

But Paula Kirby? No. I don’t find her funny.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Next spring in DC

Aug 30th, 2012 12:32 pm | By

Oh hai, registration is open for Women in Secularism 2.

That means I finally get to tell you that Katha Pollitt will be there! Yes, Katha Pollitt. Booya.

Also Vyckie Garrison! Also Soraya Chemaly, also Teresa MacBain, also Amanda Marcotte, to name just a few.

This is going to be great.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)