Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sir Terry on Religion.

Terry Pratchett is the funniest man in the world. He may also be one of the smartest. More>>

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cameron's New Clothes


I'm going to be perfectly blunt: Avatar is not a good movie. It's not necessarily a bad film either, but it's very bland and plays it safe on almost every level. How does a film that cost nearly ten times the amount of District 9 have visuals that pale in comparison? Why do all the characters look like cartoons? Why is there so much out of place cursing? Why is Michelle Rodriguez playing herself yet again?

It's never a good sign when I can't name a single ancillary character's name one day after seeing a movie. The only reason I remember the protagonists name is that it's repeated ad naueseum. My brain is throwing up a 404 error with every concurrent review that I've read. Are these people seeing a different movie than I am? What, besides price, is Cameron revolutionizing in cinema?

I am seriously wondering if we are experiencing a Phantom Menace style mass delusion with this movie. We have convinced ourselves that this movie is so game changing that we see much more than is actually there. I think there is a very strong possibility that in a couple of weeks people will start realizing that this movie is not very good, and start attacking it ala Phantom Menace.

Spoiler Warning !!!

Ok, here's the gist: Jake Sully's brother is killed on the planet of Pandora. Jake is recruited by Evil corp to take his place in the Avatar program. Jake uses his Avatar to interact with the Na'vi while feeding intel to Colonel Scarhead. He is accepted instantly by the aliens while continuing to spy on them for Crazy Colonel. Jake falls in love with female protagonist alien and mates with her to the sound of incredibly cheesy music ripped off from Enya. The humans attack the Na'vi whilst they are cuddling and rips up a magic ancestor tree. Girl alien protagonist finds out that Jake has betrayed them and never wants to see him again. Jake jumps on a flying Deus Ex Machina and is suddenly the leader of the Na'vi. He unites all of the Na'vi tribes in twelve minutes and they mount a defense against the humans who are now gunning for their other magic ancestor tree. There is an epic fight where stuff blows up and alien dino chickens fight fat airplanes and bugocopters. The battle. of course, evolves into a one on one melee with Jake and Colonel Badguy climaxing with Alien girl protagonist perforating Badguy with arrows. The humans are kicked off of Pandora and the magic tree sucks Jake permanently into his Avatar. The end.

I just saved you thirty bucks.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Solomon Kane

Whoa. Where the hell did this come from? I love and devour almost everything Robert Howard has ever done, ditto on Lovecraft. Solomon Kane influenced almost every "dark" hero in some way. This movie looks like it could in fact do him justice. I'm sure it will be better than Arnie's abysmal Conan films which dumbed down the character exponentially. Crossing my fingers on this one. More>>

Best of 09: Top Films

4. Coraline

This is the book that first made Neil Gaiman a household name. American Gods brought in critical acclaim, Sandman won every award possible, but Coraline placed him on countless bookshelves young and old. Why does this book resonate so? I think that Coraline's too busy parents make her quite easy to identify with. Most of us have been in her shoes (or felt like we were) at some point. Gaiman mixes this angst deftly with a classic dark fairytale equal parts scary, funny, and thrilling.

How would all this translate to the screen? Exquisitely. Coraline had a second great visionary attached to it in the person of Henry Selick the stop motion visionary. The colors and movement bring this fairytale to life, and the dark humor translates fantastically to the stop motion medium. The voice work is top notch, specifically Dakota Fanning as Coraline and Keith David as the wuss-puss. Add to this an ethereal faux French soundtrack by Bruno Coulais and you have an absolute classic.

Note: This is one of the best 3d films I have ever seen. Unfortunately the same can not be said of the 3d process at home with the old school red and green glasses. You still get the movie which is quite amazing on its own. More>>

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Shut Up Woman Get On My Horse

This is insane. It will also insert itself into your brain and never let you go.

Sweet Lemonade!!! More>>

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tron Legacy reveal.


The first released image looks really good, kind of cyberpunky. The helmetless look is pretty interesting, I wonder if they'll don them when in a game? Hit the jump to see the poster.


Best of 09: Top Films

5. Zombieland

How is it possible that two excruciatingly funny movies about zombies exist in the same Universe? Will this cause some sort of personification of entropy to descend upon Earth and reap the souls of the living? Perhaps it just means that zombies are inherently funny. Although putrification can be quite humorous, I have a feeling that intelligent writing and a love of the genre may be the reason behind this phenomenon.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Zombieland succeeds in every facet as a comedy and a horror film. It's the filmic equivalent of finding extra fries at the bottom of the bag....a real treat. Not too mention one of the best cameos in recent history.

Don't forget the rules of Zombieland:
1. Cardio
2. Double Tap
3. Wear Seatbelts
4. Beware of Bathrooms
5. No Attachments
6. Cast Iron Skillet
7. Travel Light
12. Bounty paper towels
17. (Don't) Be a hero
18. Limber Up
22. When in doubt, know your way out
29. The Buddy System
31. Check the back seat
32. Enjoy the little things More>>

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Short and Angry Reviews

The newest Avatar still.

Flashforward (The Book) : Oh noes! We screwed up the world! Now I am a robot in the future!

Flashforward (The ABC Series) : Oh noes! I'm an alcoholic! ZZZzzzzzzzz

V (The Revamped ABC Series) : Dammit, they weren't called V's. They were the visitors. Do we call the enterprise crew Star Trek's?

Family Circus: I'm convinced this is some sort of avant garde humor. The art of the non joke.

And Another Thing: If I believed in the devil this would be his handiwork. Leave. The. Hitchhikers. Guide. Alone.

Karen Armstrong: You put your wishy in. You take your washy out. You put your wishy in, and wave your hands about. More>>

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I.M.P.S. The Relentless Chapter 2

I.M.P.S. The Relentless Chapter 2 from Blacksheep Productions on Vimeo.

Whoo hoo! Better late than never. More>>

Reach for the Starman


The Starman Omnibus, Vol. 1
DC Comics

Real emotion. Real emotion is a rarity in any sort of fiction. One of the things that separates a classic story from merely a popular one. It's a double rarity for said fiction to create living, breathing characters who nearly step off the page and speak to you. James Robinson and Tony Harris's Starman is one of these rarities.

The mid nineties were a bleak time to be a comic fan. Over muscled mono-syllabic buffoons carrying guns the size of a small Balkan nation were the rule. Some of the leaps made in the eighties by cutting edge books like Sandman and Watchman had catapulted the medium into the public eye, but speculation had reared it's ugly head and pumped hundreds of vapid "collectible" comics into the market.

This glut, while ultimately very harmful for the industry also ushered in a handful of truly remarkable titles that probably wouldn't have been released in the previous decade. James Robinson and Tony Harris set out to revamp a third string hero, A Justice Society of America old timer named Starman. However Robinson and Harris's Starman was much different than his Golden Age counterpart, who just happened to be his father.

Jack Knight had absolutely no ambition to become a hero, a fact that he makes plain throughout the entire book (which collects the first seventeen issues of the comic). Jack just wants to run his junk shop and leave the heroic exploits to his father and brother ( David Knight, who took over the mantle of Starman after Their father Ted retired). Unfortunately, Jack's idyllic existence isn't meant to last and David is assassinated while patrolling Opal city and Ted Knight is attacked and hospitalized.

Jack Knight may not want to become a hero, but unfortunately he IS one. He has to wield a backup cosmic rod as necessity to save his own hide and gradually falls in to becoming a full time hero. Much like Peter Parker before him, Jack is a real person with real motives and problems. Also like the Webslinger, he has an amazing cast of supporting characters that nearly jump off the page.

James Robinson's dialogue is whip sharp and Tony Harris's beautifully realistic and expressive art brings a wonder to the series that is not present in comics very often. Starman is a fantastic series and I give it my highest possible recommendation.

The Specs
I think I like the format of this book a bit more than the behemoth Absolute editions that DC has solicited for a couple of years now. This volume adheres to more of a standard Hardback size while retaining the high quality paper and color separation that makes the artwork really pop off the pages. The price is also considerably lower than the absolute editions which is also a big plus in my book. The standard DVD style extras are also included with sketches, a cover gallery, and commentary.

All in all a quite superb package.


Friday, December 4, 2009

All New, All Different!


As you may have noticed, there have been very few updates here within the last few months. I originally started this blog to speak on a variety of issues pertaining to secularism, theistic criticism, and scientific discovery. I began to feel as if this ground has been tread by several excellent blogs and that mine was essentially just repaving the same highway. So from this point on Society of Heathens is going to be experiencing a rebirth. I will still speak about the topics of science and secularism, but SoH will become much more based upon my stream of consciousness. I'll post more about this and the upcoming Project: Yellow in the coming days. Excelsior, True Believers! More>>

Friday, August 21, 2009

Birds are Weird

This is awesome. Some more Professor Dawkins goodness with the added bonus of the Galapagos Islands. I want to go on a Darwin cruise so badly. More>>

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Baloney Detection as an Art Form - Michael Shermer

I have been neglecting the Society for a little while now, so I haven't had a chance to post any of the newly minted RDF TV videos yet. Now I have, and I feel all the better for it. I'm also a bit hungry. More>>

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pious Manipulation


I am worried.

I think there is a very dangerous movement sweeping through the religious. Corporations and other special interests are using fear and belief manipulation to form a ready made lobbying group out of America's Christians.

Whatever your opinion is about the health care debate that's going on, it does any of us little good for a callow former governor to try to hijack the stage with accusations of death camps and mandatory abortions.

The new shrieking Republican fringe is infiltrating the town hall meetings with their representatives disguised as John Q. Public. They hold signs that contain thinly disguised screeds awash in bigotry and fear mongering. How long before these people finally incite a violent tragedy?

Let's hope cooler heads can prevail. More>>

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Jesus Hates Figs


There has undoubtedly been a time in your life when you were angered by a tree. The stupid leafy oxygen producing bastards are so damned smug it makes me sick. So it goes without saying that encountering an out of season fig tree should invoke rage and disgust from even the most meek.

What would Jesus do?

He would curse the hell out of that stupid tree.

Matthew 21:18-22

Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.

When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked.

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

Mark 11:12-14, 19-25

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it.

When evening came, they went out of the city.

In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!"

"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

So this either points to the son of God having a disturbing anger management issue, or he just enjoys being a dick. Why didn't he just curse the Romans? Does Jesus only possess vast arboreal powers that are inefficient against flesh. Is Jesus the Aquaman of religious figures, only possessing crappy and extremely limited superpowers?

Perhaps these are just apocryphal stories that have no basis in History or reality. Curiouser and curiouser. More>>

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thank You Senator Gronstal

This very brief statement by Iowa Senator Gronstal could be extremely prescient. It gives me hope for the future. More>>

Monday, April 6, 2009

Randi at Butler.

I'm going to be attending James Randi's lecture at Butler University tomorrow, so to get in the spirit and to celevrate the JREF's Youtube resurrection let's check out Why We Still Believe. More>>

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Moral of the Story: Bears Can Be Mean


I for one believe that all of our morals and values come from the Bible. I thought I would start a new feature here at ISOH to clarify how specific Bible verses can be applied to the morals of our present.

I will begin this undertaking with 2 Kings 2:23-24 24:

From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.

I lied about the morality thing as this is just an opportunity to mercilessly mock Biblical scripture. The high road is for other blogs.

Elisha, much like Larry David, was a bald man. Also like Mr. David, he seems to operate on another plain of human interaction than the rest of us.

Instead of loudly arguing with someone about who's responsibility the return of a shirt is or refusing to take a house tour, Elisha asks God to kill some mocking children with a fucking bear.

So apparently it is ok to murder through an Ursine proxy. This is something that I was unaware of and I will see if I can twist this into my advantage.

I wonder how difficult it would be to train some bears to become my servants. I suppose I could always just pray for the bears to smite my enemies...although I've been trying to do that for years to no avail. Maybe I should try to pray directly to the bears. More>>

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tim Minchin is the Coolest.

This song is called Ten Foot Cock & A Few Hundred Virgins. I think that pretty much says it all really. Tim is the bees knees by the way.

God invented wanking. More>>

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Salt Water on Mars!


A group of Phoenix Mission scientists from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor have detected the presence of salt water on the leg of the Phoenix Mars Lunar Lander. This is the first time that verified liquid water has ever been photographed outside of Earth.

How wicked awesome is this? Liquid water! More>>

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How to spot a hidden religious agenda


Because New Scientist has officially lost any sort of relevance they once had, they have now stooped to ceding to the whims of creationists in their own magazine and scrapped an article by staff writer Amanda Gefter. What the hell is going on her NS? First Darwin was wrong and now this.

I thought I'd help out and post the article in it's entirety.

Gotta love the internets!

How to spot a hidden religious agenda

Amanda Gefter
New Scientist
Sat, 28 Feb 2009

As a book reviews editor at New Scientist, I often come across so-called science books which after a few pages reveal themselves to be harbouring ulterior motives. I have learned to recognise clues that the author is pushing a religious agenda. As creationists in the US continue to lose court battles over attempts to have intelligent design taught as science in federally funded schools, their strategy has been forced to... well, evolve. That means ensuring that references to pseudoscientific concepts like ID are more heavily veiled. So I thought I'd share a few tips for spotting what may be religion in science's clothing.

Red flag number one: the term "scientific materialism". "Materialism" is most often used in contrast to something else - something non-material, or supernatural. Proponents of ID frequently lament the scientific claim that humans are the product of purely material forces. At the same time, they never define how non-material forces might work. I have yet to find a definition that characterises non-materialism by what it is, rather than by what it is not.

The invocation of Cartesian dualism - where the brain and mind are viewed as two distinct entities, one material and the other immaterial - is also a red flag. And if an author describes the mind, or any biological system for that matter, as "irreducibly complex", let the alarm bells ring.

Misguided interpretations of quantum physics are a classic hallmark of pseudoscience, usually of the New Age variety, but some religious groups are now appealing to aspects of quantum weirdness to account for free will. Beware: this is nonsense.

When you come across the terms "Darwinism" or "Darwinists", take heed. True scientists rarely use these terms, and instead opt for "evolution" and "biologists", respectively. When evolution is described as a "blind, random, undirected process", be warned. While genetic mutations may be random, natural selection is not. When cells are described as "astonishingly complex molecular machines", it is generally by breathless supporters of ID who take the metaphor literally and assume that such a "machine" requires an "engineer". If an author wishes for "academic freedom", it is usually ID code for "the acceptance of creationism".

Some general sentiments are also red flags. Authors with religious motives make shameless appeals to common sense, from the staid - "There is nothing we can be more certain of than the reality of our sense of self" (James Le Fanu in Why Us?) - to the silly - "Yer granny was an ape!" (creationist blogger Denyse O'Leary). If common sense were a reliable guide, we wouldn't need science in the first place.

Religiously motivated authors also have a bad habit of linking the cultural implications of a theory to the truth-value of that theory. The ID crowd, for instance, loves to draw a line from Darwin to the Holocaust, as they did in the "documentary" film Expelled: No intelligence allowed. Even if such an absurd link were justified, it would have zero relevance to the question of whether or not the theory of evolution is correct. Similarly, when Le Fanu writes that Darwin's On the Origin of Species "articulated the desire of many scientists for an exclusively materialist explanation of natural history that would liberate it from the sticky fingers of the theological inference that the beauty and wonder of the natural world was direct evidence for 'A Designer'", his statement has no bearing on the scientific merits of evolution.

It is crucial to the public's intellectual health to know when science really is science. Those with a religious agenda will continue to disguise their true views in their effort to win supporters, so please read between the lines.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Biochemistry is Hard!


I love it when Creationists point out the fact that they have no clue how evolution actually occurs.

From a Washington post article titled The Genesis of a Debate comes this choice quote from a biochemistry major:

Near the end of the "Evolution Trail," the class showed no signs of being swayed by the polished, enthusiastic presentation of Darwin's theory. They were surprised, though, by the bronze statue of man's earliest mammalian ancestor.

"A rat?" exclaimed Amanda Runions, a 21-year-old biochemistry major, when she saw the model of a morganucodon, a rodent-like ancient mammal that curators have dubbed Grandma Morgie. "All this hype for a rat? You're expecting, like, at least an ape."

A biochemistry major? You are kidding me. Is she an alchemist?

I can't even wrap my brain around a science major spouting such a blatantly Bryan-esque display of ignorance. What in the hell do they teach you in that school?

Liberty "University" you say? That explains it I suppose.

I did some digging, and I found a description of the University's biology curriculum:

Photobucket More>>

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

James and Nazareth

I just couldn't resist putting this Randi video up. A commercial venture from a religious claim? That can't be, we all know that all factions of faith are poor and humble. More>>



I've been thinking of PZ Myers Eucharist desecration last year and I now realize that I was deeply offended by it. I think Professor Myers should be ashamed of himself, he wasted a perfectly good cracker that could have been a component in a perfectly good entree.

Have we learned nothing from stem cell harvesting?

Eucharist Irish Meat Loaf

1 1/2 lb. ground lamb
1 egg
1 sm. onion, chopped
1 sprig cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
3 tbsp. Jameson Whiskey
1/2 c. Eucharist crumbs
4 potatoes sliced, 4 peeled and halved carrots, *root vegetables (optional)
1 Can Guinness Stout

In a large bowl, mix ground lamb, egg, onion, cilantro, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

In a second bowl, combine tomato sauce and Whiskey.

Set aside 1/4 cup of the tomato mixture to pour over the top of meatloaf; pour remainder the over the meat mixture.

Next, add Eucharist crumbs and mix thoroughly.

Knead meat mixture in a baking dish to an approx 1 inch thick rectangle.

Arrange vegetables around meatloaf.

Pour tomato mixture and Guinness over meat loaf.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Serves 4 members of the Hell bound rabble.

*Important Notice*
Please do not abscond with any Eucharist wafers, this is meant for blaspehmous fun and not vandalism.

You can make your own Eucharist with the recipe linked below.

Eucharist Bread Recipe More>>

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Heathencast is coming.


The ISOH will soon have a podcast.


Prop 8 in Court


It looks like opponents to the travesty of Prop 8 are going to be able to get the California Supreme Court to look at the Constitutionality of the gay marriage ban amendment. Let's hope the outcome of this doesn't favor our hateful Mormon friends.

Reuters More>>

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Four Horseman

I think a growing number of people are embracing rationality, and shunning superstition. I may just be looking through the rose colored glasses of positive thinking, but there really seems to be real progress being made.

The internet has provided channels for those of us out there who are afraid of reprisals of violence from our religious friends and neighbors.

Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Chris Hitchens, and Sam Harris are the self styled Four Horseman of rationality and science. These educated and erudite social critics are powerful intellectual allies with which to state our case for a rational world. More>>

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jindal's Fruit Fly


Our favorite Exorcism loving anti-science wingnut, Bobby Jindal was tapped by Republican leadership to critique President Obama's stimulus plan on national television yesterday.

I'm skeptical of the stimulus plan but I think that something had to be done. The stimulus plan, for better or worse, is our only hope to paraphrase Leia.

One thing that does hearten me though is that Bobby Jindal had nothing to do with the plan. If Jindal typifies what the Republican response would have been, we are absolutely better off with Obama's stimulus.

Jindal made an amazingly ignorant Palin-esque fruit fly statement when he questioned the addition of $140 million for "volcano monitoring". The problem with this misstatement is not just inherent in the phrase "volcano monitoring", geological monitoring is just part of a number of projects under this funding program which Jindal failed to mention.

The second and more ironic issue with Jindal's comments is the fact that monitoring volcanic activity is a very effective way to predict natural disasters. Katrina was predicted in just this fashion, as seen in the Nova episode Hurricane Katrina: The Storm That Drowned a City, and their findings were mostly ignored due to the scientific ignorance of Republican and Democrat leadership.

Jindal is not a Conservative, he is an ignorant fundementalist and ID lackey. The Republicans need to win their party back from these terrifying neo-cons. More>>

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Sincere Question to Believers

Sit back, clear your mind and really think through these questions:

What would you specifically do if you knew with all certainty there was no God?

Would you change how you act?

Would your priorities changes?

Would you change what you teach your kids?

Would your morals change?

Start some dialogue!


Chris Hitchens Vs. Dsouza

While I don't agree with everything he says, Hitchens is a very inspired thinker. He can also beat his debate opponents into submission whilst sounding extremely unimpressed. Dsouza doesn't really have a chance, I almost feel sorry for him.

I'm completely lying, Dsouza is a complete tool. More>>

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Sun Don't Shine in Texas


I'm a bit too old to have grown up with Bill Nye's science program. I still enjoyed his show whenever I caught it, and I am a huge fan of anyone who tries to popularize science for the layman. I also enjoyed his solar battle with Ed Begley Jr. to see who could add the most electricity to the power grid.

Bill recently spoke at McLennan Community College in Waco Texas, it was part of a series of discussions on general science topics such as global warming and solar energy. Bill made the seemingly innocuous comment about how far our scientific knowledge has come by quoting Genesis 1:16 "God made two great lights -- the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars."

He then followed up by pointing out that the lesser lights origin is also the sun, albeit reflected by the moon. The crowd responded with a cacophony of catcalls and boo's and members of the audience fleeing from his blasphemous speech. A woman yelled, "We believe in God!" while marching out of the auditorium with her family in tow.

I'm not sure what this denotes, other than that the Republic of Texas could possibly implode due to a temporal paradox. Surely, Waco is actually in the midst of the Bronze age. More>>

Your Love is Like Bad Medicine

Ben Goldacre of Bad Science talks about Sensationalised Science Reporting from Conrad on Vimeo.

Dr. Goldacre touches on the absurd yellow science journalism that we've been in contact with lately. *Cough cough* New Scientist *cough*. More>>

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bells and Whistles


Recently I was in the company of someone who mentioned The Bell Curve.Usually my internal BS detector would immediately ring out and I would be forced to utter the phrase, "The Bell Curve is a completely unscientific WASP masturbation fantasy masquerading as a breakthrough study. It's a creepy rambling screed for eugenicists." I couldn't do that, because it's usually out of place to call out someone and insinuating that someone is a eugenics proponent in polite comnpany.

Stephen Jay Gould shot the book through with so many holes in his own book, The Mismeasure of Man, that there was nary a scrap of binding left.

Race is an artificial social construct. There is only one race that we belong to: Homo Sapien Sapiens.

Michael Shermer devoted an entire chapter in the fantastic Why People Believe Weird Things to refuting this farcical book and pointed out the disturbing white supremacist funding behind The Bell Curve.

The Bell Curve is a massively biased soundbite type study that cherry picks it's data out of the ether. I'm continually surprised at how people are sure that they are superior to another group of people and therefore exposing their own ignorance. More>>

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Darwin Day Forever! Free Evolution DVD's!


It's Darwin day and here are your presents. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is giving away some fantastic DVD and print resources including 2 great dvd's on evolution. Completely free in the continental US and that includes free shipping!

HMMI Online Catalog More>>

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Darwinism Delusion


Carl Safina by all accounts seems like a logical and rational scientist. Why the hell is he confronting the straw man argument promoted by ID'ers that "Darwinism" must die in a NY Times article? Does Safina only get his info from Ben Stein?

I'll go further, Darwinism doesn't exist. I think the theory of evolution is supported by massive amounts of empirical evidence and elegantly explains the development of life. Charles Darwin is the grandfather of evolutionary theory, which still operates under many of his principle ideas.

There is no such thing as Darwinian evolution. There is only evolutionary theory.

I do not worship Charles Darwin. I do not think that Richard Dawkins is the high priest. I am a fan of their work because I like science. I am curious about the world, and how it operates. I think whales are supa wicked awesome.

I love Neil Gaimans work, and I have devoured each of his novels like a delicious tart. I would be reduced to a stuttering mess if I came into contact with the real Neil Gaiman. I am not a Gaimanist.

Carl Safina's article is a further example of the yellow journalism that gave us New Scientist's Darwin Was Wrong cover. Where is this weirdness coming from? More>>

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Michael Shermer Vs. The Bible Code

The Bible code is so incredibly stupid. I'm still waiting for the Lord of the Rings code. Frodo want's me to kill! More>>

Monday, February 9, 2009

Richard Dawkins Sits Down With PZ Myers

Yet another excellent discussion from one of Professor Dawkins documentary series Voices of Science. PZ is truly a freethinker and an insufferable smart ass, both admirable traits in my book. More>>

The List: 10 Amazing Transitional Fossils


Transitional fossils are the bane of Evolution deniers existence. Traditionally they just ignore them, usually by plugging there ears and loudly singing the Flintstones theme song.

Let's kick of Darwin Day's eve eve eve with a myriad of our favorite gap fillers.

10. Ambulocetus

It's name means walking whale, and that is a pretty good description of what it actually was. Ambulocetus (Eocene Epoch 50 Million Years ago) was able to hunt on land and shared many adaptations with whales.

9. Homo ergaster

Homo ergaster was a human ancestor who lived around 2 million years ago. The nearly complete Turkana boy is a possible example of this tool using early human.

8. Thrinaxodon

Thrinaxodon was a fur covered mammal like reptile dating approximately 250 years ago. Likely warm blooded, but laid eggs to birth it's young Thrinaxodon was an early move to mammalian forms.

7. Basilosaurus

Another whale ancestor Basilosaurus possessed tiny hind limbs that speak of it's origins on dry land.

6. Hyracotherium

The forerunner to both Horses and Rhinos, Hyracotherium was a small fox sized forager.

5. Australopithecus afarensis

While the jury is still out as to whether Australopithecus is a direct human ancestor or not, the discovery of "Lucy" has shown a definite step to bipedal motion.

4. Tiktaalik

Tiktaalik is a fishapod. A fish who possessed lungs as well as gills and wrist jointed fins. Literally a fish out of water taking it's first journey on land.

3. Dimetrodon

Frequently misrepresented as a dinosaur, Dimetrodon was a progenitor to mammalia. Dimetrodon is more your relative than of modern reptiles.

2. Archaeopteryx

Archaeopteryx, much like Tktaalik, is direct irrefutable evidence that transitional forms existed. While it may not be a direct ancestor to modern birds, although I think the evidence strongly points in that direction, it still proves transitional forms.

1. Homo erectus

The discovery of "Java Man" allowed us to look into our own origins and rethink the so called primitve lives of our ancestors. The sophistication of the tools discovered with Homo erectus fossils further indicate our species skill at adaptation.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Andrew Wakefield Faked Data in Autism Study


Wow what a surprise, that evil bastard faked his anti vaccination claptrap. I can't wait until he is sent to prison and systematically beaten with soap in a sock.

Here's a short excerpt from the

Confidential medical documents and interviews with witnesses have established that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients’ data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella was linked to the condition.

The research was published in February 1998 in an article in The Lancet medical journal. It claimed that the families of eight out of 12 children attending a routine clinic at the hospital had blamed MMR for their autism, and said that problems came on within days of the jab. The team also claimed to have discovered a new inflammatory bowel disease underlying the children’s conditions.

However, our investigation, confirmed by evidence presented to the General Medical Council (GMC), reveals that: In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated. Hospital pathologists, looking for inflammatory bowel disease, reported in the majority of cases that the gut was normal. This was then reviewed and the Lancet paper showed them as abnormal.

I'm sure true believers like Jenny McCarthy will claim Big Medicine is persecuting this stain on humanity. More>>

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Still Need Help! Won't You Think About the Children?


I need help.

Specifically, I need your help.

I would like to spend much more time on this blog, but real life has a way of limiting my output. So, I'm looking for some Heathen contributors to flesh out the ISOC. This would increase the content of the site and add some more voices to this godless skeptical community.

I want you to email me stating why you would be a boon to ISOH, with possibly a sample article or at least an idea for one.

Throw in your hat by dropping me a line at: More>>

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Faith Cake

Qualia Soup is my favorite Youtuber. His ability to crystallize ideas into concise and entertaining videos is peerless. More>>

The RRS Vs. Kirk "Crocoduck" Cameron

Far be it from me to besmirch the good name of anyone, but Kirk Cameron is a smirking douchenozzle. I know that isn't incredibly helpful, but I needed to vent a bit. The wicked awesome ninjas of reason from the Rational Response Squad debated Mr. Growing Pains in 07. I know it's a bit old, but I think it's a nice pick me up for any self respecting non believer. More>>

Sir David and Religion

David Attenborough is always entertaining. Excellent interview for the BBC. More>>

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Can Make You Buy My Crap


Paul Mckenna really sets off my bullshit detector. I haven't seen much evidence one way or another, but his definitive "I Can Make You Thin!" claims seem incredibly simplistic and in line with the "if you are fat eat less" self help goons. There was also the PHD mill controversy and the fact that people listening to his cds are genuflecting like a Catholic break dancer.

Will McKenna be the next self help goofball to be outed as a sham? We'll just have to stay incredulous for the time being it seems. More>>

Richard Dawkins Interviews Novelist Ian McEwan

McEwan has some pretty interesting views. He's a pretty courageous guy, he's spoken out publicly over Islam's mistreatment of Homosexuals and women. More>>

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pro Lifers in Uproar Over Unaired Super Bowl Ad


Catholic Groups are freaking out over NBC's refusal to show their low rent propaganda.

I'll give one thing to the pro life crowd, they certainly are consistent. The O'Bama Fetus commercial is basically the same anecdote trotted out with Mozart as the subject.

If we follow this remarkably stable train of knowledge, then I suppose we would be perfectly justified in aborting Hitler.

Would this be the inconsistency logical fallacy? More>>

Sir David and the Tree of Life

Another beautiful depiction of evolution, this time featuring the great David Attenborough. More>>

unTouched by the Hand of God


So there are going to be a large number of militant pent up fundamentalists roaming our streets. That is just fantastic.

I just don't know what to think when people like this make fun of themselves for me. Poe's law may actually be ripping the space-time continuum.

We also see the mindset of these medieval assholes trying to pray the gay away with an ex-homosexual shirt. Hooray for brainwashing!

Click on the more link to watch their insane video.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Genius of Charles Darwin

I love the simple argument against a designed eye, fantastic! Richard Dawkins science programs are nearly without peer. He might even give Sir David a run for his money! I will most certainly be picking this doc up when it's released. More>>

Friday, January 30, 2009

Robots are Cool, and Terrifying

Why does this robot-dog thing scare the crap out of me? Can't....look......away! More>>

Dr. Kaku Gets his Own Show on the Science Channel


I don't get the Science Channel, but I am really stoked that Michio Kaku is getting his own show. I've listened to his podcasts for quite a while, and the man is absolutely fascinating. More>>

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The World Has it's First Openly Gay Leader


How far we've come. 2009 so far has seen an African American President, and now Johanna Sigurdardottir will become Icealnd's next Prime Minister and the first openly gay leader of a country. She will have her hands full dealing with the economic crisis, but I wish her best of luck in all of her endeavors. More>>

The List: 10 Essential Books on Evolution


We are getting pretty close to Charles Darwin's 200th birthday, so what better way to celebrate than with some excellent ruminations on biology's most important principle? These books cover a myriad of angles, from straight overview to specialized species oriented approaches. It was exceedingly difficult to come up with ten of my favorite, so I only allowed one book per author. Stephen J. Gould and E.O. Wilson were a couple of authors just squeaked out of the top ten, but they will both show up in another evolution themed list that focuses more on the more technical aspects of evolution which will be coming up fairly soon.

10. Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters - Donald Prothero

It always amazes me when people claim that there are no transitional fossils. Prothero catalogs the huge variety of fossils and the story told by studying them. Evolution is a very comprehensive look at and some compelling illustrations of concrete physical examples of transitional fossils. There is also a nice bit of interest overlap with Paleophiles and Dino-nuts.

9. The Plausibility of Life - Marc W. Kirschner and John C. Gerhart

Many creationists with little understanding of Evolutionary Biology think that Darwin's original works are where evolution began and ended. Of course, most of us familiar with the scientific method know that this is an extremely silly assumption. John Gerhart and Marc Kirschner expand Darwin's adaptations and show how chance has very little to do with evolution, showcasing the elegance and tenacity of life.

8. The Beak of the Finch - Jonathan Weiner


Jonathan Weiner's Pullitzer Prize winning examination of Peter and Rosemary Grant's fascinating study of Darwin's finches. The Beak of the Fince is a beautiful and mind boggling example of how fast evolution can occur.

7. The Last Human: A Guide to Twenty-Two Species of Extinct Humans - G. J. Sawyer, Viktor Deak, Esteban Sarmiento, Richard Milner


An exhaustive look at our ancestors. Vivid and detailed illustrations highlight the adaptations of those who came before.

6. At the Water's Edge : Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea - Carl Zimmer

This is one of my personal favorite evolutionary subject, land animals going back into the sea. The whale and hippo connection is one of the coolest things in science. Carl Zimmer has penned an infinitely readable biological classic.

5. Why Evolution is True - Jerry Coyne

Coyne's Why Evolution is True is one of the best overviews of Evolution and a great place to start for anyone interested.

4. Your Inner Fish - Neil Shubin

Equal parts funny and insightful, Neil Shubin shows us the early roots of the human body in a variety of life forms. Complexity may not be so irreducible after all.

3. The Third Chimpanzee - Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond presents what is possibly the best account of human evolution written. Compelling and easy to read, Diamond weaves a concise tale of how we became human.

2. The Ancestor's Tale - Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins popularization of science is impossible to ignore. Few authors can create a scientific account as appealing as any novel. The Ancestor's Tale is a gateway of sorts to his other material, and is a good base coat before delving into the shiny finish of The Selfish Gene.

Dawkins paints a picture in a homage to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, following our path from animal to animal each telling a different part of the story. The length and breadth of information in this book can be a bit daunting, but Dawkins humor and ability to teach shine through every page.

1. On the Origin of the Species (Illustrated Edition) - Charles Darwin

What better way to learn about origins of life, than with the origins of evolutionary theory? I chose this specific edition for the myriad of illustrations and footnotes much like the "annotated guide" series of literary classics.
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