Playing Gracefully with Ideas: Stephen Fry, Evolution, and Da Vinci at CSICon 2018
October 20, 2018 by

Massimo Polidoro described a certain someone as “a precious jewel” of a person, someone whose company and insights were sought by the wisest of leaders. This person “swam upstream,” eschewing fads and seeking to discover the truths and communicate those truths to others. This incredible human being exemplifies the term “Renaissance person.” Now, Polidoro was …

Behind the Gopherwood Curtain, Norman the Bad Elephant, God Loves SOME of You…
October 4, 2018 by

Are you worried about going to hell? (Laughter) I mean, what would you say if you died and ended up in hell?

I’m not worried because I don’t think hell exists.But if I died and actually did end up in hell, I’d be surprised. You gotta be kidding me, I’d say. All indications were that this is a myth!

Ape Church, Agnostics vs Atheists, Godless but pro-Trump
August 22, 2018 by

Are you agnostic about Santa Claus? Probably not. I suspect that your ability to disprove the existence of Santa Claus is on par with your ability to disprove God. Such is the case with believing any negative concerning existence. If there is insufficient evidence to believe in any proposition, then you live your life as if that thing doesn’t exist — until some solid proof comes in.

There may be some other universe or dimension in which I have no bald spot, but until I cross paths with my hairy-crowned self, I’ll continue to wear hats.

Atheist Godfather, Holy Home Runs, Black Jesus
August 8, 2018 by

Celebrant: Do you reject Satan and all his works?
Me: I do. This was easy. Satan is fictional. I reject him, Santa Clause, and leprechauns.
Celebrant: Do you reject sin, so as to live in the freedom of God’s children?
Me: I do. For me sin is dropping a good slice of deep dish pizza onto a dirty floor. Or sitting on a $9 cigar. I’m against lots of those kinds of sins.
Celebrant: Do you reject the glamor of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin?
Me: I do. I mean… I’ll try. I won’t let any bad habits master me, though I reserve the right to dip my foot into Lake Sin every now and then.

Everybody Plots All the Time! – Tanner Edis on Misinformation Outside the U.S.
October 28, 2017 by

Taner Edis gave a remarkably compelling and sobering talk this morning on how an advanced, modern society can find itself in thrall to conservative religious politics, baseless medical treatments, the institutional embrace of pseudoscience, the diminishment of secular expertise, and an embrace of conspiracy thinking and creationism. Oh, I’m sorry to mislead you. I was …

Robyn and Richard at the Grand Canyon
November 2, 2016 by

Just before CSICon got started last week, Richard Dawkins and CFI’s CEO Robyn Blumner visited the Grand Canyon, and chatted with the good folks at the National Parks Service. Robyn told me about it, and shared some photos, so I thought it would be a nice idea to put them here. Robyn, who took the photos, told me:

Richard’s conversations with the staff were eye-opening. He learned that frontline interpretive guides are under regular siege by creationists who believe the Grand Canyon is proof of a great flood 4,000 years ago. Although the job of the park rangers is to provide scientific information, they are also cautioned not to be confrontational or insulting to religious beliefs.
I can imagine how tough that must be, and reminds me of the struggle faced by science teachers that Bertha Vazquez is working to solve.

Eugenie Scott and Bertha Vazquez on “Reaching the 60%” for Evolution Education
October 29, 2016 by

Eugenie Scott could probably just walk up to the microphone and read the phone book (for the millennials, those are extremely large paperback dead-tree books with very thin pages that listed the phone numbers of every human and establishment in a given geographical area). She positioned herself as a “warmup act” for Bertha Vazquez of …