The Skeptical Redneck
I’m an ex-Catholic, so I need your help here:

I saw this editorial today on The Tennessean’s Web page. It’s short enough that I feel I can quote it in its entirety:

I thought letter writer James Arnold made a provocative observation regarding Bible reading in the public schools of Ukraine. And I liked the headline, “Other nations promote Bible in schools — why can’t we?” I should like to offer some responses to that question:

If public schools in the U.S. should adopt a program of Bible reading, it just might:

Reduce the number of thefts and robberies that occur.

Reduce the number of rapes and sexual assaults that take place.

Lower the murder rate of the country.

Reduce the number of out-of-wedlock births.

Lower the cases of child and spousal abuse.

Reduce corporate greed and corruption.

Cause public officials (local, state and national) to remember who they are elected to serve.

Reduce the population of our jails and penitentiaries.

Give our young people some moral standards to guide them that they, in turn, could take home and share with their parents.

Hugh Fulford

Gallatin 37066

Now, I’m only an ex-Catholic here—an intimate knowledge of the ins-and-outs of the Bible was never exactly a huge part of my education. I know, however, that a bunch of you can provide me with a ton of juicy bits that would easily disprove pretty much every point this guy makes.

So, go nuts, people! Make me proud.

I’m really sad that I missed this…

…but I only happened to glance at the news sites today:

Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory will host a “birthday” party for the planet Neptune on the early morning of Tuesday, July 12, to mark the planet’s first complete orbit around the Sun since it was discovered on Sept. 23, 1846.

That is just the nerdiest, coolest thing I have ever heard of. Drat!

Ah, well. I’m pretty sure there was no way in hell I was going to be awake at that hour—AND make the drive up to Nashville.

(via The Tennesseean)



“35 years of prayer couldn’t get rid of my homosexuality. My name is Steve and I am an Ex Mormon.”

This video of an ex-ex-gay exposes a lot about the cruel, hateful cult of Mormonism and the junk pseudo-science of ‘conversion therapy.’

This is specifically about an ex-Mormon who went through horrid “reparative” therapy, but I’d like to remind everyone that we have allies in the Mormon Church as well, even if they sadly get drowned out. There are good people to be found and brought out.

"Of those 15 men, 1/3 of them have committed suicide."

The (false) Debate over Adam and Eve

Here is the state of science (and, perhaps, science education) in the Deep South. A visit to The Tennessean’s Web site had a link to this little gem right on the front page. You know things have gotten bad when a supposedly serious newspaper article uses a sentence like this:

But if Adam and Even didn’t exist, there’s a hole in Christian theology over original sin, [Rev. Jim] Bachmann said.

to try and frame the issue as some sort of debate over facts.

I am truly and honestly lost here. This is not just about trying to persuade with rational argument, it’s about somehow getting past people’s deep-seated ideologies that have managed to blind them completely to any sort of evidence whatsoever. I’m an open-minded, calm, friendly debater, but it’s times like these when I feel it’s a losing battle and feel I have nothing to resort to besides mockery and contempt.

What makes a person feel that, somehow, their total moral landscape will come tumbling down if they dare acquiesce to any evidence that is remotely contrary to every little detail of their Bronze-Age mythology?

More importantly, perhaps: How do they intend to stay the least bit relevant, if this moral code is as important as they think it is?

I’m not going to make any argument whatsoever about this code; I’m just trying to follow their logic. If they intend to convert the “evil Darwinists” and “apostates” by outright dismissing reality and insisting that somehow the writers of the Bible knew more than all the scientific evidence we’ve gathered over the last few hundred years, they’re certainly going about it the wrong way.

A brief note on social progress and religion

Hemant Mehta over at Friendly Atheist has a lovely take on the religious exemption amendment to New York’s newly-passed (YAY! RAINBOWS AND HUGS FOR EVERYONE!) same-sex marriage bill.

You know what? I’m fine with the exemption. Years from now, it’ll be proof that while the majority of the public — and the majority of NY senators — was in support of marriage equality, certain religious groups wanted to hold back progress. They wanted their bigotry enshrined in the law.

It makes me wonder just how long this will take to spread to the states of my Southern brethren. Here in Tennessee, you do sometimes hear about gay rights from the legislature; unfortunately, it’s usually when it’s making enormous leaps in the other direction.