Skepticism

Skepchick Quickies, 1.28

A new Skepchick feature, with a brand-new Skepchick. I’m Jen, and, with Amanda, I’ll be posting daily round-ups of links y’all might want to read. We’ll also be pointing out the best Skepchick posts of the week, and some past Skepchick posts worth mentioning.

As for more about me – by day I do a variety of things related to IT and web application development, and on the side I design websites. I also spend quite a bit of time chasing after my two-year-old daughter, and watching old or indie films. Since I’ve been a passive Skepchick reader for a long time now, I’m stoked to finally be a contributor.

Anyway – today’s links!

  • Close to Artificial Life? – “US scientists have taken a major step toward creating the first ever artificial life form by synthetically reproducing the DNA of a bacteria, according to a study published Thursday.”
  • Will Religion Sabotage Charlotte’s Future? – A British professor now living in Charlotte, North Carolina looks at the role of religion in American politics from a foreigner’s perspective.
  • US Military Call Ghostbusters – “Among the one third of Americans who believe in ghosts are high-ranking officials in the intelligence agencies and military.” One of the commenters asks: “How does one rise to the rank of Colonel in the US Air Force without an ounce of critical thinking skills? ” Hmmm, good question.
  • Atheists in Foxholes Anthology – The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers is collecting “first-hand accounts of Atheists, Agnostics, Freethinkers, Humanists, Secularists, and other non-believers who have served in the military in any capacity or who have a close association with someone who has served.”

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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30 Comments

  1. I'm beginning to think that if there *is* a God, (S)he ought to send someone down right away to tell me to quit wasting my time reading ur's comment threads! ugh. It's like a train wreck; I cannot look away.

    What I wanted to say, though, is "hi Jen," nice to see you here, and Can someone please explain to me how Skepchicks with two-year-olds find time to do all this stuff, because I'm still trying to figure it out. :)

  2. Rav, since I'm writing a book about how I was influenced to leave fundamentalism and, ultimately to become an unbeliever, by reading things outside my comfort zone, I'm hardly in a position to discourage anyone else from doing the same, no matter how closed-minded they may seem. Sometimes the only way someone may be willing to read "illicit" materials is by thinking that they can convince the author of the error of their ways. (I do, however, find some of the eternal debates quite tiresome.)

    Speaking of links, there was an interesting link on friendlyatheist.com the other day, that discussed <a href = "http://friendlyatheist.com/2008/01/22/a-list-of-unconvincing-arguments-made-by-atheists/&quot; rel="nofollow">how not to argue wtih Christians that you might find interesting.

  3. Writerdd,

    That's a really good perspective/point that I hadn't thought of. It's less titillating, but psychologically equivalent, to the closeted gay republicans who rail against homosexuality or the evangelists who crusade against pornography so vehemently, but probably look at more of it than the average citizen (all in the name of stamping it out, of course). So you're saying it's a "safe" way for someone to thoroughly explore an idea that is intriguing to them but that scares the bejeezus out of them?

  4. Don't forget, DD– I was a fundamentalist too. For twenty-five years. I understand where you're coming from, though my own experience was a bit different.

    But do we really want this blog getting clogged up with the same circular debates? I have been restraining myself mightily these past couple of weeks, but even the eloquent and erudite PH is failing to persuade Ur to even be civil.

  5. flygrrl, yes, read Darwin to refute him, read Skepchick to witness to the heathens, read Playboy to research anti-porn sermons, read Glamour to find out how to reach young girls for Christ, etc. I'm all for it. Anything that gets people to read more widely is a possible escape from an intellectual cage.

    One thing Christians are right about, reading outside of the approved cannon is dangerous and can lead to apostasy. You never know what insidious idea might creep out of the dark corners of your brain in the night and make you think! It was romance novels for Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

  6. That's why the Golden Compass brouhaha was making me crazy. I couldn't get why people were so afraid of kids reading (gasp!) a book. I am an atheist but I wouldn't hesitate to let my kid read The Chronicles of Narnia. Ideas are good.

  7. Oh no, not abiogenesis! *gasp*

    Quickly, someone throw a bible at them and explain that what they’re doing is unpossible …

    ok first off…its IM possible..not UN! the internet has an online dictionary..

    2cd off….abigenesis is something coming from nothing….making synthetic strands of DNA is using intelligent design! so back to the drawing board for you ( again)

    I’m beginning to think that if there *is* a God, (S)he ought to send someone down right away to tell me to quit wasting my time reading ur’s comment threads!

    obviously you cant turn from the truth…

    I have been restraining myself mightily these past couple of weeks

    aww come on Ravioli…..has your science left you empty handed again : (

  8. urblind said,

    ok first off…its IM possible..not UN! the internet has an online dictionary..

    2cd off….abigenesis is something coming from nothing….making synthetic strands of DNA is using intelligent design! so back to the drawing board for you ( again)

    (pssst… exarch, I don't think God approves of Ralph Wiggum)

    obviously you cant turn from the truth…

    Nope. I guess not. It's just so compelling. Sigh.

  9. It's also funny how no one has yet picked up– despite claims of knowledge of bothe hebrew and Aramaic– that "Rav" is a title, not a name.

    And I'll tell you summat else for free; Anyone who doesnae like Ralph Wiggum will have to answer to ME!

  10. Rav, in this case it's a part of a handle or screenname so we can treat it however we want. Personally I use Rav to address you because it's recognizable and easier to type than Winston.

    That said, I'd like to hear your deconversion story sometime.

  11. Seeing as I can think of no other way she could have gotten my e-mail address, apart from asking some of the other skepchicks, I'm assuming she does have admin rights that allow her to check it (possibly for blocking/approval purposes?)

  12. Jen, you still there? This is a welcomed feature in its own right, AND it hit home on the first at bat for me. I grew up just north of Charlotte, in a trivia question called Kannapolis. I read the comments with great interest. I haven't lived there since 76 and I haven't been back since 86, so its safe to say that I have no real ties, but still. The piece reminded me of a time there, when the Fundamentalist Christians where a background noise, a low hum we all knew was there, but didn't get in the way of anything important. we went to church on Sunday and biology class (with evolution included) on Monday. NC was a progressive state, education was important, and science was respected. Then somehow Jessie Helms got in Congress and nothing was the same ever again.

    I'll be in my room.

  13. I had to travel for work this morning, so I'm just catching up. What a party broke out here!

    flygrrl – Haha, I wish I could offer advice about juggling life with a two-year-old, but I don't have any idea how I do it either :) I do have a lot of support, and child who's naturally independent, so that helps. Thanks for the welcome!

    buffalodavid – I'm glad that link resonated for you. I'm from Ohio, myself, but I think many American communities have similarities like those in the article.

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