08 October 2011

[Weekly Recap] Atheism in the news, Atheist Ethicist, exoplanets, more blasphemy cases, and trolling!

I'm probably not going to have a lot of time to devote to blogging until December, so posting will be sparse until then.  I have to remind myself that I write on here for fun, so I shouldn't feel like I have to balance it with my responsibilities IRL.  These Weekly Recap posts will be on hiatus for the time being, replaced by me posting whenever the heck I feel like it.  An exciting new development, to be sure.

Don't worry, loyal readers: I've still got a handful of posts in draft that will be going up as soon as they're presentable, and I'll still occasionally be struck by inspiration for a spontaneous rant about something or other.

I might still have a few nights like this. (comic from xkcd)
Without further ado, here's the last Weekly Recap you'll ever see until I decide to start doing them again.

Atheism in the news

Journalists are talking about atheists more and more as time goes on, and it isn't always about lawsuits anymore.  Christians are freaking out that godlessness is becoming so popular in America.  We're being blamed (or credited?) for the rise of polarizing Religious Right political candidates like Perry and Bachmann.  The Houston Chronicle spotlighted local atheists in the Texas city for the good they do in the community.

It gives me hope that American culture is approaching a tipping point, after which being an "out" atheist will no longer be anything new, exciting, or scary in this country.

Hipster Hubble: "I was detecting exoplanets before you even knew how to look for them."

"HR 8799 c, d, and b? You've probably never heard of them."

It appears that the Hubble Space Telescope took some shots in 1998 which, processed using modern techniques, revealed planets orbiting other stars.  Have a look at Phil Plait's post about it at Bad Astronomy.

Each new planet we detect is another chance of finding one in its star's "Goldilocks Zone" capable of supporting life as we know it.

Saturday Spotlight: Atheist Ethicist

I link to Alonzo Fyfe's posts often enough that he really deserves a mention in this section.  Theists and atheists alike might benefit from his perspectives on controversial issues, which he addresses using facts and logic rather than ideology and emotional appeals.  He'll sometimes spice it up with a bit of sarcasm.

If you're looking for convenient answers, you might be disappointed; more often, you're left with inconvenient questions that you should have been asking yourself all along

Go read his blog, Atheist Ethicist, and see why I've become a persistent lurker there.  You might learn something, or your head might explode.

Trolling for Billboards

The infamous Blonde Nonbeliever gave me a good laugh this evening.  Ever get tired of those "You're going to hell!" billboards on the sides of Midwestern highways?  Her friend decided to prank call the phone number on one such billboard spotted on a road trip.  Hilarity ensues.

Godless Quote of the Week

"Arguing about religion strips religion of its special privileged status as the one idea that can never be questioned. And that helps all the goals we're working towards -- ending anti-atheist bigotry, separation of church and state, [ending] special legal exemptions for religious organizations.  Arguing about religion helps re-frame religion as an idea rather than an identity -- which makes believers more open to listening to our ideas."
- Greta Christina, in her talk at the Secular Student Alliance conference earlier this year.

Weekly Absurdity: Blasphemous cartoonist arrested in Turkey

Turkish cartoonist Bahadir Baruter might spend a year in prison for drawing this:
The area circled in red apparently contains a hidden message, proclaiming something to the effect of "There is no God and religion is a sham."  It might offend people, sure.  But is it a crime?

In Turkey it is.  As I said last week, don't take freedom of speech for granted.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License